THINKING ANGLICANS

Fulcrum responds to TA comments

In response to an earlier article here which linked to a piece by Andrew Goddard, several commenters responded strongly to that piece. Graham Kings has submitted this response:

As Fulcrum theological secretary, I offer the following few points concerning the posts about Fulcrum by JBE, Giles Fraser and Steve Watson:

1. JBE has commented about the founding of Fulcrum and Andrew Goddard’s role. My Fulcrum August newsletter, ‘Founding of Fulcrum’ shows that ‘proto-Fulcrum’ gathered first in October 2002, before the Reading controversy and the founding of Anglican Mainstream, and Andrew Goddard was part of Fulcrum from the beginning.

2. For Fulcrum’s original (and still valid) statement on sexual ethics, an issue raised by JBE and Steve Watson, see:
http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/centre.cfm?menuopt=1.

‘In the much-contested area of sexual ethics this means that the proper context for sexual expression is the union of a man and a woman in marriage. We will participate in debates on issues in sexual ethics arising today in the life of the Church and we identify as key references the CofE document Issues in Human Sexuality and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and True Union (a document shared with the Anglican Primates’ Meeting, Brazil 2003).’

See also our submission to the Lambeth Commission.

3. It was good to meet Giles Fraser at the launch of Fulcrum in November 2003 and yes, our aim then and now is to ‘renew the evangelical centre’. In our FAQ section, this is elucidated as:

‘It deliberately has two meanings: Fulcrum aims to renew the moderate centre of the evangelical tradition in the Church of England and also to renew the centre of the Church of England which is historically, and again currently, evangelical.

The sermon by Tom Wright launching Fulcrum may be seen on:www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=118

4. Giles Fraser also suggests that we are an arm of Anglican Mainstream. This is not the case. Anglican Mainstream is a single issue campaigning network whereas Fulcrum, as may be seen by the subjects of our articles, covers the whole range of theological and missiological issues. Although both are conservative on issues of sexuality, on other issues we differ from Anglican Mainstream eg in our attitude to the irregular ordinations in Southwark, and in that we positively advocate the consecration of women to the episcopate.

5. Finally, Andrew Goddard mentioned Michael Poon’s crucial article on the varying status of the Kigali Communique and the Road to Lambeth document. They are not of equal weight, and this whole discussion needs to take this difference of weight seriously:

‘We need to read The Road to Lambeth against the official document Kigali Communique, and indeed not the other way around. They are not two parallel statements from Kigali that bear the same authority.’

This is Michael Poon’s important comment in his perceptive response to the CAPA report ‘The Road to Lambeth’:
‘Quo Vadis? – Questions along the Road from Lambeth – A response to CAPA’s Invitation’, by Michael Poon, Global South Anglican site, 2 October 2006.

In a key passage of the article, Poon comments:

‘Shortly before the Kigali Meeting met, Canterbury issued a statement announcing that he has invited Archbishop Drexel Gomez to head a Covenant Design Group to draft an Anglican Covenant. He confirmed that this will be ‘a major and serious focus for the Lambeth Conference’. The Primates at Kigali greeted this in the most enthusiastic language. They believed that ‘an Anglican Covenant [that is now a major and serious focus for Lambeth 2008!] will demonstrate to the world that it is possible to be a truly global communion where differences are not affirmed at the expense of faith and truth but within the framework of a common confession of faith and mutual accountability’ (Communique, 7). In other words, the Global South Primates affirmed in clearest possible terms their intent to contribute in the Covenant processes. The Covenant constitutes the test of faithfulness (and membership). Lambeth 2008 will be the defining moment for the Communion.

Indeed, are not the recommendations in the Report superseded by recent events? Is not the Spirit of God at work, giving us more than we have ever imagined possible? Does not this explain why the CAPA Primates themselves did not explicitly endorse it at Kigali?’

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Merseymike
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Just goes to prove that evangelicalism itself is the problem, conservative, open or otherwise.

