Church of England

The two opposed expressions of Anglicanism

There is a letter published in today’s Telegraph signed by 23 conservative (/traditionalists/orthodox) Anglicans concerning the tensions in the Church over England (and wider Anglicanism) over same-sex marriage and other gender-sexuality divisions. It is signed most prominently by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, and reads:

Sir,

Recent actions in the General Synod in pursuit of a culture which denies biblical ethics, as they have been practised and understood ‘at all places and in all times’, has caused many Anglicans great concern. There are times, particularly in the face of social disintegration, when it is the duty of the Church to be counter-cultural. The failure of the House of Bishops to uphold the teaching of the Bible and of the Universal Church in this area is very disappointing, if not surprising.

The booing of traditionalists and the levels of personal abuse aimed at them during the General Synod has only deepened mistrust between the different sides.

There are now effectively, at least, two opposed expressions of Anglicanism in this country. One which has capitulated to secular values, and one that continues to hold the faith ‘once delivered to the saints’.

We and others stand with the majority of faithful Anglican across the globe, in prioritising Scripture and the unanimous teaching of the universal Church over secular fashion. We note the results of this same conflict in North America, even as we look for and pray for a similar renewal of orthodox Anglicanism and of Anglican structures in these islands.

Yours faithfully,

Rev’d Dr. Gavin Ashenden, Former Chaplain to the Queen
Rev’d Nigel Atkinson, Vicar of St. John’s, Knutsford
Rev’d Dr. Mark Burkill, Chairman of Reform
Rev’d Tim Chapman, Minister of Christ Church South Cambs, AMiE
Rev’d Paul Darlington, Vicar of Oswestry Holy Trinity, Chair of Church Society
Rt. Rev’d John Ellison, AMiE Executive
Rev’d Dick Farr, Chairman of Church Society Trust
Rt. Rev’d Dr John Fenwick, Bishop Primus, Free Church of England
Fr. Martin Hislop, St. Luke’s, Kingston upon Thames
Rev’d Canon Nigel Juckes, Incumbent, Parish of Llandogo
Rt. Rev’d Josep Miquel Ferrer, Free Church of England
Rev’d Steven Hanna, St Elisabeth’s Church, Dagenham
Rt. Rev’d Paul Hunt, General Secretary, Free Church of England
Rev’d Lee McMunn, AMiE Mission Director
Rt. Rev’d Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, 106th Bishop of Rochester
Rev’d James Paice, Vicar of St. Luke’s Wimbledon Park, Trustee of Southwark Good Stewards Trust
Rev’d Dr. Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St. Mark’s Tunbridge Wells, Convener of Anglican Partnership Synod
Rev’d Dr Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream
Rev’d William Taylor, Rector of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, Chairman of Renew
Rev’d Melvin Tinker, Vicar of St. John’s Newland
Rev’d Robin Weekes, Minister of Emmanuel Church Wimbledon, Chair of Reform Southwark
Mrs Andrea Minchello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and Christian Legal Centre

There is also an article in that newspaper headed ‘Queen’s former chaplain leads vicar rebellion over gay marriage‘, in which Education Editor Camilla Turner informs us that the Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden “threatens to break away from the Church of England”, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he has already broken away, and did so some months ago. But he raises the prospect of a wider breakaway, beginning with many of the signatories to the above letter:

“This is a warning that the Archbishop is under notice that unless he leads the Church in a way that remains consistent with the values and authority of the bible as opposed to progressive secularism, he will risk some kind of revolt in the form of an independence movement,” he said.

…“We are saying if you don’t draw a halt at this point the same thing will happen here and there will be a significant number who will secede and reconstitute an Anglican church to keep faith with authentic Anglican Christianity,” Dr Ashenden said.

The Rev Dr Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St Mark’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, said that a lot of Anglican leaders are concerned “not just about votes at the General Synod regarding sexuality but also votes against the uniqueness of Christ and against urging all minister to share the gospel with the nation”.

Dr Sanlon, who also helped to organise the letter, added that “increasing numbers of orthodox Anglicans have lost confidence in the archbishops…”

And the Church of England’s official response to this warning of revolt, secession and schism?

A Church of England spokesman said: “As with any debating chamber, Synod often debates controversial issues and members can sometimes disagree strongly with each other. That is the nature of debate. If there is an issue the Chair will intervene. The expectation is that Synod members are courteous at all times both to each other and invited guests.”

Which kind of misses the point spectacularly. In fact, it blithely reduces the substance of the dispute to the soundness of debate and the imperative of courtesy, neither of which is in contention. The matter laid before us concerns “biblical ethics, as they have been practised and understood ‘at all places and in all times’”, set against “two opposed expressions of Anglicanism in this country. One which has capitulated to secular values, and one that continues to hold the faith ‘once delivered to the saints'”. The matter, then, is whether the Church of England is approaching (or has reached) that point where progressive liberal Anglicans who (it is alleged) advocate ‘secular values’ may continue to be in communion with those conservative Anglicans who believe it is their mission and vocation to be counter-cultural; to affirm “biblical ethics, as they have been practised and understood ‘at all places and in all times'”; “to hold the faith ‘once delivered to the saints'”.

And so we are concerned with gender, sex and sexuality viewed through the lens of Anglicanism, and debates about the essentials Anglican identity, with one side accusing the other of fomenting schism by compromising with the world, and that side accusing the other of impeding the church’s mission by retreating from the world. These tensions echo those within the Worldwide Anglican Communion, which mirror those in the Roman Catholic Church. This ‘humanity’ debate is by no means peculiar to Anglicanism: it is taking place, to varying degrees, in all church denominations all over the world. Or at least in those which aren’t preoccupied with inconvenient distractions such as existential persecution.

For some, Anglicanism and the Anglican tradition is strengthened and enhanced by continuing reformation on what are considered ‘second order’ issues, such as the nature of church authority, liturgy, sacramental ministry and moral theology. For others, these ‘second order’ issues are not so conveniently carved out: the orthodox understanding of the created order thereby becomes a ‘first order’ issue, touching on the nature of salvation and the sanctification of souls. Is there a via media to be found between these polarities, or would that be a compromise too far? Is this, in short, the end of Anglicanism as a coherent, empirical, identifiable worldwide communion, or is it simply a further diverse expression of that communion, which was itself born of division and fragmentation, not to mention contentious debates about sex and marriage.

The problem is that Anglicanism has always been provisional. As Paul Avis observes:

Its participation in catholicity is partial and incomplete. It can only aspire to a catholicity that remains ultimately eschatological – that is to say, it will be fulfilled when God’s plan of salvation is perfected beyond this life. All parts of the Christian Church, large and small, not just Anglicanism, stand in this position of incompleteness and fragmentation vis-à-vis the catholic Church of the Creed. There is no already existing empirical ‘body’… with which Anglicanism seeks a home, except in the universal Church (The Identity of Anglicanism [2007:2]).

And so Anglicanism will continue fragmenting as humanity continues diversifying, for that is the inescapable framework of its ecclesial foundation. The “two opposed expressions of Anglicanism” to which Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali et al refer are simply two more opposing expressions in a long line of opposing expressions, as might be considered consistent with Anglicanism’s historical provisionality and the mortal reality that, for now, we see in mirrors darkly. We live in a world of concentric ecclesial communities forever separating from each other, each led by their own infallible pope or popes of genuinely expressed irreconcilable mysteries. Communion is impaired and unity remains invisible because the Church awaits the eschatological consummation.

So, write your open letters to the Telegraph about the impending CofE schism. Make your pejorative sociological judgments on ‘Sunday Morning Live’, proclaim your confessional soundbites on ‘The Big Questions’, and issue your episcopal condemnations via the Times.

It is a very secular strategy, steeped in secular values.

  • Three words: GET OUT NOW!

    • Dominic Stockford

      AMIE and Free Church of England already have, so I don’t understand why they’re signing this.

      • David

        Please see my answer to you, as above.

      • Bruce Atkinson

        The message of 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 needs to be shouted from the rooftops. It cannot be emphasized enough.
        “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there
        between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people’. THEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE, says the LORD.” (my emphasis; see also Rev 18:9).

        It takes a consistent message and a bit of time to motivate the sheep to get back into the sheepfold. Some are goats and will never do it, but confused sheep will eventually do so if their leaders are truly following the Shepherd of their souls.

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    When my license was transferred at the service, in front of everyone (Bishops clergy and congregation) we all swore an Oath that the we held the Scriptures to be the PRIMARY authority (not Secondary or Tertiary, but Primary). We also swore an oath that we followed fully (not partly) the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Now Bishops and Clergy are revealing their hypocrisy because they don’t believe it themselves.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Far better is the phrase ‘the sole rule of faith and practice’. Which leaves no room for doubt.

  • Manfarang

    The “two opposed expressions of Anglicanism”
    Isn’t it three, Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, and Liberal?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Absolutely so. Gafcon have managed to keep away from the AC/Evangelical problems within their ranks up to now, but they will surface eventually.

      • David

        A traditional Church can accommodate the differences between the AC and Evangelicals, providing both accept the primacy of Scripture. But traditionalists of both persuasions cannot accommodate a rampaging Cultural Marxist driven Liberalism intent on redefining God, ourselves Man, and the “faith once received”, in the images that they demand.

        • Dominic Stockford

          No it can’t. See answer above. Pale Romanism cannot have a place in the same house as true Protestantism.

        • “A traditional Church can accommodate the differences between the AC and Evangelicals, providing both accept the primacy of Scripture.”

          Can they? Don’t both claim the “primacy of scripture” yet rest on diametrically opposed interpretations on how it is to be understood?

    • David

      Depends what you mean by “opposed”. Liberalism undoubtedly wishes to change the faith to reflect human wisdom, so in that sense they are opposed to both of the traditionalists, the A/C and Evangelicals; but those latter two groups respect one another and get on rather well, with few frictions because both groups accept the primacy of Scripture.

      • Dominic Stockford

        No. Simply no. The AC hold to a whole variety of positions, fundamental ones, on matters such as the Lord’s Supper (which they happily call ‘mass’, despite that being condemned in the 39 Articles), and ‘confession’, which are utterly opposed theologically to the Protestant and Evangelical position.

        • Little Black Censored

          The Mass as such is not condemned in the 39 Articles, but only a certain mediaeval doctrine of it. Confession is encouraged and in certain circumstances enjoined in the Book of Common Prayer. In any case, the C of E is not the Church of Cranmer; he is to be respected in so far as he upheld or intended to uphold the doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church; but where his teaching was based on imperfect knowledge of history it should be interpreted accordingly. He was reacting against a mediaeval system, and over-compensated in his reaction.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      I am embarrassed by the fact that there is the “liberal” (secular, PC, pagan) expression of Anglicanism, because it is not even Christian (and thereby cannot really be Anglican at all).

      • Manfarang

        The liberal movement in theology conceded that the Bible and the historic Christian creeds were cast in the language and worldview of their times and had to be interpreted critically in that light. The purpose of modern theology was to excavate below relative truths in order to discover what was pure, true, and eternal. Theological “orthodoxy, so far as man is concerned, is relative and defective; it is measured by the knowledge he has of the truth,” the leading liberal theologian and Old Testament scholar Charles Augustus Briggs wrote in 1889. “It varies in different men, in different nations and societies, and still more in different epochs of time.”

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Yep. Revisionism according to relativism. “In those days Anglicanism forgot its true King and all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

          • Manfarang

            Anyway lets hope you are a teetotaler, non-smoker, vegetarian, and strictly monogamous. There’s moral relativism for you.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            According to the scriptures, only monogamy among your list falls into the moral absolute category. And there is no true absolute morality apart from God’s Word.

          • Manfarang

            There are plenty of references to polygamy in the Bible.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes, prior to Israel’s being conquered and exiled.

            https://www.gotquestions.org/polygamy.html
            This is the absolute best summary of polygamy in the Bible, which answers the questions: 1) Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament? 2) How does God view polygamy today? 3) Why did it change?

          • Manfarang

            Marriage in ancient Rome was a strictly monogamous institution. The Roman Catholic Church isn’t called Roman for nothing.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yep. Rome also had a strict caste system (nobles and serfs), a hierarchically organized army, highly ritualized mystery religions, and lots of goddess worship. Taking on characteristics of the Zeitgeist culture is not a new thing for churches to do.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          IF the Bible were only the words of human beings and not Holy Spirit inspired and authorized by God, there would be some truth in what Biggs and the 18th century German liberal theologians promoted in their biblical criticism strategies. But the only small handle on truth that they actually grasped was that each of us (including popes and archbishops) are fallible and limited in our capacity to interpret the Word of God correctly. However, if we study humbly and prayerfully, the Spirit will “guide us into all truth.”
          http://www.virtueonline.org/basic-guide-bible-interpretation-part-iii-humbled-facts-interpretive-process

          • Manfarang

            There about 34,000 Christian denominations.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Most of these I would not call “denominations,” but small church networks and in some cases, merely (less than Christian) sects. But it would not matter if there were a million; what always really matters is what each individual believes. The real universal Church, the actual ‘Bride of Christ,’ is essentially invisible in the sense that only God knows exactly who is in it and that it includes believers from most churches that call themselves Christian. Despite the RCC’s belief to the contrary, there is no one religious institution in this world that is uniquely the Church.

          • Manfarang

            Yet many independent Baptists continue to believe in and teach the existence of the Universal Church, even though such teaching undermines everything that independent Baptists stand for, and contradicts their Bible-based ecclesiology.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I wouldn’t know. As long as they believe that the Universal Church (the ‘Bride of Christ’) is part of the Kingdom of God, and thus not a visible earthly organization, they would have it right.
            As Jesus proclaimed: “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17: 20-21)

    • Coniston

      It’s more complicated than that. Both the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelicals have their liberal and their conservative orthodox wings

    • RobinHMasters

      Properly understood, those three are three wings of the Christian expression of Anglicanism, as opposed to the secular one..

  • Father David

    Seems to me that the next likely step will be to make Dr. Gavin Ashenden an “independence movement” bishop – then he can exchange his former crimson cassock for a purple one.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I prefer black cassocks, white starched surplices and black stoles for bishops..as in the portraits of Archbishops Tenison, Cranmer, Abbott and the like.

      • Father David

        Not wishing to split hairs but would that not be a white rochet with lawn sleeves rather than a white starched surplice with a black chimere and a black preaching scarf or tippet rather than a black stole?

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Humph….

          • Father David

            One would expect a bishop’s wife to know these things – after all, I presume that Bishop Proudie doesn’t do his own ironing?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Silliness. Monty Python would be proud.

  • Chefofsinners

    Cranmer leaves us with the thought that the conservative vicars have adopted “a very secular strategy steeped in secular values”.
    Their actions seem to me to be no more than the modern day equivalent of nailing your theses to a church door.
    And we all know what a mistake that was.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Those who are actually IN the CofE should leave forthwith. Actions speaking louder than words.

    • Father David

      A man in the mold of Tony Benn himself, who always went for the issues themselves rather than any peripherals..

    • John

      I agree. Unless I have misunderstood, Cranmer’s conclusion suggests he imagines we can and must hold in tension two wings of a church, one of which is ‘celebrating gay weddings’ and the other of which declines to do so on theological grounds. That is simply not going to happen.

    • Little Black Censored

      Was Luther mistaken?

      • Chefofsinners

        No. It was by way of being ironic.

  • Dominic Stockford

    I am puzzled as to why some of the ‘continuing’ Anglican communities have signed this letter. They are ‘continuing’ Anglican bodies precisely because they have left the Church of England, due to its failure to be faithful to Scripture. The Free Church of England, for instance, did so in 1863. They are not subject to the jurisdiction or the teaching of the CofE, and the ridiculous behaviour, and errant theology of Sentamu has no bearing on them whatsoever.

