Denmark has got a big problem with extremist Anglicans – Anglicists – who are well known for preaching their fundamentalist gender equality; the uncompromising inclusion of LGBT people; and the effusively hateful welcoming of all people regardless of social status, race or ethnicity. Their offensive sermons are obsessed with matters of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage, believing salvation for such human diversity to be consistent with a biblically-shaped theological ethic.
And so they exhort the extremist revisionist equality-imperative of women priests and bishops; the ordination of gays; same-sex marriages in church; expressions of sexual love with whomever you wish whenever you wish provided he/she has consented; and a gospel of salvation informed by progressive secularity which is as universalist and as you wish it to be.
All this is too extreme for the Danish Government, who are demanding that henceforth all sermons preached in Denmark’s Anglican churches must be translated into Danish and submitted to the state for prior approval. With this new ‘Sermons Law’, there can be no extempore preaching ‘in the Spirit’; no lazy ‘notes’ to guide ministers in their exhortations: sermons will have to be written word for word, and delivered word for word as approved, or the vicar will be arrested and the church closed down.
Anglicists are, of course, renowned all over the world for teaching their harmful and dangerous theology and inculcating an insidious ecclesiology. There are real victims of Anglican theological abuse, and they need support, love and ongoing pastoral care. This global problem clearly needs to be addressed.
The Bishop in Europe, the Rt Rev’d Dr Robert Innes, thinks the Danish Government’s proposal will impinge upon Anglican freedoms in Denmark. “It is outrageous,” he said, “that the radical inclusion of all people irrespective of sex, gender, sexuality, race, age, ethnicity and disability should be considered toxic and hateful by the Danish government. We are called to preach peace and reconciliation; to live out our lives in the Lord’s service for our salvation. It is not extremist to walk in faithful obedience to Christ.”
It is curious indeed that a European country, a possessor and successor of the essential heart of Christendom, should believe that Anglicanism poses such a threat to the civil order in its expression of ecclesial diversity, its ethos of mutual respect, its method of fraternity and its attitude of perpetual reconciliation, that sermons preached from Danish Anglican pulpits must be vetted.
Or is that the Anglican minority must have its historic freedoms infringed because a few Islamist extremists constitute a very real threat, and all religious minorities must be treated equally?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Heaven (or the Bishop in Europe) will direct it.