Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 20 March 2024

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The Zone of Interest – ways of thinking about God

Jonathan Chaplin ViaMedia.News The Bishops must be Bolder and Braver on Gaza

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Froghole
Froghole
3 months ago

Thank you to Dr Chaplin. The current reported death toll in Gaza is about 32,000. That does not include those who are ‘missing’ (buried in rubble), so it is likely to be a very conservative (under-)estimate. The Israeli authorities have confirmed the statistics issued by Hamas, but it is possible that Hamas may have been under-reporting the toll because of the way in which it reflects on their (in)ability to defend ‘their’ people. Meanwhile, Israel seems determined to use ‘the most moral army in the world’ (whose activities can be seen posted daily by IDF soldiers on social media) to… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

The bishops are too busy talking about gay people.

Last edited 3 months ago by FrDavid H
Chris
Chris
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

It’s disgusting. One of the most visible and present transgressions of human rights is right in front of us and we’re busy squabbling over who’s having sex with who and how allowable it is. I do understand that we can consider more than one thing at a time, but I’m sick of my sexuality being chewed over like cud when there’s this in front of us, which is clearly something to give precedence. If Pope Francis can be decisive on condemning the IDF, if the Irish PM can call out Biden to his face while he’s stood right next to… Read more »

Mark
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

“Of course, acute distress and violence in other theatres should not be ignored by the bishops either,”

I don’t agree at all that our bishops should be omni-interfering rent-a-gobs on every issue external to their job of running the Church of England. Other equivalent bodies of church leaders don’t do this – I never hear of the French RC bishops’ conference thinking that it is its role to be the voice of moralistic progressivism around the world, for example. I often wish ours would just shut up and concentrate on doing their own job better, frankly.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Mark
3 months ago

Yes, saying little or nothing about one of the most significant human rights issues of our time is certainly an option. It was, of course, an option largely exercised by the Church of England during the 1930s. Then, absent James Parkes (who said and wrote a great deal), scarcely any clergy of the Church of England said anything at all about the incipient or actual Shoah. Indeed, some senior clergy, like Arthur Headlam (bishop of Gloucester) were enthusiastic and vocal supporters of the Hitler regime until quite late. Insofar as senior clergy did protest about anti-Semitic legislation and violence it… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Froghole
Chris Carter
Chris Carter
Reply to  Mark
3 months ago

I often wish ours would just shut up and concentrate on doing their own job better, frankly.”

You, me and 99% of CofE membership I suspect!

Pengalls
Pengalls
Reply to  Chris Carter
3 months ago

I do agree wholeheartedly. There are now too many of them anyway due to their ongoing approach to talk politics not GOD.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Mark
3 months ago

Do you mean get on with harmless churchy sort of things and ignoring the slaughter of innocents and the potential for the implosion of the World into total war. ‘Evil thrives when good men remain silent’?
But we must make sure we talk about sex…especially the naughty sex that other people do.

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
3 months ago

What do we need to do? writes Colin. Leaders with a mature, liberal, non-literalist theology need to articulate it and not be scared of the consequences. The problem is that the insights of theological study rarely make it out into the real world or even into the church. For example (and it is just one small example) imagine if your bishop actively discouraged saying “This is the Word of the Lord” after Bible readings, because of the misunderstanding it reinforces. Teach a clear, simple Gospel which is not penal substitution and which does not require the starting point that without… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

Just one small query – if ‘we like sheep have gone astray’, and are by nature ‘children of wrath’, rebels against God, how can we escape the consequence of our sins? We need some way of bridging that chasm – and, ultimately its our own choices, including rejection of Christ’s gift, which bring loss upon ourselves. God doesn’t reject us – he agrees, heartbroken, to abide by our decision.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  John Davies
3 months ago

Carefully put.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Thank you for that. Quoting the actual words of scripture seemed the best thing to say at that moment.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  John Davies
3 months ago

“Just one small query – if ‘we like sheep have gone astray’, and are by nature ‘children of wrath’, rebels against God, how can we escape the consequence of our sins?” I dunno, Mr. Davies, but maybe, just maybe, changing our ways, repenting of our sins and asking God for forgiveness? It’s just a thought. Doesn’t Christianity believe in an all-merciful, loving God? And if we backslide, which we will, we repeat all over again. I think somewhere in Scripture it states that we can ask God for forgiveness, not seven times, but seventy upon seventy upon seventy times. 70… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
3 months ago

Well said, Peter. As I’ve said before, you and I are speaking the same kind of language. Lord, but it is very difficult to say something which is very unpalatable, but has to be said if the Gospel is actually going to make an impact. As I understand it, there is a particular point of repentance, of opening your heart and changing direction – but we will all get things wrong time and time again – every single day if you’re like me. So we come to God at each day’s end, asking for his renewed forgiveness, ready for the… Read more »

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  John Davies
3 months ago

The Prodigal Son parable suggests to me that the only thing required is repentance. No sacrifice or payment or vicarious punishment/satisfaction of righteousness required. God loves us and longs for us to turn to him and is always ready to forgive. It’s ‘good news’!

David Keen
David Keen
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

True, but in the parable the main currency is shame: by wishing the father dead and leaving, and then his sinful lifestyle, the son could not have done more to bring shame on himself or his family. All the shame and disgrace that would rightfully be directed at the returning son is taken by the father, running to him, embracing him, and honouring him with a feast. The father takes all the shame, so that the son can be restored. There is a sacrifice, but God willingly embraces it out of love for us.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

As has been pointed out many times, the sacrifice was the father’s running out to his son (culturally unheard of), the forfeiture of his funds to prostitutes and the son’s wanton wishes. And of a course, a single parable does not a view of the atonement make. It hovers around Abelard’s moral model of the atonement, but that is all.

