Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Further news and comment on women bishops

Update Wednesday morning
Frank Field MP tweeted at 6.02 pm on Tuesday that “Ecclesiastical Committee, of which I am a Member, has just unanimously approved the women bishops measure. Hurrah!”

Update Wednesday afternoon
The agenda of yesterday’s meeting of the Ecclesiastical Committee, originally linked below, is no longer available.
A transcript of the Archbishop’s opening speech to the Committee is here.

The Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament met today (Tuesday) to consider the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure. There is a recording of the public part of their meeting here [1 hour 16 minutes].

John Bingham of The Telegraph reports on the meeting: Church of England to use positive discrimination to boost women bishops.

We have reported news and comments on last Monday’s votes at General Synod here, here, here and here. There is more.

Linda Woodhead The Conversation Yes vote for women bishops challenges the Church of England to embed equality

WATCH Synod Voted Yes!

The Ordinariate in England and Wales: Statement from the Ordinary - Women Bishops

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Women in the episcopate: legislation and its adoption

The Primate of Uganda Church of Uganda applauds CoE women bishops vote

Moses Talemwa The Observer (Uganda) Uganda Hails Vote On Women Bishops

Ian Paul asks What are (women) bishops for?

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 9:38pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

It really shouldn't surprise me that Mgr Keith Newton has to have his say, and repeat the same old tune which he whistled as he swam the Tiber. But to use it as an advert for following his example, so that people can feel as if they can really only be One together as Roman Catholics is - I have to say - equally unsurprising!

When WILL the RC hierarchy (and some in the lowerarchy of the Ordinariate) not realise and/or admit that we are already one in Christ; and that the institutional stubborn insistence by Rome that we can only be one with THEM is itself a serious obstacle to more visible unity (where it remains unexpressed at a local level). As for the Orthodox, do they really mind that there's anyone else out there? How many centuries do these guys need to do the honest thing and admit that Jesus is bigger than the barriers we have put up over the years?

For myself, I really couldn't give a monkey's about the opinions of those who think the C of E did something regrettable last week - or 20+ years ago. That includes those who were never members, rarely seen but not unknown on TA; those who have left, but still haunt the battlements of thinking Anglican opinion; and those, almost daily on TA, who are still in the C of E and still banging on about how far down the drain we've gone. Stay and play nicely within the new climate of benevolent trust which has yet to be put into practice; or don't stay. But the new rules say explicitly that it's time to STOP denying (or being mealy-mouthed) about the reality that women can now indeed be in all 3 Holy Orders.

Posted by: The Revd Canon Peter Edwards on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 11:05pm BST

Dear Canon. The tone of your comments is not particularly Christian. It's obvious you have a deep hatred of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches Your own church has up to now said that is part of the One Holy Catholic Church but by ignoring what they have to say I think that the claim has now been repudiated. The CoE was a new invention and like for example the Baptist and Methodists should now admit that that it has nothing to do with the One Holy Church become Protestant and get on with winning souls - it has over the last 20 years failed to do so despite what was said about women's ministry.

Posted by: Joseph Golightly on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 7:55am BST

Canon Edwards, my impression is that the Ordinariate is so desperate for lay people and for cash that they would use the opening of the proverbial paper bag as an excuse to bang the drum (or rattle the collecting tin).

Posted by: Stuart, Devon on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 8:05am BST

Ever since the Yes vote for women bishops, quite a few commentators on threads have decided they no longer need to pretend to be nice to each other. Its not mutual flourishing, but behave yourself ( play nicely) or go. ' Couldn't give a monkeys', 'anglo banglo' and so on. Not surprising but a bit depressing really. 'Some in the lowerarchy of the ordinariate' - really!

Posted by: ian on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 9:05am BST

Thank you Peter Edwards. Well said.
"... the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience." The first Guiding Principle underpinning the vote on the Episcopate.
Jesus is indeed bigger than the barriers we erect. I was also taught, a long time ago, by Canon Eric James, that when we erect barriers to keep people out, Jesus is on the side of the barrier with the people we have excluded.

Posted by: Anne on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 10:19am BST

Can I reiterate and support Ian's comment above, that commenters should work very hard to be polite to each other. Or their comments may not get published.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 11:44am BST

I was fortunate to be able to spend time watching the meeting of the Ecclesiastical committee with the Archbishop and his team. By the way the Archbishop was incisive and clear . The most meaningful message came from the Archdeacon on his team. She said from now on we have the orders of Deacon , Priest and Bishop without reference to gender.

Praise the Lord

Fr John

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 12:20pm BST

The underlying question in these and similar threads has nothing to do with women bishops. It's about how people see the Church of England, and explains why debate on these threads so often seems to be at cross purposes, or a dialogue of the deaf.

To some, the Church of England is "the Church" - autonomous in every respect, and free to make its own decisions about doctrine, ministry, etc, without reference to other Churches throughout the world.

To others, it is only a part of the Church, tragically separated from Rome and Orthodoxy by an historical accident which was largely its own fault; it should endeavour to heal that breach as its top priority, and in the meantime it doesn't have the right to make major decisions about doctrine, ministry, etc, for itself. (Those who hold this view see the Church of England as being part of the visible Catholic Church in a fuller sense than what are usually called Protestant churches.)

To others still, the Church of England is a gathering of believers among many such gatherings, concerned only to follow Christ according to their lights without worrying much about the idea of the visible Church at all.

All three ways of looking at the Church of England were tenable before the vote on women bishops, but the second way - the 'branch Church' theory, as it used to be described - now seems barely, if at all, tenable unless one believes that Rome and the Orthodox will one day ordain women - which, going by their own official statements at any rate, is impossible.

Posted by: RJ on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 12:42pm BST

The matter of which part of Christ's Body someone belongs to will always be a matter of theology and conscience. I wish anyone well who has, or intends to, join the Ordinariate, although the Five Principles which I endorsed last week with my Yes vote at Synod makes the need to do so less likely, it seems to me. Trad Catholic friends in the Church seem content to stay, by and large, with a number of ex-Ordinariate folk returning too.

Similarly, any of us who are anglican parish priests know that the traffic across the Tiber is definitely two-way and our decision last week to consecrate women won't do anything to diminish the traffic towards the Church of England. But it won't necessarily increase the flow either. Factors affecting the decision to change are often complex and personal.

Posted by: Simon Butler on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 1:24pm BST

The point about politeness is well taken, here and on another thread. However, I think it also needs to be acknowledged by everyone here that there is a certain sort of formal politeness which acts as a cloak for gross misrepresentation of other people's arguments and positions - and that is actually far more offensive than the occasional heated words.

Posted by: John on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 1:50pm BST

Simon, I fully endorse your comment on two threads where you issue a plea for politeness on the part of the T. A. Commentators. My own comments often result in a number of responses offering an alternative view to my own. I sincerely hope that what I write is not lacking in basic Christian courtesy. Personal abuse and down right rudeness in no way advances an argument nor enhances the discussion.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:05pm BST

Re the ordinariate, its members seem like they have a foot in two worlds but are members of none. Not happy being an Anglican, and wish to become Roman Catholic? Just convert to The Roman Catholic Church and enjoy the English Mass in the vernacular. Those of us who support gender equality and full inclusion for Anglicanism are staying and moving on with the Church we are committed to despite the fact that it is not perfect. Anglicans who wish they were Roman Catholics may find that fully converting and side stepping the ordinariate will give them the same sense of commitment. The ordinariate and its members will never be more than an oddity to most Catholics, never more than second class citizens of their own choosing.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:42pm BST

RJ
"It's about how people see the Church of England, and explains why debate on these threads so often seems to be at cross purposes, or a dialogue of the deaf."

