Welby Bishop Purple
Church of England

In 10 years time women bishops will be no more

 

“Who is Libby Lane?” was the corporate cry that went up on Wednesday as she was introduced to the world as the Church of England’s very first woman bishop. A couple of days on and we haven’t learnt a great deal more. According to the press release, the new Bishop of Stockport is learning to play the saxophone, supports Manchester United and enjoys reading and doing cryptic crosswords. All very interesting, but it doesn’t tell us much about what sort of leader she’s going to be. During the first interview following her appointment, Isabel Hardman of the Spectator attempted to dig a bit deeper to find out what makes her tick:

She refuses to put herself on one side or another when I ask whether she sees herself as a liberal, a conservative, an evangelical, or something else. Speaking in that special Anglican way – a slightly slower-than-usual pace of words that linger a little longer over vowels, especially ‘God’, which becomes ‘Go-od’, and thoughtful-sounding pauses – she says:

‘I would describe myself as a Christian and as a passionate Anglican and that’s how I would describe myself. I have been formed and shaped by a whole breadth of the Church of England’s tradition and experience and been really enriched by that and I want to hold onto that breadth and the richness that I have got in Christ and all the traditions of the Church.’

It looks as though our first female bishop isn’t planning to court controversy any time soon, which on balance is probably a good thing thing for the sake of church unity and those who follow in her wake. Best to start of safe and steady until the dust settles. And that could take a little while.

So we’ve started off with a suffragan woman bishop, just to get us warmed up before the announcements of several diocesan bishops next year which are bound to include at least one of the hotly-tipped women priests who have been waiting patiently for their moment to come. We will then, at last, be able to get used to the joyous sight of both sexes in senior positions wearing pointy hats and carrying big sticks. Except, as things currently stand, there will be one place where that won’t happen.

The House of Lords is home to 26 of our Lords Spiritual. Only diocesan bishops can hold these positions, so Libby Lane won’t be popping up there anytime soon. Neither would any diocesan women bishops either. This is because there aren’t enough spaces to go round for those 40 bishops. At any time, up to 14 are waiting patiently for one of the 26 to hang up their vestments and head off into retirement (or become a peer in their own right). According to the Bishoprics Act of 1878 when a place in the Lords Spiritual becomes vacant it it the longest serving bishop who is given the spot. As it stands, our women bishops will be at the back of the queue and, judging by current turnover, we’d have about another seven years or so before a female diocesan bishop finally makes her way into the Lords. That’s a long time for women to effectively be excluded from an important aspect of the Church of England’s ministry.

This anomaly has been addressed by the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill, which has been squeezed in before Christmas by the Cabinet Office. The Bill sets out a 10-year fixed period when all women diocesan bishops are placed at the top of the list following their appointments so that they automatically enter the Lords ahead of any men. After that time everything reverts to the previous format.

From a certain point of view that might seem a bit harsh on Christopher Lowson, the Bishop of Lincoln, who is next in line to be elevated. But unless every appointment from now on is given to a woman, he’ll get his turn soon enough. It just might not be for a couple of years.

This would seem to be a small price to pay to have women bishops in the House of Lords. Is this Bill a form of positive discrimination? Well, yes, it is, but only if you don’t regard women being barred from the Episcopate as a form of discrimination in the first place. Having made the decision to treat men and women equally, the sooner the playing field is levelled, the better. Such a decision neutralises any unfriendly fire that could be aimed at the CofE over the next few years claiming that a small part of it is still a men-only club. It also wisely avoids setting any quotas or male-to-female ratios that might lead to some women, having been appointed as bishops, being accused of only being given the post to make up the numbers rather than it being entirely down to merit, which would do the Church no favours at all.

Barring any mischief, it looks as though this Bill will become law and – given that it has been collectively agreed by the House of Bishops and has broad support from the Government and Labour – it should be in place by March. We already know that the Bishop of Leicester will be retiring in July, so everything points to that being the date we gain a female Lord Spiritual, at long last.

Discussion of this Bill might seem rather dry and technical, but it provides the final piece in the jigsaw in the drawn-out and at sometimes bitter saga of the ordination of women in the Church of England. Once this is in place and we have our first handful of women bishops, hopefully we’ll be able to move on from the curious analysis that Libby Lane has received, unlike Philip North who was appointed as the new Bishop of Burnley last month (anyone notice?). When women bishops are able to talk confidently about their views without the need to veil their language to avoid upset or judgement, then we’ll know the Church has taken real steps forward.

In 10 years time, when the special measures are removed and being a bishop of either sex is perfectly normal and without distinction, we will have the perfect opportunity to ditch the term ‘woman bishop’. After all,for those who have been baptised into Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor are there male and female bishops, for all are one in Christ Jesus.

For those who choose to make such things an issue, there is of course the prospect of a first woman archbishop to look forward to…

  • Albert

    In 10 years time, when the special measures are removed and being a bishop of either sex is perfectly normal and without distinction, we will have the perfect opportunity to ditch the term ‘woman bishop’

    So long as there are members of the CofE who can legitimately be opposed to women bishops, they will always be women bishops – not least because of the sacramental confusion that will be caused.

    for those who have been baptised into Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor are there male and female bishops, for all are one in Christ Jesus.

    If you’re prepared to collapse the laity (baptism) and ministry into each other, undermining Pauline ecclesiology in the process, then yes, that might work (so long also as you don’t worry about what the Bible actually says on this matter…).

    BTW, can anyone explain to me how it is that people who are conservative on homosexuality can be in favour of the ordination of women? The authority arguments seem to me to be identical (with a little more authority against women’s ordination).

    • cacheton

      Oh Albert there you are – hello.

      People can be conservative on one thing and not on others depending on their level of realisation of the harm their prejudice does. Some people realise and care about it, others don’t. Before comments were closed on the last thread we were ‘talking’ on, you suggested that I should choose the Church’s condemnation of the exploitation of the poor by the rich to criticise, rather than condemnation of homosexuality. But the former is widely recognised as harmful by just about everybody, the latter is not. It however does not take Einstein to realise that both are harmful, therefore it is reasonable to question why some people in the Church condemn one but encourage the other. Same thing applies to ordination of women. Your argument that Jesus must have chosen men as disciples due to their spiritual superiority, even though you cannot explain what that spiritual superiority is or even conjecture what it possibly may be, is seen to be ridiculous by the majority of Christians and non-Christians alike.

      • Albert

        Your argument that Jesus must have chosen men as disciples due to their spiritual superiority

        Where have I made that argument?

        It however does not take Einstein to realise that both are harmful

        If one accepts the argument that homosexual acts are not harmful in any way, then obviously, one is likely to think that a condemnation of homosexual acts is harmful. But that is to assume the point that needs to be proved.

        People can be conservative on one thing and not on others depending on their level of realisation of the harm their prejudice does.

        There is an important point here – if one objects to one thing on the basis of an authority that one will not allow against another, then yes, prejudice may be at work. But my request was for someone to try to defend the apparent disparity with argument.

        • cacheton

          You made that argument when I failed to find any info on why the Catholic church discriminates against women; your no. 1 reason was that Jesus chose men as his disciples.

          How are homosexual acts harmful TO YOU, Albert? If you believe that God will judge people according to certain rules, leave it to him. The people doing the homosexual acts do not think or feel they are harmful to them, otherwise they wouldn’t do them would they. Surely God will deal with them – leave them alone. Otherwise people are justified in pointing out that it is YOUR prejudice you are voicing, and you are merely using a certain interpretation of the bible to justify it.

          I’m not sure I understand your last paragraph. By ‘authority’ do you mean ‘the bible’?

          • Albert

            You made that argument when I failed to find any info on why the Catholic church discriminates against women

            You mean I said (as you said I said earlier):

            Jesus must have chosen men as disciples due to their spiritual superiority

            Where on earth did I say that? Here’s the problem: you hear me say one thing, and you infer from it that I mean something else. You then accuse me of saying what I haven’t said, and condemn me for it – all in the name of love and compassion.

            How are homosexual acts harmful TO YOU, Albert? If you believe that God will judge people according to certain rules, leave it to him.

            All sinful sexual acts corrupt society’s understanding of sexuality, which in turn corrupts the family, which in turn harms us all. As for the second point, the issue is one of truth. You also have to see that it is not the Christian who is the aggressor here. I would defend a homosexual from any kind of prosecution or unjust discrimination. But if I hold that same-sex relationships are wrong, I find I cannot even run a B&B.

            The people doing the homosexual acts do not think or feel they are harmful to them, otherwise they wouldn’t do them would they.

            People do things that are harmful to them all the time.

            Otherwise people are justified in pointing out that it is YOUR prejudice you are voicing, and you are merely using a certain interpretation of the bible to justify it.

            So because you don’t agree with me on this, I am prejudiced. The fact that you do so while plainly not understanding or even knowing my arguments is amazing.

            In this case, by “authority” I mean the Bible

          • cacheton

            OK – you have not written ‘Men are spiritually superior to women’. You terminated another discussion where I suggested that it was the physical differences between the sexes that may be the cause of the discrimination – apparently this isn’t it, then. So if it is not the physical nor the spiritual, what is it?

            ‘All sinful sexual acts corrupt society’s understanding of sexuality, which in turn corrupts the family, which in turn harms us all.’

            But who has the ‘correct’ understanding of sexuality? How is the gay couple who lives opposite corrupting my family? How does my kids knowing that some people are sexually attracted to people of the same sex harm anyone?

          • avi barzel

            The biblical prohibition of homosexual behavior is unique to the Bible and is absolute and unambiguous, unless one employs clever and mendacious acrobatics. There is no way to sugar-coat that one in inclusive, post-Modern lingo.

            But like most critics, you assume that this is a peculiar religious tradition of relative value in a multi-religious, multi-cultural world. Yet, even from a secular perspective, it’s a no-brainer to notice that major over-turns and revisions of traditional societal norms and mores have major consequences. To wit, male homosexuality has been officially sanctioned, instituted and even enforced on all males in many warrior societies throughout history (Africa, South East Asia, Sparta, etc.). In all cases this coincided with extreme social and economic stratification, female infanticide, oppressive levels of male dominance, inter-family violence and abusive male adult-with-juvenile relationships. Make of this “coincidence” what you will, but for me it provides a possible rationale for biblical law where one society was ordered to break with a common Pagan pattern. And so, the seemingly commendable social acceptance and even “celebration” of the nice gay couple across the street from you has much wider, deeper and long-lasting consequences even from a basic social perspective.

          • Cressida de Nova

            “And so,…perspective” Good point and very good post.

            It is seemingly socially commendable. What are the alternatives. Poison pen letters in the gay neighbours letter box? A signed petition to have them evicted? I am not being facetious…You have raised a thought provoking issue..What exactly do you think the consequences will be? Normalisation of homosexuality? Enforced homosexuality?
            Divorce is normalised. Every family has one.

            I am comfortable with the Biblical rationale that has ordered us to remove ourselves from the Pagan ways, but we live in an ever increasing pagan society of today so how do we treat the nice gay neighbours?….Do we accept invitations? Never walk on that side of the street? The Biblical rationale does make it all very clear but also complicates and confuses a person who has to live harmoniously in the modern day world.

          • cacheton

            The clue is in your choice of word ‘enforced’. If you enforce any sexuality on anybody, you will have problems. That includes enforcing heterosexual sex on people who are homosexual, maintaining that the only non-sinful alternative is not to have sex at all, and men enforcing sexual relations on women who do not want them.

            You also include ‘abusive’, violence, ‘oppressive’ etc. Those are now recognised as crimes in our society and we have laws to deal with them, whether they happen in homosexual or heterosexual relationships.

            Whatever happened to sex as a way to express love between two consenting adults? What is wrong with that?

          • Albert

            So if it is not the physical nor the spiritual, what is it?

            It’s good of you to ask, but you are still misconstruing my position. I never said it wasn’t anything physical, I objected to, as I recall, your reduction of the difference between male and female to the genitals. You cannot infer from that that I am denying physicality at all.

            To put it simply, a priest at the altar is an alter Christus. He takes the same place as Christ, and therefore shares his gender, as surely the actor in the title role of the film Jesus of Nazareth must be male. This does not imply women are inferior in anyway, it just implies we are reasonable.

            But who has the ‘correct’ understanding of sexuality?

            A good question. In view of the fact that Christians often suffer discrimination for holding a natural law view of sexuality, it would appear that this question ought to be asked more often. Why does society get to discriminate in that way, if sexuality is hard to interpret? Surely, both positions should be acceptable? I note with interest that you haven’t rejected the fact that society prosecutes those who hold Christian views on sexuality.

            How is the gay couple who lives opposite corrupting my family?

            Once you make sex and end in itself, you reduce the dignity of sexuality – this is what you see around you. Children experiencing sex far too young, children contracting STIs, getting pregnant, watching pornography, etc. I’m not putting the blame for this purely on homosexuality, I am saying that where sex becomes an end in itself, and this is normalised, society suffers. This is particularly the case when marriage is denatured, so that it ceases to be about the foundation of family life, and become purely a private contract between two individuals (a private contract which of course, they are allowed to impose on everyone else – paradox does not seem to be a problem).

          • cacheton

            ‘This does not imply women are inferior in anyway’.

            Yes it does. Men get to be allowed to pretend to be Christ, even though they are not Christ. Women don’t.

            About the prosecutions – are you referring to bakers? And why is sexuality hard to interpret? What is hard about a means of expressing physically the love between two consenting adults?

            ‘Once you make sex and end in itself,’ – and who gets to judge that? What is wrong with sex as a means of expressing physically the love between two consenting adults? How is this an ‘end’? Is eating an ‘end’, listening to music, going for a walk, etc etc – all ‘end’s are they?

          • Albert

            Yes it does. Men get to be allowed to pretend to be Christ, even though they are not Christ. Women don’t.

            Firstly, I would thank you for not being so aggressively disrespectful to my faith as to say men are “pretending” to be Christ. I cannot help the fact that you are ignorant. I do not blame you for it. I regret the fact that you, with no thought to compassion and justice, use your ignorance as a platform to attack my faith. What we are dealing with here is a very profound element of sacramentality – rooted in the incarnation itself. Have you studied any of the theology behind it?

            But your point is half-witted anyway. In a nativity play, the most important role is Mary. No one would think that boys are inferior simply because they never get the most important role. No one thinks the director of Jesus of Nazareth thinks women are inferior or conveyed that when he supplied a man for the role, and refused (tacitly, for no one would be so bizarre as to demand a woman) a woman in that role.

            About the prosecutions – are you referring to bakers?

            I was thinking of the B&B owners. But the example matters little, the aggressive element (and I do not blame the whole community) of the homosexual community, and those who support them, are viscerally and unjustly, anti-freedom.

            And why is sexuality hard to interpret?

            Now you are arguing against yourself, for it was your comment that gave rise to that point:

            who has the ‘correct’ understanding of sexuality?

            In my opinion, part of the meaning of sexuality is obvious: it is ordered to procreation (among other goods). No one can show that is false, but most people act irrationally against it.

            What is hard about a means of expressing physically the love between two consenting adults?

            That which is contrary to nature is inherently degrading, and ultimately coarsens sexuality and the relationship it is giving expression to.

            and who gets to judge that?

            You are arguing two opposite points in the same post! You’ve just said:

            And why is sexuality hard to interpret?

            It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? If two men wish to have sex with each other, then they get to judge the nature of sexuality and to act on that judgement. I defend their right to do so. It’s called freedom. By the same right of freedom, others get to judge the nature of sexuality if it impinges on them, for example, if they run a B&B or if the law creates homosexual “marriage”.

            What is wrong with sex as a means of expressing physically the love between two consenting adults? How is this an ‘end’?

            Obviously it is an end. The point is it has been denatured because one of the ends to which nature directs it has been obscured.

          • cacheton

            Happy New Year Albert!

            Just found this going through my inbox – must have missed it in the Christmas rush!

            There is a fine line between ‘a priest at the altar is an alter Christus.’ as you wrote, and me interpreting that as a man pretending to be christ. I’m sure you understand that for many the line doesn’t exist.

            How would you feel about being considered to have a correct view of sexuality, but not the only correct view of sexuality?

            If two adults wish to have sex with each other, judgment from anybody, including (maybe especially) themselves, is the biggest turnoff. With your ‘natural’ argument you are basically saying that it is possible for sexual energy, in an adult consensual situation of course, not to be natural. Maybe there are judgments about quantity as well? It is possible to have too much, too little?

    • Martin

      Albert

      What has Galatians 3:28 to do with it?

      • Albert

        Nothing – it appeared, irrelevantly, I think, in the OP.

        • Martin

          Albert

          So why quote it?

          • Albert

            I was refuting its use – look at the paragraph that follows the quotation.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Not sure how your comment follows. There is no separate category of ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ for all are one in Christ Jesus.

          • Albert

            If that is the case then you seem to have come up with an argument for women taking such ministerial roles. But as it is, such a position is plainly not biblical, not least because although titles like “clergy” and “laity” do not appear as such in the NT, neither is there any sense that all these positions collapse into each other as you have suggested:

            Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

            It seems to me that you are sharing the error of those who argue for women’s ordination, and you and your co-“erronealists” each find yourselves in conflict with one or other passage of scripture.

            I would finally point out that some kind of category of laity is explicit in the biblical since it simply refers to the people of God, while the title “clergy” did not appear in my comment. I used the title “ministry”. Are you going to dispute that?

          • Martin

            Albert

            You really must learn to take the whole of the Bible into account, not just the one quoted. That all are in Christ, that all have the same rank does not mean that all have the same role. The role is quite clearly delineated. The local church has officers that see to the smooth running of that church, to the teaching and discipline. They are responsible to that congregation as part of that congregation, not a separate class.

          • Albert

            I cannot for the life of me see how this deals with the question I was addressing. As soon as you recognize that Christians have different roles, my position stands. All are one in Christ, but do not have the same roles is exactly my position. But from your first comment here you misunderstood me, so perhaps it’s not surprising that you have misunderstood again. Perhaps if you stopped assuming what I as a Catholic must be saying, you would hear what I am saying.

          • Martin

            Albert

            OK, let me put it this way, when an elder preaches it is the duty of the congregation to test what is said against the Bible. If it isn’t in agreement with the Bible then it has no authority.

            The elder has a role and the role has authority but only insofar as it agrees with Scripture. The man is equal in rank to the rest of the congregation, he has no authority of his own. Thus all have the same rank, even though not all have the same role.

            The man holding the role must be in good standing because his standing reflects on the role. The role of elder is not open to women, that’s all there is to it. Ministry merely means to serve, and there are forms of service open to women. Indeed, every believer is serving in some way.

          • Albert

            Obviously, there is much here with which I would disagree. I am particularly amazed by the idea that the congregation is able to test what is said against the Bible. The problem being, of course, that there will be disagreements about what the Bible means. But that point notwithstanding, your position seems much the same as mine. We can distinguish between the equality of persons in Christ and their role. Unless I’ve lost track of the conversation, that was the point I was wanting to make!

          • Martin

            Albert

            Do you not see that this is where we differ on authority and role? Authority rests not in the clergy but in Scripture and it is the duty of the believer to test what is said. The authority does not reside in the man in the pulpit, who is to be believed whatever he says. The man in the pulpit is equal with the man in the pew. If there are disagreements about what the Bible says then it is necessary for all to gather round the Bible to examine what it says, for it never contradicts itself.

          • Albert

            Authority rests not in the clergy but in Scripture and it is the duty of the believer to test what is said.

            It’s not as straight forward as that, as your post indicates. Let me give a comparison. In a state such as ours authority is vested in the law, but the judiciary is also an authority. Not an authority capable (in theory anyway) of adding to the law, but an authority simply in that it judges what the law means. No one thinks the judiciary isn’t an authority. Thus, you cannot say the only authority is scripture. Rather, in your picture, the congregation is also an authority. This is unavoidable.

            If there are disagreements about what the Bible says then it is necessary for all to gather round the Bible to examine what it says, for it never contradicts itself.

            I agree that it never contradicts itself in what it intends to teach. But that does not mean that individual readers may not find what they think are contradictions, still less does it guarantee that individual readers will not disagree and contradict each other. So my question to you is, when there are disagreements, and everyone gathers round the Bible to examine what it says, what happens if they still disagree?

          • Martin

            Albert

            But it is as simple as that and there is no comparison with the laws of nations. It is an entirely different matter.

            Nor is the congregation the authority for the congregation must turn to the Bible. If they disagree they need to examine themselves to see if they are reading into Scripture from their own opinion. Else they must go their separate ways if they cannot agree.

          • Albert

            But what the Bible says is that the ignorant and unstable twist the scriptures to their own destruction. It says that some passages of scripture are hard to understand. But at the same time it says God is not a God of confusion but of peace. It says that we should be of one mind. It shows a Church in which it is possible for apostolic authority to settle matters – simply by its own authority: if anyone does not recognize this he is not recognized. Thus your view of the Church seems to be plainly very different from that of the New Testament.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you imagine that the one who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit by the Holy Spirit can be ignorant and unstable? On the contrary, the believer becomes stable and full of understanding thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit. It is part of the New Birth. Either that or the Church itself is ignorant and unstable for the Church is the people.

            The apostles have died, the only apostles we have now are in the Bible and they, being dead, still speak. The Bible is the authority now, not mere men. The Church is guided by God’s word, as even the apostles were.

          • Albert

            So you imagine that the one who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit by the Holy Spirit can be ignorant and unstable? On the contrary, the believer becomes stable and full of understanding thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit. It is part of the New Birth. Either that or the Church itself is ignorant and unstable for the Church is the people.

            This is the trouble with Protestantism. You make an assertion based on what you think is its contradictory. But the contradictory is not in fact its contradictory. Sure, the Church is the people of God, but it is more than that, it is the body of Christ, and he himself is the Head. Even if the entire body were ignorant and unstable (which I do not for moment accept), then the Church would not be unstable and would still proclaim the truth, for Christ can guide the Church by his providence.

            But as it is, you are wrong to think that everyone who has the Holy Spirit is stable and full of understanding. Yes, there is one Spirit, but still a variety of gifts:

            To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

            And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
            Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

            Thus it is not up to you to dictate to scripture and the Holy Spirit what the Holy Spirit should do, simply because of what you think is necessary for popery to be false. To take a biblical example: the Galatians had received the Holy Spirit and they had received the faith directly from an Apostle himself! And yet they need a letter to correct them from making the most basic of errors.

            Now as to these words about ignorant and unstable, they come of course from scripture itself:

            So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

            Thus, it is not possible for you to make your final paragraph work. For individuals do not all have the gifts necessary for the Church. So when you Evangelicals disagree over some matter or other in scripture, you divide, because no one knows who has which gifts, but each prides himself on having the gifts of knowledge and interpretation. But none of this is scriptural. Do you seriously believe that every Christian with whom you have disagreed throughout history is without the Holy Spirit?

            In contrast, the Catholic Church maintains what was given in scripture:

            Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

          • Martin

            Albert

            This is the trouble with Protestantism. You make an assertion based on what you think is its contradictory. But the contradictory is not in
            fact its contradictory. Sure, the Church is the people of God, but it
            is more than that, it is the body of Christ, and he himself is the
            Head. Even if the entire body were ignorant and unstable (which I do
            not for moment accept), then the Church would not be unstable and
            would still proclaim the truth, for Christ can guide the Church by
            his providence.

            Remember,
            the Church is the Bride, not Christ. And remember too that the Church
            is every saved soul in assembly, not an organisation. Every Christian
            is being sanctified, being made more like Christ by the ministry of
            the Holy Spirit and if they are unstable there is either something
            wrong with the process or the person is not part of the Church. The
            instability of the Galatians was a serious matter, to be dealt with
            by the apostle with urgency. Churches are made up of individuals,
            evidence of instability is evidence of error.

            But
            as it is, you are wrong to think that everyone who has the Holy
            Spirit is stable and full of understanding. Yes, there is one Spirit,
            but still a variety of gifts:

            To
            each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To
            one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to
            another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
            to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by
            the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another
            prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to
            another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of
            tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who
            apportions to each one individually as he wills.

            And
            God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets,
            third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers,
            administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all
            apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work
            miracles?
            Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with
            tongues? Do all interpret?

            Thus
            it is not up to you to dictate to scripture and the Holy Spirit what
            the Holy Spirit should do, simply because of what you think is
            necessary for popery to be false. To take a biblical example: the
            Galatians had received the Holy Spirit and they had received the
            faith directly from an Apostle himself! And yet they need a letter to
            correct them from making the most basic of errors.

            Such
            miraculous gifts ended with the provision of the completed
            Scriptures, but the Spirit still works in the lives of Christians to
            make them holy.

            Now
            as to these words about ignorant and unstable, they come of course
            from scripture itself:

            So
            also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom
            given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There
            are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and
            unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other
            scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware
            lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your
            own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our
            Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

            Thus,
            it is not possible for you to make your final paragraph work. For
            individuals do not all have the gifts necessary for the Church. So
            when you Evangelicals disagree over some matter or other in
            scripture, you divide, because no one knows who has which gifts, but
            each prides himself on having the gifts of knowledge
            and interpretation. But none of this is scriptural. Do you seriously
            believe that every Christian with whom you have disagreed throughout
            history is without the Holy Spirit?

            Since
            they ‘twist to their own destruction’ they are not believers, not
            part of the Church at all for we know that Christ will never lose any
            that are His:

            All
            that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I
            will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my
            own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him
            who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me,
            but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father,
            that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have
            eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:37-40
            [ESV]

            Since,
            as I have already said, those miraculous gifts were for a time only,
            as 1 Corinthians 13 tells us. Now every believer has access to the
            Bible and the Holy Spirit.

            In
            contrast, the Catholic Church maintains what was given in scripture:

            Till
            I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to
            teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by
            prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon
            you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may
            see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold
            to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your
            hearers.

            The
            church of Rome abandoned the teaching of Scripture long ago when it
            created it’s own gospel that requires the sinner to do something to
            earn their salvation.

          • Albert

            And remember too that the Church is every saved soul in assembly, not an organisation.

            That’s not correct. What you have given there is simply a collection of individuals, but scripture says the Church is a body, and a body need organisation and structure. It is not merely a collection of individual members.

            Every Christian is being sanctified, being made more like Christ by the ministry of the Holy Spirit and if they are unstable there is either something wrong with the process or the person is not part of the Church.

            This doesn’t seem to fit quite with the biblical teaching that some are given the gift of knowledge, but others are not. But even if what you say is true, how do you know whether someone is unstable in the sense you are using the term? All I need to make my Catholic point is for it to be the case that Christians are divided because some are guided and others are not, and it is hard for an individual to know which category he is in himself.

            The instability of the Galatians was a serious matter, to be dealt with by the apostle with urgency. Churches are made up of individuals, evidence of instability is evidence of error.

            Isn’t that my point?

            Such miraculous gifts ended with the provision of the completed Scriptures, but the Spirit still works in the lives of Christians to make them holy.

            How do you know this? But anyway, if you are saying that the miraculous gift of knowledge ended then, how can you also claim that:

            On the contrary, the believer becomes stable and full of understanding thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit.

            But then again, you seem to have contradicted this point in your first paragraph.

            Since they ‘twist to their own destruction’ they are not believers, not part of the Church at all for we know that Christ will never lose any that are His

            Errr… but you just said the gift of knowledge had ceased, and that of someone who is unstable the process may have gone wrong.

            for we know that Christ will never lose any that are His:

            This is slightly different matter. The issue here is whether someone can believe and still fall away. Catholics say that can, Evangelicals tend to say they can’t. Here’s what Jesus says:

            And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 4.17and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

            And Paul say:

            You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

            You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

            And Hebrews says:

            “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.”

            Thus it is evident that someone can have faith and be part of the Church and still fall away – as Catholics teach, but contrary to what you have said.

            Since, as I have already said, those miraculous gifts were for a time only, as 1 Corinthians 13 tells us.

            I’ve already indicated the difficulties you face in thinking that, but where does 1 Corinthians tell us that?

            The church of Rome abandoned the teaching of Scripture long ago when it created it’s own gospel that requires the sinner to do something to earn their salvation.

            We teach what scripture says:

            Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

            For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith working through through love.

            Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
            And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.
            So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

            Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

            Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            But where is your doctrine of sola fide in scripture and how is it reconciled with these scriptures?

          • Martin

            Albert

            That’s not correct. What you have given there is simply a collection of individuals, but scripture says the Church is a body, and a body need organisation and structure. It is not merely a collection of individual members.

            Why do you think that the word means a popular meeting rather than a hierarchical organisation? And is not the Holy Spirit perfectly capable of organising God’s peopl?

            This doesn’t seem to fit quite with the biblical teaching that some are given the gift of knowledge, but others are not. But even if what you say is true, how do you know whether someone is unstable in the sense you are using the term? All I need to make my Catholic point is for it to be the case that Christians are divided because some are guided and others are not, and it is hard for an individual to know which category he is in himself.

            What on earth has that got to do with anything? All Christians are guided by the Holy Spirit, not just some special ones.

            Isn’t that my point?

            Then you haven’t made it very well. Paul was dealling with a case of confusion that had arisen before the completion of Scripture, Scripture now performs that function.

            How do you know this? But anyway, if you are saying that the miraculous gift of knowledge ended then, how can you also claim that:

            On the contrary, the believer becomes stable and full of understanding thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit.

            But then again, you seem to have contradicted this point in your first paragraph.

            1 Corinthians 13, is how. They were special gifts, the gift of understanding given to every believer is different

            Errr… but you just said the gift of knowledge had ceased, and that of someone who is unstable the process may have gone wrong.

            The process cannot go wrong, that is my point.

            This is slightly different matter. The issue here is whether someone can believe and still fall away. Catholics say that can, Evangelicals tend to say they can’t. Here’s what Jesus says:

            And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 4.17and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

            They were never Christians, for the gorund had not been prepared.

            And Paul say:

            You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

            You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

            And Hebrews says:

            “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.”

            Thus it is evident that someone can have faith and be part of the Church and still fall away – as Catholics teach, but contrary to what you have said.

            So you are saying that Jesus was wrong when He said that he would lose none of those who were His?

            I’ve already indicated the difficulties you face in thinking that, but where does 1 Corinthians tell us that?

            1 Corinthians 13 is all about the ending of the apostolic age and the completion of Scripture.

            We teach what scripture says:

            Do you not notice that all those passages are said to or of those who are saved. The gospel isn’t about good works but about the power of God to save.

            But where is your doctrine of sola fide in scripture and how is it reconciled with these scriptures?

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 [ESV])

            Tehy were dead, like Lazarus, they coud do nothing for themselves. God had to save them before they could even do good works.

          • Albert

            Why do you think that the word means a popular meeting rather than a hierarchical organisation? And is not the Holy Spirit perfectly capable of organising God’s peopl?

            I do not see that the word “body” would be the right word, if this is the meaning. As scripture says But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? Each person is equally a member of his body, but not all have the same function or role, or even honour, if Paul’s language is to be applied. And he goes on:

            Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

            There is clearly a structure here. Much more likely, then that you are evacuating the text of meaning to make it fit with your Protestant tradition.

            What on earth has that got to do with anything? All Christians are guided by the Holy Spirit, not just some special ones.

            I am not saying that some Christians are not guided at all, I am saying however, that scripture clearly shows that some have this function of knowledge or prophesy, that others do not have:

            To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

            You seem to me to be overlooking perhaps the key part:

            For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
            If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
            If all were a single organ, where would the body be?

            Not all members of the body have the same role of knowledge and prophesy. You want each member of the body to be the same member. Indeed, you need it to be this way, for the moment you dissent from it, it becomes impossible to maintain the perspicacity of scripture, on which your Protestant doctrine depends.

            1 Corinthians 13, is how.

            I asked how it says that.

            They were special gifts, the gift of understanding given to every believer is different

            And your biblical proof of this is?

            So you are saying that Jesus was wrong when He said that he would lose none of those who were His?

            Is that how you answer passages of scripture that contradict your position? I am not saying Jesus was wrong, I am saying your Protestant interpretation of Jesus is wrong, and that this is evident from the fact that it sets him against other passages of his own scripture.

            The process cannot go wrong, that is my point.

            So how did it go wrong with the Galatians?

            1 Corinthians 13 is all about the ending of the apostolic age and the completion of Scripture.

            But 1 Cor. 13 says knowledge passes away!

            Do you not notice that all those passages are said to or of those who are saved.

            Only if I exhaustively conflate having faith with being saved, which makes no sense of the passages, and sets the interpretation again against those other passages quoted earlier.

            The gospel isn’t about good works but about the power of God to save

            It’s not about salvation through good works versus salvation through faith alone. The contrast in scripture is between salvation through works of the law (which cannot save), and salvation as faith working through love (which does save, because it is a work of grace infused into us). That is, by grace received by faith:

            work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

            As for your quotation of Ephesians 2, how exactly is that supposed to disagree with my Catholic teaching? I can only assume you do not understand Catholic teaching. Or if your interpretation of Ephesians 2 is correct, why do some passages of scripture also speak of us being saved and will be saved?

            “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:9-10)

            “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1Corinthians 3:15)

            This is the same problem as before, you pick one passage and interpret it in such a way as to prevent it being reconciled with other scriptures. So you haven’t given me an example of sola fide, rather you have given me another reason to think sola fide is unscriptural.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I do not see that the word “body” would be the right word, if this is the meaning. As scripture says But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? Each person is equally a member of his body, but not all have the same function or role, or even honour, if Paul’s language is to be applied.

            There is clearly a structure here. Much more likely, then that you are evacuating the text of meaning to make it fit with your Protestant tradition.

            So, as I said, God organises the Church, it isn’t up to Man to second guess Him.

            I am not saying that some Christians are not guided at all, I am saying however, that scripture clearly shows that some have this function of knowledge or prophesy, that others do not have

            You seem to me to be overlooking perhaps the key part

            Not all members of the body have the same role of knowledge and prophesy.

            We no longer live in the age of apostles and prophets, instead we have the completed Scriptures. As the writer of Hebrews says:

            And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor

            and each one his brother, saying, Know the Lord,

            for they shall all know me,

            from the least of them to the greatest.

            (Hebrews 8:11 [ESV])

            You want each member of the body to be the same member. Indeed, you need it to be this way, for the moment you dissent from it, it becomes impossible to maintain the perspicacity of scripture, on which your Protestant doctrine depends.

            On the contrary, we are all different but we all have the Holy Spirit and we all have the obligation to follow our conscience and test all things against Scripture.

            So how did it go wrong with the Galatians?

            Remember, they didn’t have the completed Scriptures.

            But 1 Cor. 13 says knowledge passes away!

            That is the miraculous gift of knowledge, like the miraculous gift of tongues.

