July 09, 2004

Archbishop and Evangelicals

By most standards the Church of England is a failed church. Its peculiar brand of English Christianity is neither charismatically exciting nor is it intellectually rigorous. Its academic approach owes more to higher Biblical criticism than it does to modern deconstruction. Theologically it is caught in a time warp. Occasionally a bishop will emerge who challenges the nostra of faith and questions whether one needs to take the Virgin Birth literally, but then the traditionalists usually marginalize him or drive him out (think Bishop Robinson, former Archbishop of York Dr Blanche to name only two notorious ones). Part of the C of E wants to be progressive and accept women, homosexuals and transvestites as equals, while another part threatens secession to Rome whenever any changes are suggested. It is hardly surprising that numbers have dropped so alarmingly over the years that now England has the lowest level of church attendance in Europe and C of E ministers are good for humor (The Vicar of Dibley, Monty Python, and Seven Weddings and a Funeral). Only its Alpha programme still keeps a handful coming back in and as with many creative religious fashions it came from the margins not the Establishment of the church. The churches in England that are growing are the exciting, often West Indian or African evangelical churches, because they have passion in contrast to the cold, empty boredom of a church that boasts the Queen of England as its supreme leader.

Why this vituperation from a cursed Jew, one who according to the Teaching of Contempt belongs to a failed religion, or in Replacement Theology one that doesn’t really belong here any more, and certainly does not deserve to have a land of its own, unlike any other people or religion in the world? Because in a major public statement the Archbshop of Canterbury and the Head of the Catholic Church in England opposing the war in Iraq (a perfectly legitimate target if done honestly and fairly) also declared war on “those in the Christian community who foster an increasingly one-sided approach to the Holy Land”. Code for American fundamentalist or evangelical churches that support Israel as well as George Bush.

Well, when I read that I felt mightily relieved. It’s not only we Jews who shoot ourselves in the foot and foster internecine conflict. Good on you Archbishop, go for those Christians you don’t agree with. Bring back the Emperor Constantine who killed more heretical Nestorian Christians than Jews and pagans just because they disagreed about the exact definition of the Divine Nature of the Son!

Of all the issues they had to pick on, this was it? One wonders if behind their concern wasn’t the realization that the very groups they are attacking are doing far more than they are to keep Christianity alive in an overwhelmingly secular world.

Now if they are, as they claim, intellectually opposed to fundamentalism (actually a position I share), I wonder why they didn’t come out with a public statement condemning Mel Gibson’s fundamentalist and medieval interpretation of the Passion? But in typical cowardly and craven fashion they go for a soft target and hit the Jews again. Well done Cantauer!

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