Anglicans Set to Remove Satan from Baptismal Rite
Declaring that the devil has departed from the Church of England’s baptismal service, the Guardian reported on June 20 that “a simplified baptism which omits mention of the devil” is now favored by the clergy who have test-marketed it throughout the United Kingdom. Claiming that the traditional rejection of the devil and all rebellion against God “put off people who are offended to be addressed as sinners,” clergy claimed that they found it much easier to ask parents and godparents to make vows that do not mention Satan.
Responding to a population “which sees no pressing reason to spend Sunday mornings or any other time in Church,” the Guardian reports, the new and improved baptism service also deletes the instruction to the godparents that the child will keep God’s commandments, and learn what a Christian “ought to know and believe to his soul’s health”— promising only that the church “shall do all that we can to ensure that there is a welcoming place for you. We will play our part in helping you guide these children along the way of faith.”
The proposal to delete the devil from the ritual received initial approval by the House of Bishops and will be debated by the Anglican General Synod in York this July. If approved, these changes may reveal that the Church of England is losing its sense of sin— and its need for salvation, which is a serious way of thinking throughout the Protestant churches. But, it’s already been happening for a longer span than that of a few, recent months which have been spent on deliberation. More than 60 years ago, T.S. Eliot wrote about the sense of alienation which occurred when social regulators — like the church— began to splinter, and therefore the controlling moral authority of a society was no longer seen as effective. He suggested that a “sense of sin” was beginning to disappear from the conscience of most individuals. In his play “The Cocktail Party,” a troubled young woman confides in her psychiatrist that she feels “sinful” because of her relationship with a married man. She is distressed not so much by the illicit relationship, but rather by the strange “sense” of sin. Eliot writes that “having a sense of sin seems abnormal, she believed that she had become ill.”
Writing in 1950, Eliot knew that the language of sin was declining even then. Yet, most of us would assume that the concept of sin was still strong because the churches — like that of the Church of England — seemed so impregnable themselves. Looking back, though, it seems that the sense of sin was already beginning to be replaced by an emerging therapeutic culture. Within a growing culture of liberation, people no longer viewed themselves as sinful when they drank too much, indulged drugs, or engaged in violent or abusive behaviors. Rather, such actions were increasingly viewed as indicators that such individuals were victims of an illness that they had little control over.
Sociologist Philip Rieff warned in his now-classic book of the 1960’s, The Triumph of the Therapeutic, that “psychological man was beginning to replace Christian man” as the dominant character type in our society. Unlike traditional Christianity, which made moral demands on believers, the secular world of “’psychological man’ rejects both the idea of sin and the need for salvation.” Today, that transformation is now complete in the Church of England and in many Protestant churches throughout the world.
Why has Satan been described before by such a kitschy term as an “evil genius”? Many other good reasons aside, let’s stick with the one that is cardinal, since it directly applies to the mental tendencies being demonstrated by the individuals described above since the removal of a sense of sin. In his satirical The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis created a senior demon named Screwtape who instructs Wormwood, his young protege, on how best to capture a soul for hell. He tells him that the most effective thing that he can do to bring souls to hell is to convince people that Satan does not even exist. Lewis then further writes under the character of Screwtape this direction to Wormwood: “The fact that devils are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that, he therefore cannot believe in you.”
Unlike the Church of England, which is helping people move away from thoughts of the devil, Pope Francis has often spoken of Satan as the “prince of this world” and the “father of lies.” He cautioned in his book On Heaven and Earth that “Satan’s fruits are destruction, division, hatred and calumny.” In response, the faithful are beginning to flock to a shepherd that reminds them that it is the “work of the devil” to ignore the plight of the poor and to reject the humanity of all persons—including the weakest and least powerful.
One wonders why the Church of England will even bother to perform baptismal ceremonies at all when the real purpose of such a service has been lost. That being said, it is important to be reminded that rituals remain important, however, as author P.D. James writes in her chilling novel Children of Man. Set in a dystopian world in the year 2021 in which the entire human race has become infertile, the author describes a society in which the last child had been born two decades previous, and where the “new trend” in cities such as London is to hold elaborate christening ceremonies for kittens — replete with flowing white christening dresses and lace bonnets for the feline newborns. In such a society, the clergy is pleased to preside over the ritual because it gives so much joy to the childless “parents” of the kittens.
The Church of England’s revised baptismal ritual will be voted upon next month in Kent at their General Synod. It will likely pass, due to it having been driven forward by a powerful division within the clergy, one which is determined to demonstrate that the Church of England is a progressive church that no longer needs to recognize the absolute need to renounce Satan in order to live in freedom as the children of God.
Another item for the record and as a final example of how this new-and-improved “sinless mentality” has had devastating effects before is as follows. In 1931, the Anglican church also took a vote on “sin” — yes, a literal voting process on what constitutes as a sin — at the Lambeth Conference in England. At this gathering, they decided that contraception was no longer a transgression in the eyes of God, a result which every single Protestant church eventually embraced. (Again, as if Truth were determined by popular vote!) Bring yourself back to the present day, and one will realize that this vote has had nothing but devastating consequences to society as a whole. From this one lie has come the sexual revolution, the murder of over a billion babies worldwide via abortion, the complete destruction of the family, gay marriage, a thousand fold increase of new powerful sexually transmitted diseases… The list goes on, and another great lie is now being presented to the masses under the perverted pretense of it being “for the greater good”.
No such vote, whether like the one taken in 1931 or about to be taken presently regarding the vows of baptism, would ever take place in the True Church of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church does not vote on matters of sin by popular vote. For She does not teach Truth but proclaims it, and She guards it against the lies of the world and the devil. She passes it on from generation to generation incorruptible and will do so until the end of time. The gates of hell cannot and will not penetrate Her wall of Truth, and will never allow for a breach where a specific act is deemed a sin on one day and on the next not. (Note: The Catholic Church is solid on Her teachings in this regard, although many so-called Catholics in the pews rebel against Her teachings.) As Paul tells us in 1st Tim 3:15, the Church is “the pillar and foundation of Truth”. It is beyond me that any man who uses God-given reason and logic cannot plainly see this Truth. (Then again, there are a lot of things that are beyond me.)
In a world that has gone mad, though, it remains a church which is the sole safe haven… the Catholic Church, that is. Those who stay close to Her side and rest in Her bosom rest in the bosom of Christ Himself, for the Church belongs to Christ. They are Bride and Bridegroom, and it is within this holiest matrimony that we, as souls who in Baptism renounce all pomps and works of Satan – an act of requirement in so that we might be the treasured children of God – and therefore give testimony of the One True Faith of which he is opposed, will then be protected.
From within this great and blessed cocoon, which so many sadly do not call home, one will not, nor cannot be tricked or fooled into accepting a lie… such as the “greatest trick that Satan ever pulled”, the lie that all Protestant churches are on the cusp of embracing. The consequence of this deceit, ancient as it is but now with an official stamp of approval by Protestantism, has destroyed souls for generations. It enslaves lives to the hardheartedness at its base, and almost ensures the collapse of society as well as, ultimately, damnation.
Just look around you. The collapse is happening swiftly, yet the Truth still stands to stench the flow of souls toward hell.
And It is calling.