Fr Stephen Smuts

The Decline of the Church in Britain

with 36 comments

Whitby Abbey – “bare, ruined quires”

Writes Fr Dwight Longenecker:

Damian Thompson (who is probably one of the world’s greatest journalists) write here about the decline of Christianity in Britain. The shrinking of those who identify as Christians is combined with a dramatic surge in the Muslim population. You can’t disagree with the statistics:

Since the last census in 2001, the number of Britons identifying themselves, however loosely, as Christians is down 13 percentage points to 59 per cent.

The number of respondents who say they have no religious faith is up 10 points to 25 per cent. Meanwhile, staggeringly, the Muslim population has grown from 1.55 million to 2.7 million, an increase of 1.15 million from 2001 to 2011.

However, I must disagree with Damian’s diagnosis of the problem. Damian points the finger at the dismal leadership of both Rowan Williams in the Church of England and the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. These men aren’t to blame for the lack of Christianity in Britain. The roots of the problem lie much deeper.

There are two essential reasons why Christianity is dying in the West. The first reason is philosophical and theological. Christianity has been undermined by modernism, the roots of which date back to destructive methods of Biblical critical scholarship and the humanistic rationalism and relativism that accompanies modernism. The roots of these trends within the church are found within nominalism– the philosophical foundations of  historical Protestantism. Therefore, the present problem can be clearly traced back 500 years when Christians started drifting from the supernatural and historic beliefs of the Christian faith. Read The Smoke of Satan for further analysis…

Put simply, Christianity is fading in Britain because British people don’t believe in it. They don’t believe in it because their whole culture and educational system contradicts Christian religious belief.

The second reason the British have stopped being Christian is because the British have stopped being Christian. What I mean is that, despite the theological and philosophical problems, Christian faith still flourishes when there are dynamic examples of Christians living out their faith in a radical way. When Christians live out their faith in simplicity and sacrifice, when their love and patience is exhibited in daily life, and when their spirituality empowers a genuine encounter with Christ and when they are truly transformed, they soon transform the world. What attracted converts the most in the early church was the radical and radiant love Christians lived out. In the midst of a dying culture of death and despair the Christians loved one another. They sang! They were filled with energy, hope, zeal and life.

Pope Benedict understands that the practice of Christianity will continue to shrink in the West. It will contract and seem to fade away, but that contraction will be a purification. We will have quality even if we do not have quantity. Then as the western world is swept away by the combined forces of atheism on the one hand and cruel and oppressive Islam on the other, the few radical Christians will once again shine like stars in the night. They will once again exhibit true forgiveness (which is absent in atheism and Islam) true faith (which  is absent in atheism and Islam) and true love (which is absent in atheism and Islam)

The leadership may be weak, but most leaders are simply reflections of those whom they lead. Christianity in Britain is not weak because of weak leadership. The leadership is weak because Christians in Britain are weak.

And lest my American readers are feeling smug and self righteous, the same rot is present in American Christianity, but with far more insidious and decadent manifestations.

 

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 11, 2012 at 15:22

36 Responses

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  1. It is sad that people really think that historical Protestantism is the basis of modernism, postmodernism etc., this is really a myth, we can lay some of this to the Enlightenment, etc. But certainly Roman Catholicism has itself followed some of this with its own religious and educational choices, as we can certainly see with aspects of the pastoral of Vatican II! Note even Ratzinger is critical of the Pastoral section here (Gaudiun wt spes). Btw, people should see and realize that the 18th century Enlightenment was most certainly a European philosophical movement characterized by rationalism, skepticism and empiricism… in social, political and even religious thought. And most certainly the West has imbibed this fully in our day with both modernism and now the fulness of postmodernity!

    Note, the great work of Karl Barth was pressed here (his CD, Christian Dogmatics) with Emil Brunner, etc. They both came from out of this era, and sought with a kind of neo-orthodoxy to combat this. Though most certainly in places these great men were still affected by modernism and liberalism. However even in today’s time of Theology, these men stand out as most certainly conservatives in the main light of what passes, both Evangelical and Catholic. Spinoza has put his mark on both of these btw.

    irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

    December 11, 2012 at 19:51

  2. As if either nominalism or Protestanism later were a cause, the RCC wouldn’t be so equally messed up in a post-Christian England? Christian England “survived” scholasticism, the Reformation, Counter-Reformation, the Puritans & civil war, the Glorious Revolution, the loss of the American colonies, the rise & fall of Empire, and 2 World Wars.

    Sadly, seems like so many people only really care about this due to the Islamic displacement factor. No one really cares about agnosticism or secularism as long as no “competing” religion steps in? Where was all the angst in the 20th Century as England de-Christianized?

