Friday, 13 July 2012

"The New Inquisitors" and what Bishop Tim's thoughts might be on it

Revd. Robert West has written the following in reply to the General Synod of the CofE. The originally may be found HERE
"The General Synod of the Church of England - which is the partly-elected body which makes subordinate legislation (lesser laws and rules) for members and clergy of the Church of England - has, once again, entered the political fray to ban its clergy from being members of a certain political party; not that many are, or, if they are, that they would make it well known: the secrecy of the ballot box and the confidentiality of one’s political affiliations, being well respected, by most persons and parsons within that National Church (of England) by law established.

The move has been pushed by left-wing zealot and civilian worker for the police force, no less, Vasanatha Gnanadoss; something which may not bode well for the political impartiality of the police, who likewise stop their members from being part of that particular political party. The same is not true with the Armed Forces, however. The political party concerned is, you guessed it, the British National Party. So none of us should be concerned about it should we? Well, what happens to one, one day, will happen to someone else the next; so everyone does need to be very concerned about it. Here is a thin end of the wedge to short-circuit and curtail democracy for all and at least, for now, for members of the police and for clergy of the Church of England; important social institutions.

The objection against the British National Party seems to be grounded on the fact that it’s policies and activities are, or may be, declared incompatible with Christian teaching. By whom, however? The answer seems to be the House of Bishops, unelected toadies who are unaccountable to their members and who have already presided over the steepest decline of their Church in centuries.

It needs to be noted that the objection to the BNP is not grounded on its policies and activities being opposed to the Holy Bible or the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England or the Book of Common Prayer (1662) of the Church of England which either express or are the sources of the faith of the Church of England. This is worrying because Gnanadoss does not seem to know, or care, where her faith and the faith of her Church, is found, or should come from. It comes from something far more fundamental than her belief in the declarations of General Synod or the mere determinations of its House of Bishops. The Bible pre-dates the founding of the Church of England, in the 6th century, by about six centuries; and the 39 Articles of Religion pre-date the General Synod by 400 years or so, and, likewise, the Book of Common Prayer. The Bible, not the General Synod, is the source of the Church’s faith; and the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer are by Act of Parliament the expression of that faith. Gnanadoss has, in her ignorance, thrown down a gauntlet to law, parliament, articles, prayer book and Bible; not to mention Christian faith and history! For all her talk about equality this is quite astonishing. It remains to be seen whether the General Synod will join her in making itself look irrelevant, irreverent and even more foolish. They have certainly behaved before, on other issues, like the gadarene swine, who, when possessed of demons cast out from a demoniac, whom Christ had just healed; then hurled themselves down a cliff onto the rocks below and all perished. But that does not mean that they should repeat that tradition. The Church has already nose-dived in membership, relevance and effectiveness over liturgical anarchy, female ordination and the latest is homosexuality. The New Testament certainly does very clearly condemn the latter two (1 Tim 2: 11-14; 1 Cor 6: 9). So, perhaps, the General Synod and the House of Bishops is possessed of devils; and has been so for many a decade.

Gnanadoss, further, has clearly not adapted to this country judging by her complete lack of understanding and her contempt for the character and history of the Church of England. We have already mentioned the prayer book; but what of him who wrote it, Thomas Cranmer: the Archbishop who went to the flames for his faith before earlier inquisitors. He was most certainly, in his day, part of a nationalistic party of sorts; and better for it. He was involved in both Henry VIII’s reformation and the later protestant reformation of Edward VI, when the prayer book was written. It was then that both the Church and State of England asserted its Christian independence and sovereignty. The foreign pope, the Bishop of Rome, was to have no jurisdiction in this realm of England and his supranational authority was repatriated, forcibly, by Parliament in the Act of Supremacy, 1534. The Bible, also, was soon to be printed in English - how nationalistic can you get, and proletarian and parochial too!

I notice that Gnanadoss is emphasising the declarations of the church, not the teaching of holy scripture. Maybe she would like to lock it up in Latin once again so that folks would not appreciate that God deals in nations, and ordinary people, and made them (Psalm 86:9). And what about the chosen nation, Ms Gnanadoss; what are you going to do with them? If you think nations are racist whatever will you make of the Bible which still speaks of the chosen nation and of a God who, in the teaching of Paul in the New Testament, (Romans 10: 1-3; 11: 1-36) still has His eye upon it. Do I detect a creeping left-wing anti-Semitism here? That will only add to a litany of errors.

The Church of England is one of our two National Churches, the other being the Church of Scotland: the Queen is its Supreme Governor; it has a special and privileged relationship to the English and British State and to all of its citizens. The job of regulating which legal political party its clergy join, if any, is surely a matter for the legislature, who were voted in by the citizenry. It is doubtful whether the police ‘ban’ on policemen being BNP members is legal under either our law or that of the European Convention; any banning declaration by the General Inquisition, sorry General Synod, is equally doubtful.

It is certain that the Bible condemns female ordination, and homosexuality, which both have something in common in confusing gender roles; but it is very doubtful whether the Bible can to be taken to oppose nations and moderate nationalism; which is the core principle of the British National Party, the UKIP, the English Democrats, most ordinary members of the Conservative Party, the Balfour Declaration for a Jewish national home in Palestine; and of about 70% of the population of Britain both north and south of the border between England and Scotland. Few enough folk go to Church. It would be tragic if those who do, were to be driven away by a combination of attitudes, declarations and policies which only an effete and privileged group, if that, admire. The churches of the Church of England around me cannot get vicars enough, as it is. Very few men attend, and even less youngsters. It may well get even more ‘Gay’ in the bad sense of that word.

Gnanadoss may see herself as a heroine and even as a martyr. She may even feel that her proposals are honest, good and true. Many people like her do. But, as Jesus pointed out in another parable, if the blind are to lead the blind (Mt 15: 14) - and we have had a lot of that, of late, within the Church of England - then we are all heading, no doubt with the police, into a very big legal, moral and political ditch!"

© The Revd Robert West.

There can be little doubt how the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, would vote. He is the man who was ultimately responsible for the late David North's removal from his long service to his local' church as Churchwarden - for the crime of belonging to a polital party. He was also seen in a TV interview with his Cross tucked into his jacket, no doubt so as not to 'offend' non-Christian sects and religions. Whatever happened to the courage of these clerics, to stand up for their own Christian parishioners, without fear or favour?

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