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Putting the emphasis on the shame and the father’s running both sound to me like trying to make the parable fit in with a preexistent theory of forgiveness requiring a payment, rather than the obvious plain meaning (to my mind at least) that the Father loves the Son more than he’d realised and is much more ready to forgive than he’d expected. And of course crucial to the parable is Jesus’ message to those who, like the older brother, didn’t agree with the Father’s readiness to forgive sinners. It’s all of a piece with jesus’ shocking welcome of ‘sinners’ which… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

As stated, even if your individualized account of Luke’s parable were to be given weight, it is hardly the determinative lens on the matter. The thief on the cross who turns to Jesus acknowledges he is in a place of just forfeit. This is the same Luke of the Prodigal Son. Jesus is dying for the sins of the justly condemned. He is giving his life as an offering. I suspect the inverse is true of your position. You are are trying to make a parable in Luke run against the grain of Luke’s Gospel and the NT witness as… Read more »

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

I don’t think I am but you raise the interesting question of a guiding hermeneutic. I try to let Jesus have the dominant voice, more than say St Paul. But of course that’s not straightforward if you accept that the Gospels, especially John, reflect the thoughts of the evangelists as well as of Jesus. And allow knowledge of modern science to contribute to the discernment too. It’s not simple and none of its certain. But that’s life. But I am not “trying to make the parable” do anything.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

I’d go along with that too, Nigel – someone once said that our sins are the only thing we can contribute to our salvation. Repentance, and turning around, like the different Gospel’s tax collectors are the important stages – and they repented and believed before Jesus went to the cross. Similarly the dying thief. I don’t like mechanical, cut and dried theology very much – the Bible lets me go pretty close to universalism, as C S Lewis said, but at some point there has to be that moment of choice. And acknowledged imperfection is a vital prerequisite of God’s… Read more »

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  John Davies
3 months ago

John, I’ve pondered replying to several comments on my post. I have thoughts about your comment: “If”. If we have gone astray. The if says it all. We are by nature rebels against God, you say. This God is, to me, really stupid and not worth my time or attention. There isn’t a chasm to bridge. We are an incarnational people. And I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic God. If God were to be heartbroken, as I often am at the moment, then I’d tell him to grow up and deal with his feelings – if I were being a… Read more »

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
Reply to  John Davies
3 months ago

In addition to the parable of the prodigal son, we find Jesus proclaiming God’s mercy to individuals well before he was crucified. And it is not true as some sing that “he only i.e. alone could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in”. Centuries before his time, a psalmist for example, in Psalm 103, proclaims God”s forgiveness. But in any case, as an 88 year old priest, still a volunteer weekly hospital chaplain, after encountering perhaps 15,000 or more mostly C.of E. patients, I cannot- for my part – cannot understand this exaggerated and generalised concentration on the… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  John Bunyan
3 months ago

Do you mean you don’t believe in life after death?

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

“Teach a clear, simple Gospel which is not penal substitution and which does not require the starting point that without Jesus all people deserve eternal punishment.” Amen and amen. Regarding penal substitution or substitutionary atonement, it has always struck me as barbaric and dependent on a petty, small-minded God still stuck on a mountaintop. 1) The notion of the Trinity being eternal, being in place from the beginning of time (John 1:1 and later doctors of the faith) means that God the Father knew from the beginning of Creation that God the Son was going to be Incarnated and roughly… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
3 months ago

Thanks for reminding us of what a non-Christian account of God’s atoning work looks like. The obvious question is whether it is also deeply non-Jewish. “A petty, small minded God still stuck back on a mountaintop” would not be the view of Orthodox Judaism or Jewish Christians or traditional Christianity (save for Marcion).

Last edited 3 months ago by Anglican Priest
peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

You’re welcome!
Too many non-Jews don’t understand the rich development of the Israelite/Judaean/Jewish understanding of God and how it has (dare I use the word?) evolved over time. Viewed chronologically, it can even be seen in the books of the Jewish Scriptures. Or even compare the Universe-creating God, willing worlds, continents, stars and planets, and living beings into existence with a God who walks in the Garden of Eden enjoying the cool of an evening.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
3 months ago

Why do you believe you are saved – by which I mean what is your explanation ?

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Saved from what?

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

I’m not even sure Jews believe in “saving”, they’d rather invest. Bad old jokes aside, I’m pretty sure Jews have no concept of the Protestant Christian form of “salvation”. Maybe devout Orthodox Jews believe in a time when all of the dead are brought to life (that’s a lot of dead people) to be judged by God, but I bet that judgement isn’t the same. Most Jews I know believe the soul returns to God, the body returns to the Earth. You know, dust to dust, ashes to ashes? Otherwise to answer your question, see the last paragraph of my… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Sarum college in Salisbury runs a series of courses of Jewish bible study for Christians, led by a rabbi, and what is presented there supports Peter Gross more than your version. We are warned of the dangers of projecting back a Christian, Aristotelian image of God as an unchanging prime mover. The God of the Hebrew scriptures evolves and learns over time and is open to persuasion. For example after the flood God is moved by Noah’s pleasing sacrifice, and reflects, and resolves never again to destroy the world. Within that changing series of stories of God, the story of… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Simon Dawson
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

Well naturally one kind find rabbis on the liberal end of the spectrum who hold all kinds of ideas. Just as here with “Thinking Anglicans.” Jon Levenson at Harvard would judge the views of said rabbi as outside the core of Judaism, in the same way ideas like omni-God are viewed by many here.

Last edited 3 months ago by Anglican Priest
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

Sorry Simon, long thread. I replied but accidentally posted it to Anglican Priest, perhaps the moderators can post it as a reply to Simon Dawson. My bad.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
3 months ago

Am I right in thinking that these atonement theories came quite late in the day, relatively speaking, and do not appear in the creeds or church councils or other such official texts that define what is required of Christian belief.

So it is perfectly possible to totally reject atonement theology yet still be an “orthodox” Christian.

