general synod feb 2018 pmms
Church of England

The General Synod of the Church of England puts same-sex relations over youth evangelism

There is perhaps nothing more challenging in mission than the proclamation of the gospel to those who have never heard it, in a foreign land, in an unfamiliar culture, in a different language; in short, when doing theology in the context of mission. This is true in any socio-cultural milieu, where the predominant challenge is the necessity for ‘unlearning’ Western theologies in order to render the gospel relevant to the receptor culture. In his book ‘A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation‘, Gustavo Gutiérrez highlights the importance of the cultural context for the very definition of the gospel in the developing Two-Thirds World: “What is the meaning of faith in a life committed to the struggle for justice?” he asks. One may similarly ask in the decadent West: ‘What is the meaning of sin in a society where morality is relative?’ Only by asking such questions can the gospel be communicated in the linguistic, social, politico-economic, and religious context of the hearers. For those who do mission and take the task seriously, besides having to adapt a personal lifestyle to the local way of life, there are frequently cultural practices which are at odds with Christian faith and ethics, and fundamental theological differences between Christianity and the indigenous religion (/culture). The challenges are formidable.

This preamble is necessary to understand what is going on in the Church of England, whose General Synod is due to meet for its latest deliberations between 5th-10th February 2018. Private Members’ Motions (PMMs) are circulated to Synod members in the hope of garnering the requisite number of signatures to be chosen for debate:

Any member of the General Synod can write and submit a PMM. In order to decide whether a PMM should be put on the General Synod’s agenda the Business Committee requires a minimum of 100 expressions of interest in support for the motion to be debated in the form of signatures. By putting their name to particular motions, members are signalling that they think they should be debated. Information on how Synod members can sign PMMs can be found on the Members’ Resources page.

When putting together the agenda for the next meeting of the Synod, the Business Committee thinks about the number of signatures each motion has received. Generally there is only space for one or two PMMs to be debated in each meeting of the General Synod (group of sessions). While the motion with the most signatures is often the one selected there can be reasons for selecting another that has also attracted considerable support (it might, for example, be more time-critical).

Once a motion has been open for signature for three groups of sessions, if it has not attracted 100 signatures, it expires.

You will see from the illustration above that only one PMM has reached the requisite number of signatures for the February 2018 session, so the General Synod of the Church of England is likely once again to be debating ‘Same sex relationships after the Shared Conversations’:

Mr Anthony Archer (St Albans) to move:

‘That this Synod:

(i) having participated in the concluding stages of the Shared Conversations on scripture, mission and human sexuality; and

(ii) noting the reaction to the report Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations (GS 2055)

request the House of Bishops to bring for debate by July 2018 a set of forward looking proposals on same-sex relationships (such as proposals to be developed by a broadly-based group representing the diversity of views on Synod and in the wider Church) that will command confidence by:

(a) affirming the positive contribution that LGBTI Christians make in the life of the Church; and

(b) reflecting the differing interpretations of scripture.’

This PMM garnered a whopping 122 signatures: Synod has chosen to do debate this matter above ‘Biblical understanding of marriage and sexual relationships’:

Mr Edward Shaw (Bristol) to move:

‘That this Synod, convinced that all people without exception are loved by God and made in His image and are invited to fullness of life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, affirm:

(a) its rejection of the fear or dislike of anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation.

(b) the radically inclusive nature of Jesus’s ministry and message to all people: “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

(c) that marriage, as defined by Jesus, is the lifelong sexual union of a man and a woman.

(d) that both those who marry and those who are single, as Jesus Himself was, can enjoy Christ-like relationships and the fullness of life which He offers all.

(e) that all Christians should repent of any sexual activity outside marriage, in the assurance of God’s loving forgiveness in Christ.

(f) that all God’s holy people are called to live out this calling, for their own good and for the life of the world they are called to serve.’

This PMM garnered a tantalising 97 signatures, just three short of the requisite number. Only 14 Synod members were more exercised by the inclusion of the disabled than yet another interminable debate about same-sex relations; and just eight were bothered about supporting entrepreneurship – you know, innovation, investment and jobs for the good of families and the community. Shockingly, Synod also manifestly supports yet another interminable debate about same-sex relations above ‘Responding well to survivors of sexual abuse’:

The Revd Canon Rosie Harper (Oxford) to move:

‘That this Synod unreservedly condemn the sexual abuse of children, young people and adults and request that an urgent review of the Church’s current safeguarding policies and practices on responding well to survivors of sexual abuse be conducted in order to ascertain whether they provide a sufficient and Christian response that puts the needs of the survivor first.’

This was such an anodyne PMM that it’s difficult to understand why it only attracted 77 signatures. You might argue that it was so apple-pie as to be positively narcotic, but that’s when Synod members may propose amendments to beef it up, and some members may have intended to do so. Or you may be of the view that Canon Rosie Harper comes with certain baggage, and so to support her PMM is to affirm everything she stands for. Perhaps, to adapt the maxim of Marshall McLuhan, the member is the message. But (pace the beliefs of the Bishop of Buckingham) it is entirely possible to (robustly) disagree with someone while respecting their arguments, motives and personal integrity. Yet this laudable PMM also fails to make the February 2018 session. Honestly, how can the General Synod of the Church of England not believe that justice for the sexually abused trumps yet another interminable debate about same-sex relations?

The answer perhaps lies in the PMM ‘Encouraging youth evangelism’:

Canon Mark Russell (Sheffield) to move:

‘That this Synod:

(a) affirm the importance of evangelism to and with younger people, recognising that many parishes and fresh expressions of church are doing excellent work with young people;

(b) commend the work of Diocesan Youth Officers and the staff of the National Church Institutions in inspiring the wider Church in youth evangelism;

(c) support dioceses in investing resources to create more youth ministry posts across the Church; and

(d) encourage dioceses and parishes to consider fresh ways to reach young people with the good news of Jesus Christ and to nurture them as Christian disciples.’

Canon Mark Russell comes with no baggage: he is the universally respected CEO of the Church Army and very highly qualified in this area of mission:

Mark was re-elected to the General Synod in November 2015 and then elected to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. He is a member of the Archbishops’ College of Evangelists and an Honorary Canon of Worcester Cathedral. He sits on the Council of Reference for Youth for Christ and is a member of the Archbishops’ Task Group on evangelism…

He has a passion for young people, and for making the gospel known to them, and yet his PMM attracted just 79 signatures, and so also fails to make the agenda of the February 2018 session.

Yes, the General Synod of the Church of England opts for yet another interminable debate about same-sex relations over and above reaching young people with the good news of Jesus Christ and nurturing them as Christian disciples.

Abso-bloody-lutely incredible.

For some reason, Church House doesn’t put publish PMM signatories (unlike, for example, the House of Commons, where constituents may see which Early Day Motions [EDMs] their MPs have signed). This is odd, not least because the Church of England is the national church and established: every member elected to the General Synod is not there to serve their own ends and agendas, but to serve their dioceses and parishioners, which is all of us. So, for the sake of transparency and in the interests of accountability, here are those 122 Synod members who voted for yet another interminable debate about same-sex relations, ensuring (once again) that the world will perceive a church obsessed by issues of gender, sex and sexuality:

Ah, you may say, PMMs aren’t a manichæan either/or: Synod members may vote both to encourage youth evangelism and same-sex relations. Indeed, Canon Rosie Harper did, and so also did Canon Mark Russell. And so did a whole host of other honourable members – perhaps because i) they believe the success (or otherwise) of the Church of England in youth evangelism is contingent on its positive response to same-sex relations; or ii) they intended to submit an amendment to the same-sex relations PMM to incorporate aspects of Edward Shaw’s ‘Biblical understanding of marriage and sexual relationships’ PMM. And so we return to Gutiérrez and the pervasive cultural context. Just what exactly is the meaning of sin in a society where morality is relative? Alas, Synod will not be debating that contentious point next February: all we are left with is the reality of yet another interminable debate about same-sex relations, while the youth can go to hell.

  • magnolia

    Thoroughly revolted and angry here that 9 times as many people felt the very very very overexposed and minority issue of homosexuality mattered more than including the disabled.

    Jesus weeps.

  • Dreadnaught

    I was minding my business
    Lifting some lead off
    The roof of the Holy Name church
    It was worthwhile living a laughable life
    To set my eyes on the blistering sight
    Of a Vicar in a tutu
    He’s not strange
    He just wants to live his life this way

    A scanty bit of a thing
    With a decorative ring
    That wouldn’t cover the head of a goose
    As Rose collects the money in a canister
    Who comes sliding down the bannister ?
    The Vicar in a tutu
    He’s not strange
    He just wants to live his life this way

    Vicar in a Tutu – The Smiths

    • ardenjm

      Weird really: I’m not sure where Morrissey saw the Vicar in a tutu – since Holy Name is one of Manchester’s most famous Catholic churches – opposite the Student Union of the University.
      Morrissey surely must have known this – coming from an Irish Catholic family himself.

      • Simon Platt

        I think he made it up.

        Holy Name doesn’t have a lead roof, either.

        • Dreadnaught

          Not any more by all accounts.

  • Anton

    Every now and again something comes up, becomes a hot topic, is debated, a conclusion is reached – hopefully the biblical one – after which the church moves on to continue its bread and butter stuff such as evangelism. That’s why I don’t think these numbers necessarily imply that the church is longstandingly far less interested in youth evangelism than in gay matters. And some on the list have good motives, such as Martin Sewell.

    Your Grace also wrote: “it is entirely possible to (robustly) disagree with someone while respecting their arguments, motives and personal integrity…” This is true. One may disagree with LGBT types who think their lifestyle is OK and remain friends with them. I am glad to have such a friend, but he is secular. There can be no good disagreement with people who deny the Bible and stay within the church, however. Courtesy should be retained in synod debates, but the motion must be that they choose, this day, between the church and the world.

  • Boxfordblogger2012

    A number of corrections need to be made to above comments:

    1. Ed Shaw’s and Mark Russell’s motions do not ‘expire’. The failure yet to achieve 100 signatures (as is also the case with my motion about the Five Guiding Principles) simply means the Business Committee will not consider including them on the agenda for the next group of sessions of General Synod in February 2018. They will remain available for signature until the end of the July 2018 group of sessions in York and if, by then, they have attracted at least 100 signatures, they will be considered for debate. (If they have the 100 signatures by 9 May 2018, they will be considered for debate in July 2018.)
    2. Rosie Harper’s motion was only tabled (online) less than a week ago, so it is not ‘difficult to understand’ why it has attracted ‘only’ 77 signatures. In reality, this is a good response in the short time available for signature before the 29 November cut-off date for consideration for inclusion in the February 2018 agenda.
    3. It is by no means certain that Anthony Archer’s motion will be debated in February, in which event, if, as is likely, Ed Shaw’s motion gets the necessary additional 3 supporters by 9th May, both motions may well be on the agenda at York in July, when there will be more time. (In February, General Synod is meeting for less than two full days: from 1.30 pm on Thursday 8 February to no later than 4.00 pm on Saturday 10 February 2018.)

