Thinking Anglicans

Interim Director for Anglican Centre in Rome

Further to our report of 21 December, the directors of the Anglican Centre in Rome have made this announcement: Appointment of an Interim Director for the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome are very pleased to announce the appointment of The Very Revd Dr John Shepherd as the Interim Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

Dr Shepherd was Dean of St. George’s Cathedral, Perth, Western Australia from 1990 to 2014. During his time as Dean over $19,000,000 was raised to fund a complete restoration and development of the cathedral and Old Deanery alongside the building of the Cadogan Song School. Dr Shepherd has had a distinguished ministry in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. He was ordained at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne in 1966 having completed his BA at the University of Melbourne. He also has a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Seminary in New York and a PhD from St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge — his doctorate focused on the changes in the doctrine of sacrifice in sacred music during the English Reformation.

He has been a parish priest in Melbourne, on Long Island, in Manchester and Cambridge and he was Chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford from 1980-1988. He is a regular contributor to the Expository Times and The Times, in London. He has taught music as a university lecturer and is a noted theological commentator. Dr Shepherd’s wife, Joy, was Principal of St. Hilda’s Anglican Girls’ High School in Perth from 1997-2014.

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John Sandeman
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John Sandeman

The internet never forgets. For Eternity News I report on a controversial easter message by John Shepherd https://eternity.news/s/0s3xb

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

There is nothing controversial in this message by from John Shepherd. He is simply giving us mainstream theological teaching, as was David Jenkins.
The Gospels are ‘not historical records as we understand them’, and the idea that this somehow makes them less than true is just staggering. Truth is about what’s real and outward facts are simply a partial and so incomplete witness. The reality of the resurrection is a new way of being. Or as David Jenkins once said, ‘its more than a conjuring trick with bones’.

Ian Paul
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If this is mainstream, then the line in the Creeds ‘I believe in the resurrection of the body’ clearly isn’t. Mainstream theology I think actually says that the resurrection was bodily and historical–but also more than that, being eschatological and cosmic. Dr Shepherd says something quite different–that it was not bodily, physical or historical.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Please read what he is quoted as saying rather than what you think he is saying. It’s exactly the same story as happened with the Bishop of Durham in 1984. “It is important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body.” Surely you don’t think that Jesus’ original earthly body was just restored? “Jesus’ early followers felt his presence after his death as strongly as if it were a physical presence and incorporated this sense of a resurrection experience into their gospel accounts.”… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Can you explain, then, why the Gospel says that Jesus entered the room through/around a door that was securely closed. I recall that only some people could see the Risen Christ; others could not. I believe in the Resurrection, but I find it difficult to believe in details that sound like magic.

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

I suppose Jesus sitting at God’s right hand is also historical. Dr Shepherd’s view (like Bishop Jenkins’) is more likely to commend itself to an unbelieving generation than spouting a credal formula at people. Belief in a physical resurrection is only one opinion. It’s sad that fundamentalists allow only a narrow interpretation.

crs
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crs

You could use a look at someone like Aquinas on the literal sense and metaphor. Or a modern study, like that of David Dawson or Frances Young. Fundamentalism is a bogey word one could equally deploy in your direction, as misunderstanding what has been meant by sensus literalis in the tradition.

Kate
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Kate

Of course it is controversial. Article 4 is very clear: the Church of England believes in a physical resurrection.

This is cloud cuckoo stuff. Being gay is a problem but it’s OK not to believe in the physical resurrection. Utterly bizarre.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Kate where does he say that being gay is a problem? And where does the Archbishop say that? Have I missed it?

Kate
Guest
Kate

We have a Church which won’t ordain gay candidates unless they commit to celibacy and where those that marry have lost their PTO.

On the flip, the Archbishop of Canterbury is promoting someone who not only doesn’t believe in the physical resurrection of Christ but has even preached that people shouldn’t believe in it.

I find it truly shocking.

David Emmott
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David Emmott

Is there any suggestion that Dr Shepherd thinks ‘being gay is a problem’?

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

The requirement that the clergy subscribe to every statement in the 39 Articles was abolished as long ago as 1865 (after a long campaign described by Dean Stanley). Subscription was replaced by a general “assent” never legally defined – a form still found in the Church of Australia but further modified in the Church of England. Science now tells us much about what happens physically when a person dies – and what must have happened to Jesus if he truly died (as one truly human). The idea of a “physical” resurrection at some short time after that seems nonsense to… Read more »

crs
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crs

David Jenkins mainstream? You have just ruined his day. You have taken all the fun out of being specious/opinionated (literal translation of heresy). He longed to be just that.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Did you know David Jenkins well? Or maybe you are writing about a different person to the man I knew.

