Thinking Anglicans

Church Times on NEAC

Three items in today’s Church Times relating to the NEAC event last Saturday.

NEAC5 closes in acrimony after claims of ‘set-up’ by Pat Ashworth

Evangelicals cannot serve two masters by Giles Fraser

Leader column, Church parties within parties.

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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Then there is the question of money. For too long, rich evangelical parishes have been allowed to bully others by threatening to withhold their parish share. Some parishes have carried out their threats, and set themselves up as independent churches effectively raising two fingers to the rest of the diocese” – Giles Faser. Giles Fraser in his Church Times article here highlights one of the problems of congregations electing to bypass the diocesan quota system, by directing their parish share to their own pet schemes of evangelism. Not only does this rob the diocese of its due revenue, it also… Read more »

dodgey_vicar
Guest
dodgey_vicar

Interesting bully-boy tactics from Richard Turnbull.
It is a matter of common courtesy to inform people of the agenda before meetings to allow them time to consider matters properly, and to think and pray about them.
Rail-roading items through like this attempt is a disgraceful way for a Christian to behave.

Julian Mann
Guest
Julian Mann

The Jerusalem Declaration is vitally important for ministry in ordinary parishes in the Church of England. As a parish minister in a small church in the north of England, I cannot stress this enough. Orthodox net-giving churches which subsidise ministry in net-receiving parishes have a moral responsibility to make it clear to diocesan boards of finance that Anglican unity is not institutional but creedal. It is quite immoral for ministries that are not preaching the Gospel or preaching another gospel to be subsidised on the basis of an appeal to institutional unity, masquerading as support for the Body of Christ.… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

To the question, which planet, the planet Turnbull is on is the one that makes sure that GAFCON’s international oversight and the Conservative approach is the only show in town for Evangelicals, that there is chaos and exclusion elsewhere, that they appear to pass resolutions by whichever body can do so.

It is up to others to organise otherwise, but so far CEEC has been all about those activists who grab a core institution for Evangelicals and run it their own way. Just like GAFCON.

Chirstopher Shell
Guest
Chirstopher Shell

There are 2 things I disagree with in Giles Fraser’s article: (1) a national (British) branch of global anglicanism is a subset of global anglicanism, not a competing body. How can it be competing when the larger of the two *includes* the smaller? If the choice were between loyalty to the big set and loyalty to some subset, in cases where both loyalties were not possible simultaneously then obviously loyalty to the big set would be more important. (As well as being a refreshing instance of not merely & meekly going along with national social norms.) And to pledge loyalty… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

(2) ‘the church’ within which the evangelicals are expected to stay is not one and the same as ‘the church’ which they first joined. This being the case, the onus falls on those who changed it, not on those who have remained on much the same solid rock which doesn’t need so much changing.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Rail-roading items through like this attempt is a disgraceful way for a Christian to behave.”

And that would be different from any other GAFCON type behaviour in that……..? I was heartened by:

“400 Evangelical leaders resisted the plans of their more conservative brethren to align themselves more fully with the alternative Church of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).”

Evangelicals are not monolithic liberal-haters after all. The majority, apparently, have not allowed themselves to be manipulated by angry fear mongers.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“In God’s goodness, the Jerusalem Declaration is a rallying point for confessing Anglicans of whatever churchmanship enabling them to get that message across to diocesan authorities.” If you can’t understand why the Jerusalem Declaration cannot possibly be a rallying point for “confessing Anglicans”, whatever that means, of Anglo-catholic Churchmanship, you have a very poor understanding of things like orthodoxy and catholicity. Either that or you have not read any of my posts since that thing was signed. The Jerusalem Declaration, besides containing lies, slanders, and revilings, which you have accepted if your use of the phrase “preaching a different Gospel”… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

“Canon Chris Sugden proposed that Evangelicals “will keep formal administrative links with the formal Church of England, but our real identity is with Global Anglicanism, as defined by the Jerusalem statement and dec­laration”.”

So some are going to be “formally” part of the Church of England, but in reality members of Global Anglicanism.

That sounds like they are deceitful spies, pretending to be one thing when they are really another.

Mind you, it is consistent with their claiming to be loving, when in reality they abuse and insult.

