Church of England

Bishop of Sheffield: Martyn Percy asked for bread; Sentamu and Welby give a stone

No doubt there has been a lot of frantic to-ing and fro-ing between the palaces of Bishopthorpe and Lambeth since Philip North felt unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield. People have been waiting expectantly for a robust archiepiscopal response to those who hounded him out, and a persuasive theological defence of the continuing appointment of traditionalist bishops to Anglican sees, especially in those where a significant number of clergy are female. But the matter of Philip North is a matter for ‘up north’: Sheffield is under the jurisdiction of Archbishop John Sentamu in the ecclesiastical province of York; it is not for the Archbishop of Canterbury to wade in precipitately, however passionately he might feel about a matter. Even as principal leader of the Church of England, if Justin Welby wants to say something about Philip North or anything else ‘up north’, then protocol and courtesy demand diplomatic coordination so that any statement may be jointly issued to ensure metropolitan unity. We can’t have Canterbury at loggerheads with York (at least not publicly).

It has been a while in coming, but the Archbishops have now issued their joint statement:

The recent events surrounding the nomination of Bishop Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield, including his withdrawal from the process, have understandably raised great concern amongst many in the Church of England. The status of the House of Bishops Declaration of June 2014 has been questioned by some and its meaning has also been challenged.

We have therefore written to Sir Philip Mawer, the Independent Reviewer under the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, (Resolution of Disputes Procedure Regulations) 2014, to address the concerns that have arisen in the Church following these recent events. We attach our letter to Sir Philip, in which we reaffirm clearly our commitment, and the commitment of the House of Bishops, to its Declaration, to the principles contained in it, and to the overriding principle of mutual flourishing.

Finally, in this period of Lent, as part of our preparation for the glorious celebration of the extraordinary grace of God in the events of Holy Week and Easter, we call on all those in the Church to pray openly for the flourishing of those with whom they disagree, to demonstrate the mutual love which we are called to share and to proclaim confidently in word and deed that in Christ we find our true identities, and the overcoming of those things which in ourselves we find so divisive.

So their response has been to pass the buck.

Some might say sidestep, cop out or fence-sit.

Sir Philip Mawar may be an eminent, learned and highly capable civil servant. Certainly, his CV evidences considerable experience and integrity: he was, by all accounts, an impeccable Secretary General of the General Synod (during the period which legislated for the ordination of women), and an exemplary Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. But why, when the Church of England badly needs an injection of commanding public theology and authoritative leadership, have its two most senior bishops instigated a political review?

In his laser-like objection to the appointment of Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield, Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, asked for theological integrity. How may a bishop, who is also a member and co-leader of The Society which refutes the ordination of women, commit publicly to the flourishing of women in sacerdotal ministry? “What does Bishop Philip think is happening at the altar, when a woman is presiding at the Eucharist,” he asked. You may object to to some of his turns of phrase (“sacrilised sexism” and “gender-based sectarianism” were distinctly unhelpful, to say the least), but his request for clarity was not unreasonable. Yet instead of robust ecclesial apologia and theological reason, his article elicited an awful lot of unreasonable personal attacks on Bishop Philip (and, indeed, back upon Dean Percy himself). Ad hom invariably constitutes a failure of argument or the total absence of philosophy.

The theology of patriarchal Church leadership is straightforward and well-known, not least because it has endured for 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy. The problem is that Church of England bishops (even members of The Society) are embarrassed about making it for fear of being called ‘misogynist’, ‘bigot’ or ‘sexist’. In short, Christ is the Son of God; God became man. He revealed to us God as Father. The Son of God chose 12 male apostles to establish and lead the Church. St Paul’s egalitarian declaration, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus‘ (Gal 3:28) is a statement of soteriological universality, not a repudiation of sacerdotal masculinity. The role of women and men in Christian ministry is as different and distinct as it is in nature (cf 1Cor 14:34f). Women may be led by the Holy Spirit to pray and prophesy (vv.1-25), but they may not teach and have authority over men (1Tim 2:12). There may be equality of parity and esteem before God, but a woman may no more be a priest than a man may be a mother. She may be a deacon (Rom 16:1 cf Phil 1:1) or a co-worker and full participant in ministry (Rom 16:3f cf Acts 18:18-28), but Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis and Junia were not priests, though they were undoubtedly ‘of note among the apostles‘ (Rom 16:7).

Whether or not you agree that women’s ministry may not include preaching and presiding over the Eucharist, the Early Church is replete with examples of significant women’s ministry. There may be sex equality in Christ, but sex distinctions exist in nature, and gender distinctions persist in the world. Scholars differ in their expositions of reasons and extents, and there are tensions in all beliefs concerning the role of women in Church leadership. But all would agree to living in relations of loving mutuality, hence the Church of England’s commitment to mutual flourishing.   

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?‘ (Mt 7:9).

Theology is bread, and that is what Martyn Percy asked for. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have given him a stone of bureaucratic review, which will doubtless just succinctly summarise everything we already know, and, for clarity, reiterate the Five Guiding Principles (placing a few key words in bold type). There might need to be some disclosure of the confidential musings of the Crown Nominations Commission, but nothing that won’t already have been surmised – namely that the representatives of the Diocese of Sheffield did not specifically request a bishop who believed in the ordination of women, and so they did not specifically bar Philip North. It is important to note that no one gets onto the “more and more influential” Caroline Boddington’s list of approved candidates to the episcopate – either the CNC longlist or the shortlist invited for interview – without Justin Welby and John Sentamu knowing about it (and so approving them). The Archbishops clearly didn’t see a fundamental problem of polity in the appointment of Philip North to Sheffield, or he would never have been considered in the first place.

Archbishops are supposed to do theology and lead, not manage ecclesial conflict by pussyfooting around and outsourcing the way forward. The cause of the dissent is already known to anyone with a modicum of discernment: the Five Guiding Principles incorporate the nullification of Philip North’s (and The Society’s) theology of Church leadership. Yes, it really is that straightforward. Consider the first principle:

Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience.

Note the phrase “true and lawful”: this is not merely a matter of parliamentary statute, but also of ecclesio-theological truth. Philip North (along with the rest of The Society) has no problem with ‘lawful’, but robustly refutes a crucial dimension of ‘true’. The stated aim of The Society is: “to promote and maintain catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England”; and “to provide episcopal oversight to which churches, institutions and individuals will freely submit themselves to guarantee a ministry in the historic apostolic succession in which they can have confidence”. How may this be reconciled to the first principle? Well, it can’t. If a diocesan bishop can have no confidence in the women clergy he leads, believing, as members of The Society do, that women priests and bishops are inconsistent with the apostolic tradition, in what sense can Philip North assent to the whole of the first principle without obfuscating the meaning of ‘true’? Whether his objections are ontological (that women are incapable of receiving ordination), or ecclesiological (that the decision to ordain women cannot be taken by the Church of England in isolation), his theology of leadership refutes the ‘true’ validity of their ministry.

And so Martyn Percy (who is, we must remember, married to Emma Percy, who is Chairwoman of WATCH – “a national organisation working actively for gender justice, equality and inclusion in the Church of England”), asked a simple question: “Should anyone accept a nomination to be a diocesan bishop, when this same person cannot recognise and affirm the sacramental validity of a significant percentage of their own clergy who would be in their care, and with whom they will have to share in the ‘cure of souls’.” He omits the question mark, so it becomes a statement which he hammers home: “I think the answer to this must be ‘no’, and unequivocally so. Any position of integrity would refuse such an invitation and nomination.”

Ergo, if Philip North did not refuse the nomination to become Bishop of Sheffield, he lacked integrity. That’s pretty damning coming from the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. But it simply highlights the theological tensions and internal contradictions of the Five Guiding Principles: wonderful in theory, but in practice the succeeding four collapse beneath the sheer weight and full force of the first. They may gush about the need to respect theological conviction and exhort mutual flourishing, but a woman priest who must respect the theological conviction of her bishop, who himself believes her orders may be lawful but are certainly not true, is forced to respect the nullification of her ordination and the voiding of her vocation. Where is the integrity and mutual flourishing in that?

It may work in Chichester, where traditionalist (and member of The Society) the Rt Rev’d Dr Martin Warner is bishop, but Martyn Percy would argue that Chichester is not the same as Sheffield, which he describes as “a go-ahead, vibrant, progressive city, with cutting-edge universities and research-led industries”. Apparently, a third of its Anglican clergy are women, and so it is “thoroughly modern”. It isn’t clear the extent to which Percy is berating Chichester or its university (‘regressive’, ‘stuffy’, ‘conservative’, ‘thoroughly medieval’?), but Chichester does indeed have women priests. Percy refers to Sheffield’s third as constituting a “significant percentage”, and so the CNC really ought to have nominated a bishop who advocated and believed in ordination equality. But what is the threshold of significance? Why does Percy set it at a third? What about an quarter or an eighth? Surely if only one woman is subjected to “sacrilised sexism” or “gender-based sectarianism”, it is an injustice too far?

It isn’t clear why the Archbishops of Canterbury and York need an ‘Independent Reviewer’ (note upper-case) to tell us any of this. Is there anything in their letter to Sir Philip Mawar which the Archbishops could not (and should not) do themselves? Are not the answers to the Archbishops’ questions really rather straightforward?

a) What has been done in the Church, including in the Diocese of Sheffield, to inform and educate clergy about the settlement agreed in 2014, and the effect of the Declaration within that settlement;

Much has been done, but more can always be done.

b) the process leading to the nomination of Bishop Philip North to the See of Sheffield;

The process was all in order, but if the Diocese of Sheffield specifically desired a bishop who believed in the lawful and true ordination of women, its representatives should have made that explicit and dug their heals in.

c) the consistency of that nomination with the Declaration;

The nomination was wholly consistent with the Declaration.

d) the reactions to that nomination in the Church and beyond;

Um.. Google.

e) the response of the institutional Church to the nomination and to the reactions to it.

Well, here Sir Philip will be supremely diplomatic. He will doubtless praise the Archbishop of York’s reassuring statements to the media, and reiterate that the Archbishop of Canterbury was limited pastorally in his powers of jurisdiction: he does not possess those convenient pre-Refomation levers of power to appoint and sack bishops. But what Sir Philip will not do is criticise either Archbishop for failing to respond to Martyn Percy publicly, robustly and theologically. That isn’t the way the Church of England does things any more. And by delegating this matter to an “Independent Reviewer”, they are absolved from taking sides, and may thereby sustain a via media for mutual flourishing, which is, in truth, a manifest mutual exclusion: never again can the CNC nominate a member of The Society to be a diocesan bishop unless the General Synod determines to amend the Five Guiding Principles. And that, quite simply, is not going to happen.

  • chiaramonti

    “The fort is betrayed even by them that should have defended it.” – John Fisher, sometime Bishop of Rochester.

  • Maalaistollo

    This neatly demonstrates why a state church is always a compromised church.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Erastian

  • Anton

    The Archbishops are evanjellycals.

    • Paul Greenwood

      bureaucrats subservient to the system

  • Jill

    Excellent! But who is going to admit that it was a mistake to ordain women?

    • Paul Greenwood

      The proof of the pudding…..

    • These modern cars do not have a reverse gear.

    • alternative_perspective

      Although I am ambivalent to Women Priests and have not yet made up my mind, I would point out that their ordinations are merely the logical conclusion of many innovations resulting from liberalisation in the early 20thC.
      They were not the first step nor will they be the last. The ordination of women and their consecration as Bishops are merely sign posts on the way to the final deconstruction of conservative Christianity: from the God over culture, to the God contextualised by culture.
      When the sacraments are held as Holy and not relativistic then they are applicable to all people at all times but once they are contextualised and limited by theology to that context only; then one is free to contextualise everything and, conversely, de-contextualise anything at will.
      We saw it first with the nature of marriage, then life, then Holy orders, now gender. The process will run its course until all points of contention are de-contextualise, re-contextualised and thereby resolved in favour of the prevailing culture.
      This is not to say the Bible shouldn’t be understood in its culture – it should. But one cannot and shouldn’t claim one thing is this or the other merely because of that culture, without good evidence to support such claims, such reasoning is not justifiable.

  • Royinsouthwest

    If you accept the idea of “the priesthood of all believers” then it follows that Christian women are already priests. Even those who do not accept that idea would probably be forced to admit that since Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis and Junia were ‘of note among the apostles‘ (Rom 16:7), they were more influential figures in the early church than many “priests.”

    Having said that, I do agree that Philip North has been badly treated.

    • Merchantman

      Yes but although there may be a priesthood (Melchizedek) of all believers per Hebrews; how do you square this with St Paul’s having women not teach or rule over men? Surely that is the problem and one which the C of E has never properly theologically determined. It’s all been conforming to ‘the world’ through politics.
      Bringing in Sir Humphrey is an awful offering. Awful.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Paul also wrote that women should wear hats in church. Do you think that is still valid for today? If so, it would make a mockery of his criticisms of legalism. On the subject of women teaching Paul wrote “I suffer not …” He did not write “God suffers not women to teach …”

        There have been many female evangelists in different denominations. The Salvation Army was one of the first in which women played such a prominent role. Do you think it would have been better if those women had restricted themselves to making cups of tea?

        What did Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis and Junia do that made them of note among the apostles?

        • Martin

          Roy

          Not hats, cover their heads, and even then he doesn’t base it on the Creation.

          The Salvation Army is as liberal as many of the larger denominations, do you consider the role given to women is relevant?

      • Melchizedek prefigured Christ as the sacrificial priesthood and is one of the foundations for the continuation of a sacerdotal, male priesthood today. Are you thinking of 1 Peter 2:9?

      • chefofsinners

        Women can act as priests for themselves and/or for other women and children.

    • Martin

      Roy

      There is no office of priest, save for that of our great High Priest. What is being discussed is the question of authority, which Paul adequately addresses.

  • Little Black Censored

    Martyn Percy is playing the role of Gina Miller in this affair.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      As an aside on GM, any abuse hurled at her on account of her colour has been, of necessity, counterproductuve.

      Much better to have compared her to similar people of European ethnicity, and add “also availabe in black.”

      • Paul Greenwood

        She is simply a front. What I object to is an Appellate Court functioning as a Constitutional Court with Commercial Barristers. I simply do not understand how something that is not actually a “Supreme” Court and exists under The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 with so-called “Law Lords” who exist only under The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 being transferred to this new “supreme” Court.

        Thus the whole system exists under Act of Parliament and then seeks to regulate the ability of Executive to make and revoke treaties on the basis that those treaties confer rights and obligations in English and Welsh domestic law. Yet it did not consider ever that TTIP would have used EU Law to override the rights of UK nationals nor that Safe Harbor Agreements of EU on Data Protection with US undermine Data Protection Laws for UK Citizens totally by forcing them to seek redress for breaches in US Courts

        • 1649again

          Good comment. The nub of the issue is that our balanced constitution with its separation of powers has been usurped with the legislature now encompassing the executive and increasingly the judiciary. Add to this the fact the the physical and financial resources of the executive became ever more powerful and intrusive in regard to private citizens and one has a very unhealthy state of affairs. Deep State indeed and that’s what Mrs Miller was acting for in bringing this case.

          • Paul Greenwood

            UK does not have separation of powers. All powers emanate from The Crown and were embodied in King’s Lord Chancellor who unified Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. The hotch-potch Blair created has a Lord Chancellor/Min of Justice acting jointly with LCJ to discipline judiciary and LCJ expecting Min of Justice to protect judges from criticism.

            Politicians act as Recorders and 66% Recorders are >55 yrs. So Judiciary and Legislature are not separate.

            Judges, Generals, Archbishops, Prince of Wales, Duke of Edinburgh, Front Benchers are all Privy Councillors

      • Martin

        She has a colour?

    • Paul Greenwood

      he is certainly waving someone else’s flag

    • Arden Forester

      The mind boggles. That statement seems to demand a quip in response but you’ve floored me. I get the point though.

    • Chexit.

  • Anton

    Dear God,

    Nomination to the see of Sheffield and concerns raised about the operation of the House of Bishops’ declaration under Regulation 27

    We are writing to ask you, in your capacity as Independent Reviewer under the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (Resolution of Disputes Procedure Regulations) 2014, to address certain concerns that have arisen in the Church following recent events relating to the see of Sheffield…

    • Paul Greenwood

      The Medium is the Message. God is not present in this tabernacle

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    If this is how the Archbishops decide to lead, then what is the point of them? The Church of England may as well become Presbyterian. As for the go-ahead Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, I think he would make a wonderful successor to Dr. Spacely-Trellis…

    • Anton

      He goes on about how wonderful Sheffield is from the decanal chair of the Senior Combination Room of Christ Church, Oxford !

