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Church of England

Same-sex marriage: what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?

This is a guest post by the Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden, sometime Chaplain to the Queen.

___________________________

‘Archbishop Cranmer’ has written a balanced and generous analysis of the House of Bishops’ report on marriage and same-sex relationships.

If anyone were to be deemed genealogically competent to look both ways at once in order to hold the balance between views judged to be not contradictory but complementary, it would be a ‘Cranmer’.

He is nothing if not fair and even-handed.

One obvious question that needs to be addressed, is whether or not the Bishops’ report is a situation in which being ‘even-handed’ acts sufficiently forensically as a tool of diagnosis?

To put matters at their simplest; both warring parties claim to, if not have seen the face of God, then at least to have been privy to His mind. Is it a matter of holding the two at equal arms’ length?

The progressives say they have glimpsed God’s Justice, and want to evoke it. ‘Is it just,’ they ask, ‘that someone consigned to a particular biologically or genetically determined same-sex attraction, should suffer enforced celibacy, and be deprived of the ecstasy of sexual intimacies to enhance the affections of their heart?’

And in the context of a highly sexualised society where sexual self-expression has become the bedrock currency of existential authenticity, this plays well with the crowds.

The traditionalists evoke Purity. ‘Is it right,’ they ask, ‘to sacrifice the dominant theme of both Old and New Testaments for an issue of soi-disant ‘natural justice’ relating to amorous exchange and sexual attraction, neither of which figure greatly in the priorities of revelation?’

Should purity trump justice?

It should. The quest for justice found in the Scriptures is not the sanctioning of a human utopia, nor a commitment to egalitarianism. It is more a commitment to end injustice inflicted corruptly by the powerful against the weak. Ensuring equal access to romantically excited sexual intimacy figures nowhere in the mind of God disclosed in either the Law, the Prophets or the Gospels. It is, however, the fixation of a sexually febrile secular culture.

Invoking justice does nothing to place it at the centre of a kingdom theology. Purity, on the other hand, is constantly present, in the Law, the Prophets and intensely and increasingly internalised in the Gospels.

Much is made by progressive voices of the fact that Jesus says nothing obvious about homosexual liaisons. Old Testament scholars explain (without apparently being heard) that this was because the matter was settled permanently as non-negotiable in the purity ethics of Judaism.

Jesus does, however, offer a glance into non-heterosexual identity and sexual self-expression.

For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it’ (Mt 19.12).

As He says, not everyone is able to accept this. He seems to be saying, as the best modern science does, that there is a range of non-heterosexual orientation. At one end, biologically determined – at another, variations energised and contoured by encounters with others, and finally, not to be found in science, renunciation for the Kingdom.

The progressive position has been changing over the last few years. In fact, activists have created some confusion in the public mind by firstly claiming en-bloc justification that all homosexual experience was imposed on gay people by genes and biology (“from birth”). This, understandably, gained a great deal of pity from the 98.something % of heterosexuals; a tribute to their compassion if not to their grasp of the complexities of genetics and biology.

This was undermined in the development of progressive politics and culture by the subsequent claim that same-sex attraction was also a matter of experiment, freedom, choice and rights (“made eunuchs by men”).

The Church, as it always has done, does not stand in judgment over other peoples’ proclivities and choices, but instead suggests that outside the Kingdom of Heaven we tend to damage ourselves, and inside, we tend to find salve – salve for our minds, bodies and (since the two are connected) souls.

And that touches on the third category Jesus referred to: “eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.” But this, involving renunciation, is particularly hard. Giving up sexual self-expression in order to create some space for something less tactile and tangible is highly counter-cultural today. The suggestion that a Christian might be required to be celibate outside marriage is responded to as if it is a provocative injustice. It is not surprising that a culture tipsy with the priorities of pleasure and self-authentication prefers different criteria to endorse its romantic and existential longings than the Gospels, which is why it appeals to ‘justice’.

The Church has always managed to hold together its dual role of being a hospital for the wounded and a school for would-be saints, so why should it not, as the Bishops’ report does, hold the traditional doctrine but pray for and bless diversity as they claim they have?

For three reasons: purity, prayer and politics.

Purity

To some extent Christianity is a mystery religion as much as it is a code of ethics. Despite the versatility of the interpretation of the Song of Songs, the Bible is concerned greatly with procreation and hardly at all with pleasure or personal fulfilment.

Thumb the pages as you will, there is no Karma Sutra within it to deepen the pools of our capacity for human sensuality. Instead, it is a manual for struggling with the threat that our appetites present. Pride, power and sex are especially potent enemies for the soul. But our culture has been travelling away from the New Testament towards a different destination; from Jerusalem towards Athens.

Fulfilment with one’s other half is Plato, not Jesus. It was from Plato that we learnt the distraction that if we are to become whole we need to find our other half in some amorous, erotic, sensual and romantic coupling. In his dialogue the Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes tell a story to help interpret the pain of human yearning. He tells of a humanity that was originally endowed with four arms, four legs, and completely round. The gods were terrified of the power of humans and sliced them in half (explaining the naval) to weaken them. And from that point on, humans have been searching for their lost ‘other half’.

Jesus directs us in a very different direction, telling us not that we have ‘another half’ we need to find to be happy, but that we have another home – the New Jerusalem and the bliss of the presence of God.

So, two kinds of bliss then: one sexual, amorous and complementary, gained by romance and sex – Plato  – and one spiritual, compassionate and salvific, gained by renunciation – Jesus.

From Plato comes the justification for coupling; from Jesus comes the invitation to find salvation by renouncing. So where does sex come in for Christians? As the means, steeped in delight, of sharing in the creativity of God, to allow the embodiment of souls intended for the bliss of heaven; a means to a miraculous end, not an end in itself.

The debate about the use and abuse of sex is not about the differing complementary ways of human self-fulfilment; it reflects two very different narrative and diagnoses of the human condition: one from Plato, one from Jerusalem. One from the thinkers, one from the prophets.

There is a theology of celebrating romantic love in the Christian tradition which is at its richest in Dante and Charles Williams (one of the Oxford Inklings). But chastity remains a strong theological component, with sexual expression held as contingent on heterosexual marriage as the whole of the Judaeo-Christian tradition without exception, up until this present day, insists. And within this romantic experience there is a version of the beatific vision. We see the beloved momentarily, as if it were a vision granted to us by God, through the deeply loving eyes of God himself. And having seen who they are in the eyes of God, offer a quality of love that allows them to inhabit more fully this loving and being loved.

Prayer

This debate has stimulated several images in the imagination. One is a gathering outside the gates of Troy when the famous horse was left there by the Greeks. The consensus is that the danger is over and it should be embraced and welcome into the city. A voice is raised against the project of bringing it through the gates. “What if it is a trap that leads to a different outcome than the one you envisage?”

And so Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali suggested that the Trojan Horse in the Bishops’ report was the promise of liturgical prayers to sanctify the sexual dimension of gay relationships. He warned this ignored the vital principle of ‘lex orandi, lex credendi’.

The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays.

The original Cranmer is one of the greatest exemplars of that. The power of his prayers were the wings that carried what the Church thought she believed.

Politics

It should not be news that the Bishops of the Church of England believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. The relief is a bit premature. They do not say ‘exclusively’ and without the possibility of change. Indeed, bishops like the Bishop of Manchester give the game away when they admit they accepted the status quo not for theological reasons, but because they couldn’t get the votes in General Synod to change the definition. “We’re not at the point where we can actually change the law,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme (28:25). “And we’re not at the point where we can change the law for one very clear reason: there’s no point in trying to change the law if we don’t think we can achieve it.”

No doubt any new prayers will not go quite as far as Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s, Glasgow, has argued: “..for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman” (and so presumably be pragmatically infertile). But the prayers will both reflect and deepen a climate that urges change, which is what they are intended for.

Perhaps those who welcome the apparent statement of the obvious about marriage from the Bishops did not follow the strategy to change the definition of marriage in the Episcopal Church in America. It began with not changing the definition when the support for change was insufficient, but sanctioning prayers for the blessing of gay ‘unions’ instead. That was followed by… yes, the changing of the definition of marriage.

We know from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s advisor, Canon David Porter, from his reassurances to the pressure group Changing Attitude, that Lambeth Palace envisaged that the progressive and traditional views were irreconcilable and might produce a lamentable split in the Church of England. We know from leading spokesmen like the Bishop of Manchester that those bishops who believe in progressive accommodation will continue to press for a change in Canon Law in order to gain a redefinition of marriage. And we know, too, that if the votes aren’t there in the near future, the legal advice to the House of Bishops attached to the report is to offer prayers after a civil (gay) marriage, thereby getting round the need to change any canon law at all, but just as Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali foresaw – changing theology by changing the prayers (p17, 8).

A petition to Parliament to force the Church of England to change its rules on gay clergy has already been launched. Other pressures on and through Parliament to force the CofE to bend to the zeitgeist will follow.

It is staggeringly hubristic for the Bishop of Norwich to claim that it is 30 years since the Bishops last did any ‘theology’ on marriage and they need to think again because there has been so much change. The only change has been the drift of the culture away from Christianity. What sort of faith are the Bishops guarding if they need to tailor their theology to a culture that changes mostly in its repudiation of Christian ethics?

And when the culture changes again, and wants to make a case for mixed or unmixed throuples pledging their troth in ‘marriage’ rather than homosexual couples, will the Bishops reevaluate their theology again? And if not, on what grounds will they defy the epistemology of cultural development that is the driving force in the Bishop of Norwich’s desire to do some new theology?

This is not a story of bishops interpreting their revelation to the culture, but of bishops altering the priorities of their revelation as they follow the meanderings of a secular culture.

Peace in our Time

My other image is of Neville Chamberlain standing at the aircraft door cheerily waving his report from his meeting with the Führer, and declaring “Peace in our Time”.

Both Ezekiel and Jeremiah were critical of those who cried, ‘“Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.‘ Does this report promise peace in the Church?

No. It will offer neither the peace of mind that flows from theological integrity or political peace that flows from consensus. The two models of marriage, love and sex are no nearer being reconciled than they ever were. One is expressed in a formal doctrine that is immune only because its opponents lack the political heft to amend it. And the other is birthed in the praxis of those who promote it blessed with ‘maximum flexibility’.

Nor does this command the peace of a steady state equilibrium. Once the secular culture, and those who want to impose it on the Church, are given leverage in praxis, the momentum will be kept up until formal change of doctrine can be politically achieved to mirror it. That is what happened in TEC in America, and that is clearly the intention of those who favour a mirrored development in the Church of England.

The Church of England has always contained a variety of churchmanships, theologies and spiritualities living together in a kind of genteel if strained intolerance. But the changes sought here produce incompatibilities that are beyond reconciliation without renouncing integrity; and, as in America, are likely to be solved only by some kind of tragic rupture.

There are some issues where Athens and Jerusalem are able to enliven and enrich each other. There are others when they stand for values that are set in opposition to one another and a mutual exclusion that, sadly and tragically, defies even the Anglican spirit of compromise. Despite the best efforts of the Bishops’ report, this is one of them.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Say Rev!

    You’re brave!

    You’ve come into the lions’ den!

  • Dominic Stockford

    Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali was not, as some have said, being nit-picky. He was highlighting, as you point out Gavin, the extremely dangerous situation that the CofE hierarchy is now proposing. I sadly agree with you that all sincere Christians should leave the CofE, even congregations that do preach the Gospel. Why? Because they are bound unequally with those who claim Christ name but are preaching another Gospel. Only by leaving can the distinct truth of the Gospel they preach be see clearly, rather than being seen as ‘just another opinion’ among many.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Why should we traditionalists, who love the CofE, leave?

      How can we fight them? We, in the pew, feel powerless.

      Where are our leaders?

      • Anton

        Be one. This is going to have to be organised by people outside the hierarchy. The man called 1642Again on this blog has outlined a realistic strategy based on finance.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          What do you mean, ‘finance’?

          • Anton

            Withholding parish share. I took the route out to the nonconformists but I am not indifferent to the battle in the CoE and support, obviously, the evangelicals. 1642 might wish to repost his strategy on the present thread.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Without leaders INSIDE the CofE, and in the clergy, you are indeed in trouble. Given the way that hierarchy and local clergy simply ignore the pew-sitters, dismissing the views of many, there is no way forward. They’ll simply carry on doing what they want to do, and what the world directs them to do.

        Although there are one or two outspoken clergy, and several good reformed men, they simply don’t fight for the denomination, or within it. They simply keep their congregation chugging along, with as little reference to the rest of it as possible. Which isn’t really fighting.

        The only hope is for another John Kensit to arise, and for people to follow him. However, given that his public opposition to the spread of Romanism in the CofE led to his murder, I don’t see many people offering themselves for the public humiliation and possibly worse that such active opposition would immediately bring about from the pressure groups within and without the CofE who wish to de-Christ it.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          I need a break. This is all so depressing.

        • alternative_perspective

          No, the evangelical wing need to start putting themselves forward for higher positions of authority. They’ve shunned Bishoprics for too long, allowing liberals to capture the senior positions and dictate the course of the CoE.
          Unless they act now, fewer and fewer evangelicals will even make it to ordination, falling at the first hurdle: a liberal bishop who thinks you need more time to develop (read soften up).

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    This Rev should’ve been appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.

    He demonstrates knowledge, intellectual ability, courage and leadership combined with style.

    • David

      You are right.
      Indeed a decade ago Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali should have been made Archbishop of Canterbury for the same very reasons you mention, plus his deep knowledge and experience of several cultures.
      But those who contend fiercely for Biblical Christianity are, sadly, not in favour politically in this country’s present largely godless condition.

  • William Lewis

    “… in the context of a highly sexualised society where sexual self-expression has become the bedrock currency of existential authenticity, … “

    Quite. I lust therefore I am.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      As CS Lewis once observed back in the forties: we’ve privileged the impulse of sex.

      This culture has got nothing left execpt sex, drugs and alcohol.

      • … and rock and roll.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          All right, Jack.

          Nice one!

  • PessimisticPurple

    Needed a machete to wade through that word salad, but by the end I think he was wondering which bank of the Tiber he should be standing on.

    • William Lewis

      Ha. He’ll need more than a machete on the other side of the Tiber, judging by the “word jungle” that Jack blesses us with on a regular basis.

      • Dominic Stockford

        A ‘word jungle’ that is then used to mean whatever someone wants it to mean, whatever the situation they find themselves in. Very Jesuit.

      • Ten, nine, eight…..any time now and Jack will be here!

        • William Lewis

          Nice timing, Avi.

          • Experience.

          • Deimos

            Today’s discussion is a classic and although my participation is normally strictly voyeuristic I’m tempted to join in due to the quality of argument.

            I’ve been having this argument with my many daughters for years now, their view is young and progressive – equal rights for gays of all species – in all things.
            My argument is traditional- no equality in Christian marriage but no discrimination in other matters, because as a Christian I must fight the sin but love the sinner.

            But my main point though is that Gay rights is by its own definition a naturally reducing issue, the more we support gayness, the less gays will be born into each generation. As happy gay humans will find happiness with other gays and fail to reproduce the gay gene will die out. So will musical theatre and high end Ladies fashion.

            Unless gays get back into the closet quickly they will likely self select for extinction in a few generations. Eugenics by liberalism.

          • Hi, Deimos. No need to lurk, buddy…I did for about a year, made the plunge, got my face rearranged by a few old hands and survived!

            I think the weak point in your hypothesis is that sexual orientation is genetic. From everything I’ve read over the years and looking at history, it seems that it’s a human behavioural phenomenon probably having to do with our big new super-evolved brain, which is a nice thing to have, but can let us down by muffling more simple …and practical… messaging from the older layers below. This means that our default condition may be in the bisexual bit of the spectrum and that social conditioning is required to keep us paired up with the opposite gender and to make us want and look after kids. Granted, that a minority may be strongly predisposed this way or that, but how else, other than through culture and material pressures, do entire societies switch from from universal homosexuality among certain age groups and sectors (e.g., warrior cohorts) to near-total rejection and then back again? How else do people adore and practically worship children in one society or era, and reject and neglect them in another?

            This explanation makes more sense when we try to understand the Judeo-Christian stress on heterosexuality, and the importance of the family and children. The Bible doesn’t urge society to quarantine the homosexual male (or kill him) for his desires; it merely prohibits the behaviour. There is no assumption of an unalterable congenital condition because such would lead to either one of two conditions; socially destructive total acceptance, or homicidal, inhumane rejection . Why would this be so? I think it is because the Almighty is the greatest “social engineer” in the universe, working with a large canvas, a mysterious goal and an inconceivably broad view of time and history. Every social arrangement, no matter how small, bears major consequences, and the effects of societies which control themselves through institutionalized homosexuality (common in the classical world) appear not be what He had in mind for His people. Just another hypothesis, of course.

          • Deimos

            Hi Avi
            I take your points onboard, well argued as expected.
            Back to ghosting for now.

          • As long as you don’t freak me out by making the curtains move or crashing the china to the floor!

          • Grouchy Jack

            Smart ass ….

      • Don’t blame Jack for your inability to understand the finesse of Roman Catholicism and its doctrines. The above article could well have come from Rome. Notice how it offers a rationale for clerical celibacy – a voluntary sacrifice made by priests in the Latin Rite for the sake of the Kingdom.

        • William Lewis

          Yes, Jack I did notice the rational for celibacy (clerical or otherwise) and if celibacy was indeed voluntary in the Latin Rite, I might have equated the two positions.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      No machete required.

      He’s intellectually comfortable, because of his wide reading, with marching from Jerusalem, to Athens, to Rome and back again to Jerusalem.

      • Meet the new generation of yoof scholars who can’t wade through a properly constructed sentence containing more than four words and one (or less) idea.

        • The Jewish mind is trained from a young age to comprehend complexity in the study of their faith. This used to be the case with Catholics too but not so much nowadays.

          • You might think that, but the secret is that the Jewish mind is trained in the complexity of the task of staying sane in insane extended families and navigating synagogue politics where every man is a Machiavelli and every woman a Catherine de’ Medici!

          • Lol …..

          • Cressida de Nova

            Terribly sad situation.

          • PessimisticPurple

            I’m surprised at you, Jack. As a Catholic, you should know what distinguishes our doctrine is the precision of its language. If you have any doubts, look at the anarchy that’s ensued in the last fifty years over the deliberately imprecise language of the Vatican II documents. It’s what happens when you stop calling a spade a spade.

    • Try some reading comprehension first. You might hurt yourself with a machete.

    • What the article actually illustrates is that Roman Catholicism and Reformed Catholic Anglicanism share a common understanding of scripture, natural law and Church tradition in the matter of sexual morality and the need to accompany sinners rather than affirm them in sin.

  • Holger

    He’s still trading on the queen’s name, I see. Or getting others to do so by highlighting his former position as royal chaplain. Apparently his ideas can’t stand on their own. They need back-up in the form of a royal association, no matter how tenuous.

    In saying that, I agree with his analysis that progressives in the CofE aren’t going to give up the fight and meekly accept the status quo. What this report has done is to confirm battle lines that have been clear for some time now, and along which an uneasy truce had reigned since the start of the “shared conversations”. As negotiations have resulted in nothing for the progressive side (not an inch of territory has been ceded), they now know that open warfare is the only way forward.

    So it’s civil war in the CofE. I wonder, will this be the issue that breaks it asunder? It looks likely. There are too many progressives who won’t accept the continuing injustice meted out to gay Anglicans. Now they know that negotiation will change nothing, their only choice is a show of force.

    I personally have little time for gay Christians and their sympathisers. Christianity has always been a fundamentally homophobic and the attempts of progressives to change that shows the essentially narcissistic nature of faith. They want god to be just like them, just as traditionalists want him to be made in their image. What clearer confirmation of the fact that man created god could there be?

    In saying that, I wish the progressives luck. If this dispute between egos smashes the Church apart, the major beneficiary will be secularism, and anything that advances the secular perspective has to be a good thing.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      ‘Apparently his ideas can’t stand on their own. They need back-up in the form of a royal association, no matter how tenuous.’

      Ad hominem

    • ChaucerChronicle

      ‘the major beneficiary will be secularism, and anything that advances the secular perspective has to be a good thing’.

      Yeah babe, and the secularists will eventually make you bend.

      You’ll be emulating your fathers in The Collaboration.

    • A precious intro from a fellow who once claimed a moated castle in France and a helicopter (busted draw-bridge?). Your projecting, the “progressive” act and wishful thinking can’t hide that acrid reek of fear, poor Linus.

    • morbidfascination

      Well, you seem to find his ideas worthwhile and worthy of response. Were you duped by his employment history as well?

  • Lisa Nolland

    Excellent analysis! The writing is on the wall… no doubt of it. The key issue here is where are those who will provide the necessary moral and spiritual leadership? Also, thank you for tackling myths like born gay, which have been hugely successful in duping the public. Mike Davidson of CORE Issues Trust works with individuals who want to understand the causes of their unwanted SSA and move out into wholeness. Many marry opposite sex spouses or remain happily single. We must hear from these individuals as well.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Mike Davidson is a brave and principled Christian man. On the few occasions I have seen him I always make a point of shaking him by the hand and encouraging him.

  • David

    What an excellent article, and thank you Gavin Ashenden for it.

    Because conservative Bible led Anglicans like myself will never depart from Biblical Revealed Truth, which is supported by Tradition and Reason, and the “progressive” followers of social fashions will ever be in rebellion against God, following their own stars, I see little but continuing sniping and skirmishing ahead.

    Maybe the progressives game is to wait, hoping that an increasingly godless secular “Caesar” will force heresy upon the established C of E, thus forcing a split ? Progressives of course could then, hypocritically feign innocence.

    The conservatives will then depart taking their authentic Anglicanism with them. GAFCON and AmiE will offer moral and spiritual support plus fellowship. Their Bishops can ordain new ministers. After many practical difficulties, but always led by The Spirit, they will flourish outside the established Church, as they are already inside it. The liberals will continue to progress, downwards, towards decline and irrelevance. That possible scenario has already been run in the US.