    Re Rosie Harper’s motion, “Responding well to survivors of sexual abuse’, although it has not got the 100 signatures necessary for it to be debated in February, I understand that it was tabled in the absence of any assurance that the important issue of safeguarding and other related issues, in particular how the Church of England is to respond to the Moira Gibb and (still awaited) Lord Carlile reports (on the handling of complaints against Bishop Peter Ball and the late Bishop George Bell), would be an item on the agenda in February. If, no such debate is included as a major item on the agenda in February, I anticipate a number of searching and critical questions.

    • Ray Sunshine

      … in the absence of any assurance that the important issue of safeguarding and other related issues, in particular how the Church of England is to respond to the Moira Gibb and (still awaited) Lord Carlile reports (on the handling of complaints against Bishop Peter Ball and the late Bishop George Bell), would be an item on the agenda in February.

      Does this mean that Lambeth Palace has no plans to release the “finalised” Carlile Report within the next ten weeks? That is, in time for the next General Synod meeting, scheduled to begin on 8 February?

    • Your first point has been incorporated and text corrected, bless you. Your second point might be well made, but if Synod members cared sufficiently about the matter (with half an eye on the timetabling urgency), they could easily have swiftly appended their signatures: it doesn’t take a week to ponder a matter and register support. Your third point is interesting, but, if this comes to pass, the July session will be yet another Synod bogged down by same-sex relations. You final paragraph is, of course, insider information, to which the world is oblivious. All they can see are PMM titles, and the numbers supporting them. Twitter has no time for key variables.

      • Boxfordblogger2012

        Thank you, Adrian.
        But what has happened to my reply to Ray Sunshine, in which I included some important information, and now seems to have disappeared?

        • Rescued from spam: Disqus sometimes gets (over)sensitive.

  • Manfarang

    The Chinese are sending their missionaries.
    https://www.ft.com/content/69a41f7e-6b96-11e7-bfeb-33fe0c5b7eaa

    • dannybhoy

      The Synod may stone them..

      • Anton

        He doesn’t mean that the Chinese are sending their missionaries *here*. Unfortunately!

        • Manfarang

          Yes including Britain. There are Chinese (speaking) churches here.

          • Anton

            Obviously there are Chinese-speaking congregations here, but that is because there are Chinese here, not because the “Back to Jerusalem” movement (to which you link) is focusing on mission here. This brave and faithful movement is focusing, as it says, on Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists.

          • Manfarang
          • dannybhoy

            Musta been the one I saw…?

          • Manfarang

            The Chinese of course find getting a visa to the UK difficult at the moment but that will change as the Chinese start to invest more and more in the UK economy.

        • dannybhoy

          Yes he did, brother Anton!

          • Anton

            I would be delighted to be wrong. Can you give details please?

          • dannybhoy

            Hmm.
            No .
            I am sure I read an article/ saw on tv a few years ago that some Chinese churches are sending missionaries to Europe/UK.
            I cannot find it. I cannot evidence my assertion.
            I am a failure Anton, an abject failure. Woe is me!
            (Roots in bin for ashes with which to cover himself..)

          • Anton

            I hope the ashes will still be findable in this country by the end of the present Test tour of Australia.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re a cricket buff?

          • Anton

            I’ve been dropping hints and more explicit comments to that effect here for several years. Yes!

          • dannybhoy

            You went through a phase when you were very chatty with someone about beers I think, (Dominic?/PubCrawler?) I think cricket came up during some of those exchanges. Certainly breweries were discussed.

          • Anton

            That was Pubcrawler, and we even arranged via this blog to meet in a particular pub. But my references to cricket were in other conversations.

          • dannybhoy

            Ha Haaa!
            Take a look at this, ‘Stumps’…
            https://www.cocm.org.uk/what-we-do-strategies
            Actually though I think you’re right; any evangelism by Chinese missionaries amongst us will be incidental. The emphasis will be on the Chinese..
            Still, it’s a wonderful thing that is happening in China isn’t it?

          • Anton

            A thousand times Yes! Mao closed China’s borders a generation ago and expelled foreign missionaries with their imported schisms, then imposed a persecution that left Chinese believers with only their Bibles and the Holy Spirit. The result today is a house church movement (the biblical structure) that is growing rapidly and rightly regards protestant, Catholic and Orthodox merely as terms in European church history. They are only a few percent of the Chinese population, but that is several percent of nearly 1.5 billion people, all of them committed because of persecution or its threat. This makes it the largest movement of the Holy Spirit in all church history. I rejoice at that. China is where the action is today.

          • dannybhoy

            Amen. It’s really wonderful, and yes
            I think the house church movement is the way to go, not ruling out godly bishops, preachers and teachers moving around them..
            Incidentally I’ve only just seen your comment.
            I’m flitting between a laptop running Windows 10 and my iPad. (Suffering with bursitis and have to move from table to settee)
            I don’t understand why some comments appear on one machine but not the other…
            Any ideas?

          • Anton

            Different caches, at a guess.

      • Manfarang

        Not without sin.

      • Merchantman

        In Supporting in any way SSM, the Synod for all Intents and Purposes has been captured by the delegates of the Devil.

    • len

      We in the West desperately need them!.

  • CliveM

    Was in a CofE a few weeks back. Dire. Awful service, regulars all well into their late 60’s/70’s and the whole congregation could have been fitted into the first three rows. I suspect this isn’t untypical of many CofE’s.

    Thing is those responsible for running the Church seem not to notice, perhaps they are to remote from the reality.

    To use an analogy that will irritate Percy boy, we have a business whose sales are in free fall and the Board of Directors are debating (again), the mission statement. This doesn’t impress anyone. Neither the traditionalists or the LGBT, it just confirms that the CofE is made up of out of touch obsessives!

    Personally I am bored stiff with this OCD behaviour.

    • Anton

      I too was in the CoE one Sunday recently and am pleased to say I had the opposite experience. Much depends on the vicar and his relations with senior members of the congregation, I think.

    • dannybhoy

      As you may be aware Danny is by nature a bolshie type; unafraid to speak out and upset carefully loaded applecarts.
      It is likely that before long we shall be leaving the Anglican church we have been a part of for about the last six years..
      In no particular order I present some of the reasons, the queries and anomalies that have brought us to this step.
      1) Bats are more important than congregants. They MUST be allowed to defecate and urinate to their hearts’ content, polluting pews, hymnbooks and altar coverings with impunity. Presumably on the basis that the Lord loves a cheerful giver..
      2) Some congregations exist to keep the Anglican bureauocracy going by filling in forms, applying for faculties, trying to meet their parish share, and looking after the building.
      3) Vicars are laws unto themselves. Often nothing happens wihout the vicar’s blessing, and as long as the weekly hour of Holy Communion is observed nothing much else matters.
      Some vicars are there to visit the unchurched ill and elderly, bury the unchurched dead, marry the unchurched couples, baptise babies who will never set foot in a church again, and sit on governor’s committees, attend conferences, retreats and celebrations that may or may not include laity.
      The feeding and building up and equipping of congregations for the work of the Gospel comes way, way down the bucket list..
      4) There are various degrees of authority in a benefice. There is the vicar, the rural Dean, the Archdeacon,all the way up to the Bishop. The vicar is in some ways accountable to the rural Dean, who is in some ways accountable to the Archdeacon, who gets on very well with the Bishop and often attends social gatherings with his blessing.
      5) Important people are taught how to address the press, court the press and smile winsomely..
      6) As an Anglican it doesn’t matter so much what you believe as what kind of fellow you are, your professional and social standing. If you don’t believe any of the basic tenets of Christianity you may be thought to be ‘forward thinking’ ‘daring’ and willing to think outside traditional constraints of religion. You may well be invited to give lectures and attend cocktail parties.
      If you are a gay member of clergy you are well on your way to sainthood, and articles will be written about ‘your struggle for acceptance.’
      If however you are a Bible believing evangelical Christian Anglican, you will either have to keep your mouth shut or face social rejection. People will shun you and perhaps cause you to trip over their staffs..

      We joined our church because it had a vicar who had a sense of calling and who loved the Lord and actually preached! We didn’t buy into the whole traditional Anglican thing defined by ritual robes and Holy Communion for an hour on Sundays; and nothing has happened to change that.
      Only a deepening of despondency and despair.
      There are good Anglican churches not too far away. One conservative evangelical, one charismatic, both led by godly men I respect and can work with. But it is the archaic and bureaucratic nature of the church that bothers me, and its willingness to embrace the world rather than Christ Jesus.

      • CliveM

        Danny (and Anton),

        I think you both highlight one of the problems that I allude to. Those in senior positions of the Church are to often to ‘busy’ in running the bureaucracy and not concerned with supporting the Church.

        The CofE I’m sure has a lot of good congregations. But it faces big problems that will determine if it has a future, however the senior members of the Church as they express themselves in public, seem not to be interested.

        • dannybhoy

          That’s because they’re not.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I’m not sure that they don’t notice their lack of numbers – I think that they do not care, and that those few who do want to change things think the way to refill the emptying pews is to speak heresy unto itching ears.

      We have very few, and we care deeply that this is so because we love those who do not come, wishing no man would be lost, (desiring the death of no man), praying every week that others would come to salvation in Christ.

      • Anton

        Of course they notice the decline in numbers, but they are real fundamentalists for secularism deluded into believing they are Christian, so they think more secularism will do the trick.

  • dannybhoy

    So much could be said, but realistically,
    …what would be the point? What is going to change?
    Years ago I attended a lecture in which the speaker asserted that there are three groups in society.
    The biggest group are those that are neither aware nor care about what is going on, as long as life is either good or bearable.
    The second group is the smallest group of all, composed of the movers and shakers, the plotters and schemers who make things happen and try to manipulate future events to their advantage.
    Then you have the analysts, the observers and disseminators. Their role is to see what is going on and comment on it….

    • Ray Sunshine

      Then you have the analysts, the observers and disseminators. Their role is to see what is going on and comment on it….

      He who can, does.
      He who can’t, teaches.
      And he who can’t teach, analyses, observes, and comments on it.

