Thinking Anglicans

London DEF complains about Robinson

Update Thursday The Guardian today carries a news report by Stephen Bates on this, see Church rift deepens over gay bishop’s visit.

The London Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship Committee has sent a letter to DEF members, which criticises the plans for the Changing Attitude service described here.

The full text of this letter can be found below the fold.

15th October 2005

Dear Colleague

Re: The forthcoming visit of Bishop Gene Robinson to London (5 Nov 2005)

At our recent London Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship Committee meeting we thought it right to seek your support in expressing concern to the Bishop of London that the venue for the visit of Bishop Gene Robinson is a London Anglican church, namely St Martin-in-the-Fields. Bishop Richard is also the patron of St Martin’s.

The following is an extract from a letter already sent to Bishop Richard by Alison Rouff.

“I understand that you have said that Bp Robinson is not to preach or preside at a Communion service at St Martin’s and that the event is to be by invitation only; a private function. I must ask therefore, why should ‘Changing Attitudes’ be advertising in the Church Times?

Given that the Consecration of Bp Robinson has brought great division to the Anglican Communion I am extremely concerned as to what message his visit to the London Diocese is going to convey to our brethren who are standing firm as orthodox, faithful, Biblical Christians in the Communion. To this end I would like to suggest and ask that you might consider whether it would not be wiser for the ‘Changing Attitudes’ function to be held in a secular venue in London rather than in St Martin’s? In this way the Church would not be placed into a compromised position whilst still according people freedom of speech.”

Please would you consider writing along these lines to the Bishop of London asking, firstly, that the Bishop could write to Gene Robinson advising him not to come to London, or, failing that, might insist that the meeting is held in a secular venue. We understand that Gene Robinson has previously given an assurance that he would not go to a different jurisdiction other than his own at present (in light of the current situation).

We are greatly concerned that the visit of Gene Robinson will further damage relations between the Church of England and those Anglican Provinces staying faithful to the authority of Scripture and the Catholic Creeds. Because St Martin’s is hosting the event, it will be seen by those in African and Asian Dioceses that ‘we’ in London are content (and perhaps welcoming the visit), and so will cause further misunderstanding and upset.

Please also consider sending a copy of your letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, so that he too is aware of the great concerns that we have over this flouting of the agreed statement (Lambeth 1:10) and the further erosion of the authority of Scripture.

Finally, please be aware of the potentially explosive nature of this letter (in terms of it attracting the wrong sort of press attention), and great discretion would be appreciated. Many thanks.

Yours in His service,

Alison L Ruoff (Lay Chairman)
Will Donaldson (Acting Clergy Chairman)
Richard Bewes (Former Chairman of CEEC)

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Alan MarshMerseymikeGöran Koch-SwahneAugustus MeriwetherDave Recent comment authors
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Sean
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Sean

Seems a bit daft to moan to +Richard given the extremely severe restrictions he seems to have already laid down. He can hardly be reasonably expected to tell a church in his diocese that they cannot even hold a particular event there.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

She is quite right: the fact that the event takes place in a church, let alone one as internationally well-known, will signal to people around the world that the Church of England and the Diocese of London are in favour of all that Gene Robinson stands for.

The decision to permit it in St Martin’s is provocative and a challenge to Evangelical Christians in England.

It should be a secular venue if it is to happen at all.

Tim
Guest

Please to be explaining how meeting someone you consider to be “in sin” is somehow “eroding the authority of Scripture”. Last time I checked, the Bible had some good hints on how to deal with folks you see doing something wrong – and relying on 3rd-party opinions and refusing to meet them in person ain’t it!

albion
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albion

Alan,

Not to mention provocative to Anglo-Catholics.

David Huff
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David Huff

Interesting comments, Alan. Since I’d like to come visit the UK someday, and being an Episcopalian, possibly attend a CoE parish – please let me know what sort of purity test I’d be required to pass before being allowed in the door. After all, I wouldn’t want this ol’ sinner being too “provocative.”

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Interesting analysis, David. Are you a partnered gay bishop by any chance?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

How can the London DEF think that their proposal is “according people freedom of speech”?

Throwing people out, locking the door and then “according people freedom of speech”?

And “the Catholic Creeds”?

Exactly how is this a “flouting of the agreed statement (Lambeth 1:10)”?

Where in Lambeth 1998 1:10 does it say that Bishop Robinson is not allowed to speak in Saint Martin in the Fields?

John D
Guest
John D

Sorry, but the event doesn’t “provoke” this Anglo-Catholic. Speak for yourself, albion.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Well, it isn’t provocative to liberals and progressives. On those grounds, can we ban all evangelicals from all Anglican churches as I think their theology is offensive.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

The anglo-catholics can speak for themselves – but they have been very quiet so far about this particular question.