    Of course I hope that gloomy possibility I’ve sketched above, does not happen, but that slowly over time the declining demographic of Liberal churches is overtaken by the growing component of the Biblically faithful, albeit all within an overall reducing body of total worshippers. Only God knows the future, and in Him we trust.

  • Before he became Bishop of Manchester, David Walker was voted Liberal Hero of the Week #33 for his support of mass immigration, the very same mass immigration which will eventually see Islam supplant Christianity in Britain. So it is not at all surprising to learn that Walker is in favour of wrecking the Christian understanding of marriage. Walker openly betrays his faith, his flock and his country and he is a bishop in the Church of England. It’s enough to make God weep.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      It’s enough to make us weep with your repetitive ‘mass immigration, the very same mass immigration’.

      • Maalaistollo

        Yes, it’s at least as much the rate of reproduction as the rate of mass immigration that is capable of ensuring the triumph of Islam.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          I thought the article was about: Same-sex marriage: what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?

          • James60498 .

            I think it not unreasonable to point out that a person mentioned in the article as being a prominent supporter of gay “marriage” won a “liberal of the week” award for his liberalism in another area. Not least when it relates to the subject which has given rise to the author’s “fame”. (For some reason my phone tried to type “fans” instead of fame, but perhaps that’s right too).

            With me having been away from the site for a while, I don’t know, you may have good reason for your reply to JR, but as as a one off comment it seems eminently reasonable.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Rotten would know being an avid reader of this blog, if we already know.

            Boring.

      • @ ChaucerChronicle—I don’t expect you to understand or care but the consequences of mass immigration break my heart. For example:

        5.6 It is difficult to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that the victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham have endured over the years. Victims were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the North of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.

        5.7 We read cases where a child was doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, children who were threatened with guns, children who witnessed brutally violent rapes and were threatened that they would be the next victim if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators, one after the other.

        Faced with such evil, I have to fight against it as best I can. If you find my comments irritating do not read them.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          The issue of mass immigration can be discussed elsewhere – why detract from Ashenden’s article?

          There are plenty of other blogs for you and your fellow travellers.

          • @ ChaucerChronicle—
            1.The post mentions that the Bishop of Manchester wants to wreck Christian marriage.
            2. My comment draws attention to the fact that the Muslim immigration supported by the bishop will, in time, wreck Christianity itself in Britain.
            3. The bishop’s hostility to Christian marriage can thus be seen in its wider context.
            4. Drawing attention to that wider context is beneficial to genuine Christians.

      • But wait, more is to come. This is just the lead-up on how the Joos brought mass immigration and gays onto the hapless Goyim.

        • Cressida de Nova

          I had no idea. The BBC has never reported this.

  • Jill

    Does Koranic Kelv really pray for Prince George to be gay? Good grief, I wonder if Her Maj knows this. Off with his head!

    • ChaucerChronicle

      You and the ‘Theolgians of the Moon’ have got one thing in common: reduce headcount.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Lex orandi, lex credendi.

    So that’s their tactic.

    Let me make this clear, and let there be no mistake; once the homosexuals identify themselves through corporeal touching in church: we will withdraw our families.

    We will suppress the risk of sowing sexual confusion in our children.

  • 1642again

    Anton (blow) requested that I outline my strategy for reclaiming the church from the treacherous liberal higher clergy given that they control the instruments of temporal power within the CoE.

    It’s very simple like all effective strategies, but difficult to implement initially, and relies on the ultimate temporal arbiter, the power of the purse.

    People think the CoE very wealthy – it is and it isn’t. The impressive wealth of the Church Commissioners is largely absorbed in meeting clergy pension liabilities, indeed at low points in the investment cycle, I understand there is very little surplus at all. All the Dioceses of which I am aware are therefore quite vulnerable as their ‘free income’ is largely committed to funding clergy wages now that almost all parish clergy are ‘priests-in-charge’ payable centrally and not by the parishes. I also understand that a small proportion of churches, overwhelmingly the large evangelical ones, give a wholly disproportionate share of Diocesan income. For instance in my Diocese of Exeter, one church, St Leonards, is reputed to give a material proportion on its own.

    All it would take is for a minority of churches, particularly the strong evangelical ones, to withhold their paying of the Parish Share for a few months to push many Dioceses to the point of bankruptcy. As the clergy are paid centrally, the CoE cannot sack them in retaliation because they have employment rights as this would constitute unfair dismissal because it would be individual churches’ PCC’s which would take the decision to withhold. Retained funds could of course be used to help fund Ministers if they did not receive their wages.

    So in effect a simple tax strike to which the CoE is very vulnerable. An ultimatum could then be given to the hierarchy by the churches that a simple agreed list of reforms be implemented immediately, including the resignation of unScriptural Bishops and higher clergy and replacement of those of sound views. If the hierarchy did not agree, funds would continue to be withheld until they did.

    The trick is getting enough churches, especially the large evangelical ones to work together to follow this strategy at the same time, but it would only take 10-20% of them to really put the bullet on the hierarchy.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Beautiful!

    • Anton

      Excellent. It could start with a website…

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Beautiful!

    • David

      Sounds both feasible and highly desirable to me. I have longtime seen Anglican “niceness” as incompatible with upholding the doctrines of the C of E, clearly spelt out in the Thirty Nine Articles, the Prayer Book and the Ordinal.

    • John

      I lead one of the highest Share paying churches in my diocese. I would urge my PCC to follow this line in the event that our doctrine on marriage were amended or liturgies of blessing same-sex relationships were published. But we are not there (yet).

      • 1642again

        You may be right. It’s for a large number of churches to come together to draw a red line and agree a common approach. They could start by coming together to build a common platform that could decide where the red line is, but this would need to be done sooner rather than later.

        The challenge is of course that the liberal hierarchy will try to blur any red line, just nibbling away at it with salami tactics as they appear to be doing now. Even getting organised will make the liberals think twice, flexing a little muscle thrice… The thing to avoid is acting is isolation or waiting too long until much of the damage has been already done.

      • Albert

        I find your post odd. Given all the other things that an Anglican must tolerate going on, why should same-sex marriage be a line in the sand?

        • John

          Every church is to some extent messy, impure and erroneous. The Church of England has given us Alpha, Soul Survivor, Christianity Explored and New Wine. The Holy Spirit hasn’t given up on it yet. As someone has said, some doctrines are written in pencil (we can agree to disagree in the same church), others are written in ink (we can agree to disagree and are probably better off in different denominations), but some are written in blood (where dissent effectively advocates another ‘gospel’ and removes one from the church altogether). A synodical measure denying the divinity or humanity of Christ, or his uniqueness in the plan of salvation would be equally intolerable and no Bible-believing church could countenance subsidising it.

          • Albert

            Sure, I see all that. But surely the fundamental issue in all this was conceded when the CofE permitted women’s ordination?

          • Anton

            Please explain the connection? (Not that I approve of the ordination of *anybody*…)

          • Albert

            Both are about whether the Bible’s teaching on the non-interchangeability of the sexes is authoritative. Women’s ordination is the Trojan horse for the general principle.

          • Anton

            Both are due to the increasing gender confusion in the world getting into the church. What I am questioning is that the first getting into the church is responsible for the second getting into the church, as you seem to suggest.

          • Albert

            Yes I do think that, but it’s not the important point I’m just making a logical point: once you’ve accepted one, why be so opposed to the other that you have to leave?

          • Anton

            I feel the same about the ordination of men leading to the ordination of women, but perhaps that’s not for today…

          • Albert

            You would have to show that men and women were interchangeable, which is something not for today, and not for any day, since it is manifestly false.

          • Anton

            I refer to the issue of priestly ordination in the face of Rev 1:6. Are you deliberately misunderstanding me?

          • Albert

            I made a connection between women’s ordination and homosexuality. You asked me to explain the connection, and suddenly, you are talking Rev.1.6 and suggesting I am being dishonest. Oh yes, of course, I forgot, I’m a Catholic, obviously I must be being dishonest, for failing to spot things which are not remotely stated or relevant to what has been stated.

          • Anton

            I’m saying that I *don’t* wish to get onto the subject of ordination in general here, despite regarding men’s ordination as a deeper trojan horse than the one we have been discussing. My main point is the difference between correlation and causation in regard to priestesses and gay marriage in the CoE. I would have thought it was clear that I was asking HOW the acceptance of the former caused the CoE to be more yielding to the latter, when I am saying rather that both crept in from the same extra-ecclesiastical source. Your response at 1.47pm was a reply but not an answer, and I credit you with ample intelligence to see that it wasn’t.

          • Albert

            I would have thought it was clear that I was asking HOW the acceptance of the former caused the CoE to be more yielding to the latter

            It’s not at all clear – look at the thread. It’s a pity you don’t have the charity to assume you might not be as clear as you had hoped, before accusing others of bad faith.

            I was asking HOW the acceptance of the former caused the CoE to be more yielding to the latter

            The women’s issue weakened people’s confidence in apostolic teaching and practice. Had the gay issue come first, people would have appealed to scripture and been confident in it. This is because people are naturally more likely to be pro-women than pro-gay. After all the number and proportion of people who are gay is far smaller than those who are women. So people took at as reasonable to accept that scripture is limited by time and culture with regards to women: scripture was obviously wrong there and of its time.

            Having made that move, people had lost their confidence in scripture when it comes to homosexuality. When I was in the CofE there were plenty of people, particularly on the Anglo-catholic wing of the CofE who saw this and stated it quite clearly. Things are progressing exactly as they said, for the simple reason that the person who is able to get on with women’s ordination but not homosexuality is illogical.

          • Anton

            Illogical? You remind me of Mr Spock at times, but thank you for the explanation.

          • Albert

            Logic is not the preserve of the Vulcans.

          • John

            I think the sex of those who lead local churches, important though the matter is, is not a doctrine written in blood. I respect those who disagree, understand why they came to their conclusion from scripture, even have some sympathy with their position and don’t consider them bigots or male chauvinists etc.

          • Albert

            But if you think the example of Jesus and the clear teaching of Paul is not authoritative on the non-interchangeability of the sexes in ministry, then why do you regard Paul alone as authoritative on the non-interchangeability of the sexes in sex?

          • Phil R

            Women’s ordination has been without question a disaster for the Anglican Church.

            It has allowed feminist views to be mainstream

          • 1642again

            Excellent answer.

          • Phil R

            Liberal New Wine and to a lesser extent Alpha typifies the problem and is no evidence of orthodoxy.

            90% of New Wine is another gospel. Feelings always trump Scripture at New Wine

    • alternative_perspective

      The Bishop of London once noted it was particularly difficult to get evangelicals to engage with diocesan initiatives.
      Rightly or wrongly, they tend to shun leadership roles in favour of parish work. Perhaps it is easier than engaging with liberal churches and leadership?
      If we want to change the direction of the hierarchy and ensure more ordinands from an evangelical background make it in to the church, then this needs to change.
      Evangelicals are going to have to promote themselves more and learn to manage diversity in their midst. If, out of a desire for purity, they will find themselves islands amongst a liberal sea, it will be in large part due to their failure to take hold of the mantle and work with others of dissenting views.

      • 1642again

        Perhaps evangelicals prefer to serve God rather than indulge in political and bureaucratic manoeuvring? It’s the reason why in many large organisations the best and most talented people never make it too the top.

        • Dominic Stockford

          If they really believe that their denomination is important they need to get their hands dirty.

          • 1642again

            I agree. That’s the whole point of my suggestion.

        • bluedog

          It’s the corporate politicians that always get the top jobs.

  • Don Benson

    Gavin Ashenden has made the clearest summary of the choice facing the Church of England over this issue that I have ever seen. In contrast to the bishops’ tawdry exercise in obfuscation, it is a master class in how to write something of substance with simple clarity – the sign of true intelligence.

    The fact that he is prepared to place his intelligence in the service of righteousness rather than popularity is as encouraging as it is rare in these miserable times for our church. Henceforth, those in the church (particularly its leadership) who choose to continue with the current trajectory will not be able to claim at a later date that they were never warned of their folly

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Yes.

      A master class.

      He’s thrown us such a big bone with so much meat on it that he’s reduced most of us to the status of puppies.

      • James60498 .

        Very impolite aren’t you?

        Whatever your history with JR what he said was a reasonable comment in this situation.

        He referred to a person mentioned in the article showing a general tendency towards liberalism.

        I am not bored. Two people on this blog are clearly highly intelligent and worth reading. Many more make a lot of sense.

        Even you have made a sensible comment since that I have upticked. Perhaps I should go back and have another look. Maybe I misunderstood you.

        I wasn’t bored. I was at work. You know in the call centre making the tea.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Look kid a lot of guys here, I can tell, have probably spent on average five years at university.

          We get Rotten going on and on about the Muslamics everyday. Boring.

          Many of us read, for example, the reports from the Office for National Statistics.

          We know more than him and his ‘off-the-peg’ quotes. The quotes betray the truth, he’s got nothing to say except he has a ‘broken heart’ over what successive admisnistrations have executed.

          I’m sorry if I offended you.

          • James60498 .

            I am not a kid either but I don’t see the need to be so rude to myself or the other person regardless of your issues with “Rotten”.

            I spent three years at university followed by a leading professional qualification and can assure you that the qualification makes me MORE than capable of reading any numbers, from the ONS or anywhere else.

            I will certainly take your apology as I hope it is meant. Thank you.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Once again, I apologise: you’re not a kid.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Do you forgive me?

          • James60498 .

            If I fell out permanently with everyone I had a dispute with I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to.
            Especially my wife.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            It takes guts to forgive.

            Welcome aboard HMS Cranmer, floating somewhere in cyber-space.

            You’re one of us.

      • Maalaistollo

        Sorry! Didn’t realise you were the caretaker – thought you were just another communicant.

  • Mrs S wilson

    Thank you for a first-class article. When will C of E evangelicals open their eyes to the truth that “progressives” will never stop till they get their way and achieve a society where all restraints are ended? Death by a thousand cuts is proving much more successful in keeping many snoozing towards judgment. If only they would read their Bibles through and get the big picture of God’s plan so that they could stand up and declare it lovingly yet clearly!

    • Dominic Stockford

      CofE evangelicals are like a certain Mr Obama – constantly painting ‘red lines’, the which if passed by the liberals mean that they will be forced to take some action. The trouble is they have hundreds of red lines already, and are now left painted into a corner, having never defended any of them.

  • What an excellent article, Gavin. Thank you.

  • Technically, none of this is my business, being of the Red Sea Pedestrian persuasion, but this is a battle I’m not entirely unfamiliar with, so I watch in fascination and with an eye for solutions and potential pitfalls.

    Our friendly brewer, 1642again (who’s yet to donate a cask of suds to the ever-thirsty Cranmer crowd), is onto it in his rebellious post below. It’s a question of funds, always a question of funds in the end and, I might add, demographics. The bottom line is that all liberal congregations out there make big claims about being in the mainstream, going with the times, their little fingers on the very pulse of the people, riding the right side of history …blah, blah, blah… and yet, all of them are folding like a greasy stack of cards amidst empty pews, leaky roofs and unheated halls. So far, the solution I see is still the same one; stay married and make a lot of kids, attend your house of worship regularly (and stick around afterwards for food and socializing) and spend less time and money in restaurants and pubs and more in your community. The deep issues will then take care of themselves.

    • 1642again

      Agree with that Avi except the bit about not going to pubs. In many villages the pub and church still have a happy symbiotic relationships, and we brewers need the custom!

      • I withdraw the part about pubs with humble apologies. Np idea what I was thinking. Do I need to worry about the enforcers of the brewers society, or can you rescind the order before I step out later this evening?

        • 1642again

          You will be safe tonight Avi although the worldwide confraternity of brewers is not to be trifled with!

          • Maybe not but he has the Lizards covering his back.

          • 1642again

            We have the ‘greys’ now…

          • They are an unreliable bunch.

        • Pubcrawler

          Good. I was about to cross you off my Christmas card list 🙂

        • Hi Avi,

          Anglicans need their pubs because they don’t serve a Kiddush lunch after services. When I went through my ecumenical phase , when I went to church all you get a cup of cheap tea or coffee with a stale Garabalidi. No buffet food, wine or whisky. To get food you had to go on this membership course called alpha.

          • I’ve been hinting to our friends here over the years that serving good hot food and a bit of strong drink will go a long way to revive flagging attendance. A friend who took over a shul as a rabbi started by bringing a case of liquor and contracting a caterer; with a year he doubled the membership and nearly tripled it by the next. I’ve heard that many an Evangelical congregation does this, as it keeps the folks in and allows congregants to bond. No reason why they can’t coordinate with local pubs to have kidney pie, bangers and beans and other English culinary marvels along with bottles of suds catered in. Sure, folk streaming in from the purity of their faith may be the ideal, but all that the ideal seems to have accomplished in our time so far is the wind whistling through empty pews.

          • Hi Avi

            When synagogues do Friday night and Saturday lunchtime after service food, drink ‘candles and kiddush’ it is well cool and does welcome people . And one can promote “sponsor a Shabbat kiddush”, to fund it .

          • Same here, but we don’t do enough oneg shabbats in our shul. Wish we did every week, so I wouldn’t have to take off early and cook on Fridays! As for kiddush sponsorship, the Almighty has wisely allowed us to compete and engage in a bit of conspicuous consumption, which has led the well-to-do folks to compete on who will bring the best liquor. Otherwise, I would have never in my life tasted some of the most precious single malts, probably dripped at a droplet per hour from some crofter’s still at Islay!

          • Hi Avi

            You can also get Golani whisky made in Israel.

          • Has not made it through the bureaucracy of Ontario’s Liquor Control Board yet. Probably in the class, to use the word loosely, of recent Toronto micro-distillery whiskies. I would certainly buy it, on principle and for the love of the Nation, even if I only use it as a bathroom tile cleaner.

          • Hi

            Forgot to add , I’m sort of sitting on a relative lifetimes supply of the stuff. I live in my grandparents house , their cellar was full of wine and whisky . I put this down to a hoarding psychology , given that they similarly stocked tinned food, coffee and anything “non perishable” . I think because of their experiences of being forced to flee as refugees after the Farhud , fighting in the war and post war rationing with a big family to provide for. I remember your stories of Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately my generation tends to forget how much harder it was for people in those days.

    • Anton

      It’s faster to make converts than to procreate them!

  • David

    If a schism occurs excellent theological and spiritual leadership is available from godly, brave men like our writer today, the Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden.

  • John

    I lead one of the highest Parish Share paying churches in my diocese. Most if not all of the top ten paying churches here are evangelical. I would urge my PCC to follow this line in the event that our doctrine on marriage were amended or liturgies of blessing same-sex relationships were published. This is a non-negotiable issue for me. But we are not there (yet).

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Moderator

    Why was ‘John’s’ post removed?

    • William Lewis

      It’s now replying to 1642again

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Who or what is it?

        • William Lewis

          John’s post. It has been moved.

          • William Lewis

            Sometimes, a new reply will appear as if it is a standalone comment and then, a few seconds later, it will be seen as a reply to someone.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            All right.

  • ‘Is it just,’ they ask, ‘that someone consigned to a particular biologically or genetically determined same-sex attraction, should suffer enforced celibacy, and be deprived of the ecstasy of sexual intimacies to enhance the affections of their heart?’

    It would seem unjust if we remove eternity out of the picture. It is in eternity that God will restore to us everything – both the things that we are deprived of during our brief sojourn here, and the things that we voluntarily give up for His sake – in His own way. On this earth we Christians must not expect that things will always come full circle.

    There will always be unfulfilled goals and desires in every Christian’s life. But God has given us the tools to deal with the temporary pain – the faith to see beyond our present situation, as well as His peace that surpasses understanding.

  • The tactics of the progressives were evident at the Lambeth Conference in 1930 when what was held as constant teaching for 2000 years was changed. Same too with divorce and remarriage and abortion. Now it’s euthanasia, transgenderism and homosexuality.

    Until Lambeth in 1930, all Christian churches were unanimous in their opposition to artificial birth control, notwithstanding the usual small group of loud dissenters – led by eugenicists, it has to be said. Just as the ‘hard cases’ were used to obtain abortion on demand and just as they are now being used to lobby for euthanasia on demand, they were used sixty years ago to get artificial birth control. The same pattern is evident in the debate about homosexuality.

    The historic Anglican Bishop’s Resolution 15 of August 15, 1930, passed by a vote of 193 to 67, reads as follows. Those who examine this statement carefully will clearly recognize the familiar semantic tools of the pro-abortion movement and homosexual rights lobby. Notice that Resolution 15 sounds smooth, firm, and compassionate. Notice also that it places no real limits on the Christian, but instead leaves any action up to him and his conscience.

    THE ANGLICAN BISHOP’S RESOLUTION 15 OF AUGUST 15, 1930

    Where there is a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipleship and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception-control for motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.

    Notice that the allowable ‘methods’ are not defined by Resolution 15. Notice also that the term ‘Christian principles’ is not defined. Using the statement above, abortion and even infanticide could easily be justified if the “conscientious” individual thought that the child would be a burden or an inconvenience in any way.

    This is a profound and rapid change from the statements promulgated by the Lambeth Conferences in 1908 and 1917, which labelled artificial contraception as “demoralizing to character and hostile to national welfare.”

    • ChaucerChronicle

      You might as well add female vicars: if sex is interchangeable then why not the homosexual and the transgendered.

      • Albert

        Bingo. The whole orthodox/liberal discussion in the CofE is confused. They are all liberals, it’s just that those who get called “liberal” are more consistent than those called “orthodox”. This is why the liberals always appear more reasonable in the Anglican context but bonkers everywhere else.

