Comments: more on From Calvary to Lambeth

Ann Widdecombe: "Tutu's idea of what Christ is about is too simple by half."

Words fail me. I suspect, however, that the peaceful transition from Apartheid to a majority government in South Africa represents a keen idea of what Christ is all about. I know where I'll look for Gospel formation.

As for Duncan., if he actually said that, it should be all the clarity necessary for understanding the seccessionists in the USA.

Posted by Dirk C Reinken at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 2:27am GMT

>>>Bishop Duncan “appears to think Tutu, now 76, has lost it — if he ever had it”

Many of us have long thought the same of Duncan, and for much better reason.

Posted by JPM at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:18am GMT

"Lord Carey is heard drawing a distinction between tolerance and approval of homosexuality..."

As the choice in real Life (Creation, you know) is not one between tolerance and approval (except very likely for re-something anti-Moderns), there seems to be a third Category missing here...

Suggesting his "approval" is what others would call Tolerance,
"tolerance" = In-tolerance and
"intolerance" = Phobia.

Or am I quite mis-taken :-(

Posted by Göran Koch-.Swahne at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 5:06am GMT

Dirk: British readers on here will not be surprised at Anne Widdecombe's comment: she hasn't been famous for her keenness on fighters for social justice.

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 8:54am GMT

Tolerance is not the final frontier, churches need to move beyond a perspective where HBT-people are "objects" who should be tolerated. Infact, they are subjects, they are us. There are no meaningful distinctions between HBT-people and other people. (Possibly with the exception that HBT-people has had to struggle more against prejudice and hostility.)

Posted by Swedish Lutheran at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 8:56am GMT

sorry - where +Tutu contradicts the bible, it is right to follow the bible......even a great man like him can be wrong but the scriptures are inerrant

Posted by NP at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:31am GMT

Ah, that deep theological thinker Ann Widdecombe. Thank goodness she is now at liberty to devote her considerable intellectual powers to issues of Christian ethics. I look forward to a Channel 4 special "Ann Widdecombe vs. The Bishops" any day now.

Michael Buerk doubles as the host of that rather absurd Radio 4 programme "The Moral Maze". He is adept at making fatuous statements on that programme, and his risable summary of Tutu's Biblical theology ("a useful guide rather than a repository of unqualified truth" - as though Tutu thought Scripture were akin to a Michelin Guide) shows clearly that Burerk has lost it - if indeed he ever had it.

Posted by MRG at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 12:49pm GMT

What interests me is the way this is playing among those of my acquaintance outside the Church, which is to say most everyone I know. Those who even know it's going on are all bemused at that trashing (well, as much as anyone dare do) of Tutu and the praising of people like +Duncan, +Harvey, +Akinola, etc. The impression is that the Right wingers (whingers?) are the true Christians, which is why the Church is evil (yes, that word is used) and the Left wingers are some sort of self deluded liars. Make no mistake, Christianity is, to them, hateful, judgemental, legalistic, and a block to real justice and peace, and those of us who keep preaching that God loves us are either lying to everybody else in some desparate attempt to seem relevant, or are pitfully deluded accomplices in our own oppression by a body that only knows powerlust and domination.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 1:06pm GMT

"...the scriptures are inerrant..."

Where do you get this from? That's not Anglican at all.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 2:34pm GMT

This once NP is less specific... but I still haven's heard her answer to my previous question:

NP wrote: ”John 14:6 and Acts 4:12”

Acts 4:12 is the Gospel rejection of Legalism and the Works ethic based “salvation” of all Heathen Philosophies, John 14:6 is the Gospel promise: Through me!

Tell me NP, you say that AB Tutu has contradicted them and now also the Bible in its entirety – When? Where? How? Why?

Quotes, please, not evasions.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 2:49pm GMT

Ann Widdecombe: "Tutu's idea of what Christ is about is too simple by half."


“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

Posted by Caelius Spinator at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 3:24pm GMT

I think Judgment Day will look something like this:

God will say to each arriving soul: "Would you like to share digs with Desmond Tutu and Gene Robinson or would you prefer the company of George Carey and Robert Duncan?"

Posted by John-Julian, OJN at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:28pm GMT

Funny how those of us who have "simple" ideas of Christ's all encompassing love are so feared and hated by those who want to impose their complicated agenda on Christianity.

If we're so simple, why so much anger, so much contempt and so much effort to silence us?

