Comments: opinion

Well, I'd love Theo for my vicar.

You decide though ..

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Saturday, 5 November 2011 at 12:22pm GMT

I'm glad Theo Hobson is being open about his 'uncertainty' about a call into priesthood in the Episcopal Church - presumably in the U.S. One does have to test one's call into priesthood, and eventually, most doubts may begin to disappear - usually after submitting one's claim of a calling: to the appropriate authority.

Initial 'callings' can be wrong - or just for a time, but then, one is never completely certain until the period of discernment is ended; in the case of priesthood, with ordination.

Believing, as I do, in 'ministry in context' I do believe that Theo, from his writings in the Guardian and with his liberal outlook, could have a legitimate call from God to enter the ranks of ordained clergy in TEC.

Why not give it a go, Theo? You have my prayers, and I'm sure, the prayers of a few others on this site.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 5 November 2011 at 11:52pm GMT

re Deirdre Good's article in 'Daily Epicopalian';
Whatever word Jesus actually used to address His Father, it has to be seen in context. "Jesus and the Father are One", would indicate the existence of an unique relationship between the Two Persons of the Trinity, whose relationship is enjoined with the Holy Spirit. However, as a human being (as well as Son of God) perhaps Jesus, in using the word 'Abba', or indeed any other loving word, was speaking of his human relationship to God - in the way that God might like us human beings to related to God. Abba as 'Daddy' sounds remarkably like a dependent child - which is how I see my dependency on the Father of Jesus - God.

But then....God is also Mother - in a way that God nurtures us, completing the paradign of parenting in an inclusive way - regardless of gender.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 6 November 2011 at 12:59am GMT

I can hardly describe how good Keith Ward makes me feel. He is so intelligent, so articulate, so 'liberal' (in all the best senses of the word), so engaged with major intellectual debates. He's also a good and kind man. He is a great adornment to our church.

Posted by John at Sunday, 6 November 2011 at 9:13pm GMT

I don't read anything distinctively priestly in Theo Hobson's description of his calling.

Posted by Samuel at Monday, 7 November 2011 at 1:57pm GMT

I've also advanced the unique historical event argument in response to the atheist demand for scientifically verifiable evidence. However, I still think that Keith Ward presents an argument that's reliant on a back-to-front journey of faith. I'm not sure how many of us came to Christ by scaling the complex hierarchy of ideas within Christian apologetics first. I certainly didn't. The approach expects too much too soon.

Even if atheists accept that historical facts are not scientifically verifiable, as one commenter pointed out, the scientific method and historical research are not mutually exclusive.

The real argument lies in the conscience: ‘Him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin’. We can spend a lot of time arguing for creation and the historicity of the resurrection, or we can spend more time presenting the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection in our changed lives, as we channel God’s power and revealed truth into transforming the society and institutions around us.

Posted by David Shepherd at Monday, 7 November 2011 at 7:22pm GMT


Regarding your last sentence: different people should do different things and the second half of your sentence is certainly very important - maybe supremely important. But (in my predictable liberal) view, the single greatest reason for Christianity's retreat is that most Christians are poor at countering non-religious arguments and consequently large numbers of people simply now don't believe Christianity's claims and have little or no interest in it. That's true of the great majority of my students. It's in these areas that Ward is especially valuable. It's also important to fight the case among the intelligentsia (to use a term), where the proportion of believers has also nose-dived in my lifetime. Here too Ward is very skilled. If you like, I also find he speaks to me, in ways that few (public) church people do.


Posted by john at Tuesday, 8 November 2011 at 3:22pm GMT

I'm kinda with you, David, if I understand what you're saying.

For me, the experience, direct and personal, of God, came before the theological reasoning. It's the reason that I'm so impatient with professional theologians; you simply won't convince somebody of the existence of God, or the nature of the Christ, by proofs and stacks of paper, still less, lead them to actual faith. It's what I find infuriating in both liberal and conservative arguments - there seems to be more a smug self-reliance on our brains rather than a *demonstration* of that Highest State of Being. The human mind is wonderfully complex, and that's the problem. We can avoid accepting a tangible, physically-objective truth with those minds, arguing its non-existence beautifully, so how much more so the overarching intangible?

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 4:25am GMT

Mark Brunson, I'm with you all the way, Mark! Academic Theology is no substitute for personal experience of the Living Christ - especially in the Sacrament of His Love in the Eucharist - the experience of which equips us to "Go out into the world proclaiming His Love".

Jesus, to the Pharisees: "You read the Scriptures BUT...."

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 12 November 2011 at 12:08am GMT

Father Ron:

To that, we all agree (for once) ;-). However, to slightly correct your quote: 'You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.'

It shows that being an outworking of the deliverance afforded by the gospel is obedience to the promptings of His Spirit towards sacrificial love. This is more important than presenting our faith as thoroughly reasoned by philosophy (which it isn't). In that sense, however well presented, our gospel may indeed be foolishness to the Greeks.

The revelation and prophecies of scripture, including the recorded testimony of those who died for furthering the gospel continue to declare the supreme centrality of Jesus Christ as God to human existence, His mission of everlasting redemption, who He really was, what He and His apostles stood for and what He found abhorrent.

His fulfilment of messianic prophecy continues to underlines His credentials as the owner of creation, one in being with The Father.

Posted by David Shepherd at Sunday, 13 November 2011 at 5:55pm GMT

David Shepherd (who identifies himself on the above comment as "WE ALL"): Thanks for your begrudging acknowledgement. However, I was not quoting Scripture on this occasion - recogising that to a 'sola Scriptura' person this might be 'de rigeur' - I was actually quoting a line from a well-known charismatic song, that some people on the site might have a remembrance of. But thanks for the sermon.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 14 November 2011 at 9:10am GMT

Ouch! 'Sola Scriptura'? Phew, I guess the secret of my closet 'tradition and reason' double-life is safe, then! :-)

Posted by David Shepherd at Monday, 14 November 2011 at 7:50pm GMT
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