Comments: Dagenham ordination row

The conservatives are going about things correctly here. They are registering strong dissent, which they are entitled to do, but they are nevertheless accepting the authority of the bishop. They are not going off to get an irregular ordination elsewhere - which they easily could do. Conversations are taking place and both sides are looking for an agreed solution.

We could wish the divisions away, but they exist and we have to live with them. We in England are fortunate that dialogue is not stopped and division not institutionalised by the intervention of overseas bishops which has afflicted the USA.

Posted by badman at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 9:00am BST

Tolerance......not from this liberal bishop, it seems.

Why not let one of the other bishops ordain a man who merely wants to stick to the agreed positions of the church as set out in Lambeth 1.10 and reinforced in the Windsor Report?

A truly "liberal" bishop would not behave like Gladwin in this case - would he?

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 9:17am BST

I find the discussions at Chelmsford Anglcian Mainstream quite charming. (Link above).

And why had I over-looked the salience of I Samuel ?

This young man's vicar obviously encouraged him at least--or maybe the vicar instigated the whole thing. Hard for a young person straight from college, to resist when seeking a post and harmonious relationship with an established training vicar. So I tend to feel this young ordinand has been exploited in the furthrance of the vicar's agenda. Namely, to attack and undermine John Gladwin.

I do welcome the strong and consistent call for individual freedom of conscience and practice; and for discrimination to be rejected.

I wonder when a gay or lesbian ordinand in, say Liverpool Diocese will demand a non-homophobic alternative bishop ?

When I was ordained, Southwark was so gay--- almost every key person from Mervyn Stockwood and Michael Marshal 'down' that I didn't have to worry. Though back then we took what we were given. The Evanglicals seemed to love Mervyn too --he had considerable presence and charisma.

There were so many boyfriends at the ordination standing by their man ---and of course the whole thing was hopeful and moving and joyful in spades ....


Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 9:46am BST

L Roberts says...."the whole thing was hopeful and moving and joyful in spades ...."

And also flagrantly breaking the rules of the CofE (despite the vows made) as well as ignoring the bible on certain key points?

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 11:20am BST

I rejoice to see an Evangelical bishop standing by the Gospel and the great truths of Scripture.

John Gladwin is also a pastoral person, and in fact he has denied no-one anything. We can't all have our own private ordination done exactly how we want it. But he has been taken on as a church worker, and housed and granted a curate's stipend, and offered another date. What more could anyone reasonably want for the time being ?

BTW

If the ordinand and the training vicar find ordination at Gladwin's hand acceptable, then why oh why draw the line at holy communion at his hand ?

Is this purely pragmatic ?
i.e. Ordination seen as essential to being a curate--mm well yes, usually tends to be here.
But holy communion is seen as an expendable extra that confers no special status ?

More honest to decline ordination, oath of obedience, stipend , the lot, surely ? .... ....
.... or else compromise--- like most of us have had to.

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 12:02pm BST

Mr Wood is prepared to be ordained by the Bishop of Chelmsford ("lovely bloke"), but is not prepared to take communion with him because of the bishop's patronage of Changing Attitude? How come the expression "sanctimonious pratt" is running through my brain?

The Global South could be consecrating "authentically Anglican" bishops for England in the near future.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 1:46pm BST

L Roberts says "More honest to decline ordination, oath of obedience, stipend , the lot, surely ?"

Maybe you should say this to others in the church who make vows to uphold the teaching of the church while trying to subvert it from within, ignoring its agreed positions and hiding behind "don't ask, don't tell" approaches?

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 1:49pm BST

How can you not be willing to receive Communion from the bishop who just ordained you? If there are reasons why one can't, in good conscience, receive sacraments from a particular person, how can you pick & choose which sacraments? This baffles me!

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 2:47pm BST

I don't know what 'positions you have agree to NP., but I have never been consulted about CofE 'positions' nor consented to any.

In fact, all the authorities of the CofE knew of my relationship with my life partner, and I was waved through at seminary, at diocese, to ordination and thru ordination.

