Libby Lane consecration
Church of England

Bishop Libby Lane – "a natural and normal development"

 

It is a curious thing to consider that the Rt Rev’d Libby Lane is not only the first woman to receive a bishop’s crosier in five centuries of the Church of England; she is also the first women to be consecrated bishop in the 1000-year history of York Minister. The new Bishop of Stockport said:

“My consecration service is not really about me. With echoes of practice which has been in place for hundreds of years in the church, it is a reminder that what I am about to embark on is shared by the bishops around me, by those who have gone before me and those who will come after. It places the ministry of a bishop in the context of the ministry of all God’s people. And most importantly it retells the good news of Jesus, the faithful one, who calls each of us to follow him.”

Thousands rejoiced and gave thanks for this innovation. As the Bishop of Chester the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster said, it is “a natural and normal development” in a church that changes “in a progressive but properly patient way”.

But there was one jarring note of dissonance. When the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu asked the assembled congregation if it was their will that Libby Lane should be consecrated bishop, a man came forward and declared that it was “not in the Bible”. He then muttered something about there being an “absolute impediment” before scuttling off toward the nearest transept.

There are undoubtedly clear ethical and ecclesial complexities in how best to apply millennia-old biblical teachings to modern society, and the Church of England has never shied away from doctrinal adaptation and liturgical adoption in order to forge a via media, even when such adaptation has brought it to the point of schism, and such adoption generated scorn and contempt from those who contend that the Church of England is counterfeit, and that Anglicanism a shallow corruption of true ecclesiology.

In The Community of Christian Character, Stanley Hauerwas articulates the traditional ‘high-church’ Anglo-Catholic belief that textual meaning is knowable only to those who participate in community, because only the Church “is capable of hearing the story of God we find in the scripture and living in a manner that is faithful to the story”. Thus readings of Scripture outside the context of the Church will merely underwrite the ideology of a politics concerned with individualism or self-indulgence.

But the ‘low-church’ wing of the Church of England tends toward the traditional Protestant idea that Scripture may challenge tradition, and individuals may seek scriptural enlightenment through discipleship and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. On the issue of women bishops – as in so many other matters – the Church of England has been torn between, on the one hand, rendering the biblical teaching irrelevant by emphasising the change in and uniqueness of contemporary society, and on the other, insisting that the Old or New Testament speaks to every circumstance, ignoring or refusing to acknowledge societal change.

The man who interrupted the consecration of the Church of England’s first woman bishop did so on the basis that women bishops are “not in the Bible”. One wonders if he is remotely aware of how so very much more Anglican ecclesiology is “not in the Bible”. Richard Hays, in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament, observes: “No matter how seriously the church may take the authority of the Bible, the slogan of sola scriptura is both conceptually and practically untenable.” And this must be true, for it is simply not possible to read and interpret Scripture apart from one’s own psyche, upbringing, education or the contemporary social context: we bring to each verse our own baggage of intellectual limitations, historical ignorance and emotional or spiritual deficiencies. And since we already have male bishops who prefer to scoff at those who disagree with them and lord it over their flocks rather than serve with humility; and since we have long had male bishops who preach heresy and cynically foment rebellion and division, the gender of the bishop might appear to be a secondary if not utterly peripheral issue.

Is it not preferable to be led by a God-fearing and faithful woman than a sneering, self-obsessed and heretically-inclined man? And that is not to say that a woman may be any less inclined to faithlessness or heresy, but time and again in Scripture the Lord raises up women to lead where the men have failed. Might He not audaciously do so again?

This is not so much about creating greater equality between the sexes in the Church of England, though today’s consecration certainly moves toward that end. It is about sensitivity to tradition in a world of constant change. By consecrating women as bishops while allowing space for those parishes that wish to continue under the authority of a male bishop to do so, we arrive at one of those gloriously Anglican viae mediae. The principal dissenters now are those who zealously insist that the legislation does not grant a female bishop full authority in her own diocese, and so there is no gender parity to speak of and so no true equality at all.

But such people tend to be more obsessed with their own opinion than with the gospel of Christ and the salvation of souls. Women bishops are indeed a natural and normal development, and – whether or not you agree – Bishop Libby has been consecrated in accordance with Church of England’s Canon Law, by the will of the General Synod and with the assent of The Supreme Governor. She needs our prayers; not contempt, censure or scorn.

  • Pinker

    The Rt Rev Libby Lane is not “destined to be fast-tracked to become the first Lady Bishop to enter the House of Lords”. That destiny awaits the first female Diocesan bishop in the Church of England (my money’s on Gloucester by the way).

    • Arden Forester

      As I understand it they will be called Lord Bishop, Lady Bishop being the wife of anyone called Lord Bishop.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Now you’re making trouble, aren’t you. Tee hee.

        • IanCad

          So, her husband is now Lady Bishop?!

          • The Explorer

            Love it!

      • Linus

        Look at the etymology of “lord” and you’ll see there’s no reason why it can’t be applied to a woman. A “hlaf weard” or “loaf warden” doesn’t have to be a man.

        Of course that also means a lady (“hlaf dæge” or “loaf kneader”) doesn’t have to be a woman.

        So if Mrs Lane is now my Lord Bishop, then is Mr Lane, if there is such a person, my Lady Bishop?

        I hope so. It would put paid to all that nonsense about Philip Mountbatten not being a queen…

        • Arden Forester

          There is a Mr Lane. He is the chaplain of Manchester Airport.

          • Nick

            No way! This is nepotism! (it’s as bad and as worldly
            as sexism – eradicate it now!).

        • The Explorer

          Quite true. C S Lewis cites Courtly Love as the feudalisation of love. The lover addresses the lady as ‘midons’, “which etymologically represents not ‘my lady’ but ‘my lord'”.

        • Pubcrawler

          Etymology does not trump usage.

      • Inspector General

        How about calling them what they are, to wit, High Priestesses. That way you won’t confuse them with bishops…

    • You are quite right – already corrected.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Please remind me why the Bishop of Gloucester has recently and so suddenly retired early?

  • Arden Forester

    It is obviously a development but it can in no way be seen as a normal one. This will always be seen as a divisive issue as it is a huge impediment to Christian unity. However, it would be churlish in the extreme not to allow Libby Lane her day of personal fulfillment.

    Pope Francis tells us that we must continue to strive for unity. That we must. However, it is a hard road to travel. Conscience has its costs and its burdens. Those of us (the vast majority of the Universal Church) who maintain the traditional teaching of the Sacrament of Holy Order should not resort to triumphalism or ecclestiastical innuendo but endeavour to come together whilst holding to the Truth as we see it.

  • Anton

    This is not about sola scriptura. That issue concerns whether other material should be taken as of equal authority with scripture. The present issue is whether scripture should be obeyed or not, for St Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Tim 3) that an episkopos should run HIS family well. to liberals who muddy the water about how to obey scripture, I say: These are the same scriptures you accept about Jesus Christ being crucified; on what grounds do you accept those and reject these?

    How long before a coronation has to be delayed because the Archbishop of Canterbury is too heavily pregnant?

    • Stracathro

      Unfortunately, your last sentence takes away any credibility your objections may otherwise hold.

      I will say though that the debate about scriptural authority is not between sola scripture and those who wish ‘other material’ to be given equal authority. Scripture will always be paramount, the debate is about whether it is reasonable to update the contexts of certain passages. It is a valid debate, but it does not follow that modernisers question the primacy of scripture in the Church or Christian life.

      • Anton

        That’s what the liberals always say, but they actually speak different languages amongst themselves and to the flock. Why, by the way, do you believe my rhetorical flourish invalidates my earlier point?

        • Stracathro

          Because your ‘rhetorical flourish’ is overt sexism and irrelevant to the question at hand. Would you oppose a widowed male Bishop because he might have to leave his flock to pick the kids up from school?

          Quite honestly, if someone holds a strict ‘sola scripture’ position then I think the onus is on them to say how such a view is practical.

          • Anton

            If you hold that view then much in the Bible is “overt sexism” and I suggest that you take it up with God, not me.

          • He’s correct, Anton. That a woman might be pregnant is not the Biblical. You need to draw a distinction between the patriarchal structure and metaphors communicated in the Word of God as His plan and misogyny.

          • Anton

            Come come Jack, I suspect my comment gave you a good laugh as indicating the superiority of the Church of Rome to the Church of England over the matter of episcopal gender.

          • It was amusing when you posted it originally on another thread. Here, it just gives ammunition to radical feminists who want to bring down the patriarchal order. Jack believes the Church of England in is error. However, he is concerned that it is losing its moral authority in Britain.

  • grutchyngfysch

    ” only the Church “is capable of hearing the story of God we find in the scripture and living in a manner that is faithful to the story”.”

    Wouldn’t leave much room for a voice crying in the wilderness, would it?

    “…the Lord raises up women to lead where the men have failed”

    So, the point that the CofE hierarchy is a failure is now conceded?

  • Rodney Gilmour

    pace Anton but can anyone point to male pronouns in the original Greek of 1 Timothy 3 (or Titus 1)?

    • Anton

      Not sure about pronouns but 1 Tim 3:2 says that the episkopos should be a husband of but one wife (literally, in the words of a song, a “one-woman man”). That establishes it.

      • Rodney Gilmour

        I understand that one woman man should be taken together, in the Greek, therefore it rules out polygamists from the office and does not rule out those who are unmarried.

        And did Paul write I do not permit, or I am not permitting (given the false teaching of unschooled female preachers leading others astray)

        • The point that Anton is making is that the Bishop should be a ‘one woman man.’ The noun here is aner, meaning a male. had Paul intended to leave the gender of the Bishop open, he would have used the word anthropos.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

    The only way one can overcome the words of Scripture (above) is to deny that Scripture is indeed the Word of God, or state that it is in error – which is logically the same thing, as God cannot be in error. So, in human terms some may think it normal and natural, but God’s Word says otherwise.

    “Bishop Libby has been consecrated in accordance with Church of England’s Canon Law, by the will of the General Synod and with the assent of The Supreme Governor.”
    But not in accordance with Scripture. Something is therefore seriously askew.

    • Stracathro

      I hope His Grace will forgive the length of this reply but I believe the content is worthwhile. The following is an excerpt from an article by Catherine Booth – Co-founder of the Salvation Army – entitled ‘A Women’s Right to Preach the Gospel’. The full article can be found here: http://www.cresourcei.org/cbooth.html

      “Another passage frequently cited as prohibitory of female labour in the Church, is 1 Timothy 2:12, 13. Though we have never met with the slightest proof that this text has any reference to the public exercises of women; nevertheless, as it is often quoted, we will give it a fair and thorough examination. “It is primarily an injunction,” says the Rev. J. H. Robinson, “respecting her personal behavior at home. It stands in connection with precepts respecting her apparel and her domestic position; especially her relation to her husband. No one will suppose that the apostle forbids a woman to ‘teach’ absolutely and universally. Even objectors would allow her to teach her own sex in private; they would let her teach her servants and children, and perhaps, her husband too. If he were ignorant of the Saviour, might she not teach him the way to Christ? If she were acquainted with languages, arts or sciences, which he did not know, might she not teach him these things? Certainly she might! The ‘teaching,’ therefore which is forbidden by the apostle, is not every kind of teaching any more than, in the previous instance, his prohibition of speaking applied to every kind of speaking in the Church; but it is such teaching as is domineering, and as involves the usurpation of authority over the man. This is the only teaching forbidden by St. Paul in the passage under consideration.”

      “If this passage be not a prohibition of every kind of teaching, we can only ascertain what kind of teaching is forbidden by the modifying expressions with which didaskein stands associated: and, for anything these modifying expressions affirm to the contrary, her teaching may be public, reiterated, urgent, and may comprehend a variety of subjects, provided it be not dictatorial, domineering, nor vociferous; for then, and then only, would it be incompatible with her obedience.”

      “The Rev. Dr. Taft says, “This passage should be rendered ‘I suffer not a woman to teach by usurping authority over the man.’ This rendering removes all the difficulties and contradictions involved in the ordinary reading, and evidently gives the meaning of the apostle.” “If the nature of society,” says the same writer, “its good and prosperity; in which women are jointly and equally concerned with men; if in many cases their fitness and capacity for instructors, being admitted to be equal to the other sex, be not reasons sufficient to convince the candid reader of woman’s right to preach and teach because of two texts in Paul’s epistles, let him consult the paraphrase of Locke, where he has proved to a demonstration that the apostle, in these texts, never intended to prohibit women from praying and preaching in the Church provided they were dressed as became women professing godliness, and were qualified for the sacred office.”

      “It will be found,” says another writer, “by an examination of this text with its connections, that the teaching here alluded to stands in necessary connection with usurping authority, as though the apostle had said, the gospel does not alter the relation of women in view of priority, for Adam was first formed, then Eve.”

      “This prohibition,” says the before-named barrister, “refers exclusively to the private life and domestic character of woman, and simply means that an ignorant or unruly woman is not to force her opinions on the man whether he will or no. It has no reference whatever to good women living in obedience to God and their husbands, or to women sent out to preach the gospel by the call of the Holy Spirit.”

      “If this context is allowed to fix the meaning of didaskein in this text, as it would in any other, there can be no doubt in any honest mind that the above is the only consistent interpretation; and if it be, then this prohibition has no bearing whatever on the religious exercise of women led and taught of the Spirit of God: and we cannot forbear asking on whose skirts the mischief resulting from the false application of this text will be found? Thank God the day is dawning with respect to this subject. Women are studying and investigating for themselves. They are claiming to be recognized as responsible human beings, answerable to GOD for their convictions of duty; and, urged by the Divine Spirit they are overstepping those unscriptural barriers which the Church has so long reared against its performance.

      “Whether the Church will allow women to speak in her assemblies can only be a question of time; common sense, public opinion, and the blessed results of female agency will force her to give us an honest and impartial rendering of the solitary text on which she grounds her prohibitions. Then, when the true light shines and God’s words take the place of man’s traditions, the Doctor of Divinity who shall teach that Paul commands woman to be silent when God’s Spirit urges her to speak, will be regarded much the same as we should now regard an astronomer who should teach that the sun is the earth’s satellite.

      “Another argument urged against female preaching is, that it is unnecessary; that there is plenty of scope for her efforts in private, in visiting the sick and poor and working for the temporalities of the Church. Doubtless woman ought to be thankful for any sphere for benefiting her race and glorifying God. But we cannot be blind to the supreme selfishness of making her so welcome to the hidden toil and self-sacrifice, the hewing of wood and the drawing of water, the watching and waiting, the reproach and persecution attaching to her Master’s service, without allowing her a tittle of the honour which He has attached to the ministration of His gospel.

      “Here, again, man’s theory and God’s order are at variance. God says, “Them that honour me I will honour.” Our Lord links the joy with the suffering, the glory with the shame, the exaltation with the humiliation, the crown with the cross, the finding of life with the losing of it. Nor did He manifest any such horror at female publicity in His cause as many of His professed people appear to entertain in these days. We have no intimation of His reproving the Samaritan woman for her public proclamation of Him to her countrymen; not of His rebuking the women who followed Him amidst a taunting mob on His way to the cross. And yet, surely, privacy was their proper sphere. On one occasion He didsay, with reference to a woman, “Verily, I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matt. 26:12; see also Luke 7:37-50).

      “As to the obligation devolving on woman to labour for her Master, I presume there will be no controversy. The particular sphere in which each individual shall do this must be dictated by the teachings of the Holy Spirit and the gifts with which God has endowed her. If she have the necessary gifts, and feels herself called by the Spirit to preach, there is not a single word in the whole book of God to restrain her, but many, very many to urge and encourage her. God says she shall do so, and Paul prescribes the manner in which she shall do it, and Phebe, Junia, Philip’s four daughters, and many other women actually did preach and speak in the primitive Churches.

      “If this had not been the case, there would have been less freedom under the new than under the old dispensation. A greater paucity of gifts and agencies under the Spirit than under the law. Fewer labourers when more work to be done. Instead of the destruction of caste and division between the priesthood and the people, and the setting up of a spiritual kingdom in which all true believers were “kings and priests unto God,” the division would have been more stringent and the disabilities of the common people greater. Whereas we are told again and again in effect, that in “Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free, male nor female, but ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

      • Graham Wood

        Stracathro. You covered much ground in your post, but I agree with the argument you make, and have studied this in some depth over a period of years.

        I believe one of your central points about the ‘prohibition’ on women is right – “It is primarily an injunction,” says the Rev. J. H. Robinson, “respecting her personal behavior at home.”
        As you say, many Christian women have now explored and written soundly biblical exegesis of the disputed passages. Are you familiar with Dr Jon Zens great little contribution? “What’s With Paul & Women? Sub headed “Unlocking the cultural background to 1 Timothy 2.
        Very readable, conservative theologically, and very highly commended by reviewers.

        • Coniston

          C. S. Lewis’ essay ‘Priestesses in the Church?’ sets out the arguments succinctly.

      • Phil R

        There are a number of issues with this post, most notiably the last line.

        “Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free, male nor female, but ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

        Clearly this was referring to salvation.

        IF this is God’s will we can expect the CofE to flourish from now on, turn the corner etc…

        What we can expect if we look at other Anglican’s who have gone this road is not so much the homosexual marriage etc that will surely follow.

        Rather the further damage to families that the exit of men will bring to the Church.

        It is interesting and sad that the main groups that will suffer from her appointment is women and children as men further abnegate their roles in the family and Church.

        • The feminisation of the Catholic Church has been mooted as a significant reason for its decline in recent decades. There is a study somewhere (?) indicating that there is a high correlation between father’s attending Church and their children doing so in later life. It wasn’t significant n respect of mothers.

          • Phil R

            It was a Swiss Study and the results were startling

            If the mother only brings her kids 20% will go on to become Christians. father only this jumps to 60%. Both parents mother leading, 80%. If the father takes the lead and both parents go the results are nearer 95%. I will dig out the survey.

            My wife has often stated that few “real men” (her words) go to Church. Most are feminised and she says and as a result are very much second best from the woman’s perspective.

            I state that many of the men seem to meet and get married in the Church. She laughs and states that this is only the case because there are so few of them in comparison with women.

            This is an Anglican Church. I am sure that the Catholics are different..!

          • Thank you, Phil.

          • Phil R

            http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-05-024-v

            http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/january-23rd-2015/the-church-cant-flourish-without-fathers/

            Comment in the Catholic article

            Jacobi

            Jacobi

            a day ago

            Mark you, another woman, this morning after Mass, took the line that the Church was de-masculinised, rather than than feminised.

            She said she expected the male priesthood to be masculine in its
            proclamation and defense of the Gospel, and attributed this
            de-masculinisation the widespread homosexual influence in the recent
            Church.

            This reminded me of a period when as Anglophones on the
            Continent, we attended a church served by an order of ex-pat priests all of whom were openly homosexual.

            The congregation treated the whole thing as a joke and the concept of the Mass quickly dissolved into a Sunday morning coffee session.

            One thing leads to another!

          • Cressida de Nova

            Explain (briefly) the feminisation of the Catholic Church and how it is responsible for its decline. Sadly what you are saying is you support the historical position of women being treated as slaves. You really need to rethink this position if you are going to embrace Catholicism in its true essence …all are equal in the eyes of God thus should be in the eyes of man as well !

          • “Sadly what you are saying is you support the historical position of women being treated as slaves.”

            Jack means nothing of the sort, Cressida. Please don’t go all radical feminist.

            Here’s the interview with Cardinal Burke. Read it all. Some points Jack disagrees with but essentially he agrees.

            http://www.newemangelization.com/uncategorized/cardinal-raymond-leo-burke-on-the-catholic-man-crisis-and-what-to-do-about-it/

          • Cressida de Nova

            Thanks for this. Cardinal Burke made some very good points about the inadequate religious education Catholics have received since V 2 ,the emphasis on materialism and porn in society and the introduction of the Mickey Mouse Mass. However his overall view that men are intrinsically intelligent and women are not is essentially flawed and very much demonstrates his ignorance …. a good reason for ensuring that aspiring priests should be required to have a certain number of years in the work force ,out in the real world before entering a seminary to become priests.

          • There’s a difference between rational rigour and emotional intelligence, Cressida. This is a point, the Cardinal appears to be making rather clumsily. Has he a point about girls and boys? Jack thinks so. His article just a good edit.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You are subscribing to that old misogynist theory that women have instinctive emotional intelligence and men have a rational sense of logic and are capable of deductive thought without the overload of emotion. Not true. Most people are of average intelligence. Only 10% have higher intelligence…women included. Intelligent women are as appalled as intelligent men are, at the advent of Kiddy Korna Catholicism.
            There are just not that many of us …in the same way that there are not that many of you either…so pull your together or I’ll box your metaphorical Irish Catholic ears 🙂

          • What Jack is saying is that men and women are different – physically, mentally and emotionally. Not ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ – just different. Our brains are different and the way we see, think, feel and view the world, are different. Men and women need to complement one another and work together.

            The Church needs the influence of women. It also needs men to remain masculine. Women really have no place serving at Mass, reading the New Testament to the congregation or distributing Holy Communion. The ‘Church of Nice’ has its origins in an effeminate outlook.

            There was a time when Nuns were common and provided much needed friendship, support and advice to parish Priests and to parishioners. One of the saddest developments in Catholicism has been the decline of vocations amongst women and the rise of radical feminism amongst existing “sisters”.

            A little test:

            There is a mute who wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing one’s teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done.

            Now, if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses, how should he express himself?

      • Martin

        Stracathro

        And we see the sorry state the SA is in today. I’m afraid Catherine Booth is not a person with the right to claim this position.

  • Uncle Brian

    One of the many things that are not in the Bible is the doctrine of sola scriptura.

    • Graham Wood

      Presumably you have a view as to why you think this is the case?.
      Sola Scriptura has been a received doctrine of the church (liberal theologians excepted) for centuries.
      The ground for asserting the primacy of Scripture over the words of men, or tradition are so well rehearsed that unless you have something expressly new by way of a contrary view it is likely to have been explored and refuted long ago.
      Incidentally what do you make of Jesus’ reply to Satan (Matthew 4)
      “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” ?
      The fact that Jesus answered each and every one of the Satanic suggestions with Old Testament Scriptures suggests, as indeed the rest of the NT assumes, that the Word of God is normative for all in terms of “doctrine, reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness”.
      A comprehensive framework, not one in which we pick and choose.

      • Not only is it not in the bible, it is also contradicted by scripture. Scripture is a source for “correction, and for instruction in righteousness” but this is insufficient in itself. Jesus established a New Covenant and a New Church.

        • Graham Wood

          HJ Which scripture? Of course Jesus established a New Covenant, but that is hardly relevant to the issue is it?
          Perhaps you could elaborate?

          • Jack is quoting, very selectively, from 2 Tim. 3:16. ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [or ‘God-breathed’] and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.’

            The word of God alone comes directly from God; it alone is the standard for doctrine; it alone equips Christians thoroughly for every good work.

          • Even the full passage is insufficient in establishing scripture alone is the exclusive basis for doctrine.

            “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”
            (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

            This passage doesn’t teach formal sufficiency, which excludes a binding, authoritative role for Tradition and the Church. The overall context of this passage sees Saint Paul makes reference to oral Tradition three times.
            (2 Tim. 1:13-14, 2:2, 3:14)

            If 2 Timothy 3 proves the sole sufficiency of Scripture, then does Ephesians 4 prove the sufficiency of pastors and teachers for the attainment of Christian perfection? In Ephesians 4, the Christian believer is equipped, built up, brought into unity and mature manhood, and even preserved from doctrinal confusion by means of the teaching function of the Church.

            “And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ”
            (Eph. 4:11-15).

            This is a far stronger statement of the perfecting of the saints than 2 Timothy 3, yet it does not even mention Scripture. If all non-scriptural elements are excluded in 2 Timothy, then, by analogy, Scripture would logically have to be excluded in Ephesians. It is far more reasonable to recognize that the absence of one or more elements in one passage does not mean that they are nonexistent. The Church and Scripture are both equally necessary and important for teaching.

            Jesus Himself and Saint Paul appealed to authority outside of written revelation.

            The reference to “He shall be called a Nazarene” cannot be found in the Old Testament, yet it was “spoken by the prophets” (Matt. 2:23). Therefore, this prophecy, which is considered to be “God’s word,” was passed down orally rather than through Scripture.

            In Matthew 23:2-3, Jesus teaches that the scribes and Pharisees have a legitimate, binding authority based “on Moses’ seat,” but this phrase or idea cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament. It is found in the (originally oral) Mishnah, which teaches a sort of “teaching succession” from Moses on down.

            In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul refers to a rock that “followed” the Jews through the Sinai wilderness. The Old Testament says nothing about such miraculous movement. But rabbinic tradition does.

            “As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses” (2 Tim. 3:8). These two men cannot be found in the related Old Testament passage (cf. Ex. 7:8ff.) or anywhere else in the Old Testament.

            The Apostles clearly exercised authority at the Council of Jerusalem. In the Council, we see Peter and James speaking with authority. This Council makes an authoritative pronouncement, citing the Holy Spirit, that was binding on all Christians. We then read that Paul, Timothy, and Silas were traveling around “through the cities,” and Scripture says that “they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem”.

          • We then read that Paul, Timothy, and Silas were traveling around “through the cities,” and Scripture says that “they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem”.

            Would you kindly give me chapter and verse for this?

          • Acts 16:4

            “And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.”
            (King James)

            “And as they passed through the cities, they delivered unto them the decrees for to keep, that were decreed by the apostles and ancients who were at Jerusalem.”
            (Douay-Rheims)

          • Thank you, Jack. I was looking at Acts 15.
            So many posts have come and gone since I asked that I’ve forgotten why I did so.

          • Neihan

            Happy Jack will, I hope, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that when St. Paul wrote to bishop St. Timothy the word “scripture” could not have been intended to include the books of the New Testament, given that some were at that point unwritten (and the Church had not yet even begun the work of forming the canon of the New Testament).

            So, then, Neihan wonders if the rational consequence to an appeal to second Timothy as supporting the heresy of sola scriptura is that the adherents of the heresy must only allow for the authority of the Septuagint. Even when Neihan was a Protestant he found the idea of sola scriptura to be odd and insupportable by scripture. No doubt the learned Protestants here have heard this sort of reasoning before, and I hope they will set me straight if I have confused the matter.

          • Welcome good Neilhan. You are, of course, quite correct in the very astute point you make.
            Though this be a protestant site, you will find most here better versed in Scripture and more committed to the Word of God than some visiting those odd sites Jack’s visited of late that use the title ‘Catholic’.

          • Neihan

            I have, through you, been reading through this site for a week or two now. It is pleasant. I have always had far more affection, love, and sense of brotherhood with Protestants who despise the Church yet love Christ and the scriptures than with nominal Catholics who reject the Catholic faith. One respects one’s sincere enemies (I use the term affectionately and brotherly), but it takes a much more charitable man than I am to not despise a quisling.

            Feuding brothers reconcile when a madman is at the door, as the saying goes.

          • It’s a good site, Neihan. At least atheists state their lack of belief openly here and those who oppose the Catholic Church do likewise. No censorship here either and its not overrun with demented radical feminists.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I am recruiting some as you speak !

          • You have noooo idea about some of those Jack has encountered on his mid-winter excursions.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You should not visit sites like that….your brain will become a festering pustule contaminated by the activites of these diseased sick creatures.
            They are boring and imaginatively limited.

          • Happy Jack understood them to be ‘liberal Catholic’ sites. He was genuinely shocked and distressed by the hatred directed at the Catholic Church.

          • Nick

            It’s a heresy?! This is awful – we can’t keep accusing each other of heresy when the very scriptures we argue about emphasise love, mercy and kindness.

            Maybe we are all in error but only some of us know it.

          • Neihan

            It is, indeed, a heresy, but a material one rather than a formal one for, I assume, all those who now hold to it. However, since every Protestant knows that sola scriptura is contrary to Catholic doctrine there was little point in my including the designation. It is a force of habit when discussing a teaching to refer to right teaching as “doctrine” and wrong teaching as “heresy.” Without retracting the designation I nevertheless apologize for and hope you will forgive any offense against charity which I have given.

          • Martin

            Neihan

            Clearly Peter regarded Paul’s writing as Scripture:

            Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

            (II Peter 1:14-18 [ESV])

          • Neihan

            A good point; I had forgotten about this verse. Also, a quick correction (in case you would like to edit your post for those who want to look up the verses): II Peter 3:14-18.

          • You should also be aware that Paul quotes from the Gospel of Luke (10:7) in 1 Tim. 5:18 and treats it in just the same way as Deut 25:4.

          • Martin

            Neihan

            I was using Bible reading software called Xiphos and didn’t edit that line so it is very odd, that it should change the chapter!

            Not sure what you are saying, since I was quoting Peter.

            I’d say we all wish we were more familiar with Scripture.

          • Neihan

            Yes, I was jumping back to second Timothy which contains the verse I often hear quoted in support of sola scriptura. My questions namely being what is St. Paul referring to when he uses the term “scripture” (I, perhaps naively, assume the Septuagint) and how do we know for certain?

            This is important, because if sola scriptura is true then it seems to me imperative to come to know which books compose the scriptures, but I see no way of doing that within the scriptures themselves. Even considering what St. Peter wrote.

            Is the canon listed in scriptures, or is the canon an extra-scriptural tradition? If the latter, and given sola scriptura, how can I be sure if the canon of scripture is correct? The Protestants removed books from the Bible. By what authority was this done, and what scripture verses did they utilize in order to determine that these books were not part of the canon of scripture? Can more books be removed, or more added (assuming the Apocalypse’s final lines are specific to Apocalypse)? If, for instance, we find more of St. Paul’s writings then, as per St. Peter, do we revise the canon?

          • Martin

            Neihan

            As I pointed out, Peter clearly regarded Paul’s writings as Scripture, and the generally accepted rule is that what was written by the apostles, or under the authority of the apostles and accepted as such by the churches of that day is Scripture. So the churches then knew which books were Scripture and this was passed on until it was formally accepted in a council

            The Reformers did not remove books from the Bible, they kept those books that had always been part of the Bible.

            But do you not realise that sola scriptura is precisely what Peter is supporting in the quote above, and Jesus’ use of Scripture is quite clearly the same.

          • Graham Wood

            HJ.

            “This passage doesn’t teach formal sufficiency, which excludes a binding, authoritative role for Tradition and the Church”

            With respect, 2 Tim 3: 16 does just that. I think you will find that the concept of following a church tradition is NEVER taught once in the NT.

            There is one possible exception found in the text you quote elsewhere – in 2 Thess.3:5 where Paul exhorts the Thessalonian believers to follow after “the tradition which he received from us”. But of course that is Apostolic tradition and therefore uniquely binding and authoritative and is not a reference to later “church tradition”.

            But you will perhaps also be aware that the NT gives us many warnings about the negative and corrupting effect of the “traditions of men” as opposed to the Word of God.

            This means that ecclesiastical traditions and private theological speculations must never be identified with the Word of God, but are to be classed among the words of men which the Word of God must reform.

            You will know too that there are several instances of Jesus Himself rebuking the Pharisees in the Gospels for their emphasis on their tradition – Hence the replies from Jesus to them – “Ye have heard it said (in their traditional Rabbinic interpretation of the law of Moses)…. but I say unto you…”

            Similarly, warnings come from the Apostle Paul who explicitly refers to the “traditions of men” in Colossians 2:8 and v.18. Also Peter’s warning likewise – 1 Peter 1:18.

          • There are other passages supporting Tradition:

            “If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.”
            (2 Thess. 3:14)

            “Take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.”
            (Rom. 16:17)
            There are also passages supporting the Church and its Apostolic hierarchy as guardians of Church truth.

            As for the “traditions of men”, surely this is a warning against the corrupt traditions of men (Matt. 15:2-6; Mark 7:8-13; Col. 2:8). Apostolic Tradition is also endorsed positively. This Tradition is in harmony with and consistent with Scripture. Scripture is the final judge of Tradition, but it does not rule out all binding Tradition or Church authority in teaching and in illuminating Scripture. (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:13-14, 2:2)

            Those who accept sola scriptura as their rule of faith appeal to the Bible. If they are asked why one should believe in a particular denominational teaching rather than another, each will appeal to “the Bible’s clear teaching.” Simply “going to the Bible” hasn’t worked. One can go to the Bible and come up with another doctrinal version of some disputed doctrine to add to the list. One either believes there is one truth in any given theological dispute or adopt a relativist or indifferentist position, where contradictions are fine or the doctrine is so minor that differences don’t matter.
            The Bible doesn’t teach that whole categories of doctrines are minor and that Christians can disagree or agree not to disagree in such an arbitrary fashion. Indeed, denominationalism and divisions are condemned. The only conclusion we can reach from the Bible is that the Bible, the Church, and Tradition are all necessary to arrive at truth.

          • grutchyngfysch

            I’ll not rehearse old arguments in their entirety, but suffice to say it is about what norms what. Do Protestants have traditions (of reception, interpretation and practice) – yes, of course. Can Protestants elevate those traditions above Scripture and insist on the latter being read through the former? If so, they have missed the point of Sola Scriptura by a mile.

            The oft-rehearsed argument that Sola Scriptura is itself non-Biblical fails to adequately address what Sola Scriptura is: it is not another interpretative layer or a replacement Tradition – Rome wasn’t renounced to set up a New Rome – it’s a clear statement about the hierarchy of truth: if it’s not in God’s Word then at best it is ancillary.

            By all means, pay respect at traditions that endue one’s journey with God with greater insight, meaning, wisdom – whatever – but the minute that one of those traditions transgresses the boundaries set by Scripture, or imposes burdens on Salvation not given by Scripture, it has erred, and gravely so.

          • “Can Protestants elevate those traditions above Scripture and insist on the latter being read through the former?”

            That isn’t an accurate representation of Tradition as understood by Catholics. It rests on the belief that Jesus taught the Apostles many insights that were not explicitly written in Scripture – but were there to be discerned in Scripture – and that He gave them authority and sent the Holy Spirit to guide them and their successors in discerning and teaching “all Truth”.

            “By all means, pay respect at traditions that endue one’s journey with God with greater insight, meaning, wisdom – whatever – but the minute that one of those traditions transgresses the boundaries set by Scripture, or imposes burdens on Salvation not given by Scripture, it has erred, and gravely so.”
            But who has the authority to decide what transgresses Scripture or what is revealed in it? Individuals? Local churches? Or the Body of Christ, working together in unity through its laity, Priests, Bishops and the Pope?