Jonathan Clark
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Jonathan Clark

I would like to invite Graham to take up one issue which I don’t think he has covered in his response: why it has been accepted within Fulcrum that the issues around sexuality do carry the theological weight they are currently being accorded – that is, that they are sufficiently important to break communion. At least, I assume that they are so regarded: that appears to be the tenor of Andrew Goddard’s piece, and his earlier reflection on the TEC Convention. This seems somewhat different from the approach taken by other founding members of Fulcrum in their response to ++Rowan’s… Read more »

Richard III
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Richard III

“within the framework of a common confession of faith”….

I have been led to believe the Anglican Church was not a confessional church and that the Nicene Creed was a sufficient statement of faith as expressed by the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral? Is Mr. Poon speaking of the same thing or something else? I’m guessing he is referring to something else that will suit the leadership of the Global South in their vision a ‘pure’ church.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

The second last paragraph “… the Global South Primates affirmed in the clearest possible terms their intent to contribute to the Covenant processes.” Their contribution includes instructing other Dioceses to elect alternative Primates because they don’t approve of the Diocese’ choice. To blacklist “unsuitable” Primates before the dialogue has even occurred. To commence the establishment of alternative organisation structures before the dialogue has even occurred. If we passively allow this to happen they can then toute the conference as being a united dialogue where the whole communion is in agreement. Well that’s true if one has restructured the communion prior… Read more »

laurence roberts
Guest
laurence roberts

‘…that the proper context for sexual expression is the union of a man and a woman in marriage.’ This is tht Fulcrum condom. It will protect them from unwanted…. conceptions. At least they hope unwanted ideas like gay rights, bodily fun and the erotic will not be conceived by bright fresh faced evangelcials–why are they always fresh faced ?! But the condom is more of a fig leaf, as we all know. (cf Accepting Anglicans, and REACH a forerunner of an evangelcial gay rights groupo, found by Dennis Ll. Nadin about 30 years ago). Also taht gay liturgist -Michael …..… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

No, Merseymike, the root of the problem in the AC is not evangelicalism because 95%+ of the Anglican church is largely in agreement with Fulcrum and also with +Duncan and the Network………

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Surely there is no requirement for anybody to follow a ‘party line’. After all, it is almost impossible that anyone would actually believe the party line 100% of the time. It is highly unlikely that all of a given body is going to agree totally on a given issue. So why can’t each individual simply say what they think?

laurence roberts
Guest
laurence roberts

‘…95%+ of the Anglican church is largely in agreement with….’ ah, well if it is a numbers game– a question of statistical data, that’s another matter ! A great many parishoners are unitarian, and there are plenty of nonitarians too ! Also panentheists… and non-realists (not all in/at Cambridge, either!)…. Especially British people who live in the country. There’s quite a sensible, in-touch-with-natural-cycles, kind of spirituality –they’d be too modest to call it that, of course… And then the spirituality of parishoners in our cities is hardly very Church-Pastoral Aid Society or even very Forward in Faith, either ! The… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Cheryl Clough —

I’m afraid there was a typo in your opening quotation:

The second last paragraph “… the Global South Primates affirmed in the clearest possible terms their intent to _control_ the Covenant processes.”

There, I’ve fixed it.

Richard III
Guest
Richard III

“No, Merseymike, the root of the problem in the AC is not evangelicalism because 95%+ of the Anglican church is largely in agreement with Fulcrum and also with +Duncan and the Network………”

Based on what evidence?

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well I do hope all the straight married couples are making out with one another and enjoying the graceful & intimate feasts of embodiment which help undo domination arrangements, perhaps even at the cellular levels of brain structure/function. Domination & assault are no longer the basic innate truth of all sexual contact – at least for most of us in post-technological nations, and probably for many, many others as well. Ditto, for the fading & neglect & disinterest currently shown in most cultures for trying to worship gods or goddesses via sex rituals. Surely we can count it as common… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Richard III, I cannot believe how many people want to pretend that Duncan et al are not pretty mainstream in terms of the 77m Anglicans globally. The ABC treats him as if he is mainstream, does he not? You want evidence? Give Jeffrey John a call. Even in England and even though he is no Gene Robinson, he could not be appointed – the ABC clearly felt the weight of Anglican opinion against that move….I feel sorry for J John going through all that but the episode clearly shows that there is a strong constraint on the ABC – remember… Read more »

