December 12, 2004


anterbury Crackup: Eschewing church discipline has come back to haunt Anglicans. (A Christianity Today editorial, 12/03/2004)

Anglicans have been waiting for the arrival of the Windsor Report like Tolkien fans panted after the movie premiere of The Lord of the Rings. The difference is that the Windsor Report, read instantly by Anglicans worldwide on the internet, has flopped. At least according to conservative Anglicans—and in their profound disappointment, there lies a lesson about weak accountability, a lesson all churches are wise to ponder.

The world's top Anglicans (known as primates) in October 2003 instructed the Lambeth Commission to recommend how the Communion, with 70 million baptized members worldwide, might hold together. The presenting problems? The American church had just elected an active homosexual, Gene Robinson, as bishop, and both American and Canadian dioceses were going ahead with official ceremonies to bless same-sex couples. All this despite the broad Anglican consensus that heterosexual marriage is God's normative design for a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman.

How did it come to this point? Let's focus on the American church: The problem began in the 1960s when a bishop of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA), James Pike, began publicly doubting doctrines like the Trinity. His fellow bishops, afraid that church discipline would seem medieval to the rest of America, only mildly rebuked him and dropped the issue.

This failure of nerve gradually opened a hole in the church that truckloads of aberrant clerics have since driven through. They have endorsed everything from premarital sex (during the values clarification sex-education era) to homosexual sex (beginning in the 1970s) to the worship of pagan deities (a service for which was posted briefly on the church's national website in late October)—not to mention the regular and sundry denials of key church doctrines (like the resurrection and the deity of Christ) by such bishops as Jack Spong and Charles Bennison.

It is no wonder that by 2000, ECUSA was regularly ignoring the biblical teachings of the larger Anglican Communion. Last October, Anglican primates asked the American and Canadian churches to cease and desist from moving forward on the homosexual front. The North American leaders didn't blink.

The Windsor Report tried again.

Early Christians were willing to die at the hands of the Roman Empire for their beliefs--these mugs are afraid of being disliked by European intellectuals.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 12, 2004 4:33 AM

Why are people surprised?

The Church is a political entity not a religion, so its apparat behaves like politicians and bureaucrats, not like the faithful. The Church is a means to a political end or to monetary aggrandizement or ego gratification, not a means of spiritual uplift.

Posted by: Bart at December 12, 2004 6:12 AM

Define "spritual uplift". Spiritual uplift sounds to me to be about reaching a foetal state of warm surrender in which peole can feel good about being weak. The philosophy of the Christian modernists seems to be love mankind and do what you want. This is the philosophy of Satanism. Aleister Crowley said, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law". At least Crowley knew where he was coming from.

Posted by: Calvin at December 12, 2004 7:40 AM

As someone said below, the primates are an evolutionary dead-end.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 12, 2004 8:41 AM

"When the church marries the spirit of the age, it soon finds itself a widower".

(don't know the attribution)

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 12, 2004 9:27 AM

Early Christians were willing to die at the hands of the Roman Empire for their beliefs

So are these clowns. They're willing to punt away eternal life for the sake of modern political correctness and a little transient physical gratification.

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 12, 2004 9:51 AM

these mugs are afraid of being disliked by European intellectuals.

You assume that they don't really believe these heresies that they are enabling, but are doing it to please people. I think that they do. Certainly Gene Robinson does.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at December 12, 2004 10:17 AM

In 1931, the Anglican Communion became the first mainstream church to endorse contraception and found the culture of death. From the absurd immorality of its founding to the present, the Church of England has been a red herring along the Christian path; simply put, this tool of the devil should just throw in with its secular brethren altogether and take down the crosses in its churches.

Posted by: JimGooding at December 12, 2004 10:42 AM

Tool of the Devil? Oh, c'mon Jim, don't hold back. Tell us what you really think.

My, but we're getting good at invective around here.

Posted by: Peter B at December 12, 2004 12:27 PM

Peter: You might as Sir Thomas More about this "invective."

Posted by: JimGooding at December 12, 2004 7:17 PM


I might. But I would rather ask you.

Posted by: Peter B at December 12, 2004 7:50 PM

Well, Peter, I think the Devil is active in the world. He is active at times in my heart, at times in my dear Catholic Church, and in the comings and goings of other men, religious and unreligious.