          • Graham Wood

            “The only conclusion we can reach from the Bible is that the Bible, the Church, and Tradition are all necessary to arrive at truth.”
            HJ I suggest that is not so. There cannot be three sources of authority all equal and authoritative for Scripture itself contradicts such an assertion.
            Jesus Himself is “the Truth”. He Himself referred to His Word as being “the Truth” – “Thy word is truth” .
            This means that tradition, whether a good one or otherwise must be subservient to the final authority vested in the Word of God. Why?
            Because the Church on earth consists of imperfectly sanctified sinners, there are always defects in the lives of its members, both corporately and individually which cause error, mistakes and omissions in belief and behaviour.
            So, it is the Word of God to which final appeal must be made and the history of all churches, before and after the Reformation is witness to their capacity to err.
            In a word, Scripture is sufficient. (the issue of interpretation is another matter for another time).

          • “In a word, Scripture is sufficient.”, you say Graham. However, Scripture says no such thing.

          • Graham Wood

            HJ Whilst the word “sufficiency” is not itself present in the NT the concept is fully there in many texts of Scripture, principally 2 Timothy 3:16 the which has already been quoted here.
            The Greek for “inspiration” (theopneustos) in the verse means God breathed, and as such therefore requires no additional words or traditions of men.
            It is sufficient then, for all to find the truth about God, about Jesus Christ, about the way of salvation, about heaven and hell, and all spiritual counsel for living the Christian life.
            Contrarily if it is somehow insufficient for these issues then it must be deficient and not to be trusted – surely you cannot be suggesting that?
            Scripture itself warns us about a dependence on the traditions of men in Colossians 2:8 and Galatians 1:14.
            There is, as you quoted, Apostolic tradition, but then they too were guided and led by the Holy Spirit to pen Scripture.

          • All these points have been addressed elsewhere on the thread, particularly the passages you have cited, and left unanswered, Graham.

          • Graham Wood

            MM Fully agree with your comment. It seems we have here a full blown discussion on the nature of the Word of God, and that of tradition.
            I like your emphasis on “alone” which is one that the Protestant Reformers frequently used as opposed to the idea that Scripture is not sufficient of itself as a source of authority in all matters of faith and practice, but needs to be supplemented by “church tradition”. I could not disagree more with that assumption!
            The Reformers reiterated with a useful summary, namely
            Salvation is based on : Scripture alone.
            By faith alone,
            In Christ alone (without any meritorious works of the law or otherwise contributing)
            I have added a bit more in my reply to HJ below.

          • Graham Wood

            MM. As a brief follow-up to your comment. I have just re-discovered a wonderful and relevant quote from the witness of John Wesley. I think you will appreciate it:
            “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven… God himself has condescended to teach the way….. He has written it down in a book. O give me that book: At any price give me the book of God!
            I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. I sit down alone: only God is here. In His presence I open , I read his book: for this end, to find the way to heaven……
            Does anything appear dark and intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights.. I then search after and consider parallel passages….. I meditate thereon…. if any doubt still remains I consult those who are experienced in the things of God: and then the writings whereby, being dead, yet they speak. And what I learn, that I teach”

          • Tell Jack, was Wesley more Arminian than Calvinist when it came to predestination? And yet these two contradictory doctrines are both based on sola scriptura?

          • Scripture is materially sufficient, in that every true doctrine can be found in the Bible, sometimes implicitly or indirectly by deduction.

            No biblical passage teaches that Scripture is the formal authority or rule of faith in isolation from the Church and Tradition. Sola scriptura can’t even be deduced from implicit passages.

            The “Word of God” in scripture refers to oral teaching, a proclaimed, oral teaching of Prophets or Apostles. What Prophets speak is the Word of God, regardless of whether or not their utterances are recorded. This is true also of Apostolic preaching. When the phrases “Word of God” or “Word of the Lord” appear in Acts and the Epistles, they almost always refer to oral preaching, not to Scripture.

            “When you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God”

            (1 Thess. 2:13)

            Paul appears to regard oral teaching and the word of God as synonymous:

            “Keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us”

            (2 Thess. 3:6)

            Scripture is the “final judge” of Tradition, but it does not rule out all binding Tradition or Church authority
            (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:13-14, 2:2)

          • Graham Wood

            HJ I reply to your single point about the oral and written nature of Scripture. I agree with you that much of the NT teaching given by the Apostles was of course delivered in the first instance orally, but clearly such important doctrinal and spiritual content had to be then committed to writing in the form of Apostolic letters written to churches.
            The Apostles own requirement that their letters be read to the assembled churches has from the first pointed to the unique authority which was vested in them by Christ.
            Subsequently when the canon of Scripture was completed at the end of the 1st century, the Apostolic writings were confirmed as “Scripture” , just as the OT Scriptures were.
            Thus we have the Apostle Peter referring to Paul’s letters by bracketing them with ‘the other scriptures’ 2 Pet.3:16.

      • Uncle Brian

        Sola Scriptura has been a received doctrine of the church (liberal theologians excepted) for centuries.

        No, it is only the received doctrine of some churches. It has never been the received doctrine of “the church” in the singular. There are many churches that do not accept it.

        • Martin

          Brian

          If a church does not accept it, it is not a church.

          • Uncle Brian

            I see. “Church” is another of those words that have one meaning in Standard English and a different meaning in Martinese. You must tell us more some time about your private language.

          • Martin

            Brian

            The Church is either the Church triumphant or the Church militant, or the two combined.

            A church is a gathering of those who belong to the Church, probably with the addition of those who are not of the Church.

            A church can lose it’s designation of a church but entering into serious error which causes it’s Master to remove their lampstand. They then cease to be a church.

          • Uncle Brian

            That’s not in the Bible either, is it, Martin.

          • Martin

            Brian

            It is what is implied and certainly what we have seen in those ancient churches, including that at Rome.

        • Including, quite clearly, the Church of England. But that doesn’t mean it’s not in the Bible.
          ‘He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written, ‘These people honour Me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are bit rules taught by men.’
          You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men”‘
          (Mark 7:6-8).

    • Graham Wood

      Uncle Brian • a day ago

      “One of the many things that are not in the Bible is the doctrine of sola scriptura.”
      Once again, and the reason for such an assertion is ……………..?

  • “And since we already have male bishops who prefer to scoff at those who disagree with them and lord it over their flocks rather than serve with humility; and since we have long had male bishops who preach heresy and cynically foment rebellion and division, the gender of the bishop might appear to be a secondary if not utterly peripheral issue.”

    Do the failings of some of the male episcopacy justify a development that many consider to be unbiblical and against 2000 years of tradition? The arrogance of some bishops is a human failing. However, the preaching of heresy and the fermenting of rebellion and the ordination of women may all have a common root i.e. abandoning the sure and certain foundation of the Word of God.

    • Graham Wood

      On the other hand, as other posters assert, the ministry of women has a very substantial basis in the Word of God, although you may not have yet discerned this!
      Perhaps you would profit by further study and research into the same Word – for I suggest it is not the Word of God which is ambivalent on the matter of sister’s ministry, but more likely our understanding needs constant enlightenment as it is fallible and subject to error, and often to a tradition which adversely colours our view.
      I speak of ministry, but not the matter of ordination with which I dissent.

      • You dissent from ordination per se, or to the ordination of women?

        • Graham Wood

          HJ All ordination. There is not in my view any scriptural warrant for the practice. This is a matter which could generate much discussion. But to be brief.
          The practice perpetuates the classic divide between “laity” and “clergy”. There is no such distinction in Scripture and it is based purely on tradition.
          The primary objection in relation to the ministry of either men or women is that prior to the Reformation those who were regarded as authoritative for ministry was entirely selective – i.e. it was limited to those who had received a “call” to ministry, and were thereby separated from their brethren and sisters. That is alien to the NT teaching we have about the priesthood of all believers, not merely some!”
          Sadly, even the Reformers were captive to the same tradition so that only those deemed authorised via “ordination” could preach, baptise, and administer the Lord’s Supper.
          Sadly too, the error persists to this day and right across the denominational divides.

          • “There is no such distinction in Scripture and it is based purely on tradition.”

            One could demonstrate there is, indeed, a distinction in Scripture and also that Church Tradition is legitimate as authority.

          • Graham Wood

            HJ. Please give me a NT scripture which would validate your theory in either case.

          • The New Testament refers to three types of permanent offices in the Church (Apostles and Prophets were to cease): Bishops (episkopos), Elders (presbyteros, from which are derived Presbyterian and priest), and Deacons (diakonos). Bishops are mentioned in Acts 1:20, 20:28, Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:1-2, Titus 1:7, and 1 Peter 2:25. Presbyteros (usually elder) appears in passages such as Acts 15:2-6, 21:18, Hebrews 11:2, 1 Peter 5:1, and 1 Timothy 5:17. You view these leaders as analogous to current-day pastors, while Jack’s Church regard them as Priests. Deacons (often, minister in English translations) are mentioned in the same fashion as Christian elders with similar frequency (for example, 1 Corinthians 3:5, Philippians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:2, 1 Timothy 3:8-13).

            As is often the case among the earliest Christians, there is some fluidity and overlapping of these three vocations (for example, compare Acts 20:17 with 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7 with Titus 1:5-9). This doesn’t prove that three offices of ministry did not exist. For instance, St. Paul often referred to himself as a deacon or minister (1 Corinthians 3:5, 4:1, 2 Corinthians 3:6, 6:4, 11:23, Ephesians 3:7, Colossians1:23-25), yet no one would assert that he was merely a deacon, and nothing else. Likewise, St. Peter calls himself a fellow elder (1 Peter 5:1), whereas Jesus calls him the rock upon which He would build His Church, and gave him alone “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19). These examples are usually indicative of a healthy humility, according to Christ’s injunctions of servanthood (Matthew 23:11-12, Mark 10:43-44).

            Clear distinctions of office are apparent. The hierarchical nature of Church government in the New Testament emerges. Bishops are always referred to in the singular, while Elders are usually mentioned plurally. What is the nature and functions of Bishops and Elders? Catholics contend that the elders/presbyters in Scripture carry out all the functions of the Catholic priesthood and bishops (episkopos) possess all the powers, duties, and jurisdiction of priests, with important additional responsibilities. (Jack can list these and cite biblical authority if you wish).

            The Council of Jerusalem, in Acts 15:1-29, bears witness to a hierarchical, episcopal structure of government in the early Church. St. Peter, the chief elder of the entire Church (1 Peter 5:1; cf. John 21:15-17), presided and issued the authoritative pronouncement (15:7-11). Then James, bishop of Jerusalem, gives a concurring (Acts 15:14), concluding statement (15:13-29). That James was the sole, “monarchical” bishop of Jerusalem is fairly apparent from Scripture (Acts 12:17, 15:13,19, 21:18, Galatians 1:19, 2:12).

            St. Paul teaches us (Ephesians 2:20) that the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles, whom Christ Himself chose (John 6:70, Acts 1:2,13; cf. Matthew 16:18). In Mark 6:30 the twelve original disciples of Jesus are called apostles, and Matthew 10:1-5 and Revelation 21:14 speak of the twelve apostles. After Judas defected, the remaining eleven Apostles appointed his successor, Matthias (Acts 1:20-26). Since Judas is called a bishop (episkopos) in this passage (1:20), then by logical extension all the Apostles can be considered bishops.

            If the Apostles are bishops, and one of them was replaced by another, after the death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ, then we have an explicit example of apostolic succession in the Bible, taking place before 35 A.D. In like fashion, St. Paul appears to be passing on his office to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:1-6), shortly before his death, around 65 A.D. This succession shows an authoritative equivalency between Apostles and bishops, who are the successors of the Apostles. As a corollary, we are also informed in Scripture that the Church itself is perpetual, infallible, and indefectible (Matthew 16:18, John 14:26, 16:18). Why should the early Church be set up in one form and the later Church in another?

            All of this biblical data is harmonious with the ecclesiological views of the Catholic Church. There has been some development over the centuries, but in all essentials, the biblical Church and clergy and the Catholic Church and clergy are one and the same.

          • Anton

            But the Roman Catholic ceremony of ordination ordains the guy as a priest. Unambiguously, therefore, Rome does not regard him as one beforehand, regardless of category of priest if you insist on that concept. And contrary to Rev 1:6 and 1 Peter 2:9. Moreover if I ask a Roman Catholic if he is a priest, yes or no, he will reply No (unless he happens to be ordained). Now, Jack, you might reply that the Roman Catholic church is not responsible for the ignorance of its members, but it is not doing much to correct their impression, is it?

          • Anton, Roman Catholics tend not to obsess about Scripture in the same way that ‘dissenters’ do. Citing 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6, in order to ‘prove’ that all Christians are priests doesn’t exclude a specially ordained, sacramental priesthood.

            Saint Peter was reflecting the language of Exodus 19:6, where the Jews were described in this fashion. Revelation uses this too. Since the Jews had a separate Levitical priesthood, by analogy 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6 cannot logically exclude a New Testament ordained priesthood. These texts are concerned with priestly holiness, as opposed to priestly function. The universal sense, for instance, never refers to the Eucharist or Sacraments. Every Christian is a priest in terms of being called, of offering the sacrifices of prayer (Hebrews 13:15), almsgiving (Hebrews 13:16), and having faith in Jesus (Philippians 2:17).

            Catholics contend, based on Scripture, that the elders/presbyters in Scripture carry out all the functions of a set apart, special priesthood:

            1) Sent and Commissioned by Jesus (being called): Mark 6:7, John 15:5, 20:21, Romans 10:15, 2 Corinthians 5:20.

            2) Representatives of Jesus: Luke 10:16, John 13:20.

            3) Authority to “Bind” and “Loose” (Penance and Absolution): Matthew 18:18 (compare Matthew 16:19.)

            4) Power to Forgive Sins in Jesus’ Name (Luke 24:47, John 20:21-23, 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, James 5:15.)

            5) Authority to Administer Penance (Acts 5:2-11, 1 Corinthians 5:3-13, 2 Corinthians 5:18, 1 Timothy 1:18-20, Titus 3:10.)

            6) Power to Conduct the Eucharist (Luke 22:19, Acts 2:42 (compare Luke 24:35, Acts 2:46, 20:7, 1 Corinthians 10:16.)

            7) Dispense Sacraments (1 Corinthians 4:1, James 5:13-15.)

            8) Perform Baptisms (Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38,41.)

            9) Ordained (Acts 14:23, 1 Timothy 4:14, 5:23.)

            10) Pastors (Shepherds) (Acts 20:17,28, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 5:1-4.)

            11) Preach and Teach: 1 Timothy 3:1-2, 5:17.

            12) Evangelize (Matthew 16:15, 28:19-20, Mark 3:14, Luke 9:2,6, 24:47, Acts 1:8.)

            13) Heal (Matthew 10:1, Luke 9:1-2,6.)

            14) Cast Out Demons (Matthew 10:1, Mark 3:15, Luke 9:1.)

            15) Hear Confessions (Acts 19:18 (compare Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5, James 5:16, 1 John 1:8-9; presupposed in John 20:23).

            16) Celibacy for Those Called to it (Matthew 19:12, 1 Corinthians 7:7-9,20,25-38 (especially 7:35).

            17) Enjoy Christ’s Perpetual Presence and Assistance in a Special Way (Matthew 28:20.)

          • Anton

            Roman Catholics do indeed have a cavalier approach to scripture! But your reply is not a response, so let me repeat: the Roman Catholic ceremony of ordination ordains the man as a priest. Unambiguously, therefore, Rome does not regard him as one beforehand, regardless of category of priest if you insist on that concept. I did not say that 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6 exclude a specially ordained, sacramental priesthood. I said that they show all Christians are priests of some sort, and that this is therefore contrary to the RC ceremony of ordination.

          • Catholics do not have a “cavalier” approach to Scripture. Far from it. They just don’t use it as ‘bullets’ in denominational disputes and throw it around to ‘prove’ points.

            “But your reply is not a response, so let me repeat: the Roman Catholic ceremony of ordination ordains the man as a priest. Unambiguously, therefore, Rome does not regard him as one beforehand, regardless of category of priest if you insist on that concept.”

            Well, no, it doesn’t establish that at all. Ordination confers on the Priest the special functions of the Sacramental Priesthood – as distinct from the more general priesthood of believers. That’s what the passages Jack posted illustrate.

            “I did not say that 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6 exclude a specially ordained, sacramental priesthood. I said that they show all Christians are priests of some sort, and that this is therefore contrary to the RC ceremony of ordination.”

            Not if there is a Sacramental Priesthood and a general priesthood of believers in the Levitical sense, it doesn’t.

          • Anton

            Your ceremony of ordination does not say “ordain him as a sacramental priest”, it just says “ordain him as a priest”. And don’t tell me that the distinction is understood but not stated, because it isn’t – grab a bloke coming out of a Catholic service and ask him if he is a priest, yes or no, and see what he says. The overwhelming majority will will say no. And the hierarchy knows this and does nothing to correct it. If they follow your line then, they are knowingly resorting to sophistry.

          • Uncle Brian

            Anton, there is a question of language. In 1 Peter 2.9 and Rev 1.6 the Greek word is hiereis (priests) or hierateuma (priesthood). In the NT there a distinction beween hiereus and presbyter, and the English word “priest”, in the sense of an ordained minister of religion, comes from presbyter, not hiereus.

          • Anton

            I know, Brian. All of these words are used differently today from in the New Testament. I have often asked by what authority the meanings and functions were changed but no Catholic answer has come.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Elder and Overseer are synonymous as Titus 1:5-9 makes clear. Such are the ruling servants of the local church, not rulers over groups of churches. There is no Scriptural warrant for an office of priest in the Church.

          • And Happy Jack should accept your human interpretation of Scripture and reject 2000 years of teaching? Why? He has posted the Biblical references.

          • In the church at Philippi, there were multiple episkopoi (Phil 1:1).
            These were the ‘overseers’ of the church, a term synonymous with presbuteros as Martin has pointed out.

    • len

      ‘abandoning the sure and certain foundation of the Word of God’.

      Well the RCC knows all about that!.

  • In a sense this has nothing to do with me since I am not an Episcopalian and therefore do not believe in Bishops, whether male or female.
    I will therefore content myself with giving the position of the fellowship to which my church is affiliated. http://www.fiec.org.uk/about-us/beliefs Follow the link and then click on ‘women’s ministry.’

  • Athanasius

    If Sola Scriptura IS “untenable”, then isn’t it time for the CofE to load the boats and cross back over the Tiber?

    • len

      Out of the frying pan?

      • Inspector General

        In the early years of submarine design, it became rather apparent that the things could do with an escape hatch. They did get a very reliable design to work, without flooding the vessel, but it required one man to stay behind in the doomed craft to operate it…

        • len

          You volunteering Inspector?

          • Inspector General

            Found the ideal job for you Len…

        • Anton

          As seen in the recent film Black Sea.

          • Uncle Brian

            In the early years of submarine design as seen in the Billy Wilder film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, there were no escape hatches … and no survivors.

    • If Sola Scriptura were untenable, it wouldn’t matter where the CofE went, or any of us for that matter. We would have cast our anchor and be drifting on an ebb tide.
      But, praise God, Sola Scriptura is very much tenable. ‘Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar’ (Proverbs 30:5-6).

  • len

    As the world systems crumble the top priority of the church must be to get as many people saved as possibly can be saved.The men at the top of Christianity do not seem to be doing much of a job at preaching the Gospel to the lost so perhaps they need to step aside and let the women have a go?.
    I don`t suppose Christ will be too happy at the church ‘gazing at its navel’ whilst’ the harvest’ is laying to waste in the fields?.

  • teigitur

    Another nail in the coffin of my erstwhile, yet still beloved, Church.

    • dannybhoy

      My wife and I watched the film “Mrs Miniver” this afternoon, and I suppose like most people, we relied on “our own psyche, upbringing, education or the contemporary social context: whilst bringing to each scene our own baggage of intellectual limitations, historical ignorance and emotional or spiritual deficiencies” to help us understand the plot…. 🙂

  • Uncle Brian

    comment deleted

  • Inspector General

    Damn woman is full of it, what! Thought we’d seen the last of the blasted suffragettes but there’s nowhere you can go without finding them these days…

    That’s it then. The best part of two thousand years of Christ’s patriarchy ended in these islands. To be replaced by feminism, equality (…whatever that is…), woman’s intuition, the inevitable compromise of Christ’s mission by the gentler sex so that He can fit in with us not the other way round, washing hanging from the altar, and no doubt jam and cats everywhere.

    It’s enough to make a fellow weep…

    …and kick the cat if there was one around here to be kicked….

    {SNORT!}

    • Inspector, we know you have a cat.

      • Inspector General

        How dare you sir!

        • Happy Jack has acquired two. Fine creatures.

          • Inspector General

            A dog will rejoice in your presence, a cat will turn its anus towards you.

          • Lol …. only the female ones, Inspector, and it’s to show how clean they are. Plus, unlike dogs, they do not attempt to hump one’s feet or the furniture.

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector has yet to understand human females, let alone female cats…

          • IanCad

            Just enjoy them both when they are in a good mood.

          • Indeed.

          • Inspector, an affectionate stroke when you meet after an absence; a supply of good food and drink; and a warm, cosy bed. What’s complicated?

          • CliveM

            Anyone who tells you they understand women, lies.

          • They need ‘management’ (in the best possible Christian sense) not ‘understanding’.

          • CliveM

            Hmm, ‘management’?

            Not a term I’m going to use around the wife I think!

          • If you use the term you have already lost the initiative. Sometimes one leads from the front; at others from the rear.

          • CliveM

            And at others you lie face down in the fox hole, clutching your tin hat, waiting for the bombardment to pass!

          • That’s what the garden shed is for …..

          • Cressida de Nova

            I hope your wife is reading this…You’ll be living in your cold shed for a while.

          • Had heating put in this winter, along with a TV.

          • CliveM

            Why would they think we care how clean their bum hole is!!

            Cats…………….!

            Although not to keen on dogs either. Eat poo!

            Don’t think I like pets :0(

          • Inspector General

            Homosexuals do that too, so it is said…

          • Trust you …..

          • CliveM

            I really wouldn’t know………..,.

          • Anton

            Inspector, when a cat turns its back to you it is because it trusts you. Cats think differently from dogs. On this subject I am at one with Jack.

          • CliveM

            Heretic!

          • CliveM

            Quite rightly the medieval mind saw the cat as the devils work !

            Damn things give me asthma. There will be no cats in heaven.

          • Anton

            That was another papal error. Gregory IX’s Bull Vox in Rama (1233) stated implausibly that devil-worship involved cats and led to their mass killing throughout Europe, probably hastening the spread of the Black Death by rats a few generations later.

          • CliveM

            Bet people could breathe more clearly however! Want rid of rats, get a Jack Russell…………..

            It’s good to know one medieval Pope got it right.

          • Anton

            Ask Jack. He’s an ailurophile Catholic.

          • Anton

            The previous inhabitant of my abode had a dog and a rodent problem. I have a cat and the only rodent problem I have is occasionally picking up their gall bladders off the carpet.

          • CliveM

            :0( yuck!

            You’re not helping your case…………..!

          • Anton

            MagnifiCAT!

          • Old Nick

            Zoroastrians think them creatures of Ahriman, the principle of evil, whereas dogs they deem of Ahura Mazda (which is no doubt why Persian Muslims are keener on cats than on dogs).

        • carl jacobs

          Denials won’t help you. The secret is already out.

  • Albert

    The man who interrupted the consecration of the Church of England’s first woman bishop did so on the basis that women bishops are “not in the Bible”. One wonders if he is remotely aware of how so very much more Anglican ecclesiology is “not in the Bible”. Richard Hays, in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament, observes: “No matter how seriously the church may take the authority of the Bible, the slogan of sola scriptura is both conceptually and practically untenable.” And this must be true

    Well quite. But you also say:

    It is a curious thing to consider that the Rt Rev’d Libby Lane is not only the first woman to receive a bishop’s crosier in five centuries of the Church of England; she is also the first women to be consecrated bishop in the 1000-year history of York Minister.

    Now if it is not coming from the Bible and it is not coming from tradition, then where is it coming from? How can it possibly be a natural and normal development if the CofE still claims to faithful to the fountain-head of revelation, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ?

    But such people tend to be more obsessed with their own opinion than with the gospel of Christ and the salvation of souls.

    No. They are brothers and sisters who have been deeply wounded by the way the CofE has behaved. They have trusted promises, opportunistically made in the past, which have, today, been broken. It is these wounded brothers and sisters who need our prayers; not contempt, censure or scorn. My prayer is that they find the way back to the One Fold of the Redeemer.

    • Nick

      I bet they’re not all deeply wounded.

      • Old Nick

        I am

        • Nick

          How? Please try to soften my hard heart on the matter of people being deeply wounded over the debate on women bishops in the C of E with your story.

          • Old Nick

            I wish to live a Christian life. To do so I need constantly to seek and if possible find Christ. I read Scripture, but need to do so in a manner informed by serious scholarship (I am an historian by trade), and also by the mind of the church – those who go it alone reading Scripture can easily end up drinking an Arsenic-KoolAid cocktail. “Show me dear Christ thy true spouse”, as the late Dean of S. Paul’s observed. One would have thought that the best bet was the Church which He founded himself, now tragically split into three branches, but visibly continuous with the original article, and so inheriting from it through Tradition, the faith and sacraments. Today one finds the Catholic order, so sedulously preserved in the Church of England all through the unpleasantnesses of the 16th and 17th century and firmly enshrined in the fourth point of the Lambeth Quadrilateral, totally blown apart. I do not see this as a development of Tradition – the apple cannot fall that far from the tree, and it is unlikely that the Catholic Church in its three branches has been so very wrong for so very long. It is a weakness of the present article that it assumes (I think) the traditionalist position to be based on Sola Scriptura; it is based rather on all four points of the Lambeth Quadrilateral (which does not, incidentally, mention ‘the Law of the Land’, whatever the Archbishop of York may say, but does enshrine the principle of continuity in the ‘Historic Episcopate’). I have of course seen God’s grace in the activity of ordained women (and non-ordained men and women too), so I was initially prepared to go along with some sort of idea of ‘development’ as a justification for this innovation, till a seed of doubt was sown by hearing an American bishop say that ‘the Church wrote Scripture, so the Church can change it’. That is not any idea of Tradition I understand. I was finally convinced that this was not the work of the Spirit when I saw what I can only call the vulgar hard-faced triumphalism of the supporters of female ordination as it has emerged over the past couple of years. So now where to turn. I am too old to learn to pray in the Greek manner. I am not prepared to feed the Schadenfreude of the Grim Wolf with Privy Paw simply because I agree with what is (for the moment) its position on this single issue – I may be an Anglo-Catholic, but I was never an Anglo-Papalist. Thank God I belong for the moment in a small enclave where Tradition is understood, but no doubt that too will be taken over. Until Islam comes and sweeps all before it.

          • Nick

            Thank you for replying to me so eloquently. I love history. The reason for the question was because I am not a Christian leader (I am an ordinary Christian) and I tend to live a life of survival (due to some mental health problems) in which I encounter many people with many deep and pressing needs. I do not wish to negate your pain as I understand that words can cause great pain and alienation. Please also be assured that I am not engaging in the ugly triumphalism which you have witnessed (believe me, triumphalism is far from me). I’m an ordinary Christian and have little say in what happens to churches.

            I suppose it comes down to what God thinks on this issue as with so many issues. As a person who seeks Christ you will already know that he is an enigma. The American bishop who said: ‘the Church wrote Scripture, so the Church can change it’ was, let’s face it, a bit of an arse. And unbelieving. When encountering such leaders it is always a challenge (and perhaps even wounding in some ways).

            But why feel alienated from the Church over this issue? As a historian you will be aware that we are called to believe the Nicene creed – and the issue of women bishops (along with many other issues) are not in that statement of faith. As an individual who seeks Christ then you will know that the acceptance and love which you do not see expressed in these developments is found in Christ.

            I hope that you heal.

    • “They are brothers and sisters who have been deeply wounded by the way the CofE has behaved. They have trusted promises, opportunistically made in the past, which have, today, been broken. It is these wounded brothers and sisters who need our prayers; not contempt, censure or scorn. My prayer is that they find the way back to the One Fold of the Redeemer.”

      Well said, Albert.

  • Anton

    His Grace Writes: Richard Hays, in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament, observes: “No matter how seriously the church may take the authority of the Bible, the slogan of sola scriptura is both conceptually and practically untenable.” And this must be true, for it is simply not possible to read and interpret Scripture apart from one’s own psyche, upbringing, education or the contemporary social context…

    With all respect to His Grace, the issue of sola scriptura is about whether there is a further corpus of teaching of equal authority for the church; not whether Christians need divine education out of their inevitable prejudices. Rome (for instance) answers Yes, and cites its own ex cathedra assertions. Roman Catholics correctly point out that nothing in the Bible asserts sola scriptura. So what is the basis for sola-scriptura faith?

    The appropriate tradition in which to read the New Testament is the Old Testament. Jesus was a Jew who lived in a monotheistic culture forged by and recorded in the Old Testament. No church tradition is needed to make sense of the Old Testament, as it is not about the church. The Old Testament builds upon itself from the Creation onward, an event for which there is no context. So neither Old nor New Testament requires an extra-biblical tradition to interpret it.

    • Albert

      Rome (for instance) answers Yes, and cites its own ex cathedra assertions.

      Not quite. Rome does not assert that her own ex cathedra assertions are equal to scripture, since they are not a source, but an interpretation of the revelation.

      • Anton

        The direct assumption of Mary into heaven (as defined ‘infallibly’ by Pius XII) is not deducible from the Bible.

        • Albert

          I never said all definitions are “deducible” from scripture. I said, they are “interpretations of revelation.” No one these days seriously thinks that all of doctrine can be deduced from scripture (by which I assume you mean in a logically necessary way). Granted there was such a discussion in the days of Suarez, I think, but the reality of history and the nature of the text make such a process wholly alien to scripture (and, ironically, not deducible from scripture).

          But if you mean by “deduce” something less logically tight, something based on the realities themselves, to which scripture points, then the Assumption is clearly deducible from scripture, albeit that it would be likely to be missed by an individual reading the scripture by himself. Some things only become clear when, filled the with Holy Spirit, the Church, with Our Lady, “marvel at the things said about him”, keeps these things, and ponders them in her heart, over many generations.

          In a sense, revelation is like an infinite stained-glass window. It’s all there from the beginning, but no one mind or eye can take it all in. And no one can take it unless the light of the Holy Spirit shines through it. Thus it is inappropriate to limit the meaning of revelation (or of scripture) only to what a man can deduce from it, by the light of natural reason.

          • Anton

            What you actually said above was that “Rome does not assert that her own ex cathedra assertions are equal to scripture, since they are not a source, but an interpretation of the revelation.” Would you explain how Mary’s direct assumption, as pronounced ex cathedra, is an “interpretation of the [scriptural] revelation”?

          • Albert

            In brief, it follows from several truths revealed in scripture:

            1. Mary is Mother of God.

            2. God used Mary’s body for the incarnation.

            3. By grace, Mary freely consented to this.

            4. Mary was, by grace, without sin.

            5. Physical death is a result of sin

            6. Resurrection is the fruit of faithfulness and life.

            7. God is faithful to his promises and just in that, and is is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake

            Now you are probably going to deny 4, so I’ll drop 5 as well. Even so, if Mary was not assumed into heaven, body and soul then God used her body and then left her to corruption, despite her faithfulness to him. Thus, I think the person who denies the doctrine denies either that God became incarnate of the Virgin, or that God is faithful. But both of those doctrine are clearly taught in scripture and are de fide therefore, someone who denies the assumption tacitly denies what scripture teaches, and violates, albeit tacitly an element of our faith.

          • Plus, the Old Testament tells us of two men went directly to Heaven. If them, Mary surely?

          • That is a very curious non sequitur. Why not Samuel, Daniel or 50 other O.T. saints? If Mary, why not Peter and Paul? (Joke for us older folk)

          • Happy Jack meant bodily without death. The Old Testament singled out two men of special grace. As for others, best ask God that.

            “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”
            (Genesis 5:24)

            “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”
            (Hebrews 11:5)

            “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.”
            (2 Kings 2:11)

          • I know exactly what you meant.
            As for why Mary was not treated that way, best ask God that.

          • Old Nick

            Blessed were the chosen people

            out of whom the Lord did come;

            blessed was the land of promise

            fashioned for his earthly home;

            but more blessed far the mother,

            she who bare him in her womb.

            Hail, Mary, full of grace.

          • Amen.

          • Anton

            Odd, then, that there was no trace of the claim for many centuries after it is said to have happened. And that it appeared at exactly the same time as gnostic gospels about Jesus began to appear. The church rightly rejected those writings as in authentic, but Rome has increasingly accepted those about Mary. For a scholarly summary of the earliest traditions and manuscripts about Mary’s fate, see Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption by Stephen Shoemaker (2003).

          • Linus

            It’s not odd at all.

            Christianity was trying to graft itself onto pagan roots, but it lacked the mother goddess it needed to adapt itself to Roman ideas of the divine. The character of Mary was therefore enlarged and embroidered in order to fill that void. She’s a substitute for the various female deities of the Roman religion.

            Of course the monotheistic nature of Christianity required Mary to be demoted from goddess to theotokos. And Jewish ideas of social control via the restriction and channeling of sexuality also required her to become an alabaster virgin who could reproduce asexually. She has elements of Juno and Venus about her, but she’s a decaffeinated version of these deities. And of course, any similarity to Minerva (apart from her virginity, of course) was avoided at all costs. There’s no place for wise, assertive femininity in Christianity just as there was no place for it in Jewish culture.

            The disconnect between the subservient role played by Mary and pagan ideas of female divinity finds outlet in modern Catholicism in the idea of promoting Mary as co-redemptrix. Protestantism on the other hand, having taken root largely in societies where the ancient Roman religion never flourished, does not elevate femininity to divine status in the same way.

            The ancient Teutonic religions had their female deities of course, but as Mary is based on a Roman model from which Minerva has largely been expunged, and as Germanic ideas of female divinity were based around the Minerva-like figure of Freya, it isn’t surprising to find the link between Mary and the concept of divinity is far more tenuous in Protestantism than it is in Catholicism. Mary is Juno and Venus in the Catholic Church because she stepped more or less directly into the shoes of those two goddesses. She couldn’t impersonate Freya so well however, because she lacks so much of Freya’s character and so many of her attributes. So the link between the feminine and the divine was broken in the Teutonic mind in a way that it never was in southern Europe.

            How you look at Mary was determined by your ancestors many hundreds if not thousands of years ago.

          • Anton

            I hope that how I look at Mary is determined by the Bible, but I agree with much of your analysis of the origins of the cult of Mary.

          • You’re surrendering to the ‘Orc’ within, Lupus. That genderless, brutish, aggressive, repulsive and malevolent spirit attached to your soul that is slowly corrupting your spirit and deadening your reason.

            Watch this scene and notice what you will become unless you change. The pain you experience now is a good sign; it means all is not lost – yet.

