archbishop okoh twat
Church of England

One in Christ? Why do liberal Christians abuse conservative Christians?

The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh is the Archbishop of Abuja Province and Primate of the Church of Nigeria in the Anglican Communion. A glance at his biography establishes his fraught journey into faith, his manifest learning and expertise. He was the son of poor peasant farmers, became a business entrepreneur, had a conversion experience, was steeped in Scripture, became an evangelist, catechist, scholar, deacon, priest, chaplain, bishop, archbishop; rose to become a Lieutenant Colonel in the Nigerian Army, and is now Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council.

In an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury inter alia, he politely explains that he will not be attending October’s gathering of Anglican Primates owing to “broken fellowship, over homosexual practice, same sex marriage and the blurring of gender identity”. He is of the view that The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA is in error on these matters, and previous assurances supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury relating to discipline are not being honoured.

The Rev’d Nick Jones is the Rector of Acton. A glance at his Twitter biography establishes that he is a “Mental Health champion; advocate for a Progressive Christianity; Restorative Justice specialist”. His response to the Archbishop of Nigeria was tersely monosyllabic: “Twat”.

Twat: vulgar slang 1. A woman’s genitals; 2. A person regarded as stupid or obnoxious.

So, as far as the Rev’d Nick Jones is concerned, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh is somewhere between a cretin and another ‘c’ word, which isn’t very charitable or civil, is it?

The attitude is redolent of that expressed by the Rev’d Andrew Foreshew-Cain, following the measured response of Anglican Mainstream to the Joint Statement issued by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts:

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you…‘ (1Cor 12:21), unless, of course, the eye is liberal and ‘progressive’ and the hand is conservative and ‘bigoted’. No doubt proponents of same-sex marriage would insist that conservatives ‘abuse’ them by denying them equality (ie ‘equal marriage’), but it would be interesting to hear if any conservative Christians have hurled ‘Twat’ at any liberals, or told them to leave the Church so the faithful remnant can get on with being more righteous and holier than thou.

What happened to ‘Good Disagreement’? Honestly, whenever did a humble parish priest get to call an archbishop a ‘twat’? O, sure, such exasperating thoughts are certainly expressed in private (and, it seems, rather more robustly expressed), but the public abuse of Christians by other Christians isn’t exactly great for mission, is it?

And here we must distinguish between robust, rational, thoughtful, intelligent debate, and ad hominem abuse: the former is manifestly not the latter, though the pervasive media narrative has turned mere questioning into a ‘phobia’, and to be a ‘phobe’ is to be bigoted. To call someone a ‘twat’ is abusive. To tell millions of Christians to leave the Church of England is abusive. To reason about sexual ethics and moral orthodoxy is iron sharpening iron (Prov 27:17). It is what mature Christians do: they walk with one another, and talk to one another. They don’t have to agree about every matter because we are all blinded by doubts and lost in bewildering mazes. But if we love one another, there is no place for ‘Twat’ or ‘FFS. When are they leaving?’, because our feelings, intuition and experience are subsumed to the command of Christ to love one another.

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me (Rom 15:1-3).

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1Cor 3:1ff).

If there is neither male nor female in Christ (Gal 3:28), there is no ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Christian: there are only Christians, for we are all one in Christ. What we believe about Christ of course has consequences upon church life and Christian living, but we who believe in Christ do not cease belonging to the Church just because someone doesn’t agree with us. If some are not on the same wavelength as others, the exhortation is to ‘bear the infirmities of the weak‘, not tweet longingly for the day when the pathetic weak depart forever so the strong don’t have to carry them any longer.

Faith in the gospel brings spiritual unity: wherever the gospel ceases to be believed, unity ceases to exist. Those who say ‘I am of progressive Paul’ and ‘I am of conservative Apollos’ are being carnal.

Carnal: Gr sarkikos, 1. pertaining to or characterised by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites; 2. not spiritual; merely human; temporal; worldly.

Conflict between Christians is, of course, nothing new: divergent doctrines, mutually-exclusive ecclesiologies and competing attitudes have been disastrous for Church unity as each faction is more persuaded than the last they are in possession of the Truth. Is creative tension preferable to schism? When does creative tension become the accommodation of heresy? If there is no place for conservative Christians in the Church of England, what does that church become? What does Anglican identity become? What does the Worldwide Anglican Communion become? Who made liberal clergy pope?

John Stott once observed: “Evangelicals have dared to maintain that they are the Church of England in its purest form” (in A Global Ministry, p219), but he never noted any of them saying: ‘FFS. When are the liberals leaving?’ The problem comes when you talk about Christian faith and Evangelical faith as being one and the same thing; and of gospel unity as being the only unity. For if the Evangelical faith is nothing other than the historic Christian faith, as Stott averred (ibid. p15), then what are those who eschew Evangelicalism? What is real Anglicanism? What is the limit of the toleration of difference? What does it mean to be one in Christ?

Wouldn’t such discussions be preferable to ‘Twat’ and ‘FFS. When are they leaving?’?

  • ardenjm

    Because their liberal identity has replaced their Christian one.
    Speaking as a traditional Catholic who is regularly unsparing in my criticisms of liberals (of whatever stripe) I must recognise that my censoriousness often runs counter to my Christian commitment.
    However, I see it as a failing.
    You get the impression that liberals see it as a virtue, a necessity and, indeed, motivated by their “faith”.

  • I’m sorry. I don’t regard liberals and practising gays as Christians. We are not all Christians who profess to be Christians. While in the final analysis it is God who judges believers have a responsibility to distance themselves from those who deny the gospel. The issue is not one of liberal and conservative but of light and darkness. There is no point of contact between them; they are opposites. There can be no fellowship between them.

    2 Timothy 2 is an important passage here.

    • Anna

      Paul advised the Corinthians not to associate with such Christians-

      “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
      What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside…” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ESV).

  • worrywort

    What will these right on “Revs” do for a living when their empty Churces are turned into Mosques?

    • Maalaistollo

      They will have become Imams, of course. Get with the agenda!

    • @ worrywort—The Revd Nick knows all about empty churches. He writes in his parish magazine: ‘That our congregations are sometimes a little sparse may indicate there is room for improvement.’ Then comes the brave face: ‘But I have grown to dislike the notion of a busy church [emphasis in text].’

  • CliveM

    As a society we appear to be coming more polarised, less charitable in our engagement and more abrasive in our dealings. At least on social media.

    We seem to be forgetting our manners.

    These clerics wouldn’t call him a twat to his face, they’d smile, shake hands and greet him civilly. It might be hypocrisy but at least it’s civilised.

    It’s not all one way either. There is plenty of abuse out there from all sections. It is however doubly shameful when it’s being done by those who have pastoral roles in the church.

    However personally I would like to challenge the Rev’d Nick Jones to come on here and explain why he feels as a Pastor it was acceptable of him to use this term in such a way. I will be interested to understand his justification.

    If he has one.

    • alternative_perspective

      I want to know if his bishop is going to have words.

    • Damaris Tighe

      I may have a rose-tinted view of past clerics, but I can’t imagine them even thinking the word ‘twat’, let alone using it.

      • CliveM

        They would certainly never used it about a fellow cleric in print.

  • Dolphinfish

    Difference between liberal and conservative? Liberals assume inevitable progress, conservatives don’t. In practice, this means a liberal will assume that, as the most recent addition to the generations of man, his beliefs are superior to any that went before. It follows that he is therefore entitled to uphold them by any means necessary. This can entail unprovoked physical violence (Antifa), screaming “Nazi” and “hater” (most students unions) or calling someone a twat (see above). The point is that they never critique their own assumptions. They presume them to be right because previous generations rejected them. “Progess”, you see, is inevitable.

    • Broadwood

      Hear, hear. It’s also what CS Lewis called “chronological snobbery”

  • dannybhoy

    For any churchman or woman to publicly call another ‘t**’ or perhaps ‘d***head’ is beyond rude, it is to betray our Lord before the watching world. It is to trivialise the sanctity of the Body of Christ and our calling as saints.
    Anyway, I looked up Nick Jone’s church and found there his latest sermon, from which I gleaned that inclusivity is one of the things he feels strongly about, and perhaps he sees Christianity and Christians as being just like anybody else; just muddling along trying to be nice and helpful to each other. Which on one level is admirable, and might come under the heading of ‘the social gospel’.
    It might be that he is aware that there are those in our congregations who are cultured, snobby, exclusive and disdainful of the common man. Certainly such folk exist in churches.
    Certainly there is a balance to be sought in combining discipleship/sanctification with Christ’s love of our fellow man. Anyway, here’s the link http://www.stmaryacton.org.uk/who-we-are/sermon.php
    See what you make of it…

    • dannybhoy

      Just another interesting tidbit I found whilst on that webpage was a link to Bob Callaghan’s visit to Nick’s church. Bob is the initiator of Inclusive Church, a worthy project.
      But what does Inclusive Church stand for?
      Bob says, https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2015/6-february/features/interviews/interview-bob-callaghan-national-co-ordinator-inclusive-church

      “The membership of Inclusive Church comprises individuals and churches from a number of denominations and none. Our purpose is to provide a network of churches where people know they will receive a welcome and a safe place. It provides hope for people who feel alienated by the Church. Second, is the way it reminds the wider Church that these issues are important. Part of our work is to speak truth to power.
      Part of the decision to apply for this post came from my experience as a gay man in a civil partnership. Although I worked in very supportive churches, there was always the need to be prudent with the truth about my personal life. Working for Inclusive Church has allowed me to be fully open in a way that I know some other clergy in a similar situation can’t be.”

      Hm.
      Then there’s this book..
      “Un/familiar Theology: Reconceiving Sex, Reproduction and Generativity
      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MiXJDgAAQBAJ&dq=Bob+Callaghan%27s+theology&source=gbs_navlinks_s

      …with the introductory statement,
      “Through engagement with theologies of adoption, pro-natalism, marriage, and queer theology, Susannah Cornwall figures developments in models of marriage and family not as distortions of or divergences from the divinely-ordained blueprint, but as developments already of a piece with these institution’s being.
      Much Christian theological discussion of family, sex and marriage seems to claim that they are (or should be) unchanging and immaculate; that to celebrate their shifting and developing natures is to reject them as good gifts of God. However models of marriage, family, parenting and reproduction have changed and are still, in some cases radically, changing. These changes are not all a raging tide to be turned back, but in continuity with goods deeply embedded in the tradition. Alternative forms of marriage and family stand as signs of the hope of the possibility of change. Changed institutions, such as same-sex marriage, are new beginnings with the potential to be fruitful and generative in their own right. In them, humans create new imaginaries which more fully acknowledge the interactive nature of our relationships with the world and the divine.”

      Susannah Cornwall consults with Bob Callaghan of Inclusive Church..

      • Inspector General

        What! No mention of God’s gift of pederasty, or worshipping the Almighty by having sexual relations with someone else’s wife (or boyfirend!).

        Not that inclusive then…

        • dannybhoy

          There are different degrees of progressive thought Inspector. You as always in keeping with your (ahem) ‘particular’ interests, are thinking way ahead of the rest of us….

      • Changed institutions, such as same-sex marriage, are new beginnings with the potential to be fruitful and generative in their own right.

        Er……….actually no, by definition.

        • CliveM

          Let’s face it, those sorts of comments are meaningless guff. Glib and absolutely without useful content.

          • Why would you think that?
            I was rather hoping that my comment would expose the glib, meaningless guff of the book in question.

          • CliveM

            I didn’t mean yours, I meant the comment you quoted! Sorry.

          • Ah! OK. No problem. Carry on!

    • Peasant Farmer

      How does his desire to run an ‘inclusive church’ fit with his publicly calling a Bishop a twat?

      I think we should be told.

      • dannybhoy

        Well I would guess he is demonstrating his commitment to inclusivity by being willing to call anyone a twat…

  • Inspector General

    You’ll just have to get used to the sentiment and language used. It’s the militant gay way. For a refresher course in literary anger, do visit Pink News. See the written word used as a weapon of hate.

    The amusing part is that churchy queers are considered the lowest of the low in gay circles. Barely tolerated on one hand, but they do enjoy some support by the cleverer types. After all, aforementioned churchies want to make the Church of England a pink power base. They may well yet. There’s no one to stop them, and synod is so so understanding…

  • Norman Yardy

    I have seen many ‘cast iron’ rebuttals by Conservative Christians of the LBGT way of life based on traditional scripture. I can’t say I have seen any serious supporting statements of the LBGT way of life based on scripture. They support their beliefs therefore only based on so called human reasoning.
    They still don’t have to be offensive.

    • dannybhoy

      Quite so.

