Church of England

See how these Christians hate one another


In the darkness of disagreement and dispute, there must be grace, peace and love. It is what ought to distinguish the differences and debate of Christians from the squabbles and wrangles of the world. Our argument ought to be respectful and understanding, not hateful or bickering. The world ought to be able to look at those who profess to follow Christ and say, with Tertullian, “See how they love one another!”

Sadly, that is not the experience of the Rev’d Canon Dr Alison Joyce, the new Rector of St Bride’s Church in Fleet Street. For 30 years she has been shining the light of gender equality in the Church of England – as a deacon in 1988, a priest in 1994, and now tipped for episcopal office.

The Telegraph reports that she has encountered opposition every step of the way, and that the hate mail she received “was always from Christians”. Jesus commands us to love one another: hate mail is inexcusable and utterly intolerable coming from Christians.

Unless, of course, it wasn’t hate mail at all; simply a robust but agreeable expression of theological disagreement or doctrinal discord, which the recipient calls “hate” or “phobic” because it’s easier to hurl vernacular proposition-blocking barbs than to engage with intelligent and thoughtful dialectic.

Consider the manifest view of the Rev’d Canon Dr Alison Joyce of traditionalists in the Church of England. Speaking of the ‘protections’ which have been incorporated into the new legislation for women bishop to accommodate those who, in all conscience, believe the Apostolic Succession was entrusted to and is reserved for faithful men, she says: “What concerns me most is when the Church sets up structures so that people never have to be ‘contaminated’ by any glimpse of women’s ministry at all. I find that deeply disturbing. We have to encounter each other.. It’s tiresome, but one hopes eventually they will learn to grow in love and grace.”

The Telegraph is right to find this candour “unusual”, noting that words and phrases such as “tiresome” and “deeply disturbing” may indeed dwell in the minds of some women deans, archdeacons and rectors when thinking of those oppose or reject their vocation, but such disparagement rarely crosses their lips. Indeed, it appears that Canon Joyce is perhaps the one who needs to grow in love and grace, for how will she ever again fellowship with who those believe exclusively in the male priesthood without them thinking that she finds their conversation tedious and their beliefs tiresome? How does her candour reflect anything of Archbishop Justin’s desire for holy disagreement within our ecclesial “federation of failure”? As he said in his recent Presidential Address to Synod:

Sufficiency is in loving those with whom we disagree.  What may be necessary in the way of party politics, is not sufficient in what might be called the polity of the Church.

In this Church of England we must learn to hold in the right order our calling to be one and our calling to advance our own particular position and seek our own particular views to prevail in the Church generally, whether in England or around the world. We must speak the truth in love.

In practice that has to mean the discipline of meeting with those with whom we disagree and listening to each other carefully and lovingly. It means doing that as much as when we meet with those with whom we do agree, whether it is during sessions of General Synod or at other times. It means celebrating our salvation together and praying together to the God who is the sole source of our hope and future, together. It means that even when we feel a group is beyond the pale for its doctrine, or for its language about others or us, we must love. Love one another, love your neighbour, love your enemy. Who in the world is in none of those categories?

It is a strength of the Church of England that it is latitudinal in doctrine and diverse in praxis: a church that accommodates the secondary breadth of human variety founded upon immutable primary theology reflects something of the community of the Trinity: unity in diversity; a diversity of different ministerial functions. You may not agree with women deacons, priests or (arch)bishops, but please don’t send letters of hate to those who believe they are called to those ministries and are affirmed in their vocations. But, equally, those who support women (or who are women) in such ministries ought not to find traditionalist Anglicans or conservative theologians somehow recalcitrant or bigoted, which “tiresome” rather suggests. The legislative provisions designed to accommodate their consciences ought not to be judged “deeply disturbing”: they spring from Scripture and are grounded in 2000 years of Tradition; they are formulated out of the desire for mutual accommodation.

It is curious that Canon Joyce draws on the vocational similarities that may be found in journalism and Christianity: both are “about challenging and calling to account, defending the marginalised, and giving a voice to the voiceless,” she says. And it is undoubtedly true that both are tasked with speaking truth to power. But you cannot impose theological uniformity any more than you can coerce moral consensus in a post-Christian culture. Either a church accommodates the sacred right of individual conscience, or it distorts the truth of community and oppresses the Body of Christ to the point of bearing false witness. Invective, intimidation and contempt are as unacceptable as hate mail.

But no doubt a blog which seeks to be sensitive to the increasingly voiceless orthodox and marginalised traditionalists in the Church of England is “tiresome”, if not “deeply disturbing”.

  • Charlie P

    I imagine she merely finds it tiresome that these orthodox and marginalised brethren find it necessary to express their godly discord by sending her personal correspondence inviting her to quit her vocation. 30 years of that would leave anybody feeling a bit grumpy.

    • Thomas Keningley

      It isn’t her vocation.

    • carl jacobs

      But please keep sending that money, orthodox and marginalised brethren. Someone has to pay for the salary of all these newly-minted women bishops. We may despise what you believe, but we surely love your money.

    • Ah, but she has to understand these old fogies and …….. “learn to grow in love and grace.”

  • Linus

    The problem with these so-called “orthodox and marginalized” traditionalists is not what they believe, but their dogged determination to impose it on everyone else.

    If traditionalists won’t accept female ministry then they’re free to seek alternative arrangements within the Church. But to campaign for the suppression of female ministry that they won’t accept but which the majority will is an attempt to impose their minority beliefs on a majority that does not share them.

    Turn the argument around and look at it from the liberal point of view. How many women priests hide in the vestry and wait for the pews to fill (“fill” being a relative word, of course) on a Sunday morning and then lock the doors so that any poor unsuspecting traditionalists (suffering as so many of them do from age-related forgetfulness) can’t leave once the service begins and they realize it’s being led by a woman? The Daily Mail isn’t full of reports of desperate pensioners trying to claw their way out of locked churches to escape spiritual pollution by wicked priestesses. Doors are always open and worshippers are free to come and go as they please. There’s no imposition of belief, just an invitation to share in a form of worship that most Anglicans find perfectly acceptable.

    What’s tiresome and deeply disturbing about traditionalists is their inability to accept that others believe differently and their determination to force their beliefs on others. There’s no respect in such an attitude. There’s certainly no love. What they’re saying is “I know better than you and I’m going to make life very difficult for you unless you comply with my wishes.”

    • retiredbloke

      You seem to be suggesting that the church is a democratic institution whereby the will of the majority is important. I have news for you: it is not and never will be and I would suggest to you that if it is administered in this way then it is not a church but more akin to a social club.

      It has been said that Christians do not read their Bibles. Until they start doing so again the church will continue to behave as one subject to the systems of the world.

      • Dominic Stockford

        They need to believe and live by said Bibles as well!

      • Shadrach Fire

        Well said fellow retiree.

    • carl jacobs


      That argument is hilariously ironic given the recent resolution to the srgument over women bishops. Traditionalists have been told “You may believe what you like just so long as you don’t act on it.” You divide belief from practice as if said division is a small thing.

      The truth is rather more simple. Both sides wish to control the practice of the church for in this matter the practice defines the teaching. You don’t understand how someone can feel compelled by a woman’s authority – a position for which you feel absolutely no respect. And you certainly think you “know better” on the subject – which is why you would compel their behavior. Your whole argument applies as much to liberals as anyone.

      But don’t worry. All those traditionalists will be gone soon.

    • Coniston

      I understand that the ‘traditionalists’ (i.e. orthodox Anglicans) certainly opposed the introduction of women priests in 1992. But once that legislation was (very narrowly) passed, and they were promised an ‘honoured place’ in the CofE, they accepted the situation and fully realised that if there were women priests it was inevitable that there would one day be women bishops. What they asked for was assurance that they could continue in the orthodox Anglican faith. Unfortunately they were sidelined, and the first proposals for the women bishops’ legislation would have removed the precarious safeguards then in place for them. This was seen as so vindictive (despite the ‘promises’ of 20 years ago – is the CofE not expected to keep its promises?) that even some of those who wanted women bishops rejected the legislation. It was then amended to give safeguards to the orthodox part of the CofE. Whether this will be overturned in the future we shall see.

      As an afterthought, the sight of our (mostly non-Christian) legislators at Westminster demanding that legislation for women bishops be passed immediately makes me think that the CofE should be disestablished – which Parliament will probably do in any case in the future. It cannot be right that a secular body should help to determine how the CofE governs itself.

    • Shadrach Fire

      The problem with these so-called “orthodox ………dogged determination to impose it on everyone else. You have turned everything upside down. Traditionalists are called such because that is how it has always been. God does not change. It is the new rebels that want move on and change everything.

      they’re free to seek alternative arrangements within the Church. No, the traditionalists are those who held the ground and the Feminists should have created their own covenant within the church or elsewhere. Perhaps a convent!

      What’s tiresome and deeply disturbing about traditionalists is their inability to accept that others believe differently and their determination to force their beliefs on others Did you mean that for two thousand years, traditionalist have been wrong or are you saying that God has changed his mind and the bible is now wrong?

      There’s certainly no love. What they’re saying is “I know better than you and I’m going to make life very difficult for you unless you comply with my wishes.” Are you saying that you know better than God and that we need to move over for a new type of religion.

    • Linus, don’t you regard religion (traditional, progressive, whatever) as “a blight on humankind”?

      • Linus

        Yes indeed. The biggest blight there is, short of pandemic flu or bubonic plague.

  • len

    It has become quite fashionable to accuse those who disagree with us of commiting a ‘hate crime’ and this might sometimes be the case.
    But Christians should not expect to have an easy pathway through this life.If one sticks ‘their head above the parapet’ then they must expect to get shot at this is just the way things are.
    As the apostle Paul found out when experiencing great difficulty and trials God was able to use them as a means of shifting Pauls dependency from himself to Christ who dwelt within him bythe power of the Holy Spirit.
    So as Paul said’
    “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in
    hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I
    am strong.”

