Pete Wilcox
Church of England

Sheffield gets its second best bishop – Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool

Downing Street has announced the name of the second best Bishop of Sheffield. The Queen has had her mind changed on the matter. The Crown Nominations Commission had the name of the Very Rev’d Dr Pete Wilcox in reserve, in the unlikely event of anything happening to their first choice, such as his being run over by a bus, or hounded out by a progressive mob of illiberal liberals, or something. Philip North heeded the advice of Martyn Percy to put integrity above vocational ministry, and that leaves Sheffield with Pete Wilcox.

It seems awfully uncharitable to refer to Dr Wilcox as ‘second best’. He is, after all, a learned and gracious man of God; a true and faithful servant of the Lord, with a heart for biblical scholarship and urban ministry. He isn’t second best to God, but he is inescapably the CNC’s second best for Sheffield: their election very publicly lighted on the name of Philip North; he was their manifest preference. Pete Wilcox is therefore the Queen’s second choice. When Downing Street announced: ‘The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Peter Jonathan Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool, for election as Bishop of Sheffield”, she did so just a few weeks after approving the nomination of Philip North. But.. well, he decided to follow the advice of Professor Percy and reflect upon the meaning of integrity.

Pete Wilcox is presently Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, where he succeeded Justin Welby in that role. He is of sound academic stock: St John’s College, Durham; Ridley Hall, Cambridge; St John’s College, Oxford (DPhil: ‘Restoration, Reformation and the progress of the kingdom of Christ : evangelisation in the thought and practice of John Calvin, 1555–1564’, which sounds very sound indeed [1564 forms part of his Twitter handle]). He lectures in Old Testament studies at St Mellitus College. He rests on the Evangelical wing of the Church of England (though not averse to certain Catholic traditions), and is ‘sound’ on the ordination of women (which will doubtless delight.. O, never mind).

On being nominated the 8th Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox said: “Although the journey has been unconventional, to say the least, I feel called by God to this role and am therefore thrilled to be coming to the Diocese of Sheffield. There will be much for me to learn, but I am excited about the work which is already underway to share the good news about Jesus, and to work for the justice and peace which the kingdom of God will bring.”

Pete Wilcox has no sense of his being second best.

The Archbishop of York commented: “The nomination of The Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, Dean of Liverpool, as the 8th Bishop of Sheffield will take the Diocese forward in its evangelistic and mission opportunities for the peoples of the Diocese of Sheffield. He is a gifted and renowned Bible teacher, pastor and enthusiastic evangelist. He is totally committed to social justice and human flourishing. He will lead the Diocese of Sheffield in the way of Christ with insight and oversight with a readiness to change, challenge and be challenged. His love of Jesus and His Gospel, His Church, the Body of Christ and the diverse peoples of God’s world will make him a Bishop who will work in partnership with all.”

John Sentamu has no sense of Pete Wilcox being second best.

Bishop Philip North said: “I am overjoyed to hear the news that Pete Wilcox is to be the next Bishop of Sheffield, a priest whose ministry I have long admired. He will bring great intelligence, insight and evangelistic energy to the Diocese of Sheffield along with experience of ministry from a wide variety of contexts. I pray that clergy and laypeople of all traditions will be able to unite around his leadership and so together continue to bring renewal to the Parishes of the Diocese to the glory of God.”

Philip North has no sense of Pete Wilcox being second best.

And that is why Philip North would be the best choice for any diocese.

  • Anton

    Martyn Percy should take his own advice.

    • CliveM

      He likes the notoriety and publicity to much.

    • Royinsouthwest

      “Physician, heal thyself.” No, that saying doesn’t apply to healthy people. You don’t really suppose Martyn Percy cannot tell who needs his advice and who doesn’t, do you?

  • len

    It is the openness and the availability of the man to work with God that should be the deciding factor not so much their own abilities.As Jesus said;
    ‘By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me’ (John 5:30)
    So even ‘second best’ can be’ first’ with God.

  • Maalaistollo

    Seems to be a lot of ‘flourishing’ going on. Now, what kind of human was it that was said to ‘flourish as the green bay tree’?

  • Hamish Redux

    In all decency, he should refuse to take the job.

    Actually, he ought to be disqualified, as he apparently disagrees with Christ’s view that women can’t be priests.

    • John

      Christ’s view, surely, is that that all believers are priests.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        In what sense?

        • Anton

          In the sense of Revelation 1:6 and 1 Peter 2:9. To take this further involves questioning the ordination of men an well as women (which is not the subject of the thread).

      • Martin

        John

        But the Christian Church has only one office of priest, which is open to only one. Leadership, as in elder/overseer, is open only to men.

      • M. Lanier

        I believe that Hamish is referring to πρεσβύτερος (priest), not ἱερεύς / כֹּהֵן (priest).

  • When appointed Dean of Liverpool, Pete said: ‘The experience [of living in India] made me really appreciative of diverse cultures and very sensitive around issues of racism.’

    Pete will really appreciate, then, that Europe’s culture is becoming more diverse by the minute! Between 2010 and 2015, her Christian population fell by 5·6 million and her Muslim population rose by 2·3 million.

    ‘Very sensitive around issues of racism’ means that Pete, scared witless of being accused of racism, will never take the side of whites against blacks.

    Loves Islamization, betrays whites. Pete—named after Saint Pete, by the way—is the perfect Church of England bishop.

    • Thomas Moon

      ‘The experience [of living in India] made me really appreciative of diverse cultures and very sensitive around issues of racism.’ These comments could be taken in two ways. They could mean that he was bored by the lack of diversity in India, and couldn’t wait to get back to his own, vibrant, multicultural country. They could mean that he was on the receiving end of racism from the indigenous population and didn’t much like it. Or they could be the sort of meaningless, politically-correct platitudes it’s necessary to voice to get on in the church (or anywhere else) these days.

