28th April 2023

Just over a week until the Coronation. At an earlier coronation, in 1937, a Tyndale member had an important place. Harry L Taylor, a Tyndale deacon, that year was Baptist Union President. With leaders of other nonconformist denominations he was in the procession into the Abbey and had a front seat. This was the first time the Free Churches had been included in what is essentially an Anglican service.

This time the issue is to what extent leaders of other religions should be involved. Some years ago King Charles suggested he might by styled ‘Defender of Faiths’, although it seems the traditional title of ‘Defender of the Faith’ will be retained. About ten years ago the late Queen acknowledged that the Church had a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths.

Some years ago I visited the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (now closed to non-Muslims). An elderly Muslim man approached me and my colleague – ‘are you Christians?’, he asked. When we answered ‘yes’ he responded ‘We all worship the one God’. Should that be our response to those of other faiths, or is that just the start of a conversation? Tyndale’s first minister, Richard Glover, an ardent supporter of missionary work, claimed that St Paul saw some value in all religions, but also as preparing for their adherents the way for Christ.

This country has changed enormously since 1937. There is no doubt we are now a multi-faith community. It is no use just pretending otherwise, so each of us needs to consider prayerfully how we approach those of other faiths.

David T Roberts