Written in January 2017
The Church of England is sowing the seeds of its own destruction
An article in The Times (13/11/17) by Jewish writer, Melanie Phillips, shows far more insight into the implications of the Church of England’s abandonment of the teaching of the Bible than most of its clerics show, in particular its supposedly evangelical Archbishop Welby. Here are some excerpts from her article:
‘A highly-regarded adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury has quit the inner counsels of the Church of England in protest against an ‘agenda of revisionism’ that she says is promoting ‘an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness’. Lorna Ashworth resigned from the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod, saying: ‘We have a liberal agenda because the church is not anchored in the Gospel. There is no more conversation about Heaven, Hell, sin, forgiveness, judgment.’
Her resignation illustrates the fissure in the church between liberals and traditionalists which is now threatening outright schism. The immediate flashpoints are gender and gay issues. Last July, the synod voted to ban sexual conversion therapy and to consider special services for transsexual people. A motion to permit the blessing of same-sex marriages has been submitted for next February’s synod but has yet to be adopted for debate.
The church has told its schools that pupils should be able to explore their gender identity and should be ‘afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence’. This muddled document seems to equate boys dressing up in a tutu and girls in a tool belt with psychological confusion over sexual identity, which is rare. Yet as is happening elsewhere, the church’s guidance risks confirming children in this confusion along ideological ‘gender’ lines, while it denies it can be a disorder at all.
Ashworth’s protest, however, is a far deeper one about the church’s general embrace of secularism. The true message of Christianity, she says, risks being drowned out by people who prefer to discuss social justice because ‘if we talk about sin, then we have to talk about bad behaviour and people don’t want to be judgmental’. As a result, the church wants to replace sin, judgment and repentance by ‘good disagreement’. Thus it would give good and bad equal status, ditching God’s commandments and the moral absolutes of the Bible in favour of contemporary values of diversity and inclusivity.
This is the basis of the secular society which is a direct attack on the bedrock principles of Christianity. Secularism would ditch Biblical precepts in favour of radical autonomy, replacing normative morality and even physiological reality by subjective emotion and remaking the world in the image of ‘me’.
Ashworth belongs to a group of dissident conservative evangelicals, including the Queen’s former chaplain, Dr Gavin Ashenden. He and other members of this group wrote in a letter to the press last July: ‘There are now effectively two opposed expressions of Anglicanism in this country. One has capitulated to secular values, and one continues to hold the faith ‘once delivered to the saints’.’ On his blog, Ashenden writes strikingly that the church’s behaviour is rooted in the thinking of Carl Jung, who developed a psychology of spirituality at the heart of which lies the reconciliation of opposites. Jung believed, writes Ashenden, that two concepts should be dealt with in this way: gender and evil. ‘The genders are reconciled in some kind of androgynous synthesis, and good and evil befriend each other in some form of mutually convenient accommodation.’
This is exactly what the church is now doing. Just like the gender fluidity it is so eager to embrace, it is promoting the notion that secularism and Christianity can flow in and out of each other. The secular goal, however, is not tolerance and inclusivity at all. It is to overthrow the Christian basis of the West. It is an exercise in the doctrinaire use of power. As such, the agenda the church is embracing is resulting in the bullying and intimidation of all who transgress the doctrine of gender and sexual fluidity.
This was shown in the case of Joshua Sutcliffe, a Christian maths teacher in Oxfordshire, who faces a disciplinary hearing on charges of ‘misgendering’. His crime? To tell two pupils who were working hard: ‘Well done, girls.’ One of the girls, however, identifies as a boy. Following a complaint by the pupil’s mother, Sutcliffe was suspended. He also faces claims that he breached the school’s equality policy by referring to the pupil by name rather than as ‘he’ or ‘him’.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning he said: ‘I did not want to offend because it’s a sensitive issue and so I was trying to adhere to school policy and teaching standards and uphold my dignity as a professional. I had always tried to respect the pupil and keep a professional attitude as well as my integrity, but it seemed to me that the school was trying to force me to adhere to its liberal, Leftish agenda.’ He also explained how the school had shut down his popular Bible study group that was attended by 100 children after he described marriage as being between a man and a woman in answer to a pupil’s question.
This kind of bullying is said to be occurring within the church itself; the dissident clerics have written of the ‘booing of traditionalists’ and the ‘personal abuse’ they suffered at the synod. As Ashenden observes, those pushing these reforms on the church threaten to change Christianity out of all recognition. ‘It’s hard to know what to call it,’ he writes. ‘Some have suggested using the label MTD: ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’.’ The outcome of the church evacuating itself of meaning in this ‘inclusive’ way is not a growing flock but empty pews. Certainly it is a sign of the last days’ apostasy coming on the church, which increasingly prefers to take its orders from an antichristian society rather than God.
Is the Pope a Catholic?
This is a question being asked about the current head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who critics believe is showing signs of abandoning fundamental Catholic doctrines – including questioning the teaching of a last judgement of God and the existence of hell.
In a recent address, Pope Francis declared ‘everything will be saved’ upon Christ’s return. ‘The thought that at the end of our history there will be merciful Jesus suffices in order to have faith and not to curse life,’ the pope said. ‘Everything will be saved. Everything.’ At another general audience a few months ago, on Wednesday, August 23, Francis gave for the end of history an image that is entirely and only comforting: that of ‘an immense tent, where God will welcome all mankind so as to dwell with them definitively.’
This contradicts the Roman Catholic doctrine that ‘outside of the Catholic church there is no salvation’ and means that Francis is preaching a form of universalism in which everybody will ultimately be given salvation and end up in heaven, regardless of how they have lived and what they believe. It is part of a move to remove scriptural passages concerning eternal judgment and the idea that God will damn people to hell.
The Roman Catholic Church is deeply flawed on its teaching on salvation anyway, with its works based theology of earning salvation by keeping its sacraments, rather than salvation by faith in Christ alone. It has also invented a non-existent place called Purgatory, nowhere to be found in the Bible, in which souls have to suffer for their sins for a while before being allowed into heaven.
However to affirm that everyone will be saved in the end is to deny something that Catholics and Protestants have been in agreement on, that there is a hell to flee from and a heaven to be gained. There is also a basic agreement that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is required for salvation.
Pastor Carl Gallups, who analyses current events from the standpoint of end times argues the pope’s tilt towards universalism is yet another sign the last days are upon us. ‘This is yet another example of the apostasy prophesied to accompany the last days before the return of Jesus Christ. The Bible simply does not support the heresy of the doctrine of universalism. Not all will be eventually saved. There is heaven and there is hell. There is eternity with God and there is eternity without God. One’s eternal state depends entirely upon what one does with God’s offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. Thus far, Pope Francis appears to have thrown the Catholic Church into further confusion since his reign. We are undoubtedly living in profoundly prophetic times. How people can miss this truth, right before our eyes every day, is beyond comprehension.’
The Bible is clear that not everybody will be saved. We are by nature ‘children of wrath’, ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ and under the power of the devil (Ephesians 2.1-3). We are under God’s judgement because of our sins and heading for hell. To escape God’s judgement we must repent and believe in the Lord Jesus. He died in our place to take the punishment for sin that we deserve. All who make this step of faith will be saved. Those who do not will be lost eternally.
Accept salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus now by praying to Him:
Dear Heavenly Father, I admit that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus the Messiah died in my place, shedding His blood to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead to give me eternal life. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus the Messiah as my personal Saviour and Lord. I commit my life to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and to take control and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you, Father for loving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.