Greta Thunberg is a prophet for our times declares Rowan Williams


Teenage climate activist Greta Thunburg is a prophet for our times, for the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams told participants via Zoom at last week’s Korsvei festival in Norway.

Lord Williams, who was the keynote speaker at the ecumenical conference held July 20-25 in Seljord, was responding to questions following a Bible study on the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. Asked about modern examples of prophetic living, Lord Williams said: “God has raised up a prophet in Greta Thunberg in a way that no one could predict. She has said things that no one else could have said. Thank God for her!”.

He admired the now 18-year old activist “enormously” as she was “a very good example of a prophetic voice” who like Jeremiah roused the spiritually slumbering, as quoted by the newspaper Vårt Land

Lord Williams’ support of the controversial environmentalist is in line with the findings earlier this summer of the Civitas think tank which found “radical progressive activism” had taken hold of the Church of England.

The Civitas paper “Rotting from the head” documented the wholesale acceptance of the notions of ‘systemic racism’, ‘unconscious biases’ and an unfolding ‘climate emergency’ doctrine within the Church of England.

In the foreward of the paper, Tom Harris stated the “complete departure from the Church’s central purpose risks making it unrecognisable to the grassroots members who support it”. It marked a ‘separation of the head from the body that is becoming alarmingly recognisable in so many of our national institutions”.

The researchers found there was a “common denominator of leadership acquiescence or a particular vulnerability among leaders about their approach to society, ordinary human values and a laziness in objecting to questionable claims and narratives, often to appease relentless and large-scale agitators.”

The chapter on the doctrine of “climate emergency”, which postulates that unless immediate and drastic action is taken now to reduce global emissions then nothing short of a crisis will unfold for the planet, demonstrated the hierarchy of the Church of England had adopted this “ultra-progressive view without question”.

The findings showed:

  • Over 70 per cent of all Dioceses (71 per cent) appoint clergy who promote climate activist warnings and/or calls for recognition of the ‘climate emergency’.
  • Over half of all declarations (55.85 per cent) from the clergy promoting climate activist warnings and recognition of the ‘climate emergency’ occurred within 12 months after the ‘Holy Week’ support for the climate protests in April 2019.

The researchers discussed in their report:

“What has happened to the Church of England in the past year reflects the direction other British institutions are currently travelling towards. As institutions have declined in their authority, there is increasing anxiety within them to be justified.”

“This decline has run in tandem with a wider vacation of public life, meaning only a small number of activists are providing a path in defining the role and purpose of such institutions. Thus, ideologically, institutions like the Church are increasingly taking on the mantras of ultra-progressivism, such as the notion of ‘systemic racism’ or alarmist calls for a ‘climate emergency’.”

“These ideas are reinforced by new policies to achieve structural change via a growing bureaucracy, recruitment shortlists or quotas and rewriting education curriculums. That has, in turn, impacted the spirit and ideals of the Church’s mission.”