Just to apologise in advance to all you folks in this magnificent Methodist Hall: I have a splitting headache and it may affect my performance.
You know what? A lot of these liberal evangelicals wish us ill: they say we are schismatic, the FUKC OFF will divide the church, and we are engaged in power play. Posturing poms I call these.
The FUKC OFF exists to keep Anglicanism united according to how we see it, so people can remain Anglicans even if they have to separate off to do it. I don't see how this can be clearer as a statement of unity.
We'll stay at the highest level possible; to gather up the crumbs under the table and press them into a breadbun. And look, it's amazing, we include Anglo-Catholics in FUKC OFF that we disagree with on just about everything - but not the Open Evangelicals, where we agree about most things. They give me a splitting headache, and I've got one, which is why we cannot unite. Can you join us in this great dividing moment?
Let me tell you about a theologian who most people have never heard of and who wrote books for a pretty narrow constituency all his life. James T. Warehouse used to be an Anglican minister in a parish, and he didn't like some of his bishop's utterances, and with colleagues decided to take his church and all its property with him to another Anglican province. Funnily enough, his bishop said return or go, and he still went - and his old Church had the shocking reaction of removing him after he had left! Now how can this person not be an Anglican? Having to ask this means something is wrong, and so in our quest for unity there is a parting of the ways. Decisions to leave have to be made.
Well that's in Canada. But what about here, in the old country? Like Paul Tillich said, the Christian foundations have been shaken. I think we need to start a war. It will be an ideological war, a war of ideas, that we lost some time ago. Join in this new Holy War, won't you, for FUKC OFF is sharpening up its instruments.
Submit, I say, as the Muslims also say. You should work for Christ by submitting to scripture. If you don't, the culture will gobble you up in its big feast at Beltane. But that's not how the West was won. These days the people in the established Church and with all our privileges are harrassed; the United States with all its churchgoing has lost the fight with the churchgoing culture. The culture says submit, or be harrassed; Christian values are so weak now they have merged into the culture, producing what sociologists call civic religion. It pretends to be the true heir of the Christian faith, that it now possesses all that was worthwhile of Christianity, and that the entire structure of Christian thought can disappear into the receding past, which it has like a lost tunnel on the railway track behind us.
- It tells you that its tolerance is the choicest part of your love,
- that its non-discrimination is the choicest part of your justice,
- that its individualism is the choicest part of your freedom
These are truly fantastic ideals: tolerance, non-discrimination and individual choice.
Where was I now... Oh yes, and sexual athleticism is the choicest part of your marriage. Well I wouldn't want to comment on that. We can be a bit obsessed about sex at our neck of the Christian woods, though neck is not quite the body part we think about most. Aye, rub a dub dub, three men in a tub: such an innocent rhyme which this culture wants to pervert. You can't even say Muffin the Mule anymore without people giggling. I'll come over this later.
You see the liberal genius is compromise. It gets into exercising denominational leadership, into synods and boards and councils, indeed into the episcopacy itself, because it can reach more than its own constituency, unlike us. It will come to terms with this world theologically as there sure is a complex world out there, and this it combines structural unity cleverly with the multiple and complex nature of truth. Whereas I'd say lets have a narrower culture of Christ and the Bible and get those instruments sharpened. See, their liberal interpretation means you listen to them on the radio and you cannot tell whether you are hearing a Christian minister or a member of the intellectual elite or the political class, such is their ability to communicate, whereas we sound like we've lost it up some sectarian cul-de-sac. There is much to admire in the liberal temper. What you need is a deep confidence in the gospel and perhaps I am feeling a bit jealous and I could do with a tablet. No no, Bishop N. Ackers, a tablet not The Tablet.
You Brits are so cool and measured, with your balance and nuance, to see the other point of view, above all not to take decisive and irretrievable action, just like your Archbishop of Catacombs that sent us such lukewarm greetings and who we may or may not follow according to how we feel at the time. I know I am a Johnny foreigner, but you bet I give a shit about Pommieland. There is little time left. The younger generations are largely lost, as they ignore us in their millions. So we need to harrass them like the culture harrasses us, and remember to bung on some entertaining rock music in your church in between all that nauseating religion.