Simon Cawdell
Guest

Jonathan raises an important question which I will attempt to answer. This is that issues surrounding human sexuality have become a presenting issue, a cypher, if you will, of much more fundamental issues surrounding the nature of our church, and the ‘authority’ it uses as its base. Put another way, to what do we turn to determine how we resolve genuine differences of opinion between Christians, and what is the process by which we do this. How do we determine the balance of scripture tradition and reason. Human sexuality has become a touchstone on this (across the church) because of… Read more »

Graham Kings
Guest

Thanks, Jonathan for your invitation question posted above. Stoke Newington and Islington discuss across the TA site! It seems to me that two subjects need highlighting beyond sexuality, which are crucial and related to the current crisis: 1. Ecclesiology Since The Guardian letter of 8 October 2002, http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,806659,00.html Gene Robinson has been elected and consecrated as a Bishop. Since then, ecclesiology has been the central issue – of the Windsor Report and of the Covenant Process. Oliver O’Donovan’s second and third Fulcrum web sermons, in particular, relate to this subject and really are worth reading in depth: http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2006/20060803odonovan2.cfm?doc=128 http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2006/20060911odonovan3.cfm?doc=140 ‘The… Read more »

laurence roberts
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laurence roberts

‘the unfortunate TEC has proceeded’ Simon don’t be coy. What has TEC / ECUSA proceeded in? You say it is ‘unfortunate’ but what have they done to you? do you mean blessing same-sex relationships ? Do you mean ordaining to the episcopate, a man of great courage & integrity, who happens to be called of God to a loving relationship and home, with another man ? Simon asks, ‘ Put another way, to what do we turn to determine how we resolve genuine differences of opinion between Christians, and what is the process by which we do this. How do… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Of course ECUSA should not readdress their actions. They were right and just. Nothing will change my opinion on that matter, and they should stand firm for fairness and justice, and place evangelical homophobia of either the Fulcrum or Anglican Mainstream variety in the dustbin where it belongs. I think its clear enough that Fulcrum and Mainstream are essentially the same – the open evangelicals I know are mostly post-evangelical these days and don’t really see Fulcrum representing their view. In any case, I think the anglican Communion and the notion of the broad church is no longer viable. I’d… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

“Just goes to prove that evangelicalism itself is the problem, conservative, open or otherwise.”— Merseymike

Absolutely correct, Merseymike! Don’t people remember what happened when these Puritans were “a majority” the last time? A religious Civil War in England and America! These neo-Calvinists are a cancer; the more rapidly they spread, and grow, the closer the organism is to death! Is this what you want for the CofE? The domination of the Church by a neo-Puritanism despised by most English people?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Prior, you made me chuckle. thank you. Merseymike, I would like to see the word “evangelism” take on a more diverse meaning, which encapsulates those who have a fundamental respect for Jesus and God’s workings through Jesus, but are not self-righteous hypocritical fundamentalists. The 95% in agreement assertion is optimistic. It ignores the reality where parishioners will say publicly (i.e. in front of their minister) that they don’t condone homosexuality, but quietly affirm and love their GLBTs friends and relatives. (And invite them and are grateful to have them at baptisms, weddings, confirmations and funerals :-). The emperor wears no… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Kurt — Regretfully, I must concur with you & Merseymike. History indeed indicates that there is something fundamental in English Evangelicalism (or Puritanism, if you prefer) that is self-righteous and judgemental & requires some group to demonize & exclude. And of course The Episcopal Church is not going to reverse course on basic issues of the presence of gays & lesbians in the life of the church — an attempt to apologize for doing what we believe is right would only ring hollow (see various comments from al points of view on Resolution B033). In any case, the Manichean world… Read more »

