Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria: from the provincial website

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has published this article: FROM CARPENTER TO PRIMATE:Ambassador Sagay writes on Abp. Akinola. (Article in THE GUARDIAN of Sunday 1st October, 2006 reproduced with permission).

It is described on the homepage as “An interesting newspaper article showing a parishioner’s view of Abp. Peter Akinola …”

Here’s another more recent report from the Guardian about the plans for 14 October: Fellowship Holds Thanksgiving For Primate Akinola.

Mark Harris has some commentary about this at Preludium headed Shameless Commerce: Church of Nigeria style, as do his readers.

MadPriest also has comments.


  • John Henry says:

    And another contribution from the MadPriest on one of ++Peter Abuja’s staunchest allies, ‘spikey’ +Keith Ackerman of Quincy:

    Speaking to delegates at the Forward in Faith Synod in England recently, The Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman said Affirming Catholicism neither affirms the Faith and the truth, nor is it catholic. “It is an end in and of itself; it defines itself by Synodical counsels rather than the Christian Faith.”

    Ripping the recent American General Convention, he brought roars of laughter to the delegates when he said that what he heard at General Convention in ten days that was actually theological, could fill a single page.

    He said Americans were responsible for exporting McDonalds, “then we exported McSacraments, then the McBible, then McPriests and now we are debating in some quarters, McBishops.” This, he said, often times bring indigestion.

    Bishop Ackerman said that what was being asked for in the Windsor Report was one word. “The American province was asked to say ‘sorry’. The American province responded with one word ‘Schori.'”

  • kieran crichton says:

    Some of this would actually be very funny if it weren’t so risible (or sad). I wonder if the Bp Ackerman in Mad Priest’s blog is any relation to the shock-jock-columnist in one of the Murdoch Empire’s Australian papers, Piers Ackerman. The standard of abuse is about the same…

  • Leonardo Ricardo says:

    I’m a little woozy!

    +Akerman, +Akinola and Accomplices deliver undigestable spiritual messages verdad?

    I’m feel’n a little sick and my minds’a-spinn’n after reading all those contaminated upside down and ill-tainted words. I wonder if I can purchase “sick bags” in the Thinking Anglicans online Gift Shop? Or maybe you’ve still got lots of Dramamine left over from Dromantine?

    I’ll take twelve.

  • drdanfee says:

    Isn’t Anglican realignment fun?

  • Which Pilate are they referring to? They say “His assertions carry a note of finality – not unlike Pilate’s”?

    It is clear that this is a man who holds an important office and is rejoicing in his accomplishments and influence of office. May he and his cronies continue to wax lyrical of his successes and influence and those who are drawn to him also celebrate in his successes and not be shy about coming forward to admit their support and collusion in his activities. Let us be in no doubt how they have decided to handle the afflicted, the alien, the outcast. Let us also not forget when their ship has changed course, and what events precipitated their actions. After all, we wouldn’t want them to take credit for plagerising others’ works without acknowledgement, and we wouldn’t want to not notice when they have picked up the baton in some relays only after it became clear it was the only way to qualify at the finishing line.

    There are many influencial people in the bible who have held important offices and become known down through the ages for their deeds and morality. The names Daniel, Pilate and Haschem come to mind. I wonder how history will judge Akinola and his cronies?

  • Rod McInnes says:

    I followed from Mark Harris’s page through to +Keith Ackerman’s address to the FiF conference in London since I’ve heard about this character, and was interested to hear him (you can hear his address on the FiF website). I have to say, it’s an education. But I’d caution some of our American friends against listening: I don’t want to be responsible for any apoplectic accidents. He’s been reading too much about his Nigerian hero. Enjoy!

  • David Rowett (=mynsterpreost) says:

    Am I being typically northernly over-critical when I feel just a little unease at the apparent connection made between (as he was then) +Peter’s impassioned prayers for deliverance and the immediate demise of Gen. Abacha?