So let's look inward again. Look at the anger about The Jerusalem Declaration and GAFCON. Some of the most angry are those Open Evangelicals who agree with much of the theology of the GAFCON movement but cannot accept that a moment for decisive action had arrived. We were right, as we always are. We imagine that the liberal churches have not resiled from their unbiblical teaching on human sexuality; and look these court cases still go on when we leave and nick the property; the poposed Covenant that has lost support on all sides is like a dead horse flogged and delayed again; and Dr Warehouse is told he's no longer in the club - I mean, we at least ought to be able to sort him out before we manage anything else. OK I know that's abroad again and we are lunching - sorry, launching - here. My eyes are watering so excuse my errors, though I don't make errors. Here then, well they want women as bishops without any effort like was seen at the General Synod to accommodate these unaccommodatable people who believe something like those Roman Catholics do reading The Tablet. Let me just gob something up here. Excuse me because I need to just clear my throat: it must be linked to my splitting headache. Oh? Oh you don't actually like The Tablet - it's too liberal for you. Goodness, they're in the Roman Catholics too?
Yes, imagining. What about the next twenty years when the Internet is so fast and the globe so small. Yep, it is time to bash the Bible again like the missionaries did when they disappeared in a much bigger, slower world. They could destroy cultures all right and we should destroy the West. Culturally captivated churches of the West are sending their gospel to the rest of the world and we need to start some pulpit thumping against that. You don't choose institution over gospel; it is no time to say 'peace, peace' - for there is no peace. There is war, Holy War, and let's crack eggs and make an omelette for the Lord.
See, the conflict is over the authority of Jesus Christ when it comes to sex. OK I'm resisting and so let's widen this first. We have developed in the West an engaging and intelligent theological education, and it's time this FUKC OFF took up battle to reverse that. We need to strategically capture theological colleges by which future leaders are shaped. The second is the area of her herm hermeneutics. Those who regard the Bible as a human witness to God, because people wrote it, drawn together as a sort of library, because the books were of different periods and places and messages, will find contradiction and tension throughout as indeed there is. But we can imagine it's different, as if the great quill pen came out of the sky, and in 6 days the world got under way - oh no we don't have to think that as we don't all of Levvy Levickiter Leviticush, except the abomination bit we like to keep going. And we have these intellectuals on the Internet spreading their enlightened thoughts around the world that used to be locked up inside universities and theological colleges. So we really have to swamp the world with our websites of surface biblical literalism. And goodness me even that doesn't work sometimes, like the reports of Unitarian biblical literalists springing up in Kenya. And that's without biblical criticism. Where can I gob up? I'll get my hanky out.
Global Anglican Con (Globacon) has been a remarkable success in its lack of impact so far. It has found a few lifeboats out at sea and has roped them together into a province that no one else recognises. They went overboard from the HMS Sanctification of Sin. Some are still on board. Let me praise the captains of other ships who picked up some of the lifeboats and since have roped them together so that these people can get back into them and bob along on the sea.
The powers that be in the backrooms of Globacon will soon publish a commentary on the The Jerusalem Declaration. Read it: you can't change it.
Now Anglicanism is a both and yes and no Church, and this commentary indicates that we say yes and we say no too, only to different things. Like Dr Ian Paisley in the other island, we are prepared to say No, no, no, never and never, never, never, although in his case he ended up saying yes actually. But no, we won't say yes, not yes to what can swallow us up, when no we won't be when we want to say yes to actually swallowing. I'm a bit dry in the throat at the moment. Not cheap grace, not bargain basement grace, but expensive grace, and stick your money on the plate or in bags where people can be a little meaner.
