Comments: Church of Scotland admits to 'historic intolerance'

2 Tim 4:3

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 12:33pm BST

Just to be clear and avoid confusion, the Church of Scotland is a Presbyterian church and is not the equivalent of the Church of England in Scotland. Although it is the national church it is not established in the same way as the CofE.

The Scottish Episcopal Church is the Anglican church north of the Border (www.scotland.anglican.org).

Apologies if I am teaching anyone's granny to suck eggs!

Posted by Kennedy Fraser at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 1:28pm BST


2 Tim 3.5

Posted by Abigail Ann Young at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 1:34pm BST

2 Tim 4:2

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 1:41pm BST

1 Samuel 18: 1-4

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 1:47pm BST

NP, Might it be possible that 2 Tim 4:3 refers to what happened in Europe around 500 years ago, give or take? Just a suggestion. If it isn't possible, why isn't it possible?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 2:12pm BST

Sad, how quicly a wonderfully crafted and thoughtful report is debated as though it were about scoring points in a tennis match

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 2:34pm BST

Funny how some of us get hung up on quoting isolated verses in various Epistles in the NT.

Anyone who quotes single verses should be ashamed at taking what often turns out to be one half of a sentence and assuming it to be a complete statement. I can't call this anything less than an abuse of scripture, no matter who does it. I wonder how those poor people in so-called "traditionalist" parishes get by; do their pastors assume they don't read the rest of the paragraph (even in their own time)? I am sure that St Paul would be appalled to have his letters read only in the detail while missing the whole. He'd certainly have a lot to say about the whole chapter-and-verse habit that some people have got into. Especially when it supports the *punishment now, sentence later* school of ecclesiastical bullying.

Posted by kieran crichton at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 2:38pm BST

The Church of Scotland is the Established Church in and of Scotland. The Queen is its Supreme Govenor also.

She is a Presbyterian in Scotland and an Anglican when in England. There is something to be said for pragmatism you know. But it has to cut both (or all) ways to work ...

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 2:41pm BST

Who is Tim ? Popular lad !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 2:42pm BST

Oh! What fun! Can I play, too?

John 3:17

Posted by Marshall Scott at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 3:11pm BST

The Church of Scotland would describe itself as a National church rather than an Established church, as Kennedy rightly noted above. The Queen most certainly is not the Supreme Governor of the Church of Scotland.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 3:15pm BST

Laurence Roberts asked: "Who is Tim?"

A nom de guerre for whomever some in Smyrna wanted to succeed old Polycarp, it seems...

But you laddies and lassie; do you seriously consider a mid 2nd century forgery in Paul's name "scripture"?

If so, Why?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 3:41pm BST

Gay wedding bells in Gretna Green!

Seriously, this is a hugely important document which I look forward to reading in depth. Could this be presented as part of the Listening Process in the AC?

If the established church of one part of UK favours blessing same-sex couples, and now that more and more civil partnerships are taking place across the country, shouldn't the Church of England's General Synod be pressing for the same?

Praying that one day the AC will admit its own institutional homophobia.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 3:45pm BST

Strange how some never want to bring verses into the discussion.....and Kieran objects to a relevant quotationn re false teaching (which is what I see from Scotland) but does not object to a hopelessly out of context quote from the OT!

Yes Ford, some may have argued that the reformation was based on wrong ideas - the test would have been whether they could criticise the ideas with the authority of scripture or whether the reformation ideas were based on scripture and the objections were not.

And yes, I place much most weight on the authority of scriptures because the traditions of men can very easily be corrupt, as we all know.

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 3:49pm BST

Laurence:

Two things.
1)The Church of Scotland is the 'National' Church rather than the 'Established' church of Scotland. Scotland doesn't have an established church.

2)The Queen is not the Supreme Governor of the CofS. The CofS doesn't have a Supreme Governor. When in Scotland, the monarch is simply a member of the church (albeit a senior and honoured member).

Posted by northern_soul at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 3:54pm BST

NP - I think you are capable of a thoughtful critique of the report, and I for one wish you would give us the benefit of it. You give the impression, no doubt wrongly, of having nothing more than knee jerk responses to positions which you do not agree with. All that does is to tell us what you disagree with, which most of us know anyway.

For example, you say "I place much most weight on the authority of scriptures because the traditions of men can very easily be corrupt, as we all know"

Would you respond to the report's point that the weight placed on the authority of scriptures can also be corrupt, as we also know? Look, especially, at this passage:

"Rowan Williams has observed that the analogy with race is particularly interesting partly because of the history of discrimination which black people have faced. Indeed such discrimination did at times consider black people to be at moral fault for being black, under the curse of Ham and in particular, more prone to promiscuity than people of other races."

For more, do a Google search on the "curse of Ham".

Posted by badman at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:05pm BST

2 Chron 7:14.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:06pm BST

I think its refreshing for a church to admit to its own homophobia - which the CofE cannot do - indeed, they fail to even recognise it!

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:30pm BST

My thanks. I stand corrected ! How many hail marys ? / metrical psalms ---you choose !

What is the legal and constitutional position of the C of S then please, ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:36pm BST

Oops, point taken northern_soul

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:41pm BST

NP, you write that, "And yes, I place much most weight on the authority of scriptures because the traditions of men can very easily be corrupt, as we all know."

Are texts in general incorruptible? Are they never (even unintentionally) altered in the transcribing, centuries ago?

