on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 at 10.04 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of England
Church Society has published this: An open letter to the Primates and faithful Anglicans of the Global South.
And also this: Overview of the teaching of Rowan Williams on Scripture and sexuality.
This item has been reported in the Guardian see today’s People column by Stephen Bates.
The Bishop of Lewes is a Vice President of the Church Society. (He is also one of the GAFCON faces). Do we take it that he is one of the Council members by whom this call for separation is issued? Does he agree that “sincere Christians should not be in fellowship” with the Archbishop of Canterbury? Do these people have any idea how they appear to the rest of the Church of England, let alone to other Christians and non Christians? “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when… Read more »
The breathtaking arrogance of it!
We have seen all this before. It is interesting to see the whole lot advanced again, at this time.
As Robert Ian Williams constantly reminds us – the Church Society are only “Biblically based” when it suits them – poor loves!
Will Mr David Philips be following through on his own injunction and cut any connections he has with ++Cantuar, either directly or via any bishop in communion with the See of Canterbury? I do hope so. Some lucky Diocesan Bishop might have his life greatly cheered.
Their “overview” of RW’s teachings is a quite laughable piece of paranoia, though well crafted. They start out adeptly painting the picture of him having a long established agenda to accept gay people. It hasn’t been theology he’s been doing, oh no, it was all about rejecting the authority of Scriptuire so the evil gays could destroy the Church. Notice how not being a literalist is cast as rejecting the authority of Scripture without actually saying so in so many words(paragraph 3). Then there is this little jewel: “Williams still: (a) teaches that the Church may ordain doctrine contrary to… Read more »
OK there is much teaching/endorsement there that one couldn’t identify with either directly or by association, but why disfellowship from him at this point rather than when he was first appointed, which would have made perfect sense? This smacks of ‘tactics’ – get him when he is down and unpopular.
The problem with Rowan Williams is how he has stood in the road. He could have been on one side of the white lines, consistently, giving him an identity and a respect from that which meant most traffic would have missed him and plenty of traffic police to get the would-be crashers around him. At risk he could have stood on the white lines where, keeping very still, most traffic would have zoomed by. The problem is that he stood on one side of the road, and then on taking the job walked in busy traffic to the other side… Read more »
The Church Society has indeed been against Rowan Williams ever since he was first appointed. It was the society which described him then as a heretic and a false teacher and harangued him when he invited them to lunch.
The English Nation has a reputation above others for exceeding civility in manners and mildness expression combined with attention to truth and understated precision.
This extraordinary statement (and others over the years) shows The Church Society as an exception to the Rule. Indeed, if I recall, they started going after Dr Rowan even before he was appointed some years ago.
It will be interesting to follow…
Badman asked: The Bishop of Lewes is a Vice President of the Church Society. (He is also one of the GAFCON faces). Do we take it that he is one of the Council members by whom this call for separation is issued? According to the last annual accounts filed with the Charity Commission, the Bishop of Lewes is not a member of the council of the Church Society. However, if he is a vice president then you would have thought that as someone who is prepared to be known as a figure-head of an organisation he would have made sure… Read more »
The Church Society first came into being in the mid nineteenth century as the Church Association. Its primary (if not only) aim was to institute legal proceedings against ‘ritualist’ clergy in order to have them hounded out of office and be replaced by low/evangelical/puritan (delete as you see fit) clergy. The organisation therefore is built on using all sorts of tactics, including the publication of frankly scandalous tracts, now replaced with webpages, in order to strengthen their cause. I would be very interested indeed to see the reaction of the Bishop of Lewes and of the Bishop of St Albans,… Read more »
Whatever problems we all have with RW’s famed nuance from time to time, it is clear this CS statement is a fine example of spin doctoring from the far right of believer presuppositions. (I would say, far Anglican right, but recently I have begun to suspect that less and less of this far right stuff is defensibly Big Tent Anglican.) Eric Berne would say: What a fine, fine, fine example of the game called, Let’s You And Him Fight. Scripture is repeatedly mentioned as if there were simply no inquiry or questions about scripture which could possibly matter to any… Read more »
The website for the CS lists its Vice-President’s as:
Revd Dr Roger Beckwith, Rt Revd Wallace Benn, Prof. John Coekin, Mr Vijay Menon, Rt Revd. David Samuel, Revd. David Streater and Revd Canon David Wheaton.
A very ‘faceless’ website, ie. no names, no list of Church Society Council members etc, apart from credit for articles. I wonder if they are still linked with David Samuel, bishop in a continuing anglican church, and their former general secretary. Is there something to hide?
Maybe David Wheaton can tell us, as I suspect he is an occasional contributor to TA. The Church Society has a proprietory chapel in one of the parishes I serve, where it has recently appointed a Baptist minister as minister in charge. The Bishop quite correctly pointed out that he could not licence him to celebrate Holy Communion, as it is not part of an LEP, and suggested that an Anglican be licensed to do this at the same time. This was refused, and it was subsequently trumpeted around the locality that the Bishop had refused a licence “because he… Read more »
The Church Society website does list its council members; they are on the bottom half of this page.
The Church Society newspaper, Cross and Way recently criticised the common cause in the USA for being too Romanist and subverting the Reformed Episcopal church. So I am surprized they are writing to provinces in the Global south which are Anglo-catholic. In their objectives ( see Web page), they claim to stop the re-introduction of the Mass in the Church of England. Furthermore David Samuel is a bishop (consecrated by an Anglo-Catholic breakaway bishop from the USA) in the miniscule sect the Church of England continuing…membership less than a hundred. He is a converted Welsh Baptist. Wallace Benn is the… Read more »
Ford Elms writes:
“I’m sure none of the Church Society benefit from any things taught by the Church but contrary to Scripture.”