This theory was was presented at a recent Bible study course on sacrifice, and I find it an attractive idea, but it would be good to hear other views about whether it is valid or not.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

The atonement is simply a way of speaking about the NT accounts dealing with sacrifice, final judgment in the middle of time, the various ways in which humanity is lost, and found/saved/forgiven/restored/given a new manner of life altogether. John Mason Neale did the world a lot of good by translating so many ancient hymns (he was too frail to serve as a parish priest). One can see various forms of the atonement in them. Sing My Tongue is a Johannine emphasis hymn (Fortunatus). The atonement is something one sings about, preaches about, proclaims. So, Acts presents numerous accounts of early… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Simon, I’m late to the party here, and planning on one drink before leaving again; but one of the places to look for various interpretations of the ‘atonement’ is the articulation in the Eucharistic prayers of the church. Very broadly, liturgical renewal has moved away from an over emphasis on ‘sacrifice’ on one end of the spectrum and ‘mere memorial’ on the other end and toward an understanding of the paschal mystery— death and resurrection and incorporation into the body of Christ. This does not so much resolve disputes as we see it chatted about here in theory as much… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rod Gillis
3 months ago

Thanks Rod and others. I will have to back out of this conversation due to other family issues suddenly appearing, but I will read your references, and the book Tim recommended. I struggle with atonement as being too reductionist, and instinctively move towards your “paschal mystery”, but that may be a hint to study this more deeply.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

Recovering the Scandal of the Cross‘, by Joel Green and Mark Baker, is an excellent survey of the different images of atonement, each based on scripture but each also interacting with the culture in which it was developed. I found it enormously helpful and I reread it regularly.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Thanks. Tom Smail has also done good work, and Marva Dawn.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Thanks for your responses both Tim and Anglican Priest. Both helpful, but not quite answers to the specific question I was asking.
It not about atonement theory as such, but the relationship of that theory to the creeds and councils etc.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

It is not as if the early Christian church though that Creeds were somehow not rooted in and explicative of Scripture. So, the conceptuality is foreign to the early church and the creeds. “In accordance with the Scriptures” is how they summarize what comes before. So, I do not understand what you mean about creeds and councils, as against the NT/OT deliverances. No Creed thought it necessary to provide a “theory of the atonement” because the Creeds were a formal declaration of the faith catholic, “in accordance with the scriptures.”

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

“So it is perfectly possible to totally reject atonement theology yet still be an ‘orthodox’ Christian.”
I couldn’t agree more.
My lack of knowledge of different Christian denominations is vast, but I wouldn’t be surprised if substitutionary atonement was developed, or at least emphasized, in later, more literalist and conservative Protestant denominations.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
3 months ago

No, it is a NT position, and one that was given famous articulation by Anselm of Canterbury. He did not belong to some odd denomination!

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

I think for most of us if we took a Tardis to the church of St Anselm we would find it a very “odd denomination” indeed!populated by unimaginably ignorant people, inhabiting a tiny world of thought, compared to today’s average schoolchild.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

Well, that helps us know your view on the Church as the depository of apostolic life and faith.

indeed!populated by unimaginably ignorant people, inhabiting a tiny world of thought, compared to today’s average schoolchild.”

A new creed is in order. “I do not believe in One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

“No, indeed!populated by unimaginably ignorant people, inhabiting a tiny world of thought, compared to today’s average schoolchild.”

I’m not sure we inhabit the same Christian world. You’ll be happy about that.

Have a blessed Lenten and a Good Friday of your favorite sensibility.



Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Re our inhabiting different Christian worlds, you may be right in terms of ideas, doctrines and theoretical concepts… but maybe when we think about having the same spirit, bearing fruit of the Spirit, living with a sense of Jesus as our Lord, prioritising loving God and loving our neighbour, finding Scripture and church inspirational and life-giving… I could go on! Maybe common ground can be found between different flavours of Christian in orthopraxis more than orthodoxy?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago

Colin Coward laments the promotion of HTB theology throughout the CofE on the basis of its presumed success. The failing diocese of Durham is to receive £8 million, partly to establish church plants to attract young people to this happy-clappy, conservative religion as a further example of desperation and evangelical take-over. It is unlikely that millions of pounds are to be spent in promoting the Catholic Faith throughout Durham. More likely is an attempt to waste money on an exclusive “bible-based” cult where nice young people can be entertained by a band while a minister tells young men to follow… Read more »

Fr Graeme Buttery
Fr Graeme Buttery
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Fr David, you give them too much credit for all of this. More likely it is along the lines of ” ooh HTB get young people, let’s try it everywhere.” I suspect there is little thought and less theology involved. Also, as a Durham born lad, who spent 30+ years in ministry there, good luck making this happen. In my humble opinion, it shows a real lack of understanding of the good folk of County Durham.

Graeme Buttery

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Father David in the last few years, there seems to been a succession of Evangelical Bishops in Durham after David Jenkins, first Michael Turnbull who followed David Jenkins, then Tom Wright, then Justin Welby and more recently Paul Butler. I think with an Evangelical as Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow, Sarah Clark, it would not be a good idea this time round if another Evangelical was made Bishop of Durham. I think it is time to break the mould and have an Anglo Catholic as Bishop of Durham. If a Diocesan Bishop is of a particular Churchmanship, they should not appoint… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
3 months ago

If a non-evangelical is appointed as the next bishop of Durham I’ll eat my clerical collar.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
3 months ago

A noble idea, Jonathan, but no-one is listening in high places, especially not in the Diocese of Blackburn, where +Philip North has just appointed another ‘Staggers’ man to succeed himself as +Burnley. You could say that +Duff of Lancaster represents some evangelical balance (with bells on in her case) but since +North remains a member of SSWSH, he is obliged to believe that she is not even a priest, let alone a bishop. What a tangled web we weave!

Tim Evans
Tim Evans
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

Can I suggest that we resist the temptation to label people on the basis of which college they went to? Joe Kennedy is a great appointment as Bishop of Burnley. I have worked with him and he is a person of real faith, intelligently expressed, and is a warm and humble human being. He will be a wonderful addition to the Diocese.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Tim Evans
3 months ago

I agree that the college attended is not an infallible indicator of a priest’s current position, but I find it much more indicative than which football team they support, which once seemed to be a mandatory part of any preferment announcement, but from which we were mercifully spared on this occasion!

I am glad to hear the warm words you speak of Dr Kennedy and I wish him well.

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Durham Diocese spends about £11 million on ministry most years. Much of that goes to “Catholic” parishes. Parish contributions to the diocese total only £4.3 million.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Oliver Miller
3 months ago

There are 12 Catholic parishes in Durham Diocese (according to Wikipedia) with 8 under the bishop of Beverley. It’s unlikely “much” of the £11 million you cite will go to them.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

Hmm. I thought that, according to the ecclesiology of the Church of England, all its churches are Catholic. Was I wrong?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Try telling the CEEC who threaten to break away that they’re all Catholics!