            Only if I exhaustively conflate having faith with being saved, which makes no sense of the passages, and sets the interpretation again against those other passages quoted earlier.

            Unless you are saved you don’t have faith, faith is the gift of God, remember Ephesians 2.

            It’s not about salvation through good works versus salvation through faith alone. The contrast in scripture is between salvation through works of the law (which cannot save), and salvation as faith working through love (which does save, because it is a work of grace infused into us). That is, by grace received by faith

            But as Ephesians 2 says, faith is the gift of God so salvation is all of God.

            As for your quotation of Ephesians 2, how exactly is that supposed to disagree with my Catholic teaching? I can only assume you do not understand Catholic teaching. Or if your interpretation of Ephesians 2 is correct, why do some passages of scripture also speak of us being saved and will be saved?

            The future is still in the future, the wrath is still to come.

            This is the same problem as before, you pick one passage and interpret it in such a way as to prevent it being reconciled with other scriptures. So you haven’t given me an example of sola fide, rather you have given me another reason to think sola fide is unscriptural.

            I have no problem reconciling Scripture with Scripture. The problem is yours.

          • Albert

            So, as I said, God organises the Church, it isn’t up to Man to second guess Him.

            Precisely, which is why we Catholics maintain the polity we received from the apostles. But you chaps make it up to sort the movements of your own spirits.

            We no longer live in the age of apostles and prophets, instead we have the completed Scriptures.

            Your interpretation of Hebrews fails, for it is clearly referring to the period in which the author lives – i.e. the period in which the scriptures are not yet completed. You are confusing two quite different things, in any case – the Holy Spirit certainly makes Christ present to individuals, so each knows the Lord, but the idea that that means each person can interpret the revelation exhaustively is quite false. It is referring to each person having the gift of faith. After all, other scriptures, still speak of those who have the gift of knowledge and those who teach – or are you saying all these gifts pass away after the completion of scripture?

            When do you think the completion of scripture takes place? In other words, when is the writing finished, and when is the canon settled? What happened to those Christians who after that date only have access to some scriptures and not others?

            On the contrary, we are all different but we all have the Holy Spirit and we all have the obligation to follow our conscience and test all things against Scripture.

            And when we disagree on the meaning of scripture? Isn’t there a danger that you idolatrously identify your interpretation of scripture with that of the Holy Spirit? Let me be clear: to me, your interpretation of scripture seems to set scripture against itself. I could be wrong of course, but on your model, you aren’t open to the possibility of that criticism.

            Remember, they didn’t have the completed Scriptures.

            Well who has all the scriptures in his head at one time? But you seriously think that having all the Bible and interpreting it by oneself is better than having God’a own directly inspired apostle in one’s presence? They had heard the Gospel from Paul himself! As for having all the scriptures, what does scripture say:

            So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

            Now if a text is unclear, isn’t the best thing to be able to ask the author what he meant? And yet, I am supposed to believe that I am in a better position to interpret Paul than those who had heard directly from him and could ask him directly?

            That is the miraculous gift of knowledge, like the miraculous gift of tongues.

            In that case, what of the knowledge spoken of in your quotation from Hebrews? But 1 Cor 13 clearly isn’t speaking of the period after the scriptures are completed, but it is speaking eschatalogically:

            For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

            We do not see face to face now just because we have all the Bible. The idea that we see better than Paul now is quite ridiculous. Rather face to face knowledge will come in the future:

            Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

            You say:

            Unless you are saved you don’t have faith

            All those who are saved have faith, but it is not correct to say that all who have faith are saved in every sense, for scripture also speaks of being saved as something future, as our Lord says:

            But he who endures to the end will be saved.

            and scripture also warns:

            Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

            You say:

            But as Ephesians 2 says, faith is the gift of God so salvation is all of God.

            Well obviously, salvation is all of God. Why on earth would you think I am denying that? The question is how could works in me so that I am saved.

            The future is still in the future, the wrath is still to come.

            And so in some sense, salvation is in the future. But salvation is a bigger concept than just escaping wrath, and even in these bigger contexts in which wrath is not mentioned, salvation is still spoken of as future.

            I have no problem reconciling Scripture with Scripture. The problem is yours.

            No. What happens is this, I quote a scripture, and you tell me I need to read other passages. You then cite these passages as if somehow they trump the scripture I have cited. But that is only the case if you interpret your passages in the way in which you do. But if you do, then you contradict other scriptures. The Catholic interpretation lets all the scriptures speak and lets them fit together. Remember: we never tried to reduce James and other scriptures to an appendix or say that:

            My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book.

            And why is this? Because he realised that it contradicted his reading of Paul. But his reading of Paul is doubtful, as he conceded, for he had to interpolate the word “alone” into Paul to make it state the Protestant doctrine he realised contradicted James, not the Catholic doctrine that it teaches without the word “alone”. Now if it is all so clear to those who have faith, why is Luther, the fountain-head of Protestantism, needing to cut and paste to make the scriptures say what you Protestants need it to say? And if it comes to that, by what authority do you decide whether James Hebrews, Jude and Revelation are scripture? Do you receive them as lesser, as the Lutherans do?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Precisely, which is why we Catholics maintain the polity we received from the apostles. But you chaps make it up to sort the movements of your own spirits.

            You received nothing from the apostles. Indeed the only thing you could have received, the word of God you rejected in favour of your opinions.

            Your interpretation of Hebrews fails, for it is clearly referring to the period in which the author lives – i.e. the period in which the scriptures are not yet completed. You are confusing two quite different things, in any case – the Holy Spirit certainly makes Christ present to individuals, so each knows the Lord, but the idea that that means each person can interpret the revelation exhaustively is quite false. It is referring to each person having the gift of faith. After all, other scriptures, still speak of those who have the gift of knowledge and those who teach – or are you saying all these gifts pass away after the completion of scripture?

            If it applies to the period when Scripture was being written, how much more it applies after the canon is complete. If the Bereans were honourable for searching the Scripture how much more are those who have the whole Scripture, who search the whole of Scripture nto see what God has said. Of course there are teachers, for some have greater skills in languages and greater time to study but still the man in the pew must test what he is told to see if it is true.

            When do you think the completion of scripture takes place? In other words, when is the writing finished, and when is the canon settled? What happened to those Christians who after that date only have access to some scriptures and not others?

            Clearly it takes place when the last word is written, and there have always been some Christians who have had access to only part of Scriptures, some because it has not been translated into a language they understand. Do you really think that the Holy Spirit is not able to provide for them?

            And when we disagree on the meaning of scripture? Isn’t there a danger that you idolatrously identify your interpretation of scripture with that of the Holy Spirit? Let me be clear: to me, your interpretation of scripture seems to set scripture against itself. I could be wrong of course, but on your model, you aren’t open to the possibility of that criticism.

            I hadn’t seen you being willing to change your view, indeed it seems to me that you have idolatrously placed your church in the place of the only one able to interpret Scripture instead of the Holy Spirit. My understanding has changed over the years, and is always open to change given proof from Scripture.

            Well who has all the scriptures in his head at one time? But you seriously think that having all the Bible and interpreting it by oneself is better than having God’a own directly inspired apostle in one’s presence?

            Remeber, it was not unknown for the apostles to make mistakes, as Peter did, and the apostles could only be with part of the Church at any one time, hence the letters.

            They had heard the Gospel from Paul himself! As for having all the scriptures, what does scripture say:

            So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

            Now if a text is unclear, isn’t the best thing to be able to ask the author what he meant? And yet, I am supposed to believe that I am in a better position to interpret Paul than those who had heard directly from him and could ask him directly?

            Again, I would question whether the ‘ignorant and unstable’ are believers

            In that case, what of the knowledge spoken of in your quotation from Hebrews? But 1 Cor 13 clearly isn’t speaking of the period after the scriptures are completed, but it is speaking eschatalogically:

            For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

            We do not see face to face now just because we have all the Bible. The idea that we see better than Paul now is quite ridiculous. Rather face to face knowledge will come in the future:

            Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

            Tell em, who do you see in a mirror, yourself or another? 1 Cor 13 is not speaking of seeing Christ but of seeing ourselves, seeing ourselves for what we are, clearly.

            You say:

            Unless you are saved you don’t have faith

            All those who are saved have faith, but it is not correct to say that all who have faith are saved in every sense, for scripture also speaks of being saved as something future, as our Lord says:

            But he who endures to the end will be saved.

            and scripture also warns:

            Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

            On the contrary, the Good Shepherd will not allow any who are His to be lost. He gives them saving faith that they might be saved and saved they will be. Nothing is more certain. Can God fail in what He sets out to do?

            You say:

            But as Ephesians 2 says, faith is the gift of God so salvation is all of God.

            Well obviously, salvation is all of God. Why on earth would you think I am denying that? The question is how God works in me so that I am saved. Does he enable me to work out my salvation or not? Is God at work in me to work and to will for his good pleasure? If he is, then the Catholic position is held, and all the scripture fit together.

            You are denying it right there, you place your salvation in dependance upon you.

            And so in some sense, salvation is in the future. But salvation is a bigger concept than just escaping wrath, and even in these bigger contexts in which wrath is not mentioned, salvation is still spoken of as future. Notice how scripture makes our salvation dependent in the future on things we do now (by grace received by faith of course, although scripture doesn’t always add that caveat).

            Does Ephesians 2 tell us salvation is in the future? “You were dead” “God … made us alive” “by grace you have been saved” Everything in the past or present, nothing in the future, the Christian is saved now

            No. What happens is this, I quote a scripture, and you tell me I need to read other passages. You then cite these passages as if somehow they trump the scripture I have cited. But that is only the case if you interpret your passages in the way in which you do. But if you do, then you contradict those other scriptures. The Catholic interpretation lets all the scriptures speak and lets them fit together. Remember: we never tried to reduce James and other scriptures to an appendix or say that, in Luther’s words:

            My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book.

            And why is this? Because he realised that it contradicted his reading of Paul. But his reading of Paul is doubtful, as he conceded, for he had to interpolate the word “alone” into Paul to make it state the Protestant doctrine he realised contradicted James, not the Catholic doctrine that it teaches without the word “alone”. Now if it is all so clear to those who have faith, why is Luther, the fountain-head of Protestantism, needing to cut and paste to make the scriptures say what you Protestants need it to say? And if it comes to that, by what authority do you decide whether James Hebrews, Jude and Revelation are scripture? Do you receive them as lesser, as the Lutherans do?

            Luther didn’t have all the answers, nor did Calvin. For example, neither was a Baptist. The passages I quote show that your interpretation cannot be right, they don’t trump the other Scripture.

            Here’s the Catholic position:

            For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).

            What’s with this “holy mother” business? Is it not about the church in Rome trying to push it’s authority, as the empire’s chief city, on the rest of the Christian community? You lost you candlestick long ago.

          • Albert

            I haven’t got time to reply to all this in one go, a few observations for now:

            1. Notice the pattern that develops here: you make a claim, sometimes supported by scripture. I point out that the interpretation of scripture is wrong either on its own terms or place it in contradiction with another scripture, and must therefore be read in a Catholic way. Your response is not to defend your exegesis but to move on to a counter assertion. You second paragraph is a case in point. You needed a scripture to defend a particular point, and you chose Hebrews. I argued your interpretation undermined the passage itself, and you responded with an assertion:

            If it applies to the period when Scripture was being written, how much more it applies after the canon is complete

            It is not even clear what it is you are referring to here, let alone whether you can defend it scripturally.

            2. If the Bereans were honourable for searching the Scripture how much more are those who have the whole Scripture, who search the whole of Scripture nto see what God has said. No one is going to deny that, but reading the Bible is not the same as understanding it – that is the point at issue here.

            3. Clearly it takes place when the last word is written What you mean canonisation is simultaneous with writing? That’s not what the historical record shows but even if so, how does an individual know when he reads a text whether it is scripture or not?

            4. and there have always been some Christians who have had access to only part of Scriptures, some because it has not been translated into a language they understand. Do you really think that the Holy Spirit is not able to provide for them? I am quite sure that Holy Spirit does provide for them, the question is, what does he provide? If you say the Holy Spirit provides them with all knowledge, then doesn’t that count against your position with the Galatians? My argument was that, despite the Galatians having faith and the Holy Spirit and having received the Gospel from Paul himself, nevertheless they erred. You replied that they erred because they didn’t have the whole Bible. But that’s the case we are arguing here and here you say the Holy Spirit will make up their deficiencies. I cannot see that you can reconcile this contradiction. You have to concede that someone who has faith and the Holy Spirit can nevertheless err in their interpretation of scripture.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I haven’t got time to reply to all this in one go, a few observations for now:

            1. Notice the pattern that develops here: you make a claim, sometimes supported by scripture. I point out that the interpretation of scripture is wrong either on its own terms or place it in contradiction with another scripture, and must therefore be read in a Catholic way. Your response is not to defend your exegesis but to move on to a counter assertion. You second paragraph is a case in point. You needed a scripture to defend a particular point, and you chose Hebrews. I argued your interpretation undermined the passage itself, and you responded with an assertion:

            If it applies to the period when Scripture was being written, how much more it applies after the canon is complete

            It is not even clear what it is you are referring to here, let alone whether you can defend it scripturally.

            So you don’t want me to reply to your points and when I do you claim it isn’t clear what I am referrring to? You claimed the quote I made applied to the time it was written, I pointed out how much more it applied to us in this day.

            2. If the Bereans were honourable for searching the Scripture how much more are those who have the whole Scripture, who search the whole of Scripture nto see what God has said. No one is going to deny that, but reading the Bible is not the same as understanding it – that is the point at issue here.

            That is why Christians are given the oly Spirit. We don’t have to rely on a man who idolatrously calls himself father.

            3. Clearly it takes place when the last word is written What you mean canonisation is simultaneous with writing? That’s not what the historical record shows but even if so, how does an individual know when he reads a text whether it is scripture or not?

            Since the creation and completion of the canon is the work of God not the work of Man why would there be anything in the historical record?

            4. and there have always been some Christians who have had access to only part of Scriptures, some because it has not been translated into a language they understand. Do you really think that the Holy Spirit is not able to provide for them? I am quite sure that Holy Spirit does provide for them, the question is, what does he provide? If you say the Holy Spirit provides them with all knowledge, then doesn’t that count against your position with the Galatians? My argument was that, despite the Galatians having faith and the Holy Spirit and having received the Gospel from Paul himself, nevertheless they erred. You replied that they erred because they didn’t have the whole Bible. But that’s the case we are arguing here and here you say the Holy Spirit will make up their deficiencies. I cannot see that you can reconcile this contradiction. You have to concede that someone who has faith and the Holy Spirit can nevertheless err in their interpretation of scripture.

            The Holy Spirit provides them with what they need and then sends those to them who can provide more. In the case of the Galatians He provided Paul.

            Of course someone who has faith and the Holy Spirit can err, wasn’t that the case with Peter?

          • Albert

            You claimed the quote I made applied to the time it was written, I pointed out how much more it applied to us in this day.

            But your original point required it not to apply in the time it was written (i.e. before the scriptures were complete).

            That is why Christians are given the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to rely on a man who idolatrously calls himself father.

            This is exactly the point. Does the scripture teach that the Holy Spirit will guide each individual so that they can exhaustively interpret the scriptures? I have given scripture to think not and I cannot see that you have answered them with anything more than assertion.

            Since the creation and completion of the canon is the work of God not the work of Man why would there be anything in the historical record?

            Canonisation is about man recognizing what God has done, so it isn’t as simple as you say here. As it is about man recognizing what God has done, it is a historical event, and could be found in the historical record. But you haven’t seen my point: the historical record provides evidence to the contrary of what you need it to show, but it provides no evidence of what you need it to show.

            The Holy Spirit provides them with what they need and then sends those to them who can provide more. In the case of the Galatians He provided Paul.

            Precisely. Not all are teachers and interpreters, but some need teachers and interpreters. How are they to know who are the right teachers and interpreters? It cannot be by checking the teaching against the scripture, for it is to interpret the scripture that they need teachers and interpreters. And thus you do not know whether your disagreements with Catholicism are because Catholicism is wrong or because you have twisted the scriptures.

            Of course someone who has faith and the Holy Spirit can err, wasn’t that the case with Peter?

            Exactly what happened in Galatians 2 is notoriously difficult to understand. But it’s not obvious that Peter erred in his faith, and that is the issue. But if Peter did err, despite being an apostle, so it is possible also that Martin may err.

          • Martin

            Albert

            But your original point required it not to apply in the time it was written (i.e. before the scriptures were complete).

            Not really.

            This is exactly the point. Does the scripture teach that the Holy Spirit will guide each individual so that they can exhaustively interpret the scriptures? I have given scripture to think not and I cannot see that you have answered them with anything more than assertion.

            Not exhaustively, but certainly sufficiently, why else would Paul say:

            Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:12-16 [ESV])

            If they are to work out their own salvation they must have the ability to examine what Scripture says and act accordingly. And if it is God who is working in them, would He not give them the understanding they need? If they are to hold fast to the word of life they must understand it

            Canonisation is about man recognizing what God has done, so it isn’t as simple as you say here. As it is about man recognizing what God has done, it is a historical event, and could be found in the historical record. But you haven’t seen my point: the historical record provides evidence to the contrary of what you need it to show, but it provides no evidence of what you need it to show.

            And it was the churchs, in the 1st & 2nd centuries that decided what God had put in the canon, not a schismatic organisation that claimed to be superior over all the other churches in the empire. The agreement may have taken place among the churches at one time but it was only rubber stamping what was already decided.

            Precisely. Not all are teachers and interpreters, but some need teachers and interpreters. How are they to know who are the right teachers and interpreters? It cannot be by checking the teaching against the scripture, for it is to interpret the scripture that they need teachers and interpreters. And thus you do not know whether your disagreements with Catholicism are because Catholicism is wrong or because you have twisted the scriptures.

            On the contrary, what the teachers & interpreters say needs to be checked against what Scriptures say. Even what Paul said had to be checked against what the Scripture said, as the Bereans did and as Paul said:

            But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9 [ESV])

            And hence the church of Rome is accursed.

            Exactly what happened in Galatians 2 is notoriously difficult to understand. But it’s not obvious that Peter erred in his faith, and that is the issue. But if Peter did err, despite being an apostle, so it is possible also that Martin may err and has erred.

            Of course it isn’t difficult to understand, Peter was wrong and had to be corrected. In just the same way I can be wrong, but you need to correct me from Scripture, not your dogma.

    • carl jacobs

      Albert

      The authority arguments seem to me to be identical

      Shush! You’re not supposed to ask questions like that. It’ll spook the horses.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      Albert,
      “can anyone explain to me how it is that people who are conservative on
      homosexuality can be in favour of the ordination of women?”

      To be clear, I assume that by “conservative on
      homosexuality”, you mean opposed to homosexual acts, as I am not aware of any Christian of my acquaintance who is opposed to homosexual people.

      Homosexual acts are repeatedly condemned in the Bible as being sinful and so I think it obvious that all Christians should condemn the acts whilst offering love to the person.

      As to ordination, I think that many Christians who are opposed to homosexual acts are also not at all in favour of the ordination of anyone, in the way that the CoE does it, because that model is not supported by scripture.

      However, scripture does support the idea of elders or leaders and it does not say that these positions are exclusively for men. In fact St. Paul praises women who hold leadership positions.

      • Albert

        To be clear, I assume that by “conservative on
        homosexuality”, you mean opposed to homosexual acts, as I am not aware of any Christian of my acquaintance who is opposed to homosexual people.

        Yes, certainly. Cranmer has frequently blogged on the subject so I took the meaning as to be indicated by the context, as it were.

        I think that many Christians who are opposed to homosexual acts are also not at all in favour of the ordination of anyone, in the way that the CoE does it, because that model is not supported by scripture.

        I can see that some people see it that way. So the substantive issue is to be found in these two paragraphs:

        Homosexual acts are repeatedly condemned in the Bible as being sinful

        and

        scripture does support the idea of elders or leaders and it does not say that these positions are exclusively for men. In fact St. Paul praises women who hold leadership positions.

        Paul does repeatedly condemn women holding some positions of ministry. As to women holding leadership positions, can you state which you mean, and how you think the interpretation that they are in leadership positions (not a term Paul uses, I think) fits with the passages of scripture that so clearly condemn women holding some positions of ministry?

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          “the passages of scripture that so clearly condemn women holding some positions of ministry”

          I cannot think of any passages of scripture that I would characterise is this way. In order to avoid us talking at cross purposes can you please let me know what you are referring to here?

          • Albert

            I’m sure you know which passages I might have been thinking off, but you’re right, to prevent confusion:

            As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached? If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

            Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

            Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.

            Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

            And if I may step outside the Pauline corpus:

            Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Albert,
            I assume that because rather than answering my question you are playing silly buggers you are not interested in a meaningful discussion.

          • Albert

            Are you serious? I’m not playing silly buggers. I thought you were asking for scriptural passages, so I’ve given some. How else am I supposed to interpret your words:

            In order to avoid us talking at cross purposes can you please let me know what you are referring to here?

            It seems rather harsh of you to say I am not interested in meaningful discussion under the circumstances.

            If you want me to make it explicit, I would have thought that Paul has condemned women doing things like preaching in church. Since that is what the office of a bishop entails, it is evident that women cannot hold that office. At least, that would be my contention. If I have misunderstood your question, or if my interpretation of those passages is, in your opinion, not correct, please show my error, but if you won’t, why accuse me of playing silly buggers?

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            I accused you of playing silly buggers because that is exactly what you did.

            A helpful response would have been a set of scripture references. Instead you just dumped in a load of text that may be an accurate copy of some parts of some translation of the Bible.

            Expecting me, and anyone else reading, to know what passages and from which translation (or to spend time looking them up) seems a clear impression that rather than a meaningful discussion you just want reinforce your position. That impression is reinforced by you adding an unacknowledged emphasis that is not in the original.

          • Albert

            Good grief! These passages are so utterly familiar and famous to anyone who has studied the question of women’s ministry, that I can only assume, from your latest comment, that you have done very little study of the matter. As for the translation, it makes little difference – the meaning of the passages is not so subtle that they only appear in some translations but not in others. As for complaining that I have added unacknowledged emphasis, obviously, the emphasis is mine – the Greek doesn’t even have punctuation in its original, let alone italics or bold.

            seems a clear impression that rather than a meaningful discussion you just want reinforce your position.

            The passages are there for you to discuss – how can setting out the scripture passages be anything other than an attempt to put forward a discussion? That is what I have done. I do not regard my interpretation as the last word. But what you did was to say:

            However, scripture does support the idea of elders or leaders and it does not say that these positions are exclusively for men. In fact St. Paul praises women who hold leadership positions.

            I have given evidence to the contrary. Where is your evidence? You’ve given none! So, what is your evidence and reason for thinking that a Christian may consistently oppose homosexual acts, but accept women’s ordination? In the meantime, the translation I used is RSV, the passages are:

            1. 1 Cor.14.34ff
            2. 1 Tim.2.11ff
            3. Eph. 5.22ff
            4. Col. 3.18
            5. 1 Pet.3.1

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    The term I dislike the most is that of ‘women priests’. For one thing, the proper word should be ‘priestess’ and the logic of saying priestess has pagan connotations but priest does not is nonsense. We do not fix ‘woman’ to any other trade – we do not talk about ‘women architects’ or ‘women plumbers’ (though I grant you that ‘women drivers’ does get an airing, usually in an uncomplimentary way).

    • Martin

      Mrs Proudie

      You will find that the Bible does not authorise the office of priest in the Church in any way. There are no Christian priests, except that every Christian is a priest.

      • Albert

        There are no Christian priests, except that every Christian is a priest.

        a. Is that coherent? b. Where does it say that every Christian is a priest?

        • Martin

          Albert

          Yes it is coherent, there is no special office of priest and Revelation 1:6 tells us that.

          • Try Wikipedia and look up Universal priesthood (doctrine)’ Albert – the understanding of it differs in different Christian faiths and for Catholics it was clarified in Lumen Gentium. The concept goes back to the First Epistle of Peter 2:9

          • Yes but a distinction is drawn between the universal priesthood and a liturgical and sacramental ordained priesthood following on from the Last Supper and as demonstrated in Acts.

          • A distinction drawn by whom?
            Not by the word of God.
            ‘ They stumble being disobedient to the word…….but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.’
            Who are ‘You’? It is those to whom Peter is writing- believers, Christians of every generation. Who are ‘they’? Those who reject the word of God or who obscure it by their unbiblical traditions (Mark 7:7:6-8).

          • In Titus 1:5: “For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldst ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee.”

            James 5:14-15: “Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man; and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.”

          • Oh dear! Is that your special Church of Rome Bible you have there? I never know which is worse; you or the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

            The Greek word used in both Titus 1:5 and James 5:14 is presbuteros, meaning ‘elders’ and so translated in every reliable translation of the Bible. The Greek word for ‘Priest’ is hieros and that word is only ever used in the New Testament to describe the Jewish priesthood.

            The word ierateuma is used to descibe the priesthood of all believers as in 1 Peter 2:9, or the High Priesthood of the Lord Jesus in the book of Hebrews.

            There is no other order of priesthood in the New Testament.

          • The point is that in James 5 we have the priests of the church – the presbyters/elders” – undertaking holy anointing. The priests/elders come in, anoint the sick person with oil, and pray over him so that he might be raised up and forgiven any sins he has committed.
            There is clear biblical support for this ministry – in addition to the universal priesthood.

            In John 20 when Jesus commissions his Apostles to forgive sins, He says: “Receive the Holy Spirit” and breathes on them. The same pattern is in 2 Timothy 1:6, when Paul says: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.” Again in 1 Timothy 4:14, Paul explains how he must fulfill his ministry as an evangelist and tells him: “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you.”

            This gift of the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of hands, was something Paul instructed Timothy to pass on. He tells Timothy he must exercise this ministry carefully, lest he ordain a priest unworthy of the office. In 1 Timothy 5:19-22 he tells him: “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor participate in another man’s sins; keep yourself pure.” Do not to lay hands on an elder too quickly; don’t ordain him until he has been tested and shown to be of excellent character.
            It is clear it is a distinct role with gifts passed on through the laying of on hands.

          • Uncle Brian,
            The word is indeed kathistemi and in both my trusty New King James Version and in the NIV it is translated ‘appoint.’
            It is perfectly clear that there were certain people put in charge of churches; these were episkopoi, ‘overseers,’ and presbuteroi, ‘elders.’ It is clear from the Bible that these terms are interchangeable and refer to the church leaders. There were also diaconoi, ‘deacons,’ but what there absolutely were not were priests in the sense of someone standing between the congregation and God. Nor were there bishops in the sense of someone lording it over multiple congregations. According to Phil. 1:1, there were multiple episkopoi in the church at Philippi.
            ‘But you, do not be called, “Rabbi;” for One is your Leader, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your father, He who is in heaven’ (Matthew 23:8-9).

          • Uncle Brian

            Thank you, Martin, for your careful reply but I suspect we may be attempting to deal with several different questions rolled up into one, in which case it might be helpful to disentangle them. For instance,

            1. Are all members of a church (community, congregation,
            assembly, ekklesia) on an equal footing or are some of them to be designated as “ministers of religion”, to use the broadest possible term?

            2. If so, what is their function?

            3. What rules are to govern the choice of noun: presbyter, elder, minister, priest, chaplain, vicar, and so on?

            As between “presbyter” and “priest”, which originated as
            two forms of the same word, as Malcolm Smith pointed out earlier on this thread, the rejection of “priest” evidently has to do with the fact that the same word in used in the context of pagan religions such as those of Greece and Rome. Some people will consider that a sufficient reason for rejecting it but others won’t. The need for rejection isn’t a self-evident truth.

          • Uncle Brian,
            I’ll try and come back to you tomorrow, but in the meantime, may I just say that ‘presbyter’ comes from the Greek word presbuteros meaning ‘an older man.’ If you suffer from presbyopia, your eyesight has declined with age- you have old man’s eyes. If they were suitable, the older men in the congregation, who had been Christians for longer, were to take charge (cf. 1 Tim. 3:6). The word has nothing whatsoever to do with being a priest. Presbyter and elder translate the same word and therefore describe the same office.

          • Uncle Brian

            comment deleted

          • A ‘church’ may, I suppose, call its officers whatever it likes- why not ‘sticks of celery’? However, it would not do so with the sanction of the word of God.
            When William Tyndale translated the first English New Testament from the original Greek, he used (quite correctly) the word ‘Senior’ for presbuteros and ‘overseer’ for episkopos. It was Cranmer’s scruples that kept ‘priest’ in the Prayer Book as a sort of contraction of ‘presbyter,’ and it was James I who insisted on ‘bishop’ being kept in the A.V. Neither word has the sanction of the Bible, but if you don’t care about that, you just carry on.

          • Uncle Brian

            Martin, don’t lose sight of the historical background. When was the first time that any church in the English-speaking
            world adopted the term “elder” to designate its clergy? Some time in the mid-sixteenth century, I suppose, in the later Tudor period. By that time “priest” had been the standard English word for a minister of religion for several centuries and it remains today a correct English word in good standing. Don’t take my word for it, look it up in the dictionary. The Greek word presbyteros, retained
            in the Vulgate in the minimally Latinised spelling presbyterus, entered the English language some time in the Anglo-Saxon period in the worn-down or eroded form “preoste” or “prioste”, eventually morphing into “priest”. And it’s still there today.

            You are, of course, free to campaign for changes to be made to the English language in accordance with your wishes. But if it is your belief that your demands have already been met and that the noun “priest” has been blacklisted or expunged on the grounds that it lacks “the
            sanction of the Bible”, you are mistaken. It hasn’t.

          • I am very much aware that the word ‘priest’ is, alas, very much in use within some sections of the C of E, which is one reason why we need a new Reformation.
            The problem is that while most C of E people use the word merely as an alternative to ‘vicar’ (another word with no biblical credentials), the Church of Rome has real sacrificing priests who offer up the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ time after time (contra Hebrews 7:27; 10:10-14 etc.).
            However, I think we have flogged this topic to death now and I don’t suppose that anyone else is reading this, so I shall stop here and leave the last word to you.

          • That there was an ordination of church officers involving the laying-on of hands is obvious; we do it at my church when a new elder is appointed. You will note that this was done once by the Apostle and at another time by a group of church elders. It didn’t make Timothy a priest and he is never described as one. Nor is anyone else in the N.T.
            Are you suggesting that the Holy Spirit can only be obtained by the laying-on of hands? ‘If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His’ (Romans 8:9). And what of Cornelius and his friends (Acts 10:44)?

          • Apostolic succession is indisputable, Martin.

            Christians are commanded to uphold tradition Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Then in Acts 1:21-26, we see the Apostles acting to replace the position left vacant by Judas. They prayed for guidance, asking God to show them which candidate was “chosen to take the place in this Apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away.”

            Again, we have 1 Timothy 1:6 and 4:14, where Paul reminds Timothy that the office of bishop/elder had been conferred on him through the laying on of hands. As pointed out, in 1 Timothy 5:22 Paul advises Timothy not to be hasty in handing on this authority to others. In Titus Paul describes the apostolic authority Titus had received and urges him to act decisively in this leadership role.

            The early Christian writings give testimony of the early Church holding to Apostolic succession. The belief that the Apostles handed on their authority to others was one of the most frequently defended doctrines in the first centuries of Christianity.

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

            For the early Fathers, “the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles. . . . [A]n additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message committed was to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit. Indeed, the Church’s bishops are . . . Spirit-endowed men who have been vouchsafed ‘an infallible charism of truth’”. Thus on the basis of experience the Fathers could be “profoundly convinced of the futility of arguing with heretics merely on the basis of Scripture. The skill and success with which they twisted its plain meaning made it impossible to reach any decisive conclusion in that field.”

            As early as 80 AD, Pope Clement I wrote:

            “Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry”
            (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3).

          • It is the Holy Spirit who appoints men to the ministry (cf. Acts 13:2). At its best, ordination by men and the laying on of hands merely confirms what the Spirit has already decreed. At its worst, one set of men not called by God (Jer. 23:21) appoint another man not called by God. That this has happened time and time again in the Church of Rome is obvious to anyone who has made even a passing study of the papacy. There are no more apostles (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 15:8), and therefore there is no more apostolic succession.
            Now, of what order are your ‘priests’? They are not Levitical since they are not from the sons of Levi. Nor are they in the order of Melchizedek since they are appointed by men and later retire or die (Hebrews 7 & 8). No. We have one Great High Priest who remains in office forever (Heb. 7:3), and all Christians have access to God through Him. Any order of ‘priest’ that places itself between the believer and Christ is, by definition, antichrist.

          • That’s your interpretation of scripture, Martin. You do realise this, don’t you? It suits your theology and you have to squeeze what contradicts it into your narrow framework. The early Church clearly believed in a priesthood and this was passed onto them directly by the Apostles. It as plain as the face on your nose if you actually read scripture.

            The Christian Church is, has and will always be, Apostolic. That’s the way God planned it.

          • Well if there is something that contradicts me, you haven’t found it.
            The Christian Church is certainly Apostolic, but not in the way that you suggest. The Church is built on the doctrine of the Apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20), but there is no magic fairy dust that is passed on from one church leader to another as Simon Magus could tell you (Acts 8).
            Many popes and cardinals (and where are either of those jobs described in the Bible?) were evil men, totally unfitted for their office and certainly unfitted to pass it on. Where is this Apostolic Succession? I’ll tell you where it is. It is wherever a godly man takes up the role of preacher and preaches the true Apostolic doctrine. Whether he has been ordained by men or not, such a man has been ordained by God.

          • And all that is unbiblical and contradicts the early church leaders who were in direct touch with the Apostles. Did you read what Pope And it’s not “magic dust”. The laying on of hands is an outward symbol of the power of the Holy Spirit infusing grace into the soul of the ordained.

            Did you read what J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant historian, said about infallibly resisting heresy? And Pope Clement, writing in 80 AD? Did the early church just dream this up or is it more likely it heard it direct from the first Apostles?

          • They dreamed it up (Acts 20:29-30; Jude 4).

          • Yeah, that explanation works.

          • Shuvah05

            Amen to that, Malachi 3 a immense passage of Scripture worthy of study

          • Uncle Brian

            Martin, the Greek verb in Titus 1:5 that is here translated as “ordain” – I’m not sure what it is in Greek, is it kathistemi? Even if you choose a different English verb to translate it, such as “appoint” or “install”, doesn’t that still say something about some people in Paul’s church being differentiated in some way from others?

