Comments: Paul Marshall writes

As it is rare for a humble blogger to be ahead of the big boys I feel obliged to point out that I scooped everybody on this, printing the letter in full first thing this morning, English time. Sorry about the boasting but I really am quite proud of this fact.

Posted by MadPriest at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 7:04pm GMT

Yes, as Americans in the Anglican Communion we are feeling discomfort, and we are starting to question the need to stay in a place where we are so regularly attacked for following what we consider to be both right and compatible with the traditions of the faith. Rowan could have stopped this mess years ago by telling the break-aways in America to stop it and telling the foreign bishops to stay out of the American church.
Rowan has coddled and encouraged our attackers. His flip on the rights of gays and lesbians in the church is astonishing. In the pews, and not just online, we are starting to question if we shouldn't say goodbye and goodriddance until the rest of you lot catch up with the idea that all people are welcome at Christ's altar and all are loved by God as created. And don't act surprised that we are starting to ask these questions.

Posted by Dennis at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 8:47pm GMT

Maneuvering the Episcopal Church into withdrawing from the Anglican Communion of its own free will – an ecclesiastical repeat of 1776 – could well be the only way that the Church of England itself might hold together though such a split. If the ABC was being exceedingly calculating, this would be an interesting approach.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 9:45pm GMT

Ms. Gledhill's "fringe" bishop has it all quite right, and he expresses opinions shared by an increasing number of faithful Episcopalians.I'll take "fringe" any day over the smarmy kiss-up arranged by the +Wimberly Gang(of four, six?) at its serial camp meetings.Whether intended or not, ++Rowan's insults have done more to promote schism than anything the Moderator could concoct.

Posted by John D at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 9:57pm GMT

Paul Marshall - 'fringe bishop' - fringe of what? A small diocese? Successor to Mark Dyer, whose place in Anglican theological formation and ecumenical leadership is unparalleled? Inclusive pastor to the marginalized? Conscientious developer of companion relationships and assistance to African dioceses? One-time neighboring rector and friend to me on Long Island? Perhaps 'fringe' is justified in the sense that Paul doesn't enjoy ecclesiastical parlor games and trivia as does his critic. Methinks that the UK media darling of all things 'Anglican', has once again missed the mark, a rather frequent habit.

Posted by Bob McCloskey at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 10:06pm GMT

I really hope that TEC will be welcoming and outward looking to those of us who feel their perspective is the one we wish to follow, not that of the Anglican Communion, dominated by the views of Akinola et al, and with a leadership too cowardly to stop their takeover.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 10:12pm GMT

I read this on the HOBD (House of Bishops and Deputies of ECUSA listserv) digest this morning. +Marshall seems to be having a fit of the vapors and casts himself as such the martyr. Of course, he got the usual kudos from the usual suspects. But we US reasserters can take heart! “You know you’re over the target when you start picking up flak!”

Posted by Milton at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 10:24pm GMT

"fringe"?

Hardly? A brilliant man with a great sense of humor, he early analysis of the WR proved to be right on target:

http://www.thewitness.org/agw/marshall101904.html

His book on the consecration of Samuel Seabury is also excellent!

Posted by Prior Aelred at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 11:29pm GMT

I rather agree with "Poor Bishop Williams"!

The longer this fiasco continues and the more rabid each side becomes, the more I admire him--even when I feel as though he has sort of stabbed at the liberal side and I've been left wondering why he takes it, ever so slightly.

I think that he is emulating Christ. I think he is trying to bide his time and allow God to lead the church in the direction it should go. I think he is trying to discern that direction and is half-hoping that the rest of the Communion will too.

We have set aside so much scripture, so many teachings of Christ to continue to do this to each other. Every strike that the "reasserters" make is another example. And when the "reappraisers" begin to say they no longer care, chuck it all--I think they too have given in to lack of faith.

It IS a sin to not put our faith in Him, to not trust him, to not love one another, to spew vitriol, to deny the faith of others. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Gosh, I wish y'all would read those scriptures!

So, here is to Archbishop Williams and his Christlike behavior and may He win out!

Posted by Annie at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 11:32pm GMT

Someone needs to tell Ruth Gledhill that +Paul Marshall is not a "fringe bishop." He is a well-respected bishop of a central Pennsylvania diocese, widely regarded as a moderate. Bethlehem may be a small diocese but it is not all that far from the Northeast Corridor, at least as we Americans measure distance. But I suppose from a media celebrity's point of view it's just more "fly-over territory."

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 11:43pm GMT

Dennis writes -
"Yes, as Americans in the Anglican Communion we are feeling discomfort, and we are starting to question the need to stay in a place where we are so regularly attacked for following what we consider to be both right and compatible with the traditions of the faith. Rowan could have stopped this mess years ago by telling the break-aways in America to stop it and telling the foreign bishops to stay out of the American church."

Excuse me but did not the US Episcopal Church cause this mess by ignoring all the warnings and pleas in 2003? WE in the US tore the fabric of the Communion with great deliberateness. Now WE must bear the consequences. +Bethlehem may be honest in his feelings, however I believe that he and his colleagues have thoroughly earned the disdain of much of the rest of the AC.
It was ++Rowan who opined something to the effect that if your want to take a "prophetic" action then you must risk both its failure and its non acceptance by those who validly judge the prophets. In this case the US Episcopal Church went too far beyond the rest of the Communion and did so in the face of the pleas and calls to refrain that were so clearly articulated in 2003.
Following 2003 the US Episcopal Church has done little in the way of either regret or repentance and in fact inflamed the situation further.
If the US Episcopal Church wants to go its own way then so be it. It would gain more respect if it were do do so with some grace. Alas - that grace is not evident in the name calling and litigious activities that we have come to experience in the US Episcopal scene.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Monday, 15 January 2007 at 11:44pm GMT

Milton: When you post something on two different blogs that is word for word the same it is polite to note this ( You might write "This was cross posted at...")

Since we all like to go over and watch the residents at StandFirm for some cheap comedy so we saw it there the first time.

Posted by Dennis at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 12:52am GMT

I am sure that Ms. Gledhill's profound thoughts on the matter will have a major impact in the shaping of world opinion.

Posted by Richard Lyon at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 2:09am GMT

What Bishop Marshall wrote got more attention, but what he has written on this before. The Fall, 2005 edition of The Anglican Theological Review (84:4) focused on aspects of the Windsor Report. His essay was the lead essay of thirteen representing a wide variety of perspectives.

It should have been required reading of all deputies and bishops before the 75th General Convention...and of primates and decision makers in other parts of the Communion, fringe or not.

His article is titled "A Note on the Role of North America in the Evolution of Anglicanism"

Here are the opening paragraphs:
"The history of the Anglican Communion indicates that North America has been a peculiar laboratory for developments the entire Communion has come to embrace. Contrary to the assertions made in the Windsor Report, the colonial churches in North America were not the object of Canterbury's special concern, and no contact between the churches can be found for thirty years after the new church's launch. The movement for what became the Lambeth Conference began in the General Convention of 1853, and was later echoed by the Canadians. Much of what the churches of the Communion value in governance and ecclesiology originated in North America, as both Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical voices in England testify. Purely spiritual episcopacy, synodical government, and the sending of missionary bishops lead North American contributions to Anglican life. While history does not guarantee the rightness of the Canadian and Episcopal decisions, it suggests that they continue to be of significance for the evolution of the Communion."

Posted by Andrew Gerns at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 3:20am GMT

I don't at all agree with Ruth Gledhill's view on this. Making invitation to Lambeth is entirely at the discretion of the ABC.

No explanations given.

Issuing excuses like Dr Williams has done over the infitation of the American Presiding Bishop is highly inappropriate.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 6:30am GMT

It's because people don't understand Rowan Williams' theology that they feel he has betrayed them. For Williams, salvation is found in the person/people you would reject, no matter how deserving or undeserving of that rejection they may be - in Jesus for the Sanhedrin, in the terrorist for the American, in the gay person for the Conservative, in Akinola for TEC. This is because rejection is, essentially, sinful self-protection, and only in overcoming that can I truly be as God is and wants me to be - open and reconciled to my enemy. Hence Rowan is not compromising on this issue, he is being consistent with the gospel. We must hold together, he believes, IN OUR DIFFERENCES because that is the essence of Christianity. Workable? I wonder. True? Is anyone asking thatm any more?

Posted by John Richardson at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 8:19am GMT

Ruth Gledhill's casual insult, that Paul Marshall is a "fringe" bishop, shows how completely out of touch she is with the American Church. He couldn't be more mainstream. The fact is that we in America are getting sick and tired of England's dithering, appeasing, too-smart-by-half Archbishop.

We have no intention of walking away from our Communion, but neither will we permit a man with no authority whatsoever in America to dictate our polity or theology. Our Church is democratic, and we didn't elect him dogcatcher, much less Archbishop.

All he's trying to do is to keep from being blamed for the breakup of the Communion, which is happening on his watch and for which he will go down in infamy.

Bishop Marshall's compassionate rebuke is only the beginning. The Episcopal Church is finally learning the lesson of Stonewall: fight back.

The Good News is this: Nothing we can say or do will prevent God from working his purpose out, as year succeeds to year.

