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Monday, April 30, 2012

Elements Down-Grade in Sydney Episcopalian Church (Part 3 - final)

The first two instalments of this series provided a background to the Down-Grade Controversy in the Nonconformist Church in England in the late 19th Century. The purpose of this final instalment is to apply that controversy to the Episcopalian Church in Sydney, Australia, of late 20th and early 21st Century. It is not within this writer's knowledge whether full comparison exists so I will confine this blog to the issue of trust in the Word of God which does bear comparison. I must also add that, even in this, I suspect there will be many incidents of note which I don't have knowledge of. Clearly, leaders of the Nonconformist Church in England had departed from trust in the Word of God and left themselves open to receiving doctrines contrary to Reformed doctrine. These errant doctrines they nurtured and permitted to be taught in theological institutions, thus submitting future preachers, teachers and leaders of the Nonconformist Church to distrust in the Word of God and false doctrine. What made the situation all the more galling was the stealth employed by the leaders of the Nonconformist Church - concealing their unorthodox doctrine. The process, planned or otherwise, was done under the veil of professed evangelicalism. So effective was the move that, at the end of the controversy, people such has C. H. Spurgeon were almost friendless in their argument against this declension in the church. Also evident is the strategy of the leaders to avoid controversy within the church as the malaise was spreading. That brings me to the Sydney Episcopalian Church today. Some matters I will raise here have been mentioned intermittently on this blogspot previously but it is necessary to bring them together for this study. Approximately 100 years after the Down-Grade Controversy in England, the Principal of Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia, informed students in their college's publication Societas that students needed to consider science in their theological studies and alerted them to preparations for this need to be met at the college. Following this occurred the appointment to faculty of a man with very close links to an organization purportedly made up Christians with scientific qualification. This man, like other members of the organization, had made the Word of God subject to the current world view on the origin of life inasmuch as the Word of God had to be interpreted through the glasses of 'science'. This man had been given access to the mind of students of Moore Theological College. Worse still, he was the means by which the organization itself gained access to students to colour their mind with a view on origins alien to the thoughts of the Reformers and one that sits uncomfortably with the Word of God - it does not sit as one with the Word of God. As a sidelight I mention that those in a Christian organization who upheld the Reformers' position on Origins attempted to reach students with a seminar on campus encountered discouragement from the college. Nevertheless, the seminar went ahead but word reaching this writer indicates students were discouraged from within the college to attend the event. The infiltration did not stop there. The organization gained access to students of New College, a residential for Christian students studying at the University of NSW. At one event sponsored by the organization the speaker attempted to demolish the Reformation stance of Genesis 1 being an historical rendering of the Creation account. In that speaker's mind, the writer of Genesis 1 was presenting something of a concealed message because of the extent of literary devices employed in the text. The organization has gained access to churches as well and this writer has attended two such events. In another digression I mention that, as with all my encounters with the organization's members, the speakers at these events have no complete doctrine on the Creation account. It is all very tenuous and sits poorly with the rest of Scripture and its vital doctrines. I recall one event when during the supper afterward, which was to be an opportunity for question and answer, the speaker was so shamefully found lacking in his doctrinal position that he went and hid in his car when failing to reason out his case. Further testament to the dangerous theology found at one time within the organization can be observed when a member was asked some years ago how he reconciles Jesus Christ's teaching about a 'young' earth with what current scientific view espouses. The member's response was "Jesus didn't know as much science as we do today." I can only conclude that man, though purporting to be a Christian, did not believe that Jesus Christ, Son of God, is Creator through Whom all things were made and in Him all things hold together. Back to the point of this blog. The sorry situation is that elements of the 19th Century Down-Grade Controversy in the Nonconformist Church in England have emerged in the Sydney Episcopalian Church some hundred years hence. A body of people purporting to represent the Word written but who demonstrate they more readily represent their peers in schools of science have been given access, by leaders in the church, to the minds of Christians. Because they rely on the testimony of people who look at objects in the present and, from these, attempt to interpret events of the past they devolve an interpretation of the Word written in Genesis 1 far below that which God has bequeathed to Christians in equal portion from generation to generation. The fruit of this degenerate theology made itself evident in recent times when a graduate of the time from Moore Theological College and subsequently returning to be on faculty at that institution could make the astonishing claim, when questioned publicly, that the mention of a man called Noah in the genealogy at Genesis 5 was no basis for believing that Noah was a real person. The down-grade is in place and moving through the Sydney Episcopalian Church through a former Principal of Moore Theological College having given a world influenced body of people access to impressionable students. The baton is being passed from one generation of leadership to another and the direction, left unchecked, will be down, down, down. Sam Drucker


John said...

The problem is Sam that these people have opted for a quasi-Gnostic worldview. What this means in practice is that at whatever point they can switch from being a true believer who trusts God's Word as it is, to one who filters God's Word through an alternative epistemological filter. For example, when Michael Jensen claims that Noah may be an historical figure he isn't saying this with Scripture in mind - because Scripture clearly says he was [I mean, how dumb can a Christian get - Noah was Jensen's great, great....granddad!] - but through the pagan pseudo-scientific religion that says the world is billions of years old and there was no universal Flood. He can then switch back to "his" orthodoxy when talk swings around to resurrection acoounts.

Jensen, both son and father, Woodhouse and the rest of the gang, have more in common with New Age mystics than you'd expect.

sam drucker said...

John, the problem is now widespread as we all know. The seed exists in the Sydney Diocese for a Down-Grade which will have the same destructive effect as occurred in the Noncomformist Church in England more than a century ago. Though it prides itself on being a centre for evangelicalism in the world the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese now has many hands on the steering wheel on a course of declension.

Sam Drucker