Monday, 18 December 2006

Virginia: Monday reports

Updated again Monday evening

BBC radio interviewed Martyn Minns on the Today programme. Listen here (3 min 20sec). There is a reference to what he said at Ekklesia see here.

Update
Jane Little has a further report for the BBC at Schism looming for Anglican Communion.
Later Update The BBC has this updated profile of Archbishop Peter Akinola. He is quoted:

…Archbishop Akinola - a man known for his outspoken views on homosexuality - says he is thankful to God over the decision.

“Once there’s a crack in the wall, you are likely to have all sorts creeping in” he told the BBC website in Abuja.

“When we began to notice these cracks a few years back, we did try as much as humanly possible under God to patch up these cracks,” he added.

But, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (Ecusa) refused to back down.

“Since the leadership of the church in America keeps doing everything we thought they would not do, those who don’t agree with them have chosen to go where they want to go and I thank God,” he said…

The Guardian has a report by Stephen Bates Two Anglican parishes lead anti-gay split from US church but the Telegraph has nothing yet an afternoon report: Virginia churches split from US Anglicans and The Times has only a brief note. Ruth Gledhill has however got a more detailed report on her blog headlined Property battles loom as US churches quit.

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times has Episcopal Parishes in Virginia Vote to Secede. An earlier version of that report is here.

Julia Duin of the Washington Times has 8 Virginia flocks break away.

Alberta Lindsey of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has Seven Va. Episcopal churches break away.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interviewed Bishop Robert Duncan Episcopal bishop: Church torn apart.

See here (URL will not last more than a day) for the front page picture in the Washington Post . Text of report previously linked is here.

Reuters Virginia churches break from U.S. Episcopal Church
Associated Press later version of Episcopal Parishes in Va. Break Away.

Update
A video of the entire CANA press conference (about 40 minutes) can be viewed here. Unfortunately, it is impossible to hear the questions during the question period, only the answers are audible.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 9:04am GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

One thing which does intrigue - Liverpool diocese, which is largely moderate evangelical, with a Bishop with a conservative background who appears to have shifted towards a more open position in recent years, has a link with Virginia .

Any inside knowledge as to their view?

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 9:55am GMT

Nobody yet seems to be commenting on the new position this puts Archbishop Akinola in. I fail to see now on what grounds his presence is theologically acceptable in any official Anglican forums. We Anglicans have no pope to issue anathemas, but will his new breakaway church have similarities to the Lefebvrists? I hope more light will be shone upon the scheming in Nigeria...

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 10:43am GMT

So how is CANA (as a mission of Nigeria) different from AMiA (as a mission of Rwanda & Southeast Asia)?

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 1:10pm GMT

++Akinola now becomes the first Anglican Archbishop in the United States. So, the history of Anglicanism in the USA appears to have come full circle; from a rump of the English State Church that most people in America fled from, to the Episcopal Church, the first independent Anglican Church with a constitutional democratic polity without an archbishop, back to those signing up to be an outpost of a foreign archbishop.

Posted by: counterlight on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 1:12pm GMT

Neil
I can't see how Akinola can be viewd as heading up a beakaway church when it is TEC that has broken away from received doctrine handed down by the universal church

Posted by: Athos on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 1:48pm GMT

But surely whilst TEC remains part of the Anglican Communion, any precipitate action is a breakaway, and of course, entirely against what the Windsor report said which the conservatives welcomed - seems as if they welcomed only the bits they were prepared to follow themselves.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 3:57pm GMT

It seems that Bishop Martyn Minns is slightly embarrassed about the language of Archbishop Akinola, which he also described as "scriptural" and uncomfortable (BBC Radio 4 interview). I hope he does not have any difficulties with the new boss.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 4:25pm GMT

Despite the fog and confusion inherent in many conflicts there is often a point where one can say the battle began. The sides have been mustering their forces for some time. There could be no compromise by the nature of the case. The only solution was an amicable division. This has not happened. Now the battle is joined. There will still be opportunities for liberals to back-off and allow this division to take place. Let us pray that they will do so, allowing Anglicans of all stripes to spend their time, energy and money on something more worthwhile.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 4:36pm GMT

Having watched and listened to this broadcast all I'd say is to wish them the best! In the end people will do what they will do. I wonder whether anyone is being tempted at that end of events, such as via that Reform and friends covenant, for a CAE or CAGB?

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 5:07pm GMT

I am saddened by the uproar in our beloved Episcopal Church but I must admit I am relieved that this is coming to an end soon.

The radical conservatives are really nothing more than 700 clubbers with whom I have very little in common. I really don't lose a lot of sleep because my Church is not in communion with Falwell, Robertson, et. al. I suspect I will feel the same way when all the Roseberrys, Yates, Duncans, and Akinolas of the world disappear from the radar screen.

TEC will lose about 10% of its membership, but that 10% is a cancer in the body, actively trying to destroy it. Once the cancer is removed, the body can begin to heal itself.