Or is this perhaps generally true, but just not true with respect to the specific scriptures we now know as the canon? (Although that canon differs, as you know, with Copts/Ethiopians and Orthodox and RCs all admitting books either lacking from the KJV etc or relegated to apocryphal status in it -- and of course, Luther crafted a slightly different canon as well.)

And are plausible *readings* and valid interpretations of even non-corrupted texts always static over the centuries, and transcend all cultural and historical contexts and limitations in their (purported) plain meaning (when viewed centuries later, after multiple transcriptions and occasional emendations, not to mention being influenced by the act of translation (sometimes across multiple languages)?

Remember: The Word of God is not the Bible, but is the Risen Lord Himself. The Bible points to Him, but is not identical to Him, whether in Person or in Nature. It has always struck me that by elevating text over the Living Jesus (and over the reality of the Holy Spirit present among us), one runs the risk of heretically turning the Holy Trinity into a Holy Quadrinity: Father, Son, Spirit, and Book. Yet the Godhead is not revealed solely through pages of text subject to corruption and bound by culture and history.

Posted by Viriato da Silva at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:52pm BST

Just to be clear, The Queen is not the Supreme Governor of the Scottish Episcopal Church either, one reason being that the SEC did not have its origin as a daughter church of the CofE.

Posted by Kennedy Fraser at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 5:02pm BST

Oh badman, the abuse of the bible to justify racism is very similar to the abuse of it to justify what JC, St Paul, ST James, St Peter, Moses et al would clearly have called sin....as I have said many times, you have to make a positive case from the scriptures for the innovations of TEC.

The Timothy quotation I give is part of the teaching of the bible which warns us to keep on putting the highest weight on the scriptures exactly because their have always been people wanting to justify their own sin by ignoring the scriptures (eg slaveowners, preachers who supported apartheid SA )

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 5:06pm BST

Gerry, has there been a drought in Scotland, or a plague of locusts that I missed? Or is this some recondite allusion to the likely outcome of the election there?

Surely it can't be another clever reference cited out of context?

Posted by cryptogram at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 5:14pm BST

John 11:35

Posted by Dion at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 5:37pm BST

"whether the reformation ideas were based on scripture and the objections were not"

But this assumes that the Bible is a how to book for setting up a church. It assumes that the Bible encapsulates the Tradition of the Faith. Until the Reformation, this idea was unheard of.

"I place much most weight on the authority of scriptures because the traditions of men can very easily be corrupt."

And Scripture can very easily be used to justify some very unChristian behaviour. Don't forget Fred Phelps gets his guidance from Scripture. The prosperity Gospel people have the same attitude toward the authority of Scripture as you do. The Scriptures are meant to be interpreted by the Church under the guidance of the Spirit, not by individuals, no matter how scholarly they are, since they can easily read their biases into the document. It amazes me that you do not see this as "following the traditions of men". If Scripture is the seat of authority in the Church, how do you oppose people like Phelps and Osteen who clearly see Scripture as the source of their beliefs? Personally, I find it far safer to follow the understanding of the Church as a whole interpreting the Scriptures under the guidance of the Spirit in the light of Tradition than I do in claiming that some individual human understanding is right though it goes against 1500 of Church teaching. Both can go astray, but the risk is far greater with the latter.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 6:34pm BST

"relevant quotationn . . . hopelessly out of context quote"

NP, at least the Pope of Rome CLAIMS to be infallible. On what basis are we to accept YOUR judgment as to *which* Scripture quotations are "relevant" as opposed to "hopelessly out of context"?

*****

Good to see that the CofS gets it: that even IF same-sex forbidding interpretations were correct (which they ain't!), they simply CANNOT support the level of vituperative, HATEFUL condemnation leveled at LGBT people.

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 7:08pm BST

Isaiah 10:1-3
Ezekiel 16:49

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 7:10pm BST

"But you laddies and lassie; do you seriously consider a mid 2nd century forgery in Paul's name "scripture"?

If so, Why?"

Playing devil's advocate:

Because it became part of the official canon. If we assume that the canon was put together with some kind of divine inspiration, then it doesn't matter that modern people know that, shock, horror: "Shakespeare wasn't actually Shakespeare".

Or would you say the text only has authority because we know the name of its author?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 7:11pm BST

How about Matthew 7:1, NP?

Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 7:46pm BST

"I place much most weight on the authority of scriptures because the traditions of men can very easily be corrupt, as we all know"

I love that statement. Didn't men also write the Bible? How do we know that the men who edited, translated, copied, etc. weren't corrupt? How much of the Bible we know was subject to the person who was ordering/paying for the edition? Even from the beginning?

Posted by pseudopiskie at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 7:52pm BST

Job 38

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 8:50pm BST

COME ON TIM!!

(with due acknowledgement to the The Now Show)

Posted by kennedy at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 9:21pm BST

Guys, didn't you read what it said? It's not saying that the church in Scotland is going to suddenly accept same-sex partnerships etc, just that it's going to try to work to reconcile the different "sides" of the arguement so Christians can treat each other with respect and love even if they have differing opinions. Plus, it's not sufficient to just fling in a bible verse. Explain your reference, put it in context and explain your interpretation of it, otherwise what's the point?

Posted by Charlotte at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 9:46pm BST

2 Tim 3.5
2 Tim 4:2
1 Samuel 18: 1-4
2 Chron 7:14

Mornington Crescent?

