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‘Kissing Judases’ Pursue Suicidal Path

Category Articles
Date November 8, 2005

NEW YORK – Internationally known speaker and senior fellow of the Trinity Forum Os Guinness made no attempt to sugarcoat his words on Sept. 8 when describing the postmodern character of mainline denominational leaders: “Soren Kierkegaard called them ‘kissing Judases’ – followers of Jesus who betray him with an interpretation.”

Guinness was addressing a worldwide gathering of Anglicans in New York prior to an award presentation to four Anglican archbishops. Guinness said liberal denominational leaders have followed to a fault Friedrich Schleiermacher’s plea that Christians reach out to “the cultured despisers of the gospel.” Rather than reach them to convert them, said Guinness, the current church leadership has joined and become like cultured despisers of the gospel, no longer being faithful to Jesus Christ.

Some of these leaders have surrendered to Enlightenment ideas, said Guinness, becoming skeptics about God’s sovereignty, human sin, or “the possibility of the supernatural and any world beyond the here and now.” Others have surrendered to political ideologies, becoming “the conservative or liberal party at prayer, or the Marxist party at the barricades.”

Guinness even chided “a growing number of recent evangelicals,” faulting them for cheapening the gospel by surrendering to “modern insights, techniques, and fashions – as if we could become more ‘relevant’ by doing the Lord’s work in the world’s latest way.”

But Guinness’ harshest barb targeted the American Episcopal Church for “one of the worst and most extreme capitulations to the spirit of the age . . . its abject surrender to the sexual mores of the modern world.” Guinness labeled the current ecclesiastical state as “an Alice in Wonderland Church in which Christian leaders now openly deny what all Christians have believed and many have died to defend; Christian leaders who celebrate what their faith once castigated; Christian leaders who advance views closer to their foes than to their founder; and Christian leaders who deny the faith, but stay on shamelessly as leaders of the faith they deny.”

This Judas-type leadership, said Guinness, is as suicidal as was its namesake. He listed six deadly consequences to the surrender by mainline denominational leaders to “the spirit of the age:”

Guinness then turned his commentary in a more hopeful direction. Reflecting on the current dark days of denominational apostasy, he said. “Thank God, that is never the end of the story. In every time, but especially in the dark ages of the church’s cowardice and corruption in the church, God raises up men and women who are different: men and women humble and obedient enough to listen to his Word despite all distractions and temptations; men and women resolute and courageous enough to speak his Word despite all opposition and setbacks; men and women strong and steadfast enough to endure as people of his Word despite all costs and consequences.”

Guinness then identified four such men: Peter Jasper Akinola, archbishop of All Nigeria; Gregory James Venables, archbishop of the Southern Cone of South America; Datuk Yong Ping Chung, archbishop of the Province of South East Asia; and Henry Luke Orombi, archbishop of the Province of Uganda.

“Tonight,” said Guinness, “we come to honor these men who in their own countries and cultures have dared to stand up in the present controversies of the church, who have spoken out faithfully and clearly, and who have become leaders and beacons of faithfulness to their own people and far beyond – towering examples of men made great by humbly submitting themselves to God and to his Word.”

Notes

by Parker T. Williamson The Layman

[With permission from The Layman, October 2005, a publication of the Presbyterian Lay Committee.] www.layman.org

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