    I myself have have had family problems of a fairly extreme nature with Christians and although painful have seen God working in this situation.

  • Busy Mum

    We must speak the truth in love.

    Therein lies the catch; where truth is subjective, one person’s act of love is another’s hate mail.

  • Irene’s Daughter

    Matthew 22 (AV)
    36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
    38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
    39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

    Why is it that when it comes to these kinds of discussion the second commandment always seems to be given precedence over the ‘first and greatest commandment’? Even the most casual understanding of this is that you cannot love your neighbour ‘as yourself’ unless you first love God.

    This issue is not about a theological argument – it is about what our Lord and Master wants. What does He want in the regard to women leaders? He chooses whomsoever He wills – and it is worth remembering that He chose Deborah to lead His people in the time of the Judges (4:4).

    If a woman is truly called by God, who are we to deny her? If she is not called by God but is merely an ambitious woman, then the consequences for any spiritual damage to the flock is on both her head and the heads of those who have been given the responsibility by God to test the calling. And the test is based on their willingness to seek Him about her in prayer. Theology has the sad consequence of destroying the practice of walking by faith. Nevertheless Scripture implies that the leadership of God’s people and Jesus’ Church should be predominantly male.

    But He is still our Lord and God. In the end He will choose what is best for His purposes and not what we want because we think that it is a good idea..

    • alternative_perspective

      This I believe is one reason why people suggest male headship is taught as there were sufficient examples in the OT of women being called to leadership so it wasn’t necessarily a culturally Jewish thing and the fact none was demonstrably selected by Jesus or the 12 implies given this that women weren’t appointed for a purpose. But who knows.

  • Uncle Brian

    Was it hate mail or wasn’t it? Maybe it was, some of it. Has she published any of the content?

  • retiredbloke

    The problem with most churches is that they are man-made institutions populated by people who have identified themselves as having a similar belief system to the current administrators or leaders of that church. As the world’s belief system changes so does the church’s until the secular minded and ambitious self-seekers ultimately take over and demand that their world derived management system should hold sway. They forget that our Creator has ideas of His own how He want us to behave as the Body of Christ.

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” says A DONAI . 9 “As high as the sky is above the earth are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For just as rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return there, but water the earth, causing it to bud and produce, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth— it will not return to me unfulfilled; but it will accomplish what I intend, and cause to succeed what I sent it to do.” (Isaiah 55)

    Perhaps those who want His Body to be led in their way should check the Makers Handbook before having a hissy-fit. His Word is immutable, it cannot change, it is written apart from time by a Creator who exists apart from time.

  • carl jacobs

    It is a strength of the Church of England that it is latitudinal in doctrine and diverse in praxis: a church that accommodates the secondary breadth of human variety founded upon immutable primary theology

    Except it is evident that the CoE consists of all latitude and no foundation. You can’t appeal to primary theology unless it actually exists. When it comes to this subject, the formal teaching of the church does not matter. It is the functional teaching that matters. And the functional teaching has no discernable limits.

    • Andym

      Sorry, but I’m a bit of a thicky – can you explain what “functional teaching” is?

      • carl jacobs


        Formal teaching is what is found in documents. Functional teaching is taught from pulpits and in Bible studies. It’s the difference between the words in the Nicene Creed and what people are taught that those words mean.

        • Andym

          So, Carl, the primary theology which does not exist in the C of E is….?

          • carl jacobs

            That essential content which defines the difference between Christian and non-Christian. The Christian faith has content. A Christian must of necessity believe certain things. The CoE has no such boundary.

            This is why I mentioned ‘formal teaching.’ The typical argument against this is along the lines of “But we have the prayer book.” I have even heard people argue that the church is still orthodox so long as the formal teaching of the church is orthodox no matter what people believe and teach in practice

          • Andym

            OK, so in your book, being C of E, I’m not a Christian. So long as we know where we stand. Personally, I’m not going to presume to judge whether you are or are not – but then that’s just my flawed theology which leaves judgment to the Almighty

          • carl jacobs


            I have no idea how you arrived at that conclusion. My point is that the CoE provides no actual distinction between Christian and non-Christian. The last figures I saw indicated that 3% of Priests in the CoE are atheists. One would typically think that belief in God is essential to being a Christian.

            This is why actual Christians in the CoE are struggling. It is what has killed TEC and the ACC. It is why the CoE is disintegrating.

          • Busy Mum

            Exactly. I tend to get the impression that being a Christian in 2014 is a ‘lifestyle choice’ that involves believing in absolutely everybody and everything, except God.

          • Maalaistollo

            Yes, but those 3% still believe in the Clergy Pensions Scheme and surely that’s what counts.

          • dannybhoy

            Perhaps you’re missing out that both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England accept other sources of authority, such as tradition or leadership pronouncements arrived at through discussion?
            Nothing inherently wrong with that as long as there is no conflict with the clear intention of Holy Scripture.
            Being a member of a church does not make you a Christian anyway.

          • Uncle Brian

            I have heard a Catholic priest, here in Latin America, say from the pulpit that he looked forward to the day when the Church would have “madres” as well as “padres” celebrating the Mass. I can’t say it’s something I look forward to myself, but it might be a bit rash to dismiss it as something that will never happen.

          • CliveM

            Don’t tell Happy Jack, he will have an attack of the vapours!

          • This is no trivial matter.
            Happy Jack has booked the next flight to Brazil and will inform the priest he must privately and publically recant and repent.

          • dannybhoy

            We have a lovely lady who was recently ordained, and I respect her because the joy of the Lord is manifest and her attitude is right. She is not out to prove anything, and my wife and I support her 100%.
            It doesn’t mean I embrace the whole thing though. As BusyMum says it’s a question of calling and anointing.

          • Then this priest has publically rejected an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church.

            “We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.
            (‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’: Pope John Paul II)

            Because of doubt over the precise status of this position, Cardinal Ratzinger, the then Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, clarified the authority of ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’:

            “The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”

            When will you tell him Brian?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Only God is infallible.

          • Athanasius

            Quite. And through the Holy Spirit He preserves the Magisterium of the Catholic Church from error.

          • Without infallibility through the Holy Spirit, there can be no finality regarding any of the Truths concerning Christianity. And there can be no unity of Faith. Do you honesty believe God would permit this? That He would leave it to each generation and to individuals to decide what Truth is?

          • Athanasius

            You need to report this man to his bishop, and if you get no satisfaction from that quarter, go directly to Rome.

          • Uncle Brian

            Shall I demand that he be burned at the stake? Does that sound about right to you?

          • Brian

            Seriously, this priest is teaching something in direct contradiction to an infallibly declared position of the Church. Burning at the stake would be an overreaction these days but he has compromised his position and is possibly in a position of latae sententiae excommunication.

          • CliveM

            Is he teaching it, or simply expressing a hope? I don’t think he is saying this is Church doctrine, simply that he wishes it was.
            Is it not enough in the RCC that you assent to Church discipline, or are you also banned from expressing contrary hopes?

          • What’s the point of expressing a “hope” for something that has been declared settled by the Church? This means it can never change. There can never be women priests. A Catholic, especially a priest, would be expected to accept the Magisterium’s decision as final and seek to understand it rather than contradict it.

          • Uncle Brian

            That’s not what Carl is saying. He’s not saying that nobody
            in the C of E is a Christian. He’s saying that not everybody in the C of E is a Christian. There’s a difference.

    • dannybhoy

      Yes, from a participatory perspective I would say that compromise in the interests of unity tends to be the norm.
      It is very much the trend of things in our society, the levelling of values in order to achieve a base from which inclusion, diversity and equality can flourish.
      As retired bloke said earlier, we Christians are not part of a democratic institution but part of a kingdom ruled by the King of Kings. So we know Who is Lord and we know the laws of the kingdom.
      I think it comes down to attitudes. Are we submitted or assertive? Do we have a meek and humble spirit or a desire to impose our version of our faith on others.
      I was brought up to believe that women should not have a leading role over men. Nowadays and taking into account Saint Paul’s utterances, I would say that it depends whether we see the anointing of the Holy Spirit on that lady minister and her ministry. Whether she has a humble servant’s heart or is out to prove something.
      Because we know that men too can have a wrong attitude. They may be overbearing or divisive.

    • Sybaseguru

      I think there probably is a lowest common denominator in the form of the Apostles Creed. Anyone outside that could probably be defined as non-Christian, not to mention outside of the C of E. That doesn’t mean to say that they don’t want to draw their salary from the C of E – after all who else would finance them?

  • len

    The’ 39 articles’ of the church of England seem a pretty sound place to start from with regards to theology. (Providing you are standing on the only Foundation worth standing on which is Christ.)

    Perhaps we need a re- affirmation of thses basis principles in the C of E?

    • dannybhoy

      At our s’nod meetings main business is money or the lack of it.
      There are clergy who point out that we have our priorities wrong and that we should be preaching the Gospel, but this is never taken up.
      It just struck me that the Church of England actually resembles a “Buy to Let” company. It has plenty of properties but demand is low….. 🙂

      • Martin


        If the CoE were to preach the gospel that might solve it’s money problems. God has a way of dealing with such matters:

        Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. (Haggai 1:5-6 [ESV]

        • dannybhoy

          Quite so Martin.
          As our deanery and diocesan rep I find the whole thing largely dispiriting. Men build structures to express and implement a vision; the vision dies and the structure takes on a life of its own…

  • John Waller

    Ms Joyce is correct that such structures ought not to exist within a single church body. This is the very reason we have different denominations so that believers can freely express their doctrinal distinctives in the company of the like-minded.

    The problem with the Church of England is that it is attempting to hold together three (at least) different denominations under a single banner. Rome has pthe same problem albeit with a different doctrinal spectrum.

    This has never worked well in the past and with the liberal wing of the C of E now having wandered completely off the reservation of orthodoxy it really won’t work at all in the future.

    Time to give up the attempt.