    England needs a revival like America had in the 18th and 19th centuries. Where is her Wesley today? Or her Newman/Keble/Pusey?

    Don’t think we should ever forget that in all generations after Christianity became the “state” religion of the Roman Empire and beyond, nominal Christians were (and still are) in the majority.

    Going back to the superstition and magic of the middle ages isn’t any solution. We can’t return to those ignorant years. When the average peasant was illiterate. The Church prohibited laity reading the bible. The bible and liturgy were in a strange, foreign langauge. He received communion once a year, if that, and only in one kind. His religious life was all about getting himself into purgatory (by works) and then staying on the good side of the Church so it would get him out of purgatory (thru indulgences).

    If Rome had been doing so well in England before 1517, then why did so much get swept away so quickly and easily in the 16th Century, in England and Europe? There was a real need for reformation. One might even argue that the real Counter-Reformation was Vatican II?

    Michael Frost

    December 11, 2012 at 20:26

    • Amen there Michael! Of course Trent was itself a kind of Reformation, though of course Catholic therein. But the Council of Vatican II has simply been all over the place, and used in all different directions (in the last 50 years). And again who knows how to define the Gaudium et spes?

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      December 11, 2012 at 20:54

      • And I lived through this period of time (at 63), both in Ireland and in England, and now in the USA. In my opinion, conservative Reformed Theology, and of course Eastern Orthodoxy have changed very little in 50 years. But not so of course Anglicanism, or even Roman Catholicism!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 11, 2012 at 21:11

    • What intrigues me is that once Christianity took over that Roman Empire, it became deadly.
      Likewise as I’ve just read, http://godswillchurch.com/2012/11/atheist-bible-stories-revelation-vi-the-return-of-the-whore/ “So to me, the label “The Mother of Whores” sounds like the highest of …’ compliments- like calling someone a humanitarian, or a Jedi. I certainly respect the title “whore” more than I do the title “priest”, despite my upbringing; as far as I know, very few whores have been accused of raping little boys.” Clearly people are thinking for themselves and people like Ioannes seem comfortable communicating in an equally strong tone (I edited the … for netiquette). That website seems to have some interesting alternative free thinkers commenting so I’d like in good faith, over time to explore comparing and contrasting if that at all possible and allowable without wanting to be accused of being a troll because that can be such a communication blocker.

      Matthew Fowler

      December 11, 2012 at 21:03

      • @Matt: Aye, now you fly your “atheist” flag, so you were a “troll”! Don’t worry though, our Catholic friend “Ioannes” will clean your clock I’m sure! And I will agree in principle! ;)

        Btw, there is not a wit of “free thinking” in atheism, just unbelief!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 11, 2012 at 21:25

      • Mmm, I do find your logic Robert intriguing, especially given your claims, career path, profession to be following Christ in terms of judging me or is it in actual fact my behaviour? What makes your mind think that I own an “atheist” flag’? Also what makes your mind judgementally conclude that I was and am now no longer ‘a “troll”‘. What does troll mean for you? I’ve always thought that “atheism” is an intriguing word as it sounds like a theism so doesn’t that run counter to your subsequent posterity published claim, “just unbelief”? As far as, “our Catholic friend “Ioannes” will clean your clock I’m sure! And I will agree in principle! ;) ” as long as he & you both remove the log from your eye first, I don’t mind Ioannes cleaning my clock of any mote/s or if you “will agree in principle! ;) “…?

        Matthew Fowler

        December 11, 2012 at 21:37

      • @Matt: First, I really don’t and cannot judge “you”! But, I can judge your beliefs, world-view, what you say, etc. And of course I do! I am myself an old conservative, and I hope closer to the likes of the Anglo-Irish, Edmund Burke, at least somewhat. But, I have had my own life-experience for sure, and seen death many times, both in the military and as a Anglican priest/presbyter. I am a “Christian” by the grace and gift of God In Christ! – And that is about as certain as my breath, but of course this is my faith! But, when my time comes, I simply want to see the face and glory of Christ, my Rock & Redeemer! “I know my redeemer lives!”

