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Church of England

Martyn Percy: Justin Welby “is preparing the ground for a complete volte-face on human sexuality”

Here follows Martyn Percy’s response to Adrian Hilton’s second letter on ‘Renewal & Reform’ and the ministry and leadership of Justin Welby. It was a simultaneous exchange with Hilton’s third letter to Percy, and brings this dialogue to an end.

Dear Adrian,

I am grateful for the care and concern you have taken with your previous two letters. I think we have a lot of common ground between us, and we clearly share some perceptions about the state of the Church of England and its current leadership. There is much to admire; even as there is much to question and critique.

So perhaps I can begin this epistle by saying that I do value the courage and directness of the Archbishops – both of them, indeed. They exhibit a very real freshness, and they radiate clarity. I am not surprised that the media like such character in both men, and that this fans a certain kind of populism. This, of itself, may not be a bad thing. But as the maxim goes, there are no bad foods; only bad diets. It is a question of balance, I think. It always is for Anglicans.

++Justin’s directness and clarity is borne out of a certain kind of courage. We saw shades of this with ++George Carey and his unequivocal advocacy of women priests. Other contenders for the See of St. Augustine in the early 1990s might have been more circumspect about ordaining women to the priesthood. ++George saw the need, read the signs of the times, and seized the moment. It was brave and decisive. The Church of England will always be grateful to him for this. He did not dither. He took action.

++Justin has done something similar with women bishops. There are slight differences in tone, however. ++George Carey made sure there were robust theological arguments in place for changes. ++Justin, in contrast, seems rather uninterested in such grounding. He also operates in a rather less collegial style than ++George.  ++Justin seems to be able to skilfully utilise a small-but-effective armoury of politicking weaponry to push his reforms through – he is clearly an able communicator and tactical politician. But because of this there is less buy-in from the wider church, and more alienation created by his changes and reforms. He seems to send quite intentional signals out to the wider church that this rather insistent and intimidating modus operandi is just fine: ‘the ends justify the means’. Indeed, John Spence, and other faithful lieutenants, do seem proudly to parrot this as a legitimising mantra.

That said, I am quietly confident that ++Justin is softening up the hard edges of conservative evangelicalism, and is preparing the ground for a complete volte-face on human sexuality. I applaud this, of course. I can also see that the best way to keep most of the church together on this issue is for an evangelical archbishop to declare a personal change of heart, and to move the polity to something more progressive from than point. A ‘liberal’ archbishop would be castigated for this, and never forgiven, in a way that an evangelical bishop can’t be. Because they can plausibly assume the mantle of a convert to a cause within the evangelical worldview – and in a way a liberal cannot appeal.

The changes can only be a few years off, in my view. ++Justin knows that the Church of England can have no real public or media credibility as a plausible body – so can’t do mission, and can’t recruit new clergy easily – if it carries on discriminating against LGBTQ Christians. The Church of England has to change. And ++Justin is clearly a change-agent.

We hear a lot about leadership these days, and the kinds of formation that takes a person and enables them to serve and inspire others. I like the current adverts for the Royal Navy: “I was born in Bolton, raised in Manchester, but made in the Royal Navy.” Leaders, it seems, are made, not born. And that is why education matters. As one former President of the USA said recently, “The presidency doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.” Character matters.  Erratic and self-regarding individuals will produce the fruits of their character in the offices and roles they inhabit. There is a lot to be said for leaders being – in the deepest sense of the word – ‘good’ people. Because, goodness me, we need goodness in our institutions and organisations.

But this is where I circle back to my earlier concerns. In a report on an earlier phase of ++Justin’s ministry – long before he began at Canterbury – a review of some of his work and areas of responsibility concluded that his staff, though highly motivated and dedicated, lacked good oversight and good management to enable them to develop and flourish. They had been made to work hard, and were glad to do so; but they were also often left to flounder. Concern was expressed about staff being put into positions of responsibility who ‘lacked gravitas’, who were still quite inexperienced, and so overly dependent on ++Justin’s leadership. At the same time, ++Justin was absent far too often to provide those same staff with appropriate mentoring.

The review went on to highlight the “lack of a Christian work ethos permeating the (ministry)” and the paucity of relationships with the immediate and wider church networks that were supposed to be supporting and hosting the work. Lack of processes, the absence of clear strategies that were commonly owned and carefully worked through, with gaps in transparency and accountability, were also highlighted as weaknesses. The report hints at excessive pragmatism, and a lack of underlying theology to help shape the ministry.

I’m afraid this all sounds slightly familiar. Under ++Justin, there is plenty of assertion and action, and some admirable pragmatism too. But the lack of reflection and collegiality – evident in the ‘Reform & Renewal’ agenda – is prefigured in this much earlier report. The same problems were evident in the ill-considered and overly-hasty judgment on Bishop George Bell. This was a case so chronically mishandled that it now requires a separate review to discern and weigh the evidence, in order for justice to be done. Act in haste, repent at leisure? Or, to paraphrase an earlier comment, becoming Archbishop doesn’t make you a leader. It merely reveals the kind of leader you already are.

In writing this, Adrian, I want to end by saying that I recognise and affirm the good that comes from any archiepiscopacy. ++Justin has courage, and is clear and direct. For some issues in the Church of England, this is precisely what is needed. But for others, it is not. And the question over the medium and long-term period of his archiepiscopacy will continue to hover on the balance of this. If he were able to spend more time in conscious collegial reflection – including drawing more widely on sources and interlocutors for his deliberations and decisions – I truly believe that the Church of England could flourish. That said, it is still far too early to say what ++Justin’s legacy will be. The signs, for the moment, seem to point in multiple, contrary directions.

Thank you for engaging in this correspondence. I know we will both continue to pray for the church, and for its leaders. And that we shall all seek to build up the body of Christ in this age, and in the ages to come.

Yours, as ever,

Martyn

  • Anton

    Don’t mention the Bible!

    • Andrew Price

      “Listen, don’t mention the Bible; I mentioned it once but got away with it”

  • CliveM

    I wonder how grounded Percy’s speculation on a supposed volte-face by Welby on human sexuality. Could Percy be trying to stir things and cause a bit of trouble?

    • Mike Stallard

      Lots of sex. Lots of women bishops. Lots of Gay clergy. Lots of gay marriage. Lots of women with serious careers desperate to break the glass ceiling. Lots of people desperately sad that America did not elect a Woman President.
      But.
      The birth rate is falling. There are fewer and fewer families. Lots of single Mums, less and less church marriages. Abortion rate per annum approaching a quarter of a million. We are dying out as an English nation. And we even mock ourselves as “male pale and stale”.
      But – hey! – we are ever so caring about the Fallen a hundred years ago. So we are utterly lovely.

