does not just teach us what happens, it teaches us what always happens. This is
a good way to put what many people see in the Bible, it’s perpetual ability to
be applied in any society, in any day, even though it is tied very closely in
its origins to a specific region and specific times. The Bible might be written
by Israelites and Jews in the Middle East, but it has powerful application
across vast cultures and continents.
I would say
that this is also true of good fiction. Good fiction points to what always
happens, by telling us what happened in a specific story and then showing how
realistic characters respond to various trials, triumphs and events that we can
all relate to in some way or another.
of the Rings is
perhaps one of the best examples of this ability for stories to speak beyond
their original context and time to the trials and struggles we are facing in
our own day. Stories like this tell us what heroes and villains can and in some
ways should look like, why honour is so important, and why it is necessary to
oppose lies and what happens when you don’t. They tell us about the importance
of courage, perseverance and hope and how to face struggles and never lose
example of this is this application from LOTR by an Anglican Church minister,
in a short piece entitled The
Saruman-Bishops of the Church of England[i]:
“Saruman believed that the power of Sauron was too strong...
and therefore it was necessary to submit to him, work with him, make the best
Saruman had a large stock of Shire pipeweed ready at
Isengard, because he was so sure that Gandalf would walk well with him...
...even as Saruman was effectively walking to Mordor,
accepting the rule of the lidless eye of Sauron.
Saruman was confident that he would persuade Gandalf to
"see reason" and accept the wisdom of making peace with Sauron.
In this way, so many of the Church of England Bishops have
concluded that the world's view of sexuality is too strong... and victory for
chastity, celibacy and Christ is impossible.
So, they have reasoned that we must simply work with the
world, submit to the world's view of sexuality and make the best of sex outside
of Holy Matrimony.
They are so sure that historic, global Christians will
"see reason" and walk with them under their new lord, the spirit of
In fact, as Saruman appointed Grima Wormtongue into a
position of influence for Theoden, so these Saruman-Bishops have been
appointing those who represent the Sauron philosophy for a long time.
Especially over the past decade, we have become aware of
deans, bishops, canons and diocesan advisor appointments who are
openly/covertly following the sexuality of the world.
The Saruman-Bishops have bought in plenty of "pipe
weed" and produced videos, study days and "pastoral letters",
confident that the Gandalf-faithful will "walk well" with them under
the rule of Sauron.”
you to read his whole piece, because it is not very long and it is encouraging.
It reminds us that we are part of a battle between good and evil, and that
victory can arise from the most unlikely places in the most unlikely
circumstances. And it ends not on a note of despair, but note of hope, and just
as importantly, a not of resolve.
We must resolve
not to give up in the face of the onslaught of the Saruman’s. We must resolve
not to let the advance of evil in the Church or in society come across to us as
an inevitability. We must resolve not to despair, not to give up hope, not to
give up the Church, but recognize that in both story, legend and real life,
good men have faced what appear to be overwhelming odds and yet have still
achieved victory because they did not give up.
all it takes is one shepherd boy to say, “He can’t talk about the Lord like
that.” Sometimes all it takes is a few fishermen to realize that they don’t
need degrees, money and expertise to become powerful followers of the Lord.
Sometimes all it takes is a guy like Barnabas to recognize that someone who was
once an enemy has seen the light of Jesus and can help advance the cause of
faith, hope and love. Sometimes all it takes is 12-1 good men and their friends
and family standing up for the truth in the face of a corrupt religious
establishment and culture.
Scripture or in history we see so many men, and at times even women, who have inspired
people to stand up to evil and say: “No more!” Sometimes they are not the ones
who achieve the great things, but they inspire the next generation to be truly
Don’t give up,
don’t give in, don’t despair in the face of evil. The Saruman’s of this world
appear powerful and influential, but the Lord is on the side of his people, and
he will be victorious. The Bible and history show us what always happens, God’s
people advance get prosperous, influential and then corrupt, and then they
pander to the world and elite causes, and this brings hard times and then God raises up his men to call his people back to faithfulness. Don’t despair that you are in that time where there needs
to be a calling back. Praise God that you get to be a part of his work, and
note, as Tolkien notes, we don’t choose our times, we choose how we respond to
“14 Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity
and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the
River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to
serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your
fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in
whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh.
serve the Lord.
Paul Blackham, “The Saruman-Bishops of the Church of England” https://www.revdrpaulblackham.com/blog/the-saruman-bishops-of-the-church-of-england?fbclid=IwAR28nPTOgpLnQHF8oOT6ynwVsfmxuzY0Z-qDwsbTYp9nM459A14r9sU4vPg