  • This seems a strange comment from a person tipped to be the first woman bishop in England:

    “What concerns me most is when the Church sets up structures so that people never have to be ‘contaminated’ by any glimpse of women’s ministry at all. I find that deeply disturbing. We have to encounter each other.”

    Is she suggesting that the principal objection to woman in ministry originates in the ritual impurity laws in Leviticus? That Jesus, Saint Paul and the church for 2000 years has carried this prejudice against a women’s menstrual cycle? If so, Jack would find that deeply disturbing and tiresome.

  • CliveM

    It is important that when we speak we discuss respectively even when we disagree. But equally we need to listen honestly and hear what is being said, not what our prejudices would have us hear.

    Sometimes that is why arguments happen, not because of the speaker, but because of the listener.

    • Pardon?

      • CliveM

        Some people look for insult, even when it’s not there. You do wonder if this lady priest is doing this at times!

        • …. or feign it for affect.

          • CliveM


          • If Jack was a member of the Church of England, he would find this comment patronising, dismissive and “deeply disturbing”.

            (The odds on Rosie Harper becoming the first woman bishop have shortened after this newspaper interview.)

          • CliveM

            I’m tip toeing carefully now, what comment? I have you know I never patronise!

            It has to be said, written communication can be a particularly poor form of sensitive communication.

          • You’re being too sensitive.
            Jack was referring to the comment by Alison Joyce that those opposed to women bishops have to “learn to grow in love and grace.”

          • CliveM


          • CliveM

            Just noticed you added to the post I commented “indeed” to!

            That’s not fair, it completely changes the meaning of my comment!

          • Indeed.

          • CliveM

            I was massively tempted to amend my post above this, to something like “do you not thing the RCC needs to embrace an all female Priesthood” in revenge, but decided against it!! 🙂

          • Lol …. then you are a bad person for even thinking such a thing.
            Or should that be thinging such a think?

          • CliveM

            D£&m predictive keyboard!

          • CliveM

            We all have to learn to grow in love and grace, regardless of woman Priests.

        • dannybhoy

          All the time…. 😉

          • CliveM

            But is that not because of what you say! 🙂

          • dannybhoy

            It’s because of what (you thought) you heard.
            It is well known that hearing is affected by
            What side of the bed you got out of
            Whether your gout/piles/arthritis is playing up
            Your hearing aid batteries are dead
            The car’s playing up….

  • You see with men only clergy you wouldn’t have these condescending
    speeches and bitchiness which detracts from the word of God.
    Women don’t make good clergy.

    • Jack up-voted you but wants it noted that men are capable of condescension and bitchiness too. Women may or may not make good clergy, depending on how we judge that according to our human standards. The point is that God, for reasons known to Himself but discernable from scripture, has determined that His priesthood should be male.

      • Marie, if you want to see condescension and bitchiness, try reading some of the stuff that comes out of the RC US bishops congresses. And since they all have a Y chromosome, I don’t think it can be blamed on their gender… 🙂

        • Ummmm …. but a good number of them are confused about their ‘gender’ as opposed to their sex.

      • God made women too, so He would know exactly why he determined that His priesthood should be male.

        • Well what’s for certain is that God isn’t being sexist and bigoted. Men and women are equal but different and have complementary strengths and weaknesses. What’s actually wrong with patriarchy? Jack’s never been able to understand the opposition to it. Men and women do have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere. It’s the way God planned it.

          • It’s the way of the world Jack.

            You’ll find as women become more numerous, confident and powerful in the Church there will be more speeches like Canon Rosie’s.

          • Leacock

            That is sadly true.

  • Shadrach Fire

    It is sad that there are those who will call for a repeal of scripture in order that their own desires and wishes should be met. I just wonder where it will stop. We have an on going move towards same sex marriage in the church and the priesthood of women continues it’s fateful course. And along with this, those that hold to the scriptures as being infallible are referred to as Neanderthals.
    It makes no sense. It makes it hard to be the nice loving Christians they say we should be and not say anything against their actions. It’s not hate, it’s a defence of the Gospel and lovingly tying to prevent them opposing the will of God.

    • “And along with this, those that hold to the scriptures as being infallible are referred to as Neanderthals.”

      But who says that your particular interpretation of scripture is infallible? Who knows, the Church may be ‘old fashioned’ and in need of ‘modernisation’. What was considered ‘truth’ in the time of Christ may have been culturally conditioned. And science tells us so much more about the ‘human condition’ than texts dating back millennia. We should live and let live and stop trying to impose our understanding of God and spirituality on others.

      Without infallibility invested in the Church there can be no finality regarding any of the Truths of Christianity and there can be no unity of faith. It all has to be renegotiated by every generation.

      • If infallibility is vested in the ‘Church’ then we are all in big trouble because the ‘Church’ has erred and continues to err, qv.
        It is the word of God, the Bible, that is infallible, and if a church sets itself clearly against that word then it is time to leave. It happened at the Reformation and it needs to happen again.

        • The infallibility of the Church in matters of faith and morals is a big subject and is often misunderstood and misrepresented. It is founded on scripture and is evident in the Apostle’s self understanding of the Holy Spirit’s presence with them.

          For those interested, here’s a link to a fairly comprehensive article explaining it:

      • Busy Mum

        Are you suggesting that Jesus Christ declared Himself to be the way, the truth and the life because He was culturally conditioned to do so?

        • Heaven forbid ! Jack was merely presenting some opposing speculations.

          Jack accepts that Jesus had His own good reasons for appointing only men as Apostles. Some argue that as a man He was influenced by and wanted to be sensitive to the patriarchal culture He grew up in. However, Jesus continually showed Himself to be counter-cultural.
          Theology informs us that even though Jesus Christ had two separate wills the human will was always subject to and submitted to His Divine will. Based on this, Jack would say if Jesus wanted women priests He would have said so. There are other reasons too. Like the imagery of God as Father and Jesus as Son and the Church as the Bride of Christ. There’s is also the matter, for some, of the Persona Christie if you believe in the Real Presence..

          • dannybhoy

            Theology informs us that even though Jesus Christ had two separate wills
            the human will was always subject to and submitted to His Divine will.

            God dwelt in a human being unaffected by the sin of Adam.
            As regards to His mission Our Lord became the second Adam and could have sinned as Adam sinned.
            Our Lord did not regard Himself as God in a human body, but as a Man fully surrendered to God the Father.
            Had He been aware of His own Divinity, there would have been no point to the temptations and trials He endured.

            Philippians 2..
            5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, <i.though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

            Here is the great mystery of our Saviour God! He actually laid aside His Divinity and truly experienced life as a man.
            The Creator shows His great love and compassion by becoming a creature and dwelling among us.

          • Hmmmm …. you need to brush up on the Incarnation, the Trinity and especially the Hypostatic Union. Jack’s statement: “Jesus Christ had two separate wills
            the human will was always subject to and submitted to His Divine will”
            is orthodox

            The humanity and divinity of Christ are one. In Christ there are two natures united in one single person. They co-exist within one person. Understanding this is beyond us and it caused untold schisms in the early Church.

            This was settled at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 which stated that the human and divine natures of the Person of Christ co-exist yet each remains distinct subsequent to the Incarnation, complete, and unaltered. The Third Council of Constantinople in 680 held that both divine and human wills exist in Jesus, with the divine will having precedence, leading and guiding the human will.

            This is accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and Reformed theology.

          • dannybhoy

            ” Understanding this is beyond us and it caused untold schisms in the early Church.”
            God’s solution to the problem of man’s fall was to send a second Adam born of the virgin Mary and through the agency of the Holy Spirit. One could then argue that Christ born of a woman but with no human father was of the same order of uniqueness and sinlessness as Adam who had neither father nor mother

          • Not exactly sure what you’re trying to clarify here, Danny. Jesus was both God and man in one person. What’s the issue?

            Here are the relevant sections of Jack’s post:

            “The humanity and divinity of Christ are one. In Christ there are two natures united in one single person. They co-exist within one person.”

            ” … the human and divine natures of the Person of Christ co-exist yet each remains distinct subsequent to the Incarnation, complete, and unaltered.”

            ” … that both divine and human wills exist in Jesus, with the divine will having precedence, leading and guiding the human will.”

            This isn’t a ‘Roman Catholic’ thing, you know. Do you accept the Athanasian Creed?

          • dannybhoy

            “Do you accept the Athanasian Creed?”

            Dunno, never read it. I accept the Nicene Creed, but that doesn’t mention two wills.

            I found this reference…

            which from as much as I read I agreed with.

          • Google it …. Jack believes there’s a copy on the Church of England’s website.

          • dannybhoy

            I did.
            Howja think I got this reference?

            I hain’t never seen it in my local church or in our order of surface..
            The problem is Jack that not every Christian is equipped to read and inwardly digest the minutiae.
            Take me for example. Three sentences and I feel myself falling into a catatonic sta- zzzzzzzzz.

          • ” …. not every Christian is equipped to read and inwardly digest the minutiae.”

            The Incarnation and Trinity, along with the atonement, great mysteries beyond our finite human reason, are the very foundations of our Christian faith – not minutiae. Jack was first exposed to all these cardinal truths through the traditional liturgy, prayers and hymns of the Church. Nowadays, these doctrinal truths seem to be rarely shared and seem to becoming less known to contemporary church goers.

            “Three sentences and I feel myself falling into a catatonic sta- zzzzzzzzz”

            Then stay focussed. Its well worth the effort and perseverance.

          • dannybhoy

            We’ve been this way before. True salvation does not require a degree in theology. The disciples didn’t have degrees. They had faith.
            It’s only as important as its applicable. Theology is like a library. You go there when you’re stuck or need to clarify or refute.
            It’s good to have it there, but unless it comes into your job description, people will be far more affected by the light and love of Jesus in you than your academic knowledge.

          • “The disciples didn’t have degrees. They had faith.”

            Bet you they knew Jesus was God and man and what the crucifixion and resurrection was all about. Plus, they met the resurrected Christ and received special gifts and graces from the Holy Spirit. Not to mention all the hours of conservations with one another and Jesus that must have taken place that are not recorded.

            Unless you know what the basis of our faith is, how can you have faith and how can you share this with others? Look what’s happening. People, including ministers, are questioning Jesus’ divinity and claiming He was never conscious of being God and never claimed this. Some question the physical resurrection. We’re slipping back into the heresies of the first three centuries of Christianity because of a lack of proper teaching.

            Do you see?

        • Linus

          With his Mom desperately spinning stories of visitations by angels and a virgin birth in order to cover up her youthful indiscretions, I think it’s very likely that Jesus would have been indoctrinated from birth to think of himself as something special and holy.

          The scale of his delusion is more than adequately explained by the shame and fear experienced by Mary. She was an unwed mother at risk of being repudiated by her family and abandoned to her fate. Admittedly the alibi she came up with to explain away her pregnancy was pretty wild, but she wouldn’t be the first woman raised in a religious society to experience delusions of grandeur and being “the chosen one”.

          In saying that, the fact that she got others to believe her wild story certainly says a lot about her character. She must have been wily, charismatic and very persuasive. Couple that with messianic delusions and it’s no surprise that she raised a child with a highly inflated sense of his own importance.

          So yes, I think Jesus’s life can be very easily explained by cultural and familial conditioning.

          • Busy Mum

            There is no record of Mary spinning stories; Joseph only believed it because it was revealed to him in a dream and the population at large assumed that Jesus was the son of both Joseph and Mary. Mary herself forgot there was anything special about Him by the time He was 12 years old.

          • Linus

            Mary forgot she’d been visitated by an angel and impregnificated by God himself?

            It just isn’t likely, is it?

            Christians I know talk about their visions and conversion stories in greater and greater detail as time goes by. It’s like their powers of recall grow exponentially with every passing year. Either that or they’re just inventing more detail to try and put their wild stories beyond doubt.

            What they don’t seem to realize is that too much detail is the mark of the habitual liar. Whether or not they’re lying to the world, or to the world AND themselves is open to debate, of course. But just because they believe their own tall stories doesn’t mean the rest of us are obliged to.

          • Busy Mum

            I didn’t ask you to believe any story, mine or anyone else’s.

          • Linus

            But that’s what all Christians are supposed to do. It’s your duty to go out and preach the Gospel, isn’t it?

            Or does that not apply to busy moms, who presumably have far too much to do looking after their own offspring to be bothered with the Great Commission?

            Is motherhood the sick note you give to the Great Gym Teacher in the sky? “Busy Mom can’t convert heathens today because she’s got beds to make and bottles to wash…”

            Or are you just bunking off evangelism duties because domestic chores are easier?

          • dannybhoy

            ” It’s your duty to go out and preach the Gospel, isn’t it?”
            It’s our duty to be obedient to the call of the Lord on our lives..

            1st Thessalonians 4:9>

            “9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

          • Linus

            Well, if we follow that logic, what’s the point of this forum? Shouldn’t you all be at home working with your hands and minding your own affairs?

            Christians do nothing but meddle in the lives of others. It’s their defining characteristic. “Do as I say, for I speak on behalf of God” is their leitmotif. How does that equate to “minding their own affairs”?

            In any case, for every quote you can show me similar to 1st Thessalonians 4:9, I can show you several that exhort Christians to get out there and convert heathens. In the end, they don’t mean anything unless you believe the bible to be the word of God, which I do not. Or I should rather say, I do not believe it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the bible is God’s word. Maybe it is. But I’ve seen no convincing proof of that.

          • dannybhoy

            No Linus,
            It’s not just a logic, it’s what the Thessalonian Christians were encouraged to do.
            Here’s another snippet…

            Ephesians 4:11-16 English Standard Version

            “11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers,[b] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[c] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

            The Great Commission is what you were originally referring to, but that was given to the Apostles for the establishment of the Church and bringing sinners like you, me and even old Jack to salvation.
            Do you come from a Christian family? You seem to be quite knowledgeable.

          • Linus

            My background is typical for a Western white middle class male born in the 60s. I was baptized because children still were in the 60s, but my parents were not churchgoers and neither was I.

            My experience with Christians as an adult has been exclusively in the context of Christian attempts to deny equal rights to LGBT individuals. I have no other reason to interrelate with them.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, that’s fair enough.
            But did they actually “deny equal rights to LGBT individuals” in quite the way you said it, or were you angry at their perceived condemnation of you and your lifestyle?
            (Especially after you’d humoured God by allowing yourself to be baptised…?)
            I mean, you must realise that Christianity is more about forgiveness and new life than it is about blanket condemnation.
            I’ve been a born again Christian for 46 years. I experienced the non Christian lifestyle for 22 years before that, and there is absolutely no comparison between what I was then as a person and now.

          • Linus

            I was six months old when I was baptized. My parents took me to church and the priest chanted his incantations over me and wet my head without me having the least idea what was going on.

            Had I realized what was happening, I might indeed have bolted for the door. But not yet being able to form coherent complex thoughts or understand ideas and concepts communicated via the medium of language, I don’t think I can have had much cause for concern.

            But let’s assume I was some kind of six month old prodigy capable of conceptualizing God and reflecting on the consequences of baptism into a faith I knew nothing about. Even so, my lack of walking skills would have made escape highly improbable. I haven’t seen many six month old babies leap from their godmother’s arms, hit the floor running and race to the nearest emergency exit while avoiding capture by the vastly more agile and mobile adults that surround him. Even if I had been physically capable of making a bid for freedom, photographic evidence tells me I was hardly dressed for such acrobatics. You try running an obstacle race when you’re swaddled in acres of taffeta and lace and see how far you get. I was a prisoner. My attendance was not optional. So am I responsible for anything that happened that day?

            It’s an interesting question. Even though I couldn’t have reasonably stopped it, if I did object to being baptized, would such a show of free will on my part have invalidated the process and rendered my baptism null and void? Who knows? Maybe I did object. Problem is, I have no memory of the event, so I just don’t know. Am I baptized or did I say “no” (or more probably something like “guh” or “wibble”) to it all?

            I’ll never know. All I have is a gilded certificate in a gilded frame telling me I was baptized on such-and-such a date in such-and-such a place. Did I willfully mislead God by submitting to such a process, did I resist, or was I simply minding my own business and letting the adults get on with their mumbo jumbo while I took a nap?

            Only God can answer that question. Unless of course dannybhoy has an infallible opinion to venture. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t…

          • dannybhoy

            Ha Ha!
            That has to be the funniest post I’ve read on Cranmer since joining. I was telling my wife about your unbelief and general crossness with Christianity this morning, and I remembered you in my prayers last night too.
            (but no pressure…. 😉 )

            Congratulations sir, and all the better for your picking up on the intended humour – not an easy thing to do online. I wish they’d bring in emoticons, they do help illustrate the mood of a post.
            Anyway bearing in mind your mention of apologetic briefness, a few thoughts…
            Baptism is like a first step in a gradual process. A sign of intent, a ‘setting aside’ for special treatment and instruction in the Christian faith culminating in confirmation which (apparently) shows that you fully
            understand the faith and are prepared to live by it.

            Non conformists like my wife and I tend to have had a more sudden entrance into the faith, and get baptised /immersed as a sign of our dying (metaphorically speaking of course*) to our old lives and rising to new life in Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
            *there may be homicidal ministers, but I haven’t yet heard of any..

            Lastly on sexuality
            Maybe because I’m now an old (malfunctioning) fogey, my thoughts on sex and things erotica have changed over the years.
            From being a young heterosexual with a healthy -some might say obsessive!- interest in the fair sex, I now see the whole thing differently.
            Sexual attraction is a pleasurable, recreational necessity to pairing and bonding in order to produce and nurture children.
            Grooming, flirting, showing off and courting are all integral expressions of this process.
            But at heart of it all is the desire to be loved and loved unconditionally; to be understood, to share our inmost thoughts, to have someone to go through and face life with.
            And whilst my wife and I love each other more deeply as the years have gone by, it is in a relationship with God that we find our deepest and most fulfilling expression of being.
            I think we were made for an eternal relationship with God.

            “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” -St. Augustine, Confessions.

          • Martin


            Of course, you don’t mean equal rights for LGBT (shouldn’t there be a P in there as well or are you denying them) but extra rights, including the right to be treated as if you aren’t a pervert.

          • Graham Goldsmith

            We cannot prove the existence or not of God by the scientific method. In the same way science cannot prove every aspect of physical reality. ”What went bang ” being just one example of many. We all exercise faith to some degree whatever we believe. I am deeply saddened by some of the experiences you describe regarding Christian attitudes to your sexuality. I think its ok to state biblical truth but with compassion and gentleness. I can understand anybody who takes the view that seeing is believing or that family are most important or that the expression of love through sex is OK. But for Christians matters of love, sex and family are only given their proper context through God and the person of Jesus Christ. We all fall short in all these respects. Jesus wants us to sample the ”living waters” and in that our personal demands are secondary as we devote ourselves to him and his teachings.

          • Linus

            Science cannot prove every aspect of physical reality YET.

            Our knowledge of the universe is expanding all the time. What remain mysteries today may well be easy to explain tomorrow.

            What really does seem like an inexplicable mystery to me however, is how you explain to a 16 year old boy that he’s going to have to spend the rest of his life alone for no good reason other than “God says so”.

            How do you tell him in a “compassionate and gentle” manner that all the joys of love, companionship and physical intimacy are not for him, no matter how much he wants them, and he must renounce them FOREVER or go straight to hell?

            How do you prepare him for a life of unwanted and mandatory celibacy and get him to believe that the God who inflicts such a cruel punishment on him, just for being who he is, really does love him?

            Now that’s something that science certainly can’t explain. Neither can religion. Not in a way that paints God as anything but a cruel and arbitrary tyrant who likes to make gays suffer for no good reason other than to see us squirm.

            Shall I tell you about a couple of “compassionate and gentle” responses I was given as that 16 year old boy?

            How about “sex and love are overrated, you won’t miss them”?