Posted by Josh Thomas at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 8:50am GMT

"did not the US Episcopal Church cause this mess by ignoring all the warnings and pleas in 2003"
Well, I would argue that the rest of the Communion caused all this by refusing to obey the recommendations of several Lambeth conferences to initiate discussion with gay people. That the American Church took this to heart and actually listened to gay people, thereafter finding itself unable to exclude them from the Christian family, is a testament to their obedience to the wider Church. If you want to get all fussed up about who obeys and who doesn't, ask Nigeria how the legislation they support will enable them to comply with the Lambeth recommendation that they listen? Ask any number of other Churches why it is acceptable to ignore other Lambeth statements concerning gay people while condemning TEC for the same thing? Ask why they have not actually bothered to engage with gay people? They weren't asked to accept, merely to listen. Surely such listening would have turned up better ways to evangelize gay people with the message that celebacy is the only choice for us? Or was discovery of effective means of evangelism just not even on the radar? Were they afraid that they might come to realize gay people are human too and their old bigotries might become too uncomfortable? Or perhaps that they might catch something from even talking to us? The disobedience started way before 2003, and it started with those whose secretly believe salvation can be bought, but only with shame and self loathing, and who aren't willing to try to acknowledge the hurt this attitude causes, let alone try to heal it.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 2:10pm GMT

“In the pews, and not just online, we are starting to question if we shouldn't say goodbye and goodriddance until the rest of you lot catch up with the idea that all people are welcome at Christ's altar and all are loved by God as created.”— Dennis

Right on, Dennis! Most members of my small Brooklyn parish that I have talked to are sick and tired of Rowan Williams and consider him a gutless coward! Perhaps it’s time to toss the Lambeth tea into the harbor! (And to toss out Duncan et al with it!)

Posted by Kurt at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 2:53pm GMT

Josh, if the ABC has no authority whatsoever in America, why is Bishop Marshall getting so steamed up about him?

'The Episcopal church is finally learning the lesson of Stonewall: fight back.' Just like Jesus did. Great. I thought Christians were supposed to behave differently?

Posted by David Keen at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 3:09pm GMT

So, are liberal bishops a model for what we should do instead, David? Sit on the fence, compromise, sell gay and lesbian people down the river and allow the conservatives to take over?

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 3:34pm GMT

There's a difference between compromise and fighting back. Standing your ground is the nearest phrase I can get to it. Sorry, I'm just fed up with all this scrabbling for power whilst the church carries on shrinking - whoever finds themselves at the wheel by the time the 'fight' is over will look up just in time to see a giant iceberg hitting.

Posted by David Keen at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 4:07pm GMT

Why not just make up a list of who is not welcome in the Anglican Church; it would be easier for us poor dumb Americans to sort out then. What you English don't seem to understand at all is our history of segregation; we've been down this road before with people of African and Native American descent and then with women. I think the good Bishop got it exactly right and showed remarkable restraint

Posted by Deacon Mark at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 4:26pm GMT

I find Bishop Marshall's comments just the sort of historically informed, trenchant commentary that I would have expected from any occupant of Canterbury, alas, Lord have mercy.

If indeed Rowan Williams is trying to be like Jesus in reaching out, then he ought to be equally and equally vigorously reaching out, repeatedly, to all sides of Anglican views in this realignment crisis, and not keeping such a distance from one side in implicit favor of another. Any pastor or family therapist knows you gotta connect, actively, and accurately, with all sides of the family during difficult times. The messenger thang to the last GC was embarrassing, and an international religious leader should have known better. The Anglican skies are not falling in, in USA and Canada and Europe, because we stopped indugling old, nasty prejudices and negative beliefs about women in ministry, or about queer people, or about Darwin. Duh.

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 4:41pm GMT

But, David, I already think that the church is not worth being part of, and unless there can be genuine change, which for me means an organisational split, that will continue.

I don't think its about power. Its about justice, equality and inclusion.

The problem is that the tactics and aims have been 'trying to hold things together' rather than 'making plans to divide organisationally' in a civil and reasonable manner.

Surely no-one can truly believe that conservative and liberal Christianity are truly compatible? They are essentially different animals. Too many liberals, in a spirit of charity and inclusion, simply can't get to grips with that. Paul Marshall does and I think he is right.

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 4:54pm GMT

Ford - you say "They weren't asked to accept, merely to listen." .......not in 2003, I am sorry to say....the AC was given a fait accompli (despite its many requests for restraint and urgent warnings that the fabric of the communion would be torn at its deepest level, as it has been)

I am sure you will agree:

-one can listen carefully and not be convinced;

-one can listen sympathetically, genuinely engage and still in the end disagree finding the case not proven;

-one can listen carefully and in good faith for the foundation arguments but only find human rights put above every other "fundametal" authority....and so not be persuaded.

We are where we are because we have two sides which have listened to each other for decades but still disagree at the deepest level....and since 2003 when TEC deliberately defied the AC and ABC, can no longer pretend that they are basically united...because, clearly, they are not...

..the question is, where from here?
Not into Anglican fudge please! We are all drowning in that already because of those who have for decades wanted to pretend there was unity for the sake of that fake unity - this is the only thing worse than a split.

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 5:33pm GMT

NP,
What was presented in 2003 came after nearly two decades of obedience to Lambeth '88 in which the Church was requested to engage in dialogue with gay people. TEC as a body did that. What about individual parishes and dioceses? Did Jack Iker, or Bob Duncan listen to what gay people had to say? You give a list each item of which begins "one can listen...". I agree with each statement, but I claim they did NOT listen. I am not suggesting "If they had listened, they would like me." Look at it this way. The Consevo message of celebacy as the only acceptable thing for gay people has largely fallen on deaf ears, except for the poor broken people who are such easy prey for manipulative "ex-gay" ministries. Why is that? Why has no Consevo in any position within the Church ever bothered to find out why? Surely if their love for gay people is as they say it is, and if they want to convert them to the homosexuality free life that they claim God wants for them, this resounding rejection of their message would make them want to find another way to preach that message. What better way than to meet with gay people and find out why the message is so unappealing? The listening process is not some "reassessor" trap to surrepititiously convert Consevos to the "liberal" cause. It could have been the perfect way to find out how to better Evangelize a group that is not being reached by the message as it is now being preached. But then again, the Evo approach tends to be the Pelagian "Obey and God will love you" rather than the more Christlike "God loves you, now here's how you can return that love" so once people refuse to obey, they Evos only have moral superiority to fall back on.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 6:52pm GMT

Josh Thomas observes of TEC’s position vis-à-vis Rowan Williams, “we didn't elect him dogcatcher, much less Archbishop”. Politely, Mr. Thomas does not mention that the Church of England has not elected Dr. Williams dogcatcher either. Unlike the “fringe” bishop of Bethlehem, PA, or the bishop of New Hampshire, both freely elected by the clergy and laity of their respective dioceses, Rowan Williams, like the entire English bench of diocesan bishops, was appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister’s office – a process which can still be highly political – subject to the rubber-stamp approval of a hereditary monarch. On receipt of the royal instructions, the cathedral chapter is obliged, on pain of statutory criminal penalties, to “elect” the royal nominee. Though, to be on the safe side, the “Veni Creator” is sung before the chapter proceeds to election.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 7:56pm GMT

Ian Montgomery:

There really is no answering the so-called conservatives in America who are dancing with glee at the thought that the accepting progressives in America will be thrown out and replaced by hard-line so-called "orthodox" leaders.

It is not going to happen, though. We are not going to start burning gays and lesbians at the stake. Women priests will not be turned out from their parishes. In our society there will be no camps opened to ship the gays and lesbians and upity women off to. Gays and lesbians will not be pushed back in the closet and women will not forfeit their place at the table. They will not go away. Get used to that thought. Think about it. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest this thought: you can't get rid of gays and lesbians in the church and you can't get rid of women in holy orders. The bridge is crossed and gays and lesbians are part of life and society and part of the church and women are the equal of men and ordained fully as priests and bishops. The past and the days of exclusion are over and done with. Period.

There is a place for all people in this church. This church teaches the gospel and the gospel says that all are loved and welcome in this church.

There is no turning back. This is of God and it is good. The scriptures teach us that those who fight against others right to be in the church only cut themselves off from God. If I were busy campaigning for the exclusion of gays and lesbians from the church and the removal of women from holy orders I think that I would shudder in fear for the condition of my soul.

Posted by Dennis at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 8:15pm GMT

I found this recently published book via the Sojourners daily digest today: http://www.powells.com/biblio/0060836946?&PID=29218

It is called "Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith" by Diana Butler Bass. It looks interesting and hopeful in that it posits a model that goes beyond maximised tithing profits through megachurch attendance.

The publisher comments "For decades the accepted wisdom has been that America's mainline Protestant churches are in decline, eclipsed by evangelical mega-churches. Church and religion expert Diana Butler Bass wondered if this was true, and this book is the result of her extensive, three-year study of centrist and progressive churches across the country. Her surprising findings reveal just the opposite—that many of the churches are flourishing, and they are doing so without resorting to mimicking the mega-church, evangelical style."

I concur, and was comforted when I read the WCC vision as posted by Ekklesia today: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_070116wcc.shtml We are seeing the fostering of a brighter form of Christianity that is less focussed on profit and loss statements and more focussed on fulfilling God's vision of Shalom or Tikkun Olan.

Corrupt priests who aid and abet institutionalised poverty, condone violence and repression, and ignore the needs of Creation and its members won't be happy. But they will benefit from a more gentle and compassionate world. Their biggest problem is their pride - having to admit to their corruption and cruelty, and greed - having to surrender their future "wealth" for the greater needs.

David. This is what Christ calls us to do and to be Christ-like. To stand for the core principles of the bible, regardless of what the authorities or butt-licking priests advocate. Jesus began his public ministry announcing the Jubilee Year. If you would ask us to do less, then you are not asking for us to acknowledge and respect Jesus but some imposter who happens to be given the same label.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 9:31pm GMT

In reply to Lapinbizarre, please read the explanation of how an English diocesan bishop is chosen by an elected electoral college, at

http://peterowen.org.uk/articles/choosing.html

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 9:52pm GMT

And exactly what is the point of a listening process if there is already a determination never to change one's mind after listening?

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 16 January 2007 at 11:26pm GMT

Many thanks for the info on the theory of the Anglican electoral process. I am aware of it, as I am aware of the following comment in the piece that you cite, and of what, in terms of the potential for political interference, that comment implies:

"The Prime Minister chooses one of the two names to be the new bishop, or he or she may ask the CNC for more names. This is known to have happened at least once in recent times, when neither of the CNC's two original names was chosen."