  • john in cheshire

    Surely recent events have shown that we’ve had our fill of collectivism; socialism, marxism, greenism, fascism etc; what we as a nation want is to be left alone to live our lives as we think appropriate. On that basis there is a yearning by many people for organised religion to return to God. What we don’t want is more watering down of Christ’s message and I don’t think the C of E has yet got that message. If it remains a socialist meeting place, I think it will die and maybe that’s what it deserves.

  • Will Jones

    ‘++Justin knows that the Church of England can have no real public or media credibility as a plausible body – so can’t do mission, and can’t recruit new clergy easily – if it carries on discriminating against LGBTQ Christians.’

    The argument from mission has been widely discredited and it is disappointing (though not surprising) to see it repeated here. Churches throughout the world which have embraced the new view of human s3xuality have not seen a reversal in their fortunes, and in fact their decline has accelerated, not least because they are abandoned by the doctrinally orthodox while failing to make converts to a faith which has clearly drifted free of its own founding principles. Neither does the media pay them any more attention (after the initial announcement) because a religion which accepts the spirit of the age is not interesting. Meanwhile it is the evangelical and orthodox sections of the church, in this country and around the world, which are experiencing most vitality and growth (or, at least, least decline).

    This argument, from mission and inevitability, is frequently employed in place of sound biblical theological arguments, and it is disappointing to see Percy, who is so keen to see a greater role for theology in arguments for change, appealing to it again here.

    Rather than capitulating to the spirit of the age, the church at this time would do much better to stand up for religious freedom and the rights of conscience to dissent on key religious and moral matters from the prevailing view – which is not exactly a new concern, given that the freedom of the church was the very first clause of Magna Carta.

    • Mike Stallard

      “Rather than capitulating to the spirit of the age, the church at this time would do much better to stand up for religious freedom and the rights of conscience to dissent on key religious and moral matters from the prevailing view”.
      You ought to become a Catholic!

    • bluedog

      Excellent.

  • Mike Stallard

    My Dad was a Canon who served a very long ministry as a parish priest.
    His favourite joke: Scottish minister when asked how his Church was doing: (Please imagine a Cambridge educated man trying to do a Scottish accent here):
    “Awwh. Aye…. But thank God the Methuddists are doing nae better!”
    The more I look at the Anglicans from outside, the more I can see that they are rapidly becoming Methodists whose membership is now numbered in the tens of thousands.
    ++Justin – and anyone else – are not going to change this. It’s the Zeitgeist.

    • Anton

      Your father was a canon? You son of a gun, you…

      • Mike Stallard

        And believe it or not, the first Vicar of the parish was Rev Ball. The Bishop at the time is reported to have said: “Ball, I cannot resist making you a Canon.”

        • Anton

          Was he a loose canon?

          • Mike Stallard

            Your win!

    • Royinsouthwest

      If John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield were around today would there be any reason for them to consider joining the Methodist movement?

      • Mike Stallard

        Lovely rhetorical question!

  • len

    Our Christian Foundations have been under constant bombardment for Centuries. What Satan could not destroy at conception he contaminated and corrupted from within. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ goes on.
    What God has initiated He will see through to completion ,what Satan can tear down God can rebuild..
    Churches may come and go, theologies may be right of wrong, denominations rise and fall, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is going out into all the world and is unstoppable.

    • Mike Stallard

      In Singapore, Churches (all denominations) run services off one after another and the building usually contains literally thousands of people. The Mosques are still there, but nowhere near as fresh and evangelical.

  • len

    One might of thought that by some of the things Jesus said that He was actually trying to deter people from following Him.
    ‘The narrow path’, which is hard to find and even harder to follow.
    Rich men leaving behind their riches.
    ‘Take up your Cross,.’ (An instrument of execution)
    Don`t look back, to your old life.
    So there is a price to be paid to follow Christ. We cannot ‘ add Christ’ to our old life, our old ways. Christ is not ‘an insurance policy’ to protect our old life but a rebirth into a new life.

  • dannybhoy

    Right from when ‘Call me Davina’ declared his support for same sex marriage I knew it was only a matter of time before the CofE would have to choose between staying true to the teachings of Scripture or falling in line with the State gospel of harmony and inclusivity.
    If there was widespread evidence of Christians persecuting members of the LGBT community by throwing them off of buildings, stoning etc. I could accept the need for change.
    But there isn’t and we don’t.
    We treat all men and women with respect whilst not condoning aspects of human behaviour which contradict the clear teachings of Scripture. So we may disapprove of divorce, abortion, same sex relationships, but we don’t go around killing slandering or smashing up gay nightclubs..
    If the CofE decides to abandon the teachings of Scripture on human sexuality, it will be finished as a part of the Christian Church, and those who accept the authority of Scripture will have to accept that they may be seized at the altar rail by the newly formed Anglican Thought Police, and carted off for re-programming…
    In the Name of Parents One, Two and Three …..

    • bluedog

      It’s only a matter of time. CMD didn’t pick Welby out of obscurity to become ABofC simply because of the shared Etonian background, although that would have been no disadvatage. We can reasonably assume that questioning on social attitudes would have been part of the the interview process. More traditional candidates could well have expressed their opposition to SSM in vigorous terms. But one is forced to conclude that Welby’s selection for the Primacy by Cameron may have been conditional on showing a flexible approach to SSM and other gender issues.

      • Anton

        CMD?

  • The Explorer

    “That said, I am quietly confident that ++Justin is softening up the hard edges of conservative evangelicalism, and is preparing the ground for a complete volte-face on human sexuality. I applaud this, of course. I can also see that the best way to keep most of the church together on this issue is for an evangelical archbishop to declare a personal change of heart, and to move the polity to something more progressive from than point. ”

    Progress indeed. Now all we need is for God to do an about turn and come on board as well. Let’s get Allah on side as well, while we’re at it.

  • The Explorer

    Squealer the pig in ‘Animal Farm’ could persuade you that black is white. Ingenious interpreters of the New Testament can persuade you that St Paul says hooray for gay. But as long as the old words persist, there will always be reactionaries who adhere to the old interpretations.

    Time for a rewrite, to put things beyond equivocation. (That is, if we still need the scriptures at all.)