      • Back in the 60s, the late Rabbi Feinstein argued for continued separation of men and women in synagogue services not on scriptural or mystical grounds, but on the presumed weakness of men. He bluntly explained that we are the weaker vessel. And that we are, being easily distracted by the nice hair and slinky dress of the lady in the pew in front of us, and our need for the trappings of showy male authority, the honours of donning the prayer shawl and being called up for the blessing of the Torah. He predicted that gender egalitarianism, which was the new rage, will chase men out of the synagogue. He was criticised for being old fashioned (which he actually, wasn’t) and for not noticing how modern men and women have changed (which he didn’t think was real and substantial). Well, he was right; the decline (more like a crash) of non-Orthodox liberal congregations coincided with mixed seating, egalitarianism in the service and women rabbis.

        • Dominic Stockford

          The problem with that thinking is that it leads straight down the path to the wearing of burkas etcetera in order for us poor ‘weaker vessels’ to be able to avoid the temptations which we [poor male things] can’t be expected to use our will and God’s strength to fight against.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            It need not do so. It may lead to more quality in the courtship of our daughters.

            Some of the remaining World War II veterans often say to me that when they saw an ankle, it made their day.

            I always thought that a well-dressed woman presents: endless possibilities.

          • Not everything slides down the slippery slope, Dominic. Neither Orthodox Jews today, nor Christians a mere generation ago, went nuts over the issue, like Islam did long ago in its usual tendency to fly over the top of everything. Anyhow, excesses in the modesty laws are more of a function of an unstable, violent and lawless society, where a woman needs to be escorted and hidden from sight, than runaway religious interpretations. You can see that correlation in the history of costume and the architecture of women’s quarters and seraglios.

            Maimonides advised Jewish women to cover up with a veil when going to the marketplace…but we (barring a dozen or so ultra-Orthodox nutters in Jerusalem) understand that this was the norm in 12th century Muslim Spain and even in parts of Christendom, so it never became a custom in safer places and times. But I was focusing on the begging question of what amazing value is it to be yakking and bickering with one’s wife and sneaking glances at women in the middle of a religious service. And don’t tell me that we should control our eyes and thoughts. Of course we should …and kudos to the saint or eunuch who masters that one… but as the real world would have it, we don’t, and in most cases we can’t, and while that battle may seem like a virtuous one, in realaity it’s a needless distraction when we should be praying with intent.

          • Cressida de Nova

            That is a very depressing revelation Avi. To think that a male cannot attend a Church service ( even a funeral?) without eyeing off the women or having lewd thoughts is
            an anathema to me. Surely there must be some situations which are sacred and the male cerebellum is elevated above the belt line. I would like to think it does not apply to all men. I just asked a guy and he said it does not happen at a football match. He is an Anglican.I am not sure if that makes a difference.

            There is a good argument for women being in charge of things if the men are constantly thinking (not thinking) with their appendages.

          • Especially funerals, Miss Cressida. Probably because men, and a considerable proportion of women, I understand, may be seeking more cheerful, life-affirming sights and thoughts amidst the sorrow, distress and bleakness. But regardless of the variety of studies and the testing challenges …just consider things like age groupings, defining sexual thoughts, taking into account variables such as place and visual stimuli, problems with metrics (such self-reporting versus physiological cues), the test’s influence, researcher bias and so on… the old truism that men think about sex every seven seconds and about 3000 times a day may be false, but the general picture emerging from these studies is that it happens with great frequency, especially in the presence of visual stimulants.

            Yes, that is depressing and disappointing, a common and understandable reaction among women (unless, perhaps, they happen to be the sole subject of this nastiness). But in defense of my (otherwise) noble gender, men and women do seem to be wired differently, and anything that is that common and prevalent and pertains to reproduction is undoubtedly a successful evolutionary mechanism…therefore, good. Hey, it’s not like I invented and made humans.

            Rest assured that certainly not all men are so unfortunately afflicted; notable exceptions, such as the seriously ill and the dying spring to mind. And while I’ve never been to a football game, I can well imagine that watching a bunch of men run around in floppy shorts must be as titillating as a cold shower of acetone to a straight male…as is, I assure you, seeing nothing but the backs of my middle-aged cronies on the men’s side of our sanctuary for two to three hours on Saturday mornings. In that case, the only distraction from the sacred and cerebral moments of rapture may be the rare stray thought of the bottles of single malt and the platters of herring and smoked beef waiting downstairs in the social hall. Yeah, okay, I see, I guess you wimmin-folk should take charge of things.

          • bluedog

            ‘Especially funerals, Miss Cressida.’ Now that’s a moot point, Avi. Did you not read that after 9/11 a remarkable number of surviving NYC firemen left their wives and remarried the widows of dead comrades? Perhaps there is something about the male instinct to protect that becomes turbo-charged by the vulnerability of a young widow. One’s own view about funerals is that the most interesting person is frequently the bereaved mistress, sitting quietly at the back of the church and wearing dark glasses.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Tsk…you have been watching too many French movies:)

            Mitterand’s wife and mistress stood side by side at his funeral. I don’t think the mistress was very interesting. She did not even wear sunglasses !

          • bluedog

            Well, at least the mistress wasn’t there with her husband, who was unaware…

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jews are very generous and lavish with hospitality at their events. They certainly know how to party. I miss them (sometimes.)

    • Anton

      Adding to scripture again, Jack?

      • The use of reason, Anton, and constantly held teachings of 2000 years of Christian tradition.
        The claim of “scripture alone” is itself adding to scripture and ignoring the authority given to the Church to “bind and loose”.

        • Anton

          Jesus regarded the OT as of unique authority. If sola scriptura was good enough for him…

          • Where did Jesus say solar scriptura was good enough for Him?

            Jesus said: “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So practice and observe everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.…”

            Where is the Seat of Moses mentioned in scripture? Jesus recognised that the Pharisees were correct and they were the legitimate successors to Moses and sat on his “Chair”. This suggests Jesus upheld Oral Torah, he was merely opposed to some Pharisees abusing and misusing it to further their own ends.

            Jesus said, “The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to.”

            What “keys of knowledge” is Jesus suggesting the Pharisees had?

          • Anton

            Oral Torah is a load of stuff that the Jews claim was given at Sinai by God at the same time as the written law, but was not to be written down. You can find the claimed line of transmission in Pirkei Avot, Sayings of the Fathers. This is nonsense, of course; a lot of the Oral Torah is commentary on the Written Law, which explains why it refers to it hundreds of times yet there is not one specific reference in the latter to the former. Much of it is good, a little of it is bad, but all of it is from man rather than God.

            “Moses’ seat” is a reference to Moses passing on the written law to the Israelites. Whenever Jesus asks “What did Moses say?” (quite often) he is bringing the discussion back to the Pentateuch.

          • Yet Jesus confirmed the authority f the scribes and Pharisees and not that of the Sadducees who believed only in the written Torah. The written Torah had to be interpreted and applied.

          • Anton

            He confirmed their authority when they were in Moses’ seat, ie teaching the Books of Moses.

          • O, poppycock, Anton! Of course you would say that; without the Oral Torah all Jews would have wandered off in the Pagan mess of confusion even before Christianity came along to imagine that it “completes” the written Torah. Think of the Oral Torah as a simultaneous “multi-media transmission” to our first rabbi (teacher), Moses …Mosheh rabbeinu… who then passed it on for the following generations to discuss and interpret with the guidance of the Almighty. This was understood from the very beginnings. How else would one understand the language, semiotics and nuances, and how else would the written Torah refer to holy days, festivals, currently confusing stories and important laws without bothering to describe them in the text?

            It’s our Inspector, apparently the forum’s designated heretic, who actually gets the absurdity of trying to interpret our Torah “literally” (usually from dubious Christological translations and by the inspired seat of one’s pants) and suggests that Christianity should just stick to own, the Gospels, Church teachings and national and linguistic traditions. So,let’s make a deal; pass on trying to “complete” our scriptures, and we won’t try “completing” yours 😉

          • Anton

            I can’t go along with that, because I believe that my faith is a messianic globalised branch of yours so that we have scriptures in common (even if I don’t have to avoid pork etc). Let’s just discuss our differing beliefs without getting personal at each other. You know that I am a friend of the Jewish nation, a Zionist who deeply regrets the increasing hostility of Europe to the Jews. I also believe that no other nation would have been spared divine criticism like that in Tanakh if God had made a different choice.

            Stuff gets written down in order to prevent it changing, which is something liable to happen in all oral tradition. That is my first reason for disbelieving that the Oral Torah was given at Sinai; law is meant to be fixed. Second, *why* should God divide the law into two parts and demand that only one part be written down? Third, why does the Oral Torah refer to the Pentateuch scores of times but not vice-versa?

            I expect the Karaites make these objections too.

          • No rancour, brother and friend Anton…just a refutation in the spirit of the challege! Out and about now, with a crappy phone and a dying battery, so bbl and if I dont make it back befote candleligjting, shabbat shalom and we talk later!

          • Anton

            Shalom Avi!

          • Right, so, from the bottom up.

            Not many Karaites left nowadays, Anton, and the ones who call themselves such, have their own equivalent of an Oral Torah, one based on their own interpretations, rather than the authentic deliberations of the rabbinic line from Moses. Nor will you find Sadducees and a host of other sectarians, none of whom were able to survive the destruction of the Second Temple and the Second, current, Exile.

            Stuff gets written down in order to prevent it changing, which is something liable to happen with all oral tradition…law is meant to be fixed….*why* should God divide the law into two parts and demand that only one part be written down?

            This would be so if humans were programmable automatons without true intelligence, without freedom of choice and action. Or animals, which are guided by God largely through the “law” of nature, instinct and fixed behaviour. Then, you wouldn’t need even a written Torah, because the Teachings would be “downloaded” and internalized, while we remained forever fixed in the Bronze Age. In His confab with Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai, God explained the Torah, its purpose and guiding principles and initiated the succession of teachers, because humans, not objects in the form of tablets, scrolls or books, are the best medium of transmission. In that Covenant, He gifted us with the right and duty to interpret the Teaching and so, we wear kippahs even when not at formal prayer, we don’t stone people for biblical violations, we now ritually slaughter and treat poultry as meat, and make thousands of halakhic rulings on issues of modern living, technology, medicine and science.

            You cannot go along with any of this because if you did, you would not be a Christian. That, more than logic or argument, is the bottom line. You can draw suitable parts from the same traditions, you can justifiably claim a connection to Jews and Judaism on historical and cultural grounds, and given our joint sojourning in Europe …some of it pleasant, some of it not very much… even a bond of brotherhood by blood. But the oral Torah and its physical manifestation in the form of living, worshiping Jews who insist on maintaining the original and only Covenant will always distinguish us. And far be it from me to tell anyone about God’s reasons for doing anything, but my guess is that the reason for the oral Torah becomes evident anytime you see or interact with an authentic, Torah-observant Jew.

          • Anton

            Avi,

            Thank you for your reply. If Jews wish to do extra things not in the Pentateuch I have no objection whatsoever; it’s not anti-Pentateuch and it’s none of my business. Some of your reply to my first two questions comprise comments that I’m happy to leave and let the reader decide. I’d like to ask one further question and repeat my third one, though; as follows.

            You say that “humans, not objects in the form of tablets, scrolls or books, are the best medium of transmission”. Given that oral traditions invariably mutate but written ones don’t, how is that possible, please?

            Also, why does the Oral Torah refer to the Pentateuch scores of times but not vice-versa, if not that the former is actually subsequent human commentary on the latter?

            Feel free to ask me tough questions too!

          • You are welcome, Anton, and it’s always a great pleasure to discuss evrything with you, even though we seem to lock horns together on so many topics.

            The quick answer to those questions is, simply, “I don’t know.” There are scattered commentaries on these questions, but there is no binding explanation. I speculate that if oral traditions mutate, then the most likely answer may be that the Almighty intended such “guided mutations” to take place as the Jewish civilization grew and met new challenges. We already know that details for many of the laws and teachings are conspicuously absent in the written Torah, making them almost impossible to observe solely through scripture. That leaves us with two options; either to transmit the oral Torah as faithfully as possible from generation to generation by establishing conditions which make this possible, such as assembling conventions of sages and teachers to interpret unclear or new situations, or to give up, to feel overwhelmed or unconvinced and to abandon one, which always leads to abandoning both facets of the Torah. The rabbis of the Pharisaic tradition passed the test of time and circumstance; they passed on the traditions from teacher to student but then, in fear of forgetting the traditions when the Jewish people were being exiled and decimated, began committing to paper their deliberations, arguments, counterarguments,and binding decision in the second century of the Common Era.

            The Humash does not discuss either its own content, nor subsequent books, such as the Prophets or the Writings. Apart from the certainty that Moses received both of the Torahs on Mount Sinai, the only evidence if inferential; where a law is commanded but no details as to its fulfillment are provided.

            Tough questiions? Gosh. All questions pertaining to any belief are by nature tough. I suppose a question we could both ask ourselves is whether we would continue to hold to our beliefs if our circumstances of birth and history were reversed or radically different. Is there a wrong and right road, with one of us having badly screwed up, or are differences part of God’s plan? And I think we might agree that while we may think one way or another, the answer to this question is ultimately known only to God.

          • Anton

            Thank you, Avi.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Can’t help himself. Seems to want to add to everyone’s words.

        • The Church is fulfilling the role given it by Christ as the identifier and interpreter of Apostolic Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. It’s really a very straightforward argument, and rests on scripture and the early Fathers:

          Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race – “natural law.” The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.

          But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end – procreation.

          In A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted.” (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2)

          Around 307 Lactantius explained that some “complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife.” (Divine Institutes 6:20)

          Saint Augustine wrote in 419, “I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives].” (Marriage and Concupiscence 1:15:17)

          In addition, Martin Luther said, “[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him.”

          John Calvin said, “The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”

          John Wesley warned, “Those sins that dishonour the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lord—and it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls.”

          • Anton

            But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation.

            So Catholic-blessed “natural family planning” is wrong after all?

  • Albert

    Should purity trump justice? It should.

    The assertion concedes too much in the context of the argument. Here was the argument for justice:

    ‘Is it just,’ they ask, ‘that someone consigned to a particular biologically or genetically determined same-sex attraction, should suffer enforced celibacy, and be deprived of the ecstasy of sexual intimacies to enhance the affections of their heart?’

    The only answer anyone can give to that question is “Of course it is just.” No one has the right to have sex, since sex necessarily involves another. So if our hypothetical homosexual cannot find someone willing to have a leg-over with him, he will be deprived of the ecstasy of sexual intimacies to enhance the affections of their heart.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Nice, clever, try Albert.

      It’s clear Ashenden implies consensual sex.

      • Albert

        The key thing is precision. It’s because of lack of precision that dodgy things get through. Often when you make a more precise claim, it becomes impossible. Thus I would like to see a more accurate claim and then see where the discussion goes.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Albert

          You are a learned man (former lawyer?).

          You know as well as I do about the limitations of of time and space in an essay, such as Ashenden’s.

          Credit, where credit is due.

          • Albert

            Your point is entirely fair. But my point is to say that if there is any justice, it does not stem from the desire, or from the desire to avoid deprivation. So what does it stem from?

            Now if someone says should the state deprive consensual homosexuals of sexual intimacy, then I would say no. But then no one is arguing for that. The question is, is it just to expect homosexuals not to have sexual intimacy, then I would say “Yes” – and I would give my first post as the reason why. So it is entirely possible to reconcile the two claims:

            1. It is unjust for the state to prevent consensual homosexuals of sexual intimacy.
            2. It is just to expect homosexuals to deprive themselves of sexual intimacy.

            Mutatis mutandi, the second point applies equally to heterosexuals. We don’t have a right to sexual intimacy. We do have a right to expect other people to control their sexual desires. Now this need not be the end of the matter, but it is important not to confuse a moral obligation and a legal obligation.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘Now if someone says should the state deprive consensual homosexuals of sexual intimacy, then I would say no.’

            Suspending the mechanics of enforcement, for the moment; and as a matter of State policy: why?

          • Albert

            I work on the assumption that people should be free and that the burden of proof rests on the person imposing the law. Thus prima facie, I am opposed to this kind of law. I would then say that it would be impossible to enforce and that enforcing it would be contrary to the common good and would cause harm to the individuals. Thus I would like to know of a reason why the state should impose such a law, and I really cannot think of a good enough reason. But I wouldn’t see the case as equal with heterosexuals, for whom there is a positive right stemming from the common good: the nature of marriage and the requirement for a society to produce the next generation of children.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘I work on the assumption that people should be free and that the burden of proof rests on the person imposing the law.’

            I found that attractive.

            There was an American cross-cultural psychologist called Lawrence Kohlberg. In 1972 he advanced a thesis (which has not been seriously challenged).

            He concluded, after his studies, that people who have a vague, inarticulated, sense of morality; use the law as a moral reference-point.

            If the State reintroduced a law banning the practice of homosexuality (suspending discussion of its’ enforcement, for the time being) would that not have the following effects (on the sociological scale):

            1. Homosexuals would think twice;
            2. People would be enboldened to ‘stigmatize’ them and assist law enforcement;
            3. Suppress ‘Man-Boy’ activity.
            4. Suppress the acceleration of AIDS.
            5. Reduce pressures on the NHS.

          • Albert

            There was an American cross-cultural psychologist called Lawrence Kohlberg. In 1972 he advanced a thesis (which has not been seriously challenged).
            He concluded, after his studies, that people who have a vague, inarticulated, sense of morality; use the law as a moral reference-point.

            Thank you – I didn’t know that. However, it is an interesting and helpful observation.

            1. Homosexuals would think twice Yes, but probably then get on with it anyway.

            2. People would be enboldened to ‘stigmatize’ them and assist law enforcement yes, but it does not sound attractive to say the least.

            3. Suppress ‘Man-Boy’ activity. Perhaps, but that’s illegal anyway, so I don’t see much of an advance here.

            4. Suppress the acceleration of AIDS. I would have thought it might have the opposite effect: more risky and hidden sex with fewer opportunities to get medical help etc.

            5. Reduce pressures on the NHS? only if I’m wrong about 4, but if I’m right it will have the opposite effect – except for the increase in homosexual people who do not need medical attention because they have committed suicide.

            So if anything your argument makes my position stronger.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘Thank you – I didn’t know that. However, it is an interesting and helpful observation.’

            All right, Albert. All right.

          • Albert

            What do you mean? I didn’t know that! 🙂

          • James60498 .

            Is 3 illegal?

            Not if the boy is 16 and the man is not in a legal position of power over him.

          • Albert

            Well that should be illegal, but it wouldn’t required the criminalising of homosexual act per se to make it illegal.

          • James60498 .

            No.

            But unless you make the same change for heterosexual partnerships then you will have screams of discrimination as if you had them all castrated.

          • Albert

            The discrimination thing is where this conversation should be happening. That’s why I began this by questioning the justice of it all. Discrimination assumes a homosexual relationship and heterosexual relationship are equal. Are they? Equally what?

          • James60498 .

            Of course they are not equal.

            To me the idea that someone (Blair) who claimed to be a Christian is the man who allowed Man/ (16 y.o) boy is probably the most evil change in the whole rush to legalise this perverted activity.

          • Albert

            It is bizarre and it lacks rational foundation.

          • Anton

            Google for why Derry Irvine nicknamed Blair “Miranda” in chambers. And for a certain caution lost from Bow Street magistrates’ files.

          • James60498 .

            Well. I now feel somewhat more educated but significantly more nauseous.

            No such thing as a free education!

          • Dominic Stockford

            “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

            The only true freedom is to obey God’s Word, so says God. So it isn’t an exercise of freedom to indulge in behaviours that are contrary to God’s Word.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Aye, Stockford, freedom in obedience; even though it reads paradoxically.

            You’re in good company with Prof. CS Lewis.

            I needed that word this very evening.

            Thank you.

          • James60498 .

            Quite right.

            It is absolutely the same with abortion

            Many people without strong views (the vague, inarticulated sense of morality that you refer to) believe abortion to be acceptable because it’s legal. If it wasn’t legal then they would change their minds.

            The liars behind the introduction of the Abortion Act in 1967 claimed that all that it would do would be to make those abortions that already took place safer (well for the woman at least. Not sure it was much help to the baby). And yet the number is up by around 90 times.

            There is NO WAY on earth that the vast majority of the women who have abortions now would do so if it were illegal.

            Making things legal very much has the effect of making them “acceptable”.

          • Fair points, Albert.

            Just a question: why is it unjust for a state to prevent consensual homosexuals from sexual intimacy?

            By way of comment, the Wolfenden committee in the late 1950’s, came to the conclusion (with one dissenter) that criminal law could not credibly intervene in the private sexual affairs of consenting adults in the privacy of their homes. Their position was as follows: “unless a deliberate attempt be made by society through the agency of the law to equate the sphere of crime with that of sin, there must remain a realm of private that is in brief, not the law’s business” (Wolfenden Report, 1957).

            The Wolfenden Report added: “The law’s function is to preserve public order and decency, to protect the citizen from what is offensive or injurious, and to provide sufficient safeguards against exploitation and corruption of others… It is not, in our view, the function of the law to intervene in the private life of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour.”

            So, it would indeed be just if decriminalisation results in a breakdown of public decency or proved offensive or injurious, leading to the corruption of others. Lord Devlin stated that the Wolfenden Report was wrong in principle, deriving from John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, that the law ought not concern itself with “private immorality”, saying that the Report “requires special circumstances to be shown to justify the intervention of the law. I think that this is wrong in principle”.

            In the event, it was considered that the criminal law should not penalise homosexual men, already the object of ridicule and derision. The comments of Roy Jenkins, Home Secretary at the time, captured the Labour’s government’s attitude in 1967, that decriminalised it: “those who suffer from this disability carry a great weight of shame all their lives” (quoted during parliamentary debate by The Times on 4 July 1967).

            Lord Arran, in an attempt to minimise criticisms that the legislation would lead to further public debate and visibility of issues relating to homosexual civil rights made the following qualification: “I ask those [homosexuals] to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity… any form of ostentatious behaviour now or in the future or any form of public flaunting would be utterly distasteful… [And] make the sponsors of this bill regret that they had done what they had done” (quoted during Royal Assent of the bill by The Times newspaper on 28 July 1967)

            Homosexuality is, in Jack’s view, can be harmful to society when tolerance moves into approval.

