Democracy

Bishop “ashamed” that the UK voted to leave the EU

Bishop David Gillett was the Bishop of Bolton for nine years, and before that he was Principal of Trinity Theological College in Bristol for 11 years. He is now an honorary assistant bishop and interfaith advisor in Norfolk; a thoughtful, intelligent academic theologian. He tweeted last night that he is ashamed of the godlessness and immorality in our nation: ashamed to live in a country where drugs and debt abound; where sexual perversion, promiscuity and infidelity are rife; where family breakdown is endemic, children are habitually abused, and abortion is available on tap. He is ashamed that the Laws of God are routinely sidelined and the gospel of Christ is compromised. He is ashamed…

O, hang on. Sorry, got that bit wrong.

David Gillett is a bishop ashamed that the UK voted to leave the EU. He is a bishop ashamed of Brexit. He is of the view that it is wrong “to leave the club that clubs together for peace, unity and democracy within the EU”, which is a little confusing, not least because (setting aside the bizarre assertion that he thinks the EU is a club within the EU) it is NATO that has kept the peace in Europe; EU ‘unity’ is riddled with division, discord and denial; and the whole project is fundamentally anti-democratic and has been so since its inception.

The bishop was gently probed about his view last night, and this is how the conversation went:

He didn’t answer the question, but decided instead to trundle off to bed. This morning he got up early, deleted his original tweet and issued this:

It is heartening indeed that he changed his mind, for it is unsettling to learn that a Church of England bishop is ashamed of the 17,410,742 people who voted to leave the EU (and that is exactly what they will infer from his tweet; that David Gillett is a bishop ashamed to be associated with a sizeable multitude of his flock). But he wouldn’t have reflected on his wording unless he had been challenged to justify his (over)reaction.

The Bishop is, of course, perfectly free to feel ashamed of any democratic outcome: the majority may indeed get it wrong; the mob is not infallible. But his tweet evidences (once again) the contempt which many Anglican clergy have for the people they are supposed to pastor. If you’re a Conservative-voting Brexiteer, the vast majority of the leadership of the Church of England view you with a degree of spiritual pity and intellectual contempt, at best, or as being racist, xenophobic or hateful, at worst. If (God forbid) you happen to be a Trump-supporting, Conservative-voting Brexiteer, well, you are the stuff of which nightmares are made on, and your petty little life is rounded with an apocalyptic insomnia.

Bishop David Gillett isn’t stupid: you don’t become principal of a theological college – training the vicars and bishops of tomorrow – without spiritual discernment, intellectual maturity and theological wisdom. So quite why he harps on about “the small majority” that voted to leave the EU is a mystery. Is a gap of 1,269,501 people really ‘small’? What about the overwhelming assent of Parliament to initiate the Article 50 process? That Bill was passed by 498 to 114 – a majority of 384. Doesn’t that count for something, or is that a small majority, too? What majority would have satisfied Bishop David? A 6% gap? A 10% gap? a 25% gap?

And here, of course, we come to the nexus of the matter, because for clergy like David Gillett there is no democratic majority which could ever justify something so uncivilised, barbaric and fundamentally anti-Christian as Brexit. The EU, he avers, is the very mechanism of European peace, unity and democracy: it is a work of God, blessed and hallowed for its transcendental mission to usher in a new world order of love, concord and pacifism. Our membership of such a sacred body should never have been subject to something so crass as the will of the people: what on earth do they possibly know about what’s good for them? What can the uneducated, unenlightened rabble really understand about something so lofty, intricate and divine as the EU?

It is a mistake to believe that “the small majority” is insufficient to effect profound change in the established order, for that is to deny freedom to the individual; to undermine the grounds upon which action may justifiably be taken. Certainly, there are arguments for some constitutional changes requiring a super-majority, but membership of the EEC was secured and affirmed without such a demand, and so leaving the EU ought to be subject to the same procedural mechanism. To insist otherwise is to support an unintelligible randomness which is designed for pre-ordained ends, that is to say a teleological rather than democratic system.

The Bishop may have repented of his shame, but he has evidently not changed his view of the authority by which change may be effected. Democracy is by no means perfect: it is often muddled, murky and eminently corruptible. It is, as Churchill famously observed, the worst form of government – except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. But all those clergy who cling to the dream of EUtopia might consider the consequences for democracy and the Queen’s Peace itself if, having voted to leave, the elites conspire to keep us in with their obfuscational committees and rigged commissions. What are democrats supposed to do when the ballot box ceases to function as it ought? What alternative means are open to them to effect change?

If Anglican clergy continue to preach that the wisdom of the crowd is wrong or immoral when the outcome doesn’t cohere with their personal political preference, we are left with the impression that all-wise oligarchs and less error-prone philosopher-guardians are a better form of government, supported by the aristocratic and plutocratic elites. Kings and priests have long claimed to know what God wants (or the gods want), so it makes perfect sense for us all to do exactly what they say. But the Greeks rejected this idea somewhere between 750-500 BC, and the rest of Europe followed suit between AD 1500-1750. England ditched government by divine right in 1688-89. Pooling wisdom does not guarantee the right outcome or the best answers, but, as with a jury of 12 in a court of law, it inclines toward greater justice and maximal mercy because decisions are owned by the people. Be ashamed of a democratic decision if you wish, but it is the system by which slavery was abolished, women enfranchised, children liberated and poverty alleviated.

The pooling of collective ignorance by “the small majority” is a woefully pessimistic view of people’s democratic participation, and unbecoming of representatives of the Established Church. Their task is to respect the outcome and pray for those who are tasked with leadership. No doubt they wouldn’t be so ashamed if the people had voted Remain or if Jeremy Corbyn had won the General Election by a “small majority”: God moves in mysterious democratic ways.

  • bluedog

    Another mug-wump within the upper reaches of the CoE. So sad.

  • David

    It is very good indeed that Cranmer exposes the lofty, snobbish elitism of these utopian types, invariably Socialists, who being disconnected from the reality of human nature and the practicalities of the governance of nations, stubbornly refuse to listen to the people or learn from history. Their disregard for their pastoral role is striking. Unlike Jesus, who got alongside the ordinary people, they lecture from on high – quite shocking !

  • Manfarang

    Democracy isn’t perfect it seems. A lot of British people living overseas didn’t get a vote, while Irish and commonwealth citizens living in Britain did.

    • David

      Yes the retention of the vote for resident Irish and Commonwealth citizens is an outdated anachronism more suited to imperial empire days, and it should be scrapped with all due haste.
      The position of Brits abroad is a more nuanced one. For if someone is working, perhaps on contact, abroad but still permanently domiciled here, for tax purposes then surely they should get the vote ? But if someone settles abroad, paying their taxes there, then in my opinion after say a decade, they should retain citizenship but lose their rights to influence events in their country because they are unlikely to be directly impacted.

      • Manfarang

        It depends on what “settles” means. Living in a country, even for years, does not always give the right to remain there.The residents of Gibraltar had the vote.

  • CliveM

    There is nothing fundamentally wrong with wishing we had voted remain. Disrespecting those who voted otherwise is. However the good Bishop has recognised this and acknowledges his error.

    I think he should be respected for that.

    • David

      Yes but, Cranmer argues he retains a belief that rejects the democratic process, which does indeed, potentially, lead in very dangerous directions.

      • The bishop is right – democracy is not infallible.

        • David

          Who said it was ? But it is the system we use, and even with all its flaws it is the best that is available, so Cranmer’s point is valid.

          • Is it? One can feel shame at recent democratic decisions about abortion, same sex marriage and “no fault” divorce.

