William Tyndale: A Very Brief History. By Melvyn Bragg. London: SPCK (2017, 2019). 106 pp. $18.00 (hardcover). $12.00 (paper). $6.99 (Kindle). William Tyndale gave us the English Bible and thereby also the English language as it has been read, written, and spoken since. Melvyn Bragg believes that Tyndale nonetheless is largely a forgotten man—his story,…
Late last year I began working on a piece marking 25 years since the publication of what I believed to be the most prescient work of the age. The book had been published in Britain in the spring of 1995 but as February and then March 2020 came and went, we were all rather distracted.…
Towards the end of his life — and while suffering from throat cancer in London, having fled from the Nazis — Sigmund Freud embarked upon his most controversial and, to some, weirdest book: Moses and Monotheism (1939). Moses, he argued, wasn’t Jewish at all. He was Egyptian. The whole story about him being hidden in…
The beginnings of the Church of England are a messy business, and those who attempt to extract an ideal construct from it are doomed to failure. But as I said before, if Justin Welby really wants to make amends for more recent sins, he needs to explicitly shift the centre of the Communion where it belongs–to Africa.
I doubt, however, that progressives would find that to their taste, which is why I’m tempted to view any initiative lead by these people–inside or outside the Anglican/Episcopal world–as a whitewash.
An Excerpt from An Introduction to Theological Anthropology: Humans, Both Creaturely and Divine There exists a growing trend in theological anthropology toward what has been called Christian materialism. By Christian materialism, I am referring to the position that we are strictly identical to our bodies—albeit sophisticated bodies, our brains, or our animal (i.e., a biological…
Florence Pugh has become the latest casualty in the war against “cultural appropriation”. The charming star of Macbeth, Midsommar and Little Women recently issued a nauseating apology on her Instagram account for donning cornrows and painting henna on her hands when she was a teenager. Pugh recalled how she hadn’t heard of “cultural appropriation” until a friend informed…
He’s done another video in the wake of the “unearthing” of Michael Scanlan’s prophecies:
Let’s be honest, Ralph: we’ve been here before. And you dodged the serious question that never seems to change.
Back in 1982 you wrote a book entitled A Crisis of Truth, where you documented the drift from both Biblical truth that Roman Catholicism had experienced. In a sense the video above is a quick summary of the idea of that book, forty years out. (TBH Mother Angelica’s rant–and her response to a bishop that didn’t like it–was more to the point.) So here we are again, you saying the same things and the rest of us trying to figure out a response.
The response many of us did at the time was to exit from the Catholic Church. It wasn’t an easy decision and it’s one that some of our brothers and sisters didn’t follow us in, but we did it anyway. But we felt that we could not live the life that Jesus Christ had intended to and stay in either the miserable pastoral system that was and is Catholic parishes in the US or in a church where what were then called “countercultural” (they’re mainstream now) elements were undermining the Church.
For me at least, your book was in part a justification of that decision. I had seen what happened when the church I grew up in (Episcopal Church) underwent an assault like this, and I had no desire to go through this again.
Now you call us to follow Jesus in a serious way. And that’s good. But now we have an Occupant of the See of St. Peter who is basically dangerous, and dangerous people seem to lurk everywhere. (I was always afraid this would happen sooner or later.) Back in the day the accession of St. John Paul II put a stop to much of the mischief you documented in your book, or at least drove it underground. You cast aside your guitar-strumming and prophecy-proclaiming form of Catholicism for #straightouttairondale, a volte face I still marvel at. But that still leaves those who stay with the same hard choices–harder, really–that we had two score ago.
I’m not one of these people who say that “if you get saved, you must leave the Catholic Church.” That’s basically conceding to the Church it’s own idea of what church is all about. But once Jesus transforms our life we have to be somewhere until we ascend up to heaven. Some have and will stick it out, but some will not, and what you say now–and what you have said in the past–will influence that decision in ways you may not find to your taste.
I would be the first to admit that life in the Pentecostal fast lane has its problems, from Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic Theology to its screwy racial idea. But so far I’ve been able to leave many of the problems I would have had to deal with on an ongoing basis behind, and my church allowed me to work at a denominational level, something Roman Catholicism would never dream of.
At the end of his book The Power and the Wisdom, Fr. John McKenzie wrote the following:
There is another obscurity in one’s mind more difficult to express and not without some dangers. Reflection on the New Testament gives one a keener sense of the differences between the Church which wrote the New Testament and the contemporary Church. If one wanders down this path far enough, one will find oneself at its end in the company of the Reformers; and a Roman Catholic cannot join this company.
As a part of a Wesleyan tradition now, we’re way past Luther and Calvin. Be careful of what you say, Ralph Martin; some of us may take it seriously.
Update: I posted a link to this piece on the video’s comments. They responded by turning the comments off.
A few days ago I finished The Chronicles of Barsetshire, a six-book series by Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, for the second time in as many years. An immediate personal favorite, I was introduced to the series by Anne Kennedy’s blog and podcast, Preventing Grace. For those unfamiliar with the series, all six books take place in…
In January of 1800 Rev. Dr. James Madison, Bishop of Virginia, wrote his cousin, James Madison Jr. The former hailed the congressman and “Father of the Constitution” for his past work on the basic law of the still-new American republic. “You have really swept the Augean Stable; at least, you have cleansed the Constitution from…
In 1998, the urban planning student Mohammed Atta handed in his masters thesis at Hamburg’s University of Technology. Examining in depth the architecture of Aleppo’s historic Bab al-Nasr district, Atta’s thesis presented a picture of the human-scale “Islamic-Oriental city,” whose winding cobbled streets, shaded souks and alleys carved from honey-coloured stone had been violated by…
Justin Welby said monuments would be looked at ‘very carefully’ to see if they all ‘should be there’.
In a wide-ranging interview, he also urged the West to reconsider its prevailing mindset that Jesus was white, and pointed to different portrayals of Christ as Black or Middle Eastern in different countries.
But why do something really stupid when you can do something really substantive? My advice in 2007:
But there’s an easier and more substantial way to even the score: just let the Africans and their allies, including the descendants of slaves in the West Indies, take the lead in the Communion.
We find, however, that, Western church leaders–liberal and conservative alike–are reluctant to bow to the obvious and allow the centre of power of Christianity to shift where its people are. The liberals are especially adverse to this process, as they are further from the Africans’ idea than their conservative counterparts.
The desperation of conservative parishes in TEC, however, has them affiliating with provinces such as Uganda and Nigeria, along with others. They have gone past guilt. It is time that the rest of us follow suit.
It’s so bad that even Nelson Mandela’s widow objects to statue removal:
Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel has implored anti-racism campaigners not to topple statues because they serve as grave reminders of past atrocities.
The activist said: ‘I believe even it might be much more positive to keep them because you are going to tell generations to come “this is how it started and this is how it should never be.”‘
Her remarks put her at loggerheads with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who today revealed he would be reviewing statues at Canterbury Cathedral.
This is the core issue of the statue removal: it’s easy to tear down a bunch of statues and declare victory. It’s a whole different ball game to actually recognise the shift of Christianity, especially to people you basically don’t like, as is the case with Justin Welby and the large provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and others. And it’s really hard to act on that reality.
But it’s been time since 1998 Lambeth and it certainly is time now.