Few people, particularly in the U.K., have shown the kind of courageous, tenacious commitment to truth as media personality, minister, conservative commentator, and Anglican deacon Fr. Calvin Robinson. In 2020, after discerning a call to church ministry, Robinson left a career in teaching to pursue a degree in theology through St. Stephen’s House, Oxford. In 2022, he applied for a curacy within the London Diocese of the Church of England.
Robinson, a British citizen of mixed race, learned that his application had been held up due to his opinions on Critical Race Theory. Earlier, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby declared that the Church of England was “deeply institutionally racist,” a statement with which Robinson took issue. When it became clear that church leaders were dragging their feet over his placement, Robinson requested access to the files pertaining to his case. He learned that the Church of England, not the “broad church” many assumed, was rejecting him for his outspoken conservative views.
Describing a conversation with the Bishop of London, Rt. Rev. Sarah Mullally, Robinson reported:
I said as a mixed race person I don’t feel like the church is institutionally racist. I think it’s wrong for the Archbishop of Canterbury to stand up on a pedestal to announce, “We are racist.” I think that’s wrong. I think individuals are racist and they need to be held to account for it, but to say that we as an institution are, that’s unhelpful. I don’t think it’s statistically true.
And she said to me, “Well I think we are, and as a white woman I can tell you that we are, and I’ve seen it.”
His view on racial issues is not the only area in which Fr. Robinson found himself in conflict with the Church of England. As he put it,
It seems the Church will affirm any liberal progressive secular view, but clamp down on conservative views, either political or theological. If you defend family values, the sanctity of marriage, all human life being sacred, or the fact that God made us male and female, you’ll face opprobrium.
Ousted from the Church of England, Fr. Robinson became a deacon in the Free Church of England instead, a church that aligns with the Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON, an international body committed to biblical orthodoxy. Until recently, he hosted a popular show on GB News and now serves as minister-in-charge in a local parish.
Fr. Robinson recently defended that the church should not perform or bless same-sex “marriages” in a debate at the Oxford Union, one of the world’s oldest institutions of public discourse. His opponents were three progressive bishops. In each of these experiences, Robinson has demonstrated the kind of courage required for Christian faithfulness today. This begins, as Robinson put it, with a commitment to truth:
People are looking for the Truth. It is our job as the Church to proclaim the Truth from the rooftops and let people know there is another way; that Jesus Christ is the truth and the way, and the life. If that means being counter-cultural, so be it. It is not our job to chase societal norms, it is our job to live a life rooted in the Scriptures. We cannot chase fads in order to attract numbers, bums in seats are a side-effect not the objective. … [W]e are called to disciple the nations—but I do not believe that means obsessing over attracting new demographics; that means obsessing over preaching the Good News, doing it well and faithfully. If we do that, people will come, and Christ will convert them.
Courage, specifically how Christians can have a courageous faith, is the theme of the 2024 Colson Center National Conference, to be held May 30-June 2 in Arlington, Texas. I’m very pleased to announce that Fr. Calvin Robinson will join us for this event as a speaker along with an amazing lineup of others, such as Drs. Sean McDowell, Kathy Koch, and Neil Shenvi.
To register, go to ColsonConference.org.
This Breakpoint was co-authored by Kasey Leander. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org.
Have a Follow-up Question?
ListenAll Audio Breakpoint: Podcast Breakpoint This Week: John Stonestreet The Point: 60 Seconds Find BP on the Radio
© Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved.