Saturday, 22 April 2006

opinions on the Saturday after Easter

The Times today carries an article by Andrew Linzey entitled ‘The logic of all purity movements is to exclude’. The strapline reads Our correspondent suggests that Anglicans listen to the Holy Spirit, and not to the schismatic fundamentalists. No doubt TA readers will have something to say about this…

The Credo column is by Rod Strange, The doubt of Thomas was not a lack of faith but a deeper love.

In the Guardian the Face to Faith column is also critical of dogmatism. David Haslam writes that The risks of rigid methods of parenting have echoes in the dangers of the more dogmatic forms of religion.

Madeleine Bunting had a really interesting article on Friday about the Anglican church angles on The constitutional crisis we face when the Queen is gone.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Yorkshire’s own chosen Emperor. The exhibition to which he refers Constantine the Great has its own website here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 22 April 2006 at 12:36pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

I echo the words of Professor Linzey and observe that there may be a creeping fear in the deliberations of the Communion that we cannot apply reason to Scripture and tradition, and indeed, that we act as if we have not been doing this all along, and that if we persist in the foolishness of applying reason well, then we are done for.

The impulse to apply reason is decidedly Anglican. I suppose a fundamentalist impulse is as well, but it has always run parallel to the tenet to not only tolerate diversity but to encourage it. Perhaps it was the cruelties and plain wickedness of Mary's reign and the Interregnum that gave us the clear need for this approach. And seeing as how TEC was founded during the American Revolution and even adopted a similar form of polity balancing all interests, it is not surprising that we do not here in our Church either, approve of or accept as dispositive, fundamentalism. We never have and I daresay we never will; because like Elizabeth I, we do not trust it in the hands of men just as fallen as the rest of us.

I also note the professor's point rebutting that TEC and Canada acted without deliberation. The issue of sexuality has been well studied and discussed here for quite some time. The area has also received quite a bit of attention in our legal canons. There are other denominations and faiths addressing the issue and questioning the continued discrimination against an entire class of people. There are nations with whom we have close and long ties that have studied the question for just as long, which have proceeded even further than we have here in the U.S.

The Lord said not one word about lbgt people. Yet He specifically and strongly banned divorce, by name. I wonder how some of the fundamentalists square being in churches descended from a church founded on breaking the Lord's command not to divorce with their position that we definitely can't do something He never mentioned.

Posted by: RMF on Saturday, 22 April 2006 at 1:57pm BST

Professor Linzey is right on and gives me hope. I stumbled upon a blog emanating out of Oxford University with quite an opposite view - a real pit of vipers, I must say. So it gives comfort to see that temperate and spirit-filled voices such as Linzey's are finding outlet and being heard. I pray for the evangelicals that they repent for their hard-heartedness and for their legalism. And I pray for the steadfastness of the people of love and inclusion.

Posted by: Byron on Saturday, 22 April 2006 at 4:16pm BST

"Not all truth is given in the past; the Spirit has something to teach us in the present. All innovations should be tested, but it is a mistake to assume that all development is infidelity."


I'd go so far as to say all traditions should be reviewed occasionally, too.

Posted by: Tim on Saturday, 22 April 2006 at 9:28pm BST

Thanks for the links Simon, Linzey's article is excellent. It has only been in recent years that it has been possible to take the misuse of power and abuse by predatory priests within the church hierarchy. Without the secular state and secular humanists, there would have been no checks or controls to expose or limit their vitriole as this poison is eliminated from our church structures. If God had not want them exposed He would not have allowed the internet nor bloggers to be created. It has only been through fear of external sanctions that some dioceses have put in place child protection or anti-bullying policies, and we still see covert forms of abuse. Some of these dioceses, like Nigeria, can only be reformed through successful modelling in other nations or dioceses. Eventually their abusive conduct will be so unusual (rather than the norm) that they too will repent. This article was posted on Algemeiner overnight and was to do with standing up to abuse of the Nazi regime, but it applies in other situations too:, it concludes with the comment that "...when something important is happening, silence is a lie."

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 22 April 2006 at 10:42pm BST

"....the issues are not the same. In Fosdick’s day, the wedges were biblical inerrancy, the Virgin Birth, the literal Second Coming and a theory of the atonement called “penal substitution”."

