Lambeth Palace 2
Church of England

Justin Welby inaugurates a new set of Lambeth Awards

 

On the third anniversary of his installation to the See of Canterbury (and on the 460th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer; and on the 10th anniversary of the Archbishop Cranmer blog), the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, announced a new set of non-academic Lambeth Awards to recognise outstanding service in various fields.

The Lambeth Awards already exist in the form of academic degrees, but hitherto only the Lambeth Cross, the Cross of St Augustine and the Canterbury Cross had been available to honour individuals for non-academic exemplary Christian service. If you weren’t eligible for an honorary doctor of divinity or an MPhil by research, there was no real way of distinguishing honours for diverse ministerial contributions to the mission of the Church. To remedy this, Archbishop Justin has created six new awards, each named after previous archbishops of Canterbury, to recognise outstanding service in his ministry priorities: prayer and the religious life; reconciliation; and evangelism and witness.

The full list of recipients of the 2016 Lambeth Awards:

The Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism
• His Grace, Bishop Angaelos OBE, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
• His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain
• Canon Simon Stephens OBE RN

The Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England
• Mr Peter Beesley
• Dr Philip Giddings
• Dr Sarah Horsman
• Mr Carl Lee
• The Rev’d Canon Bob Mackintosh

Cross of St Augustine for Services to the Anglican Communion
• Professor Salvatore Bordonali
• The Rev’d Canon James Callaway
• The Rev’d Hamdy Daoud
• Bishop Omindo Hilkiah Deya
• Professor Fabiano Di Prima
• Mrs Phyllis Richardson

The Dunstan Award for Prayer and the Religious Life
• Fr Laurent Fabre CCN
• Brother Samuel SSF

The Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation
• Mr Bill Marsh
• Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra
• Sir Andrew Pocock KCMG
• Rabbi Dr David Rosen KSG CBE
• The Rev’d Martin Turner

The Alphege Award for Evangelism and Witness
• Mrs Chrysogon Bamber
• The Rev’d John Coles
• The Rev’d Pamela Cooper
• Deaconess Susan C Essam
• Pastor Agu Irukwu
• Mr Tim Royle

The Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship
• Mr David Day
• Miss Maureen Hogarth
• Dr Eeva John

The Langton Award for Community Service
• Canon Sir Tony Baldry
• Bishop Geoffrey Davies
• The Rev’d Joel Edwards
• The Venerable Duncan Green
• The Venerable Arthur Hawes
• Sir Hector Sants

The Cranmer Award for Worship
• Canon Dr James Lancelot
• Dr Philip Moore
• Mr Matt Redman
• Mr Michael Williams

The awards will be conferred up recipients in a ceremony at Lambeth Palace on 31st March. Archbishop Justin said: “It will be a huge honour and joy to confer these awards upon such an extraordinary and diverse group of people. The recipients come from many walks of life and many parts of the world, but all have served in their fields with distinction and self-sacrificial service, going beyond the call of duty. I hope and pray that the ceremony on 31st March will be an opportunity for us to honour them and give thanks to God for their gifts, which have been such a blessing to the church and to the world.”

It’s about time the Church of England established its own suite of honours. The new Lambeth Awards recognise not only Anglicans but Christians from other denominations, along with adherents of other faiths. These are nothing to do with ‘Power Lists‘; or whether or not you played tennis with the Prime Minister while you were at Oxford; or you arranged for £40k worth of election expenses to be billed to your home address; or you managed to work a couple of convenient miracles after your death. Political patronage, popularity, celebrity and ‘Santo Subito’ superstition give way to mission honours with humility and integrity.

The next step would be for the Lambeth Awards to be open for nominations, as the Lambeth Degrees are (and the #CranmerList Top 100 UK Christians are). That will necessitate an enhanced ‘Awards and Examinations’ department at Lambeth Palace to complement the solitary sifting, sorting and discerning of the Rev’d Cortland Fransella.

And in terms of nominees for 2017, perhaps we might kick off with the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, who still isn’t in the House of Lords..

  • bluedog

    Looking, looking, looking. Maybe next year. One can think of an individual whose cyber-cathedral possibly gets more hits than many built of Kentish rag.

  • Anton

    How about an annual award for the worst new modern worship song?

    • Sybaseguru

      There’s too many of them. The purpose of time is to filter them out – we sing “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” (Charles Wesley) and say it’s wonderful, but I’m sure there were thousands of songs written at that time that have long since been forgotten. It is worth wondering how many people in 1738 dismissed it because it was “too modern”.

      • Anton

        Yes, and there are a great many Victorian dirges that we no longer sing today either. But it is perfectly obvious that the spirit of the age is rampant in modern worship and I want some pushback. I am tired of ecstatic songs about how wonderful it FEELS to be a Christian and how revival is just around the corner when our culture is crashing around our ears. “Step by step we’re moving forward, little by little taking ground…” The church in Britain today can’t even hold the line established by its ancestors, let alone move forward. Last Sunday I sang some rubbish that ran “I see a near-revival…” What good to anybody, from God downward, is a “near revival”? The Jesus-is-my-boyfriend soupy songs make me sick and I am silent through them. Worship should concentrate on the truths of the faith, not the feelings, because we all gather on Sundays in different moods, and expecting the newly widowed (for example) to sing the ecstasy stuff is the height of insensitivity; whereas all can agree on the great truths of the faith.

        On top of that, we have to pay to sing this crap when the greatest hymnal in any language is available to us for free. So let’s institute a Bad Worship Song award.

        • Pubcrawler

          Let’s start a movement for ‘Hymns Ancient & Ancient’. Away with this fatuous modern crap!

          • Anton

            This joyful Easter tide
            Away with sin and sorrow…

            Not all of the modern is crap, of course. Just most of it.

          • Pubcrawler

            There can be a small optional Supplement for the occasion diamond in the rough.

          • carl jacobs

            Some of the modern stuff is good.

          • *Falls off his chair*

          • carl jacobs

            What?

            Here are four off the top of my head

            “In Christ Alone”
            “Wonderful Merciful Savior”
            “Days of Elijah”
            “What the Lord had done in me”

            Plus pretty much anything by Michael Card.

          • What about John Michael Talbot?

          • carl jacobs

            That takes me back. I had one of his tapes once. Emphasis on tape. IIRC he was kind of mellow and contemplative. It was OK but I prefer music with a sharper edge.

          • Maybe that the difference between Catholics and Protestants.

          • carl jacobs

            The first song I still remember and is almost certainly the song for which I purchased the tape. The second song I know but he sings it too slowly. The third I had not heard.

            But they are all kind of “Sheep grazing gently in the meadow” songs. Where are the storm clouds? The dark undertones? The finger nails clawing at the edge of the cliff? The heroic glorious apotheosis? Mozart’s Requiem over Beethoven’s Sixth any day.

          • It’s called quiet contemplation, Carl. You should try it. Gregorian Chant

            This is as “dark” as Talbot gets.

            The third is one of Jack’s favourite hymns. Not sure who actually wrote it, but this version by Talbot is wonderful.

          • Anton

            Allow me to offer a new verse for “Days of Elijah”:

            These are the days of Jeremiah
            Speaking God’s word full of doom
            And these are the days of the prophet Amos
            filling the church full of gloom.
            False prophets may speak of Revival
            Sing choruses saying all’s well
            But we know the truth of our own generation
            Our way of life’s going to hell…

          • carl jacobs

            Doesn’t quite fit the upbeat nature of the song. 🙂

          • Anton

            Which is precisely why I’m pleased with it.

          • Anton

            Think of Tom Lehrer’s “So Long Mom, I’m off to drop the Bomb…”

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Thus video by Casting Crowns is the best video I’ve ever seen…

            “Slow Fade”
            http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=D7DDPGNX

            … Well, except for this. Which is still my gold standard for reasons that should be obvious.

            “I miss you, Daddy”
            http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmzsr_i-miss-you-daddy_auto

          • Jack enjoyed the theme of Slow Fade … not for Sunday worship though. But, as you say, “I miss you, Daddy” cannot be beaten.

          • sarky

            This is song called ‘alive’ by P.O.D , nearly fell off my chair when I realised it was christian.

            Everyday is a new day
            I’m thankful for every breath I take
            I won’t take it for granted
            So I learn from my mistakes
            It’s beyond my control, sometimes it’s best to let go
            Whatever happens in this lifetime
            So I trust in love
            You have given me peace of mind
            chorus:
            I feel so alive for the very first time
            I can’t deny you
            I feel so alive
            I feel so alive for the very first time
            And I think I can fly

            Sunshine upon my face
            A new song for me to sing
            Tell the world how I feel inside
            Even though it might cost me everything
            Now that I know this, so beyond, I can’t hold this
            I can never turn my back away
            Now that I’ve seen you
            I can never look away

            [chorus]

            [bridge:]
            Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away)
            Now that I see you (I could never look away)
            Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away)
            Now that I see you (I believe no matter what they say)

          • carl jacobs

            Finally got a chance to listen. I have no objection to it, but it’s not really my kind of music.

