A lecture given at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford for the Annual Protestant Reformation Society Conference, August 29. 2013

 

Moral Anarchy

A brief evaluation of my task

     I received my conference topic for this year rather reluctantly, doubting my credentials for tackling the subject. ‘Moral anarchy’ has become a fashionable, umbrella term to describe why the Western world appears to be turning from God. Like all fashionable jargon, it does not always allow for careful analysis. Indeed, the term, for many, would place man’s entire sinful rebellion against God in one field only and thus hinder us from grasping the real problem. Moral Anarchy is an outcome of the general rot but not its cause. Our conference sub-title thus stresses that moral anarchy results from neglecting our spiritual heritage. We have turned from God.

     So before we become judgmental about Moral Anarchy in secular society, let us realize that it is rampant in the Church. Indeed, our idle, backslidden, secularized Church must bear the greatest blame for the unrestricted growth of spiritual decline in the Western World.

     My patriotic mother used to accompany herself on the piano in her beautiful, strong voice, singing ‘There’ll always be an England’, with its rousing challenge. ‘Red, white and blue, what does it mean to you?’ I am sure we would all respond in William Cowper’s words, ‘England, with all thy faults, I love thee still.’ Cowper said this believing England, misguided by the Church, was going to the dogs. But has England changed? Is she worse now than ever? Was she better in days of yore?

     Let us have a look at history. Our PRS programme might have been taken from sixth century De Exidio Britanum or The Ruin of Britain, written by Ancient Briton Gildas. He blamed the rulers of both State and Church for Britain’s mess. Gildas was called a false prophet and a malicious preacher and was laughed to scorn. Thomas Becon, a millennium later, pointed out that after rejecting Gildas’ warning to return to God, these Sceptered Isles fell to pagan invaders. Likewise, William Tyndale denounced Britain’s spiritual anarchy, tracing it to Church and Parliament as did Bradford, Philpot, Ridley, and most of our persecuted Reformers. They relate how whenever the Lord raised up a true prophet, he was exiled or slain. Becon, exiled by Mary, said Britain illustrated Ecclesiastes’ nil novi sub sole, there is nothing new under the sun. He told Britain’s Christians, ‘whosoever killeth you will think he doth God high good service.’

     Praise God, generations of Reformers brought repeated spiritual renewal to Britain. Becon’s historical review in his Flower of Godly Prayers is full of hope for these islands and the European Continent. He outlines all the spiritual blessings God is showering on these countries in spite of their turning from Him but warns his readers that these blessings will disappear where no thankfulness is present. Quoting Isaiah 1, he says ‘If ye will be obedient and hear me, ye shall eat the good fruits of the earth. If ye will not, but provoke me to anger, surely the Lord shall devour you for the Lord hath spoken it with his own mouth.’

What does the press say?

     Britain’s spiritual famine is gravely misunderstood by her media. The Economist, commenting on the Tottenham riots of August, 2011, ignored Britain’s spiritual state, declaring also that it was ‘lazy fantasy’ to think Britain’s plight was financial, racial, political or social. It was solely ‘a moral issue’ amongst youth. The writer continued:

‘The barriers that prevent most youngsters from running amok—an inherent sense of right and wrong; concern for their job and education prospects; shame—seem not to exist in the minds of the rioters. Britain needs to try to understand why that is so.’

To help Britain understand, the Economist claimed:

‘A moral malaise has gripped a minority of young Britons, a subgroup that is nevertheless big enough to terrorise and humiliate the country.’

Quoting the Prime Minister, we are told that, save for a few ‘sick’ youngsters, the county is ‘orderly and harmonious’.

     The Telegraph rejected this diagnosis, emphasizing that Cameron advocates relentless punishment for young petty plunderers, yet demands that those suspected of major fraud amongst his own cronies and financial supporters should be given a second chance. The writer declares:

‘I believe that the criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up.’

The Telegraph thinks Cameron advocates morality for the poor and powerless but not for the rich and powerful, concluding:

‘The culture of greed and impunity we are witnessing on our TV screens stretches right up into corporate boardrooms and the Cabinet. It embraces the police and large parts of our media. It is not just its damaged youth, but Britain itself that needs a moral reformation.’

     The Christian press is mostly scandalously bad, often excusing and even promoting spiritual decline. It appears to be run by profit-seeking political, para-church movements. However, evangelical writers usually blame Islam; Homo-sexuality; Abortion; Women’s Lib. and the EU but not themselves. Their solution is to offer a Neonomian, cut-down version of Jewish Law for all as THE rule for Christian living, leaving out the New Covenant rule of Christ and the rule of faith which contain and expound the entire law. Leading ‘Reformed’ magazines now publish steps to legal obedience leading to that holiness without which no man can see the Lord – without looking beyond Sinai.

