Modern Believing

The Girton Conference One Hundred Years On

Modern Believing (2021), 62, (3), 220–230.


This paper discusses the conference of the Churchmen’s Union held at Girton College in 1921 which proved a controversy in the wider Church of England on account of the views of some speakers, particularly Hastings Rashdall and J. F. Bethune-Baker, on the nature of Christ’s divinity. It argues that although there was little that was novel in the opinions expressed at the conference, it nonetheless provided the main impetus towards the setting up of the archbishops’ Doctrine Commission. Against the background of a triumphalist Anglo-Catholicism, the Commission developed a theory of truth that made liberalism less a method shared across the Church than a distinctive party, thereby reducing its general appeal.

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Author details

Chapman, Mark D.