David Huff
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David Huff

Alan commented, “Interesting analysis, David. Are you a partnered gay bishop by any chance?” Nope, a boringly straight, married, middle-aged guy. But I’m a sinner, and unrepentant at times I’m sure (being one of those human beings and such). After all, that’s why we ask forgiveness from sins “both known and unknown” every Sunday. I asked because your comments about Bp. Robinson’s visit seem to indicate that your church categorizes “sinners”* into those fit to enter the building and those who are not. Just wanted to make sure I understood what the standards are before *I* attempt a visit. *Note:… Read more »

FriarJohn
Guest

I’m still unclear how this dodges a charge of Donatism. I mean, that for people, who supposedly place so much import on the Articles, they seem to like to skip out on XXVI, not to mention XV.

Peter Ould
Guest
Peter Ould

*sigh*

Let’s not do the whole Donatism thing again. As I pointed out in a letter to Church Times over a year ago, Donatists are those who refuse to let *repentant sinners* back into the ekklesia. As those engaging in homosexual activity do not even recognise that they are sinners, let alone have repented, the Donatist charge is nichts. Even Giles Fraser seems to recognise that, as he never corrected or responded to the criticism of his original Church Times column making the same claim.

FriarJohn
Guest

Peter, I disagree. You are placing a qualifier on the matter that was not applied at the time, since many of the people who were being attacked felt that they had not sinned by pretending to go along with the authorities. And you skipped out on the Article, which is a full-fledged voicing of the matter, completely. By trying to cleave to tightly to the, presumed, historical events you miss the wider, and messier, doctrinal outcome which was “Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.” This is a matter of latter day Donatism,… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

David, I am glad to know that you are not a partnered gay bishop.

The difference between visiting London as a fellow-sinner, and as a bishop advocating the blessing and consecration of sin, is what makes GR profoundly unwelcome, and his use of a church controversial.

The specifics do matter – that is why GR has been invited by this campaign group.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Thats because we are not ‘sinners’ for that reason, Peter. I have absolutely no intention of ever repenting for something I believe to be good, right and an intrinsic part of my personhood, made in God’s image.

I don’t know how you and your colleagues at Anglican Extreme are going to handle that, other than attempting to force us out of the Church. Otherwise, you’ll just have to live with our presence.

Oriscus
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Oriscus

1. +Robinson is not presiding at a Eucharist during his visit to London.

2. +Robinson is not preaching at a service.

3. Changing Attitude (somehow the inverted commas in the DEF’s letter seem to be implying something, but maybe that’s just me) is a recognized organization within the Church of England.

So why the heck ought they *not to be meeting in a Church?

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

Alan commented: “The difference between visiting London as a fellow-sinner, and as a bishop advocating the blessing and consecration of sin, is what makes GR profoundly unwelcome” Uh, no. Bp. Robinson doesn’t advocate “the blessing and consecration of sin,” as he (and I, for that matter) don’t consider what he’s doing as being sinful. You disagree, obviously. This is a point that gets made all the time by “conservatives” which is really getting under my skin. We are being thoughtful and faithful Christians to the best of our ability. We are NOT intentionally advocating “sinful behavior” simply to be obnoxious… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Unwelcome to you, Alan. Not to me, though. If you don’t like it – don’t go. After all, there are many parts of the CofE and even more so in the AC which are little better than superstitious cults and if they visited here, I simply wouldn’t go to hear them.

Julia
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Julia

Throughout this entire controversy, the argument has been that the Diocese of New Hampshire elected him, he is that diocese’s bishop and no one else has the right to comment or interfere. Why is it, then, that Bishop Robinson feels the need to take his show on the road (and across the seas) to become the face for and voice of non-celibate homosexual Anglicans? Surely he has enough to do within his own diocese, serving ALL of the people who elected him. Perhaps that ruse they want everyone to believe about the will of the diocese and autonomy is giving… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

Let me try again, David. It is not the fact that GR is a sinner which makes him unwelcome – the church is composed 100% of sinners – but the fact that he personally represents, campaigns for and promotes activity which the Bible categorically rejects as sinful, in the understanding of most Christians. There is no need to rehearse the arguments, and of course you disagree that such things are sinful – but his visit remains controversial, his attendance as a robed bishop at a demonstration in St Martin’s will be seen as a defiant act of disobedience to scripture,… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

Oriscus speaks of Changing Attitude as “a recognized organization within the Church of England” but it would be more accurate to say that its existence is acknowledged by the Church of England, which does not accord it any official status, recognition or approval.

Its stated aims run completely contrary to what most English Anglicans believe, and if there were to be a vote by the General Synod on recognition it would be heavily defeated.