Jem
Guest
Jem

At the NEAC meeting it was very clear to me that the problem was far less about theological differences between evangelicals than about the appalling behaviour of bully-boys who seem to be in the ascendency. If Turnbull really was elected to this post, it must have been before everyone knew about the chaos he was causing at Wycliffe Hall, and his attitude of being above the law of the land. (I am told there is still an action pending against him in the employment tribunal which has not been resolved). The unhappy combination of Chris Sugden and the bullying of… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

Some of the contributions lead me to conclude that we are dealing with a ‘foundational myth’. Lots of groups have them, but they can become toxic. I suspect that the ‘the church has changed’ etc etc is one of those foundational myths which for a certain type of Christian is of the toxic variety – that is, it enables the Believer (the believer in the myth, that is) to avoid examining their own presuppositions – for example, to what degree is this about power, pride, disappointment, etc etc? A good SD will usually put a bomb under such a delusionary… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“‘the church’ within which the evangelicals are expected to stay is not one and the same as ‘the church’ which they first joined.” As far as it goes, the Church isn’t the one any of us “joined”, in that sense, yet we are also expected to remain in it. And most of us “joined” at an age when we weren’t capable of understanding what we were “joining”, either, which is fine, since the effect of baptism doesn’t hang on our undersanding of it. They can’t possibly be as upset at having to share a Church with people like Spong as… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

My fav line from the Leader column, …remember that the gospel is not about coming out on top. Oh but many evangelicals of the newish Turnbull Wycliffe College type do lead and preach as if they did believe coming out on top is Jobs’ friends’ proof of God being exclusively for you and against all the others who are not you. Funny that Jesus would die and rise again for that skanky lot who are not you; but rest assured Jesus’ work of God is solely to make those skanky others just like you, and you alone it would loudly… Read more »

Cal McMillan+
Guest
Cal McMillan+

“Anglican unity is . . . creedal.”? I’ve been saying creeds [Apostles’, Nicene, even Athanasian] all my life. At times I even studied them. Have I missed something? “Generosity of course involves giving away resources to Gospel partners . . .” When you give to partners, in a sense you are giving to yourself, so it’s safe to be generous. Right? But what if you continue to support those who are almost certain to bite back? Is that good gospel or bad? What would we ever do without these precious lectures about the REALLY true nature of the nouveau-orthodoxy?

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I was shocked that the Bishop of Chichester will not appoint a woman ordaining assistant. He says he wants to keep the status quo… and of course one of his assistant bishops is the leading GAFCONITE Wallace Benn..the last bishop in the Church of England to refuse to wear a mitre.

Giles Fraser
Guest
Giles Fraser

Julian,

My parish share is over a third of a million pounds a year and rising at 18% every year. Lucky for the small and struggling evangelical parishes in this Diocese that we don’t have the same narrow minded attitude as you. Do you think we way we support them ‘immoral’, given that we disagree about theology?

JPM
Guest
JPM

Americans reading this post are probably having flashbacks to the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Others would do well to research that event.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“The Jerusalem Declaration is vitally important for ministry in ordinary parishes in the Church of England. As a parish minister in a small church in the north of England, I cannot stress this enough. Orthodox net-giving churches which subsidise ministry in net-receiving parishes have a moral responsibility to make it clear to diocesan boards of finance that Anglican unity is not institutional but creedal.” – Julian Mann – Contrary to the speculation of the writer here, the Jerusalem Declaration is only important for supporters of the GAFCON movement for biblical literalism and separation from the historic ‘via media’ of the… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Like many I am an admirer of Dr Fraser’s writings in the Church Times, particularly the piece on mission blocking a couple of years back. I agree it is difficult for orthodox net-receiving parishes to differentiate money they may be receiving from false teaching churches such as Dr Fraser’s in Putney which gave a platform to a wolf in sheep’s clothing in the form of Mr Robinson in the summer. Perhaps orthodox net-givers in dioceses should publish a list of net-receiving ministries in which they have confidence.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Several points here: (1) Of course a given denomination will change (tho’ not in essentials) – that is not the point. The point is that there is a certain ‘point’ for *each* of us where a line in the sand would have been crossed, and one could no longer in conscience identify with that denomination. One cannot blame people for giving different identifications of where this line lies. They do so in good conscience. But: everybody but everybody recognises that such a line does and should exist. For example, were the majority of anglicans to become satan-worshippers, then all of… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Julian:

Do the “false teaching churches” get the same privilege…to identify the churches THEY would prefer not to receive their money?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Christopher:

But can’t we expect that the line in the sand will be defined by first order concerns–Christology, theology, even ecclesiology–and not a second- or third-order concern such as human sexuality?