            Well that was just an out and out lie and I knew it. I’d already had sex. I’d also fallen in love, so I knew exactly how special they were. But even if I hadn’t had that experience and had swallowed the lie hook, line and sinker, it wouldn’t have been long before I realized the dishonesty of it. And there’s no compassion or gentleness in dishonesty. All it earns you and the faith you stand for is disrespect and derision.

            Or maybe your pitch would have been “God has something much better lined up for you.”

            Well go on then, show me what it is. What, you can’t but you just know it’s true? Pull the other one, matey. It’s got bells on…

            For all your “compassion and gentleness”, foisting your beliefs on a 16 year old boy and trying to brainwash him into making a eunuch out of himself for no good reason other than to appease your arbitrary, cruel and totally unproven God would be nothing more than an act of child abuse. Trying to actively scupper someone else’s chances of forming happy and fulfilled relationships by filling his head full of Bronze Age tribal superstitions should be classified as an abusive act.

            I hope that one day it will be.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for stating your case so eloquently, and you point out exactly my own thoughts on the subject.
            We have had a lot of discussion on this blog about heterosexual and homosexual celibacy, and what you say highlights again the fact that Christianity makes accommodation through marriage for single heterosexuals but has no such provision for homosexuals because homosexuality is against God’s male/female creation. The Bible acknowledges homosexuality but proscribes the practice of it.
            Paul mentions that homosexuals have become Christians, but doesn’t go into detail about how they lived. I personally know of two Christians from a homosexual orientation who married, had a child/children. One even pastored a church, but both went back to a gay lifestyle.
            Of course it’s so easy to say that they weren’t truly converted then, but as you say that’s a facile argument.

          • Linus

            Couldn’t have put it better myself: there is no provision for homosexuals in Christianity.

            Glad we finally agree.

          • dannybhoy

            There is provision for homosexuals in Christianity.
            It’s called celibacy and there are single heterosexuals who have taken this road in the ministry for example.
            I said to you earlier about the difference between sexuality and humanity, that we all seek unconditional love and companionship.
            The reality is though that ultimately we all die alone. Of course there’s a great sadness in that and some cope with it better than others.
            But you/I WILL, die alone. So whilst I accept that there is more to be discussed on how Christianity treats homosexuality, it doesn’t change the fact that if you’re not going to produce children, then we’re talking about mutual physical comfort and pleasure.
            The reason Judaism, Christianity and Islam condemn homosexuality is because the act of sex is designed for male female genitalia and in line with the process of procreation.

          • Linus

            OK, so the fact that I will die alone means I have to live alone, whereas the fact that you will die alone means you can get married and spend your life with someone.

            That sure makes a lot of sense … to other Christians, perhaps.

            To the rest of us, it just sounds like bigoted and illogical nonsense.

            One of your Christian hymns sums it up well. “All Things Bright and Beautiful” contains a line that says everything that needs to be said about the Christian sense of justice. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate.”

            That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? I’m gay, so I’m the poor man who has to sit outside the rich man’s gate looking in at the riches but never getting a share. Once in a while the rich man might toss me a crust of dry bread to ease his conscience, but otherwise he won’t give me a second thought. It’s God’s will that I should sit outside in celibate solitude for my whole life, after all.

            What an evil and unjust deity this God of yours must be.

          • dannybhoy

            “One of your Christian hymns sums it up well. “All Things Bright and
            Beautiful” contains a line that says everything that needs to be said
            about the Christian sense of justice. “The rich man in his castle, the
            poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, and ordered their

            That’s not an issue Linus. I have no time for hierarchy or class or snobbery.
            No MAN can condemn you for what you are, only point out to you what their belief system says. They can and should y say what God says will happen if you or anyone doesn’t sort it out with the Almighty before your meter runs out.

            But we none of us know what is in your heart, so any Christians near you have a three fold responsibility.
            1)To live a life consistent with their faith, and apologise for where they don’t.
            2) To share the Gospel of redemption with you including the terms and conditions.
            3) To carry on the friendship (if such it be) and not reject you because you don’t believe.
            My attitude is that I don’t reject a fellow man because we disagree on spiritual or intellectual matters. As long as there is mutual respect than there can be friendship.

          • Linus

            Oh dear, you clearly don’t seem to have understood the point of my previous post.

            I wasn’t talking about monetary riches, but another kind.

            Still, whether you understand what I mean or not, we’re clearly at a stand off. You say God exists and must be obeyed. I say you are projecting your own prejudices and fears onto the universe, calling them God and telling everyone else to bow down to them, and by extension, to you.

            And that is where we will have to leave it.

          • dannybhoy

            “Oh dear, you clearly don’t seem to have understood the point of my previous post.
            I wasn’t talking about monetary riches, but another kind.”
            So was I. I wasn’t talking about money I was talking about rank and station.
            Leaving it sounds good to me Linus!

          • Graham Goldsmith

            When science make a discovery say like the ”God particle” it tends to create many more questions than it answers so its possible that humanity may never find the answer through the scientific method. I have never read in the bible that Love and companionship are denied us. Love is put in the context of servanthood. Agape love is the highest calling, the selfless concern for others. Eros sexual love is secondary. This is difficult because we all have a desire for physical intimacy and whilst the heterosexual is given a concession Jesus makes no mention of this in respect of gay relationships. Its harder for the Gay person, in that Love and companionship and physical intimacy have to be separated to fulfil that part of Gods teaching. The point is though that we are all sinners, sexual and otherwise. Yes i believe that God offers something better. I cannot prove it to you because it is found in the human experience through prayer, scripture, faith and action. I was an atheist until 2007 and my life is undergoing a steady positive transformation since committing my life to Jesus. My relationships both sexual and otherwise are more healthy because of it. Jesus describes a happiness/ fulfillment beyond our immediate relationships which reflect his ”living waters ” teachings. There are countless similar Christian testimonies. The way in which we speak with Gay people is important and i make no excuse for using the words compassion and gentleness because clearly some of the things that have been said to you by Christians have been crass in the extreme and are just a recipe for anger. When we have faith in what seems impossible or improbable we gain access to Gods grace and he begins to work in us and change the way we are. i didn’t believe it either but until a person makes a commitment its impossible to make an informed comparison. I have found it to be the opposite of abuse. In fact its freedom

          • Linus

            Well bully for you! Christ gave you a healthy sexual relationship, did he?

            So the fact that he sorted out your sex life and made it all better should somehow encourage me to believe in him, even though if I do, he won’t sort my sex life out so much as obliterate it altogether and forbid me from ever having sex again.

            Honestly, the narcissism of some straights is utterly breathtaking. Boasting about your good sex will not win the heart and mind of someone who won’t be allowed ANY sex at all EVER if he becomes a Christian.

            But you’re alright Jack, aren’t you? No skin off your nose if I have to live as a eunuch. You’ll be getting what you want, and that’s all that matters.

            And there we have Christianity in a nutshell.

          • Graham Goldsmith

            I was not boasting about my sex life, quite the opposite. When i say more healthy i don’t mean more of or better than but rather my attitude to sex is just different as my faith / spiritual life has grown. You were explaining your experiences and i was sharing mine.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said on all counts Graham. Being a Christian is not the same as joining a debating society.

          • magnolia

            Do you have a problem with mothers, or women, as the tone of the last comment seems sneering and misogynistic?

            If so you need to get it fixed and learn to love and respect women, and you will find yourself a happier bunny for not having a down on over 50% of the population.

            If you seriously think the life of a busy mother is easy you are very seriously deluded. I know, I have done it,

            Be grateful to whoever changed your nappies, cleaned you up, nursed your wounds, fed and clothed you, took you to school, assessed your reports, sat in A and E for several hours while they checked out your sports injury and so on,negotiated with the school if you were in trouble and so on , And don’t diss motherhood, as you have no whisker of an intimation as to what and how much it entails, and how much everyday self-sacrifice love in the natural course of things does.

            That is not a “sick note” off the Great Commission, but a pale imitation of what Christ did in the incarnation.

          • Linus

            Nothing in my response was at all dismissive of motherhood. Had I been responding to someone called Busy Dad I would have used fatherhood as an example and the post would have been substantially the same, except for a few words and different descriptions of tasks stereotypically associated with fatherhood. And then you would probably have accused me of hating my father.

            Funny how Christian thoughts always go straight to hate, isn’t it? If I’m gay I must have hated my mother, or at the very least have some kind of major neurosis linked to motherhood. Sorry to disappoint, but I was very fond and proud of my mother, who did a wonderful job raising me and my siblings.

            The point I was making is that Christ told his followers to hate their mothers and fathers and leave them to follow him. So the Great Commission is every Christian’s primary duty and makes the obligations of motherhood, fatherhood or any other kind of “hood” pale into insignificance. Or is the Bible wrong about this too?

          • magnolia

            No, it was not my thoughts that went straight to hate but the tone of your writing that worried me, as “not being bothered” and “bunking off”, together with a dissing of practical chores, (which incidentally even the most glamorous jobs include) are usually taken as negatives!!

            I am glad that you appreciate your mother, and your father. Christ did not exactly tell people to hate their parents, as that would be to disobey one of the ten commandments!! You need to understand it less literally as the Jewish people would have understood i.e it is comparative and exaggerated. So love the Kingdom and Kingdom values that you are prepared to put them over loyalty to your parents should they differ from them…

          • Busy Mum

            If you mean the Great feminist Commission, then no, it’s not my duty at all and being a busy mum is far more in keeping with 1 Timothy 5 than donning a dog collar and playing at being a man.

            And next time you want to play at preaching, don’t forget to mitigate the foolishness with at least a little substance.

          • Linus

            Preaching? Not at all. Just trying a little Christian admonishment on you.

            There you are worshipping at the altar of your own fecundity when as a faithful Christian you should be concentrating on Christ alone, not on telling us how holy it is to be a busy mom and how much better you are than any other kind of woman.

