Comments: New Orleans: further reports and reactions

It appears that the press is seeing this as a "compromise" and a concession to the conservative AC Primates. That is the best result possible under the circumstances. If the "compromise" is rejected they will only cement the view that they are unreasonable fundamentalists, not Anglicans, seeking power, not unity.

But the Church Times continues to get it wrong when it says that as a result of the HoBs' position "One possibility is that up to five Episcopal dioceses will secede."

Dioceses do not "secede." Bishops vacate Sees, priest abandon parishes, parishioners leave. I am hearing that well over a third of the 66 parishes in Pittsburgh have voted NOT to leave TEC.

Do we know how many of the of the 20 Windsor/Camp Allen bishops are in Pittsburgh? I suspect it is not more than 10 in total, including the Network Five.

Posted by C.B. at Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 1:40pm BST

The question which the response from LGCM makes me ask is this: "What accommodation are you prepared to make in the Church for those who hold Traditionalist/Conservative views on homosexuality?" The answer must, presumably, be either, "Along the following lines ... (acceptance of belief, preaching, teaching, pastoral practice, roles in ministry including episcopal appointments, maybe one or two other things)" or "None whatsoever." Assuming it is not the latter, is anyone prepared to give an indication of the nature of the former? (Changing Attitude contributors may also wish to comment.)

Posted by John Richardson at Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 2:14pm BST

PS In case anyone thinks I am just trying to lay a bear trap with my question above, I will admit that as a Traditionalist/Conservative I don't see very much room for accommodation at all with the views of LGCM/Changing Attitude, and I want to be quite open about that.

I don't think their teaching has a place in the Church and I therefore don't think it is appropriate for people who hold to those teachings to occupy teaching offices.

I do think there is room in the Church for participation in its life by those who oppose Traditionalist/Conservative teaching at this point, but not for accommodation to what is taught or what follows from it in pastoral practice.

However, I think it is important to try to establish if that cuts both ways - so I am just looking for confirmation or otherwise, not for a fight!

Posted by John Richardson at Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 3:37pm BST

"I don't think their teaching has a place in the Church"

That's as may be, but I don't think the treaching of +Akinola that a) gay people and those who speak nicely about them should be jailed for 5 years, and b) it is acceptable to compromise the Gospel for the sake of peace and to escape oppression. Now this last is not explicit, but peace with Muslims is trotted out as one of the things that is important to the people of Nigeria, and I don't doubt it, but compromise of the Gospel is compromise of the Gospel, whether it's done to be nice to gay people or to try to make sure the Muslims don't kill you. Jailing someone because he says that I am NOT sick and a "cancer on the body of Christ" is certainly NOT in accord with the Gospel. I don't think there is room in the Church for the ultraProtestant and unCatholic treachings of the bishop of Sydney, either. Good thing I don't get to decide who's in and who's out, eh?

As to accomodation, how are traditional ideas not being accomodated? Alternate Episcopal Oversight is provided for in the New Orleans communique. How is there no accomodation? I have yet to be shown one example of the so-called "persecution" of the conservatives by the evil liberals in TEC that did not involve in some way what appear to be deliberately provocative actions on the part of the "oppressed" so pony up, where's the oppression?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 4:34pm BST

Ford,

APO misses the point raised at the diocesan level. This plan may have avoided moves made by individual parishes, but does not seem to help situations where a diocesan bishop is looking for alternative leadership. The conservative bishops asked for alternative oversight from a primate. Giving one bishop another bishop to provide oversight doesn't address the question being asked.

Posted by Chris at Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 5:05pm BST

John Richardson you have done nothing to 'accomodate' that godly, and conscientious Evangelical, the bishop of Chelmsford.

As for myself I will have no truck with your anti-gay remarks, or misinformation about lesbian and gay people. Or that of the C of E in so far as it has had much to say at all, of a constructive nature.

I do not want any more fighting --but I certainly won't let you get away with your homophobia with comment.

Why do you protest so much ?