    • Anton

      “We the church wrote the scriptures, so we the church can change them.”

      • The Explorer

        The problem being that we the church thought we wrote the scriptures under the inspiration of God. We can change them if God has changed His mind about things. But where are we told that He has?

        • Anton

          Ask the liberals; it was they whom I was quoting…

          • The Explorer

            Quite. But if God didn’t write the scriptures that’s not an argument for changing them. That’s an argument for abolishing them altogether, and starting again from scratch.

          • Anton

            “Did God really say…?”

        • Oisín mac Fionn

          Where were those who wrote the original scriptures told that what they were writing was God’s will?

          They weren’t. They just claimed it was. The canonical nature of their words was proclaimed not by God but by human consensus.

          If human consensus decides that the Word has been misunderstood and needs to be reinterpreted, why is today’s consensus less valid than yesterday’s?

          • Anton

            Apart from Jesus, whose words obviously comprised the first parts of the New Testament to circulate as the word of God and who claimed to be the Jews’ Messiah, the people responsible for the words in the New Testament were not aware that they were making scripture. It was recognised later, by the church. (At a time when it was persecuted, NB – no question of using it for political coercion.)

            God is not going to expect anybody to sign up to a religion whose scriptures are not yet complete.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I think you’re wrong when you say those who wrote scripture didn’t know what they were writing.

            Look at Paul’s letters. He wrote them expressly to instruct believers and settle disputes among them.

            The writer clearly believes himself to be conveying divine instructions. He clearly expects Christians to live by those instructions.

            Paul knew exactly what he was writing – or rather knew how he wanted people to react to his words. He wanted them to be accepted as God’s word. He was most certainly writing authoritative scripture.

            And if God didn’t expect anyone to sign up to a church that had no or incomplete scriptures, what was his aim in sending Jesus, who didn’t leave a single word of scripture behind him?

            Jesus’s followers didn’t convert because of scripture. Neither did those who converted in the time between his death and the appearance of the first manuscripts. By the time the church had agreed upon properly ratified scriptures, it was already a significant force in society with many thousands of members.

            But if scripture is necessary to gain members, how could this be?

          • Anton

            Paul intended to be writing to the churches he had founded with authority, but not necessarily *divine* authority. I doubt that he ever expected his letters to the congregation at Corinth to become norms for all other congregations across the world and 2000 years, for instance.

            Jesus knew that his words would be preserved. I’d agree that the 4th century Councils which supposedly decided the NT canon in fact merely rubber-stamped what was generally accepted usage; the rubber-stamping took place because the church had then gained political power and taken on a new structure (unfortunately!)

          • Anton

            Not with you this time. I think Paul and others knew their writings were carried divine authority and were ‘scripture’ Peter speaks of Paul’s writing as Scripture

            (NIV) 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Pet 3

            Paul clearly expects believers to see the divine authority of his words.

            (NIV) 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, 1 Cor 2

            What they did not know was how many centuries the church would exist as you say.

          • Anton

            Paul in some cases believed he was instructing with divine authority (not always – see 1 Cor 7:10-12), but he surely still expected his instructions to be relevant only to the church at Corinth.

          • I’m not sure what you’re saying here. Paul was writing to Corinth to be sure and what he says is immediately relevant to Corinth, but I doubt if he thought what he wrote was only relevant to Corinth. He recognises that what he writes expresses teaching with a universal authority (1 Cor 11:1, 16). He saw himself as an authoritative custodian of the gospel revelation and of its implications for church life. In this sense, his instructions to one church were in his mind relevant to all. A letter like Galatians was explicitly a circular.

            If Paul expected his teaching to be relevant/authoritative only in Corinth this would seriously undermine its canonical authority.

          • Anton

            In ancient Israel there were plenty of prophets beyond those whose words are preserved in scripture, yet only some have ended up in the Bible even though I am sure that many of the others were faithfully speaking God’s own words and knew it. Same with the NT writings.

          • I am not saying that Paul wrote conscious of what would one day be the canon as we now providentially have it. However, he wrote seeing all that he wrote as carrying canonical authority. By this I mean he sees what he writes as authoritative in the early church and carrying an apostolic authority. Further, his letters were considered by the first century church as Scripture 2 Pet 3.

            What God saw fit to providentially preserve so as to be part of a final canon is a different matter but all his letters carried canonical (church) authority.

            (NIV) 1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 1 Cor 4

            (NIV) This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 1 cor 7

            Incidentally in 1 Cor 7 when Paul says in v25 he has no command from the Lord he is simply saying this is not an area Jesus gave instruction on while here on earth. He is not undermining the divine authority he carries but simply distinguishing dominical and apostolic authority.

            (NIV) 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored. 1 Cor 14

          • Anton

            “I am not saying that Paul wrote conscious of what would one day be the canon as we now providentially have it” – that’s mainly what I was seeking to discuss.

          • The Explorer

            The prophets constantly say “Thus saith the Lord”. A prophet understood himself to be a spokesperson for God. Pau sees himself in the same tradition. “I received from the Lord…” (1 Cor 11:23). By contrast, “I have no command.” (! Cor 7:25). If there is no God, they were all deluded. But your “They weren’t. They just claimed it was.” is too strong. You are asserting God’s non-existence without proving it. If God does exist, they might indeed have been writing what was God’s will.

            “If human consensus decides that the Word has been misunderstood.” Good point. But theological liberals tend to go beyond this. The word itself is defective. So take Romans 1. The first approach is that Paul has been misunderstood. He was only talking about male prostitutes. The second approach is that Paul meant what he said, but was a first-century bigot and we should evolve beyond him.

            “If human consensus decides.” Translated: truth is what the majority decides is true. Absolutely. If ninety people out of a hundred decide that the world is round like a plate, then the world is round like a plate.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I see your game. Like most manipulators, you deliberately use false comparisons to attempt to muddy the waters.

            We have physical evidence of the spherical nature of the earth. Opinion must bow to physical evidence. If I believed the earth was round like a plate and was presented with compelling evidence that it’s actually round like a sphere, my opinion would change – unless I was a fundie Christian, of course, in which case I would denounce the compelling physical evidence as a trick of the devil and take refuge in a stubborn and doctrinaire adherence to a belief that would be supported by nothing other than my desire to believe in it. For evidence of that, you need look no further than the comments threads of this blog. There really are flat-earthers here.

            What you’re trying to do is compare a situation where physical evidence exists to support a conclusion – i.e. the spherical nature of the earth – to one where no physical evidence exists – i.e. the traditional interpretation of scripture.

