Watchman and Scum; Brethren and Anglican
A few days ago, I posted a new installment in my Trumpwatch series (see here) and it gave rise to a number of comments.
In my article, I included the following words that drew particular attention: “Even though there is much I don’t know and I believe in the interest of balance the Lord would not have me go down every rabbit hole, I am compelled as a Watchman to report on what I see. I cannot say how things will pan out or give a timescale. Trump is unique. He has the ability, opportunity and balls to go after the scum running Planet Earth, and is the Lord’s anointed”.
One friend took exception to the use of the word “scum”, noting it was used by other Christians of my ilk: “The word ‘scum’ is used with great regularity. Really there is nothing more appalling or off putting about your religion, to hear you all describe it as a religion of love and then hear the untrammelled hatred and pure bile that flows out of your mouths and your writings sometimes…”. My response was unapologetic, pointing out: “while “scum” is not a word used in the Bible, those who were, were called out. I use the word scum regularly but also advisedly. Those I call scum are scum. FYI while Christianity is a religion of love, noting pertinently that tomorrow our founder laid down his life for his enemies because of that love that is not the whole truth. For more than love, authentic Christianity is about the righteousness of God and I don’t apologise for calling out scum for screwing human kind and having the cheek to claim the moral high ground”.
Another friend included in his comment: “I’m still looking for the verse which says that someone gets to appoint oneself as a Watchman”. This prompted me to post what Facebook reminded me I posted six years previously, along with the comment: “A friend raised the point – can watchmen in the Bible be self appointed? Other than Ezekiel, I can’t think of an example of the Lord appointing watchmen although that was something prophets He did call did. But I can point to Jesus telling us all to watch and pray (Matthew 24:32). For me, the example of the children of Issachar and the fact there is a dire shortage of watchmen in these crazy days of deception, where the need for such is great, is sufficient reason to add in recent years “watchman on the wall” to “gospel preaching, community activist” to my job title should I be asked for one. Besides which, there is no need to keep all this to a select group (appointed by the Lord (and who’s to say), those in some sort of authority (and too often the wrong people are acclaimed) or self appointed) – the verse “lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” John 4:35 springs to mind”.
Obviously “self-appointed” has negative connotations. It got me thinking about how those having any office in the church should be appointed, those with a ministry in the self-appointed category, and my own Plymouth Brethren roots. The PBs began in the 1820s to 30s (I wrote about their origins and history in my “Who are the Brethren” article, some 25 years ago – see here). One of the PB principal movers and shakers was one John Nelson Darby, who began his “working” life as a High Church Anglican clergyman, and one of his early seminal works was titled something along the lines “The Church in Ruins” (I also wrote about the life and legacy of Darby (see here)). As one might expect from such a title, his views concerning the church (as opposed to the Church that matters – the true ekklesia (assembly) of God) were pessimistic and critical. When it came to appointing priests etc., the Anglicans had lost the right to do so and could not claim to apostolic succession due to apostacy.
When it came to Non-Conformity, their practice of members of individual congregations voting in who they thought should lead them, typically graduates from a denomination approved theological institution, Darby deemed to be unbiblical. Those PBs strictly adopting the “Darby position”, notably the Exclusives, often did away with notions of leaders of the local Assembly, putting the onus on brothers of good standing to do the leading, although tragically individuals did come to dominate, including those who were more authoritarian than any Pope. As for the Open branch (to which I belonged), there was a plurality of lay elders, usually selected by other elders (often giving rise to accusations of nepotism). For around 25 years, I was an elder of an Open Brethren assembly!
While I was thinking to write something about watchman and scum, relating this to my PB roots and how I see the world and how the Church should respond, a friend emailed me including three links to videos he thought I might like to check out and suggested I might also like to blog about what I was to find. I watched the relevant videos attached to two of the links and then checked out two more:
- Do you want to leave the Church of England? Here are the options!
- I’m Leaving The Church of England!
- How to Return the Church to God & Reverse Its Wokery? My Conservative Views Stopped My Ordination.
- A new deanery chapter for the City of London
I don’t propose to go over the content of these videos, all of which are relatively short but are worth watching in order to help us to understand some of the concerns of those who are / were Anglicans. The common factor is / was the official Anglican approach / fudge to LBGT related issues. As a non-Anglican, I can imagine that if taken back in time I would have still not joined the C of E, even before Darby left the church 200 years ago for reasons I would support if I were around. Even so, as a non-Anglican, it is not an issue I can avoid these days, as I have many friends whose stands for Jesus are ones I respect and admire, who are Anglicans but have to answer for themselves the question “should I leave or should I stay”. We have, in my definitely not Anglican church, a deacon whose father was an Anglican vicar, who left the church over 50 years ago, and at great personal cost, over conscience issues not to do with LBGT. We also have a family who took their children out of our local C of E primary school (the same one, incidentally, my son once attended), over issues relating to pushing a gender confusion agenda (a societal “hot topic” demanding a church response that I discussed in my recent “Sexual Orientation, Sexual Identity and Divorce” blog).
Having said all that, how do I conclude? The first and main point is not only did the One, who if we are following the calendar shared by Anglicans and Non-Conformists alike, who having been crucified yesterday, laying low in the grave today and is about to rise from the dead in triumph tomorrow, not only said that He will build His Church (as per our opening meme) but is doing so today, and unlike churches is the Church that matters and is the one we need to join. As for scum, wisdom may dictate I should be wiser in my choice of words (for after all, we are all sinners, and only God is qualified to judge who is worse). As for Watchmen, coming with a Darbyite mindset concerning the Ekklesia of God, I believe God has called me to watch, even though these days I have no church approved title.