Tuesday, 16 July 2013

This is how bad things will get

Following on from the post about Bishop Bo Giertz of Gothenburg last week, there's some interesting information here about the 'Confessional Remnant'  among Lutherans in Scandinavia  - some, refugees from the state churches, others desperately trying to hang on within their structures.
There is an alarming report here concerning the virtual repudiation by the bishops of the Church of Finland of the (female) Christian Democrat  Interior Minister (trained as a doctor) who has had the courage to question the country's extreme liberal abortion laws. However the State Church begs to differ:
"CoF Archbishop Kari Mäkinen emphasized that Räsänen was not expressing the CoF’s viewpoint. Mäkinen tweeted, “One may agree with her or be of a different opinion, but her views should not be confused with the Church's position. No more than the opinion of any other church member you might meet on the street.”
CoF Bishop Björn Vikström found her statement that sometimes one must put the Bible above civil law “especially problematic” in view of her position as a government minister. Her Interior Ministry’s responsibilities include church affairs. Vikström was particularly critical of Räsänen ’s assertion that sometimes one should obey the Bible rather than civil law.
Regarding the right of healthcare workers to abstain from participating in abortions and euthanasia, a right supported by the Council of Europe and the Finnish doctors’ federation, Vikström again distanced himself saying, “We must agree on the rules of the game and legislation before one can act.”
Turku's CoF Bishop, Kaarlo Kalliala, also distanced himself somewhat from Räsänen, saying that although she has a right to her personal opinion, he would “not necessarily have expressed himself in the same way.”
One of the difficulties some of us may have with the Lutheran tradition is its somewhat, how shall we say, counter-intuitive theologyin terms of the wider, universal,  Christian tradition, of the relationship between Church and State - persisting even, dare we say it, after Bonhoeffer.  
There are, of course, other theological strands within the Scandinavian churches - again, see above and also here;  however, they have been almost entirely forced out of the established churches in the face of revisionist 'entryism' in much the same way as the Anglo-Catholic tradition or Conservative Evangelicalism are currently being marginalised within Anglicanism by the heterodox cuckoo in the nest.
However, if we recognise that the bishops quoted above are first and foremost civil servants, whose primary duty is to defend the contemporary culture of society against all comers, then their radical disobedience to the Christian faith becomes somewhat more understandable - if not exactly  forgivable.
Another glimpse of the future of British Anglicanism .....  
You think it is impossible here? 
In the United States, TEC has needed neither establishment nor a theological tradition of subservience to the State to go the same way...

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