    • John

      Agreed. The motions on human sexuality passed in General Synod a few months ago, (someone described them as ‘more emotions than motions’) were entirely founded on subjective feeling, stories of personal offence and appeals to worldly notions of equality that confer greater rights to minorities than majorities. Any appeal scripture or argument from theological principle were conspicuous by their absence. And the abuse by liberals was just as prevalent there as His Grace noted at the time.

  • A Berean

    I’ve noticed that if someone is labeled a “progressive”, whether self-described or by someone else, then that “progressive” is more than likely to use such questionable language than those of a conservative stripe. It’s how they get their message across whatever that message may be.

    “Evangelicals have dared to maintain that they are the Church of England in its purest form”. Liberals will argue with you as to what “pure” means among other things which I will not go into here.
    Clearly if you aren’t a member in good standing at St. Humphrey of the Socially Progressive then their idea of you is that you should go around bemoaning your fate while at the same time saying “unclean, unclean.”

    • john in cheshire

      Progressive = Marxist. These progressive Christians are, as far as I’m concerned, marxist infiltrators. And yes, I think they should be weeded out and expelled from the Church.

      • A Berean

        If only.

  • Manfarang

    Manners maketh man.
    I remember as a youth being shoved aside at a newspaper kiosk. When I looked around a black clergyman pushed forward.

  • carl jacobs

    It is a doctrinal given among the religious Left that God is unknowable and therefore doesn’t actually speak. There is no divine revelation in their understanding. That’s what separates them from “fundamentalists” you understand. “Fundamentalists” believe there is a knowable divine truth to which all men are accountable. Good Leftists know that truth is unknowable because man is the only possible source and man is too limited and finite to be the source of any such thing.

    Now they will say things like “God is speaking to the church” or “The spirit is doing a new thing.” By it these statements universally refer to the out working of some political effort in the organization or culture. God speaks to the church by having the church governing body approve homosexual marriage, for example. It should surprise no one that God only speaks in this way when politics moves in the direction desires by the religious Left. If the contrary should happen, then God is speaking but people aren’t listening. The religious Left have conflated their own voice with the voice of God. To listen to the Left is to listen to God. To reject the Left is to reject God.

    One could stop at this point and say that this explains the Left’s animosity. To reject the Left is to reject God and cohabit with evil. But there is more to it than that. The religious Left has an acute authority problem. Since they begin with the assertion that God is unknowable, their claims ultimately rest upon nothing more than their own authority. In the absence of that authority, verbal violence is adopted as a substitute. Insult, ridicule, public shaming are all methods intended to silence by force on the assumption that force conveys authority. There is a separate need to cover up that lack of authority on the Left. If you want to expose it you only have to ask “What do you know of God and how do you know it?”

    It’s the Leftist Creed. “I am Progress. I am right because I say so. I Am.”

    • Manfarang

      It is doctrinal given that those who say God is speaking to them are routinely put in straight jackets and locked up in mental institutions. In earlier ages they would have been regarded as blasphemers.
      However on one occasion a Thai man who claimed to have received messages from God asked me to help render them in good English. Not many edit the words from God.

      • carl jacobs

        Poor Elijah locked up in a mental hospital. What would the priests of Baal have said?

        • Manfarang

          They would have laughed their heads off.

          • carl jacobs

            Unfortunately for them, God spoke. And not just to Elijah.

          • Manfarang

            That was long ago. The modern world wouldn’t be so accepting.

          • carl jacobs

            Even in the modern world, people still listen when death is involved.

          • Manfarang

            Reminds me of an old lady my sister witnessed dying. The old lady said this day the Lord will take me. It was like something from a Victorian novel. I don’t think anyone heard God speak.

          • carl jacobs

            Did her death involve fire falling from heaven?

          • Manfarang

            No but I certainly hope she is there now.

          • carl jacobs

            Except God speaks, how would you know there is a heaven for her to inhabit?

          • Manfarang

            My dreams of course.

          • carl jacobs

            Your dreams aren’t much of a source. Unless of course God speaks through them. But He said he doesn’t do that anymore.

          • Manfarang

            If you start hearing voices it probably means you are mad. The way God “speaks” can be discerned in a more indirect way.

          • carl jacobs

            Who said anything about “hearing voices”?

            The way God “speaks” can be discerned in a more indirect way.

            Or you could read Scripture. You have quoted Scripture quite liberally in this thread. Have you quoted this:

            Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son

            God spoke. Past tense. God speaks. Present tense. The act of speaking presumes a listener who can understand. Speaking doesn’t require discernment through indirect ways.

          • Manfarang

            The verse you quote more or less makes my point. Of course they weren’t the last days.
            There is a little church close to where I live. Before it was built the congregation prayed for divine guidance as to which contractor they should choose- a Christian or a Buddhist one. What do you think was the answer to their prayer?

          • carl jacobs

            Well perhaps this is my mistake then and we have been talking at cross purposes without really disagreeing. What specifically stated is your point?

          • Manfarang
          • carl jacobs

            What do you mean by “fundamentalist”? I know three separate definitions for the word and now you seem to have added a fourth.

    • Brian

      Liberal ‘theology’ today is a Hegelian thing.

    • Damaris Tighe

      When liberals believe that God is speaking to the Church, or that the spirit is doing a new thing, they’re narcissistically pretending that their own ideas and wishes are God’s. They have made themselves God; they focus on the immanent rather than the transcendent, because it’s far easier to assert that the immanent is God – there’s no transcendent ‘Other’ outside themselves, whose authority is preserved in scripture, against which they can check their assumptions. They reject the transcendent because that’s the zeitgeist – the self must be ‘subject to’ nothing outside itself. It’s the absolute sovereignty of the self, pure individualism.

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, I agree. Liberal religion is the worship of the autonomous self. That is why it can be hosted in so many disparate religions. Wherever man goes, there the Self may be found. All that is required is to adapt the words and rituals of the old religion to serve the purposes of the new.

    • Albert

      I agree with everything in this, except for this bit:

      Since they begin with the assertion that God is unknowable, their claims ultimately rest upon nothing more tangible than their own authority. In the absence of any divine authority, verbal violence is adopted as a substitute.

      I think their authority rests of the secular liberal viewpoint. This is why culturally, they do not need to argue their point and assume that being abusive is acceptable. Being abusive to the religious conservative is acceptable to the secular liberal, and it prevents the religious conservative from impugning the authority which has no authority: secular liberalism.