    • David

      Your first sentence, “I am puzzled…signed this letter”.
      The answer is within the letter. They wish “to stand with the majority of faithful Anglican across the world who prioritise Scripture….etc “

    • vsscoles

      The vast majority of Anglicans are not members of the Church of England. They are nevertheless Anglicans.

      • Dominic Stockford

        The same pertains however. This is a matter which is within a body which they have already chosen to leave. Why are they getting so steamed up about it? They’ve already rejected the CofE, AND (David below too) they have rejected a whole body of other errors which have crept into the CofE. So why suddenly are they making this claim now? Why not when women were bishoped (which they reject), or when women were priested (which they reject in the name ‘priest’, as well as in theology), or when women were lay-readered (which they reject), and so on. They’ve not chosen to ‘stand with’ on fundamental issues before, why now? They didn’t make any noise over the increase in Romanism in the High Church part of the CofE, and so on, and on, and on.

        I believe that the truth is that they have seen an opportunity to stick their noses into secular society and ‘get seen’. As His Grace correctly concludes “It is a very secular strategy, steeped in secular values.”

  • Gregory Morris

    It is an age old problem. What level of evil do we put up with before leaving a system that has departed from orthodox teaching? The declension is so gradual and the changes so incremental that it seems an absurd over-reaction to leave over matter D when one has swallowed matters A, B, and C.

    My parents were stuck in the extreme form of exclusive Brethren now labelling themselves as The Plymouth Brethren Church. They were unhappy with the increasing spritual and mental oppression but there was good teaching, happy fellowship and material prosperity inside and outside was the great unknown and spiritual ruin. They saw people treated with terrible cruelty and unjustly judged – they were treated badly themselves. They saw their own relatives cast out for questioning the judgement of the Assembly. Still they did not leave. But they did pray that God would show them the right way and deliver them from the enslavement they were in. And God was faithful in his deliverance – he always is. A situation arose which they could not overlook so they ran, like Lot from Sodom to Zoar – a small place (far from the well-connectedness they had known) but they found a place of safety. Like Abraham leaving the civilised certainties of Haran we need to believe that God will make provision for us when we trust and obey.

  • David

    Looking back the C of E started on this course of appeasement to secular values more than a century ago when theological Liberalism really got underway, with ‘higher criticism’ of Biblical texts. What has changed so abruptly recently is that the bishops seem to have relinquished their true roles as teachers of the faith, which must be guided primarily by Scripture, whilst acknowledging the role of Tradition and Reason. Without the restraint of episcopal wisdom the ‘progressives’ have become more strident and, well, heretical in their claims. They are essentially pushing worldly, secular and intensely politicised ideas closely following the unfolding confusions of the ever more cultural Marxist surrounding society.

    I believe that the A of C has already said that he expects a schism, and his prediction is one of the few things he’s said which I agree with. The only questions which remain are the nature, scale, pace and manner of the split. One group of Biblical traditionalists broke away in the nineteenth century. Indeed groups and individuals have been leaving ever since. Some have gone to Rome but many have remained faithful Anglicans, independent of the established Church. That trickle could well now increase.

    Those in vigorously orthodox and conservative parishes like myself will tend to stay until how we worship and preach is threatened. Like the whole of the Biblically led evangelical Reform group, which I support, I believe that there is still value in maintaining parishes as centres of Anglican orthodoxy, albeit within a structure which is increasingly led by errant bishops, in the hope that the nation’s Church can be reclaimed. But I also support Gafcon and AmiE as it is important, for the continued preaching of the gospel in these islands, that faithful Anglicans, including myself, have the choice to stay or go. Ultimately what is chosen must be based upon what each individual feels the God of the Bible, our Creator and Saviour, is asking us to do. Not everyone will be asked to do the same thing, at the same time, so there may be many who choose to go soon.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      And some later. So we American Anglicans who have left TEC have learned.
      I protested in the media for a number of years before I left for AMiA and then ACNA. Of course, my protests did not change the apostate TEC church but it did get a lot of people thinking about what was happening. When I left, a number of like-minded orthodox believers left as well.
      Some of us are called to be “watchmen at the gate” to warn the people (Exekiel 33). When it is time to go, then we must do so, each in his and her own time. Some will procrastinate and go down with the ship.

  • James Paice

    Miles away from where the real Cranmer would have stood in his analysis – on Scripture and the tradition of the church as tested by Scripture.

    • Little Black Censored

      What the real Cranmer would have done is not the point. He was a fallible Archbishop like Welby, but with a greater command of English.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I agree.

  • len

    The Church either stands on the Rock, which is Christ, or on the ever shifting sands of whatever the state demands of the church.

    • Coniston

      As the Secretary of State for Education and Equality is reported to have said.

  • vsscoles

    The Church of England doesn’t do theology any longer. Instead it employs a spin team to churn out fluffy headlines.

    • David

      Agreed. When I was studying for my degree to become a Lay Minister I was appalled at the weak, at times almost non-existent, teaching of doctrine and theology. No one was really interested in the fundamentals, just the peripherals.

  • SonoView

    I suggest it is worth re-reading the lecture given by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1962, “From Puritanism to Non-Conformity 1662-1962” tracing the history of the implementation of the Act of Uniformity. Following which over 2000 Anglican ministers left or were evicted form their parishes because they did not believe that the reformation had gone far enough. This was the genesis of the non-conformist movement and I think contains some very pertinent lessons for today.

    • Dominic Stockford

      300 years later than the ejection, same day of the same month, I was born. There’s always hope!

  • bluedog

    ‘The number of male full time clergy has fallen over the decade from 7,920 in 2002 to 6,017 in 2012, a drop of 24% over the decade. The number of female clergy, stipendiary and non-stipendiary, has continued to rise. In 2012 there were 1,781 females in full-time stipendiary diocesan appointments (Table 3) compared with 1,543 in 2007 and 1,262 in 2002, an increase of 41% over the decade.’

    The above is from CoE figures on ministry statistics. Forward in Faith claim oversight of 400 parishes, and presumably have at least 400 clergy, all male. It can be seen that if the FiF group leave the CoE and join the Roman church, as happened in Australia, there are a number of consequences. Not least of which is an immediate increase in the feminisation of the CoE, a trend which a number of communicants report as being very negative for church attendance figures.

    One is tempted to feel sorry for ++ Welby in this situation. A realignment seems to be in the offing, and it will be to the disadvantage of the rump CoE. Somehow one can’t see Sentamu being any help at all in the circumstances. The progressives seem likely to strengthen their grip and the downward path towards full communion with the TEC would appear inevitable.

    • John

      I do not feel sorry for Archbishop Justin at all. I was very excited by his elevation but have been bitterly disappointed by his failure to arrest the C of E’s drift into liberal apostasy – indeed his complicity in accelerating it. I am increasingly disillusioned and feel a future split along the TEC / ACNA schism is both inevitable and necessary.

      • David

        Me too. Welby doesn’t stand and fight but merely retreats before Liberalism. A split is inevitable. The only question is how, when and in which manner. North America gives a likely model for such a split, but it will be different here due to the cultural differences between the US and Canada and the UK.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Quite so. He sat and smilingly applauded Sentamu at the Synod. He is as guilty.

      • Bruce Atkinson

        I totally agree and have written on the value of church schism in such dire circumstances: http://www.virtueonline.org/schism-and-sword-spirit-bruce-atkinson

  • carl jacobs

    Communion is impaired and unity remains invisible because the Church awaits the eschatological consummation.

    Communion is impaired because the two groups represent completely different religions that happen to use the same rituals, and employ a common set of words. This is not a fight between Christians. It is a fight over the definition of Christianity.

    A church cannot remain half-slave and half free. It must eventually become all one or all the other. There is no via media between death and life.

    • David

      Exactly !
      Liberalism has now morphed into its own man made religion in direct rebellion against God. They are stepping outside God’s protective Truth.

      • Manfarang

        Paul Sanyangore, a controversial pastor from Zimbabwe claims that he received God’s phone number from the Almighty Himself, and often receives calls from Him on how to best help his congregates.

        • Little Black Censored

          Telephone to Jesus; O what joy divine…..
          You can speak to Jesus on the royal telephone.

          From memory; a Carter Family song.

        • The Snail

          No!! It’s just one of those calls about PPI

    • Gresham Machen in “Christianity and Liberalism” contended that liberalism was a different religion to Christianity. I think he (and you) are absolutely right.

      1 Kings 18:21 seems very relevant to synod at the CofE at the moment:

      “Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.”

  • carl jacobs

    Archbishop Cranmer

    Or at least in those which aren’t preoccupied with inconvenient distractions such as existential persecution.

    The implication being what? That persecution renders trivial the effort to contend for the truth? This fight extends far beyond notions of ‘who does what with whom’. It revolves around the nature of man, the nature of God, the nature of sin, the nature of salvation, the boundaries of the created order, and the authority of revelation. Not uncoincidentally, those are the kinds of issues that bring persecution.

    This attitude of “Because people are persecuted, we should all just get along. After all our fights are so trivial” is a pernicious lie. The Truth is worth the fight. The issues are not trivial. (Several tens of millions of abortions should establish that fact.) And it is far preferable to engage when the consequence of doing so does not involve being shot in the head.

  • IanCad

    How far mankind has fallen is evident in the application of the word “Rebellion” toward those who cleave to the scriptures. Dr. Ashenden is a rebel.

    Rebellion is as witchcraft, so it is written, and is defined in the same verse as, the rejection of the word of the LORD. (1 Samuel 15;23)

    Possibly not since Ezekiel was shown the greatest abomination of all has the church collective, in stately conclave met, proclaimed such uttter blasphemy against the created order, and the very essence of naure itself.

    The tenor, in general, of this blog is Liberal. That political caste who effect to procure the blessings of freedom within the laws of decency, charity and experience. Most of us I’m sure, do not want to see through windows into mens’ souls, nor into their privacy. What consenting adults do in seclusion should be no concern to the state. Protection of the young from, and prevention of the spreading of the sickness is. Section 28 needs to be reinstated now!!

    The CofE is in crisis. It is dominated by the whelps of Satan and he is on a roll.

    • David

      Good stuff Ian.

      • IanCad

        Thank you David.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Welby has already chosen who he will serve, and it is not the Good Shepherd, it is not the Word of God. From Deuteronomy 30 comes a curse: “17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land…” I do not wish ill for ABC Welby, but I would not be in his shoes for anything.

      • IanCad

        Welby for sure, at some time, dedicated himself to further the purposes of God.

        When politics become entangled in that noble cause something has to give. If the transcript of the 2017 Synod be considered evidence the Word has been subordinated to the whims of silly priests.

        It is going to be tough for the AofC to corral the wolves – if he so wishes.

        “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
        Luke 9:62

        • Bruce Atkinson

          “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” (Proverbs 25:26, ESV)

          “One of the greatest threats to the Christian church is not heretics or false teachers, but rather those who have the right theology but are willing to overlook and tolerate gross error for the sake of unity, and castigate those who speak up for truth as being divisive or unChristian.” (Karl Dalhfred)

    • David

      Welby and all the other liberals have chosen rebellion and the ways of Man over the ways of God. He has already chosen. The entirety of the liberal Church will soon be swept aside. Indeed it has already sidelined itself from the work of saving souls.

      • IanCad

        David,
        Welby is required to lead the CofE and as far as I can tell, it is heading for the rocks. I find it hard to believe that he does not see the dire straits into which it is sailing.
        The Established Church cannot continue to heed only the “progressive” and loudest of its flock.

    • Martin

      Equally Sentamu is culpable, his behaviour at Synod was appalling and he has been called upon to repent of it. I will not be holding my breath.

      • Little Black Censored

        Sentamu is a tribal bully, appointed to an office for which he is unsuited, who in his turn has not a clue about appointing subordinates. When is he due to retire?

        • Martin

          Too late, the damage is already done.

    • Little Black Censored

      Yeah!

  • Genuine question:
    If those adhering to Reformed theology actually believe in the 5 Sola and Predestination (as taught by Calvin rather than Catholicism and Orthodoxy) then what possible difference can the state of the institutional, visible Church actually make to the salvation of individuals? A man is either elect or reprobate, isn’t he?

    • carl jacobs

      (as taught by Calvin Scripture rather than Catholicism and Orthodoxy)

      Fixed it for you.

      God ordains both means and ends.

      • And the answer to Jack’s question, Carl?

        • carl jacobs

          I just gave it to you. Your question is exactly analogous to “Why do we pray if God is sovereign?” or “Why do we evangelize if God is sovereign?” What does the Scripture say about the foolishness of preaching the Gospel?

          • So the condition of the Church or individual preachers doesn’t really matter that much provided one hears the Gospel being read at some point – and, if you’re one of the elect, God will ensure you do and you will respond to it. A reprobate minister and a false church with false teachings, has no impact on a man’s salvation.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Only God knows the impact of false teachers and reprobate ministers; but you are right that the Elect will be the Elect regardless. God will cause them to navigate the dangerous apostate waters safely.
            But this does not mean that the real (invisible) Church is not responsible to warn the people and to provide appropriate means (gospel preaching, etc.) to rescue as many as possible. Ezekiel 33:7-9 is still in effect.

          • Well, we can agree that God foreknows His elect and they cannot be lost to Him. However, we arrive at this through different understandings of predestination.
            Jack approaches it in a different manner. The visible, organised Church, with Christ at its Head, but in the hands of men until His return, guided b the Holy Spirit, is the means God has chosen to draw men to salvation and to give them the graces necessary to reach heaven. Without the Church there would be no Gospel and no sacraments, and no teachings on faith and morals. Outside of the Church, men may achieve salvation if, through no fault of their own, they are not members.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            See my longish answer to Terry Mushroom above.

          • And Jack’s answer above.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So where does ‘organised’ come into the Church? The Church is the assembly of God’s people, it is God who does the organising, not us. The Church is the result of the gospel, not its dispenser, and the teachings are God’s not the Church’s. Indeed salvation brings the sinner into the Church, they cannot be but its members.

          • Hello, Martin. Jack is too weary to plough through this all again with you. Maybe later. Maybe not.

          • Albert

            Indeed salvation brings the sinner into the Church, they cannot be but its members.

            Except that scripture makes it clear that a brother can be excluded from the Church. So clearly, your point is false.

          • Martin

            Albert

            They are not excluded from the Church, if saved, rather they are excluded from fellowship until they repent.

          • Albert

            You don’t know the scripture:

            “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You seem to be having trouble with comprehension. Your passage, presumably fro Scripture, says “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”. It does not say that they are no longer saved, which is what being in the Church means.

          • Albert

            “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”.

            The Gentiles were outside of the covenant and were not part of the people of God, and the tax collectors, by their behaviour could be treated as such.

            It does not say that they are no longer saved, which is what being in the Church means.

            That what you assert it means, but it is not what scripture says, and it plainly contradicts the Lord’s words here.

            You know, one of the things that I find fascinating about talking you to, is just how little of it finds a place in scripture. You have a mass of tradition which you assume is what scripture means, and much of it does not just go beyond scripture, in order to maintain your human tradition, it plainly contradicts it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’ll say again, it does not say that they are no longer saved. I am not contradicting what Scripture says.

            What you fail to see is that you always interpret Scripture based on your tradition, even when the plain meaning of the words contradict that position. To that end you rarely if ever give references for your quotations. Why are you so scared of looking at a passage in context?

          • Albert

            it does not say that they are no longer saved.

            Which is not what I am claiming. Remember: you use the language of “saved” quite differently from how I do. Hence, you draw all sorts of logical conclusions which do not follow.

            What you fail to see is that you always interpret Scripture based on your tradition

            On the contrary, I always seek to interpret based on our tradition. Again you show you know nothing about us!

            even when the plain meaning of the words contradict that position.

            No, it is that you understand those words differently from us, and so they contradict your interpretation of them, but not the words themselves.

            Why are you so afraid of trying to understand that with which you disagree?

          • Martin

            Albert

            So explain what you mean by saved.