Nick Finke
Guest
Nick Finke

I find it odd in a Communion where synodical governance is the norm that the opinions of a group of bishops, even though they are Primates, is automatically thought to be completely representative of the beliefs of those they serve.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Nick I read an excellent analysis some months ago that it was the bishops of one diocese that decided to turn back the hands of time against women. When I posted a link here, another poster commented that the Presbyterians had gotten rid of this contentious layer. At their worst, I think they qualify for the scribe and flattering seeking sycohpants described in the OT or by Jesus. Isaiah 49 should apply to this layer – knowing this layer has a pivotal ability to hijack or transform the church, they need to be open to scrutiny from above, below and… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Of course at any time the new conserved believers – puritans, evangelical, or biblical, or whatever else we accept in passing to tag them – could cease and desist from their energetic campaign against historic-traditional Anglican agreeing to disagree. How many of the rest of us did that particular, special institutional oxygen bring to our local Anglican faith communities? That seems less than very likely, given the Kigali animosity towards non-straight people and unconformed believers, who as posters have noted, have come to represent in brief all that is dead wrong with everybody who is thus defined dead and wrong.… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

This is as great a shift in progress now happening as if Saint Gandhi had suddenly announced that it was centrally right and ethical, after all, to raise an army against colonial injustices from among the very people formerly pledged to non-violence. I predict it will change the enforcers, much for the worse, just as powerfully as it is intended to change all the rest of us who are loudly and pointedly being asked to shut up or leave, in about a thousand different ways – short and long – by all the new conserved voices. I should lament losing… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

drdanfee – pls remember “Anglicanism” was not founded to be a broad church, contain opposing view points, include all who want to be included, provide acceptance to those who may need it……its not primarily about diversity and equal opportunities…..

maybe we are just seeing Anglicanism return to its roots (articles)

ChrisM
Guest
ChrisM

So now we’ve reached the stage of describing people (and that is what they are: prick ’em and they still bleed) as “a cancer” – and I thought the posts here were moderated. However, amid the hyperbole there are a few moments of clarity. The very fact that one can say that Gene Robinson is ‘called of God’ to a relationship with another man, and can hold that view with integrity (and I am not for a moment questioning that integrity) and that others (with integrity, and not just in Nigeria) would utterly reject such a view, shows the stark… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“…to renew the centre of the Church of England which is historically, and again currently, evangelical.” What?!?!?! What kind of revisionism is this? Had I for one minute thought the Anglican Church was historically Evangelical, I would have gone elsewhere when God called me back to faith. The Anglican Church is historically broad, where people, who come to God in different ways can actually come to God in different ways. This is a new part of the Evangelical “we’re the true Church, persecuted just like they were in the early Church, well Acts, anyway” mythology that I hadn’t run into… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Cheryl mentioned that she didnt agree with some 95% figure because in practice most will hate the sin and love the sinner (I paraphrase). Correct, I think – but this is not something done in private. ‘Hate the sin and love the sinner’ has been the official and intelligent line for years (about 200 years), and I think most Christians are quite open (even sometimes vociferous) about the fact that this is a principle on which they stand.
Where flesh and blood is concerned, the more you love the sinner then obviously the more you will hate the sin.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I don’t consider that an acceptable position with regard to gay sexuality, Christopher.

No position which suggests that to either be gay or to have committed and faithful gay relationships is at all sinful will ever be acceptable.

There simply isn’t any room for compromise on that one, and if it means splitting the communion, so be it.

laurence roberts
Guest
laurence roberts

CS This sounds patronising. As if one person / group is sinful and the other (sin-haters) are free of sin. This kind of splitting is to be avoided, if we are to see and think clearly. And to act with justice. In fact , aren’t we all a mixture ? Historically, those who ‘hate the sin’ tend to attack ‘the sinner’. c.f. Salem ‘witch trials’, Mc Carthyism,treatment of indigenous peoples by misssionaries,the attitude to & treatment of sick people in the pre-medical age,and also to people with disabilities, attitudes to ‘barren’ women, treatment of people with HIV in the early… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Why is that, at least when it comes to gay people, people say “hate the sin, love the sinner” but then behave as though they mean “hate the sin, hate the sinner even more”? Don’t think so? Then why is it that they preach their message to gay people in a way that almost seems calculated to drive them away? It’s not about preaching a different message, it’s about finding a way to make the message heard. The behaviour of most seems to be to make sure the message won’t be heard so that they can then sit back and… Read more »

Pisco Sours
Guest

So, Christopher Shell, I guess parents of gay children love their gay kids so much they disown them? Yeah.