          • Linus

            If I’m an orc, what does that make you Sad Jack?

            A troll, perhaps?

          • Good and evil waging a war within.

            Lupuss: “We wants it, we needs it. They will cheat you, hurt you, LIE. You don’t have any friends; nobody likes you!
            Stephen:
            “I’m not listening… I’m not listening… “
            Lupuss: “You’re a liar and a thief.”

            Stephen: “No ! Go away ! “
            Luppus: “Go away?”
            [Lupuss laughs as Stephen begins crying]
            Stephen: “I hate you, I hate you.”

            Lupuss: “Where would you be without me? I saved us ! It was me ! We survived because of me !”
            Stephen: [stops crying] “Not anymore.”
            Lupuss: What did you say?
            Stephen: “We don’t need you anymore. Leave now, and never come back !”
            Lupuss: “No !”
            Stephen: “LEAVE! NOW! AND NEVER COME BACK !”
            [Lupuss is silent]
            Stephen: [looks around] “We told him to go away… and away he goes, Precious! Gone, gone, gone! Smeagol is free ! “

            Who will win?

          • Linus

            Sad old Jack acting out his penchant for children’s literature, is he? Be a man, Sad Jack! Don’t take refuge in some kind of idealized childhood.

            Or are these the first signs of dotage? Is Sad Jack’s second childhood coming upon him faster than he realizes? If the Tolkien quotes keep coming thick and fast, it’s clear to see where he’s heading.

          • Albert

            In other words, the doctrine appeared many centuries before the doctrines of sola scriptura and sola fide appeared. The word the homoousios was heretical in the 3rd century. In the fourth it formulated orthodoxy. So what? Theology and faith are not reducible to archealolgy.

            At the heart of all this is whether doctrine develops. That is, was the human grasp of the infinite mystery of God, once given, exhaustive from the beginning, or could our understanding deepen? Now that question answers itself. Hence the issue here is theological, not historical. This is what I meant, when I spoke earlier of exegesis being inadequate if it is done only by the light of natural reason, and this is why I think you need to address the argument I outlined, for the doctrine, in my previous post.

          • Anton

            If it was necessary for doctrine to develop then the early church was deeply impoverished spiritually. Do you really believe it was?

            Christians are meant to be living bridges between heaven and the culture in which they live. Heaven changeth not but human cultures do, so there is always exegetical work to be done so as best to communicate to people of a particular time and place. But that should not be confused with development of doctrine.

          • Albert

            If it was necessary for doctrine to develop then the early church was deeply impoverished spiritually.

            No, that didn’t follow. The earliest church appears to know nothing of natures and essences and substances and persons and yet these things are necessary for us to continue to believe what they believed. I set out a theological case for the doctrine – a case which you have not addressed. My point is that if we believe what they believed about those doctrines (or the basis of them) we come to believe in the assumption (or the homoousion or the hypostatic union or whatever). The point being, once a question has been raised and connection have been made, to deny the new formulation involves denaturing what was believed before. The development of doctrine thus in no way implies they were impoverished spiritually.

            It is certainly true that the Church must articulate the faith in a new cultural setting, but there is more going on. Your idea that our static understanding of the revelation delivered once for all is at variants not only with the historical data (for all doctrine has a history and develops as different questions are asked) but also with the object of faith, which is the infinite God himself.

            It is certainly the case that heaven changeth not, but there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy, and so our grasp of the heaven revealed once and for all grows and deepens – by the grace of God.

            So you seem to be setting yourself three tasks:

            1. To show that there is no development of doctrine in the things you believe.
            2. To show that the idea of a static understanding of revelation is consistent with the revelation itself, that is, the infinite God.
            3. To answer the theological case for the assumption I made earlier.

            I would add that the famous solas which Protestants seem to think are the heart of the Christian faith are entirely unknown in the early Church (unlike the assumption). Do you think the early Church was spiritually impoverished by this?

          • Anton

            The early church had the awesome task of writing new scriptures, so hardly surprising that sola scriptura wasn’t around in that day. But, by analogy, Jesus regarded the Old Testament as having unique authority

          • Albert

            And for the same reason, it is hardly surprising if they said little about, and indeed thought little about, things which, though part of the revelation were not central to the proclamation. But your post doesn’t deal with all the other points I made, and seems to be a concession of the fact that sola scriptura is not in the Bible.

          • Anton

            If you look back to the start of this subthread (ie a comment on Cranmer’s essay at top rather than a response to another comment)) then you will find that I have acknowledged the fact that sola scriptura is not in the Bible and explained why it is nevertheless true. If you disagree then, to avoid us going round in circles, please make your response at the appropriate point above. I would add, though, that expecting to find sola scriptura in the Bible is a bit like expecting to find a discussion about whether God exists in it (an absence that often perplexes secular people). It is God’s word so what else could possibly match it in authority?

            As for development of doctrine over the centuries, distinct from fresh exegesis as the human culture changes, Christianity is for normal people to live, not for scholars to discuss.

          • Albert

            I would add, though, that expecting to find sola scriptura in the Bible is a bit like expecting to find a discussion about whether God exists in it (an absence that often perplexes secular people). It is God’s word so what else could possibly match it in authority?

            The issue is not “Is the Bible God’s word?” Every Christian agrees on that. The issue is “Is God’s word found anywhere other than in the Bible?” And once that question is understood your argument surely becomes insufficient, and indeed, I would say biblically falsifiable.

            As for development of doctrine over the centuries, distinct from fresh exegesis as the human culture changes, Christianity is for normal people to live, not for scholars to discuss.

            I think that’s rather feeble, if you’ll forgive me. Firstly, take doctrines you do presumably accept – sola fide for instance. The arguments involved in that are amazingly complicated, precisely because they deal in highly complex issues of exegesis and logic – such as around issues of predestination, free will, imputed versus infused righteousness, the nature of faith etc. Now for all the flaws in the doctrine of sola fide (which are many), I have never heard anyone argue against it on the grounds that Christianity is for normal people to live, not for scholars to discuss and therefore the claim of sola fide does not need an answer.

            Secondly, the reasons I gave for the assumption were very simple, and easy for a normal person to understand and see where scripture teaches them. In contrast, it was you who appealed to scholarship, when you appealed to Shoemaker’s book. And further, it would require intellectual argument to derive some kind theological significance from that book. This scholarly discussion would be well outside the normal living of Christianity for most people.

            Finally, I would point out the popular nature of a doctrine like the assumption. It’s the kind of truth ordinary Catholics grasp intuitively – leaving the theologians and logicians running along behind.

            Thus I think that you have given reason to undermine your position, but I can defend mine against your own position.

          • Anton

            I do forgive you, but I still disagree with you. The basis for sola-scriptura faith is as follows. The appropriate tradition in which to read the New Testament is the Old Testament. Jesus was a Jew who lived in a monotheistic culture forged by and recorded in the Old Testament. No church tradition is needed to make sense of the Old Testament, as it is not about the church. The Old Testament builds upon itself from the Creation onward, an event for which there is no context. So neither Old nor New Testament requires an extra-biblical tradition to interpret it.

          • Albert

            Even if I accept all that (and it raises so many problems), it does not show that some essential element of the word of God is not found outside the Bible – and it is that that sola scriptura needs.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Mary was not the mother of God, merely the mother of His incarnation, quite a different matter. Mary was a sinner, as are we all, and required a Saviour:

            And Mary said,
            My soul magnifies the Lord,
            and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

            (Luke 1:46-47 [ESV]

          • Old Nick

            So you repudiate the conclusion of the First Council of Ephesus of 431 (one of the first four Councils of the Undivided Church accepted without quibble by the Tudor Reformers) that Mary was Theotokos ? That will lead you into Nestorianism.

          • Anton

            No it won’t. Theotokos meaning mother of God (actually “bearer of God”) is not a term used by God the Holy Spirit in the scriptures, throughout which she is called the Mother of Jesus. you are presumably thinking, “Jesus was God; Mary was Jesus’ mother; so Mary was the mother of God”. But when you are dealing with the Holy Trinity it isn’t so simple. There are paradoxes, and ordinary syllogistic human logic is inadequate. From the human point of view, from a paradox any statement whatsoever can be formally proven true, and at Ephesus Cyril of Alexandria simply used a dirty trick of this sort to discredit the Nestorians. The Nestorians were, I might add, believers in the Holy Trinity and believers that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. Yet because they differed from the ‘winners’ at Ephesus over how He was both, European church histories have written them out as inauthentic heretics and most European Christians wrongly believe that the early church never spread east beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire. Nonsense – the church of the East flourished for 1000 years until the Mongols converted to Islam, a caustic combination that did for it. Learn about them now, for you will meet them in heaven!

          • IanCad

            Thanks for that Anton.
            Forgotten history. Christianity in China, The Philippines, Japan; the gospel was spread to all nations very quickly.

          • Old Nick

            I am perfectly aware of the Church of the East, though I never had the privilege of visiting it when I spent time among the Syrian Orthodox many years ago. You are perhaps aware that they now repudiate the heresy of Nestorius (and prefer the term Church of the East to any term referring to Nestorius) and that conversations analogous to ARCIC are in train which are ironing out the Christological differences between the various Oriental Orthodox communions (who in any case now face far worse troubles than anything Cyril of Alexandria could try them with, and seriously need the prayers of all Christians).
            In any case the term Theotokos was in use in the Church well before Ephesus I (as early as Origen IIRC) – and there is now papyrus evidence (P. Ryl 470) for the prayer Sub tuum praesidium, which employs the term, from as early as the 3rd century. It would seem that the Holy Spirit in the Church was pretty comfortable with it. I agree about logic: lex orandi statuit legem credendi.

          • Anton

            The fact it appears in one papyrus multiple generations later than Jesus does not mean that the Holy Spirit approves of it. WE have many of Paul’s letters precisely because the Holy Spirit disapproved of various things going on in the first congregations.

          • Old Nick

            The fact that a prayer in very common use in later generations is attested this early suggests that it had a continuous place in the devotion of the Church from an early date – in fact from the time Christianity became a serious force. In any case denying the Blessed Virgin the title of Theotokos has serious implications for Christology, which in turn has serious implications for the process and practice of Christian prayer which are too complex to be paraded in this forum.

          • Martin

            Nick

            What does it matter what councils say, what matters is what the Bible says, and that will never lead you into error.

          • Albert

            If Mary is not Mother of God, then Jesus is not God. Yours is a reworking of the Nestorian heresy. Please explain how your reference to the Magnificat defends your position.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Mary was, as I pointed out, the mother of the incarnation, not of God for God has no mother.

            The Magnificat proves that Mary needed a Saviour.

          • Albert

            Obviously, Mary is not Mother of God in the sense of being God’s mother in heaven. But she is Mother of God in the sense that he who is born of Mary, as man, is God himself. Deny that, and you deny that God died as man on the cross. Deny that, and we are of all men are most to be pitied. Thus St John of Damascus says that in the title “Mother of God” is contained the whole meaning of salvation.

            So, here’s my question: what do you mean by saying she is mother of the incarnation; not of God.

            None of this denies that Mary needed a Saviour.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If Mary isn’t God’s mother in Heaven then she is not the mother of God. It’s very simple, she is mother to the incarnation but not mother to the person for the person is God and existed before this Earth did.

            I’m afraid that John of Damascus (all Christians are saints BTW) was clearly wrong. If he is correctly quoted one presumes he didn’t understand what salvation is.

          • Albert

            Martin,

            The incarnation just is the belief that the Second Person of the Trinity was born of the Virgin Mary. The person who is Jesus just is the Second Person of the Trinity. You’ can’t separate the incarnation from the Second Person of the Trinity. The irony of this post in the light of your previous one about having faith, could not be more extreme.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The incarnation is also that physical body, the nature that the second person of the Trinity took upon Himself. There is no separation, but Mary is not the mother of God.

          • Albert

            Well you don’t explain why she isn’t. On the contrary, if there is no separation, and humanity is what the Second Person of the Trinity took upon itself (only a nature and not a person), who else was born of Mary, if not the Second Person of the Trinity? You’ve articulated the belief yourself, and for the simple reason that it is impossible to avoid it and believe in the incarnation.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The reason is that God wasn’t born and therefore does not have a mother. So the nature has a mother, but not the person, the incarnation has a mother but not the God.

          • Albert

            So there was no person born of Mary? If I ask “Who was born of Mary?” you must answer “No one, just a human nature.” Who died on the cross? If it was just a human nature, why was it any different from anyone else being killed in that way? Really you are saying “No one died on the cross.” Moreover, what does it even mean to say a human nature was born? Human natures do not exist in the abstract, they exist only as persons. What is it about the word “person” you worry so much about? What do you understand by the word “person”?

            Have you actually done any serious reading on this question? Do you know the history of it?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Most of us measure our life from our birth, Jesus didn’t:

            Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58 [ESV])

            Unless you read the Bible, it isn’t really serious reading.

          • Albert

            How exactly is that supposed to answer the point? I am not denying that the Son of God was eternally begotten. Nevertheless, I am proclaiming, what you deny, that the Son of God was also born as man in time:

            No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

            And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

            Now if the child born of Mary is the Son of God, and if the Son of God is God, then what can that mean, other than that the child born of Mary is God? Which is another way of saying Mary is Mother of God. And although this is bad news for your position, it is good news for humanity, for if God is born as man of Mary, then God can die as man on the cross. But if that isn’t true, then there is no incarnation.

            I am appalled to note that you have not brought yourself to confess that essential element of faith in Jesus. As Newman put it:

            The Church and Satan agreed together in this, that Son and Mother went together; and the experience of three centuries has confirmed their testimony, for Catholics who have honoured the Mother, still worship the Son, while Protestants, who now have ceased to confess the Son, began then by scoffing at the Mother.

            Don’t let your hatred of Catholicism prevent you from making a proper act of faith in Jesus as your Lord and your God.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Where did I deny that the Son of Man was born in time? However, unlike us, He does not have his origin in time or place and so God does not have a mother.

            As for Newman, why should I consider the views of such a muddle head.

          • Albert

            I never said you denied the Son of Man was born in time. It is your belief about the Son of God that is under examination here. If the Son of Man was born in time, is the Son of Man the same person as the Son of God? If you say yes, my point is conceded, if you say no, you don’t believe in Jesus. That’s why should take note of what Newman says.

            Here’s your muddle, it is indeed true that the Son of God in his divine nature does not have his origin in time. However, the Christian faith is that this Second Person of the Trinity was born as man in time, in order that the Second Person of the Trinity might die on the cross for us a man. You seem unable to believe this.

          • Martin

            Albert

            What you seem to fail to address is that the person did not have His origin in time, that is the point, He was unlike us since we do not have two natures. Hence, while the incarnation, the human nature, had a mother, the God nature did not. The Son of Man is the same person, but not the same nature as the Son of God.

            Hence, while Mary is the mother of the incarnation she is not the mother of God.

          • Albert

            Martin,

            What you are missing is that I am agreeing that the Son of God did not have his origin in time. However, he has his origin as man in time. Jesus is the Word (=the Second Person of the Trinity) made flesh.

            My faith (and there’s nothing uniquely Catholic about it, it’s just what orthodox Christianity teaches) is that God the Son, who is eternally begotten of the Father, is made man and is born on earth, as man, of a human mother. Sure, she is only the source of his human nature, not his divinity, but the point is, that human nature is the human nature of the Son of God – so he is born as man of her.

            Here’s the question you need to address: who is the person Mary gives birth to? There are only two answers:

            1. The person is the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, so that he, although he is man can be called “My Lord and my God” and named in scripture as “the Word made flesh”.

            2. Mary gives birth to a different person from the Second Person of the Trinity. But in that case, there is no incarnation.

            When you say The Son of Man is the same person, but not the same nature as the Son of God you are perhaps conceding the first possibility. For if the Son of Man is the same person as the Son of God, then Mary gives birth to a divine person who has become man, and is therefore Mother of God.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Since God did not have His origin in time, God has no mother. A man has his origin in time so a man has a mother.

            Now the second person of the Trinity has two natures, one is God, which has no mother, the other is Man which has a mother.

            As a man Jesus worshipped God, as God He is worshipped of Man.

            Mary gave birth, not to a person, as that person already existed, but to the man, she did not give birth to God.

          • Albert

            As a matter of interest, where are you getting all this from, because it isn’t what orthodox Christology looks like – Catholic or Protestant? Let me tweak your comment:

            Now the second person of the Trinity has two natures, one is divine, which has no mother, the other is human which has a mother.

            The change in words in important for words like “Man” refer in this kind of sentence to an individual, now if that individual is not the same individual as God the Son, then the incarnation has not taken place. So we have three distinct concepts: person, divine nature and human nature. Mary is not the origin of the divine nature, nor is she the origin of that person in his divine nature, but she is the origin of him in his human nature.

            As a man Jesus worshipped God, as God He is worshipped of Man.

            So you do believe Jesus is God then? Because sometimes your logic excludes that possibility.

            Mary gave birth, not to a person, as that person already existed, but to the man, she did not give birth to God.

            So is the man not the same person as the Second Person of the Trinity? Or, to put the matter another way, are you denying that God was a baby two or three months old?

            This last paragraph of yours reveals your confusion. You think that in saying Mary is Mother of God, we mean a new person came to exist of Mary. That isn’t what is meant. What is meant is that the second Person of the Trinity, who already existed from all eternity, he chose to be born as man of Mary. His nature started to exist then, but the person did not.

            Now if you deny all this, what is it that unites God and Man in Christ? In other words, what is meant by saying Jesus is God incarnate, because at the moment, you don’t seem to believe it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            There are only two concepts there, person and nature. As a man, Jesus was born, as God Jesus was not born. Hence Mary is not the mother of God, just the mother of a man. The person has two natures, one was born the other was not. The man was a baby, God was not. Mary is not the mother of God.

          • Albert

            Who is the person who has two natures?

          • Martin

            Albert

            God and man, which nature is born of Mary?

          • Albert

            Let me use my own terminology (I don’t get your use of “God nature” as “God” is not normally a noun, and therefore, I’m unclear exactly what you mean). The human nature is born of Mary, as I have said.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Jesus had 2 natures, do you not agree? One was born of Mary, the other existed from before time. Does it make a difference if I call the latter the divine nature or the God nature? God was not born, the Man was. Therefore Mary is not the mother of God.

          • Albert

            I have said endless, that Jesus had two natures, and as you think that, I find it unintelligible that you think God was not born. You don’t seem to see that your position is contradictory. Here’s how: if I ask:

            What was born of Mary? You will reply a human nature.
            Who was born of Mary? You will reply Jesus
            Was Jesus God and Man? Was Jesus the Second Person of the Holy Trinity? You will have to quibble. For if you answer “No” then you are not a Christian in any but the liberal sense. If you answer “Yes” then you have conceded the point.

            Now notice that Mary has disappeared into the background – the issue here is really whether you believe in the incarnation. The question here is about Jesus, is he God, can he be worshipped, can he save you? If the answer to these questions is “Yes” then you God is born of Mary as man and he dies on the cross as man. Say “No” and you deny who Jesus is, you are an idolater and you cannot be saved by Jesus. It’s that simple, and that important. It is also that elementary in theology, Catholic and Protestant

          • Martin

            Albert

            Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, but He is also Man. Now, in the nature of God, Jesus was not born but in the nature of Man. Therefore it was not God that was born but Man. Or are you saying that a man existed from all eternity? That Jesus is both perfect man and perfect God perfectly in one does not detract from the fact that God is not born.

          • Albert

            If God is not born as man then Jesus is not God and man. If God is not born as man then God does not die as man. If God does not die as man, then there is no salvation in him. Now I have been through all the theology here several times. It’s not uniquely Catholic, it is specifically Christian. You do not answer the position I am defending, because you do not understand it. However, in rejecting what you think is my position, you reject everything you think you stand for

          • Martin

            Albert

            God is not born, but the Man, Jesus was born. Thus in one person dwells perfect Man and perfect God. The One who alone is able to bear the sins of His people.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The second person of the Trinity has always existed, He has no mother, but His human nature had a mother. They are the same person but not the same nature.

            His divine nature does not have an origin in time, but the human nature does. You cannot swap between person and nature as you are doing. The cross is only part of the events of the crucifixion in any case.

          • Albert

            Why do you keep arguing points we are agreed on? Obviously the Second Person of the Trinity has always existed etc. That’s not in question. In fact, you have now agreed the point I was making:

            They are the same person but not the same nature.

            Now if they are the same person, then the person to whom Mary gives birth is God. Therefore, she is mother of God. No one who knows this title thinks it means Mary gives birth to God in heaven – it’s obvious she give birth to him on earth. So why do you insist on being contentious?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The point is that they are not the same nature. mary gives birth to a human nature, not to a God nature.

          • Albert

            That isn’t the point, because we are agreed on that. No one is saying Mary gives birth to a divine nature. Answer the point that is being made, please, and while you’re about it, explain how you think divinity and humanity are united in the incarnation.

          • Martin

            Albert

            By saying that Mary is the mother of God you are saying that Mary gives birth to the divine nature.

          • Albert

            No I’m not. I am saying she gives birth to a divine person. If you deny that, you cannot also confess that Jesus is a divine person.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Did Mary give birth to the divine nature or the human nature.

          • Albert

            Why don’t you do some proper reading? No one is saying that. Not Catholics, not Protestants. You’ve already conceded that there are two concepts: nature and person. Mary gives birth to the Second Person of the Trinity, who, of his own volition has become man in her womb (i.e. he has taken a human nature to himself). What she gives birth to is human (nature), who she gives birth to is God (person). If you concede a distinction between nature and person in the Trinity (and unless you do this, you do not believe in the Trinity), the what is your problem with believing in Jesus as God?

            Now here are the benefits of saying this:

            1. It makes all passages of scripture make sense (e.g. Jesus is address as Lord and God, Mary is clearly the mother of the Son of God etc.)
            2. In enables us to say the incarnation has truly taken place.
            3. It enables us to say God has suffered with and for us as man.
            4. It enables us to say that God has saved us in Jesus Christ, because it is God as man who dies on the cross.

            For a Christian, what’s not to like?

            On the other hand, what are you offering? You cannot answer my question about what is meant by saying Jesus is God and man and you end up denying basic incarnational teaching like that God becomes a baby.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Well Catholics say that they don’t worship idols but they do. Again, is it the God nature or the Man nature that was born of Mary?

          • Albert

            We don’t worship idols, that’s just offensive and ignorant of you. If you the reverence we give to images looks like worship to you because it is what you give to Jesus, then I say that you do not worship him. Given your failure to answer the question of what you mean by the incarnation, perhaps that is the problem. Now look, I answer your questions, why won’t you answer mine? What do you mean by saying Jesus is God and Man (assuming you do say that – I think you have, but perhaps you haven’t). If it is not a union of person, and it’s obviously not a union of nature, what sort of union is it?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Frankly I don’t see any difference in the way you treat statues and the way you treat God. Indeed, there are plenty of photographs of popes that do not look in the slightest different from heathen worship.

            The incarnation is the person who is God the Son taking upon Himself the nature of a man, to live as a man and be subject as a man. He made Himself subject to God and worshipped God as a man.

            Jesus, as a person, has the man nature and the God nature combined in Himself, being perfectly God and perfectly Man. It is a union of person with two natures. But that does not mean that God was born of Mary.

          • Albert

            Frankly I don’t see any difference in the way you treat statues and the way you treat God.

            Well then you lack all sense, and your opinion is worthless.

            The incarnation is the person who is God the Son taking upon Himself the nature of a man, to live as a man and be subject as a man. He made Himself subject to God and worshipped God as a man.

            Jesus, as a person, has the man nature and the God nature combined in Himself, being perfectly God and perfectly Man. It is a union of person with two natures. But that does not mean that God was born of Mary.

            Can you really not see the blatant contradiction here? The person who is God the Son take upon himself a human nature – to live as man, you say. No man lives until he is born, so if the Son of God (who is God) takes a human nature to live as man, he is evidently born as man. Now if God is born as man (and you have logically conceded this, although doubtless you will resist your own conclusions), what else can it mean than that his mother is Mother of God. To be clear: there is no sense that she is giving birth to a divine nature – that is impossible, she is giving birth to the Second Person of the Trinity, who has, as you put it taken upon himself the nature of man, so as to live as man.

            The amazing thing is here, that you have conceded the theology already, but rather than confess it (which you think is too Catholic) you end up denying God in Christ is a baby or dies on the cross.

            Frankly, you are a terrible advert for Protestantism. You do not understand your own faith (remember, I was a Protestant too – and I learnt all this from Protestant teachers and writers), and so you show how wrong the idea of private judgement is. All you seem to know is that you don’t want to sound Catholic. You hate Catholicism more than you love the incarnation – that’s where Protestantism leads, I’m afraid.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Well then you lack all sense, and your opinion is worthless.

            Perhaps you should step outside your worldview and ask yourself why Islam thinks that the Trinity is Allah, Mary and Jesus.

            Can you really not see the blatant contradiction here? The person who is God the Son take upon himself a human nature – to live as man, you say. No man lives until he is born, so if the Son of God (who is God) takes a human nature to live as man, he is evidently born as man.

            His human nature is born as a man, not His God nature. Why is that so hard to understand? God is not born and therefore cannot have a mother. I am denying nothing.

          • Albert

            Why is that so hard to understand?

            Have you ever studied any of this in an academic context? Your own position both affirms and denies the classical Christian theology. Take this sentence:

            His human nature is born as a man, not His God nature.

            Who is the “He” here? Is it not Gods the Son? Now if “He” is born in his human nature, is he not therefore born. You admit a distinction between person and nature in the Trinity,but then proceed as if there is not such distinction, thereby blaspheming both the Trinity and the incarnation. And all because you don’t like what you take to be the Catholic implications of either.

          • Martin

            Albert

            He has both a human nature and a God nature, God is not born but Man is, so the person is born as a Man but not as God.

          • Albert

            Yes, and the person is the Second Person of the Trinity – aka God the Son. Deny it, and you are not a Christian.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The person is both the second person of the Trinity and a man. Only the man nature was born.

          • Albert

            Which is exactly the position I have been defending,the position that all Christians worthy of the title hold, and which entails necessarily that Mary is the Mother of God made man.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I assume you had forgotten you had said this:

            4. Mary was, by grace, without sin.

            If she was without sin needed no Saviour, which renders this comment:

            None of this denies that Mary needed a Saviour.

            contradictory.

          • Albert

            Why don’t you ask how I reconcile these things before making such statements. It’s quite easy to reconcile them. The example usually given is of people falling into a pit. They can be saved in two ways – they can be saved by being pulled out of the pit after they have fallen in, or they can be saved by someone pushing them out of the way of the pit before they fall in. Now the latter person is evidently more completely saved from the pit than the former. Such is the case of our Blessed Lady. No contradiction you see.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Either Mary was without sin or in need of a Saviour. You don’t need a Saviour unless you have sinned.

          • Albert

            How exactly is that assertion supposed to answer my previous post?

          • Martin

            Albert

            You said:

            4. Mary was, by grace, without sin.

            I pointed out that she had a Saviour, therefore she was not without sin.

          • Albert

            And I replied to that. You can be saved in two ways. Let’s suppose that someone shoots a celebrity and his body guard does impressive first aid and saves the persons’s life. But let’s suppose that this time, the body guard dives in front of the celebrity and takes the bullet himself, so the celebrity is never even injured. On your logic, the celebrity is only saved in the first and not the second example. But that’s clearly wrong. Therefore your position is wrong.

          • Martin

            Albert

            There is only one way we are saved.

            for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 [ESV])

          • Albert

            You obviously cannot take that in any literally exhaustive sense, for Jesus did not sin, and neither do those who die before reaching any state of reason.

          • Martin

            Are you suggesting that there might be others who haven’t sinned? If you exclude Mary, why not others. Does not the exception, a very distinct and unique exception, prove the rule.

          • Albert

            It is clear that those who have not reached the age of reason have not sinned. It is clear also that Jesus has not sinned. But there is no reason to try to find any other exceptions similar to Mary, because, as anyone who properly believes in Jesus knows, there is no one in a comparable position to Mary.

            Now we know that the Bible does not use the word “all” in an exhaustive sense, for there are plenty of occasions when it does not. For example:

            The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

            All the people of Jerusalem? Even those who were too old or sick to travel. Even the the Pharisees? Evidently not.

            When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

            All Jerusalem? What about Symeon and Anna?

          • Martin

            Albert

            What age of reason is that? And I would suggest that Mary was very little different to the other women of her time who carried children.

          • Albert

            Unless you are able to know what you should do (or shouldn’t do) you cannot be guilty of sin. As for Mary, she was humanly speaking the same as any other woman, but she was also full of grace, which I believe makes rather a difference.

          • Martin

            Albert

            All Christians are full of grace and we all are created in God’s image and so know what we should and shouldn’t do.

          • Albert

            I have never hear the claim that Christians are full of grace. Can you prove it from scripture? Also, what is the evidence that therefore we know what we should and shouldn’t do? Finally, I am just wondering what the relevance of this is. Do you think a Christian child aged 2 knows what is right and wrong? Or an adult who has suffered brain damage? If the answer is no, then clearly they have not sinned.

          • Martin

            Albert

            This is the only reference I can find to that phrase:

            And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8 [ESV])

            Seems to me that Stephen is a ordinary Christian.

            We are all made in the image of God and part of that image is knowing right from wrong. I’ve watched small children and it is pretty clear that they know when they are doing wrong. I’ve no reason to think babies are any different.

          • Albert

            The passage is poorly translated. It should read:

            And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

            Στέφανος δὲ πλήρης πίστεως καὶ δυνάμεως ἐποίει τέρατα καὶ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἐν τῷ λαῷ

            There is therefore no basis for your claim.

            As for the image of God argument, you have given no reason to think that your interpretation is what is meant. In any case, you are missing the fact that the image is damaged by sin. Hence it says in Jonah that they did not know their right hand from their left. And scripture also says:

            Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness.

            You have a surprisingly optimistic view of conscience and human nature for a Protestant. I do not think your observations support your conclusion. Small children develop a sense of right and wrong from their teachers, but it is largely external to them, i.e. they behave in order to avoid punishment and gain approval. That is a different matter entirely. It also fails to answer the case about those who have some kind of mental disability.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The passage is poorly translated.

            Of course it it, it destroys your point so it must be.

            Westcott & Hort have it differently:

            Στέφανος δὲ πλήρης χάριτος καὶ δυνάμεως ἐποίει τέρατα καὶσημεῖα μεγάλα ἐν τῷ λαῷ.

            So here we have a variant which seems to be preferred. But what of faith? Is it not the gift of God and is not therefore of grace?

            I have to wonder what you think the Bible means when it says that we are made in the image of God. If we do not receive an understanding of what is right and wrong, what is that image? Indeed, knowing that God exists and is our nature is basic to what we are.

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:18-23 [ESV]

            How can God judge without the one being judged having knowledge of what is right? We are told that the soul that sins will die, death is the punishment for sin and infants die. Therefore they must have sinned, therefore they must know to do right. While a child may not know their right from left they still know what is right.

            Conscience is there, awaiting reawakening from the slumber the will places upon it.

            I remember my daughter, when she was just crawling, checking to see if anyone was watching before heading for some reachable ornaments. And why do you think babies cry as soon as their weary parent puts them down in their cot? No child needs to be taught disobedience, they have a preference for it because they have Adam’s tendency to sin. And it applies to those who have mental disability too.

          • Albert

            Of course it it, it destroys your point so it must be.

            I checked it with the Greek and I have found that the RSV and the KJV have the same reading – I could have hardly quoted the Greek unless that’s what it said. So there’s no need to assume my repost rested on what suited me. You can see for yourself that the evidence is there. Now you’ve managed to show that there is a variant reading – that doesn’t make my point dishonest, it just means that your point is less certain.

            But what of faith? Is it not the gift of God and is not therefore of grace?

            Clearly someone can be full of faith without being full of grace. For it is possible to have faith without works – what’s normally called unformed faith.

            I have to wonder what you think the Bible means when it says that we are made in the image of God. If we do not receive an understanding of what is right and wrong, what is that image?

            That’s odd, I asked for evidence, you’ve responded not by giving evidence, but by being mystified by what I think. That isn’t evidence.

            Indeed, knowing that God exists and is our nature is basic to what we are.

            But only because being rational is basic to our nature, and rationality does not function in those who for no fault of their own, by immaturity or illness do not have such a faculty. You see, your quotation from Romans just refers to rationality. It does not say that everyone is born knowing God exists, it says it is plain from the things he has made. How can that possibly be the case for a child who has just been born? You seriously think they know God exists by reflection on God’s creation? They haven’t had time to perceive it, as as for knowing that, they don’t know who they are yet!

            Conscience is there, awaiting reawakening from the slumber the will places upon it.

            Conscience is a faculty, it’s not magic.

            I remember my daughter, when she was just crawling, checking to see if anyone was watching before heading for some reachable ornaments.

            That doesn’t say anything about the origin of the instinct, which is what is at stake here. All your example needs to show us is that the child knows actions have consequences. So what? That’s not the same thing as knowing things are right and wrong.

            And why do you think babies cry as soon as their weary parent puts them down in their cot? No child needs to be taught disobedience, they have a preference for it because they have Adam’s tendency to sin. And it applies to those who have mental disability too.

            I don’t think a child cries because the child is disobedient. Certainly, a child has a tendency for evil, but it is not a choice they rationally make and are responsible for.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So actually, you were wrong, it wasn’t a bad translation, it was a variant which appears to be the most likely original. Nor did either Greek variant cause any problem with the early church because both were considered acceptable. Of course, nowhere is Mary described as full of grace and a lot of the nonsense surrounding her is of recent origin. Mary is just another who suffers from your idolatry.

            Clearly someone can be full of faith without being full of grace. For it is possible to have faith without works

            No, actually it isn’t possible to have faith without works:

            So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
            But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
            (James 2:17-18 [ESV]

            And, in any case, we know the source of faith and it’s purpose:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
            (Ephesians 2:8-10 [ESV]

            So faith is the gift of God and works the purpose for which faith is given.

            if all Christians are full of grace, it is hard to see why Luke bothers to tell us that Stephen is – obviously, he would be.

            Stephen is the first martyr, Luke has points to make. Or do you think that Stephen was unique in some way?

            But only because being rational is basic to our nature, and rationality does not function in those who for no fault of their own, by immaturity or illness do not have such a faculty.

            Do we really know what goes on in the soul, whether of the infant or of the one unable to communicate with us? The simple fact is all are sinners, Paul drives it home again and again, like nails hammered into a coffin:

            as it is written:
            None is righteous, no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            (Romans 3:10-12 [ESV]

            There is no possibility that any son or daughter of Adam is anything else but a sinner in need of salvation from their sins.