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

In that case what I was taught at theological college was heresy.

Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

Right on, Fr. David! I have a certificate from the Education For Ministry (EFM) program out of Trinity Church Wall Street. We explored different aspects and theological traditions within Anglicanism. Your interpretation is well within the theological mainstream from what I can tell. Those of Fundamentalist Evangelical literalists are not within the broad mainstream, just the “mainstream” of their little Puritan ponds…

Susannah Clark
Guest

“The resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality.” But spiritual reality IS physical. In fact more physical and tangible than this flimsy passing world we inhabit. Ask people who have experienced visions. When the vision ended, they sometimes find that the world (ours) they return to seems less physical and somehow less tangible by comparison. We inhabit the shadow of the real. The real can pass through the shadow as easily as you can pass your hand through water. That’s why it does not seem strange that the supranatural Jesus… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Is this something that you can explain to non-believing 19 year olds and have them say, “Yeah, that makes sense.”?

Susannah Clark
Guest

Richard, I am not addressing unbelieving 19 year olds here (at least I don’t think so). If I spoke like that to most people of any age their eyes would glaze over. What unbelieving 19 year olds often think Christianity says is that Adam had no ancestors, evolution of humans from earlier species isn’t true, no dinosaurs or other creatures died for a billion years before humanity emerged because death only came with the ‘Fall’, women need to be subordinate to men in certain contexts because ‘Eve sinned first’, no animal or human life survived a huge flood higher than… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Susannah, My comment was not directed to you; it just ended up after your comment when I clicked Reply. I meant to reply to Ian Paul.

Martin
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Martin

Your 19 year old unbeliever would be right in what Christianity says. It is to be expected that they would find it disgusting, because they have been taught that by a heathen world that believes what we want must come first. I don’t think you know anything about a Jesus who said all these things.

Kate
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Kate

A good explanation, Susannah. Nor do I believe that modern science is capable of offering a definitive explanation of reality.

As to walking through doors, neither our bodies nor doors are solid. The vast majority of both is empty space.

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

Susannah writes well but her claims don’t chime with contemporary experience. I’ve seen magicians levitating in stage shows but I’m not convinced it was through spiritual ecstasy. And people walking through doors exist only in horror movies. It is only supposition to claim that reality exists outside time, since nothing existed before time was ‘created’.

Susannah Clark
Guest

These are fair points Father David, and I do believe in reading and understanding the Bible in its cultural contexts. Sometimes the authors need to be understood to be writing within the parameters of their own cultural assumptions, and even social prejudices, and religious traditions and genre. However, and it is obviously my own personal conviction, I believe in the supernatural. I believe God is supernatural. I believe that while the Bible should not require us to abandon scientific rationality – and for example I believe the early chapters of Genesis include much that is scientific balderdash – nevertheless as… Read more »

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

Thank you for your kind and sincere response.

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

Paul had a lengthy discussion about what a resurrected body was like in 1 Cor. 15. He certainly did not think that it was a conjuring trick with bones or anything close to it.

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

Neither did Bishop David Jenkins. Quite the opposite.

Anne Eyre
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Anne Eyre

Thank you FrDavid. I knew Bp David Jenkins, and he was my late husband’s tutor. I went on a long walk with him shortly after he faced the controversy about the juggling trick with bones. That phrase was misquoted by a young journalist who did not understand what David was saying. He was passiaonate that people’s life in Christ was truly integrated by life/feeling and thought;which is why the miners loved him. He could listen to all from an wide variety of situations, and then allow God to shape his work from there. The anger over Dr Shepherd’s appointment does… Read more »

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

No subsequent Bishop of Durham has achieved the love and respect among clergy and people as that of Bishop Jenkins who cared deeply about the spread of a meaningful gospel, and created a national discussion about the Faith. We have yet to see his like. It is good that Anglicans have a representative in Rome with views similar to those of such a wonderful bishop.

Anne Eyre
Guest
Anne Eyre

i am a friend of the Anglican centre . Remarkable mission has happened there in recent times .That has moved forward the vision of Christian unity amazingly , inspite of doctrinal differences. I wish Fr Shepherd joy and a promise of support. It appears that these visionary aspects of mission are not valued by the rigid doctrinists. Vision seemed fixed in a quagmire of certainty , rather than the adventure of surrender to God’s will and the freedom of letting go into that scarey, but joyous place