Thursday, 2 November 2006

new presiding bishop at work

ENS reports that the new ECUSA Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote on 1 November, her first day in office, to the four Global South primates who are offering to meet those dioceses seeking APO inviting them to meet her also, while they are in the USA.

The Living Church has also reported this with the headline Presiding Bishop Offers to Meet Global South Visitors.

The letter is addressed to The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies, The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Justice Akrofi, Primate of West Africa. The text reads:

To my esteemed brothers in Christ:

While I have not yet had the privilege and honor to meet all of you, I very much look forward to working with you in the coming years as we endeavor to lead the Body of Christ in this portion called the Anglican Communion. I deeply value the possibilities we have in the Anglican Communion for addressing the mission God has given us to reconcile the world he has created. In the spirit of Lambeth 1998, the Episcopal Church has identified the Millennium Development Goals as the framework for our missional work in the coming years. I would hope we might see the common interest we all have for seeing those Goals met, as they provide a concrete image of the Reign of God in our own day, where the hungry are fed, the thirsty watered, and the prisoners of disease and oppression set free.

I understand that you will be in the United States in mid-November for a gathering at Falls Church, Virginia. Considering the difficulty and expense of such a journey, I hope that during your visit you might be willing to pay a call on me, so that we might begin to build toward such a missional relationship. If that is a possibility, I hope you will contact this office as soon as possible. I would be more than happy to alter my schedule to accommodate you.

I look forward to hearing from you, and meeting you. May God bless your ministries and your travels.

Her web pages include the following statement, dated 23 OCtober, which is curiously hidden in a PDF file:

“What do you consider the most important priorities for the Presiding Bishop?”
From the Desk of The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of Nevada

The Presiding Bishop keeps us focused on the Reign of God, through unceasing attention to mission in the context of baptismal ministry. Christians and their communities are meant to be transformative elements in this world, laboring to create something much more like God’s Reign. The church’s work is to recognize where we have not yet attained God’s dream, speak gospel to that reality, and equip and empower all the baptized to do the work of transforming those places of not-yet. There are two obvious foci for our ministry: moving our sanctuaries into the streets to encounter and transform the bad news of this world; and implementing the Millennium Development Goals, which provide a signal opportunity in this age to realize the dream of God for all creation.

This church must embrace and celebrate all the diverse cultures, languages, and origins of the many parts of the Episcopal Church – Haiti, Taiwan, Province IX, the Churches in Europe, Virgin Islands, as well as the many cultures within the U.S. – First Nations, African-American, Spanishspeaking, Asian, and all Anglo varieties. None is more important than another; all are essential to the transforming work of the Body of Christ.

Ultimately, the Presiding Bishop’s role is one of bridge-building and boundary crossing. If we are to reconcile the world, we must be bold enough to enter unfamiliar territory and partner wherever necessary to build toward the Reign of God. The Body is strengthened as all parts are honored, whatever their color or language, or liturgical, theological, or political stripe. God is to be found in that wilderness of difference, and reconciliation requires the crossing.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 5:47pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

This strikes me as a pretty smart move.

It's a friendly invitation, pointing out that as they are going to be in the country anyway, why don't they pop on over for a nice chat?

No sane person is going to be offended at this. So it puts the ball firmly in their court.

Either they refuse the offer and appear to all and sundry as misogynistic bigots, or they accept and find themselves talking with the great She-Devil. Once they do this, it will completely undermine any attempts to exclude her from the next Lambeth Conference. How could they meet with her one time and then proclaim that they don't want to have anything to do with her later?

My guess, though, is that they will refuse to meet with her. I wonder how they will try to spin that?

Posted by: David Chillman on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 6:36pm GMT

" ... you will be in the United States in mid-November for a gathering at Falls Church, Virginia. Considering the difficulty and expense of such a journey ... "

Considering what the frequent flyer accounts of some of these fellas are likely to look like, I wonder if the PB's tongue was just a tad in her cheek. Many of us await with interest the responses of these gentlemen, some of whom are prone to their own bouts of issuing [far less friendly] open letters.