    The old question of theodicy raises its head – and if this is how some branches of Anglicanism work their theodicy, it’s hardly surprising we have problems in other theological strata.

  • Colin Coward says:

    Hubris is the word that immediately comes to mind. But I don’t know what to do with it. It’s a word I grab when I want to attack or humiliate someone, and reading such an extraordinary article, not surprisingly, those are some of the feelings I have.

    The article has been posted on the Nigerian Church web site to give it more exposure and prominence. They want people to believe what has been written about +Peter Akinola is true. Of course it isn’t a coincidence that this material is being published when ++Rowan is in China. And can anyone conceive such an article about Rowan Williams being published on the Lambeth Palace web site?

    There is deep tragedy here. Peter Akinola believes the fantasy that is being created about him, as the leader who alone is faithful to Christ and is going to rescue a Communion headed for disaster from its tragic fate.

    His world view sees evil and danger in so many places where people posting to this list see hope and resurrection possibility – TEC, Canada, England, Jefferts Sschori, Frank Griswold, Rowan Williams, Gene Robinson, New Westminster.

    It all becomes tragically polarised. Me right – You wrong. Is this holy? No. Is this from God? No. We argue and dispute about the rightness and wrongness of actions and ideas and sexual identity and scriptural interpretation.

    But way behind all this is a much more fundamental difference. We are working with totally different theology. The theology behind +Peter’s thinking is totally different from my theology of God. Therefore the conclusions we come to, the ideas we have about creation and the nature of humanity, the way we pray and most difficult of all, the way we think God views us, feels about us, relates to us, is totally different.

    Because we are dealing with something delicate and subtle – our understanding of the nature of God and God’s relationship with creation – and because, I think, +Peter Akinola doesn’t think this is something delicate and subtle, there is simply no understanding but a huge gulf – Dives and Lazarus-wide.

    Where do we go from here? There have to be places to go that are reconciling and creative, but they are very, very difficult to find.

  • Prior Aelred says:

    From the beginning, Gene Robinson has said he wanted Peter Akinola to be in the same Communion — Rowan Williams has said that the question is not closed and that there needs to be ongoing dialogue in the Communion — The Network & The Global South have rejected dialogue & refused to recognize Gene Robinson & anyone who supported his election & consecration — there has never been any wavering on that (you can consider that a good thing or a bad one or an indifferent one, but them’s the facts).

  • drdanfee says:

    It would help us reach, stretch ourselves to the reconciling place if we could start by recovering our historic Anglican vitamin, agreeing to disagree.

    That founds and establishes the value of calm welcome for all to gatherings, reaffirmed above all as occasions of common witness/worship, and then inviting that witness/worship to flow as vitally as it may over into conversation across our differences, and above all, renewed common Tikkun. We need these occasions of taking our minds/hearts/bodies/spirits off of focusing upon the complicated and difficult discernment issues, and turned in worship/witness to Jesus and to God who sent us Jesus.

    Akinola and VGR are invited to worship side by side, because God makes that possible in Jesus of Nazareth, not because we have built or finagled it. Our invitation is a free gift, generously given, and if we will allow ourselves to receive and trust the gift as well as Jesus the giver, we shall at least be able to lay down the weaponizing of ethical, theological, and inquiry differences. If Jesus’ incarnation, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and presence now with us does not make this peace possible as the surest mystical Anglican foundation, we can little expect to dwell in peace and common worship/Tikkun using other mystical allegiances.

    The legacy Anglican ideas/values are simple and deep. The legacy Anglican ideas/values are simple and deep. We all knew them once upon a time, active in our institutional DNA to the point of utter religious cliche, but maybe not.

  • drdanfee says:

    For several strategic campaign realignment reasons nobody wishes to stay simple and deep by proclaiming that all baptized Anglican believers are invited to all meetings, above all, Eucharist and common prayer. We have lost our trust that God will lead us, openly and open-endedly, into all truth and rightness.