      • @ Thomas Moon—On the question of indigenous racism, the Association of African Students in India announced last year that ‘African students no longer feel safe in India; we have to deal with racism at every turn’, so Pete may have suffered similar ‘daily derogatory comments’ and ‘questions about personal hygiene’, the latter implying, perhaps, that he was a stranger to personal daintiness.

        For what is a man profited, if he shall gain a bishopric by voicing PC platitudes that give free rein to an enemy of Christianity?

      • David

        I’d go for your third option, namely the “meaningless, politically-correct platitudes it’s necessary to voice to get on in the church..” myself. If there was more to it than that, then I’m sure a man of his education would have made it clear.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Or it could mean that he could see what it feels like to be in a minority without even a hint of racism directed at him. Perhaps he saw, what it was like not to be a part of the majority.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      ‘Very sensitive around issues of racism’ means that Pete, scared witless of being accused of racism, will never take the side of whites against blacks.’

      That is utterly repugnant.

      Edit it, now.

      • Maalaistollo

        In caretaker mode again?

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Either make your support of Johnny’s racism explicit or deny it.

          I await your reply.

          • Maalaistollo

            What do you mean by ‘racism’?

          • Lucius

            Ah, “racism,” very much a loaded term with a multiplicity of meaning nowadays. Hard to know what anyone means by “racism.”

      • @ ChaucerChronicle—The Church of England supports the mass immigration which will make the British a minority and replace Christianity by Islam; which has led to white girls being gang-raped by Muslims while the authorities, including the churches, turn a blind eye; which has given us thought crime legislation and is eroding our freedoms; which has brought Islamic terrorism to our streets; which has turned a nation into a multicultural cess-pit.

        The Church of England has comprehensively betrayed the British. Pete, as a senior cleric, is part of that betrayal. It is the church and Pete that are repugnant. Little Johnny merely points out the repugnance.

        • Manfarang

          Immigration from outside the EU is heavily restricted and nothing the Church of England can do will change that.

          • @ Manfarang—Migration Watch UK gives the latest annual net non-EU migration as 164,000. Whether or not that counts as heavily restricted, the white British are expected to become a minority, although still the largest minority, in the 2060s. The Church of England has never wanted to change that.

          • Manfarang

            I don’t know if that figure still includes overseas students. The rich can easily get a visa along with a piece of London property. The figure would include those from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

      • Inspector General

        As much as one deplores JR’s anti-antisemitism, CC, he does have a right to post his whatever in full. As for repugnance and it’s removal, let’s trust in our host for that.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Given that you are no longer a Christian; that makes you an apostate.

      Psychologically and emotionally, nature abhors a vacuum. Now that you have abandoned your Christian identity, you’ve had to replace it with another: colour.

      Edit, it.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Johnny

      I don’t like to be kept waiting.

  • John

    North’s magnanimity puts his shabby, lightweight detractors to shame.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Outstanding.

    • David

      That is truth, tersely expressed – excellent comment !

  • The Explorer

    And now a Christian fundamentalist has stolen a truck in Stockholm and driven it at pedestrians: killing three and injuring several. He was heard to cry ‘Jesus saves!’ as he he ploughed the vehicle into the wall of a shop.

    There is a rival version to this story, but since Christianity is a violent religion and Islam is a religion of peace I’m sure the version cited above must be the correct one.

    • Lucius

      It was merely another divine service held in Stockholm by the church of diversity.

    • Inspector General

      “People of Sweden. Your Swedish Government has good news for you”

      “HURRAH!”

      “Our country is going down the wonderful route of multiculturalism”

      “HURRAH!”

      “And we are going to do that immediately”

      “HURRAH!”

      “And we hope to keep the annual death toll from the carnage resulting under 10. Not just this year. Not just next year. or for the year after that. But each and every year thereafter. What do you say to THAT!”

      ” “

  • chiaramonti

    ‘You are Pete and upon this rock I will build my church…’ A bishop called Pete? Surely, in all dignity, he should use his full name!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Yes, I hate this ‘chumminess’ approach…it brings no dignity to the office

  • Lucius

    This is off-topic, but I thought it worth posting in light of the events (that are becoming more regular) in Sweden. Below is a link to the latest edition of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s regular publication. This most recent publication is titled “Breaking the Cross,” and while all articles should be read carefully (i.e., know your enemy), I direct your attention in particular to “Why We Hate You” at page 30. Please know some images are disturbing and not for the faint of heart. In other words, do not read around children.

    http://clarionproject.org/wp-content/uploads/islamic-state-magazine-dabiq-fifteen-breaking-the-cross.pdf

    • David

      Your link. Having read Islamic theology and history it doesn’t shock but merely confirms my views, which are I suspect, congruent with yours. But will the liberal-left secularists, or for that matter the sleeping Liberal Christians, ever wake up to the reality of what they propose and what this continuing 1400 years long war is about ?

      • Lucius

        Part of the problem, at least among the liberal intelligentsia, is that they erroneously project their secular-materialistic culture onto to those who do not share that culture, for instance, Middle Eastern Arab Muslims, generally. This is why liberals speak in terms of “better jobs,” “more opportunity,” and “education” as the quick solution, because they simply cannot fathom that a human being may place greater faith and value in something other than material success and advancement.

        On the other hand, this is why many conservative Christians “get it” so to speak. We appreciate the problem precisely because we have faith in non-wordly things. As a result, we understand that there can be no peaceful co-existence with a rival religion that inescapably demands of its followers either the conquest or submission of infidels. Not to mention, in the case of Islam, this knowledge is backed up by a historically indisputable record of spreading Islamic faith on the back of military conquest.

