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Letter to the Editor: Irrational Optimism


Irrational Optimism

Dear Sir,

I read the latest [anon.] article from Anglican Futures, EC8087. It is helpful and clear but, for me, there is a deep undercurrent of a seemingly determined [irrational?] optimism. The article outlines the overall workings of general Synod, “in nuce” and how it approaches the varied business set before it. Nicely done, too, but I would like to raise three issues:

First, the invitation Video for recruitment to join Synod. Each item fits the new “woke” Gospel agenda now beloved by the synod and the generality of its leaders. There is no mention of preaching the Biblical Gospel. Our insolent, idolatrous, wicked and fallen culture is running the show.

Second, the opportunities and means of allowing debate. It is clear that open and honest debate has long been seriously undermined by the use of ‘presentations’ which virtually exclude debate – as the article makes clear. Biblical issues are already precluded, probably for the reason[s] given over the previously divisive nature of ordaining women to the episcopate, although I think it runs deeper than that as unbelief established itself. The necessity of preaching the Gospel of repentance and faith as given in the Scriptures will not find friends or sympathetic debate here under the new woke gospel. The foundations of the 39 Articles were long abandoned.

Third, the emergence of working groups. This is the final death knell for the Evangelical voice. It is the liberal numbers that count and even if the Biblical voice was heard it will be roundly muted. No controversy is to mar the proceedings and the progress of wickedness. The LLF document, for example, will be accepted one way or another. It may simply turn out that in time Synod will give a formal recognition of what has become an existing situation [it has already started] or it may be accepted as it is in its present form or one similar. Can an Evangelical live with this, tweaked or not? Not if he/she is to be worthy of the name Evangelical and desires to uphold the purity of the true Gospel.

The Gospel is to be proclaimed in the face of evil whether people will listen of not. This will not happen in Synod. Indeed, here is the hopeless optimism which seems to underlie the article, that an Evangelical voices might “at best” be able to “tweak decisions “. Is this really the best one can hope for? This is an appalling prospect. Synod is happy with tweaks for the substance will remain completely unchanged. Such tweaking is Synod’s accommodation to the Evangelical and we accept it!

To suggest that even tweaking the direction of Synodical decisions is a worthwhile end is the optimism of hopelessness and despair. Thankfully, Paul was not sent to tweak the Judaism of his day but to present that Gospel which would overthrow it. For his efforts he was ridiculed, silenced, thrown out of the synagogue and treated with contempt. So was Jesus – His Gospel led to Calvary. Such rejection that would not have happened if both had merely managed a tweak or two. A proclaiming Biblical voice in Synod will, as with Paul and our Saviour, be quickly silenced and banished. Barry Shucksmith’s perceptive letter is correct in every detail – we’ve been through this together.

I suggest that if we wish to plot the future course of our spiritual future and society then Israel of old is our paradigm – human nature with its sensuality, wilfulness, sinful rebellion, idolatry and continued rejection of the Lord does not change: and neither does the end result. It’s all there in Synod and it is no accident that “Babylon” is the figure of the final overthrow of all wickedness in Rev.18: this is a serious warning regardless of one’s interpretation of the book.

If I may I would like to add [cheekily] another text to the Editor’s suggestions for those seeking Synod membership, 2 Cor.6:17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

So … let each be persuaded in their own mind: stand if you will but I am persuaded that if elected true Evangelicals will not be heard. Speak or tweak? The first is the Biblical calling that leads to the door, the latter is betrayal and a further step down and away from the Gospel. One cannot help but think of the warning carved in the arch over Dante’s doorway, “All hope abandon ye who enter here.”

John Dunn

Isle of Wight