Comments: Pitt letters: further press coverage

In the second times article, a conservative has put forward their conundrum of how to deal with religious diversity in a global community They asked, "If Jesus is uniquely the son of God, how does this relate to the salvation of those who believe in Him and those who do not?”

It's a good question, and deserves some dialogue.

For many, the question is whether or not they believe in Jesus and whther or not they are going to be accommodated with Jesus after death. There are some who want a "pure Christian" heaven where Jesus is the entirety of their universe. They are granted that wish.

However, their universe and heaven are only part of Creation. The rest of Creation gives thanks to God that we don't have to listen to their hate mongering once they pass over.

Grace comes from God, as does accommodation. God's responsibilities and obligations are to all of Creation, throughout all of space and time. Suitable and fair accommodation is found appropriate to each soul's needs and desires. Some of those souls end up in the "Christian only" heaven. Some souls end up elsewhere. Some souls travel between the various realms and levels whilst others are more restricted. Souls who are cruel and abusive are more restricted that than those who nurture and heal.

As God's only son manifested on earth, Jesus is the annointed male guardian of this planet, and he has obligations to all this planet's occupants - even those he doesn't like or who don't like him.

At the moment a significant chunk of his Christians are in violation of the Covenant of Peace. Their theology is like that of locusts, and they have brought shame to Jesus’ name by purporting that God has no plans for any other occupants on this planet and that it is okay to rape and plunder it to extinction because they are going to "their" heaven, and they don't care what is left behind for the "others".

God does.

By the way, expunging humanity from this planet will not change Jesus' reputation amongst transcendtal forces or celestial guardians - whose records are stored beyond human archives. At that level, Jesus is squirming quite a bit right now. After all, as the perfect and complete manifestation of God Jesus doesn't have anyone he can pass the blame onto, not even a stupid wife called Cheva.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Saturday, 9 August 2008 at 11:31pm BST

Thank you Cheryl, for your thoughtful aritcle on this thread.

How on earth any Christian, who has followed the story of Jesus in the gospels, could ever think that God is totally dependant on the Christian Church to ensure the salvation of the whole human race, I cannot begin to imagine.

This is precisely the attitude of many of the Christian Sects, each one of which states that anyone outside of their particular understanding of God and salvation will go to hell.

The Church is not the sole avenue of salvation. It is Christ alone, whose salvation we are meant to commend to the world: "God so loved the World (and not just the Church) that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that all who believe in him might have eternal life" - who is the Redeemer.

Part of the Churches' job is to reveal the God of Love - as we have experienced God in Christ. This is not the vengeful God that some of the sects are currently promoting. Nor is God going to depend on our absolute sinlessness for God to offer us, and others who look for God, the eternal life God has promised through God's Son.

To be able to say that Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God and Saviour of the world, it is not necessary, to believe that the Church is the sole arbiter of whom Jesus will eventually take into the Kingdom he has opened up.

Is it not possible to understand that God, the Creator and Giver of all Life, might have other ways of sharing the salvation of Jesus; and other agencies, than we who might think Jesus is our possession - locked up in the Church?

"By this shall all (people) know you are my disciples - that you have love one for another" This is the true constituency of our discipleship in Christ - the way we love God and one another.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 10 August 2008 at 3:31am BST

Susan Russell of Integrity said:"That Archbishop Rowan Williams’s theology is identical to that held by Canadian and American Anglican Churches currently blessing same-sex unions is not news.” She then denounces "the rank hypocrisy of Williams’s willingness to lay at the feet of Canadian and American Anglicans the blame for divisions in the communion when the only difference between what’s happening in our Churches and in his is that we’re telling the truth about it.” But the Church of England does not in fact bless gay unions publicly (the brouhaha over the blessing of such a union in St Bartholomew's shows this) or consecrate bishops in gay unions.

Rev Giles Fraser said: “I know Dr Williams thinks the Church is important. But this is almost saying the Church is more important than belief. We had a Reformation to change that view.” Again, the issue is not belief but church order. The pre-Reformation Church insisted that all share privately the full public belief of the Church and there was no freedom to argue for change -- hence the Inquisition. Anglicanism allows theologians and even bishops much more latitude to argue for change, but the institutional acceptance of these arguments is a very slow matter.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Sunday, 10 August 2008 at 6:04pm BST

"It expresses what Jesus himself taught: the fundamental and deeply biblical teaching on the vital importance of church unity and of working for that unity by humility and mutual submission."

Quite true -- some 17th century French Protestant theologian, Jurieu I think, said that "for a Christian schism is the greatest of crimes and the greatest of tragedies".