      • Boxfordblogger2012

        My understanding of the third group has been that “he who cannot teach, teaches others to teach.”!

        • Ray Sunshine

          A second-hand teacher, as you might say …

  • len

    Better the C of E ceased to exist rather than be a state tool for endorsing ‘secular morality’.

    • prompteetsincere

      Or far, far worse: + Daniel 11:37.

  • Inspector General

    Shocking! Absolutely shocking!

    Time to ‘do a Jesus’ on them and overturn their tables. No longer fit for use, Synod as it stands.

    It’s not going away either, that damnable thing. They’re using the tried and tested method of the dripping tap.

    Once again, the essential Cranmer is after them. Well done, Sir! The Inspector is right behind you, ready to lift his hind leg on command…

  • David

    The lying distraction of so-called same sex marriage, and the whole debate about human sexuality at variance with The Bible’s wisdom for our lives as sexual beings, man and woman that is, is indeed Satan’s way of undermining faith in Scripture, and our traditional understanding of the nature of man, woman and family life. It also ensures that all the energies of the institutional Church dance to the tune of the secular world, never, ever focussing on the real work given to us by Jesus Himself, The Great Commission – preaching the gospel of love and salvation through repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Individual conservative churches still carry on preaching the gospel, but they are small patches of light in a sea of institutional darkness. Only a substantial movement of the Holy Spirit rising up latter day Wesley’s can now re-evangelise the nation, and the west. We must pray daily to God for this.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Tiny dots of light shining out from a map of utter darkness and depravity.

    • Jon of GSG

      This, I suppose, not an answer to what you say, but perhaps I can share something interesting with you which I hope will give you a bit of hope – it’s certainly, er, electrified me more than somewhat.

      I’ve moved house recently and despite living about 20 minutes’ drive away from my church we continued going there until I felt God saying to “look for a new church”. We had to have two attempts – the first round of church-hopping we couldn’t find anything and gave up, until God bothered me again about it, and we tried the nearby church which we hadn’t bothered with as it’s a C-of-E, old people’s church with organ and Prayer Book and all the rest.

      But almost as soon as we’d gone in through the door, we both of us felt that this is the place where God wants us, even though the service was to a great extent how I’d imagined it. I couldn’t imagine why God wanted us here, although we were both quite sure. And then after we’d been there a couple of months I wrote to the Rector suggesting something I’ve felt God nudging me about for ages, which is to set up some kind of prayer group for revival. He was very pleased with that because (and this is the “aha!” bit) he had been praying for some time for someone to join the church who has some interest in revival.

      That to me was such a coincidence that, coupled with my certainty over it being the “right” church, I feel sure God has something good in store. And yes, we are the sort of church with lots of people who look as if they are more churchgoers than believers. The revival prayer meetings, which we are having weekly, seem to be already bearing fruit in terms of “awakening” in the church itself – I’m sure renewal has to happen among us first before it can spill out – anyway it’s all very exciting.

      So the reason I’m regaling you with all that is that I feel sure revival is coming. Chin up! But as you say we do need to pray for it, as daily as possible.

      • David

        That’s wonderful news. Thank you for that. God promises that a remnant will always stand and, if he wills it, there will be a revival.

        A few years ago I became utterly dissatisfied with the liberal churches where I was serving as an Anglican Lay Minister and prayed earnestly to God that He would guide me to a genuine, Biblical Church, and a year later, He did !

        Yes we must never give up hope of a revival, because above all Christ brought all who trust in Him – hope – eternal !

      • dannybhoy

        That’s a wonderful example of God’s leading. I hope you will keep us informed from time to time?

        • Jon of GSG

          Ok, thank you! I will.

      • Anton

        I would be cautious about suggesting this is part of a wider revival but God’s hand seems to be upon this congregation and I am delighted.

  • It’s not surprising. “Evangelising” implies that you have a Gospel to share. At least at the leadership level, the CoE seems to have largely forgotten what that Gospel is, it’s too consumed with chasing after the prevailing culture.

    The many, many faithful people and clergy in the parishes deserve better than this. The Gospel deseves better than this.

  • Chris Bell

    and don’t forget this either:
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/anglican-minister-kelvin-holdsworth-pray-prince-george-is-gay-35dsk268s
    It perhaps it is an old and tired description but that the ‘church’ is now “AntiChrist” is obvious. “Leaving in droves” is not simply wise advice it is a “Call”.

    • David

      Seems a wicked thing for an ordained cleric to say, a man who has promised to be true to the Ordinal and to uphold the truths of Scripture. How far some of these people have fallen.

    • Anton

      That call for prayer that Prince George be gay is from the man who included a reading from the quran in a cathedral service of Christian worship – in which, moreover, the Islamic chanter included verses that were explicitly contradicting Christian theology. For doing so even while drawing his salary from the collection plates of faithful Christians, I fear he will face a dreadful fate: James 3:1.

      • Chris Bell

        There is a great sifting going on. He gives us freedom to be whatever we want or crave but is always looking at our heart and who it loves most…body or Him. This is the sifting. Our Bishop doesn’t love God he loves his body and orientation more. It is unfortunate, for him, therefore, that he is a leader and wants to lead. Ineffable will be his torment. For to wish a 4yr old innocent child a life where the conflation of male/female is lauded is, I would suggest, the very pit of darkness.
        And the sifting will continue until every abomination is laid bare. It is only this that is being witnessed and witness we shall.

  • Ray Sunshine

    Thank you, Boxford. The whole “finalisation” business really is getting suspiciouser and suspiciouser by the day.

  • Father David

    When it isn’t busy destroying the Faith once committed by Christ to the Apostles of old – the General Synod is nowt but a talking shop!

  • carl jacobs

    The subject of SSM won’t go away until the CoE affirms SSM. Then it will go away.

    And anyways, what is there to debate? It’s not like any minds will be changed. This is a war of attrition with no possibility of compromise. Victory for one side means defeat for the other. A more fitting metaphor would be the army leaving the trenches for one more assault across no man’s land. The defensive line is weakened. Just one more push…

    • David

      “The subject of SSM won’t go away until the C of E affirms SSM. Then it will go away”

      By that stage the pews of the liberal churches will be almost empty.
      Only those of a conservative theology will still be functioning churches, and many of them will either have become independent Anglicans or be considering it. Certainly conservative churches like mine will not bow the knee to Caesar’s idea of healthy human sexuality.

      • carl jacobs

        Its not really about institutions though. It’s about bringing all institutions under the lordship of postmodern morality. The success or failure if any particular institution does not matter to the greater goal of dominion.

        • David

          Take your point there.

    • Inspector General

      It won’t. Not until LGBT Synod is set up. A quasi-autonomous body nominally subservient to General Synod but in practice not so. Why? To look after the interests of the newly empowered LGBT types in the CoE, and of course dismantling institutional homophobia, which is EVERYTHING they don’t like, of course.

    • Martin Sewell

      Carl, you put your finger on the important point; we can wait the three years for a study which has been commissioned ( incidentally with an absence of openly gay members , I understand) but then what?

      In all honesty, if opinion moves by a couple of percentage points either way at the end of the process, most of us would be surprised.

      Anthony’s motion is very Anglican, being open to people of different opinion remaining in the same Church. The unspoken question is not “who is right” but “how can we respectfully live together”. and he invites the Bishops to bring some ideas with that in mind. That is why my name appears.

      There is something of the Gamaliel in this approach.

      Already Anglicanism accommodates a wide range of opinion over, e.g. – whether the Bible is the literal or inspired word of God, the efficacy of prayers for the dead, prayer through the Virgin and the Saints, whether praying through icons is sound practice or borderline idoatory, the remarriage of divorcees ( about which Jesus DID say something), whether women can be priests etc etc

      Many suspect that a Church that managed to hang together through all those sincere disagreements will somehow muddle through, over this and doubtless other controversies – God willing.

      • Martin

        Martin

        But does it remain a church?

        • Martin Sewell

          We do remain a Church, sharing fellowship on many levels, and most importantly sharing the bread and the cup.

          We already are a compromised and compromising Church and have been for a long time; getting along despite such disagreement may be our unique selling point and gift to the wider Church.

          • Martin

            Martin

            If you do not share the faith, and it is clear that you do not, how can you share the bread and wine? Those who eat and drink outside of Christ are condemning themselves:

            Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. (I Corinthians 11:27 [ESV])

          • Martin Sewell

            Go back to the earliest days of the Church. They had ” the faith” that Jesus had died and was risen, they had maybe a few parables, a few sayings, some recollections passed down orally about miracles. They had no Gospels, and when those Gospels arrived there were inconsistencies of detail and not all Gospel writers remembered or prioritised the same ideas.

            There was previously little fully thought through theology in those early days.

            What is striking is how little the faith comprised, and yet it grew incredibly. The sharing of the bread and the wine is a wonderful unifier.

            Give a little thought to how much of ” the faith” was held by the thief on the cross- the only person in the bible to whom Jesus directly promised paradise.

          • Chefofsinners

            Go back to the book of Jude:
            “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
            In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings… These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm”

          • Martin

            Martin

            The synoptic gospels were certainly all written by AD70 and there are no inconsistencies in the Gospels. All the Gospels are God breathed, as is the rest of Scripture. As to theology, Paul certainly produced well thought out theology.

            But the supper can only be for believers.

          • Chefofsinners

            Are you selling it or is it a gift? Either way it’s overpriced.

          • Martin Sewell

            Non Christian do believe the sacraments were over priced.

            I remember the words of Elizabeth I who began to set us on the road towards becoming a broad and tolerant Church

            In the midst of controversy over the real presence at the Eucharist, she said

            “The Word it was that spake it
            He took the bread and brake it
            and whatsoe’re he make it
            that I believe – and take it”

            Jesus is the Word
            Not the bible interpreted by over confident men.

            You are never closer to truth than when penitent, humble and on your knees receiving the Eucharist.

          • Chefofsinners

            This is not universally true. Some eat and drink damnation to themselves.

      • In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul exhorts the shepherds of the flock to preach the word of God with determination, in season and out of season, to “convince, rebuke, and exhort,” to be unfailing in persistence and in teaching. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound doctrine, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim 4: 3-4).

        Saint Paul warns:

        “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of distress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying its power. (2 Tim 3: 1-5)

        St. Paul is not so much referring here to the external enemies of the Church as to those who remain within her ranks. St. Peter’s second letter also reinforces this warning, pointing out that the coming infidelity will be not only external but internal:

        “There were false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who ransomed them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentious ways and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. (2 Peter 2: 1-2) . . .

