Primates gathered 2
Church of England

Anglican Primates pronounce, but the Holy Spirit prevails

 

The media bulletins are full of ‘Episcopal Church suspended from the Anglican Communion‘, with a list of prohibitions and fulminations about ‘second class Anglicans‘, with Giles Fraser reminding us (again) of how ashamed he is of his church. There’s a lot of pained sentimentalism and an awful lot more sloppy journalism, often slicing out the most superficial soundbite to satisfy the victims with what passes as theological clarity. The Episcopal Church has manifestly not been suspended from the Anglican Communion. Dig around, and you’ll find some intelligent analysis of the Primates’ Statement (or the final one), with some discerning awareness of complex ecclesial dynamics. But not a lot.

This gathering of Anglican Primates was never convened as an ecumenical council to consider whether or not gay bishops may be appointed or same-sex marriage may be supported from Scripture. Had it been so, there would have been moral theologians and doctors of divinity delivering expert lectures to the Primates on the history of marriage and the nature of sexuality, and these expositions would have been considered in the light of tradition and experience, and prayed about, anguished over, meditated upon and truths discerned.

No, the gathering was to do with catholicity; with doctrinal decisions made by the Primates in communion, then breached by one province pleading prophetic and pioneering mission to the persecuted, leaving the rest of the Communion either to ponder its corporate error and repent, or to deliberate the consequences for the recalcitrant province of its self-righteous assertion of holiness. This was about the structure of ecclesial authority, not any issue of sexual morality. And in those structures there has to be order and discipline, or there can be no unity in the administration of mercy and justice.

This does not suit the media narrative, of course. Far easier to go with winners and losers; saints and hypocrites; true religion and counterfeits; with the pain and deep sorrow of LGBT communities versus the ignorant bigoted, hateful and homophobic African bishops whose rage has now infected the whole Anglican Communion and made it an instrument of oppression. As Bishop Alan Wilson explained on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (1.50):

If you go into your local church in England, you go to a place that’s probably very much more like a church in America actually than one in Uganda or Nigeria, and the betting is you’ll find love and tolerance, acceptance, you’ll be received as an equal. So the real church, the grassroots church, is actually in a very different place.

The inference is clear: there is no love, tolerance or acceptance to be found in those backward and barbarous Ugandan and Nigerian churches. The devil lurks therein. Whether that is a cultural truth for African homosexuals or a racist slur on black churches is for you to decide. But note how the Primates are cast as “ecclesiastical politicians”; the real church agrees with the Bishop of Buckingham who patently suffers and grieves with the persecuted and outcast: he is Christ; no aloof ecclesiastical politician, he.

What you read or hear nowhere is how 38 Anglican Primates gathered together in Canterbury in a spirit of love, openness and honesty, as apostles of the Church and ambassadors of the Faith. And 21 of these 38 had never been to any such gathering in their lives: there was an acute need for induction and facilitation as well as instruction in ecumenical history and pastoral controversy. There was also a need for wariness: it is easy for proficient wolves to lure wide-eyed lambs into making naive pontifications and staging dramatic walk-outs. As anyone knows (that is, anyone with the Christian humility to submit to one another and confess sin), when people are open and honest, there is hurt, pain and anguish. No one enjoys having their deepest flaws exposed and sifted by the Spirit of Truth. Where divisions are deep, there is distrust. Only with mutual submission and honesty can rifts be healed and trust regained.

If 33 out of 38 Anglican Primates supported (as they did) the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage, the Holy Spirit is present, and bishops may discern with one voice the apprehension of doctrine in catholic reception. That is how Christian doctrine adapts to culture: the truth is unchanging, but theology has to be applied in context. If those who demur reject the mechanism for discernment and the structural expression of unity, there are consequences. When the College of Cardinals convenes a consistory to elect a new pope, there is no need for unanimity in the electoral fray, but when a pope emerges by the will of the majority, the Holy Spirit is discerned and all submit to the corporate will. If they do not, there are consequences.

No province of the Anglican Communion has been sanctioned for its teaching on sexuality or the development of any unorthodox marriage liturgy. Neither The Episcopal Church of the USA nor the Anglican Church of Canada has been expelled from the Anglican Communion. Calls for their expulsion were defeated at the outset by majority vote: the will of the Holy Spirit was that all should walk together, talk together and weep together.

TEC and ACoC are simply being confronted by the consequences of their lack of consideration for catholicity. The division within the Communion is in the apprehension of the significance of that consequence. At every moment of crisis during the Canterbury quarrels, Justin Welby, as Primus inter Pares, pleaded and prayed, as Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no quarrel between me and between you and between my herdsmen and between your herdsmen, for we are brethren‘ (Gen 13:8). He called the 38 to vote (or 37 after Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda had walked out), and they did so. But manipulation is in the eye of the beholder: at all times, those who wished to walk were free to walk: there was no manipulation, coercion or unholy collusion to fabricate unanimity. As each vote was called, the will to continue in fellowship with the brethren was unanimous: GAFCON voted with TEC to walk side by side, talk face to face, and weep heart to heart. No mere man called Justin could have duped the judicious herdsmen to confect any kind of deal: it was a work of the Holy Spirit.

Doctrine is a matter for each province, but the Primates gather periodically to meditate deeply upon the prophetic role of the Church in the world. If a single province pushes a point too vigorously, consensus may be fractured and communion impaired. What is interesting about the final statement from this Primates’ Meeting is that there are expectations upon both sides of the current divide, with consequences for both in the event of disregard and indiscipline: TEC and ACoC are exhorted to reflect upon the consequences of departing from the catholic understanding of marriage; and certain African churches are exhorted to reflect upon the appalling consequences for LGBT people when prelates affirm political persecution based upon sexual orientation. Consider:

The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.

And:

The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.

Provinces which fail to heed these calls for mercy, justice, compassion and catholicity will face consequences. This may eventually mean Eucharistic separation, but speculation of what schism might occur in three years time is fruitless: Jesus taught us to let tomorrow take care of itself. For today, the Worldwide Anglican Communion is reconciled to walk and talk together as one family, as Jesus prayed: ‘That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me‘ (Jn 17:21). Unity is a work of the Holy Spirit: we may hurt one another, but we need to journey together as pilgrims, for the world hates us without any regard for the nuances of doctrinal division.

As for the Archbishop of Canterbury, he isn’t going anywhere. Justin Welby is in it for the long haul, because God called him to a mission of spiritual joy, and he isn’t a quitter. He knows the limitations of his authority and the fallibility of his humanity. His mind is clouded by desires and fears, and his language impaired by learning, custom and personal inclination. He has a temper, defects in education and imperfections in grace. As the Western world changes its apprehension of humanity, sexuality and marriage, it is his task to proclaim as best he can the doctrine of God to guide toward the light, incline toward Christ, minister to division and heal the hurt. God is love and God is kind. His love and kindness captivate the heart: we love God for His kindness in hearing (Ps 116:1), and Justin Welby’s task is to embody the symmetry of God’s smiles and frowns.

North America is in a place, and Africa is in a place. Some may advocate and hasten to advance the holiness of acrimony; others the peace of submission, humility and sweet declaration. Either way, we are called to a ministry of gospel truth, kindness and self-sacrifice; to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (Mic 6:8). This is our joy, spiritual delight and greatest pleasure.

  • Coniston

    ‘There’s a lot of pained sentimentalism and awful lot more sloppy journalism’. Yes, as shown in a leader in today’s Times newspaper.

  • dannybhoy

    There has been a lot in the news in the last few days about the unfairness of naming “the accused” until it has been proven that they are “the guilty.”
    Has the Anglican Primate missed a trick?

    • MenAreLikeWine

      Assuming you are correct and practicing homosexuality is is no more evil than the practice of adultery or any other sin listed in Scripture, doesn’t salvation require repentance?

      The whole issue here is that there is a call for the acceptance of sinners without repentance.

      • dannybhoy

        Of course.
        The problem is that the Anglican Communion has placed “Unity” over “Holiness unto the Lord”
        As the writer says..
        “No, the gathering was to do with catholicity; with doctrinal decisions made by the Primates in communion, then breached by one province pleading prophetic and pioneering mission to the persecuted, leaving the rest of the Communion either to ponder its corporate error and repent, or to deliberate the consequences for the recalcitrant province of its self-righteous assertion of holiness. This was about the structure of ecclesial authority, not any issue of sexual morality.
        And in those structures there has to be order and discipline, or there can be no unity in the administration of mercy and justice.”

        The point is that ecclesiastical authority is no longer founded on the revelation of Scripture, but on the shifting sands of political correctness.
        So on one hand we apologise to the LGBT community for ‘persecuting’ and sidelining them, and then ban the American Episocopalian Church for being too ‘liberal’.
        That’s the mess the Church has gotten itself into.

      • The Explorer

        The liberal comparison is not between homosexuality and adultery, but between homosexuality and racism. You do not need to repent your sexual orientation any more than you need to repent your ethnicity, and you are born with both. Where it becomes tricky for liberals is if the same argument is made about paedophilia. Being born with it is not enough to excuse it.

        • Merchantman

          You can’t be racially celibate but you can be a celibate homosexual. The two aren’t comparable just that the militant gay community goes to extreme lengths to twist the truth.

    • The problem is that same sex attraction arises because of a wrongly directed sexual urge that is inherently morally disordered. On the other hand, acts of adultery, whilst gravely sinful, flow from the improper expression of natural male-female sexual desire.

      The difference is significant.

      Legitimising same sex relationships involves approving a corrupted understanding of God’s Will for sexual relationships between men and women. No Christian approves of adultery or attempts to defend it as acceptable before God.

      • dannybhoy

        Interesting Jack, but in my view unhelpful.

        For example, apart from what the Scriptures say in the subject, my concern regarding (especially) militant homosexuality is its effects on children, the family and the stability of society. I fear a Pandora’s box has been opened and we will see a further degradation of morality in society.

        But as to the ‘flowing of improper expressions of sexual desire’ many homosexuals will say that they felt drawn to their own sex from an early age. We also know that not all homosexuals are aggressive or promiscuous. Now that still doesn’t make it right according to Scripture but it could be argued that some are faithful to their partner!
        I think it’s best to stick to thewhat our Bible says;

        “For there is no distinction:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom Godput forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
        Romans 3>

        • The Explorer

          The argument might be that adultery is wrong because it involves betrayal of a partner. So if two homosexuals marry and are faithful to one another, there’s nothing wrong with their relationship. It would be wrong only if one were unfaithful. That’s what Jack’s getting at.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack said, “the salient point is that sex is a gift from God intended to take place within a lifelong male-female relationship, be an expression of unselfish love directed at procreation.”
            I think the natural and anticipated outcome of male/female marriage is children because that is how He designed us.
            So I cannot see same sex marriage as having any validity, but in the context of society civil partnerships are acceptable. It’s where you bring children into the equation I have an even bigger problem because that is to distort God’s order for the family.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Even in the civil sphere, the matter of the children is perhaps the majoor sticking point, as very well brought out in this article:

            Racism Isn’t The Problem On Campus, Gender Insanity Is

            I am the sort of person that campus minority protesters at both Yale and Mizzou seem to be demanding more of. But I’m also under attack from the PC police.
             

        • A paedophile is drawn to children from a young age too. Nature and/or nurture makes errors, Danny.
          The salient point is that sex is a gift from God intended to take place within a lifelong male-female relationship, be an expression of unselfish love directed at procreation.
          Do you approve of faithful same sex relationships?

          • cacheton

            ‘intended to take place within a lifelong male-female relationship, be an expression of unselfish love directed at procreation.’

            How did you work that out?

          • The Explorer

            The survival of the species.

          • cacheton

            How is the survival of the species threatened by homosexuality?

          • It isn’t. Indirectly it separates sex and procreation. It promotes the message that the two are not inherently connected – just as contraception does. Same sex acts contradict God’s revealed Will in Scripture. They also go against the natural purposes of sex as reflected in the design of the human body.

          • cacheton

            Even if I agreed that they go against the natural purposes …. which I don’t …. so what? In another of your posts you yourself said there are other purposes such as pleasure and bonding etc

          • What could possibly be the natural purpose of fruitless and sterile same sex mutual masturbation? Pleasure? Bonding? Because such acts do not fulfil the purpose of procreation and our bodies are not intended for them, they are morally disordered. Pleasure and bonding are there to promote sex and procreation and also to preserve the life long marital relationship.

          • cacheton

            Yes. Therefore it is not fruitless.

            I suppose in your world bodies are not intended for solo masturbation either, the fact that it is possible and pleasurable is just – well – morally disordered??***!

          • Yes masturbation is contrary to God’s will and disordered.

          • cacheton

            ‘Disordered’ because of your belief that you know what god’s will is because you believe he wrote a book stating what his will is. I see.

          • Jack is a Christian Roman Catholic and believes scripture, as interpreted by Church teaching, is Truth.
            And you? You base your faith on what?

          • cacheton

            Experience, observation and logic. I’m not sure if that really qualifies as faith.

          • The Explorer

            It isn’t if homosexuality remains at around three per cent. It would be if homosexuality rose to around fifty per cent. Feminism urging women not to have kids is a much bigger threat than homosexuality since far greater numbers are involved. The message has worked. Our population has fallen below replacement level. That’s why we need immigrants. And immigrants still breed. That’s why the population of Europe will look so different in the future.

          • Anton

            Exclusive homosexuality is never going to rise to 50%, but we might find ourselves like the ancient Greeks where most men behaved bisexually. The Greeks never thought of recognising same sex marriage, however.

          • cacheton

            I have not come across this feminism urging women not to have kids. I thought it was more that women are fed up with doing all the ‘kid’ work and getting no recognition for it, and men not wanting to do their fair share, or something like that.

          • The Explorer

            Career rather than children. Marriage as a trap to perpetuate the patriarchy and keep women subservient. That kind of thing.

          • cacheton

            That sounds like an extreme form of feminism to me.

          • The Explorer

            It is.

          • The Explorer

            I don’t want to argue for feminism as the sole cause of population decline. Is the ending of ‘The Doll’S House’, which heralds the modern rebellion against motherhood, a statement about feminism or about individualism? I’d say abortion, contraception, feminism, hedonism, individualism and altruism have all interacted with one another.

          • Ask the former inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah….

          • Natural Law and God’s revelation in both the Old and New Testaments.

          • cacheton

            There is nothing in Natural Law which says sex has to be directed at procreation, or that it is an expression of unselfish love… There is no indication that the bible contains anything worthy of consideration re these issues. Unless you believe that it absolutely has to, only because it happens to be the bible. A belief which does not stand up to any scrutiny.

          • It’s all pretty clear, really.

            God designed our bodies in such a way that men and women complement one another sexually. The purpose of sex in the natural world is procreation. The family is the core unit of society, hence the life long nature of marriage. Not rocket science.

            We cannot meaningfully discuss scripture as you deny it is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Instead you seem to hold some New Age, gnostic understanding of God and use this to cherry pick the parts of the bible you agree with.

          • cacheton

            ‘The purpose of sex in the natural world is procreation.’

            This is something a meat-machine believing atheist would say! And how do you know that is the only purpose? Any sexual pleasure is an accident of evolution is it??

          • Why do you think the sex drive is so strong and its expression pleasurable? Procreation is not the only purpose for human beings and possibly for some more advanced species in the animal world. For people, it promotes bonding and can also be an expression of selfless, giving love.

          • cacheton

            But if it promotes bonding between 2 people of the same sex it suddenly is not ‘natural’?

          • It’s not “natural” because the bodies of men and women are not designed for same sex acts and the sexual acts are really acts of mutual masturbation with no possibility of procreation.

          • cacheton

            Again, if I agreed that the bodies of men and women etc, which I don’t, so what?

          • sarky

            Ever seen a bonobo monkey?? They are totally promiscuous and have sex just for fun.
            So your argument falls down quite quickly.

          • And in so doing they procreate, yes? Animals are not rational or moral, they simply act on their drives. What is the outcome of them doing so in this instance?

          • sarky
          • The Explorer

            Maybe I’m being thick here but surely there’d be an issue only if they just had fun and didn’t procreate? As it is, they do both. If they just had fun, they’d die out. One assumes sex is pleasurable for animals, or they wouldn’t bother, but the fact that females are not permanently on heat must have some significance.

          • sarky

            I was just replying to jacks assumption that sex in the natural world is only for procreation.
            These cheeky chimps show that it is also for social cohesion, thus rendering jacks point void.

          • The Explorer

            If sex is for social cohesion for all, as well as reproduction, why don’t all animals do it all the time? It might be true for bonobos, granted, and they might be an exception to the general rule. But a lion who becomes dominant eats the cubs of his predecessor. That creates social cohesion,too, but by a different route. Humans, to date, haven’t adopted that particular precedent.

          • sarky

            There are loads of animals that do it for fun. Just Google, dolphins are another prime example.

            What this boils down to is that Jack used nature as a blueprint for human behaviour. All he has done is prove that the behaviour he deems as sinful is prevalent throughout the natural world including homosexual behaviour.
            Seems to me that the rules in the bible are mans rules, not gods.

          • Broadwood

            In most species, it is female sexuality which regulates activity, because females make a greater investment in reproduction and take most of the risks. In most species, breeding seasons are very short, sometimes just days or even hours. Promiscuity carries a high price for females, generally speaking, and it is usually in the interests of males to ensure parental efforts benefit their own genetic progeny. Despite humans’ best efforts to achieve consequence-free sex, the same is still true of us if the StD and abortion rates are anything to go by. So despite a few exceptions, I don’t think Nature is on your side in this argument, Sarky!

          • The Explorer

            If animals have sex fun, that’s great by me. I saw a bull mounting a cow and having a tremendous time. Good on him!

            Animals may have foreplay fun or whatever, but at some point they reproduce. Humans have learned how to have fun without reproducing. If that happens, the segment of the human race that doesn’t reproduce at replacement level will be replaced by the segment that does reproduce. This obvious point is the only one that I am seeking to make.

          • dannybhoy

            But they can’t operate computers or drive cars…

          • sarky

            Nor can alot of humans.

          • dannybhoy

            Do I approve?
            As a Christian no, I don’t approve. But as a human being I understand that people want to be loved and give love.
            Which is why I try to be understanding towards gay people.
            No one is yet proving that homosexuals chose to be homosexual, and frankly who would choose it?
            So without compromising Scripture I still believe we should treat them with compassion and respect.

          • Sure treat them with compassion and the respect owed to them as people. When you say “love” do you mean agape or eros – they are different. Let’s be clear, whilst same sex attraction may not be a choice, acting on it most certainly is. The only moral path for a Christian carrying this cross is a genuine commitment to celibacy.

          • dannybhoy

            I mean Eros Jack. All human beings are born with the capacity for Eros, even if as you say that sometimes is corrupted or misguided.

            We Christians too ‘Eros’, and (hopefully) Agape each other too.

            https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/14816053-the-four-loves

          • Agreed, we’re all born with powerful desires and drives. That’s why we sin. The existence of a physical drive does not justify or condone its immoral expression. Jack takes it you do view same sex acts as immoral and sinful.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I do, and acts of adultery and rape etc, etc.
            But look Jack, what we really want to happen in our own generation is that through our witness, and our godly lives and the working of the Holy Spirit, we will see people coming to the Lord.

          • Indeed. Our witness has to be straight and true and not bend to the ways of the world.

      • cacheton

        ‘The problem is that same sex attraction arises because of a wrongly directed sexual urge that is inherently morally disordered.’

        How did you work that out?

  • Anton

    There is a grotesque confusion going on between how Christians should treat people in personal meetings, and how we lobby in a democracy and run the church. This confusion has caused, on the one hand, some Christians to be personally abusive to gays; and on the other hand has caused certain Christians to demand apology from others who adhere to what the scriptures say. It does not require “moral theologians and doctors of divinity delivering expert lectures” to work out what the Bible says, and anybody who denies part of scripture should be asked what grounds they have for believing the Crucifixion and other core doctrines from the same source – and then heaved out if they cannot give satisfactory reply.

    • dannybhoy

      The Church of Christ should be able to come together around the basic tenets of the faith, and defend those beliefs and exercise discipline amongst the congregations that say they adhere to those tenets.

      Those who don’t accept, get on wth it; on the basis that we all will one day give an account to the Lord.

      Then that core of churches formulate their approach to social issues as in this case the status of homosexuality and homosexuals who want to be a part of the Church.

    • cacheton

      Large sigh.

      If church leaders could tell spiritual truths from unhelpful, division-enhancing manipulation by ancients of 2000 years ago, there would not be a problem. It appears they can’t. Therefore there is a problem.

      It does not require “moral theologians and doctors of divinity delivering expert lectures” to work out what the Bible says, but it does require spiritual insight to discern those bits which are useful and those which aren’t, which surely we have a right to expect from church leaders.

      • The Explorer

        Who decides who has the correct spiritual insight in the event of disagreement?

        • cacheton

          The one which promotes unity not division, tolerance not prejudice, etc etc. Those that enhance god in humans.

          This is where the total lack of method in christianity is revealed. For those whose ‘truth’ or ‘spiritual insight’ involves dividing and prejudice, there is no guidance as to how to overcome these, so they can continue to say ‘my scripture says so’, which it does if interpreted literally, and they have to be taken seriously.

          • The Explorer

            What is your authority for saying this? It reads like, I say so: therefore it is,

          • cacheton

            If you are referring to the first paragraph, then maybe you do not believe that god is unconditional love? If so, then why not?
            If the second – please indicate where this method is. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ is not a method, and those who cannot do this and have to have people or groups to hate in order to feel important have no guidance on how to deal with this.

          • The Explorer

            The Calvinists, for instance, believe in limited atonement. That’s not unconditional. They justify this view from their interpretation. If you say they’re wrong, they say you’re wrong.

          • carl jacobs

            Well, actually it is just what the Scripture says. It’s Arminianism that requires “interpretation.”

          • The Explorer

            I was looking to knock Cacheton rather than the Calvinists. Election is clearly taught in Scripture. To me, that says conditions apply. Whatever unconditional love may mean, it can’t mean what Cacheton thinks it does.

          • Do conditions apply? It could mean that man is left free to reject God’s infinite-unconditional-unbounded love. It doesn’t mean God does not love him – just that men turn their backs on this love and will suffer the eternal consequences.

          • The Explorer

            How about the need to repent? Unconditional love, Cacheton style, would be, “Oh well, it doesn’t matter if you’ve repented or not; I love you anyway.”

          • Jack would say God does love the sinful man and offers him salvation. It is man who rejects this love.

          • Er …. not from where Jack is sitting, it doesn’t.

            Christ’s atonement is efficacious for the elect but is sufficient for all. In other words, Christ intended to make salvation possible for all men, but he did not intend to make salvation actual for all men. As Saint Paul stated, God is “the Saviour of all men, especially those who believe.” (Timothy 4:10) God is the Saviour of all men because he arranged a sacrifice sufficient for all men.
            John 4:42 describes Christ as “the Saviour of the world,” and 1 John 2:2 states that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

          • cacheton

            Yes. Not sure what your point is.

          • The Explorer

            That God is not unconditional love if the Calvinists are right.

          • cacheton

            Then I do not worship the same god they do, and would be interested in why they worship a lesser god ….

          • The Explorer

            Ask a Calvinist.

          • chiefofsinners

            You do not seem to have grasped what unconditional love means. If I love my son I discipline him, tell him where he’s going wrong, warn him of the consequences and prevent him doing just as he pleases. When he disobeys me I still love him.
            This is not the same as approving of whatever he chooses to do.

          • cacheton

            Mmm, humans tend to project on to god their own ways of loving. It appears this is what you are doing.

          • chiefofsinners

            No, it’s what the bible says. Proverbs 3 verse 12: “The Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”. Repeated in Hebrews 12 verse 6.

          • cacheton

            Proverbs was not written by god, but by a human wanting to explain something using an analogy that humans of the time could understand. It worked for centuries. It no longer does because we recognise that way of behaving as being conditional ‘love’, therefore either we have to change god to a conditionally loving god, or we recognise what I wrote in my first sentence. I choose the latter.

          • chiefofsinners

            You complain of a lack of method in Christianity, but you espouse a pick’n’mix attitude to scripture.
            The love of the God of the bible is that which the bible describes. Call it conditional, call it unconditional, it makes no odds. You may claim to ‘discern’ whatever you want to discern. I discern that you are a parasite upon the truth, seeking to justify behaving exactly as you please.

          • cacheton

            ‘The love of the God of the bible is that which the bible describes.’

            Well quite.That’s why the church is becoming irrelevant, because it’s god is recognised as not being the highest being, therefore uninteresting.

          • chiefofsinners

            Presumably you are the highest being?

          • cacheton

            Presumably you would not be able to recognise one?

          • Cressida de Nova

            For a male, you display good common sense. Insightful explanation.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yeah, that Jesus was alright for a man an’ all.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You don’t have to be Jesus to understand the concept of unconditional love. The New Testament is full of common sense concepts which one would naturally arrive at without even reading it. Maybe it was written with men in mind because they lack intuition and have to have everything explained to them.
            Unload the powdered wig and scratching stick and allow fresh independent thought to enter without fear.The Bible was never meant to enslave you and wrap your thinking in chains.

          • chiefofsinners

            Lord have mercy upon us. Never have I read such sexist or wiggist babble. I shall return with renewed vigour to perusing the scriptures (authorized version only).

          • Cressida de Nova

            Any more of that nonsense and I’ll take the scissors to those curls !

      • meledor

        “but it does require spiritual insight to discern those bits which are useful and those which aren’t,”
        Why would some bits be useful and not others? If God has gone to the trouble of speaking to us surely all of it should be listened to? Your comment defies logic.

        • cacheton

          No, ‘ If God has gone to the trouble of speaking to us’ defies logic. The bible was written by humans. Supposedly inspired by god, but evidently more or less inspired by god, understandably as humans are not clear filters transmitting info from god. Jesus did not write a bible, being god incarnate he knew that even his words would be interpreted through imperfect human filters and therefore distorted.

          • meledor

            The logic failure is your assertion to those who believe all the Bible to be God’s word to us (for so the Bible itself states – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching… ” Timothy 3:16) that they should be choosing to ignore bits that you do not find useful. Our position is entirely logical and consistent. However to conclude the Bible has bits that are not inspired by God leaves you a created being as the arbiter to judge the Creator’s word.

          • cacheton

            ‘your assertion to those who believe all the Bible to be God’s word to us (for so the Bible itself states’

            Do you know what circular reasoning is? Do you know why it is invalid as a tool for claiming that logic is behind your belief that something is ‘true’?

      • carl jacobs

        Words have meaning. Meaning can be understood. The problem is not working out the meaning of the text. The problem comes when we decide we don’t like the meaning of the text and would prefer that it mean something else. This is called “[discerning] those bits which are useful and those which aren’t.”

        • cacheton

          I disagree. The problem comes because we feel we have to take on board the meaning of the text because of our belief that it is god’s word, rather than discerning if those words really are spiritually enlightening, from god. I do not think it is too much to expect church leaders (at least) to be able to do this.

          • carl jacobs

            By what standard does one determine if something is spirituality enlightening?

          • cacheton

            If the result of a teaching divides people rather than unites them, that would be one way. Or if it promotes judgment of others rather than tolerance. There are many ways, but it does require a basic inner understanding and discernment between what comes from the ego and what doesn’t. Unfortunately the teachings of christianity do not include (as far as I am aware) these subtleties, leaving adherents trying to gain spiritual advancement from what are clearly ego outbursts.

  • Martin

    If the Holy Sprit had been truly there why would we think that He would act in a way other than He acted when Ananias and Sapphira were asked that question?

    That the CoE even considers meeting with those who do not accept the gospel is a shame on it. That it meets with those who call sin good shows how far it has fallen.

    The gospel separates a man from his wife and a parent from children, that is how it is. To ignore that is to live in a fools world.

  • “The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.”

    Can anyone spot the omission in this statement of Christian teaching on marriage? So far as same sex unions is concerned it is significant.

    What’s more serious for the Anglican Communion is the push within the individual provinces of the liberal West for fundamental changes in the doctrine concerning the legitimate expression of human sexuality. This isn’t going away and in 3 years time it may well be that the Church of England has aligned itself more with the views of TEC.

  • prompteetsincere

    “lack of catholicity” is not the issue;It is the besetting sin,still unnamed, that in its most recent civil AND ecclesiastical ‘marital’ manifestation has created division, heterodoxy and even apostasy in the Corpus Christi: whose Sanctifying Governance is not by majority rule;but Sola by that abiding in The Living WORD that Alone makes all one:
    “Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy WORD is Truth…that all may be one.”

    + Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, John ch. 17.

  • Anna

    “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans… Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump… I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world… since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality… Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5 (ESV)

    While it is right to reach out to unbelievers with the love of Christ, whatever their sin and to help fellow Christians struggling to overcome their sinful tendencies, the stand taken by the TEC and ACoC on same sex marriage is an entirely different matter. By their word and actions, which are clearly contrary to the teachings of the scripture, they have become a source of contamination within the church. How many will they lead astray with their false teaching? Their so-called compassion and tolerance will result in the destruction of souls.

    An attitude of gentleness and humility is essential while we uphold scriptural truth, remembering that we too are fallen sinners on whom Christ has shown mercy; but is not an act of love to tell a sinner that he or she has no need for repentance. What arrogance on the part of some bishops to think that they can change the commandments of God?

    A willingness to stand with repentant all the way in their journey to overcome sin requires patience and sacrifice. The TEC and ACoC have chosen the easy route of compromise, and their continuance in the Anglican Communion will strengthen the hand of like-minded leaders who will see this as a temporary hurdle to be overcome. The health of the body is better served by getting rid of the gangrenous limb. Restoration is always possible after repentance.

    • cacheton

      ‘……while we uphold scriptural truth, …’

      Different people see different truth. Upholding your particular version of it is more a reflection on your personal bias and not on so-called scripture.

      • The Explorer

        Does that apply to you, too?

        • cacheton

          I do not understand your analogy. 1 – cancer is not a life form – it does not survive on its own, it is a disease and it needs a body to be active in. 2 – if this body cannot survive if the cancer is left, then cancer can be said to be life destroying not life enhancing.

          • The Explorer

            Exactly. There are correct and incorrect statements. Mine was deliberately incorrect? But if I believed it, would it be true?

          • cacheton

            Demonstrably not.
            Similar to believing that the bible was written by or entirely inspired by god.

          • And you base this judgement on what exactly? Why should Jack pay attention to you? What are you credentials and authority for these statements?

          • The Explorer

            This issue of authority is key in any discussion with Cacheton. If you can establish the basis for it, you are more skilled than I am.

          • His/her spirituality is experiential, not rational. The authority is individual self and individual feelings. There’s no possibility of debate.

          • Anton

            It can reasonably be pointed out to cacheton that different people have experiences from his/hers that are inconsistent with the claims he/she makes on the basis of those experiences. (Try it?)

          • Life’s too short, Anton.

          • Anton

            Ars longa, vita brevis…

          • The Explorer

            Cacheton, it seems to me, argues like this. God is unconditional love. Election suggests otherwise. Therefore, anything in the Bible about election is wrong, and written by a divisive bigot. But what is the initial Cacheton premise based on, other than sheer assertion? Claims about personal experience are like Mormon claims about inner burning. Who’s to say fire in the bosom isn’t the result of heartburn?

          • Ah, but s/he has special experiential knowledge, Explorer.

          • The Explorer

            A bit like the claim of prophetic inspiration. Cacheton is a prophet, born out of time.

          • All prophets are …….

          • The Explorer

            By the way, the Inspector’s been theologically controversial near the current top of the thread…

          • Anton

            Is he on the square?

          • The Explorer

            You’ll have to ask the Inspector.

          • Are you a Mason?

          • Anton

            No. Absolutely not. I never have been and I never would be.

          • Just teasing you. “On the square” is a common Masonic expression.

          • Anton

            That’s why I used it! I’ve prayed for and with several Christians with masonic background who became concerned about it.

          • Anton

            Why is nobody mentioning hell in this discussion?

          • cacheton

            Observation, common sense, logic.

          • Your own observation, common sense and logic?

          • cacheton

            Observation and logic are objective, at least in theory things on which most people can agree. Common sense is probably a bit more subjective, I admit.

          • Observation of what and how? And on what premises do you found your logic?

          • cacheton

            Observation of what happens. Like books do not appear out of thin air, they are written by humans. Like the humans who wrote the bible were not god incarnate, therefore their writings will be tainted with humanness. Etc. Books are written by humans can also serve as a logical premise!

          • Because a book is written by a human being who is influenced by his time and culture, does not mean that every single word written is not as God intended. You don’t think God would have had foreknowledge of this? You call this “tainted” but this is simply an assertion.

            And your premises about God and His revelation to humanity are what?

          • The Explorer

            Exactly. There are correct and incorrect statements. Mine was deliberately incorrect. But if I believed it, would that make it true?

      • Anna

        “Different people see different truth.”

        I am sure we do. But if your source of truth is the Bible, God’s view on this particular issue is clear and leaves no room for personal biases.

        • dannybhoy

          Good answer Anna.

          • Anna

            Thank you.

        • cacheton

          You have missed my point. Different people see different truth in the bible. It is open to interpretation, being a book, and interpretation IS personal bias. If god is unconditional love, he does not have a view, he IS. Unconditional love. Anything in the bible that does not reflect this can safely be classified as not being from him, and therefore not worthy of consideration.

          • dannybhoy

            “. Different people see different truth in the bible. It is open to interpretation, being a book, and interpretation IS personal bias.”
            I think there’s a difference between building a doctrine on a verse or a few verses leading to a cult or heresy, and accepting that when there are recurring themes within Scripture such as the nature of God and man and sin and faith and heaven and hell, you have to accept the clear teaching.
            You’re right that Christians may differ, but it is usually on the peripheral issues rather than the essentials.
            I can fellowship and pray with a Christian who has different views on prophecy, the rapture etc, or who believes ritual and dressing up is important.
            But I can’t fellowship with someone who denies the Divinity of Christ, or the need for salvation.

          • cacheton

            …. the nature of god is a recurring theme and clear from scripture? Really? I disagree, he sounds like a very disagreeable human in much of the bible, but loving and wise aswell and – just about everything. To have a coherent picture of the god of the bible is far from simple. I also disagree that christians disagree only on peripheral issues; there would not be so many different kinds of church if that were the case.

          • dannybhoy

            Well you have the people of the Covenant and the Law, the founding of a nation holy unto God. And God’s dealings with the Jews was somewhat different, but as you read the interactions between Him and individuals you see forgiveness and compassion and holiness.
            The New Testament shows the same God as in the Old in terms of His attitude to sin and evil.

          • cacheton

            ‘I don’t think we humans are ever able to maintain our spiritual equilbrium for very long.’

            But we know it is possible to do so constantly because we have the example of Jesus.

          • dannybhoy

            Do I sense a trap here?!
            Jesus was the second Adam, born of Mary and ‘begotten’ by the Holy Spirit.
            (And no, I can’t explain the mechanics or the maleness of it, except that God planned it that way)
            A man able to sin, but choosing not to. Jesus was not born under the influence of evil or Satan’s rule.
            We were.
            As I see it my salvation means that I am adopted into God’s family. He loves me in spite of all my frailities and inconsistencies, and He wants me to enjoy that relationship.
            I think that if we keep that uppermost in our minds, if we commit each day to Him and seek to be open and obedient to the Holy Spirit we will have that life Jesus talked about.
            Life and life more abundantly.

          • “A man able to sin, but choosing not to.”
            Jesus is God and it is impossible for Him to sin.

          • dannybhoy

            I provide this link in support of your statement Jack..

            http://www.gotquestions.org/could-Jesus-have-sinned.html

            But I still think Jesus as the second Adam could have sinned -or perhaps a better way of putting it would be to say He could have made a wrong choice but He wouldn’t because a) sin had no hold in Him, and b) He would not want to sin.

            In an earlier comment you mentioned that..

            “Agreed, we’re all born with powerful desires and drives. That’s why we sin. The existence of a physical drive does not justify or condone its immoral expression.”

            We know that Jesus had a flesh and blood body, He experienced tiredness, thirst and hunger.So (and I say this with all due delicacy) there were other avenues through which temptation could have come.

            But He did not sin because He chose not to. I think that when the Holy Spirit came upon Him He lived in the full anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.

            Philippians 2>
            “5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.”

            What sayest thou my Catholick cyberpal?

          • Happy Jack says you are skating very close to the old Nestorian heresy, Danny.

            If Jesus Christ is truly God then he cannot possibly sin. Why? Because God cannot sin, therefore, Jesus cannot sin. It is absolutely impossible for Christ to sin, because he is God and God cannot sin. One cannot conceive of Christ sinning without mentally separating and dividing his Divine and human natures, so one cannot think that Jesus could sin without falling into heresy. Jesus is a Divine Person, therefore, as God and as man, he cannot possibly sin. If Jesus could sin, then it would not be a man sinning, but God sinning through a human nature – and this is absurd.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Good post. It is said the Jesus was both fully human and also fully God. As God he cannot sin (by definition, as sin is defined as disobedience to God), but can Jesus as fully man sin?

            It is said he was faced with every temptation, if it is not possible for Jesus to sin, how is it pissible for Jesus to be tempted, or put it another way, resist temptation?

          • Here’s a good article addressing that very question, Clive:

            http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/if-christ-could-not-sin-how-was-he.html

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Thank you.

          • You are very welcome, Clive. Jack has copied the central argument above.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Thank you again. It encapsulates for me what real freedom is. All to often I hear from atheists that we have no freedom. But that rubbish. I’ll tell you a story of someone trapped, without freedom,

            When I was at university there was a girl in my class whoes boyfriend was ex getting a lot of pressure on her to sleep with him. Eventually he told her that unless she sleeped with him he would dump her. A form of emotional abuse at best. It could also be argued a short step from rape.

            She was devestated. She loved him, but she wasn’t ready to sleep with him.

            But she had no answer. She wasn’t a Christian, so why wouldn’t she? There was no rational reason to refuse, after all sex is such a small thing. It doesn’t amount to anything important does it?

            The thing is, she had no freedom. For all the talk of secularists, the freedom to say no had been taken away from her. She had no choice.

            So when Christians talk of freedom in Christ, it is a real freedom, it is not a dishonest freedom peddled by atheists.

          • dannybhoy

            “14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

            I am not denying the divinity of Christ, I am simply emphasising that Christ was in human form, and for Him to be tempted as we are, the possibility of Him sinning had to be real.

            Take for example,

            Luke 22>
            “40 And when he came to the place, he said to them,“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[g] 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

            Our Lord went through that, because….?

          • See my posts to Clive, Being tempted externally by Satan and the world doesn’t mean Jesus was capable of sin.

          • dannybhoy

            As Shania Twain said,

            “That don’t impress me much…”

            You are ignoring what Scripture clearly states..

            Philippians2:6-8
            “6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.”

            Lovely chorus here..

            Let’s go through it again.

            Jesus was born of Mary and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. (A mystery we agree)

            He developed in the womb as any other baby.

            He was born as any other baby, became a toddler and then a child..

            His mother knew the truth of His birth, but whether or what she said to Him about it we don’t know.

            We do know that as a young boy (perhaps around bar mitzvah time?) He said to His parents “Didn’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?”

            Jesus would have read and studied all the Scriptures, and (we don’t know), have had a growing realisation of who He was.

            But He was man; and He certainly wasn’t keen on going to the Cross, which is why He prayed that ‘this cup might pass from Him’. That’s a purely human reaction, and all the more reason why we worship Him for securing our salvation.

            Then there are all the other Scriptures I quoted which showed that Jesus was fully Man.

            The other thought that struck me was that when Mary found the risen Lord at the empty tomb…
            John 20>,
            “16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

            Our Lord’s body changed from one of flesh and blood to one that could materialise and dematerialise, and eat and drink…

            So as I understand it Christ was truly divine and truly man, but in some way He chose not to be “God masquerading as a (fleshly) man” but for our sakes and in order to secure our salvation, He chose to be fully man -the second Adam.
            In the power of the Holy Spirit He carried out His ministry, and He was genuinely tempted as we are yet without sin!
            Jesus often referred to Himself as “the son of Man”, not “the Son of God.”
            Why? Because for the purpose of reconciling man to God God chose to become man.
            It’s a mystery. Jesus was born as a man, but Jesus is the Son of God, and is One with the Father.
            But to insist that Jesus could NOT sin because He is God lessens the glory and wonder of what He went through to achieve our salvation.

          • None of those passages demonstrates the possibility of Jesus sinning. And you haven’t addressed the point that Jesus as God could not possibly sin. It is a logical contradiction. You are failing the grasp the fullness of the Hypostatic Union. Jesus has two natures – God and man – but is one person. Natures do not sin – a person does. As the Son of God, a Person of the Triune God, whilst externally tempted by the world and Satan, and had the full range of human emotions but, as God, could not sin.
            You present a scriptural passage supporting the notion Jesus could have sinned and Jack will reconsider.

          • dannybhoy

            I did it Jack.But you ignored it. As you did all the things I said about Jesus being conceived and developing in Mary’s womb, being born and growing up.

            Here it is again..
            Luke 22>
            40 And when he came to the place, he said to them,“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[g] 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

            and here’s verse 37..
            “37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.”

            Jesus knew that He had to be put to death and that He had to be conscious when He died.

            Why?

            Because He had to yield His life voluntarily.

            As a man He was not looking forward to the experience.

            Matthew 26>

            “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

            37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

            38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

            39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

            40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

            41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

            42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

            43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

            44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

            45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

            46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

            47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

            48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

            49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

            50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.

            51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.

            52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

            53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

          • None of those passages remotely suggest Jesus could sin. They point to Him being both God and man.

            Don’t you see, when you say something like this: “As a man He was not looking forward to the experience,” you are dividing the One Person into two? Being both God and man, Jesus would experience human emotions, temptations and both mental and physical suffering. He would also experience external temptation. However, being Divine and the Second Person of the Trinity means, unlike Adam, He could not sin.

          • dannybhoy

            Here’s something I found that perhaps(!) makes clearer what I believe..

            “2. Jesus did not sin because he perfectly relied upon all the divine resources available to his human nature. That is, he trusted God in every situation, believed God’s promises, prayed, read the Word, walked in the Spirit, etc. The Bible does not present Jesus’ sinless perfection primarily in terms of his divinity, but rather in terms of his Spirit-dependent humanity.
            So Jesus could not sin because his was God. But his did not sin because he relied up the divine resources available to his human nature.”

            You can read the whole discussion here..

            http://fellowshiplouisville.org/uncategorized/why-jesus-could-not-and-did-not-sin/

          • It overcomplicates matters, Danny.

            Jack sees no real need to move beyond this:

            1. Jesus is fully God
            2. God cannot sin
            3. Therefore, Jesus cannot sin

            Jack can accept Ware’s *solution* but notes it too is in danger of dividing Jesus’ nature. It says:“The Bible does not present Jesus’ sinless perfection primarily in terms of his divinity, but rather in terms of his Spirit-dependent humanity.” As a single Divine Person, with two natures, His Divinity and humanity were united in a single Divine Person “without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation.” One would therefore expect His human and Divine natures to be in harmony.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t think it overcomplicates anything. Rather it explains the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, Son of Man.
            Anyways, it’s your logic I disagree with.
            1) But he laid aside His Godliness so as to become the Son of Man.

            2) Agreed.
            3) Jesus could choose to sin, but would not.
            Otherwise there was no point to the temptations. nor to His praying in the garden that if it were possible this cup would pass from Him. nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done…”
            He was not God pretending to be man, He chose to set aside His divine qualities so that He could become fully man. The Holy Spirit moved in Him, fully dwelt within Him and empowered Him. Ince His earthly ministry was complete He reassumed His person as the second person of the Trinity. The Son.
            There was no division of personalities or anything else in our Lord. He is uniquely who He is; Son of God and Son of Man.

          • The article actually says Jesus could not sin (because He was God) – and He did not sin (because He was in communion with the will of His Father and submitted to Him). Jack can accept this.

            “He chose to set aside His divine qualities so that He could become fully man.” Again, you’re downplaying the Hypostatic Union. He remained fully God as well as becoming fully man – in one fully integrated person.

          • dannybhoy

            “Long story short, these early Christians held a series of councils and determined that Jesus was fully God and fully man. But this theological formulation raises many questions. One of these questions goes like this: If Jesus was fully God, were his temptations real?

            In other words, if Jesus was fully God (and God cannot sin), then Jesus could not sin. And if Jesus could not sin, then how could he really be tempted?

            THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “COULD NOT” AND “DID NOT”
            Theologians have attempted solutions with varying degrees of success…”
            and then it goes into Bruce Ware’s idea..

            Frankly Jack, I could care less.

            I’ve been believing that Jesus is the Son of God and came into our world as a man.Son of God/Son of Man.

            That’s how I worship Him and how I seek to serve Him

            Two natures -two minds?
            No one really knows how that works except The Lord Himself.
            I wouldn’t keep myself awake at night worrying about that.

            “15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15

            St Paul and any other could have added that “He did not sin because He was God.”

            But he/they didn’t.

            1st Peter 2>

            21 To this you were called,because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[e]
            23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

            Not “Of course he didn’t because He was God.”
            simply,
            “..He did not. He entrusted Himself to Him (his Father) who judges justly..

          • Two natures – one person and one mind.

          • dannybhoy

            (Sigh)
            It’s a mystery, but one which most ordinary folk are happy to accept as such.

            I hope Heaven has separate housing for theologians.. :0)

          • dannybhoy

            For those of you concerned Danny is verging on heresy here’s what the argument was about..
            “Nestorianism is basically the doctrine that Jesus existed as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, rather than as a unified person.”
            http://www.theopedia.com/nestorianism

            (I don’t believe that.. :0) )

          • Anton

            Nobody understands HOW Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. Not the Nestorians. Not the Catholics. Not anybody else. Once people have affirmed that he was both fully human and fully divine, it is futile, depressing and arrogant for some to call others heretical.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, thank you Anton for your understanding. Although to be fair, Jack did not say I was heretical, only that I was skating “dangerously near.”

            He has said that to me on other issues too as I recall, and the positive thing is that it forces this “Pooh of little brain” to try and think harder about the issues.
            Another positive is that Jack obviously cares about my spiritual welfare, which I am grateful for.

            But I agree with you..
            ” 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He[e] was manifested in the flesh,vindicated[f] by the Spirit,[g]seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory”.
            1st Timothy 3>

          • Whilst we cannot fully grasp the Trinity or the Hypostatic Union, and no Church claims to, certain limits are placed on our speculation by the knowledge granted to us so far through the Holy Spirit. By applying logic and reason one can then arrive an understanding about certain issues. There is a tendency for thinking to drift towards Nestorianism and Gnosticism and both have to be guarded against.

            As Jack said earlier, the 5th century Council of Chalcedon defined that in Christ the Divinity and humanity were united in a single Divine Person “without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation.” So one cannot separate (in Nestorian fashion) the humanity of Christ from His Divinity. He is one Person. To then claim He could sin is a logical inconsistency with our understanding of the attributes of God. Sure, He could be tempted and sure, He felt the range of human emotions. However, He was incapable of sin.

          • Anton

            The capable-of-sin issue is not what I am discussing; I think that if terms are defined more carefully then you two won’t be in disagreement. I do assert that it is divisive and futile to try to go beyond the statement that Jesus Christ is both fully human and fully divine.

          • One needs to consider the implications of this though and to reflect on the questions of Christ’s knowledge and His capacity to sin. Our faith is one of reason after all and can be deepened and developed.

          • Anton

            Don’t think I haven’t!

            Incidentally, when Egypt was first invaded by Muslims in the 7th century, only a few thousand Arab warriors came, and they won largely because Egypt’s Christian communities were divided about how Christ was God and man.

          • Jack suspects an economic-politico-geographical struggle and rivalry lay behind the theological dispute.

          • “I think that when the Holy Spirit came upon Him He lived in the full anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.”

            And this means what, Danny?

          • dannybhoy

            “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.”

            Luke 4:14

            In light of what you’re saying, what does this mean Jack?

            and this..
            “6 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,[b] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,[c] with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3>

          • Jack hasn’t actually said anything on the matter of Jesus’ self awareness as the Second Person of the Trinity. Scripture says little about it.

            The only mention of Jesus’ childhood is the incident of Him being ‘lost’ in the Temple at age 12 years – when He certainly appears to express awareness of God as His Father and of Himself having work to do. Similarly, at Cana, when He a man, He states His hour has not come but nevertheless performs a miracle. Again this suggests an awareness of a special mission.

            The 5th century Council of Chalcedon defined that in Christ the Divinity and humanity were united in a single Divine Person “without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation.” So one cannot separate (in Nestorian fashion) the humanity of Christ from His Divinity.

            “In becoming perfect man, the Eternal Son did not cease to be what He was before: a Divine Person, one of the Holy Trinity. It is to dishonor Christ’s Divine Person to allege that He at any time did not know Who He was from the moment of His conception as man in the womb of His Virgin Mother, or [that He] could be ignorant or mistaken about anything pertaining to His mission as Savior of the world.”

            The Hypostatic Union means … ” that when the Second Person of the Trinity took a human body and human soul in the womb of the Virgin Mary, He united both body and soul to His own divine Person. Thus, His divinity and humanity are inseparably united in the Man Jesus Christ. Although His humanity remains humanity, it is always the humanity of God the Word. In Christ Jesus there is no human individual or human person distinct from God the Son.”

            The Incarnation and Hypostatic Union are profound mysteries. One of the best orthodox accounts Jack has read is by Father William Most:

            https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getwork.cfm?worknum=215

          • Anna

            Where does the Bible state that God is ‘unconditional love’?

            “Love… does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” (1Corinthians 13:6)

            God’s love does not condone wrongdoing. He waits patiently for the prodigal to repent and return.

            “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NIV)

          • cacheton

            Ah so you do not believe in a god of unconditional love. Anything less would not be worth believing would it? What do you gain by believing in a god that is not the highest that he could be?

          • Anna

            “Ah so you do not believe in a god of unconditional love.”

            What you or I believe is of no consequence to anybody. What we should all pay attention to is what God has to say about Himself and about us.

          • cacheton

            And why do you believe that you find what god has to say in the bible? This belief appears to be of complete consequence for you!

          • The Explorer

            And why do you believe you can find what God has to say elsewhere?

          • cacheton

            I don’t BELIEVE, I experience

            and (following on from the last post i just answered to you) I try to be honest.

          • The Explorer

            Agreed. You are honest, and I respect that.

          • cacheton

            Thank you. But just to be clear, I meant honest with myself.

            Did I really mean that? Was that really the most loving way of doing/saying that? etc etc

          • The Explorer

            Does unconditional love mean anything goes?

          • cacheton

            Yes and no.

            Yes it is possible (for god at least) to look on and understand anything with unconditional love, as that is what he is.
            No, not all thoughts words and deeds are the fruit of unconditional love.
            Honesty about the motivations for the thoughts, words and deeds is useful …….

          • God understands evil and its root and source. However, as a Perfect Being, He cannot love it and will not permit it in His presence.

          • cacheton

            …..as a Perfect Being, He cannot……

            Did you really read what you wrote before posting it?

          • Yes …. God cannot contradict Himself.

          • cacheton

            Therefore he cannot NOT be unconditional love, so your ‘ He cannot love it’ is wrong even by your own reasoning.

          • What nonsense …. To love evil would be a contradiction of God’s Perfection. Evil is not a being or a force – it is a deficit.

          • cacheton

            ‘Evil is not a being or a force – it is a deficit.’

            Agreed. And demystifying it by unconditionally loving it is the only way to transform it. That is not a contradiction of god’s perfection at all, it is god in unconditional action.

            This is inner work, just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you go to Syria to join Daesh any time soon!

          • Eh …how can a deficit be loved? It is not a person or a being. And there comes a point when we commit to God or to self destruction by rejecting His call and His unconditional love. God, being Perfect, cannot have evil in His presence.
            Do you believe God loves Satan?

          • cacheton

            ‘Do you believe God loves Satan?’

            Who is Satan? The name given to the recognition that we do not always act with god consciousness, unlike Jesus. Like you said, a deficit, not a person or being.
            If god is omnipotent and omniscient etc, then he would have created this possibility. This is one of the stumbling blocks in theology, either he did create everything or he didn’t. I see no reason to believe that he didn’t.

          • So you don’t believe in Satan.
            God created the Angels and man with free will. Evil is the rejection of God’s Will by His created spirits and creatures..

          • cacheton

            ‘So you don’t believe in Satan.’

            Apparently nor do you, another thing we can agree on then!
            So you think god created spirits and creatures with free will and then punishes them for using it? I see.

          • Jack does believe Satan exists. And why wouldn’t a loving God give us the freedom to know, love and serve Him and be with Him for eternity – or not?

          • cacheton

            Earlier you wrote ‘Evil is not a being or a force – it is a deficit.’ And you believe Satan exists. Do I deduce that Satan is a deficit then?
            A loving god would do that, but he would also not punish you if you didn’t. It’s up to us. We may feel punished. Pity the bible didn’t expand on ‘Know thyself’, so we could have some way of not feeling punished.

          • Satan is a fallen angel – a spirit intent on harming people.

          • cacheton

            That’s your interpretation of the bible is it?
            What is your definition of spirit? Or angel for that matter.

          • Google it ….

          • Bob

            But if they reject him, why should that imply despair and evil and suffering for all time?

            It’s a funny kind of creation that this god of yours has set up. Apparently the world is rather like a painful disease with god as the cure. If you don’t get your daily dose of god, you writhe in agony. So god is like a drug, but a drug that invented an illness to make itself necessary.

            And we’re supposed to be the authors of our own misery? Who is this psychopathic deity of yours?

          • “But if they reject him, why should that imply despair and evil and suffering for all time?”
            Do remember your basic Catechism, Linus.
            God made us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this life, and to be with Him forever in the next. Wilfully and stubbornly refuse His offer and we place ourselves outside of God’s saving grace because we reject His love.
            You hate God for reasons well known to people on this weblog.

          • Bob

            So you just accept the concept of god as a drug and the world as a disease only he can treat. Of course you do. You’re a Catholic.

            Puts paid to the concept of free will, doesn’t it?

            In the Catholic view, we’re really just robots designed for a particular purpose, and if we want anything other than what our fellow robots say the designer designed us to want, that’s BAD. We’re no longer fit for purpose unless we can be patched and our illicit desires deleted. If that proves impossible, we’re only good for the scrap heap and then the furnace.

            What a bleak, bleak view of existence. And one that can’t possibly encompass the diversity (how Christian robots hate that word!) of humankind.

            If god really did exist, he’d give Microsoft a run for its money in the Worst Software Ever Olympics. How did a supposedly omnipotent and omniscient being manage to get it so spectacularly wrong?

          • We can only be truly free once we accept Christ in our lives. Have you learned nothing? Until then we are slaves to and subject to carnal desires and the habit and addiction of sin. We all have a conscience and know right from wrong. We all know from observation of nature and the use of reason that there is a Creator Being. You are in deliberate denial because you refuse to amend your life. No, it’s God who has change – not you. It’s no good stamping a childish foot at God. Your hatred of God and those who believe in Him is what will ultimately seal your fate.

          • Bob

            And your hatred of all those who dispute your right to dictate their beliefs and morals to them will seal your fate.

            No burning flames of damnation for you. And no candyfloss paradise either. Just increasing marginalisation until oblivion finally closes over you. At which point all that striving to manipulate and control others will be as dust on the wind.

            You know it, hence all the bitter rage you spew over those you judge to be responsible for the fall of your idol.

          • Jack hates no one and dictates nothing to anyone. What a ridiculous and childish man you are. But then, we’re back to Friedrich Nietzsche and what he called “ressentiment”, where one demonizes a good one feels unable to attain. You are trapped by this sense of hopelessness and so hit out at the Catholic Church and at Christians, and in particular traditional Catholics. They represent all you wilfully refuse to be. You’ll deny it of course and you may not even be conscious of it.
            Jack will remind you once again of Saint Augustine’s words:

            “I was sighing, all bound as I was, not by external chains, but by the chain of my own will. The enemy had possession of my will, and in this way he had involved me in a chain by which he held me bound. An unlawful desire is indeed produced by a perverse will, and in obeying an unlawful desire a habit becomes established; and when a habit is not restrained it grows into a necessity.”

            Grow up, Linus.

          • Bob

            Compare the first sentence of your last post to the second and if you still don’t understand how your entire character is based on hatred, disdain and condescending judgmentalism, nothing anyone else can say will make any difference to you.

            You are a Pharisee, Dodo. Pure and simple. One of those whitewashed tombs your imaginary messiah is supposed to have condemned.

            If your god really does exist and condemns me to hell, guess who I’ll be seeing there when I arrive?

          • Calling you childish and ridiculous is hardly “hatred”. What a sheltered life you must have led.
            Now, move along. Jack won’t be responding to you on this thread anymore.

          • Andre´Kristian

            Supereminent savant, tremendous theologian, dear doctor of divinity, I salute You, sir!
            So, this intrusive intriguer and importunate impostor is back to haunt us with his pitiable profanities. Meseems the perpetrator is pathological – therefore, let us hope his toilsome presence here is terminable.
            What this amateurish philosopher and sociologist has got to pleasure himself with, is his Internet connection, his self-conceited thesises and a thoroughpaced passion to mock the entire Christianity.
            I do wonder which commandment of the decalogue he finds as being the most reprehensible. Poor Miss Bob! His evil-tempered escapades are quite repulsive. Tedious tosh and nothing but! Humpf and snort, immediately followed by a supercilious sternutation, grumpy enough to demolish my monocle 😉
            Stay supremely happy, sir. Friday has arrived!
            With a rorty risibility from Your Swedish friend and jester, Andre´.

          • Andrea, dear Sir, you are too kind about my poor efforts on here but spot on about Bob.

          • Bob

            I know a couple with a Downs child who most definitely has a deficit of intelligence.

            Strangely enough my friends love their Downs child every bit as much as their other non-Downs children.

            They’ve told me on more than one occasion that they wouldn’t change her if they could. They love all of her, including her Downs syndrome.

            According to Dodo however, this makes them un-god-like, because god cannot love a deficit. One assumes therefore, Dodo being god’s mouthpiece and all, that this poor child will be banished to the nethermost circle of hell when she dies.

            What a comfort for my friends to know that god hates their deficient daughter, and them too presumably, for daring to love what he has deemed unlovable. Good thing they’re atheists and laugh in the face of the self-appointed spokespeople of imaginary deities.

            It seems however that in the Catholic faith love is sin, at least when Dodo sets on out up the garden path on one of his aimless theological rambles.

            Let’s be charitable though. It’s probably an imaginary side-effect of whatever imaginary drug his imaginary doctors haven’t got him on at the moment…

          • Fool ….

          • CliveM
          • Bob

            When have I ever been meaner to anyone than they’ve been to me?

            The problem here is that you can dish it out, but you certainly can’t take it. And anyone to the left of Genghis Khan is a troll unless they let you hurl abuse and don’t hurl it back.

            Send this link to Dodo, he might really benefit from reading it.

            In any case, what’s meaner than linking to the Daily Wail, I’d like to know…?

          • Albert

            God is love. Whatever God is he is infinitely. Therefore, he is unconditional love. Perhaps the question to ask therefore is, “What does it mean to say ‘God is love’?”

          • CliveM

            Why if he is infinite, would his love would be unconditional? Or are you saying because he is infinite, his love is infinite and therefore it would encompass everything, so therefore there is nothing an individual can do, that isn’t touched by Gods love?

          • His infinite Love is unconditional in the sense there are no limits to it but God is also Perfection and, therefore, infinitely Just and also infinitely Merciful. Every good quality you can think of – God is. It is the balance between these attributes of God that have to be understood.

          • Anton

            Well put!

          • Thank you but credit is due to Albert for prompting the thought with his comment above.

          • CliveM

            I suppose I’m not sure of a proper definition of unconditional. Or rather what that is meant here.

            I suppose an understanding of that would go some way to answering Alberts final question.

          • Albert

            I think the issue is not the meaning of the word “unconditional” but “love”. Whatever love is in God, is unconditional. But what is love in God? Whatever it is, it isn’t the same thing as love in us. So, as always we God, we don’t altogether know what we are talking about. All we know is that whatever God is, it will not have creaturely limits or conditions, hence it is unconditional.

          • Merchantman

            Unbounded maybe.

          • Albert

            That may be a better word. But in the end, a condition is a bound, so if unbounded, then also without condition.

          • Albert

            A condition is a limit. To be infinite is to be without limit. Therefore, God being love, is unconditional love.

          • dannybhoy

            Where does the Bible mention unconditional love?
            I assume what is being referred to is that God loves all men even though they are sinners, and His salvation is available to all who will repent.

          • Albert

            I don’t think it does, however I have given an argument for God being unconditional love, above.

          • The Explorer

            Have you been reading the satanic verses of the Qur’an? You are making the argument used there: some bad stuff sneaked its way in.

          • cacheton

            No.
            But what is wrong with using discernment and observation when interpreting a book?

          • The Explorer

            Too big a question for me.

          • David

            God’s love is not unconditional. Who told you that ? Oh no ! He forgives us, if first we repent, confess our sins and declare our need for forgiveness. Our faith in Christ as our Saviour, is then counted to us as righteousness. Christ paid the price for our sin. Salvation is graciously granted because of our faith in God, but first must come genuine repentance and then rebirth. These are God’s conditions.

          • Martin

            David

            We are saved when dead in our sins, the dead cannot repent:

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
            (Ephesians 2:1-9 [ESV] (emphasis mine)

            Our repentance is the result of God’s saving us, not the cause. And our faith is a gift of God, not something we do.

          • David

            You are literally preaching to the converted.
            This is a non-disagrement, merely a different way of arriving at the same position.
            Your short piece above sounds very much like my sermon for this evening.
            God bless.

          • Martin

            David

            I’m showing you that God’s love is not dependant upon the acts of the sinner but on His will. God didn’t love Pharaoh, but He did love Israel and for His own reason, not for anything either.

          • David

            I accepted all these basic truths that salvation is through faith, and we bring nothing, many years ago. This is Luther’s basic rediscovery of the essence of the faith.
            There is no dispute !
            It is becoming tedious repeating that, though.

          • You accept Luther’s horrendous opinion on election and predestination?

            I admit that the question is difficult, and indeed impossible, if you wish to maintain at the same time both God’s foreknowledge and man’s freedom. What could be more difficult, nay more impossible, than to insist that contradictories or contraries are not opposed, or to find a number that was at the same time both ten and nine?…. Paul is thus putting a check on the ungodly, who are offended by this very plain speaking when they gather from it that the divine will is fulfilled by necessity on our part, and that very definitely nothing of freedom or free choice remains for them, but everything depends on the will of God alone…. Not that any injustice is done to us, since God owes us nothing, has received nothing from us, and has promised us nothing but what suits his will and pleasure”

            “Here, then, is something fundamentally necessary and salutary for a Christian, to know that God foreknows nothing contingently, but that he foresees and purposes and does all things by his immutable, eternal, and infallible will. Here is a thunderbolt by which free choice is completely prostrated and shattered…”

            Saint Thomas More said of this: “The very worst and most harmful heresy that ever was thought up; and, on top of that, the most insane.”

            Even Luther recognized that his notion of absolute determinism makes God evil and perverse. However, instead of rejecting it as blasphemous and lacking reason, he embraced it as lifting up Faith and Revelation:

            “This is the highest degree of faith, to believe him merciful when he saves so few and damns so many, and to believe him righteous when by his own will he makes us necessarily damnable, so that he seems, according to Erasmus, to delight in the torments of the wretched and to be worthy of hatred rather than of love”

            Astonishing …..

          • David

            Luther’s theology is distinct from that of Calvin.
            No I don’t believe in a rigid predestination.
            Potentially everyone can be received into God’s heaven.
            But first must come repentance and placing our faith in Christ as Saviour. God’s saving grace, achieved for us by Christ on the Cross, rising on the third day, to overcome death and evil, is not given unconditionally. I am not a universalist – all are saved. All can be saved, yes. But only those that choose to repent and be reconciled to God enter into eternal relationship with God. That’s what I believe.

          • Thanks for clarifying that, David. Your position seems consistent with my Roman Catholic faith. Jack posted this comment below to Carl:

            Christ’s atonement is efficacious for the elect but is sufficient for all. In other words, Christ intended to make salvation possible for all men, but he did not intend to make salvation actual for all men. As Saint Paul stated, God is “the Saviour of all men, especially those who believe.” (Timothy 4:10) God is the Saviour of all men because he arranged a sacrifice sufficient for all men. John 4:42 describes Christ as “the Saviour of the world,” and 1 John 2:2 states that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

            A Catholic believes God offers sufficient grace to every person to believe in Him, to turn to Him and to be saved. However, each individual has to respond to this initial offer for it to become effective.

          • David

            Thank you.
            Your piece immediately above sets it out clearly and well.
            Our beliefs are congruent, almost identical.

          • “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”
            (Exodus 8:15)

            “As soon as Pharaoh found that a respite was granted him, he steeled his heart against the Lord’s will, and would not heed their warning”.
            (Exodus 8:32)

          • Martin

            HJ

            This is where your poor theology lets you down.

            Romans 1:18-32 describes how God lifts His restraining hand from the wicked to allow them to continue in their wickedness. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by removing the restraint upon it.

            Pharaoh was guilty of what He did but God, for His own glory, removed the restraint. God did not love Pharaoh.

            On the other hand, God loved Israel even though they disobeyed Him.

          • That isn’t what scripture actually says about Pharaoh, Martin. It says three distinct things.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You have to read the whole Bible. God hardens men’s hearts by removing the restraint He places on them and allowing their sin full reign.

            Equally God saves people by giving them a new hear, new desires, such an act cannot be reversed.

          • A Catholic would say God offers sufficient grace to every person to believe in Him, to turn to Him and to be saved. However, each individual has to respond to this offer for it to become effective.

          • Martin

            HJ

            But that isn’t what the Bible teaches.

          • Well scripture doesn’t contradict this and it most certainly doesn’t teach limited atonement. Our understanding of God’s revelation in scripture develops and deepens – that’s scriptural. We have to rely on the Church for authentic interpretations – that’s scriptural. Plus, we must take into account sacred tradition – and that’s scriptural too.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Actually Ephesians 2, which I quoted above, does contradict your claim. And the whole of Scripture proclaims God’s right to choose. If our salvation depended on us, how would we, when, as described, dead in trespasses and sins, manage to make that choice? The dead don’t make choices. Indeed, the passage tells us that God made us alive, that is saved us, when we were so dead. In the same process God raised us up in Christ and seated us in heavenly places. Nothing there about us turning to Him, or doing anything, even our faith is a gift from God.

            The Church is the congregation of believers, not some guys in funny hat, so saying that you rely on the Church means you rely on all the people in it.

            There is no such thing as ‘sacred tradition’, indeed Jesus condemned the use of tradition to sidestep what the Bible says.

          • Where did Jack claim our salvation depends upon us? We all receive sufficient grace – not all of us respond to that grace.

          • Martin

            HJ

            When you said “each individual has to respond to this offer for it to become effective”. You are saying that it depends on us, which gives you grounds for boasting. Yet Ephesians 2 says “And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”.

          • Why does it give one grounds for boasting? It is God ‘s grace and the free gift of faith, offered to all, that enables the initial turning to Him.

          • Martin

            HJ

            They can boast by pointing out that they responded, but Joe Bloggs did not, making them better/wiser/more responsive than their fellow. In your view, both have the same opportunity, one did the right thing.

          • No, they cannot boast because it is God’s grace that gave them faith and God’s mercy that forgives their sin. It’s not a question of “doing the right thing”. Bottom line: we don’t know exactly how God predestines the elect and the reprobate. We do know He loves all of us and died for all of us. And we know Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient to save all of us. It is inconsistent with God’s love, mercy and justice that He would ‘double predestine’ the majority of of men to hell before creation.

          • Martin

            HJ

            What you are now saying is that all receive grace but not all receive faith. Then by your reasoning, since it is God who gives faith, God must predestine to Salvation.

            And God does not predestine those who are not saved to Hell, they merely receive the punishment due for their sin. They receive justice but not mercy or love.

            Indeed, since God does not love all mankind:

            As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
            (Romans 9:13 [ESV]

            those who die in their sin are not loved by God.

          • Here’s Catholic belief – all supported by scripture:
            Christ’s atonement is efficacious for the elect but is sufficient for all. In other words, Christ intended to make salvation possible for all men, but he did not intend to make salvation actual for all men. As Saint Paul stated, God is “the Saviour of all men, especially those who believe.” (Timothy 4:10) God is the Saviour of all men because he arranged a sacrifice sufficient for all men. John 4:42 describes Christ as “the Saviour of the world,” and 1 John 2:2 states that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

            A Catholic believes God offers sufficient grace to every person to believe in Him, to turn to Him and to be saved. However, each individual has to respond to this initial offer for it to become effective.

          • Martin

            HJ

            If those verses say that God is the saviour of all, without exception, they are clearly wrong, for not all are saved. And if you want to say that they speak of God potentially being the saviour of all, where does it say that? It speaks of salvation, not potential salvation.

            In 1 Timothy 4:10 Paul is speaking of God kindness to all mankind in sustaining life not of providing salvation for all.

            In John 4:42 the term Saviour of the World refers to Jesus saving from all peoples rather than just the Jews.

            Equally in 1 John 2:2 we see the global reach of the gospel, saving from all people but not saving all people.

          • Limited atonement is not supported by scripture, Martin. You have grossly misinterpreted the natural meaning of 1 Timothy 4:10, John 4: 42 and 1 John 2:2.

            John 4:42 describes Christ as “the Savior of the world,” and 1 John 2:2 states that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 Timothy 4:10 describes God as “the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”

            Saint Aquinas stated, “Christ’s passion was not only a sufficient but a superabundant atonement for the sins of the human race; according to 1 John 2:2, ‘He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.'”

            Limitation may be ascribed to the atonement. While the grace it provided is sufficient to pay for the sins of all men, this grace is not made efficacious (put into effect) in the case of everyone. One may say that although the sufficiency of the atonement is not limited, its efficiency is limited. This is something everyone who believes in hell must acknowledge because, if the atonement was made efficacious for everyone, then no one would end up in hell.

            “The difference between the atonement’s sufficiency and its efficiency accounts for Paul’s statement that God is “the Savior of all men, especially those who believe.” God is the Savior of all men because he arranged a sacrifice sufficient for all men. He is the Savior of those who believe in a special and superior sense because these have the sacrifice made efficacious for them. According to Aquinas, “[Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, efficaciously for some, but sufficiently for all, because the price of his blood is sufficient for the salvation of all; but it has its effect only in the elect.”

            A Catholic also may say that, in going to the cross, Christ intended to make salvation possible for all men, but he did not intend to make salvation actual for all men–otherwise we would have to say that Christ went to the cross intending that all men would end up in heaven. This is clearly not the case. A Catholic therefore may say that the atonement is limited in efficacy, if not in sufficiency, and that God intended it to be this way. While a Catholic could not say that the atonement was limited in that it was made only for the elect, he could say that the atonement was limited in that God only intended it to be efficacious for the elect (although he intended it to be sufficient for all). “

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/TULIP.htm

          • Martin

            HJ

            So what is the natural meaning of 1 Timothy 4:10, John 4: 42 and 1 John 2:2.? It certainly cannot be that all people are saved, for we know they are not. Nor can it mean that all people have the potential to be saved, since the Bible says that God alone is involved in saying who is saved. Therefore it must mean that those who are saved are of every nation and tribe throughout the World. You have failed to answer the points in my previous post.

            Faith is not something that originates in the sinner, but it is the gift of God, as Ephesians 2 tells us.

            One has to question whether Aquinas was a Christian, since he obviously didn’t understand the gospel.

            Grace is efficacious for all those God has decreed, from eternity, to save. The elect are those who God has chosen from eternity. That is what elect means. There is no such thing as prevenient grace.

            Jesus went to the cross to save His people, those chosen before the foundation of the Earth, from their sins.

          • The words mean what they actually say i.e. that God loves all of mankind and that His Son died to make salvation possible for all. There’s no way they can be read in the way your suggesting. That some men are not saved and by what particular means some men are saved, is not fully disclosed in scripture and Catholicism permits various understandings. However, to say God damns a person before they are born and fails to offer His grace and faith to them, is a gross and obscene interpretation.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The words do not say that. Your position is illogical. Either they mean all are saved or it means something entirely different. There is no room for your position.

            We are told precisely how some are saved and some are not:

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
            (Ephesians 2:1-9 [ESV]

            God chooses whom He will save. The church of Rome adheres to an ancient heresy, very similar to that which trouble the Galatians. You imagine you have to do something to be saved. The Bible teaches that you are incapable of doing anything, you are dead. God does not damn a person, they choose to sin and receive the penalty of their sin. But God saves some whom He chooses to save, out of mercy and for His glory.

          • Jack says the words do say that and simply asserting they don’t doesn’t have any weight. It’s your position that is unscriptural and illogical. It contradicts God’s Love, Justice and Mercy.
            You are asserting God randomly selects the elect and damns the rest of mankind to display His glory. No one has a choice in the matter or plays any meaningful part. The true position is that God loves all men, Christ’s death was sufficient for all to be saved and God gives us all repeated opportunities to be saved.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, I’m asserting that God saves whom He will based on His choice. Do you deny God free will, to do with what is His as He chooses?

            Nothing in what I have said contradicts God’s love, justice and mercy. Indeed we know that God does not love everyone, for the Bible tells us:

            As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
            (Romans 9:13 [ESV])

            and it is clear that God did not love the Pharaoh of the Exodus, for He hardened His heart.

          • Jack would deny that God acts outside of the attributes of Love, Justice and Mercy, most certainly.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So where did I say He does, yet to sentence someone to hell for their crimes is not an act of love but of justice.

          • To randomly withhold grace from some and to offer it to others would contradict God’s nature. He loves all men and wants all to be saved. He has given us free will to love Him or reject Him.

          • Martin

            HJ

            But it isn’t random and God saves those He has chosen to save before the foundation of the Earth. Nothing about it contradicts God’s nature. He acts in mercy on some, in judgement on others:

            What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
            (Romans 9:14-18 [ESV]

            That God wants all to turn to Him but none will is the cause of His act of mercy. We all reject Him, we all demand a say in our salvation.

          • cacheton

            In your interpretation, God’s love is not unconditional etc. I suppose god is not all knowing and all powerful in your world either. A lesser god. That’s not the kind of god most people would want to believe in, but each to his own …..

          • David

            No, I think that God is omniscient and omnipresent.
            God’s unconditional love is always available, to us all, yes. But before we receive forgiveness we must repent and be born again. Considering themselves as being in receipt of forgiveness, without prior repentance, is what Bonhoeffer described as “cheap grace”. Nowadays it is demanded by many. However they are deluding themselves.

          • grutchyngfysch

            You can bring your interpretation to Scripture, or you can root your interpretation in Scripture. If I arrive at the text and say “God is X, but the Bible says He is not X” this isn’t a problem with Scripture, it’s a problem with my interpretation.

            Where else do you gain an understanding of God from? From Angels of Light? Test them against Scripture.

            Does that mean Scripture is always easy to understand? No. Does it mean that someone can’t come up with multiple readings of a given passage? No, it doesn’t – but if any one of those readings consistently opposes another part of Scripture, that reading is at fault in the whole. That’s why interpretation of Scripture must treat it as it is: the cohesive Word of God, every word written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It’s why interpretation must be consistent with the whole of Scripture, and must therefore be systematic in how it approaches it.

            Are other methodologies possible? Certainly. Can I read Scripture in the light of other interpretative techniques? Yes. But if I do not treat Scripture as a special class of text, if it is just another text, then there is no point about talking about “scriptural truth” one way or the other: in such circumstances it would not possess its own authority.

          • cacheton

            And is there any particular reason why certain words should possess their own authority merely because many years ago someone decided that they did? In Neale Donald Walsh’s series ‘Conversations with God’ it says at some point that those words would become scriptures, does that mean they will? Of course not. The spiritual teachings are recognised because they are that, not because of the book they happen to be in. Shakespeare contains many, and so do many other books, including ‘Conversations with God’, Eckhart Tolle and the bible. And some books supposedly chanelled from Angels of Light! These are all ‘just other texts’ and their value does not come from the name they happen to have been given or how they have come into being but from how they ‘speak’ to the spiritual aspect of humans and enhance it. And their usefulness may change over time.

            So no, there is no point talking about ‘scriptural truth’. Letters making up words on pages do not possess authority.

          • Ah, Neale Donald Walsch – all becomes clear.
            You are a Theosophist. New Age nonsense. We are all god(s); we live forever; there is no judgement of right and wrong; words are symbols and we must trust our feelings …. blah, blah, blah ….

          • cacheton

            I read his books and found them interesting about 15 years ago, have come some way since. And – er – written words really are symbols. This is generally agreed by all humans! That is where observation is useful. And re trusting feelings? How else can you demystify them without first trusting them? Christianity has that one nicely sewn up however, as if your feelings don’t correspond to what you interpret the bible as saying, that is just proof of your sinfulness. Round and round in a circle…

            Seriously, you really think there is no blah blah blah in the bible?

          • Christianity has an internal logic and consistency – unlike New Age Theosophism.

          • cacheton

            Well maybe you could iron out this one then, you have said that Satan is not a being, and that things that aren’t beings cannot be loved, or (I deduce) hated. Did god make everything or not?

          • Er …. Satan is a spiritual being created by God and loved by God – until he rejected God’s love and chose to rebel through pride.

          • cacheton

            Well that seems to be it then – god is not unconditional love. So much for internal logic and consistency.

          • Explain that assertion.

          • cacheton

            Your last post contained the word ‘until’. This is called a condition, and is therefore not unconditional love.

          • God cannot love sin and evil. Satan chose to reject God’s love and rebel against Him.

          • cacheton

            God cannot love X. Therefore he is not unconditional love.

            Either that, or christianity is not internally logical. You cannot have it both ways.

          • God is Perfection. His Justice prevails if one does not access His Love and Mercy. No inconsistency at all. His Love isn’t human love. How could a Perfect Being love evil? And if a spirit or a man chooses evil then God will respect their choice. Love is wishing a person well. God isn’t a dictator who imposes Himself on man.

          • cacheton

            Why would a god who is perfection prevent anyone from accessing his love?

            ‘How could a Perfect Being love evil?’ Very easily, as a perfect being would be unconditional love.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Right – and that’s exactly what I expected you to say. But let’s not beat around the bush here: when you wrote:

            Upholding your particular version of [Scripture] is more a reflection on your personal bias and not on so-called scripture.

            you weren’t in fact demonstrating a fault in either the logic Anna displayed or Scripture itself – you were demonstrating your rejection of any objective truth. Now that certainly permits you the latitude to denounce the claims Scripture makes for itself, but in so doing, you destroy the same latitude for anything else – including your own authority as (one among many) interpreter.

            You can use phrases like “useful”, “speaks to” and “enhance”, but in the absence of an unchanging benchmark all such phrases are no more or less meaningful than any other, including Anna’s. She interprets, you interpret – from the position you’re arguing, so what?

            If there is no eternal truth, your truth is no less ephemeral than the ones you trample over; no less the product of personal bias if that’s all any given truth really is.

            All you achieve is to proclaim your rejection of Scripture. But it is a proclamation over precisely one subject. Its capacity to speak to anything else, to hold any import, to be of any noteworthiness is otherwise nil. Oh to be sure you can find people making the same noises in the same order, but they are the same: just so many little gods of self.

            For myself, I and my household shall serve the Lord who reigns over the earth, and by whose Word the living and the dead shall be judged.

          • Cacheton is a New Age Theosophist. You know the script: we are all god(s); we live forever; there is no judgement of right and wrong, just tolerance and forgiveness; words are symbols so we must trust our feelings.

          • cacheton

            ‘you were demonstrating your rejection of any objective truth.’

            Yes. And it is impossible to show that objective truth actually exists, so why would I believe in it? But subjective truth certainly exists, so why would I not go with that? We also have shared subjective truth due to the physical world all humans find themselves in, so we can use science to build bridges that do not fall down and contribute to internet forums etc etc. Useful stuff.

            But I really am interested in why people have to believe in objective truth, and even more why this objective truth gets ANGRY about things …. and by whose Word the living and the dead shall be judged***!$&%%£**!!??

          • dannybhoy

            I still don’t see where your unconditional love is a Biblical description of God. God is a Being, not a state of being.
            “Come let us reason together, sayeth the Lord..”
            God is dynamic, not static.

          • God’s love of us has no conditions. What is love? Surely it involves wishing and doing all one can for the good of another person. This is one reason why the Lutheran and Calvinist position on limited atonement and predestination to salvation or damnation is so unscriptural. That image is not one of a loving or merciful God at all.

          • cacheton

            ‘God is a Being, not a state of being.’

            I’m not sure what the difference is!
            Or do you mean god is a finite being? So you can point and say ‘that is god, but THAT isn’t god? So he is not the alpha and omega then, the omnipresent omniscient etc??

            This is one of the downfalls of mainstream christianity as I see it – there is no agreement on what/who god is, he is omnipresent when it suits, and not when it doesn’t, usually when evil is mentioned.

          • dannybhoy

            a) I meant that God is dynamic. He interacts with His creation. He isn’t just “unconditional love” and that’s it.

            b)We will never know all there is about God.As St Paul said,

            “9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

            10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

            11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

            12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

            1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (KJV)

          • cacheton

            Love is dynamic of course.

          • Anna

            “Anything in the bible that does not reflect this can safely be classified as not being from him, and therefore not worthy of consideration.”

            We have no right to excise from the Bible portions that some people view as ‘unloving’. Those who have experienced the love of God understand that every commandment of God reflects His love. He always has our best interests in mind -especially when He counsels us to give up our sinful ways.

            As CS Lewis wrote, “The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”

          • cacheton

            ‘We have no right to excise from the Bible portions that some people view as ‘unloving’.’

            Why not? If their view is based on the observation that those portions promote the opposite of love.

          • Anna

            If you feel there is nothing wrong with removing sections of the Bible that you consider unloving, then clearly you reject the authority of God of the Bible. Perhaps to you, He is not ‘Lord’, for you consider yourself equal or even superior to Him. His laws mean nothing except as some tips from which you may pick and choose.

            To those of us who are Christians, God’s word, as revealed in the Scriptures, is ‘law’ – and we may not play around with it as though we were equal lawmakers with God. Our role is to willingly obey and cooperate with God as He moulds us in the image of Christ. To any Christian who has experienced the love of God, this transformation process – though painful at times – becomes a source of joy as it helps us draw closer to the One who loves us best.

            Finally, I trust God enough to know that everything He says in the Bible – however other people may judge them – flows out of His love and fatherly concern for us.

          • cacheton

            And your reason for believing that the bible really is god’s word? Yes I reject the ‘authority’ of god as portrayed in the bible, because this god is clearly not the highest he could be. God incarnate – Jesus – did not write anything, with good reason.

            ‘we may not play around with it’, ‘Our role is’ etc – that is not freedom. You are of course free to choose to believe what you believe, but why choose limitation over freedom?

          • Anna

            “Yes I reject the ‘authority’ of god as portrayed in the bible…”

            I am glad you clarified that – otherwise we would have been talking at cross purposes.

            As to your question why I believe in God or the Bible as the truth about Him – all I can say is that to be convinced about these truths you need a divine revelation from God Himself (Matthew 16:17). When the “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”(Romans 8:16 NKJV), you can no longer doubt these things. A light has been switched on inside and for those who are ‘born again’ the Bible becomes a living book. It is not very easy to explain – you need to experience it for yourself. However, the promise is that if you seek, you will find.

            Rules do not necessarily restrict your freedom – they often keep you safe, help maximize your potential, make it possible for you to enjoy your freedom and prevent chaos. These are reasons why most of us obey traffic rules on the road, not just to avoid fines or a prison sentence.

            I am curious to know why you believe that Jesus is God incarnate since you reject the authority of the Bible as God’s word.

          • cacheton

            And if you seek, but find an unconditionally loving god rather than the god of the bible?

            Why do I believe that Jesus is god incarnate? Firstly I believe he was god incarnate, but is no longer incarnate, having ascended into ‘heaven’. I know some christians believe he is floating around in the cosmos somewhere still in a physical body (ie: incarnate), which defies all logic, common sense, evidence etc etc. Having experienced what are termed ‘alternative states of consciousness’ myself I can conceive of the divine being fully and constantly present in a human, and recognise Jesus as being one of the humans who has manifested that. When in conversation with religious people, like the majority on this site, it is much quicker to say god incarnate, as they are the same thing, and religious people are more likely to understand what I am talking about. It’s one of the points of common ground.

        • David

          Quite, Anna.

  • jsampson45

    Thank you for the article but the last paragraph is doing my head in. How is acrimony holy? Are holiness and peace mutually exclusive? What is the significance of North America and Africa being in places?

  • meledor

    “No, the gathering was to do with catholicity; with doctrinal decisions made by the Primates in communion, then breached by one province….This was about the structure of ecclesial authority”

    The trouble is we have been here before. Some years ago homosexual bishops were appointed and same–sex blessings initiated in America and Canada
    contrary to the catholicity of the Anglican Communion as expressed by primates
    meetings and the Lambeth conference. The question is will Justin Welby subvert this attempt to maintain catholicity like his predecessor did? The Gafcon
    primates have gone the extra mile and in effect given him more time to decide where the ultimate authority lies – scripture or the false god of unity at any price.
    Clearly Gafcon regards the measures taken against TEC to be only the start and the earlier instances of lack of catholicity need also to be corrected. Regrettably the Church of England too is already undermining catholicity in this area and seems keen to go further by allowing same–sex blessings (in reality – no different from same sex marriages). It is unfortunate that all this is going to take more time for the
    Anglican Communion to sort out when in the meantime more people may be encouraged by this as yet uncorrected false teaching to engage in homosexual practice at the risk of their not inheriting the kingdom of God.

  • David

    I feel that this whole disagreement is essentially about agreeing the source of authority for understanding God’s will. Breaching catholicity was a result, not the cause. The core of the disagreement is about how we discern God’s will for our lives. The C of E, as the via media, has traditionally agreed that we discern the mind of God through careful and prayerful consideration of first and foremost, Scripture, and also Tradition and Reason. The “three legged stool ” is the framework around which the different tribes of Anglicanism, Catholic, Liberal and Evangelical, have found agreement in the past. It is a good and thoroughly orthodox discipline I believe.
    In the event that these three sources of wisdom disagree, which seldom happens, then Scripture must always be uppermost. The errant provinces decided to elevate the wishes of the world, to gain what they see as sexual freedom, above the firm, clear advice of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Of course the “freedom” of the revisionists is a false freedom, as being made in the image of God, if we deny the evidence of our physical bodies, regarding their sexual functions and purposes, then we are merely enslaving ourselves to our disordered passions, which are, in the absence of reason, cruel and directionless forces. Natural Law, which few of my fellow anglicans ever mention, is I find a further powerful endorsement, upholding the directions suggested by all three sources of God’s wisdom. Science being a fruit of reason upholds Natural Law.
    If we argue, as does His Grace, that this is essentially about catholicity then there is the danger that institutional coherence, not God’s truth, becomes the focus for our shared fellowship within the global Anglican Communion. This is a mistake I believe. The primary direction for each one of us believers must be to gaze on the beauty and wisdom of God, not one another. Shared fellowship and catholicity is a secondary blessing that flows from us all firstly, bowing our knee in the presence of God.

    • cacheton

      ‘In the event that these three sources of wisdom disagree, … then Scripture must always be uppermost.’

      But what use is scripture interpreted without wisdom?

      • chiefofsinners

        Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

        • David

          Amen to that.

          • Martin

            David

            Yet you seem to think tradition & reason are adequate to stand alongside Scripture.

          • David

            Not alongside, but grouped underneath it.
            The Scripture, Tradition and Reason system may be a surprise to you, I don’t know, but it is pure classical Anglicanism stemming from Richard Hooker – nothing new at all. Scripture is paramount.

          • Martin

            David

            It’s part of the problem Anglicanism has, it allows tradition and reason to interpret Scripture when they should be tested against Scripture.

          • David

            No. Classical Anglicanism does not use tradition and reason to interpret Scripture. It just reads it.
            However the heterodox revisionists do just that – but not the orthodox, conservative believers like me.

          • Martin

            David

            I’d say that the orthodox, conservative Anglican believer would accept every article of the 39, including 17.

            But we aren’t speaking of them, but of what is allowed.

        • cacheton

          And what’s that in plain English?

          • chiefofsinners

            It’s in the bible. 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 20. Choose your version.

      • Albert

        If we understand them properly, they will not disagree.

        • David

          Thank you Albert, you’ve answered the question.

        • cacheton

          So you have to find the interpretation that is in accordance with all 3, and that is the right one?
          As scripture can be interpreted in very different ways, and once inside a belief system ‘reason’ tends not to mean the same as it does when outside, there must be many different possibilities for agreement.

          • Albert

            Well that’s why we have the Magisterium.

      • David

        Albert’s earlier answer can serve as mine as well.

    • Martin

      David

      Man’s reason is broken and must always be tested against what Scripture says.

      Jesus roundly condemned the traditions of the scribes and elders, our tradition is no better.

      The only sound basis for unity is Scripture.

      • David

        Who is arguing with that ? Not me.
        Please see my simple explanation regarding the way in which Scripture, Tradition is used in classical Anglicanism.

        • Martin

          David

          I’ve answered it, what you call tradition is not tradition, but the expression of biblical truth.

          • David

            That is just your personal semantics.
            You appear to have a different definition of “tradition”, that’s all. This is a non-argument.

          • Martin

            David

            My point is that everything must be tested against Scripture.

          • David

            For theological truth yes – who disagrees, not me.
            However to understand nuclear physics Scripture would not be prime textbook, but you may disagree.

          • Martin

            David

            I didn’t say textbook.

    • prompteetsincere

      The teaching of Holy Scripture from The Living WORD Himself is that there is no other ‘authority’ than His: + John 12:48. When this Scriptural hermeneutical principle is vitiated in order to accommodate other branches of the universal Church for whom this principle is NOT paramount and binding, the door to progressive revelation with its divisive to heretical or apostate consequences is opened – hence, the decline and falling
      Protestant Churches, the Anglican among them. Past time to discard the
      ‘three legged stool’.

  • Arrrggghhhh ……….
    The *Administrator* strikes again and the IG hasn’t yet posted a comment.

    • chiefofsinners

      If your whereabouts were known, a series of apparently unconnected members of the public might lodge complaints.

    • carl jacobs

      Maybe your doctor has determined that your recovery requires a low-stress environment. He might think you can’t handle the rough and tumble of Cranmer’s just yet. Have you thought about trying a nice thread on keeping goldfish?

      • sarky

        Fin rot, white spot, swim bladder problems, water quality, algae…arhhhhh getting stressed just thinking about it.

  • Firstly, maintaining the unity of a worldwide denomination is not more important than the proclamation of Biblical truth.

    Secondly, if this primates’ conference was just about Church discipline rather than doctrine, then it surely had the wrong agenda. Our God-rejecting world needs strong guidance from the Church, not conformity to what they already believe in their rejection of Biblical morality. After the primates’ meeting are we in fact any clearer about where the Church stands on the authority of God’s word, which unequivocally declares homosexuality to be sinful?

    Thirdly, it is simply not good enough for the C of E to say that it upholds traditional marriage. Indeed, this has become a front for avoiding the more basic issue of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. The plain fact is that the bishops in 2004 did not oppose civil partnerships, which are marriage in all but name (the Civil Partnerships Act actually altered existing marriage legislation). So if the C of E supports civil partnerships, then it must support the principle of same-sex marriage, for the two are exactly the same in essence. In any case, God looks at the heart, not at the name of the institution.

    Fourthly, does the apology issued to the LGBTI community by Mr Welby for the treatment it has received from the Church include regret for ever having taught that homosexuality was sinful? To denounce sin and make calls to repentance does not mean that one is abusing people or persecuting them, yet the C of E is giving the impression that it is. It is in fact an act of love to one’s neighbour to warn him of the dangers of sin and of the need for repentance, and we do so as those who are sinners ourselves. Should the Church apologise to unrepentant adulterers for not making them feel accepted?

    Fifthly, the sinfulness of homosexuality is not remotely a grey area in scriptural interpretation. If adultery is a sin, then homosexuality must be also, as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 plainly shows.

    Sixthly, during the debate in the House of Lords on the same sex marriage bill Mr Welby stated, “It is clearly essential that stable and faithful same sex relationships should … be recognised and supported with as much dignity and the same legal effect as marriage”. Here the Archbishop endorses the legitimacy of same sex relationships and their equivalence, if ‘faithful’, to heterosexual marriages, and he thus ascribes the word ‘dignity’ to the breaking of God’s commandment. It is impossible to reconcile his words to the clear statements in Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:22-28, I Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:9-10 and Jude v7, all of which were given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16).

    • meledor

      Agreed – with the understanding that your use of ‘homosexuality’ equals ‘homosexual acts’ rather than same-sex attraction which is not sinful.

    • Merchantman

      Surely what The Word says is unequivocal. Episcopal Church needs to get with it.

    • David

      Well put, Peter.
      Us conservative, orthodox Anglicans within the C of E agree with you.
      Welby is a great disappointment. He never recognises conventional, orthodox Christian morality, upholds it firmly and then points to the sinfulness of all departures from it. He is a waffler and a prevaricator who tries to please too wide a range of views, most being just plain wrong according to established Christian practice, as it has been understood since the beginning. Essentially this is about obeying the authority of God as expressed clearly in Scripture.

  • Anton

    This suspension of the Episcopal Church from decision-making processes within the Anglican Communion is, according to the official final document, on the basis of that church’s “fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage”, specified as: “the traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union”.

    This suspension is for a fixed period of time (three years), rather than until or unless the Episcopal Church reverts to “the traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture”.

    What happens next?

    • The Explorer

      Quite. 1. The Episcopal Church falls in line. 2. The episcopal Church doesn’t fall in line. 3. The Anglican Communion falls in line with the Episcopal Church.

      • …. or …. 4. The Western Anglican churches fall in line with TEC and separate from the ‘backward’ African churches.

        • carl jacobs

          So … ummm … I have Man U projected at 61 points right now, with all the trends in the right direction. In case you haven’t been paying attention ..

          • Ah, Mr Carl “I’m never wrong” Jacobs.You have stated that Man U will not pass 60 points this season. They now require 27 more points to pass this figure and have a potential 51 points left to play for.
            Want to admit you are fallible after all and retract?

          • carl jacobs

            If I was you, I’d be sweating. Points haven’t been coming so easy as of late. I’ve been dividing the number of points by the number of matches played, and multiplying by 38.

            I’m pretty happy right now.

          • Even allowing for your rather crude method of calculation, United would register 63 points. It is Jack who is happy right now.

  • CliveM

    I see Chris Bryant MP has now left the Anglican Church over its ‘love empty’ decision!

    Does this mean it will be the Liberals abandoning the Anglican Church and not the Evangelicals?

    • carl jacobs

      No, Liberals don’t leave. They threaten to leave but they don’t actually leave. They instead seek to occupy positions of political power through which they might co-opt the Institution. If they leave, they become separated from the one tangible playing field of Liberal theology. Therefore they must stay.

      What should happen is that conservatives should identify them and drive them out before that can happen. Liberalism is a separate religion that uses Christian language and symbols. The central flaw in this entire post is that it doesn’t recognize that part of the Anglican Communion is no longer functionally Christian. There is no requirement to walk with unbelievers.

      • Merchantman

        Astute and I agree.

      • Albert

        A liberal, by definition, is a pragmatist. Consequently, it is hard for a liberal to find himself in a position in which he feels a duty to leave. He can live in an institution which contradicts his beliefs because he has no absolute duty to be completely honest. All he needs is a good reason to stay (e.g. in time I will be able to change things around here) and stay he does.

      • dannybhoy

        Well said Carl, but shame on those who allow their liberalism to flourish and eat away at the foundations..

    • David

      No but many of them are dying off. Younger often means more traditional.

      • Martin

        David

        It isn’t a question of traditional but of biblical. Traditional is as wrong as liberal.

        • David

          We are discussing Anglicanism here – in this article, so its methods of arriving at Truth are relevant.
          Anglicanism has long sought God’s authority in Scripture, Tradition and Reason. If there’s a clash Scripture overrules. So Tradition (as in Creeds, 39 Articles, doctrine and key teachings) always reflects Scripture. Sexual morality is a key teaching.
          Your point is a non-argument.
          You may go straight to the Bible, which is absolutely fine, but classical anglicanism takes a longer route, which if it is honouring orthodoxy, leads to the same point.
          There is nothing to dispute.

          • Martin

            David

            The creeds, 39 Articles and doctrine are based on Scripture, they have no authority of their own outside of Scripture. You do not reach truth by reason, for Man’s reason is broken, or by tradition, since Christ roundly condemned tradition. Anglican ‘orthodoxy’ has long been heterodox from a Christian point of view.

          • David

            Your argument is self-defeating.
            As you rightly say, the major traditions, Creeds, 39 Articles etc are based on Scripture, which is always uppermost in the search for truth. Reason reveals the nature of God’s creation, and so reveals physical truths, created by God. Science itself reveals God’s created order.

          • Martin

            David

            They aren’t traditions, they are expressions of Scripture.

            Man’s reason is broken, it must be tested against Scripture. Equally, science must also be tested against Scripture, since Man is apt to deny the truth.

          • David

            Many good traditions express Scriptural truth, like the Creeds.
            But feel free to define tradition as you see fit.

          • David, “Sacred Tradition” is not simply about matters of custom and disciplinary practice. It is that which links us with the very early Church and is the immutable and indefectible deposit of faith that has been developed and handed down through each of the generations of Christians. Followed faithfully, it means that the settled positions of the Church on, say, sexual morality and the ordination of women, would not and could not be changed.

          • David

            I am not uncomfortable with what you say there. I would have used different words, but that’s not important. Basically I am happy to say, yes, understood.

    • The Explorer

      Wasn’t he the one who wanted the chapel in the Houses of Parliament to be used for gay weddings? Figures he would leave, if so.

  • Albert

    TEC and ACoC are simply being confronted by the consequences of their lack of consideration for catholicity… If a single province pushes a point too vigorously, consensus may be fractured and communion impaired.

    This is all very well, but when the question was the ordination of women (and not homosexuality), catholicity, even within the Anglican Communion, turned out not to be so important after all.

    • Anton

      Some of us don’t believe in the ordination of men!

      • Albert

        What happened when hands were laid on Timothy?

        • Anton

          I mean to the priesthood.

          • Albert

            Yes you do.

  • Inspector General

    Nothing’s changed. The special interest group that is militant LGBT was sent packing. Its plans to take over the CoE in ruins. LGBT remain welcome in the CoE as ever. That’s about it. There are other special interest groups out there, but today, we don’t think of them. It doesn’t mean that the church feminists have quietened. Far from it…

    • Martin

      IG

      Doesn’t seem like it was ‘sent packing’.

      • Merchantman

        A lot can happen in three years to put the Anglican train back on the Biblical track.

        • Martin

          Merchantman

          Judging by the past 50 the only direction is down.

      • Inspector General

        They were given the ecclesiastical version of being told to ‘sod off’

        • Martin

          IG

          Personally I thought it was just a delaying tactic so a decision didn’t have to be made yet.

    • Anton

      Well all but two of the bishops in that photo are wearing full-length skirts.

  • DanJ0

    If only the Holy Spirit was efficacious enough to make its meaning clear to everyone it has co-opted then these disagreements wouldn’t happen. It’s curious that it isn’t.

    • The Explorer

      It’s a very good point. If the Holy Spirit could make His meaning clear to everyone, never mind the co-opted, there would be no unbelief.

      • DanJ0

        But people like me haven’t been ‘born again’ so my communication path is duff. Or something like that anyway. Or perhaps that’s just an evangelical understanding?

        • The Explorer

          Well yes, but if the Holy Spirit were doing His stuff you would see the need to be born again.

          • DanJ0

            Or not, if it decided before I was born to leave me alone. Or is that just a Calvinist understanding?

          • The Explorer

            Augustine saw it first, and Calvin revived Augustine. In Revelation, though, it speaks of being blotted out from the Book of Life. That suggests everyone is potentially in there, and you decide if your name is deleted or not. But why different readings are possible is a very good question on your part.

            The best answer I can venture – and it applies also in fields other than religion – is that disagreement helps prevent atrophy and focuses thought. “Come says the Lord let us reason together” suggests a margin of error is allowed.

          • IanCad

            Yes.

          • Or, alternatively, to both see and feel the need to examine and reflect on matters of faith and the existence of God. The work of the Holy Spirit is mysterious.

        • “But people like me haven’t been ‘born again’ “ ….. yet.

          • sarky

            And you haven’t become an atheist. ..yet

          • Jack has been there and done that, Sarky.

          • sarky

            So there’s still time…..little seeds and all that.

          • It’s true that Happy Jack could lose his faith by falling into grievous sin and turning away from God. Jack prays it never happens.

      • Inspector General

        One fears that what we know as the Holy Spirit, physical results obtained by angelic activity at the behest of God is a lot rarer than is thought, and may not have been present at all on the planet since the time of Christ…

        • The Explorer

          I’ll let Happy Jack or Albert address that one.

          • DanJ0

            I’ll address if if you like as he’s clearly one of ours. 🙂

          • Inspector General

            You might poo poo the Holy Spirit (or Will, if you will) of God, but one would like to think that should any asteroid come heading in to close the show down, those little angelic fellas will be ordered to get to it and push the thing clear of us…

          • Anton

            They won’t: see Revelation 8:8-10.

          • Pass ………

    • Albert

      The assumption at the heart of this argument is that God has a duty to create as much good as possible, all of the time. I cannot see any valid to think God has such a duty and plenty of reason to think he hasn’t.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    The media coverage seemed largely obsessed with the LGBT angle, not surprisingly. C4 news did some particularly tacky coverage thanks to the heavily-biased Cathy Newman. They showed an LGBT protest outside Lambeth Palace Strange how you never see the same prorestors outside a mosque. Still, they had the usual placards shrieking against those who don’t affirm or love them for their sin. I find the sight of so many people who claim to Christian, but who devote their time and effort to drawing atrention to themselves, quite sad. It’s also a great pity that this gathering, and its media coverage, has let LGBT issues overshadow much more pressing matters.

    • DanJ0

      If they were Christian then why would they be protesting outside of a mosque? I can understand why gay Muslims wouldn’t protest outside of a mosque, of course.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        I would exoect them to protest outside moswues too because of the way muslims treat gay people. I would have expected the LGBT activists to be concerned about all it’s adherents and not just attack the soft targets on it’s own territory

        • DanJ0

          Isn’t it a membership thing?

          Are these the people you’re talking about?

          http://www.ylgc.org.uk/ylgc/primates.html

          I don’t protest outside either mosques or churches. You’re all a bunch of misguided and gullible fools to my mind, and if you want to mistreat or stigmatise or isolate your co-religionists then more fool them for being members.

        • Inspector General

          One has learnt from Pink News that although LGBT activists tend to hold British muslims in suspicion, they are far from unanimous in their thinking. Those who are not even give the reason: Muslims are seen as a put upon marginalised section of society, the same as LGBT (despite the privileges handed out to them, both groups)…

          In other words they both share the same. To wit, the brotherhood of (perceived) victimhood.

          Strange, but true…

  • Hi

    I don’t get the reaction in the comments here. I thought you’d all be happy the liberals got blasted by Welby and excommunicated for 3 years and traditional marriage upheld. My liberal Christian / gay friends are the ones who are really upset here over what they see as bigotry and discrimination. Why are conservative Christians so downcast today ? I know it’s not because fellow liberals have been kicked in the nuts.

    • dannybhoy

      Morning Hannah!

      My own view is that we evangelical/traditionalist Christians believe that this particular problem which has made the CofE look ridiculous and hypocritical, happened because the Cof E in attempting to maintain a broad church (which as the established Church is understandable), has let go of the authority of Scripture.

      David makes a case for the three legged stool approach. Scripture, Reason and Tradition. I think very similar to your own faith?

      Anyway the point is that here in the UK Scriptural authority has been largely done away with, and replaced with ‘secular trending.’ In other words the Church will adapt to social thinking and morality.
      Now too the AofC is less like a figure of spiritual authority and more like the chairman of the board, desperately trying to hold things together…

      And so there is no room for being happy or gloating because we fear this from the book of Revelation chapter3 is happening to the Church of England…

      “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

      We have a situation in which on one hand the CofE has apologised to the LGBT community for sidelining it, and on the other hand sanctioned the American Episcopal Church for being too accommodating to that same community.
      It’s hypocrisy, and would never have happened had the CofE remained true to the plain teaching of Scripture.

      • Hi Danny

        Thanks for answering the question! (And not leaping in with silly attacks, but then you do actually read my blog posts on these issues).

        • dannybhoy

          I dare not read them Hannahle.. ;0)
          And please continue posting here where you think it’s relevant. As a Christian I believe devout Jews can make valuable contributions on a whole range of issues.

    • Albert

      That’s a nice comment Hannah. I thought it was quite a good outcome – it doesn’t of course make complete sense given the CofE’s decisions on the ordination of women (and how those decisions were made), but in the end, you can’t expect coherence from the CofE, so it seemed pretty good. Like everyone else here, I thought the media’s response was a bit unfortunate, but to be expected.

      • Hi Albert

        I was relaying the sentiments of friends from the other side of this debate….personally it’s up to the communion to do what it wants . My personal concern or interest flows from the fact that the church of England itself is the state church. So it’s more than just a private club (as it were) than other religious groups.

    • IanCad

      Hannah,

      In both the Old and New Testaments firm counsel is given not to engage in same sex intimacy. The CofE seems to have come down on the side of scripture.

      However, nowhere have I seen any sentiments encouraging the persecution or vilification of those who cleave to the homosexual lifestyle. Practitioners of the tendency are, generally, welcome to worship together with the mainstream but should not be permitted to marry within the church nor attain to teaching roles.

      Rather than viewing the Cof E’s action as “bigotry and discrimination,” could you not accept it as the ruling of frail men who, when facing a problem which has remedy in condemnation, have elected to follow the teachings of love and understanding?

      It is not that same sex couples suffer under Caesar’s Law either. Enlightened societies allow them to marry and thus gain the privileges and responsibilities that the contract requires.

      It is of continual curiousity to me, that the two foundational institutions of the Creation Week – Marriage and The Sabbath are debated with such gusto. That you, of the Jewish faith, can discount the former, whilst with your lives defending the latter, is entirely inconsistent. So also, Christendom; In the main, marriage is viewed as ordained by God at Creation, yet perhaps 90% make void the Decalogue by cleaving to the wholly unbiblical practise of worshipping on the Day of the Sun.

      • Hi

        See my responses to Albert and inspector. I was relaying and recalling the reactions of my friends on the Christian left, not my personal view (which is if you’re in a club , you stick to the rules: if you can’t change them or they change against you, then reluctantly form your own club).

        But as you see it fit to assume and presume:

        “That you, of the Jewish faith, can discount the former, whilst with your lives defending the latter, is entirely inconsistent”.

        The accusations of inconsistency are not actually correct : my Mesorah( tradition) is not to try to graft our ways on to the countries we live in, or in another sense create a theocracy for the UK which is more of a Christian or Islamic idea. I have said repeatedly on my blog and elsewhere that that I see the difference between civil or state recognised marriage and religious marriage.

        In my religion that would be a halachanic orthodox Jewish marriage,which since the 11th century has been between a man and a woman in Ashkenazi circles . Sephardic never banned polygamy ,but it eventually faded away.

        My support for civil marriage for gay people and saying a same sex gay (orthodox) Jewish couple cannot get married in an orthodox Jewish setting is perfectly consistent. It is no different to the prohibition of a straight Jewish person marrying a non Jewish straight person (without conversion to Judaism) in an orthodox setting , but the allowing a Jewish/ non Jewish civil marriage or suggesting a divorced person cannot get married according to x, y, z religion , but allowing a divorced person to remarry in a civil or state sense.

      • I’d also add :

        The reason why the c of e gets so much attention is because it is the established by law religion of this realm (in England at least). Ergo anyone who is vaguely religious or not a member of another religion can be or have their children baptized, funerals, marriages and attend carols by candlelight cause “it’s xams”.

        Therefore that is why the church specifically had to ask government ministers to pass legislation to ban the c of e from conducting gay marriages and why it is a target for potential law suits. Every other religions or sect can choose what they want to do and this is why the reform and conservative Jewish movements now do gay marriages and the Jewish orthodox do not.

        • IanCad

          Thanks for that explanation Hannah. I tend to forget that the CofE, by its establishment has to answer to the state.
          OK! So the CofE can’t just write its own ticket. I will have to remember that.

          • Hi

            I was more irritated by you saying you think I’m personally inconsistent, which I’m not.

          • IanCad

            There’s plenty of inconsistency to go around Hannah; as my post clearly indicated.
            Marriage and the Sabbath. One without the other and the Word of God is set at nought.

      • dannybhoy

        Ian,
        “It is of continual curiousity to me, that the two foundational institutions of the Creation Week – Marriage and The Sabbath are debated with such gusto. That you, of the Jewish faith, can discount the former, whilst with your lives defending the latter, is entirely inconsistent.”
        Rather misunderstanding Hannah I think.
        Hannah tries to reconcile her sexuality with her faith, and afik in the final analysis she acknowledges the authority of her faith, and tries to live accordingly.
        One of the things I admire about her is her honesty and openness. Hannah has close family and friends of all kinds. I think even an Anglican gay person is currently sharing the house.

        If I had had a (gay) daughter, I like to think she would have the same degree of integrity and devotion to her Jewish identity as Hannah has.I think we’d then have a foundation of love and respect to talk through the situation together.

        • IanCad

          Danny,
          For the life of me, I fail to see where any unfairness is evident in my comment.
          Did you read the entire post?

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I did read it Ian, and I wasn’t saying you were unfair, but that I think you were misunderstanding her.
            I don’t want to speak for her or put words into her mouth she would not agree with.
            I am going to leave it at that because it’s not my place. Perhaps just to say that the thread is of more personal interest to her than it might be to us. That Hannah would see herself as a part of the LGBT community as well as being a devout Jewish woman.
            So my observation to you was not a criticism, but perhaps more a defence of Hannah’s position.
            (And now she’s gonna kill me..)

          • IanCad

            Danny,
            Hannah is a woman and we men are born to misunderstand them.
            She is a great asset to this blog; at least, IMHO.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely.
            We don’t get enough ladies posting here.
            I still miss the great “Mrs Proudie..”
            :0)

    • Inspector General

      Dear Hannah. You are not too keen on muslims. (We’ll call that discrimination) and neither do you wish Israel to enter into talks with said people to negotiate away the state of Israel. (We’ll call that bigotry).

      How DO you sleep at night, you young free thinking cuddly liberal with all the happy answers, you!

      • Hi inspector

        To be clearer , I was relaying the sentiments of liberal and or gay Christian friends. Which is why I used “they” i.e. “over what THEY see as bigotry and discrimination”.

        • Inspector General

          Tell you what Hannah. The Inspector will not mention to your friends that they have in you a discriminator and bigot…

          : – >

          • Hi inspector

            Well , believe you me I’ve been called a bigot , a racist and worse by several people on the far left when it comes to Israel and or my religious beliefs . But not by my actual friends, who are pro Israel and are concerned about Islam as you are. And some are leftists and others rightists.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Nice to see you back on the First Day of the Week. There is so much to say, so it will have to come in dribs and drabs.

      First, I absolutely detest the use of the word “bigot”. During the Troubles in NI, that became BBC-speak for “Protestant”. But what really wrankled was the know-all BBC attitude:

      Here, from Sidelights on New London and Newer York by G.K.Chesterton:

      WHAT embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but absence of self-criticism. It is comparatively of little consequence that you occasionally break out and abuse other people, so long as you do not absolve yourself. The former is a natural collapse of human weakness; the latter is a blasphemous assumption of divine power. . . . Thus the Irishman would never have minded the English saying he was mad; or even that he was murderous and slanderous and cruel. There was something to be said for the assertion; and Irishmen were often ready, if not to admit it about themselves, at least to admit it about each other. The trouble began when the Englishman advanced the obviously ludicrous proposition that he himself was sane; that he was practical and sensible and well-balanced. No wonder a whole nation went wild at so fantastic a fancy as that.

      Now the Inspector raised the matter of “discrimination” below.

      Here is another bit of Chesterton. About 100 years ago, Mormons were starting to appear in Britain. G.K.Chesterton remarked on this in a collection of essays entitled The Uses of Diversity (1920). Extract follows:

      Our real error in such a case is that we do not know or care about the creed itself, from which a people’s customs, good or bad, will necessarily flow. We talk much about “respecting” this or that person’s religion; but the way to respect a religion is to treat it as a religion: to ask what are its tenets and what are their consequences. But modern tolerance is deafer than intolerance. The old religious authorities, at least, defined a heresy before they condemned it, and read a book before they burned it. But we are always saying to a Mormon or a Moslem — “Never mind about your religion, come to my arms.” To which he naturally replies — “But I do mind about my religion, and I advise you to mind your eye.”

      GKC is here talking about religion, but the same might apply to cultural practices also. As a glaring example, is it not a form of discrimination to outlaw FGM?

      • Hi

        For not the first-time on this thread, please move down a notch and notice I haven’t called anyone bigoted. I am merely giving a recollection by several friends on this news.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Oh dear.

          Hannah, I was not directing the complaint at yourself. Rather, I envisage you as being a person of sufficient vision and intelligence to be able to bring some thought to this matter, rather than the Pavlovian knee-jerking that so often passes for thought.

          You have relayed what your friends think, and I am commenting on the use of certain words. I did not intend to address the LGBT matter today, but now I must draw a mathematical analogy.

          Sticking purely to the civil side of things, my own feeling is that the introduction of civil partnerships was perhaps the only decent bit of legislation brought in by the Blair régime, and it removed certain cruel disadvantages from L/G people.

          But as regards marriage, one could perhaps compare it with the extension of number theory from the field of Real Numbers to the field of Complex Numbers. When something like that is given, something is lost. With Real Numbers, one could always say that number A was greater or less than number B. With complex numbers, this sequencing is lost.

          If one now redefines marriage to include same-sex as well as opposite-sex unions, one is in a very fundamental sense removing sex from marriage. Whether it is the right thing to do or not, I am largely disquaified from pontificating on the matter, partly because of my limited ability as a philosopher or theologian, and in addition I am very much hampered by an excessive ability to empathize.

          However, the matter is far too important to be left to the whims of Mr Cameron’s metropolitan elite, or even worse, the influence of the inhabitants of Greenwich Village.
           

    • Bob

      They’re downcast because they wanted their sacrificial altar to drip with blood and a pair of stuffed and mounted North American primates heads to be set above it as a warning to others never to cross them again. That’s how their medieval minds work. From every point of view, they were born in the wrong era.

      What they got instead was a disappointing display of minor corporal punishment. A light slap across the knuckles and a three year stint on the naughty step is not the dramatic and gory resolution they were hoping for.

      All this decision does is postpone the inevitable. Three years of excommunication will merely make the North American Church realise it can do very well without its benighted European and African “brethren.

      In the meantime, society’s view of the Church as institutionally homophobic has just been significantly reinforced, so any chance it has of spreading its message is further compromised and its ultimate fate as a declining and increasingly incestuous band of diehard zealots is confirmed.

      In the meantime my message to all those LGBT Anglicans out there who see this as yet another slap in the face is this: of course it’s a slap in the face! These people HATE you and will never accept you as anything but evil sinners who must be tortured to appease the homophobic and vengeful sprite they worship. What else did you expect?”

      • The Explorer

        You say this verdict will compromise the Church’s chance of spreading its message; so you must be very pleased with the verdict.

        • Bob

          There was no possible outcome of this meeting that could have disappointed me.

          If Gafcon had walked, schism would have been accelerated, which would have been a pleasant surprise. But as it will happen soon enough anyway, the exact timing doesn’t matter.

          The next three years will see many liberal Anglicans, and most LGBT members, leave the Church. So the objective of increasing the decline in membership will be met if not exceeded. A smaller Church means less influence, and as power inevitably shifts offshore to Africa and Asia, all notion of a national church will be lost.

          This meeting was only ever about which path to decline the Church was going to follow. The choice is made, and as it leads in exactly the same direction they all lead in, how could I help but be satisfied by the outcome?

          • The Explorer

            With the Episcopal Church, the liberals stayed and the traditionalists left. I think that will be the pattern here too in due course.

            Alister McGrath predicted ten years ago that national churches will disappear. I agree with him. A church not of England, but in England. That’s fine by me.

          • chiefofsinners

            And by me. A church free to follow scripture, not compromised by links to the state, will renew itself according to the mind of God and proclaim the truth unfettered.

          • Anton

            And also with me.

          • IanCad

            Welcome the day!

          • Bob

            I too think the liberals will end up carrying the day in England. Not now, but in 5-10 years time.

            The resulting liberal church will disappear up its own tailpipe in a generation or two as people realise that anything can be “reinterpreted” and therefore that god’s word has no real meaning.

            The rump of conservative Anglicans will found their own dismal little church (or more likely several different churches) that will dwindle into minor cults attracting extreme personality types and other social misfits.

            That’s Christianity’s future in Britain. And this decision by the primates brings it one step closer.

          • The Explorer

            Or, biblically, false religion (the Second Beast) will direct worship towards the unregenerate world ( the First Beast) and both will be overthrown at the Second Coming.

          • Bob

            If there really is a god and the prophecies in the bible are true then yes, this is what will happen. But is there really a god? Everything hangs on that one question.

            I have seen no evidence that convincingly demonstrates the existence of any kind of god, spirit, ghost, fairy, pixie, sprite or leprechaun.

            Given the bible’s description of the enormous consequences of not believing, it is reasonable to assume that a benevolent god would do everything in his power to convince us of his existence. Doing so would not compromise free will, as is amply demonstrated by Adam and Eve, who we are told still managed to fall even though they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that god existed.

            So, we’re left with two possibilities:

            1) God does not exist
            2) God does exist but is not benevolent

            A god who conceals himself while demanding unquestioning devotion and condemning us to eternal torment if we fail to obey cannot be benevolent because such actions are not benevolent.

            The following example shows why. Take a puppy and shut it in a room where it can never see you. Feed it by remote control. Keep a list of every misdemeanour it commits, like peeing where you don’t want it to, or chewing on the furniture. Then one day, appear in front of it and demand that it submit to you. When it doesn’t, because it has absolutely no idea who you are and what you want from it, and certainly no idea why it should submit to you in any case, turn a blow torch on it and slowly roast it alive.

            You would condemn someone who did this out of hand as evil and twisted. But if god does it, it’s benevolent?

            You’re worshipping a demon. Good thing he’s completely imaginary. If he were real, we’d all be in trouble.

          • The Explorer

            Great post! Third possibility: God does exist and has given enough evidence.

            Give me the evidence that the Battle of Salamis happened, and we can chat further.

          • Bob

            The only source I’m aware of for the Battle of Salamis is Herodotus.

            As archaeological findings have only ever confirmed his accounts of various places and events, Herodotus can be considered as a generally reliable source. However, in the absence of any direct evidence of the battle, e.g. reliably dated contemporary chronicles, inscriptions, coins, etc., then all we can really say is that it appears Herodotus was convinced it had happened. We cannot say for sure that it did.

            Of course it’s reasonable enough to believe in an ancient battle, because ancient battles require no suspension of disbelief in order to make them possible. Battles happened all the time. They still do. I can show you photographic evidence and multiple eyewitness accounts of literally hundreds of battles. And not a single one of them required the laws of physics to be suspended in order for it to take place.

            Getting someone to believe in a particular battle doesn’t require a great deal of persuading, because we all know that battles happen all the time. That doesn’t excuse us from the need to rigorously examine the source information and draw the proper conclusions from it, but it is not unreasonable to be convinced by Herodotus when he talks about the Battle of Salamis, because archaeological evidence has revealed him to be generally reliable in his accounts of places and events, and we know that battles can and do happen. On balance I therefore think it likely that this particular battle did take place, although in the absence of direct evidence, I admit that it may just be a legend.

            Now, can you show me a gospel author whose descriptions of people, places and events have been borne out by independent contemporary documentary sources and/or archaeological evidence? Can you point me to any other incidences of resurrection, of water miraculously and instantaneously transforming into wine, and of pigs driven to suicide by possessing demons that have been recorded and analyzed and then corroborated by thousands of eyewitnesses?

            The most you’ll be able to come up with is that the description of Roman Judaea seems accurate enough, and that a couple of its rulers (Herod and Pilate) are mentioned by name. The rest of the story, which is to say the totality of all the events that are supposed to have happened, is totally uncorroborated, not only in terms of specific events themselves, but also in terms of the possibility that many of the events could ever take place. Battles are commonplace, so it isn’t hard to believe in a particular battle. Resurrections are not commonplace, therefore convincing evidence must be supplied that they can and do happen before trying to persuade someone that one happened in Roman Judaea.

          • The Explorer

            Another very good post. I see you’re acquainted with the arguments of Hume. Agreed that Christianity stands or falls on the Resurrection.

            Luke is a reliable historian, his descriptions of the contemporary world corroborated by archaeological evidence. The existence of Christ is supported by Josephus, Serapion and Tacitus.

            Your argument about the frequency of battles is an intriguing one. No proof, of course, that an individual battle took place; or that frequency must be the criterion of whether or not an event can occur. In Christian terms, Christ’s resurrection is a foretaste of the multiple resurrections, more numerous than battles, that will occur at the end of present time.

