primates meeting prayer criticism
Meditation and Reflection

Las Vegas shooting: Anglican Primates complain about having to pray together

As news of the appalling Las Vegas shooting reached the cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral, where gathered the eminent Primates of the Worldwide Anglican Communion (well, most of them) to continue their interminable and all-consuming deliberations about matters gay and matrimonial, it was thought appropriate to invite the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church to commence Evensong with a prayer for the victims of the atrocity. Bishop Michael Curry is, after all, a US citizen: this was his country, sheep of his flock, his shared grief. This is what he prayed:

He wept with those who weep. His heart bled for the 50+ murdered and the 500+ wounded, some now fighting for their lives, facing life-changing injuries. He prayed to the Lord for mercy, comfort and healing; that the Lord might bind up open wounds and draw near to the suffering and hurting, “hearts so sorrowful that words cannot convey”. He yearned that humanity might find a better way to love; that we might all be made instruments of peace.

This prayer greatly displeased the Canon for Communications and Media Relations of the American Church in North America, who seems also to speak for the Global Anglican Future Conference. The Anglican News Service explains:

This afternoon (Tuesday), the Revd Canon Andrew Gross, Canon for Communications and Media Relations for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), speaking on behalf of Gafcon, said that the decision to invite Michael Curry to lead the congregation in prayer at the Evensong service “put the Gafcon primates in a difficult spot.” Speaking at a press conference in a hotel near Canterbury Cathedral, he said that they were “forced to look like they are walking together when they are not walking together.”

It is curious, is it not, that Anglican bishops may pray publicly with popes, and popes may pray publicly with Muslim leaders, but, according to Canon Gross, ACNA/GACFON bishops cannot pray publicly with their fellow Anglican bishops, even a time of great grief, national heartbreak and mourning, for fear of giving the erroneous impression that they are “walking together”.

What a marvellous model of mission he must have. What a vision of visible unity he must possess. What an inspirational witness to the world his purity must be. ‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

And pray not with the unclean thing, either, for then He will not receive you, sullied as you shall be by association with matters gay and matrimonial.

Prayer is not a public symbol of theological unity: it is an expression of corporate humility and common humanity before the Creator God. We pray not because we believe the same or act the same, but because we determine together, with all our sin, imperfection and blindness, to approach the Throne of Grace humbly to seek His wisdom, guidance, enlightenment and inspiration for the good of mankind, for the salvation of the world.

Unless, according to Canon Gross, you’re a GAFCON bishop, in which case it appears they may not pray with you unless you believe exactly as they do.

UPDATE 6th October 2017:

This article slanders the GAFCON Primates and misrepresents the Rev’d Canon Andrew Gross, who, it appears, was set up and purposely smeared. It was thought that the Anglican Communion News Service was a reliable and trustworthy source, but apparently not. A full apology to Canon Gross (and some further background) has been posted: Anglican Communion News Service smears GAFCON and manipulates Archbishop of Canterbury. This article will remain here as testimony to the extent of the ACNS media manipulation and distortion.

  • Mmmm. My sympathies lie a little more with GAFCON. Prayer is an act of fellowship. I’m not saying Christians should never pray publicly with those who do not believe the gospel but it is not, in my view, without concerns.

    • “Prayer is an act of fellowship.”

      Could you unpack that assertion a bit?

      • Acts 2 41,42 is a kind of spiritual order… they continued in the apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers.

        The fellowship of believers is a fellowship of spiritual commonalities. Prayer is an example of these. There are many cases where I may pray and preach among unbelievers. When however my joining in prayer is understood as an act of fellowship in the gospel, a tacit approval of the spirituality of those with whom we pray, I think praying together sends wrong signals. What fellowship has light with darkness. I cannot imply that I have commonality with unbelievers and I view liberals as unbelievers. Praying for unbelievers is one thing, praying with them as if they were believers is another. It is in danger of being syncretic.

        • And when those praying together are not “breaking bread” i.e. participating in rites of formal, sacred worship? You see no distinction between prayer and worship? Christians couldn’t say the Our Father together?

          • Len

            Christians need to worship in spirit and in truth.How can that be possibly with opposing groups?. Christians need to pray in the same manner.

          • Never attended a service for the commemoration of the dead in November, Len? Best advise the Queen not to officiate in case there are Methodists, Baptists, Orthodox or Catholics in attendance.

          • Attending is distinct from participating. Although the Queen is present there is no suggestion that she is approving all participation, far less that she believes all are one in Christ. Indeed, here those who participate are not even claiming unity with each other. Here civic pluralism is acknowledged. Where Anglican primates meet together and pray they are expressing an essential oneness.

            The issue is the implicit basis of the prayers. If in a civic prayer context the underlying accepted narrative is that all who participate are in essential unity and believe that all are believers/or ways to God then Christians should not participate.

          • Best not say any prayers together at such services then. Are State funeral services also wrong? Royal weddings?

          • Len

            Stop digging Jack?

          • You’ve not followed my argument. What is important is the underlying assumptions others have. If my participation implies my spiritual approval and unity with others who participate then I ought not participate. Many State occasions do not carry such assumptions. That being said A State established Church is already a serious compromise of the church.

          • So, back on topic. In ABC’S word’s, if those praying together as Anglicans were not expressing “a public symbol of theological unity” but “express(ing) … corporate humility and common humanity before the Creator God”, the issue is what?

          • Worship is an aspect of prayer. The Lord’s Prayer makes this clear. Christians can say ‘Our Father’ together. My point is Christians and non-Christians cannot. The issue is what creedance we are prepared to give to the confessed Christian faith of those who deny the gospel.

          • So who weren’t the Christians here amongst the Primates of the Worldwide Anglican Communion?

          • All who deny the orthodox gospel forfeit the right to be treated as Christians. Those who are advocating SSM fit this bill.

          • Okay, that’s clearer. Anyone who doesn’t agree with your particular reading of scripture isn’t really a Christian and so you cannot pray with him.

            Just how far do you take this? There are numerous differences between protestants about ecclesiastic, hermeneutic and soteriological matters. Imagine if the early Church adopted this stance when they struggled to formulate the Christian creeds.

          • Ray Sunshine

            Wasn’t the early Church riven by all kinds of doctrinal differences? What about Arius and Athanasius at the Council of Nicaea? Constantine did his best to get them to agree on a common creed, but to no avail.

          • After much division, Arius’ ideas were eventually condemned as heretical and rejected by the Church. Not all Arians were excommunicated – just those who stubbornly clung to his false doctrines – and eventually the false beliefs died out. Did those with opposing views still pray together during this time? Did this imply agreement?

          • Where an issue is not decided there may be room for praying together. Once it is decided and the outcome is considered fundamental there can be no fellowship in prayer. I would be very surprised if Athanasius was happy to pray with Arius when lines were clearly drawn.

          • Coniston

            ‘the false beliefs died out’. Did they? They seem to be prevalent in many churches today, under a different name of course. I doubt whether ancient heresies ever die out: they keep re-appearing under new names.

          • Well, hopefully not in the Catholic Church – the Inspector and his “Higher Understanding” accepted. Heresy is an ever shifting beast and is constantly with us.

          • I assume HJ that you do not consider all who call themselves Christian are Christians. Are Mormons Christians? Are JW’s? Are Unitarians? Are those who deny physical resurrection? Are those who deny the Deity of Christ?

            Of course there are areas of difference that are secondary. True Christians can differ on these. But there are issues that are fundamental, the denial of which is to deny the heart of the gospel. Paul did not see the Judaising Christians as Christians. They believed, ‘another gospel’ and were ‘enemies of the cross of Christ’.

            It is not narrow minded (as you imply) to view some professing Christians as enemies of the gospel; it is apostolic. We are called to have fellowship with those who call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart and to distance ourselves from those who deny the gospel. This is not sectarian or schismatic but simply Christian faithfulness.

            Yes, there is room for discussion as to what is fundamental and cannot be compromised. However, the NT gives us fairly clear guidance on this.

          • Would you pray with a Roman Catholic?

  • Mike

    Well said.

  • IanCad

    Good Lord Come Soon!!! As a conservative Christian disgusted with gender-benders, feminists, SJW’s, Holy-Rollers and Charismatics, most Muslims and Ecumenists, I would have no reservations in bowing the knee with any of them in an act of communal prayer.
    I think I have it all right. Others will hold otherwise. Until that great day when all is revealed I will account it a privilege to bow down with my brothers man as we seek for light in this dark world.
    GafCon has a major problem.

    • Anton

      Quite clearly this is a problematic statement. But whether GAFCON’s problem is one loose canon or runs deeper, it is not as bad a problem as TEC has, namely apostasy.

  • Ray Sunshine

    The ACNS website has now added this at the foot of its earlier report, linked to in Cranmer’s post:

    This article was amended on 4 October, to make clear that Canon Gross was not thought to be speaking on behalf of any Anglican primates and that his church, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is not part of the Anglican Communion or involved in the Primates’ Meeting.

    Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda and two others said they were going to boycott this week’s Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury, but a dozen or so other GAFCON bishops are apparently there. Is ACNA part of GAFCON? The last I heard, the answer seemed to be neither yes nor no but somewhere in between. But it doesn’t seem likely that Andrew Gross was simply making it all up. He must have been briefed by at least one primate who actually said he would rather not have been placed in the position of having to pray in public jointly with other Anglican primates he disagrees with. The question is, who was Gross’s source?

  • Len

    ‘One of your children took their lives?’
    I would dispute that!.
    It was a satanically induced act of murder.

    ‘ Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.’ (John 8:44)

    • We are all God’s children, Len. He loves us so much that He created us and allows us to choose Heaven or Hell. God loves us too much to force any of us to go to Heaven. Some maintain, He even loves those in Hell. If there were no eternal Hell, He would be saying to us, you really only DO have only one choice – Love me, choose me, or die and cease to exist.

      • Martin


        No we are not all God’s children. Only those who are saved are God’s children, by adoption.

  • David

    I don’t see how believing Christians can regard non-believers, or the effectively non- believing, as brothers and sisters. For unless we recognise that God is “our Father in Heaven”, how can we be brothers and sisters with them ? To say that we are all brothers and sisters simply by being human, is a whitewash, a kind of “nice” papering over the cracks – or chasm more likely, of the sort that many with a weak faith, or none, are attracted to. To borrow and adjust Bonhoeffer’s point about “cheap grace” I’d say that such a fashionable inclusiveness is “false fellowship”.

    • dannybhoy

      And they will know you are Christians by your respect for one another? by your divisions? by your robes and mitres? by your common humanity??
      I don’t think so.
      Either we recognise our sinfulness and receive His salvation or we remain unrepentant rebellious sinners.

  • Happy Jack: Our Father ……
    Andrew Gross: Hang on … the long or short version? What do mean by “Father” and is He “Ours”?

    Happy Jack: Who art in Heaven ….
    Andrew Gross: Define “Heaven”… and leave out the Who art bit, if you please …

    Happy Jack: Hallowed be Thy Name ….
    Andrew Gross: “Name”? Okay, we’ll let that one go – for now

    Happy Jack: Thy Kingdom Come ….
    Andrew Gross: Define God’s “Kingdom”

    Happy Jack: Thy Will be Done in Heaven and on Earth ….
    Andrew Gross: That’s it. No more. Are you Calvinist, Arminian, Catholic, Anglo-Catholic, or what?

    Happy Jack: Give us this day our daily bread
    Andrew Gross: Meaning what? Bodily nourishment? Spiritual food? His Body and Blood?
    Happy Jack: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us ….
    Andrew Gross: Now you’re just being awkward and trying to cause trouble

    [Gross gets up and storms off]

    Happy Jack: And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    [Gross returns and hits Jack over the head with a bible]

    • Despite the caricature a number of these are legitimate questions indeed necessary questions in the modern world. It surprises me HJ that you resist these.

      • The only Christian unity is unity in Truth. Jack agrees with you. And Jack knows the source of this unity and where the answers to whatever questions one might are to be found.

        • Martin


          The source of this unity is the Bible, every statement of faith must be tested against what God has said.

          • As evidenced n the Catholic Catechism.

          • Martin


            The claims of the Roman, not Catholic, catechism must be evidenced in the Bible else it is invalid.

          • The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides biblical support for each of its doctrines and dogma. Have you ever read it? You should.

          • Martin


            So where does the Bible say the pope can be infallible? And there is nowhere where the Bible says that Peter is the leader of the Church.

          • All down to hermeneutics, Martin.
            You know the passages. Where does scripture say man is saved by faith alone or supports the doctrine of scripture alone?

          • Martin


            The claimed infallibility of the pope is based on pride, not Scripture. As with pope Victor, who tried to to excommunicate those who held to a different way of celebrating Easter. If the popes and Peter were capable of settling the question by making infallible pronouncements why did the early Church not avail itself of that facility? John Newman argued against the idea before it was made dogma, curiously he shut up afterwards.

          • But this is early Christianity and demonstrates the authority of the papacy has been at the heart of the Catholic Church from the very start as shown by both Pope Clement and Pope Victor. It was a clash of obedience and authority. The ultimate outcome of the conflict over the date of Easter was the acceptance of Petrine jurisdiction. Asia Minor switched from Passover Easter (a tradition seeming established by the Apostle John!) to Easter Sunday, at the demand of the pope.

            Blessed John Newman, a great Catholic convert from Anglicanism, who you would do well to study, counselled against making explicit the doctrine of Papal infallibility as a matter of prudence because it was unnecessary to make explicit what was already well understood.

          • Martin


            How does 1 Clement demonstrate the authority of the papacy, the writer is not named and the letter is clearly from the church as a whole, not an officer. Nor is there any evidence that Clement was a monarchical bishop, even assuming he was a bishop. Indeed, there’s no evidence that the church in Rome had such a bishop at the time.

            1 Clement does not base its argument on the authority of Rome. Rather it bases its arguments on Scripture.

            That Victor was rebuked later for his attitude and behaviour over the Quartodeciman controversy by
            Irenaeus, so the bishop of Rome was not even then considered an authority.

            What nonsense you do talk “it was unnecessary to make explicit what was already well understood” is meaningless.

  • Anton

    May I raise a different point related to the Las Vegas shooting? From one of our newspapers:

    police released terrifying bodycam footage that shows Las Vegas cops racing towards Paddock’s sniper nest as he unleashed minute upon minute of automatic weapons fire on concert-goers below.

    Let us give thanks for the courage of those who protect us.

  • carl jacobs

    Prayer is not a public symbol of theological unity: it is an expression of corporate humility and common humanity before the Creator God.

    Well, sure. But there is the tacit assumption that all present believe in the same Creator God. The Prophets of Baal did not share with Elijah in an “expression of corporate humility and common humanity” upon Mt Carmel. When the Mormon Missionaries showed up at my house (after which they black-listed me) I refused to pray with them for exactly that reason. I wanted to demonstrate the unbridgable chasm between us. We didn’t represent different theologies. We represented fundamentally opposed religions.

    Let a Christian and a Jew and a Muslim and a Hindu and Buddhist and a Unitarian all stand before a crowd and offer a corporate public prayer. Do they all believe in the same Creator God? Is the difference between them all essential or incidental? The corporate act of prayer affirms that God is legitimately revealed and legitimately worshipped by those who hold to all of the above. Is this in fact true? Is there another Name by which we must be saved? I don’t know any Christians who would participate in such a thing. Truth is worth the demonstration of disunity.

    It’s a harsh truth but it must be repeated over and over again. Liberal Christianity is not a legitimate expression of Christianity. The fight with TEC is not an argument over gay sex. That argument is a derivative argument that has its origins in that fact that Liberal Christianity presents a much different and very false god. A man is not my brother simply because he says “Jesus” and uses Christian terminology.