        How can we communicate this to the liberal left? I don’t have that answer. Nothing less than a cultural shift back to Judeo-Christianity and away from “limp wristed” secular-materialism, I imagine.

        • Merchantman

          The Liberrata know nothing of war or religious faith except perhaps Yoga stuff so how can they hope to understand. Very difficult to even broach such unenlightened topics before they glaze over; don’t you find?

        • Martin

          Lucius

          And, of course, the BBC’s ‘Arab Spring’.

        • David

          I agree with your analysis of the problem. However, and perhaps against the odds, I feel that there must be a way to “communicate this to the liberal-left”.

          • Lucius

            I know of no way. I think liberal intellects clutch to secular-materialism as tightly as you and I may clutch to Christianity. To ask them to forsake that worldview would be no different than asking you or I to forsake Christ. Nothing can happen in the near-term absent an event of “Biblical” significance (e.g., major war, etc.). This is a multi-generational fight, and I hate to admit it, but we are losing.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Re your “This is a multi-generational fight, and I hate to admit it, but we are losing”: the extraordinarily relevant prescience of Thomas Gray strikes me. Here it is in the last stanza of his “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,”

            91 To each his sufferings: all are men,
            92 Condemned alike to groan;
            93 The tender for another’s pain,
            94 The unfeeling for his own.
            95 Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
            96 Since sorrow never comes too late,
            97 And happiness too swiftly flies.
            98 Thought would destroy their paradise.
            99 No more; WHERE IGNORANCE IS BLISS,
            100 ‘TIS FOLLY TO BE WISE (my stress).

            Today’s elites cling to their inly-blindness (and to their idol Marx) for short-term “secular-materialist” reasons.
            Our reasons for holding to Christ are spiritual and eternal, and the wilfully blind mock our wisdom as “folly.”
            I pray that the Lord uses us to help open the minds-eyes of material intellects (? oxymoron).

          • David

            Yes at present, in the west, we are losing. But elsewhere the Church surges forward. And I hope and pray that in the west too, the tide will soon change. For this we must trust in God, pray and work.

          • Mike Stallard

            This is too facile. We are actually winning in large swathes of the world. Just because people are not European, it does not mean that they are daft!
            In Singapore, where I have family, for example, the freedom of Western Liberalism is much loved by a lot of younger Muslims. They refuse pork and alcohol (in moderation!) otherwise they are, at least when young, very open to throwing the Islamic baby out with the bathwater. Life under the freedom of conscience is much nicer and easier than life under the heel of Islamic tradition.
            The problem comes when they repent their evil ways at the age of 40 in the mid life crisis.
            I fully appreciate that it is different in Muslim dominated areas like our prisons.

          • David

            I agree. You are preaching to the converted on those points.

          • Mike Stallard

            It just seemed to have been left out of the equation, that is all!

  • The Explorer

    “in the unlikely event of anything happening to their first choice, such as his being run over by a bus,” (Paragraph 1).

    Becoming more likely by the week.

  • vsscoles

    A wholly unnecessary storm in a palace teacup. North should have ignored Mr Percy, who has no jurisdiction whatsoever outside his little realm in Oxford.

    • bluedog

      Exactly. Even more extraordinary is that Percy has successfully overturned North’s appointment without any penalty for doing so. Percy should have been immediately dismissed for his insubordination.

  • Dominic Stockford

    They seem to have made a serious error. Mr Wilcox has mentioned both God and Jesus in his short statement, as well as talking about ‘sharing the good news’, better put in the Greek, ‘sharing the Gospel’.

    This cannot be right? Is God directing their hand in HIS way?

    • Pubcrawler

      better put in the Greek, ‘sharing the Gospel’.

      Huh? Greek?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Gospel. God-spell. A direct translation (word for word) from εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion.

        • Pubcrawler

          I know that. But both ‘gospel’ and ‘good news’ are English, and both of them equally direct translations, one clear, one somewhat obscure and learned. So you’re not ‘putting it in the Greek’, you’re just prefering one technical (and if I were feeling skittish I might even suggest ‘scholastic’) term over a more direct and plainer English expression.

          Wilcox in fact writes about sharing ‘the good news about Jesus’. isn’t that perfectly good enough without getting technical?

          • Martin

            PC

            The question is, what does he mean by ‘good news’? In the case of Welby it seems to have something to do with payday loans.

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, let’s see. But that is independent of the word(s) used to refer to it.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes. The Greek “evangelion” signifies as Mr. Stockford advises, or as “reward of good tidings” (Online Etymology Dictionary) and, of course, gives us our understanding of “evangelism.”

            As you indicate, our ‘English expression,’ necessarily a [Christian] translation, is: “godspell.” It is from the Old English combination of “god” and “spel(l)”. To be technical 🙂 ——The online version of Bosworth-Toller’s Anglo-Saxon Dictionary* provides all three words:
            “gód adj. GOOD; bonus;
            Also: gód es; n. Good, good thing, good deed, benefit, goodness, welfare.”
            And:
            “spell es; n.
            I. a story, narrative, account, relation
            II. an instructive talk, discourse, a philosophical argument, as a theological term a sermon, homily
            III. a saying, remark, sentence, statement of a single point, dictum, cf. the later spell
            IV. speech, language of prose.”

            The combined form:
            “god-spell es; n. Gospel”;
            Also: “god-spell Add: Gódspel evangelium, id est, bonum nuntium, Ælfc**. Gl. 8
            I. the body of doctrine taught by Christ and his apostles”

            This dictionary also provides links to citations from the original manuscript sources**.
            ___________________________________________
            *Bosworth, Joseph. “An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary Online.” Spell. Ed. Thomas Northcote Toller and Others. Comp. Sean Christ and Ondřej Tichý. Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, 21 Mar. 2010. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.

