Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 1 June 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Patronage and Power Abuse in the Church

Michael Roberts Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin The Church of England and Creationism.

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Holding the House of Bishops to account – Sara Gillingham’s challenge

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of LLF (Living in love and faith)

Martyn Percy ViaMedia.News Does the Bible Really…Give Us a Clear Definition of Marriage?

Richard Peers Quodcumque – Serious Christianity Inclusive, Expanded … He, She … – what language should we use about God in our worship?

49
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
6 Comment threads
43 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
16 Comment authors
CRSSusannah ClarkJo BPat O'NeillRichard Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Some fantastic articles in this morning’s ‘Opinion’ post – thank you Thinking Anglicans. Thank you, authors of these deeply reflective and thought-provoking articles. There’s a lot to be silent and reflect upon. This will take some time, because there’s so much here.

CRS
Guest
CRS

M Percy’s essay reminds me of MA exam papers I marked when a Professor at St Andrews. The question is left to the side so the student can tell you something that interests them from their private file. The Bible of course really does say something about marriage, as liturgical rites over centuries have reflected it. Better to say they are simply wrong or patient of correction given our present predilections. Instead the subject is just changed.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

But is what it says about marriage consistent? God not only condones Abraham’s choice, he honors it by first, making Ishmael the father of a great people and second, by giving Abraham and Sarah a legitimate son. Jacob, founder of Israel, has 12 sons by two wives and two concubines.

And, yet, we are told that the biblical prescription for marriage is one man, one woman for life.

Tullochgorum
Guest
Tullochgorum

Which chair did you hold at the University of St Andrews. CRS?

Wm. Bill Paul
Guest
Wm. Bill Paul

Agreed, CRS. And the piece by Martyn Percy gains the rhetorical advantage that always comes when one deploys the word ‘love” but I was left thinking of what was said about Joseph Fletcher’s book Situation Ethics that love just like a greased pig, hard to get a handle on. This doesn’t mean that I don’t share Percy’s concern about fundamentalism, nor do I ignore the diversity of the biblical witness. But this is why we have theology! It would be nice if Percy would take on the best expression or understanding of a traditionalist viewpoint, and give reasons for his… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I confess I did not really take in much of what he was saying because his prose was such a joy to read!

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

I found Roberts’s article on the development of creationism in the Church of England quite depressing. From an American point of view, I can’t imagine anyone in TEC, the “mainstream” churches, or the Roman Catholic Church in the US advocating this kind of thing. In the U.S. it’s only the view of part of the fundamentalist edge of Christianity.

This is particularly depressing since the CofE has had some very fine writers, such as the scientists-priests Peacocke and Polkinghorne, who have well explained the compatibility of science and Christianity.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Roberts is stirring and presumably has his own reasons for doing so. But the CofE is a broad church. I, for one, do not recognise the evangelical world he describes. At the conservative end of the evangelical trad. there are variations of the creationist views. Some are daft. Others more nuanced. There always have been. But he seems to want a church where people he disagrees with are banned from pulpits? There are some daft liberals out there too. Is he going to write about them now?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

There’s daft and there’s daft. Denying the theory upon which all modern medical science is based–evolution and genetics–is more than daft, it’s dangerous.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Actually there are good grounds to doubt that Darwin’s theory of evolution is accurate – see for example https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Darwin_Got_Wrong

Then there is even more problems from genetics such as epigenetics.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

The authors do not reject evolution. They question how it happens. They are not universally respected.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

The exact method of evolution has always been a question. I prefer the theory of “punctuated equilibrium”, as developed by Stephen Jay Gould and others, as being the one that best fits the fossil record. But evolution happens and is still happening, all living things are connected by DNA–these are irrefutable facts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium

Kate
Guest
Kate

Yes, but even though evolution is happening today that isn’t evidence that evolution is responsible for life as we see it. The Tree of Life and Fossil record are evidence of historic evolution but a) there are problems with both and b) evidence is not proof.

Evolution is one possible explanation of how we got to where we are but it is over-egging the pudding to claim that it is an exclusive explanation.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

That is not the overwhelming scientific consensus of the past century…nor is it the consensus now. Why do some people–and especially some Christians–insist on ignoring the experts in favor of a fringe element?

Richard
Guest
Richard

Here in the U.S. there is a theme park (in Kentucky) devoted to Creationism. The non-scientific beliefs are presented as “fun” for young people. The park gets about 10,000 visitors a day.

CRS
Guest
CRS

The usual straw man. I agree. Perhaps Mr O’Neill encounters lots of creationists in his world. I have never met one. But I have encountered lots of daft and presumptuous liberals. They are thick on the ground in NA academic contexts. Worst of all is the control of basic historical facts. George Washington, Aquinas and Ghandi are contemporaries.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

You should move back to the States, Doctor. There are places still attempting to relitigate the Scopes Monkey Trial.

CRS
Guest
CRS

You may lay awake worrying about the Scopes Monkey Trial. That puts you in an odd category, however. If you want real worry, see https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

And our students’ standing in scientific knowledge will not improve as long as subjects such as evolution and climate change are given short shrift because of the political opinions of the same people who, in general, think the Episcopal Church is too liberal on social issues.

CRS
Guest
CRS

Yes, yes, the serious deficiencies in science and maths are due to political opinions from non-liberal anglicans.

I surely hope this kind of logic is not what you mean by science! If so, no wonder US students are struggling.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Not just non-liberal Anglicans…non-liberals in general. As I noted, the primary defenders of Creationism are not Anglican, but hard-core non-denominational fundamentalist evangelicals. And yes, the deficiencies are caused, in large part, by those people…because they make it politically difficult for educational authorities to put in place the kind of programs and curricula that would begin to alleviate the problems.

CRS
Guest
CRS

On non-liberals and correlation with education. Top countries: Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong — not your liberal countries. Compare the shoddy outcomes of the USA, with its elite liberal educational institutions costing vastly more. Science: 24th place. Math, 40th place. And why is this? Because of poltical hindrance on educational authorities at our finest liberal institutions? I taught at Yale for over a decade. I believe your diagnosis is seriously flawed to the point of caricature.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

The difference between the U.S. and the countries you cite? The presence of a fundamentalist religious (primarily Christian) group with strong political influence. Also, these nations have a tradition of respect for education that is sadly lacking in the US, again, especially among conservatives, who often deride academics as “ivory-tower elites.”

CRS
Guest
CRS

“these nations have a tradition of respect for education that is sadly lacking in the US” — at least this much is correct. Also a high degree of discipline, sacrifice, and just a hard work ethic. That has all fallen into the twitter sump and helicopter parenting and identity politics and self-absorbtion climate of the US. All the spelling bee finalists are, in origin, from non-US backgrounds. The Snopes Trial is as far from relevance as the east is from the west. Having been an ‘ivory tower elite’ I find it distressing to see the decline in standards in so-called… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

Incidentally, how much do you really know about the religious-cultural realities in these leading countries, that would lead you to say they do not have the same analogous forces you worry about here? In Canada I teach students from these cultures. Each of them have comparable religious conservatism of a kind you label ‘fundamentalist’ and with corresponding political aims. I gave a week’s worth of lectures recently in Singapore. If you want to see a very strict, conservative culture, it makes the US pale by comparison. The US is regarded as wealthy and undisciplined and rife with drugs, crime and… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Is there, in Singapore, a politically powerful religious group that rejects evolution, old-earth geology and climate change? A group so powerful that they can control the entire curricula of schools in a state (or the equivalent province)? If not, then they are not dealing with what the US is dealing with and has been for the past 40 years. Oh, and the conservative culture of the US rejects the liberal arts and humanities subjects you prize–“History, foreign languages, grasp of classical literature, writing skills”–in favor of subjects deemed more likely to result in immediate financial success. At the collegiate level,… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

Mr O’Neill, why are you asking me questions about cultures you confidently stated were not like the US, if you do not really know? So much for science. This is what makes it sounds like sweeping parochial thinking. Concerns within a smallish southern US context — which I gather is yours — really are not helpfully extendable beyond that context. The essay triggering this thread had to do with UK evangelicals and alleged creationist instincts. Trying to make this fit into US parochial concerns on the left wing was always a stretch. TEC has no real evangelical wing and US… Read more »

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

There is a streak of anti-intellectualism in US culture that you can see running from the Snopes Monkey trial, to modern “debates” about creationism, climate change and vaccination and the elections of GW Bush and Trump. A lot of that ties to conservative Protestantism but not all of it.

CRS
Guest
CRS

Have a look at the abortion laws in these five countries at the top. Father’s pemission, out of pocket expenses, strict limits and conditions, and so forth — amongst the stated regulations.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

I’ve encountered more than a couple of creationists, both Christians and Muslims. Particularly nutty were the ones pushing the hypothesis that Adam wrote the beginning of Genesis because of something to do with clay tablets.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“Perhaps Mr O’Neill encounters lots of creationists in his world. I have never met one.” Actually, I’ve never met one either. But of course that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. There were enough of them to enact a state law requiring the teaching of creationism if evolution was taught, a law that the United States Supreme Court found unconstitutional in Edwards v. Aguillard. And there was enough of them to mandate the teaching of a dressed-up version of creationism, called intelligent design, a mandate that the United States Supreme Court found unconstitutional in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

There is enormous reason for being concerned about the abject quality of education in the USA. Where are we ranked now globally? 32nd place? You can worry all you want about select cases of this or that, but the real attention should be to the general state of affairs. Personally, I do not see how we are not already fully in the throes of mediocrity and irreversible decline. I have met these people.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

When I was a professor of anatomy I asked a US student in his 30s what he would think if thumb movements were weak. Ulnar nerve injury, said he. No, you’re wrong, says I; median nerve, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. He told me afterwards that that was the first time in his life that anyone had told him that he was wrong. But it’s not just US students. We’re in a new intellectual dark age where opinion trumps demonstrable fact.

CRS
Guest
CRS

FWIW, I found UK students less opinionated/wrongly confident of their views as “facts” than US counterparts, but the data shows UK and US students hovering around the same position when comparing education across countries. This is probably borne out, as well, in the disconnect between actual US rank and what US people believe is the case. It is unlikely that UK people are as wrongly overconfident, though that’s just a guess. My initial response had to do with Runcorn’s caution, which I share. I teach in an institution which describes itself as evangelical. “The Scopes Trial” would be seen as… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

It is not the leading theologians who write on science who are leading the cause to teach creationism and its stalking horses “intelligent design” and “academic freedom” in US schools. It is the followers of Graham, Falwell, Robertson, and others of that ilk. They have, unfortunately, undue political influence in this country. Even our current Education Secretary is in their camp.

Bob Marsden
Guest
Bob Marsden

For a man who has so many degrees, attended so many universities and leads a great (perhaps the greatest?) Oxford college Martyn Percy’s article lacks rigour. Thinking Anglicans should read Martin Davie and David Ould at https://anglicanmainstream.org/why-the-bible-is-clear-about-marriage-a-response-to-martyn-percy/ Grace and peace to you all.

CRS
Guest
CRS

Thank you.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

I agree with you Bob. It would have been helpful if the article had directly addressed the actual concerns/questions of those opposed to/ hesitant about extending marriage in this way. The AM response to Percy is wholly predictable but, more importantly, actually not engaged by this piece.

Kate
Guest
Kate

True. But the articles on ViaMedia News are generally fluffy opinion pieces so I think, like most good writers, Percy wrote to match the style of the publication which would carry his piece.

Bob Edmonds
Guest
Bob Edmonds

With reference to ‘what language we should use about God in our worship’ how about sovereign Lord, creator God, our Father, everlasting Lord, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

How about Holy One, Beloved, Mother, She who bore us awaiting our birth and watching over our stumbling steps, eternal Protectress, Home-Maker, Christian Goddess, Quiet One, Queen of the Eternal Country, Comforter, Godde?

CRS
Guest
CRS

I believe you have successfully slipped the bounds of memorialism and transubstantiationism (of your own trademark) in one fell swoop.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

So Dr Seitz, you think that God(de) is not capable of loving us like a woman, as well as loving us like a man (always recognising that He/She transcends gender as well as fully comprehending it)? We are made, male and female, in the image of a Holy One who is as full of femaleness as He/She is of maleness, in comprehension, in feeling, in identity, in personhood, in presence. We are loved by a God(de) who as fully loves us as a mother as a father. And Kate, I would in no way want to deny God has that… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

I wish you well on your journey with Godde.

God loves us as he has chosen to. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end that all who believe in Him have everlasting life.” The church has always been centered on this claim from the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

You are free to have whatever thoughts you wish, and of course do.

That makes them what they are: your private beliefs. What you call “expanding into more of the mind and nature of Godde.”

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I think you’ll find these are not just my own private beliefs, but beliefs that aggregate with the views of many others in the Church, who believe we can expand our understanding beyond solely a masculine idea of God. But thanks for trying to isolate my views 🙂 Recognising the equally feminine to the masculine aspects of God is to acknowledge the meaning of being made in God’s image, and to acknowledge too that the sidelining of the feminine in the identity of God has led so logically at times to the marginalising and sidelining of women in conservative religiously… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

If you want to call on “Godde, the Christian Goddess,” be my guest. I can’t see how this does anything except confuse and misdirect. Some would call it idolotry. Is Jesus Christ honored thereby? No. He has a name, to which every knee shall bow, given him by the LORD God. He who was known and called upon in Israel has, in his Son, been given to the world to worship and adore.

Kate
Guest
Kate

You and I have asserted our gender,. Why should we then deny God the same right? His Son taught us to pray, “Our Father…”. In the Creed, the basic profession of faith for Christians, we declare God to be male. If people want to use other pronouns that is their right but it most definitely isn’t Anglicanism and is probably heretical.

That doesn’t mean that inclusive language should not be used in other areas. I don’t understand why Peers won’t use “companions of Jesus” instead of disciples. Language which includes Mary Magdalene in particular is much to be preferred.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

And mother bird, suckler of kings, Wisdom. Funny how the female metaphors get left out.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

That’s Ok but not Biblical enough – it does not reflect the much wider range of Biblical metaphor and language about God. There has been much ink spilt in discussing this and at least two pieces of doctoral work o its liturgical implications.