(apologies to non-Brits)

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 10:17pm BST

Bible Battles! Just like at the Baptist Summer Camp our neighbors talked my parents into shipping me off to for a week as a child. How much fun! I thought only Fundies got to play this game! Thanks for bringing out this old game, NP!

Now all of you try to remember the rules of Bible Verse Spades:

1. always open with a gospel verse. It makes you sound like a real Christian.
2. No one can play anything from Leviticus until they have played all of the Gospel cards in their hand.
3. Verses from Revelation always trump the hand. So save your verses from Revelation until you really need them.
4. When the hand is played and you take it, tell the other team that you will pray for them. It is only Christian.

(and you AngloCatholics don't even try to quote verses from the Apocrypha. Southern Baptist Sunday School doesn't teach those books.)

So have fun kids! and don't forget to only quote verses using King James English!

Posted by Dennis at Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 11:12pm BST

You're right Charlotte. Quickly scanned the articles earlier and missed the crucial bit about local presbyteries overturning a general assembly vote in favour. Shame about that.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 12:29am BST

Fr Jerome Murphy O'Connor argues persuasively that 2 Timothy is an authentic writing of Paul!

Posted by Fr Joseph O'Leary at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 2:55am BST

NP wrote: "… the traditions of men can very easily be corrupt, as we all know."

This is one such occasion, NP – as must surely know by now. And scriptures of men are even more liable to corruption - as can be guessed from capital punishment for forgeing documents (there has never been any for mis-quoting ;=)

As the Bible (with the exception of 1 Cor 7:1-7) does not say anything at all about either the Philosophical category of the “Spilling of Semen” nor the Modern category of “Sex”, the 1st, 7th and 10th Commandments have been changed and re-written, along with the pertaining theological/technical terms porneía, akatharsía, moixeía, epithumía, and others, to legitimize such alien teaching.

These Academic sexualizations have been homo-sexualized in late Modernity, that is after 1947/1955 (and new ones invented).

Also, in the 1st Millennium “canon” (= rule, as in measure) meant the Creeds only, not the Good Book. The invention of our late “canonical” Bibles is mid 16th century.

The Tridentium sanctification of the late 12th century Scholastic re-writing of the Old Latin translation and the mutilated 1555 Geneva Bible – the rejection of the OT deutero-“canonicals” as “apocrypha” being intended to “canonize” the 2nd century NT pseudo-epigraphs!

Not to mention, that the order of the Books in a Christian LXX is different from that of a Jewish one, as is the order of a Lutheran to a Roman one. Also the present (Antiochene/Alexandrian) order of the 4 gospels of the one Gospel is different to the earliest (Western) order (Matt, John, Mark, Luke).

The order of the individual Books expressing historical or ideological differences, such as the (perceived) primacy of History or Philosophy (Wisdom), & c.

Of course, the Mazorets knew this all along: the in-sufficiency and dis-harmony of Scripture. If we change one jota more, it will all be lost ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 6:00am BST

Thanks for the verses everyone. Now, we can think about what they meant in their context, how they fit into the whole bible and how they apply to current situations - some will be illuminating if we do the work.

The debate in the AC is at its heart about the authority of scripture and what it teaches so this is where we need to spend our time too (sociological and rights-based arguments are not going to be convincing - so searching the scriptures is a positive thing to do - especially if you disagree with conservatives and want to persuade them of your view)

Posted by NP at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 7:29am BST

NP,
you started this thread with a statement about the authority of the bible. Many people made very thoughtful comments and asked you very serious questions relating to this.

Before you want us all to do bible study together, would you please be so kind as to engage with what has been said, so we might arrive at a common basis for this study? It is not helpful if you simply ignore all contributions and insist, by implication, that only yours is valid.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 9:20am BST

NP: "The debate in the AC is at its heart about the authority of scripture"

Is it? Why was there little fuss about remarriage of divorcees in church or when the future Head of the CofE and his wife were blessed by the ABC after their wedding?

No. The current debate has more to do with bringing ancient taboos out into the open. It's an unavoidable step before widespread acceptance can be achieved.

Using scripture to oppose reform is idolatrous.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 10:12am BST

For example, Erika?

I engaged with Ford

There is little point responding to people who think the bible is "bronze age" and can be rejected when inconvenient with one's own preferences - Paul wrote to Timothy about such people, as you know.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 10:55am BST

Mynsterpreost:

we're playing with the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway variant of the rules which means that Rawcliffe's Decision is always in play when there are discussion on same-sex relations. You didn't move to John 3:16 before Mornington Crescent and are therefore eliminated from the game.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 12:06pm BST

NP,
For example:

Would you respond to the report's point that the weight placed on the authority of scriptures can also be corrupt, as we also know?
Posted by: badman on Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:05pm BST


Are texts in general incorruptible? Are they never (even unintentionally) altered in the transcribing, centuries ago?
Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 4:52pm BST


And Scripture can very easily be used to justify some very unChristian behaviour. Don't forget Fred Phelps gets his guidance from Scripture. The prosperity Gospel people have the same attitude toward the authority of Scripture as you do. The Scriptures are meant to be interpreted by the Church under the guidance of the Spirit, not by individuals, no matter how scholarly they are, since they can easily read their biases into the document. It amazes me that you do not see this as "following the traditions of men".
Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 6:34pm BST


On what basis are we to accept YOUR judgment as to *which* Scripture quotations are "relevant" as opposed to "hopelessly out of context"?
Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 7:08pm BST


Didn't men also write the Bible? How do we know that the men who edited, translated, copied, etc. weren't corrupt?
Posted by: pseudopiskie on Wednesday, 25 April 2007 at 7:52pm BST


All of:
Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 6:00am BST

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 12:25pm BST

No-one thinks all the Bible is Bronxe Age --i ask you !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 1:00pm BST

Mynsterpreost:

we're playing with the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway variant of the rules which means that Rawcliffe's Decision is always in play when there are discussion on same-sex relations. You didn't move to John 3:16 before Mornington Crescent and are therefore eliminated from the game.