      • carl jacobs

        A church cannot simultaneously declare that something is both sin and not sin. In effect it will say “We believe homosexuality is good but some of us disagree.” This is an exact reversal of the present position. It’s not neutrality. It’s validation. The entire structure of the church will be turned toward affirming homosexuality. The idea that such a situation is stable over the long term is a pipe dream. It must eventually morph into a situation where only the approval of homosexuality is tolerated. Good disagreement will give way to coersion will give way compulsion will give way to expulsion. This is the natural course of events we have already observed in several churvhes. The CoE will not be any different.

      • Many suspect that a Church that managed to hang together through all those sincere disagreements will somehow muddle through, over this and doubtless other controversies – God willing.

        This is the sad thing, really – that it’s good enough to just “hang together” and “muddle through”. If the early Christians had set the bar that low, Christianity would have never left the upper room. One suspects that the church in Laodicea was happy to muddle through.

        • Martin Sewell

          Actually, don’t knock ” muddling through” – it was a distinct advance on the fires of Smithfield which were much loved by the absolutely certain of varying opinion.

          • That’s rather one extreme to the other. Although the Christian calendar commemorates those who were martyred for their faith – those who compromised it, not so much.

      • Chefofsinners

        Sincere disagreements? Like Satan sincerely disagrees with God? Being sincerely sinful is not a virtue.
        And ‘God willing?’
        The harlot Church of England will drag the name of Christ even deeper into the stinking sewer of depravity. God willing?

        You cannot respectfully live together. Light has no fellowship with darkness. God does not respect sin, He hates it.

    • Chris Bell

      you mean sado-sadistic-masochism, of course.

      • carl jacobs

        Why not? The only thing that matters in post-modern sexual morality is consent. And people will consent to anything.

        Never underestimate the power limits of man’s depravity.

  • Anton

    Nationalised industries never end well.

  • While the Church of England examines its navel, the elephant in the room continues to grow. Pew outlines three scenarios for Europe’s Muslim population in 2050, based on zero, medium and high immigration. Bear in mind that the figures may be underestimates: the high immigration scenario predicts that 2050 France will be 18 per cent Muslim, whereas a study based on forenames given to newborns reports that France became 18 per cent Muslim around 2014.

    Even if the Church of England put all its effort into youth evangelism and it was a roaring success, it would only produce yet another generation of churchgoers who passed by on the other side as Europe’s Christian identity disappeared down the plughole. Many PMMs urging the reversal of Islamization? Thought not.

  • Dominic Stockford

    I was interested to learn, today, that John Calvin put our first responsibility as Christians as worship – which of course fits the Westminster Catechism – and most others – our ‘chief aim’ is to glorify God. Thus so too our first task is to worship God. This, of course, means it is of a higher order of importance than ‘saving souls’, or rather, preaching the Gospel to unbelievers. All this has adequate demonstration in what Paul writes to the Corinthian Church about worship. However, as he says there, worship should be orderly in order to speak to any unbeliever who may come amongst the worshippers.

    On the list above 8 of the 9 fit *neither* category. The current preoccupations within the CofE are seriously offbeam, biblically. Time that those few who are still on the narrow path left the CofE before they are dragged kicking and screaming onto the broad path.

    • Sybaseguru

      So do we now put John Calvin above Jesus who told us to make disciples of all Nations? How will they hear if we don’t tell them of the good news?

      • Dominic Stockford

        It is interesting that you accuse me of saying something that I do not say. A comment about what I learnt today does not mean, nor does it say, that I have put an individual above God – I believe your response is mischievous*. However, we will pass that by for the main purpose. The Westminster Catechism states:

        Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
        A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him forever.

        Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
        A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

        Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
        A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

        Which leaves us in no doubt that WC takes from Scripture the fact that man’s first responsibility is to ‘glorify God’, which is done most perfectly in worship – such worship need not necessarily take place when we gather on the Lord’s Day, but it is clear that we are commanded so to do. Footnote [1] which I have left in (answer 1) directs us to the following:

        1] Psalm 86. Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
        Isaiah 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
        Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
        1 Corinthians 6:20, 10:31. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s…. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
        Revelation 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

        *Mischievous – ” causing or intended to cause harm or trouble.”

        • Jon of GSG

          Hello Dominic – there is one thing in what you say which I disagree with:

          “…WC takes from Scripture the fact that man’s first responsibility is to ‘glorify God’, which is done most perfectly in worship”

          I suppose it depends on how widely you define “worship”, but I have always found worship as the church tends to mean it a singularly mediocre way of glorifying him. I have a vague theory that God calls different people to worship him in different ways – some by “worship” but others by, for example, acts of service, creative activities, evangelism or something else.

          CS Lewis wrote what I’ve found a very thought-provoking sermon called “The Weight of Glory” in which he spends quite a long time discussing what glory actually is, and concludes that one important meaning is “good report”. In that context, evangelism must be a great big glorification exercise (amongst other things): it attempts to increase God’s good report in the world person by person.

        • Sybaseguru

          Sorry Dominic, I was not being mischievous intentionally, just presenting an alternative view. My view of catechisms is that they are useful reminders, but do not replace scripture – which ultimately is our only source of knowledge about God and Jesus – everything else is derived or subjective and subject to the test of scripture as the Holy Spirit cannot contradict himself. Unfortunately today “glorify God” can be reinterpreted to suit one’s own ends – especially in the world of sexual politics.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Ok. Thank you. Anything decontextualised can be misused of course. It is interesting that the response of so many to God is immediately to worship. Moses, Noah, the sailors on Jonah’s boat, Mary, Simeon, and so on. Also that the subject of Jesus’ discussion with the woman at the well centres on worship. We are clearly called for the purpose of glorifying God, therefore.

            Paul’s comments to the Corinthians don’t actually cover going off on ‘mission’, but do talk about worship being righteous and becoming, so that any non-Christians who may be present will be challenged.

    • “This, of course, means it is of a higher order of importance than ‘saving souls’, or rather, preaching the Gospel to unbelievers.”

      Really?!

      And now the eleven disciples took their journey into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had bidden them meet him. When they saw him there, they fell down to worship; though some were still doubtful. But Jesus came near and spoke to them; All authority in heaven and on earth, he said, has been given to me; you, therefore, must go out, making disciples of all nations, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all the commandments which I have given you. And behold I am with you all through the days that are coming, until the consummation of the world.

      (Mathew 28:16-20)

      • IanCad

        Up and at ’em again Jack. How very good to see you back so soon. Chin up!

        • Thank you, Ian. Jack is hoping to be set free on Monday. Meantime, he is permitted to spend a couple of hours on his computer.

          • Simon Platt

            Get well soon.

          • dannybhoy

            Wired for sound, but don’t get over excited. Nothing deep Jack and plenty of Horlicks..

          • Anton

            Speedy and safe return home.

      • Yes, really. God’s mercy, proclaimed and in the gospel, is a subordinate means to the end of God’s glory in that mercy being fully displayed. So say the apostles themselves.

        Romans 11:28-36 “28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 Just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?”
        35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ”

        15:8 “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.”

        • James M

          All very well said 🙂 God is more important and more valuable than the good He gives us.

  • prompteetsincere

    With one notable, egregious ‘evangelical’ anti-Scriptural anti-christ exception: HRH little Prince George, the publicly expressed ‘prayer’ of The Very ‘Reverend’Kevin Holdsworth, Provost, St. Mary’s Glasgow, that the future King be ‘gay’!
    The best of prayers is that he not be: that he be a King Josiah as found in + II Kings chs. 22 and 23; otherwise, the worst of times is Britain’s lot, as found in II Kings chs. 24 & 25.
    The End.

    • James M

      Good King Josiah would be far too intolerant and Inquisitorial for most modern Christians’ liking. Bad King Solomon, with all his ecumenism and inter-faithery, would be far more likely to meet with their approbation.

      Britain is far worse than the Kingdom of Judah. I have difficulty seeing Welby as the high priest Jehozadak. JP2 as Jehozadak, quite possibly.

  • John

    Aaaaaaaaaagh! I am SO fed up with this.

  • Inspector General

    If anyone’s woken up feeling rather ill this morning, it’s because its World AIDS Day. Or God’s judgment of wilful sinning of biblical proportions if you will. Apparently, the Almighty wants nothing to do with ‘progressing society’. We should respect that. You too, Synod. Lest he express himself on YOU crowd.

    Scoundrels!

    By the way. Our man Ashenden has also bared his Christian teeth of late…there being a disgraceful attempt to queer young prince George.

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/12/01/senior-anglican-minister-calls-for-christians-to-pray-that-prince-george-is-gay/

    Someone tweeted Holdsworth and called him “a deluded goat”. Reads like one
    of Cranmer’s, that one!

    (Someone’s put George Michaels ‘Last Christmas’ on nearby. Reminds a fellow of death, that one : – <)

    • “Someone tweeted Holdsworth and called him “a deluded goat”.”
      How dare he! That’s a clear manifestation of capraphobia, says Happy Jack.

    • Martin

      I’ll grant that in view of Matthew 25:31ff calling such a person a goat is probably quite accurate.

    • dannybhoy

      That’s perverted on at least three levels, and Holdsworth should be reprimanded.
      He won’t be, but he should be.
      (Horrible pic of Holdsworth btw.)

      • Inspector General

        There is apparently no young male safe from their grooming. Not even a prince of the realm…

      • dannybhoy

        btw apropos of your anti trinitarian diatribe, are you a Unitarian?

      • CliveM

        Amusingly he said we should pray that he is gay. Firstly I wonder how he’d respond if we prayed to turn holdworth straight, secondly is there not something unsavoury in his obsession with Prince Geaorges sexuality?

        This isn’t the first time he’s been reported making these comments.

        • dannybhoy

          Certainly unsavoury, verging on voyeurism..

    • James M

      What is arguably far worse than his effusion is, that this sort of garbage is apparently deemed entirely consonant with Episcopalianism, which is supposedly Christian. The pervo scandals and the cover-ups in the CC were, and are, atrocious and damnable. There is a Hell for those who do such things. But at least (some of) those responsible were made to pay. When are fifth-columnists in UK Anglicanism going to be made to pay, instead of being allowed to hold offlce in it ? If, perhaps, Hell was given far too much attention in the past, it is given far too little today.