  • IanCad

    “–No doubt they wouldn’t be so ashamed if the people had voted Remain or if Jeremy Corbyn had won the General Election by a “small majority”
    Leftists, Communitarians, Unitarians, Students’ Unions etc. present an image of toleration, kindness and forgiveness. Steal a few coppers, sell them a dodgy car. Short weight them – they will forgive and publicise their the goodness, it will ooze from every pore. But !! Take heed YG; You have pointed out a gross inconsistency, for that there is no absolution, no forgiveness; were it within their power, destruction would be the only remedy. They will remember.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Haven’t you forgotten that Jeremy Corbyn actually won the general election by a large minority as Momentum and his supporters in the media are constantly reminding us.

      • David

        Socialists don’t do simple arithmetic, as it’s yet another a tool of the oppressive, capitalist patriarchy. Life is really all about your “passion and feelings”.
        It’s back to re-education school for you !

  • He would have been better served being ashamed of the apostasy of much of the Church of England, not least its bishops.

    • Anton

      He could start by being ashamed of his own apostasy. Have you seen his blog (with thanks to Jack for the tip)?

      • No. But I’m not surprised.

      • More accurately, he’s a heretic – not an apostate. But then, so are all protestants.

        • len

          Jesus was accused of the same by the Pharisees.
          I’m with Him.

          • Cressida de Nova

            If you are serious….then embrace the true faith.

          • len

            I have perhaps you should too?

          • Yes, but you only know this because of the Church.

          • Indeed. But the church is a spiritual organism not an organisation. No denomination is the church. And of course I am including the Roman Catholic Church under ‘denomination’.

          • It’s both a visible body and an invisible community.

          • len

            I know this because of the Holy Spirit . I went to Church and became an atheist.

        • Martin

          HJ

          That seems to be a favourite line with Rome. I take you are in full agreement with Victor who excommunicated a large portion of the Christian Church for celebrating the resurrection on the wrong day.

          • If one is not in communion with Rome, subject to the authority of the pope, one is a schismatic. Not the same as a heretic or apostate.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Actually Rome is the schismatic, having rejected the corrections brought to it at the beginning of the Reformation.

          • Sure …. it was wrong for 1500 years and then refused to accept the “corrections” of a group of men who couldn’t even agree among themselves.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Your sect didn’t arise until after the time of Constantine, as the error of sacralism injected its poison and the arrogance of the Roman bishop became more an more uncontainable. I suppose most of the errors before the Reformation arose in the Mediaeval period, which is far less than 1500 years.

            And if men cannot agree amongst themselves, there is an excellent authority in the Bible that can put them right.

          • Yeah, that’s working well in the protestant churches where everyman is a pope.

          • Martin

            HJ

            That’s a pretty feeble argument.

          • It’s a fact.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No it isn’t. And the idea that within Rome there is ‘sweet agreement’ isn’t a fact either. Your own pope is at odds with many of those in Rome and Rome’s adherents in the USA have as many views as there are Christian denominations.

          • Of course there’s disagreement in the Church. There has been since the Jerusalem Council. When these differences become irreconcilable and need resolution for the sake of unity and clarity over doctrinal fidelity, they will be definitively resolved. The point is that individuals are not at liberty to receive the sacraments and believe whatever they want.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I was speaking of Rome, not the Church and your claim is that Protestants are not in agreement therefore wrong.

          • There is only one Church. And of course protestants are in disagreement.
            Oh, forgot. The only true Christians in the Church are those who agree with you.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Church is composed of those who are born again, who God saves. There are plenty who disagree with me who are nevertheless part of the Church.

    • Coniston

      I have come across this quote: ‘If a religion is not different from the surrounding culture, if it does not critique and offer an alternative to it, it dies because it is seen as unnecessary’. This applies to churches too, including the CofE.

      • Indeed. The church must be salt… but if it loses its saltiness….

  • dannybhoy

    I believe all Christians should exercise their rights as citizens of a democratic society. Peaceably protest, raise petitions, sign petitions, attend rallies etc.
    BUT I am not sure that leaders in the established Church should express their personal opinions on purely political issues as this man has done.
    The referendum was carried out, a decision was made; the majority who bothered to vote, voted to leave.
    – a wise decision imv.
    Bishops should only express views when an issue touches on the Kingdom of God and the morality thereof. To speak as this man has done is to demean and devalue his office as a leader/overseer of the flock. It is also indirectly an insult to the Gospel and his calling.

  • Happy Jack is ashamed the British Parliament, supported by a majority of the population, voted for abortion, homosexual marriage, and for “no fault” divorce. The bishop is correct – “democracy is not infallible”. However, membership of the EU is not a scriptural matter and really the bishop should reserve his sense of “shame” for relevant matters.

    • John

      Well said sir.

  • Coniston

    I am still waiting for a bishop in the C of E to express the views contained in Cranmer’s first paragraph.

    • Here’s David Gillett’s “reflections” on same sex relationships:

      I welcome the thought that the Church of England is edging its way towards making it possible for us to celebrate publicly in church with those in faithful same sex unions. Even when we get there much more travelling will be needed before we can fully claim to be offering the love and acceptance of God freely and equally to all ….

      [A]s I have been speaking recently with some of my friends, both lay and ordained, who are in same-sex relationships, it has struck me powerfully how they have …. often encountered suspicion, rejection, humiliation – and worse – all because they are in love with someone who meets their deepest needs in line with how they have been created and gifted by God ….

      [O]ver the past 12 years I have come to see that the kind of faithful same-sex relationships I am meeting are not at all the same as the illicit activity rightly decried in the 7 verses in the scriptures to which reference is made when looking at this subject. It is clear that some are gay and lesbian by the very creation and gifting of God who makes us to live in relationship with the one who meets our needs, as pictured in the Adam and Eve story. There God brings Eve to Adam who recognises with joy that he has been given the one who is a perfect partner for him. For those created with a same-sex orientation the principle of God’s gift is the same, but their love and joy is completed in a partnership with one of the same sex.

      [H]ow grudging, condemning and rejecting the Church usually is to those in same-sex relationships, (this) is a denial of the gospel of grace. For many, we make the good news into bad news!

      http://bishopdavidgillett.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/my-reflections-on-pilling-report-have.html

      …. the Church is in the business of blessing and promoting lifelong faithful love … and I am convinced that God desires similar for those who are born for union with one of the same sex. With the first same sex marriages taking place this Friday the Church must find ways of supporting, blessing and celebrating with those who chose a life of faithful committed love with their partner.

      http://bishopdavidgillett.blogspot.co.uk/2014/

      And his views on scripture are “deeper and more nuanced” than some and offer a “more generous orthodoxy”.

      Many of the discussions I have been involved in about ‘Equal Marriage’ have come up against the assumption that those who believe that same sex relationships can be part of God’s purpose for gay men and women have abandoned their belief in the Bible’s authority.

      Of course that can be the way some have developed in their theology but I believe that a fresh understanding of the breadth of marriage can also arise from a deeper view of the Bible’s authority over our lives. This blog summarises the approach I have taken when speaking in various contexts on this issue.

      Many evangelicals, in particular, base their approach on an understanding of propositional revelation; in short, that the Bible has one meaning and that the will of God can be read off from the pages of Scripture so that there is a correct answer to all major questions of ethics. Over the years many of us add a deeper and more nuanced understanding to this starting point ….

      Narrative Theology …. reminds us that the Bible is first and foremost a story, the story of God’s involvement with humanity. It is the story which provides the framework for the whole of our understanding and way of life. Its authority is transformative, not just in the truths it reveals at first glance, but in the way it invites us to inhabit the story and discover its life transforming power in our daily lives. As God’s story it has the power to change and direct all that we are and do.

      Narrative theology asks that we take time to inhabit the story; to leave the story as story as it does its work with the people of God today. We will not too quickly form ethical conclusions and moral rules which apply to all people for all time. We are prepared to stand back awhile and see how God’s story is inviting us to live now. It is clear to us from the story that God deals with the followers of Christ in different ways and provides appropriately for the forgiveness, wellbeing and flourishing of humanity at different times and in different places. And when by God’s Spirit we recognize and accept our place in the story we act on the truth it has given us.

