In the June issue of Niagara Anglican, the official diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of Niagara, editor Chris Grabiec asked the theological question, “Who knows who was right in the Christological arguments of the 3d century?” and stated that, in his view, it doesn’t really matter. That prompted a thoughtful response from John Bowen, “Why Arius Was Wrong”.
Susan C.H. Westall now responds to Mr Bowen’s article as if he had waved a red flag. She brushes off his arguments, calling them “rather specious”, but offers no cogent rebuttal. Then she trashes St Athanasius’ personal character while, again, offering not a whit of argument against his teaching.
Do we see a pattern emerging here? Apparently so: Here’s another confident but unsubstantiated assertion:
I have the impression that the Church has thought that, ever since the Resurrection, God has done no work outside His Church—the Church is the sole purveyor of God’s good grace. By now we should recognise the truth of the hymn God moves in a mysterious way / His wonders to perform. He can, and does, work outside the Church.
Her “impression”, like her rejection of Bowen’s article and Athanasius’ teaching, has no visible basis. The church recognises that God works in the lives of believers and unbelievers alike. (Relevant New Testament passages here and here.)
To top it all off, Ms Westall recommends that the church of Jesus Christ accept the wisdom of Islam.
I suggest that God was so disappointed with our convoluted thinking that he inspired another messenger to make us think again. The doctrine of the Trinity had already conﬁrmed the Jews that Christians were barking up the wrong tree and now they were confusing possible converts, so God sent a new messenger to proclaim that “There is only one God, Allah”. Of course, his disciples added “And Mohomet is His prophet”.
Islam and Christianity are diametrically opposed in their understandings of the person and mission of Christ. Islam, like Ms Westall, rejects the doctrine of the Trinity and, therewith, the divinity of Jesus. The Quran explicitly denies that Jesus was crucified, never mind resurrected. (Sura 4:157-159.) Muslim teachers and scholars condemn the Christian teaching of the Cross as offensive and dishonouring to Jesus. Such conflicting views can never be reconciled.
Anglicans support Lambeth’s call for Christians to “understand and engage with people of other faiths”. Friendly relations with believers of other religions is a worthy goal. However, theological rapprochement between Islam and Christianity is impossible, Ms Westall’s fond wish notwithstanding.
h/t: felix hominum