The Diocese of Sydney’s ANGLICAN CHURCH LEAGUE, is obviously not happy with the fact that the newly-minted King Charles II of England has decided to adjust to the reality that he is now Sovereign of a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-faith community. Despite his inherited title of ‘Fidei Defensor’ – Defender of The Faith – (bestowed on his early predecessor, King Henry VIII by the Pope for Henry’s defence of the R. Catholic Mass), Charles in now recognizing that this title may no longer fit the role of the titular ‘Head of the Church of England’ in a present-day situation of religious plurality. The new King’s desire to become what he is pleased to call a ‘Defender of Faiths’ may be more relevant for today. King Charles is not a bishop of the Church of England. He has a calling similar to that of a lay Christian; doing his very best to defend the human rights of all people.
As the acknowledged Monarch of all U.K. citizens, the King is, by virtue of his legal status, Monarch of All people within that ancient realm – not everyone of whom is devoutly Christian. As Monarch, therefore, King Charles – while openly acknowledging his own personal Christian faith – is now recognising his need to affirm the spiritual integrity of other faith groups within his domain – as Sovereign.
A similar acceptance of the integrity of other faith groups has already been shown by Heads of the Roman Catholic Church – notably, by Pope John XXIII, in his epic calling together of a meeting with ‘Other Faith’ Leaders at Assisi, in order to discuss commonalities in their understanding of the ‘One True God’ as Creator and Redeemer of all people. (This did not lessen the Pope’s belief in Jesus Christ; whose own openness to others was, and is, the source of Christian evangelism).
Sadly, the largely Evangelical Diocese of Sydney is displeased with the openness of King Charles to people of ‘Other Faiths’ in his 2022 (first) Christmas Message. In failing to recognise the fact that the British Monarch must be open to everyone who lives in the British Isles – of whatever faith or none – they are arrogating the supremacy of their own version of Evangelical Christianity, which is notoriously and militantly opposed to the existence of any openness to non-Christians as equal sharers in the power and intent of Christ to redeem all humanity This is comparable with the current Trumpian ‘Religious Right’ movement in North America, which looks to the State to control and nurture its own narrow – and sometimes manifestly unjust – religiosity; which is clearly at odds with a broader understanding of the Gospel mission of Christ to the whole world.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
King Charles’ Christmas Message Reflects a Post-Christian United Kingdom
Posted on December 28, 2022 – ANGLICAN CHURCH LEAGUE – DIOCESE OF SYDNEY
“The New Testament commands us to pray for kings and all those in authority, so that we will be free to live quiet lives of godliness and to share the good news of the Savior who is the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:1–3). We can be thankful that in this regard our prayers are being answered.
British Christians should continue to pray for King Charles and his government that our long-established constitutional rights to freedom of worship will be upheld.
At the same time, the lack of gospel clarity and comprehension in his message will cause us to pray even more fervently, in the words of our national anthem, ‘God save the King!’…”
– John Stevens, National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches in the UK, reacts to King Charles’ Christmas message. At The Gospel Coalition.
If you haven’t seen it, watch the message here.
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