I remember how shocked and appalled my training vicar to be was (a married man) when he realised I ahd a partner who would --shock horror actually live with me ---- rather than being single and free to cruise. The former is hard to hide for long; while the latter of course would be hidden in anonymity and 'discretion'. Yes, even Mervyn called for 'discretion' (aka dishonesty) from OTHERS !

BTW

Most of the evangelicals I know, have gradually come to understand and accept gay relationships--- even my former co-religionists in the Brethren.

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 3:30pm BST

Back in the 1970s, I knew at least 3 gay people training in Exeter Universities Theology Department, and all of them became ordained later, with no fuss, no high profile outrage, probably because they didn't wear being gay in a loud manner (but who does, apart from the clergy in Little Britain?). Why is there so much scrutiny now? I think that ever since America went for a very public, loud and openly provocative ordination (typically American), this has caused ripples and almost a witchhunt where new clergy over here are concerned.

Posted by Tony at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 4:18pm BST

His willingness to be ordained by a man from whom he will not receive the Sacrament is telling, if baffling. It shows a very different understanding from anything I am familiar with, for starters. What does he think Communion is, much less Orders? Combined with NP's:

"Why not let one of the other bishops....."

this points up what may be a root cause of our problems: just as their understanding of Biblical authority is quite different, so is their understanding of Church, sacraments, specifically the Eucharist and orders though I assume the other 5 as well, and likely a whole other list of things. So different as to make their claim of "two religions, one Church" true. And what are we to make of his seeming inability to think that perhaps the "evil (that) hath authority" in this instance might be on his side of the equation?

Answer to NP's question: Because priesthood is not merely a job, ordination is not merely the ecclesiastical equivalent of a letter of acceptance, and the Eucharist is not merely something you do once in a while for a bit of pious nostalgia.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 4:33pm BST

"the expression "sanctimonious pratt" is running through my brain?"

In Genesis, God brings all created things to Adam and he names them. It is an intergral part of the way God made us that we see patterns and objects in His Creation and give them names. This expression in your brain is merely you naming things for what they are, as God made you to do!

And, Tony, I agree that if we make waves, we shouldn't be surprised if the boat rocks, but there is an equally valid argument that hiding and sneaking around are not good things, not honest, and, in the end, not living a true Christian life. And who's making a scene here? Is it not someone who, one assumes, knew what his bishop's position was before he sought ordination? One would think he could have gone about this in a less public manner, or arranged to be in a position where he wouldn't have to make this very public display. I'm sure there are Evangelical bishops in England who DON'T support Changing Attitude, no? Unless the public display is the point of it all. We don't have an Emperor to whom we can refuse to burn incense, so martyrdom is a little harder to come by, I guess. He being an Evangelical and all, I figure white martyrdom isn't open to him, sadly.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 4:52pm BST

But Tony the dishonesty couldn't continue for ever. Why shouldministers have to pretend that their boyfriend / girlfriend or partner, is a lodger ? In one's 20s it is possible but stressful --- but on into middle age and retirement ? Oh come on !

The american church has done us all a service in bringing this hypocrisy out into the open.

For heavens sakes ! --even George Carey has 'admitted' (or should that be 'come-out' ?) as having knowingly ordained gay people--- as did Runcie before him; and as has Rowan Williams himself.

Some anglo parishes are like (old fashioned) gay clubs, as are some organisations we all know and love.

Let's end this charade forever !

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 5:31pm BST

Tony,

The Stonewall Riots, the Suffragettes, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela were "very public, loud and openly provocative". Civil Rights initiatives often are.

But Gene Robinson's appointment was an entirely legal process in accordance with the polity of the Church and the wishes of his diocese. Others made it a scandal.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 6:47pm BST

It is now an issue of non-compliance for a bishop to have an opinion about something despite obeying all these apparent rules that aren't actual rules...

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 12:14am BST

"Rev Mike Reith, vicar of Dagenham, on the parish website . . . quoted the 26th article, approved in 1571, which states: 'Sometimes the evil have chief authority in the ministration of the word and sacraments.'"