      • carl jacobs

        I think that Religious Liberalism and Secular Liberalism are the same thing. Same Genus. Different species. One is not an adaptation of the other. So I would argue that Secular Liberalism has the same problem of authority. Which I am 100% sure you agree with.

        Do you believe religious Liberalism is derivative of Secular Liberalism? Because that is the only possible disagreement I can see.

        • Albert

          I do think it is derivative. I think religious liberalism is about the loss of confidence in Christianity in the face of a secular liberal environment. Whereas secular liberalism is essentially a self-confident world-view. Neither of course has any rational basis for either claim.

  • Arden Forester

    “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot”.

    Because liberal thinking is a la carte Christianity they think they can choose what to believe or not to believe. They even make up new belief to suit the modern world. The Catholic Faith of the creeds, of the tradition, and of the scriptural texts is basically a set menu.

    Those who believe are OK. Those who don’t are OK. It’s the lukewarm lot in the middle that Christ has a hard time with.

  • Sybaseguru

    In Liberal thinking there can ultimately be no concept of morals, so to berate them for ad-hominem attacks has no meaning as they are entitled to believe ad-hominem attacks are good!

  • Martin

    The answer is that the Farsxist (a blend of fascism and marxism) are not Christians. They imagine that to be a Christian equates to being a socialist and they care nothing for any gospel that doesn’t speak of taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

    Indeed, they consider any that do not follow their ideology to be unfit to be citizens, let alone Christians.

    The CoE has allowed such to rise in the hierarchy so that if you are a 39 Article, Bible believing Christian you are unlikely to find anyone above the rank of Vicar who agrees with you.

    • Manfarang

      44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

      45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

      • carl jacobs

        You will notice a complete lack of the Vanguard of the Proletariat. Or the Class Struggle. Or any description of the criminal nature of property. Or the inevitable revolution to form a classless society. Or any mention of the withering away of the state. Or any Hegelian dialectic. In short you will notice none of the entire coercive Socialist superstructure intended to enforce this vision.

        People are free to do as they please with their own property. That is far distant from the ideological abolition of property and its collectivization into a common holding administered as a “trust” by the State. As the Kulaks discovered to their mortal peril.

        • Manfarang

          19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

          20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

          • Martin

            Melchizedek is entirely irrelevant.

          • Manfarang

            For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

      • Martin

        You will note that they did this among themselves, not among the larger population. You will also note that it was short lived.

        • Manfarang

          Not short lived Still practiced in religious communities.

          • Martin

            Religious communities arose out of the errors of the desert fathers, they were nothing to do with those first century Christians.

          • Manfarang

            Still practiced in Hutterite colonies based on New Testament teaching.

          • Martin

            And they date from the 16th century.

          • Manfarang

            From a time of reformation when men and women sought original truth.

          • Martin

            And some went to bizarre lengths to deny everything. I may be a Baptist but that doesn’t mean I accept what some Anabaptists believed.

          • Manfarang

            But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,

          • Martin

            So you’ve given up argument.

          • Manfarang

            The fact that a few Anabaptists denied everything doesn’t mean that others did not find truth.

          • Martin

            You may not have noticed but I used the word ‘some’.

          • Manfarang

            And I said a few because only a small number rejected everything.

          • James60498 .

            I gave Martin a tick.

            Whether or not it was short lived doesn’t really matter.

            What does matter immensely was that it was “among the Community”, not the wider population.

    • Simon Platt

      I like “Farsxist”. I will use it.

  • alternative_perspective

    A very disappointing, though not surprising state of affairs. It does seem to me that there is no accountability within the CoE for those who behave in such a manner. Not only are they a disgrace but their freedom to behave in such a way, unopposed, brings the church in to disrepute.
    Consider the way in which the Bishops laud their authority over would be ordinands and the wringer through which so many are put, yet those who are actually, already under their charges they ignore and fail to discipline.
    The time really is approaching when the Evangelicals, the Anglo-Catholics, men and women of goodwill, peace and an orthodox disposition come out of this increasingly apostate organisation, lest they appear and take on the form of appeasers, manpleasers and compromisers of the truth.
    How can any priest or pastor demand the highest of standards of behaviour and submission from their congregation to God’s word, when their bishops, their colleagues, brothers and the ecclesia sanction and affirm all manner of corrupt practices.

    • Inspector General

      Not sure Foreshew-Cain is an active priest anymore. Had been whining about the ‘homophobia’ in the CoE. Homophobia, apparently, occurs when a gay man demands, and is told no.

  • Genesis 13:8-9. ‘So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me………Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”‘

    Since Rev. Jones and his ilk are already living quite happily where Lot ended up, why on earth are Bible-believing Anglicans insisting on living together with them in an obvious state of open warfare?

    • Sir John Oldcastle

      If only they’d leave, as Martyn Lloyd Jones begged them so many years ago.

  • Busy Mum

    White boys calling black boys nasty names would be vilified as institutionalised playground racism by the likes of Jones.

    • Marcus Stewart

      I was thinking that: surely a most ill-advised remark “in public.” Like a certain London bishop’s nasty remarks about the royal family in social media, he’ll probably apologise (said bishops was suspended for a while).

      • Damaris Tighe

        “He’s no Christian bruv”.

  • len

    There is nothing so intolerant as a ‘liberal’ it seems.
    The Church is no exception to the’ liberals’ wanting to impose their will on everyone else. One is either with ‘the liberals’ or one becomes a target for all sorts of hate, name calling, etc.
    The Church is going through a sifting process and there seems to be a lot of chaff calling itself ‘the Church’.
    This sifting process can only ultimately be a good thing.Bring it on.

    • Manfarang

      There is nothing so intolerant as a far lefty is seems.

  • Jim Welsh

    I have always considered it a victory when my opponent resorts to name calling. Once an argument gets to that level, one can conclude that the name-caller has no moves left but to throw out a visceral, emotive response. The key is to let it end there and not to get baited into either returning the insult or straying off the core issue or the basis of the argument.

  • Gresham Machen called liberal Christianity another religion. He’s right. There are not conservative Christians and liberal Christians. There are Christians and non Christians. The bible warns many times about false teachers. Unfortunately the cofe seems to be in a place at the moment where the wolves are promoted in the name of unity and not rocking the boat.

    • Mike Stallard

      Define the word “Bishop”.

      • Sir John Oldcastle

        Overseer.

        • Martin

          One of the roles of an elder.