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 12:06pm BST

David, I'm afraid Gerry is right and gets points. "And points means prizes!"

Rawcliffe's Decison is even recognised in Leeds and England !

Humphrey Littleton would be truning --turning (even!) in his grave (if was dead)....

your mrs. trelis
of north wales
member of the General synod Commission for reconciliation of divers opinions on the Practice of Mornington Crescent within the AC

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 1:04pm BST

The big question for me is, will the C of S bring forth fruit worthy of repentence (or return to the mire of intollerance) ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 1:06pm BST

Dennis

You made me laugh. Thank you.

Does anyone on this forum still take NP seriously? The postings are simply to prove that NP exists and NP does not consent to "other" intepretations.

If NP and their cronies had any hope of saving humanity, the debate would be worth it. But as they don't, debating with them merely gets in the way of saving humanity.

And if God does not want humanity saved, then why do we still exist?

If you do a word search for "instant", you will see that God does not drag out suffering e.g. Job 34:20, Proverbs 6:15, Isaiah 29:5 & 30:11-18, Jeremiah 4:19-22. Further that Jesus rebukes those who would bring in a long drawn out psychogical suffeing e.g. Luke 4:5-13

Sorry Dennis, but one of my few joys in the last few years has been to confront the solo scripturalists' with evidence that the long drawn-out suffering of the African continent and other disenfranchised souls is not from God but from apolgists of human cruelty...

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 1:10pm BST

Laurence Roberts: "You didn't move to John 3:16 before Mornington Crescent and are therefore eliminated from the game."

Huh? Du-uh? "Mornington Crescent"? "Diocese of Galloway and Glasgow rules".

I guess I missed the train this morning. Somebody care to elaborate?

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 1:42pm BST

Choirboyfromhell

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/genres/comedy/aod.shtml?bbc7/clue

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 2:08pm BST

Sorry, Gerry & Laurence (& Mrs Trellis), I'm making use of the Akinola gambit, whereby I refuse to join the other players unless they admit I've already won. By way of Wood Green, Farringdon and British Museum (closed).

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 2:45pm BST

"There is little point responding to people who think the bible is "bronze age" and can be rejected when inconvenient with one's own preferences - Paul wrote to Timothy about such people, as you know."

And as long as you persist in this slander, there is little point, I have come to realize, in responding to you. If you have no more respect for the faith of those who disagree with you, why bother? And Jesus used the phrase "whited sepulchres to describe people who thought very much as you do. While I disagree with you, while I think that you are in error, I would never claim that you are not acting in accordance with your understanding of the faith. See, that's how one can respect the beliefs of others without falling for the "postmodern lie" as you call it, that all beliefs are true.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 2:56pm BST

The contributions show that it is not enough simply to quote texts but to have a shared understanding. So if people do not understand the rules of the game Scriptural Mornington Crescent, how can they even join in? Otherwise anyone could just quote any text outside of a basic pre-understanding needed in a conversation and indeed current context, and it needs to be in some sort of context. My move was based on the classic retreat into the outer suburbs in order to have a better route in - in the ordinary Mornington Crescent game it leads to less congestion and fewer blocking moves. The route in is always towards the present day: context and application is everything. Just as the game Mornington Crescent needs a very good map of London to see the best moves, so books on scriptural criticism are advised.

Tell you what though - when I last played Bhagavad Gita Mornington Crescent, the use of the Satyagraha rule had no effective reply.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 3:22pm BST

No, NP. You don't get it. I don't think there is any point in trying to convince conservatives - because its their religion which is the problem. The only answer is to recognise that for yourself. Sociological and rights based arguments make sense because they are relevant and valid. Your religion is neither - its simply a mistaken delusion which needs as much discouragement as possible.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 5:03pm BST

Ford - what I do not respect is the rejection of scripture.

In your judgment of me, remember that it is only a tiny minority of Christians or Christian scholars who think it is legitimate to interpret scriptures in a way that fits with what you want to do. While a minority can be right, normally when it is driven by an agenda of justifying certain behaviours, it is normally wrong (eg those "theologians" who supported apartheid etc)

You talk as if your view is reasonable, well-grounded in scholarship and well-respected.....it is not and even the ABC does little to support the "liberal interpretation" these days

Posted by NP at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 5:19pm BST

Pluralist:
Strategy Question by a novice:
Is there anything in Scriptural Mornington Crescent like the Dollis Hill Loop?
What would NP's best next move be to get out of this loop?

Posted by Dennis at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 5:40pm BST

We are all confused... but I would suggest it is on a higher level than a couple of years ago - the NPs of This World notwithstanding.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 7:18pm BST

Mynsterpreost -

Please forgive a Yank, I've now gone to Wikipedia - that is REALLY funny.

Posted by andrewdb at Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 7:37pm BST

I don't respect your idolatrous attitude towards a book, NP - and I would say that liberal Christians are going to prefer the approach of liberal scholars, conservatives will prefer conservative scholars ( although believing any book is inerrant rather rules out any serious critical scholarship...)

