Monday, 8 October 2007

Bishop Nazir-Ali may not attend Lambeth

Update
There are further quotes from the bishop here.

Jonathan Petre reports in the Daily Telegraph that the Bishop of Rochester has said he may not attend:

…Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Bishop Nazir-Ali backed the calls of African archbishops for Dr Williams to convene an emergency meeting of all the primates to decide whether to discipline the Americans or postpone Lambeth.

He said: “My difficulty at the moment is not with a particular person, such as Gene Robinson, but with those who felt it right to approve and to officiate at his ordination.

“Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to the Gospel, and we all of us from time to time need to repent about what we have done wrong, I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council of bishops.”

He said if the conference was no longer to be regarded as an authoritative council, as it had been in the past, then he might be able to attend, but many would then question whether such a costly gathering had any point.

Bishop Nazir-Ali dismissed the view of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, that conservatives who boycotted Lambeth would be expelling themselves Anglicanism because they had broken their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury…


Read the whole article here
.

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Comments

Listen to the sound of people changing vehicles! He's not going, they're not going. I think Merseymike and I will have to open a book on the first bishop to operate for another Anglicanism. He says Michael Nazir-Ali and I have reckoned Chris Sugden. Is there the sound of picking up trumpets and starting to hear them played, or are people so far just bending over?

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 12:19pm BST

Can you just imagine those bushy eyebrows twitching in Lambeth Palace??

"Cameron, you said we would be able to push everyone to stick together if we got TEC to agree to temporarily slow down its movement away from agreed Anglican positions!"

Posted by: NP on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 12:30pm BST

Toys and prams come to mind.

Can anyone understand the logic of saying, "I don't have a problem with Gene, just with those who don't have a problem with him"?

I'm doing my best to recall anything in the Gospels which condemns consecrating a gay man! Are sinners banned from the episcopate? Are all bishops sinless, apart from gay ones and those who support them? He who is without sin...

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 12:38pm BST

It is a good point that the revisionists' understanding of the place of repentance in Christianity needs to be spelt out, because many are confused by their stance on this.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 1:01pm BST

'Bishop Nazir-Ali's conservative views are thought to be shared by as many as one in four of his colleagues.'

I do not beleive majorities are always (or ever) right.

However, Nazir Alli harldly represents a ground-swell ¬

I think we are talking Two Integrities here.

They need to listen to each other and live together.


Let's get on with it.

Posted by: L Roberts on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 1:18pm BST

What would happen if Nazir-Ali did go? He certainly wouldn't take all of Rochester with him. Where would the liberal and normal conservative parishes end up? Are there going to be PCC by PCC votes on whether to follow their Bishop or to stay... where?
Or would he simply be replaced by another bishop and have to strike out alone?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 1:19pm BST

A very good interview from Jonathan who clearly has a firm grasp of the issues and players.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 1:23pm BST

This is excellent news.
Never again are we going to have to worry about Nazir-Ali getting the top job like we did last time. No way will the establishment ever go for a rocker of the establishment boat.

Posted by: MadPriest on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 1:28pm BST

Given that +Rochester appears to be the only guy on the bench of bishops who seems to think declaring war a good way to bring about peace, I'd be none too upset to lose his bellicose tendencies. I'm sure he'd be happier in concert with others who 'like a fight'.

Muscular Christianity anyone?

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 1:40pm BST

His loss, more or less by definition.

Posted by: Tim on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 1:53pm BST

The parallels to the first Donatists are breath taking:
They were so sure that they would be supported by the larger Church (to whom they appealed) that, when disappointed, they change horses and began to attack the originally perceived allies more vociferously than they did the original source of discontent. The need for Constintinian style power is so great that they would rather burn down the House than entertain the idea that they might be wrong.

Posted by: John Robison on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 2:01pm BST

Well, now we know who is in the running for Archbishop of the future Evangelical Church of England, and perhaps Head of the Evangelical Anglican Communion.

And I thought it was N.T. Wright. Silly me. Well, at least, Akinola has some competition.

But what I still can't figure out is how people keep getting by with their claim that Jesus died on the cross to reinforce their prejudice against homosexuals.

Posted by: John N. Wall on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 2:18pm BST

Bishop Michael should perhaps remember that the Lambeth Conference has never been an authoritative council. It started as a forum for Anglican bishops to meet, pray and discuss matters of common concern and, as such, it has value within the Communion. While some Provinces may be used to jumping to their bishops' call the Anglican position is "episcopally led and synodically governed". The views of "lesser clergy" and laity are important within the Church. Unless they are heeded then the whole structure is liable to fall apart.

Posted by: Roger Stokes on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 2:50pm BST

Nazir-Ali is merely avoiding to have to pay the 50 quid he waged back in 1998 on being "the guy in charge for the next Lambeth around".

Seriously, I don't care. Nazir should stay home, regardless if the world stands upside down -according to his wishes- or not.
Hopefully, he won't be the only power driven, ego-frustrated , name-larger-than-wits, bishop not to attend.

Posted by: Leonel on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 3:02pm BST

One has to feel for the people of the Diocese of Rochester. They have endured SO much at the hands of this particular bishop by way of ecclesiastical, academic, and political disgrace. Where does he get the idea that the Lambeth Conference was ever an 'authoritative council'?

Posted by: Anglicanus on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 3:13pm BST

"He claimed that American clergy were increasingly weaving other faiths such as Buddhism and Hinduism into their worship and many regarded the Bible as a man-made book that could be rewritten rather than a revelation from God."

Since these things are so common, surely Nazir-Ali can name a few of the people guilty of such acts.

Until he does, his statement is no more authoritative than if, say, someone were to observe that "many conservative bishops have an unfortunate habit of luring small children into abandoned buildings."

The old undefined many statement is nothing more than a polite way to lie.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 3:25pm BST

"Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to the Gospel, and we all of us from time to time need to repent about what we have done wrong, I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council of bishops."

Nazir Ali is working to up the stakes, making a demand that even the Dar es Salaam communiqué did not request.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 3:35pm BST

Decode: We Anglican realignment folks are bringing it on home to England. We were really the only real, true believers to begin with, although we put up with other ways of following Jesus in a pretense of leeway. Nor, however, it is time to get serious, God wants us to be the sole models, leaders, and policing authority of the whole communion. We do know how to police, so people may take refuge in our abilities to find and punish sin in all forms, places, and types of people - well, except ourselves because we are so good at repenting that sin hardly has a chance to take root long term.

I think: This is exactly the sort who needs a Lambeth carefully restricted to prayer and study and fellowship. The last thing bishops like this need is yet another meeting where they think they are charged to issue Anglican police bulletins about suspected prog-lib thinking offenders lurking in the neighborhood.

With these attitudes, could he even make a career in the current British police forces or military?

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 3:43pm BST

Nazir Ali has been plotting with the Reform/Wycliffe Hall brigade for a long time. I remember visiting a Reform church in Oxford in late 2002 when they were praying for the government to change their mind and go for Rochester as ABC. There is little doubt that his ambitions extend to being alternative primate.

I wonder now if Blair regrets appointing +++Rowan: had the alternative been Nazir Ali the Episcopal Church would almost certainly have been expelled and there would have been no danger of the destruction of the C of E.

Posted by: John Omani on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 3:52pm BST

Erika Baker - "What would happen if Nazir-Ali did go? He certainly wouldn't take all of Rochester with him. Where would the liberal and normal conservative parishes end up?"

Anglicanus - "One has to feel for the people of the Diocese of Rochester"

Tell me about it. Now it appears my own diocesan has joined the punch-up. There are other things to worry about in Rochester than who comes to the next Staff party +Michael!

Posted by: Stephen Roberts on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 4:00pm BST

Hugh asks "Are sinners banned from the episcopate?"

Nope - but unrepentant sinners are not fit to be youth leaders /vicars /bishops etc

There is rejoicing in heaven over a sinner who repents..... there is none for those who will not repent.

Posted by: NP on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 4:08pm BST

Anglicanus says "One has to feel for the people of the Diocese of Rochester. They have endured SO much at the hands of this particular bishop by way of ecclesiastical, academic, and political disgrace."

Evidence for this slander?

Posted by: NP on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 4:13pm BST

IIRC, My Lord of Rochester was in Columbus for the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, but attended none of its functions (unlike York, the Archbishop of Utrecht, the Mar Thoma bishop, etc., etc., etc.) & attended the Holy Communion service hosted by the hundred of so people who refused to attend the Convention Eucharist, so, presumably, his comments about Buddhist & Hindu elements being added to worship services in TEC are not based on personal experience at Convention.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 4:28pm BST

"contrary to the Gospel"?
Some of us who are gay Anglican theologians see our inclusion as a Gospel imperative. We are not just trying to keep up with modern secular culture. I would like to see a summary statement of the Gospel that spoke directly against our full inclusion. I know this is shameless self-promotion, but I've written on this in some detail elsewhere, before I was ordained: www.therevdrcharleswallen.com/061302.doc

Posted by: Charles William Allen on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 4:41pm BST

So the Bishop of Rochester believes that the primates get "to decide whether to discipline the Americans or postpone Lambeth"?

Archbishop Michael Peers recently wrote to remind us of the origins of the primates meeting and the limitations on their authority:

"The Primates Meeting arose after the Lambeth Conference of 1978. [...] But the stated purpose of the Primates Meeting was the provision of occasions of mutual support and building of a community of persons of similar ministries within the Communion. [...]

"Archbishop Donald Coggan, in presiding over the first meeting, made it clear that the meeting was not going to become a resolution-producing body. The Meetings have traditionally produced statements, and the preparation of those statements certainly produces debate; but no resolution is ever taken, or even proposed, about the statement or any other subject. Even Archbishop George Carey, who arguably contributed to the higher visibility of the Primates Meeting [...], resisted any attempt to introduce the proposing of motions. Such a change would overstep the mandate agreed upon from the first meeting."

