It has been announced that Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, has left Anglicanism and become a Roman Catholic.
He was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, entering the ordinariate on his name day, the feast of St Michael, two weeks ago.
This is without doubt one of the most politically and theologically significant changes of allegiance in the Christian world for some time.
There have been a number of high-profile conversions including a former Bishop of London. So why should that of Michael be so nuclear in ecclesiastical and political life?
The answer is that he formed the centre of a nucleus of evangelical resistance to the slippage in the secular progressive accommodation embarked on by the Anglican Church. He was particularly outspoken on the serious consequences of ignoring the implications of the growth of Islam, and the importance of the Christian definition of marriage being restricted to a man and a woman with the intention of having children.
Previous high-profile Episcopal conversions were mainly of Anglo-Catholics. It was almost expected of them. Others shrugged their shoulders and passed them off as almost inevitable and of no great surprise or perhaps even of no great significance.
But Nazir-Ali is different. The route by which he came to prominence, which included holding the post of General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, was evangelical. And of course evangelicalism is usually uncompromisingly hostile to Catholicism.
The whole of Western culture is reeling under a kind of civil war. It amounts almost to a form of cultural and spiritual nervous breakdown. All organisations are creaking at the seams under the assault of what is variously called progressive, politically correct, woke or cultural Marxism.
The Church has been creaking more than most since the fault lines are theological and spiritual as well as philosophical and political.
Anglicanism’s global movement of conservative protest, ‘GAFCON’, was largely led by Michael Nazir-Ali. His articulate and well-informed theological voice acted like a glue to hold together disparate orthodox actions across the Anglican world. His influence provided much of the driving force that both propelled and held together the conservative or orthodox Anglican revolt against the progressive revolution led by the American Episcopal Church and followed by Archbishop Justin Welby from Lambeth Palace.
The fact that he has turned his back on the protest movement he helped to create has enormous significance for two reasons in particular.
Firstly, it is an indication that Nazir-Ali has, like others who have converted recently to the Catholic Church, judged that the schism in the Church rooted in the Reformation has run out of steam. The Church is no longer realistically divided by the arguments that erupted five hundred years ago driven by the Reformers. These conflicts have been replaced by a fresh but no less significant cultural and philosophical realignment.
This struggle has coalesced into one between the remnants of Christendom and a fresh wave in the assault of secularism by (cultural) Marxism. They represent two utopian visions, one spiritual and the other political, in direct conflict.
Secondly, in Nazir-Ali’s judgement, Anglicanism has been so compromised by the forces of progressive secularism that it cannot now be rescued.
The implications of this will shake Anglicans throughout the worldwide Communion….
The above comes from an October 14 story in Christian Today.