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Doctorates in Doubt, Deception and Devilry

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Update 28.10.18: It appears that the Imam gave his address immediately after the Eucharist following protest by more level headed thinkers. That he was originally invited to speak during the Mass itself shows what the intention of the powers-that-be were.

Splendid academic dress, isn't it?

For many years, I have longed to find my way into an academic establishment to study Theology, Philosophy and Divinity to as high a level as I could, the goal being, eventually a bona fide Doctorate in Divinity preferably from Oxford.

I have revised my opinion, though not my goals.



With the greatest respect to my Muslim friends, colleagues and associates, I am a Christian and not a Muslim. It means that I believe the Christian religion to be true and the Muslim religion at best true only in part and thus not the best expression of reality and morals. Since Muslims do not believe that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, their admission into a celebration of the Holy Eucharist as preacher is an affront to both religions. Why? Because either it will be viewed as an opportunity to proselytise the other, or neither party truly believes the tenets of the religion they claim to profess in the fullness that an orthodox expression of either Faith requires.

Why do it? Why have a preacher from a markedly different belief stand in the pulpit of a prestigious university church to preach?

The purpose of a University is the furtherance of knowledge. This means that it is committed to the development of new ideas within the fields of study it offers. In Mathematics, I would expect lectures on Topology, Analysis, Complex Geometry, and the like. I would not expect lectures on the cell structure of members of the fungi kingdom unless that structure was expressly mathematical. Even so, I would expect it billed as Applied Mathematics and certainly not Pure Mathematics, save perhaps as some motivation for a particularly new geometry to be found in the Natural World. I would also not expect a lecture course within Mathematics on “Why mathematicians MUST study the cell structure of members of the fungi kingdom”.

The purpose of a sermon, homily or address at any Christian office of worship must begin and end with the God of the Christian Faith. I cannot say that it is all that clear that Christians and Muslims do in fact worship the same God. Certainly, we both claim to worship the God Who Created the Universe, but I believe in One God in Three Persons, Three-in-One, et c. The Muslim cannot accept this. This is not how they encounter God. It is certainly not how their prophet Mohammed saw God. If neither I nor Mohammed recognise the same attributes of God as necessary, then I can have a healthy doubt that these two gods are the same. Any address by a faithful Muslim will not begin and end with the God as expressed in the words of the Nicene Creed which, if it was said at this “celebration” of the Eucharist, would have been said either before or after this address.

The second purpose of a sermon, homily or address in any Christian office of worship must be to edify, comfort and challenge the faithful in the Christian Faith. If it is not the Christian Faith that is being preached, then it cannot do so.

As far as I see it, truly Christian education and the Christian quest for further knowledge has only two justifications. It is to glorify God and to reveal His glory for the encouragement of the people in the Christian Faith. We should not pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge because that makes an idol of knowledge. This is a trap many modern academics have fallen into: they worship their corpus of knowledge and see themselves as more advanced than their predecessors because knowledge has “progressed”. There is a huge lack of respect that living thinkers have for those who have lived before. Yet, if Christ is indeed God (and I pray that I may have the courage to die for that very belief!) He is the logos – the Divine Reason – and a thinker whom no-one can surpass, living or dead. Likewise the writers of Holy Scripture.

It is a dreadful disease of the University Church that it needs to reconcile knowledge that it discovers outside of the Christian Faith with Orthodox Christian Doctrine by massaging the doctrine so that it ceases to mean what the Early Church believed it to mean. Our Church Fathers will not have come across Hegel’s dialectic, Darwin’s Origin of the Species, or Derrida’s Deconstruction. I doubt that this new thinking would have caused them to bat an eyelid given that many of them died for the Faith that they received from those who went before. However, their lives of faith in God will show up people who try to muddle the Christian Faith into a socially acceptable and “inclusive” mush as being intellectual cowards who haven’t the gall to believe in something with all their heart without capitulating to what seems just and fair to the society in which they live.

I still would love to study for a doctorate in divinity, but I prefer to do so sitting at the feet of Christ through the words that He has given to many humble and intelligent people. I will learn Christianity and Divinity from the poor destitute, not from those who can’t survive without a television set; from those who offer their lives in sacrifice for the good of others, not from those who bleat that their identity has been insulted; from those who have learned to deal with the effects of abuse, not from those who campaign for the right to do as they please; from those who confess and repent of their sins and crimes, even by accepting and owning their punishment, not from those who not only refuse to recognise their sinfulness, but rather want to make it legal and acceptable. Christ tells us who will teach us His ways: the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, those who hunger and thirst after HIS righteousness (not their own), the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted for the sake of HIS righteousness (not that of Society’s).

The Doctors of the Church – i.e. those who did seek after God’s righteousness and teach it to others – these will teach me much, but it will be in the eyes of those Our Lord mentions in the Beatitudes that I will learn Christ. They will teach me how to loose the bands of wickedness, undo heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free and break every yoke. Notice, that this means that I need to know God’s Righteousness to tell me what is wicked, burdensome, oppressive and coupling with Evil. They will teach me to give bread to the hungry, invite the poor into my house, cover the naked, and make myself available to all people in their true need. The need of any person before even food or drink is the word of God Who gives life. If I distort that word, then I have no love for God nor for my neighbour. If I reinterpret God’s righteousness to make it nice and acceptable and challenging only those who stand up to the godlessness of Society, then I have no love for God nor for my neighbour.

I have so much to learn, and I MUST learn it because I burn to do so for the pitiful love for God that I have in my heart. I love Him so little, but I do love Him enough to seek Him on His terms not in the terms of my own making that go against what the Church has always said.

Nonetheless, I am to learn the Truth and to help others in their search for it. This means that I have a duty to Christian Education first to the glory of God and second to bring people to His glory. As part of that latter, I also see Christian knowledge as a protection against deceit, doubt and the Devil. It is the Devil who wants to be deceived and to deceive us, directly or indirectly. The Doctor who seeks to alter the faith to bring it into line with modern values has been deceived and is sowing doubt. Since doubt and deceit are from the devil, such an educator is not a Doctor of Divinity, but rather a Doctor of Devilry.

I can imaging academics of University institutions either smugly dismissing me as a relic of “old-style” stupid thinking. Others will be appalled at the level of offense that I have caused to the sensibilities of those who just want to be nice and “include” everyone in the Church. I don’t care. I may never wear the fine robes of a DD (Oxon) as did Dr Pusey, but neither will I wear the same robes of a heretical female Episcopal bishop who somehow has become equivalent with a scholar of fine standing and who sought to bring the Church of England back to her roots. I will content myself with learning what the Early Church has always taught without their interference.

I would like to be involved in building and developing seminary education for Anglican Catholic Clergy and Laity alike. However, if I am honest, I do not know what I could teach – I have too little formal theological education. However, I still seek to pursue this: education is not about fine robes, nor pieces of paper, nor letters after the name, nor the respect of one’s peers. It is about loving God and loving His children and helping them to know and love Him better. Certainly this is not the education that you will receive in Oxford!

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