Comments: Sentamu to York

An excellent and ingenious appointment: thoroughly appropriate.

I wrote in support of Bp Wright, but you can't win 'em all.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Friday, 17 June 2005 at 10:19am BST

I'm pleased with this appointment - even if I would have instinctively preferred a candidate on the other side of a certain controversial issue. :-)

Dr Sentamu seems to be a good pastor, highly respected in his present diocese, and the northern province is fortunate to get him.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Friday, 17 June 2005 at 11:58am BST

He's a good man - and refreshingly un-interested in the gender and sexuality issues! Which i think will be of benefit to all...

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 17 June 2005 at 4:28pm BST

Re the new Archbishop of York, the Church Times says:

At the press conference, he said that he stood "where the Church of England stands", and in line with the rest of Christendom, on the question of homosexuality. But the position was clear that "everybody is welcome, irrespective of sexual orientation," and that people should be judged on their being in Christ, not on their sexual orientation.

That seems very common sense!

Posted by Janet at Friday, 17 June 2005 at 7:07pm BST

From asylum seeker to archbishop via Cambridge. If only others seeking refuge and hope here were given the same welcome and opportunities!

Posted by Mark at Friday, 17 June 2005 at 7:43pm BST

Following on from an earlier posting, the Yorkshire post reports:

'Bishop Sentamu, who was last week appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to a panel to help resolve disputes over the Church's attitude towards homosexuality, said: "What I hope is that when people violently disagree with one another in the same family, they will find a language for living together and ways of talking to one another." But he made clear he stood by the Lambeth Resolution of 1998, which rejected homosexual practice as "incompatible with scripture" and ruled out gay marriage in Church.'

I think that this clarifies the somewhat ambiguous comment he is reported to have made, that he stood "where the Church of England stands"

What encourages me is his interest in vision, something that I sense the C of E has lost for some time. I wish him well. There could hardly be a worse time to assume high office in the Church of England, and he will need our prayers.

Posted by Robert at Saturday, 18 June 2005 at 9:52am BST

Re Janet's comment:
(1) Welcoming everyone as they are, in the first instance, is a widespread Christian principle, so it is not at all remarkable that Abp John espouses it. So do the vast majority of Christians.

(2) Equally, expecting them to stay as they are, or not particularly giving much thought to whether or not they stay as they are, is an attitude that has no Christian or biblical backing. And I doubt that Abp John would hold such an attitude.

We have moved long beyond the stage where (1) and (2), which are two very different issues, could be confused with one another, or treated as a single issue. (1) concerns whom you welcome in the first instance. (2) concerns the attitudes expected of those who claim body membership. Actions will fall short, but attitudes need not.

As for 'common sense', the issue is actually a complex one, and therefore it is not possible to hold a commonsense point-of-view on it - or indeed any point-of-view until one has studied it. For example:
(a) How come every other age and culture got by without a concept of sexual orientation? This being the case, does one simply accept the validity of this concept without further discussion? Or is that simply normalising one's own culture and historical period?
(b) How can anyone write as though the nature/nurture issue had been solved?
(c) People have all sorts of 'orientations' to different actions. For example, human beings have an orientation to sin. Everyone knows, therefore, that 'orientation' is not an intrinsically positive word (tho' it can be used in positive contexts) but a neutral word. Why, therefore, do ppl make the mistake of treating it as a positive word?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 11:09am BST

Christopher: does that mean that you would prefer those of us who don't share your conservative vieww on gay issues to be removed from the Church?

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 9:57pm BST

Robert ; I think that what he actually said was that he stood by the current position of the Church of England. As all Bishops have to say in any case.

However, that position is not the same as the lambeth Conference poosition, as there is no bar to laity being within gay relationships, and remaining communicant members of the Church of England. Only ordination is barred to them.

I am sure that they wouldn't be welcome in your church, but then, they probably wouldn't choose to go somewhere so hostile in any case.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 10:01pm BST

"I am sure that they wouldn't be welcome in your church, but then, they probably wouldn't choose to go somewhere so hostile in any case."

What an abrasive comment! You don't know my church at all, but you come out with comments like this. We unconditionally welcome all people, on the grounds that we are all sinful beings.

I find some of your postings very strange.

Posted by Robert at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 10:46pm BST

I wonder how we can build the Kingdom on Earth if we can't even talk together in a civilised discussion. I will not be a party to excluding anyone and I certainly will not give creedance to those who think they have know the mind of God.

Simply put, I won't let my fellow sisters and brothers be mistreated by "ghastly" remarks that dehumanise people. Seems to me that "being straight," is the luck of the draw and a priviledged position. It's almost like saying being white is better than being _________ (fill in the blank). It's a very un Christ like position to take. I think this man is what the we need. Someone who won't be bullied.

Posted by Christian Fellow at Tuesday, 21 June 2005 at 2:26am BST

Hi Mike-

For as long as a given person does not fit the description of a member of a given people-group, then why would anyone describe them as belonging to that people-group. And, more importantly, why would they want to?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:10am BST

Christopher ; I certainly don't fit your description of a conservative Christian - and neither would I ever wish to. Thereare many others like me. Rather than answer opaquely, would you wish to expel all who disagree with you from the Church?

