Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, provocatively but convincingly calls “neo-pagan Anglicanism”—Anglican in style but not substance.
Speaking with a prophetic mantle, Beach observes that “liberal innovations in theology and sexual ethics” are hidden within an orthodox façade, comparable, I would say, to the Trojan horse: This so-called gift to Anglicans in North America and Great Britain signals ruin. He bemoans:
“Neo-pagan Anglicanism is beautifully packaged in some of the most elegant liturgy, music, and tradition in Christianity. But it has become liturgy for the sake of liturgy, music for the sake of music, and tradition for the sake of tradition. As the apostle Paul wrote, they are “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). And as Athanasius argued against Arius’s heresy, the Jesus whom they promote is not the Jesus of which the Bible speaks.“
As a result of this tragic accommodation to culture, Beach eschews the flaccid slogans of Canterbury and New York City about “communion across difference,” “mutual flourishing,” and “walking together” because there can be no truce with heretics and schismatics who advance a counterfeit gospel (Romans 16:17–18). Estranged Anglicans in the Global North, he argues, can address their “ecclesial deficit” by joining forces with Anglican leaders from the Global South, who, beginning in 2008, formed the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which has continued to serve as a vital reform movement: “As colonial and aging wineskins continue to promote neo-pagan beliefs and practices, the new wine of Christ’s continuing redemptive work will burst out to transform lives and renew our churches among the nations.”
I would like to think that Beach is right that GAFCON “will burst out to transform lives and renew our churches” but I do not believe the institutional church is capable of doing it.
C. S. Lewis envisioned Christianity as a house with “a hall out of which doors open into several rooms.” The rooms are ecclesial traditions that offer disciples a fire for warmth, a chair for rest, and a meal for nourishment and fellowship, whereas the hall is “mere” Christianity, a place where disciples greet and gift each other with riches from their respective rooms.
The Book of Acts describes the early church meeting in homes and the church in various cities, like the church in Antioch or the church in Caesarea were a collection of house churches but one church and the leaders of those house churches would often meet to deal with issues that sought to divide the church in that city. The “end times” persecuted church will be like the church in the Book of Acts and like we are now seeing in places where the church is already under intense persecution like in Africa, China, Middle East. Moreover, we are hearing amazing stories of the tremendous growth of the church in Iran.
Prince Philip planned every aspect of his funeral service. The choice of every piece of music played, by the bands before the funeral service and the hymns during the service. He chose the Bible readings and the order of service. He even designed the Land Rover on which he would make his final journey. It was to be simple and humble.
Prince Philip wanted the service to be a testimony to His Triune God. There was no eulogy. He wanted the total focus to be on His God and on all three persons of the Trinity. He also wanted all to know, particularly his family and friends, that he had total confidence his eternity was in the hands of the God he wanted to be made known through the funeral service he had planned.
Note: In the early part of the service Prince Philip puts the focus on our Heavenly Father and His awesome, powerful, wonderful, beautiful creation that proves His existence. He then moves on to Jesus and the Father’s goodness in sending His Son to earth to die in our place, to pay our SIN debt, and provide the only hope for mankind to attain eternal Life. As with most Anglican services there is not enough focus on the role of the Holy Spirit but He is given a mention in the Jubilate and particularly in the Commendation at the end. “Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul, In the name of God the Father Almighty who created thee; In the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for thee; In the name of the Holy Spirit who strengthened thee.”
I was so impressed that I felt I had to include the content of the service in my post but I would suggest you go and watch it yourself. You will be moved, even to tears, I was. The four singers contribute powerfully to the service as do the bands.
Prince Philip you have done a great job of providing a powerful witness of your Triune God to the world. Thank you.
