I don’t know about you but before I became a Christian I went to church. mmm, that sounds a bit
divergent emergent doesn’t it, but it’s true. My father is a rector / pastor / priest of a lovely Spirit filled Anglican church in Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay called St John the Baptist which I attended as a child (St John the Baptist is a rather unfortunate name for an Anglican church and causes much confusion).
When I was old enough to make a decision of faith for myself I left the church, disillusioned and with a rather large monkey on my back. Sometime later God, in His infinite mercy, decided to do a work in my life and effectually called me to Himself, this time worshiping with a Baptistish bunch of Fundamental Dispensational Calvinists in Johannesburg (I know, I know, I need a shorter description… and that was only the half of it, I was going to include pre-trib pre-mil…).
Tonight when I logged onto the internet I had every intention of posting something but I found myself strapped for ideas. What to do, what to do? Well, pick on an easy target of course and who better than the Anglicans / Episcopalians / COE, they’re practically a rabbit in hunting season with a big bulls eye drawn on it at the moment.
Now, what has Gene Robinson gaffed lately? I scanned the net, found his last verbal triad of heretical sacrilege and was suitably appalled… but… nothing, I just didn’t feel “inspired”. I really didn’t want to write on this, it was so… so… unedifying. So back to the browsing I went.
Who’s next on the list? Desmond naturally. Well he has been up to his usual mischief, sprouting all manner of ecumenical liberal nonsense but I really have a soft spot for the guy and don’t think I’d feel comfortable using him as a theological punch bag. And so back to the ether I headed looking for another target (by the way if you’re looking for a solid source of conservative Anglican thought check out Anglican Mainstream South Africa).
Basically the Bishop of the area (ok, so they don’t get everything right) presided over a couple of water baptisms as part of a 1,100th anniversary celebration (Good grief, did you catch that? A 1,100th anniversary. That means they’re celebrating a date pre Reformation… Are we allowed to do that :)?).
Can you believe a bunch of clergy, and a bishop no less (he’s the guy with the trendy purple shirt), cassocks and all, waded into a nippy fast flowing river, reminiscent of a John the Baptist scene, and baptized a group of new believers.
All jokes aside it truly warmed my heart. I love it when a bunch of Christians get it right. There are so many things about this article that make me smile: Believer baptism in a Covenantal semi-Reformed community :). The sight of cassocks wading through water :). The fact that they had gum boot on under their robes :). 500 on lookers observing this beautiful symbol of dying and rising with Christ :). The list goes on and on.
Luke Salkeld, who wrote this story, captured in photos and words a depiction of something which has been largely absent in the media portrayal of the Church of late. ACTION! Involvement, community, belonging, interaction, doing.
As the divergent church attacks, often with feints and parries painting the Church as a fat sloth hiding within the four walls of a old outdated Gothic relic, the Church of God, the real Church needs to rise out of it’s slumber and engage. Engage a world which is broken and shackled. Preach the Gospel to the lost. Be seen, be doing. Noses in hymnals once a week on Sundays behind closed doors just doesn’t cut it.
Now I know a living Church is more than a dip in the Jordan every 1,100 years but this is a start. I’m looking forward to photos of this same community working in orphanages, soup kitchens and handing out tracts in parks in the future. Sometimes when I look on the Church I have difficulty separating the forest from the trees but tonight I’m smiling in agreement with Christ’s vision of His bride from Revelation 19:7 – 10:
Got any happy comments about the believers that you worship with?