And wasn't there once someone who said "I tell you unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"?
And he didn't mean unquestioningly obeying an unbending father!

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:46pm GMT

So, what do we do, Ford?
Design our theology to please your friends?
Will they join then??

Sorry, I will go to a Church of England church on Sunday which has thousands of Londoners of all colours, ages and types coming to it..... because we do believe the 39 articles and do not ignore scripture where it is out of line with the zeitgeist...... your friends would not like it but the churches which do teach a watered-down message (I guess they probably would find acceptable) nearby us are strangely empty...... I think it is clear which type of approach to his word God is blessing.

Posted by NP at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:50pm GMT

"Tutu's idea of what Christ is about is too simple by half."

There are others who think any theology that is not complex and convoluted and bound and straight jacketed is too simple by half.

The whole concept of unilateral grace by God is a fundamental stumbling block. They just can't "get it" that God's grace through Jesus is unilateral and inclusive, it was announced at Jesus birth, before Jesus had uttered one word of teaching.

It was a grace that put aside the legalism straight jacketing as having failed. Dietary contents, hand cleaning rituals, and sexual practices were no longer the basis of salvation.

If sexual practices are legalistically required, then all other legalistic requirements are also required. There are some who may want to convert to Judaism and adopt their 613 mitzvot. Maybe if they work really hard they can make up for all their failed years and centuries of false teachings...

Others, like myself, will give praise and fight for the rights of Judaism to exist, as a reminder that what God creates no man should rent asunder lest they want their own fiefdom razed to the ground.

We do this, not because Judaism is essential, but because we love God and we love what God loves. God loves the Jews irrationally (despite their provocations and rudeness) and all humanity could do with a big spoonful of "fear of God" medicine.

Who knows, some might even be healed and remember that God has a utopian vision of an everlasting covenant of peace and will go to all sorts of coercive ends to achieve it - even sending Jesus in human form and affirming Jesus through supernovas and heralding angels before he'd even drawn his first human breath or been cut off from his mother.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 7:14pm GMT

"your friends would not like it but the churches which do teach a watered-down message (I guess they probably would find acceptable) nearby us are strangely empty...... I think it is clear which type of approach to his word God is blessing."

You're sure it's God doing the "blessing"?

Has it occurred to you that Ford's friends (and mine, BTW) are so completely turned off by the image of Christianity that you and yours present to the world that they find NO church acceptable...because they think of all of them are like you?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 10:13pm GMT

I think Judgment Day will look something like this:

God will say to each arriving soul: "Would you like to share digs with Desmond Tutu and Gene Robinson or would you prefer the company of George Carey and Robert Duncan?"

Posted by: John-Julian, OJN on Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:28pm GMT

This is indeed a vision of heaven on the one hand--and hell on the other.

Posted by L Roberts at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 11:44pm GMT

I find it amusing how NP is always going on about his 'star church'.

Its largely full of people migrated from other churches, and he seems to have missed the point. 94% of Britons never go near a church. Given the publicity Christianity gets , that's no surprise. I doubt whether mass churchgoing will ever return in postmodern contemporary society.

So, the church will need to find itself another role, one which evangelicals and their idea of 'saved' holy huddles in a wicked world haven't a hope of doing. Liberals may be able to connect, but frankly, not whilst they are stuck with evangelicals alongside and their brand of dogma, which is soundly rejected by non-churchgoers. You would find that their attitudes with regards to religion would be closer to a liberal approach..

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 11:50pm GMT

Pat O'Neill wrote, first quoting NP,

'"...the scriptures are inerrant..." Where do you get this from? That's not Anglican at all.'

Of course it isn't Anglican - but then NP isn't Anglican is s/he? S/he's a Neo-Puritan!

Posted by RPNewark at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 10:01am GMT

Well said, Pat: my friends are the same.

Posted by Fr Mark at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 11:27am GMT

"Has it occurred to you that Ford's friends (and mine, BTW) are so completely turned off by the image of Christianity that you and yours present to the world that they find NO church acceptable...because they think of all of them are like you?"

I've been saying this for the past year. It isn't that it hasn't occurred to him, he has strongly rejected the idea.

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 2:05pm GMT

“I saw him denounce institutionalised injustice from scores of pulpits and platforms with soaring eloquence and — even in the darkest moments — impish humour. . . Every day, he stood up to a ruthless and desperate regime."

I thought for a brief impish moment this was a reference to the Anglican Communion...

