Designs of The Times

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 27, 2005

At once smug, condescending, and obtuse, the following leader in The Times (U.K.) could serve as a parody of its own sententiousness. The subject on which the editors have chosen to enlighten us is gay bishops and God's mind .

It is not The Times's place to ventriloquise for the Almighty, but neither can it be out of place to suppose that, surveying the variegated map of beliefs, He would note all sides of every doctrinal dispute with interest and due respect -- and then side with the peacemakers.

Got that? God shares our ignorance of His own nature and will, but has at least earned the reputation of being courteous and fair. Like a puzzled traveler, He surveys "the variegated map of beliefs," and having noted all contributions to the dispute with due respect -- "I think the ash-blond gentleman in the apricot lambswool makes a good point, actually" -- God takes sides. With The Times. By a happy coincidence.

In faith as in ideology, open schism is notoriously hard to heal because opposing sides are inclined to exaggerate their differences. A non-negotiable commitment to unity, by contrast, forces those with clashing views to reconcile them or find ways to co-exist.

If those with "clashing views" share a non-negotiable commitment to unity, that "unity" in which they co-exist is necessarily meaningless -- at best it's a mutual non-aggression pact. If unity of doctrine is not stipulated a priori, as in the Catholic Church, then it must be ceaselessly renegotiated, and serial schism is the only alternative to coercion. Those denominations (and religious orders) that tried to buy unity by butchering their orthodoxy and selling it off in parcels have made a Faustian compact. In the end they are doctrinally bankrupt, and the "unity" bought with the false coin turns out to be counterfeit itself .

Were God to focus on the question of elevating homosexuals to the Anglican episcopate, He would, presumably, distinguish at once between disagreement based on genuine respect for Scripture, and the contortion of Scripture in order to camouflage mere prejudice.

The Times editors seem doubtful about God's skill at multi-tasking, but it's downright magnanimous of them to credit Him with the ability to make the key distinctions as He ponders the question -- "We are of two minds at present" -- of consecrating homosexuals.

There seems little doubt, however, that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada have undervalued unity in their precipitate and unilateral moves in favour of same-sex unions and gay bishops. Neither development is necessarily incompatible with Anglican harmony in the long term, but in the short term the suspension of both churches from the Anglican Consultative Council is wise. Time has been bought, and, God willing, sanity and sanctity will prevail.

"Time has been bought." Lads, you never spoke a truer word. Now take a look over the past, oh, four and a half centuries or so, and consider what has been sold.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 27, 2005 8:54 PM ET USA

    God knows exactly how much respect is "due" to the philosophies of socialism, nazism, and every other ism, including Catholocism. He has a favorite belief, and knows how much respect is due that ideal and its followers. Who is a peacemaker but One who upholds God's Truth as He truly is? The distinction is important. Remember, Holy Scripture was abused to justify slavery. His precise order of operating, I cannot state with certainty.