            As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 2003:

            Where the government’s policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Now that’s what I call: outstanding!

            Superb contribution!

          • Albert

            I think all this is entirely fair, and I am glad to see that Cardinal Ratzinger makes the same point I was trying to make:

            Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

          • Saint Aquinas advocated the tolerance of prostitution using a very similar line of reasoning.

            Aquinas strongly condemned fornication and prostitution, but notes that the state should allow fornication and prostitution to exist for the sake of the common good. Aquinas’s understood the function of human law in society was not theocratic, a union of secular and ecclesial powers in one religious figure. Though human law is founded on natural law, he saw them as different. For him, the human law was not an application of divine law in everyday living, since the purpose of human law is the temporal tranquillity of the state, whereas the end of divine law is eternal happiness.

            Human law is not able to punish or forbid all evil deeds. There are some areas of human affairs that human law cannot direct and so it should not meddle with these matters. Aquinas is not troubled by this limitation in human or civil law because the eternal law can direct what human law cannot. So he notes that human law permits certain things to occur in society which it cannot control. However, such permission is not equivalent to approval of such behaviour. This limitation of civil statute applies to the area of personal virtues and vices. While civil law does forbid certain vicious acts such as murder and theft, and requires certain acts of virtue such as caring for one’s children and paying one’s debts, it cannot forbid all acts, nor can it prescribe all acts of virtue. The goal of human law is the temporal tranquillity of the state and not eternal salvation. Given this goal of temporal peace and order and the mandate of human law is to prohibit “whatever destroys social intercourse” and not to “prohibit everything contrary to virtue.” The main reason for civil law’s inability to prohibit all vice is that it cannot effect a full internal reform of an individual. An individual in their personal moral life is wounded by original sin and can only be restored by God’s grace. Therefore the coercive and educating power of human law is inefficacious in this realm.

            His general principle, by which the state would tolerate prostitution without approving it, is that human laws “leave certain things unpunished on account of the condition of those who are imperfect, and who would be deprived of many advantages, if all sins were strictly forbidden and punishments appointed for them.” What Aquinas suggests is that civil statute should not place too much of a moral burden on its citizens.

            There are, then, certain limitations to the application of law in society. Legal statute cannot punish every wrong action, but should rather concentrate on those acts that threaten the social order. In light of these limitations public authority can tolerate the existence of certain moral evils taking into account the imperfections of its citizenry and other goods or evils which may be at stake. However, such tolerance by civil authority does not constitute the approval of the evil act in question.

          • Albert

            Saint Aquinas advocated the tolerance of prostitution using a very similar line of reasoning.

            That probably isn’t a coincidence! Excellent post, Jack.

          • Good boy, Jack.

          • IanCad

            I’d like to give you two for that Jack. Thanks!

          • Holger

            And not a single government in the Western world, including the newly elected extreme right in America, is proposing to do any of this.

            Pontificate all you like. The state isn’t listening to you. Your religion does not form the basis of public policy.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Then I guess the people will elect governments further to the Right as time progresses.

            You accept this and that’s why you have two passports.

          • Holger

            Politics is an eternal pendulum. What swings to the right today will swing to the left tomorrow. What’s clear is that over long periods of time, liberalization defines the modern era. If you’re dreaming of a return to Victorian values, you’re fooling yourself. Not a single Western democracy has rescinded a single liberal social law since the right started to gain power. Even Trump has made it clear he has no intention of rescinding LGBT rights.

            When the right starts to rise in influence, fascists always cry victory, just as they did over Brexit. But apart from leaving the EU, the British government hasn’t moved a single step in their direction. There are no plans to rescind any minority rights. Indeed a blanket pardon for convictions made under the old morality laws has just been extended to all gay men. The UK remains socially liberal. Christian fascists who want to drag it back into the Dark Ages are whistling into the wind.

            Let them continue to do so. Their disappointment when they realize that nothing is going to change will be all the greater.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘Politics is an eternal pendulum.’

            Your fathers were astonished at the brevity of life.

            So will you be.

          • Holger

            No matter how long or short I find life to be, fantasizing about a totally unproven eternal existence won’t alter its length.

            You waste what time you have in dreams and fantasies about something you cannot prove is real. I have better things to do with my life.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger

            Science can’t prove or disprove God. It’s tools are inadequate as they are bound by space and time: God is eternal.

          • Holger

            Faith can’t prove or disprove god. All it can do is believe in him. It can’t persuade anyone else that it’s anything more than the panic of an inadequate mind fleeing from the terror of not knowing.

            I don’t ask science to prove god’s existence to me. I ask Christians to do so. And they can’t. No argument they make is anything more than supposition. And I don’t model my world view ifs, buts and maybes. The tall tales of Christians can sometimes be entertaining, although more often than not they’re just plain dull. But they remain tales. And the more the Christian insists on their absolute and unequivocal truth, the more he falls in my estimation as a deluded and stubborn religious nutter.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Rome in A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote:

            Nero fastened the guilt … on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of … Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Pliny relates some of the information he has learned about these Christians:

            They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Testimonium Flavianum,” the relevant portion declares:

            About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he … wrought surprising feats…. He was the Christ. When Pilate …condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared … restored to life…. And the tribe of Christians … has … not disappeared.

            Josephus

          • ChaucerChronicle

            On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald … cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.”

            Babylonian Talmud, circa 70AD

          • Pubcrawler

            “I have better things to do with my life”

            How lovely! Do toddle off and do them.

          • chefofsinners

            “Even Trump…”
            Do not make the mistake of assuming that Trump represents the pendulum’s apogee.

          • Take it from someone from a minority with longevity, Linus. Never get cocky and assume that things can only get better in the long run. Always opt for variability, variety and decentralization, especially when the majority allows you to do so. And try not to make enemies just because it’s more fun to be an asshole, because when the brown stuff hits the proverbial fan, fewer people will go to your side.

          • Anton

            It is the catastrophic effects on the family of the sexual revolution that is causing God to give Europe over to Islam. You won’t enjoy that.

          • bluedog

            This may not be the case. There was a suggestion in the UK Daily Telegraph that Trump was reviewing legislation relating to gays, with a specific reference to that legislation enabling state funding of homosexual adoptions.

          • carl jacobs

            It is within the lawful authority of the state to criminalize homosexual behavior.

          • Yes, but what would it achieve and at what cost? It could outlaw all fornication too.

          • Albert

            Quite, and at that level you have to ask if it is just. Is a law just if it costs much and achieves little? It’s a bit like the element of just war that a war can only be just if it does not create more evil than it prevents.

          • Saint Aquinas “got it” ….

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t necessary disagree, Jack. I am not arguing either for or against criminalization. I am simply asserting that the criminalization of homosexuality would not be a prima facie case of injustice.

          • Jack doesn’t know the answer to this either. If such laws singled out one small group for prosecution, while ignoring acts of fornication by others, then it strikes one as unjust. Wouldn’t one have to argue they prevented some significant harm to society and promoted good? On the other hand, tolerance, without approval, might be more beneficial all round.

          • chiaramonti

            The State once outlawed all forms of unlawful intercourse. When I started out as a lawyer, it was still recorded in the text books, that all forms of sexual intercourse, other than between a man and his wife, “are unlawful.”(but not necessarily criminal). It was only necessary to establish an offence which involved an intent to have unlawful sexual intercourse that the parties were not married and that intercourse had taken place or was intended. The common law was, of course, based upon canon law. Things are different now.

          • Albert

            Would you be so kind as to give an argument for that, please?

          • Uh-oh!

          • carl jacobs

            What, you mean besides the Mosaic law?

            All healthy societies place public restraints on human sexual behavior. Sexual behavior may be a private act but it has profound public consequences. The state a vested interest in regulating that behavior. Otherwise you get the libertine degeneracy that is killing the West right now. Literally.

            The regulation it may impose is a matter of judgment and prudence. It is not a matter of justice.

          • Albert

            I suppose I was after a philosophical defence rather than a theological one. I agree about the public restraints, but that could equally apply to heterosexual behaviour. It is just to outlaw prostitution. But it is not just to outlaw sex within (heterosexual) marriage. So I suppose I’m asking if you can provide a non-Mosaic argument for outlawing homosexual behaviour which leaves heterosexual marriage untouched.

          • Ooh, ooh, lemme jump in! Normalized homosexual behaviour changes the nature of a society. It’s been used to sequester young males for corvée or warrior assemblies in self-sufficient, self-gratifying cohorts while older and wealthy males grab all the young women; it mucks up the customs of succession and inheritance; and endangers family stability by adding another source of competition.

          • Albert

            That looks like a good argument!

          • And it’s not often that I can beat Carl to the fray!

          • Well said.

          • Anton

            Prostitution was rightly regarded as a disgrace in ancient Israel but not prohibited to any single woman except a priest’s daughter in the Pentateuch.

            My view of why that is can be inferred from my view that it should be outlawed only where there is a Welfare State…

          • Albert

            I see your logic, but I think there are other reasons for outlawing it.

          • “What, you mean besides the Mosaic law?”
            You’re advocating a theocracy?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Who decides what is within the lawful authority of the state? Why, to be sure, the state does. So of course it is within the lawful authority of the state to criminalize homosexual behaviour. By the same token, it is equally within the lawful authority of the state to criminalize heterosexual behaviour to boot.

          • Hence the struggle.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

            1 Timothy 6:1-21

          • Inspector General

            Oh Lord! Are you still a teacher of children in your professional life!

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What the hell has that got to do with anything?

          • Inspector General

            You don’t feed your charges the above madness, do you? You are not fit to teach, sir! We cannot have the next generation under your wing…

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, thank you very much for telling me. Very interesting.

          • Inspector General

            We have justifiable concerns about homosexual male teachers. Now look, we don’t want you to go off in an outraged huff – just read…
            ————————————–
            Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse
            http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS02E3
            ————————————–

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            If you’re credulous enough to swallow that kind of stuff, so much the worse for you. Any sexual predator who succeeded in infiltrating a school or other youth institution, and found that the person in charge of child protection was someone with your attitude and naïve beliefs, would hardly be able to believe his luck. Having spent quite a number of years teaching in boys’ boarding schools, I know whereof I speak.

          • Inspector General

            “Dear Mr Marinaro. Following our meeting, where you disclosed your sexual ‘preference’ I regret I have no alternative than to terminate your contract of employment with this school with immediate effect. This is due to the well established connection between homosexuality and paedophilia. No doubt you wish this truth was not the case. So does this man. But established it is and we, the school management and governors consider that it is in the best interest of the male students that no risk to their well being be undertaken. That it be my painful duty to discharge you should be balanced against what seems to be a never ending stream of past heinous crimes concerning the predation of young lads by homosexuals in authority. Let me tell you sir, such a tragedy will not be allowed to happen in this school while I have any say!

            Finally, to save embarrassment on both sides, I must inform you that should the school receive an invitation to supply an employers reference, and that it be from some institution of learning concerned with young males, it will go unanswered.

            Sincerely

            Headmaster”

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Brilliant. Fortunately, discrimination of that kind, which does nothing whatever to protect children and young people, has now for some years been illegal here in the UK. If you were a headmaster who thought along the lines indicated in that hypothetical letter, a sexual predator on the teaching staff of your school would be fairly safe from discovery. He would likely run rings round you.

          • Inspector General

            Legislation is for ever under review. You know that. This equality business isn’t set in stone, you know! The proven link that has homosexual men in authority abusing their position of trust with young males in their charge is too compelling not for it to be acted on. It’s not a question of if, but when. You know that too.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, there are and have been cases of homosexual men abusing their position of trust with young males, just as there are and have been cases of heterosexual men abusing their position of trust with young females. Such cases no more justify discrimination against homosexual men in general than they justify discrimination against heterosexual men in general: most men, no matter what their sexuality, never betray their trust in that way.

            Although men who commit sexual offences against boys can sometimes also be homosexual in the ordinary sense of the word (i.e. sexually attracted to other adult males), usually they are not. Not a few of them are found also to have offended against girls. If they have any sexual interest in other adults (and not all have) – it is most often heterosexual. Indeed, they are as likely as not to be heterosexually married. Paedophiles and similar sexual predators would, of course, prefer as many of the general public as possible to remain ignorant on these matters, since such ignorance helps to protect them from discovery and retribution. It is what permitted many of them in the past to carry on their nefarious activities undetected for years, sometimes even for decades.

          • Inspector General

            “Although men who commit sexual offences against boys can sometimes also be homosexual in the ordinary sense of the word (i.e. sexually attracted to other adult males), usually they are not.”

            Thought you might be saving that for a bit later. Still out you come with part of the ‘gay creed’. The idea is simple. Gay men get to decide who is gay and who is not. Being gay then must be about finding sexual attraction ONLY in same sex adults. Those who commit the currently accepted asocial crime of pederasty are therefore not gay. They only appear to be at the superfluous level.

            This staggering piece of smug self deception is only rivalled, at present, by just one other equally astounding example. The Climate Change bandwagon. It was found that some of delegates who flew vast distances around the world to attend these junkets would embarrass everybody by standing up, head bowed, cap in hand, and apologise for flying to get there. So you know what the scoundrels did – they declared air pollution, considered at per head level the worst example by far of contributing towards the greenhouse effect, as beyond their remit!

            You can fool some of the people including yourselves some of the time…

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            So you’re saying that we can’t start making distinctions between men who are sexually attracted to and have sex with other men, and men who sexually molest boys. Never mind the fact that most of the former have no sexual interest in boys; never mind either the fact that the most of the latter have no sexual interest in other men and that their sexual involvement, if any, with other adults is most often with women. Ignore such niceties. They’re all just homosexual or “gay”.

            OK. Fine. Then by exactly the same “logic”, you can’t start making distinctions between men who are attracted to and have sex with women, and men who sexually molest little girls. Making such specious distinctions is nothing but a staggering piece of smug self-deception; it is completely out of court. They’re all just heterosexual or “straight”, aren’t they? You can fool some of the people including yourselves some of the time…

          • Inspector General

            You’re not having it, are you. And who can blame you. While you stick with the fiction that only heterosexuals abuse children, all children, your gay rights won’t be taken away and more likely increased if that is possible.

            How one wishes you can argue your point on ‘Question Time’ or similar…

            That’s it for this thread…so last word to you then.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I have never propounded, either directly or by implication, the fiction that only heterosexuals abuse children, nor have I denied that there are homosexuals who do. What I have said is that homosexuals bear no SPECIAL responsibility for the sexual abuse of children, which is true. The average homosexual man is as safe with children as the average heterosexual man is.

            I’d love to say that homosexual men never molest young boys, but I can’t, because it wouldn’t be true. A small minority do. I’d love to say that heterosexual men never molest young girls, but that wouldn’t be true either. A small minority do. I’d love to say that HETEROSEXUAL men never molest young BOYS, but once again that wouldn’t be true. A small minority do. What is clear is that the overwhelming majority of men, whatever their sexuality, never molest children of either sex and wouldn’t want to. It is equally clear that most of those male paedophiles who molest boys have no sexual attraction to other adult males, and that in the case of those who have any sexual involvement with other adults, it is most often with women.

            The fact that you have had to resort to misrepresenting me confirms that you know that your position in this matter is wrong.

          • Inspector General

            That fact of the matter is – a man who molests underage boys is exhibiting homosexual behaviour. You cannot weasel out of that. Yes, you don’t want these people to be associated with the gay movement. That is understandable. So you distance yourself from them. Your continued obfuscation cannot ever cover that up, not ultimately, although one stands impressed at your attempts. You are a master at that game, and no doubt your articulation will see you safe in your career unless you act recklessly, as many of your orientation have done, and will continue to do…

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, a man who molests underage boys is exhibiting homosexual behaviour (homosexual = same sex). I cannot weasel out of that. Similarly, a man who molests underage girls is exhibiting heterosexual behaviour (heterosexual = other sex). I cannot weasel out of that either. Most men who molest boys do not exhibit homosexual behaviour with other adult men. I cannot weasel out of that either. Conversely, most men who exhibit homosexual behaviour with other adult men do not molest boys. I cannot weasel out of that either. Where such molesters of boys exhibit any sexual behaviour with other adults, it is most often heterosexual. I cannot weasel out of that either. The overwhelming majority of heterosexual and homosexual men never engage in sexual behaviour of any kind with children and have no interest in doing so. I cannot weasel out of that either.

            There are individual pressure groups of various kinds, but “THE gay movement” is as mythical as “THE straight movement”. Just as most heterosexual men don’t want to be associated with people who molest either boys or girls, so most homosexual men don’t want to be either. In either case that is not only understandable but reasonable.

            I presume that you are as safe in your career, whatever it is, as I am in mine – unless, of course, you start acting recklessly, as many (although still only a small minority) of your orientation have done, and will continue to do…

          • Inspector General

            What a magnificent example of a weasel you are…

          • carl jacobs

            Albert is a retired lawyer?

            Say it ain’t so, Albert. Say it ain’t so.

          • Lost a litigation and paid through the nose?

          • Albert

            It ain’t so.

          • carl jacobs

            Good! My image of you is restored.

    • Holger

      If “our hypothetical homosexual” follows the dictates of the Church, whether he finds someone willing to have a “leg-over with him” or not, he will still be “deprived of the ecstasy of sexual intimacies to enhance the affections of the heart”.

      The same is not true of straights. It therefore follows that straights can live in the hope of marriage, whereas the Church condemns gays to live in the despair of eternal enforced celibacy.

      Which of course you, in typical cold-hearted and contemptuous fashion, will dismiss as no sacrifice at all. A mere trifle and those whining gays should just shut up and put up. How dare they object to what you have ordained?

      And you wonder why the world views you as cold, uncaring, rigid and self-regarding. But who cares, eh? Let the world bleat, god will say what you tell him to, so you can do no wrong. And the devil take everyone else.

      • Albert

        Which of course you, in typical cold-hearted and contemptuous fashion, will dismiss as no sacrifice at all.

        No. And you’ve got no reason to say that except for your cold-hearted contempt for people with whom you disagree.

        The discussion, as you can see from the thread is simply about the justice of abstinence. Are you going to provide an argument for that or will you simply continue being abusive?

        • Holger

          Describing you as you are is in no way abusive. It’s a mere statement of fact, as evidenced by the Church’s constant dismissal of the plight of gay Christians who try to live by its homophobic dictates, not to mention its condemnation of those who don’t.

          In effect the message is “shut the f#ç§ up and be content with crumbs we throw you, you bunch of repulsive deviants. Go sit in the back seats with the widows, unmarriageable spinsters and other rejects. We’ll find a use for you every now and again as compliant objects to pity whenever we want to appear pious and holier-than-thou. In the meantime take up knitting to keep yourselves occupied between Courage Apostolate coffee mornings once a month. And if you dare to want anything more, burn in hell.”

          That’s the hope the Church holds out for gays. No wonder it’s held in such contempt by the LGBT community.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            My how your bitterness spits out; ungrateful after we liberated your country and tried your fathers for collaboration.

          • Inspector General

            Know your place, gay boy, and it isn’t at the front in the driving seat…

          • ChaucerChronicle

            The hope the church holds out for homosexuals is the same as for everyone else: turn away from your wrongding and believe.

          • Holger

            I am doing nothing wrong and there is nothing to believe in.

            Show me this god you blab on about. Where is he? Most children leave invisible friends behind as they mature into adults. Why is it that Christians cling on to the illusions of childhood for so much longer than everyone else?

          • Inspector General

            Show us proof of your faith that we came from nothing…

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘I am doing nothing wrong and there is nothing to believe in.’

            Oxymoronic.

            A crooked (bent, gay etc.) line is discerned by comparison to a straight.

          • Holger

            Gay and straight are figures of speech. In any context other than describing sexual orientation, they are not antonyms.

            Gay does not mean bent. That’s what homophobic bigots used to call gays, seeking to portray them as broken, inferior versions of heterosexuals. The word was changed precisely because this is not what homosexuality is. It’s a naturally occurring variant of human sexuality that is no more inferior to heterosexuality than blond hair is inferior to dark hair, or blue eyes inferior to dark eyes. It is merely different.

            Go ahead and try to stigmatize it if you want. But one condemnatory voice among millions of positive, supporting ones won’t have much of an effect. Governments all over the Western world recognize the equal value of all sexual orientations and have repealed discriminatory laws as proof of this recognition. Rant all you like about how evil and twisted you believe gays are. It won’t make any difference. You’re pissing in the wind and as you’re the only one who’ll be stained by the blowback, by all means, go right ahead.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            You’ve disqualified yourself Holger: ‘there is nothing to believe in’.

            You have no reference-point to judge by.

          • Holger

            I have the only reference points any of us have. Myself in relation to my environment.

            Fantasies like religion are not reference points. They’re delusions.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Don’t you believe in Evolutionay Theory?

            Your brain is a lump of matter, an accident of birth, with random thoughts, that can’t, therfore, make sense of other lumps in the environment.

          • Holger

            I acknowledge the existence of evolutionary theory and find it plausible with much evidence to back up many of its claims. But does it offer a definitive explanation of our origins? This is a question neither I nor anyone else can currently answer.

            Admissions of ignorance are anathema to Christians. They try to fill them with their quack theories about invisible, all-powerful gods. It’s almost as though they’re afraid of not knowing and will tell themselves any lie just to fill the void.

            What’s so scary about not knowing? Every gap in our knowledge is an opportunity for discovery and growth.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            You can’t discover nor measure growth unless you have anwers which you say you don’t.

          • Holger

            You can measure verifiable fact. You cannot measure made up stories about all-powerful sky fairies.

            You’re the one with the measurement problem, not me.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            No, no, no Holger, you mustn’t cheat by ignoring Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger, may I ask you a question?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Had you said that you believed in Evolutionary Theory you could’ve at least said that compared to the amoeba, you believe your intelligence to be superior.

