Thursday, 28 November 2013

Crunch time

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10480341/Churches-should-perform-gay-blessings-CofE-says.html

Ministers in the Church of England need to decide: will they continue to find reasons to be part of a "church" which blesses that which God says is grossly offensive to him? Or will they testify faithfully to Jesus, joining those "outside the camp"?

If this isn't a "line in the sand" for you, then nothing ever will be.

My personal viewpoint is that the real "line in the sand" - the fact that it is not possible for any minister of the Church of England to be disciplined for teaching a false gospel - was crossed many decades ago. That issue would be a line in the sand for deciding that I could not, in good conscience, be part of the ministry of such a church. If a church does not stand for the gospel, then it cannot be recognised as a church in good standing before the Lord Jesus Christ.

But, if you've let that pass, then here's the question: if you can tolerate false gospels and the blessing of what God says is absolute depravity, then what would you not tolerate? There's not much left, is there? Does the Archbishop of Canterbury have to personally sacrifice your firstborn child to Molech before you say "enough's enough"?

At the point that the Church of England's hierarchy is declaring that sodomy can be blessed, and you're still part of such an organisation, surely your only real line in the sand is "I can live with anything whatsoever in the wider Church of England - however false to God's truth, and however contrary to the order of God's creation or his law - as long as I personally am left in peace". Is it not so?

7 comments:

Chris Howles said...

Just out of interest David, why would that last line be a wrong position to take? I'm not saying I necessarily hold it, but some do. Given the paper-thin links many evangelical Anglican churches in the UK have with their 'bosses', and given the massive advantages that come by being part of the CofE structures (inherent trust and accessibility by many, parish system etc,)surely it's not enough to just presume that your last comment is ridiculous? Would be interested to hear your thoughts, regards, Chris

David Anderson said...

Hi Chris,

I will (I hope) never understand that way of thinking. I believe in a sovereign and holy God, who tells us to place his honour before our own fallible estimations of the pragmatic pros and cons of our situation.

David

Chris Howles said...

Yeah, I do see your point David, and maybe this isn't possible to answer without getting into a deep ecclesiastical debate (of which I am ill-equipped to answer, hence asking you), but what basis is there to presume, without argument, that those within your ecclesiological system (even, officially, those above you, albeit with zero actual power over you in any way) must be, well, saved! I'd just like to understand your reasons why this must always, necessarily, be the case. I don't think many of the evangelical Anglicans in the UK are denying that God is sovereign and holy and hence I'm not sure appealing to God's honour is the end of the debate! Appreciate your time, regards, Chris

David Anderson said...

Hi Chris,

If we're talking about whose saved, in terms of who will finally enter the final kingdom or not, then that is God's business, and not ours. But, if we're talking about decisions to associate in an ecclesiastical body or not, then we not only can but must weigh up that body's stated beliefs, and their resulting conduct. The Biblical commands to be separate from wickedness which masquerades as Christianity must mean *something*.

Surely once someone suggests that the official bodies of a denomination have no "real" power, and that their decisions are ultimately inconsequential and can be safely ignored, then we need to take a few steps back, and ask how they got there?

David

Elwin Daniels said...

Yes David, the crunch has come for me, I'm quitting my village Anglican church this month and will be going to Above Bar Church in Southampton if they'll have me. Been listening to their excellent podcast sermons for a while. My wife will be staying for personal reasons and as she feels she is actively involved in effective service.

Having read the full Pilling report, 2 words sum it up, perversion and apostasy. God bless the dissenting bishop of Birkenhead. the most offensive thing to me was not so much the conclusions but the process. Thy have asked every pervert single issue pressure group for their feelings, set these as co-equal alongside Holy Writ, and then attacked plain readers of Scripture with classic 'Yea, hath God said?' weaselling, using the tired only 'Interpretation' strategy.

How do you 'interpret' a plain and repeated prohibition other than 'no'?

Thanks. Just off to post a link to your blog from mine.

Elwin Daniels said...

I wrote to my local bishop expressing my grave concerns about the Pilling report, both the conclusions and the apparent process, and asked when there would be an opportunity for local Anglicans to discuss this in public.

The reply was as follows.

>>>Thank you for your message. The report is, as you suggest, a discussion document requested by the House of Bishops and not a policy statement. The Bishops have arranged two occasions to give preliminary consideration; one for the House later this month and one for the whole College of Bishops in January. After that I can be clearer about opportunities for discussion and debate over the next months and years. I hope all our conversations will be thoughtful, honest and reflect respect for different perspectives. As Christians, we are committed to supporting loving relationships that allow people to flourish. The report gives the chance to take further our understanding of human sexuality. I hope we will embrace that opportunity, starting with the bishops, with wisdom, grace and humility.<<<

In other words, we will continue the policy of kicking the can down the road and sidelining biblical objections to SSM while facts on the ground fall into line with public opinion (which is being led by the sexual revolutionaries and their friends in the media, parliament and the law). And we will have our 'rainbow' church when you guys give up, die off and leave.

kind regards.

David Anderson said...

Hi Elwin,

Yes... your bishop clearly has no "bottom line".

Your situation sounds distressing and difficult. Moving on is never pleasant. I hope the Lord will help you to have a peaceful and forgiving spirit whilst doing so.

David