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 1:39am BST

May I suggest the Jake's Place Gambit, named for Fr. Jake of Fr. Jake Stops the World, and used to excellent effect on his site: this is a fairly parochial gambit, wherein to release one player from a self-imprisoning loop, all the other players make a sacrificial move by posting recipes (I myself have posted recipes for corn chowder, and Pork Chops Lois very successfully) thus giving the imprisoned one something else to think about, thereby clearing the paths for everyone in the game to start over. The playfulness of Mornington Crescent, of all permutations, is then restored.
Blessings
revLois

Posted by Lois Keen at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 1:44am BST

Yes, tomorrow at breakfast I shall have a mornington crescent with my cup of coffee, then invite my snobby friends over later, get out the port and start asking who the Bishop of Norwich is.

Then we can all play Bible BINGO!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 2:34am BST

Following up on Goran Koch-Swahne, there are thought-provoking writings by Bart D. Ehrman, who was converted from fundamentalism by the discovery of the great textual instability of Scripture (30,000 variant readings in the New Testament alone!). I am currently teaching a course on I-II Samuel to students of literature. Reading the textual notes in the Anchor Bible commentary I am dizzy -- there is hardly a single verse that has one definitive text!

Posted by Fr Joseph O'Leary at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 5:35am BST

that says it all, Merseymike - it ain't just "a book" to Anglicans..... you sound like something else

Posted by NP at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 8:39am BST

NP,
you had asked me to give you examples of contributions you had not commented on. I spent some time putting them together and posting them here.
I'm sure you've seen them, because there are 2 subsequent and unrelated postings from you on this thread.

Seeing you asked me to provide those examples - could you please now be polite enough and reply to them?
Thank you

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 10:23am BST

Then get real, NP. Its a book. Words on paper, written by men.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 11:44am BST

Sorry, Erika - I did not see your post.... only able to dip in here between busy-ness of the day...

Yes (again!) - people can misuse scriptures and put the wrong weights on certain passages and justify sins with it - I have referred a few times to "theologians" who justified apartheid as examples of this kind of abuse.

I do think texts are incorruptible as I believe scripture is inspired (ie not merely written by men as some here think as MM and pseudo think) - but I have said many times that interpretations can be wrong.....and straight contradiction of scripture ain't interpretation it is just disobedience.

As to whether or not a verse is relevant to a debate ( you cite JCFs question to me) - I think everyone can use common-sense on that one.
I see a lot more relevance in responding to a a report of vicars' teaching in Scotland from St Paul's writing on false teachers rather than a quotation about David and Jonathan's brotherly love!

Posted by NP at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 12:20pm BST

"You talk as if your view is reasonable, well-grounded in scholarship and well-respected"
Which view is that? My view that the hoops people jump through to explain away the seven or eight clobber passages makes their interpretation doubtful to me? And it isn't God clobbering us with those passages, it's conservatives. Or my view that sacramental matrimony is likely only meant for heterosexual couples, and that I wouldn't get married even if the church decides in June to let me? My view that VGR was ELECTED by the majority of clergy AND laity in his diocese, who knew the man and his ministry and believed themselves guided by the Spirit. He got the required consents on time and in the proper form. I might have wished he be more like Jeffrey John and followed the path of St. Chad of Litchfield, but he didn't, and we now have to deal with it. I have heard him interviewed, and he seems like a man of integrity for all that. Or maybe my view that the way this entire debate has progressed, from the Americans forcing the issue with no regard to people on the other side of the globe, to the schemery and duplicity of the right has brought the Gospel into disrepute? Or maybe my view that while there is bad on both sides, the Right has the lion's share of the blame for scheming, plotting, and out and out dishonesty? Arguing against sola scriptura is hardly a minority position, nor is arguing against fundamentalism in the Church. So what position is it exactly that I support that is so unreasonable? The position that the Gospel doesn't tell Christians to throw sinners in jail? Hardly contentious, I should think.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 1:36pm BST

Ford - I think it was obvious which view I mean. The question is, "What standards does the AC demand for its leaders?"

The AC answer to date has been the standards set out in the bible ......VGR does not meet those according to most of the Primates, bishops, scholars and people of the AC

(and we are not about to change the teaching of the AC because TEC has inherited some cash and may withdraw it if it does not get its own way)

Posted by NP at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 2:40pm BST

'The instability of the signifier' (Lacan) is a very relevant and useful concept in considering the readings, meaning(s) and life of The Bible --whatever we understand this term to encompass.

The Jewish Bible / Tanakh of course, not only does not contains the 'NT' (obviously), but the books are arranged in a different order from Christian Bibles. The very order of the books of the Hebrew Bible, in Christian Bibles is based on ideaology. Ending with Malachi is pure propaganda (in the nicest sense of the word , well intentioned but with unforeseen consequences, perhaps). The Jewish Bible , of course, concludes with Kethuvim / 2 Chroniles (..the Lord has charged me with building a house in Jerusalem ....)

Although the instability of the signifer leads straight to post-modern methods and the dethronement of 'master anrraitves' with all the attendant anxiety for our culture, it also opens the way for creativity to be given a place in our 'scheme'of things. Centuries of Jewish and Christian devotional reading of Scripture by 'ordinary' folk has been made possible by this (unacknowledged) instability of signifiers. Masking it possible for readers to recieve messages from the text, which the orginal writer could not possibly have 'meant' / had in mind. And then attributing the reading produced by various devotional and hermaneutic procedures to the voice of God right now. The Scripture Union Bible Study Notes (Daily Bread, etc) of my youth, actually, suggested such a simple method of devotional reading-interpretation on the inside cover of each copy of the Notes. God was expected to speak through the text , to each reader as an individual.