          • Malcolm Smith

            Your problem is the English language, which uses “priest” as a translation of two separate Greek words. The word in 1 Peter 2:9 is hieráteuma, from hieréus, a Jewish or pagan priest, whereas the head of a Christian congregation is a prebyteros or elder, from which we derive our word, “priest”. But the two roles are not identical, even if there is some overlap. Also, you might remember that the Jewish priesthood was exclusively masculine – just like the Christian one.

          • Malcolm, I’m aware that the early English Reformers used the word ‘priest’ as a contraction of ‘presbyter.’ They made it very clear that such men were not the same as the Romanist priests that they replaced, specifically that they did not offer again and again to God the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in the ‘mass’ (Hebrews 9:25ff).

          • Albert

            What makes you think that the passages you quote here are inconsistent with Catholic teaching?

          • Albert,
            My apologies; I missed this post until just now. I have dealt with some of this elsewhere, but in case you missed it, here goes!
            The Church of Rome postulates a separate priesthood that continues to offer up the body and blood of the Saviour in the ‘mass.’ This is in direct contradiction to Hebrews 10:11-14 and other verses which tell us that Christ’s sacrifice of Himself was once and for all.
            Christ is now our great High Priest forever (Heb. 7:11-19) who ever lives to intercede for His people. Christians are all priests due to our union with Him, and have direct access to the Father through Him. We offer, not a sacrifice of blood, for that has been made once for all at Calvary, but our bodies in service to God (Romans 12:1) and being complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10) we have no need of any separate earthly priesthood.

          • Albert

            Thank you. No worries about not replying sooner – it’s hard to keep up down here sometimes!

            We are both agreed that we only come to the Father through the sacrifice of Christ. Where we disagree is not in that The Church of Rome postulates a separate priesthood. Catholics most certainly do not teach that. We teach that the sacrifice of Christ is made present in the Mass for us to participate in it. The priest in the Mass is Christ’s priesthood – Christ simply uses the man at the altar as an instrument. How else, can we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, unless he has caused us to participate in his sacrifice through his body and blood (1 Cor.10.16)? How else can we make sense of St Paul saying:

            Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church

            No one thinks that Jesus’ sacrifice is lacking in itself. It is lacking only in the sense that it lacks us. Through the Mass, and various other graces, we are united in the sufferings of Christ. How else can Paul’s sufferings complete anything in Christ for the Church? Was Paul crucified for us? Or what about this:

            When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

            How on earth should our suffering with Christ be necessary for our glorification in him, unless it is because we somehow participate in his sacrifice? Now if we participate in his sacrifice, you can have no objection to the Mass as his sacrifice. If we don’t participate in his sacrifice then we must either say that our sufferings are not efficacious or we must concede some kind of works righteousness. My suspicion is that most Evangelicals prefer the first kind of unscriptural error to the second. As a Catholic, I would prefer to keep the whole of scripture.

          • Albert,
            There is so much in your post to disagree with, but I want to keep to the main point.
            You do have a separate priesthood in the Church of Rome, and they alone are able, as you suppose, to conjure the body and blood of Christ from the bread and wine. No one else is able (you say) to do that. Yet the Bible says that every Christian is a priest (1 Peter 2:9).
            To what order do these ‘priests’ belong? They are not Levitical, because they are not Jewish and not of the descendants of Aaron. Nor are they of the order of Melchizedek, since they are appointed by men (Heb 7:16) and either retire or die in office and need to be replaced (contra Heb. 7:20-28). They are of an order not known to the Scripture and therefore not recognized by God.
            Your interpretation of 1 Cor. 10:16 and Col. 1:24 is quite wrong. Christians are united to Christ already. ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1:27). We are ‘complete in Him’ (Col. 2:10) and have no need of His body and blood to be sacrificed for us over and over again. We have been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20); we have been raised with Him Eph. 2:4-6) and we suffer with Him (eg. Phil. 1:29). All this comes through the believer’s union with Christ, and needs no manmade priesthood to make it a reality.

            There is much more to say, but not at 5 o’clock on Christmas Eve. Have a merry one!

          • Albert

            Martin,

            You do have a separate priesthood in the Church of Rome, and they alone are able, as you suppose, to conjure the body and blood of Christ from the bread and wine.

            It is not separate from Christ, that was my point. It is distinct from the priesthood of all believers, insofar as it is a ministerial priesthood. The whole body, being the body of Christ, is a priest (since Christ is a priest), but not all the members of the body have the same function. Each is a priest insofar as each is a member of Christ the High Priest, but not every member of Christ offers the ministerial priesthood. If there were no distinction then every member of the body would be a priest in the same way as Christ – which is the opposite of the position you are defending.

            The priestly ministry of the Catholic priest, is simply Christ’s priesthood, it is in union with this priesthood that the whole body is priestly, thus it is not accurate to say it is separate from the people’s priesthood or Christ’s priesthood.

            1 Peter 2.9 does not say each person is a priest, but rather that the entire body is priestly (the point I have just made). We see this foreshadowed in the OT, the fact that the whole people of Israel is a priestly people does not stop the Levitical priesthood existing distinct from them.

            Christians are united to Christ already. ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1:27). We are ‘complete in Him’ (Col. 2:10) and have no need of His body and blood to be sacrificed for us over and over again.

            Obviously, we have been united to Christ in baptism, as scripture says:

            for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

            But this is a dynamic thing, not a static thing. We are continually living in him – abide in me, he says. Now, you haven’t shown how my interpretation of 1 Cor., Col. and Gal is wrong. You have only asserted that your interpretation of Col. contradicts what I quoted from Gal. 1 Cor. and Col. Isn’t this because you have narrowed the meaning of Col. beyond its meaning and set it up against those other scriptures? There is not an either/or, either we have been united to Christ or we are continually united with him. It’s both! We find some passages speak of the past, some of the present and some of the future. The reason you reduce this to only the past is not because scripture does not support my position, but because, ever since the Protestant Reformation, there has been a tendency to reduce our salvation in Christ to some kind of judicial scene in which we must be declared innocent, even though we are guilty. There is so much more to salvation in him: participation in Christ! That is the heart of our faith. It is the heart of Christmas – on which note, have a Merry and Blessed one!

          • I’ll be really grateful for a reply, after Christmas of course, as to which order your sacrificing priests belong.
            Are they Levitical, of the order of Melchizedek, or are they something quite unknown to Scripture.

          • Albert

            Apostolic order, participating in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation, on the basis that as the Father sent Christ, so Christ sends the apostles, who, according to his own words can do the works that he does, and who, in one apostle’s words makes up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of his body, the Church.

          • To reply as briefly as I can:
            1. No ‘apostolic order’ of priests is mentioned in the Bible.
            2. The Apostles are never mentioned as being priests.
            3. There is no need for such a ministry as Christ Himself is ‘Able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them’ (Hebrews 7:25).
            4. There is now no need for a priest of any kind to ‘offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this [Christ] did once for all when He offered up Himself’ (v.27).
            From these verses it can be seen that nothing is ‘lacking’ in the sufferings of Christ in the sense of further sacrifices being necessary. So what does Paul mean in Col. 1:24? He means that although our Lord’s sufferings were sufficient to accomplish salvation once for all for His people (qv above), there is still more suffering to be done before His return, and Paul’s imprisonment and other afflictions (cf. 2 Cor. 11:23ff) are a part of that as are those of Christians in various parts of the world today. ‘Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution’ (2 Tim. 3:12). There is no suggestion in Col. 1:24 or elsewhere that Paul’s sufferings were in any way vicarious, or that anyone else’s are. Our Lord told the Apostles in John 15:18-16:4 that they would suffer; He makes no suggestion whatever that their sufferings would make up for any lacking or deficiency in His; indeed, the very thought is frankly blasphemous.
            That is my lot on this thread. It is getting hard to scroll down to where we are on it, and I have my doubts as to whether anyone else is reading it.

          • Albert

            1. No ‘apostolic order’ of priests is mentioned in the Bible. There’s no explicit use of the word “Trinity” in the Bible, no explicit claim of sola scriptura, no explicit claim of justification by faith alone, no list of which books are canon etc. The fact that something is not explicitly mentioned makes little difference – it’s just an argument from silence.

            2. The Apostles are never mentioned as being priests. But they are shown to be continuing Christ’s ministry of reconciliation.

            3. There is no need for such a ministry as Christ Himself is’Able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them’ (Hebrews 7:25). That does not follow. The ministry the apostles have is one of making present the sacrifice of Christ, of enabling the members of the Church to participate (κοινωνία) in the body and blood of Christ.

            4. There is now no need for a priest of any kind to ‘offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this [Christ] did once for all when He offered up Himself’ (v.27). Why do you evangelicals constantly misrepresent the Catholic teaching? How many times has it been said that they are not offering up any other sacrifice other than that which is Christ’s himself, thereby enabling us to participate in it?

            From these verses it can be seen that nothing is ‘lacking’ in the sufferings of Christ in the sense of further sacrifices being necessary.

            Which is not of course what I am claiming.

            There is no suggestion in Col. 1:24 or elsewhere that Paul’s sufferings were in any way vicarious, or that anyone else’s are.

            The issue is whether they are effective. If you grant they are, you have accepted Catholic teaching on this. If you say they aren’t you deny scripture itself. This is what the Bible says:

            I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church

            [and]

            if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

            I fear your position evacuates these passages of content because if you allow them to speak what they say you worry your position will be void:

            So what does Paul mean in Col. 1:24? He means that although our Lord’s sufferings were sufficient to accomplish salvation once for all for His people (qv above), there is still more suffering to be done before His return, and Paul’s imprisonment and other afflictions (cf. 2 Cor. 11:23ff) are a part of that as are those of Christians in various parts of the world today.

            Although what you say here is true, can you not see that scripture says those sufferings actually have an effect, because they make Christ’s sufferings present in us? The Bible doesn’t just say we will experience sufferings – your position, it says we remain children of God provided we suffer with him to be glorified with him.

            He makes no suggestion whatever that their sufferings would make up for any lacking or deficiency in His

            Careful, you are a whisker away from directly contradicting Col.1.24.

            It is getting hard to scroll down to where we are on it

            I can help you there! Underneath the original post, where the comments begin, you will see a round speech bubble, it will be either red or grey. If you click it, it will open up all your most recent replies.

          • Thank you for your help. That makes things much easier. So easy, in fact, that I can spare another quick reply.

            You wrote:

            1. There’s no explicit use of the word “Trinity” in the Bible, no explicit claim of sola scriptura, no explicit claim of justification by faith alone, no list of which books are canon etc. The fact that something is not explicitly mentioned makes little difference – it’s just an argument from silence.

            One of us is using an argument from silence and it isn’t me.

            I’m delighted that you view sola scriptura and Justification by faith alone as doctrines equally certain as that of the Trinity. You are certainly right to do so. But these doctrines are found abundantly in the Bible and can easily be proven. Your ‘Apostolic Order of priests’ is nowhere to be found. That is your argument from silence.

            2. The Apostles are never mentioned as being priests.

            But they are shown to be continuing Christ’s ministry of reconciliation.

            I take it then, that you agree that the Apostles are never mentioned as being priests. Thank you for conceding the point.

            3. The ministry the apostles have is one of making present the sacrifice of Christ, of enabling the members of the Church to participate (κοινωνία) in the body and blood of Christ.

            If there were such a ministry, it would be unnecessary since every Christian is complete in Christ (Col. 2:10). We already participate in His body and blood through faith (cf. Gal. 2:20).

            4. Why do you evangelicals constantly misrepresent the Catholic teaching? How many times has it been said that they are not offering up any other sacrifice other than that which is Christ’s himself, thereby enabling us to participate in it?
            ‘In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, the same Christ who offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner’ (Council of Trent). Beware you don’t find yourself anathematized!

            To touch briefly on Col. 1:24, Paul’s sufferings were certainly effective in that they were a part of what brought the Church into being, but they have, in themselves, no effect on anyone’s salvation since, once again, we are complete in Christ.

            The Bible doesn’t just say we will experience sufferings – your position, it says we remain children of God provided we suffer with him to be glorified with him.

            The Bible doesn’t say that at all. Read Romans 8:17 again, carefully this time, please. The word ‘remain’ is not in the verse. A Christian’s sufferings are an evidence that he is truly saved by grace alone and as such may be the cause for rejoicing (Acts 5:41; James 1:2-3 etc.). If there is no cost, no suffering, in a Christian’s life he will (or should) lack that assurance that his faith is genuine. However, a Christian cannot lose his salvation if suffering does not come to him for a period of time. How would one gauge what level of suffering might be sufficient to maintain one as a child of God? The whole idea is ridiculous.

          • Albert

            Your ‘Apostolic Order of priests’ is nowhere to be found.That is your argument from silence.

            I don’t think you understand what an argument from silence is. Wikipedia expresses it clearly:

            An argument from silence (in Latin argumentum ex silentio) is a conclusion based on the absence of statements in historical documents, rather than their presence.[2][3] In the field of classical studies, it often refers to the induction from the lack of references to a subject in the available writings of an author to the conclusion that they were ignorant of it.

            This being so, it is you that is using an argument from silence. The problem with arguments from silence is that things which are most obvious to people and most basic are often never stated.

            I’m delighted that you view sola scriptura and Justification by faith alone as doctrines equally certain as that of the Trinity.

            That didn’t follow. My point was an ad hominem tu quoque to illustrate the problem of arguing from silence.

            But these doctrines are found abundantly in the Bible and can easily be proven.

            Even the doctrine of the Trinity is harder to see there than people realise – you only have to look at the history of the doctrine to see that. What you don’t seem to realise is the degree to which your interpretation is controlled by tradition. Sola scriptura and sola fide are not easily proved from scripture, rather their contradictory is plainly stated in scripture.

            I take it then, that you agree that the Apostles are never mentioned as being priests. Thank you for conceding the point.

            I never denied it. I questioned the relevance of that fact in the light of the other doctrines never mentioned in scripture that you believe.

            it would be unnecessary since every Christian is complete in Christ (Col. 2:10).

            That’s not a good translation. It speaks of the fullness (πεπληρωμένοι) of life. Completeness implies something closed, which considering the fullness of life is Christ, a an infinite person is logically impossible. Thus the fullness of life is something dynamic, not static. Your interpretation is not consistent with passages such as:

            For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
            from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

            You see? It’s something growing, and in some sense in the future.

            We already participate in His body and blood through faith

            Indeed so, and yet our Lord gave us his body and blood as a “participation” in him. Again, the scripture fits perfectly with the Catholic view that one is brought to Christ but continually grows through constant participation in him through the sacraments and faith, but it is ill-suited to your static version.

            Beware you don’t find yourself anathematized!

            How precisely do you think my position differs from that of the Council of Trent?

            Paul’s sufferings were certainly effective in that they were a part of what brought the Church into being, but they have, in themselves, no effect on anyone’s salvation since, once again, we are complete in Christ.

            You are skirting around the key point in Paul’s statement:

            I fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body

            It’s not just that sufferings of Paul help found the Church (whatever that means), he says they fill up (interestingly, the Greek has the same word as Col. 2.10) what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. Moreover, the idea that salvation has to worked out in a dynamic sense is explicit:

            work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

            Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

            You claim:

            The Bible doesn’t say that at all. Read Romans 8:17 again, carefully this time, please. The word ‘remain’ is not in the verse.

            This is what it says:

            And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

            Yes, the word “remain” does not occur there, but that does not alter the meaning – the passage makes it clear that our salvation is dependent on our suffering with him. Compare what Paul says only a few lines earlier:

            But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

            The Greek is the same in both cases. But your interpretation evacuates Paul of his meaning. Moreover, your interpretation of Jas1. tells in my direction, for it says:

            Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

            Suffering causes an effect, it is not simply an effect itself. The word for “perfect” τέλειοι speaks of the “end” of something, which is clearly still to come in this passage. The word translated as “complete” ὁλόκληρος is a better word for “complete” and shows that what you wanted to draw as perfection from Col.2.10 must be in the future, and indeed may come about through suffering (as per my interpretation of Rom.8.17).

            Thus, even your own examples, in the end tell in a Catholic direction.

          • Well Dur! I think I know what an argument from silence is. My point is that your church has invented a doctrine that is nowhere found in Scripture, and then when it is pointed out, bleat about an argument from silence. Yours is the argument from silence because the whole Bible is completely silent about a separate order of priests. It is not an AFS to point out that your doctrine is utterly without Biblical support.

            With regard to the Doctrine of the Trinity etc., apart from the fact that these are red herrings to draw away attention from the fact that Roman catholic priests are unbiblical, I will just add that the Trinity had better be clearly expressed in the Bible or we have no business believing in it. I will concede however that it is not quite so clear as sola scriptura and sola fide. It is quite clear enough, though. The main problem is that it is not taught enough.

            Now with regard to Col. 2:10. The Greek word translated ‘complete’ in the NKJV is indeed pleroo (sorry, I don’t know how to get a Greek font here). In the Passive, it means to be made full. When you are made full, you don’t need anything else, hence ‘complete.’ Your citation of Eph. 3:14ff proves my point. ‘…..That Christ may dwell in your hearts……..to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge….’ When we have Christ we are …. ‘filled with all the fullness of God.’ Christ is all we need, but that is not a dead or static thing- God forbid! We always need more- to learn more, to love more, to rest more securely, to follow more closely- but of Him. ‘To live is Christ!’ If you have gone past Christ, you have gone too far, much too far!
            There is much more stuff to say, but you keep widening the argument and I haven’t got time to deal with it all. I just want to address the idea of salvation by suffering. Do you flagellate yourself, Albert? That would be a good way of making sure you’re saved. But how much do you need to do it? Is there a prescribed amount of suffering in order to achieve assurance? Would a hair shirt help? Old Thomas More used to wear one of those while he was entertaining evangelicals in the torture chamber in his cellar.
            God preserve us from this nonsense. Suffering is actually a spiritual gift. ‘For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake’ (Phil. 1:29). The Greek word for ‘granted.’ is charizo, to do with gifts. Whom is it given to? To ‘you.’ Every Christian suffers in one way or another. Not all to the same degree, but all to some extent. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials’ (James 1:2). Not ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ Every Christian will suffer but God will use that suffering to mature and perfect us (v.4).
            That is definitely my lot here. No doubt we shall cross swords on another topic at some point. Thanks for the discussion.

          • Albert

            I think I know what an argument from silence is. My point is that your church has invented a doctrine that is nowhere found in Scripture, and then when it is pointed out, bleat about an argument from silence. Yours is the argument from silence because the whole Bible is completely silent about a separate order of priests. It is not an AFS to point out that your doctrine is utterly without Biblical support.

            In this paragraph, you use the expression “argument from silence” in two different ways – each contradicts the other. I would not say the ministerial priesthood is separate – in fact, if you have read closely what I have said, you will see that I have said it is not separate but distinct.

            With regard to the Doctrine of the Trinity etc., apart from the fact that these are red herrings to draw away attention from the fact that Roman catholic priests are unbiblical

            Not so. I admit that the NT does not use the expression “priests” of a ministerial group, but like the Trinity (also never stated), the basic ideas are there. On the other hand, you only need to look at the history of the doctrine of the Trinity, to see that it has developed from biblical foundations rather than being self-evident.

            I will just add that the Trinity had better be clearly expressed in the Bible or we have no business believing in it.

            If sola scriptura is true, then yes, that would follow. But sola scriptura isn’t true.

            I will concede however that it is not quite so clear as sola scriptura andsola fide. It is quite clear enough, though. The main problem is that it is not taught enough.

            On the contrary, neither sola is clearly taught in scripture. Here’s a proof: no one believed either doctrine until Luther came up with them, but people had always believed in some kind of doctrine of (what we would call) the Trinity. Sola fide only arose because of nominalism (and makes no sense outside of that philosophical context), and sola scriptura arose because Luther could not get people to accept sola fide (despite – or perhaps because of – his cut and paste approach to scripture).

            In the Passive, it means to be made full. When you are made full, you don’t need anything else, hence ‘complete.’ Your citation of Eph. 3:14ff proves my point. ‘…..That Christ may dwell in your hearts……..to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge….’When we have Christ we are …. ‘filled with all the fullness of God.’ Christ is all we need, but that is not a dead or static thing- God forbid! We always need more- to learn more, to love more, to rest more securely, to follow more closely- but of Him. ‘To live is Christ!’ If you have gone past Christ, you have gone too far, much too far!

            Who is saying you should go beyond Christ? Now as to When you are made full, you don’t need anything else. That’s not quite true is it? When I am full, I cannot take anything else. A starving man with a shrunken stomach, is filled very easily, but as he is restored he needs more and more. But if my fullness makes me grow, then there is space and need for more. Hence the need to grow in the knowledge etc. of God. As scripture says:

            About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child.
            But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

            You continue:

            When we have Christ we are …. ‘filled with all the fullness of God.’ Christ is all we need, but that is not a dead or static thing- God forbid! We always need more- to learn more, to love more, to rest more securely, to follow more closely- but of Him.

            That being so, there is no objection to a priesthood which makes the sacrifice of Christ available to us, as we grow. You can’t say both this last quotation, and your earlier one: it would be unnecessary since every Christian is complete in Christ (Col. 2:10).

            you keep widening the argument and I haven’t got time to deal with it all.

            I am not widening the discussion – the issue of the priesthood is tightly linked to the issue of salvation – that is the connection you made. Thus I am not widening it when I follow your lead.

            Do you flagellate yourself, Albert?

            Personally, no. But I’m surprised at you raising this, for scripture says:

            I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

            You say:

            Old Thomas More used to wear one of those while he was entertaining evangelicals in the torture chamber in his cellar.

            What is the evidence that St Thomas More used to torture people in his cellar?

            Suffering is actually a spiritual gift. ‘For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake’ (Phil. 1:29). The Greek word for ‘granted.’ ischarizo, to do with gifts. Whom is it given to? To ‘you.’ Every Christian suffers in one way or another. Not all to the same degree, but all to some extent. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials’ (James 1:2). Not ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ Every Christian will suffer but God will use that suffering to mature and perfect us (v.4).

            We are agreed on something!

            That is definitely my lot here. No doubt we shall cross swords on another topic at some point. Thanks for the discussion.

            Fair enough. Thank you too. God bless!

          • Albert

            Don’t worry Sr T., I know how this argument runs!

          • Martin

            ST

            Not sure I’d want to use Wikipedia on such a matter. It isn’t known for it’s understanding of Christian doctrine. I think the Bible is sufficiently clear.

          • Albert

            You say “There are no Christian priests” but you also say “every Christian is a priest.” I don’t think both statements can be true. Now you’ve referred to Rev.1.6, but that’s a bit odd, because a priest is one who offers sacrifice. Do you mean that all Christians offer sacrifice?

          • Martin

            Albert

            If you prefer, since every Christian is a priest, offering up their sacrifice of worship at every moment, there is no office of priest in the Christian Church.

          • Albert

            Fine. Is the sacrifice that they offer in Christ or not? In other words, are they offering something of their own, in their own strength, as it were?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Since they are in Christ all they do is in Christ.

          • Albert

            This being so, you can have no objection to the sacrifice of the Mass, except that you don’t accept the idea of a ministerial priesthood. But that latter position cannot stand either, for the OT makes clear that although the people of God are a priestly people nevertheless, it is still possible to have a ministerial priesthood. Thus, if you wish to defend your position of priesthood of all believers, you will have to do more than simply appeal to passages saying the Church is a priestly people – I believe that every bit as much as you do, more so, I suspect.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Christ died once, the Lord’s supper is not a repetition of that, it is simply a remembrance of Christ’s death. It is not a sacrifice.

            There is no office of priest in the NT church and while the people of Israel may have been called a royal priesthood the act of sacrificing was delegated to one tribe. Now that we have had that one sacrifice, that all the sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to, there is no longer a requirement for a priesthood.

          • Albert

            Christ died once, the Lord’s supper is not a repetition of that, it is simply a remembrance of Christ’s death. It is not a sacrifice.

            It is not a repetition of Christ’s sacrifice, it is Christ’s sacrifice made present for us to participate in, by grace. That seems to me to be a point you have already conceded in general, just not in the particular.

            There is no office of priest in the NT church

            If you mean, are individuals called “priest” (apart from Jesus) then yes. But if you mean, no one exercises his priesthood in a ministerial way then, I disagree.

            while the people of Israel may have been called a royal priesthood the act of sacrificing was delegated to one tribe. Now that we have had that one sacrifice, that all the sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to, there is no longer a requirement for a priesthood.

            That isn’t answering my contention. You claimed that everyone is a priest because of what it says in Revelation. I am simply saying that that does not, of itself preclude a ministerial priesthood, and that the OT examples shows that. I am far from saying the OT priesthood is continued into the NT, for

            And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Whether it is claimed to be Christ’s sacrifice repeated or ‘made present’ is neither here no there, it is neither. It is merely a remembering.

            There is no office of priest in the NT church for there is no longer a sacrifice. There is no ministerial office of priest for the High Priest has sat down, even though all are priests.

          • Albert

            Whether it is claimed to be Christ’s sacrifice repeated or ‘made present’ is neither here no there, it is neither. It is merely a remembering.

            Errr…but you’re imposing a very modern, possibly Cartesian view of memory as a purely intellectual thing. This does not appear to be how the ancients understood the term. Think of how individual Jews in the OT remember events like the Exodus that took place centuries before those writings. “To remember”, in the biblical sense is to make present.

            There is no office of priest in the NT church for there is no longer a sacrifice.

            There is no OT sacrifice to be sure. Neither is there any other sacrifice than that offered by Christ, but you now contradict yourself (and scripture) if you infer from that that there is no longer any sacrifice, for you said a few days ago:

            every Christian is a priest, offering up their sacrifice of worship at every moment

            Now what is this sacrifice? It is either done in the power of Christ’s blood, or it is an example of works righteousness – men trying to do something pleasing to God, when only Christ’s own sacrifice can be pleasing to God. But if it the latter it is not Christian, if the former, then the sacrificial theology I am defending has been conceded.

        • carl jacobs

          Albert

          He means:

          1. The separated Roman sacerdotal priesthood has no foundation in Scripture.

          2. Such a sacerdotal priesthood has no necessary function since:

          a. the Church constitutes a priesthood of believers fully capable of performing the priestly functions of making intercession and offering sacrifice.

          b. There is one High Priest who constantly intercedes for us and offered one sacrifice once for the remission of sin.

          • Question: if the Church of England believes that, then why do they have an ordained priesthood licensed to dispense the sacraments?

            Answer: they don’t …. completely.

          • Cressida de Nova

            C of E is a poor pastiche of Catholicism…none of it is genuine.

          • Albert

            a. is the interesting one. Which sacrifice is being offered? Is there anything the apostles can do that other Christians cannot?

      • Male and female – or just male?

        • CliveM

          Good question.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Since all are priests there is no office of priest.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Ah yes, the Bible…we do tend to forget it somewhat, don’t we…

        • Martin

          Mrs Proudie

          I hope not.

    • Darter Noster

      I agree it’s illogical Mrs. Proudie, but it was decided long ago that the term priestess would never be used. The problem with ‘priestess’ is that it acknowledges and highlights the gender distinction; ‘woman priest’ is designed to say ‘identical in every way to a male priest, but just happens to be a woman’. Women priests were sold on the basis of identicality with existing male clergy, whereas priestess sounds not just pagan but as if the gender distinction is in some way important.

      This is because, as the CoE knows very well, whenever you start replacing the existing masculine imagery and language used of God in Scripture with its feminine equivalent – ‘Our Mother who art in heaven’ being the most common example – what you inevitably end up with is a totally different God from the one you started with, because men and women are fundamentally different, and the relationship of father to child is not the same as mother to child. Some don’t care of course; the Episcopal Church in the USA does a very good line in Sophia worship, in which feminist women clergy get together to worship the divine feminine through the image of Holy Wisdom. These ceremonies, based around pagan Goddess worship imagery and practice, are hugely controversial for precisely the same reason that using the word priestess would be. Women priests is about the pretence that women and men are identical.

      • carl jacobs

        That’s a good comment, Darter.

        Basically it means they have implemented a functional change while formally denying they have done so.

      • cacheton

        ‘what you inevitably end up with is a totally different God from the one you started with, because men and women are fundamentally different’

        That is called anthropomorphising God, and is not recommended. God is not a person. You’ll be saying that men are superior to women because God is masculine next!

        • Darter Noster

          No, it’s acknowledging the rather obvious point that God as revealed in Scripture relates to us using masculine imagery, and particularly that of the father. If that seems anthropomorphic, well, a revelation which didn’t use imagery from within human experience wouldn’t be terribly useful would it? If, however, you feminise that imagery and that relationship then what you end up with is a human creation very different from the God revealed in Scripture.

          And I won’t be saying any such thing; never have and never will. I believe, along with Catholic teaching, that the sacramental priesthood reflects the relationship between God and humanity, which is paternal, and that its masculine nature is not coincidental. There is however, far more to the Catholic Church, or should be, than just the sacramental priesthood, and there are many ways for lay men and women, and religious, to follow their calling, exercise the priesthood in which we all share, and play vital roles in the life of the Church without being ordained priests.

          • cacheton

            Just so long as a woman doesn’t have a calling for the sacramental priesthood, eh!

            And as you point out yourself, that imagery is a human creation. Spot on. The Bible was written by men, so that is hardly surprising.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Thank you Darter Noster for that…but I must confess to still being baffled. If ‘priestess’ acknowledges and highlights gender distinction, then so does the term ‘women priests’ …surely one should just say ‘priest’. But I don’t see why ‘priestess’ is more pagan than ‘priest’, after all, there were Egyptian priests worshipping Ra and all that. Also, if ‘women priests’ was sold on the basis of identicality with existing male clergy, why are they being given special treatment ( ie positive discrimination) when it comes to diocesan appointments and seats in the Lords? Vexing, isn’t it?

        • Mrs Proudie, dear lady, a woman’s mind just isn’t made for contemplating such imponderables. You must return to clasping the needy to you bosom and distributing hobnobs.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I think you’ll find it is…

      • Uncle Brian

        How does this sound to you, Darter? “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is her Prophet.”

    • Uncle Brian

      An attempt was made a few years ago to do away with the word “actress”. How successful it was I’m not in a position to judge. Would people nowadays use “actor” in all cases, for instance, “the actor who played the new Q in Skyfall” and, in the same breath, “the actor who played the new Moneypenny”? It sounds very odd to my old-fashioned ear.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Indeed, dear Nncle B…perhaps we shall see the term ‘Woman-King’ being used instead of ‘Queen’ …

        • Uncle Brian

          Why not just King on its own, Mrs P? King Mary, King Victoria, King Elizabeth II …

          • Little Black Censored

            Seen in Tokyo: King Victoria Finest Scotch Whisko.

          • Inspector General

            Sounds like some so called distilled product some damned eastern Europeans were producing in East Anglia before a spark blew the blighters into bits…

          • Uncle Brian

            When you say “seen”, I take it you mean seen but not sampled?

      • John Moore

        But they don’t object when it comes to the ‘Best Actress Awards….. do they?

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        And what will become of “as the actress said to the bishop”?

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      Mrs Proudie,

      Many (almost 30) years ago my wife & I were renting the upstairs of a house as a flat, with the downstairs flat occupied by our landlady.

      When we had a plumbing problem, our landlady was rather pleased that she had the services of a ‘woman plumber’ available and arranged for her to come and deal with it.

      Sadly the plumber was very nice & friendly (which our landlady really appreciated I think) but she was terrible plumber. She did fix the problem but left us with a water-hammer.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I have similar problems with my waterworks…

  • Malcolm Smith

    Would someone like to tell me exactly why it is important to have female bishops in the House of Lords? Would one of them, by virtue of her femininity, be better placed to provide a Christian insight into politics than a more senior male bishop?
    It seems to me more like the old women’s lib attitude which was, after all, originally behind the ordination of women in the first place: the idea that being a priest or a bishop is a career like any other, and that women should be able to get their chance at the division of goodies provided. (Of course, there are some old fashioned people who might argue that ordination is a calling, and that anyone, male or female, who thinks of it as a “right” is, by definition, unfit for the position.)

    • Belsay Bugle

      Bishops have traditionally had to be dragged protesting to their thrones, affecting that it was the last thing they wanted to do.
      Priests have felt called to renounce the world and its works and embrace self-denial, poverty and toil.

      Yet these feminists seek office avidly and have even forced a second vote in the Synod to get their own way when the first one went against them.
      The appointment of a few (unpaid) woman curates in our cluster of five parishes has simply divided the dwindling congregations and now the few who still go to (banal) services are almost exclusively women of the same political and social stamp.

      ‘She was very kind to me when I was in trouble’ said one villager recently of the curate.

      The key is in the ‘she’. The curate represents herself, and only herself, in these acts of ‘kindness’. They do not have any effect in leading the recipient to Christ, or to go to church. It is as if the curate (who loves dressing up in almost anything but priestly robes) sees her role as being a ‘very kind person’ who goes about hugging people in distress.
      Whilst I do not for a moment deny the great importance of the pastoral work of the priesthood, the sacramental (sacerdotal?) seems absent.

      • CliveM

        Their is a mean spiritness about this post. A snide side swipe about alleged preoccupation with clothes. I’m surprised you didn’t mention hair and makeup. Would not the villager have said ‘he’ if it had been a male Priest who had been kind? In what way does the curate only represent herself?
        Oppose women Priests, fine. But do it on relevant theological grounds.

        • Belsay Bugle

          One can’t separate the secular from the theological.
          You pick up on the part in brackets about her dressing up, and ignore the rest of the post about humility and self-denial and division.
          And instead of sniping at what you perceive as my mean spirit, try an argument.

          • CliveM

            My argument is with your mean spiritedness. I think I addressed that.
            With regards your comments about humility etc, well I think any fair reading of what you wrote simply supports my point.

          • Belsay Bugle

            Your accusation of mean-spiritedness is not an argument, simply an attack on my character and motive.
            You may be right that I was being mean-spirited, but that isn’t an argument.

            It’s hard not to be ‘mean-spirited’ when faced with a cohort of women (and their men supporters) who have alienated me from the church I was confirmed into and destroyed much of what has sustained me and my forbears for centuries.

            They won’t listen to argument or the ages-old teaching of the church or revelation, and if you express disagreement you are simply ostracised and effectively excommunicated.

            And you, CliveM have the effrontery to call me mean-spirited!

          • CliveM

            So you agree you were mean spirited, but you feel you have a right to be? I dont then know what your complaint is.

            I have been reading the blogs hoping to understand better what the pros and cons are. However as Happy Jack says, the majority of it hasn’t risen ubove the level of a bitch knitting circle.