    At least in USA, this is also supposed to mean that we cannot trust God to speak to us in scripture and in empirical science at the same time, because scripture revelation (yes, read a certain newly conserved way that denies it own selective interpretational strategies and choices) trumps the creation, nature, and even cosmology.

    People say this essential, new conservative Anglican vigor will carry them through – to a religious utopia, to a salient purity and conformity at least inside the Anglican churches, to glory and praise, to the final and closed and complete revelation truth.

    I say it must all run it course like a burning fever.

    Discernment processes meant to be integrated with our institutional immune systems are now gathering force on their own, unbalanced, unconstrained by peace or any sense of equality before God, or any sense of why Jesus the Good Shepherd does not wring the neck of the sheep outside the fold who is lost in the brambles. Discernment forces with protective and conserving functions now say they are the whole of any and all truth we can ever know, the whole of the life or the body complete, and so the fever turns against its own, interfering with the varied life systems of the whole body.

    Yet the obvious fact remains, Akinola and VGR, Nigeria and New Hampshire, all still exist on the same little planet.

    Once pledged, the energies of closed certainty appear to take over, and so this new conservatism seems – temporarily at least – unable to ask itself when it becomes idolatrous, when it makes the creation and people God so loved (that Jesus would rather have us murder him than bring the sorts of doomsday judgment upon all that is so beloved of the believers in these rightwing rallies) – making all so beloved of God into bulls eye targets, exemplars of unfaithful filth and terrible danger. Jesus the Wrathful Annihilator is stalking our formerly peaceful, irascible, curmudgeonly Anglican territories.

    Alas. Lord have mercy.

  • Kurt says:

    I think that it’s absolutely hilarious! Archetypical Third-World-Dictator-Stuff!

  • John-Julian, OJN says:

    I have said several times in several places:

    In your mind, simply set Peter Akinola and Katharine Jefferts Schori next to each other and look at them. Which one emanates Christian love? And “the greatest of these is…..”

  • NP says:

    pls don’t think evangelicals like all this any more than you do

  • Leonardo Ricardo says:


    Now that I’ve sufficiantly recovered from a heavy wave of nausia I would like to suggest that this story must have been originally planned and written for a childrens fairytale Sunday School coloring book…could any sane, sober or modestly fairminded/informed ADULT reader actually “swallow” this fantasty propaganda and claptrap?

    The ONLY purpose of this “purpose driven” life that I can see is to purposely harm, purposely cause pain, purposely exclude and purposely persecute LGBT fellow Christians, their families and friends and Muslims of all stripes in Nigeria!

  • Cynthia says:

    “Akinola and VGR are invited to worship side by side, because God makes that possible in Jesus of Nazareth, not because we have built or finagled it. Our invitation is a free gift, generously given, and if we will allow ourselves to receive and trust the gift as well as Jesus the giver, we shall at least be able to lay down the weaponizing of ethical, theological, and inquiry differences. If Jesus’ incarnation, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and presence now with us does not make this peace possible as the surest mystical Anglican foundation, we can little expect to dwell in peace and common worship/Tikkun using other mystical allegiances.”

    You are quite right. I might note that those who have refused table fellowship with those whom they disagree are all on one side of the discussion.

    And note too that not all who disagree with the liberal side on sexuality issues behave this way. At my local parish, every Sunday I am blessed to come to Jesus’ banquet with people who are decidedly on the other side of the issue from me. Neither they nor I have considered for a millionth of a blink of an eye not coming to the table together. This is true also as we give bread and wine [some on ‘the other side’ are lay Eucharistic ministers]. To my knowledge, there is only one elderly gentleman who in the congregation will not take communion from me or if I have celebrated, but he is well known to be getting a little more cranky with every passing year. I am sorry for him, not angry.