      • Inspector General

        The gay uprising is shortly to collapse, James. Active homosexuals swallow a pill called Truvada. It amazingly stops HIV infection during anal. It’s supposed to be taken WITH condom use, but it’s no secret homosexuals are abandoning condom use. Further, there is a NO NO with Truvada. You must not take it if you are an active homosexual with HIV. Two problems here: First, obviously many involved do not know they are diseased until the next HIV test. Second, those who do know they are HIV will take it anyway, as it “might help”. It can be bought over the internet.

        Now, here’s the killer. The reason you are not supposed to take it if HIV positive is that a drug resistant strain of HIV will emerge.

        We await as it all unfurls…

  • dannybhoy

    C’mon sweet lips,
    Move over …

    • CliveM

      This is unwanted sexual harassment, I’m going to the papers!

      • dannybhoy

        They’ll want the full story Clive, things could get messy..

  • Because man is religious by nature, the void that opens within him in the absence of a truly ennobling faith is soon filled with some kind of faith-system. As G. K. Chesterton once pointed out, when men cease to believe in God they do not then believe in nothing; they then become capable of believing anything. Nevertheless, the apostate must live with himself, and so he demands that he be the arbiter of the meaning of good and evil and that he enjoy an untroubled conscience as he goes about it, and woe to him who disturbs it. In order to live with the remnant of his conscience the apostate must see himself as a reformer-liberator: he is enlightened, he is compassionate, he is mellow – until he is resisted, and then he becomes merciless. The self-proclaimed “liberal” soon finds himself behaving very much like a fascist, and not knowing why – not even questioning why. This is also true of many a liberal heretic who remains in the ranks of the Church and takes upon himself the project of deconstructing her from within and attempting to rebuild her according to his own notions – offering the world a tame Christ rather than a merciful one, an undemanding Christianity rather than one which calls man higher to become his true self, an amputated Gospel missing vital limbs and organs. They are rebels masquerading as moral reformers.

    https://www.data.lifesitenews.com/images/pdfs/The_Great_Apostasy-OBrien.pdf

    • dannybhoy

      Welcome back Jack.

    • carl jacobs

      And where have you been?

      • Being fussed over attractive nurses. It’s been a tough time.

        • not a machine

          Glad your OK Happy Jack.

        • Norman Yardy

          Bless you.

        • len

          Good to see you back Jack

        • IrishNeanderthal

          From Episode 2 of this year’s Doctor Who:

          Bill:“Why are you Scottish?”
          Doctor: “I’m not Scottish, I’m just cross.”
          Bill: “Is there a Scotland in space?”
          Doctor “They’re all over the place, demanding independence from every planet they land on.”

          Better a Happy Jack than an Angry Jock!

          • Anton

            “It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine” – PG Wodehouse.

        • Chefofsinners

          Yes. The nurses have my sympathy.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely. Imagine all that lecturing..
            And the smell of incense!

          • Chefofsinners

            And the farting.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack doesn’t fart. He expels poisonous Protestant humours from his nether regions..

    • James M

      Atheism is perfectly adequate for a lot of people who want no part of Christ ot any other god. There is a lot to be said for it.

      • Chefofsinners

        Say how it defines morality.

      • Jack just cannot imagine what it would be like. There would be an emptiness at the very heart of oneself.

        • James M

          Not, in this life, if one fills the emptiness with something else. Which is, I suspect, not difficult. If one treats a faith one used to have as being a mistake, a phase, an infirmity, or a delusion, one is not likely to miss it very much. I suspect this operation is all the easier because Christians are more atheistic than they realise, just as atheists are more Christian than they realise. The better the Christian, the more transformed and indwelt by God’s Love; and more that is the case, the greater the emptiness would be, if assented to.

          Yet there seems to be a stage, in very advanced souls, in which this transformation is so advanced that that the danger of temptation by this emptiness is reduced to nothing; mortal sin, especially that, becomes morally impossible. This is not a lessening of free will, but a stage in its healing. Freedom to fall away is a sign of imperfection, not of perfection. Like the freedom of a toddler to plaster its food over its face; grown-ups don’t do that, not because they are less free than the toddler, but because they are more grown-up, more free (in certain respects), and have a better understanding of how to use the freedom they have received.

      • Martin

        James

        Atheism is just the worship of oneself, the idolatry of the intellect

  • No, they should have the conversation. If the Church of England wishes to carry on promoting or being mealy-mouthed about what God calls abomination, then it’s fairly futile to discuss a venture – evangelism – which is utterly dependent upon God’s sovereign blessing. If Achan is in the camp – or running it – then it’s silly to talk about your next plan of attack. You have more fundamental issues to resolve with the Captain of Israel’s Army first.

    • the problem is, at least to an outsider like me, that the numbers are stacked against the evangelicals. The liberals will keep bringing forward motions and keep on winning them until they get their way and same-sex ‘marriages’ are celebrated in the C of E.
      .
      Unless a way can be found to get more evangelicals onto the Synod and beat the liberals at their own game, you are all wasting your time and should get out now, whether (as I would suggest) to a Bible-believing free church or to the FCE or to some new Episcopalian body.
      .
      It’s no good saying you’re ‘in it to win it’ if all you do is keep on losing.

  • dannybhoy

    Now pay attention all you Christian activists
    (those in the smallest group ;0)
    Here’s a petition you really should sign because it offends common decency and coming from a member of the clergy is quite shocking.. I refer of course to IG’s post re Kelvin Holdsworth;s article on that little boy Prince George..
    Voice for Justice UK
    We call for the Church of England to reaffirm its adherence to traditional Christian doctrine, as set down in the Bible, and for the immediate removal from office of Provost Holdsworth.

    Sign petition here: http://www.citizengo.org/en/signit/120734/view

    • CliveM

      If we are talking provost holdworth, Glasgow, it’s up to the Scottish episcopal church to suspend him.

      Which they should do.

      • dannybhoy

        There speaks a man of faith…
        You think to sign that petition would be to wrongfully interfere in something which is not our business Clive?

        • CliveM

          Nope I’m happy for a petition, it’s just as it stands petitioning the CofE, even if it was willing to do so, can’t sack him.

          • dannybhoy

            The value of petitions is that they give people a voice which granted, not all authorities will care about but the more people sign (I forward them to family and friends depending on the issue), the more attention is focussed.
            The Chennai 6 were released because of pressure brought to bear by the families on our government who in turn brought it up with the Indian government. In part because hundreds of thousands of people signed the petition wrote to the government, their MPs etc.
            Frankly the issue for me is not the outcome, it’s the employment of my/our freedoms in making my/our voice heard on issues sacred and secular..
            “All it takes for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing..”

      • Ray Sunshine

        Curious to find out more about Provost Nigel Molesworth and his reasons, if any, for bearing an unexplained grudge against Prince George, I cautiously took a fleeting look at the Scottish Episcopal Church’s website (link below). They frankly admit that their church “is relatively small in numbers”, and then go on to tell us:

        Scottish society is secular in character and increasingly diverse. The current debate about Scottish Independence, which will culminate in a Referendum in 2014, makes Scotland a lively and interesting place. [Emphasis added]

        Well, well. How time flies, doesn’t it, Provost Molesworth!

        http://www.scotland.anglican.org/the-scottish-episcopal-church/scotland/

        • CliveM

          Says all that needs to be said!

    • Chris Bell

      done

      • dannybhoy

        Thanks everyone who has and who will sign that petition. As you may have gathered I feel strongly that we Christians get in the habit of standing up and being counted; even through signing petitions.There are many thoughtful non Christians who take the initiative and start petitions on issues that we Christians should unite behind.
        If I am going to be persecuted for being a Christian, I want it to be because of my life not my title.
        End of sermon.

    • Done. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Done.

    • David

      Unfortunately, as has just been pointed out to me, Welby is not his archbishop so has no authority over this dreadful man.

      • dannybhoy

        With all due respect David, that is not the point.
        When even non-Christians are shocked at the man’s words, how does it honour our Lord when Christians stay silent because “Welby is not his archbishop so has no authority…?”
        Whether Welby has a quiet word in the ear of the man who is his archbishop or not, we who are Christians should make it clear that we find Holdsworth’s article offensive to our royal family, to William and Kate; and worthy of condemnation by the Christian Church as a whole.
        The petition may not be properly worded or recognise the niceties of Church authority, but in the absence of any other initiative(!) it serves a purpose in making those same authorities aware that devout Christians are not happy about Holdsworth’s behaviour.
        Or we can do the usual Christian thing and remain silent..

        • David

          Who could disagree with your words ?
          Am I ever one to advocate silence in the face of evil – far from it !
          But you are taking a far broader approach than the words of the petition. People need to know that Welby cannot dismiss him – that’s the only point I am making in my message !

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I agree, but David I see it as a way of expressing our concern. What can or can’t be done about it is at this stage irrelevant. It’s sending out a message,
            ” Hey, we’re Christians and we strongly disapprove of what is being said by someone representing the Church!”
            You know about Asia Bibi the Christian lady awaiting her fate in a Pakistan prison for blasphemy. Separated from her children and husband for years now. Alone and facing hostility from other prisoners. How awful. What if it were my wife or your wife? If someone started a petition on her behalf which wasn’t quite correct, would we refuse to sign it until it said exactly what we thought it should say?

            Now if for example, a group of ‘concerned Christians’ brought out another more appropriate petition re Holdsworth I would sign that one too.
            But how likely do you think that is?
            We need to get in the habit of registering our concerns however imperfectly, and over time we will get better at it.

          • dannybhoy

            Incidentally what the petition quotes is,
            “Senior Anglican Minister Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow and himself homosexual, has called for Christians to pray for Prince George to be gay, in order to force the Church of England to support same-sex marriage.”
            Is that not interfering in the integrity of another part of the Anglican Communion?

  • James M

    I think Evangelism is pretty much impossible today. Christianity is too compromised, and its basic ideas are either incredible or too uncertain. It carries too much baggage, consisting in: the many parts of its history ppl object to; the things atheists object to, which seem mainly to consist in objections to the Bible; the doctrines that make it unpopular.

    Its Founder is lucky if He is regarded as a prophet, or even as a “great teacher” – the only prophet most people know of today is Mohammed. Jesus is more likely to be objected to either as (1) non-existent (2) homosexual/an Egyptian god/an alien/Julius Caesar/a Muslim prophet/a Zealot/the hubby of Mary Magdalene/some other such thing. If He’s very unlucky, He is looked on as evil. But the stupid liberal Protestant garbage that He could be regarded as a great human teacher, is a complete non-starter today. He is quite widely hated. How does one evangelise people who put him on a par with monsters like Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler (she too has been successfully demonised) ? He is far more likely to be known as a swear-word than as anything else.