The episcopal electoral process is, to some extent, corrupt so long as a clear potential for such secular political interference exists.

In addition, note recent references on your page to Archbishop Carey's supposed intervention to prevent Rowland Williams' being appointed an English bishopric during Carey's time at Canterbury, which suggests that there are various ways of fixing the system, though one hopes that this loophole will be closed by the revised process.

On a slightly different tack, re. the fresh-minted Bishop Mimms of Virginia and the 20 new Nigerian bishops, how are bishops elected in the Nigerian church? Curious to know, At this rate of progress, could Abp Akinola be looking at a Nigerian majority at Lambeth, come summer of next year?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 1:47am GMT

For the life of me, I can't figure what Cheryl Clough's big aggravation is. I guess she wants more good parishes and fewer venal ones. What does it have to do with the issues before us? Is Rowan Williams somehow aiding and abetting institutionalized poverty? Or condoning violence and repression? Huh?

I happen to be a priest who believes that homosexual conduct is contrary to God's call to holiness. Does this make me one of her "butt-licking priests"? If so, I guess I'll need further catechizing in her "core principles of the Bible."

Come to think of it, maybe that chimera is where Clough's bile comes from. The Bible is a story of God calling a people to himself so that they might be the spirit-led vehicle for the world's salvation. There aren't so much core principles as there is a core goal (defeat of humanity's enemies, ultimately of sin and death) and a core means God will use to get us there (the cross of Christ.)

Always seems to me that folks who interpret the Gospel as Instructions-On-Being-Nicer-People often end up being pretty nasty.

Posted by Doug Taylor-Weiss at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 1:56am GMT

The easy outcome of a listening process, done accurately and with a modicum of effectiveness, is simply two fairly reliable results. Most of the time, understanding is increased. Mainly in ways which reduce social distance, and therefore, which reduced our human traditions of judgment, prejudice, stereotyping, ignorance, fear, and disgust - usually established, maintained, handed on, and kept lively by that very social distance which makes listening so potentially positive and growthful.

A second fairly frequent outcome is an increase of mutuality, complexly enacted between/among the parties involved in the listening. In the case of sexual orientation, this means we would likely expect that queer elements in human identity/embodiment/life would be put in the larger overall contexts of the person and life of the person, quite variously. Queer stops being the negative opposite of heterosexual. And, of course this is one of the key things to which so many traditionalists will object, heterosexual stops being the only available absolute standard for human embodiment.

I guess there are fairly obvious good reasons why so many traditionalists never intended to listen in the first place. Where indeed would most of them now be, if either of these two outcomes were occurring locally to any great extent around them?

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 2:57am GMT

Ford - I guess the leaders you mention would claim that they have listened seriously and carefully but rejected the arguments they have heard as not convincing.
I am not sure why you claim they have not listened - any evidence for that?

I think both sides knows where the other stands and are not likely to come to agreement so we are coming to the point of saying, "Let's stop pretending we are united..."
(KJS is certainly a blessing in the sense that she seems much more honest about the real differences which exist)

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 7:32am GMT

Moses didn't exactly charm the Egyptions or 80% of the Jews who chose not to follow him into Exodus. Isaiah, Jeremiah and other prophets didn't exactly have people swooning with their compliments. Their job was not to appease corruption but to get people to repent and if they would not discredit them as God's "loving" ambassadors.

In the last year: I have watched solo scripturalists deny the need to revere Creation or mete out justice in this world. Collusively participate in attempts at cultural or physical genocide, teach people to be complacent and ignore blatent injustice and cruelty.

Humans choose to create a such a theology to justify such behaviour? Fine, but don't invoke God's name. If they try to use Jesus as the rubber stamp, then Jesus is either with them or against them. If he is with them, then he is against the God of the bible.

Isaiah 28:15-19 "You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,.. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.” So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion... a sure foundation... I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line... Your covenant with death will be annulled... The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror."

Isa 46:8-13 "fix it in mind... you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God... I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please... what I have planned, that will I do... I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed..."

Isaiah 45:17-25 "...this is what the LORD says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth... to be inhabited— he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret... Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD?... “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth... my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked..."

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 10:39am GMT

"On a slightly different tack, re. the fresh-minted Bishop Mimms of Virginia and the 20 new Nigerian bishops, how are bishops elected in the Nigerian church? Curious to know, At this rate of progress, could Abp Akinola be looking at a Nigerian majority at Lambeth, come summer of next year?"

The recent press release ( http://www.anglican-nig.org/bshpelects_jan2007.htm ) states that the bishops for the missionary diceses were elected by the Nigerian House of Bishops. Little different from how the US, for example, elected missionary bishops. The press release dosn't say who elected the bishops-elect of the vacant sees, but it seems that the HoB elected them as well. It appears to be a top down organization.

Regarding stocking the Conference, it does seem that even with the additional dioceses, the average Nigerian diocese is much larger than the average US diocese.

Posted by ruidh at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 12:34pm GMT

NP,
Lambeth '88 did not enjoin the Church to listen to Herself and what Her Conservatives and Liberals think. We were asked to speak to gay people about their lives, their experiences, how they have been wounded by the Church and society. You say listen and not been convinced. Convinced of what? That gay people are human beings? That we have suffered at the hands of the Church? That knowledge of that gives us a jaundiced eye when it comes to religious people? Frankly, that we don't trust you. Why do you choose to sit in judgement on what you think we are rather than trying to find out what we actually are?

Or is it that when the Church said "listen" you thought She meant listen so you can change your mind about the sinfulness of homosexuality? Are you so devoid of compassion that you cannot see that listening to someone else's experiences does not require you to accept their behaviour, but might just help you understand a little bit about their humanity? It seems that's exactly the case with people like Iker and his ilk. Or are you telling me I missed the meetings when Iker and Co. sat down with representatives of the gay community in Dallas and listened to how they felt about the Church's treatment of them and why the Evo message rang so hollow in their ears?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 12:34pm GMT

Ford Elms is getting mixed up with dates. It was the 1998 Lambeth Resolution which put the emphasis on listening to the experience of homosexuals. The 1988 called for a dispassionate study of homosexuality which paid attention to the science, and the socio-cultural differences among Anglicans on the issue. The '88 resolution also put an emphasis on the human rights of homosexuals.

The point which stands is that as you look back at Lambeth resolutions in the past few decades only a few of them have had any real follow-up. Many of them stand as a description of what the Anglican Communion feels about particular issues, but many of them calling for further action or study have met only with inaction and indifference. Questions need to be asked of the Anglican Communion secretariat and the bishops themselves about this inadequate process.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

Thanks for the correction, Andrew. The point, as you say, is that such calls were met with inaction in many quarters, often, I suspect, among those who are now "not convinced". It woud be interesting to find out why this is so.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 3:26pm GMT

Ford - you have a much more reasonable definition of "listening" than many seem to have!

We have a "fundamental" problem with those who define "listening" as "agree with" or "talk until behaviour is accepted" or "compromise" (so, this is not you but as you will know, some re-define "listen" like this)

For all your understandable doubts - I sincerely expect Duncan et al have listened as you suggest even if we do not know about it....do get in touch with them and challenge them on it if you want to know and I hope you would get evidence of genuine listening to people's experiences even if they are not convinced, as a result, that they need to compromise on their principled positions.

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 3:46pm GMT

"The Church, recognising the need for pastoral concern for those who are homosexual, encourages dialogue with them. (We note with satisfaction that such studies are now proceeding in some member Churches of the Anglican Communion.)"

Sorry for the double post, and I don't mean to "one up" you here, Andrew, but the above is from Lambeth '78, resolution 10.3. You are right however, that the language of Lambeth '88 referred to "deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality" while reaffirming Lambeth '78. The key point, as you say, is that in some circles, the dialogue hasn't happened. I wonder if the tenor of the debate would have been different if those who now find themselves unable to celebrate the Eucharist with those who support gay people had actually carried out the listening process. I'm not saying they would have, or should have, changed their minds on the base issue, but they might have learned a bit more compassion.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 3:57pm GMT

How I loved being 'studied' -- especially dispassionately.

I remembered that when someone did do some real study of this 'issue', George Carey suppressed it, as it wasn't the answer he wanted. I speak , of course , of the Osborne Report, produced at his and the Synod's request by June Osborne and her working party. How I wish some one would publish yet -- some of his have photocopies. Carey of course got another Report done that was more to his taste - Some Issues in Human Sexuality.

The seeds of the present pseudo-crisis were loving tended by George Carey, as have been the plants, and (bitter) inedible fruits. Poor Rowan inherited the outcome of the Carey Years.

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 4:14pm GMT

Ford - you mention "those who now find themselves unable to celebrate the Eucharist with those who support..."

- again, I am sorry but we do not have a problem with anyone because of any pastoral "support" they give

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 4:41pm GMT

"I sincerely expect Duncan et al have listened as you suggest even if we do not know about it"

You sincerely expect he has conducted the dialogue we are talking about, I equally sincerely doubt he has. Neither of us has evidence for our assumptions. I will find out. I would call you naive, you would call me cynical, I suppose.

"We have a "fundamental" problem with those who define "listening" as "agree with" or "talk until behaviour is accepted" or "compromise""

But who are these people? Who is saying "listen till you agree with us"? I rather suspect they are invented by Consevo preachers who throw this out so as to increase the distance between "you" and "us" thereby ensuring that "us" remains pure. How many times has your parish met with members of your local gay community so they can tell you why it is they are so mistrustful of you? How much listening has your parish family done, NP? How many times have you been told you need to do more listening in order to change your mind, and how many times has it been some preacher tossing this out from the pulpit with no basis in fact?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 5:16pm GMT

Ford

And to add to your examples. How many times have parishioners had GLBT friends and relatives come to baptisms, weddings, funerals and not told the pastor that they wre GLBT? In fact, I know of souls who pray that at least at this particular service their priest defer one of his homophobic tirades for another service where their loved ones are not present. I know people who have chosen to change churches because they got tired of the insults that apply to their own brother/uncle/aunt/sister/close friend.