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

“catholics”…

Presumably you do know (or should if you have any ecclesiastical awareness) that belonging to the ” Church Catholic” is rather different from someone describing themselves as ” a Catholic “… the latter church flavour having ministers who call themselves” Father”.

Anglican evangelicals usually do know what it means… as I do.

Can I assume you’re just stirring the pot… again?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
3 months ago

Ian, your reply above is posted as a reply to FrDavid H. Can I assume that it’s actually a reply to me?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
3 months ago

Presumably you’d be happy to concelebrate at High Mass, conduct Benediction, and say the Rosary. Or perhaps you are not “a Catholic”.

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

No… You’re correct.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 months ago

There will only be a finite number of people open to the HTB format, so at £8m they will be expensive converts, if indeed there are many or perhaps even any of them. The Statistics for Mission would indicate that if these HTB plants attract many new people they’re not staying the course for very long; otherwise the CofE would be growing rather than declining.

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Fr Dean
3 months ago

Interestingly we had a church plant in my town a couple of years ago, shifting from failing High Anglo-Catholic to HTB style. Lots of worry by the other local CofE churches when it was announced, but it seems that they need not have worried. Despite all the money spent it has been an embarrassing damp squib, so much so that I wonder whether they will pull the plug, move on & try to forget it ever happened.

John Davies
John Davies
3 months ago

I’m well aware that I’m treading on some very contentious ground here – and also probably on a few toes – in regard to Colin’s latest piece. However, it is still holy ground, as we worship the same divine being, so, here goes. Colin’s referred to his ‘Omni-God’ in several pieces, and clearly doesn’t like ‘him’; I’m not sure I do either, but I suspect its more a perception than a reality. OK, I’m coming from a kind of half way position – conservative in my basic theology, spirit led (I believe) in my outlook and yet humanistic in much… Read more »

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  John Davies
3 months ago

I agree with you, John. I don’t object to the idea of an all-seeing all-knowing God who is also all love, either. I have a few different ways of thinking about the meaning of Easter, for example, it’s evidence that non-self-centred living is always life giving (even if it kills you!). You can take that more, or less, literally or metaphorically, as preferred. One of the reasons such interpretations appeal to me is that they can be applied to people of all faiths and of none. Perhaps Jesus is unique for Christians because he endured the cross without having the… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

Seriously, Nigel, the more I read of your ideas, the more, like Peterpi, I sense a kindred spirit who thinks along very similar lines, even though we may differ in places. The first Good Friday service I attended after becoming an active believer came as a terrible shock; leaving Jesus hanging on the cross or dead in the tomb triggered a profound spiritual depression which only lifted on Easter Sunday morning when I though “He is not here – he is risen! Risen indeed!” And instantly realised that I now knew what the disciples must have felt like. There was… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

‘Penal substitution seems particularly weak because it doesn’t require the resurrection.’ I do not understand this statement. In what sense is resurrection not required by this teaching?

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  David Runcorn
3 months ago

Perhaps, David, because penal substitution implies a wrathful god who wants to punish humans for their sins but relents and punishes his son instead by death on the cross. And then, as it says in that awful hymn ‘In Christ Alone’, ‘the wrath of god is satisfied’, words which I refuse to sing.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

You know, I no longer find the penal substitution theory helpful, but I do think it’s important not to caricature it. It has been explored in great detail by people like Fleming Rutledge (‘The Crucifixion’) and John R.W. Stott (‘The Cross of Christ’). Rutledge’s work in particular is highly respected in TEC, which is her home church.

It’s no doubt true that some simplistic versions of PSA create the idea of an opposition between Father and Son, but many responsible theologians have spoken against this and emphasised the unity of purpose of Father and Son in the work of salvation.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Of course. Thank you. I’ll leave you to your Canadian colleague. I need to break away for Holy Week work. Grace and Peace.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Thank you Tim for this. I always welcome your wise and kindly put posts. I accept that my summary of penal substitution was simplistic but I did not set out to caricature. I jumped the gun by commenting before Nigel Jones had answered David Runcorn’s question to him. When Nigel did answer, I was relieved to see that he had followed much the same line as I had. I particularly agree with him about the nature of most modern evangelical worship songs. In my experience they are mostly theology-free, containing only mindless adoration. When they do venture into theology, it… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

For the record, “The Father turned aside” or whatever the line is, says more than the plain sense of the Passion accounts deliver. The cry of Christ from Psalm 22 is not intended to be exhaustive of everything Christ says (and see the final verses of that Psalm). That offends against the fourfold Gospel form. It can be spoken of as a critical episode of His work for us. He experiences the Godforsakenness of this world East of Eden. But the relationship between persons of the Trinity, as established from ‘close reading’ of the plain sense, isn’t a matter of… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

AP, I think you may be confusing two different lyrics.

”Til on that cross where Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied’

is from ‘In Christ Alone’. This is the one that is most commonly objected to.

‘How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.’

is from ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us’.

Same author (Stuart Townend) but different hymns.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

Thank you for the correction. The NT does not say “the Father turned away.” It says the Son experienced the abandonment of “My God.” Alongside other experiences of God, like “Father forgive them.” “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

James
James
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Think of it as poetic paraphrase. To refuse an earnest entreaty is to turn your face away, and perhaps uniquely in hymnody, this hymn touches on the question of how the crucifixion affected the inner life of God. I have always understood those words to include the agony in the Garden where the cup is decreed, against the human will of Christ – a subject on which Jonathan Edwards gave a famous sermon.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
3 months ago

I am simply a believer is the plain sense, and not adding things or reading things in. Especially when it comes to Jesus on the Saving Cross. Jesus says he experienced the abandonment of God, and quoted Psalm 22. He is the subject of the verb, not God. Matthew and Mark do not say “The Father turned away.” It was perfectly possible for them to say that. Good doctrine–including hymnody–strives to uphold the plain sense (as that has been understood in the history of doctrine).

