eeyore tigger
Protestantism

Reformation 500: Archbishop of Canterbury preaches Eeyore and Tigger

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Westminster Abbey positively bounced with Reformation glee:

Through the Reformation we learned that we are saved entirely, confidently and unfailingly..

..the church found again a love for the scriptures..

..the vast mass of people across Europe and then around the world were drawn to receive the fruits of a missionary movement..

..the world changed; the gospel spread…

Boing, boing, boing.

“What is there not to like?” he asked, bouncily.

“Well, said Eeyore to Tigger…” he continued:

With new vigour came conflict.

With individual understanding of grace came individualism and division.

With the knowledge that “without thee we are not able to please thee” came, through our sin and weakness, what so often we add under our breath: “But actually, I’m a lot more able to please thee than those heretics over there.”

With literacy and freedom came new ways of cruelty refined by science.

With missionaries bearing the faith came soldiers bearing the flag.

And suddenly the Archbishop became old, grey and stuffed. And this is the problem with the Reformation: when you write or preach about it with orange and black stripes, large eyes and a springy tail, you attract gloom and thistles. And when you write about the gloom and thistles, you’re met with a huge roar and an extract of malt. Tiggers like everything (except honey, acorns and thistles); Eeyore likes thistles, but the best diet of all is gloom and sorrow.

And so the Archbishop of Canterbury walks the good old Anglican via media: the Reformation has bouncy bits and depressing bits. But, overall:

The Reformation was a gift of God, not only in itself but as a sign of the faithfulness of God to His work of revealing the good news of Jesus to a world in need, and the faithfulness of God in using His church despite our failings.

Boing, boing, boing.

What do we do with the gift today? Will we be willing ourselves to be reformed again and always, setting aside our differences because we are caught up in the grace that is found through faith?

Mope, boing, boing.

Will we find from God alone the strength and grace to be a united blessing to His world, so that our witness of unity in diversity overcomes our fears of each other?

Boing, boing, mope.

Will we seize afresh in confidence the hope that God who never abandons His church will again reform us, so that the world may see that Jesus came from the Father?

Boing.

And therein lies the Eeyore challenge to all Christians: are we so perfect that we no longer need reforming? How can we reform when we cannot even agree on the model of reformation?

It is already happening in so many ways, and so much has been accomplished. But we have not yet allowed ourselves sufficiently to be captured by the radicality of the gospel that we may bless the world as we should. As we surrender to the God who rescues us sinners, we will most surely find our vocation as the messengers of good news to the world.

The radicality of the gospel?

Boing.

Which gospel?

Ohhh-kayyy. What says Piglet? What says Roo?

  • Dodgy Geezer

    …And therein lies the Eeyore challenge to all Christians: are we so perfect that we no longer need reforming? …

    The best way to become perfect is to start your own religion and define yourself as perfect.

    Worked for Mohammed….

    • Mike Stallard

      Not fair.
      He had a real feeling for his own weakness in, for example, not being able to perform miracles. He was actually a very charismatic leader and, if he had not done the hejira from Mecca by substituting Ali under the blanket that night when they came to kill him, he might very well have gone down as a great Christian apostle and martyr.
      It was at Medina that the trouble really began.

      • Anton

        He was already rejecting the monotheism of others at that stage.

        • Mike Stallard

          OK – maybe so. All a bit vague on the scholarship front I guess. I hope, by the way that you are referring to the Holy Trinity and not the Jahiliyyah – paganism.

          • Anton

            I meant the monotheism of Christianity and Judaism.

          • Mike Stallard

            Can you please point me in the right direction here? Are you really saying that he no longer believed in Allah and monotheism (the Tawhid)? Or are you saying that he was already – as he did later – turning against the Christian and Judaic forms of religion? Bout the first, I am not sure at all: the second is, I should have thought very much based on interpretation of the Koran.

          • Anton

            I’m suggesting that he heard of monotheism from Christians or from Jews or Arabs who converted to Judaism (which was a proselytising religion back then). And that when he started his own monotheism (interesting to consider why) they mocked him. Remember the negative verses about Judaism and Christianity in the quran?

      • Coniston

        I have read that, in the early days, Mohammed tried to persuade the Jews that he was the latest Jewish prophet. When the Jews rejected this, he became violently anti-Jewish – which is reflected in the Koran. Can any scholar confirm this?

    • CliveM

      “The best way to become perfect is to start your own religion and define yourself as perfect.”

      Now that reminds me of something? Can’t put my finger on what though. Thinks, thinks, thinks. Darn it I’m sure it’ll come to me.

  • magnolia

    Thanks to his grace for great writing with vivid imagery. Boing

    The church often gets into prolonged carefully balanced abstract theologizing with rather dead words and tired cliched over-exposed imagery, which is sleep-inducing, even if it ticks all the boxes they have constructed. Then the further boxes require analysing at great length why few are listening. Mope.

    Nevertheless we Anglicans still have some fantastically written hymns. Boing.

    • Norman Yardy

      ‘fantastically written hymns!’. Words on paper are meaningless until they are sung from the heart. They then allow the Holy Spirit to concur and work in the hearts of those partaking and God comes. Hallelujah.

      • magnolia

        “Kindle a flame of sacred love,
        On the mean altar of my heart”

        Great hymn-writers involve the singer in ensuring they are sung from the heart!

        • Chefofsinners

          That is my bestest hymn ever.

          • Anton

            Come Down O Love Divine

            Sleepers Wake

            Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending

            And Can It Be

            Hills of the North, Rejoice!

          • Martin

            How firm a foundation.

            Joy to the World

          • Chefofsinners

            Lo He comes was better in the original form ‘Lo He cometh countless trumpets’ by John Cennick.

          • Anton

            I should have clarified that I was writing down my favourites in no particular order. Sleepers Wake is actually my favourite.

          • Chefofsinners

            Five is right out. Six is worse. Repent ye.

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xOrgLj9lOwk

  • Ray Sunshine

    With the knowledge that “without thee we are not able to please thee” came, through our sin and weakness, what so often we add under our breath: “But actually, I’m a lot more able to please thee than those heretics over there.”

    No such smugness is ever even glimpsed, is it, here in Your Grace’s comment threads.

    • magnolia

      ?

      I think most people are just posting what they think, to add to and sometimes stimulate debate, rather than wanting to earn brownie points, (largely by anonymous posters) for God’s favour.

      Besides that ignores Grace, which would be odd given the recent topic of Luther.

  • BigMach

    We are getting on with the Reformation in our church by preaching the gospel in Spirit and in truth. The C of E needs to catch up, but the omens are not good.

    • Mike Stallard

      When people do that and do it meaning every word and action, you will be surprised: it is all out there waiting.

  • Manfarang

    Pooh asks Eeyore what is the matter, and the donkey replies: “Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

  • Dolphinfish

    As Rome turns protestant, it appears that Canterbury is turning Catholic. With the question, “is the pope a Catholic?” no longer being rhetorical, it surely won’t be long before we see John Sentamu leading the Rosary. This is why there are no good westerns being made anymore.

    • Albert

      I’d be surprised if Rowan Williams has never led the rosary. He’s certainly presided over Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

      • Anton

        You are welcome to him.

        • Mike Stallard

          I knew him as a brilliant young occasional lecturer at Lincoln (oh so high church) Theological College. I could not understand a word although his beard was shorter then.

          • Anton

            If you couldn’t understand a word, why did you think he was brilliant?

          • Dolphinfish

            I assume for the same reason he goes to a Catholic church on holy days.

          • Mike Stallard

            It was the beard, dear boy, the beard…

  • Albert

    The radicality of the gospel?

    Be reasonable. He’s talking about the Protestant Reformation. You can’t expect him to talk about the radicality of the Gospel as well.

    • Anton

      About the radicality of the gospel as repentance being an attitude of the heart, you mean? Too bad the Vulgate translated it merely as “do penance” in various places. You DO other religions, not Christianity.

      http://ronaldvhuggins.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/acts-238-matthew-417-from-do-penance-to.html

      • Dolphinfish

        It’s been my experience of Protestantism that more often than not this “attitude of the heart” ends up meaning, “Isn’t it great? It turns out God actually wanted me to do what I wanted to do myself anyway!”

        • Anton

          You are joking, aren’t you? Repentance means doing the opposite.

      • Albert

        The denial off free will inherent in Luther’s teaching is a rejection of Christianity.

        • Anton

          Well he got it from Augustine!

          If you want to do Free Will as more than soundbites, let’s continue on the preceding thread.

          • Albert

            Augustine believed in free will.

          • Anton

            Did he not write non posse non peccare?

          • Albert

            That does not preclude free will.

          • Anton

            Are you using the phrase in the sense conventional in theology or pyschology?

          • Albert

            Theology. Those who sin, sin freely.

          • Anton

            Yes, they have the choice not to each time. But at the end of his life you will always find that every man has sinned. There’s the paradox.

          • Albert

            Even if you accept it as a paradox, it is not a contradiction.

          • Anton

            Can you find such a contradiction in Luther, if you genuinely look at his conclusions rather than pull a sentence out of context from his reasoning to his conclusions?

          • Albert

            I’m not saying that Luther is contradictory on this, only that his position excludes free will, and this therefore pagan.

          • Anton

            Can you make it stick that his conclusion means one has no choice at any given opportunity to sin?

          • Albert

            Luther, as I understand him, thinks there is no freedom in anything except in God. Am I wrong?

          • Anton

            He does not think we are animated pieces of material.

          • Albert

            I’m not suggesting he did.

        • Martin

          Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. (John 8:34 [ESV])

          What free will is that?

