pray-for-archbishop
Church of England

Don’t bash the Archbishop of Canterbury – pray for him

Funny. Defend Nigel Farage against Justin Welby, you’re “racist” or a “bigot”; defend Justin Welby against Nigel Farage, you’re a “feminist-humanist-pro-Marxist” (amongst other things). There is no apparent via media between Ukip and the Church of England: Kippers incline to the view that the Church of England has abandoned our Christian culture and heritage, betrayed the clear teachings of Christ for “liberal atheism”, and dithers on important matters of morality. Anglican bishops incline to the view that Ukip is full of racists, bigots (“little Englanders, cranks and political gadflies”), and that people who believe as they do are of a lower order of intelligence and are not being very Christian at all.

The Archbishop of Canterbury accused Nigel Farage of “pandering to people’s worries and prejudices” and “giving legitimisation to racism”. Nigel Farage countered with the allegation that Justin Welby is “not actually prepared to stand up and fight for our Christian culture”, and so “should go”. Bash, bash, bash. Perhaps if they were to pray for one another…

“If you ever pray for me, please pray for wisdom, for patience, and for courage,” tweeted the Archbishop of Canterbury this morning. That’s a sound list. Please don’t bash him in the comment thread unless you’ve done that, and only then to expound reasonably and intelligently how his wisdom, patience and courage may not quite cohere with the mind of Christ (being sure not to mistake that for the mind of your own imagining). We don’t have a prayer list for Nigel Farage, so you are free to be guided by the Holy Spirit in your intercessions for him, and free to guide others in the comment thread with your (reasoned and intelligent) suggestions.

O, and tweeting isn’t praying. Nor is making a comment in a blog post. Praying is not as deliciously satisfying as crafting a verbal barb, and nowhere near as entertaining as scoring a social-media win that’s witnessed by the world. No, it’s a tedious, often lonely pursuit. A bit of a drudge, actually. Why bother praying for the Archbishop of Canterbury when it’s as plain as the day that he lacks the nous for the job? Wisdom? Courage? You’re having a laugh. O, he’s got bucket-loads of patience, alright – for all those “feminist-humanist-pro-Marxist” things which Jesus would spit out. But courage.. wisdom..

Be careful here. For when the Archbishop of Canterbury asks for wisdom and courage, it is not as Ukip gives (or Labour, or the Tories, and certainly not the LibDems). Your mind may be preeminently attuned to perversions of marriage and invading hordes of Muslim immigrants, and you may believe your mind to cohere perfectly with the mind of Christ on these matters, for Scripture is absolutely clear, and you can’t get clearer than that. But Justin Welby is not asking to see as you see or think what you think. If ‘perversion’ and ‘invasion’ are not in his spiritual vocabulary, he cannot be coerced or confined by your understanding. He is not asking to become what he is not, or to be re-cast against his nature. He is asking to see more clearly the wisdom, patience and courage of Christ. He is asking for his horizons to be stretched; for his being to be transfigured in the light of God, not in accordance with the political priorities of any individual soul. His mission is to serve and lead the body with its many members, not to let the big toe mistake itself for an eye.

Your theme may be political liberation and individual freedom. For the Archbishop of Canterbury, all prayers for wisdom, patience and courage are for spiritual liberation and the gospel of freedom. You proclaim on immigration; he on salvation. You bring a message of moral orthodoxy; he of reconciliation. You demand victory; he the service of necessity. There is no political utopia this side of the reign of Christ: the messianic era may be here and freedom may be proclaimed, but the Messiah can reach only as far as men and women seek the wisdom to hear and the patience to obey. Courage? Well, you may want Justin Welby to cleanse the temple, expel demons, condemn the rich and curse hypocrites. But if his vocation is to bless the peacemakers, feed the hungry, and suffer alongside the unemployed, homeless, sick, sad and discouraged, he is still being Jesus, and you see through a glass, darkly.

  • Joe Stocker

    “O, and tweeting isn’t praying. Nor is making a comment in a blog post…No, it’s a tedious, often lonely pursuit.”

    Sometimes, not always. Evangelicals have their tradition of personal prayers said in small groups, rarely barbs but crafted to please the listening group of fellow believers (or at least not step outside a boundary of acceptable public dialogue). Jesus recommends prayer as a private pursuit and provided a template for corporate prayers but where does the evangelical share and prayer thing come from?