Of course, there are parallels between an institution which treated people as second-class citizens on the basis of race, and one which treats people as inferior on the basis of sexual orientation. Both race and sexual orientation are characteristics you are born with, therefore any system which treats people less favourably on the basis of these characteristics must be challenged, no matter how inconvenient it is to the institution.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 2:35pm GMT

"That letter described the leadership of the Episcopal Church as 'unitarian and universalist in theology, and coercively utopian in social practice'. It also expressed the signatories’ 'disturbance' that the Episcopalian leadership was to be invited to the Lambeth Conference, but not 'faithful Anglican bishops'”.

Lies and misrepresentations about TEC and its leadership abound in the group's letter of support for the Bishop of Fort Worth, who has violated his ordination vows for too many years--absenting himself from HoB's meetings because he is too holy to be seen in the company of his fellow-Bishops, who sin by being 'too inclusive' (Jack Leo hasn't read a good Catholic commentary on the Lucan Gospel--cf. Raymond E. Brown, The Death of the Messiah, 2 Vols.), and now his latest act of shameful arrogance in leading his episcopal peculiar out of the General Convention Church, a gross violation of his ordination vows. PB Jefferts Schori would be grossly negligent if she permitted this kind of misconduct by a bishop to continue unchecked. The Review Committee, which is the equivalent of a grand jury, will soon bring presentment charges against Jack Leo Iker, Robert Duncan et al., which will lead to a trial by the HoB, and, if found guilty, to DEPOSITION.

I am appalled that CofE groups have fallen victim to desception by the renegade US bishops and spout off lies about TEC. How would the CofE-by Law Established-react, say, in the event the Bishop of Rochester engaged in similar conduct? Would he be allowed to take the assets of his See and place them under the jurisdiction of a foreign primate?

People who sit in glass houses should not be throwing stones. British law would never allow this kind of reckless behavior on the part of an English bishop either.

Posted by John Henry at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 5:14pm GMT

Hi Laurence

I'd choose Tutu, Robinson, Gandhi and all the unrepetant reformers and non-Christian righteous souls any and every day!

One of my reliefs is that I am going to a broad future where I will witness all types of souls up to all sorts of antics. I'm looking forward to watching Aboriginal corroborrees, listening into Indian elder meetings, watching Hindu and Buddhist musicians and dancers. The colours, the diversity, it's going to be fantastic!

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 7:57pm GMT

"One of my reliefs is that I am going to a broad future where I will witness all types of souls up to all sorts of antics. I'm looking forward to watching Aboriginal corroborrees, listening into Indian elder meetings, watching Hindu and Buddhist musicians and dancers. The colours, the diversity, it's going to be fantastic!" (Cheryl Va. Clough)

Thank you, Cheryl, you brightened my morning! And add in: whirling dervishes, clowns (yes, clowns), and flowers. Flowers everywhere. I'll look you up and thank you personally when I get there :-)

Posted by Padre Wayne at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 12:07pm GMT

Sorry - I still think the bible and the 39 articles are right and Jesus Christ knew what he was talking about in John 14:6, John 3:36 and Luke 13.

I trust the apostles more than Tutu or Cheryl when we talk of God's view on morality (holiness) or salvation.....when an apostle is quite clear in Acts 4:12 that the only way to God is through his Son and this fits with what Christ himself and other of his apostles say, I will stick with their teaching.....again, it is affirmed by Anglican tradition (despite those clergy of a certain "integrity" who cross their fingers at various points of their ordination and think their is some honour in contradicting what they swore to uphold)

John Julian - you will do better to read what Jesus Christ says about judgment day than to post silly fantasies..... he had a lot to say, even if some clergy cannot bring themselves to tell the truth about what Christ said on certain matters.

Posted by NP at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 3:51pm GMT

"One of my reliefs is that I am going to a broad future where I will witness all types of souls up to all sorts of antics. I'm looking forward to watching Aboriginal corroborrees, listening into Indian elder meetings, watching Hindu and Buddhist musicians and dancers. The colours, the diversity, it's going to be fantastic!" (Cheryl Va. Clough)

Who told you this?
Your ideas about heaven may appeal to others who prefer speculation to the word of God but it does not fit with what Jesus Christ says on heaven, sin, judgment or his uniquenes in salvation for any person....... maybe you and Gaia are making it up?

Posted by NP at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 6:22pm GMT

An analogy occurs to me:

To say that the only way to God is through Christ is not to say that Christ is the first or only door on the path...only that he is the final door.