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        From the gleaming spires of Oxford the rusting steelworks of Sheffield have a certain earthy, Sean Beanesque fascination…

        • betteroffoutofit

          Aye; that’s a good deal of the problem. Those blacksmiths hold a proud and ancient place . . .
          [And, alongside them, the place of their strong female helpmeets is undeniable, even by faminazis.]

    • Paul Greenwood

      I think it funny that a Barrister in York and a Finance Director in Canterbury have called in a Mediator. There could not be any better evidence of the superfluity of these Archbishops

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I agree Paul

      • 1649again

        Welby was a Treasurer, not an FD. Very different and a smaller job.

        • Paul Greenwood

          well aware who reports to whom

        • Paul Greenwood

          who reports to whom is clear to me

        • Saint Peter was a fisherman. The problem is not the qualities or expertise of particular individual leaders but the unmanageability of the contradictory components of the Anglicanism.

          Having sown the wind, Anglicanism is now reaping the whirlwind.

          • 1649again

            Yawn. Still uttering curses? Get a life.

          • No “curses” in there at all. Don’t shoot the messenger because you refuse to face reality.

          • 1649again

            Gloating is a deeply unpleasant personality trait. Fortunately I was educated not to indulge in it, unlike you it appears.

          • Who’s gloating? This is projection on your part.

          • 1649again

            You, as ever.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Pity he was not taught to not continually brag about his underwhelming unimpressive achievements.

          • Don’t be so harsh on him. Little men are allowed to dream big. His adolescent tantrums are a source of amusement to Jack.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    I am not one who easily gets his head around theological matters, but if the affair is indeed as his Grace has described, it would have been much better to take the line of Joan la Pucelle, in History of Henry VI, Part I, Act III, Scene 2:

    Good morrow, gallants! want ye corn for bread?
    I think the Duke of Burgundy will fast
    Before he’ll buy again at such a rate:
    ‘Twas full of darnel; do you like the taste?

  • len

    If these supposed leaders of the church had stuck to the script(the Bible) there would have been trouble but God would have been on their side.It seems now that these ‘leaders’ are doing ‘what is right in their own eyes’.

    • Merchantman

      Agreed to have strayed so radically from the church of the Apostles and Bible is to step off the safe way. The contradictions are now apparent and there being no reverse gear or (due to the Archbishops lack of authority and leadership) brakes, we await the crash.

  • Sarky

    From an outside perspective this whole thing is hilarious. Don’t think I’ve ever heard of such weak management.
    Got a feeling Nero is well and truly fiddling!!

    • 1649again

      It’s a fair point Sarky, but is just symptomatic of the leadership rot in all our institutions. Could you in any honesty argue that no government minister of any party, no top civil servant, no major charity head, wouldn’t behave in the same way? It’s even spread into the military now, the last bastion of integrity in the state. No wonder the Islamicists think they’re going to beat us.

      • Sarky

        The leaders are there. They’re just constrained by the bonds of PC.

        • CliveM

          Are they? I wonder. There is certainly a lack of coursge, the result perhaps of a cosseted political class well used to avoiding difficult decisions.

          Why do today, what can be put off to tomorrow and may become someone elses problem?

          However i think we agree that good leadership seems in short supply in the west at the moment. Which has to lead to a dangerous vacuum in society.

          • 1649again

            Quite correct Clive.

        • They’re constrained by the bonds of the via media, the five sola and the absence of Apostolic authority. Theologically, it’s the equivalent of herding cats.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Actually the via media and five solas cannot be applied together.

          • Quite.

      • Martin

        1649

        The problem is, they aren’t supposed to be any of those roles, they are supposed to be Christian ministers.

        • 1649again

          If that’s all they were they would be parish priests. Like it or not all church organisations above a small scale need some form of leadership. How it’s organised, its remit and the roles names may be debated but the need is there. And that overseer role needs leadership qualities.

          • Martin

            1649

            The biblical model is for the local church to have overseers/elders. No other role is given.

          • 1649again

            Funny then how the first Christians, you know the ones of the immediate post Apostolic generation, started to establish a supra-church infrastructure? More likely they were adopting a pattern outlined by the likes of Peter and Paul to manage the faith’s growth.

          • Anton

            A strong case can be made that the structure Martin outlines is precisely the one described in the Bible. Leadership of each congregation – one congregation per place – is by a plurality of male elders, who are spiritual overseers. Of course the congregation was founded by a male apostolos who had unique authority over it during his lifetime, but once he had passed on then that congregation *was* the church in that place, equipped with the promises and the Holy Spirit.

            This structure is simply described rather than prescribed in scripture, but that raises the question: By what authority – which would have to exceed that which inspired the scriptures – was the structure changed?

          • 1649again

            I’m not convinced at all that that holds true for the period at the end of the Apostles lives or immediately following, It’s pretty clear that overseers of groups of churches derive from that poorly recorded period – first Bishop of Rome to the end of the first century at least and almost certainly earlier ones elsewhere. Don’;t forget these were people who almost certainly knew and were taught by the first generation of Apostles. As for the authority argument just be careful of sounding like Jack.

          • Anton

            That’s good advice, at least.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The original Free Church of England (not the current mob, who love episcopal power and authority) said the following – which is rather good.

            “It is hereby expressly declared and agreed that in the Free Church of England there are two orders of Ministers videlicet Bishops and Deacons. The first order shall be designated Bishops, or Presbyters or Elders the words being applied in the New Testament to the same persons. This order includes the President or Bishop Primus President of the whole Body, The Diocesan Bishops or Presidents of the Districts, Congregational Bishops or Presidents of the Congregations. These may be associated in the several Congregations with other Ministers as Doctors or Teachers and those Elders or Presbyters who do not minister the word but whose gifts qualify them to rule in the Government of the Church.”

          • Martin

            1649

            Really, where? When the letter of Clement to Corinth was written there was no monarchical bishop in Rome or Corinth, both churches had multiple elders ruling.

          • 1649again

            I wasn’t talking about Bishops specifically but I believe the first recorded Bishop of Rome was at the end of the first century? It seems there was a nascent and emerging structure from very early times.

          • Martin

            1649

            The evidence from the letter of Clement and Ignatius writing to Rome is that there was no single bishop.

  • alternative_perspective

    Perhaps there was good reason for Jesus stating that divorcees shouldn’t be allowed to remarry except in the case of the unbeliever’s desertion.
    Orthodoxy has fallen apart in the CoE since then. It seems this was the philosophical thread, which when pulled, became the vanguard of progressive liberalisation in the church: the start of the slippery slope as it were.
    Moreover, liberalisation hasn’t reduced divorced nor on average has it made people happier. Surveys demonstrate that in general, and there are always exceptions, people are no happier post divorce than pre.
    But rather than taking the Bible seriously about marriage being a vocation which one is called to and that we should favour being single – we decided to make it easier to get out of. The conservative approach would have reduced heartbreak, sin and broken homes but rather than saying “no” we adopted liberalism, being nice, and became complicit in the self-harm and suffering of many millions of people who married inappropriately.

    • Primacy of personal conscience and private judgement is the principle cause. In the modern era, this first came to prominence over contraception, then abortion, then divorce and remarriage and soon it will be same sex marriage and euthanasia.

      • Anton

        Riding the contraception hobbyhorse yet again Jack? Most Catholics disagree with you, it seems.

        • Yes, but not God.

          • carl jacobs

            How wonderful that Rome speaks for God. It’s hard to tell the difference between the two.

          • It is wonderful. In matters of faith and morals, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church does speak with the authority given it by Christ – as His stewards, holding the Keys to His Kingdom – until His return. It’s all plainly stated in scripture.

          • Anton

            Barrier contraception within marriage excluded in scripture? Where?

          • Avoiding pregnancy by artificially interfering with the conjugal act certainly is. One then has to follow the logic of the divinely revealed purposes of sex and accept God is supreme in matters of life and death.

          • Anton

            I asked where in scripture this was forbidden. I await.

          • Jack does not accept the principle of sola scriptura. Indeed, it’s an unbiblical proposition. As he stated, the principle are clear in scripture. Evidence that contraception is in conflict with God’s laws comes from a variety of sources.

            Contraception is a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race – “natural law.” The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation.

            The Bible mentions one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for one’s dead brother. Onan when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him. The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death. But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law- God’s Law – as Jewish and Christian commentators always understood.

            Contraception was so far outside the biblical mind-set and so obviously wrong that it did not need frequent condemnations. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned.

            The biblical teaching that birth control is wrong is found explicitly among the Church Fathers, who recognized the biblical and natural law principles underlying the condemnation. In A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted”

            Until 1930, all Protestant denominations condemned contraception as sinful. The Anglican church, swayed by social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit.

            Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception. The Church fulfilling the role given it by Christ as the identifier and interpreter of apostolic Scripture and apostolic tradition, has constantly condemned contraception as gravely sinful.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Actually I’d have said that the joining of the man and woman by the sexual act was at least as central as procreation:

            Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 [ESV])

            Fathers are not, of course, authoritative.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Catholics do not have an option to change doctrine . Even if the majority of Catholics were pro contraception, the doctrine cannot be changed. Most Catholics understandably, would never want to be Protestants ,thus the reason there is pressure from certain sections to persuade the Church to adopt liberal views so they can remain practising Catholics. Sadly these Catholics have never understood.or were not taught correctly in their religious education. that the precepts of Catholicism can never ever be changed.

      • CliveM

        “Primacy of personal conscience and private judgement”

        Which its how it should be, as its my conscience and my actions I will be judged on. It’s not enough to say “I thought there was something a bit fishy about that, but as I was told it was ok I didn’t question it”.

        • If our conscience is the voice of God and His law implanted in our hearts, then one can have an erroneously formed conscience. It’s not a matter of not questioning authority, but rather conforming one’s conscience to objective truth. We will be judged on our adherence to our consciences but also on how dutiful we were in discovering and listening to God’s truth.

          • CliveM

            hi HJ

            on that we agree (I think!).

          • Careful …. if there is indeed objective truth which a Christian is morally obliged to discern, and if this is revealed in scripture and through His Apostolic Church, then, it follows one has to identify and follow the teachings of this authentic Church. This rather blows private judgement out of the water, along with sola scripture.

          • CliveM

            Now you’re adding to your original statement. The guide is scripture and the Gods Holy Spirit.

          • The guidance of the Holy Spirit is claimed by all Christians, whatever their particular beliefs. One Body with different parts, performing different functions.

          • CliveM

            Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is limited to a church elite? My belief its for us all.

          • No, His power exists and is made manifest in the whole Church – one Body with different parts.

          • CliveM

            I may listen to a Priest with respect, but he doesn’t answer for my choices. Neither can the Church.

          • Which is precisely what a same sex couple might say as they toddle off to the registry office to get “married”. Or a woman who procures an abortion. Or a person boarding a plane to Switzerland to end their life with “dignity”.

          • CliveM

            And they will have to answer for it. As will we all.

  • David

    This is not leadership of any kind, ecclesiastical or secular for that matter.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It is political leadership as we see it in the HoC and the major parties. Most of the members hold different viewpoints in many subjects, and the leader is the one who either convinces them to stay together for some purpose, or holds enough secrets to force them to stay together. By allowing many different viewpoints into the Church of England, when there is only one Bible and it presents only one clear truth (on this matter), they are aping the world rather than following the Way the Truth and the Life. Some might think that they are cowards.

  • 1649again

    Both Archbishops need to understand that theirs are positions of leadership, and that leadership involves courage, willingness to upset people and to articulate the values and beliefs of the organistion you lead. If you can’t do anything of those things you shouldn’t be leader. It’s as simple as that. Welby and Sentatmu have failed the test and opted for the civil servant’s classic way out. Sir Humphrey would be proud.

    • Paul Greenwood

      they like the job but don’t understand the role

      • Dominic Stockford

        Not half.

    • And if “the values and beliefs of the organistion (sic)” they lead happen to be in favour of women priests, then what? They see their role as holding the church together and weathering this storm, rather than favouring one side over another in what is an effective schism.
      It’s an Anglican tradition to play down rather than open up and resolve divisions in theology. The one infallible doctrine, the via media, is unity at the expense of the truth when that truth divides. How else could it have combined Catholicism, Calvinism, and both traditional and liberal Evangelicalism? The chickens are coming home to roost.

      • Lucius

        “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division” (Luke 12:51)

      • 1649again

        You increasingly remind me of a Banshee. Aren’t they supposed to turn up and screech annoyingly when any death is rumoured? Unfortunately for you, you do it all the time and you wails and shrieks have lost any capacity to shock.

        • Since you’re intent on trading personal abuse, rather than advancing reasoned argument, Jack will say, you remind him of King Canute. You’re all management and leadership “theory”, without any theological vision. As you (should) know, structure and leadership style follow strategy.

          • 1649again

            In your rush to pour out your habitual “the end is nigh for the CoE” and “Protestants are heretics” stuck recordings you’ve have completely neglected to absorb the point of His Grace’s article which is all about the failure of leadership and integrity of the two Archbishops. My comments were entirely about the leadership failure.

            The theological arguments about female clergy are well rehearsed here, many dozens of times at least, and this article was not another rehash. I believe that on balance they are weighted against female clergy but am willing to concede there are some arguments in favour.

            BTW you understanding about structure and leadership following strategy is well out of date, and its imposition via BCG’s portfolio strategy approach on many large companies wrecked them. Anyone who’s achieved anything in turning around businesses or leading them to success knows that “Resource Based Strategy” is where it’s at. No charge for this lesson.

          • The two views are complimentary – not contradictory.

            Try applying a BCG approach to the Church of England – selling different “products” to its “consumers”, with its different “agents” fundamentally opposed to one another. It’s internal resources are bringing it down through internal competition and disagreement. Then apply a VRIO framework. One needs an organisation to make the most of its “internal resources”. What the Church of England offers is competing “products”, with the different parts of its “organisation” free to undermine one another and with no leader capable of securing agreement.
            Imagine going into a KFC franchise expecting to buy chicken and being told that that particular branch is vegetarian.

          • 1649again

            My that’s a forced analogy, but well done for looking it all up.

            The CoE has a single mass market product – offering a route to salvation in Christ – and has enjoyed unparalleled resources in this country and a strong consumer franchise, and even today retains high consumer awareness and fondness from even its many lapsed customers.. Alas the management decided to enter new more ‘diverse markets’ and to ignore its core market and tweak its product to appeal to these new consumers who aren’t showing much interest even so. So now the blame game’s started and the leadership are covering their backsides.

            Quite simply they should reinvest in their core product and structure, scrap the new failed ones, and refocus on the qualities that made them market leader.

            All good strategists know you start from where you are, magnify your strengths, cauterise your losses and mitigate your weaknesses. And you never listen to your enemies.

          • The only resource of any Church claiming to be Christian is the Truth. The size of its market is irrelevant.

            The via media, 39 Articles, and the BCP, reflected a political and theological compromise that was expressed in its structure and core product. The qualities that made them a market leader was imposition, authority and power.

          • bluedog

            Resource Based Strategy?

            As Teddy Roosevelt said, ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’

            Sums it up.

          • Cressida de Nova

            He uses his little fists to hammer you Jack when words fail him.
            Odious creature. Count it as a compliment that he dislikes you. You would have need to worry if it were otherwise.

          • Marshmellow fists.

      • alternative_perspective

        I often agree with you Happy Jack but on this occasion you are dipping your toe in reductionism and I cannot accept that.
        Simply because we do not have the full faculties to understand the breadth of truth does not mean our particular prejudices are the truth. The gates of orthodoxy are wide and anything which will pass through is compliant.
        The problem is the Anglican Church has lost sight of those gates and allow far too much to pass through that really shouldn’t.

        • It is the gates of Hell that are wide, not the narrow gate of Christ’s truth. The promise of Christ to protect His Church and to send the Holy Spirit to guide her to all truth, means she does not teach prejudice when it comes to faith and morals.

