Comments: More reports from Canada

"Opening his English Standard Version of the Bible, of which he was chief editor, Packer read out passages from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, in which the apostle Paul compares "men who lie with men" to drunkards, thieves, slanderers and adulterers, none of whom will enter the kingdom of heaven."

So Packer edited {*cough* invented *cough*} his own Gospel? How very convenient.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 3:33am BST

"That's a very solemn apostolic warning," said Packer, a self-described "Calvinist Anglican"

A Calvinist Anglican? Whatever next - a Unitarian Anglican? A Christian Scientist Anglican? Dr Packer's wild accusations of heresy appear to be lobbed from a glass-house.

Posted by MRG at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 8:13am BST

"Argentine Anglican deplores infighting."

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 9:45am BST

PS I suppose that Canon Dr Sugden, like Presiding Bishop Venables, paid his own way to British Columbia.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 9:49am BST

PPS Our Heroes in Vancouver:

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 9:53am BST

I suppose there are grounds for associating Richard Holloway with John Selby Spong, but RH was never a Church of England Bishop. He was Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Posted by Eamonn at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 10:21am BST

This should be celebrated.

There will never be a progressive Anglicanism whilst people like Packer remain within

Those of you who still think that there can be change whilst conservative evangelicals remain part of the communion are kidding yourself.

There needs to be a split and this should be welcomed as a further step to that end.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 10:48am BST

I cannot help but pity those who claim unwaivering knowledge of "The Truth." If one already knows all the answers, there is neither any need for listening nor room for God to speak.

Posted by Mike at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 4:00pm BST

Dear me, reading Sugden yet again makes me wonder what astrological signs and what church life has allowed him to blithely indulge in partisan, self-serving presuppositional frames - usually two-sided either/or categories - which once predicated, settle the discussion pretty much completely ahead of all time and further details - without anyone questioning him much on the limits of such approaches.

One guesses his audience was all uniformly nodding in sage presuppositional agreement with everything he said to them.

If there is a deep human frailty in the conservative approaches Sugden enacts - and clearly in the sorts of Calvinistic traditionalisms that Packer pleads and pledges? - it surely must be their facile juxtapositions of simple-sounding starts, invoking tag words like supernaturalism and secularism.

Once this two-doors only set up gets going, neither secularism nor faith is very profoundly sketched with understanding.

The silly-minded secularity that Sugden sets up as his key opponent is not real modernity, but a constructed prop in a conservative mind-game.

If modernity was nothing but what Sugden says it is, then why would we head off to the dentist when we have a toothache, expecting real treatment?

Maybe Sugden has been channel flipping through too many MTV or Reality TV shows?

These are hardly the secret gold keys to what makes us modern and so challenged with continuities and discontinuities, including our ancient heritages.

If the closed-minded conservative supernaturalisms that Sugden sets up as his presumed gold standard foundations are the only faith options, then faith is simply in essence what scriptures call idolatry.

Being a god and being a believer are all about power, fear, and the whole nine yards penal lexicon so beloved and so imprisoning in both typical Puritan and Calivinistic hermeneutics. Humanity is one dead cockroach expiring on the lesser foothills of high supernatural Olympus or Mount Sinai, take your pick.

Alas, just as Sugden offers us a cartoon of modernity, so he sketches out a simple cartoon of how to follow our dear Jesus as Risen Lord of modern life.

This sort of preaching is like urban tagging on transit cars: Okay, Sugden, we know you were here. Did you notice that your presuppositional tagging just defaced the public square which citizens of any faith, or of no faith, might use to get on with the best modern daily life possible to them?

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 4:17pm BST

Venables believes there are now two gospels..there are certainly two in his Southern Cone...with room for Anglo-catholic Bishop Schofield and Anglo-Baptist, Jim Packer...two contradictory interpretations of the Gospel.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 8:47pm BST

Chris Sugden's lecture is abysmal, in that it jumps around, makes logical leaps, tries to slip in a few newsy issues, full of false opposites, bad definitions and it often lacks argument. Perhaps he is too busy these days. I thought I'd look at it as I have at some by Rowan Williams, but not only did I notice the difference but half way in I wondered why I was bothering. I wanted to try and understand the position, but it seems to me to float on the surface of what he is trying to justify.

