In the last few minutes, the Church of England’s General Synod has voted overwhelmingly (283-8, with 10 abstentions) in favour of a motion affirming “the uniqueness of Christ in Britain’s multi-faith society”. The text of the motion (with bullet points added by me for clarity) reads as follows:
That this Synod:
- warmly welcome Dr Martin Davies background paper The witness of Scripture, the Fathers and the historic formularies to the uniqueness of Christ [PDF] attached to GS Misc 905B; and
- request the House of Bishops to report to the Synod on their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in Britains multi-faith society; and
- offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none.
The paper referenced in the motion looks very interesting, glancing through it. Any account of the uniqueness of Christ that grounds its argument not only in abstractions but in the liturgy and practice of the church (e.g. the baptismal formula) is always going to be a winner in my book.
So well done, Church of England. This motion may sound like a statement of the bleedin’ obvious to many of us, but I think many people will have expected a motion like this to struggle more than it did to be passed (I suspect the vote would have been narrower 20 or 30 years ago). And the media (particularly the Guardian) is probably going to do its nut – “a vote for religious intolerance and against social cohesion”, etc. – which is never a bad thing.
HT: Peter Ould, who has been live-blogging the debate.