by Hadley Robinson
The esteemed and venerable Primates showed courage, patience, and care as they addressed the departures from orthodoxy of more and more bodies within the Anglican communion.
Nonetheless, this writer was disappointed to see in the communiqué words that continue to rip apart the connections between faith, truth, and obedience in the life of the Church. This practice is also known as antinomianism or, here, perhaps better described as semi-antinomianism.
“…The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”
This sentence in the communiqué is laden with Marxist-Leftist (ML) constructs and words of our powerful enemy, the Devil, such as “criminal sanctions” and “same-sex attracted people.” Who framed this? It is language from the American/European schools of journalism, not from orthodox theologians committed to the absolute truth of Scripture.
The ML’s are masters of the re-naming game,
“How can we invent new words and phrases that neutralize the traditional ones that are loaded with Christian history and values? How can we remove from the people’s memory every trace of anything Christian?”
If we remove the ML constructs in the Communiqué, we are still left with an elephant in the room: Punishment of homosexuals for what? For thinking homosexual acts? Doing them?
The ML’s want to frame the criminal behavior of homosexuals as a form of injustice along the lines of a black man being punished for being black – something he cannot help or change. For example, if black men riot and burn, they should be shot if they fail to cease on command their rioting – but no less so than any man who riots and burns should be shot.
But the ML’s are masters in framing issues in such a way that they can pass off lies and confusion for truth and order. These people attack the very root of how humans communicate, the very meaning of words. At the heart, they are liars and deceivers – like their father, the Devil. Why did the Communiqué use phrases and words used by the Devil and his offspring?
It is an admission of defeat and retreat by those who rather should be calling Christian men to arms, the arms of prayer, public defiance, and counterattack based in the Word of God. When he was being stoned to death, Stephen did not for a moment cease to denounce the error and apostasy of the Sanhedrin. Our beloved Apostle, Paul, shared the same resolve and courage,
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Cor. 10:5
It begs the question: How did the Primates approve the Communiqué? Parts of it were not composed in a spirit of courage in the face of the unrepentant immoral in the churches and the ungodly among the heathen. (The ACNA unanimously adopted the Communiqué, not a comforting sign....)
The Church had the civil authority stripped from her at the Resurrection but not her teaching authority regarding everything that happens on earth e.g. what is the State and what is its purpose? The State is not independent of God's Sovereignty because it is an institution, like the family, created by Him to graciously protect the human race from the rampant evil of men, among other things.
Apparently, the author(s) of the Communiqué appears to have confused the roles of the Church and the State. Since when is mercy and grace a part of the State's role in creation? The latter does not carry a weapon of death for nothing. What if the Primates had offered something like this,
“The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against pedophiles.”
Does the author(s) believe in a real Devil who is intractably opposed to every breath from the Holy Spirit and to the words of His Prophets? Did they read and discuss what they agreed to? Did anyone of them protest? Is their level of scholarship so weak that this was the best they could do?
Homosexuals, in particular, are singled out in Scripture as the worst of evil men and the capital example of men who have decisively and determinedly rejected the Creator, neither giving Him glory nor thanks (Romans 1). They, including adulterers and pedophiles, are a grave danger to the peace and stability of any society. This is why they cannot be allowed to roam about freely, while openly carrying on their perversions.
Homosexual acts were to be punished with death by the theocracy of Moses' time and the Apostle Paul affirmed this punishment (Lev. 20:13; Rom. 1:32). Evil behavior by men must be suppressed – it is the duty of the State. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote in Rebuilding Russia,
Laws designate the minimum moral standards below which an individual represents a danger to society.
The Church, not the State, may show grace and love to evil men but they must be repentant, born again, converted by the Holy Spirit. (It is another alarming trend in our orthodox church bodies that the rewards of repentance are given and expected prior to repentance, something grossly out of order.) The Primates are asking the State to forego its God-given authority to suppress evil. This aspect of the Communiqué is, in itself, a repudiation of the State's role in the world.
God’s wrath, not His love, is manifested against the unrepentant and homosexuals, in particular. There is a lot of confusion in the Church about God’s character, in particular, to whom and for what purpose does He demonstrate His love? To suggest He loves everybody is a tenet of Humanism, not Christian orthodoxy, and a paradigm found nowhere in the Scriptures. But that discussion is not the focus of this essay.
Why does the Communiqué appear to be so at odds with God’s justice for homosexuals?
The ML’s have seized control of all of our major public cultural, political, and economic institutions including most of the Church in the West. What better way is there to eradicate the prophetic and teaching authority of the Church than to eliminate her teaching everywhere possible? This technique is an ancient one that can be traced back to the earliest times.
"Did God really say…?” – The Devil’s words to Eve just before she initiated the holocaust of evil that engulfs us to this day. (Genesis 3:1)
God has said a lot – His truth rings out from the Bible and Creation.
The Devil’s job is to do everything possible to silence His truth and convince all men that there is no God and no Truth which must be obeyed. Another purpose of his is to convince humans that suffering is to be avoided at all costs. It is not complicated. He works away with the help of Man’s fallen nature which, at the heart, is at enmity with the Creator. (A man’s conversion, on the other hand, removes this intractable enmity – one moment he hates God and His law, the next He loves Him and wants to obey Him, all from a now purified heart. God does the work – all of it – and gets all of the glory.)