Who is to say that as people such as Gandhi or Weisenthal or any other non-Christian reaches the Kingdom, Christ is not there, standing before an open gateway, saying "Enter...".

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 7:03pm GMT

"Ann Widdecombe: "Tutu's idea of what Christ is about is too simple by half."

Me thinks Ann Widdecombe is too clever by half.

As for Bob Duncan? I've had many opportunities to sit down with Duncan in the last two years. As someone who has worked with socially, emotionally disturbed people, It's my humble opinion that Bob Duncan is mentally unstable/ill. I can excuse his comments on that basis.

I wonder how these religious exclusives view young autistic or special needs children who grown up in a Muslim or Hindu household? Do they go to this place called Hell too? If so please send me there too.

Posted by Bob in SW PA at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 7:36pm GMT

Later in John 14 Jesus asked the Father to give us another “Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you... Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid...”

John 3:34-36 “…God gives the Spirit without limit… Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

Luke 13 talks about the parable of cutting down the tree that has born no fruit. Some want all trees cut off and are thus rebuked with Zechariah 3 for failing to recognize holy sparks. Others are like Abraham or the farmer who plead for clemency in the hope of creating fruit.

In Luke 13:16 having set a woman free of infirmity and disgrace, Jesus rebukes the synagogue ruler with “…should not this woman… be set free on the Sabbath day…?”

The imagery of the tree in which all animals take shelter is a reference back to Ezekiel. The reference to the yeast of God is a reference to the influence of the matriarchs such as Sarah.

In Luke 38:28, Jesus affirms that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets will be in his house but the cruel will be shut out.

Luke 13’s ending can be paraphrased to suit modern times “O Christianity… you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’’”

After having been satisfied by the light of life of Zion (Isaiah 53:11), do you really think that Jesus would refuse to bear the iniquities of GLBTs? Do you really think that Jesus would risk losing the everlasting covenant of peace manifest through his promised faithful love (Isaiah 55:3)?

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 8:02pm GMT

"Your ideas about heaven may appeal to others who prefer speculation to the word of God but it does not fit with what Jesus Christ says on heaven, sin, judgment or his uniquenes in salvation for any person....... "

Well, Padre Wayne and Cheryl, looks like we won't be meeting NP there.
I for one shall find that sad. He could certainly do with loosening up and understanding the beauty and diversity of God's love.
But who knows - I rather suspect he will be delighted (horrified?) to find us all there with him!

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 11:11pm GMT

It occurs to me that NP, who wants to narrow this down considerably, maybe hasn't got much say in the matter...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 6:07am GMT

Cheryl - it is great you frequently respond with verses but we do have to read scripture in the context of scripture...... and one key theme, as you know, is that God is holy and while he calls all, he does not accept sin (even in those saved by grace!) - see Romans 6:1, 1 John 1 or Eph 5:1-21

The sinner is welcomed by Christ....and called to repentance and new life. The person saved by grace does not remain unrepentant and justifying sin..... the Lord says "go and sin no more" to us sinners.

Pat - you are making up your "final door" thesis and it has no foundation in the bible and contradicts John 14:6 and other verses. Are you Anglican? Many Anglicans (even some clergy) believe this.....
http://anglicansonline.org/basics/thirty-nine_articles.html

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 8:48am GMT

It would be "helpful" if NP gave full quotes instead of verses, as these verses look very different from one "translation" to another...

But you did know that, didn't you?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 10:33am GMT

NP:

John 14:6--Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Exactly. You must go through Jesus to get to his father. But nowhere does Jesus say that he is the first or only door on the path.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 12:07pm GMT

"The person saved by grace does not remain unrepentant and justifying sin"

Either you at HTB don't follow a lectionary or you didn't read Sunday's Gospel, or you, most sadly, didn't keep Christ the King. Either way, you missed the Good Thief. Consider that all he did on the Cross was acknowledge that there will be a Kingdom and ask to be remembered in it. He acknowledged the rightness of his punishment, but that's a far cry from repentance. Also, it looks a bit presumptuous to ask for a place in the Kingdom without even apologizing for breaking one of its basic rules. It even looks like someone at the last minute seeking an "out" in some sense, not so much repentance but self preservation. Yet, Jesus grants him a place in the Kingdom. No "go and sin no more", little point in that by then. So, how do we understand him getting into the Kingdom without so much as an "I'm sorry I stole that stuff"? Seems to put the boots to your "Repent so God can find you acceptable" rule, no? And again, why are you so interested in justifying your own sin if you called not to do it?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 2:11pm GMT

OK Ford - you go tell people that's all that is required..... I will stick to telling them all of what the Lord and his Apostles said so as not to mislead them about the gospel. But I hope you will not tell them they are saved by grace from Eph 1-2 and then ignore Eph 5..... that would be a grave error and not at all in the interests of those listening to your gospel.

