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Beyond Establishment

Resetting Church-State Relations in England

Beyond Establishment

Resetting Church-State Relations in England

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334061731
Number of Pages: 220
Published: 25/05/2022
Width: 13.5 cm
Height: 21.6 cm

The Church of England finds itself colliding with society at large on regular occasion. Has the time come, therefore, where the advantages of being the established church are at last outweighed by the disadvantages? Is there a case for disestablishment, and if so, what might a fresh vision of the church's relationship with wider society be?

Separating the question of establishment, from the question of presence in the community, Chaplin argues that the time has come for the ending of privileged constitutional ties between the Church of England the British state.

Rather than offering a smaller place for the Church of England within society, he suggests, such a separation would in fact enhance its ability to maintain an embedded presence in local parishes, and allow it the room to speak out about the deeper, bigger challenges which face society today.

Read a blog from Jonathan Chaplin here.

Acknowledgements vii

Introduction: Awakening ‘the dog that didn’t bark’ 1

1. Defining ‘Establishment’ 15

2. A Theology of Disestablishment 39

3. Deconstructing Establishment: Church, Crown and Government 77

4. Deconstructing Establishment: Church and Parliament 112

5. Disputing Establishment: Secularism, Neutrality, Sectarianism? 134

6. Disputing Establishment: Disengaging from the Nation? 172

Conclusion: Life Beyond Establishment 207

Jonathan Chaplin

Jonathan Chaplin is a member of the Centre for Faith in Public Life at Wesley House, Cambridge, and of the Cambridge University Divinity Faculty.

“Thank God someone finally had the courage to write this book - and that it was someone with the insight, erudition and awareness of Jonathan Chaplin. In this thoroughly researched and incisively argued volume, Chaplin breaks the awkward, complicit silence which had fallen over Anglican public theology in recent decades regarding church-state relations. He speaks authoritatively and directly into a historical moment when the UK is on the cusp of further significant constitutional change. There is renewed debate, post Brexit, about a United Ireland and an Independent Scotland. Either of those outcomes, or action to avert them, will drive a recalibration of devolution which will sweep away the House of Lords in its current form. A coming coronation risks exposing the anomalies of a ritual locked in to asymmetric and anglocentric patterns of establishment. This is a book for our times, which is essential reading for anyone interested in how the UK constitution works and the future role of religion in our public life. Chaplin’s book resets the debate about the Church of England and its changing role at the heart of the UK state.”-- Doug Gay, University of Glasgow, UK

"A pub conversation long ago revealed that Jonathan Chaplin and I were fated to disagree about the establishment of the Church of England. His passion and intellectual rigour put me on my mettle to respond, but he has stolen a march by assembling his arguments so comprehensively here. Jonathan is right that establishment evolves and must change. Whether it is “improper” and theologically unjustifiable must be for his readers to decide. Even if his proposals for gradual disestablishment were adopted, the church could not ensure things turned out as he hopes. But this is an important book which should provoke responses of comparable conviction." -- The Revd Canon Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Faith and Public Life, The Church of England. Visiting Professor in Theology, The University of Winchester

"This is an extraordinarily thorough analysis of church-state relations in England. Jonathan Chaplin steers us carefully through definitions, history, legislation, finance, appointments and the labyrinth of constitutional relationships involved in the Church 'by law Established.’ Outlining the factors holding Establishment in place today, he addresses the fears of its supporters that disestablishment will mark a capitulation to secularism or to a non-Christian worldview, or the abandonment of the Church’s national mission. He offers a superb defence of his own position that constitutional links between Church, Crown and Government must be radically reset. At the heart of this defence is not expediency or concession to the spirit of the age, but a theology of mission: the Church's engagement with the nation must not be muddled by improper state involvement in its life and processes. Chaplin’s book will be invaluable to theologians, sociologists and constitutional historians as well as church leaders and parliamentarians. Yet, far more, it is a vital resource for any thinking citizen."-- Elaine Storkey, former member of the General Synod of the Church of England

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