Thinking Anglicans

opinion for St Mark

Giles Fraser Church Times No tasks left for the risen Jesus

Christopher Howse Telegraph The earth and the Son of Man

Several items from the Guardian’s Comment is free section.
David Bryant Guardian: Comment is free Face to Faith Tolerance of other faiths is not enough – we must strive for true acceptance
Chris Liley Guardian: Comment is free Why I chased the BNP from my cathedral
Giles Fraser St George the immigrant

Jonathan Sacks Times Credo: Sunday shopping has not made us better or happier

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Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Rabbi Sacks piece is a gem. I was so moved when he spoke of the Sabbath whether kept on Saturday or Sunday- so generous of him. I well remember the way Sunday was seen & observed as the Sabbath (and known as Y sabath in Welsh. I remember varying degrees of observance. My school teacher, was also a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Wales; and his wife prepared the Sunday lunch the day before. It did feel very special, thouh I had no idea it must have been already on the way out, even tyhen. We spent most of… Read more »

Matt
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Matt

The Giles Fraser article … What an infuriating article. I’ve agreed before now that there is something wrong when evangelicals hardly seem to have any use for the resurrection … but that’s no reason to throw out Christ’s death on our behalf. Indeed, if the Resurrection means anything significant for us, so must the cross. If Christ shows us our future in the resurrection, which he has won on our behalf, surely the cross must show us our depravity, and yes, God’s wrath. Also, ‘one reading amongst many’. Yes, but still a reading and one that deserves a deal more… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Thanks Giles, for the tip connect with Kalimoros and others. I had a strong hunch we believers globally were not all, nothing but Calvinists or Southern Baptists, USA style; or Anglican Mainstream style.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“his wife prepared the Sunday lunch the day before”

I am told that strict Sabbeth keeping was the origib of Boston baked beans – you set them over a low fire to simmer overnight. By Sunday supper they would be cooked.

Giles Fraser
Guest
Giles Fraser

Sorry Matt. Where in this article do I say that the cross isn’t important? Where is the ‘throwing out Christ’s death’ bit? All I say is an extended version of 1 Corinthians 15:17 – if there is no resurrection then we are still in our sins. Penal Substitution fails by that criteria.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

My background was very Evangelical (Brethren), and the Resurrection loomed (is taht the word) very large and was seen as the completion of the Cross –seems rather Catholic with hindsight !

The old chorus seems to express the balenced truth :

Living he loved me
Dying he saved me
Buried he carried my sin far away
Rising he justified freely for-ever
One day he’s coming
oh Glorious Day !”

How’s that for heilsgescichte ? !

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

Matt: ‘surely the cross must show us our depravity, and yes, God’s wrath.’

I cannot see the logical necessity of a connection between the two halves of this statement. Perhaps I’m missing something?

BillyD
Guest

Thank goodness Canon Fraser attacks PSA this time, and not simply “sacrifice.”

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“What we need is to give St George a new look: the patron saint of inclusion and hospitality and welcome, slaying the dragons of racial hatred and nationalistic chauvinism. This St George may have to wear his religious colours less ostentatiously than the Bishop of Rochester would prefer, but his values would be entirely Christian nonetheless.” – Giles Fraser, on Saint George – Giles Fraser’s piece – together with that of David Bryant in The Guardian – urges us to ease back on fundamentalism is our presentation of the Good News of Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer of all. These… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

Maztt, I think you have missed the point, which is that there are many, many significances in Christ’s death on the cross which do NOT involve penal substitution – as witness the Orthodox position. The include the victory of Christ over sin and death, and his sacrifice of himself, which does not need to involve penal substitution. Hebrew sacrifice is not generally a substitution of the animal for a sinful person or people.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
Guest

At last an excuse to turn that ‘skinhead’ photo in the Church Times into something more respectable…

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/04/ps-all-liberals-are-not-quite-so.html

Rev. Dr. David Paton
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Rev. Dr. David Paton

I would refer Giles Fraser and others interested in Anselm to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon on April 23, 2009 celebrating Saint Anselm of Canterbury. As always the Archbishop has something thought provoking to bring to us.