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 6:25pm BST

As a member of LGCM and Changing Attitude, I'll try to answer John Richardson's question (though I certainly wouldn't purport to speak for those organisations). I am quite clear in my own mind that I do want people with traditional/conservative views on homosexuality to stay within the Anglican family. I disagree profoundly with those views but I think the way forward on these issues is through loving, prayerful dialogue not through name-calling and threats of expulsion. There are so many issues on which Anglicanism has historically admitted a range of views. Why can't homosexuality be one of them?

Posted by David Abrahams at Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 11:25pm BST

David Abrahams
Thanks for your reply which was to the point.

Ford Elms
I'm not questioning a current lack of accommodation, I'm seeking to establish the end of the process, which we have clearly not yet reached.

Thus, whilst David Abraham's aspiration may be laudable, I doubt whether it is truly practicable as an abiding solution. You could say we are virtually there already, provided the Traditionalist/Conservatives allow full rein to the views of the 'others' (don't want to use a label that might be rejected, but you know who I mean). However, I do wonder how long a Church would last where one group says, "This is wrong and must be repented of," and the other says, "That (opposite of this) is wrong and must be repented of." But that is to stray from my request for clarification.

L Roberts
I've tried to be quite open about my unwillingness to 'accommodate'. I'm not saying accommodation is good, I'm simply asking if it is on the table, long term, by those who take the views espoused by LGCM, Changing Attitude, etc.

Posted by John Richardson at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 12:56am BST

David Abrahams said,
"There are so many issues on which Anglicanism has historically admitted a range of views. Why can't homosexuality be one of them?"

Can you name another instance where the range of views was so wide and the evidence for one side so stark? Yes, we can debate ideas such as real presence in the elements, pre/post/a-millennialism, the appropriateness of speaking in tongues and even the idea of free will because we see a range of views in Scripture and in church history that fall within what would be considered orthodox teaching. This is the first time in history anyone has tried to redefine the fundamental definition of marriage so such a radical degree.

Posted by Chris at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 3:26am BST

J Richardson we have been accomodating you for a long time.

Posted by L Roberts at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 9:06am BST

Chris wrote

"This is the first time in history anyone has tried to redefine the fundamental definition of marriage so such a radical degree."

I think that can occur if one takes an inappropriate perspective.

I don't think we are talking about a radical redefition of marriage. We are still talking about committing to a life-long monogamous relationship, with rights and responsibilities of both parties to each other, any dependants and the broader community.

What is in question is who will be given access to the privileges and responsibilities of marriage.

From that perspective, this is not that radical. It is less radical than Jesus opening Judaism to the Gentiles, or eliminating the Roman Citizen/other caste systems, or restoring rights to blacks (from under black slavery or Apartheid).

The issue is not what marriage is, but who should be allowed to participate in marriage.

The bible has always been inclusive in that sense, it is God's way of enticing souls to a more wholesome life. God's fairness in the treatment of aliens: Numbers 9:14, 15:14-21, 15:29-30, Deuteronomy 1:16, 5:14, 23:7, 24:14-21, 16:12-13, 27:19, Joshua 20:9, Jeremiah 7:6 & 22:3, Ezekiel 22:7 & 22:29, Zechariah 7:10

If we can not bring ourselves to give dignity, grace, rights and obligations to the breadth of the human spectrum; then what hope have we of coping with intelligence beyond earth's boundaries?

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 9:52am BST

We don’t start with a list of the teachers we want to exclude. We support dialogue and listening and should I and my family ever move to Ugley and take a seat in the parish church we would expect the quiet and enjoyment of that national treasure. We would expect our family to be welcomed and would expect there to be no “victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex”.

We would expect to trust that our children return from Sunday school learning to love God and their neighbour with all their hearts and minds and to honour and respect their parents.

What need would there be of exclusions?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 10:54am BST

ok, Martin - but if you found the church was being led by someone who was teaching something unacceptable to you (I won't say, the church, but unacceptable to you) - would you just accept it and stay anyway? I doubt it.

