A brilliant editorial by Gerald Bray in the current Churchman, one of the most astute reflections upon Rowan Williams I’ve read in a long time: “A double-minded man” [pdf].

Evangelicals have never warmed to him, partly because he is too different in temperament and interests to have much appeal to them, and partly because his views on some things, like the gay agenda, are anathema to any orthodox Christian. to his credit, Dr. Williams attempted to draw a line in the sand by stating publicly that he would not pursue that agenda while in office, but his fundamental convictions are known to all and have made it impossible for him to forge a serious working relationship with the evangelical constituency either at home or abroad. Given that the evangelical wing of the church is the one that is expanding the most, this has been a serious handicap that nothing short of a complete change of heart on his part could have removed. that was not to be and the result has been a split in the Anglican Communion that may now be impossible to heal.

American friends will appreciate this observation:

Another person who belongs in this category [of friends who used him to pursue their own agenda] is Ms schori, the presiding bishop of the American episcopal Church, whom Dr. Williams did his utmost to win over, but to no avail. In dealing with Ms schori and her colleagues compromise is not possible, and whenever Dr. Williams suggested it, it was thrown back in his face. At one point Ms schori even went around the world trying to drum up support for an opposition movement to the archbishop, a tactic which failed but which demonstrates just what a wonderful person she is to work with.

The conclusion:

Those who do not submit to the Word of God will pay a heavy price and harm the church more than they know. this, sadly, must be the final verdict on Dr. Williams as archbishop of Canterbury. As the Apostle saw so clearly, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). Dr. Williams’ instability has brought the church to the point where the Anglican ship of faith is about to capsize. His successor’s first task will be to steady it by tossing the Americans and their ungodly allies overboard, and by setting its course firmly towards the Morning star that is Christ, who alone can give us light. Whether that will happen only time will tell, but the agenda for the next Archbishop of Canterbury is clear. the spiritual renewal of the church will come at a price, but without it the Anglican Communion is doomed. We must pray that those charged with making the appointment will be aware of this and be prepared to do what is necessary to ensure that there is at least some hope for what is bound to be a turbulent future.

The whole thing is well worth a read.

My own thoughts written on the retirement of Williams can be found here.

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