God female2
Church of England

Against heresy: if Jesus called God 'Father', who are we to conflate Him with Mary?

 

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist‘ (2Jn 1:7).

The Church has always been plagued by heresy. It is alluded to numerous times in the New Testament, if not identified by name. St John simply called them ‘deceivers’; St Paul referred to Judaisers as ‘false brethren’ (Gal 2:4); and Jesus Himself warned: ‘For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many‘ (Mt 24:5). The Early Church confronted Gnosticism (Acts 8:9-24), which was itself divided into competing sects, of which one became known as Marcionism, which held to Docetism – denying the virgin birth of Christ, along with His humanity, death and resurrection. And there were the Arians, who denied the eternal pre-existence of Jesus; and the Montanists, who believed the Second Coming and millennial reign of Christ were imminent. This is just a snapshot: a tour of the theological controversies of the first centuries AD is not a topic for a blog post.

There is presently much ado about a group of women clergy in the Church of England who advocate (if not agitate) for God to be referred to by the feminine pronoun. Since God transcends gender, to call Him ‘She’ is not altogether heretical; indeed, it is a whole lot more theologically propitious than calling Him or Her ‘It’. But it does display a certain disrespect for the chosen words of Christ, if not a deficient understanding of the natural paradigm of procreation. If God were not Christ’s Father but His Mother, then Mary is not the Mother of God but His commissioned gestational surrogate. Indeed, if both Mary were mother and God were Mother, the Holy Family combines in a lesbian union of homosexual commingling. Jesus taught believers to pray: ‘Our Father which art in heaven‘ (Mt 6:9). We must reflect very carefully indeed before we catholicise the New Zealand Prayer Book, which teaches:

Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven..

The strength of Christianity is its universal ability to morph to each culture and adapt with the times. But God revealed the Truth in Christ, and Christ is immutably the Son; Θεός ὁ υἱός – the second person in the Trinity. We may cavil over feminist christologies as we grapple with the oppression from which the distressed and dispossessed seek to understand the nature and person of Christ. But patriarchy is not evil: fatherhood is not twisted. A feminist theology which exalts matriarchy and magnifies motherhood to the diminishment of patriarchy and fatherhood is one which fails to grasp either the equality of the sexes or the image of God. If the Church of Jesus Christ has for centuries perpetuated some egregious inequalities (and it has), wounds are not healed and souls are not edified by insensitive emancipatory notions of God the Mother.

But just as it was with the Early Church, theological disputes are blurred by social and political issues which tend to reflect regional interests and traditions. When the ecumenical councils were convened to agree matters of doctrine and confront heresy, Church and State were intrinsically mixed, and strains within the Church necessarily meant strains within the Empire. At Chalcedon in 451, the two great cities of the Byzantine East, Alexandria and Antioch, stood opposed to one another in their theologies of the person of Christ. On the one side were the ‘orthodox’, who insisted that Christ had two separate natures, human and divine; on the other side were the Monophysites, who argued that Christ had but a single nature, composed of the human and the divine, but tending to emphasise the former. Complicating the theological debate was the loss of the prestige of Rome, a growing sense of national identity in the various parts of the Empire, and the fact that the great Sees were continually in competition with each other. Emperor Marcian had to balance his desire to restore and invigorate an empire with the need to try and preserve unity within the Empire of the East. A uniform Christology offered one solution.

It was not infrequent that the Alexandrians charged the Antiocheans as being those who ‘divide the Christ’. This assists in understanding the Antiocheans’ hesitation to adopt the term theotokos, for such implied, to them, a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ. Mary did not give birth to Christ’s divine nature, only to his human. To call her the ‘Mother of God’ was to confuse the two, and to do injustice to both.

In a sense, the Church is back at Chalcedon. Not, this time, disputing the human-divine nature of Christ which led eventually to the Great Schism of 1054, but arguing over matters of human gender and sexual identity. They are the contentious obsessions of the age, but neither impinges upon theological fundamentals or soteriological precepts. They serve only to empty the pews of the traditionalists, conservatives and orthodox, thereby sacrificing half of the via media on the altar of a postmodern Molech.

  • Gordon Tough

    If Jesus was talking to a predominantly male audience in a patriarchal society then it’s natural that he would have used male attributes to try and explain God. However, any attempt to explain God is going to fall short due to the limits of human language. Having said that any attempt to try to understand the more “feminine” aspects of God can only enhance our understanding of God.

    As a brief aside Abba is better rendered as “Daddy”, which is a far more intimate relationship than the more normal one implied by “Father”.

    • GKoH

      Just a quick mention that apparently the notion that ‘Abba’ is best rendered as ‘Daddy’ isn’t accurate.

      http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-does-abba-mean-daddy

      “It is fair to say that abba in Jesus’ time belonged to a familiar or colloquial register of language, as distinct from more formal and ceremonious language. . . . But in any case it was not a childish expression comparable with ‘Daddy’: it was a more solemn, responsible, adult address to a Father. (p. 46)” (Citing James Barr in the Journal of Theological Studies)

      The article’s ending paragraphs are,

      “It is important and true to understand that God is our intimate Father. So many places in the New Testament make this vividly and encouragingly clear. It is one the rich qualities that makes Christianity distinct from all other faiths and philosophies.

      But let’s not illustrate this grace for others with something that is not true.”

      • magnolia

        Except that your notion of “Daddy” being exclusively childish (or childlike?) is not really correct. It depends a bit on which culture you belong to even in this country, but in “Dallas” JR regularly referred to his father as “my Daddy” and if you’d told him he was childish he’d have taken a contract out on you!

    • Albert

      If Jesus was talking to a predominantly male audience in a patriarchal society then it’s natural that he would have used male attributes to try and explain God.

      Even if we grant that, what is your evidence that that exhaustively explains the use of male language?

  • aliandhisguitar

    I think we should aim at as gender neutral a language about God as possible. ‘He’, ‘Mankind’, ‘huManity’, ‘God the Father’ are words have been established by long custom and usage to be gender neutral in a diverse set of contexts. I have no idea what the ‘feminine’ or ‘male’ aspects of God are and I doubt that there is a theologian that could explain them to me. “She’ would sound artificial, and its novelty would draw ones mind to femaleness, or to pagan notions of Mother Nature. Almost every aspect of the ‘updating’ of liturgy since the 60s has struck me as rebarbative and ugly.

  • Anton

    At Chalcedon both sides agreed that Jesus was fully human and fully divine but fell out over how. Yet the Bible is totally silent about how. What tragic consequences there were, when Bible-believing Christians called each other heretics over an issue that is not dealt with in scripture. (Inferences can be made from this paradox that are heretical, because from a paradox one can prove anything – that is a theorem in syllogistic logic. Such heretical inferences were rightly condemned; but that is a different point.)

    Attempts to understand how Christ is totally God and totally man are futile, because we first need to know what unfallen man is and what God is, and those things must be learnt from Christ himself. So the attempt to understand his nature involves circular logic. Too bad that the Greek-philosophical mentality which by then dominated the church didn’t twig that one.

    • Albert

      This is not correct. If you look at what Chalcedon says, it is essential apophatic – it is about denying what is happening in the incarnation, and therefore excluding views which deny that Christ is both fully human and divine.

      • Anton

        The differences involved Mary but these were inferences. Please show where one or other side at Chalcedon, in its own words, denied that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.

        • Albert

          No, Mary isn’t central to Chalcedon. Consider the definition of the Council:

          acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably

          Those who deny there are two natures, deny one of the natures. Similarly, those who acknowledge the two natures but will not say the that in the union the natures remain unconfused and unchangeable, are holding the view that the natures are changed (or one of them). But if that is the case, then one of the natures ceases to be what it was – therefore such a person denies that Christ is both fully divine and fully human. If on the other hand a person denies the union occurs indivisibly and inseparably, then the union has not take place at all, and so Jesus is not fully God and fully human.

          • Anton

            You are adding philosophical axioms (which can be questioned) and then making inferences about the positions of the two sides at Chalcedon from them. Do you agree or disagree, please, that both sides at Chalcedon regarded Jesus as wholly human and wholly divine? If they did then the worst you can say about either side is that it isn’t reasoning very well. But that isn’t a matter of faith, and it might not be true anyway for the reasons I set out.

          • Albert

            I am not “adding” philosophical axioms, but I am using them. We cannot do theology without language, and language implies language and meaning – that is a philosophical matter.

            Do you agree or disagree, please, that both sides at Chalcedon regarded Jesus as wholly human and wholly divine?

            I am not sure that I agree that there are two sides exactly at the Council. Given that they agreed with the outcome, then clearly I think everyone believed Jesus was both truly God and truly mad.

            My case would be against those who rejected the Council. Did they all believe Jesus was truly God and truly man? Some certainly did, but others (e.g. Eutyches), well, I’d have my questions.

          • Anton

            The council pronounced on how Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, and if someone else said that he was fully human and fully divine but in a different way then I would regard him as a brother no less. That said, I do agree that there were some genuine heretics rattling about. And I presume you made a typo in “clearly I think everyone believed Jesus was both truly God and truly mad”!

          • Albert

            I don’t myself see this as who is a brother and who is not. The question is whether a particular proclamation can intelligibly be regarded as meaning what it needs to mean. You don’t need to have too many arguments with unbelievers (or believers) to realise that precision becomes important, if the message is to be heard.

          • Anton

            There is already no intelligibility in Jesus being both wholly human and wholly divine, so we should not be hung up over what’s intelligible. At rick of repeating myself, if a man says that he believes Jesus is wholly human and wholly divine (that’s divine in the sense of the Creator) then that should be enough. Let believers not divide over philosophical niceties of how He is both. I think of 1 Corinthians 1 !

          • Albert

            There is already no intelligibility in Jesus being both wholly human and wholly divine

            Do you mean the doctrine is contradictory?

          • Anton

            Of course not. I mean it is not intelligible to man. Here is a rough explanation of why: Jesus is 100% human and 100% divine yet percentages must add up to 100.

          • Albert

            That is contradictory, and not what I think (and Chalcedon says) the doctrine means.

          • Anton

            If you don’t like the analogy, just forget it, and respond (if you choose) to what else I said.

          • Albert

            I’m quite puzzled. What was the analogy and what did you say that wasn’t analogy? What I would say is that Jesus’s humanity is 100% human and his divinity is 100% divine. That’s not contradictory. The mystery of it comes from the fact that we do comprehend the divine nature, or the divine hypostasis. But this incomprehensibility does not hinder us from speaking at all of the incarnation, neither does it mean that anything that is said is automatically correct.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Jesus was both truly God and truly mad”

            You might want to edit that before one of the usual suspects makes hay with it.

          • Albert

            Apologies all, thanks to those who pointed out the typo!

  • Dudes

    My anglican relatives said if women priests got passed then they’d be a free for all on theology, without tradition or the bible as authority, the only bit left was “reason” or code word for whatever is a fad in the outside world . So they were right.

    God the mother…. sounds like pagan gia worship to me. Not that has anything to do with taking their faith seriously, but to do with feminism, combating sexism and trying to be trendy, but in a dad (or should that be mum) on the dance floor way . Meanwhile the church of England fiddles whilst their pews are emptying .

    But let’s also assume that because Oxford educated clerics say God should be worshipped in the feminine ,Jesus isn’t a bloke now, what shall she be called, God the daughter yes but the name ? Must begin with a j :
    1.Jessica?
    2.Jenny?
    3.Joanna?
    4. Julia?

    • sarky

      Juanita?