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Rocks do change. Rocks are eroded by weather, heat, water. The rocks in the walls of Jerusalem change. The wall remains, the exact constituency and form varies over time e.g. Nehemiah. There is a difference between Pauline evangelicism and gospel (that being the books of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John) evangelicism. The former is written by a man who never knew Jesus in the flesh and was trying to describe overwhelming spiritual encounters. The latter from people who knew both Jesus the man and Jesus of Spirit. They contain Jesus’ own words of how Jesus saw himself in relation to… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

An interesting conversation at dinner last night with a former member of a parish which was ‘Jensened’: that is, it was repackaged as belonging to a Jensen-sponsored evangelical subgroup. Since then, the guy who precipitated the split has set up an ‘independent Anglican Church’.

http://www.emmanuelonline.org.uk

Those acquainted with the locations of UK theological colleges will be intrigued….

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Looking in on ‘mynsterpreost’s contribution from the web’site of ’emmanuelonline’ here, one wonders why such schismatics need to use the honourable title of ‘Anglican’ as part of their institutional base-line. This is no less than a cynical highjacking of the spiritual integrity that has formerly been recognisable as derived from the Catholic and Reformed Tradition of the Church of England. Surely the local Anglican Bishop must take some remediary action against this piratical use of the good name of the Church of England. To allow such an act of assumption – that Emmanuel Church is still connected to the body… Read more »

Julian Mann
Guest
Julian Mann

Certainly, there can be questions about the accountability of non-parochial church plants. Parish planting seems a much better way forward when a group from a larger church goes to a struggling smaller church with the intention of reinvigorating it. Usually it is evangelical churches wanting to do this in churches that haven’t been previously evangelical. In some cases dioceses are supportive, in other cases not on the ground that the smaller church is being ‘taken over’ by another theological tradition. Such a negative response by liberal diocesan authorities is surely inexcusable when it’s a clear choice between orthodoxy and closure.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Pat- Emphatically not. The matters which are talked of – whether in academic or ecclesiastical congresses, newspapers, or wherever, will always be those that are currently most controversial, not necessarily those that are most important. Why? Because when it comes to matters that are less controversial, there will be much less to say – and we will only be agreeing with one another anyway. So why discuss it? A second point: it was not traditional Christians but their opponents that made such issues controversial by moving the goalposts in the first place. The blame then gets given not to… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Cheryl- The four gospel writers were (mostly) probably no more and no less eyewitnesses of Jesus than Paul had been. Paul had been in Jerusalem certainly before AD 36 – *possibly* therefore during the crucifixion. John the elder (Jn 1.14, 1Jn 1.1) may well have ‘seen and touched’ Jesus when young – and Mark may have done, since the early church met in his house. The authors of Matthew and Luke are highly unlikely to have done so. But I take the point that the gospels reflect the preaching of such as Peter. I wasn’t contrasting gospels and Paul… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“What is wrong with the view that all strands and denominations have both strengths and weaknesses, and that it is increasingly impossible to generalise or label (this person slots in the ‘evangelical’ box, etc.)? “ Aboslutely nothing, which is why my blanket denunciations of “Evangelicalism” are so wrong, and why I am trying to develop a better attitude. Now, the question is, why can’t conservatives also acknowledge this? And, WRT a “different Gospel”, look at traditional ideas of the redemption of Creation, and the expression of those ideas in sacramental theology, to cite but two areas. In these and many… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Such a negative response by liberal diocesan authorities is surely inexcusable when it’s a clear choice between orthodoxy and closure.” Well, I wouldn’t take too kindly to a bunch of Evangelicals taking over our more or less Anglo-catholic parish, and we’re hardly “liberal”. Why shouldn’t those remaining continue to worship in the style that speaks to their souls and profess the things they actually DO believe, instead of being forced to accept innovative doctrines they have always shied away from? I doubt you’d be so supportive of a bunch of Anglo-catholics wanting to bring ritual, Benediction, and a rosary group… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