        “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19: 25-27)

        A “troll” I guess for the blogs, would be someone who moves about, but does not really give truth to who and what he is, but still presses his ideas & opinions overly. Yes, we all have ideas & opinions, but they should come from our heart, mind and conscience, hopefully over and seeking truth!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 11, 2012 at 23:05

      • What then for you Robert are my beliefs because I’m uncertain that I’ve clearly communicated them as I’ve posterity published, I’m struggling with the emotional roller coaster of intubation coma in ICU at the moment so my mind most certainly isn’t able to accurately, respectfully, considerately, quickly, completely respond to some of what you or others eg Ioannes and Michael have written here on this blog so far. What I can say so far is I know what I know, I don’t know what I don’t. I’ve slowly since standing for democracy in response, reaction, renouncing my lifelong Scouting, Queen’s Scout, Rover Scout Baden-Powell Award commitment to be above politics 2007, to that GG-UK-USA-Australian conquesting, capitalist colonising so called “Coalition of the Willing” invading Afghanistan & Iraq with WMDs Weapons of Mass Distraction, Daisy Cutter Bomb Diplomacy, innocent children & their mothers murdered along with fathers, families, wholly innocent. My mind, head, heart, brain, body, needs time, efforts, consideration, compassion, empathy not sympathy at this tentative, sensitive time. I hope then that will in actual fact help your mind’s eye. I wonder then what you make of, http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/the-divided-brain-26-the-western-world/4392698 ?

        Matthew Fowler

        December 12, 2012 at 02:07

      • I am not a psychiatrist or medical doctor, so I cannot speak about the right and left brain. But, I am a Anglican priest and presbyter, and an old “theolog”, and the Bible has to do with the salvation of the human soul, i.e. Salvation History and the Covenant/covenants for literal Israel, the Church, and the Gentile Nations.

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 12, 2012 at 03:00

  3. No… In my opinion, and older people may disagree, it is long past the point of debate. Debates will never convince anyone anything if they sincerely believe in their position- I may be right, and my arguments may be airtight, logical, etc- but some people, even if you argue with them for the rest of your life until your face turns blue and your books gain holes from pointing things out from them and you write a library full of volumes on the matter, and statues start crying blood and icons get greasy from secreting holy oil from praying for guidance- the enemy will still maintain a position contrary to what is correct.
    Now, these stubborn people and what they consider to be true may be benign in nature- surely, liking Pepsi will not send you to Hell if the pope likes Coke, nor will you be called a heretic for eating pie when the Church Fathers wrote about the superiority of cake.
    But then, there are those who hold dangerous and wrong beliefs. They held them before, they hold them now, they will hold them in the future, and even in front of God, they will insist they are correct. You cannot argue with these people, nor are they benign- what makes you think you can convince them to turn from their ways? Only God will take care for them, in ways only God knows. But what is the upright human being supposed to do? From our limited wisdom, either there is something right, or something wrong, and we either follow what is right, or follow what is wrong- thinking that a grey area is a valid position gives you dullness and inevitable self-destruction from refraining to choose either what is right or what is wrong.
    (A tangent here: “Grey”, at its very fundamental analysis is a mere juxtaposition of two opposing ideas that are merely illusory in harmony because of how closely intertwined they are. A “Grey area” depends on subjective perception, rather than it being objectively substantial- it is the mind’s eye getting fooled in making one think that two opposing things getting together gets you a new thing. It is Hegelian dialectic, which brings us things like Marxism other “modern ideas”)

