by The Editor
The Reverend Peter Mullen satirically comments on the parlous state of orthodox theology in today's Church of England.
Julian Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch some psychometric testing…
Julian Hubbard went to the cupboard and what do you think he found there? “Too many narcissists are applying to train for the church’s ministry.” Old Mother H. – sorry, I mean Mr H. – is director of the church’s ministry division and I have a question for him: “How many narcissists is too many?” Is there a Narcissist Quotient operated under the rules of political correctness which prescribes an optimum number? Internationally, there are official statistics: for example 30% of Canadian protestant ministers have been diagnosed as narcissists. But actually, I can answer my own question: onenarcissist is one too many. I’ve met a few. Some clergy love attention, dressing up and church ornamentation of all kinds and they pore gleefully over catalogues for vestments and church furnishings as if these were a form of ecclesiastical pornography.
Mr Hubbard wants to do something about it. His suggestion is that ordination candidates should undergo “psychometric testing” as a means of weeding out the prima donnas. I have a different suggestion: why doesn’t the church administer theological tests? If you doubt the need for these, you only have to look at the typical beliefs of many serving clergy. I will go further than the mere offer of a suggestion. I will devise the theological tests.
- Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth?
Many of them don’t. What they believe is that the creation story is a myth – by which they mean it didn’t actually happen. They think the universe made itself with a Big Bang and the rest of our history they are content to leave to Darwin. “The Father” – they think – is rather problematical too: it’s outrageously sexist.
- Do you believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary?
Of course they don’t! They think that it was only primitive people who believed stuff like that. They say that when St Matthew and St Luke tell us that Jesus was born of a virgin, it was just “a pictorial way of saying that he was special.”
- Do you believe in Jesus Christ who by his death and resurrection saves us from our sins?
Answer: no, not in as many words. The modern clergy think we’ve overdone the emphasis on sin. Instead they preach and aim to engender in their congregations self-esteem. All this talk of sin and guilt is so unhealthy. As for Christ’s resurrection, they don’t believe it happened. What they believe instead is that after the death of Jesus, “the disciples were filled with the experience of new life.” But, if Jesus remained dead, they don’t explain where this new life came from.
- Do you believe that he ascended into heaven?
Of course not. This is just more of that primitive picture language. They say that the account of the ascension in The Acts of the Apostlesis just a made up story for the benefit of all those stupid people who lived in unenlightened times. They say the ascension was only a tale to tell us that God had “vindicated” Jesus. But how – if it never happened?
- Do you believe that he will come again to judge the living and the dead?
Well, since they don’t believe that Jesus has gone anywhere except into the tomb, they naturally conclude that his second coming is not to be taken literally. So what does the Creed mean then when it declares that he shall come again? The modern clergy think it’s a sort of parable to indicate that “we are always under judgement.” Once again, let me ask: how can we be under judgement if no one is coming to judge?
- Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come?
No. We’ve seen already that so many of today’s clergy do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. So to say that those who trust in him will rise again is just meaningless. Or, if it means anything, it’s only to say something nebulous such as that “…the resurrection of the dead and the life eternal are pictorial ways of describing a quality of life in the here and now.”
When you look around and make enquiries, as I have done repeatedly, you discover that modern churchmen don’t believe anything in the way that the Bible and the Creeds ask us to believe it. A cynic might say that the only certain clause in the modernist creed is the bald historical statement, “I believe in Pontius Pilate.” (Oh but I’ve forgotten to mention the one dogma they most fervently believe: and that’s global warming.)
We recall the nursery rhyme: Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch the poor dog a bone, When she got there, the cupboard was bare. And so the poor doggie had none.”
Under the provision proposed by Julian Hubbard, today’s ordinands will be given even less.