            **Abbreviation for Aelfric. See source for bibliographic details.

            . http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz/finder/3/godspell

          • Pubcrawler

            For the meaning of Greek words I will go to a Greek lexicon.

          • Pubcrawler

            Thank you. I have a deep and abiding fondness for etymology, but quite the opposite for its associated fallacy.

      • Royinsouthwest

        “Gospel” has a more restricted meaning in English than does “good news.” If there is something interesting on television tonight that counts as “good news.” However the Gospel is rather more profound than that.

  • betteroffoutofit

    How strange, Your Grace. I mean — another Liverpudlian helping the Baines person to reign in Yorkshire. What have we here … a subversive and latter-day War of the Roses? The red rose (marxist) quietly trashing the Whites?

    PS: [I note that earlier Lancastrians (e.g. John of Gaunt) actually came to Pontefract long ago… Do their post-modernist descendants know that? Are they simply re-asserting their claims?].

    • Dominic Stockford

      Pontefract has a jolly decent EFCC congregation. That’d be enough to scare any of these odd-bods off!

      • betteroffoutofit

        Goooood!?! Though I hope they anticipate the enemy’s plans for York … that bothers me.

    • Merchantman

      Didn’t I read somewhere the Lancastrians were now proven the illegit usurper Plantagenet branch. Baines has said some wild things after the Synod gay marriage fail. Someone needs to call order and push back against these ‘Pudlian putschists.

      • Anton

        Legitimate? The truth is that the crown is ruthlessly fought for and the winner then claims divine sanction. This happened before the Wars of the Roses, during them and after them. You can prove any monarch is illegitimate by stopping the clock where you choose.

  • Martin

    He’s clearly second best in that he does not take the Bible seriously enough to regard its forbidding of women in leadership in Christ’s Church as binding.

    • Lucius

      Well obviously he corrected what the Disciples, Holy Apostles, Church Fathers, and about 20 centuries of Church Tradition misinterpreted. Second best or God-inspired genius?

  • His wife writes dirty books.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I withdraw my previous comment about their having made a mistake and appointed a godly man. He’s clearly so mind-achingly right-on that the teaching of the Bible is as nothing to him, if it seems ‘cool’.

      • Royinsouthwest

        I hope you are being a bit hasty.

    • Anton

      This won’t do.

  • Father David

    Not only that but books that include words that would make the Devil himself blush!

  • Holger

    Lucky Sheffield. A bishop with a wife who peddles erotic novels sounds like a reliable force of secularisation.

    Soon he’ll be ordaining short-haired and licorice allsorts earringed ladies left, right and centre. Macramé and Goddess-centering classes will be offered as alternatives to traditional services in all Sheffieldian churches. Discussion groups on topics such as “The Resurrection: Real or Rhetorical?” and “Eve: Metaphysics and Misogyny” will take place in church halls across the diocese. Believers struggling with the cognitive dissonance caused by trying to reconcile reason with superstition will be led one step further along the road to atheism.

    All most satisfactory. Especially when you think how horrified and appalled conservative bigots will be by it all. They’ll huff and they’ll puff and they’ll foam at the mouth.

    Such fun!

    • Inspector General

      One suspects that Cranmer is widely read by liberal church people. They wouldn’t admit to it though. It would be their guilty secret. Of course, it’s a two edge sword. They also get the opinions of yourself. A militant homosexual out to destroy Christianity. Let them take it from the Inspector that you are no worse than the activists that plague Pink News.

    • len

      The false Church is rising fast,the irony is this false church has open the doorway to Islam….

      • Lucius

        “[A]nd on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
        *******************************************************************************************************
        With regard to your post, the key words from our Lord here is that hell will not prevail against “My church.” Other churches, I guess, are fair game.

        • Lucius, so you know, Len does not believe in organised religion and is a member of no church or denomination. Just him and his bible … alone. This despite the fact that Christianity is a communal faith and we are called to worship together.

          • Lucius

            Perhaps the inevitable end state of ever-splintering Protestantism is that each man eventually becomes his own priest and own parishioner in the church of [fill in first name]? I love my Protestant friends, but it seems this is the logical end for sola scripture.

          • Simon Platt

            Each his own pope, as Graham Leonard once put it.

          • len

            One Pope is enough to carry on the line that Constantine handed them on a plate.

          • Anton

            I do possess sole interpretative authority over one man, myself, but not over others. Rather different from the papacy, which has dared to use force to try to enforce its interpretation, and will answer for it.

          • Lucius

            Then you are a member of the Church of Anton. You worship not the Jesus Christ as taught by the Holy Apostles and passed onto and handed down by the Church Fathers and institutionally preserved through Holy Tradition, but rather, Anton’s interpretation as gleaned from a 1700, more or less, year old collection of Scripture. You may dislike the Pope and the Church, so you merely put yourself in the place of the Pope and replaced the Roman Catholic Church with the Church of Anton.

            Oh, and to be clear, I am not Roman Catholic, I am Orthodox. While I disagree that a single man has universal jurisdiction and interpretative authority over Scripture, I do agree that the Orthodox Church, as an institution, is responsible for preserving correct teachings and interpretations, and if and when it speaks, it should do so in an appropriate ecumenical council where all brother bishops gather. Sola Scripture or the idea that each man is his own interpretative authority creates interpretative chaos and leads to heresies like those of Martyn Percy so frequently denounced on this board.

          • Anton

            I worship Jesus Christ, crucified died and risen, only son of the Creator of all things and divine in the same way, as attested to in the Bible. Do you consider me a Christian or not? Yes or No whatever else you may say, please.