As an aside, people who refer to others as "beasts" have no right to take the moral high ground on insults.

People who go to war on a lie invoking God's name and escalate the war, even though 70% of their own populace don't agree with them, have no right to talk about what is rape.

If you want to paint God and Spirit into a corner and tell them to be silent while you rape the planet and humanity into extinction, you can sod off.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 7:32pm GMT

Laurence, you also are getting mixed up with dates. The Osborne report happened in the Runcie years and was suppressed then. Issues in Human Sexuality was the follow-up and the work on that was begun under Robert Runcie. It was however the first report 'signed' by my father when he came into office. It doesn't help to personalise everything though.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 9:10pm GMT

To be precise, the Osborne report was produced in 1989.

Issues in Human Sexuality was published in 1991.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 9:31pm GMT

If I may be so bold as to return to the topic, the statement from Lambeth about "hurt feelings on all sides," is a prime example of the failure of communication that Bishop Marshall addresses. He is not talking about hurt feelings. He is pointing out tremendous pastoral, moral & common sense failures in ++Rowan's performance of his responsibilities as ABC & he is quite specific and objective in the examples he provides.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 17 January 2007 at 11:13pm GMT

Ford - it is very easy to ask questions
eg how many times have people on the other side "listened" to the ConsEvo position, studied it carefully again without partiality - going back to the scripture?
or
how many people have sought to discredit GS Primates rather than treat them seriously and with respect, engaging with their arguments from scripture?

It is not just one side which which can be accused of not listening (I expect you will agree)

Posted by NP at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 7:11am GMT

NP wrote: "...rather than treat them seriously and with respect, engaging with their arguments from scripture"

How about some examples? a few quotes with references to book, chapter, verse?

Try to find some!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 10:40am GMT

I'll furnish you with an example of how these statments look, a "news analysis" from an other place (no cold front in sight):

NIGERIAN PRIMATE EXPLAINS SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR OPPOSITION TO HOMOSEXUAL ACTS.

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5318

no book, chapter or verse in sight.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 10:46am GMT

Goran - you must be one of very few people in the debate who are ignorant of the texts in question

Posted by NP at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 12:42pm GMT

NP,
I believe the "disrespect" towards GS bishops has been blown out of all proportion by Consevos who are more interested in fanning the flames of discord than they are in Christian love for those who disagree with them. You need only read the many pronouncements from the "conservatives" about the heresies they claim the "reassors" believe and the ways in which odd statements by obscure or fringe bishops are claimed to be the beliefs of everyone to see this process of false witness in action. I stand to be corrected, of course. Leave the radical fringe people out of it and tell me who has shown this disrespect. Don't be led astray by it. You should no more take as Gospel the things said by Consevos than I should the pronouncements of those few who would deny the Resurrection. You speak about engaging with Scriptural arguments, but how do people with a traditional understanding of authority in the Church argue with those who have adopted the innovation of sola scriptura? These two understandings of Scriptural authority are not compatible. If you think Scritpure is the sole authority in the Church and I think that it is part of Holy Tradition given to us by the Church, and the Church is the seat of authority, how can we argue, in the end? Sure, we can go through the motions, but you are not going to be convinced by any argument that can't be proof texted, and I don't believe proof texting is an appropriate way to read Scripture.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 1:22pm GMT

Now I have read the woundrously named Bishop of Bethlehem's piece.

It is true and timely. It won't be heeded.

You need a Dr Martin, you have a Dr Phillipp...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 1:43pm GMT

This sort of knee jerk frustration and reaction would have been more in keeping three or four years ago.

Remarkably it is unique and no other American bishop has let off steam like this.

There is no doubt that Dr Williams was poorly advised – and those advisors have gone, and there is no doubt that he inherited a basin full of problems, but his own mistakes are also clear to see and there is much to doubt in the work of the new batch of advisors he has gathered.

This Communion, Windsor tells us, is willing to live with the messy business of WO. It is after all only a provisional matter awaiting the reception of the faithful. In the meantime, the Panel of Reference tells us, nothing can be done to consolidate the position of priests who are also female which might adversely affect the status of those who do not accept their ordination, no matter how small their numbers may be within a Province.

Indeed the status of WO remains an open question even if the majority or even all Provinces within Anglicanism decide to move that way, for we are only part of the greater Church and it is only when they (presumably the Catholic and Orthodox) concede the possibility of priests who are female that the matter might move forward to another level.

Of course this “deal” was done a long time ago; it is why many did not take wing for Rome with their friends and (much more importantly for the institution) why the Anglican Communion remains at the table with their Catholic and Orthodox friends. The depth of this arrangement and the underlying commitment to it has (I believe) always been underestimated by commentators.

Up until 1998 the ordination of lesbians/gays was set in the minds of some for the same development and reception, presumably there was a belief that the same deal could be done to keep most on board and the conference tables open. As it proved this was not to be the case. Both Rome and Orthodoxy made it clear then, and more prominently since that this was a provisional development they were not willing to live with and openly threatened an end to conversations if this moved forward.
(More)

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 2:29pm GMT

(Cont.)
Some felt an even more significant threat to this rapprochement was the plan for lay celebration, a development not from the “hot house” of TEC but from the Sydney diocese and its world-wide network.

The internal fractures within Anglicanism have been bolstered/promoted by both Catholic and Orthodox leaders with significant interventions coming from both the Pope and an Orthodox Patriarch.

While I think Windsor was essentially the wrong tool here, it did try and address all the issues and is attempting to build a Church out of the Communion which is more in the model favoured by the great Western Churches. We have yet to see how far that project will go.

While lesbians and gays are the first victims of this project, it is the Jensenites who fall next and they are doing all in their power to ensure the Windsor process does not come to fruition unless they are in control. For them realignment offers the best way of seizing that control and they are urging it.

For my money the Lambeth advisors greatest failure has been to underestimate the havoc the Jensenites are willing to bring to the Communion in the pursuit of their goals.

The bishop of Bethlehem (TEC) knows of all these pressures, but like many of us is rather tired of the “whipping boy” approach that has developed since Tom Wright took control of the “Windsor Process” PR machine. If Windsor fails, and I think it will, then I believe much of the blame for that failure will be due to his inept interventions.

For good or ill the Anglican Communion many of us loved and cherished has now passed into history. What sort of Christian communities emerge from this conflict have yet to be seen and what part Rowan Williams can play in the aftermath yet to be decided.

For what it is worth I believe he has more chance of coming to his own post-conflict than he has up to now, we shall see if he is given the chance or wants to take it.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 2:33pm GMT

well Ford - the single greatest act of disrespect to most of the GS (but not only to them) occurred following GC2003....such action deliberately and knowingly tore the fabric of the communion despite requests even from sympathisers like the ABC for TEC to wait and have a dialogue.......do you think that TEC's actions were correct and showed respect to the rest of the AC?

Posted by NP at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 2:57pm GMT

Ford - by the way, "proof texting" is not what is required.

If you want to change 2000 yrs of understanding of the scriptures on any issue and say it means something very different to what it seems to say very clearly (even to most Anglicans in the UK!), you need more than "proof texting" - you need to give a strong, reasoned, biblical case which will will lead to a repentance amongst many if they are shown that thy have called something sin which was actually always intended to be taken as good and holy - can you do that?

I guess this brings us back to very old ground where we will not agree (on the texts) - so I really hope for TEC Global to be born soon and all who want to join it to do so - best for everyone because it is a sustainable solution (not rancid fudge!)

Posted by NP at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 4:09pm GMT

For the sake of my soul, I dare not read Virtueonline. I do not need that amount of anger or dispair. I would direct NP, when (s)he talks about the "disrespect" paid to the GS bishops by the rest of us, to go to that site and then identify anything on the other side that is so virulent, angry, insulting, gloating, and generally unChristian. Where are the "liberals" who produce this kind of diatribe?

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 4:15pm GMT

NP,
Fill me in, what happened after 2003? I'm unaware of any precipitous action since that date. No, TEC didn't grovel in the dirt the way the GS, or more specifically the Archbishop of Nigeria expected they should, but they did express regret for the pain their actions had caused the rest of the Communion. Given the way +Akinola has ignored Windsor, I don't see how the actions of TEC since 2003 are any more disrespectful.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 4:49pm GMT

Sorry, NP, you were referring, I guess, to Gene Robinson's consecration. I had thought that was earlier. My other comments remain however. Where is the Liberal equivalent of Virtueonline? Where is the liberal who has called the GS a "cancer" on the body of Christ? Where is the Liberal who has publically called Evangelicalism a "Satanic attack"? Some outspoken radicals, but in my experience they have no more respect on the left than on the right. Most of the lefties I have talked to are solidly Incarnational in their faith, so anyone who denies the Incarnation will have little sway with them. For those with whom I have spoken, the Resurrection is central, without it there can be no victory for Christ to give us, so anyone who denies the Resurrection will also not be held in high esteem by the lefties I have talked to. Odd that you would consider it disrespectful to consecrate a man duly elected by the people who know him and his ministry, who believe they were led by the Spirit to elect him when you seem not to be concerned by the bile coming out of the right. I don't think either side has behaved well in this, but the behaviour of the right speaks for itself.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 6:48pm GMT

NP, "the texts in question" are not read even less discussed in proclamations like the one linked to.

Nor are they in your answer, which is my point.

Frankly, I think you pretend the case is closed because you are not capable of opening it.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 8:04pm GMT

"the single greatest act of disrespect to most of the GS (but not only to them) occurred following GC2003"

It is to absolutely TORTURE not only the English language, but any sense of *Christian decency* to somehow equate a group of men (and a few women) prayerfully laying their hands upon another man, +Gene Robinson, with "the single greatest act of disrespect" (to the GS or anyone else!)

