If anyone is interested to really understand Anglicanism go here. Richard Harries, the former Bishop of Oxford is your classical Anglican liberal. The Church of England, he argues, is the best since it is the ‘part of the Catholic Church’ that is open to the future. He goes on to reference Cardinal Newman’s famous Development of Doctrine, stealing Newman’s idea and twisting it beyond recognition.
Be warned, you are likely to come away from the video and the accompanying article spitting with frustration and rage. “How,” you will ask, “can anyone who is obviously so learned and intelligent make so many glaring errors, speak so many half truths and miss the target so completely.” Welcome to liberal Anglicanism–a kind of half way house for the seriously deluded.
He says the Church of England is ‘open to the future’. What he really means is that the Church of England always conforms to the spirit of the age. Is it possible that this former senior bishop of the Church of England is so ignorant of his own church’s history? In the reign of Henry VIII the spirit of the age was one of the nation state and the pre eminence of the monarch. Anglicanism sucked it up, yea was founded by it. In the eighteenth century the spirit of the age was freemasonry and Deism. Anglicanism sucked it up. In the nineteenth century the spirit of the age was triumphalistic colonialism. Anglicanism sucked it up. Now the spirit of the age is feminism, homosexualism and ethical utilitarianism. Anglican sucks it up. The Church of England is ‘open to the future’? Of course it is. Whatever the future brings Anglicanism will adapt itself happily. Timeless truth? Fugdeddaboudit.
The former bish reveals all when he says that truth is revealed not just through the ‘cold and distant church’ but through the society that we live in and the church needs to listen to society and learn from society which way to go. That sums up the Anglican liberal position. Lick the index finger. Stick arm upward. Feel coolness on one side of finger. That’s the way the wind is blowing. Cut your sails accordingly.
Continually irritating is the Bishop’s little line, ‘The Church of England is that part of the Catholic Church that is open to the future.” The Church of England ‘open to the future’? Is it possible that this little Englander cannot see that not only his church, but his whole culture is poised to go down the plug hole of history? Future? There is not future for his like. Can he really, really be ignorant of the fact that the future of his own Anglican Church is in Africa and Asia where his own fellow Anglicans reject most of his liberal agenda totally? Can he possibly be ignorant of the fact that the future of global Christianity is not only Africa, but Catholic? Globally speaking (and for that matter in the UK too) the one church that is young and vibrant and growing (along with the pentecostals) is the Catholic Church.
He says in passing the Church of England is ‘part of the Catholic Church.’ Note the underlying assumption that liberal Anglicans like Harries never even question, the old ‘branch theory’ that the Church of England is not a minor nationalistic Erastian sect, but ‘part of the Catholic Church on an equal with the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.’ This is simple self delusion and intentional misinterpretation of history and contemporary facts.
Furthermore, this smug line… ‘I am an Anglican Catholic you know’ used to be used only by Catholic minded Anglicans. Now it is used by the liberal Anglicans and liberal Protestants of every stripe and the Evangelicals too. It is meaningless. If the former Bishop of Oxford is a ‘Catholic’ in the broadest sense, then so is anyone who is baptized. Once at Mass a dear Presbyterian lady who is married to a Catholic came out of church and squeezed my hand and said with a sweet smile, “I’m a Presbyterian Catholic you know.” The former Bishop of Oxford with his smug assumptions is as facile and sentimental as that old lady, only she doesn’t know any better. He should.
Finally, the Bishop should not get away with sheltering in the shade of Cardinal Newman. How dare he claim the great Cardinal as one of his own when Newman’s whole life was an exquisite repudiation of the sort of nauseating liberalism that Harries and his ilk stand for. Development of Doctrine indeed! The liberal Anglicans have been hi-jacking this concept of Newman’s ever since they first started arguing for women’s ordination and now they use it to excuse everything. Harries is supposed to be some sort of theologian. Has he actually ever read Newman’s essay on the Development of Doctrine or is he content to claim the title as some sort of game show catch phrase to justify his heresy?
Anyone who has read Newman’s essay must instantly howl with outrage at the idea that his idea would be used to justify women’s ordination, same sex marriage, artificial contraception and in vitro fertilization. Harries and his ilk who pretend Newman is one of them (when in fact Newman’s life is a rejection of the whole Anglican Oxford establishment facade) should go back and do their homework and read just how Newman set out the criteria for proper and authentic development. None of their innovations would even come close to the criteria Newman sets up.
Here endeth the rant.