    Inaction, which is neutral, the physical counterpart of silence, is neither one thing or another, but becomes a recourse for those who do not wish to support one thing or another, binds the participant of silence or inaction into self-destruction, because if there is a contradiction and struggle between two opposing ideas, that contradiction will eventually be resolved and cannot be indefinitely continual, these contradictions will either be resolved on Earth, or resolved in Heaven, but that resolution shall not come about by silence or inaction in any case.
    (Bear with me, I’m getting to my point.)
    So, if there are those who hold dangerous and wrong beliefs, there MUST be something that makes them dangerous, either to society, to religion, to thought, etc. Can you debate with these people? No, we have held as factual that they, if truly faithful to their erroneous beliefs, will NEVER convert to what is right. So what is left?
    That is the reasoning why killing, not murder, was considered permissible, and I still think IS technically permissible in some form (such as self-preservation) in the Roman Catholic Church- otherwise, the existence of Swiss Guards are a mystery; or Catholics who serve in armed forces are destined for hell by virtue of their occupation (What is a soldier? Soldiers exist because wars and conflicts exist; war is not a game of checkers, it is not a debate, someone MUST die, and soldiers must be determined to kill or die for one reason or another.); or victories over murderous Muslim hordes deserve punishment for those evil, evil Christians who fought against those who deny the divinity of Christ and the validity of His Church and the protection of the faithful.
    And then, there are those who are not violently opposed to right beliefs and actions, but speak against them; what can be done, when censoring them has no effect, and other measures are ignored; when dissuading them only causes them to be entrenched in their false beliefs? Are we going to say “Maybe you’re right 50%, and I’m right 50%” when we ought declare is that what we believe is 100% correct, though we ourselves by nature of our humanity err? What standard do we go by, if what we believe is only half correct? We can try to compromise, as we had done, but what that has brought us is an increase of those who do not believe in the fullness of Truth being with us. Trying to be “nice” and “charitable” is something we’ve tried these past few decades, but that certainly has not stopped the West’s descent into godlessness, has it?
    Strange that an Orthodox person would continually speak out against scholasticism when it was a supposedly staunchly Orthodox nation that first deeply succumbed to the most anti-Christian idea in living memory, much more quickly than the West, which has no fear about declaring the validity of earthly and human reason. Just as Christ had two natures, and is fully human and fully divine, so Truth can be known by Human Reason and Divine Revelation. The existence of God and His Truths, can be arrived upon and understood by virtue of Human Reason, though Faith, and Divine Revelation is superior, as Christ’s humanity was dependent upon Divinity, not fallen humanity, for His human nature to be a reflection of humanity’s glorified state which Adam once had, but lost.
    So, no, debates and discussions- they can more or less clarify -some- things, but they tend to reach the same ultimate end: “We are different from each other- we can never agree because we are different, we can only agree to disagree.” Anything else is pretense, or some compromised half-truth that everyone would rather follow because it is EASIER, because it is TOLERABLE, because it is COMFORTABLE, but not because it is right. But see, that’s the sort of mentality that leads to atheism- the opposite of what God demands from us, to undertake what is not easy, tolerable, or comfortable, for the sake of what is right.
    What is wrong does not become right merely because of “consensus” or “debate” or “discussion” or “votes” or “feelings” but because they are either wrong or right. If there is no God, there can be no objective basis for any moral, value judgments. As the Angelic Doctor stated: one of the things which necessitates the existence of God is the existence of differences of degrees of goodness, the greatest of which, we can only call “God”. This is the chief, central understanding of God which is neglected by idiot clergy and ignorant laymen- this sad fact brings us to where we are at this point in history.
    (A note to our resident Manichean /Marcionite: Evil is, like shadow or darkness, the non-existence of Good, rather than something substantial in itself, so there is no “Ultimate Evil” other than the absence of Ultimate Good, which is God. Why is this? Being can only arise from being, not from non-being. Non-being has no properties, no potentialities, and no powers. When something begins to exist, there must be some other being that caused it to exist. If the Universe began to exist and came to being, there must be a transcendent Cause which would explain why the Universe came to existence.)
    That’s why the most dangerous of criminals are persecuted with extreme prejudice, are executed, or at least rendered unable to do harm to society in some other manner (imprisonment, exile, etc.) I suggest bringing that back, because the alternative sucks.

    Ioannes

    December 12, 2012 at 00:44

    • This may be a reason why the Atheist will not hesitate at a moment’s notice to mock that Christian and what He believes; When it comes to Muslims, not a single JOKE can be made, not a single CARTOON can be drawn- the Atheist shakes in his boots like the coward he is, as he is joined by other cowardly “Christians” who think they can always “Talk things over” when the time to fight has come.

      Their understanding of “peace” is no different that Neville Chamberlain’s.

      This is a time to fight in any way we can. We are the Church Militant, and we seek death to the world, that we may live in Christ.

      Ioannes

      December 12, 2012 at 00:54

    • Ioannes, You caught my eye when you wrote the following: “Strange that an Orthodox person would continually speak out against scholasticism when it was a supposedly staunchly Orthodox nation that first deeply succumbed to the most anti-Christian idea in living memory, much more quickly than the West, which has no fear about declaring the validity of earthly and human reason.”

      Keep in mind that we’re talking religion not politics, economics, or ideology.

      Wish you’d be more specific about the above, but I think you’re talking the Russian Revolution and communism? Both the revolution and the ideology came from the West. I’d argue that all of the West’s “toxic” ideologies (communism, fascism, anarchism, etc.) originated from the French Revolution, which is certainly Western in origin. The thoughts and actions expressed in the French Revolution were unbelievably influential and were heavily relied upon by the future ideologies (esp. in regard to hostility toward religion, science, materialism, and reason). Don’t forget that Russia falls in 1917-1918, Mussolini takes over just a few years later, Hitler initially fails about time Mussolini is succeeding, Japanese imperialistic conquest planning happens in 1920s and is set in motion in early 1930s (about same time as Hitler’s success). But even the Japanese are following Western ideas.