A lot of the Jewish methods have, of course, been formalized too, and are often conducted communally among scholars of the text. Leading to such exciting work, as that of Orthordox sholar Daniel Boyarin, whose methods have given rise to far from Orthodox conclusions on gayness, in his ground breaking book :

unheroic conduct

The Rise of Heterosexuality & the Invention of the Jewish Man (1997; University of California).

Also his A Radical Jew : Paul and the Politics of Identity (1994; California)

I also delight in the use made of Scripture by Isaac Luria, the Ball Shem Tov and other mystical Jewish teachers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

They put the joy back in .... Baruch haShem !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 3:06pm BST

"sacramental matrimony is likely only meant for heterosexual couples"

As far as I'm aware, such a sacramental leap for same-sex couples is not asked for, just yet.

Rather, couples are simply asking for a blessing, a public acknowledgement in church at the very least, for an expression of love and commitment.

We bless altars and wafers and wine and water and candles and vestments and palm crosses and collection plates and foundation stones and buildings and animals and congregations, regardless of the sins committed by those present, and yet, two people of the same gender in committed love with each other...that's another matter entirely, altogether forbidden.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 4:02pm BST

The Church also blesses armies and weapons of war. What an utterly immoral institution it is. That's why I turned down three separate offers of a blessing for our Civil Partnership. Until the Church can sort itself out, I didnt want it involved.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 4:51pm BST

Hugh: Who isn't asking for matrimony? My partner and I are. And every gay couple that we know in the church is. And between us we know a very large number of Christian gay couples throughout the country (the US). I think that the couples who have been married in Mass and in Canada and soon in Conn are asking for it. Those couples who are now married legally in Mass, who in the church thinks that a "blessing" will do? Will straight couples accept a blessing of their union in place of a marriage before God and the Church? We have civil unions in a growing handful of states and the gay couples in those states seem to use wedding liturgies, too. Why are you offering that they will accept "blessings"?

I don't think it is at all right for straight people in the church to decide what steps we can take to may sure that they continue to feel comfortable with us. This is not about straight people feeling comfortable. It just isn't. I'm sorry for wanting to move up from the back of the bus. Do you think that the bigots and homophobes will be any nicer if we are real nice and polite and tell them that we just want to move a couple of rows up in the bus? No. The bigots don't want us here. They want us out of the church. They want us back in the closet. There is no negotiating with haters. So don't even try, especially when it involves the other people's lives and place in the church and society.

The church blesses our pets on the Feast of St Francis. Blessing is not ok for my monogamous relationship with my partner that seems to have lasted and been more stable than the "marriages" of our straight neighbors and friends. Do you mind if we call straight marriages only "blessings"?

Blessings are most assuredly not what we are here for. Equal in the eyes of God means just that. I saw what our Presiding Bishop said the other day about not going backwards in the Church. Thank God that she gets it.

Posted by Dennis at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 5:11pm BST

Thanks Dennis for a great posting ! May you soon be wed.

Does conn mean that Connecticut is introducing marriage same as Mass did ? (Hope so!)

we were thinking of saving up to get wed in Canada, but since having a civil ceremony here (in Britain ) we feel wed and blessed.

Some British Churches including the Society of Friends, wish to be free to marry ALL people, and should be free to.

The Friend (Quakers, UK) has a Civil Partnerships section along with Births, Marriages and Deaths --time for the Church Times and C of E Newspaper to follow suit, peut etre?!

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 6:53pm BST

An influential group of ministers in Scotland's largest Protestant church has said that its clergy and congregations have been "sinfully" intolerant of gays and lesbians in its ranks. In a report on homosexuality, a working party has concluded that the Church of Scotland has been institutionally homophobic for much of its history, and urged its 520,000 members to accept that gay and lesbian Christians have a right to serve in the church, as long as they are celibate.

What patronsing tosh is this ? I'd call it more of their sinful behaviour if i hadntalreaady had a surfeit of churchy jargon.--- JUST get on and do the decent thing --no need of any verbiage

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 11:51pm BST

An influential group of ministers in Scotland's largest Protestant church has said that its clergy and congregations have been "sinfully" intolerant of gays and lesbians in its ranks. In a report on homosexuality, a working party has concluded that the Church of Scotland has been institutionally homophobic for much of its history, and urged its 520,000 members to accept that gay and lesbian Christians have a right to serve in the church, as long as they are celibate.

What patronising tosh is this ? I'd call it more of their sinful behaviour if i hadn't already had a surfeit of churchy jargon. --- JUST get on and do the decent thing -- no need of any verbiage.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 27 April 2007 at 11:54pm BST

In principle I agree with you Dennis, and if either of the North American churches proceeds along those lines they'll have my full support. Bold steps are necessary and an example to the rest of us. Why should we bear for too many seasons?

From my own reserved English catholic perspective (which may come as a surprise to some having read my posts) I was thinking about incremental steps which could be taken which wouldn't frighten the horses too much. The C of E are some years behind you guys, decades it seems. Just getting them to accept blessings seems a tall order, especially in the current climate with Windsor looming.

As an analogy, when women were ordained deacons, it took several years before they were ordained priests. But the first rung of the ladder, or row of the bus, was taken. And with each step, further progress could be made.