The fact that you may well be comfortable in Ugley relates to that church not departing from CofE teaching / agreed positions. You do not see there a vicar who is also a hindu or teaching some alternative morality to the bible. That is why you may not feel uncomfortable at Ugley..... but there are vicars who make many uncomfortable (or they don't, depending on how few turn up to hear their views expounded)

Martin - nobody wants to exclude people from the church but we do want to make sure that those teaching are faithful to the bible and obeying the requirements of the CofE in their own lives as vicars (this is a matter of integrity). We are commanded to make sure teaching in the church is faithful, as you know, and we are to judge what goes on in the church (1 Cor 5:12)

Posted by NP at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 12:01pm BST

"if you found the church was being led by someone who was teaching something unacceptable to you "

Well, first of all, Christ leads the Church, NP. Second, we have no one leader on Earth. There is no Anglican Pope, and I do not wish to see one. What we have is individual dioceses, all independent, each led by a bishop who is no greater nor less than any other bishop. There may be a hierarchy for administrative purposes, but that is a far cry from saying the Anglican Church is led by any one individual. Third, I have been saying over and over that some parts of the Church are led by people whose teachings I find unacceptable. I still do not see a need to split the Church over it.

"a vicar who is also a hindu or teaching some alternative morality to the bible."

There being how many of these, NP? One in Olympia believes she can be Muslim and Christian. How many others? The Church is hardly crawling with them. The Church IS however crawling with closet fundamentalists and crypto-Calvinists. They teach, but manifestly do not practice, adherence to the Scriptures. Their teaching seems to be "Do as I say, not as I do." Maybe you don't see that as a moral issue, but it certainly is different from what the Scriptures teach us. Still, I don't consider conservative hypocrisy a reason to split the Church, any more than that of the Left.

"we are to judge"

LOL. Is that the 'Royal We', NP? You seem to think 'we' means 'I' in this context.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 12:43pm BST

Cheryl,

God's call is certainly inclusive to all and that certainly is radical. But there is a simultaneous process of exclusion. There is nothing about you, me or any other human on earth that would preclude God's desire for us to accept Christ. But if we don't accept the free gift of grace we face exclusion. If we don't respond to God's call and receive Christ, then we are excluded from the Kingdom. Accepting Christ, who He is (the Son of God) and His work on the cross and resurrection is definitional to being a Christian. It seems Christian faith is based on WHO Christ is and WHAT Christ did.

I think marriage is also defined by WHO is involved and by WHAT is done. If Christ isn't the Son of God can He really have done what He claims? If marriage involved a same sex couple can it really fulfill everything marriage is intended?

Of course that gets to our views on the purpose of marriage...

Posted by Chris at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 3:28pm BST

Ford - WE are the church and WE (you and me and all in it) are called to judge teaching and behaviour in the church and we are called to guard doctrine closely and avoid false teaching.....you know St Paul was very clear on this (just like on certain other issues!)

WE cannot avoid that responsibility because some people want to redefine 2000 years of Christian teaching on what is a sin because it suits them to do so.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 5:25pm BST

Ford observed: "One in Olympia believes she can be Muslim and Christian."

Malcolm+ notes: And it isn't like "liberals" have been rallying to her cause or promoting her perspective. Indeed, if I recall, she has been effectively suspended as she sorts herself out.

But that gets in the way of NP's "conservative" screed.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 8:29pm BST

Yes, NP, WE, my point was not YOU individually. And we're talking doctrine, not people.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 10:19pm BST

Christians with my conscience might find excluding any teacher a little too close to book burning and the like, and I suspect as long as they didn’t want to burn us – we could put up with any pastor who happened to be the parish priest (see above!).
We profoundly dislike taking the family out of the community we live in for worship, school (or shopping!).

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 10:30pm BST

Martin - you say "Christians with my conscience might find excluding any teacher a little too close to book burning"

St Paul would disagree with you - would he not?

Someone else warned us of wolves dressed as sheep - He was not telling us to accomodate wolves, was he?

