Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Plea for Discernment (2)

In the previous post I called for us to make the main thing the main thing, and not to go off on side issues, let alone our own hobby-horses. The trouble with our hobby-horses is that all too often they are not the issue at all - as witness the case I referred to in the last post, of the radio presenter who used the film The Golden Compass as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the influence of the occult on children's literature, when the central message of the book on which the film was based is in fact atheistic. I drew the conclusion from the programme that the presenter came with her own ideas, rather than letting the film actually dictate the programme content - which is a serious problem when one is supposed to be discussing the film!

Of a rather similar nature, in my opinion, was the attitude of Ian Paisley towards Donald Soper when Soper visited Northern Ireland. Soper was a theological modernist and arch-liberal, yet Paisley decided to criticise Soper for wearing a cassock, a garment he associated with Rome. Now, whatever one thinks of cassocks, one should agree that what Soper was wearing was of far less important than what he was saying! We have to make sure, when we criticize someone, that we keep our sense of perspective - what a man says about the atonement is far more important than what he may wear while saying it! Once more, whether the present Archbishop of Canterbury is or is not a member of the Gorsedd of Bards is not one half as important as his declared and public theology.

And, while I'm on the subject, about the celebration of Christmas. I have no problem with our brothers who refuse to celebrate it. Just, please, don't call me 'pagan' for it. After all, there is nothing pagan in getting up early and going to the chapel to proclaim that God has given his Son as a saviour for the world. Nor is there anything pagan in going there. We shall not be making sacrifices to Osiris, or anything of that sort.

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