James
James
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

I have a lot of sympathy with sticking close to the words of Scripture- but nowhere in the Bible do we find the words atonement, Trinity, homoousion, perichoresis, creatio ex nihilo, or a host of other terms that we deem orthodox (how does the Chalcedonic Definition stack up?). What does “the abandonment of God” mean other than the agony in the garden and on the cross? It was not physical pain that brought this grief to Christ but becoming accursed for us as sin-bearer.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
3 months ago

There is a lot of good published material that shows how homoousion was argued for on the basis of the plain sense of scripture. Exegetical debate and resolution. These are terms, furthermore. They are not verses in a hymn. Jesus experienced agony in Garden and on Cross, as sin-bearer for us. None of this means “The Father turned away.” That is called “over-determination” of biblical deliverances. Doctrinally, it also problematic.

Incidentally, “poetic paraphrase” tracks a different logic. Trinity and the other terms you mention would not be classified as “poetic paraphrase.”

Holy Week blessings.

Last edited 3 months ago by Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
3 months ago

Psalm 22, whose first line is on the lips of the Crucified King,

For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

Praise God.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

Thanks, Malcolm.

As I have said, I’m not in the space where I find the Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory helpful any more. But I do wonder how Anglicans in provinces where the traditional BCP is still the official doctrinal authority cope with the words in Cranmer’s prayer of consecration:

‘…who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world…’

How is this different from,

‘Til on that cross where Jesus died
the wrath of God was satisfied’?

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

You make a very good point, Tim, and much the same thoughts occurred to me on Saturday when I was watching online a celebration from CR Mirfield, when the Superior used the very words you quote, although I think that it was probably Eucharistic Prayer C from our Common Worship service book rather than the BCP. It has made me look at that prayer of consecration in a different light. For me, the most obvious answer to your question is that the quoted words do not include mention of ‘the wrath of God’, for I think it is the concept… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

I know this thread has gone over the territory pretty thoroughly. As a Hebrew scholar, my one observation is that just the word “wrath” is now culturally almost unusable. It sounds like despotic rage. The word means has to do with the holiness of God in confrontation with rank evil. It isn’t a “feeling” or a “reaction” but belongs to God’s character as holy.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Thank you AP for your patient and scholarly correction of the more ignorant amongst us, certainly including me. I was certainly understanding ‘wrath’ in the despotic way you describe. If it is as culturally unusable now as you suggest, perhaps we should be asking hymn writers and others to stop using it! But Stuart Townend has always fiercely resisted any modification of his words, despite which I have heard his hymn sung with modified words a good few times, including at York Minster. We tried to use it, modified, in my parish a few years ago for an Institution while… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

Would it trespass on Stuart Townend’s “moral right” if the offending verse were omitted? Or if it were substituted by a verse with different words? Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, S 80(1), (2)(b) says: “The author of a copyright literary … work … has the right … not to have his work subjected to derogatory treatment. … the treatment of a work is derogatory if it amounts to distortion or mutilation of the work or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director” Would a move from a very strict view of penal substitution… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
3 months ago

As a songwriter myself, I would definitely be against any printing of my song lyrics which included changes made against my will. I have heard that Stuart Townend has always resisted any attempt to change this particular lyric. However, I have also heard that in the latest Mennonite hymnal published here in North America, the lyric is changed to ‘the love of God was satisfied’ – and I know that their policy was not to change lyrics without the author’s permission, and if said permission was not given, not to use the hymn. So perhaps ST has finally relented? I… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Tim Chesterton
Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
3 months ago

Thank you, Simon. Not in my book either, but I strongly suspect that it would be regarded as derogatory by the author. I believe that he has waived any fees that might be due under copyright, but only on condition that the hymn is used entirely as written. I heard the Bishop of Chichester (not normally thought of as an evangelical!) defend his right to take that line during a symposium on ‘Catholicity in the CofE’ organised by the Society of the Faith a few years ago.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

I have no problem with the word, but I do not consider myself culturally with-it and don’t think the church should either. That is why we teach people about Scripture. “The wrath of the gods” of course points to the despotic and erratic and quixotic way the pantheon throws darts and has hissy fits. That why they are placated rather than worshipped and adored.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
3 months ago

In a world in which the most heinous crimes are being committed by people against people on a daily basis, I’m not sure that the concept of a God without wrath is consistent with the concept of an ever-loving God.

As C.S. Lewis put it,

God in His mercy made
The fixed pains of Hell.
That misery might be stayed,
God in His mercy made
Eternal bounds and bade
Its waves no further swell.
God in His mercy made
The fixed pains of Hell.

James
James
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
3 months ago

“A God without wrath brings men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” I always thought Niebuhr summed up liberal Protestantism (and liberal Catholicism) very well. The wrath of God and the reality of hell are obvious to anyone who reads the Bible – or even just the words of Jesus in the Gospels.If a sinner like me can be angry at what I imagine is evil (and a lot of people on this site are angry at many things), why should the all-holy, all-perfect Creator (yes, the omni-God) be rightly… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
3 months ago

It is also amazing to see how far the progressive position has moved. Richard Niebuhr considered himself a theological liberal! The Niebuhr brothers looked at American Protestantism (and one could include the CofE for the purposes of their observation) and were simply dumbfounded. I do think this ‘wrathless” God idea also wrecks on the shoals of what it is that Jesus was confronting on the Cross. Death, Hell, and Satan. These are not trivial things. God’s wrath is his constant opposition to these, which beget human sin, as the NT says. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Anglican Priest
Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

I must now consider myself properly told, by you and others, about the reality of the wrath of God and of Hell. But, looking forward to Holy Saturday tomorrow, what about the Harrowing of Hell? Is that a liberal construct as well? Certainly if your yardstick is scriptural support, you would struggle to find any but the most oblique support there. But isn’t the Harrowing of Hell part of Christ’s victory over death, Hell and Satan?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  James
3 months ago

‘I do not understand what the Mennonites mean by singing “The love of God was satisfied.”’ I don’t understand why that’s hard to understand. Love is satisfied when its goals for and in the beloved are achieved. What I don’t understand is why God’s wrath is ‘satisfied’ when God has inflicted pain on a sinner (or the innocent substitute, Jesus). In that situation, the sinner is still a sinner. Nothing has changed in them. Why would God’s wrath be satisfied with that outcome? Surely righteous anger would be satisfied if the person ‘turn from their wickedness and live.’ What is… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Tim Chesterton
Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  David Runcorn
3 months ago