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Sunday, 10 August 2008 at 6:16pm BST

Father Ron

I agree with your comment "This is precisely the attitude of many of the Christian Sects, each one of which states that anyone outside of their particular understanding of God and salvation will go to hell."

In fact, two of the major precipitators of my vehemence come from such theology. The first being bishops and archbishops gloating how all the souls who weren't part of their church were damned at death (one Archbishop doing so in a public lecture on 16 January 2005).

The other was a church elder seriously advising me that Jesus would never return to heal this planet, and that the only scripturally correct return of Jesus is coming down from the clouds for the whole world to see and mass-murdering all but the "correct" Christians. Said with serious intention by his church piano in September 2005.

My position is that if Jesus has really allowed Christianity to degenerate to the point that the only legitimate manifestation is as a global mass slayer, then he is welcome to come back in all personal glory and power and enact that manifestation.

At least I won't co-operate with such a manifestation. I don't think Jesus will get much assistance from John the Baptist or the Daughter of Zion or the Shekina either. Most of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs would also turn their back on such a "messiah". Nor would the cloud of the divine presence cooperate and probably none of the prophets or saints.

Their Jesus can strut his ego, but don't think righteous souls will cooperate.

Certainly none of the souls who directly know God would cooperate - so that takes out the angels, elemental and transcendtal forces...

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Monday, 11 August 2008 at 9:24am BST

Spirit of Vatican II:
Quite true -- some 17th century French Protestant theologian, Jurieu I think, said that "for a Christian schism is the greatest of crimes and the greatest of tragedies".

This is nonsense. There are far greater crimes and tragedies than schism! The greatest crime and greatest tragedy is betrayal of the Gospel. Luther and the other Reformers knew that ... and we must never forget that Anglicanism is a Reformed tradition. TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada cannot trade their Gospel birthright for the pottage of institutional unity, any more than the founders of the independent Anglican tradition could.

Posted by WilliamK at Monday, 11 August 2008 at 2:27pm BST

"TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada cannot trade their Gospel birthright for the pottage of institutional unity, any more than the founders of the independent Anglican tradition could."

If they are very, very sure that the Gospel obliges them to jump the gun on blessing gay unions, then they should indeed risk schism, as Rowan Williams actually says. But schism is always a very costly tragedy -- part of the cost is that the TEC would no longer be able to share their prophetic gospel insight with a broader communion.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 12 August 2008 at 9:45am BST

@Spirit of Vatican II:

You write: "But schism is always a very costly tragedy -- part of the cost is that the TEC would no longer be able to share their prophetic gospel insight with a broader communion."

I concur. What I think far too many people are missing is that by intentionally breaking communion, we are also breaking dialog -- and ending even the remotest possibility of convincing others of our position.

I think the most remarkable thing about Lambeth was the ndaba sessions and the reactions of the bishops to them. It was almost universally expected and hyped that Lambeth would end in a huge bust-up, maybe even with fists flying (and press photographers lapping it all up). It didn't happen, because people acted like grown up human beings and accepted one another. If we Christians sit down and calmly accept the Other's concerns, take each other seriously, *talk* to them (rather than past or at them), and try to understand, then progress can be made.

Will it happen overnight? No, it won't. It will take years, decades, generations even. Forcing the issue and screaming bloody murder when things don't always go our way is bad leadership -- and just plain childish. Resolve is necessary, but so is patience. And that's the sacrifice we all have to make.

Posted by Walsingham at Tuesday, 12 August 2008 at 5:13pm BST

Interesting that Dr Pitt's explanation "Why I leaked the letters" (to Ruth Gledhill of The Times at the beginning of/during Lambeth) doesn't answer the question at all…

All she tries to do is blame Dunelm, whom she pretends was aware of and (implicitly) agreed to publication ;=)

But an answer it is not.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 7:55am BST

I completely fail to see anything in the latest letter which could be construed as a suggestion that the Bp of Durham was a co-conspirator with her in releasing the letters.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 8:21am BST

There's another critique of Dr Pitt by George Pitcher at

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/george_pitcher/blog/2008/08/15/pray_n_tell_woman_seeks_to_justify_herself

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 9:18am BST

This Simon I take as implying agreement on Dunhelms part: “As for why I decided to offer his letters to the public arena, I have written to Dr Wright at length…”

Why else mention it? It is wholly irrelevant, especially since Dr Pitt does not answer the question of the leaking of the letters…

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 9:55am BST

This also is interesting: “Over the years I have shared the letters with only a few; I had no desire to embarrass Dr Williams over his statements…”

What does Dr Pitt mean by “embarrass Dr Williams over his statements”? isn’t this publishing of them embarrassing enough as it is???

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 10:04am BST
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