Skip to comments.The Wrong Direction Leading Nowhere
Posted on 05/21/2005 6:19:45 AM PDT by sionnsar
For sometime now, discerning Anglicans in South Africa have perceived that the direction in which the Church of the Province of Southern Africa is heading is not only misguided, but going nowhere, at least, so far as the mission of the Kingdom of God is concerned. Facing the wrong way, excluding what is at the heart of the gospel, some see a scenario that is spiritually corrupting the Church. A scenario that is heavily humanistic overlaid with religious language that has been eviscerated of its true biblical meaning and intent.
This is of course, the morally corrupt and theologically flawed liberal/revisionist agenda; driven by what the new Pope calls the "the dictatorship of relativism" which has led to the decay of godly ethics at a frightening rate in both church and society, not only in South Africa, but all over the affluent western world. Secular society is not going to prove a success, precisely because it is Gods world, and requires his beneficial laws. The stench of decay, in both society and church pervades the space where God's commands are ignored. Which is precisely why Christians are called to be the salt that stems corruption. But when corruption occurs in the church?
Consider the following commentary extract on the message of Ezekiel by Christopher JH Wright with the subject Motivation for Mission - I quote it at length because it captures what is wrong with a theology that seeks to help human beings, but leaves God out.! He writes:
What motivates God to save human beings? The question is important since the answer will affect the motivation with which we who now claim to be the people of God fulfil our calling of bringing Gods salvation to others. Our motivation for mission must flow from Gods own.
Most answers to the question What motivates Gods saving action? would focus either on human need or on divine emotion. Human need includes the facts that we are lost and need to be found; we are enslaved and need to be freed; we are condemned and need to be pardoned; we are alienated and need to be reconciled; we are in darkness and need light; we are oppressed and need justice; we are sick and need healing; and many other comparable assessments of our condition. God is motivated to respond to these dimensions of human need, and therefore so must we be similarly motivated. Divine emotion includes the wonderful biblical affirmations that God loves us, pities us, has compassion and mercy on us, grieves over our wilful waywardness, longs for our return, rejoices in our restoration, celebrates our homecoming. If this is how God feels towards his fallen human creation, then such emotions should likewise permeate our own mission motivation.
All of these truths about human need and divine motivation are thoroughly biblical and thoroughly Old Testament too. The classic illustration of both is of course Israels own foundation redemption story the exodus. God describes his redemption motivation: I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them (Exodus 3:7-8). This passage expresses Gods emotional response to the crying need of human beings in slavery. It would not be difficult to amass a long list of verses from the Psalms and the prophets and elsewhere bearing witness to both dimensions of motivation.
Undoubtedly, Ezekiel knew these truths intimately from his familiarity with the traditions and scriptures of Israel. But for him, almost the sole issue, and certainly the overwhelming motivation, was what the salvation of Israel would mean for Yahweh himself. Ezekiel would not have denied that obviously it would meet the terrible needs of Israel at a human level. He also acknowledged that the divine emotions were profoundly engaged But what ultimately mattered was that Yahwehs name and reputation should be vindicated and that Yahweh should be universally acknowledged as God. Ezekiel could not bear the thought of the name of Yahweh being mocked (profaned) among the nations in addition to the abuse it was getting in Israel itself. Yahwehs honour and glory must be restored to full visibility in the world. Only the salvation of his people would achieve that. This then is the context in which we must set the theocentric motivation expressed in 36:22-23. Needs and emotions are not excluded; but what matters most is the glory of God and the honour of his name. This acts as a salutary corrective to much that passes for mission motivation today.
"This is what the sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, O Israel, that I am going to do these things [sc. Gather, cleanse, save and renew you], but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name which you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord.
As the liberal agenda bites hard into society, with the Church pressing an inclusiveness that dishonours both Gods name and His Word, while mission in the sense that the Apostles understood it disappears, what is left are the husks of good works without God and without eternal merit. Yahwehs glory is not served by the current obsession with a humanistic agenda. As Bishop Tom Wright of Durham said recently:
"I have sometimes heard Christian people talk as though, having done what he's done in Jesus, God now wants us to do our part by getting on with things under our own steam. But that is a tragic misunderstanding, and leads either to arrogance or to burnout, or both. Without God's Spirit, there is nothing we can do that will count for God's kingdom. Without God's Spirit, the church simply can't be the church."
And I might add that such a community cannot be the salt and light that changes and transforms the world! Especially when its leadership has gone astray.
Let me offer just one small but significant example of this astrayness:
Well known senior bishops tells us by implication that when Jesus Christ claimed to be the way the truth and the life and that He is the only way to the Father, he was clearly mistaken. It just aint so. Because these leaders of the Christian Church claim that all will be included in the Kingdom of God the evil and the good alike the saints together with the Caesars, Stalins and Hitlers of our world. Judas Iscariot too! The Christian martyrs were wasting their lives; who needs to die for the name and for the gospel of Jesus Christ when all will be saved? No evangelism is required. Everybody is in. How nice and comfortable.
The bishops of course have embraced a Unitarianism which teaches that 'owing to [their] belief in the abiding goodness of human nature, the orthodox doctrines of the Fall, the Atonement, and hell are excluded.'
So it is not surprising to find that at least one archbishop is an avid supporter of the gospel denying John Selby Spong, saying that Spong is someone who loves the church deeply and has frequently been misunderstood. There is no misunderstanding what so ever as to what John Spong teaches, and only a fellow heretic could possibly commend him, for this man has denied all the basic tenets of the Christian Faith.
This same bishop and his misguided friends also advocate homosexual behaviour, but listen to what Michael Cassidy wrote recently about his meeting with a pastor of a 6000 member congregation who is responsible for the counselling of homosexuals and lesbians:
"It was intriguing to hear him say after his very wide experience that he finds about 50% of those who come to him for counselling are helped out of the orientation and into a normal heterosexuality. That figure is confirmed by Jeffrey Satinover whose book "Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth" was described by the USA congressional record as the 'best book on homosexuality written in our lifetime." This outstanding young pastor said the two really key necessities are a solid Christian conversion and the desire to change. This of course explodes the notion punted by numbers of our church leaders of the irreversibility of this condition as based on "genetic predestination." This latter is totally false. There is no respectable scientific or medical confirmation of a so-called "gay gene."
I suspect those of our leaders who are unwisely pressing acceptance of homosexual behaviour, and promoting inter-faith agendas and so on have also embraced the cult of Unitarianism, while keeping silent are aiding and abetting these beliefs by association and refusal to stand for the faith once delivered to the saints. Its all of a piece and its very sad indeed.
The consequence is that Christ's missionary call to make disciples of all nations comes to be seen as irrelevant.
Saving human beings from socio-political ills is all.
Tragic? Indeed it is. With a largely biblically illiterate laity, and leaders willing to go along with an easy persecution-free agenda, what future do we have?
However, as Richard Kew says in a recent letter "......if the true Israelites will
come out of their caves and their holes in the ground there is a mighty
host that will walk with us"
Fortunately, and thank God for them, there are indeed a few Anglican bishops priests deacons and laity in SA who refuse to embrace these errors.
It is my prayer that those recognising the wrong direction in which we are being led will stand up, and at whatever cost, help stop the rot that is permeating and corrupting our leadership, Church, and our theological institutions. And by extension offering only empty husks to a society so desperately in need of the truth that sets us truly free.
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