     The depraved cannot become do-gooders like that, so I have cancelled my loosely Church of England, Presbyterian and Baptist newspapers who define the sins of the world in judgmental, Sinaiatic terms more explicitly than the tabloids. They strive, like Arthur Miller, to shock readers from obscenity by describing it most repulsively, barren of Christian decorum and acumen.

     Happily, I found articles in the African press, Christian and secular, more balanced, spiritually alert and ethically knowledgeable on the subject of Britain’s fallen state. See, for instance, last December’s issue of Nigeriaworld entitled British Gay Fascism and the Redefinition of Marriage,

Our modern complaints

    Now to check out today’s evangelical complaints and solutions offered. If I overstep the mark of Christian charity please forgive me and kindly correct me.

Islam

     Often, evangelical Christians avoid the Islam problem by arguing that Isaac was blessed but Ishmael cursed. Christian Zionists argue for land rights for Isaac’s offspring, confusing the religious with the ethnic and ignoring Ishmael’s Biblical rights. Rather than curse Ishmael, God blessed him, granting his offspring, unconditionally twelve principalities in one nation. On the other hand, all God’s promises to Isaac’s offspring were conditional, spiritual and typological.

     Our Western powers have seemingly abandoned a Christian witness to Islam and seek primarily to win them by financial aid, or warfare. This has resulted in a widespread growth of militant Islam as the West invariably supports the more radical side. War and commerce will not rid the world of Islam but their conversion to Christ will.

    An Edinburgh allegedly Reformed magazine ridiculed William Huntington’s concern that the pope, then exiled from Rome by the French, would form a bulwark with Islam against Christ. Huntington knew that Islamic and Roman-Catholic adoration of Fatima/Maria whose effigies adorn their buildings was already a uniting factor. Now both man-made religions are working hand in hand world-wide in various so-called Christian-Islamic alliances. Rich and idolatrous Roman Catholic Cologne has joined with Islam to build a gigantic Mosque, proclaimed as a Centre for inter-faith agreement. One such American alliance puts it like this:

‘In regard to community outreach, whenever possible, we are strongly encouraged to collaborate in developing mutually beneficial services while respecting the integrity and independence of each other’s service organizations.’

    In practice, it works like this: Thirty-five Mohammedans in Mülheim coveted a small plot of land squeezed between two properties which held the access and thoroughfare rights. Without consulting these neighbours and rights-owners, the Muslims requested building permission on the site for a mosque seating over 400 with appropriate parking facilities and road access. The Muslims were granted permission but the neighbouring tax-payers were given no hearing and lost their rights. Only Islamic ‘Faith Centres’, it appears, are given such costly privileges

    As long as the West fears and thus encourages militant worldwide Islamic influence and makes little effort to protect Christians from persecution, exile or slaughter, the responsibility we have to Ishmael’s offspring will rest on the shoulders of very few Christians indeed. Sadly, it seems that even we Davids have run out of pebbles and so Goliath runs amok.

Abortion or its euphemism ‘family planning’

    Abortion operations on pregnant women can produce their deaths and many babies are aborted shortly before natural birth. My doctor son witnessed such slaughter in training and says it is the most murderous, bloody butchering imaginable and severely endangers the life of the mother.

    In Germany abortion is theoretically illegal unless the mother’s life is at risk. Why then are there abortions in Germany at the rate of 150-200 thousand per year, only 3 per cent being medicinal? It is because there is no legal punishment for abortion murder. A psychological report in favour of abortion from the doctor suffices, though the cooperation and signature of a psychiatrist is not required. No report is required for the mother’s post-abortion traumas.

    Nowadays many babies are poisoned in the womb with Mifegyne and Prostoglandine. If still alive after abortion their spinal nerves are severed with scissors. Such hospitals are worse than Frankenstein’s laboratory because Frankenstein created life, whereas they destroy it.

    Our children are trained to accept this inhumanity. Pro-Life or Pro-Family, ‘Charity groups’ infiltrate schools though they are neither pro-life nor pro-family. A woman visited our school eleven-year-olds to promote ‘safe-sex’ and living birth prevention via pornographic photos. I took her to task but she claimed the photographs were natural and true-to-life. So I said why demonstrate natural processes unnaturally via photos when she could demonstrate them naturally on herself. She was terribly insulted, so I added. ‘You see, these things are abnormal and unnatural and forcing them on small children who have not yet been taught about true marriage, family life and childcare is irresponsible.’