Really? They sound quite familiar issues today.

"“Sex inside marriage is holy, sex outside marriage is unholy” now strains credulity."

What? Since when?

Linzey seems to exist in a parallel universe which denies the reality of the Anglican Communion and just attempting to discredit the majority by calling them "fundamentalist" is really pathetic.

The fundamentalists today are those who cannot tolerate anything except liberalism.

I can agree with the strap line mind you: listening to the Holy Spirit as He speaks through Scripture is a pretty excellent idea for Anglicans...

Posted by: Neil B on Saturday, 22 April 2006 at 11:35pm BST

Tongue in cheek: thank goodness we have the literalists who can guarantee through their absolute scriptural authority that the Holy Spirit is a He. May they continue to construct and describe their perfect image of God whilst us other less enlightened souls continue our contemplations because we find God too big to fully comprehend.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 23 April 2006 at 9:33am BST

Neil B writes:

Linzey seems to exist in a parallel universe which denies the reality of the Anglican Communion and just attempting to discredit the majority by calling them "fundamentalist" is really pathetic.
The fundamentalists today are those who cannot tolerate anything except liberalism.
I can agree with the strap line mind you: listening to the Holy Spirit as He speaks through Scripture is a pretty excellent idea for Anglicans...

Thank you Neil. The 1979 BCP is clear about the Spirit and Scripture (from the outline of the Faith)

Q. How do we recognize the truths taught by the Holy
A. We recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit
when they are in accord with the Scriptures.

Personally I believe that we are now not in parallel universes. There are now at least two different religions seeking some kind of ascendency in the AC. This is not about moral purity as Linzey suggests but about doctrinal clarity as to what is and is not Apostolic Christianity. Personally, as I hesitate to speak for others, this is a question of the freedom or lack thereof to reinterpret Apostolic Christianity. I question the prevailing heterodoxy that is the foundation of the current innivations.

The Apostolic faith is not subject to the reinterpretation of the Spirit of the Age. Rather it is upheld by the Holy Spirit as revealed in Scripture as plainly understood and guided by reason (being currently elucidated by Windsor and the Primates) and the voice of the Church (currently Lambeth 1.10).

Call me fundamentalist! Under these circumstances I count it an honor for the sake of Christ and his Church.

Happy St. George's day.

Posted by: Ian Montgomery on Sunday, 23 April 2006 at 10:10am BST

Which world is Prof Linzey living in ? He wrote: "In previous decades disagreements about sexuality bothered Anglicans, but the idea that they merited schism would have been regarded as preposterous. That we are now at this point indicates the near triumph of the exclusivist tendency." Right ? Err, wrong ! Unless I was fantasising it all, this crisis was brought about by the dominant so called "inclusive" tendency in ECUSA - who decided to override scripture, and the communion's expressed will, by consecrating a bishop living in a homosexual partnership..

And I love the strap line: 'The logic of all purity movements is to exclude'... But from all I read here and on other liberal sites, "Inclusive" folk aren't inclusive in an absolute sense - they still exclude people who sin in their eyes. They just include and exclude a slightly different set of people people, and on a somewhat different basis to scriptural/historical Christianity.

As for "The way forward is to grasp the dynamic of God: as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the teaching God, which, we are promised, will guide believers into all truth (John xvi, 13)". I presume that Prof Linzey means that he thinks that it is the Holy Spirit who is leading "progressives" to reject what He previously revealed to the Church !

If I were Prof Linzey I would be worrying about whether it really is divine revelation or just the influence of the spirit of the age. Why it is that all these so called "new revelations" happen to be exactly the same as recent developments in the secular society around us ? Isn't Prof Linzey just trying to justify a game of "me too" ?

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 23 April 2006 at 2:57pm BST


"There is one sure way of testing the Spirit: do our beliefs lead to an increase in injustice, bigotry and suffering? If they do, they simply cannot be reconciled with the workings of the creative, compassionate Spirit promised to us."


Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit,
Gal 5:21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Linzey's spirit is the spirit of the age-- whatever the current secular liberal mindset believes, that is the spirit that people such as Linzey follow.

Posted by: Dave C. on Sunday, 23 April 2006 at 7:25pm BST

'In previous decades disagreements about sexuality bothered Anglicans, but the idea that they merited schism would have been regarded as preposterous. That we are now at this point indicates the near triumph of the exclusivist tendency.'