      • Dude

        Good Sephardic name, but decidedly too foreign, given Jesus’s father was apparently English. Although having said that he was also Jewish, as Mary was Jewish. Unless you speak to Palestinians and its clear to them that Jesus couldn’t have been one of those evil Zionist Judeans, who stole the land against UN resolutions (the Romans as the real occupation force, can be airbrushed out) but a Palestinian….

        • David Ashton

          Well, I don’t know. Your far-distant “ancestors” said the real father of Jesus was a legionary called Pandera and Jesus was a mamzer. Ironically old Adolf shared their view.

          • Well we’ve got the ecumenical spirit going tonight! Of course as a Jew I don’t believe in Christianity or its message and I’m clear in that . But then neither do YOU apparently.

          • David Ashton

            I feel sorry for “our National Church”. I would have become a Christian, in fact probably a Catholic, if their own scholars and theologians had themselves not made it difficult to believe what is left of it, with a bit of help from your lot, though I still respect Joseph Klausner and Geza Vermes. Hyam Maccoby and James Tabor are interesting, and so on.

            Many modern Jews seem to have made “The Holocaust” their “religion” – and ours too (in a different way). There – how about that for a discussion when we have exhausted ourselves over Ms G-d?

          • David Ashton

            My reply has not appeared.

          • I note the word “ancestors” is in inverted commas. I wonder why…..

    • bluedog

      Jesua Christina?

      • Dude

        This is the c of e , so shouldn’t we stick to traditional British names ?

        • bluedog

          Well Christ was Jewish on his mother’s side. So your choice of Jessica looks closest.

          • Dude

            Strangely enough Jessica is the name I had in mind…. But perhaps a more modern name like Chelsea or Apple might be a crowd pleaser? Or link in royalty, Diana?

          • The Explorer

            While we’re at it, let’s get back to Diana of the Ephesians.

          • Pubcrawler

            There’s always Isis.

    • David Ashton

      Haralda. Our Mother, who art in Heaven, Haralda be thy name….

  • sarky

    Is it me or is the church tearing itself apart?

    I don’t think you have to worry about atheism or islam, you are your own worst enemies.

    • The Explorer

      Mind you, atheism and Islam are not free from gender issues themselves. Look at the trouble Larry Summers got himself into with feminists at Harvard. And It isn’t Christianity driving the division into fifty-eight genders. And the Satanic verses relate to the issue of goddesses. And look what that blew up into.

      • David Ashton

        A lot of the trouble arises from the New Left movement in the 1960s of Herbert Marcuse and others who realized that the white western workers, who were patriotic and

        • Phil R

          Excellent summary

    • IanCad

      And so it has ever been.

    • Anton

      There are many faithful Christians in this country, but to see a church movement, ie a collective, that is healthy then you need to go to a land where Christians are persecuted.

      • sarky

        Doesn’t say alot for christisnity does it?

        • Anton

          Why not?

          • sarky

            You need persecution to flourish.

          • Anton

            Don’t confuse correlation with causation…

          • Pubcrawler

            ‘Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.’ (Johnson)

  • Darter Noster

    It’s only a matter of time before the Episcopalian Church in the US and Canada follow the Lutherans in developing stuff like this: http://www.herchurch.org/

    • Ian

      My word, that link is horrendous!

      • Darter Noster

        For the RCs and the Orthodox, it’s a frightening warning for the future.
        For Anglicanism, it’s more like a prospectus.

        • Dude

          I thought initially it was a spoof a la the onion or private eye…. It’s hilarious in one sense. ‘Her church’ and ‘The Liturgy of the Divine Feminine’, ROFL.

  • Orwell Ian

    This is what comes from compromise with societal trends. More rotten fruit from the obsession with “Equality”. God Himself reclassified gender neutral to satisfy a doctrine of mankind. What next? Sermons about the Personhood of God? Prayers to “Our parent which art in heaven”? If only one could dismiss it all as trendiness or just plain bonkers but the malaise runs deep and the heretical spirit driving it has the aim of wrecking the Church and emptying pews.

    • It’s the c of e rebrand. Jesus is going to be more inclusive and relevant for today’s society, than some boring white guy who supports oppression of oppressed groups . To tick all the right boxes, Jesus is now going to be :

      An ethnic minority trans woman with a disability, who is also gay and a refugee. They don’t have to worry about changing her religion, as Jesus (strangely) wasn’t a Christian, but she apparently practiced Judaism. But Judaism is also suspect, as Jews are oppressing Palestine, vote Tory and are middle income types, rather than lefty Labour or green voters or guardian reading types . Best to make the new Jesus’s religion into an inclusive hippy or Buddhist type chanting or even atheist. …

      • bluedog

        Fire-pits will undoubtedly have a central role in the New Christianity as a communal meeting place. It’s a pity Tony Blair swam the Tiber, as former leader of New Labour he has transferable skills that could be invaluable in the New Christianity. Indeed, it’s hard to think of anyone who does shallow inclusiveness better.

        • Bliar can swim up the Amazon for all I care. Much to my distress he’s steeping down as middle east envoy.

          • Anton

            Why distress?

          • Dude

            Because at least he doesn’t do anything and no one takes any notice of him . What happens if they put Jimmy Carter in post ? The pals would salivating all the way to the UN /court of human rights etc.

    • Watchman

      It seems the ultimate expression of creating God in our own image?

      • Orwell Ian

        With relativism nothing is ultimate or even certain. An image of God today can be revised before breakfast.

        • Watchman

          So worshipping Him in truth becomes subjective?

          • Orwell Ian

            No, if it was subjective one wouldn’t be worshiping in truth.

          • Watchman

            But relativism is, by its very nature, subjective.

          • Orwell Ian

            Of course, but believers who are guided by the Holy Spirit will be guided into all truth (John 16:13) and are the kind of worshippers that the Father seeks. (John 4:23-24) Others who believe God exists, have uncertain, subjective and variable perceptions of Him. This relativism leads to all kinds of misconceptions like the gender heresy that is the subject of today’s blogpost.

  • bluedog

    Well said, Your Grace. This is the point at which Bishop Libby and her cohort should hang their heads in shame and recognise the sheer folly of trying to feminise the CofE liturgy. One can only hope that any female clergy and the bishop promoting this folly are defeated in the Synod after being exposed as fools. Yet they think they are right and doing something of value to Anglican Christianity. Clearly Bishop Libby’s appointment has been a serious error of judgement. There is no need to compromise and be empathetic on this issue, Christ the son of God cannot become female and Mary can only be the Mother of God (Christ) if God is male, it’s the foundation of the Trinitarian Christian narrative, to use the appropriate post-modern term.

  • Malcolm Smith

    I wonder when we are going to get around to removing one of the most egregious expression of sexism in the church: using the male pronoun for Satan. It is outrageous to suggest that the principle of evil is masculine, and I am sure that is just as great a stumbling block for men as the male pronoun for God is for women. In other words, if we are going to play around with the words of religion, I think we should give the Devil her due.

    • sarky

      Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the name of the beast, for it is the name of a woman. Her name is……..Katie Hopkins?

      • The Explorer

        What’s the Best got to do with it? The Beast is a servant of Satan, not Satan. Satan is the Red Dragon.

        Now, if the dragon is female, that gives a whole new angle to the story of George and the Dragon. The Dragon wants to devour a princess. (ie, rape her). Does the story have a hitherto unanticipated lesbian twist?

        • sarky

          I’m glad that you are clear they are stories.

          • The Explorer

            George is a story. ‘Revelation’ is a symbolic depiction of the history of the Church.

          • sarky

            Past not future.

          • The Explorer

            Only if you’re a preterist. I’m not. I’m an idealist: past, present, future.

  • The Explorer

    Underlying all this is the assumption that only the other is entitled to talk about the other. If the Bible is just a patriarchal book, then the implications for literature are alarming.

    Discount all Shakespeare’s female characters because he was a man. Mr Darcy and Mr Knightley are invalidated because they are simply the imaginings of a woman.

    And why stop at gender? Othello’s out because Shakespeare was not a Moor.
    Hamlet’s out because Shakespeare was neither Danish, nor a prince. Oberon’s out because Shakespeare wasn’t a fairy.

    PS: And Mrs Proudie has to go as well.

    • Uncle Brian

      No more Hercule Poirot, then. We’ll have to make do with Miss Marple.

      • The Explorer

        Afraid so. On the other hand, you can reject the Theory of the Other, and enjoy Poirot as before. Guess which option I’ve chosen.

  • Albert

    At Chalcedon in 451…On the one side were the ‘orthodox’, who insisted that Christ had two separate natures, human and divine

    No, that’s not orthodox and it isn’t Chalcedonian. The definition says this:

    acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably

    The natures are distinct, not separate.

    As for the issue of calling God “Mother” as an equivalent to “Father” obviously, I think that is wildly heretical. But I cannot see why this should be a problem for the CofE. Once, contrary to the example and practice of Christ, you change the symbolism of the apostolic minister, from male only to male and female, you have made that move already. Calling God “Mother” is just an extension and application of a principle already conceded. For the same reason this argument is inadmissible:

    Indeed, if both Mary were mother and God were Mother, the Holy Family combines in a lesbian union of homosexual commingling.

    But by ordaining women you have already said that male and female are interchangeable in ways contrary to the example of Christ and the plain teaching of scripture. Thus, there can be no objection to lesbian or indeed any kind of homosexual commingling.

    • “No, that’s not orthodox and it isn’t Chalcedonian”. You obviously missed the inverted commas.

      • Albert

        No, it makes little difference. The “orthodox” did not contend that the natures were separate. At least that’s how it seems to me, and indeed, Leo’s Tome explicitly denies such a separation. But if you have evidence to the contrary, do state it.

        BTW, Dr C, are you suggesting that Chalcedon is not orthodox?

  • The Explorer

    If the Church is the Bride of Christ and God is female, where are we at?

    • Albert

      Same-sex marriage.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        It’s all starting to make “sense”

  • Watchman

    18 The L ORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ 19 Now the L ORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam f no suitable helper was found. 21 So the L ORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs g and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the L ORD God made a woman from the rib h he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman”, for she was taken out of man.’ 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    Question: Whose helper is God?

    • Martin

      Watchman

      God needs no helper, He is all sufficient and in the Trinity He is not alone.

      • Watchman

        I think that’s axiomatic in Genesis 2

  • The Explorer

    Willy Russell created Shirley Valentine, praised by women. Women asked where Shirley came from.

    If God created Eve (however literally or metaphorically one cares to interpret that) then is Eve an aspect of God? But that’s not the same as saying Eve is the essence of God’s nature.

  • David

    This is a silly, although worrying trend.
    I hope that it is rejected by the hierarchy and specifically excluded from approved liturgies.
    However if heresy creeps into the liturgy, then as I’ve said before, those parts of the C of E that follow the orthodox, Biblical, reformed faith will continue to grow. Those sections are usually male led churches, but where the vital roles of women is genuinely valued and encouraged.
    Conversely those parts that are becomingly increasingly liberal, theologically, will continue to shrink.
    So it will sort itself out over time with the Holy Spirit led sections growing and the others running out in the sands. A very similar process is working itself out in North America, only a few years ahead of here, as usual.
    As ever we are in God’s hands.

    • Watchman

      Don’t be so glum, David, the demise of the church I.e, the man made organisation of whatever abomination, sorry, denomination could release those souls who wish to participate in the true church with Jesus at its head.

  • Martin

    If God describes Himself as male in His word, who are we to quarrel with that?

    • Anton

      Put that question to the feminists!

      • Martin

        Anton

        If there are any here.

        • Anton

          Seek them out within the church and put it to them. “If not me, who; if not now, when?”

          • Martin

            Anton

            I doubt there are many who are really in the Church. If you reject what the Bible says, then the evidence is that you are not a Christian.

    • sarky

      Except the ‘word’ was written by men.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        But the Author is God.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      The feminists want to do more than quarrel. The want to re-educate God. LOL

      • The Explorer

        They want to condemn God as well. God created men, and men are bastards.

  • carl jacobs

    God created Fatherhood as an act of revelation. He invested the role with authority and then described Himself as Father in order to communicate to man about His relationship to us and our relationship to Him. To change the description is to change the revelation and thus conform God to an image of our own preference.

    • Watchman

      Hurrah, Carl, you have left little to be said on the subject! The trouble is that modern western cultures are confused about the role of fatherhood and having rejected the traditional role are trying to redefine gender roles according to the latest PC standards.

      • carl jacobs

        Well, if I wanted to poke Albert in the ribs, I would talk about the functional deification of Mary in RCism. I would mention that Mary has been turned into the divine feminine in order to mediate between men and the harsh judgmental Christ. But that would be gratuitous. 😉

        • Albert

          Gratuitous and wrong!

    • Anton

      Exactly.

    • not a machine

      very good

    • …. which is precisely what the progressives are about. ‘

      Mothers’ are all ‘love’, ‘intuition’ and ’emotion’. They want a ‘church of nice’ where we hug and cuddle and everyone gets to heaven.

  • The lunatics are busily taking over the asylum that is the Church of England.
    To my mind this can only be a good thing since it will finally force the evangelicals out and the wheat will be no longer mixed with the chaff.
    .
    Come on out, boys! The water’s lovely!

    • Uncle Brian

      “The water’s lovely!”
      What’s that, Martin, an invitation to swim the Tiber?!

      • [M.M. roars with laughter, composes himself and adjusts spectacles]
        Er no. It is an invitation to go outside the camp. bearing the reproach of Christ (Heb. 13:13) and join the ranks of the despised and persecuted dissenters.

        ‘For here we have no continuing city
        (not Canterbury and certainly not Rome) but we seek the one to come.

  • Darter Noster

    Anglicanism and Lutheranism might be the worst affected by the neo-paganism stuff, but there are worrying signs for us RCs too, if we’re not careful. This lot – http://romancatholicwomenpriests.org/ – and others like them might be delusional outsiders now, but put them together with developments like those in Germany recently, the movements behind Soho masses and the shenanigans of liberal American religious sisters that have been going on for years and it all starts to add up.

    Goddess Rosary with plenty of “Our Mothers” and “Hail Goddesses” anyone? –
    http://66.147.244.109/~herchurc/goddess-rosary/

    • Following your other link to the her church, they describe their liturgy of the divine feminine as thus :

      “During the hour, Tibetan bowls, bells, incense, water, she-icons, Goddess Rosaries, candles, stones, and sacred space are provided for individual meditation and movement. Minister of Embodiment …..teaches movement for the Our Mother and Hail Goddess prayers. She also brings sacred dance and the body into the Sunday liturgy.”

      Wtf ?

      • Sounds cool… LOL!

        • Gal, no idea if its cool for others, but definitely it’s NOT cool for observant Jews . More like idolatrous , heretical, pagan blasphemy.

          • sarky

            Sounds cool…..

          • Dude

            Oy I did all of that at university: I remember my naive Jewish boy eyes popped open at the sight of a hot babe in a skimpy bikini , with a python wrapped around her at the freshers week: wedged next to Jewsoc and the Morris dancing society, so they got me first…. hmmm then there was the stripper incident during my 19th birthday , at the university bar, courtesy of my halls friends (I thought she was a REAL policewoman !) . Also I was a member of the greens and a naturist at one point. Been there, done that. I’m no saint, but Judaism is the faith for moi, now I’m over the age of 30 and a little bit more mature.

          • sarky

            Whatever floats your boat 😉

          • This dude still has ballast in his tanks ( just in case Phil asks), so my boat isn’t just floating, but cruising.

          • sarky

            🙂

          • Darter Noster

            Agreed. If they were claiming to be what they in fact are – a group of syncretic neo-pagan spiritualists and Goddess-worshippers – then fair enough, but what they are practising should not be claimed as Christianity.

            Genuine neo-pagans are (as much or as little as any other religion) decent people seeking the spiritual path that seems best to them, and I respect that. The difference is that genuine pagans are honest about it.

          • Well exactly .

      • sarky

        It’s just mankind going back to its pagan roots.

        • I guess we’ll all be into free love and enchanting naked round Stonehenge with drums and guitars, in a couple of years.

          • The Explorer

            Bit of human sacrifice on the old stone altar, what. Might keep the Sun happy, and help with climate change.

          • Pubcrawler

            Ah, fond memories of a carefree youth…

        • IanCad

          Right again, sarky,

        • Anton

          Not so Sarky; the early Christians actually declined a place in the Pantheon in Rome for Christ, because they said he was not a god but The god. Assimilation of pagan practices began after Constantine once the church decided to go political.

          As to whether man had pagan roots or had roots in knowing a unique Creator god and then fell into paganism, that is a matter of faith.

          • sarky

            It’s a matter of evidence. Belief in a monotheistic god is only relatively recent.

          • Anton

            Aren’t you making assumptions by (secular) faith about what went on before literacy?

          • sarky

            Before literacy we have artifacts.

          • Anton

            Which require a great deal of interpretation and inferring religion from them is pretty much guesswork.

          • sarky
          • Anton

            Interesting but still much guesswork needed. Do you remember how a generation or two ago everything that wasn’t understood was taken to be a fertility symbol?

          • The Explorer

            Anthropology assumed an evolution from polytheism to monotheism. When it took the trouble to actually consult primitive tribes about their beliefs it found a belief in an original creator god of which polytheism was a later corruption.
            By the same token, Margaret Mead was wildly adrift in her depiction of the sexual attitudes of the Samoans. She simply imposed her preconceptions, and passed them off as facts.

          • Anton

            “When it took the trouble to actually consult primitive tribes about their beliefs it found a belief in an original creator god of which polytheism was a later corruption.”

            I read that some time ago in a certain book and after a while decided that the book was suspect (The Two Babylons, which no protestant should cite in any critique of Rome). I checked it out and found that in the peoples it named there was, in fact, no evidence of this. Have you a *decent* reference please, as I remain very willing to believe it?

          • The Explorer

            For Margaret Mead and the assumptions of anthropology, see Derek Freeman. Lewis’ ‘Miracles’ Ch 11 considers the philosophical case for monotheism preceding polytheism. Lion Handbook ‘The World’s Religions’: the section on tribal religions. I’ve got something else on anthropology on my Kindle which makes much the same point, but it’ll take me time to track it down.

          • Anton

            As a Christian I affirm that monotheism preceded polytheism; I’m just asking for historical evidence. CS Lewis offers philosophical evidence (I have this book and I’ve just looked at ch.11); Mead is on another subject and anyway discredited. I’ll try to get a look at the Lion Handbook; thank you. If you find more, please post it.

          • Uncle Brian

            When the conversion of the Angles and Saxons began under St Augustine it was quite common, so I’ve read, for an old place of worship to be demolished and a church built on the site, to make it easier for worshippers to make the changeover.

          • Anton

            Very probably; this was several centuries after Christianity had become the religion of State in the Roman empire (or what was left of it by then). Certainly Pope Gregory ‘the Great’ advocated taking over and Christianising pagan festivals as a mission strategy; he says so in a letter to Augustine of Canterbury’s missionaries to England early in the 7th century. (This letter is included in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, book I, ch. 30.) The strategy stokes syncretism, however.

          • Uncle Brian

            In comparison, what the paganizers are doing now strikes me as dishonest. They’re not pulling down the old Anglican church to erect a New Age temple in its place. Instead, they’re infiltrating Shmu’el’s bikini-clad babe draped in her python into the church and telling the congregation that this is really still the same old C of of E, you’d better believe it, or else.

          • The Explorer

            Aslan is Tash, Tash is Aslan. In fact, Aslan is Tashlan.

          • Uncle Brian

            Excuse me, Explorer, you’ve lost me there. Is that something to so with lions and wardrobes? I regret to confess that I never read any of those books.

          • Uncle Brian

            Something else in connection with Anton’s comment … He mentions pagan festivals, the Christianizing of. Could that possibly have been the origin of the Ember days, one per quarter? I’ve never really understood what Ember Days were supposed to be commemorating, but that looks like a plausible hypothesis, doesn’t it? Equinoxes and wossnames, solstices?

          • The Explorer

            An eagle-headed god who demands human sacrifice. Syncretists sneak him in as equivalent to Aslan (without believing in either) and come up with the new compound god Tashlan.

          • Dude

            Ironic thing is after watching multiple Attenborough programs, the female lion seems to be the more powerful and does all the work, whereas the male eats, sleeps and shags his harem…. But there’s no such thing as a feminist lioness. And lionesses will always protect their cubs… although I think tigers are more graceful animals.

          • The Explorer

            They don’t always manage to protect their young. When a new lion takes over from an old one, he eats any existing cubs. Those who think we should draw our morals from the animal world should think twice: a divorced woman with children who takes on a new male…

          • Dude

            Of course no analogy is perfect, but the mothers I know fight for their children’s welfare as if they were lions and tigers.

            “Those who think we should draw our morals from the animal world should think twice”

            A bit like when people post here and say how “unnatural” homosexuality is ?

          • The Explorer

            We are talking fantasy in the Narnia books. The mice don’t bear much relation to their terrestrial equivalents either.

          • Dude

            I’m just half pulling your chain.

          • The Explorer

            It’s a good point, though. When Christ is described in ‘Revelation’ as “the Lion from the tribe of Judah” is it a compliment? (In the context, I think it’s meant as one.)

          • Anton

            Wasn’t it all done with moles in Duncton?

          • Dude

            I genuinely feel for my Anglican friends and relatives who are in my parlance “modern orthodox” types. In 20 years they’ve had the rug pulled from under their feets and they are the ones who go to church “religiously” and pay their considerable membership fee of the parish share (10% of their net income, I understand)….. But gradually they’ve become strangers in their their own house and feel forced to go. The libwral types are generals without an army. Half will swim up the Amazon to the happy clappy/evangelist, the other half will swim up the Nile to the Romans. These are devout loyal Anglican types, not just the grumpy , but loveable chaps, in their final flowering. It’s sad that the Anglicans are being taken over by this SHTIK.

          • I got told off once for suggesting Christmas was a Christian takeover of the pagan winter solstice.

          • Uncle Brian

            And I got told off once for suggesting that the zodiac mosaics in a half-dozen Byzantine-era synagogues in Israel are actually laid out in accordance with the points of the compass. Oh, no, they told me, they’re just decorative, nothing else!

          • And I’ve also been told by trekkies Jews copied the Vulcan salute, not the other way round.

          • The Explorer

            And, as Voltaire said, the nose was designed to bear spectacles.

          • Dude

            Well , I much prefer the dialogue of Dr who and HIERONYMOUS :

            HIERONYMOUS: Now, answer me this. What does it signify when Venus is in opposition to Saturn and a great shadow passes over the Moon?
            DOCTOR: This is all a great waste of time.
            FEDERICO: Answer him.
            DOCTOR: Well, it depends, doesn’t it.
            HIERONYMOUS: On what?
            DOCTOR: On whether the Moon is made of cheese, on whether the cock crows three times before dawn, and twelve hens lay addled eggs.
            HEIRONYMOUS: What school of philosophy is that?
            DOCTOR: I can easily teach him. All it requires is a colourful imagination and a glib tongue.
            FEDERICO: And you, Doctor, have a mocking tongue. Prepare the execution.
            DOCTOR: But you haven’t listened to a word I’ve said!
            (As the Doctor is dragged away.)
            GIULIANO: Who is that man?
            FEDERICO: A spy.
            (Federico leaves.)
            GIULIANO: A most uncommon spy.

          • Uncle Brian

            An Israeli friend used to call it “Star Drek”. I don’t know if it was the salute that he objected to …

          • I dunno, but Dr who is much better, especially the traditional series . Just watching “the robots of death”. Tom Baker and Louise Jameson , plot I can understand, plus fantastic and excellent acting as usual.

          • dannybhoy

            You deserve to be told off anyway…

          • Meeow!!!!

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

          • Anton

            It’s more than a suggestion! The early church lost the time of year, hence the speculation about it two centuries later by Clement of Alexandria and subsequent Christian writers. The earliest reference to a Christmas celebration – on December 25th – is from the mid-4th century, roughly the time that Pope Julius I is said to have chosen that date, and after Christianity had become a favoured religion. That “just happens to be” the day of the year promoted by Emperor Aurelian in AD274 as a celebration of the sun god, sol invictus, and under the Julian calendar of that era it corresponded to the winter solstice.

        • len

          Many Christians throughout the ages have given up their lives rather than accept false religions .
          I wouldn`t mention this to His Grace though might be a sore point….

          • Dominic Stockford

            A rather hot topic for him…

    • Dominic Stockford

      There is also ‘Catholics for a changing church’ – look’em up = they’ll happily wreck the CofR as well.

      • Ahem … it’s the Catholic Church if you don’t mind. It’s world wide and although the Pope is Bishop of Rome, the Church is not confined to that city, or the Latin rite, but is universal.

        As an ex-Catholic priest (technically, of course, there’s no such thing), you know this.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Hey Jack! Long time no cross swords…

          • Just keeping you on track Dominic … ;o)

        • Powerdaddy

          Inerrancy in scripture? What could he mean?
          p.s. You still haven’t answered my question about slavery. Are you a “progressive” too?

      • Anton

        Some of us don’t believe in the ordination of men either.

  • David Ashton

    Seems to me as a not unsympathetic no-longer-believing outsider, watching the “Church” (!) of “England” (!) joining the queue for Dignitas, so to speak, and the Nincompope of Rome completing the conversion of rock into sand begun at Vatican-2, that “there is tragedy in the spectacle” (Ayn Rand). Doing a foolish, unscriptural and unnecessary postmodern transgender operation on God the Father is quite different from regarding God as a Spirit who is also theologically a Loving Parent of mankind (and wimminkind too).

    It somehow recalls to mind the Private Eye picture of three bishops in their pretty frocks saying “Who needs women priests when you’ve got us?” Witch way will the Lambeth dancers turn now that PC has replaced CE?

    • not a machine

      from Dibley to Dignitas , one hopes that a large media organisation doesn’t really have it as a plan .

      • David Ashton

        So far only the Reverend Stephen Sizer has been put under virtual house arrest for blasphemy against the New Religion of the Secular West and its obedient Inquisition (Google my earlier comments on this site). Meanwhile, our former local parish “priest” was a “non-theist” progressive Anglican, who thought it would be a good idea to fetch all the persecuted, poor and hungry of the Afro-Asian world (Muslims, Hindus, Animists) to this island.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Stephen Sizer was in fact quite unpleasant about the Jews and about Israel – that is his issue, and that is what he was rightly dealt with for. No-one has stopped him preaching of the saving Gospel of Christ.

          • David Ashton

            He didn’t share the “Christian Zionist” view of Israel. You will of course be well aware of the Jews and Christians who not only think the New Testament itself is “unpleasant” at John 8.44 and I Thessalonians 2.15 but ultimately responsible for the “Nazi Holocaust”; indeed, the very existence of a “New” Testament as supersessionary and the Trinity as blasphemous idolatry is seen by some Jews as ipso facto “anti-Semitic”; see e.g. “Who was Jesus?” on the JAHG-USA Website. Sizer has been banned at Zionist lobby instigation, on pain of ecclesiastical dismissal, from writing or saying ANYTHING about the Middle East OR ITS HISTORY, and to prevent anyone else saying anything on his behalf. He is in effect held incommunicado. I don’t think he was ever “anti-Semitic” on any reasonable interpretation of that conveniently elastic pejorative, quite the opposite, but it is clearly a paradox that a lobby group should silence anyone who suspects that the lobby group has the power to silence anyone who…&c. As for his naive 9/11 link, well you don’t have to hate anyone to wonder how and why that THIRD Tower collapsed at the same time.

          • Oh goodie. You are providing the poltroonish, idiotic and clowning laughs for tonight.

          • dannybhoy

            Shmu’el,
            Are you sure you’ve understood what he is saying?

          • Dude

            Yes.

            Phrases such as :

            ‘Sizer has been banned at Zionist lobby instigation’

            ‘you don’t have to hate anyone to wonder how and why that THIRD Tower collapsed at the same time.’

            Also note the holocaust was described as “holocaust” as if that were a disputed fact of history ….

          • David Ashton

            Ah, now we have it. My first statement is clear from all that has been stated on the subject, including in the Jewish press.

            The second statement is covered just above.

            The third statement is not about historical facts, but the way in which a particular set of horrifying events has been elevated into a sacred dogma to which all knees must bow and must be uniquely protected from detailed criticism by punitive legislation. To take just two points from my large private library on this subject: (a) The Auschwitz death-toll has been reduced “officially” by the Museum authorities from 4 million to just over 1 million, but the overall figure of 6 million is left intact; (b) the Oxford Handbook on Holocaust Studies speaks of 3 million victims being asphyxiated, but this number seems unlikely for logistical, technological, psychological and documentary reasons. According to Emeritus Professor Norman Davies in his history of Europe, the Soviet concentration-camp complex at Vorkuta destroyed as many human lives as Auschwitz.

            However, I do not “deny” or “dispute” that Hitler’s ideological antisemitism was genocidal and that millions of Jews – and others – died as a result of Nazi actions in WW2.

          • Ivan M

            Mr Ashton, hats off on your honesty.

            There is a video circulating in the youtube, that shows Jacob Bronowski, presenter of the old Ascent of Civilization series at some place in Poland, saying that his relations were among the 4 millions killed at Auschwitz. For decades I accepted that figure, as I saw no reason to doubt it, the Nazis being beasts and all, and was genuinely shocked when a BBC documentary from sometime in the late 90s indicated a figure of 1.1 to 1.2 millions. An incredible reduction of at least 2.5 millions without affecting the totals

            Now no doubt, there are perfectly good scenarios that the Holocaust Studies people can create, other camps, the holocaust of the bullets etc, that would put the total back up. The question any reasonable person have is; would such a revision be possible now, in the light of the new religion of the unquestionable Holocaust, that takes the place that the Holy Trinity had at one time as the apex truth of the West? This ersatz that they have now, is not going to save them, but that is another story.

            Professor Norman Davies was denied tenure at Stanford, largely because he wouldn’t bow and scrape and lie that the death of Jews was the worst thing to have happened in history, in order to get a position. Rather strange what has overcome the Hoover Institution, There is already a reckoning, Prof Davies has written a body of work that will last, long after the Stanford faculty is forgotten.

          • David Ashton

            I didn’t know about the fate of Davies but I do know of similar cases, so it is no surprise; he also likes the Poles, which maybe didn’t help. In the US one “conservative” organization after another has been progressively “neo-conned”. In the UK periodicals like “Standpoint” make no attempt to disguise their Israel angle, while “The Times” usually manages a daily average of two “Holocaust” items (however minor). Yet another “Holocaust” movie is on its way – about the Irving-Lipstadt libel suit.

            However, the statistics Davies gives on the Soviet death-toll have been subject also to reasonable downward revision (Bacon, Wheatcroft, Overmans, &c), but writers aren’t smeared, gagged or jailed for doing so.

            What might be more interesting to Archbishop Cranmer is whether the Holocaust and Israel of God’s “Chosen People” are gradually replacing the Crucifixion and Resurrection of God’s “Only Begotten Son” in public estimation and commemoration.

          • Ivan M

            Your view on these matters is similar to mine. Prof Davies gave a reasonable estimate of the Soviet POW death toll (2.8 millions) given the collapse of the Eastern Front in the first three months of Barbarossa. This figure is in the ballpark of that given by AI Solzhenitsyn in the Gulag Archipelago, and may even be an underestimate considering the total Soviet death toll of around 28 millions, as per Dr Vadim Birstein’s figure in his book SMERSH. It is a reasonable supposition to my admittedly paranoid mind that the actual reason for his denial of tenure, is that he had the temerity to suggest that the Jewish experience during WW11 was unique neither in intensity or in numbers.

            There is a hint that the cabal surrounding the Lipstadt character was involved. But no matter, the wheels of the gravy train are falling off faster than Lord Jenner could say ‘Alzheimer is my copilot’.

          • David Ashton

            I prefer not to get into any statistical debates whatever here. All democides are equally wrong whatever the precise number of innocent victims. There are those, of course, who think one democide is “more equal” than the others. Anyone interested in a data-based debate on That One should download the internet attacks on the “revisionist” Carlo Mattogno and judge the calibre of his replies on-line.

            As for important “religious” issues, such as “Where was God in Auschwitz?” (or afterwards) one might start with Paul Bogdanor’s website article “Shraga Elam and David Irving” and follow every lead. In my view, Irving’s own writings have been a curate’s egg, good “in parts”.

          • Ivan M

            While one gets the impression that David Irving would click his heels at the mention of Hitler, this does not in any way detract from the fact that he is an honest man. In his writings there is no attempt to deny whatever he finds in his researches. This to me is the bedrock foundation of the claim to be an historian – the respect he has for the facts as he found them – rather any interpretations and padding of the books, which anyone with a pen can do, as found in the writings of his adversaries.

          • David Ashton

            Avoiding the temptation to go into detail about Irving, whose documentary and personal research has been remarkable, I make only one serious criticism here, that he has not responded at all well to “Lying about Hitler” by Richard Evans. However, I do not run with the cowardly pack that has misrepresented him and promoted a trade boycott of his books. His studies on Goebbels, Churchill and the Hungarian Uprising are masterpieces of style at the very least.

          • Ivan M

            Irving has been promising a biography of Himmler. It would be interesting to see what material he has, as there is a tendency in his writings to push the bad stuff about the Nazis onto the heads of Goebbels and the SS, and away from Hitler.

            I am myself partial to the old rogue, Churchill, and so found the books on him heavy going. The book on the Hungarian Uprising is a stylish example of the method of illustrating the historical moment by a well chosen vignette.

          • David Ashton

            David Irving tends to avoid Hitler’s “driven” ideological antisemitism, as do “deniers” like Robert Faurisson and Carlo Mattogno, the implications of which were reflected in the conversation with Horthy in 1943 and in the authorized propaganda movie “Der ewige Jude” that depicts all Jews as incorrigible and verminous criminals.

            All three writers, however, along with Norman Finkelstein, have several different but serious points to make against the intellectual and political dominance of what Shraga Elam and other Jewish commentators identify as a quasi-religion. In particular, Christians are made to feel guilty about Nazism, and to make reparations by deference and in the case of Israel by donations.

            By his ruthless “extremism” Hitler succeeded in achieving the exact opposite of his ostensible objectives, the defeat of the Jewish elements he discerned in bolshevism, international finance and moral decadence, and the population growth of the German people and its creative elite in a secure living space.

          • Ivan M

            Hitler single handedly managed to discredit every element on the right who cared about their own people, country, fatherland and the patriarchy. He is the gift that keeps giving…

            I really don’t give a hill of beans about so called Holocaust deniers or the Holocaust priesthood. But I find myself rebelling against the thought control and thuggery, of the apostles of the correct narrative. Many who started out mildly questioning some small aspect of the narrative of the extermination of the Jews, end up as full-fledged deniers once they go through the wringer of continuous harassment by the hyper-Zionists and their minions.

            The above mentioned Faurrison was imprisoned by the Nazis for his wartime activities in France at Dora. He claimed that there were no gas chambers at Dora, which as it turns out is true. Dora was a death camp specifically devoted to supporting the Nazi V1 and V2 programs, it however had no gas chambers. For telling this truth, Faurrison had his head bashed in by Jewish thugs. This is how most so-called Holocaust deniers receive their start. That, the truth is no defense seems to becoming an accepted principle in certain jurisdictions, a principle that when associated with the Stalinist show trials evokes the proper Pavlovian gasps of horror. Its latter day incarnations can be traced to the special deference shown to the casuistry and bathos surrounding the Holocaust.

          • David Ashton

            I agree with most of what you say, but you have accidentally confused Robert Faurisson with Paul Rassinier.

          • David Ashton

            My brief reply is not here but can be found on the Disqus archive.

          • David Ashton

            If I want a laugh I am quite happy with Jackie Mason, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld or even Ayelet the Kosher Comedian, and would recommend you lighten up by reading Michael Winner’s joke book, or even Gilad Atzmon’s recent A to Z. Shalom Aleichem to you too.

          • Anton

            He did a lot more than not share the Christian Zionist view of Israel. I take the Christian Zionist point of view (and am willing to argue it from either Testament) but I have friends who are Christian anti-Zionists too; we get on fine. Sizer was, however, gradually getting wilder and wilder on that side of the fence, to the point of causing offence not just to those with opposed views but to regular folk. Such speech should not be illegal (please note, Mr Cameron), but it is most certainly a matter for church discipline to be applied – as it was.

          • David Ashton

            I don’t know or much care about the 9/11 “truths”, except that I have seen the video of the collapse of that tower and heard the statement of its owner. It is not unreasonable to ask questions and accept credible answers. The virtual “house arrest” of Sizer and the prohibition against another word on the history of the Middle East, of course, is no argument against a Zionist “conspiracy”.

          • David Ashton

            My reply is not here.

  • len

    Christianity (or should I say ‘Christianity as a religion ) seems to be coming to the top of its trajectory and is now starting to descend.
    Christianity( in its religious form) became paganized Centuries ago and now those who escaped this form of Christianity (described by God as’ the harlot ‘ because it sold its body for a price) into the Reformation seem to have finally succumbed to the downward spiritual forces pulling them into apostasy.The buzz word now amongst the apostate church is’ unity'(at any cost)
    Deception in the Church is rife indeed to think oneself saved by their religion is probably the worst form of deception.
    So what`s the answer?.
    Get a bible, study the Word and asked God for wisdom to deal with what is happening to the church and the World.
    ” If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”(James 1:5)

    • TimeForTea

      Amen! And we have the best teacher going in order to study The Word “…the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things…” Who needs a building with a man (or woman) stood up the front when we have Him?!!

      • Dominic Stockford

        a man, and in fact God’s Word encourages Christians not to miss out on the weekly gathering of believers. So we do want ‘a building’ with ‘a man’ up front, thank you very much.

  • Owl

    The problem(s) seems to stem from rationalisation.
    There seems to be a compulsion to view theology/God as a scientific variant which we will explain correctly as soon as our top scientific brains have figured it out.
    We will prove/disprove divinity of Jesus, we will prove/disprove the nature/existence of God, we will prove/disprove the Virgin birth, etc. etc.
    The trouble is that the relationship between God and mankind (which includes. of course, all women) doesn’t seem to operate on this level at all.
    Perhaps we not not only “looking through a glass darkly”, but looking in the wrong direction entirely.
    I often wonder if God laughs.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Owl, I can guarantee that our “top scientific brains” will never figure it out. Science presumes that evrything about the universe, about our existance, is amenable to measurement, observation, and human comprehension. That is of course a lot of very big assumptions. When I look at the way some scientific theories come and go (look at what is happening to the “Big Bang” theory), I believe we actually understand very little, and somethings may always be beyond the comprehension of that clump of grey matter we keep in our skulls.

      • Owl

        PI, I agree.
        Williams James did an excellent Job with his “Varieties of Religious Experieces” lectures. He reported what was seen to happen (scientific) without trying to apply science to the “why it happened” question.
        We are limited by our senses. When something happens which defy our senses, we are at a loss. Some of us can accept this and some cannot.
        Who guides us when we deny the existence of a guide but badly need one?

  • not a machine

    Your grace chooses something of the problems of the early church and the roman catholic rites success until Luther had a few questions , and it is a complex study which you are not asking for comment upon in this post.
    However despite the interesting New Zealand prayer book I beg to differ and offer a rather robust catholic response , in that any CofE clergy who read your blog will know the words of their initiation “that they hold true to the teachings of the cannon of the church of England” , now of course this incendiary of God the mother is perhaps another little step/nudge along the path of changing a great many things in the cannon. I wonder how the mouth pieces for this would respond to “but the representation of God the father was the most precious and beneficial thing to the people and families that used to inhabit our churches ? indeed one only needs to consider how many grave stones are inscribed with this understanding , to see how utterly ignorant this move by some women in the CofE is . I assume these women became clergy as vocation of god (the father) and not as this seems to portray as obsessed with changing something , the evidence for which in meaning , so transferred down through the millennia (Ill just make that point again in case you missed it, millennia….) into something of new meaning that changes the bible from beginning to end , the only scripture being assured of is that recorded in the first person , which is a bit limiting of the sisters of change without good reason.
    I pity them, for all those women who had answered prayer by praying to god the father , or Jesus the son, how can they claim what they claim theologically , other than by intellectual repositioning of there own interpretation , based upon questionable things, as scripture does have god the Father .
    I have to bow to his graces understanding of things but isn’t the role of a Bishop to ensure no unsound teaching is espoused ??.
    I rest my case

    • Darter Noster

      “isn’t the role of a Bishop to ensure no unsound teaching is espoused ??.”
      Yes, it is. However a conscious decision was made in the early 1920s, in order to avoid trouble and schism, that Modernism was to be accepted as valid alongside Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and the traditional Broad Church. Since this Modernist scholarship challenged every aspect of established doctrine and tradition (great for scholars; terrible for a Church), the process of admitting ordained clergy who effectively believed in the total reinterpretation of doctrine and tradition to fit in with modern society began.

      This was less disastrous until the 1960s, whilst much of British society was basically Christian. From the early 1960s it produced a catastrophe in doctrine, as Modernist Bishops, Clergy and Senior lay officials like John Robinson, John Spong, Don Cupitt, Maurice Wiles and David Jenkins managed to turn Anglicanism into a truth-free cluster-f**k by the early 80s. As an example, Maurice Wiles, the Chairman (!!!!!) of the Church of England Doctrine Commission, made a major contribution to a book called “The Myth of God Incarnate”.

      It continues. In 2002 a survey of 2000 CoE clergy out 10,000 found that only half believed Christianity was the only path to salvation.

      • not a machine

        Didn’t know that Darter Noster thank you , my upset with bishops who allow this may be legally done then , however what about in reference to the cannon , that does have father son and holy ghost , no getting away from what your being ordained into and agree with ??

        • Darter Noster

          “I, A B, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorized or allowed by Canon.”
          This is the declaration of assent which all Church of England clergy have to make to be ordained. Note “bear witness”; this wording could mean absolutely anything, and opens the door to in all good conscience interpreting Scripture, creeds, formularies and liturgy in just about any way you see fit, as indeed it was expressly designed to do.

          • magnolia

            To me those words are absolutely clear. You have to be downright dishonest to claim you are bearing witness to something you don’t believe in. Don’t blame the words for the shameless liars.

          • Darter Noster

            I share your sentiments Magnolia, but then I’m not an Anglican Canon Lawyer whose one and only interest was in making sure there could never again be a Church of England heresy trial. Those words, combined with other documents like the 1930s Doctrine Commission report, were part of a process intentionally designed to prevent CoE clergy of any theological school being done for heresy. From the 1850s to the 1930s the Church of England was rocked by such massive doctrinal disagreements that the only way to prevent total collapse of the state Church (which meant something then) was a complete abdication of any standard of doctrinal truth. The RC church got papal infallibility; the CoE got total surrender.

          • not a machine

            interesting Darter Noster I actually asked a bishop about the holy spirit and he declined to answer me as he said he was moderator of the course I was on ? I can also tell you that I was failed because I purported the Anglo Catholic faith in my dissitations and get this “I was not invited to attend the second half of the course” . so positive discrimination for upholding the catholic faith as so in the cannon , strange times eh

          • Linus

            If you were denied a doctorate, your work wasn’t up to the required standard. Trying to blame your failure on examiners with a liberal agenda is a cop-out typical of religious academics with an axe to grind. It has to have been someone’s fault and can’t possibly have been yours (being as God is so clearly on your side and all…), so it must have been the examiners, eh?

            “Infamy!” did you cry? “Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!”

          • Anton

            Linus, have you a doctorate? I have (albeit in physics) and I can assure you from colleagues I know on the arts side that things like that go on.

          • Darter Noster

            Thank you Anton. The late, great Bishop and Professor Stephen Sykes, with whom I had extensive discussions before he passed away, had his prophetic 1970s work “The Integrity of Anglicanism” rejected by the Anglican establishment, when he argued that the Church of England was tolerating its way to potential disaster.

            Worst of all was what happened to Canon Gareth Bennett in the 1980s: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/09/world/oxford-theologian-tied-to-criticism-of-prelate-is-found-dead.html

            Anyone who claims Anglicanism needs some form of doctrinal truth is rejected on the basis that such truth claims are intrinsically un-Anglican.

          • Anton

            I didn’t know that about Stephen Ely (as I knew him as when he was bishop of the diocese I lived in during my Anglican days); nor that he died last year. May he rest in peace.

          • Darter Noster

            Ooh Linus, we are a bitter little Frenchman aren’t we?

            What happened sweetie? Did someone nasty say Dien Bien Phu?

          • Linus

            I thought so…

            And perhaps that’s the kind of attitude that contributed to your failure to secure what is, after all, a very adult qualification.

            They don’t give doctorates to petulant children, you know.

            They do give them to adults capable of taking criticism of their thesis on the chin and defending it in a calm, mature and coherent fashion.

            Perhaps it was the hissy fit you threw when these “liberal” examiners dared to question your perfect and infallible arguments (in your head, at least) that cost you those precious post-nominal letters. Try again when you’ve grown up and see what happens.

          • Darter Noster

            Crikey, must have been Algeria.

            Sticks and Stones Linus… :o)

            Ciao.

        • The Explorer

          On ‘The Big Questions’ last Sunday there was a vicar who said he was an atheist, and had been an atheist at the time of being ordained.
          The obvious question of why he wanted to be a vicar would lead you into deep waters of explanation. Also known as sophistry.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Oh my! The CofE is really in self-destruct mode. They told us that allowing women to become bishops would do no harm, only good. I thonk someone was telling us porkies.

    The main question that goes through my mind is Why? What do these women think they are bringing to Christianity by asserting that God is female? This has nothing to do with theology of course. It is about feminism, and for the feminist, feminism trumps all other beliefs. There can be no other reason. As I’ve said elsewhere, the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum. Now watch the congregations dwindle even faster, and don’t expect them to be replaced by feministo-liberals. Even they can smell BS. This man for a start will not darken the door of any Anglican Church where we have to say “Our Mother, who art in Heaven…”

    Does anybody know what Archbishop Welby has to say on this weighty matter? If so, I would like to know. Is he content to let this apostasy happen? The mind boggles at what will happen when we get our first Archfeminist of Cantebury. All-women services? A re-write of the Bible?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Look at the harm wreaked in the PCA by Schoori if you want to see what is coming the way of the CofE.

  • preacher

    Basically this is all New Age teaching, many years ago it was on the outside looking in. Events like the ‘Festival of Mind, Body & Spirit were the shop windows for the spiritual shopper to search in & attempt to find a made to measure religious suit that would fit all his or her mystical needs, without accepting the true nature of God as a loving but just Creator.

    These exhibitions faded out some time ago & when I asked a Christian friend what had happened to them, he informed me that they were no longer deemed necessary, as the New Age was now growing in the Church.

    Sam’s comments earlier show a total New Age Pagan set of rituals, a pick & mix of all religions, mostly based on Eastern mindsets of which many of the Hippie folks got mixed up in decades ago trekking to India to join free sex & pot Ashrams run by dodgy ‘Gurus’.

    What we are seeing today is the new model, re-branded version of the movement. One sign is the prominent promotion of the ‘Earth Mother’ (Gaia, also called by other names depending on the origin of the group).
    Another give away is the disturbing scenes of ‘Charismatic’ Churches who are encouraging believers to bark like dogs, jerk uncontrollably & all manner of other displays of spiritual deception, many with an Eastern flavour.

    I could say more, but now is not the time or the place. Suffice to say that this is not of the God of the Bible, but a deception by the devil because the Church has failed to preach the true gospel, live it & breathe it, the softly softly edited version has failed in so many congregations. Ministers have to face their responsibilities to their flocks & to those lost souls who are seeking answers. Second best is not good enough.
    I would also like to ask an honest question of all of us who bear the name of Christians – Do you believe in a judgement day as your Bibles teach ? a literal Heaven & Hell as it also teaches ? Do you really believe that it mattered so much to God that He entered His own creation to face hatred, ridicule & an agonising death to save Millions of lost souls from having to face His Justice ? Be honest with yourselves ! If the answer is yes to the above & that was what it took for God to save Mankind, shouldn’t we be doing more to tell them ? .

    • Dominic Stockford

      “…the Church has failed to preach the true gospel, live it & breathe it…”

      No, not all of it has. Just the CofE, the CofR, the URC, the LBU, the EBU, the…..

      Oh, I give up, there’s too many of them. But there are still some of us faithful out here you know.

      • preacher

        I know that Dominic, Thank God for the remnant ! & the same applies to all the others who know, serve & love the Lord unconditionally.

      • Phil R

        Church in Wales

        Definitely, with a very few exceptions.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I’m not sure which you think they do? From what I know I know what they don’t do, much if at all.

          • Anton

            They write good poetry, if RS Thomas is anything to go by.

          • Phil R

            No I was agreeing with you.

            The CinW does not preach the Gospel, but there are exceptions and green shoots growing that do not follow “teachings” of Marxist Bishop Barry Morgan.

            Look at the face in the picture, it tells you everything you need to know about the guy.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Morgan

          • Dominic Stockford

            A bit harsh, the picture judgement 😉 – my eye was caught by his predecessor, which tells you all anyone needs to know.

          • Phil R

            The Pagan Druid as head of the CinW

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I wonder how long before holy Communion is replaced by “pass the joint”. I’m not being facetious either.

      • preacher

        It’s already happening symbolically go to You tube ‘Toking the Holy Ghost’ brother, make sure you’re sitting down & there’s nothing you can whack the screen with !.

      • Pubcrawler

        The Rastafarians are way ahead in the sacramental use of cannabis.

      • stewball

        You made me lol.

  • Inspector General

    One has always avoided rendering gender on the Almighty. Always been conscious of the human lack of ability to really grasp the concept of God, you see. Not for everyone, mind, as it could well lead to steam coming from people’s heads, so others can refer to God in the masculine. And why not? We attribute to God the construction of what we know as, and what we know of, the universe.

    Feminists who fume at this stage might want to consider that all construction is the result of men’s efforts, with little or no female input. Indeed, the room they will be fuming in is a perfect example of that. But of course, what point in construction if there be no life around to appreciate it, so we have God’s ‘other side’ as we need to have it in our limitation, to wit, ‘Mother Nature’. Or God as the giver of life, no less.

    Interestingly, one has never heard of a feminist initiative to refer to ‘Father Nature’ 50% of the time. One doeth suspect that the indignant ladies are all for keeping Mother Nature in her entirety on their side. And do you know what, us men and relaxed women couldn’t give a fig about that. It would be silly to oppose these long standing conventions…

    • Uncle Brian

      Interestingly, one has never heard of a feminist initiative to refer to ‘Father Nature’ 50% of the time.
      Or also, 50% of the time, to refer to Satan as “the Mother of lies”?

      • Inspector General

        Good point Brian. By the way, one’s reference to ‘relaxed’ women should in no way be seen as a reference to ‘dilated’ women…

        {Ahem}

        • dannybhoy

          You are incorrigible.

          • Inspector General

            It is said that dilated women are the best, Danny, but one could not comment on that…

          • michaelkx

            well if you are going to agree to SSM ( the C of E did by its silence at the time of the voting for it.) you might as well go the whole hog and say we are doing it for those of a homosexual persuasion.

          • stewball

            Depends if they’re giving birth at the time.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Moloch, now there’s an evil name to conjure with…

    • not a machine

      mmm revelation of st John seems to remember baalam

    • sarky

      All that child sacrifice, vile.

      Abraham anybody?

      • dannybhoy

        Did he actually sacrifice Isaac Sarky?

        • sarky

          No, but he would of. Sick.

          • dannybhoy

            Aaah..
            Fortunately you were there.
            How comforting.

          • sarky

            Well if he wouldn’t of, the story becomes pointless.

          • dannybhoy

            To equate Abraham’s act of obedience to a God he Abraham knew to be holy and compassionate with an evil demonic religion that demanded the burning of little children makes no sense Sarky.

          • sarky

            But didn’t god demand the sacrifice of isaac?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Genesis 22:8 and 22:14 are the two keys – while he did indeed ask, Abraham believed all along that God would provide another sacrifice – which He did.

          • sarky

            So what was the point then?

            Why didn’t Abraham say to god ‘look, I know your not going to get me to go through with this so let’s cut to the chase’

            Would have cut out all the psychological harm caused to his son in thinking his dad was going to slaughter him.

          • The event, missed by our Jewish brethren, is that it foreshadowed Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary. Isaac obeyed and carried the wood to the alter for his own sacrifice, and did not doubt his father’s love. Abraham, through faith, trusted God.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said that little orange man with the quaker style hat..

          • sarky

            I prefer the jewish version.

          • Well of course you do.

          • Ivan M

            Isaac carrying the wood of his sacrifice, Jesus finished off with with the tools of his carpentry trade. This is mind-blowing stuff.

          • dannybhoy

            Genesis 22..
            After these things, God tested Avraham. He said to him, “Avraham!” and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Yitz’chak; and go to the land of Moriyah. There you are to offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will point out to you*.”
            (*incidentally now thought to be the Dome of the Rock)

            After what things Sarky? Look at the preceding chapter…

            15 The angel of Adonai called to Avraham a second time out of heaven. 16 He said, “I have sworn by myself — says Adonai — that because you have done this, because you haven’t withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will most certainly bless you; and I will most certainly increase your descendants to as many as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will possess the cities of their enemies, 18 and by your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed — because you obeyed my order.”

            and Genesis 18..

            17 ” Adonai said, “Should I hide from Avraham what I am about to do, 18 inasmuch as Avraham is sure to become a great and strong nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by him? 19 For I have made myself known to him, so that he will give orders to his children and to his household after him to keep the way of Adonai and to do what is right and just, so that Adonai may bring about for Avraham what he has promised him.”

            And finally chapter 12..
            12 “Now Adonai said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. 3 I
            will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you;and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

            It’s all about a relationship and a calling Sarky. God found Avram as he was originally named, and told him that he would become the father of a great nation..
            Avraham obeyed God because he trusted in God’s revealed character.
            Later on down the centuries Job would say,
            ” Yea though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…”

            God is a God who can be trusted, who only wants good for us, not evil, and He can bring good out of our bad if we invite Him into our lives..

          • Dude

            This is a reasonable treatment from a Jewish perspective on the subject :

            http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation4.html

            If you can’t be arsed to follow the link, this bit is worth reading :

            “The text reads that Abraham should ‘offer him there for a burnt offering’. It does not read that Gd told Abraham to kill him for a burnt offering!

            The original Hebrew is actually even clearer on this issue. The Hebrew reads, ‘v’ha-ah-ley-hu sham l’o-lah.’ It translates as, ‘Raise him up there FOR a sacrifice.’ The text does not say that Gd demanded Isaac to BE a sacrifice, but rather only that he should be raised up for one.

            Furthermore, a close reading of the text tells us that this was a test, and that Abraham did not pass it. What is the test to which Abraham is being put? Gd wants Abraham to tell Gd, ‘NO! I WON’T DO IT!’ Abraham had just defended people he did not know in Sodom and Gemorrah. So Gd’s test of Abraham is whether or not he would defend his own family as vigorously as he had defended strangers. Like many of us, he did not. He flunked. Many of us, for example, will talk sweetly to a voice on the phone, get off the phone, and then speak disrespectfully to our kids or our spouse, treating others, even strangers, better than we treat those we love.

            When the test is first put before Abraham, the day before he actually takes the knife, preparing to kill his own son, Gd speaks to him directly:

            And it came to pass after these things, that Gd did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. [Genesis 22:1-2]

            Please not that it is Gd speaking directly to Abraham, and not an angel of Gd. However, after he takes hold of the knife, it is only an Angel of Gd who speaks to Abraham:

            And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the Angel of the Etrnl called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. [Genesis 22:10-11]

            And then later it is still only an Angel of Gd who speaks to Abraham:

            And the Angel of the Etrnl called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time…[Genesis 22:15]

            As a matter of fact, Gd never spoke directly to Abraham again. From the very moment that Abraham demonstrated his willingness to actually kill his son, Gd never again spoke directly to Abraham.

            Note also that the promises of the Angel of Gd to Abraham are nothing new, they are only reiterating what Gd, directly, had already promised to him (cf. Gen. 12:2, 12:3, 12:7, 13:15, 13:16, 13:17, 15:1, 15:5, 15:7, 15:14, 15:18, 17:2, 17:4, 17:6, 17:8, 17:16). It is as if Gd was saying to the Angel, ‘I am through with him. Pat him on the head because he thinks he did right, remind him of his reward for his previous faith, but I am done with him!’

            You see, Gd had already told Abraham His covenant would go through Isaac. Gd wanted Abraham to say, ‘Wait a minute, You, Gd, are now going against Your own word!’ Gd knows that we are always closer to those we will argue with, than with those we will not.

            When person does wrong, who are you more likely to admonish: someone you know, or someone you do not know?

            Gd wants us to be that close to Gd. Gd wants us to be like Abraham, who was willing to argue with Gd regarding strangers in Sodom and Gemorrah. Gd wants us to be as close to Gd as Moses was, indicated by the fact that Moses argued with Gd — repeatedly — on behalf of the People of Israel. Gd wants us to be like Job, who felt so close to Gd that he could argue with Gd for justice. We can argue with Gd like true close friends can argue with each other, because Gd is truly our Closest Friend. Abraham flunked Gd’s test, and so Gd never spoke to Abraham directly again.

            Note also the true meaning of the word, ‘Israel,’ which is ‘One who wrestles with Gd.’ We are not to be blind followers (the word ‘Christian’ means ‘follower of the Christ’), and we are not to merely submit to Gd (‘Islam’ means ‘voluntary submission to Gd.’ A Muslim is one who submits to Gd).

            We Jews are to be wrestlers with Gd, like True Friends can do with each other. THAT is how close Gd wants us to be with Him.’

          • dannybhoy

            Shmu’el.
            Not so fast Pedro!
            Complete Jewish Bible..

            2 (vii) After these things, God tested Avraham. He said to him, “Avraham!” and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Yitz’chak; and go to the land of Moriyah. There you are to offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will point out to you.”

            and then..
            11 “But the angel of Adonai called to him out of heaven: “Avraham? Avraham!” He answered, “Here I am.” 12 He
            said, “Don’t lay your hand on the boy! Don’t do anything to him! For now I know that you are a man who fears God, because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

            Incidentally the angel of Adonai does not say “because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from the Lord.”
            he says, “from me..”

            Lastly,
            “You see, Gd had already told Abraham His covenant would go through Isaac. Gd wanted Abraham to say, ‘Wait a minute, You, Gd, are now going against Your own word!’ Gd knows that we are always closer to those we will argue with, than with those we will not…”

            But on Genesis 21 it says
            11 Avraham became very distressed over this matter of his son. 12 But God said to Avraham, “Don’t be distressed because of the boy and your slave-girl. Listen to everything Sarah says to you, because it is your descendants through Yitz’chak who will be counted. 13 But I will also make a nation from the son of the slave-girl, since he is descended from you.”

            So maybe Avraham didn’t need to argue with God? Maybe he knew in his heart that God would fulfil His promises, so Avraham was content to be obedient?

            On to Isaac/ Yitzhak..
            Genesis 26
            23 From there Yitz’chak went up to Be’er-Sheva. 24 Adonai
            appeared to him that same night and said, “I am the God of Avraham your father. Don’t be afraid, because I am with you; I will bless you and increase your descendants

            for the sake of my servant Avraham.(!)”

            25 There he built an altar and called on the name of Adonai. He pitched his tent there, and there Yitz’chak’s servants dug a well…

          • Let me be clear, I don’t like to debate the Christian / Jewish interpretations. I’m happy to offer Jewish views but my Rabbi said not to debate these matters, so I submit to that wisdom and authority. I offered a (one of the ) Jewish view for sarkey. It wasn’t intended for or to start a Jewish/ Christian debate.

          • IanCad

            “—my Rabbi said not to debate these matters,–“
            Now; where else have I heard something like that?

          • Avi B said that. So did a rebbe and a rabbi to me. Good enough for me.

          • IanCad

            No, No, Sam. I was alluding to the Catholic priesthood who held their followers under similar constraints.

          • Anton

            Who mentioned the New Testament? It’s purely an exegetical discussion about the Book of Genesis. But it takes consenting adults, and if you don’t wish to discuss it further then I wish you well.

          • I didn’t mention new testament, I mentioned Christian and Jewish interpretations of the Jewish Torah. (Although you guys have a habit of finding Jesus and the justification of the new testament, quicker in our Torah than a Mexican phone book).

          • Anton

            I find it difficult to believe that what you call the Christian interpretation of the episode was never proposed before people started following Jesus of Nazareth.

          • Just for clarity , I said interpretations , not the interpretation .

          • sarky

            ‘Quicker than jesus in a Mexican phone book’ – love it!! :-):-):-)

          • stewball

            LOL

          • dannybhoy

            So oooooold! Shmu’elik. You gotta learn some new (non derogatory) Christian jokes.

          • David Ashton

            Jokes about Jews, Jewry or Judaism are anti-Semitic, so only jokes about non-Jews are allowed.

          • dannybhoy

            Don’t follow your reasoning. In my book anti semitism is something done or said or insinuated with malice. With the deliberate intention of hurting or insulting one who is Jewish.
            My concern is that as befits a Christian blog our language remains wholesome without being crude and without swearing.

          • David Ashton

            If only everyone shared your sensible view! Would opposition to settlements in the West Bank, or RSPCA views on religious cattle slaughter, or demythologizing Genesis & Exodus, or genuine questions about 9/11, or a humorous response to being described as a ridiculous poltroon by a Jewish commentator on this website, count as ipso facto malicious?

          • dannybhoy

            Ideally people should develop a warm and appreciative relationship built on respect for each other, before they tackle the contentious issues.

          • David Ashton

            In personal relationships and direct encounters this is an admirable general rule. But in some historical matters where political interests are involved, it is not so easy or indeed possible, but one should not shirk controversy so long as one’s motives are honest, research as objective and as thorough as possible, and accompanied by a readiness to qualify, change or retract a conclusion on the presentation of a better case. An important example of a contentious issue would be the meaning of and evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely.
            Life is tough – even for the well meaning…
            In some cases your personal understanding of a controversy has no value for those who are living in it.
            Serious problems will develop and somehow paralyse rational thought.
            So be slow to condemn and quick to recognise your own limitations..

          • stewball

            You’re not waiting are you David?

          • stewball

            You’ve justcome in to spoil a pleasant discussion. Why?

          • David Ashton

            I came in to comment on the transgender op on Yahweh by mad Anglican “feminists” and then to defend the free speech of an Anglican clergyman. Why did you join the discussion?

          • stewball

            Don’t be childish David. Some Jewish jokes arevery funny

          • David Ashton

            My original reply disappeared. Some Jewish jokes are very funny indeed (so long as Jews make them). I think we’d better leave Max Miller’s unforgettable naked lady on the mountain out of it, though. I have written an article on Jesus as a humorist.

          • Hi

            Yes it’s a pity we couldn’t have a good old natter round Torah, Talmud , midrash and the medieval Jewish sages view on this one. But I agree with sam on his reluctance to participate in such stuff. As for me , I’ve given up discussions with Christians re theology.

          • stewball

            Good for you.

          • Also the complete Jewish bible is a Christian translation of Jewish scriptures used by messianic Jewish Christians ….

          • dannybhoy

            Huh! I didn’t know that Hannah. I just looked it up.

          • Hi Danny

            oh lots of different ones. But I thought the king James version was the translation evangelicals use? I remember received a pointlessly long essay from some one from America about this….

          • dannybhoy

            We read all kinds of versions and look for the ones which are as true to the text as currently possible and remain easy to read. The point is not to reinforce our own ‘prejudices’ but to try and get to what was in the original writing. We think the Scriptures can stand without any help from us. The real bones of contention are the mistakes made in copying/translating, and the nikudot which weren’t in the original scripts…
            “Writing the Torah. Who composed the original Torah? How is a scroll written today? Is our current text accurate?”
            http://www.aish.com/jl/b/bb/48936097.html

            I have a Hebrew Tenach in classical Hebrew and English, given me after finishing my kibbutz ulpan 1970. (So I checked Shmue’lik’s rendition of Avraham and Yitzhak and mount Moriah)
            I have a new English Standard Version, a New International Version and a Good News version. If I want to check other versions I can go online..

          • dannybhoy

            Okay, I found another one (Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi commentary.)
            http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8213/jewish/Chapter-18.htm
            I shall use this one in future!

          • stewball

            What? Scratching head.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m glad you “said that Shmu’el because in truth this is not the forum for theological wrestling between friends..” ;0)
            -Which we are.
            I would never want to fall out with a fellow Christian or a Jew over an interpretation of Scripture.
            I used to as a younger aggressive man, because I liked arguing; and winning the argument was more important than keeping the relationship.
            Now I realise that a person is answerable to God for what they believe and practice. I am responsible for prayerfully reading the Scriptures for myself, listening to and learning from others more learned than myself, and as you say ‘wrestling’ to get at the best, most logical, most faithful understanding of what is written.
            I do agree with Anton’s point though, that the Written Law (Torah), is revered by both Jews and Christians as the word of God.
            To accord the Oral Law the same authority, so that it may end up neutralizing the clearly intended meaning of the written word of Torah, could lead one to a different conclusion…. :0)

          • Dude

            Thanks for the reply. Perhaps to elaborate further :

            For me it’s about the purpose of the discussion or debate. When I do so with my study partner, it is to learn and grow in faith and understanding. Except here, it’s all about winning and being saved. And being automatically wrong (see len above).

            Also as you say , you don’t give much (if any) authority to our oral Torah , Talmud or the Midrash, which are ways we look at the world so it’s not the same playing field in an ecumenical setting so to speak.

          • dannybhoy

            Shmu’elik,
            You’re Jewish and have been brought up in that faith, and then the particular branch or flavour of Judaism of your Sephardi roots.
            Which I totally respect, even if I (obviously) do not agree with the interpretations and conclusions.
            Suffice to say that I as a Christian recognise the Covenant relationship the Jews have to the Almighty, and that I can learn from them.
            I also believe that the return of the Jewish people is a significant step forward in God’s plan for His world, and that our role is to love people rather than try to argue them into our way of thinking…

          • Also I’m off on a blogging break for a bit, I’ve spent a bit too much time on here and the work is piling up….

          • stewball

            Can anybody tell me when Jesus converted to Christianity? I’ve never understood that bit.

          • David Ashton

            We meet again… Is there no escape?

            According to ancient Jewish tradition, Jesus was an evil pretender, who learned magic in Egypt to lead Israel astray and was hanged on the eve of the Passover.

            Modern writers of Jewish heritage have had a variety of views about Jesus – Joseph Klausner, Hyam Maccoby, Morton Smith, James Tabor, Geza Vermes, Robert Eisenman, and Old Rebbe Schneerson, and all. (Sung to the tune of Widecombe Fair.)

          • stewball

            Don’t be nasty David. It doesn’t suit you.
            That is no answer to a simple question.

          • David Ashton

            I thought you had a sense of humor.

            The problem with your question frankly is that, as it stands, it isn’t as simple as you think. Christianity did not exist before Jesus, so he couldn’t have converted to it.

            The questions are (a) whether Jesus departed from contemporary Judaism, and (b) if so how and why, or (c) whether he claimed to be a Messiah/Christ, or THE Messiah/Christ, or (d) whether he was mistakenly regarded as THE Christ, by his followers, during or after, or long after, his death, or (e) whether he was/is THE Christ in fact, or (f) if not, what was he in fact (a healer, preacher, prophet, revolutionary or something else, or some combination of one or more possibilities), or (g) whether he even existed, or is a myth.

            You will find scholarly books attempting to answer each and every question listed above.

          • stewball

            And I’m racing to read the books. I don’t have to. That’s what you’re here for.
            How dare the goyim pinch our revolutionary for their messiah.
            I do have a sense of humour but I’m never sure if you’re joking or not. I’m glad you were joking.

          • David Ashton

            My books on this subject, which has interested me since I was a little goy, are numerous, and it is not easy to recommend a fair limited sample that is both readable and representative.

            However, in my view a Jewish newcomer to New Testament documents might find most interesting, albeit just as a start, although all contested and controversial: Geza Vermes, “Christian Beginnings” (2013); James Tabor, “Paul and Jesus” (2013); Robert Price, “The Christ Myth Theory & Its Problems” (2011); & Jesus as a “revolutionary” by Ernst Bammel, the second chapter in E. Bammel & C.D.F. Moule (eds) “Jesus and the Politics of his Day” (1985).

          • stewball

            And see what’s cone from the nation of Ishmael. ISIS. Good old God.

          • dannybhoy

            You can’t blame Ishma’el for Islam or ISIS.
            Poor chap..

          • stewball

            Okay, I won’t just for you.

          • sarky

            Thanks Sam, that perspective makes sense of a story that never made sense before. How come jews get it but christians don’t?

          • Dude

            Good question, bur I can’t account for Christians.

          • sarky

            I think sometimes they can’t even account for themselves! !

          • Hi sarky

            Because the Torah was given to and meant for Jews to understand and follow and not gentiles . Also we also have the oral Torah , the debates of the sages and rabbis of the Talmud, the midrash and the scholarly opinion of many rabbis.(which are all dismissed by and large by Christians as made-up fictionalized work).

          • Anton

            No, we just don’t believe that the oral Torah is as authoritative as the Books of Moses, or given at the same time.

          • sarky

            Sounds about right 😉

          • stewball

            Who do they think make up stories.was Joseph really that naive s

          • stewball

            Jolly good question.

          • len

            God was obviously testing the Covenant He had with Abraham.
            It can be no coincidence that it was on mount Mariah that the testing of Abraham took place .
            It is not good to argue with God to the point that you miss salvation altogether?.

            However convincing your argument is presented it is wrong.

            http://www.templemount.org/moriah2.html

            Sarky get a bible (you obviously know a smattering of scripture enough to make negative comments but not enough to get saved) Bless you both.

          • stewball

            הללויה

          • magnolia

            Please edit the “of” to “have”!!!!

            We don’t know what he would or wouldn’t have done!!

          • sarky

            I think he would of! !

          • Agreed, he would have. The point being, that God had appeared to Abraham in an unequivocal manner. He had promised Abraham descendants thought Isaac, and proved Himself trustworthy and almighty. Abraham trusted that God would restore his son to him through resurrection. Abraham therefore behaved reasonably.That’s the whole point of God, He is not bound by the laws of physics.

            This is a singular story and it is in the Bible for a reason, as you would know if you did a little homework. The substitutionary ram which God provided to be sacrificed instead of Isaac represents Christ. The whole of New Testament salvational Christology rests on this point. Did you really not know that?

            For pity’s sake grow up. A lot of what you post here is the equivalent of dropping your trousers, bending over and giving the brown eye.

      • The Explorer

        Isn’t the point of the Abraham story that God doesn’t require child sacrifice?

        • sarky

          I thought it was about obedience?

          Am I the only one who thinks it’s totally messed up?

          god could have got Abraham to walk on hot coals or do the ice bucket challenge, but no, he wanted him to kill his kid, then at the last minute said ‘nah only joking’.
          Like I said, messed up.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Yes, about obedience, and no about messed up. He was making the point that he doesn’t require the same kind of sacrifice of us that he is prepared to offer for us.

          • grutchyngfysch

            I think the theological crux, so to speak, comes when God provides the lamb Himself, or as we now understand, the Lamb, Himself.

        • Ivan M

          You know the Abraham in the Bible doesn’t exactly come across as a safe pair of hands. For instance I have wondered at his caddish behaviour in passing off his wife as his sister. Even Pharaoh was outraged, and that is something in terms of the narrative.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, Abraham is frequently dodgy. But who is driving the sacrifice of Isaac: Abraham or God?

          • Ivan M

            The brutality of God in relation to the sacrifice of Isaac, is vitiated only by it being an anticipation of the sacrifice of the Son on the Cross. But this makes sense only in terms of the Christian history of salvation. So in that term, horrific as the ordeal of Abraham and Isaac would have been, it is only to indicate the greater horror, of the Son separated from the Father. But that works only if you are a Christian.

            Otherwise it is just another grim horror story with an acceptable ending. So yes it is God driving it, if you are a Christian. The rest is rubbish.

          • The Explorer

            If you are not a Christian, then the crucifixion is another grim horror story. Michael Palin said something to that effect when the Pythons were defending ‘Life of Brian’.

          • Ivan M

            One among many thousands as that was standard Roman practice. The circularity actually illuminates both the OT and NT, as diamond cut diamond, as we Indians would say; one reflecting the other. Not to vex your spirit, or to show off, but I got into the groove of this way of thinking by reading

            http://www.amazon.com/The-Great-Code-Bible-Literature/dp/0156027801

            by the late Northrop Frye some decades ago.

          • dannybhoy

            Abraham was a man. As brave and as fearful as most other men (myself included).
            Abimelech was a King (in the strictest ‘Divine Right of Kings’ tradition) and Pharaoh was well, a Pharaoh. Not a man you questioned or refused..

          • Ivan M

            Just to continue, please don’t take any offence. How does a commoner, maybe even a big commoner like Abraham, come to the attention of Pharaoh in the first place? The Pharaoh would have better things to do than to chase down everybody’s wife, having his eunuchs scouring the earth for languid dilatory maidens.

          • dannybhoy

            No offence taken, but if you actually read the Scriptures it tells you…

            Genesis 12.. (Complete Jewish Bible)

            9 “Then Avram traveled on, continuing toward the Negev. 10 But there was a famine in the land, so Avram went down into Egypt to stay there, because the famine in the land was severe.
            11 When he came close to Egypt and was about to enter, he said to Sarai his wife, “Here now, I know that you are a good-looking woman; 12 so that when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and kill me but keep you alive. 13 Please say that you are my sister, so that it will go well with me for your sake, and so that I will stay alive because of you.”

            (ii) 14 When Avram entered Egypt, the Egyptians did notice that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s princes saw her and commended her to Pharaoh, so the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 He treated Avram well for her sake, giving him sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female slaves, and camels….

          • Ivan M

            Thats true Danny. He did behave reasonably.

      • Ivan M

        Its part of the anthropology of the human race. It seems an accepted thing to do at that time. Not just you, but ! too am happy to be living in this era.

    • David Ashton

      Mammon too.

  • dannybhoy

    ” Not, this time, disputing the human-divine nature of Christ which led
    eventually to the Great Schism of 1054, but arguing over matters of
    human gender and sexual identity.”
    Such is the banality of the humanistic and pseudospiritual forces at work within the Church of England.
    The ‘broad’ church or perhaps more accurately in this instance the church of broads…
    The CofE has tried for so long to hold things together. To pay lip service to its spiritual calling whilst entertaining in its ranks those who really don’t believe.
    It can’t be done.
    We either stand on the revelation and authority of Scripture, or we become a department of Social Services with special responsibilities for food distribution and ministering to those who hear voices….

    • len

      ‘church of broads’….. a classic

    • Darter Noster

      “a department of Social Services with special responsibilities for food distribution and ministering to those who hear voices….”

      Yup, that’s the Church of England, or at least what its institutional leadership has made it during decades of systematic betrayal of anyone who tries to insist on truth and doctrinal clarity.

      • not a machine

        Strangely enough was listening to a piece on the future of the labour party on R4 and Tony Blair labour party speech was on , and I somehow couldn’t help but think he had in mind the CofE in that speech

    • Watchman

      Amen, brother. Apostasy in the church is prophecied as a phenomena of the last days. Has the hi-jacking of the foundations of faith ever been more evident, aggressive or determined?

    • Anton

      Have some sympathy for CoE clergy, for they are in an impossible position in an Established church in a society that has gone secular. Begging His Grace’s pardon, I have to say that the root of the problem is Establishment.

      • dannybhoy

        I have a great deal of sympathy for truly Christian clergy* who felt called by God to serve in the CofE. Our own vicar is such a man and we support him in every way that we can.
        The problem for the CofE is that it is stuck in the past administratively, bureaucratically and ceremonially. Its position as the established Church has increasingly shackled it to a cynical, unbelieving State that (imv) uses the Church for its own purposes.
        The Church is no longer free to speak up for the Gospel of Christ, so must content itself with utterances remarkably similar to those of progressive social workers and humanitarian ‘spokespersons.’
        Nothing wrong with either, but not much in common with Christianity.

        * by truly Christian clergy I mean those who actually believe in the faith and recognise that being a Christian involves more than being ‘a good person.’

  • Mike Stallard

    All very clever. Here in the sticks, I can tell you the result. Parish church of our little market town: deserted, but full of paper figures badly done representing various obscure people of religious origin. Vicar off somewhere unspecified due to urgent sickness. Local churches: run by women, for women and almost totally deserted too. When not “in use” all – without exception – are closely locked and protected by lots of “don’t” notices. Grass cut by Council.
    Just as, in South Africa, there are few white people in the ANC, so in the local C of E there are very few men. And therefore the kiddies stay away too. And therefore the wives stay away too. But – hey – there are loads of Grannies! (About four in our parish church on Sundays).

    • The Explorer

      That’s the trouble with experiments involving people. Airy predictions about the results often don’t match the reality. Don’t teach punctuation, and kids will pick it up automatically, is another case in point. So is Bobby Kennedy’s breezy optimism about the impact on the US of the 1965 Immigration Act.

    • dannybhoy

      I recognise that portrayal of a local church! Although in our location we do have a fair sprinkling of men of which small group I like to think of myself a member…. 🙂

    • Dominic Stockford

      In our (London) town we have four CofE congregations. 1 has a minister off, now for about 6 months, because his son is in a Mental Hospital. 2 has no minister and no congregation. 3 is a reclaim of an old previously closed building by a group which purports to be evangelical, but is in fact charismatic and as compromised as the others. 4 purports to be so full that it needs to expand its 17th century building, yet when someone we know went there he said it was half full – and they are now forcing all children who want to go to the CofE school to go twice a month to qualify (taking advantage of the minister at 1 being away to make a numbers grab).

      • sarky

        Forcing kids to church? What’s this the Christian taliban?

        • The Explorer

          Careful about using expressions like that. The Taliban won’t like it.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Ironically, it is only the parents who are forced to attend!

          My real query here would be about those doing the forcing, and questioning their claim to being Christian.

      • dannybhoy

        How very sad.
        The thing is though the CofE has a lot going for it. The reason we as evangelical non conformists attend our local church is because it is the local church. There is lots of talent and new ministries springing up under the umbrella of the CofE. I think it’s the more rural areas that are struggling, but I don’t think it has to stay that way. There are enough gifted and active people involved in outreach ministry to help some of the outlying failing churches.
        Personally your denomination isn’t as important as your relationship to God, but all denominations naturally have a tendency to be inward looking and think they’re the whole Church. They may assume that because the roof is falling in where they are, it must be so everywhere -and it isn’t. I believe the CofE has to get its priorities right , whether as individual churches or the whole shebang. Get the priorities right and God will start adding to them and building up the congregation.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Ah, but when the CofE has ministers of the Gospel who don’t know the Gospel (as in Biblical knowledge, understand, etcetera) then it stands no chance. What we have here are one bloke who likes jumping around a bit, one who loves being important, and one who pretends to be Roman.

  • len

    The Church as it stands seems to be an empty shell with memories of what once was.
    This is because God cannot condone the compromise done by man in His name…
    Return to Him and He will return to you….