    I don’t care much about denominations. I do care about differentiating Truth from Falsehood. There are many things we can disagree about and still find unity. The identity of God, however, is not one of those things. So long as TEC upholds and worships at the feet of a false god, I wouldn’t pray with them either. And for exactly the same reason I wouldn’t pray with a Mormon. To me they are the Prophets of Baal and I will not join them as they call for his intervention.

    Is that impolitic in our synchretistic world? Tough.

    • Chefofsinners

      “Truth is worth the demonstration of disunity.” Indeed. Truth can only ever be asserted by a demonstration of disunity. We are dealing here with people who do not actually believe that objective truth exists.

    • Syncretism is different from Christian division and from indifferentism.
      Christian groups who pray together in recognition of their shared belief in Christ and their mutual need are doing something good; they are stressing points in common and not focussing on barriers to unity. Two different Christian groups engaging together in one or the other’s rites of formal worship would be wrong. This latter practice falsely testifies to a unity that does not exist.
      Never mind the Mormons, would ever pray with a Jew?

      • carl jacobs

        would [you] ever pray with a Jew?

        No, I would not. And for the same reason. Judaism is a false religion. It bears no connection to OT Judaism. Men cannot be saved by means of its teaching. It is impossible for a man to approach the Father except through the Son.

        • Jack agrees it is a religion lacking an acceptance of the full revelation in Jesus Christ and remains blind to the true Triune nature of God. However, don’t we pray to same God, notwithstanding their blindness to the full truth?

          You believe all religious Jews are bound for Hell?

          • carl jacobs

            No, we don’t pray to the same God. And why did Paul seek to evangelize them if they could find salvation outside of the Gospel?

            The religion of Judaism ended 2000 years ago. The temple is gone. Forever. The priests are gone. Forever. There is no special dispensation for Jews who reject the Son. The religious Jew is just as much an Unbeliever as the Atheist Jew.

          • And Catholics, Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            I wouldn’t attend a Mass. But I have prayed with Catholics. My attitude towards Catholics is different from my attitude towards the RCC.

          • Jack wouldn’t expect you to participate in the Mass. But, given the widely different understandings of the nature of God, (predestination, grace and the nature of the atonement) do we really pray to the same God?

          • carl jacobs

            I allow for the possibility that you are a really really badly taught Arminian.

            There is a lot of Truth in Catholicism. There is a lot of falsehood. I believe I can find unity with individual Catholics at some minimum level on the basis of that Truth. God will adjudicate the difference and with that I am content.

          • But do_we_pray_to_the_same_God?

            Or is it the same God conceived radically differently?

          • Anton

            We have the same scriptures and that is good enough for me to be happy to share prayer with Catholics. I would politely request in advance that no prayers be addressed to saints, angels or Mary though, and I would be unlikely to participate in the absence of a guarantee. If it happened I certainly would not Amen it. There are plenty of prayers I have quietly not Amened in protestant prayer sharing!

          • Cressida de Nova

            I am beginning to understand why Christians get a lot of bad press. All these Protestant cults are responsible. I can hardly believe what I am reading.

          • Then you have problem believing the Bible.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Nothing good comes from bad. You do realise I hope that the inventor of your religion, Jean Calvin, was a psychopath and the Bible (your interpretation) is just that….an interpretation.

          • There are serious differences to be sure. Both perceive God to be sovereign but how this sovereignty works out in practice traditional tradition Catholicism and classical Protestantism conceive differently. Unfortunately popular evangelicalism tends to the same Arminianism found in Catholicism though not ecclesiologically rooted.

            Ultimately, it is probably on what God’s sovereignty means in reality that most if not all other serious differences flow. Theology proper (the doctrine of God) shapes soteriology.

          • There is no “Arminianism found in Catholicism.” According to the Catholic Church, both it and Reformed Protestantism are deviations from God’s Truth. The revelation of how God’s sovereignty “works out in practice” informs us just who God is and this is reflected in how we worship and serve Him. When Jack seriously considers the stark beliefs of Calvinism he seriously wonders if we do worship the same God. Then, you probably belief the same about Catholics.

          • Martin


            There’s a close similarity between Arminianism and the semi-pelagianism in Rome’s teaching.

          • Such as?

          • Martin


            As you said above “How one responds”

          • And you “resolve” the seeming paradox of a sovereign God permitting man to choose Him or reject Him by removing man’s free will and thus His moral responsibility and culpability.

          • Martin


            Nothing about our choosing here:

            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.
            (Ephesians 2:1-7 [ESV])

            I’d have said that the dead can’t choose, wouldn’t you?

            And Clement doesn’t mention choosing either, just the effectual call of God:

            1 Clem. 32:3-4 They all therefore were glorified and magnified, not
            through themselves or their own works or the righteous doing which they
            wrought, but through His will.

            And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            When we became a slave of sin we gave away our free will, we subsequently obeyed our sin.

          • Nevertheless there is a form of Arminianism in Catholicism, a semi-Arminianism. I have perhaps a greater tolerance of your ‘arminianism’ than you have of my Calvinism. I say this because many in Protestant evangelical churches are semi-Arminian and not reformed. I have many friends who are fine Christians who do not believe that God is actively sovereign in every detail of our universe. Many feel God is not involved in the physical evils of the world. They believe that in some way humanity is able to respond by itself positively to the gospel, that faith is a natural rather than supernatural ability. They struggle with human natural inability to believe the gospel (invincible hostility to God unless God acts to change their heart). They struggle with such biblical statements as ‘ I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy’ and that he hardens whoever he wills. God’s total sovereignty in creation, providence and redemption is something they baulk at. They do not accept that when all is said and done the final salvation of the elect is a matter of sovereign choice. Some good Protestants on this blog resist this. They effectively limit sovereignty, in defence they believe of God and in support of human freedom. Catholics construe the issues differently I believe but it amounts to the same thing. Grace can finally be resisted and man not God is finally sovereign. The last phrase is of course my conclusion and not Catholic confession.

            I see these beliefs as misguided, spiritually immature, and wrong, but not damningly so.

          • No Catholic should doubt God’s sovereignty. The real question is how God expresses that sovereignty whilst still giving man the freedom to reject God. This remains a central mystery and the Church allows for ongoing theological exploration. The last attempt to settle this apparent paradox ended by leaving the question open early in the 17th century.
            Here’s a short paper Jack came across, written, Jack believes, by a non-Catholic, that he found helpful:

            And another by one of Jack’s favourite theologians. An American, but we wont hold that against him:

          • Sarky

            Only Carls god is the one true god. And there lieth the problem. There can never be mutual understanding when you start at a position of superiority.

          • The problem for me in Catholicism is not what it denies but what it asserts. It does not so much subtract from the gospel as add to it. However, these additions easily become subtractions; Christ supplemented is Christ supplanted even subverted. How far is the essential simplicity and purity of the gospel buried beneath the rubble of Church Tradition (or Magisterial pronouncement)?

            The more immediate dangers include

            1. Faith as mere intellectual assent being deemed authentic.

            2. A construing of the role of works in salvation in such a way as to make it effectively pelagian.

            3. A raft of accretions that effectively hide Christ and the simplicity of faith in Christ from the believer.

            I would wish to know what was the basis of their justification before God or if you like on what are they resting fundamentally for the hope of eternal life. It’s around this question in particular that my concerns lie.

          • As Jack understands his faith:
            Catholics absolutely believe we are saved by faith in Christ and we also believe that this is an unmerited gift from God. One cannot assent intellectually to a revelation of God’s will without faith which comes by grace. How one responds to the universal offer of faith is a question of mind and will, and conforming one’s life to God’s commands by holding the passions and sinful inclinations in check – i.e. resisting the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Grace can be resisted and/or lost if it isn’t accepted or sustained through prayer, worship and the receipt of the sacraments. This manifests in good works and spiritual and corporal good works in turn, undertaken through love of God and neighbour, not for reward, strengthen one’s faith. Sanctification is an thus an ongoing process of becoming more perfect and Christ like once justified by faith.
            This isn’t complicated, nor is it Pelagian.

          • Martin


            “How one responds”

            And there is the semi-pelagianism.

          • To the offer of grace. God doesn’t compel us to love Him. He loves us so much He allows us to choose.

          • Martin


            There goes that semi-pelagianism again. How do the dead choose?

          • There goes that nasty Calvinism again – presupposing a Good and Loving God would create people, leave them mortally wounded and withhold the means of salvation from all but those He leaves with no choice. It’s God’s grace that offers man redemption – we have to accept this.

          • Martin


            You forget, we choose to sin and reject God. God offers salvation and we say “I’d rather have my sin please.

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1 [ESV])

            Which equates to:

            as it is written:
            None is righteous, no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            Their throat is an open grave;
            they use their tongues to deceive.
            The venom of asps is under their lips.
            Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
            Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            in their paths are ruin and misery,
            and the way of peace they have not known.
            There is no fear of God before their eyes.
            (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV])

            Tell me, how can such please God. Without a doubt belief is pleasing to God.

            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.
            (Ephesians 2:4-7 [ESV])

            So God comes along and says to the one dead in their sins, “come out of that grave, be alive” and, just like Lazarus they come out of the grave. Tell me, was Lazarus asked if he wanted to be raised from the dead?

          • “You forget, we choose to sin and reject God. God offers salvation and we say “I’d rather have my sin please.”

            Are you saying God offers to salvation to all?
            How is being born compelled to sin a “choice”?

            “So God comes along and says to the one dead in their sins, “come out of that grave, be alive” and, just like Lazarus they come out of the grave. Tell me, was Lazarus asked if he wanted to be raised from the dead?”

            God actually doesn’t offer a choice then?
            He selects some and they are now compelled to hear His call?

          • Martin


            The offer of salvation goes out to all, but none accept it. Therefore God saves whom He wills.

            No one is born ‘compelled to sin’. We’re born with a tendency to sin

            But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, Why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?
            (Romans 9:20-21 [ESV])

            Seems to me God gets to do what He wants.

          • Indeed it isn’t. I agree with it pretty well fully though I might quibble about how some things are expressed and I suspect that when we begin to dissect the detail we may run into problems. Is justification a once for all point or a process? I have met Catholics who would place their confidence of salvation on their works more than Christ’s work. I can understand this because when I studied the Catholic Catechism the emphasis was so strongly on the various sacraments of the church that it was hard to resist the idea that it all came down to me.

            Taken at face value, your confession would lead me to consider you my brother in Christ. This is not intended to be patronising or grudgingly granted. I long to embrace not exclude. We both know however that a clearer and fuller exploration and grasp of each other’s faith is necessary if we are to accept one another unreservedly as brothers in Christ. A blog makes such an exploration impossible.

          • So many Catholics have been denied the fullness of the Catholic faith through poor teaching and Jack finds this heart breaking. Jack has much to understand – that’s what our pilgrimage here is about – and, as Saint Paul, says we see through a glass dimly. Faith and understanding grows in each of us differently according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, the graces and insights bestowed and the investment we make.

            Perhaps if you reread the Catechism with the template Jack has outlined you might understand it differently. Whenever Jack returns to it he discovers more in it and more questions. It’s the same with scripture – it becomes more simple and, paradoxically, more complex, each time Jack reads it.

          • Cressida de Nova

            The essence of Catholicism is humility…not to have it known the good works one does and certainly one would never expect brownie points in the salvation stakes for dong them. If you are associating with Catholics who think their good works earns them salvation you should inform them that this is not the Catholic way. I dont know any Catholics like that.

          • Jim Welsh

            I consider Curry as someone who worships a different God since he teaches a different gospel, and I would definitely stay home if he were to preside over a service in my church. To put him in a position to lead in prayer is the same as legitimizing a false teacher. If he came as a visitor to my church and sat down and worshiped with us, then I guess we would be found praying together.

          • Anton

            When you talk about “praying to the same God” you need to clarify whether you mean epistemologically or ontologically.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not smart enough to … Shaddap, Jack ! … know what you are saying, Anton.

          • No. Jews are not Trinitarian. They do not recognise God as the God revealed in Jesus and so are in unbelief.

          • Cressida de Nova

            What a dreadful thing to say about the Jews. Anti semitism is alive and well in faux Christian religions.

          • Nonsense. Carl is not picking on Jews. He’s saying they and Gentiles are both in disobedience. Both deny The Son (Christ) and therefore the Father. Both are guilty of unbelief. There is nothing anti-Semitic in this.

            Jesus words to his fellow Jews is what Carl is saying; if the light that is in you is darkness how great is that darkness.

        • dannybhoy

          “Men cannot be saved by means of its teaching. It is impossible for a man to approach the Father except through the Son.”
          Which we or at least I agree with.
          BUT the thing is that there are many devout people who remain unconvinced of that statement because they do not see people living it out, and they are convinced that their (Jewish) faith is right. So do we stop talking to them, condemn them?
          Or do we respect the differences and seek to build a relationship with them?

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not interested in the denial of Scripture by devout men. Neither do I give their denials any credence. Nor I do not condemn anyone. He who has not the Son is condemned already.

            Yes, we can respect differences and build relationships. But we first have to acknowledge that those differences are real. They are not semantic. And we have to be honest enough to admit the those differences prevent any form of spiritual unity or spiritual fellowship.

          • dannybhoy

            “But we first have to acknowledge those those differences are real.”
            Oh I agree with you there, they are real, but in some situations we have to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in our conversations with non believers.
            I also believe in preaching the Gospel to crowds because by the preaching of the word can come conviction of sin..

      • Steven Pape

        Have offered to pray with Mormons, they refused. I have prayed with Jews and Muslims. Have you?

        • Jews, certainly. Muslims, the opportunity has never arisen but, depending on the particular prayer, it wouldn’t be an issue.

          • carl jacobs

            And did you rage with righteous indignation when a reading of the Koran was performed in an Anglican church? There’s a word for that, Jack. Starts with an “h”.

            In the meantime, I’ll see if I can find some Asherah poles so you can expand your ecumenical outreach. It seemed to work out OK for the Israelites, after all.

          • Did you not read or comprehend: “depending on the particular prayer”?

            Permitting the reading of a passage of the Koran in a Christian Cathedral which denies Christ’s divinity, and during a service celebrating the birth of Christ, is not something Jack would countenance – ever.

          • carl jacobs

            You consider that an important distinction. I do not. Would you or would you not pray with the priests of Baal? And when you say “No” please continue to explain to me the difference between the Muslim and the pagan. Why would you pray with one and not the other?

            Or am I wrong? Would you not tear down the high places?

          • Given the priests of Baal worshipped him as one god amongst a hierarchy of other gods, no, Jack would wold likely not pray with them if it signified endorsement of the existence of this idol and especially so if there was a fight going on between these chaps and his faith. So far as he knows, Muslims and Jews pray to one Creator God, as do Christians from across all denominations.

            Jack might well pray alongside Muslims and Jews. This would depend on the intention of the prayer, (for example, relief for those suffering following a disaster), the context and the actual words used. He would not say any words that contradicted his Catholic faith, participate in any of their religious rites, or do anything giving the impression Christianity was equivalent to their faith systems.

            To Jack’s mind, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong, i.e. sinful, in doing so.
            To be consistent, surely you would have to refuse to pray with Catholics too because our conceptions of God are so radically different. Indeed, your view would not only rule out all interfaith faith prayer but all Christian ecumenical prayer services.

          • carl jacobs

            So this where you end up. Any sort of vaguely monotheistic “Creator God” concept is sufficient for you. The Unitarian, the Muslim, the Jew, and presumably the god of Ahkenaten would all qualify. One would suspect that the Gnostics would even get some kind of pass. Just so long as we stick to a vague collective theology of the lowest common denominator, then we can all kind of agree. That is not a prayer to God. That is an affirmation of false religion. It is not about the relationship between God and men. It is rather a declaration of the unity of men through the common bonds that unite all religion – well, at least all monotheistic religions. Except there is no such unity. False religion has no fellowship with true religion. Darkness has no fellowship with light. There is no such thing as interfaith prayer. There is God and then there is idolatry. How do you not understand these things?