      Embracing this narrative approach as part of the transformative power of the Bible means that we notice many of our fellow human beings inhabiting God’s story differently from ourselves. I am therefore careful not too quickly to censor or criticize another Christian who has arrived at a different way of following Christ. At any given time, I may be wrong, or they may be wrong, but we may both be right! This approach fosters a more generous approach – in line with our all generous God.

      ‘We are all created by God to be who we are, including gays and lesbians. It’s just as natural and spiritually correct to be gay as it is to be left-handed.’

      http://bishopdavidgillett.blogspot.co.uk/2016/

      • Maalaistollo

        Doubt if he sings ‘Tell me the old, old story….’ Too busy inhabiting a new one of his own devising.

      • Coniston

        What is happening with many in the CofE is indeed sad – also in the Anglican Churches in America and Scotland. But it has also infected some senior figures in the RC Church, certainly in America. RC websites based in the USA are constantly criticising RC priests, bishops and even Cardinal Archbishops in America who are accepting the LGBT agenda. Also some Catholic colleges and seminaries.

        • Jack agrees that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has been infested with bishops embracing the modern culture and those promoting immorality. Some are even claiming the present Pope is a heretic. Of course, at the heart of all this is attempts to legitimise homosexual relationships.

        • Cressida de Nova

          American Catholicism has always seemed to be at odds with the rest of the Catholic world. It is hard to believe that excommunication leaflets are not dropping from the skies over there. If not why not?

      • David

        He may call himself what he wishes, but a person who refuses to follow the plain Word of God is not a true evangelical, and only God knows if he is a Christian.

        • Martin

          David

          By their fruit ….

          I think that answers your question.

      • Yes, ‘narrative’ is a convenient category for heretics for its message is not explicit and so is more easily skewed.

  • “Say no more ….”

    Gillett belongs to the Open Evangelical tradition of the Church of England. He is a patron of Accepting Evangelicals, a group that champions an “acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships at every level of church life, and the development of a positive Christian ethic for LGBT people”.

    On 11 February 2017, Gillett was one of fourteen retired bishops to sign an open letter to the then-serving bishops of the Church of England. In an unprecedented move, they expressed their opposition to the House of Bishops’ report to General Synod on sexuality, which recommended no change to the Church’s canons or practises around sexuality. By 13 February, a serving bishop (Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham) and nine further retired bishops had added their signatures; on 15 February, the report was rejected by synod.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gillett

    Another bishop in bed with Alan Wilson, so to speak.

    • Martin

      HJ

      Of course ‘Open Evangelical’ means ‘Anything But Evangelical’.

  • Sir John Oldcastle

    This man is no true Bible believing Christian. If he were then he would accept that is God’s will and his actions that mean nations are raised and fall – which includes rejection of the tyranny of the EU by a larger majority of people than we have ever seen in one place at one time.

    • He believes in Bible. He just interprets it differently from you.

      • len

        ‘He believes in the Bible’
        So does Satan, and often quotes it.

        • Satan doesn’t believe in the bible and he quoted it to Jesus in an attempt to confuse and mislead.

          • len

            I would suggest that Satan knows more about Scripture than you do Jack.
            Satan held a very high position in Heaven .
            You are confusing’ believe’ with ‘faith’.

          • For all his *knowledge* he was suckered by Christ, Len.

          • len

            Yes, Satan isn`t God but he would like to be.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Which is what this bishop does. A true son of Satan.

  • Anton

    Bishop David Gillett isn’t stupid: you don’t become principal of a theological college – training the vicars and bishops of tomorrow – without spiritual discernment, intellectual maturity and theological wisdom.

    O Yes you do! And that is why he is sadly not a one-off in the morass that is the CoE’s leadership today.

    So here’s another “headline”: Englishman is ashamed of Anglican bishop.

  • Maalaistollo

    If all the current bishops were mysteriously to be transported somewhere else a long way off, would the mission of the Church be in any way impaired?

    • Anton

      Quite the opposite.

  • len

    There are too many in the church ‘doing what is right in their own eyes’

    The Wisdom of God has been rejected by many (including many in the church) and this has been replaced by ‘the wisdom of man’.
    Therein lies the problem.
    This problem is as old as humanity itself (nothing new under the sun)For did not Satan say in the Garden “you can be as God?”
    “This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:15-17 NASU)

    The Wisdom of God;
    “And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” (Isa.11:2 NAS

    • Len, you need a deeper, more nuanced and more generous orthodoxy. Stop being so rigid.

      • len

        Its being’ rigid’ that hold one upright Jack.

      • Delicious irony.

        I can agree with Gillett that one may be wrong, indeed that both may be wrong; his folly is suggesting that two contradictory views may be right. Such reasoning makes a mockery of absolute truth.

      • dannybhoy

        “he Bible doesn’t have one meaning and the will of God cannot be read off from the pages of Scripture is if there is a correct answer to all major questions of ethics and morality.”

        And therefore, the only authoritative source of moral and spiritual guidance and correct divination if eternal truth is…… (roll of drums)… the Magisterium.

        • Well, who else?

          • len

            God the Holy Spirit.
            ( Sigh) do not place your faith in men (the Magisterium) but in God.

    • Dolphinfish

      Too many doing what is right “in their own eyes”? Isn’t that what Protestantism is supposed to be all about? And it’s the walking, talking, quacking definition of evangelical Protestantism.

      • Harsh … but true.

      • dannybhoy

        I don’t read anywhere in the Scriptures that part of God’s plan of redemption was that His saints should seek to score points off each other whilst the (broken) world stands by…
        The essence of Protestantism is that a German monk came to believe that salvation is by faith, and that saving faith came not by being obedient to the beliefs and rituals of mother Church, but by believing and relying upon the finished work of our Lord on the Cross.
        That saving faith will be accompanied by works of grace and the process of sanctification.
        Catholicism and Protestantism should respect one another’s differences whilst working together in the areas they can agree upon…
        Let’s please stop the sniping and remember what our Lord said to His disciples,
        “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”John 13:35

        • len

          Well said Danny.Blessed are the peacemakers.

        • It’s not “love” to lead people into rebellion and sin.
          Jesus also said:

          “He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects you rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me.” (Luke 10. 16)

          “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matt. 28:19–20).

          Saint Peter warns:

          There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Pet. 2:1)

          Saint Paul teaches:

          “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Heb. 13:17)

          The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on – Scripture or Tradition – was been entrusted by Christ to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in His name.

          • len

            The false teachers are the Magisterium.
            Thought you might have got that by now?.

          • dannybhoy

            I and all Christians accept the authority of the verses you quote Jack. The problem is not the authority of Scripture but ‘authority’…

          • Scripture tells us to accept the authority of the Apostles and their successors.

          • Martin

            HJ

            There are no successors to the Apostles, since they, being dead, still speak in Scripture.

          • Apostolic succession is demonstrated in scripture. Paul told Timothy, “[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2) In this passage he refers to the first three generations of Apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach.

            The Church Fathers regularly appealed to Apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. This was necessary because heretics simply put their own interpretations, even bizarre ones, on Scripture. Clearly, something other than Scripture had to be used as an ultimate test of doctrine in these cases.

            “It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189])

            “[T]he Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with [the heretic] Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop [of Rome], Fabian, by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way.” (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 69[75]:3 [A.D. 253])

          • Martin

            HJ

            The elders/overseers are those ‘faithful men’, in as a team in their local church. They are not a hierarchy of clerics lording it over God’s people!

            Irenaeus tells us what this tradition is, a little later:

            “In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome dispatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spoke with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels.”

            In other words, the tradition is, ‘there is one God’.

          • For goodness sake! That’s not all the Apostles taught! And note where the letter was sent from.