I agree that it is rather odd for narrow minded bigots to be wanting to split the church over homosexuality, but there is a huge difference these days to previous decades. The post contraceptive pill, and now post HIV/AIDS world, has led to much greater openness and honesty where things previously were hidden or implicit. Not everybody is agreed about what the 'rules' currently are re 'explicit' and 'implicit' either. Of course there are no more gay clergy these days than in previous decades when, as you correctly say, the idea of splitting the church over the issue would indeed have been preposterous. The bigotry that now seeks a purge was not having to confront the open and explicit reality now presented to them. What is most illogical though is why they haven't purged the church of divorcees...why didn't the remarriage of a former Bishop of Birmingham to a divorcee rent the church asunder for example? (Thank God it didn't, but I cannot follow the logic of why they want to pick and choose what they regard as so-called scriptural values)

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 23 April 2006 at 8:43pm BST

I don't remember liberal Anglicans recommending the exclusion of others. I do remember them standing up to protect pots that are discarded by others. I do remember them advocating diversity and tolerance. I do remember them challenging exclusionists projecting their agenda onto the "other". Some people seem to assume that when they are debating with an alternative, that the alternative is playing by the same rules that they have embraced. That is called projection and an erroneous assumption in this debate. One side is advocating a diverse and broad tent communion, where alternatives are heard and shared. The other is trying to create the "pure" communion where the others submit to re-education because they have the holiest interpretations. For example check out this thread, including part of a posting of 6 April which states: "Being from Sydney, this issue doesn't really effect us as much... however, with the odd Church (eg. CCSL) in the Diocese which does actually support Anglo-Catholocism or even liberalism there has also been (in my eyes) a great degree of hostility towards such movements gaining momentum within the Diocese. The way I see it is like this, Sydney is a unified Diocese because we are, by our very own admission, Evangelical."

This person openly acknowledges that a great degree of hostility towards such movements gaining momentum occurs within the Diocese. Oh, and if evangelical means believing in Jesus' unique redemptive sacrifice and divine role, then I am evangelical too - as well as being a Christian. So don't try and stake exclusive claims on that title and then try and pretend that we don't believe in Jesus or God and can therefore be hostilely dismissed.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 23 April 2006 at 9:57pm BST

I fully concur with Professor Linzey in his assessment of the situation within the Anglican Communion. I have never met a more judgmental lot than the 'reasserters'. I don't think that their judgmentalism expresses the love of Christ. They take 1 Cor. 5 as an absolute mandate - expel from the Church all the sexually impure and deviant. Michael Ramsey, in many of his talks about the Spirit of Anglicanism, mentions the possibility of the 'purists' expelling all adulterers, fornicators and sexually impure. What does the Church gain by doing that? he asked. His answer: the prideful and the self-righteous. The Church won't be able to banish sinners from its midst - no matter how hard the 'purists' try. True holiness is a gift of God's grace, not the fruit of human achievement.

I am truly saddened by the presence of God's 'storm troopers' among Anglicans, a Church which, historically, has always been inclusive rather than opting to be a 'purist' sect with its expanding list of litmus tests and its 'theology of contamination'. With regard to the latter, be out of Communion with a bishop of priest who ministers to homosexuals; a bishop who ordains members of the (biblically inferior) female gender; or a bishop who attends HoB meetings at which V. Gene Robinson is present or anyone who may have had an association with Jack Spong or John T. A. Robinson. Are the 'purists' really Christians?

Posted by: John Henry on Monday, 24 April 2006 at 5:23am BST

Dear John, Cheryl, and Neil, it seems that hostility is not the exclusive preserve of conservatives! Neither is exclusion - though liberals tend to call it "excluded themselves" when someone can't accept what liberals want, and "being excluded" when someone can't accept what non-liberals want.

I rejoice in Anglicanism being a broad *church*. But don't forget that being a church has a definition; ie believing and behaving *within* reasonable interpretations of the teachings of Christ and the Apostles (you remember, the foundation and founders of the Church?).

Prof Linzey and many other "liberals" don't seem to want so much a broad church as a broad neo-religious club !