Archbishop Peers' entire essay is here:
http://episcopalmajority.blogspot.com/2007/09/archbishop-peers-on-primates-and-acc.html

Posted by: Lisa Fox on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 4:44pm BST

'Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to the Gospel, and we all of us from time to time need to repent about what we have done wrong, I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council of bishops'

Very odd thing to say - when what TEC bishops did was to follow their consciences, the Holy Spirit's guidance, and their understanding of the gospel. He clearly thinks TEC were wrong - they do not - but rather they are prepared to call a truce for the sake of the whiole body. What exactly would +Naz Al's good news be for gay people?
Odd too, because many FinF opponents of women priests can use exactly the same arguments for having nothing to do with +NA - because he approves of this innovation and has participated in ordinations.
Odd too because of his lack of loyalty to the ABC - this surely gives the go-ahead for all his clergy to set themselves up in their own authority. Where will it all end? The evangelicals seem determined to leave, and now is no time for Rowan to lose nerve and give in to bullies.

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 5:03pm BST

"He said if the conference was no longer to be regarded as an authoritative council, as it had been in the past, then he might be able to attend, but many would then question whether such a costly gathering had any point."

"Authoritative council"??? Since *when* has it been regarded as such?!

Yet another instance of Anglican-magisterium-by-wishful-thinking-and-historical-revisionism. (The Primates' Meeting likewise falls into this category.)

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 5:04pm BST

What are the implications under British secular law if a bishop in the C of E attempts to split from the jurisdiction of the ABC?

Posted by: Richard Lyon on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 5:06pm BST

What I am wondering about is how does one become the bishop of a fairly prominent see while having not a clue about the history of Anglicanism. The bishops of the Lambeth Conference have specifically stated that the statements of the Conference are not authoritative in the sense that they can be enforced against a member church. As if a curia of Primates was not a sufficiently hideous prospect, MNR seems to think that as an individual bishop he can issue an ultimatum to the American bishops, the ABC,and the rest of the Communion. Talk about ecclesiastical chaos! Perhaps it is time for the some of these radical revisionist conservative bishops who want to re-invent the order of the Church to admit that they are actually Protestant congregationalists is pretty clothes.

Posted by: revkarenm on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 5:08pm BST

Anglicanus - yes you are right. The Lambeth Conference does not have the authority of a Church Council. For a start it would need to be representative if it did! And Africans (and now vagrantes in US) have a Bishop for about as many people as the CofE has for Rural Deans!
The rot, and also the blame (though I hate to use this word) rests squarely on the shoulders of +George Carey. He also mucked up the CofE too with the Archbishop's Council.

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 5:08pm BST

On 22 May 2007 the Archbishop of Canterbury is reported by the ACNS to have written “the Lambeth Conference has no ‘constitution’ or formal powers; it is not a formal Synod or Council of the Communion”, and that invitation to the Conference has never been seen as “a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy”.

Despite this very clear statement, people such as the Bishop of Rochester, who ought to know better, continue to say that the Lambeth Conference has been regarded in the past as an "authoritative council" when the exact opposite was the case from the meeting's inception over a hundred years ago.

This tactic is on a par with the attempt to make the Primates' Meeting a legislative assembly with jurisdiction over the whole Communion. It seems as if their belief is that if these ideas are repeated often enough that they will be accepted as true.

How odd that these self-styled "reasserters" are actually attempting innovation on a grand scale.

Posted by: Nick Finke on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 6:18pm BST

+Michael Rochester is bearing false witness against his fellow-bishops and clergy in the U.S. when he claims, assuming he has not been misquoted, "that American clergy were increasingly weaving other faiths such as Buddhism and Hinduism into their worship and many regarded the Bible as a man-made book that could be rewritten rather than a revelation from God."

Where is the evidence? Of course, there is Jack Spong, who definitely is not representative of TEC's HoB and the majority of its clergy. Is Bishop Nazir-Ali also attacking the Regius Professor of Divinity-emeritus in the University of Oxford, Keith Ward, who, in a commendable series of theological books, commencing with Religion and Revelation (1994) engaged in Inter-Faith dialogue, picking up a theme addressed at length by the Second Vatican Council? Is he also tarring with the same brush the Fathers of Vatican II?

If so, Bishop Nazir-Ali has lost his gravitas and any claim to respectability. He might just as well return to the religion of his youth, which is fundamentalist Islam making war on all Infidels.

Posted by: John Henry on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 6:27pm BST

Of course the bishop is a liberal, and a former Roman Catholic. He appointed the first woman archdeacon in the Church of England, and has pioneered women's ordination.


Surely he should ask for all the bishops who consecrated the Episcopal bishop ( after Robinson) who was twice divorced. Which is a clear denial of scripture, " let the bishop be the husband of one wife."


Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 6:48pm BST

Not a very mature attitude to take for a senior bishop - thank God he did not make it to Canterbury,

Posted by: Terry Henderson on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 7:41pm BST

"episcopally led and synodically governed"

Very interesting. One of the perspectives that came to light during my looking into these Catholic types who liberalised belief, either via Theosophy or due to Unitarian Free Catholic inspiration, was the importance of reformation and laity. For all the want of Anglican clergy wanting to be called "Father" and dressing up, and ways to guarantee real presence, there is always the Reformation side to bring them down a peg or two. You can see in some cases (obviously somewhat different with evangelical types who want to run off into purity land) a desire for control and organising and the pointy hat.

The other side that interests me is the evangelicals accusing TEC and others of, indeed bringing in Buddhism and Hinduism, or "liturgical Unitarianism". Well, with the exception of a few individuals, it Hinduism not been brought into belief the way that the Liberal Catholic Church did. Incidentally, the Liberal Catholics had a gay undercurrent among its priests and bishops when it broke from the Old Catholic Church in Britain, and today the LCCI's Archbishop is Elizabeth Stuart, probably the leading queer theologian in the UK (University of Winchester), having jumped ship from the Open Episcopal Church, that looks back before the Theosophists and to Arnold Harris Mathew himself, a Roman catholic, turned Unitarian, turned Old Catholic, thought of Roman Catholic again, and apparently ended up Anglican. The Open Ecumenical Church is probably the most standard of the bunch and the most ecumenical, and, like all of them, is gay friendly.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/10/independent-catholics.html

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 7:56pm BST

"Bishop Nazir-Ali dismissed the view of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, that conservatives who boycotted Lambeth would be expelling themselves Anglicanism because they had broken their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury. 'It is nothing to do with loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury,' said Bishop Nazir-Ali. 'In fact it may be an expression of loyalty to him to say that the Lambeth Conference has integrity'."


So refusing to accept +Rowan's invitation is a sign of loyalty.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 9:28pm BST

Thanks Hugh for the laugh.

The comments about who is going to be the next "head" of the Anglican Communion is probably the punchline in this whole fracas. Some had the scent of blood that they could have a coup d'etat of the whole communion, especially if they got rid of that nagging voice of conscience from the US who asked "But what about GLBTs, aren't they God's children too?"

In their attempt to make the coup, they actually had to discuss their theology because the other side actually had theology to underpin their instinctive concern for others. (By the way, isn't that proof of Spirit indwelling, John says that we can not love unless God lives within us. So maybe those who hate GLBTs and those who would advocate on their behalf need to ask whether Spirit is within them). Thus as they played to take over God transmuted their calls to join into a warning bell to step away.

Now they have to contemplate whether there is more to be gained by remaining in the Communion or if their rewards of this world would be greater if they were to break sooner.

We can all sit back and watch the hoopla as they then jockey for who wants to or should take responsibility for representing the next Communion/s.

In the meantime, I agree with Rowan's New Orleans three stated reasons for continuing the Lambeth Conference as planned, not least of which was his desire for those isolated and fraught dioceses that are indifferent to organizational lobbying, but who particularly benefit from the renewal of spirits that such a conference brings to their beleaguered dioceses. Rowan has not forgotten nor sacrificed the least of his dioceses, despite the tantrums of some spoilt selfish wives.

Nor do I have a problem with people going through the bible and finding imagery that helps them build bridges with the Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism. That’s what the early Spanish missionaries did when they went to South America; it is a very Catholic tradition to integrate Christianity with local customs. Look at how we aligned some things to significant pagan dates equinoxes and solstices. It’s called making the bible relevant to all the peopleS of all the nationS.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 9:29pm BST

"Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to the Gospel,... I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council of bishops."

It seems as if the Bishop of Rochester has a very different set of Gospels from the one in my Bible. Not only did our Lord not condemn homosexuality, he ate,drank and proclaimed the Good News of God's Reign with all sorts: Pharisees, Tax Collectors, Centurions, slaves, Syrians, Samaritans, faithful disciples and betrayers. My guess is that in that mix, there were gays and lesbians too -- even if they didn't use the terms then.
Bishop Nazir-Ali may have his opinions on issues of sexual ethics (along with his supporting interpretations of various Old and New Testament scriptures), but he is quite wrong to attribute his views, as well as his desire to break communion with his fellow bishops, to the Gospel. It just isn't there.

Posted by: Edgar on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 9:43pm BST

I hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury listens to this, and realises what the effect of him hanging on to TEC at all costs is likely to be... It will cause deeper and deeper scism in the communion and in the CofE, which will run on for years!

Posted by: davidwh on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 10:08pm BST

In the Anglican mainstream article, the following passage made my jaw drop:

"I was present at General Convention 2003 where approval was given for Gene Robinson’s consecration. The next day, I had been worshipping with people, I felt I could not go to the convention eucharist. I made my way to the Forward in Faith eucharist in a Methodist Church, and when I got there I discovered 100s of people had made the same decision, women, men evangelicals, catholics - to such an extent people were standing three deep outside on the pavement. That was a consensus fidelium that such a decision was wrong."

Right. So, according to His Grace's reasoning, all the numbers of people at GC 2003 who supported its decisions (the majority!), are *not* indicative of a consensus fidelium. Nor are the throngs who attended +VGR's consecration. No, an overflowing Methodist church filled with conservatives of many stripes making common cause against queer clergy -- *that* qualifies as a consensus fidelium, no matter that their numbers were fewer than the pro-gay Christian contingent at *other* gatherings.

Do mitres stifle bloodflow to the brain's reasoning centers?

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 10:49pm BST

No, Nazir-Ali will leave and then will no longer be Anglican. No messing around here - Anglican = Canterbury. You leave canterbury, you are no longer an Anglican.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 10:51pm BST

"What are the implications under British secular law if a bishop in the C of E attempts to split from the jurisdiction of the ABC?"