            Well, at least you are a faithful acolyte of Vatican II. Which I presume is why you are defending all this synchretistic nonsense.

          • “So this where you end up. Any sort of vaguely monotheistic “Creator God” concept is sufficient for you.”

            As usual a gross misrepresentation of Jack’s statements. Jack was clear he would not do or say anything that contradicted his Catholic faith or give the impression Christianity was equivalent to any other faith system. The lex orandi, lex credenda aspect would only be that we are all children of God coming together in humility with common needs.

            Why are you avoiding the Christian ecumenical dimension? That’s what the article is about.

          • carl jacobs

            Why are you avoiding the Christian ecumenical dimension?

            Because I deny that Liberal religionists are Christians. This isn’t about ecumenicism. Do you think I care about the difference between Lutheran and Presbyterian and Methodist and Baptist and Pentacostal? That isn’t the issue here. Liberal religionists are no more Christian than Mormons. The Liberal is to me as the Mormon and the Muslim and the Buddhist and the Hindu and the Atheist. I don’t care if someone uses Christian terminology. I don’t care if they call themselves Christian.

            As usual a gross misrepresentation …

            I didn’t misrepresent you. You are the one who brought up interfaith prayer. There is one Faith and many idolatries. To engage in interfaith prayer is by definition to engage with idolatry. It’s no different than Solomon bringing idols into his house. I ask you why you differentiate between pagans and Muslims and what did you say.

            Muslims and Jews pray to one Creator God, as do Christians from across all denominations. Jack might well pray alongside Muslims and Jews.

            Oh yes. Because there is such a huge difference between praying along side someone and praying with someone. In a public corporate setting, the public declaration of religious unity is the same and no amount of weaseling will change the fact. And when you mention intent, what you are saying is that the public prayer can’t go anywhere that might contradict Catholic teaching. What is that but a lowest common denomination theology.

            The requirement is not to blur the lines but the sharpen them. We are called to demonstrate the difference between truth and falsehood. We are not called to find unity where none exists.

          • Excellent.

          • Martin


            There’s probably a temple to Molech he could visit.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack is playing a weaselly Catholic game. He knows to burn the Asherah poles. He is just struggling to find an acceptable answer to my question. Why the Muslim and not the pagan? Ultimately there is no difference between them but he would sorely like to find one.

          • Martin

            Indeed, and my choice was deliberate.

          • Anton

            Perhaps because Muslims, Jews and Christians believe that there is only one creator and worship him, even though Muslims have the wrong idea of his personality. Pagans don’t have the doctrine of creation by one omnipotent God who is the only God.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s essentially where Jack went. But I don’t see how that justifies worshiping a false god. Allah does not become a true manifestation of Deity simply because Muslims say Allah is omnipotent.

      • Coniston

        An Anglican priest whom I know was making a hospital visit. He stopped by the bed of an old Jewish woman. “Would you like me to pray for you?” he asked her. Timorously, she nodded. “May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless and preserve you,” he said. He left her with tears in her eyes. Was he wrong to do this?

        • Anton

          He was right. But such things depend on the people involved and the preceding conversations.

          • carl jacobs

            He was wrong.

          • dannybhoy

            He was right.
            It was not the time to go into matters of theology. Perhaps he might be able to visit that ward again, perhaps to continue the conversation, pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for opportunities to share with the old lady.
            Eg there is an old fella lives near me and we used to banter with each other on a Saturday morning when our paths crossed in going to get our weekend newspapers.
            I knew he wasn’t well, and I didn’t know his name, and I didn’t quite know where he lived..
            Long story short, he was on my mind a lot and we ran into each other at a church fete. I then had his name, address and met his wife. I determined to go visit him but had a time of prayer before going.
            Turns out he used to be a bookbinder, and loved binding…..bibles.
            Has a son who is deeply involved in a Baptist church.
            The wife was a social worker before retiring, worked with children and families.. (our background)
            I didn’t share my faith or testimony, I didn’t feel it was the right time. The old boy was so pleased that I had come to visit, and sometimes it’s that prayerful obedience of reaching out with the love of Christ to someone, believing in God’s time the opportunity to share your faith in Christ will surely come.

          • carl jacobs

            He was wrong. He denied his Lord by His equivocation.

          • dannybhoy


          • carl jacobs

            Really. To whom did he pray? Who is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Is it the God who revealed Himself in the person of Christ Jesus? Yes or no? What did the Jewish woman hear when he said “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”? Which religion did he affirm in her? He deliberately equivocated. He prayed to God in a way that would not be unfaithful to Christianity, but also would not challenge her own beliefs. He found a lowest common denominator and used it to avoid the distinction between Judaism and Christianity.

            The only justification for this would be if he believed that there was salvation apart from faith in Christ. What say you? Is there salvation apart from faith in Christ?

          • dannybhoy

            No, of course not, but I would point you to 2nd Kings 5, the story of Naaman the leper..
            “Naaman said, “I know at last that there is no God in all the world except in Israel; now please accept my gifts.”

            16 But Elisha replied, “I swear by Jehovah my God that I will not accept them.”

            Naaman urged him to take them, but he absolutely refused. 17 “Well,” Naaman said, “all right. But please give me two muleloads of earth to take back with me, for from now on I will never again offer any burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord.[a] 18 However, may the Lord pardon me this one thing—when my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow too.”

            19 “All right,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again.”

          • Martin


            Not what 2 Kings 5:19 says in my Bible.

          • carl jacobs

            So you think that this story has something to do with interfaith worship or crediting the truth of false gods? Please explain.

          • carl jacobs

            And what excessive rigidity am I imposing? Because all I see is an argument about how to treat the boundary of true vs false religion. Which by necessity imposes rigidity.

          • dannybhoy

            I amn’t disagreeing with your basic position, I am saying we weren’t there, and yet here we all are pontificating and making judgements on a guy we don’t even know!
            Do any of us witness every time to everyone we meet? Are we always
            on top of our Christian faith, always so full of joy that we witness to our workmates everyday, preach every day??
            Of course we don’t.
            So really Carl why are we (and I mean all of us), getting all indignant and self righteous all of a sudden?

          • carl jacobs

            A simple question was asked. I direct answer was given. You yourself gave an affirmative answer despite your admission that you know nothing of the context. I’m not sure what context would ever justify a prayer that deliberately avoids Christian distinctives.

            So really Carl why are we (and I mean all of us), getting all indignant and self righteous all of a sudden?

            This is important, danny. If a man won’t defend something as basic as the exclusive truth of Christianity, then he won’t defend anything else. He wouldn’t have any reason to do so. This therefore is a hill to die on. There is one God in Three Persons revealed in One man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else is falsehood and idolatry. Whatever else you do, you cannot surrender that line. Interfaith prayer with non-believers surrenders that line.

          • dannybhoy

            My answer was based on the illustration of the old fellow I mentioned. Rushing in to witness can do more harm than good. We have to be led by the Holy Spirit. We ourselves in how we are as people are a part of our witness.
            I’m not talking about praying with non Christians as equals, I wouldn’t do it, but in this case the man offered the old lady a blessing the Mosaic blessing from the Old Testament.
            And we’re all practically foaming at the mouth over it…

          • carl jacobs

            A prayer is not witnessing, danny. A prayer is between man and God. It has different requirements. You can’t just set them aside for expedience.

          • Linus

            And here we see the pulsating, throbbing tumour of narcissism that beats at the heart of Pixtianity. Carl jacobs is RIGHT. He knows he’s RIGHT. He knows that anyone who gainsays him is WRONG.

            What further proof is needed of the mental illness that gives rise to religion? Want a textbook description of narcissistic personality disorder? Check out carl jacobs’ posts on this thread. To accept what they say, you have to believe that the entire universe pivots around carl jacobs. How can we distinguish between what he and Sky Pixie believe? It’s like they’re one and the same…

          • Martin

            It was a moment when he could have brought the gospel.

          • dannybhoy

            He could have, but how would it have been received? An old lady in hospital, vulnerable? I wasn’t there, and neither were you. But he was and he did what he thought was right.
            Why are we even discussing and ruling on something we weren’t witness to?

          • Martin


            What is right is telling people of a Saviour, he left that woman in her sin with no offer of salvation. Some will reject it, others the Holy Spirit will cause to accept it with joy. It isn’t about persuading the vulnerable, it’s about proclaiming.

          • Yes, but Danny I think that’s different from not getting to the gospel at all. The illustration seemed to me to be raising the issue of how far it is legitimate to avoid what is distinctly Christian. A minister of the gospel is not there to say what a rabbi or Imman could equally say, he is there to speak as a Christian. So taken In the abstract, as an argument for how Christian ministers ought to act, it is inadequate. As part of a real life situation it may perhaps be legitimate if he went on to explain how Jesus was the son of Abraham. But we are not considering it in a real world context but as an abstract principle.

            Paul’s constant approach with his fellow Jews was to point them to Jesus as the Christ. It won him few friends and made him many enemies. They would not have been persecuted him if he simply had prayed to the God of Abraham to save them.

          • Oh, no, he wasn’t.

          • O yes he was.

        • How free did he feel to offer a Christian prayer? When my words can be said equally by a Jew or a Muslim they are not explicitly Christian.

          I would feel the need (if possible) to go on and explain that this God had finally revealed himself in Jesus that he may heal all her diseases and forgive all her sins through his death on her behalf.

        • He bottled it. What the Jewish women needed to hear above all else was that the God of Abraham became incarnate in Jesus and did so to heal all her diseases and forgive all her sins. When Paul spoke to the Athenians about the unknown God he told them he was revealed in Jesus; he did not stop at the level of their perception but declared the truth. Our prayers should be plain and not too subtle by far.

          • Coniston

            Not, I think, at that stage. As far as I know he had never met or spoken to the woman before, who was in hospital, perhaps seriously ill. If he had spoken to her before, and formed some sort of relationship with her, then perhaps he could have talked about Jesus. It would depend on the circumstances. But the instant rushing in, demanding that someone who might not wish it (and could not move away) be told about Jesus, would be crass. It would be pandering to his own sense of righteousness and justification.

    • Amen. Amen.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I upset some JWs by praying out loud FOR them as I walked past them recently. They were most put out that I prayed to God the Son.

      • carl jacobs

        That is the correct model.

  • Norman Yardy

    Fore such are the reasons that there is much discord in the Christian community.
    If believers would only seek God for their understanding of theological and humanity issues, the Church would not be in the divisive state that it is.

  • prompteetsincere

    “The Throne of Grace”: inclusive of all, both within and without his respective fold, that TEC’s ‘chief shepherd’ is leading astray?

  • John

    Would Athanasius have sat down and prayed with Arius about some national disaster? Serious question.

    • Yes, Jack believes he would have.

      • Len

        Would Jack pray with Muslims?.

        • Yes, certainly, depending on the nature of the prayer.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re married Jack, and you’re now a frailer, older man.
            Forget the virgins already…

          • Cressida de Nova

            I truly cannot envisage you in a Mosque ,on your knees , posterior in the air with a group of Islamic men. No you would not Jack….

      • ardenjm

        I doubt he would have done – and certainly not after the positions became hardened and dogmatic because, as a good Bishop, he fully understood that there is a danger to the Faithful of syncretism/indifferentism and of sending mixed messages.

        I’m not sure why Cranmer is getting in to such a tiswas about this: scripture is quite clear that after trying your best to keep in communion, once you no longer share the Faith, then “praying together” is a counter-witness.

        For sure – the Donatist tendency of being for “the pure” must be avoided: something, which, in the past, Protestants without an ex opere operato doctrine, fell in to all the time – but where there’s schism and or heresy – to “pray together” is a false witness.

        In short, unless Cranmer is a Freemason (is he?) I don’t understand how he can write this:
        “Prayer is not a public symbol of theological unity: it is an expression of corporate humility and common humanity before the Creator God.”
        Of course it’s a public symbol of theological unity! That’s what the word Creed means! It’s the symbolon!
        That’s precisely why Cranmer put his arm in the flames and recanted his recantations: because he believed (as he said on his death pyre) that Catholic teaching was diabolical and abominable. How odd that the man who pretends to be his alter-ego doesn’t understand that.

        • Jack disagrees, Ardenjm.

          Prayer is a plea to the our One God – it’s not a witness of theological unity or an act of sacred common worship. Agreed any common prayer which might be construed as being directed to different gods, or even to the same God conceived radically differently, is fraught with danger. Why not presume the best of intentions and a sincere adherence to the essential character of our own Faith in such practices?

          • ardenjm

            Because as an act of formal worship, prayer is essentially ecclesial.
            Sure, in your own home, with your friends, there might be more latitude. But when the person who occupies the cathedra conducts prayer publicly it is an act that involves their magisterial authority and thus the Truth of the Church.

            The Assisi meetings were thus prudentially unwise precisely for that meaning: even though care was (subsequently) taken to explain that they were not syncretist. They were too ambiguous.

            Evensong with Anglicans is just about acceptable – as we saw when Pope Benedict XVI visited but what was redolent and clear in that act was that the Pope, quite clearly, fulfilled his Petrine ministry of presiding-in-humility, even as a guest to the proceedings. The authority of his office was evident for all to see: and gave more sense to the proceedings than all of the prayers for the Queen ever could. (The monarchy, like the Anglican episcopacy, are truncated without union with the successor of St Peter.)
            It was a dramatic moment precisely because it was such a palpable and striking witness to what the Papacy is and the futility of the Protestant protest – as imported in from Europe by Cranmer. It felt more complete, because the Pope was in Canterbury. Which is exactly what a visit from the Pope should accomplish: strengthening the unity of the brethren.

          • Assisi is a whole other ball-game!

            If Evensong with Anglicans is acceptable, with or without the Pope presiding, then surely Christians praying together for the victims of a mass slaughter is too? The Christian fath has been scandalised by Rev’d Gross’ gross conduct.

          • ardenjm

            Ah, hang on: I might well have countenanced the action of praying for the victims (maybe even in this way… maybe) but certainly not for the reasons advanced by Cranmer. His arguments become a universal solvent that, indeed, would require Athanasius to pray with Arius even as their beliefs were inimical to each other and the scandal given to the faithful so damaging.
            Bishops need to remember that they have magisterial authority: what they say and do is ‘of the Church’ – not in a private capacity.

            Of course, we can say with a pretty clear moral certitude that none of the people in this particular instance are Bishops anyway. But you get my point.

          • With respect, and all that, you’re just having another pop at Cranmer. Fair do’s – who is Jack to judge?

            Context is important. Arius and Athanasius praying together would be construed differently depending on circumstances and what dong so, or refusing to do so, publically symbolised. Similarly, SSPX priests and Roman Catholic priests publically praying together in 2017 sends a whole different message from doing so in 1970. A protestant receiving Communion in a Catholic Mass is on a whole other level to one attending Mass, witnessing the service and joining in the Creedal statements, the Our Father and Bidding Prayers.

            [Out of interest, given the resolution of the Donatist controversy, do you think Arius and Athanasius would have received the Eucharist from one another – i.e. before Arius’ views were formally condemned?]

          • ardenjm

            I’m not sure enough of the history, to be honest Jack…

          • Cressida de Nova

            I think priests are also in the same position when they speak publicly on the national broadcaster. They should be ‘of the Church’ as well

          • I agree with this. It is both right and honest to do so.

      • Ray Sunshine

        So do I, though no doubt they would both have insisted on going over the exact wording of the prayer with a magnifying glass before they actually stood up to recite it in unison.

        • Cressida de Nova

          LOL. I ‘m giving you an uptick because of your wit. I am not sure if they would have prayed together…

      • The real issue is not what Athanasius may or may not have done but what the Prophets and Apostles did and taught.

        Biblical Injunctions

        They called for caution in who we identify with.

        (NIV) 22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
        23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
        24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain
        hidden forever.