          • Albert

            The key issue here is that you seem to think of saved as something static, whereas the Bible clearly shows it as dynamic.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Salvation is both static and dynamic. The sinner is born again, they cease to be what they were and become a new creature. That is static, it cannot be changed. But the elect also grow in faith and become more like their Saviour. That is the dynamic aspect.

          • Albert

            If what you say were biblical salvation would only occur at the moment of faith, but scripture shows salvation itself continues as a process – we are being saved. Now if we are being saved, then there is a sense in which salvation has not yet occurred. This is why Paul can say (which you rashly condemn as made up) Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.

            Hence, far from being static, scripture calls us to Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall;
            so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Faith is the result of salvation and salvation continues to be worked out in the believer.

          • Albert

            Now that’s interesting, because we need some clarity here. After all, I would have thought one could equally say, that since we are justified by faith that therefore salvation is the result of faith. So for example, in Acts 11.14 we read: he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved

            Now if it is a process, then there is a sense in which salvation (being saved) is in the future. In which case, the rather binary used of the word “saved” as a on off event, or a word to categorise people, seems confused.

          • Martin

            Albert

            God saves, gives the one saved faith by which they are saved. It’s very simple. Salvation is both an event and an ongoing process.

          • Albert

            God saves, gives the one saved faith by which they are saved. It’s very simple.

            Fine, but then you say:

            Salvation is both an event and an ongoing process.

            In which case, salvation is not simple, is it. It is made up of parts. But you have at least got the order round the biblical way now: salvation comes from faith, not faith from salvation, for we are justified by faith, not we have faith because we are justified.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Not sure I said salvation was simple. And faith is the gift of God, so giving faith to an individual comes after the decision by God to save that individual. Once God has made that decision it is irrevocable. So while salvation is an event and a process therre can be no doubt of the outcome.

          • Albert

            Assuming the individual is predestined to salvation, I have not problem with that comment.

          • Martin

            Albert

            They wouldn’t receive faith if they weren’t predestined.

            For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
            Romans 8:29-30

          • Albert

            They wouldn’t receive faith if they weren’t predestined.

            So the only people who receive faith are predestined? Let’s see what the Bible actually says, as opposed to what your teachers have told you.

            Firstly, St Paul: no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

            Then our Lord: “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

            Now put these two passages together. It is pretty obvious that those Jesus speaks of have faith. They call him Lord, which Paul says they can only do by the Holy Spirit, and more than that, in his name, they cast out demons and prophesy. However, Jesus makes clear that they will be cast out.

            It’s bizarre that you think that Romans 8 contradicts this, since it does not speak of faith. It just points out that those whom God predestines end up being glorified. Well how precisely do you think that contradicts my position?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Oh look, you’ve given no references, so there’s nothing for me to argue against except your opinion. Not everyone who calls God Lord does so by faith.

          • Albert

            so there’s nothing for me to argue against except your opinion

            Scripture is scripture whether I give a reference or not. For you to describe scripture as nothing or just my opinion is pure blasphemy.

            Not everyone who calls God Lord does so by faith.

            But they do by the Holy Spirit and indeed cast our demons and prophecy.

            John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.

            Now you’re trapped here, because if you deny such a person has faith then you will have to say they have done a good work without faith (either exorcism or not speaking evil of Christ), but if you allow they have faith you have conceded the point.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Not at all trapped:

            Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.
            (Matthew 7:21-23 [ESV])

            You will note that Jesus says He “never knew them” so clearly they do not call Him lord from faith or by the Holy Spirit.

          • Albert

            I think you’ve just set the passage against St Paul. Let’s just see if it can be taken as literally as you do. When it says “I never knew you” are we to assume that Jesus means his omniscience is limited? Clearly not, so it is a figure of speech. He was clearly at work in them two, for they spoke and exorcised in his name, and we read John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.

            So what does it mean then? It means that although they had faith (no one can say Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit, and they cast out demons in his name), nevertheless, they were not justified – they had not become righteous in the complete sense. So the part of the passage you think defends your position, only makes it harder to maintain.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Knew in the same sense that He knows His sheep. Not too difficult then?

            And clearly the word lord can be used other than in a Holy Spirit inspired and sincere way. I see no problem.

          • Albert

            So they use the word “Lord” and cast our demons and prophesy, and yet they don’t have faith?

          • Martin

            Albert

            I didn’t say that.

          • Albert

            You said this:

            they do not call Him lord from faith

          • Martin

            Albert

            But who is ‘they’?

          • Albert

            It’s your sentence.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Which you don’t understand.

          • Albert

            Yes I do, it’s just that your position is contradictory.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If you understood you would know it isn’t contradictory.

          • Albert

            Your view is that they call him Lord and cast out demons and prophesy. And yet they do not have faith. Despite the fact that scripture says you can only call Jesus Lord by the Holy Spirit.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, that isn’t my view and I have nowhere said it is.

          • Albert

            Yes you did. You cannot deny that they call him Lord and cast out demons and prophesy, because that is what the Bible says. You also believe, because it is what the Bible says, that no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. And yet you say:

            they do not call Him lord from faith

          • Martin

            Albert

            You are conflating two comments that are not connected. I
            never said that those mentioned in Mark 9:38 did not call Him Lord by
            faith. As I said, the question is who is ‘they’.

            However, those referred to in Matthew 7:21 certainly do not.

          • Albert

            However, those referred to in Matthew 7:21 certainly do not.

            How do you know?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Because they do not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

          • Albert

            But they call Jesus Lord (1 Cor.12.3), and they have the gifts of the spirit (1 Cor.12.10) and they cast out demons in the name of Jesus, yet they still do not have faith?

            Or it could just be that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is bogus. Scripture plainly teaches that those who have faith and the gifts of the Spirit, may in the end not enter heaven. Therefore we are not justified by faith alone, as scripture says.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Clearly they, those in Matthew 7:21, don’t have faith for they do not do the will of the Father so their calling Jesus Lord is mere words without meaning.

            I see no contradiction.

          • Albert

            No. That is a conclusion based on your human doctrine, not found in scripture, of sola fide. The text does not say that. The Bible clearly shows that those who call Jesus Lord, prophesy and cast out demons in the name of the Lord do have faith. But having faith, they can still go to hell. That is the teaching of scripture. Why else does scripture say:

            For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
            [5] and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
            [6] if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.

            And

            Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall;
            [11] so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

          • Martin

            Albert

            How silly you are, you build a doctrine out of thin air. Since faith is the gift of God, and since those in Matthew 7:21 clearly did not have faith, they cannot have been saved.

          • Albert

            How do you know they didn’t have faith? You’ve just plucked that out of thin air.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Because they aren’t saved.

          • Albert

            No. We know they have faith – or had faith and we know they aren’t saved. Therefore…

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, we don’t know they had faith, nor did they, else Christ would have known them,

          • Albert

            I never knew you, could simply mean that he did not predestine them: For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son

          • Martin

            Albert

            Those He foreknew He would predestine and only they would be saved,

          • Albert

            But your position is circular if you use that as evidence that all who have faith are certainly saved/predestined.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It’s what the Bible says:

            For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
            (Romans 8:29-30 [ESV])

            Yet you, with your semi-Pelagian view speak as though the sinner only needs to have grace and he can choose for himself. Entirely opposed to what the Bible says:

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience

            But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
            (Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-7 [ESV])

            Clearly only an act of God can save, and that saves completely.

          • Albert

            It does not follow that only those who are predestined have faith. That would only be true if sola fide were true. But it isn’t.

            Yet you, with your semi-Pelagian view speak as though the sinner only needs to have grace and he can choose for himself.

            You are ignorant of all the possibilities. It is possible that God predestines some to faith but not to salvation. That would not be semi-Pelagian.

            Clearly only an act of God can save, and that saves completely.

            But if that means there is no freewill response in the creature, then it is annihilation, not salvation.

          • Terry Mushroom

            “God will cause them (the Elect) to navigate the dangerous apostate waters safely. How does He do this if not through the Church?

            And exactly what and where is the invisible Church?

            If God became man to save us, why is everything he does invisible from there on? Or have I got that wrong?

            I’m genuinely puzzled by those who talk so certainly from what they say is their private judgement of scripture because then surely their judgement is exactly what they say it is: private. How can they be so certain their judgement is according to the mind of God when others judge differently?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You ask: How does God do this if not through the Church?
            Uh, have you heard yet of the Holy Spirit? How about the written Word of God?
            The “invisible” Church is made up of every true believer, regardless of denomination or individual congregation. It is, as Peter indicated, the priesthood of all believers. It has nothing necessarily to do with organizations and institutions and traditions in this world. Our churches are filled with a combination of spiritual sheep, goats, wolves in sheep’s clothing, pigs, dogs, etc. It is why churches, even the RCC and EO, can go wrong so easily.

            The primary citizens of the Kingdom of God are members of His Body (The Bride); which is the Church Universal and invisible because in this age, only God can know who are the true members. Nothing in the NT indicates that the Church is a particular worldly organization.
            Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17: 20-21) I should not have to remind you that church organizations in the world are things we can point to– “There it is!”– so that such organizations are not necessarily part of the kingdom of God or the Bride of Christ. Only individual true believers (and only God knows for sure who is who) are part of the Bride who will rule with Christ in the ultimate Kingdom of God.

          • Paul did speak of “one faith” and the first great Church Counsel in Jerusalem was the manifestation of a visible Church. There the Apostles, the visible leaders of the Church, made one of the earliest universal decisions, exempting Christians from Judaic law.

            It was to a visible, authoritative body that Christ declared, addressing its first earthly leader, “I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:19). What good would it have done to bestow the keys upon a formless Church? Then, too, Christ speaks of a visible Church when he recommends recourse to it for settling disputes among his followers: “Refer it to the Church” (Matt. 18:17). He tells his followers, who make up the Church on earth, that they are “the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house” (Matt. 5:14-15; see also Luke 8:16,11:33).

            Christ’s Church does have an invisible quality in that it is his Mystical Body on earth. But to understand the Church as having no visibility at all – and, as a consequence, no authority at all – conjures up a Church as tenuous as feathers in the wind.

            As the Catechism puts it:

            “The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men. The Church is at the same time:

            – a society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;

            – the visible society and the spiritual community;

            – the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches.

            These dimensions together constitute one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element.”

          • Bruce Atkinson

            There is indeed but one Faith. But there is NOT one particular organization in the world to house that Faith. The Keys to Kingdom were clearly for all those who believed the same as Peter when he was the first to proclaim (Matthew 16:16) “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”

            The Apostles were personally chosen by Jesus (except perhaps Matthias, the replacement for Judas Iscariot) and therefore they carried that kind of spiritual and ecclesiastic authority. No one since then can have that kind of authority (although many have wanted it and have tried to seize it).

            Re: the Matthew 18:15ff passage. Of course if there is conflict between church members and they cannot resolve among themselves, they are to take it up with church authorities. If they are NOT members of a congregation, then they will not be able to take such advice. That MOST believers belong to a church congregation is a fact, and a good thing. But not a necessary thing. And that congregation does not need to be part of any larger denomination, although that too is often a good thing.

            Each of us can be that light that is not hidden in the bushel basket and many of us together can be that city on a hill.

            None of these passages comes close to saying that there is one right church organization in the world, or that institutionalization is a good thing. But it is definitely a human thing.
            Revelation 2-3 is clear that there are many kinds of churches and that most of them have significant spiritual or moral problems. Only the church under persecution (Smyrna) and the small, weak church in Philadelphia received no judgment from our Lord. This should tell us something about His perspective on churches.

          • Well that’s your personally chosen interpretation – not that of the Apostolic Church. Two particular texts contradict your position.

            “If thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between him and thee alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them, tell the Church. And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican.” (Matt. 18:15–17)

            Those words “tell the Church” are important. You cannot appeal to what you cannot see. Therefore any idea that the Church consists merely of those who make an act of faith in Christ, whose number is known to God alone, cannot be sustained in the light of this text. Moreover, the Church is a visible body with jurisdiction. You cannot appeal to the Church in case of a dispute if the Church has no power to make a decision. Our Lord is definite: Those who deliberately reject the authority of the Church must be cut off from communion. There is no question here of the Church referred to being any other than the Church that Christ founded. This is a clear statement of the authoritative power of his Church. Paul acted upon it in the case of the incestuous Corinthian (1 Cor. 5:1–8). Although he was absent he bade them carry out the sentence he had pronounced in his name and that of Christ.

            “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. “ (Matt. 28:18)

            First of all that Christ claims universal kingship and this gives the “therefore” such power. It is because Christ is King that the Apostles are going out to teach all nations. This gives significance to the fourfold all: “all power”, “all nations”, “all things” and “all days” There could hardly be a clearer statement of the universality of the Church throughout all ages and throughout the world. It is a visible Church because only a visible Church can teach and be taught. There is, too, that final statement of Christ’s perpetual presence in His Church. It follows that this Church must be one. The Apostles are commissioned to teach divine truth, and that is indivisible, incapable of embracing contradictions:

            “I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth . . . he shall abide with you, and shall be in you . . . He will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I have said to you . . . He shall give testimony of me . . . He will teach you all truth.”(John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7, 13)

            There is no mention in the New Testament nor any suggestion that Christ founded a plurality of churches. The parallels used to describe the Church reinforce the idea of strict unity. It is to be a household, a sheepfold, a flock. Our Lord declared specifically: ,i>”Other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) He had also given a warning against divisions: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” (Matt. 12:25)

            The seven Churches of Asia Minor in Revelation refer to local Churches, as in a diocese, not seven autonomous and separate “Churches”.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The church in the context of “telling to” is clearly the local congregation of the saints. That same local congregation is clearly the subject in the letters in Revelation. Clearly those churches must be autonomous else they couldn’t be separately condemned.

          • Using lots of “clearly” in there to mask the fact that it is not so clear at all. It’s your interpretation and it contradicts 2000 years of Catholic and Orthodox teaching.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Seeing that Rome didn’t become what it is today until at least the time of Constantine it’s hardly 2k years. And since the local church in Corinth and the local church in Rome were both clearly autonomous at the time of Clement your argument fails.

          • Autonomous, in the sense of self-governing, but not independent; rather, interdependent.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            And you accuse me of wrong interpretations! I could write pages with scripture quotes refuting your interpretations but I am not up to fighting the Reformation all over again today. That was a done deal, one I will be celebrating this fall. Some schisms are absolutely necessary in order to “contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.” That passage from Jude reminds us that the faith was “delivered once and for all” back when he wrote these words; he was not speaking about what it would become as a result of the infiltration of Roman culture over the next few millennia. Revisionism began quite early. We must always go back to the Holy Scriptures, which enshrine that faith for all time. And I will continue to contend for it.

            Reflecting Articles VI, VII, and XX of the Anglican 39 Articles of Religion, the venerable Bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle (1816–1900) exhorted: “I charge every reader to remember that God’s written Word is the only rule of faith, and to believe nothing to be true and soul-saving in religion which cannot be proved by plain texts of Scripture. I entreat him to read the Bible and make it his only test of truth and error, right and wrong.” And from Anglican teacher John R.W. Stott we hear: “God’s word is infallible, for what He has said is true. But no Christian individual, group or church has ever been or will ever be an infallible interpreter of God’s Word. Human interpretations belong to the sphere of tradition, and an appeal may always be made against tradition to the Scripture itself which tradition claims to interpret.”

          • This statement is itself without biblical foundation and so should be dismissed on its own terms. Indeed, the “plain texts of Scripture” support the visible, authoritative, teaching Apostolic Church and also the principle means of grace: Baptism, Confession and the Eucharistic celebration.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Jesus did not talk much about baptism, although I happen to believe the Matthew 28 command of Jesus. But Jesus talked much about belief in Him. But you are distracting from the main point of our argument, which is about the authority of Scripture, the written Word of God. Besides 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Hebrews 4:12, and Matthew 24:35, there are many scriptures which describe the authority of the Word of God. We know that the Word-made-flesh is Jesus Christ, but we only have His words today in the scriptures. To elevate any church or its traditions above these words borders on blasphemy.