    • Rhoda

      ….but where does the evangelical share and prayer thing come from?
      Here are a few examples from Acts
      Acts 1:14
      “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”
      Acts ch 2 :42
      ” They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. ”
      Acts 4 :31
      “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

      • Joe Stocker

        But those verses don’t actually describe what happens in evangelical small groups. They could be some form of corporate prayer.

        • Rhoda

          There is no sign of corporate prayer except the Lord’s Prayer in the apostolic era.

    • Old Nick

      Introduced by the liturgical formula “Lord, I just wanted to say…”

      • Anton

        The prayer of the just…

        • Old Nick

          The rain it raineth on the just
          And upon the unjust fella,
          And all the more so on the just
          For the unjust hath the just’s umbrella.

  • Inspector General

    Point of clarification Cranmer.

    If you re-read the Inspector’s actual post, you’ll find that “feminist-humanist-pro-Marxist” as applied was used to describe the movement within the Anglican church which is busily wrecking it. Welby finds himself nominal head of this movement, but seems to be powerless to rein it in. Until he does, then unfortunately support for Welby is akin to welcoming said “feminist-humanist-pro-Marxist” movement.

    If the progressives within the church are not “feminist-humanist-pro-Marxist” types when considered as a whole, then perhaps some wise fellow following this site might like to give some insight as to what their agenda be. Until then “feminist-humanist-pro-Marxist” label does the job. Does the job accurately…

  • len

    The Church is under attack today by those who are determined to overwrite the Word of God with’ the word of man’.( Not for the first time I might add.)

    ‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’
    for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.(Acts 4:23-31.)

    Perhaps Welby can gather a few good men who still believe in the Word of God around him to support him .

  • len

    What seems to becoming evident is when political parties, religious groups or even other societies are perceived as being ‘weak’ and particularly when those at the head of the organisations are seen as being ‘weak’ then parties with other interests are going to attempt to wrest control from them. This is the way of the world.
    We either fight for what we believe in or we will see it lost….The Church is in a fight against the powers of darkness as much now it ever has been.

  • Albert

    The points are well made in this post, if I may say so. Welby’s comments didn’t seem entirely fair addressed to Farage, so Farage’s comments don’t seem fair to Welby. To point that out is fair.

    • David

      Regardless of his specific words, Archbishop Welby was, in effect, supporting the general dislike of the entire smug establishment for Ukip; an establishment that ignores the feelings, fears, hopes and desires of a sizeable proportion of the people regarding the political and cultural destruction of their country by, amongst other things, moral relativism, the death embrace of the EU, and endless in-migration from alien cultures that love us not.
      Ukip is in some ways the only real political opposition now that stands up for the people, so of course the establishment wants to crush it. That certainly is how the archbishop appears to many patriotic Brits., and not just Ukip supporters either.

      • Albert

        I’m slightly inclined to be more sympathetic to Farage in this than to Welby. Welby’s remarks were uncalled for, and seemed to be about showing he held the right regulation issue opinions. Farage could quite reasonably think he could have expected more from an archbishop. Having said that, calling for Welby to “go” is far too extreme. So I suppose I’m with Dr C, as far as I understand his position: both need defending.

  • Anton

    It is not a contradiction to criticise Justin Welby’s leadership of the CoE and also pray for him. In the past I have criticised certain Prime Ministers yet also prayed heartily for them. Why? Because they are (at that time) the only Prime Minister we have got.

    you may want Justin Welby to cleanse the temple, expel demons, condemn the rich and curse hypocrites. But if his vocation is to bless the peacemakers, feed the hungry, and suffer alongside the unemployed, homeless, sick, sad and discouraged, he is still being Jesus, and you see through a glass, darkly

    His vocation is to LEAD those who do those things: sometimes by example, sometimes by keeping the church clean of secular pollution.

    Part of this discussion is about his personal qualities. But part should be about the impossibility of leading an Established church in a secular society.

    • IanCad

      “—the impossibility of leading an Established church in a secular society.”

      I have said it before: The AofC is doing (generally quite well IMHO) one of the hardest tasks on the planet.