        They instruct to keep away from fraternising with false teachers.

        (NIV) 20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

        We are to have nothing to do with professing Christians who contradict in life and teaching the gospel

        (NIV) 1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind… always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Serious answer. Absolutely not.

  • Sarky

    This is atheist heaven. You lot flapping about, arguing over who you can and can’t pray with. What a joke.

    • Len

      Your’e not even on the starting grid on this one Sarky

      • Oh, Jack thinks he’s bang on the money in that comment. He would have up-ticked it he’d said “What a scandal” rather than “joke”.

        • carl jacobs

          Sarky is a blind fool. He mocks what he does not comprehend. He refuses to defend what he considers trivial and unimportant. And you credit him with wisdom?

          • Mike Stallard

            Erm….Atheist politicians are, of course, all one big happy family.

          • Linus

            You expect Atheists to be better than you? Very strange expectation for a devotee of a religion that claims to perfect its followers.

            What’s even stranger is when you attempt to excuse your imperfections by pointing at ours.

            According to your philosophy, Atheists should be imperfect, whereas you lot should be wallowing in the citrusy delights of all those fruits of the Sprite and be sooooo much nicer than us. But here you are bitching and squabbling and falling out like everyone else. Why, it’s almost as if your religion just doesn’t do what it says on the tin…

          • Mike Stallard

            Well, I am currently reading St Paul to the Philippians…

          • Not wisdom. Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. This is a source of scandal.

          • Len


          • Out of time.

          • Len

            I clocked that!.

          • Jack can’t better that. Well done. It made him chuckle.

          • No Jack. It is scandal when genuine Christians fall out. It is contending for the faith when true Christians refuse fellowship to counterfeit Christians.

            People like Linus will mock but will choose to believe the worst rather than attempt to understand the real dynamics of what is happening.

          • Sarky

            The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
            Winston S. Churchill

          • That’s some admission, Sarky. And on this occasion, as blind as you are, you were right.

          • carl jacobs

            As it is written “The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God’.” Why do you not value a defense of the things of God? Because you do not believe in God. What possible use then have you for all these things that you mock? None at all. That is precisely why you mock them. You make no profound statement by saying “This is atheist heaven.” You simply declare what you have often declared – that you are an atheist. You are wrong by definition, Sarky. You begin in unbelief and therefore you end in error.

            What hill would you die on, Sarky? What is important enough in your life that you would defend it regardless of the consequences? For what would you sacrifice all else? These things are the difference between life and death to me. If you don’t accept it, at least you can understand it. Even a fool can see that much.

          • Sarky

            My family are my hill Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Then you should understand.

          • Sarky

            Not really. Why would you die for a theological point?? Your faith i could just about understand, but a pointless argument???

          • carl jacobs

            What theological point do you think I am defending? This isn’t about some theological dispute over a sacrament. This is about the difference between true religion and false religion – between Very God and false god. This is the same issue faced by those men in the desert who were decapitated by ISIS on video. “Deny Christ or die.” Before the day we might be forced to face that question we have to settle in our minds who God is. Should I answer it then, but avoid it now?

          • Sarky

            This is why i don’t do religion. When everyone thinks that their god is the one true god, look what happens.

          • Martin


            Of course you do religion, you think that your god is the only god.

          • carl jacobs

            So you worship yourself instead. Each man his own god, and nothing but your own right arm to establish justice. When the barbarian comes, you will cry for justice, but no one will hear.

          • Sarky

            No, I’ll strike them down. Id rather die on my feet than spend my life on my knees.

          • Cressida de Nova

            each man is his own god….as arrogant and sacrilegious as each man is his own priest….

          • Yet yours is the one family worth defending. For you blood matters. For Christians Christ and believers are blood, are family. If there is a cuckoo in the nest it must be dealt with before it destroys the family. Or to put it another way, we are God’s flock, his sheep. When wolves attack the sheep they must be resisted and refuted.

          • Martin


            Oh, that little word ‘my’, it reveals your god.

          • Sarky

            I have no god.

          • Martin


            Of course you do, you are your god, and you know that God exists.

          • Sarky

            So cant be bothered.

          • Excellent. My sentiments exactly.

          • IanCad

            No he’s not.
            Doubtless his assessment of Christianity is largely influenced by we professors of the word on this blog.

            “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” Galatians 5:22
            Precious little of that fluttering around here.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes. The man who wrote that told the Gnostics to go and castrate themselves. Did he thus violate his own counsel?

          • IanCad

            Big difference between a sect which corrupts the Word with notions of their own imaginations, and a stout Englishman who judges a faith from the scribblings of its adherents.

          • carl jacobs

            Sarky’s unbelief predates anything said here. Neither is he justified because he finds the truth offensive. Liberal religionists are the same as the Gnostics. They are a “sect which corrupts the Word with notions of their own imaginations”. Do you have any grounds to refute this? If not, why do you condemn me for pointing out the obvious? If you would not pray with the Gnostics, then why would you pray with those who deny the very God you worship?

          • Indeed.

          • IanCad

            Carl, I did not say I wouldn’t pray with the Gnostics. The OP pertained to a horror, the reaction to which invites prayer. Each in his own way may respond to that call. It is not contingent on any theological collectivism, nor should any of those participating be judged by fellow petitioners.

          • carl jacobs

            “Each is his own way” is not a corporate act of public prayer. What men do in the privacy of their own hearts is of no concern to me. That isn’t the subject of this thread. We are speaking of men gathering to pray together – presumably to the same God. That is a corporate public act that requires a degree of unity among the participants. If three men pray together – one to God, one to Allah, and one to Vishnu – you have demonstrated nothing but unity in idolatry. And if you would pray with Gnostics, you should probably rethink that willingness after consulting with the Epistles of Paul.

            Prayer is not an act of public therapy. It is not a private means of coming to terms with tragedy. People see something horrific and pray. Wonderful. Unless there is a “to Whom” attached to that prayer, it is a meaningless futile exercise. So, no, you can’t escape theology.

          • But you seemed to be criticising the Christians disagreeing rather than Sarky.

          • IanCad

            John,There is enough blame to go around for all. Sarky rejects the Word, we Christians, myself included, often dishonour the revealed truth along with its clear injunctions.

          • dannybhoy

            Good one Ian. Sarky has a Christian background and lost what faith he had. He perhaps sees the same attitudes here which drove him away in the first place.

          • Why do you say that Ian. I think the discussion has been fairly irenic. It has focussed on issues and not been reduced to personal slights. Families can have robust discussions and disagreements without falling out or being snide. There is no shame in robust disagreement. Was Paul out of order when he withstood Peter to his face? Was Jesus devoid of the Spirit when he excoriated the Pharisees and rebuked his own disciples apparently expressing impatience with them.

            Not all disagreement is sin and not all rejection is wrong.

      • Sarky

        Why would i want to be??
        The whole thing is ridiculous.
        You’re all acting like a bunch of toddlers.

    • Chefofsinners

      Atheists don’t go to heaven.

      • Satan is laughing …………

        • Chefofsinners

          at atheists.

          • At us all ….

          • Chefofsinners

            Nervously, if he knows the truth.

          • Maliciously, because he does know the truth and is after as many souls as he can get before his time is finally up.

          • Chefofsinners

            “Earnestly contend for the faith”. Jude verse 3.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Though . . . he doesn’t accept (or know) full Truth.

          • Why? Because we are disagreeing and seeking to convince each other of what we believe to be true and of some importance? He is laughing if we are merely arguing for arguing sake or if we are deliberately refusing to be persuaded. Or if we we become snide and reduce ourselves to ad hominens. But, where there is a contention for what is important he is anxious not amused, dismayed not derisive.

          • It wasn’t necessarily directly related to this thread but he loves disagreement. Satan is full and pride and gets malicious from all our trials.

          • carl jacobs

            Of course, Jack doesn’t actually mean “us”. He means “you”. He is implicitly distinguishing his own attitude from that of his opponents despite the use of “us”. For if we all agreed with Jack, then (according to Jack’s reasoning) Satan would have no reason to laugh about this.

      • Sarky

        Good job. There would be a massive queue to get in while you lot argue over who’s in and who’s out.

        • Chefofsinners

          Only the British atheists would be queueing. German atheists would be throwing their towels over the wall, the Italians would be trying to bribe St Peter, but the rest of the EU would leave their families behind and send their benefits back home.

        • You realise Sarky, your derision is affecting your family. You have a responsibility to them. If your cynicism and unbelief rubs off on them as it surely will you will play a big part in their destruction. Is this loving?

          • Sarky

            You don’t need god to be loving or moral etc etc etc

          • Irrelevant to the point I made.

          • Sarky

            Bringing up my family without the indoctrination and chains of religion is the most loving thing anyone could do.

          • We all indoctrinate. Love indoctrinates. I look at the family chaos liberal humanism (your indoctrination paradigm) has created and can by no stretch of the imagination call it ‘loving’. I know which homes are most stable and health promoting and so most loving. Guess their demographic?

          • Sarky
      • Dreadnaught

        Heaven is freshly warmed socks and a mug of Bovril in front of a real fire after the match. Been there, done it and with a bit of luck will do it again.

        • Chefofsinners

          You’re right about the real fire. Bovril features less…

          • Maalaistollo

            I thought the real fire was in the other place.

          • Chefofsinners

            Heaven for atheists was the thrust of the discussion.

          • Dreadnaught

            Ha-ha-ha good one Chef.

        • IanCad

          Or; when the wife gets up an hour after me. Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace.

          • Maalaistollo

            Is your favourite hymn the one that includes ‘Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?’

          • IanCad

            Nail on the head!!!

        • No. Your captivated by a dirty puddle and missing the ocean.

      • Linus

        If you read the Pixiebook carefully, you’ll see that neither do many Pixtians.

        Considering how you behave, you’re certainly out. There’s no room in Pixidise for unrepentant bearers of false witness, liars and judges. So you’ll burn along with Sarky and me. And my, how our plight will be alleviated by the sight of you crying: “Ouch! But I prophesied in Sky Pixie’s name! I cried ‘Lord! Lord!’ and this is how he treats me! It’s not fair! Waaaaah!”

        Let’s see how far your crass one-liners get you in the Pixcinerator, shall we?

        • Chefofsinners

          Thank the Lord there’s only one-Linus.

        • Good point Linus. Though I’m not sure what behaviour of Cof S you are referring to. But to be sure, unrepentant sinners have no hope.

          • Chefofsinners

            When I point out inaccuracies, inconsistencies and stupidities in his comments, that is me judging, lying and bearing false witness. It is unclear what he thinks the difference is between lying and bearing false witness, but in pointing that out I am doubtless being judgmental.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Not true. Some atheists will be saved/

        • Chefofsinners

          There are no atheists in heaven.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Did she really say that? Does she really believe that? Oh my. Oh dear.

          • ardenjm

            I know! Weird huh?
            Anyone would think that she read it, oh, I don’t know, maybe in, Romans 2 vs13-16…

          • Dominic Stockford

            You can only be saved if you have faith in Christ Jesus. You cannot have faith in Christ Jesus and be an atheist.

            For those who ‘once were’, that was the past – only though Christ, only by faith. That’s the Bible. “….God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” There he is.

          • ardenjm

            Sure. But Romans 2 13-16 points out, quite clearly really, that there is such a thing as implicit Faith as well as explicit Faith: There are those who do NOT have The Law (i.e. Revelation) who, DOING (sorry Protestants!) what The Law requires show that it is written in their hearts (by their having been created by God with our human nature) so that maybe, just maybe, on the Day of Judgement, their actions and consciences will indeed be judged just by God.
            That’s just Scripture. Go to Romans and read it again.
            And of course it is “just Scripture” – which means that it is written by members of the Church who’ve been inspired by the Holy Spirit who is promised to the Apostles of the Church to guide them into all Truth, remind them of the fulness of the Truth and reveal the Truth to come (all in John 13-16). Thus, as the Council of Jerusalem shows, when there are inevitable differences on how to interpret Scripture, it is the Church’s Magisterial authority (as led and guided by the same Spirit, Principal Author of Scripture) who enlightens the Church to interpret rightly.
            OR you can go down the Protestant line and just invent another churchlet with your own interpretation.
            That’s Protestantism’s history and future.

          • You misread Roms 2. There is no such thing as implicit faith or unconscious Christians. Karl Rahner’s anonymous Christian has no place in the bible. It is those who ‘look’ who live. We must ‘receive’ Christ to become children of God. Everywhere in Scripture active faith in God’s saving revelation is necessary. Without it there is no life. It is ‘whosoever who believes’ that has eternal life. Without faith (that is biblical faith) it is impossible to please God.

            Paul is clear that there is none who do good. None seek God. The whole world is condemned Roms 3. Paul’s point about Gentiles keeping the law is not intended absolutely. He is simply saying pagans who did not have the written law show by their moral lifestyle they know the difference between right and wrong. He is not saying they keep the law perfectly (necessary if we are to be saved by self effort). This is plain when he says sometimes their consciences defend them but on other occasions accuse them. The argument of the first three chapters must be considered as a whole. Indeed, within the wider context of Scripture.

            Anonymous Christians is a figment of Rahner’s imagination and a blight on recent Catholic theology. Atheists, the bible says are fools, not wise. Fools in Proverbs perish.

          • ardenjm

            Anonymous Christianity is not what implicit faith means.
            Implicit Faith is taken from Thomas Aquinas’s interpretation of Scriptural passages like the one I’ve given you.
            And of course, if they have that kind of Faith they are not, technically speaking hardcore God-denying atheists. Such wilful rejection of God is seen as inimical to salvation amongst Protestants precisely because it was a part of truth Catholic teaching first and you didn’t reject it. I notice, however, that universalism made inroads within mainstream Protestantism far more completely than in the Catholic Church. Individual Catholics may believe it, of course, but it’ll never be officially sanctioned by the Magisterium.

          • Cressida de Nova

            A Cardinal publicly stated on the national broadcaster in a debate that he thought some atheists in certain circumstances would be saved. I remember being taught at school that others apart form Catholics would be saved. Even my saintly conservative grandmother believed that. Are we talking about ‘invincible ignorance’…or have I lost the plot:)?
            Your posts are very interesting. Thank you for returning . Some of us on here do not have the opportunity to discuss religion in our daily lives at this level.

          • ardenjm

            I think invincible ignorance is certainly part of the implications of that passage from Romans I referred to. Nevertheless, Scripture and thus the Church, are also clear that Faith is necessary for salvation – leading to Thomas articulating the notion of implicit faith. Nevertheless, even implicit faith implied some kind of trusting assent to the existence of a benevolent God – even if the fulness of the Truth of Christ wasn’t understood and assented to.
            What that means for the life of a person coming to Christ is I suspect part of the sliding scale of belief which we find in statements like, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” no?

            Thank you for your encouragement. Let’s keep on trying to follow the Lord! Pray for my conversion!

          • Cressida de Nova

            Oh………………….of course I will pray for you. My family will pray for you as well.
            I hope there will be that defining moment where everything clicks into place and you feel confident and certain to take the step. It will bring you joy and I hope you make good Catholic friends.They approach life differently.You will like it.
            God Bless you and may you receive a lot of joy in your life.

          • ardenjm

            How funny: I’m a cradle Catholic. Just a very poor one: my conversion is more to do with living more faithfully my baptismal promises. Prayers most welcome, therefore: to those whom much has been given, much will be asked, after all…

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well thanks for clearing that up….Must say I was surprised and it did seem a little odd but there are odd bods on here anyway:)
            That is why I came back to check. Conversion indeed! I should stick my Catholic knitting needles into you (bad lad) but then you wont come back. You are defending the faith here and explaining a lot of doctrine so a ‘poor Catholic’ might be a bit of an exaggeration.

          • Such wilful rejection of God is seen as inimical to salvation amongst Protestants ….”

