Thinking Anglicans

Ecumenical comments from the CofE

Two items from the CofE Council for Christian Unity:

Some comments on Ecumenical Responses to “Women Bishops in the Church of England?” by Martin Davie. This is a follow-up to GS Misc 807 which was considered by General Synod last Monday.

A Response from the Faith and Order Advisory Group to the decisions of the Swedish Church Assembly concerning homosexual partnerships
In January 2006 FOAG sent to the Church of Sweden a response to its new official policy on homosexual partnerships and the “Life Together” document underlying it. This response was made available to members of the General Synod and sent to all the Anglican and Lutheran Churches of the Porvoo Agreement.

The Church of Sweden press release relating to this is here.

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k1eranc
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k1eranc

….Seems like it’s time to move to Sweden…

J. C. Fisher
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. . . or better yet, the world’s values look more like Sweden’s (and miraculously, the *Church of Sweden’s*! :-D)

A question for our conservative friends: does not the Church of Sweden’s response honestly look like the answer to “What Would Jesus Do?”

Thanks be to God!

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

On current demographic trends, it looks like the Church of Sweden (ASA c. 2% of the population and aging) will be extinct in 20 years. Most young people in Sweden never show up in church and have virtually zilch knowledge of Christianity. Meanwhile, the Hammar family (the Archbishop’s lesbian sister, now ‘married’ to a divorced woman, and his brother) are squabbling over who will get to take over the family business.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

And you think they would be flocking to join conservative churches, do you, Peter? I don’t think so.

Good for Sweden – at least they live in the real world not the pretend one which conservatives wish to create, given their dislike of this one!

Martin Reynolds
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The threats implicit in the FOAG report bear a strong similarity to those more clearly leveled at the CofE by the Primate of Nigeria. I suppose it is just possible that the CofE could find itself almost completely isolated, abandoning some while at the same time finding itself abandoned by the others. I find the report itself strange, one would hardly think the CofE is struggling within itself on this issue, that there is a lively debate and once again we see the document Issues in Human Sexuality waved as if it had real force, when it has none. The… Read more »

RMF
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RMF

Ah yes, the extinction posts, I always like those.

Tom
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Tom

Merseymike, it’s not about living in the “real” world. It’s about preparing ourselves for the world to come…or is that the “pretend” world you think conservatives wish to create?

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

Merseymike: No, for several reasons I don’t subscribe to the simple minded view you appear to attribute to me, viz. ‘traditional theology means people will flock to the church’. First, Sweden is a deeply secularized society in which most people have little knowledge of Christian faith. To reach them, it will take years of sacrificially preaching the Gospel of salvation by the Cross of Christ (rather than the thin gruel of ‘I’m OK, you’re OK’ that passes for Swedish Lutheranism today). Every step the Church of Sweden takes to bless the secular order – to ingratiate itself with the people… Read more »

rmf
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rmf

Peter, I think in your posts is quite detectable an uncharitable and needlessly confrontational pose. Maybe you could adopt a new one.

BobPenn,Rite I
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BobPenn,Rite I

The Gospels clearly state that the Kingdom is at hand. It’s here if only people starting living as Jesus taught. The fixation of some that it’s all about getting some prize in the “next life,” need to reconsider and re-read sacred scriptures. The Kingdom of God is starts here (some say it started with Christ birth. Imagine Heaven came to Earth as a tiny child. Does that sound like “the next life?”)

J. C. Fisher
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What you call “thin gruel”, Peter, I would call the Bread of Life (Christ’s Body).

But better even thin gruel, than the toxicity of “I’m OK, you’re going to hell”—which seems the best translation of the conservative Bad News gospel. 🙁

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

I thought I was being ‘robust’ rather than ‘uncharitable’, rmf. The death of Christian Sweden is a very sad matter, especially as it was self-inflicted: the country never had to endure Nazi or Communist tyranny. I’m not a prophet nor a son of the prophets, but I imagine that the people of Judah didn’t like Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s ‘extinction posts’ either. But both of them saw beyond the Lord’s chastening judgment to His restoration. It isn’t good to cry ‘peace, peace’ (i.e. shalom, shalom – ‘All is well!’) when things are very different. And as Mark Steyn would say (uncharitably?)… Read more »

RMF
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RMF

I suppose there is something to be said for consistency. What, I’m not sure.

