Page 4, 13th July 1984

13th July 1984
Page 4
Page 4, 13th July 1984 — The Jenkins 'raw deal'

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Locations: Durham


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The Jenkins 'raw deal'

AS A CATHOLIC teacher who has just completed a year of post-graduate study with Prof. David • Jenkins, I refer to "Anglican Bishops join credal controversy", June 29.

Media coverage of the "Durham quarrel" has generally cast Prof. Jenkins in the role of the 'doubting Bishop' who looks with scepticism upon a wide range of traditional Christian beliefs, including the Virgin Birth, the gospel miracles, and, most importantly, the Resurrection.

Here, we are led to belive, is a man who may be a fine academic but who is certainly not fit to be Bishop of an important Anglican diocese.

What has puzzled and saddened me in following the controversy itrthe newspapers is the sharp discontinuity between the David Jenkins I know through personal contact and the reading of his books, and the 'image' of Bishop-Elect Jenkins presented by the media.

As the present case simply confirms my long-held suspicion that the mass-media are not the most suitable places to conduct theological debate, I am not concerned to defend the finer

points of Prof. Jenkins' theology: he can do that far more ably than I. What does concern me is the distinct odour of raw deal which hangs over the entire business.

Anyone who has read Prof. Jenkins' major books such as The Glory of Man, Living with Questions and The Contradiction of Christianity will know that he is not a negative or destructive theologian; that his questioning of the ways in which Christian beliefs are expressed arises not from doubt but from faith; that his concern with 'controversial' questions is precisely because it is these which so often hold people back from faithcommitment in the present age, and thus any attempt to preach the good news to all must include attempts to elucidate, however imperfectly, what these questions — and their answers — might mean today.

Your article unfortunately presented yet again a wholly negative idea of what Prof Jenkins' attitudes are.

Gerald J Cooper MA Bradford, West Yorks

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