And people often have these debates with their eyes firmly closed to the reality of the CoE's Canons. They will tell you firmly that the church "cannot" do something it clearly is doing.
And they will question the authority the church has for doing whatever it is, when the CoE is basing its authority simply on what its own legal framework allows it to do and on its internal discernment structures.

A little more realism would help.


Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:30pm BST

A sad day in that it creates two castes in the Church of England..clergy who will preserve an " untainted" masculine pretence to apostolic succession and male and female clergy ordained by women bishops looked on as being less than kosher( excuse the use of that other faith term for want of a better word)

WATCH must ensure that this measure does not make a de facto third province.For instance I hope the line of "pure" bishops is still consecrated by Canterbury, even though he will have consecrated women bishops separately. Anything else will be total apartheid.

Posted by: robert Ian williams on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 4:54pm BST

Rod: I think that there is something in what you say, although I think it's a little harsh to suggest that members of an Ordinariate are in any sense second class Catholics. All the RC hierarchy have been at pains to be very clear that this is not the case.

Nonetheless, as someone who crossed the Tiber after moving to Canada, where there is no tolerance for traditionalists in the Anglican church and certainly no "mutual flourishing", I think that there are significant differences between the situations in England and here.

In England, most of those who joined an Ordinariate would have probably been used to the Roman rite in the vernacular anyway, because it was used in the vast majority of Anglo-Catholic parishes. The "patrimony" if any that they take with them is probably more to do with music and a greater reverence and formality to the way liturgy is done - very nice things to have but not essentials.

The real provision for Anglicans to preserve their liturgical traditions was required for the North American situation, where traditionalists were largely coming from breakaway churches rather than from ECUSA or ACC, and where they were wedded to the BCP as well as the other traditions of an all male priesthood, etc.

I suspect many English Ordinariate groups are still using the modern Roman Rite and indeed many are very closely allied with the parishes that host their celebrations and there is a lot of joint activity and crossover between RC parishes and their Ordinariate neighbours.

This isn't the case in Canada, or I suspect in the US or Australia.

Given my background in the CofE, I agree with you, and my path was to simply become Catholic; although I could now join the Ordinariate which has a thriving group in my city, I choose not to because that BCP tradition is not where I ever came from. But I can see that for people steeped in that the Ordinariate is a way for them to be fully Catholic and not abandon everything that formed them on their journey to date.

That all said, were I still in England I would certainly embrace and commit to the principles that were so gracefully debated and agreed by Synod. It's a pity that the other branches of Anglicanism have chosen a far more absolute and less flexible approach, at least to my mind. I hope that despite the tone of many comments here, the majority in the CofE can put that gracious tone of the debate into practice on the ground.

Posted by: Clive on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 7:24pm BST

> And people often have these debates with their eyes firmly closed to the reality of the CoE's Canons. They will tell you firmly that the church "cannot" do something it clearly is doing.
And they will question the authority the church has for doing whatever it is, when the CoE is basing its authority simply on what its own legal framework allows it to do and on its internal discernment structures.

Agreed. If the Church of England were what such people once believed it to be, it indeed would not have the authority to do what it is now doing. But it is at last clear that, for better or worse, the Church of England is *not* what such people believed it to be. Those who remain within it must therefore accept it on its own terms or go elsewhere; the dream of Catholic reunion with Rome and Orthodoxy has gone for ever.

Posted by: RJ on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 9:50pm BST

"The dream of Catholic reunion with Rome and Orthodoxy has gone for ever." I ceased to care about all that years ago. To think that God really cares about lines of succession and the gender of clergy is to make God very much in our own image and likeness.

Posted by: Old Father William on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 10:36pm BST

It really is sad. I was in the Catholic cathedral in Cardiff, and there is a recently set aside Ordinariate chapel to the right of the high altar...it has an altar facing the wall for eastward celebration, and less space for congregants than in an average utility room!

I do hope people will focus , not on the shortcomings of the Ordinariate, but on the new
" untouchable " class, Archbishop Justin Welby has created in the Church of England, by allowing the impossibilists to flourish forever!

In the celebrations following the vote, few people are taking in the consequences of the de facto ghetto created for FIF and Reform.

Will these impossibilists accept a future Archbishop of Canterbury chosen from a bishop who was consecrated by the participation of women bishops? Ten years from now there will be several hundred male clergy deemed invalid by fact of female ordaining bishops.

Why can't people see, what I see, there is created a terrible reality far worse than the 1993 act of Synod. A pro vote could have been achieved without this appalling concession.

Posted by: robert Ian williams on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 10:51pm BST

"the 'branch Church' theory, as it used to be described - now seems barely, if at all, tenable unless one believes that Rome and the Orthodox will one day ordain women - which, going by their own official statements at any rate, is impossible."

Well OF COURSE we Anglicans/Episcopalians believe the RCC and EOs will eventually ("while the Lord tarry") ordain women. I would think that goes w/o saying. Impossible? My Bible still says "ALL things are possible w/ Christ"! :-)

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 12:07am BST

@ Clive, thanks for your interesting perspective. You note, "I think it's a little harsh to suggest that members of an Ordinariate are in any sense second class Catholics. All the RC hierarchy have been at pains to be very clear that this is not the case." Members of the hierarchy may be saying that, but then they would have to, no?

A comparable situation exists with regard to married Anglican priest converts to Rome. The few conversations I have had with R.C. priests about this sounded a frustrated note. I'm told the convert priests can't be put in R.C. parishes with a wife in tow, so they end up getting put in spiffy jobs like chaplaincy. I am aware that the Roman English mass is used by Anglicans in England. So why an ordinariate? Can't they abide the guitar music?

With regard to the notion that there is no tolerance for "traditionalists" in Canada, I beg to differ. My city has one "traditional" parish which uses a BCP/Latin/Orthodox liturgical hodge podge complete with classical choral music. No one gives them grief. More to the point, the previous two bishops here, the most previous having been female and the one previous to that now the Primate, allowed this parish to shut out women priests including the female bishop from doing anything orders sacramental. Many of us think this way beyond tolerance.

As for the ordinariate in Canada,the biggest interest came from members of the conservative Anglican Catholic Church of North America many of the clergy of which were not ordained by Bishops of the Anglican Communion. The confusion this caused the Canadian R.C. hierarchy was hilarious to watch unfold.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 12:31am BST

I'm rather fascinated by the dream for corporate reunion with Rome by many in the Church of England. In the US, where Roman Catholicism is but one of many options on the denominational buffet of faith, one sees almost nothing of this among Episcopalians. Catholicism is just an option some people take. In most places we don't see anti Catholicism (you would never see Orange Order walks in the US) and we don't see people in one denomination secretly wanting to be part of another. If one wants to become a Baptist, one becomes a Baptist. Or a Methodist, or Roman Catholic or Hare Krishna or whatever.