If by this you imply his attempting to "take" his diocese with him, as some of the American diocesans seem intent on doing, Richard Lyon, since relevant English secular law probably dates from the early years of Elizabeth I, if not from the reign of her father, this could very well be High Treason and the penalty, in the words of the Mikado, "something lingering, with boiling oil in it" - which ironically was the fate of an individual charged under Henry VIII with attempting to poison Nazir-Ali's predecessor, Bishop Fisher, a gentleman (Fisher, that is) of whom I suspect we will be hearing much in coming days.

Rambling aside, if he simply secedes and attaches himself to, or attempts to form a new church, there could be no civil penalty - after all, very few years separate Henry Edward Manning, Anglican Archdeacon of Chichester from Henry Edward Manning, RC Archbishop of Westminster.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 10:55pm BST

All this talk of TEC being the target for policing carries on as if TEC had invented and exported each and every idea that the conservative realignment believers find so outre and galling.

But the facts of our global history over the past hundred years or so tell us otherwise.

Nuke the whole of TEC if you like, in a thought experiment.

Still the mixed and complicated Anglican ideas which change us for the better as believers will continue to have purchase among believers worldwide, laying good claim to conscience and discernment - in Canada, and in a good many other places, up to and including England itself.

Canterbury knows this, or should know it. You cannot lop off TEC without next having to lop off pieces of other provinces, accordingly.

As the USA conservative networks are making so clear: They feel chosen and called to replace the rest of TEC, full stop, period. Why this deserving conservative realignment replacement duty? We've been languishing in the dry modern deserts of hypothesis testing and best practices empirical fact finding for ever sooooooo long. We now hunger for dogma and the power to threaten and even outright punish others.

Alas. Lord have mercy. This is the key to the new Anglican orthodoxy? The good news of Jesus is a cold punch in the kisser from a bishop who thinks you beneath contempt, though not you personally, of course. He's punching out your lights on principle, since personally you do not even register on his gospel radar. Or is Jesus good news reducible to smug sound bites about new puritan holiness and righteousness from people who wave mention of their gun around in the bloggy airwaves, loudly preaching about their innate weaponized rights to a certain sort of religious manhood. Alas. Lord have mercy.

If Canterbury falls for all of this, RW will deserve the ensuing realigned worldwide communion over which he will be destined to preside, nominally.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 8 October 2007 at 11:19pm BST

davidwh - how wrong you are! In my church we might well have considered inviting +Nazir Ali to preach (though unlikely I think) until after these crazy comments. Now if he gets his way, the likely outcome would be (what would hitherto have been unlikely) invitations to whomseover we can invite from TEC!!

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 12:17am BST

"It will cause deeper and deeper scism in the communion and in the CofE, which will run on for years!"

While I'm not quite sure what exactly a scism is (sounds scary - as in, Attack of the Fifty-Foot Scisms), your logic here defies me more than your spelling, davidwh. Quite clearly the doctrinal divisions within the Anglican church (and the C of E) are far broader, and run much deeper, than just ECUSA vs the rest. So cutting the Episcopal Church off like a rotten limb will achieve absolutely nothing. How long do you think the deeply liberal churches in non-Sydney Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Wales and Scotland (for example) will put up with being told what to do by Nigeria and Uganda? Do you think the bishops of Salisbury and Southwark will put aside their principles for the sake of Rochester and Winchester? Precisely because the rifts run deeper than they seem, it is neessary to keep fighting for unity, even at a price. And frankly, catastrophic presentiments don't help.

Posted by: MRG on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 1:01am BST

As I have watched and read evidence of the increasing revelation of the fundamentalist (and decidedly non-Anglican) mindset of people like the angry Bishop of Rochester, or the blustering separatist Bishop of Pittsburgh, I take even more comfort from the final blessing which the Rector of my parish selected for this past Sunday, when we celebrated the Feast of St. Francis at our principal Eucharist. It was the Franciscan Benediction, previously unknown to me, and the words follow for those also unfamiliar with it, or who may have forgotten:

A Franciscan Benediction

"May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we will live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, and the earth, so that we will work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer so that we will reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to think that we can make a difference in the world, so that we will do the things which others say cannot be done. Amen."

With that in mind, and confident of the continuing traditional and broad Anglican Communion, no matter what Nazir-Ali or Duncan or Akinola may say to the contrary, I look forward to the next fifteen or twenty years remaining in my life as the Episcopal Church goes forward with its brothers and sisters in most of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Anglicans are not, and never will be, Calvinists.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 4:08am BST

The last paragraph in the "further comments" post reads...

"We live in a fallen world and I do not expect perfection in the church. We help people where they are in the way that’s the best possible for them. That is very different from systematically teaching something different. Persistent behaviour without repentance is the issue we are facing. I do not want to be promiscuous in talking about these things, we have to state at a particular time what is the gospel’s judgement in a particular situation. I have done this before and the consequences were terrible. I have experienced them and my family has experienced them. This time I can do no other."

I think I track him until the 3 sentences, which make no sense to me at all. I'm American so perhaps there is a cultural context I'm missing. Can anyone enlighten me? I really don't have the slightest idea what he is saying.

Posted by: Rick Jones on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 7:37am BST

Rick - what he is saying is:

a) he is not saying anyone cannot come to church - the church is not made up of perfect people and all are welcome and should receive whatever help they need;

b) but this does not mean that we change the gospel so that certain sins are suddenly reclassified as not sins;

c) he does not want to say one thing to one group and another to the opposing groups - unlike some TEC bishops.............he wants to have a single, open, honest position by which all stand.

Not sure I am any clearer than +Rochester (he cannot help it as he is an academic)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 8:28am BST

Rick Jones says: Can anyone enlighten me? I really don't have the slightest idea what he is saying:

''I do not want to be promiscuous in talking about these things, we have to state at a particular time what is the gospel’s judgement in a particular situation. I have done this before and the consequences were terrible. I have experienced them and my family has experienced them. This time I can do no other."

This must be a reference by Nazir Ali to his situation in 1986 when as Bishop of Raiwind he courageously spoke out against the Pakistani government's repressive policies and the execution of Islamic apostates (converts to Christianity). Nazir Ali considered it a gospel precept that he spoke out against the penal laws. He was actually extremely brave in standing against the persecution of religious minorities, only to recieve death threats against him and his young family from Islamists; it was at this juncture that ++Runcie brought him to England as a special advisor.

I'm not sure that he's repaid Runcie's favour with this intervention, but credit should be given to him where it is due. +Rochester may be many things but he is certainly not a coward.

Posted by: Matthew B on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:07am BST

Further to my last post in response to Rick Jones, there is a detailed interview with +Rochester about the Pakistan episode in the latest edition of the Free Copts magazine:
http://freecopts.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=668&Itemid=1

Whatever one feels about his latest comments, it seems probable that this experience has affected the way that +Rochester views the church and its mission; he has a strong belief that support must be given to the communion in the developing world (which makes up most of the Global South) if the Church is going to respond effectively to persecution of the kind he experienced.

It is worth remembering too that his first job on being called to England by ++Runcie was the organisation of the 1988 Lambeth conference, and that has shaped his belief that it must have more integrity than simply being a decennial social event.

Posted by: Matthew B on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:23am BST

Viriato...you comment on +Rochester's brain....have you compared your academic record to his? I suspect it is superoir

And, just so you get it, the point you struggle to understand above is that although TEC USA may have been hijacked by liberals, within the AC, VGR is only acceptable to a small minority......and even within TEC, there are many who opposed what happened in 2003 (those who have not left in the last couple of decades)

I would have left TEC a long time ago, during the days of Spong, but some faithful Anglicans stayed. Now, people like you expect the AC not to recognise people like +Duncan, with whom most of us have no disagreement on major issues, but to accept VGR who the ABC has said would not be made bishop in most places in the AC and despite the deliberate "tearing of the fabric of the Communion" by ECUSA in 2003?? Does that really make sense?

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:58am BST

The Benediction is beautiful.

"...unrepentant sinners are not fit to be youth leaders /vicars /bishops etc...", so the soul that orchestrates character attacks in an attempt to discredit parishioners and damage their professional, familial or parishioner relationships is not an unrepentant sinner? Apparently vilification, repression and tyranny have become virtues that (preferably male) youth workers, vicars and bishops should inculcate. Plus there is the whole conundrum of show me a soul that has never sinned, and I will show you a liar.

While Anglicanism might traditionally be broad tent in its character, puritan offspring often shoot off. If they are particularly aggressive, they need to be boundary managed.

It is God's nature to intervene to curtail excessive religious aggression. Ezekiel 24:18 "Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?" Or Ezekiel 17 "A great eagle... took some of the seed… and… planted it… by abundant water... Its branches turned toward him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine… there was another great eagle.... The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water. It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine… This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots... the Sovereign LORD says: As surely as I live, I will bring down on his head my oath that he despised and my covenant that he broke. I will spread my net for him, and… bring him to Babylon and execute judgment upon him there because he was unfaithful to me... the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it… Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches..."

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 10:21am BST

He really hasn't got it - there is nothing to repent for.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 10:25am BST

MRG: "cutting the Episcopal Church off like a rotten limb"

It's tempting to agree with this parody of my position, but the 'legal' issues are to do with TEC having deliberately broken Communion teaching (in the face of repeated calls from everyone from the Archbishop down) and after explicit warnings about the scism this would cause "tear at the fabric etc"... which TEC even acknowledged - and then did it anyway!

Other more liberal provinces have restrained themselves. Whereas TEC has taken a defiantly stance, and created this huge tear - because, I think, Communion is less important to them than what they believe is 'prophetic' justice. That is their judgement.

If the Archbishop holds on to TEC, it seems inevitable that the acknowledged tear in the Communion, and the CofE, will widen into scism.

Posted by: David Wh. on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 10:50am BST

The Archbishop is right. This is a vital move for the whole Anglican community to bring some order into the US Episcopalinas. Robert Opala

Posted by: Robert Opala on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 11:04am BST

Merseymike - I hope you are not one of those always bleating on about "listening" becaues you do not listen!
YOu say "He really hasn't got it - there is nothing to repent for."

Have you heard of Lambeth 1.10, TWR, the Tanzania Communique and have you seen the responses to TEC HOB doublespeak of Reformm, AM, ACI and Fulcrum. Clearly, not many are persuaded by your baseless assertion that TEC(USA) has nothing of which to repent.

