You remember the three “R’s” of “Readin’ Writin’ and “Rithmatic”? Consider three “R’s” that are tearing apart global Anglicanism: Relevance, Relativism and Revolution.
Edward Pentin writes here about the formal schism that faces the worldwide Anglican Communion. To put it briefly, the modernists in the Anglican Church are facing a widespread walkout by those who adhere to historic Christianity. The big issue this time is homosexuality. The liberal Anglican churches of the UK, USA and Canada are ramping up their campaign for the LGBTI agenda while the Anglicans of the developing world –especially Africa–(along with mostly Evangelical Anglicans in the North) are holding to Biblical principles of Christian morality.
This trouble has been brewing in the Anglican church for decades, and now the progressives in the church have got everything they pushed for in the area of women’s ordination (the Church of England finally ordained women bishops last year) they have moved their armies to the next battlefield and are launching a full attack for the LGBTI campaign. As an Anglican diocesan bishop said to me once in that lofty, self righteous way perfected by the English upper classes, “We have been at the forefront of equality for women. Now we must see that the church embraces gay people with the same heart of justice!”
His comment should help conservative Christians who are opposed to the progressive agenda to understand just how the progressives see themselves. They are the prophetic pioneers who are urging their brothers and sisters to reach out in peace and justice to the oppressed and marginalized. They are the ones who are willing to overthrow the old ways in order to usher in a new age of the spirit. They love the vision of Peter in which all the unclean things were declared clean because that shows how the Holy Spirit is always calling the church to re-examine her old prohibitions and throw them away in favor of a new way of love and peace. They love the “old wineskins cannot contain new wine” passage for it justifies the breaking of the old and the valid revolution of the new.
Pentin discusses a progressive missive to the Archbishop of Canterbury:
Pressure has also been building in the run-up to this week’s meeting with more than 100 Anglicans, including the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, sending a letter to the archbishops of Canterbury and York urging repentance for treating homosexuals as “second-class citizens.”
“The time has come,” they wrote, for Anglicans to acknowledge that they have failed in their duty “to care for LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world.” The Anglican Communion, they added, needed to “apologize” for not “challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people.”
The signers of the letter said they understood there are “differing ways of interpreting the Scriptures” but urged the primates to be “prophetic” and “Christlike” in dealing with “our LGBTI sisters and brothers who have been ignored and even vilified for too long.”
We should step back and understand how this is part of a much bigger philosophical issue, and part of a march larger historical narrative. The schism facing the Anglican Church is simply the history of Protestantism being re-enacted again and again. From the beginning Protestantism has been driven by the three “R’s” of Revolution, Relevance and Relativism.
Look at the founding principles of Protestantism five hundred years ago. The same self righteous, pioneering, “prophetic” attitude was present. Using the name of “Reformation” the zealots were actually revolutionaries. What is the difference between reform and revolution? A reformer calls for a refreshment of the original calling, and a renewal of the original charism. A true Reformer doesn’t break anything. He repairs it and re-paints it. A revolutionary, on the other hand, is driven by a perverse need to destroy what he considers to be out of date and oppressive. Protestantism is a revolutionary movement, and it is no coincidence historically that directly after the Protestant reformation came five hundred years of revolution and violence.
The present turmoil in the Anglican Church simply represents the whole underlying principle of Protestantism. Continue Reading
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