Saturday, 10 November 2007

Saturday opinion columns

Giles Fraser writes in today’s Guardian that Anglicanism, a house divided against itself, can’t survive its civil war in one piece. Read Face to Faith.

And in the Church Times he writes about Why equality belongs with freedom.

Christopher Howse in his Daily Telegraph column has Sacred Mysteries: Evidence for the human soul.

David Cooper wrote in The Times yesterday that We need to remember the value of lives of service.

Rebecca Fowler had a report in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph : Women priests and their continuing battle.

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What Giles Fraser misses in his Face to Faith commentary is that it isn't the liberal side of this argument that is arguing that it's opponents must go. I don't know of any liberal who is saying he cannot remain in a church that includes Duncan and Iker et al. Rather, it is the conservatives saying they cannot remain in a church that includes Robinson and Jefferts-Schori et al.

So, once again, it's the conservatives pushing to make everyone agree with them, not the liberals.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 12:42pm GMT

I agree with what Pat says above, but it is encouraging to see liberals openly talking about a split. We now need one of the liberal groupings to openly advocate realignment as well, I think that a global TEC sounds like a good idea - Schori is worth fifty of Williams the Spineless!

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 1:19pm GMT

Of course a house divided will not stand....we have that on good authority!

Pat says "What Giles Fraser misses in his Face to Faith commentary is that it isn't the liberal side of this argument that is arguing that it's opponents must go." I am sure Dr Fraser is well aware of that, Pat.

No, the small liberal wing of the AC is not arguing the majority must leave but it remains too scared to go it alone and have a liberal church which people who disagree with Lambeth 1.10 can join with integrity, preferring to be part of a larger global AC even if that means "tearing the fabric of the Communion" as ALL the Primates of the AC described act of VGR being made a bishop.....

TECUSA HOB and others want the majority of the AC to accept their VGR fait accompli and the right of TECUSA and others to go against agreed AC positions, condoning things most of the AC bishops have consistently said are "incompatible with scripture" while they remain full members of the AC.........i.e. because a few people are more concerned for their rights than scripture, they want the AC to remain as a house divided....

Posted by: NP on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 1:46pm GMT

Giles Fraser misunderstands Lincoln's position. Lincoln was in fact willing to compromise and continue to allow slavery in those states that were to secede. Only after secession did Lincoln become more willing to undo slavery in those states that seceded. Some border states continued in the Union and remained slave states.

Posted by: Christopher on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 4:45pm GMT

My response to Giles Fraser is here:

http://thanksgivinginallthings.blogspot.com/2007/11/lets-get-our-history-straight.html

Posted by: Christopher on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 6:58pm GMT

Merseymike
I just don't get the theology of realignment.
Let the conservatives shut their bedroom doors, stamp up and down and forbid their little sister to come in and play. Ever again.

In their father's house are many rooms, and the siblings won't go away just because they close their eyes to them.

What makes siblings siblings is their relationship with the parents, not their relationship with each other.

And one day, the father will return, open all the doors and tell all his children that he loves them.

I only hope and pray that those who so firmly shut the doors now will be as delighted about that as I will.

So, no, I will never advocate realignment.
They may not want me as their sister, they will still always be my brothers.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 7:06pm GMT

Well, any analogy has its strengths and weaknesses. I think that---on the whole---Giles' analogy of the U.S. Civil War is pretty good.

[Most importantly, in recognizing that Anglican extreme conservatives = Confederacy firing on Ft. Sumter, where the schism (with its violence) really BEGAN. +Gene Robinson no more started this, than H.B. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" started the Civil War---though each got that rap, in their time!]

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 8:16pm GMT

Giles’ beard comment made me laugh and I also agree with Pat's comments.

In the comments under the article, one reader made the valid point that it is not just the US taking this course, e.g. Canada who did not have a civil war.

That said, there are lessons about the Civil War and the fight against slavery. One of my criticisms of much historical analysis is that it usually focuses on the leaders and what they did at crucial junction points in history. This overlooks that sometimes the leaders are swept along by the forces of history. For example the moral pressure from the masses for nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, or to provide adequate levels of aid post the 2004 SE Asian Tsunami.