    The Churches have nothing to offer that people want. Salvation is meaningless garbage to people who are conscious of no need of salvation. Sin has been replaced by psychology, sociology and chemistry. As for the Second Coming, it has been foretold so many times that it has become laughable and contemptible. In addition to which, the equation of Fundamentalism with Christianity has made it absurd to the scientism that is now so common.

    One of the problems is the everlasting cowardice and unbelief of the C of E. The CC most definitely has severe problems of its own, but Catholic clergy are – rightly or wrongly – required to accept certain beliefs. But with the C of E, one can take adhesion to Christian belief by the clergy for granted only if the cleric in question is either very “High” or very “Low”. Otherwise a vicar cannot be relied on to believe in the Deity of Christ, or in His Resurrection, or in the inspiration of Scripture. As for rejecting sodomy, do all even of the bishops regard it as unChristian ? It used to be normal for some unbelieving Anglican cleric to write a piece for The Times explaining why the Resurrection was rather dubious. The Times is now far too secular even for that, and the C of E, having jettisoned the Christian Faith, is now jettisoning Christian morality as well. Anglicanism is more likely to defend sodomy or praise the false prophet of Arabia than to defend the “Crown Rights of Christ the King”.

    And the CC is no better. Why should unbelievers believe in Christ, when His own followers seem to think a lot of His Teaching is garbage ? The CC in particular has for 50 years been so effusive about how good and praiseworthy and wonderful other religions and groups are, and so ready to apologise for the supposed Catholic wrongdoing of the past, that it is not at all clear why anyone in their right mind would want to be Catholic. If it is so wrong so often about so much, and is so morally repellent, why bother with it ?

    • > I think Evangelism is pretty much impossible today

      Christ has not died again, and Satan cannot return him to the Tomb regardless of anything else. There are still people in whom his Spirit will work to show them their need of him. I’d recommend everybody reads “The Hebrides Revival” by Duncan Campbell to see what happens when God acts – really acts (I don’t mean the things that people often call “revival” – I mean what happens when God starts to deal with people over their sins in an irresistable way).

      • Evangelism is certainly possible today and is, indeed, going on up and down the country.
        My FIEC church is doing door-to-door evangelism, and whilst it can be a pretty thankless task sometimes, we have started to get people coming into the church as a result of it, and one chap seems to have been wonderfully saved.
        .
        I attended the FIEC leaders’ conference last month and the news is certainly hopeful. There are new churches being planted and more being planned; there were over 1,000 adult baptisms in FIEC churches last year, and church membership increased. There is also wonderful work going on at Universities; keep praying!
        .
        God’s word does not return to Him void. If churches will preach and reach out with the everlasting Gospel, He will honour their faithfulness and add to the number of people being saved.

        • David

          Well said. The Kingdom is still growing, even in the highly secular UK, hard work though it is.

        • dannybhoy

          That’s great Martin. I do agree that we need to preach the word and be seen in the community.
          9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
          10 “I, the Lord, search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17.

          People don’t want to hear the Gospel because they don’t want to think about these things, yet the Gospel is so very relevant to our lives! Back that up with a congregation who loves the Lord and love each other and are doing good works and the witness gets stronger.
          Keep on keeping on, Martin.

    • not a machine

      And still atheistic philosophy can only be critical as it has no material proof, atheism is true. 🙂

  • Norman Yardy

    ‘Just what exactly is the meaning of sin in a society where morality is relative’.

    Biblical Sin has nothing to do with the morality of a corrupt and out of control society.
    The meaning of sin is immutable and tampering with it is playing with fire. It can only be verified against scripture if we are not to change the value of Christianity altogether.
    Our faith is built upon the words of God as exercised in Holy Scripture and God help us if we vary from that. It is tragic that the Synod has nothing better to talk about than sexuality. Do they hope that eventually they will talk themselves into a universal acceptance of apostasy.
    Perhaps His Grace should put his name forward for membership of the Synod.

    • dannybhoy

      I think it’s more a case of 2 Corinthians 6:17.
      We strive for Godly unity but when it becomes evident that there is no repentance or turning away, that’s all that is left us to do. To continue to fellowship with tht which is corrupt or apostate is almost to condone it..
      From the Movement for a Renewed Orthodox Anglicanism..
      anglicanlive@gmail.com

      I am sorry that there has been radio silence for so long since you signed up to support the letter published in the Telegraph, over the summer. Please forgive us.

      I would like to bring you up to date with some of the things that have been going on since that time – which are encouraging and are matters that can be prayed about:
      The ReNew conference highlighted serious problems in the C of E and urged delegates to stand firm for the Gospel.
      Rod Thomas is operating in a number of Dioceses, offering encouragement to biblically faithful C of E churches.
      The Free Church of England (FCE) are becoming better known and providing a pathway for people to remain faithfully Anglican, outside of the C of E.
      AMiE now have a Bishop and are developing their mission and planting plans. One new church is in Scarborough: https://www.trinityscarborough.org.uk/
      Jesmond are developing a new model of faithful episcopacy within the Church of England.
      Gavin Ashenden has revealed that he has been consecrated as a Bishop and continues to encourage many.
      The Unity Forum consisting of orthodox Anglican leaders inside and outside the C of E has met twice and is meeting again in December to develop its partnerships.
      A new FCE church has been established in Tunbridge Wells: http://emmanuelanglican.uk/
      Gafcon UK are gathering delegates for the Jerusalem Conference where it is hoped more people will be enthused by a new vision for global orthodox Anglicanism, not necessarily tied to Canterbury.
      All of the above are evidence that increasing numbers of Anglicans are seeking ways of being faithful Anglicans, with the realisation that there are serious problems in the C of E. Please pray for us as we seek to extend God’s Kingdom and as we seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit.

      Rev’d Dr Peter Sanlon
      Vicar of St. Mark’s (C of E) & Rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church (FCE)

  • jsampson45

    I left the C of E but I would have thought a thing is debated because it is controversial and needing resolution rather than because it is important.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Who starts controversies? Where does the demand for “trans-gender” issues come from?

      • Some say it is the Holy Spirit revealing His evolving truth as God evolves with His creation. Others that it is Satan spreading error and lies.

        • ardenjm

          How are you feeling?
          Cressida told us you weren’t so well…

          • On the road to recovery, ardenjm. Thanks for asking. Jack had throat cancer two years ago and they discovered a number of other problems during his treatment they’re now working through.

          • Chefofsinners

            A number of Protestant truths were found to be sticking in Jack’s throat, while he had apparently swallowed the magisterium whole.

          • The only truths retained by protestants are those they held onto from the true Church.

          • Ray Sunshine

            Your cheerful tone seems to indicate that your latest operation has been a success. Mazel tov!

          • Yes, it seems so.

          • dannybhoy

            But at the last dear Jack, you will be with our Lord in Glory, sat with Catholic saints on one side and Protestant saints on the other all joined in worship.
            ….
            but I bet you’ll develop a crick in your neck…

          • ardenjm

            Ah. Thanks for explaining, Jack.
            Hope you have some peace of mind this holy season.
            Pax.

          • Thank you ardenjm.
            God Bless you too this Holy Advent season.

        • Royinsouthwest

          The second possibility seems more likely to me.

    • The problem at the heart of Anglicanism is that no doctrine is ever settled. Each generation is free to redefine truth. Controversy is therefore embedded in its very core as reinterpretation follows reinterpretation. Nothing can ever be settled.

      • Anton

        More honest than reinterpreting it and then denying that you’ve done so…

        • Such as?

          • Anton

            Carl has given you plentiful examples.

          • And each one has been shown not to stand. Every_single_one.

          • carl jacobs

            I’d respond but I’m supposed to try to be eirenic. And broad-minded. Evidently “broad-minded” is good.

          • Yes, you must learn to be more like Albert.

          • carl jacobs

            I must admit that Albert has always struck me as very broad minded. It’s very difficult to figure out where he stands.

          • He has given him examples, but Happy Jack has to hand 101 mental categories and abstractions which allow him to reduce the many errors and crimes of the Catholic Church into theoretical small-print. Thus, they cannot disturb his blissful mental image of an impregnable fortress of truth and righteousness which dwells securely in the untroubled Platonic reality of his mind, completely unaffected by its flesh-and-blood incarnation in Rome and human history. “By their fruits you shall know them”, said Christ. “Unless, of course, they’re not officially endorsed by the Magisteria”, added Jack, just to make sure that nobody should misunderstand what the Lord really meant!

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

          • carl jacobs

            but Happy Jack has to hand 101 mental categories and abstractions

            Exactly so. Very well put.

            the untroubled Platonic reality of his mind, completely unaffected by its less-real flesh-and-blood incarnation in Rome

            Now I am standing and applauding. I should shamelessly steal that construction.

          • No, Jack has to hand an understanding of what infallibility actually consists of and means, rather than a simplistic straw man constructed for the purposes of online criticism.

            Here’s a good overview:
            http://cdn.theologicalstudies.net/39/39.2/39.2.2.pdf

            Read it before shooting your mouth off again, “Mr respect your enemies Jacobs.

          • carl jacobs

            It describes exactly what you do, Jack. It’s just factual. You don’t worship Mary because you have a category called “veneration” that allows you to deny it. You can ignore the Magisterium when required yet without exercising private judgment by appealing the Platonic ideal of the Magisterium. This is a staple of your apologetic.

          • So, let’s suppose it’s the year 1950. Apparently (quoth Rome), it’s a the will of God, stable for centuries, that one not eat meat on Fridays, hear “Mass” only in Latin; and personal Bible study is not to be encouraged.

            But a bit later – all change!

            Is it God’s will that faithful Roman Catholics should rise up and take back control of Jerusalem by force of arms?

            Are Protestants recalcitrant and damnable heretics, cut off outside the one true repository of salvation? Or separated brethren? For the person who relies on Rome to tell them the answer, it depends entirely upon which year they’re asking the question in.

            There’s always a legalistic get-out (to somehow wangle through the claim that when these things were taught, they aren’t or weren’t reaaallly doctrines, or haven’t changed) that will satisfy people who revel in the wonders of legalistic get-outs, of course. But does God really give us brownie points for managing to persuade ourselves of six impossible things before breakfast, instead of simply admitting that we got something wrong?

          • Both the first two were Church disciplines, not immutable truths. The

          • Appealing to invented legalistic small-print confirms the very point which I was making. When you explain exactly why (supposedly) Rome can contradict its own teachings as the centuries pass, whilst at the same time criticising the Church of England (which I am not defending) for doing the same thing, this has no value at all, unless the name of the game is “our smallprint is better than theirs”.

