Anglican Samizdat

December 2, 2009

Devilish deception

Filed under: Anglican,Anglican Angst — David @ 11:43 am
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As Baudelaire observed, the devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist. Anglican clergyman, George Pitcher is persuaded:

English satanic practices always make me smile. They conjure up images of very white, fat people dancing around clumsily in a wood. So when I read our story today that a vicar in the Forest of Dean is seeing signs of “dark forces”, I’m afraid I was reminded more of Ghostbusters than of The Omen.

But the Rev Nick Bromfield, rector of Drybrook, Lydbrook and Ruardean, is taking it all very seriously: “It might sound medieval to talk about the relationship between good and evil, but there is no middle ground on this. People need to leave well alone.”

Oh, c’mon, Rev Nick. We’re not talking about Old Nick here, are we? All that classical theistic Greek dualism, which gave us the battle between God and the Devil, with the great eschatological battle fought out at the Cross of Calvary? Are you mates with Mel Gibson?  Or perhaps you just didn’t like finding a sheep’s head impaled on a stake outside one of your churches?

I agree that’s not very nice, least of all for the sheep, but are we still really talking about a Miltonesque battle for dominion between the powers of darkness and light? I don’t think so. Evil is the absence of the divine in humanity, made potent by the power of human imagination gone wrong. So I agree that humans obviously have a capacity for great evil. But because they are possessed by the Prince of Darkness? No. There’s only room for one deity here.

Let’s see, if there is no devil there was no Fall, no rebellion against God, no sin, no need for a Saviour, no Incarnation, no atonement on the cross, no salvation, no heaven, no hell, no hope.

What does that leave us with? The Church of England.

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4 Comments

  1. “What does it leave us with?”: A piteous social club with vestiges of its former grandeur.

    Comment by Jim Muirhead — December 2, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  2. The original story is here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/6662833/Vicar-sends-warning-over-occult.html

    That priest has it rught. What those pagans are fooling around with is very very dangerous.

    Comment by Kate — December 2, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  3. – I thought this kind of talk (George Pitcher’s, I mean) was a thing of the past. The deliverance ministry has grown considerably in England, in recent decades, both among laity (as in the deliverance ministry support group I belong to, in my diocese) and among clergy (dioceses now have deliverance teams, and deliverance training, I understand, is returning to ordinand training programmes). I thought the 20th century secular materialism (regarding spiritual warfare) was what was on the wane, and beginning to appear quaint. Living in the world we do, the reality of directed evil is obvious; to talk like Pitcher shows denial, and the old “absence of God, purely-human badness” is a kind of escapism. Oh, I realise materialism can provide a kind of security security blanket to some.

    Comment by John Thomas — December 3, 2009 @ 4:10 am

  4. The kind of attitude that proclaims the devil does not exist reminds me of 2 Timothy 3…

    1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
    4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
    6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
    7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
    9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
    10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
    11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
    12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
    13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
    14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
    15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    Another scripture summarizes this quite nicely:

    20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
    21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
    22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
    23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
    24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
    25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
    26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!
    27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!
    28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.
    29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
    30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
    31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/2_ne/28/20-32#20

    Comment by Rob — December 3, 2009 @ 2:55 pm


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