I think our new PB is a subtle thinker.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 7:13pm GMT

Ladies and gentlemen: this is what a faithful *Anglican Primate* looks like. Alleluia! :-D

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 7:55pm GMT

Cynthia wrote, "Considering what the frequent flyer accounts of some of these fellas are likely to look like..."

Heh. No kidding... As I've previously wondered regarding Bp. N.T. Wright, one wonders when these flying primates (shades of the "Wizard of Oz" ;) spend time in their *own* provinces, tending to their *own* knitting ?!

Posted by: David Huff on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 8:15pm GMT

One model of God's reconciliation plan is that God will allow humanity to regain some of its lost glory as and when God thinks they are capable of handling and treating such gifts with respect. One group of characters that had become diminished were "Eishes Chayil" or women of valour. Schori is certainly demonstating valour, and may she continue to grow in wisdom as well. God knows that to heal this planet we are going to need people who take responsbility and boldness to lead us into viable paradigms.

We certainly don't need "leaders" who are mediocre duck-shovers. Who would rather be looking for someone to slander and blame rather than getting on with fixing the problems.

Schori needs souls who are going to be part of the solution, not rock throwing hecklers.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 9:03pm GMT

The Presiding Bishop-Elect's letter might have some implications for the status of Episcopal bishops who subsequently choose to affiliate themselves with one or more of the Primates who are traveling to Falls Church. I haven't seen this addressed elsewhere,and I don't know how well I'm going to do at exploring it now, but here goes.


1) The four Primates refuse +Katharine's invitation.

2) Then, at Falls Church, one or more of them agrees to an APO agreement (or current equivalent) with one or more of the Bishops and Standing Committees currently requesting it.


As +Katharine was not a party to these talks, nor officially notified that the four Primates would be visiting Virginia, and as her invitation to meet with the Primates separately was refused -- will this give her a prima facie case to move against any Bishops and Standing Committees accepting APO from a Primate at Falls Church? I think so, but I am actually asking those more knowledgeable than I on this list.

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 9:26pm GMT

KJS Website has been put together quite recently, and though the document in question appears to be new, in fact it is just one old page of the Profiles of those nominated for election, and was published "urbi et orbe" early in 2006, before the election in Columbus.

Posted by: Thomas+ on Thursday, 2 November 2006 at 10:04pm GMT

I am so happy to see KJS take to the saddle - or is it to the skies? - so quickly. I have simply fallen quite in love with her talk of the reign of God, and I guess she and I must share a deep interest in the OT Prophets.

More power to KJS I say, then. She is doing a great job already of representing pretty much exactly the sorts of provincial Anglican leadership that has too long been missing from our global family scenes.

Thanks to her, and many prayers and best wishes for the near and more distant futures toward which we are all evolving.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 3 November 2006 at 3:35am GMT

Very encouraging. The conservatives are furious, so she must be doing something right.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 3 November 2006 at 8:49am GMT

You can download the program for tomorrow's festivities and also Sunday's ceremony of seating from the ENS website. They are PDF files. I will be at Saturday's celebration, and am looking forward to a grand event. There will be streaming video, and I expect the ENS site will be a portal or have instructions for the video.

I am esepcially looking forward to the smudgers - the Native American version of incense - and the MUSIC! Take a look at the program and see for yourselves!

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 3 November 2006 at 11:30am GMT

I hope this comment is considered related. As everyone seems so excited about the new presiding Bishop, I wondered if anyone had read the transcripts of her interview with robin Young over on your favourite site Anglican Mainstream (

What do you think about what she said about Jesus and other faiths?

Posted by: Alex Freeman on Friday, 3 November 2006 at 12:05pm GMT


I read the link, thank you. She is obviously getting used to the media and will fumble a little bit at the beginning. That is the same for anyone in her position. She will have a harder time of it that some as there will be a suite of people looking for ways to justify nitpicking and rejecting her.

I don't have a problem with her position

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt."

Psalms 136:2 "Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever."