          • Lucius

            The irony is when you say such things as “divine in the same way,” which I presume you mean to say “begotten of the Father,” you are living off the interpretative inheritance of the early Church Fathers, who painstakingly rooted out heresies like Arianism.

            Here’s what I think, Anton. I believe you are where I was at one point in my spiritual life. You’re a good person. You’re genuinely searching for God. And you’re probably smart and driven. Because of this, the idea that you cannot master the Faith or eventually figure it all out is offensive, no different than if a professional colleague challenged your competence at work. This is a type of pride although sometimes confused as drive, determination, and self-confidence. My journey to Orthodoxy removed this mask and laid low my pride. Once I was softened a bit, I was able to discover the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

            In the last analysis, can you figure the Faith and Salvation out all on your own. I think you can, but I also think it is incredibly difficult. The Orthodox Church provides you the complete road map and instructions. Come and see.

          • Anton

            ” the idea that you cannot master the Faith or eventually figure it all out is offensive”

            You forgot two words: It’s offensive to you. That isn’t my problem, and you can’t make it mine by reporting me to religious authorities nowadays either.

            I suggest you take up who is the one holy catholic and apostolic church with Rome, not with this evangelical.

            It is true that I cannot make sense of the Bible without the Holy Spirit. But he guides me into all truth. Fare you well, because although you refused my question I consider you my brother in Christ.

          • Lucius

            Anton, I consider you a Christian, of course. Please forgive me if you thought I was insinuating otherwise. I do believe you are trying to draft your own road map for the Faith and Salvation. I merely point out that the Orthodox Church, as an institution, has one already drafted that was handed down from the Apostles. Can Christians, individually, draft their own successful road map outside the Church and guided by the Holy Spirit alone? I think they can, but I also think that alternative is extremely difficult. Regardless, when I was of the opinion that all I needed was the Bible, my mind, and the Holy Spirit (like you), I was not receptive to any message otherwise. So I wish you Godspeed on your own spiritual journey, and I mean that in all sincerity.

          • Anton

            Thank you. I am concerned that you seem to consider yourself more enlightened than me simply because you were once protestant and are now Orthodox, and I have always been protestant. Without making any criticism of Orthodoxy, let me say that I am aware of its claims and that there are non sequiturs in this reasoning of yours.

          • Lucius

            I am not more enlightened, friend. Orthodoxy only revealed to me how unenlightened I actually was, even though I was wise in my own eyes. I wish only to share this gift not use it as some type of bully stick. Forgive me, if I was too pushy or abrasive.

          • Anton

            Blessings.

          • len

            You walk an very dangerous path my friend because those who think they cannot be deceived by their religous leaders probably already have been.

          • Lucius

            Individual Church clergy have certainly proven fallible. But I do not put my faith in any individual. I put my faith in Jesus Christ alone. I respect that the Church (not any individual thereof), His Church, guards and protects, as an institution, correct worship and interpretation of Scripture.

          • len

            How can your church interpret the word of God better than God Himself???.
            The Holy Spirit is God , Jesus promised us believers that the Holy Spirit(not the church ) would lead us into all truth.’But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come’.(John 16:13)

            You see the problem I have with ‘your religion’ because it elevates itself above the Word of God.
            And you call me a heretic?

          • Lucius

            In John 16:13, the Lord is talking directly to the Holy Apostles, you know, the Church founders. There is nothing in there to insinuate that Jesus is advocating for Sola Scriptura, or perhaps, you fancy yourself in the pantheon of the Holy Apostles themselves. I am a prideful person, but not even I put myself in that league.

          • Anton

            But wasn’t Jesus a sola scriptura man of his day?

          • Lucius

            Jesus was/is the Word itself. Not sure if our modern theological debates on sola scriptura and all its ripple effects (i.e., whether the Church, as an institution, has interpretive authority, or whether each individual possesses unique interpretive authority) can be foisted unto our Lord and Savior, although, in the end, He will clear things up for all us.

          • len

            You cannot be considered a Christian by their heretical religious system.
            Thank God you belong too Christ ,because only He can save you ,not a false religious system.

          • David

            Surely the “heresies like those of Martyn Percy” come not from sola Scripture but from Scripture being made secondary to the Spirit of the Age ? A faithful reading of Scripture cannot produce heresy.

          • Lucius

            Plenty of literature exists interpreting Scripture and asserting that homosexuality is not actually a Biblical sin. I, like many on this board, disagree with this radical “re-interpretation,” but I believe it grows out of the concept of Sola Scripture. This is not to say that the original proponents of Sola Scripture intended this result, but when you divorce the Bible and interpretation thereof from the Church, a think a practical consequence of that is what we are witnessing today.

          • David

            I’ve read most of this literature and it is totally contrived and unconvincing. It distorts the Scripture, rather than interpreting it.
            But I think you are misunderstanding the concept of Sola Scriptura. The concept proposed the re-grounding of belief and teachings in what the early Church believed, which was of course expressed in the written Canon of Scripture, thus obviating the unfortunate distortions introduced by the medieval western Catholic Church. So it used Scripture, written in the common language of each country, and therefore accessible to all literate people, to hold the Church to revealed truth, preventing sinful excursions into heresy by power and money hungry clergy. It was never meant to licence strange individual “initiatives”, and if that did subsequently happen, then such actions would be outside the meaning of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

          • Lucius

            “I’ve read most of this literature and it is totally contrived and unconvincing. It distorts the Scripture, rather than interpreting it.”

            Concur.

            “The concept proposed the re-grounding of belief and teachings in what the early Church believed.”

            I believe this was the original intent.

            “It was never meant to licence strange individual ‘initiatives’, and if that did subsequently happen, then such actions would be outside the meaning of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.”