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

‘Disobedience to scripture’ ??? You can’t disobey text, inspired or not. You read text, interpret it and apply in the way that interpretation leads you to according to your faculties of reason, conscience and faith and under the advice and guidance of others, tradition and the Holy Spirit. I strive to find the will of God in Christ through various means, scripture being one of them. I seek to obey Christ in that I submit my will to HIM and ask that his will be done in me and through me and to forgive me where I might fail. I… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“He’s representing the movement that got him elected and has stood by him so he can call attention to their issues. He’s either a general or a pawn in the gay rights movement and certainly not one of Christ’s true shepherds. As an activist, his talk should be held in a social hall.”

“if there were to be a vote by the General Synod on recognition it would be heavily defeated.”

Now, we do not only pretend to know that Bishop Robinson is not a “real” Bishop – we are also descending into tea leaves.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Let’s hope that there will be a final division among Anglicans, for it is the only way these endless arguments will ever cease.

Gerard Hannon
Guest
Gerard Hannon

Julia wrote: “Why is it, then, that Bishop Robinson feels the need to take his show on the road (and across the seas) to become the face for and voice of non-celibate homosexual Anglicans? Surely he has enough to do within his own diocese, serving ALL of the people who elected him.” I will not get into the implied question of whether or not Bishop Robinson has some agenda behind his dialogue with other Anglicans outside the shores of the US, or even outside the borders of New Hampshire, though I doubt that. It does seem, however, that anyone firm… Read more »

steven
Guest
steven

Alan:

Thanks for your thoughtful, Biblical and well-informed comments. Sheeesh! I wish this split could go a little bit faster–dragging things out only leads to more acrimony, as the exchanges on every topic makes clear.

Steven

Neil
Guest
Neil

Augustus, the argument is truly lost and unChristian when it resorts to an argument of rights:
“He has every right…..”
“….gives me no right to….”
cf the true Christian attitude to rights in Philippians 2, 5-11

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

“You read text, interpret it and apply in the way that interpretation leads you to according to your faculties of reason, conscience and faith and under the advice and guidance of others, tradition and the Holy Spirit” No, Augustus Meriwether, YOU may go about it in that purely subjective way, tossed about by the spirit of the age and misled by your own preconceptions, but for most Christians the meaning and authority of scripture is perfectly clear: it is objective both within the text, and within the consensus of world Christianity, from which liberal Anglicanism is fast excluding itself in… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Neil
You mean verses 1 to 5.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

O dear, o dear.

Dr Hooker would not have approved.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Which is to its credit, Alan

But Steven is right. We have to split – and in an amicable and respectful way. The longer this goes on, the less chance of that happening.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

This is another one of those “Lord have mercy!” threads. 🙁

[NB to Alan— you have “the Bible categorically”, I have “purely subjective”: got it. Now, if only it were *heavenly choirs* informing me of this distinction, rather than a few Alan-typed bits & bytes…]

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

Neil, I think you are confusing the positive attribution of rights with the negative absence of rights. I was clearly saying that Julia had NO right to publically slander a Bishop of the Church in this way without an investigation into his whole ministry through the proper processes. Saying someone has NO right to do such a thing is perfectly in consonance with Phil 2:5-11. To imply the mere mention of the word ‘rights’ in a Christian context nullifies any associated argument is bewilderingly odd. Is it that ‘reasserter’ reactions against liberal arguments have become so reflex, so automatic, that… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Augustus, I can’t think of many significant historical documents which people feel free to treat as a pick-and-mix counter from which they choose the sweets which appeal to them, let alone a system of doctrine or law. Are Americans permitted to choose which parts of the Constitution they will obey and which taxes they will pay? Is the Nicene Creed a menu on which Christians tick the boxes they agree with? Simply because someone says “I am a Christian” does not mean that they have understood the implications of that statement, let alone qualified to be a teacher of the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Augustus Meriwether asks an interesting question and expresses his own feelings rather well.
In being declared a “false teacher” Gene is not (for once) alone, rather he joins a fairly select club which includes the Archbishop of Canterbury.
A couple of the organisations now masquerading as “Anglican Mainstream” elected Rowan to this office when he refused to publicly recant his published views on homosexuality. I continue to be amused and amazed that anyone in the Church of England still takes this group seriously after that.

steven
Guest
steven

Merseymike: Unfortunately, there is a seeming “catch-22” in all matters of this type: The two sides are only willing to admit the necessity and inevitability of a split when the level of animousity has risen to such a pitch that an amicable, godly, and fair split is impossible. I would hope that, both sides being ostensibly comprised of Christians, this would not be the case. However, so far I see no sign that this will be true. JC: If the scriptures and a coupla thousand years of church history are not enough to inform you of what constitutes “objective” truth… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Steven ; as you know, I agree with you, and I have diametrically opposite views.

Why is it that so many still seem to hope that a compromise or consensus can or will be found? Surely it would be a unity based purely on expediency?