            “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8, NKJV)

            “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm
            119:89, NAS)

            “It is written: ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3, quoted by Jesus in Matthew 4:4)

            “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV)

            “Then Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” (John 6:68, NKJV)

            “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jesus speaking, John 6:63, NIV)

            The Lord created the heavens and the earth with words. Do you think He would denigrate and diminish His words by putting them below mortal and imperfect human beings? For the Church is not yet perfected, it is fallible, unlike God’s Word. Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, spoke God’s words and we have them recorded for all time. John named Him the “Word of God
            made flesh.” Does that not show how much God values His words? His words represent Him and communicate His will for us. Therefore, God’s written Word has divine power, authority, and purpose far above that of mere men:

            “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the
            earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. .. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my Word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)

            And where else are we going to find the words of God if not in His written Word, the Holy Bible?

            Enough evidence for you, man? No, you will not accept it however much evidence I provide, for you have made up your mind that the scriptures are not as divinely inspired as church traditions. Sounds like hubris and revisionism to me.

          • None of those passages justify the claim that scripture alone is the only source of authority. The teachings of Jesus are the Word of God too and scripture itself informs us that not everything He said and did is contained in the New Testament.

            Sacred Tradition comes from the Apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition. Jesus didn’t tell the Apostles to write down everything He had taught them. He simply commanded them to teach it. Much of this teaching later made its way into Sacred Scripture, but every bit of it was and still is considered Sacred Tradition.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I have never said that Scripture is the only source of authority. I believe in Prima Scriptura meaning that it is the top authority until Christ returns. Because this is the only place where we find His words, and He Himself gave authority to the OT scriptures and chose the Apostles; all the writers of the NT were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

            Here is what we Anglicans accept; the report on the Bible issued by the 1958
            Lambeth Conference contained this clear statement: “The Church is not
            ‘over’ the Holy Scriptures, but ‘under’ them, in the sense that the process of canonization was not one whereby the Church conferred authority on the books but one whereby the Church acknowledged them to possess authority. And why? The books were recognized as giving the witness of the Apostles to the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of the Lord and the interpretation by the Apostles of these events. To that apostolic authority the Church must ever bow.”

          • Well Jack wouldn’t disagree but that doesn’t indicate scripture alone is exclusively authoritative and there is no other authority. Of course scripture carries authority – so does sacred Tradition.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Of course the Roman Catholic Church promotes itself as a visible religious organization. Even centuries after the Reformation, it officially regarded itself as the “only” Church and its traditions as more elevated than the written Word of God. However, we know well that hubris often expresses the opposite of truth.

          • “[H]ubris often expresses the opposite of truth …” Jack’s very thoughts about the false gospels (there are so many) of the reformers.

          • The Snail

            People do not seem to be distiguishing here between the Church as an organisational structure and the Church Universal – those who follow Christ. The Roman Church structure is based on the secular structure of the Roman state ( I will get trolled for that) The Eastern Churches on the structure of the Byzantine Empire . Baptists, Methodists, Copts, Maronites, Pentecostals all have different structures and traditions.

            I cannot believe God cares about our man made structures, but is much more concerned about his relationship with each individual, no matter what structural grouping they might belong to. After all most of the stories in the New Testament show Jesus tlaking to individuals not creating an organisational structure.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Well said and true. Let the trolls growl.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes. Carl is a genius with logic, but like many logicians takes it too far in applying his mind to comprehending God.
            Calvinism is bunk. People either choose salvation, or they don’t.

          • Carl’s “a genius with logic”? Now that’s funny. One of your best.

          • Martin

            They don’t.

          • Chefofsinners

            I did.

          • carl jacobs

            Why did you choose?

          • Good question. Here’s a way out of the Calvin v’s Arminian disagreement:

            There are three logical steps in God’s decisions:

            (1) He wills all men to be saved. Augustine did deny this, but Scripture teaches it, so we must and do hold it. Further since to will salvation is to will good to another, and since love consists in willing good to another for the other’s sake, therefore to deny this first step would be to deny God’s love. Which would be blasphemy. This will on God’s part is extremely strong, measured by how far He went to make our eternal happiness possible: the terrible death of His Son, and His binding Himself in the covenant by the infinite price of redemption to offer forgiveness and grace infinitely, that is, without limit, except that limit set by man’s rejection of it.

            (2) He looks—not ahead, for there is no time with Him—to see who resists His grace both gravely and persistently, so persistently that he throws away the only thing that could save him. Then sadly God decrees to let him go, negative reprobation. This is the unanimous view of all Eastern Fathers, and Westerners except St. Augustine.

            (3) All who were not discarded in step two are positively predestined. But not because of merits. This is St. Augustine’s large contribution. Merits have not yet been considered at all. Rather, God predestines them to heaven because that is what He wanted to do in step 1, and they are not blocking it.

            https://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/AUGUSTIN.HTM

          • Martin

            No you didn’t. God is the one who does the choosing.

          • carl jacobs

            Wise then is the man who chooses to be saved. Surely he should proclaim his wisdom before the elders at the city gate.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Just saw this comment after a couple months.
            Since it is up to us to choose salvation (or not), then we can give ourselves a lot of credit for our own salvation. Right? And we can judge/condemn others for not choosing salvation. Is this not totally logical?

          • carl jacobs

            No, the condition of the church is subject to the decretive will of God and thus works His purpose as He sees fit. Man does not know the decretive will of God unless God reveals it. Like He did to Moses about Pharaoh. Men live in knowledge of the prescriptive will of God. Ordinary things like dying churches work the will of God. For example, the Word disappears and men are left to judgment. Do we know exactly what God is doing in these things? No. He has many purposes. So we do as we are told and leave the greater things to God.

            Yes. God seeks out the elect and brings each one to faith. The dead do not seek after God. God seeks after the dead and gives them life..

          • It’s all down to God’s Sovereign will? Man is merely a puppet pre-programmed to act as God has predetermined? Totally dead, no choice, no will? That’s not the God of the bible.

            You ask: “Do we know exactly what God is doing in these things?” And Jack agrees with your answer. However, whatever God does must be consistent with the revelation of scripture about His nature and attributes.

            Augustine, and Calvin after him, denied God’s love. Augustine’s unfortunate massa damnata theory (the whole human race because of original sin means God could throw the whole damned race into hell for original sin alone, without waiting for any personal sin. God wanted to display mercy and justice. To display mercy, He chose a small percent to rescue; the rest He deserted and so they would go to hell. God picked those to rescue blindly, without any consideration of how they lived. He picked them not that He had any love for them, but merely to make a point. God does not really love anyone, He merely uses the few for His own purposes, not for their sake. This explicitly denies that “God wills all to be saved.”< (1 Tim 2:4) It means nothing to God that most persons are damned, without a chance?
            God does not desert us; we desert Him.

          • Yet Romans 9-11 seems to teach what Calvin taught. I wil have mercy on whom I will have mercy…. and he will harden whom he will.

            It is true that God wills all men to be saved, though this probably means in the text cited not merely Jews but also Gentiles. However, I accept there is a sense in which God desires all without exception and not merely all without distinction… And so we have two strands of teaching re salvation in Scripture both of which are true; a universal and a specific, a general and a special. In one, God desires all to be saved and none to be lost, while in the other he chooses some and not others.

            I suspect both the Catholic and the Calvinistic go astray when they attempt to reconcile these two strands; Calvinists sometimes deny the universal strand while Catholics deny the specific.

            I think we should work towards understanding and explaining the apparent antimony as much as we can and here, in my view, Calvinism at its best is better than Catholicism at its best. Calvinism is better because it is always determined to make God’s sovereignty primary. Catholicism fails because it ultimately sacrifices God’s ultimacy and makes humanity ultimate; God elects those he foresees will believe.

            This, in my view, is the besetting sin of Catholicism; it is too man-centred. Within the tensions of Scripture, the weight is laid on the human aspect when it should be placed on the divine. The previous discussion on the nature of the church (organism or organisation) is a case in point. Both are true, but Catholicism places greater emphasis on the visible and institutional than on the invisible and spiritual.

            When I once studied chunks of the Catholic Catechism I was struck by how in every area the human responsibility was ultimate. In justification, for example, while it is acknowledged that God justifies this divine justification is so contingent on human activity in all sorts of ways that it becomes virtually indistinguishable from works-righteousness. Now I am not denying the need for works but works is not where the Bible places the primary stress when justification is under discussion. It is God’s justifying activity that is ultimate and faith is the human side. Faith is normally juxtaposed with works and even then takes a secondary place to God’s activity.

            Again, I am not saying works have no place, they do, but as the evidence of a work of God’s justifying activity rather than part of the foundation.

            At any rate, it is this stress on the human initiative rather than God’s that pervades Catholic teaching that is its fundamental mistake theologically and from this mindset all is skewed.

            I once asked a Catholic Brother what he hoped would get him into heaven. He listed all the things he had done to serve God in life. He never mentioned the work of Christ on the cross as the basis of his hope. I asked him about this and he replied that he took this as read. However, it was notable that his instincts were to list his own spiritual activities rather than God’s work on his behalf.I think in this he expressed well the Catholic emphasis. A Protestant Evangelical would stress God’s saving activity in Christ. There would be his primary focus and resting place. This I believe most faithfully expresses the gospel perspective.

        • Dominic Stockford

          ‘My’ question, unless you are several people – which sometimes I think you must be to hold the dichotomous positions you do.

          • carl jacobs

            C’mon now. Jack didn’t deserve that. Besides, the Universe couldn’t survive more than one Jack. Its irrationality quotient would exceed tolerable levels.

          • It’s an unmerited gift, Carl.

            “Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”
            (Euripides)

          • Royinsouthwest

            Some physicists think that there are parallel universes. Some of the madder physicists think that there are so many universes that anything that can possibly happen will happen in one of them.

            There may even be a universe in which Happy Jack is a Calvinist!

          • God would always spare Jack that irrational and contradictory heresy.

          • Albert

            Some of the madder physicists think that there are so many universes that anything that can possibly happen will happen in one of them.

            Which seems absurd. For one possibility is that an event occurs which prevents other possible events occurring…Thus the only way to make this claim make any sense at all is to have a very limited sense of what “possible” means. So the claim ends up being either contradictory or minimal.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It is, of course, not science for they have no repeatable observation. It is but speculation. Our scientists have become theologians considering how many planets can balance on a pin.

          • Albert

            Well put. I like the pin imagery.

          • They prefer any bizarre hypothesis to a Creator.

          • Well, certainly Jack’s thinking is not one dimensional.

          • Martin

            Really?

          • carl jacobs

            Oh? Does Grumpy constitute a second dimension?

          • He’s a Cross Happy Jack has to bear. There are others.

    • David

      Good question, followed by the correct answer, Jack.
      But we must think beyond ourselves. We are also asked, commanded in fact, to uphold and spread the gospel to all who will bow the knee to Jesus. So the faithful will need to place themselves in both a local church and ultimately, a wider Church that upholds orthodox Biblical teaching, both for the salvation of their own soul, and to further the great commission.
      Many of those like me, who are fortunate to have found, after searching, a local church that is faithful to the Word of God will probably stay in it, working to reclaim the whole denomination. If their particular local church starts to conform to secular culture, then they should leave. Hence my parallel support for the lifeboats of AMiE launched by the worldwide GAFCON, comprising the global faithful.
      Ultimately orthodox triumphs over heterodoxy. The new heresies are not new, but a repackaging of the old heresies. As in the early centuries the heresies will be defeated. In God’s ultimate victory we trust.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Anglicanism’s participation in both catholicity and the Reformation has been partial and incomplete. But I agree with David and Carl that this does not really matter; what matters is belief in Christ and His gospel as found in the NT scriptures. Individuals are not saved by churches but by the Lord Himself. If flocks (churches) do not follow the Shepherd, then they will surely get lost again.

    • Little Black Censored

      Cf. Augustine.

      • As important as Augustine is, his words are fallible.

        His actual comments on God’s salvific will:

        (1) Enchiridion 103: “When we hear and read in sacred Scripture that He wills all men to be saved . . . we must . . . so understand [it] . . . as if it were said that no man is saved except whom He wants [to be saved]. . . . Or certainly it was so said . . . not that there is no man whom He is unwilling to have saved, He who was unwilling to perform the wonders of miracles among those whom He says would have done penance it He had done them: but in such a way that we understand ‘all men’ to mean the whole human race, distributed into various categories: kings, private citizens, nobles, ordinary men, lofty, lowly, learned, unlearned. . . .”

        (2) De correptione et gratia 14. 44: “And that which is written that which is written that ‘he wills all men to be saved and yet not all are saved, can be understood in many ways, of which we have mentioned some in other works, but I shall give one here. It is said in such a way . . . that all the predestined are meant: for the whole human race is in them.”

        (3) De correptione et gratia 15, 47: “That ‘God wills all men to be saved’ can be understood also in this way: that He causes us to wish [that all men be saved]. . . .”

        (4) Epistle 217, 6, 19: “. . . and so that which is said, ‘God wills all men to be saved’ although He is unwilling that so many be saved, is said for this reason: that all who are saved, are not saved except by His will.”

        It is tragically obvious that Augustine completely denied the clear sense of Scripture here. Further, since to love is to will good to another for the other’s sake, then when God says He wills all to be saved, it means He loves all. Augustine was denying the love of God, without realizing it of course.

        Here’s a good summary of his other errors:
        https://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/AUGUSTIN.HTM

        • Regarding God’s love, he no doubt has, as we have different kinds of love. My love for my work, country, my colleagues, my friends, my family are not the same. They are all love but they are different. My love for my wife (and family) is different from my love for my neighbour (and his wife and family) and ought to be. God loves all he has created, he loves the world, but he has a special and exclusive love for his wife, his children, his family. There is no contradiction in this.

  • len

    Many(even in the church) find Christ ‘ a Rock of offence’.

    ‘ As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

    “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
    and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”
    Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

    “The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”
    and,

    “A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”

    (1 Peter 2)

  • And so Anglicanism will continue fragmenting as humanity continues diversifying, for that is the inescapable framework of its ecclesial foundation… We live in a world of concentric ecclesial communities forever separating from each other, each led by their own infallible pope or popes of genuinely expressed irreconcilable mysteries.

    What defeatism! How ridiculous, and how nihilistic. The appeal to inevitability – the redoubt of the fool who has given up on the power of human agency.

    His Grace forgets that 130 years after its founding Anglicanism asserted itself and its beliefs and ejected those who could not agree. It is that Restoration dispensation that we are still living under today. Anglicanism does have the conviction of orthodoxy within it. All it requires is leadership, and a willingness to be unpopular with all the wrong people.

  • Dominic Stockford

    “We live in a world of concentric ecclesial communities forever separating from each other, each led by their own infallible pope or popes of genuinely expressed irreconcilable mysteries.”

    Umm, no. Not so. Proper Christians give honour to God, in Christ. Thus we have no popes and no irreconcilable mysteries.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    His grace: “The matter, then, is whether the Church of England is approaching (or
    has reached) that point where progressive liberal Anglicans who (it is
    alleged) advocate ‘secular values’ may continue to be in communion with
    those conservative Anglicans who believe it is their mission and
    vocation to be counter-cultural… ”

    Exactly. And in my humble opinion, the CofE has passed the “tipping point.” Unless God does some miracle very soon, the RMS CofE is going down. The Canterbury captain was warned about the secular iceberg for years but blatantly ignored the warnings. There are no viable excuses and no going back. There is only the rescue operation and assorted lifeboats (AMiA, FCoE, ordinariate, etc.).

    • Chefofsinners

      Perhaps the worship group would be so good as to strike up ‘Nearer my God to Thee’. Arms in the air everyone (praising not drowning).