  • carl jacobs

    Theology is bread, and that is what Martyn Percy asked for.

    Technically he asked for consistent coherent theology – something the CoE has never been very good at. He asked for coherence and consistency because he knows it will produce the political result he desires. This was no honest theological dispute. This was theology made into a weapon to be wielded for political ends. Don’t give Percy so much credit.

    The only consistent coherent answer is a separate province, and that will never happen. Progressives don’t want it. Women clergy don’t want it. The leadership of the church doesn’t want it. So what else can Welby and Sentamu do? There is no robust theological defense to be made. The options are separation or submission. Choose your poison.

    Or throw it into a committee and hope the whole thing can be managed away. Buy some time. Look for a mollifying compromise. Maybe a new position for a traditionalist bishop can be found somewhere. The imperative above all other imperatives is to preempt any irrevocable decisions. For in the background lurks the specter of Gavin Ashenden.

    And the leadership knows it.

    • Anton

      It ill becomes a man to ask for consistent theology when he supports SSM, in view of what the Bible says.

      Percy seems intent on stirring it. Let us hope that the CoE’s evangelicals bypass their useless leadership and take the battle to him and his ilk.

      • Percy would argue the bible is consistent with stable, long-term same sex partnerships and the passages cited against it are culturally bound and/or misrepresented.

        • Anton

          I have no interest in dialogue with such a man. He should be vomited out of the church.

          • CliveM

            He irritates me, but I don’t believe refusing to debate with him is the answer.

          • Anton

            I wouldn’t refuse to debate him. I just have no interest in the exercise.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Trouble is, Paul specifically argues against that position. Percy needs to study the Bible.

          • It’s not “study” that’s the issue. Jack is sure he is well versed in scripture. It’s the implicit permission within Protestantism to personally arrive at one’s own understanding – guided by the Holy Spirit. What right do have you to dismiss the “truth” he and others have arrived at?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, what we need is a fallibly determined infallible interpreter to whom we surrender all judgment and discernment. That way we can all end up worshipping Mary while pretending that we aren’t, treating corpses like magic talisman while pretending that we aren’t, and working for our own salvation while pretending that we aren’t.

            The glories of Romanism.

          • No, what you need to do is submit to the spiritual authority of the Pope in matters of faith and morals and stop misrepresenting Catholic theology.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Unless that Pope is later declared to be a heretic. But then not everything a pope says on faith and morals is infallible. Indeed one wonders if a pope is ever infallible.

          • A Pope is infallible when faithfully developing a dogma or doctrine that does not contradict existing doctrine. Personally expressed opinion, heretical or orthodox, is not an exercise of the divinely protected Magisterium.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Again, one wonders whether a pope is ever infallible.

          • Wonder away …. Jack has explained this to you = repeatedly.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of course we have the case of a pope being heretical, but infallible?

          • Martin

            Carl

            And if we happen to follow a infallible interpreter who an infallible interpreter declares to be in error we clearly are a heretic.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Or so utterly compromised that our heads explode with the illogic of it all.

          • It’s never happened. The Magisterium of the Church has never contradicted a formally defined dogma or doctrine.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The get out clause being ‘formally defined’ of course.

          • Martin

            HJ

            As usual you are wrong:

            knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
            (II Peter 1:20-21 [ESV])

          • Percy doesn’t claim to be a prophet – do you?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’ve just shown you that you’re wrong. Does that make me a prophet?

    • That maybe so but, as the article demonstrates, the Five Principles were profoundly unstable given the terms of its first one. All Martin Percy did was expose the nakedness of the Emperor. His motives are not relevant.

      • carl jacobs

        You are correct. The Five Principles were always nothing more than a con game designed to prevent division. The operating assumption was that traditionalists would die off quietly. To the progressive, that was always the trade. “We’ll let you stay if you agree to die.” It was never supposed to be anything more than the welcome of the hospice. That is the understanding that progressives are seeking to enforce.

        But if it happens too quickly, the CoE will disintegrate and the Anglican Communion will formally shatter. Progressives either reject that reading or they don’t care. They simply want it understood that they control the terms.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Buy some time until someone else comes along and has to deal with it, and then they’ll seek to do the same, ad nauseam. If we haven;t already reached nauseation saturation point.

  • Andrew Holt

    “A woman may no more be a priest than a man may be a mother?” Funny that, I thought we were “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Priests are so Old Testament. Wouldn’t you agree?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Daft.

      • Agreed, but consistent with the Calvinist roots of Anglicanism – no deacons, priests or bishops.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Not at all consistent with its Calvinistic roots. They tried to merge Calvinism with priestcraft with predictable results.

          • Did you read Jack’s comment or was this just a knee-jerk reaction?

          • Martin

            HJ

            As usual, you get it wrong.

            Two offices in the local church:

            Elder/overseer – a group of men who rule the local church.
            Deacon – a group of men who serve the local church.

            They tried to merge with the Calvinistic root and made it inconsistent with Calvinism.

          • Jack agrees with your analysis of the via media. The Church of England should never have adopted Calvinism. It inserted it ambiguously whilst also claiming to be an Apostolic Church, with Apostolic succession, and maintaining the offices of deacon, priest and bishop.

          • Martin

            HJ

            If they hadn’t followed Calvin they would have been as corrupt as Rome and like them lost the gospel.

          • Dominic Stockford

            A nicely explained summary of Biblical teaching on ministry, and the source of the problem in the CofE.

            Would you like to write an article for the PTS magazine?

          • Martin

            Dominic

            Summaries are one thing – articles entirely different.

            I used to read your magazine when I worked near Temple, but it’s been a while.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Give it some thought – we’re always after good stuff. Don’t pay though…

    • Merchantman

      I see no ‘inspiration’ for the introduction of women into the ‘priesthood’ or the bishop’s role apart from Hebrews and modern politics. There is as His Grace suggests a stack of opposing evidence.

    • carl jacobs

      You are equivicating on the meaning of “priest”. The kingdom of priests has nothing to do with the sacerdotal priesthood. The leadership of a church is not uniquely provided to make intercession and offer sacrifice. Every Christan can do that. Leadership is not priesthood.

      • The Jews were a holy nation of priests and yet they had a sacrificial priesthood too.

        Exodus 19:6: ” … and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” This indicates a universal priesthood in the Old Testament. And yet, in Exodus 19:22, we read, “And also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves …” A universal priesthood in the Old Covenant did not exclude the distinct ministerial priesthood. It’s the same in the New Covenant.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Israel, of which the Jews were a part, had an ongoing system of inadequate sacrifices, Christians have one sacrifice that is sufficient for all time, never to be repeated.

  • Don Benson

    It’s not difficult to understand how our present Archbishop of Canterbury appeared from nowhere to achieve that appointment. He does politics: the kind of backroom politics which earn the contempt of the public when they discover it has been going on in the palace of Westminster. And it’s no less ignoble when it is conducted from that of Lambeth (or Bishopthorpe). In fact it’s doubly disheartening because Archbishops are specifically tasked to provide clear and honest leadership of a church which yields (according to its Articles) always to the authority of the Bible; archbishops are meant to lead from the front in upholding the church’s doctrine. Failure to do that adds injury to the wound caused by playing destructive political games. These games can and do have a real affect on the lives and ministry of clergy and people – as we have just very publicly witnessed.

    It might be said that if you get the theology right the politics will look after themselves. Well we are not so naïve as to think that keeping the Church of England (let alone the Anglican Communion) running smoothly is ever going to be simple, its history and its somewhat Faustian arrangement with the state makes sure of that. But what we can all clearly see is that manoeuvrings and manipulations will, sooner or later, compound the difficulties which you wanted to avoid.

    And what is so enfeebling for those of us who care is the public silence, the pretence that playing the referee absolves you of responsibility for leadership. If you cannot or are not prepared to declare sound doctrine, explain it, live it, fire people up with it, why ever would you think yourself fitted to a job where that is you first duty?

    • Paul Greenwood

      Somehow his appearance does not suggest a man who leads

    • Jill

      ‘It might be said that if you get the theology right the politics will look after themselves.’ So true. One doesn’t hear the Gamaliel Principle talked about much these days – that if it is ‘of God’ it will flourish, but if it is not – well, it won’t. And it isn’t. The ordination of women has not renewed and refreshed the church, as was promised – quite the opposite.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Does the Gamaliel Principle apply to Islam?

        • Maalaistollo

          Yes, when it is a manifestation of the wrath of God.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Good answer.

          • And the Buddhists and Hindus?

        • For God, “a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours.”

        • Paul Greenwood

          Islam is funded by oil. Millions of organisms died to produce black gold sitting under the followers of Chairman Mo

        • Jill

          Islam doesn’t flourish as much as rule by fear.

        • chefofsinners

          Islam does not flourish as a flower, it spreads like a weed.

      • Dominic Stockford

        The Episcopal Church of the USA has clearly not flourished, in any sense, since they let the barbarians in the gates.

  • Once the Church of England embraces transgenderism all these problems will disappear.

    • If I may be so bold as to edit your comment: Once the Church of England embraces transgenderism, as surely it must, all these problems will disappear.

      • Jill

        Well of course – the answer to the problem is really easy-peasy. All ordained men must either declare themselves to be women, or vice versa.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Or, declare themselves to be whatever someone asks them to declare themselves at any given moment. Can’t have the rigidity of gender getting in the way here, now can we?!!

        • No, no, no. They are all simply “earth creatures”.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        I wonder how one sets about transgenderism, and why on earth the Church of England do it.

        • Once you accept the idea that to be “male” one doesn’t need a penis and a “female”” doesn’t require a vagina, and that one’s sex is a social construct when, in reality, it is a continuum, then the “gender” of a priest is irrelevant.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, I see no reason whatever why the Church of England (or any other church) “must” accept either of those ideas. And having female clergy certainly does not necessitate accepting them.

        • Inspector General

          Feminisation, Gug. It will be the downfall of us all. Tomorrow, the Inspector will treat you all to his findings on the tranny, if he has the time. Meanwhile, stand to attention, and prepare to charge. The Inspector wants to see your killing face, that man…

    • Paul Greenwood

      How the C of E will pay its way will be the more important question as it loses its residual core support

    • The Explorer

      In the 70’s psychiatry declared gay a variant of normal, with a subsequent explosion of gay sex. A decade or so later, Nature took revenge.

      I wonder if the consequences of transgender have been adequately researched: the effects of daily pumping yourself with hormones foreign to your body. I suspect that a decade or so down the line, we might see some horrible medical consequences.

      • The psychological harm is already well documented.

    • dannybhoy

      As long as none of them try embracing me…

  • Martin

    The CoE has a problem. It has a basis of faith which a large proportion of its clergy, from Archbishop down, do not subscribe to. It also has a goodly proportion of clergy, of the same range, who are whiny millennial women, although they may be of the male gender.

    The cowardly reaction of the two archbishops to the row displays that they really do not have leadership qualities, nor do they have an ounce of honesty between them. Their aim, to have a church where all views are accepted and celebrated has signally failed. Those supporting the unscriptural ordination ordination of women will not budge from their position, despite all the fine words.

    They can thank Martyn Percy for his singularly unscriptural intervention designed to stir up the mud and obscure what the agreement was.

    And lets face it, accepting women in authority was always going to let the homosexual into the same position since, once women are accepted, you have completely given up on any authoritative position on who may take the role.

    I have to weep for the church of the likes of John Newton.

    • IanCad

      I’m not sure quite why it is to be assumed that female vicars will lead to the acceptance of homosexuals within the ministry.

      • Dominic Stockford

        As soon as the arguments that justify breaching Biblical authority allow one, then the other is allowed too – given that it is all based on ‘equality’ as the world presents it.

        • IanCad

          Whilst not fully onboard with the idea of lady ministers, I will have to say that if we appeal to Biblical authority as a basis for rejecting them, we’d better make sure we have everything right.

          • Dominic Stockford

            1. I permit no woman to have authority over a man – this comes from God.
            2. Preaching is the exercising of authority – the only authority we can have in Christ’s Church comes from fidelity to God’s Word.

          • IanCad

            Infant Baptism? Immortality of the Soul? An everlasting, neverending, conscious Hell? Sunday Worship?
            Where is the Biblical authority for those abominations?

          • Martin

            Ian

            1. There is none.

            2/3.
            When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

            Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then he will answer them, saying, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

            (Matthew 25:31-46 [ESV])

            4. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7 [ESV])

            On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. (I Corinthians 16:2 [ESV])

            I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet (Revelation of John 1:10 [ESV])

          • Dominic Stockford

            1. There is no reason to assume that Cornelius’ household did not have any infants, and every reason to suppose that it did (knowing the make-up of households of the time).

          • Martin

            Dominic

            Infants are only such for a very short period. By far the greater portion of a families existence is infantless.

          • IanCad

            Martin,
            None of the cited verses can be used as justification for the changing of the Decalogue.
            The first refers to a meeting after the Sabbath to say farewell to Paul on his journey to Troas.
            The second has absolutely no connection with Sunday worship.
            The third could be interpreted as John’s vision on the Sabbath Day. “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” Matthew 12:8. Mark 2:8. Luke 6:5.
            Alternatively, as John was in vision of the coming of the Son of Man, it could refer to the second coming of our Lord as seen by the transported John.
            To wring any support for Sun-Day worship from any of the above texts is to play fast and loose with the Gospel.

          • Martin

            Ian

            It is quite clear that the Church was meeting on the Lord’s day and teaching was occurring on that day. As the seventh day was the founding of the first Creation, the first was the founding of the second.

          • IanCad

            Quite frankly Martin it is Protestants like you who do those others of us who hold the Scriptures as containing sufficiency unto salvation, a great disservice, in that you seem to have little hesitation in adding to or subtracting from, the inspired Word of God.

          • Anton

            If it’s scripture you want, Christians are free to meet or not meet on any day of the week (Col 2:16).

          • IanCad

            Anton,
            Along with Martin’s other two cited texts (Acts 20:7, John 1:10) yours is also a favourite reference for those who seek scriptural backing in order to discount The Decalogue. As I responded to him; Colossians 2:16 has nothing to do with the Moral Law as the prior verse – 14- makes quite clear.

            The “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances” refers to the ceremonial laws that Moses wrote, not those statutes hewn in stone by the finger of God.

          • Lucius

            Clearly Baptism is in the Bible. See, e.g., (Mark 16:16). Support for immorality of the soul exists in Scriptural passages to numerous to mention. As far as hell, Jesus said it would be a place of much whaling and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42), the obvious insinuation being that it is a conscious event/place for people. Whether it’s eternal or not, I am not sure. There are also numerous Biblical reasons why Church is on Sunday. See, e.g., (Acts 20:7).

            In any event, your assertions are part and parcel a problem of the Protestant heresy of Sola Scripture. The Bible was never meant to be an absolute authority in and of itself on every particularity of the Faith subject to the whims of any person’s interpretation. In fact, the Church existed for centuries before the Bible was even bound. In my Church, the Orthodox Church, Holy Tradition (those beliefs and practices preserved by the institution of the Church itself as handed down by the Apostles) is co-equal with Scripture.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Sorry, not being critical, just giggling, as I cannot but laugh at your typos, the “Immorality of the soul” is a classic of its time, and Jesus saying that hell will be a place of “much whaling” will make the Greens crack up, they’ve never liked whaling. PLEASE PLEASE don’t edit them out.

          • Lucius

            Ha, ha. You got me. Pretty bad typos. Ha.

          • …. and, of course, sola scripture is itself an invention and is never mentioned in scripture.

          • IanCad

            Oh Dear! Maybe I should have heeded Momma’s command to get off of that wretched computer.
            Of course baptism is in the Bible. Adult baptism – not infant.
            As to Hell; it is the death that will be the lot of the wicked. it will be eternal, but there is no biblical support for the Pagan/Hellenistic view that we will survive or endure the Lake of Fire. Christ alone hath immortality.
            As to your last paragraph; your rejection of Sola Scriptura perhaps is a more honest and consistent position than that of many Protestants who claim fidelity to the word but seem to have little compunction in putting into it what ain’t there.

          • Martin

            Lucius

            My thoughts were of Ahab going after the white for eternity. Sorry.

          • Lucius

            Maybe I had a momentary lapse and was thinking of Jonah in the belly of the whale. Ha.

          • CliveM

            Why is preaching the exercise of authority? Particularly if you preach Gods authority.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The Bible is the ‘very oracles of God’, when preaching the Bible what we seek to do is to allow the listeners to hear the voice of God. We do not share our thoughts, but God’s truth. Doing that is to exercise authority. I have no authority at all if I do not speak God’s truths when preaching.

          • CliveM

            Is it? We are called to be servants, proclaiming Gods authority, I don’t see how that gives us authority and is indeed in direct contradiction of what we are called to be.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I disagree. I speak with authority BECAUSE I speak the Words of God. If I do not I have no authority. But in Christ, because I have been called and empowered to preach God’s Word, *I* am given authority when I do so.

          • CliveM

            If you speak the truth, you speak authoritatively, but that doesn’t give you authority. As servants we ‘lord ‘ it over no one.

            Personally I think this idea of authority is a hangover from the Apostolic idea of Clerical authority, which is incompatible with the rest of what the free churches believe.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Having authority does not have to mean that you lord it over anyone. Why would you make that assumption?

          • CliveM

            I was exaggerating for effect. Badly!

            “Authority over others” would have been better.

  • Lucius

    St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Orthodox Church) summed up the problem with Anglicanism in 1912 in a letter regarding shared communion:

    “I am convinced that the doctrinal teaching and practices as well as the discipline of the whole Anglican Church are unacceptable to the Holy Orthodox Church. I make this apology for the Anglicans whom as Christian gentlemen I greatly revere, that the loose teachings of a great many of the prominent Anglican theologians are so hazy in their definition of truths, and so inclined toward pet heresies that it is hard to tell what they believe. The Anglican Church as a whole has not spoken authoritatively on her doctrine.”

    I believe the problems recognized by St. Raphael in 1912 have come to fruition a century later, which is the inability of the Anglican Church to take a firm stand on any substantive theological issue. We see it today with the Archbishop of Canterbury passing the buck, so to speak, on the issue of women priests. For St. Raphael, Anglicanism was so “nebulistic,” he could never pin down where it stood, so Orthodoxy “dare not, without distrust, grasp the hand of her theologians.”

  • Inspector General

    Brilliant analysis Cranmer!

    Has the leadership already fled? If that be the case then the following – Yes, the following – is what we have…
    ——————————
    Not only are the Traditionalists wrong to continue to oppose female ordination, but they’ve been wrong for 2000 years. That will be the liberals next shout perhaps. To shame anyone who ever thought that women are fairly useless in spreading the word, due to their compassionate and compromising nature.

    Thus it follows there can be no accommodation for anyone who identifies as Traditionalist today. There simply never was. “Please keep your peace or leave, my neighbour in Christ”

    These liberals are cunning swine. Having laid the egg of madcap equality in the nest, this equal monster thing has hatched and is growing and is about to eject it’s step brother over the side. No choice in the matter. It has a will of its own. The speed by which all this is happening is awesome. In times past, the victors would now be making calls for ‘renewed unity’ but they’ve missed that stage out altogether!

    It’s a coup d’état alright. Masterly executed by revolutionaries who are not going to leave any loose ends and look to be completing the sack of the Church of England by 2020.

    Wow! You have to respect smooth operators like that. Well, you just have to. No embarrassment suffered by doing that at all!

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes, you’re right. And they won’t stop until even to be a straight white male has become a bar to ministry.

  • chefofsinners

    As we our prepare “for the glorious celebration of the extraordinary grace of God in the events of Holy Week and Easter” let us reflect that the Church of England is being crucified between two thieves: Welby and Sentamu.
    Martyn Percy sits at the foot of the cross gambling that a bishop’s robe might come his way.
    Giles Fraser makes off with a rainbow coloured bag of silver.
    Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Which will turn out to be the ‘good thief’, redeemed at the last, and which will be one who denied Christ until the bitter end? Just thought I’d ask….

      • Peasant Farmer

        Fraser. He was on the right side of Brexit so can’t be all bad…..

  • dannybhoy

    “But why, when the Church of England badly needs an injection of commanding public theology and authoritative leadership, have its two most senior bishops instigated a political review?”

    And when will Anglican bishops stop worshipping at the shrine of equal opportunities consulting the god of arbitration?
    It’s a farce, an absolute farce, and I fail to see how ANY true Christian whose faith is based on the Scriptures and believe in the Lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ, can continue giving blind loyalty and respect to this religious version of ACAS..
    The writing is on the wall…

    • Sarky

      Its been on there so long its covered in moss and graffiti.

      • dannybhoy

        The God I believe in is outside of time and space El Sarks, as He Himself has said,
        “A thousand years in your sight
        are like a day that has just gone by,
        or like a watch in the night.”
        I may be totally frustrated with the CofE but our gracious God is more patient…

        • Dominic Stockford

          More patient with both the CofE AND sarky….

          • dannybhoy

            Sarky doesn’t believe, yet he continues contributing. So something draws him here, and of course he will now respond with something sarkastic.
            I do remember before my own conversion 22nd March 1968, I would eagerly point out all the inconsistencies and failures of Christians in a desperate attempt to avoid God’s wonderful grace and bow my knee in repentance.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I was worse, as an RC I was simply able to tell everyone that they were wrong, if they weren’t RCs. Thank God for his saving grace.

          • If that’s what you did, then it’s a good thing you left the Catholic priesthood. Presumably, now you’re doing it as a minister in an independent church.

          • chefofsinners

            Lord, yes. Good job he left. Imagine if there were two of you doing it.

          • 1649again

            Lol.

  • 1649again

    Good article Your Grace. If the Archbishops can face reading it and have any integrity they will not be able to look themselves in the mirror tonight.

    Alas as ever, Harping Jack is seeking to dominate and twist all discussion on to his one pathological theme of “the CoE is doomed” and “all Protestants are wrong about everything”, and as such internecine war breaks out and the point of your article gets forgotten as 400 year old arguments get played out for our daily repeated entertainment.

    I’m usually up for the fight if push comes to shove, but not on the same topic every day and all evening. The bizarre thing is that the vast majority of the fighting is done by people who don’t seem to have a good word to say for the CoE, which it’s just the battleground for them to fire their bullets and rockets over at one another.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The CofE COULD be good again, if only it would take seriously the Bible and the 39 Articles on which it was founded, and implement some doctrinal discipline. That saddens me, and probably many of those still in it who I regard as friends, and as good Christian people. That’s why I make such a fuss over a body of which I am no longer part.

      • 1649again

        I know Dominic and wasn’t including you. I agree what the recipe for turning the CoE round is and is it as you say, and that means a smaller church so be it.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Smaller, better, more powerful. Yes.

          I hope that some might read some of the words here and be inspired to ‘do a Ryle’. How we need a Ryle today.

        • Rhoda

          If only there were a few leaders such as this man in the C of E.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “Archbishops are supposed to do theology and lead, not manage ecclesial conflict by pussyfooting around and outsourcing the way forward.”

    Quite so, but this battle was lost when women lay-readers were permitted. Allowing anyone, indeed probably anything, to be a CofE minister can now be justified using the arguments of ‘discrimination’ which were used to allow that step. Once emotion and human logic is allowed to trump the teaching of the Bible then the part of the Christian Church (in this case the CofE) that allows it to happen is well on its way off the narrow path.

    • Lucius

      “Once emotion and human logic is allowed to trump the teaching of the Bible….”
      ****************************************************************************************************
      I would submit that one area of emphasis where my Protestant brothers are lacking is that of Holy Tradition. Sola scripture can have the undesirable affect of making every person with a Bible a Biblical judge unto himself with each capable of pronouncing their own theological doctrine and dogma. This is where a balance of Holy Tradition is needed. The Church existed for centuries prior to the first Bible being bound, and I do not think it is unreasonable to assert that the Bible is not exhaustive of every teaching of either the Apostles or early Church Fathers. Here, Holy Tradition comes into play. It is not to diminish Scripture but rather to be co-equal with it. Accordingly, I would assert that even if a most tenuous argument can be made about female priests from Scripture, no such argument exists in the context of Holy Tradition. Thus, it appears clear that ordaining female priests is not in keeping with the “narrow path.”

      • Dominic Stockford

        Tradition as you define it does eliminate reliance upon God’s Word. There is plenty of agreement in what the Bible teaches on major matters, and has been across the centuries. It doesn’t require some human input. I think you both undermine the power of the Holy Spirit, and fail to show trust in Him.

        As someone points out below, it is my conscience and my actions that I will be judged on – I will not be judged on ‘tradition’, or what someone tells me I ‘should’ think because of ‘tradition’.

        • Lucius

          The irony in your position is that it was the Orthodox Church that bound the Bible. Holy Tradition is not “human input” any more than the Scripture is human input. Holy Tradition is what the Church itself as an institution preserved from the practices and teaching of the Apostles. The Bible is not and was never meant to be exhaustive.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The Orthodox church? It didn’t exist when the Bible was finally collated.

          • Lucius

            The Orthodox Church was founded in about 33 AD by the Apostles. The ancient Churches of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria still remain in communion. The Patriarch and Bishop of the West, who you know as the Pope of Rome broke from the ancient Patriarchates. However, when the Bible was bound the Bishop of Rome was still in communion with an undivided Church.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I’m sorry, I cannot agree with that, I really can’t. No denomination was founded then, not for many many decades, nigh on 300 years before there was a structure in place. No wonder they fight with the Romans so much, if they both lay claim to be thus confected.

          • Lucius

            I will keep working on you. I will make a good Orthodox Christian of you yet. 🙂

          • 1649again

            The breakdown of the Patriarchate system was a disaster for Christianity and the blame is solely to be pinned in one place. If it were to be rebuilt as a precursor to reunification perhaps Alexandria for the Copts, Antioch/Moscow for the Russian orthodox, Constantinople as is, Jerusalem for the Church of the East or Armenians, Rome for the RCs and a new one and London for a reformed COE/Protestants?

            [lights blue touch paper and retires]

          • Dominic Stockford

            [Hides behind fire wall]

          • 1649again

            “Incoming!”

          • Dominic Stockford

            “I really must go, I have finished the work I was doing whilst following here, and Broadchurch is on in a moment…” [breaks into a run]

          • Anton

            Broadchurch is exactly what this thread is about

          • carl jacobs

            Re: Broadchurch. Season 1 was excellent. Season 2 might as well not exist.

          • William Lewis

            Good idea!

            [Scuttles away]

          • Lucius

            Part of me agrees with the main thrust of your position, which is the natural divisions created by the Patriarchate system creates problems. However, it was a natural outgrowth of world at that time. Rome was an empire of cities; thus, you tended to have the early Bishops concentrate in particular jurisdictions and it grew from there. Nevertheless, the fellow Patriarchates remain in communion with one Orthodox Church, meaning there is no disagreement as to doctrine or dogma. But the Patriarchate system can be challenging, no argument there.

            The alternatives to this system that we presently have are the universality of a Pope, which has it’s own issues (and keep in mind that before schism, the Bishop of Rome was considered the first among equals — it is when the Pope attempted to establish universal jurisdiction that the brother Bishops balked). The other alternative is ever-splintering Protestantism where anyone armed with a Bible and his/her own interpretation can establish their own church. This too comes with its own unique challenges, but I would submit that these are much weightier and more concerning than the jurisdictional issues in the Orthodox Church.

          • 1649again

            Everyone would have to give up some pet obsessions. Sacrifices for the cause of Christ?

          • chefofsinners

            Not all of us have pet obsessions, old boy. Anyway, I’m sure there’s something in Leviticus about that. Animal husbandry being very bad if they catch you doing it…

          • Anton

            Thank you Mr Lehrer…

          • Lucius

            There is room for some compromise, but to be candid, the Protestant Church has drifted so far from ancient Christian beliefs and practices (and not just superficial ones) that differences may be insurmountable without Protestantism giving up what it has become. I don’t want that to be the case. I hope I am wrong.

          • 1649again

            What Protestant church? There’s never been such a thing, but those such as the CoE if it restores its own doctrine to primacy, or the Lutherans too, would all be good candidates. The more hardlline sects wouldn’t want to join anyway.

          • Lucius

            The CoE if it returns to its roots, then yes, I think a fair chance exists for communion between it and Orthodoxy. But that is a big “if” and the CoE has historically been hesitant to take firm stands on controversial theological issues. I don’t know enough about Lutheranism to make an informed judgment.

          • 1649again

            A bit unfair on the original CoE, a number of whose leaders and clergy were martyred or exiled for their doctrines, and many more lost their positions. If only our current clergy had their mettle.

          • Lucius

            Fair point. My comment was over-broad and unsympathetic. Apologies.

          • Didn’t Cranmer flirt with Orthodoxy at one time?

          • 1649again

            Ask him, it’s his blog.

          • The historical Cranmer – not his ashes.

          • 1649again

            His spirit?

          • One believes it is a dry Martini – with an olive.

          • Anton

            If so, one can understand why: a series of national churches, run under the episcopalian system, at loggerheads with Rome, but with closer theology to Rome’s than Luther’s was. Exactly what King Henry would have wished for. Presumably the idea never got off the ground because England was so far away geographically from the Orthodox powers and because of the filioque clause. But I ask your question back at you: Did Cranmer flirt with Orthodoxy? I don’t know either.

          • Anton

            Thomas Cranmer’s life (and death) would have made a superlative Shakespeare play, but it was a bit too close to the bard’s own time. Also Shakespeare never touched anything religious, interestingly – no adaptation of the gospels, no lives of the saints, no Old Testament stories dramatised, nothing. It is a remarkable silence.

          • “Shakespeare
            never touched anything religious.”

            Hogwash and balderdash. Biblical themes and religious allusions permeate the canon: the Bible was foundational to Shakespeare’s worldview, and the vernacular to his powers of expression.

          • Peasant Farmer

            I’m just into the opening chapter of the following book which may throw a bit more light:

            https://www.amazon.co.uk/Faith-William-Shakespeare-Graham-Holderness/dp/0745968910

          • betteroffoutofit

            Checked the Amazon screed on this: Interesting. One trusts that Holderness also considers the Wyclifian, Lollard, and Chaucerian influences that affected the Lancastrian-Beaufort-Tudor characters and rulers Shakespeare knew and characterised. Useful as Henry VIII eventually found him, Luther was a later, and arguably less influential, arrival on the British scene.

          • Anton

            Of course they do, Your Grace; that was Shakespeare’s world. But allow me to clarify what I meant: the total absence from Shakespeare of any life of Christ, or of a saint (or indeed of a character from ancient Israel’s history) stands in absolute contrast to the mystery plays and miracle plays that comprised theatre in the preceding era. Given the freedom with which Shakespeare took up characters from English and classical history, and the importance of the Bible as a source of the culture in which Shakespeare lived, this silence is remarkable. Simon Schama noted it; Kenneth Clark noted it.

            And make what you will of this:

            death; The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns (Hamlet, Act 3 scene 1).

            Apart from Jesus Christ, that is.

          • CliveM

            Ha, considering the risks, I’m not surprised.

            Not an expert, but religious plays were not generally big amongst Elizabethan era playwrights. More into classism.

          • The Church in England, perhaps, based on the ancient Sarum Rite and the theology it reflected.

          • Anton

            Orthodoxy claims that it (alone) has preserved and faithfully handed on the faith of Christ’s apostles. But ‘ancient’ is not the same as ‘apostolic,’ and Orthodoxy has really preserved the practice and liturgy of several centuries after the apostles. By then two major changes had taken place, as follows.

            (1) The shift from a Hebraic to a Greek world. The New Testament was written in Greek for wide dissemination – but it was written mostly by Jews. Subsequent writings of the Church Fathers were simply exegesis of the gospel for their philosophically minded Greek culture. They are in the same category as a Papuan convert’s explanation of the gospel to other Papuans. To say otherwise is to say that Greek culture is sacred over others – an understandable error among its descendants, but false. Only ancient Israelite culture was that, and even then very imperfectly so.

            In fact some of the Fathers, such as Basil of Caesarea – a prominent Orthodox saint – affirmed that scripture had unique authority. He also believed that scripture could be understood by all as God intended.

            Setting the New Testament wholly in the context of the Old removes the Greek-philosophical background of the Council debates and the Fathers and restores the Hebraic background. Missionaries should teach people of other cultures only the New Testament viewed through the eyes of the Old, and leave exegesis to them.

            (2) The second change during the shift from the apostolic church to Orthodoxy was the Establishment of Christianity as the sole religion recognised by the authorities in the Roman Empire. Orthodoxy is set up as a religion of state (country by country), whereas Christianity was founded and designed as a dissenting religion; the church was persecuted for its first three centuries. As a religion of State, Christianity became a thing of pomp – spectacular vestments, great buildings, sumptuous interiors – which it was socially correct to join. But with pomp came pomposity. When, furthermore, a State takes up a particular religion, other religions are regarded not only as heresy but treasonous, and execution replaces excommunication. Byzantium took up the Roman laws formerly used to persecute Christians to execute dualist sects, although Jesus was committed to freedom of conscience in this life.

            Of the Church Fathers and Ecumenical Councils which comprise Orthodox tradition, the Ecumenical Councils met after Christianity had become the State-approved religion, and their proceedings were often overtly political.

          • chefofsinners

            I think you will find that the problem is twofold: the bible and mass literacy. Banish these two evils and you could reestablish the paternalistic system you crave.

          • Lucius

            I think you are being overly-simplistic and terse. For me, the idea of Sola Scripture is like reading through an Army Field Manual and then boasting that I am a soldier. But the Army is more than its FMs, just like the Church is more than just the Bible. I am sure you disagree, so fire away.

          • chefofsinners

            The idea of Sola Scripture is not actually Sola Scripture at all. It includes the Holy Spirit indwelling and guiding the believer into all truth.

          • Anton

            The Bible is not only to be read but lived, clearly. It is whether any other written material is to be treated similarly that is the issue.

          • CliveM

            Good analogy.

          • Anton

            Western culture is well on the way to banishing both.

          • bluedog

            Indeed. Telly-evangelism would be the most effective channel for the mass-propagation of Christianity these days.

          • Anton

            But what about the Chinese house church movement which is persecution-forged, numerically vast, has no hierarchy above congregations, finds the Bible sufficient and regards “Catholic”, “protestant” and “Orthodox” simply as terms in European church history?

          • 1649again

            Come on Anton, we’re having some antiquarian fun.

          • Anton

            OK, fair enough!

          • 1649again

            BTW, Shanghai would make a great Eastern Patriarchate. A price worth paying if Red China goes Christian China. Stranger things have happened, such as Constantine himself, something only to be explained by the Holy Spirit enacting the Father’s will.

          • Anton

            I consider that that vision most likely came from Satan in view of the fruits! Perhaps not a discussion to be had here…

          • 1649again

            Best not, we’ll never agree if that’s your position. His Christian secretary Lactantius believed it genuine.

          • Go on, discuss it. Fear of disagreement is no reason for silence.

          • Anton

            Aren’t you forgetting that I’ve already discussed it with you here? I’m sure 1649 can google for that exchange if he wants.

          • It would be good to see two Puritans discussing it.

          • Anton

            We may do it over a beer. The chap runs a brewery, after all. (Did you think Puritans were dry?)

          • No, but you clearly shy away from publicly sharing differences. Interesting.

          • Anton

            Do stop trying to sound like a James Bond baddie. You’re not up to it.

          • alternative_perspective

            Brothers dwelling in harmony and all that Biblical stuff….

          • carl jacobs

            Yeah. Normally we just get to see Jack and the Inspector arguing about their Roman Catholic differences. This would make for an interesting difference.

            [Skitters away and hides]

            Although I’m not sure Anton qualifies as a Puritan.

          • Anton

            Why not, Carl? Do you think I enjoy life too much?

            I’ll do my best to find the thread on which I discussed it with Jack and post the date of it.

          • It was the same at the time of the Reformation.
            It was just a few years between Anne Askew being burned for being a Protestant under Henry VIII, to Joan Boucher being burned for being an Anabaptist (of sorts) under Edward VI.
            Once the State gets bound up with Christianity, the whole thing tends to go south very quickly.

          • alternative_perspective

            It is not so much a problem of getting bound up with Christianity – as though a state cannot or shouldn’t be Christian. The problem exists when:
            – The state comes to believe it has authority over the church
            – The church comes to think it is the state
            – Or when the state no longer subscribe to the church as authoritative

          • Anton

            Tell me here if you want my page on it by email. I’ve no wish to force it on you.

          • bluedog

            Nooo. Hong Kong. Although because HK was a Scottish colony it’s full of Chinese pressbuttons.

          • alternative_perspective

            And which, may I add, is driven by signs and wonders – not least quite radical healings.

          • Anton

            To my knowledge it is driven by Christ and manifests signs and wonders.

          • bluedog

            The British Isles are part of the See of Constantinople in Orthodox terms. If Orthodoxy rather than Lutheranism is the answer to the apostasy of the CoE, it would be no bad thing to adhere to Constantinople. His All-Holiness needs all the help he can get.

          • In around AD 140, when Polycarp was gaily quoting from at least 16 books of the NT in his short letter, neither the Church of Rome nor the ‘Orthodox’ churches existed. The Holy Spirit gave the canon of Scripture, not men.

          • Lucius

            Of course neither the Church of Rome nor Orthodox Church existed, because in 140 AD, they were still one universal Christian Church. The schism of the Bishop of Rome did not occur until sometime later.

          • On the contrary, there never was a golden age where all Christians agreed with one another. The briefest perusal of the letters of Paul and John would tell you that. Around 140 AD, Marcion was trying to dispose of most of the books of the N.T..
            The apostasy started right from the word Go (Acts 20:28-31). Nevertheless, ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.’ So long as there are free churches that have not come under the dead hand of denominationalism, there will be the true Church of Jesus Christ.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            That’s all very well, Mr Marprelate. Even they will need doctrines and theologies.

          • Indeed so, and most free churches are bound to Statements of Faith, but not to denominations which are prone to takeover by liberals- not just the C of E, but the Methodists, URC and the Baptist Union.

          • Anton

            Certainly the Fathers continually disagreed with each other.

          • The schism was the East breaking from the West. Apart from that (minor detail) Jack is in agreement with you.

          • Anna

            On the contrary, it was caused by the Roman bishop’s desire to be the greatest, to hold unquestioned authority, and to be honoured with all sorts of vainglorious titles, rather than ‘to be the least’ or ‘a servant’ as Christ commanded.

          • Not so. Certainly the dispute was regional and political as much as it was theological, with both sides at fault. However, it was also about how the Church resolved disputes about scripture and where final authority lay in the event of ongoing disagreement. “First among equals” is not so far away from Papal sovereignty. The Eastern Orthodox Church is still wrapped up in disagreements about the individual churches jealously guard their independence.

          • Anton

            I have no iron in this fire, Jack, but you might be interested in the book The Russian Church and the Papacy by Vladimir Soloviev, a Russian thinker of the late 19th century. In it he details the claim that Latin Rome consistently corrected six centuries of Greek heresies prior to the schism. You will be able to partially browse it at Amazon:

            https://www.amazon.co.uk/Russian-Church-Vladimir-Soloviev-2002-10-01/dp/B01K3HF4FU/ref=sr_1_23?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490714651&sr=1-23

          • Jack knows of this author, especially his prophetic writings. Controversial figure.
            “Rome or chaos” was a catch-phrase of his. And so it is proving.

          • Anton

            His Short Tale of Antichrist is the only really great eschatological novel, dramatically speaking. Others vary from the plodding to the semi-literate, and although I don’t agree with his ecclesiology he is writing from the same literary tradition that gave us Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and it shows.

          • Anna

            Even appropriating a position as ‘First among equals’ – and this on account of the political rather than spiritual importance of Rome – goes against what Christ commanded His apostles.

            ‘“They [the Pharisees] love the place of honour at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted”‘ (Matthew 23:6-11 NASB).

          • Little Black Censored

            It was the Orthodox church that collated it.

          • Martin

            Lucius

            The Church is the individual believers, not an institution.

      • Martin

        Lucius

        So how do you know that your tradition was faithfully and accurately transmitted?

        • Lucius

          Normally I love an intellectual joust, but one thing Orthodoxy taught me is humility, although I have frequent lapses of pride, some of which can be seen in my comments on this blog (acting as if I have all the answers). So first, I would ask your forgiveness for that pride. Next, I would tell you to find an Orthodox Church and speak with a priest. He will be far more informed than me at answering this question.

          • 1649again

            Good answer.

          • Martin

            Lucius

            I see your inability to answer the question as a major problem.

          • Lucius

            I could answer your question. But I am directing you to a source that will provide a better answer. Come to an Orthodox liturgy. Talk to a priest. Then make up your own mind.

          • Martin

            Lucius

            Then I would appreciate your thoughts. Mine are that there is no chain of sound men linking us to the apostles. We have their words and they, being dead, still speak. It may have been OK for the eastern churches to tell Victor that they had received the method of calculating Easter from John, but if we hadn’t got that how would we know how accurate that tradition was?

      • Malcolm Smith

        This is true as far as it goes. However, the mistake is to treat tradition as an addition to scripture. Tradition can only be used to interpret scripture, where the latter is obscure (which isn’t very often). You will not find any of the early Christian writers asserting: such-and-such a doctrine is not found in the Bible, but it is nevertheless a required belief. The early writers always assumed that it was the ultimate test of orthodoxy. To quote St Vincent of Lérin, the catholic faith is what has been believed “everywhere, everywhere, and by everyone”. Mind you, that does tend to rule out female priests.
        http://malcolmsmiscellany.blogspot.com.au/2016/05/tradition-and-doctrine.html

      • Paul Greenwood

        The Church existed for centuries prior to the first Bible being bound

        yes and it was a remarkable departure from the origins of The Faith with the fusion of Caesar and God’s Emissary. The Roman Church was the STATE Church of Rome just as the Church of England is the STATE Church of England yet “render unto Caesar…..” was a different conception altogether

      • Anna

        “This is where a balance of Holy Tradition is needed.”

        Yet, tradition can go awry when scripture is not heeded. A perfect example would be the introduction of icons into the church. Despite the clear warnings of Irenaeus and Eusebius about the unchristian nature of images and icons, in the 4th century – with the conversion of large number of pagans – an alien tradition was introduced into the church that violated the second commandment, and corrupted the purity and simplicity of Christian worship. Even the Muslims attribute the Fall of Constantinople to this idolatry.

        • Anton

          Furthermore everything that is now a tradition was once new. That is the time to compare it against scripture.

          • Pubcrawler

            There is Tradition (the repository of faith handed from Christ to his Apostles and preserved by the Church) and there are traditions (or ‘customs’). For the Orthodox, they are quite distinct categories, and should not be confused.

          • Anton

            Well, whatever you call it, please would you give me an example of something that isn’t in scripture that the Orthodox take to be equally binding?

        • Lucius

          I respectfully disagree. There is nothing un-Christian about an icon Indeed, the Father beget His Son who would be the image of an invisible God on Earth. (Colossians 1:15). As far as the Second Commandment, Holy icons are used as worship aids, icons are not in and of themselves worshiped. That is just silly.

          I keep photos of loved ones in my office. I don’t love the paper, film, and ink. I love what and who the photo captures. In the same way, I love, respect, and admire the great Christian Saints; and I love and worship God the Trinity. I don’t love or worship the wood and paint upon which the icon is placed.

          • Anna

            “There is nothing unchristian about an icon.”

            Eusebius and Irenaeus considered the icons unchristian and pagan. Do you disagree with them? And what about the second commandment? And who knows what the ‘great saints’ looked like? The Christian way of honouring the ‘great saints’ is to follow their example of devotion to Christ, not make images of them.

          • Lucius

            “Eusebius and Irenaeus considered the icons unchristian and pagan. Do you disagree with them?”

            Yes. A whole host of other Saints and Church Fathers thought otherwise. This is why matters were ultimately flushed out and Icons approved as worship aids in the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 AD).

            Your Second Commandment position is a non-starter. If applied as broadly as you seem to suggest, it would also mean that any image of Christ and indeed the Cross itself would be prohibited. A full reading of the Second Commandment clearly reveals that it pertains to worshipping false idols (“you shall not bow down to them or serve them”), not eliminating images of celebrated Saints and Christ Himself per se, as you seem to suggest.

            Finally, the image and Icon is to remind you of Christ and the great Saints and the wondrous works they did and examples they set. They aid in worship and faith, they are not the objects of worship and faith in and of themselves (I thought I made that clear in my prior comment).

          • Anna

            “Your Second Commandment… If applied as broadly as you seem to suggest, it would also mean that any image of Christ and indeed the Cross itself would be prohibited.”

            Certainly depictions of Christ in churches, but not necessarily crosses – as the Temple had the menorah, etc. I am familiar with the excuses for using icons, but my point is that they go against the ‘holy traditions’ that Paul, Peter and other apostles as well as the ancient prophets subscribed to, as well as the scripture. The saints and church fathers that you speak of, were heavily influenced by pagan, and not Christian traditions.

          • Lucius

            So no images of Christ and the Cross seems to be “iffy” with you, but you justify it based on an OT menorah argument. Again, I think you have dramatically over-interpreted the Lord’s admonition against idolatry. Early Christian paintings still exist in the Roman catacombs when it was an “underground” Church. The iconoclast movement (i.e., folks who support your position) did not begin in any significant way until the 8th century (arguably catalyzed, in part, by the success of Islam). I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree on this particular issue. But good discussion regardless.

  • 1649again

    You like it here don’t you?

    • Sarky

      ‘Like’ is maybe a bit strong. I find some of the views expressed on here disgusting. However, i think it’s good to get a different take on things and have a bit of a debate about it.

      • bluedog

        You should get on well with Holger then.

  • dannybhoy

    Sorry Sarcs..

  • CliveM

    As long as you realise you’re not the first.

  • carl jacobs

    You do realize that there are atheist priests in the CoE, correct?

    • chefofsinners

      More surprising still, there are actually some Christian ones.

      • Anton

        Tell it not in Gath!

  • vsscoles

    It was Welby who set up the deal, Five Principles in exchange for women bishops. It is now up to him to rescue the situation, not Mr Mawer.

    • chefofsinners

      Five magic beans in exchange for Daisy the cow.

    • carl jacobs

      He can’t. To rescue the situation he would have to affirm the right of traditionalists to be appointed diocesan bishops. That would create rebellion on the Left, and the whole game would be up. These compromises are based on letting the different sides make different (mutually exclusive) assumptions. The problem here is that the Progressives exposed the differing assumptions way too soon.

      • The Caroline Divines of the 17th century and the Oxford Movement in 19th century, also exposed differing theological beliefs. There’s even a minority of Anglican Papalists who consider themselves under Papal supremacy even though they are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

        The Ten Articles, published in 1536, the first official Anglican articles of faith, defended the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacrament of Confession, the honouring and invocation of Christian saints and prayer for the dead.

        • carl jacobs

          Jack, Progressives have never seen this problem in terms of coexistence. They see it as a problem of transition from one doctrine to another. They will only tolerate the presence traditionalists to the extent they believe that presence to be temporary. They will never tolerate any manner of traditionalist influence.

          This is a problem of power, domination, and control. The two theologies could coexist if proper fences were established. But that is never going to happen because progressives will never let it happen. And they hold the whip.

          • “The two theologies could coexist if proper fences were established.”
            In one church with one Synod and hierarchy? Jack doubts this. At best, it would be two different churches under one umbrella that lacked integrity. Coexistence is not unity. The West coexisted with Communism because of nuclear weapons.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t think one Synod would be possible. The unity would have to be formal and not functional. That is what I meant by “proper fences”. That’s also why it will me Dr happen. There are only two possible solutions to this problem: submission or separation. Who submits? Who leaves? Those are really the only questions on the table.

          • So two separate churches who both remain a part of the Anglican community? Who gets the assets and who remains as the established church?

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t know, Jack. What I do know is that it’s the only way to hold everything together. Otherwise the CoE is going to rip apart along the current fault line. If that happens, the only thing that will keep the CoE going twenty years hence is a line item in the gov’ts budget.

          • bluedog

            ‘And they hold the whip.’

            In terms of their occupation of positions of power and influence, yes. But they rule a fractious and traditionalist congregation with different values. Now when the leadership and those over whom they claim dominion are ideologically opposed, what happens? The answer is that the oppressed find new leaders and hang their oppressors (metaphorically, of course).

        • Martin

          HJ

          The real presence of Christ is not a problem, indeed He says He will be present. It’s the magical undetectable changing of the elements which is the problem. An entirely different thing.

          • Was it “magic” that made manna nutritious? The virgin birth was “magic”? Was Jesus using “magic” at the Last Supper? When He was raised from the dead? You don’t believe the bread and wine is changed into Our Lord’s body and blood and discount the power of God.

          • Anton

            The answer to those questions depends on your definition of magic.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So tell me, how can you prove that the bread and wine are changed?

          • The words of Jesus in scripture and the beliefs and practice of Christians from the very beginning.
            If Jack could “prove” this in the way you suggest, there’d be no need for faith and trust in Christ and in His Church.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Why do we need trust in the Church, Every believer is part of the Church?

      • vsscoles

        That is precisely what is supposedly guaranteed by the Five Principles which Welby brokered, promised and solemnly voted for. And he is a member of the Commission which appointed North as bishop of Sheffield.

      • vsscoles

        He must. That is what he promised.

  • Andrew Holt

    I was not aware I was using ambiguous language in order to conceal the truth. I hoped to state the truth as I see it. I do not need a priest to stand between me and God. Neither do I need a priest in order to confess my sins, or to magically alter the nature of the bread and wine. I don’t mind if they try and I have happily taken part in both Anglican and Catholic Eucharistic services. I am open to God speaking to me or not amongst believers of all hues. I am passionate about Jesus, his love for me, his love for the church, and his love for humankind. I remain grateful for this blog, his grace, his adherents and his critics. Where are you Holger? You I enjoy most of all!

    • ChaucerChronicle

      The central issue is priestesses in the Church: http://www.episcopalnet.org/TRACTS/priestesses.html

    • Dominic Stockford

      What I mind is not that “they try” to do those things, but that they make the false claim that they *can* do those things. Even the Old Testament piles into such people – Job 13:

      “7 Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him?
      8 Will you show partiality toward him? Will you plead the case for God?
      9 Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?
      10 He will surely rebuke you if in secret you show partiality.
      11 Will not his majesty terrify you, and the dread of him fall upon you?”

  • layreader

    And meanwhile…. the diocese of Sheffield is in a state of limbo. Whoever accepts the post, male or female, will have to serve knowing that their appointment will have been politically tainted. And let’s hope that it isn’t female – that would be the ultimate irony, and the true sign that intimidation always beats theology.

  • Martin

    I have to wonder what Cranmer thinks of the duffing up of the CoE going on here.

    • Anton

      Didn’t he start it above?

      • Martin

        Anton

        Prob.

    • CliveM

      Well don’t do it.

      • Martin

        Clive

        It has to be done. Faithfulness to God’s Church demands it.

    • 1649again

      Well frankly I’m sick of it. Why the likes of you and Jack come on here to pour out day after day your dislike and criticism of the CoE I really don’t know. You’ve got nothing good to say about it, probably since its inception, so what you think you’re achieving other than causing hurt to faithful Christians I really don’t know, but it’s certainly not Christian. Your’re both like the old 8-track cassettes with one song repeated ad nauseam. Perhaps it makes you both feel superior, but you come across as smug and self-righteous, and I think you need to reflect on your conduct. Fortunately I know you’re far from representative of 95% of Christians of all denominations.

      One of the merits I like about the CoE is that it’s self-critical and all too aware of its imperfections, and tries to open its doors to all. Sometimes it goes too far and compromises on issues when it shouldn’t, sometimes it’s endured decades of poor leadership and weakness and has then been reborn in the Spirit from below. I hope and pray that this is the case again for it’s foundational doctrines are sound, and frankly I can’t give a damn whether it has overseers called Bishops, Elders or Great Panjandrums as long as they are godly and about putting Mission and Service first.

      We have a problem with leadership at present – there isn’t much – but as ever the the Liberals will overreach themselves and there’ll be a reaction. Their overreach on the Percy and Ashendon affairs may be a turning point, I don’t know, but there will probably be one. It’s quite possible that the looming Islamic threat will cause more people to re-engage with the faith and the national church in reaction as they seek answers to a that that the authorities don’t wish to acknowledge. The CoE needs to have a strong voice to win such people back.

      If you’ve got nothing helpful to say other than “You’re wrong” why say it every day? I for one have stopped listening and discount your every word. If also noticed how some of the regular CoE posters on here are becoming less regular – ever wonder why?

      • Pubcrawler

        Well said. It’s getting more than tiresome, There are enough slavering wolves circling outside the fold as it is without having to endure interconfessional potshots as well.

      • Martin

        1649

        Actually I have a great deal of affection for the CoE, I spent six years at schools based on its principles. I want the CoE to be sound, to once again have ministers like Ryle and Newton but it seems as if that is not going to happen.

        The problem with the CoE leadership has been going on for decades at least, it is the problem of lack of biblical discipline. The only time ministers have been ejected from the CoE is when they kicked out good ministers in 1662

  • Time to press the factory reset button. All this arguing, evading, fudging and inventing new guiding Principles to follow in-order to justify women clergy needs to stop. The women bishops and clergy need to be made redundant, I’m sure the Church can afford a reasonable severance package for the those concerned. Those who pressed for women clergy and bishops should hang their heads in shame for causing untold mayhem, unnecessary infighting in the C of E and perverting the way of Jesus and the Church.

    • HastyPrince

      Absolutely agree. It will take courage and a strong stomach but the longer the faffing and fudging continues the harder it will be. It will mean a complete “about turn” but it should never have been done in the first place. The C of E could cope, especially as clergy can now remain in post until the age of 75 instead of only 70.

      • Of course they could cope. They can seriously say it was tried but hit stumbling blocks that were damaging,insurmountable and in the end irreconcilable with the Church and Jesus’s teachings which it supposed to represent and preach.
        They’ve erred and lost their way, Jesus is looking for them.

  • Hi sarky ,

    Plus you get a free, rather large house , and don’t pay council tax.

  • Jaime Lachica Sin was the 30th Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, and was also a Cardinal.

  • Anton
  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    York presides over Sheffield.

    Canterbury presides over the Dean of Christ Church Oxford.

    Welby’s failure to speak out against Percy has has greatly damaged the Church’s reputation in the eyes-of-the-world: which other organisation cannot control its own members?

    • carl jacobs

      The Labour Party?

      • ChaucerChronicle

        The CofE is now the Labour party at prayer: no distinctions.

        • CliveM

          Yet an analysis of the voting patterns of the churches following the GE showed that the ‘biggest party’ was Conservative amongst those who attend the CofE.

          • Dominic Stockford

            A rather more significant piece of research would be to find out who the clergy and bishops voted for – they hold the levers of power. They believe that they ARE the CofE.

          • CliveM

            Ah well I think we know the answer is to that.

    • chefofsinners

      Donald Trump has trouble controlling his members, but it might be stretching things to call him an organisation. Disorganisation, maybe.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Well Chef, somebody keeps posting on here called ‘The Donald’.

        • Pence says Happy Jack’s gonna get grabbed by the posse for doctrinological reasons.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Mr President

            It’s about time that no good Happy Jack got his comeuppance. He’s too intellectual for me to handle.

      • Paul Greenwood

        “his members” ? Trump is not Leader of the Republican Party. You really do not understand the US political system

      • Sarky

        I thought it was his member???

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Hannah,

    Great to see you back on here!

    But don’t get tangled up in the Prod v Papist stuff. Some people my consider me far to easy-going, but I find it gets oh so wearing.

    Also sexual orientation and/or Islam are topics where I tread with caution. In either case, what people take from what you or I write may not be what one meant to say.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    Having read the letters by the impotent archbishops (those pointy-heads, under pointy-hats who work in pointy-buildings); after passing the buck they attribute several features to the central issue:

    1. They fail to define ‘mutual flourishing’ – so Mawer is clueless as to what it is that he is being asked to think about let alone do; and
    2. To make matters worse, that which they have failed to define, is elevated to the status of overridng principle.

    Mawer must be sitting in his private study, and playing with a loaded revolver, like Inspector Clouseau.

    • chefofsinners

      “There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of them.”

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Chef – you gotta be kidding. The pointy-heads have turned this entire episode into a comedy.

        We were all advised by our math teachers that when you’ve got a sum wrong – you retrace your steps and correct the error:

        ‘And that, quite simply, is not going to happen.’

        • chefofsinners

          Read again. It is a quote from Clouseau.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Okay, Chef – you got me on that one!

          • chefofsinners

            I am also reminded of “I must leave. This hotel is deteriorating rapidly.”

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Superb!

          • Paul Greenwood

            The BreXit Song

  • len

    The Great Commission
    Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matthew 28 16-20)

    Then what is the Church doing?. Discussing female priests , gay marriage, good disagreement,mutual flourishing(whatever that is?)
    Where are the leaders, where are the Preachers whatever happened to ‘The church’?.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Len

      ‘We’ve’ rejected the authority He gave us: tragedy.

      • Sarky

        Has the feeling gone and you can’t go on?

        • ChaucerChronicle

          No. It was never based on feeling.

          • Sarky

            I think that might have gone straight over your head.

          • Anton

            You are so Righteous, Brother.

          • Sarky

            It’s coz i lost that lovin’ feeling!

          • Snap ….

          • Anton

            Indeed, I’ve done the same in the past!

        • How Righteous of you Brother.

        • It’s knocked the BeeGeesus outta him.

    • You do know that commission and Christ’s authority was passed to the Apostles and their successors.

      • William Lewis

        Are you saying that only the Apostles and their successors can make disciples?

        • Paul Greenwood

          He is simply trying to relay the doctrine of “the divine right of bishops”

          • Divine responsibility …. and all responsibilities carry the necessary rights.

        • Where has Jack said that? It is the Apostles and their successors who spread the Gospel throughout the world, lead the People of God and preserve and dispense the sacraments.

          • William Lewis

            You made a point of saying that the commission; to go and make disciples of all nations, was for the Apostles and their successors.

          • So it was and so it remains. Peter and the Apostles were commissioned to start the Church and given the authority to build it up, to lead it and to convert the world. They and their successors, appointed helpers.

          • William Lewis

            And, praise the Lord, they made disciples who made disciples who made disciples who made … etc.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Of the Apostles only John died a natural death and seemingly most of the others were crucified.

      • Anton

        Yes indeed – to all Christians.

        • len

          Jack only believes stuff the Pope tells him .God doesn`t count for much with the RCC.

          • Jack believes in the words of Christ concerning His Church.

          • Anton

            Jack actually believes what the Magisterium tells him about the words of Christ.

          • Jack does have a mind of his own. By the grace of God, he has come to Christ through His Catholic Church.

          • len

            A true miracle then.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Did Stephen the deacon and first martyr have authority from God or not?

        • What authority are you referring to? There are any different types of authority. He didn’t have Apostolic authority, if that’s what you mean.

          • len

            Pipe down on the lower decks.

      • len

        Not helpful at all…

      • alternative_perspective

        That cannot be true.

        The text clearly states “make disciples of all nation”. This is a universalist position and does not restrict participation.

        The text then says: “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”
        That command includes to go to all nations. Therefore it follows that all who obey must “go and make”.
        Although I affirm Catholicism in many ways, the theology of the ecclesia is one area I strongly disagree.

        • Catholicism rests on its theology about the authority of the Church invested in the Apostles by Christ.

          • len

            A fallacy invented after ‘the donation of Constantine’ was discovered to be a RCC forgery

          • That concerned political and territorial authority, not the Church’s authority, given by Christ Himself, to lead the People of God.

          • len

            Bit naughty though forging documents, whatever next?.

          • Anton

            The pseudo-Isidorean decretals upon which infallibility rests (via Aquinas and Gratian), that’s what.

          • len

            How can apostolic succession work when sometimes there was no Pope, One Pope sold the Papacy to the highest bidder.And then two Popes excommunicated each other at the same time.
            Just doesn`t work does it?.

          • Anton

            Plus its questionable and certainly unscriptural succession of episkopoi. For others, though, the succession of faith is enough: I was converted by a Christian, who was converted by a Christian, who… who was converted by an apostle, who was converted by Christ.

          • It’s most certainly not unscriptural for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

          • Anton

            I’d have said it wasn’t unscriptural for those with eyes to hear and ears to see.

  • None of the above

    It is HG, not the bishops of The Society, who is “obfuscating the meaning of ‘true'”. Guiding Principle 1 requires that it be acknowledged that clergy are “the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy.” To then speak of this as if it referred to “true validity” or “true ordination” is to fail to grasp a fundamental distinction between orders and office – a failure which indicates either mischievous misrepresentation or simple ignorance. The Principle is precisely worded, and uses the terms it does for a reason: not to provide convenient loopholes, but to say exactly what it intends to say and no more. There is no contradiction in the Principles, and no need to amend them, but simply to insist on them being applied in the sense in which they were plainly intended.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Yet, ‘true’ and ‘lawful’ are combined by the conjunction ‘and’. It seems to me that they cannot be ‘true’ without being ‘lawful’; and they cannot be ‘lawful’ without being ‘true’?

  • bluedog

    Sometimes, Your Grace, a circuit breaker is required to resolve a particularly well-entrenched and apparently insoluble problem. The current Supreme Governor of the CoE is approaching an age, God bless Her, that is well beyond the statutory age of senility and it seems unlikely that she would be prepared to offer counsel apart from ‘Do try to patch things up’.

    However one notes that the Monarch’s spouse was until his marriage, notionally Orthodox. Indeed, HRH Prince Phillip appears to retain Orthodox sympathies, having apparently visited Mt Athos with his son and heir. HRH Prince Charles has a speculative mind and has never been afraid to say what he thinks. Would Orthodox thought be part of his Christian witness? One can imagine that his conversations with his Primate might be especially intense should Charles eventually accede to the throne at an age at which he retains his faculties. And this in itself may be a problem if HM Queen lives as long as her late mother. In short, as things stand, it seems unlikely that the Supreme Governor of the CoE will be interventionist for at least the next decade. While the cat’s away the mice will assuredly play.

    Over to you, Theresa.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I doubt The Queen has any great theological position save that she knows The Commonwealth diverges markedly from the Princes of The Church in England

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Queen’s position is a terrible one which I would never wish on anyone. IC of the CofE, but only nominally because Synod has set itself up as that now. And if she ever dare say anything publicly beyond profess her faith in Jesus Christ (which she clearly has) she won’t even be in that position.

      I credit her with more intelligence than some, believing that she has chosen her course in the knowledge that by keeping the monarchy in existence the very worst of the depredations of liberalism have been slowed. She is probably hoping for the revival of true faith for which some of us here pray for regularly (next Saturday, 15-20 centres across the UK at least, 8 in Yorkshire; one in Teddington, Middx; one in Exmouth I think – 10am to 12 in some, 10am to 11.30 in others).

      Join one if you (plural – all who read this blog) really care, or set one up to join in the concerted prayer effort if you (plural – all who read this blog) really care.

  • Sarky

    Ha ha can i be cardinal sin??
    Id happily give up my diocese of poundland for that !!!

  • Sarky

    I turned my notifications off, it was driving me mad!!!

  • Paul Greenwood

    How can you make Presbyterians “Bishops” ? Why not simply make them all rabbis ?

    • CliveM

      The Church of Scotland accepts the concept of Bishop and allows for the possibility to have them.

      • Paul Greenwood

        but doesn’t have them

        • CliveM

          It’s come close.

          It does use the title, but not in the way usually understood.

  • Father David

    Wasn’t it Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Dreyfus rather than Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau who played with the revolver in his study?
    I seem to recall that he succeeded in blowing off his nose rather than cutting it off to save his face!

    • ChaucerChronicle

      I seem to recall a scene where it was Inspector Clouseau who fingered a revolver with his right eye twitching.

      • dannybhoy

        I loved this scene where Herbert Lom (Dreyfus) on the road to recovery after a mental breakdown receives a visit from the newly promoted Clouseau…

    • dannybhoy

      Peter Sellers in Inspector Clouseau mode was truly hilarious, and Sellers himself was arguably the greatest comedic talent of the twentieth century…

      • Anton

        “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here – this is the War Room!”

        • carl jacobs

          Never forget that the SAC crew made it to the target.

  • Father David

    Definitely Herbert Lom with the twitching eye.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Your recall is better than mine.

    • len

      Clouseau drove him entirely off the rails.

  • Anton

    I see that the Church of England is to appoint a bishop for ethnic minorities in England.

    Perhaps it might consider appointing a bishop sometime who cares about the majority culture?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      The majority have liberal and orthodox bishops – who deeply care about the flock.

      • Anton

        That means the majority have liberal bishops, and liberal bishops don’t care deeply about Jesus Christ or they wouldn’t be liberal in their theology. If they don’t care about Christ, how can they care about Christ’s flock?

    • dannybhoy

      Ethnic Christian minorities?
      How could you have a bishop for ethnic minorities of other religions?

      • Anton

        It’s the Established church, it appoints a bishop for all whether they are interested or not.

        • dannybhoy

          I think that would be an example of New Anglican Pantheism/ Univeralism/ Arrogance/ Desperation.
          Having read several of these recent threads on the machinations of the Anglican Church, it seems this Church that I pray for is actually heading towards Universalism.
          Maybe Jack T Chick was right after all….
          https://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0094/0094_01.asp

          • Dominic Stockford

            Much of it is already there.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      A bishop for Christians might be nice…

      • Royinsouthwest

        Really, Mrs Proudie. Don’t you realise how important it is to be “inclusive”?

        If I remember rightly there was an episode of Yes Prime Minister in which Sir Humphrey patiently explained to the Prime Minister that it was important to chose someone for the office of Archbishop of Canterbury who would maintain the balance between those clergy who believe in God and the clerics who do not.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Ah yes, dear Roy, Sir Humphrey…spot on as usual!

        • chiaramonti

          Actually, it was the appointment of the Bishop of Bury St Edmunds. As Bernard said to Hacker, “with the church of England you get either a knave or a queen.”

      • len

        Think we had one once.
        But times have changed.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Now we are getting “Virtual Bishoprics”. Great ! We had Bishops, then Suffragan Bishops, now Virtual Bishops – we can get from 165 to 1000 if we keep going and get those congregartions to fund this top-heavy structure

      • Anton

        How about a Bishop for the internet?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Maybe I can be Bishop for my own back garden – as long as I get the requisite Bishops’ salary of course.

        • Royinsouthwest

          We already have our very own archbishop for that and although not all who read his sermons agree with everything he writes he is respected by dour Calvinists and Happy Catholics. Even Sarcastic athiests take the trouble to read what he writes!

          • carl jacobs

            Whadaya mean “dour”? I laughed.

            Once.

      • Artificial intelligence and hologram technology offer the way forward. A bishop present in every church – offering endless possibilities of gender, shape, design, culture, colour and theology, and easily reprogrammable as tastes change.

    • Sarky

      Isnt that what the other 40 or so are for???

      • Anton

        You would hope so. But they clearly don’t give a damn.

  • len

    Make me really angry that the Church has become such a catastrophic failure for the Kingdom of God.
    It seems now that the total depravity of the death cult known as IS is coming to light.A’ sink hole’ has been discovered in Iraq when people were butchered and then thrown in, even whole trucks with passengers were driven into this sinkhole.
    These killing fields of Iraq will go down in history with the Nazis, the Pol Pot regime,The Gulags of Soviet Russia, and all the other atrocities that man has created in his total depravity.Famines are sweeping Africa and now into the middle East.
    Meanwhile’ the church ‘sleeps……………or discusses gay sex or good disagreement…..

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Church of England, Len, not the whole church of Christ. Though I grant, the church of Scotland and ECUSA, and others too such as Methodism and the Baptist Union, are as guilty of looking at only one of the confrontations that is currently going on – and they’re caving in before that. What will happen when Islam *really* confronts them face-to-face? I hate to think.

      • Anton

        The hierarchies will be chopped off (generating unity) and the nominal Christians within congregations will be forced off the fence; pray that they come down on the right side. It will be important to explain that this is not Christ abandoning his church, but Christ purifying His bride. How can we not be glad of that?

        • Dominic Stockford

          I hope you are right. And I hope your prayer comes about!

    • Paul Greenwood

      The Rotarians are a mode for the C of E. They have events, try to do good works and try to offend noone. It seems that most of these Bishops etc and a lot of congregations see Rotary as the model. “Church Militant” is a bit too abrasive for them – remember the threefold-denial of Christ ?

    • Sarky

      The church sleeps???

      I think it’s god who is asleep.

      • Navarth

        People, not God, are wholly responsible for human depravity. That is what sin means.

        • Sarky

          But god allows it and is therfore complicit.

          • IanCad

            Free will Sarky; Free will. If we didn’t have it life would be not worth living.

          • Sarky

            “The free will argument is one of the easiest holes to exploit within religion. Their god is omniscient, and knows everything everyone will do in their lives for the entirety of the human species existance, so free will is an illusion at best. At worst a cruel lie.”

          • IanCad

            No Sarky; throughout the Bible we are invited to choose. That God is omniscient is not to be denied. Neither can foreknowledge be d

          • Sarky

            Why??

          • Dominic Stockford

            Though the doctrine of Predestination doesn’t deny free-will. But lets not get into that. We haven’t the time or space.

          • Depends which “doctrine” you accept. There are at least three that Jack is aware of.

          • IanCad

            You’re correct Dominic; in the brevity of a blog generalization has to be the norm. Strictly speaking I should have pointed out the irrelevance of free will within the doctrine of PD.
            Time and space!!?? To add to the volumes written on OS & PD! Both topics have been mooted about before on this blog but not in depth.

          • len

            As humans we are all complicit in the crimes of humanity.

          • Sarky

            The difference is we don’t have the power to stop it.

          • len

            We can make a difference.How many people ‘walk by on the other side of the road ‘because they do not want to get involved?.

          • Sarky

            Not me.

          • Paul Greenwood

            That made sense for Germans in 1941 but why is it impossible in 2017 in UK ?

          • Sarky

            Because no country has ever been able to solve the world’s problems.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Well certainly ISIS did not exist before the US created it. Saddam had no ISIS and Blair and Bush changed all that. Syria had no ISIS until US exfiltrated Al-Qaeda from Libya and into Syria with weapons bought from Bulgaria. Syria was a secular state just like Iraq where women were free to have careers and none of the Saudi or Iranian rubbish. So you can blame Uk and US foreign policy for destroying the secular regimes of the Middle East – Egypt was rescued from the Muslim Brotherhood by a coup. Western policy created these messes and you are a Voter in a Western “democracy”

          • len

            ISIS are under the same spiritual influences as the Nazis and many others.
            It is a spiritual problem.These evil spirits are as old as time itself they just work through different people.

          • Anton

            So am I but I didn’t vote for Blair or Bush.

          • len

            If one of your children grew up , left home then got injured would it be your fault for not protecting them better?. Perhaps you shouldn`t let them ever leave the building?.Free will can be a dangerous thing?.

          • Holger

            Sarky didn’t create a world in which children could hurt themselves. If they did, it wouldn’t be his fault because he is not omnipotent and cannot therefore protect his children from hurts that are beyond his control to prevent.

            God on the other hand is supposed to be omnipotent. He could prevent us from hurting ourselves. But he doesn’t. He created a world where we could hurt ourselves, or at the very least he did nothing while we hurt ourselves, when he could have stepped in and protected us.

            If this god of yours was a real father, any human court of justice would have convicted him of neglect and abuse centuries ago. What would happen to you if you abandoned your children at birth, leaving them alone in a hostile world with a rule book and no other guidance? You’d be in prison before you could say “feckless father”.

            God is exactly that: a feckless father who has buggered off leaving his children with nothing but a storybook to help them make their way in the world. Those who complain about fathers who don’t take any responsibility for their children should perhaps look at their god first and ask why humans should be criticised for following his example.

          • Anton

            Look, do you believe he exists and is feckless or do you believe there is no god? You can’t have it both ways.

          • len

            All know that God exists.But not wanting to be held accountable they deny him.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Then, the Good Lord laughs and says: thy will be done.

          • len

            Exactly.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            On the one-hand He dignifies us, on the other what terrible powers He entrusts us with.

            My God, what have we done.

          • Holger

            I’m not trying to have it both ways.

            The likelihood of the Christian god existing is so infinitesimal that to all intents and purposes it’s zero. That being the case, anything I say about him is purely hypothetical.

            If your god existed, he would be a feckless father and therefore far from benevolent. As it happens he doesn’t exist so he can’t be either benevolent or malevolent. But if he did exist, as described in the bible he would be malevolent, not benevolent.

            Christians not only delude themselves into believing god does exist, they compound the delusion by claiming he’s benevolent. All I’m doing is pointing out the inherent lack of logic not only in the initial claim, but also in the consequences that flow from it.

            If you’re going to have a delusion, it could at least have internal logic and coherence.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger

            You must have a reference-point to ‘calculate’ likelihood.

          • Holger

            The reference point is clear. Take all the documented and independently verified occurrences of men with magical powers coming back from the dead and compare them with every other person who’s ever lived and died – permanently, of course – and you can easily calculate the odds of resurrection.

            Shall I type it out for you?

            0,0

            Not much wiggle room in that figure, is there?

          • dannybhoy

            “The likelihood of the Christian god existing is so infinitesimal that to all intents and purposes it’s zero. That being the case, anything I say about him is purely hypothetical.”
            So what are you doing here?
            You surely accept that those of us on this blog who are Christians aren’t going to be shaken in our faith, so what are you doing?
            From a Biblical viewpoint you are heaping troubles upon your own head. You can’t prove there is no God, only that you don’t like the God presented to you.
            So you don’t know what happens after death, even though the Bible makes it clear that we will all answer to our Maker for what we did in the flesh..
            We Christians are convinced that there is a Creator God, that He is three persons in one, and that He loves us individually and wants us to enjoy eternal life with Him. Perhaps more immediately we are in love with the person of Jesus Christ who is the most wonderful and perfect human being to have ever lived, and we believe He willingly gave up His life for us.
            Now list for me all the faults and failings of Jesus Christ and why we are stoopid to want to be His disciples…

          • Holger

            Jesus Christ is a composite literary character who may – and I repeat “may” – be based on an historical prophet (and we have no proof of this), but whose story has been exaggerated and embroidered to the point where it’s nothing more than outrageous and fictional hagiography.

            You’re stupid to follow him because he’s not real. You’d be stupid to follow Gandalf or Albus Dumbledore for the same reasons. Characters who are written to be perfect can arguably be seen as ideals to emulate, but not as real people to follow.

            You don’t know what happens after death either. All you think you know is written in the same work of fiction that presents Jesus as a real person. Your story is just a fantasy, yet you claim it represents reality. Only you have absolutely no evidence to prove this. All you have are your unfounded claims.

            I know I won’t change your mind. You’re far too gone in delusion for that to happen. It’s conditioned your brain like a drug and now you need it to survive. But others read these exchanges. If I can present a case that makes them doubt the ravings of the religionists, I’ll have achieved something.

            I’m quite happy to see you gibber away until the end of your days when oblivion will finally silence you. After all, the decision to believe engages your personal responsibility, so you only have yourself to blame. But others who are not as far gone in religious addiction as you might be hauled back from the brink by reading sense and logic rather than superstition and gibbering, so it’s for them I write, not for you.

          • len

            God gave us a manual by which to live, if some of us have thrown away that manual and do our own thing we have no right to complain.

          • Holger

            God gave us nothing. The bible was written by humans. If there was a glowing first edition written in angel dust on unicorn velum sitting on a cloud surrounded by chanting cherubim, and the whole lot was floating about somewhere in Jerusalem bathed in a permanent holy light, then we’d have pretty compelling proof that it was something out of the ordinary. But all we have are mundane and ordinary books containing heavily edited script telling us all sorts of ridiculous stories that were clearly written by men, for men, in order to control men.

            Your bible isn’t a manual. It’s a rule book. And an outdated and obsolete one at that.

          • dannybhoy

            “God on the other hand is supposed to be omnipotent. He could prevent us from hurting ourselves. But he doesn’t. ”
            You absolute dodo!
            Where would faith be if God constantly stepped in “lest we dash our foot against a stone?”

          • Holger

            Why is faith necessary?

            Do your children have faith in you?

            No. They know you exist because they’ve met you and interacted with you. They don’t need to have faith that somewhere they have a father because you’re there to prove the point to them.

            God could have arranged things in a similar manner, but he chose not to. Why? Well clearly it’s convenient for a non-existent being not to have to appear to his believers. It’s rather difficult to do that when you’re just a figment of their imagination.

            Faith is just a justification for delusion.

            And in any case, according to your bible, the angels see god and they still have free will. The proof – if the story is real, of course – is the course chosen by Satan. He knew god existed but still he rebelled. What clearer proof could there be that seeing god does not remove free will?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            He didn’t create a world where we could hurt ourselves – He created the exercise, at our level of existence, of free choice.

            Our ancestors chose.

            We choose.

            Holger, chooses.

          • Step11Recovery

            He created a world where we could hurt ourselves, or at the very least he did nothing while we hurt ourselves, when he could have stepped in and protected us.

            Virtue requires such a world. Courage, generosity, charity – pick any truly noble human action and you will find that it’s nobility is grounded in suffering. Of self, another or both. Remove suffering and we will never be more than drones.

            Suffering is a necessary evil (and it is evil) and it is human sin, that obsession with ourselves and our appetites, that ensures it’s continuation.

          • God created the first humans with full intellectual God created the first humans with full intellecin our hearts about how to live in perfect peace and happiness with Him and others. However, being omnipotent doesn’t mean God withdrawing human free will and choice. We were offered a choice – trust God or rely on human autonomy to determine the rules for ourselves. The rest is history.

          • Holger

            No, the rest is fantasy. Like Adam and Eve. And Balaam’s ass. And the resurrection.

            History is documented and independently verified. That’s what transforms it from legend into fact. Show me a single event in the gospels that benefits from any independent verification. Where are the coins from the period bearing Christ’s name? Where are contemporaneous histories? Where are the tomb or temple inscriptions? Or the records of miracles and resurrections in the annals of neighbouring cultures?

            The only “evidence” we have is controlled by the Church and was pieced together and heavily edited to tell the same story at least 2 generations after Christ is supposed to have lived, possibly more. As such it’s highly dubious and must be viewed as at best a romantic glorification of something that was probably much more mundane. Desert prophet meets sticky end and the old codgers who followed him (and the scribes who wrote down what they said, as well as the priests who edited it in order to sex it up) embroider his story and turn him into the messiah. That’s what the bible is: mundane facts given the Hollywood treatment. It should carry a warning “This work has been loosely adapted from the life of a certain Jesus son of Joseph who may or may not really have lived, but don’t let that bother you or get in the way of a good old rip roaring yarn.”

          • Sarky

            I’m not all powerfull though!!!

          • Dominic Stockford

            Can’t have them in a building, it might fall on them.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            So that’s it Sarky. Something happened to you – and you’re blaming God.

            God’s sovereign isn’t He?

            He’s ominipresent; omnipotent and omniscient?

            If Man, any man, ultimately, had Free Will: he’d be a new creature wouldn’t he?

            We Judaeo-Christians can’t have it both ways can we?

            What happened Sarky?

          • Sarky

            Nothing happened.

            When you take off the god goggles, christianity makes no sense.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Sarky, I’m too experienced.

            So knock it off. You’re only at risk of fooling yourself. That my friend, is dangerous to you.

          • Sarky

            Knock what off? Seriously nothing happened. I grew up in a christian family and had a great childhood. Just never believed any of it.
            Sorry if that doesn’t fit in with the biography you’ve created for me, but that’s the truth.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Sarky, what happened to your Dad?

          • Sarky

            Whaaat?? Nothing. Gonna be celebrating his 76th in a couple of months.

          • CliveM

            Well that’s a truism.

            Eliminate God and of course Christianity makes no sense.

            But God can’t be eliminated.

          • Sarky

            He can…and many like myself have.

          • CliveM

            Ignored perhaps, but only for a while.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Sarky may like to ponder on the fact that Job grew in faith and understanding as a result of the suffering that he, a righteous man, underwent.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Further, the Almighty, Creator of Man and the universe, dignified him, by selecting Job, to fight with all his might for the honour of His name alone: before men and angels.

            What an honour.

            My.

          • William Lewis

            Good allows you to reject him. Good allows you to choose evil. He is complicit in giving you a choice and he allows evil but he is not complicit in evil.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Aye.

            On the one-hand: no automatons.