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

See, this is why I think we are always talking at cross purposes… In response to me asking you what I am doing wrong, exactly, in “reading [the Bible] text, interpreting it and applying in the way that interpretation leads me to according to your faculties of reason, conscience and faith and under the advice and guidance of others, tradition and the Holy Spirit” You say I am “treating it as a pick-and-mix counter from which you choose the sweets which appeal to you” (you don’t direct it at me, but I assume that I was included in this as… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

steven (how many stevens are there on this board? I’m not quite sure I’m clear whom I’m addressing anymore! ;-/), it is through “scriptures and a coupla thousand years of church history” that lil’ ol’ subjective me has been embraced *by* Truth! PS: I’ll take a pass on your pass, too. (?) PPS: I have faith in *God* to “patch things up” between and among us all (in God’s Good Time). We ARE “together”, for as long as anyone will have me (and in this case, the parish/diocese/national-church to which I belong). It’s not in my hands . . .… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Augustus, I think we have here the nub of it all: your analogy between the bible and a poem. Leaving aside the fact that even poetry must contain at least some recogisable core of meaning in order to make it accessible to readers, there is a world of difference between the bible and a poem. It is a religious text, which contains law, old and new covenants, and embodies the faith of Jewish and Christians believers over roughly a thousand years before being compiled by the Church and declared to be canonical. Like the creeds which followed, it was not… Read more »

Peter O
Guest
Peter O

Martin,

I’m not sure Anglican Mainstream have ever called Rowan a “false teacher”. Perhaps, since you’ve made that allegation in a public forum, you’d care to either document it or withdraw it?

You catch my drift?

steven
Guest
steven

Merseymike: On your question: I think there are a variety of reasons motivating those opposing a break-up. As you point out, expediency is one reason. Others are motivated by a disinclination to see august and historic institutions and unions terminated–I am very sympatico with this myself. Still others (on the liberal side) hope that if they can just put off a split, conservatives will eventually accommodate themselves to the changing situation (as they have grumblingly accommodated themselves to other changes in the past). Still others have so few things they consider “essential” from a doctrinal or religious standpoint that they… Read more »

Robert Marshall
Guest

According to http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,1123429,00.html
it looks to be Reform, the Church Society and the Fellowship of Word and Spirit who described him as a false teacher. I’m sure that those groups and Anglican Mainstream have few movers and shakers in common?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Martin said:
‘A couple of the organisations now masquerading as “Anglican Mainstream”‘

Anglican Mainstream UK has representatives of the following bodies on its steering committee:
* Reform
* Church of England Evangelical Council
* New Wine Network
* Church Society
* Scottish Anglican Network

Looks like a close match to me

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Anglican Mainstream is a network of pressure groups and a brief search tells us where they are coming from. Reform does not archive their press releases so here is a copy of the relevant one from 2002 elsewhere:
http://www.acl.asn.au/reform1202.html
And the Church Society, warmly embracing as ever:
http://www.churchsociety.org/press/2002/documents/PR_2002-10_Williams2.pdf
http://www.churchsociety.org/press/2002/documents/PR_2002-10_Williams.pdf

As I say, I can’t understand why anyone takes Anglican Mainstream seriously.

Get my drift?

Peter O
Guest
Peter O

That’s not the point Simon and Robert – When has Anglican Mainstream ever called Rowan a “false teacher”? How is, oh let’s say New Wine, “masquerading” as Anglican Mainstream?

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

There we do NOT have the nub of it, as I have not made an analogy of the Bible with a poem (I simply said the AMERICAN CONSTITUTION is not a poem – no bible and no analogy). That is either more deliberate muddling of what I’m saying or you ought to stop skim-reading posts before responding to them. STILL, whilst dismissing my approach to the Bible and belittling it with the phrase ‘pick-and-mix’, you refuse to tell me EXACTLY in what way that approach is flawed, which of it you don’t do. Which bit of: “read [Bible] text, interpret… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Augustus, part of the problem is that you do not say *what you do believe*. You infer things without spelling them out. Hence in response to Alan’s comments about obeying the Bible: “Augustus, I can’t think of many significant historical documents which people feel free to treat as a pick-and-mix counter from which they choose the sweets which appeal to them, let alone a system of doctrine or law. Are Americans permitted to choose which parts of the Constitution they will obey and which taxes they will pay?” you said: “To bring your references down to basics, Alan, the… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

So, the organisations who make up Anglican Mainstream are not to be seen as part of Anglican Mainstream when they make comments, even though they are the groups who steer and constitute the umbrella body? That’s double-speak for you. Anglican Mainstream is simply a group, as certainly Eames realises, to pull the strings of their third world puppet front-men, and to plan for the impending split in the Anglican Communion. I hope they succeed in the sense of gathering up as many conservative forces as possible, for any Communion without any adherents of the member groups involved would be an… Read more »