Friday, September 17, 2010

Revelation 17:1-6, Backpedaling the Reformation: England Caters to the Great Whore

"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, 'Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.' And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: 'Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.' And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."

On a state visit to the United Kingdom, where the queen was crowned with an oath to uphold the "Protestant Reformed Religion", Pope Benedict XVI has been received by Queen Elizabeth II, the secular head of the Church of England, and by Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of that Church. In fact, the Pope was to be honored with the office of Archbishop for a day.

A joint worship service was touted by the website of the Westminster Abbey, the setting of the writing of the Westminster Standards in the 1640's. In those Standards, the Confession of Faith (XXV:6) says of the Pope (generically, not of a particular Pope), "[he] is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God." According to Westminster Abbey, the service included the Pope, the Archbishop, "together with church leaders from many denominations." This is on top of being officially welcomed by the Queen.

Let us remember that the Church of England broke from the Papacy under Henry VIII. While that king's motives may hardly have been spiritual, England remained a Protestant country, except for a bump under his daughter Mary, to modern times. This breaking away left many martyrs to the revenge of Rome, including Henry's Archbishop, Thomas Cranmer. We still await the repentance of Rome for the murder of such spiritual men (and a few women, too). Yet, the Head of the Church of Rome is received as a head of state and spiritual leader.

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