I think this explains some of the disconnect with the CofE over Bishop Robinson's consecration. Traditionalists in England said, "but this will upset Rome!" And all many of us thought was, "Well, ok. And this means?" You might as well have told us that it would upset the Congregationalists or the Mormons. Well, ok, they do stuff we don't like, too. But that is life.

So what if you can't rejoin Rome? They are merely another denomination. A big one with their own strengths and weaknesses. But just one more option out there. Go join them if you want to because nothing is stopping you.

I suspect that if one told the entire Episcopal Church we could all be part of Roman Catholicism the vast majority of us would probably say no. I know that I would. Not because we don't like Roman Catholics (my mother is one) but just because we don't want to be one. Most of us don't want to be Methodist or Seventh Day Adventist, either, though they seem to be nice people.

Just be Anglicans. Isn't that good enough?

Posted by: Dennis on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 5:54am BST

The ordinariate and its members will never be more than an oddity to most Catholics, never more than second class citizens of their own choosing.

I am not a member of the ordinariate, I am, however a roman catholic ex anglican. As far as I am aware there is no such category as second class citizen in the Roman Catholic Church. You are either in communion or you are not. Members of the ordinatiate are in communion. Therefore they are ( like me and Pope Francis ) first class citizens.
Rod, you may not like the ordinariate, but then ,if it is not for you then that's OK isn't it? A bit of live and let live don't you think?

Posted by: ian on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 7:25am BST

I would suggest that the 50% of Roman Catholics who are barred from ever receiving one of the sacraments are de facto 2nd class citizens.

Given how long it took for Rome to come round on mass in the the vernacular, I'd give it at least 2-3 centuries before they ordain women. I do think it will happen, though.

Posted by: Jo on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 8:11am BST

Meanwhile, in my part of the C of E, this seems a very good way to go:

http://www.durham.anglican.org/news-and-events/news-article.aspx?id=2642

St John's was FiF for many years (Jeff Steel's church, incidentally), run by two outstanding priests. One died, the other retired shortly afterwards. In the interregnum, the PCC apparently decided they could accept women priests. No compulsion on anyone here. The diocese has obviously behaved well. St Luke's seems happy. So does Bishop Glyn. So - more eloquently - does Bishop Mark. Common sense and charity all round. One had almost despaired of seeing them any more in the C of E. Hope Father David approves.

Posted by: John on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 8:23am BST

Is anyone prepared to stop focusing on the tiny ordinariate and facing the reality that the July 14 measure and bishops declaration effectively creates "untouchables" in the Church of England and is more damaging than the 1993 Act of Synod.

I give you an example.Prior to this "settlement", Reform and FIF accepted women deacons, but now they will not recognise even male deacons ordained by a woman bishop. lets have theological discussion, not the usual tirade against Rome.

Posted by: Robert ain Willaims on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 8:47am BST

As a non-conformist (albeit one who has worshipped at my CofE parish church for twenty years) I'm struggling to understand why a decision to consecrate female bishops puts union with Rome any further out of reach than it currently is? Surely Rome does not accept the validity of Anglican orders anyway - are those orders any further invalidated by the involvement of females in future (non)ordinations? And surely the presence of female priests already effectively means that union could only take place once Rome is also ordaining women?

Posted by: John Swanson on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 9:09am BST

"As far as I am aware there is no such category as second class citizen in the Roman Catholic Church. You are either in communion or you are not."

Ian: I don't think there are first and second class citizens in relation to Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic Church might give the impression of being that little bit better or more faithful or whatever, but in the real world outside of petty church politics no one is interested. It's not Christianity either. It's just playing church isn't it?

If people are used to taking holy communion and they wish to take it and the only available church is a Roman Catholic one then by and large they take it these days. They don't really need or want to know if they are 'in communion': it's not a real concept that has any bearing on anything that is important. What's important is having a relationship with The Lord isn't it? And having relationships with others? Love God and love your neighbour as yourself? In the real world people have far more important things to think about than being 'in communion'. They have to think about why people are bombed in Israel and Palestine. Why people shoot down aeroplanes. Why their children get fatally ill. Why they have lost their job. If being 'in communion' is more important than these things, then I'd be delighted to hear why....

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 9:21am BST

I would suggest that the 50% of Roman Catholics who are barred from ever receiving one of the sacraments are de facto 2nd class citizens.
Point taken, however I can't think, for the life of me why anyone would think being a lay person was any lower in class than being a priest, or a pope for that matter.
Andrew, my comments were in response to the less than complimentary comments about the ordinariate, perhaps you should ask Rod why he wanted to use 'second class citizen.'
Yes, yes Israel/Palestine, bombings and children's cancer all more important. Nevertheless, I am still glad to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

Posted by: ian on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 11:16am BST

@ Ian, re live and let let live, by all means. Converting to another denomination based on theological or other convictions is a part of the ethos of Christian denominationalism. Better to convert to an existing than further splinter the body of Christ with new groups. John Henry Newman converted and became a prince of the church, but of course he took the plunge in a day when there was no ordinariate.Even so, some biographers note that he was treated somewhat suspect by Rome.

I really don't think about the ordinariate much except when it surfaces, as it has here, as part of the discussion about what Anglicans are doing i.e. ordaining women to the episcopate. When that happens the role of the ordinariate, established under the reign of the now abdicated Pope Benedict, re-surfaces as an unfortunate development in ecclesiastical politics. But its not all bad. Rome takes a number of our social conservatives off our hands, and in the bargain, we pick up a lot of a lot of disillusioned Roman Catholics, including some very bright and creative clergy. Of course, in our case, we don't have a special half-way house where they stand out as ex R.C., they just blend into the great melting pot of Anglicanism.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 12:06pm BST

Rome takes a number of our social conservatives off our hands,

Interesting. I was talking to a priest of the ordinariate the other day, who told me that when he went to tell his diocesan bishop of his decision to leave he was asked by him what he could do or give him in order to persuade him to stay.

And, do you know, I'm still not entirely sure you've signed up to the live and let live thing!

Posted by: ian on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 12:32pm BST

The CofE does not claim to be inerrant nor infallible and its own Articles affirm that General Councils do err and have erred. The argument that the CofE has irrevocably changed cannot therefore stand. It is still perfectly logical to hold that the CofE is only a part of the Church, tragically separated from Rome and Orthodoxy by an historical accident and its own actions. In ordaining women the CofE is offering a new insight for reception by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.This is why the CofE has used the Bishops Declaration to make pastoral and sacramental provision during the open ended period of ecumenical discernment. Only the long view of history will tell us whether or not the opening of the priesthood and episcopate to women was an appropriate development of the apostolic ministry.The acid test will be whether in two or three hundred years the new development has flourished or withered away. As the Gospel advises us to do, the CofE is enabling the wheat and tares to grow together until God brings about the harvest.

Posted by: Geonokes on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 12:41pm BST

Do "traditionalists" ever reflect on what Jesus himself said about the traditionalists of his own time?