Kurt
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Kurt

“On current demographic trends, it looks like the Church of Sweden (ASA c. 2% of the population and aging) will be extinct in 20 years. Most young people in Sweden never show up in church and have virtually zilch knowledge of Christianity.”– Peter Bergman Growing up in the 1950s I remember the controversy when the Church of Sweden ordained women priests. Some people said the same thing then that Peter says today. Half a century later, the Church of Sweden is still chugging along, alive and well. My guess is that 50 years from now, the CofS will still be… Read more »

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

Kurt: 50 years ago there were twice as many people in the Church of Sweden – and more than twice as many in the Church of England and other churches in Europe. Ecusa was also about twice the size it is now, when US population was c. 160 million. Since c. 1962 the demography of thse churches has gone relentlessly south. Your ‘guess’ is only valid if the famed Nordic air will grant very great longevity to its people. Otherwise you’re whistling past the graveyard. With very few children in its ambit and most Swedes growing up agnostic and indifferent,… Read more »

nathan
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nathan

“My guess is that 50 years from now, the CofS will still be chugging along, witnessing for Christ, when the opponents of women’s and gay ordinations are history.” Peter seems to be drawing on demographic trends rather than doomsaying in the “we’re all going to hell in a handbasket” fashion. In any case, whether you come from a liberal or conservative perspective, I don’t think it’s possible to be as sanguine as you are about the future. The kinds of political and economic crises our world will face over the next few decades, as our populations face ever poorer and… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

Maybe, Peter. But I think that Muslim immigrants are just as likely to secularize as anyone else; their children or grandchildren, anyway. Many already are worried about secular influences on their children in the West.

I’m less concerned than Nathan because I have never expected that Christianity should be a majority religion or philosophy. We are often at our best when we are a minority of the population witnessing for Christ.

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

Kurt: I think you are a little sanguine about how Europe is actually developing; Nathan is nearer the mark. No one could have been more ‘secularized’ than the train bombers of London on 7/7, prior to their radicalization. Step by step the social and public order is changing across Europe, as Islamic mores, fashions, anti-Jewish politics, marriage customs and sexual insecurities are being institutionalized. In a way that Europeans still don’t understand, Islam is really more about ‘politeia’ than about religion. It’s about law (sharia), not spiritual communion with God (barring a few Sufis). Christians can be told by the… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Oh dear, we now have the evangelical islamophobes out to play as well.

Kurt
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Kurt

Actually, Peter, given Europe’s history of violence toward minorities, I would be more concerned about what might happen to Muslims if Europeans get too terrified of them.

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

Merseymike: yes, mark me down for ‘Islamophobic’ if by that you mean ‘against Islam’, especially in its aggressive, imperialistic forms. I don’t know if Quakers have any views on Islam, but you’re a peaceable people on the whole. Not too many Quakers in the Dar ul-Islam, though, so maybe it’s a question you Quakers haven’t faced up to yet. But Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants in Islamic lands have a long and bitter experience of dhimmitude. Kurt: if you mean growing violence between indigenous Europeans and Muslims, yes, I’m pretty sure that is going to happen, and not just from the… Read more »

RMF
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RMF

So Mike, how does the Quaker service compare so far to your experiences in the CoE? How do you find it?

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

My last contribution to this thread before it wanders completely OT: I do not like labeling people nor with being labeled myself, least of all with journalistic neologisms ending in ‘-phobia’, the point of whcih seems to be rhetorical rather than precision of thinking. ‘phobia’ is used in DSM-IV and elsewhere to refer primarily to a form of mental illness: a strong, persistent, abnormal fear or dislike of something or some people. The crossover into popular speech does little to help understanding, particularly if one thinks his opposition is rational and informed. I think it interesting that British journalist Polly… Read more »

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

Honestly, honestly! My LAST LAST post on this thread: a link just in confirming that the Church of Sweden has just posted the biggest loss of membership among Lutheran churches (200k) – which is what I was saying all along about demographics.
http://www.christianpost.com/article/intl/141/section/lutheran.numbers.grow.worldwide.shrink.in.global.north/1.htm

Now I’ll go off and fix myself a smorgasbord ….