          • Alison Bailey Castellina

            No doubt, abuse will be heaped on me for this. The only worship words that please God are contained The Book of Psalms. When Jesus and His eleven sang a hymn after the Last Supper, it was a psalm, not a hymn. The Apostles had not written the (pop) lyrics (or music) themselves while strumming on guitars in The Judean Wilderness. Classical English poetic hymn lyrics (though atmospheric) also fall short. What our Lord thinks of the postmodern lyrics in choruses, one would not presume to think upon, but why do the singers face the congregation while supposedly singing to God i.e. turning their back on Him and ‘performing’? I have to keep a grip on myself not to walk out of even sensible churches, throughout the worst choruses (which I don’t sing). I stand there secretly imagining that these choruses are driven by a chap with a drum kit who cannot get into his local band. The youth imagine they are luring people into church using third rate love/pop songs – even if delivered by those who lack the courage to enter ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Yet the CofE’s own research says that outsiders are not attracted to church by modern guitar music. Being asked to put up with third rate nonsense in Church – just to get through to the serious sermon – is a kind of deep insult to one’s intelligence.

          • Anton

            I agree that worship groups subtly massage their own egos rather than serve God a lot of the time. But what is your basis for saying that “the only worship words that please God are contained The Book of Psalms”, please? There is no command in the New Testament to restrict worship to the Psalms, so are you not adding a new command to scripture? One psalm even exhorts us to “Sing to the Lord a new song” and, just like Martin Luther and Charles Wesley, I think we should.

          • bluedog

            Quite right, Alison. Services in the progressive parishes are really just community gatherings, seeming to owe nothing to Anglican Christianity or any of the fine old liturgy and hymns. Unrecognisable.

          • Martin

            Alison

            Much to agree with there, the church I attend did, until recently, sing Psalms and they are worth singing. But there are in the New Testament examples of song that are not the Psalms so I think we are entitled to sing God’s praises in such a way.

            Sadly many who consider themselves worship leaders act as if they are giving a performance, and that is why they face their ‘audience’. If songs were easy to sing there would be no requirement for the congregation to be ‘led’ and the guitar is an atrocious instrument for people to sing to. But our modern generation have been taught that pop is the only sort of singing worth doing so they expect their church singing to follow that pattern.

        • Findaráto

          “The rich man in his castle,
          The poor man at his gate,
          God made them high and lowly,
          And ordered their estate

          All things scabbed and ulcerous, all pox both great and small,
          Putrid, foul and gangrenous, the Lord God made them all!”

          How’s that for a hummable tune?

          • Martin

            Fin

            Your bigotry is showing.

          • Anton

            Made by God, ravaged by Satan… choose your side.

          • Findaráto

            The verse is original, only the chorus has been improved upon.

          • Anton

            That’s a matter of opinion. But it was the chorus to which I was referring.

          • Findaráto

            What, so you mean God did not create all things scabbed and ulcerous, all pox both great and small? Putrid, foul and gangrenous things are not of his imagining? So he isn’t the omnipotent author of all things then?

            But hold on, if it was Satan who did all that, and God created Satan knowing, as he must have if he’s omniscient, exactly what Satan would do, who’s ultimately responsible for these terrible things then?

          • Anton

            Evil is the downside of making sentient beings who are more than puppets and are able to choose for themselves. You have the great privilege of being one yourself. Choose while you may…

          • Findaráto

            What, you mean I can choose like Pharaoh chose when God interfered in his exercise of free will and hardened his heart against Moses?

          • Ivan M

            The ‘hardening’ of the heart was an after the fact explanation. For peoples living more than 3000 years ago it would have made sense, though not for us. To account for these anomalies, it was posited that that the bicameral mind did not take hold till as little as as 2500 years ago.

          • Findaráto

            Anomalies? In the Bible??

            What can this possibly mean???

            The foundations of evangelistic biblical inerrancy are creaking and shuddering as I write. The earth is moving beneath them! Yikes! The whole edifice is about to come crashing down!

            Run for your lives!!!

          • Ivan M

            As a Catholic I just listen to the good parts. Every time I tried to read the Bible from the beginning I had lesl stop when some guy was burnt to cinders for jerking off, or read about the wiles of Rebecca or Jacob cheating his brother of his birthright. Reading the OT will tend to make one a sceptic. At least that is how it was with me.

          • Anton

            It shows how badly Christ was needed.

          • Anton

            Ah, a Jaynesian! There’s plenty wrong with that theory, but I do think that the dawn of consciousness is to be found in Genesis 3.

          • Ivan M

            It is to address the lack of self reflection and empathy, not consciousness in the early literature, including the Greek epics.

          • Anton

            Pharaoh hardened his own heart more than once and then God did it. It is a terrible thing to be marked by God to have your heart hardened so as to fulfil one of his plans. You already have to be far from him and receding fast.

          • Findaráto

            Ah, so you agree that God interfered with Pharaoh’s free will thereby making a complete nonsense out of the entire concept. Even the worst sinner is supposed to be redeemable. But apparently not Pharaoh.

            So much for repentance. So much for “no sin is too great”. So much for anything except the idea that God is a tyrant and we are his slaves to do with as he will.

            And people wonder why I find the idea of his non-existence reassuring.

          • Anton

            The New Testament warns that some people are so far gone they won’t repent. I don’t know who they are but God does. The non sequitur in your “thereby” will be obvious to readers of any faith or none.

          • chiefofsinners

            You complain that God does not interfere in the world to punish the unjust, claiming this is proof He does not exist.
            When God does intervene to harden Pharaoh’s evil heart, you complain about that. God, knowing the end from the beginning, knew Pharaoh would never repent. A child could understand it, but you choose not to.
            It is as Explorer said. God has chosen not to exercise His full omnipotence at present.

          • Findaráto

            Who said anything about punishing the unjust? What I’m looking for is any kind of divine intervention. Even the tiniest, slightest little miracle that defied the laws of physics and doesn’t rely for sole “proof” on a story written 2000 years ago or more and lacking any independent witness and physical evidence.

            The Catholic Church is supposed to have thousands of “proven” miracles up its sleeve, evidence for which forms the basis of the sanctification process. But do they have a single shred of independently verifiable material evidence to show? Is there a statue of the virgin that cries real blood instead of the porcine variety pumped into cavities behind its eyes with fraudulent intent? Has a consecrated host ever been analyzed and been shown to consist of real human flesh? Would a crumb of such a substance yield DNA enabling us to identify Christ’s genome?

            So far, nothing. After 2000 years we still have no material proof that any miracle has ever happened. So much for divine intervention.

            And no, I am not complaining about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart because there is no God to harden anyone’s heart, let alone an ancient Egyptian monarch’s. What I’m complaining about is biblical inconsistency. The Bible claims that man has free will and then contradicts itself to describe God denying that free will and forcing Pharaoh to harden his heart. It also says that repentance is possible right up until the last moment of life, and yet Pharaoh wasn’t given that option. His mind was made up for him.

            Of course the God described in the Bible is utterly fictional, so the lack of consistency in describing his actions is evidence not of divine fallibility but the human variety. The Bible was written by humans for humans and the tales it tells have nothing to do with anything except the desire of humans to exert control over other humans.

          • Martin

            Fin

            Why would Pharaoh have free will, he’d already abandoned it to his sin. God just caused him to act as he would have if God’s restraining hand had not been there.

          • Findaráto

            No, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. If Pharaoh’s heart had already been hardened, God wouldn’t have had to harden it, because it would have already been hard.

            Pharaoh therefore did not react as he would have because his heart was in a different state before God intervened. God modified his behaviour and deprived him of free will. God used him to do his dirty work and then judged him for it.

            God sounds like a nasty piece of work to me.

          • Martin

            Fin

            God’s restraint placed on the sinner is the softening of the sinners heart. Therefore the removal of that restraint is the hardening of that heart. God allows the sinner full reign to their sin, to their destruction.

          • Findaráto

            Ah, I see. The fatuous nonsense of “total depravity” rears its ugly head.

            In effect what you’re saying is that we’re like a cross between Sooty and the zombies on “The Walking Dead”. Indeed we are Sooty zombies animated only by evil. Any good we do only comes when God sticks his arm up our backsides and operates us like sock puppets.

            What a bleak view of human nature. I sometimes wonder how you get through the day.

          • Martin

            Fin

            If you think it’s fatuous nonsense then it’s a pity you can’t use other than a strawman. Rather destroys your point.

          • The Explorer

            God knew you would exist, but still considered the creation of the world to be worth doing.

          • Findaráto

            No, God had no idea I would exist because he’s just a figment of your imagination. It’s just random chance that I’m here. It’s just random chance that you’re here. My parents met and married and then conceived me at a moment when two particular gametes would combine to make me. Even a few moments earlier or later would probably have brought a different sperm cell of my father’s into contact with the ovum produced by my mother and I would be someone else. The same applies to us all.

