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By David W. Virtue, DD
June 16, 2022

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby doesn't like conflict. He believes it should be replaced by better thinking. He has published a book called The Power of Reconciliation, arguing that conflict should be replaced by negotiation and peace.

Here is what he wrote in The Guardian recently:

"The question of identity is core to any understanding of conflict. Identity can be inherited, it can be imposed -- but most of all, when it comes to conflict, identity is about our relationships with others. When we fall into the trap of defining ourselves by who we are not, or we attempt to forcefully define the identities of others, we set ourselves up for serious ruptures in the fabric of our relationships."

"That doesn't mean that peace is unanimity, a shared conformist identity. No, peace is the ability to deal with discord by non-violent means. It is the transformation of violent conflict into non-violent disagreement."

Noble sentiments indeed.

Everybody wants peace. We would all love for peace to break out in the war between Russia and the Ukraine, but that seems highly unlikely if, on the Russian side, Vlad the Impaler, believes that he has a divine imperative to revive the old Soviet Union, with the state support of the Russian Orthodox Church!

World War II would have been lost if America had not joined forces with the British and other nations to storm the beaches of Normandy and ultimately prevail over Hitler and the Nazis.

Notions of negotiation, dialogue, and reconciliation sound good on paper, but we saw what that led to when 'peace in our time' Neville Chamberlain waved a letter of appeasement from Herr Hitler. We all know how that ended.

Let's talk about Anglican "identity" in the light of Welby's book. The Anglican Communion is, to all intents and purposes broken; there is the Lambeth Conference and GAFCON. There are now two separate "identities" and they are growing further apart with each passing year.

Take a core issue like homosexuality. The core "identity" of most western Anglican provinces is a progressive attitude towards this behavior. The core "identity" of Anglican homosexuals is their homosexuality -- it is their identity. Their identity is not in Christ but in who they think they are - homosexuals...born that way, etc.

See the hidden code in Welby's language; "We attempt to forcefully define the identities of others, we set ourselves up for serious ruptures in the fabric of our relationships."

Well, that rupture has occurred precisely because these two sexual identities cannot live together. They cannot be compromised and there is no appeasement.

A number of Global South primates say such behavior is unspeakable, vile and proscribed by Scripture. They say their identity is "in Christ" not their sexuality. So, we have two separate irreconcilable identities. Now, of course, no one is shooting anybody over it, (for which we should be grateful), but the issue is not going to be wished away by talk of Indaba, negotiation, dialogue and reconciliation.

Here is what three African Anglican Primates recently wrote: "There is no doubt whatsoever that the Bible condemns homosexual behaviour. Consequently, standing with the Bible and correcting gay sex and same-sex relationships is not and should not be construed as discrimination against gay people. Insisting that the church of God adhere to the word of God in matters of human sexuality and marriage is not discriminatory by any stretch of imagination. Bishops are called to maintain Faith and Order in the Church."

These same African archbishops have made that abundantly clear, see here: https://virtueonline.org/welby-denounces-african-primates-boycotting-lambeth-conference and here: https://virtueonline.org/we-will-not-join-multitudes-or-dine-you-against-scriptural-principles-ndukuba-mbanda-and-kazimba

The logical conclusion of Welby's thought process is little more than appeasement and at worse, surrendering to evil.

Neither has a basis in Scripture.

The O.T. is full of wars inspired by God to defeat the Israelites (see Zech. 9) and, when they themselves proved disobedient, the other side got a crack at them with His approval. Jeremiah reports that the mass expulsion of the children of Israel from Canaan, first by Assyrian kings and then by Babylonian ones, left Canaan essentially bereft of Israelites. Their theocracy was gone; God had no hesitation in whacking the "good" guys when he thought it necessary.

To obtain peace it is sometimes necessary to use violence. Israel's Six Day War brought peace in that area for decades with Egypt. The War began with a preemptive Israeli air assault in Egypt and Syria and the rest, as they say, is history. Peace has lasted 55 years, despite occasional skirmishes with Hamas and West Bank Palestinians.

The big idea: is a world without violent conflict really possible? Human beings will always hurt one another. It's how we respond that's crucial, says Welby.

Was Bonhoeffer wrong in his efforts to kill Hitler? Can we always be non-violent? Should Zelensky and the Ukrainians not resist Putin? It's only America's far right including Trump, that seem to believe that it is not America's business. Nobody in their right (or left) mind believes we should do nothing. The chaos and cruelty paraded nightly on our televisions screens cries out for justice. Appeasement is not on the cards, nor apparently, is surrender.

"When we look towards reconciliation, we must recognise, and have compassion for, our own conflicted and hurting hearts. Deep wounds take a long time to become scars. Each of us carries our own pain, which makes it difficult to apologise and to forgive where we have wronged and been wronged. When we look towards reconciliation, we must also recognise -- and have compassion for -- our own conflicted and hurting hearts. Reconciliation is often risky and always costly -- but it is less costly than the alternative," writes Welby.

This is Welby's mush god. Only Jesus had the capacity to say, "forgive them for they know not what they do." You and I don't.

The Global South and GAFCON primates who genuinely believe that sodomy is wrong, can truly exercise compassion for people caught in the vortex of homosexuality. But they are not going to apologize for sincerely held biblical beliefs that condemn the behavior and compromise their faith.

Welby fails the depravity test. Christian realism demands that evil be confronted, not glossed over with pleasant talk of reconciliation and dialogue. We are in spiritual warfare, a battle for souls. The eternal destiny of millions hangs in the balance.

The post enlightenment liberal mind glosses over evil, it does not want to confront evil that people like Vaclav Havel and Alexander Solzhenitsyn so ably describe.

Welby is watching as the Anglican Communion implodes and he is helpless to stop it. He may rage against the night, call down fire from heaven, invoke as "unbiblical" Global South primates who refuse to sign on to his agenda, but at the end of the day, his theology falls short and with it his aspirations and hopes.

He is going with the secular tide and taking the CofE with him on human sexuality. In time, the homosexual steam roller will roll right over him crushing whatever aspirations he has to lead the CofE into a brighter more inclusive future. He will discover, as orthodox Episcopalians discovered, that there is no compromise. "Listening" is a canard for "you will eventually agree with us, or you are gone." Homosexuality will be bulldozed into the Church of England and evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics will be forced out. That is history.

Black Anglican Minister Calvin Robinson says the Church of England denied his ordination for opposing wokeness. Why did Welby not stand up for him?

When Welby leaves the post as leader of the Anglican Communion, he will go out a disillusioned, failed old man, as much a failure as Rowan Williams, who, as we know blinked first. Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola held the line over homosexuality and Williams was defeated.

The Global South bishops will be vindicated. God is not mocked. He never is.


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