Affirming Liberalism

Just found out – from Dave Walker’s wonderful cartoon blog – about yet another new grouping in the CofE and close to home for me – geographically, even if not theologically – as focussed here in Oxford diocese.


It’s called ’Affirming Liberalism’ and although its leadership is not clear it appears to be linked to St James’ Church, Finchampstead.


It is obviously an optimistic liberalism – the day conference for February has Keith Ward on “Why the future belongs to liberal religion” and Martyn Percy on “Why Liberal Churches are Growing”, presumably related to the recent book he edited on the subject with Ian Markham.


Why Liberal Churches Are Growing (Christianity and Contemporary Culture) (Christianity and Contemporary Culture)


It describes its vision in the following terms




On its website the Church of England describes itself as


“a Comprehensive Church… which has been enriched by the co-existence within it of three broad traditions, the Evangelical, the Catholic and the Liberal…”


It continues…


“The Liberal tradition has emphasized the importance of the use of reason in theological exploration. It has stressed the need to develop Christian belief and practice in order to respond creatively to wider advances in human knowledge and understanding and the importance of social and political action in forwarding God’s kingdom.” www.cofe.co.uk


Affirming Liberalism seeks to enhance this ‘enrichment’ of the Christian faith and support ordained and lay Christians of the Liberal Anglican tradition by:



  • Affirming faith in Jesus’ life, teaching, death and resurrection as revealing God’s limitless love for all humanity in this life and the next.

  • Affirming the dynamic action of the Holy Spirit in the world in dispersing this divine love throughout the world.

  • Affirming the positive impact of biblical, literary and historical criticism for our engagement with Scripture and Tradition.

  • Affirming appreciation of the distinctive nature of religious language in vibrant worship which connects us to the divine.

  • Affirming a philosophical approach to Christian faith and the search for truth through God-given reason.

  • Affirming the positive insights of the natural sciences and mathematics in the formation of a Christian world-view and understanding of the universe.

  • Affirming the positive impact of the social sciences for understanding human nature and society, and developing Christian ethics.

  • Affirming the vitality of the performing and creative arts in shaping a dynamic Christian vision of life lived in relation to God.

  • Affirming open, creative conversation with Evangelicals and Catholics as a means of enriching our understanding of the Christian gospel.

  • Affirming open, creative conversation with other faith traditions and cultures as a way of deepening our understanding of God.


I’m thinking I might blog soon on a sort of ’who’s who’ of Anglican – particularly evangelical Anglican – groupings as there are now so many in the CofE it is all getting rather confusing who they all are and how they all relate to each other. As Walker comments




All we need now is an ‘Affirming Evangelicalism’ and we’ll have the set.

2 Comments:

  1. Nice blog, Andrew.

    Are ‘liberal’ churches growing in Britain? Here in North America, they’re the fastest disappearing.

    On a related topic, what do you think – isn’t belief in the Trinity more fantastic than belief in the traditional sexual ethic? In general terms, isn’t current ‘liberal Christianity’ but a brief stop on the way to agnosticism or humanism?

  2. I nominate you as President of Affirming Evangelicals – and I’ll be Treasurer!

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