            You’re just the product of random processes, as am I, as is the world.

            If you don’t believe that, then show me some proof of a plan. So far I haven’t seen any.

          • The Explorer

            Randomness is a much more reassuring explanation. And much easier to justify. How do you blame an impersonal process?

          • Findaráto

            Blame? Why do Christians always think in terms of blame? It says a lot about what motivates their religious beliefs. Blame, scapegoating, accusations and the desire to control and coerce others.

            That’s where the impulse for religion comes from. A childish need to blame. Everything is not perfect and it has to be somebody’s fault, so who can we blame?

          • The Explorer

            Christians didn’t invent the current blame culture. Lawyers did that.

            But set that aside. You exist. I exist. Quelle horreur! Somebody or something has a lot to answer for. And it’s more satisfying blaming somebody than something. Lawyers know that. There’s money in it.

          • Findaráto

            So there has to be a God to satisfy you, does there?

            Says it all really. There’s the core of the Christian faith for you: auto-satisfaction. You want and you shall receive because you make it up as you go along according to what satisfies you.

          • The Explorer

            I don’t think that follows at all. As I said before, you have this obsession with dragging God into conversations. One can always blame parents: Lawyers like that. Parents are easier to sue than God.

          • Findaráto

            God can’t be sued because he has no legal status. Given that he doesn’t exist, this is not surprising…

          • The Explorer

            God, if He existed, would own the cattle on a thousand hills. And much else besides. I’ll bet there are lawyers who wish He did exist so that they could take Him for everything He’s got.

          • Findaráto

            Autocrats like God have a tendency to set things up in a way that favours their own interests.

          • The Explorer

            Lawyers are autocrats.

          • Findaráto

            No, lawyers are opportunists. They understand the limits of their power and (mainly) work within the system to maximise personal advantage. In this they are like most of us, it’s just that they tend to be a bit better at it than the average person.

          • chiefofsinners

            Ever heard of probability theory?
            Proof beyond reasonable doubt is contained in the improbability that the universe has arisen by chance.

          • Findaráto

            If you use one of the most popular of the various theorems proposed to calculate the probability of the existence of God, Bayes Theorem, and assign what seem like realistic and reasonable values from an atheist point of view to the six factors that make up the equation, you get a result of approximately 10 -36, which is to all intents and purposes zero.

            Of course a Christian will assign different values and get a different answer, because the numbers he chooses will be based on his subjective beliefs and opinions rather than independently verifiable material evidence.

            This is the problem with probability theory. With no fixed points of reference that we can calculate based on verifiable material evidence, any attempt to calculate the likelihood of God’s existence is doomed to failure.

            Brings us back to the lack of material evidence, doesn’t it? If there is none, we can calculate nothing.

            So why isn’t there any? Is God afraid we might calculate him out of existence?

          • chiefofsinners

            You are suggesting that if there was evidence for God then it would enable us to calculate God out of existence.

            Can you spot a flaw in that argument?

          • Findaráto

            Are you suggesting that if there is no evidence for God, which there isn’t so it’s really a confirmation more than a suggestion, that we can calculate him into existence? That’s what your probability theory is saying. Zero + zero = God.

            Can you spot a flaw in that argument?

          • chiefofsinners

            Sorry, what is a confirmation of what? Your butchery of grammar is making you incomprehensible.

            My point is: Your existence in a universe which sustains you is evidence of God’s existence. It is utterly improbable that the universe would be fine-tuned for life by chance, as you claim.

          • sarky

            Utter rubbish. The universe isn’t fine tuned for life, life has adapted to the conditions presented.

          • chiefofsinners

            That’s what you say.
            Stephen Hawking says: “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seems to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” (A Brief History of Time).

          • Findaráto

            No, my existence in a universe that sustains me is not evidence of God’s existence. It is merely evidence that I exist, which of course provides evidence that the conditions permitting my existence happen to subsist in this part of the universe. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.

            The universe is not “finely tuned” for life. Put me on the moon and I won’t last very long. In fact put me anywhere in the universe other than in a narrow band of the earth’s atmosphere and I’ll die instantly.

            Only a teeny tiny part of the universe is “finely tuned” for life, which is an inaccurate way of describing it anyway. Life developed within the conditions that subsist within this teeny tiny part of the universe, therefore in reality it’s life that’s finely tuned to the conditions rather than the conditions being finely tuned to life. Life did not determine the conditions that gave rise to it, although once it came into existence it then began to modify those conditions.

            In other words, we’re here because the conditions that let us be here happen to exist in this part of the universe. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. The probability of these conditions existing is small within any given space the size of our biosphere, but when you look at the immense scale of the universe, it becomes highly probable that a biosphere like ours would exist somewhere. Indeed we know it’s likely, because it does.

            So here we are then. Oxygen breathing animals living in a world with an oxygen rich atmosphere. No miracles or divine interventions were necessary to make that happen. If we had arisen on the airless moon and managed to stay alive there despite the lack of air to fill our lungs with, this would be strong evidence that some kind of supernatural power had created and was maintaining our lives. But we arose here on earth and can live only here on earth. Our lives are sustained by the air and water that happen to be here. No God is needed to keep us alive because the planet does that. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          • Anton

            If a particular physical constant were not the value it is, but only very slightly different, then carbon would not have been created in supernovae, and life could not have come about because only carbon allows chemistry of the complexity necessary.

          • Findaráto

            The fact that the way the universe works makes life possible does not mean that it was constructed for the purpose of sheltering life. Indeed it doesn’t prove that it was constructed at all.

            What interests me in such claims is what they reveal about those who make them. Basically what you’re saying is that you live in the universe therefore the whole point of the universe is you. You’re so wonderful that the entire cosmos was constructed by an unimaginably powerful being whose sole desire was to create you.

            When you think of the vastness of the cosmos and the teeny tiny role you and humanity as a whole play in it, the narcissism of such a belief is staggering. It was staggering enough when Man thought the earth was the entire universe. Now we know it’s less than a single grain of sand compared to all the sand on all the beaches on earth, it quite simply defies belief.

          • Anton

            I think you’re just trying to wind me up.

          • chiefofsinners
          • Martin

            Fin

            Then all your utterances are just random chance and without meaning. There really is no point to your existence.

          • Findaráto

            Of course there’s a point to my existence. I enjoy it. There’d be no point in not existing because then I would experience no enjoyment at all.

          • Martin

            Fin

            But your impressions of enjoyment are clearly just the random firing of neurons. There is no point to you at all.

          • Findaráto

            Random or not, enjoyment is still enjoyable and therefore provides its own point.

          • Martin

            Fin

            So what in your random firing of synapses represents ‘enjoyable’? And wherein is the point?

            You defeat your own arguments.

          • The Explorer

            It’s all very well for you. But just imagine believing in a God who knew you would happen along, and still went ahead with things. That God has an awful lot to answer for.

          • sarky

            Probably the same God who knew about disease and still went ahead with things.

          • The Explorer

            Yes indeed.

          • sarky

            And it seems god was again not looking when the devil was at work yesterday.

          • The Explorer

            Very true. The big question for believers, it seems to me, is not why a God of love would allow such a thing, but why a belief that God is Love should have arisen in the first place. If I were inventing a religion, simply based on the evidence, I would say that something like Baal is running the show. That, atheism and real Christianity are all good explanations for the way things are. Deism is a really bad explanation: totally inadequate in accounting for evil.

          • sarky

            For me there are two options.

            1) There is no god.

            2) There is a god, but it bares no relation to the god of the bible.

          • The Explorer

            We’ve done all this before, including the modified chorus, in one of your previous personas.

            Foe the benefit of those who missed it last time round, you make a very valid and powerful point. It seems to me that, admitting the possibility of God, there are three possible responses to it.

            1. The world is as God meant it to be: in which case, God is Satan. That was the view of the Gnostics with their evil creator demiurge.

            2. The world is not as God meant it to be, in which case, God is not omnipotent.

            3. The world is not as God meant it to be, and God has chosen, at least for the present age, not to exercise His full omnipotence. We may feel that’s a bad idea, but that’s His decision. One day, He will exercise His omnipotence. That will result in the end of the present age.

          • Findaráto

            You missed the 4th response. There is no God and the world just is rather than having any kind of supernatural meaning.

            It’s the most likely option given the complete lack of evidence for your other three options.

          • The Explorer

            “Admitting the possibility of God”. In my book, that covers it. Disallow that, and there is no theological problem.

          • Findaráto

            I admit the possibility of God in the same way that I admit the possibility of fairies and leprechauns.

            The old legends might be true. But there’s no evidence they are, and if there really were gods and fairies and leprechauns prancing about the place, we’d have found evidence of them by now. We found evidence of dinosaurs and they’ve been extinct for a long time. So where are all the fairy and leprechaun skeletons? And where’s the evidence that your visible and tangible God actually visited earth and did any of the things ascribed to him in the work of fiction you call the Bible?