            Conscience is a faculty, it’s not magic.

            Conscience isn’t magic, it is part of our nature, part of our being created in God’s image.

            That doesn’t say anything about the origin of the instinct, which is what is at stake here. All your example needs to show us is that the child knows actions have consequences. So what? That’s not the same thing as knowing things are right and wrong.

            It isn’t about knowing actions have consequences, it is about knowing what is right and turning away from it to do evil. We greatly underestimate our own evil. To not put God first in our lives is the most heinous evil there is.

            What it shows is that a toddler knows right and wrong and can wilfully choose wrong. Likewise, the baby crying the instant they are put down is evidencing selfishness. Would God condemn the creature that had not made a rational choice to disobey.

            Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
            and in sin did my mother conceive me.
            (Psalms 51:5 [ESV]

            David testifies to his own wickedness, from conception.

          • Albert

            So actually, you were wrong, it wasn’t a bad translation, it was a variant which appears to be the most likely original.

            I have already conceded it is a variant. But as the argument is yours, you need something stronger than that. And as I have pointed out, you cannot infer a universal from one example. Or do you think that Stephen was unique in some way? My position does not require me to say that he was unique. It’s your argument, the burden of proof rests on you, and you therefore have to show not that he wasn’t unique (obviously I don’t think he was unique), but that all Christians are full of grace. The passage doesn’t say that.

            Of course, nowhere is Mary described as full of grace and a lot of the nonsense surrounding her is of recent origin.

            Of course Mary is named full of grace – at the annunciation. As for the idea being of recent origin, even if you challenge the translation of the Greek, the interpretation is ancient – over 1000 years before your Protestant doctrines appeared.

            Mary is just another who suffers from your idolatry.

            That is either ignorant or a lie. We honour her, as scripture says we should.

            I cannot for the life of me see why you think James tells in your favour – it speaks of faith without works being dead. That’s what I called unformed faith. It’s my very point. Read James 2.19, it says the devils believe – and the word is πιστεύουσιν – the same word as for faith (not least in Acts 6 (in the “faith” variant)).

            Do we really know what goes on in the soul, whether of the infant or of the one unable to communicate with us?

            You seem to have a very dualistic view of the soul – not very biblical, I think.

            There is no possibility that any son or daughter of Adam is anything else but a sinner in need of salvation from their sins.

            So Jesus is a sinner?

            Now notice that I am not denying original sin of a child. I am denying what Paul is talking about – actual sin – the very passage of Romans you quote should be sufficient to establish that.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course Mary is named full of grace – at the annunciation.

            She has no more grace than any other Christian, and it doesn’t say she was full of grace.

            As for the idea being of recent origin, even if you challenge the translation of the Greek, the interpretation is ancient – over 1000 years before your Protestant doctrines appeared.

            So when was it declared a dogma? And what Protestants believe is found in the Bible, the original doctrine of Christianity.

            That is either ignorant or a lie. We honour her, as scripture says we should.

            You don’t honour Christians by erecting statues to them that have crowns on their heads.

            I cannot for the life of me see why you think James tells in your favour – it speaks of faith without works being dead. That’s what I called unformed faith. It’s my very point. Read James 2.19, it says the devils believe – and the word is πιστεύουσιν – the same word as for faith (not least in Acts 6 (in the “faith” variant)).

            James fits with Ephesians 2 in that Paul speaks of faith, the gift of God, results in doing good works that God has foreordained & James points out these deeds are evidence of that faith.

            You seem to have a very dualistic view of the soul – not very biblical, I think.

            If the souls around the throne can cry out for vengeance why can the souls of infants and the deranged not act independently of their minds?

            So Jesus is a sinner?

            Jesus isn’t a child of Adam.

            Now notice that I am not denying original sin of a child. I am denying what Paul is talking about – actual sin – the very passage of Romans you quote should be sufficient to establish that.

            Original sin is the tendency to sin, inherited by us all, not that which condemns us. But we all succumb to our nature and hence come under condemnation. As David says, we are condemned from conception.

          • Albert

            it doesn’t say she was full of grace

            Well what is your interpretation of Luke 1.28?

            So when was it declared a dogma?

            It was dogmatised in 431 – at a council dealing not with Mary, but with Jesus. It is designed to oppose those who divide the humanity of Christ from his divinity, thereby making two sons, and abolishing the incarnation. The title is much more ancient however – older than the canon of scripture.

            And what Protestants believe is found in the Bible, the original doctrine of Christianity.

            Not true. I have demonstrated the title “Mother of God” by strict logic, from the scriptures. But you do not accept it.

            You don’t honour Christians by erecting statues to them that have crowns on their heads.

            That’s not an argument.

            If the souls around the throne can cry out for vengeance why can the souls of infants and the deranged not act independently of their minds?

            How can a soul act independently of it’s mind? Mind is part of the soul, and it is by mind that one chooses. You are confusing mind and brain here I think. But it is evident, is it not, that while in the body, the soul cannot act independently from the brain.

            Jesus isn’t a child of Adam.

            Do you not understand any element of scripture? Child of Adam” is a way of simply saying human. You end up denying Jesus is God or man! What do you think those genealogies are for?

            James fits with Ephesians 2 in that Paul speaks of faith, the gift of God, results in doing good works that God has foreordained & James points out these deeds are evidence of that faith.

            Of course good works can only follow from faith, but that does not mean that good works will follow faith. After all, this is what James says:

            What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?

            The question is rhetorical. Faith alone cannot save – after all, the demons have “faith”. As the Bible says:

            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            Your position is plainly set against the plain meaning of scripture.

            Original sin is the tendency to sin, inherited by us all, not that which condemns us.

            I’m surprised to find you lurching into such an Arminian position. But even if I allow for your pelagianism, I don’t see what difference it makes. Original sin only affects those who have it, which Mary, by the grace of God, did not.

          • Martin

            Albert

            This is how Luke 1:28 reads:

            And he came to her and said, Greetings,O favored one, the Lord is with you! (Luke 1:28 [ESV])

            No mention of “full of grace”.

            Isn’t it amazing that it wasn’t until 431 that Mary was called Mother of God if it was so obvious.

            Of course it is an argument that you don’t honour Christians by raising statues to them. What does the angel say to John? Rev 19:9-10.

            Is the soul in the mind or the brain? And how is it that the soul can be alive but the body can still be subject to sin?

            No, child of Adam isn’t a way of saying human. It indicates that we have inherited from Adam a sinful nature. Adam is the federal head of the unsaved, Christ is the federal head of the saved. Why was Christ not Joseph’s son?

            If good works do not follow faith then it isn’t God given faith, it is false faith. That is what James is saying.

            Mary was like everyone else, she had original sin. Of course that was only invented in 1854, so it is hardly an ancient doctrine, more like a modern heresy.

          • Albert

            Your translation of Luke 1.28 has problems. Here’s the Greek:

            καὶ εἰσελθὼν ὁ ἄγγελος πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπεν Χαῖρεκεχαριτωμένη ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν

            “Full of grace” is a perfectly reasonable translation, in its own right. Indeed, the root word here is normally translated “grace”. But let me allow your translation. Does it make sense? Let’s look at the whole passage according to your translation:

            And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

            Now the problem should be obvious. If Mary is described as favoured by God in 1.28, we have to admit that Mary has found that favour (for this is then the translation of 1.30 : thou hast found favour with God). But no creature can find favour with God, except by grace. Thus if my translation is followed, Mary is full of grace, if yours is followed, we must either accept that she was full of grace in order to be highly favoured, or we will have to admit that we have succumbed to Pelagianism – a position to be abhorred of all faithful Christians.

            Isn’t it amazing that it wasn’t until 431 that Mary was called Mother of God if it was so obvious

            If you were remotely acquainted with Christian theology, or indeed, bothered to read what I wrote, you would see that Mary was already called Mother of God before 431. So why do you make such silly comments? It was simply declared at a Council in 431 because, it was at that time, that the Nestorian heresy undermined the unity of the incarnation by denying such obvious statements as that Mary is Mother of God.

            Of course it is an argument that you don’t honour Christians by raising statues to them. What does the angel say to John? Rev 19:9-10.

            It was not an argument is was an assertion. To which I offer the counter assertion: you can honour saints by raising statues to them. Rev.19.9-10 does not contradict that.

            Is the soul in the mind or the brain?

            The mind is a faculty of the soul, so your question makes no sense.

            And how is it that the soul can be alive but the body can still be subject to sin?

            ? Only something that is in some sense alive can be subject to sin.

            No, child of Adam isn’t a way of saying human. It indicates that we have inherited from Adam a sinful nature.

            You’re wrong. “Son of Adam” is a way of saying human. He is son of Adam via Mary, and even if you deny that, he remains son of Eve, for scripture calls Eve “Mother of all the living.” Moreover, it says as in Adam all die – and Christ died. But none of this is really getting you anywhere, since Rom.3 (your original passage) does not mention Adam. It says “All have sinned.” A statement which, if taken in an absolutely universal sense, is demonstrably false. And since no statement of scripture is false, it cannot be taken in an absolutely universal sense, in which case, it is no foundation to ascribe sin to Mary and your argument fails.

            Why was Christ not Joseph’s son?

            There are numerous reasons: to show that he is God and Man, to show that no new person is born of Mary, but a divine person, who pre-existed his human birth, to show that the initiative of our salvation is entirely God’s, because the Trinity means the Son of God cannot have a human father in competition with his divine Father. And so on…

            If good works do not follow faith then it isn’t God given faith, it is false faith. That is what James is saying.

            That’s not necessarily what James is saying, moreover, if that were the case, then James would be offering a kind pelagianism again. For it would mean that something that was good (belief in Christ – even if it isn’t formed by charity) has come from us and not from God. But nothing good comes from us without it first being a gift of God. Moreover, scripture says no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. And yet it is obvious that there are those who say Jesus is Lord, but do not have a faith formed by charity: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Now it is obvious that these people have God-given faith, but not charity, for they have cast out demons, but Jesus says If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? and apart from me you can do nothing. Thus we see that they have faith, but not works. The fact that this does not fit with your Protestant human tradition, does not make the Bible false.

            Mary was like everyone else, she had original sin.

            Mary was plainly without original sin, for scripture says a bad tree cannot bear good fruit but the fruit of Mary is Jesus, therefore (even allowing for your possible denial of the incarnation) since Jesus was supremely good, Mary must have been good and this she can have been only by grace (although your position has slipped towards pelagianism enough times, perhaps you don’t worry about that). Of course that was only invented in 1854, so it is hardly an ancient doctrine, more like a modern heresy. The doctrine wasn’t invented in 1854. Why do you write so much about topics you know nothing about?

        • IanCad

          True, and neither are the other Three Dogmas of Mary.
          Probably not the place to get into the Fifth Dogma (Co-redemptrix) but that one is being pushed for very hard in some RC quarters.

      • Martin

        Albert

        If they are an interpretation of revelation and held to be correct they are equal to Scripture.

        • Dogma are considered to be Divine revelations of Scripture to the Church.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It doesn’t matter what they are considered to be.

          • Then, to be clear, and setting ecumenicalism aside, the dogma of the Church are Divine revelations.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Unless it is in the Bible the Church has no right to make it dogma. The Church has no right to teach what isn’t in the Bible.

          • According to the Bible, the Church has both the duty and the authority to teach what is in the Bible and to develop its understanding of it.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Church is every individual saved by grace, they each have that responsibility. The Church is not a hierarchy.

        • Albert

          That would be true of every act of faith then, even those that come purely from the individual. But you don’t think that, and so your point must be wrong.

          • Martin

            Albert

            None of that follows.

          • Albert

            A definition of faith is simply an interpretation of the faith such that an individual can assent to it with the assurance of faith. If you don’t have the Church do this for you, you do it for yourself. So either your position is false, or you have no faith.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Ephesians 2 tells us that saving faith is the gift of God. Neither the Church nor a church gives it to us. Thus if we have it, we know for certain that we are saved.

            The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16 [ESV]

          • Albert

            Does not faith come through hearing?

            For, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Does that prevent it being the gift of God?

          • Albert

            Obviously, it is the gift of God and it comes through hearing.

    • Athanasius

      This is actually a common mistake. There WAS no Jewish “Old Testament” prior to about 100 AD. In fact, it was compiled at that time partly (though not entirely) in reaction to the rise of Christianity. Before then, different Jews recognized many books as authorities (eg, the deuterocanonical books), while others (such ad the Sadducees, who only recognized the first five books) did not. There MUST be a non-Biblical authority, and who better than the one which compiled the entire Bible?

      • Anton

        The Jews made a fairly clear distinction between the written tradition and the oral tradition, which is why Jesus often said “it is written” before quoting authoritatively. But my reasoning does not depend on how the OT was compiled, only on the fact that no church tradition is needed to make sense of it.

        • Dominic Stockford

          The Septuagint was produced around 250 BC, which is rather before Athanasius states. If there was no “Jewish OT” then they couldn’t have produced it.

  • pawnraider

    With all due respect Your Grace, however, one must note that when you wrote “‘a natural and normal development’ in a church that changes ‘in a progressive but properly patient way’.” one despairs in trying to find any sort of biblical sanction for such changes, progressive or otherwise. After all, what should be the Christian’s guide, the Bible or the shifting sands of cultural relativism? Didn’t the Apostle Paul list the qualifications of a bishop in 1 Timothy 3:2 which reads, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…” One wonders how Libby can be the husband of one wife unless the word was to lose all meaning and therefore become meaningless.

    “‘No matter how seriously the church may take the authority of the Bible, the slogan
    of sola scriptura is both conceptually and practically untenable.’ And
    this must be true…” If this is to be true as you contend then there must be
    some ecclesiastic or ecclesiastics that are not so encumbered by “one’s own
    psyche, upbringing, education or the contemporary social context…” who are able
    to dispense Scriptural wisdom and authority. Do you know where such people can
    be found? Good luck with that by the way. In Acts 17:11 Paul commends the Bereans by calling them noble for instead of merely accepting what Paul was telling
    them they searched the Scriptures to see for themselves if what he was telling
    them was true. How unlike what you are suggesting! Or do you suppose that the
    Bereans were free of one’s ‘own psyche, upbringing, education or the
    contemporary social context” and were therefore able to rightly divide the Word
    of Truth? Note that the Bereans were able to decide for themselves what was and
    is true and they were not referred to nor looked to any ecclesiastical polity as
    to what they should believe.

    I would like to point out that you fortify you response or argument by appealing
    to the writings of men and not once have you quoted from the Word of God which
    is and should be the deciding factor in rules of faith and practice and not the
    theological relativism that man is all too capable of as history shows.

    Please be so kind as to excuse any and all grammatical errors.

    Your obedient and most humble servant,

    Frank

  • wilfthebison

    The error that His Grace has fallen into, is to think that our current society is new, modern and progressive. I would suggest that, due to the church’s failure to preach the Gospel, society has merely fallen back into the sin and vice that is natural to it’s fallen state. As our society gets nearer to the moral swamp of first century, we get nearer to the relevance of the Gospel not further away from it.
    As for the idea that a good woman bishop would be better than a bad male bishop, this, I’m afraid to say is nothing more than an unfortunate burst of sophistry and misses one key point. The Godly woman of your premiss would recuse herself from the office of Bishop on the grounds that the Bible forbids it.

    • Inspector General

      Rather !!

  • dannybhoy

    “And this must be true, for it is simply not possible to read and
    interpret Scripture apart from one’s own psyche, upbringing, education
    or the contemporary social context: we bring to each verse our own
    baggage of intellectual limitations, historical ignorance and emotional
    or spiritual deficiencies.”

    So who then can be saved, how can we know how a church should function or what a Christian is? In fact why keep the Scriptures at all! Surely they are an encumbrance and embarrassment in todays society. Haven’t you have just proclaimed a modern version of the Tower of Babel?

    ” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

    I’ve only just got a lovely new bible, should I throw it away and opt for an annual subscription to the Church Times?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Absolutely. well put sir.

    • Keep your Bible safe, brother. The day may come when you are no longer able to buy one.
      However, ‘The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever’ (Isaiah 40:8).

  • Malcolm Smith

    What difference does it make whether you base your theology on either the Bible or tradition, because this is contrary to both?
    Indeed, the Church of England split with Rome because the latter had allowed innovations – such as purgatory, indulgences, the adoration of saints etc which had not been present originally. But, to be fair to Rome, at least these innovations had merely crept in unnoticed, like a clock which gained a minute every day until it was striking six at noon. But here we have the church introducing something which even its proponents admit had never happened since the days of the Apostles.

    • Inspector General

      The adoration of those who went before and lived as Christ would have all of us to live is no sin, you know…

      Indulgencies went to build the great churches. Problem there ?

      • CliveM

        For the Protestant mind I think the problem is with the word adoration. Sounds a bit worshipy. Respect however, has the right tenor to it.

        • Inspector General

          That’s the extremists problem Clive. Protestant extremism is a chilly wind…

          • CliveM

            Well personally I dislike excessive dogmatism from whichever branch of Christianity. As a Protestant I find the ‘adoration of the Saints’ odd. However if it’s used as a way to inspire a More Godly life, it doesn’t bother me.

          • Venerate is perhaps a better expression – respect, reverence, strong admiration or devotion.

          • CliveM

            Well as I said to my Protestant mind, I prefer the term respect. To be honest even venerate sounds like something that should be Gods alone.

            I don’t reject however the idea that some lead lives worthy of respect and imitation and are an inspiration to is in our own life.

          • Linus

            Interesting that the verb you use to describe the minor species of worship that you believe you owe to Mary and the saints derives from the same latin root as Venus.

            Christianity, a Jewish cult grafted on to pagan roots that’s about as naturally occuring as a bunch of Cape seedless grapes.

            How many generations of endless manipulation were needed before the vaguely sweet but almost completely tasteless fruit that dominates our markets – and churches – today took its final form?

        • Old Nick

          So you do not address your local Mayor as Your Worship ?

          • CliveM

            Nope, I’m not sure we even have one!

      • Acts 10:25. ‘As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.”‘

        Godly men of the past are worthy of respect and perhaps imitation; never adoration.

        • No Catholic worships anyone but God. We venerate Saints and Our Blessed Lady.

          • Rasher Bacon

            “Besides, the Blessed Virgin possessed, after Christ, not only the highest degree of excellence and perfection, but also a share in that influence by which He, her Son and our Redeemer, is rightly said to reign over the minds and wills of men.” Ad Caeli Reginam, 1954.

            Nothing wrong with a woman priest, eh HJ?

          • Mary was a woman, Rasher. They are called to another set of functions in the Church. If Jesus had wanted women Priests, Mary would surely have been the first.

          • Linus

            If Mary was suffering from paranoid delusions, such as thinking that a certain Roman centurion called Pantera was an angel of God, perhaps Jesus knew that making a priest out of his mother would be a bad idea. Not because she was a woman. But rather because she was just a disturbed individual.

          • Are you suggesting that Jesus was the bastard child of a Roman soldier?

          • Linus

            Celsus suggests it. So does the Talmud. I retain an open mind, although the virgin birth seems to me to be the least likely of all possible explanations.

            But was the father Pantera, or Joseph, or some third unknown person posing as an angel of the Lord? Did Mary believe her child had been planted in her by the Lord, or was the story of the angel a cover up and did she fabricate it in order knowingly to cover up a youthful indiscretion?

            We cannot know for sure. So it’s pointless to speculate. At best however, had Jesus been born in France, his birth would have been registered as “né sous X”, i.e. father unknown.

          • Tsk, He could never have been born in France. Where would God have found three Wise Men, or a virgin?

          • avi barzel

            Pfft!

            Incidentally, Linus speaks bullshit about the Talmud. There are no passages referring to Jesus, by any stretch of anyone’s inagination, in any of the tractates. Nor are there any traditions or secretive doctrines in any of the scriptural texts. There were occasional hostile opinions and condemnations by several medieval rabbis which are retained commentaries or opinions, but these related to contcontemporaneous issues on the conduct of Christians and Church authorities.

          • Uncle Brian

            Avi, there’s an interesting book called Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schäfer, published in 2007 by Princeton University Press. Schäfer discusses at some length (pp. 98-99) the arguments for and against the assertion that “Pantheros” is a deliberate distortion or pun on the Greek word for virgin, “parthenos”.

          • avi barzel

            Hi Uncle Brian, my PC is getting a full clean up with Malwarebytes and I lost the post I was penning. Briefly, I said that Schafer is not a credible source in this field, as he makes a number of elementary errors about knowledge of and interest in Christianity by the rabbis of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. The passages which some thought relate to the historical Jesus deal with diffetent persons and events in different places and times. During the height of the conflict between Church and Synagogue, Church authorities attempted to ban the Talmud and these stories were trotted out as examples of insults against the historical Jesus. This may have in part happenned because some Jews wrongly interpreted them and projected them, incorrectly and quite ahistorically onto Jesus. But the very nature of these (mis)interpretations, in terms of language and topics, show that they were contemporaneous, purely medieval in nature. Shafer over-reaches and presents remote plausibilities as probabilities or evidence and mskes a very poor case for a very old charge.

          • Uncle Brian

            OK Avi, but I’d never previously read anything on the subject and I must say I found Schäfer’s approach very careful and balanced. (more later, have to go out now.)

          • avi barzel

            Most scholarly literature is cosmetically careful and balanced by conventions of the trade; doesn’t do to come out raving. Shafer’s (where on earth do you find the umlaut on your device?) thesis is simply unsupported. It is part of his other larger thesis that Christianity and Judaism share many more common features than is assumed. That maybe partially so, starting with Muslim Spain under religiously liberal conditions and later in the late medieval when Christian and Jewish mysticism got fired up, but not for the Talmudic period from which these passages originate. What we do know for certain is that Church authorities used them in accusations against Judaism in general and “trials” against the Talmud from the 13th century on.

            But an important consideration is how generations of Jewish scholars and students read and interpret the passages in question. No authoritative commentary ever saw them as referring to the historical Jesus, for the obvious reason that they clearly deal with familiar questions in the style and language of the post-Exile sages. Serious routine Talmud study among scholars and laymen goes on (tomorrow night for me…I, like almost every guy in the Orthodox world, take part in the process in a modest way)…and there are no restrictions or intimidation in our discussions as in the darker past. And yet, no one has suggested such a link, and in most folks haven’t even heard of the issue. Suggestions that, for example, the arch-fiend Balaam or the pseudonym “Ploni” are in fact code words for Jesus would be met with furrowed brows and derision.

            This is often the problem with academics who try to establish a name with a subject matter they may not be intimately familiar with or think that it belongs in the remote past. But when dealing with a living and quite vibrant discipline in a continuous community, rather than just old documents and theories in dead languages, it may help to see what those involved think.

          • Uncle Brian

            Avi, surely Schäfer’s scholarship can’t be as second-rate as all that. The blurb on the back of the dust jacket includes a flattering quote from one Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Does that name convey anything to you?

            And I have no problem with the umlaut: this is a Brazilian keyboard made for writing in Portuguese. I can do à ê í õ ü
            and ç, all right here at my fingertips. How about that!

          • avi barzel

            It’s not a question of second rate scholarship, Brian; Schafer put forth a minority position, one popularized by the historian Hereford, argued with circumstantial evidence. Excellent scholars can be dead-wrong, especially in areas where it is impossible to present firm evidence for or agsinst a point. In this case the primary data has been muddied significantly by centuries of conflict, censorship and editing of the text for political and historic reasons by both sides, Christian and Jewish. How does about can he establish that Talmudic scholars knew much more about Christianity, hid their knowledge and developed coded stories for polemic reasons? Mostly by weaving together dozens of theoretically plausible what-ifs, maybes and surelys. A bit like Koestler’ Jews-are-Khazars book; entertaining and controversial, but lean on evidence. Difference is that Koestler’s gamble into sexy pseudo-history paid off with popularity and huge book sales, whereas Schafer’s got largely ignored by scholars and the public. Another difference is that Koestler’s hypothesis (it wasn’all his of course) got blown apart by DNA studies, whereas Schafer’s is unfalsifiable due to lack of evidence for or against. Barring some surprising discovery of hitherto unknown material, of course. And just as with any scientific endeavor, a hypothesis that can not be possibly tested and falsified becomes merely a speculation.

            No, first I hear of Rabbi Visotsky; in part because he is in the Conservative camp, which does not matter in cases of purely historical work, but he hasn’t published anything of note
            in that field. Book endorsements do not necessarily add credibility, though.

          • Uncle Brian

            Point taken, Avi, though Schäfer does explicitly disassociate himself from Hereford’s “positivistic attempt to rediscover and justify the rabbinical texts as historical sources for the life of Jesus”. He calls this “a naive attitude [which] must be dismissed once and for all.” (p. 96)

          • avi barzel

            Your point taken as well, Brian, but I’m mildly surprised by Scghaefer’s strident dissociation and criticism of Herford. Positivistic? A naïve attitude? Gosh.

            Robert Travers Herford published his Christianity in the Talmud and Midrash with London’s Williams & Norgate back in 1903…I have a decent reprint of it (not from the original plates, unfortunately) by Ktav Publishing. In the preface to the original edition, Herford expresses his sincere belief, certainty in fact, that the passages he cites are clear evidence of talmudic references to the historical Jesus and his contemporaries.

            “My only aim is to present facts,” he says towards the end of his preface, “in the shape of statements contained in ancient Jewish writings, and to extract from those statements whatever information they may afford bearing on the historical problem of the early history of Christianity. As a Christian who has for several years found his chief and absorbing interest in the study of Rabbinical literature…I offer this book as a contribution to Christian scholarship.”

            These are honest words by a likeable and admirable scholar and a Unitarian minister from Manchester, who may have been utterly wrong in his assessments, whose scholarship was based on fewer primary and secondary sources we can boast of now, but whose frank disclosure of his bias and real attempts at objectivity, including his effort to gather opinions by contemporaneous rabbinic scholars, are surprising for the times. From a brief look at Schaefer a few years ago, on the other hand, I got the impression that he has disinterred Herford’s thesis and repackaged it for modern consumption with a few qualifications and critiques whose main purpose is to make him look unbiased. Perhaps Schaefer has included more factual information, but in terms of likeability and preference for style and approach, I’m with Herford, even while in disagreement with his thesis.

          • That is not what I have observed. I have seen less idolatry in a Buddhist temple than I have observed in some Roman churches.

          • Strange thing uninformed and prejudiced perception, Martin. Bit like reading Scripture, really.

          • Athanasius

            Perhaps your observations are coloured by your bias.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jack is right. Idolatory is sinful. They are merely statues….artistic representation of saints. No Catholic prays to a statue.It is a Protestant fantasy.

    • Athanasius

      Indulgences are not an innovation; they go back to pre-Christian times, albeit not under that name. Purgatory is also a Jewish concept, sometimes called “Abraham’s Bosom” and alluded to in 2 Maccabees (which is why Luther threw that book out – it wasn’t telling him what he wanted to hear), and we don’t adore saints, we ask them to pray for us.

      • Malcolm Smith

        Quite wrong. 2 Maccabees 13:40-45 tells how some of the dead after a battle were found to have been carrying tokens of idols. Judas Maccabaeus then took up a collection for a sin offering for them at the temple to atone for their sin. Indeed, it says in verse 44: “For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.” In other words, it was to assist their resurrection, not to get them out of Purgatory. There is no evidence at all that the Jews of this period believed in Purgatory. As for the Christians, the Greeks have never had this doctrine.They didn’t reject it; they just never had it. In “The City of God”, Augustine said that it may be possible that a saved person will still suffer for his sins in the next life. And, as George Salmon pointed out, what was a mere possibility in the early 5th century could not become a certainty in the 6th.

        • Athanasius

          Protestantism holds that upon death, you’re either going up or down. No “assistance” is needed if you’re going up, and none will avail if you’re going down. “Assistance” makes no sense UNLESS…(fill in the blanks).

        • The full passage is:

          “In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the dead to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.”
          (2 Macc. 12:43–45).

          Where did their souls go before the Resurrection? And why pray for the dead if it was pointless? And Jesus descended to release souls to Heaven.

          “Purgatory” is nowhere stated in Scripture. This is true. The words “Trinity” and “Incarnation” there. Scripture teaches that purgatory exists, even if it doesn’t use that word and even if: “After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits” (1 Peter 3:19) refers to a place other than purgatory.

          Christ refers to the sinner who “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32), suggesting that one can be freed after death of the consequences of one’s sins. Similarly, Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, can’t refer to hell, since no one is saved there; and heaven can’t be meant, since there is no suffering (“fire”) there. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory alone explains this passage.

          • Malcolm Smith

            All this proves is the existence of an intermediate state between death and judgment. Purgatory, on the other hand, implies a painful cleansing of the sins committed on earth. Of this, the Bible says nothing. As for 1 Cor 3:15, this was the text about which Augustine said that suffering in the intermediate state might be true. And, to quote Salmon again, what was a mere possibility in the late 5th century cannot be a certainty in the 6th.

          • Malcolm, did you not read this:

            “Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.” (2 Macc. 12:45). Surely prayers for the dead that their sins might be atoned? And why an intermediate stage?

            This is suggestive too: “After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits” (1 Peter 3:19)

            And Christ referring to the sinner who “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32)? Paul telling us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test: “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15). Not hell, since no one is saved there; not heaven since there is no suffering. It’s a doctrine based on scripture.

      • Anton

        Abraham’s Bosom appears in Luke 16 but it is stretching patters, to put it mildly, to assert that the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is an exegesis of the verses in question.

  • Nick

    Oh come on. What’s more worldly than sexism (and racism)? The world claims to not be sexist etc but doesn’t practice what it preaches. Maybe the C of E will do a better job than the world does. How is this a compromise with the world? It is the opposite.

    • Inspector General

      One recalls the Prince of Wales whining about racism in the British Army. How many black women did he date, or muslim women come to that…

      • Nick

        At least he didn’t have a go at nepotism.

      • CliveM

        If the rumours are true , more then one (black I mean, Muslims no recorded date!).

  • Anton

    Does anybody know anything about the man who protested at the ceremony? He deserves a drink.

    • Dominic Stockford

      He was asked, he answered. Honesty and bravery – even if I disagree with his anglo-catholicism.

      • Anton

        He’s a real PROTESTant.

    • He was that longstanding minor national treasure, the Reverend Paul Williamson.

      There is a very long tradition of even entire congregations shouting “No” to new bishops, usually because the civil power had sought to impose someone politically unacceptable to the locality.

      That was fairly common until quite recently in topical Greece, where it may well reappear in the coming months and years.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      A man of courage – well done him. Probably the only man of principle inside the building. Everyone else was a timeserver.

    • Linus

      He was declared a vexatious litigant by the English High Court and may now only bring an action in the courts with judicial permission.

      Gives you an idea of the sort of monomaniac, obsessive personality we’re dealing with.

      He also tried to take Charles Mountbatten to court to prevent him from marrying the already married woman he’d been tupping on the side while his own wife was busy hurling herself downstairs, or just hurling. Did he object to the fact that Camilla’s husband was still living, or was it an objection to the competition that register office weddings pose to a lucrative branch of Church activity?

      Hmmm, given his antics yesterday, probably the former…

      • Hmmm … “vexatious litigant … monomaniac, obsessive personality”.
        Now who do those words remind Happy Jack of?

        • Linus

          Himself, perhaps?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I’d just like to point out that the Prince of Wales does not have a legal surname…none of the princes/royals do.

        • Linus

          Hmm, well what do you call the emperor of Japan then?

          Legally he’s simply his Majesty The Emperor. No first name, no last name. But nobody in the West refers to him that way. We all call him Emperor Akihito, which shocks the Japanese. It’s not considered polite or correct to use his former first name now that he’s emperor.

          When he dies, he’ll be referred to as the Heisei Emperor, Heisei being the era name assigned to his reign. It isn’t a personal name, and it’s never used during his lifetime. His father, whom we all know as Emperor Hirohito, is known in Japan as the Showa Emperor.

          The point I’m making is that we – both the British and the French – do not always refer to foreign monarchs using the titles their own people would use.

          As far as we’re concerned here in France, everyone (in the West, at least) has a surname. So whether the British royal family likes it or not, we think of them as Mountbattens. Or Windsors. To clarify, Orléanistes and Republicans “de basse extraction” would tend to favour Windsor, as it’s the name the family favours for itself. Légitimistes would generally choose Mountbatten, because according to the tradition, that’s what they should be called (actually, they should really be called Oldenburg, but as that just confuses things even more, we use Mountbatten as shorthand for ‘Oldenbourg dite “Mountbatten”‘.)

          In the same way, most of the French tend to refer to members of the princely family of Monaco by the surname Grimaldi. Légitimistes might prefer de Matignon, or they might even prefer Louvet or de Valentinois

      • Such salaciousness, gossip and celebration of the human failings of others, Lupus.

        “Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

        Enjoy your meal and wallowing in excrement.

        • Linus

          Bible quotes: once again, the last resort of the inveterate hypocrite.

          • Okay. Well just enjoy your meal of vomit and wallowing in your own excrement, Lupus.

          • Linus

            Thank you for the recommendation, but I’ve already dined in Scottish restaurants and am unwilling to repeat the experience. Nice people. Repellent food. The only reason they serve an entrée is in order to harvest your ejecta (preferably from both ends) so they can serve it up as your main course.

          • Dine alone at home, Lupuss. That way you get to keep all “ejecta”, from every orifice, all for yourself.

          • Linus

            Don’t project your coprophagic fantasies onto me, Sad unhygienic old Jack. I’m told there are sites on the Internet where you indulge those kinds of erotic thoughts to your heart’s content. You can even arrange to meet up with others just like you and give it go in real life. If you decide to take it that far, I would recommend you speak to your health care provider first and familiarize yourself with the risks involved. Forewarned is forearmed, after all.

          • Ummm …. uncomfortable looking in the mirror, Lupuss?

            “A dog returns to its vomit …. A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

          • Linus

            I’m uncomfortable looking at you. I think most people would be given the strange fantasies you’ve just revealed. I knew your personality was extreme: Catholic fanatics always are. But extreme to that extent? I must admit, I’m a little shocked.

            Still, it takes all kinds to make the world turn. Even your kind. I’m just glad you remain a rare phenomenon.

          • Define ‘extreme Catholic’ Lupuss.

          • You think that tactic works, Lupuss? Really?

    • Back in the 1990’s the man also stood up and protested at the Rev John Sentamu’s inauguration as a Bishop for being a supporter of women priests.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/frailty-thy-name-is-williamson-1267226.html

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      It seems rather odd that, following an invitation to object which generates an objection, there are gasps of horror and indignation. I suppose it is not considered ‘good form’ to object, the correct behaviour being to shut up and say nothing. If the Church doesn’t want objectors it should purge the ceremonial…

  • And there I was thinking that the Anglican Church had already tossed all its grumpiest whiners over to the other side of the Tiber. Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham beckons the gentleman who dissented? 🙂

    • Ahem …. we surely do not want any more, Tiberia.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      Yes, how common these dissenters are!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I visited Walsingham last summer for the first time. I found it very spiritual, very moving. There were pilgrims from all over, praying at the stations of the Cross set out around the gardens…From there I walked to the ruins of the ancient abbey – not much left of course, but again I felt wonderfully at peace.

  • Rasher Bacon

    “And this must be true, for it is simply not possible to read and
    interpret Scripture apart from one’s own psyche, upbringing, education
    or the contemporary social context: we bring to each verse our own
    baggage of intellectual limitations, historical ignorance and emotional
    or spiritual deficiencies.”

    Tommy rot. Did Jesus say that to the devil in the desert? Yes we are flawed, but you bin parts of the first epistle of John with such an assertion, Tommy.

    • It’s not rot – it’s why we have a Church.

      • Rasher Bacon

        Yes it is. Defo. Rotty rotty rot rot.

        • How ya frying Rasher?

          • Rasher Bacon

            Like a heretic after a Dominican picnic.

  • The Explorer

    “it is simply not possible to read scripture apart from one’s own psyche etc.”
    It used to be the case that meaning lay with the text. It was the task of the reader to try and establish the author’s meaning and intention.
    With the deconstruction movement of the postmodern era, meaning shifted from the text to the reader. Thus the text has as many meanings as there are readers. This was not exactly the original intention, but once you shift authority away from the author, that’s where you end up. The new method started with literary criticism, and spread to history (“no history, only historians”) and theology.
    The problem is that the deconstructionists (as the movement has evolved) invariably make an exception with regard to their own opinions. They tend to become irked if their opinions are misinterpreted; although, of course, by their own criteria there can BE no misinterpretation. We are in the territory of proving that there are no proofs, or writing that, “This sentence cannot be expressed in English”.

    • Anton

      Well said! I am tired of people saying “That’s just your interpretation.” The number of Bible verses having unclear meaning is tiny compared to the number whose meaning is crystal clear. It is always worth replying: What part of the Ten Commandments do you not understand?

      • dannybhoy

        Absolutely. The Scriptures are a number of books and letters written over a long long time. One has to understand the purpose of the book, to whom it is addressed and the circumstances.
        You cannot pull a verse out and build a doctrine on it. It’s always context, it’s always considering the overwhelming weight of Scripture on any subject.

    • Pubcrawler

      “Thus the text has as many meanings as there are readers.”

      Well, as many as there are translators, for sure.

  • Martin

    It is very simple, Scripture grants a role to men that it doesn’t grant to women. If you don’t abide by Scripture you are not a Christian church.

  • Inspector General

    Men spread the gospel. not women. Why is this a problem to the CoE ???

    • CliveM

      Who says women can’t spread the Gospel? Spreading the Gospel isn’t limited to the Priest/Minister/Pastor or whatever. It’s the great commission, we are all called to spread the Gospel.

      It’s not the same, however as saying a woman can preach, or be a Priest.

      • Inspector General

        Clive – you know what the Inspector means…

        • CliveM

          I do now! :0)

          Oh well, sigh.

    • It comes down to whether one accepts a Sacramental Priesthood with the Priest in ‘persona Christi’.

      • Dominic Stockford

        ‘in persona christi’ – what arrogance man takes upon himself…

        • Why arrogant?

          Nowadays the term used in the Catholic Church is: “in the person of Christ the Head”. The Priest acts in the person of Christ in pronouncing the words that comprise part of a sacramental rite. For example, in the Mass, the Words of consecration, by which the bread becomes the Body of Christ and the wine becomes the His Blood. The Priest and Bishop also act in the person of Christ the head in their leadership of the Church.

  • carl jacobs

    Archbishop Cranmer

    You may rejoice in your new woman bishop to your heart’s content. Gird her with garlands and throw flowers before her chariot. Only understand that you have made a choice in doing so. You will go to the right, and I will go to the left. Or perhaps you will go to the left, and so I must go to the right. From time to tine, we can meet at the fence line to cooperate on such Ventures as may seem practicable.

    But there will never be unity again.

    And as the CoE disintegrates into an English version of TEC, don’t say you weren’t warned.

    • Dominic Stockford

      And if anyone hasn’t looked at what has been done there, by the ‘powers that be’, in the name of ‘equality’ is truly frightening. But there’s another website for all that, there isn’t room on this one. (Virtueonline)

    • Linus

      “And as the CoE distintegrates into an English version of TEC…”

      Yes, but where are the lawsuits against recalcitrant parishes? Where are the Neanderthal dioceses worshipping in community halls after having been asset stripped by a rapacious primate and her (or his) crack legal team?

      I applaud the ongoing TECisation of the Church of England, but Welby and Sentamu are going to have to pull their fingers out if they want to match the spectacular rate of decline in the US. And the English Neanderthal fringe isn’t being nearly assertive and litigious enough. More dramatic legal battles, please! They’re so useful in making the scales fall from Anglican eyes and hastening the transition from wishy washy liberal to secular humanist.

      • “May all who gloat over my distress
        be put to shame and confusion,
        may all who exalt themselves over me
        be clothed with shame and disgrace.”

        “When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice.”

        • Linus

          Bible quotes. The last resort of the intellectually bankrupt.

          • “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.…”

          • Linus

            Bible quotes: the last resort of the inveterate hypocrite.

          • “The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh.”

          • Linus

            Bible quotes: the last resort of the gibbering idiot.

      • carl jacobs

        I applaud the ongoing TECisation of the Church of England

        Snork (1)

        1. Look it up.

        • Happy Jack was thinking more along the lines of cacas se.

          • carl jacobs

            Ummm … OK.

          • Not either/or but both/and … a good Catholic principle.

        • Linus

          Ja! Snorken från Mumidalen. Han är så söt!

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        The Tron in Scotland could answer that; but of course the framework isn’t yet in place in the UK. On the other hand, the bishopesses will now impose loyalty tests and persecute anyone who objects.

      • What do you have against Neanderthals Linus? You do realise that they were fully human and bred with so called modern man. The same species as us. They were as human as Australian Aboriginals and probably cleverer than many today.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      It is funny, watching all this insincere rejoicing. For, of course, these folk care nothing for the woman in question and would throw her to the dogs in an instant if convenient (as a certain US bishopess found lately). It reminds me of how the Sun and the BBC and all the other gutter press used never to refer to Rowan Williams without saying how “holy” he was. And what did they mean? Only that he had welched on an agreement not to ordain homosexuals and had done so.
      If we didn’t know that this was an evil business, the lying would tell us.

    • Just over a year since I left Anglicanism for a FIEC church. Women have a big role but don’t teach or govern. It feels right and seems to work very well.

      I especially like the fact that when the (all male) teachers stand up to preach, they say ‘Right, please turn in your bibles to ….’ rather than the lady vicar starting with an ‘I was reading the Guardian/watching Coronation Street/reading a poem by Carol Ann Duffy the other day when I felt that, in a very real sense…..’

      You pays your money, you takes your choice.

      • dannybhoy

        Very apt post for me Stephen. My wife and I are praying about what we should do in our own situation as non Conformists involved in a CofE parish church, in which our vicar and curate are (imv) definitely Christians, but weighted down by the archaic bureaucracy of the CofE.
        We don’t believe in giving up, so we want to find a way forward by visiting other churches now and again for refreshment and inspiration.

        • If you will take my advice, brother, you will come out of the C of E and encourage your Vicar and Curate to do the same.
          If you want a text, then 2 Cor. 5:14-18 is the most obvious one.
          Find either a FIEC or a Grace Baptist church and do good to your soul.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for that piece of advice Martin, and in the Lord’s time I expect that is what will happen.
            We hesitate because we don’t want to abandon the vicar and curate and a few of the congregation who also have a vision for outreach. But thank you for your care.

    • Coniston

      The reality is that the Church of England is becoming more and more secularised. As a result it is becoming more and more irrelevant.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    “Natural and normal”? Well, Jimmy Savile could make that claim about his activities, no doubt, but I’m not sure that describes what went on here. This was the establishment, forcing its will on the church.
    There is nothing whatever to be said for a religion whose teachings are determined by the political establishment of the day.
    This is about power. The establishment, which is neither Christian itself nor sympathetic to it, has decided to appoint women (and homosexuals, soon) to the highest posts in the church. This they do, not because they believe, not because they go to church, not because they support the church, but out of pure malice and bigotry and because they think they can. Next comes the witchhunt of dissenters, as faithful priests are ordered by these bishopesses to bow the knee or else. Victory in civil strife is always arrogant. Your grace should have read Bishop Burnet’s “History of My Own Times” – a corrupt establishment appointing vicious men to crush the church, and cause so much uproar that their own vices were forgotten in the confusion. Why else is Scotland now presbyterian?
    We have been here before. The rotten courtiers of Charles II did exactly this sort of thing: appoint greedy, ambitious men as bishops, and watch in amusement as havoc ensued.
    This is a piece of wickedness. I’m sorry to see that your grace does not see this.

    • Old Nick

      Lloyd, Trelawney, Sancroft, Ken, Turner, Lake, White: seven bishops appointed by Charles II who can hardly be called greedy or ambitious but were prepared to go to the Tower to defend the Church from the machinations of the king’s bigoted brother. You could add others (e.g. Wake and earlier Sheldon). If you were to stigmatize thus the appointees of WIlliam III you would be closer to the truth.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        Archbishop Sheldon … the man who kept a whore and ran a campaign of persecution, throwing those he didn’t like in prison. That’s the point exactly.
        Shame on you for deliberately dodging the issue, by the way. But then … there’s really no reply, is there? The state raping the church is an evil; those who defend it do evil also.

        • Old Nick

          The only ‘evidence’ for the accusation you lay against Archbishop Sheldon is tittle-tattle from the scarcely blameless S. Pepys. If what you say is true how come the good archbishop repelled Charles II from the altar as a ‘notorious evil-liver’.
          He naturally restored order to the Church after many of its most godly ministers had been thrown out on their ears by Puritan fanatics under the Commonwealth – one of the Rectors in the small town I come from spent much of the 1650s saying Prayer Book services for those who would come in the woods near the town that are still known by his name. I fail to see how you can repudiate so lightly the witness of the Seven Bishops. And shall Trelawney die ?
          In any case I do not recognise the Restoration Church from your description. This was the body which produced the learning of Dr. Fell of Oxford (have you ever used his great edition of Cyprian ?). At Cambridge the Cambridge Platonists similarly combined prayer and learning. Burnett, by contrast, who gained his preferment under William III was not a man of learning (look at the introduction to his translation of Lactantius De mortibus to see what I mean), though apparently later a pastorally-minded Bishop of Salisbury.
          In any case the consecration of women bishops is not about an exercise of political power, much though I resent the gloating of Mr. Cameron on the subject. It came about as a result of majority voting in the Synod (in case you had not noticed) and that was based on a good deal of theological thinking (misguided in my view, but that is not the point). I am as upset by it as anyone, but I do not blame the government or the establishment, whatever that might be, rather a ground swell of misguided enthusiasm, egged on (if one must blame someone) by the likes of the BBC.

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            You may certainly pretend ignorance of what every account of the time records if you so choose.
            It is curious that the apologists for this contemporary evil are so desperate to talk about anything else. If I was in that position, I’d wonder if I was on the wrong side!

    • Linus

      You’re comparing women bishops to child molesters?

      Wow. The madness of zealotry kills all reason.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        No answer, then? Oh dear.

        • CliveM

          Maybe he hasn’t, but he does have a point. There is no equivalence between woman bishops and child abuse and you diminish your point by trying to suggest otherwise.

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            I quite appreciate your difficulty in supporting the indefensible. But rather than playing these word games, you should just be ashamed of trying to defend the indefensible.

            “Natural and normal” indeed!

          • CliveM

            I’m not defending (or attacking) anything, I’m questioning your attempt to suggest a moral equivalency between sex abuse and woman bishops.

          • dannybhoy

            Go Clive!

          • CliveM

            I’ve given up. One of the most bizarre discussions ever. Even Linus on a bad day makes more sense!

          • dannybhoy

            You done good Clive.
            It would really help if people said where they were coming from before commenting. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between a member of the priesthood or a member of laity….
            Linus of course is an intelligent man, an interesting man in fact, who happens to be gay. I like Linus. I’m pleased he continues here because -although couched in anger and loathing- his questions and observations are valid.

          • CliveM

            :0)

            Well I’ll leave the demonic teddy in your kind and gentle hands.

          • dannybhoy

            Gee, thanks!
            It’s all down to Fairy liquid….

          • CliveM

            Ok maybe I should have said you get a more constructive response even from Linus on a bad day!

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            Still trying to play the man rather than the ball? Lol. But then, there isn’t much else you can do, is there? Smile

          • CliveM

            Have you actually taken the time and effort to read and understand what I’ve said?

            But just for starters, what word games have I been playing? In what way have have I played the man not the ball?

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            And if that attempt to deflect the discussion from Cranmer’s post and my comment upon this dreadful evil doesn’t work, I’m sure you will have more troll tactics to offer. Anything, but the issue, hey? Smile. Because neither you nor anyone else can find anything to say for a religion whose teachings are determined by those who don’t believe in it.

          • CliveM

            !!!!!!

            Shrugs.

          • dannybhoy

            DTB
            I am not sure where you’re coming from. A statement of belief would be most helpful.

          • I think calling women bishops “evil ” is a bit hyperbole and over the top.

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            Would you like to say why you think it’s OK for the establishment to decide the teachings of a religion in which none of them believe?

          • Well, you’ve missed the point.My point being you are being over the top in the use of language. You might disagree with women bishops, but evil?

            As for the rest. It’s called English history, which is why there’s an established church with the monarch as supreme gov? One may like this or not, but that’s why there’s an official English church in which parliament has a say.

            However, didn’t the general synod, made up of representatives of the Anglican c of e ,vote for women bishops and haven’t they debated this for 20 years, rather than this being dropped down by parliament ? I suspect if the church of England was disestablished it’d still have gone for women bishops .

          • CliveM

            Well said Hannah

          • Hi Clive

            Thanks!

          • CliveM

            P.s Hope you have more luck then I did!

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            Lady, you were responding to me, not vice versa. You tried to change the subject. I didn’t let you!

            I note that you can’t find any rational reason to endorse a religion whose teachings are decided by the establishment – in a secular state at that. I don’t blame you: there isn’t one.

            There are two reasons why this is being advanced: leftist identity politics, and the desire to nobble the church of England permanently. We all know that. Does the process of lying about it, as the (establishment-controlled) media are doing, make an evil less of an evil? Or merely add a lie to an evil?

            The charade of state appointed bishops, who appoint the priests, who appoint the “representatives”, and the whole gerrymandered process, is neither here nor there.
            Charles II did something similar. The king’s whores controlled appointments to bishoprics – because the king, in health, was a scoffer, and when ill was a Roman Catholic. It suited Charles and his courtiers to appoint worthless men to bishoprics of a church in which he did not believe in the slightest.

            Worse, these timeservers, knowing that they owed their appointment solely to royal favour, sought to please their master by behaving with the utmost arrogance, and rooting out any sign of disloyalty to, erm, themselves. The havoc caused in Scotland actually led to Archbishop Sharp being assassinated, and the use of dragoons to force people to go to the fake church led to the rise of atheism and contempt. None of which worried Charles a bit, who welcomed all of it.

            An unbelieving state that hates the church is now doing exactly the same. The bishopesses know full well that nobody wants them. They know why they were appointed, and by whom. They will conduct witchhunts in “their” dioceses for anybody who might dare to object.

            This is not new. The establishment has repeatedly conducted purges of the church of England. That’s where most of the denominations in our land come from: the expulsion of non-conformists. The modern establishment salivates at the idea of recreating legal disabilities for non-conformists: indeed I have seen letters in the Guardian gleefully looking forward to it!

            These are the evils that we got rid of in the 19th century. Now we see the bad old days returning.

            Private Eye once remarked that the C of E had no intellectual existence, and was just a source of jobs. The establishment would like it to be so; and the purpose of appointing bishopesses (and, soon, public homosexuals) is to reinforce that point, that the church is just nothing.

            But who needs a “church” of that kind? A church whose teaching is whatever some drunk, pervert, fornicator, or expenses-cheat (etc) in the cabinet office says it is? Nobody.

            This is, as I say, an evil. Evil men did it, with evil intentions, to destroy an institution which they do NOT wish to have any standing or integrity. We should not be fooled by all the lying. Do you think that any of this is for YOUR benefit? Or mine?

          • You are changing the subject from women bishops to something about Charles II and the established church. I’ve pointed out to you that this is to so with English history and the protestant reformation. My question is why you think this to be evil and simply put you don’t like the church of England. Fine, but calling it evil is totally over the top.

            You should also note that I’m a Jew and not a spokeswoman of the church of England. I’ve been reflecting on the shoah /holocaust today. That’s what I call evil. You whinging about women bishops and the fact you don’t like the established aspect of the church of England (I wouldn’t want to live in your theocracy either) and calling this evil is an utter joke to one whose people were almost wiped off the face of this earth. You should reflect on that, before you use the term evil about a policy or church you disagree with.

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            You are talking to yourself, lady.

          • Linus

            So you’re not paying attention because Hannah is a woman?

            As I said before, the utter madness of unthinking zealotry is mind blowing. It’s hard to credit that such behaviour can exist in 2015.

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            Back under your bridge, troll.

            Funny how all the little haters can’t and won’t discuss the issue, and make up any amount of lies.

          • Hi demon *

            Well I guess I follow by example… like your own . You were ghastly to Clive and ridiculous to Ian Cad -who are veterans of this blog- so you are clearly uninterested in other people’s opinions. You are just like the evangelical fundamentalists who tried to “exorcise the devil” from me for being gay.

            * I’m not sure i should be conversing with a demon, but I’ve just sung Chapters 91 , 121 and 134 of the Psalms

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            I’m sure your troll tactics work well on many posters. Sadly for you and your tag team, I know the tricks, and won’t play. And I don’t much respect people whose “response” to comments that they don’t like consist only of “shut up shut up shut up”, and attempts to start a fight or change the subject. If that’s all you have – and it is – then you’ve lost the argument.
            Ciao, losers.

          • Where did I write “shut up shut up shut up”?

          • CliveM

            Don’t ask for sense, you’re not going to get it.

          • CliveM

            As I said earlier bizarre!

            Oh well you tried. He’s like a small child, fingers in his ears, going “na, na, na, not listening”.

            The man is clearly no Gentleman either.

    • dannybhoy

      ” This they do, not because they believe, not because they go to church,
      not because they support the church, but out of pure malice and bigotry
      and because they think they can. Next comes the witchhunt of
      dissenters, as faithful priests are ordered by these bishopesses to bow
      the knee or else.”

      I think you go too far. I don’t think it’s balice or migotry. I think most of the establishment regard all religion as a hocus pocus irrelevancy to be humoured as part of the cultural edifice. They respect Islam because Islam bites and rather frightens them. But not Christianity. The CofE is being transformed into its new role as an auxilary wing of the Social Services, Non judgmental, caring and inclusive, it will fit in nicely with our post Christian society.

    • Shadrach Fire

      A review of Bunyan’s ‘Holy War’ would also reveal the subtle ways of the enemy to destroy our soul and the Church.

  • Oh well, Archbishop, it seems like you’re as popular around here today as a Roman Catholic in Lewes on the 5th November. Happy Jack is waiting on Ole Blower’s contribution and his words of admonishment and correction. Rowdy bunch these dissenters when they get going.

    • Anton

      Lewes.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    Much discussion on this subject as usual. Good to see Graham Wood giving his all on the subject. What worries me is that if we accept the arguments of Stracathro below and others, that we have been under a misunderstanding of the scriptural references to the status of women in ministry, we leave ourselves open to further arguments regarding interpretation. I specifically refer to the scriptural understanding of homosexuality.
    I once came across an obscure site that argued from scripture that the verses that we read regarding homosexuality, were incorrectly translated. This potential acknowledgement that scripture can be redefined is in my view extremely dangerous as is the view that the church and it’s faith should move with the times and modernise.
    My understanding is that God’s word is unchanging and to veer from it leads to destruction just like the Broad Way and The Narrow way.

    • Phil R

      As Carl has said. It is surprising that we have only noticed these scriptural inaccuracies recently, when there is a huge cultural pressure to accept homosexuality and women’s leadership.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I agree Phil…curious, isn’t it?

  • The Chinese say: “A crisis is an opportunity riding a dangerous wind.”
    Is this a fatal wound to one part of the Body of Christ? Or, is it a sifting out, a parting of the ways, of modernists and progressives from those who believe in the Bible and its fundamental, unchanging Truth? The Catholic Church is experiencing very the same challenge.
    The scholars who have discredited Scripture and now there is a new philosophical method and theology, where ‘truth’ becomes fluid and changes according to historical and scientific circumstances. The Bible is ‘myth’, constructed according to a particular culture and mind-set. This has, in Jack’s opinion, wielded a pernicious influence. Patriarchy, the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, the resurrection, are all up for re-evaluation. So too are the cultural mores about morality, relationships between the sexes and, of course, the next ‘hot-button’ issue, homosexuality.
    It’s time to return to accepting the Bible as God’s Truth, literal and inerrant, but accepting it requires study, understanding and an adaptation of praxis to the needs of the age, not a reimaging of the fundamentals of our faith. We need to look to our ‘deposit of faith’, return to the Fathers of the Church and to philosophical and theological methods that proceed rationally and scholastically and that accept there is unchanging Truth and it is possible through reason, Scripture and Revelation to perceive this.

    • Linus

      The barque of St. Peter has foundered on the twin rocks of reason and experience.

      When we were ignorant, we could accept one magical explanation for everything. Now we understand that life is as complex as and multi-faceted as the sum total of humanity in all its diversity. One size does not fit all. You can never stuff the genie back into the bottle.

      Your god and your “unchanging truth” are so small. You may be able to squeeze yourself inside them, but precious little else will fit.

      • len

        IF only the RCC had stood on the Rock(which is Christ) instead of being wrecked upon it many problems could have been avoided.

      • Hey Linus. God does not employ ‘magic’ to create, heal, resurrect, justify the righteous and judge the finally impenitent, but divine wisdom and power. And the assertion that ‘Now we understand that life is as complex as and multi-faceted…’ is in fact an argument against the facile assumptions and supposition of the Darwin Mythos, falsely called evolutionary science.

        Irreducible complexity of biochemical processes such as photosynthesis, protein synthesis, DNA check and repair, kinase motors, the immune system etc, etc, etc has hammered the final nails into Darwin’s coffin. Our increased knowledge of the meaningful, specified complexity of living things underlines what St Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-22, the things which have been created testify to a creator.

        Denial is a very powerful thing though. But wilful ignorance can be culpable. Have a nice day, I’m off to pay an exorbitant income tax bill then shovel some manure at the orchard.

        • dannybhoy

          Indeed. The sheer complexity of life and the information contained in one ‘simple cell’ is totally at odds with an accidental meaningless universe.
          Rather like saying an explosion in a Lego factory resulted in a perfect copy of the Museum of Natural Science.

        • Anton

          I’m sorry to disagree, Stephen, but it is DNA which has verified evolution, a theory that was a lot more conjectural before the modern era of molecular biology. Great stands of DNA that does not code for a protein, ie have any function, are identical in different species, and the only explanation is common ancestry. This presents a real challenge to the evangelical Christian – and I am one – who reads Genesis as fact rather than a “true myth” – but I do believe that reconciliation is possible, although I don’t have all the answers. I believe that we could probably both ask each other awkward questions that the other can’t answer, and I’m happy to carry on thinking and trust God in the meanwhile. I only regret that so few informed people are attempting this reconciliation in our secular and polarised age.

          • Phil R

            We are jumping to an understanding that in itself is not verifiable with the knowledge we have.

            It is still guesswork presented as fact in other words

          • Hi Anton, so you’ve fallen for that one. Easily done given the volume of propaganda and the tiny number of despised creationists trying to counter it with truth.

            The non protein coding DNA is part of the operating system, it tells proteins and stuff when to be made, how much, where to go, what to stick to etc. It is inevitable that huge amounts of DNA will be common across all creation since many fundamental processes such as Krebs cycle, DNA check and repair etc are the same whether in rat, flea, cabbage or bishop.

            DNA absolutely trashes molecules to man evolution at the deepest level. Google mutations, for example the V600E BRAF mutation where just 1 out of 766 amino acids in a protein is out of place because of one small mutation and it causes cancer. Evolutionists have to explain how DNA and its associated support systems came into being de novo without design and then mutated itself better and better-the reverse of what we actually observe.

            Of course they can’t do this so they use distraction tactics such as the one you have cited above.

            There is no need to reconcile the true history of Genesis with the blend of pagan myth and atheist philosophy that is Evolutionism.

            Kind regards

          • avi barzel

            Evolution alone is an observable biological process, not a stated or implied challenge to a Creator. Why not see it as a creative mechanism in the process of Creation, along with all other observable natural laws and physical phenomena we have no trouble accepting?

          • Very much depends on what is meant by evolution Avi.

            We do observe variation, differential survival and adaptation, but only within the genomic envelope of each kind of animal or plant.

            A good example of this kind of ‘evolution’ would be the natural selection of black human skin in hot countries where they can stand the sun better and pale white skin in Scandinavia where you need all the sunshine you can get and the risks of skin cancer are lower. I’m not making a racist point here , only a biological one. But this kind of process has its limits and doesn’t explain where the men and women came from.

            If we call the above process evolution, then we need a different term for the process whereby men are supposed to have descended from pond slime via ‘numerous, successive adaptations’ as Darwin proposed. That’s why I tend to use the term ‘molecules to man evolution’ (MTME) to avoid ambiguity. That certainly hasn’t been observed, and I do not believe it can be credibly theorised either, especially given what we know about random mutations.

            I do see MTME as a direct challenge to the Judaeo/Christian narrative for reasons I have set out in an essay that can be found on the Creation Science Movement web site archive.

            I only started on this in response to Linus, I think I had better stop now before it gets to a full blown evolution/creation thread.

          • avi barzel

            By evolution I mean the entire process, starting as far back as the creation of the universe, Stephen. What we see with our intellects and instruments is what we get; an unfolding of God’s creation as it really occurred. The physics and the biology of it all are the mechanisms God evidently employs in creating the universe, its laws, plants, animals, humans, the sexes, etc….

            But this is a theoligical position I’m explaining or defending, without challenging your Christian interpretations. Mainstream orthodox Judaism does not have theological issues with this scientific evidence in relation to the interpretation of Genesis and did not in the past, going back as far as the Talmud and our medieval sages. This is in response to accusations that religion moves the goalposts with scientific disciveries…the “God of gaps.” But in fact the opposition to the idea of an old universe and evolution in Judaism is relatively recent, confined to some ultra-Orthodox groups and largely borrowed from Christian Creationism. And this opposition, at least among our circles, emerged out of the incorrect assumption that evolution theory disproves or challenges God and his act of Creation and the old, largely abandoned crude variations of racisl and social Darwinism.

            On the topic of skin colour, an interesting recent hypothesis argues that light skin and blue eyes were selected relatively recently…5 to 6 thousand years ago or so…in the Baltic regions of Northern Europe. It suggests that the Baltic sea creates a warm climate allowing for growth of cereals which are poor in vitamin D. Because of the sun’s low angle and vitamin D-poor diets, natural selection favoured individuAls with light skins or albinosis over a relatively brief period of time.

          • Anton

            Stephen, I agree that Genesis is true, and I don’t just mean a true myth, I probably mean what you mean. Before we get into the biology of it, let me ask – how old do you take the universe to be? Because evolution takes millions of years and if you believe it’s a few thousand years old then that would be a stronger objection to evolution; we need to consider this matter first. YOM has the same double meaning in Hebrew as does DAY in English – 24 hours, or era. See Job 15:23 & 18:20 for examples of where it unambiguously means era.

    • len

      I do not see how you can reconcile the desire to abide by God`s Truth and also uphold the teachings of the RCC?

      • That’s because you focus on the human history of the Church – all of its failings and errors in the hands of sinful and flawed men – at the expense of the Divine.

        • len

          It is all the failings of the Church that have got it into the unholy mess it is in today . God`s Word is ‘the line’ we should be on,now supposing that we err just a few degrees off that line where do you suppose we might be in 2,000 yrs of travel?.How can we know how far off’ God`s line’ we are unless we measure the line we are on and the deviation?.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Amen Jack.

  • My attitude to women priests (and also to women bishops) has frankly always been the same. I don’t honestly think it’s important. The RCC doesn’t allow them. I don’t have a problem with that. If the Pope got a divine revelation and brought them in tomorrow, I wouldn’t have a problem with that either. It simply isn’t something that I consider a make-or-break issue for my faith. (Now, tell me Christ never told us to love God and love each other, and you might see a much fierier Tibs, but the likelihood of that happening is vanishingly small)

    But I will say this. That when the Catholic Church tried to tell us that ordaining a woman is a sin of the same gravity as child abuse, I looked at Rome and thought “You’ve lost the plot”. As did at least two Catholic bishops that I personally know. No, I’m not telling you who, they can do without the nasty letters with their morning cornflakes 🙂

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1295012/Vatican-labels-ordination-women-grave-crime-par-sex-abuse.html

    • dannybhoy

      I do think it’s important, but not on the grounds of inferiority or because Eve was deceived, or any of that stuff. It’s God’s order in His Kingdom, and some of us* struggle with that as much as we do the situation regarding homosexuals who want to be Christians, but are in long term relationships; and feel they can’t change, don’t want to change, and find themselves in an unhappy form of limbo.
      (*Well I do anyway.)
      I don’t know any happily married couple who would say they are more important than their spouse. (I daren’t)
      As Jesus said,
      “6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,[a] 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10
      However when it comes to the Church, we see that men and women are given different roles. Perhaps because besides marriage God instituted the family, and within the family parents have different roles too?
      Proverbs 31:10-31

      • Shadrach Fire

        Hey Danny, can you expound that last para a bit more?

        • dannybhoy

          What, this bit?
          “However when it comes to the Church, we see that men and women are given different roles. Perhaps because besides marriage God instituted the family, and within the family parents have different roles too?
          Proverbs 31:10-31”

          • Shadrach Fire

            That’s the bit. The various parts of your comment don’t seem to relate.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, I think they do.

            I think that, because in the first part I am saying that I accept the Biblical order re men and women’s roles, even though in a marriage (Libby is married) one partner is very much dependent on the other and are regarded as becoming one flesh by God.
            Yet His order is that the man is over the woman as Christ is over the Church.
            (Still with me?)
            Then I go in to say that perhaps this order is linked to our roles in marriage and parenting, and I conclude by linking the high regard in which a wife is held in Proverbs. Which happily married man doesn’t acknowledge and take pleasure in the talents, virtues and loyalty his wife brings to their marriage? So it isn’t that the man is superior to the woman, but that God ordains it so.
            As regards the homosexual thing I truly sympathise with gay people who are like heterosexuals except that their attraction is to their own sex, which God condemns.
            I have said this before and I will say it again.
            A heterosexual single has a choice; either they can choose to stay single or they can marry. A homosexual cannot. If the homosexual sincerely believes that their homosexuality is something they were born with, then life is indeed tough.
            We as Christians say that homosexuality is a sin and at conversion a homosexual must give it up.
            And then what?
            I don’t see or read of many homosexuals who upon being born again found that their homosexuality completely left them. So then like sometime happens with healing we push them into the guilt trip thing. Feel guilty! Repent! Go for deliverance!!
            My concern is not with what the Bible says about homosexuality but how we in the Church deal with those homosexuals who are drawn to but rejected by a faith.

          • Linus

            Well, what are you waiting for? Your own Bible tells you to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

            So I’m waiting for you to embrace celibacy voluntarily in order to help all of these gay Christians you sympathize with. Help them carry their burden by shouldering some of it yourself! Isn’t that what Christ would do?

            Course if you’re aged and infirm and celibacy is already a de facto part of your daily existence, it won’t be much of a struggle. Pity you didn’t think to try when you were young and strong and champing at the bit and celibacy was a real challenge rather than your average night in.

            Oh well, you may have missed the boat, but you can always train up your youth to carry the torch. Let them all befriend a gay and share the burden he’s afflicted with for his whole life.

            All takers form an orderly queue on the left. I’m waiting!

            I’m still waiting!

          • dannybhoy

            Carrying each other’s burdens is a Christian virtue and I believe in that, but carrying the burdens of someone who doesn’t want to change is somewhat different,

            “Pity you didn’t think to try when you were young and strong and champing
            at the bit and celibacy was a real challenge rather than your average
            night in.”

            Linus dear chap, I didn’t get married the first time ’til I was 31.So from becoming a Christian at 22 that’s nine years of celibacy! But I didn’t feel deprived because I lived as part of a Christian community for six of those years, and the celibate fellowship was wonderful.

          • Linus

            I wasn’t imagining I would ask you to help me bear my burden of celibacy. I’m not celibate so there’s no burden to bear.

            I was referring to one of those poor benighted gay Christians who’ve decided to castrate themselves (figuratively or literally) for the Lord. There are plenty to be found hanging around the fringes of Christian communities, rejected by most and tolerated through gritted teeth by others.

            So why couldn’t you help one of them? Your nine years of celibacy don’t seem to have given you a taste for making it a lifelong experience. It’s easy enough to go without when you know it’s only temporary. But I wonder how you would have coped at age 22 if you knew that you could never, ever have an intimate relationship.

            I suppose it’s academic now. You didn’t even try to share a fellow Christian’s burden. Not seriously at least. Saying to a gay man, “oh I know how you must feel because I’ve been celibate for 6 months, or a year, or 6 years too” doesn’t cut the mustard. You lived with the constant hope that one day your celibacy would come to an end. The celibate gay man lives with the knowledge that his celibacy is forever. Only if he experiences the miracle of a change in his sexual orientation, a phenomenon never once recorded and independently verified in the entire history of ex-gay ministries, can he hope for any kind of intimate and loving relationship with another human. So what kind of hope does he have? And how does your celibacy tourism help him to shoulder his burden?

            Let’s face it, your attitude to gay Christians is “poor buggers, I’m glad it’s not me … what empty gesture can I make that will make it seem as though I care, even though I don’t actually give a rat’s @(§€ about their long term welfare?” And your attitude to me is “poor bugger, but if he won’t let me tell him I’m right, he deserves everything he gets”.

            Luckily for me that means a loving and attentive fiancé and an active and fulfilling sex life. The consequences you fear for me are all in your head, so I’ll leave you to agonize over them, which I’m sure you’ll do. For five minutes. Until you give me up as a lost cause and pass on to your next gay victim.

          • dannybhoy

            “Let’s face it, your attitude to gay Christians is “poor buggers, I’m
            glad it’s not me … what empty gesture can I make that will make it
            seem as though I care, even though I don’t actually give a rat’s @(§€
            about their long term welfare?” And your attitude to me is “poor bugger,
            but if he won’t let me tell him I’m right, he deserves everything he
            gets”.

            Well dear chap, I admit that I have never had homosexual tendencies, so I can’t completely identify with you.
            In terms of rejection what I can tell you though is that I had severe eczema from 3 weeks old to 16 years old.
            From 12-16 I was at a naval boarding school and kids being kids, I got a lot of stick for having scabby arms and legs and face.
            Other boys would refuse to drink from the water fountain after me because of the eczema. I even had hassle with one of the teachers over it. It was that abuse that taught me a lot about people and human nature.
            I didn’t get into the Royal Navy because of the eczema.
            So I do know a little bit about rejection and discrimination.

          • Linus

            A cure for eczema is a quantifiable thing. All we need to do to know if you’ve been cured is look at you. No more scaly skin means you’re cured. At least temporarily, but hopefully permanently. And a cure, or even just a remission, is fertile terrain into which hope can plant itself, take root and prosper.

            What about the gay Christian who wants a “cure” for his homosexuality? Who can quantify that? He himself? Or will wishful thinking and self-deception get in the way? Can his “therapists” proclaim a “cure”? How do they know? There are no external signs like smooth skin that can confirm a change in orientation.

            No, there’s only one way to verify a “cured” sexual orientation, and that’s to submit the “patient” to a battery of physiological tests designed to check involuntary responses to external stimuli. This will tell you whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, or just pretending.

            To the best of my knowledge, not a single ex-gay has ever publicly submitted himself to such tests. So we have no independently verified evidence that ex-gay “cures” work. You can hope they will, you can talk yourself into a “cure” even to the point where you marry some random woman and declare to the world that you’re now straight and happy. And then one day, probably sooner rather than later, you wake up and realize you’ve been fooling yourself and you’re just as gay as you ever were. It’s happened in hundreds, thousands of cases. It continues to happen because people like you urge gay Christians to hope for a miracle that will never be granted.

            I’m glad you were cured of your skin condition. Everyone should have the opportunity to hope. It’s just a pity that, having benefited from hope yourself, you refuse to contemplate letting your fellow man experience it. Just because he’s gay.

          • dannybhoy

            Thank you Linus.
            I hope you don’t mind but I was talking to a long time Christian friend from my YWAM days about you and your observations this evening.
            I was telling him about my analogy about conversion and that God through the Holy Spirit may not start off with homosexuality but something else.
            We agreed that it is not our place to say what God deals with first, second or third in a new believer’s life. God is delighted that a wayward child returns to Him.
            How He then deals with that child is between Him and them.
            I most certainly don’t have all the answers Linus, but I am convinced that God knows all about you -everything- and He loves you and will forgive you and welcome you into His family.
            This is why I will continue to pray for you. Not that you will change, but that you will experience the forgiveness and love of God through Jesus Christ.

          • Linus

            Knock yourself out, although I can’t help thinking that praying for my miraculous conversion sans miraculous sexual orientation change is a bit mean of you.

            What you’re saying is that you want me to become a Christian even though my sexuality probably (or more realistically, definitely) won’t change.

            As we’re agreed that part of the conversion process must entail a conviction that homosexuality is sinful, this means I’ll be forced to dump my fiancé and go through misery of the acutest kind as we separate our lives and assets and I abandon him on the strength of an unproven religious principle.

            I can’t think he’ll be very happy about it, just as I’m sure your wife wouldn’t be happy if you told her you’d been living in sin with her and your marriage was now over.

            So once I’ve done that and lost my best friend as well as my lover, probably most of my circle of friends too, my apartment and quite possibly even my job, my whole life will have come crashing down around my ears, all on the strength of an unproven religious principle.

            Let’s say I find somewhere new to live, although it will be a pokey hole in comparison to my current apartment. One income – which may be greatly reduced – doesn’t go far in Paris. And let’s say I make new friends through whatever church I decide to attend. What sort of life will await me?

            I’ll certainly have to be celibate. For life. There will be no realistic hope of orientation change, so I’ll have to avoid close friendships with men, because who knows what might happen if temptation rears its ugly head? I’ll also have to watch myself around women, not because of temptation (at least not on my part) but quite simply to avoid any hint of public scandal. So my friendships will be limited to groups or perhaps the odd married couple.

            My social life will consist of group activities, maybe a Courage coffee morning once a month, and the odd parish get-together. And maybe my married friends will invite me round for dinner every now and again, particularly when there’s a single woman they’re trying to find a husband for, just on the off-chance that the long-awaited orientation change miracle might happen and they’ll be able to cross another old maid off their to-do list.

            I’ll spend increasing amounts of time on my own with God as my only company. Perhaps I’ll throw myself into good works and missions. Anything to help pass the time and quell the loneliness and pointlessness of such a sad solitary life.

            I wonder how my morale will hold up. Will I be deliriously happy at the prospect of spending the rest of my life alone as a living sacrifice to the arbitrary demands of a tyrannical God? Something tells me I won’t be…

            Yet this is what you’re praying for me to experience. This is how you want me to live. This is your dearest wish for me, at least until the impossible, never-before-achieved miracle of orientation change transforms me into a happily married family man at some mythical point in a mythical future.

            I’m sure you’ll excuse me if I observe that you’re praying for me to experience something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Not even Sad Jack! You’re praying for my absolute downfall followed by an effective life sentence of solitary confinement. With “friends” like you, who needs enemies?

            You can pray for what you like, of course. It’s no skin off my nose because your prayers have no power to affect my life. But I do note that you’re praying for me to suffer so that you can justify your beliefs to yourself. This makes me very suspicious of you. What kind of a person does what you’re doing? It makes me shiver a bit too. The thought that someone could wish me that much harm is quite frightening. Man’s inhumanity to Man really does surpass the imagination, doesn’t it?

          • “I’m sure you’ll excuse me if I observe that you’re praying for me to experience something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Not even Sad Jack! “

            Heh …. Happy Jack surely isn’t you’re worst enemy, Linus? Jack knows we haven’t got off to the best of starts but come now.

            A question – well three, actually: What if God exists? And what if Jesus is the Christ? Would this make any difference to the way you’ve presented the issues above?

            Forget about sin and damnation for now. For the moment, forget about the changes that would follow in your life. Just focus on the big ‘what if’s’.

          • Linus

            “Sad Jack surely isn’t you’re (sic) worst enemy…”

            Grammar’s worst enemy, then?

            Let me answer your questions by turning them around.

            What if God doesn’t exist?

            What if Jesus is not the Christ?

            Would this make any difference to the way you react to the issues I’ve presented above?

            Asking me what I might do if certain adverse conditions were met merely highlights the fact that these conditions have not been met. I have no proof that God exists, therefore I have no reason to modify the way I live my life.

            You might as well ask me what I would do if I woke up tomorrow and found the world blanketed in a layer of snow and ice twenty metres thick. Would such conditions impinge on my life and make it harder to live? Of course they would! But why should I waste my time wondering how I would cope when it’s never going to happen?

            Show me some proof that this God of yours exists and hates homosexuality and I might modify my life in consequence. I say “might” because I’m not sure that the prospect of obeying a tyrannical, homophobic and arbitrary God, and then being “rewarded” with a place by his side for all eternity, sounds particularly appealing.

            Look at it this way: if a Jew was offered the choice between burning in hell or spending eternity in the company of an unrepentant and deified Adolf Hitler, how might he choose? Wouldn’t both options amount to pretty much the same thing? In which case, wouldn’t his best option be to live his life as he chose taking no thought for eternity, on the premise that whatever he does, he’s going to hell anyway, so why shouldn’t he at least enjoy his time on earth?

            If your God really does exist then no matter what I do, I’m toast. Being as that’s the case, where’s the upside of belief?

            Luckily I’m spared from the depression this prospect might generate by my genuine non-belief. It lets me live my life as I choose, and experience all the happiness I can find without worrying about what I should be doing to satisfy a God who, if he existed, would make eternity hell for me no matter what I do.

          • CliveM

            “Grammar’s worse enemy, then?”

            No that’s me!

          • Linus

            Dieu qui serait Tout Puissant si jamais il existait … !!!

            You could at least copy what I wrote correctly! Even dyslexia can be defeated by using the copy and paste functions of your browser…

          • CliveM

            As I have said before no sense of humour. If I had done it right, oh never mind if you have to explain it loses it’s impact.
            FYI for some reason on my phone cut and paste so far down a thread doesn’t work.

          • “Show me some proof that this God of yours exists and hates homosexuality and I might modify my life in consequence. I say “might” because I’m not sure that the prospect of obeying a tyrannical, homophobic and arbitrary God, and then being “rewarded” with a place by his side for all eternity, sounds particularly appealing.”

            You’ve jumped from if God existed to what such a God might be like in His nature.

            From your writing, Jack surmises you do believe God exists, you block this knowledge and just don’t want to accept Him in your heart because, like a child, you want what you want.

          • Linus

            Ah yes, the classic Christian rejoinder “you really do believe in God but you’re just pretending not to…”

            There’s no arguing with such willful self-deception. If you can’t conceive that another human being doesn’t share your beliefs, I would suggest that you’re the child who wants what it wants, and will stop at no low trick, tantrum or manipulation until it gets it.

          • “If you can’t conceive that another human being doesn’t share your beliefs, I would suggest that you’re the child who wants what it wants, and will stop at no low trick, tantrum or manipulation until it gets it.”

            Whether you share Catholic beliefs is neither here nor there. What Jack asked is if you could envisage a God existing and what He might be like. It really is terribly irrational to dismiss the idea of a Creator Being. What He expects from His Creation, if anything, and why He created, is a whole other set of questions.

            Why would Happy Jack want to manipulate you into accepting Jesus? This cannot be done by man. It is the Holy Spirit that gives you faith as a free gift and the graces needed to believe and to order your life according to God’s will.

            Reading through your recent posts, Jack has to say they evidence considerable immaturity. You are speaking like a child who’s father has told him he cannot go out to play with his friends.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s a long and rather gloomy summation of ‘what might be’ Linus

          • Linus

            OK, with that link you’ve just destroyed any credibility you might have had. “True Freedom Trust” is one of the worst ex-gay ministries around. They exist for one purpose only: to put gay people through the Christian guilt mill and ensure we live miserable, unhappy lives. Their motto could be “a happy gay is an offence before God”…

            Regarding your married friend who left his wife and children and was “drawn back into a homosexual lifestyle” (more ex-gay ministry lingo – even your language reveals your ulterior motives), did the poor man think that coming out would be a magic formula that would transform his life into a symphony of happiness and light?

            Given the misery he was obviously living in when trapped in a marriage with a woman he couldn’t love, I can understand why the idea of coming out was so beguiling. But it isn’t an end in itself. It’s just a beginning. You have to work at relationships in the gay world, just like you do everywhere else. We must all deal with our share of false starts, mistakes and disappointments. That’s life, whether you’re gay or straight.

            Having unrealistic expectations that everything would be sweetness and light if only he could be with a man is what killed your friend’s relationships. If he’s now living alone in bitterness and disappointment, he needs a reality check. At least he’s no longer trapped in a marriage with a woman he doesn’t love or desire. At least if the right guy does come along, he’s free to act on it. At least he has hope. If he’ll allow himself to feel it, of course.

            And regarding this gay Christian minister who sees his orientation as something to be resisted, I’ve met the type before. Their lives turn into an endless cycle of “resist, sin, repent; resist, sin, repent…” Each time the resistance breaks down a little faster. And each time the repentance becomes a little more hysterical, until they finally reach breaking point. When that happens, who knows what the fallout will be? It’s never pretty though, and it tends to involve the utter ruin of many lives and dreams.

            Your attempt to persuade me to sacrifice myself to your hateful god has failed, I’m afraid. You won’t have the pleasure of witnessing my daily struggle to stay faithful to an ideal that necessarily involves my suffering. That will of course sadden you. I know enough about Christians to know how they thrive on the misery of others. But you’ll just have to find that misery elsewhere, I’m afraid.

          • dannybhoy

            “And regarding this gay Christian minister who sees his orientation as
            something to be resisted, I’ve met the type before. Their lives turn
            into an endless cycle of “resist, sin, repent; resist, sin, repent…”
            Each time the resistance breaks down a little faster. And each time the
            repentance becomes a little more hysterical, until they finally reach
            breaking point. When that
            happens, who knows what the fallout will be? It’s never pretty though,
            and it tends to involve the utter ruin of many lives and dreams.”

            Linus that’s a little ott isn’t it? The man’s been married for 25 that’s twenty five years.. He has someone to share himself with, his wife his children. No one “has it all” in terms of physical happiness, fulfilment and well being. We are biological our moods fluctuate, happiness and sadness are both fleeting emotions.

            I like this quote from the film Moulin Rouge,
            “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
            This man and others have found that possible.

            And anyway, I already said I didn’t think anyone can live with a guilt trip…

          • Linus

            Most gay people have encountered ex-gay ministries. Family and so-called “friends” can always be counted on to disapprove, hate and insist that we “change”. That’s the whole basis of the industry. If parents and society at large accepted and loved us for who we are instead of what they want us to be, ex-gay ministries wouldn’t exist. But they do. Hence just about every gay person’s familiarity with the vile things.

            Also, I’m not going to judge the quality of your clergyman’s marriage. If he wishes to stay with his wife and family, he has the right to do so. He’s clearly reached some sort of accommodation with his wife and that is their business, not mine. I personally wouldn’t chain myself to a woman I didn’t love and playact my way through a farce of a marriage because I felt compelled to give in to social pressure and spurious religious ideas about what constitutes good and evil. But if others want to, they’re perfectly free to do so. If they come to me for advice, I’ll tell them why I think it’s a bad idea. But at the end of the day, the decision is theirs.

            Thinking about it though, if a gay man can be married to a straight woman because sexual orientation counts for nothing in a marriage and it’s all about the lifestyle you want, then it’s logical to assume that a straight man can be married to a gay man.

            Now that’s something all those illegal immigrants lining up at Calais could think about. Marry a gay British citizen and get into the country that way. Why not? After all, if it’s permissible for a gay man to marry a straight woman, not for love but just because he wants to “fit in”, why shouldn’t it be permissible for a straight man to marry a gay man for exactly the same reasons?

            If that’s all marriage is – a public declaration of support for a specific lifestyle – and love and attraction play no part at all in it, anyone could marry anyone. You couldn’t condemn the 20 year old glamour model who marries the 80 year old billionaire just because she wants a luxury lifestyle. You couldn’t condemn arranged marriages in the Muslim or Hindu communities. Marriage would simply be a passport to residency, or wealth, or ambition, or children, or obedience to God, or whatever you want to gain by it.

            That’s fine by me. However when I marry, I’ll be marrying the man I love and desire. That’s my idea of what marriage should be. But all power to those who see things differently!

          • dannybhoy

            ” I personally wouldn’t chain myself to a woman I didn’t love and playact my way through a farce of a marriage because I felt compelled to give in to social pressure and spurious religious ideas about what constitutes good and evil.”

            Stop being so huffy! The man said he is happily married to his wife. That is, they love each other.

            Oh and please try and stop ascribing malicious and condemnatory intent to people who obviously do accept you, who listen to your arguments and are not out to get you! i.e. myself and most on this blog. 🙂

          • Linus

            If the man is gay then he doesn’t love his wife as a husband should. It’s as simple as that.

            They may be good friends. They may even have managed to have children together – although best not enquire too closely as to how that minor miracle was achieved, but to be on the safe side, you should probably decline their invitations to Christmas or Thanksgiving celebrations, or any other meal where roast turkey may be served… Their marriage is a sham. A union of convenience. For him at least.

            The advantages for him are clear. He gets to play at being a pastor, a husband and a father. He gets the white picket fence and the pater familias respect. But what does she get out of the bargain? The whole “fag hag” phenomenon has always puzzled me. Perhaps Sad Jack has a nice, neat pseudo-psychiatric explanation for it?

            In any case, you don’t see yourself as malicious, but when you bombard me with examples of happily married ex-gays and tell me how I would be so much happier if I dumped my partner and lived lonely and celibate for the rest of my days, then malicious you are most certainly being. The definition of malice is wishing harm on another person. Actually recommending that he harms himself takes it to another level.

            Malice, thy name is dannybhoy!

          • dannybhoy

            🙂

          • dannybhoy

            “If the man is gay then he doesn’t love his wife as a husband should. It’s as simple as that.”
            Linus old bean,
            I am struck by your powers of selective judgmentalism!
            On one hand you complain bitterly about Christians daring to judge you and your lifestyle, yet you jump right in there and decide this man doesn’t love his wife ‘as a husband should!”

            Now from my point of view, here’s a couple who have been extremely honest with each other and found a Christian love that has carried them through twenty five years..
            I think that’s wonderful, and I wish my other friend had been able to find a way of staying with those who obviously loved him.

          • Linus

            You call it “Christian love”. I call it a platonic arrangement. If it’s working for them then they’re both getting something out of it. But whatever that something is, it isn’t marital.

            That is, of course, entirely their affair. If that’s how they want to live then my opinion won’t stop them. I find the charade offensive, but they’re at liberty to offend me if they want to. I can’t stop them, but I can condemn them for the damage they do to the entire gay community. They provide an example that Christian bigots can hold up and say “see, gays can get married to someone of the opposite sex and be happy, so why can’t you?” The fact that the example is faked makes no difference. Those who want to believe that gays can “change” will believe it’s real, so the damage is done.

            Perhaps it’s because I’m French and my nation has bad memories of what happened during the Occupation and how collaborators helped the enemy exact a terrible toll in human life and suffering. We have a visceral dislike of collaborators and traitors. We know the damage they can do. The “husband” in this fake marriage is a collaborator. He collaborates with the Church in its war against the gay community. It’s a war they’re losing as equal marriage becomes legal in country after country, state after state. But a traitor’s name is never forgotten, so I hope the poor man really is secure in this mirage of a marriage of his, because if he ever follows the example of your other friend and leaves his “wife”, it’s unlikely he’ll be accepted in the gay community.

            I mean, would you befriend Judas Iscariot?

          • dannybhoy

            Good morning Linus!

            “They provide an example that Christian bigots can hold up and say “see, gays can get married to someone of the opposite sex and be happy, so why can’t you?”

            You draw in my view a false conclusion. You assume that because in this case a Christian man who is gay decides to deal with his sexuality by disciplining himself not to give in to it, and marries and has children with a woman (probably using his God given equipment rather than a turkey baster)
            that ALL gays should have to marry to satisfy the heterosexual majority!
            That’s plain daft.
            I for one don’t care whether a gay remains gay or not. They have free will, they can decide what they want to be.

            What I care about is whether they have seriously and prayerfully considered that God’s Son became man and chose to die on the cross for their sins so that they can be reconciled to God.

            If they have, and still don’t care then they continue in their state of sin, and if they die without repentance then they must answer to God for that.

            If they are convinced by God’s offer of forgiveness and want to become a Christian, no one should badger them or coerce them towards “treatment” or “deliverance”
            That should come from the person themselves and their Christian friends should support them in their Christian walk.

          • Linus

            Well, I think that about does it. With that last zinger, you’ve now trotted out every ex-gay homophobic Christian trope there is. “Love the sinner, hate the sin!” is Christianese for “loathe and detest the sinner and use his sin as club to beat him with”.

            Oh well, at least I know you’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel now. There are no further depths left for you to plumb…

            I’ll tell you what I have “seriously and prayerfully considered”. Why are Christians so beguiled by visions of the pain and suffering they hope to see inflicted on those who don’t agree with them? I think it has something to do with the rage of powerlessness. You can’t do a thing to stop me living a life you don’t approve of, so you console your thwarted will by indulging in fantasies about the terrible punishment you hope this imaginary god of yours will inflict on me for ignoring you.

            That’s the reality of the Christian faith. It’s a revenge fantasy for the impotent.

          • dannybhoy

            “You can’t do a thing to stop me living a life you don’t approve of, so
            you console your thwarted will by indulging in fantasies about the
            terrible punishment you hope this imaginary god of yours will inflict on me for ignoring you.”

            You do make oi’ larff sometimes!

            So a change of subject now I think.
            You said somewhere that you don’t think the EU will break up, but in my opinion as a UKIP supporter it would have been much better for European integration to allow the countries to grow together organically and then politically, don’t you think?
            Countries like Italy, Portugal, Spain and of course Greece were always going to struggle, because their economies and industrial development -and temperaments- couldn’t compete with the northern European nations.
            So what you really have now is a Europe dominated by the country which started and was defeated in two world wars. Even France is in thralll to Germany, however your politicians try to hide it.
            I would have liked to have seen my country go into an economic alliance with the former Commonwealth countries rather than Europe with whom we share nothing much except wars..

          • Cressida de Nova

            Marriage is for heterosexuals not bi sexuals or gays.
            No woman I know wants to marry a guy with a gay past.
            If one of my children were gay I would accept it providing they lived a decent Christian life style and upheld Christian values.

            1. monagmous relationship
            2. committment in terms of buying real estate co ownership in a business together etc.
            3. remained part of family and family celebrations and had straight friends as well as gay ones

            4. no sham marriages and adoption of children
            There are plenty of opportunites of child contact in other areas of life. Cocker spaniels are a good substitute and no school fees.

            If most gays were allowed to live this kind of life without discrimination and accepted by their Christian parents there would not be the problems of STD . What is attractive about debauchery? It is only the result of being alienated or rejected I think. I doubt very much if there would have been a need to marry and adopt children if gays were accepted
            by the heterosexual community and their families.

            A long term relationship without the bindings of marriage and children are proof that two people are genuinely committed. I know too many heterosexual couples who stay for the sake of the children and the reluctance to divide the spoils !

          • Linus

            “If one of my children were gay I would accept it providing they lived a decent Christian life style and upheld Christian values.”

            I hope your children are reading this. They should be aware of the preconditions their mother sets on her relationship with them, don’t you think?

            So what would happen if one (or more) of them did turn out to be gay and didn’t live “a decent Christian life style and upheld Christian values”? One can only assume you would disown them.

            Ah, the conditional love of devout Catholic parents. “D’accord les enfants, if you meet conditions 1, 2, 3 and 4 of my list of requirements for obedient and deserving children, then you may have some love. If not, talk to the hand…”

            Some people should stick to mothering Cocker spaniels, who’ll love you no matter how much of a control freak you are…

          • dannybhoy

            🙂

    • Cressida de Nova

      If the C of E ordained women as priests it is a logical progression that they would become bishops and one day a woman will become the Archbishop of Canterbury.I don’t understand what the fuss is about. If they did not what this outcome then women should not have been ordained as priests in the first place.
      As for the Catholic Church claiming that the ordination of women as priests is as serious a sin as child abuse well frankly I have never heard of that. Not all sin is equal. There is gradation and category of sin. Whoever was promoting that scandalous rubbish should be excommunicated for heresy.
      On a personal note I have never met a Catholic woman who would want to become a Catholic priest. Why would you want to be a priest when you could become a nun and preferably a Mother Superior or even better a Mother General ruling a vast chain of convents all over the world without interference from men who inevitably wreck everything !

      • CliveM

        Good point Cressida!

      • Well, I have to agree with a lot of what you say there, Cressida. I’ve never known a woman who wanted to be a priest yet. General consensus in my parish is that while we’re very fond of our PP and think he’s great, we don’t think any sane person would want his job. 🙂

      • Uncle Brian

        I suspect, however, that pressure wiithin the Catholic Church for the ordination of women comes not from women themselves but from bishops who don’t have enough male priests to take care of all the parishes. However, before the Church goes all the way to ordaining women priests, my hunch is that married permanent deacons will have their status enhanced in some way so that they can do nearly everything a priest does, including celebrating the full Mass.

      • Linus

        Tell that to the American LCWR!

        They could tell you a thing or two about Interference from men who inevitably wreck everything…

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Is ‘Libby’ short for something?

    • The Explorer

      Libbyrated woman.

      • IanCad

        Excellent!!

      • dannybhoy

        Libbyral?

        • The Explorer

          Quite. Much more interesting explanantion than ‘Elizabeth’.

          • dannybhoy

            Thank you.
            But yours was much better!

    • Uncle Brian

      Tinned milk. Or is it only oldies like me who remember that brand name?

  • sarky

    It came out last week that women are 20% LESS likely to be atheist/agnostic than men. Why would you want to alienate women at a time that you are going to have to rely on them for your very survival?

    • Anton

      Real women follow real men.

      • sarky

        When the men have deserted, what then?

        • Anton

          They gave up because the church got feminised.

          • sarky

            The church is already feminised!

          • magnolia

            How? Where? What? Why? This makes no sense when the hardest age group to get through the doors is female girls… But don’t let the statistics get in the way of a good whinge!!

            When I last questioned s.o. what they meant they said something about love and forgiveness being female qualities. It just so happens that they are central to the Gospel and needed by both genders so I haven’t a clue what he was on about.

          • sarky

            Is that female girls as opposed to male girls?

            Only joking, but I think Anton summed it up nicely!!
            Also for me, worship music is girly, cheesy and in the main vomit inducing!

          • Anton

            Yes Sarky, there is far too much Jesus-is-my-boyfriend stuff in modern worship, unintentionally but damagingly confusing agape-love with eros-love (to use two of the several Greek words for love). The devotional Psalms provide the correct model.

          • sarky

            Obviously im not a regular churchgoer, but when I have been to support my kids with various things, I have found the whole thing very uncomfortable ( and not just because im an atheist). The whole thing seems to be a throwback to the peace and love of the 70’s. After the last one I went to, I was even offered quiche by a man with a beard! !!

          • magnolia

            And the Song of Solomon? Ahem, ahem, ahem……

            And what about that fiery man of God, John Donne? Seems to have gone in for a passionate love affair with God, doesn’t he? And that is rather before the age of feminism, is it not?
            Keep up!

          • Anton

            The Psalms were for singing by the whole congregation in communal worship. The Song of Solomon isn’t.

          • magnolia

            Some is revolting, some is good. My pet hate is the one about “the feast is ready to begin” which just sounds self-indulgent, greedy and materialistic, on top of shallow and self-congratulatory. I guess you could say that is quite an achievement to combine all those, in a negative sort of way. However it appears neither particularly male nor female.

            I think the shallow stuff will fade quickly, its place to be taken by a different breed of shallow, whereas the good stuff will mostly last!! I think you are unfair to women to suggest we cannot tell vile writing, and I think “God of concrete, God of steel,” is a particularly gross “masculine” hymn which I will trade you with a girly bad one!

          • magnolia

            That must have been scary for a big brave man!

          • Anton

            *I* didn’t give up. But I can see why the church is not attracting the sort of man it needs to. In the book Why Men Hate Going To Church by David Murrow (from which I quote extensively in the present paragraph), the author sees that the very language we use in church has become feminised – ‘sharing,’ for instance. Regular men don’t talk this way. Imagine a gang member saying to one of his brothers, “Ed, would you please share with us how you hot-wired that BMW?” We are exhorted to have a relationship with Jesus, even a passionate relationship. This is an inappropriate metaphor for what should be called Discipleship. When a man loves another man, he uses terms such as admire, look up to, and respect. Men simply do not speak of passionate, intimate or even personal relationships with their leaders or male friends. Can you imagine a couple of bikers having this conversation: “Hey Vic, let’s go for a ride in the hills so we can develop a passionate relationship.” “Great, Dave,
            I’d like to enjoy some intimacy with you.” How will a feminised church ever appeal to bikers, or soldiers? Yet the early church appealed to soldiers, who spread it throughout the Roman Empire. Christianity offers a noble leader who sacrificed himself for his friends yet defeated even death; a freeman’s choice between good and evil; and a hero’s reward for the steadfast.

            A survey by (Rev Prof) Leslie Francis found that female Anglican ordinands typically have masculine personality traits, and male ones have female traits. This is ecclesiastical suicide.

          • magnolia

            I see no problems with sharing. Jesus did it when he died for us, the ultimate sharing. We are supposed to follow him.

          • Uncle Brian

            I don’t think he called it that, did he?

          • magnolia

            “Who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality a thing to be grasped but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death upon the cross.”

            “and after supper he took the bread, and gave it to them, saying, take eat, this is my body which is given for you”.

            How is Jesus death not sharing? How is the breaking, giving, and apportioning of bread not sharing?

          • Uncle Brian

            Did Jesus die for us? Yes. Did he say, “Eat it” and “Drink it”? Yes. Did he call it “sharing”? I don’t think so. To borrow Anton’s term, that sounds to me like “feminised language”.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “Then, taking a cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and share it among you…’”

            – Luke 22:17

          • Uncle Brian

            Well, well, so he did! My Bible actually says “divide” but obviously there can be no objection to “share” as an alternative translation. Thank you for that, Guglielmo. That’s something new I’ve learnt today.

          • magnolia

            Also hot-wiring BMWs sounds like “Grand Auto Theft” not like the gospel. The two are, rightly, incompatible, as are the ways of Christ with those of hardened Hell’s Angels, like torturing and murdering others and doing the ton down the motorway.

            I cannot see how Christianity needs to apologise for not having a criminal vernacular exactly.

          • sarky

            Then you will only ever be a middle class institution.

          • Anton

            You’re correct there Sarky. Magnolia seems not to have grasped that I am not advocating criminal language, but normal language rather than feminised language.

      • dannybhoy

        Wow! Very macho.
        I bet you wear a medallion and use ‘Brut’ 🙂

        • Anton

          Real men don’t wear aftershave.

          • Pubcrawler

            Real men don’t shave.

          • magnolia

            Real women aren’t too keen on overconfident scruffy cavemen types who wish to drag them by the hair…..astonishingly enough!!

      • sarky

        Take it you don’t get followed by women then?

        • Anton

          You’re well named.

          • sarky

            😉

        • dannybhoy

          I doubt it.
          But he probably has quite a following amongst the local dog population..

        • CliveM

          “Followed by women” I wish!!

      • Dreadnaught

        So why follow a non-human ‘man’ let alone submit to one?

        • Anton

          You mean Jesus? He is human, but not fallen like us. He is also God. That’s paradox – you don’t expect the most profound mysteries of the universe to be easy do you?

          • Dreadnaught

            You don’t say? – Gerraway!

    • The Explorer

      If Christianity is wrong, then presumably the sooner it disappears the better? So surely any measures that help prevent it from surviving are to be welcomed, rather than drawn attention to as dangers?

      • sarky

        This is true. Just pointing out the absurdity of it all.

  • Anton

    “Bishop Libby has been consecrated in accordance with Church of England’s Canon Law, by the will of the General Synod and with the assent of The Supreme Governor.”

    Indeed, Your Grace. But not in accordance with St Paul (1 Tim 3:2).

    Where does the greater authority lie?

    • dannybhoy

      “Where does the greater authority lie?”

      Hmm.
      A quandary indeed.
      Perhaps you should take out a subscription for the Church Times too….

      • sarky

        Didnt you comment to me yesterday that “god interacts with people in their cultural context”, surely women Bishops could be an example of this?

        • dannybhoy

          Who, me?
          Don’t start picking on me just because you’re getting a Christian kicking* today..
          I’m only the guy who said the divine revelation of the nature of God was completed in Jesus Christ. The New Testament records the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles address the life of the disciple and the history and structure of the Church. Nothing else is needed.
          Following your (“1984ish”) logic society dictates what eternal truth is..
          Incidentally, you don’t work in a christmas cracker factory dreaming up mottos do you?

          *a Christian kicking involves slippers and mules rather than boots, and afterwards we offer you a cup of tea and ask if you’re alright…

          • sarky

            Wasnt aware I was getting a kicking?????

          • dannybhoy

            You’re probably so used to it you don’t notice. 😉

            You ask lots of questions, Sarky.
            I remember before I became a Christian, coming up with all sorts of objections when real Christians laid a “witness ambush” on me.
            Consciously or not, I wasn’t willing or at a place where thinking of becoming a Christian was “my most favourite thing.”
            When that great day did happen at the age of 22 it was the best and greatest day of my life. That inner sense of joy and the presence of God was tangible.
            But please don’t think that I don’t have my own questions, even now. The difference is that I am so convinced of the beauty and holiness and compassion of God, the answers to prayer, the positive changes in my character that I am content to leave them with God.

          • sarky

            Crikey, a kicking and a “witness ambush” and I didn’t even notice. What is a witness ambush?

          • dannybhoy

            A witness ambush is what happens when you’re relaxing at home or having a pint or walking down a street and suddenly
            there’s a knock at the door..
            the guy next to you in the pub turns the conversation round..
            a couple of people accost you in the street

            and start telling you about Jesus and have you considered what life is all about..
            That’s a witness ambush.
            Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormons do it too, but we Christians started it.

          • Linus

            Witness ambush? Surely that must be a misspelling!

            To correct, replace “N” with “L”.

            There, that’s much better. More descriptive too.

          • dannybhoy

            I continue to pray for you Linus.

          • Linus

            Pray away. As you can see, it’s not doing much good. But then perhaps you’re the kind of person who can only strive for impossible goals.

          • dannybhoy

            🙂

          • sarky

            I know what you mean. It’s where I hurridly finish my pint, start walking the other way or send people away with their tails between their legs.
            Once again Linus has provided an apt description.

          • dannybhoy

            Love knows no boundaries..
            ” We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute.”

            1 Corinthians 4:10 (ESVUK)

          • sarky

            ??????

          • dannybhoy

            You don’t understand that because you haven’t read the whole context of what Paul is saying.
            But as regards the folly of witnessing, we do it because we care, even if we don’t always do it wisely..

  • IanCad

    I find it curious that those who, on biblical grounds, object to the consecration of Rt Rev’d Libby Lane – now bishop – Have no such sensitivities when it comes to the observation of Sunday as the day of rest. A practice endorsed nowhere in the bible.

    • Anton

      The Christians and the Jews do it on different days of the week. But this is simply one of the Ten Commandments and therefore part of ancient Israel’s law code and not binding on Christians. It is ironic that each week you can see countless people giving sermons emphasising how Christians are not under the Law (of Moses) while next to them on the church wall are the Ten Commandments.

      If you want to insist that you rest the Sabbath “because it’s in the Bible” then you should also insist on a 6-day working week, not 5!

      Blessed is the nation that commands employers to give employees a day off each week – and for family reasons the same day for every business in the land. God’s precedent is wise. But I am not sinning if I choose to do paid work on any day of the week.

      • dannybhoy

        Again this was part of the confusion I remember as a kid. That we kept Sunday as the Sabbath, although strictly speaking it should have been Saturday..

      • IanCad

        That was a quick response Anton. So quick that I wonder if you gave any thought to it at all.

        Certainly your opening sentence makes no sense. Christians and Jews have the same God, surely you are not suggesting that He has two sets of rules?

        Blundering along you conflate the law of Moses with the Commandments of God thus throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

        Your middle paragraph can’t be taken seriously.

        The last seems to be the “Fourth Commandment according to Anton.”

        • Anton

          Certainly I am willing to clarify. Please be slower to judge.

          The Jews had a national day of rest. The Christians enacted too, once they gained political power after Constantine. But they chose a different day, because Jews and Christians had fallen out by then. (For details, please read Samuele Bacchiocchi’s book From Sabbath To Sunday.)

          The Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God on tablets of stone, but were still simply the most important part of the covenant between God and ancient Israel (and nobody else). Further divine commands to ancient Israel were relayed by God to Moses and written down in the books Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Rabbinic Jews believe that still more divine commands to ancient Israel were relayed by God to Moses but not written down; I disagree with them about that. But the point here is that the Ten Commandments and the other written laws are part of God’s covenant with ancient Israel. This law code is not binding on Christians, as St Paul explains to more than one congregation in the New Testament – and he makes no distinction between the Ten Commandments and the rest. Certain individual laws are binding on Christians, namely those that Jesus repeated to his followers, plus a few more decided at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. The Sabbath is not included.

          On this basis, expanding on my first paragraph above, I hold to the second and third paragraphs I wrote and hope I have explained more clearly why.

          • IanCad

            Anton, if I appeared hasty please accept my apologies.

            Nowhere does Bacchiocci grant any biblical justification for the Sabbath change. Neither in any of his writings is any merit given to the antinomianism that you espouse.

            The Ten Commandents were given for all mankind. They are the substance of both the old and new covenants. At no time were they ever annulled.

          • Anton

            No problem Ian. Where we appear to disagree is on the status of the Ten commandments. Where in scripture is it stated that they are for all mankind rather than ancient Israel, please? so far as I am aware the only covenant that applies to all mankind is that with Noah in Genesis 9.

          • IanCad

            Getting back to you Anton:

            The Ten Commandments did not originate at Sinai. They existed prior to Creation. They are the basis of the Everlasting Covenant. Gen. 17:7.

            Abraham obeyed The Law of God hundreds of years before Moses. Gen. 26:5

            The transgessions of the antediluvians were all breaches of the law of God.

            At Sinai the laws applied to the stranger also.

            Sure, the law descends through Israel, accepting that, we must therefore define her.

            Romans 11:13-24 explains this.

            Ther are no Gentile gates in the New Jerusalem.

            Ian

          • Anton

            Ian, all law is a response to the Fall. There was but one law in the Garden of Eden (don’t eat of that tree), and that was there because our ancestors had to have to opportunity not to sin or else we should have been puppets. Now, you can say that murder was still wrong in Eden, and the reason there was no law is that it would never have occurred to anybody to commit murder before Satan successfully wrought havoc. I’d agree; but it is a matter of arid philosophy whether the Ten Commandments pre-existed mankind in the mind of God, for the Fall DID happen. If they were binding on all fallen men earlier than Sinai, why are they not in the Bible earlier, in particular as part of the covenant with Noah?

          • IanCad

            Anton,

            Given, the immutability of God we must conclude that those precepts contained in the decalogue had to be present in heaven prior to creation if we but consider Satan’s – along with his angels – fall from heaven.

            God is just, sin is the transgression of the law.

            Adam died for his sins. No law – No sin.

            He put Satan before God thus breaking the First commandment from the get-go.

            Scripture witnesses to the violation of all the commandments prior to Sinai.

            Cain and Abel, Mrs. Potiphar. The wickedness of man before the flood – the list goes on.

            God has been very patient with man.

          • Anton

            Dear Martin and Ian,

            Whether law pre=-existed the Fall (or even pre-existed Adam) is an interesting or fruitless philosophical debate depending on your taste, but it is not my point – which is that the Ten Commandments have exactly the same status as the other (roughly) 600 in the written Law of Moses. Because all were given to ancient Israel during the Exodus march. Do you contend that the other 600 apply to all men, please?

          • IanCad

            Anton, the Laws of Moses were written on a scroll and placed in a pocket on the Outside of the Ark. The Law of God was contained inside theArk. The former written by Moses, the latter “By The Finger of God.”The first to cease with the sacrifice of Christ, the latter to be eternal and, as I stated before, the substance of both the Old and New Covenants.

            The 600 laws were for Israel and for those who chose to join them. As best I understand.

          • Anton,
            A moment’s thought will reveal that Adam had the Ten Commandments written on his heart. Suppose he had strangled Eve or erected an altar to the Sun; do you suppose that God would have said, “Oh! That’s all right, Adam. Just so long as you don’t eat the apple..”
            When he fell, Adam put the word of Satan before that of God; committed spiritual adultery; made an idol of his own appetite; coveted that which God had denied to him, and then stole it; lied to God (Gen. 3:10) and caused the death of all his descendants.
            The commandments written on Adam’s heart are still there in the hearts of all men, though they are marred and defaced by the Fall (Romans 2:14-15). Men know that it’s wrong to lie, steal, kill etc., but that knowledge is not enough to keep them from doing them.
            God wrote the Commandments on stone tablets for the Israelites, but without the Spirit of God, this was not enough to keep them from breaking them. He has therefore written the commandments again on the hearts of believers (2 Cor. 3:6). Therefore Christians can say with David, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law in within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

    • Uncle Brian

      We’ve been here before, haven’t we, Ian. “The first day of the week” and all that.

      • IanCad

        A few marathons UB. Last one must have been nine months ago.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      Hypocrite.

      • IanCad

        No need to spread it around.

        • Dreadnaught

          A good comeback

          • IanCad

            Thanks dreadnaught.

    • carl jacobs

      IanCad

      Hrmm. Let’s edit this just a little…

      I find it curious that those who would, on biblical grounds, object to the consecration of [insert the name of any open sexually active homosexual clergy here] have no such sensitivities when it comes to the observation of Sunday as the day of rest. A practice endorsed nowhere in the bible.

      Yes, that argument still holds together. So what then are we to make of it?

      But really. What is the point of this argument anymore? Will anyone change his mind? You are going to do what you must, and I will do what I must. Choices have consequences. You can’t satisfy everyone.

      One thing, however. When the people who brought you Libby Lane next bring you an English version of Gene Robinson, then you will understand what has happened.

      • Linus

        I vote for Colin Coward as next bishop of Salisbury! That is, unless Changing Attitude can do anything with the current incumbent…

        • Dreaming, Lupus?

          A homosexual Church of England minister “marries” a Nigerian male model boyfriend, 40 years his junior and almost a third of his age – a 65-year-old and a 25-year-old.

          • Linus

            I would think RCC is perfectly placed to be TEC(UK)’s next fashionable new évêque du jour. His husband is gay, Nigerian and, if I’m not mistaken, there was some form of suspense and drama surrounding his visa application, so he checks the asylum seeker box too. RCC himself is a notable gay rights activist. And as the Rev Colin Coward, he benefits from a nifty three letter acronym that puts him right up there with KJS and JPW (Jay-Pee-Dubbya, or just Dubbya, as I’m told they call him at Lambeth…)

            No, RCC is the sort of noo dynamic bish-2-b the Church needs as it valiantly forges its way ahead along the tricky path that fate has laid out for it. If it can’t see its way forward, I’m happy to walk slowly in front of it waving a flag and leading it on the straight (sic) and narrow.

      • IanCad

        Carl, not when, maybe if. I do most sincerely hope they do not.

        • carl jacobs

          Ian

          Who will stop them? A large chuck of your natural allies in this fight have just been run into the marshes. And make no mistake. They are gone. All this talk of “mutual flourishing” is just eyewash. Five years hence the reality will be starkly apparent.

          No, the fact is that you are the now the “extremist.” There isn’t anyone holding the right flank but you. And that makes you the next target in the March of progressive religion.

          Your leadership is completely compromised (cough Pilling Report cough) and will become more so as the cohort of women bishops increases in size. A homosexual bishop is just as inevitable today as a woman bishop was five years ago. Welcome to the future.

          So you best figure out how you will respond to that modified argument of yours that I presented. Because you are going to need it.

          • IanCad

            Carl, your two posts are profoundly unsettling.
            Although raised in the CofE I do not belong to it.
            As a subject I have a profound respect for the institution as an essential part of our heritage, and, more importantly, a great spiritual light in this dark land and throughout the world.
            I so hope your are wrong, but it does seem that the forces of destruction are not yet spent.

        • carl jacobs

          Ian

          Did you see this report from Changing Attitudes about a conversation with David Porter? That would be David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace.

          A few choice quotes.

          The intention is to change the tone of the conversation and take some of the toxicity out of it, acknowledging that there is no agreement between, say, us and Reform. David assumes there will be a fracture and when it happens, it will be small and done with profound sadness, with a measure of grace, disagreeing well. The Conversations are a process in which it is hoped to find grace in each other where there are profound disagreements. Maybe 80% of the C of E will hold together with fractures at either end of the spectrum.

          David believes the General Synod can’t put off a debate and vote on the core issues affecting the place of LGBTI people in the Church of England beyond the February 2017 meeting.

          Changing Attitude Report

          The 20% number is wishful thinking, and the loss will all come on the conservative side.

  • SidneyDeane

    It’s great how malleable the bible is, remoulding and reshaping to coincide with rational secular thought such as (shock!) equal rights for men and women. Although not so malleable as to avoid being, as usual, way behind the rest of the world in such obvious moral issues.

    I wonder what part of the bible will be changed next. Or wrong next.

    • The Explorer

      “The rest of the world.” Does that include the Islamic world? Tribal Africa? Papua New Guinea?

    • carl jacobs

      as usual, way behind the rest of the world in such obvious moral issues.

      Funny, isn’t it, how people who deny the existence of objective morality will nevertheless use positional metaphors to convey some some of moral objectivity. ‘Behind’ after all is only meaningful if there is some reference by which we may objectively assess ‘forward’ . If he said what he meant – “I am the reference, and whichever way I am travelling is forward” – then he wouldn’t have much of an argument.

      Just one more example of atheists stealing from religion that which they cannot create on their own.

    • sarky

      Got my money on sex before marriage!!!

      • Anton

        I fear you are right.

      • Linus

        My money’s on gay sex before marriage. Or after. Or even during.

        We’re just a whisker away from it already in TEC(UK). A generation in Rome. Maybe two in Orthodoxy, although perhaps Tsipras will jolly them along a little. I noticed a rainbow flag or two in the crowd in Athens and he certainly didn’t swear his oath on a Bible.

        • sarky

          Thought that was a given!!!! Just casting my net a bit wider!

          • Linus

            Personally I think it’s high time to include a Book of Cyril, which might start as follows:

            “There shall, in that time, be rumors of things going astray, errrm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia work base that has an attachment. At this time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the thing possessed by their fathers, that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o’clock. Yea, it is written in the Book of Cyril that…”

          • sarky

            Think you might be on to something….

          • Anton

            Let’s find MH370 and the Mary Celeste first.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s pretty funny Linus!

          • Linus

            I am but a conduit. You can thank Monty Python for the content.

          • I think you are a conduit for the politician of whom it was said that he was in debt to his memory for his wit, and to his imagination for his facts.

        • The Explorer

          What’s your timescale for Islam UK?

          • Linus

            Never. Contrary to the stories peddled by Ukip and the BNP, they don’t “breed like flies” and they won’t be “in control by 2060”. They’ll never be “in control”. Even the most pessimistic (or optimistic by their standards) predictions show them struggling to reach 10% of the population within the next century.

            It’s only in the feverish minds of xenophobes, conspiracy theorists and/or fundamentalist Christians (and some Ukip members too, although most know they’re talking tosh – but cynical ploys are their stock in trade) that Islam is poised to take over Britain.

          • The Explorer

            I meant acceptance of the gay permutations you elucidated. Two generations for Orthodoxy etc.

          • sarky

            Totally agree with Linus. A fearful population is easier to control and impose draconian laws on.

          • The Explorer

            I agree it’s difficult getting the balance right between reality and scaremongering. There were those in Britain who, in their wish to be fair, dismissed the first reports about the Nazi death camps as propaganda. Warnings about possible mutiny in India were dismissed as “damned croaking” on the very night that the outbreak in Meerut began.

          • Linus

            From “Hogarth’s Blacks: Images of Blacks in Eighteenth Century English Art” by D. Dabydeen:

            “On 5 April 1723, the Daily Journal reported on the influx of black people in the country and on fears of London being “swamped” by these immigrants:

            ‘Tis said there is a great number of Blacks come daily
            into this City, so that ’tis thought in a short Time, if they
            be not suppress’d, the City will swarm with them.

            Such anxiety typified white responses to black people living in their midst over a period of four centuries. By the end of the sixteenth century it had become fashionable for aristocratic families in England to own a black houseboy, and hundreds of Africans were consequently imported into the country. Their increase was a source of grievance to Queen Elizabeth I who in July 1598 dispatched an open letter to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, and to the Mayors and Sheriffs of other towns, ordering their immediate deportation. The Royal letter spoke of the “diverse blackamoors brought into this realm, of which kinde of people there are allready here too manie”. The attempt at deportation failed – the owners of blacks naturally refused to surrender their prized property – and in 1601 Queen Elizabeth (who, curiously, employed black slaves in her own Court) issued another proclamation commanding their banishment in which she expressed her “discontent” at the “great numbers of negars and Blackamoors which (as she is informed) are crept into this realm”. For the first time in English history, blacks were used as scapegoats for social evils: Queen Elizabeth blamed them for consuming food in a time of shortages, food which should go to English people who are “greatly annoyed” as a result; in addition, the blacks were “infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel”. ”

            It has been estimated that out of a total London population of approximately 200,000 people in the year 1600, around 900 were black.

            Plus ça change …

          • The Explorer

            Some fears are unjustified, others are not. Roman fears about the German influx in the time of Valens turned out to be more than justified: the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. But we’re arguing about a point I never raised in the first place (save through unintended ambiguity). I want your thoughts about the timescale for Islamic acceptance of gays. One undisputed fact about Muslims, after all, is that they will soon be the largest body of worshippers in Britain. (Current trends in the C of E will probably hasten that eventuality.)

          • Linus

            I don’t know enough about the internal workings of Islam to be able to give you any kind of timescale for that.

            I do know however that it isn’t a monolithic faith. In the same way that homosexuality is now accepted by some liberal Christian denominations, there may be scope for a growing form of acceptance over time.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. Always stimulating, by the way, to exchange opinions with you.

          • Anton

            Mark Steyn’s demographic analysis suggests otherwise. But on this subject I would be glad if you were right and I were wrong, Linus.

        • dannybhoy

          What’s TEC?

          • Linus

            The Episcopal Church, i.e. the historic US Anglican Church. The one the KJS is leading with such vim, vigour and aplomb.

            TEC(UK) is the English branch. You know, the one headed up by JPW and CSY. If you can figure out the last acronym, pass and go and collect 200€ from the bank. No, make that 210€. 220€. 230€ … quick, hand over the Sterling! We have Greeks to bail out. We need something to offset our losses…

          • dannybhoy

            “The Episcopal Church, i.e. the historic US Anglican Church. The one that KJS is leading with such vim, vigour and aplomb.TEC(UK) is the English branch. You know, the one headed up by JPW and CSY.”
            Nope.
            I don’t know.
            In fact if I didn’t know you as a Frenchman with some kind of Swedish influence and a quirky sense of humour,,,
            I’d think you were taking the mick..
            As for the bailout I don’t think the EU has a future anyway.
            But I have a great fondness for souvlakis and ice cold beer..

          • Linus

            Well if someone accused you of being a cuddly children’s character created by a Finno-Swedish author, you’d feel you had to rise to the occasion too, I’m sure.

            I was accused of being a Snork, which was an unexpected pleasure. Snorks are lovely creatures. They’re slightly standoffish in character (‘snorkig’ means ‘snooty’ in Swedish), but they’re also very easy to love because they change colour according to their emotions. Male Snorks are usually mauve, but they go pale green when frightened, and other emotions are indicated by a whole palette of rainbow colours. Once you’ve learned the shade to which each emotion corresponds, it’s impossible not to know how a Snork is feeling. Unless you’re colour blind, of course.

            You could do a lot worse than being compared to a Snork. I’m quite surprised the American contingent even knows what they are. I suspect he doesn’t and the word has some other unpleasant meaning in American “English”. But not being American, and not speaking that unpleasant, nasal language, I wouldn’t know anything about that…

            And no, I wasn’t “taking the mick”. I think KJS is great. She’s an utterly useless Christian, of course. But she’s particularly gifted at undermining other people’s faith and nudging them towards secular humanism. I don’t think she does this on purpose, but it’s the logical conclusion of the theological corner she’s painted herself into. It’s a pity she won’t be presiding bishop for much longer. But, looking on the bright side, maybe her replacement will be even better!

            You are wrong about the future of the EU, I think. Exactly what that future is going to be is anyone’s guess at the moment, but we’re too deeply integrated to pull apart completely now. Not the UK, of course. You could leave and it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to anyone, except perhaps the Irish. But France and Germany will stick together. And where France and Germany go, Benelux will follow and so will Austria and the rest of central Europe, the Baltic States and most of Scandinavia. Southern Europe is another matter and all bets are off when it comes to the PIGS nations. Time will tell. The euro may take a battering. But it will survive.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t know nor care much what snorks are or aren’t. So their ability to change colour is only of the mildest interest to me.
            As you will see from my last post to you I do know what it means to be discriminated against for something I had no choice in.
            The only thing that stopped me being bullied is that I was rather a strong child and have remained strong even when the asthma (related as you probably know, to eczema) turned to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            Thankfully in Christ Jesus I found full and unconditional acceptance for the rather withdrawn young man I had become, and He remains the centre and sustainer of my life.
            As regards Europe I fear that France will continue to be dominated by Germany….

          • Snork
            Verb: to drink something and have it come out your nose because you’re laughing so hard.

          • carl jacobs

            Thanks, Jack. Next time I use a word Linus doesn’t know, I will leave breadcrumbs to help. Like “Hint! It’s a verb.”

          • Lol …. such vanity in the man. Jack should’ve posted his rather more obvious one too.

          • “Well if someone accused you of being a cuddly children’s character created by a Finno-Swedish author, you’d feel you had to rise to the occasion too, I’m sure.

            I was accused of being a Snork, which was an unexpected pleasure. Snorks are lovely creatures,”

            The more you think about it ….. the more zany it gets. His Achilles heel is exposed again.

            (Was it a trap, Carl? Do strikers always intend to score goals?)

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            I have a confession to make. I chose the word ‘Snork’ not only because it fit the context perfectly but also because I was reasonably sure Linus wouldn’t recognize it. However I fully expected that he would figure it out. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that he would write five full paragraphs proving without doubt that he didn’t have the first idea what he was talking about. And he wrote it with such authority.

            My daughter recognized ‘Snork’ right away from her time in Finland.

          • Happy Jack had to Google the term. He too learned of the children’s characters this way. Good job you didn’t suggest ‘adoption’ or there would have been an additional 5 paragraphs.

            “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”
            (Dale Carnegie)

            Only on Cranmer ……….

          • carl jacobs

            I was accused of being a Snork

            ROFLMAO!

            I told you to look it up. But did you listen?

            ROFLOL!

          • Linus

            Who are you to tell me what to do?

            You understand Snork to mean one thing. I understand it to mean another. Your meaning is vulgar and crass, as I knew it would be, because that’s who you are. Another low American lives up (or down) to his country’s dire reputation…

          • carl jacobs

            Linus

            Who are you to tell me what to do?

            I was trying to help you in my own little way. And this is the thanks I get…

            You understand Snork to mean one thing. I understand it to mean another.

            There is this little thing called ‘context’ when it comes to language. Perhaps you have heard of it? I have never heard a native English speaker use ‘snork’ as a noun. Ever. Not in 55 years. That you should immediately jump to a Scandinavian children’s character that any reasonable person would expect to be unknown in the US is itself revealing.

            I was thinking about this yesterday, Linus. Do you realize just how much ad hominem you include in your posts? We could make a study of it. “What remains of a post by Linus after the invective is removed?” Exercise 1.

            Who are you to tell me what to do?

            You understand Snork to mean one thing. I understand it to mean another. Your meaning is vulgar and crass, as I knew it would be, because that’s who you are. Another low American lives up (or down) to his country’s dire reputation…

            What remains isn’t a bad post. You would be more effective here if you wouldn’t result to insults every time you are wrong-footed.

          • Linus

            Apply your own rule to your own posts and then, when you’ve edited all the “ad hominem invective” out of them, we’ll see how much of your contribution remains here, shall we? There won’t be a great deal.

            In English you say “the pot calling the kettle black”, I believe. In French we say “l’hôpital qui se fout de la charité”. The Bible talks about eyes and logs and motes. It all amounts to the same thing.

            Christian, heal thyself!

          • carl jacobs

            I have been around this weblog for a long time, Linus. I have an established reputation. People know me here. You won’t get far with that nonsense.

          • Linus

            So seniority gives you the right to insult at will, whereas I, poor recent arrival here, must meekly take it and confine my remarks to points and not people?

            One rule for you and those who agree with you, and another for everyone else, eh?

            Hypocrisy thy name is carl jacobs!

          • carl jacobs

            Linus

            No, it means there there are plenty of people here who will testify that I don’t insult people at will, and that I am very careful to be respectful in my posts. That’s my problem with you, Linus. You don’t show respect to your opponent. Your posts here are filled with pointless animosity.

            It’s obvious to me that you are intelligent. You could be an excellent contributor here. But 80% of your posts have no purpose other than to vent your spleen. I have no interest in a slagging match with you. There are plenty of people in the world who will do that. But that isn’t what this blog is for.

            I don’t care how stupid you think my ideas are. You can do with them as you please. But here you must respect the person behind the ideas. That is what is missing from your contributions.

          • Cressida de Nova

            He has established a reputation as a humourless wind bag. He rattles his army sabre every now and again and they all fall to their knees. He is a vicious misogynist like most of the military.

          • carl jacobs

            Oh, and BTW. Tu Quoque is a logical fallacy.

          • Ah diddums ….

            “Snorks are lovely creatures …. but they’re also very easy to love … “

            ROLF

          • CliveM

            If you had put the full stop beside “every time” that would be very nearly equally true.

          • The Explorer

            TEC had 3.6 million members in 1966. By 2010, the numbers had slipped below 2 million. The downward direction remains constant: the only variable is the speed.
            The breakaway part, however (Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical) is booming in terms of numbers. It just has to find places to worship. The official (Liberal) part still has the buildings: and the empty pews. After all, why attend on Sunday to enumerate all the things you don’t believe? You can demonstrate that by staying away.

          • Linus

            Exactly!

            Vive KJS! Other churches have much to learn from her.

          • The Explorer

            Pity she can’t be put in charge of one particular religion beginning with I and ending in M. Your CSY acronym has me completely foxed, by the way.

          • dannybhoy

            What’s TEC got to do with the CofE in the UK??

          • The Explorer

            It’s the American wing of the Church of England. Only it went its own way a while back and appointed women bishops (Katharine Jefferts Schori) and then an ex-married practising homosexual bishop. That caused schism. So it split from us, and then split within itself. Carl Jacobs is always saying that the C of E will follow the pattern of TEC: it’s headed down the same route, including future schism.

          • Anton

            But in any schism only one of the two “children” will be the Established church that crowns the sovereign. And the desire to be that one will influence the battle.

          • Linus

            A woman in charge of that particular religion at this point in its lifecycle hardly seems likely. You might as well transport her back in time to sixteenth century Scotland and set her up as a rival to John Knox.

            I wonder what Knox’s “First Blast…” would have looked like if he’d encountered KJS in his travels. Imagine his reaction to her celebrated tome “Gospel in the Global Village: Seeking God’s Dream of Shalom”. Would he not have referred to her as “that wicked Jezebel of the New Found Land?” Would he not have said of her “If there be not in her a proud mind, a crafty wit, and an indurate heart against God and His truth, my judgment faileth me.”?

            I should imagine KJS would meet with equally closed minds if she suddenly found herself arguing theology with a radical imam or an ayatollah. And in countering such attitudes she’d be forced to move one step closer to the secular humanism she’s well on her way to embracing.

            That would be a spectacle worth seeing, I think. If only to see what excesses of New Age psychobabble she could rise to in response to a fundamentalist harangue.

          • The Explorer

            I doubt the dialogue would last long enough to reach the stage of psychobabble: if the dialogue started in the first place. Don’t forget about honour killing and female genital mutilation,

          • Linus

            As far as I’m aware, the deplorable practices you mention only take place within families. A Muslim man would never inflict either punishment on a woman who was not one of his close kin.

            He couldn’t use a forced marriage to make her a member of his family because she’s already married and Islam recognizes marriages solemnized by other (monotheistic) religions. An man can marry more than once, but not a woman.

            Of course if he’s a thug he’d probably do what he wanted without any regard to his religion. But if he’s a real believer in Islam, she should be safe enough.

          • The Explorer

            You’re absolutely right. I was using both (and, to be fair to Islam, fgm is not a universal practice) as general examples of attitudes to women – and therefore the likelihood of dialogue – but I didn’t make it clear.
            I imagine she could still be vulnerable to the “she whom your right hand possesses” injunction, and be taken as a concubine. (Highly unlikely, I know – I’d decline the opportunity myself if I were a Muslim – but I think it’s a theoretical possibility).
            Anyway, her chances of inflicting on Islam the sort of damage she’s achieved with TEC are nil: the Muslims have too much common sense.

          • Linus

            I agree that she would have a snowball’s chance of making any impression on Islam, although not because Muslims are possessed of any more common sense than anyone else. Rather because their religion is organized in a way that makes it impossible for women to influence theology directly. But time changes all. I think Islam’s time for Reformation will probably come, although I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess as to when.

            And regarding the fate of KJS in this theoretical situation where she’s trying to argue with a Muslim cleric: the “she whom your right hand possesses” rule applies only to female slaves, so unless you’re assuming this confrontation is taking place in ISIS or Boko Haram territory, it’s unlikely that a Muslim cleric would take the radical step of enslaving a prominent married Western Christian clergywoman. Surely there would have to be payoff sufficiently massive in order to justify such a move.

            Without wanting to prejudice opinion against the worthy lady or denigrate her appearance in any way, she’s hardly the kind of celestial, gazelle-eyed houri who might provoke a man to commit unthinkable crimes just so he can possess her. Or is my sexual orientation getting in the way, and she’s actually some kind of irresistible Mata Hari figure who drives straight men wild???

          • The Explorer

            If it were not uncharitable to say so, I’d say she was more likely to drive a straight man towards your orientation.
            It’s been a highly-entertaining conversation, but I must be off blog for a while. Regards to you.

          • Linus

            Again, without wishing to pass any kind of judgment on Ms Jefferts Schori’s physical attributes, it isn’t the lack of beauty in a woman that makes a man gay. It’s the presence of beauty in a man that does the trick.

            Put me in a room with a hideously ugly man and a beautiful woman and I won’t miraculously turn straight. Put a straight man in a room with a hideously ugly woman and a good-looking man, and he won’t miraculously turn gay.

            If he’s frustrated enough over a long enough period of time and the woman disappears, he might use the other man’s body for physical release (the so-called “prison defence”, which can also indicate varying degrees of bisexuality). But once he’s back in the presence of the gender he desires, it will be business as usual.

          • Hi Danny

            Carl explained this to me: The Episcopalian church. Like its the American church of England

          • dannybhoy

            Thank you Hannahle for posting.
            I finally got it.

      • Albert

        You’re a bit late for that! That’s gone already!

        • sarky

          In my case its but a distant memory!

          • Albert

            Not quite what I meant…but I guess you realised that.

          • sarky

            😉

    • The Explorer

      My money’s on, “Thou shalt not commit murder.” (It could be offensive to certain Muslims.)

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      That, of course, is what it is all about – a bunch of unbelievers trying to render the church of England contemptible. It’s all part of the 60’s generation trashing the institutions of the country. But whether we believe in Christianity or not, what kind of country do we live in, if evils like this are perpetrated on us?

      • sarky

        I think the c of e rendered itself contemptible, it didn’t need a lot of help from unbelievers.

        • Demon Teddy Bear

          I think of the Russian orthodox church in the USSR: KGB officers made bishops via state pressure. But we don’t attribute their evil deeds to the church but to the USSR. Likewise we mustn’t treat the UK state stooges as the church either. They are interlopers.

        • Martin

          Sarky

          Most of those in the CoE are unbelievers.

          • Demon Teddy Bear

            Not so. But the hierarchy are notoriously unbelievers. The bishops’ lack of belief in God is a constant subject of mirth in comedy programmes. I remember it in “Yes Prime Minister”, indeed. Then again, what else could be expected from people appointed by an unbelieving establishment?

          • sarky

            As are most of those in the country.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Hang out the bunting – I can agree with this comment!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            As are most throughout the World. Christians have always been a minority and always will.

  • Peter Wood

    Your paragraph on the untenable nature of sola Scriptura strikes just the right note. Oddly enough, the way the evangelical strand is relying on Scripture while reducing the centrality of the Eucharist in worship, takes the evangelicals close to the position of Hauerwas which you describe (I think rather oddly) as “High Church”. Only those with the stamina to stay the course within the church can be expected to endure this monotonous and often lifelessly unimaginative explication de texte week by week. This is a process that rarely confronts the textual difficulties or the historical puzzles present in much of both testaments. Meanwhile, we hear nothing of that aspect of the church declared so triumphantly at York in the service of consecration of Libby Lane – the litanies, the Communion of Saints, the communities of living and dead within the Body of Christ.

  • Thomas Keningley

    “And this must be true, for it is simply not possible to read and interpret Scripture apart from one’s own psyche, upbringing, education or the contemporary social context: we bring to each verse our own baggage of intellectual limitations, historical ignorance and emotional or spiritual deficiencies. ”

    Ah, so His Grace is another one who doesn’t understand the doctrine of sola scriptura then, and so criticises it ignorantly. The doctrine/slogan means that Scripture is the only infallible source of authority for Christians. The question of whether we can get at the intent of the authors is a question of perspicuity; but you have obviously bought into the post-modern idea that the original meaning of a text is inaccessible to a reader.

    Mercifully, this view is wrong, and anyone who tries to express it is refuting themselves- after all, I can’t read and interpret His Grace apart from my psyche etc. etc., but he seems to think I’ll be able to understand his meaning nonetheless. It may take a lot of work to get to the intent of an author, or very little, but it is, at least in many cases, possible. In the case of 1 Timothy, which forbids women to teach or have authority over a man, I think it is plainly possible, and a number of Biblical commentators, Catholic, Protestant and non-Christian, agree with me.

    Cranmer is badly wrong; Libby Lane has no right to claim to be a bishop, any more than a woman has the right to be an elder of a church. She, and his Grace, show their unfitness to lead by their overt flouting of God’s word.

    • Athanasius

      Who compiled scripture, and by what authority did they presume to choose those particular books?

      • Thomas Keningley

        The current NT canon was gradually arrived at by a variety of churches across the empire, generally agreeing on criteria such as apostolicity; it seems like the first complete list we have is in Origen’s Homilies on Joshua.

        As for authority, I suppose the authority lies with the apostolic authority of each individual book, rather than the canonical list itself.

        • It was at the Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397, 419) that the Catholic Church defined which books made it into the Bible and which didn’t. This was settled after repeated discussions, and the final listing was determined by Catholic bishops. This is an inescapable fact.

          There was no canon of scripture in the early Church; there was no Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church; she is not the Church of the Bible. It was the Church – her leadership, faithful people – guided by the authority of the Spirit of Truth which discovered the books inspired by God in their writing. The Church did not create the canon; she discerned the canon.

          • Thomas Keningley

            This is an inescapable fact how exactly? Those councils were regional councils, and the canon of Scripture was certainly not considered a closed question by those participating in the Council of Trent, which only passed the canon by a plurality vote, not a majority, not to mention Cardinal Cajetan.

            Moreover, Athanasius’ Festal Letter and Origen’s Homilies on Joshua, which agree on the canon, were written before either of those councils (in Origen’s case, more than a century earlier). In addition, Origen seems to view the canon as a settled issue.

            So there is good evidence that Hippo and Carthage merely reflect earlier consensus. The early church was using canonical books as scripture long before any of these councils, and indeed long before Origen wrote, without seeming to feel any need for some kind of “authoritative” definition.

            That’s just the NT canon. Jesus assumed consensus on the OT canon in his discussions with the Pharisees.

          • Are you arguing for Tradition is settling the canon of scripture? It was the Church through its Bishops that determined Scripture and there were disputes.

            In this letter in AD 367 Athansius – a Bishop – lists the books of the Old Testament in accordance with Jewish tradition. To the books in the Tanakh he adds the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, but he excludes the Book of Esther. So he didn’t define the canon of the Bible here. There were two Old Testament canons in use. There was the Palestinian canon, which is identical to the Protestant Old Testament, and there was the Alexandrian canon – also known as the Septuagint – which is identical to the Catholic Old Testament. The reason why the Catholic Bible has the longer canon is that the Apostles and the early Church used the Septuagint. Athanasius lists the books of the New Testament as the familiar 27: the 4 Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the 7 General Epistles, the 14 Pauline Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. His list is the earliest reference to the present canon of the New Testament. But was Athanasius definitively accepted as opposed to recommended? The book of 1 Clement was considered inspired by most in the early Church. We know that the book of Revelation was disputed by many at the time. Revelation made it into the canon and 1 Clement didn’t.

            Athanasius recommended, not as part of the canon of Scripture but as worthwhile, the Book of Wisdom, Sirach, the Book of Esther, Judith, the Book of Tobit, the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd of Hermas. Origen’s canon included all of the books in the current Catholic canon except for four books: James, 2nd Peter, and the 2nd and 3rd epistles of John.

            The Council of Rome, 382,under the authority of Pope Damasus, gave a complete list of canonical books identical with the list later approved by the Council of Trent. The next Council that accepted the present Catholic canon, reaffirmed at Trent, was the Synod of Hippo in 393 and was accepted by the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These Councils were in union with Rome. This resolved all the differences and settled all outstanding issues. The Council of Trent in 1546 reaffirmed the divine inspiration of the deuterocanonical books which Protestants had removed.

          • sarky

            So what your basically saying is that the bible is a man made constuct. That the books that made it to the final cut were decided by men.
            Interesting!

          • Yes, that’s exactly what he’s saying.
            It isn’t true, but it’s what he’s saying.