Daniel 2:47 ...“Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”

God chooses to "reveal myself" as and when it suits God. God was "revealed" before Jesus, and after Jesus' resurrection Jesus himself said there were more prophets to come. If people reject the prophet they reject the one who sent them. If they reject in the name of Jesus and claim that rejection as from Jesus (when really it was arbitrary human conservatism) then there will be prophets who "did not come through Jesus". But that is to do with humans failing to recognise God/Jesus moving, rather than Jesus not moving. And remember, no prophet can curse that which God wants blessed - remember poor Balaam who found blessings pouring out if his mouth everytime he went to curse the Jewish people.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 3 November 2006 at 4:23pm GMT

I think it sounds a lot like those in the Orthodox church saying 'We know where God/the Church is, but we do not know where it is not'. It doesn't go quite as far as the Roman Catholic church saying they are the one true church, while other ecclesial communities preserve some sort of qualified grace.

Folks who make a big deal of her comments in that interview are going looking for a bone to pick.

Posted by: Robert L on Friday, 3 November 2006 at 6:01pm GMT

But of course they are, Robert, that's the point of the question. They want a simple answer: If you aren't a Christian, you can't access God, and you are going to Hell. That seems so simple to them. An answer that essentially says that people of other faiths can get into Heaven too, even if it is qualified by saying "but by the Incarnation of Christ" is Unitarian or something. And of course, we all know that salvation is about getting to play in the Heavenly sandbox after you die. That it might be about theosis, about something in this life other than making sure you obey the Law so you can prove your worthiness for the Sandbox is just incomprehensible. You'll notice the way they put in the normal slips and stammers that we all make when answering questions put to us like this. Wonder why they did that. Oh right, never mind.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 3 November 2006 at 9:08pm GMT

And to continue from Ford's posting. They find it hard that God might "level" the playing field to encourage all souls to come into relationship with God while at the same time exhort souls to attempt to climb the mountain and become the best possible. God loves those who have the courage and dare to climb Mt Everest, while at the same time God loves who tried and failed, or lacked the wherewithall or courage to even try.

Puritans believe that only those who can reach the "approved" mountain are in God's grace, and they build barriers and obstacles to free up space on the sacred land.

They just don't get that God is not limited by human comprehension, and that there is room for all souls for all time. God knows each and every one of us and to each and every one of us is given the burden/s that are appropriate to our soul's development.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 4 November 2006 at 9:23am GMT

Significant the CT article this week on the incontrovertibility of the hypothesis that ConsEvs are actually damaging the faith by driving away anyone who can't sign up to quasi-puritanism.

About time all those claims that ConsEvs are 'paying for us 'liberals' ' were rephrased to read 'We're paying for your illusory of success'

Posted by: David Rowett (=mynsterpreost) on Saturday, 4 November 2006 at 5:48pm GMT

David Rowett - it seems as if you really believe this twisted argument that the churches which attract thousands across England every week having grown strongly for decades in ENGLAND and which see the most non-Christians coming along and converting are actually responsible for the failure of the "liberal" churches to attract many people at all.......since the departure of Peter Mandelson, the Labour Party has lacked a really creative spindoctor - you should apply!

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 7 November 2006 at 4:31pm GMT

The model presented in Evo churches is attractive to those who need the rules spelled out for them so they can know they are loved by God since they obey the rules. In comfortable middle class places, it reaffirms that God is a comfortable middle class SUV driving suburbanite who loves what they love and hates what they hate. In wealthier places it tells them God wants them to be rich. Ther are numerous reasons why people join any church, Evo or otherwise. Some join liberal churches because they haven't gotten over their adolescent rebelliousness and believe God wants them to keep fighting "the man", or because social justice issues legitimize a faith they are vaguely ashamed of because all their friends are left wing and vehemently anti-church. And of course, people join congregations of all types because the worship speaks to them and they find their faith enriched and they are drawn closer to God in that place. But growth, no matter what kind of congregation is doing the growing, is no sign that the faith practiced by the congregation is in any way Christian. I, for one, can't imagine there being anything for me in an Evangelical congregation. The theology and worship style all turn me off. Imagine my joy when I found I could be a somewhat stodgy old Anglo-catholic, in a relatively conservative congregation, where the rector actually knows what the Catholic faith is all about. Heaven! I can't imagine where I'd go if my parish wasn't there, but if I found myself in a position where the only option was an Evangelical congregation, I think I'd take it as a sign that God was calling me away from Christianity. That is not sarcasm, it's truly how I feel. The question is, given that there is room for both of us in Anglicanism as it now stands, why do I get the feeling that, if you Evangelicals had your way, there'd be no room for people like me?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 7 November 2006 at 9:07pm GMT

NP: I simply quote from research. Perhaps the researcher is a spin doctor, how can I tell? Have a look at the article and pick the bones out of it yourself, I suggest: if you wish to challenge the findings, go ahead.

