Dear O dear. Another Evangelical attack on World Youth Day

What on earth is the matter with our Evangelical bros. and sists. in Sydney? Don’t they get it that World Youth Day will be the biggest evangelistic event since sliced bread was baptised? Or is it that they can’t quite get their heads around the Pope=Chief Evangeliser when they have been used to Pope=AntiChrist all their life?

Here’s one that a friend sent me today. Ray Galea has written “Nothing in my Hand I bring”, and you can read an extract of it at the Sydney Anglican website. Here’s what they say on the website:

As the Catholic Church in Sydney plans to accommodate half a million visitors for World Youth Day 2008 in a logistical exercise that will be bigger than the 2000 Olympics, Ray’s book serves as a reminder that Catholicism is not a friendly bigger Christian brother, but rather an international organization that “at almost every distinctive point undermines the person and work of Christ that I have come to love, and want to honor and serve”

Lordy, lordy, lordy. I find it kind of staggering that they can put such stuff on an official Anglican Church website.

Perhaps I should point them to the Holy Father’s address to the representatives of Christian communities in the US just the other day.

Too often those who are not Christians, as they observe the splintering of Christian communities, are understandably confused about the Gospel message itself. Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called “prophetic actions” that are based on a hermeneutic not always consonant with the datum of Scripture and Tradition. Communities consequently give up the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of “local options”. Somewhere in this process the need for diachronic koinonia – communion with the Church in every age – is lost, just at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18-23).

You’ve got to admire a guy who can talk about the need for “diachronic koinonia” as the antidote to “the world losing its bearings”. But that’s the point, ain’t it? While these Sydney-siders are trying to cement attitudes of division in the Church, not only with other Christians such as Catholics but with the other churches of their own communion, the rest of the world is “losing its bearings”. And here comes a Christian event proclaiming the name of Christ that is “bigger than the 2000 Olympics” and they write a book to expose the false prophet.

For many reasons, the strength and vivacity of evangelicalism in the Sydney Anglican church may be admired. Lord knows they have been sorely tested by the “prophetic actions” of their sister churches. But they seem sometimes just a little to ready to opt for the “local option” of going it alone. Nor do they reserve their abrasive attitude for members of their own communion with whom they differ. As this new book shows, they are no more ready to receive the “bigger Christian brother” who comes to them in peace and in the name of Christ.

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8 Responses to Dear O dear. Another Evangelical attack on World Youth Day

  1. Fraser Pearce says:


    Firstly: The Sydney Anglicans care about doctrine – about pure doctrine. In this it seems that they have much more in common with the Magisterium than with many of their fellow Anglicans. If it leads them to write unpleasant things about the Catholic Church then wouldn’t it be better to rejoice in this as evidence of their concern for pure doctrine, and to gently give your own reasons for why they are mistaken?

    Secondly: Are you friends with any Sydney Anglicans?

    Thirdly: Thanks for Friday night!

    In Christ,


  2. Athanasius says:

    I do wonder about the future of the Sydney Anglican archdiocese. If the Anglican Communion fragments, as seems likely, where does that leave individual dioceses like this? Do they simply end up as a “local option”, lacking catholicity? And isn’t that one of the definitions of a… sect?

  3. Peter says:

    As a Sydney-sider I find the local Evangelical approach somewhat refreshing. :) (And they are evangelicals, they barely resemble any western form of anglicanism I know, though perhaps Bob Catholic could help us there?)

    I would much rather discuss theology with someone prepared to call the pope the anti-Christ and declare me on the path to Hell than with some simpering softie who declares that ‘we all worship the same God’ and that ‘the differences between us are not that big a deal really’. – Just to be clear I don’t put you, David, in that category. We do get a lot of them in Sydney, mostly Catholics!

    In the midst of dissapointment at the core message of WYD being watered down by slick marketing, by enthusiastic Catholic-Hillsong wannabees, it is very refreshing to hear SOMEONE say “No guys… this doctrine stuff REALLY matters!”

    I can tell you that on the response on the ground is that the kids are seeking out genuine doctrine to answer their accusations against Catholicism. These ‘Anglicans’ are achieving what the organisers have failed to do, or even attempt. Perhaps they are God’s gift to us?

  4. Victoria says:

    Mr Galea is an ex Catholic – ’nuff said.

  5. Schütz says:

    Fraser, as I have often said to you, doctrine is not the only consideration in matters ecclesiastical. And “pure doctrine” is, I think, a Lutheran confessional/Anglican Evangelical myth. Even when the Catholic Magisterium speaks, it usually does so in an “apophatic” manner, ie. it says what is not acceptable, rather than requires that a certain way of phrasing doctrine (a “pure” formula) MUST be used.