The Episcopal Church stands as a beacon of light in a world full of anti-intellectual, anti-science fanatics who sully the good name of religion. The dumbed-down mega-church religion espoused by the conservatives appeals to our baser instincts and to the desire to be lazy intellectually. It offers a very low bar for entry to heaven - don't be gay and don't have an abortion - so naturally it appeals to heterosexual males. But following Christ requires so much more - and the Episcopal Church helps to show us the way down this more difficult, challenging path.

The conservatives have finally met their match in the grace, dignity, intellect, and faith of Bishop Katharine. She does not issue the insults and theological demands we see from the leaders of the other side. She simply asks for respect for the rule of law in our General Convention. You can disagree with her or anyone else in TEC theologically, but when the votes go against you then you must accept the results or walk away. Believe me, it hasn't been easy living under a right wing bishop for 14 years but he got the votes so I have to respect his authority. I only wish conservatives would do the same with Bishop Katharine but alas elections are only binding for them when the vote goes their way.

The Episcopal Church decides for itself who will be its Bishops, period. There is no Anglican Pope, and the Primates of other member churches have no authority or right to arrogantly meddle in our internal affairs.

I'll take 90% pullling the same direction rather than 100% with 10% pulling the opposite way.

Posted by: Dallas Bob on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 6:22pm GMT

I feel that Nigeria/CANA and Rwanda are as out of compliance as TEC concerning the Windsor Report (and both the Nigerian and Rwandan churches were out of compliance well before GC2006. TEC's blasted for not being in compliance but no one ever mentions the other provinces that have not upheld their end of the process.

As far as TFC and Truro are concerned, When my father left the Roman Catholic Church he didn't get to take his little section of it with him. Why do these people think they get to keep the church? If you don't like the church your going to you find another not commandeer one for their own use?

Posted by: Robert Christian on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 6:55pm GMT

Athos,

Ignatius is part of that tradition, and essentially said, "Right or Wrong, MY BISHOP." Minns+ (or is it now +Minns?) broke from his bishop to place himself and his congregation under another bishop. From what I see, the earliest tradition of the centrality of the episcopacy has been violated, both by the (+)Minns(+) and by ++Akinola.

Posted by: Shawn+ on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 7:48pm GMT

"A video of the entire CANA press conference (about 40 minutes) can be viewed here. Unfortunately, it is impossible to hear the questions during the question period, only the answers are audible."

Isn't that exactly the reality of CANA and fellow-travelers? No need for questions; we have all the answers! An accidental icon of the truth.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 8:37pm GMT

Dallas Bob says;
"TEC will lose about 10% of its membership, but that 10% is a cancer in the body, actively trying to destroy it. Once the cancer is removed, the body can begin to heal itself."

Sadly this is what some Global South people have said about TEC as well.

I pray for them and for them and for the Church.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 8:48pm GMT

Shawn

Episcopacy can only be a force for Unity if it holds onto Truth. In the prayer for the Church Militant (1662) which expunds classical Anglicanism we pray that the Church may agree in the truth...and live in unity. If the CofE felt that unity with Bishops was essential even if the Episcopate was heretical there would have been no English Reformation. As Hooker was to write "what they call schism we call our reasonable service unto God.."

Posted by: Athos on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 9:44pm GMT

It is all too easy for charismatic figures with a gift for rhetoric to use their skills to feed on people’s fears and reinforce their convictions, which may be misguided. When figures, such as Akinola, state “Once there’s a crack in the wall, you are likely to have all sorts creeping in,” some people, who may be struggling with difficult issues, may be inclined to fall in line.

I have no doubt that leaders, such as Martyn Minns, believe that their positions is solidly supported by the Gospel; however, from a more human perspective, which values relationships between bodies of people, and seeks reconciliation, leaders in the breakaway movements have pursued a course which seems ethically flawed, and certainly deceitful, despite beliefs in their own interpretation of the Gospel.

The Episcopal Church has consistently maintained a clear willingness to remain in dialog, has followed its own procedures and protocols in a remarkably transparent manner. To a detached observer, TEC has demonstrated far more integrity than people who, for dubious motives, seem determined to tear apart the body that ordained them in the first place.

Posted by: Michael on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 11:07pm GMT

Just a quick question - How has The Episcopal Church tried to destroy the Global South? What has TEC demanded of them? Has TEC called for their expulsion from the Anglican Communion? No. Has TEC tried to say they can't elect whom they want as their local bishops? No. Has TEC threatened not to attend primates meetings or take communion with them? No and No.

The Global South has tried to do all of the above to the TEC. The TEC has done none of the above to them. I guess if you disagree with the Global South about their opinion of your internal affairs and don't blindly follow their orders, then you are trying to destroy them.

Sound like we have ourselves an abusive spouse from whom we may need a divorce and a restraining order.

Posted by: Dallas Bob on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 11:39pm GMT

CNN has just announced that the Diocese of Virginia will not take legal action against the secessionist churches of Truro and Falls Church for at least another month to regain control of the churchy properties. There will be time for negotiation.