Pat - if you are convinced Christ and his apostles were pluralists, fine.... pls show me the evidence

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 4:14pm GMT

"you go tell people that's all that is required"

I'm not telling people anything, NP. I'm not out standing on the corner with my D-R-U-M drum (any Sally Anns about) haranguing the populace. I'm still trying to figure out how to "let my light so shine". I merely asked what you thought of the Good Thief and how him getting into the Kingdom without repenting of anything made you think about your idea that repentance is necessary in order for God to accept us. You might also meditate on the nature of sin and repentance. In the same way that Luther found out that it means "repent" not "do penance" we must learn that it doesn't mean "sorrow for past crimes" nor "resolve not to commit those crimes again". It actually means understanding that we have not been uinderstanding as God does, and turning our entire selves, especially our understanding, towards God. Again, your problem is that you think sin is breaking the Law, and it ain't at all.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 5:21pm GMT

NP,

Ephesians is not by Paul at all. It is "deutero Pauline" as the phrase goes.

Ephesians 5 is heavily redacted in later days.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 5:45pm GMT

"Pat - if you are convinced Christ and his apostles were pluralists, fine.... pls show me the evidence"

We're not in a science class or a courtroom, NP. I don't have to show you anything but the conviction of my own conscience.

For what it's worth, I am simply taking the plain words from Jesus' mouth--"no one comes to the Father except through me"--and giving them a more open, more forgiving meaning than the one you apply. To me, that is in keeping with the forgiving, open, loving nature of the God I worship.

If your vision of God is as legalistic as your interpretation of his words, I truly pity you.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 8:54pm GMT

Pat says "For what it's worth, I am simply taking the plain words from Jesus' mouth--"no one comes to the Father except through me"--and giving them a more open, more forgiving meaning than the one you apply. To me, that is in keeping with the forgiving, open, loving nature of the God I worship."

And it does not bother you that your conclusion contradicts the plain meaning of what he says here or in JOhn 3:36 or in the Great Commission???
And what about his apostles? You are contradicting them too..... you would have been standing up to tell Peter and Paul not to preach and their Lord was just "a door".....and your "conscience" tells you there are many.

Where you contradict the Lord and his Apostles, I will stick with them.....

Posted by NP at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 12:38pm GMT

"the plain meaning of what he says here"

It's interesting to note that whenever you are talking about God's judgement and who is fit for position in the Church or entry into the Kingdom, the Scripture is quite plain. When anyone talks about mystical or supernatural things, it changes. Scripture is quite clear, as far as you are concerned, about who God accepts and why, it seems conveniently muddled for you when we are talking about how we accept God. The suddenly the Scripture can't possibly mean what it says. Deep down, you really don't believe iun the supernatural or the mystical, do you? You can't understand God as anything other than an all powerful judge in the sky. Even "all powerful" seems a bit of an issue for you.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 2:54pm GMT

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."--That's John 3:36.

I see no contradiction with what I said about John 14:6. You keep insisting that Jesus would comdemn those who act in good faith in accordance with their own consciences in life, I just don't see Him that way. (Oh, and Bible Gateway (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%203:36;&version=31;) notes that some interpreters end the quotation from John the Baptist in that chapter with verse 3.

And, of course, we're talking here about what the Baptist says about Jesus and the Kingdom, not what Jesus says. Was JtB infallible?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 4:56pm GMT

"it does not bother you that your conclusion contradicts the plain meaning of what he says"

But, NP, you make conclusions that contradict the plain word of what Jesus said. Why would it be wrong if Pat were doing the same thing? How is it right for you to contradict Jesus, but Pat can't?

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 6:29pm GMT

[sarcasm mode on]

"NP, you make conclusions that contradict the plain word of what Jesus said. Why would it be wrong if Pat were doing the same thing? How is it right for you to contradict Jesus, but Pat can't?"

Well, you see, Ford, NP *knows* the true meaning of everything in the Bible, REALLY KNOWS IT. The rest of us are just guessing.

[sarcasm off]

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 9:13pm GMT
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