          • Belsay Bugle

            I didn’t say I was mean-spirited, I couched it in the conditional. Nor did I say I had a right to be, I accepted that I might have been, and then tried to explain why.
            And yet you took it as a full confession and a vindication of your personal attack.
            Similiarly you seized on Happy Jack’s rather tongue in cheek remark and used it to as a slur against most of the postings here.
            I wonder who is being ‘mean-spirited’.

          • Happy Jack’s comment was not tongue in cheek. As Clive says why personalise this in such bitchy ways?
            The Church of England has changed. It has approved women priests and bishops. Those leading the change believe they are consistent with scripture and God’s plan. Jack is not a member of this communion. If he were, he would have to accept this or leave. If he stayed he hopes he would not do so begrudgingly or with bitterness.
            There’s no good venting one’s spleen against Libby and those who follow her. Presumably, she believes she has been called by God. And the church she is a member of has recognised this.

          • CliveM

            Thanks HJ I had worried that I might have taken your name in vain.

          • Cressida de Nova

            This is common practice on here. Married men with children but terribly bitchy! Odd behaviour. Does it mean they are closet queens? Too much ying in the ying yang combination? Well no one could accuse you of that Clive:)

          • CliveM

            I can think of one person on this site who might disagree. But as he seems unhealthily pre-occupied with my sex life I’m not sure his opinion is balanced anyway!!

          • Cressida de Nova

            LOL.. Oh please.. I forbid you to discuss your sex life on this blog:)

          • CliveM

            Well if you insist………. :0)

          • Cressida de Nova

            I wont be back until the New Year. I wish you and your family a Happy and Holy Christmas. It has been a long time since a breath of fresh highland air has wafted through these portals:)

          • CliveM

            Thank you. Wishing you and yours a Happy and Holy Christmas and New Year also.

            And looking forward to reading more of your posts!

        • Martin

          Clive

          Perhaps God has placed His ban on the basis of what women think important.

          • CliveM

            Are you really suggesting that God has banned woman Priests because he believes woman are only interested in clothes, make up, hair style and babies?

          • Martin

            Clive

            How about God didn’t design women to lead, Genesis 2:18. They have other things to think about and be good at. BTW, there is no office of priest in the Christian Church.

          • CliveM

            Again you haven’t addressed my point.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Actually I have. God created men & women for different roles with different strengths. Who are we to argue with that?

          • Uncle Brian

            The Christian Church is bigger than you think, Martin.

          • Martin

            Brian

            It still doesn’t have an office of priest.

          • Uncle Brian

            Are all members of a church (community, congregation,
            assembly, ekklesia) on an equal footing or are some of them to be designated as “ministers of religion”, to use the broadest possible term?

          • Martin

            Brian

            You do understand the difference between role and rank I take it?

          • Uncle Brian

            Yes. Roles are in the theatre, ranks are in the army. Next question?

          • Martin

            Brian

            That’s a rather limited view.

          • Uncle Brian

            Martin, you’re playing with words. I don’t think you’ll find the word “rank” in the Bible in the context of a priesthood, whether Christian, Jewish, or pagan, and as for “role”, I’d be very surprised if you can find that one in the Bible at all.

          • Martin

            Brian

            Do not the priests in your church have authority over the laity?

          • Uncle Brian

            Yes, certainly they do, though only in a limited way. The term “authority”, in the Catholic Church, refers in the first place to the authority exercised by the Church itself over all its members, priests and laity alike. Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The “power of the keys” designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church.

            I’m breaking off for Christmas now, Martin. I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas, and also all members of your Church. We are all Christians and we are all in this together

            Best wishes,
            Brian

          • Martin

            Brian

            But the Christian Church is the people, the congregation, the individual believers. And the Church has no authority of itself,

            Seeing the keys were given to all the apostles in Mttw 18:18 it is reasonable to assume Jesus was talking to all the apostles in Mttw 16. Indeed I would suggest that the keys were given to all the Church in the form of preaching the gospel which opens Heaven to the sinner.

            Best wishes to you Brian as well.

            BTW, I find the messages by following the shortcut in the email Disqus sends when someone relies to you. makes life much easier. 😉

          • cacheton

            But what happens when they don’t think exclusively about those things, or don’t think about them at all. What about men who don’t want to lead or who would be obviously very bad at it – these are not ‘real’ men and women I suppose…

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            Assuming the role of elder in a local church is not something to be taken lightly. Indeed I’d say that if you can avoid it, do so. Preaching especially is not for those with doubts.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin:

            Leaving aside its highly questionable relevance to this matter in any case, how about we’re not bound by a piece of ancient mythology?

            No office of priest in the Christian Church? That’s curious. In the Book of Common Prayer ordination service the Bishop says to each one receiving the Order of Priesthood:

            “Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a priest in the Church of God…”

            In the service for the consecration of bishops, similar words are used:

            “Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God…”

          • Martin

            GM

            I’m not bound by ancient mythology of any sort, but I am bound by God’s word that He gave to the Church as a guide to life and holiness. Last time I checked the Book of Common Prayer wasn’t such a document either.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, I have no objection to Genesis as a book of ancient religious mythology – although some parts of it are far from edifying – but I think it’s a bit steep when people try to flog it as a God-given guide to life and holiness.

          • Martin

            GM

            Mostly your problem is that you don’t think. That is after your rejection of the God given knowledge of Himself that God has given you.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You are sounding more masculine by the minute! Soldier on !

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What ban would that be?

          • Martin

            GM

            The ban God puts on women having authority over man in His Church.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I’m not aware that God has ever imposed any such ban.

          • Martin

            GM

            That doesn’t surprise me.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Perhaps only in your backwater cult religion.

          • Martin

            Cressida

            My religion is Christianity, as the apostles were Christians, what’s your’s, the worship of self?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Lame and rude response from someone clutching at straws.Your misunderstanding of the Christian ethos needs to be addressed.Christianity as in the NT stands apart from the other religions as recognising women as equal to men . God has placed no ban on women.
            If you are drawing contrary messages from the Torah then that is a matter for Jewish discussion and interpretation.

          • Martin

            Cressida

            So now, after rudely describing my position as a ‘backwater cult religion’ you are bleating that I’m rude to you?

            Women are equal to men but God has decreed for them a different role. As Adam allowed Eve to usurp his role as head so women have sought to usurp the role of men within the Church. That is entirely the reasoning Paul uses to exclude women from the leadership of the Church.

      • Sam

        I was wondering if men vicars at the liberal end also see this as a career choice and or a chance to be charitable or if it’s just women vicars? Surely if the c of e has changed from the ideal you want it to be, then setting up another church is the answer?

      • Arden Forester

        You’ve hit the nail on the head. I suppose in order to validate this new “programme”, as David Cameron described it the House of Commons, certain established doctrines have to be either amended or scrapped.

  • This presupposes that there will be a Church of England in ten years time of which to be a bishop.
    At the current rate of decline I wouldn’t count on it.

    • Belsay Bugle

      There will be no women priests or bishops because they’ll all be women.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        It could be; you never know. When Maggie Thatcher’s regime came to an end and John Major took her place (which was no great improvement), some children were surprised: they hadn’t realised that you could have a man as Prime Minister.

    • Uncle Brian

      Not at all reassuring, either, that they’ve appointed a bishop who speaks in
      circles: ‘I would describe myself as an A and a B and that’s how I would describe myself.’

  • If only I had a pound for every time Galatians 3:28 is (mis)used in the context of women bishops… 😉

  • As the church of England embrases the conceit of man over the word of God you have to winder if it has 10 years left.

    • cacheton

      Or maybe it has realised that embracing the conceit of man over woman could not possibly be the word of god.

  • Martin

    Interesting how she speaks of ‘tradition’ and not of the Bible. Rather implies that she isn’t interested in what God has said, only in what men have decided.

    • cacheton

      The bible was written by men, and is therefore what those men decided.

      • Shadrach Fire

        I thought it was written by God.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          The evidence that God writes books is poor.

        • cacheton

          See what I just wrote to Martin.

      • Martin

        Cacheton

        The Bible’s author is God who, as one has said, used men as a man uses a pen to write.

        • cacheton

          The problem with that is that pens are inanimate objects, and do not influence what the humans holding them write. In order for God to be the author of the Bible, the human filter would have to have been completely clear, as humans are conscious beings with their own minds, conscious and unconscious. There are parts of the bible where this may have been the case (the filter being clear) but it is obvious that the vast majority is coloured by ‘humanness’, all the destruction and dashing out of brains as the more obvious examples.

          Most of those authors apparently could not tell what was coloured and what wasn’t, and you can hardly blame them – the existence of the unconscious mind and its influence have only been studied and acknowledged in the past 100 years. We have moved on. But some people still maintain the bible was written by god, and this does nobody any favours.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            Do you really think that the God who created Man, in whose hand the kings heart can be turned to whatever the Lord chooses, is unable to guide the minds and hands of His servants?

          • cacheton

            Who are God’s servants? If those who profess to be God’s servants nowadays are anything to go by, then the obvious answer to that is unequivocally YES. Why should the authors of the bible be any different?

            Plus if these servants were constantly guided in mind and hand (and penis) by God then they would not have free will would they. It is blindingly obvious that they do have free will.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            Don’t be deceived, many who claim to serve God today fail to old test, their deeds do not match their profession.

            And where did I say they were ‘constantly guided’?

          • cacheton

            Right. So how were those ‘servants’ who wrote the bible any different?

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            They were faithful & their personality comes out in what they wrote.

          • cacheton

            So you would agree that when you read about God’s temper tantrums and dashing out babies’ brains in the bible, this is the ‘personality’ of the humans, and not inspired by God.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            What temper tantrums are they? And would you not think that those who had seen wickedness meted out on their nation would wish it on those wicked?

          • cacheton

            Temper tantrum – any fit of anger described in the bible.

            Yes, humans in general seem to wish that, but it is contrary to Jesus’s teaching of loving enemies and turning the other cheek, therefore it is very obviously human personality obscuring any inspiration from god.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            God does not have temper tantrums, but He does have anger and that anger is perfectly justified. God created us, He gets to tell us what to do and when we disobey it is His right to correct or destroy us.

            Loving our enemies does not negate a desire for justice and God nowhere says that there is no day of reckoning for the wicked, quite the opposite.

            Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 13:19-21 [ESV]

            And for a Christian we never know who might become our brother.

          • cacheton

            If we have free will, then your first paragraph cannot possibly be correct.

            Loving our enemies does not negate a desire for ‘justice’ in us humans, though your Romans quote makes it quite clear that God will deliver that, it is not for you to decide/judge who is and who isn’t evil, love your enemy.

            For a Christian surely other people don’t become brothers as they already are brothers.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            There is nothing in my first paragraph that is in opposition to free will. We are free to obey or disobey and from that consequences arise.

            We are quite capable of deciding who is evil. God gives us a sense of justice.

            Our fellow Christians are brothers, those outside aren’t.

          • cacheton

            If we have free will but are punished for using it, it is not free.That is hypocrisy, and I don’t believe god is a hypocrite.

            And whose sense of justice is ‘right’?

            I find your last sentence quite shocking.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            If you misuse your freewill to disobey the consequences are on your head.

            And our sense of justice is adequate, even if not perfect.

            Why do you find that sentence shocking? God is required to love all in the same way and nor is any man.

          • cacheton

            Free will is not free if it is possible to ‘misuse’ it. It is conditional will. You really cannot have it both ways. If it is free,it is unconditional. Using it has consequences of course, but they are not ‘punishments from God’.

            You reckon those two brothers’ who murdered 12 in Paris had an ‘adequate’ sense of justice, do you?

            Your last sentence does not make sense. is there a ‘not missing? God is, God has no requirements to be anything particular (other than what he is) or do anything.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            Of course it is free will if it is possible to misuse it.

            Those who killed in Paris had a erroneous idea of right and wrong and a belief in a false god, they applied their sense of justice to that.

            There is a not missing in that last sentence. What you are doing is claiming God has no right to love as He chooses.

          • cacheton

            Free = unconditional. If it is possible to misuse, then there are conditions attached. The 2 are not compatible.

            God loves unconditionally. That’s what he IS, unconditional love. He doesn’t choose.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            No, free does not equal unconditional, and why should God have to love unconditionally when you, made in His image, do not?

            God chose to love Israel & to bring judgement on Egypt. He chose Jacob over Esau, the first He loved, the second He hated. God chooses whom He will save & did so before time began.

          • cacheton

            God does not HAVE TO DO anything, he IS unconditional love.

            And your assertion that god should not have to do something if I can’t do it is completely upside down. I thought you believed that god made us, not we made him. You seem rather confused.

            How do you think your second paragraph is relevant to you? It seems you are using it to justify hating some people and/or groups of people, because in the bible it says that this is what god did. How is this an example of loving one’s neighbour as oneself?

  • The Explorer

    The way things are going, in ten years’ time will there still be two sexes? I suppose it depends on whether sociology can prevail over biology.

    • We are all “earth creatures” nowadays, Explorer.

      • The Explorer

        Problematic, though, in terms of equality. Doesn’t it privilege Earth over the rest of the Solar System?
        And ‘creature’ is even more difficult. Doesn’t it suggest something created? And where might that lead?

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      Well, if you’re thinking of reducing the human sexes to one, it would be interesting to know how you propose to go about it.

      • The Explorer

        Don’t ask me. Ask the sexual egalitarians.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          Egalitarian means in favour of equality. You couldn’t favour equality of the sexes if there were only one sex; the question could never even arise.

          • Guiglielmo, the problem is to be solved by calling us sex and gender neutral terms. “Earth creature” is one such term coming into vogue.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, it can just go out of vogue again. I don’t want us all to be the same, but more to the point, we never will be, thank God, no matter what ridiculous “Let’s pretend” games some cranks may want to play. Here is a piece of wisdom which I came across some time ago:

            “When we deny our inherent differences (we are NOT all the same colour, the same gender, the same sexual orientation, the same family background or religion) then we cannot truly recognize our inherent unity.”

          • You have no right to resist the forces of progressivism. If the term is “earth creature” you will obey, obey, obey ……

          • The Explorer

            By another definition, equality means the elimination of difference. On that basis, one sex ( and one race, one class, one age group, one intellectual level) is entirely plausible. I forget who said that a graveyard is the ultimate in equality.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I wouldn’t call that another definition. I would call it a misuse of the word. Only one sex is entirely implausible, because there happen to be two. Of course there’s nothing to stop crackpots from PRETENDING that we all belong to just one sex, but pretence can’t alter reality.

          • The Explorer

            The interesting question, of course, is whether the one sex would be male or female. No prizes for guessing what the feminists would say.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Unless and until the human race evolves some day into a totally different species, quite unlike the present one, as well as quite unlike any other known mammal, only one human sex is a practical impossibility. Therefore the question, however interesting some might find it, is otiose.

          • The Explorer

            That would be true if things were left to biology. But biology takes time. That’s where social engineering comes in. Social engineering can’t wait for biology. It likes short cuts. It takes them. Modern society is the result.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Social engineering can’t overcome reality, biological or otherwise, any more than dogma can conquer history (which Cardinal Manning is alleged to have urged at the time of the First Vatican Council, although the saying may be apocryphal). Some wingnuts may wish to reduce the human sexes to one, but they might as well try to get planets in our solar system to swap places.

          • magnolia

            “The glories of our blood and state
            Are Shadows, not substantial things;
            There is no armour against Fate;
            Death lays his icy hand on Kings:
            Sceptre and Crown
            Must tumble down
            And in the dust be equal made
            With the poor crooked scythe and spade.”

            James Shirley (1596-1666) was one who famously said as much!

          • The Explorer

            Thank you, Magnolia, that was the reference lurking at the back of my mind. I was confusing it with Shakespeare.
            And Roger McGough stole the idea for his poem ‘Streemin”: “Look in the graveyard, no streemin’ there.”

          • magnolia

            Shakespeare wrote something similar, which I think was:
            “Golden lads and girls all must
            As chimneysweepers come to dust.”

            which some render as:
            “Golden lads and lasses must
            Like chimneysweepers come to dust”

            which latter of course is more pleasing, but am not sure about the provenance of the two versions.

            But I think the Shirley wins out over the Shakespeare as an expression of the thought. It is amazingly beautifully written, what Coleridge would describe as “the best words in the best order,” in other words utterly poetic.

    • Inspector General

      Explorer, the Inspector, whom as you know, regularly mounts patrols on Pink News, can tell you that gender is most definitely under attack, with unopposed comments like “…the bifurcation of the sexes is no longer tenable in this age…”. The sole exception being the transgendered.

      You’d better get THEIR gender of choice correct otherwise they’ll let you have it in the face with both barrels. You really don’t want to upset Mr Sharon, Mr Emily or Mr Michelle, I can tell you…

    • Arden Forester

      Sex is no longer a word that may be used to denote male or female. It has to be “gender”. I have not seen a public application form with the word sex on it for at least five years. Lewis Carroll was right when he put words in Humpty Dumpty’s mouth.

      • Jack recalls the last time he answered the question: “Sex?”

        • CliveM

          Glad your memory is still good!

          • Hmmm …. but Jack remember the answer he gave.

          • CliveM

            Was it “but it’s not my birthday?” !!

          • Actually, Jack meant to type he doesn’t remember the answer.

          • CliveM

            Ooops!!!

          • Cressida de Nova

            LOL

      • The Explorer

        True. I think it all started with Judith Butler: gender as a social construct.

      • The Explorer

        Achilles is an interesting instance of the sex/gender issue.
        Given the choice of a short, glorious life or a long, safe one he opts for glory. His mum, opting for safety, sends him to KIng Lycomedes to be brought up as a girl among the king’s daughters.
        a. Despite this early experiment in social engineering, Achilles gets one of the girls pregnant.
        b. Odysseus visits as a merchant, with trinkets and a sword. When he blows a hunting horn, the girls flee, and Achilles grabs the sword. His sex triumphs over his gender. (Had one of the girls been an Amazon, the outcome might have been more complicated, but the story doesn’t go there. Although when Achilles does get to fight the Queen of the Amazons, he kills her.)

  • Shadrach Fire

    Nice one Gillan. Very well balanced and considered. I despise positive discrimination and feel that when correcting so called anomalies, patience should be applied. There is no imperative for Female Lords Spiritual.

    • Uncle Brian

      Patience, Shadrach? You’re asking feminists to be patient?

      • Shadrach Fire

        I suppose that is asking a bit much.

  • carl jacobs

    In 10 years time, when the special measures are removed and being a bishop of either sex is perfectly normal and without distinction, we will have the perfect opportunity to ditch the term ‘woman bishop’.

    Well, I guess we can put paid to all that blather about “mutual flourishing” then. The only way this assumption holds true is if opponents are “flourished” right out of the door. Now, of course that isn’t the formal plan. But it is the inevitable outcome and the informal wxpectation. Here then are some other terms that can safely be ditched 10 years hence.

    1. Orthodoxy
    2. A Canterbury centric Anglican Communion.
    3. An ASA above 300,000.

    But it’s not all bad news. The term “homosexual bishop” won’t be needed anymore either. That will be perfectly normal as well. And you will be able to hold Mass Orgies compete with a liturgy in the new Prayer book. Who says the CoE isn’t still looking out for the needs of Anglo-catholics?

    prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes? Jeremiah 5:31

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      ‘The term “homosexual bishop” won’t be needed anymore either.’

      I wasn’t aware that the term had ever been needed at all in the first place. It is no more needed, in the sense of conveying information of any importance, than the term “heterosexual bishop”.

      • Inspector General

        That will please a few of them in situ then…

      • carl jacobs

        Guglielmo

        Perhaps because we do not share a common definition of either ‘essential’ or ‘incidental.’

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          carl jacobs:

          I suspect that we do, in fact, share a common definition of ‘essential’ and ‘incidental’, or near enough, but that we differ about precisely which things are essential and which are incidental.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, that’s a fair qualification.

  • Sam

    Well dudes,

    I have no idea about the Anglican Halakhaic (Canon I think it’s s called), case for women priestesses and bishops (what’s the feminine for bishop?). What’ll be interesting is how far the members of the church go in electing women to be priests and bishops, e.g., will they keep going until it’s 50-50?

    Okay, it’s really none of my business anyway, but what is my business is the general idea of positive discrimination, which is something I utterly despise and detest. My own belief is that people should get where they are through talent and merit, not through some discriminatory law which allows people to get ahead because of a certain feature or group characteristic. How will they rebutt the charge that they were appointed not because of merit, but because they were women? That’s got to be big authority/respect problem, especially if they really DO shine above and beyond male colleagues… rather than people seeing an excellent bishop, they’ll be gossip & just see someone appointed because of their gender, not because they do the job and so it well. Perhaps if the selection panel left it a bit, it might have helped those who didn’t agree, but still want to be church of England.

    • dannybhoy

      But there isn’t a scriptural case for equality or positive discrimination anyway Sam. The Church is built on the Scriptures Old and New. God’s kingdom is a theocracy, not a democracy or even a meritocracy.
      Once a faith or religious community loses sight of its Divine calling it starts to worship other gods…

      • Sam

        Dude

        As a said the religious arguments are up to Christians to discuss, that isn’t my affair as I’m not Christian and I pretty much agree with the sentiments of happy Jack, below… but there’s quite general issue about positive discrimination here, which is my concern. Laws are made in precedents . That and because bishops sit in parliament, they legislate for all Britons, not just the Christian Anglicans .

        • dannybhoy

          Yes well then I assume you are thinking of disestablishment, which in principle I would be in favour of. At this moment in time though I think that would be counterproductive to our national identity.

          • Sam

            No I wasn’t going down that line of thinking. I was thinking of the precedent of the positive discrimination and whether this would lead to further “equality” legislation

            As for disetablishment, as said above not really my business. The national identity is one reason why it won’t happen. English people like religion, but not extremes. The Anglicanism is incredibly suited for that purpose. Why else is it changing the views on women bishops and presumably now gay bishops? It seems to believe what’s important is reflecting what they think the English want and the religion adopts to that (not criticism, an outsiders view).

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Can I be a ‘woman-dude?’

      • Sam

        Mrs prouide, in my lexicon, as with the c of e, a dude can be either man or woman…. but only women can be babes!

      • I think you should be known as a dudess.
        It has a more respectful tone than a dudette.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          The Dudess of Barchester…..mmmmmm I like it

          • Sam

            Shouldn’t that be duchess? There’s only one super babe , of course and that’s my fiancee , whose intelligent, kind, observant and looks wise a Bar Refaeli, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz & Scarlett Johansson in one!

          • Slope can lay his hands on you to appoint you to the position.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I am not sure the juxtaposition of ‘Slope’ and ‘position’ in the same sentence is altogether seemly…

          • Jack was more concerned about the laying of his hands !!

  • sarky

    There will be no women bishops in 10 years time, because there will be no c of e.

    • The Explorer

      Not sure you’re right. Lucretius thought religion – though anathema for intellectuals – useful for keeping down the mob. Machiavelli thought the same. So did Freud. In ‘Animal Farm’, the pigs bring back Moses the Raven. As long as there’s a mob, politicians will want religion to help keep it under. Doesn’t matter which religion it is, for politicians. In the words of Flashman, “When it comes to keeping people down, one load of nonsense will do as well as another.” (His argument against against missionary activity in India.)

      • Sam

        Explorer,

        Nice to see you around, my old dude, how are you? The point of religion as a tool for control is interesting, but I’m sure I read something written by the c of e which admitted by 2050, potentially they’d have no members left. So they may have 40 bishops, but no members? I don’t know if this is true, but I do know the fastest-growing part of Judaism is orthodoxy, isn’t that the same with Christianity? e.g. Evangelicals/ Romans, rather than the Anglicans?

        • The Explorer

          Hi Sam,
          Things have been pretty bad, health-wise, but I’m much better now
          C of E and bishops a bit like the Royal Navy, which now has more admirals than it has ships.
          All states seem to need something to worship. With the French Revolution, it was the worship of Reason. With North Korea, it’s worship of the Beloved Leader. What it mustn’t be is anything transcendent. Politicians would love a C of E that gave divine sanction to whatever politicians decided, and that didn’t believe anything Christian.

          • Sam

            Explorer,

            A refuah sh’lemah for your health.

            Shabbat shalom!

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. And please give my regards to the Kavanaghs.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I like the Kavanaghs…they could move into the Close at Barchester and join my after Evensong salons…

          • avi barzel

            And a refua shlema, a full and a complete recovery, from the Canadian wilds as well, Explorer.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you, Avi. Much appreciated.

      • Dreadnaught

        “When it comes to keeping people down, one load of nonsense will do as well as another.”

        Exactly why religion should have no place in politics.

        • The Explorer

          Depends on what the state chooses to worship instead.

          • Dreadnaught

            Or which religion becomes the State

          • Beyond Cynicism

            The Explorer:

            I’m not convinced religion should have a place in politics whatever the State chooses to worship.

            I might, however, find myself fighting on two fronts, firstly to keep the bishops out of politics and secondly to keep the politicians out of politics as well so that the vast majority of us might enjoy our short span on earth in something approaching peace and harmony.

      • sarky

        The thing is, the mob aren’t interested anymore.
        However, I think you are right, but for religion read’ ‘terror’.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Wrong, PECUSA has survived more than 10 years so far. Not well mind, but it’s still there.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        True. It’s moral standing may have melted from the earth like snow but its money remains.

  • grandpa1940

    Before we check out who gets to sit in the House of Lords, shouldn’t we rather have a look at all these so-called Religions which are crowding the landscape?

    Take the belief structures of the main religions of this strange and wonderful world of ours, if you will?

    First up is a religion, which for reference sakes we’ll call AA, which states that they, (the believers) are the chosen people, and when the end comes, or the true coming, or whatever, they and only they, will all be taken up, installed alongside their beneficent maker for Eternity, and the rest can go hang, or whatever! Seems a little cavalier, especially when presumably everyone else was created by the same Maker!

    Next is a whole heap of people, reference BB, all of whom believe that this main guy was the subject of a virgin birth, was at the same time the son of the Maker in the first outfit, he gets chopped rather badly, but then came back to life, and then headed upwards (why upwards, by the way?), and all believers will eventually reach paradise, and all unbelievers will head the other way, except those who have been good by their own standards, (seems another instance of, well, getting it both ways, if you get my drift?) One strange outcome of this bunch is a whole heap of preachers of the BB faith who have all been found guilty of sexual perversion practices in America, Ireland, England and elsewhere, (Can’t get the help to behave, happens all the time!)

    An offshoot of the second bunch, reference CC, founded by a) a very strict and ascetic German (it just had to be Germany) preacher, who didn’t like the licentious activities under way by the bunch in the BB outfit, and also co-founded by b) an English King who couldn’t father a boy (for the king’s heir industry, you understand), then wed four or six more in fairly quick succession without male heirs, eventually dying of syphilis; but the Religions founded by these two guys now extends, as the others, for a fairly well spread out portion of the population of this planet, with the leaders all saying such well meant notions as, ‘it’s okay now to marry one woman, and while uttering the very promises of marriage, bonking the behind off another woman who’s been in the background for thirty years; and then when the first wife kicks the bucket in a really fast car accident, you can marry the
    second, even though she’s been married before as well! Oh, and you can also
    continue to be a governor of Church CC, because it’s all right now, (and besides the wench is dead) (I think it’s called sophistry, which in online thesaurus terms also means chicanery, deception, deceptiveness, delusion, equivocation, evasion, fallacy, lie, sophism, speciousness, spuriousness, trick; if you get my drift)!

    Another outfit now comes along, reference DD, founded by this guy Mo, who produces this book full of deep and well-meant guidelines on how to live your life, and how this guy’s Maker version, goes by the name Allah, is the only one, and everyone had better live right, but the trouble is that the founder can’t write, so what do you know, the angels write it for him; (really fortunate, them coming along just like that!) This outfit has spread, as the others have, far and wide, but they are convinced that they’ve got the patent on being the true faith, and they tend to blow people up, which is a rather strange way of spreading your belief system, again if you get my drift?

    There are others, such as outfits EE, based around the teachings of this really holy guy who preached pacifism, tolerance and love, which tends to draw devotees from East Asian countries, but since they don’t push their beliefs, and certainly don’t blow anyone up, I don’t see it catching on; not enough ‘ooomph’ in the message; and also belief FF, who believe that all animals are holy, which tends to get in the way of mass food production,but since they are continually fighting and killing devotees of creed GG, who are an offshoot of brand DD, they tend to forget the love and reverence aspects.

    So here we are, all supposed to be following the tenets of one brand or another, all of whose founders preached little else besides love, tolerance and good deeds, so why is the whole world going to hell in a hand basket, It can’t be religion’s fault, as they keep saying, “Just follow the Path, and all will be well!”

    Or was that the Path less trodden?

    Once the women bishops have ridden their undemocratic way into Westminster, the next thing we’ll be hearing is the question; “where are the mullahs who will sit in the House, and will we have to change the type of the toilets?”

    • Sam

      Ah no reference to Judaism bud, most disappointing. But a Christian friend of mine, said to me he doesn’t listen to the bishops in the lords anymore, but does enjoy Rabbi Sacks and what he has to say.

      • grandpa1940

        Sam,

        Ref AA is Judaism, how could they be mistaken for anyone else?

        • Well, since those of us within religions AA, BB, CC, DD and all the rest up to ZZ are generally as terminally bewildered as anyone else, we tend to fall back on the clear bits. And those who subscribe to the Christian faith (of whatever denomination) have been told very clearly what is expected of them in Matthew 25:vv31-46. As Pope Francis said in a homily back in August I think. “Study the Beatitudes and this chapter of Matthew. Then, if you aren’t already doing it – better get on with it” – http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1403277.htm

          Now, that’s the level of religious instruction I can cope with. The theological implications of women bishops are, as they say, “above my pay grade” 🙂

          • That’s why there’s a Magisterium you can trust, Sister Tiberia.

          • Lets face it, HJ, a lot of Catholics have lost trust in the Church as a whole and with good reason. Trust can be rebuilt, but it takes time, and goodwill, and an admission of fault in the first place from those who lost the trust of those they served by abusing their positions. Pope Francis has built some of the bridges, but there is a long way to go.

          • Agreed, Sister Tiberia. Jesus did warn about troubles ahead. Let’s pray the Vatican is reorganised and a new spirit reigns in the Church.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Yes!

          • But not new doctrine, Cressida. Openness and honesty in communication and a breaking down of the Curia bureaucracy are one thing. Altering the deposit of faith, another.

          • Cressida de Nova

            What! Why are saying this to me? I thought you understood my stance on Catholicism is almost identical to your own .New doctrine? I think you are becoming confused. Incidentally your understanding of predestination in the Catholic sense is completely wrong. Too big a subject to go into here.

          • Jack does – it’s the ‘silent reader’ who may not.
            As for predestination ……. It is one of the biggest subjects that Jack is still trying to comprehend (maybe God has or has not preordained this).

          • Cressida de Nova

            The silent reader is going to receive the impression that there is no compassion or charity amongst a dominant group of men here who call themselves followers of Christ. They will understand why Christianity is so unpopular if this is an example of Christian behaviour. I was discussing Christian precepts with a devout Hindu a while ago. He was most impressed with the concepts. However he did comment that they did not seem to be a match between precept and practice.
            I could not disagree. Hypocrisy is almost the hallmark of Christianity. It is so far removed from the original intention.

          • Well yes. It’s hard in a lively and contested environment being compassionate and understanding all the time.

            Have you seen the speech Pope Francis made on Monday to the Vatican’s Cardinals and Bishops? Described on one website as a “Merry Christmas, you vain, hypocritical, funeral faces.”.

            http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/12/22/pope_francis_christmas_greetings_to_curia/1115668

            Trouble ahead, Jack thinks.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Thanks for this. I have read it and I am curious to know why the 15 points make you anxious. I agreed with all of them. I suppose it is an idealistic hope for reform but one has to have ideals and hope. What trouble ahead?

            Anyway Doddles I am taking an early Christmas
            Wishing you and your family a Happy and Holy Christmas.
            Pope Francis stated the importance of a sense of humour in life…and you certainly have that in abundance. Will return in the New Year

            Cheery bye

          • The points do not make Happy Jack anxious. It is how they will be perceived and (mis)used by other that do.
            God Bless, Cressida. A joyous and Happy time for you and yours for Christmas and the New Year.

        • Sam

          Don’t sound anything like Judaism to me….

    • Dominic Stockford

      EE do blow people up and massacre people, just not in Europe.

    • Terry Mushroom

      “..but then came back to life..”

      That’s not actually what Christians believe.

    • Pubcrawler

      I’m afraid your charming caricatures have somewhat overshadowed your point.

      There was a point, wasn’t there?

  • bmudmai

    Could tell it was Gillan from the liberal nature of the article

    I will say it’s pretty poorly written. Is it okay to ‘overcome discrimination’ with discrimination?

    This blog is beginning to become like the church of england. His grace needs to take control of his blog and sort it out.

    • carl jacobs

      Nah. It’s a blog about politics and culture and religion. Posts with which you disagree serve only to create a target-rich environment.

    • Shadrach Fire

      It is a Blog about GOD AND POLITICS; CHRISTIANITY AND CONSERVATISM as the banner says.

      We all might like the Posts to be more towards our own LIKING but that is what makes it interesting.

    • CliveM

      Do you not think it would just be a little dull if you agreed with everything that was written? At least this provokes thought and reaction.

      • bmudmai

        I don’t always agree with his grace, but if I wanted a liberal read I’d read the Huffington post or something.

        My point is, this blog as others have mentioned is meant to be taking a more conservative stance (the whole big C little c thing). Why give a liberalised voice on here (which is to approve). It’s what the anglican Church has done and look where it is now? It’s how the liberal take over happens.

        I don’t care about agreeing and not agreeing. Just care about the quality of the blog.

        To have these posts his grace probably needs to change his tag-line and description of the blog.

        • CliveM

          Well I would also say that Gillan has done several quality posts

          • bmudmai

            I must have missed them. (which is very possible). The ones I’ve read have been a bit liberal and a bit contrary to the stance of the blog. Also, generally been a bit wishy washy in content too.

            And I don’t want Gillan to take this personally, it’s nothing against him as a person (as I’ve no idea what he’s like as a person) just think it strays too much into liberalism and thats not the purpose of this blog.

            I just find it hard to accept that such a sound blog can start having posts which are accepting of things which are fundamentally wrong such as saying discrimination to overcome discrimination is right.

          • CliveM

            To be honest I line someone making waves and stirring the pot. I do it myself at times.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I never do that…

          • CliveM

            That’s you practicing your irony again isn’t it?!

            Perhaps you should get someone on to do it for you……………!!

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Irony on Tuesdays, Mondays is washday..

          • His Grace asked me to join to provide accompanying and broader perspectives. Those who followed my God and Politics blog will know that I am firmly in the Evangelical camp. Liberalism is definitely not my thing. Many evangelicals including the Evangelical Alliance are in favour of the appointment of women as bishops.