No amount of Sky-Is-Falling, Abomination-of-Desolation HYPERBOLE can turn this http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/gallery/vgr_circle.jpg into anything other than what is IS: a group of ***Faithful Anglicans*** in (sacramental) prayer. Those who would say otherwise testify only to the (temporary!) power of the Father of LIES.

God bless the Episcopal Church!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 9:40pm GMT

Goran

Don't let NP distract you about the scriptural texts. We went through those hoops last year. It became abundantly clear that both qualitatively and quantitatively our theology is more robust. When we weren't quoting the bible effectively, they threw it at us at every turn. When we used the bible effectively, they shifted to other strategies.

It's a double post, but this passage is so appropriate to this generation “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way..." (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

John, your comments about not understanding Rowan were sympathically read. My stance has become more hardened as I have watched him avoid the light of truth and write papers worthy of the "Yes Minister" series. They could possibly be saying something affirming about GLBTs but then they could be affirming the rejection of GLBTs. If a paper needs to be read for the between the lines meaning, or changes in emphasis depending on the shade of your glasses or paradigms, then it is a wishy washy cop out.

His papers are so insipid that they don't even defend the moderate middle - the biggest losers in this whole debarcle. Many, many souls disappointed that church politics now affects the security of their minister's tenure and whether they have people planted to correct their parish's development and culture. People being driven away from parish communities because they are tired of being told they are not good enough or unrepentant because they refuse to denounce and attack their GLBT friends and family. Plus the ones I know who have had this tell me that it was not just their love of "unsuitables" that was a problem, there was nit picking about other parts of their lives too.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 18 January 2007 at 9:51pm GMT

Martin Reynolds wrote: "While lesbians and gays are the first victims of this project..."

Dear Martin, the clergy and churches that have actually been victimised by TEC (and New Westminster) have been the dissenting *conservatives* - not lesbians and gays!

And anyway, the issue is not *people* who are homosexual - but *homosexuality*. People are not just (or even chiefly) defined by their sexuality. And each persons sexuality is much more multi-dimensional than just where they are in the other-sex / same-sex attraction dimension. Biblical and traditional Christian teaching has always seen sex as a wonderful, but powerful and deceptive thing.. And defined a very narrow range of righteous sexual desires in all dimensions.

You might think that this is inhumane to those who have desires that are said to be disordered, but it is the authoritatively Christian view. I'm constantly amazed by attempts to present other moral beliefs as representing a faithfully Christian viewpoint. I might add that the current sexual health and personal relationship troubles afflicting western cultures don't support the view that a liberal approach to sexual desire and relationship is in *fact* better than a restrictive Christian one. The UK and US are a mess nowadays.

Posted by Dave at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 12:17am GMT

Goran - I am certainly incapable of saying that a text which says don't do x actually means it is good and right to do x eg a text which says all foods are now clean does not mean that we should be kosher (I accept revisions with real authority!)

And Cheryl - please do be "distracted" by the texts - they contain the answers we need.

Ford - I would not support any vicious attacks on anyone and I agree some attitudes and language require repentance.....but we have to separate bad behaviour on both sides and the discussion of what is good, right and holy.

We also have to be honest and admit that ECUSA/TEC post its deliberate 2003 actions is regarded by many/most Anglicans as being a quite different religion (following more of a "social gospel" and placing much less authority on scripture than most of the AC) - hence all the horrible "cancer" language. I really don't like that language but its no use pretending that the sentiment is not felt by many/most Anglicans even in the UK - maybe even the ABC since his tenure has been hijacked by TEC's actions - ( we don't have to go to Africa to find a strong majority that felt something was deliberately broken by TEC in 2003, something called "communion")

Posted by NP at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 7:22am GMT

Two thoughts on Dave's posting on sex:

I always thought the Christian tradition saw most things within creation as wonderful, but open to abuse and exploitation and distortion. That list includes sex, but also food, drink, religious faith and practice, leadership, the good things of the world... I don't need to go on. To major on sex (as many are doing at the moment) seems to put it into a category of its own which I find hard to justify. And if that part of Dave's posting boils down to 'we don't always make sensible or good use of the gifts of God, well, the mountain has indeed split and given birth to a mouse!

On the matter of the desperate state of the UK and US on matters of sexuality, I don't think the (heterosexually spread) AIDS pandemic in Africa is just about poverty meaning there's no access to medication. It's also down to VERY dodgy attitudes within some parts of African society to (eg) the role of women, and I can't help but feel that there's a real problem for the African churches to tackle. However, to go against the cultural grain is so difficult, it's probably easier to transfer your moral pronouncements onto a group which can't answer back.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 10:39am GMT

Dave wrote: “And anyway, the issue is not *people* who are homosexual - but *homosexuality*. People are not just (or even chiefly) defined by their sexuality.”

Your camp are the ones who do that, Dave. Nobody else.

Dave wrote: “And each person’s sexuality is much more multi-dimensional than just where they are in the other-sex / same-sex attraction dimension.”

I resent having your personal problems with your own sexuality write laws for others, denying them their civil rights and liberties.

Dave wrote: “Biblical and traditional Christian teaching has always seen sex as a wonderful, but powerful and deceptive thing.”

This is a lie. The Bible itself has no issue with “sex” at all. Neither does Judaism.

Traditional “Christian” teaching, however, that is of the Neo Platonist Academy of the European 2nd Millennium, has up to the 1960ies consistently claimed anything but Chastity to be Morally Wrong and heterosexual marriage to be a lesser Celibacy for those week in the Flesh. Total Abstinence was the ideal – required for ordination – and Masturbation; the Spilling of Semen, was a Deadly Sin, deserving of Spiritual Death and Hell.

Dave wrote: “And defined a very narrow range of righteous sexual desires in all dimensions.”

A lesser Celibacy for those week in the Flesh is hardly “righteous sexual desire”.

Dave wrote: ”You might think that this is inhumane to those who have desires that are said to be disordered, but it is the authoritatively Christian view.“

Your spinning, Dave.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 10:44am GMT

NP wrote: “Göran – I am certainly incapable of saying that a text which says don't do x actually means it is good and right to do x eg a text which says all foods are now clean does not mean that we should be kosher (I accept revisions with real authority!) ”

Sorry, this is not intelligible.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 11:04am GMT

NP wrote (to Ford): “If you want to change 2000 yrs of understanding of the scriptures on any issue and say it means something very different to what it seems to say very clearly (even to most Anglicans in the UK!), you need more than "proof-texting" – you need to give a strong, reasoned, biblical case which will lead to a repentance amongst many if they are shown that thy have called something sin which was actually always intended to be taken as good and holy – can you do that?”

But NP, you are reading Translations, generally late Modern anti-modern late 20th century ones.

There are dozens of them. They all cater to their own particular Market Segment. Nearly all of them are American Social Politics in pseudo-biblical drag. They have very little to do with the Bible or even with most forms of Christianity.

You need to understand that – can you?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 11:06am GMT

NP had written earlier (also to Ford): “how many times have people on the other side "listened" to the ConsEvo position, studied it carefully again without partiality – going back to the scripture? or how many people have sought to discredit GS Primates rather than treat them seriously and with respect, engaging with their arguments from scripture?“

Maybe I’m stupid, but I took this as a promise from NP to provide “arguments from scripture” and even that “GS Primates” had indeed supported their outrageous claims with “arguments from scripture”.

A claim that one has the Bible on one’s side is just a claim. And it is a false one, if it cannot be shown to be true.

What I have seen so far are false claims. I believe they come from the 20th sectarian misreading of “the Bible containeth all things necessary for salvation” to mean that all things, necessary and un-necessary, are enumerated in the Bible. They are not.

The wireless is not. The War in Iraq is not. “Sex” is not. Somebody is lying to us.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 11:08am GMT

sorry you did not understand my sentence, Goran. Perhaps you have a friend who can help you with the English.

So, to support the actions of TEC which tore the fabric of the communion in 2003, do you have orginal texts (since you are so worried about translations being misleading) saying that what was done is right, holy and was always intended? You have to make a positive case - not just complain about discrimination etc etc.
(Clue - the answer is no)

Posted by NP at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 11:47am GMT

NP, the point is not what you or I would do, nor is it the very true statement that there has been bad behaviour on both sides, but that you insist on believing that the right has behaved honourably, even if we have no evidence for such honour, and a fair bit of evidence to the contrary.

"many/most Anglicans as being a quite different religion (following more of a "social gospel" and placing much less authority on scripture than most of the AC"
And why is that? Is it perhaps because Evo preachers repeat the misinformation of documents like Equipping the Saints, put out by the AAC? You believe (insultingly, I might add) that those with whom you disagree have no faith, and deny the basic tenets of Christianity. You seem incapable of accepting that we are acting from the basis of faith that is as strong as yours, that things like the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, are essential to our faith as well. You would choose to believe that a few renegades like Spong are representative of the whole, because that's what your clergy tell you or because it's easier to believe that those who disagreee with you are apostate than to accept that we, too, believe. Just because we haven't bought into the innovation of sola scriptura doesn't make us faithless. The entire Church didn't believe it for 1500 years either, regardless of your revisionism. Not being a fundamentalist doesn't mean not having faith, though I have a lifetime of evidence that this is what fundamentalists think. Sad to run into it in fellow Anglican who ought to know better. I've contacted people in Pittsburgh to find out if Bob Duncan is worthy of your trust that he has obeyed Lambeth and just not told anybody. Don't hold your breath.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 1:32pm GMT

The abomination of 2003 was the illegal invasion of Iraq by US and UK

Posted by laurence at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 1:51pm GMT

Yes, that's right 20th March 2003 How could we forget it

Posted by laurence at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 1:54pm GMT

Hi Ford

I am not assuming all who disagree with me are Spongites (that is a really tiny minority) nor am I taking a view given to me by evo preachers....

... but I am listening to what people like KJS and VGR say on various issues (not just the presenting one!) - this is why I think TEC is mostly dominated by a quite different set of beliefs and priorities.