            When something is so unlikely as to be effectively impossible, we can say with confidence it did not happen or does not exist. There are no fairies and leprechauns because there are no traces of them to be found anywhere. There was no Jesus, or if there was he was just an ordinary man over whom time rolled and deleted his trace like it will roll over all of us and delete our traces, or at least the traces of most of us. And there is no God, of whom there never has been any trace.

            If you think I’m wrong, come up with some proof rather than just stamping your feet and screaming “he does exist! I say so therefore he exists!!!” Your beliefs are meaningless to me and prove nothing at all. Except your own stubborn refusal to face the total absence of any tangible proof for your beliefs.

          • The Explorer

            You misunderstand. I wasn’t asking YOU to admit the possibility of God: of course you don’t. I was saying that for anyone who does admit the possibility of God, three theological possibilities follow. No God, no theological problem.

          • Ivan M

            You may have lost the faculty to see faries and leprechauns. You’re inability to sense them is not a proof that such beings do not exist.

          • Findaráto

            Our inability to sense fairies and leprechauns makes them irrelevant to our existence whether they exist or not. You go ahead and waste time looking for them if you want to. I have better things to do with my life.

          • Ivan M

            The question is of the existence of these beings, not if you can be arsed about it.

          • Findaráto

            Show me some proof they exist then.

            Oh, you can’t?

            Then be prepared to have your claim that they might exist laughed out of the room.

            Ten-headed four-tailed soup dragons might exist too. But before I believe in them, I’d like to see some evidence please. If you can’t produce any but you still claim they exist, you’re no more than a charlatan trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes for whatever feeling of control and superiority that gives you.

          • Satan is.
            God didn’t exactly create Satan, he’s a byproduct of creation that God knows about and is in constant conflict with in order to keep him in check.

          • Findaráto

            How do you know this? Or are you just making it up as you go along? The Bible doesn’t tell us much. The various churches have their own ideas. So where does your idea of what Satan is come from and why is it any more accurate and reliable than anyone else’s?

            Possibly because the Satan you describe only exists in your head, so you can make him into anything you like because he really depends on you. Just like God.

            These religionists are being very revealing about the true source of their faith today. I’ve suspected it for some time, but confirmation is always useful.

          • Well Findus thinking about the scientific fact that the universe is created out of matter and anti-matter it follows that there is an evil force also in action.

            Why has man since first developing self-consciousness some 100,000 years ago also developed a belief in some form of God/s/higher force,? Might it be to give us a better chance of survival?

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211511/Why-born-believe-God-Its-wired-brain-says-psychologist.html

          • Findaráto

            I don’t follow links to the Daily Wail. But I do note who posts them and then draw conclusions about their ability to distinguish science fact from pseudo science fiction.

            We have developed consciousness as part of the evolutionary process. We’re social animals with complex brains and consciousness grows out of this.

            Other primates like chimps and gorillas show some glimmerings of consciousness. We’re just the next step in that process. There’ll probably be another step after us. And at no point is a God necessary to make that happen.

            To a conscious but still relatively primitive brain, the concept of gods may serve a purpose in much the same sort of way that concepts of mathematics and abstract thought serve distinct purposes.

            Neither the number 1 nor the concept of justice are material objects and yet we all agree they exist … although not materially, but rather as symbols in our minds. God may have been a similar idea for our early ancestors. Not real but a symbolic way of understanding the emotive parts of our consciousness and the beginnings and end of life.

            What worked for tribal herdsmen no longer works in a modern and diverse technological society. God is going out of fashion as a useful concept because we cannot agree on what that concept actually means in a way that promotes social cohesion. If religion does not unite, it has no place in our society. This is why it will slowly fade away.

          • Martin

            Fin

            You don’t seem too good at understanding that science doesn’t produce fact, nor that Evolution is undemonstrated fiction.

          • Findaráto

            Take your meds and try and get some rest Martin. Those voices in your head will calm down once you’ve had a bit of sleep.

            Really, whoever thought that care in the community was a good idea for chronic Aspergers sufferers should take a look at Martin. Can’t one of you Catholics find him a rest home or an asylum somewhere where some nuns looking for extra special penance can redeem themselves by taking on the onerous task of his round-the-clock care?

          • Martin

            Fin

            Oh look, you’ve no arguments and must resort to ad homs. Must be your random events again.

          • Findaráto

            The arguments I have will be rejected by you on dogmatic grounds, so there’s no point presenting them because to do so would be a waste of time.

            Arguments mean nothing to you because you’re reading from a script that you have decided is the truth without any kind of attempt to analyze it critically.

            In ages past this was a common phenomenon because the culture did not admit the possibility of analysis. But in today’s society where analysis is postively encouraged, a refusal to engage in it marks a person out as an extreme character and can be a very reliable indicator of various personality disorders.

            I don’t know where on the autistic spectrum you fall, but this and other exchanges with you lead me to believe that it isn’t a million miles away from Aspergers territory. Call that “ad hom” if you will but it’s the best explanation I can find for the utter rigidity and total lack of warmth, compassion and humanity that distinguish you and your “faith”.

          • Martin

            Fin

            The arguments I present you will reject on dogmatic grounds. Still the truth must be presented, despite your refusal to accept the truth,

            You refuse to accept that analysis of your beliefs because otherwise you worldview would collapse and you’d see yourself as a sinner under the righteous anger of a wrathful God.

            Because you are unwilling to face the truth you must use what you admit are ad homs to distract from your failure to present a viable argument.

            This is a compassionate presenting of the truth to you but you will reject it because your faith demands you do.

          • Findaráto

            I have no faith. My beliefs are based on evidence. Show me some evidence that your God exists and if the evidence is verifiable then I’ll believe it. Tell me that you know the truth without evidence and I’ll call you a mindless zealot.

            You’ve presented your beliefs often enough here for me to know that they are based on nothing except your desire to believe them. So I dismiss you as a mindless zealot. The extreme and rigid nature of your mindless zealotry is what characterises your personality as pathological. You’re beyond the reach of reason so there’s no reason to even try reasoning with you.

            I rarely feel sorry for Christians because as autonomous individuals they’re responsible for their own beliefs and if they choose to believe in the nonsense they believe in, more fool them. But I feel sorry for you because your pathology means you can’t really help what you are and do. And that must be a heavy “cross to bear”. But perhaps that gives you more pleasure than pain. Who knows. I certainly don’t wish to.

          • Martin

            Fin

            Of course you have faith, you have faith in your own intellectual ability to tell what is true and false. Fact is, the evidence is that you faith is woefully misplaced.

            You are the mindless zealot who reject anything that does not accord with your faith. So you reject what I present without even considering it.

          • Findaráto

            Your basic problem is that you don’t understand the difference between faith and reason. It’s what leads you to confuse the fantasy of myths and legends with the reality of verifiable fact.

            If any more evidence of an autistic spectrum condition were needed, this would be yet more proof that you can’t be judged according to criteria that might lead us to condemn more balanced personalities. One can’t judge a legless man for his poor performance in the 100 yards’ dash…

          • Martin

            Fin

            Oh I understand the difference between faith and reason. And I understand that they can either be used together or they can be placed against each other.

            I have faith in the God we all know exists because I see His hand in all that happens. I see His care for His Creation and the restraining hand He places on the wickedness of Men. Indeed I see the result when He withdraws that restraining hand. And since I have this evidence, and the evidence of what He says in the Bible I apply my reason and see that He is one to be trusted, I have faith in God to do as He has said.

            You, on the other hand, have faith in your own abilities, despite the many times you have failed. Not only that but when you look at mankind’s record in the World you see a consistent record of failure. And still you cling to your faith. That take optimism into arrogant stupidity.

            You have faith despite reason, I have faith because of reason.

          • Yes, I was surprised myself to see an article like that in the DM.

            So you think you know otherwise than to lower yourself into believing in God and following a religion but you believe in science instead or do you believe in Aliens? Ghosts maybe?
            What do people believe in these days in order to unite and better survive? We are no longer as superstitious as we were as our society has changed or our superstitions have changed accordingly. Would you knowingly wear Fred West’s cardi?

            God is making things happen all the time.

          • Findaráto

            Aliens? Can you show me any hard evidence for aliens? And ghosts? Where’s the tiniest shred of proof that such a thing exists?

            I imagine that all of Fred West’s clothing has been disposed of, but if his cardy were to pitch up on my doorstep, no, I would not wear it. I don’t wear used clothing. I might give it to Hipster Vic from TGI Monday however. It would be right up his street, and think of the Christian virtue signaling kudos it would give him to wear a mass murderer’s knitwear while rabbiting on about God’s radical mercy.

            And if God is making things happen all the time, no doubt you can prove it.

            I’m waiting…

          • You’re living and breathing aren’t you? There you are then evidence of God in action. He is in us and all around us but you choose to ignore Him and worship the material and tangible. You’re typical of the nasty ice cold com-passionless analytical types that are also atheists.