          • bmudmai

            It’s not so much that you approve of woman bishops but it’s the extent to which you go when you write about them that’s my issue. The big thing for me in this post is to talk about ‘positive discrimination’ to overcome discrimination is very much a liberal approach. Get it our way at all costs.

            I feel I did write my post in haste and it was a bit hardened which I do apologise for. But I do struggle with quite a few of your posts as I feel they go down a similar route to what I said in the last paragraph.

            Also, just to add to my last post (to CliveM), I just read Gillan’s post on foodbanks (which I somehow missed) and thought it was very good, so I do retract the harshness of what I said and maybe just change it to a: ‘I wish Gillan would stop venturing off down those routes’ haha 😉

          • CliveM

            God loves a repented sinner!! :0)

          • carl jacobs

            Gillan

            What is the Evangelical Alliance going to do when Jeffrey John becomes a bishop?

          • grutchyngfysch

            Discover that Evangelical and Anglican are not synonyms, I imagine.

          • DanJ0

            I enjoy the different perspective your articles provide, though I’m not sure the support of a liberal a-theist like me will help. 🙂

        • magnolia

          Well here is one conservative reader who thoroughly agrees, as would about 95% of my local rather conservative Anglican church, so I would say that for the general readership he is probably spot on.

        • Inspector General

          ” but if I wanted a liberal read I’d read the Huffington post or something.”

          It looks like we are going to get liberal reads on this excellent blog every now and then whether we like it or not…

    • Yorkie

      You can be inclined towards a conservative philosophy or liberal a philosophy or whatever..

      The problem, and lets face it the current Conservative Party demonstrates this, is someone slapping “Conservative” on something and then spouting an unconservative philosophy/viewpoint. What they often mean is they aren’t conservative, they’re on the conservative end of progressive/liberal, hence Camerons famous quote to Clegg about the similarities between the two parties when he was pushing for the coalition.

      As for wanting a liberal point of view on the blog, well, why not? After all we’d really struggle to find social and culturally liberal views otherwise wouldn’t we?

      I mean, granted, we could try a 5 second Google search, pick up a newspaper or turn on the telly/radio but can we be bothered?

      If it really comes down to it, frankly, Cranmer isn’t a principled conservative either, his role at the moment, based on a lot of his posts this year, is to make reassuringly conservative grumbling noises, interspersed with waffle, all the while following the Conservative Party line and basically saying that ultimately change is inevitable.

      He did it with SSM, he’s doing it with Women Priests, he did it around election time with regards to the Conservative Party itself, despite it’s disgraceful performance and record.

      In fact considering the Conservative Partys record over the last twenty years, Peter Hitchens is right, how anyone can call that organisation “conservative”, “competent” or trustworthy escapes me.

      But, beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.

      • carl jacobs

        A couple of points:

        1. Those who think this is a liberal weblog really need to get out more. I can give you names of actual liberal weblogs if you want to see the difference.

        2. I can also give you the names of far more orthodox weblogs (both politically and religiously) that aren’t a tenth the quality of this weblog. You really should appreciate what we have here.

        3. Quality is not found in agreement. You shouldn’t only seek out people who re-affirm what you already think. That way is stagnation and weakness. If you aren’t pressed, you can’t improve. Remember that you have your own biases and blind spots.

        • Yorkie

          Interesting. Slightly rude frankly, but interesting.

          With regards to points 1 and 2, I work in Higher education in the UK, I hear marxist views on a daily basis, I work within a soft left environment, with soft left people and to a soft left ethos which, frankly, would cost me my job if I voiced my personal opinions, opinions which were normal and admirable only 20 years ago.

          I come on this blog and find it interesting, and I’ve been reading it for a long time, because I value something resembling a conservative mindset being applied to and in analysis of Bien Pensant, left wing ideas which seem to go virtually unchallenged in many areas of British life.

          I live in the UK, not the US, left wing democrats are viewed as right wing by my colleagues, I am bombarded by and sick to the back teeth of social democratic left wing guff, I’ve heard these contrary views you seem to value and I’ve seen their effects on family and friends, seen the change, seen the damage they can do.

          The fact there are more extreme ideas is irrelevant, as is the remark that there are blogs which are worse, argument from despair anyone?

          You’ve got to smile at someone who advocates contrary opinions while chastising someone for a contrary opinion. You should be under no illusion Jacobs, in the UK, anything resembling a small c conservative opinion is a contrary opinion. Not fashionable in the slightest, indeed it is positively unadventurous, don’t be conservative if you want a nice easy, untroubled, quiet life.

          “Quality is not found in agreement”

          Nor is seeking out contrary opinions for the sake of it as the BBC seems to do, an approach which frankly isn’t conducive to a worthwhile end result. Are you suggesting you don’t see the value of agreement? The possibilities it opens up? Mutual support?

          No one is a bigger fan of Poppers contributions to scientific philosophy regarding falsification than me.

          However, everybody has an opinion, with the aid of the internet we could be buried by the sheer volume of opinions.

          And most aren’t worth listening to or informed by facts frankly, what was Churchills comment on democracy? something along the lines of the best argument against it he’d ever heard was a five minute conversation with the average voter.

          I want an end result, something which isn’t particularly plausible when you try to take a tally of every daft idea in circulation at a given time.

          You don’t usually form a theory on the outliers anyway now do you?

          Anyway, limited space. For me, with regard to the topic of the thread, the burden of proof, as per basic hypothesis testing, is with those suggesting the change, and I see very little proof at all…

          Beyond, alienating core support, trying to impress groups who want the church destroyed, emboldening these aforementioned groups with the compromise on a message which is supposed to be divine in origin and so on…

          • carl jacobs

            Yorkie

            Rude? You really don’t understand Americans if you think that was rude.

            Anyways. Was I more rude than one who comes onto someone else’s weblog and bitches that the blogger doesn’t produce a weblog more to his liking? It’s Cranmer’s weblog. He is free to do with it as he likes. They are his opinions. He is free to express them as he sees fit. Your opinions of his fitness as a conservative do not affect the quality of this weblog.

            I don’t come here because I agree with every jot and tittle of what Cranmer says. I come here because of the relatively civil and high level of conversation. It’s hard to find a weblog like this. Too often they are ideologically monochromatic and therefore dull as dirt – not to mention overrun with foolishness. I like contrary opinions because they give me something to engage. They force me to think. That is not an attribute applicable to most weblogs on the Internet.

            There isn’t any “Beggars can’t be choosers” about this place. Quite the contrary. This is a rare site and it should be appreciated as such. I sympathize with you that you work in academia. I understand you might want respite but that isn’t the purpose of this weblog. It’s unfair of you to complain that Cranmer doesn’t provide it when he never intended to provide it in the first place.

          • Hmmm … well said again, Mr Jacobs.

            Jack has been visiting an American weblog and can confirm your country men and women are indeed very rude and also rather narrow minded. And also my research confirms there is a general absence of irony though some slight indications it exists. Already Jack has been called an “aberrant personality”. “a charade”, “a homophobe” and there have even been some suggestions he may be even be out of touch with reality. Most disappointing as it is supposed to be a Catholic site.

          • carl jacobs

            Already Jack has been called an “aberrant personality”. “a charade”, “a homophobe” and there have even been some suggestions he may be even be out of touch with reality.

            Must… Not… Give… In.

            Must… Resist… Say… Nothing…

            Don’t… Say… It.. Don’t…

            … breathe .. breathe… Let the temptation pass.

            Jack, you will never know what you just put me through. So what is this website?

          • Jack has no wish to publicise it as it may well be damaging to one’s faith. It is known amongst informed Catholics as the ‘Fishwrap’ and for very good reason. All Jack did was suggest certain human behaviours might be inconsistent with the Gospel message.

            They all seem to be Democrats too and subscribe to a ‘social gospel’ stripped of theological content. Another aspect Jack found surprising is they appear to place the likes of Rawl, liberal freedoms and the American Bill of Rights above the bible.

            All very disturbing. No wonder Pope Leo XIII in 1899 identified what he called an ‘American Heresy’ based on their exaggerated sense of their own importance.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Ha! I’ve found you. But I haven’t found you being mistreated. You would have to give me a thread subject.

          • Jack has only posted on 3 threads to date. They are all in his profile if you click on it. The most hurtful comment was when he was likened to a lemon.

            Oh, and that other site we met on. Remember? Jack was barred.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            They are all in his profile if you click on it.

            Ummm… Yeah. I knew that. I would hope you didn’t think anything to the contrary.

            The most hurtful comment was when he was likened to a lemon.

            More like a grapefruit, I think. I was surprised by the whole “Why don’t you just leave” comment. I guess they didn’t want anyone cluttering up their well-ordered universe.

            Oh, and that other site we met on. Remember? Jack was barred.

            From ADU? How did you possibly get yourself banned from ADU? I didn’t even think that was possible?

          • It is a very weird weblog indeed.

            ADU was a misunderstanding which could have been resolved. However, an apology was demanded and Jack was also told he must reveal his ‘real’ identity. As if Happy Jack wasn’t real.

          • ROFL …. now Happy Jack is:

            ” … a devotee of a rather strange sectarian borderline sede-vacantist TLM group who live on an island off the Scottish coast and pretend that they are St Columba and his merry monks.”

          • Sam

            Dude, surely an etrog than a mere lemon?

          • Jack has smooth skin, if you don’t mind!

          • Sam

            Dude, I’m sure as a modern metrosexual man,you use all the relevant face creams and oils to keep that fine physique smooth and unblemished.

          • All natural, Sam. And be quiet about Jack’s physique or ‘you know who’ will get excited.

          • Sam

            Well dude I’m exuberant because my choice for strictly won and I am somewhat better off as a result….

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            My choice too…she was wonderful, but Pasha is just a dream…I’d love to cut a rug with him and no mistake…ah that smile…

          • DanJ0

            If you’re referring to me then I’m happy to tell you that I’m not a gerontophile. You had your photograph on your own blog, if you recall, and so I can say this categorically: not if you were the last person on earth other than me. Ewww. I’d much rather be completely celibate than that. Hope this helps.

          • Hello, Danjo. You appear somewhat obsessed with age and one wonders if you are fearful of growing old. Why is that? Happy Jack is a fine figure of man, in his prime, and would not want to tempt anybody, especially those who are ‘pair bonded’.

          • DanJ0

            Dodo, I simply don’t find wrinkly old men with pale, flaccid skin attractive. I don’t find women sexually attractive either. Or fat people. Or children. It’s just the way it is. Having seen that picture of yours, you are elderly-looking even for your age and most definitely not attractive at all to me. Is this what you wanted to hear when you posted your bait up there, or don’t you care as long as you get to engage with me yet again here to suit your obsessive compulsive thing? Well, top up your stroke bank with it whatever you did it for.

          • “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”

          • DanJ0

            Your son, the out of touch one, isn’t too bad from his picture, though he may still have that under-biting mouth or teeth too long thing you have. Presumably he’s benefited quite a bit from your obviously absent wife’s genes, which must be a relief for him. Does he play the pink oboe at all?

          • Danjo, you show an unhealthy interest in Jack’s personal life. Are you stalking Dodo’s website too? How sad.

          • DanJ0

            I simply read your linked blog when you were posting those vicious things about me and echoing the articles here with your bitterness at being banned. I call in now and again when your trolling, as above, involves me completely unnecessarily. As it’s all posted under your nom de plume for trolling, Dodo, it’s hardly a personal blog as such. Heck, they may even be someone else’s pictures stolen for the purpose as that seems to be a common thing for trolls to do.

          • “I simply read your linked blog when you were posting those vicious things about me and echoing the articles here with your bitterness at being banned.

            Tsk, tsk … ‘Dodo’ was banned over a year ago and the picture of his missing son, the one you were leering over, was only posted in May of this year.

            Embarrassed? You should be.

          • DanJ0

            “I call in now and again when your trolling, as above, involves me completely unnecessarily.”

            Always worth reading for comprehension, you know.

            I clicked on your profile here to see if you still link your blog, and it shows all your Disqus comments on the NCR too. It’s interesting to see your trolling in action elsewhere, and to see the accusations of false IDs etc. over there. You spend an awful lot of time at this sort of stuff by the look of it.

          • My, my you are an obsessive. The post on my son was removed in June, Danjo.

          • DanJ0

            Dodo, when you troll me you always come off worse … yet you still do it time and time again. Hence, why I linked to the stroke bank thing of Eric Berne’s. I’d have left you alone after the initial responses above if you hadn’t tried to kick off again on the Jake Berry thread. You’re a character, and no mistake. How on earth does a man in his 60s end up getting addicted to trolling? Is it boredom? Not nearly enough attention as a kid, which has had a destructive, lifelong effect? Or what? It’s intriguing. And what would you be doing instead if social media was not yet invented and you couldn’t spend every evening into the early hours trying to wind people up across multiple sites?

          • The post for Dodo’s missing son was removed in June, Danjo. And you have been stalking Happy Jack on a new site he has just visited. These are facts.

          • DanJ0

            Are the accusations of multiple IDs just a strange, unfortunate coincidence then, Dodo? But how would we know when you lied and were caught so often here? Did I read that one of the IDs was Dove? That has an echo with your Serpents and Doves sock puppet here at one point.

          • You know Danjo, there is something very ‘spoilt girly’ about some of your posts. Like a teenager who cannot get her own way with Daddy. When stamping and scweaming fail, bitchiness surfaces.

            Jack has only been on NCR a matter of days. As soon as he posted comments there questioning feminism and homosexuality from a Catholic perspective, he was assailed from all sides as a “homophobe”, a “bigot”, a “troll”; a “misogynist” and latterly as a member of an anti-Vatican, sedevacantist group living somewhere off the Scottish coast. Then as a sock-puppet who had previously been banned. It reminded him of the standard of comments on the Pink News.

            And what do all these people making these wild accusation have in common? You’ve been stalking Jack, so you’ll know the answer.

            Stick to the facts Danjo and drop the teenage madam act. It makes you look foolish. And this stalking of Jack and attempts at getting information on his family, well, frankly, it suggests you are slightly strange.

            Having said all that, reply if you wish but “Talk to the Hand.”

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps you’ll think twice next time about baiting me. But of course you won’t because any attention, even negative attention, is better than no attention to you, and you really, really crave attention. This is why you try to goad me time and again here when I’m more than happy to ignore you completely as I demonstrate regularly.

          • “Ignore” – refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally.

          • Cressida de Nova

            OK Jack….you have a short memory. Don’t engage DanJO.
            You know he is permitted to say anything he likes on here without consequence. The fact that he can make insulting beyond the pale remarks about the oboe without rebuke proves what they say…that he really is HG’s loony cousin… the family embarrassment they keep locked in the attic and let loose on this blog from time to time.
            All your cronies were screaming for your expulsion before…it will be the same again. You really should read French literature instead of all those theological books. It is a better way of understanding God’s flawed creation….mankind!

          • DanJ0

            “Don’t engage DanJO.”

            That would be lovely. Thank you. Though after years of his baiting me, I expect old habits will die hard.

          • Yes, you are correct. From time to time he pops up invited and has to be returned to the attic. He seems to have developed an unhealthy interest in my family too, especially my youngest son.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You have been blogging long enough to know that any personal details you divulge will be used by your opponents.
            Families are not excluded. You come into contact with very unsavoury types on blogs you would not normally meet or associate with in real life.

            Don’t you remember when the atheist David was dying how he was treated by one of your charming self proclaimed Christian blog friends whom you all now prostrate yourselves before .

          • David was dead – a committed atheist. He rejected God, intellectually and emotionally. Yet, he and was being sentimentally elegised as a saint in heaven for staying true to his convictions and trying to persuade others of this.
            He was a polite, well reasoned and personable man and it is hard to conceive of a loving God permitting someone through their own will to reject Him for eternity. However, isn’t that what we believe? It’s that or universal salvation. As others said at the time, Old Jim and Albert in particular, we cannot presume to judge the state of a person’s soul. It may have been a case of inculpable ignorance through his life experiences. Jack just doesn’t know. The Holy Spirit is probably most busy when we face our last moments. Jack hope’s so, anyway.

          • avi barzel

            All of Jack’s cronies were certainly not screaming for his expulsion, Miss Cressida. In fact many, if not most, pleaded with His Grace and appealed to his boundless mercy for a reinstatement after a suitable chastisement.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Sadly that is how you would like it to be remembered…not the case unfortunately.

          • DanJ0

            Avi is right. Not even I put my hand up in the instance where a vote was offered. Of course, he just created a new ID and deceived people anyway after he was told to go.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I don’t have the time or the inclination but if you researched the posts…what I said was true.It was a classic study in cowardice…the usual ally yourself with the strength situation.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You told me you were an Adonis. I hope you were not lying to me Jack !

          • Jack is a cross between Sean Connery and Kevin Costner. He does not know what Adonis looked like.

          • Cressida de Nova

            An Adonis is a universal term for a very handsome man.Shame about the Kevin Costner input.

          • That is a concession to Jack’s developing a more compassionate nature gets in touch more with his feminine side and integrates the ‘ying’ and the ‘yang’ ……..

          • Cressida de Nova

            You are more of a yang than a ying:)

          • Nevertheless, Happy Jack must become one with his duality ….

          • Cressida de Nova

            OK then..
            THUD
            that’s me
            dropping
            you

          • Jack’s yang keeps overpowering his yin ….
            Happy Jack’s New Year resolution is to allow the yin more space. However, he can only write what the voices tell him to …..
            Jack is definitely, positively, maybe indecisive about all this though ….

          • Cressida de Nova

            Wow…gerontophile ! Does that mean you are really a red Indian? Full of surprises you are..Jack

          • Yorkie

            Dear me aren’t you excitable, my suggestion at rudeness was with regard to, what I viewed as a patronising tone to your post. Frankly, it was a throwaway comment.

            What a blast of verbage though, I notice you didn’t address my points about contrary opinions.

            “Bitching”? How crude, I make a single comment, on a single thread and this equates to “bitching”. Really?

            ” It’s Cranmer’s weblog. He is free to do with it as he likes. They are his opinions. He is free to express them as he sees fit”

            Did i say this wasn’t the case? Did I suggest he should be censured? I disagree with certain things, certain views and said so. It is Cranmers blog, and he uses it as a platform to express certain ideas. How exactly does this square with the notion that people can’t disagree with these ideas and sentiments or in percieved trends in these sentiments. Free country (almost), free speech (just).

            I’m english, the topics Cranmer discusses are of direct relevance to me and where I live. The ideas have consequences and have had consequences. This discussion is going on in the conservative party as we speak.

            Namely, moving philosophical goalposts.

            “Your opinions of his fitness as a conservative do not affect the quality of this weblog.”

            Did I suggest they did? My criticism was of the conservative position, which can be used dishonestly, and currently is by others. And since, as you’ve said the fact the weblog is conservative in nature is unusual, and it’s selling point (being conservative) means its interpretation of conservatism is important.

            “It’s hard to find a weblog like this. Too often they are ideologically monochromatic and therefore dull as dirt – not to mention overrun with foolishness.”

            Yes, hence my previous comment and why there is an emotional investment and focus on this one, hence, again, why the conservative philosophy is important.

            “I like contrary opinions because they give me something to engage. They force me to think. That is not an attribute applicable to most weblogs on the Internet.”

            And you’ve cheerfully ignored what I said about contrary opinions previously. If that’s your motivation, fair enough, I never said people shouldn’t seek contrary opinions I merely disputed the notion that they are particularly important here consider most British people come into regular contact with them through the media, feel free to address what I said at your leisure.

            That is your motivation, mine, as a conservative is to read a conservative attitude/philosophy in action applied to current events.

            “There isn’t any “Beggars can’t be choosers” quality about this place.”

            Again, nothing to do with quality, you’ve taken that ball and run with it, the comment was with regard to scarcity, which makes this blog significant.

            And what is the “purpose” of the weblog according to you anyway, there are many reasons to read, how can you advocate one attitude on the back of nothing but personal preference while dismissing another that is based on personal preference?

            “It’s unfair of you to complain that Cranmer doesn’t provide it when he never intended to provide it in the first place.”

            Do you know Cranmers intentions? Is that what we judge? Do his intentions ultimately matter? We don’t even know his name What we can discuss is what he or Gillian says, under the heading GOD and POLITICS : CHRISTIANITY and CONSERVATISM. Hence we discuss God, politics, Christianity and CONSERVATISM.

            If someone wants to comment on events, in the public sphere, people are free to criticise or disagree.

            “Again, contrary opinions are a good thing”…….”being challenged is a good thing” and then “how dare you criticise or scrutinise what Cranmer says or his intentions on his blog”…..

            You’re trying to square a circle old boy, as an aside, I am from Yorkshire, so perhaps my original delivery offended your delicate sensibilities.

            I’m not Christian, therefore I don’t believe in God, either the one in heaven or the one you seem to think occupies this blog.

          • carl jacobs

            Yorkie

            If I ignored your contrary point, it’s because I agreed with it. Your contrary opinion was that Cranmer is a “soft” conservative. Well, there’s a shock. Good thing you told me. I hadn’t noticed that fact in the four years I’ve spent on the weblog. Guess what. He’s also theologically soft in my judgment. Way too “CoE” and not nearly enough “Reformation.” But he is certainly no liberal as you yourself well realize. None of that matters to the quality of the weblog he has created, however. And I would never presume to come onto his weblog and bemoan the fact that his opinions are not mine. I’m not sure how else you expected your original post to be interpreted – especially given the context of the subthread in which you posted. Here let me summarize it:

            “Cranmer isn’t principled enough. He’s a Conservative party hack. Pity me for he’s the best I can get. Oh well. Beggars can’t be choosers.”

            And you thought you weren’t being rude?

            You didn’t understand my intent at all. I wasn’t defending Cranmer the conservative or Cranmer the Christian. I was defending Cranmer the blogger. He quite frankly deserves to be slapped around for his theological and political softness. He’s no god, and I don’t worship him. But I appreciate what he has built here.

          • Sam

            Yorkie

            You’re Yorkshire, so you can’t complain about rudeness or bluntness .Or straight talking! Now, Carl Jacobs – a straight talking American Midwesterner (from Kansas I think)- is a respected blogger in these parts and is conservative as they come( when he posted on my brother’s blog a lot of posters and emailers thought he was an Ashkenazi Zionist orthodox Jew ,which is a complement btw). Look I don’t agree with nine tenths of his Calvinism etc, but he is a friend because he calls “a spade a spade” and is utterly consistent in his observance of his religion. As a Yorkshire man (or women) you should appreciate that.

          • carl jacobs

            Sam

            Iowa. Not Kansas.

            People actually e-mailed you about me?

          • Lol ….

          • Sam

            I was thinking Alaska for some reason….. No it was on the comments section. The predictive text that’s on my pad got that wrong (I’ve amended).

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jews used to have a reputation for being insightful and clever…pity the global topor or stupour has finally reached them as well …this does not bode well for the future ( thinking Carl is a Jew is sort of like thinking Goebbels was a Jew…)

          • Sam

            Fuck off

          • Cressida de Nova

            Good news. Happy you are intending not to converse with me.Although with your lack of restraint, this is highly unlikely. If you were serious you would not have responded at all.
            Incidentally does you mother know you are using the pc without adult supervision ? No, I thought not !

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well in fact your sensibilites are more Christian than some of the Christians here.Carl has attained some sort of intellectual status recently drived from Wiki and Google as the reigning narcissist with deficient acolytes.
            Congratulations on spotting the phoney…and a very rude and crude one at that !

          • Cressida de Nova

            oops… derived from

          • Cressida – there’s now an edit function on the comments box. If you make a spelling error it can be corrected. Jack makes frequent use of it.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Is this a coded message ?

          • Lol … no. Jack noticed you spelt derived incorrectly and then reposted the word. Just click on edit and you can revise the original text.

          • DanJ0

            I can’t say I’m much of a fan of his beliefs but I don’t think his intellectual status or his writing prowess is much in doubt with the rest of us. It’s not Wikipedia or Google that’s the source of that, it’s a certain clarity of thought and an alternative perspective if nothing else.

  • It’s been tradition not to have female clergy, she is breaking with
    tradition as well as ignoring God’s words. Tradition is not to have
    female clergy and women bishops at all

    These feminists of course want it all and want it now. I’m sorry but I
    can’t take a word she or any says female clergy member seriously.

    • sarky

      Even if they were exactly the same words as a male?

    • Beyond Cynicism

      Marie1797:

      Why not?

      As an atheist, I find the whole subject laughable anyway but surely a believer should be more concerned with the content of the message than the form of the messenger?

      Either the word of your god is true or it is not. If it is true, then it matters not who proclaims it: the message is what is important. If it is not true, then it matters even less who proclaims it – it is complete nonsense anyway.

      You confuse man-made traditions (created by males and enforced by males as we see in current day, medieval Islam) with what you presumably believe to be your god’s message to mankind. In other words, you are promoting style over substance.

      On a slightly unrelated note, if your god did indeed make man and woman, he did so in a way which directly contradicts Genesis. Your Bible tells you that Eve was made afterwards as a companion for man. A modern biologist will tell you, however, that both male and female embryos are identical and that the default developmental path is female unless disrupted by the presence of the Y chromosome which switches on specific genes which then dissolve the internal female genitalia (primordial ducts) present in the embryo.

      So, if anything, women probably have a stronger case for being the superior sex than men.

      Of course, the real problem is nothing to do with the facts of the case and everything to do with psychological conflicts within men. I have no idea why so many men feel superior to women or feel threatened by them or feel them in some way not as fully developed as men – but that is a problem of psychology and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the true intentions of a non-existent divine authority.

      It isn’t even as if all the male messengers have been pure in thought and deed anyway – even more of a reason, one would have thought, for letting some of the women have a go.

      • bmudmai

        It’s actually nothing to do with the position of women in comparison to men. Authority/leadership isn’t a measure of importance/value in a Christian/biblical context.

        The measure of ‘equality’ is in salvation, of which all believers become ‘sons of God’ whether male or female.

        The 2 genders, however, are different and so have different roles. It’s funny in the patriarchal model complained about in Christianity that actually the man’s job is to lift the woman up. To be responsible for her and present her without spot or blemish. That actually positions the female.very highly as whilst the man is the head, he is the one who is truly the servant and is to preserve the woman who is a thing of beauty (which man isn’t).

        Problem is, people have abused ‘position/authority’ as that is the way of sin.

        Really, the understanding of equality needs to be looked at. And for you as an atheist, you need to understand that our position is under God and that’s the important issue. Not what the eyes of man perceive.

        • Beyond Cynicism

          bmudmai:

          Listen to yourself!

          Although I am an atheist, I was brought up in the Roman Catholic tradition. Indeed, I spent six years at a boarding school which was run by the local diocese so I was in daily proximity with the priesthood. I am not, therefore, speaking from a position of ignorance when I deplore the man-made arguments of men who wish to preserve the privileges of men.

          For every assertion you make in your post, I pose one simple question: how do you know it is true? Is your Bible the source of your authority in these matters? If so, who wre its authors and on what basis do you claim they are in a position to speak with authority?

          This is a question that you cannot answer. You know little to nothing about the men who wrote the books which comprise the generally accepted body of the Bible. You probably know even less about the authors of those gospels and other documents which the Churches have chosen not to incorporate into their “official” version of the Testaments Old and New.

          You cannot even begin to explain to me why I should believe any claims made by those men with respect to the existence and divine will of the god they describe.

          I understand that your loyalty is to your god. That is not in question. What is in question is whence your traditions and prejudices derive and whether they are truly of god or merely of man. As you are unable even to demonstrate the existence of the subject of your fealty, you will have a hard time demonstrating that your traditions have gravitas and authority other than that accorded to them by those who, already in positions of power, wish to preserve their man-made privileges.

          • chiefofsinners

            We know it’s true because you couldn’t make it up. The idea that God should die for mankind is the opposite to every human concept of God. It reveals a wisdom beyond yours or mine. We won’t understand it because we’re not God. Stop trying to work it out, all you can do is believe and be grateful.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            chiefofsinenrs:

            I have to assume that you are joking. To do otherwise is to accept you sincerely believe you should always just do as you are told by your perceived elders and betters – and that is no way for an adult to behave.

            Almost all man-made gods exist to save mankind in one form or another, or at least to offer the promise of eternal salvation in some unseen, unknowable world which exists beyond our earthly senses..

            Such ideas are not proof of wisdom beyond human understanding but demonstrate a very human fear of extinction and a very human hope that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, there is more to death than the rotting of flesh and the fading even of the memory of who we once were.

            There is nothing to believe. There is nothing beyond the grave for which to be grateful. All you have done is instruct me to behave in a particular manner but you have not one ounce of reason as to why I should.

          • ‘There is nothing to believe.’

            Sound like a faith position to me, and a self refuting one at that.

            I don’t have time to play slogan ping pong with every professing atheist in detail but in case some are genuine seekers rather than Dawkins’ parrots I have posted a few evidences for God and Christ and against the philosophical assumption of materialism on http://WWW.questiondarwin.com. some of your co-religionists I have pointed there refused to read it due to its blasphemous nature ( attacks the sacred Darwin mythos)

            Adieu.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Stephen Hayes:

            Not that old chestnut again!

            If you want a more pedantic statement of my philosophical position, it is that I am aware of no compelling evidence which would persuade me of the existence of a deity.

            That is not a “faith position”; that is a simple statement of fact.

            Dawkin’s parrots? So how am I to describe those who repeat the words of their vicars and priests? Is it all right to use a similarly insulting term for them?

            I have had a quick look at your website. I will read it more closely over the next week or so.

          • Oh no, not the ‘Not that old chestnut again!’ old
            chestnut, again. That’s what I mean about talking in slogans. I don’t play slogan ping pong any more, its boring and doesn’t work.

            Am I an independent thinker who came to his conclusions after much research and changing of mind or do I just swallow and parrot whatever the ‘priest’ tells me? How could I prove that, or you disprove it?

            I wrote a short story ‘Three Men in a Hut’ which is on my
            questiondarwin.com site and Kindle book of that title which explores the issue of being wrong while being absolutely convinced you are right. Basically, an atheist, a Christian and a Muslim are trapped by snow in a mountain hut and to pass the time spend 3 days taking turns to put their best evidence and arguments to each other.

            Nobody changed their mind.

            The point of the story/parable is that at least 2 of them were wrong, and heard arguments that should have proved them wrong, but still swore they were right. How would it feel to be proved wrong yet utterly unmoved by that evidence and all the more convinced of
            one’s rightness? Perfectly normal. We can be utterly wrong about the most important thing yet not know it. Presumably you believe this to be true of me as a Christian creationist? How certain are you that here aren’t 3 fingers pointing back at you, sir?

            The thought of being profoundly wrong and ignorant of it scares me. If it doesn’t scare you too there’s nothing I can do to help.

            Happy Christmas.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Stephen Hayes:

            A little rich for you to complain about “slogan ping-pong” when you opened your reply to me with the words “Sound like a faith position to me, and a self refuting one at that.”.

            Trust me – it is the oldest one in the book which is precisely why I replied to you as I did. I do not accept that you have the right to complain when I use phrases which you consider to be slogans if you are going to behave in exactly the same manner towards me. Sorry but you don’t get to decide the rules in your favour.

            I’m still serious about reading your website over the next few days when I get some time to myself by the way. It’s always helpful to understand how the other fella thinks.

          • Dear Mr BC

            In the spirit of Psalm 14 vs 1 and Proverbs 26 vss 4-5, here is a measured response to a small fraction of what you have posted here so far.

            You boldly asserted ‘There is nothing to believe. There is nothing beyond the grave to be thankful for.’

            This is a faith position based on the philosophical assumption of materialism, fullstop. It is also self refuting because if ‘there is nothing to believe’ then why do you believe anything, even the evidence of your own eyes?

            Wen I pointed this out to you, you responded ‘Not that old chestnut again’ .

            But in giving you a taste of your own medicine I was merely stating the obvious. How can you know there is nothing beyond the grave? You don’t know it, you believe it, perhaps because you WANT it to be true. By believing it, you are calling Jesus a liar. In fact, your response with it’s wearisome feigned outrage, was itself an old chestnut.

            You then, from behind a pseudonym, make various accusations about my intellectual integrity, perhaps calculated to stinging me into responding further. Ping pong is a game in which 2 players return a ball to one another. So when I use the term ‘slogan ping pong’ I was obviously suggesting that if I were to engage you in such a game, I would be batting slogans to and fro the same as you. How does that imply that I am ‘deciding the rules in my favour?’. I could continue in similar vein for an hour, then you would bat some back, and so on. I would suggest that it’s YOU who are seeking to decide the rules in YOUR favour. So you see, you have got me playing slogan ping pong with you after all. But not for long.

            Am I going to hand you a blank cheque drawn against my time by agreeing to this game? No. Do I believe my faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour enough and care about the well being and eternal destiny of my fellow sinners enough to want to try to share the truth with them? Yes. That’s why I went to some trouble and expense to write the best words I could write on questiondarwin.com. You can see and criticise them to your heart’s content if you want but as I explain on the front page, I cannot and will not budget time to argue each point ad infinitum with everyone who has read ‘The God Delusion’ and thinks he’s an expert on refuting Christianity because he can parrot Dawkins.

            At this time of year Christians of all sects and persuasions reflect on the fact that God originally made a very good world, our ancestors ruined it by deliberate disobedience, but that God in His mercy put into place a plan of rescue which would cost Him very dearly. The rescue plan is called Jesus.

            With all the sincerity I possess, I commend Jesus to you.

            kind regards and goodbye, if you want the last word you can have it because I will not budget any more of my time to this exchange.

          • chiefofsinners

            Good man. Nice website. Thanks.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Stephen Hayes:

            If I were you, I would not expend too much effort at your no doubt highly sophisticated spreadsheets calculating how to budget your time.

            I think you will find it is a very much over-priced commodity and not much in demand.

          • chiefofsinners

            The only person I’m suggesting is older or better is God. The argument is just this, really: If there was a God, would I expect to be able to understand Him? Or would He actually be older and better than me? And of all the various human ideas about God, which ones look like human constructs and which ones look like something that is a divine revelation?
            Extinction isn’t a problem – that would be just fine. And living for ever would be an awful prospect without God.
            Please don’t think I’m instructing you to do anything. I’m just recommending it.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            chiefofsinners:

            When I was a child, most of the significant adults in my life were both older and wiser (“better”) than me. Even so, precisely because they were older and wiser than me, they were able to speak to me at my level so that I had at least a childish understanding of what sort of people they were. Granted I did not know all there was to know about them but then I do not know all there is to know about anyone even now I am myself adult.