One thing that Paul was illiterate on was women. Considering his Jewish lineage his dismissiveness of women is saddening. There are so many things that women have contributed to Jewish culture, and the women have played crucial roles in the formation of Judaism and its perpetuity. Paul’s myopic teachings were inspirational but they are hardly the full, complete or perfect teachings about either Judaism, Jesus, the feminine or God. Here’s one thread that shows that even Moses “didn’t get” women. http://www.torah.org/learning/perceptions/5757/vayakhel.html This article offers an alternative perspective, comparing and contrasting the feminine traits to masculine swash buckling sword waving bravado.… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Julian Mann: I take issue with your unsubtle and incorrect use of the term “orthodox”. Using the term, without quotation marks, to mean “people who take a conservative on (uniquely) the issue of homosexuality” is not accurate. Attitudes to homosexuality have never formed part of the historic tests of orthodoxy in any ecclesial context, as far as I am aware. You need to refer to some oecumenical councils if you wish to support your view. In my experience (and I was brought up in a Conservative Evangelical environment), Conservative Evangelicals often have little sense of the historic contexts of the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The last thing Paul was was an anglocatholic.”

I sincerely doubt St. Paul would find a comfortable place anywhere in modern Christianity, actually. I do think he’d find more that was familiar in Rome or Constantinople, and perhaps in Canturbury, than elsewhere. At least there the language would be something he’d recognize. Oh, I’m sure he’d consider a lot of what we think so important to be so much “skubala”, but I’d love to see him arguing with Evangelicals. I imagine “skubala” would be mild compared to his responses then!

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Christopher: If matters such as the real presence in the Eucharist and lay presidency are not sufficient to split the church–matters that are truly part of our understanding of Christ and his place in our lives–then I cannot see why consecrating a gay man as a bishop is. I don’t care that the place of gays in society is a currently controversial issue in the world at large…so is, for example, the use of torture–but I don’t see anyone suggesting we should split the church between those who think torturing our enemies is OK and those who don’t. On your… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“matters that are truly part of our understanding of Christ and his place in our lives” But, for an Evangelical, these are not issues at all. They are “the traditions of men”. The only understanding we need to have is that Christ is the ubervictim, whose place in our lives is on the Cross where we should be, so that God can calm down enough so as not to roast us for all eternity. Matter is not redeemed, Creation is not redeemed, since redemption consists of getting a very angry judge to let us away with our crimes. What could… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Pat- The goalposts of *fashion* shift all the time, yes. So do the goalposts of *academic study* – though much of academic study is not only pluralist in its conclusions but vague about criteria. But if you think that is why popular opinion shifts, then you are only partly right. One main barometer for public opinion is, quite simply, which country and which culture one is born into. The proportion of people who can think outside this particular box is low. Within our culture there is the additional complication that our politicians and our media are so unrepresentative of… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“much of academic study is not only pluralist in its conclusions but vague about criteria.” Not when it comes to scientific study, Christopher. Study structure, the definition of what is being studied, how it is to be recognized, factors that may have inadvertently been overlooked or assumed, all these are important parts of scientific publication. In fact, failure to attend properly to these kinds of issues is a large part of why people like Cameron are discredited in scientific circles. Given your citation of people like him in the past, I find it odd you would level the accusation of… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Christopher:

I respectfully disagree. First of all, I don’t think our politicians are unrepresentative of our country…if anything, there are times I think they are TOO representative, in that they are following the opinions of their constituency instead of voting their own consciences. See Edmund Burke for why that’s a bad idea.

Second, in regard to the specific issues I mentioned–evolution, the place of gays in society, torture, psychology–it was scientific research that changed the argument…that, indeed, set the argument going. Before the science changed, there was no argument at all.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Christopher: yes, but aren’t you always talking up the different take that some Asians may have on Western culture?

You can’t surely, on the one hand claim that Western Europeans are culturally conditioned (now in an anti-discriminatory way), and that this is incompatible with living as a Christian, but that non-Europeans are also equally culturally conditioned (often in a discriminatory way, one would submit), yet that this is not equally problematic?