What is often overlooked in the US fight against slavery was the response of the masses, particularly slaves and those opposed to slavery who lived within confederate zones. They aided and abetted the liberating forces who had come to set them free and re-unite the nation. Some actually snuck away to join the fight for freedom.

A few years ago I had the privilege of hearing a sermon from a minister who had devoted their services to an indigenous community. He read some powerful passages from the bible and drove home the point that the gospel messages of reconciliation and freedom mean something very different to indigenous souls than it does to those who are in power.

So while some might control some synods, many parishioners hearts and prayers are with and for freedom. Such souls have humility and do not presume upon God's grace nor have the temerity to attempt to deny grace to others.

Such souls might find inspiration from Romans 11:13-24. Paul speaks to the Gentiles and cautions against arrogance. "...consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you." God has the capacity to cut off or re-graft as much or as little as and when God so decides.

See also 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 "All this is from God, who… was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, NOT counting men’s sins against them..."

Colossians 1:19-22 God was pleased… through Jesus to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through Jesus’ blood… to present you holy in God's sight, without blemish and free from accusation...

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Saturday, 10 November 2007 at 8:26pm GMT

Erika: I think it is inevitable and that being the case, it would make sense to do it calmly and sensibly.

Current events are not helping anyone and I cannot believe that there will not be some sort of split.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 1:46am GMT

"their VGR fait accompli"

You'd never guess you were talking about a HUMAN BEING, NP: beloved, redeemed and *sanctified* by the living God.

God bless +Gene Robinson---God bless the faithful, democratic-majority of TEC! [But yes: as w/ Giles Fraser's piece in The Church Times, make us Yanks as mindful of equality for ALL. Lord have mercy!]

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 3:29am GMT

NP: you ridicule the progressive position as "A few people...concerned for their rights." I think that is quite out of order. Human rights are important, and come from a Christian reading of Scripture. You shouldn't set Christianity and human rights in opposition to each other. That is bad Christian theology, and disastrous for the future of the church too. We should be drawing in people who are committed to fighting for human rights, because they are defending the lovely image of God in all His creatures. Instead, people like you are pushing human rights activists away from the church. That is crazy, and unChristian, if I may say so to you.
I notice that HTB, which you keep vaunting on these threads, has no ministry to gay people at all listed amongst the many specialist ministries it offers on its website. Maybe this is symptomatic: Con Evo churches have written gay people out of the script - it's all just about straight family values - and therefore cannot give a satisfactory theological account of what is means to be fully human, because they're missing any understanding at all of what it's like for about one in twenty of the population.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 9:25am GMT

Some history. Lincoln made the comment when he was running for Senate well before the Civil War. He was saying, he claimed, that having some states free and others allowing slavery was not a stable equilibrium and that either slavery would spread to other states or it would die off in all of them. The divided house was not an intentional foreshadowing of open revolt and secession.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2934.html
'Lincoln believed that the recent Supreme Court decision on the Dred Scott case was part of a Democratic conspiracy that would lead to the legalization of slavery in all states. Referring to the court's decision which permitted Dred Scott to live in a free state and yet remain a slave, he said, "what Dred's Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred Scott, in the free state of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do with any other one, or one thousand slaves, in Illinois, or in any other free state." '

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 10:00am GMT

Well said sister Erika :-)

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 10:07am GMT

Ephesians 5v1-21

Mark- there is ministry....but it does not tell people that suddenly, somehow, God blesses behaviour "incompatible with scripture".....we have ministry faithful to the teaching we have in God's word

Posted by: NP on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 1:58pm GMT

Seeing Rowan Williams recently on BBC Four it seems to me he is aware that there is a schism coming again, and that it is something that recurs. The only issue, then, is who ends up being on the other side of the one that is the main branch, and it would be those who don't turn up at Lambeth and do organise their own Communion.

His mistake is to couple this with centralising, because either there will be a break or it will have to be loose, but he seems to want something that centralises around instruments of Communion and this is why there could be a break, in so far as he wants all to come under the slowing down process of these instruments.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 2:42pm GMT

Merseymike
"Erika: I think it is inevitable and that being the case, it would make sense to do it calmly and sensibly."

