Monday, 19 September 2005

Anglican Mainstream yet again on civil partnerships

Anglican Mainstream has today issued a further response, Letter to English House of Bishops.

Members of the public - apparently without restriction - are invited to sign it too. Although addressed “Dear Bishops”, the AM front page says:

Anglican Mainstream has issued a letter to all Bishops, Archdeacons and Deans of the Church of England, calling on them to rethink their statement on and response to UK Civil Partnerships. The letter calls on the Bishops to “publicly, courageously and consistently hold out to society the teaching of the Bible and the Church and the implications of it for holiness of life”.

(It will not escape the bishops’ notice that, of the original signatories, one has resigned his high office in the Church of England and is shortly to join a presbyterian body in the USA, and one of them is a clergy member of another Anglican province.)

This new statement of 19 September should not be confused with the previous statement of 6 August, here, or the one of 13 June, here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 19 September 2005 at 4:10pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Excuse me, but: yawn.

After 40 years of hearing "implications" that gay relationships - no matter how long-term and no matter how dedicated - can never be considered holy, I've lost interest completely.

These people are simply out of reality. And this statement is highly offensive, to boot - which is of course nothing new. Just one in a long, long line of thoughtless and offensive statements from the usual suspects.

So I reiterate: yawn.

Posted by: bls on Monday, 19 September 2005 at 10:18pm BST

Dear Bis, Homosexual sexuality is sinful according to the Bible writers, church tradition and th teachings of the Church of England! It does not reflect the order that God created for mankind. You may not understand it, but it has been carefully considered; especially given the pressure the church is under from our liberal heirachy and politicians.

As for you finding any statement against homosexual behaviour offensive; it is hardly the only thing that Christians believe that someone else finds offensive. Try the concept of hell on unbelievers, or the claim that God came to earth as a man on a Muslim; or the prohibition of (most) divorce and remarriage on many film-stars!

Anglican Mainstream are expressing the Biblical, Traditional and Official position of the CofE, and pointing out that the HoB's current advice is not fully consistent with them. Since several groups headed by or including Bishops (AM, Fulcrum, CEEC) have expressed strong reservations, and one liberal Bishop has also denounced the advice (!), I wonder how this became HoB pastoral advice in the first place. Were half the Bishops on holiday ?

ps There are some things I would rather change about Christian morality too. But then Jesus called us to die to self and follow him; not to seek and follow our own desires.

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 20 September 2005 at 12:02am BST

This is a brave second attempt to catch up with Peter Akinola's spin on CP's.
I expect Anglican Mainstream to stop making hasty judgments in future until they have first heard from the new leadership.
I suspect they will soon (be told to) stop advertising Fulcrum's more sensible words.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 20 September 2005 at 1:09am BST

....as indeed they may see your stance as being offensive to God bls. Some of the people whom you deride so easily are wonderful men of God, actively involved in ministry, humble, utterly sincere, and anything but thoughtless. You may choose, in your wisdom, to reject their conclusions, but please let's avoid such extravagant desmissals of them as people.

Posted by: Ian on Tuesday, 20 September 2005 at 5:43am BST

I don't remember "dismissing them as people." Interesting that you take it that way, though - especially since this is exactly what they are doing in regards to gay people.

I do of course dismiss their statements completely as unworthy of anybody's time and attention any longer.

Posted by: bls on Wednesday, 21 September 2005 at 2:57am BST

If those people are as you say, Ian, then why do they continue to make offensive, bigoted comments - unless, of course, Christianity really is an offensive,bigoted religion, as indeed it is if Dave's post is correct.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 22 September 2005 at 1:59am BST

bls has nailed the "significance" of this right on the head. Anglican "Mainstream" comes out with a predictable response against the CoE's statement on UK Civil Partnerships, makes the highly dubious claim that they somehow have the only correct stance on "the teaching of the Bible and the Church and the implications of it for holiness of life”, etc... and we're all still supposed to be interested ? (Not that I fault Simon for posting it)

What's interesting is the apparent state of delusion within which some "conservatives" seem to exist, where such repetitive, predictable statements & press releases are thought to actually convince anyone not of "the faithful" of the error of their ways...

