The Liberal Denial of Grace

Once in a while a new story breaks that lets people show their true colours. Once in a while the way bloggers respond to a revelation shows where they really lie. This weekend has provided such a moment.

Late on Thursday evening, a gay blogger in the States wrote a piece alleging to have had sex with a Church of England priest in the 90s, two years before he was made a Bishop. This Bishop has recently been seen to be highly vocal in defence of the orthodox position on sexuality, supporting Bishop David Schofield of San Joaquin. For this reason the blogger outed the Bishop and accused him of being a bigot and a hypocrite.

But it didn’t stop there. The comment thread and other posts from other bloggers began to fill with a number of people echoing the original cry of hypocrisy. The one theme that comes through these commenters and the original post is that the Bishop in question is repressed, in denial and undertaking "fear driven decisions".

Curiously though, one word was missing from all the comments and articles.

Grace.

The reason why the blogger outed the Bishop and why the liberal feeding frenzy commenced wasn’t because of the Bishop’s hypocrisy. In fact, the Bishop in question has been commitedly single and celibate for many years. There is nothing hypocritical about someone who rejects a sinful past, embraces the orthodox position and lifestyle and then supports others who do the same (trust me on this one). There is nothing self-repressive about someone who realises that they have sinned in the past and now lives a life centred on holiness, not sexual gratification. There is however one expression that can describe the activity of God in transforming someone’s life and leading them on the path of righteousness.

Grace.

There it is again, that wonderful word. It is, as John Newton would say, "Amazing". It’s a sweet sound that saves wretched sinners, that makes us found when we were lost, that lets the blind see. Grace forgives and grace leads on. It points to a sinless heaven not a fallen earth. It breaks down stereotypes rather than reinforcing prejudices.

Grace transforms.

And that, my friends, is the real reason the liberal bloggers have it in for the Bishop in question. They don’t like grace because it requires an acknowledgement of sin, and they particularly don’t like the grace that God has exhibited in this specific Bishop’s life.

How so? Very simple:

  • The choices made by the Bishop in the past decade reveals the lie that one’s sexual attraction dictates one’s whole life
  • The Bishop’s consequent rejection of prior sexual activity challenges the liberal notion that gay sex is holy

This is why the liberals have to attack this Bishop, because his current lifestyle and his rejection of not only his past sexual activity but also the contemporary pro-gay agenda is a denial of everything they stand for. How dare he? How could he?

And that, dear reader, is the same reason why yours truly doesn’t have a week go by when hate-email of some kind comes winging its way through the ether to tell me what a homophobic, repressed bigot I am. It’s not because I’ve done anything wrong, it’s because with my lifestyle choices and the evidence of God’s grace, I am an ontological rejection of everything the liberals stand for. I deny their sexual creed with my very being in the same way that the Bishop in question has denied their creed with his choices. That’s why they accuse him of hypocrisy – they refuse to believe or even accept that on this issue a man can change, so they need to abuse and victimise him in any way possible.

The criticism and taunts though are loudest of all to drown out the one very simple fact that must be denied, stamped on and trampled over – If this Bishop can change his life and actions then so could others and so could they. His recent lifestyle choice challenges them in a way that no other could.

Here’s how Jackie at Stand Firm sums it up:

So what’s the real story here? That a priest has fallen short of the glory of God? If so, it won’t be the first time and most likely not the last. No, the headline here is that the anger of the revisionist has turned into rage. You can be certain this is a shot across the bow of those who hold to a conservative, traditional view. What makes it even worse is that all it would take for an all-is-forgiven-return-to-the-fold welcome would be for their victim to embrace his sins and condemn as fundamental extremist those who hold to Scripture as the Word of God

We would all do well to remember that it is not the sin that makes the man. It is our willingness to repent of our sins and submit our lives to the Kingship of Christ that determines who we are. We should also ask if it is a matter of hypocrisy or the beginning of wisdom when one recognizes a sin in one’s life and refuses to call it holy?

May Christ be with us all as we daily die for him.

Posted in Church of England, Sexuality, Wholeness Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,