            Some Protestants believe there is no choice and therefore no rejection … it’s all down to God’s sovereignty who is rescued from total depravity and who isn’t by irresistible grace. The rest of us just make up the numbers to display God’s glory.

          • Still not sure how implicit faith differs from anonymous Christian. You are saying that the good life of some is sufficient to save them.. or so it seems. Am I misreading you.

          • ardenjm

            I’m saying nothing different from what Romans 2 vs13-16 says.
            How such people come to Faith – implicit or explicit – is not rendered clear except by implication: Our Lord speaks of sheep of other sheepfolds that will recognise His voice and come to Him. Where Our Lord however IS very clear is in Matthew 7 where many so called (very proud of themselves) Christians will be told, “I never knew you.”

          • No, you are interpreting what Roms 2 says as we all must do. When Jesus speaks of other sheep he is referring to Gentiles. The fold was believing Jews and Jesus is announcing that salvation is not limited to believing Jews. He is not speaking of people outside of the church (the community of faith in Messiah).

          • ardenjm

            Oh of course we’re all interpreting Scripture. Let me be clear. I try and read WITH the magisterial understanding of the Catholic Church which alone is guided infallibly by the Holy Spirit. The Deposit of the Faith – the fulness of the Truth of Christ – is found in Scripture and Tradition received by the Church and magisterially interpreted by her with the guidance of the same Holy Spirit who revealed Scripture and Tradition.
            Accordingly, unless your interpretations and those of the protestant churchlet you belong to agree with the teaching of the Church, they are just going to be wrong to a greater or lesser extent. In any case, they have no authority in themselves and certainly none as far as I’m concerned. You, like all those who follow the revolt of Luther, are made your own Pope. I’ll stick with the successor of St Peter.

            Have a great day.

          • I know you do (interpret through the magesterium). And of course I reject the authority you give the RC Church.

            The authority you give to the Church I give alone to Scripture. However, my point is that Scripture, whose authority you presumably also confess, and which in this specific case we are explicitly discussing simply does not say what you say it says. And if the Catholic Church interprets these Scriptures in this way then it is mistaken and clearly not the authority it claims to be.

            It will not do on the day of Judgement to say I simply believed what the Church taught me. Like the Bereans we must search the Scriptures to see if what we are being taught is what the Bible actually says.

            Yes, I know you disagree with this reasoning and herein lies a fundamental impasse and a leading cause of the Reformation.

          • Chefofsinners

            Those described in Romans 2:13-16 are following whatever light they have. Comparison with Romans 1:20 makes it clear that they would not be atheists.

            There is no dispute about the Church’s authority to interpret scripture. The dispute is about what constitutes the Church. The warnings to the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-5 make it clear that a lampstand can be removed.

          • The Word creates the church not vice versa. We are all born by the word of truth. The Word always comes first. Indeed before all else the Word existed and through the Word all else comes into existence.

            The Spirit (breath) of the Word, the other Comforter, leads the church into all truth. The church did not create the Word, it received it. It is always in submission to it. You confuse the church as an institution with the church as a spiritual entity. Thy are not the same. Which is precisely why we say that there are many who claim to be part of the church who are not really of the church.

            Who are the true church? John tells us it is those who here the voice of the Spirit and believe the apostolic message. The Spirit, Jesus said, would lead the apostles into all truth. Where this is rejected or contradicted no ‘church’, whatever claims they may make, has authority. Where apostolic, and therefore Scripture is contradicted there is no authority.

          • ardenjm

            The Word – the Eternal Word – the Second Person of the Holy Trinity – Incarnate in Jesus Christ: “Through whom all things were made.”

            The Church: Well, hang on now. The Blessed Trinity had choirs of Angels created prior to the creation of mankind. These Angels were the first ekklesia: the assembly. They were the first Church, in that sense. We still call them part of the Church Triumphant (along with the elect.)
            Likewise, of those humans created in God’s Image (by the Word, not yet Incarnate) some were also part of God’s Elect and whilst they had to await the Incarnation and saving Death and Resurrection of The Word before being brought into the Divine Presence and the bliss of the Beatific Vision. Nevertheless, they too are now part of the Church Triumphant.

            Our Lord establishes the Church Militant here on earth during His Divine Ministry and because of His Incarnation Scripture rightly describes those who are given the grace of His friendship and adoption in to His Sonship as members of His Body, the Church.

            And lastly there is the Church Suffering of the souls in Purgatory who await the time when they may “enter into the fullness of the joy of their master”.

            As for deciding who or who is not of Christ – indeed – this is, as St Matthew chapter 7 makes clear – something that Our Lord will judge definitively on the Day of Judgement. Nevertheless, He has instituted His Church as a visible sign – a city on a hill, a lamp on the lampstand – of His Incarnation, Death and Resurrection. The institutional Church must not be “spiritualised” away as irrelevant. But neither is its membership list definitive: God will judge. “To those whom much has been given much will be asked.”

            As for the last few of your statements. They make sense if you’re a Protestant. I’m not a Protestant. So I don’t accept your interpretation of Scripture. Sorry.

          • Cressida de Nova

            “To those whom much has been given much will be asked” I would not want to be in Dominic Stockford’s (former Catholic priest’s )situation. We should pray for him.

          • What a weak argument…angels were the first church!!! Where on earth does Scripture teach this. In any case my point was the Word existed before the church and bring it into existence. That remains true even if the church were angels. The ‘all things’ brought into being by the Word includes angels. Is your reasoning here re angels official Catholic teaching?

          • ardenjm

            First I would argue that by analogy the first ‘Communion-in-Love’ is the Holy Trinity from which the Church comes and in which the Church finds its ultimate End: hence the image of the marriage of the Bride, the Church, with the Bridegroom: the Incarnate Word, that closes Sacred Scripture in Revelation.
            In so far as any creature made by God is drawn into that communion with the Blessed Trinity they are members of the Church. Some of them will be redeemed from sin by the Incarnate Word – and thus members of His Body. Others, the Angels who never did sin, nevertheless received the grace not to Fall (like Satan and his followers) from the Word also: All graces come through the Son and the Holy Spirit after all. They, too, are members of the Church – but not as redeemed, obviously, since the unfallen Angels never sinned.
            So, yes, all things were made through the Son, the Word. But your understanding of who the Church is and who composes the Church needs a fuller understanding of God’s creation.
            If you want to find out what the Church’s official teaching is you need only read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, easily available on line. Here are some of the relevant passages:

          • The church is the community of the redeemed. It is those who are the seed of Abraham and share his faith. There is absolutely no biblical warrant to include angels in the church. This that fell were not offered redemption and those that didn’t do not require it. The church does not include angels rather it judges angels. By God’s grace human beings who were lower than the angels have been raised higher. In Christ we rule all principalities and powers. Angels are not heirs of salvation, they serve those who are heirs of salvation. Again, we must read out of Scripture what it says not read into it what it doesn’t say. Herbs 1, 2 spells out the distinctions between angels and those who are heirs of salvation.

          • ardenjm

            This is what Thomas Aquinas says: ST Tertia Pars Question 8 article 4.
            He considers the objections you make at the start – then provides his thoughts – then answers your objections.
            Hope that clarifies.
            He generally does.
            (This doesn’t make this Catholic dogma, but the teaching of Aquinas is generally seen as entirely reliable on matters of Faith and Morals.)

            Article 4. Whether Christ is the Head of the angels?

            Objection 1. It would seem that Christ as man is not the head of the angels. For the head and members are of one nature. But Christ as man is not of the same nature with the angels, but only with men, since, as is written (Hebrews 2:16): “For nowhere doth He take hold of the angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold.” Therefore Christ as man is not the head of the angels.

            Objection 2. Further, Christ is the head of such as belong to the Church, which is His Body, as is written (Ephesians 1:23). But the angels do not belong to the Church. For the Church is the congregation of the faithful: and in the angels there is no faith, for they do not “walk by faith” but “by sight,” otherwise they would be “absent from the Lord,” as the Apostle argues (2 Corinthians 5:6-7). Therefore Christ as man is not head of the angels.

            Objection 3. Further, Augustine says (Tract. xix; xxiii in Joan.), that as “the Word” which “was in the beginning with the Father” quickens souls, so the “Word made flesh” quickens bodies, which angels lack. But the Word made flesh is Christ as man. Therefore Christ as man does not give life to angels, and hence as man He is not the head of the angels.

            On the contrary, The Apostle says (Colossians 2:10), “Who is the head of all Principality and Power,” and the same reason holds good with the other orders of angels. Therefore Christ is the Head of the angels.

            I answer that, As was said above (Article 1, Reply to Objection 2), where there is one body we must allow that there is one head. Now a multitude ordained to one end, with distinct acts and duties, may be metaphorically called one body. But it is manifest that both men and angels are ordained to one end, which is the glory of the Divine fruition. Hence the mystical body of the Church consists not only of men but of angels. Now of all this multitude Christ is the Head, since He is nearer God, and shares His gifts more fully, not only than man, but even than angels; and of His influence not only men but even angels partake, since it is written (Ephesians 1:20-22): that God the Father set “Him,” namely Christ, “on His right hand in the heavenly places, above all Principality and Power and Virtue and Dominion and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. And He hath subjected all things under His feet.” Therefore Christ is not only the Head of men, but of angels. Hence we read (Matthew 4:11) that “angels came and ministered to Him.”

            Reply to Objection 1. Christ’s influence over men is chiefly with regard to their souls; wherein men agree with angels in generic nature, though not in specific nature. By reason of this agreement Christ can be said to be the Head of the angels, although the agreement falls short as regards the body.

            Reply to Objection 2. The Church, on earth, is the congregation of the faithful; but, in heaven, it is the congregation of comprehensors. Now Christ was not merely a wayfarer, but a comprehensor. And therefore He is the Head not merely of the faithful, but of comprehensors, as having grace and glory most fully.

            Reply to Objection 3. Augustine here uses the similitude of cause and effect, i.e. inasmuch as corporeal things act on bodies, and spiritual things on spiritual things. Nevertheless, the humanity of Christ, by virtue of the spiritual nature, i.e. the Divine, can cause something not only in the spirits of men, but also in the spirits of angels, on account of its most close conjunction with God, i.e. by personal union.

          • Anton

            What about Abraham and the OT prophets?

          • Very good …. Of course you’ll never get a Protestant to accept the concept of invincible ignorance. Ironic really, as their only hope of salvation depends on it.

          • Indeed. Apart from the direct enlivening and enlightening of the Spirit there is only invincible ignorance. Praise God for renewing regenerating enlightening grace.

          • And where’s it written that God only sends His Spirit to those who have access to Christian Truth through His Church. One can only be saved through Christ but Christ’s salvation is not limited to boundaries set by man. Must faith be conscious and explicit for a person to be saved? We don’t know how many people without a conscious and explicit knowledge of Christ may still be united to him in a way known only to God.

            The Catholic Church insists on salvation only through Christ because it is the unchanging witness of Scripture and Christian Tradition. But there may be people who are united to Christ while not being aware of it. The Church doesn’t say that we know there are such people. She says that because we don’t know if those outside the Church are cut off from Christ. This would be presumptuous.

            The Bible speaks of a merciful God who wants all to come to repentance and to a knowledge of the truth. God has established the Church as the means by which all people can come to him. But the question arises about those who never hear of Christ’s salvation through the ministry of the Church. Are they thereby excluded from salvation even though their ignorance is no fault of their own?

            “God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32) God’s ultimate purpose is not condemnation but salvation. This salvation normally comes through the ministry of the Church as people embrace Christ and the Church he founded. What about those who are hindered from the normal means of hearing the gospel through the Church’s ministry? If an explicit and conscious knowledge were absolutely necessary, then children who die before they can understand the gospel would be lost. This also applies to people who are mentally disabled and don’t have the capacity to understand the gospel through ordinary use of language. Or again, what about those in world history who never had the chance to hear the gospel?

            Praise God indeed.

          • (11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
            14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?

            17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Roms 10

            Faith must indeed be conscious and explicit, the response to a message sent. That is the whole point of the cluster of words associated with it in for example Johns gospel. Words like ‘look… come… receive… hear… know… and their opposites ‘will not come… refuse… etc.

            The point is that all men by nature refuse the light they receive. There is none who seek God. Roms 3. That is what we are told about all men. We are told … since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

            Rather than building an argument on what Scripture does not say we should build it on what it does say. The force of Scripture is that it is the message of salvation preached that saves.

            It is a mistake to speak of men being lost through not having heard the gospel. They are lost through their own sinful rejection of whatever light they are given. If they are lost it is fully their fault. The reprobate are so because that is their choice. However, those who are saved, the elect, are saved because God has chosen them for salvation and arranged that they hear the one message that can save.
            This is what is revealed. It is wise to be guided by what is revealed rather than speculate.

          • That isn’t a definitive scriptural proof or demonstration that God’s grace and salvation is only available to those hearing the Gospel and holding explicit faith – it’s an interpretation that fits with your interpretation of predestination, that fits with your interpretation of atonement, etc. etc.

          • Len

            The RCC are experts on practicing ignorance….. apparently.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Yes she does believe that along with all other Catholics. Your situation is interesting because you are not invincibly ignorant …a former priest who hates the Church and makes it his lifes work to denounce it. The question is can heretics like you enter the Kingdom of God? May be you should do some serious rethinking …and seek forgiveness. I really hope you do.

          • Dominic Stockford

            So your position is now openly presented. Those who have no faith in Christ, indeed, those who oppose Christ, will be found in heaven, and yet those who believe in Christ in a different way than you do won’t.

            I see you have not moved on from the Middle Ages – would you like to send the Inquisition round?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Don’t be ridiculous. I did not say all atheists would be saved. I said there would be certain circumstances where an atheist might be saved. I did not say what those circumstances might be.. I did not say that those who have had the misfortune to be raised in Protestant cults would not be saved. But you know this already. Your conscience is bothering you. Listen to it.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You are the one saying something that was not said. Nowhere in the post above did I say ‘all’ atheists, In fact I didn’t even use that word (either ‘all’ or ‘atheist’). If you want a sensible debate stop setting up straw men arguments, knocking them down, and then claiming to have won some point or other.

            You have in fact said, and you repeat it, that you believe that (some of those) who have no faith in Christ, indeed, those who oppose Christ, will be found in heaven, and yet (some of) those who believe in Christ in a different way than you do won’t. This is utterly contrary to Scripture, and to the recorded words of Jesus Christ. If you seriously hold this then it is indeed ‘another Gospel’ than that of the Bible, God’s Word.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I am not alone in believing that an atheist (in certain circumstances) can be saved.Cardinal Bishops and priest and lay Catholics do as well,,,,as you well know.

            Catholicism is not all black and white ..You of all people must know that.There are mitigating circumstances to be considered. An atheist may never have heard of Jesus let alone oppose Jesus. Atheists can have a change of heart. It might come right at the end of their lives.We wont know about it but God will. You know all of this anyway.

            Well of course some of those who are of the Protestant faith are not going to be redeemed and this also applies to well and everyone Not everyone is going to be saved and sorry I cannot give you the figures. We are all going to be judged accordingly on our merits… on how we actually have followed the teaching of Christ as guided by the true Church and its doctrines or how genuinely we have lived our lives…not by just lip serving and furthering self interests.. Only God knows what is in our hearts and mind. People devoutly following other religions apart from Christianity will also be redeemed. Do you think God is a monster who would condemn someone to the flames of hell because they did not have the opportunity to embrace and know about Christianity What about the poor Indian untouchable fighting for a crust by the roadside do you think this soul is going to hell because he does not know about Jesus.?.What is the matter with you?

            Remember….Where is God? .God is everywhere.

          • Dominic Stockford

            “Atheists can have a change of heart. It might come right at the end of their lives.”

            In which case they are NOT an atheist, are they? Please. Argue with logic.

