Goodbye to the Anglican Church of Canada

By Joe Boot / July 13, 2016

Topic The Church

Scripture Matthew 24:35

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Commenting on the life and thought of Nietzsche G.K Chesterton set forth a universal truth, that “The man who thinks without the proper first principles goes mad…”[1] Madness would increasingly seem to be the right term to describe the decisions of Canadian Anglicanism. Their modern first principles being false, doctrinal and ecclesiastical idiocy is the result. Their foundation has ceased to be the Word of God in much of the church. Instead, man’s own will is permitted to rule and determine truth and justice. The insightful Canadian philosopher George Grant understood the contemporary cultural view well:

Justice is understood to be something strictly human, having nothing to do with obedience to any divine command or conformity to any pattern ‘laid up in heaven.’ Moral principles, like all other social conventions, are something ‘made on earth.’ Human freedom requires that the principles of justice be the product of human agreement or consent, that is, they must be the result of a contract, and these principles must therefore be rooted in an understanding of the interests of human beings as individuals rather than in any sense of duty or obligation to anything above humanity. The terms of the contract may well change as circumstances and interests change. But the restraints free individuals accept must always be ‘horizontal’ in character rather than ‘vertical.’[2]

Canadian Anglicanism has unashamedly drunk deeply from these cultural wells and steadily rejected vertical restraint. Its moral principles are shifting like sand and its contract with the culture is changing as social interests change. The profoundly compromised character of the Anglican Church of Canada is certainly no secret. Liberalizers love to publish their apostasy to the world so that they might delude themselves into thinking that media coverage and approval from cultural elites means approval from God – at least for those churchmen (or women) who still believe in a personal God.

Since “circumstances change,” and moral truth is reduced to social convention, many of the bishops of the Anglican Church in Canada have long forsaken anything resembling a scriptural and historical understanding of the faith – including its foundational doctrine of marriage – thus abandoning church teaching and their oaths, whilst a forlorn few in the ranks of both clergy and laity have been fighting a rear-guard action to try to preserve a semblance of orthodoxy. These brave souls have now been decisively deserted by their own church as the ACC has this week formalized its mad treason against Christ.

One can only feel deep sympathy for biblically-faithful Canadian Anglicans now, as the process of the Anglican apostasy reached its apogee at its Synod meeting in Toronto. After dozens of speakers bullied the Synod with their pro-LGBTQ message and a bureaucratic gong-show apparently miscalculated votes from the clergy – initially resulting in the defeat of the motion – a subsequent recount led to the majority approval of same-sex ‘marriage.’ [3] Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the church, then declared the resolution in favor of same-sex marriage had passed, aligning the church with secular Canada, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.

Not many will be shocked by this outcome, but all faithful Christians should be resolute in decrying this brazen act of self-destruction in the church. In reality, the vote is only confirming the actual attitude and practice of many Anglican Church leaders on the ground. Even if the motion had not carried, leading bishops were promising to ignore the will of Synod. This was ably demonstrated when the bishops thought the pro same-sex motion had been defeated. Toronto’s Archbishop quickly led a rebellion of bishops who said they would conduct same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremonies regardless.[4] The recount made their godless zeal unnecessary – their will is now being done.

When bemused believers ask what on earth these leaders are thinking, the answers are plain. They see this sacrilege as progress in the church because their movement is away from biblical faith and historic Christian truth to a religion of pagan-humanism with an ‘evolving god’ concept that is defined and called into being by the spirit of the age. Their profaned Christ is a Christ of culture, a being that affirms and embodies the sinful desires of the time – which in any other era would have been called blasphemy. Thus, the geese in their hoods, masquerading as servants of God, seek to teach, promote and bless that which God unequivocally condemns. Not surprisingly, then, that wild boar in God’s vineyard, Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson, called same-sex marriages — at the discretion of the bishop and with agreement of local clergy — a logical step in the evolution of the church.[5] True, in the retrogressive evolutionary humanism of our day, it may be a ‘logical step’ to embrace ancient Greek culture’s androgynous ideal with its homo-eroticism, but there is no appeal to logic possible in assigning the falsification of some of the most fundamental teachings of Christ (that have formed the bedrock of Western civilization) to the true church. Johnson’s logic is that of a man burning down his own house in hopes of claiming on the insurance to build another, only to discover that there is no policy coverage for arson. God will not underwrite such fraud. Apostate institutions, with their culpable leaders, are cast aside by God; he does not rebuild his church in the image of sinful man. Such leaders have certainly forgotten that judgment begins at the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17) and that those charged to teach are subject to stricter judgment (Jas. 3:1).

