Of Growth
And Strength

Top Anglican Advisor Issues 'Apocalyptic Warning'
on the Future of Western Christianity

Monday, Dec. 13, 2004 Posted: 5:27:13PM EST‘apocalyptic.warning’.on.the.future.of.western.christianity/1.htm

A senior advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury issued an “apocalyptic warning” about the Anglican Communion and the Western churches in general, as she ended her tenure on the 19-member Archbishops’ Council.

Jayne Ozanne, one of the more evangelical Anglicans, warned the Archbishop that the a time of “great persecution was coming.” Her statement, which was not meant for public view, was leaked to the Times in London on Saturday.

Ozanne’s paper comes in the midst of one of the largest fracture in the history of the Anglican Church. The relationship between conservatives and liberals spiraled downward at a furious rate in recent months following the ordination of an openly homosexual bishop in the United States and the blessings of same-sex unions in Canada’s Anglican Church.

In October, the church released an extensive report on the affects of homosexuality in the communion to help appease the situation. However, the report was only mildly successful: leadership in conservative nations and bodies criticized the report for its leniency toward the liberals and for its failure to address the essential theological problems underlying the situation.

Ozanne, one of the 19 members of the Archbishop’s Council since 1999, echoed the fears of many evangelicals in her statement.

“I remain convinced that the only way for the Church to survive the storms that are currently besetting it is to embrace the hard truth with honesty and humility.” Questioning whether Church leaders really believe any more in a God who can move mountains or in a God who can raise the dead, she warns that the Church seems to have forgotten how to meet the cost of being Christian,” Ozanne said.

The council is the Church’s policy-making body and has met consistently behind closed doors.

Ozanne took note of the numerous developments that have occurred within the church during her tenure that held the Church back from developing.

“It has been nearly six years since I was invited by Archbishops George and David to serve on the first Archbishops’ Council. Much has happened since then, both to move the Church forward and also, I fear, to hold it back,” she said.

According to the Times, Ozanne also “argued that it is her duty to “speak about some of the white elephants in the room that few of us like to admit are there.””

She took note of the destructive characteristics of Western Christianity.

“Sacrificial giving is not a concept that we in the West have either embraced or understood. We are too comfortable and, as a result, too compromised. I see a time of great persecution coming, which will drive Christianity all but underground in the West. I believe that this will primarily take the form of a social and economic persecution, where Christians will be ridiculed for their faith and pressurised into making it a purely private matter.”

While the established Church will self-destruct, “fragmenting into various divisions over a range of internal issues”, she predicts that a new “Church in England” will take root, consisting of non- denominational cell groups throughout the country, according to Ozanne’s statement.

While Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams did not comment on the statement, one member of the council – who did not wished to be named – said to the Times that Ozanne goes to a particular evangelical church and that her perception is “governed by that tradition.”

Peter Crumpler, another member of the Council said the statement was merely the personal view of Ozanne.

“The Church of England encourages a lively exchange of views.” He added: “We face challenges in an increasingly secular age. We are facing the future with realism.”

Meanwhile, Phillip Giddings, a key player in England’s evangelical movement, said Ozanne’s warning should not fall on deaf ears.

“This was a personal reflection from Jayne and it needs to be taken seriously. I think it a real possibility that Christians face the kind of persecution she predicts and the established Church faces some real challenges, which we need to address. Those of us in leadership positions need to take very seriously what she has warned about,” said Giddings, one of the founders of Anglican Mainstream.

Said Giddings: “What she says reflects the reality that there is an ongoing division within the Anglican Communion and the Church of England in particular on matters of authority and the relevance and authority of Holy Scripture.”