Thinking Anglicans

opinion at Christmas

Cole Moreton Telegraph Why female bishops could be the Church of England’s saviour

The Guardian editorial The Guardian view on religious intolerance: the burden of the cross

Kurt Eichenwald Newsweek The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin

Ian Paul Jesus really wasn’t born in a stable

There are several articles this week about Justin Welby.

Financial Times leader A Christian leader who is living in the real world
Caroline Wyatt BBC News ‘Super-astute’ Welby faces big challenges ahead
Independent editorial Spiritual – and political: For those who question the Church’s relevance to society, a resounding answer is provided this Christmas
Ian Paul Justin Welby: a leader ‘for such a time as this…’

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Peter. WoodFather DavidJCFRod Gillisdr.primrose Recent comment authors
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Father David
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Father David

After experiencing so many years of Runcie, Carey and Rowan bashing in the Press it is good to read some positive and affirmative coverage concerning Archbishop Welby. However, I was sorry to hear that the Primate missed delivering his Christmas sermon in Canterbury cathedral due to illness. Archbishop Justin has been in the top ecclesiastical job for less than two years and has travelled tens of thousands of miles visiting the vast majority of overseas Anglican Provinces in addition to his onerous duties here at home. This must take its toll physically, mentally and spiritually. I would urge the Archbishop… Read more »

Pluralist
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I can’t see the point of Ian Paul’s revision. None of the nativity is historical anyway. To make it ‘more historical’ when it isn’t makes the thing worse. May as well leave it alone as a fantasy.

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

If you take the Nativity stories seriously, Jesus was born in the spring, not wintertime. Shepherds abiding in the field, lambs, and all that. But, springtime itself is a symbolic time. A time of renewal, re-growth, etc. And lambs are a constant symbolic reference in the Gospels. Meaning, we don’t have a clue as to when Jesus of Nazareth was born, and therefore — December 25 is as good a day as any. I’m going to focus on one minor point of Mr. Eichenwald’s long article on the Bible. Mr. Eichenwald uses American politician Michelle Bachmann as an example of… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
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‘Why female bishops could be the Church of England’s saviour’??? I think that job’s already taken. Talk about setting up impossible expectations! I was puzzled by the article’s quotation from Linda Woodhead, citing the experience in Denmark after female bishops were allowed in 1995, and claiming that this move had ‘saved’ the church. In what sense, I wonder? Statistically, about 2.4% of Danish church members attend church weekly, so whatever it is that they’re offering, it’s apparently only attractive to a tiny percentage of their own members. What does it mean to say that the church has been ‘saved’? And… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Interesting article, Jesus Wasn’t Really Born in a Stable by Ian Paul which he re-cycled from last year. Preachers and interested others will find a very detailed and erudite treatment of all the issues raised by Paul, including Greek vocabulary and grammar, extensively analyzed in Raymond Brown’s, Birth of the Messiah. Paul and Brown make very interesting comparative reading. As for the comment by Pluralist, that it is all “fantasy”, sure they are not “historical”, but wouldn’t mythology be a better term than fantasy? Brown points out that the purpose of the infancy narratives is to transition from the Old… Read more »

dr,primrose
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dr,primrose

Eichenwald’s article is a mess. Some of its claims have support in modern scholarship and some of its claims are just bizarre. For an example of the latter:

“About 50 years later, in A.D. 381, the Romans held another meeting, this time in Constantinople. There, a new agreement was reached—Jesus wasn’t two, he was now three—Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

That council clearly did not make an “agreement” to that effect. Moreover, I’ve never heard of anyone, Christian or not, claiming that’s what the doctrine of the Trinity means.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ dr. primrose, “Eichenwald’s article is a mess.”

Dead on! A long winded regurgitation of material any theology 100 student from the past half century or more knows about, coupled with a polemic, hitched to the theater that is American politics, the latter being its one redeeming quality.

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

Eichenwald’s piece wasn’t a complete mess. There “are” differences between the various ancient manuscripts, such as editing and copying errors, etc. The oldest complete manuscripts are from centuries after the events they describe. And translation invariably involves approximation, which can lead to editing to suit one’s viewpoint.

Although, … “Jesus wasn’t two, he was now three” is a gigantic whopper. What I think Eichenwald was trying to say got compacted into absolute, total nonsense, regardless of a person’s view of the Trinity.
##########
Tim Chesterton on Saturday, 27 December 2014 at 10:48pm GMT, spot on comment. Excellently stated.

Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

Rod Gillis says ‘A long winded regurgitation of material any theology 100 student from the past half century or more knows about, coupled with a polemic, hitched to the theater that is American politics, the latter being its one redeeming quality.’ I agree, as I often do, Rod Gillis with a caveat. A lot of people haven’t taken Theology 100 and I am surprised by how many church going people are utterly ignorant of the basic material that Eichenwald covers. I agree that it could be done better but, judging from my experience in the CofE, a lot of teaching… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

A Roman Catholic acquaintance called attention to another of Eichenwald’s egregious errors on his Facebook page, namely: “To understand how what we call the Bible was made, you must see how the beliefs that became part of Christian orthodoxy were pushed into it by the Holy Roman Empire” –Which didn’t come into existence until several hundred years after Nicea.

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

I concur that Eichenwald’s article is not a “complete” mess. But a lot of it really is a mess. And I say that as someone who’s not remotely a bibical literalist and one who accepts much of modern bibical scholarship. What annoys me the most about it (which is common with much writing about the Bible in the popular press) is the juvenile tone of the 17 year-old who’s discovered that momsey and popsey have sex and aren’t perfect in the way the child thought they were when they were eight. By the time people get to be 40, most… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Daniel Lamont, “A lot of people haven’t taken Theology 100 and I am surprised by how many church going people are utterly ignorant of the basic material that Eichenwald covers.” Totally Agree. While the information in Newsweek is hardly news to many of us, it is unfamiliar to a lot of church goers. Additionally it is under either under utilized or not utilized at all by preachers who often pass on the opportunity to engage in adult education with their parishioners. There are two reasons for engaging in a measure of scholarly exegesis with parishioners. Debunking the fundamentalist literal… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

4:21 pm ought to read, “Additionally it is either under utilized or not utilized at all by preachers who often pass on the opportunity to engage in adult education with their parishioners.”

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re the Cole Moreton article on the salvific potential of female bishops, readers may also be interested in this story from The Edmonton Journal. As the paper reports, the Anglican Bishop in Edmonton, The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander, is female, born in England, the daughter of atheists, and now involved in the issue of poverty.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Daughter+atheists+Anglican+bishop+tackling+poverty/10680274/story.html

JCF
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JCF

“Cole Moreton Telegraph Why female bishops could be the Church of England’s saviour”

Does anyone else suspect the *Telegraph* chose that essay title simply to PROVOKE the obvious response (i.e., that JESUS is/ought to be the CofE’s saviour, w/ the corollary response, “the CofE is apostate!”)? The essay itself is FAR more measured than the OTT title would suggest.

Father David
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Father David

Jesus really wasn’t born in a stable. Well, I suppose this make a pleasant seasonal change from the various vicars who annually ruin children’s Christmas by saying that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist.

Peter. Wood
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Peter. Wood

Given the enormous and justified coverage of Libby Lane’s appointment, it might have been hoped that Cole Moreton or the Telegraph subs would have got the date of her consecration correct.