          • Anton

            Try looking.

          • Albert

            Describing you as you are is in no way abusive. It’s a mere statement of fact

            Even if it were a fact (which it isn’t) it would still be abuse. Let’s suppose I weigh 50 stone and you call me a fat git. That might be a fact, but it would still be abusive.

            But the more interesting point here is the purpose of the abuse: it saves you from providing an argument, which is important, because you can’t.

          • Holger

            Here’s a fact: the Church calls gays objectively disordered, which is clear and shameless abuse. It provides no facts to support this claim, just a slew of suppositions and half-baked theories. But it feels entitled to insult and slander us by claiming that our love is twisted, broken and morally corrupt.

            You and your fellow Christian bullies are serial gay-bashers. Every time you express an opinion about us, you abuse and defame us.

            For all I know, you may indeed weigh 50 stone. If I were then to call you fat, that would not be abusive but descriptive. If I were to call you a git, in light of your habitual abusive behaviour towards my community, such a negative description would be completely justified. So calling you a fat git would be perfectly acceptable, for that is what you would be: a fat, homophobic git.

          • Albert

            Here’s a fact: the Church calls gays objectively disordered

            No. It says the inclination is objectively disordered. Firstly, that’s not clear and shameless abuse, that’s just a fact (to parody your wider argument). Secondly, what you have done in missing out the idea that it is the inclination that is objectively disordered and instead claim we say gays are objectively disordered is to reduce gays to their sexual orientation. This is irrational and demeaning.

            It provides no facts to support this claim

            Sexuality is clearly ordered towards procreation (among other things). This is a fact. Therefore, homosexuality is clearly objectively disordered and so what you say is simply slander.

            Every time you express an opinion about us, you abuse and defame us.

            That’s clearly not true. Yesterday I was giving reasons why homosexuality should not be criminalised and, had I have on many occasions defending homosexuals from unjust discrimination. Again you just feel entitled to insult and slander us.

            You do not provide arguments to defend your position, you just provide abuse. As I said previously:

            But the more interesting point here is the purpose of the abuse: it saves you from providing an argument, which is important, because you can’t.

          • Anton

            Albert, it is worth pondering why God proscribed homosexual activity in the Law of Moses with the ultimate earthly penalty. Also, ‘discrimination’ is when two things that are the same get treated differently; should you accept Holger’s use of the term?

          • Albert

            I used the expression “unjust discrimination”, since there may be occasions when discrimination is just. I agree about the Law of Moses.

          • chefofsinners

            Excellent.

      • Marriage, Linus, has always been between men and women because it has always involved natural offspring, alliances and successions, not sex, which people frequently got on the side. It has been a rarity in many societies, a status and a privilege not everyone could afford. You could say that it’s unfair, like the gender-dysphoric man may whine about the injustice of lacking a womb, but neither pretend “marriages” or opening the door to a guy in a dress can change reality. How is it a suffering to live with a civil partnership or a mock marriage by a minister? Why the urge to force everyone to accept and celebrate an illusion at the threat of state-imposed sanctions?

        • Holger

          A cisgender man who wants to carry and give birth to a child can try. He won’t succeed of course, but that’s a morphological reality that nobody can change. Not him, not the Church, not medical science – at least not yet.

          The only thing standing in the way of two men or two women marrying however is the disapproval of Christian (and Jewish) bigots who don’t want them to. The same “magic” words they chant over a man and woman could just as easily be chanted over two people of the same gender, but they refuse to do so, not because it isn’t possible, but because they don’t want to.

          There’s a world of difference between what can’t be done and what won’t be done.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘marrying’

            A legal fiction.

            Holger, the floor is all yours. Tell us how they consumate the ‘marriage ‘?

          • Yes, fine, but I still wonder why a self-declared atheist obsesses over getting us religious bigots to honour something he himself scoffs at. It can’t be a pathological itch to dominate and defile, can it?

          • Holger

            Any organization that claims gays should have fewer rights than straights is a target for my criticism.

            If you argue that the Church should be allowed to discriminate against gays then you should have no problem with the various bans against Jews that exist in many Muslim countries.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            There is no moral equivalence between repeated rear entry and Jewish people as a race.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger you parents need to sue the École polytechnique for producing a clever devil and a morally bankrupt son.

          • Rights end at the tip of your nose. The “right” you’re gunning for is to compel others to comply with your desires and belief.

            If the Muslims don’t want Jews coming to their their country, well, so be it. Actually, I don’t have an issue with that …their loss, they can continue to stew in their own ineptitude… or with private businesses refusing services to me. As long as I retain the right of reciprocal treatment, which may mean Palis out of Israel and another renaissance of Jewish-owned hotels and resorts for everyone, which bankrupted a lot of the Jew-haters.

          • Inspector General

            ——–
            HIV Infection Increases Risk Of Brain Shrinkage
            http://www.aidsbeacon.com/news/2012/02/29/hiv-aids-infection-increases-risk-of-brain-shrinkage/
            ———
            …and more. Much much more. If anybody doubts that Almighty God has not cursed the same homosexual men who are out to wreck his church, then here’s your Damascene link…

          • Holger

            Meths drinking is a proven means of shrinking the brain, old bigot.

            Careful how you go.

          • Inspector General

            It would be a great embarrassment for any creator to be unhappy with part of what he has created. So pity God if you can imagine such a thing, as he thins your ranks out albeit regretfully…

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger

            You can get help for you condition: Dwarfism is short stature that results from a genetic or medical condition.

          • Holger

            I suffer from no condition. I’m in perfect health and am of average height. There’s nothing wrong with me at all, so I need no help from you or anyone else.

            If I were suffering from a condition however, I would seek help from a qualified medical practitioner. I would most certainly not place myself in the hands of a Christian witchdoctor whose qualifications consisted of 5 years or so of mental masturbation in the midst of other mental masturbators at a university that should know better than to lend the credibility of genuine academic accreditation to useless subjects like theology.

            Priests are the archetypal quacks seeking to apply their snake oil remedies and their invisible, non-existent god as a balm for all ills.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Oh you silly sailor. It’s to point out to you the moral deformity of your comments.

          • Inspector General

            Have to agree with there, Linus . A proctologist is a must for every practising gay man.

            “Ladies and gentlemen, I will now do the impossible. Produce a wire coat hanger from nowhere…”

          • Holger

            And the old psychopath falls back into his familiar pattern of homophobic abuse.

            Careful, old bigot. Carry on like this and you’ll provoke the ire of the fake archbishop once again. Remember what having to ban yourself from the blog for (not quite) a month felt like? All that bile building up inside you and nowhere to spew it out? No wonder you didn’t last the whole month. One assumes that acid reflux got the better of you.

          • Inspector General

            You must rest now. Conserve your strength. And weep. Oh yes, you must weep…

          • Holger

            Yawn, you mean. I must yawn. Every time you open your foetid old mouth and more bile pours out of it, I yawn at the boring inevitability of the deluge.

            Take an antacid you whiffy old puker. You must have terrible heartburn.

          • Pubcrawler

            “All that bile building up inside you and nowhere to spew it out? No wonder you didn’t last the whole month.”

            He managed longer than you ever have.

          • chefofsinners

            And yet you want them to bless your relationships.

          • William Lewis

            And he spends a lot of time commenting on a blog that is primarily preoccupied with discerning and demonstrating the will of an imaginary sky fairy! Funny old stick.

          • Holger

            Absolutely not. Nothing would induce my husband and I to stand up in front of a Christian witchdoctor and have him chant his magic incantations over us. What a ludicrous notion! We wouldn’t be able to stop laughing. It’s all I can do to keep a straight face on the rare occasions I attend family weddings. I certainly wouldn’t put myself through such a pointless farce.

            Some LGBT people are Christians however. Quite how they can manage the cognitive dissonance, I don’t know. But there you go – people can be very contradictory. Their Church discriminates against them and treats them as second class citizens. I support them in their struggle to rectify this situation. Anyone who targets the LGBT community is fair game.

          • chefofsinners

            Why are you so desperate to force a religion you despise to endorse your morality?

          • Anton

            Some LGBT people are Christians however. Quite how they can manage the cognitive dissonance, I don’t know.

            Amen to that!

          • Martin

            Marriage involves the two complimentary becoming one. Just as a plug requires a socket, two plugs are of no use, nor two sockets. You are clearly a fool.

          • Holger

            Marriage is a civil contract between two people designed to regulate their common life. People are not plugs, nor are they sockets. If you don’t realize that, you are clearly a fool.

          • If it’s a civil contract, then why don’t you accept that formality, instead of declaring open warfare and risking everything? I’d love to play cards against you…would take care of mortgage.

          • Martin

            Marriage is the joining of two people of the opposite sex, making them one and instituted by God when He created mankind. You are clearly a fool.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Christianity and Judaism are not the only religions that believe that marriage is a heterosexual relationship. If you put your mind to it I’m sure you will be able to think of others.

          • Anton

            Actually the couple declare *themselves* married and the registrar/vicar declares that the State recognises it. That is the reality whatever the words say.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Mrs Holger

            Why limit it to two men and two women?

            Why not one man and four women?

        • magnolia

          Those who really suffer, in my experience, tend to become very quiet, tired, depressed, and disorientated, unless very courageous types who keep going despite everything, or those of deep faith, whose faith sustains them.

          It is like the children in the orphanages, where those who had been neglected the longest had ceased to cry. It is thus a dysfunctional society which seeks to prioritize the very flamboyantly noisy people with lots of resources, media advocates, and theatrics.

          Instead society and institutions should be assessing who has gone quiet, and prioritizing the time-poor, the handicapped, the exhausted, and those who struggle to function.

          • A good point. Lately the line-up of suffering claimants has been stacked with malingerers who leech time and resources from the folks who actually need them.

      • chefofsinners

        Some might lose the hope of sexual intimacy, but in Christianity they gain the hope of eternal bliss.
        As others have said, various illnesses deprive heterosexuals of sexual intimacy.
        Equally, those who believe they can only gain sexual fulfilment from three way relationships, or children, or animals are not permitted to do so.
        God does not single out homosexuals for celibacy.

        • Holger

          And Hitler didn’t single out Jews for extermination either. He also killed gays, and gypsies, and the mentally ill, and political prisoners.

          Not much consolation to know you’re not the only ones who are going to suffer an unfair, cruel and unusual punishment.

          And what hope is there of eternal bliss for a gay person when the eternal being we’re supposed to be eternally blissful with is a homophobe? Would blacks be eternally blissful in the presence of a divine KKK archwizard?

          If blacks who’ve been black all their lives and are quite happy and proud to be black suddenly find themselves white when they arrive in heaven, something tells me they’ll be mightily pissed off at the racist deity that bleached them. Or if they remain black but find out they really were created as slaves for their white superiors and are expected to serve them for all eternity, one can imagine their ire will be equally formidable.

          This eternal bliss you talk about can only be eternal bliss for you. Which is all that matters, isn’t it? As long as you get what you want, to the devil with everyone else.

          • “Daddy, it’s not fair.”

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘to the devil with everyone else’

            I suppose Holger, in the end God says to you: ‘All right Holger, thy will be done.’

          • ChaucerChronicle

            It was a quiet night in Munich. The people moving along the streets in the heart of the city were grim. They walked heads down, hands deep in the pockets of their frayed coats. All around, the spirit of defeat hung like a pall in the evening air; it was etched on the faces of the out-of-work soldiers on every street corner and in every café. Germany had been defeated in the war, but it had been crushed by the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Everywhere the people were still mired in depression and despair, several years after the humiliating surrender of Kaiser Wilhelm.
            In this atmosphere the purposeful stride of Captain Ernst Roehm (pictured above) seemed out of place. But Roehm was accustomed to being different. A homosexual with a taste for boys, Roehm was part of a growing subculture in Germany which fancied itself a superior form of German manhood. A large, heavy man, Roehm had been a professional soldier since 1906, and, after the war, had temporarily lent his talents to a socialist terror organization called the Iron Fist. On this night Roehm was on his way to meet some associates who had formed a much more powerful socialist organization.
            At the door of the Bratwurstgloeckl, a tavern frequented by homosexual roughnecks and bully-boys, Roehm turned in and joined the handful of sexual deviants and occultists who were celebrating the success of a new campaign of terror. Their organization, once known as the German Worker’s Party, was now called the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, The National Socialist German Worker’s Party — the Nazis.

            The Pink Swastika, 5th Internet Edition

          • Holger

            5th Internet Edition, eh?

            Any crackpot can publish whatever he wants on the Internet. And other crackpots will read it. Sensible people don’t touch such gibbering nonsense with a barge pole.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Unless, of course, one counter-checks their original sources. Made easy by their references and citations. You see Holger homosexuals need to compensate for their excessive femininity to show you how macho they are:

            List, a close associate of Lanz, formed the Guido von List Society in Vienna in 1904. The Guido von List Society was accused of practicing a form of Hindu Tantrism which featured sexual perversion in its rituals. This form of sexual perversion was popularized in occult circles by a man named Aleister Crowley who, according to Hitler biographer J. Sydney Jones, enjoyed “playing with black magic and little boys” (J. S. Jones:123). List was “accused of being the Aleister Crowley of Vienna” (ibid.:123). Like Lanz, List was an occultist; he wrote several books on the magic principles of rune letters (from which he chose the “SS” symbol). In 1908, List “was unmasked as the leader of a blood brotherhood which went in for sexual perversion and substituted the swastika for the cross” (Sklar:23). The Nazis borrowed heavily from List’s occult theories and research. List also formed an elitist occult priesthood called the Armanen Order, to which Hitler himself may have belonged (Waite, 1977:91).

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger

            I find it fascinating that you, unintentionally, encourage your own demise:

            Famous events in Nazi history are also linked to homosexuality; events such as the burning of the German Reichstag in 1932, the 1938 pogrom called Kristallnacht, and the 1944 attempt on Hitler’s life. Even the enduring image of Nazi book-burning, familiar to us from newsreels of the 1930s, was directly related to the homosexuality of Nazi leaders. The first such incident occurred four days after Hitler’s Brownshirts broke into Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin on May 6, 1933. On May 10 the Nazis burned thousands of books and files taken in that raid. The Institute had extensive records on the sexual perversions of numerous Nazi leaders, many of whom had been under treatment there prior to the beginning of the Nazi regime. Treatment at the Sex Research Institute was required by the German courts for persons convicted of sex crimes. Ludwig L. Lenz, the “gay” Assistant Director at the Institute at the time of the raid, managed to escape with his life and later wrote of the incident:

            Why was it then, since we were completely non-party, that our purely scientific Institute was the first victim which fell to the new regime? The answer to this is simple…We knew too much. It would be against medical principles to provide a list of the Nazi leaders and their perversions [but]…not ten percent of the men who, in 1933, took the fate of Germany into their hands, were sexually normal…Our knowledge of such intimate secrets regarding members of the Nazi Party and other documentary material — we possessed about forty thousand confessions and biographical letters — was the cause of the complete and utter destruction of the Institute of Sexology. (Haberle:369).

          • Holger

            Another lengthy quote from your Internet fantasy fiction source, I see.

            Bigots across the ages have used the written word to justify their bigotry. It used to be “if some beardy patriarch wrote it in the Bible, it must be true.” Then it became “if some overweight alcoholic of a journalist wrote it in a newspaper, it must be true.” Now its “if some morbidly obese loser published it on a hastily cobbled-together WordPress page, it must be true.”

            Hatred searches for justification, and generally finds it in the words of other haters. It moves in a self-perpetuating circle with each hater saying “see, other people share my hatred, so it must be the truth!” Facts are twisted and even invented to fuel the spiral..

            It’s the very basis of Christianity. Hatred for all those who differ from an arbitrary norm dressed up as love and transmitted by the written word from bigot to bigot.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            The attack on the Sex Research Institute is often cited as an example of Nazi oppression of homosexuals. This is partly true, but as we shall see, the “oppression” fits into a larger context of internecine rivalry between two major homosexual groups. Magnus Hirschfeld, who headed the Institute, was a prominent Jewish homosexual. Hirschfeld also headed a “gay rights” organization called the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (SHC), formed in 1897 to work for the repeal of Paragraph 175 of the German legal code, which criminalized homosexuality (Kennedy:230). The organization was also opposed to sadomasochism and pederasty, two of the favorite practices of the militaristic, Roehm-style homosexuals who figured so prominently in the early Nazi Party. Hirschfeld had formed the SHC to carry on the work of the pioneer “gay rights” activist, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895). Ulrichs had written against the concept of “Greek love” (pederasty) advocated by a number of other homosexuals in Germany.
            One such advocate was Adolf Brand, who formed the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (“Community of the Elite”) in 1902. The Gemeinschaft der Eigenen inspired the formation in 1920 of the German Friendship League, which changed its name in 1923 to the Society for Human Rights. The leaders of this group were instrumental in the formation and the rise of the Nazi Party. Adolf Brand published the world’s first homosexual periodical, Der Eigene (“The Elite” – Oosterhuis and Kennedy:cover). Brand was a pederast, child pornographer and anti-Semite, and, along with many homosexuals who shared his philosophies, developed a burning hatred of Magnus Hirschfeld and the SHC. When Hirschfeld’s Sex Research Institute was destroyed, the SA troops were under the general command of Ernst Roehm, a member of Brand’s spinoff group, the Society for Human Rights.

            The Pink Swastika, 5th Internet Edition

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘Any crackpot can publish whatever he wants on the Internet.’

            Quite so, Holger, quite so.

          • chefofsinners

            You are completely free to choose your lifestyle and your eternal destiny. Christianity only constrains you if you believe it, which you do not. I can’t see what your problem is, except that not everyone in the world will let you tell them what to think.

          • Holger

            My problem is with Christians who want to impose their beliefs on me. They want to change the law to prevent same-sex marriage and to allow discrimination against me. Some even want to go as far as making it illegal for me to engage in sexual activity.

            Of course we’re only talking about a few nutters, but these nutters benefit from the entrenched power of established religion. The Church certainly doesn’t have the influence on our lives that it used to have, but it can still do us harm. Religious bigotry is a force for evil all over the world, so if in my small way I can highlight the dark side of Christianity as found on this website and the anti-gay animus that motivates the kind of Christian who posts here, then I’m doing my bit for my community.

    • Terry Mushroom

      Married people are called to chastity and can be called to abstinence. I think of the married person whose spouse is unable to have sex because of illness.

    • CliveM

      Good point. Otherwise you may risk giving the impression that God is unjust, or at the very least your understanding is unjust.

      Which would be a diffucult position to maintain.

      • Albert

        Absolutely. How does anyone have just claims before God for anything?

        • CliveM

          They dont. Which I’m sure is the point they are making.

        • Anton

          Which is why the notion of human rights is nonsensical.

          • Albert

            Before God, yes. But not before each other.

          • Anton

            This is nonsense because human rights, if they exist, are held by a human being for others to respect, regardless of whether the other is divine or another human.

          • Albert

            Assuming God and human beings are equal, which they aren’t.

          • Anton

            That has nothing to do with it. Under the supposition that human rights exist, any being capable of acknowledging them should respect them – all the more so in the case of a righteous God. Yet we find in scripture a righteous God who, if human rights exist, is a serial abuser of them. Ergo, they don’t exist.

          • Albert

            No, that simply does not follow and it’s just how you are defining things. A right entails a duty towards someone else. Now it is clear that God imposes duties on his people that he does not impose on himself. Thus we can have duties that God does not have. If we convert the duty back into a right, God doesn’t suddenly get the duty.

            Now you are making the duty of the right depend on being able to acknowledge the right. Presumably therefore you think rights apply to intelligent beings, but not to others. But surely the right depends on the nature of relationship. After all, my wife has rights over me that other people do not have, because their relationship is different. Since my relationship with God is entirely different from that with human beings, it does not follow that, because I have rights in relation to them, that therefore I have rights in relation to God. Therefore, the fact that we can falsify the claim that we have rights before God, does not falsify the claim that we have rights before each other.

          • Anton

            Under the supposition that human rights exist, all who are capable of acknowledging the notion should respect them. A tiger cannot. God and other men can. That is the reason for my “all who are capable of acknowledging the notion” caveat.

            The trouble with your argument is that these purported rights subsist merely in my existence as a human being. I might have other rights before other persons as a citizen of the UK, but those are civil rights and I lose them outside the borders of the UK. I have the right not to undergo a global flood, because God has chosen to promise that there will not be another – but he did not do so to the antediluvians, and hence this is not a human right as it does not apply to all humans.

          • Albert

            I understood the point of the first paragraph.

            The trouble with your argument is that these purported rights subsist merely in my existence as a human being.

            No, they are real, but they do not apply to every intelligent being.

            I might have other rights before other persons as a citizen of the UK, but those are civil rights and I lose them outside the borders of the UK.

            A legal right is simply the expression in law of a right that exists prior to the law and on which the law is based. But the right exists in itself by virtue of your relationships with non-divine members of your own species. But God is not a non-divine member of your own species, therefore you do not have such a relationship with him and do not have a right against him.

          • Anton

            The rights of which we speak are called *human* rights, with the unambiguous implication that (if they exist at all) people have them simply by by being human. Nothing about relationship there. Now, a tiger is not responsible for violating my human rights if he eats me. But another man, or God, surely is, because he knows what he is doing.

          • Albert

            The rights of which we speak are called *human* rights, with the unambiguous implication that (if they exist at all) people have them simply by by being human.

            Fine as far as it goes.

            Nothing about relationship there.

            Except that as humans exist only in relationship, it follows that if we have something simply by being human, we have it, in some sense by being in relation to other human beings. Thus I completely deny your whole position. The idea of human rights against God is meaningless for so many reasons, but most importantly because we are not in the same human relationship with God. Therefore, it is not about merely knowing the human right exists that makes it compelling, but to whom it applies, that makes it compelling and since it rests on human relationship, it cannot apply to God.

