The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

From the Scylla of Patripassianism into the Charybdis of Nestorianism

My attention was recently drawn, via a link at Robin G. Jordan's Anglicans Ablaze blog, to a posting at Ligonier Ministries' website entitled "Did God Die On the Cross?". In this post, which is excerpted from R. C. Sproul's book The Truth of the Cross, the eminent American Calvinist theologian takes exception with the line from Charles Wesley's well-known hymn "And Can It Be?" that asks the question "How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"

What is it about this line that Dr. Sproul finds to be problematic?

He writes:

If we say that God died on the cross, and if by that we mean that the divine nature perished, we have stepped over the edge into serious heresy.

In this Dr. Sproul is correct enough but his words invite the question of who, other than a trained and professional theologian, could or would possibly be obtuse enough to understand Wesley's words as suggesting that "the divine nature perished."
Dr. Sproul went on to say:

In fact, two such heresies related to this problem arose in the early centuries of the church: theopassianism and patripassianism. The first of these, theopassianism, teaches that God Himself suffered death on the cross. Patripassianism indicates that the Father suffered vicariously through the suffering of His Son. Both of these heresies were roundly rejected by the church for the very reason that they categorically deny the very character and nature of God, including His immutability. There is no change in the substantive nature or character of God at any time.

Again, Dr. Sproul is correct in what he says but I note the absence of any mention of another heresy that is quite pertinent to this matter. The heresy in question is that of Nestorius.

Nestorius served as Archbishop of Constantinople from 428 to 431 AD, in which year he was removed from his position following his condemnation at the First Council of Ephesus. This condemnation was reiterated and intensified twenty years later at the Council of Chalcedon, which produced a statement on the Person and Nature of Christ which has subsequently been regarded as one of the key ecclesiastical statements of orthodox Christology.

What had Nestorius said exactly that got him into all this hot water?

He had objected to the way Mary was customarily honoured with the title Theotokos, which literally means "God-bearer" but is more commonly rendered in English as "Mother of God". Being a trained and professional theologian, Nestorius obtusely understood this title to mean some nonsense about Mary being the mother of Christ's "divine nature." Since the divine nature by, well, nature, eternal, Nestorius said that she should be called the "Mother of Christ" instead.

Nestorius did not actually deny the deity of Christ but the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon saw his doctrine as leading in that direction. It tended to the seperation of the divine and human natures of Christ, which, in the Incarnation had been permanently united in the One Person of Christ. Thus Nestorianism became the name of the heresy which denies the perfect and permanent union of the divine and human natures in the Person of Christ. Its opposite heresy - for heresies tend to come in pairs which depart from orthodox truth in opposite directions - is Monophysitism, which confuses or mingles the divine and human natures.

Dr. Sproul writes:

Some say, “It was the second person of the Trinity Who died.” That would be a mutation within the very being of God, because when we look at the Trinity we say that the three are one in essence, and that though there are personal distinctions among the persons of the Godhead, those distinctions are not essential in the sense that they are differences in being. Death is something that would involve a change in one’s being.

Here, Dr. Sproul falls into Nestorianism. To say that it was the Second Person of the Trinity Who died on the Cross does not assert a mutation in the very being of God. Presumably, Dr. Sproul would not say that the Incarnation effected a mutation within the very being of God. Yet in the Incarnation, a truly and perfect human nature, was forever joined to the Second Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Son of God. Which means that it was that Person Who died on the Cross.

To deny that the Second Person of the Trinity died on the Cross is to assert that it was Christ's human nature and not Christ Himself Who died. Dr. Sproul as much as does this when he writes "The atonement was made by the human nature of Christ." This, however, is as bad a heresy as asserting that the divine nature perished. It was the Person of Christ, in Whom the two natures are forever joined, Who made the Atonement, and that Person is God.