Nick Finke
Guest
Nick Finke

Anglicanism was not founded on a confessional document. The Articles were not intended to be a comprehensive statement of Anglican belief but to make clear the ways in which the English Church differed from the Roman one.

I would locate the “roots” of Anglicanism in the Elizabethan Settlement rather than in the Articles. Instead of sticking to the strict Evangelical policies that characterized the reign of Edward VI, Elizabeth broadened the tent to bring in the whole spectrum of the English Church.

The whole point of the Settlement was that the Church of England was not narrowly Evangelical.

Giles Fraser
Guest
Giles Fraser

All that ‘hate the sinner, love the sin’ stuff is indeed loathsome. Its one of those self righteous platitudes that protects evangelicals from the realisation of their own cruelty. That’s why they defend it so strongly. If they didn’t have that sleight of hand, they would come face to face with their own viciousness. It comes from the same stable as that creepy evangelical smile. I prefer an honest homophobe to those who dress their hatred up as if it were respectable theology.

AlaninLondon
Guest
AlaninLondon

‘Hate the sin, love the sinner’. I think such attitudes have more to do with those who are doing the hating feeling good about themselves rather than really loving anybody. What is it that they love about me as a gay man? By the time they’ve stripped eveything out they hate, they are not left with me as I am but some content-less cypher, a manikin, a souless simulcrum of what they believe it is to be truly human. Treating another human being thus – now that’s the real sin. Their ‘love’ is an exercise in self-delusion.

ruidh
Guest

“No position which suggests that to either be gay or to have committed and faithful gay relationships is at all sinful will ever be acceptable. There simply isn’t any room for compromise on that one, and if it means splitting the communion, so be it.” But, you can’t accomplish that goal by fiat. You have a responsibility to change other people’s minds on the subject by witness and through reference to Scripture. That’s how these things get done in the Church. And sometimes it takes a long time. You can’t shortcircuit this discernment process for the entire church through an… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Giles, Have you noticed the glazed eyes that comes with that creepy smile yet? Once you recognise that, you can recognise when they are moving, even when they refrain from the smile. Ford, I have heard ministers state that they intend to make the parish inhospitable to gays. Not surprisingly, they were also lamenting at diminishing tithes as attendances were falling at the time. Drdanfee, what we are doing now could not have been done when Anglicanism was formed, or Ghandi made his stand. The legal protection and human rights and public scrutiny were not in place. Mind you, thanks… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Dr. Giles Fraser, you mean “hate the sin, love the sinner stuff”, don’t you? In your comment you reversed the two.

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

“Great way to feel smug, poor way to save souls. If they truly loved the sinner, they would be able to find a better way to preach the message they already have.” (Ford Elms) Thank God, then, that we are not the ones to save souls. Jesus saves souls. Sorry, wrong tense. Jesus saved all souls, once and for all time, on a cross outside the city wall of Jerusalem. And it is Jesus who continues to reveal the salvation already given, to souls that have had it pounded out of them, or have been convinced by others that they… Read more »

Steve Watson.
Guest
Steve Watson.

OK, Giles, you made up your mind a long time ago about the moral status of homosexuality and diligently seek to convert Anglicans and others to your viewpoint. For you, in this matter there is no sin to hate. I hope you will keep ministering among nice middle class people, and steer clear of prison ministry that may involve contact with molesters, rapists and murderers. The cognitive dissonance involved may be dificult to bear.

Giles Fraser
Guest
Giles Fraser

John Henry. Sorry, you are right.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Actually, I believe that Giles had it right on the first go (& wasn’t Freud a great man?)