          • This is absolute tosh from beginning to end.
            The Lord Jesus knew what was in the O.T. Scriptures and what wasn’t. The early church knew what was Scripture and what wasn’t. Ignatius quotes from Mathew and from John’s Gospel as well as from 1 Corinthians and Ephesians. Polycarp quotes extensively from 16 N.T. books and both men obviously treat them as Scripture. If time allowed I could quote from other early writers. With only one exception (2 Peter) all the books of the N.T, are quoted by ‘apostolic fathers’ before 180AD.
            The Holy Spirit is the compiler of Scripture, not man, and certainly not the Church of Rome.
            Two good books to read on the subject are Nothing but the Truth and Why 27? both by Brian Edwards (Evangelical Press).

          • Hmmm ….

            “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

            And all the men you have cited were part of One, Holy, Universal Church, united under an Apostolic structure with the Bishop of Rome at its Head, as ordained by Christ..

            Back on topic. If Jesus knew what was in Scripture and what was to become Scripture in the New Testament, as surely He did, then why is there not one clear statement about ‘Sola Scriptura’ anywhere? He could have been clear about the structure of the Church He wanted. He could have given clear statements on Christology, the Triune God, predestination, purgatory, on His mother, on the salvation process itself, on grace, on faith. No, instead, He appointed Apostles to do discern this, teach and He gave them His authority to speak in His name. The Church was clearly charged, though its Apostolic structure, with discerning Scripture, guided by the Holy Spirit, and with teaching and developing an understanding of it. And, Scripture itself informs us that what they taught isn’t all recorded.

            Really, its all so clear.

          • We can agree on your last line; it really is all so clear- but obviously not to you.

            “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

            Yes indeed, but John also wrote, ‘…..But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name’ (John 20:31; cf. 1 John 1:3-4).

            What we have is what the Spirit has given us and it is sufficient. I have previously referred you to Proverbs 30:5-6. You will do well to read it again.


            And all the men you have cited were part of One, Holy, Universal Church, united under an Apostolic structure with the Bishop of Rome at its Head, as ordained by Christ..

            To the extent that they were faithful, they were certainly part of the one true Church of Christ, but it is Christ’s Church; it does not belong to the Bishop of Rome, who in his titles, manages to blaspheme Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
            ‘Holy Father’ blasphemes God the Father (Matthew 23:9).
            ‘Servant of Servants’ blasphemes God the Son (John 13:1-17).
            ‘Vicar of Christ on earth’ blasphemes God the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).
            Christ appointed His Apostles to discern and to propagate His doctrine. That is why the Church is built on the doctrine of the Apostles and N.T. prophets (who were those who gave the apostolic teaching to the churches until the completion of the Canon- Eph. 2:20; 1 Cor. 14:37).
            The Bible is perfectly clear on Sola Scriptura. In addition to 2 Tim. 3:16, which seems perfectly clear, there is Isaiah 8:20, Luke 16:19-31, Gal. 1:8-10; Eph. 2:20 and Prov. 30:5-6. These verses are not to be looked at separately, but taken together. The truth of Sola Scriptura is not found in ‘It is written,’ but in ‘It is written again’ (Matt. 4:6, 7). Scripture must be compared with Scripture.

          • Martin, you still haven’t demonstrated where Scripture actually says that it alone is ‘God’s Word’. The proof text you cite fail to do this. Jack has demonstrated earlier where Jesus and the Apostles refer to passages not in the Bible and where the evangelists consider what they say carries the authority of God’s word too – because they were sent in His name with His authority.

            And you know the Bible is far from clear on the subjects Jack mentioned. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. You have fudged and avoided the texts on purgatory. The Church is the bulwark against false belief and deception.

            When Christ founded His Church upon Peter and the Apostles (Matt. 16:18 and 18:18), it was to be the means of salvation, the new covenant (Matt. 22:26; Mark 14:.22; Luke 22:l9; 1 Cor.11:25) “until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26) “in virtue of an everlasting covenant” (Hebr. 13:.20).

            “And I tell thee this in my turn, that thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
            (Matt 16:18-29)

            “All authority in heaven and on earth, he said, has been given to me; you, therefore, must go out, making disciples of all nations, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all the commandments which I have given you. And behold I am with you all through the days that are coming, until the consummation of the world.”
            (Matt. 18:18-20)

            “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised shall be saved.”
            (Mark.16:16)

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

            “As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”
            (John 19:21)

            The Church is indefectible and cannot err in faith and morals. She cannot perish and will be here to the end of the world. Her teachings are immutable. As the Church is a divine institution, she is assured that divine assistance will be given her to fulfill her mission by her Head, Christ:

            “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever.”
            (John 24:16)

            “I have still much to say to you, but it is beyond your reach as yet. It will be for him, the truth-giving Spirit, when he comes, to guide you into all truth. He will not utter a message of his own; he will utter the message that has been given to him; and he will make plain to you what is still to come.”
            (John 16:12-13)
            These all prove a preaching and teaching role for the Church, given to those to who Christ invested His authority and to whom the Holy Spirit would assist and protect.

          • I think the texts I have given are perfectly satisfactory, but if you want another one, try 1 Cor. 4:6; ‘……That you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written.’ I think that should be tattooed on the forehead of every new Christian.
            I don’t know what you are saying with the texts you have quoted here. I will only remark that in the Matt 28 and Mark 16 passages the preaching and the believing come before the baptizing. Your comments about the Church do not apply to the Church of Rome which has erred and continues to do so.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You could also try Revelation 24:18-19.

          • IanCad

            Err?

          • I think Dominic is thinking of Revelation 22:18-19, unless of course there has been another synod and a couple of extra chapters have been added.

          • Athanasius

            The Holy Spirit compiled scripture THROUGH the Catholic Church. Ignatius was quoting books which were considered authoritive, but at that time, not scripture. That only came with the Church councils Jack refers to. I notice you did not quote Ignatius’ most famous letter from 107 AD, the first-ever recorded use of the term “Catholic Church”. Note that in that letter he did not explain the term, implying that it was already in general use. You haven’t got a dog’s chance of understanding anything about Christianity without understanding the Catholic Church.

          • dannybhoy

            You mean the history of Christianity or the meaning of Christianity?

          • Unfortunately the Church of Rome has perverted the term ‘catholic church.’ Cranmer’s 1552 Prayer Book has the term, but I think he had a different understanding than the one you have.
            I follow Ignatius of Antioch just as far as he follows Scripture and no further. However when he uses the term ‘catholic church’ he is certainly not thinking of sacrificing, celibate priests, images being ‘venerated’ in churches and all the other unbiblical paraphernalia of the Church of Rome.
            The early churches knew what was Scripture and what wasn’t. Where there was doubt, there was discussion and the right answer reached with the guidance of the Spirit.
            Tell me, where was the ‘Catholic Church’ when for nearly a century there were two (sometimes three) ‘popes’ hurling anathemas at each other and touting for royal support in the 14th Century?

          • Athanasius

            Presumably, She was in the same place as the Holy Spirit Himself. You can twist this until is screams, but the Catholic Church was founded by Christ Himself when He told Peter that on THIS rock (and no other) did He build His Church. He didn’t say it to Martin Luther, or John Calvin or even Thomas Cranmer, He said it to Peter. Various servants of the Church may have betrayed Her, but – as Christ promised – the gates of hell will not prevail against Her. At times, the body may have sickened, but it did not die.

          • At times, the body may have sickened, but it did not die.

            No indeed. The mortal wound seems at the present time to have been healed.

            The rock on which the Church of Christ is built is not Peter himself (he’s dead; did you know?), but his confession of Jesus as the Christ. Go through the N.T, and count how many times anyone tells anyone else that Peter is the Pope; then count how many times the disciples tell people that Jesus is the Christ. A very quick search reveals Acts 2:36; 3:18-19; 5:42; 8:37; 9:22; 10:36; 11:17; 17:3; 18:5, 28; 26:23.

          • Uncle Brian

            I’m surprised at you Martin, You seem to be deliberately misquoting the words of Jesus. Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram … You are Peter and upon this rock … You are, 2nd person singular.

          • If Peter is the rock on which the Church is built, then it has no rock because Peter (as we all seem to agree) is dead.
            However, our Lord did not say, “You are Peter, and on you I will build My Church.” No, no! He said, “On this rock I will build My Church.” Christ is the Rock, as Peter knew very well. Christ is (1 Peter 1:7-8, but read from v.4),

            ‘”The stone the builders rejected
            [that] has become the capstone” and “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message…..’

            Beware that you do not disobey the message, which is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
            The Apostle Paul tells us (Eph. 2:20) that the Church is built on the apostles and prophets, which can only mean that it is built on the apostolic doctrine, namely that Jesus is the Christ; Him being of course, the chief cornerstone.

          • Uncle Brian

            Why the name “Peter”, then?

          • Why the name “Peter”, then?

            Because Peter was the chap who made the confession.
            If you want to get all technical, Petros, the name of Peter, has the meaning of a detached stone, one that might be thrown or used in a sling-shot. Petra– the rock on which Christ will build His Church- denotes a mass of rock (Vines Expository Dictionary, if you want to check it out).
            So Peter is not the rock on which Christ builds His Church; he is the pebble who made the good confession. Christ is the Rock on which we build our Christian lives and profession (Matt. 7:24-25 etc. See also 1 Cor. 10:4).

          • Uncle Brian

            Martin, that’s a very elaborate construction you’re trying to put upon the one short line of dialogue in Matt. 16.18. But no, Jesus wasn’t being nearly as cryptic as you’re trying to make out. On the contrary, he was speaking en clair. His words mean exactly what they appear to mean, no more and no less. He was entrusting Simon bar-Jonah with a job he wanted done, and giving him a new name to go with it.

          • Ignatius was quoting books which were considered authoritive, but at that time, not scripture.

            Does that also apply to Clement of Alexandria (Died 216)?
            He wrote:
            ‘The Scripture testifies, “As a hen gathers her chickens under her wings” [Matt. 23:37] Thus we are the Lord’s chickens; the Word thus marvellously and mystically describing the simplicity of childhood.’
            Stromata, Book VI, Ch. 11.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        That’s what the moslems say, for sure!

    • IanCad

      There does seem to be an inordinate amount of vitriol directed at this first distaff bishop.

      Her way is strewn with tacks. I wish her well and pray that her ministry will reflect the sentiments of her speech.

      Sure, an inflexibly literalist understanding of 1 Timothy 2,3. makes the case pretty clear:

      Ladies need not apply.

      All scripture must be understood in respect of the economy of the times.

      Social mores, as well, were perhaps different then.

      More importantly, scripture should be compared with other texts.

       

      Galatians 3:28 “neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, male or female: for we are all one in Christ Jesus.”

      All one, but one may not preach Christ Crucified?

       

      Matt. 28 16-20 – The Great Commission, given to the disciples to go forth to all nations. Does that eliminate a godly, spirit filled woman from leading others to take up the cross?

      I think not.

      • Martin

        Ian

        “All scripture must be understood in respect of the economy of the times”

        I’m afraid that is an old heresy, to think that the passage of time changes God’s laws. But beside that

        In 1 Timothy 2 Paul makes it abundantly clear that the argument is as old as the Earth, it dates back to Eve’s sin in usurping her husbands authority. If it were forbidden in 1AM* and forbidden in 4000AM it is still forbidden in 6000AM, the passage of time makes no difference.

        *Anno Mundi or year of the Earth

        • IanCad

          What springs to mind here is the parable of Dives and Lazarus.
          If that passage is not read within the context of the Jewish economy of the times then both the doctrines of an everlasting/burning hell, and of purgatory will likely be accepted.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Lazarus and Dives cannot possibly support purgatory. And why should there not be an everlasting burning hell? Do you know something no-one else alive does? Please share with us your divine inspiration on the lot of those who remain unrepentant. Current knowledge is only available from the Bible, and clearly you fell there is something more to tell us, which contradicts God’s current revelation.

          • IanCad

            I posted a reply about twenty minutes ago and in my haste must have not clicked after composing it.
            Briefly: I did not say that L&D supported purgatory. It is used as evidence by some who do accept the doctrine.
            Death is the reward of the unrepentant as is made clear in scripture.
            The notion of an Everlasting/Everburning Hell has its roots in Paganism and Greek philosophy. In addition it is a ready tool to part the sheep from their purse.
            Many pastors and some denominations do not accept the belief anymore; including, I should say the CofE.
            Under the influence of John Stott the CofE Doctrinal Commission (Faith and Order) rejected the error in 1995.
            Even Billy Graham has modified his views on the subject.
            Returning to the question of the unrepentant; again their reward is death. Eternal death. Not roasting in flames with demons sticking pitchforks into them.
            This issue has been gone over a few times on this blog in the recent past.
            I will now concentrate and click on the “Post” box.

          • Martin

            Ian

            Actually, the eternal flame is quite clearly taught and I would not consider any of those you mention as reliable expositors.

          • IanCad

            Martin

            Let The Bible be its own expositer. I can assure you that the doctrine of Hell is contrary to the teachings of the Word.

            I was all set to spend some time referencing chapter and verse but I have been delegated to drop off a neice at the railway station. That makes an excellent excuse to steer you to the last time that it was mooted on this blog.

            May 24th 2014. To be precise

            Quite the theological ding-dong. All in the spirit of good fellowship.

            HG has been most generous in maintaining this archive for our edification.

            His collection plate is on the homepage up there on the right!

          • Martin

            Ian

            Actually the archive only goes back to August last year.

            I’m afraid your assurance is not much help in discerning what the Bible says of Hell. But the story of Lazarus and the rich man clearly indicates what occurs after death. And curiously Jesus uses the same word for the ultimate destination of each:

            And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
            (Matthew 25:46 [ESV])

            Clearly the eternal punishment is of the same duration as the eternal life.

          • IanCad

            Martin,

            HG transferred his blog to a new format last August.

            I didn’t realize that it rendered the prior archive inaccessible from this updated version.

            Here is a link to the old blog, going back years:

            http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk/

            It will be easy to pick up the subject post.
            Quite a mine of disputation!

            Ian.
            BTW. I still prefer the way it was.

          • CliveM

            I agree with you although not everyone will be saved.

          • Martin

            Ian

            It’s my impression that it isn’t a parable, no parable names the persons.

            But I don’t see purgatory in it either, just Heaven and Hell.

      • Thomas Keningley

        I’m not actually sure what to make of an accusation of “literalism” or “inflexibility” with respect to an Epistle/letter; what exactly do you mean by them?

        I certainly think careful exegesis of 1 Tim 2 shows that the command for women not to preach to men is a universal, all-time command, because Paul appeals to an argument from the creation order, something that has not changed with the times.

        Galatians 3:28 is speaking with respect to our adoption as sons in Christ. Were it not, the fact that there is neither male nor female would prove that homosexual marriage is fine- but we know from the rest of the NT that’s not true. So gender remains relevant. I can’t particularly see the relevance of Matt 28, perhaps you could explain your point further?

        • ” … careful exegesis of 1 Tim 2 shows that the command for women not to preach to men is a universal, all-time command …”

          Would you be so kind as to advise Mrs HJ of this, please.

          Literalism and inflexibility lead to a rigorist approach. What is said, is said. Words mean what they say. No more, nor no less. Nothing changes. A more literal, interpretative approach is flexible. It can lead to laxity and heterodoxy. Words have different meanings and the depth and truth of scripture emerges over time as the faith grows and as God reveals it.

          Exegesis is all about this – and the application of truths deemed unchanging to changing circumstances.

          (One very good reason why there is a Magisterium invested with authority and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit)

        • IanCad

          Can’t quite understand your first question. It seems clear to me. Times and context must be given consideration in all biblical studies.
          Re-reading my post, the rest of it seems easily comprehensible so I don’t know what there is to explain.
          I do try to keep my comments brief.
          Maybe I should work on that.

          • Phil R

            The point I think Thomas is making is if you are free to interpret the “neither male nor female” as anything other referring to salvation. Then everything goes.

            Homosexual Christians are particularly keen on this verse.

          • IanCad

            Phil, I see your point.
            That verse and “Two men were in bed” shows the vacuity of their mission. Homosexuality and other paraphilias are clearly condemned throughout scripture.

          • Dominic Stockford

            But of course, many disagree with you on this point (homosexuality being condemned by Scripture). However, you having thrown out the clear injunction for 1 Timothy about women and authority (preaching, eldership) are left on shifting sands which will swallow you up in your own argument.

          • IanCad

            No Dominic, condemnation against homoism is quite clear and irrefutable.
            Not so Timothy and bishops, at least not when other texts such as those I cited are considered.
            Certainly it was present truth for those times.
            I should point out that I consider it our duty to offer the homosexuals our love and support.
            Again, a rush job; please excuse.

          • FakePete

            “I consider it our duty to offer the homosexuals our love and support” Creepy… please keep your hands to yourself!

          • IanCad

            You shouldn’t worry about my hands. I have a full beard and it’s got dandruff.

          • dannybhoy

            “I should point out that I consider it our duty to offer the homosexuals our love and support.
            Again, a rush job; please excuse.”
            Well said.
            If homosexuals are made in the image if God
            then we should treat them with respect.
            If homosexuals qualify as sinners, then God loves them
            and so should we.
            There is a fine line between poking good natured fun at each other and being bitchy….

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “Homosexual Christians are particularly keen on this verse.”

            Well, if so, I can’t imagine why. As a homosexual Christian myself, I can’t see that it has any relevance to homosexuality.

          • FakePete

            I do believe that he has conflated the term “homosexual” with “liberal”…

          • Phil R

            I agree it doesn’t.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        Ah yes, the “criticism is rude” ploy.

        Those who can’t offer any kind of argument much prefer to silence opponents.

        • IanCad

          Never managed to silence anyone on this blog yet.

      • Phil R

        Joyce Meyer is a hugely successful evangelist.

        She also believes in the traditional interpretation of scripture and the need for make Headship and submission to her husband

        She states that her ministry did not take off until she submitted to God’s plan for male and female roles. She always speaks under the authority of her husband and her message is primarily for women.

        She is know for plan speaking and my wife quoted one of Joye’s gems to me the other day. “If you will not submit to your husband, you will never submit to God”

        Furthermore Joyce is a phenomenally successful speaker but when I mention Joyce to Anglican female priests all I get back is anger and hate.

        Which leads me to the view that there is probably something much more evil going on here.

        • magnolia

          Maybe, just maybe, they think, like many, that Word of Faith teaching started off as mostly orthodox, and a useful corrective, but gradually became more and more heretical and New Age and occult, until this present lot of people are teaching full-on prosperity teaching, gabbling in a hypnotic way, calling themselves no less than “little gods”, prancing around stage and sitting on tacky golden thrones, raking in exorbitant dollars, staging healings that are often not genuine, and in the case of Kenneth Copeland flying around in a $200 million jet. That may be OK by you but many think it is approaching the opposite of what Jesus did on the cross.

          • Phil R

            You have seen Joyce Meyer speak I presume?

            It is just good teaching, aimed at women.

            She is anything but New Age. I think her down to earth presentations is what is attractive to women. She tells them what the Bible says straight.

            I find her boring but my wife likes what she says. She says she needs a Joyce in her life, challenging her to live her life for Jesus as a woman.

            By the look of the many thousands that come to hear her speak, she resonates with most women.

            To be honest I am not impressed with you misrepresenting someone because she is a woman, is highly successful, despite it seems believing a traditional interpretation of the Gospel.

          • magnolia

            She is at best gnostic. The divine flame within that just needs fanning stuff. What St John wrote 1, 2, and 3 John AGAINST.

            At worst they are run by dark forces. They certainly promise affluent pain free lives where the “foolish and harmful desires” (1.Tim.6.9) that those who “long to be rich” fall into are given free rein. Those with itching ears flock to this easy gospel, light on repentance, confession and self-examination, where original sin has been all but forgotten, and no one need struggle against their lower nature. Romans 7 15-19 is way beneath these super Christians, though in it St Paul describes his struggles.

            Furthermore she is a 71 year old lady who has probably had many facelifts from the look of it, and wears bright scarlet lipstick, which it is odd to be so in favour of given its overt sexuality on stage.

            She says she does not believe the “little god” theory but then that she does, quoting, but not naming the grotesquely appropriately named Creflo Dollar. Not one of them has the hallmark of humility. Creflo Dollar likes people throwing dollars at him. Gross, isn’t it?

            And she travels around in a $10 million dollar private jet. As one commentator on these fraudsters notes, shame St Paul didn’t know that passing the buckets round and cajoling people to donate would have solved all that heartache and those travel problems, and made him a super Apostle. But then he always seemed to know a group of Christians somewhere in heartbreaking need…..unlike these people who have their private boats and planes, and airports and gated houses and their tax affairs under investigation all too frequently, as this lady did.

          • CliveM

            All that glitters is not gold.

          • Phil R

            She turns up, fills a stadium with thousands sometimes tens of thousands who listen to the word of God

            She is not God of course and so has human failings.

            If she does use an expensive jet. So what?

            Most in the CofE have stipends. Many are not worth the 20K but is that the real issue here?

            You know, I don’t care about face lifts or how she travels or who pays for it. It is none of my business and it is none of your either.

            If you are envious of another’s wealth then you need to really do have issues.

          • magnolia

            Envious nope.
            Do you not see a tiny bit of injustice in your comparison of a very rich lady earning $900,000 a year (approx £600,000) with a team to cosset her and possibly write for her and a private jet and boat, and an English or Welsh C of E clergyman or woman earning a bit above £20k and driving a second hand car between churches, crem, hospital and parishioners.(30 of them for 1 overpaid prosperity teacher leading folk astray!) The C of E is much theologically sounder even so, and I think that you should respect it a bit more.

          • CliveM

            Well said.

          • Phil R

            “The C of E is much theologically sounder” Cough !

            You say envious nope……then go on to talk about nothing but money.

            Read the parable of the vineyard. Yes it is about salvation, but they were also envious of the guy who got paid the same for less work.

            It is not about money it is about envy. You cannot stand the fact that your liberal female clergy don’t deserve the 20k because their congregations struggle to make double digits.

            You hate women like Joyce because she is a woman and God has blessed her ministry, despite her believing and preaching everything that you hate about the Bible.

            And God.

          • magnolia

            You really just don’t get it, do you. Try John Newton, who bore witness thus:

            “Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
            All his boasted pomp and show,
            Solid joys and lasting treasure
            None but Zion’s children know.”

            Your prosperity teachers gather to themselves the unsolid treasures of this world after which they quite clearly lust, and encourage others to lust. This is not holy, but of the world. According to Jesus they are of those who have taken their reward in this world, and risk losing it in the next. Why would anyone in their right mind envy them that?

            I will proclaim that they lead others astray, and that nowhere in the NT, search it high and search it low, is there any suggestion disciples should own multimillion pound jets and luxury yachts, nor airports nor houses in gated communities, nor Rolls Royces and other luxury cars from the offerings of congregations some of whom go without to pamper the pastor. Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. A far cry from these posers whose bottoms must only rest on soft cushions!

            Tough if you don’t like the truth. Your local church probably has far more decent and honourable people leading it who could do with the support at present farmed out to this pampered poodle of a prosperity theology preacher,

          • Phil R

            So forget the millions that have been helped to Christ though her work for a moment. Lets just look at practical work for the poor from Joyce Meyer Ministries.

            Children’s homes: currently 39

            Disaster Relief: 2011 was needy in America,
            Japan, South Africa, El Salvador, Southeast Asia, helped in the Philippines and in other disaster areas.

            Famine relief: In 2011, 70,000 children with food supplies worldwide. Throughout the year, 31 million meals are distributed.

            Release from human trafficking. Transformation
            Center in Mumbai, India As well as maintaining a women’s shelter in Ethiopia.

            Medical care: maintenance of hospitals in India
            and Cambodia (Hand of Hope Health Center), as well as a hospital boat on the Amazon River.

            Prison work: Humanitarian aid for prisoners. 2011 163 prisons were visited.

            St. Louis Dream Center: Funding of Care Centre with 37 different offers of assistance, such as food bank, homeless and drug services work.

            Water supply: construction of over 480 fresh water wells in the framework of the “Well of Life” program.installation of 1,800 water filtration systems in the Amazon basin.

            My wife has given some of our money to Joyce Meyer
            Ministries in the past and I told her about your comments and your concern that the money might be funding a lavish lifestyle.

            She laughed, said that Joyce probably needed it and certainly deserved it. She would not say the same about monies paid to CofE collections which at the very least indicates that the CofE has an image problem.

            BTW those that have glass houses should not throw stones. It seems that one of the CofE Church Commissioners is paid £239,000……!

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10464070/Church-of-England-officials-on-six-figure-salaries.html

            As for your last comment, my local church probably has far more decent and honourable people leading it.

            Since money seems to be the issue here. The CofE gets “paid” more than 3000 times as much as Joyce Meyer. Does it bring 3000 times more people to Christ?

            I seriously doubt if the whole CofE could match her. Why? For the most part the CofE is a Church to pamper and validate our own desires.

            Since you offered me a quote. Here is one for you offered in love that I have found useful

            “When you make a mistake and the devil comes and tells you ‘You’re no good,’ you don’t have to take on the guilt and condemnation he wants to put on you. No! You can immediately confess your mistake to God, thank Him for forgiving you and cleansing you with the blood of Jesus, and move forward in the victory of His grace and forgiveness.”

            Joyce Meyer

          • IanCad

            You have it exactly right.

            So did Flip Wilson:

          • Pro Bono Publico

            Oh, puh-leese. Preaching the misogyny inherent in ancient Judea is hardly a recipe for ecclesiastical justice today, or for the survival of the Church.

          • Phil R

            There was no inherrent misogyny in ancient Judea. Neither is their now in conservative Churches.

            I think you are just using a “in” word to smear people you think you ought to disagree with, without actually taking the time to find out anything about what you are talking about.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        Funny … I haven’t seen any vitriol directed at this woman. Are you being paid to post this nonsense?

        • IanCad

          Teddy,
          If we were to consider the antonyms of Vitriol as indicating sentiments such as; Nice, Kind, Pleasant, then surely you would have to agree that I’m pretty close to the mark.

    • Well said.
      The CofE is a fantasists’ club.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I have a little phrase – women masquerading as clergy…

      • dannybhoy

        But Dominic, i
        f you are a devout and obedient member of a denomination which teaches some Scripture and some extra-Scriptural tradition mixed in with either compromise or rigid authority, then one can only follow one’s conscience.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    I wonder if we will now get a repeat of the media manipulation that followed the ordination of the first priestesses? That, I recall, involved 24-48 hours of gloating; followed by total media silence on the subject.

    The message was clear: as far as the establishment was concerned, the subject was settled, was the message; not to be raised again and anybody who said anything further was clearly a vulgar, gauche person, who must not be attended to. This, note, was after years of constant, well-reported agitation for priestesses; and every vote against was simply ignored and more agitation reported. But then, only one vote ever counted.

    It’s always worth noting examples where the establishment puts out a 3-line whip on the broadcast media. Will we see it now? (I’m guessing yes).

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      Looks like I was right!

  • carl jacobs

    a man came forward and declared that it was “not in the Bible”.

    I can understand why the man decided to take a public stand at the ceremony. It was certainly brave to earn the reprobation of the chattering classes with such a display. And it does matter that his testimony was true. But I think it was a tactical mistake.

    The fight is over. There is no point in making the stand anymore. The Vanquished in this fight need to move on to other things. So toward that end, they should do … nothing at all. They should withdraw from all active participation in the CoE. They shouldn’t answer the phone call from the bishop. The shouldn’t return his calls either. They shouldn’t participate in discussions about good disagreement. Nor conferences for that matter. They shouldn’t stand candidates for Synod. They surely shouldn’t accept any token bishop appointments. And they sure as heck shouldn’t contribute any money towards parish share. They should just quietly and without any fanfare drop out of sight and get on with their business.

    There isn’t any place for the Vanquished in the CoE anymore – not over the long term (say, the next five years). It’s best to accept that now, and move on. Not with complaint or backbiting. Instead it should demonstrate the ability to be content in plenty and in want. Time has come to smack the sandals against the door frame and find some place else. No point in staying where you aren’t wanted.

    • Anton

      An Established church doesn’t know if it is the church or the world, and the two are deadly enemies. It is in two minds and we know what the scriptures say about that.

    • len

      This apostasy in ‘the church’ today is the same problem that arose within the Church of Rome had which was to either accept false doctrines or start a Protestant movement(against false doctrines) and return to Biblical Christianity.

      The problem now is the Reformation is being destroyed from within and there is confusion amongst the rank and file Christians this process could be the sorting of the’ wheat from the chaff’ a sifting process to see who will remain true to the Word of God and who will follow human leaders into error.

      This is the story of the Church (and Israel ) Revival then ‘the falling away’ which seems to go in cycles.But God has always worked with people who are faithful to Him even down to single groups or one person in some cases this is ‘the faithful remnant’.
      Christianity is now in a state of apostasy(again) with all the denominations doing their own thing in some form or another but the Body of Christ survives (inside and outside of the denominations) because it is led and empowered by the Spirit of God not by religious spirits.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Martin Lloyd Jones said exactly this some years ago – he foresaw the lost battle, and called upon all true Christians to leave the sinking shop of the CofE. No less a person than John Stott found a way to justify staying in.

      And I know that many evangelical clergy still have tortuous and twisted logic as to why they can and will stay in.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      He is a man of courage. I don’t think “tactics” matters.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      This is the counsel of despair, tho. The purpose of the establishment, in appointing ever more obviously worthless bishops, is to cripple the church by forcing out those who alone can save it. Because the establishment are unbelievers, remember? The British establishment has done this before.

      The real answer is to ignore the hierarchy as just a bunch of civil servants and do what God demands.

      • carl jacobs

        Isn’t that exactly what I said?

  • educynic

    Hm…

    ‘…creating greater equality between the sexes in the Church of England…’

    ‘…gloriously Anglican viae mediae.’

    ‘…gender parity…’

    ‘Women bishops…a natural and normal development…’

    Sorry, your Grace, this is the equality agenda, more Sentamu’s sandy statist socialism than the gospel.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Re-thinking a little on this.

    It is of course both perfectly “natural and normal” for fallen man (unsaved man) to reject the Word of God (by whatever twisting of logic might be thought necessary) in order to permit whatever is contrary to the plain reading of God’s Word.

    The corollary to that, therefore, is that the CofE, finding it natural and normal to act as do the unsaved, must also be in thrall to those who are…

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    I wonder what happened to “nolo episcopari”?

    • Pubcrawler

      He’s on the coaching team at Rangers.

  • Martin

    Has anyone else noticed how boyish she looks in the photo?

    • IanCad

      I once made a similar comment about another prominent woman priest.
      For my troubles I was roundly criticized by “Happy Jack” and, rightly so.
      I’m sure she is a perfectly normal woman whose Spartan hairstyle may speak more to her devotion to duty that to wardrobe.

      • dannybhoy

        I think these ladies consciously or unconsciously dress to either resemble men or not provoke lustful thoughts in their male colleagues..
        Margaret Thatcher deliberately lowered the pitch of her voice, as some men (including the Inspector) stops thinking when a woman gets shrill…

        • Martin

          Danny

          I seem to recall Lady Thatcher being reported to have deliberately lowered her pitch in order to sound more authoritative.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes Martin,
            but
            that’s because men’s voices tend to be lower
            and men tend to be more authoritative…

          • CliveM

            She not only lowered her voice, but removed her accent!

          • dannybhoy

            Yes,
            and that’s because
            authoritative men tend not to have strong accents
            and that’s because……

          • Pro Bono Publico

            Female newsreaders also lower their tones…

        • Sybaseguru

          When she was 18 she certainly provoked lustful thoughts in me when I knew her. However as one who voted against women bishops in Nov 2012, I believe she will make a brilliant bishop and compared to some of the other wannabees I see lining up to follow is in a different class.

          • Martin

            It depends, does it not, on what you consider the purpose of a bishop to be. If it is to teach what is God’s word she has failed at the first hurdle for she has disobeyed God.

          • Sybaseguru

            1 tim 2:12 lays the blame at the door of the church, not on Libby. She has not put herself in authority. The other bishops have made that decision.

          • Martin

            Sy

            She is perfectly capable of declining, I would have thought.

      • Martin

        Ian

        I don’t see a problem about the comment, her hair is extraordinarily short, which may be an indication that she is trying to prove something. Her pose too is strange, although the garb she is wearing may have something to do with it.

  • ‘One wonders if he is remotely aware of how so very much more Anglican ecclesiology is “not in the Bible”.’

    That is not a very encouraging argument.

    Personally, I thought the moment was very telling. It’s worth watching the video. “It’s not in the law of God,” said the voice in the wilderness. “But it’s in the law of man approved by parliament, and that’s what counts here,” said the archbishop, to the approval of the multitudes.

    You don’t need much spiritual discernment to interpret a scene like that.

    • Martin

      David

      Clearly the Archbishop of York consider the law of the land to out rank the law of God. Pretty much like making an offering to Caesar as god.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        That appears to assume that there is a law of God which forbids a woman to be a bishop. I’m not aware of any such law.

        • Martin

          So actually you haven’t addressed the arguments at all.

          likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

          (I Timothy 3:9-15 [ESV]

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, that was clearly the view of the author (whoever he was) of 1 Timothy. Hardly a law of God. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have a different view today. This is 2015, in case you hadn’t noticed, and I don’t see why the church’s policies should need to be constrained by a 1st century writer’s interpretation of an ancient mythological story.

          • Martin

            GM

            I’m not aware of any reason why we should doubt that Paul wrote 1 Timothy and since the author is God it is very much God’s Law.

            The Church’s policies are very much constrained by what God has said.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin:

            Modern biblical scholarship is mainly against the supposition that the “Pastoral Epistles” (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus) were written by Paul. The prevailing view is that they are pseudepigraphical writings, having been written by an unknown member of the Pauline school around 100 A.D. But in the end it makes little difference who wrote them: people are free to entertain the fanciful notion that the author is God and that they are God’s Law, but it is quite incapable of proof.

          • Martin

            GM

            I wouldn’t call them scholars.

  • steroflex

    First the male congregation went so grannies filled the vacancy. No priests/Presidents/Ministers so grannies filled the vacancy. Now the Bishops are appointing a grannie to be one of their number. When the enormous number of bishops, too, dries up, how many archbishops will there be and will they both be grannies? Thinking about it, I wonder if God is actually a grannie – safety first and fussing about Her little children? And Jesus, too, I wonder if he is really a grannie with a cute little yellow beard, meek and mild and oh so very English.

    • Pro Bono Publico

      How pathetic – disparaging grannies and disparaging the new archbishop as a granny. Back to your slate and chalk with you.

      • steroflex

        Oh how very PC. I am actually right – wait and see. Grannies drive everyone else out. They are poison.

  • “and so there is no gender parity to speak of and so no true equality at all.”

    Don’t you mean sexual parity?