|An Empty Shell|
DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with His presence, and first miracle that He wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, it was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name...
Extract from the
Traditional Marriage Service from Church of England Book of Common Prayer.
Whatever it is that gets Anglican priests out of bed in the morning these days it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Bible. The latest instalment of the Good News is that a Church of England priest has married his gay partner.
This was no doubt welcomed by the dozens of Anglican priests who signed a letter to The Telegraph a while back demanding that the Church end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
OK, so much for the progressive infiltrators to the Church. What of the no doubt solid majority of Anglicans who want their Church’s view on marriage to be biblical? Apparently, no such moral majority now exists. To detect even the slightest pulse of resistance to the current progressive onslaught you have to go all the way to the wacky extreme, where they still insist on taking a recognisably Christian line. But even here the fire and brimstone boys don’t seem to be overly excited by the evisceration of all they profess to believe in. So we read that in the wake of the news of the marriage of Canon Jeremy Pemberton to Laurence Cunnington that a prominent figure from the “conservative evangelical wing” called for the Church’s lengthy disciplinary procedures to be set in motion.
Wow. Steady on with those plans for a new Inquisition.
These are the same sort of tedious mechanisms that took their sister Church, the Episcopalians, years to defrock a priest who claimed she was also a Muslim.
It’s just two years since Cameron set the ball rolling with his consultation on gay marriage. Just two years, nay, not so much, not two! (as Hamlet may have put it) Just two years to expose the empty heart of Anglicanism, where its faith should be. Two thousand years of Christian teaching, and a clear biblical proscription mean less to the Anglican bishops than their desire to be inclusive to sin and please the focus groups.
To be fair, they put up some patchy resistance; the traditionalists insisted. But the law sailed on and the Church got an opt out. Then earlier this year the House of Bishops provoked fury by banning their clergy from taking advantage of the new law. But in truth it was all for nothing. Canon Pemberton married in the full expectation that he will be followed by many others and that their fait accompli will explode any resistance to the full acceptance of married gay clergy. So Anglican priests will be glorying in explicitly sinful behaviour (at least according to their own Bible).
This was exemplified by the most recent concession made to the demands for “inclusion” prior to the Canon Pemberton’s contribution to the debate. Bishops gave permission for their priests to bless same sex unions as long as they didn’t use the word "blessing". The term “special prayers” was employed as a sop to the knuckle-dragging Bible bashers in their ranks.
So if you are an Anglican with plans to fight for your Church in the last ditch, I have news for you. The last ditch was lost decades ago.
Perhaps surrounded as you are by the sublime facade of Anglican churches bequeathed by the faithful of former generations you didn’t realise that those architectural jewels are now empty shells (literally so if you were to ban women over 50 from worshipping). Perhaps enchanted by the poetry of the King James Bible you didn’t get the memo that it is now subordinate to progressive shibboleths.
This is not a rant against gay marriage. Though I am personally against it for the reasons I gave here, it was passed by a democratically elected government and according to opinion polls a majority of the population disagrees with me. So as a democrat I respect that decision though I will try to change people's minds about it and get it reversed.
I also don’t think that the passing of the equal marriage law is very important in the scheme of things. In the context of the decades long assault on marriage it only has significance as something of a coup de grace to the wedded state.
No. This is a rant about the suicide of the Church of England.
The Church of England is in the eternal verities game.
They’ve got a message that is two thousand years old, written in some of the most affecting English ever set down.
They have thousands of churches whose beauty is a visual testament to the power of that message on those score generations of believers that went before.
Sometimes that message will be out of step with the times, but the faithful won’t mind that because they are after all eternal truths not a matter of fashion.
If Anglicanism were alive, the Church’s former teaching on marriage would be part of an irreducible core, which its clergy would gladly die to defend.
Instead they have priests who are distinctly unimpressed by Jesus. And Indeed why should they be? The Nazarene only managed to turn water into wine at a wedding. Modern priests aim to turn a man and a man into a marriage.
Beat that, God