"I am begging you to pray that if there is catastrophic spiritual ruin ahead of us, that God would open our eyes to it before it is too late. If you have not been praying with heartfelt sincerity and desperate dependence on God – start tonight."
~ Rev. Peter Sanlon, Church of England
Rod Dreher has posted an interview with Rev. Peter Sanlon, a young CofE pastor, over at his blog at The American Conservative, which is startling for its unflinching honesty and penetrating insights concerning the frightening rate of the post-and ever more stridently anti-Christian sentiment sweeping the West, and the immanent collapse of establishment Christianity as a result.
Rev. Sanlon identifies three movements, which he states are "certain to sink the ship": "Radical sexual gender ideologies, Islam, and governments’ totalitarian instincts." How he describes the dynamics of these three forces shows he has thought deeply on contemporary trends, and is not spinning hastily composed conspiracy theories.
It may well be the case that the Orthodox Church, due to our smaller numbers, may fare better than mainline Protestant denominations, Evangelicals, and Roman Catholicism. On the other hand, because Orthodoxy is by its nature more traditional and less subject to change with the times, it may be especially singled out and targeted by the forces of the spirit of Antichrist, as described in the most significant Christian book of the 21st century so far.
I cannot do justice to Rev. Sanlon's incisive and prophetic analysis, and urgently recommend you read the entire interview. Key excerpts below. I have made a few comments, which are bracketed and not indented.
Christian Life In Exileby Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, March 5, 2018:
DREHER: Dr. Sanlon, you’ve mentioned to me that the situation for faithful small-o orthodox Christians in the West today is a lot like passengers on the Titanic refusing to believe that the ship is sinking. What do you mean?
SANLON: The Titanic was believed to be the ‘unsinkable ship’ – yet 1,503 souls perished in the icy Atlantic waters. The designers, financiers, media, crew and passengers held that the ship was unsinkable — and therefore were unable to consider or prepare adequately for her sinking. People are shaped and formed by their beliefs: if you believe something cannot occur, you will not think about it or prepare for it. This is all the more true if the thing you believe cannot happen is something that would be deeply unpleasant to you.
|"I do not believe the Church itself will be sunk. What I do mean is that the public, easy, culturally acceptable way we do church is sunk." — Rev. Peter Sanlon|
The human heart has an astonishing capacity for self-deception, and together with those who are similarly disposed we have almost infinite abilities to participate in mass delusion. Consider how the shudders of the Titanic liner impacting the iceberg were dismissed as insignificant. Those down in the hull of the ship could see water pouring in — but those in the restaurants and cabins above them would not believe warnings. Those bringing the warnings were uncouth, less cultured, not as intelligent — and crucially theywere bringing warnings of tragedy that were unpalatable. The mind rationalizes what the heart desires.
What then do I mean when I say that orthodox Christians in the West are like passengers on the Titanic?
I mean that the Church in our Western nations has already hit the iceberg. Water is flooding into the hull — the ship will sink. The grinding judders of our ship impacting the iceberg have been felt — but the majority of Christians will do what the Titanic passengers and crew did — explain the evidence away and refuse to help one another prepare to save one another’s spiritual lives.
The iceberg that has has ripped open the Church is composed of not frozen water, but three things. Radical sexual gender ideologies, Islam and governments’ totalitarian instincts.
Why is it that these three movements are so certain to sink the ship? The reason is that the mainline churches in the West are deeply compromised. Over many decades our leaders have fostered the hope that by political action, legal efforts or even by embracing the cultures’ ideologies in these three areas, that it can prosper or survive. This has severely weakened the Churches and leaves us unprepared for the future.