Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Archbishop and Yoda.

Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, further evidenced the state of the Church of England by, in an address dealing with knife crime and a perception of increasing violence among young people in Britain's inner cities, quoting not the Bible but the Star Wars films:
"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side."
This sentiment may be true as far as it goes, it may be noble, but quite simply, anybody could have said that. The Church's place is NOT to quote nuggets of pop-spirituality from the movies in answer to the problems of the world. Anyone can do that. And should anyone think that this is an isolated case, it isn't, he's done it before. Read this.

We are NOT saying that Dr. Sentamu does not have the right to watch Star Wars in the privacy of his own home, or at the Cinema, or in any other location where it's legal. Rather we are saying that if all the Church of England has to say in the face of a society slipping into anarchy is quotations from popular entertainment, it's doomed. If all the Church, any Church, can do is parrot the culture, even if it is the better part of the culture, it's doomed. Without a 'thus saith the Lord', the Church is doomed to irrelevance. Yet the crowning irony is that the very reason that we have Archbishops quoting Star Wars in public pronouncements and pastors preaching sermon series' on Spider-Man is that they are attempting to be 'relevant'!

And what are they preaching? What is the message of Yoda and Spider-Man? It is simply morality. Now we have no problem with morality in its right place, nor with Moral teaching. But the Church does not exist for the purpose of imparting moral teaching. No, our motto is 'But we preach Christ crucified.' The Gospel is not a way to live a better life, it is not 'do this and live', it is this: it is Christ crucified for sinners, it is the Son of God, the Lord of Glory, hung upon a cross, suffering and dying in the place of perishing sinners. It is a declaration that we are not in need of a mere renovation, but 'ye must be born again'. The problem is not that men are not living up to their full potential, it is that we are all sinners, hateful and hating one another, and that were it not for God's withholding hand, we should make this world a hell, and go from it into another hell of eternal torment. Yet 'This is a true saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' That 'God so loved the world', not a world of men who fell into occasional mistakes, but a world of evil, rebellious and hell-deserving sinners who did not love God, but hated Him. 'That He gave His only-begotten Son', gave Him up to suffering and to death, 'that whosoever believeth in Him', EVERY ONE who believes in Him, 'might not perish' everlastingly, 'but have everlasting life.' Unless we are preaching that, we are truly irrelevant.

But what does the modern Church preach? all too often morality. Brothers, if a Church only preaches morality, it may claim to be evangelical, but it looks just like a liberal church. We have some experience of liberal Churches - we were brought up in one. Not one of these mad liberal churches where all manner of sin is approved, but an old-fashioned liberal church where the pulpit sounded morality. Christian morality, the morality of the 1950s. And what does moral preaching produce? It produces on the one hand pharisees and on the other those who, disgusted, cast off the heavy yoke of the Law. The Law CANNOT change lives. It has no power, it can only condemn. But the Gospel is 'the power of God unto salvation'. What we need is not Archbishops spouting pop-spirituality, we need faithful men of God to PREACH THE GOSPEL!!!

Oh may we give God no rest as we cry out for His mercy.

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