            A woman can be a busy mom or she can be a priest. Sometimes she can even be both. I don’t think either role is morally superior to the other, but I do find the praise you heap on yourself for being “far more in keeping with 1 Timothy 5” and the odium you reserve for women who make other choices to be very revelatory of something that has nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with your own self-satisfied estimation of your own worth as compared to others.

          • CliveM

            You’ve got a good line in sanctimonious self righteousness. No doubt you will blame that on everyone else as well.

            Really bitter and twisted is all very well, but doesn’t make for a happy life however. And as you’ve decided that’s all you’ve got, why waste it?

          • Linus

            Ah, so Christians can judge me but I can’t judge Christians, eh?

            Funny, I thought it was supposed to be the other way round.

            Your God expressly commands you not to judge others, whereas as an atheist I’m under no particular orders and can judge anyone I like.

            As a believer being changed by God, you’re supposed to display fruits of the Spirit like forbearance, gentleness, self-control. You’re not supposed to lash out in anger and frustration and call people names and accuse them of being bitter and twisted.

            Guess he hasn’t changed you all that much, this God of yours, has he?

          • CliveM

            Considering your self pitying manner I have been very restrained.

            You I pity. You are clearly a troubled and damaged individual. No doubt some off this is down to peoples response to your sexuality and that is reprehensible of them. But you have a choice, you can let all that damage the rest of your life, or you can take responsibility for yourself and get on with it in a way that makes your life worth while. Trolling Christian sites is hardly a positive way of living.

            Also don’t hide behind how you believe others should behave. It doesn’t justify your you, but clearly you enjoy playing the victim.

            If you can get over your sense of victim hood you will be a happier person. And actually believe it or not ( and I don’t care if you don’t) that is what I would hope for you.

          • Busy Mum

            I think your definition of Christian is very different to mine. Mine doesn’t include altars and priests…..and your idea of a Christian is somebody who enlarges on their visions etc as time goes by…..I’ve shown you that Mary was the complete opposite….12 years after her vision, far from having added to the story, she obviously doubted it herself. Your choice to accuse me of reserving ‘odium’ for other women is revelatory about your own prejudices.

          • magnolia

            This seems very judgemental to me, for it is in the nature of people to highlight different details to different people at different times, and also to condense or expand according to time and conversational constraints.

            And most people most of the time give truthful accounts of their own life stories- something researchers agree on.

          • You are booking yourself a one-way ticket to Hell, Linus. It’s one thing not to believe; it’s quite another thing to mock God. You don’t have to board the train though as there’s another waiting on the opposite platform.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            He was being deliberately offensive as a means of attention seeking.

            When my son was 2 we found the best way of dealing with this sort of behaviour was to ignore him and leave the room.

            Best wait for Linus to grow up.

          • True …. best to warn him though. Blasphemy is an objective sin.
            And is ‘he’ a ‘she’?

          • CliveM

            Your a scholar and a Christian Sir!

            Don’t know re sex, I haven’t checked!

          • Linus

            Well, if I am 2 years old then as I’m under the age of responsibility, I get off with a rap over the knuckles, don’t I? Or is that Islam? All these faiths and their contradictory beliefs can get quite confusing at times.

            But no matter. I’m used to Christians dismissing dissent as “childish”. I have a tendency to believe something similar about Christians and their beliefs in spirits and magic. Indeed this entire forum is just about on a par with Harry Potter fan sites and Tolkien societies. Only JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien’s myths don’t influence governments and real social attitudes.

          • CliveM


            This is really quite embarrassing but to explain, no one objects to dissent. Indeed these boards are full of dissent. What is objected to is a sneering rudeness.

            I thought you would understand this by yourself.

            With regards your view of this site, well clearly your life is a little bit sad and empty, for which I’m sorry. For what other reason would you waste your time commenting on them?

          • Linus

            Ask yourself the same question.

            My interest in Christianity is easy enough to explain. Christians spend a great deal of energy telling the world how evil I am and how I should be punished for it with a life sentence of solitary confinement, so it’s only logical to want to know more about how they function and what motivates them. Know thy enemy, after all.

          • dannybhoy

            “Christians spend a great deal of energy telling the world how evil I am
            and how I should be punished for it with a life sentence of solitary

            How many Christians actually know you and how many Christians actually say that to you?

          • Linus

            You want a head count?

            That’s going to be difficult. How am I supposed to remember how many Christians have flung homophobic abuse at me over the whole course of my life? Their numbers are legion, shall we say?

            Internet makes it worse, of course. Now any Christian with a keyboard can log into a site like this and spew endless hatred about people who aren’t like him. Most of these insults aren’t directed at me personally, of course. But I’m included within the scope of their condemnation.

          • dannybhoy

            You should remember!
            If people threw homosexual abuse at me, I would remember.
            I remember every single person who ever called me horribke names….
            But as to the spewing of endless hatred well, right off you know those people have got their (Christian) faith a bit unbalanced.
            You can’t just take the word of Christians when they make these pronouncements Linus, you have to read the manual and check out that what they’re saying is what’s actually written.

          • Linus

            I do not remember every single person who ever called me horrible names. Some stand out, but others fade into the background.

            In any case, I’m not about to reel off a list of people who’ve done me harm. Despite Clive’s snarky observations, I’m not two years old and I’m not motivated by a desire for revenge.

            What motivates me is protecting myself and others like me from more gratuitous Christian attacks. These past few years have left me in no doubt that Christians want to destroy me and my community, deprive us of our hard-won rights and turn the clock back to the bad old days when our choices were to pretend to be straight, to become priests or monks, or to end up in jail or psychiatric institutions. The only ways out were lifelong celibate solitary confinement (i.e. another word for jail), or suicide. That’s the reality of the perfect world the Church wants to take us back to.

            You’ll therefore have to excuse me if the prospect doesn’t overwhelm me with joy, and if I do everything within my power to make sure it never happens.

          • dannybhoy

            Well I understand what you’re saying.
            Obviously nobody likes to have their lifestyle questioned or condemned, but Christian’s views on homosexuality are the same as Judaism and Islam. Do you have the same kind of discussions with any you know from those faiths?

            It’s easy to say “It’s wrong” or “It’s wrong because God says it’s wrong!” and I am assuming that there have been times when you have examined why homosexuality is particularly singled out for criticism/condemnation as opposed to adultery or serious crime for example?

          • Linus

            Jews say homosexuality is wrong because it says so in the Torah.

            Muslims say it’s wrong because it says so in the Quran.

            The conversations tend to stop there. Only Christians try to justify the arbitrary prohibition contained in their holy book by spinning it into elaborate but totally baseless philosophies like “natural law” or “complementarity”. Their arguments are so flimsy and facile that it doesn’t take long to back them into a corner, but just as you do, a door marked “it says so in the Bible” will appear out of nowhere and they’ll step through it back into their unassailable castle of superstition and revelation.

            It’s quite comical to watch. It’s like they feel they should at least make an attempt to use logic and reason to convince you, but when they realize they can’t, back they scuttle to the protective covers of their holy book shouting “we’re right and you’re wrong, it says so in the Bible…”

            Jews and Muslims, or at least the Jews and Muslims I’ve talked to, don’t bother with trying to justify God’s will. It is as it’s written and they don’t ask questions. They just obey.

          • CliveM

            Ah but Linus if you had engaged like this, you wouldn’t have got a snarky comment. Disagreement is understandable, maybe even reasonable, but if you try to be offensive, you got to expect a response.

          • dannybhoy

            Maybe he was testing us…. 🙂 🙂
            Did we fail d’ye think?

          • CliveM

            Well maybe.

            In my case not for the first time. But if I am honest, I think he was enjoying the windup!

          • dannybhoy


          • CliveM


            I’m not sure are you being serious about Linus remembering every piece of homophobic abuse thrown at him? I’m not sure that’s reasonable!!

          • dannybhoy

            You don’t think it would hurt him Clive?
            It would hurt me, and I have experienced sustained abuse over some years for something I could do nothing about. I don’t think back on those times with any great fondness.

            What I was getting at is identifying with Linus in terms of abuse.I gave all my hurts and sadnesses up to the Lord Jesus at conversion and He began to reconstruct my personality into something altogether more positive.

          • CliveM

            Yes it would hurt him and I am angry that he should be abused in this way. My point was simply, I wouldn’t expect him to remember every name! I may have mis-understood you!
            In my opinion those who abuse and threaten will have to answer before God for not just their behaviour, but also for the spiritual affect on him of their behaviour.

          • dannybhoy

            You did misunderstand, but that was quite understandable in the circumstances!
            It’s just that the more one is aware of one’s own inconsistencies, failures and sometimes deliberate sins, the more you marvel that God’s love covers all that and the less quickly you jump to condemn others.
            I’m a great fan of the late Reverend GA Studdert Kennedy
            aka Woodbine Willy. Sadly ignored nowadays by the PC Brigade.
            Here’s a link to one of his poems I mightily identify with.

          • Linus

            Threats and menaces are only effective when backed up by solid proof that the threat or menace actually exists.

            You want to scare me with visions of hell? Show me it exists. I’m quite ready to believe in God and the Devil if I can be shown convincing proof that they’re more than just fictional folk characters.

            So, if you’ll excuse the pun, fire away. But just so you don’t waste any time, I’ve already examined and dismissed Dante’s inferno as a work of pure imagination, ditto for Gustave Doré’s bizarre daubs, and as for the supposed recordings made by microphones dropped down deep Siberian mineshafts, well let’s just say I don’t find out and out fraud very ethical as an evangelization technique…

          • “You want to scare me with visions of hell?”

            Not at all, Linus. Jack was just cautioning you against mocking God.

            “Show me it exists. I’m quite ready to believe in God and the Devil if I can be shown convincing proof that they’re more than just fictional folk characters.”

            It’s only God’s grace that can accomplish that. Stubbornly set your face against God and He will harden your heart.

          • dannybhoy

            Ye’re surely a windup merchant and a gambler!
            As doughty Jack says it’s one thing to question but one should always treat the beliefs of others with respect.