*Christopher
Guest

Again the comparisons of same-sex partnerships with molesters, rapists, and murderers? Just as not all heterosexuality is good, neither is all homosexuality. But neither are these actions of same-sex partnerships, molestation, rape, and murder to be conflated. As I wrote recently: We are still unable to distinguish ethically and morally and faithfully between committed same-sex pairs/same-sex rape/same-sex gratification among those otherwise heterosexually oriented/same-sex exploration among heterosexual and questioning teens/same-sex exploration among homosexual and bisexual teens/same-sex pedophilia and ephebophilia, blathering on in church-chatter as Mark Jordan calls this empty repetitive non-engagement with deeper ethical principles, of how we engage with Love… Read more »

trog
Guest
trog

Cheryl Clough–while you paint being “the other” in very derogatory terms, God is the complete and ultimate Other. Perhaps that is why the Great Commandment is stacked-up the way it is: love of Other and love of other. Of course, sexual complementariness is also love of other which seems simpler than an agape love of other or love of Other.

May God bless you. Remember me in your prayers.

Just a passing evo
Guest
Just a passing evo

hmmm … I normally come here just looking for some balance to my evo leanings, but tonight all I seem to find are lots of people throwing mud at evangelicals.

Loathsome .. self-righteous … viscious … a cancer … hypocritical fundamentalists … cruel … condoning abuse against women. These are rather insulting things to say. I guess most of you must know at least some evanglicals who don’t condone abuse against women.

Please, guys, practice a little love and toleration, even in cyberspace. Matthew 5:43-48 🙂

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Okay, I stand corrected in my misunderstanding that the Elizabethan Settlement crucially shaped what I had heretofore pledged (from college years onwards) as Anglican/Episcopal Church leeway, comprehension, or that Anglican ability to provisionalize so many differences – still brilliant in my mistaken opinion/discernment – while emphasizing common witness/worship and letting that worship/witness flow out generously into common Tikkun. I still cherish the mistaken mystical vision of just, yes exactly pretty much, that sort of faith community. So I hope even though Anglicans worldwide were never really pledged to this mistaken sort of faith vision, and that none of us need… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

So far as hate the sin, love the sinner – I am not hearing much that is new, or even helpful. You cannot love me in any real sense by telling legacy/traditionally authoritative lies about how deeply awful and allegedly distorted my personal embodiment, my committed relationships, my best professional work, my citizenship, or my parenting is. You cannot love me as a queer man by inveighing against my access to equal opportunities and resources that everybody else who is straight takes almost completely for granted as the givens that help people lead the best lives they can lead. Inside… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

well – on the “logic” of some people, you should be ordaining practising thieves, fraudsters, liars……after all, you don’t want to hate the sinner, do you? And if you don’t embrace them and separate the person from the sin, you are being ever so cruel and showing no care for their welfare and sense of self-worth. Pls don’t come back saying those sins are different….even Bishop Harries has said that the theological argument has not been won to say that something is good which the Bible consistently and clearly describes as wrong. And please don’t say, “but Jesus spoke to… Read more »

Giles Fraser
Guest
Giles Fraser

Steve,

Sorry, what have molesters, rapists and murderers to do with homosexuality? Are you suggesting an equivalence? Shame on you. Shame.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Trog. “the other” was meant in a derogatory term. One of the things I am fighting is xenophobia. Actually, I was thinking only today that was probably one of Jesus’ core intentions. To break down the idea of acceptability to God through blood lineage. The issue of tolerance to GLBTs is only one variation in that tangled knot. Jesus’ acceptance of the Gentiles was like a sword cutting through a unsolvable knot – he would have made an Eastern Master proud. NP, but what lawsuits have shown is that our priestly castes do comprise thieves, fraudsters and liars; who collude… Read more »

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

Giles perhaps you should take your own recent advice and get out among evangelicals a bit more – have a game of golf with them and a beer. You’ll quickly find that the glazed and over-earnest smile is soon replaced by something more natural. Indeed I have found that the barely concealed loathing and that tell-tale frown of disapproval and disdain disappears from the faces of liberal Anglicans when they get talking to me. I would have thought it was obvious though what Steve was saying. The idea of ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ is a category that everyone… Read more »