  • NP

    My prayers are with the evangelicals who are cringing right now. They must sometimes feel like the Bush administration does about Rumsfield. I read somewhere that the best diplomatic thing that Rumsfield could do for the US was shut up. I read somewhere else late last year that some moderate evangelicals wished that more enthusiastic elements would seek their opinion on whether their strategies are a good idea before they played them. Mainly because many of their moves created more problems than they solved.

    That said, I appreciate the honesty and vigour of this camp’s position. In that sense, Drdanfee made an excellent point. They have a utopian vision and the only way for them to realise the futility of that vision is to pursue it until they finally realise that it must inevitably fail. The earth and its occupants have not been burnt away in God’s wrath, and GLBTs keep on being born and causing conundrums. What the rest of us can do ensure that mechanisms are in place so that they cannot do unto others what they would not want done unto themselves.

  • David Rowett (=mynsterpreost) says:

    NP mourned: pls don’t think evangelicals like all this any more than you do.

    But some evangelicals clearly think this is the thing, no?

    An old tactic in polemic is the manipulation of the undistributed middle, and it is just as painful for a ‘liberal’ to be represented as sharing the outermost limits of Spongitis (and therefore to have all observations discredited or dismissed as unfaithful/unorthodox)as it is for you to be associated by implication with this nonsense.

    It’s also a worry that these self-appointed quasi-messianic figures can lead to some very sad ends — Jonestown and Waco may be extreme examples of purified fervour, but what mechanisms are there for reigning them in before they cause too much damage?

  • J. C. Fisher says:

    I commented on this at Father Jake’s some days ago. (Comment on this thread—

    As I said then: “If *I* wanted to construct a paean to a false prophet, I couldn’t imagine doing a better job.”

  • NP says:

    No David – non_Nigerian evangelicals are not led by Akinola in any formal sense as you know.

    Nobody is perfect.

    Personally, I am much more comfortable with Durham, Rochester, London, Winchester…..and Pittsburgh than with Akinola ……but I am more comfortable with Akinola than Gene Robinson so if I am forced to choose (which I am not), I would have to go that way.

  • NP

    What would you do if Akinola made you choose? I wonder how souls felt going into Hitler’s regime? Don’t have to choose. Phew! Choice is thrust upon us. Bummer!

  • David Rowett (=mynsterpreost) says:

    NP chided gently:
    non_Nigerian evangelicals are not led by Akinola in any formal sense as you know.

    By saying that Akinola is a more acceptable face of Christian leadership than Robinson, in a forced-choice situation Akinola, formally or not, would be your leader in that his failings are less objectionable than Robinson’s. So I sympathise that (in theory) you could find yourself with a spokesperson for your end of the faith who causes you to have to wear a clothespeg on your nose!

  • Davis says:

    The truth is that our archbishop does not have the degree of admiration his press men portray him to have in Nigeria .
    Some times I wonder if he will do better heading one of the political parties in Nigeria .
    The information giving to our people in Nigeria concerning the debate in the worldwide Anglican communion is one sided.
    Doesn’t the bible tell us by their fruits we shall know them? LGBT members cannot be admitted into the ordained ministry in the church of Nigeria but all lawyers, journalists, mass communication experts, propaganda writers are welcome as long as you can give the archbishop
    and the church of Nigeria a wonderful image.
    It’s very sad to see that our Archbishop is falling into the same trap as the Pentecostal churches in Nigeria and we are being asked in this article to make a god of our Archbishop. Because of this, our leaders like ++Akinola have no real respect in Nigeria .
    He has created lots of new dioceses so he will have lots of bishops under him and more power. But things are not going very well here in Nigeria as he is trying to tell the rest of the world.

  • Richard III says:

    “Personally, I am much more comfortable with Durham, Rochester, London, Winchester…..and Pittsburgh than with Akinola ……but I am more comfortable with Akinola than Gene Robinson so if I am forced to choose (which I am not), I would have to go that way.”

