Comments: A further IC response to Kigali

What a breath of fresh air is this. Thank you.

Posted by laurence roberts at Monday, 9 October 2006 at 10:47pm BST

Well played, God's children.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 2:08am BST

Many thanks to both Inclusive Church and to St. Martin's in the Fields. How lovely are the feet of those who publish a gospel of peace.

Yes the realignment juggernaut rolls on, but in a way that is hardly the biggest news, because the biggest news is that we are still just trying to follow Jesus of Nazareth.

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 2:26am BST

This is extremely well put, especially the reminder that previous acts of genocide have included gays as their victims -- the analogy to the proposed legislation in Nigeria hardly needs to be pointed out.

As I dodder along, now certainly closer to the grave than to the craddle, I find that all of this squabbling seems a pointless waste of time and the "threat" of no longer being associated with ++Peter Akinola seems more and more like a blessing.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 3:30pm BST

drandanfee - we just had Matthew 5 at church - I just cannot see how you make up a Jesus who relaxes moral rules - just read it

sure, he reached out to sinners but always to say, "repent and believe and I accept you"

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 11 October 2006 at 12:26pm BST

If Christianity is primarily about 'moral rules', no wonder it has so little resonance outside societies whose level of development is much the same as first-century Palestine!

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 11 October 2006 at 4:22pm BST

Actually, NP, I think it's "I accept you, believe, and repent." The order is very important. We don't buy our way into Heaven by doing things God will like. That's Pelagianism. And we don't win people's hearts by telling them they are so bad God can't accept them till they change. Jesus didn't do that. The message is not "change yourself so God will love you" but "God loves you, allow His love to change you".

As to Matthew 5, you read through 40 odd verses, and all you can find are the bits that talk about marriage and divorce, or maybe it's the bit about how the Law is not abrogated. He doesn't specify moral versus ritual Law, so I would have to assume He means all the Law. Given that He later shows Peter in a vision that "unclean foods" are of no concern, I would suggest that His meaning here is something other than that we must follow the letter of the Law, no? What about vv. 21-26, or 43-48? Good Heavens, you even skipped over the Beatitudes in your rush to find God's blessing on your judgement of other people's morals. I should think that, regardless of your understanding of the passages I've talked about, there is a lot more in this about how we are to treat one another. Why not stress that? After all, if we treated each other the way Jesus taught us to, sorting through all the other moralistic stuff would be easier. Not nearly as much fun, though.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 11 October 2006 at 5:05pm BST

The word repent doesn't appear in Mathew 5: don't you love computer bibles :-)!

But these phrases do
... unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (5:21)
...anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. (5:22)
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. (5:23-25)
...Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (5:42)
...Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (5:44)

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 11 October 2006 at 8:44pm BST

The requirements for salvation vary depending which part of which NT book you're reading. The injunctions `accept', `believe', `confess', and `be baptized' appear in various combinations.

When Matthew, writing mostly to Jews, reports Jesus as telling Jews they had to `believe', in exactly *what* do you think they were supposed to believe? What was the gospel Jesus preached and how does that relate the the good news of His life?

Small wonder I have a deep mistrust of (typically evangelicals) with a glib potted story of Jesus' life *as* *the* A,B,C recipe for salvation.

Posted by Tim at Friday, 13 October 2006 at 10:48am BST

"The requirements for salvation vary depending which part of which NT book you're reading. The injunctions `accept', `believe', `confess', and `be baptized' appear in various combinations."

Actually, they don't. We are betrayed by our langauge which overloads many of these words with multiple meanings. There is one meaning which unifies these apparently disparate terms -- trust. Trust in God, believe in God, have faith in God, accept God... all these things have to do with putting our trust. None of them have anything to do with doctrine. We are not exhorted to believe doctrine. We are exhorted to believe in God. That's belief in not belief that.

From these flows the desire to make a committment to God through baptism and the desire to love the world which God created. It's because we've managed to trick language into doing diffeerent things for us that Faith has been transformed into The Faith which is supposedly a set of doctines which the Apostles themselves believed were true. This is a distortion of the Gospel.

It is the Orthodox Heresy -- that salvation is dependant on believing correct doctrine.

