Burning Questions answered
by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q18. In a multi-cultural society, isn’t Prince Charles absolutely right in his tolerant desire to be a Defender of all faiths?
I THINK the words he used were "Defender of Faith", as opposed to "Defender of THE FAITH", by which we must suppose he meant ALL faiths. Far from being absolutely right, I would suggest that he is absolutely wrong in this desire. The title held by our present monarch dates back to the time of King James I and every monarch since has taken a coronation oath to do just that.
Because of the relationship that exists between church and state, our monarch, or Head of State, pledges to defend the Christian faith as upheld by the Church of England and its doctrines enshrined in the Thirty Nine Articles. These are unashamedly protestant and evangelical and need to be upheld.
Unfortunately in recent years we have seen a monarchy which has "flirted" with other faiths. Our Queen, herself, has been involved with functions of a multi-faith nature which some Protestants find quite alarming. Prince Charles, even more so, has shown great interest in other religions, including an Islamic teaching centre in Oxford. One wonders how these interests could be compatible with the requirements of the coronation oath.
On the matter of tolerance, two things need to be said: firstly, that our Lord himself was not afraid of being accused of intolerance. He it was, who said, "I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me". By today’s multi-faith standards that sounds very intolerant and yet it embodies all that we believe in our gospel.
The second thing that needs stating is that, some of the religions requesting tolerance and acceptance in our society are highly intolerant to the Christian faith in their own lands. Those of us who have traveled in Moslem countries, for instance, well know of the hardship and difficulties faced by the evangelical Christians in those places.
Perhaps the question, though, is touching on something very prophetic, for Jesus himself asked the question, "When the Son of Man comes shall he find faith on the earth?" This seems to suggest an environment where absolute truths regarding Christian faith and beliefs are almost non-existent or at the least, sadly lacking.
Prince Charles’ stated desire would surely lead us further down that road where the absolutes and fundamentals of our faith seem not important enough to be held to tenaciously. This surely is in keeping with the prophecies suggesting a falling away in the last days.