Resolution passed by SoF in 2003

Without a manual of religious history as program guide, it would be very difficult to tell the saints from most of the heretics in Western religious history. For example, compare the heretic Peter Waldo with Saint Francis of Assisi. Both have been the most religious of persons in their own generation. Need we remind ourselves that in the beginning Christianity itself was a Jewish heresy?…It is not then so strange to observe that the interrogation of Jesus on that morning of the last day of his life was the "prototype of all heresy trials"! — George H Shriver, Introduction to A Dictionary of Heresy Trials in American Christianity, 1997.

The Sea of Faith 2003 annual conference passed the following resolution on this issue:

  1. The SoF (UK) AGM supports the importance of allowing and encouraging everyone, clergy and laity, to explore religious faith honestly and openly, without necessarily supporting particular statements or positions that individuals may make.
  2. The SoF (UK) AGM does not believe that formal discipline is an appropriate way of handling doctrinal diversity. However, if churches do elect a disciplinary route, the process should be fair, just and consistently applied.
  3. The SoF (UK) AGM asks the Steering Committee to maintain a watching brief on cases of doctrinal discipline or suppression of doctrinal diversity generally, and authorises the Network Steering Committee to make enquiries and statements on behalf of the Network in line with these principles.
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