I think that cultural conditioning operates at every level of religion. Religion in Europe has historically both conditioned and been conditioned by the surrounding culture.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“One main barometer for public opinion is, quite simply, which country and which culture one is born into.” – Christopher Shell – And was The Christ not incarnated into each and every culture – whether its denizens are aware of Him or not? Have you not thought that maybe God designed things that way for God’s own good purposes? – That every culture should have something to contribute to the understanding of both the Creator and the Creation?. If indeed that was God’s purpose – that every culture, race and religious inclination should have a significant place in the composition… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Several points here: (1) I applaud Pat’s citing of Burke. It goes without saying that politicians should vote with their consciences, and the fact that they don’t shows that they are too concerned with guarding their own backs / their own re-election. (However, a ‘whipped’ system is inherently corrupt, and is the enemy of conscience and of right.) (2) But what has Burke’s dictum got to do with the many other ways in which MPs are unrepresentative? They are not proportionally representative in gender, class/background/education, priorities (they are disproportionately trained in politics/economics/law, i.e. the most this-worldly and -with the exception… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Fr Ron- You are making the point about diversity of cultures being a good thing. Couldn’t agree more. I have always sought out ideologically *international* churches and colleges as a no.1 priority. But that has nothing to do with the point that (a) most people do not tend to think outside their own culture and wrongly assume it is a norm; (b) some people *can* do so – which proves it is perfectly possible – and we should in general listen to them rather than to the others, whose conclusions will be more predetermined and therefore less interesting or significant.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Fr. Ron, “a spirit of convergence is needed” I think the conservative Evangelical position would be that what is needed is conformity with what God wants. That in itself is not something I’d disagree with, it’s just that they have convinced themselves that what God wants is their Middle Class white Western lifestyle with its conservative American values. They’ve even convinced themselves that such a position is “countercultural”! “Octave of the Feast of Christ the King” To paraphrase an old Irish folksong: The ACs in their chazzies swinging incense Speak a language that the Evos do not know. Isn’t it… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“existence/normality is obviously a quite separate question from whether it is right or beneficial.” You keep talking about “beneficial” and the harm done by homosexuality. Well, time to pony up. Can you name one thing about homosexuality that is detrimental to society and does NOT spring directly from the oppression of gay people by heterosexuals over millennia or a reaction against that oppression by people who refuse to be walked on any more? And, you being a conservative Evangelical, I’d think you ought to give some consideration to the myriad ways in which conservative Evangelical Christianity is a detriment to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Christopher, Thankyou for your agreement, at least on matters concerning the need for convergence in our appreciation and understanding of different cultures. However, you seem still to be protesting that the phenomenon of homosexuality, and its presence in society, is in some ways offensive both to God and humanity. Have you ever considered the fact that it might be something of a cultural reality -not only in western society but also in other parts of the world, and, therefore, a matter of theological, as well as sociological, importance for the Church to come to terms with? After all, the issue… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

What a Twit, I am: “The present Pope GREGORY”, indeed! A Feudian slip do you think, when I was writing that last comment? Anyway, when it happened – that Pope BENEDICT spoke, in his first encyclical, about the legitimacy of ‘eros’, many of us clergy were quite excited – thinking that this might be a preliminary move to opening up the RC priesthood to (dare I say it on line?) those Roman Catholic men who are actually married? There! I’ve said it!. There’s no guarantee of course that, if the Vatican thinks that none of its married men might be… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Fr Ron: Friends who are RC priests in England tend to be against allowing married parish clergy, not least because it would throw an uncomfortable spotlight upon those who were not married, and possibly entail some difficult questions to be answered as a result.

Chirstopher Shell
Guest
Chirstopher Shell

Hi Fr Ron- I have never met, and will never meet, someone who denies that homosexuality is a cultural reality. Or, simply, a reality tout court. What *isn’t* a reality? Of course, one can name unicorns and dodos. But the world is full of things that exist. What has their existence got to do with whether they are good, bad or neutral? To affirm that homosexuality is a reality is something that one wd expect to be done by people who feared that their interlocutor denied this. So, is anyone can find someone who denies that it is a reality,… Read more »

Ford ELms
Guest
Ford ELms

“You yourself, as a person, are very probably extremely beneficial, but we were not talking about you as a person.” Sophistry. The fact is that the “person/activity confusion” is pretty much a given for the majority of humanity. Do you seriously think that people beat us to death just because of what we do, all the while acknowledging that we are probably very nice people actually? And answer the question, what is not “beneficial” about homosexuality that is not a direct result of the oppression of gay people or a reaction against that oppression? You’re the one who keeps making… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“I have never met, and will never meet, someone who denies that homosexuality is a cultural reality. Or, simply, a reality tout court. What *isn’t* a reality? Of course, one can name unicorns and dodos. But the world is full of things that exist. What has their existence got to do with whether they are good, bad or neutral?”

After God completed his Creation, he pronounced it “good”. Homosexuals are a part of that Creation, and have been–if we accept current scientific evidence–since its very beginnings. How then can they be other than “good”?