Posted by NP at Friday, 28 September 2007 at 9:37am BST

"He was not telling us to accomodate wolves"

What's truly sad is your inability to perceive, much less have any respect for, the fact that it is many of those who you would call holy who are the wolves. Ah, well, little sheep, enjoy your fun, they'll eat you soon enough.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 28 September 2007 at 1:57pm BST

Chris

You asked "If marriage involved a same sex couple can it really fulfill everything marriage is intended?"

That has been a conundrum down history. What happens to the marriage that is barren or vexed?

Such as the birth of Ishmael to Haggar as Sarah could not conceive from Abraham. Or Leah conceiving 6 of Jacob's 12 children and him losing his beloved Rachel during the birth of her second son, Benjaman. Or Ruth the Moabite (grandmother of David) raising Boaz's son Obed with her mother-in-law Naomi from a non-Boaz lineage.

If fertility of marriage is so paramount, then why does God call on the barren woman to sing? (Isaiah 49:21-23 or 54 or 41:18 or 1 Samuel 2:5 ) What about Psalms 113:3 "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children."

What about Job 24:21-24 "They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow show no kindness. But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain."

NP, your taunt about wolves forgot God's promises to wolves and the fallen ones e.g. Isaiah 11:6 "The wolf will live with the lamb..." or 65:25 "The wolf and the lamb will feed together..."

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 28 September 2007 at 2:49pm BST

"If we don't respond to God's call and receive Christ, then we are excluded from the Kingdom."

Really? See, this is an interesting point. Does "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life" mean "And if you don't accept that I will roast you"? I submit that it doesn't. It is convenient for many people to believe that it does, because they then get to feel so much better that they won't roast, but really, is that what it means? Do you seriously think that Mahatma Gandhi is excluded from the Kingdom because he was a Hindu? I mean, come on, I'm not saying, as I know some in TEC do, that Gandhi can be considered a Christian saint, I think that's actually disrespectful, but honestly. Do you know of Mother Julian the The Revelation of Divine Love?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 28 September 2007 at 5:46pm BST

Ford,

Actually, I do think rejection of Christ, no matter how good one's works are, results in rejection from the Kingdom. If I or Ghandi could work our way into heaven we wouldn't need Christ and the crucifixion truly would be cosmic child abuse. Gal 16:9.

As for hell being hot - I don't know what hell is like apart from separating one from God. NT writers allude to flame and Jesus speaks of fire, but its difficult to know if this is figurative or literal.

Just avoiding flames is no reason to feel good about oneself. I take a Lutheran view that even my faith is a gift from God, given to me out of His providence - it does not come from within me. Eph 2:8-10.

Justification by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.

Posted by Chris at Friday, 28 September 2007 at 8:09pm BST

Cheryl,

Infertility is a great objection. As a husband in a couple w/ fertility issues this is close to home. The thing is, an infertile hetero couple COULD by the grace of God conceive. A same sex couple can not, baring another immaculate conception.

Where SSM can not fulfill a purpose of marriage is as an example of Christ and the church. Many reject this purpose of marriage, but I see it as a wonderful gift God has given us to illustrate His love for us.

Posted by Chris at Friday, 28 September 2007 at 8:15pm BST

Chris:

"If I or Ghandi could work our way into heaven we wouldn't need Christ and the crucifixion truly would be cosmic child abuse. Gal 16:9."

And you know for certain that Christ did not work through Gandhi (let's spell his name right, OK)? How? Are you so certain of your knowledge of God's plan that it's impossible?

"As for hell being hot - I don't know what hell is like apart from separating one from God. NT writers allude to flame and Jesus speaks of fire, but its difficult to know if this is figurative or literal."

I'm always amazed when people who will take some things in the Bible as figurative insist on reading others as literal...and tell those of us who see the latter as figurative we're wrong.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 29 September 2007 at 3:13am BST

Can't see what any of this has to do with "marriage".

Marriage in the Bible is polygamous. The Church fought this for a Millennium.

