For several weeks we have written about the crumbling foundations of the organized church in North America. We have argued that every problem is directly related to the gradual erosion, and then abandonment, of the clear teaching of the Holy Scriptures. The first step was for revisionist scholars to cast doubt on the historical veracity of parts of the bible, while continuing to argue that central doctrines were not in jeopardy. Then they began to teach doctrines that were in error, and soon some began to argue for what is palpably false. Leaders, often unknowingly, followed where the scholars led. In the final stage leaders arose who were false teachers. Tragically many of the people of God have been deceived and enslaved.
We have also pointed out, more than once, that the evidence was there to be seen long before most of those who have revolted against the errors had spoken out, let alone separated from the diseased branch. The witness of the Anglican Family in North America has been weaker and weaker for over one hundred years. A simple examination of the demographic data shows that the church in America and in Canada has been in numerical decline since the early 20th century. That decline was long accompanied by a prideful notion that the Anglican Way was a superior form of Christianity, and the false refrain “quality not quantity” sustained a leadership delusion that was widespread. Meanwhile, everywhere the Moral Law was being undermined.
The fathers of the Anglican Reformation understood this danger. They had been witnesses to a similar declension. The gross morality tolerated in parts of the late Medieval Church of Rome cried out to heaven, and they were certain that God could not bless a community calling itself Christian if it did not uphold the Moral Law. And that law was not obscure or hidden, it was known by all and called “The Ten Commandments.”
The “doctrine, sacraments, and discipline of Christ” were brought front and center in the 16th century, and they presupposed obedience to the Law of God. To divorce the apostolic inheritance from the teaching of God to Israel was unthinkable for those responsible to lead. And it was unthinkable to allow the Holy Scriptures which taught the law of God to be abrogated. Yet for at least the last one hundred years this has become almost a “hallmark” of the Western Anglican expression. At least of many of her leaders.
The series of departures from the Moral Law is sad to recount. First making man’s reason a god in place of God. Then making the Anglican tradition an idol in his place. Then describing things to be “in his name” that were not. Then failing to bring up her children to honor the faithful fathers and mothers. There was gradually nothing sacred: consenting to Sabbath rejection, allowing adulterous sexuality, stealing the property of others, murdering the reputations of godly men and women, spreading false witnesses, and coveting the honor only due to holiness without a commitment to it. And it all happened while many good men stood by and watched. How could this be so?
Next Week: The Crisis of Leadership