Out of the frying pan and into the fire

Pope Benedict XVI

The rallying cry of the reformation, By Scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone and glory to God alone ring in my ears as I consider this debate. Picture by Fabio Pozzebom. Click image to enlarge.

The Pope’s offered an olive branch to conservative elements within the Episcopal Church. A gesture of Christian harmony? A symbol of ecumenical love? The first step towards a united Church under one single banner?

Make no mistake, Anglicans worldwide are now faced with a tough choice. On the one hand the Episcopal Church in the United States and Canada is apostate. They’ve degenerated into a secular society of psuedo spiritual humanists, vainly seeking a god which panders to their temporal wants and depraved wills. On the other hand the Roman Catholic Church has been positioned as the only remaining bastion of conservative orthodox Christian doctrine.

It’s no real choice at all. It’s like choosing between death by crucifixion or death by the rack. It’s a choice between degrees of error rather than a position of faith. That large swaths of the Anglican communion are even engaged in discussions around jumping out of bed with the Episcopals and into bed with the Catholics shows that the lack of discernment emanating out of the Church in America is not isolated to a wacky liberal element but also includes a spiritually dead conservative group.

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Leo X infamously sold indulgences to reconstruct St. Peter’s Basilica and against better judgement challenged Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses. Painting by Raffaello Sanzio, 1483–1520. Click image to enlarge.

There is a reason that the Anglican Church was constituted, and it wasn’t Henry VIII’s infidelities. It was that the Church of Rome in the 16th century stood in theological opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ once delivered to the saints and the need to reform and protest against it was necessary, imperative. And guess what? They still are and we still should (protest that is). The song of works salvation sung by Leo X is the same tune whistled by Benedict XVI.

There has to be as much push back against reuniting with Rome as there is to maintaining a false fellowship with the Episcopal renegades. Anything less is an anathema!

Paul’s words from Ephesians speak well into this,

14 …we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all {aspects} into Him who is the head, {even} Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Want to hear the verse in context? Ephesians 4
What is this about?

Where do you stand? Not sure what I’m talking about? Read here and here for examples.


6 thoughts on “Out of the frying pan and into the fire

  1. Alo Alo

    Wonderful writing!

    “It’s a choice between degrees of error”
    Which, church of men, is without error?



  2. Well, so far there is no formal breach in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
    But should one arrive (considering the outrageous statements made by the last archbishop and the misguidedness of the present incumbent) I will not be flocking to Rome, nor going with whatever group is supported by the Episcopalians.
    There is a traditionalist Anglican grouping which does not go along with the ordination of active homosexuals (among other points of difference), which recently established itself in South Africa at a conference in PE.
    On the other hand, I come from a strongly Non-Conformist tradition, and although I have come to feel that it is necessary and useful to have bishops, I could, if the need arose, head back in the direction I came from.

  3. Just to bring a bit of clarity to the conversation may I add that the ‘stream’ of the Anglican Church that would consider heading across to the Catholics are the so-called Anglo-Catholics and traditionalists and certainly not the orthodox evangelical stream. (Joining the Catholic church would be an anathema to them as their theologies would be diamettrically opposite on some matters of faith and doctrine.)

    You see, there is an interesting reality that the Anglican Church is divided at many more than just one level. There are the orthodox evangelicals who would stand opposed to the Ordination of Woman and the blessing of same sex unions in pretty much the same Scriptural way that you would.

    Then there are the Anglo-Catholics who are opposed to the ordination of woman – perhaps because the Catholic Church has decreed that a priest shall be male and celebate.

    These two streams within Anglicanism are opposed to the same things but from two opposite sides of the problem.

    I support the thinking of Mike in his comments above. The group that was recently established in P.E. is the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

    It is reported by Jonathan Wynne-Jones that, interestingly, the Archbishop of Canterbury says that “this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytims or aggressions”.

    Wynne-Jones goes on to say “He is either putting on a brave face for the sake of Anglican pride, being incredibly naive or had this part dictated to him by somebody in Rome. For there is no way that this won’t undermine the archbishop’s position and weaken the Church of England.
    Pope Benedict XVI has thrown a hand-grenade into the CofE, and it will potentially obliterate Archbishop Rowan’s hopes of maintaining unity in the Church. He has been at pains to try and find a way of keeping Anglo-Catholics in the Church, but now that power has been removed from him with this formal offer from Rome. Years of protracted negotiations over how to keep traditionalists in the Chuch could effectively be rendered meaningless by today’s announcement.

    Wynne-Jones says “I also wonder whether the Catholic Church in England and Wales will be rather relieved at the prospect of an influx of priests. Is it too cynical to suspect that the Pope’s decree is not just an act of generosity in opening the door to disaffected Anglicans, but also one way of dealing with the shortage of priests in this country?”

    One wonders?

  4. Something I didn’t point out in the post but may be of some interest, the title Out of the frying pan and into the fire is a chapter heading in The Hobbit, authored by my second favourite Anglo-Catholic author (after CS Lewis) JRR Tolkien.

    Um, maybe for clarification, I also enjoy Evangelical Anglicans but categorise them differently in my mind.

  5. Well, that point was understood at this end. But I have an idea Rob is still in the dark.
    I keep telling him he needs to sit down and watch The Lord of the Rings.
    For myself, I rather wonder what attracted Tolkien to the RC Church. I can relate better to Lewis’s choice.

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