Because (if I have understood it correctly) penal substitution is about Jesus taking the punishment/consequence/death that we all deserve, in our place. You don’t need the resurrection for that-unsurprisingly, because it’s applying the ideas of animal sacrifice to Jesus and the animals don’t come back to life, do they?. (I’m not denying it’s a powerful image with some good things about it, but much of the church seems to take it far too literally- witness the utterly dominant theme of most modern worship music. It’s all “I love you Jesus because you paid the price for me…” which is why… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

Nigel, you would seriously misunderstand the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement – which is indeed the teaching of the BCP Holy Communion service, as Tim Chesterton observes – if you thought it “works” without the Resurrection. No evangelical theologian believes that – and John Stott, in his popularisation of atonement theology “The Cross of Christ” makes this very clear. First, animal sacrifices are understood (especially in the Letter to the Hebrews) as foreshadowing the perfect sacrifice of Christ. The ‘epiphax’of Christ is the reason we don’t have any more animal sacrifices. Second, as Stott often used to say, the Resurrection… Read more »

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  James
3 months ago

Hi James, I am aware that arguments have been made by evangelicals as to why the resurrection remains important, despite the effectiveness of PS supposedly being the paying of a price on our behalf, I.e, the death of Jesus, but none of the three you list is convincing. 1. To argue that animal sacrifice is in some way secondary to the sacrifice of Jesus is a theological device but not a historical fact. The reality is that the Hebrews practised animal sacrifice and this background suggested to them one way of interpreting Jesus’ death. 2. Exactly as you have written:… Read more »

Tim Evans
Tim Evans
Reply to  John Davies
3 months ago

This is a really thoughtful discussion about atonement, thank you. I have found James Alison’s work in this area very helpful. He insists on working from the actual accounts of Jesus’ experience specifically in the final 5 days in Jerusalem rather than starting from Paul or an abstract diagnosis of the human predicament. And he rejects all ‘theories’ of atonement as abstractions from the events. He uses René Girard’s work on violence and scapegoating to explore the gospel accounts which opens up some very powerful insights that relate to daily pastoral ministry. It’s a real alternative to the usual textbook… Read more »

Chris Carter
Chris Carter
3 months ago

The bishops should indeed be bolder and place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hamas.
And they should certainly not go anywhere near Chaplin’s highly tendentious version of history.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
3 months ago

There are two questions to ask about a God who is omni everything. Firstly, why would such a God create at all? An omni-God has no need for anything. There is no job to be done. No project that needs a work force. He does not desire things out of jealousy or possessiveness – all is his in the first place. This means that creation is, by any normal measure of things, pointless. If God has no reason or need to create this must all be a gift of love. Through a gratuitous outpouring of divine love, creation comes into… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  David Runcorn
3 months ago

Which is the heart of the meaning of Philippians 2. The kenosis of God in Jesus means that God let go of his omnipotence as well as of himself. The God who even now cant help giving himself away in love, is not an “omni-god” but demonstrates “omni-love”.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
3 months ago

Yes – kenosis is central. Like others here I have no problem with what is being called an ‘omni God’. A God who is not ‘omni-all’ is not God either. So I do not find Linda Woodhead’s phrase and application helpful. Nor it is either an omni-God or a God of love. Rather, all that is God is expressed through love and God is not known outside of that love….

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  David Runcorn
3 months ago

I don’t object to your conclusion (that creation is a gift of God’s self-emptying) but I challenge your two points that get you there! 1 Asking questions about what such a God would ‘need’ or ‘feel’ is no good. You would need to have some idea of what it’s like to be God to be able to use such an argument! And I love your “creation is, by any normal measure of things, pointless.” LOL Do you really think our sense of what is “normal” can be used in an argument about the nature of God, or God’s “motivations”? Perhaps… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

Thank you for engaging here and earlier. This has to be a brief response when it really it needs a long coffee! All our language for God is anthropological, metaphorical and poetic etc … we have nothing else. I may be misunderstanding you but I feel that you are reading me and the rabbis as being literal, prescientific, in our language for God when we tall about God’s feelings, need, or sucking in his stomach … We are not. And prescientific does not mean naive. The bible itself understands God as the all in all, the ‘omni’, the fullness of… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  David Runcorn
3 months ago

David, I might challenge you on your third sentence: “ALL our language for God is anthropological, metaphorical and poetic etc … we have nothing else.” Really? We need to be careful here or we may end up in Islamic apophaticism in which God is “totaliter aliter” and we can say nothing with any certainty about Him. And then theology is simply ruled out with the ferocity of a logical positivist. Orthodox theology avoids that drastic abyss of uncertainty by instead affirming (with Thomas Aquinas, to whom many Anglican divines were indebted) that 1. In the beginning was the Logos (rationality… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  James
3 months ago

Thank you for these basics.

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  James
3 months ago

I would agree that indeed “we can say nothing with any certainty about Him.” But perhaps I mean something different by this than some of the clearly very learned commentators on TA, who know what many theologians of the past have said which cannot be explained apparently without recourse to Latin. My background is in Natural Sciences where ideas are debated in a very different atmosphere, one which still to me seems more likely to arrive at answers which are close to the truth.

Peter
Peter
3 months ago

Nigel wants to deny human reality – which is we deserve Hell and will get it without the saving death of Christ.

What he is left with is no closer to the Christian Gospel that is Colin Coward’s eccentric mysticism.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Peter:

Do you really believe that we, as humans, just as humans, deserve Hell and will get there without Jesus’ death?

Please, just for a moment, put down your theology and reflect upon the immorality of such assertion.

Suppose you are talking with the mother of a just born baby: “Woman – your womb’s fruit is wrecked and deserves Hell, but Jesus’ death saved it”.

If I were the said mother, I should spit on you.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  José Ribeiro
3 months ago

It is an outrage to suggest I would say such a thing to the mother of a newborn baby.

Read what I said. My comment is on a discussion blog. It is in response to a specific prior comment. That comment denied the fact of original sin, Judgement and Hell.