Civil partnerships have been around for a while now, and the Church of England, as the established church here, have an obligation to provide civil ceremonies for gay couples in my view.

Ideally, there'd be a creative approach to liturgy, not necessarily along heterosexual lines. Here, as many marriages end in divorce as those that are life-long, so "Till death do you part" seems somewhat hypocritical. We're still in the honeymoon period with regard to civil partnerships.

Good to hear your perspective. Thank you.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 12:54am BST

"The AC answer to date has been the standards set out in the bible ......VGR does not meet those according to most of the Primates, bishops, scholars and people of the AC "

Surely this is not true of the scholars -- the standard of Anglican scholarship is high. An intelligent scholar of Scripture understands that we must reread Scripture in light of the signs of the times and with an understanding of the culture-bound frameworks of messages coming from an ancient time. Such a scholar will also know that Scripture has to be read as a whole, in light of its overriding dynamic toward love and freedom, and that we must not get hooked on the violent or oppressive use of individual verses read in separation from this total context.

As to bishops, I think Richard Harries in his YouTube interview with Richard Dawkins expressed the common sense of those bishops who are clued in. They include the majority of US Bishops to begin with.

Posted by Fr Joseph O'Leary at Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 4:19am BST

"I do think texts are incorruptible as I believe scripture is inspired" -- yes, but the bearers of the inspiration are the whole people of God, and the individual writer's contribution is within a context of constant rereadings, relectures, as Benedict XVI says in his new book (reviewed on my weblog). Also, the biblical texts are not incorruptible in the sense that they are not immunized against textual corruption. The text of Scripture is so corrupt in many places that the original reading is lost forever and what remains is only an uncertain fragment. In countless other cases it remains doubtful what the exact wording of the text was. This situation applies to most ancient texts of course, and it reminds us just how human and historical these writings are.

"straight contradiction of scripture ain't interpretation it is just disobedience." Yet in practice Scripture contradicts itself on many points, including points of ethics, and present Christian common sense ignores many aspects of Scripture -- "do not swear at all", "it is a disgrace for a man to wear long hair", "all Cretans are liars" -- not to mention the Old Testament sanctification of genocide.

Posted by Fr Joseph O'Leary at Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 4:35am BST

"I think it was obvious which view I mean"
It most certainly is not. And if you are going to say that the Church applies the standards of the Bible in its choice of leaders. If that were the case, +Akinola wouldn't be a bishop. Unless you can claim jailing sinners is one of the standards of the Bible.

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 6:23pm BST

I thought stoning sinners to death was a standard of the Bible, especially disobedient children and people who go to work on Saturdays.

Does NP carry a credit card? Does he wear cotton polyester blend shirts? If he does either of those, then he is disobedient to the authority of the Bible.

Posted by counterlight at Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 10:06pm BST

More smokescreens! Nobody said, "Do you ear lobster?" MIssed a strong argument there, guys!

As I have said before, if you want TEC's innovation re VGR to be accepted, please show the holiness of the position and the positive case for it.....and yes, sorry, you have to deal with the passages you do not like (writing them off as merely cultural etc is not convincing). "It is not mentioned as we formulate it, so it is not forbidden" is not a strong argument - you have to show a positive BIBLICAL case.

FJOL - the most convincing "liberal" scholar on the issue was Rowan Williams....

Posted by NP at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 7:15am BST

NP: your use of the NT proof texts would probably also outlaw blood transfusions, if you think about it.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 8:34am BST

Mynster - I know you understnad my position much better than the blood transfusion comment suggests.

To others, pls read Acts and you will see that I am allowed bacon sandwiches and blood transfusions if I need one.... a friend of mine from church is from a Jewish family and his mother just had 5 pints of blood transfused....

Anyway, the same APOSTLES who directly gave me the right to fry the odd scallop directly PROHIBITED the recent innovations of TEC and directly told us that certain people are not fit to be leaders

Posted by NP at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 9:38am BST

No, NP, you will have to recognise that the Bible is both a human and cultural product, and it is absolutely right that some of its content will be viewed as - simply - wrong. A fallible and culturally contained product of its time.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 10:31am BST

NP, European translations have been forged in the 9th, 12th, 15th and 20th centuries introducing alien Neo Platonist teachings to accommodate novel State and Roman church policies.

Added to which comes that the reading of Acts 15:20, ordained if not invented, by your late tradition is intentionally false; porneía does not, never did and never shall mean "sexual immorality", either hetero or homo.

The calvinist International Bible Societies Novum, following the 4th century Codex sinaïticus and others, gives verse 20 thus:

allà episteîlai autoîs toû apexésthai tån alisgämátån tån eidålån kaì täs porneías
but direct them to abstain from the pollution of Idols and their cult/sacral prostitution
kaì toû pniktoû and from the strangled
kaì toû aímatos and from blood.

However, the Codex Bezae, Ireneus (one of Polycarp’s boys and the possible author of the 2nd century original to Bezae), Italian, Slavic and some Coptic and Ethiopian manuscripts omit “and the strangled”, adding the Pastorals-sounding admonition “and whatever can make you become separate from your goal”, giving:

allà episteîlai autoîs toû apexésthai tån alisgämátån tån eidålån kaì täs porneías
but direct them to abstain from the pollution of Idols and their cult/sacral prostitution
kaì toû aímatos and from blood
kaì ósa mä thélousin eautoîs gínesthai etérois mä poieîte
and whatever can make you become separate from your goal.