          • Albert

            But scripture also says:

            But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

            But you don’t believe this.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin. But before they were saved they were such slaves. The passage you quote does not contradict what I said at all.

          • Albert

            Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin.

            Are they still sinners? I.e. do they still commit sin?

          • Martin

            Albert

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            (Romans 7:21-25 [ESV])

          • Albert

            So I think you’ve just made Paul contradictory, they are slaves of righteousness, but also slaves of sin. Instead of setting up a contradiction, oughtn’t you to try to resolve it?

          • Martin

            Albert

            No contradictions there, a Christian isn’t a slave of sin, but their unregenerate body still hankers after it. That passage is so clear.

          • Albert

            This is apparently because you think the body is separate to the person.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I suggest you read what Paul says.

          • Albert

            This is just silly, Martin. You say:

            a Christian isn’t a slave of sin, but their unregenerate body still hankers after it

            You seem to think that the body is somehow outside of the person. But what Paul says is:

            So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

            “with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” There is only one agent – the person “I”, and they sin with their flesh even though they serve the law of God with their mind. Now the scripture says everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. But you say:

            Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin.

            Can you not see the contradiction?
            1. Jesus: everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin
            2. Paul: I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            3. Martin: Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin.

            Now the key thing here is that there is a contradiction. Who shall I believe, Jesus and Paul or you?

          • Martin

            Albert

            “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my
            members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me
            captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”

            And the contradiction vanishes.

            Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            (Romans 7:25 [ESV])

          • Albert

            Fine. So a person who is actually saved, does not sin. They are actually righteous.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Not what the passage says.

          • Albert

            Well this is the trouble. What do you understand by these passages. Don’t just quote the Bible, the meaning of the Bible is what is at stake here. What do you take them to mean. You say Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin. Jesus says:
            everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Therefore, as a matter of logic, someone who is saved, is not a slave to sin, and so does not sin. Is that not so?

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’d have said the meaning of the passage was crystal clear. Those who have been born again of the Spirit still have their physical bodies that love sin. While spiritually they hate sin their will is in danger of being undermined by the natural man.

          • Albert

            So in other words, they are still sinners?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Sinners saved by grace and righteous before God.

          • Albert

            But do they still sin while being righteous before God?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course, that’s what the Bible clearly teaches.

          • Albert

            No, that’s not what the Bible teaches, and it is not what you said earlier. You said:

            Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin.

            Now Jesus says:

            everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin

            Can you not see the contradiction? On the one hand you claim that while being righteous, they still sin, and on the other hand you say they are not slaves to sin, even though, anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

            If they sin, they are slaves to sin. If they are slaves to sin they are not justified, for you said Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin.

            You cannot have it both ways.

            Personally, I suspect the Lord has undermined the entire Protestant doctrine when he says anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Since obedience to sin is the contrary of being righteous (you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness) it follows that the righteous cannot also be slaves to sin, and so simul iustus et peccator cannot possibly be true.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Romans 7 makes it plain that those who are righteous still sin as long as they are in this world. John 8:34 doesn’t say they are the slaves of sin, because they, unlike the unsaved, hate sin. There is no contradiction.

            May I remind you that you need to give references.

          • Albert

            Romans 7 makes it plain that those who are righteous still sin as long as they are in this world.

            No. Your interpretation says that. Romans does not say that.

            Moreover, you said:

            Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin.

            But Jesus says

            anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin

            So it follows that your belief must be that those who are saved do not sin, even though you believe that Romans 7 makes it plain that those who are righteous still sin as long as they are in this world.

            Now you say:

            John 8:34 doesn’t say they are the slaves of sin, because they, unlike the unsaved, hate sin.

            There seems to be some kind extra biblical tradition being inserted here, because John 8.34 says nothing of the sort. The issue is not about hating sin here, it is about the fact that those who sin are slaves of sin.

            There are multiple contradictions in your position, I think.

          • Martin

            Albert

            “No. Your interpretation says that. Romans does not say that.”

            So give us your understanding of:

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            (Romans 7:21-25 [ESV])

            Who is the wretched man.

          • Albert

            You claim:

            Romans 7 makes it plain that those who are righteous still sin as long as they are in this world.

            But it doesn’t claim the person is righteous/justified. Clearly, in the light of John 8.34 a person who sins is a slave to sin and not to righteousness/justification (having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness Romans 6.18). Therefore, the person spoken of in Romans 7, at least at the time they sin, is not righteous, as you yourself rightly said Those who are saved, who are justified, are no longer slaves of sin.

            So the contradiction only occurs if we accept simul iustus et peccator, which you must accept if you accept sola fide. Remove those human traditions, and you will find the passages all make sense.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The problem you have is that this person clearly is righteous:

            For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, (Romans 7:22 [ESV])

            That is the attitude of the righteous. They love God’s law.

            But the Christian life is a constant war:

            but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. (Romans 7:23 [ESV])

            As Peter says:

            Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (I Peter 2:11 [ESV])

            Are you saying that Paul, Peter and those they were writing to had not received Christ’s righteousness? No one has righteousness of their own, it is all Christ’s righteousness. That, of course is why there is no excess of righteousness, there is but one source, Christ.

          • Albert

            The problem you have is that this person clearly is righteous:

            Yes and no. Given that justification is a process, it cannot be said that the person is righteous in the sense of being undoubtedly saved. Anyone who sins is a slave to sin (John 8.34). Whoever sins is not a slave to righteousness, for obedience comes before righteousness, and righteousness follows from obedience, according to the Bible:

            Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

            So there is no difficulty in the passages you cite. An individual may have faith, and has had his sins forgiven, but he can still fall away from righteousness:

            For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
            [5] and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, [6] if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.
            Hebrews 6.

            And

            Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam…For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.
            [19] They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. [20] For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. [21] For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. [22] It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
            2 Peter 2

            You then ask: Are you saying that Paul, Peter and those they were writing to had not received Christ’s righteousness?

            Of course not! Where scripture plainly disagrees with your human tradition is in your belief that having received the righteousness of Christ through faith, you can never lose it, despite the fact that scripture plainly says you can. As Paul says:

            I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
            I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
            [3] and all ate the same supernatural food [4] and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ. [5] Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
            [6] Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. [7] Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance.” [8] We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. [9] We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents;
            [10] nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. [11] Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come.
            [12] Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
            1 Corinthians 9-10

            Hence, if someone sins, they are not righteous: For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? 2 Corinthians 6.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, justification isn’t a process, since we are justified by grace it is an instant event.

            But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the
            redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
            (Romans 3:21-26 [ESV])

            And it is clear that the righteousness of the wretched man is not his own righteousness, but that of Christ, received at salvation, Thus the
            wretched man is the slave of righteousness, undertaking a war with his natural flesh. A war that sometimes sees victory in battle, sometimes
            failure.

            The individual cannot fall away from righteousness because it is not their own righteousness. They have received Christ’s righteousness. Therefore they are the slaves of Christ.

            You will see in your quote that They have merely tasted, they have not received. Equally those who forsook the right way had never been saved in the first place.

            I’m afraid yours is the human tradition, Man not liking to be unable to do anything toward his own salvation. None of your passages are relevant. Paul’s question is far from rhetorical, it is the experience of every believer.

          • Albert

            No. Justification is a process. Nothing in your quote from Romans 3 denies this, and your failure to produce a better quote is evident that your position is not that of scripture. To show that justification is a process, we need only see that scripture speaks of justification as such:

            Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil 2.

            If salvation is being worked out, then it follows that salvation is not yet complete. And this is confirmed by a variety of other scripture:

            “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11)

            “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1Corinthians 3:15)

            ” … deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1Corinthians 5:5)

            Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
            (1 Timothy 4.16)

            Now you could argue that salvation and justification are not the same thing. I don’t think you will want to do this, but in case you do, consider how “justification” works in the Bible:

            Abraham “believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). This refers to Genesis 15.6. Now according to you, this would be the only time he receives justification. But the Bible makes it clear that he has already been justified. Hebrews tells us that “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8). Now this refers not to Genesis 15.6, but Genesis 12. So clearly, Abraham had already received the grace of justification before Romans 4/Genesis15. But on your account, this is impossible. Genesis 12 would be the occasion he received justification. Moreover, the Bible is explicitly clear that Abraham is also justified after Genesis 15:

            Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? (Jas 2). But this refers to Genesis 22.

            Now this means that Abraham is justified on three occasions: Genesis 12, Genesis 15 and Genesis 22. Now when Catholics say justification is a process, this is what they mean.

            And it is clear that the righteousness of the wretched man is not his own righteousness, but that of Christ

            Agreed.

            received at salvation

            And by this, you presumably mean the moment of faith. But as we have seen, whether we look at salvation in the Bible, or justification, salvation does not occur only at a given moment.

            The individual cannot fall away from righteousness because it is not their own righteousness. They have received Christ’s righteousness. Therefore they are the slaves of Christ.

            No, that’s what the Bible says isn’t true:

            you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

            And

            For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? 2 Corinthians 6.

            Thus the man who sins is to that extent, not righteous. He cannot be righteous and a sinner at the same time. If he is a sinner, he is no longer a slave of Christ, but is instead a slave of Christ’s enemy: sin – as Jesus says in John 8.

            You will see in your quote that They have merely tasted, they have not received.

            I gave numerous quotes, answering one will not do. But this response is clearly special pleading, for it says:

            For it is impossible to restore again to repentance [i.e. they have already repented, which they can only do by faith, unless your position is Pelagian] those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come

            Notice the point there about repentance, then see that they are enlightened, and have been partakers of the Holy Spirit. This cannot be reduced to “not receiving” without nullifying the word of God. In any case, the word for “tasted” can mean to eat, so your point is incredibly weak. And let’s be honest, you aren’t reading the scripture impartially here, your aim is to try to make it consistent with your Protestant doctrine of justification.

