The Archbishop of York, a major leader in the Church of England, last week told the organization’s General Synod that the Lord’s prayer was “oppressively patriarchal” because of the reference to “Our Father” at the beginning of the prayer taught by Christ. The July 7 report from GBN, a Great Britain news network, quotes Archbishop Stephen Cottrell saying, “I know the word ‘father’ is problematic for those whose experience of earthly fathers has been destructive and abusive, and for all of us who have labored rather too much from an oppressively patriarchal grip on life.” In other words, Cottrell is saying that Christ was wrong in describing God as Father because the word’s use conjures up bad memories of earthly fathers. What?
It’s this type of thinking that drives people even further away from God, and allows for the misinterpretation of both content and context of the Bible. The Church of England and its American counterpart, the Episcopal Church, have been in decline. They are examples of Christ’s reference to salt losing it savor. They lack zeal for God in their leadership, as do many churches that are compromising to culture rather than being the light of Christ in their communities. Sharing the pulpit with drag queens, supporting the very things that are detestable and abominations to God, twisting the Bible to gain a control are all marks of the times. Sin is justified. Bad doctrine is practiced. Ceremony takes precedence over substance.
In Numbers 25-30, the story of Phinehas reveals a new character type at the time—the zealot. Israelite men were literally being seduced into Baal worship by Moabite women. God became angry with the flagrant in-your-face sin. He sent a plague in the camp. Phinehas stepped up and decisively killed both Zimri, an Israelite prince, and a Midianite princess who were “cavorting” right in front of the Tabernacle. The Lord spoke to Moses saying that Phinehas was “zealous for my sake” and he ended the plague. In Numbers 25:13, God rewarded Phinehas and his “seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.”
Another zealot, David, wrote in Psalm 69:8, “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children, because zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult You have fallen on me.” The disciples recalled this psalm when in his zeal Christ cleansed his Temple in Jerusalem. Christ is our greatest example of zeal for God. His zeal challenged the hearts and practices of the religious leaders. His zeal gave everlasting life to those who believe in Christ. As followers of Christ, we are charged to take up this zeal in exercising the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Lord give us the courage for such zeal.