          • Bob

            Josephus and Tacitus were not contemporaries of Jesus Christ. Their works are based on hearsay and rumour rather than eyewitness experiences.

            By Serapion, I assume you mean Serapion of Antioch, again not a contemporary of Christ, and again not, insofar as concerns the life of Christ, a chronicler of events as seen through his own eyes, but a relater and interpreter of hearsay and rumour.

            The reliability of Luke in terms of his descriptions of the physical world around him does not confer infallibility upon him when it comes to describing events that never happen in the real world.

            For example, I could write a story today in which I could give a faithful description of contemporary London that any historian might be able to verify in centuries to come by checking archaeological records. But if I include a fantasy story about Martians landing in Trafalgar Square and zapping all the tourists with ray guns, I doubt that future historians will take it seriously no matter how well I describe the actual place.

            Luke was either making his story up or recounting a story he’d been duped into believing. If his story were true then something that has never been recorded before or since, and which contravenes the laws of physics as we know them, would have had to happen. Of this event we have not a single shred of evidence. So it remains a story, just as stories of alien abduction and pixies and leprechauns remain stories.

            And in terms of argument by frequency, it only holds water if you’re talking about past, proven frequency. Future frequency counts for nothing as it hasn’t taken place yet, and may never take place, therefore any estimate you give of future frequency is mere guesswork.

            I know that many thousands of battles have taken place, therefore a story about one particular past battle is plausible because battles are frequent occurrences. They can and do happen, therefore a particular battle could have happened and perhaps did.

            Stories about particular future battles are not convincing however, because although battles have happened in the past and can therefore happen in the future, there is no way of knowing which battle will happen when and where, therefore any story about a future battle arises from the imagination rather than from reality. When speaking of future resurrections, as we have no proof from the past that resurrection can happen, there is therefore very little likelihood of it happening in the future. So if you claim that it will, such a claim arises from your imagination and has no basis in reality.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you for such a detailed and carefully-considered response. The time gap for the ‘Iliad’ between the original and the earliest surviving manuscripts is a thousand years. Josephus’ dates are 37-100AD. Contemporaries of Christ were alive while Josephus was writing. Maria bar Serapion, the Stoic philosopher, wrote his letter about Socrates, Pythagoras a nod Christ in around 73AD. The only surviving manuscript for Tacitus, granted, was copied around 850AD. What calls him even more into question is his admiration for the Germans. Useful, nonetheless: for Christians to be persecuted they needed time to get established. That helps with the dating of events.

            Luke’s reliability does not confer infallibility, but does suggest plausibility. Herodotus was considered reliable for being unflattering , at times, about the Greeks. The NT, likewise, is often unflattering about the disciples.

            French critics complained that Shakespeare did not observe the Unities. Shakespeare knew about the Unities, but transcended them. God knew about the Laws of Nature, being their source, but with the Resurrection, He transcended them.

          • Bob

            I repeat, there are no surviving contemporary accounts of the life of Jesus. It was all written down a good generation, possibly more, after it is supposed to have happened.

            Why is that? God descends to earth and walks among us and nobody thinks to write down an account of it at the time? It just isn’t likely, is it?

            What’s more likely is that a common, everyday religious cult figure’s life (or the lives of one or more wandering prophets and/or madmen) was embroidered, added on to and exaggerated to the point where it began to attract the kind of following that led to its politicization, at which point the people behind it decided they had to formalize its beliefs in order to better retain control of the movement.

            Luke’s reliability does not suggest plausibility when he describes not only implausible, but highly improbable events. Reliable witnesses can be duped, or can dupe themselves into believing the impossible.

            And as for comparing Shakespeare to God, again we know so little about Shakespeare’s life that it isn’t even certain that all of the works attributed to him were written by one individual. So if he too is a composite historical invention, possibly based on one historically identifiable person but containing elements of several different personalities, what does that say about the identity of your messiah?

          • The Explorer

            Don’t discount the significance of oral tradition in the ancient world. What Plato said about writing leading to the atrophy of memory. An oral Aramaic version of Matthew was probably circulating within ten years of the Resurrection, and then translated into Greek shortly after Mark’s written Gospel of circa AD 70.

            In ‘1 Corinthians’ Paul refers to his meeting with the leaders of the Jerusalem Church to ensure they were all preaching the same message about the Resurrection. 1Cor dates from around 51 AD. The Book of James, the brother of Jesus, may date from 48AD; certainly no later than 60AD.

            The Higher Criticism sought multiple authorship for Homer, Isaiah, and Shakespeare, but we’re back to the view that the Shakespeare corpus is by Shakespeare: pretty much as envisaged by Heminges and Condell.

          • Bob

            “Probably” and “version” are difficult words to hang the entire authenticity of a religious tradition on. If there was probably an oral Aramaic version of Matthew in circulation a decade after the supposed crucifixion, then what was the probability of that version resembling the version we know today? Probably quite low…

            Ever played Chinese Whispers? One is tempted to say that Christians most certainly did for at least a generation after Christ’s supposed death.

            There’s just too much uncertainty and room for deformation and manipulation implicit in the extended time period between the supposed crucifixion and the appearance of the written gospels to make these documents anything more than highly debatable. What did the apostles do in the twenty to thirty years that followed the crucifixion? And why did no other witness to these events leave any kind of written account of them?

            All other so-called miraculous events were chronicled as they supposedly happened. Every putative apparition of the Virgin is exhaustively documented. Saints are not canonized without exhaustive eye-witness statements of the miracles that supposedly prove their sanctity. Why the exception for Christ?

          • Anton

            The gospels were written down when eye-witnesses started to grow old, to preserve what they had seen and because they were well aware of the Chinese whispers problem.

          • Bob

            Right …

            So these eyewitnesses, who were specifically charged with an evangelising mission, waited until they were elderly to write down their miraculous experiences rather than committing them to paper when they were still fresh in their minds. That seems likely, doesn’t it?

            What probably happened is that these eyewitnesses told their stories to others, who embroidered them and then told them to others, who embroidered them further and then wrote them down. Remember that the average lifespan in biblical times was not 70 or even 60 years, but more like 40. The apostles may not have lived long enough to write anything down, so the gospels were more probably authored by those who followed them.

            We just don’t know, which is what makes Christianity such a doubtful and debatable religion. It is built on extremely shaky foundations, riddled with unanswered questions, ifs, buts and maybes. It just doesn’t seem likely that god, if there is a god, would choose such muddled and confused method of communicating with us.

          • Anton

            So these eyewitnesses, who were specifically charged with an evangelising mission, waited until they were elderly to write down their miraculous experiences rather than committing them to paper when they were still fresh in their minds. That seems likely, doesn’t it?

            Yes. Their reports carried weight because they were eye witnesses and they realised that they would soon be dying off, so they got it written down. Person-to-person evangelism means more than reading a scroll.

            One of the writers-down on their behalf was a younger man called Luke, whose gospel opens:

            “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that happened among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you…”

            You can say that this statement too is a pack of lies, but you can say that about any statement in any ancient document and so can I; dong so required no effort of scholarship, no talent, no time and proves nothing.

            Most of the eye witnesses went on to be martyred for their faith. You don’t risk your life to maintain what you believe to be a hoax.

          • Bob

            Whether or not those who wrote down the gospels believed that Jesus really was the son of god or not is beside the point. The writing of these documents in no way makes the events they describe true.

            This is what Christians just don’t seem to understand. The bible proves nothing except that a group of people probably believed what they wrote in it. It does not prove that anything they wrote actually happened.

            Religious frauds have fooled millions with their lies and fantasies. To the point that some of them have even sacrificed their lives for their beliefs. Places like Judaea, and Rome, and Jonestown, and Waco, and the canton of Valais in Switzerland have all seen martyrs for the faith, whatever that faith may be. Christianity is no different than any other religion in that respect.

            So if the apostles laying down their lives for their faith proves its truth, then all those other faiths must be true too, right?

          • Anton

            “This is what Christians just don’t seem to understand. The bible proves nothing except that a group of people probably believed what they wrote in it. It does not prove that anything they wrote actually happened.”

            True of any ancient text. Be consistent and don’t single out the one you are against.

            “So if the apostles laying down their lives for their faith proves its truth, then all those other faiths must be true too, right?”

            For what they SAW.

          • Bob

            There’s a difference between claiming a battle happened and claiming someone returned from the dead.

            An ancient text that claims the first is at least plausible. Battles happen. We have irrefutable evidence of this from our own time. So the particular battle mentioned in the ancient text may have happened, and if there’s archaeological evidence or independent documentary source to back up the claim, the probability that it did happen rises correspondingly.

            An ancient text that claims the second is implausible. Resurrections don’t happen. We have no evidence from our own time to indicate that they do. So the resurrection referenced by the ancient text is very unlikely to have happened, especially when no archaeological or independent documentary source exists to back up the claim.

            The people who wrote the bible make lots of claims about what they say they saw, or at least believed they saw, but offer no supporting evidence to corroborate these claims.

            The same is true of every other prophet and religious figure. Lots of claims. No proof. All religions are the same. It’s all “believe what I say but whatever you do, don’t question me. I speak the truth and you’d better believe it, or else!”

          • Anton

            The people who saw it were perfectly happy to be questioned about it.

            And if a Resurrection did happen, just what WOULD you accept as evidence? If the answer is nothing then you wouldn’t be able to know the truth, would you?

          • Bob

            The truth of the Christian resurrection is very clear to me. Or rather the possible alternatives, one of which must be the truth.

            Either it was invented, or Jesus wasn’t actually dead when they took him down from the cross, but rather in some form of catatonic state that was mistaken for death, from which he revived after a spell in a cool cavern and who knows what sort of ministrations received over the three day period before he “miraculously” reappeared again.

            Of the two alternatives, the first seems the most likely to me. Miracles are faked all the time. If they weren’t, would the Church be quite so thorough in its investigation of them?

            I discount a real resurrection taking place because resurrections just don’t happen. There’s nothing about the case of Jesus that makes either of the other two explanations implausible. So why believe in something impossible when what is possible explains the situation more than adequately?

          • Anton

            You haven’t addressed my question: If a Resurrection did happen, what would you accept as evidence? If the answer is nothing then you wouldn’t be able to know the truth, would you?

          • Bob

            Your question is meaningless. You might as well ask me what I would accept as evidence that the cow jumped over the moon and the dish ran away with the spoon.

            Cows can’t jump over the moon and dishes and spoons can’t run away together. So asking me what I would accept as evidence that they had, or at least that I believed they had, is a meaningless question.

            A miracle is something possible that happens inexplicably, like a healing, or a sudden windfall. Fantasy is something impossible that can never happen being talked about as if it has. The resurrection of Christ falls into the latter category. So there is no evidence that could persuade me of it, quite literally because evidence of what cannot have happened cannot possibly exist.

            If you claim it does, let’s see it. If you can persuade me that resurrection is possible and demonstrate a resurrection on a dead and demonstrably decomposing body (to discount the possibility of an awakening from a catatonic state), then I would be forced to admit that Christ’s resurrection was at least a possibility. And what is possible becomes probable in the presence of multiple witness statements.

            If you can’t do that, you’re claiming the impossible, and as the impossible is impossible, your story about Christ must be false.

          • Anton

            You have just admitted that it is a waste of time talking to you on the subject. Goodbye.

          • Bob

            In other words you realise that I won’t comfort you in your cognitive dissonance by validating your attempt to hold mutually exclusive concepts in tension.

            I agree that the results of much more interaction between us could be catastrophic for you, so it probably is a good idea to stop talking. Christian scientists (small s) are wise to avoid confronting the implications of their religious fantasies.

          • Anton

            On other subjects I am happy to engage with you. On that one you have just said that you have a closed mind. So why should I waste my time?

          • Bob

            Show me that resurrections are possible and I will more than happily re-examine the claims of the gospels with this new evidence in mind.

            Go on, bring someone back from the dead and I’ll be forced to admit that the Resurrection could have happened.

            I’d even accept the reanimation of necrotic cells as prima facie evidence that the resurrection of a complex life form might be a possibility.

            All you need to do is to show that death can be reversed to convince me that your religion may have a rational basis to it. For people who believe in signs and wonders, shouldn’t that be an easy challenge?

          • Anton

            Miracles cannot be explained by science, by definition. If you won’t believe in THEM, there’s still no point. Someone rightly pointed to Hume’s argument about rejecting evidence for miracles; do familiarise yourself with it.

          • The Explorer

            More good points, and you have made the case against reliability very well.

            Probability of Aramaic and Greek versions matching? Given transmission of sacred material, very high. Likelihood of Chinese Whispers? Given ancient oral transmission methods, very low. Scribal errors over time, certainly; but there are so many ancient copies of the originals that recovery of original words by comparison of copies is straightforward enough.

            What were the apostles doing? See ‘Acts’. Delay in written version? Well, clarifying thoughts, gathering data, selecting data, selecting audience, arranging data, and limitations of written methods of the time. Oral versions fine while those who knew Christ still alive, and written down as that generation died out.

            As to saints, you’re talking to a Protestant for whom all believers are saints. You’ll have to take it up with a Catholic.

          • Bob

            I’d like to see some evidence for your assumption that the pre-gospel oral Christian traditions were all basically identical. Your glib statement that they were proves nothing except that you believe it.

            Ditto for the low likelihood of Chinese Whispers. We’ve all experienced the power of rumour to take on a life of its own as it moves through a group or a society. Where’s your proof that as the Christian rumour spread orally, it remained unchanged? Your assumption is not proof. It’s personal opinion, and one that contradicts the lived experience we all have of how the oral transmission of complex information encourages error, exaggeration and transformation.

            At the end of the day, it all comes down to whether the gospels are objectively true. There is absolutely no proof they are. And the events they describe are so fantastic that any reasonable person will reject them out of hand.

            I have never seen any evidence that death can be reversed. I have never seen any evidence that a place called heaven exists or that it is peopled with entities called spirits and ruled over by a god. I have seen plenty of evidence that points to religion unhinging the minds of otherwise rational people and provoking all sorts of false visions, hallucinations and mass and individual hysteria.

            Weighing all that evidence against the complete lack of evidence for Christ means there’s only one conclusion a reasonable person can come to.

          • The Explorer

            We’re clearly not going to agree. Thank you for an interesting discussion.

          • Malcolm Smith

            I recall an article Fr. Robert Hart wrote recently.

            http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/sunday-before-advent.html

            After recounting two miracles he had personally witnessed (yes, miracles really do happen), he added:

            The problem is partly a philosophical void: the Rationalist cannot use his mind rationally. Anyone who notices that the universe just happens to exist, is living all the time with the evidence of the first miracle of the Bible, the Creatio ex nihilo. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

            And, of course, we all know that one of the major discoveries of modern science was that the universe was created in a moment of time 13.7 billion years ago.

          • Bob

            I’m not getting into a discussion about how the universe began because it’s utterly pointless. We just don’t know how the universe began, so discussion doesn’t help.

            Traditionally we fill in the blank in our knowledge of how everything began with god. Scientists fill it in with the so-called “Big Bang” theory. The problem is that neither of these two theories is based on any real evidence. They are just speculation. And speculation is what you want to believe rather than what actually happened.

            I am content to say “I do not know” when someone asks me how the universe came into being. Christians offer one theory, secular atheists another. But neither offers any kind of explanation I find acceptable. We know what we know. We do not know what we make up. We just think we do.

            The universe may be a result of a god (any god) waving his magic wand (or sceptre, or broomstick, or even lightsabre for all I know…) and intoning “let there be light”. Or it may be the result of two supra-cosmic branes colliding and giving birth to an expanding bubble of matter and energy that eventually evolved into us and whatever (if any) other intelligent species there may (or may not) be. There may be a meaning to our existence, or it may be an accidental by-product of random and unconscious processes. I do not know. And neither do you.

            You pretend to know by placing all your faith in one particular tribal creation myth and treating it as if it were the universal truth. But you have no way of proving that what you believe is real. All you can do is stamp your feet and say “it is the truth and if you refuse to believe it, I condemn you to eternal torment”, as if your hollow threats and childish imprecations are enough to scare me away from the only truth we do know, which is that we just don’t know where we come from, and we certainly don’t know where we’re going to, if anywhere at all.

            Your religion is really no more than the security blanket a child clutches when beset by uncertainty and ignorance. Unproven scientific theories like the Big Bang and quantum theory play much the same role in the human psyche unless they’re rigorously kept in their proper place as theoretical possibilities rather than certainties. But I have no use for security blankets, because they offer no real protection. All they do is addle the mind with made-up solutions to insoluble problems. I would rather look the insoluble problem in the face, admit that I don’t have the answers and then get on with my life knowing that I am not omniscient, but still enjoying it for all that. Why Christians (and some atheists) have to pretend they know it all, I’ll never understand.

          • Anton

            What do you mean by saying that quantum theory is unproven? The value of the “fine structure constant” specifying the strength of electromagnetic interactions is a prediction of quantum theory and has been verified to better than one part in a billion. No other theory has been verified remotely so accurately.

          • Bob

            What I meant was that Grand Unified Theory is currently unproven.

          • Anton

            Work at the research frontier is always unproven.

          • Bob

            GUT has been proposed since the mid 70s. That’s 35 years of research, and still no supporting evidence…

            Maybe GUT will one day be vindicated, but at the moment it’s just another unproven theory and in terms of belief systems needs to be treated as such.

          • Anton

            Actually you are wrong: “grand unification” refers to unification of electromagnetism with both of the intranuclear forces, the so-called weak force and strong force. Electromagnetism was unified with the weak force in the 1960s and led to Nobel Prizes for Weinberg and others. Unification with the strong force gives rise to equations whose testable predictions require heavy-duty computing to generate. This is known as “lattice gauge theory” and its predictions become generatable to an increasing number of decimal places as computers get more powerful. And they are looking good when compared with experiment. It is not true to say that there is no supporting evidence for GUTs (although the terminology itself has moved on).

          • Bob

            Quantum physics is a fast evolving field where what was theoretical one day can become factual the next when solid evidence is presented and verified. The Higgs boson is good example of this. A few years ago it was merely theoretical. Now we know it’s real.

            So where’s the evidence for Christianity? If in the space of a few short years what were once considered to be purely theoretical concepts have been proven to be true, how come after more than 2000 years Christianity still remains unproven?

            You can modify your opinion of the claims of science via the study of evidence. You can’t do the same for religion because there is no evidence to study. So what is there to support your belief?

            Could it be “I believe it so it must be true”?

            Wow! I hope for the sake of your career in science that your anonymity on this site is maintained.

          • Anton

            Adroit change of subject when you got out of your depth about physics – which YOU brought up in analogy.

            My colleagues know my views.

          • Anton

            In fact, time is a created thing and began at that point. This is the hardest thing for humans to understand, but Einstein’s field equations of general relativity, applied to the entire material universe, back up this insight.

          • Malcolm Smith

            Which is essentially what St Augustine said in his Confessions. Everything old is new again.

          • Anton

            Augustine certainly said that time was created in his City of God (XI, ch.6); also in the Confessions? It was stated earlier by Philo of Alexandria (On the Creation VII, 26). But Einstein made it less of a mystery.

          • Anton

            Didn’t you see 300: Rise of an Empire?

          • The Explorer

            I didn’t. Is it a reference to Leonidas?

          • Anton

            I was being somewhat tongue in cheek. The film “300” is about Leonidas and Thermopylae, and the follow-up “300: Rise of an Empire” is about Salamis. Gory fun, but to say they take liberties with Herodotus is putting it mildly.

          • CliveM

            300 was done like a Classical World version of Lord of the Rings!! Full of grotesques that seemed to have more then a passing reference to Orcs and Trolls.

            However it was quite good fun.

          • Anton

            I presume there will be a third and final film about the Battle of Plataea.

          • CliveM

            Followed then by a prequal, on the Battle of Marathon.

            I’d prefer it to be a little bit more historically accurate however.

          • Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches are holding firm to the teaching that homosexuality is an intrinsic and objective moral disorder and acting on it grievously sinful.

          • Bob

            Time changes everything.

            The Catholic and Orthodox Churches have fought rearguard actions to prevent equal marriage and/or civil partnerships from happening across Europe. As with every attempt to stem the tide of social change, in the majority of cases they have failed miserably. Even when they’ve won temporary victories, ultimate defeat is just a matter of time.

            Religion no longer has the power to influence society and the way we choose to govern ourselves. Faith is a private thing and its values are private values not to be imposed on your neighbour who does not share them. Society lives by commonly agreed laws, not by the beliefs of minority faiths.

            That being the case, the Church’s attitude to equal marriage is completely irrelevant. All that matters is the civil marriage law.

            And as for gay Anglicans, or Catholics, or the Orthodox, if they’re upset with their Church, more fool them for belonging to it in the first place. If they support homophobic churches, they only have themselves to blame for the predicament they find themselves in. There’s a simple solution to their problem staring them in the face: ditch the religion that detests them, and start living their own lives rather than abdicating all moral responsibility to a bunch of bigots who hate them.

          • The point is neither of these Churches are compromising their beliefs to win favour with the world. If they decline in numbers, power and influence, hen so be it.

            You know, Jack has been thinking about your extreme hatred of Christianity and your behaviour on here. You were clearly raised a Catholic and you’re conscious of falling short of its moral requirements. Friedrich Nietzsche identified what he called “ressentiment”, where one demonizes a good one feels unable to attain. This same hopelessness was expressed well by St. Augustine in the Confessions:

            “I was sighing, all bound as I was, not by external chains, but by the chain of my own will. The enemy had
            possession of my will, and in this way he had involved me in a chain by which he held me bound. An unlawful desire is indeed produced by a perverse will, and in obeying an unlawful desire a habit becomes established; and when a habit is not restrained it grows into a necessity.”

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Nietzsche is pretty much spot-on in this sort of thing.

            Nevertheless, would you agree with Chesterton’s assessment of him in Orthodoxy (Chapter 7)?

            This, incidentally, is almost the whole weakness of Nietzsche, whom some are representing as a bold and strong thinker. No one will deny that he was a poetical and suggestive thinker; but he was quite the reverse of strong. He was not at all bold. He never put his own meaning before himself in bald abstract words: as did Aristotle and Calvin, and even Karl Marx, the hard, fearless men of thought. Nietzsche always escaped a question by a physical metaphor, like a cheery minor poet. He said, “beyond good and evil,” because he had not the courage to say, “more good than good and evil,” or, “more evil than good and evil.” Had he faced his thought without metaphors, he would have seen that it was nonsense. So, when he describes his hero, he does not dare to say, “the purer man,” or “the happier man,” or “the sadder man,” for all these are ideas; and ideas are alarming. He says “the upper man,” or “over man,” a physical metaphor from acrobats or alpine climbers. Nietzsche is truly a very timid thinker. He does not really know in the least what sort of man he wants evolution to produce. And if he does not know, certainly the ordinary evolutionists, who talk about things being “higher,” do not know either.

          • Jack wouldn’t disagree with Chesterton although, in truth, he is not an expert on Nietzsche.

          • Anton

            When an authoritarian hierarchy gets it right, all is well. The problem comes when it gets it wrong.

          • Agreed but the Roman Catholic Church is guaranteed indefectibility in matters of faith and morals.

          • Anton

            Can you prove that as a general statement?

            One counter-example suffices!

          • It’s based on scripture and is a question of faith, Anton.

          • Anton

            The only scripture regularly quoted is from John’s Last Supper, that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, which does not say that there won’t be error on the way and raises the question of who “us” is. I’m sure we both know people who go to Catholic and protestant churches whom we privately consider unsaved.

            As for counter-examples: many have been offered on previous threads.

          • There are other passages with support it too.

            Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church into all truth. The Holy Spirit teaches the Church “all things” bringing to mind everything that Christ first taught His apostles (Jn. 14:26). That is why Jesus can say, regarding His Apostles and their Bishop successors, “He who receives you receives me” (Mt. 10:40). Chosen by Christ, they exercise the Church’s Magisterium or teaching office. Christ sends His Apostles and their successors as the Father sent Him—with “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18).

            To provide a sure source of teaching and to maintain unity in the Church, Christ established the Papacy with supreme authority in the Church. The Pope’s office is one of succession from Peter and is marked by the authority of “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 16:18-19; Is. 22:15-25).

            Jesus did not leave His people vulnerable to the doctrinal whims of competing leaders. He built the Church on the solid foundation of the Apostles (cf. Eph. 2:19-20). He gave the Church His Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, to enable her to be “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Despite the cultural winds that have blown through the ages, the Catholics have always had a visible, easily identifiable magisterial “rock”.