    NP, do you know or have you ever had a conversation with Gene Robinson? I haven’t, but I don’t find myself rejecting the man simply because of his sexual orientation. Judging a person on this one issue alone smacks of the same kind of discrimination practised against people of color or maybe of the Jews. If people were making an issue of Akinola’s race, saying he was not ‘fit’ to serve the church in a holy order because of it, most people would be up in arms about it.

  • J. C. Fisher says:

    “but I am more comfortable with Akinola than Gene Robinson”

    Reading this line, NP, I was reminded of a gay American soldier, who had fought in Vietnam, but then was dishonorably discharged upon discovery of his sexuality. He said, “The Army gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one.”

    +Gene Robinson loves one man, and for that he is “discharged” from your comfort-level, as a bishop?

    ++Akinola does a deadly, monarchical “who will rid me of these troublesome gays (and Muslims)?!” routine, but by you he’s still a comfy-cozy A-OK?

    Lord have mercy!

  • J.C., Your image of the rejected soldier is such a valid point.

    Davis, There have been some interesting articles coming out of Nigeria in the last few weeks. The contemplations of what is right and just for Nigeria is not seen as simply outside of church propoganda, For example:

    The other contemplation is another variation of that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”,

    If a church condones the imprisonment of those who are or affirmatively acknowledge the existence of GLBTs, then who are they to complain if others choose to apply the same standards to Christians?

    Some of us are trying to build a global community that works for the betterment of all humankind and creation itself. That means coping with diversity and plurality. It means accepting that there are souls of different levels of maturity and temperament. It means learning to have sufficiency and leaving something for the other or for the future. It means trusting God and letting go of the reins and allowing God to guide humanity forward. It means accepting that when you open your eyes, the world does not match your vision, and that unexpected things happen from unexpected quarters. And that’s okay, because God is in control, not us.

  • laurence roberts says:

    ‘No David – non_Nigerian evangelicals are not led by Akinola in any formal sense as you know.’ NP

    Save in America, yes ?…

  • NP says:

    Richard III – you do not have to meet someone to disagree with their publicly expressed views.

    JCF – nope, it is not VGR as a person but it is his views which I object to as they contradict the bible (and I feel the same about Spong etc)

    And yes, where Akinola’s views contradict the Bible, I will not defend him – it is a clever trick trying to make objection to “revisionism” the same as backing Akinola at all cost….but it does not work.

  • Ford Elms says:

    I am gobsmacked. When asked how to tell the false prophets from the true ones, what said Jesus? “By their fruits shall you know them.” Consider ++Akinola’s behaviour: scheming, rejoicing that it seems necessary for him to break communion with his fellow bishops, accusing people of the same sins of which he is guilty (disobeying Windsor), supporting laws that will oppress his fellow human beings. Do you really think these show the fruits of the Gospel? I’m not saying anything about VGR here, just about my Lord of Abuja. Do you really see the work of the Kingdom in his actions?

  • NP says:

    Ford – how may times do I need to say it? Akinola is not my leader or the leader of Anglican evangelicals worldwide (nor does he purport to be such) and I do not have to defend his actions nor do I support all of them.

    He is reacting (not always correctly) to those who have been tearing the fabric of the Communion for years……For all his faults, he is not the one “tearing the fabric of the Communion” – can you agree to that?

    You quote a devastating verse which has great relevance for this Anglican debate – it is not membership or history or a desire to be a member of the Anglican club which counts ultimately

  • John Henry says:

    Wrote Ford Elms: “Do you really see the work of the Kingdom in his (++PJ Akinola’s) actions?”

    IMHO, this question needs to be extended to include the Network bishops, such as Ducan, Iker, Ackerman, Beckwith et al.

    The Bishop of Springfield, +Peter Beckwith, has been persecuting all Lay Eucharistic Ministers of a dissenting parish, revoking their licenses, because two of them refused to receive Communion from him during an episcopal visitation.

    Didn’t the ++Akinola gang refuse to receive Communion from the Abp. of Canterbury because ++Frank Griswold was kneelking at the Communion rail during the Dromatine Primates’ Meeting?