Charles Wesley had it right. In an attempt to avoid one deadly and ancient heresy, Dr. Sproul has fallen into another.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kudos to the Archbishop

When asked by a friend, a couple of weeks ago, how I reconciled all the positive things I have been saying about the very anti-elitist populist political campaign of Donald Trump in the country to our south with my own political convictions, which are High Tory, a form of conservatism that is ordinarily thought of as being extremely elitist, my answer was to point to the plurality of elites. There always have been and always will be elites of many different varieties, rather than the single monolithic ruling class or power elite that Marxist sociologists are always raving about, and the elites whose traditional authority I would argue in favour of are not the same elites that Donald Trump, himself obviously a member of the elite of successful entrepreneurs, rails against as a populist. The elites that Trump has been blasting, including those of his own party, are globalist elites, relentlessly pursuing the goal of an integrated world in which borders will in no way significantly impede the movement of either labour or goods, no matter the negative impact this may have on their own country. Such elites are quite new, having attained elite status through the economic and political innovations of the last century, whereas the elites that High Tories such as myself believe in are those whose prescriptive status and authority are rooted and grounded in a history that goes back much further. These include royalty, nobility, and the clergy of the church.

It is most unfortunate that some of the attitudes of the newer, globalist, elites have infected some of the older elites. Consequently, it is extremely rare in this day and age to hear anything sensible about immigration come from the mouth of a clergyman. Most clergy, be they Roman Catholic or Protestant, evangelical or the infidels who dress their unbelief up in the language of faith and call themselves liberals, speak as if they worshipped at the idolatrous shrine of the cult of one-world-without-borders. The prime example of this is the world’s most recognizable clergyman, Jorge Bergoglio, the Jesuit - in every sense of the term - who recently rose from the archbishopric in Argentina where he had preached Bolshevism and called it “Christianity” to become the pretender to St. Peter’s throne in Rome after it was left vacant when his predecessor was ousted through some diabolical chicanery that is as yet to be explained. Forty years ago, in his prophetic novel, The Camp of the Saints, about a Western apocalypse brought about by an invasion of Third World migrants that the West found itself unable to defend itself against, being paralyzed by liberal guilt, Jean Raspail described a pope, newly risen to the post from Latin America, who in a Good Friday address, told Europe that it was their Christian duty to welcome and embrace the migrants. The sentiments of Raspail’s fictional pope, eerily anticipated those which Bergoglio has expressed in real history regarding the migration crisis that has been menacing Europe.

It was refreshing, therefore, the other week, to read the remarks that had been made by the present successor to St. Augustine – the other St. Augustine that is, not of Hippo but of Canterbury - the Most Reverend Justin Welby, in an interview given to the parliamentary periodical The House. In the interview Welby acknowledged the legitimacy of people’s concerns about how mass migration will affect their communities and public services, and described the tendency of the bien-pensants to condemn or dismiss those who voice such concerns as being “racist” as “outrageous, absolutely outrageous”, which, of course, it is. He is quoted as having said:

Fear is a valid emotion at a time of such colossal crisis. This is one of the greatest movements of people in human history. Just enormous. And to be anxious about that is very reasonable.

This is quite right, and the Archbishop went on to talk about specific concerns about housing, jobs, and access to health services.

Now we need to be careful and not read too much into these remarks. It is clear from the article as a whole that Welby has a generally positive view of the mass migration that is taking place and that his idea of addressing these legitimate concerns of people is to increase funding to programs upon which large scale migration places strains rather than doing something to stop the flow of migration.

It is, however, a step in the right direction for such a high-ranking prelate to accept the legitimacy of negative views of migration and to condemn the condemnation of such as racism. For the many who are sick and tired of hearing from the pulpit that racism is a far worse sin than all the Seven Deadly combined and that they are guilty of it for wanting the people they order coffee or lunch from, buy groceries from, and otherwise do business with in person or on the phone to speak the language of their country in an understandable manner, for wanting their government to select newcomers with the needs, interests, and security of the whole country in mind, for not wanting to overload the public services network with too many newcomers at one time, for wanting to pass their country on to their children and grandchildren, hopefully improved but substantially intact and untransformed from when they received it from their ancestors and for resenting government policies that go against all these wishes and which were enacted without their consultation, Welby’s words are a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, they are also an indication that we will be hearing less sanctimonious and self-righteous tripe and pious prattle about “the stranger” – which never in the Scriptures meant unassimilable migrants by the hordes of thousands or millions– and more truth, sanity, and good sense.