Posted by: David Huff on Thursday, 22 September 2005 at 6:10pm BST

Hi David-

The purpose of a press release is not to convince anybody. It is to be truthful and accurate. I know it's anathema in our fast-moving age to say that some truths don't change a lot - but maybe that is actually the case. In fact, by definition, anything that actually is true (in more than a temporal/contextual sense) never could change.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 23 September 2005 at 1:20pm BST

Just to add that the AM letter is, I think, a statement of what most evangelical CofE churches will do after the introduction of CPs. Since the HoB have said that they should not *continue* to discipline homosexual sin (under the guise of "no change") I guess this is likely to lead to conflicts either with either the secular or church authorities. Evangelicals have been put in a difficult position!

Hence I think the letter should also be seen in context of the recent statements by all the main evangelical CoFE groups (from right to left):

Reform (5 Sept?), Church Society (19 Sept) and Fulcrum (17 Sept).

...and significant that the CEEC (the umbrella organisation for evangelicals in the CofE) now has the same letter on its website:

http://www.ceec.info/#CivPart Letter


Posted by: Dave on Friday, 23 September 2005 at 6:35pm BST

Dear DH and MM, AM are following pretty exactly what the "Windsor Report" and "Some Issues in Human Sexuality" concluded, as well as the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, and the Church for the last 2000 years.

Morality is not bigotry; being open-minded is not the same as being immoral.. Nor is it bigotry to reaching a conclusion !

And the letter was addressed to the Bishops of the CofE, who I would hope were some of the faithful. It is not Apologetics !!


Posted by: Dave on Friday, 23 September 2005 at 6:47pm BST

Dr. Shell wrote: "In fact, by definition, anything that actually is true (in more than a temporal/contextual sense) never could change."

Which, of course, is where our two sides disagree WRT our gay and lesbian brothers & sisters having anyplace in our church life, or in our society at large for that matter. We consider the attitudes about them held by First Cent. Middle Easterners to have a strong cultural context with little or no relation to any absolute moral truth - much like their attitudes about slavery or the equality of women.

Posted by: David Huff on Sunday, 25 September 2005 at 11:05pm BST

'Morality is not bigotry'

That is so rich, Dave.

You do not identify which morality you are speaking of, so I have to assume you are speaking in general terms (but my point stands even if you mean Christian morality or sexual morality)

In claiming, by this use, the broad concept of 'morality' as a term for your own (reasserter) interpretation and definition of Christian sexual ethics, you are actually being 'strongly partial to your own group, religion, race, or politics and being intolerant of those who differ' which is the definition of the second term you use in that phrase, 'morality is not bigotry'.

Reasserters only INTERPRET the bible, and the traditions and the teachings of the church. They do not have the authority to claim morality as their own. That is an teeny bit presumptious.

Posted by: matt on Monday, 26 September 2005 at 4:49am BST

I'd say that your so-called 'morality' is a very good example of bigotry, Dave. Traditional Christianity is institutionally homophobic.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 26 September 2005 at 10:23am BST

Hi David-

Yes, although not just first-century Middle Eastern. Many societies in many historical periods.

The 'new' ideas, equally, are unmistakably 20th/21st century Western: highly culture-bound.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 27 September 2005 at 3:50pm BST

Dear Matt, what I meant was general... that we all have moral beliefs, but that does not necessarily mean that we are bigotted about whatever issue it is. Just maybe we have "listened" to peoples experiences, have thought about all sides of the issue, and have then come to a decision.

In my opinion it is a cheap defence of a behaviour to claim that anyone who disapprove is "bigotted" or "judgemental" etc. It's the classic arguement from the teenager whose parents dare suggest she shouldn't sleep around, especially if she then ends up with a STD or pregnant. Attack the person rather than what they are saying.

