LONDON Diary: Synod Ends. Saving Souls on the Streets of London
By David W. Virtue in London
February 13, 2010
The contrast could not be more obvious.
Inside the great Church House hall some 400 delegates comprised of bishops, priests and laity sat in solemn assembly to deliberate weighty matters of the church and canon law.
Shall we affirm, but not really recognize, a group of godly American bishops, priests and laity who only want to uphold the faith that many can no longer uphold with a straight face?
Shall or shall we not give pensions to gay partnered priests? Will the church have women bishops to satisfy some "right" or "justice" despite the evidence that after 18 years women priests have contributed significantly to the feminization and steady decline of the church? Will the Synod quietly pass legislation that in time will bury the church's remaining traditionalists and evangelicals in the name of new found "rights" for this or that group like LGBTQ or gender driven trannies? Are we really sure science hasn't done in religion? Should we all go about our lives as though the cosmos is running on its own without the need of a creator? How much of our freedoms do we turn over to Muslim hoards that have given London its second name - Londonstan? How much creative doubt can we live with that makes the faith possible or even reasonable? What parts of the liturgy must remain in order for us even to be called Anglican?
And so it went. Bishops, many too frightened to raise their heads above the parapet, sat sullen and quiet.
Not a word from the popular book writing Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, on whether or not ACNA should be affirmed, even though he claims to stand with the Episcopal Church's Communion Partner bishops. His silence was deafening. Perhaps his proxy bishop and pal from his halcyon days at FULCRUM, the Rt. Rev. Graham Kings, a newly minted purple shirt, would speak for him. For Wales, one might betray a friend. For the "faith once for all delivered to the saints", would one betray a minority of the elect.
One clergy member of synod who at 55 is just the age when he might be made a bishop was so self serving he used the occasion to give us his resume (in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury no less) in the hope perhaps for a higher more prestigious job opening down the line. Hope springs eternal.
Not a word from anyone on why Episcopal Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and David Booth Beers are mounting an ecclesiastical Taliban-like attack on the Diocese of South Carolina. Instead, one of their proxy speakers tossed out an accusation that Synod members would be bearing false witness (against TEC) if they dare say anything negative or bad about the American church. While they are at it, accuse all the delegates of being potential liars citing the Ninth Commandment ("thou shalt not bear false witness"), even though TEC itself is riddled with false witnesses, liars, perjurers, and hate-mongers (against orthodoxy). It is a church riddled with sodomites bent on turning the church into a purple-shirted poof palace.
Nothing. The silence of (God's) lambs.
Too political ol' boy. We need to keep the big guns (read arguments) for future synods. Strategy and timing is everything ol' chap. We wait, plan and strategize for another day. Port anybody?
And so they came, they voted, and they left on a cold wintry week in February.
In the few remaining hours left to me, I wander the streets around Victoria Station hoping for some signs of spiritual life in a city where English is virtually a second language to 90 percent of everyone who passes me by. I am a double stranger to a city I have known for more than 40 years.
Then it happens. A little Malaysian lady with awful teeth, but a smile as wide as the Thames River, hands me a pamphlet. It reads "The GIFT OF GOD...Hear the Word of the Lord." She smiles her toothless smile, points a finger to heaven, then places her hand over her heart and simply says in broken English, "I believe in Jesus, you can too."
I am suddenly transfixed by her. She is old and yet there is a luminous quality about her. There is a glow on her face (that one doesn't see in bishops) and she exudes love. We talk. I tell her I know Jesus and I am proud that she is standing there handing out her little pamphlet that reads, "The Lord shall give that which is good...and He that spared not his own Son...For God so loved the world...Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." Finally, there is an invitation to attend Westminster Baptist Church where ALL are welcome.
We talk some more. Then she places her small hand over my heart and briefly prays. We part. One day, for sure, she will be arrested for disturbing the peace. Some Muslim hooligan or mad Imam will accuse her of Islamophobia (that is if the queers don't get her first with shrill cries of homophobia) and they will cart her away in a Police van. If they do, she will go quietly, smiling and telling her captors that they need Jesus, too.
This is the face of the "new" enlightened, progressive Britain, where "no go zones" exist and where Sharia Law reins and the Police dare not go.
Down the road, I bump into a young lady from Hungary handing out the same tract. We talk briefly and share our common faith. Later, I meet a young British Londoner doing the same thing.
I glance again at the tract and I see that it concludes with these words, HEAR, AND YOUR SOUL SHALL LIVE.
I heard a lot of words this week, and I am convinced that at the end of the week they amounted to little more than "wood, hay and stubble". But today on the streets of London, the light of Christ never shone more brightly.
I am ready to fly home, glad that someone, somewhere is telling out the Good News, even when the official state church is too frightened of its own shadow to say anything with clarity and conviction.
I am convinced that God has not yet removed the biblical 'candlestick' of Rev. 2:5 from England, but if one day I pick up a newspaper and see a photograph of a little old Malaysian lady being carted off in a Police van, I will know that the end is indeed very near.
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