Telling people you would spit on them is an absolute disgrace.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

If you believe original sin, you DO believe the new born baby deserves Hell – from wich only Jesus’death on the cross saved it. You may be diplomatic, pastoral…whatever … enough to refrain from saying so to the mother – but that’s what you DO think at the bottom of your mind. And the disgrace (=dis+grace) lays in such belief – not in mother’s reaction. A propos: Who comitted original sin? Autralopithecus? Pithecantropus? Homo erectus? Homo sapiens? You are bound to a non-evolutionary view: God created a perfect World (since God is perfect), but man desobeyed God and fall. That’s… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  José Ribeiro
3 months ago

No, that is putting words in his mouth. To believe in original sin is to assert that this newborn baby will not lead a perfect life by his own choices and character but will fall into sin and alienation from God without the prevenient grace of God. Even the most besotted mother understands this. Who committed original sin? Our first parents, whenever they were (750,000 years ago, maybe?). Be careful that in deconstructing the idea of original sin you don’t end up deconstructing the idea of God. Like Laplace, many have found this an hypothesis they can do without, and… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Arguendo, and in the immortal words of Jean Luc Picard, might our individual perception of reality make it so? I love watching videos of superyachts. A girl can dream, lol. There are three types. 1. At the bottom of the market one can buy a production model. One can change the decorations a bit, the artwork and loose furniture but pretty constrained. That seems to me to be what most people assume reality beyond this earth is. 2. At the top of the market shipyards like Feadship and Lurssen will build a fully custom yacht of any length and layout.… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Kate Keates
3 months ago

I come from many generations of Dissenters – Methodists of course , but one Gt Gt Grandfather was a most active Strict and Particular Baptist Minister at a similar time to Charles Spurgeon . Such unrelenting Calvinism imposes certain strains on family relationships but also inspires many jokes…. My favourite being St Peter showing around a newly admitted soul to heaven which it turns out has many rooms. Approaching one where the members were all on their knees singing metric psalms St Peter warned the new resident to total silence as they went past because it would never do for… Read more »

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Peter:

My message is that one must think of theology as some akin to an experimental science. I mean that the conclusions of a theological reasoning must be put on contrast to the reality of human life. If they imply unnecessary suffering (and that’s the case of your theology) they are wrong.

Good theology implies good psychology. By the rules of Logic, bad psychology implies bad theology.

James
James
Reply to  José Ribeiro
3 months ago

Jose, the trouble with experimental science is that it is never complete, only provisional. Otherwise we would believe in phlogiston, the spontaneous generation of life, and light passing through ether. For a long time people believed that Newton had said the final world on mechanics and gravity. And he did describe things pretty well – macroscopically. But quantum mechanics has uncovered a different microscopic world and Einstein came up with a better (or at least different) theory of gravity. Science must always be open to correction. As for psychology: as Karl Popper realised, psychology isn’t actually a science. I think… Read more »

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  James
3 months ago

Are you suggesting that theology is ‘complete’ and not provisional? If that’s how people in the church think, that would explain (to me) a lot of the trouble we’re in.

James
James
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

Pretty much, yes – insofar as theology is correctly understanding the Bible. Are you suggesting Newton’s macroscopic laws will one day be discarded? How about Neo-Darwinism?

Nigel Jones
Nigel Jones
Reply to  James
3 months ago

I think theology is a much wider subject than “correctly understanding the Bible”. And even this part of theology changes as we learn more.

Re Newton, the inverse square law may still hold but he’d have been surprised to know that it’s due to the curvature of space. Likewise, we can continue to believe (“the macroscopic law”) that God is love, but what that looks like close up can change.

James
James
Reply to  Nigel Jones
3 months ago

Nigel: Christian theology is nothing other than correctly understanding the Bible. Any study of the history of Christian doctrine will show you that it is nothing other than a debate about the correct interpretation of Holy Scripture. I say this as one with a lifelong interest in philosophy and natural theology. The Bible is not a philosophical book as such, so the disciplines of logic, ontology, epistemology and ‘perfect being theology’ help us in interpreting the Bible, as do historical and linguistic studies.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Do you really believe that a loving God condemns the roughly 6 billion non-Christians to Hell?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

The orthodox doctrine is that all descended from Adam deserve judgement – and that no one will be found not guilty by virtue of their own conduct.

The orthodox position in regard to each individual is that we know they meet their maker and be treated fairly.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

But if their own conduct will not save them, how then can they be treated fairly?

James
James
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

Because God is never less than fair.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  James
3 months ago

But if God judges on belief in him, rather than on acting in a moral and righteous way–with or without belief–how can that be considered fair?

If the atheist and the believer live equally moral lives, why should, in fairness, the believer get a better shake than the atheist?

James
James
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

I didn’t say “only fair”, I said “never less than fair”. Look at John 3.16-19 – pretty basic Anglican doctrine. Salvation is a gift, not a wage.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  James
3 months ago

But in your view, it clearly is a “wage”–one earned by faith. If it is a gift, then it is freely given to all, regardless of belief

Last edited 3 months ago by Pat ONeill
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

‘Accessed’ is not the same as ‘earned’.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

Regardless of belief? This is so far removed from the plain sense of the NT to have slipped the mooring.

James
James
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

Pat – a gift offered to all may not be received by all. And receiving the gift of eternal life does come with conditions. They are called faith, repentance from sin and a commitment to lead a new life with the grace of God. Many are not keen on these conditions.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Peter – within the evangelical world of scholarship there is continued debate and different positions held about the doctrine of atonement, judgment and salvation and always has been. There is no one ‘orthodox’ position or way of expressing it. Google and see.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Pat ONeill
3 months ago

Actually the proper question is perhaps is it too late to recognise Jesus and be saved once one is resurrected?

Peter
Peter
3 months ago

I have had a lot said to me and at me over a good number of years on Thinking Anglicans. I do not believe a thin skin in one of my many failings. Being told I deserve to be spat on because of my orthodox belief is completely unacceptable on every possible level. I would like to thank the moderators for their resolute defence of free speech. I would like to thank Christopher in particular, and others who hold to the historic doctrines of the church catholic. If you have attacked or berated me, I wish you every blessing in… Read more »

Katy Adams
Katy Adams
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Go well Peter. My prayer is that you accept the grace to listen to those with whom you disagree.