If someone calmly and sensibly wants to walk away, that's their business.
I will calmly and sensibly stay and still recognise them all as belonging to the same family.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 3:37pm GMT

NP
"Ephesians 5v1-21"

Guilty of coarse joking. Sorry!

Feeling better now?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 4:46pm GMT

My Fellow Americans, as Lyndon Johnson so memorably began each speech, let's give Giles a break here. I think his grasp of American history is probably a lot better than most of us would do with British history. Quick now! What were the corn laws? Why exactly did some German become George I? And what did the Fourth Reform Act do? And who had which color rose?

Posted by: John Bassett on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 7:35pm GMT

Ephesians 5:1-21 applies both ways, I could have easily used that passage as NP.

For example, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible..."

That applies to having souls become honest about their sexual orientation and activity (rather than being a married "straight" guy and having a string of homosexual dalliances such as Down Low guys do).

It also has to do with exposing political machinations where some seek to make deals and treaties behind closed doors to control an organisation, with no regard to the sensibilities or needs of those they seek to either control or shun.

As Fr Mark alluded to, at least our theology acknowledges that all are children of God and all children are entitled to the basic dignities of food, shelter, safe relationships.

John, thanks for the insight on Lincoln's arguments against slavery based on the Dred Scott case. I am sure if Lincoln was alive today he would comment that the widespread global slavery of today is precisely because the prinicples for which Lincoln advocated had failed to be appreciated.

The deceiver always wants to make judgments quantitative and then connive to exclude or disinherit elements that are then "fair game". Jesus again and again tried to demonstrate that God's positions are not quantitative but rather qualitative, that's why he kept feeding huge numbers of people on initially ridiculously small amounts of food. Jesus was trying to drive home the point that God's grace is not limited nor is it exclusionary (e.g. he never refused to feed the women or Samaritans who came to commune).

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 8:25pm GMT

NP: I think judgmentalism is "incompatible with Scripture." Who condemned the woman taken in adultery?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 9:42pm GMT

Mark - like your publican argument (who was commended for his repentance), you raise another good point.....the woman was told to "go and sin no more"

Spot on....I see N T Wright taught you well.......repentance and faith go hand in hand.


Certainly, telling each that our sin is acceptable to God is not compatible with scripture - from Genenis to Revelation, that is clear.

http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=1+john+2%3A15-17

Posted by: NP on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 7:12am GMT

"Certainly, telling each that our sin is acceptable to God is not compatible with scripture - from Genenis to Revelation, that is clear."

And, of course, that requires that we accept YOUR interpretation of scripture and share your belief that the actions in question are, indeed, sin.

We don't...and so your comments are meaningless.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 11:48am GMT

NP
"you raise another good point.....the woman was told to "go and sin no more"

You've avoided Fr Mark's question. WHO told her to go and sin no more?

And risking to be boring by repeating a point I have made on a few occasions: this is the ONLY occasion where Jesus tells a sinner to go and sin no more.
That does not invalidate the encouragement not to mess your life up any longer, but it certainly means Jesus is not the moralistic stern punitive judge you so like to make him out to be.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 11:52am GMT

My goodness, you're smug, NP. YOu just don't see any finger-pointing self-righteousness ever being condemned by Jesus, then?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 12:21pm GMT

Mark - I do not see that self-righteousness or anything else is a justification for any other sins....

Erika says "And risking to be boring by repeating a point I have made on a few occasions: this is the ONLY occasion where Jesus tells a sinner to go and sin no more."

So?
You reallly want to try and make the case that Christ was tolerant of sin?

Guess who said the following, Erika?
"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. "

Matthew 5:48 does not support your view of tolerance of sin. Mark 10.45 is not consistent with a relaxed view re judgment.

You ask me WHO tells the woman to "go and sin no more" and make my point stronger......it is not I but the Lord who says this, Erika......