            I agree. But there is an old legal maxim that goes “hard cases make bad law.” I think this may be applicable with Sola Scriptura. A fair argument exists that Roman Catholic Church deviated from the teachings and Tradition of the early Church (the “hard case”). A reaction to that was Sola Scriptura (the “bad law”).

            An essential part of Sola Scriptura, as I understand it, is that it is unmoored from both the Magisterium (i.e., teaching authority) and Holy Tradition, meaning that neither have a binding effect on Biblical interpretation. I think the practical and unavoidable effect of this is that the Bible becomes detached from the Church (and although physical Churches still exist, they became in reality, large Bible-study sessions), which, in turn, results in each individual having the final prerogative to decide for himself what the correct interpretation of a given passage of Scripture means, irrespective of what anyone—or everyone—else says. We see this play out practically in America where a new Protestant denomination is created about every two weeks.

            The “hard case” was that the Roman Catholic Church deviated from early Church Tradition and outside of Scripture, but the “bad law” was detaching the Bible from the Church and effectively permitting each person to serve as the Pope (or Teaching Authority) in their own lives. No different than if, for example, the United States Court system went awry, and the answer was to depose of the idea of judicial adjudication and instead, permit each person to interpret statutory and common law as he/she saw fit.

            I’m enjoying our discussion. And appreciate the response.

          • David

            Given the reality facing people like Jan Huss or later, Luther, that the western Catholic Church was corrupt, obsessing over money and power, both temporal and fake-spiritual, and simply refusing to reform itself, the only route open to the reformers was to insist upon a return to the beliefs and values of the early Church, by pointing to Scripture, bypassing the failed Church, and creating a new institutional framework. That’s how I see it anyway.

            Relying on Scripture alone worked fine for many centuries, and was far, far better than a continuation of, the corrupt western Catholic Church, alone. So the split, the reformation was a regrettable necessity, as a result of the sins of the Catholic Church, to re-establish gospel Truth. Why the Protestant Reformation even triggered a later reformation within the Catholic Church !

            But now I’ll break cover, by saying I am not, strictly a Sola Scripture Christian. I am a traditional, orthodox, conservative, evangelical Anglican who recognises the advantages of the theology of Richard Hooker, perhaps the leading Anglican theologian. He saw authority as flowing form Scripture, Tradition and Reason. In the unlikely event of a clash between these three, Scripture would always have the final and trump card.

            My personal belief is that the Catholic Church became corrupt because it “enjoyed” a hegemony. In short the lack of challenge encouraged sloth and heresy allowing a love of money and power to corrupt it. Whereas Eastern Orthodoxy was kept pure because of the pressures on it from Islam.
            I’ll throw that one at you, before ending for the night !
            Good bless you !

          • Lucius

            God bless you too friend! Well-reasoned response!

          • Holger

            Anton is not only the only member of the Church of Anton, he’s also its god and its messiah.

            At least Roman Catholics, the Orthodox and, to some degree, Anglicans consent to pool their egos when they project them onto the universe and call the resulting shadow puppet “god”. Anton believes that he alone defines who and what god should be. Not so much Sola Scriptura as Sola Solipsisma.

          • len

            And you Holger have become’ a god.’For didn`t Satan (your master)say so?.

          • Anton

            On what grounds do you say that someone proclaiming Sola Scriptura is his own god?

          • Holger

            You don’t proclaim “scripture”. You read a much edited and oft-translated text and proclaim your own interpretation of it.

            So what makes your understanding of “scripture” any more accurate than anyone else’s? Why does your god choose to speak through you and nobody else?

            Easy. Because you’re one and the same person. You’ve made god in your image and are busy worshipping yourself. What greater act of narcissism could there be?

          • Anton

            Yours: that there is no God to whom you must give account.

          • Holger

            So someone who admits an absolute lack of knowledge of any kind of “higher being” and who therefore chooses not to speculate about the form such an entity might take, or what might motivate it if it does exist, is a narcissist, whereas someone who claims the entity does exist solely on the strength of his own opinion, and that this entity has magic powers and looks just like him, wanting just what he wants and punishing anyone who dares to contradict him, is modest and self-effacing, eh?

            Vain little man, the universe does not revolve around you. And who’d want to live in it if it did? You of course, and others of your ilk who are just as convinced as you that a divine version of them rules the universe, and are therefore willing to humour your delusion just as you’re willing to humour theirs, because you “know” your god is the real one and they’ll be sorry, won’t they?

            I wonder, will you ever graduate from kindergarten or is this childish view of yourself as the centre of creation something that will stay with you until you die?

            I think I can guess.

          • Anton

            But it is not solely on my opinion that I believe God exists – unless you are going to advocate solipsism, in which case your critique applies equally to your own argument.

          • Lucius

            I’ve discovered in short order on this comment board that engaging with Holger is an exercise in pure folly, although entertaining from time-to-time.

          • len

            Jesus never started a church or a denomination.

          • Lucius

            Correct. Jesus did not start A church. He started THE Church. Let me guess, the Holy Apostles, their immediate successors, and Church Fathers got it all wrong. Len figured it all out. Jesus never really wanted a Church. Right? He just wanted individuals armed with Bibles. Remind me again when the Church bound the first Bible and delivered it to the faithful?

          • len

            Well said Anton.
            But they are not listening, because if they woke up from their religious induced stupor and glimpsed Gods Truth their little world would come crashing down..They want ‘the lie’ and God will see they get want they want.

          • len

            The Holy Spirit is the sole interpreter of scripture(after all He is the author and who better to go to to find the facts.)
            But you and Jack seem to know better?.