      • Martin

        I was rather hoping that the ‘worship group’ would follow the CoE into obscurity.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          No, most of them are leaving the sinking ship.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            In nearly all cases they are a symptom of the sinking.

  • chiaramonti

    The Fort is betrayed even by them who should have defended it.

  • CliveM

    The fundamental question that the Church needs to answer is, does the Church of England believe in sexy morality or not? If it does, what’s the basis? It is senseless for it to base this on anything other then the bible and that means some of the things it needs to say will be uncomfortable and unwelcome in society today.

    The signatories of this letter have a clear and biblically consistent position.

    Society can argue that the only sexual morality is that no one is coerced or forced. But this cannot be enough for the Church.

    Some elements of the Church (and it’s not only the CofE) seem not to understand this . Yes they will also try to add love to the requirement, but why should this matter? Why would it be enough? Biblically it doesn’t and isn’t.

    Christian sexual morality only makes sense in a biblical context. Without it, you are left with no credible position or argument against all the moral perversions of society.

    Indeed, in all likelihood, we will one day have the spectacle of someone claiming to be a Christian Minister on Love Island.

    • Chefofsinners

      You might wan to fix that typo “sexy morality”. Good one.

      • CliveM

        Thanks ☹️

      • Or, he may not wan to …

        • CliveM

          I did. Darn predictive texts.

    • “Christian sexual morality only makes sense in a biblical context.”
      Hmm … well sexual morality only makes sense if one believes there is a design for the Universe and for man’s place within it. Natural Law arguments, developed through the use of reason, do not stand or fall on scripture alone, just as the science reveals truths not fully expounded in scripture.

      • CliveM

        Whilst I agree with the concept of natural law, the ultimate source is still the bible.

        • The ultimate source is God and so, of course, Natural Law and scripture will be in harmony.

          • CliveM

            Maybe, but as Natural Law is a philosophy, Gods truth as revealed in the bible is the measure by which you judge if the understanding is correct.

          • The two go hand in hand. Natural Law is simply the application of reason to man and the world based on the premise we are created and our Creator has a design and a purpose for us.

          • Royinsouthwest

            How can the concept of natural law be reconciled with the fact that nature is “red in tooth and claw?” I suppose some theologian or philosopher has tried to answer this question but I cannot think of one. Admittedly that May be a sign of my ignorance!

          • The natural world is not the same as Natural Law as it applies to man.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            “Natural law” has been badly broken throughout the creation. The effects of sin are universal (because the sources include both humans and fallen angels). Paul taught in Romans 8:19-22): “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that
            the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We
            know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
            And we have the prophecies that carnivorous animals will no longer eat meat and snakes won’t bite and nothing in creation will give offense in the final eschatological Kingdom of God.

    • Manfarang

      So how many wives did King Solomon have?

      • One – the rest of his concubines were not wives.

        • Manfarang

          3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines

          • Poor man must have been physical wreck. Whatever titles they had, a man can only have one wife.

          • Manfarang

            Well of course they are very tough on bigamy in England.

          • Actually they’re not. A man can divorce and “remarry”.

          • The Snail

            Not in certain sect.ors of the population

          • Manfarang

            In the UK only one marriage can be registered what ever section of society a person is from. Men are free to live with more than one woman if they wish but they cannot marry all of them at them Someone who wants a new legal wife must divorce first.

          • Coniston

            In Old Testament times?

          • “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

            A concession to sin is not approval of sin.

          • Royinsouthwest

            That begs the question, should we have concessions to sin today as in Old Testament times?

          • Jesus answered that in His teaching on marriage. He also said: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

          • CliveM

            Solomon was celebrated for his wisdom.

            What with marrying that many wives, I’m not convinced it was well earned!

          • The Snail

            Just think of all that nagging!!

      • CliveM

        And?

        • Manfarang

          In Old Testament times, polygamy was not just accepted but common.

          • CliveM

            And?

          • The Snail

            The trouble with polygamy is that if a man takes say 4 wives – given that men and women are born in roughly the same proportions – 3 other men are deprived of a wife. This goes against the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do to you – i.e.loving your neighbour as yourself. In the New Testament Jesus said many times “You have heard it said in Olden Times …. but I say to you”. He contradicted the Old Testament – that is one reason why the Pharisees were no great admirers of Jesus..

          • Manfarang

            Polygamy doesn’t work like that. Usually an older man has younger wives.

          • The Snail

            Yes so some of the younger men are deprived of wives. Overall the arithmetic is the same!!! Durrr

        • Royinsouthwest

          Young men often behave in a lustful way. Sexual morality is much easier for men to practise when their testosterone levels decline with age and the women you are attracted to think that you are past it!

      • IanCad

        King Solomon and King David,
        Led merry, merry lives,
        With very many lady friends, and many, many wives.

        But when old age came over them,
        With all its many qualms,
        King Solomon wrote the Proverbs
        And King David wrote the Psalms.

      • RobinHMasters

        So how many husbands did Solomon have?

        • Manfarang

          Ooh… you are awful, but I like you.

  • Chefofsinners

    In a letter to The Times today, God announced that He would be leaving the Church of England.
    Archbishop Justin Welby commented “I am pleased to see that God is now making His announcements ‘via media’. This confirms my long held policy.
    However the move was criticised on the well known Archbishop Cranmer blog, prompting God to add that He would no longer be staying at the Adrian Hilton.

    • Sarky

      The premier sin?

      • Chefofsinners

        There was no room.

  • Inspector General

    Synod as it stands is now a word for Extremist Clique [ ] Wrecking Device [ ] Terrorist Outfit [ ] Humanist Cabal [ ]. Tick one or more. Anglicanism needs to think very carefully on how they remove this malignant cancer from the church.

    Here’s encouraging…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    First Anglican Church to allow same-sex marriages sees almost no priests sign up
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/07/25/first-anglican-church-to-allow-same-sex-marriages-sees-almost-no-priests-sign-up/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    After a ghastly synod decision, just 2% of priests have signed up to this queer abomination.

    Verily the Inspector says unto you all. “The church is not buildings. It is not vestments. It is not dogma. It is not canon law. It is the people within it whose allegiance is to Christ, and Christ alone. And so by the strength of individual faith mustered as one, the true church will live on. It will defy feeble man’s innate weakness to corrupt himself.”

    ‘SSM is another Golden Calf to be thrown out’…debate that motion, Synod, while you still exist!

    • RobinHMasters

      Well, 2% of the clergy population can well manage to serve the nuptial demands of 1% of the general population.

  • Inspector General

    I say! Our man Ashenden has come to the attention of Pink News. Well, done, that man!

    Do you know, it’s the greatest of honours to be considered so a threat to them that their searchlight finds you…One is damn envious.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Queen’s former chaplain threatens Church of England split over LGBT reforms
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/07/25/the-queens-former-chaplain-threatens-church-of-england-split-over-lgbt-reforms/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    By the way, old fellow. Isn’t it about time you were made a bishop. Welby, take note and arrange it. Well, get going then!!!

    • Inspector General

      Well, fellows. Here’s a rebuttal from that thread. Pray for Stephen. He has admitted on line that he is HIV+. One cannot be certain, but it’s possible the references to ‘kiddie-fiddling’ refer to the activities of homosexual priests…

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Stephen Harvie • 28 minutes ago
      Values which are anti-Christian: equality, human rights, allowing a woman to have a say about her body, allowing LGBT people to marry

      Values which are Christian: Lying, especially to children, incest, taking money from the poor and gullible, sexually abusing children and then blaming them for the abuse, killing abortion doctors, killing people who are not Christian or the wrong kind of Christian, denying science and human achievement, burning books, burning people, telling people condoms actually spread HIV, allowing people to die because their faith will heal them, insisting on special rights and demanding respect because of their “special knowledge”, insisting that only Christians can have a moral compass and are therefore better people (despite all evidence to the contrary), insisting that religion should somehow be above the law (and then trying to circumvent it when their kiddie-fiddling is at long last exposed, insisting on schools run on religious lines where the heads of children are filled, not with wonders of the Universe, but with nonsense about how they are born evil and require to be saved etc etc etc
      1
      •Reply•Share ›

  • Now that made Jack chuckle.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Two points: first and foremost congratulations to everyone who signed the letter. They have chosen this day to serve the Lord.

    My second and much less important point is what is His Grace getting at in the last two paragraphs of his article? I don’t understand the point he is making.

    • David

      I think he is arguing that the two opposed factions can coexist within the one national Church, which seems unlikely. Indeed it isn’t even desirable as true community can only be based on agreement around the essentials of the faith, and this latest form of the Pelagian heresy challenges the essentials. Or he may merely be trying to gauge opinion by throwing out a red rag to the bull.

      • Bruce Atkinson

        Amos 3:3– “Do two walk together unless they are in agreement?”
        Of course the two factions cannot coexist. They are diametrically opposed, one faithful to the Scriptures and one faithful to secular values. There is NO middle ground. I trust that Archbishop Cranmer is just stirring us up, that he cannot truly believe in such a compromising of the faith, either that it is good or that it is even possible.

    • ecclesiaman

      Re your last paragraph I wondered the same. H G seemed to suggest (and I could be wrong) that protest via letters and e-mails to the media are not desirable or the best way to handle a schism. If so he has a point. Matters of church discipline are supposed to be dealt with ‘in house’ if possible, and if impossible the errant party to be ruled not part of that Christian group by those in authority (I am trying to be general- not enough space to be more specific). To use a metaphor should the church be doing its dirty washing in public?
      Church discipline is a sad but necessary duty if we are to be faithful. It is far from easy and has to be with great compassion. More problematic if the leaders are in error!
      By all means express our frustrations and problems with the culture but be careful when dealing with our brethren in Christ.

  • And so Anglicanism will continue fragmenting as humanity continues diversifying, for that is the inescapable framework of its ecclesial foundation …

    We live in a world of concentric ecclesial communities forever separating from each other, each led by their own infallible pope or popes of genuinely expressed irreconcilable mysteries.

    Except that is not how Jesus saw His Church:

    “It is not only for them that I pray; I pray for those who are to find faith in me through their word; that they may all be one; that they too may be one in us, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; so that the world may come to believe that it is thou who hast sent me. And I have given them the privilege which thou gavest to me, that they should all be one, as we are one; that while thou art in me, I may be in them, and so they may be perfectly made one.”

    Jesus didn’t want a set of infinitely splintering protestant churches. One can “spiritualise” this all one wants but the inescapable conclusion, when read with the rest of scripture, is that Christ established one, holy, universal and apostolic Church and endowed it with His authority to teach the Gospel and lead men to salvation.

    • David

      Yes, but sadly, because of our fallen natures the “one, holy, universal and apostolic Church” ended with the Great Schism a millennium ago.

      • Even if one holds this line, which Jack disputes, both Catholicism and Orthodoxy are agreed on the means of salvation. The novelties of the Reformation far exceed the ecclesiastical differences between Rome and Constantinople.

      • Albert

        The idea that sinful humanity can triumph over the grace of Christ in the Church is one of the blasphemies of Protestantism.

        • Martin

          Albert

          Remember, you’re the one that believes that someone can say no to the grace of God.

          • Albert

            An individual yes, but the Church no.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Church is made up of indivduals, you can’t have it both ways.

          • Albert

            Yes, I can. There are three possible moves: one would be to speak of God’s foreknowledge – he knows that some individuals will not fail. Secondly, he predestines some not to fail. Thirdly, he guarantees to lead the Church, through his providence even though individuals, as sinners fail.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Once again, the Church is individuals, the congregation of the redeemed. None of them can ever fall away.

          • Albert

            In which case, the Church cannot fail.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Church cannot, but Rome is not part of the Church.

          • Albert

            That was not the question under discussion. You have, for the purposes of that discussion, sided with me and Catholicism.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You said the Church cannot fail, I agree, but what you call the Church and what God calls it are two different things.

          • Albert

            what you call the Church and what God calls it are two different things.

          • Martin

            Albert

            God calls the Church His people, the congregation of all believers. They are presently divided by death but they are one.

            What it is not is an organisation with a man at the top and a pyramid of authority under him.

        • Royinsouthwest

          When have Protestsnts ever believed that? You have created s straw man so that you can find satisfaction in demolishing it.

          • Albert

            It is inherent in the position of David:

            because of our fallen natures the “one, holy, universal and apostolic Church” ended with the Great Schism a millennium ago.

        • David

          How silly. Not one of your best comments Albert. You very well know that Jack was talking about splintering. Of course the unseen Universal Church, which crosses all mere institutional boundaries will always be unbowed and will always lead men to salvation.

          • Albert

            You very well know that Jack was talking about splintering

            No I don’t. I didn’t read that far up.

            Of course the unseen Universal Church, which crosses all mere institutional boundaries will always be unbowed and will always lead men to salvation.

            Not at all. There is no such thing as the unseen Universal Church, for the Church is the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Thus, the universal Church does not cross institutional boundaries if those institutional boundaries mean splits. There are no schisms within the Church, only from it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Hence Rome is schismatic, for it persecuted Christ’s Church. Saul was once a persecutor, but was saved, Rome went from saved to be the persecutor.

          • Albert

            Sinful is the word you are looking for. And when you’ve found your sinless Church, come and tell us.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, I’m happy with the word I’ve used. I could add to it wicked and evil if you wish. It is not for nothing the pope has as his title Pontifex Maximus, the pagan high priest of Rome.

          • Albert

            Well then you use the wrong word.

          • Martin

            Albert

            As I’ve said, I used the right word.

          • Albert

            Not all sin is schismatic, so you need to move beyond wickedness to explain why it is schism.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            All sin is destructive of self and others. If enough people in any group support the sin and sinners(s), then it will be schismatic. Not too complicated.

          • Albert

            It is more complicated than that, since you are working with one kind of ecclesiology and I with another.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Love for God and neighbor (and brothers and sisters in Christ) is the opposite of sin. In real agape love, there is always unity. How then can you explain that the basis of all true schism is not sin? I am not saying that schism is not sometimes absolutely necessary to excise the sinful tumor from the Body (God will someday separate the wheat from the weeds, the sheep from the goats), but I am saying that without sin there would be no schism. See 2 Cor 6:14-17 and note how passionate Paul could be about this.
            http://www.virtueonline.org/schism-and-sword-spirit-bruce-atkinson

          • Albert

            How then can you explain that the basis of all true schism is not sin?

            By the fact that I did not say that. I said:

            Not all sin is schismatic

            You’ve just committed the fallacy of affirming the consequent, by reversing that. Obviously, schism is caused by sin, but not all sin is schismatic.

            I am not saying that schism is not sometimes absolutely required to excise the sinful tumor from the Body

            Since there is no such thing as schism within the Church, only from the Church, that cannot be a true statement. It would be better to speak of excommunication or something similar, for the person committing schism is removing himself from the Church and this is different from the Church removing a wrong-doer.

            Now 2 Cor. 6.14-17 does not seem terribly helpful to your cause, since it does not appear to be about schism. Schism can only happen between believers. But 2 Cor.6.15 makes it clear that we are talking about separation between Christians and unbelievers. So when Christians come out from unbelievers (2 Cor.6.17), there is no schism since they are not coming out from the Church, neither is the Church being split.

            So we can see now why biblically it is more complicated than you allow. In 1 Cor.1.10, Paul says:

            Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

            The word for division here is σχίσμα, and he uses the same word when speaking of divisions between Christians:

            For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions σχίσμα among you; and I partly believe it.

            That there should be no schism σχίσμα in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

            But in your passage of 2 Cor.6, Paul uses a different word: ἀφορίζω which is never used of schism. So division between Christians can be called schism, but 2 Cor. is not about that. Thus it is more complicated than you assert, and your argument currently stands on a logical fallacy.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            OK. I did not fully understand your statement in
            its intended logic. But I have presented my own view of the relationship between sin and schism.

            Your statement that “there is no such thing as schism within the Church, only from the Church” is
            nonsensical. Any schism from the Church is occurring within the Church or else it is not
            a Church schism at all. You are playing at words now.