To me it's fantastic that the church includes people who were, formerly, all sorts of sinners - but now repentant. And I'm very happy when people are honest about their sexual temptations - as long as it is to receive support to resist (and hopefully change), rather than to solicit encouragement and 'affirmation' to sin. Nor do I try to banish [repentant] "sinners" - or I'd be the first to have to leave!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 24 April 2006 at 8:26pm BST

Re Galatians and Dave C

The sort of sexual behaviour (homo or heterosexual) St. Paul condemns is when it is in the context of/contributes to the sins listed in Galatians 19/20/21.
The Christian vocation is to be faithful kind gentle loving etc. (Galatians 22/23) in all things, including sexuality.

The unkind and uncontrolled bigotry which condemns the beautiful creatures God has created to be beautifully homosexual and heterosexual, seems not to realise that Christian faithfulness requires a turning towards God which makes people flourish and joyous. The vocation is to become the best, loving, kind, faithful, *practising* homosexual it is possible to be. Many examples there are, and surely this is reason for immense thanks for the wisdom and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which has led the Church thus far.

Repentance for practising homo and heterosexuals is precisely the Christian way...turning to Christ and loving your male or female partner, and being welcomed and celebrated by the community in the manner of Galatians 22/23.

(Dave is wrong to slur faithful members of the church who support the Holy Spirit in this process as belonging to a broad neo-religious club)

Re would Dave suggest all adulterers and those who have remarried behave when he talks of repentant sinners? Would he ask them to undo all the steps which have led to now 'sinful' state in which they find themselves? Or would he 'solicit encouragement and 'affirmation' to sin? What does repentance mean in this commonplace scenario, and why only recently get hot under the collar over gay people, having been silent for so long about other sexual sins? In Linzey's words, methinks this strains credulity...

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 25 April 2006 at 9:33am BST

Dear Neil, Christ and St Paul taught that adultery is always wrong and the divorce and remarriage is wrong except in some limited circumstances. My interpretation is that marriage should be supported as far as possible, separation undertaken with a view to finding a way back together, and remarriage only considered when the other partner has rejected you and found someone else.

I know that many people join churches in all sorts of relationships, some maybe like the woman at the well who had had 5 husbands and the man she had was not her husband. Jesus welcomed and proclaimed the kingdom to her, but that doesn't mean he approved !

Regarding your claim that "The vocation is to become the best, loving, kind, faithful, *practising* homosexual it is possible to be." How come the only thing that can't change is the homosexual bit if you ? Sexuality is not sacrosanct - we are called to become like Christ - which includes all we are, no holds barred ! Since in the new heaven there will be no marriage (Matt 22:30), I think it is reasonable to assume that there will be no sexuality either !

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 25 April 2006 at 7:53pm BST

Dear Dave,

Some people do indeed change from homo to heterosexual and vice versa, and modern research is assisting us greatly in understanding the complexities involved. But, in the majority of cases, it SEEMS (well, it does to me!) that orientation is more fixed than you believe. So, why change the wonderful way in which you have been created...except to be gloriously the best posssible? And if God has gifted some people to be gay, I guess we have to celebrate this treat the mystery of who they are with respect and kindness

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 25 April 2006 at 10:12pm BST

I am glad that Dave mentions the woman at the well. Jesus used her as an Apostle to the Samaritans (John 4:39) so I think it shows that Jesus did not insist that even his Apostles should fit the conventional one man-one woman pattern of family life before they were fit to be used to spread the Gospel.

Posted by: lapsang on Tuesday, 25 April 2006 at 11:36pm BST

So, Dave - what would you actually like to do with the liberals who simply don't agree with you and refuse to go along with your views?

I've done it for you, incidentally - as I no longer attend an Anglican church and won't be doing so again until this situation is resolved in a direction I consider acceptable.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 26 April 2006 at 12:57am BST

Dave asked: How come the only thing that can't change is the homosexual bit if you?

First, this is absurb on the face of it. I also cannot change my height, my shoe size, my eye color, my fingerprints, my DNA, and a gazillion other things that are part of who God made me. Of course, I can make it appear to you that I have changed my hair color, by using any of those products in the "beauty" aisle.

Dave, do you believe you could change your sexual orientation? or is it an innate part of who you are?