      A key error of the scholastics was to focus on reason and logic rather than grace and faith. They moved Christianity from focusing on the sinful fallen man in need of redemption and looked more at arcane issues unrelated to salvation in a fallen world. Likely because it is so hard to apply reason and logic to faith and grace. They are unmerited gifts of God. What more can be said that Paul and others hadn’t already said? So they…bogged down on “things” like the physical mechanics of the real presence in the Eucharist! Awesome mystery is replaced with ancient physics.

      Michael Frost

      December 12, 2012 at 17:00

      • YES! The “Enlightenment” is to blame, but so is the separation of religion from everything, which can be traced from the humanist movement of the Renaissance. Overall, it is materialism. But then, that sounds too gnostic, doesn’t it?

        Reason and logic are tools, but grace and faith are closer to the end and are means of our Salvation; Reason and logic does not necessarily invalidate grace and faith, because they are separated from each other- rather, reason and logic can be used to understand grace and faith, and how they relate to a person’s will and intellect; but on the other side of where, how, and why of grace, that is, from God’s side, it becomes more or less mysterious, because God is ultimately mysterious and hard to comprehend. (For example, the Orthodox and the Catholic stance on the filioque controversy make progress because of an agreement of the mystery of the internal dynamics of the Godhead- we simply cannot know how the Trinity works, it is a mystery of the faith- but for me, I do not know how the Orthodox and Catholic parties actually reconcile the difference between the monarchy of God the Father, and the participation of God the Son in the procession of God the Spirit.)

        In Theology, we cannot rely merely on Eastern ways of being poetic and mystical writings to be clear in explaining what we believe, how they make sense, why they are so, and so forth- the pagan does not rely on this; the atheist does not rely on this; and both the pagan and atheists are bound to FAIL because their reason and logic are so deficient and devoid of grace as to come to the right understanding of how the universe works, how the universe depends on God, and how we, the created, are dependent on God. It is too late to try and divorce reason and logic from theology in any case, which is why I am astounded as to the lack of instruction of logic and philosophy in Catholic schools- Catholics are becoming intellectual midgets who have to rely on themselves to understand what needs to be understood as Catholics. Then, because of this over-reliance on self understanding, individuals start to think they can cherry-pick on what they want to believe, and ultimately, we get the decline. (Why? Because the Enlightenment has become a part of Western heritage.)

        That is why I am supportive of Conservatism- the sort of evil things the Enlightenment brought about is nigh uncontrollable, a Goliath or many-headed Dragon we have to constantly fight not only outside the Church, but inside as well, from among the individuals who hold erroneous positions.

        But what caused the “Englightenment”? The rise of an educated middle class, but education isn’t at all inherently evil- it is -secular- education, which are sponsored by independent institutes or centers of education, then reliant on secular rulers; why are there secular rulers? Ever since the wars of Reformation, wherein by force, Protestants have gained the support of secular kings who want to have powers independent of the Roman Catholic Church, allowed a sort of “compromise” that would keep being the theme of proto-liberalism until the French Revolution, and liberalism from that point on.

        Even in places that are “Staunchly Protestant” the tradition of individual authority in interpretation of Scripture, or Church Fathers/History gave rise to heretical movements such as “Higher Criticism” which ran parallel to secular philosophers like Kant and Hegel who returned to a sort of Neo-Platonist understanding of God, a pagan understanding of God, and therefore a deficient understanding of God; then this deficiency is exploited by materialists who, paired with the progress of scientific and technological developments, start to veer off and spreading atheism, disguised by compromise.

        Protestantism started in Germany. It spread to other Northern European countries; in France was centered the “Enlightenment” which gave rise to the French Revolution- which spread to all of Europe via Napoleon. Marx started in Germany; then his idea spread to Russia and China, then with world wars, spread all over the industrialized world.

        The West, which was wracked with guilt over “right wing” politics was plagued with moral cowardice and allowed compromise or appeasement in the guise of “peace” allowing cultural Marxists to spread by espousing “peace” and “anti-war” sentiments. This all crystalized during the 60′s, and the rest is in living memory.

        Ioannes

        December 12, 2012 at 18:56

      • Apologies Michael, my mind’s miasma struggles to comprehend at 0254 what you meant, while helping another rise slowly from ICU sedation into an end of 49yo life game plan as to what his bucket list maybe, simple things like hearing that the Hospital’s Catholic Deacon anointing him while intubated made my mind feel better. I hope to have that conversation casually but everything is in the now as in sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof ie I, we really only have now, the power of now & the power of one & aren’t we all one in the Holy Spirit, psycho-social subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens (Wo/Man wise wise)?