    Both the Old and New Testaments teach that children in the womb are living beings with alert senses, John the Baptist and Our Lord being examples. However, both children would be abortion candidates today. John’s parents were ‘well-stricken in age’ and Christ’s birth raised suspicion so that Joseph, ‘not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately’. In 2 Kings 8:12, we read that the uttermost calamity for God’s Israel would be for the enemy to dash their children to pieces and rip up their women with child. This uncivilized, Godless barbarity is now deemed ‘civilized’.

 Claims to Normality

    This May, the German media announced a ‘Day of Anti-Homophobia’ and mass demos for homosexuals contending for the healthy normality of homosexuality against the diseased abnormality of ‘Homophobia’ coupled with a campaign for sermon-free Sundays. These homosexuals get away with denouncing heterosexuals but promote a ‘Day of Anti-Homosexuality’, claiming equal rights, and you will lose your job, be fined and perhaps imprisoned.

    Germany’s streets are adorned with wanton homo-sexual anti-aids posters proclaiming in English ‘A new cover for each new lover’. This shows how their claim to be faithful to one man for life in marriage is hypocritical, to say the least.

    The fact that homosexuals are chained to ungodly habits is hidden behind the boastful excuse that this is moral liberation in freeing sex from gender and age restrictions. The younger the children experience this liberation, many say, the better.

     Repeatedly since the early eighties, one major German party has demanded the right to partake in sexual acts with children. One member, a former infant-school teacher, published a book describing his joy at being sexually manipulated by tiny tots. No, he is not in jail. He is now a Member of the European Parliament.

     Thus homosexuals today wish to adopt children, though, if homosexuality were the norm, there would be no children to adopt. They point out that there will always be sick homophobic males and females who produce babies so homosexual couples can rescue such children and offer them normal lives.

    Our governments fear confrontation with such people on these issues more than confrontation with churches. Indeed, many leaders in society are homosexuals and their like are free to promote their ideas in schools including distributing pornographic literature.

    On tackling one colleague on this issue, he immediately reported me to my superiors to be disciplined for homophobia. As ‘evidence’ he enclosed a most obnoxious letter allegedly from me. I denied the forgery, but was told that it was the word of one teacher against another. Eventually the Head said he believed me and no disciplinary measures were taken but I was told to keep the matter secret and the colleague continued to promote oral sex amongst the children which doctors tell me is a cause of throat cancer.

 

Women’s rule

    Last November, certain would-be bishopesses declared that they would accept God’s answer in the outcome of the ballot concerning their desired ‘promotion’. Top church males joined them. When they lost the vote, they complained the answer was wrong.

    Women’s rule in the church caused our anarchy from God in the first place. Adam, the chief steward of creation, followed his stewardess’s deadly leadership and not God’s. In his majestic Paradise Lost, Milton claims Adam was a gentleman for giving in to Eve. God’s Word is blunter. Romans Chapter One says Adam became a fool, bringing discord and sorrow into the world. We cannot really condemn our church ladies for being wrong on Women’s Liberation if their male mentors and shepherds are slaves, since Adam, to their own folly and far more effeminate than our feminists.

    We must blame the Church for not only rejecting the warnings of Eden regarding our First Adam’s Bride but also for tempting the Bride of our Second Adam, the Church, to do likewise. We should leave Adam’s and Eve’s sin out of the rule of the Church. Fallen mankind is powerless to build a Church so that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Christ is the Head of the Church whom we ought to be serving and Christ ordained all His ministers as men in His plan to restore Eden to greater service. Times have changed say the ‘politically correct’ ladies and effeminate male clergy. However, the Scriptures describe the coming future of the church in detail, but never recommend a rule by Eve.

    They say that ordained women are as good as, or better, at their jobs than men. Knowing the men, it might be true. But I have worked in several countries closely with women clergy in various denominations. The vast majority have preached, ‘I thank thee God that I was not born a man’, and condemned their male colleagues. I recently heard a lady’s ordination sermon on the widow of Nain. Omitting Christ’s miraculous ministry, she blamed the village male elders for making a mess of Nain’s social welfare. If women had ruled in Nain, she argued, widows would have received pensions. Since then, she has mercifully not worked but had three children in succession on paid leave which, however, I am told, will count as service should she apply for promotion.