Posted by: William Moorhead on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 2:25pm BST

I really don't understand why last week's vote has made the CofE any more 'Protestant' or less 'Catholic' than it was before. This is the tenor of Mr Golightly's contribution above and also that of a letter in last week's Church Times. Once the Church had decided that there were no theological objections to the ordination of women, which took place how many years ago? Twenty five was it? Then surely for those who believe such things the end was then. Why wait another 25 years for the working out of something which was so explicit all those years ago?

Twenty five years ago surely everyone know that the outcome would be the consecration of women as Bishops, something that will happen within a few months now. If the church is no longer Catholic, isn't there a logical outcome for those who think that way. I don't want to get into trouble for suggesting what must be the obvious course of action, but the battle over a particular interpretation or understanding of the 'catholic' nature of the CofE has been lost. Perhaps we could move on now and stop fighting this particular battle? The next one, on same sex relationships, marriage and both laity and the clergy is warming up nicely.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 10:59pm BST

"Do "traditionalists" ever reflect upon what Jesus himself said about traditionalists of his own time?"
Yes, constantly, because we have a high regard for what is written in Holy Scripture. We also often reflect upon who The Lord chose to be among the Twelve and we seek to follow faithfully in their footsteps.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 7:38am BST

Richard - it was in 1975. Thirty-nine years ago.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 7:47am BST

I'm with Richard, I don't understand this conversation either.
The CoE has always been protestant for evangelicals, catholic for Anglo-Catholics and liberal for liberals.
We've now added women bishops and most evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics have no problem with them.
The few on both sides who do have been given provisions that enable them to stay in the CoE and continue in their customary ways.
The CoE is still a church that is protestant for evangelicals, catholic for Anglo-Catholics and liberal liberal for Liberals.

Time to just get on with it?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 9:39am BST

"Prior to this "settlement", Reform and FIF accepted women deacons, but now they will not recognise even male deacons ordained by a woman bishop." (Robert Ian Williams)
I've been puzzled for a while that Conservative Evangelicals became the main bogey-man on this issue (eg 'con evos take over synod' etc).
Certainly it's strange if recognition of orders is the issue. Reform-types will continue to recognise women & male deacons (and priests) regardless of who ordains them. The issue, for evangelicals, isn't validity of orders (the 5 principles are genuinely welcome); the issue is personal conscience at the point of submission to an individual bishop or incumbent. Offensive enough, no doubt, to people here, but not the same issue as FiF.

Posted by: CharlieS on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 9:46am BST

Given that I generally agree with what she has to say, I wonder why I invariably find Linda Woodhead's contributions so irritating. I think perhaps it's because of the language in which she couches her arguments - I usually arrive the same conclusions as she does, but from a diametrically-opposed angle.

Unlike Dr Woodhead, I don't think "equality" is or ought to be a Christian or an Anglican value in itself, though I do think it might be the indirect consequence of some other genuinely Christian values like compassion and justice. If we really wanted to espouse "equality" in the strict sense, then logically everyone ought to be a bishop and an archbishop (there are days when the Church of England does feel a bit like that). I suppose Brownites and Mennonites and some of their Anabaptist peers might have gone down that particular road, but radical equality is definitely a fringe interest in the church. For most of its history the church catholic - including its Anglican wing - has followed Galatians 3:28 in affirming the ultimate equality in Christ of all God's people without trying to efface material differences in the world or to pretend that everyone is really exactly the same (1 Corinthians 12 and all that).

The real reason for supporting women priests and bishops is not because we believe in some liberal secular value like "equality," however nice that might be, but because we believe that this is where God is leading His church. We support women priests because we know women who have vocations to the priesthood, and we support women bishops because we believe there may well be women who are called to be bishops, and if that is God's intention then it is no business of the general synod of the Church of England to stand in the way. Likewise, those of us who support some kind of liturgical recognition of same-sex partnerships do so not because everyone is basically the same or because differences don't matter or because God is no respecter of persons, but because it is (I think) the corporate experience of the church that such relationships can be sanctified and holy.

Imposing a foreign set of secular moral standards on the church that privileges non-Christian ideals such as liberty and equality is not a good way of arguing among Christians. It wrongly suggests that there are no soundly Christian arguments for liberal reforms, and it may well end up with Anglican liberals doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by: rjb on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 10:17am BST

I'd like to comment on Linda Woodhead's piece. Obviously, I largely agree with it, but with regard to the Church of Denmark, while it's splendid they've had WO so long and splendid also that it's one of the reasons why such a high percentage of the population remains willing to pay the church tax, it's vital to take account of the fact (and it is a fact) that hardly anyone goes to church in Denmark and the working assumption in popular culture (e.g. Borgen) is that everyone is atheist. So, as I keep saying, liberals deceive themselves if they think that church decline in the UK is due to discrimination against women or gays (which of course I do oppose). The real reasons are much more fundamental and much more intractable.

Posted by: John on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 10:45am BST

"some liberal secular value like "equality"

Some of us believe that equality is a deeply Christian value and that a God who would support inequality is a man made concept.
It is not necessary to explain that theology every single time. I think we would hope that, by now, even those who disagree with us know better than to dismiss the concept as "secular".

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 12:14pm BST

@ Ian "I'm still not entirely sure you've signed up to the live and let live thing!"

Sure I have, except, except, when the members of the ordinariate step out and comment on what is happening with the church they claim to have left behind, as an opportunity to do some PR. Instance the statement from the ordinariate linked above. Msgr. Keith Newton's statement is a good example of this kind of thing.

By the by, a couple of interesting observations about the ordinariate, and women, and bishops. The ordinariate is named The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Yet, the good Msgr. is taking time to comment negatively on the decision of the C of E to have women bishops. So, on the one hand women are put on a pedestal while being denied equality at the same time. This is typical patriarchal splitting. I gather the good Msgr. is entitled to wear episcopal garb in the ordinariate, somewhat ironic given the issue at hand. I predict that the ordinariate is fated to become one of those cultural curiosities of history, like the Confederates who moved to South America after the Civil War. That I can live with.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 2:05pm BST

Rod, again I think that your comments are more informed by the Canadian and US situation. In England the relationships between Anglo and Roman Catholic parishes were often very close and cooperative - joint Eucharistic celebrations were not unknown and we sometimes had an RC priest preach at my CofE parish. Don't tell the bishop :)

So I think there are many people who are somewhere on a spectrum between staying in the CofE and trusting in the spirit of the Synod and becoming "regular" RCs for want of a better expression. It is hardly surprising, nor is it at all inappropriate for the UK Ordinariate to be offering an opportunity for exploration in the light of developments - offering it in many cases to people they worshipped alongside for many years, who are friends, and who may be evaluating their place on the spectrum I mentioned in light of the vote.

There is a broader difference between Anglo-Catholicism in England and Canada too but I struggle to put it into words. My English parish was a typical town parish with a lovely, informal, family atmosphere, a thriving Sunday school, all the usual close knit parish family things. Here I find AC churches tend to cater more to the liturgical preferences and be full of people for whom that's the draw, rather than being a parish church first and a "high" or AC church just by tradition. It's hard to explain, as I say. My experience is limited to Ontario, too, so perhaps that style

Posted by: Clive on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 6:56pm BST

RJB said "The real reason for supporting women priests and bishops is not because we believe in some liberal secular value like "equality," however nice that might be, but because we believe that this is where God is leading His church"

Sure. But it is an amazing coincidence that when it comes to things like slavery, racism, women's equality, homosexuality, contraception and many other things, we Christians tend to change our mind, and church teaching, on each issue a few decades after the rest of the liberal secular culture has led the way.