Posted by: John Henry on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 12:41am GMT

I am torn with regard to the decision of my church.
"Isn't that exactly the reality of CANA and fellow-travelers"

Unfortunately I believe many conservatives could point the same figure at the progressives/liberals in TEC. We have asked many questions about the the actions taken in the church, and received no pertinent answers, we are told much about the love, justice and grace of God for individuals, and we agree, that was never the question. The question is over which moralities the church should be seen as advocating. Both sides undoubtedly see their side ideally as loving, just, merciful, and self-consistent. We have been asking whether the innovations proposed are true to the witness of scripture. Thus far I do not believe we have been answered, and there seems no intention of giving an answer, at least not publicly. I have been blessed as my flat-mate at university is a liberal anglo-catholic, and we do indeed have fruitful discussion, but the leadership of neither side seems willing to do this. Perhaps they should be made to live in a small flat together for a year.

I understand why my church has done this, I am away at university, so I was not able to vote. I honestly don't know how I would have. I can understand the frustration of being ignored because I am a big-bad conservative, and the premises of my questions are 'bigoted and hateful', you might even say terrorist-like in nature, and the only way to properly answer is by psychoanalysis rather than actual dialog and exploration of the issues.

But on the other hand I have evidence here that fruitful and honest dialog does indeed happen, and I am thankful that my flatmate can say the same about me and his dialog with one conservative. The problem is that I do not see this happening at higher levels. I did not see the previous presiding bishop do anything helpful (I have not been home since the arrival of KJS, so cannot speak on this matter) not do I see +Lee doing anything particularly good, he makes good moves then changes his mind, at least that is the perception I have from within the diocese, I am aware that press releases do not always accurately portray the truth, on either side.

So I am torn, and in a sense that is appropriate.

Posted by: StAndTheolStud on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 1:35am GMT

Shawn+,

Of course at the time 'episkopos' didn't mean exactly what it means now. That tradition has developed, which is fine so long as it doesn't develop away from or against scripture. I'm fairly sure no Anglican or Episcopalian would disagree with that.

Not that that necessarily means you are wrong about Minns and Akinola, it just means that in a church which is neither Eastern Orthodox, nor Roman Catholic, you have to be just a bit careful about quoting the 'tradition' as an authority. You have to nuance your argument rather than simply proof texting I suppose. Maybe summed up by a guy I know here best 'a text without a context is a pretext for a proof text'. I suppose then we get into which context you look at. I think I am just starting to ramble.

One of my friends wrote an essay on 21st century homosexuality in the context of eastern orthodoxy which I have just posted on my blog. I know this shouldn't make a differance to readers, but I also know it will, the person who wrote it is gay and in a relationship at this time. I think he has come up with a very intelligent (staggeringly so in my opinion) analysis both of the biblical texts and of the creed which might actually offer a way forward for the communion if any of they higher ups actually ever read it.

Well, actually, Martyn Minns is going to read it when I get back to the USA tomorrow, I will see to it. Just have to work on KJS, Akinola and Williams after that. Then Lambeth?

Posted by: StAndTheolStud on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 1:45am GMT

"There will still be opportunities for liberals to back-off"

Sadly, if you backs off from bullies, they only bully you some more.

TEC *must* resist: we'd be ignoring the Gospel imperative if we don't.

However, I pray that we do so, in the Way of Jesus. Full of the Holy, *Gentle* Spirit.

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 4:16am GMT

Dallas Bob- For you to put John Yates (of the Falls Church) in the company of Jerry Falwell puts you in the company of the blatantly, wittingly, and woefully ignorant... open-minded indeed! You have nothing but straw-man arguments and ad hominem attacks toward those you do not even know, simply because the content of their faith matches that of the Apostles, while at the same time advancing no substantive argument of your own that what TEC has done has been anything but provocative... I know John Yates personally, and he has struggled in prayer for years over these decisions, in consultation with Peter Lee himself, whom he considers a friend. He is a person of integrity, deep faith, and a pastor's heart. Shame on you.

In addition, I find your reference to 10% cancer just as ridiculous... your movement, which you would like to "heal" by excising evangelicals, is full of elitist intellectuals who have changed the content of the kerygma and the expectations of its impact and import, including the demands of discipleship, who propagate the species at a negative rate, and who have no sense of obligation to convert or evangelize anyone because there are many "vehicles" to the divine. Good luck with the health of your movement.

In the meantime, those of us who are appalled by your operating style's inconsistency with the fruit of the Spirit, grief-stricken that our beloved denomination has wandered of the Christian, let alone Anglican, reservation, will pick up the pieces from the aftermath of TEC's belligerently arrogant actions to look for an Anglican jurisdiction that will have us. If you will not miss us, I daresay the feeling is quite mutual.

Posted by: Christoferos on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 6:34am GMT

Walls falling is not such a bad thing when you read the bible. e.g. Isaiah 2:12-18; Jeremiah 51:44 & 51:58, Ezekiel 13:10-17, Zechariah 2:4-13, Isaiah 30:8-17 The latter includes: "Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message,relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant."

