Church of England

If Philip North can’t be Bishop of Sheffield, the Church of England ceases to be catholic

The Dean of Christ Church, Professor Martyn Percy, has issued an ultimatum circumspectly entitled ‘Questions of Ambiguity and Integrity‘. It’s quite long, but essentially it boils down to a choice: either the Rt Rev’d Philip North, currently Bishop of Burnley who opposes women priests and bishops, must renounce his membership of The Society, whose mission is to “promote and maintain catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England”; or he must withdraw himself from nomination to the See of Sheffield, which Professor Percy describes as a “go-ahead, vibrant, progressive city” (ie, no place for the “sacralised sexism” of bishops like Philip North). He is keen to empasise that he does not call for Bishop Philip to withdraw, but “Rather, I invite him to reflect on his position, and work through his theological convictions with honesty and sincerity; in other words, act with integrity” (the inference being that for him to be consecrated Bishop of Sheffield, where apparently a third of clergy are women, would be dishonest, insincere, and devoid of integrity).

The logic is impeccable: Philip North does not believe that women, or men ordained by women bishops, are sacramentally valid priests, so how can he possibly affirm their vocations, ministries and identities? What credible words of affirmation can he give to women priests under his episcopal authority when they know, deep down, that he does not believe they actually exist; that their holy orders are absolutely null and utterly void? And even if he acknowledges their existence as church leaders and ministers of the Word, Martyn Percy probes deeper:

But the crucial question is, what does Bishop Philip think is happening at the altar, when a woman is presiding at the Eucharist. I don’t know. And so far, Bishop Philip has tended to be ambiguous in his statements on this matter. But this issue cannot now be fudged. Any answer that sidestepped the question as to whether such a sacramental offering is valid or efficacious would be pastorally and personally undermining of women clergy. And to repeat, the position of The Society is that ‘we can’t receive [this] ministry’.

There is no room here for a formulaic Anglican fudge: there is simply no place for sexism in the Church of England, for, as Professor Percy states, “tolerating intolerance is not virtuous practice”. It is a missional imperative: “We can’t speak with authenticity publicly, when we still sanction & sacralise sexism: CofE is just made to look like an odd reactionary sect,” he tweets. So he has little time for the murky “mutual flourishing” of the Five Guiding Principles by which diverse and mutually-exclusive integrities are sustained, respected and fostered. Such polarities, for him, permit no true flourishing precisely because they are devoid of integrity. Many will have sympathy with his reasoning; indeed, he re-fabricates the precise stick of ecclesial-theological logic with which the extremes have traditionally bludgeoned the via media, going all the way back to 1534.

And yet in his impeccable logic is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of Anglicanism: it is almost as if the great Professor Martyn Percy is trying to play pope, which would be a very un-Anglican thing indeed.

Critics within and without the Church of England have been highlighting its internal contradictions and prophesying its demise since it was established. It was once referred to as being “crucified between two thieves” – the respective fanaticism and superstition of the Puritans and the Papists. There is a modern parallel with a church now suspended between the decline in institutional religion and the burgeoning of generalised ‘spirituality’; between the secularisation of society and the plurality of faith communities. The postmodern context is marked by diversity, fragmentation and all that is transitory: beliefs and practices are culturally relative, and Anglicanism, on one reading, has ceased to be supra-cultural or catholic.

Theological leadership is raised up in due season. Bishop John Jewel with his Defensio Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae was the first to navigate safe passage for the Anglican Settlement after its fragile birth under the young Elizabeth I. A generation later Richard Hooker, fearing for the future of the Church of England at the hands of radical reformers within, gave us Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, helping to secure the church’s future. And in the 19th century, Samuel Coleridge “made trial of his age” (as Newman put it) and set the Church of England on a fresh course of intellectual and imaginative renewal at a time when the likes of Thomas Arnold were proclaiming exactly the sort of deficiencies now highlighted by Martyn Percy.

But the Reformed English Church persists with its via media tensions because there is no better expression of English identity: it is the quintessential Ecclesia Anglorum. If it is still crucified between two thieves – the modern puritans of absolute gender-sexuality equality, and the quasi-papists of catholic continuity – it is because it has tasted the unmerited transformational grace of God in Jesus Christ, and maintains continuity with the Church of the Middle Ages and the Fathers. The Church of England is reformed and reforming, but it is also catholic. In this it is moderate and reasonable; rigorous yet pastoral. And these are held in perpetual tension, in the brokenness of the cross, where Bishop Philip North doubtless kneels daily. And if there is no space for him at a diocesan level, the Church of England sacrifices its catholicity on the altar of ever-reforming modernity.

In Anglican polity there are undoubted imbalances, frequent injustices, irregularities or muddled integrities. These are the imperfections and limitations of our fallenness. But the Ecclesia Angliae has endured theological onslaughts and political threats since its inception – from popes, puritans, secularists, scientists, atheists and ecumenists, to name but a few. It can surely survive a little feminist intolerance of latitudinarianism from an Oxford academic.

  • Anton

    This man has been supported in part by money from the collection plates of the faithful, yet he sows doubt in the form of his liberal views. It is he who should consider his position, not least for his own sake. I hope he will soon be forced out by an uprising of the evangelical laity in the form of a withholding, until the CoE has been cleansed of his like. I am being restrained compared to what Christ said of such people in Matthew 23.

  • Albert

    Two statements are made here:

    1. The logic is impeccable: Philip North does not believe that women, or men ordained by women bishops, are sacramentally valid priests, so how can he possibly affirm their vocations, ministries and identities?

    Quite. Every priest acts on behalf of his bishop. A bishop surely cannot give permission to a priest to minister when he does not regard those sacraments as valid himself. Think of all those invalid death bed confessions.

    2. And if there is no space for him at a diocesan level, the Church of England sacrifices its catholicity on the altar of ever-reforming modernity.

    Exactly. If he cannot be a diocesan bishop, the CofE has dogmatized the ordination of women, but the CofE claims: Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. It cannot seriously be said that women’s ordination passes this rather high bar.

    So both claims are right. But the two claims are mutually exclusive. Percy is plainly wrong, it is not that North should consider his position, it’s that the CofE is incoherent.

    • carl jacobs

      But the CoE won’t remain incoherent. It is transforming itself into a coherent progressive church. And there are few dogmatists more dogmatically rigid than the progressive.

      • Albert

        there are few dogmatists more dogmatically rigid than the progressive

        But it will remain incoherent, because it will not give up the claim to be the Catholic Church of this land and neither will it give up its Protestant doctrine that Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation But neither claim is consistent with a “progressive church”.

        • carl jacobs

          It has already rejected Scripture functionally and will eventually do so formally. And there is nothing internally incoherent in its claims to be the catholic church of England.

          There is a war going on in the CoE to remove the theological ambiguity at the heart of the CoE. The Progressives are seeking to bring coherence by driving out their competitors. When they achieve control they will be able to formally refashion the CoE in a thoroughly post modern image.

          • Albert

            And there is nothing internally incoherent in its claims to be the catholic church of England.

            There is, because it is not universal – not universal even on its own terms. It imposes as things effectively to be believed, things which it cannot claim to require one to believe.

          • carl jacobs

            Hrmmm. Example?

          • Albert

            I could give examples, but I don’t need to, because the imposition of thing not universal is inherent in your own comment:

            It is transforming itself into a coherent progressive church. And there are few dogmatists more dogmatically rigid than the progressive.

          • Jack blames the Puritans and Calvinists. But for them, the Church of England would have returned home centuries ago.

          • Manfarang

            There was the Great Ejection 1662.

          • Thousands of Puritan clergy were expelled from the Church of England. However, their spirit lived on and the Calvinists remained.

          • Manfarang

            It is estimated that some 2000 ministers were ejected from their pulpits and parishes, including their manses, with Anglican priests put in their place. The majority were Presbyterian (1,816), Independents (194), and Baptists (19).
            Many of the dissenting chapels that arose after the Great Ejection were Calvinist/

          • Manfarang

            With the Restoration, came a more ceremonial, Catholicising style of church.

          • Cressida de Nova

            The Klan are happy !

    • Coniston

      The CofE is incoherent because in actual fact it consists of several different churches, or denominations. The only thing that keeps them together is continual fudge – an Anglican speciality. No one, especially the archbishops, can speak with authority because that would expose the whole shambolical fudge, and the CofE would disintegrate.

      • Albert

        When I was in the CofE what was said was that what kept it together was that the clergy were all paid from the same bank account. I was never sure that that was quite fair. Clearly, all clergy had some attachment to the CofE beyond their income, but in the venn diagram, at the extremes at least, it was never really clear what that was.

    • Martin

      Albert

      The elders/overseers are responsible to Christ and to their congregation. They can be responsible to none other.

      • Albert

        In the Bible they are responsible to the apostles.

        • Martin

          Albert

          If they were the apostles have no successors.

          • Albert

            If you believe that, you must admit the shape of your church is not that of the NT.

          • Martin

            Albert

            With the death of the apostles, the shape of the Church changed, it came of age.

          • Albert

            No it didn’t. It continued to see in a glass darkly.

          • Martin

            Albert

            That’s Rome.

          • Albert

            According to scripture, that’s all of us. Perhaps Paul’s words apply to you:

            Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign–and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!

  • Inspector General

    Outstanding Cranmer! In brevity and laconic style, sir.

    Those who write history are keen to identify the actual point when Civil War gets going. Some bloody incident that serves to demonstrate the intractability. A point in time that can serve as a day counter until final schism. This could well be it…

    • Albert

      It’s not it because anyone who cares about coherence has left already. Everyone else stays and tries not to think about it, so this won’t make much difference.

      • Inspector General

        You’re not much of a judge of character. After all, you are a turncoat yourself.

        The cloaks of respectability worn by both sides falls to the ground. Public arguments will now take over. Bitter, they will be, and the Feminists, Homosexualists and Humanitarians, atheist to a man, will come in on the liberal side, much to the disgust of the true faithful.

        • Albert

          But they’ve been arguing about all this for decades. The supporters of women’s ordination have won – but at the expense of Catholicity. There aren’t many people like Philip North around any more – for a reason. There’s not enough opposition to have a proper conflict.

          • Inspector General

            The lid has finally blown off, and the stuff is overflowing out…a call to arms!

          • Albert

            Yes, but that’s been the case for ages. It’s just that those who care haven’t noticed, and those who have noticed don’t care. Nothing has really changed with this. It was already incoherent.

        • 1642+5thMonarchy

          My Inspector, you are on song this morning! I would send you a case of our finest beer for that sequence if I only knew your real identity!

          • Inspector General

            …and let Cranmer’s site be their new synod, 1642. The amount of Christianity found here is astonishing to all who see it!

          • Manfarang

            Or is that Christian nationalism?

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            That’s got a nice ring to it. Thanks!

          • Well, its certainly encompasses all – including those who believe Christ is an angel, God is not a Trinity, and Jesus can only be understood by Nordic types.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            I thought the Inspector was a cradle RC and still a communicant? Gosh Jack, the RC must be a heterodox denomination indeed. Well done!

          • Inspector General

            Heaven forbid anyone takes the scallywag Jack as an ideal RC, 1642. Leave him to his sectarianism. He seems to enjoy it so.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            He does not accord with most RCs I have met. Most just want the cause of Christ to advance and aren’t that fussy about denominational character IG.

          • Anton

            You might be able to do for him what Pubcrawler and I did for you, given that he lives in Gloucester, is elderly and attends a Roman Catholic church (despite being Arian!)

          • Manfarang

            Good Lord, a Visigoth.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Well I’m chairman of a company based in Quedgeley so I can put a case by for him to collect.

            That, don’t reveal any more details about the IG’s identity on here Anton otherwise the Inquisition on here will be conducting house to house searches and gathering the faggots.

          • Anton

            Quedgeley? I guessed that that was another of Peter Simple’s inventions until I googled it.

          • Manfarang

            Nice picture of St.James church.

          • The Lizards know who he is and where he lives ….

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            The Greys watch over him.

          • Their patience is wearing thin.

          • len

            The mothership is hovering.

          • Inspector General

            Elderly! Mid fifties, sir.

          • Anton

            Apologies; I misunderstood a comment of yours.

          • Manfarang

            That must have been about the Indian Mutiny.

    • Manfarang

      The Monstrous Regiment eh?

  • len

    The C of E is being eaten away from the inside.Eventually like termites destroying a building the whole thing will collapse.

    • Holger

      What can we do to hasten that happy day?

      • len

        The bishops are doing quite a good job on their own…

        • Holger

          Yes, who would have thought the death throes of a dumb beast would be quite so entertaining? Never could stand the corrida, but this bloodless English version is much more fun.

          The coup de grâce would be the gender transition of a key figure in the hierarchy. Preferably an archbishop, but even a lowly suffragan would do the trick.

          Can’t be long now. Perhaps North hxxself might oblige.

          Now wouldn’t that be Divine justice?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Speculates on Divine justice, when he rejects the Divine.

            Daft.

          • Anton

            Shakespeare at times trod a narrow line between farce and tragedy.

          • William Lewis

            Probably.

          • len

            Soon have mega mosque’s to replace our Cathedrals?.
            Then you should really be worried?.

          • Holger

            No, you’re thinking of Mecca mosques. You know. The bingo halls.

            While I have to admit that such edifices are appalling monuments to bad taste, I see no reason to worry about them. Quite the reverse. The urban proletariat’s wife has to have somewhere to go while her husband drinks himself into a paralytic coma. While he pisses his money down the lavatory (or all too often, down his trouser leg), his wife empties her purse into the coffers of a gambling corporation. That’s how the working classes are kept in their place.

            The more Mecca mosques they build, the better!

      • Inspector General

        You can help by joining Tachell and demonstrating outside Sheffield cathedral with your beloved paedophile flag wrapped around you.

      • Albert

        I can’t see why you would want that. The CofE is the home of theological liberalism.

        • Holger

          The CofE is the next domino.

          • Albert

            From your point of view, it might as well have fallen already. Which is the next one?

          • Anton

            And which did he consider the previous?

          • Holger

            Time will tell.

            Night marches in the Vatican and rumours of evil portents and secret conferences under cover of darkness have reached the ears of my informants in Prati and Trastevere.

            It may be nothing serious, of course. The fallout of yet another senior member of the Curia’s evangelisation efforts among the Albanian rentboy community, perhaps. But my spies tell me they haven’t seen such furrowed brows in St. Peter’s since Madame JoJo and Gorgeous Georg’s last matrimonial ding-dong led to the popedication, so they’re convinced something epochal is brewing.

            But as I say, time will tell. And I wouldn’t want the foundations to fail beneath the Vatican before the dust has settled over the ruins of Canterbury. I prefer a longer lasting spectacle, dragged out over several years or even decades. Watching them rush about on the deck of the Titanic praying for salvation as the icy waters close in around them makes for tension-filled and highly enjoyable viewing.

            Pass the popcorn, this could be the blockbuster to beat them all…

          • Albert

            Even if true, it’s going to take more than this to cause a 1.2 billion Church to fall.

          • Holger

            The right lever applied in the right place can shift the heaviest weight.

            Size won’t save your church. It actually renders it more vulnerable. When a dinosaur fell, the force of the impact crushed so many bones and vital organs, it could never get back up again.

            Outmoded and unwieldy organisations always disintegrate in the end.

          • Albert

            We’ve been told that this has been going to happen for 2000 years. And yet here we are, still growing.

          • Holger

            Growth in Christianity is limited to developing countries. But once a country develops, religion starts to wane.

            As people become more affluent and – crucially – better educated, their need for a big daddy god to hold their hand declines.

            Some unstable and immature individuals will never feel equal to life without a daddy figure to tell them what to do, but in a well-educated society they will always be in a small minority.

            The West is a post-Christian society and the rest of the world will catch up eventually, so enjoy this final growth spurt while it lasts because once it’s over – which at current rates of development will be soon enough – there’s nowhere left for the Church to go. No pool of ignorant and superstitious peasants to subjugate and exploit.

            You’re chewing your way through your final reserves and soon your food supply will be exhausted. And when massive and unwieldy organisms run out of food, they die. Just like everything else.

          • Albert

            As people become more affluent and – crucially – better educated, their need for a big daddy god to hold their hand declines.

            Have you read any studies on this? Moreover, have you actually read any philosophy of religion? It’s true that many educated people are not religious, but they are not educated in religion.

            Some unstable and immature individuals will never feel equal to life without a daddy figure to tell them what to do

            Again, you assume you know the psychology of this. It looks like you are following Freud. Are you aware that Freudian psychology of religion also explain irreligion?

            The West is a post-Christian society and the rest of the world will catch up eventually, so enjoy this final growth spurt while it lasts because once it’s over

            You have this naive and uncritical idea that the rest of the world will follow the West. And even if it does, where is the West going? You sound a bit like a convinced Marxist in the 1980s confidently expecting the laws of history to produce universal socialism. How is that working out?

            If there is one thing that history teaches us, it is that the future is unpredictable. All we know for certain is the present, and that present shows Catholicism to be strong. Although societies have developed, Catholicism has gone from 266 million in 1900 to 1.2 billion in 2015. So it seems one thing is certain: we’re still going to be here challenging your overemphasis on sexuality for your life-time.

          • Holger

            Yes, you will be here for my lifetime. That’s the bleak reality of the time I was born into, although I’m a great deal luckier than my parents and grandparents.

            With the growth of education around the world, Christianity’s power to trouble the lives of future generations will be minimal. Growth in religion is limited to uneducated populations. Throughout the world, education has led to the downfall of ecclesiastical power over society.

            A country can go from pious to secular in the space of little more than a generation. Look at Ireland. Look at Spain. When it comes, the breakdown in allegiance to the Church happens quickly.

            I may not live to see a world where the Church largely disappears, but I’m fairly sure those who are young today will see it. And it won’t be a moment too soon.

          • Albert

            With the growth of education around the world, Christianity’s power to trouble the lives of future generations will be minimal.

            If people were properly educated in the philosophy of religion, they would not be so irreligious.

            I’m fairly sure those who are young today will see it.

            I think that’s wishful thinking, and what a kind of wishful thinking: you wan the largest charitable organisation in the world to fold, just because you don’t like what it says about homosexuality. Thereby, you lose any moral claim.

          • Holger

            You justify the homophobia of “the largest charitable organisation in the world” by saying it’s a price worth paying for the efficient provision of charitable services.

            In other words, you’re saying that orphans are worth more than gays.

            “Thereby, you lose any moral claim.”

          • Albert

            You justify the homophobia of “the largest charitable organisation in the world” by saying it’s a price worth paying for the efficient provision of charitable services.

            I don’t regard it as homophobia, and so your argument fails.

          • Holger

            I however do regard your attitude as homophobia, so my argument succeeds.

            Keep on denying it if you like. I reject your denial as a bare-faced lie. So I will keep on accusing you. And as research shows that the word most often associated in the minds of young people with “Christian” is “homophobe”, society seems to be taking my side.

            You can’t make accusations go away by pretending they don’t exist. The Church no longer has the power it used to have of shifting the goalposts and redefining the terms of debate. The Church and the mean little spirit fantasy it worships ARE homophobic by the commonly recognised meaning of the term. When you try to deny this, you reveal your bad faith and anti-gay animus clearly. Denial is futile.

          • Albert

            Ah so you get to decide which attitudes are acceptable and which should be prohibited. Can you explain why you get to decide this?

            I reject your denial as a bare-faced lie.

            Well if you think about that, you will see that as odd. You cannot see my soul through the internet. Here’s my view: I regard people with a homosexual orientation as entirely equal to everyone else. I believe them to be made in God’s image and likeness. I believe that God loves them exactly as he loves everyone else. I believe that Jesus died for them equally as he died for everyone else. I believe there are saints who had a homosexual orientation – I would wager that such persons are over-represented among the saints. I will not claim simply that I have close friends who are gay (and whom I have supported in my place of work when I have felt they have been discriminated against), but also, some of the people I learn most from spiritually, are gay. I hold that same-sex acts are inherently sinful.

            Now what is the definition of homophobe that makes me a homophobe?

            And as research shows that the word most often associated in the minds of young people with “Christian” is “homophobe”, society seems to be taking my side.

            That tells you a great deal about the dishonesty of modern culture.

            Denial is futile.

            Certainly, but not because it is true, but because you get to define terms and ignore evidence you don’t like.

          • Holger

            Your “view” is a bare-faced lie.

            You do not regard “people with a homosexual orientation” as entirely equal to everyone else. You regard us as second-class citizens not entitled to love and intimacy. You regard us as people your homophobic little god tells you deserve less than his other children. You believe that your unpleasant little prophet died in order to offer us an eternal life in which our identities will be deleted and replaced with “perfect” little Stepford heterosexual bores. A fate worse than death indeed.

            You claim to have supported gay people against discrimination, but it’s you who decides what constitutes discrimination, not them. Because you know better than them, don’t you? Paternalistic [email protected]

            You are the very definition of a homophobe. Self-congratulatory, slyly superior while claiming to believe in equality, paternalistic, condescending and utterly insufferable. The Church is full of men like you, busy patting each other on the back and telling each other how wonderful you are while denigrating everyone else and imposing entirely arbitrary limits on us. Women should simper and obey. Gays should cut their d!(ks off and whip themselves every time a good-looking man walks by. All because you say so.

            In a phrase, bog off. You are repulsive, your Church and your imaginary god even more so, and the sooner you realize the error of your ways, repent of all the harm you do and then shuffle off to live out the remainder of your miserable life somewhere where your victims won’t have to look at you, the happier we’ll all be.

          • Albert

            I’m sorry, I’m not reading this stupid stuff you say Your “view” is a bare-faced lie and yet you must be aware, as any reader of this blog is aware of the serial untruths you keep spouting.

            You say,

            You do not regard “people with a homosexual orientation” as entirely equal to everyone else. You regard us as second-class citizens not entitled to love and intimacy.

            I do not regard you as second class, and I do not regard anyone as entitled to love and intimacy, so your argument is utterly and now manifestly bogus. For reasons which are your own, you have allowed yourself to be identified entirely with your sexuality, both your orientation and your behaviour. I am sorry that this is the case for you, as it is a reduction of your humanity, not because it is a homosexual sexuality, but because everyone’s humanity is greater than their sexuality. But I defend your right to present yourself in that way. I am sorry that you are not prepared to extend a similar right to anyone who disagrees with you, but I think that is what happens when your humanity is so distorted – distorted I say, not by your sexual orientation, but by your own attitude towards it.

          • Holger

            The bogus claim is that you believe nobody is entitled to love and intimacy.

            The entire structure of your church is built around the ideas of love and intimacy. You claim your church is the bride of Christ, a relationship predicated on love and intimacy. Marriage is one of your sacraments, one that any couple has the potential to partake in. Unless they’re gay.

            And there you have it. No others are denied the opportunity to marry. Every straight person can hope to marry and most will. But if you’re gay there’s no hope at all. You live with the knowledge that you can never marry because the only kind of intimate love you can feel is categorized as an abomination.

            Christians punish gays for being who we are by depriving us of all hope of love and intimacy and trying to coerce us into feeling guilty if we disobey. And then they act all surprised and concerned about the higher rate of suicide in the gay community. If you’re 15 and are told that no matter what, no matter how much you might want to, you will never be able to marry anyone you can love, how would you react? No straight person is ever put through such torture. Even the least marriageable among them can always dream that one day their prince or princess will come. Hope is a powerful emotion that keep us going through struggles and deprivation. When you have no hope, why bother trying?

            The true measure of Christian hatred for gays is the way you deny us all hope of the most basic and foundational of adult human relationships. You tell us we can never marry and that the joy of physical intimacy with anyone we can love is denied to us forever. I hold you and your vicious churches responsible for the suicides of thousands of despairing and isolated young gay people trapped in Christian families with no friends and no support, totally unable to face the prospect of dragging their way through life alone and loveless while everyone around them gets married and has their crack at happiness. Their blood is on your hands. And the hands of the vile homophobic idol you worship.

            Nobody who truly loves another drives that person to despair and renders his life such a burden to him that he prefers to end it rather than face decades of solitary confinement. This is one of your church’s biggest crimes against humanity, compounded by your callousness in dismissing our anger and distress as “whining” and telling us that you know better than us what we need, and that solitude isn’t all that bad, so shut the f@(k up and stop complaining.

            To insist that we suffer in order to appease your imaginary god is proof positive that our only value to you is as sacrificial victims. A good gay is a devout, tractable and obedient gay who submits to church teaching, cuts off his d!(k (figuratively if not literally) and devotes his life to doing good works in the community. A living sacrifice to your homophobic painted idol. A bad gay is one who tells you to f@(k off and goes out to find love and intimacy despite your protests, insults and threats.

            Such am I and I encourage other gay people to follow my example. Repudiate the church. Condemn it. Help to drive it to the fringes of society where it can harm us no longer. It wants to break you and deprive you of all hope and all happiness. There is nothing for gay people in the church except a lifetime of misery and deprivation followed by the same oblivion that will come to us all. So enjoy your life while you can. Don’t waste it kowtowing to people who hate you and want to see you suffer. Get out there and live while you can. Life is short and tomorrow we die.

          • Albert

            The bogus claim is that you believe nobody is entitled to love and intimacy.

            It’s not a bogus claim at all – unless you defend rape.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            There writes, the self-inflated ego.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            That gets pricked regularly.

          • CliveM

            Let’s not feed it then.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            You’re right. He’s making excellent progress towards the infernal region without assistance.

            Very well.

          • William Lewis

            The inexorable progress of the progressive.

      • Anton

        You can become a liberal Christian or a Muslim.

        • Albert

          Do you mean that one way for Holger to bring down the CofE is to join it?

          • Anton

            He couldn’t do worse than liberals within it today and he might hear something to his advantage…

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Unable to achieve manhood, you become destructive of all.

  • Sigfridiii

    Here is some more impeccable logic – does the Dean believe in all of the XXXIX Articles to which he formally assented when he was appointed? If not, why resign?

  • Sigfridiii

    It is very unlikely that the Dean believes in the XXXIX Articles to which he publicly assented when he was appointed. Logically speaking, he should resign.

    • Albert

      If you want to make the 39 Articles the benchmark, you’ll have almost literally no clergy left.

      • len

        Better that , at least the Cof E could start again…

      • Martin

        Albert

        Sounds good, at least that would be a sound foundation from which to start.

      • Sigfridii

        Exactly the point. There is no benchmark to which anyone can appeal in the CofE. It is unwise of the Dean to attempt to impose one of his own devising. Someone else might call for his resignation on the grounds of belonging to the MCU.

  • Inspector General

    Arm bands! We need arm bands to identify Christ’s true vicars. “Anglican Independent”

    Cast off your dying hierarchy, you true priests, and let them know they no longer have any authority over you.

    • Manfarang

      The authority of the Free Church of England eh?

      • Inspector General

        The alternative is too terrible to contemplate…

        • Manfarang

          The Old Catholic Church which is in full communion with the Anglican Communion.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Explain please.

          • Manfarang

            I am feeling rather schismatic today.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Don’t tell tell Jack and Albert, let alone ‘er’.

          • Manfarang

            Protest about the Vatican Council 1.

          • Yes and many of them also ordain women to the priesthood. And its churches in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland bless same-sex unions.

          • Manfarang

            The individual’s primacy of conscience in ethical matters is stressed.

          • Conscience, properly understood, is God’s voice speaking to us.

          • Manfarang

            Be careful if you start hearing voices. We speak to God.

          • “Speaking” is used in its metaphorical sense. We all have internal “discussions”.

  • PessimisticPurple

    “But the Reformed English Church persists with its via media tensions
    because there is no better expression of English identity: it is the
    quintessential Ecclesia Anglorum.”

    Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s wrong with the Church of England, and every other Protestant church on the planet. It’s not about expressing English (or any other) identity, it’s about conforming yourself to the natural order as laid down by God. If that means abandoning English identity, then you abandon English identity. There is no via media between man and God. It’s His way or no way. When you start down this road of (what to you seems like) reasonable compromise, you begin by abandoning supposedly impossible positions like this — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuT8yTakq54 — and you end up with wholly ridiculous, pointless, insane positions like this — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_OfAX5LLOI

    • chefofsinners

      “There is no via media between God and man.”
      Very true. There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. He is the way. Reconciliation to one another follows reconciliation to God. The problem here is that one of the protagonists is submitting himself to God’s revealed will, and one is not.

    • Anton

      Absolutely. That’s why God set up the church to run after the synagogue system, not the Temple system. With congregational self-government the churches are free to express their love for God in ways that come from the local culture, not the culture of mediaeval Europe.

      • Merchantman

        Good point. If the Vatican looks like a temple, what is it?

        • Albert

          You use the word temple as if it is a derogatory term. This leads me to think you are unfamiliar with scripture.

          • Merchantman

            I am actually referring to The Temple being superceded by Christ.

          • Albert

            Well obviously Catholicism doesn’t look like something superseded by Christ.

          • Martin

            Albert

            And thereby hangs the problem.

          • Dominic Stockford

            One day I shall write my second thesis, that the RC church is in fact an Old Testament body. The trouble is, its so easy to write it I just can;t get round to it!

          • Albert

            Quite. Protestants mistake the body of Christ for something else.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Christians know the body of Christ is the Church, the assembly of the people of God.

          • Albert

            But they don’t always know where to find it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            On the contrary.

      • Albert

        Alternatively, they are free to fracture and become confused.

        • Martin

          Albert

          You mean like Rome, with its liberal pope and theology of liberation?

          • Albert

            Silly post. We have not fractured. The Pope is not liberal, and liberation theology, insofar as it has departed from Catholicism has been condemned.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If it has been condemned why does the pope cling to it? You fool yourself.

          • Albert

            I didn’t say it had been condemned. I said, liberation theology, insofar as it has departed from Catholicism has been condemned. If you cannot understand the words of man, how can you understand the word of God?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Ah, only the Church can interpret what the Church teaches defence.

          • Albert

            Yep

          • This is not “liberal” or “liberation theology”, though it’s not too popular with politically conservative Catholics:

            http://popularmovements.org/news/pope-francis-grassroots-leaders-neither-paralyzed-fear-shackled-within-conflict/

          • Anton

            The Pope is not liberal? If you can say that before a mirror with a straight face then you have a promising future playing poker. Is the Pope a Catholic?

          • Albert

            What’s he liberal on? I keep asking this question, buty I get no answer.

    • carl jacobs

      That is actually a good comment – or it would be if the embedded Romanist assumptions were removed. If you begin with “It’s not about expressing English (or any other) identity” you are not necessarily forced to conclude that the idolatries and foolishness of Rome is the natural order.

      • What “embedded Romanist assumptions”?

        • carl jacobs

          You mean besides everything implied by this statement?

          … and every other Protestant church on the planet …

          • Yes, Jack missed that – just thought it was common sense. Apart from that though, you would agree with it?

          • carl jacobs

            Apart from that, I could have written that comment. In fact, I almost did.

          • Albert

            That was the bit that was spot on. The author notices what most of you prots don’t seem to see: liberalism is just the working out of Protestantism. This was obvious from at least the 19th Century.

          • Anton

            Rather odd given that this is the result of the Enlightenment polluting the church, and that the Enlightenment emerged in a country, France, which had been rigorously purged of its protestants in the previous century.

          • Albert

            Yes, the individualistic opposition which once manifested itself as Protestantism became secular. A conservative Protestant is really just a conservative liberal, because the essence of liberalism is to be found in the individualism that is Protestantism.

          • carl jacobs

            And so to avoid the disintegration of Liberalism I must chain myself in slavery to Rome? No, I think there is a faulty dilemma in there lurking about. Your implied solution depends upon certain things about Rome being true when those things are manifestly false.

          • Faith is a gift, Carl. You’re just not ready to accept it in its fullness … yet.

          • PessimisticPurple

            Regrettably, the road to Heaven runs straight through Rome. You can’t get to the first without transitioning through the second. You can take it as slavery if you choose, but by so doing, you’re only demonstrating my initial point: you’re conforming Him to you, not you to Him. See instead the “slavery” of Rome for what it is – the military discipline of an army at war.

          • “For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave.”

          • Dominic Stockford

            What? All the unbiblical teachings are necessary? Come off it mate.

          • Anton

            Regrettably, the road to Heaven runs straight through Rome. You can’t get to the first without transitioning through the second

            Watch me! I’ll explain it to you in heaven.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Tsk…you are going to have to keep it zipped up there….cross your fingers and toes….you might get in on the
            ‘invincible ignorance ‘clause. Don’t like your chances.

          • len

            There is a detour around Rome..to many works there….

          • Albert

            And so to avoid the disintegration of Liberalism I must chain myself in slavery to Rome?

            Or perhaps you fail to understand Rome. I’ve been a Protestant, I feel freer now as a Catholic than ever before.

          • Martin

            Albert

            But you never were a Christian.

          • Albert

            Really? In the words of Oliver Cromwell (was he a Christian?) I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You’ve gone from a marginally Christian church to a heretical sect, where is the evidence that you’re a Christian?

            As for Oliver Cromwell, the evidence is that he was a Christian.

          • Albert

            And your authority for judging any of this is …. yourself.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, the Scriptures.

          • Albert

            Your interpretation of the scriptures, which is something entirely different.

          • Cressida de Nova

            They do not want to believe you Albert. Should I be sad that they will never enjoy your experience? 🙂

            I am glad you do. I wonder if it has something to do with real intelligence. You know the inquiring mind aspect of it. It seems to me from this blog Proddies have a mental blockage motivated by fear .I suppose all the anti Catholic indoctrination for centuries does not help.

          • Albert

            Thanks Cressida.

          • Anna

            While individualism is a weakness in many Protestant denominations, the solution is not to look to Rome, where the truth was corrupted, and Christianity ‘paganised’.

          • Albert

            How do you suggest the truth has been corrupted in Catholicism and paganised?

          • Anna

            Exodus 20:1-6
            1 Timothy 2:5
            Jeremiah 7:18
            John 2:4
            Matthew 23:9
            Galatians 2:11-14
            1 Timothy 4:3

            Veneration of human beings, breaking of the 1st and 2nd commandments – by making graven images and bowing down to them, a fictitious throne of Peter in Rome (of all the places – where the martyrs were slaughtered en masse), celibate ‘priests’ (Peter had a wife), vainglorious titles for the pope…

            I am surprised that Catholics seem to ignore what the Bible teaches. Or is it that you believe that there is a greater authority than Christ and His apostles, who has the right to change the rules ? Remember what Pope Gregory had to say about such authority –

            “I say it without the least hesitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is by his pride, the precursor of anti-Christ, because he thus attempts to raise himself above the others. The error into which he falls springs from pride equal to that of anti-Christ; for as that wicked one wished to be regarded as exalted above other men, like a god, so likewise whoever would call himself sole bishop exalteth himself above others”.

          • Albert

            Veneration of human beings

            is fine, according to Ex.20.12.

            by making graven images and bowing down to them

            Did Luther take John 3.14 out of your scriptures or something? Perhaps he also took Ex.25.18 from your Bibles when he was removing Ex.20.12. Moreover, you seem to have not understood that, in Christ, God made an image of himself so the OT law does not applies straight forwardly to the new dispensation.

            a fictitious throne of Peter in Rome (of all the places – where the martyrs were slaughtered en masse)

            It’s not fictitious, but I notice your lack of grasp of the redemption in Christ. Where the pagans put the martyrs to death is precisely the place for the centre of the Church – it signifies the overthrowing of the enemy, so that his own place is now dedicated to Christ. You find the logic in the cross – death is swallowed up in victory.

            celibate ‘priests’ (Peter had a wife)

            So what if Peter had a wife? Peter also had to be rebuked by Paul (who didn’t).

            vainglorious titles for the pope…

            we have none.

            I am surprised that Catholics seem to ignore what the Bible teaches.

            I have long since ceased to be surprised that Protestants don’t really know their scriptures. But as for what the Bible teaches, how about these:

            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation

            There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

            So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

            You say: Or is it that you believe that there is a greater authority than Christ and His apostles, who has the right to change the rules ?

            As a Protestant I studied the heresies of the early Church. I have to say now that I find Protestantism no more biblical than they were. Do you never wonder why it is that the Holy Spirit waited until the 16th Century to bring in your doctrines which are not in scripture but are plainly contradicted by scripture?

            The quotation of Gregory the Great is entirely consistent with Catholic teaching, as is his act of condemning John the Faster consistent with his universal jurisdiction. Jurisdiction note, not episcopate, as he says elsewhere:

            If, then, any bishop of that Church assumes the title Universal, the Universal Church must be overthrown with the fall of the Universal Bishop. God forbid! Far from all Christian hearts be that blasphemous name, by which one bishop madly arrogates all honour to himself, taking it away from the rest of his brethren!

            Compare another letter of his of the same controversy:

            It is evident to all who know the Gospel that, by the voice of the Lord, the care of the whole Church was committed to holy Peter, the prince of the Apostles. For to him it is said …’You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church. And to you I will give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Behold, he receives the Keys of the heavenly Kingdom; the power of binding and of loosing is given to him; to him the care and government of the whole Church is committed.

          • Anna

            There is a difference between honouring your parents, and praying to dead saints or ascribing to them honour that is due only to God. The Israelites were forbidden to make images, and Christ is the image of God, not a graven image made by hands of men. We have the scripture and the Holy Spirit to help us to discern the truth. 1 John 2:27 and 1 Corinthians 4:6. The scripture is, for most part, not hard to understand.

          • Albert

            There is a difference between honouring your parents, and praying to dead saints or ascribing to them honour that is due only to God.

            This is true, but we do not ascribe to them the honour that is due only to God. As for praying to dead saints, you seem not to believe the word of the Lord when he said:

            have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
            He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

            You call them dead saints, but the scripture calls them the spirits of just men made perfect, to whom, in Christ, we have come (Heb.12.22-23). Now where is that in your religious tradition?

            The Israelites were forbidden to make images

            And also commanded to do so, Ex.25.18, Numbers 21.9.

            and Christ is the image of God, not a graven image made by hands of men.

            I really don’t think you’re quite following the logic of the incarnation. God makes man in his own image. Then man sins, and the image is obscured. Then God restores the image in Christ. Again, God, prior to the incarnation is purely invisible, then he becomes visible. What is visible can be depicted. Again, prior to the OT people worshipped bits of the universe, trees, the sun, bits of wood etc. Therefore, God had to banish all that sort of thing so that they understood that God is entirely distinct from the universe. But then God becomes a part of the universe, as man. At each point in this, you can see the provisionality of the law, that is put aside by the glory of the incarnation. But we are not under the law, but under the law of Christ.

            we have the scripture and the Holy Spirit to help us to discern the truth

            Which is the claim of every heretic. Even the liberals in the CofE will claim that. And when I talk to a JW they make the same claim to deny the Trinity, but when I talk to a Trinitarian, they make the same claim with regard to the Trinity. When I talk to a Seventh Day Adventist, they make the same claim with regard to Sunday, but if I talk to a more mainstream Christian, he makes the same claim in defence of Sunday. When I talk to a Baptist, they make the same claim with regard to infant baptism, but if I talk to a Protestant to accept infant baptism, he makes the same claim. If I speak to Luther or Milton, they make the same claim with regard to polygamy – but almost no one else believes them. What makes your evangelical doctrine so much more believable? I mean at least in all the aforementioned errors, they did not add words to scripture in translation and raise questions about other parts as did Luther when he invented sola fide.

            1 John 2:27

            But what is mean here? If it really means what you seem to take it to mean, why is John teaching them? The bold statements of 1 John are particularly hard to interpret. For example, it says:

            No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.
            Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.

            But your doctrine is that we are simul justus et peccator. But that is plainly contradicted by your quotation from 1 John. So if 1 John is an authority for you, you must deny sola fide. And if you deny sola fide why have you been believing it? Perhaps Peter’s words about misinterpreting scripture apply to you. After all, contrary to Protestant tradition, scripture actually denies all Christians have the gift of interpretation:

            Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? And why are there teachers there if your interpretation of 1 John is correct, that none are needed?

            The scripture is, for most part, not hard to understand.

            I beg to differ – look at the arguments about Paul, which are central to the differences between us. It is of Paul that scripture says there are things in his letters that are hard to understand. And in any case, the issue is not so much the scripture, which is only a window on the reality (the letter killeth, the spirit giveth life), what of the reality itself, which is God. Is he not hard to understand? How come then, scripture says:

            I do not aspire to great things,
            nor concern myself with things beyond my ability.

            and

            You have searched me, Lord,
            and you know me.
            You know when I sit and when I rise;
            you perceive my thoughts from afar.
            You discern my going out and my lying down;
            you are familiar with all my ways.
            Before a word is on my tongue
            you, Lord, know it completely.
            You hem me in behind and before,
            and you lay your hand upon me.
            Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
            too lofty for me to attain.

            Now as for your interpretation of 1 Cor.4.6 it can hardly mean anything useful to your argument, for the simple reason that Paul explicitly tells his followers to keep the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. Besides, in Paul’s time “what is written” refers to the Jewish scriptures, the Christian scriptures being largely unwritten and certainly not canonised.