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 11:02am GMT

Hi Pat-

Under what 'interpretation' of Scripture are the actions in question not sin?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 12:53pm GMT

"You reallly want to try and make the case that Christ was tolerant of sin?"-NP

Gee, since He associated with tax collectors, lepers, ladies of the night, "rich" people and others undeserving of any praise from the populace at that time, I'd say He was somewhat more tolerant than you could ever be.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 4:48pm GMT

NP, the Greek for "perfect" in that verse from Matthew is "teleios" which means "brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness". It does not mean "flawless" or "without sin". It comes from the same root as "telos" which means "the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose". It can ALSO mean "eternal".

As a spiritual director I have really had to pick up the pieces when people have interpreted that verse to mean they have to engage in perfectionISM. I've seen people brutalize themselves as a result. It can't mean that. If it did then we certainly didn't need Jesus. We had a perfectly good law already in place. Jesus himself scolded the Pharisees because they put burdens on people that were too heavy to bear. The teaching of perfectionism is utterly contrary to that of grace. (I recommend the end of Romans 7 and all of 8, NP.)

Posted by: Ellie on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 5:02pm GMT

Christopher:

Under the interpretation that 1) the concept we call "homosexuality" had no meaning to the people of the First Century and therefore the words typically translated to mean that cannot mean that; and 2) our scientific understanding of human sexuality has improved in 2000 years and we can no longer use an ancient understanding of same to condemn our gay brothers and sisters...just as we no longer condemn scientists who work with a Copernican model of the solar system or a Darwinian model of life.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 5:16pm GMT

I can't answer for Pat, but its clear to me that some of the Bible is quite simply wrong, out of date, superceded by later knowledge. We should not fear that reality - because, after all, the Bible is just a book, written by men of their time.

If we do not start from that position, we are essentially revering the cultural mores of the first century and before. Societies closer to that premodern model thus find biblical literalism easier to follow. Those who have progressed and are more enlightened cannot do so.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 5:41pm GMT

"You ask me WHO tells the woman to "go and sin no more" and make my point stronger......it is not I but the Lord who says this, Erika...... "

So, NP, keep quiet from now on then and let the Lord speak to me if he feels it necessary. You are not his mouthpiece.

Oh, and stop confusing "judgement" with "condemnation", the two are not synonyms.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 9:28pm GMT

Hi Pat:

Fine! But your (1) is splitting hairs, since there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard *any* kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good; and your (2) is not an 'interpretation' of scripture at all: rather it's an assertion that this particular scripture is wrong on this point. Hence we're still waiting for the 'interpretation' that oks homosexual practice. It certainly isn't found in any of the scores of commentaries by those who have studied the texct longest, and who compare and contrast the various viable interpretations.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 14 November 2007 at 12:56pm GMT

"there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard *any* kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good"

Proof?

"It certainly isn't found in any of the scores of commentaries by those who have studied the texct longest"

Those who argue for full inclusion don't know the Scriptures, or haven't read them, or aren't sufficiently familiar with them? What is your evidence for this, other than, since they don't agree with you, they must not be sufficiently informed? The ABpofC doesn't agree with you, neither does Jeffry John. Are you saying their scholarship is lacking?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 14 November 2007 at 3:05pm GMT

Erika says "So, NP, keep quiet from now on then and let the Lord speak to me if he feels it necessary."

Well, I will point people to his words as I have pointed you.

I hope you do not tell people that he says "Go and carry on sinning if it feels right for you and you're not harming anyone"

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 14 November 2007 at 4:37pm GMT

"I will point people to his words as I have pointed you."

Is that what you call it? you really think you're evangelizing?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 14 November 2007 at 6:49pm GMT

"Hi Pat:

Fine! But your (1) is splitting hairs, since there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard *any* kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good;"

Again, since "homosexual practice" is a term Paul would have no knowledge of, it's ludicrous to make that statement.

"...and your (2) is not an 'interpretation' of scripture at all: rather it's an assertion that this particular scripture is wrong on this point. Hence we're still waiting for the 'interpretation' that oks homosexual practice. It certainly isn't found in any of the scores of commentaries by those who have studied the texct longest, and who compare and contrast the various viable interpretations. "

It's as much an "interpretation" of scripture as it is to say that chapter one of Genesis is a lovely creation myth intended to show the love God had for the world he made...but not an actual description of the way he went about it.

