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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Thursday, July 24, 2003

So long, farewell, thanks for the church

Though a non-denominational Christian myself, many of my heroes and mentors in the faith have been Anglicans - John Stott, J.I. Packer, C.S. Lewis, Michael Green, Paul Barnett, Alister McGrath, Tom Wright Indeed my own understanding of Christianity has been formed much more by the British Evangelical tradition than the American fundamentalist one. Here in Australia I have always had the greatest respect and admiration (from afar) for the evangelical Sydney Diocese of the Anglican church, a shining beacon of Biblically faithful Christian witness in the midst of a denomination that is often indistinguishable in its position from that of secularists, atheists and the other cultured despisers of religion who abound in academia, the media and the arts.

The ongoing crisis in worldwide Anglicanism between Biblically faithful conservatives and politically correct liberals - most particularly the debate over the ordination of homosexuals and the "blessing" of homosexual unions - has brought into sharp relief the great divide that lies between these two conflicting understandings of Christianity. As a result the "broad church" of Anglicanism is increasingly becomingly a joke; and I wonder how much longer faithful traditional, orthodox believers who uphold the authority of the scriptures and acknowledge the creeds and articles of the Church will continue to remain in association with those who trample underfoot the teachings of God while running after the fickle opinion of fallible men.

I am not holding my breath for any mass exodus anytime soon. Inertia is after all the Anglican way.

How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing. [1 Kings 18:21]

There's a lot I could say about the current state of world Anglicanism but Christopher Johnson over at the MCJ blog pretty much sums up my feelings about the matter:

To put it bluntly, I honestly respect atheists far more than I respect many Episcopal Christians these days. Because atheists believe something. I'd respect the Episcopalians if they'd just come out and say, "We're going to have a homosexual bishop. There's the door." But Frank Griswold thinks that it is perfectly all right, even a virtue, for a person or a church to hold two completely irreconcilable opinions. Well, actually, to hold one and give lip service to “respecting” and “listening to” the other.

This is where things stand in American Anglicanism. Episcopal conservatives honor and respect the Word of God. But certain of God's words impede the earthly desires of the Episcopal liberals so they “interpret” these words out of the Bible. The liberals claim to want to “listen” to the conservatives on this issue and really hope that the conservatives don’t do anything rash like declaring the conflict irreconcilable and leaving because that would make the church look bad.

Because they know what would happen if they left, Episcopal liberals would prefer that Episcopal conservatives stay in a church whose values they no longer share and cannot accept. In other words, they should spend the rest of their time on earth lying to themselves and to others. Honesty, integrity and fidelity to the Word of God are to be offered as sacrifices to idols called the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Jesus had this to say to institutions like the Episcopal Church:

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.(Revelation 3:14-18)

What this present issue concerns is not just a difference of opinion between temperamentally different clergy. What's at stake is the very core and heart of Biblically authentic Christian faith. This is occurring in the much wider context of a clash between fundamentally different worldviews. And the writing is on the wall... Ridicule, ostracism, condemnation of those who adhere to the faith and values of orthodox Christianity will soon be replaced by open "war on the saints" - the imposition of legal sanction, censorship and persecution. And then those who name the Name of Christ will really have to stand up and be counted, even at great personal peril. The brave new world is already upon us.... be afraid, be very afraid.

And yet, and yet...

...on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it... Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me... Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid... I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."...

10:56:00 pm