In post-war years, Britain began the process of restoration. It was a long grind. Ration books were still issued for some years. Austerity measures were kept in force. And the coalition government under Winston Churchill was replaced by a Conservative government, still under Churchill. But the mood of the people was such that he was unable to obtain a strong enough mandate to serve the nation. Another general election was held, and the Socialists came to power under Clement Atlee. He remained in office from 1945 to 1951, when once again the country favoured a Conservative government. Churchill was back. But it was clear that Churchill the British bulldog in wartime, was not the same as Churchill in post-war Britain. By 1955 he had had enough and retired.
It was during his last administration that King George VIth died, and his eldest daughter became Queen. The coronation service in Westminster Abbey was held on 2nd June 1953. We still possess a copy of the souvenir programme, and it contains certain information which is of great importance to the understanding of then-future events in our nation.
Once the Queen had made her way through the Abbey, and was seated, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, invited her to stand and face the congregation, and said,
“Sirs, I here present unto you Queen Elizabeth, your undoubted Queen: Wherefore all you who are come this day to do your homage and service, Are you willing to do the same?”
The people then signified their willingness and joy, by loud and repeated acclamations, all with one voice crying out, GOD SAVE QUEEN EZLIZABETH. Then the trumpets sounded, and the Queen, having returned to her chair, the Archbishop standing before her administered the Coronation Oath, first asking the Queen,
“Madam, is your majesty willing to take the Oath?”
“I am willing”
“Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?”
“I solemnly promise so to do.”
“Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgements?”
“Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?”
“All this I promise to do.”
The Queen then arose from her chair, the Sword of State carried before her, and went to the Altar to make her solemn oath in the sight of all the people to observe the premises; laying her right hand upon the Holy Gospel in the Great Bible, and kneeling upon the steps said these words:-
“The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God.”
The Queen then kissed the Book, and signed the Oath. When the Queen was again seated, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland presented the Queen with the Holy Bible, and the Archbishop said:-
“Our gracious Queen, to keep your Majesty ever mindful of the Law and the Gospel of God as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, we present you with this Book, the most valuable thing this world affords.”
And the Moderator continued by saying:-
“Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; these are the lively Oracles of God.”
Later on in the lengthy coronation service, the Archbishop and all the other Bishops of the Church of England paid their homage to the Queen, kneeling before her and saying:-
“I, – – – – – Archbishop/Bishop of – – – – – will be faithful and true, and faith and truth will bear unto you, our Sovereign Lady, Queen of this Realm, and Defender of the Faith, and unto your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.”
I suppose the coronation service is just about the most solemn, grand, and meaningful occasion in all British life. What a contrast with the events of the last chapter to do with Nazi Germany, a country which had BY LAW replaced Christianity with Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” Germany, the home of the Reformation under Martin Luther in 1517, had become in 415 years a totally godless state in terms of those who ruled the country. But in 1953 Britain saw on the television (black and white in those days) a service containing all the elements of true Christianity sworn by oath by Queen and Clergy, and it should have stirred the people to lay hold of the Faith of the Fathers, and make sure that True Faith sat firmly in our land. The godless and Satanic mess of Germany was still very much in the British mind, and it should have spurred the people on to re-establish their roots. But did this happen?
From the perspective of nearly half a century, the answer to this question is sadly, NO! – – – – – – – What went wrong?
Some might say that they do not consider the Church of England the true church of Jesus Christ, even though it may contain some of true faith and persuasion. But I do not believe this is the point. I believe that God looks at the Church of England to be what it CLAIMS to be in its own eyes, and will judge the Church according to the light it has, and the word it proclaims. God’s true church does indeed consist of those who possess undoubted faith, but who are we to make a list? Do we have the Divine Eye to see into men’s hearts? Doesn’t the Almighty come down to where we are, rather than deal with us where He would prefer us to be? In that case, I have a strong feeling that the Church of England, and her “Defender of Faith” in the person of our Queen, will be judged according to the profession each and every one makes.
