Sunday, January 02, 2005

Loose canon: Archbishop of Canterbury advocates unbelief and despair

Telegraph: Prayer, he admits, provides no 'magical solutions' and most of the stock Christian answers to human suffering do not 'go very far in helping us, one week on, with the intolerable grief and devastation in front of us'.

Dr Williams, who, as head of the Church of England, represents 70 million Anglicans around the world, writes: 'Every single random, accidental death is something that should upset a faith bound up in comfort and ready answers. Faced with the paralysing magnitude of a disaster like this, we naturally feel more deeply outraged - and also more deeply helpless.'

It is impossible to imagine a more striking expression of the nadir of apostasy among the Anglican leadership. It is one thing to discover that the US Anglican Web site was promoting a druidic rite as a replacement for the Eucharist. Now, since the Asian tsunami, the head of worldwide Anglicanism doesn't know if he believes in God. I wonder if he truly believed to begin with, or what it was he thought he was believing. His comments raise questions.

Is it a surprise to him that prayer does not provide "magic solutions"? Who had told him otherwise? Surely someone of his eminent learning should be aware that the Bible teaches no such thing. Perhaps his problem was that he had been believing an anthropocentric "gospel" in which man is the god and God is the servant. Surely, in such a case, it would be right to bring God into the dock to give account of Himself.

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? Romans 9:20-24

The reason that this statement cam be made is because God is the almighty, omnicient and just creator, in contrast to human beings who are limited in knowledge and wisdom, in a sense the property of the One who made them, and most of whom are hostile to their Maker to begin with. On the other hand, a postmodern, user-friendly God who conforms to all our expectations is really just our invention so He doesn't really exist, and certainly cannot do anything on the scale of a tsunami. So perhaps Dr. Williams is having a problem because he was believing in the wrong god.

Williams calls the deaths "random" and "accidental". Here he doesn't sound doubtful at all, but rather certain: if there is a God He certainly had no part in what happened Dec. 26. Divine volition is positively ruled out. Since it is logically impossible to prove a universal negative, the source of this denial must arise from something besides reason, although Dr. Williams doesn't explain what.

As sad as this is spectacle is, it isn't news. As soon as Western Anglicanism placed myopic conventional wisdom above the word of God, its death was sealed. What we are seeing now is only the corpse twitching.

Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. Matthew 15:14

Western Anglicanism is dead, but Anglicanism lives on as Third World Anglicans are still holding to the faith once for all entrusted to the saints and Anglicans in the West are looking for alternatives to their faithless shepherds, even to the extent of placing themselves under bishops in faraway Africa.

Dr. Rowan Williams has indeed fallen into a pit, and many with him. Yet there is still the hope of being lifted out, by One who is much greater than they have heretofore dared to believe.