Posted by ruidh at Friday, 13 October 2006 at 4:00pm BST

ruidh

This is very helpful to me,thanks

Posted by laurence roberts at Friday, 13 October 2006 at 5:44pm BST

Ruidh,
Before the more conservative among us get at you I'll ask myself, since it is a question I mull over a lot. How do you square this attitude with the injunction not be led astray by false doctrine, not to follow the "elemental spirits", and to stand fast to the tradition we have been given? I think this question is complex, BTW, and not satisfactorily answered by "it's in the Bible" type "solutions" to issues. If I, as an Anglican, am to believe we are true to the tradition, then I have to acknowledge that standing fast in the tradition we have been given cannot simply mean following Scripture. Indeed, it seems to me that those who claim the supreme authority of Scripture are those who are not standing by the tradition of the Apostles, who have been following the elemental spirit of fear. The Scriptures aren't a rule book for how to play Church, or how to play Christian for that matter. The idea of believing "correct doctrine" does seem to be Scriptural, though. Any guidance?

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 16 October 2006 at 6:10pm BST

The original Christian doctrines are lost to history. All we have is Christianity as interpreted through Greek philosophy. We're already far beyond "the tradition" of the Apostles. The history of the Church is that of an inculturation of the Gospel -- expressing timeless truths in new expressions which resonate in a time and place.

But any doctrine may turn out to be false doctrine. We need to be prepared to eventually discover that we may have been wrong about the doctrines we believe. We shouldn't be led astray by the stories we need to tell ourselves in order to allow us to get our rational minds out of the way of our faith -- our trust.

Posted by ruidh at Tuesday, 17 October 2006 at 2:55am BST

I find this is very true ruidh and needs to heard. The original Aramaic message and context of Jesus has been lost to our great loss, too. But it is never mentioned or at best glossed over. It must be a great loss.

I feel the offical Churches are more keen to worship Jesus or Christ ,( there is confusion about this) but do not look so much for the worth of his message, so much. I prefer to speak of Jesus' message rather tahn calling it teaching. Somehow, message is more engaging (& perhaps, honest).

I find a more minimal or thin estimation of Jesus ( letting him off his pedastal--) lests him gain in significance, for me. My sense is he is only too keen to end his confinment on our pedastles, and come alive in our minds, in new ways.

I love some of Albert Schweitzer's writing on Jesus. He seems to let Jesus come out ...

Posted by laurence roberts at Tuesday, 17 October 2006 at 12:20pm BST

I find myself in the somewhat fundamentalist position of claiming that the Tradition handed to us, shaped by Greek philosophy and even our selling out to the Empire is God's way of preserving the Truth. Thus the loss of the "originals" might not mean all that much. It is a faith in which we are surrounded, almost tangibly, by saints to whom we have access, nurtured by sacraments that transmit grace through the most mundane of things, and which shows by the Incarnation that to be human is good in God's eyes, and He wants us to be as He made us, not "bruised by the Fall" any more. To separate out just the "message" of Jesus would weaken it for me, just as much as following the austere religion of those who believe the Bible is the guidebook for how to play Church. The Tradition is so much richer. As a friend once said, "I am unwilling to sell my Incarnational heritage for a pot of message."

Posted by Ford ELms at Tuesday, 17 October 2006 at 12:55pm BST

I find myself in the somewhat fundamentalist position of claiming that the Tradition handed to us, shaped by Greek philosophy and even our selling out to the Empire is God's way of preserving the Truth. Thus the loss of the "originals" might not mean all that much. It is a faith in which we are surrounded, almost tangibly, by saints to whom we have access, nurtured by sacraments that transmit grace through the most mundane of things, and which shows by the Incarnation that to be human is good in God's eyes, and He wants us to be as He made us, not "bruised by the Fall" any more. To separate out just the "message" of Jesus would weaken it for me, just as much as following the austere religion of those who believe the Bible is the guidebook for how to play Church. The Tradition is so much richer. As a friend once said, "I am unwilling to sell my Incarnational heritage for a pot of message."

Posted by Ford ELms at Tuesday, 17 October 2006 at 12:55pm BST
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