          • Findaráto

            When confronted with the kind idiocy that claims life as proof of the existence of God, one has to compose one’s self in order not to laugh out loud. This results in the sort of poker face sometimes mistaken for coldness. Believe me, I’m laughing inside. Oh am I laughing…

            I’ll try to restrain my mirth for long enough to ask one question however. Why should life be proof for God? Why isn’t it proof for Allah? Or Vishnu? Or any tribal deity you care to name?

            I don’t know why I’m asking. I already know the answer, which is of course that whatever YOU believe is the ultimate definition of reality. No proof needed. The mere fact that you believe something makes it true, doesn’t it?

            And you wonder why we think you’re delusional. There’s such a wealth of evidence pointing to the fact that you are. Invisible and all-powerful gods spring ito existence just because you believe in them. And even better: their rules and regulations only apply to other people, never to you.

            I have to love my enemy or I’ll be damned to hell, won’t I? But you can call yours whatever angry and hateful names you like because you’re God’s mouthpiece on earth so the rules don’t apply to you.

            Hypocrite and Pharisee I name you! If your imaginary god is real after all, you’re going exactly where I’m going. And that really will make it hellish. Spending eternity with people like you has to be the worst prospect I can think of…

          • I don’t think you have to literally love your enemy. more get him to see reason and to find common ground to coexist alongside each other. Although it’s hard to forgive and reason with members of ISIS and other evil people who carry out terrible atrocities.

            What I’m saying is that as human consciences evolved so did our awareness of a higher being and it differs depending were we were in the world and to what tribe we belonged and what customs and rituals we took to doing for survival. That’s why there are different Gods and multiple Gods. When Jesus came he brought us some order as well as a higher civilisation with Him. .

            We simply don’t know where we are going after life on Earth but isn’t it better to be as good a person when on Earth as possible?

          • Findaráto

            A Muslim would say “and when Mohammed came, he brought us some order as well as a higher civilisation”.

            So who’s right? The Muslim or the Christian? Or one of the believers in the thousands of other religions? If there is a God, why is he the Christian God? Why not the Muslim or the Mormon God? Why is there only one God? Why not the whole Hindu pantheon? Or the eight million kami of Shinto?

            I mean, the Japanese civilisation is pretty highly developed. They may have got the blazes bombed out of them in WWII, but we’re getting the blazes bombed out of us now, so do human victories or defeats count for anything in determining who the real God or Gods are? Perhaps the Japanese Gods were just testing their people.

            The problem Christians face in justifying their faith to others is that every argument you can make for the Christian God, you can also make for every other God. If you accept the existence of any kind of deity, there’s no particular reason why it should be the Christian God. Or rather there’s no particular reason other than inculturation.

            Faced with a vast smorgasbord of divine possibilities, most people will choose the dish they’re familiar with. You’ll always get some adventurous, curious or just plain contrary individuals who’ll pick the unfamiliar and exotic, particularly when it’s associated with a dominant and/or aspirational foreign culture (witness the growth of Christianity in China), but generally what you eat is what you know. Familiar dishes are comforting and make you feel safe and secure.

            Of course some of us just aren’t interested in the buffet of choices on offer. We refuse every dish, because they all smell rotten to us. And surprise, surprise … we don’t starve to death! A life without God or Allah or Vishnu is every bit as fulfilling, enjoyable and engaging as one spent genuflecting before these divine ghosts and chimeras. Some would say more so considering the fact that thoughts of a completely fictional afterlife, which is the only means by which these religious wraiths can extort obedience and worship from their cowed and subjected believers, simply don’t trouble us.

            Why be worried about a fairy story for which not one single piece of rational evidence exists?

            If there were good reasons to believe in an afterlife, such as frequent and otherwise inexplicable communications from beyond, or recorded, analysed and verifiable apparitions of the dead telling us all about heaven, or hell, or whatever, then a rational person would be forced to take account of them and integrate the existence of an afterlife into his world view. But no such evidence exists. All we have to go on are the claims of believers, who can offer no material or rational proof of what they claim, but demand that we believe them anyway otherwise their particular deity will punish us for all eternity.

            In the face of such childish and petulant behaviour, non-belief really is the only rational choice.

          • I agree with some things you say, but atheism is your choice, don’t ram it down our throats.

            Christianity is the highest form of civilisation once it is bred out of humans and replaced by materialism there are then no boundaries. Man can and we are slowly seeing a decline in the behaviour of different younger generations like steps descending into the dark ages, do anything he so wishes and it’s all ‘normal’, and acceptable

            Oh! and there is no need to be quite so viciously critical about the TGI Monday team.

          • Findaráto

            You’re mixing your categories. Christianity is not a civilisation. It’s a religion. Some civilisations have based some of their laws upon biblical principles. But no civilisation has ever followed Christian principles to the letter.

            What you really mean is that the British civilisation you grew up with and which paid lip service to Christianity is better than any other civilisation. Which is really just the conventional moaning of an insular old woman (whether in age or spirit or both) about the “youth of today” and how “everything was better when I was a girl” and how all those “bloody foreigners” live like savages, blah, blah.

            So how does being a cantankerous old battleaxe make you a better Christian, I wonder? This I’d love to hear…

          • Charming as ever Findus!

            It’s not a civilisation but it’s responsible for what civilisation we have had.
            I was thinking about the differences between society now which is full of families and one parent families living in financial,spiritual and moral poverty. Their children ruling the roost and the standard of teaching in schools in steep decline – teachers are literally now petrified of the kids who run riot and do as they please in school. If they are disruptive in exams they are put to sit somewhere else to do the exam and rewarded with orange juice and biscuits to shut them up. Teachers are warned not to walk down a corridor too close to the kids as kid can bump up against a teacher and claim assault and they do. They invent stuff too as they know the law is on their side.

            I was flabbergasted to hear that a 16 yr old 6th form boy had assaulted and buggered in the school gym on parents evening his best friend. Police are investigating. And the school in question is one of the better ones in its area.

            My era of the 70’s when I was a girl wasn’t much better, the sexual revolution had taken hold. I prefer not to remember most of it. But it was marginally better than today. Compared to twenty years prior, the 50’s when more people were Church going believing Christians with the highest of standards, the step down was noticeable. Maybe our civilisation peaked in the 50s and maybe our productivity and creativity as a country peaked before that in the Victorian era. We’ve been on a downward trajectory ever since.

            Sadly I’m not a cantankerous old battleaxe, more melancholic meek middle-aged maid! I’ve lost my courage and energy.
            It’s very difficult being a Christian in a society that shuns and dismisses it in favour of pandering to Muslims, homosexuals and every other minority odd bod around.

          • Ivan M

            Isn’t that a U-2 song?

          • Findaráto

            It’s a Christian hymn. God-breathed to a certain archbishop’s wife apparently, and sung by generations of Anglicans as well as members of other denominations without alteration. Only in our more egalitarian times do the words seem strange and unjust. Just like God…

          • Ivan M

            The good wife was too lyrical. The first two lines are a reference to the parable of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. The lady obviously thought that God was a gentleman industrialist from Dickens.. But Jesus Christ’s warning was something else.

          • IanCad

            I tend to agree with you here Findars. The hymn is a paean to predestination.

          • chiefofsinners

            Don’t expect us to defend the words of every Christian hymn unless you are willing to defend every secular song. Why not start with ‘I am the ape man, I am the ape man. I am the walrus.’

        • Findaráto

          Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
          Someone’s singing, Lord, kumbaya
          Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
          Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
          Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya
          Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
          Oh Lord, kumbaya

          A hymn about the behaviour of a typical Anglican congregation during divine service is a little redundant, isn’t it? All you have to do is look around you. The running commentary is pointless.

      • Martin

        Sy

        There has been a deliberate attempt by certain writers of modern hymns to destroy our hymns and force the outspewing of the Charismatic Movement on us. Sloppy sentimental unsingable rubbish has replaced the theology rich hymns of the past. And those brought up on a diet of pop music have fallen for it. That there are still some good hymns written is down to the mercy of God, Vernon Higham’s work for example.

        • Anton

          Please note that I choose to be in a church that calls itself “charismatic evangelical”, or I wouldn’t have to put up with the lousy worship. I am very satisfied with it in all other respects including fidelity to the scriptures. Do say more about Vernon Higham.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Here’s one I found quoted:

            Great is the gospel of our glorious God,
            where mercy met the anger of God’s rod;
            a penalty was paid and pardon bought,
            and sinners lost at last to Him were brought:

            refrain:
            O let the praises of my heart be Thine,
            for Christ has died that I may call Him mine,
            that I may sing with those who dwell above,
            adoring, praising Jesus, King of love.