John Richardson
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John Richardson

I do not normally post here, but Giles Fraser’s ‘proof texting’ from 1 Corinthians, and some of the rest of his article, cannot go unchallenged. He writes, in reply to Matt, “All I say is an extended version of 1 Corinthians 15:17 – if there is no resurrection then we are still in our sins. Penal Substitution fails by that criteria.” But in its context that verse links back to the extended argument beginning in v 1 and leading through v 3, “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you … By this gospel… Read more »

John Sandeman
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John Sandeman

Rosemary, While theosis is the distinctive Orthodox position, it does not follow that PSA is rejected. the official site of my local Orthoxdox oarchiocese puts it this way: “What is called for therefore today is a complementary understanding of redemption so that the fullness of humanity’s true existence might be realized. Only when the Orthodox understanding of redemption is taken seriously can the whole ideal of redemption be credibly presented today. All too often, the West speaks of juridical models at the expense of other models. On the other hand, the East is all too often tempted to speak of… Read more »

Giles Fraser
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Giles Fraser

No John – these scriptural references were not proof texting, they existed to accompany the main argument (that evangelicals haven’t got anything soteriological for the resurrection to do.) Interesting that you seem unwilling to take on that main contention.

And Pluralist – thanks for the cartoon. And you are quite right: I am not really a liberal at all. Yes, I am deeply committed to political liberalism and hold freedom high up in my league table of values, but old style theological liberalism of the e.g. Maurice Wiles variety – no, that’s not me at all.

madeline bassett
Guest
madeline bassett

You always know you’ve scored a direct hit when you lure John Richardson out of his lair.

Rosemary Behan
Guest
Rosemary Behan

Well Madeline, you’ve cast the first stone as Jesus asked .. who will be second?

John Richardson
Guest
John Richardson

Giles, the central problem I see in your essay is its proposition that the theology of Penal Substition (which you attribute to “Evangelicals”) hasn’t “got anything soteriological for the resurrection to do”. Added to this is your additional (though not necessarily related) thesis that “penal sub­stitution is a very bad thing indeed”, meaning, I take it, not just that it is a wrong headed but morally wrong. However, a thing – the Ascension for example – may have a role in soteriology without having (in the narrow sense) a ‘soteriological’ role, and here is where I think you are too… Read more »

madeline bassett
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madeline bassett

Rosemary, I’m surprised you think that verbally twisting someone’s tail is that same as stoning them to death. It’s as though they gathered to tickle the woman caught in adultery.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Glad to see Giles Fraser refer to The River of Fire. I always had problems with PSA. It was a great comfort to see that it was, as I had always suspected, more a prodcut of the Reformation than anything at the core of the Gospel, and one can be a Christian and still have huge problems with it. I find it funny that for many who hold close to PSA, to speak against it is to speak against any understanding of Atonement that includes ideas of punishment. The two are not the same. It’s as though PSA has been… Read more »

Giles Fraser
Guest
Giles Fraser

John,

We are indeed a long way from that. And I am still not sure what your answer is to the main contention that PSA gives the resurrection no work in human salvation. True of false?

Is “may have a role in soteriology without having (in the narrow sense) a ‘soteriological’ role” an answer or just theological double Dutch? Come on.

rick allen
Guest

I am no adherent of Calvin, but I think he easily answers the charge that attributing the atonement to the death of Jesus makes the resurrection superfluous: “Our salvation may be thus divided between the death and the resurrection of Christ: by the former sin was abolished and death annihilated; by the latter righteousness was restored and life revived, the power and efficacy of the former being still bestowed upon us by means of the latter. Paul accordingly affirms, that he was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection, (Rom. 1: 4,) because he then fully displayed… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“or that he [Kalomiros, the EO theologian] is essentially right, and that although this [PSA] is the Western tradition it should be abandoned.” Ignoring, for the moment, the contention that PSA is THE Western tradition— So what? What if Kalomiros (and theosis) IS essentially right? Does that mean that Fr. Giles (or I) have to leave the AC, and ask to be received/chrismated as an EO? It has long been the contention of many Anglicans, that Celtic Christianity (and its heirs in the AC) *didn’t* have the radical rupture w/ the East, that Rome did (whether Rome *or* Constantinople accept… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

