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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Who Cares About Sydney Anglican Diocese and Church of England?

History is once again a great teacher. The late J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool, England, wrote in 1890, a book called "Light from Olden Times".

Bishop Ryle sought to bring to his readers' attention the faith and works of Protestants who suffered, some even to death, for the sake of the truth. He devoted the final chapter of the book to "James II and the Seven Bishops". I have referred to the activities of James II in a recent comment to Gordon Cheng and I now wish to draw out a deeper lesson from the incident of James II and the seven Bishops. I apologise to those who know the story but for others it may help them gain a brief summary of the event.

To reestablish Popery into the Church of England in the 17th Century, James II had proclaimed the "Declaration of Indulgence". The sweetener was that it suspended all penal laws against the Nonconformists (those Protestants who would not submit to the infamous "Law of Uniformity"). Further, the Declaration authorised both Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters to perform their worship publicly. It forbade the King's subjects, on pain of his displeasure, to molest any assembly. It abrogated all those Acts of Parliament which imposed any religious test as a qualification for any civil or military office. As Bishop Ryle put it "To us who live in the present century, the Declaration may seem very reasonable and harmless. To the England of the seventeenth century it wore a different aspect! Men knew the hand from which it came, and saw the latest intention. Under the specious plea of toleration and liberty, the object of the Declaration was to advance Popery and give license and free scope to the Church of Rome, and to all its schemes, for reconquering England."

Little time presented for Bishops and Clergy to organise resistance to the proposed Declaration of Indulgence and to prevent its being read in churches around the realm. A marvelous thing occurred inasmuch as Nonconformists, who had suffered much under the deprivations of the Law of Uniformity, saw through this veiled offer of relief, as Bishop Ryle wrote "Young Defoe said to his Nonconformist brethren, 'I had rather the Church of England should pull our clothes off by fines and forfeitures, than the Papists fall both upon the Church and Dissenters, and pull our skins off by fire and faggot'."

In the end it came down to seven Bishops who were available in London and who bravely went before the King with a petition declining to present the Declaration to congregations. The angered King James II set in train the means for them to be prosecuted for libel and they were shortly committed to the Tower. In the interim, the petition of the Bishops had been published and distributed to the public. Clergy around the country had now been fully informed and rallied in support. Feelings of admiration for the Bishops flared higher and higher. From every part of England and from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland came daily words of kindness and approbation. Thousands rallied around the Bishops as they were taken from Tower to court and return and at least ten thousand waited outside the court for a well argued defence and the eventual decision of "not guilty" from the jury. Space limits me from detailing the reaction of joy across London. The whole incident presents great theatre.

The action of the seven Bishops and the resultant court case and decision were the means for the end of the reign of James II. Within twenty four hours of the court decision a letter, signed by seven leading Englishmen, left England for Holland inviting the Prince of Orange to go to England with an army to overthrow the Stuart dynasty. And so it was!

In concluding his chapter on the aforesaid incident, Bishop Ryle provides helpful instruction for Biblical Creationists today. We are seen as unwanted agitators, a threat to the good order and harmony of the Church. Peace and harmony are declared above all else. We are made to feel like offenders when we uphold the integrity of the Genesis account of origins. My friends, take heart, be strong of faith and noble in cause. I quote Bishop Ryle's concluding remarks:

"Controversy and religious strife, no doubt, are odious things; but there are times when they are a positive necessity. Unity and peace are very delightful; but they are bought too dear if they are bought at the expense of truth. There is a vast amount of maundering, childish, weak talk now-a-days in some quarters about unity and peace, which I cannot reconcile with the language of St. Paul. It is a pity that there should be so much controversy; but it also a pity that human nature should be so bad as it is, and the devil should be loose in the world. It was a pity that Arius taught error about Christ's person: but it would have been a greater pity if Athanasius had not opposed him. It was a pity that Tetzel went about preaching up the Pope's indulgencies: it would have been a far greater pity if Luther had not withstood him. Controversy, in fact, is one of the conditions under which truth in every age has to be defended and maintained , and it is nonsense to ignore it.

Of one thing I am certain. Whether men will come forward or not to oppose the Romanizing movement of these days, if the Church of England once gives formal legal sanction to the revived Popish Mass and the revived detestable confessional, the people of this land will soon get rid of the Established Church of England. True to the mighty principles of the Reformation, our Church will stand and retain its hold on the affections of the country, and no weapon formed against us will prosper. False to these principles, and re-admitting Popery, she will certainly fall, and no amount of histrionic, sensuous ceremonial will prevent her ruin. Like Ephesus, which left her first love, - like Thyatira, which suffered Jezebel to teach, - like Laodicea, which became lukewarm, - her candlestick will be taken away. The glory will depart from her. The pillar of cloud and fire will be removed. The best and most loyal of her children will forsake her in disgust, and like an army whose soldiers have gone away, leaving nothing behind but officers and band, the Church will perish, and perish deservedly, for want of Churchmen.
"

Clearly, Bishop Ryle was addressing the threat of Popery in a century past. However, the principle and argument he presents has vital application to other Reformation truths and the future of the Church in Great Britain and Australia.