            And no, being hungry does not mean you deserve to go to heaven – no-one deserves that. we are all lost except those who, for reasons known to him, God chooses to save.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Hungry is not a ticket to heaven. I did not mean to imply that. I communicate with you as a Catholic and I don’t expect to have to explain every single thing to you.

            The untouchable may have qualities and lived a life that may enable him to attain salvation. You must belong to one of those fundamentalist cults where unless you believe in Jesus you are destined for hell.Justice and mitigating circumstances are not a consideration.That is what sola scriptura will do to you. …positive proof of the consequences of lack of guidance in interpretation of the scriptures….So you gave up the religion of compassion truth and justice for this….?

            if Christopher Dawkins made an act of perfect contrition on his deathbed (unlikely but not impossible) he would still be known to the world as a famous God hater atheist forever .Ok technically he would not be a wilful atheist at his point of death if you want to be captious

            Also atheism could be a mental disorder because most people instinctively think there is a greater force, power, god outside themselves. This not to be confused with ‘wilful blindness.’ narcissism and arrogance that characterises most atheists.

            Some atheists are ‘wilfully blind’ and some might be mentally disordered. Some might grapple with an acceptance of God….some might genuinely want to believe and are blocked.Yes God is goodness merciful compassionate and just. He will make the decision about salvation (at least we agree on that) but the Chuch is there to guide. It’s a big ask to expect someone to do this on their own by just reading the scriptures.

            Sola scriptura fits into tidy little tick boxes…a sort of malleable truth depending on interpretations made easy.Truth is more challenging than that.
            Scripture is the word of God but we need guidance in understanding it (the magisterium) and Catholic traditions to help us live it if we are going to lead an authentic Christian life.

            I hope your faith will be restored and you find peace. I know this is not welcome but you are in my prayers.I will light a candle for you on Sunday but i am not going to rub the statues with my hanky to capture some saintliness(chortles) must have been the parish priest at st mony python

          • Dominic Stockford

            “The untouchable may have qualities and lived a life that may enable him to attain salvation.”

            This denies various Scriptures; both those referring to works NOT being salvific, such as Ephesians 2:8-9, and Romans 11:6: and those referring to faith in Christ as the only way to the Father, such as John 3:16-18, notably 18, where Jesus says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

            I care not what the world might think of Christopher Dawkins – he may throw himself onto Christ’s mercy on his deathbed, unknown to the world – it makes not one jot of difference in the end, except to him – for if he does then he will be in eternity with God and I will be delighted to meet him when I go there.

            No-one ‘deserves’ to be saved, and no-one can put up a list of sad events that have overtaken someone and claim that means that they might be. There is one way of salvation, and one alone – faith. This is not about what YOU might think is ‘just’ or ‘fair’, it is about God choosing to save some of those who do not deserve it from the whole human race, NONE of whom deserve it for any reason whatsoever – and he has set out for us in the Bible clear revelation of the reasons on which that will happen.

            Furthermore, I HAVE faith, but not in men or an institution. Faith in Jesus Christ who has done, in a once-only, once-for-all act all that is required for my salvation – Praise be to God.

          • Pope Saint John Paul II addressed this:

            “Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. . . . For such people, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.”
            (Redemptoris Missio)

            The Catholic Church insists on salvation only through Chris whilst also recognising that there may be people who are united to Christ while not being aware of it.

            The bible speaks of a merciful God who wants all to come to repentance and to a knowledge of the truth (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). God has established the Church as the ordinary and necessary means for this. But the question arises about those who never hear of Christ’s salvation Are they thereby excluded from salvation even though their ignorance is no fault of their own?

            Saint Paul also says that “God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32). God’s ultimate purpose is not condemnation but salvation. If an explicit and conscious knowledge of Christ were absolutely necessary, then children who die before they can understand the Gospel would be lost. So too people who are mentally disabled and don’t have the capacity to understand the Gospel. As well as those living today who have never had the chance to hear the Gospel.

            We don’t know what God will do for those outside the Church, so it’s best not to presume to judge them and condemn them to Hell. We hope and pray that God will have mercy on them. We know that the means of salvation is being united with Christ (cf. Rom. 6:1–5), but we also know from the bible that “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Ps. 103:8) We hope that those who, through no fault of their own, never know the Gospel in a conscious way may be united to Christ in a way known only to God. We believe that God is sovereign and loving. He will judge people according to their knowledge. If, through grace, they live in a way that accords with their best knowledge of God, we trust that he will be merciful to them.

            As C. S. Lewis puts it, “We . . . know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know him can be saved through him.”

            God is free to save whomever He wishes without revealing the details of the procedure to us.

            “All who sin outside the law will also perish without reference to it, and all who sin under the law will be judged in accordance with it. For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified. For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when . . . God will judge people’s hidden works through Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 2:12-15).

            The bible says that knowledge of God has been given to man through creation so that “people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:27). By responding positively to whatever grace and truth they’ve received, non-Christians demonstrate an implicit faith in Christ and desire for Him.

          • Dominic Stockford

            SImply the premise “Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all.” is wrong. Salvation is NOT unconditional, but conditional – on the individual having faith. The only possible way you can hold any other position is by denying the teaching throughout the Bible and replacing it with the ideology and mores of mankind.

            A God who wants all to repent does not equate to all repenting. Unless you espouse universalism, in which case you’re even further away from a Biblical position than I thought….

          • Who says salvation is unconditional? Who mentioned universalism? A God who wants to make His offer of salvation to all will surely find ways to offer this to all through grace and the redeeming sacrifice of Christ.
            Ever informed a parent of a mentally disabled child that their child will be damned because they are unable to explicitly believe the Gospel? Or a child killed at age 3 years will be too? Is this something you believe?

          • True … because once they enter, and, according to scripture some will, by definition they believe in God.

          • Chefofsinners

            What scripture?

          • Answered below ….

          • Chefofsinners


        • But they will no longer be atheists.

      • Linus

        If you read the Pixiebook carefully, you’ll see that neither do many Pixtians.

        Considering how you behave, you’re certainly out. There’s no room in Pixidise for unrepentant bearers of false witness, liars and judges. So you’ll burn along with Sarky and me. And my, how our plight will be alleviated by the sight of you crying: “Ouch! But I prophesied in Sky Pixie’s name! I cried ‘Lord! Lord!’ and this is how he treats me! It’s not fair! Waaaaah!”

        Let’s see how far your crass one-liners get you in the Pixcinerator, shall we?

        • Chefofsinners

          Sorry, I can’t quite make out your words. They’re all… pixelated.

        • Inspector General

          “Considering how you behave, you’re certainly out.”


          • Chefofsinners

            It’s like Shakespeare, innit? Only with different words in a different order.

          • Inspector General


      • Lol …..
        Our Dear Linus has now revealed his jealousy of your one-liners.

        • Chefofsinners

          But he loves his own words so much he’s posting them twice.

    • IanCad

      More like Satan’s party. Division and schism – good Christians deciding who’s in and who’s out. Quite why we cannot come together in prayer for the smile of God to bless us in common travail is beyond me.
      We can go back to our denominational fancies on our chosen days of worship.

      • Jack would alter your last sentence: “We can go back to our protestant fancies on our chosen days of worship.”

        • IanCad

          Upper case please Jack. As in Catholic.

          • Ooops …. It would help there was one Protestant faith.

          • dannybhoy

            There is, salvation by grace, not works.
            Works follow as an evidence of grace.
            It’s just that Protestants emphasise or minimise various aspects of that grace.
            Which I think also happens within the Catholic church, but with more subtlety…

          • And yet there are protestants on here who strongly disagree and who would not pray with one another.

          • dannybhoy

            We’re talking about people who truly believe and honour the name of Jesus, whether they be Catholic or Protestant.
            Danny has a theory borne out of observation, that there are Christians and there are Churchians. True Christians worship, serve and reach out in humility and love.
            Churchians by contrast argue for the rightness of their traditions, and refuse to accept that God looks on the heart rather than the outward appearance. They also tend to be split personalities; deeply religious on a Sunday and do their own thing the rest of the week..

          • Do you understand the fundamental differences between Reformed and Roman Catholicism? It can’t be dodged by a caricature of Church attendees and “these things don’t matter if you’re a real Christian.” One’s “outward appearance” reflects what’s in one’s heart and one’s relationship with Christ. Division is not what God intended or desires in His Body. It’s not about “traditions”.

          • dannybhoy

            If a Church has persecuted or tortured other people in the name of Christ, on what authority did they do so? Did our Lord tell them personally through t

          • As Jack keeps having to repeat – because indefectibility is only assured in matters of faith and morals and not in temporal matters. Because the human organisations is run by sinful men. Ergo, it will makes mistakes in human affairs and there will be clerics who sin.

          • ardenjm

            As you’ve been explaining over and over again for years…

          • If just one person understands and the scales fall from his eyes, it will have been worth the effort.

          • dannybhoy

            Right, so in fact apart from it’s claim to have been founded by Saint Peter, and the concept ( cos it’s not in Scripture as a fact), of Apostolic succession, (so it’s a tradition) there’s no difference.
            That the CofE is an errant daughter of Rome I can agree to, but otherwise the only sure lodestone for our faith is the Scriptures.
            What your Church has done in order to minimise confusion is on the basis of St Peter’s calling, gather to itself all kinds of authority based on tradition.

          • The Church’s claim to authority is most certainly grounded in scripture, as is Apostolic succession.

          • dannybhoy

            The Church Universal ie the Body of Christ, has authority; yes I agree.
            2nd Timothy 2
            ” You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; 2 and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. 3 Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. 5 And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. 6 It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.”
            Nothing there about apostolic succession in the sense the Catholic Church means it Jack.
            The NT writers stress that God is no respecter of persons…
            Acts 10:32 “34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. ”
            The NT is consistent in that the gospel is entrusted to faithful people. Faithful to whom? To God and his gospel of salvation. That is all.

          • dannybhoy

            Further to my comment below I remembered a passage in Galatians 2 (NRSVACE)
            “… And from those who were supposed to be acknowledged leaders (what they actually were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those leaders contributed nothing to me. 7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship…”
            Then I looked at Peter’s first letter, and I challenge anyone to find anything in his writings that is at variance with what we as (Protestant) Christians believe and seek to follow. Anything that exhorts us to follow the traditions of men rather than the clear teaching of Scripture
            And in fact Peter himself writes in 2:4..
            “Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5 like living stones, let yourselves be built[a] into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

          • What would you say are the fundamental differences between Reformed beliefs and Roman Catholicism Jack?

          • Answered that below ….

          • ardenjm

            If I may:
            On the level of Nature (i.e. how created realities exercise their being)
            1. The Analogy of Being.
            2. Secondary Causation.
            3. Freewill.
            All of which are more or less denied by major proponents of the Reformed “tradition”.
            On the level of Grace (i.e. the givens of Revelation)
            1. Mankind is not absolutely corrupted by Original Sin.
            2. Divine Election is not arbitrarily decided by a whim-driven unscrutable God (may as well become a Muslim if you want to travel down that line.)
            3. Augustine was right, but only when understood via Aquinas (remarkably Calvin is more Thomist than most Calvinists who are Calvin on steroids) and the whole by the Church: God’s grace ALWAYS comes first in our salvation by virtue of the Loving-Goodness of the Eternal God.
            4. Justification (and sanctification) are intrinsic not extrinsic: none of this simul justus et peccator.
            5. The Church is part of God’s Providential plan of salvation: Christ, her Head, works through His Church in order to give His saving, sacramental grace to save sinners. (Our Lady and the Saints and the Sacraments all fit in here.)
            6. Scripture is only (fully) understandable – as the Ethiopian eunuch came to understand thanks to St Philip’s mediation – within the Living Tradition which the Church received as the Deposit of the Faith.
            7. The Reformed “tradition” hasn’t maintained a fully realistic understanding of the Incarnation which is what leads to its rationalising of the Church as a (purely) “spiritual” reality. This allows Protestants to gloss of the uncomfortable (yet undeniable) fact that Protestantism is fragmented in its essential nature and so has lost part of the fullness of the Truth that Christ promised to His Church.

            There are other things but these are all pretty fundamental…

          • That’s what Jack meant to say ….. (exits stage left)

          • ardenjm

            Ah but what’s the point of all of the above “if I have not love”?
            Sleep peaceful in your bed, Jack!

          • Anton

            Why do you bang on about the Incarnation in relation to the Reformation? Neither side reckoned it was about that.

            Christian philosophers like you take God to be impassible, without ‘passions.’ Some authors distinguish this from ‘impassive’ and say that God is without only moods and bodily appetites; others say that he is without feelings generally. Inspired by Calvin, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1646 asserted God’s immutability and impassibility, even though Israel’s prophets spoke from the tension between God’s love of Israel and his anger at Israel’s sin. Thomas Aquinas’ earlier Catholic work had been no better than Calvin’s on the subject. The god of these philosopher-theologians is a remote Creator – in other words they are Deists. (Islam has a similar view of the Creator.) How discouraging to intercessory prayer is that? In fact we have enough in common with God – we are in the image of God – to permit relationship. So let us hold to the simple biblical view of a Father whom we can know and trust.

          • ardenjm

            I emphasise the Incarnation because it’s manifest in the 500 years since Luther’s revolt that the movements that emerged from that revolt have, by and large, abandoned the Truth of the Faith or have so thoroughly compromised it that he would no longer recognise them as Christian. For example: Whereas he and all the Reformers accepted and affirmed that Mary was Theotokos – the Mother of God – hardly any “Reformed” Christians today would say this without qualification.
            Why? Because of an inadequate understanding of the Hypostatic Union. Which is to say, therefore, of the Incarnation and what it changes in God’s Divine Nature (NOTHING) and what it changes in the human nature (assumed from the Blessed Virgin) by the Divine Word: a superelevation of that human nature to union (not confusion) with God.

            Likewise, God “who does not change” James 1vs17, with an “unchanging nature of his purpose” Hebrews 6vs17, He who “remains faithful for he cannot disown himself” 2Tim2vs13 most certainly does NOT suffer in His Divine Nature. Why? Because He is Good! And since He IS Good(ness) itself, there is nothing in Him nor of Him which is not good. That’s precisely why He can create freely “loving us first” out of pure generosity and not in any distant Deistic way, nor in any way that looks to obtain something He needs from His creatures. It is pure Gift. It is, in otherwords: Grace.
            This isn’t what you patronisingly call Christian philosophy. This is all solid Biblical doctrine. How ironic that it’s a Catholic who has to school you in it.

          • Anton

            Funny then that nobody called Mary the “mother of God” in the church that wrote the New Testament.

            You are truly hung up on the Incarnation as the core issue of the Reformation when the simple fact, shorn of philosophical clouds of empty verbiage, is that both Catholics and protestants believe that Christ is God incarnate. And you ducked the issue of impassibility.

          • ardenjm

            I don’t duck the issue of God not suffering in His Divine nature AT ALL.
            The notion that God would suffer in His divine nature introduces change into the Biblical doctrine of God’s changlessness. To suffer is precisely to experience a grief caused by something outside or other than you that can cause that grief or suffering in you. This is so completely NOT the Biblical doctrine of God on two fronts: God doesn’t change and God is eternal Beatitude, Bliss, Joy.
            You can try and deify your miserabilism if you want. For my part I’m sticking with a God who in His Divine Joy is NEVER attained by any misery whatsoever. I’m looking forward to “sharing in the joy of my master”.

            If you had a better understanding of the Incarnation (it’s not your fault, the slow decay of sound Incarnational theology begins at the Reformation) you’d understand the communication of idioms in the hypostatic union which makes it meaningful to talk of God suffering and dying in Christ – but only in so far as His human nature not His Divine nature. But since the He this happens to, is the PERSON of the Son, and thus God, it is fitting to speak of God’s Death and Resurrection in Christ. Just as it is fitting to speak of Mary being Mother of the Person who is God: The Son.