          • Linus

            Windup merchant? I have no idea what that means.

            I don’t know exactly what happened at the birth of Jesus because I wasn’t present. Neither were you. We can only surmise.

            That being the case, it seems far more likely that the so-called “virgin birth” was a cover story for something else. I’ve seen plenty of teenage girls lie about how they got pregnant. I’ve never once seen a virgin birth.

            We’ll never know the truth of the matter until we die. If, as seems most likely to me, there is no God and death equates to oblivion, we’ll never know. If you’re right and there is a God and the story of Jesus did happen as stated in the Bible, God will know that upon examination of all available evidence (of which there is precisely none) and giving the same level of credence to the Bible as I gave to all other holy books (which is to say, not a great deal – they can’t all be right and there’s nothing special about the Bible that makes it more convincing than the Quran or the Vedas), I honestly reached the conclusion that Christianity is just as fictional a faith as any other.

            If God doesn’t appreciate that honesty, I guess he’ll condemn me and I’ll suffer eternal damnation. But really, what do you want me to do about it? Lie and say I believe in something when I do not? Isn’t
            God supposed to be omniscient? He’ll know I’m lying and condemn me anyway. So I may as well be honest. If it offends you, there isn’t much I can do about that. Would you rather I lied for your comfort and pleasure and to justify you in your faith?

            Damned queer fish these Christians. Dishonesty offends them, honesty offends them, love offends them (when it’s between two men or two women, at least), and they revel in other people’s pain and suffering and exhort them to feel more pain and suffer more. Go figure why. I certainly can’t.

          • dannybhoy

            Perhaps you are forgetting that the promise of His coming and the manner of His coming had already been foretold in Scripture. The Jews were/are expecting a Meshiach because they saw it promised. There have been quite a few false Messiahs over the centuries.

          • Linus

            The Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the messiah. So why should we? Because he ticked the right boxes in a scriptural questionnaire? That’s clearly debatable or the Jews would have been convinced by him.

          • dannybhoy

            The leaders of the Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah,
            although they accepted that He performed miracles, healing the dead and the lame. This they did not dispute.
            So vehement was their rejection of Him as Meshiach that they actually invited a curse down upon their own and the people’s heads.
            Yet many ordinary people believed Him, and His disciples came to the reluctant (for some) conclusion that He was more than just a good man, a godly man: He was in fact Divine.

          • Linus


            The leaders of the Jews and many if not most individual Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the messiah. If they had, Jewish history might have been very different.

            The stories we’re told about Jesus’s disciples recount their acceptance of him as divine. But we don’t know what they actually believed or even if they really existed. We weren’t there.

            Look at the Arthurian legend. Camelot, Queen Guinevere, Sir Lancelot, etc etc. There may have been a real British chieftain who defeated invaders at a battle somewhere in England in the Dark Ages, but he was certainly nothing like the fictional character that appears in Le Morte d’Arthur or Richard Harris in Camelot.

            Legends grow and are embroidered and encrusted with detail over time. Look at Scientology. Just a couple of generations and its already a fully developed mythos with millions of devotees.

          • dannybhoy

            Addition to my Correction:
            “The leaders of the Jews and many if not most individual Jews didn’t
            believe Jesus was the messiah. If they had, Jewish history might have
            been very different.”
            I already said that in Correction mark I, and yes Jewish and world history would have been very different.
            Seeing as Salvation is of the Jews and their mission (should they have chosen to accept it) was “to be a light to lighten the gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.”

            As to whether these events and these people were real, here’s a link and there’s lots more where that came from.

            Of course the real issue Linus is why we don’t want to accept the validity of evidence might be because we are afraid of the implications if our intellect convinces us that the evidence is probably true.
            I suspect that you know that anyway.

          • Linus

            It’s true that I have a vested interest in Christianity not being true. If it is, I’m in trouble.

            In saying that however, the fact that it would be a disaster for me if Christianity were true has no effect on whether it is or not.

            If someone can show me that Christianity is true, I will have no choice but to believe. Solid and verifiable evidence that doesn’t coincide with my own personal hopes and dreams can’t just be ignored or set to one side. It has to be faced head on, although it should never be accepted on hearsay.

            What you take to be solid evidence may turn out to be a lot flimsier on close examination. That’s always been the case in the past. “Intelligent design” is one such pseudo-scientific theory that’s laughably easy to discredit. “Natural law” is another. “It’s true because the Bible says so” also doesn’t hold much water.

            But hey, I’m open to new input and will examine it all with as objective a mind as possible. I don’t want Christianity to be true, but that doesn’t mean I can deny it if it is.

          • dannybhoy

            You display an admirable if reluctant degree of integrity!
            I couldn’t continue to be a Christian if I wasn’t as sure as my little brain can be that it’s true.
            Not that like any Christian I don’t have any doubts, questions or “probably not going to be answered in this life” head scratchers.
            What a Christian has to have is integrity because you can’t build a true relationship without it.
            I’ll tell you something.
            As a young, withdrawn and unhappy man I went searching for the truth. (although actually I already knew it – I just didn’t accept it)
            I think of one particular church at Christmas time I wandered into and left again with not a soul speaking to me. If my faith was based on the Christlikeness of some Christians or acceptance I would probably give up.

            But of course I don’t give up because my faith is first and foremost based on a relationship with Father God, the God who loves me and wants the very best for me. He wants us to open up our little life to Him and invite Him in. He wants to walk through life with us, the good and the bad of life because in all of it He gives a deep abiding joy and a promise of fresh possibilities each day.
            When I feel disappointed with Christians (and I do!) the Lord challenges me to be more like Him and demonstrate His love whether it’s accepted or not.
            Being gay is not really the issue Linus. It’s our own sinfulness before God. It’s being separated from. and not accepting the forgiveness and new life that only Christ Jesus can give us..
            I shall remember you in my prayers.

          • Linus

            Being gay really is the issue. Or at least one of them.

            Who else has a lifelong punishment imposed on them for something they have no control over with no possibility of reprieve or parole?

            The other issue is of course the fact that I just don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence he exists. The Bible is just a book and the explanations I’ve seen of why I should accept it as truth are not convincing. The fact that a group of Jews who lived 2000 years ago were so devoted to their leader that they thought he was a god and martyred themselves for his cause proves nothing. Japanese pilots in WWII were also totally devoted to their monarch, believed he was a god and martyred themselves for his cause. That didn’t prove the emperor was divine just as Peter and Paul’s crucifixions didn’t prove that Jesus was divine. Stories of miracles and virgin births need serious evidence to back them up before being accepted as statements of fact. No such evidence exists.

            Convince me that God exists however, and then I’ll have to deal with the gay issue separately. Being gay won’t prevent me from believing in God, although it will make me very vigilant when it comes to examining evidence. I have too much at stake to give facile apologetics built on false premises and self-justifying propositions a free pass.

          • dannybhoy

            Linus for you it’s being gay, for another person it’s this, forr another it’s that. We’re all flawed Linus, and whilst we cannot be blamed for our birth
            “I didn’t ASK to be born!” was one of my heartfelt cries of anguish.
            we are responsible for the decisions we take, and before God we all stand guilty.
            I repeat what I said earlier, condemnation is not the name of the game, it’s acceptance of God’s verdict and an embracing of His love and forgiveness.
            The rest of your post and the examples I cannot exactly argue with, except to say that there are many people who have in sincerity prayed either alone or with somebody and asked God to reveal Himself to them.
            No one can convince you that God exists. There wouldn’t be any point to faith if proof were available.
            There are plenty of people more intelligent than I who could give you very scholarly explanations, but I know from my own experience that,
            “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still..”
            As I said I will pray for you, for your happiness and inner peace.

          • Linus

            I don’t regard being gay as a flaw. I see it as a normal variation of human sexuality and therefore just as morally neutral as hair, eye or skin color.

            I suppose I could get down on my knees and beg God to change my green eyes to another color. But I have no idea why I would want to do this. I like my green eyes. Why should I want to change them? And why should I listen to anyone who tells me green eyes are evil and not part of God’s original plan for humanity?

            Similarly, I like being gay. It isn’t morally superior to being straight, but neither is it morally inferior. It just is. I have no reason to want to change as I’m perfectly happy the way I am. Being gay doesn’t make me any more flawed than any straight person. I may have other flaws that need correcting, but being gay isn’t one of them.

            I can’t ask God to fix something that isn’t broken in the first place because it’s a logical impossibility. I could ask him to change me just for the hell of it, but why do you think he would comply with such a pointless request? I might as well ask him to change my green eyes to blue or to add five centimeters to my height.

            Of course he can’t do any of these things if he doesn’t exist, so there’s little point in me asking him for anything. I don’t believe the Elven-smith Celebrimbor exists either, so I tend not to pray to him for one ring to rule them all, one ring to bind them.

            Do you think I should, just on the off-chance I’m wrong? The Ruling Ring would certainly come in handy whenever my partner’s mother comes calling. A little invisibility would be just the ticket…

          • William Lewis

            There is very little “proof” of anything in this universe – particularly of an historical nature. Usually there is just evidence and desire. Often our desires will lead us to seek certain evidence. Sometimes we will find evidence that changes our desire. However, our desires can be good or bad and we are all, in some sense, “lifelong prisoners” to them.

            The evidence for God is compelling to some but not to others. Of course, some have devoted more time looking for it than others. However, “does God exist?” is the one question that affects all others. It’s a game changer.

          • Martin


            But of course, there is no such thing as ‘being gay’. You are simply a sinner who has allowed on particular sin to rule his life.

      • William Lewis

        “Bottom line: without infallibility invested in the Church there can be no finality regarding any of the Truths of Christianity and there can be no unity of faith.”

        A self declaration of infallibility achieves nothing. In fact, it becomes detrimental as soon as the church shows itself to be fallible. All it is saying is “our understanding of the Truth is right because, by our understanding, we cannot be wrong”.

        • CliveM

          Last sentence spot in. It is a self protecting circular argument, which when you think about it lacks a rational basis.