So kudos to the Archbishop of Canterbury. If only Canadian primate Fred Hiltz would take a page out of his book.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Like Father, Like Son: How Immigration Shows the Trudeau Liberal Contempt for Canada and Canadians

On Tuesday, the new Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum, speaking in Brampton, Ontario, announced that this year the government would seek to bring from 280, 000 to 305, 000 new permanent residents into Canada by the end of the year. This, an increase of over seven percent from last year, is the highest number at which the government’s immigration target has ever been set. With current rate of unemployment being 7.2%, only slightly lower than the percentage by which the immigration target has been increased, this causes one to question whether or not the Liberals are deliberately trying to add insult to the injury they are perpetrating upon our country and her citizens.

If so, it would be well in keeping with the precedent the Liberals set during the premiership of the first Prime Minister Trudeau. That the present generation of Trudeau Liberals are looking to their antecedents for inspiration is evident in McCallum’s announcement which also declared that the government would be focusing on “family reunification” and the settlement of refugees.

“Family reunification”, is one of those phrases, an endless stock of which seems to be available to liberals of both the small and big l varieties, that are designed to sound nice and pleasing to the ear while concealing something rather nasty and vicious. “Family reunification” suggests the idea that in the processing of immigration applications, the government ought to give priority to those from would-be immigrants with close relatives already living in Canada. Few people, I think, would object to that idea, per se, and it is hardly new, having been part of government immigration policy in one form or another since the early twentieth century. It came into play especially after large conflicts like the World Wars in which we sent our young men to fight overseas, where many of them married “war brides” for whom an expedited immigration application process was then required. While the words “family reunification” are intended to evoke this concept, they actually mean something quite different, something introduced by the Liberals upon Pierre Trudeau’s assumption of the reins of power, and enshrined in law as a major objective of the government’s immigration policy in the Immigration Act of 1976.

If “family reunification” meant what most people think it means, then how do we explain the case of Norman Stacey, as related by the award winning journalist and columnist Doug Collins at the beginning of his book Immigration: The Destruction of English Canada, which to this day remains the best, most honest and most daring, book length treatment of the subject ever written. Norman Stacey was the son of a Canadian woman who had married a New Zealander and had returned to Canada following her divorce to take care of her terminally ill mother but then, having come down with health problems of her own, asked her son to come and help her. Stacey applied to the Canadian High Commission in London, which turned down his request, telling him that it was in his own interest to do so. (1) This was in the summer of the year that the Trudeau government passed the Immigration Act in which “family reunification” played so important a role, and as Collins, who cited many more such instances noted “the Stacey case is by no means an isolated one”. (2)

If “family reunification” meant what it is assumed to mean then someone like Stacey ought to have had his application speedily accepted. Instead he ran into a wall. The true nature of “family reunification” was hinted at by an officer at the London High Commission who quietly advised him that he would have better luck if he applied from Nairobi.

The Liberal Party prides itself on having given Canada a fair, non-racist, immigration policy when it introduced the points system in 1967 and frequently condemns the old policy, practised by all governments and supported by all parties, for the first century after Confederation, of giving preference to prospective immigrants from traditional sources such as the UK, other Commonwealth countries, the USA and Europe, as “racist”. The Liberals are wrong on both counts. It is not racist to love your country and to want your children and grandchildren to grow up in a Canada that has not been radically transformed from the country you grew up in and it is this, not an irrational fear or hatred of other peoples, that was the sentiment behind the old policy supported by Conservatives and Liberals alike, including the Liberal Party’s longest serving Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (3). Furthermore, although there was nothing wrong with the old policy, it was not the Liberals who changed it.

It was the Conservative government of John Diefenbaker, that in the 1962 Immigration Act, declared that Canada would no longer give preference to immigration applications from traditional source countries but would process applications from everywhere in the world on the merits of the individual making the application. This change did not, in itself, radically alter the nature of immigration to Canada, nor was it intended or expected to do so. Four years after this bill was passed, almost ninety percent of the immigrants to Canada were still traditional immigrants. In 1970, however, three years after the Pearson Liberals introduced the points system, and two years after Pierre Trudeau took over as Prime Minister of Canada, half of Canada’s immigrants came from non-traditional sources, as would the majority of new immigrants thereafter. (4)