      • Anton

        But is it a task that God ever intended a man – even a man of faith – to do? The NT portrays the church as utterly unencumbered at the level of leadership with ties to this world, even to the point of embracing persecution to maintain its independence.

        • IanCad

          An Established Church cannot maintain its independence to act according to the gospel; for, God’s ways are not the state’s ways. Compromise, compromise, compromise.
          It can only do its best.

          • Anton

            We can all only ever do our best (although that is manspeak, for empowered Christians can accomplish anything). The question I am asking is whether God intends Establishment. On this blog I regard it as bad manners to do much more than raise the question, though.

          • Jack could answer that question.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I don’t think the Old Testament precedent is relevant in this context but the connection between political and spiritual power was far, far greater then. That is why religious leaders like Joshua and Samuel were responsible for what today would be regarded as war crimes.

  • magnolia

    It’s a shame that they don’t meet face to face and share concerns. If taken down to root anxieties they probably share more than they think. It is often more how we analyse these that causes our differences. Take the migrant crisis for instance. Probably both want the UK to help where appropriate, but probably differ on the perceived size of this country in terms of the world, the desirability of being part of British culture per se, for all peoples, whether British culture can survive a mass influx from abroad, the % spread between ISIS troublemakers and the more innocent within the mix, the reasons behind recent wars, and who is stirring what pots.

    If they could sit down and discuss they would both probably become far kinder to each other. However I don’t really understand why a man who has largely retired from heading a political movement should be any sort of a target anyway? Can one not retire and be largely left alone? Or is that the media cannot let go?

    • Inspector General

      Good idea Mags. They can meet up for a coffee morning at Starbucks, and talk about their children, clothes shopping, new dishes they’ve come across, holidays planned for the families and, most importantly of all, the men in their lives…

      • magnolia

        Now, now, don’t be a naughty boy! Talking- in English, none of your whisky-blurred Tridentine mass stuff – is the stuff of helping people understand, diplomacy, that sort of thing. Helps stop conflict. I just find people scoring off each other’s caricatures lacks much charm or helpfulness………..;-)

        • Inspector General

          Couldn’t help it, old gal. Women are as we know so much more civilised than mere men when it comes to disagreements. They can meet, talk it through, and part company with hugs and embraces, and kind words about the outfit the other is wearing. Of course, when they’re out of sight and hearing of each other, then it’s “Ooooh, that woman! She’s impossible!!”

          • magnolia

            Ah well, if you will consort with Cheltenham dregs, drags, and druggies, what do you expect?

            Good manners generally require never knowingly emitting such a sound as “Ooooh” (really excusable only if coming out of anaesthesia) and also require rarely commenting much upon the appearance of others!

            You need to refine your lady watching!

          • Inspector General

            Chocolate time, Mags. Off you go and feed…

    • David

      The C of E’s bishops are almost all Labour voters. It’s their second religion. Socialist thought seems to dominate their theology and much else. Most of them have no experience of working in, let alone running, anything outside the Church and so are not very realistic judges of anything, including nowadays Scripture even, sadly.

      So they consider much of the pretend Conservative party to be close to the Devil (which most don’t believe in). As for Ukip, which like most of the establishment they simply don’t understand, it is in their minds, I do believe, consigned to outer darkness – they are that blind and biased I am afraid. This is all an expression of just how remote the episcopacy are from normal life and people. It is surprising that the C of E is struggling ?

      • bluedog

        Christ was a socialist, wasn’t he? By voting Labour the prelates are merely following in his footsteps.

        • David

          “Christ was a socialist ”
          That’s the belief of many Christians including most of the bishops I agree.
          But no, he was not concerned with the petty politics of this world. He was and is King of a different kingdom.
          Socialism, like all human ideas has its strengths as well as weaknesses. However unmitigated Socialism, like all attempts to create heaven on earth, but without God, like all attempts at producing “heaven on earth”, without God, results in hell on earth.
          My political persuasion is for light touch government, personal freedoms and only sufficient control to check evil and protect the weak.

          • bluedog

            I’m inclined to agree. There is more than a hint of tongue-in-cheek about the comment.

  • len

    As soon as’ The Church’became a building the state claimed ownership. Welby has to walk a fine line trying to keep the State happy and Christians in the Church on board. Impossible to keep all the people happy all of the time so compromises have been made.How much of the Word of God can be made ‘socially acceptable’?… the answer must be none.
    So perhaps it would be better for the C of E to disband and sell all their property rather than keep the outward appearance of being Christian but inwardly having sold out to’ the world?’.

