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Letter to the Editor: Response to the Last Editorial

Letter to the Editor

Response to Last Edition’s Editorial

Dear Editor,

Thank you very much for your Christian charity and spirited editorial, Friday 8th October 2021, ( E.C. No.8090).  Also thanks are due to you for reprinting so much excellent reformed evangelical material, from those who understand the biblical basis of true Episcopalianism, not least that Man of Granite, with the heart of a child – J C Ryle. In your last edition, you helpfully referred to Bishop J C Ryle, and quoted at large from year 1874  You may wish to know what he said in 1898.

“A ship without a compass, without a lantern, a locomotive engine without a fire, would not be more useless than a Church would be without Creeds, Articles, or Rubrics, and sailing under the flag of universal toleration.”  

Continuing, said the good Bishop, “We are daily drifting downwards, though some may neither feel nor perceive it, and in a few years, unless we exert ourselves, we shall be over the falls.” (The Present Distress; Charges & Addresses; 17th Liverpool Diocesan Conference; Nov., 1898; BOTT; 1978,;Edinburgh

Bishop Ryle‘s thinking had clearly moved on, since 1874. On his death, (1900), 120 years ago, the shift turned into a landslide. “sailing under the flag of universal toleration” seems most apt. Much was lost as a result of two world wars. and the unbelief which followed. Mourning relatives, contrary to God’s revealed will in Holy Scripture,  sought comfort in  spiritualism and ‘contacting their dead loved ones.’ The Armed Forces Chaplaincy, for both world wars, tended to promote a lowest common denominator attitude, which later influenced a false Ecumenism. Liberalism got a hold, as never before. Indeed German theology found a home in many parishes, Scriptural authority was weakened, social politics, in the inter-war period, grew fast, with the churches getting so involved, with soup kitchens etc, an almost run-away attitude today.   By the 1950s, post-Festival of Britain affluence, the arrival of the cheap motorcar for the middle classes, the pursuit of materialism as a replacement for spiritual satisfaction and security, the loss of a sense of eternal values, with the package holidays, and cheap flights, and mass travel, impacting on weekend church attendance.  To say nothing of the Beatles and all that!

As wonderful as the Reformation documents are – second to none as far as I am concerned – as someone who uses the BCP daily – it is hard to see how the unchurched masses would cope with them today. There is also something more urgent. No church can be kept true by documents, traditions, or worldly popularity, Separation, revival prayer meetings, willingness to copy our evangelical fathers, and use mission outposts, as Dr Ryle did, acting outside our church buildings, planting new functional properties, and above all, Word and Spirit-inspired preaching – willing to be fools for Christ’s sake, and looking to the Lord alone, for reformation-revival.  Such are all pressing issues for Remainers and Seceders alike. 

The True Church, of which J C Ryle wrote so brilliantly,  belongs to the Glorified Redeemer.  God requires male headship, under Christ’s supreme headship (Genesis 2:18-25; 1 Corinthians 11:3-12;1 Timothy 2:11- chap. 3:5; 1 Peter 3:1-5).

It was only a few “rotten boards in the ship”, for J C Ryle. However, a 20th century torpedo, fired by some remarkable, devoted, feminists, has penetrated the Apostolic steel hull, and sunk the good ship ANGLICANA. It has to be put right, humbly before Almighty God. Regeneration, Revival and Christian Repentance, belong together.

May the Lord richly bless the E.C. Editor, and Contributors alike, to His own glory.  Amen.

Most sincerely, your brother in Christ,

Rt Revd Dr J Barry Shucksmith, FRSA, Royal Navy (Rtd)