John Sandeman, the Orthodox, while they can at times thunder against the faults of the West, are also incredibly circumspect in other areas. There is indeed no explicit “PSA is wrong” in their statement, I grant you. They are far too nuanced for that. But I don’t read any support for it either. I am fascinated by the strength with which some people defend PSA. I have always found PSA repulsive, at least as it is expressed by many of its adherants. I don’t deny the penal elements in our traditional understanding of Atonement, but PSA goes, for me at… Read more »

John Richardson
Guest
John Richardson

Giles, the answer to your question is “false”. However, I am not up for an argumentative exchange, especially not here. If you’re interested you can e-mail me via the Ugley Vicar blog.

Briefly, the death of Christ pays the penalty for our sins. God raising Christ to life brings him (as human) and us (in him) into new life, beyond sin and death. There’s more, but that’s it in a nutshell.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
Guest

I’d like to see a human who can live after being dead. Some divine being masquerading as human might do it, but by any definition I know once you’re dead you’re dead.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Briefly, the death of Christ pays the penalty for our sins. God raising Christ to life brings him (as human) and us (in him) into new life, beyond sin and death. There’s more, but that’s it in a nutshell.” – John Richardson – One might ask: “What good would the forgiveness of our sins have done, if it did not lead to our attainment of ‘life eternal’ in God?” “If Christ be not raised from the dead, then is our faith vain” – Saint Paul. It does seem a little contentious to suggest that the resurrection of Christ is not… Read more »

John Richardson
Guest
John Richardson

To Fr Ron – I basically agree that it would be “contentious to suggest that the resurrection of Christ is not as vitally important to the Christian salvific enterprise as his crucifixion” – as indeed the incarnation is vitally important, as is the obedience of Christ, indeed ‘the whole Christ’, if I can put it that way. There is some value in trying to distinguish the ‘parts’ in our understanding, provided they are seen as parts of a whole. So I take it that Cur Deus Homo, which Giles dismissed, was primarily interested in the reason for the incarnation (as… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I’d like to see a human who can live after being dead.” As I’d like to see the human being who can prove to have lived a previous life, or who can prove to have received direct revelations from God, or any of the other things that various religions teach about humans and our relationship to each other and the numinous. What’s your point? That religion teaches things that do not accord with modern scientific understanding of how the world wags? That’s not exactly a profound insight, Pluralist! Sounds to me like you’re trashing something for not being what it… Read more »

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
Guest

My point is it’s superfluous (Ford). You can’t have it both ways (of course Christianity tries to have it both ways). So what if there isn’t a previous life either? I’m interested in a claim that a human being, dead for a time, then wasn’t. I’m happy (or unhappy) to say not so. A real human being of flesh and blood that when it hits a door gets hurt. Why does religion have to base itself on the impossible? In order to be victorious? Let’s start instead with human consciousness, an amazing thing in itself. More and more I’m just… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

Giles, Thank you for responding. I think what I wanted to say was not that you were ‘throwing out the cross’ but rather ‘throwing out Christ’s death on our behalf’. This seemed to me (perhaps wrongly) to be the consequence of your distinct lack of enthusiasm for penal substitution. I’m not making, or asking you to make, any defence of any formal models of atonement. I do think that the sweeping dismissal of penal substitution is unnecessarily drastic though. It would be interesting to hear what from that model you would affirm. I didn’t really follow your comment about 1… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