            Have a read of this short article. It was Newman’s eventual conviction in the indefectibility and infallibility of the Catholic Church that led to his conversion.

            http://cdn.theologicalstudies.net/51/51.3/51.3.3.pdf

          • Anton

            As an adult convert to Christianity I cannot grumble that Newman is someone who changed his mind; but I can grumble about his intellectual honesty. He used casuistic arguments (in ‘Tract 90’ of the high Anglican ‘Tractarian movement,’ published in 1841) to re-interpret the 39 Articles of the Church of England in a Catholic way that their authors obviously never intended, such that priests with Catholic sympathies were supposedly free to say one thing yet mean another. After his move Newman consistently used the word ‘Catholic’ to mean ‘Christian’ – an understandable confusion in an Italian or Spanish peasant but disingenuous by one who must have known many who were personally committed to Christ within the Church of England. Newman regretted the formalising of the doctrine of papal infallibility when it happened yet said he had always believed it. How could a Christian wish to keep private what he regards as doctrinally true?

            The doctrine of inerrancy has not guaranteed that the Church of Rome has been inerrant but that it cannot admit its errors.

          • Newman’s conversion was provoked and confirmed by his deep study and thinking about Church infallibility. He was a sound and knowledgeable theologian. The Church is inerrant in matters of faith and morals. This is not to say it cannot make mistakes in other areas or that it will not have sinful men in its hierarchy.

          • Anton

            You can make general statements about how wonderful Newman was but I am sticking to specific evidence-based statements about how wonderful he wasn’t.

            Readers willing to examine both sides are welcome to examine my examples of where I claim Rome has erred in matters of faith, on this blog.

          • Malcolm Smith

            “many liberal Anglicans … leave the church”. What you tend to forget is that it is the liberals who are the minority. The only place they have significant numbers is among the clergy. When these clergy get in charge of a parish, the congregation gradually melts away as the members find a church where the gospel really is taught. The man and woman in the pews can tell the tree by its fruit, even if outsiders can’t.

          • Bob

            I have no idea which party forms a majority in the Church, although I will say it’s reasonable to assume that the liberal side of things is constantly losing ground as its membership bleeds away into effective secular atheism.

            In a way, it’s almost irrelevant which party has a majority. The Anglican Church is not a democracy, at least not in a “one member, one vote” sense. Whoever controls Synod by whatever means governs the Church and dictates policy. Things as they stand clearly give such control to the clergy, so if it is weighted to the liberal side, then Church doctrine will follow. Despite this traditionalists seem to be doing a pretty good job of digging their heels in and resisting change for as long as they possibly can. Yet while the clergy remains liberal, pressure to change will be maintained and will eventually defeat traditionalist resistance. It’s really just a matter of time.

            If you want true democracy in your Church, quit the Anglicans and become a Quaker. Of course you might not like it as a clear majority of that faith is in favour of full equality for women and gays. It seems that when democracy mixes with religion, liberalism wins out. So your only real choice may be Catholic autocracy.

            Why not join the Ordinariate and content yourself with being told what to believe? The peace of mind that accompanies a total abdication of moral responsibility is, I’m told (mostly by Catholics … who are of course completely unbiased) most agreeable, like a weight being lifted from your shoulders. Let your priest worry about these things and then just do as he tells you. I mean, if God had wanted you to meddle in these matters, he’d have given you a vocation and a penchant for altar boys, no?

      • Inspector General

        Christians do not hate people because of the sexual orientation. You have to see it from the church’s point of view. No concessions. That’s all it is. No concessions.

    • Phil R

      ” My liberal Christian / gay friends are the ones who are really upset here over what they see as bigotry and discrimination”

      Bigotry

      The definition that seems to have evolved is “you don’t agree with me therefore you are a bigot”. If you want to argue that the dictionary definition applies then please explain.

      Discrimination

      Even your gay friends would discriminate and define “non Christian” some sexual behaviors. Therefore, the discrimination argument is a non sequitur.

      • Hi

        Shrug. I’ve given up even bothering to argue with you guys about this issue. The effort isn’t worth it.

        • Phil R

          It seems “bigot” works both ways here. Go and tell your friends to stop being so bigoted about people who have different views to them.

          Perhaps they should “get over it”

          • Hi

            Vent yourself at someone else as I’m not your punch bag. I’m really not interested in how you interpret or define bigot or whatever . I’m not telling my friends anything as I’m not your messenger . Can you get over that?

          • CliveM

            Sigh………. :0)

          • CliveM

            Actually Hannah asked a question and she described how some people she knew felt.

            But you didn’t answer the question, just decided to have an irrelevant rant.

            You really do have a problem with women don’t you. Have you met Bob, I think you’d get on.

          • dannybhoy

            When people are this rude and aggressive Clive, there is nothing to be done. It’s usually a sign of dis-ease within the person themselves, and until it is squarely addressed diagnosed and healed, we will get nowhere.

          • Inspector General

            Nonsense that man – tis passion!

          • Phil R

            The liberals on this blog are swallowingthe lie that feelings trump reason

          • CliveM

            Why don’t you answer the question? This isn’t about liberal or conservative, this is about something as basic as understanding what is being said.

          • Anton

            No, that they trump scripture.

          • Phil R

            That too

          • Hi

            I’ve not trumped scriptures and neither have Clive or Danny.

          • Anton

            Hannah, I was not referring to you! I’ve only skimmed your comments here and have no wish to enter that debate. I meant church liberals and I was speaking more generally.

          • Danny and Clive liberals ? What ?

          • CliveM

            Phil R definition of Liberal, someone who thinks.

          • dannybhoy

            The passion of the dis -eased….

          • Phil R

            The disease that we see here us a lack of reality

          • Hi

            No . The lack of reality is the assertion and assumption you’re making about other people.

          • CliveM

            Hi Hannah

            Some people are simply after a cheap up vote.

          • Hi

            I’m tempted to up vote Phil just to see who it was ! Inspector perhaps or someone else ?

          • CliveM

            Just hover the mouse over the upvote sign. It should say.

          • dannybhoy

            Me Me Me !

          • CliveM

            Ok, done.

            Hope you’re content!

          • Cressida de Nova

            What does it mean upvote. I just looked . I got 135…does it mean that 135 people agreed with with what I said (this would be highly unlikely) or does it mean that one person agreed 135 times with what I said ( in my case this is probably the most likely scenario) Was that you Clive? Chortles !

          • CliveM

            It means that on a 135 occasions some one liked what you said! It is likely that this was done by more than 1 persons. To find out hover the curser of your mouse over the numer of upvotes you got against each comment and that will tell you who upvoted you.

            I have done so in the past!

          • Cressida de Nova

            Thanks Clive. No I don’t need to know who upvoted me. I have never upvoted anyone. I really cannot see the point. If I like what someone says I can comment.and say so!

          • CliveM

            What the heck I upvoted you anyway!

          • CliveM

            As so fort Dannybhoy you have hit the nail on the head.

          • Phil R

            It seems that you have bought into the hurt feelings trumps rational argument lie.

          • CliveM

            It appears you have bought into the “sod the actual question, I’ll indulge in a completely irrelevant rant line”.

            Do you actually have an answer to her question?

          • Phil R

            She did not expect any answer.

            Her point was that her friends were upset. That was what mattered

          • CliveM

            No actually she was asking a question. I think it was an interesting one. The purpose of bringing in her friends responses was to say, hey why aren’t conservatives more up beat about the result, because look the liberals feel very upset about it. They certainly feel defeated.

            Do you have an answer to that question?

          • Phil R

            See comment

          • Hi

            So you are a mind reader? Actually I did expect an answer, because the conservative side seemingly got what it wanted. But I didn’t see that being acknowledge in the initial comments.

          • Phil R

            No the C side did not get the most important requirement

            No repentance

          • Hi

            Wasn’t too difficult for you to respond after all….

          • Phil R

            But the purpose of your post was to state how upset your friends are about the fact that the rest of the world refuses to be bullied be a minority

          • Hi

            As I said to you yesterday :

            “So you are a mind reader? Actually I did expect an answer, because the conservative side seemingly got what it wanted. But I didn’t see that being acknowledge in the initial comments.”

          • Phil R

            As I said

            There was no repentance

            Without repentance what do we have?

          • Hi

            I was simply clarifying why I had posted my question and it wasn’t about what you said it was. You have given an answer and I thank you for it. That’s it really. I can grasp what you are saying as I’ve been here long enough .

          • Hi

            Rational arguments and your good self are not compatible

          • Do not mention ‘Bob’.

          • CliveM

            I’ll try not to.

      • DanJ0

        A bigot is someone who tenaciously holds onto an opinion in spite of the evidence or arguments against.

        • Phil R

          Oh i see

          so all gays are bigots then?

          • DanJ0

            Dear oh dear, Phil. You forget who you’re talking to. I recall very well your use of FRC articles and your failure to check out their flawed references. You epitomise bigotry. Those articles were the religious equivalent of those Facebook memes from Britain First.

          • Phil R

            I think everyone in Britain would fit the current loose definition of Bigot in one way or another.

            But not you of course. You are the exception….

          • DanJ0

            I’m lovely!

          • Phil R

            No you’re not. You use ridicule, insult and would if possible use fear to try to enforce my conformity to your dream of what you describe as equailty, but is effectively state sanctioned naccissim.

            Objections to this view are ruthlessly enforced by the drumhead courts of the media and increasingly, the state itself.

          • DanJ0

            Phil, I love the fact that you’re a bigot. Please continue. Be as vocal as you like, especially in real life. But also tell everyone that you self-identify as a Christian when you’re sounding off, if you would be so kind. Ta muchly. 🙂

          • Phil R

            It is not just the self-identifing Christians (are there any other type- or are you going to define someone a Christian who does not self identify as one?) who are concerned by the cancerous Orwellian nightmare that we increasingly find ourselves in. But it seems you consider is just “evolution” and no cause for concern.

          • DanJ0

            Full Definition of bigot

            : a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

          • Phil R

            What the word has “evolved” to mean is ” anyone who obstinately disagrees with the liberal “consensus”.

  • DanJ0

    They ought to play something like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/iReleaseEndorphins/videos/1246708738676586/?fref=nf

    at the start of these sort of conferences in order to give people a sense of perspective for the rest of it. 🙂

    • dannybhoy

      That is an excellent vidclip DanJ0, I just sent it off to some friends of mine.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Doesn’t cut it for me. Problem is, I know too much astronomy.

      All those big red giant stars are effectively in the geriatric ward, and as for that huge galaxy so much bigger than the Milky Way, it looks like an eliptical, full of red stars but devoid of any new star-forming regions.

      • dannybhoy

        gives a sense of perspective though, doesn’t it.

        • Pubcrawler

          But is it helpful? Should I send it to my friend, presently undergoing a course of chemotherapy? I’m sure she will take great comfort from knowing that her present tribulations are, on a cosmic level, utterly insignificant.

          It’s a facile, patronising platitude.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, dear cyberbuddy,

            I took it at face value, and tied it into the discussions we were having a few days earlier about science and origins and interpreting the evidence.

            It doesn’t deny God as Creator but it does link up with that verse in Psalm 8..
            “3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
            4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

            We are but specks, yet God bestows such significance upon us, takes an interest in us and wants to fellowship with us.
            Wonderful and Marvellous!
            I am sorry for your friend, Pubcrawler.

          • DanJ0

            I expect one can take out of it what one wishes. For me, it suggests that the scale of the Christianity, or indeed any other theistic religion, is completely wrong. For someone else, it might demonstrate the sheer power and majesty of its creator/maintainer.

            Here’s another:

            https://www.facebook.com/iReleaseEndorphins/videos/1235452379802222/?theater

          • dannybhoy

            “For someone else, it might demonstrate the sheer power and majesty of its creator/maintainer.”
            Absolutely.

  • Inspector General

    Why IS it that there has to an official LGBT presence in the church? Any church. The Inspector would not want to join a Left Handed Christian group (…it’s tough out there in a right handed world…) nor would he be interested in a Fascists For Christ setup. In fact, the Inspector would rather wish to hide any desire to hug, kiss, or bum a fellow male as that inclination tends to be received with a great deal of natural repellence by the hetronormative (…horrible word. Must be one of Carl’s people inventions, but it does the job…) and causes disquiet at best and loathing or worse at worst.

    • Albert

      It is tough being left handed. Right handed people has even hijacked the language against left handed people. Good people are called “righteous”, skilled people “dexterous” and “adroit”, but bad things are “sinister”.

      I think we need inclusive language to deal with this.

      • Inspector General

        Explains why the Inspector is seen as a sinister presence on this marvellous blog…

      • Anton

        “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left” – Ecclesiastes 10:2. Personally I’d always taken it to refer to politics…

      • chiefofsinners

        Interesting thing, left handedness. In the bible there are only three mentions, all pertaining to the tribe of Benjamin, but the name Benjamin means ‘son of my right hand’.

        • Inspector General

          Not even the bible wants us types. It’s enough for the Inspector to call everyone around here heartless bigots. As is modern custom when you are annoyed that you’re not getting your fair share or belief thereof….

        • Albert

          Left-handers are constantly mentioned. They are the unrighteous!

      • IrishNeanderthal

        What about Ehud, though? (Judges 3:15 et seq)

        As for his namesake, Ehud Barak, we are told in Wikipedia:

        He is the joint most highly decorated soldier in Israel’s history, having taken part in many battles and combat missions.

        following in the footsteps of the Biblical hero.

        • Albert

          Those left-footers!

    • dannybhoy

      Now that I do agree with Inspector. The same as I am against special groups for the Police, Firemen and the Military.
      There is no room in Christ’s Church for special interest groups..

      • IanCad

        “— I am against special groups for the Police, Firemen and the Military.”
        Good to know there are at least two of us Danny.

      • Inspector General

        Another peculiarity. Why do the top football clubs all boast LGBT fan clubs. Isn’t the main fan club good enough for them….

        • The Explorer

          Bet ISIS doesn’t have a LGBT fan club.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t rule it out. If you do, you’re not familiar with the mind-set of some of the loons who post on PN then…

          • The Explorer

            Well, there are women who want to marry convicted serial killers who have specialised in killing women. But, as a rule, only when the killers are safely behind bars…

          • Andre´Kristian

            Touché! That must be the very essence of the female intellectual capacity, a phenomenon which not seldom denotes a complete absence of logical thinking, rhyme and reason. From what I have learned, no men in this vale of tears receive so many love-letters and scabrous proposals as those being imprisoned. I assume it has something to do with the female genes, since they continuously regard it as their passionate mission and vocation to “save and deliver” the worst conceivable criminals. I have read about some penal institutions which even provide special rooms where the delinquents are able to enjoy acts of fornication with their harlots. It´s so popular these days to bolster up vice and promote immorality. Very repulsive.
            A multitude of solace to find so many decent and sober fellows here on Cranmer, though!
            If You pardon my extemporaneous parenthesis, valued gentleman 😉
            Andreas.

          • Inspector General

            Andre, as a young man, the Inspector asked a favourite of his, a young thing who had teamed up with what even his friends would agree as an accurate description of him, a ‘despicable shit’. She said that she was ‘in love with him’.

            And there, dear friend, is the difference between (emotional) woman hood and reasoned man…

          • Andre´Kristian

            Your Lordship,
            believe me to absorb and devour every suave syllable of Yours. Please pardon my late reply. Your gentleman-at-arms has been elsewhere, desperately trying to entertain the voracious assembly of remote acquaintances. (Written gallantry, gewgaw, gimcrack and nothing but.)
            Nevertheless, as the incorrigible old foxes we both are, we are experienced enough to avoid any artful ambush and insidious intrigue performed by the other gender.
            With ardent sincerity from my study,
            Your swordsman and solitaire, Andre´
            Good morning, sir 😉

          • DanJ0

            When you say you’re the Inspector’s swordsman …

          • sarky

            Smirk

          • Andre´Kristian

            Henchman, liegeman, ardent admirer, there are several ways to denominate my attitude and position, sir! Do I suspect a rivalry here? If so, I shall fight to the very last breath!

          • The relationship between DanJo and the Inspector is *complex*, Andre.

          • Hi Andre

            “Henchman, liegeman, ardent admirer”

            So you are like inspector’s fag? (In the public school meaning ).

          • Andre´Kristian

            I assume You have got plenty of other issues to attend to, and I see no reason to continue this conversation. You won’t receive any further comments.

          • Hi

            O ….kay

            You know I’m not sure why you are seemingly taking offence here. Inspector has said far worse to me in the past five years about me and lesbians : he gets as good as he gives.

            A fag, btw, was simply a servant for junior boys at public (private school) school. It has no sexual connotations.

          • IanCad

            Hannah,

            I believe you may have too innocent a picture of the obsequious rite of fagging. As the illustrations in the link will attest:
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11917614/Private-school-sport-still-stuck-in-the-19th-century.html

          • Hi Ian

            Given inspector’s Victorian values on race, gender and sexuality, one would have though his “sword” would appreciate it. Except the joke was on the other foot, so one gets dismissed. No rebuke by Andre on inspectors more questionable views or outrageous posts (I did read the one about the gay men adopting a child). But then the comments here are often a kind of gentleman’s club, dominated by several big personalities. If you are outside of these cliques or aren’t one of the cliques you are pretty much dismissed.

            Hey ho. See you around , as it was said to me:”you have got plenty of other issues to attend to, and I see no reason to continue this conversation. You won’t receive any further comments.”.

          • Malcolm Smith

            You know how this happened, don’t you?
            One day, Adam woke up, discovered he was missing a rib, looked around, and – “God! What’s that gorgeous creature?” he cried.
            “That’s the new mate I made for you,” said God.
            “She’s incredibly beautiful!” exclaimed Adam.
            “I know,” said God. “I made her that way so that you would love her. Why don’t you go over and meet her?”
            He did so, and exclaimed: “God! She’s lovely and soft, and has a beautiful smell.”
            “I know,” said God. “I made her that way so that you would love her. Go over, and get familiar with her.”
            The two walked off, chatting, and after a while Adam returned and said, “God! There’s something wrong here. She has no brains at all!”
            “I know,” said God. “I made her that way so that she’d love you.”

          • dannybhoy

            Very good.

          • dannybhoy

            Not all women, old chap.
            I’m quite sure that were I locked up in prison, “er indoors” would feel no womanly inclination to save and deliver me……
            ;0)

          • Andre´Kristian

            Thanks for Your brisk reply, sir! As we are not yet acquainted, I am a bit uncertain of how to respond. However, I remain confoundedly suspicious concerning women and their concealed intentions 😉 I am polite, even chivalric before them, but I prefer to keep them at a safe distance. Good to hear You are not being kept in custody though! (I assume Your appearance isn´t comparable to our devilishly handsome Inspector, but females seem to be mad about dangerous scoundrels, regardless their looks.) The scandal of having one of the commenters imprisoned, would presumably be quite embarrassing for the creditable court of Cranmer. I consider myself as a very fortunate fellow for having the privilege of posting my pertinacious comments here.
            Greetings!

          • The Explorer

            Thank you, Andre.

          • IanCad

            Bravo! Andreas,
            O how the advance of this monstrous race of women marches on!
            Equality of the sexes? Yes, in equity. No, in roles. More especially where cold analysis or hard physical effort are required.
            That disgusting woman MP was rightly chastised when attending to her baby during business.
            Women are like pets – they need a tight leash.

          • Andre´Kristian

            Eminent member of the assembly,
            it appears as if this bonny parvenu has caused a slight turbulence within these creditable circles.
            Fear not, bold warrior! As long as a fellow restricts himself and upholds a certain level of propriety, there´s no harm in his presence.
            However, I was under the delightful impression that Cranmer was an exclusive gentlemen´s club. A reposeful fortress ruled by knightly virtues, flourishing in concord and harmony.
            Methinks the concierge has somehow neglected such ideals, by granting entrance for madcaps and impertinent she-cats. A less fortunate decision, at least regarding “Bob”, our principal supplier of insults and demented accusations.
            As for Your rejoinder, I could hardly miss the irony in Your sporting comment, sir! A dashing decoy-duck for this tempered misogynist (yet continuously a gentleman) to grab and tear apart 😉
            We shouldn´t have let the vixens off the leash from the very beginning. Merely lengthened the chain, confound it! Discretion is the better part of valour and the harlotry these days is such a tedious plague.
            With complaisant amiability, Andre´

      • Anton

        Freemasonry is not unknown in these organisations, I believe.

        • dannybhoy

          it’s very much in evidence in the Police and the CofE as far as I am aware..
          definitely a special interest group, but a very powerful one.

          • Inspector General

            Before the NHS came into existence, they WERE the health service for the ordinary people. Hospitals being charities then…

          • dannybhoy

            But it was the Church which first founded and developed hospitals Inspector..

            http://www.hospitalsdatabase.lshtm.ac.uk/the-voluntary-hospitals-in-history.php

            A useful and informative link here..
            http://www.sochealth.co.uk/national-health-service/healthcare-generally/history-of-healthcare/

            and Christian inspiration and involvement..

            http://www.cmf.org.uk/publications/content/?context=article&id=827

          • Inspector General

            When Henry VIII took out the abbeys, monasteries, and priories he also ended church involvement with medicine for the ordinary man. The establishment of the Protestant order in this country was at a heavy price. Was it worth it? No. It wasn’t then and from the state of the CoE now, it certainly isn’t now.

          • Anton

            Medicine was essentially useless until the 19th century; I think you mean “charity” where you have written “medicine”. After the dissolution of the monasteries the State fluctuated in its attitude to the poor for the rest of the 16th century, but the 1601 Poor Law required the parishes to provide assistance – obviously out of local resources – for persons in and of that parish who were destitute. The question of which applicants for poor relief should be granted how much relief was left to local authorities, who knew personally the circumstances of those involved. This was, roughly, the Mosaic system. It became subverted from 1795, starting in the parish of Speenhamland, in much the same way it is being abused today; this was a major underlying cause of the rural riots of 1830-31, even if the immediate triggers were poor harvests and the partial mechanisation of farm work. Those riots led to parliamentary reform and the end of ‘outdoor relief’ (paying paupers in the community). ‘Indoor relief’ was expanded – the workhouse system, which had its own inhumanities as
            chronicled by Charles Dickens. Meanwhile Victorian society was tremendous at organising charity, with a myriad small associations of people. Explicitly Christian groups were among these and so, no doubt, was freemasonry. (It is not my aim to discuss its spirituality in this comment.) When doctors started getting knowledge worth having, many of them regarded it as their duty to see paying clients in the morning and the poor for free in the afternoon; it is indeed a leftist myth that before the NHS there was nothing.

    • carl jacobs

      horrible word. Must be one of Carl’s people inventions, but it does the job

      Further evidence that there is now Standard English and many variants of Standard English that exist outside the United States.

  • len

    There is’ a division’ going on in many aspects of life.When God Created the World He Created Light which separated Light from Darkness. This is as much spiritual as material.Spiritual came before the material.
    There is now a very clear division going on between those who hold to the World of God(those in the Light ) and those who wish to overcome the Light and plunge the World into Spiritual Darkness. This is a Battle in ‘the Heavenlies’ being played out amongst the people on Earth. We have seen (and are seeing) how those in the World(Darkness) are trying make Christians conform to their worldview by threats and by intimidation. Christians will be defined as to whether the Hold to the Truth of God or submit to the pressures of this world system and surrender to the lie and become part of the Darkness.
    A time of testing indeed…

    • David

      Well said Len.

  • sarky
    • Phil R

      Don’t yah know.

      If we get trendy, write the Bible so that killing the unborn, having gay sex and appoint women in authority over men. Then numbers will increase and everyone will be a happy.

      • sarky

        Wise man that Mel Smith (rip)

        • Phil R

          The sad thing is we all know lots of Mountjoys

          • IanCad

            Mountjoy – as in Dublin prison perhaps?

          • Phil R

            Not sure why the name was chosen.

            but usually there was a reason

            I assumed it was some pun on sexual deviation but what i was not able to determine

          • Anton

            Mel Smith’s colleague Rowan Atkinson has played a character called the Reverend Goodfellow, who was.

      • IanCad

        Thanks Phil. Not so far from reality.
        When was the sketch made?

        • Phil R

          1980 ish

    • Martin

      Sarky

      Everyone has a religion. For most, such as you, it is to worship one’s self, to place one’s own views above all else.

      • sarky

        Is that a broken record I hear????

        • Martin

          Sarky

          You slow learners have to be constantly reminded.

          • sarky

            My gran has dementia and she constantly repeats herself aswell. May explain a few things.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            But she doesn’t realise she is repeating herself. I know I am repeating myself and the purpose for which I am repeating myself, that the slow learners might be helped..

          • sarky

            You’re confusing lack of interest for slow learning.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            On the contrary, they’re connected. You don’t have what is required to learn.

          • sarky

            My educational achievements would suggest otherwise.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            There’s no indication of any educational achievements in your posts here.

          • sarky

            Ditto

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Oh dear, did I get to you?

          • DanJ0

            Do you stim too?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            I gather you are a slow learner to, one who has to be reminded that the God they know exists offers them mercy.

          • DanJ0

            I bet you do stim.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Why should I care what you bet on?

          • DanJ0

            You’re probably rocking backwards and forwards when you’re reading this.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You get more pathetic every day.

  • Chris P

    What is fascinating is presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church casting himself and his fellow leaders as those who wish to ‘welcome all of God’s children’. Powerful and moving stuff! Not so welcoming and inclusive if you happen to disagree with his take on theology. Then you are at risk of a law suit and confiscation of your church property and the loss of your position as a priest:

    https://thereluctantsamizdatwordpresscom.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/how-many-fingers/

    • Martin

      Chris

      And these bullies are the ones Justin Welby is desperate to retain within the Anglican Communion.

      They deliberately disobey the Bible’s commands 1 Corinthians 6:1-8

      I wonder if anyone has questioned whether such people should be allowed communion in view of the Lord’s words in Matthew 5:23ff

  • wisestreligion

    It is seldom wrong to apologize, but is the impression being given that the church is
    just moving, more slowly, in the same direction as progressive society? After
    apologizing to homosexuals, what about other sinners – adulterers, thieves,
    drunkards, the greedy, extortioners (1 Cor 6: 9-10). The AoC had stern words
    for payday lenders last year. Is an apology now due to Wonga, for any hurt
    caused to them?

    When bishops take the heat off themselves by making concessions in the direction of
    homosexuality they are making it harder for the faithful among their flock, who
    do not have the excuse of a dog collar or mitre for holding views that are
    unacceptable to our liberal superiors in the media and Government.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      No one need bother with a church that merely flatters the vices of the times.

      • Anton

        “The church that marries the spirit of the age will soon be a widow”.

        – Commonly attributed to Dean Inge (although I’ve not succeeded in verifying this), but an accurate comment regardless.

    • James60498 .

      Excellent comment

    • David

      Very true. It is cowardly of them to do this.

    • Ivan M

      There will be no end to apologising as the RCC found out. It is in any case a cheap stunt to apologise on behalf of prelates and theologians who if they were alive today, would continue to affirm their position that homosexual relations are wrong as taught by tradition and scripture. They can move on to another plane in the vexed relations with homosexuals, but why apologise for a view held by no less than St Paul? One can only apologise for one’s own failings, not that of others telescoped into the present to be whipping boys. It is a matter of principle.

      • Anton

        It is very dangerous at the day of judgement to apologise for God’s word.

  • Shadrach Fire

    I re-listened to a sermon that said if you walk for too long on your own and listen to only ourselves, we are likely to go astray and decidedly wrong.
    Whilst we may be convinced that we and only we are right, we are likely to be wrong. Only by walking with others of diverse opinions and different attitudes can we check our opinions, providing we are prepared to listen. We may still think we are right but at least it has been checked against those of others.
    The truth of God is in his words, doctrine is by the making of man through interpretation. Give me the truth any day.

    • Martin

      SF

      Depends on how reliable those we walk with are. I’d rather stick with the Bible.

  • I have to confess that I was hoping that there would be no agreement and that the Anglican communion would break up. Now I suppose we shall have to wait for the Pilling Report to come out and see if that will do the trick.
    There are many fine evangelical churches within the Church of England, but the new wine needs to burst out of the old, liberal bottles. What possible virtue is there in remaining in communion with unbelievers like Giles Fraser and the Bishop of Buckingham? They are not going to change, nor are they going to keep silent for the sake of unity.
    Britain desperately needs a new Reformation, and that will mean separating from those who deny the Gospel. ‘Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp.’

    • David

      There are a few Anglican churches that have stepped outside the C of E. Not many but a few. Additionally the first two (?) new ones have been set up as direct plants by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) by Gafcon. I would like to see both these types flourish and increase, and the godly ones inside the structure increase in number as well. If God wills it, then it will happen.

    • Anton
      • Perhaps I have misunderstood, but is there not a consultation going on about all this under the auspices of Pilling which is due to report around now?

        3. Consultation on this report should be conducted without undue
        haste but with a sense of urgency, perhaps over a period of two years.
        (Paragraphs 83, 364–5)

        • Anton

          I don’t know if it started anything. Does anyone else?

  • Now, now …

  • The Explorer

    I imagine it’s a statement about his belief in evolution.

  • chiefofsinners

    The CoE owes a deep debt of gratitude to its children: the African peoples whom it evangelised only 150 years ago. These are they whose eyes have not grown dim and who have not forgotten their first love. Nor have they forgotten that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Our media speaks of the church ‘modernising’ and ‘moving with the times’. The church in our land has been compromising, shape-shifting and expediently twisting God’s word for so long that our society no longer has any concept of absolute truth. But has the glory has departed? No, just emigrated to Nigeria. We are an episcopal congregation of the Church of Africa. Thank God for them.

    • Anton

      Amen!

  • ….

    • carl jacobs

      You have a heavy hand, Jack. The ‘s’ slurs into the ‘e’ and it is received as ‘h’.

      • .. -. -.. . . -..

      • dannybhoy

        ?
        Sappy Jack??

        • Anton

          Indeed not. He shows no remorse.

          • dannybhoy

            I do believe he will ‘endeavour’ to change though..

          • Clever …

          • Anton

            If the Inspector began communicating like this then which TV detective would he resemble?

          • carl jacobs

            Sledge Hammer?

          • Oh dear …..

        • …. .- .–. .–. -.–
          .— .- -.-. -.-

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

        • carl jacobs

          The last time I argued with Jack, the following message was heard repeatedly over wireless:

          -.-. –.- -.. …. .–. -.–

          Alas, his argument foundered in just over two hours.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack likes a good argument. I rely on him and Martin on rainy days…

          • carl jacobs

            Well. Jack likes to argue. But can Catholics really make good arguments?

            😉

          • dannybhoy

            I couldn’t possibly comment..

          • Catholics really have no need to argue, Carl. We explain truth and correct error.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, but what about all the other times? You know. All those times when you aren’t fussing at the Magisterium?

          • Catholic minds are trained to engage in logical and reasoned discussions. We do not argue.

          • …. — — —

          • carl jacobs

            Jack, Jack, Jack

            You should have recognized the origin behind CQD HPY immediately. I guess Americans are just better educated.

          • Still not there, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Google CQD MGY. It is without question the most famous wireless broadcast in history.

          • Jack was unaware of this. He didn’t realise CQD was the distress call before SOS.

          • Anton

            I did, but had no idea who MGY was.

          • carl jacobs

            This is why they let Americans hang around this weblog. You Brits would be lost without us.

  • Jill

    Anglican Ink has produced a video interview with new ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach. I was fascinated to learn that a number of the primates actually knew very little about the antics of TEC and had felt that ACNA and TEC should be able to resolve their differences. Archbishop Foley was able to disabuse them of this. Thus TEC was ‘found out’, and it is my opinion that this was the turning point, when many of the ‘undecided’ primates swung over to the ACNA side.

    Thank God for Archbishop Foley.

    • MiddleBrow

      Thank God for Archbishop Foley who really believes the truths of the Bible and is prepared to speak up for them.

  • ..- -. .. – . -..

    • Bob

      (ΘεΘ;)

  • Uncle Brian

    Hello again Jack. I suppose you’re tryng to get in under the radar of the internet nazis who cruelly cut you off from His Grace’s sermons from time to time. But you’ve got me foxed, as well. I’ll have to do some looking up.
    More later …

    • Uncle Brian

      UNUL?

      Don’t get it, sorry. Is it an abbreviation I ought to recognise?

      • It could mean UNITED in Morse code Uncle B

        • Uncle Brian

          Yes, I finally puzzled it out! Thanks for your help.

        • IanCad

          I thought it read: “Get Me Out Of Here!!”

          • Home on Friday, Ian.

          • magnolia

            Hurrah !! Really glad to hear that! My prayers are with you- that you get loads better-and those of many others here I am sure. God Bless.

          • Thank you and may God Bless you and yours too.

          • Thank you, Magnolia. It has been very humbling to receive so many good wishes from fellow Cranmerites and most especially from those who Happy Jack has ‘exchanged words with’ in days gone bye.

          • sarky

            You’re glad he’s cutting down his time on here??? 🙂

          • Uncle Brian

            Congratulations, Jack! That’s very good news. Apart from anything else, there’ll be nobody to stop you spending as much time as you want here at Cranmer’s.

          • Jack will have to try and cut down on the time he spends here, Brian. Things to do and places to go.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Jack, I too found there was a life outside of Cranmer but it’s nice to dip ones toe in from time to time.

          • IanCad

            That’s good news. You’ve had very rough time.
            Continued prayers for you Jack.

          • Thank you, Ian. God Bless.

      • Uncle Brian

        Now I’ve got it! I hadn’t allowed for some of the spaces between letters. Well then. Here’s my reply:

        .–. .- .-.. — . .. .-. .- …

  • >>>>Doctrine is a matter for each province<<<

    that's not what I heard…….

  • Dreadnaught

    Considering the amount of discord within the CoE I find it ironic that there is a propensity among the hierarchy for fancy hats, bling and pink frocks.

    • Anton

      The first of which contradicts St Paul about headgear in church.

    • dannybhoy

      Me too.

      What is it with all this stuff?

      The only thing I can think of is that it comes from the Old Testament. From Exodus 24 when Moses, Aaron and seventy elders sat down in the presence of God..

      “9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israelwent up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.”

      And including Exodus 28 when God sets out the patterns for the priestly garments for the priests and the levites..

      I don’t know where else it could have come from, because the emphasis in the New Testament is on simplicity and sobriety…..

      1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESVUK)

      3 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

      • Dreadnaught

        Its High Camp whatever the wrapping, how Gay is that!

      • Dreadnaught

        Its High Camp whatever the wrapper, how Gay is that!

      • “I don’t know where else it could have come from, because the emphasis in the New Testament is on simplicity and sobriety…..”

        The New Testament says very little on worship, liturgy and priestly dress. The forms of worship, the liturgy and liturgical dress all developed in the early Church right down to our time.

        • Anton

          Which is why much of them is out of date.

          • They are being *modernised* and this is not always an improvement.

            “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi.”

            If you believe in the Real Presence and the Sacrifice of the Mass, then your liturgy will reflect this. On the other hand, if you believe the Eucharist is simply a commemorative and symbolic meal of unity, and Christ isn’t actually physically present, your liturgy will reflect this.

          • Anton

            I accept that Communion is a supernatural event in view of Paul’s warnings about taking it wrongfully in 1 Corinthians 11 (although whether the supernatural aspects reside in changes in the elements is questionable). But I was talking about Roman dress and Elizabethan language in the 21st century.

          • Tradition …. and Latin would be far better.

          • Anton

            Tradition goes out of date. Scripture doesn’t.

          • King James Bible?

          • Anton

            Sure. Suffer little children? Woman taken in adultery? Both mean something else today. And part of Revelation was translated from the Vulgate as I recall because they couldn’t find a Greek manuscript at that time.

          • Pubcrawler

            Vulgate?

          • You’re very welcome.

        • dannybhoy

          And they got the ideas from….?
          Come on Jack! Things don’t happen in a vacuum. Either they were copying what they saw around them or the Old Testament, or a combination thereof.

          If it was copied from God’s nation of Israel, it’s slightly ironic in view of replacement theology..
          http://www.gotquestions.org/replacement-theology.html

          If they copied from the various religions and cults around them……..

          • The vestments and garments worn by priests and bishops are symbolic of our faith. If you believe in a separate, sacramental priesthood, and an Apostolic Church that ordains such men for ministry, then there isn’t an issue with wearing clothing and conducting liturgical services in a manner that represents the richness of our faith and worships God.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, I don’t see the case for a separate sacramental priesthood in the New Testament. I see it in the Old Testament, but not the new.
            But let’s say you have a case, where in the NT does it say what the clothing for such a class should look like?
            God took a great deal of interest in the building of the tent of meeting, and the design of the priest’s vestments.
            Would He not have done the same for your Church priesthood? I think the lack of any such instruction backs up the role of our Lord Jesus as our great High Priest, and us a Royal Priesthood..

          • Well we really don’t know, now do we? Not everything Jesus and the first Apostles said and did was recorded in scripture. Remember, the very first Christians shared their faith orally. That’s where sacred tradition originates. The Church existed before scripture.
            Jack believes there is a separate sacramental priesthood and their liturgical clothes were based on those of the Jewish priesthood.

          • dannybhoy

            We do know what Scripture teaches though, don’ we ole buddy?
            But seeing as I believe you’re still a part of the family, I will defend your right to believe what you believe right up until we both find out you’re wrong….. ;0)

      • chiefofsinners

        It came from the desire of church leaders to revert to the exclusivity of the Old Testament priesthood in order to exalt themselves. For the same reason we have an altar in a ‘holy place’, a hierarchy and all the rest of it.
        Jesus, having torn the veil of the temple in two through His death, will have something to say about this on the day of judgment.

        • dannybhoy

          I’ve never really looked into it, but as far as I can see there is absolutely no justification for it in the New Testament.
          I suspect it was a natural progression, as the Church became more organised and powerful, and as you say a hierarchy developed.
          To borrow from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
          – “All saints are equal, but some are more equal than others…”

          • Anton

            All that nonsense came in after Constantine privileged the church.

    • IanCad

      Dreadnaught,

      The garments of the priests were highly coloured affairs in the time of Moses and the various hangings, and decorations were of great significance.

      Gibbon refers to the accession of the Roman Emperors as “Assuming the Purple.” This also, later became, along with scarlet, the colour of the Papacy; and then, much later, the CofE, after casting off much of the Roman yoke, felt quite at home in those pretty togs.

      Jesus didn’t wear such ostenatious garb. Neither did the apostles.

      It is of interest, and also of discomfort to some, that The Whore of Babylon is arrayed in exactly those colours. Revelation 17:4

      • Dreadnaught

        The garments of the priests were highly coloured affairs in the time of Moses

        More than enough proof that religions are a man-made fabrication.

        • IanCad

          I know! I know! Dred, but I’ll say it anyway: the beauty of Creation is, to we Christians, evidence that our God is the Master Artist. I cannot fathom how or why He was mindful enough of man to supply our every need in his creative work.
          We can merely acknowledge and worship and obey.

          • Dreadnaught

            I have no problem in what you believe Old Chap, in fact I defend your right to do just that. My problem with religion is that when through sheer weight of numbers it is prepared to stand as authority over us mere mortals. The history of religion swims in the gore of such arrogance.

          • IanCad

            Couldn’t agree more.

          • dannybhoy

            If one is offered eternal life in harmony with a loving and compassionate Creator God, and the only condition is that you repent and accept His salvation, why would you refuse that?

            Christianity is to enter into a relationship with the greatest Being in the world, and to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
            And down through 2000 years or so, men and women of every generation have accepted that salvation, been reconciled to their Maker and been transformed.
            Why would you not want to share that with others?
            Especially if the alternative is to be cast into outer darkness.

            I believe God respects our choices, and will do everything He can to help us make the right decision.
            If at the end of it all there is in fact nothing, I would still rather have lived as a Christian.
            If on the other hand what our Lord Jesus Christ said about life and eternity is true I want as many people to have an informed choice.

          • Dreadnaught

            Dan, I just don’t buy it – I never will. I don’t need a commandment from a desert dwelling strange man to tell me to honour my mother and father or not to kill or not to steal.
            Are you saying that without religion we are incapable to being decent members of the human race? – I doubt it.
            Religion has done nothing but corrupt minds and make false promises based on noting but superstition. Religion has stood in the way of science for too long, who knows what advances could have been made hundreds of years before now.

            I don’t fear death simply because I adhere to no religion, I love life because I know life is precious and limited.
            I have no belief in an afterlife and do as much as I can to enjoy my spin on this planet.
            My purpose if one was needed was to please my parents and appreciate my children and grandchildren

          • dannybhoy

            Don’t say you never will, Dredders, you don’t know what may happen in your life.

            Just to be clear, I am a Christian by God’s grace. I look back over the years and I see not only the changes in me, but the things I have done and the places I have been, and the amazing answers to prayer that I have led me along life’s way. I am soooo grateful for it all. The good and the bad.

            What I wanted to explore a bit with you concerns that vid Sarky posted about the universe.

            We both agree that as we now are we are bound by what our five senses tell us; that there is ‘an out there’, separate from us that we can research and explore.

            So when we turn to the observable universe, I as a Christian am reminded of all the verses and passages of Scripture where God talks about what He has made (especially in the book of Job), and what Jesus said in ,
            John 14>
            “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
            2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
            3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

            St Paul’s statements in 2nd Corinthians 12>

            “2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
            3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
            4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

            The whole Bible is littered with references to the universe as God’s domain.
            We have scientists and astronomers today postulating other dimensions and even other universes, wormholes and blackholes…
            My belief is that when the Bible speaks of God creating a new heaven and a new earth, -well, He has a whole incredible and vast universe to do it in!
            I think there is so much more for us to find out, but God will not allow His universe to be explored and populated by men who would only spread hatred and greed and exploitation.
            Only those who acknowledge their dependence on Him and who through accepting His free salvation will love and worship Him.

          • Dreadnaught

            I haven’t seen sarky’s vid but I have been watch the series on tv about the Crusades and what I saw enforces my life stance. When any religion has held total sway they have indulged in some of the worst excess on record. Humans act as they do whether religious or not. There is still time for humanity to take responsibility for the actions of its own kind but no time to invent another ‘god’. Hitchens in his book God is not Great said that if triangles had a religion, you can count on their god having three sides.
            When we have the fraudulent like of the Scientologists and Mormons and Islam claiming to be defacto religions and demanding that I give them ‘respect’, I am angry that they think they can somehow usurp the faculty of reason or common sense.
            The sad bit is that I also have to level the same accusation at any benign religion whose demands on the non-believers are enshrined in statute. As far as I am concerned, there is no escape from the taint of historical bloodletting and/or a mind controlling fascistic legacy.

          • dannybhoy

            “When any religion has held total sway they have indulged in some of the worst excess on record.”
            A fact I used too, before I became a Christian.
            Becoming a Christian is not something we do as part of a trend or fashion. It becomes intensely personal. An inner struggle if you like, in which we start off trying to find points of agreement “You’re a good guy, I’m a good guy”
            Then as the discussion goes on we (or I did anyway), find ourselves under pressure and uncomfortable. We try to defend ourselves and our philosophy of life.
            We lose our sense of bonhomie and start to feel nettled, and start attacking this person who is probing our thinking beyond what is conventionally acceptable.
            That is how it is with God. We wrestle with Him, because as far as He is concerned You are all that matters to Him. He loves you completely and He will wrestle with your defences until you submit.

          • Dreadnaught

            He will wrestle with your defences until you submit.

            I don’t accept this. It is the devotees that do this by whatever means they can get away with.

            Each to his own Dan, all I know is when I do good I feel good; when I have done a bad deed, that is also my own doing and my conscience never fails to let me know.

            We live and learn.

          • dannybhoy

            “,,all I know is when I do good I feel good; when I have done a bad deed, that is also my own doing and my conscience never fails to let me know.”
            Well of course, because you are (spiritually) made in the image of God, and your basic design is to do good, and feel good for doing so, and bad when you do something wrong -even if no one else knows about it.

          • Dreadnaught

            I cant see why the deranged savages that are ISIS are not seen by Christians as just plain bad or even BADdest of the bad. Anything less smacks of apologism in my book. Why has today’s Christianity not come straight out with it in condemning the Koran as the real radicalising force for unparallelled depravity in the modern world? It could and should but what do we get? appeasement and the erosion of human decency because they insist on giving it a free pass because its a ‘religion’.
            Mein Kamp until recently was banned in Germanic Europe because of its recent history but the Koran has hundreds of years of history and is no worse now than when it was first conceived – its just plain stupidity to not to recognise this.

            I honestly believe that Christianity first and foremost because it is a world religion, and Christians are being being persecuted to death and oblivion, should be making the stand against Islam and Islamic expansion throughout the world. Christians should be in the vanguard of opposition at home and abroad but they are virtually silent.

          • dannybhoy

            Can’t disagree with you. In my own prayers I adopt the Old Testament/Psalms approach to those who deliberately do evil. I pray that their plans will come to naught, that they will turn against each other and that He will deal with those who would deny the only true God, and who kill and enslave innocent men, women and children.
            I would not have a problem fighting against these people and killing them where possible.

          • Dreadnaught

            An Amen (if I may make so bold) to that last line Dan.

        • IanCad

          I know! I know! Dred, but I’ll say it anyway: The beauty of Creation is, to we Christians, evidence that our God is the Master Artist. I cannot fathom how or why He was mindful enough of man to supply our every need in his creative work.
          We can merely acknowledge and worship and trust and obey.

    • Maalaistollo

      I recently heard it said that ‘They like to be called ‘Father’ but to dress like mother.’

  • Meantime, in Alberta, Canada, the provincial government has issued guidelines for schools on *sexual orientation* and *gender identity*. Students are to be allowed to decide their own gender and to be treated accordingly, from which sports teams they can join to which bathrooms they can use.

    The world is going crazy.

    • Anton

      Parents will be going crazy. They will not want this used as an excuse for boys to get changed in their daughters’ changing room. Let’s see. But it’s also going on in Britain; here is one school that has fallen in line with PC:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-35362368

      and an article starting that 13 schools could face legal action for not doing:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3375068/Transgender-pupil-eight-battle-primary-school-recognition-told-t-called-boy-girl.html

      and in the USA:

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/schaumburg-hoffman-estates/news/ct-transgender-student-district-211-vote-met-20151202-story.html

      Time for some parent power…

      • dannybhoy

        It is this trend which will destroy our educational system.
        Just think, you’re a kid from a broken or dysfunctional family, struggling to cope with family life and having to go to school on top of that.
        Along comes a bunch of self important, dysfunctional loons with an agenda that says..
        “Children have a right to be as screwed up about their sexual identity as they want to be, and we have to give them every support possible to help them realise who they really are. If a boy wants to wear a dress to school then that’s their right as a potential tranny!
        Oh, and by the way, you’re a damn bigot if you disagree!!”

        If you were that kid, wouldn’t you use that kind of excuse to get you out of Algebra??

    • chiefofsinners

      Why not liven up your last few days in hospital? Tell them you’re transitioning and wish to be known as Jacqueline. Request a female ward. Complain that the male nurses are giving you the glad eye.

      • Cressida de Nova

        You are very wicked for a Protestant ! Chortles !

      • dannybhoy

        A hospital gown cut high on the thigh ought to do it Jack..

        • Jack missed this little exchange due to censorship. Very good.

          • dannybhoy

            Censored?
            A gown like that, so very bold..
            When worn by someone rather old
            Complete with wrinkles and blemishes blue.
            What’s a male nurse supposed to do?

      • Martin

        Perhaps Jack should ask to be regarded as male on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday; female on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while being mixed gender on Saturday.

        If they show any hesitation a threat to sue should suffice.

        • Why restrict the options to male ad female?

          • carl jacobs

            Jack is a grapefruit. He is neither male nor female.

          • Oh, btw, now Jack is home he has been checking past posts and you claimed Manchester United would not pass 50 points this season. Care to retract Mr Carl “I am never wrong” Jacobs?

          • carl jacobs

            Pretty uppity for a grapefruit, aren’t you?

          • Grouchy Jack

            “Carl Jacobs…you’re a major nit wit.”

          • carl jacobs

            Oh look! A petulant blueberry.

          • “Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            Perhaps Carl has answered that. 😉

    • dannybhoy

      (In the style of Jiminy Cricket…)

      “And there’s more!”

      “Top public school allows trans children to choose gender specific uniform.”

      https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/01/20/top-public-school-allows-trans-children-to-choose-gender-specific-uniform/

  • Manfarang

    Full of love and mercy, yes that would be the Ugandan church.

  • dannybhoy

    This is for Dreadnaught, Sarky and DanJ0 and those who believe all faiths are the same.
    Former Saudi Shura Council member Ibrahim Al- Buleihi”

    ps. You have to give them credit that they debate these things on television..