          • Blah, blah, blah …..
            It was heresies against the Christian faith that gave birth to Islam.

          • >>It was heresies against the Christian faith that gave birth to Islam.<<

            Principle among which was worship of Mary the mother of Jesus….but I'm not getting drawn into this interminable argument again.

          • Nope, Steven. It was the Christological heresies – not the veneration rightly paid to Mary. Besides the Marian doctrines were not being articulated at the time. In fact, Islam has more respect for Our Lady than many protestants.

          • James M

            These are all worth discussing, and are not the intractable puzzles they may seem.
            Some of them were indeed not doctrines.

            And the same objections could be made against the Bible.

            OTOH there is St Matthew 5.44: “Love your enemies…”. OTO, Jesus seems to have had major problems loving His enemies, especially if the tirade in St Matthew is anything to go by. He rarely misses an opportunity to vilify His opponents. Such behaviour would be deemed very unChristian if any of us were to use the language He does. It is very hard to see how His behaviour can be called sinless, as per Hebrews, or how it does not lay Him open to a charge of hypocrisy. He is not a particularly likeable character. His refusal to defend Himself before Pilate seems self-destructive, and very unfair to Pilate. Maybe these features of His are among the reasons that a lot of people find Christianity repellent

            I defy anyone to reconcile the truly Nazi-like extermination of the inhabitants of 3 cities in Joshua 10 with the Teaching of Christ. The best approach IMHO would be for the Church to treat all the Bible as the C of E treats “the books called Apocrypha”: as useful for reading, but not to be treated as Scripture. Drop the slavery to this paper Dagon, and be led, not by dead and deadening books, but by the Spirit of Life, the Holy Spirit of Christ. Jesus knew of no written “new Testament” – neither should the Church.

          • To make an analogy (on one hand) a holy God righteously judging the wicked and removing them from his created world and (on the other) a notorious tyrant, a fallen man, murdering the innocent out of hatred and malice, is completely odious and obtuse. So is your presumption that other people have the same difficulties in understanding the righteous warnings and rebukes of Jesus as you do.

          • James M

            Except that a lot of those people do have those difficulties. So your remark about “presumption” is without merit.

          • Anton

            “I say I say I say! When is a doctrine not a doctrine?”

            “I don’t know. When IS a doctrine not a doctrine?”

            ” When it’s a Catholic one that’s changed.”

          • When a protestant can tell his elbow from his backside.

          • Chefofsinners

            Shove it up your elbow.

          • Anton

            You chaps should be willing to declare black white and vice-versa if the Pope says so according to Ignatius Loyola.

          • He actually said:

            Thirteenth Rule To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it, believing that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Bride, there is the same Spirit which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls. Because by the same Spirit and our Lord Who gave the ten Commandments, our holy Mother the Church is directed and governed. ”

            Notice that he does not say, “I must believe that black is white if the Church says so.” He says, “What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines.” In other words, Ignatius’s words are a caution that individual judgement is not as trustworthy as we often naïvely think it is. Truth is not what seems but what is.

            This statement represents a mentality that rubs against two powerful currents of the Zeitgeist: the belief in the absolute autonomy of individual conscience and a deep-seated mistrust of authority. He included a whole section on the topic in his Spiritual Exercises, entitled “Thinking with the Church”.

            Ignatius’ spirituality emphasises an intense, personal relationship between the individual person and God – a relationship had to be firmly embedded in the Church. It is for this reason that he emphasized the virtue of “thinking with the Church”. The principle he expresses in this quote above was an articulating an ecclesiological vision sharply opposed to individualism.

            You should try reading him, not misquoting him.

          • Anton

            I did not misquote him but summarised him. We differ as to whether I did so accurately.

          • Come off it!

          • Anton

            And also with you!

          • You misquoted Saint Ignatius. Did you lift this from some anti-Catholic website?

          • James M

            If that’s your attitude, you can FOADIAF.

          • Steady …. steady …. steady … all of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit and needs to be carefully interpreted and discerned. There are solid Christian and Catholic explanations for all the points you have raised.

            Google them.

      • Heard of the thirty nine articles, Jack? As C S Lewis said in the introduction to ‘Mere Christianity’, if you want to know what I believe, look in the Prayer Book (i.e. Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer).

        The trouble is of course that the 39 articles have been abandoned by the liberal compromisers who now run the C of E (which I quit for a Bible church after the wretched Pilling report, as discussed here at the time).

  • not a machine

    Your grace buys a round of vinegar mixed with gaul cocktails , I don’t much feel like ranting on this news,as yet another tumble weed, blows down the arid gathering of simples life and doctrine. At times I ponder if the good sheperd has become one of those cardboard policemen you see in the window of pound shops. The oldest Bible made in the UK has been loaned back to us, and it appears many people would rather it was rewritten and titled “the land of never wrong and I can do as I please” with the follow up title of “laws.eh. Who wants them!”. It perhaps does no service to have bad temper, wonderful and precious thoughts are at sake, but it does look to me as though politics has been welded to a Christian popular doctrine, that considers only a partial aspect of what the Bible can inform.
    It’s just a book in bookclub discussion circle now isn’t it. I shall retire to fume, incensed no longer via the nostrils at high mass!!!!

    • Royinsouthwest

      Your grace buys a round of vinegar mixed with gaul cocktails ,

      How do you mix vinegar with France? It is probably much easier to mix it with gall.

      • not a machine

        Mmm your right I must consult my appendigs 🙂

  • Have you been drinking while Jack’s been away?

    • Chefofsinners

      Champagne.

    • carl jacobs

      It’s worse than I thought. Memory loss – probably from suppressing all that pain of defeat.

      Don’t worry, Jack. The nurses will take care of you. Just rest for now. You’ll be OK in a few days.

      • Oh, no. It’s a hallucinogenic you’re on.

  • Chefofsinners

    What a poisonous bastard Rowan Williams is putting his name to this motion after avoiding it all through his time as AoC and dumping it on his successor.

    • Old Nick

      Before you use such poisonous invective you might wish to note that this is not the current and saintly Master of Magdalene but a homonym from the Diocese of York. I have given up commenting on this web log precisely because it no longer reflects the intelligent, eirenic and constructive spirit associated with Anglican tradition but seems to be a place where the more narrow-minded of RCs and the more narrow-minded of Calvinists score points off each other in a fashion which darkens counsel without reason (I except only the commenter known as Albert). I will now resume my silence.

      • Chefofsinners

        Thank you for the enlightenment. My apologies to @realRowanWilliams.

        Speaking of invective, who’re you calling a Calvinist? Call me ‘Poisonous bastard’ by all means, but ‘Calvinist’ – this is hate speech. Hurt feelings.

        • Martin Sewell

          And one is a woman!

          • Chefofsinners

            Which one?

          • Anton

            The beard might be a clue.

          • Chefofsinners

            Would that it were so.

        • You poisonous bastard.

          • Chefofsinners

            You are Most Merciful.

          • One tries.

      • Anton

        Ex-Archbishop Rowan Williams is probably a decent chap but a decent leader of the CoE he was not. Another liberal theologian.

        • James M

          His book on Arius looks as though it may repay a second glance.

      • not a machine

        Erienic ?… That must be worth a bit on scrabble.

        • Phil Young

          Yes, had to look up what it meant..never encountered the word before!

      • carl jacobs

        Where “narrow-minded” means “actually believes something and is willing to defend it”. As opposed to the “intelligent, eirenic, and constructive spirit” of Anglicanism which believes many things and will defend none of them. (Well, OK. It’s decided that opposition to WO is now beyond the pale so it might defend that hill.) The “intelligent, eirenic, and constructive spirit” of Anglicanism is a dead armadillo lying in the middle of the road – devoid of life, guts, and an intact spine.

        Not very eirenic, I know. And certainly narrow-minded. But you know, truth matters and it happens to be true. But I’ll remember that Paul told the Gnostics to go and castrate themselves and not worry much about it.

        • Martin Sewell

          So said Saul of Tarsus as the first brick struck…
          So whispered every Jihadhi as to turned the truck into the crowd…

          • Chefofsinners

            Polemic is eirenic. Far from being the cause of violence, it is the alternative to violence. Those who censor free speech store up wrath. Would you have jaw-jaw or war-war?

          • carl jacobs

            A revealing reply, Mr Sewell, what with its tacit assumption that religious conviction leads to murder. Is it far better then to hold to these things lightly? Should we instead say “I believe that God exists, but I could be wrong”? Should we rather adopt the modern neo-paganism that says “Your understanding of God is just as valid as mine, no matter how mutually exclusive those understandings might be”? Perhaps that explains why an Anglican priest in the Church of England can be an atheist. When doubt is the touchstone of creed, there isn’t much reason for creed. But men do not doubt for no reason. Doubt is the great enabler of man’s freedom. For they say “Has God really spoken? If He has spoken, can we really know what he meant? If God is silent or incomprehensible, then who is there to condemn?” Each man may do what is right in his own eyes, for he has no better guide.

            I respect the man who knows where he stands, and will defend that place from me. With such a man I can deal. Far better to contend with one who takes a position than with one who can say nothing beyond “Your truth is true for you.” Better hot or cold than lukewarm, as someone once said. That isn’t an invitation to violence. You do understand that Old Nick was referring principally to Jack and myself. I’m not going to pelt Jack with stones, or run him over with a truck. But I will stand for the truth, and I will do so without apologies. If any man can persuade me by Scripture or Right Reason that I am wrong, then I will change my mind. What I will never do is willfully wander into the swamp of religious indifference and doctrinal ambuguity. God is not the silent inert passive elephant of the proverb about which blind men grope. He has spoken and He can be understood.

            Not every man who says “Here I stand. I will not be moved” is a killer. Shadrach was not. Stephen was not. Paul was not. Yes, Paul threw the stone as a Pharisee. But he did not draw from this experience the lesson that he should never stand anywhere. He learned that he shouldn’t pick up the stone to defend where he stood. But he still defended the truth. Uncompromising. Unyielding. Unto death. Is that not what we are called to do?

            Or should we proclaim with hesitation? Should we testify as one who doesn’t really believe?

          • Anton

            I shall be most disappointed if Old Nick didn’t mean me!

          • He did.

          • Anton

            I’m not Calvinist, however!

            If we’re going to be serious, I have no problem (Jack) with your advocacy of Catholicism here. What I regret is that you come onto a protestant blog and open with statements that are explicitly predicated on Catholicism being the only valid form of Christianity. This too you are entitled to do, it being His Grace’s blog not mine, but if I were to advocate protestantism on Catholic blogs then I would begin from a mutually agreed starting point (such as the Nicene Creed and the New Testament).

