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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Theological Reflection On: The women bishops vote in the Church of England | Theological Theology




"A friend of mine loves to repeat a paraphrase of the words of Oliver Cromwell about the perils of fighting battles against those who seem to be in control: 'The problem with fighting the king is that you have to win every time. He only has to win once.'"  -- Mark Thompson


Katherine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop, The Episcopal Church, USA.










By Charlie J. Ray, M. Div.

Dr. Mark Thompson of Moore Theological College has offered his opinion on the vote in the Church of England which rejected women bishops by a narrow margin.  I quote an excerpt here:

However, there will be no real progress until it is recognised that opposition to this proposal is not only perfectly legitimate, but arises from a deep conviction that men and women are equally valued by the God who created and redeemed them yet are intended to complement one another not simply duplicate one another. The teaching of Scripture on the distinction between men and women in the exercise of Christian ministry for the building up of the church and glory of Christ's name is not a time-bound relic of a bygone culture. It is God's good gift which enhances our unity and challenges Christian surrender to one of today's cultural juggernauts. It genuinely values women as opposed to devaluing them.  Theological Theology:  The Women's Vote

Unfortunately, our gender confused and egalitarian society has taken the equality view to such an extreme that individual choice extends even to sex change operations and homosexuality.  Once the biblical roles of men and women are confused to the point that there is no distinction between male and female whatsoever, it irrationally follows that a man and a woman is whatever you say they are, and the logical propositions revealed in Scripture become a moot point.  Bill Moyers Journal makes my point well enough that women ministers and bishops go hand in hand with the homosexuality/transgender revisionism:

Bishop Jefferts Schori has assumed her leadership position at a particularly tumultuous time for the Episcopal Church, specifically due to mounting criticism from more conservative sectors of the Anglican Communion, in parts of Africa and Asia, regarding Episcopal stances on homosexuality, same-sex partnerships, and other social issues. In her first national interview since being elected, she told CNN that she does not believe homosexuality is a sin:

"I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into this world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us. And some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender."  Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, Bill Moyers Journal.

Odd, but the Bible calls this a "reprobate mind" rather than a "gift of God."  (Romans 1:28 KJV; Romans 1:28).  Even the Thirty-nine Articles rejects the idea that being born with a propensity to immoral acts justifies the person who commits such acts:

Article XVII

Of Predestination and Election

Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.  (Cf.  Article 9 and Article 10).

In short, the contrast between those elected before the foundation of the world with those who are passed over and left to the curse of original sin and their own evil acts is a sharp one.  Furthermore, saying that someone is a born sinner is no excuse for their actual sins.  The inability to obey God's law is not a blessing but a curse.  Furthermore, the natural or unnatural inability to obey God is the sign of reprobation, not a sign of God's blessing or that God has "gifted" someone with homosexuality.  (Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:27).  While theological liberals say that sinners cannot help being homosexual, they unwittingly wind up agreeing with the biblical teaching that reprobation is predestined.  (1 Peter 2:8).  The fact is if God wants to convert the homosexual to heterosexuality He is well able to do so since He is omnipotent.  As the Seventeenth Article says, members of the church and humankind at large still have a moral obligation to follow God's will "which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God."  The moral law does not change with human experience.  Rather human experience is required to agree with the absolute standard of God's moral law:

5. The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; (Romans 13: 8, 9; Ephesians 6:2; 1 John 2:3, 4, 7, 8) and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God, the Creator, who gave it.  (James 2:10,11)  Neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.  (Matthew 5:17,18,19; James 2:8; Romans 3:31)  
Westminster Confession of Faith.  Of the Law of God:   Chapter  19, Section 5.

Following the logic of the revisionists, reason itself goes out the window.  Human sexuality and gender identities become a sort of Frankenstein monster where body parts are artificially exchanged in a vain attempt to reduplicate God's intended creation.  The technological tower of Babel, however, is a cheap imitation of the genuine article of God's created order.  The biological and gender identity of the physical body is obvious to all who observe a human birth.  But according to the revisionists and social engineers nothing is certain and therefore individual choice extends even to the physical body and a "choice" of gender.  As silly as the whole rationale behind the transgender movement is, people are blinded by dogmatic propaganda such that they assume that people are actually born with the mind of a man or a woman caught up in the wrong body.

This radical individualism and radical promotion of individual choice apparently extends to abortion and the murder of the unborn baby in its own mother's womb and to the euthanizing of the elderly and other undesirables in society.  Ironically, it is a secularized humanism that leads to a socialistic totalitarianism pretending to protect individual rights.

Same sex attraction, also an effect of the mind, is invalidly claimed to be a biological predisposition.  Yet empirical science is not able to prove the philosophical assumptions which go beyond mere empirical observation.  Exactly how is the mind and the body related to one another and how does sentience and consciousness arise in the soul of an individual?  The idea that the mind is merely a biological projection and predetermined by genetics, physiology, and the organ of the brain is a presupposition, not a precisely defined scientific "fact".  It is no more a "fact" than the theory of evolution is a "fact".  It is true that certain parts of the brain control other functions like motor coordination and long term and short term memory; but this in no way proves that the personality and the soul or mind is merely a product of biological functions.  The mind is a gestalt that is greater than the sum of its functions or the grey matter of the brain.  The irony is that so-called "empirical" science is used to make philosophical and metaphysical leaps of faith in order to justify the politically correct propaganda of the materialistic secularists, atheists, and theological liberals.