            It’s a comparison that cannot be made. In the absence of physical evidence, belief has nothing solid to rest on. It all becomes a matter of unsupported opinion. And when it comes to opinion, who’s to say the traditional opinion is worth more than the progressive one? You can also argue the opposite, of course. But in this day and age, a majority of opinion has come to form a consensus on the progressive side.

            Want to change that? Show us some physical evidence that backs up your traditional interpretation then.

          • The Explorer

            My point was that truth is not determined by a majority vote. A man may be innocent although a unanimous jury finds him guilty. Something can be true even if nobody knows about it. If a majority decided rape was okay, rape might still be wrong.

            You’re quite right that physical evidence for something is a different sort of truth than, say, historical truth. But that wasn’t the point I was making.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            You were comparing a change in how we interpret the Bible to a change in our attitude towards the shape of the world. These two subjects do not bear comparison because one is based solely on opinion whereas the other is based on physical evidence.

            I’ve noticed that evangelical Christians often compare apples to oranges in an attempt to persuade via false comparison. It’s a mean trick. And a stupid one too. If your cause is so just, why should you need to resort to such dishonesty in prosecuting it?

            Or do you believe the end justifies the means?

          • The Explorer

            “You were comparing a change in how we interpret the Bible to a change in our attitude towards the shape of the world.”

            I was not. This discussion has become futile.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Futile for you, yes I agree. Not for me though. It’s been useful as a means of teasing out the animus that motivates you.

            Got your number now, haven’t I?

          • ‘They weren’t. They just claimed it was.’. And you know this how?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Paul states he’s speaking on behalf of God. Peter claims to have seen divine visions. The writers of the gospels claim the events they recount were of divine origin. They’re all staking a claim to be acting as God’s conduit to Man.

          • You’ve missed my point. You are saying their claims were false. I asked how you know this.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I don’t know they’re false. But I don’t know they’re true either.

            When people make eye-popping claims, my default stance is skepticism. If they can present compelling evidence to support their claims, they’ll convince me. If all they have is a “feeling”, they can take a hike. Their feelings have no substance in the real world. All they do is describe how they’d like the world to be rather than how it actually is.

            People’s fantasies don’t interest me. Reality does. Show me something real and I’ll be forced to acknowledge and take notice of it. Tell me fairy stories and I’ll lose interest very quickly.

          • Don’t know is different from your previous claim. You’re right, big claims need proof. I think the proof exists. Jesus is himself the proof. I do not believe he could be invented. There is in the Jesus presented an authenticity that compels faith. A glory if you like that defies mere invention or fabrication. Clever charlatans could not have invented him, far less his humble followers.

            His character, his teaching, ethical and eschatological, his messianic miracles, his embodiment of Israel, his profound and pervasive links with OT prophecies, his resurrection and his followers life-changing witness of it all create a profoundly convincing witness.

            The gospel turns on its head profoundly the values and expectations of our world. It compels the conclusion it comes from a different world, not an imagined one, but an unimaginable one.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            “Don’t know, but it all sounds very dubious to me” has always been my position. A rational person can have no other.

            The gospel compels none of the things you mention. It’s merely one of the stories people use to justify their desire to believe in the supernatural.

            I’m not interested in “it must be true because it sounds true”. That’s just the subjective will trying to justify itself. Something can be judged to be true only when compelling evidence exists to support its veracity. No such evidence exists to support the truth of the gospels. “It sounds true” is mere opinion. There’s nothing factual about it.

            I am not persuaded by opinion. I judge truth based on hard facts. If you can show me one independently verified fact about the life of Jesus and what he is supposed to have done – by which I mean a contemporaneous account of him from sources not controlled by the Church – then I’ll concede the possibility that he existed and wasn’t just invented by a religious cult looking for a messiah. But if all you can offer is “he must have been the son of God because I say so” then I have no choice but to continue to dismiss you as a deluded religious fanatic.

          • It is impossible for you ever to become a christian for there is no other objective evidence other than that of the Scriptures (though Josephus mentions Jesus). Why these should hold no credibility is beyond me. They witness like any other document. Like other documents, indeed, beyond many other documents, the writers strove for historical accuracy. Luke, the gospel writer wrote,

            (NIV) 1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been

            The question is only whether you find the evidence compelling. Any documents that claim to be historical we must examine to see if they are authentic and trustworthy. Many may have no external verification and judgements must be made on the internal evidence of the document.

            The same is true of people. We believe a great deal based on the person who tells us. We make judgements on the reliability of people all the time. These judgements are based on a range of factors that convinces us for or against their reliability. I am simply asking that we extend the same inquiry to the gospel records. As I say, when I do so, I find the evidence compelling.

            I don’t know why you say ‘he must be the son of God because I say so’. I have never said this. I have simply told you some of the reasons why I find the gospel records convincing. I have urged you to examine these records for yourself. My question is what do you make of the Jesus of whom they speak? Who do you think he is?

    • dannybhoy

      Do you remember what Hitler did on Kristallnacht, and 1984’s Newspeak and then Farenheit 451?
      A totalitarian government can decide what truth is, and few there be that are brave enough to argue..
      We’re a long way from that, but becoming popular culture hate figures is not so far away.

  • IanCad

    .The Very Reverend Percy wrote thus regarding the ordination of women bishops:
    “++George Carey made sure there were robust theological arguments in place for changes–“
    And then, a little further down, suggests that ++Justin is about to give the green light to practises clearly forbidden in the scriptures.
    Now, if Martyn P can justly claim a biblical mandate for women priests it could only be at the expense of stretching the Word to its very limits. (I am not altogether against)
    However, to justify the one on grounds of scripture, would require the same standards be applied to the second.
    I await with bated breath the distortion of the Word of God; for, without it, there are no grounds to support the ordination of homosexual clergy; if that is where all this is leading.

  • Busy Mum

    ‘Bravery and courage’ could only be used to describe the Archbishop who resolutely stood against ordination of women, women bishops, and the LGBT onslaught. I fail to see anything brave and courageous about submitting to these forces. Percy might worry about resistance to a liberal making these changes, but at least a known liberal making the changes would be an honest and upfront situation.

    To say that Welby will be able to achieve by subterfuge, as an ‘evangelical’, what a ‘liberal’ may not be able to do in the open, simply compounds the misnomer.

  • David

    Imputing motives and then projecting future predicted actions onto anybody, including Justin Welby is a hazardous activity.