        Matthew Fowler

        December 12, 2012 at 19:25

      • I am not going to get in the middle of this (between ya’s), but I do want to challenge Ioannes with the task of reading Henri de Lubac’s book: Theology In History! Here is a modern book, by a somewhat modern Catholic theologian, who at the end of life was chosen a Cardinal! Note the chapter on the ‘Disputed Theological Questions And Anticipations of Vatican II – Internal Causes of the Weakening and Disappearance of the Sense of the Sacred’. A must read for thinking Catholics in my opinion!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 12, 2012 at 19:59

      • Ioannes, When you wrote, “In Theology, we cannot rely merely on Eastern ways of being poetic and mystical writings to be clear in explaining what we believe, how they make sense, why they are so”, I hope you keep in mind that the East also tends to “do” theology from the negative (apophatic–saying what “is not” rather than what is: God is not temporal, Christ is not created, Mary is not the mother of other children, etc.) while the West tends to “do” theology from the positive, saying what “is”. The West tends to want to define and explain things in a much more positive and comprehensive manner. So to oversimplify, East=mystical negative; West=logical positive.

        As for the Church, I know that we all need to work together and see in the other what might only be obscure to us now. It is not East vs West or even East & West. It is a full East (one that includes the suppressed Antiochian and Alexandrian schools of thought) and the full West (one that includes both Rome and the Reformers–Luther/Melanchthon, Calvin, Cranmer, & Wesley). Both lungs need all of their types to bring out the fullness of Truth, Goodness and Beauty. I think Rome is doing that with the Joint Declaration on Justification (w/LWF). The East has been doing that with Alexandria (w/the Copts) since the 1960s. But I don’t think East and West will coalesce sufficiently until they have healed the respective wounds in their own spheres first. The Reformers need to rediscover the East and the East needs to rediscover the Reformers.

        Michael Frost

        December 12, 2012 at 20:56

      • @Michael: I confess I have tried to seek this place, I really have, but I confess also, that I favor the West! But, I love what I can grasp of the East, which I also confess is small at times! ;) Sort of near John Wesley here, but just near.. he’s way in front of me!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 12, 2012 at 21:04

      • Fr. Robert, So true, so very true abou the Wesleys, both John and Charles. I’ve long thought everyone (startying with Methodists(!), RCs, EOs, Lutherans, and esp. Reformed) should spend a lot more time studying Wesleyan theology straight from the original sources. I think the same for Melanchthon. It is to these type peaceful, systematic theologians who are familiar with the old and the new who can help us all rebuild together.

        Michael Frost

        December 12, 2012 at 21:55

      • @Michael: Surely! Btw, I have both the newer somewhat Wesley Study Bible NRSV, and the older: The Wesley Bible, A Personal Study Bible for Holy Living, NKJV. The latter is a Nelson Bible (gen. leather, black, 1990). It is still in the box, but I use it sometimes. It is however basically, an American Wesleyan Theological Bible, with too some Nararene’s. In fact the General Editor is Albert F. Harper, and the Professor Emeritus at the American Nazerene Theological Seminary (at least in 1990). I have my share of Wesley books and theology.( As I remember, I bought this Bible thru your American CBD). I brought most all of my Study Bibles with me! I have almost every SB, known to man! ;) Btw, I like the NKJV very much also, in fact I buy that Bible in paperback case lots and give them away, to people who desire to read their Bibles, and ask about Bible memory, etc.

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 12, 2012 at 23:16

  4. I remember Ioannes my early childhood hearing that oxymoron Christian Militia, like Military Intelligence which made my mind wonder what you think of, George Galloway?

    Matthew Fowler

    December 12, 2012 at 01:52

    • Here’s a hint, try something more right-wing, maybe Russian or French.

      Ioannes

      December 12, 2012 at 04:28

      • Actually my other, paternal 4x Great Grandfather did try something French in terms of become that 1798 United Irish Co Wicklow Chieftain General Joseph Holt http://www.joseph-holt.org/ who was the highest ranking United Irishman sent to Sydney and lived to write his Memoirs as another Anglo-Irish Protestant, Robert maybe well aware?

        Matthew Fowler

        December 12, 2012 at 05:35

  5. Galloway, is just another liberal Brit! Sooner or later the West will simply have to take on Iran’s nukes and nuclear program, whether early or later. And one can already see that Iran (as others) will try to annihilate Israel! Its only a matter of time! Btw, if one reads and knows his Bible, this will finally result in Armageddon, and then later the fulfilment of Zech. 14: 1-4, etc., at the quite literal Second Coming of Christ! (Matt. 24: 29-31, etc., Rev. 1: 7) Biblical Prophecy will be fulfilled, surely, for both National Israel, the visible Church, and the Elect of God. As too judgment for the Gentile Nations!

    irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

    December 12, 2012 at 02:41

    • Like I have said, Father Robert, a weak body cannot fight wild animals or fellow human beings who will bring about harm.