A bit cryptic, Ford! Could you unpack this a bit. please? I agree with your basic stance here – the CS attack on +Rowan is pretty nasty (as are, I should perhaps add, some attacks from those who find him insufficiently liberal), but I’m not sure what you mean here.
If they are so sure that the Bible tells us all to throw out false teachers, can we throw them out? There are plenty of lies, falsehoods and half-truths in their appraisal of ++Rowan’s position on human sexuality.
I have a postscript!
There’s a woman in the church I currently attend and occasionally at which I preach where, according to the vicar, if I offend her, I must be doing something right. It’s always good to see her approach with yet more criticism after the service. It reassures me that I’m on the right track.
I have a new ambition – to be called a heretic by the Church Society.
“there is much teaching/endorsement there that one couldn’t identify with either directly or by association”
Christopher, not my usual antagonism this time, I’m genuinely interested: what is there in that piece with which one couldn’t identify or endorse?
One thing I have learned during the controversies of the past several years is how little I understood the CofE and how little many in the CofE knew of the Episcopal Church in the United States. We both seem to have a number of literalist/fundamentalist Baptist or Assemblies of God types in our clergy and pews. The CofE seems to have a larger percentage of them. What ours lack in numbers they seem to make up for in anger, political and legal scheming and spin. As the priest of a parish on Maui with many visitors from all over North… Read more »
I think Rowan’s position — personally sympathetic to a non-fundamentalist vision of sexual ethics, but institutionally obliged to move with the Church and not to impose his own views divisively — is possibly one that is shared by some Roman Catholic archbishops. The Archbishop of Freiburg, head of the German Episcopal Conference, has said that the State should legislate for same-sex civil unions, as has the Archbishop of Dublin. The debate in the Anglican Communion probably foreshadows one that will happen in the Roman Church before long.
Hot off the Press…Venables in a Canadian newspaper says he can’t go to Lambeth with a “false sense of unity”. There is nothing more than a false unity than Iker and Schofield greeting Jensen and Venables at GAFCON as biblically orthodox brothers…with their contradictory understandings of the gospel, sacraments and the 39 articles.
Obne can only conclude that these men cannot see this otherwise.. one would have to question their integrity.
“There’s a woman in the church I currently attend and occasionally at which I preach where, according to the vicar, if I offend her, I must be doing something right. It’s always good to see her approach with yet more criticism after the service. It reassures me that I’m on the right track.” This comment left me bemused and I went away to think about it for a while. There’s a woman in his church that he offends. His vicar (obviously of Catholic tendencies) tells them that if he does a good deed (10 Hail Mary’s, perhaps) that he is… Read more »
‘There’s a woman in his church that he offends. His vicar (obviously of Catholic tendencies) tells them that if he does a good deed (10 Hail Mary’s, perhaps) that he is okay. He knows that he is going to provoke her, and enjoys her coming up with more criticism after the sermon. That might put him on the right track, but I have to say it is not a very nice track. In a workplace, this would be called bullying and victimisation. But, for some, if you are doing it a church community, and have done your atoning good deeds… Read more »
Archbishop of Canterbury denounced by Church Society: LGCM asks Bishop Wallace Benn to resign. The Church Society has once again denounced Dr Rowan Williams. This time they have dramatically “disfellowshiped” him and called on all the world’s Anglican leaders to abandon communion with the man who represents ‘The Focus of Unity’ within the Anglican Communion. http://www.churchsociety.org/press/pr_2008-02_OpenLetter.htm As the attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury mentions his historical association with the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) and those who are our supporters the Chief Executive, the Reverend Richard Kirker made the following remarks today (20th February 2008) “These attacks on… Read more »
Hi Ford- Bucketloads of things: (1) He emphasises only the unclarity and metaphorical nature of Scripture (just one of whose 66 books, the Song of Songs, is generically metaphorical)out of subjective personal preference for metaphorical things over literal – maybe because one can then twist the text more easily. (2) having emphasised the endemic unclarity of scripture he then proceeds to speak of the Mind of God as though that, by contrast, were something translucently clear. So the thing that is written down in black and white is unclear, and simultaneously the thing that is not is clear. Doubtful! Is… Read more »
Christopher, I’m not sure of my original post to this went through, so this is less verbose. You seem to consider Scripture to be of variably reliable historicity, yet want to claim authority for it despite that. It is certainly not accurate that only one book of the OT is metaphorical, Genesis qualifies, as, it seems, does most of Exodus, there being no evidence of a massive influx into the the Fertile Crescent at the time it is supposed to have happened. There are two David stories, one more “folky” (and thus for me more true) and the other obviously… Read more »
The Church Times today reports the Bishop of Lewes as “distancing himself” from Mr Phillips’ tirade, on the grounds that it is “unhelpful…at this time”.
Is that the scurry of departing rodents I can hear?
Hi Ford- You know, that is an old chestnut about the resurrection accounts, and it is part true and part untrue. Suppose you were the first gospel writer to write, ie the one closest to the events. How many other gospel writers would you be contradicting? Answer: none, because there weren’t any other gospel writers at that point in time. Even Mark (the first gospel) is preceded by the fullest list of appearances in 1 Cor 15. Your mistake in the above post is to suppose that ‘literal and true’ and ‘metaphorical’ are the only two possibilities. Clearly there are… Read more »
To summarise: It was held in the early church that one and the same scripture passage could be interpreted from four different angles. Quite true: in fact, four is an underestimate. The modern perversion of this is that one has (1) to choose only one of the four, and (2) to apply that one (which is generally the one that one psychologically or temperamentally prefers) to the entire library of ‘scripture’, which consists of books in all kinds of different genres. Show me a person who says ‘I take the Bible literally’ or ‘ I don’t take the Bible literally’,… Read more »