The choir sings these Scriptures
I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. John 11. 25–26
I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. Job 19. 25–27
We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. William Croft (1678–1727) 1 Timothy 6. 7, Job 1. 21
The Dean of Windsor gives The Bidding – the reason why they are all there today. All sit and the choir then sings
Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm doth bind the restless wave, who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep; O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea. O Saviour, whose almighty word the winds and waves submissive heard, Who walkedst on the foaming deep, and calm amid its rage didst sleep: O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea. O sacred Spirit, who didst brood upon the chaos dark and rude, Who bad’st its angry tumult cease, and gavest light and life and peace: O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea. O Trinity of love and power, Our brethren shield in danger’s hour; From rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect them whereso’er they go: And ever let there rise to thee Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
The first reading is taken from Ecclesiasticus 43. 11–26 Look at the rainbow and praise its Maker; it shines with a supreme beauty, rounding the sky with its gleaming arc, a bow bent by the hands of the Most High. His command speeds the snow storm and sends the swift lightning to execute his sentence. To that end the storehouses are opened, and the clouds fly out like birds. By his mighty power the clouds are piled up and the hailstones broken small. The crash of his thunder makes the earth writhe, and, when he appears, an earthquake shakes the hills. At his will the south wind blows, the squall from the north and the hurricane. He scatters the snow-flakes like birds alighting; they settle like a swarm of locusts. The eye is dazzled by their beautiful whiteness, and as they fall the mind is entranced. He spreads frost on the earth like salt, and icicles form like pointed stakes. A cold blast from the north, and ice grows hard on the water, settling on every pool, as though the water were putting on a breastplate. He consumes the hills, scorches the wilderness, and withers the grass like fire. Cloudy weather quickly puts all to rights, and dew brings welcome relief after heat. By the power of his thought he tamed the deep and planted it with islands. Those who sail the sea tell stories of its dangers, which astonish all who hear them; in it are strange and wonderful creatures, all kinds of living things and huge sea-monsters. By his own action he achieves his end, and by his word all things are held together.
THE CHOIR SINGS THE JUBILATE
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song. Be ye sure that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name. For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting: and his truth endureth from generation to generation. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.
THE SECOND LESSON John 11. 21–27
Read by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”
The Duke of Edinburgh requested that Psalm 104 should be set to music by William Lovelady.
Originally composed as a cantata in three movements, it was first sung in honour of His Royal Highness’s 75th Birthday.
My soul give praise unto the Lord of heaven, In majesty and honour clothed; The earth he made will not be moved, The seas he made to be its robe. Give praise. The waters rise above the highest mountain, And flow down to the vales and leas; At springs, wild asses quench their thirst, And birds make nest amid the trees. The trees the Lord has made are full of vigour, The fir tree is a home for storks; Wild goats find refuge in the hills, From foes the conies shelter in the rocks. My soul give praise unto the Lord of heaven, In majesty and honour clothed; The earth he made will not be moved, The seas he made to be its robe. Give praise. O Lord, how manifold is your creation, All things in wisdom you provide; You give your riches to the earth, And to the sea so great and wide. You take your creatures breath and life is ended, Your breath goes forth and life begins; Your hand renews the face of earth, Your praise my whole life I will sing. My soul give praise unto the Lord of heaven, In majesty and honour clothed; The earth he made will not be moved, The seas he made to be its robe. Give praise.
PRAYERS including The Lords Prayer
The Dean of Windsor shall say
O Merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall not die eternally; who also hath taught us by his Holy Apostle Saint Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for them that sleep in him: We meekly beseech thee, O Father that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him, as our hope is this our brother doth; and that, at the general resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight; and receive that blessing, which thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and fear thee, saying, Come ye blessed children of my Father; receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Grant this we beseech thee, O merciful Father through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer.Amen.
THE CHOIR SINGS THE ANTHEM
Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy Saints: where sorrow and pain are no more; neither sighing, but life everlasting. Thou only art immortal, the Creator and Maker of man: And we are mortal, formed of the earth, and unto earth shall we return. For so thou didst ordain, when thou createdest me, saying, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. All we go down to the dust; and, weeping, o’er the grave, we make our song: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
As the Coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, the Dean of Windsor shall say
Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul, In the name of God the Father Almighty who created thee; In the name of Jesus Christ who suffered for thee; In the name of the Holy Spirit who strengtheneth thee; May thy portion this day be in peace, and thy dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.