Nevertheless, there are still vestiges of Polygamy in German Princely Hausgesetz, eg the Princes of Lippe, (the family of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who never was heir to Lippe because his mother was not "ebenbürtig" but a mere Baroness).

As late as the 1850ies King Frederik IX of Denmark had both a Spouse (Queen Caroline) and a Wife (Louise Rasmussen, Countess Danner) simultaneously.

So this is closer to home than we usually think.

Registered Partnerships are a more recent example of secondary marriages not giving full access to the protection of the Law.

And the Church fought polygamy for a Millennium...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 29 September 2007 at 8:38am BST

Chris, the word "Gehenna" does not refer to the much later non Christian literary concept of "hell", known chiefly from such figures as Dante and from the liberal Arts.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 29 September 2007 at 8:48am BST

"... then we are excluded from the Kingdom."

Well, actually... "kläro-nom-ä-sousin" as in 1 Cor 6:9-11 "... Basileían Teoû kloäronomäsousin" is not in future tense, so it does not mean, or imply, "excluded from the Kingdom".

It means "take part in" "be party to" - and that is in the present: "already here and now, but not yet".

The Kingdom is "already here and now, but not yet" the Congregation; and that is the House-Congregation of Paul's times.

So this is a (much later) mis-reading of Antagonistic Theology.

Not the Lutheran tradition around here.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 29 September 2007 at 8:59am BST

"Justification by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone."

I didn't claim anybody was justified by works. One of the most powerful messages of the Gospel is that God loves us for what we ARE, not for what we do. This has huge inplications. Think of it: he loves the worst serial killing child molestor as much as He does you. That person's actions grieve Him, just like our sins do, and will have consequences when he "knows as he is known", but God still loves him, wants his redemption, and it is up to us to seek that. And, what Goran said. The Kingdom will not BE, the Kingdom IS. We are merely seeking, on Earth, to perceive it around us. SOme do. The goal is theosis, He became as we are so that we can become as He is. Some actually achieve that here. The rest of us have to wait for the parousia. But justification by works? No. And is childbearing a part of the 'Church as Bride of Christ" imagery?

If you are dealing with infertility issues, I feel for you, though I certainly can't say I know what you're going through. Don't fall for the societal idea that you HAVE to have a child in order to be fully human, though. That's one source of the anxiety people in your position feel, and they can end up throwing all kinds of money, and eventually quality of life, into the quest for a child. The first question asked at a wedding is "When are going to start a family?" and that question gets crueller as the years go by with no child. Don't let that get to you.

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 29 September 2007 at 1:34pm BST

Ford,

The Kingdom is both the current Church and the future new heaven and Earth. That's not the real issue here. It appears we're mostly fumbling to say the same thing in words the other understands than staking out different positions.

What we're really interrogating is does Christ save all people regardless of faith or is an active faith in Him required? Absolutely, God loves all people where they are and loves us all enough to send Christ in oder to provide means of reconciliation. Further, are those with out active faith part of the Kingdom today or in the future?

Posted by Chris at Saturday, 29 September 2007 at 9:13pm BST

"does Christ save all people regardless of faith or is an active faith in Him required? "

More importantly, what right do you have to decide? You should be concerned with your place in the Kingdom, not threatening others with their absence from it. Redemption is through Christ, but I am not about to say that God will turn away from a Godly person who is not a Christian.

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 30 September 2007 at 12:35pm BST

Ford, your logic fails. Saying God will judge - based on what HE has already told us - is not the same as actually judging people. We clearly read God will judge the world and we clearly hear from Christ's own words that He is the ONLY way to the Father. If we do not know Christ we do not know the Father. I can state those facts because God has revealed that to us. If I begin to say this person or that person does not know Christ, THEN I am in error. But the former is not the same as the latter.

Also, how can one be "Godly" if they are not Christian, unless some sort of works based righteousness is at play? Our righteousness only comes from Christ.

Posted by Chris at Sunday, 30 September 2007 at 9:05pm BST
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