      If the West is a body, then it is a corpulent, childless, morally bankrupt, over-sexed, drugged up, godless, deluded, disoriented individual, and whatever good is left, is either growing grey, doing nothing, or are quickly being corrupted by what -sounds- good, by what -seems- beneficial but is ultimately self-destructive.

      A person who experiences a fever, experiences it because the body is fighting for its survival against foreign pathogens that seek to destroy and continue its method of self-preservation. It is unpleasant, but the body comes out stronger and more resistant to adversity if they survive, even for a small amount. Now, these falsely-compassionate “Christians” and all other sort of liberals are the sort of members of society that talk about “pity”, “mercy” and “compassion” for what amounts to viruses and plagues in society because of the illusion of individualism being the ultimate good, and from that (specifically loose understanding of “individual conscience”) is derived subjectivity and moral relativism, resulting in general uncertainty, confusion, then apathy. God is the ultimate good, and a people of God are united under God, a people who do not seek the glorification of one individual (more specifically, the ego) as a substitute for God. (this symptom is best described by the notion of “celebrity” which almost all people nowadays strive towards.)

      A people of God does His Will, and His Will is to destroy sin absolutely- but if we are so sinful, that we cannot hurl a few rocks to those who have it coming to them, then we have no other choice but to let the unjust roam about! And, for a sense of false compassion and mercy, and all that, greater evils come about. To what extent is one so sinful, that one cannot raise a hand to defend another human being? To what extent is one so sinful that one cannot hand to defend oneself, but plunge headfirst into slow suicide, en masse, by contraception, abortion, sodomitic pseudogamy, and hedonism?

      Now, I do not care about the Jews, I care about the Christians- let God do what He wants with the Jews, as with Christians, as with myself. I am certain the Jews will survive as they always have- they have a stronger sense of identity than Christians, I think. But I will not deny that they have dirtied their hands for reasons necessary, as much as we must not be adverse to having our hands dirtied whether by polemic or butcher’s work in eliminating or marginalizing secularism and this effeminate, flaccid form of “Christianity” that encourages the disappearance of the reality of Christ in the West.

      Ioannes

      December 12, 2012 at 04:24

      • @Ioannes: As an Augustinian and something certainly Calvinist, I am of course one that sees that no man or person comes to Christ on his own steam, or with his so-called free-will, no man has responsible will, but not “free” will. And only the Holy Spirit draws and regenerates the Christian! (John 1: 12-13 ; 3: 3 ; 6).

        As to the Jewish people and Israel (the Nation), only a third of them are going to survive in the great time of Tribulation and the Great Tribulation, (Zech. 13: 8-9 / Matt. 24: 15-22, etc.). And this is surely coming for the Nation of Israel! And “Israel” was chosen by God for a fourfold mission: First to witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry (Deut. 6: 4, with Isa. 43: 10 ; 12). Second, to illustrate to the nations the blessings of serving the true God (Deut. 33: 26-29). Three, to receive, preserve, and transmit the Scriptures (Deut. 4: 5-8 ; Rom. 3: 1-2). And four, to produce, as to the His humanity, the Messiah (Gen. 3: 15 ; 12: 3; 22: 18 ; 28: 10-14 ; 49:10 ; 2 Sam. 7: 12-16 ; Isa. 7:14 ; 9:6 ; Matt. 1:1 ; Rom. 1:13 ; 9: 4-5). And according to the prophets, Israel regathered from all nations, restored to her own land and converted (a remnant, at the Second Coming of Christ), is yet to have her greatest earthly exaltation and glory. (Rom. 11: 28-29) This will be the Millennial Kingdom!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 12, 2012 at 05:31

      • Btw, there are several thousand Jewish Messianic Christians in Israel now, perhaps more? I knew several in the late 90′s. And I still chat with a few. No doubt some of these with others will be part of that remnant that will survive when Christ delivers Israel at His Second Coming in Zech. 14: 3-4, etc.