IOW, when science differs from literal scripture interpretation, a wise biblical scholar follows science and finds a way to make the biblical fit, not the other way around.

Modern science clearly indicates that homosexuality is normal, largely inborn, and not in any way more harmful--physically or psychologically--than heterosexuality. A wise biblical scholar, recognizing this, looks at Paul's words regarding sexuality and discovers that Paul was as wrong about that as the author of the story of Joshua stopping the sun in the sky was about cosmology.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 14 November 2007 at 8:52pm GMT

Same tired old record, NP. Have you anything new to say to us?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 14 November 2007 at 8:52pm GMT

Christopher Shell wrote: ”But your (1) is splitting hairs, since there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard any kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good”
On the late Modern understanding that Paul wrote the gloss Romans 1:26-27 and the late Modern understanding that the Hellenistic author of that gloss (Clement of Alexandria or someone contemporary) means and, not least, r e f e r s to the same late Modern understanding...
And so on, and so on.
However, as our late Modern prejudices are very different from pre Modern prejudices, how could this be?
“your (2) is not an ’interpretation’ of scripture at all: rather it’s an assertion that this particular scripture is wrong on this point”
But your “interpretation” just goes around in circles taking for granted what it should be questioning.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 15 November 2007 at 11:10am GMT

Mark says "Same tired old record, NP"

Yep- - that nasty habit of looking at the words of Christ rather than making him into a western liberal to suit myself.....same commitment to the authority of scripture and opposition to condoning anything which is "incompatible with scripture"

Sorry, Mark - you can make up your own morality if you like but I will always stick to what our bishops say is compatible with scripture.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 15 November 2007 at 12:33pm GMT

No, NP, God didn't write the bible - it was written by people. So, your advice is incorrect

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 15 November 2007 at 5:18pm GMT

Hi Pat- You write:
'When science differs from literal biblical interpretation, a wise scholar follows the science and finds a way to make the biblical fit....'

For 'wise' read 'dishonest'. What does an honest scholar do? Either they conclude that the bible is wrong, or that the science is wrong. False harmonisations are not characteristic of 'wise' people but of those who have a preconceived idea that the bible and science must agree in the end. Why must they?

Hi Goran-
The world is full of thousands of New Testament specialists. Name just one who agrees with you about the gloss.

Hi Ford-
No, I am saying that neither Rowan Williams nor Jeffrey John has published a single book or article of New Testament scholarship, nor has the training to do so. RW has enough specialisms without adding another: Patristics, Russian literature, mysticism.... On any of these I imagine he is worth hearing. I am not sure what JJ's doctorate is in but I do know that he would disown the label 'NT scholar' and has never published any NT scholarship.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:02pm GMT

Thought you claim to be a non-attending Anglican, MM??

Do have a read of the 39 articles.....

Posted by: NP on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 4:41pm GMT

Christopher Shell wrote: "Hi Göran-
The world is full of thousands of New Testament specialists. Name just one who agrees with you about the gloss."

Was that a l l you could find in my post?

Nice foot-work...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 8:06pm GMT

"New Testament scholarship"

Ah, so not subspecialized in the right area? therefore their ideas don't count?

"What does an honest scholar do? Either they conclude that the bible is wrong, or that the science is wrong. False harmonisations are not characteristic of 'wise' people but of those who have a preconceived idea that the bible and science must agree in the end. Why must they?"

The first sentence gave me a laugh, given your love of people like Cameron! I do, however, agree with your last point. It is futile, IMNSHO, to try to make the Bible and science harmonize. The Bible is not a scientific document, doesn't ask the same questions. To say we must accept one over the other is like a bunch of people running out of an art gallery into a football stadium telling people they have to give up football because it isn't art.

Now, given that the science is amassing evidence from all the psychology, biology, and all the evidence of homosexuality in non-human species, that homosexuality is a variant of normal, I would assume you will conclude the Bible is wrong? That is the logical end of your argument.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 9:05pm GMT

"Yep- - that nasty habit of looking at the words of Christ"

If only!
What you do round here is continuously looking at the words of Paul instead.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:41am GMT

"For 'wise' read 'dishonest'. What does an honest scholar do? Either they conclude that the bible is wrong, or that the science is wrong. False harmonisations are not characteristic of 'wise' people but of those who have a preconceived idea that the bible and science must agree in the end. Why must they?"

