Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The importance of licenses

On Sunday I heard a sermon delivered by a lay person who began with a warning that what he had to say might be controversial but he observed that unlike his vicar (who was away) he was 'not bound by canon law'. Now this was in another diocese so it was not my place to enquire afterwards whether or not he was a 'licensed lay preacher' or not. The implication of what he said is that in fact he is not licensed because a licensed lay preacher signs declarations which do bind them to 'canon law' or, more precisely, bind them to preach in accordance with the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.

Now on this particular occasion I do not think the preacher exceeded the bounds of our doctrine, not least because his message was not 'another doctrine' but a questioning of how we viewed the character of the 'truth' of the Bible in respect of its historicity and accuracy in reportage of speeches and the like. But the occasion does remind me of the importance of preachers who preach regularly being licensed. All preachers, not only the clergy, should be bound to teach in accordance with our doctrine, and not against it!

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