John Richardson, I find your argument on the dfifferent aspects of soteriology (29 April @10.58) eminently reasonable. My main worry on this thread is that some people seem to be dividing up the varying situations which all go to make up the theological reality of the Word made flesh in Jesus and awarding points as to their relative importance. Yes, of course, if we were to critically examine the various elements, we might be tempted to say that the actual Incarnation of Jesus was more important than any other. But why would we have any need to do this? This… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pluralist “Why does religion have to base itself on the impossible?” That’s the whole point of it! Religion does not believe it to be impossible. And it sees no need to be constrained by the scientific understanding of people. Why should it? You are free to ask your own questions of Christianity. But there is no reason that it should limit itself merely because you have decided that, for you, there is nothing beyond our own intellectual capability. If the numinous is a waste of time for you, do sit in silence. But it could just be because you take… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

Perhaps, Adrian, you misunderstand the scriptures, or, project something on them not intended by the original writers. I firmly believe that Our Lord rose from the dead in the fullness of his being. I don’t believe that this resurrection was corporeal, any more than I believe that Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharistic sacrifice is corporeal. Many scholars believe that the Transfiguration was originally an Easter Resurrection story. Jesus’ body is transformed. I believe that this transformation is spiritual, just as His Presence in the Holy Mysteries is spiritual. Because something is spiritual does not make it less real; in… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Why does religion have to base itself on the impossible? In order to be victorious?” Because religion is about things that cannot be documented, studied, analysed, or proven. Religion speaks to another part of our humanity entirely. That question is much the same as asking why does music have to concern itself with audible things, or painting with visual images. Victorious over what? Do you really see religion as being about getting one up on everybody else? “whether it has insight into the human condition.” For me, the solidly Incarnational theology I have encountered in very left wing Anglocatholic circles… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“how the language of Christ dying for our sins is then to be dealt with.” Our Sin made us captive to sin and death. Christ joyfully mounts the Cross to do battle with those forces and free us. That’s just one way He could “die for our sins”. What I don’t understand is how PSA can be understood in terms of sacrifice. The only instance of something bearing the sins of others in Jewish tradition was the Scapegoat, and that wasn’t sacrificed per se, but sent into the desert to die. Christ is connected with the Passover Lamb, He is… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford
“Christ joyfully mounts the Cross to do battle”.

You must be reading a different bible from mine. In mine, he is fully human, not a hero from a boy’s medieval adventure novel, and he prays to his Father that he may be spared this cup if possible.
He doesn’t “mount” anything, but is painfully nailed to the cross.

While I don’t go along with those who see him as a “mere” human, he was fully human too, not a God clad in man’s clothing.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; Therefore, let us keep the Feast……….” This Easter antiphon, for me, expresses what I perceive to be the reality of the salvific action of Jesus Christ, and which is re-presented every day on Christian altars around the world. The word ‘sacrifice’ expresses what the Church throughout the ages has seen as God’s remedy for our sins. As the old Prayer Book tells it: “A full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction; for the sins of the whole world” – has already been made: “by his one oblation of himself once offered”. This,… Read more »

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
Guest

Erika. I’m not passing judgment on anyone else’s intellect or such, nor would I call others morons. Tell me, though, what is the difference between being “mere” human and fully human? For me, human is human. I don’t know half a human or less than a full human. Presumably Jesus is different because he has (presumably full) divinity. How does that make any difference if he is supposed to be either fully (or mere) human? As for a spiritual resurrection, that is also an imposition upon the tomb and body emphasis in the gospels, but assuming it is spiritual then… Read more »

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

The key alternative in the matter of the atonement is whether a loving God in Christ is overcoming everything that can separate us from God or whether a God who demands justice be done is appeased by the sacrifice of the Son in our stead. There are fundamentally different anthropologies at work here. In the first, we are a loveable but wayward lot who persist in turning away from God; in the second, we are pond scum, for our righteousness is like rags before the Lord. The first model is about relationships; the basic model is a friendship to which… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pluralist The answer to your question depends completely on whether you can entertain the idea of the existence of God. Christians generally do believe in God as a reality. So there is this man, who is clearly a human being. Something about him is as no man before him as been, and as no man after him will be. Somehow, there is a symbiosis between him and God that allows all we can know of God to be realized in him, and that allows him to speak with an unparalleled authority about God. People who call him “merely” human ignore… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“As for a spiritual resurrection, that is also an imposition upon the tomb and body emphasis in the gospels, but assuming it is spiritual then that’s not sufficient.” Pluralist

