It started with the Archbishop of Canterbury dismissing the story of the Wise Men as legend. Fortunately, upon closer inspection he agrees with Matthew’s Gospel that “they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that’s all we’re really told.” It the bits about there being three of them or being kings that he says are legend. Actually, I don’t even think those things rate as legend.
But as Ruth Gledhill reports in The Times,
Although he believed in it himself, he advised that new Christians need not fear that they had to leap over the “hurdle” of belief in the Virgin Birth before they could be “signed up”.
So we know where Rowan Williams stands on the essentials of the faith.
Since baptism is how you get “signed up”, I thought Williams couldn’t be correct, as I recalled you have to profess the Apostle’s Creed during the baptismal liturgy in the C of E. Not any more. There’s a “Alternative Profession of Faith”. I’m sure it’s been there for quite some time. When it comes to Jesus, all you do is listen to the question, ” Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?” then answer “I believe and trust in him.” No need to believe in His Lordship, His conception by the Holy Spirit, His virgin birth, his suffering, His Ascension, His present mediation at the right hand of thr Father, His Second Coming, or Final Judgment.
This raises one tiny question. Is the Church of England a Christian church? I’m not saying it isn’t – just asking the question. Can it make certain fundamentals of the faith optional?