The Communiqué does not help to mitigate the political and cultural implosion that is fully underway here in the West.
For example, the last Prophet of the Old Testament, John the Baptist, was murdered because he not only accepted the Law against adultery but insisted that it be enforced. The God he served rejects the popular but false notion that the State can dissolve a marriage.
“…for John had been saying to him: ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’” Matthew 14:4
Herod had to send Herodias away. Despite his being the State, he could not dissolve the marriage between Herodias and Phillip, something only God can do and does through the death of one of the spouses. The Pharisees and Scribes of the time had invented a workaround i.e. Dt. 24, much like some of the Reformers did with their mistranslations and misinterpretations of the Sacred Text (Matt. 19).
John the Baptist was obedient and, for his efforts, had his head chopped off. Over the millennia, the faithful have been persecuted, jailed, tortured, and murdered because of their obedience to God rather than to man.
What prevented the Primates from being forthright and true to Scripture, including the history of the orthodox until the last 50 years or so? Why did not we read something like this?
“The Primates reaffirmed that homosexual behavior should be suppressed and punished by the civil authorities.”
Do the Primates also affirm that adulterous behavior should not be suppressed? What about revengeful behavior? Should the civil authorities suppress any kind of behavior? Which ones or kinds and why? Why are the Primates trying to make peace with the Devil? Why are they yoking themselves to the godless by renouncing the Church’s teaching authority in this way?
For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? 2 Cor. 6:14-16
Peggy Noonan (of the Wall Street Journal) remarked years ago during the Roman Catholic child-sex scandals that it would take hundreds of years, if ever, for the church to regain her teaching authority in the world. If the Roman Catholics have destroyed their credibility, are some orthodox Anglicans on the same path? It appears to be so.
The Neo-orthodox (a.k.a. church liberals) insulated themselves from the attacks of godless scientists by asserting that there is no connection between observable facts and faith in Christ. The Christian faith is merely internal. Was Jesus of Nazareth born of a virgin? Their response is, "Who knows? So what?" It does not matter….
The Primates are not denying the Virgin Birth, like their TEC counterparts, but they have taken a small step in the direction of Neo-orthodoxy by denying God’s sovereignty and the Church’s teaching authority over everything human. Jesus does not have fuzzy words for the sexually immoral – unless one has a skewed understanding of the authority of Scripture.
Thankfully, the Primates have opposed positions of authority in the Church being assumed by homosexuals, a courageous act. They have opposed giving them license to have sanctioned and recognized partners i.e. the Church should not perform “weddings” among them.
But how did the Primates diverge from other well-established doctrines concerning the role of the civil authority? The answer this writer can give assumes that they, collectively, authored the Communiqué and not some American journalist who had sway among them.
It might have gone something like this:
Or maybe something like that.
The Communiqué should have gone further and, like some in the Roman Church, should have more clearly expressed the evil of homosexuality and its disastrous consequences to peaceful and civil society.
Much of the confusion is due to a misunderstanding of Jesus as Savior, including the character of God. The Savior from what? An unhappy life here? A life of celibacy? Freedom from being disliked and hated by others? From suffering? Why is He called “Savior” in the first place? When has anyone recently heard this said in the same sentence, “Jesus saves us from God’s justice and the eternal Hell every man deserves”? Is God no longer immutable? Has His sentiments concerning immorality changed? Does the Communiqué express some of the sentiments of Marcion of Sinope and his heresy? Are Jesus and the LORD of the Pentateuch fundamentally of different character? One wonders....
The Primates have declared that homosexual behavior does not represent a danger to society. What about child pornography? Prostitution? Abortion? Should “criminal sanctions” against theft be rejected? Should capitalism be declared illegal? Where does it end?
It begs the question. Who is in charge of their theological department? The Roman Catholics, for all their excesses and other serious errors, have shown care, depth, and skill in formulating doctrines concerning human life – a coherency and connection with the historical church that is missing in parts of the Communiqué. Compare it with Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI. It is disappointing and a tragedy because courage, coherency, conviction, and faithfulness to Scripture is needed now more than ever. Our hope must be that the Primates rediscover systematic theology after the educated and brilliant style of J. I. Packer.
The Church in the west is in a tailspin of decline and irrelevance. The flaccid parts of the Communiqué helps ensure that it will continue. Suffice it to say, John the Baptist was murdered because he declared that adultery is sin. Who in the West has the courage of John the Baptist? How much worse must the collective immoral decay become before Church leaders step forward and say, “Because of these things, men will be thrown into Hell – forever” instead of inaccurate statements such as “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”?
Would that pastors be pastors rather than attempt to make the Gospel look appealing to sinful men. Eloquent appeals and flattery do not convert. It is the Holy Spirit who changes men’s stony hearts into ones of flesh that are now keenly sensitive to the sin in their hearts and seek the relief given in the Gospel.
Regrettably, this is not the first time that Church leadership has flattered sinners. It is a pattern of humanism, not theism, that has deeply penetrated, perverted, and now prevails in the theology of modern Christians: God wants all men to be happy in this life and Jesus can help.
This writer's suggestion to the Primates is to "man up" rather than "man down". As Luther pointed out, we must oppose the Satanic kingdom in every detail, wherever he chooses to attack us.