I wonder why that is?

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 7:40pm BST

"We also often reflect upon who The Lord chose to be among the Twelve and we seek to follow faithfully in their footsteps."

Twelve Galilean Jews. Shouldn't you be off fighting w/ the Israeli Army about now Fr David?

But SRSLY: those who would lift out *gender* over against any other human quality, can only be practicing a form of fetishism completely in CONTRADICTION to "No male or female...all are one in Christ".

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 9:23pm BST

@ Clive, thanks for your posts, I appreciate your perspectives. You are correct that my observations are based on experience in North America, Canada particularly obviously. I have had experiences in parish ministry here with a few Roman Catholic priests con celebrating with me at weddings and such, but those were rare and largely due to personal rather than corporate relationships.

I don't think Canada has anywhere near the expanse of churchmanship that one would find in the U.K. However, I think one needs to be careful about where in Canada one is speaking of i.e., not sure where you are in country, but the ethos in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island is less like the situation you describe where you live in the main, except for instances where people seek out here the very few Book of Common Prayer/no women we're Anglican places, parishes which I like term, affectionately of course, as a kind of old fashion Anglo-Catholic Masada. They use our old BCP. I keep telling them, what you are doing is not really a "high mass" its really a costume party for Calvinists.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 1:55am BST

A number of commentators on this blog have generously invited and encouraged me to leave the Church of England but they haven't until now suggested where I should go to. But JCF has now suggested that I enlist to fight with the Israeli Army, presumably to kill Palestinians, for that, sadly, is the reality of the situation in the Middle East at present! Now, I've heard it all. A most unworthy and highly disrespectful comment JCF. Without a shadow of a doubt the most disgraceful comment ever to be posted on the T. A. blog.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 6:26am BST

Interesting comment from Clive. I'd like to offer a counter to his second paragraph (not in a spirit of rancour, but rather because I always will defend the C of E). Many such friendships have actually been broken as a result of the Ordinariate or as a result of 'normal' conversion to the RC church in response to the WO issue. Those who stay (the great majority) are frequently harried and bullied and sneered at by those who have found their true spiritual home (allegedly). That is one reason (among many) why I have for long believed that those who stay must be given their rights - as they have and as, it seems, most of them now accept.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 6:57am BST

Fr David
I am sorry that you have taken offence at what I read as merely a lighthearted and ironic response to what you yourself had previously opined.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 7:02am BST

Dear Simon, thank you for your gracious apology which I, of course, accept. The current situation between Israel and Palestine is so desperately sad that it is not one to make light of and should be, as I am sure that it undoubtedly is, the cause for much prayer for peace. Similarly the tragic situation in Mosul must deeply concern us all as our brothers and sisters in Christ are being mercilessly slaughtered simply because of their faith in the Risen Lord.
Personally, I have never suggested or requested that anyone leave the Church of England. Far from it, as I work tirelessly to encourage more people to be part of the Body of Christ. It would be much appreciated if that courtesy could be reciprocated.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 8:21am BST

The back and forth by folks there familiar with the ordinariate in the UK are very informative. Most interesting.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 2:53pm BST

@Clive. I am a Canadian Anglican in Ontario. he has said that there is no tolerance for "traditionalists" in the Anglican Church of Canada. The definition of "traditionalist" would be interesting, but not now. I cannot agree that there is no "tolerance" in Canada. It seems that every diocese and major city has at least one or two parishes, often Anglo Catholic ones, where no preacher or incumbent will be female. Of course there are Anglo-Catholic parishes that warmly affirm women in priestly and episcopal orders. But the fact is that no "traditionalist" has been hounded out the Church. As for Ordinariate groups, they often have a very esoteric atmosphere, being a haven for people who want a very narrow church that suits just them, such as insistence on the Prayer Book or a specific style of music. Sounds very Protestant. Some of their members I know have been malcontents their whole lives. If they are the people Rome wants, the Roman Church is not greatly enhanced.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 5:28pm BST

My goodness! I've been off w/ my oldest and closest friends today, enjoying a day at the cool&foggy Pacific Ocean beach (as where I live, Sacramento, was 107F today, it was heavenly to get away!).

Being unplugged from the WWW for 24 hours helps give one perspective---I hope.

My only intention, FrDavid, was to draw conclusion about where freezing a *single tradition* might logically take one (Galilean Jews 2000 years ago, Galilean Jews today). I repeat, that was my ONLY intention.

The Palestine/Israel conflict is BEYOND tragic---and perhaps beyond *human* mediation: Allah/YHWH/God-in-Christ, ***SAVE ALL*** Your peoples! You, Most Compassionate! You, Most Holy! You, Most Saving of Sinners! We beg of You!

For causing you offense and misunderstanding, FrDavid, I ask your apology---yet also ask you to join me in prayers for PEACE.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 10:44am BST

@ Richard Grand, that a definition of traditionalist would be interesting, but now, intriguing point.

"Traditionalist" is a kind of handy short hand for describing parishes/groups that oppose the ordination of women and use, in Canada, the 1959 Book of Common Prayer in some fashion. Most people know what one is talking about when traditionalist is used.

However, I don't really care for the word. It tends to imply that other types of Anglicans who use contemporary liturgy are not at all traditional . It buys into a notion that so called traditionalists own tradition. The fact is, most parishes in Canada are pretty average, and not prone to flights of innovation that would make them "non-traditional".

I prefer the term social conservatives. Most of the so called traditionalist fit the profile of patriarchal religion, rationalizing an undermining of women's equality. Social conservatives are found within Anglicanism, within break away groups, within the ordinariate, and within Roman Catholicism, although a lot of Roman Catholics ( female religious for example) are socially progressive and favor full civil and human rights for women.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 3:47pm BST

"Allah/YHWH/God-in-Christ" -- as Christian teaching has always observed, we are not speaking about three entities here but 2. The last two are identical. This is the Rule of Faith, and our Creeds reiterate it.

(Off topic, but a serious theological error one would not want extended).

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 3:52pm BST

'Allah' is simply the Arabic word for 'God' used by millions of Christians in their Liturgies and Scripture translations, in and beyond the middle east.

It differs not from Dieu, Duw, Gott and God in European languages.

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 6:30pm BST

Muslims in several countries have objected fiercely to Christian use of the word ‘allah’ as referring to a generic deity (Dieu, etc) precisely because Allah denotes the main character of the Qur’an and the Muslim Religion qua Islam. So your point is a lovely irenicism but wrong. And my point had more to do with ranging 3 things on a grid when the latter two by Christian confession are the same.