          • Anna

            Just a few final comments.

            He is God of the living because we believe in the resurrection of the dead, but we are not to pray to them, and they cannot hear us now. It is only when we get to heaven, that we will see them and be able to speak to them. The traditions of the RCC bear no resemblance to either the Hebrew traditions or the NT ones – they were heathen traditions, introduced later, which neither Peter nor Paul would recognise as righteous.

            “Do all interpret?” Paul was speaking of the interpretation of tongues, not interpretation of scripture. A few things are hard to understand in Paul’s writings, but the ten commandments are not, nor are the essentials of the Christian faith, such as Christ being the sole Mediator.

            Coming to traditions, the veneration of Mary is not a scriptural tradition. All these roles and titles ascribed to Mary by the RCC are clearly unscriptural. Why did Paul and the others never write anything about this special, exalted role that God intends for Mary to perform? Were they ignorant of this?

          • Albert

            but we are not to pray to them, and they cannot hear us now.

            How do you know this? It seems contrary to the passage from Hebrews I quoted.

            Paul was speaking of the interpretation of tongues, not interpretation of scripture.

            Was he? How do you know?

            A few things are hard to understand in Paul’s writings but the ten commandments are not

            Do you worship on a Sunday or a Saturday?

            nor are the essentials of the Christian faith

            It’s pretty obvious that justification is hard to understand.

            such as Christ being the sole Mediator

            Which of course, we all believe in.

            the veneration of Mary is not a scriptural tradition

            Yes it is. “All generations shall call me blessed” etc.

            Why did Paul and the others never write anything about this special, exalted role that God intends for Mary to perform? Were they ignorant of this?

            Paul hardly talks at all about the human elements of Christ’s life. Was he ignorant of them?

            I note with interest, that the vast majority of my post is left unanswered here.

          • PessimisticPurple

            “Lastly something must be said about Catholic principles concerning the worship of sacred images. The Latin Cultus sacrarum imaginum may quite well be translated (as it always was in the past) “worship of holy images”, and “image-worshipper” is a convenient term for cultor imaginum — eikonodoulos, as opposed to eikonoklastes (image-breaker). Worship by no means implies only the supreme adoration that may be given only to God. It is a general word denoting some more or less high degree of reverence and honour, an acknowledgment of worth, like the German Verehrung (“with my body I thee worship”) in the marriage service; English city companies are “worshipful”, a magistrate is “Your worship”, and so on. We need not then hesitate to speak of our worship of images; though no doubt we shall often be called upon to explain the term.”

            From the Catholic Encyclopedia. The full entry is here http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07664a.htm

            Try not to let your finger tire.

            The Church does not ignore the Bible. It reads it from cover to cover (including the bits Protestants threw out because they weren’t telling them what they wanted to hear), interprets it holistically and develops its doctrines accordingly and consistently. What it does not do is dip in and out, pick out the bits that are useful to its agenda at a given moment and then ignore them later when they become inconvenient to whatever new temporal necessity comes along. That’s what Protestantism is for.

          • It was where the Lizards focused their attention.

            Rousseau was born in Geneva, a Protestant associate of the Swiss Confederacy. Since 1536, Geneva had been a Huguenot republic and the seat of Calvinism.

            Francis Bacon, the father of empiricism, was English and a leading Mason.

            The Descartes family was Roman Catholic, the Poitou region where he grew up was Protestant Huguenot region. Plus, it appears he had “visions” and believed that a divine spirit revealed to him a new philosophy.

            Adam Smith was a Scottish economist and raised in the Church of Scotland. Same with David Hume.

            John Locke was English, raised by Puritan parents.

            Immanuel Kant, a German, was raised in a Pietist household.

          • Albert

            All good points, Jack. Descartes’ Catholicism was extremely questionable, if memory serves.

          • Martin

            HJ

            And so we see that the true position is not that someone is born a Christian but that they become such by sovereign act of God.

          • A gift offered to all of us in the fullness of time which we are free to respond to or reject.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No one ever accepts God’s offer of mercy, that is what the parable of the feast is about.

          • ” “The kingdom of heaven,” he said, “may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.”

            But-they-refused-to come.

            ” “Some ignored the invitation,” Jesus continued, “and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.’” To emphasize his next point, Jesus extended his hands toward the roads that led to where the people were sitting. “‘Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.”

            Some-ignored -the-invitation.

            “But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’

            But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.” “

            Many-are-called-but few-are-chosen.

            Setting aside Matthew’s parable is the last of three successive parables of judgment (beginning in 21:28) against Israel, the wedding garment signified righteousness. The wedding garment signified repentance and a change of heart and mind.

            Matthew’s parable confronts us with the seeming paradox of God’s free invitation to the banquet with no strings attached and God’s requirement of “putting on” something appropriate to that calling. The acceptance of the wedding invitation is a call to faith, while the proper garment is the sign of one’s faith through good works. Both are necessary to partake in the feast.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So you see that none will come of their own accord, they must be brought in and if necessary compelled.

          • You think that’s the meaning of the parable?

          • Martin

            HJ

            You think it isn’t?

          • Martin

            HJ

            All those invited refused to come.

            All mankind is offered God’s mercy, all refuse to accept it. Therefore God must draw in those who are unworthy.

            The proper garment is given to every wedding guest, it is not something they do. Like the the faith given to the believer, it is a gift.

          • CliveM

            No it isn’t

          • Martin

            Clive

            Then prove it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You hadn’t noticed that your current pope is a liberal I suppose.

          • Albert

            No I hadn’t noticed that – what’s your evidence? But it wouldn’t be the first time that something from Protestantism was unfortunately infected the Catholic Church.

          • Merchantman

            Inoculation isn’t such a bad thing is it?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Isn’t it strange how the faithful desperately try to pretend the pope is in total agreement with his predecessors.

          • Albert

            No – he doesn’t have to be. Though he cannot be a heretic, and I see no evidence from your posts to say that he is, or that he is, a liberal. If you’re going to make these claims, why not provide some evidence?

          • Martin

            Albert

            All popes are heretics, they have abandoned the faith and persecuted Christ’s Church. As for this pope, you’re either ignoring what he has said or very stupid.

          • Albert

            Well, I’m asking for evidence, if it is so obvious it ought to be possible for you to cite it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You mean like “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge”?

          • Albert

            Yes. There’s nothing liberal in that. If you disagree, please explain how.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No one is gay, they are just sexual sinners. He implies that people are born gay and hence there is no homosexual sin.

          • Albert

            No that’s completely confused. I mean totally confused. He believes homosexual acts are sinful. He regards the orientation itself as not chosen and therefore not in any moral category as regards culpability. Therefore he is not liberal.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So where does the Bible or early Church speak of orientation? Francis is teaching they are made that way, that it is God’s fault, and you seem to accept that.

          • Albert

            I give up blogging for Lent, but I need to reply to this because it is so confused. You are the first evangelical I’ve ever come across who does not believe in the effects original sin. But Francis does, and so it is wrong to accuse him (or me) of believing it is God’s fault on the basis of such a doctrinally fallacious reasoning.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I thought it was pleasant things you had to give up for Lent?

            Original sin is not something one is condemned for, it is the tendency to sin in each of us. But I fail to see what relevance that has, since orientation is nowhere said to be the effect of original sin. Indeed some say they were made that way, excusing them from blame. I simply question the existence of orientation.

          • Albert

            Happy Easter!

            Original sin is not something one is condemned for

            I think you’ll find most orthodox Protestant thought would disagree with you there.

            But I fail to see what relevance that has, since orientation is nowhere said to be the effect of original sin.

            If an orientation (to anything, it needn’t just be sexual) is disordered, then obviously it is an effect of original sin. Otherwise you would have to say the creator disordered the orientation, which is absurd.

            I simply question the existence of orientation.

            I think you do so because you think that to allow the concept looks like excusing the sin. But that doesn’t follow at all. The orientation is not a sin. Once the orientation is acted upon then it is a sin. Surely you must admit the concept of orientation since, unless you are very unusually you will be sexually oriented one way or another, yourself?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Actually original sin is not what we are condemned for, rather it is the sins we commit for which we are condemned.

            You’re using orientation in a way that makes it sound like original sin. Orientation, as generally used, implies a nature inclined to a specific desire, such that it makes the desire legitimate. Such clearly does excuse the sin.

            The Bible is quite clear, sex outside the marriage of one man to one woman is not legitimate.

          • Albert

            Actually original sin is not what we are condemned for, rather it is the sins we commit for which we are condemned.

            I simply say that that differs from a lot of traditional Protestant theology, which often taught that children who die in a state only of original sin went to hell. And this does not seem without scriptural support:

            And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Eph.2)

            You say,

            Orientation, as generally used, implies a nature inclined to a specific desire, such that it makes the desire legitimate. Such clearly does excuse the sin.

            That may be how secularists see it. But why should we follow them? Our theology can admit that someone has an inclination which they cannot change, but which is not natural either, but is a consequence of original sin.

          • Martin

            Albert

            There is nothing in what I said that differs from reformed theology. It is the misunderstanding of original sin that occurs in your religion. We do not know what happens to an infant, but we know it is judged for it’s own sin, not the sin of another.

            Sin is always a choice,

            If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.
            (Genesis 4:7 [ESV])

          • Albert

            The word I used was Protestant not Reformed. But even if I stick to Reformed, here are a few interesting views:

            [I]t is most just, exceeding just, that God should take the soul of a new-born infant and cast it into eternal torments”

            We may well argue from these things, that infants are not looked upon by God as sinless, but that they are by nature children of wrath, seeing this terrible evil comes so heavily on mankind in infancy… [he then cites in detail the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah]… they were evidences of God’s wrath towards infants; who, equally with the rest, were the subjects of the destruction. Jonathan Edwards

            “As far as relates to young children, they seem to perish not by their own, but for another’s fault; but the solution is twofold; for although sin does not appear in them, yet it is latent, since they carry about with them corruption shut up in their soul, so that they are worthy of condemnation before God (Ezek. Comm. 18:4) Calvin.

            Now clearly Calvin and Edwards differ, but they agree on the key issue: unelect babies, dying unbaptized are condemned on account of original sin.

            Sin is always a choice

            Obviously it is, otherwise it wouldn’t be sin. But you seem to be unclear how all this relates to homosexuality. I say this:

            Someone who has an inclination which they have not chosen towards something sinful is disordered.
            God does not disorder people’s desires.
            Therefore, all disordered desires are in some sense a consequence of original sin.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Reformation is about reformed theology, the Protestants were reformed. But it seems to me that neither quote you give is speaking of infants condemned for original sin, rather that to human eyes they did not appear sinful. Original sin is the cause of their behaviour but it is the behaviour that condemns. And remember, God sees the heart and where man may see no sin God can.

            All disordered desires are the result of the choice of the sinner. Does that make it plainer?

          • Albert

            The Reformation is about reformed theology, the Protestants were reformed.

            The word “reformed” as a theological type can be used to refer to Calvinism as opposed to (say) Lutheranism.

            But it seems to me that neither quote you give is speaking of infants condemned for original sin

            That interpretation is impossible, for Calvin says:

            for although sin does not appear in them, yet it is latent, since they carry about with them corruption shut up in their soul, so that they are worthy of condemnation before God

            If you think those words are consistent with your position, please explain how.

            You have not explained how all this has anything to do with your comments on homosexuality.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The word ‘appear’ I would suggest refers to human vision, we may not be able to see any sin in an infant but God sees the heart. And, of course, you are quoting from Calvin’s commentary on Ezekiel, which you lazily omit to mention, so he is not treating the question in detail but only making a comment in passing.

            As to Luther, one wonders which Luther you are referring to, since his views changed over his lifetime.

            You raised original sin, so I addressed that.

          • Albert

            The word ‘appear’ I would suggest refers to human vision, we may not be able to see any sin in an infant but God sees the heart.

            I don’t think we can clear this up owing to the fact that we don’t have access to the original text. However, the idea that actual sin is occurring in new born babies is bizarre.

            And, of course, you are quoting from Calvin’s commentary on Ezekiel, which you lazily omit to mention, so he is not treating the question in detail but only making a comment in passing.

            It’s nothing to do with being lazy – you’re just being abusive for no good reason. If he says it, he presumably believes it – unless you think he is lying of course.

            As to Luther, one wonders which Luther you are referring to, since his views changed over his lifetime.

            They would do wouldn’t they? But that too is besides the point, the point is that condemnation for original sin is found in Protestant thought.

            You raised original sin, so I addressed that.

            The issue is the effect of original sin on our affective desires. Does original sin distort us so that our (created) good nature is no longer ordered towards good things, but towards evil? The answer, surely is yes. Hence, someone with a homosexual orientation, cannot attribute that orientation to their creator even if they cannot change it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            There’s nothing bizarre about sin being in the infant, for David says:

            Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
            and in sin did my mother conceive me. Ps 51:5

          • Albert

            Yes, but that is original sin, not actual sin. To ascribe actual sin to an infant is to ascribe genuine rational choice to them, after all, you said Sin is always a choice. Now in the case of the Psalm you must ascribe, on your account, that choice not merely to the new born child, but to the child at his/her conception. Does David teach that? I don’t see that he does? It is reasonable or plausible? I think the question answers itself.

            But you still haven’t explained your key contention, that a homosexual orientation is not a consequence of original sin.

          • Martin

            Albert,

            Sorry I posted before I intended to and had trouble getting back in.

            So can you demonstrate that an unborn child cannot make a rational choice, bearing in mind that the mind is a part of the soul, rather than a physical thing? They die, therefore they have sinned.

            But to continue; as far as I can tell, the only reason you do not give references is because you’re lazy, no abuse intended.

            Nor is Calvin saying what you seem to think he is saying.

            Original sin is the corruption of our natures, it is not something specific for which we are condemned but that which corrupts our behaviour so that our natural behaviour is to sin. So it follows that a person, seeking pleasure, might seek it in a sexual liaison with someone of the same sex. That is not orientation, indeed, orientation does not exist, it is merely the following of the lusts of the flesh.

          • Albert

            So can you demonstrate that an unborn child cannot make a rational choice, bearing in mind that the mind is a part of the soul, rather than a physical thing?

            Rational choice involves understanding. I take it as obvious that an embryo does not have understanding. Indeed, although mind is undoubtedly a feature of the soul, it is not the same thing as the soul, and it does require the body for the stimuli it needs to gain understanding.

            Secondly, your position depends on the embryo having this faculty. Can you please explain your evidence?

            But to continue; as far as I can tell, the only reason you do not give references is because you’re lazy, no abuse intended.

            That’s just a breach of charity. It never occurs to you to look for other explanations like that I am busy, or that your requirement that I provide references all the time is unreasonable. If you don’t know the Bible well enough, just google the verses.

            Nor is Calvin saying what you seem to think he is saying.

            This is just an assertion without evidence, and one which requires us to assume the embryo has the faculty of rational choice – something for which you have also provided no evidence.

            Original sin is the corruption of our natures, it is not something specific for which we are condemned but that which corrupts our behaviour so that our natural behaviour is to sin.

            I have no difficulty with that – in fact, it looks like the point I am making.

            So it follows that a person, seeking pleasure, might seek it in a sexual liaison with someone of the same sex. That is not orientation, indeed, orientation does not exist, it is merely the following of the lusts of the flesh.

            Why does the flesh lust after certain things and not others? It is because it is disordered towards those things. I find the suggestion that there is no such thing as orientation bizarre. Presumably you lean one way or another? Are you as likely to fancy men as women? Do you choose to find women instinctively attractive rather than men (assuming that’s the way it is for you)? This is not difficult conceptually or from experience. The problem with your position is that you seem to think that if someone finds their sexuality disordered in a certain that therefore the following of that action would be legitimate, but that does not follow.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you cannot demonstrate your claims wrt the unborn and you cannot explain what David said in the Psalm, from which my evidence comes.

            Frankly I’ve considered other evidence for your failure to give references and none of them justify the expenditure of a small amount of time providing references.

            I’ve explained my understanding of what Calvin is saying, you have not disputed that.

            You appear to claim that original sin is something for which we are condemned.

            Lust arises from the generally disordered and corrupted nature. What one finds pleasurable one will follow. That isn’t an orientation, just the result of choice. It is not I that considers the following of an action legitimate, it is the claim of those who use sexuality as an excuse.

          • Albert

            So you cannot demonstrate your claims wrt the unborn and you cannot explain what David said in the Psalm, from which my evidence comes.

            Everything is wrong with this. Your claim is that an embryo commits actual sin. The burden of proof rests on you. However, it is possible to give plenty of reason to think your position is actually false. Firstly, the lack of rational understanding in the embryo. This seems obvious from two things: 1. the lack of brain whereby the embryo would gain information for rational understanding and 2. the fact that a newborn child clearly does not have rational understanding. Now if the evidence for your position is simply that you do not accept my reasoning against it, then it is plain that you have no evidence for it.

            The same thing happens with David. I said that it did not seem to me that the Psalm teaches what you say it teaches. True I did not give any evidence for that, but that does not mean that it teaches what you say it teaches. There are any number of alternative interpretations: that the sexual act was sinful or that the sin referred to is original sin, not actual sin.

            I’ve explained my understanding of what Calvin is saying, you have not disputed that.

            Not so, the evidence given here and previously shows that if Calvin is teaching your position, it is utterly irrational.

            You appear to claim that original sin is something for which we are condemned.

            No I am not – I am talking about what other people believe, I have not given my own view. My argument is about the effect of original sin on our desires.

            Lust arises from the generally disordered and corrupted nature. What one finds pleasurable one will follow.

            Agreed.

            That isn’t an orientation, just the result of choice.

            Yes, but the fact that one finds certain disordered things tempting is itself a result of disorientation, which is itself a result of original sin.

            It is not I that considers the following of an action legitimate, it is the claim of those who use sexuality as an excuse.

            And this is the point that you are (in my opinion) rightly trying to avoid. But you do it by saying both that people are not disoriented by original sin, but also that they are disordered. Well that is either contradictory (e.g. God has disordered them – made them that way) or it results in original sin creating that situation.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It’s not I that says an ’embryo’ commits sin, but God:

            Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
            and in sin did my mother conceive me. Ps 51:5

            You suggest alternate explanations for this passage, that David’s parents were sinful, Really? On what basis? It sounds as if you’re veering into Gnosticism, a suggestion that there is something unclean about the body. Could be that you’d suggests that priests should not marry for that reason.

            Now original sin is a possibility, but since it is only a tendency, it is not something that fits ‘iniquity’.

            I think I detect that you’re borrowing the arguments of the ‘choice’ brigade, that a baby isn’t a baby until it’s born. I’d say otherwise. Thought is not the activity of the brain, it is the activity of the mind. Now Jesus is God, are you suggesting He was incapable of rational thought until He was born?

            I don’t find Calvin’ position irrational.

            That we have a disordered mind and moral sense because of original sin does not amount to an orientation.

          • Albert

            It’s not I that says an ’embryo’ commits sin, but God:
            Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
            and in sin did my mother conceive me. Ps 51:5

            Obviously, that does not say what you say it says. In fact, I have given two alternative interpretations.

            You suggest alternate explanations for this passage, that David’s parents were sinful, Really? On what basis? It sounds as if you’re veering into Gnosticism, a suggestion that there is something unclean about the body. Could be that you’d suggests that priests should not marry for that reason.

            Your logical leaps are very problematic. Just because a particular sexual act is sinful, it does not mean that sex acts per se are sinful. Besides, I didn’t say that was my view, only that it was an alternative interpretation, and if it is the right one, then I can simply bat back to you what you said to me It’s not I that says a sex act is sinful, but God. You see the problem?

            Now original sin is a possibility, but since it is only a tendency, it is not something that fits ‘iniquity’.

            Well that’s picking at words. There are different translations that don’t have that problem, but actually the grammar of your translation suggests the sin is in the parents not the child.

            I think I detect that you’re borrowing the arguments of the ‘choice’ brigade, that a baby isn’t a baby until it’s born.

            What? Are you insane? So you think that everyone who is a pro-lifer believes the embryo can make rational choices? Would I be right in thinking you don’t have children or your own? That babies, born or unborn do not make rational choices is just obvious. It is in fact the pro-“choice” position to think that being a human being requires a working capacity to choose. You have accepted the argument but drawn the opposite conclusion because you make an absurd assumption.

            Thought is not the activity of the brain, it is the activity of the mind.

            It is the activity of the mind, but requires the activity of the brain.

            Now Jesus is God, are you suggesting He was incapable of rational thought until He was born?

