Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A good Protestant
The Revd Richard Kew:
This whole exercise is not about sexuality or sexual behavior, but is fundamentally about what we believe the Christian faith to mean and be about. When it comes down to it, it is about our attitude toward Jesus as God’s Son, the nature of the Trinity, divine revelation, Christian obedience, and holiness of life. The cavalier attitude of the [liberal Protestants and Modernists] to the creeds and their recitation is evidence that [they] consider the likes of me as pedantic has-beens rather than those who are on the cutting edge — but the cutting edge of what?

Yet the truth really is, as you look around the world, that those who are pushing this worn-out postmodern
mélange and calling it Christian are increasingly the has-beens. They seem to have tied themselves to the coattails of the last dribblings of the least attractive side of the Enlightenment, and it is entirely likely that they will disappear down the drain with them.

The church in England is wrestling to adapt to an altogether more secular and hostile climate than exists in most of the USA, and what is interesting, I don’t see postmodern Christianity standing up very well in such an environment. It is a limp and aging rag. The creative scholarship, for example, is coming from a far more theologically orthodox direction.

Healthy progressive liberal and theologically to-the-left congregations are few and far between, while it the theologically more conservative who are creatively evangelistic that have become the majority of stronger centers of the faith.

This isn’t to say that the English church doesn’t have a belly-load of problems and challenges, some of which it is refusing to address; but it is illustrative that so-called progressive faith is not flourishing well in an environment which affirms and celebrates many of the values and attitudes it endorses.

The churches in England that are healthiest are those who approach their Christian witness in a missional manner: which means trying to ask and answer how we take the gospel message and enable it to speak in an environment where the church is a bit of a joke — or worse. Some of them are making whopping mistakes, but at least they are trying! The
intelligentsia in Britain will generally take every opportunity to denigrate religious people of all flavors... There is little or no social or intellectual kudos to be gained from being a believer in England, and the bulk of the general population doesn’t have the vaguest notion of what the Christian faith is all about. There are too many uncanny parallels to the 1st century.

Yet, there are Anglican churches (and varieties of others) that are packed to the doors. There are some fascinatingly creative experiments being undertaken. The theologically orthodox seminaries are the ones enrolling the majority of new students. The House of Bishops is becoming increasingly orthodox (although they may not want to label themselves that way), and so on, and so on.
All of which is going on at the same time as Pope Benedict’s (no has-been he) Catholic revival and the Orthodox convert boomlet.

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