"Mr Reith told the Guardian: 'The trouble is that the bishop has taken up an irreconcilable stance and precipitated this crisis. He could show a degree of flexibility.'"

So he calls his bishop "evil" but then chides him for not showing "a degree of flexibility"??? :-0

You can't make this stuff up.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 12:43am BST

Hmmmm Ford, you make far too much of having Gladwin do the honours.....you do realise that if Gladwin happened to have flu, one of the other bishops would do the ordination.......and it would be no less legal and right?

Posted by NP at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 8:20am BST

NP John didnt have the flu.

Not sure what the vicar and ordinand had--or were on.

Posted by L Roberts at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 9:27am BST

"do the honours"
"legal and right"

So, what is ordination, NP. Your use of these terms suggests you disagree with the last statement of my post, and think priesthood is simply a job and ordination is merely the way the Church gives you that job. If not, please explain. What, if anything other than some show of acceptance of the candidate for the job does it mean? I yhink you make far too little of sacraments, NP.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 11:47am BST

NP said: 'Hmmmm Ford, you make far too much of having Gladwin do the honours.....you do realise that if Gladwin happened to have flu, one of the other bishops would do the ordination.......and it would be no less legal and right?'

It's interesting that you equate being liberal on the gay issue with an illness.

But anyway, you miss the point completely. The diocesan bishop, and he only, has the RIGHT to ordain in his diocese. If other bishops ordain it is at the request and permission of the diocesan.

The bishop is chief pastor of the diocese. Priests are called and ordained to share in his ministry. Priests only exist because the bishop cannot be in every parish on a Sunday. If you don't like this, you shouldn't be ordained in the CofE. There are plenty of congregationalist sects to choose from...

Posted by Craig at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 1:09pm BST

"you do realise that if Gladwin happened to have flu, one of the other bishops would do the ordination.......and it would be no less legal and right?"

And if the entire bench of bishops were to be wiped by avian 'flu, one assumes that they'd bring in outside bishops to ordain and consecrate. And indeed, if it were done in proper fashion, it would be totally "legal and right". But the bishops haven't - yet - been wiped out by avian 'flu, and Bishop Gladwin was not indisposed. So what point germane to the argument is being made here? Ought any candidate for Holy Orders in, let us say, the diocese of Winchester, or those of Liverpool or Carlisle, who objects to the theology or eccentricities of his or her diocesan, get to pick and chose as to who does the honours? Richard Wood was attempting to decide which sacrament he would accept from his diocesan (ordination) and which he would not (communion). As Prior Aelred stated above "If there are reasons why one can't, in good conscience, receive sacraments from a particular person, how can you pick & choose which sacraments?"

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 2:46pm BST

"you do realise that if Gladwin happened to have flu, one of the other bishops would do the ordination.......and it would be no less legal and right?"

And I suppose you're going to turn up on the good Bishop's doorstep and sneeze in his face, NP?

You may have to knock out a couple of other alternatives in the diocese, just to make sure you get the 'right' bishop, or hold a hanky over your face until the inquisition has decided to infect or save...

Posted by kieran crichton at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 2:55pm BST

A question that sat at the back of my mind reading the material from the parish website: who in their right mind refers to their bishop as a "bloke"???

I can't imagine anything more patronising - perhaps here is where the real agenda comes out; belittle the man by making him sound closer than you want to keep him. Deny the man the real dignity of his office by making out that he's just a nice bloke, the type of bloke you'd find hanging out at the local pub, bible in one hand and lemonade in the other, evangelising the great inaccessible masses. Well, it's a nice thought, at least.

Or is it a case of "keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer"...?

Posted by kieran crichton at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 3:04pm BST

Seems a trifle odd to me to say you are prepared to accept ordination at the hands of the diocesan, but not the eucharist.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 5:26pm BST

Whilst I can excuse the Guardian for its ignorance, I find it incomprehensible that he who runs the websites of Chelmsford Anglican Mainstream and the Ugley Vicar (same person, JPR?) should write of someone being (not) ordained curate. Since when has the Church of England ordained *curates*? Deacons, yes; priests, yes, curates, NO!