          • dannybhoy

            To be fair Clive,
            if you start from the premise that the Church of which Jack is a member is the same appointed Church originally led by Saint Peter and subsequent Papal succession, then it is logical.
            Unsurprisingly The CofE of which the boss and I are currently members has a similar modus operandi.

          • CliveM

            My issue isn’t so much it sees itself as the one true church, my issue is its claim to infallibility.

            Not even Peter claimed he was infallible!

          • Why would Peter have to claim this? He knew he and the other Apostles, acting together, under his leadership, were assured the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Do you doubt this?

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            I was going to respond on this and then I read HG’s blog on Canon White and decided that I think it is inappropriate at the moment. Another time perhaps.

          • len

            The starting point(or the foundation ) of our faith can only ever be Christ not ‘the Church’ because the Church being inhabited by flawed human beings can and often does get things wrong… however good the intention…God however does not commit errors.

          • dannybhoy

            Slightly off on another (Jewish) tangent….

            What we see here is exactly the same process as has taken place within Judaism, in which venerated and respected Over the centuries Rabbis have discussed and interpreted various aspects of Jewish theology.
            One could say that their discussions around the oral law especially (that which was given at Sinai but not written down) is the same as our discussions on Christian theology and practice.
            What is interesting is that as far as I know devout Jews never went to war with each other over these issues.

            Either the concept of “invested infallibility” had never entered the Jewish mind, 🙂 or both Judaism and Christianity recognise that the free will and intelligence endowed by the Almighty must result in lively debate…..

            Any thoughts?

          • God has to work through men, Len.

          • Martin


            There were occasions when even the apostles taught error.

            But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?

            (Galatians 2:11-14 [ESV])

            Quite clearly Peter was in error, and James too, and had to be corrected by Paul.

          • Doh ……… that’s what the Council of Jerusalem addressed when the Apostles in union with Peter and guided by the Holy Spirit, made the doctrinal decisions they did. It’s the template for the Church’s indefectibility in matters of faith and morals. A controversy arises or a matter needs clarification, and decisions get taken.

          • Martin


            And it seems that the Judaisers weren’t totally convinced by the decision of the council and Peter sided with them. Clearly Peter was in error.

          • Care to explain that analysis?

          • Martin


            Are you saying Peter wasn’t in error?

          • Er, no. Jack is saying that the Church, under Peter’s leadership, agreed a theological position that was then accepted as Truth received from the Holy Spirit.

            Acts 15 shows the infallible Extraordinary Magisterium of the Church in action.

            It is all this clear here: ” … the apostles and presbyters assembled to decide about this matter there was much disputing over it, until Peter rose and said to them …. then the whole company kept silence …”; and here: ” … it was resolved by the apostles and presbyters, with the agreement of the whole church …” and here: ” … meeting together with common purpose of heart …” and here: “We hear that some of our number who visited you have disquieted you by what they said, unsettling your consciences although we had given them no such commission …; and here: “It is the Holy Spirit’s pleasure and ours that no burden should be laid upon you beyond these, which cannot be avoided …”

          • Martin


            Then Peter went back on that position.

          • And your evidence for this is ….

            What authority did Christians at Antioch have to extend (contradict) the Council of Jerusalem? After all it had decided, ” … you are to abstain from what is sacrificed to idols, from blood-meat and meat which has been strangled, and from fornication.” Once again we are reading about Church doctrine being better understood and refined.

          • Martin


            They were Christians, led by the Holy Spirit. They could see that if Gentile believers were no longer bound by the Law then neither were the Jewish believers. They contradicted nothing but just applied what was right. Even Peter initially agreed with them until led astray.

          • Martin


            Paul’s challenge of Peter occurred after the Council of Jerusalem. The believers at Antioch had logically extended it to allow Jews & Gentile to eat together, as Peter initially accepted, but then he was influenced by others.

          • When you think about it, it is actually completely rational.

        • len

          This is spot on…. once’ the Church’ is shown to be in error(after declaring itself ‘infallible’) ‘the Church’ brings the word of God into disrepute.
          The Word of God is without error but the Church sadly can be….

          • Then show where in any matter of faith and morals it is in error. First you will have to demonstrate the source of your authority to do so.

          • Martin


            In the rejection of salvation by grace alone through faith alone by Christ alone. The church you espouse is no longer a Christian church, it’s candlestick was removed long ago.

            The CoE is heading the same way & it’s disobedience to the Bible in allowing those who fail to recognise the authority of Scripture to be in authority is merely hastening the fall.

        • No, its actually saying based on the words and promises of Jesus Christ the Church cannot err in matters of faith and morals because it has been promised Divine protection.

          • Martin


            There are no such words that give the churches infallibility. Indeed, the letters to the churches in Revelation make it clear that the Spirit may leave churches that leave the gospel.

      • dannybhoy

        “Bottom line: without infallibility invested in the Church there can be
        no finality regarding any of the Truths of Christianity and there can be
        no unity of faith. It all has to be renegotiated by every generation
        and worked out by individual believers.”
        Sounds good.
        Except that that invested infallibility hasn’t always worked for the church either.

        (Any church, he added hastily..)
        It is the Holy Spirit at work in the world (until the appointed time Genesis 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 2:27) –through the Body of Christ– that ensures the Church stays true to the Gospel of Redemption.

  • There is a snare in this. Of course it is wrong to send ‘hate mail’ if by the term one means cursing and ill wishes, but as discussed, without seeing the text of any such mail how can one judge between robust, honest criticism and ‘hate’?

    We had this over David Attenborough a few years back when the media, especially the BBC, tried to make out that he had received loads of ‘hate mail’ for promiooting darwinism and not honouring the Creator, who is blessed for ever.

    But when The Great Man was interviewed about the so called hate mail on Radio 4 Today (I was listening and wrote it up for the Creation Science Movement where my notes and comments can still be seen under ‘News’ if you scroll back to 2009) he played it down and dismissed it as ‘a few letters from cranks over the years’. Well people like him regard all bible believers as cranks. So how do we know the letters weren’t just sincere calls to repent and believe? The sort of stuff that got my name saint stoned to death (Acts chapter 7)’?

    The ‘I have received loads of hate mail from THOSE PEOPLE OVER THERE WHO ARE THEREFORE OBVIOUSLY VERY BAD PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST THE ARGUMENT SO RESORT TO HATE MAIL’ strategy is perhaps a bit childish. Dawkins uses it too.

    Received ‘hate mail’? Then publish it, with names. Don’t use it as innuendo to damn honest critics by association.

    Some may even be false flag. I have found at least 3 on line false flag operators who pretend to be Christians and post outrageous and offensive material in order to smear true believers.

    Not saying anything right now about women ‘priests’ (ain’t no separate priests in NT Christianity) or bishops, just questioning ‘I got hate mail’ tactics.

    Publish it or shut up.

    • Busy Mum

      If we all fall into the trap and start discussing women ‘priests’, we are choosing to be divided and conquered.

      • Nothing to discuss in my book. Much happier now a year after quitting the C of E for a church that follows NT teaching. Division is essential in case of error as Paul wrote to the Corinthians. If we agree not to differ from error, we agree to be all conquered. Better for a remnant to stay free than have unity in error.

        • Busy Mum

          I agree – nothing to discuss – and those at the top know it; women clergy is a red herring. It is just another of these issues whereby ‘mainstream’ opinion – the truth – becomes ‘extreme’ in a matter of ten years or so, simply by legalising error.
          Despite the fuss made by Alison Joyce, the C of E actually behaves as though there is nothing to discuss either – our village has a female ‘vicar’ and none of the children at school are even given the opportunity to give this a second thought. You can be sure school does not tell the other children why mine don’t attend assemblies, church services etc

          • Dominic Stockford

            red herring?! false teaching is a red herring?!

          • Busy Mum

            Sorry for late reply – been a bit of a busier mum than usual!
            By red herring, I meant that anti-Christ and the enemies without and traitors within the CofE are quite happy to watch people getting bogged down in discussions about the ‘role’ of women in ‘the church’ knowing that this can only help further the ultimate destruction of the CofE and the nominal Protestantism of the UK.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The ‘indaba’ that the american anglicans indulge in is indeed a method of talking truth out of the equation.

  • Albert

    Well said, Dr C. I read the article and thought that she must have forgotten that the ordination of women was only possible because certain promises were made to traditionalists. She also does not seem to recall that the ordination of women is based on a theology of reception – that is to say, until certain criteria have been met (and they haven’t) the question must remain open. And if the question is open, then provision must be made for those who believe they ought to follow the apostolic pattern of ordained ministry. Providing that isn’t about basic charity, it is about simple justice and doing what you say you will do.

    • CliveM

      Albert, well put. I can’t help but feel that actually what is happening is the ‘victors’ in this battle are looking towards rubbing the traditionalists noses in their defeat. To say look who is in charge now.

      Hubris in victory, combined with an unapealing self pity.

      • dannybhoy

        Hubris in victory can be experienced by both sexes..!
        I maintain that there are men and women in the Church who are individually called by God. The majority are men but that does not I think, mean that God cannot also call a woman to the ministry or a significant ministry. It is up to a Godly oversight of elders to prayerfully consider.
        The real and obvious problem in the CofE is that it has become an “equal opportunities employer” thus removing the need for any anointing from God.

        • CliveM


          The CofS has had women Ministers since 1955. I have a female friend that is a minister. My point wasn’t about the validity, but in victory some sensitivity for the losers is called for.

          Otherwise the wounds will never heal.

          • dannybhoy

            Je comprends…
            I keep forgetting your background…. 🙁

      • Albert

        It could be that. To be honest, I think they might just ignorant.

        • CliveM

          Well as their is a number of individuals involved, it is probable that both reasons are true.

          Whichever it’s not edifying.

          • Albert

            My experience is that supporters of women’s ordination are usually ignorant of the theological and ecclesiological issues – particularly of the recent history of the issue. Of course, in many cases the ignorance may be culpable, which covers both bases!