Written by Sherry
Monday, 26 May 2008 19:08
The Dean of Sydney's Anglican cathedral airs his criticism of the catholic Church while welcoming pilgrimages to World Youth Day.
But his criticisms are not what we are used to hearing from Anglican deans. It seems that Philip Jensen, in fact, the whole Anglican Archdiocese of Sydney represents that rarest of rare birds these days - old fashioned Reformed or Puritan Anglicanism.
Jensen writes in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Protestantism is a protest. Our protest is against the enormity of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church.
Some people are born as Protestants. They are anti-Roman Catholic because of their own tribal roots. They have no belief other than that Roman Catholics are wrong. But Protestantism is not tribalism. It is the belief in the sole authority of the Bible. The Bible explains to us that salvation is only by the generosity of God. This salvation comes through Christ alone, and is received by faith without any works on our part. All is to the glory of God alone.
So we protest against Roman Catholic claims to authority. We object to the Pope claiming to be the Vicar of Christ. We reject all claims to authority that imply the insufficiency of scripture. We reject any implication that Jesus's work on the cross was insufficient or is received by more than faith or requires some other mediator.
This protest against Roman Catholicism is no small complaint. It goes to the very heart of God's central message to mankind - the way of salvation. The 39 articles of the Anglican Church state "the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith".
That sentence was written in the 16th century. Since then the Roman Catholic Church has added to its errors - the Immaculate Conception (1854), the Infallibility of the Pope (1870), and the bodily Assumption of Mary (1950). There is nothing in modern Roman Catholicism that reduces our need to protest.
And yet Jensen goes to say:
It is also to the credit of our city that we are willing to be hospitable not only to people with whom we agree but also to those with whom we disagree.
Of course our hospitality is expensive. That is the nature of hospitality. Compared to the amount of tax our Roman Catholic neighbours contribute it is as nothing.
Naturally our hospitality is inconvenient. We are regularly inconvenienced by parades and demonstrations, by sporting events and parties. That is the nature of living in a world city.
I will not be welcoming the Pope, going out to see him or waving a flag. Given what I have said, the Pope wouldn't expect me to. But I am certainly not going to pray for rain on his parade. Remember, our Lord said that our Father in heaven sends sun and rain on all - as the Bible puts it the "just and unjust" alike. This is God giving secular support. We should want our Government to do the same.