THE prophet Ezekiel was given an assignment that even the mighty Mark Steyn of GB News might decline.
Ezekiel, a former priest in the Jerusalem Temple who prophesied to the Jewish exiles in Babylon from 593 BC to 571, was told by the Lord God Almighty: ‘I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them’ (Ezekiel 2v3-5 – Authorised Version).
Ezekiel’s role as a ‘watchman’ (Ezekiel 3v16-27) charged with warning the wicked to turn back to the Lord involved lying prostrate, his legs tied down with ropes, on his left side for 390 days in front of a mock-up of the city of Jerusalem. The Lord commanded him to take a clay tablet and draw a picture of Jerusalem on it and then to ‘lay siege against it, and built a fort against it, and cast a mount against it, and set battering rams round about’ (Ezekiel 4v2). The prophet then had to lie on his right side for a further 40 days.
The Lord told him the purpose of this eccentric and physically taxing assignment, which in 21st century Britain would have got him into trouble with the health and safety Stasi: ‘Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it’ (Ezekiel 4v7).
Ezekiel was among 10,000 Jews deported to Babylon in 598 by King Nebuchadnezzar, who left the remaining population of Judah under the charge of a puppet king, Zedekiah. When Zedekiah rebelled against Babylonian rule, Nebuchadnezzar attacked Judah in 589 and laid siege to Jerusalem for two years, eventually sacking it in 587 and destroying the magnificent temple where Ezekiel had ministered.
Ezekiel was thus tasked to proclaim divine truth in word and deed with no guarantee that any of his listeners would take the blindest bit of notice.
Echoing Ezekiel’s calling, the Book of Common Prayer’s Ordinal (its liturgy for the ordering of deacons, priests and bishops) describes ordained Anglican ministers as ‘messengers, watchmen, and stewards of the Lord; to teach and to premonish, to feed and provide for the Lord’s family’.
Today around 650 bishops from the worldwide Anglican Communion are meeting in Canterbury for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Conference running from last Tuesday, July 26, to August 8. Already the organisers have surrendered to a fierce campaign by woke Western Anglicans from Britain and America to prevent the reaffirmation of a resolution passed by the Lambeth Conference in 1998 which defined marriage as between one man and one woman for life.
Western bishops are grossly overrepresented at Lambeth, given the declining numbers in their churches compared to the packed Anglican congregations in the biblically orthodox churches of Africa and Asia. The Lambeth Conference ‘media and communications team’ are rather coy about revealing the precise number of bishops present from the liberal Anglican dioceses in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, but between 200 and 250 would be a reasonable estimate. Meanwhile there are around 270 bishops who belong to the orthodox Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) led by the Archbishop of South Sudan, Justin Badi Arama. In many cases these bishops are overseeing more than 100,000 Anglican worshippers in their dioceses compared with fewer than 20,000 usual Sunday attenders in most Church of England dioceses.
The Churches of the Anglican Communion are self-governing, so whatever the Lambeth Conference votes for is not binding on the 41 Provinces across 165 countries. But by means of a manipulative charm offensive, coupled with financial influence, will the bishops of the affluent, entitled West succeed in exporting godless wokery to the Anglican churches of the two-worlds world?
That would surely depend on whether the senior pastors of the Global South are prepared to perform Ezekiel’s watchman role and prophesy faithfully against Western Anglican wickedness.