          • Lucius

            RE “But you and Jack seem to know better?”
            Actually, I believe Jack and I are saying quite the opposite. We are acknowledging that the Church, as the institutional keeper of Holy Tradition (oral and in written), as handed down by the Apostles, and collator and binder of the Bible itself, and as such, the Church’s interpretation of Scripture, at the very least, enjoys a strong presumption of true and correct teaching. In other words, we are saying a 20 centuries’ old institution probably knows better than us.

          • len

            You trust’ the church’ , made up of fallen men. I go straight to the source of all truth…
            Not exactly difficult is it ?.

          • Lucius

            You mean the Bible, a book collected, collated, and protected from interpretive heresy by those “fallen men”? I would rather trust my own interpretation of a 1700 year old book. I mean what do the guys who actually put it together and delivered to the faithful know? Right?

          • Simon Platt

            Sounds like Lenism.

          • len

            Never heard that before 😉

          • Simon Platt

            I did wonder: do you have any friends called “Mark”? Co-religionists would be perfect. Then it could be “Markist-Lenism”.

            But I suppose that’s an old one, too.

          • len

            I have been called many things in my time(some quite interesting things on this very blog) but’ len’ does quite nicely thanks.

          • Simon Platt

            I realise that the joke might not have been as amusing as I first thought, but I did think you’d got it, at least.

          • len

            Well thanks for that thought..

          • len

            Organised deception like the RCC produces?.
            You would have to be gullible to believe all that crap.

          • len

            Not your ‘organised religion’ Jack
            .Do you know that the word ‘gullible’ isn`t in the dictionary?.

        • len

          We have done all this false authority of the Roman Church sooooooo many times.
          But if you keep repeating the mantra perhaps it will come true….Nah

    • The Explorer

      You surely don’t think that we believe that liberals can be influenced by reason? Liberals are immune to reason. They are ruled by the heart, not the head.

    • Lucius

      “[R]econcile plain reason with gibbering superstition will be led one step further along the road to atheism.”
      *********************************************************************************************************
      “[A]theism” eh? “[P]lain reason” eh? You mean the “plain reason” that requires me to believe there was absolute nothing, which randomly went “poof” and produced something, which something randomly went “poof” and produced a universe governed by natural laws, which universe then randomly went “poof” and produced intelligent beings, who nearly all for some “strange” reason feel compelled to believe in a supernatural, non-wordly force called God? That takes a lot faith on your part. Sorry, I will take the account of the Gospels witnessed by no less than twelve men over your atheistic fairytale.

      • The Explorer

        And the Universe went poof and produced Pink News.

        • The world is going poof and fairies are increasing ….
          Is “fairy” a transphobic word?

  • len

    It seems that we are finding out by a torturous route exactly what the Church isn’t. And by definition what the true Church is.

    The Church has split multiple times throughout its history, but it is becoming more clearly defined that there are basically two Churches.The Bride of Christ and the false apostate Church.In the past true believers and counterfeit Christians (for want of a better word) have been intermingled.These are ‘the wheat and the tares’ growing up together. But now there is a separation going on.True believers are being called out of ‘the Harlot Church’, (The church which sold itself for worldly gain.)This is not Just the RCC but also many of the Protestant denominations.
    Some people might feel led to leave their church and this will leave them feeling isolated, but Christ will shepherd those who have left the Church because of their faithfulness to Him.
    Interesting and dangerous times but this sifting process is essential.

    • Watchman

      Thank you for pointing out that the ship is sinking whilst her officers are busy rearranging the deckchairs.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Go look at EIPS ianpaisley.org

  • Coniston

    A cleric in Sheffield has criticised Martyn Percy for saying that to have ‘two integrities’ in the CofE is neither credible nor desirable. Here I would agree with Percy. The CofE is coming apart at the seams. The time is surely coming when orthodox Anglicans, both Evangelical and Catholic, will have to leave the moribund CofE if the liberal establishment continues on its apostatizing course. SSM ‘marriage’ will be next.

    • Lucius

      “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)

    • If only it were just “two integrities” in the Church of England.

    • Holger

      Schism!

      And finally it comes crashing down.

      A great day for mankind. Or are the conservatives just reacting in typically melodramatic and exaggerated fashion to a bloodied nose?

      Oh well, if it doesn’t fall apart today, it will fall apart tomorrow. It’s like watching the Walking Dead zombies slowly rotting on their feet. One day soon there just won’t be enough strength left in the decaying connective tissue to hold the body together and down they’ll crash, never again to trouble anyone with their snapping and snarling.

      • len

        Bit of a drama .Q…..n (are we still allowed to say that Holger? (wouldn’t want to sound offensive ?….unlike your ‘liberal self?.

      • Coniston

        The ‘liberal’ churches will, rather than just crashing down, gradually fade away – just as they have always done in the past, for who would want to join them? If they conform to the values of the world, as many are doing, there is no earthly (or heavenly) point in their existence. The authentic, orthodox churches will remain, and the worldly will always find their beliefs, based on revelation and reason, inexplicable, and will probably hate them. “The truth will make you free.”

        Truth is in accord with reality.
        Truth is possible – even if difficult to ascertain – otherwise everything is relative and ultimately everything is meaningless & arbitrary (including our own thoughts & beliefs).
        There is a unity of truth – even if we cannot completely grasp it. Scientific truth, philosophical truth and revelation are all sources which are ultimately in harmony.
        The human person is made for truth

  • None of the above

    Philip North should be the CNC’s first choice for London.

    And ++Justin should be prepared to put his own job on the line to defend +Philip against the inevitable attacks.

    Only then will the settlement of 2014 begin to be seen as credible.

    (Oh, and Dean Percy should be told, unambiguously, that his position at Christ Church is no longer tenable.)

