Unbelievable … apparently not

I can never see or hear the name of John Spong without recalling the words of C.S.Lewis in addressing clergy in 1945:

“It is not … for me to define to you what Anglican Christianity is … but I insist that wherever you draw the lines, bounding lines must exist, beyond which your doctrine ceases to be Anglican or to be Christian … and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession.

“This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men [sic]. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly … But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman.

“We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them. We always knew that a man who makes his living as a paid agent of the Conservative Party may honestly change his views and honestly become a Communist. What we deny is that he can honestly continue to be a Conservative agent and to receive money from one party while he supports the policy of the other.”

One might even say it is “unbelievable,” but apparently not.

John Bowen
St John the Evangelist Hamilton