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 9:45am GMT

Dallas Bob asks what TEC is demanding of the GS.....the answer is that they are demanding that the GS and the rest of the AC pretends they are the same religion when they are no longer in line with the vast majority of Anglicans.

TEC is asking for silence so they can take that as consent.....but the rest of the church is tired of its silence and tolerance being abused in this way.

TEC is asking a lot and has always done so because it has some cash....but it still seems to lack the confidence to go it alone as it will be a very small global denomination - even after a few others join it (as I hope they will)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 11:22am GMT

Simon, thanks as always for a nice roundup. In case it's helpful to folks, I've been working to try and compile in one place the exact details of ASA, membership and the vote details for each of the 15 VA parishes having disaffiliated or expected to disaffiliate from ECUSA.

Here's the link. It's still a work in progress, I'll update it as I get additional information.

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/1702/

Posted by: Karen B. on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 12:13pm GMT

Well, NP, 500 years ago, the Church of England was tiny, and, whatever the theological differences and the creeping Calvinism with which she had become infected, she broke with the vast majority of Western Christians because the English king, the son of a usurper, was unsure of his throne and was a womanizer. I don't see that being "a very small global denomination" is that unfamiliar to Anglicans. We started out justifying lust, at least on the part of monarchs.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 1:14pm GMT

I agree Ford....worse than humble beginnings for the CofE - perhaps the continuing link to the state is partly responsible for the corruption destroying the church today

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 2:14pm GMT

Not just ties to the state, but to society in general. The church 'has issues' with homosexuality, to put it mildly, but is afraid to repent of its compromises with the State. Usury alone is doing far more to destroy families than two loving people ever could by getting married, yet you hear nothing about it. We are far too tied to the world, and the world knows it, which is why we have no credibility.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 2:49pm GMT

"In the meantime, those of us who are appalled by your operating style's inconsistency with the fruit of the Spirit, grief-stricken that our beloved denomination has wandered of the Christian, let alone Anglican, reservation, will pick up the pieces from the aftermath of TEC's belligerently arrogant actions to look for an Anglican jurisdiction that will have us. If you will not miss us, I daresay the feeling is quite mutual" Christoferos

Sorry Christoferos, you're no longer able to play pretend (appalled or not)..God demands (he told me personally) that we face REALITY occassionally and this is one of those historic Episcopal/Anglican Church TRUTH telling times. No more self-deceiving, no exceptions!

WE, meaning LGBT Christian people, have always been sitting/praying, loving and worshipping God right next to YOU in the pews. WE have been preaching Gods message from the pulpit or sitting on the Bishops "special" chair and/or "confirming" YOU too (always)...suddenly YOU are all bruised and hurt spiritually because you've been "called" to face REALITY and Love your neighbor (the one sitting next to you, your family member, your friend) instead of continuing to play emotionally unhealthy, self-deceiving and flat out lies of PRETEND!

Sins of ommission or SIN manifested by the blind fear and hate for other Christians in your Church Parish won't cut it no more pal...you've VOTED and the evidence is recorded by the Virginia Parishes that promote and pursue exclusion, discrimination and sin by casting out some of your faithful brothers and sisters in Christ! You ought be "grief stricken" regarding your/the hateful actions against your brothers and sisters at the "Body of Christ" you've just taken.

Do you know the pain of the SHAME you've inflicted on others for over two hundred years?

Probably not because you're signing on with a Primate who specializes in incomprehensible demoralization to LGBT people in Nigeria and at the Akinolan Church of Nigeria.

REAL pain is listening non-stop for decades to people like YOU pontificating and stupid wisecracking against LGBT people like me...LGBT people like me whom you know little to nothing about morally or sexually! Blind fear/hate?

Justify your sad behavior elsewhere please. Let the falseness of your "weeping" and your unhappiness with the landslide decision to discriminate against other Christian human beings at all levels of church life stand for exactly who you ARE today.

You're more arrogant than ever before while demonstrating "sadness" without any sign of humility, grace or willingness to admit to the shame you cast upon others as you cast us OUT.

Your self-pityfilled version/statement of "remorse" holds nothing "truth" sounding for me.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 3:52pm GMT

Athos wrote: "If the CofE felt that unity with Bishops was essential even if the Episcopate was heretical there would have been no English Reformation."

So you admit this is a Revolution against tradition?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 6:58pm GMT

JCF:

Your response is absurd. How is backing-off and allowing an equitable division "giving in to bullies"? You turn reality upside down when you imply that it is bullying for conservatives to want to make an equitable division and re-align. What IS bullying is for ECUSA (the bigger, more powerful party) to persecute and litigate against conservatives who simply want to withdraw with their share of the property and continue as the Church of God under different leadership.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 7:55pm GMT

StAndTheolStud wrote: “We have been asking whether the innovations proposed are true to the witness of scripture.”