And, what TEC(USA) is trying to force the AC to accept is that one sin does not need repentance.... even fewer buy that as it is so clearly driven by a desire to justify a particular sin.

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 11:18am BST

"I suspect it's superior"
"And just so you get it"
"the point you struggle to understand"
“Course you are not......why might that be? Trying to justify any sin in particular??”
“I suspect, in slightly more real and meaningful ways than you may have”
“you think you make a powerful point?”
“you are dreaming if you think”
“my colleagus laugh at the Vicar of Dibley and think churches just contain small groups of misfits”

And this just from a few hours worth of posts!
Is there anyone else here from HTB who can tell me whether this is truly typical of HTB Christian behaviour? I’m trying to salvage at least a modicum of respect for consevos but am finding it increasingly difficult. Please, someone, tell me you’re not all like that!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 12:45pm BST

I think I disagree with Merseymike that Anglican = Archbishop of Canterbury. I reckon instead that it is something to do with Catholic and Reformed, and a combination of scriptures, reasoning and traditions. So the episcopal line is qualified by the insertion of the priesthood of all believers, and the priesthood of all believers gets qualified by the episcopal element. Then there is liturgical practice, a writing of liturgies for collective use that inherits from, in part, the Book of Common Prayer.

So for me it is quite possible that there are other Anglican Churches. They stop being Anglican when they exclude either traditions, reasoning or scriptures, or emphasise to the point of marginalising the others to a negligible degree, and when they exclude the Reformation input or the Catholic input. If the Archbishop of Canterbury fits into this, then it is right to fit in with him. The king isn't all powerful.

Individuals will vary; I am myself somewhat on the edge while recognising the place of traditions and scriptures. Like these are the presented raw material.

When you don't have the Reformation element, you do get something different, even with reasoning and Catholic inheritance. The pluralist in me has no problem with different Anglican denominations, but obviously there is a point where the culture shifts.

One commentator reminded me of the Philippine Independent Church, that started out as Unitarian with an Anglo-Catholic liturgy. It became more fully Anglican in its theology as well, and then connected itself to The Episcopal Church, and thus to the Archbishop of Canterbury. But it could have become Anglican on its own.

All this allows for a Church to have its own traditions, such as Old Catholic or Lutheran, etc., which means that although they may qualify as Anglican in many respects, their traditions mean that there is another flavour to their existence, but can still end up in full inter-communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 12:49pm BST

"Of course the bishop is a liberal, and a former Roman Catholic. He appointed the first woman archdeacon in the Church of England, and has pioneered women's ordination."

Err, no - I think you will find that the previous bishop of Rochester appointed the first female archdeacon - which still dies not make him a liberal. And Nazir Ali may well ordain women but he is not seen as supportive of women's causes - he chaired the Rochester Report on women bishops and slowed things down considerably!

Posted by: Frozenchristian on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 1:55pm BST

Hi Edgar

Of course Jesus ate and drank with these people. He wanted to identify with them, and said things like 'It is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick'; 'the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost'. He saw them as being outside the fold and wanted to draw them in.

It is clear from every page of the NT that (a) there is a massive difference between disciples and non-disciples; (b) the Christian attitude to non-disciples as people is to be unfailingly positive.

For example, 1 Cor. 6 lists all sorts of sinners: thieves, fornicators etc. and says 'such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus'. Which Bible says 'and you can stay that way - it's ok cos you'll be just as forgiven whether or not you stay that way.'?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 2:08pm BST

I look forward to him speaking out on behalf of the lgbt mimoities suffering currently in Pakistan, and around the world, wherever hardline muslims or christians rule.

'...This must be a reference by Nazir Ali to his situation in 1986 when as Bishop of Raiwind he courageously spoke out against the Pakistani government's repressive policies and the execution of Islamic apostates (converts to Christianity). Nazir Ali considered it a gospel precept that he spoke out against the penal laws. He was actually extremely brave in standing against the persecution of religious minorities, only to recieve death threats against him and his young family from Islamists; it was at this juncture that ++Runcie brought him to England as a special advisor.

I'm not sure that he's repaid Runcie's favour with this intervention, but credit should be given to him...'

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 2:12pm BST

There is no 'Communion teaching' (sic). There are Two Integrities. Even Williams recognises that.

Just asd there are Two Integrities on women ministers, and the nature of holy communion, and Mary and just about everything else ! There is no one normative, authoritive'Communion rteaching' (sic)--not even on what'Communion teaching is.

There is no 'fabric to tear'--don't get carried away with metaphor !
However, thre are tears in the eyes oflgbt people who are marginalised and threatened in many countries around the globve--incluing the 'land of the free' (sic).

There is a tear in the fabric of the lives of many of us. Just think on that. That is the real scism (sic) here.

This is no parody.

'It's tempting to agree with this parody of my position, but the 'legal' issues are to do with TEC having deliberately broken Communion teaching (in the face of repeated calls from everyone from the Archbishop down) and after explicit warnings about the scism this would cause "tear at the fabric etc"... which TEC even acknowledged - and then did it anyway!.

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 2:22pm BST

VGR - I have said it before and I say it again, VGR is more HONEST than some other TEC bishops....and here he is again saying the JSC has been far too quick to put a positive gloss on the TEC HOB statement

http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2007/10/open-letter-to-lgbt-community-from.html

So, maybe ++Jensen, Fulcrum, the ACI and +Nazir-Ali and many others who have not been fooled are right on the TEC HOB statement and the JSC attempt to sell fudge in the AC again?

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 4:35pm BST

The only person I know who conducted a campaign for the nomination to Canterbury was this man.

I am told he was never seriously considered for the post (other than by himself).

I shall never forget his recoil as Rowan embraced him at his enthronement - it was so sad.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 4:46pm BST

Erika - I, like you, find it hard to respect people sometimes - eg people seeking to justify their sins and ignoring scripture in order to do so.

L Roberts says "There are Two Integrities"....where do you get that from?
I have heard of Lambeth 1.10 which says certain behaviour is contrary to scripture but I have not heard of any official Anglican position which states there are two integrities on the presenting issue?

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 4:47pm BST

NP wrote:
"And, what TEC(USA) is trying to force the AC to accept is that one sin does not need repentance.... even fewer buy that as it is so clearly driven by a desire to justify a particular sin."

I wonder whether anyone else knows the splendid essay by Mgr Ronald Knox called "The New Sin". A huge fuss is caused throughout the nation by the announcement of "The New Sin" - but the pay-off is that no-one ever defines what it is. It came into my mind as I read NP's comment above. Just what IS the sin? Is it being by nature or nurture LGBT? In which case how can it be repented of? Is it one or more of the things that two persons of an LGBT kind might get up to when together, in public or alone? If so, where is the sin/non-sin line drawn? (Around the waist, probably, but I think we need to be a tad more specific.) Thus, is it sinful for two people of the same gender to hold hands? To cuddle? To kiss? Or is it all to do with genitalia? And IF IT IS, isn't it a massive assumption that everyone who is LGBT is continually involved in genital activity? Should a confessor refuse absolution to a LGBT person where in a parallel situation a heterosexual person might be absolved, simply because being LGBT is an abomination in the sight of God, irrespective of one's actions or lack of them? And if you are a Calvinist and believe LGBT people to be among the reprobate children of wrath created (by a loving God in his infinite mercy) for the sole purpose of their damnation to the lake of fire and brimstone, what's the point in demanding repentance anyway? Or is it demonic? Certainly there are some who would take that view - witness the attempted exorcism of Richard Kirker at Lambeth 1998. (Do any of our LGBT contributors have to avoid Holy Water?)

A little more clarity of thinking in place of sloganising seems to be called for.

Posted by: cryptogram on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 5:19pm BST

A number of things.

1.) Nazir-Ali is either woefully ignorant or deliberately misleading in his claim that Lambeth "teaches." Lambeth does not "teach," and the resolutions of Lambeth represent the majority opinion of the chaps (and the odd woman) who turned up. It has whatever moral authority those chaps (and women) may give it, but it has neither juridical nor magesterial authority. My Lord of Roffen should try telling the truth.

2.) Curious to see NP get so worked up over what he considers the slandering of my Lord of Roffen - particularly given that NP routinely slanders anyone who disagrees with him.

3.) I laugh at the Vicar of Dibley. It is, after all, a comedy.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 6:28pm BST

In response to this statement:

'And Nazir Ali may well ordain women but he is not seen as supportive of women's causes - he chaired the Rochester Report on women bishops and slowed things down considerably!'

Actually +Rochester put his life on the line in Pakistan to oppose forced marriage and penal restrictions on female education. You may not agree with his line on women bishops, but it is a valid perspective, and he has risked more for the rights of women than most people in the Church will ever comprehend.

Remember also that +Rochester was responding to a series of questions at a Wycliffe Hall lecture, not issuing some ex cathedra statement. A little more charity would be in order.

Posted by: Matthew B on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:10pm BST

Yes, NP, I have both heard of the document you constantly mention (advisory only, note) and the predictable responses of the evangelical party.

I don't agree with them, gay relationships are not sinful, and TEC have nothing to repent for. They should be congratulated for moving the debate forward whilst being willing to slow the pace given the views of some others.

Hopefully, the extremist provinces and their followers here will make their mind up soon as to what they wish to do. because your incessant repetitive parrot-cries have been heard here, and listened to.

But you haven't convinced us.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:29pm BST

There are two integrities because there are two integrities because there are two integrities.

I can see this for myself on the ground. I need no authority other than the evidence of my own eyes and ears.

There are two integrities because there are two integrities because there are two integrities.

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:32pm BST

Yes some souls courageously speak out against Christians being abused; would that they would do the same against their own kind. But if they do not hate bloodshed, then bloodshed will pursue them (Ezekiel 35:6)

If "full" repentance is required, why don't the some desist from their aggression against GLBTs? If they do not repent of their aggression who are they to demand repentance of anyone else for anything else?

Jesus’ success on the cross involved the grace of God and no priest has a right to interfere with God’s relationship with any soul. Spirit and the bride offer the FREE gift of the water of life (Revelation 22:17)

Isaiah 48:8-9 "...For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off."