            As for nobody calling Mary Mother of God in the Church that wrote the New Testament? Good grief. Take it up with St Elizabeth. You reckon when she called Mary, “The Mother of My Lord” she WASN’T referring to her Divine Lord? You reckon the Holy Spirit inspired St Elizabeth with the belief that Mary was pregnant with a non-divine VIP? Even if you DO decide to rationalise away the Faith in that way, reducing the Messiah to a human figurehead, that’s merely your interpretation and, frankly, your magisterial authority is worth diddly squat as far as I’m concerned.

          • I would pray with most if not all Protestants on this blog.

          • Well, yes, because this is a self selected group. Would you pray with the Archbishop of Canterbury?

          • carl jacobs

            self selected group

            Well, Jack. Unless you intend to pray with (or “along side of” or whatever) every Tom, Dick, and Wiccan who happens to come along (something you have said on this thread you would not do, btw) then you will be forced to admit that any act of corporate prayer involves a self-selected group, and your point is completely vitiated.

            Yes, I would pray with the AoC. I think he is a weak vacillating coward. But he has never given me reason to doubt he is a Brother.

          • Interesting response. Wonder if all the protestants on here would join the AoC in communal prayer. There’s a few one suspects would not. Jack would even though he considers his actual Christian beliefs mistaken – his character and leadership qualities wouldn’t come into it.

            Along with context and format, these are important qualifiers that you dsmiss:“to pray with (or along side of or whatever)”. Bet you’d never say a “Hail Mary”, although Wellby might. You’d be praying to your God and Jack would pray to his for some mutually agreed intention.

          • carl jacobs

            You are correct. Prayer is an act of worship and belongs to God alone.

          • “You are correct”
            Is that irony?

          • carl jacobs

            OK, OK. See edit.

          • dannybhoy

            On the basis that he requests prayer as a fellow Christian and not because he is currently Archbishop, yes.

          • Of course you would Danny. Jack would expect no less from you. Heck, you already study scripture with Catholics. It’s JT’s answer Jack is interested in.

          • i Would like to think we could as brothers. Until his recent equivocating about SSM etc I would have given an unqualified yes. But many of these ar academic questions and I’m answering from a position of not knowing much about these figures. Context and mutual understanding is everything. From what I have read of the meeting of primates I understand why some refused to pray with others; they would not give those advocating gay relationships the credit of being Christians. To pray together in this context would have implied all are brothers in Christ and that premise was in serious doubt.

            A long discussion today HJ. I can’t respond to your other points just now. I shall endeavour to do so tomorrow. In the meantime we can pray that we may be each enlightened by the Spirit and that iron may sharpen iron.


          • Indeed. An enlightening discussion and enjoyable.
            God Bless.

          • carl jacobs

            And you define “Protestant” … how exactly?

          • Those Western Christians who reject Roman Catholicism through acceptance of the Five Solas.

          • carl jacobs

            I would pray with any Protestant according to that defintion.

          • And those who disagree with your interpretation of scripture and its application?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, Jack. That’s implicit it what I said. A Methodist will disagree with about some things. A Baptist will disagree with me about other things. We still share the Five Solas.

          • Even if they support homosexual unions as permissible?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, because I allow for the possibility of gross ignorance and error. Believers can be honestly mistaken. The Holy Spirit will sort that out. But that is not the case for this man-centered religion of self-worship called Liberalism. I will have no fellowship with that.

          • Then you agree that there are those who support liberal praxis but are not modernist-progressives?

          • carl jacobs

            I agree that it is ridiculous to assert that Christianity is defined by perfect adherence to idealized perfect doctrine. That is an impossible threshold. It fails to account for the fact that men are finite limited creatures who grow and learn. I agree that He is mindful that we are dust, and I am glad. For I myself am imperfect and corrupt in what I believe.

            To answer you question directly. Yes, I agree that there are Christians who hold to liberal praxis. (Good example being WO.) Yes, I assert that this is dangerous and will lead to corruption over time if it is not addressed. But there are limits.
            Christianity has essential content that cannot be avoided: The nature of man, the nature of God, the person and work of Christ, the authority of Scripture. You can’t infinitely deviate. The question that must be answered is this. Does the Liberal praxis proceed from Liberal religion? That is not a difficult question to answer.

          • ardenjm

            “Christianity has essential content that cannot be avoided: The nature of man, the nature of God, the person and work of Christ, the authority of Scripture. You can’t infinitely deviate. The question that must be answered is this. Does the Liberal praxis proceed from Liberal religion? That is not a difficult question to answer.”

            True enough, not difficult at all. Not as soon as you’ve got a commitment to a Magisterium in any case – which is exactly what this answer is simply assuming – in unstated fashion, I might add.

            And which thus gives the lie to this statement with which it is in complete cognitive dissonance:

            “Because, you see, there is this idealized hypothesized RCC into which the deposit of faith is supposedly made. This church doesn’t actually exist anywhere. It’s an abstract construct. Then there is the real actual living breathing RCC that is run by a heretical Pope and his Consigliere.”

            You recuperate all of these functions and roles, Carl, in one way or another. Tweak them and rename them with Protestant equivalants and then point to your octagonal shape and say to Our Lord, “see we’ve invented your wheel for you!”

          • Perspicacious.

          • Well, from your first paragraph, it is difficult to answer. Jack agrees with the rest of your post. Most especially about you being corrupt and imperfect.

          • carl jacobs

            Most especially about you being corrupt and imperfect.

            See, this is what I get for being honest. A quick punch in the kidneys.

            No, I don’t see it as particularly relevant that I may or may not have taken advantage of the opportunity provided and said the same thing. That’s completely beside the point.

          • Mortification of the body too!

          • Because you’ve blocked him, here’s Ardenjm;s response:

            “Christianity has essential content that cannot be avoided: The nature of man, the nature of God, the person and work of Christ, the authority of Scripture. You can’t infinitely deviate. The question that must be answered is this. Does the Liberal praxis proceed from Liberal religion? That is not a difficult question to answer.”

            True enough, not difficult at all. Not as soon as you’ve got a commitment to a Magisterium in any case – which is exactly what this answer is simply assuming – in unstated fashion, I might add.

            And which thus gives the lie to this statement with which it is in complete cognitive dissonance:

            “Because, you see, there is this idealized hypothesized RCC into which the deposit of faith is supposedly made. This church doesn’t actually exist anywhere. It’s an abstract construct. Then there is the real actual living breathing RCC that is run by a heretical Pope and his Consigliere.”

            You recuperate all of these functions and roles, Carl, in one way or another. Tweak them and rename them with Protestant equivalants and then point to your octagonal shape and say to Our Lord, “see we’ve re-invented your wheel for you!”>

          • carl jacobs

            I blocked him for a reason. Do you think I will respond to a re-post?

          • No, but his points are valid and worth serious consideration.

          • carl jacobs

            I have blocked four people on this weblog, and all for the same reason. I didn’t want to deal with attitude. I understand what you are doing, so please don’t take this as a personal rebuke. But if I wanted to consider ardenjm’s points – valid or not – I wouldn’t have blocked him in the first place.

          • ardenjm

            Other than those who are truly foaming at the mouth and who need some kind of medical attention, I can’t see any reason at all for blocking anyone – and would be doubly vigilant not to do so when it’s simply with those I disagree with.
            I’ve never blocked anyone and can’t imagine (on this blog in any case) a reason for doing so. How fatuously thin-skinned!
            Also: the post you’ve re-posted on my behalf is accurate and pertinent – and carl jacobs has no real answer to it….

          • There is no answer to your post that doesn’t require dropping “sola scriptura”; a dishonest invention necessary to justify the protestant revolution and give it a cover of biblical authenticity. It’s fruit is the diabolical doctrine of double predestination, a contorted and twisted invention. Without it, the whole edifice of reformed theology it supports, would collapse. One wonders if the liberal-progressive heresies are a reaction to its horror. Not only does it go against scripture, contradicting God’s revealed nature, is it manifestly false and horrifies the sense of faith. Do the majority of everyday protestants actually comprehend it? Just think what it makes of our Saviour’s loving sacrifice and His Father’s Justice and Mercy. Truthfully, it makes Jack shudder. And to think they argue Rome is the anti-Christ!

            “Come out of her, my people, that you may not be involved in her guilt, nor share the plagues that fall upon her.”

          • Dominic Stockford

            I imagine it is the type of personal abuse in your comment above that brings people to block you.

          • ardenjm

            Not my experience. I’ve noticed that pro-abortionists block me, for example, when I answer everyone of their spurious justifications for killing unborn babies and they can’t answer back. I’ve noticed that Islamic fundamentalists block me when I refuse to pretend that Mohammed wasn’t a child-raping terrorist. I’ve noticed that certain kinds of Protestants block me when I point out that they have basically Pontified themselves and made their own Magisterium more or less infallible. Like you, for instance.
            And Cranmer prevented me from posting on his earlier iteration of his blog, when I pointed out his creepy obsession with the Catholic Church led him to both i) vehemently subscribe to the 39 articles on the blasphemous nature of the Mass and ii) still sneak up to Communion in St Peter’s, Rome to take Holy Communion. Either it was a purely sacriligeous act – given his ardent Cranmerism or it was a weird quest for validation from what he recognises as the mother Church. In any case it was pride-filled. He tried to justify it. He failed. So he blocked the messenger of his failure: me.
            In any case: I can’t recollect blocking anyone, no matter how personally abusive they become, certainly never on disqus (and my own comments are entirely open). Why? Why look at this: because I REALLY believe people have the right to say whatever they like – no matter how stupid or mendacious it makes them look. In the end, the Truth comes through. It just does. So, for example, all your dreary anti-Catholic bigotry, for example: Happy Jack is still here, still countering your lies, still patiently explaining to you all the stuff you were so pitifully taught in Seminary. And here is Cressida, reminding you that you will have to answer to God for repudiating with such spite the priesthood you voluntarily and freely accepted. Both of them are doing you a great service – and I hope & pray – that you will be in a position to thank them, and God, for that grace, one day.

          • Please desist from your petty defamation and lies that you were ever blocked. This blog has been a bastion of robust free speech for 12 years. There was no facility on the primitive Blogger platform to block anyone, which is a matter of factual technological record. You only have to consider the enormous latitude that people have to comment here (including your perpetual stream of insults and smeary sexual innuendo – none of which has been deleted or ‘blocked’) to see that the likelihood of your having been being blocked is zero. So please stop lying.

          • ardenjm

            I agree – and thank you, genuinely – that you haven’t blocked me here but if you were honest you would, indeed, recall how you wiped my posts on the previous iteration of your blog.
            That is the case, Adrian. And you know it. There’s nothing diffamatory to it. But I appreciate that you choose not to do so any longer.
            As for sexual innuendo, no. It’s not innuendo. Your posts are quite often bitchy, catty and gay. I don’t call innuendo. I call it plain-speaking. Your spats with Damian Thompson, for example, are typical of two gay men having a cat fight.

          • You appear not to recognise the difference between intelligent freedom of speech on political and theological matters, and a personal animus, almost an obsession against this blog’s host and owner. The former is encouraged, as unpleasant as it occasionally may be, but there is no reason at all why anyone should put up with the childish, smeary, vindictive and persistent agenda you appear to have. DT has never been responded to or engaged with. There is no dialogical “spat” at all: it is all one-sided. Whatever you adduce from whatever you have imagined or fabricated is simply a manifestation of your personal vitriol, indeed, deeply uncharitable, un-Christian vendetta. So, please either desist or courteously withdraw. If you persist in it, you will indeed be blocked because life’s just too short.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I am most fortunate to have Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Infallible and inerrant Word of God to keep me on the straight and narrow. The comments from such as you mention help me to retain my mettle, and to remember that there are many out there who would rather turn to the thoughts of sinful man than to those of God, in His Revelation to us of His truth.

            It is, in the end, how you say what you say. And I repeat that it is probably your ad hominem comments that causes people to block you.

          • Cressida de Nova

            “fatuously think – skinned ” is very mild banter.considering the vicious insults that are hurled about on this blog.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Excellent answer.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Key question.

          • And is there really one Catholic faith. Despite a nominal unity is not the Catholic Church in reality as disunified and fragmented as Protestantism.

            In any case once again I would say true unity is not structural but spiritual. Christ prayed that his church may be one. If he meant there should be a visible structural organisational unity then his prayer has gone unheeded. If so, we must question whether anything else he asks the Father on our behalf is answered affirmatively. But of course he was not thinking about structural denominational unity but spiritual unity (I in you, you in me, us in them unity). And this prayer is answered for where true believers discover each other they have a unity in Christ that transcends and makes a mockery of denominational unity. It is a unity of spiritual life and light. The life and light in each may need to grow and mature for the oneness to be fully realised but it exists from the moment of birth. From his birth I had a unity a oneness with my son (my wife and I have this ‘one flesh’ through marriage). In both family relationships (son and wife) the oneness deepens and grows with time and maturity. But it exists from the beginning. Such is the unity for which Christ prayed. And his prayer has been answered affirmatively.

          • There is only one authentic Deposit of Faith. Of course, people will disagree about it and debate it. That’s how the Church develops in the fullness of Truth.

          • dannybhoy

            Which Church? The Church Universal aka the Body of Christ, or the Roman Catholic Church?

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. I’m tempted to write Jack’s reply, but .. I’ll let him spout RC dogma.

          • Feel free. See if you can think and write as a Catholic would. It’ll be good practice for you. Jack will score your reply.

          • ardenjm

            (Fake it till you make it.)

          • Anton

            Sola power!

          • carl jacobs

            Because, you see, there is this idealized hypothesized RCC into which the deposit of faith is supposedly made. This church doesn’t actually exist anywhere. It’s an abstract construct. Then there is the real actual living breathing RCC that is run by a heretical Pope and his Consigliere.

            One suddenly understands why this idealized RCC must be wished into existence.

          • Stubborn resistance is futile, Carl, and sinful.

          • carl jacobs

            You made me laugh.

          • Anton

            Stop thinking in hierarchies. The New Testament doesn’t.

          • ardenjm

            Well to be fair. It does. It just inverts them.
            Which is precisely why, when the Patriarch of Constantinople gave himself the modest title of Oecumenical Patriarch, Pope St Gregory gave himself one better (than Universal Patriarch!) He added to his list of pontifical titles the one which should most accurately reflect his Petrine office:
            Servant of the Servants of God.

          • Anton

            Didn’t someone once say something about people who sit in the best seats in the synagogue?

          • ardenjm

            Err which is exactly the point I’ve just made.
            When St Bonaventure received news that he was to be made a Cardinal, he was in the kitchen, doing the washing up.
            St Francis honoured the Bishop of Rome, and rightly so: you can hardly accuse the Poverello of not “getting” it on the priority of the Ordo Caritatis!

      • If my separation from others who claim to be Christians is merely denominationally founded I am in grave sin. Schism is evil.

      • Len

        This is not denominational but standing on the truth of scripture.

    • Len

      ‘This is atheist heaven’.
      This says a lot about you Sarky but I’m afraid the jokes on you.Satan has authority over you and you don’t even believe he exists.

      • Sarky

        Then how can he have authority over me?

        • Len

          There are two options as to whose authority we are under, Christ or Satan.
          There is no middle ground.Adam surrendered his authority to Satan.We are either the children of Adam by natural birth , or we have been reborn (from above, the Spirit of God) and children of God.

  • Len

    I suppose to some (Sarky, and others) the refusal by some Christians to refuse to participate with prayer with others who call themselves’ Christians’ is a source of amusement, and to others a sense of bewilderment. In these times of great deception one needs to be very careful of’ guarding ones heart’ and being aware of the oncoming ecumenical movement. This ecumenical movement will be seen a a ‘good thing ‘ by many people, and those who refuse to participate will be seen as fundamentalists , divisive, and ‘ all round bad guys’. Its already happening!.
    The public has been bombarded with propaganda by the Media and now some of the most perverse things have been accepted as ‘normal’ , and even by the church.
    Satan is the master deceiver and he will present the ecumenical movement as’ a good thing’ for all concerned. The Pope seems to have already fallen for it , also the C of E and others.