While I am no fan of the Protestant chic in general, the Church of England in particular arose from circumstances so morally strained and antithetical to the good of any soul on earth, that the degraded afterbirth of its genesis, today's Anglican communion, and most especially its Anglo hipster cult, could easily have been vectored-out from the time of its origin simply by applying the principle: "How would the Devil himself guide this church if he could?" Thus do I justify my invective.

I use my real name in these forums to curb my wayward tongue and occasional tendency to lapse into juvenile insults. My purpose is not to inflame, just to state a definite, un-nuanced position and to engage in a give-and-take with those willing to do the same in a relatively civil manner.

Posted by: JimGooding at December 12, 2004 8:39 PM

Henry VIII's reasons for breaking w/Rome were not holy, noble or pure, they were sinful (which I define as that which hurts and displeases another person or God; breaches a trust or relationship). Henry was motivated by greed and lust. To the Devil, Henry was, what Lenin would call, "a useful idiot". Could the error of his ways be negativly impacting the whole Anglican communion today, almost 500 years later?

Posted by: Dave W. at December 12, 2004 9:34 PM

You misunderstand the nature of the Church. When the Church acts as you describe, as it often has, it fails. Your description is of what the Church shouldn't be and what it was not meant to be.

Posted by: Dave W. at December 12, 2004 9:40 PM


Regarding your "How would the Devil himself guide this church if he could?" question, I have found this sort of thing an extremely useful tool in predicting various liberal attitudes, religious or secular. If you want to know the "progressive" stance on something, simply ask yourself what the most destructive course of action (to any reasonable, impartial observer) would be. It goes something like this:

"If religious liberals wanted to destroy their churches, then OF COURSE they would loosen every moral stricture and encourage people to worship 'on their own time.' If American liberals wanted to undermine American society, then OF COURSE they would propose moral permissiveness and complain loudly about any American use of force anywhere, even against mortal enemies whose intentions are perfectly clear."

I'm probably too intellectually timorous to make the leap that every single indication seems to point towards -- I don't like to think of friends and acquaintances as degenerate scapegraces or America-hating traitors -- but I wonder sometimes if there's any other option. Perhaps I should take a page from Malcolm Muggeridge and assume some kind of subconscious death-wish is at work here?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 12, 2004 10:30 PM

Dave W,

Precisely. I am describing the way a State Church behaves.

Posted by: Bart at December 13, 2004 6:57 AM


I appreciate what you say. We do enjoy a free-wheeling, take-no-prisoners camaraderie around here, but there are times it is worth remembering that we are dialoguing with pixils on a public site and only know one another through the words on the screen.

I won't comment on the Devil's use of Henry V111, but He must have then gone on a four-hundred year holiday before making his useful fools do his bidding so openly. Do you think maybe he gave us C.S. Lewis as a kind of clever feint?

Posted by: Peter B at December 13, 2004 6:59 AM

Peter: I wouldn't take anyone in any particular Church to task on their moral perspicacity just on the basis of their choice in Churches. Mr. Lewis seemed to think any of a number of doors was an equally viable portal to spiritual work and relationship.

Personally, rather than a clever feint, I view Mr. Lewis as God trying to clean-up Harry's little mess. Still, I doubt Mr. Lewis would feel too comfortable with the Anglican Unitarianism of today!

Posted by: JimGooding at December 13, 2004 10:17 AM

Please say a bit about what you mean by "spiritual uplift". I thought of John & Charles Wesley when I read those words. Recall that they were two Anglicans whose hearts were "strengely warmed" by the Holy Spirit and founded the Methodist denomination.

Posted by: Dave W. at December 13, 2004 9:07 PM


I was probably being sloppy. What I meant was the appeal to man's need for answers to the cosmic questions of the universe, 'Why are we here?' and all that,and the need we feel to seek clerical guidance in times of stress. State churches don't give a damn whether you feel you are doing the right thing or whether your marriage is working or whatever. All they want are the bucks and the power to influence society in their direction.

Posted by: Bart at December 13, 2004 10:43 PM

Thanks Bart; and no, you weren't being sloppy. Thanks for amplifying what you meant. Political entities do do a poor job of providing spiritual reassurance, care and guidance (uplift) to people.

Posted by: Dave W. at December 13, 2004 11:05 PM