It was, again, not the introduction of a racially and ethnically neutral policy under Diefenbaker that brought about this change, but rather two changes introduced by the Liberals who succeeded Diefenbaker. The first, was the introduction of a new system of racial and country-of-origin preferences that was the exact opposite of the original, favouring immigrants from Africa (except white Rhodesians and Afrikaners), Asia, and Latin America over immigrants from the UK and Europe. This new preferential system was informal, of course, as the Liberals, having already latched onto the reprehensible and dishonest trick of castigating the pre-1963 Canada and their Conservative opponents as being “racist” could hardly put down in writing that “we will accept so many immigrants from Africa, so many from Asia, and a handful from Britain.” Rather, they accomplished it, by a campaign of actively and aggressively recruiting immigrants in the Third World which was paid for by the Canadian taxpayers they thereby sought to replace, the relocation of the visa officers charged with the task of processing immigration applications abroad from traditional source countries to our embassies and consulates in the Third World, and by taking a much more relaxed approach to the requirements of the points system in processing applications from the Third World while strictly enforcing these requirements for applicants from Britain and Europe.

The second change reinforced the first by making this double standard for the Third World and traditional sources of immigration possible. The 1967 Immigration Act had created three classes of immigrants: independents, whose applications would be processed on the basis of the new points system; the sponsored, who were immediate relatives; and the nominated, which included much more distant relatives. (5) There were more requirements for immigrants of the nominated than of the sponsored class, but it still made it easier for someone whose fifth cousin, twice removed had just arrived in Canada to get in, than someone who otherwise had the same credentials but no relatives in Canada. Since immediate families in the Third World are much larger than their counterparts in traditional source countries, thanks to the modernization and liberalism that has reduced family size in the latter, and, large extended families are much more closely knit together there, for the same reason, these new rules essentially created a large back-door to the points system, one which was fully exploited by the Liberals during the Trudeau years to radically alter the composition of Canadian immigration.

This is what “family reunification” in the language of Trudeau Liberalism is really all about – making it easier for someone from the Third World to bring his entire village over to Canada than for someone from Britain or Europe to be accepted on his own merits under the points system. This would radically change Canada from the country one reads about in the history books, the stories and novels of Stephen Leacock, Mazo de la Roche, L. M. Montgomery and Robertson Davies, or may even have experienced on a smaller scale if, like this writer, one was fortunate enough to grow up in rural Canada. This was not a change Canadians either asked for or wanted and by it, Pierre Trudeau demonstrated his utter and absolute contempt for the old Canada and for the Canadians who liked their country the way it was.

What John McCallum has just announced, therefore, is that in this new Trudeau era, we can expect much more of the same. Doesn’t that just thrill you?

(1) Doug Collins, Immigration: The Destruction of English Canada, (Richmond Hill, Ontario: BMG Publishing Ltd., 1979) pp. 1-2. Stacey came to Canada as a tourist, and applied to be allowed to stay on compassionate grounds because his mother needed him, but the Ministry initially denied this as well, relenting only after Collins hounded them mercilessly in his column over it.

(2) Ibid., p. 3.

(3) MacKenzie King declared on May 1st, 1947 that “The people of Canada do not wish as a result of mass immigration to make a fundamental alteration in the character of our population…The government, therefore, has no thought of making any change in immigration regulations which would have consequences of the kind.”


(5) The 1976 Immigration Act, which came into effect in 1978, rolled the sponsored and nominated into a single family class and created a new third humanitarian class, i.e., refugees.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Donald Trump and the Tyranny of the “Enlightened”

Like I have said in the past, when commenting on the amusing and fascinating American presidential election that is currently in its primary season, as a Canadian patriot and a royalist with no use for republics and their presidents, I have no direct stake in the outcome of this contest per se. It is in the interest of everyone in what used to be Christendom, however, to see the tyranny which the soi-disant “enlightened” have gradually exerted over the hearts and minds of Western people in the last four to five decades, quashed once and for all and it is in Donald Trump’s campaign that we have begun to see the first glimmers of hope on that horizon.