This matter is not one of authentic attempts by liberalizers to interpret Scripture faithfully in terms of sound hermeneutical principles, it is about the ‘evolution’ of the church away from God and his Word. Yet Jesus Christ envisioned no such change. He declared, “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). In that word, Jesus clearly upheld the totality of God’s law till the end of time (Matt. 5:17-20), leaving us nowhere to run in terms of the definition of marriage from the beginning of creation (Matt. 19:5). The apostle Paul equally confirms the meaning of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33 and condemns homosexual practice and all lawlessness as contrary to the gospel itself (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Tim. 1:7-11). 

In our insipid and complacent culture (even church culture) some will say that my words are unkind and angry, that I am not showing enough grace to ‘Christians’ who disagree with me. Where, we must ask is the spirit of Elijah in our day? Where is the righteous anger of God, an anger so clearly manifest in Christ when he condemned lying and apostate religious leaders who willfully led a lost world astray? In rebuking those who represented God and should have been teaching the truth Jesus declared:

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Matt. 12:33-37).

Talk is not cheap. Those who willfully speak and teach lies come under the direct censure of God. The simple fact is that any true Christian who is not angered by this utter betrayal of Christ, the profaning of God’s name, and the wanton destruction of his household via leaders calling good evil and evil good (Is. 5:20), needs to examine whether they are in the faith. Charles Spurgeon stated it well:

We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong that it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil that they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in his Word, “O you who love the LORD, hate evil.”[6]

The Anglican Church’s folly is compounded by the fact that it has been the beneficiary of such a rich heritage of divine instruction and so many blessings from God. But throughout history liberalizing churchman have made the grave error of believing they can improve upon God’s Word and upon his gospel. They have thought that their innovations and recalibrations of doctrine away from Scripture would somehow bring blessing upon the church, or benefits to mission, or greater effectiveness in impacting culture. In the last century they thought that demythologizing the Bible and taking out all the supernatural elements (including the physical resurrection of Christ) would win converts in a scientific age. They have always been wrong and they are still wrong. Twentieth-century liberalism hollowed out the mainline churches and has left them in ruins, demographically and financially. These Anglican bishops presiding over the decrepit remnants of old liberalism’s assault on their churches appear ready to hammer the last nails into their own coffin of spiritual apostasy and cultural irrelevance. The only churches that continue to grow, flourish and win people from all walks of life are those that remain faithful to God, to Scripture and to the eternal truths of the gospel – truths set forth so powerfully in the marriage covenant. Without true repentance this affirmation of same-sex unions as ‘marriage’ brings us to the end of a long goodbye for Canadian Anglicanism in its current form. It has signed its own death warrant. Faithful Anglicans now need to get off of this ship that is sinking in the midst of judgment, and reform an evangelical community of faith that can carry the rich heritage of global Anglicanism to another generation. Goodbye, ACC.

 

[1] G.K Chesterton, Orthodoxy, (Booklassic, 2015), 20. PDF.

[2] Hugh Donald Forbes, George Grant: A Guide to his Thought, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007), 46-47.

[3] Anglican Church of Canada, “A Statement from The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, General Secretary,” Anglican Church of Canada, http://www.anglican.ca/news/statement-ven-dr-michael-thompson-general-secretary/30016463/, last modified July 12 2016.

[4] The Rt. Rev. Michael Bird, Bishop of Niagara, the Most Rev. Colin Johnson, Archbishop of Toronto, the Rt. Rev. John Chapman, Bishop of Ottawa, the Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander, Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt. Rev Mary Irwin-Gibson, Bishop of Montreal, the Rt. Rev. Melissa Skelton, Bishop of New Westminster and the Rt. Revs. Robert Bennett and Linda Nicholls, Bishops of Huron, released statements after the vote that they would not comply with the canons but would authorize same-sex marriage rites on their own. The Bishop of British Columbia, the Rt. Rev. Logan McMenemie, said he would ask a special meeting of diocesan synod to authorize same-sex marriage. See George Conger, “Canadian GS Vote to Defeat Gay Marriage Overturned,” Anglican Ink, http://www.anglican.ink/article/canadian-gs-vote-defeat-gay-marriage-overturned last modified July 13, 2016.

[5] Colin Perkel, “Anglicans to Allow Same-Sex Marriage after Vote Recount,” CBC, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/anglicans-to-allow-same-sex-marriage-after-vote-recount-1.3676140, last modified July 12, 2016.

[6] Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, (Grand Rapids: CCEL), 272. PDF.