LAMBETH: Morning Homily on the Book of Jude
by Chris Sugden
We are coming closer to what the determining view of the world will hold the ring here at Lambeth.
First - every viewpoint should be heard. But that is only as a part of a long journey that has no short cut. That is why people are upset at 230 bishops not coming. It shows that their proposed framework for including everyone is not working.
A colleague pointed out to me in an email last night that there was a very simple alternative scenario for Lambeth. Had Archbishop Rowan Williams not invited the consecrators of Gene Robinson, the 230 would have come. It is Archbishop William's decision that has made it impossible for them to come.
Second, Archbishop Williams has plumped for a solution in his presidential address. He wants to give the communion a new way of operating: council and covenant: an undertaking to consult He said: "by God's grace, we have it in us to be a Church that can manage to respond generously and flexibly to diverse cultural situations while holding fast to the knowledge that we also free from what can be the suffocating pressure of local demands and priorities because we are attentive and obedient to the liberating gift of God in Jesus and in the Scripture and tradition which bear witness to him. Already our Bible Study Groups are bringing this into focus. And I want to say very clearly that the case for an Anglican Covenant is essentially about what we need in order to give this vision some clearer definition."
That's why a Covenant should not be thought of as a means for excluding the difficult or rebellious but as an intensification - for those who so choose - of relations that already exist. And those who in conscience could not make those intensified commitments are not thereby shut off from all fellowship; it is just that they have chosen not to seek that kind of unity, for reasons that may be utterly serious and prayerful."
The question is whether this takes the reality of the situation and those promoting the gay agenda seriously.
It is here that Jude speaks firmly to us: False teaching is dangerous. It is not just one of a series of perspectives that has a right to be heard: godless men change the grace of our God into a licence for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord. We know a lot about the licence for immorality. But what about the denial of Jesus. We know of this in particular cases.
But what of the inclusion of a Buddhist chant at the end of the sermon yesterday, We sang only one hymn to Jesus - O for a thousand tongues to sing - and that at the end of the service. Those who promote false teaching are in a very dangerous situation: the Lord destroyed those who did not believe, though he included them in deliverance from Egypt: God will judge people for excusing, tolerating and even promoting sin.
Jude gives three examples of God's judgement: on those who escaped Egypt, on angels and on Sodom and Gomorrah. And this judgement is serious: eternal fire.
Jude says we are to be prepared for how they address matters dear to our hearts: they speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what they do understand is only at a carnal level and it destroys them. Jude says that we are to be prepared to see their real motivation.
They are like Cain who was consumed by jealousy and killed his brother
They are like Balaam who prophesied because he wanted the money
They are like Korah who rebelled against God's appointed leaders because he wanted power for himself
They are shepherds who feed only themselves - greed They are shameless - eating with you without the slightest qualm.
They do not produce fruit - they are clouds without rain, trees without fruit. Twice dead, they not only are unproductive, they are not even believers.
They are grumblers and fault finders.
They follow their own evil desires They boast about themselves
They flatter others for their own advantage.
We are not to be surprised by this phenomenon: we are told that in the last times there will be scoffers ( at the faith) and they will divide you. These people are to be resisted. But there is another class of people out there: those who doubt.
It is to those we are sent: to show them mercy, to snatch them from this fire and to save them. Its all a very risky business - requiring that you put your neck on the line: but our help is invincible: to him who is able to keep you from falling.
How often have you prayed or rather called in despair - I just do not want to mess this up. He will present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.
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