    • Royinsouthwest

      You managed to write 10 lines without a single mention of the victims of the massacre.

  • not a machine

    primates possibly sounds like a high end dating site for the good looking , that aside whilst bishops seem to be wanting to dissolve shared moments of prayer , due to embarrassment of not being from the area being prayed for , I consider we have had more hopeful times.
    In Manchester we find a struggling speech , but wait was the content any good ??? given the pm could have roared like savanah lioness pack , sounded to me like some else lines , cough sweet giver , noting also energy was absent was absent from cough sweet giver speech ? .Still in EU deal struck in luxmbourg for large internet company to save gazillions using a special company ,mmm luxenbourg , seems to crop up a lot , who was president of little country….meanwhile Catalonia has been deemed an internal matter for Spain and Spain seems to have forgotten the 1930s and its experimental replication of what happened in 1940 and in an ufortunate twist the King Philipee has decided not to speak for all of Spain ,so the EUs terrible rule continues ….Macron selling off the French Silver ?? moi just working for on message coproate rich (who perhaps now bank in Frankfurt) sacre blue ,I would have thought selling Alstrom would have required a very clear and transparent explanation of wealth transfer/improvement thinking for the French people.
    How about give Mrs May a chance to do whole speech again when voice is better on Andrew Pravda show ….err too much cough sweet in it for me

    • not a machine

      so was cough sweet giver working with Dr Crippen (of wentworth) and his druges ,??? oh shit Ive been getting shot by my own side haven’t I ??? dishonest corrupt bastards,

  • How petty!

  • Don Benson

    It’s easy enough to dive in with excoriating judgement when headlines put a truly
    embarrassing spotlight on the dirty linen of a church in schism. However, the
    explanation for this pretty unhealthy situation lies in a history of manipulation and dishonesty which culminated in events following the 2016 primates’ gathering. Those who are unaware of the misleading spin, the artful timing, and the subsequent reneging on agreement may not understand why there’s good reason that trust no longer exists and suspicion is everywhere.

    And it’s not unreasonable to note that, once again, those whose prime concern is that faithfulness to Biblical standards are upheld and that agreement in good faith is honoured somehow end up looking like the baddies. Were they set up for this or was it just the worst of unfortunate timing and a less than gracious comment? We’ll probably never know, but what we can say for sure is that God cannot be honoured by an Anglican Communion that does not have integrity – starting at the top and spreading out to all its members.

    • David

      True unity must be based around respecting God’s Word and following it, despite the changing mores of culture.

      • Yes. There is only one kind of genuine love and it is ‘love in the truth’.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Of the clergymen involved in this business who has shown the most love, or any love at all, to the victims of the massacre.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Is that a question?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Yes. I have edited it to replace the full stop with the question mark that I should have used.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            I was interested what people might say. I don’t feel I could answer it myself.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I am afraid that in this case hose “those whose prime concern is that faithfulness to Biblical standards” have behaved in a way that does make the the baddies. I hope that the Revd Canon Andrew Gross was not really speaking for those who he is supposedly the mouthpiece for and was merely giving his own views.

      There is a time and place for everything. To say that it is painful to pray with those he disagrees with is a grotesque and gratuitous insult to those who are suffering real pain – the survivors of the massacre who are recovering in hospital and their families and friends and the families and friends of the dead.

      Since when have hard hearts had anything to do with “faithfulness to Biblical standards.”

  • jsampson45

    I guess one can pray with anyone. Saying “Amen” is a different matter. Often it is a case of “You are addressing God with some interesting ideas which I disagree with, doubt or would have to go and look up.”

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector sides with the Canon.

    You see, terrible as it was, this massacre is just another example of man’s inhumanity to other men in gun delirious USA. The last time he looked up the statistics, an amazing 30 people every calendar day are slain by the gun there. (Note. Figures exclude other means of death). This one event is a mere spike in a terrible toll. (We won’t go into the disturbing truth that the great majority of the victims normally are inner-city types who have been gunned down before they themselves could do a bit of gun killing, or add to an existing total)

    What is of higher importance is the imminent civil war between Protestant Christian churches in this world. True, no one will be killed in this civil war (hopefully) but the churches concerned will turn inwardly to fight each other rather than spread the word of God. But then, what worth is a word of God that allows two men to cleave together and raise a sadly conceived fashion accessory of a son. (The lesbians doing the baby farming business get to keep the child if it’s a girl)

    So, let it come as no surprise to anyone when it kicks off in earnest, this civil war. For as it stands, one side won’t even pray with the other. Rightly so, one might add.

    • When did you stop attending Mass? You don’t accept the Divinity of Christ. How then can you participate in a celebration where such a belief is fundamental?

      • Inspector General


    • RobinHMasters

      The last time he looked up the statistics, an amazing 30 people every calendar day are slain by the gun there.

      And unless one kills oneself with a gun, or involves oneself in gang warfare, it’s nearly statistically impossible to be included in the statistics.

  • Martin

    What a dreadful prayer, clearly that man has no conception of what Christianity is about. We are not all brothers and sister, we are not all children of God. I can understand Christians being upset at the heresy that comes out of the mouth of this evil man. And no, I don’t think Christians should pray with popes, not that many of the CoE bishops give evidence of being Christians.

    Oh, and let’s remind ourselves of what Jesus would have said:

    And he answered them, Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
    (Luke 13:2-5 [ESV])

    • “And John answered, Master, we saw a man who does not follow in our company casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him to do it. But Jesus said, Forbid him no more; the man who is not against you is on your side.” (Luke 9:40)

      • Len

        But they are against us, because we follow Gods Word!

      • Indeed. And this text must be balanced with other texts warning us to beware of false teachers and prophets. Jesus is countering the fleshly exclusivity to which we are so easily attracted, to dismiss out of hand and without investigation those who don’t belong to ‘our gang’. But there is a spiritual exclusivity that is commendable and not fleshly. When we see unrepentant heresy and apostasy we must separate ourselves from it for it is evil.

        • But …. another message being …. not to be too quick to dismiss a person either because they may be in error, not a wilful heretic or apostate, or, alternatively have something to contribute.

          Incidentally, that’s a good reason for the CDF, a settled body of dogma and doctrine which permits room for growth and development and a formal Church structure for examining the fruits of this process to ensure the integrity of belief.

          • Martin


            He looks like a wilful apostate to me.

          • Most folk do ….

      • Martin


        So put that against:

        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 the gospel that Paul preached is this:

        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.
        (Ephesians 2:1-7 [ESV])

        I don’t see anything about our choice there. Nor does Clement seem to see it:

        1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ
        Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or
        understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart,
        but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have
        been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

        Indeed, Clement seems to be a calvinist.

        • *Sigh*

          A perfectly Catholic sentiment expressed by Pope Clement . Did you the word miss the word “called”? No one is forced to answer and no one has faith imposed upon them.

          God didn’t create “good” and “bad” robots. True love only comes from a free choice of the will – love isn’t genuine if there’s no other option.

          “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
          (Deuteronomy 30:19)

          God pleads with people to repent Why? Because such repentance is meaningful – in other words, a genuine choice or decision must be made. Through grace, God has to open a person’s eyes in order for them to reach that point in the first place. Yet, the Bible is absolutely clear that that human choice remains utterly meaningful and is required. You effectively say that all of our decisions have already made for us by God – there’s nothing we can do.

          • Martin


            “are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith”

            That sounds remarkably like sola fide to me. Nothing one does causes our justification, it is faith alone.

            Of course Deuteronomy isn’t about salvation but about the nation of Israel.

            And since the natural man can do nothing to please God the natural man cannot repent. First God’s grace must save the sinner, then he may repent. The Bible says nothing about human choice being required for salvation, although the Bible does command meneverywhere to repent.

          • Catholics believe we are saved by faith – just not faith alone. We also believe grace, available to all, moves us initially towards repentance and justification.

            The Catholic Church does not teach that we earn our salvation by our own efforts, although it does teach that we have to work on our salvation. She teaches that we can be saved only by God’s grace. Saint Paul never says that our righteousness comes from faith alone – only that it comes from faith and not the works of the Mosaic law.

            Excerpts from the Catechism:

            – Grace is favour, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.

            – This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative …. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will ….

            – The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification.

            – The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace ….

            – Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us ….

            – God’s free initiative demands man’s free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him ….

            – Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us ….


            Read the actual text for all the scriptural references.

          • Martin


            Funny that, what does the Bible say:

            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.
            (Ephesians 2:8-9 [ESV])

            Seems to me you are in direct contradiction to what the Bible says. God’s grace is such that it saves, it needs nothing else. Why would you imagine that you could do anything toward your salvation?

  • Len

    It seems that we (as Christians ) are all on ‘Gods threshing floor’.The wheat is being separated from the chaff.
    Do we hold true to Gods Word or do we capitulate in the name of political correctness, the fear of man , the fear of disapproval, opposing our religious teachers ,etc.

    • Chefofsinners

      Jesus’ chosen analogy is wheat and tares (Matthew 13). The angels are instructed to let them grow together until harvest, when their end will be very different: one will shine, the other will burn.

    • not a machine

      I know len , but I don’t think we should be converting our faith to the problems of the church ,I find myself doing it sometimes , why the bible illuminates and not a chat about psychology I don’t know , but I am sure where we can live to god , we find grace .

  • Len

    If Welby hoped by compromising with the liberal wing of the C of E he would achieve some sort of ‘harmony’ in the C of E he was gravely mistaken.

  • Chefofsinners

    Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
    uttered or unexpressed;
    the motion of a hidden fire
    that trembles in the breast.

    Prayer is the simplest form of speech
    that infant lips can try,
    prayer the sublimest strains that reach
    the Majesty on high.

    Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
    the Christian’s native air,
    his watchword at the gates of death:
    he enters heaven with prayer.

    Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,
    returning from his ways;
    while angels in their songs rejoice,
    and cry, ‘Behold, he prays!

    The saints in prayer appear as one,
    in word and deed and mind;
    while with the Father and the Son
    sweet fellowship they find.

    Nor prayer is made on earth alone:
    the Holy Spirit pleads,
    and Jesus on the eternal throne
    for sinners intercedes.

    O Thou by whom we come to God,
    the Life, the Truth, the Way,
    the path of prayer thyself hast trod:
    Lord, teach us how to pray!

    • Dominic Stockford

      Great hymn.

  • Don Benson

    I see, Your Grace, that you retweeted Gavin Ashenden’s link to his typically superb piece on the utterly disgraceful treatment of Felix Ngole at Sheffield University. Yet it is precisely the same forces, which have caused this young Christian student from Cameroon to be purged from his education, that are ranged against the Primates at Canterbury who have received such a bad press today. (And it’s no surprise that not a single Church of England bishop sees fit to defend this young black Christian man who expected freedom of speech in Britain when he wouldn’t get it back in Cameroon.)

    It doesn’t matter whether these forces are dressed up as an Archbishop of Canterbury or in position as a professor at Sheffield University who happens to be an LGBT activist; if they are captivated by the same ideology they will be led to show the same lack of concern for truths and freedoms which, only a decade or two ago, were inviolable. What right thinking and freedom loving person can joyfully share relaxed fellowship with such company. I have huge sympathy with the Primates, currently in Canterbury, who are expected to do business with those whose loyalty is now so ambiguous and whose intentions are anything but transparent.

    Jesus was regularly mocked, misrepresented and maligned; they tried to trap him and finally trumped up spurious charges against him. It’s no different for his true followers today. My heroes are those who still dare to speak up.

  • Chefofsinners

    These bishops have chosen to be members of the same organisation and to be leaders in that organisation. They have flown from the four corners of the earth to be together. They talk to each other and eat together. If they cannot pray together then they should reevaluate some of the above decisions.

  • Chefofsinners

    In light of the objections raised over Bishop Curry, prayers will now be led by Theresa May of COFCON, the Conservative Conference. “Lord, bless the Church O Englan… ahem…excuse me…cough…splutter…P45…”

  • Len

    We approach the Throne of Grace through Jesus Christ and if we dishonor the teachings of Christ we have no right to be there.
    Better nothing than compromise.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Did anyone here watch the programme Reformation: Europe’s Holy War by David Starkey on Tuesday Evening?

    Even if you didn’t, the linked Radio Times summary gives the main thrust of his argument.

    • dannybhoy

      No, but I’ll watch it on BBC i player..

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes. He managed to de-spiritualise the whole matter – as if the actions of individuals were nothing to do with sincerely held faith in Christ, but mere political actions taken for personal gain.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        He doesn’t seem to have any inking of the import of what was argued over. If that is really the case, then with him E porco nihil praeter grunnitum.

        But it’s when he starts talking about Jihad that I fear he’s really out of his depth.

  • I could not have said ‘Amen’ to that prayer. Mr Curry was praying for the dead and was making Universalist assumptions.
    But when one comes to gatherings such as this, one is implicitly saying that one is in fellowship with all the others there. If that is not the case, it is better simply not to be there so as to avoid problems such as this. I believe one or more Nigerian bishops stayed away for that very reason.
    I shall be attending the FIEC Leaders’ meeting in Torquay next month. More than 550 churches will be represented. All those attending will have subscribed to the FIEC doctrinal basis within the past year. There may be a few with whom I might disagree on the subject of baptism, and others who have differing views on spiritual gifts, Bible versions or hymnody, but we shall be united in Christ and on the truth and sufficiency of the Bible. On secondary matters, ‘May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God’ (Romans 15:5-7, ESV).

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Regarding the prayer itself, I find a certain tension between John 1:12-13 and Acts 17:27-28.

      Regarding univeralism, though, here is the end of a chapter by G.K.Chesterton THE OPTIMIST AS A SUICIDE

      And the modern universalist and humanitarian thought they were simplifying things when they interpreted the great truth that God is Love, as meaning that there can be no war with the demons or no danger to the soul. But in fact they were inventing even darker riddles with even wilder answers; and Mr. Clarence Darrow has suggested one of them. He will be gratified to receive the thanks of all Catholics for doing so.

      • Regarding the prayer itself, I find a certain tension between John 1:12-13 and Acts 17:27-28

        I don’t think there is any real tension.
        God is the Father of all men on the very restricted grounds that He is responsible for their existence. Yet the Lord Jesus said to certain individuals, “You are of your father, the devil!” (John:8:44). It is simply the difference between physical and spiritual sonship.

  • betteroffoutofit

    Your Grace – I note that both principals in this ado are American —– one Episcopalian, and one Anglican. In short, I would note that they disagree on their home turf, and Gross has brought their quarrel here.

    I say this because, some years ago, I used to attend an Episcopal church where a good 70 percent of the membership and clergy upped and left: because of TEC policy regarding homosexual bishops and clergy.

    Those who left then established a new community under the local Anglican banner. However, much as I agreed, and supported them on the main issue, I found them to be most unChristian in other behaviours of their own, such as participation in Marxist-style smearing and defamation campaigns. I suspect economics played some part in the game, as those Anglicans built themselves a hugely expensive and flashy new church some way up the road.

    So – what with that and the Episcopals’ fondness for empowered (?)female clergy — I turned my back on both their houses. The problem was not whether I could pray the prayers they prayed (very often from your own beautiful BCP), for I wanted to, and could, and did — The problem was whether I could participate in the unChristian worldly policies they practiced in their houses.

    And here today they present a similar dilemma. Is not Bishop Curry trying to be Christian? Is not Canon Gross being unChristian in his refusal to pray to God for the salvation of his own countrymen? After all, neither one of them is addressing his own worldly house; both are participating the Lord’s larger world. Those who may have reservations about the theology of the prayer can quietly attest to those doubts with the Lord . . . who will understand.