Isaiah 65:1-5 "“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me... I have held out my hands to an obstinate people… pursuing their own imaginations— a people who continually provoke me… offering sacrifices... who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!’ Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day."

Jeremiah 7:31 "They have built the high places... to burn their sons and daughters in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind."

Hosea 11:2-4 "…the more I called… the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals… they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them."

Ezekiel 34:8-11 "…because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore … I am against the shepherds... I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves… I myself will search for my sheep and look after them."

Isaiah 65:11-14 "…My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts... For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes."

Zechariah 7:9-14 "…‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress... In your hearts do not think evil of each other..."

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 10:19pm BST

NP - My Dear Lollard Donatist Arminian Fratitcelli,

My Parish here in the US is growing by leaps and bounds.
A simple look at the numbers across the board in the US comparing our most closed, heterodox Dioceses (chiefly the ones that are getting ready to "walk") and the most progressive, shows an interesting trend. Where do you think the most Baptisms, highest ASAs and largest giving are? If you think that it is CANA, you are flat out wrong.
Indeed, when one looks South here in the Western Hemisphere, it is the Southern Cone that is the smallest Province, even when one takes in the Pirated Diocese of Recef.
What I must ask is, how many of the people flooding these parishes are truly formed as Anglicans? Or are they simply like the congregants of Truro, simply filling the pews of a Church that tickles their ears and not engaging in any formation that deviates from generic Fundagelical nonsense? Is there any place in the formation that deviates from the dead “word” of the literalist scriptures? Is there ever any serious challenge to the closed minded, idolatrous “interpretation” of the Scriptures that turns the living Word of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into a poisonous stone that kills the Spirit and chains it’s hearers to the tomb? I doubt it.
is the Southern

Posted by: John Robison on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 10:37pm BST

Yes Bishop Michael has made his point. It is important that we declare our stand on any issue of faith instead of limping on two opinions.

Posted by: Eminent on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 12:34am BST

J Robison - pls see official TEC(USA) nos to see its steady rates of decline.

L Roberts - brilliant argument - so, there are 2 integrities because you assert there are and because you want there to be 2 equallly valid ways (regardless of the stated positions of the CofE which clearly state that certain behaviour is incompatible with scripture)

Malcom - I suspect +Rochester knows a bit about Lambeth. Maybe you have been more prominent in Lambeth conferences than him but Bishop Michael Nazir Ali was the Director of Studies of Lambeth 1988 and co-editor of the Conference Report, and the Plenary Speaker on engagement with other faiths at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. I suspect he understands what Lambeth Conferences should be.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 7:30am BST

NP wrote: I suspect he understands what Lambeth Conferences should be.

But there is the world of a difference between what someone thinks they should be, and what they actually are.

Posted by: Peter Sutcliffe on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 9:14am BST

NP
"I suspect he understands what Lambeth Conferences should be."

Well, even Akinola accepted that Lambeth conferences have no authority.
One of the two must be wrong then.

At least I hope that my former bishop's statements are simply misguided rather than outright misrepresentations of the truth.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 9:30am BST

"I, like you, find it hard to respect people sometimes - eg people seeking to justify their sins and ignoring scripture in order to do so."

NP,
Many do not respect those who accuse others of things they are guilty of themselves. At the very least, many would like to see an admission on the part of such a person that s/he is TRYING to conquer his/her sins. It is one thing to admonish a fellow Christian, we are all called to do that for each other, it is quite another to deny one's obvious guilt while pointing out every body else's.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 12:21pm BST

Ford - please look back - I have said many, many times that I am a sinner who regularly has to repent........now, you play this record frequently and I always have to reply that even if you were right, it does not mean that what you call "the clobber verses" do not apply......

Let us repent of our sins.
Let none of us seek to justify what God has consistently called sin (whether that is greed or hate or anything else)

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 1:58pm BST

None of us are doing that, NP. How many more times do we have to repeat ourselves?

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 4:37pm BST

John Robison - highest ASAs (???)


NP - "I suspect +Rochester knows a bit about Lambeth."

You'd think so, wouldn't you. But apparently not, because what he said is simply not true.. I'll be charitable and presume that he doesn't know what he's talking about. The other possible interpretation is that he is lying.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 4:55pm BST

Maybe we will get lucky and Ali and the rest of the evos will split from the CofE.

Posted by: Kurt on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 5:55pm BST

NP,
Yet again, my point is that you have no right to say to somebody else "you are ignoring the bits of Scripture you don't like" when you yourself ignore the bits of Scripture you don't like. Whether or not any particular verse of Scripture applies or not like some law is not the issue. The point is that you have no right to condemn others for their disobedience to the Law when you are equally guilty of the same crime. What do you think "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" means? How about "judge not lest ye be judged"? Don't you see that if you condemn others for their disobedience to the Law, you will be equally condemned for your disobedience to that same Law? Do you not realize that this is even more critical when what you are guilty of is exactly the same sin as the one you are condemning others for? Before you go off quoting Paul's contradiction of Jesus,(a very good example of ignoring the bits of Scripture you don't like, actually) let me remind you that Paul assumes a degree of purity of life and Christian behaviour in those to whom he gives what you consider the "authority" to judge doctrine, a purity of life and Christianity of behaviour you do not show.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 5:59pm BST

"praying for the government to change their mind and go for Rochester as ABC"

I know of the same thing happening at least once on this side of the pond, at the Electoral Synod, no less. What a lovely example of Christian humility, "Neverless, not Thy will but mine be done!"

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 6:32pm BST

Ford:

Sorry. I find your criticism of NP very difficult to understand. It seems like you are saying that, because everyone sins, no one has any right to discuss sin as a theological topic or to make any decisions related to whether something is or is not a sin. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 9:55pm BST

Ford Elms: example of Christian humility, "Neverless, not Thy will but mine be done!"

I guess you are thinking about democratic outcomes that you don't disagree with.

I suspect that your belief in democratic processes would dwindle in the face of an outcome that you disagree - with such as the overwhelming vote at Lambeth 98 expressing the church's teaching on homosexuality !

Posted by: David Wh on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 11:24pm BST

NP posted: "Let none of us seek to justify what God has consistently called sin...."

Steven, defending NP, criticizes Ford with: "It seems like you are saying that, because everyone sins, no one has any right to discuss sin as a theological topic or to make any decisions related to whether something is or is not a sin."

Sorry, Steven, Ford is not saying that at all, so I believe you are mischaracterizing his posting.

Where we differ (or, since I don't know Ford's mind, certainly where I differ with you, and with NP) is that you both are using the words of men, inspired though they may be, and imposing your own definition and interpretation of those words, to define -- in your minds, but not in mine or many others -- what "God has consistently called sin...."

The last time I checked, neither I, nor you, have a direct line to “God’s mind.”

The understanding of scripture, by humans, often changes over time. That is as true of usury and so many other things cited on TA, which the early Church, and even some in the Twentieth Century Church, once held as "immutable", but which was gradually modified by the blessing of reason, as God gave us minds to reason, and the power of prayer and the influence of the Holy Spirit.

As I previously indicated to NP: " Now, if you would like to refine your dispute to one that asks for those who (A) stand on the side of committed and monogamous relationships (whether heterosexual or homosexual), versus (B) those who would stand for sexual roulette and one-night-stands and other examples of non-monogamous relationships (whether homosexual or heterosexual), then I will certainly join you in the (A) camp."

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 4:01am BST

Merseymike, you have said "theology does not matter" before - because getting your "rights" matter most obviously.... but, as I have said before, your assertion that a sin is not a sin does not suddenly justify the said sin.


Lambeth 1.10 says certain behaviours are "incompatible with scripture"...... and however much you want to pretend that resolution was given as an optional extra for those who agree with it, nobody with integrity can agree with that view. Clearly, condoning the said behaviours involves ignoring their incompatibility with scripture.

The scripture in question is what Ford calls "the clobber verses".

Please have a read of this very good article
http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2007/20070108odonovan7.cfm?doc=179

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 7:17am BST

Jerry

I'm with you on the committed monogamous relationships.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 9:14am BST

Jerry says "The last time I checked, neither I, nor you, have a direct line to “God’s mind.”"

Well, Jerry, that is why it is so important that we stick to the bible as it is God's word..... we must not replace his clear will with our own preferences. As I have said, I would endorse your view 'A' if it were up to me but I am afraid that I cannot do so because it is "incompatible with scrpiture".

If you look in God's word, you will find no blessing for the equivalent of marriage for anything apart from for a man and woman. There are prohibitions (even if you do not aknowledge them) but can you find anything solid (ie not very hetero David and Jonathan's friendship) to say God blesses what you want to justify?

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 9:20am BST

No, NP, I have said that theology does not matter in the case of the civil law - it is not the role of the State to implement policy according to any theological principle.

It isn't a sin, and that is a different theological view to yours. You afford the bible too much authority and do not give enough consideration to its human authorship nor its limited base of knowledge given its time of construction.

The problem is your evangelical theology, and approach to the bible which liberals do not agree with.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 9:32am BST

"we must not replace his clear will with our own preferences."

Then stop doing it. Repent!

"democratic outcomes"

The Church is not a democratic organization! We seek to discern the will of God and pray the Spirit will lead us. We believe the Spirit speaks through the voices of the ecclesia. Your problem seems to be that you have confused this with democratic elections as though democracy is some kind of Divinely given government. It is not. It is just as much a product of the world as Fascism, Communism, or any other 'ism'. Just because they way the Church works superficially resembles it doesn't make the Church a democratic institution. The Church does not express the voice of the 'demos' but seeks with humility to discern the will of God. It is thus not a democracy. To pretend that it is is as much a sell out to the trends of society as anything the left is being accused of in being nice to gay people.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 1:03pm BST

I agree with Merseymike. When in a church and the matter of sin (sins) is raised, one is about the human condition and the other a question of what you did that could have been done better, not some checklist extracted selectively from human documents written at a particular time. Plus if we wanted to get theological and towards the supernatural, the issue would be around grace and faithfulness, not line by line accounting.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 2:23pm BST

Cheryl: I am with Jerry too.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 2:34pm BST

Hi Jerry:

Thanks for your post; however, I think you will find that Ford is quite capable of answering for himself. As to the rest, all arguments made before and previously refuted. On the one hand, I am not in favor of many of the innovative changes in attitude by the liberal church that you seem to rely upon--such as its more liberal views on divorce and ordination/consecration of those with multiple divorces. On the other hand, even if these were justified changes by the Church, they do not constitute "like-kind" cases. There has never been a change of this type in direct conflict with, and completely contradicting Scripture.