          • Mike Stallard

            Yup.
            The trouble is that the overseers and elders seem to be at loggerheads.
            So which of these overseers do we follow to get to the truth?

            (PS John 14.6…)

        • betteroffoutofit

          To adapt Etymonline’s summing up: From Late Latin ‘episcopus’ (itself from Greek “episkopos = watcher, (spiritual) overseer”). This, “in Spanish, became ‘obispo,’ in Italian ‘vescovo,’ in Welsh ‘esgob.’ The Germanic forms include Old Saxon ‘biscop,’ Old High German ‘biscof.’ Further afield it became Lithuanian ‘viskupas,’ Albanian ‘upeshk,’ Finnish ‘piispa. A once-popular pun on it was bite-sheep (1550s, also in German, ‘biss-schaf’).” *
          _____________________________
          *http://etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bishop

          • Pubcrawler

            Fascinating as etymology frequently is, it is not, and can never be, a definition. (Nor, incidentally, is a simple translation.)

          • betteroffoutofit

            Goodness, Mr. Pubcrawler, Sir: Pardon me for breathing. I’m not clear as to what, in fact, you’re saying.

            I’ve studied a good deal of etymology in my more academic time; indeed, even as a child I used to read dictionaries to fill up my ‘study hall’ hours. So – providing one may follow most reputable dictionaries in taking “definition” to signify ‘a statement of the meaning of a word’ etc., I must disagree with you.

            That is because the etymology of a word provides the history of its meaning and (often) application. No one who has seriously studied language will deny that early denotations undergo changes, or that strange connotations often develop (as in ‘gay’). In cases like the one above, however, the etymology indicates that the meaning supplied by Sir John has been consistent for thousands of years and across several cultures. I fail to see why you should quibble about the supportive confirmation.

          • Pubcrawler

            Oh I enjoy and cherish etymology as much as you. But it is to do with history, not the present.

            Beware the etymological fallacy and the tendency towards prescriptivism, that was the import of my comment. I apologise if it disjointed your nose.

          • betteroffoutofit

            My nose? My name is not “Cameron,” * nor am I of the Frye/Childs dynasties of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Though I deplore the plight of such Marxist educated children (and the churchmen highlighted today), I don’t claim that you are responsible for their cultural displacement.
            I do believe, though, that you use words to misread not my face, but my intent and actions.
            My info, you should know, is not “prescriptive.” I repeat: I merely support Sir John’s definition of “Bishop” ** ; I do so by indicating that the word has a long and respectable heritage. My evidence is not fallacious; it objectively describes that heritage and allows the reader to note the (real) thread of continuity throughout.

            As to your disconnect between ‘history’ and the ‘present’ . . . I’ve already addressed the process of word usage (denotation/connotation) over time. I would further remind you of how others have viewed historical process in general. Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864), for example, wrote:
            “The present, like a note in music, is nothing but as it pertains to what is past and what is to come,” (“Imaginary Conversations: Aesop and Rhodope;” *** In Classical Dialogues pp. 16/17).

            We also have T. S. Eliot’s play on temporal relations:
            “Time present and time past
            Are both perhaps present in time future
            And time future contained in time past.” (“Four Quartets: Burnt Norton,” 1-3).

            And TSE frames further thoughts with:
            “Time past and time future
            What might have been and what has been
            Point to one end, which is always present” (Ibid; 9/10; 46-48).

            Methinks these generalizations are applicalble to word-history. So thank you for your warnings and apology – and for activating echoes:
            “But to what purpose
            Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
            I do not know” (Ibid; 15-17).

            Surfice it, then . . .

            ____________
            * = “crooked nose” cf. “Chambers Dictionary.”

            ** = . . . “in the early Christian and certain modern Protestant churches, a spiritual overseer of a local church or group of churches” (“The Chambers Dictionary”).

            ***https://archive.org/details/imaginaryconver10landgoog
            Provides digital image of Landor’s text “with Bibliographical and Explantory Notes by Charles G. Crump.” This is the First of Six Volumes – London: Dent, MDCCCXCI.

      • I understand a bishop, in the Anglican sense, as in the Book of Common Prayer. One of the duties of a bishop is to drive away strange and erroneous doctrine. If our bishops had been doing a little more of that we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  • Mike Stallard

    I am seriously worried about this.
    As an ex-Anglican I can remember when the Anglican Church stood for sexual continence, marriage as a sacrament, parenthood and family and lots and lots of confession. It was also somewhere where even the smallest village had a church with friendly faces who made a religious duty out of welcoming strangers. Everywhere you looked in East Anglia were friendly church towers linking different communities – when the word really meant something.
    Now all that seems to be quite lost in a mish-mash of angry verbosity and tolerance of the revolting with intolerance of anyone who happens to question the current narrow minded orthodoxy.
    Round here, people are voting – indeed have voted – with their feet.

    • Marcus Stewart

      Yes, it’s deeply sad. I set much if not most of the blame at the bishops’ door in the CofE, which becomes increasingly ridiculous. I know two well-heeled churches, who can afford to go it alone, who now stand at the precipice of secession from Oxford Dio as they despair in the Church’s dysfunction and liberalism.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        What’s happening in Oxford?

        • Marcus Stewart

          Despair! All dioceses are much of a muchness today as orthodox bishops have been replaced by liberals/women (de facto liberal), but Oxon is a very liberal diocese with many wealthy evangelical churches, the clergy and parishioners of the more conservative ones of which are sick of the PCness pushed by the Dio as well as the national Church.

  • Sir John Oldcastle

    Good point, well made. And of course this cuts many ways. For instance, I don’t mind strong and passionate debate on this site from RCs who disagree (wrongly) with my Biblical Protestantism. I do object when they resort to calling me, for instance, a liar.

    • James60498 .

      Obviously I (rightly) disagree with your Protestantism but I am far more likely to regard people like Piers Morgan (did I really just write that name, sorry!!) claiming to be a Catholic as a liar.

      Who calls you a liar?

      • Sir John Oldcastle

        A recent discussion ended when someone with a female avatar name called me a liar for stating that I have seen RCs worshipping statues and the like. Until this post went up I had ‘moved on’, but then remembered it, and thought it worth bringing up in the interest of balance and fairness on the subject.

