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Controversy surrounds the disinvitation of Fr. Calvin Robinson from the closing panel of the Mere Anglicanism conference held in Charleston, South Carolina, in January. Asked to lecture on the topic “Critical Theories Are Antithetical to the Gospel,” Robinson argued during the main session that the spread of critical theory in the church was inevitable given the church’s acceptance of feminism, with women’s ordination being a decisive concession: Confuse men’s and women’s roles, and it’s hard to resist liberalism tout court. The sponsoring bishop and conference organizers found Robinson’s presentation “inexcusably provocative, and completely lacking in charity,” especially toward the female clergy in attendance, and so barred him from the closing panel discussion.

The conference’s title, a nod to C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, implies that participants hold in common the essentials of Anglican belief. The conference is advertised as a venue in which difficult topics facing the Church can be thoughtfully engaged. Accordingly, Robinson was candid: “The priestess issue is directly related to the trans issue. If a man can become a woman, and a woman can become a man, why can’t a woman become a priest and a man become a mother?” Though this question may strike supporters of women’s ordination as unnecessarily provocative, the same type of argument was made by the conference’s patron saint more than seventy-five years ago. Robinson and Lewis both articulate the position of mere Christianity against the fashionable theologies of their times. They state what was the consensus position of the Great Tradition, East and West, before critical theory infected Protestantism.

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