The sense in which I mean it here, and the question to be answered,
will be explained by what follows.
As an Anglican I have a right to be heard,
and according to Holy Scripture,
the church has the obligation to hear (John 7:51),
before making any hasty or negative judgements.
(1) It can be no secret now (indeed it is an open scandal before other denominations and the world), that the Church of England is in crisis.
(2) The divisive issues are of course, ordination, and same-sex 'marriage'.
(3) The Crisis of the C of E however, is not new. Its roots go back
even to the Reformation, and the various dramatic internal upheavals inside the Realm,
and also world-scale judgments upon her and her peoples from outside.
(4) Historically, the C of E did not follow the most extreme impulses of the Reformation,
such as rejection of basic Christian truth and doctrine, and apostacy.
(5) In the midst of that crisis of the Reformation, an amazing thing happened. The clergy and king galvanized themselves in an unprecedented unity of faith and doctrine, and carefully and clearly formulated an agreement and a public statement of their position: The 39 Articles.
(6) The 39 Articles were not just a statement of beliefs. They were a formal contract, an irrevocable commitment by the clergy and king
on behalf of the British people.
(7) Along with the assents and commitments were the terms of enforcement,
meant to bind all parties to their word,
and accept the consequences of any and all violations of letter,
spirit and intent expressed by the contract.
(8) The King, the clergy, the realm, and its people were committed,
committed to a unified sovereign state, a kingdom, a monarchy,
a rule of government and faith and a commitment to the peace, unity,
and common good of the nation.
(9) This was not a 'suggestion', a mere expression of faith,
but an oath of fealty, a commitment to faithfulness;
not a vague interest in the pursuit of truth or goodwill,
but a defense of historical and spiritual facts, detailed, loud and clear.
(10) The Articles of Religion and the Book of Prayer was the blueprint,
the charter, the magna charta, the constitution of the British Empire.
It precedes even the King James Bible or Authorized Version,
which was a natural consequence of this national oath and contract,
evoked by the leadership of the British Isles on behalf of her people.
Perhaps the most important part of the 39 Articles,
and its very foundation as a commitment, contract, and oath
before God and man, a public witness to the whole world,
is the very first statement, and the first foundation-stone
upon which the rest of the Articles were built:
With these words the Royal Throne of Britain spoke clearly
HIS MAJESTY'S DECLARATION.
"Being by God's Ordinance, according to one just Title,Defender of the Faith, and Supreme Governor of the Church,within these our Dominions, We hold it most agreeableto this our Kingly Office, and Our own religous Zeal, toconserve and maintain the Church committed to OurCharge, in Unity of true Religion, and in the Bond of Peace;and not to suffer unnecessary Disputations, Altercations, orQuestions to be raised, which may nourish Faction bothin the Church and Commonwealth. We have therefore,upon mature Deliberation, and with the Advice of so manyof Our Bishops as might convenientlv be called together,thought fit to make this Declaration following:
That the Articles of the Church of England (which havebeen allowed and authorized heretofore, and which OurClergy generally have subscribed unto) do contain the trueDoctrine of the Church of England agreeable to God'sWord: which We do therefore ratify and confirm, requiringall our loving Subjects to continue in the uniform Professionthereof, and prohibiting the least difference from the saidArticles; which to that End We command to be newprinted, and this Our Declaration to be published therewith.
That We are Supreme Governor of the Church ofEngland : And that if any difference arise ahout theexternal Policy, concerning the Injunctions, Canons, andother Constitutions whatsoever thereto belonging, the Clergyin their Convocation is to order and settle them, havingfirst obtained leave under Our Broad Seal so to do: and Weapproving their said Ordinances and Constitutions;providing that none be made contrary to the Laws and customsof the Land.
That out of Our Princely Care that the Churchmen maydo the Work which is proper unto them, the Bishops andClergy, from time to time in Convocation, upon their humbleDesire, shall have Licence under Our Broad Seal to deliberate of,and to do all such Things, as, being made plainby them, and assented unto by Us, shall concern the settledContinuance of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church ofEngland now established; from which we will not endureany varying or departing in the least Degree.
That for the present, though some differences have beenill raised, yet We take comfort in this, that all Clergymenwithin Our Realm have always most willingly subscribed tothe Articles established; which is an argument to Us, thatthey all agree in the true, usual, literal meaning of the saidArticles; and that even in those curious points, in whichthe present differences lie, men of all sorts take the Articlesof the Church of England to be for them; which is anargument again, that none of them intend any desertion,of the Articles established.
That therefore in these both curious and unhappy differences,which have for so many hundred years, in differenttimes and places, exercised the Church of Christ, We will,that all further curious search be laid aside, and thesedisputes shut up in God's promises, as they be generally setforth to us in the holy Scnptures, and the general meaningof the Articles of the Church of England according to them.And that no man hereafter shall either print, or preach, todraw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it inthe plain and full meaning thereof: and shall not put hisown sense or comment to be the meaning of the Article, butshall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.
That if any publick Reader in either of Our Universities,or any Head or Master of a College, or any other personrespectively in either of them, shall, affix any new sense toany Article, or shall publickly read, determine, or hold anypublick Disputation, or suffer any such to be held eitherway, in either of the Universities or Colleges respectively : orif any Divine in the Universities shall preach or print anything either way, other than is already established in Convocationwith Our Royal Assent; he, or they the Offenders,shall be liable to Our displeasure, and the Church's censurein Our Commission Ecclesiastical, as well as any other:And We will see there shall be due Execution uponthem."
and firmly of an eternal bond of fealty and loyalty taken
by the collective leadership of the Realm on behalf of its people.
It is this oath, which is in the process of being broken and betrayed,
and which will bring upon the British people, government,
and even if possible the very throne of David,
the consequences and curses of unbelief and apostacy,
the sure ruin and devastation of any nation which knowingly and willingly
takes such a sacred and holy oath before the very throne of
the Most High and Living God, and King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
What can a small, pitiful and loyal subject of the Realm, crown, and kingdom of God do,
when so precious a gift and calling is forsaken by a people,
left to fall into ignorance and darkness by a faulty and misguided leadership?
Pray for our leaders we must.
Pray for a new King who can as a worthy steward
of the greatest commission and nation made without hands,
step up and guide her out of darkness,
and not leave her to fall into pit of foolishness.
We don't need another Queen Victoria,
at who's helm the British peoples sailed to shipwreck.
We need a spiritual revival at the highest levels of leadership in Britain.
Don't call this a church.
We should be too ashamed to do so,
for doing so would inevitably force us to compare it to what it once was,
from the time of the Authorized Version until the 1860s,
and the fiasco of the Revised Perversion.