Thanks for checking out Pittsburgh - I hope you find some evidence which surprises you because I hope the right thing has been done there (although, as you know, people do not always want to have others listen if they know they are talking to people who think they are fundamentally wrong) I guess there are people in pro-Duncan churches who despite their orientation agree with Duncan on the texts - I wonder if your searches would pick up people like that?

Anyway, have a good weekend!
www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=1+John+4%3A9-10

Posted by NP at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 3:13pm GMT

Dave wrote >>Dear Martin, the clergy and churches that have actually been victimised by TEC (and New Westminster) have been the dissenting *conservatives* - not lesbians and gays!<<

Speaking as a member of the Diocese of New Westminster I take offense at the statement that the clergy and churches that have been victimised have been the *conservatives*.

While the dissenting parishes in our diocese make a lot of noise about being victims (it is good entertainment for the secular news shows), they would hardly have a case in any court (law or public opinion).

This diocese has bent over backwards to find an accomodation with the clergy and churches that do not agree with our decision.

The motion passed on "blessing same-sex unions" provided a conscience clause for both priests and vestry. No-one is forced to bless the unions. It also made clear that no priest would be discrimated against for their position.

The diocese offered an Episcopal Visitor, a "form" of Alternative Oversight, and when the Canadian House of Bishops came up with a more formal process of "Shared Episcopal Oversight" offered the same. This offer has not been accepted, but the offer remains open.

The diocese has accepted the recommendation of the "Panel of Reference" - requested by the dissenting parishes, and has made an offer to the parishes based on those recommendations.

In response to the request of the Windsor Report the diocese has placed a moratorium on allowing more parishes to be allowed to use the blessing rite (the 8 parishes that have already been allowed to perform the right have been allowed to continue).

Short, of turning back time - we can do no more, and even then, if this diocese decided to rescind the rite, I would be very surprised if the dissenting parishes returned gracefully. The demands would be raised to some higher level.

Posted by Charles at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 3:49pm GMT

NP: "what people like KJS and VGR say on various issues"

Such as? You made the comment before that +KJS didn't believe the Creeds, but didn't explain how you could make such a statement. Can you do so now. Other than her being a woman and him being gay, what makes you say that they have a different set of beliefs? You know what my response will be if you trot out the old Evangelical shobboleth that they won't "affirm the uniqueness of Christ" or some such. Refusal to state that Muslims or Hindus are going to Hell is not a denial of Christ's uniqueness, as you well know, so what else?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 5:07pm GMT

It's TEC which I feel I can relate to - and I find Spong much closer to my views than many others.

But on one level I agree with NP. Conservative and Liberal Christianity have very little in common. However, neither side is prepared to behave with grace and sit down to make plans for separation.

I think it would be much better if we could do so.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 6:23pm GMT

"Yes, that's right 20th March 2003 How could we forget it"

Dates right this time, Laurence. But is there something that inhibits certain posters (and I'm thinking of Colin Coward who's uttered a recent false allegation on another thread and Laurence on this thread) holding their hands up and honestly admitting that they've got something wrong.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 7:01pm GMT

As someone who has a high regard for the retired bishop Joack Spong Idon't think it gets us anywhere to have the label renegade passed around.

I remember the former Bishop of Durham David Jenkins on TV in an audience wanting to make it plain how he wanted to distance himself from Jack Spong on the panel, and there had been David Jenkins under fire during his ministry and since writing about being under God in freedom. I just thought, how wrong to play what was the same game.

It is the same game now being played towards TEC, and it is not resolved by trying to isolate some liberals and radicals to then appeal to evangelicals and others as if to appeal to their better theological nature.

There is a chap in a local church who likened my faith and that of others to Saul's and those who aren't yet born again, and yet we are very friendly, keep talking (theologically - would anyway) and I conclude he is sincere and faithful. I more naturally to myself conclude that Jack Spong is faithful and is of great help to many in his analysis of Christianity today and suggesting a reform to the Churches.

I don't think we get anywhere attacking people who agree with us on a particular issue because we disagree with them on another as a tactic to try and win around people who disagree with us on both.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 8:19pm GMT

Thank you, Charles, for this very helpful clarification (from someone who knows whereof he speaks!)

Posted by JCF at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 8:53pm GMT

NP

I love to be distracted by texts. It's just that the ones I find useful for these times are discounted by the scholars.

The comment "The UK and US are a mess nowadays" made me chuckle. The state of the African continent and the Middle East is what we are meant to be aspiring towards? Women beheaded for not being sufficiently pleasing to their husbands? Girls married off at age 9 or 10 and left out for the hyenas to eat if their bodies are torn open in childbirth? Rampant poverty, disease, shortages, orphans? Dehumanisation and rejection, intimidation, violence and power struggles, refugees?

I do not aspire to have that for mine or any other continent!

Nor do I respect those who claim that their theology is superior when it has collusively allowed a whole continent to degenerate to this stage over the course of generations.

Maybe these people should waste their time in the unsuitable texts of liberation theology, ecological reverence, redemption of women and outcastes. Who knows, some of you might even be able to start integrating your theology to the level that Moses reached. Then you might be able to look at big picture solutions; rather than relying on minimilisation and accusations to justify avoid taking personal responsibility for the conditions of your parishioners and their commuhnities.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 19 January 2007 at 9:01pm GMT

Pluralist,
I don't know much about John Spong, actually, I tend to put his name in when I need to make reference to "the other side" and he seems, for most Consevos, to be the icon of what's wrong with "the left". That said, I have read his theses for a new Christianity, and I must say, they seem to range from soulless to just plain silly. I've heard much about his sincerity and caring, and I don't doubt any of it. He is a good exemplar of what the Right mistrusts in the Left, however, and he gets trotted out whenever they need to show how "heretical" the "reassessors" are. I just like to remind them that he is not representative of most of us, even though they need to believe it.

Posted by Ford Elmsd at Saturday, 20 January 2007 at 12:28am GMT

Yes, Ford Elms, and my point is that the cut-off point - between those who go the way of the Reform etc type Covenant and excluding TEC on the one hand, and something else in the other more liberal direction - is somewhere probably just to the theological right of you. You are one of those who feels it is right to talk in terms of maintaining doctrine, even the Virgin Birth you included (I just graoned when I saw that in your list), and it is perhaps your section, along with such as N T Wright, who are feeling most pressure from the preparations intended or otherwise towards schism.

My point is broader. As my just delivered book shows (specifically about the affinity between Broad Church Anglicanism and Unitarianism in the 19C) shows, this movement leftwards has a long background. Bishop Spong is just one of the latest. I don't find his approach soulless at all. What I find odd is something like the theology of Rowan Williams (and sticking to his theology for now) in which he pushes language to the limit and lives within the detail to make claims that can't be sustained outside of it. Theologians before him have seen the problem, and the notion that he maintains orthodoxy inside what looks like a bubble is problematic to say the least, and without any of the devices of understanding the bubble as employed by someone like John Milbank. Rowan Williams finds Spong as depressing as you do, and has wondered why he doesn't join the Quakers instead, but I just think there is an honesty about Spong and a more direct relationship between application of religion and contemporary culture and its application to Anglican approaches.

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 20 January 2007 at 1:56pm GMT

NP wrote: "You have to make a positive case - not just complain about discrimination etc etc.
(Clue - the answer is no)"

I have to make a positive case? because you cannot??

What I told you in my comment was that there isn't one. That which is necessary for Salvation is in the Bible, but a host of later subjects don't.

They did not exist.

"Sex" was not invented as a "problem" outside of the Alexandrian Academy. Not in the Bible.

Nor is ordinations to the Bishopric or Priesthood or whatever found in the Bible. They were not invented.

Not in the Bible.

Do try to be serious next time (provide anything to make your claims probable).

King Kong theology.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 20 January 2007 at 9:26pm GMT

I still find it interesting that Swedish bishops are invited to Lambeth Conferences as a matter of course, but Dr Rowan has to "explain" (= present excuses for) inviting the Anglican Presiding Bishop of the Americas.

:-(

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 20 January 2007 at 9:29pm GMT

Dave wrote: “And anyway, the issue is not *people* who are homosexual - but *homosexuality*...."

Goran wrote: "Your camp are the ones who do that, Dave. Nobody else."

Dear Goran, that is not objectively true. I would argue that I am not unfairly discriminating against a *person* when I disapprove of their *sexuality* or *sexual behaviour*. In fact most liberals would join me in disapproving of many *sexualities* or *sexual behaviours* (eg zoophilia, paedophilia, promiscuity, polygamy). It just comes down to which sexualites and sexual behaviours you believe are "good" or "bad"!

What is more, many liberal activists would argue that they are not unfairly discriminating against a *person* when they disapprove of their *religion* or *religious behaviour*! They bifurcate when it suits them and denounce bifurcation when it suits them!

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 20 January 2007 at 10:17pm GMT

Dave once again twists logic to turn around an argument. If a person does the harmful deed, then the person is imprisoned not the deed, so these sorts of "love the sinner not the sin" arguments are quite limited.

Once again, it is very simple, we are talking about stable, loving, positive relationships, or intended and can be, not exploitations of sexual advantage and power, or to be biblical (for a moment), allying sex with the idolatry of behaviours that in the end prove rather worthless and disposable. However, faffing around with other people for a bit of fleshly entertainment it is just not that big a deal, whereas threatening people who are homosexual or who have or seek homosexual relationships is a very big deal.

These people, like others, are who they are, contribute to the good, and are part of the stability of society as are all relationships that are about the other person and the self. So, we say, recognition of these relationships is a good thing, including offical, adds to the quality of our society, and should be blessed. Then let these people, like anyone else, enjoy themselves in bed.

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 21 January 2007 at 3:21am GMT

King Kong theology (Göran Koch-Swahne)

Can you explain this? One minute it is directed at NP and the previous minute it might have transmitted Unitarianism in Transylvania to the USA.

