[lightbox link=”http://davidould.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Samuel_Wilberforce_by_George_Richmond.jpg” thumb=”http://davidould.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Samuel_Wilberforce_by_George_Richmond-138×195.jpg” width=”138″ align=”right” title=”Samuel_Wilberforce_by_George_Richmond” frame=”true” icon=”image”]Now the question for us at this moment is not, Are these doctrines true, but, Are they the doctrines of the Church of England? If they are, you cannot as an honest man eat the bread offered for her ministers and teach otherwise.
your sub scription is a pledge that as a teacher you will simply and earnestly teach as She teaches and not as the Puritans teach. I am bound therefore to tell you that /, as a conscientious man, could not hold a commission to teach on the terms you us. hold yours, and teach as this declaration teaches.
Let me then call, as in God’s sight, your rrfost earnest attention to the question.
If your view of truth is not the view of the Church of England formularies you have subscribed, you cannot, with out an implied falsehood, which must put your soul in peril, bear the commission of a teacher in her communion.
Of course, I am well aware you may say, ‘ Others do so; * but, my dear sir, will such a plea hold before the judgment seat of Christ?
(cited from The Life of the Right Reverend Samuel Wilberforce)
Now one thing ought to be noted; Wilberforce writes this in relation to the question of baptismal regeneration where a clergyman has taught what Wilberforce considers to be a Puritan position and at odds with the Book of Common Prayer. On this doctrinal matter I think he’s wrong (and Gorham vs Exeter goes my way, I’d argue). But that doesn’t diminish the weight of Wilberforce’s argument – if you know what the church (that pays your stipend and gives you your reputation and who’s doctrine your promised to uphold) teaches and you teach against it irrespective of whether you are correct in the matter of doctrine or not, well then you have no integrity and are enacting falsehoods in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I know a number of men who have gone through seminary as Anglican candidates and yet, as ordination approached, realised that they could not in good conscience make the vows of ordination with respect to certain doctrines. So, in integrity, they sought ordination in another body that was more consistent with their sincerely held beliefs.