            Perhaps we need to define The Church as different from churches. A person committing schism (heresies, etc.) can certainly remain in whatever church they are a member but he may be removing himself from the larger spiritual Church (which only God knows) but he is not removing himself from the church of which he is a member… and thus he is creating schism within it. Even an entire denomination can commit heresies and thus remove themselves from the larger Body of Christ, leading to schism.

            Members of churches (and denominations) are not all believers (as Jesus indicated that there are weeds
            among the wheat, goats among the sheep), so schism is most likely to occur in churches due to these goats among the sheep and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

            True schism among true believers will not occur because they agree on the scriptures and Apostolic
            doctrines.

            Your playing at words makes the situation much more complicated than it really is.

          • Albert

            Bruce, I was a Protestant, I understand your ecclesiology, but I do not accept it now. Take this statement here:

            Your statement that “there is no such thing as schism within the Church, only from the Church” is nonsensical. Any schism from the Church is occurring within the Church or else it is not a Church schism at all. You are playing at words now.

            and

            Perhaps we need to define The Church as different from churches.

            As Catholics, we do not see it this way. We believe there is one true, visible Church. To the degree that you break from it, you cease to be in that Church. So necessarily a schism is a break from the Church, not in it. That’s not playing with words, that’s just Catholic ecclesiology. I find it odd, that down here so many Protestants criticise Catholic teaching without actually bothering to find out what it is. So for us, the expression “The Church as different from churches”, means the universal Church (the whole, if you like) as opposed to a local Church (say in England and Wales or in France). It does not mean for us, the whole body of Christ in contradistinction to individual bodies, such as the CofE.

            Now admittedly, it is slightly complicated by the words “to the degree that you break from it, you cease to be in that Church.” Some bodies have broken from it more than others. For example, the Orthodox have broken very little, Protestants much more, of the latter, the Catholic Church will not even use the word “Church”, but simply “ecclesial communities”.

            And even to the degree that these other bodies have retained something authentic, while being in imperfect communion with the Church, “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.

            Now I have no doubt that you will reject all or most of this. But please don’t tell me I am playing with words, when you haven’t bothered to research the topic you are pontificating on. I understand your ecclesiology, if you want to comment on mine, you need to understand it.

            If you’re interested, a good statement and authoritative is here from the document Dominus Iesus:

            IV. UNICITY AND UNITY OF THE CHURCH

            16. The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ’s salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf. Col 1:24-27),47 which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18).48 And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single “whole Christ”.49 This same inseparability is also expressed in the New Testament by the analogy of the Church as the Bride of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-29; Rev 21:2,9).50

            Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ: “a single Catholic and apostolic Church”.51 Furthermore, the promises of the Lord that he would not abandon his Church (cf. Mt 16:18; 28:20) and that he would guide her by his Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) mean, according to Catholic faith, that the unicity and the unity of the Church — like everything that belongs to the Church’s integrity — will never be lacking.52

            The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession53 — between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ… which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth’ (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.54 With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

            17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.58 The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.59 Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.60

            On the other hand, the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery,61 are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.62 Baptism in fact tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ, through the integral profession of faith, the Eucharist, and full communion in the Church.63

            “The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection — divided, yet in some way one — of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach”.64 In fact, “the elements of this already-given Church exist, joined together in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other communities”.65 “Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.66

            The lack of unity among Christians is certainly a wound for the Church; not in the sense that she is deprived of her unity, but “in that it hinders the complete fulfilment of her universality in history”.67

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Oh I understand Roman Catholic ecclesiology quite well. It is just very, very wrong, not to mention arrogant, elitist, triumphalist, Pharisaic, and very much goes against the New Testament scripture passages that indicate the Kingdom is NOT of this world, is within the individual, is NOT something you can easily point to (like an institutionalized church), and that the Body of Christ (or Bride of Christ) is made of the priesthood of ALL believers instead of some patristic organization divided into classes of ruling clergy and lay plebeians.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class_in_ancient_Rome

            I can provide the scripture passages that show that Jesus, Peter, and Paul were all against such divisions within the churches, against classes or a ruling clerical leadership. The One Holy Universal Church is made up of every believer in Jesus Christ, regardless of particular church membership or lack of it. Because only God actually knows who is a true believer and who is a faker or christian Pharisee, the Church is called indivisible. Of course, as Jesus said, we would also know tree by its fruit, so those with discernment may guess well who is part of that Body and who is not.

          • Albert

            Oh I understand Roman Catholic ecclesiology quite well.

            Peculiar then, that you argue as if I accept your Protestant ecclesiology.

            It is just very, very wrong, not to mention arrogant, elitist, triumphalist,

            Which is exactly what a liberal unbeliever thinks of the absolute claims of Christianity in general. What is received by a believer as generosity on the part of God, is received as arrogance by one outside. We do not think we are very clever for belonging to the one undivided Church, rather we think God is very gracious in giving her to us, and calling all to be part of her. We regret the very, very wrong, not to mention arrogant, elitist, triumphalist approach of Protestants who always think they know best.

            These passages indicate that the Kingdom is NOT of this world

            That’s just confused. The Church and the Kingdom are not coterminous.

            is within the individual

            But it is not individualistic.

            and that the Body of Christ (or Bride of Christ) is made up of the priesthood of ALL believers

            That’s not true. If it were, it would be impossible for the Church to exclude believers from the Church. But as it is, Jesus said:

            “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
            If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

            You say:

            instead of some patristic organization divided into classes of ruling clergy and lay plebeians.

            Do you mean “patristic”? But I think you fail to read the scripture. There are apostles, there are those appointed by the apostles, and then there are lots of others.

            I can provide the scripture passages that show that Jesus, Peter, and Paul were all against such divisions within the churches

            Precisely, which is why there is no division within the Church, only from it, as I said.

            against classes or a ruling clerical leadership.

            Except of course that the apostles plainly have an authority that other disciples do not have.

            The One Holy Universal Church is made up of every believer in Jesus Christ, regardless of particular church membership or lack of it.

            Rubbish. A person may be excluded from the Church on several grounds: sin

            But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

            Schism: Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

            Heresy: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

            You say:

            Because only God actually knows who is a true believer and who is a faker or christian Pharisee, the Church is called ‘invisible’. Of course, as Jesus said, we would also know the tree by its fruit, so those with discernment may guess fairly well who is part of that Body and who is not by whether they love each other.

            Well that doesn’t work on a Protestant doctrine. For you also believe that

            (i) all believers in Jesus are part of the Church
            (ii) believers are simul iustus et peccator

            Therefore, it follows that some believers will not show love. However, these believers are still part of the Church, so your criterion fails. Instead of this bogus, invisible church nonsense, what Jesus teaches is:

            You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

            This is very opposite of saying the Church is invisible.

            The Roman Catholics were (are) external with their pomp and grandeur—masses, penance, last rites etc. Their church had, and still does, depend on outward works which are visible to the eye but not spiritually transforming to the heart.

            This is just prejudice masquerading as theology. Have you Protestants never read our mystical writers? Never looked at the works of charity of our saints? You call us arrogant and then just brush aside all that in a couple of sentences?

            The Roman Catholic Church professes to be the universal church; they single-handedly are able to save sinners

            Dear me! What misunderstanding. Not us, but Christ in us. And does this passage not obviously contradict the passage of Dominus Iesus I gave yesterday?

            The Reformers put a great emphasis on the invisible nature of the church so as to make a great distinction. The Spirit of God must do an invisible work of grace in the heart. A person is then counted among the invisible number of the elect which are part of the whole body of Christ from all ages.

            The problem here is to confuse the Church with the predestined. And of course, the underlying irony is the very, very wrong, not to mention arrogant, elitist, triumphalist, Pharisaic attitude of Protestants who argue this way, that they, of course, are correct in their interpretation of scripture and that they are among the elect. All Protestants think this one way or another, even while they anathematise each other by their own authority.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            The Romanist doth protest too much methinks. And you call US protestants! … I am glad to have pushed your buttons and cause you to defend your bent beliefs. But none of your protests actually counter my points; the scriptures I have presented powerfully speak for themselves; your extended
            attempt to bend them to your own interpretive system cannot succeed. The Apostles and the Reformers (like Thomas Cranmer) agree. The Word of God cannot be moved.

          • Albert

            But none of your protests actually counter my points; the scriptures I have presented powerfully speak for themselves; your extended
            attempt to bend them to your own interpretive system cannot succeed.

            I don’t think you do think that. If you did, you would answer my arguments in order to prove it. Moreover, it is curious that you have said the scriptures you presented powerfully speak for themselves, when you have given only one scripture in this discussion, and have not defended it against my argument that it does not apply here. You have also made charges against us for which no evidence has been provided, and which is easily refuted. Justice, to say nothing of charity would require a greater defence (or a withdrawal) rather than just the ad hominem you have given here. You cannot defend your position, but you will not withdraw it, therefore you try to play the man.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I have been debating with a couple of other Roman Catholics on this thread and also on other threads associated with Archbishop Cranmer’s articles, so please forgive me for not repeating again and again the same scriptures. It is hard to avoid confusing you guys with each other. I doubt you will do the work to read all my posts. I also listed a number of scriptures above, if you will examine them.

          • Albert

            It is hard to avoid confusing you guys with each other.

            That’s fair enough.

            I understand and highly doubt that you will do the work to read all my posts.

            It would also be quite difficult – so I am grateful for you giving me some more details here and in your previous post (although that post mysterious did not appear in my inbox!).

            What is the ‘ad hominem’ insult that I have hurt you with? That you have protested too much or misinterpreted the scriptures?

            That you claimed I protest too much, while you failed to show how I had misinterpreted the scriptures. And at the same time, you misrepresented my faith. You also called me a Romanist, which is clearly intended as a kind of insult. If you can’t see these problems, you do not know yourself.

            You have used the same kind of criticism toward my views and I will not take it personally.

            Where have I just made assertions about you in the absence of biblical argument?

            But strongly disagreeing with your point of view is not ad hominem. Look it up.

            You look it up! Making a complaint that I was protesting too much, while not answering the argument I gave was plainly an ad hominem, since it was an attempt to play the man, not the argument.

            Atheists tend to assume they are reasonable, because they are atheists. Protestants tend to assume they are biblical because they are Protestants. I depute both claims, and expect a little more from interlocutors if they claim to be founded on either reason or scripture. Look back at the post I was complaining and ask whether, if I, as a Catholic had given such assertions about you and your faith, you would be impressed.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Actually, I studied the scriptures for many years without knowing or caring whether or not I was a Protestant or Catholic or Eastern Orthodox or anything else except a Christian. When I eventually checked out the differences between Catholic and Protestant interpretations and traditions, I discovered that I was Reformed-protestant-evangelical and that Catholics had gone of the rails somewhere along the way over the past few millennia. I discovered that protestants are indeed more biblical and Catholics depend more upon their own traditions than upon what the scriptures actually say. Then I went to seminary (Fuller in Pasadena, CA) to learn more about the New Testament and early Church history, not to mention their School of Psychology to become a clinical psychologist.

            I discovered that Catholics must do significant exegetical gymnastics to maintain some of their beliefs and they must assiduously ignore other passages that plainly go against their ecclesiastic ways. One example among many is mandated celibacy among priests (which can neither be backed by the scriptures nor practically enforced); most of the Apostles were married and see 1 Timothy 3:1-15 where bishops are expected to be married; and even where Paul recommends leaders not to marry (1 Cor 7), he is clear that it cannot be mandated (see also 1 Timothy 4:1-6).

          • Albert

            Actually, I studied the scriptures for many years without knowing or caring whether or not I was a Protestant or Catholic or Eastern Orthodox or anything else except a Christian.

            Which is to say you studied as a Protestant. Am I right?

            When I eventually checked out the differences between Catholic and Protestant interpretations and traditions, I discovered that I was Reformed-protestant-evangelical and that Catholics had gone of the rails somewhere along the way over the past few millennia.

            Having interpreted (as I assume) the scriptures from a Protestant perspective, it is not surprising that you interpreted them in such a way as suggested to you that Catholics had gone off the rails. I studied them as a Protestant and saw that Protestantism was clearly off the rails. Eventually, I realised that much of what I thought was Catholicism, wasn’t Catholicism, and then things clicked. Down here it is rare to find a Protestant how isn’t fighting a straw man when it comes to Catholicism.

            In saying this, I am not disparaging your study of scripture. I think it’s great. But it is partial, as every reading is.

            I discovered that protestants are indeed more biblical and Catholics depend more upon their own traditions than upon what the scriptures actually say.

            Catholics prefer the interpretation of the Holy Spirit through tradition more than their own interpretation. Protestants take it the other way. The result is that they both look unbiblical to each other.

            I discovered that Catholics must do significant exegetical gymnastics to maintain some of their beliefs and they must assiduously ignore other passages that plainly go against their ecclesiastic ways.

            Which is exactly, how I feel about Protestants. I think one needs to look no further than Luther. He adds the word alone to his translation of Romans because the doctrine he wants to find there isn’t there, and then he is disobliging about the letter of James, because it contradicts what he wants it to say. Now we find Protestants appealing to passages teaching justification by faith, and saying they teach the Protestant doctrine of faith alone, while having all sorts of problems with James. Go back to the source, and ’twas ever thus with Protestantism.

            One example among many is mandated celibacy among priests (which can neither be backed by the scriptures nor practically enforced); most of the Apostles were married and see 1 Timothy 3:1-15 where bishops are expected to be married

            Well I think that’s quite a bad example, because one can be a faithful Catholic, and still think priests should be married, and of course there are some married priests about. This is an issue of local discipline (albeit that because the Catholic Church is mainly the local Latin Church, it hardly looks local!). I do not see how having differing local disciplines on this matter violates scripture. After all, 1 Tim. seems to mandate marriage at first sight, but as you say 1 Cor.7 recommends they don’t. Again Paul in 1 Tim.5 sets out rules for widows etc. but there seem little of that in most Evangelical churches. Why is that? It does not seem to me to be plausible to claim that scripture is legislating here. And oftentimes, one finds a fire evangelical who, when it comes down to it, knows better than the Lord about divorce and remarriage. I don’t know if that applies to you, but I find such persons quite happy to bang on about priestly celibacy, while endorsing adultery, which looks to me like straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel..

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You can define me however you want, but that is meaningless. I studied the scriptures as a seeker after truth and became a born-again Christian as a result. I did not know the clear differences between denominations and did not have knowledge yet of Church history or the Reformation. But God led me to believe from the Word of God and it just so happened (I am so grateful) that what I discerned turned out to be far more in line with the Reformed tradition than the RCC.

          • Albert

            You can define me however you want, but that is meaningless.

            Every reading of a text is affected by the context and assumptions of the reader. The questions he asks, the logical possibilities he allows, the things he thinks plausible. The Protestant distinction between scripture and tradition simply does not work. You read the scriptures within a tradition, and that tradition has been all too powerful in determining the reading. The idea that an individual, at the time of being outside of the Church, can read the scriptures can come to an objective view of the scriptures, by his own reading and then make an act of faith is naive.

            To give an example: you have consistently said you understand Catholicism. I understand that you think you do. As a former Protestant, I even understand your misunderstandings, but they are misunderstandings. Now if you do not understand Catholicism, not only can you not apprehend it properly, but you will maintain certain assumptions which need to be challenged. Consider a Muslim, his assumptions are that God cannot be three and one, and that a human being cannot also be God. The faith destroys those limiting assumptions. To a lesser extent, Catholicism does the same to Protestantism.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            As you wrote: “the distinction between scripture and tradition simply does not work. You read the scriptures within a tradition, and that tradition has been all
            too powerful in determining the reading.”

            Yes, none of us are God, ALL of us are biased, none of us has a corner on the Truth. Even when we read the traditional beliefs of our preferred church, we still must interpret what we read according to our own experiences and biases. We are ALL biased. Knowing that I am fallible, I will examine closely what the traditions present and consider to be true.