        • Marcus Stewart

          They and I would disagree with the term “worshipping” and would, or should, state that you are mistaken in that terminology, rather than lying – a foolish thing to have said of you. Catholic theology is clear that a representation such as a statue is an aid to worship, in concentrating the mind, but absolutely not the object of it. Anglican and even Free churches would have no two-dimensional representation, never mind three- if it were mainstream thought that they could be worshipped. There’s no theological distinction between two and three dimensions.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            I know what they were doing. I am fully aware of their claims. But I know what those people were doing, over a considerable period of time. To say that I am foolish in saying this is just as personal an insult as calling me a liar. Were you there? No. Do you even know where ‘there’ is? No. Do you know what exactly they were doing? No. Instead you malign me, and call me the one thing Jesus said we weren’t to call someone else. An interesting way to respond, given the subject of this blogpost.

          • Marcus Stewart

            I said a foolish thing to have said OF you, not that you said.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Sincere Apologies. I have amended my comment above.

          • Marcus Stewart

            I think all you can properly say of your observations is it looked like worship of the object – and in a sense I’m sure it was; but if you asked the subjects what they were doing they’d say they were honouring Mary (or whomever) through her representation, not, significantly, the representation itself. Who are we to say what their mind is about?

            On the wider matter of insulting people, bear in mind that to tell them they were worshipping a statue only and that this is wrong, invalid, of no religious significance, etc, (do you believe that?) would be insulting to them, of the Ian Paisley school of (bigoted) theology. I’m sure you weren’t planning on expressing your opinion just for this reason. While I sense your opinion on this is firm, you must know that it’s not a view shared by the vast majority Christians East and West, whom you must therefore think are wrong on the matter (as is the art in their churches). Of course, we could be wrong.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Its very interesting, because I do not agree with you regarding what I saw and I witnessed, you declare me to be wrong. And yet, as i have said, I saw and witnessed this over a significant period of time, and I KNOW that what was going on was worship. Stop telling me what I saw, stop telling me what I know – to do so is to play the ad hominem game which this blog is all about. Deal with the facts, and accept that I have no reason to lie, nor am I in any way deceived or in error about what was going on. When you do that we can then have a proper debate, not one where I and my knowledge are denigrated merely because it doesn’t suit you.

            Your semantics over the difference between ‘worship’ and ‘veneration’ are a matter for another discussion another day – and will land you in theological and philosophical hot water if you continue trying to go down that path.

            (I also seem not to be logged in as who I am, but as a name I use on very occasional moments, but never here before. Which is mysterious. I must investigate.)

          • Your nom de plume is a very honourable one and commemorates a very gallant and faithful gentleman, as does mine.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Absolutely so. But here, partly for reasons of openness, I try to use my real name. Ironically there are some RCs on here who have accused me of not being me even when I use my own name!

          • Martin

            Marcus

            I’m pretty certain that if they were observed in the act in ancient Israel they’d have been stoned as idolaters..

    • Marcus Stewart

      I’d rather be in bed with the Biblical Protestant than a liberal. Viz Anglicanism, conservative evangelicals and traditional Catholics have a solidarity that distances them from liberals.

      • dannybhoy

        When by the grace of God I became a born again Christian in 1968 we were taught to expect various forms of persecution, ostracism and ragging..

        • Marcus Stewart

          Absolutely: we pray for peace and unity but are told not to expect it on earth, just to continue striving.

    • len

      We must expected offence and to get offended.
      Look what they did to Jesus , the disciples, and many many more?
      To be called’ a liar’ is a bit strong but those who oppose the Word will throw all the insults they can at you, but ultimately its Jesus Himself that they insult.

    • Anna

      This has been my experience too, sadly.

  • I think when it all boils down to it, the Anglican Church lacks strong, decisive leadership. They need leaders that inspire to follow the teachings of Jesus. All the umpteen branches – conservative Christians, liberal Christians, homosexual Christians and all the other fantasy versions all lead to a dead end cul-de-sac.
    They cause arguments and detract from the main message.
    Clergy shouldn’t swear as they have to set a good example to the rest of us. They should be fined for this.

  • Marcus Stewart

    Granted abuse cuts both ways, but I agree that there seems more one way… Liberals seem more liberal with intemperate expression, foul language and the like. There’s a parallel with the old and new comics: the new, notoriously liberal-lefty, cast aspersion on the old in fulsome terms, it being cool ‘n trendy to pepper with effings. As so often in dealing with such people, the crafted liberalism melts dare one disagree. Their vaunted “diversity” applies to the usual list – not with whom they disagree.

  • Sparky Mark

    He should be sacked for bringing th CofE into disrepute.

    • dannybhoy

      Is that possible??

      • Sir John Oldcastle

        The rules for discipline of a CfE clergy thing are clear. Bringing the church into disrepute is one of those things. Though he’s more likely to merely be wrist-slapped.

        • dannybhoy

          No I didn’t make myself clear. What I meant was is it possible to bring the CofE any further into disrepute…

          • Dominic Stockford

            That’s even easier to answer. No.

            Yes, they were. And though there are still some theologically sound CofE congregations, they are so few and far between that you’d be lucky to find one anywhere near you.

  • Inspector General

    Eight bells and all’s well…

    Fellows should be aware that militant homosexuals and their allies have been furious of late due to 3 happenings…

    Brexit. And the probable abandonment of the European Court of Terrorist and Oddball Rights
    The election of Trump
    The ascent of the Transgender

    Of the 3, it’s the last that has them fighting among themselves. Language is resulting foul as they argue aggressively the wrongs and the not so wrongs, but still wrongs. Don’t expect any of them to keep a civil tongue in their heads for anybody else!

    Pip Pip!

    • betteroffoutofit

      So right, IG. If their world is all about power and domination, then they’ll constantly use all means to that end.

  • Chefofsinners

    Scripturally there are two reasons for dissociating oneself from another Christian:
    1. Immorality: “you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” 1 Cor 5:11
    2. Divisiveness: “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” Titus 3:10

    Liberal CoE clergy seem to qualify on both counts.

    • Also false teaching. 2 Tim 2.

      “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”
      Romans 16:17

      For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
      2 John 1:7-11

  • betteroffoutofit

    Your Grace asks: “Why do liberal Christians abuse conservative Christians?” I wonder . . . perhaps because no Christian is perfect, but some are less perfect than others?

    Of course, one source of imperfection is word-blindness; for example, to things like the real meaning of ‘liberal.’ Maybe they are also spoilt by technology, and they don’t know the nature and value of ‘freedom.’ Or perhaps they really believe that freedom lies in the degraded use of Old English words – and thus the abuse of English/British culture. That’s if they’re educated enough even to know that the ‘f’ word is Old English.