    One thing that I am fairly sure of though, is that a “volte-face”on the nature of man and woman, and therefore human sexuality, will split the C of E irrevocably. Maybe the archbishop will accept that as an unfortunate, but necessary, collateral damage. I don’t know. But the theologically conservative, evangelicals will not accept it. I shan’t accept it. Such a change of teaching will destroy any claim for the C of E to be part of the universal, catholic, global Church with its roots stretching back to Christ. They will have created a new, secular orientated organisation that happens to wear the clothes (quite literally) of the historical, continuing Church of all believers in Christ.

    As the Biblically faithful pay more than their fair share of the Church’s coffers, the resulting loss of income will steepen the existing trajectory of decline of the currently larger, liberal section. Within a decade or so of such a split the presently greater part of the Church will have shrunk into obscurity, whilst the schismatic Biblically led part will be slowly growing, as it is now. This is what is happening in the US.

    • Coniston

      “But the theologically conservative, evangelicals will not accept it.” Obviously. Neither will theologically conservative Anglo-Catholics (I have close contacts with both). Apart from the liberal ‘Broad Church’ in the middle, both Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics are split into two factions: the liberals who are accepting secularization, and the orthodox who are not. In a hundred years’ time only the traditional, orthodox, Christians will remain.

      • David

        Yes. I totally agree with all your points. Whilst being a conservative evangelical I have great respect for the few remaining conservative Anglo-Catholics, as their theology is well thought out, consistent and has deep historical roots. It is the liberal middle that is the problem. Although they are slowly losing numbers, because they have been able to seize control of the episcopacy, they are able to exercise a level of influence on the general direction of the total denomination that is disproportionate. But as you say, in the long term, the future is conservative Anglicanism here, as it is still in many places globally.

        • Brian Kelly

          Liberals are NOT ‘the middle’. The spatial imagery doesn’t work. Evangelicals and catholics are not opposites with liberals ‘in the middle’. Liberals are actually extremists because they doubt the Creeds and the Bible.

          • David

            Yes like all imagery, that one has its weaknesses. Then look beyond the imagery to the ideas on which we seem to agree.

  • The Explorer

    “so can’t do mission, and can’t recruit new clergy easily”. What IS the liberal church’s mission? It seems to me that unbelievers are simply being offered what they have already; so why don’t they simply stay where they are outside the Church? Rather than the World becoming part of the Church, the Church can dissolve itself over time into the World. Than the recruitment of clergy will not be necessary anyway.

    • Anton

      Parasites on the body of Christ.

    • Mungling

      I don’t know that anybody believes a decision to affirm the LGBTQ spectrum at this point in history actually comes from within the Church. Church members may be behind these changes within the CoE, but we all know that the true source of those changes came from the surrounding culture. Christians haven’t exactly lead the charge for LGBTQ people, even where such advocacy was warranted and in-line with scripture. For progressives that may be fine — I know that many see Christianity as personal preference rather than an accurate depiction of reality — but it does concretely demonstrate that the Church can’t be trusted for moral guidance or leadership. After all, the impression one gets is that the Church is always playing catch-up to the surrounding culture. The result, then, isn’t just that the Church has nothing to offer unbelievers; rather, the Church has less-than-nothing to offer the average Joe since the Church is just lagging behind the contemporary culture in what it believes.

  • carl jacobs

    is preparing the ground for a complete volte-face on human sexuality

    Somewhat overstated but largely true. That’s exactly what the AoC is doing. That’s exactly where this “good disagreement” stuff is going. His goal is to minimize defections by acclimatizing opponents to the change. He may be prepared to lose 20% but he isn’t prepared to lose 50%. You have to be willfully blind not to see this coming.

    It won’t work of course. “Mutual respect” will give way to heterodoxy becoming the new orthodoxy. Eventually there will be coercion.

    • magnolia

      Unfortunate that gay or bisexual clergy are so very frequently found to be misbehaving in ways apparent to all- downloading stuff, inappropriate relationships with young men in their care, or doing things in public facilities, and, and, and….

      I cannot believe the AB of C could be so unaware of what is happening on the ground that he would seriously consider that any further change could do anything other than bring the C of E to its knees. I refuse to accept this might be so. Already the innocent amongst the clergy have to jump through many hoops in terms of child protection which are only there because of the sexually immoral. Why should the moral lose more …and more….and more…days of ministry a year because of the revolting antics of the sexually incontinent who should never have been ordained, or given church responsibility in the first place? The draining of resources and energy where sexual immorality occurs are immense.

      No more; it is way beyond line in the sand time.

      • Well said Magnolia. It’s about time someone took a stand and stopped all this destructive rot. But, ++Justin seems a weak and insipid leader who is embracing sin instead of combating it by laying down ground rules according to what’s in the Bible.

  • John

    Penultimate paragraph: What issues in the Church of England do not need courage, clarity and an approach that is direct? Maybe things like choice of Communion wine and colour of the chairs in the vestry but nothing substantive I’m sure.

    As for the volte-face on human sexuality; no, no, no! This would place the C of E firmly and finally on the route to statistical irrelevance currently trod by the Episcopal Church in the USA. If you’re keen to give the Church of England the last rites, there’s your template.

  • The Explorer

    “the Church of England can have no real public or media credibility as a plausible body… if it carries on discriminating against LGBTQ Christians.” Martyn Percy. (Should we add ‘practising’, since there’s a difference?)

    “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” St Paul. Romans 12:2.

    We seem to have contrary advice here: that we should conform to the World, and that we should not.

    St Paul’s statement needs qualification, of course. Few would argue that we should retain first-century medicine, transport, communications or plumbing. But suppose you were a teacher in 1930’s Germany, suddenly told that you could no longer educate Jewish children. Suppose you demurred. Get with the programme. Move with the times. Accept the Spirit of the Age. But the Spirit of the Age need not be right in all things, simply because it IS the Spirit of the Age.

    • Oisín mac Fionn

      False comparison. You’re comparing an exhortation to exclude with an exhortation to include.

      A better comparison would be with the inclusion of Gentiles in the early church.

      Nobody doubts that the full inclusion of non-Jewish believers had a profound influence on the character and nature of the Christian Church, making it something quite distinct from its Jewish roots.

      Nobody doubts that the full inclusion of LGBT believers will alter the character and nature of today’s church.

      Nobody doubts that many non-LGBT members of the church are opposed to the inclusion of LGBT members. Just like first-century Jews they view themselves as favoured by God and want to keep their club pure and exclusive.