In the coronation service, some very solemn oaths were taken by Queen and Clergy alike. And these oaths were very largely towards the maintenance of the Protestant Faith in Britain.
Many people in Britain had forgotten the struggles that occurred in the days of the Reformation. And in Britain they were unaware that the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the new English church formed by King Henry VIIIth, Thomas Cranmer, paid with his life, being burned at the stake. Likewise some of the Bishops, such as Latimer and Ridley. They were par excellence “Defenders of the Faith,” when the Monarch was not. Kipling wrote a poem that contained those immortal lines “Lest we forget.” (Recessional. 1896) And applying them to this situation, sadly, many people have forgotten.
In making the following statements, I have no intention of speaking disrespectfully about our Sovereign. In these days, plenty of people are willing to say the most outrageous things about those in authority. But God will hold us in judgment for this. He calls us to be subject to those in power. He doesn’t ask us to AGREE with everything they do, but He does us ask for our subjection. I have spoken before about the Socialist tendency in Russia, and then in Germany, to speak evil things of those in authority, and how it led to the breakdown of the whole nation. Rebellion in the heart is one of the strongest of Satanic tendencies. Injustice follows on as a natural consequence of rebellion. And the Devil knows how these attitudes lead to a breakdown of a nation’s righteousness.
The oath taken by the Queen related to the Protestant foundation of the Church of England, and the maintenance of that position. The oath also referred to English Law. And one aspect of that Law was passed in 1701, and was known as the Act of Settlement, in which all future Monarchs of the English realm must be Protestant, and which forbids any future Monarch “to be reconciled to or hold communion with the See or Church of Rome.” So what has transpired since the Queen’s coronation in 1953?
Eight years after her coronation, on 5th May 1961, the Queen and Prince Philip paid a visit to Pope John 23rd in Rome, and according to custom (demanded by the Pope) the Queen wore black. Indeed the colour was appropriate, because black is the colour of mourning, and the whole nation should have been in mourning to see our Sovereign regaled in black before a Pope. According to British Law, the Monarch should never have been in attendance on the Pope AT ALL.
In March 1966 Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsay, visited the Vatican. This historic meeting led to the setting up of a joint theological commission of members of the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion with a view towards complete unity by 1988.
On 26th May 1980 The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Duchess of Kent worshipped at the (Catholic) shrine at Walsingham.
In October of the same year, the Queen visited Pope John Paul II and expressed her approval of “the growing movement of unity between the Christian Churches.”
In May 1982 Pope John Paul II visited England. This was the first time a Pope had set foot in our land since the Reformation. He had audience with the Queen, and “worshipped together” with Archbishop Runcie in Canterbury Cathedral.
Twice since then the Queen has attended an “Interfaith Service” in Westminster Abbey, to which delegates of many of the world’s religions were invited. Before the second occasion, the Queen was presented with a petition from many thousands of Anglicans, asking her not to attend, but she decided to ignore it.
Union with Rome was never completed in 1988 as planned. Too many obstacles lay in its path. The following letter, written by Lord Denning to the Daily Telegraph in 1989, gives the legal position.
SIR – If the Pope is to become “universal leader” as Dr Runcie suggests, it would need many changes to be effected by Parliament.
Our Ecclesiastical Law is of equal force to the Common Law. It is based on custom varied by Act of Parliament. If it is to be altered, it is to be altered by Parliament, or nowadays by General Synod with Parliament’s approval.
The Ecclesiastical Law in this matter is based on the Reformation Statutes. By these the Church of England was recognised as a separate national church. The Sovereign was supreme in all civil and ecclesiastical matters, and the Pope was declared to have no jurisdiction in the realm of England.
The Articles of Religion which are part of our Ecclesiastical Law start with this declaration by the Sovereign: “Being by God’s ordinance according to our just title, Defender of the Faith, and Supreme Governor of the Church within these our dominions, we hold it to be most agreeable to our kingly office and our own religious zeal, to conserve and maintain the Church committed to our charge.”
After the Reformation the next great change was made in 1688 after the “glorious revolution” when we rid ourselves of James II.
