General Synod: Archbishop’s speech in Living in Love and Faith debate


Archbishop Justin Welby speaking at York Synod, 8 July 2024

This debate is about salvation. The differences between us are in the implications of what we're looking for. We are called as a church to the cure of souls across England. The mission of God in this land. Because we all love this nation and its people and all love Christ, we all love and serve everyone in this land. We heard that this morning as we discussed food banks. 

49 years ago, this October I was led to Christ by a friend called Nick Hill. Nick showed me from the Bible that God loved me, had proved it by the sacrifice of His Son Jesus for my sins, and called me to trust my life to him. And so that is what I did. As with me then, this discussion now is about people following Christ or wanting to or being called to. Doctrine lived means people praying, seeking, serving and suffering. 

That is one reason of many why I cannot imagine the Church of England without the Alliance Network, members and friends. Under God, I owe that tradition my salvation. That they all flourish in this church, including firmly those in the Alliance is indispensable to the gospel in this land. And as the years went by, and I served in places of war and suffering, I also found churches drawing people to salvation by engaging with unjust structures and practicing reconciliation. That is one reason, one of many, why I cannot imagine the Church of England without the Together network, members and friends as well as the Alliance. They all deepened my love for God. That they all flourish is indispensable to the gospel in this land. 

The reality of the form of the Church as we live it is always messy. Professor Tom Greggs in a short, clear and powerful book, the breadth of salvation describes in lyrical prose, the wonder and miracle and messiness of the local church. He describes it as a place where the community is to be with God and with each other. He says, quote, 'The church is a reconciling and redemptive event, in anticipation of the final coming of the kingdom.' That is one reason, one of many why I cannot imagine the Church of England without any particular group within it. And without her reaching effectively to anyone outside her, through inclusion and justice, lovingly lived in holy Imitation of Christ. That the church flourishes as one is indispensable to the gospel in this land, that the church flourishes as one is essential to the Anglican Communion, which like all global churches is deeply divided and seeking the support of each other. Not to be commanded, reprimanded or organized by others but to be loved, regardless of their views. 

We are today, nowhere near a final decision, as Bishop Martyn has made very, very clear. The next step is detailed work, to bring different traditions and views and theological and doctrinal understanding to a place so that all may flourish. And so that above all salvation may be proclaimed clearly, to our nation.

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