            Your god, on the other hand, seems to exist as a sort of negative argument, which is a strange way to argue for the existence of anything. I find it impossible to believe that an entity which apparently created all that there was, all that there is and all that there ever will be cannot find a way to communicate a simple message as to his existence/

            If I am to believe the Old Testament, he used to have this skill. He’s really quite chatty in there, as Noah, Job and Abraham would readily testify if they were alive today.

            So your god is so much older and better than you that you cannot even comprehend his existence yet choose to believe it is true nevertheless and the god of the Old Testament spoke so directly to the afflicted that he looks very much like a human construct.

            Forgive me but neither interpretation seems particularly compelling on its own. Note for anyone who wishes to reply: the key phrase in the last sentence is “on its own” – in other words, something more than unsupported stories and unsupported faith systems is required.

          • chiefofsinners

            I wouldn’t call God in the old testament ‘chatty’. He took 2000 years to say that much. Ultimately the Word of God is Jesus Christ. What do you think of Him?

          • Phil R

            “You cannot begin to explain to me why I should believe any claims made by those men with respect to the existence and divine will of the god they describe”

            You will not believe. Unless God choses you.

            Evidence? You would need a miracle and even then your heart may still say no

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Phil R:

            Actually, no. I would just like a reason to believe rather than mere assertions from those who cannot tell me why they believe.

            Those same people, incidentally, are often quick to tell me why other people’s gods are fanciful, man-made, non-existent, not the true god and so on so, if they are able to dismiss the falsehoods of other religions, why can they not demonstrate the truths of their own?

            I will even pose the question the other way about. Why am I wrong not to believe?

            I don’t need a miracle. I don’t even need proof. I do need evidence to believe one thing rather than another. That is not unreasonable: it is how me make judgements of any kind. Small children often believe things are true because they want them to be true but that is no way for an adult to behave.

          • Phil R

            So how about this God may open your eyes and you will believe

            Good enough for you?

            Well it wasn’t for me either until the day it happened

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Phil R:

            No. Not good enough. Psychological need is no substitute for objective truth.

          • Phil R

            I didn’t need God. I didn’t want God. Earlier that day I had even beaten up a street preacher.

            Then suddenly from nowhere I knew.

            Call it what you will

          • Albert

            I do need evidence to believe one thing rather than another. That is not unreasonable:

            As it stands, that comment is unreasonable, because it reduces warrant for belief to evidence, while, in the second sentence introducing the concept of reason. That seems potentially incoherent to me. What you should have have said is:

            I do need evidence or reason to believe one thing rather than another. That is not unreasonable:

            Then I would have agreed. But the problem with moving from evidence by itself to evidence or reason is that that opens up all sorts of possibilities. After all, what constitutes reason to believe? Most people would include authority.

            A further issue here is whether you follow your own rules in other areas. For example, what evidence do you have for believing it is unreasonable to believe without evidence? It seems that the only way in which that question can be answered is by appealing to reason, not evidence by itself. But you have set yourself up only on evidence. Then, when that question is answered, have you any beliefs which don’t meet those criteria? You would be an unusual human being if you have none. What evidence have you that you have none? But if you have some, what evidence is there that you are reasonable to believe some things without evidence, but not others?

            In other words, I fear that you may be picking at general epistemological difficulties (which are genuinely difficult), and applying them only against faith. If so, then I say that isn’t reasonable, it’s special pleading.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Albert:

            One needs both evidence and reason. Evidence means nothing without interpretation and, wherever possible, other evidence by way of corroboration.

            If I find your DNA at the scene of a murder, that means nothing in itself. It places you in space bit not necessarily in time. The DNA could have been left en scene a week before the murder.

            What I need, therefore, is supporting evidence and then I need to bring reason to bear in order to interpret the evidence before me. Is there, for example, CCTV evidence which places you near the murder scene at the right time? Do you have blood-stained clothes at home which match teh blood group of the victim? The more evidence I gather and the better I can piece together the likely course of events, the stronger my case against you.

            I cannot build my case against you using nothing but reason.

            I cannot build mjy case against you using nothing but uninterpreted evidence.

            The two things, therefore, do go together in a coherent, logical manner.

            You claim that most people would include authority but you would need to define what you mean by the word and how we could agree that whatever entity (a book, a person or whatever it might be) actually is an authority. In other words, you need to demonstrate that it is reasonable to accept your X as an authority. Mere assertion is not sufficient.

            I will give you an example: my authority for stating that god definitely does not exist is the fictional cartoon character, Donald Duck. I believe, although I cannot be certain, that he once quacked something to that effect when I was a very young and impressionable child.

            Do you accept Donald Duck as an authority on matters of metaphysics? If not, why not? And if you can give me a reason not to accept Donald Duck as a metaphysical authority then, by the same token, I can require of you that you demonstrate the authority of whatever it is that convinces you god exists and your faith is something more than an internal, psychological experience, however widely shared it may happen to be.

            I do follow my rules in other areas. For example, as a child I used to believe – without evidence – that my toys came to life at bedtime. My authority for that unfounded belief was Enid Blyton, a children’s author who – when I was of tender years – I had no cause to disbelieve. I spent longer than perhaps I should have done trying to catch out my toys. I used to spy on them during the night. I would have loved to see them come to life as they did in my story books. The very thought used to thrill me.

            My toys never did come to life, except in my imagination. That one, simple example serves to show why it is unreasonable to believe without evidence. Wanting to believe did not make it so; believing when nothing else in my life supported my fanciful notions proved to be an unfruitful and impractical way of conducting myself in the physical world.

            Of course, you know perfectly well this is true because, except in matters of religion, I suspect you want to weigh up evidence too before you act. I am willing to bet, for example, that despite the promises of riches beyond your wildest dreams, you have never yet replied to a single email from anyone with a Nigerian sounding name who purports to eb the Financial Director of some obscure bank or international organisation and who apparently needs your help to transfer millions of dollars into your bank account. Needless to say, the transaction is perfectly legal – which is why he needs all your banking details – but, for mysterious reasons never quite explained – must remain absolutely secret at all times.

            You have no evidence that any given charmer is untrustworthy – yet you do not divulge your details to him. If I asked to borrow your cash cards and asked for your PIN numbers but promised not to abuse your trust, would you post everything to me? I’ll add to that mixture that I want you to post everything to an anonymous accommodation address of my choosing.

            If not, why not?

            It is unreasonable to believe I am trustworthy without evidence.

            The short answer to your question, then, is that I have not, as you seem to believe, set myself up only on evidence. To make sense of a wicked world, one needs a combination of evidence and reason. Either one without the other is of seriously limited value but, together, they make very powerful tools indeed.

            Your arguments against me seem a little confused and make claims for me which I do not make for myself. I would also add that you rather seem to have tied yourself up in linguistic knots as well.

          • Albert

            Your arguments against me seem a little confused and make claims for me which I do not make for myself. I would also add that you rather seem to have tied yourself up in linguistic knots as well.

            I find that an odd comment. I picked up on this thing you said:

            I do need evidence to believe one thing rather than another. That is not unreasonable:

            I picked it apart and you’ve now clarified your position exactly as I expected you to – indeed, you’ve agreed with me that you need reason and evidence.

            You claim that most people would include authority but you would need to define what you mean by the word and how we could agree that whatever entity

            Agreed, but please remember what I was doing – I was showing your position, as you had put it, did not make sense. I simply say that it is reasonable to include authority, and if that is conceded, your position – as stated – fails. But I no longer need to make that point, for you have already conceded my point.

            Do you accept Donald Duck as an authority on matters of metaphysics? If not, why not?

            No I don’t, for you said Donald Duck is a:

            fictional cartoon character

            You continue:

            And if you can give me a reason not to accept Donald Duck as a metaphysical authority then, by the same token, I can require of you that you demonstrate the authority of whatever it is that convinces you god exists and your faith is something more than an internal, psychological experience, however widely shared it may happen to be.

            No, that didn’t follow. If I said I didn’t believe in Donald Duck because he is a fictional cartoon character, but then I did believe in something else on the authority of a fictional cartoon character then you might have a point here. But I haven’t, so you cannot impose your criteria until you have defended them at the bar of reason. This is not to say that I eschew what you are asking for here, I’m making a more basic epistemological point (as I was before) that you have not in fact demonstrated that I need to do what you ask.

            My toys never did come to life, except in my imagination. That one, simple example serves to show why it is unreasonable to believe without evidence.

            No it doesn’t show that, if it did you would have to ditch anything in science that you have not been able to demonstrate with evidence. What your example shows is that there are bad authorities and we shouldn’t believe on their says so. But then again, you’ve picked an author of fiction, so your position is kind of circular.

            I am willing to bet, for example, that despite the promises of riches beyond your wildest dreams, you have never yet replied to a single email from anyone with a Nigerian sounding name

            So, for the third time, you have picked as your example someone we know is fictional or saying something we know is made up.

            You have no evidence that any given charmer is untrustworthy – yet you do not divulge your details to him. If I asked to borrow your cash cards and asked for your PIN numbers but promised not to abuse your trust, would you post everything to me? I’ll add to that mixture that I want you to post everything to an anonymous accommodation address of my choosing. If not, why not?

            Same answer really.

            The short answer to your question, then, is that I have not, as you seem to believe, set myself up only on evidence.

            Yes. I was following the evidence. This is what you said:

            I do need evidence to believe one thing rather than another. That is not unreasonable:

            So I still stand by my original comment:

            you may be picking at general epistemological difficulties (which are genuinely difficult), and applying them only against faith. If so, then I say that isn’t reasonable, it’s special pleading.

            So far (and I’m not saying you cannot get past this difficulty, I’m just looking at the evidence), all your counter-examples have been of things we already know are made up. That is no way to undermine authority per se (even supposing my belief in God rested purely on authority – a belief you appear to have, even though no evidence has been provided in support of that belief, ironic eh?).

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Albert:

            Such sophistry.

            At no point did I ever deny we need reason and evidence! Most people would understand that evidence is of limited value without the ability to interpret it. That is such a common-place that I did not realise I would have to spell it out to such as you.

            I have not “now agreed|” to anything. I never disagreed in the first place that reason and evidence must go hand in hand. Good grief!

            Why is the fact that Donald Duck is a fictional character a bar to him being an authority? Your god is equally fictional as far as I can tell because no-one on your side of the argument can prove that he is not,

            Donald Duck is a bad authority. I agree.
            Enid Blyton is a bad authority. I agree.
            God is a bad authroity. I agree.

            My position is entirely logically consistent.

            Donald Duck is a bad authority. You agree.
            Enid Blyton is a bad authority. You agree.
            God is a bad authority. You disagree.

            Your position is not logically consistent.

            When you attempt to demolish my arguments, you continue to complain that I choose example where we know the person is fictional or made-up. Do you not understand that is entirely my point.

            As far as I know, your god is as real as my toys coming to life at night; he is as real as the likelihood of the Nigerian scammer actually being a senior executive in a bank; he is less real than Donald Duck because he, at least, exists at some level on a celluloid cell somewhere in Hollywood.

            You complained, too, that I picked an author of fiction as my example which, in your eyes at least, made my argument somewhat circular. Yet none of the claims made by Enid Blyton in her books are anywhere near as fantastical as the claims made in the Bible about god, his son, the end of the world, his apparent divine purpose and his very specific requirements of us as men.

            The difference, of course, is that Enid Blyton was writing to entertain – and even her youngest readers are capable of understanding that. The Bible, on the other hand, purports to be telling the truth and, while very, very strong on assertion, its claims are simply incredible – yet men and women such as you tell me it’s all true!

            And, after all that, you still cannot define “authority”! I really, really would like to see you try rather than obsess because I failed to include the words “reason” and “evidence” in the same sentence. I am not impressed that you think that is the most important part of my argument. It isn’t. Read it again with the full and certain knowledge now that I have never denied the need for reason and evidence to be taken together and address the real arguments I made, not the arguments you wish I had made.

            As yet, you have not addressed a single one of them.

          • Albert

            It’s fine that you intended to include reason as well as evidence. But it’s a bit harsh of you to pick me up on your not doing so in what you said. I was, after all, only following the evidence you have provided. As for it being obvious, it is not obvious to many people – lots of people do in fact end up, in practise attempting to argue on the basis of evidence alone. CK Clifford for one. Epistemology is riddled with discussions of the topic.

            I have not “now agreed|” to anything. I never disagreed in the first place that reason and evidence must go hand in hand.

            In order to agree, you do not first have to disagree. That’s just false logic.

            Why is the fact that Donald Duck is a fictional character a bar to him being an authority? Your god is equally fictional as far as I can tell because no-one on your side of the argument can prove that he is not

            That is spectacularly bad logic. We know in advance that Donald Duck is made up, we know we made him up. You have produced no adequate evidence or reason to support the claim that God is made up though. Because you don’t think it has been shown that God is not fictional, therefore he is fictional – that is your logic. It’s about as convincing as saying that because it hasn’t been possible to show I support Celtic, therefore, I support Rangers. Hopeless. And then there are all the things entailed by God’s non-existence that you will have to supply evidence for. I bet you don’t evening know what I am referring to!

            Donald Duck is a bad authority. You agree.
            Enid Blyton is a bad authority. You agree.
            God is a bad authority. You disagree.

            Your position is not logically consistent.

            That is such a ridiculous argument. Consider this:

            The Qur’an is a bad authority. You agree.
            The Bhagavad Gita is a bad authority. You agree.
            Stephen Hawking is a bad authority. You disagree.

            It would extraordinary for me to say that your position was logically inconsistent. That would only be possible if it could be shown from two examples that all authorities are bad authorities, but that cannot be done.

            Yet none of the claims made by Enid Blyton in her books are anywhere near as fantastical as the claims made in the Bible about god, his son, the end of the world, his apparent divine purpose and his very specific requirements of us as men.

            We know a priori not a posteriori that Blyton’s books are fiction because she is a fictional writer. We do not need to consider their contents. Thus the comparison fails.

            And, after all that, you still cannot define “authority”!

            Why do I need to define “authority”? Unless you are denying a belief on the basis of authority is reasonable, you have the same issue that I do! But since you ask, I would say, for starters that an authority is a legitimate source of advice, information etc.

            The Bible, on the other hand, purports to be telling the truth and, while very, very strong on assertion, its claims are simply incredible – yet men and women such as you tell me it’s all true!

            What do you think Christians mean when they say the Bible is “true”? Which claims are simply incredible?

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Albert:

            If god has not been made up, as I believe he has been, then you should be able to provide some proof, evidence or reason to demonstrate the truth of his existence.

            I find it revealing that you are still more interested in word play than addressing the core issue. You say “we know in advance that Donald Duck is fictional” but, as far as I can see, I can apply exactly the same reasoning to your god. He appears to be a work of fiction and, therefore, on an equal footing with Donald Duck.

            If your god is something more than a fictional creation, you ought to be able to show how one might know such an assertion to be true.

            Your attempts at word play fail to impress. This is not an argument you can ever win by continuous reference to the theory of knowledge. I am not the one who has to demonstrate that god has been made up. Had you and those who think like you not asserted that god is real (and spilled a lot of other people’s blood in the process over the millennia by the way), this discussion would not even be taking place.

            You make a lot of reference to logic. I assume, therefore, that you understand that it is for he who asserts that something is so to prove his assertion and not for the person who asserts the negation to prove that the negation is true. In other words, it is logically impossible to prove a negative but it is at least theoretically possible to prove a positive.

            That, by the way, is a simple statement of formal logic and not something which is subject to interpretation by you.

            For the avoidance of confusion, let me state that I am not making a positive assertion that god is a work of fiction. My formal position, as an atheist, is that there is no compelling evidence of which I am aware to support the contention that god is real. In the – admittedly highly unlikely – even that I am presented with compelling evidence of his existence then I will, as a rational man, change my mind.

            Your formal position, as I understand it, is that god does have a real, actual existence. That is the positive assertion you make and, presumably, reinforce in your daily life through worship and obedience to whatever doctrinal values you follow (I don’t know to which Church you belong so cannot know your articles of faith in detail).

            The onus of proof, therefore, is on you to prove that you have evidence to support your beliefs and not on me to find the lack of evidence that would contradict them. Again, that is a simple statement of formal logic.

            So, then: enough of your sophistry. Why do you believe god is real? What is your authority for believing what you do – and why are you more interested in word play than in addressing the underlying questions?

            I have my own theories about the last question, by the way.

            With respect to your partial response as to what constitutes “authority”, it does rather beg the question of how you know an authority is competent, knowledgeable and in a position to know the truth of the subject matter for which they are an authority. That is what I was driving at earlier: it is all very well to cite an authority but to do so without ensuring, as far as is possible, that the authority actually possesses the authority claimed for it seems unduly credulous to me and is a technique which has been used by every shaman, confidence trickster and priest since time immemorial.

          • Albert

            If god has not been made up, as I believe he has been, then you should be able to provide some proof, evidence or reason to demonstrate the truth of his existence.

            Viewed philosophically, God is the reason why the universe exists. Now you might assert that the universe can exist without a transcendent cause, but you could never demonstrate that assertion, thus, even if I couldn’t come up with evidence that God exists, you still wouldn’t be reasonable in being an atheist (if I am right to take you as one).

            Or to look from a different angle, take life in outer-space. I can’t provide any evidence that there is such life, but that does not mean that such life is fictional. It means we should be agnostic about it.

            You say “we know in advance that Donald Duck is fictional” but, as far as I can see, I can apply exactly the same reasoning to your god.

            No. We know we made up DD. We don’t know whether God is made up. Our epistemological starting points are quite different. Moreover, God, if he exists, would explain the existence of the universe, and since we have a universe, even before any argument is advanced, it follows he is a genuine possibility. But DD has no such effects, and therefore, with or without argument, we know he is made up. Thus the two positions are not commensurate.

            This is not an argument you can ever win by continuous reference to the theory of knowledge. I am not the one who has to demonstrate that god has been made up.

            I don’t think you are quite following what I have been trying to do. I haven’t been trying to prove God exists (although I do believe in God), I have been challenging your epistemological assertions. For you to criticise me for sticking within epistemology is therefore a category mistake, on your part. It’s like saying Eistein is a bad scientist because he doesn’t play the violin.

            I am not the one who has to demonstrate that god has been made up.

            If your claim is that God is fictional, you need to defend that proposition.

            and spilled a lot of other people’s blood in the process over the millennia by the way

            I’m not sure how much blood has been spilled over the question of whether God exists – unless you mean that spilt by atheists, of course.

            You make a lot of reference to logic. I assume, therefore, that you understand that it is for he who asserts that something is so to prove his assertion and not for the person who asserts the negation to prove that the negation is true.

            That may be a truth of reason, but it is not a truth of logic, I’m afraid. But yes, that’s why I am asking you to defend your epistemological assertions. If you want to have a stab at what is entailed by your metaphysical assertions, then that too would be fitting.

            The onus of proof, therefore, is on you to prove that you have evidence to support your beliefs and not on me to find the lack of evidence that would contradict them. Again, that is a simple statement of formal logic.

            That is not a statement of formal logic. But, for the sake of simplicity, with varying degrees on confidence, I would defend the following arguments for the existence of God: the Kalaam Cosmological Argument, Ways 1, 2, 3 & 5 and the fine-tuning argument. I would then put these arguments together and say that the cumulative effect is such as to make theism reason and probably more reasonable that non-theism. I would add that it is simply impossible, in principle, to defend evidentially what is metaphysically entailed by atheism and that therefore theism is reasonable.

            why are you more interested in word play than in addressing the underlying questions?

            It’s not word-play, it’s epistemology. I am following that because that is where you started. Blimey, is it really such a fault to begin with what the other chap is saying?

            With respect to your partial response as to what constitutes “authority”, it does rather beg the question of how you know an authority is competent, knowledgeable and in a position to know the truth of the subject matter for which they are an authority.

            Obviously, but as you had given examples of bad authorities, I naturally needed a definition of authority to include both good and bad, otherwise the discussion would have descended into even more incoherence.

            That is what I was driving at earlier: it is all very well to cite an authority but to do so without ensuring, as far as is possible, that the authority actually possesses the authority claimed for it seems unduly credulous to me and is a technique which has been used by every shaman, confidence trickster and priest since time immemorial.

            The question of how one determines which authorities are reliable is a difficult one, for if one could test what the authority says, then authority itself would be unnecessary. As I said from the start, this is a difficult epistemological question, but it is difficult for everyone who accepts authorities, not just the religious.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I have been reading your posts and found them interesting. You make good points. I can understand why you would be resistant to organised religion particularly if you were being influenced by most of the Christian commentators on this blog. Not everyone comes to belief in a God or superior being through religious indoctrination. Artists and poets know irrefutably that there is one. They are often scorned in society but it is easier for them because of their insights to know the truth. There are labels for every phenomenon. However science,neuro science, psychology though fascinating and valuable disciplines will never be able to give a complete explanation for everything. There will always be mysteries , mysteries of faith and the ever present magic factor of unpredictability. You have to be a complete narcissist or very stupid to be an atheist.I don’t think you are either.

          • Linus

            The attitude that dismisses all Atheists as narcissists or stupid is made up of equal parts of both of those characteristics, with more than a little contempt and pride thrown in for good measure.

          • Cressida de Nova

            That may be your opinion but it is not mine Atheism is the epitome of arrogance and it is also a kind of blindness. Atheists in my opinion are damaged in some way.In the society we live in , a large number of people are damaged . The reason the drug industry is thriving. I

            There are also different kinds of atheists Most have become embittered by organised religion which turns some away from God and terrible life events for which they blame God.

            God is benevolent if you have faith and trust.Regardless of family and friends without God you really are on your own.
            It may be unlikely you ever experience the solace and peace God’s presence can offer you but I do hope that it does. In my way, this post is a prayer for you.Unfortunately , you are not going to find it on this blog. And I am so sorry that you are receiving such abuse.

            I am proud. So are you. It’s a characteristic. I like it. A lot of people hate it …depending on one’s culture.I don’t think this is necessarily the sin of pride ( which is thinking you are superior to everyone else…:)

            Voila..We have just managed to have a discussion with opposing ideas without ripping each other to pieces….
            politesse francaise…c’est merveilleuse…n’est-ce pas !

          • Linus

            So labelling me as “arrogant”, “damaged” and “embittered” is polite, is it? I don’t think you understand the notion of “la politesse française” at all.

            Not that I particularly blame you. You’re a Christian and Christians routinely feel the need to demonize anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. It’s one of the defining characteristics of their religion. Of most religions, it seems.

            Judging by the way most believers speak about non-believers, it would seem that religion’s primary aim is to act as a socially acceptable conduit for hatred and contempt of the other. The hypocrisy implicit in such an attitude is quite breathtaking. The rationale for insulting the non-believer is that non-belief is a sin and Christians are called to admonish all sinners. But gluttony is also a sin, yet church congregations are full of obese individuals and we see little evidence of them being taken to task by other Christians. Why not? Perhaps because it isn’t the “done thing” to criticize members of your own tribe? No, much better to reserve all of your spleen and hatred for evil outsiders.

            Christians who insult and denigrate non-Christians under the guise of “admonishment” are behaving no better than football hooligans who chant racist and homophobic slogans. Or Front National and Ukip members who blame immigrants for all their woes. Their religion provides them with a means of channeling their spleen and hatred outwards and dumping it over the heads of a rival tribe. It’s chimpanzee behavior. If ever any evidence were needed of just how close humanity remains to its primate origins, all you need to do is look at the Church.

            And that holds true whether you’re a beer-swilling Little Englander spewing narrow-minded xenophobia all over the nearest Frenchman merely because he’s French, or a wine-sipping Francophile whose tribalist elitism is organized along philosophical rather than nationalistic lines.

          • bmudmai

            As a Christian, the author first and foremost is the Holy Spirit who is the third person in the triune God. As God is the author, it has the highest authority.

            How do I know it’s true? Because by the grace of God his spirit dwells within me as a believer and testifies to me of the Truth as He does any other believer.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            bmudmai:

            So you have a conviction but no evidence of the truth of your beliefs.

            If you had been born a Muslim and immersed in that culture, you would see your fellow Christians as infidels and even now be making the same argument for the existence of Allah and his supposed expectations of man.

          • bmudmai

            That’s fine, for me scripture and the Holy Spirit is evidence enough.

            I used to be very anti-Christianity (I would say atheist) and say similar things to you but look where I am now.

            I also used to suffer really bad anxiety and God healed me from that (was prayed over and immediately it was gone). And that is the healing power of God. I was the worst of all and yet God chose to save me. It’s evidence enough for me and perhaps one day you will experience God at work and it will be evidence enough for you.

            The reliability of the bible historically is proven, only have to look in the British history museum (think it’s that one). Has the scroll of sennacherib which recounts the story of hezekiah’s prayer but from the other side and many other artefacts which are biblical.

            Plus, the prophets depict a suffering messiah etc. All ranging well over a millenia apart and the Messiah who came which was Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of him. Which when/if you believe in Jesus is fantastic evidence.

            Evidence for a creator is all around too and from that it’s about which religion is right and it is Christianity. Plenty of reasons why too.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            bmudmai:

            I have my own theories about why “God” has worked for you, none of which has to do with God. However, it seems that you have found a peace and contentment which was obviously absent from your earlier life.

            I have nothing to give you which could replace whatever peace and settlement with the universe you have found. Atheism is not a comforting philosophical position or one at which most people would wish to find themselves. After all, who doesn’t want the comfort of some eternal Father figure to give one’s life meaning and comfort?

            If you have found some sort of solace, I do not wish to take that away from you because it would give me no satisfaction to think I had destroyed something which you find helpful without having something better to offer you in its place.

            I don’t believe what you believe but I am going to stop this particular conversation at this point.

          • DanJ0

            It’s a pity that spirit doesn’t testify to the truth of one interpretation over another at the same time. It would have saved a considerable number of deaths from one set of Christians murdering another during the religious wars in Europe.

          • bmudmai

            We are even warned of wolves in sheepskins and false prophets. Also told of the coming anti-christ. It’s not really a puzzle why there are so many differences. The bible basically tells you why. Not going into the full theology now but there we go.

          • Martin

            BC

            So in other words, you are totally ignorant of all things Christian.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            Oh, you’re on of those “Christians”!

            Whether you accept the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church or not, it has a stronger claim to have a direct line of succession to Christ than any derivative Christian church has.

            Whether it is still close to the teachings of Christ is, of course, open to debate but then I very much doubt Christ would recognise himself in any of the Christian denominations which have squabbled and split and diverged and – basically – made things up and claimed Christ would understand.

            The Roman Catholic church still professes to follow the teachings of Christ. It still recognises the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and its teachings still have more in common with the doctrines and tenets of other Christian denominations than there are differences in substance.

            So, for all your snarky comments, I do have a basic grounding in Christian belief. From what little you have said, I probably have a better grounding in Christian charity too.

          • Martin

            BC

            Have you not read those first few chapters of Revelation where churches are warned that unless they are faithful they will lose their lampstand? When a church is in that state it doesn’t matter how far back in history it can trace its roots, it has ceased to be a Christian church.

            I doubt that you are a very good judge of what is sound Christian doctrine. Indeed, I’ve pretty good reason to doubt that you know what the gospel is. It certainly has nothing to do with what a believer does.

      • Well the CofE certainly has become a joke. It’s about continuity and
        credibility. If God had wanted women to be clergy there would have
        been women clergy bishops long before now.

        Neither sex is superior to the other,it takes both to reproduce and keep the population going. They are both of equal importance but have different roles in life and those roles are also of equal importance, being God’s representatives on Earth is not one of women’s roles, neither is fighting on the front line, or being a fireman. and other such male roles. In case you hadn’t noticed, women are not the same physically or psychologically as men.

        • Beyond Cynicism

          Marie1797:

          “If God has wanted women to be clergy, there would have been women clergy bishops long before now.”

          How?

          Had you been alive in the days of the early Church, you would have made the same argument then as you make now.

          Had you been alive in the Middle Ages, you would have made the same argument then as you make now.

          You are alive today and you are making the same argument now as you would have made in each and every year since the foundation of your Church.

          I am well aware that men and women differ both physically and psychologically. I am also more than aware that men have used that fact since time immemorial to define men to themselves in terms which favour men’s interests. Even speaking as a man, it is good to know that women are now able to challenge what you like to describe as tradition which just seems to mean let no-one do anything to question the established order or even question how that order came to be established.

          There is one other thing I know: God simply does not come into any of this. We speak here solely of the affairs of men.

          • Phil R

            “There is one other thing I know: God simply does not come into any of this. We speak here solely of the affairs of men”

            You claim to speak for God.

            Who you don’t believe in!

            LOL

            BTW you need to watch “the life of Brian” where Stan decides he wants to be a woman and have babies

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Phil R:

            I do not claim to speak for god. As you rightly remark, I do not believe such an entity exists. It is, therefore, perfectly consistent with my beliefs to assert that god does not come into this affair.

            How could he? He does not exist.

            Sorry: but that wasn’t such a clever retort as you may have imagined.

            I’ve seen Life of Brian. We’re probably not so far away from men having babies. Men are inventive little buggers. Look at what can already be done in the field after less than sixty years of research.

          • The Bible was written by men who were inspired by God and the scripts from when Jesus was alive. It’s not only a survival guide for man that takes into account man’s weaknesses as well as strengths, it is the truth of nature and life. Everything has its place. Women enhance
            men and men protect and look after women. And the roles of vicar, priest, minister, and right up to Bishop and Archbishop is a male leadership role. The vicar leads and looks after the people in his diocese ensuring that they try to live a cleaner, more spiritual life. Result is a more civilised and thriving society. The Bishop and Archbishop lead and look after the vicars ensuring they keep on track with what the Bible says.

            When women and homosexuals take over, the boundaries become blurred and confusion sets in. People don’t know where they stand anymore. The teachings of Jesus and the orderly society goes to pot and chaos reigns. Allow Satan’s influence to take control and a slow, seeping
            sickness and decay culminating in eventual death is the result. If the C of E which has clergy and bishops who no longer believe in God, has also thrown the Bible out of the window as it seems to have done, then there is no point in having a Church any longer, it might as well become another branch of the WI, a knitting group/interior design school or a feminist campaign organisation depending on who the leader is.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Marie1797:

            Oh dear, you are quite the unreconstructed Neanderthal, aren’t you.

            How do you know the Bible was written by men who were inspired by god?

            Even if the authors of the Bible were inspired by god, why does this make it an authority beyond question? A poet might be inspired by a full moon but that does not mean the moon was the author of the resulting poem, or that it had any say in what was written, or that it has the conscious ability to determine what is written or that it would approve what was written if it possessed consciousness.

            Inspiration is a human condition and being inspired, whatever the source, does not lend a piece of work authority.

            When you can tell me that god dictated the words, then I will sit up and take notice. Until then, your attitudes are just reproductions of very human attitudes which existed two or more thousand years ago.

            Meanwhile, some of us have moved on.

          • Well, because the societies and cultures then were not as sophisticated and as fine tuned as the writings that make up the books that make up the Bible are.

          • DanJ0

            A similar argument is often made by Muslims about the Qur’an too.

          • Muslims might well claim that Mohammed was being influenced by God, but if so, wouldn’t the writings be more advanced than societies were at the time, miraculous, clever and divine than they are? The Quran is no advanced works. It comprises bits copied from the Bible and the Torah twisted and embellished with the childish ramblings of an illiterate war lord with heat stroke. If anything influenced the writings of the Quran I’m afraid it is more likely to have been Satan as it contains so much hate, warmongering and violence.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Marie1797:

            Absolute nonsense. Societies of two thousand years ago were incredibly sophisticated, as any reading of contemporary philosophy, algebra, mathematics, astronomy and the natural sciences will show.

            Ancient societies did not know all there was to know but they had a deep thirst for knowledge and the ability to pose and attempt to answer questions of great profundity. Whatever else they were, they were not unsophisticated, although they did not have as great a scientific knowledge as we now possess.

            Actually, as an aside, there are some things which they knew about the natural world which had to be rediscovered in the 1700s and later because they had been forgotten.

          • Martin

            BC

            You do realise that the Neanderthal were no different to us?

            How do we know that the Bible was written by Men inspired by God? Well first you need to be born again, in order to know what God is like. Then you need to study the Bible and discover that it gives a consistent message from beginning to end. The reason books were rejected was because they were from a later date and were not written by or under the supervision of the apostles.

            Sadly you do not understand those terms, just think of it this way, God wrote the Bible using Men as a man uses a pen.

            Do you not realise that your attitude dates from the time before the Flood, when men did what was right in their own eyes? It’s time for you to move on.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            “Born again”?

            In other words, you have a psychological need for your god which you attempt to justify after the fact with allusions to some special, psychological process to which not all men are privileged.

            Christ believed his message was for all men, not just those with a psychological neediness. If the message is that clear and compelling, it should be possible to demonstrate its truth with reason and evidence (evidence meaning “reasons to believe”).

            This mystical nonsense of which you speak is exactly that. If the only way your belief exists is through some self-defined mystical experience then perhaps you need to look more to psychologists for your answers and stop averring the existence of an objective yet strangely untestable god.

            In saying that, by the way, I do not mean to infer that you are mentally ill, only that we now far more now about how the mind works than we ever did before and perhaps a study of psychology would benefit you far more than the ancient texts.

            I understand all the terms you used. I have been very familiar with all your “arguments” for most of my life. Their longevity does not make them compelling. They are as nonsensical now as they ever were – oh, and you are factually wrong both about the consistency of the message in the Bible from start to finish and also when you assert that all the texts of the New Testament which form part of your Gospel were written by men under the direct supervision of the apostles.

            Oh, almost forgot: I was using the term “Neanderthal” as a common colloquialism. I am aware that a body of evidence (whoops, that word again) is building which suggests that Neanderthals may have been far more sophisticated than has heretofore been credited.

          • Martin

            BC

            You do realise that Jesus Himself used the term ‘born again’ to describe what a Christian is. If a person is not born again then they are simply not a Christian.

            It has nothing whatsoever to do with a psychological need, but is a change in the nature of a person, as the Bible says, they become a new creation.

            Nor did Jesus ever say his message was to all, although it was to be preached to all. God chooses whom He will save and we do not know who they are.

            It is certainly not a mystical experience, rather it is an awakening to one’s own nature and the nature of God from the death that had previously been our lot. Psychologists, indeed any who study the mind of men, who do not start with the Bible cannot hope to understand the ailments of the mind.

            You may think that you understand the terms but I’m afraid you do not for unless you are born again you are still dead in your sins and cannot comprehend the things of God.

