A fool counselled by fools!

The link to this newspaper article was sent to me and it makes interesting and alarming reading, though couched in diplomatic and non-straightforward terminology!

Let me make a somewhat less diplomatic comment on the theology of the new king. He is a fool counselled and guided by fools!

The religion of the Bible is unique and exclusive, giving ground and space to none.

The Lord Jesus declared authoritatively of Himself and His gospel: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” John 14:6.

There is only ONE DOOR TO HEAVEN. “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,” John 10:9. All other religions are fraudulent and lead, not to heaven but to hell.

That is what the Lord Jesus Christ taught!

To speak of other religions as being on an equal footing with the religion revealed in the Word of God is antichristian.

To do so is to totally oppose the traditional teaching of the Church of England of which Charles III is (contrary to the Word of God, I might add) spoken of as the ‘Supreme Governor of the Church of England.’

Biblical Presbyterianism says this on that subject: “There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.”

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXV, section VI.

It is dangerous to claim, as the English monarchs since the Reformation have claimed, to be in any way the ‘Governor’ of any part of the professing Church of Christ.

But then,  having made that claim to go on to place all faiths on par with the religion of Christ, is the thinking and utterance of one wholly ignorant of the Bible or one who cares nothing for what it does teach.

The ‘39 Articles of the Church of England’ came primarily from the pen of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and are supposed to be the faith of the Church of England. However, a study of them will show that that body has violated every one of its own articles and would denounce any who would seek to adhere to them!

In the light of the new King’s declared ‘omnism’, we reproduce some of the articles that he is supposed to believe, with our emphasis added!

  1. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.

There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

  1. Of the Resurrection of Christ.

Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.

  1. Of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

  1. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

  1. Of Free–Will.

The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith; and calling upon God: Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

  1. Of the Justification of Man.

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.  

  1. Of Good Works.

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

  1. Of Works before Justification.

Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School–authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

  1. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.

They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

I am only a little over a third of the way of the way through the Articles but what I have quoted makes clear just how profoundly foolish is the attempt by the new King to reconcile the false religions of this world, of which most are represented amongst the population of the United Kingdom, with the true religion of Jesus Christ as set forth in the Word of God, the best translation of which in our English is the Authorised Version.

These early pronouncements by Charles III, even before his coronation, are for the discerning Christian, the gathering of dark clouds that signal a coming storm, the likes of which has not been seen since the dreadful times of the previous ‘Charles’, even Charles II.

Sincerely in Christ’s name,

Ivan Foster

Playing nice to all religions may be wishful thinking

The monarchy that Charles has inherited reflects competitive religious partisanship

Gavin Ashenden | Queen’s Chaplain

The Sunday Times, September 18 2022.

King Charles took the earliest opportunity to publicly commit himself to the Anglican Church, speaking in his first address to the nation of his “deeply rooted” faith.

The new monarch has become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, with the striking title Defender of the Faith. As one of his first acts last week, he convened the leaders of the major religions in the UK at a meeting at Buckingham Palace.

In a statement to those assembled, he spoke of Britain as a “community of communities”, a diverse nation with many religions and beliefs. He had a duty to protect this diversity, “including by protecting the space for faith itself,” he said. “I hold myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals.”

There is no doubt that this is a reasonable, pragmatic and culturally and politically well attuned ideal for the monarch of a multicultural society at the beginning of the 21st century. But the advent of different competing faiths introduces a level of potential conflict that the monarchy needs to avoid if it is to flourish, and perhaps even survive.

The King’s interpretation of faith may commend itself to some, but may offend and alienate many of those who practise their faith. There will be many adherents of Christianity, other religions and atheism who respond to this inclusivity by saying, “Not in my name.” This is not through bigotry necessarily, but from a commitment to the exclusive truth claims of their religions.

The reality is that Christianity, other religions such as Islam, and atheism are ultimately incompatible with each other and, across the world, engaged in an energetic struggle for hearts and minds.

The King’s statement raises a serious philosophical and spiritual issue that he has long been concerned to find a way to manage. He has form: he gave earlier signs of his thinking in what became a notorious interview with Jonathan Dimbleby in 1994. He expressed the view that he wanted to be “Defender of Faith”, rather than Defender of the Faith, which refers specifically to his role in the Church of England. This has haunted him ever since. The critical and cynical saw it as the religious equivalent of what Gerald Ratner had achieved in undermining public confidence in his own brand. In religious terms, such indiscriminate accommodation of other ideologies diminished the claims to uniqueness that were foundational for Christianity. To the orthodox Christian, this is a fatal diminishment of Jesus’s own claims to be the unique Son of God, and the Way, the Truth and the Life.

In 2015, Charles attempted a subtle and reasonable repair of the damage in an interview on BBC Radio 2. He explained that he had intended to say that he wanted Anglican Christianity to act as a form of protective umbrella to all other faith positions.

This is, at first sight, commendable — and his mother as Queen said something similar with greater precision and clarity. But this otherwise hospitable view depends on the other faiths sharing the same outlook. Increasingly, as both Islam on the one hand and populist atheism on the other both grow in confidence and numbers, they have become more muscular and ambitious in their prospective influence. The model of a rather limp (if generous) C of E protective umbrella no longer fits the facts on the ground.

His statement last week, too, disturbs a hornets’ nest of theological and cultural controversy. The underlying difficulty is that this apparent generosity overlooks and contradicts what some of the major religions think of themselves.

Islam and Christianity in particular have long-established beliefs that each respectively tells the clearest and most accurate truth about the nature of God and what it is to be human. And, while there are elements of similarity and overlap, they stand in opposition to one another at critical and non-negotiable points. Within more conservative circles of the church, both inside and beyond Anglicanism, there has long been a concern that King Charles was more interested in spirituality in general than in a committed representation of Christianity in particular.

As Prince of Wales, he took the view that his constitutional apprenticeship should involve voyages of philosophical discovery, alongside his patronage of various causes. As a young man, Charles came under the influence of the highly charismatic writer and adventurer, Laurens van der Post, a disciple of and conduit for the ideas of Karl Jung.

One of Jung’s ideas was that religion provided a universal language of self-discovery and self-realisation. For Jung, the specific claims of the religion were not as important as the fact that it acted as a vehicle for an internal journey.

Across the western world, something of a civil war has developed within the churches, between those who believe in inclusivity and advocates for exclusivity, or the liberals and the conservatives. The Anglican Communion in particular has come close to schism over it.

Charles’s self-declaration that he was interested in faith in general appeared to conservative Christians to mark him out more as a Jungian than a Christian.

His recent statement, too, prioritises the nice above the real. The reality is the monarchy the King has inherited reflects competitive religious partisanship in both its history and language, as well as in the oaths that define it.

We will discover more of where the new King is poised on the scale between personal allegiance to Jesus and public representation of the state church during the coronation service, with its balance of competing ideologies.

But it remains to be seen whether or not wishful thinking, however royal, can create a bridge across religious and philosophical fault lines that have proved intractable through history.

Gavin Ashenden was chaplain to the Queen from 2008 to 2017