    • Albert

      As soon as’ The Church’became a building the state claimed ownership.

      The Church never became a building and it’s just prejudiced to think so.

      • dannybhoy

        Mehhh.
        You’re splitting ‘heirs’ Albert.
        The seat of the Catholic Church in in Rome, the seat of Anglicanism is Canterbury. Either way they are institututions sanctioned by the State

      • len

        church
        tʃəːtʃ/Submit
        noun
        1.
        a building used for public Christian worship.
        “the church was largely rebuilt at the end of the 15th century”
        synonyms: house of God, the Lord’s house, house of prayer; kirk
        “a village church”

        • The “Church” is the Mystical Body of Christ, Len.

          • Anton

            “Ecclesia” is used in the NT in two distinct senses: a specific congregation; and the collective of all believers. Context always makes clear which. Does it not make sense to use “congregation” to translate the first meaning, and “church” to translate the second?

          • It’s just not a building ….

          • Anton

            I never said it was. I agree with you about that. I think your comment must be misdirected.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Congregation” equates (if one wishes to be literalist/etymological about it) to συναγωγή, not ἐκκλησία 🙂

            But yes, that might work.

          • “κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.”

            Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

            ἐκκλησία, ἐκκλεσιας, ἡ (from ἔκκλητος called out or forth, and this from ἐκκαλέω); properly, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly; so used

            1. among the Greeks from Thucydides (cf. Herodotus 3, 142) down, an assembly of the people convened at the public place of council for the purpose of deliberating: Acts 19:39.

            2. in the Sept. often equivalent to קָהָל, the assembly of the Israelites, Judges 21:8; 1 Chronicles 29:1, etc., especially when gathered for sacred purposes, Deuteronomy 31:30 (Deuteronomy 32:1); Joshua 8:35 (Joshua 9:8), etc.; in the N. T. thus in Acts 7:38; Hebrews 2:12.

            3. any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance or tumultuously: Acts 19:32, 41.

            4. in the Christian sense,

            a. an assembly of Christians gathered for worship: ἐν ἐκκλησία, in the religious meeting, 1 Corinthians 14:19, 35; ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις, 1 Corinthians 14:34; συνέρχεσθαι ἐν ἐκκλησία, 1 Corinthians 11:18; cf. Winers Grammar, § 50, 4a.

            b. a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake; aa. those who anywhere, in city or village, constitute such a company and are united into one body: Acts 5:11; Acts 8:3; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 6:4; Philippians 4:15; 3 John 1:6 (cf. Winer’s Grammar, 122 (116)); with specification of place, Acts 8:1; Acts 11:22; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 6:4; Revelation 2:1, 8, etc.; Θεσσαλονικέων, 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; Λαοδικέων, Colossians 4:16; with the genitive of the possessor, τοῦ Θεοῦ (equivalent to יְהוָה קֲהַל, Numbers 16:3; Numbers 20:4), 1 Corinthians 11:22; and mention of the place, 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1. Plural, αἱ ἐκκλησίαι: Acts 15:41; 1 Corinthians 7:17; 2 Corinthians 8:19; Revelation 1:4; Revelation 3:6, etc.; with τοῦ Θεοῦ added, 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; τοῦ Χριστοῦ, Romans 16:16; with mention of the place, as τῆς Ἀσίας, Γαλατίας, etc.: 1 Corinthians 16:1, 19; 2 Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2; τῆς Ἰουδαίας ταῖς ἐν Χριστῷ, joined to Christ (see ἐν, I. 6b.), i. e. Christian assemblies, in contrast with those of the Jews, Galatians 1:22; ἐκκλησίαι τῶν ἐθνῶν, gathered from the Gentiles, Romans 16:4; τῶν ἁγίων, composed of the saints, 1 Corinthians 14:33. ἡ ἐκκλησία κατ’ οἶκον τίνος, the church in one’s house, i. e. the company of Christians belonging to a person’s family; others less aptly understand the phrase of the Christians accustomed to meet for worship in the house of someone (for as appears from 1 Corinthians 14:23, the whole Corinthian church was accustomed to assemble in one and the same place; (but see Lightfoot on Colossians 4:15)): Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2. The name ἡ ἐκκλησία is used even by Christ while on earth of the company of his adherents in any city or village: Matthew 18:17. bb. the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth; collectively, all who worship and honor God and Christ in whatever place they may be: Matthew 16:18 (where perhaps the Evangelist employs τήν ἐκκλησίαν although Christ may have said τήν βασιλείαν μου); 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 5:23ff,27,29,32; Philippians 3:6; Colossians 1:18, 24; with the genitive of the possessor: τοῦ κυρίου, Acts 20:28 (R Tr marginal reading WH τοῦ Θεοῦ); τοῦ Θεοῦ, Galatians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:9; 1 Timothy 3:15. cc. the name is transferred to the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven: Hebrews 12:23 (on this passage see in ἀπογράφω, b. and πρωτότοκος, at the end). (In general, see Trench, § 1, and B. D. under the word , especially American edition; and for patristic usage Sophocles Lexicon, under the word.