However, I am afraid the real questions are:

Whose innovations are Innovations?

And who gets to decide this?


(I'll have a look at your chum's writing. Copying it into Word to be able to read it properly (my eyesight is deteriorating by the month) my impression is, however, that this is what happens when the quod erat demonstrandum is taken for granted.

But tomorrow is day off, so I'll be back).

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 8:02pm GMT

What is getting very little attention is that neither Truro nor Fall Church have done much in the diocese of Virginia for nearly a decade except whine and complain. These folks are mostly a group of middle aged and older (allegedly straight) white males who are trying to recapture the church they think existed in the middle 1950's. They use gender and human sexuality issues as a cover but the true issue is power and authority and who exercises it and over whom.

The Global South is trying to create what amounts to "the Worldwide Puritan Communion" which is not traditionally Anglican at all. Traditional Anglicanism makes room for various opinions and ideas and creates a somewhat "muddy" middle road that some people can't handle. They want everything laid out for them in black and white, yes and no answers. Life isn't like that...why should the church behave like it is.

There is also this constant drum beat about adhering to the faith handed down from the apostles unchanged over the centuries. That is indeed a falacy. Our faith and belief system has changed over the years as has our interpretation of Scripture. Even Jesus interpretted Scripture...we should be different??

Rabbi Hillel stated something along the lines of: Love God, love your neighbor. This is Torah. All else is commentary. I think the man had it right.

I wish these folks well. They seem to have forgotten that the table is large enough for all. They are choosing to leave it. Rest assured that I will do my best to make sure their seat is still there should they decide to return.

Bruce Garner, Atlanta

Posted by: Bruce Garner on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 8:24pm GMT

."....I daresay the feeling is quite
mutual" Christoferos

Christoferos, you're no longer able to play
pretend (appalled or not)..God demands that we
face REALITY occassionally and this is one of those historic
Episcopal Church TRUTH telling times. No more self-deceiving,
no exceptions!

WE, meaning LGBT Christian people, have always been
sitting/praying, loving and worshipping God right next to YOU in the
pews. WE have been preaching Gods message from the pulpit or sitting on
the Bishops "special" chair and/or "confirming" YOU too
(always)...suddenly YOU are hurt spiritually because
you've been "called" to face REALITY and Love your neighbor (the one
sitting next to you, your family member, your friend) instead of
continuing to play emotionally unhealthy, self-deceiving and flat out
lies of PRETEND!

You've VOTED and the evidence is recorded by the Virginia Parishes
that promote and pursue exclusion, discrimination and SIN by casting out
some of your faithful brothers and sisters in Christs Church life! You ought be
"grief stricken" regarding these hateful actions.

Do you know the pain of the SHAME you've inflicted on others for over two
hundred years? Possibly not! You're signing on with a Primate who
specializes in incomprehensible demoralization to LGBT people in Nigeria.

REAL pain is listening
for decades to people like YOU pontificating with your stupid wisecracking and selective reasoning
against LGBT people like me. LGBT people like me whom you know little
to nothing about morally!

Blind fear/hate? Justify your sad/sick
behavior elsewhere please. Let the falseness of your "weeping" and your
unhappiness with the landslide decision to discriminate against other
Christian human beings at all levels of church life stand for exactly
who YOU ARE today

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 9:33pm GMT

Bruce Garner wrote: "The Global South is trying to create what amounts to "the Worldwide Puritan Communion" which is not traditionally Anglican at all. Traditional Anglicanism makes room for various opinions and ideas and creates a somewhat "muddy" middle road that some people can't handle. They want everything laid out for them in black and white, yes and no answers. Life isn't like that...why should the church behave like it is."

This is a wonderful summation of the essential problem.

I had become accustomed to friends, or former friends in some cases, abandoning their own critical analysis and joining various fundamentalist Christian denominations in which it was expected they would embrace their prejudices, encourage their fears, and leave essential thought to some religious figurehead.

What is regrettable is to witness a desire by some that this should be copied within the Anglican Communion. It had been a home for many Christians, with a breadth of views about non-core issues all within the "big tent" of Anglican core beliefs. Now some are trying to redefine the scope of that tent, and comparisons to the Puritans seem sadly appropriate.

Bruce was also spot-on in his identification of the phony issue of "changed beliefs," in which the new-Puritans contend that the Church has erroneously diverted from immutable scriptural beliefs.

I have previously asked a few fundamentalist posters to define the year (or even the decade, or perhaps the century), in the history of the Church, from which no further interpretation of scripture was possible. They act as if the Church, at some undefined point in the past fifty or so years, had abandoned the eternal truths from the founding of the Church, when the reality is that the Church has come to greater understandings of scripture and tradition at countless points through the millennia. I would expect that to remain true in the future.

It's not simple, and it's not neat, but it is real, honest, and faithful. The joy of Anglicanism has been that it recognized and welcomed the diversity of our faith community, and it also recognized that none of us are perfect, and all of us can learn from each other.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 1:02am GMT

Leonardo - how many times? People have LISTENED and not been convinced by arguments made and their bases.