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 30 September 2005 at 12:22am BST

Dear Mike, traditional Christianity, exemplified by AM among others, believes that homosexual genital acts are morally sinful (along with many other sexual behaviours). But don't forget that love for sinners is at *the core* of traditional Christianity.

Isn't your presumption of "homophobia" - that we hate or fear 'homosexuals' - just stereotyping / bigotry towards us ? I can assure you that it isn't generally true!

"A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from their own." "A bigot will continue to hold these opinions even when confronted with evidence that challenges such stereotypes."

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 30 September 2005 at 12:41am BST

I'm confused.

On one had, I hear that gay people are only gay if/when they are "sexually active". The ex-gay ministries claim success if a homosexual stops having gay sex (feelings/orientation notwithstanding) and is celibate or gets married. But on the other hand when I have said that I'm gay to a conservative, (s)he never asks me whether I'm having or intend to have sex before telling me I'm going to hell. Saying I'm gay is enough for that. Is a sexually abstinate same sex oriented person still a gay person or not?

Another point of confusion: the C of E says okay to its clergy entering into Civil Partnerships as long as they remain celebate. That celibacy rule is clear from the report. Are people of the same sex in Civil Partnerships but following the C or E rule gay or not? And are two same sex celibate individuals in a Civil Partnership living an unbiblical lifestyle or not? If so, which rule are they breaking?

And why are people like Dave battling whether homosexual sex is Biblical or not (and as I understand it, the Bible only condemns same sex temple prostitution) when that isn't even the question here? Who is talking about sex acts? They are forbidden to the clergy of the C of E. in Civil Partnerships. Why does the Anglican Mainstream have an issue with celibate people entering into Civil Partnerships?

I wish these people could be consistent.

Posted by: toujoursdan on Friday, 30 September 2005 at 10:07pm BST

I'm pretty sure I have told you before that your definition of homophobia is somewhat out of date. The woprd is used, nowadays, to simply indicate someone who is anti-gay ie does not believe in the equal status of gay and lesbian people and their relationships.
You come into that category. Thus, you are homophobic. As is your religion (conservative Christianity) and that is why it is unacceptable and requires revision.

Incidentally, as my relationship is not sinful, I don't need your conditional so-called love, nor the approval of your religion.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 30 September 2005 at 11:14pm BST

Dear Merseymike, I think you should define a term that is less perjorative for people who "love homosexual sinners". It means nothing - just a term of abuse !

How would you like it of I aserted that you "hate and fear" conservatives because you think our attitudes are sinful ?!

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 1 October 2005 at 11:03am BST

Oh, I don't fear conservatives, Dave - but I do hate their ideas. Thats why I work against them, and hope that one day we will not have to share the same denomination.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 1 October 2005 at 10:36pm BST

Dear 'Thinking Anglicans',
I've just been viewing your site and feel I might have something to contribute as a 'thinking Anglican' myself.
In my church there are several homosexual individuals (at least 8 I know of first hand), all of whom are delighted that God has redeemed them from a hopeless future, and ultimate alienation from God after death. This is the human condition outlined by God and endorses comprehensively by Jesus. Its also what the Christian church universally teaches.
For these individuals, part of their old wasted life was their homosexual urges and in most cases practises too. These people understand Christianity, which is all about being genuinely redeemed by God alone for the present and the future. Nothing new in this gospel. They have no patiance with secular humanists trying to drag them back to their immoral gay lifelstyles by saying that God blesses and endorses their sin.
So if you want to 'think', think about the real, historic gospel of Jesus Christ. Not the secular humanist clap trap that sounds religious but is just vain immorality. My congregation of 600 certainly knows the difference, and many are experiencing first hand the truth and freedom that being a proper Chrsitian entails.
Yours, R. Fothergill

Posted by: Rev. Richard Fothergill on Friday, 27 January 2006 at 7:15pm GMT
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