            Great is the mystery of godliness,
            great is the work of God’s own holiness;
            it moves my soul, and causes me to long
            for greater joys than to the earth belong:

            refrain

            The Spirit vindicated Christ our Lord,
            and angels sang with joy and sweet accord;
            the nations heard, a dark world flamed with light
            when Jesus rose in glory and in might:

            refrain

            William Vernon Higham Copyright, The Author
            Published Christian Hymns

            https://whateverthingsare.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/sunday-hymn-43/

            This is the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGH8HPgN9Z0

          • Anton

            Thank you!

        • Sybaseguru

          And Stuart Townend, but I’m sure some of the mushy love songs will fail the test of time.

          • Martin

            Sy

            I was thinking of Stuart Townend in my initial comments, he’s one whose work I won’t sing. Don’t like his hat either.

          • Sybaseguru

            We’ll see which stand the test of time.

          • Martin

            Sy

            There are plenty from my lifetime that haven’t.

          • Anton

            Yes, quite. When I became a Christian in 1990 I was astonished at the change in worship style from the Anglican hymns I had sung at school assembly and had enjoyed for the music. The most banal of the modern stuff all came from one particular pen, and I realised something was amiss when informed that this author was seen as the top man in modern worship. Today, just 25 years later, his songs are virtually forgotten.

          • Martin

            Anton

            It’s all part of the pop song culture that so many Christians have bought into.

          • Rhoda

            I’m not a fan of modern worship songs either but what is wrong with “How deep the Father’s love for us” by Townend?

          • Martin

            Rhoda

            In the main it is the same reason I do not sing the hymns of John Newman, they are not to my view Christians so I won’t sing what they wrote in worship.

            I also think the theology is suspect, reading into Scripture what it does not say. We have no evidence to support the second verse’s first two lines, presumably based on the quotation of Psalm 22:1 from the cross. The fourth verse shows a failure to understand the atonement since it omits the entirely necessary resurrection. Verse six is incoherent, I suspect it can be made to mean what you want.

          • Rhoda

            The resurrection is mentioned in verse 5.
            Do you object hymn tunes written by people who in your opinion aren’t Christians?

          • Martin

            Rhoda

            Many hymn tunes have their origin in folk songs whose authors we do not know. Nor do tunes have meaning as words do. That the resurrection is mentioned in verse five fails to lift verse four out of its error.

            Much as John Newman’s hymns may appear to be sound at first glance but lead away from the Bible, so Townend’s songs have a tendency to lead to a rock culture which is sub Christian.

            Error enters the Church by appearing reasonable, I have no doubt the Judaisers had reasonable sounding arguments to give the Galatians, but their error led to a denial of the gospel.

  • Uncle Brian

    There are two names that I would have expected to find on Archbishop Welby‘s honours list, but neither of them is there: Canon Andrew White and Nissar Hussain, who headed the Top 100 UK Christians list here at Cranmer’s in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

    http://archbishopcranmer.com/canon-andrew-white-leads-top-100-uk-christians-2014/

    http://archbishopcranmer.com/nissar-hussain-leads-top-100-uk-christians-2015/

    • Anton

      And Andrea Minichiello Williams.

      • Shadrach Fire

        She was at his bash last night.

      • Findaráto

        They certainly missed a trick with Williams. She should have been given the Abbot Prize For Narrow-Minded Calvinism and Wild-Eyed Hatred of Tom Daley.

    • IanCad

      Good point UB. Then are these new Lambeth awards a waste of time and money?

  • Sigfridiii

    And the George Carey Award for a Nice Smile goes to…

  • Martin

    This is pretty much on a par with Cranmer’s poll earlier this year. Pretty pointless.

    Indeed some of the awards are for wickedness. I’d class ecumenicism in this league and I’d question the faith of any church leader involved in such.

    All in all a pompous parading of prejudice.

    • sarky

      A pompous parading of prejudice.

      A bit like your posts then Martin.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        You mean you hadn’t realised what your posts were?

    • IanCad

      Things can get nasty in a hurry when religions unite.
      Ecumenism is dangerous to the cause of liberty.

      • Martin

        Ian

        Ecumenism is disastrous for the gospel.

        • IanCad

          Of course!

        • carl jacobs

          Depends on what you mean by it. Ecumenism between Presbyterian and Baptist is no threat.

          • Carl, Presbyterians and Baptists can’t agree amongst themselves, let alone agree across denomination.

          • carl jacobs

            And yet I know a Baptist apologist who has debated a Presbyterian about Baptism on a Saturday night, and preached from his opponent’s pulpit on Sunday morning. They agree on much more than they disagree. That defines both the limits and the possibilities of ecumenism.

          • All Christians agree on a great deal and yet the differences are significant.

            Various ecumenical movements have attempted cooperation or reorganization of the various divided Protestant denominations, according to various models of union, but divisions continue to outpace unions, as there is no overarching authority to which any of the churches owe allegiance, which can authoritatively define the faith. Most denominations share common beliefs in the major aspects of the Christian faith while differing in many secondary doctrines, although what is major and what is secondary is a matter of idiosyncratic belief.

            (Wiki)

          • carl jacobs

            Ecumenism doesn’t mean Union.

          • You think God wills that His Church, the Bride of Christ, be divided? Remember the Creed: one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. The Church cannot be a “federation” of different Christian denominations agreeing to differ in a range of doctrinal matters.

            “It is not only for them that I pray; I pray for those who are to find faith in me through their word; that they may all be one; that they too may be one in us, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; so that the world may come to believe that it is thou who hast sent me.”
            (John 17:20-23)

          • carl jacobs

            The churches may be divided. Am I surprised? No. Why should I be surprised that finite limited creatures disagree about things. What is important is that the Church is not divided. And the Church does not map one-to-one onto any temporal organization. No matter what the Pope says.

          • Define “the Church” and what you mean by saying it is “not divided”.

          • carl jacobs

            The Church is the Fellowship of the Elect who at this present moment have been called to faith by the Spirit. To be not divided is to share the same Gospel. But you already knew that.

          • Fellowship … this suggests unity.

          • carl jacobs

            I should I suppose say “Those who are in submission to the bishop of Rome, have been baptized, and are not currently under the condemnation of mortal sin.” Unless of course they are “dissidents.” Unless of course the dissident is the Pope.

          • Rather old fashioned language and could do with being updated, Carl. Nowadays, we talk about unity with and through the Bishop of Rome and the need for absolution from grave sin to restore grace to the soul. Dissidents and grave sinners still remain members of the Church too and she patiently waits for their return, ever ready to forgive.

          • carl jacobs

            Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

            Old Language from the (once completely infallible but now only partly sorta kinda infallible) Papal Bull “Unam Sanctam

          • Update yourself, Carl. Different times; different contexts.

          • carl jacobs

            Does the RCC often go around rewording infallible pronouncements? Oh, but that must be how EENS got stood on its head. I get it now. It’s an infallible pronouncement, but the content changes every now and then to fit the times.

          • Not the content, Carl. The presentation. We’ve been through all this countless times.

          • Anton

            Keep going Carl. A supposedly infallible statement is always going to have been elicited in a particular context but it then has universal applicability, and Jack is trying to blur this distinction. With as little success as when he tried it with me.

          • carl jacobs

            Like the “Two Swords” doctrine which was obviously a statement infallibly made in a particular context. Alas, but it was falsified, so its universal applicability could not be maintained. I guess it was infallible but for a season.

            There is a time for everything under heaven. A season to be infallible, and a season to say “But we didn’t mean that kind of infallible.”

          • Anton

            Wouldn’t it be amusing if Francis made an infallible declaration against papal infallibility?

          • carl jacobs

            Let’s see. The Pope would be infallibly declaring his own fallibility by infallibly declaring that a previous infallible declaration was in fact false and therefore fallible.

            Jack would not be amused.

          • The Two Swords was never defined as an infallible doctrine. It was a medieval doctrine on the relation of Church and State. It reflected the mentality of the age, when both Priests and Kings were members of the Catholic Church in whose name Pope Boniface was speaking.

          • Unam Sanctam’s definition is still dogma. Vatican II developed the Faith of the Church infallibly taught since the Apostles. This faith has never demanded we believe that the Church is found solely in the visible Catholic communion, nor that only members of the visible Catholic Church can be saved.

          • carl jacobs

            But you said … here, let me go get it …

            There are only faithful Catholics, so dissident “liberal Catholic” is a misnomer. Many are heretics and really should be joining one of the many Protestant cults.

          • If some persist in refusing to accept the definitive propositions of the Catholic Church necessary for salvation, then perhaps they should leave and find a church more in keeping with their opinions. The Church will still wait for them to repent and return.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack, you can’t be a Catholic and not be a Catholic at the same time. You need to get your story straight.

          • Anton

            As she did those she deemed heretics and burned?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Wiki? Actually there’s a surprising amount of unity in the Reformed groups I straddle that include both Baptist and Paedo-baptist views.

          • carl jacobs

            A staggering amount of unity. Besides the obvious, there are differences over form of church gov’t. There might also be a difference between a Memorial view of Communion and a Spiritual Presence view of Communion. RBs in my experience have a more minimalist liturgy as well.

