From Bruce Charlton:
This is a notice from my nearest Church of England establishment, concerning their programme of Lent Study for this year:
Title: “THY WILL BE DONE… ON EARTH”
Week 1: Caring for the environment
Week 2: Eradicate hunger and poverty
Week 3: Life before death
Week 4: Promote gender equality
Week 5: Building a global partnership
I don’t think any comment or amplification is required. A course in this-worldly secular political correctness is regarded as suitable fare for the major devotional period of the Christian calendar.
This church is not generally considered to be especially ‘liberal’ by Anglican standards (ahem), although there are priestesses, modernised language services and they have joined this organisation:
What has all this to do with Christianity? What indeed. One can see that the organisation is lineally descended from Christian churches; that there are frequent references to God and Jesus – but since they have rejected the consensus of 2000 years whenever it conflicted with mainstream New Left radicalism, it is hard to be sure what the references really mean, or what surprising new discoveries about the nature of Christianity they will be announcing over the coming months or years.
When a Church is systematically deploying secular reasoning to evaluate Christianity, then can it be said to be Christian?
When this happens – week after week, in sermons, intercessionary prayers, and formal teaching – is not the net effect strongly anti-Christian.
This is what I term (as shorthand) an Antichrist phenomenon: by which I mean a phenomenon that contains enough Christian elements to be deceptively attractive to Good people, but which in its major thrust is working to subvert the Good and displace Christianity.
On the other hand, I attend another local ‘mainstream’ Anglican church (which is neither evangelical nor Anglo-Catholic) in a gorgeous medieval building – where in all the sermons and prayers – I have never heard anything but deep, traditional, sound teaching.
So all is not yet lost.
I’ve developed a soft spot for Anglicanism, Anglo-Catholicism in particular, since attending a gorgeous evensong service at Christ Church Cathedral during a recent visit to Oxford, so I find this particularly upsetting (though as Dr. Charlton points out towards the end, it’s not all doom and gloom—just mostly). Not that it’s anything new or shocking either; that evensong service, for one, was marred by a priestess and a prayer for the Libyan rebels. The Church of England needs more Incredibly Horrible and Twisted People Who Are Still Unaccountably Vicars.