      The Jews didn’t get their way though, did they? What does that say about anti-LGBT Christians today?

      • Inspector General

        What do you mean by ‘full inclusion’? Since when have LGBT been excluded? Even partially. An incident please where a homosexual was asked to leave an Anglican church before service. Apart from any obviously queering and displaying conduct that outrages public decency, that is…

        Do you instead mean ‘full pampering’. In which case, give an example of another group who have been fully pampered. Another group for whom the liturgy must change, for equality’s sake.

        And while you’re at it, define equality. And don’t say it’s something everybody has except LGBT people.

        Come on now. Quickly. Let’s see your progressive anti-Christian bigotry get you out of this one…

        • Oisín mac Fionn

          Gay couples are excluded from Anglican marriage.

          Sexually active gay people are excluded from the Anglican espiscopate.

          That’s two examples of exclusion that no Gentile was subjected to in the early church.

          The Anglican Church may tolerate gays, but it doesn’t include them. Not on equal terms.

          • Inspector General

            A brother may not marry his sister in an Anglican church. How about some support from you to overturn that. And as for sexually active gay people being excluded from the episcopacy, it is because they fall far short in their devotion to God. If they were a bit more sincere in their Christianity, they wouldn’t queer.

          • Anton

            That’s two examples of exclusion that no Gentile was subjected to in the early church.

            Not so; you may be sure that people who were active sexually with others of their own sex were excluded from being episkopoi in the early church.

          • grutchyngfysch

            You may be sure they were excluded from the congregation of believers, which is precisely what should happen with those who are both unrepentant and enduring in their promotion of false doctrine.

          • The Explorer

            Do you have evidence that gay couples were married by the early church?

          • Royinsouthwest

            We are all sinners but I imagine that the early church was not very keen on people who continued to flaunt their sins openly after joining the church. Defiantly promiscuous single heterosexuals, as opposed to those who had succumbed to temptation in this or other matters that had nothing to do with sex, would probably not have been welcome until they repented.

          • dannybhoy

            Where do you get this nonsense from?
            Let me ask you a question, do you like everybody or are there some you merely tolerate, or even don’t try to tolerate?
            I especially don’t like hypocrites, and I struggle with snobs and creeps. I hate to see anyone put down or abused or ostracised or made fun of; and I make no apology for it, nor do I feel guilty -unless convicted in my heart by the Holy Spirit.
            I wouldn’t reject a homosexual because they are homosexual, but because they themselves behaved in an objectionable manner.

          • Old Nick

            I should be most interested to know your evidence for these two statements.

      • Anton

        Oisin, you should be aware that secular gays understand the Bible better than the gay Christian movement. They hate it, but they understand it better.

      • The Explorer

        Science progresses. Literature does not progress in the same way, or Shaw would be better than Shakespeare because he was born later. That is the sort of comparison I was making. New moral/social ideas need not be better than what preceded them simply because they are new.

        With your example of the Gentiles and the early Church, you seem to me to be blurring two different issues. Initially, the Church was all Jewish. It was rejected as heretical by the main body of Jews, and persecuted accordingly. Jews rejected Jews. But the Jewish Church did not reject the entry of Gentiles because Christ had told them to make disciples of all nations. There was a new covenant. When Gentile converts joined the Church Peter did say they would have to be circumcised, but Paul said this was not necessary. Paul, a Jew, defined the terms whereby Gentiles were integrated into the Church.

        ” they view themselves as favoured by God and want to keep their club pure and exclusive.” That was certainly doctrinally true. The Apostles sought to expel, or resist the entry of, those whose ideas or behaviour contradicted what the Apostles taught. Thus John warns against “those who are trying to lead you astray” (1 John 2:27). These could be Jews or Gentiles influenced by Gnostic ideas. In 1 Cor 5 Paul says that the man committing incest with his mother should be expelled from the congregation.

  • Inspector General

    What a bore you are Percy. Just another libby intellectual out to queer the sacred pitch. No originality, have you?

    if it carries on discriminating against LGBTQ Christians.

    And this discrimination is?

    Here’s a tip for annoyed militant LGBTQ types. Leave your sexuality in the porch. As others do with guns, knives, whips, bottles of whisky, mobile phones, concubines, MP3 players. Anything that detracts from entering into God’s house and freeing yourselves from your earthly indulgences, yes LGBTQs, YOUR indulgences, and just be you before God. Not asking too much, is it?

    Further, don’t expect any privileges, and that includes changing the definition of marriage. If you’ve found some fellow to have anus sex with, keep it to between yourselves, why don’t you. To be honest, it doesn’t go down well in polite circles that kind of thing. It’s the natural human disgust of the faecal, you see. Nobody wishes you ill. Not ordinary Christians. Pity, yes, but not ill will. Really, it’s true. So if you have a special chum (or chums), provided he’s over age, then that’s your business. Between you and God if you can pull that one off.

    There said it. And a special message to those priests who love to fly the paedophile rainbow flag in our Lord’s house. You’ll probably go to hell for that alone.

    Blessings from the Inspector.

    • Anton

      Mobile phones at the door would be a good idea in some congregations.

    • Hear hear Inspector, well said.

    • John

      I say, steady on Inspector. One finds this odd fashion of batting for the other team a bit rum, but let’s keep some decorum eh old chap?

      • Inspector General

        You must leave here immediately, John. Not for the faint of heart is this site. Allow Marie to help you to a seat near the fire where you can warm yourself and forget about the mischief that be about…

  • Mungling

    I expect that the CoE will embrace the sexual revolution as have many mainline Churches before them (although I would be happy to be wrong). If that’s the case, I genuinely hope that there is an attempt to ground that decision in Scripture and Tradition. Truthfully, I’m not sure how that could be done, but if the CoE doesn’t make that attempt it will leave the distinct impression that it just doesn’t take the Word of God all that seriously.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It cannot be done.

      • Mungling

        I’m inclined to agree although I know some individuals have made a few clever attempts (for example, Matthew Vine). I happen to think he and his colleagues are wrong, but I respect them more than those who accept same sex marriage without any attempt to reconcile Scripture.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I see your point, they have at least engaged with the reality that the Christian church has nothing if it does not wholeheartedly accept Scripture. But without in fact wholeheartedly accepting it!

          It is amazing how such people find that they have ‘sincere disagreements’ with Paul and the NT, the whole Bible on fact, on subjects that happen to suit them.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
    who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21)

    I think that deals with Mr Percy’s letter above.