            Man not liking to be unable to do anything toward his own salvation.

            On the contrary, that isn’t what I am saying at all, that is what you have been told I must believe. Man cannot do anything toward his own salvation – that is true, but God in man – that’s another matter altogether. As Catholics we have faith to believe that, as scripture says:

            I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. For it is <not me, but Christ in me.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What do you not understand about:

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

            noting especially that it says:

            “are justified by his grace as a gift”

            Note that not only faith a gift but so is justification. The Christian receives both when God saves them.

            Philippians 2 isn’t saying that salvation isn’t complete, but that, because they have been saved they should do certain things.

            Romans 13 is speaking of the dissolution of the body, that part that keeps on tempting the Christian that will be done away with.

            The two passages from 1 Corinthians are saying that while salvation may be certain the work we do is less so and we must be careful that it is properly in accord with God’s word.

            The passage from 1 Timothy reminds us that the leader must lead a holy life as well as teach the truth.

            Abraham didn’t cease to be justified, it was a gift. Like salvation it has a starting point and continues. Paul was pointing out the ridiculous situation of the believer who continues to sin, having been freed from that bondage and made the slave of Christ.

            Those who cannot be restored to repentance were never saved in the first place. They are those who, like the seed sown in the stony ground or among thorns, may have given the appearance of being saved but had not experienced the new heart. They may have seen some of the benefits of a child of God, but they are not one of them.

            You aren’t a Catholic, since your church separated itself from the Catholic faith long ago. And don’t try that claim that God in man brings about salvation, your still trying to deny that it is God who saves and you have nothing to do with it. Fundamentally, your position is idolatrous, since you place your own will in the place of God’s.

          • Albert

            What do you not understand about:
            “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
            noting especially that it says:
            “are justified by his grace as a gift”

            You are so sure that this supports the Protestant position against the Catholic? If so, you have not enough learning of the possibilities here to make a rational judgement.

            Philippians 2 isn’t saying that salvation isn’t complete, but that, because they have been saved they should do certain things.

            If that’s what is meant, why didn’t it say so? If a teacher says “Work out the answers to these questions in complete silence,” that is hardly consistent with the idea that the questions are themselves already completely answered.

            Romans 13 is speaking of the dissolution of the body, that part that keeps on tempting the Christian that will be done away with.

            No it isn’t. There’s no mention of the dissolution of the body at all. Most likely, Paul has the second coming in mind. Bur whatever, he explicitly says there is some sense in which salvation is in the future. If so, it is not complete in some sense.

            The two passages from 1 Corinthians are saying that while salvation may be certain the work we do is less so and we must be careful that it is properly in accord with God’s word.

            Martin, the Bible speaks of people being purified with fire, and then being saved. And you reduce this to we must be careful that it is properly in accord with God’s word! Okay, so let me grant it. Why must we be careful – the answer is that, in order to get from where we are, to where we need to be, some kind of process (burning) must be gone through.

            The passage from 1 Timothy reminds us that the leader must lead a holy life as well as teach the truth.

            Yet again, you ignore what it says because it contradicts your tradition. It doesn’t just say that the leader must lead a holy life as well as teach the truth, it says, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. Salvation is clearly in the future, and in some sense, even for the preacher, dependent on him preaching. That’s what it says, Martin. Why do you think you know better than scripture that you must keep correcting it?

            Abraham didn’t cease to be justified, it was a gift.

            Is that an argument? It’s a non sequitur.

            Like salvation it has a starting point and continues.

            But that isn’t what it says. At each point it says he was justified by what he did at that point: setting out, believing and being prepared to offer sacrifice.

            Paul was pointing out the ridiculous situation of the believer who continues to sin, having been freed from that bondage and made the slave of Christ.

            And if he sins, then, as Jesus says, he is a slave of sin, and therefore not of Christ. For Jesus also says “No one can have two masters.” A man who is a slave to sin, is not a slave to Christ, and vice versa.

            Those who cannot be restored to repentance were never saved in the first place. They are those who, like the seed sown in the stony ground or among thorns, may have given the appearance of being saved but had not experienced the new heart. They may have seen some of the benefits of a child of God, but they are not one of them.

            It is ridiculous to say that people who have repented, been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, been partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the goodness of God and the powers of the age to come, did not have faith. As your religion teaches that they did not have faith, it is clearly opposed to scripture.

            And don’t try that claim that God in man brings about salvation, your still trying to deny that it is God who saves and you have nothing to do with it.

            I am not the efficient cause of my salvation – Christ is. How dare you say that I don’t believe God saves me? You have shown over and again a complete ignorance of Catholic teaching, and total willingness to water down the scripture to make it conform to your human tradition. You are in no position to tell me what I believe. Salvation is caused by God. But salvation is something done by God, in me. If you don’t acknowledge that, then I cannot see that you are saved at all.

            Fundamentally, your position is idolatrous, since you place your own will in the place of God’s.

            Absolutely not – that just shows how far you are from understanding anything at all. Do you not know that in classical Catholic theology, that when the human will moves to receive God’s grace, it moves because it is moved by God? You didn’t know that did you?

          • Martin

            Albert

            “You
            are so sure that this supports the Protestant position against the Catholic? If so, you have not enough learning of the possibilities here to make a rational judgement.”

            Oh dear, you can’t answer that

            “If that’s what is meant, why didn’t it say so?”

            It does say that.

            “No it isn’t. There’s no mention of the dissolution of the body at all. Most likely, Paul has the second coming in mind. Bur whatever, he explicitly says there is some sense in which salvation is in the future. If so, it is not complete in some sense.”

            When our bodies die, that sinful part is done away with, we are with Christ
            awaiting the resurrection of the body, our salvation is complete because we have no more sin.

            “Martin, the Bible speaks of people being purified with fire, and then being saved.”

            No it doesn’t. They are saved, but without work.

            “Yet again, you ignore what it says because it contradicts your tradition.
            It doesn’t just say that the leader must lead a holy life as well as teach the truth, it says, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
            Salvation is clearly in the future, and in some sense, even for the preacher, dependent on him preaching. That’s what it says, Martin. Why do you think you know better than scripture that you must keep correcting it?”

            He is already saved, so your understanding is wrong.

            “Is that an argument? It’s a non sequitur.

            It’s a fact.

            “Butthat isn’t what it says. At each point it says he was justified by what he did at that point: setting out, believing and being prepared to offer sacrifice.”

            Apparently not:

            What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to
            the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to
            boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say?
            Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Now
            to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

            Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.
            (Romans 4:1-8 [ESV])

            “And if he sins, then, as Jesus says, he is a slave of sin, and therefore not of Christ. For Jesus also says “No one can have two masters.” A man who is a slave to sin, is not a slave to Christ, and vice versa.”

            So is Christ just going to give up His slave to another?

            “It is ridiculous to say that people who have repented, been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, been partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the goodness of God and the powers of the age to come, did not have faith but only the appearance of such. As your religion teaches that they did not have faith, it is clearly opposed to scripture.”

            Think of the seed that was sown in the rocky ground and among thorns. What was it that it lacked? It was the same seed, the same sower, indeed it
            sprouted. The difference was that the soil was not prepared for it.

            Those who continue in the faith are prepared by God, they have the new
            birth, those who do not persevere do not have the new birth, though they
            may sometimes appear to their fellows to have it.

            I am not the
            efficient cause of my salvation – Christ is. How dare you say that I
            don’t believe God saves me? You have shown over and again a complete
            ignorance of Catholic teaching, and total willingness to water down the
            scripture to make it conform to your human tradition. You are in no
            position to tell me what I believe. Salvation is caused by God. But
            salvation is something done by God, in me. If you don’t acknowledge
            that, then I cannot see that you are saved at all in your theology.

            Why was it that you were baptised, why go to Mass? Can you be saved if you do nothing, if you don’t cooperate?

            “Absolutely not – that just shows how far you are from understanding anything at all. Do you not know that in classical Catholic theology, that when the human will moves to receive God’s grace, it moves because it is moved by God? You didn’t know that did you?”

            So
            now you’re saying you’re a Calvinist, or maybe that you’re taking the
            Augustinian view of the nature of the will. They are the same of course.

          • Albert

            Let’s just cut through all of this and concentrate on this passage of scripture, you have chosen:

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

            Now, I grant you that this passage can be interpreted in a way which is inconsistent with Catholicism. But then it can also be interpreted in a way which is inconsistent with Protestantism. My question to you is can you show that this must be interpreted in a way which is inconsistent with Catholicism?

            So now you’re saying you’re a Calvinist, or maybe that you’re taking the Augustinian view of the nature of the will. They are the same of course.

            You just claimed Thomas Aquinas as a Calvinist! You really have no idea, do you?

          • Martin

            Albert

            It’s quite clear, if justification is a gift it cannot be a process achieved by your actions and the passage clearly says justification is a gift.

            Oh look, you’re admitting that Calvinism isn’t a novel invention.

          • Albert

            It’s quite clear, if justification is a gift it cannot be a process achieved by your actions and the passage clearly says justification is a gift.

            What if my actions are themselves the gift of God’s grace received through faith?

            Oh look, you’re admitting that Calvinism isn’t a novel invention.

            I’m saying that either you don’t understand Calvinism or you don’t understand Catholicism.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then they are God’s work

            I’m saying that Calvinism has a longer history than you imagine.

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

          • Albert

            I’m saying that Calvinism has a longer history than you imagine.