    My point is that the magisterium also cares passionately about the maintenance of communion, of catholicity. Of course, these two ideals–orthodox doctrine and catholic communion–are much in tension, but some seem much to ready to pronounce their brothers to be heretics and to break communion with them.

    And to say that what the Catholic Church “undermines the person and work of Christ” is a statement that just beggers belief.

    Jesus said: Whoever is not against us is for us.

  6. Past Elder says:

    Well gee whiz. If anyone delivers a message other than the one delivered, let him be anathema. Real apophatic there.

    That’s what makes Catholicism Catholicism — anything is allowed except leaving the family, like a spiritual Mafia. The institution is god.

    Apparently traditional Anglicans in Oz have suffered the same fate as traditional Episcopalians here, marginalised by the institution from which they once learned and which once taught their faith, and denounced for committing the one sin, not submitting all to the institution. Gee double whiz, that’s what happened to traditional Catholics everywhere. You must stay in the fold, the fold is god, whatever it does IS tradition because the fold is everything and belief is derived from the fold, therefore belief is whatever the fold says it is. Ultimately, such a fold believes only in itself, and believes in other things only to the extent it proclaims itself one with it.

    Maybe, just maybe, these Anglicans and others actually believe in something other than an insitution, and will call institutions to task, even their own, when it depart from that belief. Holy Moly, they actually stand for something, other than an institution!

    Well I say God bless them. I don’t buy all of what they stand for, but I respect their standing for it. And I submit that’s where the real “ecumenism” is happening, not from calling someone a bigger brother in Christ who by one’s belief is either in fact not a brother at all or a separated one, but from the mutual respect of those who stand for something even in disagreement on what that something is.

    Soldiers may wear different uniforms, yet understand each other as soldiers.

    Absolutely no-one rejects Christ because of Christian disunity. They reject Christ because that is human nature, we are sinners who do not want to be called to repentance and cannot in fact repent apart from the grace of the Holy Spirit, and will find Christian disunity one of any number of excuses for not repenting and believing the Gospel. That’s why the world is “losing its bearings” — not for lack of a deified institution, but because it has no bearings.

    Hey Peter — I don’t think the pope is the Anti-Christ and I have no idea if you’re on the highway to hell, and if pressed would say I suspect you’re not but it’s not my call. The office of the papacy, though, does bear the marks of Anti-Christ and intrudes itself as a vestigal remain of Roman state religion and thereby does undermine the person and work of Christ. So I guess we can still be friends and discuss theology!

  7. Fraser Pearce says:

    Dear David,

    Sound doctrine, if you prefer. The Sydney Anglicans are, in my experience, concerned about sound doctrine. Whether it is expounded in pure formulae is not too important to me.

    I can only hope that the Magisterium is concerned with sound doctrine, whether or not it is formulated apophatically.

    As far as I can tell being willing to receive sound doctrine is a sine qua non of coming into communion with the Catholic Church. When you were received into the Catholic Church, were you asked any questions about your willingness to receive Catholic doctrine?

    The Sydney Anglicans, in my experience, are ready to judge a doctrine false, but they don’t seem to be too quick in making judgments about whether certain persons are heretics.

    You seem to be making a judgment that the Sydney Anglicans are judgmental. Do you think that they are heretics? If not, what do you think?

    Again: Are you friends with any Sydney Anglicans? Do you have friendly conversation with them about the issues you raised on your blog? I have a number of friends who are Sydney Evangelicals, and I feel a real desire to defend them. All of them are concerned about sound doctrine. Not one of them expresses to me their conviction that particular Catholics are hell-bound heretics.

    I also feel a real desire to defend catholics when they are attacked, as it happens. Even you, Schutzy!

    In Christ,


  8. Peter says:

    Do you think that they are heretics? If not, what do you think?

    No mate, I don’t know what the official definition of heresy is but I don’t think they fit. To be a heretic one needs to have had ones teaching examined by someone who has been given authority over you by God, and that your teaching be declared in grave error, and you persist in this false teaching in spite of clear censure.

    Eevn if Sydney Anglicans could actually gte what the Catholics teach about authority, they would reject it not merely as a matter of a different understanding but as the very root of the identity of their ecclesial community. When rejection of magisterial authority is one of the defining beliefs (and definitions of ‘sound doctrine’) of a community it is hardly fair to regard these well meaning people in the same way as a Catholic scholar who knows better but rejects papal authority for less nobel or genuinely misguided reasons.

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