            But there is a bottom line here. Either we trust the traditions or we trust the scriptures, and when they differ (as they sometimes do), I will always trust Holy Writ above the tradition. I am ultimately responsible to the Lord for what I believe, not to any church or its traditions. As an Anglican, I agree with Articles VI, VII, and XX, for example:
            “Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”
            “The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.”
            http://www.virtueonline.org/basic-guide-bible-interpretation-part-iii-humbled-facts-interpretive-process

          • Albert

            There’s a curious problem here. Firstly you write this:

            Yes, none of us are God, ALL of us are biased, none of us has a corner on the Truth. Even when we read the traditional beliefs of our preferred church, we still must interpret what we read according to our own experiences and biases. We are ALL biased. Knowing that I am fallible, I will examine closely what the traditions present and consider to be true.

            But then you write:

            Either we trust the traditions or we trust the scriptures, and when they differ (as they sometimes do), I will always trust Holy Writ above the tradition.

            Now if you are fallible, if you are biased, if you read according to your experiences which are necessarily limited and limiting, how can you possibly be so sure, in seriously disputed questions, whether your interpretation is correct? In the second quotation you claim authority and power to determine the meaning of scripture, but in the first, you have excluded this possibility.

            I am repeatedly struck by four things when arguing with evangelicals down here. Firstly, how little they scripture they often know. They know a few passages which they have been told teach sola fide, but they don’t know the breadth of the scripture and the passages that tell against that doctrine. Secondly, they don’t know the Catholic doctrines they repudiate. Thirdly, the philosophical assumptions of Protestants which shape their readings are never examined or acknowledged – and yet a doctrine like sola fide, not only will not make sense, it will not even occur to a reader who does not share certain late Medieval philosophical assumptions. So fourthly, the they don’t understand how even their sola passages can be read in a Catholic sense.

            It’s downright bizarre. We all believe the Holy Spirit has been present to the Church since the time of Christ, and yet somehow the Church has got it wrong, despite being the pillar and the bulwark of the truth. Until the arrival of the printing press, every copy of every part of scripture had to be copied out by hand. We all rely on these copies ultimately. And yet, somehow, we are to assume that all these people did not know the scriptures!

            For my money, the solas of Protestants are among the least convincing of all heresies. I don’t mean that just theologically, but simply on the terms of Protestants.

            Now you say:

            Yes, none of us are God, ALL of us are biased, none of us has a corner on the Truth. Even when we read the traditional beliefs of our preferred church, we still must interpret what we read according to our own experiences and biases. We are ALL biased. Knowing that I am fallible, I will examine closely what the traditions present and consider to be true.

            That is precisely why God provides the tradition, the community within which we are to interpret the scriptures!

            Finally, you quote two elements of Anglican tradition to defend sola scriptura. I simply put it to you that you will not be able to defend those two Articles on their own terms. And as for “what is proved thereby”, surely you don’t think that Anglicanism originally taught your authority to interpret as an individual do you? Obviously not, for it then says

            The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith

            But then again:

            and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written

            And who is to decide when something is contrary to God’s Word? Well clearly not the individual, for The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith. It’s just a logical mess of the highest order.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            There is not inconsistency in what I wrote. I encourage people to read and examine what the “traditional” early church fathers and both Catholic and Reformed leaders have written. Examining does not mean trusting these writers above that of the Scriptures themselves — writings which have the authority of the Apostles and prophets. Since we must interpret everything we hear and read, then not only can we not avoid interpreting the scriptures, we must also interpret what the interpreters and traditional sources have written. And all of these are more fallible than the scriptures themselves. Since I cannot avoid interpreting, I prefer to trust the original divine source above any lesser mediators.

            I agree exactly with these quotes:
            “God’s word is infallible, for what he has said is true. But no Christian individual, group or church has ever been or will ever be an infallible interpreter of God’s Word. Human interpretations belong to the sphere of tradition, and an appeal may always be made against tradition to the Scripture itself which tradition claims to interpret.” (Dr; John R.W. Stott)

            “The Word of our God in Scripture is also the final and authoritative word of His Church – spoken and recorded by her chief prophetic and apostolic spokesmen and forever binding on her lesser, subsequent spokesmen and members. In other words, the Church speaks most authoritatively (as the mouthpiece of her heavenly Bridegroom) in the Scriptures – and any other words she speaks on behalf of Christ must necessarily be tested by and brought in submission under this infallible and inerrant standard.” (William A. Scott)

            Christ says (in the context of quoting a few obscure words of Scripture) “.. the
            Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Likewise our Lord says: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:18). And: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35). The affirmation of our Lord regarding the verbal infallibility of all Scripture is the undisputed Catholic faith of the Church since the time of the Apostles; you can go to Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome, Anselm, Chrysostom– and any other ancient theologian or doctor of the Church and you will find no doctrine other than the doctrine of the “verbal
            infallibility” of every jot and tittle of canonical scripture.

            “What we hold, therefore, is this. The witness of the apostles to Christ was
            accurate (not corrupt), authorized by Christ (not the church), and unique (not
            repeatable). The church needs to assert today the uniqueness not only of the Christ-event, but of the apostolic witness to the Christ-event. We know nothing of
            Christ but what the apostles have given us. We cannot know Christ or reach Christ in any other way, except through the apostles. It is through their witness that we have come to believe in Christ, and so receive life in his name.” (John R. W. Stott)
            And of course, we find the witness and words of the Apostles nowhere else but in the New Testament scriptures. Nothing that came after the Apostles can have that kind of Christ-conferred authority.

          • Albert

            Examining does not mean trusting these writers above that of the Scriptures themselves — those writings which have the authority of the Apostles and prophets

            Which is not what I claimed. My point is simply that your interpretation of scripture is shaped by a whole lot of stuff, or to use your own word, you are biased. We all are. Therefore, on controversial issues, you cannot be sure that your view is correct.

            And all of these are more fallible than the scriptures themselves.

            But that isn’t the issue. The issue is whether they are more fallible in interpreting the scriptures than you are. I recognise that people like Stott and others lack faith in the Holy Spirit to lead the Church into all truth, but that’s why I don’t rank him as an authority.

            Nothing that came after the Apostles (i.e., later church traditions) can have that kind of Christ-conferred authority.

            That’s a perfectly Catholic statement.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Like you, I am indeed fallible. If I take any stand in a debate, I had better know and use the written Word of God, for if I do so correctly, my argument will have the backing of God’s infallible revelation. If I only use my own thinking or even that of church tradition, then my argument will be that much weaker.

          • Albert

            If I take any stand in a theological debate, I had better know and use the written Word of God, for if I do so correctly, my argument will have the backing of God’s infallible revelation.

            If you do so correctly.

            If I only use my own thinking or even that of church tradition, then my argument will be that much weaker.

            What if the Church tradition is guided by the Holy Spirit so that the tradition is the correct interpretation?

            But you cannot deny that many of your Catholic comrades elevate Roman Catholic traditions (and of course some of the fathers’ interpretations) above the scriptures themselves.

            If you are simply referring to customs then that makes little sense. But holy tradition, that is, the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church can hardly be put in opposition to the scriptures. The realities indicated and proclaimed in scripture are made present in the life of the Church because Christ is made present in the life of the Church. So they are one and the same reality. The reason the Church is infallible is that the realities to which scripture bears witness are constantly present to the Church by the power of the Spirit. As scripture says the word of God is living and active and the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now to someone who has not access to this reality, and simply relies on their own deductions from scripture, the reality may not always appear to them, to be the same reality as announced in scripture. But that is because scripture was never intended to be received in the Protestant way.

            There is no humility in their elevated opinions.

            If you mean their own private opinions then that is a problem. But if you are referring to the divinely guided teachings of the Church, then they should elevate those teachings. In contrast, it is Protestants who seem to lack humility. They always know what scripture means – and when they disagree, the failing is always in the other. It’s as if they do not realise Paul was being sarcastic when he said

            Already you are filled! Already you have become rich!

            or that the following question is rhetorical and should be answered “no”:

            What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?

            It goes without saying that scripture’s warning

            So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

            only ever applies to other people (which rather defeats the object of the warning).

            they rarely would agree with me about Prima Scriptura.

            What do you really mean by Prima Scriptura?

            I quote Stott not because he is some highly respected authority but because he states so well what I already happen to believe.

            Which is that the Holy Spirit did not lead the Church for centuries, perhaps even a millenium or more…but he does lead you.

            Discipleship sometimes calls for disobedience of established leaders.

            And Catholics will agree with that, but the basis for disobedience can never be simply one’s own private opinion. To take an example, at the moment, there is an argument in the Catholic Church over communion for people who have been divorced and remarried. It is argued that the Pope allows such. It’s not clear whether he really does exactly. But Catholics saying it is contrary to established Catholic teaching are not elevating their own opinions – even though the matter may be unclear whether giving communion to divorced and remarried people is contrary to established teaching. Liberal Catholics who say such things as homosexual acts are not sinful are elevating their own opinions. Thus for the right reason, a Catholic has every right, indeed, duty to speak up against the established leaders. And if you knew your Church history, you would know some examples.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            The RCC and its traditions have gone off base many times and the Church continues to maintain unscriptural ways and theologies. I have a long list of its errors, if you are interested. Therefore, there is no reason to think that this church is more led by the Holy Spirit than any other church (or even myself). The evidence in my own life since totally committing to Jesus Christ has a much better record of sticking with the scriptures than has the Roman Catholic Church. No church is perfect, but the RCC is so full of arrogance as to assume it is THE Church and all others should bow before it.
            And besides, “the Roman Catholic Church isn’t, really, one Church at all. It’s an Erastian umbrella organisation holding together, by virtue of the Papal Office, a huge range of competing theologies…” (Mark Downham)

          • Albert

            The RCC and its traditions have gone off base many times and the Church continues to maintain unscriptural ways and theologies.

            When measured by what? Your own reading, which you admit is biased and limited by your own experiences. Now here’s the thing, when I look at your position, I find myself thinking:

            Bruce has gone off base many times and the Church continues to maintain unscriptural ways and theologies

            So it appears the feeling is mutual. But since you admit your position is biased and limited by your own experience, oughtn’t you to show a little more humility and say “I personally don’t get X or Y about the Catholic Church, but it could be me that is wrong”?

            I have a long list of its errors, if you are interested. Therefore, there is no reason to think that this church is more led by the Holy Spirit than any other church (or even myself).

            But you only think that, because by your own biased and limited reading it appears to you to be in error. You begin with the assumption that you must be right (even though you acknowledge biases and limits) and do not stop to ask whether perhaps the Catholic Church might be right. After all if the Catholic Church is right and Protestantism is wrong, Catholicism will look like error to Protestantism, when in fact the error is in Protestantism.

            The evidence in my own life since totally committing to Jesus Christ has a much better record of sticking with the scriptures than has the Roman Catholic Church.

            I’m not sure what this sentence means? You mean you are better at following the scriptures in your life than the Catholic Church is?

            No church is perfect, but the RCC is so full of arrogance as to assume it is THE Church and all others should bow before it.

            But if the Catholic Church is what I believe she is, this is not arrogance, any more than you are arrogant in thinking you have found the truth faith, that Jesus alone is the Saviour of the world and no other religion is true (or completely true, depending on your precise position). Now couldn’t it also be said in reply: No Christian is perfect, but Bruce is so full of arrogance as to assume his is the right interpretation by which all others should be measured?

            Really these discussions would be nearer the mark if Protestants reserved “scripture says” for times when they directly quote scripture, and said of all else “I interpret the Bible as meaning.” Now if one does that, then your whole post looks different. Consider this statement:

            The RCC and its traditions has in my opinion gone off base many times and the Church continues to maintain ways and theologies that I interpret to be unscriptural.

            As for your final quotation, I think it is a bit reductionist to say holding together, by virtue of the Papal Office, a huge range of competing theologies since there is much more holding it together. However, there is a truth in that statement. We rejoice that the office of Peter helps to keep us together. But saying it is an Erastian organisation just shows a lack understanding.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            All right you have invited me to reveal again the big Roman uglies.

            But first a few things the RCC has gotten right. 1) The strong stand against abortion and even the discouragement of contraception. 2) The stance against divorce has been “right on.” 3) In my opinion, one good Roman Catholic tradition has been the centerpiece of the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist, Holy Communion, Mass) in congregational worship.

            However, how believers understand the bread and wine in this hyper-ritualized service still remains controversial. 1) Transubstantiation remains an untouchable error.
            2) mandated celibacy for priests (no marriage of clergy),
            3) papacy (presumption of the Pope’s authority over ALL the Church, infallibility in pronouncing dogma),
            4) justification by works and rituals (the traditional dispute with the
            Reformers– works and rituals being regarded as more important than grace and
            faith,
            5) works of supererogation (earning salvation or adding to it),
            6) purgatory
            7) clericalism (rule of an elite class of clergy over laity),
            8) the authority of church tradition over that of Holy Scripture,
            9) the common use of intermediaries, for example:
            — elevation of Mary to divinity (immaculate conception, assumption to heaven,
            encouragement to pray/petition directly to her),
            — ‘traditional-cultural’ worship (not just veneration) of saints and angels,
            — adoration (allowing worship) of icons, relics and other symbolic objects (including the bread and wine). These leftovers from pagan worship in the first century Rome continue apace without any Pope telling their members to stop doing it (sin by silence).

            I am sure I left a few out. Most of these errors have been around for over a thousand years and most of them continue today, albeit some in slightly muted form.
            These entrenched RCC errors fall into two categories. They either: 1) appeal to human desires for power and authority on earth, and/or 2) appeal to dependence upon superstitious pagan-like ritual acts to gain divine acceptance/benefits, that is, attempting to manipulate God (rather than develop a personal relationship of faith and trust).

            These are some of the common Reformed/evangelical complaints and they show why we believe that to cross the Tiber would greatly damage our consciences and imperil our immortal souls. I am content as a conservative, born-again, orthodox Bible-believing Christian who is a cell in the Body of Christ, and I am happy to be a member of the Anglican Church of North America (associated with GAFCON). I am blessed!

          • Albert

            All right. You have invited me to reveal again the big Roman uglies,

            I don’t think I did, because for you to list your problems with Catholicism is an entirely predictable index of ways in which you have misunderstood either the Gospel or the Catholic Church. I have already established that your interpretation of scripture is, by your own admission, biased and limited by your own experience, so the standard by which you judge things is no standard at all.

            Now if I respond to your objections with scripture, you will simply try to point out that I am misinterpreting scripture. In short, you will show that Catholic teaching cannot be strictly, logically deduced from scripture. And I will simply plead guilty to that, for the idea that the only true doctrine is that which can be logically deduced from scripture cannot itself be logically deduced from scripture. I see no reason why I should be bound by a standard you do not accept yourself.

            Moreover, this pattern that you will doubtless try is the same pattern Arians, Socinians and sundry kinds of liberals and unbelievers try. When I was at university, it being a secular university, I had to argue with all these kinds, and their technique is the same as yours: they would express their opinions by saying “scripture says X”, when it did not say X, it was just their interpretation. They would typically say our doctrine (and by “our” I mean things like the Trinity) comes from later tradition, not the Bible, or perhaps that Constantine invented it etc.

            Now on your terms, what happens when someone who denies the Trinity, argues in such a way that you cannot answer from scripture, that the Trinity is not biblical?