    Three or four years ago in this fair city, I conversed with a pink-haired girl with a ring through her nostrils who had just been accepted for the ministry. She told me she would like a church in Oxford as it had such splendid pubs.

    The Swedish Church, in which I trained for the ministry, refused women’s ordination, preferring to keep their Christian conscience clean. So the Swedish Government imposed woman’s ordination and woman bishops on them. It appears that British Church leaders are forestalling such a political move by beating the government to it. This is surely a case of the old slogan ‘quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat or ‘Whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad’.

The EU

    We rightly criticise many EU laws, including those British made. Though Britain represents some four per cent of EU voters, thanks to her gigantic lobby, she drives through over thirteen per cent of EU laws. Remember, it is legal in the EU to bribe politicians. Thus, this May’s Wall Street Journal reported that the British government’s directive in Brussels is to keep Britain in the EU, holding the door open for free-trade including data-exchange with America. Big business has more thump than the ballot box and the planned 2017 British vote on the EU is jeered at.

    I once had rosy views about European Union for historical and evangelical reasons. The British, Swedish, Danish, German, Dutch, Polish, Hungarian, Protestant Swiss and Protestant French campaigned for this from the early fifteen hundreds on, following Britain’s lead. From the Plantagenets to the Hanoverians, Britain held immense Continental territories. Under James and Charles, there were up to 50,000 British troops stationed in Europe as there was under Elizabeth II until 1996 in Germany alone. After World War II, Britain’s influence and power helped design modern Europe, particularly in the Protestant regions. Germany’s state system, education, political organisation and even trade unions were pioneered by British governors such as Lord Douglas, Field-Marshal Montgomery and General Robertson.

    The chances now given the Protestant churches to consolidate their inter-Protestant, pan-European outreach are enormous. Sadly, though Britain has still a strong commercial and military presence in Europe, British Evangelicals have pulled out of their responsibility in winning Europe for the Lord. They have always claimed that Rome ruled Europe as if that was not reason enough for joining, but now Rome is grasping at their Mary’s dowry, Britain, more than at the Continent where they are bankrupt in finance, faith and power in many areas.

So what is true anarchy against God?

    Turning from God cannot be explained by a moral lapse but to anarchy in every feature of our post-lapsarian state. The trouble is as old as Adam. The cancer started when mankind’s federal head broke his creator’s Covenant and hid himself from God. Thus we read, ‘Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts.’ We note in Romans One, the best commentary on Genesis Three, how man’s sins committed in, through and after the Fall, go infinitely deeper than what we call morals. Paul does not mention pagan Greek morality which equated morals with the will of nature, but sees sin as a spiritual breach of God’s Revealed Will. This produces spiritual anarchy in those who know God but do not glorify in Him. Seeking wisdom outside God-Only-Wise, they remain fools.

    Articles Six and Seven of the Thirty-Nine Articles on the Sufficiency of Scripture were compiled against the Anabaptist claim that the Mosaic Law was rescinded and there was no Covenant of Grace, Law included, in the Old Testament. Against this, the Articles teach that so-called moral goals can only be reached within the full pan-Biblical, pan-covenantal gospel.

    Though the Ten Commandments are not the foundation of Christ’s Kingdom, they are not transitory but preparatory and prophetical, embedded in all the pan-Biblical revelation concerning Christ. Our foundation is Christ Himself as taught in all the Scriptures, and in His redemption of His Bride according to His Covenant with His Father. As a statement revealing God’s character and will within His Covenant, true law reverence is the outcome of Christ’s law-keeping faith activated in us. We need life in Christ before the Commandments become relevant and applicable. As Griffith Thomas says on Article Seven, The Old Testament teaches ‘Do, and thou shalt live,’ but the New Testament teaches ‘Live and thou shalt do’.

    The former Principle of Wycliffe Hall explains that the alleged moral law is only part of the permanent and binding elements of Biblical faith taught in the Old Testament from which it cannot be separated. Enforce the Ten Commandments on Britain as a legal stand-alone and you will force Britain to continue in fallen Adam with the bulk of the Christian faith denied to her. Presenting Christ in the full, permanent, binding covenant teaching of the Scriptures will produce New Creatures who live out the Law lawfully as intended in Christ. Our society needs new men and women in Christ, the Second Adam, not spiritually dead First Adams warmed up. This is the clear teaching of Galatians Three.

