How did the media miss the biggest religion story of the decade? In a masterstroke worthy of the serpentine cunning of Niccolò Machiavelli, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby executes a bloodless coup d’état against a traditionalist monarch, heterosexual marriage, conservative Anglicans, African bishops, white privilege and the disciplinary structures of the Church of England.
The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, Primate of The Episcopal Church (TEC) is Welby’s Trojan Horse. Curry is head honcho of the Anglican Church in the USA. Curry is also a highly effective Left-wing progressive who rails against the bogeyman of racism and white privilege. Curry deploys his pulpit to pulverize and slice conservatives with his Marxist sledgehammer and sickle, and sanctifies his abuse of the pulpit by calling it ‘evangelism’.
Most significantly, Curry and his church have been suspended from participating in the life of the Anglican Communion for aggressively defying biblical and orthodox teaching on marriage after TEC voted to allow gay marriage. In 2016, the Anglican Communion decided to suspend the denomination for three years. Two years later, in shameless disregard for his fellow-primates and for the standards of ecclesiastical discipline, Justin Welby invites the head of TEC to preach at the most important wedding ceremony in the Church of England.
Curry responded by categorically stating that his denomination would not repent of its decision to solemnise same-sex marriages. Embracing gay ‘marriage’ is ‘who we are’, he announced. He used the tired trope of slavery to buttress his claim to be ‘inclusive’ by conflating slavery with gay marriage. ‘I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society,’ he whined.
But is rhetoric the litmus paper test of a good preacher?
One reason why the media doesn’t challenge Curry’s false analogy is because no one wants to be called a white supremacist, so Curry gets away with murder.
Curry’s fans have gone gaga over his rhetorical pyrotechnics (a bit overdone for stiff-upper lip royals). But is rhetoric the litmus paper test of a good preacher? Aristotle mentions three categories of rhetoric: ‘The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible.’
Curry’s credibility is no better than burnt toast. His church is fighting cut-throat lawsuits against conservative Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals, which by the end of 2018 is estimated to exceed 60million dollars. Even more scandalous is how the church ‘is becoming less and less transparent in disclosing the waste on this huge scale’ by not breaking down ‘legal aid to dioceses’ or ‘Title IV expenses’ as ‘separate line items in their monthly statements’.
Jesus himself said that ‘a healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit’ and warned his disciples to recognise false prophets ‘by their fruits’. The fruit on Curry’s diseased tree is rotten and his refrain on the power of love is as hollow as the claims of a bald door-to-door salesman trying to peddle tonic for hair growth.
Curry’s credibility is no better than burnt toast.
‘There’s power in love,’ booms Curry. ‘There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. . . . When love is the way, poverty would become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way, there’s plenty of room for all of God’s children. When love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family.’
Why doesn’t Curry practice what he preaches? Why doesn’t he end over 90 of the vendetta-driven legal battles with his fellow-Anglicans? The same biblical text he is perhaps alluding to has the most sublime hymn on love (1 Corinthians 13 is frequently read at weddings). Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians also explains how this love can be practised. Paul asks Christians to refrain from internal lawsuits. ‘When one of you takes another to court, all of you lose. It would be better to let yourselves be cheated and robbed,’ Paul writes.
Archbishop Cranmer slams writers like Bishop Gavin Ashenden for nitpicking and finding fault with Curry’s sermon. Cranmer responds by citing what did Jesus at the wedding of Cana in Galilee. Jesus didn’t call people to repentance, did he? But surely to compare Jesus’ attendance at the wedding of Cana in Galilee with Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding is a false analogy? Curry is neither Messiah nor miracle-worker. The wedding at Cana was a party, not a service.
Jesus did not preach at the wedding. He turned water into wine. Curry did not give the royals a helping hand with the booze by turning water into 1,700 bottles of vintage champagne that were served at the wedding. Most importantly, any Johannine scholar will tell you that the miracles in John’s gospel are called ‘signs’. They are written with a code that has clues embedded in the text. Each ‘sign’ points to the greatest sign, ‘the death and resurrection of Christ’, and summons the reader to personally surrender to the Lord Jesus. ‘These things are written that so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name,’ says John, stating his evangelistic purpose in writing the gospel.
But surely to compare Jesus’ attendance at the wedding of Cana in Galilee with Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding is a false analogy?
Welby had a different evangelistic goal in staging Curry as the star preacher at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The newly wedded couple has already declared themselves as ambassadors for the LGBT agenda, particularly to the nations of the Commonwealth. Welby has been fighting the war against traditionalist African bishops who constitute his biggest opposition to throwing open the floodgates of gay marriage in the Church of England.
Curry, too, has been a global evangelist for the pansexualism zealously promoted by the Episcopal Church. Using the might of Mammon, TEC has tried to ram its gay agenda down the throats of unwilling African bishops.
Many of these African bishops orchestrated the suspension of Curry’s church from the Anglican Communion. What better way to win the biggest coup of Welby's career than to invite another black bishop who preaches with the rhetorical flourish of a black preacher and preach about the ‘balm in Gilead’ and ‘lurv’ and tell everyone you believe that ‘Jesus walked on the water’!
Get real, you carping and criticizing, clobbering and condemning nitpickers! Jesus would be shouting a thousand ‘hallelujahs’ in rapturous approval of Curry’s sermon.
Or Jesus might be reminding us of his words (slightly adapted) in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and preach on lurv at the wedding of Harry and Meghan in your name?” Then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”’