            I just marvel at your logical leaps and assumptions that the first thing you think of is the only possible position. There are any number of possibilities here, but the most obvious one is that Christ’s soul has a different quality from another newly conceived embryo, by virtue of the fact that he, and not they, has the beatific vision.

            That we have a disordered mind and moral sense because of original sin does not amount to an orientation.

            That all depends on what you mean by orientation. For me, a disordered mind and moral sense, just is an orientation. How do you understand the difference?

          • It seems a significant influence on Pope Francis is Luigi Giovanni Giussani. hardly a “liberal”.

            One of Giussani’s central themes is that Christian faith is in its most primary and central form the event of a relationship. Giussani stresses that Christianity began as a relationship with a particular individual, Jesus of Nazareth, and that the morals and theology of the Church are an outgrowth of this relationship.

            One of the central problems for faith in the modern world is that it has been subject to various reductions. Some people experience faith as merely an empty formalism. This formalism can be, for example, completely focused on following moral rules. There is no longer a living relationship with the person of God, but instead a ritualistic attempt to meet standards. Similarly, faith is sometimes reduced to intellectualism or an attempt to rationally defend certain doctrinal positions. Although, morals and doctrine are both important they are not the central event of faith. The central reality of faith is a relationship with Christ as He becomes visible within reality.

            Giussani also teaches that the principal goal of a Christian life is to grow in maturity in the relationship with God. According to Giussani this becomes possible when one sees all of reality as an incarnation of one’s own individual relationship with God. Where some forms of Christianity attempt to grow in faith by emphasizing emotional intensity and sentiments (sentimentalism) and others by the rigors of moral perfectionism (moralism), Giussani teaches instead that maturity comes through a growing awareness that all of life’s circumstances present an opportunity to better know God.

            Within the Catholic tradition, Giussani can be thought of as similar to Saint Francis, Saint Dominic, or Ignatius of Loyola. That is, he is the founder of a Catholic charism or pathway to holiness.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Giussani

            Hardly a “liberal”.

            https://zenit.org/articles/pope-s-address-to-communion-and-liberation-movement/

          • Martin

            HJ

            ROFL, denial is not just a river in Egypt.

          • Giussani would see you as one reducing faith and a relationship with Christ to intellectualism and an attempt to rationally defend certain doctrinal positions.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You mean you can’t rationally defend all doctrinal positions?

          • You’ve missed the point …. again.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Really? Then why don’t you explain it?

    • William Lewis

      Your anti English prejudice has previously been noted. You are not a reliable witness.

  • 1642+5thMonarchy

    This is Cranmer’s best and most incisive article that I have yet seen. I am in pretty much full agreement and it gets to the essence of the Anglican and English genius. We;ll done your grace. Of course you recognise that you have come into a fighting mob spraying rubber bullets left and right, and the outrage will be near universal!

    • len

      Just a normal day at the office then?.

      • 1642+5thMonarchy

        The church militant – I like it!

  • Royinsouthwest

    he must withdraw himself from nomination to the See of Sheffield, which Professor Percy describes as a “go-ahead, vibrant, progressive city”

    The phrase “go-ahead” used in an article about a CoE Bishop immediately made me think of the Peter Simple column in the Daily Telegraph. I am probably showing my age by mentioning Peter Simple and he probably would not be able to make a living as a satirist today since events in modern society have surpassed his satire. However, one of the characters he invented was Dr Spaceley-Trellis, the go-ahead bishop of Bevindon. Here is a description of the “go-ahead bishop” taken from Peter Simple’s last column written just over 12 years ago.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3614981/End-column.html

    A loyal reader of this column (one of a dwindling band, as “Narcolept”, our boring expert, never fails to remark) asks how Dr Spaceley-Trellis, originally the go-ahead bishop of Bevindon, became go-ahead bishop, first of Stretchford and Bevindon and finally Bishop of Stretchford. Here is a little known chapter in ecclesiastical history.

    Dr Trellis had long been uneasy at being styled Bishop of Bevindon. For a go-ahead bishop, Bevindon, an ancient Saxon bishopric revived in 1890 when Bevindon, a sleepy old market town absorbed by the booming conurbation of Stretchford, whose Chamber of Commerce was demanding diocesan status, seemed to him insufficiently, well, go-ahead. He also had a vague dislike for the name Bevindon because it reminded him of Ernest Bevin, foreign secretary in the Attlee government, a politician he disapproved of because, although belonging to the Labour Party, he was very much an English patriot and not afraid to say so.

    In an eloquent speech to the Synod in 1985, Dr Trellis urged that the name of his diocese be changed to “something more relevant in this day and age”. Against much opposition from reactionary elements in the Synod, who had previously taken alarm at Dr Trellis’s advocacy of “gay marriage” and women bishops – his “partnership” with the militant feminist theologian Dr Mantissa Shout also counted against him – he eventually persuaded the Synod to agree to the change.

    Since then he has become more go-ahead then ever. Will he, under the Blairite dispensation, eventually get the arch-diocese of Canterbury? Would he want it? After all, its disgracefully old-fashioned name, imbued as it is with the whole history of England, is hardly more relevant to a go-ahead church man than Bevindon itself. As Bishop of Stretchford, Dr Trellis is in a position to promote all his ideas for the future of the Church of England as an ecumenical body which has abandoned all relics of outworn superstition and, merging with all other religions, which, as he hopes, will at last be a faith to meet the needs of the average secular man and women of today in a very real sense.

    • 1642+5thMonarchy

      I loved Peter Simple’s column. He was a satirical prophet in his way, almost everything he wrote has come to pass.

    • Maalaistollo

      Absolutely. Do I not hear the distant strains of the Chocolate Narthex worship band?

      As for ‘vibrant’ I always understand that to mean somewhere characterised by litter, swarthy-looking characters on street corners and general low-level criminality. That would certainly be the C of E ‘coming alongside’ its parishioners.

      ‘Progressive’ is, of course, the term the BBC uses to describe any liberal/left attitude of which it approves. Note that although anything of a traditional, normal or commonsense nature is described as ‘hard-right’ or ‘far-right’, the prefixes ‘hard-‘ or ‘far-‘ are rarely applied to those on the left.

      Finally, isn’t the CofE engaged in the game that I understand the communists used to play? You start by telling people that they can be both a Christian and a communist. Later, when they are safely ensconced in the Party, you tell them ‘Of course, you can’t be a good communist and remain a Christian.’

      • Dominic Stockford

        A congregation that describes itself as ‘lively’ on its website normally means your ears will be assailed by the screaming din of a full bore rock band should you be foolish enough to enter on a Lord’s Day, and incidentally rarely tell you what it believes on its website.

  • Peter Bolton

    There are those within the C of E who don’t believe that there are any validly ordained priests in the Church of England because they don’t think that their church has a sacerdotal priesthood.

    • Anton

      There are also those who believe that all Christians are priests. Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, himself takes that view according to His scriptures.

      • Martin

        Anton

        I’m sure Peter would consider those he spoke of to be the same that you spoke of.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The CofE certainly doesn’t teach that in its official summation of the doctrine it holds – quite the opposite of course.

  • carl jacobs

    tolerating intolerance is not virtuous practice

    There is a predictable path to this: infiltration, co-option, coexistence, dominance, compulsion, expulsion. The CoE is somewhere between dominance and compulsion in WO. These calls aren’t going to go away. They are going to get louder and more frequent. Progressives see orthodoxy as evil because orthodoxy denies the central anthropological claims of progressivism.

    “Mutual flourishing” will inevitably reduce to “You can stay if you keep your mouth shut”. That will be followed by “You can only stay if you accept WO.”

    Btw. On the issue of homosexuality, the CoE is still in coexistence. In case you want to know where that is going as well.

    • Martin

      Carl

      And who are the truly intolerant?

    • I smell a ploy here. A trap. They want to say to conservative evangelicals: look, we’re prepared to coexist with you, with two integrities. Now you must reciprocate and coexist with our integrity over same-sex marriage. They want to make it look unavoidable, especially while also turning a blind eye in pastoral practice and changing the facts on the ground. They’re engineering it so it looks inevitable. That’s the real reason the clergy opposed the report: it threw a spanner in the Plan.

  • If by “integrity” we mean the state of being whole and undivided one cannot sustain unity by respecting “diverse and mutually-exclusive integrities”. Catholicity may mean being wide-ranging in beliefs, and being broad in sympathies, tastes, or interests. However, it also means being universal, involving all and pertaining to the whole Christian body, relating to the ancient undivided Christian church and claiming historical continuity from it.

    “Philip North does not believe that women, or men ordained by women bishops, are sacramentally valid priests, so how can he possibly affirm their vocations, ministries and identities?”

    Not an unreasonable question.

    “Professor Martyn Percy is trying to play pope, which would be a very un-Anglican thing indeed.”

    Not Pope – but, perhaps, he is looking for some unity of belief – some integrity. Catholicism is based on a unity of belief amongst its bishops with the Bishop of Rome and the faithful. Without such unity Catholicism, in the sense of an undivided Christian church with historical continuity, does not exist. Surely if there is a division over the validity of ordination and, therefore, the validity of the Eucharist, then there is no true communion?

    “But the crucial question is, what does Bishop Philip think is happening at the altar, when a woman is presiding at the Eucharist.”

    Maybe the real question is: what does Martyn Percy and the women priests think that happens when they are “presiding” at the “table”? What is their belief about the Eucharist?

    • Anton

      Good question.

      Real unity is in the Holy Spirit, of course (Ephesians 4:2-6).

      • Martin

        Anton

        Since the Lord’s Supper is but a remembrance of the one sacrifice. there is little mysterious about it, even though Christ is present with His people in it.

        • At it least, and it is much, much more, it should represent unity of belief and faith – communion – among believers.

          If members of the Church of England have different understandings of the Eucharist and different views about scripture, where is the unity in Christ?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I seem to recall Jesus said “do this in remembrance of me”.

            If those who declare assent to the 39 Articles do so with crossed fingers they have nothing to complain about.

          • Read the Gospel of Saint John, chapter 6.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You mean how Jesus says that none can come to Him unless the Father draws him?

          • No one can come to the Father unless the Holy Spirit draws him. That’s the grace offered to us all. Being drawn does not equate to having no choice.

            But, no, Jack was referring to Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Those that the Father draws will be saved.

          • God sends His grace to move us towards Him and calls us to know Him and become closer to Him.

          • Martin

            HJ

            God’s, by His grace, draws us to Himself and causes us to be saved.

          • We cannot be saved without God’s grace – but we can fail to respond to that grace.

          • Martin

            HJ

            We are saved by God’s grace through faith which God gives us.

          • Martin

            HJ

            How can that be the grace offered to all when we are told that all those who are drawn will be raised up:

            No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44

            John 6 does not contain teaching on the Eucharist. 26ff is not about the Lords Supper but about salvation.

        • Anton

          What is mysterious is how it can cause those who take it irreverently to suffer dreadful consequences, as scripture affirms. I am no transubstantiationalist!

          • Martin

            Anton

            Can God not act in judgement on them as He acts in blessing on those who do righteously?

          • Anton

            Yes, of course. Are we disagreeing about anything here?

      • …. as expressed in common worship and shared beliefs.

    • Martin

      HJ

      Unity between the pope and bishops. You jest surely..

      • Rather a simplistic understanding of the Eucharist, Martin, which Jack recalls already having answered.

        • Martin

          HJ

          And which you recall my having supported with a quote from “The Faith of Millions”.

          • Yes, and Jack responded to the meaning of that quote too. It has to be seen in the full context of Catholic belief.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It has to be understood in the plain meaning of words, not the desperate attempt at reinterpretation used by those pressed into a corner.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I wrote my university thesis (for my Certificate of Theology) on the subject of ‘collegiality’ between all bishops (including the Bishop of Rome) in the RC church. I was of course in the Church of Rome at the time. Not only did I point out, in conclusion, that there was in fact no such thing, but I passed with an excellent mark. The qualified RC theologians who marked it seemed very happy with it!

        • Perhaps that says more about the theologians marking it than Catholicism properly understood. Plus, being an academic qualification, it is not a test of faith but an ability to examine different perspectives and marshal arguments for and against.
          Care to share its conclusions?
          Why go forward to ordination if you did not believe in Roman Catholicism? Were your ordination vows a lie?

          • carl jacobs

            Jack, you should give this a rest. If he had only traversed the opposite direction, you would be expositing on how he had found the fullness of the truth – no matter what ordination vow he took. You don’t know his heart. You have no standing to throw around words like “lie”. This hostility you show him is hypocritical.

            And frankly I think it is rooted in resentment against one who can speak with authority from the inside.

          • Jack’s hostility is towards one who speaks dishonestly from outside.

          • carl jacobs

            So much of your apologetic is dependent upon controlling the narrative. You constantly say things like “It has to be seen in the full context of Catholic belief”. There quickly follows an assertion – either implied or explicit – that your opponent is wrong because he just doesn’t understand RCism. But you can’t say that to Dominic Stockford. He was a Priest. He does understand. In fact, it is arguable that he understands better than you. What you perceive to be dishonesty is really his rejection of the narrative you seek to impose on the argument. That undermines your apologetic and that is why you resent him.

          • Was he a priest? If he went through ordination without understanding or acceptance of the Catholic faith, then it’s similar to those who marry in the Church in bad faith – the sacrament is null and void.
            Jack has read his account of leaving the Church and, if it is truthful, it is clear he was opposed to Church teaching even as he publicly accepted the responsibilities and charism of the priesthood.
            What irritates Jack is his claim to understand Catholicism. He doesn’t. He misrepresents my faith.

          • carl jacobs

            Your opinion of his priesthood is not really relevant to this discussion. What matters is his understanding. He went through the priestly formation. He understands. There is no requirement that understanding implies assent. And your comparison of him to Judas is revealing. Judas was a traitor – a betrayer. And how does this betrayal manifest itself in the life of Dominic Stockford? By his denial of the RC narrative.

            Consider. If I say dulia is a form of worship, and therefore idolatry, you tell me I don’t understand. What you are doing is attempting to control the definition. You are keeping intact the internal narrative that is used to justify so much of RC dogma. My arguments don’t matter because they come from outside.

            But Dominic Stockford is supposed to know better. He was taught the RC narrative. He is supposed to understand the difference between latria and dulia, and he is supposed to accept that difference whether he leaves the RCC or not. What you are demanding is that he accept the truth of the RC narrative so that you can continue using it without interruption.

            He isn’t misrepresenting your faith. He is doing exactly what I do. He is rejecting the narrative that undergirds it. What does that mean for you? It means you can’t say to him things like “It has to be seen in the full context of Catholic belief.” The difference is that you can dismiss me with a condescending head pat. You can’t just dismiss him.

          • From his own narrative, if true, he was never receptive to the Catholic faith and carried this diffidence into ministry. Of course, it could just be post hoc rationalisation.
            Just like Judas, he failed to grasp the message of Christ as handed down by the Catholic Church. The Apostles didn’t understand Jesus until the Resurrection and Pentecost but they never thought they knew better. Fair enough, he’s no longer a Catholic. Jack has been a Catholic on and off for 60 years and would never claim to fully understand all her teachings and wouldn’t reduce them to a caricature based on the polemic of the reformation.

          • carl jacobs

            Which means what? That you are conceding my point?

            We aren’t discussing his departure from the RCC. We are discussing your display of attitude towards him. He is the traitor. The betrayer. He is Judas. He is the insider who turned. Because of this, he sits like a dominant bishop in the center of the chessboard. And your reaction is to simply remove him from the board and throw him across the room.

            It isn’t right how you treat him.

          • bluedog

            All Protestants are betrayers, Carl. We have spurned the one true church and have become unter-mentsch as a result. HJ is here to offer us redemption and re-admission to the glory that is Rome.

          • No, not all, Bluedog. Some are simply misguided having been led astray by the betrayers.

          • bluedog

            I’ll remember that.

          • carl jacobs

            I know how Jack argues pretty well, dog. He knows what I am saying is true. I can see that tacit admission in every post he makes. He said …

            What irritates Jack is his claim to understand Catholicism. He doesn’t. He misrepresents my faith.

            Yet he has not offered one example to support this. What has he said?

            Just like Judas …

            That’s the real source of the animosity. Jack has placed the RCC in the place of Christ and not by accident. That is what Rome does. What did Jack do on this very thread but equate slavery to Christ with slavery to Rome.

            What is Dominic’s crime? He gives aid and and comfort to the enemy. And he can do so with authority.

          • bluedog

            The Roman Church demands submission (islam, note absence of capital) to its every whim.

          • Not so. It requires acceptance of its teachings as authentic and having been preserved and developed since Jesus Christ. There’s nothing whimsical about this.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You’re a sneaky old poodle BD. For one moment there I thought you had found the truth and the light !

          • bluedog

            Luckily for my reputation as a particularly rabid proddie, no. I often think that if I had been born a Catholic I would end up as a Protestant, or just lapsing. Not good at taking orders and complying with one-size-fits-all regimes. A more bespoke and personally tailored religion, possibly with a concierge service of some kind, is more my style. It’s called personal discovery and fits in with the idea of a personal God.

          • Manfarang

            And in Malaysia the Catholic Church says praises to Allah.

          • What “authority”? According to his own testament, which runs over with examples of failures to understand, he became a priest whilst having been opposed to the Catholic faith since childhood.

          • Anton

            Aren’t you trying to brush under the carpet the fact that arguments from an authority which you accept are useless when disputing with someone who doesn’t accept that authority? To look anything other than pompous you have to start from a mutually agreed point (in this case, scripture) and then give cogent reasons for what you say. You aren’t actually giving any. “You don’t understand” cuts no ice here for the reasons Carl gave. You critique various other belief systems here from their outside freely enough.

          • Christ Himself is the source of the Church’s authority.

            Mathew 16 and Mathew 28 and Acts, notably Acts 15:28, is the scriptural basis for the authority of the Apostles and the Catholic Church. The Epistles likewise give many examples of the Apostles exercising their teaching and governing offices.

          • Anton

            Indeed. But the apostles died.

            You regard the Apostolic Succession rather in the same manner as a magic potion.

          • How ignorant and unworthy of a response.

          • Cressida de Nova

            What? Unworthy? You haven’t been fooled into thinking Anton has a rigorous intellect have you? He is just a facts regurgitatorl

          • Anton

            Some of us bother to look at the small print.

          • Anton

            And nothing to do with the fact that you don’t have one?

          • Correct. there’s nothing “magical” about the sacraments and the infusion of grace and charisms they impart.

          • carl jacobs

            When you say to me “You are wrong because you don’t understand Roman Catholic teaching” (like, for example, whenever we talk about hyperdulia which is my go-to unrefuted example for Roman Catholic idolatry), Dominic has the authority to say “Well, I understand RC teaching because I was a Priest, and I agree with everything he said.” At which point, your trump card is removed from the table. You cannot simply dismiss these objections as ignorance that could be corrected through the acquisition of further knowledge.

            He has the authority that derives from his seminary education and his ordination as a Priest. Are you going to tell me you know RCism better than he does? Upon what would you base your assertion – other than the fact that you are a faithful RC? Were you educated in a seminary? Were you considered worthy of ordination by the RCC? That carries considerable weight, and that is why you gnash your teeth at him.

          • He’s entitled to his mistaken opinion, just as you are.

            Authority doesn’t derive from study but from faithful attention. Jack has 2000 years of Church teaching so does not speak as an individual.

            Catholics do not worship Mary.

            In the spiritual realm, we hold in high regard those who, by their virtuous lives, have demonstrated how to better love God and our fellow man. We call those virtuous people whose lives we admire, and who are now in heaven with Christ, “saints.” And Mary, Jesus’ mother, is even more deserving of our admiration and praise.

            The Church teaches that there are three types of honour which are due to those who are holy:

            Dulia. This is the honour and recognition which we accord to the
            Hyperdulia. This is the very special honour we accord to Mary, the Mother of God.
            Latria. This is true worship, and is given only to God.

            St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, writing in his Summa Theologiae (II-II, q. 103, a. 4; III, q. 25, a. 5), explained:

            “In more technical terms used by the Tradition to draw this important distinction, devotion to Mary belongs to the veneration of dulia, or the homage and honour owed to the saints, both angelic and human in heaven, and not to latria, or the adoration and worship that can be given only to the Triune God and the Son incarnate. Because of her unique relationship to Christ in salvation history, however, the special degree of devotion due to Mary has traditionally been called hyperdulia. While latria is owed to her Son by reason of unity of his divine and human natures in the Person of the Word made flesh, hyperdulia is due to Mary as truly his Mother.”