Liberals who do not try to delude themselves about Scripture on this point, e.g., Merseymike, recognize this fact, and consequently decry Scripture as deficient or outmoded. Other liberals decry any application of Scriptural principles in this area, ostensibly because "well, we're all sinners anyway and shouldn't judge others", or because "well, the Church has ignored Scripture before". Still another crowd mixes in "new revelations of Science/Experience!!" and/or "new revelations of the Spirit!!" I've heard every possible variation and combination at this point--all deficient and most decidedly peurile.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 2:54pm BST

Steven,
I posted, but it hasn't appeared yet, likely either too long or too strong. None of us has the right to judge other people, and individual Christians do not have the right to judge doctrine. NP claims both these rights for himself, and, amusingly, in the case of the former, he cites Scripture as justification! He thus has no credibility. I am guilty of judgementalism, as well, but I don't try to make it a virtue.

The Church has been willing to compromise the Gospel in the past. Thus, those who benefit from those past compromises yet condemn others for doing the same thing are hypocrites with no credibility. Your statements:

"There has never been a change of this type in direct conflict with, and completely contradicting Scripture."

"even if these were justified changes by the Church, they do not constitute "like-kind" cases."

are flat out wrong. I am amused at how people call the theology around gay inclusion "fudge" yet not only ignore but deny the "fudges" of which they enjoy the benefits. People even go to great lengths to claim that Paul does NOT in fact say of marriage what he clearly DOES say while insisting on a strict reading of what Paul says of people he describes using Greek words of uncertain meaning! Credibility thus goes out the window. The Church clearly has no problem with gay clergy who keep their mouths shut and sneak around in the bushes, but let one of them admit it, and She tears Herself apart. She is thus rewarding dishonesty and punishing honesty, and thus has no credibility.

I am not interested in justifying the Church's past compromises of the Gospel, neither am I interested in justifying modern ones. I am saying that, before anyone can condemn TEC or anyone else for compromising the Gospel, they'd better be sure they aren't guilty of the same thing. We all are, thus there is no credibility in the argument. NP is a microcosm of this, and that's my problem. He bends over backwards to justify things he thinks are OK, but then condemns other people for breaches of the Law!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 4:56pm BST

Ford:

I think your criticisms of NP--even if he were wrong--are unjustified. He is merely supporting a viewpoint that I believe is the correct viewpoint, and he does not do so any more objectionably or obnoxiously than anyone else on this board supports their positions.

As to the errors of the Church, I must still come back to the same statement I have made before: two wrongs don't make a right. If the Church has erred in the past, we need to seek to correct those errors, not add to them or use them to justify more errors.

Finally, though you and many others seem to insist that it is small consolation, I would remind you that being a murderer, slanderer, fornicator, sodomite, or anything else in our hearts is not unusual--it is acting like one that is the crux of the matter at issue. We are all fallen and objectively disordered, and I certainly don't except myself from this "criticism". A minister of God who has these things in his heart is merely a sinner like the rest of us. But, acting on our disordered impulses may disqualify us for Church office and/or make us liable to discipline both by civil and/or ecclesial authorities. There is nothing inherently outrageous or "judgmental" about this when applied in the context of homosexual fornication any more than there would be in the context of heterosexual fornication.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 7:05pm BST

"I've heard every possible variation and combination at this point--all deficient and most decidedly puerile."

Why? Can you please explain rationally what's wrong with ""new revelations of Science/Experience!!" and/or "new revelations of the Spirit!!"

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 7:13pm BST

"There is nothing inherently outrageous or "judgmental" about this when applied in the context of homosexual fornication any more than there would be in the context of heterosexual fornication"

Say, dear, are you sure you're on the right blog?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 7:15pm BST

David Wh:'the overwhelming vote at Lambeth 98 expressing the church's teaching on homosexuality' you don't quote the figure and as at least one site has a misleading one - is 72% of bishops voting in favour of that motion an overwhelming vote?

Posted by: robert marshall on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 8:59pm BST

Here we go again: "Sodomite... disordered". Steven.

Even more fed up.

It is now increasingly impossible to debate, isn't it? I always thought it was possible to debate with Steven in contrast with NP who is just a wall.

It is coming to a head this, isn't it?

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 2:12am BST

"Liberals who do not try to delude themselves about Scripture on this point, e.g., Merseymike, recognize this fact, and consequently decry Scripture as deficient or outmoded. Other liberals decry any application of Scriptural principles in this area, ostensibly because "well, we're all sinners anyway and shouldn't judge others", or because "well, the Church has ignored Scripture before". Still another crowd mixes in "new revelations of Science/Experience!!" and/or "new revelations of the Spirit!!" I've heard every possible variation and combination at this point--all deficient and most decidedly peurile."

Yes, Steven, liberals have different opinions on this point---but BECAUSE we're all liberals, we don't automatically regard that as a BAD thing!

Having an ego, I'd just as soon that you agreed w/ me (and not regard my opinion---that Scripture doesn't address homosexuality/homosexuals, per se, but that we can still INFER what holy homosexual relationships ought to look like: same monogamy and fidelity and self-sacrificial love, as heterosexual marriages ought to have---as "deficient and most decidedly peurile"). But it doesn't really matter to me...

...beyond your position impinging upon my dignity as a Child of God, that is (in which case, go to h***! And take +Nazir-Ali w/ you! ;-p)

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 6:16am BST

Robert asks "is 72% of bishops voting in favour of that motion an overwhelming vote?"
Answer: yes


Ford - 2 wrongs do not make a right

Posted by: NP on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 7:14am BST

Erika asks:
"Can you please explain rationally what's wrong with ""new revelations of Science/Experience!!""

Sure - we get science wrong all the time!

Go back to, say 1968. Paul Ehrlich was claiming human living conditions would quickly deteriorate and the climatologists of the day were worried about a new Ice Age. 40 years on and we've seen massive reductions in global poverty and we're told heat is the issue (never mind the current climatologist missed that 1934 was actually the warmest year on record...).

Science is every bit as fallible as liberal theologians want to make Paul out to be. At best, the science you want to use to blow up 2000 years of theology is inconclusive - the scary thing is much of it appears to be manufactured.

Posted by: Chris on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 7:44am BST

Chris,
yes, we get science wrong a lot of the times.
But we also get it right a lot of the times. Gallileo wasn't wrong, although the church did his best to make him recant.

Totally ignoring what's right before your eyes is as silly as pretending that we fully understand everything and know all the scientific truths there are to know.

Steven was trying to shut science and experience out of the debate altogether, and he was denying that the Spirit can possibly influence us today.

I'm still waiting for a rational argument in favour of that approach.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 9:13am BST

Chris:

And we get biblical interpretation (and translation, especially) wrong all the time, too. The difference, of course, is that science corrects itself...those who insist on inerrant literal biblical interpretation don't correct themselves. In fact, they can't--for to do so would admit that their fundamental thesis (inerrant literalism) is a fraud.

Science got it wrong about homosexuality for a couple of hundred years--calling it "disordered", a "disease", a "sin", a "crime". It has corrected itself.

When will you do the same?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 12:18pm BST

40 years on we've seen the "average" standard of living improve, but an increasing disaggregation in economies such that there are less in the middle.

The rich are richer, there are more of the poor and the bridges between the two are getting narrower and harder to traverse. That is not just happening within economies but also between economies and even within social/ethnic groupings.

Jeremiah 6:14 "They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace."

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 1:16pm BST

Steven,
I confess to having huge issues, and not just theological ones, with Evangelicals, and that I have often sneered just like NP does(see below). But I don't try to make a virtue out of it or mine the Bible to justify it. If someone insults and derides another person, that other person can be expected to get angry and to say things that are "unedifying". Fact is, NP has shown far more disrespect towards those who disagree with him than any that he has received, and of that disrespect he HAS received, much of it has been in response to his own provocations.

This "we're all sinners" crap doesn't carry much weight. Of course we are, but for most who say this, they seem to mean this abstract sinful state that really doesn't have much effect on their lives, other than getting to cry on a Sunday night about how Jesus has seved them from it. You may not be guilty of it yourself, but I have seen too many Evos who are to have any respect whatever for that "I'm a sinner too" garbage. If I could ever see that as anything other than a selfrighteous way of making your attitude towards gay people seem somehow reasonable, then I could accept it. Trouble is I never have. The false "fellowfeeling" of it is just offensive. Until you have a sin that puts you at risk for disownment, job loss, eviction, beating, and state justified murder (you could kill me and get off with it by saying I made a pass at you) you've got no bloody business saying you're a sinner "just like me".

As to the Church's errors, I agree, so why do those who so angrily accuse others of error now not show any interest in correcting the errors of the past? Indeed, they're far more interested in justifying them with arguments that, if used in defence of homosexuality, they would dismiss as "fudge".

Posted by: ford Elms on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 2:02pm BST

Hmm. So many posts, so little time:

Erika:

Nothing is wrong with Science and Experience. These are ways in which we can sometimes learn (with stumbles and mis-steps) what God already knows and knew when he inspired the words of Scripture--i.e., it is an error (indeed, an absurdity) to think that God did not know something when He inspired Scripture writers to forbid certain activities. It is also grotesquely egotistical and prideful.

Nothing is wrong with "New Revelations of the Spirit" if you are speaking at a personal level about being further enlightened in God's Holy Word, or being further enabled to live in Holiness and Love. However, God does not contradict Himself, else he would be imperfect and not God. If a "New Revelation" contradicts God's special revelation in Scripture, it is no revelation of the Spirit, but a lie.

There are longer answers that could be given, but these are a start. As to the question about whether I am on the right blog, that's a bit too oblique for me. You'll have to explain what you mean.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 3:41pm BST

Pluralist:

Thanks for the "wall" compliment. Yes, we can debate around the edges (so to speak), but there are definitely core concepts on which I will not budge. However, you err if you think you are any different. You are also a "wall", so far as I can tell. Nonetheless, I still find you interesting to talk to.

