Comments: Drenched in Grace: Anglicans, Inclusion and the Gospel

Not very inclusive on the price of the conference, is it?

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 4:51pm GMT

Sounds like a wonderful time! If anyone out there has frequent flier miles or funds they don't know what to do with and wants to send an American seminarian, I'll be the first to volunteer!

Posted by Sarah Dylan Breuer at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 7:48pm GMT

Will someone briefly explain what the Church Army is for a clueless Yank? My intimate knowledge church things English does not include this - I expect because I've not yet read a good murder mystery with a character who is a member! Thanks.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 9:06pm GMT

Cynthia-- The Church Army is an Anglican related society of laypeople who function as evangelists for the Church in the world. See http://www.churcharmy.org.uk/ca/us/PurposeValuesAndVision.asp
Blessings.

Posted by Andrew Gerns at Tuesday, 23 January 2007 at 11:42pm GMT

So inclusive that any serious conservative evangelical could sign up to the description! Indeed we could probably send some people along to tell you what we've been doing. Opening coffee shops and bookshops on high streets, creating seeker friendly services, creating discussion based courses held in homes away from threatening Church buildings, knocking doors inviting people to churches and offering literature. Preaching a Gospel that says that people are sinners but the God who is loving and full of Grace stepped into history to offer salvation so that people can be included in his community and transformed.

Posted by dave williams at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 12:24am GMT

Thank you Dave. You've summed up the theological difference between us very succinctly.

You say God stepped into history to offer salvation so that people CAN BE included in his community.

I say God stepped into history so that people ARE included in his community. Yes, even conservative evangelicals. No conditionality: no requirement on "accepting" anything. Are included. Are included.

Posted by JBE at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 8:20am GMT

Sarah - some bursaries are available, but not sure they'd cover a flight from USA! contact details re bursaries on the booking form -

Posted by Giles Goddard at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 11:14am GMT

JBE sounds like a serious outbreak of Christianity

What a shame the Churches so often obscure this gospel truth : we are accepted.

I appreicate your having differentiated between the two so neatly and turned my heart to eternity on a cold, snowy Wednesday morning !

Yes the jazzy lenten whateverit is won't be able to xpunge the antics and hurt of Cormac, Rowan and John... a real shame that..........


Thanks...

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 11:18am GMT

"You say God stepped into history to offer salvation so that people CAN BE included in his community.

I say God stepped into history so that people ARE included in his community."

To Affirm, against the Vale of Tears Demiurge nonsense of Evil Indo European Philosophy.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 12:11pm GMT

There's that word again, 'Transformed'. So easily said. So easily glossed over. So easily meaning, 'just tidied up a bit for the already quite decent straight folk who like lawns and things' or 'renounce your sexuality, it's okay, I'm smiling and Jesus loves you - emasculate yourself for Jesus'. See, this is a common misconception that comes along with modern homophobic prejudice - that gay men (sorry ladies for not arguing your corner here) have already surrendered their masculinity because of the common stereotype of the fey, feminized self-deprecator with limp wrists.

God has filled me with hormones, desire, passion, admiration and love [even LUST - *screams*] oriented toward my own sex. I live this out with honesty and mutual consent and respect and support and friendship and love according to my conscience and my FAITH. You want me to transform that into wearing a cardigan for Christ because Calvin had a bee in his bonnet? While YOU have happy access to carnal pleasure ad nauseum?

You have no right to tell me to 'transform' in the name of Christ. The Holy Spirit of God is transforming me RIGHT NOW into something neither you or I could expect or even hope for.

Posted by Matthew Hunt at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 4:53pm GMT

Oh but you see, Matthew, God only created what's good. All the bad comes from the Devil. Of course, the fact that that's Dualism isn't acknowledged. Or recognized. Our rector says that all the old heresies still exist, just in different forms. As far as I can see, Evangelicalism is a curious mixture of Arianism and Catharism.
And JBE, spot on!
Despite this, Dave Williams, what you said about evangelism gives me pause for thought and possible resources.

Posted by Ford ELms at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 7:17pm GMT

Ford,

Glad to give you pause for thought.

Not dualism -but yes there is something called evil, there are bad things in the world, violence greed, usury, rape, murder, corruption. To say that I am like something isn't the same as to say that this is how God created the world or that it is how I will be at the end. I'm an asthmatic, short sighted, short tempered, sarcastic, thin skinned, grumpy, soft hearted, loving, Yorkshireman who likes reading, sunsets and Bradford City winning. Now to insist that all of those things are how God made me and so I don't want transformation now or in the future wouldn't be particularly healthy.

And as for Matthew's comments no I wasn't thinking specifically about homosexuality. Out of every 100 people I meet I expect between 1-10 of them to be gay based on most published stats. So I do tend most of the time to be thinking about the sins that affect the other 90% of people.

So basically there are several differences here.

In the main
Is the Gospel transformational?
If it is transformational is it automatic to everyone?
If the Gospel is transformational what is the transformation it brings about.

But that's a whole different debate to the posturing over inclusivism, bigotry and fundamentalism isn't it!

Dave

Posted by dave williams at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 9:00pm GMT

Matthew,

Both and... The Holy Spirit is certainly the one who does the transforming but the Bible also talks about us doing some putting off and putting on. And to reinforce -I'm not interested in a little bit of re-arranging -transformation for me personally in terms of what I need means transformation, radical, life upside down turning from the inside out.