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 11:30pm BST

Chris this the man co-ordinating Gafcon and the breakup of the Communion.... Wait for the declaration of U.D.I. in Jerusalem? He was probablly drafting it with Archbishop Venables in Vancouver

In " Happier" times Sugden would have been made a bishop..the best he can hope for now is an assistant in the Anglo-Catholic (free of women) diocese the Manchester Report suggests.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 6:14am BST


'Men who lie with men' is little different from most other translations: check them. Far from being a biased translation it is the most neutral translation possible because: (a) it is merely a literal rendering of the Greek, (b) it picks up the Leviticus reference, (c) it does not go into the specifics of sexual practice unlike some other translations.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 2:19pm BST

Interestingly, I looked up the relevant passage on line, on a site that gives the ability to compare various versions with each other ( and, according to that site, that ISN'T what the English Standard Version says. What the ESV says is "men who practice homosexuality..."

So either Packer has some bizarrely different edition of the ESV or he was re-translating on the spot.

At any rate, even if the literal translation is "men who lie with men", that would seem to include--if taken literally--men like Abe Lincoln who regularly "bundled" with other males during his days riding the circuit in Illinois...since "lie with" has no literal meaning that includes sexual activity.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 5:40pm BST

Christopher, I believe "slanderers" is also little different in other translations. Why is it that the reasons for schism seem to stop once we get to that one? Surely if homosexuality bars one from the Kingdom and if the acceptance of it is worth splitting the Church over, then lying about others and deriding them, which fits the spirit if not the definition of Paul's word 'slander', does the same thing. Yet, conservatives happily go on with that sort of behaviour, as if they just stopped reading that sentence after it excludes the fags. And who ever said that a literal translation was the best one? You don't have much experience with translations, do you? An example, not idiomatic: Russian has the word 'vorota' which means 'gate'. It is also used for the goals in sports matches, there being no word for 'goal' in Russian otherwise. So, "Several players converged on the opposing team's gate" might be a literal translation, but it is hardly the most accurate, and for many would convey no real information at all.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 6:41pm BST

I disagree w/ all those translations to which you refer, Christopher.

Any translation condemning "men lying with men" which FAILS to account for

1) the PRESUMED heterosexual orientation of all parties involved, and

2) the PRESUMED connection of (male) same-sex sexual behavior to idolatry

does not ACCURATELY REFLECT, in our day, what the Scriptural passages are trying to convey.

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 7:50pm BST

Actually, the ESV does not say anything of the above. No "men who lie with men”, no drunkards, thieves or slanderers, only “adulterers” which is a masc. plur. word European Scholastic Academic Theology mis-translated as sexual (marriage breaking of the wife).

The ESV says: 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Now, the Unrighteous do not take part in either the Jewish, or the Christian, Congregation… Nor is “inherit” inherit. It’s kläronomäsousin; to take part in, follow. The “Canonical” testament and its individually owned “inheritance” (= property) didn’t exist before Roman Canon Law. “Drunkards” are into some sort of intoxication, but we don’t know which. “Thieves” refers to the stealing/kidnapping of human beings for the slave market. Also, the correct rendering of loídoroi as slanderers is often avoided in translations...

Also, in a 1st century House church with no formalised clergy, the passivum of “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified” most probably was an equal number of mediums in stead: You washed yourselves, you sanctified, you justified.

The Greek Text is predicated on the 10 Commandments (as is so much of the OT and NT; the Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon in the Plain, & c., thus something like [history added]:

Don’t miss-step! Neither men who frequent [sacral] Prostitutes neither Idolaters [both Cult = 2nd Commandment],
neither Un-faithful [Household members], neither Sloppy [Husbanders], neither Male prostitutes [all three 7th Commandment: Household],
neither Thieves [for the slave trade, 8th Commandment],
neither the (economically) Dishonest [9th – 10th Commandment],
nor Inebriates, nor Slanderers, nor the Greedy, are party to God’s Kingdom!

As you can see from Dr Packers: “men who lie with men", drunkards, thieves, slanderers and adulterers” later modern translators (mostly anti Modern) translate these verses very differently. What is quoted in the article is actually the (Calvinist and more popular) NIV with the too Modern “Homosexuals” from the RSV exchanged for “men who lie with men” (which derives from Philo’s failed attempt at symmetrical Concepts).

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 10:48am BST

yet Packer supports divorce and re-marriage...which some other evangelicals see as adultery!

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 10:07pm BST
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