JCF:

Tut, tut. I'll not go to Hell at your bidding. You're not usually so ill mannered, and I don't think it behooves you.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 4:06pm BST

Well, I don't think they kept as detailed records then, but contemprorary accounts suggest that Athanasius lost by a much larger margin than a mere 72% - Athanasius contra mundi, wot.

But Athanasius was right.

Likewise, I suspects that the 1930s Lambeth condemnation of artificial contraception was passed by a margin much greater than 72%. Similarly the rejection of women's ordination in 1948.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 7:10pm BST

Erika:

Sorry you had to wait. I'm in a very different time zone, and work has a troublesome way of taking away from my blogging time.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 7:33pm BST

My wall is more like a wet marsh. You can look around, you will be able to leave it, but it is sticky and sludgy.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 8:47pm BST

Ford:

Face it, there is a lot of liberal nastiness and fuming at TA. Sometimes it is directed at other posters, and sometimes not. Overall, I don't think NP has directed things at others any more egregiously than others have directed at him or--at the boogeyman "conservatives", "evangelicals", or etc. who are often the indirect targets of liberal wrath around here.

If "fellow-sinner" isn't something you want to acknowledge, I can only shrug. Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners, and I believe he was a good deal holier than either of us when he did so. If it seems insincere because all of my sins may not directly overlap with all of yours, I can also only shrug. As to whether I can fully understand your position, that is a variation of the old "unless you've walked in the other man's shoes" argument. I concede, but that doesn't mean that the points made are invalid.

As to why more people, conservative or liberal, do not spend more time with righting other past errors of the Church, the answers are probably because-- First, other past errors are not the presenting issue in the AC at this point in time. Second, a lot of folks don't acknowledge that they're errors. Third, they are not as polarizing and emotionally charged as issues for most people.

Please notice, I don't say these are good reasons--just my understanding and/or projections. As far as I'm concerned, the presenting issue is merely one of many that need to be addressed. But, since it is the one most directly at issue at the moment . . .

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 9:10pm BST

Steven
"These are ways in which we can sometimes learn (with stumbles and mis-steps) what God already knows and knew when he inspired the words of Scripture--i.e., it is an error (indeed, an absurdity) to think that God did not know something when He inspired Scripture writers to forbid certain activities. It is also grotesquely egotistical and prideful."

You see, to me it is almost grotesquely egotistical and prideful to believe that we have never erred in our understanding of God's word. I can almost believe that you guys think that St Paul didn't err, but to believe that nobody who translated the bible ever erred, or that no-one who reads it now can possibly misunderstand it, because it's supposedly crystal clear.


Steven, tell me, what do you make of Jesus' saying that he has much to tell his disciples, but that they will not understand it and that he therefore sends the Holy Spirit to reveal it when the time is right? Does that not indicate that our understanding of God's will must change over time?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 9:38pm BST

But Erika, you're not applying a scientific approach either.

The pure scientific approach to homosexuality is that it is vestigial - it serves no purpose for the survival of the species or the individual. Any value one attaches to homosexuality is decidedly not of biological value - the discussion is in the realm of moral, emotional or psychological value.

These are not trivial values and I certainly don't mean to trivialize this discussion or your sexuality. But making a purely scientific "argument" is not possible and does little to advance your case.

Posted by: Chris on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 10:56pm BST

"If a "New Revelation" contradicts God's special revelation in Scripture, it is no revelation of the Spirit, but a lie."

No possibility that the lie might be in the other direction?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 11:04pm BST

"The pure scientific approach to homosexuality is that it is vestigial - it serves no purpose for the survival of the species or the individual. Any value one attaches to homosexuality is decidedly not of biological value - the discussion is in the realm of moral, emotional or psychological value."

Actually, that's not true, either. It may simply be that science hasn't figured out the biological value of homosexuality. It's only in recent decades that science has found a Darwinian explanation for altruism, after all.

But I have read some interesting hypotheses. One says that homosexuality works as a release valve on population pressure. Another says it's a release valve on male sexual competition for females. And that lesbianism is a way for females to get the companionship/comfort they crave when males are in short supply. And in order for all those things to work when needed, a proportion of the population will always be gay, even when the "release valves" aren't necessary...just as a proportion of the black population carries sickle cell anemia, even when the protection against malaria is unnecessary.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 2:47am BST

Steven
"If "fellow-sinner" isn't something you want to acknowledge, I can only shrug."

Without wanting to get into who is harsher on whom here, I would really like you to go through the archives. It doesn't take long to realise that Ford is one of only 2 or 3 people who frequently speaks of having gotten something wrong, for having overreacted and for having been too cynical.

You can stop shrugging! It would be nice if you could at least see the deep integrity Ford has, even if you don't agree with him.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 7:36am BST

Chris,
I never said I apply a purely scientific approach, and I don't think you can ever have read a comment from me that relies purely on science. My view is, precisely, that homosexuality is biologically given and therefore in itself morally neutral.

There are some here who insist on relying purely on (their own brand of) science.
There are others who rely purely on (their own brand of) theology.

That's the problem, you see. Unless you allow one to interplay with the other, you will never get to a balanced view.

I agree with you that the homosexuality debate has nothing to do with the purely biological. And yet, I have been repeatedly been told here to leave emotions out of the discussion, and to concentrate on "rational" arguments only - as though moral and psychological realities could ever be seen as purely rational.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 8:01am BST

"If a "New Revelation" contradicts God's special revelation in Scripture, it is no revelation of the Spirit, but a lie."

Why always this harshness? This terribly judgemental and loaded approach to other people's views?

How about at least calling it a "misunderstanding"?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 8:02am BST

Erika:

Translators sometimes err and people who read the Bible also err--sometimes egregiously. What is your point?

As to Jesus' promise that the Spirit would reveal his message more fully to His disciples, the Holy Spirit did so. They taught and wrote down--"enscripturated"--what the Spirit revealed to them, and the Church has, when it has been faithful to its mission, worthily maintained, taught and sought to further understand this repository of the Faith. Once again, what is your point?

As to "shrugging", I can only shrug. As to Ford's integrity, when did I accuse Ford of lacking integrity? Being wrong is not the same as lacking integrity.

As to the harshness of calling "New Revelations" that contradict Holy Scriptures "lies", I will not apologize. Those who promulgate such "revelations" may be duped by their own misunderstandings, but the thing itself is a lie.

Posted by: Steven on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 2:59pm BST

Pat:

You quote me saying:

"If a "New Revelation" contradicts God's special revelation in Scripture, it is no revelation of the Spirit, but a lie."

And then you responded:

"No possibility that the lie might be in the other direction?"

So, it is your position that the New Revelation is true and God's word is a lie? Sorry, this is a non-starter for me. However, it is no surprise, you are merely going back to a liberal fall-back position. As previously noted, all of the liberal arguments I have heard fall into a few basic categories and combinations. There's a lot of wriggling around at TA in trying to avoid the obvious, but not much real creativity.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 3:23pm BST

"homosexuality is biologically given and therefore in itself morally neutral."

Death is a given - is it morally neutral?

Posted by: Chris on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 4:09pm BST

Steven,
You and I had the science and new revelation discussion a short while ago, and we agreed that there was no point in continuing this debate, as we would never agree.
You really don't have to ask me pointedly what the point of my contributions is, you know it very well, you just choose to ridicule it. Don't.

You accused Ford of not accepting that he was also a sinner. I pointed out that, more than anyone here, he keeps acknowledging this here in public.

As for "lies" - I think we ought to talk about what we mean by that term. To me, a lie is a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth.
A misunderstanding is the genuine belief that something is different than it turns out to be.

When you accuse people here of lying, I would point out that, in the main, these people genuinely believe what they say, and therefore are not liars. They MAY misunderstand the truth. They may not - that's a different subject altogether.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 13 October 2007 at 5:56pm BST

"So, it is your position that the New Revelation is true and God's word is a lie? "

No, it is my position that the previous interpretation of God's word is a lie...or at least, as Erika said, mistaken or misunderstood.

Because, as I see it, "God's word" didn't stop coming to us when the last period of Revelation was put down.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 12:41am BST

"Death is a given - is it morally neutral?"

Yes...all living things eventually die. Specific means of death--murder, suicide, neglect--are not morally neutral, but death itself is.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 12:42am BST

Translations, friends... they are no more than translations.

And most of them are forgeries.


Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 3:11pm BST

Erika:

Well, its a shame that the weekend intervened. At this point, so late in the life of this thread, I doubt you'll get this return. Nontheless, here goes . . .

First, we had no agreement on whether to discuss science and new revelation, I merely told you that you might find the discussion unproductive from your viewpoint. We have, in fact, been discussing issues of this type for the last few rounds.

Second, you have not been ridiculed. You asked a question, I answered and I asked you a question in return. You have not responded.

Third, I never accused Ford of not accepting that he was also a sinner. Ford is better educated in basic Christianity than that, and I had no reason to make such an accusation. Frankly, I can't believe you read our posts very carefully if you could make such an ill-judged statement.

Fourth, I am quite willing to accept the fact that, arguendo, everyone at TA is merely misled as to the New Revelation. I believe that I already said as much in my last post. However, that does not change my belief that the "New Revelation" itself is a lie, and a deliberate one at that, having its origin in the Father of Lies.