            The fact is that the so called Neanderthal, along with other human ‘species’ were men, just like us.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            I know that Christ used tghe term “born again”. In a modern context, I also know a lot about what modern “born again” Christians are like. For my sins, I used to share a house with one for a year. Those I have met since have pretty much conformed to the same mould and your comments with respect to what you believe to be Christian and non-Christian churches as well as your assertion that God chooses who to save suggest that I have a reasonable measure of you.

            As an aside, given that you do not know who your god will choose to save, would it not be a delicious irony if he decided to save the questioning atheist on the basis he actually had the courage to challenge the evidence available to him and to reach his own conclusions? If I were god, I would respect those who were unafraid to ask searching, probing questions of me.

            There is no arguing with no. You believe your Bible is the ultimate source of all authority although you cannot tell me why. I refute the authority of your Bible and see no reason to believe what it says about divine matters. Do not get me wrong: in places it is a rattling good read and I accept it contains much wisdom when it comes to human affairs. That is not the same as saying, however, that it is a divinely-inspired work guided by god’s hand. I am told it is but no-one can ever tell me why I should believe it to be except to talk in vague, psychological terms – whether you like it or not – of re-birth, awakening and so on. Incidentally, I suspect psychologists and the like have a much better understanding of the mind with or without the Bible than you give them credit for.

          • Martin

            BC

            Perhaps you should examine what the Bible means by being born again, rather than what you imagine it means from acquaintances.

            And consider too, God chooses to save whom He will, not based on any action on their part. You don’t get to acquire merit points, you’re too bad to start with, we all are.

            The Bible is the source of authority because God wrote it, where is the difficulty there? It’s not a matter of vague psychological terms, we all know God exists and the Bible is clearly the word of God and self consistent. That is why it attracts so much opposition and abuse.

            Psychologists are not really capable of understanding the mind of men if they neglect the nature of Man, made in the image of God.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            A couple of things.

            01. If I have been chosen / rejected irrespective of any actions I may take then, for all you know, this atheist may have a place in your heaven where you do not. Seems a strange belief to me and one which rather suggests I should indulge in all life’s earthly pleasures on the grounds that, if I am not to be saved I may as well enjoy myself here and, if I am to be saved, then I have nothing to lose by indulging in wholesale debauchery.

            There is, of course, a second question: if your god really is so capricious that he is only interested in saving some and not others (remember, you are the one who claims one cannot accumulate merit points by behaving well), then why – precisely – should one wish to worship such a petulant tyrant? Sounds moe Kim Jong-Un than St. Francis to me – and I have no respect for Kim Jong-Un either.

            You say the Bible is the source of authority “because God wrote it” and wonder aloud what the problem is with that. Can you really not see the problem for yourself?

            Who says that god wrote the Bible and why should we believe the person who makes the claim? That is the problem: you have made an assertion (“God wrote the Bible”) but cannot demonstrate the truth of what you say. That may be sufficient for you but it is not sufficient for anyone with a critical and questioning mind,

            Your last assertion is really just palpable nonsense, however much you might wish it were true. I accept that they must understand the nature of belief – it is something which is very particular to the human condition. That someone believes something to be so does not necessarily make it so – and a half decent psychologist is more than capable of understanding the difference.

          • Martin

            BC

            You misunderstand. You are so bad nothing you can do can make up for your wickedness. Even an eternity in Hell only just covers what you have done so there is no hope of getting in God’s good books by means of your actions. Your only hope is God’s mercy so you must seek that..

            I’ve already received God’s mercy so that is why I can tell you of it.

            I’f you think you can enjoy yourself here, imagine what an eternity of regret you are building up.

            God is not petulant, indeed He gives you good things to enjoy, despite your wickedness. And when you die you will receive precisely what is due to you.

            Since you know God exists and the God you know exists matches the God of the Bible your real reason for rejecting the Bible is your hatred of God. I’ve no need to demonstrate the truth of what I have said, it is self-evident.

            As I said, psychologists suffer the weakness of only examining part of the nature of Man and closing their eyes to the rest.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            Aha. And you know all of this how exactly?

            I’m sorry but I can look back quite truthfully on my life and tell you with absolute honesty that I have done nothing in it that deserves an eternity in hell. if your god thinks otherwise, then he is not merciful in any generally accepted meaning of the term. He is a sadist as ISIS members are sadists.

            If I do nothing worse in my life than I have already done, the most that will be required of me is that I should sit on the naughty step for a few millennia and have a really good think about what I have done … and even that would be excessive. Oblivion seems infinitely preferable to your vision of what happens on the other side of the grave.

            I don’t hate god, although I do hate those all around the world who commit atrocities in his name. I do not hate god for the simple reason that it is impossible to hate that which does not exist (as far as the evidence available to me shows.).

          • Martin

            BC

            Your standards are too low if you think you have done nothing deserving of eternal condemnation. For a start, you have rebelled against your eternal maker, a crime which alone deserves an eternity of punishment. Then again, He has offered you mercy, which you have rejected out of hand. You thoroughly deserve Hell, as do we all.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            And I ask you once again how you know this to be true. Merely repeating it ad inifinitum ad nauseam doesn’t make it true.

            I would also point out, once again, that if your god thinks I am deserving of eternal damnation because of how I have conducted myself thus far in my life then he is a thoroughly nasty psychopath who, even in this imperfect human world, would be locked up for being a very sick individual.

            I take no lessons in morality from a god such as the one you describe – and to call such a vicious, evil entity “merciful” is simply a gross abuse of language.

          • Martin

            BC

            We all know God exists and the God we know exists ties in with the God of the Bible. So we can read the Bible and know these things are true.

            You’re a rebel against your creator, of course you justify yourself and hate Him. And that is why your standard of ‘morality’ is so distorted, because you have rejected morality in favour of your opinion.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            Again, you are long on assertion and short on evidence, proof or evidence. I do not know that your god exists. In fact, I very strongly suspect that he does not exist and no number of statements from you to the contrary are going to change that simple fact.

            I do not rebel against your god. In order to do so, I would first have to acknowledge that he exists because only when he demonstrates that he is real can I possibly have anything against which I might rebel.

            You perhaps need to revisit your understanding of the meaning of the word ‘morality’. Even someone who believes in absolute morality – not a view to which I subscribe, incidentally – is doing nothing more than stating an opinion that such a thing exists. Whatever you moral values may happen to be, until such time as you can prove that they derive from the known wishes of the creator of all things and can demonstrate further that there is an inescapable duty to follow those wishes, then you have done nothing more than demonstrate a personal belief.

            Incidentally, I believe that a sense of morality must come from within. Even Christ recognised the difference between following the rules and holding something in your heart. From everything I have learned about you, I suspect your morality – even if you could prove the validity of its source – would be mere rule-following. By way of demonstration, I cite your own words that my sense of morality (of which you know nothing) is distorted simply because I do not believe in fairy tales. What you call morality isn’t anything to do with morality: it is to do with articles of faith, a very different thing. It is distressing that someone so didactic and inflexible nevertheless doesn’t appreciate the difference.

          • Martin

            BC

            On the contrary, you have the proof, you know God exists.

            Your every word demonstrates that you rebel against God.

            Morality is what God has commanded, you have abandoned God’s commands in favour of your own opinions. Since it is God’s command, morality is absolute. You once again demonstrate your rebellion.

            When morality comes from within, it comes from the conscience, from which also comes the knowledge that God exists for all morality is based on God. You have spent your life taming your conscience so that it follows your opinion rather than God’s command. That is obvious in your denial that God exists and is the state of us all. You are no different.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            And this is what passes for reason to your mind? Good grief. Truly lamentable.

          • Martin

            BC

            You really need to joint the real world.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Martin:

            I think you will find that, of the two of us, I am not the one who has lost the connection.

          • Martin

            BC

            On the contrary, you have lost it.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “the God you know exists matches the God of the Bible”

            Speaking as one who is NOT an atheist, I would be absolutely fascinated to know the proof of that remarkable statement.

          • Martin

            GM

            Since you know God exists what is it that you need proof of?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            The existence of God has never been objectively proved. Either you believe in God or you don’t. The most that can be done is to give arguments in favour of the existence of God as a reasonable belief. But even if the existence of God could be proved up to the hilt, proving that he (or she) is identical with the being depicted in the Bible – or in any other purportedly sacred text – would be a far more formidable task. Indeed, I would say that it’s a non-starter.

          • Martin

            GM

            There is no need to prove God’s existence, we all know He exists.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin, I am not asking for proof of God’s existence. I am starting from the premiss that God does exist, and I am asking what proof there is that the God who exists is the being depicted in the Bible, and more especially in the Pentateuch; also what proof there is that the God who exists is the proxy author of the Pentateuch. I submit that there is no proof of those things, and no convincing evidence that even makes them probable. Not that there is anything stopping you from believing them, of course, if you so choose.

          • Martin

            GM

            The Bible itself is the evidence.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            That sounds to me like a circular argument par excellence.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Guglielmo Marinaro:

            It is a circular argument but, alas, Martin cannot or will not see it. His only point of reference is his beloved Bible. He cannot or will not tell you why it is the revealed truth but he will tell you as often as you like how disconnected from the real world you are and also that you are surely going to hell.

            This last is particularly puzzling to me. Martin has informed me that his god deems me so irredeemably wicked that I must suffer eternal torment. I’ve checked back on my life and can see nothing I might have done which would warrant such a vindictive retribution from his god who, apparently, chose to make me. As a mere mortal, I have found it in my heart to forgive many people who have wronged me. I certainly no longer continue to wish those people ill.

            The almighty god of Martin, however, despite having created everything that was, that is and that will be; despite having overseen truly awful wickedness and having the entire domain of the universe with which to concern himself, nevertheless with my peccadilloes.

            Oh: and Martin assures me that his nasty, vindictive, spiteful, emotionallyimmature, unforgiving, sadistic masterpiece is imbued with the quality of mercy.

            Good luck trying to get any sense out of the man. To argue with him is truly to understand why the phrase ‘god-given intelligence’ is an oxymoron.

          • Martin

            GM

            Since you have the knowledge that God exists and the nature of the World to compare with the Bible, hardly.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            It does not follow, either from the presumed existence of God or from the nature of the world, that what the various biblical authors believe and state about God must be true. Nor do those things prove that God is the proxy author of the Bible.

          • Martin

            GM

            The Bible’s author is God & that is quite apparent from reading the Bible.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            That the Bible’s author is God cannot be proven, and it is far from apparent to many people. The American philosopher William James, for example, concluded: “It is so human a book that I don’t see how belief in its divine authorship can survive the reading of it.” That God is the author is purely a matter of belief, and that belief is based ultimately on human authority – in other words the authority of those men and women who assert it.

          • Martin

            GM

            The problem is the people, not God or the Bible. And philosophers who do not take their philosophy from the Bible are inevitably wrong.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Thank you. None of that is any answer to the points which I have made. The problem is that there is no means of proving God’s authorship of the Bible or of proving that the Bible is inerrant.

          • Martin

            GM

            That’s because I don’t accept your points. The Bible itself is the proof of its authorship.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, you can say that if you like, and that’s fine, but all that it proves is that you choose to believe it. It’s not, objectively speaking, proof of anything else at all.

            Others can choose to believe that God is the author of the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, Science and Health etc., and can say exactly the same thing – that those books are themselves the proof of their divine authorship. Indeed, they do say it.

          • Martin

            GM

            The problem is, no one starts from an objective pov. We all know God exists but we all pretend He doesn’t so that we can do as we please. Until that problem is solved we won’t accept the Bible as God’s word. Afterwards, the answer obvious.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            It may well be that no-one starts from an objective point of view (which presumably implies that you don’t either), but that is beside the point. Even if we did all know that God exists – and it is rash in the extreme for you to make dogmatic statements concerning what everyone else knows – and even if his existence could be conclusively proved, that would be no proof whatever that the Bible is “God’s word”.

            As for your implication that if God doesn’t exist we can do as we please, that is fallacious. Right and wrong are right and wrong whether God exists or not.

          • Martin

            GM

            Right and wrong exist in God alone, and are part of that knowledge, which includes knowledge He exists, that God imparts to us at our creation.

            We all start from a position of rebellion, and hence reject objective truth, and it is only God’s act that brings us back to a right way of thinking.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            An interesting series of assertions, which you are free to believe and which anyone else is equally free to believe or not to believe, but all of which are purely matters of belief; there is no means of demonstrating that any of them are objective truth.

          • Martin

            GM

            How do you demonstrate that anything is objective truth? The fact is, we all know that God exists, we all objectively know that. We also have within us the knowledge of what is right and wrong. We have also all rebelled against that knowledge so that we choose what we want to accept as right and wrong.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No, we don’t “all objectively know” that God exists. It is a matter of belief. That is why the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, which we say in church, do not begin “I KNOW that [one] God exists” but “I BELIEVE in [one] God”.

            Right and wrong are right and wrong whether one believes in God or not.

          • Martin

            GM

            Yes, we all objectively know God exists, just as we know murder is wrong.

            Comparing what we know about God with what is revealed in the Bible, in the world around us and in our fellow creatures proves to us that the Bible is God’s word. And that is why the Bible is hated by those who call themselves Atheists.

            Right and wrong are right and wrong whether one believes in God or not.

            Seems a lot of people believe there is nothing wrong in killing babies in the womb, or in sexual relations either between those who are not married to one another or between persons of the same sex are right. Clearly right and wrong are not always right and wrong in the minds of Men.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “Yes, we all objectively know God exists…”

            A palpably false statement, as I have already pointed out. There are plenty of people who do not know it. If you say that they do know it but pretend that they don’t, you are guilty of stating as though it were a fact something that you have no means of knowing.

            “Comparing what we know about God…”

            Where did you get this knowledge from?

            “…with what is revealed in the Bible…”

            How can you verify that what is “revealed” in the Bible is correct?

            “…in the world around us and in our fellow creatures proves to us that the Bible is God’s word.”

            Does it really? How, exactly?

            “And that is why the Bible is hated by those who call themselves Atheists.”

            I see no reason to suppose that atheists hate the Bible any more than they hate Homer’s Odyssey or Virgil’s Aeneid. I have no doubt that many atheists hate the way in which the Bible has been used to “justify” iniquity, in which case they are right to do so. Christians should too, and many do.

            “Clearly right and wrong are not always right and wrong in the minds of Men.”

            Disagreements on moral questions, including abortion and sexual ethics, exist among believers too, just as among non-believers.

          • Martin

            GM

            I’ll say it again, everyone knows God exists and they also know what God is like, we get that knowledge from God, who creates us.

            You verify what is in the Bible in the same way as science verifies a theory, observation and testing. You look at the world and see the hand of God, both in nature and Man.

            That is why Evolution was invented, to avoid the obvious conclusion that is drawn from the World of a Creator. And Atheist hate the Bible for that reason, it points to God. You can test that for yourself by going on Twitter and quoting the Bible.

            The Bible is quite clear on morality, a clarity that echoes our conscience. (another reason Atheists hate the Bible) That Men ignore it’s teaching and thereby turn what should be morality into opinion is hardly surprising. Remember, the authority is not one who calls himself a Christian but the Bible.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin,

            I’ll say it again: one can argue for the reasonableness of belief in God, and many have done so very convincingly – and I am not myself an atheist – but the existence of God is ultimately a matter of belief, not one of knowledge. Your statement that “everyone knows God exists” is simply untrue, no matter how insistently you repeat it. You allege that we all get the knowledge of what God is like from God, but you have still not explained HOW we get it.

            But as I have already pointed out, even if one starts from the premiss that God undoubtedly exists, there is no means either of demonstrating that God is the proxy author of the Bible or of verifying that what is in the Bible is correct. (I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of correct things in the Bible; of course there are; but you could probably say the same of almost any other collection of ancient documents.) Your assertion that the Bible can be verified by “observation and testing” is merely that – an assertion.

            Evolution is not inconsistent with belief in God: there are plenty of scientists, including eminent biologists – the late Sir Alister Hardy is one distinguished example – who are believers in God. But I am not here concerned to defend the theory of evolution. I would simply point out that even disproof of evolution (supposing that that could somehow be achieved) would not prove that the creation accounts given in Genesis were historically true. They are clearly just mythology.

            If we decide in advance what is right and what is wrong, and then read our morality into the Bible, ignoring the parts that we don’t agree with and inventing spurious reasons why those bits don’t apply, then yes, the Bible is quite clear on morality. But as the Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert rightly says, “people knew about good and evil long before there was a Bible, just as they had known for a long time about carpentry and building ships.” And that applies equally today to people who have never read or even seen a Bible and to people who would not think of looking to the Bible (or to any other purportedly sacred book) for moral guidance.

      • Phil R

        “It isn’t even as if all the male messengers have been pure in thought and deed anyway”

        Of course not.

        So what?

        • Beyond Cynicism

          Phil R:

          The “so what” is because the argument against women clergy is nearly always based either on tradition or god’s presumed divine will.

          Those who cite tradition as the reason why women should not be allowed to preach the word of god typically spout nonsense about women not being suited for the task, or for them having some fanciful, divine rôle in life such as looking beautiful, raising the kids and obstructing men’s access to the kitchen sink when it is full of dirty dishes.*

          My point is that such ridiculous assertions are nearly always made by men – which is rather convenient given that it is the perceived privileges of men which are being challenged by the accession of women to positions of authority and power within western, Christian churches.

          If men wish to advance the notion that men are inherently superior to women and that their god has some sort of prohibition on women attaining clerical status due to their innate unsuitability for the task, then it is rather incumbent on such men to demonstrate that the superiority they assert actually exists.

          It demonstrably doesn’t – as is shown by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cases of abuse by male clergy around the world. Given that men are not innately superior in moral terms, it seems reasonable to ask what the real objection is to women preaching the word of their god. The only answer left seems to be that it has not been done before, which is the feeblest excuse ever invented for trying to preserve a status quo. That is the mantra of bureaucracy and privilege everywhere: Everything must be done but nothing must be done for the first time or <It is an excellent idea but the time is not ripe.

          If you recognise echoes of Sir Humphrey of Yes, Minister fame, there’s a reason for that.

          Here’s a thought: why not let women assume clerical positions and see if it angers your god enough that he brings the world to an abrupt end. My guess is that he will not even notice.

          * Someone has already said as much in response to an earlier post of mine.

          • Phil R

            The issue is not that women would make better or worse church leaders.

            It is not about the qualities of the individual to do the job.

            It is whether nor not that they should be church leaders.

            For that decision we submit to the Bible

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Phil R:

            Why? What do you know about the authors of your chosen texts?

            Apart from their claims and assertions, how do you know they speak with the authority of god?

            There is a long and deep-seated tradition of misogyny in the Middle East, horribly apparent in the atrocities which occur daily there. Why do not accept moral authority from those who, like St. Paul, hate half the members of their god’s creation?

            What evidence do you have for believing the Bible is an authoritative statement of your god’s divine will? Why do you accept the truth of the gospels permitted to you by your Church whilst not accepting those gospels which the Church, for its own reasons, has decided should form no part of your religious manuals?

            Why do you not ask questions?

            Why do you believe uncritically, unquestioningly and blindly?

            Why do you think we should all suspend our disbelief and refuse to engage with what you would describe as our god-given intelligence?

            Why is it acceptable to explore and examine every aspect of life except the divine?

          • Phil R

            Explore all you want

            The authors of the NT were Appostolic. What I mean is that they were or had close connection with the Appostles. So their books could be checked. All were written very soon after the crucifixion.

            No i don’t know what they look like

            BTW do you believe that Julies Ceasar was murdered in March 44BC ? If so where is your evidence?

      • Leacock

        Read your Marshall McCluhan. THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE as he said. Furthermore, it is not a man-made tradition, and of course Anglicanism is supposed to take tradition and patristics seriously.

        • Beyond Cynicism

          Leacock:

          Why?

          • Leacock

            Why to what? If your question relates to McCluhan, I would recommend reading at least summaries of his work yourself. It will be far more rewarding whatever your ultimate judgment of it than my confused attempts to summarize it.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Leacock:

            The question was really about traditions supposedly being important.

            It is pertinent because those of a religious persuasion often claim to seek a higher truth or to have access to a level of meaning and understanding denied to lesser mortals.

            That should make them more open to new ideas, approaches and knowledge but paradoxically and perversely it rarely seems to do so.

          • Leacock

            That is, no offence, one of the oddest statements I have read lately. I don’t understand where you get the idea that one should be open to new ideas or ‘knowledge’ the whole point of tradition is that it is the highest truths transmitted from the most distant past. That is why there is so much talk about the HIstorical Jesus, or how the early Church actually lived etc. because one has to justify one’s practices and beliefs vs. those of others by proving that your belief is of greater antiquity and hence closer to the Truth.

            New ideas are only worth anything if you can prove that they come directly from God.

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Leacock:

            And your response demonstrates that we speak completely different languages.

            You believe that your traditions are directly transmitted to you from your god and are thus inviolable and true for all time.

            I don’t. I think that the foundations of your belief even in the existence of your god let alone any traditions and principles he may have handed down are extremely shaky. I also believe that these “traditions” are handily worked out by those in authority in whatever religion you care to name and the best con trick of all is that these men who exercise power over others pull solemn faces and declare that they have arrived at their conclusions “prayerfully” and that their holy spirit has interceded to show them the way of truth. And that will be a tithe to you, squire, can’t say fairer than that.

            A truly wise man knows that knowledge is rarely fixed for all time and such knowledge as is fixed forms an extremely small sub-set of all that there is to know. That is why he always questions, always examines, always wonders how to ask a better question and how to consolidate the knowledge he has acquired thus far in order to learn more.

            What you advocate, as far as I can tell, is that we should accept what was believed 2,000 years ago and just stop. And you believe that even though I can almost guarantee that some of the traditions you hold most dear are not quite as old as you think.

            I’ve said it in other posts but I will repeat it here. Sir Humphrey of Yes, Minister put it best when he said: Everything must be done but nothing must be done for the first time.

            You typify that approach. It is a strange attitude to have and, if we all thought the way you do, we would still be living in caves and wondering how to keep warm. By the way, the age of a tradition or belief is not a guarantee that it possesses a higher degree of truth than a more recent belief. Indeed, experience in every other sphere of life suggests that the opposite is true: as we question and examine more, we tend to reject the old because we acquire greater knowledge. Even your Bible makes the point that you think as a child when you are a child but think as a man when you become a man. A shame that Biblical understanding does not translate to religious belief itself.

            Your final statement is just nonsensical. “New ideas are only worth anything if you can prove they come from God”. Yet nothing you say, nothing you believe is provable. You cannot even prove that your god is himself against the idea of, say, women priests. You cannot prove it because the only method you have of divining his will is to accept the words of men of power who have arrived at their conclusions “prayerfully” and not at all politically. You cannot prove those men have a hot line to your god yet you accept their conclusions all the way back to the days of the early church.

            Your church was made by men, not god: you cannot prove otherwise.

          • Leacock

            If one accepts your idea then there is no reason to have a church as it is all created by men then. If one simply makes it all up as one goes along then it isn’t really worth following except on the grounds of tradition or in somehow serving a useful social function. Mummery with women is just a waste of resources. That is why I don’t understand your position.

            And no if people like me were in charge we would have stayed in the plains and trees. Like sensible people. Surely someone as wise as you would be aware that few paleolithic people actually dwelt in caves?

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Leacock:

            I’ll concede the plains and trees bit. I used caves only because that is a fairly common rhetorical device and is not literally true.

            However, I find it interesting that you accept you would have remained in the plains and trees. Does that mean you think the fact man has an enquiring, inquisitive and curious mind and seeks always to better his position is a bad thing, then, and something to be deplored? Might that be a grievance you need to take up with your god who, presumably, designed us that way?

            Mind you, from a reading of Martin’s replies to my posts, you might want to tread with care. Your god is indeed a jealous god, as well as being a sadist of the highest order even while he demands you think of him as being merciful. Your god appears to play some very nasty mind games to my way of thinking.

            I do not believe there is any reason to have a church but that is mostly because I do not accept the premise upon which all churches are necessarily based – to wit that the god they claim to worship and exult actually exists, Without that, there is nothing. As for making it up as you go along, the history of all churches is exactly that: men (and it is nearly always just men) arguing amongst themselves and then deciding what to believe. God doesn’t come into it because he probably doers not exist and is thus in no position to participate.

            If I asked you again how you know that your traditions are sound and that they should hold for all time, you could not answer me. You don’t know.

            With respect to most of your traditions, I wonder if you even know when and how they came into being. For example, when was Christ first officially considered divine and under what circumstances was that divinity determined? What political agenda was fulfilled and whose agenda was it?

            Within the Roman Catholic church, for example, the principle that the Pope is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra dates only from (I think) about 1871. It is a tradition now but no-one except perhaps the serving Pope of the day would have held it to be a self-evident truth much before that. I call that “making it up as you go along”.

            And that has to be so, Traditions have not existed forever. All traditions, no matter how deeply revered or how long they have been cherished, must have a starting point. I don’t care what tradition you point to, with enough research on my part I could show you a time when that tradition did not hold true. There are scholars who could probably tell you off the tops of their heads although I would not pretend to such a deep and detailed level of knowledge.

            All traditions come from men, even when they claim that god told them so. The problem with that, of course, is that your god, despite being a monstrous sadist and threatening the innocent with tortures beyond endurance for leading their lives of quiet desperation, seems strangely shy when it comes to letting us all know what is expected of us. So he doesn’t play fair with his creation either, it seems. All you have are snake oil salesmen, somewhat like Tony Blair, I would imagine, who have been able to persuade and seduce their contemporaries into accepting certain, self-serving policies as revealed truth.

            That may be enough for some. For myself, when I look at a snake oil salesman, I do not see a prophet. I see a snake oil salesman.

          • Leacock

            Higher truth and access to a higher level of meaning are mediated through tradition and the past. It is by adhering to that that one has access to such a truth. Unless of course someone has actually been having visions and performing miracles and claiming that God wants this. Are you aware of anyone who is doing that to justify woman bishops rather than merely attempting to use the art of the Serpent to twist the meaning of tradition to suit their own desires?

          • Beyond Cynicism

            Leacock:

            If that is all it takes, I can certainly rustle up a few trances for you. What a weird approach to authority though. Someone you do not know from the distant past claims to have had a vision and that is acceptable and unchangeable until the next vision comes along?

            You don’t even know that the people from the past who you venerate so highly actually performed miracles. There have always been charlatans who have been able to fool simple-minded folk and even sophisticated folk who lack specific, technical knowledge. That is why, for example, it is always better to ask a sceptical magician to expose chicanery than a sceptical scientist with no specialist knowledge of “magic” tricks.

  • ” …the joyous sight of both sexes in senior positions wearing pointy hats and carrying big sticks.”

    Is Apostolic tradition and the sacraments next to be abandoned, Gillan. He who controls language, holds the power and these dismissive terms are becoming more common.

    The bishop’s mitre, crosier, and ring are symbols of his (her?) office and the sacred duties attaching to it. They are external signs to assist us in fixing our attention on higher things. The accessories indicate his dignity and help us to realise his authority. They help us become more conscious of his duties and more attentive to them, on account of the vestments he wears that we may and obey him and also that he may respect himself and be conscious he is “taken from among men”. They are the uniform of the bishop when he is on duty, while he is exercising the functions of his ministry and using the sacred powers.

    Unless, of course, one doesn’t accept any of the above, that is.

    • That was a rather flippant remark. My view is that we are all priests. At the same time I agree with you that the vestments do have a symbolic purpose, which is sadly lost on most people – including churchgoers – these days.

      • Inspector General

        We shepherd ourselves then, even if unfit to do so. No such thing as human corruption that in turn corrupts others. All this business about lost sheep somewhat nonsense….
        One could go on…

        • Inspector, the universal priesthood is something Catholics accept. We are able to communicate directly with God and offer Him prayers and personal sacrifices as Christ is our High Priest. However, unlike some or most protestants, we also recognise that Christ appointed a sacred Priesthood on whom He bestows, through Apostolic succession, the power to administer valid sacraments and also the responsibility to teach His message authoritatively.

          So the two concepts of a universal priesthood and a Sacerdotal Priesthood are not mutually exclusive. That’s why the vestments of a bishop are important – the mitre, crosier and ring, especially so.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So show me where in the Bible Christ appointed a sacred ‘Priesthood’.

          • Start at the Last Supper, Martin. It’s not all written in scripture, you know. That’s where you go wrong. Do some research about how the early church understood Jesus’ words and how they organised themselves and chose bishops/elders and understood their functions. Those who knew the Apostles personally clearly saw things differently to you.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Actually it is all written in Scripture. And remember, even within the time of the apostles churches were embracing error. Revelation 1:4-3:22 should at least teach us we cannot trust what the early churches did as being Scriptural.

      • Linus

        It’s hard to take a man (or a woman) seriously when he (or she) is flouncing down the aisle dressed in your grandmother’s drawing room curtains.

        • carl jacobs

          I suppose he might take a judge seriously despite all the curtain-like attire. But then it’s not really about attire at all. It’s about contempt that logically preceeds observation of the attire.

          • Linus

            Attire can be ridiculous both in and of itself and also because of the disconnect between the grandeur it tries to convey and the insignificance of the person wearing it.

            Bishops’ vestments are ridiculous because, according to the Church’s own mythos, Christ didn’t drape himself in half a ton of silk brocade and bullion. He contented himself with ordinary clothes. Why then do bishops feel the need to dress up like Christmas trees? Who are they trying to impress?

            It seems to me they’re trying to impress themselves. The point of fancy dress is to mask the banal reality of the person wearing it. And there are few more banal individuals than your average Anglican bishop. Charisma is not high on the list of qualities required by the job description, it seems.

            Dress an ineffectual dork up in my grandmother’s drawing room curtains and send him (or her) flouncing down the aisle of your local cathedral and what do you have? An ineffectual dork in fancy dress or a charismatic leader?

            Clothes maketh not the man, my aged and arch-conservative English grandfather was fond of saying. Except when they’re on the back of a bishop. All it takes to transform a nervous and under(or over)nourished rabbit into a towering figure among men is a few yards of indifferent English brocade complete with tassles and a few stitches of poorly executed embroidery.

            How much more Disney can this religion get?

          • carl jacobs

            Linus

            Every man display a disconnect between his own personal insignificance and the authority of an office he might hold. What you say is true. It is also universally applicable. But would you say these things to a judge who controls you fate? “I must say, your honor, you look ridiculous in that outfit. I suspect you are a banal individual masking your personal inadequacies with drapery.”

            The critical factor is not the disconnect between the man and the office but the opinion you hold of the office. You despise the man for his clothes because you despise what his office represents.

          • Linus

            I despise vestments because they’re ridiculous. Brocade and embroidery that look bad enough when used as a window treatment have no place flouncing up the aisle in church.

            Other Protestant clerical dress doesn’t bother me however. I have as little respect for a pastor’s job as I have for a bishop’s, but anyone can look good in a little black dress, be he pastor or judge or Oxbridge scholar or whatever.

            Bishops may be ridiculous, but they also look ridiculous, which makes it all so much worse.

          • avi barzel

            Ah, a matter of aesthetics then. Fair enough. Perhaps to better “connect” and to be more “relevant” to those critical of pageantry, some bishops should wear baseball caps and pajamas as they shuffle about the altar and high-five all who approach. Just a constructive suggestion…

          • Linus

            In the US, some probably do dress in baseball strip to lead their particular flavor of worship. If that’s how they want to do it, why not? Where does it say in the Bible that God hates baseball? Would that be in the same chapter and verse where his love of English dowagers and their extravagant home furnishings is proclaimed?

            In any case, a balding fat American in baseball strip is no more ridiculous than a balding fat Englishman concealing his corpulence in brocade and silk tassles. Or a stringy underweight Englishman drowning in taffety and organza. Both will try ever so hard to be solemn and majestic. Neither will succeed. And all the attempt will do is to throw a sharper and more distinct light on the disconnect between the Church’s idea of sanctity and the gruesome reality of what a bishop really is: i.e. an ordinary man (or woman) of mediocre talents whose rise to prominence in a meagre field says more about the desperation of the Church than it does about his (or her) personal qualities.

            In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the Church he’s a bishop. No amount of silk and embroidery can hide that fact. Indeed the honesty of a pastor in baseball strip is eminently preferable. When seen through an appropriate cultural lens, at least it speaks of things his congregation are equipped to understand. Teamwork. Striving. Directing your action towards a personal and common goal. Baseball strip might convey this to North Americans of a certain social class, so why would it be inappropriate in that context?

            What do brocade and silk tassles convey to anyone except a narrow stratum of bourgeois snobs heading for extinction in a world where flounces are no longer aspirational? All they do is reinforce the image of a Church fixed in the past and going through the motions of a dead and meaningless ritual.

          • avi barzel

            Linus, you make several assumptions about my position on this issue, but it’s really Anthropology 101. All societies universally and throughout history, from hunter-gatherer bands to complex, stratified ones, employ differences in personal decoration or costume. In all societies select individuals temporarily challenge these accumulated norms and patterns by donning or preferring egalitarian “everyman’s” costume. Typically this signals a power-shift. Both the fancy robe assemblies and the strategically picked beggar garbs (which you appear to find as significant as others find cetemonial robes) are metely strategic social tools, affectations and political gestures. Your preferences are just that; preferences in kind, but in the grander, long-term scheme of things, the egalitarianism in garb you defend is always short-lived. Uniforms, special decorations and symbols always make their way back…just diffetent ones. You’re just waiting for the right kind of tarting-up to resonate with your views and character.

          • Linus’ preference would be to wear his mother’s clothing and make-up. Really. He is fixated on all things feminine. Hence his despising of clerical vestments. These men can dress-up; why can’t he? Also, one suspects he keeps himself skinny in order to retain a certain adolescent ambiguity about his maleness.

            Apart from all the above, he is French.

          • avi barzel

            You could have just said, “he’s French.” That would have been descriptive enough.

          • Lol … Jack thought you knew.
            Welcome back, by the way. Jack always enjoys your contributions here even though we don’t always see eye to eye.

          • avi barzel

            Ah, so the “little black dress” Linus alluded was more than just a hypothetical. Young and skinny, eh? I was 19 and 130 lbs when the young lady I was dating managed to fit me into a size three dress for a Halloween party. Dad had to pick me up because I got blotto and passed out on the host’s parents’ bed and no one could move me without me yelling and threatening them. The young lady had peeled-off earlier, so imagine Dad’s joy to see his only son…his progeny, his genetic link to the future from whose hopefully fruitful loins future generations as numerous as the stars in the Heavens would issue… all passed-out and sprawled like one of the whores of Babylon, face smeared with bright lipstick, elephant-leg nylons, reddish wig askew and clutching his last bottle of beer. Now, if Linus manages to fit into a number one size, I’d be truly impressed. Since getting on the Ortho wagon, I don’t do Halloween or cross-dressing, of course.
            Thanks, and always a pleasure to chat or argue with you, Jack.

