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Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Time For Reflection.

Rev James W. Alexander was the eldest son of Rev Archibald Alexander, First Professor of Princeton Seminary. James was born in 1804 and followed his father into ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America. He finished his ministry at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York when passing from this life in 1859 - a momentous year.

Among his works, James Alexander had this observation to pass on to following generations:

"All defection from the faith begins in decay of piety. Sound doctrine is a plant that will not flourish in a soil which has lost the warmth of gracious affection. There may be scriptural creeds, in the very words of the venerable reformers; such are the Confessions of Germany, Holland, and the Swiss churches; but the body of the people, and especially the clergy, will go off into the most destructive errors. There was a period of 'dead orthodoxy', as it was called in Germany, which preceded the grand apostasy. For a time there was fiery contention for the symbols, resulting in the unrelenting persecution of such men as Spener, Francke, and Canstein; but shortly the door was opened for the irruption of a rationalistic deism. Decay of vital godliness leads rapidly to heterodox teaching. Times of outward prosperity are seized by the adversary for carrying on this disastrous work. Wealth flows into the church, and Christian professors, forgetting their vocation as a 'peculiar people', emulate the world, in their expenditure, their possessions, and their entertainments. The question which is common among us, as to the lawfulness of certain frivolous amusements, is a question which could not be so much as agitated in a flourishing and spiritual church. No man can think of it as mooted among the Apostles or early martyrs, among the reformers or covenanters. But at a certain stage in the declension, we find members of the church opening their houses for the midnight dance; then going freely to the theatre, and to games of hazard; and finally, making
shipwreck of the faith. As piety decays, there are great tenderness for error, and great latitude in the exposition of doctrine. A spurious charity forbids every word of harshness towards even gross error. Indifferentism is the mother of heresy; as we may read in the annals of Wittenberg, Geneva, and Cambridge; and both have their descent from worldliness in the church. Whatever, therefore, promotes piety, in the same degree promotes the belief of truth

As the Episcopalian (Anglican) Diocese of Sydney pursues relevance, while having a present and past Lecturer of its theological seminary confessing doubt on 'Inerrancy of Scripture', while having suffered extraordinary constraint on its finances due to high exposure to the Global Financial Crisis, while having little to show from its endeavour to have 10% of the population of Sydney in Bible 'believing' churches and now proposing a tax on parishes to buy land for church buildings in developing areas (a cost previously met from investment returns) surely the time as come to reflect on the words of Rev James W. Alexander.

Sam Drucker


John said...

"confessing doubt"? No, Jensen jnr. and Mascord do not BELIEVE in inerrancy, fullstop.

This makes them liberals. Hear that Mikey? You're now much closer to Spong's end of the line.

John said...

Come to think about it, Mikey's dad, the Archbishop, is over there with the Bible-is-not-inerrant crowd too because Pete believes that Jesus used evolution i.e. death and suffering to create. That means the Bible is wrong because the Bible doesn't say that..anywhere...but "science" does. Ipso facto, must mean "science" (a.k.a. man's attempt, sans any input from God's revelation, to understand our biological history) trumps Bible inerrancy.

That's the way to go: say we believe in God's revealed Word....but not that bit...or this..or even that primitive passage...or....or...

sam drucker said...

John said:

"That's the way to go: say we believe in God's revealed Word....but not that bit...or this..or even that primitive passage...or....or..."

But that is the mainstream Uniting Church approach to the Bible which has been criticized by mainstream Sydney Episcopalians. How can this be?

Sam Drucker

John said...

One word...and you know what that is - hypocrites!