          • Anton

            as humans exist only in relationship, it follows that if we have something simply by being human, we have it, in some sense by being in relation to other human beings.

            Not so! I exist because God created me. If human rights exist then as a human I have them as surely as I have an appendix and a liver.

          • Albert

            Funnily enough the bodily organ thing was to be my analogy for what is wrong with your position. You seem, bizarrely for a Christian, to be some kind of logical positivist: it only makes sense to say something exists if it can be empirically tested, but that’s plainly false.

          • Anton

            That does not follow from what I said, which is “If human rights exist then as a human I have them as surely as I have an appendix and a liver.”

          • Albert

            Okay, but then in case your position is irrelevant, for the claim of a human right is the claim of a duty from another human being. God can see that we have that, without it being a claim over him.

          • Anton

            “Irrelevant” is a weird word to use. If human rights exist, meaning of course something attached to any human, then God is a serial abuser of them. But God is just. Therefore…

            By all means call this reasoning irrelevant, but others may take a different view.

          • Albert

            No. Just because someone has a duty towards me doesn’t mean that everyone has a duty towards me. Now I’ve given my reasons for believing in human rights, namely the nature of human relationships. Those reasons do not apply to God since God is never just a human being. Therefore, by what manner of reasoning do you argue that they do apply to God?

          • Anton

            Those reasons do not apply to God since God is never just a human being.

            That is what I disagree with. If human rights exist then all who have a moral sense are under an obligation to respect them. And God certainly has a moral sense.

            What about Satan? He is not human yet he will be judged for what you would call gross abuse of human rights.

          • Albert

            If human rights exist then all who have a moral sense are under an obligation to respect them.

            You keep saying this, but I don’t see how you defend it, and my explanation of human rights does not entail what you say here.

            What about Satan? He is not human yet he will be judged for what you would call gross abuse of human rights.

            No I wouldn’t. Why do you keep assuming you know what I think?

          • Anton

            Where did I do that? I asked you an umpremised question and followed it by a statement of my own. If you disagree with that statement, now would be the time to say why.

          • Albert

            Where did I do that?

            Here, where you said:

            he will be judged for what you would call gross abuse of human rights

            I wouldn’t call it an abuse of human rights because I do not think human rights work in that way. Human rights bind only human persons for the reasons I have repeatedly given.

          • Anton

            Perhaps this is a matter of definition. What you are speaking of should be called *interhuman rights*. But the many people I know who bang on about them insist that you have them simply by being human.

          • Albert

            If you want to make that terminological move, that’s fine. I expect the majority of people who bang on about them do not have an adequate basis for them and so I wouldn’t be surprised if their description of them has that flaw.

          • Anton

            You don’t own the definition! But at least we understand each other now.

          • Albert

            I never said that I did – most ideas contain different forms. I think there’s a secular view of human rights, which I think is irrational and probably exemplified in what you have rightly critiqued. But the idea I have given, is, as far as I am aware (and it’s hardly my field) just the Catholic doctrine. You can find it in St John Paul II and it seems at home in the thought of St Thomas Aquinas. The great thing is that makes human rights consistent with belief in God.

          • Anton

            Where in the Bible does God state that he grants all men rights, and why is the Law of Moses not phrased in those terms?

          • Albert

            Where in the Bible does God state sola scriptura? But I think the idea of rights is perfectly biblical. If no one is allowed to murder anyone then people have a right to life. If no one is allowed to steal, then people have a right to property, and so forth. But we are not bound by the Mosaic law. After all if Love your enemy is right, why is the Law of Moses not phrased in those terms? If God is Trinity, why is this not more clearly disclosed in the OT?

          • Anton

            One might think it rather obvious that what God’s people have decided, with the aid of his Holy Spirit, are his uniquely authoritative words, have unique authority.

            If no one is allowed to murder anyone then people have a right to life.

            In which case the death penalty is wrong, but you find that in Moses too.

          • Albert

            One might think it rather obvious that what God’s people have decided, with the aid of his Holy Spirit, are his uniquely authoritative words, have unique authority.

            Which does not of course answer the question .

            In which case the death penalty is wrong, but you find that in Moses too.

            No that doesn’t follow. The commandment is Thou shalt not murder, and the right to life is, properly put, the right of the innocent to life. Otherwise, anyone who believes in human rights would have to be a pacifist, but that isn’t so.

          • Anton

            Irrelevant that the commandment is Do not commit murder. If people have a human right to life then, since they don’t stop being human for having committed a heinous crime, it is wrong to execute them.

            As for HRs and pacifism, never underestimate the capacity of people for inconsistency.

          • Albert

            Irrelevant that the commandment is Do not commit murder. If people have a human right to life then, since they don’t stop being human for having committed a heinous crime, it is wrong to execute them.

            Why do you keep telling me what it is that I think? As I have said, the right to life is short-hand for the right of the innocent to life. How so? What happens when someone is threatening someone else’s right to life? Clearly, we have a duty to protect the innocent party, for that is what the right to life entails. Therefore, force can justly be used to protect the right of the innocent to life, proportional to the threat – so if the only way to stop someone killing the innocent is to kill the person threatening, then it follows they should be killed. Now you may tell me that that is not what the right to life means. Well it is what I mean, and it is how the Catholic Church understands it.

            I’m sorry that yet again, I am not able to just place myself in the position you require for target practice.

            As for HRs and pacifism, never underestimate the capacity of people for inconsistency.

            Yes, people can be inconsistent. But that does not prove that all people are inconsistent all of the time. This area has some pretty impressive minds writing in it. I’m guessing you’ve never read JPII on the subject.

          • Anton

            This is not a Reformation issue. I simply believe that you are refusing to acknowledge some very basic logic and I’m content at this point to leave it to the reader to decide whether that is so or not.

          • Albert

            Where did I say it was a Reformation issue? That’s a bit of logical leap, isn’t it?

            I simply believe that you are refusing to acknowledge some very basic logic

            Very basic logic from a premise which I do not accept but which you are irked I do not accept. What I am saying is a standard philosophical position – as any informed reader will know.

            I’m sorry for not being the straw man you want me to be.

          • Anton

            I wasn’t seeking an apology.

          • Albert

            Of course not. Either you don’t understand what you are talking about or you do and are hoping that the fact that you keep misrepresenting my position won’t be noticed. Either way, why would I have to apologise?

          • Anton

            I don’t agree that those are the only two possibilities.

          • Albert

            So the other possibilities are?

          • Anton

            That *you* don’t understand what I am saying.

          • Albert

            Which is kind of what I am asking you to clarify when I said “So what other possibilities are there?”

          • Anton

            I am unable to make myself clearer and I regard myself as having been clear. That is why at this point I rest it with the reader.

          • Anton

            Let’s get this straight, you reckon that only other men are under obligation to respect somebody’s human rights, and that God isn’t despite supposedly giving us those rights.

            So is Christ, who is wholly man and wholly God, under this obligation?

          • Albert

            Let’s get this straight, you reckon that only other men are under obligation to respect somebody’s human rights, and that God isn’t despite supposedly giving us those rights.

            I don’t think God is under any moral obligation at all.

            So is Christ, who is wholly man and wholly God, under this obligation?

            I’m not sure, but I would say not because he is not a human person.

          • Anton

            Any suggestion that Christ is not human is heretical. (Ditto any suggestion that he is not divine, but that isn’t the point here.)

          • Albert

            I never said that he wasn’t human (or divine) and nothing I said indicates that he isn’t human.

          • Anton

            You said “he is not a human person”. Now you say “I never said that he wasn’t human”. Would you please reconcile those two statements?

          • Albert

            Quite easily. Who was the person who died as man on the cross? Was it the second person of the Trinity or was it a person who came into existence at his conception in his mother’s womb? Answer those questions, and you end up where I was.

          • Anton

            What do you mean by “died as man on the cross”? Jesus died on the cross. Yet he is fully divine as well as fully human. It is rash to try to dissect him more finely than scripture does. Your phrase “not because he is not a human person” is unclear.

          • Albert

            They crucified the Lord of glory, and he suffered in the flesh. That’s in the Bible. I mean he (God – the Lord of glory) suffered as man (in the flesh). His divinity was not crucified since his divinity is not physical, but the person who died was not someone who began to exist in Mary’s womb, rather the person who died existed in the beginning with the Father. So what you call dissection is just what scripture requires. You cannot nail divinity to the cross, and his death would not avail anything if he was not a divine person.

            If Christ were a human person then he would be a different person from the second person of the Trinity. If he did not take humanity, then he couldn’t die. So classical Christian doctrine is that Christ is one divine person (second person of the Trinity), made known in the two natures (to quote Chalcedon).

          • Anton

            Some of that is incontrovertible. The rest – if you like.

          • Albert

            I think the issue is that the grammar of the incarnation sounds like one is saying something different from what one is saying. When I say Christ is not a human person it doesn’t mean Christ is not human. It means he is the Second person of the Trinity, a person who is divine but becomes human (=takes a full human nature up into his Godhead).

          • Anton

            We have moved from the point. I asked if Christ was under onus to respect people’s ‘human rights’, as you say that other people are but God isn’t, and Christ is fully divine and fully human. Your response was that you didn’t know. If human rights exist then that is a pretty basic thing to be ignorant of. Is it not also the case that you don’t want to know, because this line represents a threat to your view that HRs exist?

          • Albert

            If human rights exist then that is a pretty basic thing to be ignorant of

            That issue is not about human rights, but about the incarnation – a topic which is anything but basic, I would have thought. After all, your posts indicate an ignorance of the doctrine itself.

            Is it not also the case that you don’t want to know, because this line represents a threat to your view that HRs exist?

            I would have thought the topic is similar to the question of whether Christ was subject to just and justly imposed statute law in the jurisdiction he was in. I would have thought not, but I’ve never seen the discussion take place, so I’m unwilling to commit myself. Would you care to answer the question about statute law? Note, I didn’t just say I don’t know, I said:

            I’m not sure, but I would say not because he is not a human person.

            So if he isn’t bound by human rights, then I have a straight forward answer to why not: the fact that he isn’t a human person. If he is bound by human rights, then clearly the fact that he is not a human person is irrelevant, in which case there is no problem.

            I’d love to have an answer from you about the statute law, BTW.

          • Anton

            I think that you’re just trying to play a straight bat and that your inability to answer the question of whether Christ is under obligation to respect people’s supposed human rights shows up the basic flaw in the notion.

            Christ put himself under Mosaic Law.

          • Albert

            I think that you are not in a position to know that. My position is perfectly coherent, and it is not theologically affected by the answer. I’m sorry that that frustrates you. In the meantime, I note that your answer is not the question I asked:

            whether Christ was subject to just and justly imposed statute law in the jurisdiction he was in

            And you answer:

            Christ put himself under Mosaic Law

            Which is irrelevant to the question, since Mosaic Law is divine law and not statute law. That very distinction is key. Now why have you answered a different question from the one I asked? There are several explanations, I would have thought:

            1. You have misunderstood the question and took Mosaic Law to be a type of statute law. If this is the case, would you mind answering the question now it has been clarified, please?
            2. You understood the question and thought “If I answer yes, then my argument against human rights also fails, but if I answer no, then Albert will be under no obligation to say that Christ must abide by human rights.”

            The point in answer to 2 is that my theology is unaffected by the outcome. But if you stick to your argument against human rights, your theology will be affect by the outcome.

          • Anton

            I would feel frustrated only if this was 1:1 rather than a public forum.

            Mosaic Law IS a type of statute law. Statute law is “written law set down by a body of legislature or by a singular legislator” – in this case, God.

          • Albert

            If you want to define statute law in that way that’s fine (if odd IMO), but it doesn’t get you off the hook. Christ was lived in a place under Roman jurisdiction. Was he under Roman jurisdiction – i.e. was he subject to Roman statute law?

          • Anton

            He answered that himself! Render unto Caesar, etc.

            Please provide your definition of statute law and explain why it differs from mine, which I freely admit that I took from Wikipedia.

          • Albert

            I think statute law refers to the state. But I’m not worried about that. The question of human law is what matters.

            He answered that himself! Render unto Caesar, etc.

            Therefore, even though he was God he had certain duties imposed upon him by others and he was morally bound by them.

          • Anton

            Aren’t you moving closer to an answer to my question of whether Christ was bound to respect people’s alleged human rights?

          • Albert

            I have answered that already: I don’t now, but I suspect not because Christ was not a human person. As far as I am aware, you have not critiqued my Christology, so that answer ought to be sufficient. But I have raised the question of whether your own critique applies to you as well, that is the question of human law. And here you have agreed he was subject to human law, even though he was God. But that position with regards to human rights threatened your doctrine of God. Therefore, either your position is wrong, or your doctrine of God is.

          • Anton

            Christ put himself under the Law of Moses; presumably by contracting with his Father to be incarnate a Jew.

            I regard your distinction between human and human person as recondite and far from the simple words which were good enough for Christ himself, or St Paul when he talked theology.

          • Albert

            Christ put himself under the Law of Moses; presumably by contracting with his Father to be incarnate a Jew.

            Contracting with his Father? It sounds like you believe in two gods. But he was also under Roman law, as I pointed out before. I’ve made this point twice now.

            I regard your distinction between human and human person as recondite and far from the simple words which were good enough for Christ himself, or St Paul when he talked theology.

            It’s just a way of saying that Christ was a divine person who has become human (as opposed to a human person who has become divine or a human person alongside a divine person). If you deny the idea I am defending here, you do not believe in the incarnation.

            I don’t think that it is true to say Christ spoke simply about himself. When he said “I AM And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven,” to say that is simple, is to miss the point. Similarly, what he says about his relationship with the Father in John’s Gospel (and what John says about him in the prologue) is not simple. When scripture says they crucified the Lord of glory but he suffered in the flesh, it is not simple. But it is the doctrine I have expounded here. There’s nothing particularly Catholic about it, BTW, it’s just what happens when you admit that the person who is born in Bethlehem in time is the same person as he who was eternally begotten of the Father.

            In any case, the point is quite simple: if Jesus is God, then it does not follow that he necessarily submitted to the norms of human relationships. For example, if one sets out a human rights doctrine based on mutual dependence, then it is complicated for Christ. Was he dependent on his mother? Yes. Was his mother dependent on him for her capacity for him to be dependent on her? Yes. So it’s not clear how the logic works.

            But as you admit to the view that Jesus was subject to human law, it follows there is no problem with him being subject to human rights and your argument fails. Whether he actually was so subjected, is another question entirely.

            The idea that Paul’s theology is simple is plainly false and contradicted by scripture itself.

          • Anton

            Not so; what you find is that Paul is unconcerned with the paradoxes of Christology and the Trinity. He takes them as given instead of wasting time and vain philosophy on them.

            You have sought to get out of my demonstration that human rights are logically incoherent by drawing a distinction that no advocate of the notion, whether Christian or secular, is familiar with.

          • Albert

            It’s not because he takes them as given, it’s because his concerns are elsewhere.

            You have sought to get out of my demonstration that human rights are logically incoherent by drawing a distinction that no advocate of the notion, whether Christian or secular, is familiar with.

            You’re kidding me? Anyone who has done a first year degree in Christian theology will be familiar with the idea of personal union. The doctrine is not obscure, but in fact the central plank of the doctrine of the incarnation. It is really, very basic. It crops up if you think about the incarnation, it crops up if you try to work out what is going on in the NT and it crops up if you do any Church history. Just to prove the silliness of your point JPII was an advocate of human rights, and he was also familiar with the notion.

          • Anton

            It proves the silliness of JPII. And if Paul’s concerns were elsewhere, shouldn’t ours be?

            If by “personal union” you mean how Christ is both fully God and fully man, that is exactly what Paul starts from. Given that we learn about God best from Christ, and given that we even learn what man truly looks like from him too (ie, man as God created him, unfallen), it is futile to try to disentangle the two in Him.

          • Albert

            No it proves the silliness of you. You are seriously having a discussion about two things you evidently haven’t studied: the incarnation and human rights. I see no reason why my concerns should be identical with Paul’s. He was bogged down in circumcision. We don’t have that problem. Why should we carry on arguing about circumcision, rather than doing what he wanted which was to be with Christ and to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. Besides, why do only seem to care about Paul (rather stereo-typical!)? What about John or Peter?

            If by “personal union” you mean how Christ is both fully God and fully man, that is exactly what Paul starts from.

            That is the doctrine: he was both God and man, but the key to this particular issue is the word “he”. Jesus is no new person, but a divine one made human.

            Given that we learn about God best from Christ, and given that we even learn what man truly looks like from him too (ie, man as God created him, unfallen), it is futile to try to disentangle the two in Him.

            Which, if you bother to read about the incarnation is precisely what the doctrine of personal union is trying to avoid. It is set up most especially against those who think Jesus is a human son distinct from the divine Son of God the Father.

          • Anton

            That you raise the matter of circumcision in this context is absurd. Circumcision is a hot topic in relation to one thing only: gentile and Jew together under Christ and what is required of them. It has nothing to do with Christology or human rights, which are the only subjects we have been discussing.

          • Albert

            Precisely. We don’t always have to be talking about what Paul is talking about because what he is talking about is not necessarily troubling us. That’s the whole point. But if someone comes along and asks a question about Christology that Paul does not address, do you want to say “We’ll just stick to the things Paul talks about.” Whatever happened to:

            But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

          • Anton

            If a nonbeliever asked a sincere question about how Jesus can be both fully human and fully divine then i’d say what I already said to you, although probably phrasing it in questions to make the person think: that the gospels show him clearly as both, and that this is to be taken as a start point to build upon, rather than to try to dissect. If he said he wanted to dissect, I’d ask how he knew what (man (ie, unfallen man) looked like, and what God looks like, except via Christ, so that we are never going to be competent to dissect. If he remained unhappy then i’d challenge with something like, “You are happy to accept that science is complicated, and God is far deeper still, so why do you expect the deepest things in existence to be simple?” There’s always a chance to turn it round in evangelistic conversations.

          • Albert

            What if he asked something like “Is Jesus a man alongside God, or is he God himself”?

          • Anton

            At some point I’d ask him why he was asking.

          • Albert

            He says it’s because he is told to love God with all his mind, and his mind needs to know what it is that he is being required to subscribe to. He wants to know if it is coherent.

          • Anton

            Are the Trinity and Christ’s dual nature coherent? Not really; they are mysteries. Any attempt to explain them eventually fails, and it is better to say so at the start than say you can and then run into the sand. There have been plenty such dialogues with Jews and Muslims, who as monotheists reject Christ’s divinity. Better by far to say at the start that you can’t expect to understand the deepest mysteries in (and beyond) the universe. You invariably find, anyway, that intellectual objections to Christ are actually masks for other objections, and I would probe what those are with counter-questions.

          • Albert

            That’s fine, but saying it’s a mystery doesn’t really communicate anything. If you can’t say anything then the best thing to do is to stop talking about it. But in the case, the Gospel does not get proclaimed. In any case, the question is: “Is Jesus a man alongside God, or is he God himself”? It’s a sincere question and not an objection and so your last point does not counter it. There is nothing in the Bible saying we should not proclaim the Gospel, or if we have to only use the words of scripture. Where are you getting your authority from here?

          • Anton

            The gospel would get preached more in my scenario. As I said, intellectual objections to Christ are generally masks for other objections, and I would probe what those are with counter-questions and get on to those and thence to sin and stuff that people need to know that the Bible actually majors on. If you were in my place then ultimately you would have to say it was a mystery too… but only after a long philosophy discourse that converts nobody.

            If I find myself in an evangelistic conversation with somebody, what has authority over me to do with it?

          • Albert

            You are confusing two entirely different things. A question is not the same as an objection. The honest searcher is searching for truth, and truth is not incoherent. Earlier, you said Are the Trinity and Christ’s dual nature coherent? Not really. So our honest searcher simply shrugs his shoulders, says “Even these Christians admit what they believe is nonsense” and looks for the truth elsewhere. A contradiction conveys no information whatsoever, so, if you really think what you say, you not only do not preach the Gospel (for you are not saying anything), you are not believing anything.

            Yet scripture says God is not a God of confusion so you’ve just let the Gospel down and this searcher, simply because you have plucked an idea out of thin air that you must stick only to the forms of expression found in the Bible. But that idea isn’t in the Bible, so your position is self-defeating. But the on the basis of it, you fail to do what scripture calls you to do when it says Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

            So what’s the alternative? The alternative is to have a bit of faith in the Holy Spirit and assume that perhaps he has been working in Christians’ minds and hearts before you. That perhaps he has guided their thoughts so as to be able to explain the way of God more accurately (Acts. 18.26). After all, Jesus did promise to be with us always – he said nothing about restricting his presence to people who think preaching the Gospel = being incoherent. Is Christ not the truth? And if he is the truth, how can he be incoherent?

            One of the big problems of your posts is that you spew out comments without doing the reading first. You attack that whereof you know nothing. I was genuinely surprised that you have not heard that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, that the man on the cross is the same person as he who was begotten before all ages who upholds all things by the power of his word. For example, you say If you were in my place then ultimately you would have to say it was a mystery too, but if you did the study, you would know that the doctrines do not take away the mystery, they simply articulate the mystery and show why it is a mystery, without, as in your case, saying nothing at all.

          • Anton

            So you think there is no mystery about how a being can be both 100% God and 100% man or how God can be three persons in one? It is easy to produce paradoxes, eg “man is not God”, “Jesus is fully a man”, “Jesus is God”. I take the view that these are holy mysteries, which nonbelievers deride and which believers grow by pondering. This is not confusion or incoherence. You should not suppose that I am against reason – I am a scientist – but it has its limits.

            You have an odd idea that “preaching the gospel” consists of philosophical discourse. That is not what St Paul, an educated man, did on Mars Hill at the epicentre of philosophy, in the chapter of Acts preceding the one you quote.

            I am well aware that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. I never disputed it; I simply did not engage with it, and on that basis you supposed I am ignorant of it. Pretty poor logic!

