For such a long time the siren cry in our culture has been one of inclusivity – radical and uncompromising inclusion of everything. The call has gone our far and wide and can be heard from many voices. Secular voices preach this with an almost religious fervour. And the church, the church has often taken up the call. Consider the theme for the Anglican Church of Canada General Synod this year – ‘Cast the nets wide, cast them wider still’.
But, I wonder, what are we fishing for? And what will we catch? Are we fishing in dangerous waters?
For it seems to me that inclusivity is a concept that is wearing increasingly thin. It is becoming more and more obvious that inclusivity is no more than a ruse, something that will not long outlast the dominance of the spirit it helped usher in.
What do I mean? Well, let’s consider two examples:
The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US is a deeply inclusivist Church. They included a practising homosexual Bishop in New Hampshire, arguing that it was within bounds to include this behaviour at the highest level in the Church.
As a quick aside, I hold to the teaching that homosexual orientation as such is disordered (not in and of itself sinful, though perhaps a product of the fall). However, acting out on it is sinful – no more or less sinful than any others, but sin nonetheless.
TEC, having cast the nets wide, were they able to cast the same net wide enough to include Fr Lawrence, an orthodox priest, to be Bishop in South Carolina? No, it was not to be and consent was denied (on a technicality to be granted, though that technicality would have never been an issue without the large ‘no’ vote).
So why could the inclusivity not extend both ways? One argument heard is that the ‘real’ problem is the ambivalence of Fr Lawrence to fully commit to the institution of TEC. This is no more than an attempt at smoke and mirrors. Why the ambivalence? Could it be that the institution is controlled by folk who appear increasingly unable to affirm the fundamentals of the faith? That is to say, the ambivalence has a direct causal relationship to the orthodoxy of the priest concerned.
But, this orthodoxy, why so ‘exclusivist’, why so ‘intolerant’ of other viewpoints? Well, if you would like a comprehensive demolishing of the god of tolerance, look no further than here. The current definitions of ‘inclusivity’ and ‘tolerance’ are no more than flip side of the same kind of sloppy and specious reasoning that only holds together by relying on laziness of thought, or a wilful denial of reason.
Let’s look to another example of the death of inclusivity. If you follow this blog, you know I have been chronicling the descent of the UK into totalitarian ‘tolerance’. Inclusivity is wearing thin there, too. Now, the latest example can be found here. For previous entries see here and here.
There are in this case no prizes for guessing how ‘public benefit’ will continue to be redefined. Of course, this isn’t exactly the end of the world, just another step in the chilling of Christianity in the UK. It seems that inclusivity doesn’t quite stretch as far as it once used to.
No, it appears that the inclusivity that we have been asked to sign up to is one simply of the current zeitgeist – the spirit of this age. The spirit, however, is jealous for its space, and will not long tolerate opposing forces. Those who do not bow the knee will soon find that the much vaunted inclusivity does not stretch to include them.
Of course, the normal blame will be invoked, cause and effect will be confused, and the dissenters and exclusivists will be increasingly marginalised, the irony lost on those pursuing ‘inclusivity’ at any price.
Oh, and yes the church will be invoked in this. Expect to see the counterfeit church continue to rise, and be made clear. ‘Useful idiots’ who will prostitute themselves before the world, to win men’s favour at eternal cost to themselves. Many of the worst barbs and slings will come from those wearing the cross.
The church, the confessing church, will increasingly become a lighthouse in the gathering gloom. To warn of dangerous waters, and guide to safe harbour those who will heed. Believe me, there will be many that will not heed. Those who hold much truck with the world will not see until it is too late. Nevertheless many who have lost favour with the world will find favour with Him. For, a lighthouse is what we are called to be in this age. Do you see it?