Monday, 23 November 2009

The head that wears the crown

Apropos my piece on who is now the ‘Supreme Governor’, in Anglican terms, of the Church of England, I note that the popular, and generally astute, Cranmer blog has this comment on EU legislation regarding sexual equality:
The spirit of Factortame is alive and well as once again Her Majesty’s Government is forced to amend a sovereign Act of Parliament in order that it might conform to a higher-sovereign EU directive.
Importantly, he adds,
There are now so many sovereigns that it is difficult to find the head that wears the crown.
As Christians (following the principles of Romans 13) we are, of course, subject to the governing authorities, whoever they are. But as Anglicans in particular, we recognize that the head that ‘wears the crown’ is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. That was part of the original, and almost unique, Anglican self-understanding at the time of the Reformation.
At his trial, Cranmer (the other Cranmer) was forced to acknowledge that in this, narrow, sense, Emperor Nero was ‘head of the church’ in the time of the apostles, which raises the worrying picture that the self-described ‘grey mouse’, Herman Van Rompuy, now fits that bill.
This is also a reminder that the Christian’s attitude to government in Romans 13 must always be offset by the Christian’s experience of government in Revelation 13. In today’s climate we might be especially aware of the warning in v 17 that “no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.”
The Babylon of Revelation is not a bad place to live, provided you toe the line. There are harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, workmen of every trade, millstones grinding, lamps shining at night and the joyful sounds of weddings filling the air, whilst the ‘great ones’ of her world are the merchants who provide the wealth to keep it all going (Rev 18:22-24).
The only people who really have to worry about life in Babylon are the Christians. “Welcome to the suck.”
John Richardson
23 November 2009
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