            For how can an automaton be capable of love, hurt, excitement, despair, hope?

            On the other, no surrender of Sovereign power.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Lewis, I’ve read your post a number of times. You have more humility, love and compassion than I do. God has blessed you with elegance in your writing.

            You’ll make a good pastor, one day soon, my son.

          • William Lewis

            Goodness. I’m not sure that’s right but thank you, CC.

          • Sarky

            I’ve never chosen evil.

          • William Lewis

            Then you are the best of men. I hope you are right.

          • carl jacobs

            Or maybe God isn’t a man and doesn’t think like a man. Maybe His ways aren’t our ways and you don’t have a clue why He does what He does.

            Who is it that darkens His counsel without knowledge? You would condemn God to justify yourself.

          • Sarky

            Or maybe god doesn’t exist??

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Well, Sarky?

            Ain’t yer gonna reply?

            It appears that you’ve snookered God and check-mated the Judaeo-Christians.

      • len

        Psalm 121:3-4

        He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

        • Sarky

          In english??

          • len

            Don`t get more English than that. Doncha know?.
            edit innit.

      • dannybhoy

        31 “The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”
        Joel 2:31 (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
        At the heart of our existence is the Creator God.
        I don’t believe He is asleep Sarcy. He gave us free will and we either use that free will in the belief that we are the sum of all things, or we will use it to recognise Him to whom we will answer.
        Our Lord Jesus Christ allowed himself to be put to death on the cross for our sakes that we might be reconciled to God our Maker. If you choose to ignore or mock it is up to you, but on that day you won’t be wittily responding to a blog….

        • Sarky

          No, because I’ll be dead.

          • dannybhoy

            You hope so.
            Your body will of course finally stop functioning and will eventually become dust, but the real you, the Sarky who is aware that he is more than just a biological body will return to God and give account to Him.

          • Sarky

            No. I’m just flesh and bone. When I’m dead, I’m dead.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            That presumes you have no spirit; therefore you must be an automaton.

            And, others must be automatons.

            In such a world, there is no love, no hurt, no care.

            That’s right, isn’t it Sarky: logically, you’ve never been hurt.

          • Sarky

            A spirit??? Of course not. Consciousness is just a load of neurons firing off.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            No wonder, then, your posts are random and incoherent.

            The correct explanation for that, is yours alone.

          • Sarky

            Pots and kettles

          • ChaucerChronicle

            You’re evading the implications of your position – in public.

            You’re integrity is now the price?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Sarky, I’ve taken you at your word. Therefore, as love entails the exercise of choice, and you are determined by random firing neurons; I’ve concluded you can’t love:

            1. Your wife;
            2. Your children;
            3. Your mother and father.

            Do you wish to challenge me?

          • Sarky

            To a duel???

            Why is the fact that chemical reactions and the firing of neurons in the brain, causing us to have emotions, so difficult for you to understand?
            It doesn’t mean you don’t love, just that the explanation for it is different.
            I think you’re just scared because science is unravelling everything you attributed to god.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Sarky,

            Just think about what you have stated and its implications for you and your automaton ‘family’:

            ‘Why is the fact that chemical reactions and the firing of neurons in the brain, causing us to have emotions’.

          • Sarky

            What implications???

            I love them. We just disagree on what causes those feelings.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Yes of course; why is your love random? Is love random?

          • Sarky

            Well….we all fall for different types of people, so i would say yes. However, love for your kids, family isnt, which i would guess is more about evolutionary advantage.

          • Anton

            So, what are those feelings? What is love? You say neurons cause feelings, and whether you are right or not that means that neurons are not feelings. What are they then?

          • Sarky

            The activity caused by them.

          • Anton

            No; feelings *correlate* with particular patterns of neuronal activity, but they aren’t those patterns themselves. With a good MRI scanner and an atlas of brain states I might be able to say to you that the person whose head is inside the scanner is feeling love or hate at nay particular moment, but nothing of that tells you what love and hate ARE. Do you see what I am getting at?

          • Sarky

            Absolutely. I would assume that love and hate are just how we interpret those signals.

          • Anton

            But by what lights do we interpret them; and who are “we” come to think of it? There is something more, isn’t there?

          • Sarky

            I doubt it.

          • dannybhoy

            So all that you love and value in life, your wife and kids and wider family is all due to misfiring neurons?
            All that happens in human interactions is down to neurons firing off??
            You’re not that stupid Sarky..

          • Sarky

            No im not. If its not the case, how do you explain the total change in personalities caused by brain injuries.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s a very good question Sarky, one which has never occurred to me.
            I hope it doesn’t happen to you, because it might mean that although you continued signing your posts as ‘Sarky’, we wouldn’t recognise you…

          • len

            Cyborg?

          • Sarky

            Only a matter of time!!

      • God is still busily involved in Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. We still have the greatest revival in history going on in China, and things are getting very exciting in Iran, Egypt and other Moslem countries. God is certainly not asleep.
        That He is not obviously busy in Britain at the moment suggests that Christians in this country need to be busy in prayers of repentance for all the nonsense that gets described on this site week by week.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          I say, Mr Marprelate: an outstanding rebuke!

          Thank you.

        • Sarky

          I don’t suppose that there is any correlation between the poor and uneducated taking it up and the rich and educated anandoning it.

          • 1649again

            Oddly the opposite in China where it’s the wealthy and educated who are converting, followed by the educated middle class. Think again my dear Sarky – the educated middle class have had enough of atheistic materialism and finding what they need in Christianity.

          • Sarky

            Funny, all the research I’ve done shows its growing quickest amongst the illiterate and semi-literate.

          • 1649again

            Far from it from what I’ve read. It’s mainly in the cities for the present and there’s some sons of very wealthy Chinese business people at my son’s school.

          • Sarky

            A few kids out of 1.3 billion people is hardly a case study.

          • 1649again

            That’s not what I said. I’ve read a number of articles in the press about it and on line, and that is back up by personal observation at my sons’ public schools.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Hmm. Maybe it has to do with the connection between head and heart? You know, that old WILL to see and to hear (sometimes ours, sometimes God’s)… cf: Mark 4:9; Mark 8:18; Matt 13:15-16; Acts 28:27; Romans 11:8; Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 44:18; Proverbs 20:12; Jeremiah 5:21; Ezekial 12:2, (KJV) etc., etc., ad infinitum.

            We have been warned . . .

          • Anton

            You suggest that the problem with man is in the head. I suggest it is in the heart. Educated man launched communism and two world wars.

          • Sarky

            And advanced medicine, computing and put man on the moon.

          • Anton

            Don’t you realise that you have changed the subject? Those are good things, but they are things of the head. I am glad of them but there are also bad things of the head, such as advanced weaponry. I am talking about the human heart, not the head.

        • Dominic Stockford

          And they should be joining with us on Saturday, in one of the eight centres in Yorkshire, or the other several up and down the country (one in Teddington, Middx., one in Exmouth (?) and other places too) in order to join in concerted prayer for the Christian revival of our nation. 10am until 12 in most places, 10-11.30 in ours due to the ages of most of those attending.

          That is something Christians can get busy in, and would be far better for the nation than picking drunks out of the gutter and getting them safely home so that they can do it all again the next night, having learnt nothing about the world or themselves in the process.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Superb!

          • Dominic Stockford

            Thanks are due to Errol Hulse and Jonathan Bayes, who started this joint prayer time a few years ago. About three meetings a year. Not enough, and not enough turn up to them, but it is something.

          • dannybhoy

            Ditto.

          • Sarky

            The free water is good to wash down a kebab!!

          • Indeed! One in Exmouth, but on the 8th rather than the first, for various reasons. 10am until 12 Noon. We are hardy prayer warriors.

      • Bored listening to you.

    • dannybhoy

      The thing is Len, that ISIS really believes they are being true to Islam, and ‘afaIui’ the Qu’ran teaches that non believers,(you ‘n me) apostates (muslims who recognise the Sonship and Lordship of Christ), and unobservant Muslims who are also fair game for the fires of Hell.
      So the real debate in our nation should centre around the theology of Islam, and whether or not the Qu’ran allows for Muslims who don’t want to kill or convert the (stated) enemies of Islam…

      Islam is a fatalistic religion that believes everything that happens in our individual and communal daily lives is ordained by their god,Allah.
      How they(the devout), then explain children born deformed or with learning difficulties, or the fact that they have fallen behind the West in terms of scientific, economic and social progress leads to intellectual confusion, which ultimately ‘vents’ through Jihad against the unbelievers.

  • Dominic Stockford

    If everyone was a true Christian there might a form of merit in what you say!

  • Anton

    With the first-class cricket season under way in England and the Brexit trigger being pulled tomorrow, not all is bad in this green and pleasant land.

    • len

      You mean the sky isn`t about to fall down when Brexit is triggered?.

      • Anton

        The weather is always lousy for the start of the cricket season.

        • len

          That’ll be Brexit then.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Since Article 50 was invoked the weather has been quite miserable here.

    • carl jacobs

      It’s Cricket Season? Has anyone noticed yet?

      • Sarky

        The chirping at night is a good indicator!

      • betteroffoutofit

        A few little places, maybe . . . e.g. West Indies, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa . .
        They all choose cricket rather than a degenerated version of rugger

        • carl jacobs

          “Yes. Yes! I believe you are right. I most definitely did see some motion in the bowler. I think it was his right arm that moved. That can only mean this test match will get started any minute now and …

          Oh, they seem to be breaking for tea.”

          • betteroffoutofit

            Ah, well you see – it’s all a bit subtle for you, obviously :)*. Regardless, though, tea and scones – with strawberry jam and clotted cream – is a wonderful way to break, though.

            * I do understand, actually. Years ago, I suffered similarly through several baseball tournaments in Miami.

    • chefofsinners

      I’m already tinkering with my googles.

    • chefofsinners

      Britain will come out tomorrow
      So you gotta hang on
      ’til tomorrow, come on May!
      Tomorrow,Theresa, I love ya, tomorrow
      You’re only a day away!

  • Dominic Stockford

    Umm, well, not sure how to let you down gently here…. no, can’t do it. So, bluntly, not really! It falls down on the principle of who is a believer, or rather “what makes you a Christian” – the Biblical practicalities of which mean that there aren’t in fact very many. And if you’re not a believer then obviously you can;t share in the priesthood of all believers.

    It does fit the principle of “How to make going to the Church of England fun again” though, as well as the very British love of having a title!

  • dannybhoy

    :0) Martin’s alright. His heart is in the right place.
    Here, I found this article from the Guardian.
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/nov/05/phineas-gage-head-personality
    It doesn’t answer your question but it opens it up a bit, and perhaps some of our more learned bloggers may have useful thoughts on it….

    • Anton

      The definitive (non-technical) book on the subject is The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, a neurologist. There have now been so many head accidents and localised cancers knocking out differing bits of the brain that scientists have found out which parts of the brain control what functions. The book is a remarkable – and compassionate – read.

      • dannybhoy

        Thanks Anton, I rather thought you might respond. Sarky’s admittedly and characteristically red herring question is quite an interesting one theologically.

    • Sarky

      Hi Danny, this is something i find fascinating and there is loads of information out there about it.
      When i was at school one of the kids was run over and suffered a head iniury, when he came back he was totally different.
      Makes you realise that everything you think you are can change in a heartbeat.

      • dannybhoy

        From what little I have read, similar changes have resulted from strokes. People speaking different languages, changes in personality and so on. Then you have things like multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia etc…
        It seems to me that the brain is in some ways similar to a computer. It receives information from our physical senses, it manages and monitors responses, processes other information and is also aware that it is doing so.
        But is our brain the essential ‘us’?

        • Sarky

          I would say the evidence proves thats the case.

          • dannybhoy

            I was hoping that Anton as a man of science might contribute more, but anyway here’s another slant from a Jewish perspective..
            http://www.aish.com/sp/k/48955126.html

          • Sarky

            Intetesting, but I’m more interested in the actual science.

          • dannybhoy

            Dunno where you go for that Sarks. As I said I’ve never thought about it before. There has been research done on people in comas…
            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/coma-patient-ultrasound-breakthrough-jump-start-brain-a7207511.html

          • Sarky

            I think thing like this make you reevaluate what it is to be human.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes but thinking people should always reflect on the exterior world, the meaning of life and the nature of man.
            Of course I do it from a Christian perspective, because I believe that God is the Ultimate Source of all things, and Jesus Christ shows us what it means to be truly human as God intended.
            So of course like you I have questions that I mull over sometimes with others, but ultimately I don’t allow them to divert me from my faith..

          • Sarky

            Is that because you might not like the answers to those questions??

          • dannybhoy

            When I say “So of course like you I have questions that I mull over, sometimes with others”, that means I mull them over, and sometimes with others…
            If I had said,
            “So of course like you I have questions that I dare not mull over, even with others….”
            your comment might make sense.
            Sorry, sarcasm is hard to resist sometimes. You are of course implying that Christians are afraid to face up to anything that might threaten their cosy little fantasy bubble; but that goes against all the evidence.

          • Sarky

            Blind faith then.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re tryin’ ter wind this old man up, ain’tcha!

          • Anton

            Danny, I’m a physicist and know nothing more than any other broad reader about the biological sciences. The issue is not a scientific one but a philosophical one, however, and is called by secular people the mind/body problem. This is what I have been probing with my questions to Sarky about what love, hate and other feelings actually ARE, rather than merely what brain states they correlate with.

  • And you Anglicans think you’ve got problems!

    Gotta feel for Mr M.

    https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/faggotry-on-steroids-in-church/

    • Oh how awful! A homosexual prancing priest flying about to new age music stroking people’s faces. God please help them.

      • Dominic Stockford

        There’s also that RC congregation in London where it is an open secret that there are masses especially for the ‘gay community’, and they have their own RC Bishop too. I knew him. I’m not surprised at the choice. The “Learned Bongley” we used to call him.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I don’t know how representative the video clip is of the whole “service” but it certainly gives the impression that the service is all about him instead of being about Him. The best thing that can be said about it is that the priest is not too bad – at doing somersaults.

      However, I do have suspicions about this Mundabor fellow. His style of writing seems strangely familiar. Are you sure he is not our Inspector General in disguise?

      • Mr M is a Roman Catholic. The Inspector? Let’s be kind … confused … by all his “higher understandings”

  • Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow – West is making a mistake:

    • Lucius

      With all due respect to His Holiness, I would submit that secular-materialism poses a vastly more challenging threat then even the occasional butchery of Christians by pagan Rome. I think the virtual extinction of Christianity in the Middle East is a good case study. There, the Ottoman-Turks did not engage in any wide-scale violent persecution of Christians upon gobbling up the Christian Byzantine Empire. Instead, they made them second-class citizens, subjecting them to higher taxes and depriving them of various professional/economic opportunities unless Christians “chose” to convert to Islam.

      The Ottoman-Turk strategy (curiously labeled by some Western academics as “tolerant”) was vastly more successful than Rome’s sporadic fits of violent persecution, partly because it deprived Christians of blood martyrdom (which despite it’s horrors, did serve as a rallying point for many early Christians), and partly, because the slow grind of social and economic pressure probably proved too much for most. In a similar way, as Christian beliefs become increasingly labeled as “bigoted” or “intolerant,” I think this will lead to greater social and economic isolation, which in-turn will put great pressure on Christians to either give up the Faith or radically re-invent Christianity into something Christian in name only (we are arguably already witnessing this).

      The wildcard is Islam. In the Ottoman-Turk example, there was no spiritual vacuum because the Christians converted to Islam. Secular-materialism arguably cannot provide the spiritual food people have always craved. If secular-materialism succeeds in grinding down Christianity, the question is whether or not a vacuum will be create that will be filled by a more militant and self-confident faith, such as Islam, or perhaps, a more muscular version of Christianity that returns to its roots. Time will tell. Thanks for the video.

      • Royinsouthwest

        What will fill the vacuum? Fascism, but it will be called by a different name to give the impression that it supports freedom.

        • Anton

          Something like National Socialism, perhaps…

    • Anton

      This man holds such an awesomely high position in the church that he is exempt from 1 Corinthians 11:7 !

      • Well Anton, I think they do remove their Klobuks or whatever head gear they are wearing when praying. I do believe it is correct for Orthodox Bishops who are Monks to keep their Klobuki on, or for Patriarch Krili the koukoulion on most of the time.