    How disgusting, un-Anglican and un-Christian!

  • NP says:

    hey John Henry – does the question not apply to VGR and Griswold too?

  • Ford Elms says:

    Answer the question, how do you see the fruits of the Gospel in what Akinola is doing? You said you’d follow him over Gene Robinson, I am merely asking why. How is that my quote “devastating”? And no one person is tearing us apart. Akinola certainly is taking the lead role, but Spong, Venables, Ingham, Gomez, and most recently Finlay are also among the large number who are guilty. It’s both sides that are doing the tearing, can you not agree to that?

    And history, or better the Apostolic Tradition of which Scripture is a part, is important. When you say you will follow someone who doesn’t contradict Scripture, I have two things to say:

    First, not all contradiction of Scripture contradicts the Apostolic Tradition, and therefor the Catholic faith

    Second, be careful. In Akinola, you are following someone who slavishly follows the word written in some things, but behaves in a quite unChristian manner in other ways, like all of us. No doubt he behaves in a very Christian manner in other ways that don’t make it to the news. Examine which deviations from Scripture you will tolerate and which ones you won’t. You tolerate some pretty big ones in ++Akinola. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel!

  • NP says:

    well, Ford – the Primates did not say that Akinola or Duncan were tearing the fabric of the communion, did they?

    as I have said, I do not defend everything Akinola does or says but at you can see gospel fruit in his stand for the traditional teaching of the Bible and the church (some call this faithfulness)…..and he is not justifying ordaining polygamists as some in his culture might like him to do – do give him some credit where due.

  • Ford ELms says:

    But see, the fruit of the Gospel is in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting those imprisoned, defending the widows and orphans, not in standing for a particular interpretation of the Bible that gives the Bible more authority than it was ever intended to have. Sorry, but I find the fruit of the Gospel in the way we treat our fellow humans, and therefor Jesus Himself, not in our defence of a particular social or political stance. “Conservative” and “liberal” are definitions based on worldly considerations and have nothing to do with the Gospel at all. Given that what we do to the least of His brethren, we do to Him, I’d suggest that Akinola’s support for the jailing of gay people is support for jailing Jesus, don’t you think? Jesus says nothing about why people are in prison, merely that we should visit them. Had you been alive in Jesus’ time, how would you have felt about His failure to stand for the traditional teaching of the Law and the Prophets? Don’t forget, despite His claim (a very truthful one, IMHO) not to be violating the Law, that’s how conservatives of His day saw His actions. Would you have been alarmed at His “innovations”?

  • NP says:

    Ford – I fear you are being very selective in your quotations and making up a messiah who agrees with you…we have to take all his words, actions and all the words the Spirit inspires into account

    Matt 5
    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    ps “shellfish and slavery” are dealth with in the NT before anyone brings up those tired, weak distractions

  • NP says:


    1) I do not agree with the laws proposed;

    2) VGR does not have the authority of JC to “innovate”- I am sure you will agree.

    As I have already pointed out, JC himself would not have accepted the tag of an innovator – he did not abolish but fulfilled the law

  • Ford Elms says:

    First, I’d suggest “fulfillment of the Law” is about something other than living by the letter of it. He was pretty scornful of those who felt righteous because they did, and the teachers and religious leaders of His day often accused Him of breaking it. For a person to claim to be doing God’s will by associating with sinners and, worse, Gentiles, was certainly a dangerous innovation in first century Palestine.
    Second, ++Akinola certainly agrees with the proposed law, whether or not you do, and that is a poor recommendation of him. If homosexuality makes one unfit for the episcopate, oppression of others certainly does. And I don’t ignore +VGR’s sexuality, nor do I think it’s right for TEC to decide it can do what it wants without the concensus of the whole Church.

    And we all see confirmation of our own beliefs in the Gospel. The challenge is to not read ourselves into it. Conservatives are no less guilty with their vengeful judging God than Liberals are with their “I’m OK, you’re OK” God.