As the ABC has said, it is a false idea that the gospel is "Inclusive" at its heart......just reading all the words of JC will show that very clearly.

There is no point shouting, "Listen" unless you have something new and convincing to say....from the Bible (not psychology, human rights, sociology etc etc) - remember this is a church not a human rights group so there has to be appropriate substance to innovation.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 7:33am GMT

There is no point shouting, "Listen" unless you have something new and convincing to say....from the Bible (not psychology, human rights, sociology etc etc)

Serious (ie non-polemical) question. Does this mean that the disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology etc have nothing to offer Christian study of the Scriptures?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 9:13am GMT

No, NP. You need to consider the issue with reference to a wide range of tools and so on to enable insight.

Fundamentalism - 'the Bible alone' - is simply not adequate.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 9:52am GMT

Funny. I thought a church that worships Jesus and the Father would understand that makes it intrinsically a human rights group. Throughout biblical history, God intervenes to save those that no one else would save. God was the first humanist.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 10:53am GMT

Right. First, lest's establish where I'm coming from. I am NOT LGBT. I regard curiosity about other people's sexual activities as at best distasteful, and my own as of no concern to anyone but me and my wife.
Second, I think that some contributors to this thread need to listen to what the NT (and specifically Jesus) has to say about the identity of a neighbour. The crucial point in that story he told about a priest, a levite and a Samaritan was that the Samaritan was the vilest person imaginable. Rabbinic texts describe Samaritans as "menstruants from the womb" - in other words they are from birth totally and irretrievably unclean. Priest and levite give the possible corpse beside the road a wide berth as it would pollute them if their robes brushed against it. The Samaritan however is so bad HE would pollute even a corpse. You wouldn't want to be touched by a Samaritan even if you were dead. And this is the one Jesus as identifies as "neighbour", whom one must love as one loves onesself. It is utterly scandalous! (As is rather a lot of the Gospel) But it presents us with a challenge which cannot be trumped by citing verses from Leviticus and Romans about whose interpretation there is no consensus. There is no getting away from this particular scandal in the Gospel - that my neighbour is the person I least want to be my neighbour, and then on up the scale. Those who remember their Greek will of course know that "scandal" is something people trip over. We all need to watch where we are walking in these dark days.

Posted by: cryptogram on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 11:46am GMT

"this is a church not a human rights group"

NP,
While I agree that our relationship with God is based on grace, not rights, this statement seems bizarre. Human rights are part of the Gospel, part of the Kingdom we are all working for. Your statement sounds an awful like ++Akinola's appalling statement that human suffering doesn't matter.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 12:20pm GMT

Listening with the heart is, I believe what is called for from Leonardo's heartfelt plea.

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 12:45pm GMT

NP: It will indeed be telling that those who can't stand to "listen" will be humbled when science proves them wrong in their interpretation of the Gospels. But I suspect that their answer will be something on the lines of "intelligent design".

How many more Matthew Shepherds do we need as an "appropriate substance" to your reluctant endorsement of innovation?

And if ++Akinola is so concerned about the "Satanic presence" in TEC, what is he trying to do about the genocide of Christians in Sudan & Chad on his own continent?

You'd use a tiny bit of Scripture to tear a denomination of the Anglican Communion apart while ignoring the incredibly more huge situations of gross injustice being perpretated on Christ's creation.

You're right, I guess your "church" isn't about human rights. You and "Christ's Fire" can have it.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 3:30pm GMT

"...remember this is a church not a human rights group so there has to be appropriate substance to innovation." NP

Dear NP,

You don't know, or refuse to see, the difference in Gods "word" and "will" being revealed through living "substance" and "innovation" change throught the welcoming of ALL Christian/other believers in a world brimming with urgent examples of Gods very own desire for a HEALTHIER reality by living in TRUTH! No more pretending things are different than they REALLY are.

I believe Gods wish and COMMANDMENT is for us ALL to aspire/actively work to live in a peaceful and loving world with one another. Loving, embracing and being of service to one another IS revealed through the HEART of the Gospel and the words of Jesus Christ (besides, I don't speak Dutch and the ABC has not spoken to me in English in regard to ANY specific limitations set up for "partially welcoming" sinning Christians of LGBT orientation, moderate believeing or Puritan extremists at the Body of Christ..the exact same message of welcome and salvation is delivered to sinfilled/pridefilled puritan folks, heterosexual adulterers and/or homosexual hedonists too. Everybody is welcome at The Body of Christ...this is not a "contemporary" issue but a long standing wish for the good health and well being for ALL of humanity.

Fortunately you and I know little or nothing about other people and their individual/private "morals" and "sins"...only God is the judge of the others and God expects us to love one another.

Period.