            “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”

            “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb…”

            Catholics do not worship Mary. In our prayer, we ask Mary to intercede for us with her Son. And He will listen because as James tells us:

            “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

            Here’s an article if you’re really that interested:

            http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/MaryAndWorship.pdf

          • Cressida de Nova

            “Are you going to tell me that you know RCism better than he does?”

            That should tell you Jack of Carl’s understanding of Catholicism
            He thinks every priest is a theological expert( if only….LOL)
            For years I have been complaining with others about the diminished standards and recruiting of candidates for the priesthood.Stockford is a perfect example of what happens when standards are dropped.

          • That is true.

          • carl jacobs

            Well, so. I finally decided to chuck Cressida into the Morning Soil with Linus. I have grown tired of her cat-clawing act. Both of them are French. Perhaps this is a trend.

            Do you have any reason (other than theological hostility) to impugn the education of another man? Do you have any reason why I should accept you as a greater authority than he – other than your own theological bias? Because I haven’t seen any basis for either.

            “Poorly taught” does not equal “He doesn’t agree with me.”

          • Jack doesn’t know what education was received by the person in question. Assuming it was orthodox, he only knows he was not receptive to it and spent over a decade in seminary and ministry opposed to Catholicism. Jack rests his theology on the authority of the Apostles and their successors and constant Church teaching going back to Christ and the Apostles. You? The novelties and inventions of man from 500 years ago.

          • carl jacobs

            In other words, “No, you don’t.” I know you can see what you are doing, Jack. You have too much integrity not to see it. What you are doing isn’t right and you know it.

          • bluedog

            Cressida, the problem is lack of vocations. With smaller families the numbers have dropped right away, as you would know. Hence the need to import Africans, Keralans and Filippinos to get the numbers needed.

          • len

            H J offers’ the acceptable face’ of the Catholic religion.
            Cressida offers nothing other than subservience to a toxic mix of Biblical truth and pagan religion.
            Such is spiritual deception…The RCC is’ a clever religion’, makes truth ‘error’ and error ‘truth’ and the arch heretic who sits at the head of this religion ,’infallible’ and unassailable.

          • Anton

            It’s better than the treatment he’d have got 500 years ago.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Why could it be post hoc rationalisation.?He stated clearly that even in the seminary he was having problems with Catholic belief on quite serious issues. Just because you cannot understand (neither can I) someone going ahead with this charade, it does not mean it cannot and does not happen.
            He proceeded with ordination with the lie on his lips. You cannot expect a Calvinist to understand the horror and betrayal of an act like that . They do not function at this level.

            Carl twists everything. He says that you are demanding that ex faux priest accepts the truth of the RC narrative. Why would you want that?. Do we need someone like that in our ranks?

            Would you prefer someone like this was a practising Catholic priest? Do you expect that he has the slightest respect or affection for Catholicism.? He only bears bitterness and rancour and takes every opportunity to discredit Catholicism supposedly from his former privilege situation..We are fortunate to be rid of him. I actually feel sorry for the Protestants. They have so many problems anyway. Catholic rejects are the last thing they need.

          • Sometimes people look back over their lives and create a narrative justifying the decisions and actions they’ve taken. We all do it. Jack can only assess him by what he has written. Men enter the priesthood for a variety a reasons, not all of them sound. We only have his account that is written to present him as a “hero” bravely overcoming the “snares of Rome”. Ultimately, the responsibility for this rests with those discerning vocations and preparing men for ordination. He was offered a great gift – but was not up to receiving it.

            As for Carl twisting everything, you have to remember he did not have the advantages we have been blessed with. Imagine just relying on one’s own interpretation of scripture to attempt to fathom the mysteries of our creation and God’s purpose. Imagine jettisoning 1500 years of Church teaching stretching back to Christ. Imagine being deprived of the serene, beautiful and uplifting Catholic art, rituals and services that so profoundly express our faith and worship. Imagine not having access to the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist. Imagine believing God denies man the room and opportunity to cooperate with Him in our salvation.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I realise that these advantages are important and a blessing .What you are saying is he is not responsible for his actions because he is ignorant. I don’t agree with you but as Lent is almost upon us I will say no more on the matter:)

          • What Jack is saying is that only God knows his soul and hidden motivations. We can, and do, judge his actions and words.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Agree….if he did not have Catholic beliefs at his ordination…which he apparently did not….then the sacrament is null and void. Carl jumps at any opportunity to attack Catholicism.He is no different to Len. Len does not disguise his bigotry whereas Carl feigns reasonableness on occasion to disguise his.Sheep and wolves etc.

          • Carl is rational and not bigoted, Cressie and, in Jack’s experience, he doesn’t randomly attack the Church. One can understand his objections to Catholicism and these can be answered. Granted he’s not open to listening to answers. He’s a stubborn man. But bigoted? Jack would say not.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well it just goes to show how completely blind you are. You allow the personal to affect your judgement. You like him so you make biased judgements. Women are accused of this. Men are worse. If someone is perceived as a “good chap” then nothing else too much else matters.

  • chefofsinners

    “The great professor Martin Percy.”
    Whether written in irony (which is doubtful given Cranmer’s previous fawning to this man) or seriously, Martin Percy is not great.
    Among kings, the epithet “the great” is generally reserved for those who found a kingdom. Martin Percy is undoubtedly seeking to found his own little kingdom, but the Kingdom of God will not suffer personal ambition. The most he can hope for is that Satan will give him the kingdoms of this world. That would be on the usual terms, which don’t seem to be a problem for Martyn.

    • Maalaistollo

      I think HG may be ironic, perhaps having in mind Lord Acton’s dictum that ‘Great men are almost always bad men.’

  • Martin

    “Philip North does not believe that women, or men ordained by women
    “bishops, are sacramentally valid priests, so how can he possibly affirm
    their vocations, ministries and identities?”

    Since there is no office of priest, aside of that of our high priest, in the Christian Church why would anyone think it mattered?

    “But the crucial question is, what does Bishop Philip think is happening
    at the altar, when a woman is presiding at the Eucharist.”

    What altar, there is no altar in a Christian church. Such things have been done away with by the once for all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. There can be no repetition of that sacrifice which we remember and celebrate at the Lord’s Supper.

    And since the Bible tells us that women may not be in authority over men it seems that the Dean of Christ Church, Professor Martyn Percy is somewhat ignorant of the Christian faith. Perhaps he needs to take instruction and discover that it is not a version of the Labour Party.

    • Watchman

      1 Peter 2:9 HCSB
      [9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

      Exodus 19:6 expresses the wish of Yahweh to make the whole of Israel to be a nation of priests but it wasn’t until He redeemed us from sin through the blood of Yeshua that He fulfilled this promise and open this to the gentiles. Those born into the kingdom are a royal priesthood; there is now no barrier between God and man for those born again; there is no need for that barrier of those specially ordained – it is no less than heresy to say that there is.

      • Martin

        Watchman

        But God has given us a means by which to appoint local leaders in the local church, and that means excludes women from that leadership.

        • Watchman

          Men will find a “means” to do anything they so wish, but it doesn’t mean that it was God given or even that they are acting according to His will. Leadership of the ekklesia is functional rather than structural and involves encouraging the Body to seek the will of the Head. The Reformation left the Protestant church in the position of rejecting many of the outrageous heresies of Romanism but it continued to embrace other heresies such as the clergy/laity divide.
          If the church is the Body of Christ with Him as the Head then the church should be engaged in seeking the will of the Head. Throughout the history of the church Yeshua has been usurped by those who enslaved people into believing that the “leaders” were a priesthood who stood between God and man.

          • Martin

            WM

            If you’re saying it wouldn’t have arisen if they had the Bible as their authority, I’ll agree.

          • Watchman

            But neither would the unbiblical appointment of a leadership as a priesthood. As I said earlier leadership in the church is functional not structural and it’s function is to guide people to seek the will of the Head of the church and exercise discipline within the church.

          • Martin

            Ah, I understand you now, and agreed.

  • Merchantman

    Maybe Bishop North should keep his fingers crossed at the crucial moment. Maybe we all should at the textual end of the spectrum or face a grizly end in the amphitheatre.

  • len

    Good old RCC V Prots Custard Pie fight going on down below on this thread..
    And for once I didn`t start it…

    Good job the real Church is a Spiritual Building made without human hands….

    Meanwhile…………..

    • 1642+5thMonarchy

      Quite right len. We lend our trust to a particular church while it retains membership of the universal church of Christ, we never gift it.

      BTW, have I missed a bit of inter-denominational strife while i was out chainsawing? It seems to have been a fairly insignificant skirmish.

      • len

        More a skirmish than a battle.

      • Albert

        It was difficult to spot because for the most part the Evangelicals and the Catholics are agreeing with each other over the poor CofE.

        • 1642+5thMonarchy

          You mean hostile vested interests who are hoping for the death of the CoE out of true Christian fellow feeling?

          • Albert

            I don’t think it’s about hoping for anything. Given the choice, I would prefer the CofE to return to the Catholic Church. Evangelicals would prefer the CofE to become Evangelical. But the CofE is its own boss, it does what it wants and at the moment, as far as I can see, what it wants is incoherent. If you disagree, show me that it isn’t incoherent.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Then why do you and others spend oodles of time on here pillorying the CoE rather than encouraging it scripturally sound members in the struggle? If you can’t help, at least don’t hinder.

          • Albert

            We’re discussing the theology of the situation. What else is there to be done?

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Encouragement, reminding us that God’s Will be done, the fight to be fought and won…

          • Albert

            But what if we think that staying in the CofE is now impossible? Yes, if you are going to stay in the CofE I encourage you to be as orthodox as you can be, but in my opinion, “as orthodox as you can be” in the CofE is not high enough.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Weasel words.

          • Albert

            Or is it weasel to stay?

          • A couple of Bible-believing Anglican refugees came to my church this morning. They were made very welcome.
            Evangelical Free churches are the natural home for such folk. Those who move from the Church of England to the Church of Rome are merely entering an Amos 5:19 situation, exchanging one set of heresies for another.

          • One fears the battle is lost and now it’s a question of “to the victor go the spoils”.

          • carl jacobs

            Moving the mail from Deck G to Deck F was pointless – despite the heroic nature of the effort. You need to face reality. The ship is mortally stricken.

  • Dominic Stockford

    If Martin Percy is correct then there is no place for any genuine Evangelical in ministry in the Church of England either – they hold the same view on women as clergy, but from a Biblical perspective of course.

    • carl jacobs

      Yes. That’s where this is going. That is where this was always going.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I guess it is the game plan of the liberal wing, and as they have grasped the CofE levers of power at the same time as discarding God’s Word there seems no chance for it to be changed. Unless God does something rather stunning!

      • The Anglo-Catholics may accept leadership from women in parishes. However, they will never accept them in sacerdotal positions. They are at one with Evangelicals over women priests but for different reasons.

  • magnolia

    I agree that the church will yet again muddle through somehow. However I also think that Martyn Percy has outlined the few ways in which it is possible that it can muddle through here. Pragmatically and pastorally it will prove impossible to shepherd/ provide loving oversight/ discipline female clergy who know he doesn’t think they should be in position. Something/ someone will have to give. What else could possibly work?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Its time the CofE stopped ‘muddling through’, and went back to preaching the Gospel as it is written.

    • Sybaseguru

      Most Bishops are in the position of their personal belief clashing with the beliefs of some of their clergy – its a requirement to be able to find a way to deal with it.

    • Wait until women bishops ordain increasing numbers of women priests. Then the situation will become untenable.

  • CliveM

    Is it me or is little Percy, getting to big for his b,b,b,a….. Er boots?

    Who is he to advise? He seems to be spending to much of his time trashing others. Bit more humility needed.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I imagine he’s making a play for a senior post himself. Making all the sounds the liberal appointers will love to hear.

      • CliveM

        Grandstanding eh? You’re probably right.

      • Anton

        Dean of Christ Church isn’t senior? Well, I suppose it is Oxford…

        • Dominic Stockford

          It isn’t a Bishop, is it?

          • Anton

            Pretty senior, though. Great wine cellar and digs, etc

  • AH18

    There has been much discussion of this latest broadside against Bishop North, but it looks suspiciously like a storm in an Oxford Deanery tea-cup. Dean Percy is married to Canon Emma Percy, chairperson of WATCH and author of not one but two WATCH statements in exactly the same vein and language. Canon Percy is an honorary member of her husband’s cathedral chapter. (How cosy …).

    The Bishops of Dorking and Repton – both women – have both spoken out in favour of Bishop North’s translation to Sheffield (see http://www.christiantoday.com/article/church.comes.out.fighting.for.conservative.bishop.in.row.over.womens.ordination/105021.htm).

    Given the widespread support that Bishop North has received, and the Five Guiding Principles agreed by the General Synod, it is distasteful to say the least that a clerical Bonnie & Clyde couple in Oxford are seeking to hold up this appointment and impose their own personal view and agenda.

    • William Lewis

      Distasteful indeed.

    • Inspector General

      All 5 women bishops at the moment have included Feminism as to what has influenced their makeup. Whether those 2 backtrack in the coming days after the sisterhood ‘put them right’ is to be seen…

    • The Five Guiding Principles are rejected as illegitimate by WATCH.

      The articles by Percy’s partner are filled with bleating and passive aggressive victimhood. We are informed the women of the diocese were not asked how this appointment would help them “flourish” and so they now have a sense of “hurt and disillusionment” as they face more “discrimination in the name of theological conviction.” Objecting to the ordination of women is thus dismissed as misogyny veiled in theology – a similar argument advanced by those supporting homosexuality.

      We are further informed that the women clergy of Sheffield diocese now have to “struggle to come to terms with the prospect of a Bishop who cannot fully accept their ministry” because the hierarchy of the church has “no real pastoral care for women who find their ministry fundamentally undermined by the theological views of the one with whom they are to share a cure of souls.” Poor snowflakes.

      Percy’s partner concludes: “In the world beyond the church women would not find themselves expected to work for a man who did not quite think they were the same as their male colleague. Yet, the women of Sheffield are told this is all about mutual flourishing.” Someone needs to inform Emma that the Church is not the world and shouldn’t endeavour to copy or appease it.

      • Holger

        Objecting to the ordination of women is misogyny. Don’t know why you think that dressing it up as theology disguises it. It’s always been a clear and easily recognisable sign that Christians believe women to be inferior to men, although again they try to dress this up as justifiable apartheid.

        “Equal but separate development”, mon œil ! It’s a blatant statement that women aren’t good enough to deputize for god. Only men can do that.

        Women are and always have been second class citizens in Christianity. Just like gays are second – or perhaps more accurately, third – class citizens.

        The bible tells us it is better to give than to receive, therefore it follows that the giver or penetrative partner must be better – superior, in fact – to the taker or receptive partner. This is echoed in Paul’s attitude to gay sex. He reserves his worse condemnation for the passive partner. Why? Because they take, and taking is shameful and ignoble in his mind.

        The attitude of the Catholic Church is that as takers, women are unworthy of performing the role of giver and can therefore never be priests. Many Catholic women, schooled in ideas of their own inferiority (see some of the posts on this thread), accept this supporting role without demur. They are the Aunt Jemimas of Catholicism, just as gay Catholic men are the Uncle Toms.

        Of course if they want to subordinate themselves to their straight menfolk, it’s their own choice. But many do not. And they should also be free to choose.

        If given the choice, most women end up supporting equality. But a few are so conditioned to play second fiddle, self-assertion is beyond them. It’s pitiable, of course. But the Church is full of pitiable and contemptible cowards fleeing from reality. That’s what it is: a refuge for inadequates looking for a big daddy god to take care of them and make it all better.

        I support the objections of the female clergy of Shieffield to the appointment of a bishop who believes in their inferiority and who will not be able to provide them with pastoral care and support. A KKK Imperial Wizard wouldn’t support an African American Knight, now would he? He’d do everything he could to undermine him. The same applies to the Anglican Church. So women priests of Sheffield beware – your new bishop wants to defrock you and drive you back to home and hearth. Stop this unnatural rebellion against your lord and master, ungrateful Jezebels. Accept your subjection and be grateful for it. It’s what god ordained for you and true happiness can only be yours if you drop to your knees and grovel.

        • You’re confusing equality with equalitarianism – a French trait.

          • Holger

            And you’re confusing outrageous inequality with equality – although to be truthful, there’s no confusion, is there? What you’re doing is taking outrageous inequality and trying to pass it off as equality. It’s not confusion. It’s misrepresentation.

          • Holger

            Just saw your longer edit and what a load of old bollocks it is!

            Catholicism has some pretty weird ideas, but this kind of male supremacist nonsense is one of the most ridiculous.

            Anatomy tells us nothing about god. It merely tells us how evolution has provided for the reproduction of our species.

            Women may be physically weaker on average than men, but some men are physically weaker than others too. This in no way prevents them from exercising authority over physically stronger men. Why? Because authority is established not by brute strength but rather by the application of intellect and force of personality.

            Women are just as smart and just as charismatic as men. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be leaders – political or religious.

            Your tortured theological justifications are based on nothing more than your desire to establish yourself as lord and master. But in order to lead, you need followers.

            Who’s going to follow you?

          • It clearly unsettled you.

          • Holger

            If by “unsettled” you mean “made me laugh at your ridiculous self-justifications”, then yes. I even shook my head in disbelief that the kind of nonsense you spout can be believed in a Western country in the 21st century. But the Catholic Church has always specialised in brainwashing obscurantist garbage into the heads of its victims. I see that hasn’t changed since I managed to escape from its clutches.

            Oh well, you’ll be dead soon enough and the idiocy you spout will die with you. One more advocate of male supremacy will bite the dust and there won’t be anyone to replace him. Female equality is taught in schools throughout the West, but who teaches a doctrine of female inferiority now? A few aging nuns and priests who struggle in vain against cultural norms they have no hope of combatting.

            In other words, your retrograde ideas will die with you. Indeed I wonder if they aren’t a symptom of your imminent demise. I’m told that one of the first signs of Kreutzfeld-Jakobs can be religious mania accompanied by unusual, ritualised and obsessive behaviour. Go see a doctor. If the news is bad and you want to get round the UK’s ban on euthanasia, you can always take the Swiss option, although I would not in any way encourage you to do so.

          • The male impregnating the female is seen by you as “male supremacy”?

          • Holger

            The male using impregnation of the female as an excuse to set himself up in authority over her is male supremacy.

        • The Explorer

          “The bible tells us it is better to give than to receive.” Paul says this in relation to helping the poor who are not in a position to pay him back, and that is the context in which it is true. It is not a blanket statement for every situation.

          If you’re in a sword fight, it is better to give wounds rather than receive them, and it is likewise better for a boxer to give blows rather than receive them in order to avoid dementia later in life.

          But it is not better to give HIV or syphilis than it is to receive them : neither is desirable.

          In terms of turning the other cheek, it is better to receive than to give, to avoid the escalation of a situation.

  • Sybaseguru

    Given that the 5 principles that the Bishops put together define the Church of England’s stance on the tension between the various factions in this matter, Philip North would seem to be entirely within the remit of them. If the prof doesn’t like them – tough – that’s the way it is. Sounds like another liberal who is throwing his toys out of the pram and stamping his feet because he can’t get his own way.

  • len

    There is ‘a Church ‘rock solid on its foundation ,which is going nowhere because it is securely anchored in Christ.
    There is another’ church’ which floats back and forth on the tide of public opinion which like ‘the Marie Celeste’ will one day be found lifeless drifting with the tides and winds.

    • carl jacobs

      Excellent imagery!

      • Wasn’t the Marie Celeste a trial run for the Rapture?

        • carl jacobs

          OK, you get half credit for this feeble attempt at humor because at least it wasn’t crass and vulgar. One must apply positive feedback to encourage good behavior,

    • AH18

      Great analogy which recalls Dean Inge’s adage: whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.

      A point which Dean and the Rev Mrs Percy would be well advised to meditate upon.

  • David Waters

    Perhaps the good people of Sheffield Diocese should decide in a vote?

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      If Bishop North wore a red cope at such an election he would be sure to win…

      • Manfarang

        In Sheffield Hallam?

  • Anna

    Many view Paul’s instruction on women’s role in the churches as harsh and patriarchal, but his associates included Priscilla, Aphia and Junia. Priscilla instructed Apollos, an apostle, when he was new in the faith, and so it is not inappropriate for a woman to teach men in a certain contexts. Any mature Christian, whether male or female, can guide others in growing in our relationship with Christ and in the way we ought to treat others.