  • Inspector General

    Herewith civil war LGBT style. It’s only a matter of time before the end of organised buggery. Enjoy…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Drop the T • 2 days ago
    How is this in any way anti-LGB?

    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Simply Toast Drop the T • 2 days ago
    It’s LGBT.
    Our civil rights started with Transpeople of color, What is wrong with you?
    I’m with Johnny, let’s just drop your little g, so the LBT can move forward.
    7
    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Drop the T Simply Toast • 6 hours ago
    Trans terrorists keep trying to rewrite gay history. I tell you, give them 10 more years and Mark Bingham will be “transpeople of colour” too.

    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    WillMoor Simply Toast • 2 days ago
    As you pointed out, its LGBT. Dropping the G would be no better than dropping the T. Why stoop to his pathetic level? BTW, what proof do you have that this person is gay? Or even male? You think lesbians and bisexuals have never been anti-trans idiots?
    4
    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Johnny Drop the T • 2 days ago
    I think we need to drop the G – you guys are just bringing the B and L down all the time.
    2
    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Drop the T Johnny • 6 hours ago
    B are bringing themselves down by staying in the closet, can’t say anything about Ls

    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Spanner Johnny • a day ago
    I just think they should drop the Q
    It’s fcking offensive.
    1
    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Johnny Spanner • a day ago
    I was just having a go at Drop the T. I agree. Like in England it was/is a derogatory term for non-heterosexual men in Australia., although it may have been more commonly used in England. However, I find the term just stupid in its current usage – it could include anyone and everyone. I refuse to use it.
    1
    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Spanner Johnny • 20 hours ago
    Avatar
    WillMoor Johnny • 2 days ago
    Seriously? You two are going to blame ALL gay men for the words of that idiot? You two are literally NO better than that traitor to the LGBT family. All three of you can take a dive. We have a MUCH bigger enemy to fight right now than each other, you three clueless morons. You think dropping ANYBODY from the LGBT family is gonna stop Trump?
    4
    •Reply•Share ›

    Avatar
    Troy Brooks WillMoor • a day ago
    I’m a bisexual man and I’ll tell you that it was gay men that made it difficult for me to come out.

    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Spanner Troy Brooks • a day ago
    Were you in two minds about it?

    Sorry. I’ll get my coat…

    • Dominic Stockford

      it was inevitable. And it will be seen more and more in the ‘open’ discussions on these matters, as well as in their blog-sites.

      • Inspector General

        It’s all rather scary what they get up to as none of them is the full shilling…

        • worrywort

          Inspector Sir. Be careful there, looking at this kind of pornography will rub off. You’ll be at the bar thinking of a single Malt and you’ll order a pink Gin. And you’ll imagine there’s Poofs round every corner. Oh hang, there is.

          • Inspector General

            It’s all somewhat marvellous, worrything. Just when you expect the coup de grace from them, one quare says to another “did you spill my pint”

  • Chefofsinners

    Breaking news… Archbishop Okoh marries widow of John Lennon. Mrs Yoko Ono Okoh is Okay with a bit of Hokey Cokey up the Orinoco.

  • not a machine

    Your grace is thought provoking and perhaps offers a more interesting question around the Anglican route than first appears ,I can only use a personal story/reflection. In my own journey when the bible started to unfold and if anything the old testament became more interesting , because the points leading to Jesus became more thoughtful. At that time I was doing some learning to consider becoming a church reader , it was also the time when the women bishops movement was peaking before an ordination ,I was a rather Catholic voice in a progressive circle , who really felt ,I was just being a unreconstructed traditionalist , who had better take his medicine , as they not only had the power (to pass or fail you) , but that they were right , and the holy spirit was one of social action and equality.
    Some years later I noted that the poor church attendance that they had claimed would be resolved, the less of people with my thinking there was had not materialised, true some new people had appeared in the comfy version , but I noted that they ended up in the same position as my Catholic thinking when the same harsh questions came at them , does god exist or not .
    For my Bishop from Nigeria ,I am as troubled as anyone when I consider what the Christian faith used to be ,I do not see in the explanation where this liberal shift will arrive at ,perhaps confessional booths on overtime or even a cyber hail Mary or 40. In my journey I had to think/consider how our branch of the church came about , and when I got to the early church patriarchs , and our Nicene Creed now some near 1600 years old , came about in a very turbulent and combative time , where heretics and whole population centres of church instruction were not exactly getting along.
    If the church patriarchs were having problems , one may well expect us in todays setting to have them too. I have opposed same sex marriage mostly on the grounds of changing words from a scriptural meaning , and still do , however it has troubled me , that homosexuality should have received the treatment it does .Whilst having to contend with a religious opinion that for most of my life has been to see homosexuality as some sort evil and seen some very real angers and retribution towards homosexuality, we are in rather different era, and that doesn’t mean we should ,unpick right to the ascension .
    My Bishop may well see the need to keep his flock upon a path , to guide them , to protect them from poor teaching or even snares of evil , but sometimes when we unthoughtfully say “the path” in truth we do not always understand what we may be doing , the flesh is weak and yet the holy spirit appears to work through all living things, the world if not the universe suddenly becomes a much bigger thing , than point making in highly religious and atheist thinking . Its that troubling line in some CofE services “of your own do we give unto you” , for most Christian thinkers it is one of the most troubling lines , you can encounter , for a sort circle becomes evident .
    I personally do not claim to have understood this , I know God /Jesus exists and that is my journey even though hard pressed and imprisoned , shaken up and often wondering where I shall go next .

    Some call it dilution/weakening some call it reform and whilst we like the two dogs fighting over a bone are watched by those who do not love Jesus , sit waiting to see the winner. The homosexual argument is a bit of side show , perhaps a wedge of sorts ,marriage is between a man and woman and has been for 5000 yrs .What is the evil that we are supposed to cast out ??? that which we only think , that which we only do ??? or that that bears the fruit that was on the tree of knowledge of good an evil .
    lush ,delicious …so good to eat , so satisfying but so brief …..

    • worrywort

      Thank you for your insightful post. I really don’t understand how in my lifetime, our morals and concepts of being a decent Christian have been upset by the people within our society who should have no say in what we believe and practise are telling us what we should accept as the new “Normal”

      • not a machine

        The new normal , has been around perhaps since history began…..decency can be in non Christian forms ,but if you have an encounter with God there is something qualitative that occurs over time in your life.