Posted by: mynsterpreost on Tuesday, 7 November 2006 at 10:47pm GMT

How many times? Anglican evo churches are seeing growth in all parts of England - all classes and all races but if you want to console yourselves that it is just a narrow phenomenon, go ahead - we are too busy running Alpha courses to worry about the spin being put on the growth we see in England and around the world.....praise the Lord, he is doing his work!

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 8:53am GMT

'Alpha courses' do not introduce people to spirituality, alas. They are rather effective inoculations against it, regrettably. Strong on indoctrination, and the use of group dynamics to manipulate and indoctrinate individuals. Manipulation of people is anti-spirituality and against respect for the integrity and spirituality of individuals. (Just notice where the power lies on an 'Alpha' programme, just notice what cannot be voiced.)

Please, try not to mistake these kinds of attitudes and dynamics for 'the work' of the 'Lord'.

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 3:20pm GMT

laurence - you judge Alpha harshly - I hope you are bearing much good fruit!

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 4:49pm GMT

NP, I don't doubt your faith for a minute. And I apologize for the times I have judged it and gotten angry. It is not my right to judge anyone, since I'll be judged myself. But, I ask again, can you accept that people whose understanding of Christianity is different from yours, whose faith is not based on the ideas of the Reformation, also have a place at God's table? While I sincerely doubt that you and I have anything close to the same understanding of the Eucharist, the Church, authority, the meaning of redemption, or a lot of other things, I'd still receive beside you if you'd let me. You'd be welcome to receive in my parish, would I be welcome in yours? If it helps, I can say all three Creeds without telling any lies at all. I'd imagine from everything you've written, you can too.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 9 November 2006 at 1:52am GMT

Sorry for not responding sooner. I fell foul of the word limit. Sorry!

Ford (Re: 4th Nov Comments)

Conservative Evangelicals, as a group, make many mistakes as do all groups, and in some ways are very unloving, and this has created the view that we are all about keeping people out of heaven. Our conduct and speech is the reason for this misunderstanding. Actually we are all (should be, in many cases) about getting as many people in as possible. We believe though that there is a truth that we can know, that God revealed himself perfectly in Jesus Christ, and then infallibly in His Word.
We believe that people need to know this (the gospel) so they can enter through what the Bible calls the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14). This section in Matthew is enclosed by verses 7-12 at the start saying that God will reveal himself to us if we truly seek him, and how we should treat each other as God treats us, and we would want to be treated. Then at the end we have verses 15-23 where we see a warning against false prophets, and a warning that not everyone who calls Jesus Lord will enter the kingdom. Let us all constantly check that we aren’t those that are teaching falsely, causing others to stray, or relating to Jesus inaccurately so that we won’t be turned away on that day.

Grace & Peace


Posted by: Alex Freeman on Thursday, 9 November 2006 at 12:12pm GMT

Cheryl (Re: 3rd Nov Comments)

Christianity is all about Grace, and being forgiven because of what Christ has done and not because of the things we do. God requires perfection, and we cannot attain that. He has levelled the playing field by offering forgiveness through His Son Jesus, so that no matter what our past or present struggles are, we can relate to him through His Son, and have a relationship with the Living God that we can be sure will last for eternity. From the people I have talked to (Non-Christian and Christian), we can all see in our lives the selfishness that is at the core of us and affects our motivations.

Sin is that serious that we need a Saviour, not that by being nice and believing in some God, that we have learnt about in our culture we will make atonement for our own sins.

We can see in Romans 10 that you can only be saved 'if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.' Verse 9.

Non Christians don't do this, and so no matter how good they are they won't currently be saved. Sincerity in believing they found the right way too won't save them. Hitler was sincere in believing that he should kill the Jews, that sincerity didn't make him right. In the same way just because someone believes something sincerely it doesn't mean that they are right.