Posted by: Lynn on Wednesday, 26 April 2006 at 4:02pm BST

We will hardly make much progress in our task of learning how to live together as traditional and non-traditional believers, if we keep on the way we are currently going as Anglicans.

We are ill-advised to so solely devote ourselves to the currently very fashionable culture and church war about which camp of believers gets to define the other.

I believe the New Testament tells a surprisingly similar story about when the disciples come to Jesus, asking who shall be the greatest in the Kingdom? I believe that several times the disciples were trying to maneuver and jockey for advantage and religious position, as if somebody who was right and true and best could thereby legitimately lord it over all as the sole possessor of (1) scripture truth, or (2) apostolic authority, or (3)best modern practices of critical empirical understandings?

Who will sit at the right hand - the place of greatest honor - in the nearly arrived Feast of the Kingdom? Some conservative believers think they know, and beyond themselves being indubitably welcome, only queers who have become straight, or who at least sadly wish with all their hearts that they were straight, are welcome.

The rest of the Anglican us simply believe that we are invited to the feast, because some servant sidled up to us on some highway or byway and surprisingly said to us that a Great Lord was giving a feast to which we were invited. We probably would not have chanced the uncharacteristic invitation to a feast so far above our ordinary social or church stations in life, but to tell the truth, at least some of us were probably hungry, and some others of us were probably quite curious, and who knows why the others of us happened to take this revisionist invitation to the feast seriously?

Why. Most everybody knew that we simply were NOT invited to feasts like this. It is written into certain readings of scripture. Why fiddle with historic authorities?

Alternative Anglicans that we are, many among us are probably going to be quite happy to sit, wherever a space opens up at the grand table so laden down with completely extraordinary Kingdom goodies; to sit wherever a servant directs us, provided that they treat us as worthwhile and welcome (the way the first inviting servant treated us).

The foundational religious notion that if Queer Folk - or alternative Anglican believers - are going to rightly avail themselves of their human and citizenship opportunities to be the best they can possibly be, they must first convince just the conservative Anglican believers who so adamantly refuse to be convinced - well how can we agree to this starting point for our working on this huge task of living together in peace as variant Anglican followers of Jesus?

Pray a lot more. That is what our core commitment to Common Prayer is all about. That is why we could talk in the first place about Anglican bonds of affection. That is why the central Anglican tradition is a leeway to inquire, discuss, consider, and think things through even if we do not all reach exactly the same conclusions.

Condemn and judge a lot less. If God is really going to send Queer Folks to hell, and send you to heaven because you are straight, then that will probably happen even if you do not do the punishing yourself.

Of course, the other option is what really bothers some conservative believers. They do not often talk about it, but what they more deeply and secretly fear is not queer perverts burning in screaming pain, spurting eternal bleeding blisters, in hell. Those screams of torment will, apparently, fall upon some ears in heaven as music wafts in the bright air to woo the listening heart.

What some conservative believers actually fear most is the possibility of which they never wish to speak, the possibility that God welcomes Queer Folk without asking them to have a straight sexual orientation. Maybe that welcome comes from God, just because Jesus is so entirely and unreservedly entitled as nobility is to be merciful and gracious. Maybe that welcome says welcome, because believers have sadly misconstrued this whole empirical business of sexual orientation, sexuality, and human nature. Maybe that welcome says howdy, because God gets to welcome whosoever God will indeed welcome.

As Yoda tells Luke in the Star Wars movie, Put down your weapon, I mean you no harm. And later, munching on a candy bar maybe, How can you stand it, when everybody is exactly like you?

Or, as the New Testament puts it: You who rush to tear up weeds in the harvest fields, also tear up wheat. The Lord of the Thrashing Floor will do the sifting, well enough, when that day comes.

One would suppose that if conservative believers indeed feel as close to God as they say their special brand of faithfulness and interpretation puts them, they would exhibit a calm, a generosity, and an ability to care so excessive, so distinctive that we could hardly fail to notice. Instead, we get alarm bells, fire wagons, soldiers mustered against threats at every sunrise, and the relentless Anglican drumbeats of ... Conform, Conform, Conform, Conform, Conform ... or else.

I imagine a lot less trashing of Queer Folk and of Liberal Believers, and a whole lot more trusting of God to still be God.