    However, there are levels of leadership that women should normally not occupy. Men are generally more suited for the harsh cut and thrust of a formal public ministry; the criticism that such roles inevitably draw, affect women differently and more deeply – it can result in oversensitive and defensive responses; and often an expectation to be shielded from it by silencing debate (remember Jayne Ozanne and her ‘good disagreement’). The church also needs the nurturing qualities of women, but in certain leadership roles, women are forced to adopt a more assertive, even aggressive, posture than is natural, and suppress those womanly qualities which, as Peter wrote, are ‘of infinite worth in God’s sight’.

    There will always be exceptions to any rule, but experience shows that Paul was right about women being more prone to deception – and the disproportionate number of women in the Anglican clergy supporting SSM prove his point. As the leader of a certain denomination (that had separated from the Brethren, and where women were permitted to ‘witness’ in public or give short messages on Christian living in church meetings) once explained in his writings, women should not be custodians of Christian doctrine, for this opens the door to much erroneous teaching.

    • bluedog

      Sacrilege! There is no difference between the sexes, or is there, and does this complementary nature lead to Anna’s position? Will any of His Grace’s lady communicants endorse Anna’s views? Magnolia? Cressida? Mrs Proudie?

      • Anna

        I suppose my views are influenced by my Orthodox background, where we see the sexes as distinct – where women are valued and our difference celebrated.

        • bluedog

          A simple truth now rejected in the western societies and their churches.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Dear bluedog, there are differences between the sexes. one things of plumbing for example….

        • Albert

          Yes, Mrs Proudie, but does the bishop agree with you?

        • bluedog

          We’re talking about Anna’s opinion, Mrs P. Trivialising what Anna says with this sort of remark validates her view. Is this what you intended?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Trivialising? Merely a little humour…

          • bluedog

            Your prerogative, Ms P.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Firstly BD I doubt if Mrs Proudie is a female. Queens are never completely convincing impersonating a female…
        Secondly, Anna is a bigoted anti Catholic so her views on religion are of no interest to me either.

        As for women being more easily deceived than men . I don’t think this is the case now, particularly since they have been educated .Women have had historically more of a harder struggle than men to survive .The person in the submissive role does it much harder than the one in authority. As a result women tend by nature to be more perceptive shrewd and yes more manipulative than men,generally speaking.

        The disproportionate number of Anglican women voting for SSM is simply a reflection on a religion that fosters secular populist concepts.
        As I do not recognise the validity of any Anglican orders ;women priests and Bishops are just more of the same and does not cause concern.

        However I do object to the Protestant religions supporting perversion (ssm)and still calling themselves Christian .I really do not understand how any genuine Christian can remain in a religious organisation that blatantly disregards Christian belief in this way.

        The Archbishop has already publicly announced there are 4 references in the NT to homosexuality being in conflict with Christian belief.
        Evidently that is not seen as a problem.

        • Manfarang

          You are awful but I like you. (Dick Emery)
          I knew an Irish ex-priest and I am sure there are many like him still in the Catholic Church. And before you get any wrong ideas we didn’t like each other much. I am for Redmond.

        • Anton

          Is *anybody* who is anti-Catholic “bigoted”?

          • len

            Anti Catholic = someone who doesn`t agree with catholic doctrines = bigot…
            ‘Bigot’ must be someone who seeks biblical truth..This is logic…

          • Not bigots, Len. Blind and caught up in false beliefs.

          • len

            ‘Bigot’ is the label Cressida used. Holger uses frequently too.
            Its a cop out and avoidance of intelligent debate.
            Because I do not agree with Catholic doctrine that make me a follower of false religion?.
            I follow Christ .Is He false?.Am I deceived for following Christ and him alone?.

          • len

            No i’m infallible.Just say it and it happens.

        • bluedog

          Naughty Cressida. Poor Mrs Proudie’s femininity has been challenged before and there is a simple test which proves Mrs P is a woman. If she was a drag queen we would have been told some time ago. Consider the posts of the homosexual communicants. Without exception they state their sexual orientation, looking for who knows what sympathy/support/validation. On the other hand, Mrs P talks about her daughters and her husband in terms that are beyond the comprehension of a childless gay. Mrs P is a woman.

          Secondly, Anna is Orthodox and has no obligation to flatter the Catholic Church, so she doesn’t. But that doesn’t make her anti-Catholic bigot.

          Thirdly, ‘I do not recognise the validity of any Anglican orders ;women priests and Bishops are just more of the same and does not cause concern.’ Standard Catholic dogma, almost a redundant statement, isn’t it? On the other hand Pope Francis does not appear to hold this view.

          Fourthly, ‘However I do object to the Protestant religions supporting perversion (ssm)and still calling themselves Christian .’ Doesn’t apply to the whole Anglican communion, only alas, the women priests.

          Historically our blog host has opposed SSM, or at least it seems that way to this writer.

        • Watchman

          What is a bigoted anti-catholic? Is it possible to be anti-catholic and not bigoted or are they both, in your eyes, mutually inclusive.

          I deride the abominations of Romanism but as this is a rational and well founded result of biblical exegesis I do not regard it as bigoted.

          • CliveM

            I’m not anti Catholic, I just don’t accept all the claims it makes for itself. I think there is something in the usage of “anti ” that suggests more then simply disagree with.

          • Watchman

            The use of this expression, Clive, was not mine but Cressida’s. I am against Catholicism because I believe it to be a pernicious and deceitful religion. I am not against Catholics because they are made in the image of God, Yeshua died for them but they have been misled and therefore need my love and my prayers.

          • CliveM

            Well I would say they err in some things, like all Churches, but I wouldn’t agree with pernicious and deceitful.

          • Watchman

            Matthew 7:15-20 HCSB
            [15] “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. [16] You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? [17] In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. [18] A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. [19] Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. …

          • CliveM

            So is everyone who err’s a false prophet? Are all ‘pernicious and deceitful’? I think you need to show intent and as I have seen and experienced many sincere Christians in the RCC, I don’t believe that.

          • Watchman

            Clive, I too know many sincere Christians in the RC church. It is the culture doctrines and practices of the organisation itself that is so questionable. All organisations perpetuate their traditions until they become a mythology which no one dare challenge and the church’s errors arise as a result of 2000 years of power politics coupled with an increasing dependence on tradition rather than the word of God.

            Those sincere Christians that we both know are the deceived and they are enslaved by the fear instilled in them that the church uses in peddling itself as God’s true church.

            It’s demise is well documented in Revelation 17 and although Catholics will obviously deny this it is difficult to imaging a better fit.

          • Terms like “abominations of Romanism” signify deep-seated hostility.

          • len

            Hostility to deception is a bad thing?.

          • One needs to substantiate that there is a deception and not just hurl the accusation. Always best to use reason to resolve differences rather than aggression.

          • len

            Gods Word is the standard to substantiate deception.
            Pure unadulterated Word, no additions or subtractions.

          • CliveM

            Why deception? That suggests done in bad faith. Why is it not error? Why the need to load the accusation using such a negative interpretation?

          • len

            Deception leads to error.’The Deceiver’ is normally the initiator of error.

          • CliveM

            Not phrases I would use.

          • William Lewis

            What about Popish pish posh?

          • Mildly insulting but Jack takes that in the spirit in which he trusts its given.

          • William Lewis

            Be assured that it is not meant to be insulting. More a succinct, alliterative expression of rejection.

        • len

          To be Anti Catholic…is ‘proof’ that you are a bigot.
          And that’s an example of ‘the logic’ Holger uses against Christians.

  • carl jacobs

    Archbishop Cranmer

    After a day of CofE-bashing …

    It’s not our fault. It was that post you gave us. We read it and we did bash.

    • All Martyn Percy has done is expose the contradiction at the heart of the Church of England who, one the one hand, ordains women and, on the other, appoints bishops to have authority over them who deny they are priests.

      He has a valid point.

      • carl jacobs

        I agree with you 100%. But that wasn’t the purpose of the allusion to Genesis.

        • Allusion to Genesis?

          • carl jacobs

            The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

            Oh, look, Jack! The pebble isn’t in your hand anymore. It’s in mine.

          • Yes but who made it and when.
            Grasshopper, when an apprentice seeks to replace his master before the rightful time, he’s treading a path that leads to the Dark Side. Remember Anakin.

          • carl jacobs

            Nope, nope, nope. Can’t be shifting metaphors like that. And it does not change the fact that you completely missed what I was doing.

            Anyways. I believe in absolutes.

          • Obi got that wrong, didn’t he? That was Lucas’ Buddhism. Apparently he considers himself a Christian Buddhist.

          • carl jacobs

            He absolutely stated an absolute about the nature of those who believe in absolutes – except for himself, whom he implicitly excluded.

          • Or put more simply, the statement: Only the Sith deal in absolutes” is an absolute statement in itself.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Happy Jack is, not always was. He was a Dodo until he became extinct.

          • There’s life after extinction.

      • chefofsinners

        No, Martyn is exposing the contradiction in order to further his own liberal agenda.

        • The two go hand in hand, surely.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, but exposing the contradiction is not all he has done. He has suggested a solution to the contradiction which would cause the permanent loss of the CoE to liberal leadership.

    • Manfarang

      After it is disestablished it will be a purely internal matter.

  • Anna055

    Martin Percy is being silly …. Why didn’t he complain about Chichester?

    • His beef is that Bishop North is a member of The Society of St. Wilfrid and St. Hilda and thus does not believe women are priests.

      • Anna055

        I’m not too sure what Bishop Martin Warner is a member of, but he certainly won’t ordain women priests (they are ordained by one of the two suffragan bishops). However no one seemed to make any fuss when he became bishop a few years ago! He is of course gracious about them like Bishop North.

        • He too is a member the Council of Bishops of The Society. Interestingly, Bishop Warner officiated as principal celebrant in the laying-on of hands and Eucharist for the episcopal consecration of Philip North as suffragan Bishop of Burnley.
          It seems the protestors are growing in confidence now they have a vanguard of women priests in place and also women bishops.

      • They aren’t!

  • Anton

    Given that bishops of all views wear what would be regarded in normal life as women’s clothing, you must expect a few problems of this sort.

    • *sigh”

      • Anton

        Bishops also do a natty line in hats in church, which wouldn’t please St Paul.

    • Manfarang

      I hope there are no true Scotsmen about otherwise there might be trouble.
      Of course in Burma men normally wear longyis.

  • How can Martyn Percy now criticise Phillip North who it seems has a traditional Biblical view on women in the clergy when other bishops and Archbishops have let in women to the clergy in the first instance? Shouldn’t these angles have been discussed before it was decided to ordain women? I would think Phillip North isn’t alone in his views? I’m sure other colleagues of his along with older members of congregations nationwide feel the same way as Phillip North too.

  • IanCad

    I’m not going to get too bent out of shape over women vicars. Let’s face it; there just aren’t enough men applying for the duty, neither is the Bible without example of ladies teaching the word of God. What makes the debate over this so vitriolic is the working of the Homo lobby to define all the female vicars as being entirely in sympathy with the marriage and ordination of those with such leanings.
    I can assure you such is not the case.

  • carl jacobs

    A revealing comment from Martyn Percy on Thinking Anglicans.

    http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/007479.html#comments

    2. The Five Guiding Principles seek a middle-way between inclusion and exclusion. But we would not tolerate, rightly, a post-apartheid South Africa that still gave honoured places in government to those who hold racially-segregationist views.

    3. At the same time, we would not dispute that South Africans holding such segregationist views – not all of whom were white, incidentally – were loyal and good South Africans. We would not drive them from their country. We would seek reconciliation. But we would seek truth too. But we would not honour their views as still having a place in governance, or be seeking to protect or enshrine their views as equal valuable, credible or laudable. (Such views do not lead to ‘mutual flourishing’).

    The Five Guiding principles have always been seen by Progressives as an act of grace, and they were always about the laity. Progressives would not seek to “drive them” from their church (which of course a strict application of justice would entitle to do) but would instead “seek reconciliation” – which is a condescending way of saying “Try to enlighten them.” But this was never supposed to apply to the clergy. Those in leadership who held “retrograde” views were supposed to die off in return for being allowed to reach retirement. “Provision” meant “We will send a male vicar to that particular parish until we can change either its beliefs or demographics. But of course that male vicar will support WO and his task will be to educate the parish on its errors.”

    What shocked me on that thread was the number of commenters who made the point that breaking this promise about “mutual flourishing” would directly (and negatively) impact the fight over SSM. Perhaps this is just a feint to facilitate further change in a liberal direction. Either way, it indicates what the Left really thinks about “mutual flourishing” and what can be expected as Liberal religionists become more secure in their hold on power.

    • “What shocked me about that thread was the number of commenters who made the point that breaking this promise about “mutual flourishing” would directly (and negatively) impact the fight over SSM.”

      Because it exposes the truth and intent about the meaning of the term “maximum freedom”. As the Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes, a campaigner for LGBT rights, said: “Our explanation of maximum freedom will take us to places where we have not previously gone.”

      • carl jacobs

        It proves that those with the power can define the meaning of the compromise. Or modify it at will. Or discard it completely. An act of grace can always be withdrawn at will. And you can see clearly that it is considered an act of grace by the arrogation of authority to determine who participates in governance.

        Here is hoping the resistance in the diocese to Philip North grows and grows. It will show the face that is hidden behind the mask.

    • Jack reposted this comment from several months ago. It helps reveal the depths of the rebellion against the Divine order and the relationships between male and female in God’s plan:

      God created us male and female. We humans are male and female. Our bodies are designed to complement one another and to generate new life. The Bible associates man with the actualizing power of the divine and the woman with the receptive power of the creation. When a husband enters the bride, a new life springs forth. When God enters creation, the Life of the World springs forth. The Incarnation of Christ is revealed.

      A father is the “principle” or “source” of procreation in a way a mother is not. Both mother and father are active agents of conception, but the father, being male, initiates procreation; he enters and impregnates the woman, while the woman is entered and impregnated. There is an initiatory activity by the man and a receptive activity by the woman. Thus, while father and mother are both parents of their offspring and both necessary for procreation, the father has a certain priority as the “source” or “principle” of procreation. This is complemented by the mother’s priority as first nurturer, due to her procreating within herself and carrying the child within herself for nine months.

      This is why nature, creation, and the Church are always feminine. We speak of Mother Nature, Mother Earth, and Mother Church. These signify the receptive womb or matrix awaiting divine life. In the Judeo-Christian faith, God the Father created the world as something separate from himself, whereas in Near Eastern societies, the mother metaphor pictures the mother-goddess giving birth to the world (which makes it an extension of the deity’s body). Calling God Mother undermines the Christian doctrine of creation by implying that God and the world are made of the same stuff and virtually indistinguishable. So, we need Father in order to get to the right doctrine of creation without it we end up with pantheism.

      Is this why Saint Paul associates the rejection of God with homosexual behaviour in Romans? Whenever we reject the sacramental vision of God as life giving Groom and creation as receptive Bride, the acceptance of homosexuality (and women priests) is likely to result. It also leads to a break between sex and procreation and to a sterile, self centred, aborting and contracepting culture. The way we think leads to the way we act.

      Sexuality has a divine signification pointing toward human salvation and felicity. Without this, it loses meaning as a creative act in cooperation with God.

      • Terry Mushroom

        This is good stuff HJ.

        • Thank you, Terry. A rare but welcome comment. You should join in the discussions more.

        • len

          If your’e a Druid?.

      • We speak of Mother Nature, Mother Earth, and Mother Church.
        Do we? I never do, and neither, I think, does the Bible.

        • You only speak words and concepts written in scripture?

          • carl jacobs

            Those are pagan concepts, and, no, I don’t use them either. We get used to phrases like “Mother Nature” and don’t necessarily react when people use them. But it is an intentional personification of impersonal chance, and is used principally because people don’t like thinking about the idea of impersonal chance being the master of the universe. So they come up with a meaningless phrase like “Mother Nature” to make it all sound purposeful, and warm, and nurturing.

          • They’re only pagan concepts when used within a pagan belief system .You won’t like the term Holy Mother Church then.

            Jack used them to signify the receptive womb or matrix awaiting Dvine life – the actualizing power of the Divine and the receptive power of the creation. God being the source of life. In pagan systems, the mother metaphor pictures the mother-goddess giving birth to the world.

            [Ibrahimovic has just scored what looks like the winner in the EFL Cup final.}

          • Anton

            Agreed, except that impersonal chance is not the master of the universe. God is.

          • Well, you would. Being a Puritan, like Calvinists, you lack a religious imagination being fixated on a narrow understanding of the written word of scripture. You’re deaf and blind to the ineffable that finds expression in music, art, ritual and poetry. God gave us these gifts too for a reason.

          • Anton

            You are either trying to wind me up, or speculating and getting it wrong, in view of my love of music and poetry.

            As for the issue at hand, we use the word chance when we have not the information to know what will happen. God, however, knows exactly what will happen. What we think was a chance meeting, we might later realise was God’s plan, if it leads to marriage, for instance.

            Always pleased to be called a Puritan.

          • Jack responded to your earlier comment where you agreed with Carl’s opposition to the use of feminine metaphor.
            Do you use art, poetry, music and ritual in worshipping God – accessing the full range of God given senses?

          • carl jacobs

            What I object to is the use of a feminine/mother image in creation. It’s use inherently implies that creation is properly analogized to a divine act of sexual intercourse – that being an exceptionally pagan concept. Music and liturgy and poetry are all wonderful. None of them constitute revelation. There is no such thing as mystic ineffable revelation.

          • Anton

            In Proverbs 8, wisdom is portrayed as having feminine characteristics, calling to people to gain her and recognise her beauty. The process of coming to know a body of knowledge intimately has clear analogies with wooing. The femininity of wisdom also explains why scientists see beauty in the workings of the creation, and lies behind the copious sexual metaphors used by Renaissance thinkers such as Francis Bacon for the (then) novel project of learning nature’s innermost secrets.

          • Metaphor, Carl, metaphor.

            “The Bible associates man with the actualizing power of the Divine and the woman with the receptive power of the creation. When a husband enters the bride, a new life springs forth. When God enters creation, the Life of the World springs forth. The Incarnation of Christ is revealed.”

            You’ve never read any of the Church’s mystics?

          • carl jacobs

            I have read the nonsensical account of the Passion by Sister Anne Emmerich. Does that count?

          • Jack was thinking of mystics such as: Julian of Norwich , John of the Cross, and the anonymous authors of classics like “The Cloud of Unknowing” and “The Way of a Pilgrim”.

          • carl jacobs

            Hrmmm. Let’s examine one of these. Say “The Cloud of Unknowing”. From Wikipedia.

            The underlying message of this work suggests that the way to know God is to abandon consideration of God’s particular activities and attributes, and be courageous enough to surrender one’s mind and ego to the realm of “unknowing”, at which point one may begin to glimpse the nature of God.

            Ummm. No. I haven’t read any of those. I could provide many descriptive expressions for a phrase like “the realm of unknowing”. Would you like me to provide a sampling?

          • Not sure that is how to describe its message but, yes, probably best if you don’t read it. Here’s the directive, printed immediately inside the front cover.

            “I charge you with love’s authority, if you give this book to someone else, warn them (as I warn you) to take the time to read it thoroughly. For it is very possible that certain chapters do not stand by themselves but require the explanation given in other chapters to complete their meaning. I fear lest a person read only some parts and quickly fall into error. To avoid a blunder like this, I beg you and anyone else reading this book, for love’s sake, to do as I ask.

            “As for worldly gossips, flatterers, the scrupulous, tale-bearers, busybodies, and the hypercritical, I would just as soon they never laid their eyes on this book. I had no intention of writing for them and prefer that they do not meddle with it. This applies, also, to the merely curious, educated or not. They may be good people by the standards of the active life, but this book is not suited to their needs.

            “However, there are some presently engaged in the active life who are being prepared by grace to grasp the message of this book. I am thinking of those who feel the mysterious action of the Spirit in their inmost being stirring them to love. I do not say that they continually feel this stirring, as experienced contemplatives do, but now and again they taste something of contemplative love in the very core of their being. Should such folk read this book, I believe they will be greatly encouraged and reassured.”

          • carl jacobs

            Strikes me as a bunch of mystical gnostic claptrap. Let me translate. “Only the special ones should proceed any further. Are you one of the special ones who feel the mysterious action of the Spirit?” Good grief. By the end of the book I expect he will claim to be a Nigerian prince who could get a fortune out of the country if only I would send him my bank account number …”

            Tell me you don’t take this seriously – this idea of finding God through the act of “unknowing”. It’s utter nonsense. There is no such thing as unknowing and you certainly can’t learning anything from the experience of nothing.

          • Grasshopper you have a long way to go.

