|Archbishop of Wales John Davies Source: Mail Online|
The two great Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter provide an opportunity to re-connect with people who have given up on going to church and with newcomers. As Christ commanded: 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'. It is an opportunity too often missed. Hence full marks to the bishop Bangor for his Easter message.
Numbers regularly attending church continue to fall but the bishops keep digging. See previous entry Digging their own grave
Opportunities to draw in people through the rites of Holy baptism, marriage and at funerals become less as faith is watered down. Much is trivialized as the church attempts to cash in on secular hatch, match and dispatch celebrations.
Before Christmas 2017 the newly elected archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev John Davies, bishop of Swansea and Brecon, featured in an article in the media magazine Christian Today, a global media ministry which "provides thoughtful, biblical perspectives on theology, church, ministry, and culture".
The 64-year-old former lawyer called for the Church in Wales to 'pause and draw breath' after his appointment. 'The coming into post of a new archbishop is an opportunity for me to say to the very good and very many people that we have as part of our church, that we need to take stock', the BBC reported Davies to have said.
"I want to try and refresh the vision of the church as that institution to support and nourish the lives of wider society" he said, as ever neglecting the many true believers who have not compromised their faith to remain in the church of their baptism.
Before Easter 2018 the archbishop was again interviewed for Christian Today. As usual politics reared its head - Archbishop of Wales interview: I am not 'left-wing' for backing justice, equity and compassion.
It was another damp squib. Previous intellectual positions were alluded to with unforeseen repercussions.
Moving on to talk about his forthcoming Easter sermon Davies said that his sermon would discuss the origins of the faith he used the headline grabbing suggestion – "and the initial belief that the resurrection story was 'fake news'."
Following the lead he had provided the archbishop was asked about " 'the practical reality of the resurrection' and the empty tomb, a difficult concept for the modern mind to grasp".
"Davies is thoughtful. 'I don't think any of us actually knows, quite frankly. What I believe is that something radical happened that changed the lives of the people who were there at the time.'
He cites the late bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, who said the resurrection was 'not just a conjuring trick with bones'.
And Davies says: 'It is about something far more than a dead body coming back to life – it is the complete renewal of the being of Christ."
A simpler response would have been, "if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain." 1 Corinthians 15:14. Instead he circled around what the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth had to say about the meaning of the empty tomb and came a cropper, as Rowan has done in the past leading some to speculate that he needed a minder to protect him from media traps.
Ironically Davies was caught out by the very people he and the liberal elite have used to advance their agenda, appealing to secularists with no concept of the spiritual implications for support. The Mail Online headline was
Trendy clergy are even more in evidence following the ordination of women and the sexual freedom they demand of the church. As one commentator put it when responding to my 'Easter Message' entry, "Many remain entombed in the dark ages with their misogynistic and homophobic rants against this that and the other; wake up and discover the resurrection life at work in those around out. Come out!"
Rowan Williams said in his lecture I referred to above, "Believing in the resurrection is believing that the new age has been inaugurated, the new world has begun. And that new world is, as you might put it, the final phase of the history of God's relation with his people. So to say 'Jesus is risen', is to say that we have now entered on the last days, on the final decisive phase of God's interaction with Israel and through Israel, with the whole world.
Too many people in the church interpret 'new age' as do as you please, taking the Christian understanding of love out of context. Instead of 'Love the Lord thy God...' and 'Love thy neighbour...' we are bidden to 'discover' the meaning of love, anything goes under the umbrella of love. There is no hell as the Pope may or may not have said.
Archbishop Davies was right when he told the BBC that we need to take stock. I have heard on a number of occasions that the Church in Wales is finished. Save for the rare occasion the bench have nothing to offer but political posturing. Forget 20/20 Vision. There isn't any apart from setting up Local Ministry Areas which are designed to keep the liberal elite employed until they can draw their pensions.
The only hope for the Church in Wales is to be re-absorbed into the Church of England which despite its many faults has a longer life expectancy.