Legalist hypocrisy and the Lord’s Day

    Today’s ‘Reformed’ cut-down-law-duty campaigners misrepresent the Mosaic Law. Many are commercial, profit-making, party-political, para-church, seven-day trading enterprises. When the Christian publisher and magazine editor who denounced William Huntington called him an Antinomian, I explained to him that Huntington rejected a well-paid job because it entailed Sabbath employment, yet my correspondent strongly advocated Sunday trading. He answered that the Sabbath points to the Lord of the Sabbath and the duty to honour Him and not to the letter of the law. He and his successor then denounced me in their pages as an Antinomian and Hyper-Calvinist, too. Such apparently believe that once we have gained Christ’s Lordship, the Sabbath is rescinded for us and we can hob-nob with Marcionites and their demythologized Neomomian Sabbath-less Law and publish rationalist works placing Natural Law above Revealed Law as this publishing house does. Those who follow Article Seven are thus judged Antinomians. Many also unwisely cling to Chapter 21 of the Westminster Confession which emphasizes guidance by the Light and Law of Nature. However, even this Chapter concludes that ‘a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God.’

    So-called Natural Moral Law is neither Jewish nor Christian. The ancient Greeks taught that moral integrity evolved through following creation’s natural order. Life must be lived according to the nature and fitness of human experience. This was the 17th and 18th century Enlightenment slogan of Rutherford, Voltaire, Kant, the Latitudinarians, American New Divinity and Andrew Fuller. These Rationalists propagated ‘the nature and fitness of things’ or Natural Law fully opposed to God’s Revealed Law which declares that sin has marred all creation and humans are fallen. They believe Natural Law is eternally binding on both God and man but revealed Law is temporary, illustrating God’s arbitrary will for the brief period of man’s earthly sojourn in time. Then, revealed religion will be museumised and God will return to permanent Natural Law.

     This is the argument our moral anarchy lobbies of both extremes bring against the Christian gospel. Law is doing things naturally. The one extreme teaches a return to nature however primitive and fallen and the other preaches that the Ten Commandments are natural moral law and THE sole rule of life for Christians, both thus denying the Covenant of Grace.

   The faith of the Lord Jesus Christ is not summarized in a gospel-less interpretation of the Ten Commandments. (Galatians Three again). These are God’s own eternal standards, unattainable for fallen man to whom, nevertheless, God says, ‘Be ye holy as I am holy’. If Adam fell when striving to keep God’s commandments by his own will, how can fallen creatures in Adam attempt this? Christians love God’s Commandments in their true background and purpose in the whole of God’s Law of Grace and Grace of Law from Genesis to Revelation. Taken out of their pan-Biblical covenant teaching they are misused as a most defective, legal task-master.

   Blaming the world for Moral Anarchy is closing the gate when the horse has bolted. Blame the churches for leading sinners into this folly and shutting them out from saving revelation.

Using the Law lawfully

    Today’s Christians tackle the so-called moral law unlawfully. The Law is not there merely to condemn but is part of the Covenant of Grace in leading sinners to the Saviour. The legal ‘Christian’ Judaisers in our churches have only condemnation for commandment-breakers. Islam, homosexuality, Women’s Lib and the EU are all thrown into the same hell-bound boat and launched with a thousand anathemas.

    Let us therefore not talk so much about morals but name the cancer by its Biblical name ‘SIN’ which means misusing God’s goodness and turning away from God’s commandments. It is a matter of right relationships in becoming right with God through Christ. Sadly our churches preach down bad morals from a position of judgmental servitude rather than tell sinners to repent and flee from the wrath to come to God’s safe stronghold in Jesus the only Redeemer. Give me a repentant homosexual any day rather than an unrepentant apostate Christian.

   One man changed my attitude to all this, my tutor and mentor at Hull University, Canon James Atkinson. He realized that the post-grad theologians in his 1963 class were judgmental hardliners who knew it all and thought they were there to put themselves above God’s Word and judge both it and fallen mankind. Professor Atkinson begged us to put ourselves under God’s Word and be judged by it and treat sinners, (then prostitutes were fashionable not homosexuals), with the compassion of Christ who wept over Jerusalem. He taught us the full scope of the Word and the Father’s Covenant with His Son and never to separate Law from Grace. When he spoke of those who were wading deep in the mire of spiritual anarchy, he did it with such a display of love and concern for their eternal welfare that the hardened theologians were, as he was, nigh to tears.

   Our duty to these people is not to stand before the bar of Heaven and demand that the Heavenly Judge puts on His black cap but to present them lovingly before the Throne of Grace and plead for mercy on their souls as we beg mercy on our own for our ceasing to be the nation’s watchmen.