Well, perhaps it’s not sufficient for you, Adrian, but it is just fine for me. The Gospels differ in their accounts; some might be said to emphasize the “physical”, others clearly do not. But this is to be expected; after all, how does one “explain” a miracle?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
Guest

OK Erika, have it as your fourth dimension, out of science (and therefore history and anything else).

As for the spiritual, let’s start again. Accepting it is spiritual, is it objective spiritual, the chap returns as a kind of ghost that makes decisions and has an appearance, or a subjective experience to do with culture, expectations of a near end, interpretations of Messiah, the beliefs about resurrection, the lives of apostles with their food rituals, the rearranging of these to form some sort of sense in the new but still expectant situation, but written for early Churches? Objective or subjective?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“painfully nailed” The language of “joyfully mounting the Cross” to do battle is the language of Christus Victor. It is poetic, and meant to cover the idea that He willingly accepted His role in the battle with our captors. The “painful nailing” WAS a part of the battle. Why? Can’t say. “less than a full human.” Actually, pluralist, you know a huge number. If you accept that God made us in His own image and that we fell from that state of grace, none of us are “fully human”. Not that that makes us some kind of subhumans, either, it’s… Read more »

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
Guest

In a way, Ford, you conclude the conversation. Although I do know what you are talking about, I don’t know what you are talking about. I’m not much bothered about Calvinism one way or the other, it’s the very lack of anchor of actual meaning in the notion that we ‘fell’ from a state of grace whatever that may be. Don’t tell me: as I say, I know what you are talking about. We did not fall from anything. We are what we are, have become what we are. Myth is just a creative way of talking about human value,… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“So His body is “fully human” in the sense I spoke of above. It is made of the redeemed matter of Creation made anew, not the fallen matter of Creation as we have known it. Is it that you are thinking of the Resurrection as a body coming back to life? It isn’t that at all, at least it isn’t a body coming back to the life we know, but coming back in the Life of the Kingdom. It’s about a body being restored to New Life.”– Ford Elms

Well said, Ford; very well said!

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

“What’s so inspiring about torturing an innocent God to death so that that same God can stop being angry at His Creation?” – Ford Elms “A full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction; for the sins of the whole world” Thank you Ford Elms! Your summary of some Christians’ belief, and the quote by Fr. Ron Smith from the old Prayer Book (echoed in Rite One TEC 1979 BCP) leave me cold. According to the wonderful opening of John’s Gospel, God the Son was with and part of God the Father from the very beginning. From the very beginning,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Adrian
“Objective or subjective?”

I actually don’t understand the difference. Because something spiritual is, by definition, only accessible to those who are touched by it, all you can say is that it is subjectively experienced as an objective reality.

It really is not measurable with the tools of science. That doesn’t mean it isn’t “real” in a meaningful way, it’s merely a different reality that some appear to be able to tap into while others remain limited to the physical.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Pluralist, I am not trying to tell you what to believe. I have enough trouble trying to figure out what I believe and how to put it into practice. If the mythology of Christianity, or of any religion, doesn’t speak to you, if the innate subjectiveness and abstraction of it are things you just can’t accept, that’s fine, you are hardly alone in that. But you are using a frame of reference that will never allow you understand religion. Religion isn’t an “alternative” to science or history. It sees things in a different way and has a different purpose from… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Erika put it into a fourth dimension, but I’ll wait to see what may be in other dimensions when these things are discovered, should they be.”

They’re very unlikely to be discovered by people who reject the appropriate tools for enquiry.