Thinking Anglicans

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Church of England Newspaper editorial The battle for the soul of the Church

Isabel Hardman The Spectator Conservative Anglicans’ emergency plan to escape women bishops

Phoebe Thompson of Premier Youthwork spoke to Sally Hitchiner about Diverse Church.

Jules Evans has interviewed Richard Chartres: The Bishop of London on Christian contemplation.

Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that If Justin Welby has doubts about God it’s no bad thing (with reference to this story).

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David RuncornAndrew GodsallThe Rev'd Mervyn NooteLaurie RSimon R Recent comment authors
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Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Behind the debates over sexuality and assisted dying lies a battle for the soul of Anglicanism between liberals like Woodhead and those who want to see a Church faithful to gospel and tradition and speaking with a distinctive voice.”

Because we all know that liberals are not faithful to the gospel.
Is anyone else getting thoroughly fed up with these caricatures?

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

The constant moaning by the irrelevant anti-reform group “Reform” is becoming increasingly tiresome. Holding a conference ignored by the vast majority of Anglicans will hardly convert the world. I’m convinced that if they threaten to leave the Church of England, those people who have heard of these dinosaurs will echo the words in The Spectator – “Good riddance”,
.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Is anyone else getting thoroughly fed up with these caricatures?” Yes. Jesus broke taboos to teach, heal, and hang out with women. Women were the first witnesses to the Resurrection. In ancient church doctrine, it was established that the character of the priest or bishop did not inhibit the Grace of the sacraments. So baptisms, weddings, ordinations, etc., by pedophile priests and bishops are valid. But not by a women? God is so stingy that the sacraments are valid as distributed by male criminals, adulterers, etc., but not holy women? Please! Significant cherry picking is required to make these strong… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

Erika,
There’s more of the same in the “comments” section of Isabel Hardman’s Spectator article. More and more, we are seeing “the other”, not as a person with whom we disagree but share common values or a common religon, but as an enemy.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

I was thrilled when I saw the title of Isabel Hardman’s article, Conservative Anglicans’ Emergency Plan to Escape Women Bishops. However the title disappointed when I opened the article only to find that it was not, in fact, about an old sketch from either Monty Python or The Two Ronnies. On the other matter, concerning Archbishop Welby’s now widely reported comments about doubting God, if memory serves me, Paul Tillich once wrote that the opposite of faith is not doubt, the opposite of faith is despair. Let’s hope the Archbishop with his comment, has revealed himself to be something of… Read more »

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

Erica
I think this is an article by someone who feels their own tradition is being caricatured.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

The churches that are represented by Reform in the Church of England are important. They are usually growing and their ministry in the communities that they serve is effective. My issue is that they have never seemed to be overly concerned with the ministry of bishops, unlike the traditional catholics. They need a bishop to confirm candidates but for what other purpose? They will be able to take advantage of the ministry of a bishop who is of their integrity and I can assure them that if they find themselves in a diocese where the diocesan bishop is a woman… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

David, are you saying the Church of England Newspaper article was written by someone who believes that Linda Woodhead’s research caricatures their position?

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

More and more evangelical bishops to add to the archbishops. (Look at the string of recent announcements).

Oh yes, none of these are sufficiently extreme for REFORM ! Are they ?

Do REFORM ‘effectively serve’ the people living in their parishes ? All of them ? It hardly seems possible, to me. But perhaps Anthony Archer refers to the gathered community of the like-minded .

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

The opposite of faith is not ‘doubt’ but ‘certainty’.

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

I think the Church of England newspaper article raises interesting questions. As someone who was a child in the era when gay sex was a criminal offence which church leaders worked to decriminalise, and an adult LGBT rights activist at the time when central government brought in section 28, I think it would be unwise to put too much trust in any state! The challenge is for the church to be humble enough to learn from social changes which reflect greater compassion and desire for justice while being boldly counter-cultural when needed.

rjb
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rjb

The language of the CoEN piece was certainly unhelpful, but I significantly agree with much of what it says. Moreover, I can well understand why conservatives might take exception to Linda Woodhead’s somewhat dismissive labeling of deeply-committed Anglicans (including Rowan Williams!!) as “sectarians” and “God-fearers.” I’m going to err on the side of generosity and assume that both the CoEN and Professor Woodhead are merely careless with their language rather than seeking deliberately to caricature or slur their opponents. But let’s not get distracted by factional point-scoring. The real issue that the editorial raises is a very serious one indeed:… Read more »

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

Erika Yes I suspect so.
Don’t all traditions tend to caricature each other. Even a broad, fuzzy edged evangelical like me struggles to recognise this tradition when summarised by others on TA discussion threads ….
But I also think there are real questions to ask about Linda Woodhead’s understand of local church whatever your tradition.

Fr Paul
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Fr Paul

“The opposite of faith is not ‘doubt’ but ‘certainty’.”

And the person who said this has described himself as an “after-religionist”…..

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

David and rjb, what caricature of conservative positions do really grate for you in that article? I always get really really cross when liberalism is automatically equated with abandoning the gospel. And I mind not because it’s a caricature but because it makes genuine conversation very difficult. If you believe that the person you speak to is only motivated by selfish and un-Christian reasons, you don’t really respect them as much as a constructive conversation requires. As for Linda Woodhead’s understanding of local church, it might help to read the full article about this survey, which dates back to February… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

‘grave qualms about the way gay marriage has come about’

Yes, indeed the neglect of it by the C of E must give cause for concern.