Gee. Imagine that for a little while. Pray on it, maybe.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 26 April 2006 at 10:08pm BST

"I imagine a lot less trashing of Queer Folk and of Liberal Believers, and a whole lot more trusting of God to still be God."

Well said, Drdanfee! Sadly, there is so little love of God in the 'reasserter' purists, whose sole ambition, as self-appointed 'God-squad', is to exclude - today gays and lesbians and transgendered folk, tomorrow divorced and remarried persons who are unrepentantly living in sin, the day after tomorrow those who engage in interfaith dialogue with Jews and Muslims because by dialoguing they supposedly deny that Christ is the only "way, the truth, and the life." Not even Pope Benedict XVI will pass the test if the 'reasserters' ever bother to read his series of lectures, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions (2003).

The 'purists' have, in fact, never been Anglicans in the historical sense. Our Communion has always been one of the "broad tent", not of endless litmus tests.

Posted by: John Henry on Thursday, 27 April 2006 at 2:12am BST

Reasserter terminology is positively Orwellian: to include LGBTs, is to "exclude the orthodox".

Whereas the reasserter version of "inclusion" is, at most, like this: the Archbishop of Sydney, whom I recently read quoted as saying "If I see a homosexual person presenting himself for communion, I may afterward ask him 'What do you mean by that?'"

Exsqueeze me? What does *any* of us mean by that, except that we SINNERS ALL are responding to CHRIST'S INVITATION that we "Take and Eat"!

*This* is what reasserters so object to: in TEC's vision of the Church---a vision thoroughly grounded in Scripture, Tradition and Reason---no ONE group of Anglicans, is *privileged* to conduct inquisitions of another. A queer person may share the same pew as a straight person, and partake of the same Jesus (and a queer priest or bishop may pronounce the same blessing in Persona Christi, as well). Unless reasserters continue to receive their privilege (of judgment on their LGBT brothers and sisters), they will cry "Exclusion! Discrimination! Liberal Intolerance and Hypocrisy!" at every turn...

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Thursday, 27 April 2006 at 10:12pm BST

Oh, and one more thing:

"Above all, we will not be excommunicated from US and Canada. We shall fight and fight and fight again to save the Church we love."

That really is the bottomline, isn't it? When others have gone off (even "gone off to Lambeth", sadly) to have their Purity Cult, some of us have to *insist* on remaining ONE IN CHRIST (if not in the majoritarian AC). And as long as we look to CHRIST ALONE for our unity, then I have no doubts that in that "fight and fight and fight again" we *shall*, by God's grace, "save the Church we love"! :-D

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Thursday, 27 April 2006 at 10:22pm BST

Dear Neil, I know that sexuality is often quite fixed, but so are many other psychological attributes. However the arguement for blessing gay sexual partnerships is regularly made on the grounds that sexuality is 'fixed' and that homosexuality and heterosexuality are two equal and mutually exclusive versions of sexual "love". In fact that is not true. Many people's sexuality (in the broader sense of the word) does change during life. It is formed, and can change, for all sorts of reasons - such as experience, psychological factors (not all negative I hasten to add) and societal factors.
I would add that heterosexual and homosexual attractions are also not mutually exclusive. They are not opposites, they are just two of several possibilities.

Dear Merseymike, There are all sorts of sinners in my church - me included. But hopefully we are repentant and allowing God to change us into the people He wants us to be.

Dear Lapsang, yes isn't it wonderful that God, by His Grace, can use us sinners to bless other people!

Dear Lynn, I don't think that even the way we were born physically is "what God made us to be". What about "thalidomide babys" born with no limbs ? What about people injured in birth ? etc etc. "God made me homosexual" is too simplistic a self-justification; we would never allow someone to use such an argument to justify other sinful inclinations.
What we were born as, what we are now, and what we are becoming, are all formed of many complex factors. But God will make us into what He wants us to be - if we love and follow Christ.

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 28 April 2006 at 6:54pm BST

Dave wrote: "isn't it wonderful that God, by His Grace, can use us sinners to bless other people!"

Actually, I can't see that you are blessing anybody.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 1 May 2006 at 2:19pm BST

Dear Göran, I'm happy to report that people here would disagree. God does use sinners - even me!!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 1 May 2006 at 9:13pm BST
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