          • Albert

            Do words not mean anything? I said this:

            if you did the study, you would know that the doctrines do not take away the mystery, they simply articulate the mystery and show why it is a mystery

            And you replied thus:

            So you think there is no mystery about how a being can be both 100% God and 100% man or how God can be three persons in one?

            I used the word “mystery” three times in a single sentence each time to express the fact that it is a mystery and reply by accusing me of thinking there is no mystery.

            Having said that, your doctrine is plainly not correct. Obviously, Jesus is not 100% God and 100% man. That’s just contradictory. The doctrine is that he is fully human and fully divine, that is that his humanity is 100% human and his divinity is 100% divine. Equally, your expression of the Trinity is confusing. You say God is three persons in one. In one what? It looks like you mean he is three persons in one person, which just seem contradictory, and isn’t the doctrine anyway.

            But there are further problems. The present argument is about you saying we should stick to the expressions of scripture. But where does scripture use words like “Trinity”, “incarnation” and “person”?

            It is easy to produce paradoxes, eg “man is not God”, “Jesus is fully a man”, “Jesus is God”.

            The first two are not paradoxes.

            I take the view that these are holy mysteries, which nonbelievers deride and which believers grow by pondering. This is not confusion or incoherence.

            I have no objection to that. I simply point out that what you say is confusion and incoherence. It is there opposed to what you say you believe.

            You should not suppose that I am against reason – I am a scientist – but it has its limits.

            Reason in itself has no limits, since God is himself reason. But human reason certainly has limits. But saying “Human reason has limits” does not mean “Therefore we can just talk nonsense.”

            You have an odd idea that “preaching the gospel” consists of philosophical discourse.

            I never said that. I simply say that we will not preach anything if what we say is contradictory.

            I am well aware that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. I never disputed it; I simply did not engage with it, and on that basis you supposed I am ignorant of it. Pretty poor logic!

            You disputed the claim about the personal identity of the human Christ being the divine second person of the Holy Trinity. You have also disputed basic incarnational grammar, and here you have asserted contradictory gibberish, which looks a bit like Chinglish – it’s based on the real grammar , but it has serious flaws. You even described the teaching of Chalcedon as “recondite”. Why don’t you actually study what the Holy Spirit may have been saying through other Christians? What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only one it has reached?

          • Anton

            When I wrote that it is easy to produce paradoxes, eg “man is not God”, “Jesus is fully a man”, “Jesus is God”, I meant, obviously, that the concatenation of the three gave rise to a paradox – as much a paradox as 100% + 100% = 100%, in fact. As for the rest of what you say, I’m not interested in fitting my expressions into your philosophical framework – which I do not believe is any more rigorous. If you think I am being incoherent, I don’t mind.

          • Albert

            If you think I am being incoherent, I don’t mind.

            Well, you agree that humanity and divinity are two different contrary things. But you say Jesus is 100% God and 100% human. So you say Jesus is 100% two different contrary things. But that’s absurd. So the unbeliever just thinks Christianity is nonsense. But Christianity isn’t nonsense, because Christianity does not say what you say it says. And I would point out, to bring this back to the point that started this part of the discussion, scripture nowhere says Jesus is 100% God and 100% human.

            It’s so much clearer to say that Jesus has two natures – a human nature he shares with us and a divine nature he shares with God the Father. The human nature is 100% human and the divine nature is 100% divine, that is to say, nothing is lacking in either.

            So as you are happy to move beyond what scripture says to express the mystery, why not put aside the expression with is absurd and makes Christianity look like nonsense, and go with the doctrine which is not absurd and by shows of the mystery of the incarnation.

          • Anton

            The human nature is 100% human

            But what else could it be?

          • Albert

            You don’t find the expression “100% human” in theological documents I find. It’s your language. I am saying, if you are going to the language of percentages, at least make it express the doctrine, not gobbledygook. What theologians say is something like “He took a whole human nature to himself”, they might, according to the error they are opposing, add specifically the contrary of that error. e.g “including a rational soul.” Or as it is beautifully expressed: “He became like us in all things, except sin.” That’s simpler than confusing and contradictory percentages, and I thought simplicity was what you were after.

          • Anton

            But it’s more than “He became like us in all things, except sin.” That suggests imitation, when in fact it is “He became one of us in all ways, except sin.”

          • Albert

            That’s fine, and it’s coherent.

          • Anton

            Good to agree about that. The deeper question for you is whether God is under logic or logic is under God. As logic is not part of God it must be something created. You should not, therefore, be too surprised if it fails when applied to God himself.

          • Albert

            I think the relationship between God and logic is interesting. Our understanding of logic is clear imperfect, created and less than God. I suspect the real relationship between logic and God is like the relationship between God and truth. See what happens when you change the words over:

            The deeper question for you is whether God is under truth or truth is under God. As truth is not part of God it must be something created. You should not, therefore, be too surprised if it fails when applied to God himself.

            That’s difficult, especially when the person of the Trinity we are discussing is called in scripture “Logos”.

  • Stuart Kimber

    Thank you, Gavin. A careful and clear analysis of the situation. God bless your ministry of biblical clarity.

  • len

    Perhaps we have used the wrong starting point when trying to define sexuality acceptable to the Christian faith?. Do we ‘do as the world does’ or do we connect with Gods original plan for human sexual relations?
    We must go back to Gods original intention for man when He created him.
    Man was created in the image of God, to reflect the qualities of God and to live in harmony with the rest of humanity.
    So what went wrong?.
    Man was given free will (impossible to love anyone without free will) But when man decided to live without God and to do ‘his own thing’ ,man (wittingly or not) came under the jurisdiction of the arch rebel Satan.
    God’s rescue plan for humanity was put into operation through Jesus Christ in which God will restore ‘all things ‘back to Gods original intention for Humanity.
    The old Creation stands condemned. The New Creation is being put into effect.

    We cannot transfer parts of the old Creation into the New Creation.

    So although no Christian is yet perfect we must recognise what belongs to the old creation and not attempt to try to redeem what God has condemned.
    Of course we all being sinners should be welcomed into the Church (for none is perfect yet, however they might consider themselves)but we cannot ,must not, condone what is quite clearly condemned in the Word of God.

  • len

    Excellent thought provoking article Gavin..

  • carl jacobs

    that someone consigned to a particular biologically or genetically determined same-sex attraction, should suffer enforced celibacy

    This justification is a blind. If the materialists are correct, then every desire is just biology and every desire stands justified. What they actually mean is “If the behavior that results from the desire is morally justifiable, then biology can be used as justification after the fact in order to avoid problematic questions about morality.” So how did they make the original determination that homosexual behavior is morally justified? According to the imperative of consent and the presumption of human autonomy from which it flows.

    This has never been about biology. It has always been about man’s desire to define his own boundaries and re-create himself after his own image.

  • Inspector General

    Greetings Ashenden. Good to see you back again.

    So there we have it. The bishops have wisely decided not to grant privileges to same sexed pairings, or ‘marrying’ pets in church, come to that. But just like the HIV virus, the Church of England will continue to harbour the infection that is human impatience with the established in favour of degeneracy, probably for as long as the church lasts. Perhaps in ten, twenty years’ time it will flare up again and bring the congregation to partition.

    So, if you want a mental exercise, one would be interested in how you would have the traditionals break from the no longer tenable yoke of the progressive powers that will be. The traditionals will of course need their own bishops – and as Cranmer himself informed us all a couple of years ago, the ‘fast track’ route for shining lefties precludes anything decent coming from that source.

    But you’ll still be around. Won’t you!

    Tally ho!

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Yeah, General: Tally ho!

      • Inspector General

        Good man, CC.

        Any soldier will tell you that the best way to defend what you have is to go on the attack. No doubt the rebels will bring the subject up again probably before the year is out, so as everyone else is thoroughly sickened by them, and before it gets to the stage where we inflict physical harm on their hides, here’s the plan…

        When the chairman announces, “item one. That same sex marriage be accommodated in canon law” someone, like an Inspector, stands up and says “SILENCE!”. And then throws a bundle of documents at the chair. “Look. Detailed plans on how we true sorts are going to break away from our failing leadership. Damn well read it before continuing!”

        God Save The Queen!

    • magnolia

      Didn’t note the piece about pets. However I do believe it would be much more seemly to marry a nice black lab to a well-behaved female golden retriever with beautiful gold tresses than to perform a similar same-sex ceremony with humans.

      Also entertaining to hear “Do you take this dog/bitch to be your lawful wedded husband/wife?

      I imagine that “I do” would need to be “woof”.

      Of course knowing what male labs are like I am not sure they could make it out of the church without a spot of infidelity on the way!

      Which brings to mind……

  • jsampson45

    “The Church has always managed to hold together its dual role of being a
    hospital for the wounded and a school for would-be saints…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones said it was not a hospital but a barracks. However, I can see that is not much help if the soldiers are all fighting each other. Don’t go too near the windows.

    • 1642again

      Some of the enemy are in the barracks wearing fake uniforms.

      • Martin

        The doors have been left open and the sentries are sleeping in some barracks it seems.

      • Royinsouthwest

        I don’t know much about the Geneva Convention but I don’t think soldiers who disguise themselves by wearing enemy uniforms are protected by the Convention. Wasn’t it the practice to execute captured soldiers who had disguised themselves in that way?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      CS Lewis once described, back in the forties, every parish church as Divisional HQ.

  • If you think Jack’s post wordy, you should try ploughing you way through Aquinas.

    • Anton

      Try McDermott’s condensation.

  • Inspector General

    It’s not just the church under attack from this queer madness. Fellows will all remember the anorexia plague from over 2 decades ago. It was a form of hysteria, spread by unstable word of mouth and the media. There was hardly a parish in the land that didn’t have a least one teenage girl starving herself to death. But the difference today between that and the new crazy amongst vulnerable youth is that when a girl displayed her withered four stone frame to you and said she was almost at her ideal weight, you didn’t nod in agreement.
    —————
    Record number of LGBT children ask Childline for help
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/02/02/record-number-of-lgbt-children-ask-childline-for-help/
    ————–
    Note for affected parents. They are no longer your children. LGBT have claimed them…

    Note for Churchgoers. They want to claim your church too!

    • Watching “The secret life of five year olds” this evening on Ch 4, it was all about confusing the meaning of gender in the children’s heads. At first they get the children talking about the sexes – asking girls “What do you think boys do”? How do boys walk, run etc, and visa versa, then getting them to dress up in opposition genders’ costumes. Playing analytical behavioural games so the specialists can see how they perform tasks differently according to gender, then getting them to pretend to be the opposite gender. No wonder children are growing into confused teenagers and ringing Childline. All this brainwashing and gender obsession is a recent phenomenon hence the sudden increase in calls of this nature. It’s pure wickedness.

      • IanCad

        I think Marie, more and more people are recognizing the perversion as such. Just as the political landscape is heaving so it will soon upset the devilish sickos who hold that the created order is of little merit.

        • We now have the snowflake generation, but if we don’t step in and take things in hand those children of the 2010s and 2020s will be even more pathetic and disturbed. The confused gender generation God help them.

        • David

          I suspect that, as with politics, a growing body of people are seeing through the lies, deception and obfuscation. Maybe as in politics we are dividing into two camps, hopefully with the common sense group overpowering the more easily fooled group.

      • dannybhoy

        Wickedness indeed Marie, and then in the news we hear that the number diagnosed with depression continues to rise.

  • Martin

    Except that ‘orientation’ is an invention of our modern age in its desperate attempt to portray sexual activity, outside the marriage of one man to one woman, as respectable. Nor do I think Jesus is speaking of sex outside marriage. But indeed purity is required for without there is no justice. But is it not; “what has Jerusalem to do with Athens” for it is immaterial to us what Athens does.

  • chefofsinners

    Neither Jerusalem nor Athens is our home. Here we have no enduring city.
    For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
    But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
    But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

  • not a machine

    The rev Gavin Ashenden gives thoughts around a number of points of starting , for people to consider which is not easy to assimilate ,but then when one gets into the higher end of some thoughts ,the bible does not seem to do as thinking tool , as the things themselves have modern meanings , we no longer look to the heavens and consider a flat night sky with stars , but one of unimaginable depth billions of light years in dimension.
    Plato has a great following ,but perhaps is something of the enuch as things are just things ,with no divine purpose ,or even things without things .The house of Bishops report ,to a learned theologian will perhaps seem different to me ,I ponder that a report was produced and not learned reaction to a clear footstep in belief , which others can follow , to understand god .The trading of scripture seems not to help much either , as some are more deeper resonances than the chapters so in the bible.Even if the bible is not entirely correctly orderd , there is order within it .But there we are again ,I look to scripture for the unfolding of Gods word to mankind , I know it is a well to drink from , that is why I believe any church has to continue to read it to people .Quite wether the person should make there mind up or have it presented in explanation , by people who may or may not be in a position to fully express such an understanding , is an interesting question .The way of learning and understanding , is not the same thing as an internet search , but we have a society that perhaps believes they are the same thing , expression through words is conveying construction but missing the understanding of the era when words conveyed understanding ,perhaps even spirit.
    Now I don’t honestly know , how you can be ordained and yet brooch or allow for the definition of marriage to change .I mean if you think the Bible is worthy and true and take your vow , you cannot oppose a change in the definition of marriage , not because you personally think it is about time we changed , but because your vow has been taken over scripture , which although having interpretations is rather clear that marriage is between a man and a woman , it gives no other definition of marriage .Plato can not add to an element ?.
    That aside when it comes to homosexuality we perhaps haven’t been considerate enough , but then it is a firey subject , because we now see that it may not be a choice , which gave the reason for condemnation before , again Plato does not offer condemnation for nature of sexual orientation , so does god condem Plato ?.Well perhaps will only know the answer in the end of our errors.
    The problem is wether it goes from respected understanding to witch hunt , I perhaps don’t expect a homosexual member of the clergy , to promote marriage between man and woman the same as a heterosexual one , but I certainly expect a homosexual member of the clergy , to understand that ,that is what is said in the bible and in taking vows that is what he or she as agreed to supporting there vow.
    If the homosexual or heterosexual clergy who see a neatness in redefining marriage to suite modern changes , that implies God is a progressive modernizer , which could be error .God is God and that is the most nuanced mystery anyone has ever encountered .

  • Mike Stallard

    Thank you for thinking clearly about this subject and actually daring to ask the proper questions.
    Hanna Arendt noticed the way that Eichmann had never asked the right questions at his trial: the banality of evil. Jonathan Sacks makes the same point in his book on terrorism, “Not in God’s Name.” Primo Levi notices how he is not to ask Warum? “There is no Warum here.” As soon as we stop looking into our own private conversation and carefully examining it, our civilization declines a little. Dehumanisation happens. The way is open for extermination of the people who do not think like us.
    I wonder if both sides do in fact have private conversations?
    I wonder how much they are listening as carefully to each other as is the Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden ?

  • len

    ‘what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?’
    What does’ Hebrew thinking’ have do do with ‘Greek thinking’.?
    Therein lies part of the problem. When some of the early Church tried to disassociate themselves from the Hebrew roots of the scriptures they applied a Greek mindset to them which distorted and sometimes entirely misrepresented Gods Word.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Do you think that the early Church should have tried to impose Jewish culture in Europe like the early Muslims imposed the Arab culture and language on many of the countries they conquered? Who was it who wrote the sentence below?

      To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

      • Anton

        The gap between what is Jewish and what is universal is the gap between the New Testament and other Jewish traditions. Len is correct that Greek intellectual traditions got added on to European Christianity.

        • Ivan M

          Says the know all. Who were Saint Basil, his brothers and his sister. Who was St Augustine? If you want to recreate some rubbish ideas you have of the early church do so in a way that is less irritating.

          • Anton

            Which St Basil and which St Augustine?

          • Ivan M

            Don’t play dumb you idiot.

          • Anton

            I meant which of the two prominent ones having each of those names. Or didn’t you know there were two?

          • Ivan M

            There may well be five of them. It is your self assured tone based on nothing but your interpretation that is irritating. You know that I give a damn about your self-assurance.

          • Anton

            Instead of moaning that you don’t like my tone, do some work that would command respect about what I said.

          • Ivan M

            Your work makes no impression on me. In any case the question you and Len skirted around is whether Jewish customs and traditions were binding on Gentiles. The Apostles said NO, excepting the ban on fornication and not to eat of foods sacrificed to idols.

          • Anton

            But that is in the New Testament (Acts 15), which we agree on. The problem is looking at the NT through Greek rather than Hebrew spectacles. To get the correct Hebrew spectacles, immerse yourself more in the OT (while understanding that you do not need to get circumcised or refrain from pork, wine, etc).

          • Ivan M

            So you are a greater than the Apostles? Either they said what is said in the Acts or they did not. Why should sundry Greeks, Romans, Ethiopians and what not have to study the OT before getting what the Apostles had plainly instructed? This is the problem with you. You have to make everything lie on a procrustean bed of your own making..

          • Anton

            Please stop putting words in my mouth. I nowhere said that gentiles must learn the Old Testament before being preached the gospel and the precedent of Paul in Athens is good enough for me (Acts 17). But to make sense of Jesus’ words you have to know something of the culture in and to which he is speaking, don’t you? That is why God means Christians to read the Old Testament. No church tradition is needed to make sense of it, as it is not about the church. It builds upon itself from the Creation onward, an event for which no context exists. So neither Old nor New Testament requires an extra-biblical tradition to interpret it (and any ‘authorised’ interpretation is effectively an addition to it). The Bible needs exegesis into each culture by Christians living there, but their church must not take the resulting material to have the same practical status as scripture, for that traps the church in the era of those traditions. Our precedent is Jesus, who regarded the Hebrew scriptures of his day as uniquely authoritative, above rabbinic tradition and all else (Luke 11:46, Matthew 15, Mark 7).

            The New Testament was written in Greek for wide dissemination – but it was mostly written by Jews. The subsequent writings of the Church Fathers were simply exegesis of the gospel for their philosophically minded Greek culture. They are in exactly the same category as a Papuan convert’s explanation of the gospel to other Papuans. To say otherwise is to say that Greek culture is sacred over others – an understandable error among its descendants, but false.

            Greek thought takes too wide a division between spiritual and material, and over- elevates the former over the latter. The Hebraic worldview sees both as part of God’s creation. (Genesis 1:1 speaks in one breath of the creation of God’s abode and man’s abode.) The Greek worldview has lowered the church’s view of manual labour, and of the human body and sex (which Genesis 2 implies is for joy within committed marital relationships, not exclusively for procreation). Although the early church rejected the Greek gods, the Greek worldview, unconditioned by faith in one Creator who made man in his own image and is not capricious, was harder to overcome.

            Setting the New Testament wholly in the context of the Old removes the Greek-philosophical background of the Council debates and the Fathers and restores the Hebraic background. Missionaries should teach people of other cultures only the New Testament viewed through the eyes of the Old, and leave exegesis to them.

            Please respond constructively or not at all, and remember that insults reflect only on the insulter.

          • Ivan M

            Who decided what went into the Bible? You? Face it: It was the Roman Church. They decided what was kosher and what was not. Now a fellow like you comes along with apparent ease in philology and arcana and with an adequate manifesto. Clearly in you see yourself as an insurgent for the primitive faith that was corrupted by the RCC. The question is why should I believe that you have a handle on things?
            Arguments with those of your disposition is fruitless, since you will never grant that those who codified the corpus knew what they were doing. There is always someone sowing darnell which you make your task to uncover. But I have seen nothing but special pleading in your work when it comes to the plain sense of what is being said in an argument based on the NT. We have to see it through Hebraic lenses that refract it in the ways you want..

          • Anton

            Do you really think that people here won’t see your shifty change of subject, from Greek and Hebrew categories of thought, to how the decision was taken what books were canonical? And isn’t this because you are unable to engage genuinely with my comments on the former subject?

            The early church had the one-off task of discerning which of the new writings were scripture and which were not. But this does not (as give the church any authority over scripture – just as I do not gain authority over a speaker if by grace of the Holy Spirit I recognise that he is a prophet. Rather, I acknowledge that his words are God’s and have authority over me. In the same way, the church recognises and stands under the authority of scripture. In the era of church councils, the general understanding of what was and was not scripture was rubberstamped – although those councils were not held at the backwater that was Dark Ages Rome.

          • Ivan M

            That you are a Christian I have never doubted. But really all your attempts to break free of the influence of the Roman Church are futile since you have to accept her authority in making the faith canonical. It’s like trying to break free of one’s own parents. Sad but you cannot wish away the DNA.

          • Anton

            False analogy. My Father is in heaven.

          • Ivan M

            All the best then.

          • William Lewis

            Impressive

          • len

            Missed the point….again.

          • len

            Who were the disciples? , who was Jesus? who were the Patriarchs?.

      • len

        You miss the point.To detach the Hebrew roots from the scriptures renders parts of the scriptures really confusing and difficult to understand’.Salvation comes from the Jews’ not through Gentile intellectuals.

        • Ivan M

          Who is the asshole suggesting that salvation comes from intellectuals?

          • len

            I think you mentioned a few..

          • Ivan M

            They are saints of the Universal you dumb idiot.

          • len

            Precisely.Calm down Ivan….Abuse will not make your case any more right.Just shows you are losing the argument…Bless you, go your way in peace(if you can?)

  • William Lewis

    An excellent post from the Reverend Doctor.

  • Rick Pardieu

    GOD does not hate homosexuals. He hates the sin of homosexuality…..

    • Anton

      God hates unforgiven sinners. (This is not a point about homosexuality.) He says so in Psalms 5:4-6 and 11:5-6. That’s why he condemns them to hell.

  • Rick Pardieu

    Homosexuality = packing hocky = a relationship based on sodomy.

    • Anton

      Are you trying to get Cranmer reported to the police again?

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden,

    Thank you for a magisterial article.

    We invite you to advise us as to the way forward?