          • Pubcrawler

            Yeah, I looked at that verse last week for Uncle Brian.

            Interestingly, the Northumbrian (Anglo-Saxon) gloss in the Rushworth Gospels gives circae (i.e. church) for ecclesiam. (Len, please note: there are English translations and glosses before Wycliffe.)

            See it here (ll 4-5)

            http://tinyurl.com/j5momon

          • Old Nick

            That is a most beautiful hand.

          • Pubcrawler

            It is, but not very easy to skim! There are later marginal verse numbers, which helps a bit, but for some reason not for chapters.

          • len

            Living Stones….

          • David

            Quite right !

          • Led visibly on earth by Christ’s appointed representatives, the pope and bishops, who are the successors to the Apostles.

          • Anton

            And who, mercifully, no longer have the earthly power to persecute those believers who hold a different view.

          • A somewhat distorted and simplistic comment. Remember, God writes straight with crooked lines. We in Britain would probably be living under paganism or Shari law without knowing the message of Christ. Looks like we might be heading that way in any event.

          • Anton

            So you think Rome *should* have the earthly power to persecute believers who hold a different view?

            Christianity got here long before that happened.

          • Did Jack say that? Our history is what it is. Christianity would have died in Europe when Rome collapsed but for the Church preserving the Word; and the European nations would never have established themselves without the Church.

          • Anton

            You described my comment that Rome “mercifully no longer ha[s] the earthly power to persecute believers who hold a different view” is “distorted and simplistic”. On those grounds it is not unreasonable for me to ask if you think Rome should be able to do that.

            Our history is indeed what it is; perish the thought that I should disagree with a comment of such profundity. I agree that Christianity has profoundly influenced European history, so that European history would have been very different without it. You simply cannot say with any authority, though, that Christianity would have died in Europe had Rome collapsed. Christianity does best under pressure, even if civilisation doesn’t.

          • You view is historically simplistic. Rome did collapse and Christianity all but disappeared in Europe, and would have, but for the organised Church. And without the Church, Europe would never have withstood Islam or built nation states.

          • Anton

            Your view is historically naive. Historians understand that history is deeply contingent and that counterfactual history over long timescales is merely conjecture. I agree that Byzantium kept Islam out for a long time at Europe’s eastern borders.

          • The Western Church also kept it from Spain and France.

          • Anton

            To say that “the Western Church” kept Islam from Spain and France is absurd. Charles Martel kicked Islam promptly out of France because it was a threat to the Frankish lands ruled by his dynasty. Islam prevailed in southern Spain for centuries.

          • Until it was ejected ….

          • Anton

            Yes, absolutely, and the *Roman* Catholic church (ie, post-1054AD) did play a central role in the reconquista. That is why Spain has long taken Roman Catholicism more seriously than the Italians, who also get to see the Vatican’s shenanigans. But you said that the Western church *kept* Islam out of Spain. It didn’t; Islam lodged there for many centuries. I’m not sorry that it was forced out, but let’s be historically accurate.

          • Old Nick

            Certainly, I was reading about Oswald of Northumbria only yesterday. Christianity and royalty have gone together in England since the 6th/
            7th century.

          • Pubcrawler

            Coincidentally, I’ve just been reading about Alfred the Great, and yes, I agree.