  • John

    Matthew 7.15-17
    Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.…

    Matthew 7:20
    So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    Galatians 5:22
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  • chiaramonti

    I thought the correct from of address for an Archbishop was ‘your grace’ not ‘twat.’

    • len

      Not any more…apparently.

  • Anton

    Dear Nick Jones

    And also with you.

  • Anton

    Why do liberal Christians abuse conservative Christians? Let’s start with the definition of Christian and consider whether liberals qualify…

    • Chefofsinners

      Ah shut up, yer twat.

      • Pubcrawler

        Joe Dolce, yes?

        • Chefofsinners

          Ah shaddapa ya face.

          I’m progressing in the school of liberal debate, am I not?

          • Pubcrawler

            Literally Hitler.

  • As a non-conformist, I still don’t, and hope I never will, understand evangelical Anglicans’ way of approaching these issues.

    How can someone to whom the Biblical gospel matters decide that they’re going to accept that gospel believers like themselves can be just one “wing” of a church…. and then be surprised when those who aren’t so fussed about getting the gospel right don’t manage to hold the line on Biblical ethics, either?

    Do you actually believe that you need the Biblical gospel to uphold Biblical ethics? Or not? Can Biblical ethics survive without the Biblical gospel, or is the gospel strictly optional? And if the gospel actually matters, then why pretend to be shocked or surprised when people who don’t preach that gospel don’t practise its ethical implications either?

    • Royinsouthwest

      I am not an Anglican but I think the answer to your question is that ever since the Reformation there has been a tendency for Protestant denominations to split. The Methodists left, or were pushed out, of the Church of England. Then the Methodists became split between Arminians, like the Wesleys, and Calvinists like Whitfield.

      How important are those distinctions today? Welsh Methodism arose independently of English Methodism, although there naturally was some contact between the Welsh and English leaders, and the great majority of Welsh Methodists were Calvinists. How many of them are strict Calvinists today, I wonder? Very few, I expect. The Welsh Methodists no longer call themselves Methodists. Instead they call themselves Presbyterians. Ironically one of the main founders of Welsh Methodism, Daniel Rowland, warned his followers not to split from the Church of England but after his death they ignored his advice.

      Voltaire, I believe, described England as a country with “a thousand religions but only one sauce” thereby expressing what he thought both of English religion and English cuisine in one phrase. Numerous denominations have been founded as a result of splits over issues that seemed important at the time but which seem less so to the present members of those denominations.

      There may be some doctrinal issues over which it is worth splitting but it would be wise to be very cautious about that. Once you start splitting when do you stop?

      • If the gospel isn’t worth splitting over, then nothing is. The gospel defines the church. No gospel, no church. And that’s the evangelical Anglicans’ problem. They’ve decided that they can be a “church” together with all sorts of people for whom Biblical gospel is either optional or rejected. People who hold the Biblical gospel can just be one “wing” of a larger organisation.

        • Colin McCormack

          “The gospel defines the church.” Really! Then by that definition and given the deviations (theological and moral) existing in the churches at Corinth, Galatia and Colossae, Paul of Tarsus must be held to account for failing to maintain gospel purity.

          • A complete non-sequitor.

            Firstly, the idea that Paul’s relationship to the churches that he personally planted is basically the same thing as the relationship between different ‘wings’ of the “Church of England”, such that you can neatly transfer across far-reaching conclusions, is absurd.

            Secondly, Paul clearly viewed the churches you mention as, whilst dangerously flirting with false gospels, doing so unintentionally, and he had confidence that they would return to the truth. There’s no analogy between true Christians who accepted and loved the apostolic gospel but were flirting with false gospels on one hand, and convinced, consistent adherents of other gospels. More analogous would be Paul’s attitude to the false teachers teaching those false gospels. He doesn’t have much sympathy with them, does he? Galatians 1:8ff aren’t exactly the words of someone who was relaxed about whether or not the true gospel was preached, are they? Paul’s hardly likely to defend a church union with the Judaisers who infiltrated Galatia, and call them “a wing” of the one true church, was he? Concerning them, he says that he wish they would emasculate themselves!

            If you don’t believe that the gospel defines the church, then what does? Does God consider any old organisation that sticks the label “church” on itself to be one? He follows man’s opinion and rubber stamps it? Is the Mosque also a church, because the people there claim to love and follow Jesus?

          • Colin McCormack

            Of course it is a non sequitur; particularly if you miss the point that the presentation of the gospel does not necessarily create nor perpetuate an all-embracing holiness.

      • Martin

        Roy

        Of course, back in the early days of the CoE they kicked out everyone who wouldn’t play by their rules.

  • David

    It is now abundantly clear that all those who cling to conservative, orthodox understandings of the faith “once received by the saints” will be,at best misunderstood, and at worst insulted, by those who see themselves as “progressive”, whatever that means.
    But it is not to institutions, made by man that we must look for truth,but to the Word of God and those understandings that have been held as true since the beginning. Liberalism is but a slow slide towards the loss of faith and a path to be avoided by those seeking God.
    The old Biblical truth “by their fruits ye shall know them”, continues to be a good guide enabling us to discern the truth seekers from those who prioritise pleasing this world. It is now, as ever, time to decide which path you choose to follow.
    Choose well as your eternal fate may depend upon it.
    God bless.

    • Ray Spring

      New liberalism is old Paganism.

      • David

        Yes, I think that you may have something there. The secular liberals are , as you suggest, following old paganism, whilst the theologically liberal “Christians”, are becoming less and less truly Christian and ever more pagan, dragged in that direction by their secular colleagues.

  • Alison Bailey Castellina

    To answer the question, I recall that John Stott wrote that liberals are ‘defective’ Christians.

  • Damaris Tighe

    Not only is the Rev’d NIck vulgar and abusive, his online behaviour demonstrates that he is not a Christian.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Or possibly a Christian who has gone astray and needs to repent.

  • Albert

    The step between liberalism and racism is all too brief.

    • Manfarang

      The Cape Coloureds are all liberals?

  • grutchyngfysch

    Liberal Christian and conservative Christian only make sense insofar as the descriptors refer solely to secular politics. Theological liberals aren’t Christian.

    • Yes. J. Gresham Machen made that case convincingly a century ago (in his work, “Christianity and Liberalism”). The only reason for continuing to push that line today is ignorance, and in the case of ordained churchmen, that ignorance has to be deliberate.