Posted by RPNewark at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 6:15pm BST

He refuses to be ordained but is taking a salary as a curate. How very noble.

Posted by David Gould at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 6:43pm BST

"who in their right mind refers to their bishop as a "bloke""

I once had an online discussion with an Evangelical bishop who disapproved of entrance processions and people standing when such things entered the church because he didn't think it appropriate that such a fuss be made over him! He didn't seem to get that the fuss was being made over God, not him. I think it comes from a much deeper antipathy to "things Papist" actually. To consider that a priest is anything other than an ordinary man in an ordinary job is a little too "Romish". Same with a bishop. It is also, I believe, a factor in the drive for "lay presidency". cf other comments on this thread. No concept that Holy Orders constitute anything other than a job.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 7:11pm BST

In brief, it appears that Wood, in the interest of career and job security, was prepared to accept the sacrament of ordination at the bishop's hands, compromising his principles thus far in the interest of his career, but thought that he could then thumb his nose at Gladwin by refusing to accept Holy Communion at the same hands, presumably to announce that he considers himself to be in a state of impaired or broken communion with the bishop.

When I was a kid the "nice bloke" comment fell in a category that was termed "cheeky". I suspect that it still does.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 19 July 2007 at 9:25pm BST

David Gould - lots of people refuse to stick to and even actively subvert the teaching of the church eg Lambeth 1.10 and receive salaries, housing and pensions - you think that is noble too?

Posted by NP at Friday, 20 July 2007 at 9:02am BST

"a state of impaired or broken communion with the bishop."

I think you're spot on. I don't understand how any bishop would be willing to ordain someone with such a poor understanding of the sacraments.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 20 July 2007 at 1:52pm BST

NP,
Do you really think this guy would make a good priest? I can't say, I don't know the man, but his attitude towards the Eucharist and the nature of priesthood would at least call for a better examination of his discernment of his call, don't you think?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 20 July 2007 at 4:53pm BST

NP said: "Lots of people refuse to stick to and even actively subvert the teaching of the church eg Lambeth 1.10 and receive salaries, housing and pensions - you think that is noble too?

I doubt, though, that the Primates of Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya are prepared to give up their salaries, housing and pension. Nor would I ask them to do so.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 20 July 2007 at 11:13pm BST

This guys seem to think that ordination is nothing more than some sort of professional licensing procedure.

Posted by JPM at Saturday, 21 July 2007 at 2:01am BST

JPM says: "This guys seem to think that ordination is nothing more than some sort of professional licensing procedure."

Well, if you believe that ordination is in no sense sacramental, as, to judge from comments on this and other blogs, a number of Cons Evoes of the Oak Hill/Sydney tendency do, that it is in no sense "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us", it doesn't leave a lot of choice, does it? How that squares with classical Anglican theology, and such liturgical formulae as "Receive the Holy Spirit..." we may well wonder.

Posted by cryptogram (John Marshall) at Saturday, 21 July 2007 at 11:05am BST

'His willingness to be ordained by a man from whom he will not receive the Sacrament is telling, if baffling.'

You're right; it doesn't make sense. Even if one side is wrong in his opinions (I'm not here to argue Controversial Issues™), not to receive Communion is inconsistent and seems Donatist.

If one objects that strongly there is the theoretical possibility of joining another church, no longer being in communion, in the same church, with the person or faction whose views offend you. Sad but sometimes understandable and arguably necessary if one and (the rest of) a church are that much at odds.

(I know that can be harder for an Anglican to do in England than in the religious smorgasbord of America, as indeed overseas bishops haven't set up shop there.)

Posted by The young fogey at Sunday, 22 July 2007 at 3:47am BST

Ford - I am not sure what you object to in his attitude - if you did consider someone a false teacher, would you take the sacrament from them?