          • dannybhoy

            There is no evidence that either Jesus or the first apostles established permanent church offices that were to be occupied by a succession of church leaders/bishops. Judas was replaced out of necessity because he had been one of the twelve and by his apostasy he had reduced the number to eleven.
            When St. James, who is also one of the twelve, is put to death by Herod in Acts 12, there is no attempt to replace him. He held no continuing office that another must fill, nor does any Christian leader in the New Testament. Instead of establishing permanent offices, Paul and the other apostles understood that the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit in the church guaranteed that He would raise up leaders when and where they were needed.
            See 1st Timothy 3 Douay-Rheims version..

            3 A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
            2 It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,
            3 Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but
            4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.
            5 But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?
            6 Not a neophyte: lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.
            7 Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

          • These are guidelines for the selection of bishops. The evidence is historical and is touched on in scripture and is certainly documented by the Church Fathers. The Gospel isn’t a full biography of the Apostles or the history of the early Church.

            Thus the early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes, “[W]here in practice was [the] apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? . . . The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation. . . . Unlike the alleged secret tradition of the Gnostics, it was entirely public and open, having been entrusted by the apostles to their successors, and by these in turn to those who followed them, and was visible in the Church for all who cared to look for it.” (Early Christian Doctrines, 37).

            For the early Church Fathers, “the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles. . . . [A]n additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message committed was to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit. Indeed, the Church’s bishops are . . . Spirit-endowed men who have been vouchsafed ‘an infallible charism of truth’”

            Thus on the basis of experience the Fathers could be “profoundly convinced of the futility of arguing with heretics merely on the basis of Scripture. The skill and success with which they twisted its plain meaning made it impossible to reach any decisive conclusion in that field.” (Early Christian Doctrines, 37 – 45)

          • dannybhoy

            Jack,
            Salvation is not about the Church, the Pope, Anglican bishops or Catholic bishops, transubstantiation, the clergy – laity divide or anything else. It’s about Jesus and knowing Him as Lord and Saviour.

          • If course, but it was He who commanded us to follow the teachings of His Apostles and their successors are the bishops.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack,
            Should we follow the teachings of bishops who teach heresy?
            Bishops/Leaders who sanctioned the torture and putting to death of those they considered heretics or apostates?
            Bishops/Leaders who indulged in illicit sexual relationships, the sexual abuse of young girls and boys, even young women and men; threatening them with all kinds of hell and damnation if they didn’t keep quiet, yet themselves covering up their sins..
            It is historically documented that all these things have happened within the Catholic Church, a Church that teaches papal infallibility and claims the endorsement of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ..
            the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold primacy over the whole world, and that the Pontiff of Rome himself is the successor of the blessed Peter, the chief of the apostles, and is the true [vicar] of Christ and head of the whole Church and faith, and teacher of all Christians; and that to him was handed down in blessed Peter, by our Lord Jesus Christ, full power to feed, rule, and guide the universal Church, just as is also contained in the records of the ecumenical Councils and in the sacred canons

            Now over time on this blog you have added your own qualifications /explanations/ excuses for the Catholic Church’s failings, and I choose to see that as loyalty to what you believe.
            But the fact is all these things have happened and continue to happen, yet still you insist on the supreme authority of the Magisterium.
            Yet there is nowhere in the gospels or the pastoral letters of Paul, James, Peter or John to back up your claim or condone the wrongdoings of the Catholic Church leadership structure.
            Indeed those gospels and letters make it quite clear how bishops and overseers should conduct themselves.
            You will then argue that human beings are fallible regardless of their position on the Church, yet you refuse to extend that same compassion to Protestants who also prove to be fallible imperfect human beings..
            So your whole case for supremacy rests on the authority of the Catholic Church’s Magisterium rather than the New Testament; -which is what cults do..

            Frankly if that was my position, I would prefer to keep my gob firmly shut.

          • The authority of the Church is founded on Christ’s words and the actions and behaviour of the Apostles.

          • dannybhoy

            So working this through… where does our Lord say “If you obey the teaching and authority of the Church which I shall found on St Peter, all will be well”?
            Our Lord only ever talks about following Him, abiding in Him, putting others before self, and loving and forgiving each other..
            The pastoral letters say nothing about succession, only suitability for leadership.
            Corruption comes through a fixed hierarchical system in which power and influence (determined by rank) becomes more important than personal piety and godliness.

          • Work your way through these scriptural passages:

            There is ample evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13); sometimes the apostles were referred to as “Peter and those who were with him” (Luke 9:32). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17). An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).

            https://www.catholic.com/tract/peter-and-the-papacy

            The role of St. Peter and his successors is made remarkably clear in Matthew 16:18-19:

            “And I tell you, you are Peter” (Gr.—petros—‘rock’), “and on this rock” (Gr.—petra—‘rock’) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

            Jesus here promises infallible authority to Peter that would empower him to speak in the place of Christ, or as his vicar on earth. Jack believes just what the text says. When St. Peter (and his successors) “binds” something on earth, it is “bound” in heaven. That’s infallible authority with the power of heaven to back it up.

            In Luke 22:24-32 we see Jesus teaching the Apostles the true nature of authority. True authority in the New Covenant is commanded to be servant of all. He will speak with infallible authority just as Christ did, but he must also wash the feet of his brothers just as Christ did.

            “[A]s my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you” (Gr.—humas, plural—“you all”) “that he might sift you” (Gr.—plural again) like wheat, but I have prayed for you” (Gr.—sou, singular—Peter alone) “that your faith (Gr.—singular again) “may not fail; and when you” (Gr.—singular) have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

            In the context of committing his authority to the Apostles to govern the church (the “Israel of God” – see Gal. 6:16), Jesus especially prays for Peter so that he may be the source of strength and unity for the rest of the Apostles. If the Apostles want to be protected from the devil’s attempts to divide and destroy them and the church, they must be in communion with Peter. And notice, Jesus says specifically to Peter, that, literally from the Greek text, “the faith of you [Peter] will not fail.”

            In John 10:16, Jesus prophesied:

            “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, and one shepherd.”

            Who is this prophetic shepherd? Jesus declared Himself to be “the good shepherd” (or “pastor”) in John 10:14. Jesus is the shepherd. Yet, if we dig deeper into the text we discover another meaning as well. In the context of prophesying about this “one flock” and “one shepherd,” Jesus says He must gather “other sheep” referring to the gentiles. Who does our Lord use as the shepherd to bring this prophecy to pass?

            In John 21:1-17, we find Jesus aiding the fishing of the Apostles who caught nothing all night long. At the command of Jesus they let down their nets and catch an astonishing 153 large fish. When Jesus commands the net to be hauled ashore, St. Peter heaves the entire net of fish to shore by himself. No man can lift that size of a catch out of the water and on to the shore by himself. If you take these words literally to mean Peter actually did this, it seems Peter was given supernatural strength to do what no man could naturally accomplish. Fish are symbols representing the faithful. And the symbol of the net is used elsewhere in the New Testament for the Church. Not only is Peter’s ability to carry these fish (all the faithful) a miracle, but the fact that the net is not broken is also extraordinary. The message seems to be that the Church Jesus establishes containing all of God’s faithful with Peter packing the power will never be destroyed!

            It is in this context that Jesus then asks St. Peter three times, “Do you love me… Do you love me… Do you love me?” When Peter responds in the affirmative the second time, Jesus responds by commanding Peter to “tend” (Gr. poimaine—’shepherd’) “my sheep”. Jesus the shepherd here commissions Peter to be the prophetic shepherd of John 10:16 to shepherd the entire people of God! How many of the sheep belong to Jesus? All of them. How many of his sheep did Jesus give to St. Peter to shepherd? All of them.

            In 1:15-26, as a matter of historical record, St. Peter takes the helm of the Church and gives an infallible interpretation of Psalm 69:26 and 109:8 in choosing a successor for Judas.

            In Acts 10:1-48, Jesus appears to St. Peter and commands him to bring the gospel to the gentiles by way of Cornelius, the centurion. When Peter then commanded Cornelius and his household to be baptised in, the prophecy of John 10:16 was fulfilled. There was now one fold and one shepherd for Jews and Gentiles. That ministry has continued to this day in the successors of St. Peter, the bishops of Rome.

            In Acts 15: 1-12, the ministry of St. Peter as “the shepherd” of the Universal (i.e. Catholic) Church continues. When there was a heresy spreading in the church at Antioch (and elsewhere) so widespread and problematic that Paul and Barnabas could not quell the resulting confusion, the church there decided to “go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question” (vs. 1-2). The question concerned salvation and the Old Covenant law in relation to the gospel. Some among “believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, ‘It is necessary to circumcise…and…to keep the law of Moses’(vs. 5) to be saved. In particular, they spoke of the gentiles who were converting to Christ, but the same would apply to all. The real question was: Are Christians saved by the grace of Christ in the New Covenant or must they obey the Old Covenant as well for salvation? The first Church Council (of Jerusalem) was convened and the theological question was put to rest by the pronouncement of St. Peter. When everyone was arguing, St. Peter arose and declared the truth on the matter and then, to translate the text below in modern parlance, everyone shut up! The matter was settled by the “one shepherd” given to the Church as a source of unity and authority.

            The Apostles and elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice…that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe…we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” And all the assembly kept silence…”

          • dannybhoy

            Luke 24: 46-49
            46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[h] from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[i] until you are endued with power from on high.”
            ‘And you (plural) are witnesses’
            ‘Tarry in the city until you (plural are endued with power from on high.’
            Granted that Peter was the natural leader amongst the disciples and therefore present at most of the ‘main events’ during our Lord’s ministry.
            But this is quite different from saying that Peter was called to be the first Pope!
            And to go on from that premise to build a whole hierarchy of celibate priests (in clear contravention to the apostles, who apart form Paul were apparently married; – and who in their pastoral letters declared that leaders/overseers and stewards should also be married);
            plus man made traditions, veneration of saints and relics, simony and the worship of Mary is quite incredible Jack.
            I am not getting at individual devout Catholics, rather the ecclesiastical structure which shapes their beliefs.
            I am not saying that Protestants have got it all right either. The same problems in the Catholic Church can be found in the Anglican Church too; and to a lesser extent non conformist congregations.
            The point is that we shouldn’t be pointing fingers at each other or insisting only our Church enjoys God’s endorsement..

          • There’s so much protestant disinformation and defensiveness in this post that it is unworthy of an answer.

          • dannybhoy

            Defensiveness?
            I don’t feel defensive about being a Christian. That I have been influenced by the Protestant understanding of salvation is of course true, but frankly I couldn’t care less about pomp, tradition and ritual, from whatever source.
            If I accepted your belief in the apostolic succession then of course everything falls into place
            One would accept the idea of the making of saints, the worship of saints, of Mary, of relics and the one time practice of burning/torturing heretics and apostates or selling ‘indulgences.. because mother Church says it is so.
            If one points out that these things are not found in Scripture, mother Church would argue that ‘of course not everything is recorded in Scripture and not everything written in Scripture is easily understood.
            Even the apparently simple and clear stuff..
            You need a priest to do that for you.
            Why do I need a priest to interpret Scripture for me?
            Answer: Because mother Church says you do, and mother Church has the backing of God through the Apostolic succession…..

          • Again, a post unworthy of comment and riddled with protestant disinformation.

          • dannybhoy

            Try this one on for size Jack..
            from http://catholicism.org/category/outside-the-church-there-is-no-salvation

            Outside the Church there is no Salvation
            “Outside the Church there is no salvation” (extra ecclesiam nulla salus) is a doctrine of the Catholic Faith that was taught By Jesus Christ to His Apostles, preached by the Fathers, defined by popes and councils and piously believed by the faithful in every age of the Church. Here is how the Popes defined it:

            “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
            “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)

            “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

          • And you’re point is what, exactly?

          • dannybhoy

            That according to this Pope’s beliefs those outside the Church calling themselves Christians cannot be saved unless before death they are joined with her..
            That’s not difficult to understand Jack, and you are a very bright individual.

          • Yes and Jack has responded to this many, many times before. It wasn’t one Pope’s belief but is church constant teaching. It all comes down to what one understands by being “outside the church” and the personal culpability of that person.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m really teasing you here but…
            so to get ‘the correct understanding’ of what it means to be outside the church and my personal state before God, I go not to the Scriptures but to a Catholic source of authority for the correct diagnosis of my state of grace?
            The Church and Salvation

            by Fr. William G. Most

            The Church is sometimes called the universal sacrament of salvation. That use of the word sacrament is broad, not strict. It is true in as much as the Church is the divinely instituted means of giving grace to all. But the Church is not a visible rite – it rather confers these visible rites which we call the seven Sacraments.
            From the fact that the Church is God’s means of giving grace, is it is clear that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. This truth has even been defined by the Church more than once, e.g., in the Council of Florence in 1442. However we must take care to understand this teaching the way the Church understands it. We just saw that the Church claims the exclusive authority to interpret both Scripture and Tradition. So one like Leonard Feeney who interprets the teaching on the necessity of the Church his own way is not acting like a Catholic theologian at all. The Holy Office, on August 8, 1949, declared that L. Feeney was guilty of this error. Because of his error, he rejected several teachings of the Magisterium, saying they clashed with this definition – but they clash only with his false interpretation, given in private judgment.

            For example in my local catholic church the priest would not be offer me communion but I could receive a blessing from him.
            If on the other hand I should be tempted to look outside of Christianity to say zen meditation, that same priest would welcome me to attend classes which he himself as a practitioner leads..
            Confusing, ain’t it?
            No need for a response dear Jack.

          • Here’s the key clause in the passage you’ve quoted:

            “However we must take care to understand this teaching the way the Church understands it.”
            You’ll go wherever the Spirit draws you. Whether you respond to Him is another matter. No man or Church can say what your personal state of grace is -that’s God’s remit – but the Catholic Church can advise you what scripture says and means and what God wants from us all.

            And we’ve talked about that priest before. Jack doubts he would view Zen Buddhism as offering a means of salvation. But then there are a heretics in the Catholic priesthood too. On the other hand, he may see that there are benefits in using the Zen techniques in a Christian way. Jack considers this ill-considered at best.

          • dannybhoy

            “You’ll go wherever the Spirit draws you. Whether you respond to Him is another matter. No man or Church can say what your personal state of grace is -that’s God’s remit – but the Catholic Church can advise you what scripture says and means and what God wants from us all.”
            And that’s how I know your heart is in the right place Jack, and that we are brothers in Christ (whether you like it or not)
            We both agree (I think) that whilst we can in general agree with the teachings of our respective versions of the faith, we also know it is the state of our heart before God that matters.
            That ‘by their fruits shall ye know them’ requires that our apprehension of the meaning and of salvation results in a growing love and worship of God along with that ongoing process of sanctification aka discipleship.

          • Martin

            HJ

            And the Eastern churches followed the tradition handed down from John that the celebration of the Resurrection should follow the Jewish calendar. Rome, OTH, insisted it must be on a Sunday. Seems the handing down of a verbal tradition isn’t that reliable.

            I think I’ll stick to the Bible, rather than what is claimed, on flimsy evidence, to be handed down oral teaching.

          • Get your facts correct, do. Both East and West followed the Jewish calendar. There were different customs about when to celebrate the Resurrection. The synoptic Gospels differed from John.
            So when do you celebrate Easter?

          • Anton

            Weekly.

          • You don’t follow a liturgical calendar then?

          • Martin

            HJ

            So Victor didn’t attempt to excommunicate most of the Church for not following his rule that it should be on a Sunday?

          • All good and right until the final paragraph which is nonsense. ‘Faithful men’ are frequently anything but the magisterium of the church.

            The professing church is modelled in ancient Israel; it claims authenticity and authority based on an ecclesiastical relationship but fails to grasp that true relationship is spiritual. Calling, not community, is the basis of relationship… life, not apparent covenant privilege.

            Not all Israel are of Israel.

          • Nothing in that paragraph which precludes the Church being a spiritual community, albeit it being a visible body with ecclesiastical relationship based on Apostolic authority. Why should it be either-or and not both-and? The Church doesn’t depend on individual men alone and their faithfulness, but on Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

          • No, of course, it is possible to be both but in reality it is not both. In reality, even in the C1 false profession and false teaching had invaded the church. So much so that Paul says in 2 Timothy all of Asia had turned against him. Paul warns that the professing church would become corrupt (2Tim 3,4). Timothy’s security lay in holding fast to the apostolic Word and in meeting with those who called upon the name of the Lord from a pure heart. There is no suggestion that the official teaching body of any church is a safe and sanctioned source of authority or embodies the true church. The Spirit will guide those who hold by faith to the apostolic word (and the only record of this is Scripture) into fellowship with other authentic believers who hold to the same word. The expectation was that the eschatological Spirit would guide the true eschatological community through the eschatological gospel.

            Your error HJ, is in equating these with the RC church. You have far too much faith in institutions.

          • No, Jack has faith in Christ and His commission to the Church and His promise that it would be guided in truth until the end. Paul warned that “in the last days grievous times shall come”. It seems there will be apostasy in the hierarchy of the Church before Christ returns but we’re not there yet. True, there are indications of heresy among bishops just now but the Church has been through periods like this before and recovered. Until the end, known only to God, Scripture and Tradition is clear that the Apostolic Church is an indefectible source of orthodox authority.
            You perceive scripture one way; Jack another way. Who do you base your authority on for your interpretation. Scripture alone doesn’t cut it.

          • Jack, the apostasy in the hierarchy of the church was already there in Paul’s day. That is his point. That is why he needs to instruct Timothy on how to react to it; the professing church including its teachers and leaders had already abandoned the apostolic gospel.

            It is not a church that is the authority but the apostolic gospel. Strictly speaking it was not even the apostles. They were fallible. Consider Peter in Galatia or Paul’s pronouncement that if he or any other should preach another gospel they should be cursed. Judas was one of the twelve. Failure was possible in the most rarified circle. Ever confidence rests in the word.

            John reminds his readers the apostolic word of God taught by the Spirit of God is all that the believer needs. It is the author of Scripture who interprets Scripture. This age of eschatological fulfilment is supremely the age of the Spirit. The new covenant gift is the gift of the indwelling Spirit who reveals and illumines. In the final analysis it is he who births, nurtures, guides and keeps the church. The new covenant succeeds where the old covenant failed because it does not depend upon men and human institutions but on God by his Spirit.

          • “Jack, the apostasy in the hierarchy of the church was already there in Paul’s day.”

            Unlikely. There were heretics, certainly, and disputes in the very early Church. Paul isn’t specific about who, why and how many. You’ve read that interpretation into the text. Of course humans are fallible! However, the Apostles acting together, under the leadership of the “servant of the servants”, are infallible – as shown at the Jerusalem Council.

            “It is not a church that is the authority but the apostolic gospel.”
            That is the Gospel as taught by the Apostles and their successors? Paul surely teaches that it is the constant

          • Indeed, the gospel came through the apostles. If those who follow are faithful to the teaching of the apostles, the faith once and for all delivered to the saints, they are to be heeded. If not they are to be rejected as false teachers. The point is, the apostolic message of Christ that is the constant.

            John reveals the process in his epistle

            (NIV) 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the
            Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

            The calling was to receive and remain true to the initial apostolic gospel

            (NIV) 24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

            This apostolic meassage had been received through the Spirit and the Spirit who first led them into truth would continue to enlighten them.

            (NIV) 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.

            (NIV) 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

            Human teachers will fail. What is to be the authority and authoritative teacher of the believer? There is no mention of an ongoing authoritative church authority by apostolic succession. There is no instruction to heed in the future an institutional constituted authority. The authority is ‘that which they have heard from the beginning’. And the teacher is the Holy Spirit. Human teachers can be heeded if they teach that initial apostolic faith if they don’t they are to be rejected. Unlike in the OT, the Spirit indwells all God’s people and gives them spiritual discernment. Pentecost made all know the Lord and all prophets (Acts 2).

            You are sourcing authority in the wrong place Jack.

      • len

        As a ‘dolphin fish’ you should be aware that the Tiber is infested with sharks ..Beware!.

      • No. Protestantism and evangelicalism are, properly speaking, about doing what is right in God’s eyes.

        • Surely that applies to all faiths and their various sub-sets – apart from Satanism and perhaps Buddhism? Those who believe in a God (or gods) try to live according to His (or her or their) will(s), as they understand it.

    • Shadrach Fire

      So right Len. The church behaves like the world and does whatever it wants and in keeping with the world, not in keeping with the Word of God.

  • “Bishop David Gillett isn’t stupid: you don’t become principal of a theological college – training the vicars and bishops of tomorrow – without spiritual discernment, intellectual maturity and theological wisdom.”
    Oh yes you do – as his blog clearly demonstrates.

    • Anton

      Snap! (See below.) I admit that I didn’t check his blog, though, and your extra work was certainly worthwhile. Five of the seven entries on his blog, including the three most recent, are approvals of same-sex marriage, and the latest entry is a piece of apostatising heresy about reconciling it with scripture.

      But am I not ruling out dialogue by calling his position apostatising heresy? Yes, you bet I am! I am, moreover, in a congregation that shares my view and I would be glad to see the CoE kick him out until or unless he repents.

    • David

      Yes. I’ve met many highly qualified, academically lauded even, academics who have almost zero common sense or feel for the reality of life. Churchill said of scientists, and he was thinking of the hyper-inteligent ‘boffins’, that the country needs, as having them “on tap, but not on top”. But this doesn’t just apply to only certain top academic scientists, as the Social Sciences are full of them.
      The C of E puts far too much emphasis on academic prowess as a criterion for selecting bishops. The bishops are drawn from far too narrow a range of people, and because it lacks the wider range of skills and talents, the episcopacy as a whole presents as a rarified, unreal collection of people totally unable to reach out and share the concerns of the majority. As evangelists most are useless, which is to ignore Jesus’ most direct, final command, to “go and baptise all nations”.

      • This particular bishop has referred to his baptism as his “naming ceremony”.

      • Anton

        As a physicist I dispute that the so-called social sciences are sciences at all.

        • Sybaseguru

          In my youth I innocently asked a Social Science professor at Durham what the purpose of Social Science was. His answer – “To train more Social Scientists”. Hmmm.

        • Maybe not but if it seeks truth based on collecting evidence and the use of logic and reason in understanding and analysing information, then it shares some characteristics with it. Some would say the physical sciences are not “science” either.

          • Anton

            If you wish to use a pre-17th century definition of the word in the 21st century then you will simply be misunderstood.

            So-called social scientists generally go in for Marxist analysis regardless of the evidence.

    • Martin

      HJ

      He’s a bishop in the CoE, do any of them have spiritual discernment?

    • Merchantman

      By their fruits shall you know them.