          • Uncle Brian

            I bet you’ve kept a Polaroid shapshot of your unforgettable Halloween. Come on, Avi, let’s have a look at it! Don’t be shy!

          • avi barzel

            A whole series of photos, as a matter fact, Uncle Brian, 8 x 10 glossies with a 35 mm Pentax; the lady friend studied theatre arts along with set and costume design and photography at a community college and was proud of her handiwork on me, which she documented in stage after embarrassing stage for her portfolio. It’s not every day that one can find an idiot to allow himsrlf to be used so just to score a date with a green-eyed blonde ( and I got dumped after one awkward dinner outing!). She was a perfectionist; the dress, actually a long evening gown with sleeves, had to be altered with padding here and there, and make-up work took her and a friend over an hour. I never did get prints of the photos, as I was no longer of any use.

          • After the mental imagery generated by that Aviesque account do not be surprised if you acquire ‘interest’ from certain directions.

          • Linus

            Happy Jack is my idea of the perfect Christian. We need more like him. The vicious poison he vomits does more to undermine the credibility of his religion than I could ever do.

          • You’re idea of a perfect Christian is one who sits back and absorbs insults to God and lets you profane his faith and insult its members. But you are correct. Jack should not respond the way he does and he apologies.

          • Cressida de Nova

            No, you should not respond like this.It is completely unacceptable. .Linus is being attacked on a couple of fronts…he does not have any support….Show that compassion you are always banging on about.

          • Linus wilfully invites these attacks, Cressida. Jack will no longer respond with personal insults but will not support his hatred of Christianity or of all things British. When he makes a reasonable comment then Jack will reply.

          • Uncle Brian

            A few years ago it was mirror shades. Still is in some parts of the world.

          • “You’re just waiting for the right kind of tarting-up to resonate with your views and character.”

            Wearing garlic onions, flat berets and stripy shirts, whilst mounted upon a bike and singing La Marseillaise, is already permissible.

          • In time, in time … Need to get used to women first and the burst of new fashions soon to explode on the scene. If only we’d run with that business idea of recycling quality, restored and refashioned vestments.

          • carl jacobs

            Linus

            The issue is not the vestments themselves, but authority they represent. The wigs worn in British courtrooms are likewise ridiculous. The authority of the judge is not. The bishop however does not receive such dispensation from you.

          • Such hatred may go back to your childhood Linus, and be rooted in unresolved jealousy towards your sister. She, unlike you, would have been be able to dress like your mother who you seem to have idolised.

          • avi barzel

            The fancy ceremonial Church vestments…worn by Western and Eastern Catholics and Anglicans… appear to be symbolic representations or imitations of the High Priests’ , the kohen gadol’s, biblically mandated outfit connected and limited to Temple worship…which is not practiced at this time. As an aside, this outfit itself is a decorated version of a Hebrew general’s armoured breastplate and tall helmet. The tassles you noticed are a rather fanciful approximation of the Jewish four-cornered talit, ritual fringes, and the use of purple is either an an imitation of the Imperial Roman royal purple or of the Jewish tehelet blue most likely made from murex shells. Theologically, I think it means that those Churches which have taken on such vestments consider their clergy to be a continuation or equivalent to the Jewish Temple Priesthood.

            In the case of the kohen gadol vestments, each article has to conform to strict material and appearance specs and has an intrinsic value by being holy to Jews. I’m not sure if Christians treat their versions similarly, given the difference of appearance among the various denominations, or if only symbolically.

          • Interesting background information, Avi.

            “Theologically, I think it means that those Churches which have taken on such vestments consider their clergy to be a continuation or equivalent to the Jewish Temple Priesthood.”

            The vestments symbolise leadership and authority, both doctrinal and sacramental, and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches do see this Sacradotal Priesthood as a new Priesthood inaugurated by Jesus.

          • avi barzel

            How do you monitor every post, Jack? Even ones you would receive no notifications of ? Are you a North Korean cyber intelligence operative?

          • Jack is omnipresent and ubiquitous.

          • avi barzel

            Not to mention modest and humble…

          • … or his intensive Jesuit training and operational backup.

          • DanJ0

            Apropos of nothing much, I once went to a Plymouth Brethren church to hear an explanation of the stones on the vestments.

          • avi barzel

            Hi DanJo. Good Heavens, that must’ve hurt; was there absolutely nothing on the telly?

          • ROFL …..

          • DanJ0

            I confess it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it might be. Luckily my skin didn’t bubble and blister as I walked over the church threshold.

          • avi barzel

            Luckily, the skin thing… presumably, the biblical tzaraat… is no longer with us in our days. The treatment is a total drag. Even worse would be trying to explain the time off needed to go on a solitary camping stint outside the city boundaries and then coming up with creative bullshit about why you had to shave all your hair off before coming back!

          • bluedog

            Exactly, Avi. The Christian clergy and their liturgy are not uninfluenced by Zadok the Priest.

          • avi barzel

            Hi bluedog. For anyone here who might confuse him with Handel’s musical piece, Zadok the Priest, Tzadok the High Priest (Kohen Gadol) was a grandson of Aaron, annointed King Solomon was and was the first in line of a dynasty which filled the First and Second Temple Priesthood ranks.

          • Inspector General

            Lord above, it’s Avi !
            Not snowed in again are you….

          • avi barzel

            Bwa-ha! Perish that thought. last year around this time we had the ice storm and our power got cut for 4 days. The cold was managable, but nearly died of the boredom.

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            And where have you been? Painting that landscape? Writing that novel? Waiting for Godot?

          • avi barzel

            Wheeling the pickle barrel overtime; kids are getting expensive. What happenned to the child marriage idea?

          • Hmmm … uniforms certainly didn’t make much difference to the performance of French military.

          • Linus

            More gratuitous xenophobia from the usual suspect, I see. As a Roman Catholic, I wonder how he copes with his own countrymen when they comment on the foreignness and unEnglishness of his faith. It probably explains much of his hatred of the country that the Church itself acknowledges as its “eldest child”.

          • Bit unclear that one, Linus. Want to run it by Jack again?

          • Cressida de Nova

            You have to get over the 100 years war Jack…you need some French cultural experiences to rougir the icy pallor
            in your English cheeks and become more accepting of your French Catholic neighbours 🙂

          • Leacock

            Christ was quite willing to attire himself in the finer things. It was Judas who said that he should not be anointed in what was a ridiculously expensive perfume. But Christ told him off for saying they should give it to the poor.

      • Martin

        Gillan

        The vestments have no purpose, they are merely the outward sign of an ancient heresy of priestcraft.

    • Quite. The priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of all believers. Scripture knows nothing of any intermediate priesthood.

      John Shelby Spong and Katherine Schorri will be delighted. I am indifferent.

      Without wishing to be vulgar or misogynist, I can’t help recalling an old medical joke. A lady in a hospital bed is approached by a junior doctor with a needle and syringe.

      ‘Just a little prick.’ He says.

      ‘Yes’ says the lady ‘..but what are you going to DO?’

      I am less concerned about gender than theology.

  • len

    It seems to me to be somewhat symptomatic of the problem with’ the Church’ in the West that the world is going’ to hell in a hand basket’ and the church(and anyone who has an opinion on the church) is pontificating on’ women Bishops’.
    Many denominations have turned away from the Word of God and are doing their own thing and calling it ‘Christianity ‘ and proclaiming themselves the one ‘ true church ‘ because they believe (in their own eyes at least ) that they have’ the right theology’. Of course no other denomination agrees with them…
    Get out of your Churches and preach the Gospel as Christ and the Apostles did!.

  • Linus

    And so it starts…

    If I were an American I might grab a tub of popcorn and a vat of Coke and a straw and sit back in my three person capacity cinema seat to watch the disaster movie unfold.

    RMS Church of England has just been holed beneath the waterline by a women-and-gay-rightsberg. Bishop Libby has just crashed onto the deck like the first innocuous shards of ice in a movie of another name, and the extras are playing football with her in perfect insouciance of the tragedy to come.

    I could fast forward to the point where Justin is floating on an upturned choir stall desperately clinging on to Katharine Jefferts Schori’s frozen hand as she slips beneath the waves, while the trads huddle together in their leaky lifeboats waiting for SS Vatican to hove into view. But the spectacle of my enemies discomforted is altogether too entertaining to want to skip even a minute of it, so I think I’ll watch until the bitter end.

    Besides, someone has to keep on eye on the berg and push it across the bows of the Italian ship…

    • ” … someone has to keep on eye on the berg and push it across the bows of the Italian ship…”

      With the recent track record of your nation, it suits Rome if it is a Frenchman.

    • Little Black Censored

      Royal Mail Ship? Why?

  • Inspector General

    Talk about indecent haste ! The feminisation of the CoE romps ahead….

    Equality is a silly thing. Take the UK pension age. It used to be 60 for women and 65 for men. Where have been the women in pinafores demanding parity with men over this. The retirement age for women is now on a sliding scale. At the moment it’s around 62 years of age.

    Men aren’t interested in so called equality. They just aren’t. Women on the other hand are pre-programmed to moan. It’s served them well over millennia as they ‘inspire’ the men with whom they choose to have children by (in an arrangement that used to be called marriage, but we don’t know what marriage is anymore, do we ?).

    In the natural world, we had a defence against that inspiring, including such phrases as “Shut up, woman”. But we are so advanced now that we couldn’t possibly object to natures moaners in this way. So they get what they want, unopposed, and now, this minute, of course. A scold’s dream, no less. And this legislation to pack the Lords Spiritual with women is just an early example.

    We really are in new territory, and we can’t forecast what will come of it all by we can damn well make an educated guess as to how it will be with unfettered lady power wielded in this way. We can picture 10 years’ time. Openly gay priests (your new woman has alluded to supporting that, did you notice ?). Gay marriage conducted before an Anglican altar. Humanists being ordained as priestesses. Maybe even prayers before an abortion taking place. In fact, the Inspector would say that humanism will be the future focus of the CoE, not Christianity. That’s because woman are natures compromisers, and there’s so much in the bible and Christian tradition that needs compromising, so they see it.

    That’s it then. The CoE run by women and gays FOR women and gays. Join the Inspector (who is not an Anglican, but sees traditional Anglicanism as a vital presence in England) and watch the story unfold. There will be no twists in the story. We already know the outline of the plot, and little will raise an eyebrow now…

    • Cressida de Nova

      ” Shut up woman” is very mild for a misogynist like your Christian self. Calling a woman ‘ whore ‘ ( which you have done to me on this blog seems more your style) One wonders how many women you have verbally or physically assaulted in your drunken episodes ( or even in the occasional state of sobriety. )

      • bluedog

        The Inspector did once explain the origin of his occasional problems with the fair sex. One recalls that as a teenager he was at a party and became smitten by a young lipstick lesbian. Making an understandable lunge for the object of his desire, The Inspector was vigorously rebuffed and remains emotionally scarred to this day. He deserves our compassion rather than our condemnation for this harmful experience and its consequences.

        • Inspector General

          Yea, a damn victim, probably, whatever, old hound

        • Cressida de Nova

          Nonsense !…that girl was very kind pretending to be a lesbian to spare his feelings. I am sure he had many similar experiences at the Christian Fellowhip happenings. At least his enforced virginity has not driven him to the priesthood which is a good outcome. We have enough problem clergy already !

          • bluedog

            ‘…that girl was very kind pretending to be a lesbian to spare his feelings’. Once again woman deceives man and they are both cast out of the Garden of Eden in their own way. Alas, it was ever thus and man is fallen as a consequence.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I hope this is one of your little jokes bluedog. Once again? Eve did not deceive Adam. She did not say…eat this…it looks like an apple but it’s really an orange. Adam knew what he was doing but men, ashamed of their innate weakness ,have used this biblical story to demonise women,

          • CliveM

            We are all responsible for our own actions, which is why both were punished.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Yes..
            one cannot go skating through life
            top hat and tails
            footloose and fancy free
            without accepting responsibility

          • bluedog

            Oh dear, and there was me thinking you would be proud of being the cause of Original Sin, it always sounds such fun. Anyway that’s enough for now or Carl will appear in Charlton Heston mode.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Ooooo…(criiiinge!)

          • carl jacobs

            Bluedog

            Charlton Heston mode?

          • bluedog

            No offence meant, Carl, honestly.

          • carl jacobs

            None taken, Bluedog. I just had no idea what you meant.

          • Lol ….

            “O Irony, Irony! Wherefore art thou Irony?”

          • Lol …. Moses down from Mount Sinai to check on the children.

          • bluedog

            Got it!

          • Bit slow some of these Yanks, Bluedog.

          • carl jacobs

            Well, yeah, but… what has that to do with me?

            There’s no point to arguing about the Creation here. I long ago concluded that this blog community was heterodox regarding Genesis. (Some kind of European thing, I figure.) I’m used to it by now. Anyways, I generally avoid Ms DeVille like the plague. There was almost no chance I would insert myself into a conversation in which she was involved.

            So why would I show up like Moses descending from Mt Sinai?

          • Er … because …. er …. you’ll need to ask Bluedog. Happy Jack wasn’t necessarily agreeing.

            “O Irony, Irony! Wherefore art thou Irony?”

          • avi barzel

            Actually, it wasn’t an apple but an etrog, a citrus…a kind of a lemon with a thick, bitter rind and very sour innards. Imagine the convincing it took for Master Adam to eat the thing. Not-so-PC commentators have alluded to the possibility that Missus Eve merely had to wiggle her tail a bit and the big goofus grinned, drooled and enthusiastically munched the thing down, presumably whilst squinting and with puckered lips. Not a very flattering view of male intelligence or judgment, so you may well imagine why blaming the woman gained better traction.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Exactly

          • CliveM

            Just as a thought. As they hadn’t been allowed to ‘eat of the fruit’ how would Adam know it was bitter?

          • avi barzel

            Good point. Textually, the prohibition was on eating the fruit from a specific tree, though. Presumably Adam had tasted etrog/citron before from other citron trees. Moreover, Eve seemed to like etrogs, as she judged that it was desirable and “good to eat” before plucking a fruit from the forbidden tree and eating it. The story about the etrog/citron is agadah, akin to a parable, where the aim is a transmission of moral, rather than literal information; the written Torah does not identify the fruit, so there are several agadic contenders for the type of fruit, including the fig, the grape and the pomegranate. The apple, though has no support either in Jewish or Christian commentary and seems to be a presumption that emerged from European artistic depictions from after the 1500s.

          • CliveM

            Hi Avi

            Thank you for that. This reminds me of something. Years ago I was given a book on Genesis myths. Basically they were ‘other’ Adam and his various ‘eves’ stories which didn’t get into the Bible. Do these myth stories have any status at all with Judaism?

          • avi barzel

            Hard to tell from your info. The doctrine of course is that the Bible, the Five Books of Moses, is a straight transmission from God, so there is no selection, editing or “making it into” the “core text”. Without knowing the book or the source of the stories I couldn’t comment much on the soundness, but there was a surge of literature which marketed itself as revealing “lost” or “secret” tales in Christian or Jewish literature. They were neither; they were simply rhetorical, poetic or instructional agada or parable of various value and assumed credibility and were never meant to be canonical.

          • CliveM

            It was 25 years ago I read it . From what you say it looks like they were simply the “rhetorical, poetic or instructional agada or parable of various value and assumed credibility etc” as you described. The book I was given was authored by Robert Graves.

            Thanks anyway!

          • avi barzel

            Ha! I might have the same book kicking around somewhere. It may be part of a series by Graves…he wrote on Greek myths as well…and the one you mean may have been co-written with an Israeli archeologist. We are dating ourselves here with our revelation of yellowing collections.

          • CliveM

            I was very young!!

            But yes you are right it was one of a series.

          • Uncle Brian

            Could this be the one? The Nazarene Gospel Restored. I’ve never read it and at this price — minimum $100 second-hand — I don’t suppose I ever will. But it might be interesting to have a look at.

            http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=joshua+podro&sts=t&tn=restored

          • CliveM

            Hi Uncle Brian

            No this isn’t the one. I will try and find the title and pass it on. This was all about Genesis ‘myths’.

          • Uncle Brian

            Clive, please take a look at the reply I’ve just posted to Avi. Could this be the book?

          • CliveM

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Hebrew-Myths-Book-Genesis/dp/185754661X

            Hi Uncle Brian, see link to book I believe Avi was referring to and I certainly was referring to.

            Much cheaper!

          • CliveM

            Another thought, perhaps incorrectly, I thought the tree of knowledge was unique, in that it was one of a kind and bore its own type of fruit?

            Or again is that a 16th century misrepresention?

          • avi barzel

            Another agada as well…that the tree and its unique fruit disappeared along with the Garden.

          • len

            Eve was deceived but Adam was not but such was Adams love for Eve that he joined her in whatever fate awaited the pair of them…I wonder what would have happened if they had acknowledged their transgression?.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You make this sound like a love story. Voila ..I think we have discovered the soft sweet side of Len…good for you Len.

          • Quite possibly, Cressida. It was Adam’s sin and one wonders what would have happened to Eve if he had refused her. Both had to rebel. However, some women are now going too far in exacting revenge and trying to pull down the pillars of the Temple on us all. Men, women and children.

          • Cressida de Nova

            If you are referring to women Bishops I really don’t understand your concern. It is a C of E matter. They are Christian entrepreneurs. They even have ssm male bishops and a religion tailor made for modern tastes. It is their way. It’s not real anyway. Why do you care?

          • Jack was referring more generally to the feminist movement in all churches. This sees Christianity as misogynistic, homophobic and power-driven because it is patriarchal and based on a bible that excludes women and homosexuals. It is more widespread than you might think in Catholicism too.

          • Old Nick

            Au contraire, the story makes it very clear that women are not without sin – as so many of them seem to think that they are.

      • Inspector General

        Begone, bitter woman…

      • Leacock

        If the shoe fits….

  • Inspector General

    Beginning to realise what James II must have had going through his mind. It really is all over, and it cannot be the same again, for the support to achieve that happy place is not there to be had. It has been shouted down, silenced. The inglorious revolution the CoE has put itself through has succeeded. Man’s peculiar sense of justice in matters temporal has triumphed over the word.

    Anyway. The Inspector has great concern as to what happens next in the CoE. Will there be individual congregations centred on churches in localities holding out ?

    One is sure that much of the Anglican faithful is made of sterner stuff, and just refuse. Refuse to acknowledge the new Humanist-Anglican approach which will be the inevitable dogma. Well, it already is, with selection gender based, and no doubt to be orientation based as well in due time. And who knows what the future may hold. Perhaps the ladies might want to bring in the ‘better bits’ of Islam, Buddhism or animal liberation rights, come to that. Can we expect a drawn out civil war, and unilateral declarations of independence from the ‘oppressor’ that is the new model Anglicanism ?

    Oddly enough, the Inspector has the idea that Christ himself would be in favour of that independence struggle happening. When you no longer have a (reliable) hierarchy to keep you safe, so to speak, you have to continually justify your independent stance by continually asserting your reason for existing. To wit, to spread Christ’s word and to worship God. (Yes, it is a rather strange statement to come from a Roman Catholic who values hierarchical structure, but it is reason itself that has led one to this conclusion. It is the only recourse left when the hierarchy has gone bad.)

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    In 10 years time there will be every sort of unfit person as bishop. The state has made that clear. What there won’t be is anyone who believes in the church of England as anything but a system of jobs.

    As I recall, Jesus wasn’t appreciate of religious timeservers.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Indeed…one thinks of J. Peasmould Gruntfuttock…

      • “Go Forth, Gruntfuttock”

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          It’s the Voices…they tell ‘im…

    • Dominic Stockford

      There already is every sort of unfit person – unsaved sinners.

      • Demon Teddy Bear

        You think, on those grounds, that paedophiles are fit people to be made bishops?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Where did I say that I think unsaved sinners should be? I said they are, which is different.

          Having clarified that, it is a sad historical fact that at least one ( possibly two) CofE and one RC bishop have been found guilty of such a crime/sin as you enter into the conversation.

          However, from a Biblical point of view it doesn’t say that someone truly repentant, who comes to faith in Christ after committing the most heinous crimes before their salvation, should not be overseers. Paul was, for instance, a murderer, but God found him a suitable candidate, after salvation, to be one of the most significant of all overseers. Tricky one in practice though. And not a safe direction for Christians to consider taking without extreme caution.

  • Arden Forester

    She sounds like she’s a very nice person and I do not doubt her belief for one moment. But I sense we are not going to get doctrinal clarity as this is not what is expected by the wider world for which this appointment is supposed to appeal.

    The Spectator article says – “She’s keen to work with any churches under her authority as Bishop of Stockport who disagree with women in authority in the Church, and will ‘ensure that they have the support and the oversight that they are entitled to, so that they can flourish and I will continue to serve them as their bishop, praying and resourcing them as much as I am able’.”

    These remarks appear partly counter the Code of Practice. Those parishes that do not believe female ordination is part of the Faith will be looking to the Bishop of Beverley for sacramental assurance. It is pleasing she wishes them to flourish but sadly they cannot recognise her as “their bishop” as this is contrary to Catholic faith and sacramental understanding.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      What are “sacramental assurance” and “sacramental understanding”, when they’re at home? Are they anything to do with “running validly ordained sacraments”?

      • Arden Forester

        Sadly there is impaired communion between Christians within the same ecclesial body. This means that agreement on understanding the valid nature of a sacrament is not present. In order for sacraments to be received in good conscience there has to be assurance that the sacrament is truly valid.

        Impaired communion implies that there is an element of mutual communion whilst not wholly so. All Christians adhering to the Trinitarian understanding of the nature of God accept Baptism as a common rite. This is because, in extremis, a layperson (already baptised) can baptise another person.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Indeed…recognising Anglicanism as a legitimate Christian religion is contrary to the Catholic faith anyway, so it really does not matter to us who they are appointing as Bishops.

      • Arden Forester

        That is true. Rome, however, has a nuanced approach to communion since Vatican II. Part of the creation of the Ordinariates was that certain elements of Anglicanism had a patrimony that could find a home within Rome’s fold but keep a distinct separation. Oriental churches are in full communion with the Papal See but are distinct. Also, it comes with Papal blessing that Anglicans who believe in the fullness of the Mass are able to receive communion in countries such as France where virtually no Anglican churches exist. However, this accommodation is not afforded to Anglicans whilst in England. Such nuancing does not alter the Apostolicae Curae of Leo XII although doubts exist on both sides and the present day standing of Old Catholics is certainly not what it was in 1896. Nuancing may be criticised but it’s a lot better than niggling.

        • Martin

          Arden

          The church of Rome is merely the remnants of what was once a Christian church, no more Christian and without it’s lampstand. And that is the direction the CoE is heading in.

      • dannybhoy

        Legitimate Christianity is recognising the basics of the faith, as contained in the Creed..

        WE BELIEVE in one God,
        the Father, the Almighty,
        maker of heaven and earth,
        of all that is, seen and unseen.

        We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
        the only Son of God,
        eternally begotten of the Father,
        God from God, Light from Light,
        true God from true God,
        begotten, not made,
        of one Being with the Father.

        Through him all things were made.
        For us and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven:
        by the power of the Holy Spirit
        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
        and was made man.

        For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
        he suffered death and was buried.
        On the third day he rose again
        in accordance with the Scriptures;
        he ascended into heaven
        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
        He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
        and his kingdom will have no end.

        We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
        who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
        With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
        He has spoken through the Prophets.
        We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
        We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
        We look for the resurrection of the dead,
        and the life of the world to come.

        Amen.

        Anything else is embellishment, inconsequential trimmings and froth; designed deliberately or otherwise to take our attention away from Our Lord and on to man’s creation.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Anything? That’s a little extreme. The Creed is a summation of the basics of the faith, but not all of it. The fact, for instance, that he was seen after the resurrection is clearly recorded in the Bible and thus must also be believed. And so on, in fact.

          Whereas, all you need to believe to be saved is as Paul said “Jesus died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, rose again in accordance with the Scriptures, and was seen…”

          • dannybhoy

            Dominic
            You’re being pedantic. The main point I was trying to highlight is indeed that saving faith is quite simple. It is our added rituals and traditional embellishments that make it complicated.
            Personally I want people to come to faith in Christ Jesus our Lord, not a denomination. Denominations have their place in terms of catering for personality types (those who like ritual, mystery or formality or wearing emroidered costumes) and that’s okay. But it’s the basics of the faith that lead us to salvation.

            Albert,
            In a sudden burst of ecumenicalism I did consider including all variations.
            But then reality set in, and I remembered that Christians can be very hard to please….. 😉

          • IanCad

            Danny,

            “–saving faith is quite simple. It is our added rituals and traditional embellishments that make it complicated.”

            So very well put.

          • Albert

            In an outburst of ecumenicalism I did consider including all variations….Anything else is embellishment, inconsequential trimmings and froth

            But that of course is the point. The Creed as you have put it includes what a whole swathe of Christendom thinks of as embellishment, inconsequential (or rather extremely consequential) trimmings and froth.

          • dannybhoy

            Albert,
            Happy Christmas to you and yours.
            That is the creed we use in the CofE we presently attend. Even as a non conformist I find nothing within to cause me spiritual palpitations.
            My main point is that true Christians unite not around points of doctrine (even though correct basic doctrine is important), but around our worship and commitment to the person of Christ Jesus and His saving grace.

          • Albert

            Happy Christmas to you too, Dannybhoy. Those who object to the form of the Creed you have cited are to be found in the Christian East, who object that the Pope added to what the Council had actually given. My point being that it is harder to use a kind of credal razor than it appears!

        • Albert

          How do you now that this all one needs? And if it comes to that, why didn’t you quote the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in its original form?

        • And yet we could all spend an eternity discussing what this creed means.

          As an example: “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.” What does this mean in relation to Christ’s atoning death? And from our understanding of His sacrifice so many other beliefs flow.

          Then there’s this: “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Lower case or higher case? And what do the terms One, Holy, Apostolic, and Church means what exactly?

          • dannybhoy

            You illustrate my point perfectly Jack!

            Yes we could spend the rest of our earthly lives sitting comfortably on our backsides analysing it all, but I personally don’t think that is what the Lord had in mind for His Church in this fallen world, do you?
            I thought it was more along the lines of being salt and light and practical love and sharing the Gospel…
            There’s the old saying that people don’t care how much we Christians know until they see how much we care.

          • Yes but once we’ve converted and have received milk we then want meat.

          • dannybhoy

            In Saint John’s gospel chapter 15:1,2
            Our Lord said,

            “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more theology.”

            I’ve always liked those verses……

          • Johnnyrvf

            From my understanding in the Orthodox tradition the mention of Pilate is to ground the creed in reality, Christ really was crucified, this is historical fact and adds legitimacy to the message.

        • Martin

          Danny

          However the creeds are merely the constructions of men, legitimacy is based on the Bible, not any work of Man

          • dannybhoy

            This is also true Martin, but as I think I have mentioned before human beings build structures to meet a need or express a concept.
            So the Catholic church, the Anglicans, the Baptists and the Methodists etc. all sum up their theological positions in some form of creed -a crib sheet if you will.
            If we start from the assumptions made by any denomination then their creed is perfectly logical, and will usually attract folk who feel comfortable in the practices and rituals of that denomination.
            I don’t see anything intrinsically wrong with that. We all accept that the lodestone of our faith is found in the Holy Scriptures, even if our statement of faith is condensed into some kind of creed.
            However to my mind our unity and inspiration and motivation is not to be found in theology, but in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour of the world. It is the gracious Holy Spirit that leads us to this place of heavenly fellowship and love.

            John 1:40,42
            “One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus[h] was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus….”

            This is what we Christians should do, bring others and each other to Jesus. We should respect the work of grace begun in each who owns the Name of Jesus, rejoice in their gifts and respect their weaknesses and help bear each other’s burden.
            Theology of course has its place, but at best is a sign post to the source of the Living Water, and at worst a source of division.

            ” As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgement on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgement on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
            Romans 14:1-4

          • Martin

            Danny

            So fundamentally, the authority in common is the Bible, not a creed or statement of faith.

          • dannybhoy

            A little more complex than that. Let me explain my background.
            I am an evangelical Christian influenced by the Open Brethren’s Gospel Halls with their emphasis on Bible reading and study and “living the faith.”
            Later on by the earlier house church movement (before they became more formalised) and some six years with an American evangelical organisation, wherein the emphasis was again on aspects of Christian discipleship through exposure to guest teachers from active Christian expressions of faith and evangelism in a community lifestyle setting.
            Even time spent on kibbutzim helped shape my thinking as to what really matters in the Christian life.
            So the Bible as the sourcebook to our faith.
            The Gospels as to the condition of man before God, salvation as repentance and being born again, abiding in Christ, and the process of sanctification.
            The letters of Paul, John, James and Peter as to how they understood and practiced their faith.
            True Christians unite around a trust, commitment and yieldedness to the Lord Jesus Christ, and an individual awareness that they are reliant and responsible to Him as the Author and Finisher of their faith.
            It is the relationship and the development of that relationship, rather than the analysis of the faith that brings us life.

          • Martin

            Danny

            So in what way are you saying that the Bible is not the authority in common?

            Remember, I hold to the London Baptist Confession which, for this reason, specifically includes Scriptural references.

          • dannybhoy

            Only in that I accept that within Anglican and Catholic circles there are true Christians, even if they hold to church traditions and teachings which whilst they may not be Biblically based, do not obscure the individual’s grasp of the essentials of our faith.
            I accept for example that various doctrines can be constructed from certain verses or passages of Scripture -which is why I said the Bible is the sourcebook of our faith; but I see no profit in arguing over side issues.
            As long as the person owns our Lord as Lord and Saviour, and we can pray together and encourage each other, that’s enough for me. To argue over points of doctrine that are not essential to a living faith can cause (spiritual) death I fear, and I don’t want to be responsible for causing a brother or sister to stumble.

          • Martin

            Danny

            There’s certainly no reason why God cannot save those within an organisation that has ceased to be a Christian church. Whether they can remain in the company of unbelievers for any length of time is another matter.

          • dannybhoy

            Exactly Martin,
            and this is what I believe. Churchwise we remain where our Lord has revealed Himself to us, or led or planted us, and we trust that if or when necessary He will lead us to another source of living water.
            My belief is that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, and just as we as humans flourish then wither, so it is with churches and ministers. I think it’s inescapable.
            So our loyalty should not be foremost to a denomination, but to the presence of Christ in our place of worship.
            We stand up for the truth, oppose false doctrines and teachings, and remain obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

          • Old Nick

            The Creeds are the construction of the Church. Jesus founded the Church. He did not write the Bible.

          • Martin

            Nick

            Jesus is God, God is the author of the Bible.

          • Old Nick

            And what did God use for ink ?

          • ‘All Scripture is God-breathed…….’ (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).
            ‘For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Peter 1:21).

          • Old Nick

            Precisely,the Church wrote the New Testament.

          • Precisely not.
            God gave the word to the Apostles and prophets; they wrote it down and then God gave it to the Church.

          • Martin

            Nick

            You can quit your ignorant sneering, God used men as a man uses a pen.

          • Old Nick

            Matthew 5, 22

          • Martin

            Nick

            So are you claiming it wasn’t sneering and that you aren’t ignorant?

          • Old Nick

            My concern is that treating Scripture as God’s ‘automatic writing’ (as Muslims do the Qur’an) detracts substantially from its usefulness as a means to grasping and ever holding fast the blessed hope of everlasting life. And that is presumably what its authors meant it to be.

          • Martin

            Nick

            So who treats Scripture as ‘God’s automatic writing’?

            The stories of ‘superhuman martyrs’ are, you will find, related to the later apostasy of Rome and similar churches.

            So what is your point?

  • Phil R

    We have had various claims like this in the past

    in 10 years time………

    poverty no more

    with eugenics disability no more

    hunger no more

    you can probably think of lots more

    to me

    Canterbury leading the Anglican Communion no more seems the most likely in 10 years

    my guess iwill be more like 5

    • Rasher Bacon

      Phil – then The Proclaimers take up your refrain..

      Lochaber no more
      Sutherland no more
      Lewis no more
      Skye no more

      When you go will ye send back … etc (A letter from America)

  • Stupid christians created a physical church, put everthing into it, and now it has been stolen.

    Now like a ham sandwich in a bucket of shit – even if it was retrieved you wouldn’t want it.

    My distain for the CofE gets another shot of red bull.

    What a blessing that those it has misled can simply choose to change path when the time is right.

    • Inspector General

      Yes, stolen. One likes that. A theft has taken place…

  • Rasher Bacon

    Yeah – we can look forward to that like Sweden. Let’s expand to include Mormons and all manner of fowls of the heavens – it’ll be lovely. The size of those Pilates classes in the church hall will go through the roof and it’ll almost look like growth. 10 years Gillan? That’ll be 2024. I give it less than 5 – I think you underestimate the pace of change and the way it works on itself.

  • saintmark

    I generally find that anyone who say ‘I describe myself as a Christian’ probably isn’t, any more than those people who say ‘I consider myself to be married’

  • Leacock

    Either this nonsense of women bishops shall be done away with, or in ten years time there won’t be much of a Church of England left to bother with. Look at the Episcopalians in the US, how many souls are they winning to Christ? Not many really, conversely the Anglicans of Africa, who take their faith seriously and won’t countenance this egotistical nonsense continue to flourish. God shall go where He is wanted.

    • bluedog

      Quite right. Communicant DanJO recently posted very amusingly after using some kind of random jargon generator. One really wonders how Bishop Libby could relate to Muslim youth (male) who are having second thoughts or even non-Muslim, white British yoof. To use management jargon, which seems to fashionable in the CofE under Welby, if saving souls is a key performance indicator (KPI) how well would Bishop Libby perform in these critical areas? The CofE never had much market share with the white working class, who were variously Methodist, Baptist, Catholic and Communist, the latter two being closely inter-related. Now that the Methodists and Baptists are fading away, can Bishop Libby and her ilk fill the gap?

      • ” …. Catholic and Communist, the latter two being closely inter-related.”

        Comrade Bluedog, this is a gross misrepresentation of Catholic social doctrine. We believe in the right to private property, small businesses, and ethical capitalism.

        • bluedog

          ‘ethical capitalism’ Sounds interesting. Got a prospectus? Would I get a better return than sharia-compliant finance?

        • Albert

          Quite so. We haven’t had any evidence from Bluedog as to why he thinks this. In the meantime, I would point out that the Catholic Church even opposed the setting up of the welfare state, because it feared it would undermine individual generosity and responsibility.