Grace and Peace


Posted by: Alex Freeman on Thursday, 9 November 2006 at 12:14pm GMT

Hello Ford

Yes - of course you would be welcome to participate - we invite all to examine themselves as directed in Corinthians and say explicitly that everyone who counts themselves a believer and follower of Christ is welcome to the table - we are very conscious that none of us are worthy and all come by grace.

Sorry if my brief messages ever give the impression that I am a "grace-killer". I am not. The only thing I cannot stand in church is those who tell some that they do not need to repent when the Lord does demand repentance from us all in various ways, in response to his grace.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 9 November 2006 at 3:52pm GMT

"We believe though that there is a truth that we can know, that God revealed himself perfectly in Jesus Christ, and then infallibly in His Word.
We believe that people need to know this (the gospel) so they can enter through what the Bible calls the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14). "

Alex, I believe the same thing. I would imagine most of us do. The thing is about your last statement. It would mean, for instance, that Mahatma Gandhi has no place in the Kingdom because he was a Hindu. I much prefer to listen to what Mother Julian was told and trust in God's grace rather than going around telling people they can't get into the Kingdom. That's not for me. Jesus didn't tell me to keep the Judgement Seat warm till he got back!

And NP, who is saying we have no need of repentance? In my experience, "liberals" are just as strong on this point as "conservatives", they just emphasize sins that "conservatives" don't even recognize to be sin.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 9 November 2006 at 5:30pm GMT

Ford - you say 'who is saying we have no need of repentance? In my experience, "liberals" are just as strong on this point as "conservatives"

I recognise there is sin and hypocrisy in everyone but I think this statement is amazing. Even if conservatives are sinners, which they are, this is no defence for the sins of liberals. Someone who knew what he was talking about told us to strive to be perfect because our Father is perfect - there is no room for the lie that any sin is acceptable - that is just false and horribly, tragically misleading.

I think +Duncan has a stronger, much more biblical approach to what he calls sin than VGR or KJS - don't you?

Posted by: NP on Friday, 10 November 2006 at 7:31am GMT

No, actually, I don't. Plotting and scheming are not Biblical. Fostering rancor isn't Biblical. I appreciate he may well think he has to lead his group out of the Anglican communion, and I have no argument with him if he feels that. I can't see much that's Christian in the way he's going about it, though.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 10 November 2006 at 3:35pm GMT

Sorry to double post, but how is my comment "amazing"? Are you saying "Liberals" don't call people to repentance? If so, you haven't talked to many "liberals". Change of life is a very important part of being Christian. We must always examine ourselves and pattern our lives after the Gospel. I was recently involved in a debate about the Masons, for instance, which got on to issues of greed and wealth and how such organizations serve to perpetuate the oppression of the poor. That we are called to turn aside from these things as Christians, and that those in the Church who turn a blind eye to these things are condoning sin, was a very important theme of the debate. A bigger point is why you need to know that people are having their sins pointed out to them. I have commented before about conversion by love, which is the way Jesus did it, and conversion by threat of fire and brimstone, which is what I hear from most Evangelicals. Finally, Jesus tells us we shall know the false prophets by the fruits they bear, not by how loudly they shout His name. Despite my misgivings over the whole "gay issue", maybe the "liberals" have gotten it wrong, and my feeling that there is fault on both sides, I see more of the fruit of the Gospel on the Liberal's side: love and compassion are Gospel values we should live in our lives Not much of those in Duncan. Stand aside from the argument for a minute and look at the way both sides are pushing their agendas.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 10 November 2006 at 4:36pm GMT

Ford (About Gandhi)

You sum it up perfectly by saying "I much prefer". Of course I would love it if everyone went to heaven, but what I want and what God wants don't have to be the same thing.

You would rather listen to Mother Julian, someone I have never heard of, as oppsoed to Jesus, the most famous man in history, God incarnate, the conqueror of death and Satan, the one who took the punishment that you deserved? Is that really true? How can you believe in the Bible infallibly, yet hold this lady as a higher authority as she paints a nicer picture? I don't wont to be rude, arrogant and/or unloving, but that is logically inconsistent.