          • len

            Christ’s representative(in Christ’s words) is the Holy Spirit

            ‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
            will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said
            to you'(John 14:26)

            But you know this already Jack …But prefer to bear false witness.

          • Old Nick

            Why do you have to be so discourteous. You could just say that you disagree. I take it (from what he says) that Jack puts his faith in Christ just as much as you do.

          • len

            If you think that’s discourteous read through some of the insults that the RCC members of this blog have thrown in my direction.

          • Old Nick

            I do think it discourteous and also uncharitable and ungodly, in that it fails to seek to understand what others think God is saying to them. But you know best.

          • len

            The Body of Christ is not an Institution but a living Body with Christ as the head.

          • len

            The mystical body that is a building in Rome ROFL….

        • Albert

          The assumption that the Church is nothing more than the congregation is simply false. Hence, we need another word beyond “congregation”.

          P.S. Unless I am mistaken, I do not think Tyndale’s was the first Bible in English.

          • len

            You seem to undervalue the Body of Christ somewhat Albert?.

          • Albert

            A congregation, in itself, is nothing more than a group of people. The fact that the people are also the body of Christ is what makes “congregation” the wrong word to use, particularly, if one is doing so, so as not to use the word “Church.”

          • Pubcrawler

            It wasn’t. The first complete Bible in English was Henry VIII’s Great Bible of 1539 (albeit based largely on Tyndale’s where available). But there are partial translations and glosses going back to Saxon times.

          • Albert

            And even if Tyndale’s were the first, it wouldn’t follow that it was the most accurate. Tyndale clearly had an agenda (as all interpreters do).

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed.

          • Pubcrawler

            PS For the record, here is Wycliffe’s rendition:

            “And Y seie to thee, that thou art Petre, and on this stoon Y schal bilde my chirche, and the yatis of helle schulen not haue miyt ayens it.”

            So (as I suspect everyone except Len probably knew all along), Tyndale was the agenda-driven innovator, and “church” had been the normal translation since Saxon times.

          • Albert

            🙂 Everybody understands, even Len, that the Church is more than just the congregation, that’s why we use the word “Church” rather than congregation. We are more than just a political party or a football club. That congregation+ is why we call it the Church and not a congregation. But of course, the moment, we acknowledge that the Church is more than just a bunch of people (as the word “congregation” implies) then the more we open ourselves to Catholic modes of thinking.

          • Old Nick

            The earliest surviving version of the Gospels (just the Gospels) in English is actually the Old English interlinear gloss inserted in the Lindisfarne Gospels in the 10th century.

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, I wanted to us that in my other comment, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a complete facsimile available online so I had to ‘make do’ with the Rushworth Gospels. The gloss in that is derived from the Lindisfarne one, though, so it serves my point there just as well.

          • Old Nick

            I did not know that. Thank you.

          • Pubcrawler

            I must confess, I didn’t either until a couple of days ago.

            http://www.bible-researcher.com/northumbrian-gloss.html

  • dannybhoy

    Good post and a sensible constructive post.
    In my quiet time I always pray for the Queen, the Royal Family, the Church and the AofC, our Prime Minister and the government; in that order.
    I give thanks for our nation and its Christian heritage and I pray against every human and spiritual force that would seek to do us harm.
    I pray because I want the very best for our nation, and I want to see our Lord Jesus exalted above all others, and that He might bring revival to the Church and to our nation.
    I pray because God wants us to pray. I pray because I don’t believe God has some script from which neither He nor we can depart, and that if we truly seek His face He will move in our nation.
    I think Brexit is the first step along the way.
    I pray for Justin Welby that he might realise His responsibility to His Lord rather than a church which is no longer fit for purpose, and that Justin must decide whether he wants to serve His God or he wants to serve the State and all that represents.
    Nigel is not a Christian, but he is able to see that if the established church refuses to stand for God and country, they are complicit in its fall…

  • len

    If ‘the Institutional church’ continues on the path it is either chosen choosing or being forced down true believers will have no other option than ‘coming out of her’ as advised in the Word of God.’Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;'( Revelation 18:4)
    This does not only apply to the Anglican Church but any Church that does not Have Christ at the Head and follow the Word of God in every sense of the Word.
    ‘Coming out of her ‘in a biblical sense means coming out of what God considers to be a harlot.