I can only think King Kong theology beats its chest, climbs up high and makes a display of itself, oppresses women and threatens other people's airspace. Perhaps in the Transylvanian case it means running between the trees (Transylvania is the Land beyond the Trees).

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 21 January 2007 at 3:28am GMT

Dear Pluralist, That's better! Now we are debate the real issue - "why some sexualities should be approved of / disapprove of, and how far one group should go in imposing it's views on the rest of us".

In my view "stable, loving, positive relationships, or intended and can be, not exploitations of sexual advantage and power" are indeed some of the characteristics that help us decide whether a sexual relationship is "righteous" in God's eyes.. Marriage is not righteous if it is not "stable, loving, positive" or is "exploitation of sexual advantage and power". But I also think that for a sexual relationship to be righteous it has to reflect all God's intentions. Hence some consensual sexual practices would, in my view, be unrighteous, because they deface the image of God in humanity - Gerontophilia, Incest, Divorce-and-Remarriage and Bisexuality would be among those orientations/behaviours that I would say fall into that category - not just homosexuality.

God's intentions for human sexuality are strongly indicated by the way our bodies are made, the way we reproduce, and the way we grow old together. The sexual desires/orientations that human beings experience are not very good indicators of what God intended!

Posted by Dave at Sunday, 21 January 2007 at 4:24pm GMT

This idea of ';what God intended' is so ridiculously rigid and deterministic - toytown theology with a Big daddy God in the sky planning it all from afar. Surely we should have grown out of such infantilism?

In any case, this has precisely nothing to do with civil law, which should not be unduly influenced by minority religions such as evangelical Christianity.

Posted by Merseymike at Sunday, 21 January 2007 at 10:09pm GMT

Dave wrote: “I would argue that I am not unfairly discriminating against a *person* when I disapprove of their *sexuality* or *sexual behaviour*.”

Dear Dave, you know very well that nobody in the other camp agrees on this kind of talk. Do try to show some respect!

Dave wrote: “In fact most liberals would join me in disapproving of many *sexualities* or *sexual behaviours* (eg zoophilia, paedophilia, promiscuity, polygamy).”

Which precisely should make you re-think you pre-conceptions. They might be wrong, you know.

Dave wrote: “It just comes down to which sexualites and sexual behaviours you believe are "good" or "bad"!”

Again, nothing anybody on the other side would accept as a valid statement.

Dave wrote: “What is more, many liberal activists would argue that they are not unfairly discriminating against a *person* when they disapprove of their *religion* or *religious behaviour*! “

Irreligious behaviour, Dave. The World, not the KIngdom.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 21 January 2007 at 10:11pm GMT

"King Kong theology (Göran Koch-Swahne)

Can you explain this?"

Sorry, Pluralist, I wasn't at all clear.

Though I'm not totally ignorant of Transylvania (the mother of friends from school-days was born there) I have some reading to do about this (and I still don't at all understand the links from eastern Europe to American 20th century Calvinism)...

I'll try to sort things out tomorrow after a very long night's sleep.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 21 January 2007 at 10:16pm GMT

Dave, I do not at all understand how you come to pronounce on God's "intentions"?

It's blasphemy in my book.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 21 January 2007 at 10:18pm GMT

Goran - you seem confused. It is very easy to make a positive case for whatI believe as I am affirming what is clearly taught from Gen to Rev. I am not trying to say words which say do not do x means it is good to do x. You are trying to say that something which is never described as good and holy is exactly that - but you cannot make a positive case for what you want (with a relevant basis)

Ford - re which ideas make me lose confidence in people: I think certain very important and clear words are undermined often, leaving some with false security and hope (eg I don't see texts like Jn3:36 reflected honestly in what some teach - making what they say incomplete and just plain misleading)

Posted by NP at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 7:25am GMT

NP noted
It is very easy to make a positive case for what I believe as I am affirming what is clearly taught from Gen to Rev.

In a weak moment, I mused on what a wonderful tool in anti-mission this might be, that the only consistent attitude in Scripture, the only moral question always answered negatively, is that of homosexuality. Everything else — war, pollution, wealth, polygamy — is represented with variant views, and therefore Christians may legitimately differ in accordance with conscience, BUT NOT GAYS.

Thus God's happy to let us ponder whether or not to drop The Bomb, but as for two men Doing Things, no, never! What a wonderfully bizarre sense of the important our God possesses! What a wonderful message to take to the rest of the world. "Rejoice, God says that you may well be able to kill one another and keep him happy, but you gays, keep your trousers on."

I'm sure it goes down a wow in Arkansas.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 9:56am GMT

Mynster,

No, it is not the only moral issue - that was your spin.....

Just to take one example: being greedy is consistently described as wrong of course. As you know, there are some who preach little more than "greed is good" in the so called "prosperity gospel". I disagree with them because they are saying something which is clearly and consistently taught as wrong is good and holy and they are misleading people as a result.

We have to take the specific teaching of texts and read them in their context and then the context of the whole book - we cannot just ignore bits we do not like and keep integrity (I am sure you will agree)

Posted by NP at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 12:19pm GMT

Pluralist,
Well, as I said, I don't know much about Spong, except that he is considered by the Right as iconic of what's wrong with the Left, and his 12 theses. I am unable to debate his theology. I merely put his name out to show the folly of the Right in assuming that everybody who disagrees with them believes, en masse, what they feel is the worst of heresy.
That said, the Incarnation, as an example, informs everything about my faith. To take the Incarnate God out of Christianity seems to me to leave us with a flimsy, ill-supported moral code. I couldn't find one of the "theses" to agree with, and each one made me wonder, actually, how Spong reads poetry. He seems to have a very concrete, scientific view. Why, for instance, is the Ascension impossible because we now know that Heaven isn't "up"? I came back to faith in large part because I came to realize, after 11 years as an Emergency doctor, that there is more to the human experience than what can be measured in a lab. There is a thing, "humanity", that is not amenable to scientific analysis or understanding. It possesses something of the "otherness", from our worldly standpoint, that we consider to apply to God. It must be experienced rather than being understood, again, like God. Spong seems to miss this entirely in what seems to be his desire to reconcile religion and science. It's a reconciling that isn't necessary. It's as though the patrons of an art gallery ran onto a rugby pitch demanding everyone give up playing rugby because it isn't art, and one of the rugby players decided to make rugby look artistic.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

NP,
Why is it so important to you to have Jn:3:36 "reflected honestly? I truly don't understand the Evangelical drive to make sure that it is pronounced as plainly as possibly that if you aren't a Christian, God will roast you for all Eternity. I think if you go back to Scripture, Jesus said this most forcefully to those who oppressed the poor and the destitute and thought that their wordly position meant something. Is getting into Heaven when you die what Christianity is all about for you? Is condemnation for unbelievers the Gospel we are called to preach to every creature? Is the Great Commission about making sure that people are so afraid for their Immortal Soul that they become Christians? Is fear actually an appropriate means of evangelism? Effective, yes, but appropriate?

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 1:47pm GMT

Hello Ford

We are concerned that the whole message is taught honestly and without using fear or any manipulation, for the benefit of those who hear.

So,I do not want the large amount of teaching on the poor, for example, to be excluded but I cannot agree with anyone who will leave out or change any teaching they do not accept.....because it ain't their message to change.

We have to be faithful in our handling of teaching - its intended meaning and broader context (I am sure you will agree)

Posted by NP at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 2:14pm GMT

No-one 'ignores'anything, NP

They may, however, decide that the text no longer applies, for any number of reasons - in this instance, because of subsequent knowledge , and insight and understanding of the cultural, historical and practical limitations of the time of writing. For example, the entire lack of understanding of sexual orientation by the Bible's authors and in Biblical times.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 3:55pm GMT

Merseymike - once again we come to the basic reason why we agree there has to be a split:
I think there is just one main author and He knows exactly what he is talking about (he did then and he does now)but you seem to disagree.

But just being logical, if you want to argue that texts can become obsolete, why do you protest that you do not ignore them - is that not exactly what you are doing?

Posted by NP at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 4:43pm GMT

"without using fear or any manipulation"

But in my experience this is what Evangelicals mean by Evangelism! I was a target of it for pretty much the first half of my life. You would seem to be practicing a very different kind of Evangelicalism than anything I am familiar with. You claim the message isn't to be changed, yet you are an Evangelical! Your tradition of Christianity is as different from everything that went before the Reformation as it is from Judaism. Whether you like it or not, the Reformation was a radical change from everything that had gone before. Some of the changes were necessary, but most were not. It represented a change not only away from the excesses of the medieval papacy, but also away from the teachings of the previous 1500 years, and even changed the attitude towards humanity and its relationship to God. This presents a problem for you, since if you are not going to be Roman Catholic or Orthodox, and, if you are going to oppose modern innovations, you have to justify accepting the radical changes of the Reformation. Merely claiming that the Reformation was a move back to a more "Biblical" Christianity doesn't cut it, I'm afraid, since, while it might have been the pious desire of some reformers, it didn't even come close to succeeding, for obvious reasons. This also means you are not preaching "the whole message".

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 5:34pm GMT

NP - you miss the point. 'Greed' is (naturally) condemned, but it is a word which can only be applied to something morally wrong, as is the case with all the seven deadly ones.

'Wealth' is more analogous to the case in point. It is a physical state, not a moral construct, and attitudes to it (and marriage, pre-marital sex, idolatry and all the rest) differ throughout Scripture.

Get out clauses seem to exist for everything else other than homosexuality (or so it seems) and the world out there is getting the impression that the only thing which worries God these days (since he can cope with genocide, etc etc) is homosexuality. And they're thinking 'what a waste of space'.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 7:02pm GMT

NP wrote: “We have to take the specific teaching of texts and read them in their context and then the context of the whole book – we cannot just ignore bits we do not like and keep integrity (I am sure you will agree)”.

Now, dear NP, this is the opposite to what is happening in late Modernity. The Opposite.