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 12, 2012 at 06:00

    • Mmm, @Robert, does that help explain why you & Michael have such military family background perspectives & Ioannes seems so hell bent on violent posterity published writings? FYI, my middle namesake mother’s father Robert FitzGerald Bourne name stems down through 9 generations from Sir Robert Tynte’s1 (my 9x Great Grandfather Elizabethan entrepreneur soldier Munster Plantation, contemporary of Sir Walter Raleagh & married Sir Edmund Spenser’s widow, cousin of the Earl of Cork Boyle) of Youghal and Ballycrenane family surname stems from http://www.tyntearms.co.uk/history.htm still has blood from 1192 that 3rd Crusade, ie “the first Tynte who,” ‘a young knight of the Arundel family who went on crusade with King Richard the Lionheart. He was singled out for his bravery at the battle of Ascalon. The King observing him is supposed to have said:

      ” .. the maiden knight had borne himself like a lion, and had done work enough for six crusaders”.

      For which service to the Christian cause the King conferred on the young Knight his armorial bearings (Heraldic device), a lion argent on a field of gold between six crosslets of the first and the motto “Tynetus Cruore Saraceno”.’

      When then is enough bloodshed, enough?

      Matthew Fowler

      December 12, 2012 at 05:25

      • “Examples of the Tynte family crest can be seen in the church of St Edwards in Goathurst, and the inn The Tynte Arms in nearby Enmore.”

        http://www.quantockonline.co.uk/quantocks/villages/goathurst/goathurst1.html

        Matthew Fowler

        December 12, 2012 at 05:26

      • 1 “born in Wraxhall, North Somerset, near Bristol. Possibly his [Sir Robert Tynte's] interest in Ireland came through contact with Sir Walter Raleigh’s close friend and cousin, Sir Arthur Gorges, whose family also came from Wraxhall.[36] He came to Munster as an Elizabethan soldier during the Desmond Rebellion. After the wars, he secured possession of the castle in Youghal from the Walshes, an affluent merchant family resident in Youghal since the 14th century but dispossessed for supporting the Earl of Desmond. The castle gave him a firm foothold in the new economic infrastructure of Munster and he quickly worked his way up the administration, filling the office of High Sheriff from 1625 to 1626. As Youghal developed to serve the needs of the new colonists, so Tynte’s Castle provided an excellent base for storage and organization. During his lifetime, Tynte also acquired lands in the Barony of Imokilly, including the tower house at Ballycrenane, near Ladysbridge, County Cork.

        A friend of the Richard Boyle, Tynte was married in 1612 to Elizabeth, widow of Sir Edmund Spenser the poet. In time, Tynte’s eldest son Robert had a daughter Catherine who married William Hyde of Carrigoneda, Tynte’s other son Henry would marry Sir Percy Smyth’s eldest daughter, Mabel. Sir Robert Tynte outlived Henry by two years, passing away in 1663. He was buried at Kilcredan graveyard, near Ladysbridge.” http://www.turtlebunbury.com/history/history_irish/history_irish_boyle_and_smyths.htm

        Matthew Fowler

        December 12, 2012 at 05:28

      • You too can see what’s in my middlename, “Robert” from my mother’s father’s Ahnentafel Chart, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mifren#Ahnentafel_Chart_for_Robert_Fitzgerald_BOURNE

        Matthew Fowler

        December 12, 2012 at 05:30

      • @Matt. I am not sure what point you are trying to make? Yes, my father was a fighter pilot in the RAF in WW II, and after the war he was a scientist and physicist. But he owned and flew a P-51 Mustang (American airplane), in air races for a hobby, well into his 60′s. My father was a very talented man, he was also a British bit-actor for a few years after the war (before I was born, 1949). He was a good looking guy, and held his looks most of his life. Died in his late 80′s. And aye, I chased my fathers image for a few years when I was younger! I have a very beautiful wife, and somewhat younger than I. And she still loves me! And I love her! ;) Just a note, but both my/our sons were born in my forty’s. They are “our” living genealogy!

        irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

        December 12, 2012 at 06:22

  6. I too have invested in the next generation Robert. I guess as I wrestle with another man’s life 49yo coming out of sedation, slowly from RDH ICU, I see so much that could be but won’t because of Type II Diabetes end organ failures which mean that there’s going to be not that much keeping him alive & I see that I’m no longer in much of a position to do so …

    Matthew Fowler

    December 12, 2012 at 19:10

    • God In Christ alone is the maker and keeper of life & death! (Rom. 14: 7-9) But more important in this fallen world, is the “second death”! (Rev. 2: 11 ; 20:14 ; 21:8)

      irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert

      December 12, 2012 at 19:23

      • Contextually 2000ya that maybe so but I’ve inadvertently helped save his now 49yo life several times more by good luck than good management since his massive heart attack 9 Jul 2009. I confess I’ve avoided Rev until now so maybe it is timely to start to read some more but I’ve more important end of life supports needed 1st …

        Matthew Fowler

        December 12, 2012 at 19:30


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