Saturday, 7 April 2012

So long, "Archbishop"

Having fisked the head of the government, its someone else's turn next...

Apparently, the "Archbishop of Canterbury" (I'm a non-conformist, so the quotes are compulsory) is stepping down.

Rowan Williams made me very sad, continually, during his time in this position.

We don't expect newspapers to quote Christians accurately. We don't expect them to quote much accurately - if you've ever had personal knowledge of stories that end up in the papers, then you'll surely know what I mean.

Dr. Williams is highly educated; a real scholar and gentleman and diplomat. However, I don't recall - ever - and I was looking - ever reading a report of Dr. Williams, in his various speeches and sermons, telling the world what it needs to hear. I never read a report of him saying any of the key facts by which the gospel of Christ challenges our fallen world:
  • That God is holy and has a law, and is rightly angry with us for our continual rebellion against it. That he has a clearly revealed will in "hot button" political issues of today, like homosexual practice, abortion, marriage and divorce, etc.
  • That Jesus of Nazareth, having risen bodily from the tomb, is thus proved to be the world's one true Lord: king of kings and president over presidents, to whom every knee must bow.
  • That all those outside of Christ are lost and ruined in trespass and sin. That only those who repent and believe can be saved.
  • That religion in itself is of no help and is actually a hindrance - that a living, personal knowledge of Christ is our true need. There is such a thing as personal conversion to Christ which results in a new nature and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
  • That the atoning death of Jesus on the cross is the only true hope for any individual soul, or for the world.
  • That Jesus is subduing all nations to himself by his Word and Spirit and that one day he will return to judge the world. That everyone in the UK has a soul and will one day enter either eternal glory or eternal damnation.

No doubt being "Archbishop" is a complicated and difficult position. But that makes returning to the main things even more important, not less. It makes the need to be plain and clear greater, not smaller. Does Dr. Williams believe any or all of those things? I haven't done any deep study of his theology - but I never read any report of any of his utterances in which even one of the above things was said. Tragic.

I am not an Anglican, because I think Anglicanism as a system, systematically contradicts the Word of God. But whether we agree or not, all true Christians can all pray that whoever holds the role next will be of a better ilk, and that the nation might, in God's undeserved mercy, hear what it really needs to hear.


Ned Kelly said...

The “Archbishop of Canterbury” is not alone in his waywardness. This week in Australia, Catholic Cardinal George Pell debated Richard Dawkins, and in amongst the usual rubbish, the Cardinal asserted that atheists can go to heaven if they are good enough. He said, “They'll be judged on the extent to which they have moved towards goodness and truth and beauty. But in the Christian view God loves everyone except those who turn his back, turn their back on him through evil acts.”
And there was I thinking that salvation was by grace through faith, and not through works; that the most important commandment is to love God, and without faith there is no salvation. Of course, God in His justice and mercy will deal appropriately with those who through no fault of their own, do not know God. But to offer to a Western audience that atheism is acceptable to God is the strangest doctrine I have ever heard from a Catholic Cardinal, and renders the entire Bible meaningless.
One can only hope that in the heat of the debate, Cardinal Pell did not mean what he said, and will publicly retract at some point, or maybe the Pope will call him to Rome for a period of re-education. Either way, populism is infecting the “Church” even at the highest levels.

David Anderson said...

That surely sounds rather too clear to be a mistake or loose statement. Though of course, justification by grace alone through faith alone has never been the official Roman position, though we'd expect a cardinal to expound on the value of the Roman sacraments rather than virtue in general... in the UK the Roman hierarchy seem to be fairly orthodox, relative to the (non-orthodox, objectively!) position of their organisation. I was quite surprised to hear a Cardinal say this.

If we gave a proper Christian interpretation to the statement, it'd be true; Jesus IS the true "goodness, truth and beauty"; those who turn away from him, by definition, turn away from "goodness, truth and beauty".