Robert ; unconditional acceptance to me would mean recognition and acceptance of the relationship between me and my partner. How many gay couples do you have in your congregation?

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:53am BST

Hi Mike-
I hope that no Christian is either 'conservative' or 'liberal'. Both of those sound like they want to impose their own preconceived ideologies (which are nothing but their wishful thinking) on the rest of the world. In other words, they are ideologues.

Christians should, rather, be:
(1) eclectic (sometimes conservative, sometimes not, depending on where the evidence leads)
(2) honest
(3) humble
(4) led by Christ and by evidence (rather than by their own aesthetic preferences or wishful thinking).

Mike, if you or anyone else decides they are 'liberal' or 'conservative' before they even start examining the evidence, how will they be able to examine the evidence even-handedly?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 2:51pm BST

To answer your main point:
(1) How could I have any authority to do that?
(2) From your description, they were never in the church in the first place, nor apparently did they ever want to be, except under their own terms. So any talk of expelling them (the term is quite funny in its pomposity) would not arise.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 2:54pm BST

Well, I'm in the Church, Christopher, a baptised, communicant member of the Church of England.

So, enough of the sophistry, please. We are in and part of the Church. Your solution?

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 3:24pm BST

Mike, you are imposing your own definition of unconditional acceptance, without considering the implications of joining a church. Anyone who joins a church must surely do so with the intention of learning to follow the Lord; we all, as sinful people, need to change.

Somewhere in the archives of this web-site is a copy of a draft letter sent by a minister to someone who said he was gay, and would he be welcome. I copied it bnecause this expresses far more adequately anything than I am able to offer:


Letter to a Gay Man

My friend Andy McQuitty, pastor of Irving (TX) Bible Church, received a letter from a gay man wanting to know if he (and his partner) would be welcome to attend the Sunday worship services. I love Andy's answer because it models the way we need to speak the truth in love to people who come to us with honest questions.

Dear ___________,

I am so pleased that you plan to check out IBC this Sunday! It's my privilege as pastor of this great church to welcome you to worship the Lord Jesus with us.

I really love the spirit of honesty in your letter, ___________. You were careful to let me know that you are in a gay relationship, and that as a result you've had a hard time finding acceptance in Texas churches. I don't want to be presumptuous, but I sensed that you were indirectly asking me a very important question in your note. I'd define that question as, "Will my partner and I be loved unconditionally at IBC through the church's affirmation of our gay lifestyle?"

___________, your honest and forthright approach is refreshing, and deserves an equally honest and forthright response. To the question I think I hear you asking, here's my answer. You and your partner will absolutely be loved unconditionally by the people of IBC, because IBC has the conviction that all people are loved unconditionally by God. How could we not extend what we have so graciously received?

On the other hand, our understanding of God's unconditional love is not that it means anything goes. The Bible teaches that all of us are sinners, and though God always loves us, He hates our sin and calls us to repentance and holiness. The Bible is clear that homosexual practices are unwelcome to God. We are a Bible church, and as the scriptures would never affirm a gay relationship as good and acceptable to God, neither would we.

So how can I say you all are welcome to come to IBC and would be loved here? Simple. All of us have our issues. Nobody is perfect. We're all just sinners saved by God's grace, seeking to live our lives more and more like Jesus. No, we don't affirm homosexual practice here. But neither do we affirm adultery, gossip, lying, gluttony, or any other of a multitude of sins many hundreds of our people walk through these doors with every week. We're not in the business of condoning what God calls sin and enabling people to feel good about violating God's standards. But neither are we in the business of scorning and rejecting wounded people who sincerely want to find and walk with God. We are in the business of declaring the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ and the enablement He gives to grow and to change according to God's will.

In other words, we believe God says to all people: "I invite you to come to me just as you are, because I love you. But don't expect to stay as you are, for I want to transform you more and more to be like my Son Jesus." That's why we believe God wants our church to be a grace-giving community that accepts people where they're at while challenging them to grow in holiness.

As a result, we have lots of groups of people meeting to study the Bible and to hold each other accountable to putting sin aside and going ahead with the Lord. We also have special, discreet groups of people who meet to help each other overcome drug and alcohol addictions, pornography, post abortion syndrome, and a host of other issues which include homosexual practice as well. In short, our mission is not to condemn, but to teach God's truth and to help.

___________, thanks for letting me know where you're coming from. Now that you know where we're coming from, I hope I still get the chance to meet you this Sunday.

May God's Grace Sustain and Bless You,

Pastor Andrew McQuitty
Irving Bible Church


Posted by Robert at Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 10:06am BST

Mike, I salute you! You are the living embodiment of the saying 'He wants all the privileges with none of the responsibilities'.

Are you denying that you are identifying yourself as a Christian strictly on your own terms, rather than on any commonly-agreed existing terms?

This being so, are you saying it is ok for everyone to have their own definition of 'Christian'? Or of any other word? Wouldnt that make conversation impossible?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Sunday, 26 June 2005 at 12:50pm BST
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