No Need for King Jesus?

by Dr. Alan Keyes  •  •  October 17, 2018   

Bishops should remember Christ's kingship

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Dr. Alan Keyes

At the Rome Life Forum in May of this year, Cdl. Raymond Burke told participants:

The conscience, therefore, is not, as is often falsely understood and stated today, formed by the thoughts and desires of the individual but by the truth which ever purifies individual thoughts and desires, and directs them in conformity with the law of love of God and neighbor. Obedience to the Kingship of Christ is expressed by the resolve and effort to conform all of one's thinking and speaking and acting to Christ alive for us in the living Apostolic Tradition.

He stressed that the Kingship of Christ is "universal. That is, it extends to all men, to the whole world. It is not a kingship over only the faithful or over only the things of the Church." He observed that "Catholics must consciously place themselves under the 'Kingship of Christ' in the face of enemies of the Church today attempting to 'infiltrate the life of the Chruch herself and to corrupt the Bride of Christ by an apostasy from the Apostolic Faith.'"

Cardinal Burke's words were cited in an article I read recently about Brisbane Abp. Mark Coleridge's response to Daniel Ang, the director of the Office of Evangelisation in the diocese of Broken Bay:

Archbishop Coleridge "has shown himself to be an ardent supporter of Pope Francis' agenda for the Church." It is therefore hard not to see his disdain for Christ the King as an effort to gainsay Cdl. Burke's counsel. The archbishop appears entirely oblivious to the dismay of Catholics, clergy and laity alike, who every day have to deal with new signs that during Pope Francis' tenure, the Church is being set adrift, its spiritual moorings cast away.

In our times, as in the Psalm's description, "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, Let us burst their bonds assunder, and cast away their cords from us."

Archbishop Coleridge's disdain for the authority of Christ is a datum going to prove princes and pastors of the Church like him share the disdainful spirit of these worldly rulers — this despite their priestly office, which has them regularly acting in remembrance of Christ. And despite their pastoral offices, in which they are called to be the exemplary vicars of Christ — critical nodes in the spiritually living body of Christ, clothed now in the flesh of the people of God who accept Him as Lord of their hearts, their consciences, and all their works.

God is the Lord, the King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9). We call Jesus, Christ, because he is the Lord's anointed, like King David of Israel (Psalm 18:50), or Cyrus the Great of Persia (Isaiah 45:1), but greater still.

To mitigate his statement abjuring any desire to have Christ as his King, Abp. Coleridge tweets:

But Christ, resurrected, is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, of whom St. Paul speaks to the "man of God":

But as for you, man of God ... aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see.

The gospel tells us that, after His resurrection, the 11 Apostles saw Jesus, who came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18). It is in light of this authority that Jesus commands that to "go therefore and make disciples of all nation." Does Abp. Coleridge have no need for the sovereign Christ who gave this command?

On whom does he rely, then, to inform the work of evangelization in his diocese? Whose rule and whose instruction does he follow? If Christ has no authority on Earth, by what authority do the vicars of Christ, including the bishop of Rome, call upon the faithful to observe his commandment of love, sharing the truth of the Gospel that others may learn and partake of God's salvation in Christ?

Before His death on the cross, Jesus commended His spirit into the hands of God. During His agony in the garden, He said to God, "Not my will, but thine be done." On the cross, Christ suffered, died and saved — but by Christ's own obedient will God reigned, whose sovereign grace and power led Jesus to the cross, utterly trusting in the power of God to conquer — by the obedience of His Son — sin, hopelessness and death.

As members of the living body of Christ on Earth, we live now under the command and rule of the resurrected Christ.

As members of the living body of Christ on Earth, we live now under the command and rule of the resurrected Christ, ascended yet still ministering on Earth through all the faithful people of God who accept His presence within them, and make His mind their mind, His heart their heart, this will their will.

We learn from Christ's obedience to be faithful to that ministry, even unto death. We learn as well to trust, even as Christ did, in God's promise of eternal life, for the unfailing courage to do so. For we know that our redeemer lives. He reigns, here and now, over our hearts and upon our lips. Through them, He proclaims the Kingdom of God within us, bringing God's true right and justice to all the world. Who can abjure His sovereignty, and yet truthfully profess to be of His communion?

Dr. Alan Keyes served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations under President Ronald Reagan, and ran for president in 1996, 2000 and 2008. He holds a Ph.D. in government from Harvard, and writes at his website Loyal to Liberty.


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