Fifth, you seem to be extremely intent on believing that I am insulting Ford (who is, BTW, quite able to defend himself), you, or other people at TA. This tendency, whether unconscious or not, is skewing your responses.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 1:33pm BST

"If "fellow-sinner" isn't something you want to acknowledge"

I kinda figure that

"..."we're all sinners"....Of course we are"

is an acknowledgement, no? My point was that you conservatives keep saying this, but you have no idea what it means. You make acknowledgement of vague "sinfulness" when in most instances that is at best an abstraction, conveniently giving you some sort of, as I called it, false fellowfeeling, but having very little impact on your life. I have frequently heard conservatives (men) equate resisting the temptation to adultery with homosexuals being expected to practice lifelong celebacy. Now consider. Lifelong celebacy means that one will never have the kind of love, support, and companionship heteros take for granted, without which, BTW, Edward Windsor found it impossible to rule England. Remaining faithful to one's wife means not cheating on someone you presumably love and respect, to whom before God you pleadged lifelong fidelity. So expecting gay people to be celebate all their lives is no more of a burden than expecting a staight man to show respect for his wife and his marriage and to live up to the vows he made before God? Whether or not it is right in God's eyes for us to have that support and love is another issue entirely. The fact is that, for all your assertions of your sinfulness, you cannot confess anything that puts you at risk for any of the things gay people can expect and see happen to us daily. Some Evangelicals can, but not the ones who talk the loudest against us, as a rule.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 3:04pm BST

Hi Ford:

I didn't expect to hear from you again on this thread, which isn't to say that I have any response that you will find satisfactory. As previously noted, I cannot say that I've "walked a mile in your moccasins" in terms of particular persecutions, sins, temptations, and sufferings. I've got my own, of course, but as you note, I cannot duplicate the particulars of your situation. I also would not suffer in the same way based on the only alternatives being celibacy or heterosexual marriage. However, there are many miseries in life with which I can, though I do not personally experience them, sympathize. It is my belief that you as a human being and especially as a Christian, do the same. Still, that does not change the fact that, we are called to live in accordance with His commandments. He cannot be savior and not also be Lord, for if he were not also Lord he would not have the power to be Savior.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 5:12pm BST

"Still, that does not change the fact that, we are called to live in accordance with His commandments. "

And the only commandments I can recall Jesus specifically giving us are "You shall love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

As a rabbi once said, "all the rest is commentary."

If you can find a specific "commandment" from Jesus as to sexuality please cite it.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 10:34pm BST

Bishop: Mr O'Neill, you are not allowed to be naked in church.

Mr O'Neill: Bishop, can you show me where the Lord says that??? If you cannot, I ain't putting my pants on

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 10:11am BST

Hi Pat-
Jesus's attitude to the matter can be deduced by combining quite a lot of data:
(1) Jewish attitudes of the time (since we would presumably have heard about it if he had disagreed with them in this instance);
(2) Mark 7 which treats sexual impurity (according to the Jewish understanding of it) as a sin;
(3) Mark 10 on divorce which sees marriage as a norm - no cultural surprise there either;
(4) John 8, John 4 (and possibly also Luke 7) where he assents to the prevalent understanding of sexual sin - neither condemning nor condoning.
You are suggesting on this basis that he condoned what we condone? On what evidence?

It is fairly clear that Jesus's attitudes fell within the normal Jewish spectrum of that time (I'm less sure that yours do). On divorce he was more strict; on adultery he was equally strict regarding its sinfulness but emphasised mercy more than most at the time; on sexual impurity in general he affirmed its sinfulness.

Hope this summary is helpful.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 1:23pm BST

Pat:

Hmm. So, you're a "red letter" man. I hadn't taken you for such. However, if the rest or your Bible is not also inspired--including the Epistles and everything in the Gospels that is not a direct quote from the Lord Christ--I would suggest that you throw it out (or at least take a marker pen and mark through it). This would put you in a more honest position vis-a-vis what is and is not Scripture. It would leave you with only a few pages of direct quotes--but, you certainly could do worse and many do.

Of course, you would be sharing your new (current?) position with Marcion and probably a variety of other notable heretics, but this might not be a problem for you. However, as a starting point on your question, you might want to check out what Jesus said to the rich young ruler, particularly, e.g., Mark 10:19 related to adultery. Oops, that leads to a another problem! How will you know the sexual sins comprehended under that title without reference to the rest of the Bible?! Well, best ignore that too I suppose. After all, more study might lead to some inconvenient truths.

Steven

PS-Irony intended.

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 2:59pm BST

"we are called to live in accordance with His commandments. He cannot be savior and not also be Lord, for if he were not also Lord he would not have the power to be Savior."

I never denied any of this. Here you reveal what I consider to be a basic flaw in Evangelical thought: if one doesn't agree with a particular Evangelical position and one is not an Evangelical onesself, then one has no faith, or denies the Divinity of Christ, or denies the Scripture, or any number of other apostacies. Why can you not simply accept that your way of interpreting the Scriptures is not the only way, there is a far older tradition, and your approach to Scripture has led to just as much error as the older Tradition it was meant to correct? You're quite entitled to your beliefs, you may even be right. In this forum, I have read the comparison I made above between celebacy and marital faithfulness, the latter being such a burden! I have read comparisons between a life of celebacy to the "discipline" of not having too much food at the family Christmas party! I call people out for making these facile comparisons that reveal the depth of their ignorance about gay people while they claim to have listened? This is not denying the Lordship of Christ! If you compare your abstract sinfulness to the reality of ostracism, violence, and death that gay people face, even here in North America, then you reveal that you don't understand. It's not that understanding will make you change your mind about my eventual damnation and your call to prevent that, it is that when you make such comparisons you destroy your own credibility. It is this kind of thing the "listening process" was meant to correct. You would have found out at least how to preach your message without doing this, which is just insulting, proves your ignorance, and shuts people's ears. Or tell me, which of your particular sins will incur the risk of being tied to a fence in the wilderness, pistol whipped, and left to drown in your own blood?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 4:18pm BST

Ford:

First, I have never said that if one "doesn't agree with a particular Evangelical position and one is not an Evangelical onesself, then one has no faith, [etc.]". This is not a criticism that is relevant in regard to my prior post, or (as far as I know) any posts we've ever had at TA. Indeed, I am not even certain (not being a Calvinist), that I meet your definition of an Evangelical.

Second, you claim some "older" mode of interpretation that achieves the results you seek? What is this "older" mode or school of interpretation? The most ancient schools of interpretation I am aware of are the Antiochian and the Alexandrian, with the former being more straight-forward and the latter being more symbolic/figurative. The former seems to have been favored over time in both East and West, though the latter also has a strong presence in the East and in Western mystical writings (at least to my observation). Neither of these ancient schools/modes of interpretation ever arrived at the same conclusions on sexual sin as those current in the liberal camp. Indeed, I am familiar with nothing in history and/or Holy Tradition that supports the modern approach. It is a product of modern, not "older" modes of interpretation--if, indeed, it even deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.

(Continued)

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 6:50pm BST

(Continuation of prior post to Ford)

Third, you say that I "compare my [i.e., Steven's] abstract sinfulness to the reality of ostracism, violence, and death that gay people [i.e., including Ford] face". This is dead wrong, it is you that do this--continually--not me.

I continue to try for an intellectual and theological discussion about sin and Scripture in relation to the current crisis in the AC, and you continue to attempt to take the conversation to what you, apparently, consider to be stronger (or at least safer) ground for you--i.e., gay sufferings, including your own. This is a pretty blatant attempt to answer reason with an appeal to the emotions. Any half-baked shyster knows how to snivel in front of the jury when the chips are down, and while it may impress those who are easily impressed, it is not a strategy that can lead to any reasoned discourse, merely a pity party. Moreover, I don't think that you need to go this way. Surely your case isn't that bad. What about the "older" schools of interpretation that you mention?

Overall, this does not mean that the sufferings and persecutions are not real and don't need to be dealt with, but that your continued attempts to turn the conversation in this direction seems to me to be an attempt to avoid the real subject. There is sin without worldly persecution, and there is worldly persecution without sin. The two are not necessarily connected and don't really have anything to do with whether Scripture supports the ordination of Gene Robinson and/or gay marriage.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 7:20pm BST

"Bishop: Mr O'Neill, you are not allowed to be naked in church.

Mr O'Neill: Bishop, can you show me where the Lord says that??? If you cannot, I ain't putting my pants on"

Another entirely inapt analogy. First of all, of course, public nudity is a case for the civil authorities. Second, what one should wear (or not wear) in church is hardly on the same theological level as whether a particular form of sexuality is a sin.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 1:50am BST

Christopher:

That Jesus was a man of his time I do not deny. What I deny is that he expects ME to be a man of his time, rather than of my own. I expect Jesus (apart from his divine nature, of course) held to the First Century belief that the world consisted of Europe, Asia and Africa. Should I hold to that belief as well--even though I live in North America?

I don't believe Jesus expects me to ignore the scientific advances of the past two millennia...including the ones that have vastly changed our understanding of human sexuality.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 1:54am BST

Steven:

My comments regarding Jesus' words were specifically aimed at NP's comment regarding "commandments". Jesus made only the two I referenced. He may have had other comments, other statements, other "advisories", but no other commandments.


Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 1:56am BST

"half-baked shyster knows how to snivel in front of the jury when the chips are down, and while it may impress those who are easily impressed, it is not a strategy that can lead to any reasoned discourse"

Without wanting to comment on the astonishing analogy of gay people's genuine concerns with sniveling shysters, why do you believe that this discourse can or should be wholly rational? I state that there is no such thing. The discussions about science on this forum show that everyone believes that to be rational which supports his personal views, not the other way round.

Even if it were possible to be purely rational, why is that desirable? Is it not legitimate to assess human concerns also on the basis of the impact they have on people?

Especially in a religious context we should recognise that Jesus always healed the whole person, body, soul and mind. He never just appealed to reason, ignoring the consequences.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 8:17am BST

actually Pat, have a read of the New Testament and you will see there are quite a few statements re appropriate dressing in church......

fact is you make a very weak argument when trying to disregard clear biblical teaching from the OT and NT by saying "show me where JC confirmed it"

the bishops of the AC had very good reasons for saying certain behaviours are "incompatible with scripture"....that is why Lambeth 1.10 stands and even the liberal ABC is not talking of removing it - is he?

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 10:07am BST

Steven - I am supposed to be the bad guy around here....

Erika - of course emotions matter. We must take them into account. We must care for people, including their emotions......
I think all Steven was saying is that when a point is made based on scripture, it is not a strong answer which avoids dealing with he issue of what scripture means but is based on emotion or some other criticism of somebody else....... we have to deal with whether Lambeth 1.10 is true or not. Is certain behaviour "incompatible with scripture" or not? If it is, vicars in the CofE should respect Lambeth 1.10. However, if Lambeth 1.10 is wrong about scripture, we should ditch it immediately. We can only work this out by dealing with the scriptures ..... not avoiding what Ford calls "the clobber verses"

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 12:33pm BST

The article here was about bishops attending, or not attending the Lambeth Conference next year. It is not about clergy discipline in the CofE. Please keep comments on topic.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 1:18pm BST
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