Friday, September 20, 2002


In fact, there seems to have developed in the �Western� world in recent decades the curious phenomenon of the post-religious church. This is most marked in the case of the Church of England and its related Anglican churches worldwide.

There was once a time hundreds of years ago when followers of the Church of England were passionate believers in its blend of Protestant doctrines and episcopal organization. And assent to the 39 �Articles of Religion� is to this day supposed to be the mark of the Anglican. These articles say things such as: �Holy scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.� (Article 6). And: �They are to be had accursed that presume to say , That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law and the light of Nature.� (Article 18). No doctrinal flexibility or universal salvation there! And no vagueness about what is authoritative!

How much this uncompromising language contrasts with the wishy-washy social gospel that is usually to be heard in Anglican churches today. When the Anglican flock go to church these days what they hear from their clergy tends to be a wishy-washy mish-mash of every trendy �liberal� belief under the sun. God and the Bible are lucky to get a mention. The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury (Carey) is so �Green� that not even Greenpeace could have found fault with him and the incoming Archbishop (Williams) clearly has no respect whatever for Bible teachings about homosexuality. It is not even certain that a majority of the Anglican episcopate believe in God in any meaningful sense. Some of them clearly do not.

So in modern times nothing seems to be forbidden in the Anglican churches and nothing seems to be required for membership other than a modicum of politeness and a patience with rambling sermons. And it is not so much belief that is required as good taste! How has this come about?

It would seem to reflect a decay of faith in the general population. About the only religious belief that still wins widespread assent in the modern Western world is belief in God. But this is now accompanied by widespread skepticism about whether the churches know any more about God than anybody else. Certainly, the idea that one particular church has the truth while others do not is now widely seen as ridiculous.

This means that many mainstream churches are essentially now hollow shells. They offer a facility for worship and fellowship but have no authority in matters of morals, doctrine or anything else. They have become social facilities rather than religious institutions. Rather than delivering salvation, all that is now asked of them is that they occasionally make you feel good. So this lack of moral, ethical or doctrinal anchors leaves the door open wide for what is popularly believed in the secular world to prevail in the churches as well. So if Leftist, Greenie, Feminist or �Gay-lib� beliefs are vocally expressed in the community at large, such beliefs will be expressed with similar energy from the pulpit. The acclaimed Marxist theorist Gramsci foresaw many years ago a �long march through the institutions� for Leftism -- and the post-religious churches have offered no resistance to that march at all. Their clergy now preach salvation through the nostrums of Leftism and Environmentalism rather than through the worship of Christ.

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