Because if the Bible doesn't agree with the science, then we must conclude that God is deliberately trying to trick us, by giving us insights into nature that he denies in his holy word. Would a loving God do that?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 11:33am GMT

Hi Pat-

Yes, but that assumes a lot about the nature and origin of the biblical documents which in most cases even their authors do not necessarily agree with - or we have no evidence that they do.

Paul was only referring to Leviticus, to Genesis (and the manifest creation order), and to his own observations of what was already the case. His words were not prescriptive, therefore, but descriptive.

There is no good reason to assume that a given passage of 'the Bible' (which is actually a library of 66 or so separate documents) is true and accurate merely by virtue of being part of 'the Bible'. The passage in question may indeed be true and accurate (or not as the case may be), but it is true and accurate by virtue of corresponding to real-world realities, not by virtue of being included in 'the Bible'.

Otherwise, what criterion has one for dismissing the accuracy of anything in any other book, religious or secular: whether the Koran, the Book of Mormon, or whatever. Mere claims to inspiration and accuracy do not amount to actual inspiration or accuracy. Indeed, no inspiration is needed to say things which are obviously or apparently true. Paul says what he says because he observes it to be true. If true, it was not more true after he wrote about it than it was before.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 2:03pm GMT

Absolutely right!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:17pm GMT

"but it is true and accurate by virtue of corresponding to real-world realities, not by virtue of being included in 'the Bible'."

Sounds like you're saying that, since we know the Earth was not ceated in the way Genesis says, then Genesis is wrong, and that God did not create the world. I doubt this is what you mean, so could you go further? Not a nasty attack this time, Christopher, I'm interested in your ideas on Biblical truth.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 9:14pm GMT

Erika - from what you say, you think ST Paul contradicts Christ??

Posted by: NP on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 11:11am GMT

NP, I was responding to your following two posts:

"Erika says "So, NP, keep quiet from now on then and let the Lord speak to me if he feels it necessary."
Well, I will point people to his words as I have pointed you."

"Yep- - that nasty habit of looking at the words of Christ"


At the very least you have to accept that Christ didn't say anything about homosexuality and that all your NT authority on this subject comes exclusively from St Paul.


You have been quoting St Paul, not Jesus. Stick by your beliefs, by all means, but don't quote a higher authority than you have.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 1:16pm GMT

Hi Erika-
It is certainly the case that, given Paul's devotion to Christ, he would not knowingly contradict him, though he has been known to supplement his teaching on specific sub-points where the Lord did not specify his own view.

Hi Ford-
You are saying that Genesis does not speak of the way the world was actually created (which is true to an extent) and think that this leads to the view that God did not create the world at all. I thought the particular dispute you mentioned was the dispute about how, not whether, the world was divinely created.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 1:17pm GMT

Hi Fr Mark-
I don;t understand your remark 'Same old tired record, NP'. In any debate, the criterion for choosing what to say and what not to say is not whether it is new but whether it is (apparently) true. Where is the virtue in merely being new? There are old things which are untrue and old things which are true. Likewise there are new things that are untrue and new things which are true.
It is the normal central charge against liberals that those who marry the spirit of this age will be widowed in the next.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 1:22pm GMT

Translations do, NP, especfially late 20th century ones.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 1:52pm GMT

"Erika - from what you say, you think ST Paul contradicts Christ??"

NP, you clearly think exactly that, what's more, you say that when Paul contradicts Christ, then Paul is right!

Christopher,
"The passage in question may indeed be true and accurate (or not as the case may be), but it is true and accurate by virtue of corresponding to real-world realities, not by virtue of being included in 'the Bible'."

I took this to mean that if the Bible were not accurate in its description of real-world realities, then the Bible is wrong. Thus, since Genesis is obviously not true and accurate in its descritpion of the Creation of the Universe, then it must be wrong. I do not believe Scripture needs to be accurate and historical to be true. You seemed to be saying the opposite.


Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 2:36pm GMT

Christopher,
I agree that Paul would not knowingly have contradicted Christ.

