Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Pitfalls of the Jerusalem Meeting

Anglican Traditionalists are meeting in Jerusalem to try to deal with the problem of discipline in the Anglican Communion, specifically the liberal antinomianism that has practically taken over the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the USA. They intend to build an alliance to force the leadership, especially in England, to listen to them.

Now we agree that the liberal elite leading not only the Church of England but all of the so-called mainline denominations are fatally out-of-touch with the rest of the world and mired in heresy. What is worse, they seem entirely spineless, unwilling to offend anybody, and therefore unable to please anybody. Rowan Williams is seen by traditionalists as too liberal, and by liberals as too traditionalist. The Church of England has become, as a body, too intent on pleasing people to be a credible voice in the moral wilderness of Britain.

But we are not hopeful for this alliance of traditionalists. Why is this? Because it is an alliance that is built on a purely pragmatic, human basis. When Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals band together, their alliance will be fragile and ready to break. On the one hand the evangelicals would hold that the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and other non-episcopal churches are true churches, and hold the Church of England to be a protestant church of the Reformation. On the other hand the Anglo-Catholic holds those same churches to be schismatics and heretics, and the Church of England to be at best a via media (middle way) between the Church of Rome and the Reformation.

J.I. Packer, for all his knowledge of the Reformation, has long been an advocate of this alliance to dish the liberals. We, however, think that such an idea is mere worldly wisdom and politics. True unity is unity in Truth, and if the Anglo-Catholics are right, the Evangelicals are wrong - indeed, as they do not teach baptismal regeneration, prayers for the dead, and the sacrifice of the Mass, they are heretics. On the other hand if, as we think, the Evangelicals are right, those teachings are heresy. So which is it? Or are we to adopt the one principle of sexual morality as our guide? An alliance founded on nothing more than a mutual agreement on morality, even when that agreement is based on the Bible, is still a rope of sand. It CANNOT form a real alternative to the Church of England, for if it ever splits from the Anglican Communion, it will instantly fracture into pieces.

Let others trust in such alliances. We will trust in the Lord our God, for if we are faithful, He will be faithful to His Word that He has spoken.

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