James
James
Reply to  Katy Adams
3 months ago

That ‘valediction’ is more than a little backhanded. How do you know he doesn’t listen to those he disagrees with?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Many thanks. I, for one, am grateful for a diversity of views, especially if they force me to sit up and/or challenge my natural tendency to make lazy assumptions. I am also especially grateful for the opinions expressed by Anglican Priest, which are based upon experiences derived from several jurisdictions, as well as from a wealth of heavy duty erudition and publication: he has himself dipped in and out of TA over the years, often after receiving some ‘robust’ treatment, which I have frankly found painful. Having written BTL on several other websites – not church-related websites, I should add… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

However wide ‘orthodoxy’ can be said to reach–if we are looking at the history of Christian thought vis-a-vis its alternatives (Marcionism, Arianism, et al)–many of these modern Western innovative alternatives would lie outside their reach. My Yale colleague B Childs wrote a book, The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture, in which he surveyed the history of interpretation of the Book of Isaiah. Work he could do after teaching a two-semester course on the History of Interpretation (into which fresh air was breathed through the work of Gadamer, Reventlow, du Lubac, Danielou, Congar, and others) for decades. He used… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Anglican Priest
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

“One could also fairly readily identify places where the sensus literalis…broke and we were entering something outside the “family.”  Thank you so much for those very interesting and perceptive remarks. It seems to me (rank amateur as I am) that there was perhaps a ‘breaking’ of this thread of memory with Auguste Comte, Arthur Schopenhauer, D. F. Strauss and Ernest Renan: Jesus became just another historical figure, whose life and witness was addressed in increasingly historicist and decreasingly numinous terms. This breaking of the thread had been foreshadowed a century earlier by the likes of Hume, Toland or d’Holbach, but… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

This is why in part I took exception with the idea that “everyone who is wrong” (in part the position of the Colin ideas) is over-focus on the divinity of Christ. No, for 250 years the humanity of Christ has been the focus, and people have lost the ability genuinely to think about the idiomota — how we might properly think about the human and divine as together cooperating. The philosopher C. Stephen Evans is worth reading here (OUP, 1996) with the intentionally titled, “The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith.” He refused to accept the meager lineage to… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Many thanks once more! The meagreness of the historicist prospectus to which you refer reminds me of Karl Popper’s celebrated 1944 work, ‘The Poverty of Historicism’. By making Jesus Christ just another figure in the historical landscape, and then often accepting that notion as a given and as settled, much of the meaning of the faith has gradually drained away, leaving many wondering what the point of the whole business has become, and whether it is worth the effort. I therefore agree wholeheartedly that there needs to be a rather greater degree of emphasis on Jesus as divine as well… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

Thank you and Palm Sunday blessings in return.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Anglican Priest
3 months ago

Also, Carlos Eire’s “Reformations.”

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

If I may, I’d like to take the liberty to paraphrase and tighten up your question: “What [is] the point of the whole busines?” It’s an excellent question. It matters as to when such a question is put in the course of an inquiry. I’m writing this comment on Palm Sunday having returned from the liturgy of the day. I’ve started my week long journey from the glory of the palms to the glory of the resurrection as bidden. I move through this week with the clear understanding that the Gospel narrations are not historical. I make this judgement as… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Froghole
3 months ago

As an historian of ideas, especially our most recent centuries, I see this new book from Ben Guyer. https://livingchurch.org/2024/03/21/our-english-not-scottish-reformation-2/

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Peter, I am not sure why people feel the need to attack others so personally. I often wonder what place it has in a site that labels itself “Thinking.” I was taken aback by the comment you mention. One can find numerous places in the NT where the notion of humanity’s forfeiture is stated clearly. This makes it even more amazing and moving that God sent his only son to share this state of affairs, to the point of reciting before dying a very hard line from psalm 22. My God, why hast thou forsaken me. This forsaken place, He… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Anglican Priest
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
3 months ago

I had the thought of making one comment on the aspect of the the thread dealing with theories of the atonement before it wound up. Before doing so, I scanned the thread quickly to see if the comment I was about to make had already been made by others. The result: I ended up posting my comment in response to the wrong commentator. A basic scribal error of a digital type. Lol. However, I would like to offer a reference to illuminate the point I did make and which I thought might have added to the discussion. The following is… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
3 months ago

Picked up news about a talk by Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery scheduled for March 27th in Galway City. The subject matter, by coincidence, relates to some of the chatter on this thread, and I think, relates to issues raised by Colin Coward. Teaser below the link. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/2024/03/24/twelve-years-ago-i-was-suspended-from-catholic-ministry-it-gave-me-a-new-freedom/ “Since the council of Nicea in 325 AD, a great deal has been learned about creation as an ongoing event, about the complexity of the universe and of human life, and about the intimate relationship we humans have with all of creation. Also, we now recognise that the Bible is not a historical… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rod Gillis
3 months ago

Now that’s tempting. I am currently in Heathrow airport on my way to Ireland for the funeral of one of the aged aunts I mentioned in a post about a week back.

And on Wednesday evening I will be at a loose end, and about an hour’s drive from Galway.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

Bit more of a commute for me. Lol. I have Flannery’s most recent book, From The Outside: Rethinking Church Doctrine. I expect his talk will draw on all that. I do encourage folks who are engaged by Colin Coward ( and others) , for example, to take a look at Flannery. He is a radicalized R.C.; but there are solid touchstones with the kind of thing Coward has identified in his outlook–touch stones for Anglicans who have been radicalized by church harms and policies. Flannery is a thinker who is a well briefed popularizer. The average thoughtful person will be… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rod Gillis
3 months ago

Thanks Rod, but I now find that the reposing at home is tomorrow night, so I will have to make do with the newspaper article and the book. Family takes priority, especially for this aunt.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Dawson
3 months ago

Simon, blessings to you and your family at this time. I hope the repose at home is a time of family recollection for all. Thanks so much for taking time in the midst of travel and your family commitments to post a comment in reply.

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