I have tried to tell you several times that there is not (what you call) a “case”. Most of the 20th century anti-modern teachings of American sects were unknown before late Modernity. First Modernity, then anti-modern.

Moreover, from a Biblical point, they are made up. They do not figure in the Biblical texts. Not in any of them. There is no case.

Your “case” is the Emperor’s new clothes. Novel and un-heard-of 20th century heresies.

So what is happening is not that anybody “just ignore[s] bits we do not like” (an extraordinary Idea in itself), but that some invents things that are not there, never was, and never shall be.

I N V E N T S.

The context of the Holy Scriptures (always in the plural) of the Bible is not Alexandrian Neo Platonism cum Gnosticism, nor late-modern American Social Politics.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 8:38pm GMT

Ford asked NP: “Why is it so important to you to have Jn:3:36 "reflected honestly? I truly don't understand the Evangelical drive to make sure that it is pronounced as plainly as possibly that if you aren't a Christian, God will roast you for all Eternity.”

I know that this mis-reading of Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo is at the centre of all sects within post 16th century Calvinism, but surely, it would be less incongruous if read out of a n y other book but the gospel of John which says on its first page, that Christ Jesus is the Creation Word of God, encompassing ALL and sundry.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 8:39pm GMT

NP wrote to Merseymike: “But just being logical, if you want to argue that texts can become obsolete, why do you protest that you do not ignore them – is that not exactly what you are doing?”

Not that I understand what NP is trying to say (and I am pretty sure it’s not my English), but texts and words d o become obsolete.

Moreover, it is precisely the obsolete texts that have been re-circled for latter-day Social Politics – in cases several times over, such as the 1 Cor 6:9 malakoì (claimed for a 1000 years in both East and West to refer to Masturbation, the particular horror of Gnosticist/Platonist philosophers) or 1 Peter 4:3-9 (re-used for consecrations as Biblical “proof” for the mandatory priestly celibacy of Laterans II and III, and post 1955 re-circled as anti-gay – but still in the Danish translation correctly translated as honesty towards one’s Neighbour in Commerce) or even Jude verse 7 (“puròs” translated as “pur” fire – swiftly transmogrified into Eternal Fire to prove” the 1215 teachings on “Purgatory” of Lateran IV – and nowadays doubled in length to become anti-gay… sometimes incorporating the “Angels”, the Archons of early Jewish Gnostic speculation upon the somewhat heterosexual adventures of the Ladies of Sodom ;=)

There are also quite novel novelties, such as when the deceitful eyes of 2 Peter 2:14 are turned into “lecherous women” or the “try to become Free if you can” of 1 Cor 7:21 is turned into its opposite “don’t try to become Free if you can”.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 22 January 2007 at 8:40pm GMT

Mynster - so what do you make of the great wealth of highly commended people like David and Abraham, Lydia and even Job when he was restored? Not sure you can prove from scripture that wealth per se is a sin but greed clearly is - you will not be surprised that I do not buy your construct.

Ford - I do not find the point about traditions very strong but I agree with you that we evos too fail to give the whole message to some extent (especially in our lives but also in our words) BUT there is a big difference between this (human falleness) and a few people deciding in their wisdom that certain texts are now irrelevant or even wrong because it does not fit with their world view or desires.....we have to encourage all to tell the whole truth (yes, and nothing but the truth)without distortion and with integrity.....for the benefit of those that hear.

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 7:38am GMT

No, NP, you Evos fail to give the message to a large extent, and hypocritically at that. I have no doubt you have heard preachers going on about how homosexuality is sinful and, at least I hope it was this mild, gay people must be celibate. When was the last time you heard a preacher tell all the wealthy people they must sell all they have and give it to the poor or they will go to Hell? At least that's something Jesus actually said. It's also something that was fairly commonly done in the early Church, if we are to believe martyrologies from the first few centuries. I doubt your churches would be as full as you like to gloat about if you did that, though. But it's just another way in which we have sold out to the world and now can't see it. What's wrong with this is that Evos love to tell "Liberals" how they are "wedded to the world" and seeking the world's approval, reasons that I have never heard any "Liberal" give for anything, while being completely unable to see how their presentation of a comfortable middle class Western lifestyle as being somehow Divinely ordained is just as bad as any sellout they see in the Left. Trust me, the world sees the hypocrisy of this even if you don't

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 11:56am GMT

Dear NP,

Didn't Mynsterpreost just tell you that wealth and greed are not the same, that you are mixing h o w (= Greed) with w h a t (= wealth, sexuality)?

Read his post again!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 2:59pm GMT

"Not sure you can prove from scripture that wealth per se is a sin"
Something about camels and eyes of needles comes to mind, NP. And there is a long tradition in the early Church of people feeling that devoting their lives to Christ meant giving away all their possessions. I'd suggest you go to the Mission St. Clare site and read the lives of the Orthodox saints. You will see many for whom wealth was not compatible with Godliness. But, then, that comes after the final full stop of Revelation, so I guess that's just the "traditions of men". I think if you read the New Testament you will find that Jesus's attitude towards the wealthy was not entirely laudatory. Your position comes from proof texting, not a great way to enter into the mind of Scripture.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 4:46pm GMT

Ford - do you really think JC challenged the rich young ruler to sell all he had bceause he intended that as a command to all people who follow him? Seriously?

Complaining about the hypocrisy of opponents or human rights is no argument at all - a positive, convincing case has to be made if an innovation is to have any credibility and that has never been done.

The issue remains: 2000 yrs of scripture, tradition and the church saying do not do x (whether that is about lies or greed or anything else) - if people want to say that x is actually holy and good, it has to be shown convincingly that x is holy and was always intended to be holy.

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 5:18pm GMT

NP,
Yes! I would refer you back to your previous argument about leaving out the things you do not accept. What else could He have meant? You are making the same argument about wealth that you refute when it is used about gay people. And my comments on hypocrisy are not an argument for anything. I am simply pointing out that the Church presents a very hypocritical face to the world She seeks to evangelize, it discredits the message. Why are you so surprised that gay people won't listen to you? Have you never had anyone cast the hypocrisy of the Church in your teeth? If not, you need to get out more.
As to a convincing case being made for "innovation", as you call it, well, you will never be convinced by any argument that goes outside of Scripture. This is actually a crisis of authority, as you well know. Those of us for whom the Bible is the Church's book, part of Holy Tradition, will never convince you who believe that the Bible IS the tradition and is to be taken literally at that. You won't even acknowledge that this attitude was just as innovative in its time as anything you accuse the "reassors" of today.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 6:39pm GMT

NP said
Mynster - so what do you make of the great wealth of highly commended people like David and Abraham, Lydia and even Job when he was restored? Not sure you can prove from scripture that wealth per se is a sin but greed clearly is - you will not be surprised that I do not buy your construct.

Au contraire, you have bought it entirely (by acknowledging the distinction between 'fact' statement and 'moral' statement).

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 8:39pm GMT

Ford is perfectly able to answer Yes! on his own...

I just want to ask why Calvinist Bibles "translate" the young man neanískos (cf néantis; young woman, in Jes 7:14) as "rich young ruler"?

To distance him from US, so that we won't answer Yes?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 9:37pm GMT

Goran,
It may well a subconscious attempt to do that, but it has entered the lexicon of Evangelical catch phrases, right up there with "Bible believing" and "accepting Jesus as your personal Saviour". I doubt they ponder the meanings all that much, and certainly don't understand what their use of such phrases says about them.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 1:26pm GMT

Göran observed:
I just want to ask why Calvinist Bibles "translate" the young man neanískos (cf néantis; young woman, in Jes 7:14) as "rich young ruler"?

How fascinating! Which version?

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 4:47pm GMT

You're probably quite right, Ford.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 9:16pm GMT

First post lost in Cyber…

A longer version (397 words): Mark 10:17 (40-50), Luke 18:18 (around 70), Matt 19:16 (120-140 – not testified before Ireneus’s Adversus haeraeus 170/180)

The man in question is part of the 3rd person singular masculine verb “came” in the first verse of both Mark and Matt. Luke, however, specifies “arxon”; Lord or Gentleman. Matt says “o neanískos”, the young man, in verses 20 and 22.

Most ancient texts (including Codex Bezae) follow Mark in verse 20; The young man said to Him: “Efulaksámän ek neótätós mou” I have done this from my youth. Some other texts follow Luke; Efúlaksa ek neótätos, which means the same.

The 20th century United Bible Societies’ “Novum”, however, changes this to “Pánta taûta efúlaksa” I have done all this… following a twice corrected first version in Codex Sinaïticus, as far as I can see from the notes.

So the UBS isn’t happy about a young man saying: I have done this from my youth (= bar mitzvah ;=)

There are 2 themes in both Mark and Luke, but only 1 in Matt. The man addresses Jesus as Good Teacher! what shall I do to enter Heaven? Jesus answers Why do you call me good? only God is Good!

This is conspicuously absent from Matt, where the young man asks instead What good Deeds he must do – and Jesus answers: Do you want to be “téleios” perfect? Go and sell your belongings and give “ptwxoîs” the beggars (lit. those who cower).

One would suspect the real Jesus would have said: Deeds won’t do; only God is Perfect…

IM not so humble O the difference reflects the changed, works-oriented congregational discipline and teaching in 2nd century Alexandria, accommodating the ways of the World including the human category of “great and good” and the re-subordination of women and slaves in the Congregation (cf the later still Pastorals).

To answer my own question, I would suggest, that the headlining of Matt (the gospel that gets quoted, if at all…) in late modern translations as The Rich Young Ruler (harmonizing the 3 rubrics of the concocted and copy-righted Novum of Calvinist UBS) is meant to obscure the differences (and the importance thereof) between the different gospels of the one Gospel in particular, and of the Holy Scriptures (always in the plural) in general.

Go to www.biblegateway.com for half an hour and enjoy yourself!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 11:43pm GMT
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