Dave

Posted by dave williams at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 9:07pm GMT

Today I have felt drenched 0--but not by grace ! ......

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 24 January 2007 at 9:54pm GMT

>Evangelicalism is a curious mixture of Arianism and Catharism.<

Oh come on. What nonsense is that? How come?

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 12:24am GMT

Why assume that its not your homophobia which requires transforming, Dave, rather than my sexuality and the loving relationship I enjoy which flows from that?

Conservatives can never envisage that it might be them who have got it wrong!

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 8:53am GMT

"What nonsense is that?"
Emotional hyperbole, largely. My patience with things Evangelical was a little thin. However, you cannot avoid the "Buddy Christ" imagery found either overt or covert in much Evangelical talk. The full implication of the God-Man concept seems lost. Maybe I've been reading too much Orthodox literature, of whom someone said she found they had "too much God and not enough Carpenter" in their attitude towards Christ. I find much of what Evangelicals say to be slanted in exactly the opposite direction. Hence the 'Arianism'. The "Catharism" refers to what seem sto be dualism. Evil seems to be understood as the product of the Evil One, and at times, Evil seems to take on an equality with God. Look at the Left Behind mythology. There is very clearly set out the idea of a war between Good and Evil, more like Zoroastrian concepts than Christian ones, despite being based on the imagery of Revelation. A very large number of Evangelicals buy into this Left Behind/Rapture mythology, and their expressed thoughts and attitudes seem to show a relatively dualistic concept, IMNSHO. Not enough to warrent a charge of Catharism, I guess. Sorry.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 1:51pm GMT

Dave Williams,
"Is the Gospel transformational?"
Absolutely.

"If it is transformational is it automatic to everyone?"
Not sure what you mean here, but if you are asking whether we are all called to metanoia, then yes, our lives should be continually seeking how to be more Christlike.

"If the Gospel is transformational what is the transformation it brings about."
Ah, here's the rub. You seem to think that because "liberals" don't call homosexuals to repentance, but seek for acceptance of monogamous homosexual relationships, this must mean "Liberals" do not beleve the Gospel is transformational. This is untrue, those with whom I have spoken take the call to metanoia very seriously. It is a call to change all aspects of one's life that lead us away from God. It is not about giving up specific things as 'sinful' but about a much deeper transformation of the soul that seeks theosis. It is theosis we are called to, and this can only be achieved by transforming our lives to be more Christlike. This is a different attitude towards metanoia, but it is untrue to suggest that because "Liberals" don't preach a fire and brimstone, "don't do that, that's sinful" message, then they must not believe the Gospel to be transformational , and is a rather uninformed assessment, actually.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 2:03pm GMT

Ford,

Ah well, it seems that all anyone round here wants to discuss is homosexuality!

I'm also impressed at the ability of people to tell me what I'm thinking when al I'm doing is asking questions

I give up...

Posted by dave williams at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 6:41pm GMT

Hm, Ford: in most of my encounters with evangelical theology, the tendency has been docetist rather than Arian - that the emphasis has been to prove the divinity, even at the expense of devaluing the humanity.

I have heard one of the Brethren express outrage at the suggestion that Jesus was not omniscient - being God, surely he knew the world was spheroid, could have designed an electron microscope etc. It's as if it's more important that Jesus was God than that he was human.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 9:16pm GMT

Arianism is subordinate divinity, the first born of all creation... It is fanciful. A more contemporary Arianism was recognition of divnity but the superioroity of the Father, and it was biblical especially John's Gospel. And that which was in John's Gospel, and had started with Paul, was on the road to the Gnostics and the Cathars.

The point here is both Arians and Cathars were subject to rejection and repression, especially the Cathars. In those days Archbishops did not just write direct letters to every member of the cabinet, or in the Anglican case more indirect and understated ones to maintain a prejudice among some believers. They were subject to it because orthodoxy had a relationship with power.

As my book on nineteenth century radicals has reminded me, and could have said much better, one of the functions of radicalism and the going heresies of the day was to break open power structures that were dominant at the time but worn out. Perhaps we are seeing something similar today. Today's evangelicals aren't much compared with their blooded forebears, but they are being sidelined and marginalised as the community at large decides to be inclusive and they cannot be so.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 25 January 2007 at 10:09pm GMT

Whatever we call it, all this is just different ways to (fail to) understand the same Thing.

I cannot see that "ways" trump "Thing".

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 6:39am GMT

Going back to Dave's three questions (because I've only just come across this discussion) -

Is the Gospel transformational?
If it is transformational is it automatic to everyone?
If the Gospel is transformational what is the transformation it brings about?

Yes, the Gospel is transformational, but my understanding is that it transforms society, not just individuals! That's why it's the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Our politics, and especially our economics, are radically corrupted by sin, and need to be equally radically transformed.

Posted by Philip Gardner at Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 4:29pm GMT

What about the simplicity of the gospel? What about seeing it through the eyes of a child? That which is complex is only so because of its utter simplicity. The gospel is true as it occurs to you in a certain time at a certain place. Therefore, in itself, the gospel is transformational.

Posted by kate at Wednesday, 6 May 2009 at 9:37pm BST
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