The so-called “enlightened” in question are those who hold to liberal, progressive, and left-wing notions and sentiments and think that this makes them more intelligent, educated, and civilized than other people and that this imagined superiority gives them the right to dictate how everyone should think and feel. The very apex of evil to such people is to disagree with them on such items of faith as the equality of the races and the sexes and the desirability of remaking every country with Christian traditions and institutions and a majority Caucasian population over into a multicultural microcosm of the United Nations. Public figures who dare to express dissenting thoughts on these matters are pressured into making grovelling apologies, while ordinary folk have found their careers, lives, and reputations utterly ruined in campaigns of merciless character assassination. This domination of the inner life of men through moral and social intimidation which ultimately conditions people to police their own thoughts and words to conform to those of the “enlightened” bears a nasty resemblance to the kind of group think described by George Orwell and is commonly known as political correctness. Until recently it seemed to be an impenetrable edifice.

Then along came Donald Trump.

In the United States, the Republican and Democrat parties choose the person they will nominate as their candidate for president in national conventions attended by delegates chosen in the state primaries and caucuses. Donald Trump is currently leading in the Republican primaries and increased his lead significantly this week by winning seven states on “Super Tuesday”, the day in which the largest number of states hold simultaneous primaries. Were it not for the fact that Ted Cruz won his own state of Texas which has a very large number of delegates the Republican nomination would be practically assured to Trump now.

More significant than Trump’s victory on “Super Tuesday” in and of itself, however, is the fact that it took place immediately following an attempt, on the part of the mass media, to lynch Trump’s campaign with the noose of David Duke’s endorsement.

In previous years this would have marked the end of a presidential bid for anyone as the endorsement of David Duke was the kiss of death to any candidate. Duke, if you are not familiar with him, first achieved notoriety about four decades ago when, as a young man he made an attempt to give a makeover in respectability to the organization he then headed, the Ku Klux Klan. Unsurprisingly, this failed and after a few years he left the KKK to pursue through other vessels and platforms what to his supporters has been a career of activism and advocacy for the rights, heritage and survival of the peoples of the white race but to his detractors has been one of “racism”, “white supremacism”, “xenophobia”, “anti-Semitism”, “bigotry” and all those other fun and exciting epithets with which the “enlightened” banish dissidents to the outer darkness.

It would be beside the point to enter into a profitless discussion of whether these silly names, routinely applied by progressives to anyone who speaks a positive word, no matter how intelligent or civil, on behalf of white people, may or may not be legitimate when used in reference to David Duke. It is how the left uses his name that is relevant here. A common tactic by which liberals bully and harass people into repudiating those whom they have decided to exile from polite company with the brand of the scarlet letter R is by the transferal of guilt through a chain of association.

“You know John Doe? John Doe was a speaker at such-and-such a conference also attended by the notorious white supremacist Mr. X. You had better repudiate John Doe or people will think you are a racist like Mr. X.”

The fallacy in this reasoning is obvious to anyone still capable of formulating or following a logical argument but it is designed to appeal to fear and mob mentality rather than individual reason. For years now, David Duke has been the “Mr. X” of choice for those who consider themselves to be our enlightened superiors. Fallacious as it is, this tactic has been remarkably effective and if there is any truth to the principle in the six degrees of separation meme that was popular a few years back, it can be used against anybody.

Thankfully, the days of its efficacy appear to be numbered. When David Duke told his followers last week that they ought to vote for Trump, the usual assortment of self-appointed “hate” experts like the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League, demanded that Trump disavow his support, a demand echoed by the liberal CNN, the neoconservative FOX News, and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump had made such a disavowal, but the fact that he went on to practically sweep the primaries on “Super Tuesday” indicates that the “racist by association” tactic is finally losing its efficacy.

Indeed, the most disappointing thing in all of this that Trump made and repeated the disavowal. If one person supports the political candidacy of another that does not make the candidate responsible for the words, deeds, and past associations of his supporter and it is not therefore reasonable for us to expect that candidates disavow supporters that we consider to be disreputable. What Trump should have done was to tell those making this impertinent demand to go take a hike. I suspect he would have done even better had he done so. People are sick and tired of the unreasonable demands and bullying ways of the petty tyrants who think themselves to be so "enlightened" and it is the way in which he has disregarded these in the past that has made him frontrunner in the Republican primaries. He ought not to waver in the slightest from his utter defiance of political correctness now, for if anything will secure him the Republican nomination and perhaps even the White House it is this.