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 10:17pm BST

Thank you, Laurie, for your clarification. I thought "Allah" as simply the Arabic word for "God" was well-known---at least around these parts---but I was mistaken.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 10:30pm BST

" Muslims in several countries have objected fiercely to Christian use of the word ‘allah’ as referring to a generic deity (Dieu, etc) precisely because Allah denotes the main character of the Qur’an and the Muslim Religion qua Islam. So your point is a lovely irenicism but wrong.'

Which Muslims cseitz? Scholars? Linguists? Which "several" countries are you referring to?

Etymologically Allah is connected to Aramaic/Hebrew. Allah/God/El, its all the same song. Its your point, while not irenic, that is incorrect.

"God, there is no God but him. He has sent the scripture to you prophet ... he sent down the Torah and Gospel earlier as a guide for the people..." Qur'an, sura 3:2 (Alif Lam Mim)

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 12:59am BST

Dear JCF, thank you for your kind apology which I accept wholeheartedly. Like you, my prayers for peace in the Land of the Holy One are constant. I'm sure that the Prince of Peace weeps again, as He did on learning of the death of Lazarus, when He sees what is happening in the place where His sacred feet once trod.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 5:17am BST

Dr. Seitz should certainly be aware that Christian communities in Arabic speaking regions have been using the word "Allah" to address and to refer to the Christian God for several centuries. The recent attempts by certain extremist Muslims to deprive Arabic speaking Christians of the right to use the word "Allah" is part and parcel of the persecution of Christians in those regions (albeit one of the less extreme parts).

I am appalled that someone who teaches in an institution where people are being formed for ordination should blithely accept the position of Muslim extremists (and implicitly support an act of persecution against fellow Christians) simply in order to score some obscure theo-political debating point.

But given Dr. Seitz's ties to the IRD, appalled though I may be, I am hardly surprised.

Posted by: Malcolm French on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 7:31am BST

This site is attracting more bizarre threads/comments than I can recall. Having taught semitic languages for 35 years I find it odd to be instructed on such basics as the root of the common word for God and its definite article. Which has nothing to do with the actual point in question, viz., whether we have 3 things in a series (YHWH, Allah, God-in-Christ). The first is not the same as 'El, and the last is the same as the first).

Mr. French needs to consult a basic primer on the distinction between emic and etic description. The first points to the very obvious fact that Allah names the main character of the Qur'an, whatever else is etically coincidental.

Everyone could read the very accessible R. Bauckham's God Crucified (Didsbury Lectures) on YHWH and Christ in identity.

Mr. French may be relieved to know that in my post as Senior Research Lecturer at the University of Toronto I train PhD students, and only a few have been Anglicans. So also at Yale and St Andrews.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 1:57pm BST

If I might add. Several recent PhD students have come from mainland China where Bible translation is a major concern. A serious question has to do with the tetragrammaton YHWH. ('El poses no special problem in comparison). Because of the coincidence (?) of glossing the divine name with adonai/kurios--prior to the incarnation--the Greek language NT is ready-made for providing space in which identification of Christ as Lord with the LORD (YHWH) can arise.

In those special cases where 'allah' could stand in for the common name of deity, it would remain the task of Christian theology and bible translation to account for the revelation of the specific divine name YHWH and its relationship to Christ. Psalm 110 and the Shema Israel must rhyme, as Christ himself accomplished it within the Gospel presentation before his interlocutors.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 3:04pm BST

@ cseitz, "we have 3 things in a series (YHWH, Allah, God-in-Christ). " Regarding, the last is the same as the first, this is a hypothesis, based on evidence by for instance Richard Bauckham, God Crucified. I've read it. He makes a challenging but in the end unpersuasive case. His treatment of Hebrews, for example, is debatable. Alternative views, at least as old as Loisy and as recent as contemporary NT scholarship, are more persuasive. The perspectives of G. Vermes and H. Kung are as accessible as Bauckham.

Regarding, Allah/Elohim/Yahweh distinctions, it's a rather retrogressive distinction. Over half a century ago G von Rad treated in detail the antiquity in the text of Yahweh Saboath v. Yahweh God Saboath. In the end one is left to conclude that the two Hebrew constructions, regardless of which is the older, refer to the same entity.

Your position seems to want to fence off an alleged Juydeo-Christian monotheism from Islamic monotheism. Don't know if I'd go so far to call it bizarre, but it is a tedious off side parsing.

In matters of inter-faith dialogue, one may be a problem solver building upon widely held common ground to advance relationships. Evangelicals that argue that Allah is a "false god/idol" (is that where you would have us go?) and Islamists like those in Malaysia who want to outlaw long standing Christian use of Allah on political grounds are both examples of problem makers.

Folks interested in further reading on this might look at Nostre Aetate or Kung's massive work, Islam, or better still read the Qur'an.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 6:35pm BST

"The first points to the very obvious fact that Allah names the main character of the Qur'an, whatever else is etically coincidental."

And that main character is firmly held by believers in the Qur'an to be the same person referred to as God, Lord, El, YHWH, Adonai in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Remember, Muslims believe that they, too, are recipients of the Abrahamic covenant, through his first-born son, Ishmael. If we are to respect their beliefs, as we would have them respect ours, we must accept that Allah is simply another of the many names of God.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 10:38pm BST

If I may, couple of typos to correct in my previous post, i.e. Judeo-Christian and Nostra Aetate (Vatican II Declaration on Non-Christian Religions).

Also, since I'm here, I'll add another source folks may find Helpful, one that is still not that difficult to locate, Wilfred Cantwell Smith's, Modern Culture from a Comparative Perspective. John W. Burbidge ed.
Especially see chapter one 'Religion as Symbolism' and Chapter 7 ' A human View of Truth.' wherein he comments on the genuineness and authenticity of God in Arabic thought.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 10:48pm BST

"the same person referred to as God, Lord, El, YHWH, Adonai in the Judeo-Christian scriptures"

Ancient Israel did not worship an 'El (though their neighbors may have done so, inside a pantheon), but YHWH 'El, YHWH 'ehad. So also Christ's affirmation.

Muslims also hold that Abraham bond Ishmael and not Isaac. So the divergences are there at the tap root, whatever the irenic overlaps.

Bauckham's Didsbury Lectures are very useful here.

The Cranmer Institute is hosting a day conference on The Bible and the Qur'an, with Josiah Idowu-Fearon as a keynoter. Bishop Josiah runs a major Muslim-Christian Dialogue at the heart of Kaduna Nigeria. We will have a range of people in attendance including Christians of Muslim background from Iraq and Sudan.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 1:36pm BST

@ cseitz, "Ancient Israel did not worship an 'El (though their neighbors may have done so, inside a pantheon), but YHWH 'El, YHWH 'ehad."

This is a bit of philological word game. Exodus 3:14, for example ( Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, REB etc.), I know you are not suggesting that Elohim/Yahweh are not the same entity, so what are you suggesting?

Judaism, Christianity, Islam, all claim to be religions of Abraham. In inter-faith dialogue, one of the key principles is allowing one's partners the right of self definition, rather than imposing one upon them. It is also something to remember when dealing with our internal use of common shared sources, especially important for Christians when using shared sources we have inherited from someone else i.e., Judaism.

The Christian-Muslim dialogue venture in Nigeria looks most interesting, given the social context there, I'd like to know more.