          • Hmm … you have Puritan leanings. What’s the difference?

          • Anton

            They are one pole of the Calvinist-Arminian dispute. I believe the truth is with neither pole nor in between but something deeper than both (although it is a mystery what). Because of this, Calvinists often tend to be somewhat fatalistic in the same way Muslims are.

          • It’s an area the Catholic Church has left open too (reconciling grace and free will) following a lengthy dispute between Jesuits and the Dominicans in the last part of the sixteenth century. A special Congregation was called to investigate the matter in Rome in 1598. The investigation was completed in 1607.

            Here’s a useful summary: http://www.bilynskyj.com/papers/freewill.htm

          • “You do understand that Old Nick was referring principally to Jack and myself.”

            No, no. Jack s a model of polite, erudite commentary.

            Replace Catholic with Christian below:

            Catholics in North America and Western Europe live in near schizoid churches that would exhort us to avoid a so-called “Phariseeism,” while omitting the call to repentance.

            A very large number of dioceses, parishes, and religious orders promote false splits in the mind and heart, positing that truth and mercy are in conflict with each other, that justice and mercy are relativistic free-floating concepts uncoupled from the foundation, from the One who is Justice and Mercy itself, that doctrine and pastoral practice need not be consistent, and that the authentic exercise of spiritual authority is authoritarianism.

            The massive corruption of the Church’s evangelical mission by dissident theologians, and those whom they shape, vastly outweighs the faults of the pietistic among us, who are a very small minority – I would say tiny, perhaps even proportionally microscopic. Decade after decade we have seen our churches transformed according to a false interpretation of Vatican II, the liturgy often made into a man-centered social ritual, have seen the magnificent teachings of our previous Popes ignored or refuted, or mutated and misapplied.

            We who live at the grass roots level in such national churches have experienced the marginalization of the faithful Catholic, have suffered silently under countless vehement homilies against Phariseeism that equate it with orthodoxy, while at the same time we have received minimal solid teaching from pulpits in a majority of dioceses ….

            Most faithful Catholics continue to offer their sufferings for the very people who cause them, and for the ultimate purification and strengthening of the Body of Christ in our times. They strive to live both veritas and caritas as a single unified whole, in the midst of both the interior infidelities of our particular churches and the hostile social and political environments of our nations, which have largely capitulated to anti-life, anti-family policies.

            As the years and decades roll onwards, completely faithful Catholics have increasingly felt like a battered minority, not a self-righteous “elite.” They know they are sinners. They know they need mercy. And because of this they know their need for the fullness of Christ’s Church and the Gospels, for authentic spiritual and sacramental life, the worship of God which man was created for – and this in order to have the interior strength to love one’s neighbor as oneself, both the person next door and all people in the global human community ….

            In a homily at a Mass on June 29, 1972, Pope Paul VI said that “the smoke of Satan is seeping into the Church of God through the cracks in the walls.” In a 1977 address, he went so far as to say:

            “The tail of the devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church. (Address on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, October 13, 1977)

            https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/the-silencing-of-the-orthodox-faithful-a-cancer-in-the-body-of-christ

          • Chefofsinners

            The Fatima Apparitions can now be downloaded from the App Store. Search for ‘Fat app app’.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack is a model of polite, erudite commentary.

            Ummm …. yeah.

          • Oh dear ….

            Perhaps you should reflect on all the Christian martyrs who died for what they believed to be God’s truth. They didn’t seek “intelligent, eirenic and constructive” compromises.

          • It’s possible to be wrong. Saul of Tarsus discovered that, and changed.

      • Ray Sunshine

        It was you, I think, who once recommended on these comment threads a recent biography of Constantine by Timothy Barnes. I am now reading it, fascinated. Apart from anything else, Barnes has a gift for writing entertainingly, a rare virtue in a historian. Thank you!

        • Anton

          Try also “Constantine and the Bishops” by Harold Drake, which I found excellent.

          • Ray Sunshine

            Thank you, Anton. I’ve been looking at it online and I’m tempted to give it a try. However … 632 pages?! That’s more than double the 280 pages in Barnes’s book!

      • Pubcrawler

        Ah, so that’s what happened to you. I have missed your contributions.

    • Chefofsinners

      Would anyone who has upvoted this comment kindly read Old Nick’s words below and hit the downvote button. And oblige.

      • But is it the former Archbishop Rowan Williams or, as is claimed, another person with the same name?

        • Pubcrawler

          This is perhaps the Rowan Williams listed, from the Diocese of York.

          http://www.yorkchaplaincy.org/anglican.html

          Looks nothing like the former ++Cantuar, resident in Cambridge, unless he’s changed markedly in the fortnight since I last saw him.

  • How can you do evangelism until you have a message?

    “Good news: God affirms your desire for same-sex intercourse. Jesus himself made you so that you could indulge in it, and rejoices in it.”

    “Good news: God, whilst having holy anger against all that makes you unclean and guilty, including your desire for unnatural sexual activity, has made a provision through which you can be forgiven and changed. Repent, believe, and you can experience this, all because of Jesus.”

    These aren’t the same message, are they? “A house divided against itself,” and all that. Until you’ve reached some sort of agreement over whether Achan is The Troubler of Israel, or is a great guy whom we should all emulate, there’s no coherent message. And unless you agree on the actual truth according to God, it’s bad news that you’ll be preaching, not good news.

    • Martin Sewell

      Those who ” love one another as I have loved you” are not divided.

      • Chefofsinners

        Those who love darkness rather than light have divided themselves from God.

      • God loves us so much that He let’s us freely reject Him and His offer of eternal happiness.

    • In 2012 I felt moved to write an essay ‘Is Creationism Divisive?’ which can be found on the Creation Science Movement web site https://www.csm.org.uk/news_2012_06.html.

      My principle conclusion, supported by over 70 Scriptures, was-yes it is, and Christ is divisive, because truth is always divisive given that some people will cling to a lie.

      All it takes to have a division is a lie and one or more people who won’t stand for it. It is the liar who is responsible for the division. Division exists, some things are binary. We must strive for truth over unity.

      • Anton

        Without question evolution would be falsified if the earth were only a few thousand years old. Do you tackle that issue, and the physicists and geologists who believe otherwise?

        • Evolution is fundamentaly falsified by the biology (impossibility of abiogenesis, unaided protein synthesis, genetic entropy, harmfull nature of mutations, etc, etc, plus the fact it has never been observed). Bags of science about all that and more on CMI web site and elsewhere. Others have argued about the age of the Earth, I tend to stick to the biological evidence against the Darwin Mythos, as that’s what I know. It is more than adequate if honestly evaluated regardless of time.

          But that’s not the primary point I was making in my post here, or even in the linked essay.

          That point would be that error exists, and to dissent from error is divisive, but right. The error under discussion in this case is the Cof E’s attempt to normalise same sex genital activity. Over that issue, I choose division rather than unity with falsehood.

  • Chefofsinners

    Chin up. You can’t be right about everything.

    • dannybhoy

      He’s right about most things??

      • carl jacobs

        My natural American humbleness prevents me from answering.

        • dannybhoy

          Humbleness?
          HUMBLENESS!
          What it is?
          You mean humility.
          And humility is not a quality I would normally associate with yer average American…
          Have a good weekend Carl.

        • CliveM

          Ok Uriah your ever so umble

        • It’s only Danny. He rarely right about anything.

          • carl jacobs

            If you are bored in the hospital, Jack … This stuff is fun to watch.

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx0O7gHKljQ

            Anyways, I think so.

          • Bored?! Far too much going on here to be bored.

          • carl jacobs

            Levity for an afternoon in the hospital….

            Hey Jack! What is the Pope’s favorite math subject?

            Cardinal numbers!

        • Chefofsinners
          • Anton

            Th is website is about as good:

            http://www.shipoffools.com/

            I particularly appreciate the “Mystery Worshipper” who attends a congregation incognito and then rates it according to worship, liturgy, sermon, coffee etc.

          • carl jacobs

            ROFLMAO!

      • Chefofsinners

        He is. He’s a clear, logical thinker who sees through the foolishness of this world. This is of God’s Spirit and a blessing to me.
        Calvinism is the Achilles heel of the over-logical. It’s all true, but things which appear contradictory are also true. Such is the mystery of Godliness.

        • You do know it was Calvin who invented the novelty of OSAS?

      • As you rarely are correct, one can’t give this comment much weight.

        • dannybhoy

          Thanks Jack. I do my best…

  • Chefofsinners

    Catholic.

  • Chefofsinners

    It’s spelt Prudent, not Prodent.

    • W⚓

      • Chefofsinners

        Worship? Come, come now. I’m not that good.

  • Paradoxical is the correct term.

    • carl jacobs

      The correct term is “The Scripture says X is true, but I don’t want X to be true, so I will invent a paradox to get what I want”. Yes, OK. That’s technically not a “term”.

      • Nope. What you always overlook is that Scripture is written from God’s perspective where past, present and future exist simultaneously. Predestination has to be understood with this in mind.

        • carl jacobs

          Actually I don’t overlook that. What I actively reject is the idea that God learns from his own creation.

          • No orthodox Christian claims God learns from His creation. This is a modernist heresy.

          • Phil Young

            Who says God learns from His own creation? I’ve never heard that before (apart from one person who said as He was creating He was ‘experimenting’, or something like that…it was a long time ago.) If God does not know exactly what He is doing, then what hope is there for us…who definitely don’t know what we’re doing, probably most of the time!

          • carl jacobs

            Who says God learns from His own creation

            Arminians.

          • Phil Young

            Oh, thank you. I didn’t know that

          • carl jacobs

            You are welcome. I’m glad to be of service. It’s important that the logical implications of Arminian theology are exposed – whether Arminians like it or not.

  • You would need to leave your stubbornness and unwillingness to think creatively at the door. Logic and reason is of no use if your closed to the Holy Spirit. Scripture isn’t a military manual to be digested and followed.

    • carl jacobs

      Lol. “Creative thinking”. Yes, that’s a pretty good description of Roman theology. It explains a lot.

  • Lucius

    I’m curious. Has the CoE declared homosexuality to be positive moral behavior (i.e., not sin) or is homosexuality still sin for which those who act on homosexual desires must repent?

  • Busy Mum

    I skimmed the picture above the post and I thought it said ‘Hopeless Task Force’….

  • Chefofsinners

    There is no fun way to do systematic theology. The concept is flawed, based as it is on the premise that man is capable of understanding God.