Also, some (late) manuscripts omit kaì täs porneías or put it before the gloss:

allà episteîlai autoîs toû apexésthai tån alisgämátån tån eidålån
but direct them to abstain from the pollution of Idols
kaì toû pniktoû and from the strangled
kaì toû aímatos and from blood
kaì täs porneías and from (de-sacralised) prostitution
kaì ósa mä thélousin eautoîs gínesthai etérois mä poieîte
and whatever can make you become separate from your goal.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 12:25pm BST

Merseymike - why do I have to recognise what you say?

Because some chap who does not like what the bible says wants me to give up on the bible?

Your experience is one of decline in churches. I am not surprised since you hardly believe anything and will naturally associate with others like yourself.

The main reason I do not recognise what you say is because my experience in England is all about growth in ANGLICAN churches (alpha, reform and fulcrum type churches) - led by people who believe......you should find one and learn why your faith in "progressive" values is misplaced

Posted by NP at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 12:54pm BST

NP: I'm not aware that the Council of Acts is ever overturned in the NT. There is, of course, plenty of material contradicting the apparent retention of part of the Jewish Law, but the agreement (for the paid up ConsEv) is never undone. Of course, you can find good reason to overturn it, but.....

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 1:09pm BST

NP,
Free from the Law, oh Happy Condition!
Jesus has bled and there is remission,
Cursed by the Law and bruised by the Fall,
Christ has redeemed us, once for all.

Everybody!
Once for all, oh brother believe it,
Once for all, oh sinner receive it,
Cling to the Cross, thy burden will fall,
Christ has redeemed us, once for all.

I particularly stress the first line of the chorus. Of course, if the only hymnody you know is Kendrick and Hillsong, well, you've abandoned your Evangelical heritage.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 1:34pm BST

"To others, pls read Acts and you will see that I am allowed bacon sandwiches and blood transfusions if I need one."

How convenient. The Old Testament laws that would restrict you from living your life in the modern world are suspended while those that restrict certain others are not even open to discussion.

This was not Jesus' approach to Scripture. You are on much firmer ground reading the Scriptures and applying them to *yourself* than you are in applying them to others.

Posted by ruidh at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 5:30pm BST

"A fallible and culturally contained product of its time."
No it isn't. It is God's self-revelation in words to us. Some people 500 years ago decided they couldn't trust the traditional authority structures, so they invented an authority and literality for the Bible that not only altered the meanings of pretty much everything that defined Christianity up to that point and did away with much of the enlightening insights of traditional Christianity, but reduced the grandeur and eloquence of the Bible to the level of a mere rule book, Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, as one obnoxious preacher put it. One needn't deny the truth of Scripture in order to counter this innovation in Christianity.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 30 April 2007 at 6:10pm BST

Goran - sorry no time or inclination to respond to your pseudo-intellectual postings.

Mynster / Ford - the same NT that allows us a bacon sandwich gives us very clear teaching on who should and who should not be leaders in the church....and for all believers, it is the same NT which tells us what is and what is not acceptable in terms of how we live. Some here like Paul's teaching on grace but ignore so much else he said - all the stuff about the required, appropriate response to grace. Not credible.

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 7:41am BST

Can this discussion please focus on the issue raised by the original article: the CofS is reported to be considering, at least, the issue of whether or not it, the CofS, is institutionally homophobic, or if you prefer "sinfully" intolerant. This report does not come from individual idiosyncratic TA commenters, but from within the General Assembly of the Kirk.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 8:02am BST

Göran,
Like NP, I'm finding your postings difficult to place into any meaningful context for me.

They prove beyond a doubt that the bible cannot be taken as literal. But they leave me with the question of what, precisely, this bible still holds when you have finished picking all the layers apart.
And do we all have to be highly linguistically trained theologians before we can reasonably read the bible with anything approaching understanding?

As for the Scottish report (sorry, Simon!), I do appreciate the apology for institutionalised homophobia very much. Too often in the general debate is "love the sinner hate the sin" a cloak for outright hatred and condemnation!

Apart from that the report is a fairly standard summary of the various positions in the church and can hopefully become a discussion document for the future. But it's not really groundbreaking - maybe that's why the conversation on this thread didn't dwell on it for long?


Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 11:52am BST

Since people are posting verses, here's mine: Romans 13:8-10

Secondly, as Rowan Williams and scholars point out, even if you believe that the Bible was penned by God Himself, WE still have to assign words, sentences meaning in order to derive meaning from them. Words themselves are merely symbols and only have meaning because WE give them meaning. There is no way to make sense out of Scripture or any written communication without carrying our own agendae, worldview, zeitgeist and baggage into the text. We may not be fully aware of it, we may be in denial of it, but we do. That is an inescapable of the process. We have to employ hermeneutics when dealing with scripture and that certainly isn't inerrant or infallible.

Even the Jews, who are given 613 direct commands, struggle, argue, disagree and adjudicate what they mean. Heck, we all have court systems to figure out what our Constitutions, Charters and other legal documents, that were written in our native language mean.

Why should people think Scripture is any different? It was written by people thousands of years ago, in different languages, out of different cultures with different worldviews. Paul was responding to churches with different problems and like the show "Jeopardy" we have the answers but not the questions.

This is why it is key to approach Scripture with humility and not use it to push people out of the church. We need to focus on our own sins and let others work out their own salvation.

Posted by toujoursdan at Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 2:19am BST
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