    • Though I’m largely in agreement len with what you’re saying I would not say that Babylon, mother of harlots is the apostate church though the apostate church is part of Babylon. Babylon I take it is the world culture opposed to God. In C1 Rome was the city which epitomised Babylon, Rome with its smorgasbord of ideologies and values opposed to God and the people of God.

      • Inspector General

        Len’s a bit of a thicko. Had it not been for the ‘institutional church’ he would never have heard the word and would most likely be worshipping not God but a football team, as thickos tend to do.

        • That’s not a very Christian comment Inspector. Care to tell us why you think Len’s a thicko?

          • len

            The Inspector thinks anyone who follows Christ’s teaching’s is ‘a thicko’. This is totally in accord with the way ‘the world’ thinks and the way many in the world respond to Christ.

            ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’.(1Corinthians 1:18)

          • Inspector General

            Hey, you! High priest for Christ that you are – a reply to Marie posted…

          • len

            I think you confuse ‘Churchianity’ with Christianity….a common problem with the religious….

          • Inspector General

            Len is deluding everyone, Marie. He’s well liked on this site, yet he makes no secret of his disdain for ‘organised’ religion. Granted he does not openly attack Anglicanism as he does the Roman Catholic church, but anything Christian which includes bricks and mortar is not for him truly Christian. He sees Christianity as subjective. Totally from within. It does not NEED buildings and indeed, if he had his way, it wouldn’t have any.

            Now, the daft thing about it all is that Len didn’t stumble into Christianity. He was raised in it, and as a young man, rejected it. He then discovered the so called purity that is being born again. In other words, Len is rejecting the very vehicle that originally took him (and other born again louts) to the word. Organised Religion.

            To do that, and to be shameless about it too, now that takes strength of character, or conversely, great thickness of thought. So there you have it. You takes your choice as to what drives Len.

            Ultimately, we are faced with this conundrum: Do we continue to spread the word, using bricks and mortar as one believes Christ intended, or do we let born again types jealously guard the thing like a meaty bone. Keeping away them who do not deserve. Them who are far from the born again ideal of what a Christian be.

          • I see. Thank you.

          • Inspector General

            Your thoughts on this man’s character reference of the scoundrel would be appreciated, Marie…

          • I think you’re a bit mean to him Inspector.

          • Inspector General

            It’s fighting spirit, dear thing. He brings out the worst in people, and it’s not just the Inspector. He once said someone tried to kill him. It’s the way he is…

          • CliveM

            I have a soft spot for old Len. Like most on this blog, he’s a good man at heart.

            Bit obsessed by the RCC however!

          • That’s surprising! Now I could understand someone wanting to kill you Inspector LOL 🙂

          • Inspector General

            Super reply!

          • Old Nick

            The central problem is that the “born again” types assume that because a certain sort of being born again is what brought them to Christian faith it is the only way that anybody can come to Christian faith. No doubt their sort of being “born again” affects for good a certain (in my experience small) proportion of the population, but there are other sorts of being born again by water and the Spirit than being a brand plucked from the burning in the Wesleyan manner or gaining some sort of assurance of final perseverance. Actually as a student of the Early Church I am persistently surprised how few “conversion experiences” are recorded – Augustine is the only one which comes immediately to mind (Constantine’s religious experience was Christian and religious but not conversion).
            In some of these other sorts of being born again God can indeed speak to people through buildings and liturgy (not all repetitions are vain repetitions) and decent music and long-lasting institutions. The failure of certain people who write here to recognise this simple fact suggests that they suffer from narrowness of spirit and vitiates their observations.

      • len

        ‘3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— ‘5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.'(2 Timothy 3)

        These people are not the unsaved ‘but christians’.

        • Agreed. That is, they are unsaved but call themselves Christians. My only point is that Babylon is much bigger than the apostate church

          • len

            Agreed.

  • CliveM

    For many years, comedians of a certain political hue, after an easy laugh would say something like “That Thatcher cow, Ian she a bitch”! Usually to appreciative applause.

    Sometimes in Christian circles the CofE gets treated in the same way. After an easy route to prove your credentials, lets have a dig.

    • David

      I think you are right. People ignore the good parts, because of course the media does.

