Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Hypocrisy of Rowan Williams and the Crisis of the Anglican Communion

As the Synod of the Church of England prepares to open this month, the issue of woman bishops looms over it like a doom. When women were ordained priests just under 20 years ago the traditionalists were promised protection for their consciences. This protection is about to be withdrawn now that most people are supposedly used to the fact of woman's ordination. So the liberals, who are pushing for the complete apostasy of the church and for whom woman's ordination is just the beginning, have been exposed for all the world to see as liars and schemers whose word cannot be trusted. The plan is now obvious: to rid the Church of England of all orthodox, believing Christians in the long run.

As one battle is won, the next front is opened. Dr. Jeffrey John is now on the short list for Bishop of Southwark. John is an open homosexual who teaches that biblical and orthodox sexual morality is wrong. He lives with another man in a "registered partnership" and has, apparently, signed a pledge to be celibate. But since nobody is going to go check out his bedroom, no one knows if he is celibate or not. If a heterosexual man claimed to be celibate but claimed that sexual activity is good and moral, taught that the church teaching that required him to be celibate was wrong, and lived openly with his wife, who would believe he was really celibate? If your daughter decided that there was nothing wrong with premarital sex, moved in with her boyfriend and yet claimed to be celibate, would you believe it without question? But in the end, it doesn't actually matter whether he is or isn't celibate; he is not living a lifestyle that is a sufficiently upright witness for a bishop, who according to Scripture is supposed to be "above reproach." And even if he were not living with another man, the very fact that a bishop's main job is teaching doctrine and he denies basic Christian doctrine should disqualify him regardless of his sexual orientation.

But according to Jonathan Wynn-Jones, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Archbishop Rowan Williams has signed off on having his name on the short list for Bishop of Southwark. If this is true, then Williams' criticism of the Episcopal Church USA for its ignoring of the will of the Anglican Communion and bulling ahead with the ordination of a second openly homosexual bishop is simply incredible. I don't pretend to be an expert on the byzantine world of Anglican politics, but if Wynn-Jones (a usually credible and well-informed religion reporter) is correct, then Williams is in the process of self-destruction. He will lose all credibility if he tries to get on his horse and ride of in two directions at once.

A sidebar to this story is the interference by Prime Minister David Cameron in the process. He has openly urged the Church of England to change its doctrine and accommodate itself to the political correctness of late modernity in order to win votes from homosexuals and their sympathizers, who would normally be expected to vote Labor. If a conservative PM were to interfere in this way, there would be screams from the liberals, but when a liberal PM does it then it is just fine. More blatant hypocrisy.

It does seem that the schism in the Anglican Communion is becoming permanent and deep. If woman bishops are imposed on the Church of England with all conscience protection removed and a homosexual bishop is appointed, then it seems likely that we will see the equivalent of an ACNA develop in England and the Church of England will be fatally weakened by the loss of perhaps one third of its worshipers, much of its revenue and many of its clergy. The next in line to the throne appears not to be a Christian believer, so the process of dechristianization of the state religion may accelerate. The official state church may become a kind of multi-faith religious expression of multiculturalism. Disestablishment is a real possibility and the reversion of England to the paganism out of which she was converted is also possible. The only alternative to paganism, besides the Evangelicalism that will have been rejected, will be Islam, which will be only too happy to fill the void.

No comments: