religion without holy spirit william booth
Church of England

Is the Church of England doing religion without the Holy Spirit?

Much has been written about the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, or the Paraclete; the third person (hypostasis) of the Trinity. In fact, so much has been written over the centuries that there cannot possibly be any more to be said, and what follows is not an attempt to do so. Pneumatology deals with the person and works of the Holy Spirit; the Archbishop Cranmer blog deals with those thorny questions and prickly propositions which few others seem to want to bother with. And this post is concerned with the prescience/prophecy of William Booth and its possible application to the Church of England; the proposition that the Established Church is doing religion without the Holy Spirit. So here follows a bit of ecclesio-pneumatology, or, to be more specific, if you will tolerate the commingling of late Latin prefixes with Greek nouns, a bit of Anglo-ecclesio-pneumatology.

‘..when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth‘ (Jn 16:13).

Have you ever noticed that any particular scriptural interpretation you hold or ecclesial preference you have happens to coincide perfectly with those of the Holy Spirit? His theological truth is yours; His behavioural morality is yours; His hermeneutic of continuity is yours. Handy, that, isn’t it? If someone doesn’t agree with you, they’re obviously wrong, because God Himself has revealed these truths to you – either directly as you read your Bible in your quiet time; or indirectly by the inculcation of revealed truth through the curated tradition of cumulative centuries.

So, if the Holy Spirit reveals to you in visions, dreams, mental pictures or feelings which illuminate Scripture that women may be priests and bishops, and a man may marry a man, and a woman a woman, this individual revelatory experience is prophetic because God has revealed this to you directly. His notion of justice is yours: your understanding of equality is His. And if the Holy Spirit has revealed to your church over long centuries that priests may not marry and that women may not even be deacons and that two men or two women most definitely may not enter any kind of sexual union of any kind, this corporate revelation is prophetic because it sustains the New Testament pattern for prophecy of forthtelling, even if some in this camp believe it doesn’t do any such thing and incline more toward individual revelation. One man’s prophet is another man’s heretic.

Or one woman’s…

There’s a manifest problem, isn’t there, when the Spirit who is supposed to lead believers toward visible unity reveals such a plethora of divergent if not mutually exclusive truths that the end result is confusion and division. So, either it is not all of God, or the Holy Spirit is divided. But since Jesus can’t be divided, it must follow that it is not all of God. So how do we sift divine thoughts and intentions from human thoughts and intentions? How do we ensure that we are listening to God and not just our own consciences; submitting to His will and not just serving our own agendas?

The problem is not new. There are truths which were not previously known and not otherwise knowable apart from God. These need to be proclaimed anew in each generation, and that ‘anew’ demands the application of human reasoning and the deployment of the vernacular, otherwise it becomes foolishness to the Greeks. This is applied, heart-searching preaching. But the touchstone is the doctrinal content:

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deut 13:1-3).

The Holy Spirit reveals Bible truth: any direct revelation which deviates from this cannot be from God. Those who believe they teach or preach and minister prophetically cannot and should not be disassociated from the impartation of divine knowledge already available. The Holy Spirit reveals truth; He does not leave us to thrash it out by rational thought.

And these truths usually aren’t remotely comfortable: taking up your cross daily; giving all you have to the poor; feeding the hungry; housing the homeless; suffering with the persecuted; loving your neighbour as you love yourself; loving your enemies… It’s all a far cry away from the contemporary obsession with self-edificatory exhortation – if it feels right and good to me, it must be of God, because God is love, and so what I love is of God, because love is of God, and everyone who knows God is born of love and knows God.

How does this apply to the Church of England?

Well, it doesn’t. For those who survey nothing but the church’s interminable wranglings over matters of gender, sex and sexuality, and then cry ‘Ichabod’ (1Sam 4:21, 14:3), the glory hasn’t departed, not least because Jesus promised: ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world‘ (Mt 28:20), and ‘I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it‘ (16:18).

But it does apply to some individuals within it.

Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some‘ (2Tim 2:18).

The problem is not the Church of England, for the church is filled with many humble, faithful servants of the Lord, who do indeed take up their crosses daily; give a very great deal of their time to helping the poor; feed the hungry in foodbanks; house the homeless in winter shelters; suffer with the persecuted… These people are the church of England, who have chosen to use their gifts serving the Church of England.

But then there’s the hierarchy, the leadership, the teachers, some of whom are false teachers whose doctrine is not reported or refuted. In 2Tim 2:14-26 we glimpse those who are teaching the error, or heresy, that the resurrection has already taken place. Substitute here any modern false teaching you wish. There is a context, a tradition, a seeking after truth. When Judaisers (with all the law) meet Gnostics (with all the knowledge), there is nothing and can be nothing but interminable contradiction, dissension, controversy and deception.

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called‘ (1Tim 6:20).

Perhaps this is where we now find the Church of England: so many spirit filled Christians are doing so much spirit-filled work in so many parishes, and this goes largely unreported and unknown, for who wants to read about good news? But the leading Bishops and governing Synod are captivated by complex and delicate questions of orthodoxy and catholicity, and this is divisive and dangerous, and this becomes the lens through which the world discerns the church’s character and apprehends its mission. The judgment may (justifiably) be that the Church of England is hopelessly anachronistic with its ideas of deviancy and distortions of justice, but the implication must then be that some within still guard an original, authentic deposit of truth which was given to the saints.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them‘ (Mt 18:20).

While the Holy Spirit reveals to you that the Church of England is apostate and heretical, it is worth remembering that the early Christians came to be regarded as heretics by orthodox Jews, and Jesus was considered apostate, having been found guilty of blasphemy against God because of the claims he made for his own person. And Stephen, the first martyr, was confronted with the charge that he had blasphemed against Moses and God (Acts 6:11 cf vv13ff). St Paul was similarly charged (21:21, 28). Not all heretics and apostates are anti-Christ.

And not all churches which challenge received orthodoxies and question longstanding traditions are necessarily worthy of ‘Ichabod’. However, the god of this world may certainly have blinded the minds of some of those among us (2Cor 4:4). Our task is to discern, to correct and rebuke, and to gather and pray. And then to preach Christ and him crucified. As long as two or three are gathering in prayer and doing that, the Holy Spirit remains.

He may, of course, have told you differently.

  • Is this not what Ezekiel prophecied?

    “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins … Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, ‘The Lord declares’, and expect him to fulfil their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, ‘The Lord declares’, though I have not spoken?” (Ezekel 13:1-7 – he goes on to proclaim the Lord’s judgement against these prophets).

    Those who lie and say “Thus says the Lord (or the Spirit)” when the Lord has said no such thing will face His judgement.

    “Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:3)

  • Martin

    So you’re saying that the believers in the CoE should reject and ignore those who claim to be their leaders and do their own thing?

    That being so, what is the point of remaining in the CoE?

    • layreader

      The point of being in the C of E, at least at the moment, is to make life uncomfortable for our leaders. Schism doesn’t give you the power to do that. To remind the Bishops’ Bench of revealed truth, and, perhaps, what happened to Ridley, Latimer and indeed ++YG when they stood up for revealed truth. They won’t like that. They are far too busy thinking they have finally climbed the greasy pole, and made it to be part of the liberal elite. Strange, is it not, that a generation that spent its life and career chipping away at authority really does not like being challenged when it itself becomes authority?

      • Martin

        Actually leaving, it is not schism for they have departed the faith, will make them far more uncomfortable when the financial support from the believers is withdrawn.

        • layreader

          Not necessarily. The C of E made £1 billion last year in investment income, but it only spent £200 million on the church. Lots of ‘treasure on earth’ there.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Let them have every penny of it if they demand it. It will be a powerful witness to what each side values.

            One point to consider: the Church of Jesus Christ is supposed to have faithful overseers. The trouble with staying in a state of war with the substantial portion of the bishops is that it means that oversight is not being given and worse that it is actively tainting the church’s respect for godly authority. The denomination I left the Anglican church for is by no means perfect, but after years of cynicism towards leaders whose very fundamental faith one had cause to question from tjme to time, I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have senior leadership who actually hold to thr Gospel.

          • Andym

            Could you provide a link or a reference for that?

          • layreader

            Try this one….

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/05/21/church-england-enjoys-stellar-returns-investment-fund/

            17% return on 7.9bn is slightly over the 1 billion mark. Of this 230m went to the ‘mission of the church’. That leaves in excess of 700m to give them even better returns next year. As I said, a lot of treasure on earth.

          • Martin

            Yep, they don’t like spending their investments and would rather spend what is given. Having to dip into the pot more frequently will certainly give them pause.

          • layreader

            I inserted a reference to that last statement, but it seems to have disappeared. Here it is again…

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/05/21/church-england-enjoys-stellar-returns-investment-fund/

      • David

        Hear, hear. Those of us who cling to orthodox, conservative interpretations of the Bible have every right to remain in the C of E. Indeed it is likely that with numbers of such congregations holding their own, or rising gently, and the wishy washy liberal churches shedding worshippers, it is likely they we could inherit the C of E. The problem is the liberal nature of the majority of bishops of course.

  • dannybhoy

    Quoting General William Booth eh?
    Things are looking up..

    “The Holy Spirit reveals Bible truth: any direct revelation which deviates from this cannot be from God. Those who believe they teach or preach and minister prophetically cannot and should not be disassociated from the impartation of divine knowledge already available.”
    Spot on.
    God has revealed all that we need to know about His person and what He requires of us through the Scriptures. Once we have grasped this truth no more need be discussed, we need to live it, to do it.
    And as we do it the Holy Spirit will lead us further.
    And stretch us further.
    And grant us new depths of ministry, and deeper revelation.
    But He will never, ever, deviate from the authority of the revealed Word of God.
    I take on board
    “..for the church is filled with many humble, faithful servants of the Lord, who do indeed take up their crosses daily; give a very great deal of their time to helping the poor; feed the hungry in foodbanks; house the homeless in winter shelters; suffer with the persecuted… These people are the church of England, who have chosen to use their gifts serving the Church of England.”
    It is.
    I have had fellowship with two vicars whom I hold in great regard for their sense of calling, their awareness of their own flaws, and their pain when congregations or individuals have criticised or attacked them. Yet they do what I could not do; they persevere in ministering and leading an Anglican congregation with all the problems that come with being ‘a broad Church’…
    Great post YG.

  • SonoView

    I agree with some of what you say. But the weak point of your argument (and indeed of those in the churches who believe that the Holy Spirit is leading them into “new” truth today) is that John 16,13 (and indeed the whole upper room discourse) was given to the Apostles. In its context John 14, 25-26 could only have been for the apostles. It is from this that they derive their apostolic authority (1John 1-3; 2 Peter 1, 16-18 and in many other places). They claimed a unique authority and their teaching and witness is the whole basis of the Christian faith. Paul particularly bangs on about this in his letters.

    Of course there are things that may be hard to understand, and we need the Holy Spirit to guide our thinking as we study the word, even Peter agreed with that (2 Peter, 3, 15-16). But our faith is based on the historical truths taught by the apostles, and they were not slow to challenge and rebuke any who taught a “different” gospel (Gal. 1, 6-9). And let’s be blunt; there are many churches which are teaching a different gospel from that proclaimed by the apostles – particularly the gospel of “inclusivity” and “tolerance” (good things in themselves, but not at the expense of truth).

    With regards to God writing “Ichabod” above churches, then let’s use a New Testament picture. In the letters to the churches in Revelation Christ (through John) states explicitly that if the churches do not repent he will remove their lampstand (witness), Rev. 2, 5. So the Holy Spirit will abandon churches which have become apostate. If you go to Asia today none of those churches have survived! And I am now having serious doubts as to whether the C of E, and indeed some of the other older denominations, will survive. Please God that I am wrong.

    • dannybhoy

      God has a programme which starts up whenever something new comes along or something established becomes corrupted.
      It is 100% effective and its name is ‘Ichabod’ meaning There is no Glory, or ‘The Glory has Departed..’

    • Anton

      There is still a Christian presence, ie church, in Smyrna (modern Izmir).

  • Ray Sunshine

    … there is nothing and can be nothing but interminable contradiction, dissension, controversy and deception.

    Where would Your Grace’s comments threads be without interminable contradiction, dissension, and controversy. Not so much deception, though, unless I’m deceived about that.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Some of those who add comments seek to sow “dangerous deceits”.

  • Inspector General

    The Holy Spirit. God’s will as performed by his angelic messengers.

    There must be countless billions of the things, these mysterious immortals. Nine choirs of them, so it is said. No doubt all shapes and sizes and specialities.

    They don’t get much of a mention in the main, and it’s not surprising. If you insist on persisting with man’s fabrication that is the Trinity, then you must accept that. Accept that their role in it all (past and continuing) must be assigned to this Holy Spirit.

    Which comes to the next point. What’s all this business about waiting on the Holy Spirit to guide us. If God makes direct contact via an angel then yes, be guided. But don’t count on it. Best assume that the sending of Jesus Christ was enough. Did he not say that whatever was bound on earth would be considered bound in heaven? We really are on our own down here and we have to accept that. We know we are on our own because of what goes on in this curates egg of a planet.

    If we are daft enough to deviate from the clearly patriarchal nature of Christianity by appointing not just women bishops but women priests then daft enough we be. Until a time yet to come when we finally have enough of their meddling, their compassion, their compromising, their feminism, and we return them to their position of support behind the lines. We don’t need the Holy Spirit to tell us that. Just our common sense.

    • len

      The entire problem with religion is summed up in this sentence.
      ‘We don’t need the Holy Spirit to tell us that’.

      • Inspector General

        ??

    • dannybhoy

      You forget John 14..
      “15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
      and.
      “25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
      The Holy Spirit is a person of the Godhead IG.
      How?
      I dunno, but quite clearly our Lord believed the Holy Spirit is a person, an expression of the Godhead. Not an angelic being.

      • Inspector General

        Danny. We have to consider the possibility that Jesus used personification
        to explain himself, rather than submit a scientific paper. It looks like he got
        the essential over. What we have then is the Holy Spirit (a helper) is thus a messenger, not a deity or directly part, thereof. One’s main point.

        • dannybhoy

          I feel your confusion.
          But however difficult it is for us to comprehend the Scriptures (both Covenants) make it clear that God is one, as in a compound unity..
          The Godhead communicates within itsself.. The Father speaks to the Son, the Holy Spirit comes down in the shape of a dove yet abides within us, and can be grieved..
          That is frankly impossible for me to understand and yet clearly taught..
          Here’s two websites that outlines the Biblical references to three persons within the Godhead..
          http://jewishroots.net/library/messianic/compound-unity-clues.html
          https://ministrymaker.com/trinity-the-unity-and-oneness-of-god/

          • Inspector General

            Danny. There is no firm foundation for the Trinity. The concept wasn’t around during Christ’s ministry, and it seems incomprehensible that he would not have mentioned it even obliquely.

            Right at the end before he disappeared, he could have ‘come clean’ about his true nature. He was beyond his detractors then, and after his miraculous return from death, he could have said anything to the assembled and it would be, well, held as gospel.

            Furthermore, his impending disappearing act meant he didn’t risk death (again) from the authorities. One should think declaring yourself God would set another crucifixion off or even a burning.

            The onus is on Christians who are Trinitarians to
            justify their claim. They can’t. It is heresy. Christ
            reverts back to whom he told us he was. “Sent by his Father in heaven”. The immortals can claim God is their father. Their creator. We can’t. And being immortal does not a god out of you make.

          • dannybhoy

            You can’t deny all the Bible references that point towards God, God’s holy Spirit and God’s only begotten Son, the Word.
            It is more of a heresy to deny the clear statements and implications of those passages and verses in both Covenant accounts.

          • magnolia

            The baptism of Jesus for instance. Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father….quite clear it would seem to me. All the middle chapters of John, time and again the Trinity. I think the IG is really a unitarian and that leads one into very murky waters of law-keeping, miserable anxiety, and self-improvement manuals!

          • Inspector General

            Nay, sir. Nay and thrice Nay. YOU Trinitarians hold by something that wasn’t around during Christ’s time and was introduced well after his departure and so it falls to YOU crowd to justify its existence. And you’re going to have to use better language than ‘clear implication’. No such thing as clear implication. It the implication was clear in the context you are trying to use it, it wouldn’t be implication! It would be explanation…

          • dannybhoy

            Whaddya keep calling me a trinitarian for?
            I’m not a trinitarian, I’m a Christian. I wrestle with theological/Biblical issues the same as anyone else; as a Christian.
            Now please have a look here..
            https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/8958/did-early-church-fathers-understand-the-doctrine-of-trinity

          • carl jacobs

            A Christian is by definition Trinitarian.

          • dannybhoy

            But you don’t go around calling yourself ‘a trinitarian Christian’ do you?
            Or do you?
            The concept of the trinity is a part of our faith, but we as Christians worship the person of Jesus Christ.

          • ardenjm

            We worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
            One God in Three Persons.

          • dannybhoy

            Hair splitting.

          • ardenjm

            Not really. The “person of Jesus Christ” is, very technically, open to an ambiguous interpretation:
            We worship the Person of the Son (or the Word). Whilst there is a human nature in the Incarnate Word, there is no human person – in the way you and I are human persons. Rather there is only one Divine (and thus eternal) Person who is hypostatically united to the human nature He has assumed from the Blessed Virgin. One Person – the Divine Person – Two Natures (human and divine.)
            The God-Man Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate.

            You’re welcome.

          • dannybhoy

            Wasn’t meaning to be rude, just that the IG is questioning the concept of the trinity -which I believe is inescapably Biblical;
            And I wanted to focus on that not introduce something else, such as the nature of Christ.

          • ardenjm

            Understood.
            All good.

          • Inspector General

            It’s called unquestioning, or blind, faith.

          • ardenjm

            Well what a ‘meh’ response.
            Fideism is a relatively later appearer on the scene of Christian belief – although arguably you could make Justin Martyr a kind of fideist I guess.
            In any case, if you knew anything about the dogmatic councils you’d know they were anything but ‘unquestioning’.

            Try again.
            Do better.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You must accept your limitations of human understanding. There are concepts which will always remain mysteries.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Three Persons In One God.

          • carl jacobs

            No and I don’t call myself an “I believe in the Risen Christ” Christian either. It’s part of the definition. To say “I am a Christian” is to say “I am a Trinitarian” as well as to say “I believe in the Resurrection of Christ on the Third Day”. Without the Trinity, the Lord Jesus can’t be called God and we shouldn’t be worshipping Him at all.

            We worship God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We neither divide the nature nor confound the persons.

          • dannybhoy

            Exactly,
            Part of the definitions we Christians might discuss in a Bible study or discussion group.
            But not in our everyday lives.
            I rather feel we are creating a storm in a teacup here. The whole idea was to address the IG’s arguments against the concept of the Trinity, not start waddling around like a bunch of penguins squawking at each other..

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, as part of our everyday lives. The deity of Christ demands it. He is both God and Man. That’s not just a point of interesting discussion in a Bible study. It’s a central essential claim of Christianity. Those who deny it testify against themselves that they are not Christian. (Yes, I know exactly what I just said about the Inspector.) Christianity does not consist of some vague self-definition of “following Christ”. It has essential content that must be believed.

          • dannybhoy

            But as I said to the learned ardenjm,
            “Wasn’t meaning to be rude, just that the IG is questioning the concept of the trinity -which I believe is inescapably Biblical;
            And I wanted to focus on that, not introduce something else, such as the nature of Christ.
            I’m sure you’re right in all you say Carl, but that was not the main focus. The main focus was the IG and his assertion that the Trinity is heresy.
            “Squawk!”

          • Inspector General

            Not so. A Christian is a follower of Christ. Not man’s invention.

          • carl jacobs

            The Gnostics could credibly claim to be “followers of Christ”. It’s a meaningless expression until you give it substance. And here is the thing. You don’t get to decide what it means.

          • CliveM

            It seems to be universally accepted that you are a JW. So no Christmas, birthdays (probably a relief), no Easter, but you can celebrate your wedding

          • ardenjm

            When did the Jehovah Witnesses get to you, IG?

          • Inspector General

            We’ll never know how many Trinitarian bishops at Nicea were flat earthers, but a man of learning such as you ardenjm will have seen the maps of earth from the time and a long time after. With Jerusalem at the centre. From such ignorant stock was the nature of Christ decided.

          • ardenjm

            And no doubt in 1500 years time, should Our Lord not have returned by then, we will look back at the “ignorant stock” of those living in 2017.
            Your argument is crassly vainglorious:
            The Truths were revealed to a humanity which will ALWAYS be “of ignorant stock” – since our nature is fallen – and yet Our Lord chose to come to us 2000 years ago, amongst the stock of a stable, to tell us Eternal Truths which we try our best to understand and articulate both mostly just announce to an often unbelieving World so clever at disbelieving that which will do it good…

            So when DID the JW’s get to you?

          • Inspector General

            The point being made is that simple knowing man from the time was self-centred and narcissistic. Not their fault. If you don’t know any other, then earth is the centre of creation. Did one mention pride? Stick pride in there too. Without substantial cause to do so, same men decided that Christ is also God!

            Who’d have thought those ignorants could be that bold!

          • ardenjm

            Indeed.

            Unless they were being faithful to what He revealed to them.

            Which they were.

            So again, let me ask you for a third time: When did the Jehovah Witnesses get to you, IG?

          • Inspector General

            Now Now ardenjm. You do not have leave to directly question the Inspector. The very idea! As it happens, JWs are shall we say deluded to a degree that prevents any association with them. Besides, mainstream Christianity NEEDS this man before you.

          • ardenjm

            “You do not have leave to directly question the Inspector.”

            Fine.

            Go to Confession and repent of all this heterodox nonsense before you lose your soul: “To those whom much has been given, much will be asked.”

          • Inspector General

            The problem is scale. The bishops at Nicea couldn’t have known the vast extent of the universe. Asked today if it is at all likely that the creator of heaven and earth and much much else they wouldn’t have known about, eg electricity, walked this earth 2000 years encapsulated in a man’s frame even they must say no. Come on ardenjm, get with them…

          • ardenjm

            encapsulated

            there’s your error
            He isn’t ‘encapsulated’.
            The Incarnation doesn’t limit the Divinity.

            And the Church Fathers had a clear enough understanding of both the infinite and the eternal to know that God’s nature couldn’t be ‘contained’ within human nature.
            Why, St John’s Gospel says as much!
            “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
            Indeed not! The Universe cannot encapsulate The Divine Word.

            And you still need to go to Confession.
            When was the last time? Three years? Five?
            I’m guessing we’re into triple figures of weeks given the nonsense you’ve been coming out with.
            And for pity’s sake. Go to a Catholic priest who believes the Faith and is informed about it: The Oratorians are very good most of the time.

          • Cressida de Nova

            With heavy heart I must agree with your statement
            ” Go to a Catholic Priest who believes the Faith and is informed about it.” I am old enough to remember a time when that would not have even been a consideration.

          • ardenjm

            “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth?”

            One more sign of the Times…

            Maranatha.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jack is back in hospital again .Please pray for him.

          • CliveM

            Thanks for the information. If you are able to say, is this cause for particular concern? Or routine?

          • Cressida de Nova

            He is being operated on just about now….so say a prayer for him. I cannot give you any more details but as soon as he recovers he will be back. This blog is a very important to him and he has a lot of affection for many of you on here .Thank you for asking, Clive. When I have some news I will let you know.

          • CliveM

            Yes I will pray for him. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

          • IanCad

            Thanks Cressie, for keeping us informed about a long-time friend. Prayers again for him.

          • ardenjm

            Fiat voluntas tua…
            secundum verbum tuum.
            Ecce servus Domini – nunc et in hora mortem eius…

          • Anton

            This might surprise you, but in regard to the divinity of Christ I once recommended to the Inspector that he do exactly that.

          • Anton

            About what are they deluded, Inspector?

          • Anton

            The ancient Greeks were first to deduce that the earth is round and it was common knowledge in the wider Greek world by the time of Nicaea.

            They no more thought the earth was flat because they made a projection of it onto paper than we do. In any projection of the globe there is of necessity going to be a central point. Jerusalem was chosen for obvious reasons.

          • Anton

            Yes, that’s what his beliefs are closest to.

          • Anton
          • Anton

            Right at the end before he disappeared, he could have ‘come clean’ about his true nature. He was beyond his detractors then, and after his miraculous return from death, he could have said anything to the assembled and it would be, well, held as gospel.

            Inspector, he did not do that for the same reason he did not leave us with photocopies of the front pages of the newspapers for the subsequent 2000 years, even though he knew them.

          • The Snail

            My dear Inspector – you are sounding more and more like Clouseau!

            If you believe God is Love then who or what did he Love before he made anything? Love is a reification of Loving someone or something. – a verb converted to a noun.

            Trinitarians have no problem with this since- They (the Trinity)all love one another.

            I would point out that in Genesis it says “Let us make man in our own image” – the Hebrew is most explicit – plural – please don’t say this the ‘royal we’ since I cannot recall any king of Israel or Judah using a royal “we”. Of course in England kings and queens used a royal ‘we’ as in Q. Victoria “We are not amused” but as far as I can recall, never by a King in the Hebrew Bible.

        • dannybhoy

          I don’t see any way (unless one were determined to prove a point) that our Lord was doing that. I think the disciples were struggling to make sense of what they were seeing and hearing. Did they expect Emmanuel – that Messiah would be God in bodily form?
          I don’t think so, they were expecting a leader a deliverer, a man sent fromGod.
          But Jesus in all He said and did made that an increasingly inadequate position to hold.

    • carl jacobs

      Jack, clean up on aisle seven. The Inspector is talking about theology again.

  • Archbishop, you are an English Anglican. Ever since 1662 you have stuck together. But I believe the wider Anglican communion is less cohesive, more fissiparious.

  • grutchyngfysch

    not all churches which challenge received orthodoxies and question longstanding traditions are necessarily worthy of ‘Ichabod’.

    I think this passage exposes what I see as the fault in an otherwise good argument. Sure, there’s a lot of unecesary division over traditions, which creep into every church (even reformed ones) and take the place of divine command (even when they’re not intrinsically wrong). But the critical thing is not just sifting between traditions but recognising the stark, ontological divide between tradition and the Scriptures.

    When we see sectarian divisions of the past rooted in questions like guitars vs organ, plainsong vs choral then all of the above argument is majestically correct. But by and large it is not the ephemera which constitute the deepest present divisions.

    The divisions that plague the CofE are almost all ones where a clear position is announced in the Scriptures with significant portions of the CofE rejecting those positions and the hierarchy struggling daily to make it unclear whether they reject or accept them in order to keep an institional unity which entirely belies the utter theological gulfs that often separate the two sides.

    I don’t need to claim and special or personal insight from the Holy Spirit to know that creating false equivalencies between positions which reject Scripture and those that obey (imperfectly on an individual basis) Scripture. It’s not a matter of pneumatology: it’s a matter of the plain Word of God.

    If someone wants to then claim special spiritual insight which contradicts the Scriptures that person and the lying spirit which has so inspired them should be rebuked.

  • Back in 1899, when General Booth made his prophecy, Christianity was virtually the only religion in town. It would never have entered his head that, within 50 years, the churches would play a key role in undermining the Christian nature of Britain through their welcome of competing religions, one of which, Islam, was a known and violent enemy of Christianity. And the welcome was extended not only by ‘the hierarchy, the leadership’ but by many of the ‘humble, faithful servants’ as well, God help them.

    • dannybhoy

      It wasn’t just that though Johnny, it was a mix of growing disillusionment under the onslaught of evolution and secular humanism, the changes wrought in the structural norms of our society by two world wars, followed by credit fuelled leisure and consumerism.
      Added to that the development of a political system which abandoned morality integrity and probity in favour of pacification of the people..

      • Richard B

        Not to forget the deep cynicism caused by ‘The Great War’ (supposedly Christian nations!) and more…

      • @ dannybhoy—To your list of headaches for Christianity I would add ‘ridicule’. In no other age has Christianity been humiliated to such widespread effect. Brother Nathanael supplies but a few examples in this video.

        • dannybhoy

          Brother Nathanael is the kind of weirdo we sometimes came across in Israel. There is a certain unclean and mocking quality manifest in his utterances, and it makes me want to go and wash…

          • @ dannybhoy—Who disgusts you more, the Jews who mock Christ or Brother Nathanael? If the latter, I’ll add you to the list of Christianity’s headaches.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t work like that Johnny. I know there are Jews who mock, the same as there are Gentiles who mock; but you deal with situations as they arise. You don’t go looking for them.
            I repeat there is something unpleasant about Brother Nathanael, something that disturbs. It’s not so much what he says as the spirit in which he says it.
            I remember once meeting a man who said he was a believer but had a problem with his thought life. He would start by saying how upset he was and then go into ever more repetitive and gross detail..
            There was something disturbing about him too.

          • Anton

            Bobby Fischer, the Jewish chess genius who added chess to the other facets of the Cold War in 1972 (in an episode I still remember vividly), at times professed Christianity yet made some horrifically antisemitic statements. Sadly he was not a particularly balanced individual.

          • dannybhoy

            There are Jews who hate or despise us Gentiles.
            I can understand that.
            There are Jews who somehow have a loathing for their own people which is sad.

            “Sadly he was not a particularly balanced individual.”
            It’s often the clever or brilliant ones Anton, who have these little tics and quirks.
            Obsessions, that sort of thing…

          • Anton

            It’s not only Jews who have a loathing for their own people. Johnny is right about Western leaders who have facilitated mass Muslim immigration.

          • dannybhoy

            Yeah, but we weren’t talking about them Anton. You introduced them into the conversation.
            Personally I was happy the way things were.

          • Anton

            Blogs aren’t like two blokes deep in conversation in the snug of a pub!

          • dannybhoy

            They’re not?

          • Anton

            Two blokes can’t be overheard by the rest of the world. Those who write on blogs normally accept that third parties may wish to enter a dialogue.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah.
            Thanks for explaining that to me Anton.
            I was getting into rather a muddle wasn’t I!

          • @ dannybhoy—you deal with situations as they arise

            It’s quite a coincidence that one of the very few Christians who does deal with the Jews’ mockery of Christ makes you ‘want to go and wash…’

          • Anton

            Can you assure me that Nathanael is more accurate here than in that 5-minute clip of his which you posted last week that contained about 5 egregious errors, all of which I detailed here?

          • @ Anton—I don’t see much scope for inaccuracy. Brother Nathanael simply plays extracts from Jewish shows and comments on them.

          • Anton

            Disgraceful clips, to be sure. They show the debasement of Western civilisation in the modern era. You can find as bad from secular gentile comedians about Christianity, sadly. Sex is the medium though which Satan has launched his attacks in this era.

            I’d add that Orthodox Jews will take just as dim a view of Silverman portraying God as a human being with whom she has sex as I do. Nathanael repeats his claim that the State of Israel is genocidal, which is nonsense: the Jews could wipe out the Palestinian Arabs tomorrow if they wished, something which has been a fact for several decades. Nathanael talks about demonic malice, but that comes in many forms.

          • Anton

            Here is some more nonsense from Bro Nathanael:

            He says the idea that the Jews still had a role in history originated with the Scofield Bible in the early 1900s, and that the church had correctly understood itself for centuries as what St Paul calls the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). Whatever that phrase means, Nathanael is ignoring Paul’s words in Romans 11:28-29 saying that “as far as the gospel is concerned, the Jews are enemies on your account, but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Paul is speaking here about Jews who reject the gospel, so the definition of Jewishness that he is using here is not one that is conditional on faith; the ‘patriarchs’ are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/ Israel. It is shocking that Nathanael, who assuredly knows the Bible, keeps silent about this passage when discussing this subject.

            This fact was rediscovered after the Reformation by the English Puritans above all, and plenty of them were Zionists on that account – including Francis Kett in the 16th century, Thomas Draxe, Thomas Brightman in the early 17th, Giles Fletcher who had been Queen Elizabeth I’s ambassador to Russia, Joseph Mede, professor of Greek at Cambridge, and John Owen MP, a theologian and senior administrator at Oxford University, to name but a few. To say this view began in the early 20th century is nonsense.

            Why should one trust Nathanael?

          • @ Anton—Many thanks for your explanation. From watching some of Brother Nathanael’s other videos, I gather that the Russian Orthodox Church isn’t overly fond of Jews (rather like the Western churches in their heyday) and that may influence his thinking. Or perhaps some Bible passages translate differently into Russian. I freely admit that my knowledge of theology is severely limited; I watch Brother Nathanael mainly to keep up to date with current Jewish doings and their implications for the West.

          • dannybhoy

            I rather doubt he is a Christian.
            Ephesians chapter 4..
            “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

          • @ dannybhoy—I rather doubt he is a Christian

            Then Brother Nathanael’s video, My Journey Into The Orthodox Church, must be a pack of lies.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t know. I shall watch the vid tomorrow.

          • Anton

            I think it is rash to say he is not a Christian. As for what sort of Christian he is, I googled him and found an interesting entry at RationalWiki, which included an external link to an archived article from Metapedia. Both are interesting reading.

          • dannybhoy

            I doubt
            -not ‘he isn’t.’
            But no you’re right. Danny was shooting from the hip again..
            I watched Johnny’s vid. I can still say in my younger years I came across ‘one offs’, eccentrics and even cranks.
            I think you should invite him to your church Anton. :0)

  • len

    The can be little doubt that God’s perfect Creation became corrupted with sin ,disease and death.
    Could God’s Word(the Bible) may have been corrupted by man including writings into the Canon which shouldn’t be there and rejecting scripture which should be there?.
    Of course the Living Word(Jesus Christ Himself ) is incorruptible and His Words will stand forever but what of all else?.
    Of course the satanic deception is’ to doubt the Word of God ‘but we have the Word of God and can defeat satan exactly as Jesus did by quoting God’s Word back to the accuser.
    There seems to be a division between the Words of Jesus and the words of the apostle(some term him ‘apostate’) Paul.
    Much of the confusion about Christianity and the denomination disorders comes from the doctrines of Paul and other additions that have placed upon [and over]the Words of Christ.
    Be interested to know what others think?.

    Is the church following a false Christ having left the real Christ outside of the church?.

    • The Snail

      Hello Len,

      I think it would be most helpful if you were to give more detail, as to where you believe Jesus and St Paul are at odds, with regard to the Holy Spirit..

      To many, your comments will come as a shock, particularly the blame attached to St Paul for the many denominations.

      Some of Paul’s letters predate the Gospels and thus give us an early view of Christian beliefs.

      I think what I am saying is that if you give ex cathedra statements which contradict 2000 years of Christian belief – then you should try to back them up with a few facts.

      • len

        Hello snail,
        I have felt for a while now that I was mainly following the teachings of Paul and that Jesus has been relegated to a minority role in the Gospel, this surely cannot be right?
        There is a definite transition when Paul takes over the gospel and Jesus is left behind which leaves me feeling very uncomfortable.
        https://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/175-pauls-contradictions-of-jesus.html

        • Martin

          Len

          Surely if Scripture is God breathed then it is all Jesus’ words. And I disagree with that website.

          • len

            Jesus warns about false Christs and false prophets .
            Who has applied these tests to paul?

          • Martin

            Len

            Peter:

            And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
            (II Peter 3:15-16 [ESV])

            And, of course, millions of believers since.

          • len

            Thanks Martin.

        • dannybhoy

          Many believers have noticed the same thing Len, but perhaps this is our Lord adapting the Gospel for non Jewish believers? I don’t think the early (Jewish) Church would have been able to get the message across from a purely Jewish perspective.
          (and before Jack jumps in) even though there were proselytes.
          For example the Tenach as I see it, is largely a Historical Record / Manual come Encyclopaedia of the development, flowering and withering of the people of Israel as a nation.
          Our Lord did not say much about what would become of Israel after the destruction of the Temple in AD70, but we do know that Jewish communities had sprung up across the known world, and people like St Paul would be well versed in the cultures and religious beliefs in the Roman world..
          I think there is a different emphasis, but as far as this Pooh of little brain has been able to fathom, those differences remain focussed on the person of our Lord Jesus.

          • len

            I think you have hit the nail firmly on the head Danny, there is a difference between the disciples and Paul’s preaching .I think it was as you have said the disciples to the jews, Paul to the gentiles.This has caused a fair bit of confusion becaquse of their different preaching.
            Thanks for your posts.

        • Ray Sunshine

          Len, that website you link to looks pretty suspect. Or, to put it more bluntly, a load of skubalon (thank you, Your Grace, for that Greek lesson). Their list of 25 so-called “contradictions” starts off with this:

          • Jesus Says Not To Eat Meat Sacrificed to Idols, But Paul Says It Is Ok

          Since I didn’t recall reading about meat sacrificed to idols anywhere in any of the four Gospels, but only in Acts and the Epistles, I was curious to follow that up. If you scroll down to where they start elaborating on these 25 doubtful assertions, you will find this:

          Three times Jesus in the Book of Revelation condemns eating meat sacrificed to idols, even saying this is the doctrine of a false prophet. (Rev. 2:6, 14 (Ephesus); Rev. 2:14-15(Pergamum); Revelation 2:20(Thyatira).)

          When they propose to tell us “what Jesus said”, it turns out they haven’t found anything in the Gospels to back that up, but only in Revelation. That looks to me like deliberate dishonesty. I’d chuck the whole thing in the dustbin, if I were you.

          • len

            Quite likely that is what I will do, thanks anyway.

        • Anton

          Yes there is a transition, because Jesus spent his whole life under the Law of Moses, which gentile believers in Him are not. It is a mandatory law code for a nation, and a man could not opt out of it (except by living outside the borders of ancient Israel). The church by contrast is an opt-in group of volunteers. That is why there is a transition, which Paul explains and eases.

        • dannybhoy
          • len

            Thanks Danny but I remain unconvinced about Paul.

          • dannybhoy

            All will be well Len. God bless, keep and comfort you.

          • len

            Will do Danny.

        • carl jacobs

          Jesus spoke by the Holy Sprit. Paul spoke by the Holy Spirit. There is no difference in authority.

          • len

            Jesus was authenticated by Bible prophecy and he was authenticated by true prophecy(the fall of the Temple.)
            Who authenticated Paul?.

          • Anton

            The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15)?

          • dannybhoy

            Am I the only one? My comments seem to appear on different versions of the blog.
            Eventually they all appear on the same page, but for instance..
            to Len thirty minutes ago.
            “Revelation on the road to Damascus
            (there were others with him.)
            Barnabas,
            Peter and the other Apostles.
            His writings.
            For me the difference in emphasis between our Lord and St Paul is that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, born as a Jew into the nation of Israel, and concentrating on the fulfilment and verification of His Messiahship.
            So who is Jesus addressing? The Jews. To whom is He explaining the Law and the Prophets? The Jews. To whom is He explaining the nature of God? The Jews.
            Paul is an educated Jew, a Pharisee, a man of fiery temperament. Fallible and flawed, just as all the disciples were.
            But it is Paul who our Lord uses to spread the Gospel into the Gentile world.
            We don’t see many letters coming from the other disciples, so we can’t compare understandings.
            And frankly I don’t think we need to. We need to accept salvation through Christ the Son of God, and grow in faith, faithfulness and fruifulness.”

          • len

            Yes, Thanks Anton.

  • David

    It is in practice not difficult to know which teachings and interpretations of the Bible are supported by Tradition and Reason. It is also easy to identify the novel and dangerous ideas, which the progressive liberals introduce in an attempt to modify the traditional ones, as they are driven by the changing political and social attitudes – in short the spirit of the age.

  • Jon of GSG

    There’s an obvious risk of sounding holier-than-thou in saying this, but as for

    “Have you ever noticed that any particular scriptural interpretation you hold or ecclesial preference you have happens to coincide perfectly with those of the Holy Spirit? His theological truth is yours; His behavioural morality is yours; His hermeneutic of continuity is yours.”

    it’s about the least true thing I can say of myself regarding the Spirit, and I know I’m not alone in that. I’ve lost count of the number of times the Spirit has shown me errors in my thinking, and can think of one particular case where he showed me not only that I was wrong but that I held a position which was more or less exactly the opposite of the truth on a particular point of doctrine + scriptural interpretation. Surely though this is really most people’s experience of the Spirit?

    If it’s genuinely true of you that the Spirit always agrees with you then I’m sure you need to do something about it, although I wouldn’t like to be too specific about what – maybe a lot more prayer is in order.

    • magnolia

      Agree wholeheartedly until the last paragraph. I think His Grace was being somewhat tongue in cheek and that he doesn’t really think the Holy Spirit is always in agreement with him.

  • Norman Yardy

    His Graces comments on the work of the Holy Spirit in the C of E (or the lack of it) and is a robust and carefully considered review of the current status of the church leadership working with their own inspiration and perspiration rather that being open to the true Spirit of God and leaning on his direction.
    Booth’s 100 year old prophetic words are of great interest to us in these days.
    Religion without the Holy Spirit is just one aspect but that predominantly affects the Church which for years has had little effect on society.
    Christianity without Christ is the church of today. Let’s worship a God of our own making.
    Politics without God is the great destroyer of our green and pleasant land. New social concepts are turned into laws that bind us to sin because they know no better. Even so called Christians in politics sway with the tide of public opinion.
    Heaven without Hell is the mantra of the unbelievers (and some believers). God can’t be so wicked as to send good people to Hell. Can He?

    • IanCad

      An excellent post – subject to the understanding that Hell is the destination of those judged to be unfit for Heaven and, in that function, is a place of eternal, irreversible destruction – not an unending torture chamber where souls writhe in everlasting flames.

  • Jon of GSG

    “So, if the Holy Spirit reveals to you in visions, dreams, mental pictures or feelings which illuminate Scripture that women may be priests and bishops…”

    Is there something a bit, er, peculiar in starting a post with the rightness of William Booth’s dictum and moving on very quickly to how wrong (presumably) the Salvation Army was from almost the beginning to have women in ministry?

    • Dominic Stockford

      HG believes that women are perfectly fine in ministry – on which point he is in sharp contrast with most commenters here.

      • Jon of GSG

        Oh dear, well in that case I’ve misunderstood maybe the whole thing. Not for the first time… better re-read maybe.

      • dannybhoy

        If He can’t find a man.
        Miriam, Devorah and Huldah were called to positions of authority and leadership..

        • Dominic Stockford

          If there is ‘a’ man then he can find a man* – yet HG congratulates women on being appointed to bishoprics – there are clearly men available.

          *If there is only one man then, no matter what humans might think, God has that man in mind.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I agree with that. It’s the God ordained order of things.
            The wife and I often discuss the issue of authority.
            When she’s in the mood of course..

    • Mr Booth was perfectly correct in his dictum, but less so in allowing women to preach.
      Alas, the Salvation Army today is in no better condition than the C of E; most of its Temples can scarcely muster enough people for a decent brass band.

  • len

    The christian Gospel has been grossly misrepresented by those seeking an easy answer to their own mortality.
    Say a quick prayer and you have purchased’ a ticket to heaven’.This goes down well with those seeking an ‘insurance policy’ when they eventually leave this Earth.
    But from what Jesus sometimes said you might actually have thought he was trying to put people off following Him.Jesus was of course testing their resolve and their true intentions.
    Following Jesus is not an easy path it needs a great deal of commitment and determination.
    An’ easy Gospel’ is not what Jesus or the disciples preached.
    ‘Pauline Christianity’ (The Gospel according to Paul) has seemingly overtaken the Gospel of Christ much to the detriment of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Here are a few examples.;
    https://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/175-pauls-contradictions-of-jesus.html

    • Oh dear! Oh dear! To try to drive a wedge between the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul is (to put it mildly) not the way to revive Biblical Christianity. Do the promoters of your link suppose that these supposed discrepancies were not investigated hundreds of years ago and dismissed as red herrings?
      The Bible does not contradict itself. Properly understood, Paul is in perfect harmony with the Lord Jesus.
      But you are right that following Jesus is not an easy task. As Paul says, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22).

      • len

        If we remove Paul from the Gospel will Jesus be enough?
        If we say’ No’ then you have your answer.

        • dannybhoy

          Jesus is Lord over all,
          our Alpha and Omega.
          I firmly believe there is no conflict between the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel proclaimed by Rabbis Saul who through divine revelation became the Apostle to the Gentiles.

          • len

            If you think Paul should be in the NT what is your proof?.
            Jesus is authenticated ,as are the twelve (chosen by jesus and the disciples)
            Who authenticates Paul(apart from himself)

          • dannybhoy

            Revelation on the road to Damascus
            (there were others with him.)
            Barnabas,
            Peter and the other Apostles.
            His writings.
            For me the difference in emphasis between our Lord and St Paul is that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, born as a Jew into the nation of Israel, and concentrating on the fulfilment and verification of His Messiahship.
            Paul is an educated Jew, a Pharisee, a man of fiery temperament. Fallible and flawed, just as all the disciples were.
            But it is Paul who our Lord uses to spread the Gospel into the Gentile world.
            We don’t see many letters coming from the other disciples, so we can’t compare understandings.
            And frankly I don’t think we need to. We need to accept salvation through Christ the Son of God, and grow in faith, faithfulness and fruifulness.

          • len

            The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.(Revelation 21.14) Not 13?

          • dannybhoy

            Was Paul accepted by the other Apostles? As Anton pointed out in Acts 15 the answer is yes.
            If St Paul was called by the Lord I doubt very much he would be worried about being one of the twelve with his name on a wall of the celestial city.. :0)

          • len

            It seems the other apostles were somewhat confused by Paul’s preaching as I myself have been.But I believe it’s good to examine these things in the light of day and to get the views of other Christians on these matters.
            Thanks to all who reciprocated.

          • dannybhoy

            It was great that you raised the issue on the blog Len, some people would have kept it to themselves.
            I went through something very similar a while ago, and had to think and pray about it a lot because it was something that hadn’t really registered before.
            Your questions helped me.

        • It is not that Jesus will not be enough; the Bible would not be enough. You cannot fully understand what the Lord Jesus has done for us without reading Romans, Galatians, Ephesians and the rest. You cannot snip bits out of God’s word.
          I think you might want to read Jeremiah 36.

    • Ray Sunshine

      Len, that webpage you’re linking to is not worth the paper it’s printed on. Please see my earlier comment addresed to you, a bit further down.

      • len

        Duly binned.

  • John

    What if the Holy Spirit IS leading the church into new things? In Acts 10 Peter was told to eat foods previously forbidden by God in the Old Testament. It was hard to come to terms with. “Surely not Lord!” He thought the Bible was clear on the matter. It was. But God was doing something new.

    The thing is, whenever the Holy Spirit is truly at work, he brings life, blessing, and growth. In the case of Peter and the vision about unclean food, it led to a major breakthrough for the gospel – Gentiles started to come to faith in huge numbers.

    If the Holy Spirit is leading the church into exciting discoveries of truth (on human sexuality for example), you would expect that churches promoting the new ideas will be growing, and vibrant. But they are not. In fact, quite the reverse: these denominations are in steep decline, and church closures are accelerating. God is leaving the building. At the same time, local churches that felt they had no choice but to leave their liberal denominations, even at the cost of lawsuits and losing their buildings, are thriving.

    A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Thus by their fruits you shall recognise them.

    • carl jacobs

      There are plenty of growing churches that are faithless. [Cough] Joel Osteen [Cough] Prosperity Gospel [Cough cough]. Liberal churches decline because they preach a religion that doesn’t actually require religion. Orthodoxy does not guarantee growth, and faithfulness is not revealed by numbers. Remember that Jeremiah was a miserable failure by the standards if the world.

    • ardenjm

      1. The fruit and trees analogy is on an individual, not collective level, I suggest.
      2. The Holy Spirit won’t contradict the Deposit of Faith in Christ Jesus.
      3. Our Lord in the Incarnation speaks of Himself as accomplishment of the Law, and treated of the question of the food laws as the Gospels tell us: “And thus declared all foods clean.”
      4. Pentecostalism is almost certainly a confusion and quite possible a diabolical one in some extreme cases. See Knox’s ‘Enthusiasm’ on the discernment of the Spirit and true and false renewal.
      5. The Holy Spirit is indeed sent to ‘reveal the things to come’ and ‘lead you in to all truth’ but this won’t contradict the Truth already revealed in Christ Jesus.

      • dannybhoy

        That Toronto Blessing thing was weird, and from my own little investigat

  • magnolia

    This reminds me of the story of the little girl watching her Vicar father writing a sermon, and asking:

    “What are you doing Daddy?”
    “Writing down what God is telling me to say to people.”
    “That must be very hard, Daddy.”
    “Not really. The Holy Spirit gives it to me.”
    “Then why do you keep on crossing bits out and re-writing them?”

    ( I should add that wherever the story comes from it reflects how little girls really are, not the IGs version dressed in a pink tutu playing with bits of pretty pink fluff and feathers.)

  • David

    In essence the liberal component of the C of E is attempting to appease the zeitgeist. It seeks to mould anew the faith “once delivered” into one that accommodates contemporary ideas of individualism and self-determination, as opposed to surrender to and obedience to God. Man now wishes to worship himself and be god, whist retaining the warm glow of salvation and outward trappings of the Church. This is of course doomed to failure as it misses the central point of Jesus’ call to us all, to recognise our fallen natures, repent and then be gradually transformed into new creatures by humbly and obediently following his teachings. The Holy Spirit has departed from all those churches except the few that still commit to upholding orthodox Biblical teaching.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “How do we ensure that we are listening to God and not just our own consciences; submitting to His will and not just serving our own agendas?”

    There is only one way read the Bible and follow what it clearly teaches – such as no women ministers, the sinfulness of homosexual activity, and the lack of need for a human head of the worldwide church.

  • Charitas Lydia

    The Church of England is apostate. The few faithful Christians who continue to remain within her fold; many of them in congregational-like churches that have little to do with their bishops, are the church of England. But how long can the sheep be led by apostate shepherds?

  • CliveM

    Wise words from William Booth. How few now listen and those who don’t do so are not limited to the CofE.

    Although it’s always possible to score a few cheap points at it’s expense.

  • ardenjm

    huh?

    • CliveM

      Simply defending IG Catholic orthodoxy!!

      • ardenjm

        By this point IG is even less of an orthodox Catholic than that old heretic Cranmer (the real one, not our ersatz wannabe host.)

        • CliveM

          “Wannabe host”? As far as I can see there’s no “wannabe” about it.

          Manners maketh man.

  • not a machine

    Congratulations to HRH Prince Harry and Megan Markel on there engagement.
    Your grace gives some thought to a difficult subject not just for those in the way of the Christian faith, but a difficulty to those that make their first enquiry or encounter. The first aspect is if the CofE is placing the Holy Spirit in a place where it is easier to not bother with it, as it can and does, makes fools of any of us who claim to wield its power, but have not understood it appears to be only a perfect thing with perfected humility (so appears in my journey so far).The CofE I have had much to rent my garments in two and apply ashes over, in terms of change, and this is one of them, as your grace points out, it is in a world of titles, directors, safeguards, and event management. This may be some sort of response or adjustment to what the non Christian world is thinking, but many who valued its long worked, how shall I say more Catholic and high mass centres, have of the course felt, the re arrangement of things, even when the new occupants seem, to no longer like theological discussion as it’s all so medieval in question and answer.
    My attempt at the other question is “I don’t truly know what the holy spirit is, but I have no doubt it exists”. Many on here have expressed moments that they are clear a holy spirit has been communicating with them, I would use that term also, something beyond what one may term, a mere godless background, and I try and give thanks to God, even though some moments, have not exactly been easy moments.