            You wouldn’t disagree with: “Thought cannot comprehend God”? Shortly before he died, Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the Church’s greatest intellects, said: “I can write no more. All that I have written seems like straw.” Or this: “Centre all your attention and desire on him and let this be the sole concern of your mind and heart. Do all in your power to forget everything else, keeping your thoughts and desires free from involvement with any of God’s creatures or their affairs whether in general or in particular. Perhaps this will seem like an irresponsible attitude, but I tell you, let them all be; pay no attention to them.”

            Yes, Jack takes the contemplative path seriously although he finds the practice very difficult.

          • Anton

            Christian inner life involves cycles, of despair at ever-deepening awareness of one’s own sin, behind which we hide from God (while feeling that he is hiding from us); and joy upon surrendering that part of us to God, and knowing that we are forgiven and back with our Father. Paul speaks of this process (sanctification, or theosis) in Romans 5-8 as you will know. The experience of it can be read in the mystical works of the desert fathers and some monastics; and also in the memoirs of Christians who have suffered for Christ and spent time in conditions of extreme hardship such as solitary confinement, or hard labour among convicted criminals. (Consider respectively Richard Wurmbrand and Walter Ciszek, the latter a Catholic priest.) There is no way to tell how deeply down the spiral a ‘professional’ contemplative has gone, from his writing; as with prayers, it is possible that we are merely reading eloquence from a man who has not gone very deep. But when a man has suffered persecution for his faith yet professes it more deeply, that sets a seal of authenticity on his words. The world challenges the believer more deeply than introspection can, even when introspection is augmented by fasting or by other practices of ‘mortification of the flesh’ in solitude. Mortification can mutate into a holier-than-thou salvation by works. I prefer to read of the experience of sanctification from those who are overcomers in the world rather than retreaters from it. give me Wurmbrand and Ciszek over monastic mystics any day.

            Scripture describes a deepening relationship with Christ, but many mystics speak of “mystical union with God.” This distinction is complex, since relationship with other humans is with someone external to oneself, whereas God the Holy Spirit is within the believer. The issue is: how can the believer approach God? This is achieved through cycles of deepening awareness of one’s own sin (acting as a barrier), of divine forgiveness, and of self-offering. However, the mystical union spoken of by mystics does not seem to perceive God as a personality, and the meditative practices of Christian mystics certainly seem to match match those of pagan monists. The only way to be confident that someone is coming closer to God is to see more of the fruits in their life (Galatians 5:22-23), which is difficult in the case of professional contemplatives.

          • carl jacobs

            I could not have written that, Anton. I learned from that post.

            However, the mystical union spoken of by mystics does not seem to perceive God as a personality

            That is a very important insight.

          • Anton

            Thank you! Ciszek’s autobiography He Leadeth Me is well worth reading. He was tangled up in the Cold War and spent many years in the gulag:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Ciszek

          • Do you understand the difference between perception and experience? “Personality” is a cerebral human construct. The mystic goes beyond perception and refers to God as in His unity, as singular, who is all in all.

          • carl jacobs

            Not prejudice. Discernment.

          • You can only “discern” if you see all sides of a situation, using all your senses. Discernment suggests a certain darkness where patterns are unclear. In a Christian context, it also means being led by the Holy Spirit and being open to His guidance.

            From what Jack can glean, you held a preconceived view, you’ve looked around a bit, reinforced this view by reading one controversial visionary, and then welcomed Anton’s reinforcement of your opinion.

            Horror of horrors! The New Calvinist, Dr Tim Keller, is promoting Romanist mysticism. In his lecture entitled, What is meditation? (1998), it seems Keller mentioned “two streams that are filled with good, helpful material on meditation – the Catholic stream and the Quaker stream.” He refers to the “great stuff” that emanates from Romanist mystics, and mentions Ignatius Loyola, St Francis de Sales, St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila.

            Horrorof horrors! Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order who devoted his life to the destruction of the Reformation. The “storm-troopers” of the Catholic Church. The enemy of all “Bible-believing Christians”. Saint Francis de Sales, not too bad as his approach to the Reformation was gentle. Still, for all that, a Romanist. St. John of the Cross, another major figure of the Counter Reformation to be avoided. And Saint Teresa of Ávila, yet another prominent writer of the counter Reformation.

            These must be false teachings – look, they’re all Romanists.

            Mysticism = the Opposite of Sola Scriptura. The Bible is all propositional truth and cannot be a tool for Gospel contemplation or supplemented.

            Calvin, nor Luther, nor Jonathan Edwards, nor Charles Spurgeon would be in fellowship with people promoting Roman mysticism.

          • Anton

            Your statements that I am in error are merely unbacked assertions.

            I have explained what Christian mysticism is: the attempt to describe the experience of going round the spiral of having your sinfulness progressively exposed and so (for the believer) forgiven. Because a large part of us IS sin, this is to do with one’s very identity being changed; one’s sense of self. These things can be explained rationally – I just did – but how it is experienced is beyond words. I do not object to people attempting to do so. What concerns me is (a) how to tell the difference, from their writing, between genuine overcomers and shallower people who merely write well, and (b) the fact that God is not perceived by many mystics as personal. I reject your rationalisations about the latter point. It is why mystics of that sort should not be trusted.

          • “However, the mystical union spoken of by mystics does not seem to perceive God as a personality, and the meditative practices of Christian mystics seem to match those of pagan monists.”

            Thus speaketh the expert in all things ….. the man who confuses mysticism with introspection! What on earth is a “profession mystic”? And what makes you believe Father Walter Ciszek, Servant of God, was not a mystic? Have you read “He Leadeth Me”?

          • Anton

            I don’t recommend books I haven’t read. Of course I have read it. Fine book, fine man. I am in no doubt that you know exactly what I mean by a professional mystic and would like to divert the discussion down that route.

          • Not at all. It was a rhetorical question or exclamation, to be more precise. And Jack has said all he wishes to on this subject to Carl and you.
            What you outlined to Carl is not Christian mysticism as Jack understands it, although the process you described can, and very often does, accompany it.

          • carl jacobs

            You wouldn’t disagree with: “Thought cannot comprehend God”

            I would disagree with the assertion that thought can completely comprehend God. A man can comprehend God sufficient to his need by contemplating revelation. That’s why God gave revelation.

            And therein lies the major point. Contemplation must have content. It therefore of necessity involves something you know. You can’t get anywhere if you start with no knowledge.

          • “I would disagree with the assertion that thought can completely comprehend God. “
            Assertion? It’s scriptural. Contemplation is about experiencing God’s presence – not intellectually understanding His revelation. God is both transcendent and immanent. And the great Christian mystics all know the content of scripture.

            “Contemplation must have content.”
            Not mystical contemplation. It’s about letting go of what we think we know and simply being in the Presence of God.

            “How great is God–beyond our understanding!”
            (Job 26:36)

            “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”
            (Isaiah 40:28)

            “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”
            (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

            “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
            (Isaiah 55:9)

            “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
            How unsearchable his judgments, his paths beyond tracing out!”

            (Romans 11:33)

            “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”
            (Psalm 145:3)

          • carl jacobs

            And how in this “unknowing” experience do you validate it? How do you identify the source of the experience? You have emotion – undifferentiated and unconstrained by knowledge, devoid of content- and then you say “I have experienced God!” Says who? Emotions are deceivers and liars unless they are bound by knowledge.

          • “Emotions are deceivers and liars unless they are bound by knowledge. “
            Totally agree and potentially it is a very dangerous spiritual practice unless rooted in orthodox Christianity. Approached in the absence of this, it leaves the practitioner open to all sorts of influences.

          • Anton

            I’d welcome your views on the comment I’ve posted to Jack below that mentions Walter Ciszek.

          • Terry Mushroom

            ” By the end of the book I expect he will claim to be a Nigerian prince who could get a fortune out of the country…”

            Shouldn’t you read it first before guessing that is what it says?

          • carl jacobs

            You’re right, of course. It might say “Let go your conscience feelings and use the Force.” That would make all the difference.

            Seriously. I read the splash and then triage kicked in.

          • Anton

            Perhaps I should have been more specific. I was agreeing essentially with Carl’s comments about Mother Nature, and not really thinking about the phrase Mother Church when I typed that comment. Since you ask, the church is portrayed in the NT as both the Bride of Christ (female) and the Body of Christ (male). I don’t myself use the phrase “mother church” but your beef about that is with Carl, not me.

          • The Church is referred to as the Body of Christ, because Christ is its Head and Founder; it is called Mystical Body, because it is neither a purely physical nor a purely spiritual unity, but supernatural.

          • Anton

            I don’t really wish to engage on these topics, but you might be interested in my reply to Carl a little above in which I mention the wisdom principle and Francis Bacon.

          • Merchantman

            To use your accusation of Anton ‘as being fixated on a narrow understanding….’
            Please understand that the Body of Christ is not limited to the RCC and never has been. Do you agree with this in principle?

          • Of course.

          • carl jacobs

            Correct. But people who believe that generally don’t like to think of it in those terms. So they secularize pagan concepts.

            Frankly, “Mother Church” is the most disturbing since there is no mother image in ex nihilo creation.

          • Anton

            It’s not a phrase I ever use, but the gender comes from the biblical notion that the church is the bride of Christ. In the Old Testament the nation of Israel is referred to as “he” (because Jacob/Israel was male) and Jerusalem as “she”, interestingly.

          • Th teerm Sancta Mater Ecclesiae (Holy Mother Church) is used as she is considered to be a mother to its members because she is the Bride of Christ from whom all other churches have their origin. Another term used is the title Mater et Magistra” (Mother and Teacher). Both also refer to its matrimonial espousement to Jesus Christ.

          • carl jacobs

            The Church (collective) is the Bride of Christ. The temporal organization that is the RCC is neither the Church nor the Bride of Christ and it is certainly not my mother. In any sense.

          • Where do you think your Christianity came from?

          • carl jacobs

            Certainly it did not come from the RCC – to cut to the chase. I recognize no such provenance.

          • Merchantman

            Inspired Christians down the ages who kept to the word in Spirit and in Truth.

          • Passed to them and preserved by the Apostles and their successors.

          • chefofsinners

            But other than that, it’s a good bit of theology. As Jack says, the way society thinks defines the way it acts. Society has replaced the philosophical foundations of Christianity, but the change has been sufficiently subtle that most people have not noticed.

          • len

            ‘Mix’ is an abomination…

          • Yes, Len.

          • len

            Glad you agree.(collapses on floor in astonishment)

  • Dreadnaught

    I have been lead to believe that bashing the bishop, meant something completely different, something to do with Chess perhaps; however I could be completely wrong.

  • Father David

    Shouldn’t that be Latitudinarianism rather than “latitudinalism”?

  • The Snail

    Galatians 3:28New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

    28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

    What does this mean in practical terms?

    • chefofsinners

      The temporal matters because our eternal destiny is determined in this life.

  • Mike Stallard

    The Catholic Church is the home for people like him.
    It is not at all the same as it once used to be; in fact it is just like the rather high church in which I was brought up. It is terribly easy to slip into clever theological stuff. The fact of the matter is that the Catholic church is worldwide, it works worldwide and it provides an excellent pathway.
    The liturgy is pretty well fixed as are the various kinds of eucharistic ministers.
    I love being a Catholic layman.

    • bluedog

      Fine if you’re satisfied with a mass-market product, served up without variation. It’s unkind to say this, but doesn’t the Roman Church offer Christianity for Dummies? That’s the way it seems to this communicant. It possibly explains why so many Catholics inhabit this blog, looking for something they can’t find in the One, True Church.

      • Bluedog, may Jack enquire to which part of the via media you are drawn – Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical (bible believing) or Progressive?

        • bluedog

          Good question, and the nature of my faith is a private matter.

          • This is true and Jack did not mean to be intrusive. It’s just that Catholicism, far from being monolithic, attempts continually to harmonise different currents in the Christian faith into an integrated whole once they become divisive, rather than making a virtue of perpetual tension. It stays true to its past whilst also moving forward.

          • bluedog

            ‘…rather than making a virtue of perpetual tension.’ Well there you go. The competition of ideas is briskly kicked into the long grass in the interests of harmony. No surprise, the whole structure is inherently totalitarian.

          • There’s no virtue in perpetual difference and division. We’re called to unity in Christ. There’s plenty of “competition of ideas” too and many unresolved issues. Is God a totalitarian or a liberal-democrat?

          • chefofsinners

            We are not called to unity in Christ. We are called to maintain the unity which Christ has given us. This is a very different concept, which involves uniting around sound doctrine rather than viewing unity as an end in itself.

          • “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

            “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
            (1 Corinthians:10)

            “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
            (John 17:23)

            “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function … “
            (Romans 12:4)

          • chefofsinners

            To understand these texts properly, read the first three chapters of Ephesians, then think on the first seven verses of chapter 4. Unity is not for the sake of unity. It is unity with Christ, with and around the truth.

          • Dominic Stockford

            John 17 ‘one in me’.

          • Jack doesn’t disagree with your last two sentences. Why would he?

          • chefofsinners

            In that case, enjoy the unfamiliar feeling of being right. It won’t last, of course.

          • You must stop talking to yourself in the mirror.

          • Cressida de Nova

            LOL

          • Yes, Jack enjoyed that one too. Old Blowers must be around.

          • bluedog

            Ask Him. One cannot speak for the Almighty.

          • God is sovereign, no one governs Him or makes rules for Him, but He governs all and makes the rules for all. The Church endeavours to understand His revelation.

          • len

            Unity in Christ fine.But don`t expect me to join you in your deceptions.

          • What a silly comment.

          • len

            You are locked into deception,bit sad that you think its the truth?.

          • len

            No that you 😉

          • bluedog

            ‘…and Jack did not mean to be intrusive.’

            Actually he did. The aim of trying to trap me into categorisation was so you could launch the appropriate proselytising pitch. So sad.

          • No, Jack was simply being curious.

          • IanCad

            Careful there bd. Given that we Protestants claim to cleave to the Word, an answer to Jack should be in order.

            “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
            1 Peter 3:15

        • William Lewis

          The purpose of via media is to draw a common thread amongst different strands. The hope is that followers of Christ can live out their faith together.

      • len

        I was brought up in a High Anglican Church (Probably more Catholic than the Catholics)
        I was baptised as an infant, confirmed, and attended Church regularly.
        I can tell you with all sincerity that all this didn`t mean a thing to me, nothing at all.I only did this as ‘a family thing’
        I know without a shadow of doubt[now] that’ i wasn’t saved’ in any sense of the word at all.I considered myself ‘a good person’ though.

        It was only years later that I had a revelation about the true identity of Christ and became truly saved.Church did nothing for me other than to give me the illusion that I was’ a Christian’.
        For those who say the the RCC has ‘cornered the market on Christianity’ is just arrogant nonsense.Jesus is the only One who can redeem fallen humanity through his finished work on the Cross.
        Unless the church acts as a signpost pointing to Christ it is not fulfilling its function , worst of all is if the church acts only as a distraction pointing towards itself.

        • bluedog

          Len, you should look around, particularly if you live near a large city, and I think you live in the north-west, correct me if I’m wrong. A big city like Liverpool or Manchester would potentially have an interesting spread of worshipping formats. One of the strengths of the CoE and the Anglican communion in general is that you can find the full spectrum, from Jesus-themed community sing-alongs to crypto-high mass, the latter of which clearly doesn’t appeal to you. In the view of this communicant, a good Anglican service based on say, the 1928 prayer book, is light years ahead of the current offering from the Roman Church. Go to a Catholic church as an experiment and you will get the point. They’re always pleased to see you!

          • len

            Might give it a try…

          • Anton

            Love the last two sentences. There’s a great tale in (I think) David Murrow’s book Why men hate going to church about a pastor who agreed to see a man who, in the man’s own words, was vaguely interested in God (or some phrase thing like that). The pastor replied that the man was wasting his, the pastor’s, time; time which could be spent making converts or visiting the sick. “Come back when you are seriously interested in God!” Now, behind that interview, which was a bit longer than I have stated, was the pastor’s wisdom about the man’s personality type, but I’ll tell you it would have impressed me in my atheist days.

          • len

            I believe there is a time, a window, when everyone gets the opportunity to become saved.But it is a heart issue as you say.

            ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’.(Jeremiah 29:13)

      • 1642+5thMonarchy

        I have to say I used to wonder which we I would go if the CoE fell into heresy. Would I go non-conformist (which?), or cross the Tiber. I was open minded, have known plenty of nice RC’s. Following this blog for several years and more recently making a few comments on it has closed the Tiber option for me. It seems that the core of the RCC has not given up its supremacist ambitions and prefers to relentlessly attack other Christian chapters, often in a vile and abusive manner. Thanks for clearing it up chaps.

        • Anton

          I understand that, at the end of preparation to be received into the Roman Catholic church, you have to say you agree with all of its doctrines (unless you are Tony Blair?) That would surely have ended the matter for you? Look at Rome’s Mary.

          As you know, I went nonconformist. But there’s Eastern Orthodoxy, too, if it interests you.

          • Terry Mushroom

            “Look at Rome’s Mary”

            What do you see when you look at the Mother of God?

          • Anton

            Like everybody in the New Testament – including after his divinity had been recognised – I prefer to call her the mother of Jesus.

            Allow me to adopt the apophatic way and tell you what I don’t see. I don’t see somebody who always has delivered the Christian people from their greatest calamities and from the snares and assaults of all their enemies, ever rescuing them from ruin… The foundation of all Our confidence… For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary (Ubi Primum, 1849).
            If ‘Mary’ were replaced by ‘Jesus’ in the later parts of this extract then this would be solid Christian doctrine, a fact which shows it up to be idolatry.

          • William Lewis

            Well put, Anton.

          • Terry Mushroom

            “This is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary.”

            But if she bore the Christ, then surely we obtained everything through her? Without her, we would not have had the incarnation.

          • Anton

            That is obviously not what Ubi Primum means by the words. And do you consider that Mary has “always has delivered the Christian people from their greatest calamities and from the snares and assaults of all their enemies, ever rescuing them from ruin” and is “the foundation of all our confidence”? If so, how?

          • Terry Mushroom

            So you say.

          • Anton

            Rome is a master of plausible deniability. But you have ducked my question: HOW has Mary, in the words of an encyclical, “always delivered the Christian people from their greatest calamities and from the snares and assaults of all their enemies, ever rescuing them from ruin”? And how is she “the foundation of all our confidence”?

          • Terry Mushroom

            Mary is the foundation of all our confidence because of what we say in the Creed.

          • Anton

            There can be only one foundation of all our confidence and Christ is the foundation of all mine.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Jesus is, of course as the hymn says, the Church’s one foundation. However, you cannot think of a child without thinking of his mother. The Word became flesh because Mary freely cooperated with God’s grace.

            She is certainly not God and should not receive the honour due to God alone.

          • Anton

            If Christ is the foundation of all your confidence then nobody else can be. Do you agree? Please include a clear yes or no in any reply.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I am not on trial.

          • Anton

            Indeed you are not, but you *are* in a public forum.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Yes you are Terry. Hope your armour is in tact. The attacks can be very nasty. Any explanation and proof you provide will never be accepted if it topples the Protestant claim that Catholics are idolators …worshippers of statues and Mary. Thank you for supporting your faith.

            ‘ O faith of out fathers living still
            in spite of dungeon fire and sword ‘

          • Anton

            Faith of our fathers, we will strive
            To win all nations unto thee…

            The problem in a nutshell. Christians should strive to win people out of nations, for the collective of such people is what the true church is. Churches that think it’s smart to convert a ruler and then get him to impose Christianity will never generate mass piety. Politicised Christianity is no better than Islam. It is premature eschatology; for political Christianity we are to wait patiently until Christ comes back.

            …And preach thee, too, as love knows how
            By kindly words and virtuous life.

            O, would that it were so! Tell it to the Renaissance Popes.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Mariolatry is Idolatry

          • Define idolatry.

          • carl jacobs

            Really? That is such a weasel lawyer response.

            Idolatry: Worshipping that which isn’t God.

            Like Eucharistic adoration. And praying to saints. And consigning to Mary that which belongs only to God. And putting the body parts of a corpse into little gold boxes to be used as talismen for divine intervention.

          • Then, as you know, the charge doesn’t stand. Catholics worship God alone.

          • Anton

            Would that Catholic doctrine and practice matched in this matter.

          • They do.

          • Anton

            We have all seen pictures of southern European Catholics kissing statues of Mary Any pagan entering a Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady and seeing those statues would grasp who the main deity was. Or hearing prayers asking her for things reserved to Christ alone. You say you pray *though* her, but when you pray through Christ you speak words to God and end “through Christ our Lord”. Why then do you not speak as if you are addressing God when praying “through” Mary and end “through Mary our Lady”?