          • CliveM

            So how are your ecumenical dialogues with Liberal Roman Catholics getting on???

          • There are only faithful Catholics, so dissident “liberal Catholic” is a misnomer. Many are heretics and really should be joining one of the many Protestant cults. Ecumenism isn’t about compromising the Truth.

            Been banned from NCR for several months and now Crux.

          • carl jacobs

            NCR I can understand. What did you do to get banned from Crux?

          • Not sure really … Being an orthodox Catholic? Jack asked and has received no reply. They’ve deleted all my comments too, so you cannot access them to see my last comments:

            Here’s my final offerings:

            “We are Catholic, so what does it matter what some Protestants and some Jews believe? You seem to harbour very negative views about the Church and about priests.”

            “Why would the Church be afraid of women? We’re talking here about what God has made known about the priesthood.”

            “It has nothing to do with worth or holiness or ability. The male only priesthood is something God wants.”

            “Indeed. To think it stretches right back to Jesus selecting His Apostles and initiating the sacraments.”
            “In the Catholic Church the priesthood is reserved exclusively for men. This matter was closed by Saint Pope John Paul.”

            “It’s Sacred Tradition and goes back to Jesus’ selection of male only Apostles and the role of a sacramental priesthood who members act in Persona Christi.”

            Woke up one morning to find these and all my other comments deleted.

          • carl jacobs

            btw Jack. The Baptist apologist to whom I referred was none other than James White.

          • CliveM

            There is frequently more uniting us across the denominational divide, then within a denomination!

            Banned huh! I did once take a sneak peak at what you were saying. So orthodoxy gets you banned from Catholic sites these days!!!

          • Martin

            HJ

            So are there now 4000 varieties of Roman Catholic?

          • Only one i.e. faithful Catholics who accept the doctrine, dogma and teachings of the Church.

          • carl jacobs

            You know, Martin. Like that Pope Francis guy. Oh, wait …

          • Martin

            HJ

            Excepts the dogma changes with the wind and the current pope is changing it so fast no one can keep up.

          • Dogmas cannot and do not change.

          • Martin

            HJ

            History, viewed from outside the church of Rome, tells us that their dogma has changed though it may be an article of faith that it does not change.

          • carl jacobs

            There are only faithful Catholics, so dissident “liberal Catholic” is a misnomer.

            So … ummmm … the current Pope. Is he a “faithful Catholic” or is he a “dissident” who “really should be joining one of the many Protestant cults”?

          • Time will tell, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s just that you have no trouble identifying others as “dissidents.” So why aren’t you consistent in your designation?

          • Pope Francis is (deliberately?) ambiguous and can be understood in different ways. He’s no theologian and is causing confusion. Is he a heretic? As Jack said, time will tell.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. Yep. Those people who lead the Episcopal Church over a cliff were ambiguous as well.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. Bad Clive! [Chortle] Bad! Bad! Bad! [Snicker]

          • CliveM

            I know, I feel deeply ashamed.

          • Martin

            HJ

            And your mob can? Seems your current boss is causing some problems for those trying to work out what they are supposed to believe.

          • Mob? Please be civil, old chap. The Church is facing something a crisis at present but we’ll come through it. That’s the way God planned it.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’d have thought ‘mob’ was perfectly civil. And remember, God also plans the self destruction of the sinner.

          • carl jacobs

            Partim Partim or Material Sufficiency, Jack?

          • Look at Baptism. If Scripture were formally sufficient, it would lay out in a systematic manner what effects Baptism has on the individual, whether it is required, who can be Baptised, and how to Baptise. What actually happened is that theologians have had to “derive” various doctrines like Baptism, piece by piece, starting with the explicit references to baptism, then any allusions to it, and then the support
            of related doctrines, all to come to their final conclusions on Baptism. There is no such systematic treatment of Scripture on this and Protestants have disagreements on every one of those facets mentioned e.g. whether infants can be baptised.

            Another example that contradicts formal sufficiency is the Trinity. The Trinity can be proven from Scripture, but Scripture Alone as a principle was not formally sufficient to prevent the Arian crisis from occurring. The decisive factor in these controversies was the appeal to Apostolic succession and Tradition, which showed that the Church had always been Trinitarian.

            The Road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-27), the Bereans (Acts
            17:1-5,10-12), and Apollos (Acts 18:24-26) demonstrate the problems of formal sufficiency very well.

          • carl jacobs

            My point was that Catholics even now don’t agree on something as fundamental as the relationship of Sacred Scripture to Sacred Tradition. So the accusation you leveled at Protestants can just as easily be leveled at RCs. You can’t define “Roman Catholic” according to doctrinal agreement because it doesn’t exist among people you would call orthodox RCs.

          • You been reading James White? As a Catholic, Jack holds that scripture is materially sufficient but not formally sufficient. Ever heard of: “Totum in Scriptura, totum in Traditione”? The Catholic view is that all that is sufficient for our salvation is contained both in written and in unwritten tradition.

            “Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for
            everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation?

            For this reason, because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius,
            Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another.

            Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.”
            (Vincent de Lerins, 5th century)

            Scripture by itself cannot adequately present its true meaning; it is only
            understood correctly in the Church and in its Tradition.

          • carl jacobs

            I have met James White personally, and I used to be a Mod in his chat room.

          • Aha ….

          • carl jacobs

            Not a word of which refutes what I said.

          • Catholics do agree on the relationship between Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

          • carl jacobs

            No, they don’t.

          • Actually, whilst there’s some latitude permitted about their relationship, all Catholics believe both scripture and tradition are authoritative.

          • Anton

            Scripture by itself cannot adequately present its true meaning; it is only understood correctly in the Church and in its Tradition.

            The tradition in which to read the New Testament is the Old Testament, of course. Jesus was a Jew who lived in a monotheistic culture forged by and recorded in the Old Testament. No church tradition is needed to make sense of the Old Testament, as it is not about the church. The Old Testament builds upon itself from the Creation onward, an event for which there is obviously no context. So neither Old nor New Testament requires an extra-biblical tradition to interpret it. Scripture is God’s word for his people at each time, and his word is as unique as He is. As for private interpretation, everybody gets their own ideas when reading scripture and the idea is then to discuss them with other Christians so that your mistakes get ironed out. Would you or would you not wish to ban Bible study in private homes without a congregation leader present?

          • Hm … well, the Jews were certainly capable of interpreting the Old Testament.

          • Pubcrawler

            Still are.

          • Ivan M

            It’s always easy to be a church consisting of just one member.

      • Ivan M

        Off-topic: Hi Ian, I draw your attention, to GK Chesterton’s The Donkey, that I posted on the Palm Sunday thread.

        • IanCad

          Thanks Ivan. I did read it. I’ve always liked Chesterton – and his fellow in talent – Belloc.
          What a pair they would make on this blog!

  • The Explorer

    How ecumenical is the Ecumenism award? Does it include an understanding with the Religion of Peace that has today shown another striking manifestation of its pacific precepts?

    • Ivan M

      The Belgians slipped up badly. It’s hard to understand how something like this can happen under the current state of alert.

      • The Explorer

        According to the BBC, so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility. In other words, Islamic State may have orchestrated it, but Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.

    • James60498 .

      Sorry. You are wrong.

      According to my sons RE teacher they are not Muslims at all.

      • Pubcrawler

        If said teacher is so certain, perhaps a trip to Mosul to put the IS leadership right is in order.

      • Martin

        James

        Actually there is enormous variety in Islamic theology. These terrorists are just one grouping.

      • Anton

        Your son’s teacher is a liar or a fool or both and should be asked to explain suras 8 & 9 of the Quran.

        • James60498 .

          There is plenty more where that comes from to suggest that she is both.

          It appears that the computer football game, FIFA, is sexist because it gives a higher ability percentage to the best male player than it does to the best female player.

          • Anton

            Let the men play the women in real life and see what happens!

          • James60498 .

            Quite right.

          • magnolia

            Babies?

      • The Explorer

        Clearly, there is as much confusion among RE teachers about defining a Muslim as there is about defining a Christian.

  • Shadrach Fire

    It would be nice to see Phil Hills among this list for his continuing work with Teen Challenge and their amazing work among addicts and young peple up and down the country.

  • Inspector General

    Greetings, Cranmer. Congratulations on ten years. Magnificent achievement! The Inspector admires fellows who keep at it.

    Anyway, the Inspector has been deprived communication for 72 hours, thanks to the latest virus. Well, the pirate who is doing it is now up against a newly installed firewall. So you wretched sod, do your worst again if you will, and we’ll see this time…

    Tally ho!

    • Jack thought you might be courting and thus have less time on your hands for blogging, Inspector. Hope it’s a quality anti-virus software you’ve selected and that you’ve cleared your hard drive. Good to see you back too.