Re, Didsbury and R. Bauckham, I was expecting he would have done more, for example, compare his treatment of the divine name with the extensive treatment of the "I am" sayings in John by Dodd and Brown. However his book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is very engaging, as are interviews he has done on the same. Be interesting to see what his peers may do with the demography of Palestinian names data over time.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 3:58pm BST

'El is a generic noun, and it refers to 'God' in semitic languages. 'Elohim is its plural form, and it can be translated 'gods' as well as 'God.' 'El is the head of the Ugaritic Pantheon, though he is regularly challenged by Baal, and them both by Anat. 'Allah' is the Arabic form of 'El (with a definite article.)

The 'El Israel worships is YHWH. Israel does not worship an 'El who is not identified with YHWH. Allah is not understood by Muslims as YHWH and YHWH alone, or they would be confessional Israelites/Jews.

Didsbury. The 'I am' sayings were not something needing explication. The one intriguing exception is probably in John 17 where a bit unclear is whether the disciples are what has been given Jesus or the name. Charles Gieschen has done some very important work on this, though he is not very well known. David Yeago and Kavin Rowe also come to mind. I reviewed Bauckham's book in the International Journal of Systematic Theology. I have my own treatment in the recent OUP volume on the Trinity if you are interested.

+Josiah is a close friend of Archbishop Welby and has long been a campaigner for Christians knowing more about Islam -- even having had relatives beheaded. His stories of life in Northern Nigeria are some of the most memorable I have heard. He has a PhD from U of Durham. He is a Canterbury Preacher. I apologise if this information is already well known.

Jesus Christ did not say the scriptures of Israel were a closed book or belonged to a people like property. They are the oracles of God entrusted to the Jews, as Paul puts it. 'Judaism' is a placeholder for a wide variety of Judaisms at the time of Christ, all handling these scriptures in different ways. Modern Jews helpfully remind us that the 'OT' or 'Hebrew Bible' is as distant and strange to them as it is to Christians, though for different reasons, and must be read through a second lens (Talmud).

I have written several books on this topic, the most recent The Character of Christian Scripture, and before that Word Without End.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 5:28pm BST

"Ancient Israel did not worship an 'El (though their neighbors may have done so, inside a pantheon), but YHWH 'El, YHWH 'ehad. So also Christ's affirmation. "

And where did I say they did? My phrase was--as you quote--"the same person referred to as God, Lord, El, YHWH, Adonai in the Judeo-Christian scriptures". Those words are indeed used in both the old and new testaments to refer to the supreme being.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 6:49pm BST

@ Pat O'Neill and Laurie Roberts, you folks may be interested in the extract below, its from Supplementary Eucharistic Prayer (S2) of the Anglican Church of Canada, relevant to both the discussion about women in the church and the digression about Islam as well. The entire prayer and others are available at the website of the Anglican Church of Canada: Liturgical Texts.


"Blessed are you, O Holy One:
when Hagar was driven into the wilderness
you followed her and gave her hope.
When Joseph was sold into bondage,
you turned malice to your people’s good.
When you called Israel out of slavery,
you brought them through the wilderness
into the promised land.
When your people were taken into exile
you wept with them by the river of Babylon
and carried them home."

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 7:44pm BST

@ cseitz (5:28 BST):Dr. Seitz, although the topic of the Ugaritic Pantheon is well beyond my competency comfort range, I was familiar with the basic Hebrew distinctions El, Elohim prior to engaging this thread, memories from Hebrew classes past. Abstractly I see no reason that Elohim cannot be something a common term, between Yahweh and Allah with reference to God (there is no God but God), given common linguistic religio-cultural groundings. Others may wish to know that there is a very concise article in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary treating the patriarchs, el titles, and Yahweh. See, NJBC. Genesis; Article 2:[17] co-authored by Roland Murphy and Richard Clifford.

The thing is that several of us on this thread have taken your Allah/Yahweh/God- in -Christ rejoinder as an effort to perhaps disenfranchise Muslims as monotheists believing in the same God as Jews and Christians. You seem to be hedging your bets. Its important to tackle such an line of argument. Interventions can be critical. John XXIII made a great contribution to Jewish Christian relationships. By contrast, Benedict XVI made a bit of blunder with regard to Christian-Islamic relationships. W. Cantwell Smith, referenced in an earlier post ( Modern Culture,p.5), wrote, "God has used the idea of God to enter our lives ...the concept has served as a sacrament."

Thanks for the additional info on + Josiah. Thanks as well for an invigorating sparring match.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 at 1:50am BST

The logic of the collation of YHWH-kurios, such as the NT undertakes it (see Bauckham, Rowe, Seitz, Yeago) has no counterpart in the Qur'an. You may disagree with that NT claim of course. My new Colossians commentary spends dedicated time on this, due to 1:15-10 and other texts.

Kind regards, in Christ.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 at 3:41pm BST

@ cseitz, I understand the case you are making, but even within NT scholarship there is a diversity of opinion on all that; but for the sake of argument, even if, for instance, the creeds are taken as clear and incontestable, it does not follow that Muslims are not monotheists believing in the same One God as Christians and Jews. Would that we had had some Muslim scholars post on this.

And, (I'm saying this with a twinkle in my eye that a post cannot capture), one needs to be careful about in house claims made from the interpretation of shared sources. Harold Bloom, for example, argues, re Jesus Yahweh, in such a way that Christians making the case you do may find themselves hoisted on their own petard.

But again, thanks for argument, I think I've extracted the last seam of coal on this one, from my side.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 at 9:43pm BST

Sorry, fighting a writing deadline.

In principle, would you endorse 'Allah-in-Christ'?

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 7:10pm BST

Re, endorsing Allah in Christ.

Better to look at Allah with reference to the concept of God in Judaism. Interesting, isn't it, to compare the prohibition of images in Islam with the taboo against using the Divine name,substituting Adonai/Lord/G-D instead.

Islamic scholar Fazlur Rahman writes, " A concept of God, the absolute author of the universe, is developed where the attributes of creativity, order and mercy are not merely conjoined or added to one another but interpenetrate completely... Indeed, the "merciful" (Rahman) is the only adjectival name of God that is very frequently used in the Qur'an as a substantive name for God besides Allah" [See Fazlur Rahman. Islam:The Qur'an . My citation from Modern Religious Thought, ed. by J. Pelikan. (Anthology)]

When I read F. Rahman's entire section, it reads akin to chesed or covenant love which in turn is related to the NT notion (John) of xaritos and altheias, grace and truth, claimed for Christ of of course, but first and foremost divine attributes.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 11:09pm BST

Lots of words, however:

"In principle, would you endorse 'Allah-in-Christ'?"

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 11:59pm BST

@ cseitz (Aug.1/11:59 pm) . Dr. Seitz, it would be interesting, and perhaps instructive, to put your question to a faithful Jew i.e, do you endorse G-d (YHWH) in Christ? Would a Jewish answer make trinitarian Christians any less monotheist? -Rod

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 1:55pm BST

Of course Jews do not endorse what Christians confess, anymore than Muslims would. My question was to a Christian: is 'Allah-in-Christ' consistent with your understanding? Not sure why you avoid it.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 6:19pm BST

@ cseitz, "Of course Jews do not endorse what Christians confess, anymore than Muslims would.
My question was to a Christian: is 'Allah-in-Christ' consistent with your understanding? Not sure why you avoid it."