  • dannybhoy

    Thanks to Reverend Ashenden for his thoughtful and scholarly article. I am always humbled by the learning of others, especially when it is presented in terms I can understand(!) I always find it uplifting when learned and professional brothers or sisters in Christ share their knowledge mindful that not all their listeners -or in this case readers- are of the same ‘wattage..’

    I just wanted to share this chapter with you because it seems to me to outline the challenge facing us in the Church of England, and why the whole Church needs to be calling on the Lord..

    “14 “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods…..”
    Joshua 24.

    Folks, what the people of Israel had, and what we as the Church in the United Kingdom so desperately lack, is a Joshua to inspire us to come together as one and to say:
    “As for me and my house, we will stay true to the Gospel of Christ and His teachings.”
    We need men of faith, of learning and of humility to come together, consider the issues and prayerfully come up with a plan of action.

    I have said before that I see those clergy who love the Lord and His Church, are best placed to give a lead in making it clear that the CofE cannot carry on serving two masters.
    Either we are going to stay true to our Lord and His Gospel of Redemption , or we will continue serving the interests of a secular state and its progressive morality.
    The choices are simple. The writing is there, on the wall. Yet even now men of good will equivocate, hoping that someone else will stick their head above the parapet and take the certain flak.
    Of course there are all sorts of implications for our relationship with Governance, Establishment and Monarchy. That is why it must be carefully thought out and executed gently, respectfully and considerately.
    But whilst we continue to dither, decisions will be made; the progressive agenda will be executed, and the Lord will ask of us, “Why did ye not act?”

  • Hi

    I’ve never really got this threefold scripture, traditions and reason thingy. Do all have to agree for a point to be valid or is it a 2-1 vote? Does only one have a veto or does only one box need ticking?

    To my mind both gay marriage in the church and women vicars/bishops go against the plain meaning of scripture and the traditional i.e. 2,000 year interpretations of these issues.

    The only thing left is reason.

    This is argued

    “the church doesn’t live in a vacuum and should move with society . As society is more liberal , we need to be seen to not be sexist or homophobic , so we will allow women vicars and gay marriages”.

    However that creates a circular loop :

    1)it seems the tradition and scripture is rendered null and void if this as a reason can clearly veto them.

    2). why have three criteria to make a decision??

    3). If society reverted back to social conservatism should or would it follow the church would change too?

    • dannybhoy

      “I’ve never really got this threefold scripture, traditions and reason thingy. Do all have to agree for a point to be valid or is it a 2-1 vote? Does only one have a veto or does only one box need ticking?”
      In the Anglican Church Scripture is becoming less important, but then tradition is also devalued because no one believes in saints any more any way. Reason comes out the clear winner here because reason tells these folk that like Justin Welby they’re not sure God exists anyway, but if they really admitted that they’d have to put away the robes, hats and rings and get a proper job. So reason tells them that if that alternative doesn’t much appeal they will have to play up the debates, interfaith dialogues, state occasions and practising the sad little smiles..

  • Hi

    If one is an Anglican “evangelical”, isn’t disestablishment or a split a better way forward? If there isn’t disestablishment , or a split then the church of England will continue to subject to the whims of liberal bishops , politicians and their appointees. In the meantime, the evangelicals will simply continue to prolong the life support to the sum parts with the cash it gives i.e. propping up the liberal end it clashes with.

    In fact I think this is why the bishops have come to the conclusion they did . They know evangelicals aren’t bothered so much by women vicars (hypocritically I would add, see my post below) , but are concerned about gay marriage in church. If they had have come out the other way it would’ve have been game over financially.

    The big problem with the church of England is the fact it is established and as a consequence stuffed full of the same Oxbridge small l liberal elites, just like national politics , the city and the BBC, with some tokenism thrown in as camouflage.

    The government also wants to have to a say and as most governments of whatever hue, are in effect socially liberal and cut of the same cloth , as they all went to the same universities etc . It’s the “old boy network” basically. So there’s going to be an inevitable clash with the lay members who actually finance the organisation and tend to it day to day .

    The church of England is not shielded from being told to move with the social outlook of wider society in the same way as other denominations or religions are, precisely because it is an established church. It by the very nature of establishment not a private ” club ” whose members and leaders decide what to do , as during the gay marriage votes it required legislation to protect itself from being torn apart , whereas other religions and denominations could choose. Furthermore it is more or less obligated to perform rituals baptisms , funerals and weddings , for people who don’t set foot into church normally and probably couldn’t even say the 39 articles of Anglican Observance .

    The only reason why there is still a national church is in my view precisely because it is led by small l liberals who chime with their more secular chums from Oxbridge, who want a bit of feel good religion , combined with the idea that the c of e can be a role model for other religions in the UK. They probably would in their hearts want full gay marriage in church, but also want to keep the club afloat and try and keep things together , whilst in the longer term chip away .

    The outrage on the comments section here with the Gloucester Cathedral ecumenical fest and reading from the Koran , it’s a feature not a bug.

    • Anton

      Steady on Hannah, there are world class science departments at Cambridge and (I suppose) Oxford as well…

      • Hi

        I was referring to the elites and the power dynamic of the UK and not the scientific expertise of Cambridge or Oxford. “Oxbridge” together are where the bulk of the elite are educated. This naturally creates a nexus of contacts and friendships. In other words an old boys (and girls ) network.

        Of the 8 Archbishop of Canterbury since 1945, with the exception of George Carey they all went to Oxford or Cambridge or both.Of the 14 prime ministers from 1945 , 10 went to Oxford.

        • dannybhoy

          He knew what you meant Hannah. Anton is biased..
          Good afternoon by the way and thanks for your thoughts.
          Which I haven’t read yet (been cleaning windows)
          But I shall.

        • Anton

          QED!

    • dannybhoy

      “If one is an Anglican “evangelical”, isn’t disestablishment or a split a better way forward?
      A revival would be best bur otherwise a split, yes.

      “In fact I think this is why the bishops have come to the conclusion they did . They know evangelicals aren’t bothered so much by women vicars (hypocritically I would add, see my post below) , but are concerned about gay marriage in church. If they had have come out the other way it would’ve have been game over financially.”
      Those are very good points Hannah.

      “The big problem with the church of England is the fact it is established and as a consequence stuffed full of the same Oxbridge small l liberal elites, just like national politics , the city and the BBC, with some tokenism thrown in as camouflage.”
      Cynically observed!
      “The government also wants to have to a say and as most governments of whatever hue, are in effect socially liberal and cut of the same cloth , as they all went to the same universities etc . It’s the “old boy network” basically. So there’s going to be an inevitable clash with the lay members who actually finance the organisation and tend to it day to day.”
      The Church as is a bit like a glove puppet in the hands of the State, and as long as it toes the line and doesn’t say anything too controversial is left alone. (Remember the Spitting Image portrayal of David Owen with David Steel?
      http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/spittingimage/images/a/a5/Img639.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120512103510

      “The only reason why there is still a national church is in my view precisely because it is led by small l liberals who chime with their more secular chums from Oxbridge, who want a bit of feel good religion , combined with the idea that the c of e can be a role model for other religions in the UK. They probably would in their hearts want full gay marriage in church, but also want to keep the club afloat and try and keep things together , whilst in the longer term chip away .
      The only reason why there is still a national church is in my view precisely because it is led by small l liberals who chime with their more secular chums from Oxbridge, who want a bit of feel good religion , combined with the idea that the c of e can be a role model for other religions in the UK. They probably would in their hearts want full gay marriage in church, but also want to keep the club afloat and try and keep things together , whilst in the longer term chip away .”

      The Monarchy provides the interest and pageantry whilst the CofE provides the solemnity for state occasions. You could have the Monarchy without the Church connection, but we would lose a lot of historical tradition. (Although as our society continues its alarming rate of change, that becomes increasingly meaningless.).

  • Jon Sorensen

    “Same-sex marriage: what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem”
    Who cares. Just give LGBT their religious freedom to marry anyone their religion permits

    • Hi Jon,

      “Just give LGBT their religious freedom to marry anyone their religion permits”.

      That’s the present law . So some religions do permit LGBT marriage , others do not.

      • Jon Sorensen

        Christians should support LGBT religious right to marry…

        • len

          Why?.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Don’t you want religious freedom for all?

          • len

            All religions are not good for society…Perhaps you have noticed that ?

          • Jon Sorensen

            No. A lot of them are Christians/Jews/Muslims/Hindu/etc. Let them have their religious freedom to marry just like you have your religious freedom to marry.

    • len

      Who cares? Are you on the wrong blog Jon?.

    • William Lewis

      Since when have you argued that religion is the arbiter of what constitutes a marriage?

      • Jon Sorensen

        It should not be. But if Christians use it an arbiter then they should allow other to use their religious view also as an arbiter. Equal rights…

    • LGBT people already have this freedom. They are trying to force the Church to change her long standing beliefs and practice. We care.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “LGBT people already have this freedom.”
        No they don’t. I don’t get why you would lie about this

  • len

    It seems a Church split is inevitable, between the believing Church and the Church which tailors its doctrines to suit its parishioners.

    It is become more apparent that there is a Church which calls itself ‘Christian’ but has left Christ outside the church so that it can pursue its own agenda.This Church will give those inside its walls the illusion that they are saved and on their way to Heaven but they are deceived .Jesus Himself warns of this false Church..
    When man started ‘intellectualizing ‘scriptures relying on ‘Greek thinking’ (yes that again) Gods Word became open to ‘interpretation’ and many ‘great western Philosophers’ started telling us what Gods Word ‘really’ meant. This seems to a progression from of the oldest deception in the world “did God really say? to “God did say but what did He really mean?.” There are plenty of people willing to tell you what God ‘really meant’.

    http://www.wildolive.co.uk/Greek%20or%20Hebrew.htm

    • Ivan M

      Greek thinking now. Earlier it was Romish thinking. Later it will be Mithraic thinking. Don’t you get bored restating your one and only position – that we are all misled by the Whore in Rome – over and over again like some marionette?

      • Anton

        If you think that Len’s words and mine about Hebrew roots are coded anti-Catholicism, you misunderstand. Quite apart from the fact that if I wish to attack Roman Catholicism I do it explicitly, Greek thought got into the church in the era when the church had no political power (the abuse of which is what we would object to). Please take the trouble to look at what we actually say on this subject, and please pay the respect of supposing that it is what we actually mean. Then, if you disagree with it, please offer some counterargument, rather than invective.

        • Ivan M

          For the life of me I cannot understand why we have to go around like what you imagine the pious Jewish people of that time were doing. St Peter in that dream sequence was led to accept that anyone who is oriented to God is acceptable to Him. He was the head of the primitive church and thus his example is sufficient.

          • Anton

            Please see my longer reply on the subject elsewhere on the thread.

      • len

        Truth never changes Ivan,boring that it might seem to you?

    • dannybhoy

      There is always the wheat and the tares, Len. The sheep and the goats.
      I’m not sure that we can blame Greek thinking for the dilemma those of us involved in the CofE face. I certainly would accept that intellectualizing the Scriptures leads to spiritual death and decay. The Gospel is to be lived, not analysed. It seems to me that those who have come into the kingdom and love the Lord will use their intelligence for good, and those who are merely religious will use it for their own ends..

      • len

        Danny if you accept pagan philosophers interpreting Gods Word for you then that is entirely your matter.These pagan philosophers have probably had more influence on Christian teaching that Christ Himself did.

        • dannybhoy

          Not quite sure what you’re driving at brother Len.
          The New Testament was mainly written in Greek, the Gospels I think in Aramaic.
          So obviously we had to have translations into English.
          If you are reading a Bible in English it has been translated from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
          Please explain why you think pagan philosophers were involved.

          • len

            It is’ the mindset’ when reading scriptures that influences our interpretation Danny.
            We clearly see that you can present the same scripture to different denominations and they will interpret the scripture according to their mindset.

            1, Muslims will deny parts of the scripture that do not line up with Islam.
            2, Catholics will put ‘a spin’ on the scripture according what the Magisterium tells them the scripture means.
            3, If you read the Scriptures with a Greek mindset you may treat some scriptures as’ allegories’ and totally destroy their meaning .For example if you treat Genesis as ‘an allegory’ .Obviously some parts of scripture could be allegories but The holy Spirit should guide our interpretation not Greek Philosophers, the Magisterium ,or Islamic teachers.

            “The Alexandria catechetical school, which revered Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the greatest theologian of the Greek Church, as its heads, applied the allegorical method to the explanation of Scripture. Its thought was influenced by Plato: its strong point was [pagan] theological speculations. Athanasius and the three Cappadocians [the men whose Trinitarian views were adopted by the Catholic Church at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople] had been included among its members” (Hubert Jedin, Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: an Historical Outline, 1960, p. 28).

          • dannybhoy

            Interesting, but the fact is that we are all influenced by our upbringing and the prevailing culture that shaped us.
            For example there are some that post here who are obviously well read, well educated, and intellectual enough to play ‘one upmanship’ games around theology and doctrinal issues.
            We all have different degrees of intelligence, and it’s obvious to me that has nothing to do with how God decreed I should be (even including my stocky frame and lustrous locks), that’s down to genetics and positive influences during the early years of development.
            We can’t escape these factors in our makeup.
            What we can hold onto is that God is the Creator, the self existent Source of life and morality. i.e. He IS holiness, righteousness, love and compassion.
            So whatever our state He wants to communicate with us, He wants to build a family made up of those who have come to the Son in repentance seeking forgiveness and redemption.
            Out of love and compassion God has made the Gospel understandable and accessible to the least intelligent that they might be saved, adopted and taste of His goodness.
            That He used/uses the Covenant people the Jews to do this; that our Lord was born during the times of the Roman Empire who admired the Greek civilisation and that He sent the apostles to both the Jews and the Gentiles is evidence of His beneficent foreknowledge.
            We don’t need to get excited and pedantic about how He did it or who He used to do it, only to rejoice that down through history men and women have called out to God and experienced His love, forgiveness and new life in Jesus the Son.

    • MDCILIIiterum

      I believe you are missing the point about the influence of Greek philosophy/learning on early Christianity. Even before it started to have any influence there were disagreements between the early Christians, the best known of which are the arguments about the place of Gentiles between Paul and Peter/James. To blame these on the Greeks is wrong.

      Christianity benefited from Greek thinking, especially the Greek thought influenced Apologists, who were very powerful advocates of the faith and undoubtedly gave it great credibility and effectiveness in converting the Greek world relatively smoothly over a handful of centuries. They also instilled in the Church a love of learning and enquiry, and together produced an intellectual and artistic corpus to which no other faith or thought system has come anywhere close in matching. These things I see as the blessings of God, but the fact is that mankind, being fallen, can put his gifts to ill work as well as to good.

      Christianity took the divine revelation of the Hebrews, blended it with the genius of the Greeks, and produced a divinely blessed faith equipped to girdle the world and bring billions to the chance of salvation, something the covenanted Jews on their own had signally failed to do.

      • dannybhoy

        I agree.
        God is above any of man’s intellectual achievements, and His stated intention was that the Gospel should go out into all the world -which meant the Gentiles. I believe without the influence of classical Greek thought the West would not have become the dominant civilisation and made possible the spread of Christianity.

        • MDCILIIiterum

          We agree yet again, and you appreciate good beer. This could be the start of a wonderful friendship!

          • dannybhoy

            It wouldn’t work my son.
            I could never get my mouf arahnd yore monicker…

          • CliveM

            “mouf arahnd……….”

            Was going to say something, but decided children might be reading.

          • dannybhoy

            You ain’t a Cockney, are yer?

          • MDCILIIiterum

            One is in an ecumenical frame of mind trying to stretch the arms of fraternity to our RC brethren by adopting Roman script…

          • dannybhoy

            Is opera?

          • dannybhoy

            I googled the numerals but there’s also some connection with 1642..

        • Ivan M

          They had to figure out what was meant by the Trinity. It was in their job description as philosophers. I don’t think the Greeks relished the task since its an insoluble Mystery, but they had to try to figure it since they were the philosophers But I don’t see why they are getting a bad rap. We or rather I have to accept that the doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to accept and I don’t blame the Muslims or Jews for rejecting it. Nonetheless the high subtlety of Greek thought was the best effort at understanding the Trinity.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, I’d go along with that too. I’m not well up on the great Greek thinkers, but I believe it was Plato who reasoned that there must be a first cause?
            The Trinity is indeed difficult to understand, and as you say must be accepted because (esp) the New Testament allows no other conclusion.

          • MDCILIIiterum

            Aristotle – the unmoved mover, although Plato also appears to have believed there was only one creator God.

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, thanks for that.

          • Ivan M

            Yes it is the NT which makes the status of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit unequivocal. In the OT God created male and female in His image, but that gives only two beings, at best the Shekinah of God as the other Person. Then there are the mysterious visitors, the three angelic beings who visited Abraham and Sarah. The Son of Man, the suffering Servant of Israel all point to Jesus. But how do we derive His coequal status from this. At best we can say that the Father left it to His best agent.

          • dannybhoy

            Isaiah 48:16 “Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.” The JSP Tanakh has it, “….has sent me and endowed me with His spirit”, but the marginal notes says, “and his spirit.”

          • Anton

            Why did they have to figure it out? If it wasn’t an issue for St Paul, why should it bother us so much? Why not just accept, like Paul, that God IS Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that Christ IS both fully divine and fully human, and run forward from there?

            When you look at the schisms over these issues, moreover, you see the point of using these things as your beginning.

          • Ivan M

            We are given brains right? It is inevitable that people would want to figure it out. The case seems to be neither a matter of faith or reason but of direct revelation. St Paul for all his learning under Rabbi Gemaliel didn’t get it until he was thrown off his horse. St Peter was told that it wasn’t flesh and blood that disclosed to him that Jesus was the Christ.
            But until then Greek learning can help us keep faith in the Trinity.

          • Anton

            How?

          • Ivan M

            In the Beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. Unless you want to ditch St John’s Gospel , which may be s sensible thing to do to get closer to yours and Lens ideas of primitive Christianity before it was corrupted by the pagans I don’t why Greek learning has no place in Christian life.

          • Anton

            Assuredly the gospel of John helps us to keep faith in the Trinity. Why do you suppose I have said anything to the contrary?

          • Ivan M

            You are a good man and so is Len. I’ll stick to political stuff from now on.

      • len

        Sorry I disagree.If what you have said were true the Church would be in a lot better shape than it is or has been , past and present.

        • MDCILIIiterum

          Today the Church has not it’s energy and fallen to those who want an easy appeasing comfortable life. Its problems today can’t be blamed on the Greeks!

        • IanCad

          I’m with you on this Len. Paganism’s baleful influence has corrupted the Word of God. Just as it perverted the Jewish faith during the intertestamental years, so did Hellenistic culture and thinking undermine the gospel in the early Christian church.

      • dannybhoy

        Or rather, in the fullness of time God…

  • dannybhoy

    Apologies if it’s already been recommended, but here’s a link to Gavin Ashenden’s expleanation for why he had to resign and the challenges facing Christianity from relativism, secularism and Islam.
    http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Allowing-the-Koran-to-be-read-in-church-is-wrong.-It-s-why-I-ve-resigned-as-Chaplain-to-the-Queen

  • Rick Pardieu

    Hang folks, Hell is just around the corner.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Latin: idiota.

      • Rick Pardieu

        The truth

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Veritas.

  • dannybhoy

    How is your boy these days Clive? Well, I trust..

    • CliveM

      Doing well DB, how’s your Goddaughter?

      Apologies for slow response but Friday is a busy night.

      • dannybhoy

        Our goddaughter is a delight, and it is wonderful to see the changes in her and her sister because people are taking an interest them.

        • CliveM

          Lovely to hear DB.

          God bless you and your wife as well.

  • Shadrach Fire

    There is but one truth and that truth is revealed in the Holy Scriptures as revealed and confirmed by the Holy Spirit. To then intellectualise those words and manipulate them to fit modern society and it’s thinking is to debase the whole concept of one God, one truth. It is not for man to choose how those words should be interpreted. They are unchanging.

  • The Snail

    There can be no doubt that if the whole of humanity became gay over night, the human race would die out, within a generation, unless of course the method by which children are produced naturally, was in some way changed. This change is very different from what has been called marriage. It has its own names surrogacy, sperm donation etc. The two are not equivalent. The concept of a marriage ( noun) is actually a reification of a the process (verb) of what goes on in a marriage. What goes on in a gay relationship is no t the same as a heterosexual relationship – The two are different and require a different reification. This is quite apart from whether one regards one or both good or bad.

    • dannybhoy

      Hey Snail, did it take you a while to reach this conclusion?

      • The Snail

        No. But sometimes it is necessary to state the blindingly obvious 😉

        • dannybhoy

          The vast majority of posters here would agree with you, though there are some differences in attitudes towards the activist homosexual communities..

  • A very thoughtful, articulate and comprehensive essay on a vital subject by Gavin Ashenden. Particularly liked his observation that Christ’s silence on same sex genital acts or so called gay marriage in the Gospels reflects the fact that the matter was non-negotiable settled. God-sanctioned homosexual marriage was a total non issue as literally nobody in 1st century Israel would even dream of such perversion being acceptable before God.

    This is not the issue I want to fight over. As Peter Hitchens writes, the destruction of traditional marriage by the revolutionary secularist Left has caused far more harm. However, if this is the point at which that dark master of strategy Mr Satan wants to attack the Church in the world today over, it is necessary to make a defence at this point. Even if it unleashes SJW venom and further divides the visible Church.

    • dannybhoy

      SJW?
      We Christians are supposed to be a peaceful lot, but we always seem to be picking fights or squabbling over something relatively minor… (Referring to this thread).
      Of course we should hold our own views, but when those views obscure the main issue we become paralysed…

      • Pubcrawler

        “social justice warrior”, which is being interpreted ‘screeching leftie activist’

        • dannybhoy

          Thanks. I would never have known…

    • Anton

      It’s always chip, chip, chip. Judges regularly grant rights to cohabiting partners who have chosen to cohabit with no pledge of commitment. Shocking.