    • David

      A very apt scriptural quotation.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Halfway down this article DOMINIC LAWSON: The architects of Project Fear must pay for their shameful lies there is a section headed:

    Gay marriage and a bitter Brexit divorce which contains the sentence

    I would go further: if it were not for David Cameron’s decision to legalise marriage between people of the same sex — a measure I supported — Britain would not now be on her way out of the EU.

    I knew someone who, in an American context, complained about Pro-Lifers and opponents of unlimited Gay Rights, calling then “single-issue voters” who would tip the balance of power regardless of international policy, economics, and all the other things that a government is supposed to look after.

    However, the same condemnation could equally apply to the other side.

    • Inspector General

      As a monitor of Pink News, then yes, the recent homosexual assault on decency, and that includes the apparent sacred right of men (with penises) wearing dresses to use the ladies facilities, has contributed to Trumps outstanding success. But in the UK, no. Over in the USA, these things are rather to the fore. Not so in the UK. We would still be out of the EU even if Cameron had not sneaked through Gay Marriage.

      • michaelkx

        “But in the UK, no.” dear inspector you missed out a word in this comment “yet”

  • Don Benson

    If I were Justin Welby I’d be wanting to make clear that no ‘complete volte-face on human sexuality’ is being contemplated. Having had my in-depth study, employing the best biblical scholars, regarding this issue at my ‘shared conversations’, I’d be impatient for the hotly anticipated communication from the bishops that the church’s teaching remains unchanged (for it is the truth on the matter) and that we can all kiss this sterile debate goodbye for the next millennium or two. Wouldn’t that be the most fabulous Christmas present for a weary church, and a further cause for rejoicing by the angels at that sacred time!

    OK, we can all dream… and we may indeed be facing Martyn Percy’s nightmare scenario. But even at this late stage I would implore Justin Welby and his fellow bishops to face up to all the implications for our CofE, for our nation, for the wider Anglican Communion and, in particular, for our innocent young people who will be led astray by this simplistic and ungodly fallacy.

    • Inspector General

      But he won’t, Don. He refuses to show leadership and instead makes room for the whinings of his synod, which includes activists such as Ozaane and Pemberton…

      • laurence1999

        Jeremy Pemberton is not a member of General SYnod.

        • Inspector General

          What is he a member of then? One recalls him being successful in his attempt to represent the London parishes….

          • laurence1999

            You may be confusing Jeremy Pemberton with Andrew Foreshew-Cain who is a member of General Synod and has two London parishes.

          • Inspector General

            Oh no no no no. One is not confusing canon Pemberton with anyone…

          • Inspector General

            Rats! One cannot find anything to prove that Pemberton was successful….

          • laurence1999

            That’s because he wasn’t.

          • Inspector General

            An Inspector seems to be the victim of poor intelligence gathering….

          • Anton

            Victim be blowed, you didn’t do your homework!

          • Inspector General

            Oh absolutely! A unforgivable shortcoming, but did you notice how the Inspector immediately (and automatically) donned victimhood anyhow. Picked that trick up from the odd crowd on Pink News. Them that cannot do no wrong themselves yet are wronged daily…

  • HedgehogFive

    A thought from Hedgehogland:

    Could Human Percy put himself, in imagination, in the place of a child who is officially registered as having two fathers or two mothers, or (as in the household of Elton John and David Furnish) having a man registered as one’s mother?

    • Inspector General

      Wise words from a beloved hedgepig…

    • Royinsouthwest

      People who say similar things in certain workplaces would probably be told to attend diversity brainwashing (sorry, training) or even threatened with the sack, such is decline in the right to free speech in this and many other western countries.

  • chefofsinners

    If the Archbishop is considering a volte-face on the sins of Sodom, then he should meditate on Jesus’ words: Remember Lot’s wife.

  • Anton

    There would have been schism long ago but for the fact that both sides want to be the Established church with its historic buildings.

    • David

      It’s something like that. Certainly both sides want to retain access to the network of churches, its resources and avoid legal wrangling.
      In the US (simplifying greatly) the Courts unsurprisingly handed assets to the parent body, the Episcopalians, with the departing orthodox ones leaving with little. But of course they soon rebuilt their resources as they were committed, God led people whilst the parent body shrinks….
      I think that sooner or later this pattern will occur here. But no one is keen to embrace that unhappy sad day. Unless a miracle occurs and the current drift is reversed, schism is coming. But only God knows the future.

      • Anton

        Yes, what happens here might be influenced by overseas Anglicans, ie the USA (liberal) and Africa (evangelical).

  • Darter Noster

    “++Justin knows that the Church of England can have no real public or media credibility as a plausible body…”

    Yes, it’s terrible when all that Gospel stuff gets in the way of Church priorities isn’t it?

    “…so can’t do mission…”

    What mission can a Church which has totally surrendered its sense of direction to secular values possibly have…?

  • wisestreligion

    “…the Church of England can have no real public or media credibility as a plausible body – so can’t do mission” – Mission? Is it relevant to look at what Jesus himself said, or is that not Progressive? In preparing the disciples for the very first church mission trip Jesus compared the destiny of those who reject the kingdom of God with the judgement of Sodom & Gomorrah (Mat 10:15). And note that Jesus is referring to the final judgement that is still to come, so He is bang up to date plus, and not talking of OT contextual history.

  • Malcolm Smith

    Here’s an excellent article on what happens when the Biblical view of perversion is reversed.
    http://www.virtueonline.org/how-shrink-your-church-one-easy-step

  • Richard Hill

    Perhaps I missed it, but I didnt see any reference to the duty of senior clergy to defend Christianity itself against secularism. When I hear people saying that the terrible atrocities in the ME are caused by religion, they often finish by saying that ALL religion should be banned. It seems that the majority of people I talk to bracket Christianity with other faiths such as one which claims that it is the undisputable word of God that “a man is permitted to beat his wife” and other much worse things. Is Pope Benedict the only Christian leader who dared put his head above the parapet and say that there is nothing in the Koran that improves Christian thinking?

    • Dreadnaught

      the duty of senior clergy to defend Christianity itself against secularism…they often finish by saying that ALL religion should be banned…

      If that is what ‘they’ say then they don’t understand that secularism does nothing to support banning religion; quite the contrary, it argues that an individual is free to practice the religion of their choice. Its great failing is that it blindfolds itself to the presence of a pernicious and agressive theo-policital force such as Islam which is given a free pass by the Christian community.