It is not Popery taking over England it is Islam. While the Church of England continues its decline in numbers and relevance to Great Britain, Islam grows in both respects. The same is true in Australia. Something has happened within the Church for the Lord to withdraw his hand from the Church in such a demonstrable way. Where is the life that came upon the Church in the Reformation? Think about it.

Our Glorious Creator Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is defiled when those who purport to love and submit to Him stain Him with the cloak of a creative method far beneath His capacity and far removed from His attested works. If only Theistic Evolutionists had Mary's haste and devotion when she threw herself and her attentive ear at the feet of our Lord. Instead they have gone after and inclined their ear to Charles Darwin who, as Dr Sandra Herbert, Geology Historian, Library of Congress has said, was out to destroy the idea that Genesis was real history when he first set foot on the Beagle.

Biblical Creationists can give no peace to those who put on the stained raiment of Darwin and draw near to our Creator, Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Church of England has become defiled in laying the carcass of Charles Darwin within it at Westminster Abbey. The receiving of his remains takes on the semblance of the abomination which causes desolation standing where it does not belong. The man alive set out to bring down Christ. The man dead is alive in his teaching and continues his assault on Christ from within the Church.

The Church of England first and now the Sydney Anglican Diocese has admitted Charles Darwin. While this is not Popery there is a parallel. The desolation of the Church has commenced and an alien religion (Islam) is on the march. Remember Bishop Ryle's words " ... False to these [Reformation] principles, ... she will certainly fall, and no amount of histrionic, sensuous ceremonial will prevent her ruin."

Like with Gideon's three hundred men the hope of Church and nation rests with a few in the hand of our Lord. These few are Biblical Creationists who truly love and trust the Lord. Hold to 'Scripture interpreting Scripture', affirm the historical narrative of Genesis and stay with Luther and Calvin on origins.

May our Glorious Creator Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be free from stain and always lifted up on high. May His cleansed Church be the hope of the people of the land against a planned takeover by Islam.

Neil Moore

9 comments:

John said...

Well written, Neil. I hope the blind do open their eyes just once to read what Ryle had to say. Honest self-examination of their ideas would be a start too, though, unfortunately, I do not expect their vanity to be taking a holiday too soon.

sam drucker said...

I take your point Neil that when we raise the matter of interpretation of Scripture on origins with our Minister/Pastor and get fobbed off for the sake of peace we should persist. I agree that there is a much higher issue at stake so persistence to the point of controversy should cause no qualms for Biblical Creationists who love the Lord Jesus.

Biblical Creationists let's get active.

neil moore said...

The Church of England and Sydney Anglican Diocese really need to be asking a serious question:

Why is God allowing Islam to grow faster in their respective areas of ministry than their own denomination is growing in those areas?

That growth is happening for sure. But Why?

I believe lack of faith in God's Word is the key to it.

The Church of England and Sydney Anglican Diocese are, in varying degrees, as dysfunctional in faith in the Word of God as Israel and Judah in the century leading up to their respective exiles.

This is a serious problem. If our brethren within these two branches of the Anglican communion don't start dealing with it they will be accelerating their demise in their respective nations.

Neil

John said...

Neil,

Come off it mate. Do you really think that with an Archbishop of Canterbury supporting the introduction of Sharia anything could actually happen?

neil moore said...

Without God? No, they are shot birds. To be with God they have to repent from suppressing His Word.

Neil

gwen said...

I think Isaiah 42, 18 to 25 applies.

18 “Hear, you deaf; And look, you blind, that you may see.

19 Who is blind but My servant, Or deaf as My messenger whom I send?

Who is blind as he who is perfect, And blind as the Lord’s servant?

20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe; Opening the ears, but he does not hear.”

21 The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.

22 But this is a people robbed and plundered; All of them are snared in holes,

And they are hidden in prison houses; They are for prey, and no one delivers;

For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”

23 Who among you will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come?

24 Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers?

Was it not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned?

For they would not walk in His ways, Nor were they obedient to His law.

25 Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger

And the strength of battle;
It has set him on fire all around,

Yet he did not know; And it burned him, But he did not take it to heart.

Gwen

John said...

What a magnificent paradoxical use irony in this passage from Isaiah.

neil moore said...

Yes, thanks for that observation Gwen & John.

I wonder whether there will be a repentance in England and God will act in the hearts of the people to thwart Islam. When Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were being burned some 450 years ago Latimer turned to Ridley and said "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day, by God's grace, light such a candle in England as I trust shall never be put out."

I wonder whether our God will honour that declaration of Hugh Latimer?

Neil

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