But that does not make Paul sinless and infallible. It is possible that he misunderstood and that parts of his writings are simply wrong.

I'm not saying that with regard to any particular issue but as a matter of principle.

Quoting Paul but claiming to be quoting Jesus, and then clamining special authority of the quoted words is ...hm, shall we say disingenious.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 2:38pm GMT

Erika says "Quoting Paul but claiming to be quoting Jesus.." WHEN?? Evidence pls?

Ford says "NP, you clearly think exactly that, what's more, you say that when Paul contradicts Christ, then Paul is right!"
- if you are trying to say that Christ said we should never judge and this applies also to false teaching and if you are contrasting that with the times I have reminded you that Paul repeatedly told us to judge false teaching and avoid it like the plague, I am afraid you do not have a strong case, Ford, as I suspect you know.

We are certainly not to judge a person's salvation......but we are told clearly to avoid false teaching and we see both St.Paul and the Lord judging false teachers very harshly indeed....it is ridiculous to argue that we should do the opposite today and regard false teachers as "our neighbour" if that means tolerating false teaching in the church. Not from Genesis to Revelation are we told to compromise with false teaching, as you know.

Pls compare these verses and you will find no contradiction....both the Lord and his apostle to us gentiles strongly condemned false teaching (and never ever taught accomodation or compromise with it.....because they also both talk a lot about the terrible consequences of false teaching)

Pls see

1 Cor 5:12
Gal 5:12
-not "tolerate contradictory views and talk issues to death, giving due respect to all and every position"

and also

Matt 16:1-6
John 8:39-47
- not quite "I repsect your view and think it is healthy to have a diversity of opinions amongst religious leaders"

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:40am GMT

Christopher: when I liken NP unto a tired old record, I am not making a judgment on the mutability or otherwise of doctrine, merely upon his inability to engage in discussion in a flexible (and therefore fruitful) way!

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:58am GMT

Erika says "Quoting Paul but claiming to be quoting Jesus, and then clamining special authority of the quoted words is ...hm, shall we say disingenious."

Evidence pls??

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 9:55am GMT

NP

"Evidence pls??"

Please read on this thread:
Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 1:16pm GMT

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 11:40am GMT

Mark - I know what you mean.... maybe both sides are two sides of the same old record?
We do go round in circles here.....what will we do if these CofE arguments are ever resolved???

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 11:41am GMT

Hi Ford-
I don't get your point. Isn't it obvious that we are in some cases able to check out what the Bible says: whether it is correct or not. Therefore presumably it will be correct in some things and not in others.

Your use of the word 'true' is mischievous and unnecessarily so. By your criterion, it would be impossible to say anything in the Bible was *not* true. You thereby make affirmations that any part of the Bible *is* true meaningless and empty of content, since you have already decided before investigation that it is going to be true. Open-minded people do not decide anything before investigation.

Supposing that you are using the word 'true' in two separate ways simultaneously, then you must know that this is going to be confusing. So why do it? I can only imagine that people do it because they *want* to be able to say that 'the Bible' is true while also picking and choosing from it. This is the height of dishonesty.

If a given portion of the Bible is not literally true, then on what grounds do you conclude that it is spiritually true? Isn't that dualistic? On what grounds would it be considered spiritually *untrue*? Is anything allowed to be spiritually untrue?

How can one possibly know in advance of studying the whole bible intensively whether or not it is all spiritually true?

And how do you get round the fact that all 27 books of the NT are written in genres intended to be taken literally? There are, of course, parables *within* the gospel texts (and similes within the text of Revelation), but these are universally recognised as such.

This sounds like a large-scale big theory imposed on the data forestalling any need to study the actual data themselves.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 1:38pm GMT

Hi Ford-
I don't get your point. Isn't it obvious that we are in some cases able to check out what the Bible says: whether it is correct or not. Therefore presumably it will be correct in some things and not in others.

Your use of the word 'true' is mischievous and unnecessarily so. By your criterion, it would be impossible to say anything in the Bible was *not* true. You thereby make affirmations that any part of the Bible *is* true meaningless and empty of content, since you have already decided before investigation that it is going to be true. Open-minded people do not decide anything before investigation.