      • Inspector General

        One had been relying on thirty bob protection, Jack. May have to fork out deep to keep on here. Have some heavy stuff on trial, so waiting for aforementioned blighter to do his bit to test it…

        Hard drive is knackered, one suspects, but it limps along. On top of that, one’s battered laptop probably has psychological problems the counsellors will tell you as the Inspector has shouted at it once or twice…

        • CliveM

          Years back I read of someone being jailed for shooting their laptop!

          If I’d been in the jury, he’d have got off.

          • Inspector General

            You sure it wasn’t ‘lapdog’….

          • CliveM

            Nope laptop. It’s why the guy had my sympathy…..,,,

            Although I do see why you might ask.

          • Pubcrawler

            Oh yes. I have just got myself a replacement for my steam-driven old workhorse. When everything on the new one is set up and running to my satisfaction, its predecessor will be feeling the sharp end of an axe.

          • CliveM

            No way to treat a faithful servant.

          • Pubcrawler

            Putting it out of our mutual misery. If it still worked properly I wouldn’t have had to shell out for a new one. The axe I already have.

          • Anton

            I knew an Army officer who put his ceremonial sword through his.

          • CliveM

            It’s an option!

          • Pubcrawler

            Stylish (did he also use it to open bottles of champagne? Now that’s class!) but less satisfying than the sheer brutality of a Viking-style axe.

        • Jack uses McAfee (free with BT) and every now and again formats and resets his laptop’s hard drive to its factory settings. It’s a pain reloading all his programs and apps again but worth it as it clears it of all viruses and malware.
          Hope it gets resolved for you soon. Stay away from PN old chap.

          • Martin

            Try running Spinrite, it has a rather good reputation.

        • Ivan M

          Try Linux. You should be able to avoid the malware that targets Windows.

        • bluedog

          If you can afford to Inspector, switch to Mac from PC. This communicant has just done so, no virus probs but harder to get rid of spam. Had been very happy with an old Dell laptop running Win7 and protected by Kaspersky as recommended by Anton. Kaspersky is a superb anti-virus system, the boys behind it used to work in a well-known Russian multi-disciplinary research institute..

          • Inspector General

            Thanks for that Bluedog

    • Anton

      Try malwarebytes as well as and/or instead of Kaspersky. K was the only one to update hourly at one point.

    • Hi inspector

      Yippie! I’m glad you’re o.k. , I did ask where you were on another thread.

  • Alison Bailey Castellina

    I have been asked to defend my statement that Psalms alone are Scripturally permitted and safe for worship in church. I have asked my far more erudite (ordained) husband to explain it:

    “Appeal is sometimes made to the ‘new song’ of Revelation 14:3 as justification for the making of ‘new songs’ now. The passage must be seen in the context of the general concept of eschatological ‘newness’ which finds expression in so many of the apocalyptic sections of Scripture. The phrase “new song (‘ode kaine, shir chodesh’) is found in a number of places, in both Testaments. Originally, it signified a song of praise, inspired by gratitude for ‘new’ mercies. As such, it occurs six times in the Psalter. Obviously, the reference to a ‘new song’ in each of these instances is either a reference to the particular psalm or else a figure of speech to be interpreted metonymically, for a doxology or prayer of thanksgiving. In any event, they do not give warrant for us to produce uninspired worship songs any more than they did for Old Testament saints.

    Quite often, especially in the eschatological portions of Scripture, the phrase ‘new song’ is merely a figure of speech, having no direct reference at all to literal worship songs. Such is the case, for example, in Isaiah 42:10 (cf. 24:14ff, Rev. 5:13), where the islands and their inhabitants, the cities and their dwellers and everything that lives and moves in the sea are summoned to praise the Lord with a ‘new song’. Attribution of song here to inanimate objects is, of course, a hyperbolic device intended to express, poetically, the comprehensive scope of God’s saving operations and the fullness of the praise that is due to His Holy Name (cf. Isa. 55:12ff). Certainly, there is no Scriptural warrant here for the production of uninspired worship songs.

    The concept of ‘newness’ is a leading feature of the apocalyptic portions of Scripture, and this is particularly true of the Book of Revelation. We are told, for example, of a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21: 1; 2 Pet. 3:13; Isa. 65:17); the new Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12; 21:2); the new name (Rev. 2:17; 3:12; Isa. 62:2; 65:15); and the new song (Rev. 5:9; 14:3). Indeed, all things will be made new (Rev. 21:5). The concept of ‘newness’ in the Book of Revelation is thus a poetic device to express, in a heightened sense, the fullness and the scope of the eschatological redemption of all things.

    The ‘new song’, the ‘new name’, the ‘new heavens’, the ‘new earth’ and the ‘new Jerusalem’ are all still in the future. The fact that we have in these visions is a present anticipation of newness. It provides no more warrant for the production of ‘new’ worship songs, than it does for the building of a “new Jerusalem” now. Quite the contrary. It is very significant, in fact, that worship songs are placed in the category of the ‘new’ things of John’s vision. The distinguishing character of the ‘newness’ attributed to these objects is its divine origin. The old creation groans and travails even now, under the corruption of sin, so the Lord Himself will provide a ‘new’ one. Men do not themselves build the New Jerusalem; it is fashioned directly by the hand of God, and brought down from heaven (Rev. 21:2). Eschatological ‘newness’ in the Book of Revelation is therefore functionally equivalent to divine origin. Eschatological ‘newness’ in song may thus be seen as functionally equivalent to immediate inspiration by God. Seen in this way, the ‘new’ songs of Revelation, far from providing warrant for the use of uninspired songs in worship, bring to the fore once again the same basic principle that we have seen time and again in the principles of worship, namely, that the production of acceptable worship song is the sole prerogative of the Lord God Himself, as He works through inspired authors (David) set apart by Him to that very task.

    Of course, it must be conceded that the apocalyptic visions of Isaiah and the Book of Revelation do reference to a certain extent our own dispensation. Certainly the ‘new covenant’ (Jer. 31:31ff; 1 Cor. 11:25; Heb. 8:8ff-, 9:15), the description of the Christian as a ‘new creation’ (2 Cor. 5:17), and so on, are present anticipations of the eschatological situation described in John’s vision. The question arises as to whether there is any sense, proleptic or otherwise, in which the worship song of the pre-consummation church is to share in this eschatological newness.

    Much of the ‘newness’ enjoyed by the Church in this dispensation is clearly proleptic or anticipatory in nature. Our redemptive “newness” has not yet been fully realized. We are to put on the ‘new’ self (Eph. 4:22-24). We are new creations in Christ, and yet we wait for that day when all things will be made new.

    What all of this teaches us is that ‘newness’ in the present state of things is not at all inconsistent with the continuation of certain aspects of the old order. Of the many examples that could be mentioned here, there is perhaps none clearer than that of the ‘new commandment’ given by Christ to His disciples. His ‘new commandment’ that we love one another (John 13:34), was not really a new commandment, at all. It was in fact incorporated into the Mosaic law (Lev. 19:18). It was, as John tells us, a new commandment that was at the same time an old commandment (1 John 2:7; 2 John 5). The ‘newness’ lay in the new perspective that we are given on the old commandment, as a result of the manifestation of God’s love in Christ. The ‘newness’ of the New Testament with respect to the law of God does not have to do so much with content, as with perspective. The law has not been abolished in Christ: it has been fulfilled and therefore placed in a new light, but it has not been superseded by a new law. In the same way the ‘newness’ in song of which the New Testament is the heir, does not have to do with content per se, but with newness of perspective. So even if the passages in Isaiah 42:10 and Revelation 5:9 and 14:3 are seen as having pre-consummation significance, there is still no warrant to see in them a mandate for the production of uninspired songs for worship.

    The Old Testament Psalms may therefore in a particular sense be seen as ‘new songs’ because they have all taken on new significance in the light of their fulfilment in Christ and in the interpretive light that the New Testament sheds upon them. Seen in this way, the Psalms serve quite sufficiently as a proleptic realization of the need for ‘new songs’ in the worship of God. Singing Psalms, one is on safe ground.

    • sarky

      All that over a song? Thought you would have had more important things to worry about.

      • William Lewis

        What’s more important than worshipping God?

        • sarky

          You want a list?

          • William Lewis

            Only if you can justify it.

    • Anton

      With all respect, the fact remains that there is no prohibition on the writing of hymns in the New Testament, and to say we must not therefore involves taking away a freedom which God means us to have.

      “Singing Psalms, one is on safe ground”.

      O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy babies upon the rocks. – from Psalm 137. I understand why this is in Holy Scripture, but it requires some exegesis and is not suitable for Christian worship.

      • Hi

        We can say Tehillim on a daily basis and go through all the Psalms, either per week or per month , but we also have other liturgical hymns.

      • CliveM

        Psalm 96:1, sing unto the Lord a new song.

  • The Explorer

    If God had a comparable list, it would be interesting to see what correlation there would be between the human list and the divine one.

  • len

    ‘The awards’ will be handed out in Heaven , lets get on with the task in hand namely preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.Please……