Op-Ed: Will King Charles’ Reign Spell Disaster for the Church?

With the coronation of King Charles III recently announced for spring 2023, the world wonders what changes the reign of the new monarch will bring. Unfortunately, if Charles follows through with his plan for the monarchy, it will spell disaster for Protestant Christianity across the West. The full title of the British monarch is “His Majesty Charles the Third, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His other Realms and Territories, King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.” “Defender of the Faith” is an honorific title originally bestowed upon Henry VIII by the pope. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door, the Roman Catholic world was outraged. Henry (at that time still a practicing Catholic) went on the offensive. He slammed Luther and insulted him as “one [weak] little monk” in a long book entitled “Defence of the Seven Sacraments.” Impressed with Henry’s verve — and no doubt flattered by his mention in the book’s dedication — Pope Leo X designated Henry “Defender of the Faith.” This cherished title has been held by every British monarch since. When England broke off from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation, the Defender of the Faith title grew from a reward for past service to a constant duty for succeeding rulers. Although plenty of monarchs were extremely flawed leaders who did not always display perfect Christian virtues, the crown, as head of the Anglican Church, was to be a permanent warrior in defense of Protestant Christianity. Queen Elizabeth II understood this duty and was a fierce defender of Anglicanism and Protestantism. In 1957, Elizabeth started the tradition of annual televised Christmas addresses. During a time of global secularization, the queen continued to “preserve the settlement of the true Protestant religion,” and later, Elizabeth would become the first monarch to inaugurate and speak before the Anglican Synod (the Anglican Church’s legislative body). This has led to Elizabeth being described as a “true believer” and “the most religious sovereign since the Reformation.” In contrast to his late mother, Charles maintains a distance from Christianity. In an address given the day after Elizabeth’s death, Charles noted that his faith was merely “rooted” in the Anglican Church, avoiding saying whether he is a practicing Christian or if he believes in the church he represents. More strikingly, Charles once expressed a bizarre desire to become just “defender of faiths” rather than Defender of the Faith, later backtracking in an unconvincing “retraction.” This lies at the core of the issue with his reign, and it highlights an ongoing problem in Protestantism today: Protestants have forgotten everything they stand for. Charles is only the head of one faith; other religions do not need him. Muslims have caliphs. Hindus have swamis. Atheists have condescending teenage YouTubers. These faith leaders do not consider it a priority to fall all over themselves to defend faiths other than their own, about which they may know little and with which they have even less in common. Countless Protestant churches — especially those closely related to Anglicanism, like Methodists — have been in disputes about their core values in recent years. While Methodists were once the driving force behind reigning in the moral decadence of the Regency era, today, Methodist preachers dress in drag while writing poems declaring “queerness is divine” and “god is nothing.” The United Church of Christ published an article in 2021 elevating sympathetic views of “Christian polyamory.” The UCC was pathologically unable to take a disapproving stance against adultery. In the Presbyterian Church, meetings of the General Assembly have been opened with prayers to Allah. One must wonder why Presbyterian leadership supports prayers from a religion that rejects Christ’s divinity. In a heartbreaking example that threatens the young, the Episcopal Church has endorsed permanent “sex change” operations for children. The long-term medical risks for children who receive “sex changes” (including infertility and cancer) are well-known. The biblical teachings about protecting children are well-established. Yet the Episcopal Church has remained undeterred in its fervor to be hip. Christians should be outraged. As absurd as it might seem, Anglicans, Methodists and other Protestants all have something in common: Their leaders seem to lack an affinity for the church they serve. They have an agenda first and theology second. For many Protestant denominations today, politics are the altar at which God must kneel, or he risks being expelled from his own house. When Christ turned over the tables in the temple, he did so because he detested the use of a holy place for a marketplace. What would Christ do to a church whose pulpits have become nothing more than a market for the woke ideology de jure? There is no doubt that those in Protestant leadership have subverted their core beliefs out of some well-meaning sense of tolerance. While some tolerance may often be a good thing, one must remember that tolerance requires you to tolerate beliefs different than your own. Of course, this requires you to have some beliefs of your own. You cannot truly be tolerant of other people’s beliefs if you believe in nothing. The person with the weakest beliefs is the person who gives in to societal pressure most quickly. If Protestants cannot remember such crucial teachings as the need to protect children and the imperative of defending our faith above all others, then we risk becoming the Israelites of Exodus 32:1 who lost faith in God and worshiped their own creations. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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