So let's be clear. There is one Faith, one Lord, and maybe just an extra Church or two according to our vision for unity. And it is there in the Bible, if you avoid the tricky bits and be a bit selective. Yes, changing your imaginary world should change your life: it stands to reason, or at least submissive reason. We stand before the God who killed his own son in an exchange with us mere mortals, and we believe in such sin exchange, but only for us who sign the mental dotted line of pre-planned deicide. OK people have seen through this in this culture, but we must shout all the louder from the pulpits - God murdered his own Son.
We oppose human merit. Submit we say, like the Muslims do, and we want our book to be regarded like they regard theirs, though we do miss out the bits we don't like. Oh I've said that. You know, when you have a splitting headache you tend to forget what you've just said. So we reject any gospel which sees humanity as fundamentally sound, or where other beliefs and religions and philosophies and the range of ideas we inherit offer a way to God. The gospel of The Jerusalem Declaration is the only gospel: hell, that even comes before the Bible, and let's not forget those Thirty-nine Articles of Religion - so severe and determined that no one could think of any more to have a nice round figure of forty, such a biblical number for you geriatrics - sorry, gemetriatrics.
So we affirm Scripture - OK I've said that. Just a minute. No, I have said that. Yeah I've said the whole Bible is a canonical unity, or did I say something else? Of course the Church has had 'a historic and consensual reading', and I have to say that otherwise these traditionalist Anglo-Catholics will leave the FUKC OFF even sooner than likely. So let's honour the creeds, Councils, Articles and any other bit of writing that guide partly how we read these scriptures. And these Thirty-nine Articles - did I mention them? What a splitting headache.
And there is the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal as peculiarly their own. Which they are.
And I resist no more: let's get to the real stuff in this Jerusalem Declaration: when is it right to have a shag and when not? When exactly can you bonk, who with and in what circumstances? The Bible is very clear on this: a man can have many wives. Take Abraham for example: what a shit he was with his women. So look, if you can't bag a woman, keep your dick in your trousers. That's what I say. Single men and homos can only get it out to do what the Bible says: piss against the wall. No man indeed should sit on the toilet to have a piss. Don't expect a FUKC OFF church to sanctify sitting on the toilet for a piss: for men need to be real men. And real men are not into Drop 'em and Come over, as the unfortunately named cockney rhyming slang would have it. You don't sanctify sin, you don't enjoy your nookie either. Sin! This is our main thrust, so to speak, and the big battle, because the culture could swallow you in one big ejaculatory blow job and frankly we must be on our guard and blow job the culture. It is a fierce one, this. You have to be cunning. Linctus, I need some linctus I think. Pills too. You know what? They even talk here about the pink pound. That's not the pink I know. No, you have to open the curtains to sin and expose it. Any can o' linctus around here?
OK, yeah pink but there are some grey areas too. We just have to be crafty with our barmy Anglo-Catholic fellow travellers and agree to disagree over women and ordination. We might have to strip these women of their clerical collars, but on the other hand we might dress the ladies in some more. It's a difficult area, being sexist, but we try our best. What we do in New Holland is make them deacons and let them do the magic tricks but not let them be in charge of anything above the Sunday School and the little kiddies.
Now truthness and being false must precede order; oh I'm repeating myself again. Well they said take up this slot, and you should come to one of my sermons. We preach the same words over and over again. So the all singing and all dancing Jerusalem Declaration says firmly 'We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed.'
Well now, the launch of the FUKC OFF is a great moment, a gospel moment. It adds another little sect within Britain and Ireland as a spiritual movement for the sake of our understanding of Christ and the way we see his gospel. Overthrow your leaders! It is a moment in which ordinary people can take responsibility for what happens in their church. It is a moment when you can say, enough is enough, and indeed I ought to shut up now.
In New Holland we got a model of James T. Warehouse and moulded him into a cannon looking out for the British. You know our history, how we fought off the invading British and made a nation for ourselves. Let's get rid of the colonials and the nationalist type of Anglicans - hang on, that's what Akinola's mob say. Oh well. I'll leave that to them lot. Anyone anything for my splitting headache?