  • laurence says:

    Jesus -like all the radical rabbis– fulfilled the Torah by breaking some of it requirements !

    He fulfilled Shabbat by working on it! He re-interpreted it, saying “Hypocrites, wouldn’t you rescue or treat a cow on ?shabbat?!”.

    He broke the Purity Codes by touching ‘the prfane, the abominable, the unclean’ thus doing away with it all ! This is the very Purity Code that some who would valiant and ‘Bible-based be’ assert condemns folk whom G-d calls to love a partner of the same gender. But these claims to scriptural warrant are , s so many scholars and pastors have said, tired, weak distractions. So please, don’t bring up the Purity code which Jesus abolished again–it is the tired, weak distraction par excellence, from the message of Christ The Liberator !

    Jesus’ words on the Shabbat are the key to all of these legalisms:–

    “Sabbath was made for Man –not Man for the Sabbath.”
    To spell it out–THIS goes for everything else too !


    (No need to go all ee-orish or like the big brother of the prodigal son !!! : – ) )

  • ruidh says:

    “JC himself would not have accepted the tag of an innovator – he did not abolish but fulfilled the law” — NP

    I think you’ve pointed out here exactly why the “plain sense of Scripture” is anything but plain. What does Jesus mean here? How do we square these words with Jesus’ acts? Jesus himself did things which were considered violations of the Law. Jesus’ parables advocated putting people before the Law. His followers expanded the violations shortly after his death until the Law was not even taught as a set of rules for behavior except in the very limited area of sexual practice. How do *you* reconcile that?

    The “fufill, not abolish” text is frequently trotted out as a proof text. However, I find it raises more questions than it answers.

  • NP says:

    he was hard on saducees as well as pharisees, as you know – and the made up hippy JC would never have said verses like John3:36

    as liberal Bishop Harries says, the theological case for the “VGR innovations” has not been won

  • David Rowett (=mynsterpreost) says:

    NP said
    the made up hippy JC would never have said verses like John3:36

    and consequently I rejoice that NP acknowledges the lack of historicity in the fourth Gospel. Or, as one of my lecturers said, “It’s about time that people realised that none of the words attributed to Jesus in John’s Gospel were actually said by him.”

  • NP says:

    laurence – for all your excitement, Paul, Peter, James….. nearly everybody credible and trustworthy in the last 2000 years does not agree with your extrapolation to liberation in everything……nor did JC teach that at all

    JC did NOT say “go and feel free to sin, I understand”

    He did say, “go and sin no more” and “repent and believe”

  • laurence says:

    Who is this’bishop Harries’ and why is NP giving almost papal status to him or her ?

    Who is this hippy ? Surely an anachronism ?

    With the loss of Jesus Aramaic context and words we areleft with this Greek collection that would have ben so foreign to Jesus. The irony. Fortunately his messsage as it hs come to us was about the Kingdom of the heavens and not himself. The inward light, the Seed, the heart’s mysteries….
    no-marks, prostitutes, quizzlings, navvies, illiterati……

  • Ford Elms says:


    The point is not who Jesus had problems with, but why. The pharisees insisted strict adherence to the letter of the Law made them holy. Jesus called them whited sepulchres: neat and tidy on the outside, but filled with death. The sadducees denied the exsistence of the soul, bodily resurrection, angels, in short anything mystical. (and I believe, but may be wrong, that in Jesus’s day these things would have bben recognized as not being part of Torah. Knowledge of angels came from Babylon). They also believed only the Torah was authoritative, and specifically rejected any interpretations that softened the punishments it prescribed. In this they were like the Pharisees. How do you justify your previous indication, based on what you have said about ++Akinola standing up for the Scripture, that you seem to value defending the word of Scripture above treating your fellow human beings with compassion? Remember, Akinola has said
    “I didn’t create poverty. This church didn’t create poverty. Poverty is not an issue, human suffering is not an issue at all, they were there before the creation of mankind.”

