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Monday, December 16, 2002

This Anglican's not so goofy.

To say that the Anglican communion has enormous problems is a little like describing the Hiroshima bomb as a noisemaker: True as far as it goes, but it doesn't go anywhere near far enough. But, for the life of me, I don't see the "risibility" of Anglican Bishop Keith Sutton's comments on the Nativity. There's nothing here I object to, except for the ambiguity of the following statement:

"The Wise Men 'were on a mission from Herod to discover the whereabouts of the baby Jesus so that he could be killed.'"

Now, that was in fact Herod's plan. The ambiguity is that the Bishop's phrasing allows for one to understand the Magi as willing accomplices, which they were not. In fact, they refused to return to Herod to inform him about Christ:

"16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 'A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.'"

Matthew 2:16-18. Read all of Matthew 2 here.

Given the orthodoxy of the rest of the comments, I'm inclined to chalk it up to a garbling by Britain's resolutely secular press. He appears to do something unusual amongst modern churchmen of many denominations, including mine: he takes the Gospel accounts at face value. No denying of the Slaughter of the Innocents here.

Give the guy a break. He's a British bishop who believes in the physical resurrection of Christ. In the three-ring circus of Anglicanism, that makes him a hidebound relic.

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