I guess we have seen many splits in the church because of this sort of situation.....but there are 5 other bishops in the diocese who could easily ordain the man and he would take communion from them......no reason for a problem unless +Chelmsford wants to make one here. I suspect a man who desires unity such as yourself would advise this pragmatic course on +Chelmsford? I hope he goes for it.....given these conservatives are not getting people from Africa to fly in but asking their own bishop to make room for them in the CofE - without much accommodation being needed

Posted by NP at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 8:40am BST

NP,
"if you did consider someone a false teacher, would you take the sacrament from them".

It's standard AC teaching and I'm sure you wouldn't want to go against that:
'The problem with Donatism is that no person is morally pure. The effectiveness of the baptism or administration of the Lord's supper does not cease to be effective if the moral character of the minister is in question or even demonstrated to be faulty. Rather, the sacraments are powerful because of what they are, visible representations of spiritual realities. God is the one who works in and through them and He is not restricted by the moral state of the administrant.'

Donatism is a heresy.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 12:00pm BST

"If you did consider someone a false teacher, would you take the sacrament from them?"

Ask rather "if you did consider someone a false teacher, would you adopt a 'cafeteria' approach to receiving the sacraments from them, selecting such sacraments as are essential to your self-advancement, rejecting those that are not?"

The main issue is what seem to be Richard Wood's flexible values on this point.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 12:19pm BST

"Ford - I am not sure what you object to in his attitude - if you did consider someone a false teacher, would you take the sacrament from them?"

No, indeed. This is my point. He seems to think his bishop is a "false teacher" but he is quite willing to receive a sacrament at his hands. How can a person think he will "receive the Holy Ghost for the office of priest" from someone with whom he will not celebrate the most important and most basic act of Christian worship? That this not only does not jump out at you, but that you still can't understand it after reading this thread shows how different your faith is from that "once and for all delivered to the saints". Most, I think, find it pretty self explanatory. I contend that if this man has such a poor understanding of the sacraments, his discernment of his vocation is in doubt. I would be very uncomfortable with him being ordained, as far as that can be judged on this one piece of info.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 12:38pm BST

So I guess we're now down to the 37 Articles.

Having already set aside "The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England," by rejecting its logical corollaries, the "conservatives have now likewise rejected "The unworthiness of the minister hindreth not the effect of the sacraments."

Posted by Malcolm+ at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 9:18pm BST

I would receive the sacrament from a properly ordained 'false teacher' who was still an accredited priest - or indeed an adulterer, thief or shareholder in Exxonmobil.... Not because I approve of what they do, but because Traditional Orthodox Christianity (as opposed to the innovations of which some soi-disant conservatives approve) demand that I look not on the person wearing the funny clothes but on God who is guarantor of the sacrament.

Odd that NP and co know so little about Christian doctrine which goes back via Aquinas to Gregory the Great.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Monday, 23 July 2007 at 10:28pm BST

Mynster - as usual, in my stupid way, I put more weight on the bible than on church traditions etc......and St Paul definitely does not teach me or you to be in communion with false teachers, does he??

I can imagine so many on TA telling Paul to take it easy, show the Galatian heretics and others some respect and learn to get along with them......

Even the Lord would have been told by some modern liberals to go easy on the Pharisees and stop talking about judgment and hell, I guess...

Sorry, you have to show me the biblical teaching which supports the view that we must tolerate / respect / strive for unity with false teachers before I accept that idea.....

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 8:59am BST

NP: the judgment on who constitutes a false teacher is not for me nor for you to make. That radical individualism is not part of the Catholic church.

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 1:39pm BST

Mynster - is it "radical individualism" to want to stick by Lambeth 1.10???

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 3:48pm BST

But it does seem quite clear that NP rejects both the Church's condemnation of Donatism, and that article which says that "the unworthiness of the minister hindreth not the effect of the sacrament."