    • Anton

      It’s a fairly normal human response to years and years and years of disappointment.

  • chefofsinners

    “His mission is to serve and lead the body with its many members, not to let the big toe mistake itself for an eye.”
    This is a body riddled with parasites, disfigured and dying. If he doesn’t resort to drastic surgery, his only mission will be to scatter the ashes.
    Pray indeed for wisdom and courage. Patience is a luxury in which the church has indulged for too long.

    • dannybhoy

      The role of Archbishop has come to mean ‘peacemaker’ but making peace to what end? That the Church proclaims Christ Jesus and Him crucified; or to concentrate in keeping the various factions in the same leaking boat?
      In all seriousness, how can God possibly bless or use a church which denies the pre-eminence of the Gospel and replaces it with a mishmash of social syncretism.

  • dannybhoy

    I copied this excerpt about a book entitled “The New England Pulpit and the American Revolution”, from Christian Reader, an American website.
    Of course it’s about Christianity and early American history, but the principles described could equally apply to our country. It was the the Wesley brothers, George Whitefield, and later men like General Booth who transformed our nation. That is one of the main duties of the Church.
    “The diminishing light of civil liberty in this land is linked directly to the lack of preaching on it in today’s pulpits. Dr. Alice Baldwin’s wonderful book is a welcome antidote to this problem, should we be willing to take it.

    Dr. Baldwin illustrates how the preachers of the early American era thought and practiced just the opposite as today. Mountains of research in colonial sermons, tracts, pamphlets, and other publications, reveals how the pulpits of colonial America rang constantly on all aspects of the public square: good rulers, good laws, good forms of government, and the blessings of liberty. We especially hear of those choice values of biblical order that became the battle cries of American independence.

    Commenting on the classic paraphrase of “life, liberty, and property,” Baldwin proclaims,

    “No one can fully understand the American Revolution and the American constitutional system without a realization of the long history and religious associations which lie behind these words; without realizing that for a hundred years before the Revolution men were taught that these rights were protected by divine, inviolable law.”

    Covering the entire revolutionary era, she concludes that the central force behind it all was the pulpit’s application of the Word of God to politics and government. She says, “It must not be forgotten, in the multiplicity of authors mentioned, that the source of greatest authority and the one most commonly used was the Bible.” And she proves that “from the law of God they derived their political theories.”

    It is long past time to recover the great and powerful preaching of our founding era—a time when pastors did not fear to preach politics, resist tyranny, and found their governments on the Bible. Dr. Baldwin’s nearly-forgotten book is a powerful resource toward that end. We recommend it to every pastor and every Christian in hope that they follow the example of its subject matter even more.”

  • preacher

    Even in the Lord’s time, religion had become man centred instead of God centred. This results in any religion becoming lame philosophy or blind custom & tradition, fresh thought & prayer are resisted as potentially dangerous, while religious leaders insist on the blind obedience of the people to the authority & teachings of their appointed leaders.
    This is one of the prime reasons that the Lord was opposed & rejected by the Sanhedrin, whose plotting eventually led to His Crucifixion.
    John Wesley experienced the same opposition ( Read his Journal ) as did most of the reformers & men who preached the gospel.
    When men replace God with their own understanding, even though it may seem logical & without doubt the ‘ chosen ‘ ones can be some of the most intelligent & logical thinkers that universities can produce. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit the project will fail.
    Jesus tells the Pharisees in Matthew 23 ” First clean the inside of the bowl, then the outside will be clean also ! “. we need to heed His advice if the Church is to rise again from the current slough of despond it’s in, or we could become like the whitened tombs that the Lord also refers to – beautiful on the outside, but full on the inside with death & decay.

  • Mark Downham

    The interesting thing about Justin Welby is that he inherited a custom made “bed of nails” in accepting the office of Archbishop and he never even hesitated; he never even flinched – his predecessor when faced with the possibility of some “buffeting, excused himself and said, “I am just stepping through to the other office to get some papers” and had immediately escaped out through the back door and shot down the fire escape to the waiting ecclesiastical getaway car and chauffeur with instructions to drive off at high speed to Academia – but not this man – when his strength was tried – he stepped forward and lay down on that bed of nails and said lay on those weights…and that takes steel, that takes real spine .