  • Dreadnaught

    I’m not surprised that the Bishop felt ‘ashamed’ in front of his EU loving chums, they live in a parallel academic universe to the 17.5 million who live in the world of reality that can see that not all people wear or would want to wear the same sized shoe.
    How anyone can remotely call the EU ‘democratic’ shows how little they know about the peoples to whom they wish to administer. He is a Christian who should have been running for his tinfoil-hat at the very mention of the word ‘interfaith’, the blanket coverall for keeping the population sedated while Islam spreads and deepens its roots into Europe; a direct result of EU policy that is pushing the indigenous population towards oblivion.
    How in the name of their God can they not see what is happening, not only to their own religion here and in the Middle East. Oh how I wish I could bloody well shake them violently by their throats, out of their smug righteousness: my consolation has to be that so very few will have noticed his dumb-arsed Tweet, to make it of no importance.

    • len

      I think many in the church and outside of the church are under some sort of hypnotic spell.
      This is The Great Delusion. Leading to The great Apostasy.
      It is tragic to see this happening and feeling there is so little one can do to break the spell these people are under.

      • David

        “hypnotic spell”
        Yes it appears to be something like that, as neither reason, evidence nor the strong yearning of the majority of the people to define and protect their identity can penetrate through to these distant, cold and less than rational people. The are absorbed within a belief system of their invention, named “progressivism”, in which they feel morally superior, and powerful even in some cases. The appeal for this is bound in with the fact that they alone define “progress”, and seek to impose it on all else.

  • Chefofsinners

    Gillett. Probably not the best that man can get.

    • ROFLHAO*

      Hilarious. Comment of the month secured on the second day.

      **Rolling on floor laughing his ashes off

      • Chefofsinners

        I think it was the Norman conquest that really unsettled me.

        • Anton

    • len

      Sharp as a razor Chef.

    • Gillett – disposable, ergonomic handles, bendy blades and suited to all contours.

      • Chefofsinners

        A little soft soap, some flannel…

      • Royinsouthwest

        Until recently I was always more of a Wilkinson Sword man myself but I’m afraid I cannot draw any theological conclusions from that.

        • Anton

          In that case you had a close shave!

          Gillette, however, sponsored the pioneering one-day cricket format among the counties beginning in the 1960s.

  • len

    Too many Bishops are ashamed of the full Gospel of Jesus Christ or they would preach it.

  • john in cheshire

    If it wasn’t for Henry VIII breaking away from Europe, this person would not have a job. Or does he think that was a mistake too for which he has to apologise to Europe and the Pope.

    • Mike Stallard

      As a Catholic, I find it amusing that a Protestant – Nationalist – Bishop should support the EU – a political unity which is deeply influenced both by Communist ideology and also the Catholic Church itself!

      • len

        A very confused protestant, probably doesn`t even know what he is protesting about?

      • Anton

        There are a few paranoid protestants who oppose the EU because they think it is a Catholic plot, but the fact is that the EU is virulently secular and doesn’t give two hoots about the Reformation.

      • David

        in its early days the EU was influenced by Catholic thought but it has been a thoroughly secular, Humanist organisation for decades now. Why the constitution even refuses to mention the facts of Europe’s Christian cultural origins.

    • Coniston

      Henry VIII did not break away from ‘Europe’, but from the Roman Church.

  • len

    I have seen so many people locked into a belief system that they have accepted as’ truth’ and nothing will convince them otherwise. It is quite remarkable.
    “What is truth”? said Pilate, when Truth stood before him. Truth didn`t answer, He had already spoken.

    ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'(John 14:6)

    If you do not accept the Truth (Jesus Christ) then you will accept the lie, any Lie, and you will make it yours and defend it against all odds.
    It is remarkable but God says that if you want the lie you shall have the Lie.

  • not a machine

    still ashamed !,,,, unusual language to apply to a democratic vote as some sort of dirty deed ,it brings to mind of how political should a priest and upwards in responsibility be.The trouble with politics is it is irresistible , and it takes hold of you and your flaws and can lead you to some very poor places in outcomes ,why politics fails is an interesting subject , but then as len said earlier about truth .some truths are very difficult .Democracy should in theory ,bring about more truth than other forms of government , but then you find there can be unhappiness in the system. I have watched the EU form of demos for some time ,the missing money is astonishing , the lobbying ,etc etc .I suggest the bishop finds someone to explain where money goes in the EU ,then he might ponder if that money could have been doing something else , then he might feel ashamed that he read so much of the wrong news and spin and if he asks about the countries themselves in debt were allowed to lend to countries in debt , a large scale financial action that has set a trajectory for the Euro tax payer to fund or anyone else they can get to pay for the financial escapades.
    I am ashamed we thought in 97 it was all ok and a bit of fiscal bulge in larger economy idea, it was much later on when I started to think , hold on but if you’ve lent to Y that will struggle to pay X how will it work ,, and then I watched Greece , true it had hideous debts in themselves bohemian and financial mismanagement , but decades to recover ? that to me was shameful and showed something of what the EU was about , so many people in ordinary economic systems , little farms , little shops and they have let it all vanish .strange in one sense the EU have done to poor economies what we saw as heavy industry changed .
    I don’t know how political a member of the clergy can be , I would hope they first see the flaws and any corruptions before they become in love with one flavor or another, nor am I sure if the clergy can answer political questions fully without being embarrassed.
    How many days to go before we are out , deal or no deal wonder if we should have a clock ,think I will have a drink on that day , freedom day …
    Have clamed down , I trust jesus even if I don’t get to know his ,Gods and the holy spirits moves .

  • vsscoles

    Gillett is only symptomatic of the rest of the episcopal tribe. It’s just that in retirement he lets the cat out of the bag by saying publicly what they all agree privately in “The Club”.

  • A World of Paine

    Perhaps Mr Gillett would find it easier to explain the result of the referendum to someone from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland or Greece. Most of these countries have experienced the EU for what it really is, a German hegemony, which imposes unemployment and austerity on fellow member of the ‘Club’ he admires so much. Countless millions condemned to economic misery would seem no to weigh much in the balance for this former bishop, but it is not a club I would want to support or sympathize with.

    • Anton

      I genuinely believe that the Germans don’t want it this way either, but that observation is additional to what you are saying and not at all against it. It is the classic relationship between debtor and creditor in which neither is happy, on the scale of nations.

  • William Lewis

    It is a shame that this CoE Bishop is unable or unwilling to support or assert the democratic sovereignty of the British people.

  • Anna

    “He tweeted last night that he is ashamed of the godlessness and immorality in our nation…”

    How right you are! There is much that should evoke shame, grief and contrition among Christian leaders, particularly because the churches have been complicit in the degradation of society. Yet, these bishops are more concerned with comparatively trivial matters, which have no moral importance. Indeed, the fact that Mr Gillett does not see separation from the godless and undemocratic EU as a reason to celebrate, shows a complete lack of discernment typical of CoE bishops.

  • Sybaseguru

    +David obviously would have preferred that Germany had won WW2, then we would have had German reunification across Europe. Perhaps he would like to propose a solution for Greece that Germany would accept and would give the Greek people hope. The EU has become Germany’s tool for conquering Europe – and now they will have to bear the full cost of their power grab or watch it go down in flames.

  • Anton

    On another subject, Vishnitz Girls School in north London, an Orthodox Jewish junior school, has just failed its third OFSTED inspection for not teaching about LGBT issues, despite doing well in all other respects. (The story is readily googlable by combining its name with OFSTED in the search.) Vishnitz faces removal from the State’s list of licensed schools, following which its continuation as a teaching institution would constitute a criminal offence.

    Here is the key question: Do Islamic schools for young girls in Britain teach LGBT stuff? If not, why have they not faced similar sanctions?

    I strongly suspect that OFSTED are told not to ask about it in Islamic schools.

  • TropicalAnglican

    ” If (God forbid) you happen to be a Trump-supporting, Conservative-voting Brexiteer…”

    Why would the bishops be anti-Trump? He’s harmless! (well, maybe not, if you are from the Crybaby News Network/Bigly Biased Corporation or equivalent). He only wants to defend your religious liberty!:

    “…My Administration will always support and defend your religious liberty. We don’t want to see God forced out of the public square, driven out of our schools or pushed out of our civic life … We want all children to have the opportunity to know the blessings of God…”

    Aren’t you [meaning the bishops] happy for your American brethren? Don’t you wish/hope/pray that PM May would take a tough stance against terrorism just like the US President (speaking at a Celebrate Freedom rally):

    “One of the most grave and dire threats to religious freedom in the world today is the threat of terrorism and specifically, it just seems, it’s called radical Islamic terrorism, and we cannot allow this terrorism and extremism to spread in our country or to find sanctuary on our shores or in our cities. We want to make sure anyone who seeks to join our country shares our values -”

    – What? WHAT? You signed the petition to ban Trump from entering the UK? Oh. I really have no idea why …

  • Jonathan

    Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Here is an assessment of Helmut Kohl by a German friend:

    That was the man who happened to be chancellor at the time of the unification, nothing more. All he did was to kowtow to all the powers while the true architect of the unification of Germany was Gorbatchow. He lied so convincingly to the German people that votes from the Eastern part made us suffer him for 2 additional parliament periods. He lied also to parliament or would have a convenient black out. He did not speak any English and even during his period of being chancellor there were numerous jokes about his stupidity. He demanded that any pupil finishing the Abitur would have to know the national anthem while he himself proved at Bitburg that he neither knew the words himself nor the melody.

    We also had the costly and completely unnecessary move of the capital to Berlin which everyone connects with dictatorship and terrorism [nobody outside Berlin wanted the move]. Yes, his famous sentence: “Nobody will be worse off because of the unification“. He destroyed my future in Germany and that of many others. Without him I would not have come to the UK. Don’t get me wrong, today I would not want to miss the experiences I have had here. He does not deserve the attention. Not to mention that he abandoned his first wife when she was very ill just to go to a wedding in Turkey. And he blocked contact with his sons and grandchildren for years. He was horribly bitter in the last few years, tried to prevent the publication of his biography because he fell out with the author.

    The architect of Europe? Sorry, but that was Willy Brandt. Clever? That was Helmut Schmidt. Yes, there are plenty of jokes about Angela Merkel [the speaking trouser suit] but they are never about her being stupid, very unlike Kohl.

  • Jon of GSG

    It strikes me that a lot of comments on this article – like many others – are calling into question whether David Gillett is a Christian or not, or even saying that he definitely isn’t, based on his views on the referendum and/or homosexuality.

    I’ve been reading some OT prophecy lately, as well as various prophecy websites for some time now (basically ever since the referendum) and although obviously you have to do a lot of sifting with modern-day prophecy, one thing has struck me and surprised me: when these modern prophecies talk about God’s judgement on various nations, including ours, many faults are mentioned specifically, but I’ve never yet seen homosexuality mentioned, nor ‘gay’ legislation. Rather, the same old Biblical priorities run through them all: things such as people genuinely offering their lives to him, care for the poor, care for the elderly, and – to my surprise, though I suppose it shouldn’t be – supporting Israel. I recall particularly one prophecy from New Zealand after one of the earthquakes there where this man felt God saying to him “that earthquake was my judgement” and the man – clearly an Evangelical of his time – said “was it because we have recently allowed gay marriage?” (or something similar) and God said – no, it’s because the NZ government has recently taken an action which undermines Israel’s position in the Middle East.

    Now on ABC’s site, anyone non-Christian coming in cold to read the comments could surely be forgiven for thinking that we believe God’s main preoccupation is what the gays are doing, and that a way you can tell whether someone is a Christian or not is their view on homosexuality. Whereas I think we know that neither of those things is true. But by giving this impression we diminish our faith and we diminish our God to the world. It just seems to me the most tremendous sin – all the greater as this blog is well known and widely read by people who don’t share our faith.

    Perhaps I can add one more thing (which I almost daren’t say because it sounds even more holier-than-thou than what I’ve already said) – I suppose what God wants most of all is a praying church, made up of people who are genuinely ‘chasing’ his presence and are willing to follow where he leads. I’ve always been struck, on those rare and short-lived occasions when I’ve approached that state, by how different God’s ways and leadings are to what I think they ought to be. I wonder, if the preoccupations of commenters on this site are indeed so out of line with God’s, whether it means we need to sound off less and pray more. Well, I know I certainly do.

    • Welcome to His Grace’s purgatory.

    • Anton

      At present heterosexual promiscuity does a lot more harm to society than homosexual promiscuity, no doubt. The reasons why homosexuality is such a hot topic are twofold: (1) gay marriage, something that no other culture in thousands of years of human history has recognised, and what that says about ours; (2) the increasing denial of peaceable freedom of speech to dissent about homosexuality (witness the threatened closure of Vishnitz School for Jewish girls, a little below). These are legitimate concerns, and Christians are merely reacting to what is going on – a fact that is easily forgotten.

      • Jon of GSG

        Yes, I’m sure that’s all true. What bothers me is when people start trying to use it as a means of determining who is and isn’t a real Christian, and when people start to think it’s more important an issue in that respect (or in any, really) than, say, caring for the weak. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said on here that our nation is under judgement because of our attitude to homosexuality – whereas I think that, if we are “under judgement” in that way, there must be many other things higher on God’s list such as the Rotherham child abuse, housing poor people in outsize roman candles and so on.
        I’m all for debate about important things, but think the sense of perspective on many comment threads is terribly distorted.

        • Anton

          About perspective, I do think that what is happening to street preachers and registrars today is negligible compared to the persecution that is to come, but I would like to reiterate that many of the threads are authentically Christian reactions to secular evils; we didn’t pick a fight.

          I consider that the nation is under judgement for family breakdown, actually, and that Islam’s rise is the impending judgement. Both are unprecedented in 500 years.

        • Maxine Schell

          If we weren’t sinners there would be no need to be Christian.

          • Jon of GSG

            No, quite. And we are all sinners! So we need to have humility rather than saying “you have this fault, so I’m going to judge that you’re not a Christian”.

    • Chefofsinners

      I fear you are reading the wrong prophecies, friend. Have you analysed the Apocalypse according to Anton? Looked into the Lamentations of Len? Or Penetrated the Annals of the Inspector General?

    • len

      It is easy to be pre occupied with the’ fruits’ of fallen man rather than ‘the root’ of the problem.
      God does not suggest that fallen man tries to be’ a better person’ because the failings of mankind are but the fruit of a more serious problem.
      God does not try and reform the sinner but crucifies him.
      Sounds a bit harsh? .I can hear the cries of protest. “But I am not like that sinner over there”.
      God knows that fallen man cannot be taught to ‘be good ‘because however hard he tries man cannot reform himself.
      So God wants to give man a new heart and a new nature. But this can only happen after man goes to the Cross. But the good news (the gospel)is that man doesn`t have to go to the cross himself because Jesus Christ has already gone there for fallen mankind.
      IF we accept Jesus Christ as our saviour, as out redeemer, than God has already placed our sins upon Christ and the way is cleared for us to receive that new nature, that new heart.

      But I suspect you already know this.

      Man tries to make the bad tree grow good fruit. Religion tries to reform a man.
      God grafts us onto a living tree that will always produce good fruit.

    • Maxine Schell

      I believe St.Paul lists homosexuality as a sin, along with fornication, adultury etc. No ranking as to what is worse.

      • Jon of GSG

        Yes, and that’s my point. If you follow the discussions on this blog, you could easily come to the conclusion that gay sex is the worst sin, the one that God is mostly preoccupied with.

        But on the other hand i think it’s an inescapable fact that, when you read the Bible as a whole, there are some sins which come up far more often than the others (such as the ones I mentioned above), especially in those bits which are God speaking directly to us – the prophets and the Gospels. And none of those sins is “gay”.