Having already set aside the article which rejects governance by foreign prelates, NP is now down to a mere 37 Articles, along with a few bits cherry-picked from one Lambeth resolution and one committee report.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 5:22pm BST

"I put more weight on the bible than on church traditions"

And you are trying to tell us your faith is not a radical innovation? Even the Epistles tell us to be faithful to the TRADITION we have received! The early Church wasn't told to be faithful to the Bible, NP, they had no Bible. They were still expected to be faithful to something, and it is that something they passed on to us. It is a mark of your belief that you have no respect for the tradition we have received. Fine. That is a more radical part of the Reformation, many agree with you. You do not, however, have the right to look down on those who actually DO respect the tradition. It is just as sinful as the times I mock and pity you for your Pharisaic legalism.

"....to go easy on the Pharisees"

You'd better hope He goes easy on the Pharisees, NP, or you're in deep caca! mea culpa!

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 24 July 2007 at 5:42pm BST

Ford - so what do you think St Paul meant when he wrote to the early church that "all SCRIPTURE is God-breathed".....they had the OT and they had the NT (maybe not in a nice book but they had it) - and we have never been told to follow man-made traditions and institutions where it conflicts with the scriptures.

We have seen for years attempts by many liberals to get what they want by undermining all authority in the church - we even get the ridiculous response that TEC cannot be asked to repond to the Tanzania Communique because of its "polity".....nobody is fooled.

Bring on the covenant and let all who cannot say anything is right or wrong finally have the courage to set up a liberal church rather than trying to force the majority in the AC to accept radical liberal ideas and people as bishops.

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 8:25am BST

human tradition is not reliable, Ford - do you think the Lord would even recognise much of the tradition we see in the church?

think of the communion ceremonies you love....what would he make of all the fine robes and walking about - do you think he would recognise it as what he did in the upper room??

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 8:30am BST

NP
"Bring on the covenant and let all who cannot say anything is right or wrong finally have the courage to set up a liberal church "

Well, as there isn't a single person who says that nothing is right or wrong (or that don't means do, as you also often claim), that means we'll probably all stay together.

And don't tell me you can't live side by side - your hope that Ford will remain in Communion with you has proved that point wrong.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 9:36am BST

Sure Erika - but please be clear: I think Ford is a great person and I want to stay in the same church as him and you (!) ....but I can only do that because Lambeth 1.10 is the official position of the church.

TEC's promotion of VGR is a direct challenge to the interpretation of the bible in Lambeth 1.10.....we evos have to know that the teaching of the church stands and such challenges to it are not acceptable in order to continue to be in communion......and do remember, we who have stayed in the AC are the soft ones who are striving for unity.

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 11:12am BST

NP betraying a complete misunderstanding of biblical studies said:
"what do you think St Paul meant when he wrote to the early church that "all SCRIPTURE is God-breathed".....they had the OT and they had the NT (maybe not in a nice book but they had it)"

Now, since most people believe Paul popped his clogs in the Neronian nastiness, I assume that you're now dating all the NT documents before AD65? Interesting....

And, of course, and most annoying to the 37 Articles mob, is that the text presumably refers to the LXX, and all that nasty apocryphal stuff evangelicals won't read.

And, of course, it's equally possible to translate the Gk as 'all inspired scripture is profitable...."

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 1:00pm BST

"all SCRIPTURE is God-breathed"

'Inspired' means 'breathed into', NP. God breathed the Scriptures into those who wrote them down. It was not some kind of dictation.

"they had the OT and they had the NT (maybe not in a nice book but they had it)"

And how did they get it, NP, given that they had become believers and lived and died for the faith before any of the New Testament was written? Have you ever read any Church history? Paul didn't have the New Testament to look to, he wrote a sizable chunk of it, and he didn't start doing that till he had made an awful lot of converts, whose only experience of the Gospel was Paul's preaching, and their weekly celebrations of the Eucharist. In some sense you could say the Eucharist WAS their Gospel.