            It depends on what you mean by Calvinism. The idea that we are saved by God’s grace has clearly been taught from biblical times. You now seem to think that Catholicism is a form of Calvinism. You are right insofar as, contrary to everything you have ever said, Catholicism teaches we are saved by Christ’s grace – grace alone, if we contrast his grace with any other source of salvation. However, Catholicism isn’t Calvinist for other reasons, but lack of faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s saving grace isn’t one of them.

            Then they are God’s work

            Which is precisely the point I have been trying to make. Everything comes down to what is meant by justification. This word means being made righteous. Not simply declared, but made. There are two key parts to this: when, by faith we repent and our sins fall away forgiven, and when by faith God works in us so that we work and will according to his good pleasure. Between those two things, we can sin again, and when we do, we cease to be justified, until grace restores us, hence scripture warns us of falling away. What justification cannot mean is a mere declaration that we are righteous even though we are not. No one who does not subscribe to the corrupt late Medieval Catholic philosophy known as nominalism will even make sense of that doctrine. Get rid of that corrupt Catholic philosophy, and see justification as a genuine change of nature, by God’s grace, and you will find all the paradoxes over scripture over salvation fall away.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’m telling you that the Catholic faith is Calvinism. What you have is semi Pelagianism as has Rome for a good while now. The Catholic faith teaches that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

            When we are saved God places our sin on Christ and Christ’s righteousness on us. We cannot add to that righteousness or detract from it, because it is God’s righteousness. Our works therefore are done in God’s righteousness not our own.

          • Albert

            No. You accused me of saying I am a Calvinist. I.e. you confused the faith of Rome with Calvinism. Now to make things more bizarre you accuse us of semi-Pelagianism, which just shows you don’t know what semi-Pelagianism is, or that semi-Pelagianism has been condemned by the Catholic Church.

            Our works therefore are done in God’s righteousness not our own.

            Which is exactly our teaching. So you accuse us of positions we do not hold (and in fact condemn), while denying to us positions we do hold.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I was teasing you, I know you aren’t a Calvinist, you just come out with what is actually biblical doctrine now and again.

            Semi Pelagianism is the belief that God’s grace is insufficient to save on its own.

            You believe that God’s grace cannot on it’s own save you, it must have your cooperation, that is semi Pelagianism.

            Since our works are done in God’s righteousness on what basis do you say that they add merit to you. On what basis, seeing that their good works are God, not theirs, do the saints gain merit.

            Since our righteousness in not based on our own deeds but Christ’s on what basis do you say we can lose it?

            Rome isn’t Catholic, it is a heresy.

          • Albert

            I was teasing you, I know you aren’t a Calvinist, you just come out with what is actually biblical doctrine now and again.

            That is because Catholicism is biblical.

            Semi Pelagianism is the belief that God’s grace is insufficient to save on its own.

            Actually, no it isn’t.

            You believe that God’s grace cannot on it’s own save you, it must have your cooperation

            We say that salvation without our cooperation is not salvation. However, we believe that our cooperation is itself a gift of God’s grace. You cannot make sense of this because you are a nominalist, not because you are biblical.

            Since our works are done in God’s righteousness on what basis do you say that they add merit to you. On what basis, seeing that their good works are God, not theirs, do the saints gain merit.

            At one level they don’t add merit to me – not in any sense in which God owes me anything, or I am the source of something. They are meritorious insofar as they enable God to say I am righteous and it actually be true. But I would only be righteous by grace. Presumably you think that when blossom grows on a tree it is the tree and not God that is the cause of that. The truth is that it is both, not half and half, because any biblical theology does not place God’s causal power on the same metaphysical level as our causal power. To do so is idolatry.

            Since our righteousness in not based on our own deeds but Christ’s on what basis do you say we can lose it?

            If we sin, we are not righteous.

      • Albert

        “of” of course.

        • Anton

          You can edit your comments. I won’t call you on correcting typos!

          • Albert

            TBH, it sometimes takes longer to edit them, because the system is so clunky!

          • Anton

            It takes me seconds. What are you using?

          • Albert

            I think it depends where you start from!

  • carl jacobs

    To the naughty step. Now!

    • Sarky

      What does Winnie-the-Pooh and Jabba the Hutt have in common?…

      The same middle name.

  • Little Black Censored

    What a ghastly illustration!

  • carl jacobs

    Look, Archbishop. Some of us identify with Eeyore and get tired of all these Eeyorephobic comments. Because quite frankly it IS going to rain despite the hopefully naive speculations of the Pontificating Purveyors of Positivity. Eeyore has vision both clear and wise. He should be treated with commensurate respect.

    • CliveM

      Tigger looks as if he’s probably a Charismatic.

      • carl jacobs

        Insufferable Arminians. No sense of gravity.

        • CliveM

          Or Ive found, musical taste.

          • Martin

            Much like the charismatics.

        • William Lewis

          Boing

          • carl jacobs

            Quit jumping around. It’s going to rain.

          • William Lewis

            Quit worrying about heffalumps, Carl.

            PS Boing!

          • carl jacobs

            [Sigh]

    • Dodgy Geezer

      Humans are designed this way. History shows that human life invariably improves, generation upon generation, while at the same time each generation invariably think that it is declining, and that they are about to see a collapse of civilisation.

      https://www.wired.com/1997/02/the-doomslayer-2/ refers….

      • Anton

        History shows that human life invariably improves, generation upon generation

        What do you understand by the phrase “Dark Ages” after the Roman empire crumbled in Western Europe? What of the Mongol invasion that swept across Asia killing millions? Or the Black Death that killed perhaps half of the population in the mid-14th century and led to the abandonment of entire villages? Those also took substantially more than one generation to recover from.

        • Dodgy Geezer

          If you want to criticise the concept, read the references. I do not think you will be able to fault Julian Simon, who is rather famous for providing detailed data to back up his statements.

          Your counter examples do not actually counter the argument. No one is claiming that ALL humans at ALL times live better lives than their predecessors. We are talking about the general; improvement of human kind, not the fate of specific villages. Incidentally, the Dark Ages are nowadays considered to have been a period of considerable advance – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)

          • Anton

            The Dark Ages permitted thinkers to develop ways that were better than the ways the top-down Roman Empire has developed and insisted on while it survived, certainly. But literacy collapsed even amongst the powerful, kingdoms fragmented into smaller polities, stone buildings were replaced by mud ones, and trade declined – long-distance trade became non-existent. Because any unforced transaction is a win-win situation (or it would not take place), the less trade, the less wealth creation.

          • CliveM

            Not quite true, slave traders still transported people from the north to the south of europe (Vikings), also cornish tin was exported to the far ends of europe and was known to be exchanged for mediterranean goods, but trade was a shadow of its former self.

          • betteroffoutofit

            And there was weaving and the cloth trade . . .

          • Anton

            How far from where they lived were the clothes of the majority of the people made in that era?

          • betteroffoutofit

            What is the era? 5th century? 5th-7th century? 5th-15th century?

            In any case, different areas produced different kinds of cloth/lace. As they do now. Much would depend on the type of fibre available. Thus the Chinese produced the earliest silk; places with sheep produced wool; Flanders became famous for linen in the middle ages; Nottingham became famous for lace later – and everything changed as technology advanced.

          • Anton

            If you have the answers for any of those periods, please give them!

          • betteroffoutofit

            Best if you read it up for yourself! There are quite a few academic works about the history of weaving/cloth-making. I guess some people even kept on wearing/using “tigger” skins instead.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Anton, Anton!!! “….literacy collapsed” —– not in England, Ireland, and Wales it didn’t!!!! We wouldn’t be speaking and writing as we do today were it not for the birth of our written literary tradition in Old English after AD 597: the schools set up at places like Canterbury, York, and Durham; the scriptoria at places like Lindisfarne, and the later ‘re-instatement’ of literacy thanks to Alfred the Great, etc. etc. etc.

            It’s a glorious tradition – and post-moderns don’t produce anything nearly matching the quality of the work by our ancestors (including e.g. Beowulf, “The Dream of the Rood,” The LIndisfarne Gospels, or even texts of The Venerable Bede).

            There are those who claim that, subsequent to Viking depredations in euroland, the English and Irish (and I would add Welsh) were essential to the restoration of literacy and education there. Certainly, Alcuin of York (AD 735-804) was among those helping hands (via Charley boy).

            Now admittedly it took us a few hundred years to get back into shape after the froggish depredations in England (1066 ff). But our monks preserved their precious heritage, the People kept on speaking English, and eventually we got us Langland and Chaucer (et al) – who helped restored us enough to continue into the Tudor era of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

            So please know – many scholars of Early Mediaeval English consider the “Dark Ages” tag to be a complete misnomer!!!

          • Anton

            Literacy most certainly collapsed in England. It survived in the celtic lands which the Anglo-Saxons didn’t get to. But when I say “literacy collapsed” (2.04pm post) “after the Roman empire crumbled in Western Europe” (1.12pm post) I am looking at Western Europe as a whole. And it did.

          • betteroffoutofit

            I’m not sure what dates you’re referencing as “Dark Ages”, and I think we’re talking about different times. Quite why Celts in what is now England chose to adopt English (cf Caedmon (in Whitby 658-680)) is unclear. Among several theories, one possibility is that the Romans had virtually destroyed the native language – as they did in frogland and Spain. Certainly, as you have said, once the Romans left (mid-5th century) we were subjected to invasions – by Irish/Scottish Celts as well as Anglo-Saxons – indeed, some such raiding started even before the Romans left.

            Literacy in English, however, could not collapse initially: the Anglo-Saxons themselves were virtually illiterate – though they had a runic system.