          • That’s not doctrinal though is it? And pagans are not the judge of Catholic worship. There is no prayer that Jack is aware of that ends: “through Mary our Lady.” We ask Mary to pass our prayers and concerns onto her son, Jesus.

            What’s idolatrous about this the most common Catholic prayer to Our Lady:

            Hail Mary, full of grace.
            Our Lord is with thee.
            Blessed art thou among women,
            and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
            Jesus.
            Holy Mary, Mother of God,
            pray for us sinners,
            now and at the hour of our death.
            Amen.

          • Anton

            Carefully chosen, Jack! I’ll stick with calling her what scripture calls her, the Mother of Jesus, and I’ll stick with praying in the only way described in the New Testament even after Christian martyrs were in heaven: through the one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. Of course I’m delighted to describe her as blessed, something that she herself predicted people of all generations would.

          • carl jacobs

            O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on thee, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary.

            This is idolatry, Jack. There is no other word for it.

          • You’re opposed to the very idea of mediatorial intercession in prayer and of grace and salvation. Catholics do believe these things, based on our understanding of scripture, and we believe Jesus listens to Mary and that God especially uses her, since she is the mother of His Son.

            This prayer has to be understood within the context of Catholic theology and piety. Prayers to Mary are grounded in the primacy of God and Jesus. You want to see what you do see, i.e. Mary supposedly being put in God’s place.

            When prayers state that Mary “saves” or “redeems” us it is language used in the same sense as in the Bible where Paul says he saved someone, or where the wife can “save” the husband. But then, you believe God decrees salvation for His glory, setting aside the elect, according to His sovereignty, so intermediators don’t exist.

          • carl jacobs

            This prayer has to be understood within the context of Catholic theology and piety.

            No, it doesn’t. There is no context that will fix that prayer. If Rome thinks there is a context that will fix that prayer, then Rome has a serious theological problem. I will read the words and follows their meanings to the natural conclusion. No amount of intercessionary contextual hand-waiving can change what that prayer self-evidently says. If I replaced the name “Mary” with “Baal” you would call that prayer idolatry, and you wouldn’t countenance appeals to “context” as a reason for changing your judgment.

            There is not a word of intercession in that prayer. That prayer is a prayer to Mary attributing to Mary attributes that belong only to God, and imploring Mary to do things that only God can do. It is idolatry.

            You want to see what you do see

            No, I see it because it is plain to see. That is what the prayer says. Words have meaning. Meanings can be understood. And there is nothing difficult about understanding that prayer.

          • From your perspective it’s idolatry, for the reasons Jack gave. From a Catholic’s perspective, who understands Mary intercedes, it is not. The whole prayer is grounded in the primacy of God and Jesus. We believe He listens to her and so does His Father. There’s nothing in the prayer that ascribes independent action to Mary or that she is equal to God.

          • Cressida de Nova

            The Catholic Church is comprised of many cultures. Latins are demonstrative and warm…an anthema to your frigid Puritanism. Kissing objects and each other are a cultural characteristic. You have been told countless times by Catholics that we are not permitted to and do not worship statues or Mary.You insist on maintaining your false claims to perpetuate this argument in spite of all the explanations to the contrary. This is bigotry . You and the other Protestants who support you in this claim are bigots.

          • You said that to Jack, Cressie!

          • Cressida de Nova

            OOPS !!! Sorry Jack.!

            That was meant for Anton and all those who insist Catholics are idolators.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Sorry Jack. This was meant for Anton !

          • Simon Platt

            “With my body I thee worship”

          • Paul Greenwood

            tautology above

          • len

            Jesus pre- existed Mary. How can’ Mary’ be the mother of God?.

          • Terry Mushroom

            How do you have the incarnation?

          • William Lewis

            How can Jesus be fully human and fully God?

          • Terry Mushroom

            I suggest you read up the Council of Ephesus and the Nestorians. You ask an important question. There is not space here nor am I theologian enough to discuss it.

          • William Lewis

            It cannot be explained because a being cannot create itself and yet the creator and the created exist in the same person! Confusing no? What one can say is that Mary was the mother of a man. What one cannot say is that Mary was the mother of God. Men require mothers, God requires nothing. He is that he is.

          • Terry Mushroom

            As I understand you, this means that you are a Nestorian.

          • William Lewis

            I do not claim that God and man are separate persons in Christ. I ask; how can God have a mother?

          • Terry Mushroom

            The Council of Ephesus (431 AD) decree of Theotokos, Mary the Mother of God, does not mean that Mary is the Mother of God from all eternity. Rather, describing Mary as the Mother of God refers to the birth of Jesus, the incarnation. If Jesus is God, how is Mary who gave birth to Him not His mother?

          • CliveM

            I think what you also highlight is the difficulty of using language to define and explain such a concept. We don’t have the word to describe the woman who gave birth to the a God being who pre-exists her. Clearly the term mother is inadequate. The meaning of this after all is typically used to describe the parent who supplied the egg, 50% of the genetic material and womb for the child (I am aware that adoptive parents are also given terms such as mother, but I don’t think this changes my main point).

            There can be none of Mary’s genetics in the physical make up of Jesus.

            Perhaps we should consider creating a new word!

          • “There can be none of Mary’s genetics in the physical make up of Jesus.”

            Eh? She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit.

          • CliveM

            Yes? Not sure what you’re saying.

          • Jesus took His human form, His “flesh”, from His human biological mother. She is His biological parent. His Father Is God.

          • That’s the root of the Nestorain heresy – discussed a few days ago. Jesus was truly both God and man – two natures in one person.

          • len

            Please answer the question .Mary can only be the mother of Jesus.
            edit.

            This is when you ask me is Jesus God?.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father; through Him all things were made.

            For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.

          • len

            I became born again , born of the Spirit of God.

            What does that make my mother?.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Your mother!

          • len

            Precisely.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Disappointed !

            (that you joined a heretical cult.)

          • len

            No, I left that.Please concentrate Cressida.

          • Pubcrawler

            “someday there might be a British Orthodox Church”

            There is already, of a sort:

            https://britishorthodox.org/aboutus/

          • Terry Mushroom

            The Orthodox have a great devotion to Mary. and honour her as Theotokos. Their Marian icons can be very beautiful.

          • Anton

            I know. But Rome’s view of her goes much farther.

        • bluedog

          Glad to be of help! Of course one always considers various options and I’m no stranger to the RC, with a deliciously lapsed Catholic wife, a Catholic sister-in-law and a first cousin who’s a Jesuit priest. Poor chap, he fell foul of the Farm Street gang while up at Oxford, but we have always included him in Anglican family services, which possibly startles some congregants. In fact one of my favourite dinner guests is a Spaniard from Opus Dei with whom one can have wonderful conversations. I’m lucky, as having distant Spanish ancestry he treats me as an honorary Spaniard. But one could never join the RC, it’s the Christian equivalent of the EU. Distant, unaccountable, inflexible and frankly wrong on a number of critical points, not the least of which is the celibacy of the priesthood. Anglicanism has some remarkable strengths and one sees nothing wrong with debate which sorts the wheat from the chaff. There is no doubt that the quality of the CoE clergy is light years ahead of most of the RC, and this must count for something too.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Agreed. People have different personalities, different buttons to push to get them to open to the message of Christ. If one person responses to a charismatic pentecostal church form of service, another likes the safety blanket of the RC’s claimed ‘authority’, another the deep glory of the Orthodox, another traditional Prayer Book Anglicanism, or any variant in between, then it all to God’s glory and serves His work in the world. Our many mansions are part of His purpose and dispensation, if only His claimed followers would respect that and understand that we should not be fighting but working together as allies. Alas, some on here, largely but not exclusively focused in the RCC, don’t seem to understand that and deem only themselves to be ‘pure’. None of us are ‘pure’, we all see through a glass darkly.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Both Jack and Albert contribute enormously to this blog, both very informed in a theology and Catholicism.
        I am sure there are intelligent Protestants (not necessarily communicants on this blog) who find this interesting and have learnt a lot from them. They are also witty This blog would be excruciatingly dreary without them plus Avi,Clive and the curly locks sinner who wears his Granny’s bloomers on his head.
        I come here to support Jack in his lone mission in the defence of our faith….rarely a pleasant experience for me but someone has to do it. From recollection I seem to remember you were not always critical of all Catholics:)

        • len

          Very noble of you Cressida.
          As the RCC is shot through and through with error, do not be surprised if the Cyber Swiss Guard is not challenged on its support of false doctrines.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Challenging is absolutely fine. However, to suggest that people like HJ, Albert and Cressida often do so in a “vile and abusive manner” – as 1642+5thMonarchy suggests – is another.

          • len

            Agreed ‘,disagreement’ doesn`t have to become open warfare.I cannot speak for others but i do try and moderate my own comments(not always successfully)

          • C-
            Must try harder. Don’t try – do.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            Well if you had been compared to a neo-nazi, called ignorant, uneducated, a supreme narcissist, a lout, thug etc, all the usual elitist dismissals of Brexiteers, you might feel differently. I am however quite prepared to retaliate in kind when subjected to such abuse, but only in reaction.

          • So much for turning the other cheek, then. Threatening a person with a bullwhip and calling them a “deranged bitch” is unworthy. Btw, neither Cressida nor Jack has ever referred to you being a Brexiteer.

          • 1642+5thMonarchy

            As you well know the bullwhip was a joke. I have been subject to a stream of abuse and enough is enough. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Any more abuse or bullying will meet with a vigorous response.

            BTW I never noticed you criticising her behaviour, of which I know I am far from the only recipient.

        • bluedog

          Please see below in answer to 1642.

  • Arden Forester

    The reason why traditional Catholics within the Church of England cannot receive “this ministry” is that it does not have universal agreement within the whole Church. It has no validity in catholic teaching. Therefore a woman at an altar may just be a Christian woman saying prayers. This is not to denigrate but to emphasise that an element of uncertainty exists.

    Female ordination furthered schism rather than promoted unity. I have no doubt most female clerics are good pastors and committed Christians. However, the Tradition of the Faith tells us that isolated innovation is not the same as universal acceptance.

    • 1642+5thMonarchy

      That’s the most sensible comment on this issue I’ve seen on here.

    • chefofsinners

      But Gavin is trying to Segway the church from isolated innovation to universal acceptance. It is a deeply cynical act, preying upon those who lovingly, but foolishly, accepted the innovation.

      • Anton

        Gavin? Ashenden? Where?

        • chefofsinners

          I beg his pardon. Martyn. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I have no doubt most female clerics are good pastors and committed Christians.

      That is an unprovable assertion, female or not.

      • Arden Forester

        Well, yes, it is an unprovable assertion as I’ve met very few. My comment was based on the belief that, hopefully, nobody would seek such a position without attempting to be good at pastoral work. The Church of England has a history of ineffectual clerics as much as excellent ones. But that goes for any position in life.

  • The Explorer

    Martyn Percy is Dean of Christ Church. That might mean different things to different people.

    Normally, I think of a dean as the chap in charge of a cathedral. A church is either a building, or the collective body of believers. Ask someone what they understand a ‘student’ to be and the typical answer (if it’s printable) will be someone who hasn’t yet graduated.

    In the arcane language of Christ Church, however, church = college. Student means senior lecturer. The Dean is in charge of the College: what elsewhere might be termed the ‘Master’. You could, presumably, be Dean of Christ Church without being in Holy Orders.

    It’s a confusing world: like when people see the word ‘sang’ in French, and assume it’s something to do with music.

    • Anton

      Or ‘gift’ in German.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Aedes Christi or Christ Church is the Cathedral of Diocese of Oxford known as “The House”

    • Tokyo Nambu

      “Normally, I think of a dean as the chap in charge of a cathedral.”

      And indeed, Martyn Percy is the chap in charge of a cathedral. That’s why he is a master of the quick change from the pulpit to high table.

      “You could, presumably, be Dean of Christ Church without being in Holy Orders.”

      No, you can’t. Because the Dean of Christ Church is both the academic head of the college _and_ the Dean of the cathedral.

      • The Explorer

        Thank you. That clarifies. So by becoming Dean of the Cathedral you automatically become head of the College? Dean of Christ Church, Master of Balliol, Provost of Oriel, Warden of Merton, President of Corpus Christi… I have to say I find it all very confusing.

        • Anton

          It’s no better at Cambridge!

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s always better at Cambridge!

        • Tokyo Nambu

          You are appointed to a single post, which is both responsibilities, and for both of which you need to be qualified.

  • I’m from Barcelona
    • William Lewis

      I don’t usually follow Lent but I’m strangely drawn to this.

  • Hi

    My sister Rachel recently went to an Anglican baptism (as her in laws are observant evangelical Anglicans ) . I asked how it went :

    “Oh yes! Like my sister-in-law who is lovely, so are the Evangelical Anglicans , but you only got a digestive and awful coffee or tea for the after service kiddush ( the baptism party was much better), but no whiskey , wine , beer or food buffet that you get in Jewish after Shabbat services . They’re fundamentalist Christians, I mean this in a respectful way as I’m orthodox and therefore a fundamentalist Jew , so theology aside , I enjoyed it.

    Gosh gay marriages and women vicars weren’t mentioned ONCE,you could text a donation and go on some alpha course. Thought I was Muslim for wearing a bandanna . Husband told to remove his Kippah and Fedora.

    The church was full, maybe 200 people, but ridiculously emotive : happy clapping, tambourine, flag waving with banal Jesus songs, wherein I thought this is a disco , especially as the “worship leader” seemed to be getting orgasms , all based on emotion and not the bible , robes or psalms. Uncle Henry , God be with him, is turning in his grave, maybe as they didn’t even use the book of common prayer I’d bought in an ecumenical interfaith gesture . I don’t get this thing about Anglicans being liberal though . The Curate non stipends , went on for a hour’s lecture.

    It was about John’s gospel chapter five, Jews or “the Jews” as we were referred to were of course the villains of the narrative as Jesus healed some bloke on Shabbat and “the Jews” didn’t like that, so we are the Simon Cowell of the Gospels . Boy Christians don’t understand Judaism as he was saying Jews invented all those rules and how awful we are for not saving lives on Shabbat or such rubbish and Jesus was a” radical lawbreaker” . Huh? They don’t read the Hebrew bible or old testament? Or get that Judaism says to save a life is to save the world (even on Shabbat?!) .

    But disablement and being of ill health is a result , so we were told , of a person’s sin (bullshit) . But he told us Jesus can heal us, so we had to get into groups to prayer for each other (swift excuses meant I got out of this: poor husband looked embarrassed and tried to make exit towards the loo).

    The baptism was also ultra evangelical in that they say something like fighting evil , the devil and world under the banner of the cross , in addition the parents and godfathers had to renounce the devil, sin, rebellion against God, evil, deceit and corruption, more sin and turn to Jesus as saviour, Lord and the way the truth and life.I can’t see how people can say the Anglicans are liberal tho, as this seemed pretty fundamentalist or fundamental Christianity.

    Would I go back? No because I’m Jewish , but I did learn about this Xian stuff and I don’t get why the media says the c of e is doomed or liberal. ”

    • Paul Greenwood

      I agree with much of what you opine, though I do recollect that John V is a reference to the man picking up his bed and walking on the Sabbath. I also recollect that the men who wrote the Gospel were Jews themselves and that in Matthew 12 Jesus explained why the Sabbath did not prevent lives being saved with the example given of a sheep in a pit.

      “there was a feast of the Jews” rather than a “feast of the Lord” to make a point. Jesus led a group of dissidents within the world of the Pharisees

    • IanCad

      Not all Christians are “Holy Rollers” Hannah. Neither do all distort the Sabbath of Creation and supplant it with another day.

      • Anton

        A weekly day of rest for the entire family is clearly a good thing; also the reason for the church to shift its rest day from the day the Jews have it was a bad reason. But you can hardly claim with confidence that either the Jews or the Christians have their day of rest on an exact multiple of seven days from the day God created the universe. And, for us, the New Testament is explicit that any observance of a church calendar, even at weekly level, is a private and voluntary matter. Let Hannah be aware that the church is a voluntary grouping called out of the local culture and its customs. Therefore I do not sin if I choose to do some of what I do for a living on either a Saturday or a Sunday. No man may say otherwise without adding to scripture.

        • IanCad

          Anton, The continuity of the calendar need go back no further than in the days of Christ. He most certainly had the day right. There is nothing in the New Testament to make void the Law if God. If you wish to observe a day that has its roots in the obscenity of sun worship; a practice defined as the greatest abomination of all (Ezeklel 8:15-17) then that is your business.
          As for me and my house, we will choose to follow the Lord in this matter.

          • IrenaSerena1984

            “Roots in the obscenity of sun worship”.

            Nothing to do with Jesus’ resurrection “on the first day of the week” or that the Apostles broke bread on that day?

          • IanCad

            Irena,
            More to the point; Christ rested in the tomb throughout The Sabbath, in accordance with The Law. Sunday, being the day of His resurrection does not give sanction for the changing of times and laws.
            Acts 20:7 is a favourite proof text much bandied about by false shepherds who, on the one hand, claim fidelity to scripture, while on the other distorting the clear meaning of this verse.
            Paul was leaving for Troas in the early morning and was preaching at an evening meeting prior to his departure. Remember, the evening defined the commencement of the next day. All preachers know this and for them to continue in such subterfuge reeks of blasphemy.

          • IrenaSerena1984

            What would these ‘false shepherds’ gain from distortorting the “clear” meaning?

            The times and laws of the Old Covenant are indeed renewed and transfigured in the Messiah. By all means, rest on the Sabbath to mark the end of creation and the end of the Old Covenant. But we meet to celebrate and usher in the new creation in the New Covenant on the first day of week, according to the earliest tradition of the Church.

          • IanCad

            Irena, I’m afraid the earliest “tradition” of the Church won’t wash.

            Socrates Scholasticus, writing about the 4th century church –

            “For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition.”
            Church History. Book 5, Chapter 22.

          • IrenaSerena1984

            Are you making the point that earliest tradition is contradictory? On this matter, I don’t agree that there is substantial contradiction. The consensus is overwhelming and can be multiplied far beyond the following list:

            “But every Lord’s day . . . gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned” (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).

            “We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead” (Letter of Barnabas 15:6–8 [A.D. 74]).

            “But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead” (Justin, First Apology 67 [A.D. 155]).

            “The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord’s day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord’s day as being the memorial of the new creation” (Athanasius, On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345]).

          • IanCad

            Irena,
            You are quoting from Books of Apocrypha not recognized by Protestants who heed only the sixty six canons contained in their bibles. (Lutherans excepted)

            Until the 1998 Apostolic Letter, Dies Domini, RC’s were completely upfront with their claim that the Papacy had the power to change the Sabbath, indeed, it was held as a sign of their power to change times and laws. The change of policy, in the form of attempting to give biblical justification for the change, was an effort to give legs to the ecumenical movement within the RC church.

            Here are a couple of quotes by James Cardinal Gibbons on the subject:

            “But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”

            “Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day -Saturday – for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes . Did Christ change the day’? I answer no!”

          • IrenaSerena1984

            I never claimed to quote Scripture within that list. I quoted accepted authorities in the early church of a far higher pedigree than Socrates Scholasticus. I’m also quoting them in the sense that they aim to be understood, as opposed to quoting selectively to make a point that the author manifestly did not intend to make. This is intellectually dishonest.

            Your use of the Cardinal’s word and the claim you build on it is utter nonsense. That is not how one uses the theolegoumena of individual theologians.

          • IanCad

            I’m not building on the Cardinal’s word; merely quoting him. Either he is right or the other authorities you cite are. I should add that I hold Scripture in higher regard than theologians.

          • IrenaSerena1984

            “Either he is right or the other authorities you cite are”

            Indeed. I too hold Scripture in higher regard than theologians. Your view, however, is a theological interpretation of Scripture, which is an inevitable part of its transmission. Either your interpretation is correct, or the overwhelming catholic consensus is correct.

          • IanCad

            I’m content with that.

          • IrenaSerena1984

            As importantly, the quote you provide says nothing against Sunday worship. You quote partially and leave out the actual point that the author makes: namely that sabbath or Sunday worship is a matter of freedom, contrary to the sectarian absolutism of Sabbatarian groups.

            Throw in the weight of what most other early church writers thought, and it’s little wonder that Christians universally settled on Sunday.

    • Martin

      My wife always seems to need the loo when we come to one of those awful (and I don’t mean awe full) Stuart Townend songs come up.