‘Don’t go listening to lies’? Absolutely. A response to Rosie Harper

Oct 25, 2019 by

by Martin Davie:

For centuries members of the Church of England have confessed their sins using the words of the general confession in the Book of Common Prayer…

…Those who have prayed in this way have believed that the words they have said correspond to the truth of the human situation. We have turned from God’s ways and have become people who are at odds with God and consequently we need to ask his forgiveness and seek his help to amend our lives.

Today, however, there are members of the Church of England who tell us that those who have believed this have been taught and accepted a lie.

We can see this, for example, if we look at the recent article ‘Don’t go listening to lies’ written by Canon Rosie Harper, the Chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham and a member of the General Synod.[2] In her article Canon Harper begins by quoting with approval a song she heard sung at a school assembly, a song which began with the words  ‘Don’t go listening to lies.’  She argues that this is a lesson that we all need to learn and that it is particularly important that we should not go listening to lies about God.

As she sees it, the fundamental lie to which we should not listen is the lie that there is something wrong with us in God’s eyes. In her words, ‘The fundamental lie is that you simply being you won’t do.’  She goes on to say that we need to reject, and be mentally healed from, are the ideas that there is an ‘angry God’ who ‘will never fully accept you the way he created you’  and that ‘it isn’t only what you do, but who you are that is wrong.’

If we compare what Canon Harper says with the words of the general confession we can see that the two are totally incompatible, The Book of Common Prayer tells us that ‘there is no health in us.’ Canon Harper tells us that this is a lie. If one is true, then the other is not.

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