  • Jesus was hard on legalistic scribes, who happened to be saducees and pharisees at the time. This is a rich prophetic tradition and the OT is redolent with God rebuking complacent self-righteous priestly castes e.g. Jeremiah 5:26-31 & 6:14-16 & 8:8-10, Isaiah 30:8-15 & 32:3-8 & 44:24-26, Ezekiel 13, Hosea 7:1-7 & 11:12, Zephaniah 1:9, Zechariah 10:2-3, Psalm 50:19-20 & 52:1-3 & 101:4-8, Proverbs 6:16-19 & 12:20 & 26:24-26 & 30:11-14

    And I love Zephaniah 3:11-20 in part because it dovetails so nicely into Matthew 21:5

  • David Rowett (=mynsterpreost) says:

    NP pointed out:
    JC did NOT say “go and feel free to sin, I understand” He did say, “go and sin no more” and “repent and believe”

    This takes us nowhere in the debate, though: the nub of it all is whether activity ‘x’ is to be classified as sin.

    No-one’s saying, not even the most outrageous ‘liberal’ that sin is a good idea (tho’ Mother Julian and a good dollop of the mediaeval tradition saw it as a mysterious part of the divine plan – eg in ‘Adam lay ybounden’). The point at issue is the very simple one of whether a particular course of action is intrinsically sinful or not, and the solution to that conundrum is not going to be found in a pointless discussion of whether N (where N = ++Cantuar, or Jesus, or ++Abuja etc) is against sin or not.

  • Ford ELms says:

    The Church can’t say something is not sin if the Bible says it is. I get it. I just don’t believe the Church has any credibility to make that point. She has declared sin not to be sin for 1700 years, whenever it suited Her political masters. Her leaders have sinned outrageously while claiming they did God service. She is still sinning. You don’t even recognize this because the things you accept were declared not to be sin so long ago that you deny there was even a time when these things were condemned.
    We have all agreed that, while Evangelical churches are growing, the overall trend is for people to go to no church at all. Why is that, do you think? You can pretend the Church has the authority to speak. The world at large will throw Her sins back in your teeth, and ask how you can dare to quote Jesus to force others to your will, when you ignore the abuses that have been carried out in His name. If you have never confronted this, you have lived in a pleasant Evangelical ivory tower. The Church has brought disrepute on the Gospel by sucking up to the powers of this world for 1700 years, and we have lost our credibility as a result. By ignoring this and refusing to deal with it you are merely making it worse. Most of the people I know are not shy about throwing light on the hypocrisy of the Church. Tell me, as you would have to tell them, why are you part of the problem? Conquest, sexual abuse, forced conversion, murder, how are these Christian?

  • NP says:

    Ford – there have been lots of hypocrites and abuses, I agree but I do not and I do not need to defend those abuses…..

    Our task is to avoid hypocrisy in what we say and do. We must speak the truth in love….but we must speak the truth, I am sure you will agree

  • Ford Elms says:

    I have never suggested we should not speak the Truth. We just don’t agree as to what it is. Far too many see Christianity as about a ticket to Heaven, and then use it as a way to frighten people into coming to Church. Believe or roast Christianity. Or, they affirm the modern form of the 1950s lifestyle as somehow ordained by God. God’s a suburbanite just like us. Throw a bit of money in the poor box at Christmas, then go back to the real job of being a Christian: defending the aforementioned lifestyle, and fags must admit that they are worse sinners than anyone else, since they have real sins to be ashamed of, as opposed to the rest, who can occasionally admit that they sin by coveting their neighbour’s SUV. Don’t admit that, though, pretend to be a sinner too. My argument has been against the hypocrisy that pretends to “hate the sin, love the sinner” without ever bothering to try to understand the sinner these people purport to love. How can they love what they don’t even know? And answer the question: why be part of the problem? Why use God’s message of liberation from the powers of sin and death as a tool of oppression? For me, that is blasphemous.

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