      • Anton

        Tosh: the main expression of secularism in our era has been communism, which most certainly *did* ban religion.

        • Dreadnaught

          Not in this Country and that is the issue on this thread.

          • Anton

            Secular political correctness is a growing menace to peaceable expressions of Christian faith in this country. Already freedom of speech is gone.

      • I agree that secularism should really mean an equality for all viewpoints and people being allowed to follow their own conscience in matters of faith and religion. In countries like Singapore or India, this is how secularism is understood, but in Europe, the so-called secularism has often promoted a form of aggressive atheism – with Christianity being either ridiculed and barely tolerated, or banned outright (as in the Communist countries).

        • Dreadnaught

          If you are refring to the USSR then you are referring to Communism or State Atheism. The Russian Orthodox Church is Putin’s bedrock of popular support.

    • Anton

      Yes he did, but the problem is that politicised churches such as his own are responsible for the view among nonbelievers that Christians behave as badly as members of other religions.

  • Some of the of the things that Martin Percy writes makes sense, for example he is right to state that Justin Welby failed to demonstrate proper theological grounds for appointing women bishops. But then he seems to suggest that Welby is discriminating against the LGBT Christians by not promoting SSM. Can Percy find ‘robust theological arguments’ for his position?

    I wonder why so many leaders fail to understand what seems so obvious to ordinary Christians like ourselves – that neither us nor they nor earthly governments have any right to set the rules on marriage or ministry. Our role is to obey God. God has revealed His mind on these matters, and none of their convoluted arguments will convince us otherwise. If they claim that they have some new revelation on such issues – which was neither spoken by Christ nor given to the apostles – let them say so, and set up a new religion with those in agreement, along the lines of the Mormon faith, rather than present their false teaching as ‘Christian’ and corrupt the purity of our faith.

    • len

      There are many denominations but only One body with Christ at the Head.
      Many who have joined a’ denomination’ will find that is all they have .Jesus warns us all of this.

  • Anton

    According to his Wikipedia entry, Martyn Percy wrote this on p.4 of the 15th December 2015 issue of “Modern Church”:

    In 41 of the 53 countries within the British Commonwealth, homosexual conduct is still regarded as a serious crime. This categorisation and legal stigmatisation of homosexuality was largely ‘made in England’ in the nineteenth century, and imposed on cultures and emerging countries and that had not been, hitherto, homophobic. This is one of England’s less wholesome exports. The Archbishop of Canterbury could begin the Primates’ meeting by accepting responsibility for the part the Church of England has played in perpetrating this discrimination and the subsequent injustices – and publicly repenting of them.

    Does Percy believe that God should repent of the Laws of Moses against homosexual acts? If he believes those laws were appropriate then but not today, why? Or does he not believe that the Law of Moses came directly from God (in which case why should he believe what the Bible says on other subjects)? I see no further alternatives.

    That a man can become Dean of Christchurch Cathedral and College, Oxford, without being required to clarify his views on the subject indicates that this church system is essentially apostate.

    • IanCad

      Anton,

      The laws against homosexual acts predate the Laws of Moses.

      “….. Male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27

      And of course, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah occurred many centuries before Moses.

      “….and because their sin is very grievous;” Gen. 18:20

      • Anton

        Makes sense, but my point is the one I stated!

        • IanCad

          Yes, I should have noted but was in a rush to get wife to the dentist to fix a broken tooth.
          She just hasn’t learned to obey.

    • Royinsouthwest

      In fairness to Martyn Percy he was writing about making things illegal. Do you think that everything that is immoral should also be illegal?

      • Anton

        No, but I’d still like Percy’s view of the Mosaic regulations against homosexual behaviour.

  • prompteetsincere

    Canterbury is becoming Corinth; instead of The Church at Corinth.

  • len

    What Satan cannot kill outright he corrupts.

    This tactic has become so successful for Satan that he has little need to change it.

    Jesus said shortly before He went to the Cross “.I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,”. (John 14:30)
    When the Church compromises with the corrupt world system it becomes weakened and eventually useless for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. Once Satan has his foot in the door(so to speak) his corrupting influence will continue to spread destroying and weakening all it touches. The church is’ in the world’ but cannot ever be ‘of the world’.
    The church needs to be constantly checking itself against the Word of God to see if it is still in the faith or has left the straight and narrow and drifted onto the broad path heading for destruction. St Paul recommends Christians to do the same.

    • saintmark

      Unfortunately Satan hasn’t got his foot in the door, he’s in the parlour being served tea and french fancies with the bishop

  • To quote George Orwell, ‘If there is any hope it lies with the Proles.’
    No hope at all in the hierarchy of the C of E. I think Satan might be in semi-retirement at the present time. All he seems to need to do these days is to whisper in the ears of a few Bishops and Deans and Archdeacons from time to time, “Keep it up! You’re doing a grand job!”
    But what says the word of God? ‘Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities’ (Revelation 18:4).

  • cybervicar

    Martyn Percy says “He (++Justin) is preparing the ground for a complete volte-face on human sexuality.” This is more like wishful thinking on his part rather than robust theological exploration. Perhaps a few weeks of being intellectually battered by ++Cranmer has reduced him to jelly. ++Cramner has argued his case well while Percy is reduced to sentimentality. Yesterday I spent a retreat day with members of a religious order who were with ++Justin when he met +++Francis . There is NO WAY that ++Justin is going to personally change Church doctrine on human sex (or more specifically chastity) because that would put him outside the deposit of Faith as revealed by Scripture and Tradition. Rome is not going innovate on this, neither is HTB (which is close to his heart) or the majority (sensus fidieum) of the Anglican Communion.

    • Anton

      So many crosses by their names! How many crosses for Christ?

      • Pubcrawler

        ἓν μέγα

    • Peasant Farmer

      In which case, why doesn’t ++Justin exercise any discipline over those priests who are flouting church law on human relationships?

    • Martin

      You think?

  • len

    I wonder what Jesus thinks looking at what some call ‘the Church’, even dare to call it ‘His Church?.
    But wait…Jesus has prophesied what will happen to’ the Church’ so perhaps we should listen to what Jesus says rather than the theologians.(No question mark need to complete this statement!.)
    Jesus letter to the churches (Revelation 2)

  • Martin

    Wouldn’t it be a grand thing if Archbishops would abandon politicking and cling to God’s word, the Bible. Oh for Godly men at Canterbury and York.