There are great and precious promises given to us in Scripture. One such word of assurance and hope is found in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. That is reassuring to know, but sometimes one has to ask if the church itself is not doing a great job of undermining the faith.
That is, while we expect the enemies of the church to ceaselessly war against us, what is really alarming is when so-called Christian leaders themselves manage to sabotage the work of the church. In the past I have pointed out various examples of some Christians being their own worst enemies when it comes to delivering sharp blows against the faith.
Sadly, here is yet one more example of such self-immolation, this time coming from Canada. According to one media outlet, a Toronto Anglican church is run by a priest who seems to be unable to distinguish between human beings and animals. I kid you not. This is how the story is reported:
“An Anglican priest in Toronto has become the center of controversy after she gave a communion wafer to a dog during a religious service. The Rev. Marguerite Rea apologized to congregants on Sunday for giving the wafer last month to Trapper, a 4-year-old German Shepherd-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, the Toronto Star reported.
“Trapper was attending the service at St. Peter’s Anglican Church with his owner, a truck driver whom Rea had invited to come to services after she met him and the dog visiting the downtown church on a previous day. When Trapper’s owner came forward to receive communion, the dog came forward as well. Rea extended her hand with a wafer to Trapper, who ate it. The dog did not drink any wine. A congregant complained to the diocese, and the local bishop called Rea’s action ‘misguided,’ the newspaper reported.
“Although Rea apologized for giving the communion wafer to Trapper, she told the Toronto Star that she has received many phone calls and e-mails of support since the controversy broke. And at least one other congregant supports what Rea did. ‘We’re all God’s creatures,’ the congregant told the newspaper. ‘If a dog goes into a church, he’s entitled to every service that’s offered, including spiritual nourishment’.”
And we wonder why the world just scoffs at the church. With friends like these, who needs enemies? It is good to see that the priest in question did offer an apology in the end. But the remarks of the member shows that biblical literacy may be at an all-time low in some churches.
Indeed, it is possible that common sense and basic thinking ability is at an all time low as well in many Christian congregations. Let me run this one by you again: “If a dog goes into a church, he’s entitled to every service that’s offered, including spiritual nourishment”.
OK, so we should allow dogs to sing along in the hymn sings? Maybe a Labrador should help conduct Bible studies as well. Or maybe a poodle should conduct confirmation classes. But why stop there? Let’s bring all God’s creatures into the action. Perhaps we can have cats conducting baptismal services.
Maybe we can get giraffes to help take up the weekly offering. Actually, an octopus might be better for that task. And we could get some ostriches to teach in the Sunday School classes. Since we seem to have plagues of rabbits and other pests in Australia, they would fit well into our mega-churches.
The list is endless. I am having a bit of fun here of course. But when we get this dumbed down by those calling themselves believers, then we are all in bad shape. The church is already struggling to survive from its many external enemies. We really do not need people within the church adding to this onslaught.
While the gates of hell may not prevail against the church, politically correct believers might just manage to achieve the same result. We are living in silly and senseless times. We certainly do not need the church to buy into this atmosphere as well.
If this were just an isolated incident, just a one-off, we might just laugh it off. But one suspects that such moonbattery is becoming far too common in our churches. In which case, tears may be a more appropriate response.