    • bluedog

      Absolutely. It is quite incredible that the leadership of the CoE can allow a college dean at Oxford to exercise right of veto over an appointment mandated by the CNC.

      If Percy isn’t sacked on account of his subversive activities, ++Welby should be sacked for allowing Percy to undermine the authority of the CNC without penalty. One of them has to go.

      • Paul Greenwood

        He is not a College Dean !!!! Christ Church is the Cathedral in Oxford.

        • bluedog
          • Paul Greenwood

            Thank you for that assistance ! I had always taken The House as being Cathedral and not College in my day, I find the duality to be wrongful and should be severed

          • bluedog

            ‘I find the duality to be wrongful and should be severed.’

            An excellent point. One could use the term ‘conflict of interest’. Which hat is Percy wearing when he becomes a political activist? Dean of Christ Church the cathedral? Dean of Christ Church the college? The Revd. Dr Martyn Percy?

      • Holger

        North jumped, he wasn’t pushed.

        Percy has no authority to push anyone. He merely stated his opinion, which in a free country anyone is entitled to do. If North chose to heed Percy’s opinion, that was his affair. The man is an adult and responsible for his own actions. Let him therefore take responsibility for his decision to chicken out of a fight he didn’t even try to win.

        This will go down in church history as the moment when the conservatives folded. The moment when their belligerent threats turned into craven retreat.

        I’m told the Monty Python team has allegedly re-released a song in North’s honour. Entitled “The Ballad of Sir Philip”, it goes something like this:

        Bravely bold Sir Philip
        Rode forth from Gafconalot
        He was not afraid to die
        Oh, brave Sir Philip
        He was not at all afraid
        To be killed in nasty ways
        Brave, brave, brave Sir Philip

        Brave Sir Philip ran away
        (No!)
        Bravely ran away
        (He didn’t!)
        When danger reared its ugly head
        He bravely turned his tail and fled
        (No!)
        Yes, brave Sir Philip turned about
        (He didn’t!)
        And gallantly he chickened out
        Bravely taking to his feet
        (He never did!)
        He beat a very brave retreat
        (All lies!)
        Bravest of the brave, Sir Philip!
        (He never!)

        • bluedog

          Well, yes, but.

          One can imagine that as North confronted the full fury of the Percy legions he realised that his life was going to become hell without back-up from an Archbishop or two. And that support never came. A situation now exists in which the CNC is effectively redundant. If Welby or Sentamu wish to appoint a bishop they don’t need to jump through the CNC hoops, they just need to ring Percy and see if it’s okay with him and his wife. Always assuming they can be bothered to take Welby’s call.

          The Archbishops have implicitly announced that appeasing the Percys trumps backing their own judgement.

          • Holger

            I know, isn’t it great? Ordained authority undermined by popular power. Does the Holy Ghost speak through nabobs or through the people?

            Christians have never been able to agree on that point and probably never will. But whatever they believe, the power of the majority has the last word in our society. If the hierarchy bows before Percy, it’s because they know that power flows from the majority. Archbishops have no divine right. They’re administrators, not absolute monarchs.

          • bluedog

            There’s a difference between the majority and an aggressive, noisy and intolerant minority.

          • Holger

            Yes, there is a difference.

            I certainly agree with your characterisation of conservative Christians as an aggressive, noisy and intolerant minority.

            As conciliatory, calm and tolerant liberals form a majority in the CofE, and as they have tried to accommodate the views of the reactionary right but cannot submit to their prejudicial authority without compromising their own beliefs, their only choice is to exclude conservatives from positions of power where they can inflict their policies of exclusion and generally foster intolerance.

            This of course elicits a howl of outrage from the conservatives, who become even more aggressive, noisy and intolerant as a result, and in doing so, confirm just how necessary it is to sideline them and prevent them from acceding to any position of responsibility.

            In the CofE of the future, all will be tolerated except the intolerant. There’s nothing contradictory about this position. Tolerance cannot by its very nature tolerate intolerance. Tolerance does not mean tolerating all points of view. It means tolerating only those who tolerate others.

            The days of the intolerant are numbered in the CofE. But knowing just how intolerant you are, you’ll jump long before you’re pushed. By your very nature you just won’t be able to tolerate the way the Church is going. So you’re a problem that will solve itself. And quickly too.

          • bluedog

            Oh dear. The issue is female ordination, sold as a panacea which would lead to rejuvenation and growth. It’s had the reverse effect, it’s unscriptural and untraditional and the growing congregations largely reject it. If the CoE is to avoid the fate of the TEC, it needs to return to an earlier model of priesthood.

          • Holger

            Why would the CofE want to avoid the fate of TEC?

        • len

          Got one thing right today Holger old mate…good start for you?.

    • Holger

      Should, should, should.

      Won’t, won’t, won’t.

      • len

        Calm down dear…its only a blog…

  • The Explorer

    When we say ‘post’, do we mean something in the ground, or a letter? When we say ‘Dean of Christ Church’, do we mean Dean of the Cathedral, or Dean of the College?

    A dean is only a dean, but the head of a major Oxford College has clout. As which Dean is Percy speaking?

    If the Dean of the Cathedral must always be the Dean of the College then the Dean of Christ Church (college) must always be in holy orders. That seems to me to be incredibly limiting. In the days of Wolsey, key intellectual talent was probably inside the Church. Now, it isn’t.

    A scholarship of, say, £65 once gave you admission and covered all your costs. If it’s not inflation-indexed it would now just give you admission. Conditions which made sense in the past can change.

  • len

    Jesus came to divide the world between those who will follow Him and those who will follow anything Satan presents to them on a plate.Riches, fame, power.This is what the world values.Truth , Love and Integrity are the things God values, but this comes at a price…
    Who is willing to sell their soul, or who is wiling to go to the Cross?.