Comment: I'm very excited about the new Archbishop of Canterbury, says J John
Exciting times are ahead for the Church of England under Justin Welby's leadership, says evangelist J John ...
Canon J John writes:
"As people want to know what I think about the appointment of Justin Welby as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, let me say here that I am very excited. I’m excited not just because I am privileged to count Justin as a friend, but for other reasons.
"I am excited because of who Justin is. The press has majored on Justin’s Eton education and his background as a successful executive; I am far more impressed by his humility, wisdom and above all, his commitment to Christ.
"I am excited because of Justin’s life. Justin gave up his job with a six-figure salary in the oil industry to train in the Church of England. For one thing, Justin’s life shows the widespread belief that a career in the church is for those people who can’t hold down any other sort of job as nonsense!
"For another, it tells us that this is a man who takes God very seriously. In our sceptical, materialistic age it is not what you say, but what you do that makes people listen. This is a man who, having earned the right to be heard, is going to be listened to.
"I am excited because of what Justin represents. Eager to pigeonhole him, the media have pointed out that Justin is an evangelical with strong links to Holy Trinity Brompton and the Alpha Course. Some commentators have seen in this appointment nothing more than a desire to let an evangelical have a turn at the ‘top job’, but I believe that there is more than some sort of theological see-saw here.
"In this appointment, there is the acknowledgement of the fact that evangelicals are playing an increasingly major role in every area of the Anglican Church. Whether it be in financial giving, in making disciples, in caring for the poor, in planting churches, in academic theology or in supplying candidates for ordination, it is Bible-believing, Christ-honouring evangelicals who are leading the way.
"This appointment can also surely be seen as a recognition of the vital work that HTB and like-minded churches have been doing within the Anglican church worldwide over the last 25 years, not least through the Alpha Course.
"So I’m excited – very excited – about the appointment of Justin Welby as Archbishop. I’m even more excited about what I sense that God is beginning to do through the Church of England. Please join with me in praying for Justin and his family, for the Anglican church and for the spread of the gospel. These are exciting times!"
Revd Canon J John is director of The Philo Trust, and a popular writer and speaker