There is much panic
as the Anglican Communion faces schism, with provinces
cutting ties with each other, following the consecration of Bishop
Bishop David Jenkins, not known for toeing the official Church line,
explains to Charlotte Haines Lyon, why he is not too worried about
You have said that
you dont care much about what happens to the Anglican
Communion can you explain a bit more?
In the more developed and possibly corrupt Western
society, we now know the world is not a fixed thing laid down, dictated
by God in the Bible. We know that its a whole long process
of evolution and development.
We understand that homosexuality and heterosexuality are spread
over a bell curve and some people are different and so on. This
of course effects how you have the rules about sexuality.
If you are living next to Muslims in Nigeria,
the way you have to try and work your way forward in Christian doings,
with both the bible and
sexuality, is a much more cautious and difficult one than what the
people in the West have faced up to.
Therefore youve got different approaches.
People are suffering different things and are very anxious about
different things, but the West has no more right to lose its head
than the South has to demand that everybody thinks like they do.
Therefore I dont think it matters whether
the Anglican Communion holds together legally and formally. It does
very much matter that we all keep in touch with one another and
try to explain to one another and work it out together, an Anglican
website so to speak. God gives us hints as to how we deal with one
another but you dont necessarily come at the thing with the
same angle and approach.
You seem to be concerned that the churches
are concentrating on their differences rather than working for the
betterment of humanity.
The great message of the New Testament is summed
up by Paul in Galatians: In Christ there is neither Jew nor
Greek, bond nor free, male nor female. In other words these
divisions of culture and even sexuality are things that have developed
in history and human living and are not definitive.
What is definitive is growing together in a developing world to
discover one another as equal persons, equal contributors and we
hope equal sharers.
Can the future really be ecumenical?
I think that it can, now that we see that the
world is one world, that what happens with AIDS in Africa is of
vital importance to the state of the world, the peace of the world,
the hope of the world. A lot of Christian Aid stuff is very important
in this way, serving in the world, to improve the environment, to
build up health and to be a neighbour to the people who are more
in the mire.
That means that youve got to ask the various versions of religion
how they may contribute to the future of being human in the real
But that doesnt mean we have to agree?
If we belong in order to agree it shuts things
down. As for going into great detail as to whether you sign on this
or that dotted line, it seems to me to say that God laid it down
in the Bible long ago and theres nothing more to learn, suffer
or do, which is quite wrong. God is living, moving and a very glorious
So revelation is still continuing?
God hasnt stopped. Hes going somewhere.
And weve got to both catch up with Him and stop getting in
His way with our religion. We cant get on by somebody laying
down a line, which we are now all supposed to agree to. Were
too scattered, too different. So weve got to keep in touch
and work it out in pilgrimage, with all women and men of good will,
as to where we go from here. We must be very clear that Revelation
takes time. The end is not yet. These are the things that we have
to live with for the sake of God, humanity and hope.
David Jenkins' latest
book, The Calling of a Cuckoo is now available in paperback. To
buy it, and raise money for Christian Aid projects, click