Interesting. My prior question to you was, are Muslims monotheists worshiping the same God as Jews and Christians, or not? Still hedging your bets? Show me your cards, then I'll lay out mine.

Seems we have a situation similar to that described in Mark: 11:27-33.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 11:53pm BST

I will defer, not to Dr. Seitz, but to the millions of Arabic speaking Christians who have been calling the Triune God "Allah" for more than 1,000 years.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Sunday, 3 August 2014 at 2:51am BST

Mr French, Christians who happen to speak the arabic language and so use the word Allah do not mean by that the God of the Qur'an but the God and Father of Jesus Christ, the God of OT, NT, and Christian confession. I know many Muslim converts and they will happily explain this to you. It is why they are Christians, and why out of love they pray the same for their Muslim brothers and sisters. Please read Lindbeck's The Nature of Christian Doctrine or any similar primer.

Mr Gillis, Muslims believe they are worshipping Allah and that Allah is not God in Christ, as that would be blasphemy.
Allah does not condescend to death on a Cross.

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 3 August 2014 at 11:44am BST

@ cseitz ( Sun. Aug) "Muslims believe they are worshiping Allah and that Allah is not God in Christ ....." Of course, otherwise Muslims would be Christians.

"Allah does not condescend to death on a Cross."
Neither Does Yahweh for Judaism, that would be blasphemy; but that does not make Jews any less monotheist.

I like Bernard Lonergan's notion of incarnate meaning as the highest form of meaning (Method in Theology). As a Christian I would say that what God means for people and what people may mean to God is conveyed, incarnate if you will, in person of Jesus the Christ. But my believing such does not eradicate the monotheism of Jews or Muslims. The faithful of those traditions tell me they worship the God of Abraham. I agree with them.

Elohim/Yahweh/Adonai/theos/kyrios
Allah, God, these terms all refer to the same underlying entity.

In the end, this is not a simple matter of textual interpretation; its a matter of inter-faith dialogue that for Christians, draws upon the range of functional specialties (Lonergan again). This is one of the reasons I recommend Hans Kung (Islam) to folks. The research is exhaustive but the writing highly accessible. and,in part, it comes out of his work with the parliament of world religions

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 3 August 2014 at 3:57pm BST

Mr Gillis, I am not sure what point you are pursuing. Christians believe that LORD (YHWH) and Lord Jesus are One. Jews do not believe that. Muslims do not believe that, or that Allah is Christ or YHWH.

"Elohim/Yahweh/Adonai/theos/kyrios
Allah, God, these terms all refer to the same underlying entity."

Yes, in the First Deist Church of Mr Gillis. God bless you (whatever deity that is).

Posted by: cseitz on Sunday, 3 August 2014 at 8:16pm BST

@ cseitz " ....Christians believe that LORD (YHWH) and Lord Jesus are One. Jews do not believe that. Muslims do not believe that, or that Allah is Christ or YHWH." I am not disputing that Jews and Muslims do not believe in the divinity of Christ. I think the bald assertion that Jesus and Yahweh are one, put out there just like that, would make for some very interesting conversation among systematic theologians.


"Yes, in the First Deist Church of Mr Gillis. God bless you (whatever deity that is)."

Deism? Hardly. Actually, I think there is a pretty overwhelming consensus in inter-faith dialogue circles, on this one. The primary point I have been attempting to defend in this thread is that the three religions are (1)religions of Abraham and (2)monotheist. My supplementary point is that Christians who support the orthodox two natures Christology may wish to be careful about questioning the monotheism or the patrimony of the other two religions of Abraham, because, from their point of view, our doctrine makes us more vulnerable than they in terms of who is, or is not, a strict not monotheist.

Maybe we are just talking past each other, not unheard of on line. In any event, I've appreciated the opportunity, one has to reach sometimes to defend a position that in other conversations is accepted without contest.

Shalom -Rod


Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 4 August 2014 at 1:51am BST

Dr. Seitz, by your logic Christians are not worshipping the God of the Jews because our understanding of the nature of God differs from theirs. No one argued the Muslim understanding of God was the same as the Christian.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Monday, 4 August 2014 at 4:56am BST

The Christian Bible defines the character of Christian Theology. It is comprised of two testaments. The first testament reveals the personal God whose name of privileged disclosure is YHWH. The second testament speaks of Jesus as of one nature with YHWH, kurios being the means of conveying that rhyming. The creeds of the church use a different idiom to say the same thing and draw out its nature more fully.

Is there a God above and behind all this who is secretly also the Allah of the Qur'an? If so, then the Qur'an is not being properly apprehended, nor Allah himself, by Muslims.

I think I have said this a dozen times already. May the Deity be with you!

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 4 August 2014 at 3:53pm BST

Re Cseitz (Mon. Aug. 4)
"The second testament speaks of Jesus as of one nature with YHWH..."

Does it? The NT speaks of Jesus as the servant of Yahweh.

"kurios being the means of conveying that rhyming."

Kurios is a term with a polyvalent character, no more so than in early Christian use.

From a Christian standpoint Islam has gone from being a Christological heresy to an independent religion, and among some current evangelicals now a religion that does not really believe in the One God which we worship through Jesus Christ. All the more reason to let other religions define who they are for themselves. It might be better if we just stopped telling other traditions what they believe.

At any rate, I'm beginning to feel like the vicar in the Stephen Leacock story who cried out, "I really must be going now".

Quod scripsi, scripsi

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 4 August 2014 at 6:29pm BST

John 1, Col 1, et al. The word was with God, the word was God. Image of the invisible God. My Lord and my God.

It would be blasphemous to worship Jesus if he were not God. Bauckham, Yeago, Seitz, Rowe...again.

Jesus as servant of Yahweh?

The use of kurios in the NT is hardly polyvalent.

Do Muslims believe that Allah-in-Christ is the same as God-in-Christ? You have continuously avoided answering a very simple question.

You were going like the Vicar many posts ago and did not carry through!

"From a Christian standpoint Islam has gone from being a Christological heresy to an independent religion" -- says who? Are you a scholar of Islam?

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 4 August 2014 at 7:12pm BST

@ cseitz, Nope, I'm just a humble retired parish priest, but I am making an observation about how my Christian tradition has, in some instances, tried to impose definitions on other world religions.

Re, kurios and polyvalent, I'm sure you are familiar with Reg Fuller's classic treatment of terms, reading his exposition of the history and use of the term kurious, it sure seems to qualify as polyvalent.

Re Bauckham, Seitz, Rowe, etc, sure thing but see also for comparison Bultmann, Jeremias, Rahner, and especially Ian Macquarrie, Jesus Christ in Modern Thought.

Your claim re avoiding your question, seems to me that your question is really a form of begging the question. My response to the issue underlying your question is in my post at 1:51 a.m.

Leacock's parson dies in the end. I just can't be that guy, my chronic and congenital Highland tenacity notwithstanding.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 4 August 2014 at 9:34pm BST

You take best care, Fr Gillis! Grace and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 4 August 2014 at 11:20pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.