            English Literacy as we know it was planted . . and grew . . . during and after the reign of Aethelberht of Kent (AD 560-616) who needed to get his laws in writing. Gregory the Great sent Augustine and monks (AD 597), and they began to adapt the Roman alphabet for English.

            AD 669: Theodore of Tarsus, a Greek, became Archbishop of England (Canterbury 668-90) – at the joint request of the Kings of Northumbria (Oswiu) and Kent. Pope Vitalian also sent the scholarly African abbot Hadrian (d. 710), and Benedict Biscop (d. 689/90). Theodore (with Hadrian) began his famous school of learning at Canterbury, and Benedict Biscop imported many, many, books which nourished our academic development.

            The Vikings did their damage – but Alfred (AD 848-99) set about regaining literary standards (successfully). We kept producing manuscripts until Billy Bastard got here; even he didn’t destroy them all, though.

            Yes, literacy in euroland suffered a worse fate at the hands of the Vikings. As I say, the English and the Irish were important in its restoration.

          • Anton

            To clarify, I meant that the literate proportion of the people who lived within the borders of modern England collapsed after the Romans quit.

          • Ray Sunshine

            In the Celtic world – the British Isles, Gaul, Spain and elsewhere – did anybody ever write anything in the native languages? It’s a period I’ve never read much about, but I thought that when the Roman legions were still in charge, the Brits who learnt to read and write – and there may have been quite a lot of them – only ever wrote in Latin. Nobody ever bothered to develop a written language for Old Welsh or Old Irish or whatever.

            P.S. Where can you see the times of your comments? I only get x minutes ago, y hours ago, z days ago … Is there a setting you can adjust?
            Thanks

          • Anton

            I’ve never adjusted a setting, so there must be such an option somewhere. Googling should find what to do.

          • Martin

            Hover your mouse over the ‘hour ago’

          • Ray Sunshine

            Wow! It works! I’d never noticed that. Thank you, Martin!

          • IrishNeanderthal

            There are some records for the “old”Celtic languages, although the languages themselves had been around for 2000 years or more previously.

            In a book entitled “A Panorama of Indo-European Languages”, I once read that the Old Irish verb is perhaps the most complicated grammatical structure ever conceived by the human brain. From what I remember, it is even more complicated than the Amharic verb.

          • Anton

            Yes. It is hybrid languages that are simple. Monocultural languages that have developed in isolation for long periods are incredibly complex. It’s not hard to see why they get simplified when you meet others.

          • Ray Sunshine

            How old, then, are the oldest written records, I wonder? After the legions had all gone home to Italy, presumably Latin remained in use as the liturgical language in the Celtic Church, but how long can it have been before there was no one left in the wider world who could carry on a conversation in Latin? And if reading and writing had always been strictly in Latin only, what then can have happened to literacy, outside the monasteries?

          • betteroffoutofit

            No … reading and writing had not always been in Latin. In fact, the Greeks taught the Romans . . .
            Oh – and the various peoples in wider euroland who had inherited Latin as their ‘lingua franca’ used Latin to develop their new languages – which are, consequently, tagged “Romance” languages.

            And the Middle East had its own traditions – including that of the Hebrews.
            Actually, Wikipedia had a fair summary of it all, last time I looked. If you want better sources you can always start by checking out their reference lists.

            Back here in our islands the Runic and Ogamic scripts survived on material objects – often stone monuments and crosses.* However, the Irish also benefitted by acquiring, and so saving, european books rescued from Viking raids of euro places. Irish and the Welsh monasteries, furthermore, continued the literacy tradition, and they ran schools. After all, the mission was to teach their People the Religion of “The Book” which contains the “Word” of God – both fuelled by that “Breath” of God which is the Holy “Ghost/Spirit.”

            Furthermore, governments (very often Christian) had learned from the Romans that literacy enabled efficient communication (of law, among other things) – so educated men were useful to them.

            _____
            *Professor Raymond Page provided much-respected sources for study of runes.

          • Ray Sunshine

            Betteroff, if you look back at the preceding comments you will see that what we are talking about here is literacy in the Celtic lands that were part of the Roman empire. It is sometimes said that one reason why the Celtic languages were never written down, at least in the Roman period, is that the pagan priesthood (druids?) refused to allow it, on religious grounds.

            Back here in our islands the Runic and Ogamic scripts survived on material objects – often stone monuments and crosses.
            The runic script is irrelevant to this discussion, since it was first brought to the British Isles by Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Danes and other Germanic peoples, several centuries after the last Roman legions had gone home. Ogham is more to the point, since it is clearly of Celtic origin (Ireland and Wales), but did people ever write letters to one another in Ogham, or write books in it?

            However, the Irish also benefitted by acquiring, and so saving, european books rescued from Viking raids of euro places. Irish and the Welsh monasteries, furthermore, continued the literacy tradition, and they ran schools. After all, the mission was to teach

            Yes, but what language were those books written in? Not, I think, in any Celtic language, which is what we’ve been talking about here. We know that literacy not only survived but flourished mightily within the monasteries. My question is about literacy outside the monasteries, among the population at large.

          • betteroffoutofit

            This is a fairly pointless discussion – please accept my apologies as the idiot who got into it unawares.

            However, if you’re interested in the topic, you might take courses in Insular languages and culture – at say Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, or Aberystwyth. That would help you clarify what you mean by key terms; e.g: “Celt.”

            Although you require simple answers, you will find there aren’t many, and that even the best scholars continually review their opinions about the history in question: in light of ancient and limited evidence.

            You doubtless know that the Romans never conquered Ireland, nor did they fully conquer Scotland, though they did occupy Wales.** To the places they ruled, they brought literacy in Latin, for administration of which they relied greatly on Christianity. Christian scholars ran schools wherever they went, and they had contact with rulers/kings/aristocrats as well as with lesser beings (villeins and slaves). If you want to know more about literacy in Roman Britain, try the excellent Oxford site on the Vindolanda Tablets* (of Hadrian’s Wall).

            Brittonic indigenes were not literate in your sense.They had (like the Anglo-Saxons) oral cultures in which aspects of culture, such as history, folklore, religion, and law, were memorised, passed on, and communicated by bards/druids/scops/poets. Precisely when most of this was documented in the native languages is unknown, though the first (Welsh) writing of Welsh Laws is traditionally supposed to have happened around AD 942-950. Further, you could always research their most famous native poet Taliesin (of perhaps the 6th century), or another, Aneirin. Our evidence for these legends often lies in documents from the 11/12th century onwards. Oh – and there are always Gildas and Nennius to consider.

            English runes, btw, date earlier than you pronounce. They had been here from probably the 4th century; some even suggest the 2nd. It’s quite possible that some A-S types were here as part of the Roman army and may even have stayed behind as foederati, in places like Bamburgh.

            As to your question about the books saved by the Irish — they were probably in Latin. The Romans destroyed native languages in occupied euroland. Re: Hiberno-Latin literacy (AD 400-1000) —- well, Christianisation is attributed to Romano-British St. Patrick (perh. 5th century). However a helpful text on the larger subject is Literacy and Identity in Early Medieval Ireland, by Elva Johnston, of Dublin University. And it’s worth noting that the Irish could later claim to have returned the educational favour,*** [With some help from the English, though].

            That’s me out of this one, then. Happy studies.
            _____________________
            * http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk/exhibition/index.shtml
            **Tacitus is worth reading for the Roman side of the story.
            *** See Thomas Cahill: How the Irish Saved Civilization

          • Ray Sunshine

            Thank you! You have been very helpful.

            I’m afraid this whole topic has got blown up out of proportion. When IrishNeanderthal posted a comment about the grammatical complexity of Old Irish, it crossed my mind to wonder what evidence that statement is based on, since I had been given to understand that n0thing was ever written down in Old Irish, Old Welsh or any related language until quite a late date. That’s really all it was, a moment’s idle curiosity about something that struck me as a historical puzzle.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            froggish depredations

            Bill Conk and his lot were actually Frenchified Vikings. And not yer proper French either:

            And Frensh she spak ful fair and fetishly
            After the scole of Stratford-atte-Bow,
            For Frensh of Paris was to hire unknow.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            You realise, through the application of simple mathematics, that William the Conqueror is ancestor to the nation – quite literally?

          • Anton

            But so by that criterion are thousands upon thousands of unknown Aelfrics, Aethelstans and so on.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Nay, Mrs. Proudie —- I’m sure, for example, that neither you nor I are Bastards!!!!

          • betteroffoutofit

            Ah yes. Vikings they were.
            Actually I recently revisited the question of Chaucer’s Prioress. It seems the froggies have as many dialects as we do – and for the same reasons (origins of the speakers – and, I suppose, various influences on them). 🙂

      • carl jacobs

        I think you are confusing technological development with human progress. Those are very different concepts.

        • Dodgy Geezer

          No, I am not, though obviously technological development has made human life better.. Why is it so difficult to read the reference I gave? A quote from it:

          …“Our species is better off in just about every measurable material way,” (Julian Simon) says. “Just about every important long-run measure of human material welfare shows improvement over the decades and centuries, in the United States and the rest of the world. Raw materials – all of them – have become less scarce rather than more. The air in the US and in other rich countries is irrefutably safer to breathe. Water cleanliness has improved. The environment is increasingly healthy, with every prospect that this trend will continue….

          • Martin

            Have you heard of genetic load, the fact that as we breed, so we pass on errors, so the replicating system fails to correct errors? We have more genetic errors in our genome than before causing more genetic disease. This is the reality, not Evolution but degeneration. Sorry and all that.

          • Anton

            It’s rather more complicated than that. Mutation mostly produces something so much worse that it is nonviable. Sometimes it produces something that’s better. And sometimes a new set of bases in the DNA helix gets recruited for function as a novel gene. To talk of errors is to suppose that we know what the perfect genome is for comparison, but we don’t.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Actually there is no evidence that it produces anything better, including lactose tolerance. If a book is hand copied down the centuries, and copies of copies made, we can know what the original said and still have many errors

          • Anton

            I’m afraid you need to learn substantially more genetics before addressing this subject. It’s a lot more complex than you think, and I am not presupposing evolution. Graeme Finlay’s articles might help if they are online.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Everyone presupposes Evolution

          • Anton

            Knowledge of the biochemical means by which genes mutate doesn’t.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Evolution makes a nonsense of science.

          • Sarky

            Except you can’t possibly know what the original said can you, because you only have the copies.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Given sufficient copies from sufficient diverse patths you can know what the original was.

          • Anton

            We’ve not even managed that with the Bible yet, although just as with the genome there is 97% total agreement.

          • Sarky

            No you can’t.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            But we are not breeding…the other side are!

          • Dodgy Geezer

            Why do people just spout incorrect data as if it were true? Sorry and all that…

          • Martin

            So why do you?

          • Dodgy Geezer

            Since you are unable to cite any inaccuracy in my comments, I shall take that as a classic ad-hom from someone who is losing an argument.

            I see that you do not lack for disputants below, so I will confine myself to pointing out that:

            1 – if evolution did not work, then lifeforms would have ceased to exist at the unicellular level. That we exist shows that the system is not unstable.

            2 – evolution theory describes life-forms which constantly change in response to environmental pressures. So the concept of a ‘perfect, static genome’ can only ever be a temporary concept.

          • Martin

            Evolution does not so much not work as not exist. There is no evidence that anything evolved into anything else. Thus your first statement is nonsense. That organisms change within their established forms, that is, birds grow longer beaks and the fur on a dog changes in line with the climate, is not in doubt. But this is not Evolution, for birds remain birds and dogs remain dogs. In fact, their genomes will deteriorate over time, rather than evolve.

          • Wonderful!
            So why are so many people so miserable then?
            Why are 35% of schoolchildren self-harming?
            Why are so many of them anorexic or bulimic?
            Why do 40% of those between the ages of 12 & 15 say they have suicidal thoughts.
            Why is drug-taking endemic within the USA with 55,000 deaths last year?
            Why is suicide on the rise among adult males?
            Why are people so desperate for happiness and/or fulfilment that they imagine that they will achieve it by pretending to be the other gender to that which they were born?
            I think I may have posted this ditty here a while ago, but it seems appropriate to give it again:
            Said the sparrow to the swallow,
            I should really like to know
            Why those foolish human beings rush about and worry so.
            said the swallow to the sparrow,
            Well, I think that it must be
            That they have no heavenly Father
            Such as cares for you and me.

          • Dodgy Geezer

            …Wonderful!
            So why are so many people so miserable then?
            Why are 35% of schoolchildren self-harming?…

            I suggest that you revisit your figures. And this time look for true ones.

            Why don’t you read the reference I gave? It includes this paragraph:

            …He always found it somewhat peculiar that neither the Science piece nor his public wager with Ehrlich nor anything else that he did, said, or wrote seemed to make much of a dent on the world at large. For some reason he could never comprehend, people were inclined to believe the very worst about anything and everything; they were immune to contrary evidence just as if they’d been medically vaccinated against the force of fact. Furthermore, there seemed to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days “experts” spoke awful falsehoods, and they were believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seemed to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker….

          • Well the first three were given to me by secondary school teachers on two separate occasions and the deaths from drugs in America were on the news just a day or two ago…………

          • Sarky

            The drugs deaths are down to drug companies getting people hooked on opioids, then suddenly withdrawing them. People then turned to illegal drugs. These drugs were then cut with fentanyl which is 100 times more powerful than heroin, thus causing the massive increase in overdoses.

          • We all know that stuff, But why, when people are healthier, richer and more likely to live longer lives, is anyone wanting to take drugs? Why are so many people stressed, depressed and just plain miserable?

            https://www.cipd.co.uk/about/media/press/091015-mental-health

          • carl jacobs

            Everything mentioned in that quote is a derivative of technology. Without exception. But if the Panzers hadn’t stopped at Dunkirk, the world would be a very different place. You would still have all that technology but it would serve a very different master.

            It is a modern dogma and also a modern conceit: ” Because I am technologically smarter, therefore I am morally superior.” Technology is in fact a terrible surrogate for progress.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            The panzers were stopped, it is true….but who will stop Merkel? She was prancing around Wittenberg yesterday, reminding everyone she was a Lutheran pastor’s daughter – not mentioning the fact that he and she were Stasi informants…Luther would have been appalled (no communist he!)

          • Anton

            Merkel a Stasi informant? Have you a reference please?

          • Sarky

            Her parents were. Read it again.

          • Anton

            Mrs Proudie’s statement reads that Angela Merkel and Angela Merkel’s father were Stasi informants.

          • Dodgy Geezer

            You do not understand the issue, and have not read the reference. Read it, and understand where Simon is coming from.

          • carl jacobs

            No, I have no intention of arguing with a book. Make your own case. If you say I don’t understand, then explain why. Don’t just imperiously declare yourself the victor by saying “You don’t understand”. You introduced the issue. You defend it. If you don’t want to defend it, then so be it. I won’t lose sleep over the matter.

          • Dodgy Geezer

            I gave you a reference. You want to stay ignorant – fine by me. Life is too short to educate those who don’t want to listen.

          • Coniston

            Taken from an article some years ago:
            C. S. Lewis rightly foretold a ruling class of technocrats and well-meaning experts who would seek to conquer nature and its ills, only to end up conquering man. As he said in his 1947 volume, ‘The Abolition of Man’: “What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.”
            He continued, “Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men. There neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on Man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.”
            And of course his third volume in his space trilogy was all about rogue science and unethical technocrats. ‘That Hideous Strength’ (1946) was a clear warning about coming coercive dystopias. Francis Schaeffer once said of it, “I strongly urge everyone to read carefully this prophetic piece of science fiction.”

          • Dodgy Geezer

            And Eisenhower warned about it as well in 1961. The world is still getting better, though…

          • Anton

            The secular historian Niall Ferguson has just published an interesting book about history as tension between networks and hierarchies. I’m sure you can see the relevance.

          • CliveM

            I think you need to define what better is. However I would rather live now then a 100, 200, 300 etc years ago.

            I think all to often people have an over sentimental view of the past.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        But civilisation is collapsing…look at New York, London, Paris, Madrid…etc etc

  • Mike Stallard

    I went into our (Catholic ) church today to sing hymns (all anglican) about the feast of All Saints where everyone is utterly happy and loking forward to the ecstacy of the parousia. Etc.
    Of the ten old ladies who made up the congregation, I saw ten grimly set mouths, dead eyes and total disapproving silence. The service reflected that mood perfectly.
    “This”, said the priest grimly as if announcing a terrible atrocity, “is a festival of OBLIGATION.”

    It made me think quite a lot as I left after half an hour forcing myself to think about the enormous gift which I was being given completely free.

    • John

      “From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, spare us O Lord.” Teresa of Avilla.

      • Mike Stallard

        Amen to that one!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      We do have the best tunes…

  • Anton

    Also in regard to where the church meets the world, John Humphreys and most of the rest of the Today team at the BBC criticised Thought for the Day as “deeply, deeply boring” and said they were tired of hearing the message that “Jesus was really nice”.

    And they are dead right. What they don’t realise is that it is because their employer’s own censors never let the real gospel be heard on Thought for the Day. The Jesus who warns of the consequences of sin and confronts unrepentance. The Jesus who will kill millions by speaking a decree of power at Megiddo. The Jesus who will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

    • Martin

      The only person who has anything worth saying on it is Anne Atkins

      • Anton

        Is she still on it? She spoke an unpalatable truth that caused a fuss on 10/10/96.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        They have never invited me….sniff

        • The Snail

          My dear Lady do not distress yourself! All need is to become trnasgender and you will be on the programme immediately.

      • Coniston

        And Jonathan Sacks -if he’s still on.

        • Martin

          Since he hasn’t the gospel …

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Oooh that’s a bit Biblical….surely 70 years of cultural Marxism have toned down your hell fire and brimstone a tad? It has with everybody else…

      • Anton

        John Knox forever!

    • Mike Stallard

      I used to love Radio 4. Now even the news is sheer gossip and I find more going on on al Jazeera and more sensible discussion on South Park.

  • Albert

    Perhaps you should get these things into Justin’s sermons.

    • Anton

      There’s enough crap in many CoE sermons already.

  • Can someone please tell the Archbishop that the church is not united in diversity (what does that even mean? how can you be united in what makes you different?) but in the Gospel. He seems to have taken a very wrong turn somewhere and I don’t like where he’s going.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Those very words jumped out at me too. Every red flag in my brain began waving.

      The Reformation is unadulterated good news. We are saved, trusting in the merits of Christ brings us eternal life. I need not worry about my own fallibility. God has done what man cannot do.

      • David

        Amen to that.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      This ‘United in diversity’ is the first chapter of the Book of Common Purpose, a text which came out of the Islington Confession of 1997 and the Last Supper at Granita.

      • Chefofsinners

        Chapter 1: United in Diversity
        Chapter 2: Diverted in University
        Chapter 3: Benighted in Perversity

    • Jon of GSG

      I suppose the parts of the body that Paul talks about are united in diversity… I tend to think the best and most significant unity is the diverse type.
      As an example, in the church I belonged to until moving house recently, we had all colours of theology amongst the congregation, from the stern Lutheran to the (what seemed to me) unbearably fluffy “Jesus loves us, lah de dah” variety. We all, though, as far as I know, subscribed to the Creeds and – which still strikes me as unusual – genuinely, without conspicuous exception, tried to live as followers of Jesus, to keep up a “family”-type dynamic in caring for each other and so on. That seems like unity in the gospel, and unity in diversity.
      That may of course not be what Justin Welby means…

      • That’s not unity in diversity. That’s unity with diversity. The crucial point is that whatever value the diversity has to the body (and it has some, provided it is of the right kind) it can never be its principle of unity. That must always be something held in common. That’s why the phrase unity in diversity is so absurd and misleading.

        • Jon of GSG

          Hmmwell to be charitable to Justin – that is really a point of grammar about what the word “in” means, and one which I must say I disagree with (“joy in sorrow” doesn’t necessarily mean “joy rooted in the principle of sorrow”, for example). Perhaps Justin doesn’t agree with it either?

          I’m not specifically saying you’re wrong, just that the phrase may be intended differently to how you’ve read it.

          • Hmm yes but that’s not what people mean by it is it. They mean to undermine the principles of unity which hold us together in order to justify whatever form of diversity is currently on the agenda. You should be much more suspicious!

          • Jon of GSG

            Ha – I don’t know – I daresay I should!

  • John

    Great post Your Grace.

    From what I read, I’m rather glad I wasn’t there. Sounds like a case of extended academic lecture meets interminable Radio 4 thought for the day. Justin is, at heart, a good and prophetic speaker, but this role has turned him into the same old dusty establishment mouthpiece as those who preceded him.

    Preaching is about pointing compellingly to Jesus as the one, the only one, who satisfies thirsty souls, it is about leading hearers to a moment of decision. There is passion and urgency in preaching. Save Eeyore for the universities and debating societies, I want our pulpits to be unashamedly Tigger territory.

  • len

    Imagine drawing a line for thousands of years deviating millimeters every year the end result would be that line would be miles off course( unless one made constant references to the starting point and ones present position).
    The Reformation was a milestone where Luther checked that position and the finding was that the Church was way off course.
    We are at the point again when the church has deviated and needs once again to check where it is heading with the original road map for the Church.
    Some who call themselves’the church’ have gone into a lay by and set up stalls selling all sorts of wares and have a man sitting on a golden chair telling passers by that he is’ invincible’ (or something of that sort) its best to leave these people to their delusions and press on.
    Of course the original road map for the Church was left by its Creator and we need to go back and study exactly what He said and not to listen to others who claim’ to know better’.

    • carl jacobs

      Len! People have been asking …

      • Anton

        If not on this thread then on the preceding he said that he simply had a computer malfunction and then went on holiday (which I suppose you would call vacation…)

        • Chefofsinners

          No, no. It’s been forty days since he wrote anything. He gave up commenting for len.

    • Martin

      Some have been constantly checking their bearing.

    • Mike Stallard

      All I can say is that being a Catholic doesn’t feel like that. It just doesn’t. It may ought to. But it doesn’t.

      • Martin

        Mike

        You’re measuring against the wrong standard.

        • Mike Stallard

          Moi? Never.
          The Catholic Church being just that – worldwide – is not prey to trendy ideas and tiggers! It is very much the same in Australia, Singapore and UAE. It is very hard to change it.
          That is why I like it so much. PS It is, of course, Bible based.

          • Martin

            Mike

            The Catholic Church is, the Roman church isn’t and it has been changing all the time.

            There is one standard, sola scriptura. It is insufficient to be Bible _based_.

          • Mike Stallard

            I am going to rise to this one.
            Here in my home town, I judge by what is going on. The Baptists are doing the good Samaritan a lot, so are the Charismatic lot – with failings due largely to a very ambitious programme which is losing touch with people. The Catholics are in there helping the immigrants (lots of those!) Anglicans? Nice Church. Not much outreach but they are recovering from a High Church Spike Vicar. Methodists: Yup. Still there (just).
            Theology is important. But when I read the New Testament it seems to me to point rather in this direction.

          • Martin

            Mike

            If you don’t know the nature of the gospel, from theology, all the good work in the world is of no value.

          • Mike Stallard

            I once knew a man who knew all about theology. It was what came into his head when he opened his mouth. He did an enormous amount of damage.
            Last Sunday, our priest read out Christ’s own words about loving God first and our neighbour as ourselves.
            I reckon that a lot of the Gospel hangs on that.
            Actually, I do not see much “theology” in the New Testament outside St. John’s Gospel. In the Jewish tradition, the theology lies in the story itself.

          • dannybhoy

            I think the Holy Spirit is leading more and more Christians to worship, fellowship, pray and work together on the basis of our devotion and obedience to our Lord. Also a growing recognition of what the Lord’s people are doing in the various parts of the vineyard.
            It’s not that denominations no longer matter, or wanting people to leave that church and join this one, it’s just a growing awareness that if the Lord is central in our individual lives, we have unity…

          • Mike Stallard

            And what a splendid message for Guy Fawkes’ Day when the whole Protestant – Catholic thing lies buried in TESCO’s Hallowe’en. I am so pleased to read stuff like this, I honestly am.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes – I am getting a bit fed up of watching children running around such places thinking it’s clever to be evil spirits. Satan knows that ‘they know not what they do…”

          • CliveM

            “Actually, I do not see much “theology” in the New Testament outside St. John’s Gospel. In the Jewish tradition, the theology lies in the story itself”

            Pretty much agree with that. Early Christians were called followers of the way, which suggests to me at least, more doing then talking.

          • James M

            And Christ preached salvation by works:

            St Mark 10:

            17And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, *Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?* 18And Jesus said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor your father and mother. 20And he answered and said to him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 *Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said to him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.* 23 And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “[h]Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

            28 Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 [i]but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in [j]the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

          • Martin

            Mike

            The gospel is God’s mercy on sinners, it has nothing to do with any act of ours. There is only one office of priest in the New Testament, that is Christ’s.

          • Mike Stallard

            Been there, done that, got a bloody nose, moved forward. Very much like the early church, actually.

          • dannybhoy

            Smuggo..

          • Manfarang

            I find Thai Catholics very different to their Irish counterparts.

    • betteroffoutofit

      Welcome back, Len! We missed you.

      Oh – and yes. “Apostasy” is now.

    • dannybhoy

      Nice to see you back commenting Len.

  • carl jacobs

    Next time you will know better!

  • not a machine

    Eyore and tigger may well have some doctrinal thoughts to consider in a view of the variety of life. This does not translate well to orthodoxy which is the sort of response that gives perspective and perhaps a comfortable separation from sin. Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you may be rather bored with thistles as diet or thought for the day. I am hopeful that my archbishop can consider the difference between perspective and salvation, which was no doubt another effect of the schism?

  • William Lewis

    Which gospel?

    The gospel of overflowing grace, forgiveness and love. A gospel of foolishness to many but, for others, always eye catching when demonstrated in those living out its truths.

    • not a machine

      I see your point and I find an immediate answer elusive all I understand is the gospels seem to be parts from the few places where the early followers of Jesus were, but I also believe them to be holy scripture.

    • James M

      The problem there is, that there is no evidence for those good things, and all too much evidence that most Christians are far from gracious, forgiving or loving. And even when converts undergo a change of character for the better, that is a matter of brain chemistry. It needs no explanation as supernatural. Besides, the sciences can probably produce the same results.

      • William Lewis

        The grace, love and forgiveness comes from God. This radical gospel is demonstrated by those who live out this truth. I agree there should be more Christians doing this – myself included.
        Apologetically, Christians are in a difficult situation but not impossible.

  • Chefofsinners

    Justin Mowgli ought to be playing the man, like the martyrs before him. Instead he is returning to the wolves of Rome.

  • “What is it, if for the good and sake of the Christian Church one should tell a good, strong lie?”
    (Martin Luther)

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
    (Joseph Goebbels)

    • Chefofsinners

      What if you just stopped pissing all over the fireworks for a minute and sod off to Rome.

      • May 30, 1518, Martin Luther writes these words to Pope Leo X:

        “Therefore, most holy father, I prostrate myself at your feet, placing myself and all I am and have at your disposal, to be dealt with as you see fit. My cause hangs on the will of your Holiness, by whose verdict I shall either save or lose my life. Come what may, I shall recognise the voice of your Holiness to be that of Christ, speaking through you. If I merit death, I do not refuse to die, for ” the earth is the Lord’s,” and all that is therein, to whom be praise to all eternity ! Amen. May He preserve your Holiness to life eternal.”

        • Chefofsinners

          Like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Samson, Gideon, David, Solomon, Paul and Peter, God’s heroes aren’t perfect. That is the point. We are all saints, not because of our good works but because of the sacrifice of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
          Martin Luther’s imperfections illustrate his doctrine perfectly.

          • Let his pride, arrogance, instability and petulance be a warning to us. His life and works certainly illustrate what lies behind schism.

          • Chefofsinners

            Let God’s grace be a comfort to us, that He has so greatly used a man with such obvious flaws.

          • Like Judas?

          • Chefofsinners

            No, like me and you and every other sinnner saved by grace.

          • Some sins are far, far worse than others. Causing a schism through egotistical pride is up there with the worst. Are the sins of a justified man forgiven without repentance? Luther thought so. One a man is justified through grace and faith, are you saying he can’t fall from grace – or is this a sign he wasn’t really justified to begin with?

          • Chefofsinners

            At last you’re discussing some of the bigger issues rather than trawling up random Luther quotes that grate on the 21st century ear.

            Who caused the schism is, of course, the heart of the debate.