The statutes of that time required the Sovereign to be a “faithful Protestant” and not to be “reconciled to, or hold communion with, the See or Church of Rome.” You may know that a faithful Protestant was one who protested against the Church of Rome and would have no truck with it.
Such being the requirements on the Sovereign, it must also be the requirements on the Archbishops and Bishops, who are the delegates of the Sovereign. They are nominated by the Sovereign, and must be under the same requirements as she.
They ought not to be reconciled to, or hold communion with, the Church or See of Rome. In order to clear the way there must be an Act of Parliament and full discussions there.
LORD DENNING. Whitchurch, Hants.
What is not properly realised by many of the leaders of the Church of England, is that any form of dialogue with Rome can only occur on the basis of Rome’s doctrines. They are unable and unwilling to compromise their stand. This was clearly expressed by Father Roger Nesbitt in another letter to the Telegraph in 1989, part of which is as follows:-
“For Catholics, adherence to the teaching of the Pope is the only true principle of true Christian unity. Without the Rock of Peter we are left with the shifting sands of Liberalism in religion, which has unfortunately brought about loss of faith and division in the Church of England, and elsewhere.
Despite the sincere goodwill which the meeting in Rome has produced, this Catholic teaching that the Papal Office flows directly from the divinity of Christ remains non-negotiable. If unity of faith is to be achieved, both Anglicans and Roman Catholics will have to face up to this fundamental doctrine. It is the only basis for true unity and it will not go away.” Fr ROGER NESBITT. Folkestone, Kent.
Now although I am not personally interested in the institutions of either Rome or Canterbury, I believe, as I said earlier, that God takes people AS THEY ARE, and judges them on that basis. If the Queen and her Ecclesiastical Ministers have by oath declared themselves to follow a certain course, God will watch to see whether they remain loyal to that oath, or whether they become traitors. The Roman Catholics belong to a system which I do not hesitate to call diabolical. But they are far more loyal to their foundation than the Anglicans, who are currently selling off all their “assets.” The Bible has much to say about a figure known as the Antichrist. In the New Testament he is known as the Man of Lawlessness. Isn’t this the focal point of all that we are surveying here? The Church of England is lawlessness personified, and must therefore be acting the part of Antichrist.
I believe the revelations of this chapter are extremely serious and demand the attention of all believers in Jesus Christ, of whatever persuasion. Our bounden duty is to pray for our nation at this time. Remember the days during the two wars, when praying people brought about notable miracles. We have a God who invites us to intercede. And when we intercede for others, we adopt a priestly role, after the order of Melchisedek, Jesus Christ Himself being the High Priest. It is so easy to listen to all the facts presented in this chapter, and by a wave of the hand, dismiss the Churches, turn away, and behave as though God has no interest in them. But these churches, whether they are Catholic or Protestant, consist of people, human beings for whom Christ died, and within those churches there are millions of people who believe in Jesus Christ, with vast differences in personal faith and trustworthiness, yes, but basically they all adhere to Christ, and the Lord will approach them as they are, rather than as others might wish them to be.
If some of us feel that God has given us greater enlightenment, and that we possess a vantage point to see with clarity where others have gone wrong, then this privilege is immediately coupled with a greater responsibility. Our attitude should be that of the “firstborn brother” in Old Testament days, whose “double blessing” was to be used to care for the needs, privations, and reversals of his brethren. This is where I believe we stand now. And because we are powerless to act in the world, to put right that which has gone wrong, we must present it to our Father in heaven, and ask that the Holy Spirit may bring enlightenment, or if this should be abused, then even swift judgment, to bring others to their senses. In this way we can act as priests of God, and our prayers will be presented before the throne as sweet-smelling savours. There is a saying, “Truth without love is bigotry; love without truth is harlotry.” If the ecumenically-minded, and syncretistically-minded clergy of today are in favour of one huge hotch-potch of religion, then they are indeed guilty of harlotry. But let us beware of falling into the trap of having truth and acting with cold condemnation. This indeed is bigotry.