At his blog Bruce Charlton raises the question of King Arthur, and the legend or folk-belief that Arthur will re-appear in some future time of England’s need, and ‘rescue’ the people of England. Dr. Charlton notes that England is in dire straits now, having lost its culture, and being under existential threat.
So, can King Arthur possibly be able and willing to re-appear and save the people?
I am not certain of how many people truly believe that King Arthur can come to the rescue; I think the majority of people not only doubt that he will come back; I think most modern people and post-modern people disbelieve, so they won’t be looking for Arthur’s re-appearance. There might be a few who are real believers in the folk-legend.
Dr. Charlton, however, posits that in order for King Arthur to make his grand re-appearance, he must be invoked or invited. And he doesn’t see this happening. Arthur must be ‘called’ by the people; he can’t show up uninvited.
Dr. Charlton is a Christian, but there are marked differences between the varieties of Christianity. Biblically, we’re told that we must accept and acknowledge Christ as our Savior, and lacking that connection and commitment on the part of the believer, we can’t expect a one-sided relationship, with us passively waiting for help or blessings from God, unless we are serious followers of his, not halfhearted. So, much as I like the legends of great men of the past coming to England’s aid (Sir Francis Drake, for example, as well as Arthur) my faith does not center on them.
I do believe that ‘Those feet in ancient time [did] walk upon England’s mountains green…”
I think (based on what I’ve read and learned) that Christianity arrived in England earlier than formerly believed. It was a Christian country earlier than some history books assert.
And I do believe that God waits for us to turn to him, repent and call on him, then he will heal our land. But so far neither we nor England (nor any other Christian or former Christian country) have done this, hence we are teetering on the brink, on the edge of the precipice. And we’ll continue that way, with things worsening until we can humble ourselves and turn back to our Fathers’ God.
And I am truly tired of those who harp on the one string: the idea that Christianity has caused our ruin. The very opposite is true; we were strong and secure when Christian; our ancestors defeated the Moors more than once. The feats of Christian warriors have never been matched by post-Christian Europeans. Ever. Nor ever will, as things are now.
Cynical unbelief and nihilism are the things that weakened us, and continue to do so.
Maybe Arthur and our past champions and heroes will reappear when the time is right, that is, if they do return with the ‘ten thousands of Saints.’ Then maybe we will meet them one day.
The name “Jesus” means to ‘rescue, deliver, or save.’ That’s where our real hope lies.
More on King Arthur: