Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 14 February 2024

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Can we find Integrity and Accountability in the Leadership of the Church of England?

Neil Elliot NumbersMatters God loves statistics

Anon ViaMedia.News Mini-MBA Course for the Talent Pipeline in the Church of England: Safeguarding Strategy

Andrew Brown The slow deep hover Evangelical Pantaloons

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Bishop Martyn Strangelove to the rescue, or How I learnt to Stop Worrying and Love LLF

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Marian Birch
Marian Birch
2 months ago

I have just read an article by Martin Davie critical of Bp Martyn Snow’s current interventions in the LLF discussion. The article can be found here On not saying anything significant – a response to GS 2346 | Reflections of an Anglican Theologian (wordpress.com). I think Davie’s comments can only be descrbed as unprofessional and disgraceful. I believe that I am correct in saying that Davie was himself once holder of the role of Theological Adviser to the House of Bishops (that particular poisoned chalice which has been so much in the news in the last week or so). Normally… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Marian Birch
2 months ago

That article seems not to be available unless we accept a whole load of cookies.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Marian Birch
2 months ago

Ignore my comment of a moment ago. I’ve found that if I click ‘disagree to all’ (cookies) I can then read the article.

Jonathan Chaplin
Jonathan Chaplin
Reply to  Marian Birch
2 months ago

I agree that the tone of this piece is captious, ungenerous and sour. It’s not intended to persuade but to rally. I’m not sure however that he is under a duty of neutrality or confidentiality on account of holding that specific role many years ago. And he makes a quite valid point about adiaphora: we can’t just assume a stance is such but have to show it is (or isn’t). Many on both sides think they have done that. But I agree it shows again that some conservatives need to acquire a much more irenic and respectful tone if they… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Marian Birch
2 months ago

Martin Davie is entitled to publish comment as and when he chooses and on any subject he chooses.

The notion he is not entitled to do so is preposterous.

James
James
Reply to  Marian Birch
2 months ago

Nothing ‘snide and offensive’ at all – it points out the incoherence and confusion running through the whole mess. The point is this: the Bishops have received *Legal Advice on what they are trying to do – an end run around the Doctrine of the Church of England by trying secretly to change the doctrine of Marriage (through their absurd Jesuitical distinctions about ‘Holy Matrimony’ and ‘Christian Marriage’ when there is *no difference in Anglican church law) without going through General Synod – and the Bishops have REFUSED to publish their legal advice. This is the scandal. They know they… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Marian Birch
2 months ago

Davie has been constantly critical of the bishops, LLF and much else on his blog….writing always at great length. He isn’t interested in engaging with bishop Snow. He is theological advisor to the CEEC and they have their heart set on only one thing now, structural differentiation. He ( they) want a non geographical diocese or two with ” Orthodox ” bishops leading to an independent Third Province. In effect two bodies calling them .selves the C of E. Is that likely? I think not.

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Marian Birch
2 months ago

As someone on the “progressive” or “inclusive” side I thought Martin Davies’s piece was reasonable comment. There doesn’t really seem to be anything new or helpful in Bishop Snow’s paper that advances us at all – it has all been said before. Despite all the rhetoric about dialogue, respect and reconciliation, GS2346 still seems unwilling to take the depth of disagreement seriously enough, and appears to reflect a hope that by dragging their feet for long enough the bishops can avoid a difficult conversation about what a settlement would actually need to look like: they just want to keep kicking… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Charles Clapham
Shamus
Shamus
2 months ago

Referring to Neil Elliot’s piece: God also knows there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Shamus
2 months ago

Neil Elliott also seems to overlook the fact that it was an offence to the LORD for David to count the people of Israel. Perhaps God doesn’t love statistics after all.

David Keen
David Keen
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

Though, it didn’t seem to be an offence to the Lord for Luke to regularly comment on the numerical growth of the church in Acts. Perhaps it depends on the type of statistics.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
2 months ago

The premise of the first half of Colin Coward’s piece is that the Gospels are not a faithful record of the life and teaching of Jesus. His reasoning looks solid and he is probably right. I struggle though with the inference that the Gospels are therefore unreliable. The Lord was responsible for the whole of creation. He sent his Son to incarnate of the Virgin Mary and die on the cross before rising from the dead. John was sent as a messenger. And yet, despite all of that, we are to believe that somehow the Gospels aren’t what the Lord… Read more »

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Kate Keates
2 months ago

Hi Kate, and thank you for commenting on my blog. We have different ideas, you and I, about God’s abilities. I can think of God as being responsible for the whole of creation but not as intervening in the ways you suggest, though this is certainly the belief of many Christians and the teaching of their pastors and churches. Trusting the Lord with your life and believing these are the Gospels he wanted you to have is very personal and powerful to you. It has never worked for me. If God can intervene and do anything God chooses, then indeed… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
2 months ago

Rev. Coward, I think the opening paragraphs in your reply to Kate Keats are spot on. IMO, God made the chemical, electrical, and physical properties of the Universe, set off the Big Bang and is content to let the Universe unfold as it will. Not intervening, as you suggest. I believe most Christian denominations preach human beings have free will. There are some denomination that preach predestination and it’s amazing how those preachers always seem to be among the Saved, but those denomination are in the minority. However, and I think you were stating this in another way. if human… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
2 months ago

“…the Gospels were written to evangelize. They are literal propaganda, they were meant to propagate the new faith. Therefore, they have a point of view and they portray Jesus of Nazareth according to that point of view.”

Even more, they each have their own point of view. Mark, for the most part, is a neutral narrator. Matthew is a Jew trying to evangelize other Jews (he quotes the prophets more than anyone else). Luke is speaking to the Gentiles. And John is an educated theologian proposing a new way of looking at God.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 month ago

‘the Gospels were written to evangelize. They are literal propaganda, they were met to propagate the new faith.’ I don’t know how you know this. We have no records of who wrote the gospels, when they were written, and what motivation was in the minds of the authors. Except for one: Luke says he wrote for a person who was already a Christian, to strengthen his faith. I think your assertion is highly unlikely. It’s far more likely that the gospels were written for use in gatherings of the Christian community. Even if they are not literal records, the actual… Read more »

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
2 months ago

I’d recommend reading Fr. Allan Wolter’s classic book on Scotus’ ethics here. As I take it, you disagree with omnipotence and intervention on the grounds that such would limit human agency, but the old Scholastic approach is that free will is always dependent upon God’s essential causal power, shared with us from God’s love. The two can sit together if they’re ordered properly.

You might find it an interesting alternative to some of the 20th Century’s debates, at least 🙂

James
James
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
2 months ago

Why can’t you use ‘he’, ‘himself’ and ‘his’ when talking about God? Why the avoidance of these pronouns? Jesus used them all the time in talking about God. Was Jesus wrong? Does Jesus set the standard for how Christians should talk about God or do you have other sources of authority? If so, what are these?

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  James
2 months ago

Ummmm, well James . . . what a curious comment yours is on Thinking Anglicans. I use ‘God’ rather than pronouns because I am orthodox and traditional in my theology – God doesn’t have a gender. God isn’t a man, isn’t male. Jesus used those pronouns all the time because that was the norm for his time. Jesus wasn’t wrong in the context of his culture. Does Jesus set the standard for how Christians should talk about God? Do I have other sources of authority? What are these? Mmmmm, so you are an absolute authority in knowing how to address… Read more »

Cantab
Cantab
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

Not forgetting also that Jesus presumably didn’t speak koine Greek. So whatever words he did use to refer to God it wasn’t the male words of the Greek NT…

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Cantab
1 month ago

I don’t know why you presume this. The fact that certain Aramaic words Jesus used (epphatha, talitha cumi) are preserved in the Greek text suggest that these were abnormal in his public ministry. And why would he mention ‘jot and tittle’ (iota and keraia) if he were not speaking in Greek to an audience familiar with Greek?

James
James
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

Colin: I struggle to see how one can be “orthodox and traditional in theology” and refuse to use the language of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible and the Catholic Creeds about God. All three refer to God as ‘he’, ‘Father’, ‘King’ and so on. What God is in his inmost essence we cannot say; but what God has revealed about himself in Holy Scripture and in the Incarnate Son is normative for the Church. Your second and third paragraphs are largely ad hominem and don’t call for a reply. But to take your first sentence, Yes, Jesus *does set… Read more »

John
John
Reply to  James
1 month ago

I cannot help but reflect on how the Latin translation of the Nicene Creed, whose words set by the great composers I have sung many times, has no pronouns.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  John
1 month ago

But does have masculine adjectives.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James
2 months ago

The Bible uses both male and female imagery for God. And male and female are both made in God’s image, so God cannot be only male. If we use the masculine pronouns exclusively for God, it’s easy to fall into thinking that God is actually male – and that female is lesser. In addition to that, those of us who were abused by men, and particularly by male religious leaders, often find it very difficult to relate to a God referred to as ‘he’. To me, prayers and liturgy which use the masculine pronouns exclusively stick out like a sore… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Whether God is or isn’t male is beside the point IMHO. Jesus references to his father makes clear that God has a male gender identity. As a matter of policy we should use the pronouns we believe someone is most comfortable with (although I could be persuaded that God etc is both a noun and pronoun). I think it’s very disrespectful of both God and trans people generally to use female pronouns for God.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Kate Keates
1 month ago

Jesus’ references to God as father only point to his relationship to god, not to God’s gender.

James
James
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Janet: if Jesus is God Incarnate, then what he says about God is final and definitive. It is un-catholic and unevangelical to speak otherwise. Al the language about God in the Bible is unanimous about this. Regardless of experiences of harm by male religious leaders. God doesn’t cease to be Father just because of failures by human fathers. God doesn’t cease to be King just because one hates monarchs. The finality of Christ means his teaching is the Church’s true teaching.

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  James
1 month ago

“See how these Christians love one another.”

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  James
1 month ago

But Father is only one way the Bible describes God and does that quite rarely. Why not be Biblical and use a range of ways of naming God?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James
1 month ago

As a matter of fact I’m not interested in whether anyone considers me to be – or whether I actually am – either catholic or evangelical. I’m just trying to be a Christian. However, it’s simply not true that all the biblical language about God is male. Jesus compares himself to a mother hen, one of the Psalms speaks of kings being nursed at God’s breast; another speaks of being with God as like being a child at its mother’s breast. These are metaphors, of course – but so are the terms ‘father’, ‘king’, lamb, lion, etc. When God announced… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

It seems that king is an accepted and appropriately masculine word to use about God. But one has to say that if we look at the modern understandings of many kings through the ages, murderous, despotic, petulant, spoilt; there is the question of whether by describing God as king we are doing God or the church any favours. All these words are metaphors. And the value of metaphors changes as culture changes. If our metaphors ossify we may struggle to communicate with new generations. To many people not much younger than me, the king is Elvis Presley, and Prince is… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Exactly. When we use metaphors, or study the ways they are used in the Bible, we have to look at what truth they were intended to communicate. If the metaphor no longer carries that meaning for us, we can use a different one. The Bible gives us so many options.

‘King’ was intended to convey that God is all-powerful, which is what it meant in ancient Israel. But to us a king is a figurehead or a pop idol. And post-Holocaust, even the concept of an all-powerful God who does nothing to prevent such suffering raises awkward questions.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

And as for ‘Father’, if we take that literally we have to ask who is Mother, and God’s wife or partner. While catholics have a partial answer for that, evangelicals aren’t entirely happy with that answer.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

For a few Centuries in the life of the Jewish peoples God’s wife or consort was Asherah, and widely worshipped in the Jerusalem Temple alongside Yahweh.

It is sadly the case that many Jews and Christians are uncomfortable with that idea, and search for all sorts of ways of arguing it never happened, or if it did it was the fault of the Canaanites.

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon Dawson
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

I often hang out with indigenous Christians, for many of whom ‘Creator’ is their preferred form of address to God. I find that deeply resonates with me. This is reflected in the usage of the recent ‘First Nations Version‘ of the NT, an English translation that uses language and imagery that resonates with North American indigenous people.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Thanks Tim, I have been doing some work on the First Nation peoples and their difficult relationship with Colonialism and Christianity, so I shall get hold of a copy and look at it with great interest.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

More information about the FNV (and the stable it came from, which is actually quite evangelical but in a distinctively First Nations way) can be found at this website: https://firstnationsversion.com/

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Our bishop has been referencing it. Folks may also be interested in this short 30 minute documentary titled, Signal Fire. ( via link). It is about the conversation between Indigenous knowledge of nature and modern scientific research. It features views of researchers, some of whom are also First Nations.

https://vimeo.com/903458094/dd0d7a1e4b

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Oooh, I think I’ll have to get a copy of that.

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

I’ve just purchased a copy and am eagerly awaiting delivery.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

I wish I could triple-like this comment. Thank you, Janet.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  James
1 month ago

The problem with this is that as far as the gospels depict him, Jesus was quite unaware that he was God incarnate.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
2 months ago

It is off topic so I understand if the moderators decline to publish it, but I wanted to say that I am missing Stanley Monkhouse’s contributions.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate Keates
2 months ago

I agree entirely. His wonderful contributions were always stimulating, often humorous and totally lacking in pomposity.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Kate Keates
2 months ago

I entirely agree. I miss his shrewd and incisive comments. I also greatly miss Father Ron’s contributions. However, there are a number of ongoing contributors whose posts I value.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate Keates
2 months ago

Here he is, in full flow, and largely on the topics which have engaged so much debate on the previous thread:

https://ramblingrector.me/2020/09/11/bible-creation-evolution-science/

Last edited 2 months ago by Rowland Wateridge
Pilgrim
Pilgrim
Reply to  Kate Keates
2 months ago

Kate, thank you, I agree completely I can’t count the number of times I have mumbled to myself… “we need the sharp wit, humorous comment, telling it exactly as it is from dear Stanley.”

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
2 months ago

Perhaps evangelical commenters on TA might enlighten us regarding the questions raised by Andrew Brown. Since divorce is expressly forbidden by Jesus in God’s Word Written, why are evangelicals obsessed with gay sex which He never mentions? Why do divorced happy-clappy Anglicans laud the supposed centrality of Scripture, and completely ignore it when it suits them?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

They’re playground bullies picking on the puny kid in the corner. The kid is stronger than he looks and she is standing her ground.

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

“…. happy-clappy… “… Why would “they” bother to respond? It’s untrue and insulting. This (and ABs article) merely regurgitate old stuff answered long ago.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
2 months ago

I give in . What’s the answer?

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
1 month ago

” happy clappy ” Well, back in the day, we used to refer to a certain form of evangelical/charismatic worship as “jump up and down and wave your knickers in the air”! Of course, we were irreverent anglo catholic students, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously!

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Ian
1 month ago

Hi Ian… Never had a problem with that…. and students will be students. I’ve happy experiences and memories of godly Anglo-catholics I’ve worked with over the decades.

What I object to is the weaponisation of jibes which show the thrower-of-mud to have little idea of what “evangelical” is (historically or contemporary) , no desire to learn, the same regarding doctrine /theology and whos primary “contribution” is an attempt at insult rather than anything constructive.

God’s blessing on you…

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

I’m an evangelical and I’m not obsessed with gay sex. You might occasionally acknowledge that the Inclusive Evangelicals group exists and we don’t fit into your stereotype.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
2 months ago

If evangelicals can’t agree about how to read Scripture, what is the point of being evangelical?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

If Anglo-Catholics can’t agree on what the authority of bishops means in the modern world, what’s the point of being Anglo-Catholic?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

If Anglo-Catholics can’t agree on what the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist means, what’s the point of being Anglo-Catholic?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

If evangelicals don’t believe in the authority the bible, they have nothing left upon which to base their beliefs.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

Come on, you can do better than that! It’s not just evangelicals who believe in the authority of the Bible; it’s the first article of the Lambeth Quadrilateral as well: ‘The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.’ You don’t have to subscribe to biblical inerrancy to believe that.

But then, you already know that, because you’ve had a decent theological education. So how about you engage with us seriously, instead of just pouring out contempt on us all the time?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Believing in the authority of the Bible like evangelicals has little practical use. Quoting the Bible to prove a point gets us nowhere. “Inclusive” evangelicals use the same book to reach opposite conclusions to “exclusive” evangelicals.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

And what’s your solution to this problem, Father? Someone comes to you and asks, “How does God want me to live my life?” How do you reply?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

By accepting the unconditional love of God as shown in the life of Jesus. In today’s Church, many “bible-believers” claim God loves some people more than others. And they quote texts to prove it!

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

But by your standards, quoting the life of Jesus also gets us nowhere, as different people interpret him in different ways. For instance, some stress his unconditional love, while others point out some of his harder sayings. Some read him as a pacifist, others defend just war theory and harmonise it with his example. Some take him literally when he says ‘call no man on earth Father’, others say it’s okay to use that title for a priest. So if disagreement about the interpretation of the Bible invalidates its use as an authority for evangelicals, that criticism would apply equally… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

As always, I reply with the two great commandments:

You shall love your God with your whole heart and your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

God’s message has always been ‘be kind to each other and don’t get on my tits’. Muslims generally get this better than Christians in my experience.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
1 month ago

The writers of the Bible also seem to think that it’s rather important that we put our faith/trust in God. I note that although the two great commandments are identified by Jesus, he doesn’t say that they’re the gospel. The gospel according to Jesus is ‘the time has come and the reign of God is at hand’, and the response he calls for is ‘repent and believe in the good news.’ Commandments are good advice, but they aren’t good news. So the preaching of commandments can’t be the heart of the gospel.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

““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.”

If Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, how can the two great commandments not be part of his gospel?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Gospel means good news. Good news is about what God does. Commandments are not news. They’re part of the response to the good news.

As John says, ‘We love, because God first loved us.’ God’s love for us (lived out in Jesus) is the heart of the gospel. The response to the gospel is ‘faith working through love’. The order is very important. As Archbishop Donald Coggan wrote in his book ‘The Sacrament of the Word’, ‘Indicatives come before imperatives.’

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I totally agree Tim. It makes me wonder if those who say that repentance isn’t necessary because God’s love is unconditional have actually read the gospel account of Jesus’s ministry and teaching.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
1 month ago

The current situation in Nigeria would suggest otherwise. “Nigeria last year witnessed the bloodiest year of Islamist attacks against Christians according to a new report. More than 8,000 Christians were killed in 2023, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has said. The report published on Ash Wednesday gives harrowing details of killings, kidnappings, and forced disappearances of largely Christian populations in several parts of Nigeria. “The combined forces of the government-protected Islamic Jihadists and the country’s Security Forces (NSFc) are directly and vicariously accountable for hacking to death in 2023 of no fewer than 8,222… Read more »

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

I do not live in Nigeria, Bob, so that is outside my experience. I have lived in Pakistan though, and currently live in central Birmingham, so I do know and have known many Muslims on whom to base my assessment.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
1 month ago

Check out opendoorsuk.org for up to date information on the persecuted church or barnabasaid.org. Both provide information and prayer points.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

Except that there are many evangelicals who are perfectly happy with same-sex marriages and ask exactly these questions of evangelicals who are not. I often tell students that if they want a quiet life they should not espouse the authority of the Bible. If the Bible is not authoritative, we can just ignore it when it says something we don’t like. However, if it is in any way authoritative, then we have hard work to do in seeing how it applies in our very different cultures (to the Biblical cultures). If we get this wrong we may end up putting… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Charles Read
2 months ago

I thought evangelicals believed in the authority of the Bible. But you say it might not be authoritative. That’s like saying the Pope has authority. And he hasn’t. What’s the point of that?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

It was a rhetorical device, as often used by St Paul; notably in Romans.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

We do all accept the authority of the Bible – that is the point. Have another look at what I actually said!

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Charles Read
1 month ago

You said we have to interpret the bible according to different cultures. Whose interpretation is the “authoritative” one? This renders the concept of biblical authority to be meaningless .Presumably, you think your fellow evangelicals in GAFCON are wrong?

James
James
Reply to  Charles Read
2 months ago

Charles, there are many evangelicals who are ceasing to be evangelicals (or even church-going Christians) – often because secular culture in the NHS, education, civil service etc makes it very uncomfortable and costly to be an evangelical (nobody likes being berated all the time) – but they don’t want to give up (yet) the name of ‘evangelical’ – so they call themselves ‘inclusive evangelicals’ etc. But it’s only a game of attrition. A lot of people were brought up as evangelicals – people like Gene Robinson and Bill Clinton – but they abandoned this over time. Same thing happens with… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  James
2 months ago

Joe Biden attends the RC church and receives communion. His “label” is Catholic. Trump is a convicted sex offender, a known liar and chaotic narcissist. This seems to be attractive to evangelicals.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  James
2 months ago

Here we go again: “You don’t agree with us about homosexuality, so despite your continued belief in the authority of the Bible, justification by faith, and the necessity of personal conversion and evangelism, you’re not a real evangelical.”

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
2 months ago

For me you are a Christian first, an Anglican second and an evangelical, catholic or liberal third. The great beauty and strength of the Church of England has been it’s flexibility of belief. Upon assuming the crown, Queen Elizabeth I, famously told her subjects, “I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls.”
I think that “fundamentally we’re held together in God’s love, which is stronger than any of our differences and divisions.” (Cherry Vann) How I wish our squabbling factions would remember that.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 month ago

The “flexibility of belief” in the CofE went out of the window years ago. Since the evangelical ascendancy, the Church became a debating society about gay sex, presided over by smiling ministers who think every man should settle down with a nice woman after giving up sin.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

Is there something wrong with smiling ministers? Do you prefer to be greeted by scowling ministers?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 month ago

Actually, faith begins in a particular Christian community or tradition. It has to start from somewhere in particular. ‘Christian first’ does not exist except in the context you place third. Even your choice of the quote places you in third category not the first.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 month ago

I like your definition of a Christian, David. That is about right – I once met the ‘Bishop of Baghdad’ who said exactly the same thing. In his ‘diocese’ there was no room for denominational or other labels – you were a Christian full stop.

James
James
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim, inconsistencies in faith take time to work themselves out – or even to be recognised – but in the end they are remorseless. Yes, it is impossible to be a consistent evangelical and affirm homosexuality for some people, because sooner or later you understand that if the Bible is wrong on homosexuality, it is also wrong on sex in general, on gender and anthropology and a lot of other things. That is how systemic error works, and why not a few people, starting out as evangelicals, stumble over its teaching on sex and go on to conclude that ‘real… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  James
1 month ago

I honestly don’t care whether you think I’m an evangelical or not. I am interested to know, however, whether you think the Bible is wrong about lending money at interest.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Ah! So sex is the defining test of evangelicalism! And there was me thinking it was justification by grace alone, the supreme authority of scripture or some other such irrelevance.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  James
1 month ago

It really is your way or the highway (hellway?) isn’t it? I agree ‘inconsistencies in faith take time to work themselves out’. I think that is precisely the challenge facing the conservative corner of the evangelical tradition at the moment.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James
1 month ago

It’s interesting that you’re on a quest for consistency. Unfortunately, consistency is impossible for any human being because we’re, well, human. Life and reality are messy. The Bible isn’t consistent either, and doesn’t try to be. On the contrary, it presents us throughout with differing accounts and different viewpoints. This is why equally devout and sincere Christians, believing in the authority of scripture and studying it prayerfully, can genuinely arrive at different convictions on many topics. It’s not an indicator of systemic error.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  James
1 month ago

James: labelling people like me who you disagree with as ‘not evangelical’ when we plainly are is a poor argument (It assumes what it seeks to prove) and is, as Hannibal Lecter might say, just rude.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  James
1 month ago

The problem James is that the tighter you draw the definition of evangelical in the pursuit of a pure church the smaller you get. And a lot of energy is expended in the quest for purity, constantly defining who is in and who is out.

Andrew Brown
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

The trouble with this question is that it’s preaching to the converted. The fact that their position is logically incoherent doesn’t matter; at least it doesn’t diminish their conviction. And this is not just true of “them”; it’s true of all of us in certain modes. If you know you’ve abandoned half the most valuable truth in the world, this can make you more eager to hold on to the other half.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  FrDavid H
2 months ago

Practically, Evangelicals are far more concerned with divorce than gay sex. A huge amount of the pastoral care of your average evangelical church is focussed on it: counselling couples whose relationships are in difficulty; mentoring kids where a parent has left; talking down men who are suicidal post break up; financially supporting single parent households. I think there are good biblical reasons for believing that divorce should be an option and is sometimes necessary – this is the mainstream historic Protestant view – but I don’t know any Evangelicals who believe divorce is something to be celebrated. If a group… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

What are the biblical reasons for divorce? Jesus is against it. How can you have an option for something He forbids? You haven’t answered the question.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

If only you could see that (at a minimum) the same attitude should apply to same sex relationships.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

Paul,

I am curious. I would be really interested to hear your good biblical reasons for believing that divorce should be an option and is sometimes necessary. Could you expand a bit please.

I agree with you that divorce should be available, but I always thought it was a problem on scriptural grounds.

Thanks.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Dear Simon, Apologies for the slow reply – I’ve had some nice days offline.  The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) is a document that in many ways expressed the consensus of seventeenth century English speaking Protestants on moral issues and the Bible. In chapter XXIV it argues from the following texts: Matthew 1:18-20 (Joseph was not unrighteous to consider divorcing the pregnant Mary when he didn’t know who the father was) Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:9 (divorce in the case of adultery is not sinful) 1 Corinthians 7:15 (divorce is normal if someone is deserted by an unbeliever) It argues from… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply, I will take a look.

James
James
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

Paul: that is correct. I don’t know any evangelicals who think divorce is anything other than tragic and the consequence of sin. And I know clergy who won’t marry divorcees. It is quite wrong to claim evangelicals are indifferent to divorce.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Paul says evangelicals think divorce is an option. How is that “correct”?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

Orthodox churches have lost their way on the subject of divorce and the issue of same sex marriage is a rebuke to them.

Far too many notionally orthodox clergy find ways to accommodate divorce in their thinking.

Divorce is a tragedy and the people concerned need to be treated with compassion but it should never be quickly set aside as an issue when giving people responsibility.

Nobody is entitled to authority in the church and nobody is suffering an injustice if their divorce is an impediment to their desire to hold such authority.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

You haven’t explained how “there are biblical reasons for divorce to be an option” (your words). If Jesus is against divorce, where does He permit it? How does same-sex marriage “rebuke” orthodox churches which permit divorce?

Paul
Paul
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

Hi Father David,

Apologies for being offline. I hope my comment to Simon Dawson explains why I think that (a) this position is defensible and (b) is the mainstream evangelical position.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

Thank you for clarifying – but your claim this is ‘Mainstream’ on the basis of a personal selection of theologically conservative authors – all but one are American Calvinists, nearly all of a previous generation, and certainly not well known in the UK church. Anglican evangelism is not Calvinist – some are. It is a mix. Mainstream? I think you are saying their work is mainstream for you.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

Hi David, Apologies – I’m not quite sure what you would like – I was asked what my view was. My experience is that John Stott’s “Issues facing Christians today” is probably the most influential book on this subject amongst UK evangelical leaders – and he argues for this position. Nicky Gumbel is probably the leader who has most shaped what evangelicals in the pew think and he argues for this position as well. In doing so, they stand in the centre of the English speaking Protestant tradition as expressed by the Westminster Confession of Faith. Would you agree with… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Better go to Sydney Peter.In that diocese no divorced remarried clergyman can hold office ( and I think no single priest can be a vicar/ rector).

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

This is untrue.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  James
1 month ago

But conservative evangelicals don’t treat divorce as a church-dividing matter, despite the dominical command. Why is that, when apparently attitudes to same sex relationships (that Jesus is not recorded as even mentioning) are considered church-dividing?

David Rowett
David Rowett
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

…or indeed pastoral care in non-evangelical churches. The question of ‘celebration’ is a red herring, surely, in assessing whether or not it is legitimate to set aside a biblical injunction? We mourn the death of something which should have been sustaining and enlivening, and to celebrate it would be grotesque. (Not to celebrate a sustaining, loving and committed relationship is equally grotesque, do you not think?) That line of argument presented serves largely to muddy the water, and fails to consider the issue of whether divorce has become more acceptable in Christian circles despite dominical prohibition because lived experience –… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Reply to  David Rowett
1 month ago

Hi David, When I read 16th and 17th century Protestants wrestling with these issues they seem to be genuinely driven by a desire to understand the text and shape their lives and societies according to God’s Word. I do think that they have a consistent hermeneutic. I would suggest Iain Provain’s book “The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture” is the best exploration of their hermeneutic (and a very enjoyable read.) Incidentally, my own experience is that if you store apples and bananas in the fruit bowl they make other fruit go off faster. I think this is because… Read more »

Cantab
Cantab
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

Similarly, how can traditionalist anglocatholics accept a Bishop who is not only divorced, but remarried?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Cantab
1 month ago

I have no idea.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Cantab
1 month ago

I believe that there was at least one anglocatholic parish in London which did not, and requested episcopal oversight from the conservative evangelical PEV of Maidstone.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
1 month ago
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
1 month ago

Lenten Blessings. I hope and pray this is a season for full penitence, renewal, and the creation of a new heart, as the Ash Wednesday liturgy bids.

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