            Whether a man is truly saved is known only by him and by God. If he is, then he cannot lose his salvation. Read Galatians 5:4 in context and you will find that the term ‘falling from grace’ does not carry the meaning you have given it.

          • “Whether a man is truly saved is known only by him and by God.”

            So Luther knew he was saved and could boast of his sins because they didn’t matter? You know you’re saved? No “fear and trembling” as you work it out?

            “If he is, then he cannot lose his salvation.”
            That’s just tautology because God foreknows those who are saved and doesn’t refer to this in terms of past, present and future. And the path to salvation will contain many wrong turns and paths before we are truly justified and sanctified.

          • Chefofsinners

            The errors of the Catholic Church are clearly the cause of the schism. Luther just pointed them out.

          • James M

            The problem there, is that while millions would agree very heartily with that second paragraph, a lot of Protestants would denounce, do denounce OSAS vigorously as contrary to Scripture.

            The fissiparous tendencies of Fundamentalism alone – to say nothing of other forms of Protestantiism – are notorious. Yet the Bible is relied on for all the differences in Fundamentalism, and for most of the differences in other forms of Protestantism. One takes no pleasure whatever in pointing this out – one is merely indicating a fact: that appealing to Scripture is an appeal to a nose of wax, which men tweak as they will. If one brings other Christianities into the mix, that simply shows that Christianity less than 2,000 years after Pentecost presents a spectacle of the most extreme confusion. To call this unedifying and distressing is an understatement.

            IMO, Marcion was right, but did not go nearly far enough. The books that make up the various canons should all be regarded as “good and useful for reading”, but in no sense as Sacred Scripture. The notion of dogma should also be got rid of, and Christians should be content with a small body of common beliefs, all other beliefs being left open for people to accept or reject. If people regard this or that book or part of it as Divinely inspired, let them, whether the text is “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, a Papal Encyclical, or Isaiah 7.14. The doctrine that there is a sacred, inspired, canonical, limited, finished, final body of books should be completely dismantled, and totally rejected by the Church as a body. The standard for doctrine & faith should not be the Bible or the Church, but Christ alone. The Protestant doctrine of Scripture needs to be scrapped entirely, as a valueless and pernicious delusion. The disastrous principle of private interpretation has made every yokel and fanatic into a prophet, and has resulted in perversions like the blessing of homosexual unions, as well as multiplying contending Churches like locusts.

            The Bible contains horrible garbage like Esther, the Nazi-like barbarities of Joshua (who is closer to being a type of Hitler than to being a type of Christ), and a great deal of it is of no relevance today. It has no guidance to give on pressing problems today, like the ethics of voting for candidates who may or may not be tolerant of abortion. It does not interpret itself. It is worthless today as a guide to all sorts of problems: pacificism, whether Christians should participate in politics, whether nuclear weapons are permissible, whether capitalism is allowable to Christians, what Christians should think about suicide, whether torture is allowable, and many more. What has the Bible to say about cybernetics, artificial intelligence, dealing with jihadi thugs, globalisation, subsidiarity, trade with unsavoury or monstrous regimes, human rights ? Not a word. But Christians have to be aware of these things, and think of them, because they are parts of the world we live in. The notion of a canonical Scripture is a incubus from the distant past that needs to be jettisoned.

          • Chefofsinners

            What you need is the Holy Spirit.

        • Anton

          Luther had learnt what Rome was really like by two years later and when he was threatened with excommunication in Exsurge Domine he publicly burnt the Bull, to cheers. God preserved *him* from being burnt.

          • He wrote in 1518 asking the Holy Father to adjudicate the matter and Pope Leo X did. In 1520, Leo issued the bull Exsurge Domine, citing 41 specific errors in Luther’s theology. By Luther’s own terms, by his own words in 1518, the matter was over.

            Of course, Luther broke his word, responding to Exsurge Domine by denouncing the pope as the Antichrist. This petulance showed him to be an untrustworthy and unstable man.

          • Anton

            You can’t prove that, can you?

            It is hypocrisy for you to write that the “peasants were brutally suppressed” given that they were suppressed by Catholic secular powers. They were using Luther to hang all their secular discontentment upon.

            Luther referred the matter up to Leo X but he did not say that he would accept Leo’s decision as final, did he?

          • ThIs is what Luther wrote to Leo X: “Come what may, I shall recognise the voice of your Holiness to be that of Christ, speaking through you.”

          • Anton

            Yes, Luther knew how to recognise His Master’s Voice, and he did not hear it in Pope Leo’s response.

          • Then he lied in his letter to Pope Leo. Or did he just change his mind when he didn’t get his own way? How dare the Pope not recognise his genius! It was the same in his stance towards the peasants and Jews. Anyone who disagreed with “pope” Luther was demonised. Such egotistical petulance and volatility.

          • Anton

            We need to check the Latin, but it may be susceptible of the meaning “I shall be able to recognise the voice of your holiness to be that of Christ…”, ie Luther claimed to be able to discern when Leo was speaking with Christ’s authority and when he wasn’t. You yourself have said that Popes sometimes speak falsely.

          • Lol ….

  • Sybaseguru

    I’ve been working on Drone software and one of the challenges is that if you use an accelerometer, no matter how accurate, when you integrate a couple of times to get distance moved its very inaccurate, and over time gives a very inaccurate position. The Church is like this, shifting with the wind and not knowing where it is. With a Drone you use a GPS to give you a reasonably accurate location from time to time to correct your drift. The Bible provides this relocation for the Church – or at least it should if the Church paid attention to it. At the moment its like a Drone that doesn’t bother to relocate – it strays further and further from where it should be and doesn’t realise it.

    • Dr. Professional

      Heisenberg had something to say along these lines.

      • Anton

        Are you sure?

      • carl jacobs

        The Kalman filter produces a variance estimate for each state so you can know the uncertainty inherent in the solution. Unless of course you lie to the filter.

        You should never lie to the filter.

        • Anton

          Knowing how big your error bars are is not much comfort if they are huge and your intent is to avoid a cliff edge.

  • Chefofsinners

    Ruddy Archbishops. Does everything have to be about the Eeyoreopean Union?

    • Hi

      I feel a song to provide some cheer , coming on :

      The wonderful thing about tiggers
      Is tiggers are wonderful things!
      Their tops are made out of rubber
      Their bottoms are made out of springs!
      They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
      Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
      But the most wonderful thing about tiggers is
      I’m the only one

      Tiggers are cuddly fellas
      Tiggers are awfully sweet
      Ev’ryone el-us is jealous
      That’s why I repeat… and repeat
      The wonderful thing about tiggers
      Is tiggers are marvelous claps!
      They’re loaded with vim and vigor
      They love to leap in your laps!
      They’re jumpy, bumpy, clumpy, thumpy
      Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
      But the most wonderful thing about tiggers is
      I’m the only one
      I-I-I’m , the only… One!

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dJFyz73MRcg

      • michaelkx

        The C of E seems to bounce all over the place same, sex marriage, to no its not right I think. And so on perhaps if they preached the gospel of the Bible that Jesus
        came to save humanity and deliver us from the path of self destruction. We might just get some where. (2Ti 2:8)
        Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.
        This is my gospel,

      • Manfarang

        Have you seen ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin ‘ yet?

      • Chefofsinners

        The Justin Welby song:

        The wonderful thing about Primates
        Is Primates are wonderful things
        They’re prods so they like to wear rubbers
        Their sexuality swings
        They’re Runcie, Carey, Beardie, Welby,
        Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
        But the most wonderful thing about Primates is
        I’m probably going to be the last.

  • prompteetsincere

    The Royal we have been captured by the radicals of The Gospel…
    “another Gospel” + Galatians 1:6-12.

  • ardenjm

    “Through the Reformation we learned that we are saved entirely, confidently and unfailingly”
    By confusing speculative certitude with moral certitude.
    Oops.

    “the church found again a love for the scriptures”
    Not sure what he means by church here but it was a love that had never been lost, as evidenced here:
    https://twitter.com/Calthalas/status/925362019410341888
    The only difference was the printing press and dissemination of books.

    “the vast mass of people across Europe and then around the world were drawn to receive the fruits of a missionary movement”
    Sure: Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico, 9 million converted and replaced the 5 million lost to Protestantism.
    Deo gratias.

    “the world changed; the gospel spread”
    through Jesuit missions across the New World.

    And the Puritans.
    The Puritans got North America and gave us New England WASPiness.
    Whoop de doo..

    • Anton

      Sour grapes?

      • ardenjm

        No.
        Just raining on the parade of auto-justificatory clap-trap.

        And a holy feast of All Souls to you.
        God rest them all.

        • Anton

          Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now
          Come on baby, do the Reformation
          I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance now
          Come on baby, do the Reformation…

  • chrisH

    When Radio 4 (in the form of Sarah Montague) can only ask Nicholls and Williams in turn-what would YOU have done had you been Pope in 1517…and why are you not giving up your role in the Lords?…then it`s safe to say that the BBC and the Church are stuffed.
    Montague hasn`t even the vocabulary or wit to ask a question worth knowing an answer to-and Nicholls and Williams indulge her ignorance by saying nothing of substance.
    The Church is dead and the BBC is its headstone-we`ve lost all Christian apologetics in the public square, hell Roger Royle of Brian D`Arcy turn out to be CS Lewis in comparison to the current cultural lightweights.
    Thank G-D for Jonathan Sacks…why don`t WE have somebody like him any more?
    That said, the Thought For The Day on the Reformation themed Today show was great-not that Radio 4 presenters would bother to learn from it.
    Roll up your tents church-get away from the media and learn some Arabic, before you`re done for.