Thursday, 1 May 2008

Daily Telegraph: Julian Lloyd Webber: 'Bring me my arrows of outrage'

William Blake's call to build Jerusalem in England could be seen as one of the greatest evangelical messages of all time. Which is why the Dean of Southwark's decision to ban the much-loved hymn from all services at Southwark Cathedral on the grounds that "it is not in the glory of God" is baffling.

If the clergy is going to be so pedantic, why stop at Jerusalem when there are plenty of other popular hymns that don't quite pass muster at the high altar of political correctness? How does "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war" square with Jesus telling us to turn the other cheek?

And has the Dean banned all the Old Testament passages which advise us to do the opposite of what Jesus instructed?

Of course not. The likelihood is that Jerusalem uses the word England not once but twice, which is two times too many for the Dean in these days of Anglophobia. At least we now know which part of Church of England the Dean doesn't understand. Read more
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Timothy Edwards said...

William Blake's words are also essential pelagian.

"... till we have built Jerusalem ..."

Whereas Revelation sees the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, and Jesus in Matthew's gospel promises the He (not we) will build His church.

That is a pretty good reason, I should think, for evangelicals to object to singing that song. At least, it is my reason.

(Incidentally, I remember Jimmy Dunn making the same criticism of it in one of his lectures.)

Timothy Edwards

Peter Kirk said...


Timothy, I see your point. But surely there is a human side to building the church, as well as a divine side. Otherwise I suppose we should all stay in bed on Sundays and let Jesus hold services for angels to attend. No, just as Nehemiah's people were called by God to physically rebuild Jerusalem, and not to let the sword sleep in their hands, so we too are called to play our part in building the new Jerusalem, in England's green and pleasant land (especially on this beautiful bank holiday) and throughout the world.