Monday, January 6, 2014

Devil, Be Gone!

Several days ago, I wrote how the Anglican Communion, specifically the Church of England, is hastening its own destruction.  Its clergy and bishops have declared "Full speed ahead" with its abandonment of anything resembling Christian orthodoxy and these same bishops and clergy now are vying for the dubious honor for piloting the ship into the iceberg causing it to sink. 

Recently, the baptismal Liturgy of the Church of England has undergone some changes, rewriting certain passages and flat-out omitting others.    Here are some of the particular changes and their comparisons to the original:

Original:  "Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?’
Change:   "Do you reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises?"

Original:   "Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?’
Change:  Omittted completely.

Original:   Do you submit to Christ as Lord?"
Change:  "Do you turn to Christ?"

The change in verbiage is being spun by the Anglican Church, and in particular by its primate, the Archidiot  Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to conform with the "times."  For instance, the word "submit" has negative connotations, especially for women.  Women shouldn't be expected to submit to their husbands, hence why St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 6, is almost NEVER read in Western Wedding ceremonies because "submission" is, in their mind, to reduce someone to second class status and we can't have that in an era of equality by any means necessary.

The second change of omitting the devil and the striking of sin is also very telling.  I remember a line from the great movie, The Usual Suspects, when Kevin Spacey says that the "greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."  Now, I'm not saying that the clergy and the theologians of the Anglican Church are trying to say that the devil no longer exists, but the clergy is responsible for guarding the deposit of the faith.  Simply exorcising the devil from the church does not make him any less potent of a force.  In fact, it empowers the devil.  The devil is not some representation of evil; he is the bona fide sinner and rebel against God and has removed himself from any chance of salvation and always works to win others to his cause.  His heart is hardened against God and seeks out others to do the same.  In Hades, Satan and the other sinners are in torment because even the Love of God is ever present there, as well.  They cannot stand that God loves them even when they turned away and still turn away from Him. 

To rid the Baptismal Liturgy of submission to God and the references to sin and the devil just makes baptism a ceremony that people go through because it's traditional.  Being baptized into Christ, says St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians, is to put on Christ, to put on His very self, His incarnation, His Baptism, His teaching, His arrest, His derision, His Crucifixion, His Burial, His Descent into Hades and, ultimately His Resurrection.    Christ did all this because of sin and the work of the devil in God's creation. 

These changes are not entirely popular.  One bishop says that the changes amount to PR by soundbites.  Another says that this is a benediction from the Good Fairy rather than the Church.  Another says that any humanist non-Christian can say that he renounces evil.  That is true.  If a humanist and a Christian sacrament both say the same thing, then what is the point of having the church service?

Such is the problem with the Anglican Communion and the other Liberal Protestants.  They're too worried about "offending" people that they scrap the belief and praxis of the Church.  Why can't the church just be the church?  If people don't want to be part of it, that's their problem.  The Church exists  to draw people away from sin and the devil to Himself, not to make them more comfortable in the world where sin and the devil reign supreme.

It is rather fitting that I should write this on the day when the Eastern Churches who follow the Revised Calendar and those that have not separated Christmas from Theophany (e.g. the Armenians) celebrate today the Baptism of Christ, Theophany, the manifestation of the Trinity.  Christ, by His Baptism, redeems all of creation and draws it to Himself.  The Father says, "This is My Son in Whom am I glorified."  The Church calls people to Herself; rather the Church of England says that the World should call the Church to it.  It may get you more people in the churches, but they will only be fed with catchy soundbites of moral theology and only a tincture of theism.  That is not the Gospel.  Sin, devil, repentance are all, as a result, thrown out.

Now, this is a "pilot" program.  Hopefully, it will be rejected after Easter for continued use.  But, this is the Anglican Church, and they are very proud of destroying Christianity bit by bit.

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