Cake or Death?
If you've never seen Eddie Izzard's take on what a theoretical Anglican Inquisition would be like, it is a good laugh:
"Cake or death?"
"Eh, cake please."
"Very well! Give him cake!"
"Oh, thanks very much. It's very nice."
"You! Cake or death?"
“Uh, cake for me, too, please."
"Very well! Give him cake, too! We're gonna run out of cake at this rate. You! Cake or death?"
"Uh, death, please. No, cake! Cake! Cake, sorry. Sorry..."
"You said death first, uh-uh, death first!"
"Well, I meant cake!"
"Oh, all right. You're lucky I'm Church of England!" Cake or death?"
"Uh, cake please."
"Well, we're out of cake! We only had three bits and we didn't expect such a rush. So what do you want?"
"Well, so my choice is 'or death’? I’ll have the chicken then, please.
The Church of the Pointy Hats, also known as the Anglican Church (or Episcopalian Church here in the U.S.), has quite the reputation for being soft on...well, everything. Ann Coulter describes the "Church of the Proper Fork" thusly:
The Episcopalians don't demand much in the way of actual religious belief. They have girl priests, gay priests, gay bishops, gay marriages - it's much like the New York Times editorial board. They acknowledge the Ten Commandments or "Moses' talking points" but hasten to add that they're not exactly "carved in stone." After Bush said that the most important philosopher to him was Jesus Christ, the Episcopal bishop in Des Moines, Iowa, C. Christopher Epting, pronounced the answer "a turnoff." So there isn't a lot of hair-shirt-wearing and sacrifice for the Episcopalians.
So what's the occasion for today's Anglican ridicule post? Well, one could dismiss such quirks and effeminate mannerisms as cute but harmless byproducts of English foppery.
The problem is that Gospel proclamation should not be "soft", nor should the doctrine and practice of the church be corrupted by polite mushy-mindedness that disdains the Law of God. Tim Bayly unloads both of his shotgun barrels at the Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright on his blog:
In this gelded age, the revelation and authority of God are soft-pedalled by emasculated clergymen who like to think of themselves not as preachers and shepherds, but intellectuals and "academics."
Yes, I know full well the whole world is going after that super-apostle, Bishop Wright. But I say to those I love, leave him alone. Even if his content is sometimes helpful when dealing with our decadent world, his affect, his rhetoric, his way of speaking is absolutely poisonous to those training to be faithful shepherds of God's flock. The last thing we need today are men who are emasculated and "think," "wonder," "intuit," and "digress" instead of fighting the good fight with all their might.
At some point academic nuance and disinterested, impartial, even-handed analysis become decadent prattle and sophistry that cannot proclaim God's Word with evangelistic and pastoral authority, clarity, and certainty.
I have drinking buddies with more conviction than these alleged ministers/bishops/fops.
UPDATE: Phil Johnson gives a hearty 'amen' here.