In the same way a form of sociological social engineering is underway to blur the lines between the biblical roles of men and women, both of whom are created in the image and likeness of God.  (Genesis 1:27).   Who among the feminists really wants to destroy the feminine nature of women as women?  If men and women are equal in every sense of the word, then maybe the men ought to step back and let the women fight all the wars, run the government, and make all decisions for the human race?  The idea that men should become effeminate and be house husbands and let the women defend the nation from aggression is a facade from the Amazon region of the world.  The idea that women ought to be deacons, presbyters, rectors or bishops makes about as much sense as saying that men should be housewives.

The implication of making all truth relativistic is that there is no absolute truth, morality or ethics.  That would mean that majority rule determines right and wrong and not a transcendent moral standard.  As the late Gordon H. Clark argued, apart from faith reason and rationalism always leads to irrationalism and skeptism.  Moreover, faith without reason leads to more skepticism:

Throughout the history of the Christian church there have appeared from time to time individuals and groups who look with disfavor on reason, intellect, and higher learning. From the Patristic period Tertullian is often quoted as saying, “I believe because it is absurd.” Although this is not precisely what Tertullian said, his opposition to pagan culture is well known. What has the Christian in common with the philosopher, he declaims; the church with the Academy; revelation with reason? Yet, because he did some philosophizing himself, perhaps he should be understood as deprecating, not reason in general, but pagan reason only. Nonetheless, there remains a suspicion that his is a faith without reason.

Gordon H. Clark. Religion, Reason and Revelation. (Kindle Locations 1631-1635). The Trinity Foundation.

The only hope for true civilization is not postmodern irrationalism or hyper-individualism or even secular humanism.  Without a biblical revelation there is no basis for civilized society or religious truth.  All that remains for liberal theology is reason, and that reason always leads to skepticism such that sociology, psychology, political science, and vain philosophy is but the empty shell of a faith without a revelation from God.  Reason without faith leads ultimately to irrationalism.  Even faith without reason is irrational.  But revelation is itself revealed in a rational and logical format called the Holy Scriptures.  The Scriptures are God's logical propositions recorded for human understanding and comprehension of God's purposes, decrees, and precepts.  Even the promises of God's covenant of grace in the Gospel are revealed in logical propositions:

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; (Romans 1:1-6)

Moreover, seen in the light of Scripture, women should never be ordained as ministers in the church or consecrated as bishops.  Although there are exceptions to the norm in Scripture, including Deborah who was a judge who led battles in the Old Testment (Judges 4:4-14), it is by no means a requirement that women become field generals or fight in wars.  History provides a few examples where women became effectual leaders of nations, including Elizabeth I in 16th century England and Margaret Thatcher in 20th century England.  Even here there are no examples in the Bible of women deacons, pastors, or bishops.  None of the apostles were women, although women did sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him.  (Luke 10:39).  None of this, however, can overturn the biblical prohibition of women as ministers and leaders in the church.  (1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34; Ephesians 5:22-29).

Although the schizophrenia of postmodernists has tried to reinvent reality so that whatever humans conceive becomes their own reality or what they say reality is, the physical universe remains what God created it to be.  The idea that humankind is the center of all logic, truth, and reality is an idol, and the technological Babel cannot reach heaven no matter how hard humankind tries.  Both logic and revelation flow from God alone, who is the source of all truth.  "Virtual reality" is a computer simulation, not reality itself.  So the "virtual reality" constructed by the revisionists is no reality at all.

While technological wonders continue to astound the world, God is still God and no one will ever overthrow Him.  He is indeed the Sovereign King of the universe and His decrees always come to be.  (Isaiah 14:24; Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 46:9-10; Daniel 4:34-35).  Even if women bishops are eventually established in the Church of England, it will be nothing more than God's decree to reprobation and apostasy.  (Proverbs 16:4; Romans 9:17-22).  Where women are ordained it is usually only a short step to the ordination of homosexuals and other pagan practices, which are completely foreign to Christianity as it is revealed in Scripture.  Furthermore, these aberrations never appeared in the traditional orthopraxy of the catholic and orthodox church from its inception in the first century under the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles.   It is apostolic teaching and not apostolic succession that proves catholicity and orthodoxy.  That teaching is infallibly and without error recorded in the plenarily inspired words and propositions of Holy Scripture.  (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:15-16).  The Protestant Reformation was never about revising Christianity to make it agree with paganism and postmodern ideas of truth; rather, it is about restoring the universal and visible church to the apostolic teaching of Christ, which teaching is an infallible record in the Bible.

Fighting against God the King might seem to be wise.  Remember, however, that God only needs to win once and that battle is a decisive one.  (Luke 14:28-33)

Peace,

Charlie J. Ray, M. Div.

 Click here to read the original post by Dr. Thompson:  The women bishops vote in the Church of England | Theological Theology

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