Felicidades to everyone because great things are yet to appear before us and it is best to remember FAITH and let go of the FEAR and HATE!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 6:01pm GMT

Interesting that you should mention the problems in Africa. Significantly it is Christians who often are the victims in this case -and it is a big concern for African Anglicans. Only last week an African Anglican leader was telling us how he neary was killed in Sudan recently.

I also remember hearing from I think it was a Nigerian Bishop at Christ Church Fulwood back about 4 years ago about how his own house had been burnt down and his church attacked.

Posted by: dave williams on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 11:35pm GMT

"remember this is a church not a human rights group ..."

*boggle* The Church is the *original* human rights group.

Posted by: ruidh on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 1:05am GMT

Thanks for responses but I am afraid some of them prove the case - the church has got a group in it which is less concerned about the church's roots and bases than its own rights agenda.

As I have said before, please write out all of JCs words and you will see that he is no universalist or moral relativist.

JC was specifically NOT about creating a new just world - he refused to do that and was very clear about his mission.......but too many TEC leaders seem to think they are following him when they preach a gospel of "millenium goals" and human rights - while these campaigns need to be fought I believe, they are not JC's gospel if you look at his words and that is why we have a problem in the AC starting from ECUSA's actions in 2003 and refusal to repent.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 8:02am GMT

Choir boy, your comment that some people are concerned about the "Satanic presence" in TEC kept niggling at me. It puts us in with good company. After all, Jesus had to deal with similar allegations e.g. Luke 11:14-26; Matthew 10:25; Matthew 12:24-37; Mark 3:22-20

Some of NP's postings are just bizarre. Jesus was not about creating justice on earth???? If what NP is saying is true, that meant Jesus never intended to fulfill Isaiah 65:17-19 or 66:22-23!

Is that what Jesus was trying to warn us in John 14:30, that we would be vulnerable and could be swayed by the prince of this world? In John 14:27 Jesus promises to leave us with peace and to give us peace. Peace necessitates justice. Without justice there is no peace. So how can NP say that Jesus wasn't about bringing justice to this world? What, Jesus decided that he was only required to fulfill part of the scriptures? Or is it self-absorbed scribes are trying to reduce Jesus' vision to focus on only those things that flatter and bring corrupt priests tithes?

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 8:38am GMT

Cheryl - please look at what he said - he did not come to bring peace but division as HE SAID, he did not solve all hunger and health problems....did he?
He explicity said what his mission was....and it was not the "millenium goals"

It's a great, rewarding exercise - please write out all JCs statements and you will see his mission, love, priorities shining through

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 8:57am GMT

"JC was specifically NOT about creating a new just world"

NP, what?!?!?!?! So the Kingdom of God is what, then? Or is redemption all about getting into Heaven when you die? Seriously, what do you make of all the Bible's talk about justice and the Kingdom?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 11:28am GMT

Bizarre.

So, if you think Jesus had nothing to do with creating a just world, why do you defend conservative Christian intervention into society, then, NP?

OK, I know their aims are to excuse and promote INjustice, but the principle is the same. If you are going to be quietist and world-rejecting, at least try to be consistent.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 11:36am GMT

Again - look what he said and did, please....

Ford - as you know, his kingdom was not of this world and he was explicit about that so reducing the gospel to social justice and millenium goals is cutting out the heart of what JC was about and making Christianity mainly about social justice now is also missing JC's main mission.

Cheryl - so, if you are right, why did he not solve all the problems of injustice and pain in the world? He had compassion on some poor people that he met but it was by no means his main mission to heal the sick and feed the poor according to him.....please look at what he said and did - I am not making this up

Merseymike, I did NOT say JC had nothing to do with justice now....please see above and have a look at what JC actually said and did to show his main priority

Posted by: NP on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 9:13am GMT

NP

But Jesus did model meeting all hunger and health problems in those that came to hand. The feeding of five thousand from five loaves and a few fish, the healing of the bleeding woman.

Jesus modelled that you get on with healing the problems that are presented to you. He didn't go flying over to Asia or America to fix problems, he got on with fixing the problems that were presented to him at the time.

That is one of the core messages that Jesus modelled throughout his life, get on with finding a solution to the problem at hand, and trust that God cares for you and will find solutions for the bigger problems.

That is what the parable about the sparrows means.

How can people such as yourself not understand these basic concepts and yet claim to have exclusive and divinely superior understanding of Jesus?

You have exclusive and divine understanding of your own flattery and congratulations clubs. But they bear little correlation to reality and appear to shun reality where the inadequacy of the paradigms become too uncomfortable. Such people want the name of Jesus to rubber stamp their elite group, but they neither understand nor respect the core tenets that make up Jesus' character.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 10:20am GMT

Pls have a look at what JC actually said and did - as I say, to see JCs MAIN MISSION, you cannot ignore JC's statements which you do not like.