  • Chefofsinners

    The very idea that a church should be ‘of’ a particular country is a nonsense.
    “My Kingdom is not of this world” John 18:36
    “they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:14.

    We should speak of the Church IN England. The church as God sees it: all those who love and serve Him, in all denominations and none.

  • Chefofsinners

    Religion without the Holy Ghost? Christianity without Christ?
    Surely not. On the day that Prince Harry tells the world that “the stars were aligned” when he met the divorcee that he was destined to marry.
    I look forward to the wedding, to be held on 20th June at our national cathedral, Stonehenge.

    • betteroffoutofit

      It’s the “Heaven without Hell” bit that I keep looking at! As it comes at the end of a Hellish list, I can only recall a certain lad called Milton, who described a certain headlong flight to the place of: “No light, but darkness visible” (PL.1.62/3). And all the way there that silly ego thought it was rising high.

      • IanCad

        Remembering of course, that Milton’s vision of Hell was a product of his own active mind and literary talents, given free rein by the wholly unbiblical and Hellenistic beliefs of an unenlightened clergy and a gullible public.

        • Anton

          He was of the Puritan party and therefore a lot more biblical than England’s clergy.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I don’t believe in astrology but next month Christians (and many non-Christians too) will be remembering a time when a celestial phenomenon caused a group of men to make a long journey, probably from Persia, to Bethlehem.

  • prompteetsincere

    “The Holy Spirit reveals Bible truth: any direct revelation which deviates from this cannot be from GOD. Those who believe they …teach…preach…minister prophetically…cannot…should not be dissociated from the impartation of divine knowledge already revealed…”.
    The Rule of Prophecy is found in + Ezekiel 3:18 – 21
    “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity,
    but his blood will I require at thy hand.
    Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou has delivered thy soul…………………………”
    The Church of England, by the neglect of many of its Pastors, has abandoned this Rule.

  • Manfarang

    Registry office for Harry?

    • carl jacobs

      Not at all. The CoE is quite up to date and modern when it comes to divorce.

      • Manfarang

        Isn’t she a Catholic?

        • Anton

          Mrs Proudie can be relied upon to relay to you and others this blog’s official response. Just wait a few days…

          • dannybhoy

            Lol!

          • Manfarang

            I am sure they are getting the bunting out in Barchester, Mrs. P is going to have a field day no matter how officious.

          • Ray Sunshine

            I very much hope that Mrs Proudie will be on the official guest list, so that she can tell us all about it afterwards. She certainly deserves an invite to the ceremony – provided it’s done in the C of E, of course. With a bit of luck, they may even call upon Bishop Proudie to officiate.

    • bluedog

      St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Intersectional service with something for everyone. It’s not only a love-match but also a dynastic alliance between global Social Justice Warriors and the British Establishment. Expect the Obamas to officiate on behalf of the former. If The Guardian starts a Court Circular column we’ll know it’s worked.

      • Anton

        Quite. Her mother has a degree in social work from a Californian university and works as a psychotherapist and yoga instructor.

        • bluedog

          Solid accomplishments that point towards a higher understanding. One is immensely impressed with Ms Markle’s interviewee technique, she’s clearly very bright, possibly more a politician than an actress. She read the questions beautifully.

          • dannybhoy

            I like Prince Harry. And William.
            Genuine young men that a father could be proud of I think.
            My prayer was that he would find a real Christian girl, feisty like Kate who would be an encouraging and wise helpmeet to him.
            But the Lord in His wisdom…..

          • bluedog

            If you marry a Jewish man in a Jewish ceremony, are you not a Jewish girl? Having lived in Israel, you may know the answer.

          • dannybhoy

            So
            You’re saying that
            because Prince Harry is a member of the Royal Family
            he’s a Christian?
            And that this then makes Meghan a Christian?

          • bluedog

            Huh? Please re-read my post. I’ve said nothing of the sort. The question asked is whether, in your knowledge, a Jewish wedding requires that both participants be Jewish.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh
            I read your post to myself twice and out loud once!
            Danny knows that he is a literal man, not much skilled in or given to subtlety.
            It’s a weakness of mine.
            The answer is
            ‘Absolutely’.

          • bluedog

            Maybe it will be a registry office after all, unless the bride decides to renounce her faith and become an Anglican. If she’s Jewish, there’s no problem with the anti-Catholic clauses!

          • dannybhoy

            I have my misgivings, especially listening to what his love says in 11:10..

            He’s a young man, and as a loyal Englishman I want him to be happy in a stable relationship..

          • dannybhoy
          • bluedog

            Hastings makes a fair point, but it’s a generational thing. We more mature individuals see letting it all hang out as a sign of weakness, while the millennials see honesty and authenticity. We’re right, of course. Went through the interview again and don’t see 11.10 as a problem, just a frank appraisal of the current situation. There’s no doubt she’s good, very, very good. Hopefully her judgement will be up to the task.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes it’s generational, but our young will crumble in the face of a determined enemy brought us as they are on a diet of fashion, music, vapidity and situational ethics.
            But you can’t communicate this because they have no way of relating to it.You can just try to relate, find things in common and give encouragement.
            My fear with Meghan is that she is a child of her time and culture. I fear that once the novelty has worn off she may become disillusioned with the strictures of such a life.
            Anyway, where’ve you been recently? You haven’t been posting much.

          • bluedog

            My judgement of Meghan is that she will prove to be by far the most articulate and persuasive member of the young generation of royals. In summary, she has the potential to be the dominant personality in the Royal Family in say, twenty years time. What are the implications? Time will tell.

            Been flat out on business matters, very time consuming but satisfactorily concluded.

          • dannybhoy

            Good oh.
            As long as all is well.

          • CliveM

            Law was changed in 2015. All a RC can’t do is become King or Queen.

            She isn’t Jewish. Her former husband was, but she didn’t convert.

          • Mike Stallard

            Please do stop criticising or I shall have to call in the racist police. She is quarterly of colour.

          • Ray Sunshine

            I haven’t lived in Israel, but I believe the bottom line goes something like this. For the Orthodox rabbinate, the bride would have had to go through a full conversion programme first. Without that, I don’t think an Orthodox rabbi would agree to officiate at the wedding. It would be easy enough to find a non-Orthodox rabbi to perform the ceremony, but in that case it would be a marriage between a Jewish bridegroom and a non-Jewish bride. The bride would still be non-Jewish after the wedding.

          • Anton

            Unless he is himself a Christian then a genuine Christian woman should not marry him. Do not be yoked to an unbeliever and all that.

          • dannybhoy

            True,
            but it happens. My prayer was that Harry would meet a lovely feisty young Christian woman
            with whom he would fall in love.
            But I’m an old romantic..

          • Mike Stallard

            I draw people.
            Her smile is not genuine. Her eyes are cold when she does it.

          • bluedog

            Would your eyes reflect a warm smile when interviewed on TV?

  • Mike Stallard

    I personally have felt driven to do certain things over the ten or so years I have lived here.
    Some of these drives – although they were costed, worked out carefully with a lot of advice from experts and supported by a noble band of people too – failed. And now I am glad they did because they were shown by time to be wrong.
    Others have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. These were just drives that occurred to me and I got stuck in. Little preparation (well, none actually), little forethought.
    I forget which wonderfully percipient saint said, “No wonder you have so few friends if you treat them like this!”