Liturgical worship is not only part of the Tradition we have received, Revelation tells us that the worship carried out in Heaven is pretty liturgical. It is a tradition of soulless rebellious men who cannot think abstractly to disparage the worship the Church brought out of the catacombs. Yes, I do think Jesus would recognize it, he sent the Spirit to inspire it, and He attends it, in the Flesh, every Sunday!

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 1:09pm BST

Mynster /Ford - I know you are aware that there was quite a lot of thought, argument and work in the church before we got to agreement on what is holy scripture and what ain't...

Ford - I would love to see the verses where the Lord tells us that we should spend thousands of dollars on vestments etc in order to celebrate the last supper.....it's a good question for us all to ask: where have we (as people and a church) deviated most from how he was, what he did and what he told us to do?

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 2:54pm BST

NP
"....but I can only do that because Lambeth 1.10 is the official position of the church."

What does that mean to you in practice? That you are happy to live side by side with people who disagree with you as long as the official church policy is one you approve of?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 4:24pm BST

NP says: " . . . Lambeth 1.10 is the official position of the church."

Really?

Lambeth has no authority to determine "the official position of the church."

1998 Lambeth 1.10 certainly reflects the mind of the church at the moment. But then, the mind of the church was equally clear re: slavery circa 1800 - and one would be hard pressed to find a single bishop alive today who would concur in that particular rendition.

Lambeth 1.10 reflects the majority opinion of a couple of hundred chaps (and a handful of women) about nine years ago. Sure it was a (somewhat) representative group, and I don't question that most Anglicans probably did (and probably still do) more or less agree with Lambeth 1.10.

Of course, people with integrity have tried to comprehend the whole of Lambeth 1.10 rather than cherry-picking the bits they like and ignoring the bits they don't.

But even so, a conference with no decision making authority cannot make binding decisions.

So, wrong again, NP.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 6:02pm BST

"I would love to see the verses where the Lord tells us that we should spend thousands of dollars on vestments etc in order to celebrate the last supper."

FINALLY we're getting down to it.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 7:37pm BST

Let's repeat it again, NP, since it never seems to sink in: Lambeth V.13 - "Episcopal Responsibilities and Diocesan Boundaries".

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 7:44pm BST

NP. Don't go accusing others of deviating from the way Jesus was/is. A Pharisee like you really doesn't have the room. And He doesn't tell us to buy vestments. We can celebrate the Eucharist anywhere there are two or three of us. I usually find the most meaningful Mass out our way is one where things are a bit off. Two weeks ago we only had three servers, and, our rector being on holiday, not our regular priest. It was all a bit lumpen, but felt wonderful, especially for us servers running around doing the, as Clement would say, liturgies of seven or eight. I felt a bit like Martha, cumbered about much serving, but doesn't that always happen when a family comes together to have a meal?

We use ritual, NP, because the symbolism all mean something and speak to our souls. For the sake of your soul, you need to be a bit more abstract. Sad that you don't know about the symbols and what they mean and where our liturgical traditions come from. I have to ask, who is responsible for such abysmal catechesis in you? I learned all this in Confirmation Class, along with memorizing Creeds, prayers, and the Catechism. Or were you converted by someone who doesn't know, but scorns anyway, the sacraments and the traditional faith? Now, where is it we are told to wave our hands in the air and get all overcome with emotion? I think you'll find that dispassion has always been equated with sanctity. This linking of hysteria and holiness is a very modern innovation.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 9:47pm BST

NP - you haven't clarified my challenge to your assertion that the NT existed by the time Paul (on your understanding) wrote the Pastoral Epistles, presumably not posthumously.

I am fully aware of the process of the formation of the canon, but that's not the point. 'Scripture' in the NT period is unlikely to be anything other than the LXX. It says nowt about the NT.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 11:24pm BST

Continuing the (somewhat off-topic) ritualism debate, I find it odd that one aesthetic worship experience (involving Powerpoint, amplifiers, mixing desks, etc and with a life-span of - say- five to ten years) is not merely acceptable but necessary to true religion, and thus a justifiable expense, yet another, with a life-span of centuries (there's a set of Venetian C16 vestments at Mirfield still in use) is denigrated.