Luke 12: 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

Mark 2:1-12 http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=mk+2-12
Note why JC heals the man - he does it for a reason and not just because he wants to alleviate suffering! This is striking and would have annoyed some TA people had they been there, I suspect! This does not fit with the image some have made of his priority as alleviating suffering/ human rights etc etc etc

Read carefully what I say because I am NOT saying he did not care about suffering and I am NOT saying we should not care....I am saying JCs MAIN priority was not creating heaven on earth based on social justice etc, he said what his main priority was (eg Mark 10:45) and achieved his stated aims.....he said he would not create peace and justice on this earth and he did not do this as we know from this rotten world.....his kingdom is not of this world and it is that kingdom that he was establishing - this was his MAIN priority if you look at what he said and what he did.

Posted by: NP on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 10:25am GMT

my responses do not seem to have come up....but I shall try again beacuse it matters that people do not miss the point that JC had a MAIN priority and it was not social justice / healing etc in this world - notice he has not yet solved those problems:

pls see Mark 2:1-12

pls seee JC's first response to the paralytic - what would you have thought of it??

pls see why JC says he heals.

Posted by: NP on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 11:52am GMT

NP:
OH! Excuse me....Justice NOW, is it?

So you're saying JC's timing was off.

As for me, I would not presume to interpret Scripture for myself, then force on somebody else, which is I suspect the main fallacy of Protestantism.

Sorry can't fool around any longer, got to grab my red ribbon and bronze medalion and practice Leighton, Wilcox, Handel, Jackson in G., Piccolo, Tavener and Joubert for all those phrases the JC never said or meant.

Happy Christmas all!!

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 1:52pm GMT

NP dear, nobody here - absolutely nobody - agrees with you.

You need to pause for a while (not short) and reflect upon that.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 7:08pm GMT

You know, NP, people have been proof texting the same verses of Scripture to keep people believing that they shouldn't expect justice in this lifetime. That's a terrible misuse of Scripture because the verses, in context, don't mean what you suggest.

It wasn't Jesus' assignment to bring the Kingdom into fruition singlehandedly. It was his job to proclaim it. It's *our* job to accomplish it.

Doing that is doing the work of the Gospel.

Posted by: ruidh on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 8:21pm GMT

NP

Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." This passage demonstrates it was about this world, the ransom for many OF THIS world.

Luke 12:51 could be quoted by both of us.

And Mark 2:10 proves it is about this world "Son of Man has authority ON EARTH to forgive sins . . . ."

And I think a passage that defines Jesus' ministry is John 4:6-42. It concludes with this passage: “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior OF THE WORLD.”


Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 8:48pm GMT

Göran Koch-Swahne Says:
"NP dear, nobody here - absolutely nobody - agrees with you.
"You need to pause for a while (not short) and reflect upon that." End Quote.

Obviously, that shows NP is RIGHT on.

Seriously, why has none of you, disagreeing with NP, taken up his challenge?

NP simply asks: "please write out all JCs statements and you will see his mission, love, priorities shining through." (End Quote)

Why doesn't one of you do just that and then see how far off you and the rest of the Revisionists are from the True Gospel and Mission of Our Lord?

Posted by: Spiro on Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 3:02am GMT

Spiro's posting makes me wonder if I am writing under water! He acts as though my posting had not occurred. (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that was the case).

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

Am I allowed to write out JC's questions as well?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 3:33pm GMT

"Obviously, that shows NP is RIGHT on."

Well it might - but then, on the other hand, it might not.

Which is why a not too short time of reflection would be "helpful"...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 4:00pm GMT

NP has really stirred this pot. It shows where the real fissure is in the Anglican Communion. Jesus did not come to create a more just world. That is true and the phrase "more just" is exactly--I think--the nuance NP means. He didn't come to "make the world a better place."

Instead, Jesus announced (and incarnated) a new world, a renewed world of God's justice. God's kingdom is not some worldly goal we can adopt like Millenium Goals. Jesus doesn't recommend the Kingdom of God. He announces its approach. He warns it is coming. He tells us to enter it in all humility, to strip ourselves of anything inhibiting our welcoming it.

Turns out that coming Kingdom is established in the Body of Jesus himself on the cross. ("Destroy this temple, and . . . . He spoke of the temple of his body.") This is a justice that overturns the world's notion of justice for it is both the punishment and the forgiveness of sins. It unites the innocent sufferer with the perpetrator of evil in one sacrifice.

To reduce Jesus to simply a do-gooder, trying to make the world a better place, is to return to what Paul calls "the Law." That is the sort of Messiah Jesus' contemporaries expected, one who could take power, pass better laws, help some helpless people, make a positive contribution to history. He refused that crown.

Instead, he "opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers." He offered not 'improvement' but 'new life.' He offered not good advice, but good news; not a better form of human justice, but the justice (righteousness) of God. (". . . whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare HIS righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."--Romans 3:25)

Posted by: Doug Taylor-Weiss on Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 12:58pm GMT

And your point was, Sir?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 4:06pm GMT

Doug,

Would you please explain Jesus' meaning in Matthew 25:35-45?

I'm interested in how this passage fits into your theology about the Kingdom of Heaven.

Posted by: Richard Helmer on Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 4:38pm GMT
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