I am not telling people they can't get into the kingdom. Everyone can, the offer is open to the whole world. What we musn't do is tell those that are out that they are in, as that will make them think they are safe when actually they are going to hell!

Gandhi knew about and talked about Jesus, he could have accepted him, it is most likely he didn't. That is a tragedy. The work he did was really important and he could be called (in the secular usage) a saint. He wasn't a saint though (Biblical meaning ie: a believer) and so he rejected God's grace. He was not perfect and so he will have to take the punishment for his sins.

Do you know how I judge people? and I do do this. I sit in judgement on them when I chicken out of telling them the gospel, because I think they wont be interested. That is sitting in the judgement seat. Letting someone continue merilly down the path of rebellion against God and not telling them, or worse telling them that they are ok.

I hope and pray this is loving. I believe it is you that is sitting on Christ's Judgement seat. You are deciding to save Gandhi, even though the Bible says only true Christians are saved, you are judging by not believing in what has been revealed and coming up with a different standard for salvation.

While I often judge because of fear, you judge by losing faith in the gospel, and so changing it (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)

Please come back at me on this, and I hope I haven't offended you

Grace and Peace


Posted by: Alex Freeman on Saturday, 11 November 2006 at 6:41pm GMT

We are coming at this from two very different viewpoints. I peg you for an Evangelical, am I right? That would mean that much of the Catholic Tradition which is so meaningful for my faith is likely "following the traditions of men" as far as you're concerned. It relates to how we understand authority, redemption, the working of the Spirit in the world, sacraments and their meaning, and a whole lot of other things. For example, I believe that Christ's death was the atoning sacrifice for human sin, but I don't believe in Penal Substitutionary Atonement, which you seem to. That you have never heard of Mother Julian, one of the leading mystics of her age, speaks volumes about the differences between us.

I am not putting her above Jesus, neither am I saying that I have any right whatsoever to decide who is saved and who isn't. I should look to my own salvation, live the life of the Gospel in my own life, and, by example show as best I can what the Gospel is. I should always examine myself to see and try to correct the ways I fail to do that. It's up to you to let people continue down the merry path of rebellion, is it? You'd do better to consider the rebelliousness of your own life, as would I to consider mine, and by your example convince people of the Truth of the Gospel. Conversion by threat is poor Evangelism, and the Bible is not a weapon.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 15 November 2006 at 8:10pm GMT

Ford, sorry for the delay,

You are right in some ways, I do hold a reformed evangelical view, but I call myself a Christian, and that only on the basis of 1 Corinthians 3. I consider the Bible as the final authority, but to ‘write’ off the great minds of the past would be a tragedy. I have a groaning Christian bookshelf, to gain more knowledge from the current minds.

This knowledge does have to be checked with the Bible though, as we are told in 1 Corinthians 14, Prophecy (speaking a word from God) is a gift and has been given, and v29 says that it isn't authoritative, it is to be weighed. How is it to be weighted, well against the Scriptures which are the authority we have been given (2 Timothy 3:14-17, 2 Peter 3:14-18). This means that although the minds of the past impart much wisdom, what they say must cohere with the Bible. I believe in Penal Substitution (read the 'Jesus Gospel' by Liam Goligher, an excellent book with the gospel on every page) but I don't believe it is a necessary view for Salvation.

You are right in that my priority should be my personal holiness, but the great commission says that I am to share the gospel with everybody. I don't decide who will or won't get saved, thankfully, but I should tell people the gospel, whether Christian or non-Christian, as it is through this that we have salvation. It is only by hearing the gospel that people can be saved, and so while you are right to say that it is important to, by my example, convince them of the truth, they need to hear the truth to believe. I have been looking at 2 Corinthians 2:12-6:13 in an evangelism course. 5:11-6:2 show we have been given this ministry to preach the gospel.

Evangelism should not be by threat, again you are right, but its message is in essence 'Cheer up, you are worse than you think'. People need to be told of their sin, to see their need of a Saviour. This shouldn't be done in a fire and brimstone way (right again) but in a loving way. It is unloving, though, not to tell them. My faith is a gift from God and I am to share the gift, not try and hoard it.

Grace and Peace


Posted by: Alex Freeman on Thursday, 30 November 2006 at 12:32am GMT
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