And yet, wonderful to find the state doing God’s work. God will always raise up those who will do God’s work and bring in the basileia a little nearer. The Hebrew Bible makes this very clear.

I find the bleating of highly privileged christians distasteful.

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

“Behind the debates over sexuality and assisted dying lies a battle for the soul of Anglicanism between liberals like Woodhead and those who want to see a Church faithful to gospel and tradition and speaking with a distinctive voice.”

Do nothing, allow nothing to happen. This has often been the greatest block to grace and growth in love and trust.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re, the opposite of faith is “certainty”. I’m doubtful. For one thing, I think “faith” in its most pure form as trust, or ultimate concern to continue with Tillich’s notion, and as distinct from belief, is never truly settled in a person’s life. My God, my God why have abandoned me?

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Erika I thought rjb pointed up Prof Woodhead’s tendency to ‘dismissive labelling’ quite clearly. I read the original material published and that is why I have questions.
Did you see the response by Ian Paul
http://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/state-of-the-church-sociology-or-theology/

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

While the CEN’s dismissive, sectarian, editorial has got most people excited, it’s Sally Hitchiner’s interview, and its horrid tales of suicide attempts, that ought to give pause for thought. We recently had an older man transfer into our parish from a Charismatic Evangelical one in the Deanery. He came out in mid-life, having fallen in love. In a polite way, his former parish vicar, knowing we are affirming, asked could we ‘take him in’. As it stood, he was apparently undermining the Vicar of St Xs’ ‘teaching authority’. We are very glad to have him. He is a delightful man,… Read more »

Laurie R
Guest
Laurie R

I find the so-called ‘open evangelicals’ here and elsewhere far from open, but in fact, militantly anti-gay while smiling nicely and using ‘gracious’ language. It quite often gives me a physical reaction. This helps me to be clear what I am up against – merely by reading them. Some of us have suffered, in the course of our lives physical homophobia, as well as verbal, emotional or spiritual. This vulnerability lays us open to flash-backs, dizziness and other physical and emotional reactions. I myself underwent NHS aversion ‘therapy’ / electric shock ‘treatment’ in my late teens; and I find some… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

David,
thank you for that link, I like how Ian Paul takes Linda’s thinking as a basis for his own thoughts on church and society.

But I see him disagreeing with some of her conclusions, not with her basic research nor how she words it.
Where’s the caricature that makes fruitful conversation almost impossible?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rev’d Mervyn,
one of the problems is that, as with any other form of child abuse, the abused don’t want Social Services to take them away, they want to remain in their families and simply want the abuse to stop.
And the lgbt people Sally is talking about are over 18, so technically free to leave their churches and find more welcoming ones.
But that’s not easy, when your whole childhood has been spent in a particular church, all your friendships are there, your whole sense of belonging and of faith is rooted there.

Laurie R
Guest
Laurie R

Thank you very much for sharing that, Rev’d Mervyn.

It is so upsetting to read, but needs to be made known that this is what goes on (and on).

You are doing so much – yet clearly under restraint yourself — to understate the matter.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

oops! mea culpa, at Sept. 21 , 10:07 “The opposite of faith is certainty”,

that should read, the opposite of doubt is “certainty”…etc.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

David (Runcorn) The problem with Ian Paul’s approach in the link you post lies here: “This is the reason why I always refused to allow ordinands to use the word ‘church’. It is all too easy to confuse our contemporary idea of ‘institution’ with the New Testament vision of an eschatological, Spirit-filled, counter-cultural pilgrim people of God” Ian is very keen to argue for what the ‘institution’ says when it comes to the issue of gay clergy. He will tell you what ‘the church teaches’ – meaning what the institution of the House of Bishops happens to say publicly about… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Andrew Unless I have misunderstood you I have to say I think you completely misrepresent Ian Paul here. I don’t always agree with him but I have worked with him and respect him as a rigorous, independently minded, evangelical NT theologian. He would never argue for ‘the institution’ line on anything unless he found it is taught in scripture and even then he would have his own take on it. (I have worked with him in an institution and he is not one to just follow the line!) I agree with the second sentence of Ian you quote. And unless… Read more »

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

It became obvious to me in a previous thread that the David Runcorn/Ian Paul trajectory hardly offers a depth of catholicity when it comes to formulating a way to do theology, ecclesiology and ethics. Nonetheless, I want to hope that the Winchester/Manchester dichotomy may not be the cul-de-sac it appears to be initially. One of the lessons we have to learn in the light of the Northern Ireland situation is that sustainable peace was only possible when the two extremes were brought together and – eventually – found common ground. Paisley met the one-time commander of the IRA and discovered… Read more »

Laurie R
Guest
Laurie R

‘..I always refused to allow ordinands to use the word ‘church..’ ‘

This gives cause for great concern.

A power imbalance here.

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

Erika, The LGBT people in Sally’s group are now over 18 but some of the treatment meted out to them happened when they were minors. When it started to become obvious that there was a systemic problem with sex abuse in various institutions, it wasn’t because children were reporting things happening at the time, but because adults were reporting things that had happened to them years before. I think there are parallels between the two issues. When young adults start demanding answers for the treatment they endured as adolescents – and it is starting to happen – then we are… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

David: I have no wish to Mis represent Ian, or anyone else and I apologise if I do. My point is that we can’t just claim ‘the church teaches’ when we happen to agree with what the House of Bishops says. The church is more than the House of Bishops. The pastoral statement they issued in Feb this year was most unhelpful and needs addressing urgently. It does not accurately represent what the Church teaches.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Thanks Andrew I entirely agree with you – and I think Ian would too.