Thus the support of one spirituality, at an average resources cost of (say) £500 p.a. for replacement laptops, projectors and the rest is fine, yet the support of another at a much lower bill is against the spirit of Jesus? That's before we point out that the vestments, artwork, etc are usually not sweatshop produced, nor reliant on fossil fuel for day-to-day use.

This strikes me as prejudice masquerading as moral indignation, a bit like Judas' complaint in GJ. Please, NP, convince me I'm wrong.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 8:29am BST

Ford - we don't do any waving hands around either....but those that do are not far from some of the things we hear about in Acts, are they?? Sorry, I still think that the Lord Jesus, Paul and Peter would not recognise the ceremonies we see in some places - they are man made (and even if you find them helpful, outsiders coming in do not know what is going on.....I think this is important to consider)

Mynster - sorry, I am not interested in the old arguments which try to reduce the authority of scripture by casting doubt on authorship and dates....old ground, over which we have all been many times and have led to our very different views on the authority of scripture.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 9:24am BST

Plenty of Tat in the OT, NP! I'm just being biblical, though I'm having trouble getting my linen ephod ironed.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 12:11pm BST

"but those that do are not far from some of the things we hear about in Acts, are they"

Yes, quite far, actually, since Acts does not attempt to show us what early worship was like and assumes some things, like the centrality of the Eucharist to worship. Paul speaks very clearly how those who receive the gifts of the Spirit are to exercise those gifts to maintain the dignity of public worship. Again, such things are far from the vision of Heavenly worship we are provided with in Revelation.

And it's not about casting doubt on the authority of Scripture, it's about fact and physical impossibility. It is fact that the Christian Scriptures were not written down till well after the Church had been relatively widely distributed thourghout the Empire. It is fact that the OT Scriptures they used contained material you do not consider authoritative (the Apocrypha). It is physically impossible for books to exist before they have been written. Paul cannot have written his letters before the Spirit inspired him to do so. The Evangelists could not have written down their memories of the events of Jesus's life before the Spirit inspired them to do so. This is not an attack on the authority of Scripture!

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 1:50pm BST

The illustration accompanying the Wikipedia entry on the ephod gives a whole new take on Humberside life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephod

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 2:12pm BST

mynster - old (not persuasive) ground ...... we have AUTHORITY to have a bacon sandwich directly from the Apostle Peter, as you know..... what I have asked for many times (and never got) is the authority for the innovations TEC wants. What is the positive case from scripture?

Even the liberal Rowan Williams says there is nothing POSITIVE in scripture about the type of relationships TEC is trying to force the AC to accept as legitimate.....

(and, yes, they are trying to force the AC to accept their innovation.....by presenting VGR as a fait accompli to the AC, ignoring all the please of the AC (including the ABC and the doublespeaking Griswold) not to go ahead)

Posted by NP at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 3:48pm BST

I said to the shop assistant, "Ive got authority from the Apostle Peter to buy and consume this, you know." She said, "What?"

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 4:08pm BST

Perhaps you should or could look deeply into that bacon sandwich over time and see what leadings / openings emerge .....

I wouldn't beat my children without a second thought because the Good Book 'authorises' it (whatever that would mean).

'Following authority' is nearly as bad as 'only following orders'. Various forms of investigation are surely necessary, and for a spiritual response to life's issues or problems, a Mindful consideration is called for. * A mediative investigation of the issue, including the roots, of our own complicity or part in any situation. The roots of suffering for ourselves and other creatures.

Eating bacon and beating children may not seem so straight-forward when we begin to investigate for ourselves, taking responsibility for our own actions, and our part in things....

'This is so, because that is so '

C.f the Sermon on the Mount / Plain;

Starting Where You Are by Pema Choderon; and

Peace in Every Step by Thich Nhst Hanh (etc);

and the Book of Tobit

Posted by L Roberts at Thursday, 26 July 2007 at 6:45pm BST
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