Supposing that you are using the word 'true' in two separate ways simultaneously, then you must know that this is going to be confusing. So why do it? I can only imagine that people do it because they *want* to be able to say that 'the Bible' is true while also picking and choosing from it. This is the height of dishonesty.

If a given portion of the Bible is not literally true, then on what grounds do you conclude that it is spiritually true? Isn't that dualistic? On what grounds would it be considered spiritually *untrue*? Is anything allowed to be spiritually untrue?

How can one possibly know in advance of studying the whole bible intensively whether or not it is all spiritually true?

And how do you get round the fact that all 27 books of the NT are written in genres intended to be taken literally? There are, of course, parables *within* the gospel texts (and similes within the text of Revelation), but these are universally recognised as such.

This sounds like a large-scale big theory imposed on the data forestalling any need to study the actual data themselves.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 1:39pm GMT

NP: we go round in circles because you do not engage with the points under discussion - you merely quote Biblical references, as if that meant anything. It doesn't do it for the rest of us on here, and it's not the Anglican way either - our way is to discuss things using our reason, and not to get too worked up when we find others take a different view. I don't care at all if you disagree with my view. I argue with you here because I've noticed that the liberals in the Church are far too retiring, and I have no intention of allowing the lunacy of Puritanism to seriously pose as mainstream Anglicanism to the rest of the world. I am a gay Anglican priest and will go on being one, and ministering appropriately to gay people, whatever you or any thug in a purple shirt thinks. I am sure that one day soon there will be a sudden change of policy in the C of E, not least because I keep my ears open at grass-roots level, which you seem not to do, and I observe the seismic social change on the gay issue across the whole of British society. If the church wants to have any role in the wider society (the recent Remembrance Sunday services were a good example of how important that still is) then it will have to speak some sense finally on the issue of sexuality before the rest of my generation (the under 40s) is completely closed to the institution for life.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 1:51pm GMT

Christopher Shell wrote: “And how do you get round the fact that all 27 books of the NT are written in genres intended to be taken literally?”

Whoever told you such exquisit nonsense? “Literally”?? as in “literature”???

Christopher Shell wrote: “There are, of course, parables *within* the gospel texts (and similes within the text of Revelation), but these are universally recognised as such.”

Revelation???? “literally”????? "facts"??????

Stay away, they said to us at University.

Unless you have a well mind and a sound body – or you most likely will face the consequences joining those that went before you to the funny-farm…

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:46pm GMT

"By your criterion, it would be impossible to say anything in the Bible was *not* true."

We know that the Universe and is several billion years old, and that humans evolved in a process that has been going on since the beginning of life on this planet. So Genesis cannot be factually true, it has to be true in some other sense. Either that, or God did not create the universe.

"If a given portion of the Bible is not literally true, then on what grounds do you conclude that it is spiritually true? Isn't that dualistic?"

No. Dualism is the religious belief that good and evil are equally balanced, found most eloquently in Zoroastrianism. I am not a dualist. Again, Genesis is not literally true. On what grounds do you conclude God is the Creator if the one document that says He is is manifestly untrue?

"And how do you get round the fact that all 27 books of the NT are written in genres intended to be taken literally?"

Are they? The Gospels tell a story, written decades after the fact. Furthermore, we are told that they contain only SOME of the stories of Jesus. The obvious question is: Why tells us these, then, and not others? The obvious answer is to make a point. There was no such thing in those days as history as we understand it. The Evangelists weren't trying to list historical fact, they were trying to tell us about how God became a humnan being to restore Creation to the state of grace it had been created in. There was no census, no eclipse, no earthquake. Similarly for the OT, there is no evidence of an Exodus, and the stories of David are obviously dressed up for political effect, the Sun cannot have stopped in the sky. The entire Bible was never meant to be a history as we understand the word. I am not being "mischievous". If you don't like 'true', how about 'factual'? The Bible isn't factual, but its Truth doesn't rely on it's being factual. You seem to be basing the Truth of Scripture on whether or not it can be shown to coincide with the historical record. If you do that, you will be left with little to believe in.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 5:03pm GMT
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