            I quickly discovered that some of these people I could answer, but others might be harder, particularly the more scholarly ones. But I came to realise that it actually did not matter from the point of view of faith whether I could answer them. Whether I can answer someone is just a measure of my skill at arguing against their skill. The reason it did not matter is because through the Holy Spirit, the Church experiences the realities disclosed in scripture. So it didn’t really matter whether or not the homoousion could be logically deduced from scripture, or whether it was in conflict with passages like John 14.28, Mark 10.18 or Col.1.15-16, or whether scholars were right in thinking the NT does not, as it appears, teach the preexistence of the second person of the Trinity and so forth. What mattered is that this was the reality that, having been disclosed in scripture, has been held before the mind of the Church, by the Holy Spirit since the beginning. As such, there is a development of doctrine, not as if adding to scripture, but rather as deepening our understanding of the reality revealed once to the saints, and prayerfully reflected on ever since. As Newman put it (while still an Anglican, I think): the New Testament is not Christianity, but the record of Christianity

            Consequently, it matters little to me when you or any one else disagrees with Catholic teaching, even if I cannot answer you. I just say that by the same route many have been made Arians, Socinians and so forth. And that, if you get stuck on their arguments, you will either depart from the faith and follow them, or you will appeal to the traditional teaching of the Church.

            What scripture says is this:

            For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

            That’s how we do it. We are not in the business of reducing scripture to logical premises so that interpretation is mere logic or a kind of scriptural archaeology. A Catholic can see that his faith is found in scripture insofar as he can trace it back to scripture, not in that he can answer all objections or deduce everything from it.

            So to take some of your objections. You complain about transsubstantiation. But you do not explain your complaint, so it hard to see what you are getting at. But the basic idea, that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ is easily traced back to scripture.

            Other points you make are just confused:

            5) works of supererogation (earning salvation or adding to it)

            This is just confused. Any merit found in man, just is God’s salvation in us, so it is not earning or adding to salvation. As Trent says:

            we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.

            But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated.

            Thus, neither is our own justice established as our own as from ourselves; nor is the justice of God ignored or repudiated [Trent I think means I to think of Hebrews 6.10]: for that justice which is called ours, because that we are justified from its being inherent in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because that it is infused into us of God, through the merit of Christ. Neither is this to be omitted,-that although, in the sacred writings, so much is attributed to good works, that Christ promises, that even he that shall give a drink of cold water to one of his least ones, shall not lose his reward; and the Apostle testifies that, That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; nevertheless God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own gifts be their merits.

            You list 6) purgatory

            But it is clear from scripture that some kind of post mortem purgation will take place (1 Cor.3.12-15). However, this is entirely missing from Protestant tradition in my experience. But again, we can see the reality we know as purgatory, already known in some sense in scripture.

            Another example: elevation of Mary to divinity (immaculate conception, assumption to heaven

            That’s just utterly bizarre. The immaculate conception means Mary is saved by the grace of Christ from original sin, by his merits. Is it, in your view, a divine attribute to need to saved by grace from original sin? Am I to assume that you believe the first and third persons of the Trinity needed to be so saved from original sin? If so, how come the second person did not? By the grace of Christ, Mary was restored to the condition of grace enjoyed by Eve before she fell. Was Eve divine? I didn’t realise that Protestants believe Eve to be divine, but that is the logical implication of what you say here.

            The complaint about the assumption is no less bizarre. In speaking of the assumption, Catholics believe that Mary already enjoys the bodily resurrection that shall be enjoyed by the elect at the end of time. The only difference is that, in Mary’s case, this resurrection has been anticipated. Do you believe that all those who will be raised from the dead will be divine?

            I could go on with your list, but life is short, and this post is already long.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            For some reason you have to keep reminding me that I humbly admitted that, as a human being, I too (along with the rest of the human species) am inevitably biased and limited (not being God). Yet you refuse to admit the same for yourself. Which means that you think that you personally (and of course your chosen church) have a corner on the truth. Which also means that you are either deliberately lying or that you are very, very deceived. I will give you a partial pass and say that it is the latter.

            If I do not understand your church, then of course neither did the Reformers (because my views are quite consistent with theirs). Given all the evident RCC errors, why would I WANT to understand their rationalisations? Only to excuse their heresies and corruptions? I don’t think so. I have presented my case to any possible listeners and so have you. I think we are done here. I never expected to convince you. I just wanted to make sure that those few who are undecided on whether to go Roman or Reformed have some basis for their decision.

            As I also pray for myself: May God give you increased discernment and wisdom about all that pertains to Him and His salvation.

          • Albert

            For some reason you have to keep reminding me that I humbly admitted that, as a human being, I too (along with the rest of the human species) am inevitably biased and limited (not being God).

            Yes, when you appoint yourself as judge of the scriptures and judge of the Church, I remind you that you have excluded this from yourself by virtue of your biases.

            Yet you refuse to admit the same for yourself.

            On the contrary, I do not think I am able to interpret the revelation by myself. What I give to you is not my own interpretation, but that of the Church. And if I err in that, then I will change my view to that of the Church. What I absolutely deny is that the Body and Bride of Christ is in error. I am a Catholic because I know that left to myself, I would be in error because of my biases and limitations.

            Which means that you think that you personally (and of course your chosen church) have a corner on the truth.

            The fullness of the Gospel is found in the Church, just as the fullness of the Truth is found in Christ. I am no more claiming not to be personally biased for believing the former than you are claiming not to be personally biased for believing the latter. So I am not deceived or lying, but you are deceived in thinking that you describe my position properly.

            If I do not understand your church, then of course neither did the Reformers (because my views are quite consistent with theirs).

            I think this is evident. Even Evangelical scholars like McGrath have pointed out that Luther, for example, followed one extreme school of Catholic thought to its extreme and then imputed that to the rest of the Church. Besides, as I have pointed out already, part of the problem of Protestantism are the philosophical assumptions that Protestants have that logically rule out certain scriptural positions. Remove those philosophical assumptions and those scriptural positions – Catholic ones – are ruled back in.

            Given all the evident RCC errors, why would I WANT to understand their rationalisations?

            But it is surely whether they are errors or not that is under discussion. You say they are errors while saying stuff that is plainly not true of scripture of of Catholicism. And you do so from a position of bias and limit. Thus do you not, as a matter of logic have to admit that it is at least possible that you are mistaken and that it is not fact that Catholicism is in error, only that it is a fact that it appears so to you from your biased and limited position?

            I don’t think so. I have presented my case to any possible listeners and so have you.

            You haven’t really presented a case. You’ve attributed some positions to us which we don’t hold and you’ve made some claims about the Bible which reflect your own biases and limitations.

            I just wanted to make sure that those few who are undecided on whether to go Roman or Reformed have some basis for their decision.

            I’m just wondering what part of what you have said will convince them to follow the path of the Protestant Reformers. If someone is genuinely open-minded, he will surely check to see if what you say of Catholicism is true. And if we has adequate resources he will see that it is not true. If he asks you for scripture, then he will find, that, as usual for an Evangelical, scripture has been thinner on the ground than the opinions you have given him. And where you have given him scripture, your position has required him also to have your interpretation of scripture, which you admit is biased and therefore not scripture itself. If he asks himself how precisely you have shown him that your position is different from those who deny the Trinity and so forth, that is to say, what he should do if he is convinced by them and not by you, what answer have you given? I can see nothing you have said would give reason why he should go your way.

            But I have shown that your evidence is that private judgement is biased, limited and erroneous both in the interpretation of scripture and in the understanding of theological positions of one’s opponents. Thus the honest person must assume that either the revelation of Christ has been lost, or else, that he has kept it himself, through his body, the pillar and the bulwark of the truth, by his promises and the power of his Holy Spirit, by his very presence in the life of his people, dwelling with them, and leading them into all truth, as he promised, such that his Church is able to teach in his name and with his authority. Now if this truth is not to be discovered by biased and limited private judgement, but is kept by Christ himself in his Church, which teaches in his name, and by his authority, then he must surely seek out that Church. I put it to you that there is only one Church which can claim all this, and it is Roman. Let’s face it, no one will draw a line from the apostles to GAFCON.

            Thank you for your prayers, I do the same for you.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I hope that God has chosen us, but it is clear that you have chosen your church and are loyal to it and I have chosen mine and am loyal to it. Good for both of us. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit has led me to my church and is continuing to “lead me into all truth.” You probably believe the same about yourself.

            The Reformation–RCC conflict in theology and ecclesiology continues … as we have proven.

            I find it ironic that lots of Catholics find it very comfortable to spend an immense amount of time on a website by the name of Archbishop Cranmer (conservative Anglican). I would regard it as disrespectful to spend this kind of time on a Roman Catholic website and probably would be banned quickly if I did what you and other Catholics do here– that is, defend your church and denigrate the faith of the website owner and writer(s)– Anglican in this case. Archbishop Cranmer reveals no bigotry and you even get to troll for converts here. I hope you appreciate it and understand the difference.

          • Albert

            Thank you and blessings on you Bruce too. It’s been a fun conversation. Regarding the blog, I would say two things. Firstly, that Cranmer has a view of free speech on his blog. Secondly, I first started blogging here when I found Cranmer writing frankly egregious things about Catholicism. And he continues to do so. I think if you do that sort of thing, you’re fair game. I wonder though if he really minds the Catholic contribution in general. In the end, it causes him to get a lot of hits and to have very long comments threads. It’s that sort of thing that gets him described as “the influential blogger, Cranmer” etc.

            I would hope therefore, that if you did the same on a Catholic blog, you wouldn’t be blocked. Of course, it would depend on the purposes of the blog, but since Canmer’s purpose is free discussion, he seems content. If he isn’t, he needs only to say so, but I think this blog would be poorer without the Catholic voice.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Of course you would! But I too think the blog would be poorer for the simple reason that I like people to have an informed choice (up to the point where they are being indoctrinated or beaten down).

            Some Catholics I have known believe that protestants are necessarily heretics who are going to hell. I don’t think that about Catholics as a group, regardless of all the errors.

            Because I believe strongly in the biblical truth that salvation comes by the grace of God through the faith of the individual in Jesus Christ, and not by what institutional church in this world you belong to, I believe that despite its many errors, that many true believers are Catholic. The same is true for protestants. It is also true that many people in any church are NOT true believers. There are weeds among the wheat, and goats among the sheep in ALL churches, sometimes at the highest levels. So Jesus warned and history has proven this point.

            I am convinced that people do not gain any kind of special acceptance by God because of the church we have chosen to belong to …but only by our born-again hearts and thus our faith in Jesus Christ.

          • Albert

            Some Catholics I have known believe that protestants are necessarily heretics who are going to hell.

            Although the word heretic is not used, Protestants are heretics. However, it is not Catholic teaching that they are necessarily going to hell.

            Because I believe strongly in the biblical truth that salvation comes by the grace of God through the faith of the individual in Jesus Christ, and not by what institutional church in this world you belong to

            I don’t think belonging to the right Church should be downgraded. The Church is not a human only institution and it has a divine foundation. We cannot act as if all bodies that claim to be churches are in principle equal. It is vital to be part of the original visible Church Christ himself founded and has guided for two millennia. However, someone who through no fault of their own does not manage that is not going to go to hell for an honest mistake.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I happen to believe that the Reformation was divinely planned, even though Christians on both sides said and did a lot wrong things. I also happen to believe that some protestant churches are much closer to the early undivided Church than is the RCC. THE CHURCH is not in any particular way associated with the RCC any more than it is associated with protestant denominations. Individual members of the RCC and all protestant churches may (or may not) be part of the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit works in individuals (who in turn affect the churches) but is not in the institutions per se (which are worldly).

          • Albert

            The Holy Spirit works in individuals (who in turn affect the churches) but not in the institutions per se (which are worldly

            One of the major criticisms of evangelical theology, even amongst Anglicans is the lack of ecclesiology. I think this statement expresses that. I wonder which Bible you are reading, frankly. If the Church is the body of Christ, and individuals are able to act in Christ’s name, even though they are themselves sinners, then how can the institution as institution (if that’s what you mean), not be an instrument of the Holy Spirit?

            Jesus will judge, and He will appoint some of us to judge as well. I am content to trust His judgment in all things.

            Except that you constantly go to your own (biased) judgement rather than trusting that he might have set up an institution through which he speaks.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Albert,

            You wrote: “One of the major criticisms of evangelical theology, even amongst Anglicans is the lack of ecclesiology.”

            Wrong. There are many, many books written by evangelicals on ecclesiology. What you really mean is that their views on ecclesiology are different from yours.

            You wrote: ” … how can the institution as institution (if that’s what you mean), not be an instrument of the Holy Spirit?”

            Easy. Because Jesus and the Apostles clearly wrote about weeds growing among the wheat, about goats and wolves in sheep’s clothing among the sheep. They warned and prophesied about false teachers and shepherds which would come. The church institutions in the world have many of these. But it is only the true Church (invisible except to Christ) which does not err. This true Church is made up of true believers from any denomination (or none), of whom only God knows for certain. The Holy Spirit leads these true children of God. But this Holy Church is most certainly not some human organization on earth— all of them are far, far from infallible.

          • Albert

            Wrong. There are many, many books written by evangelicals on ecclesiology. What you really mean is that their views on ecclesiology are different from yours.

            No. I mean their ecclesiology, being a consequence of the individualism and other errors inherent in evanglicalism, is inadequate.

            Easy. Because Jesus and the Apostles clearly wrote about weeds growing among the wheat, about goats and wolves in sheep’s clothing among the sheep. They warned and prophesied about false teachers and shepherds which would come. The church institutions in the world have many of these.

            As so often, there’s an error of logic here. It doesn’t follow that because there are weeds in the field, that the whole field is a weed. On the contrary, although there are weeds, the field remains fruitful. Therefore, it doesn’t follow that, because there are unfaithful people in the institution, that therefore the institution itself is unfruitful.

            Your position surprises me, because in the past, you have quoted the 39 Articles. But those Articles plainly contradict what you say:

            XXVI. OF THE UNWORTHINESS OF THE MINISTERS, WHICH HINDERS NOT THE EFFECT OF THE SACRAMENT

            ALTHOUGH in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving of the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.

            But the position you take lacks faith. Just as Luther lacked faith to believe that God can make a sinner freely righteous (rather than deny his freewill as his doctrine of “justification” does) so now you do not have the faith to believe that Christ can work through a wicked man, even though this is plainly taught in scripture.

            But it is only the true Church (invisible except to Christ) which does not err.

            This invisible Church is a fantasy. You make the Church sound less than Israel, while Israel was just a shadow of the good things to come. The Church is visible, as Christ teaches: “You are the light of the world”, while it is hard to see how our Lord’s teaching can work in Matt.18.15-17 if we cannot agree on where the Church is. Moreover, in Acts, Paul is sent to various Churches (Antioch and Jerusalem), there is no doubt that these Churches are visible in themselves.

            But this Holy Church is most certainly not some human organization on earth— all of them are far, far from infallible.

            Quite right, but again, this shows a lack of faith that there might be a divine-human Church. And this is of course exactly what scripture teaches. For the Church is the body of Christ and has his Head. Thus it is divine-human in two ways: firstly, as mirroring the incarnation (hence it is his body) and secondly, because although made up of human parts, it is divinely rule and vivified by the Holy Spirit. Hence scripture says:

            he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.

            Moreover, in Revelation, Jesus says:

            “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: `The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “`I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead.

            But on this basis, you would say the church in Sardis is no church at all. But Jesus calls it a church, therefore, it is a church.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Either I am not communicating clearly enough or you have not understood what I have actually written. Your own error of logic is exactly what you accuse me of. I never said the RCC was entirely made up of weeds, nor that a church with errors and weeds was not a church. You erect a straw man and then try to tear it down.

            All churches have weeds. I am saying that the RCC is no better and has no more authority or holiness than any other Christian denomination/church. It is your elitist arrogance as a Catholic that I am revealing to the world. NO CHURCH IS PERFECT.

            As sinners saved by grace, all believers are in the same boat, and those who think they are superior need to look at the one religious group that Jesus condemned the most– the Pharisees. They were the ones who probably on the surface sinned the least but who refused to see their own pride and arrogance, who believed themselves better than the people in the street, and thus deserved the greater condemnation. “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches!”

          • Albert

            Either I am not communicating clearly enough or you are not paying attention to what I have actually written. Your own error of logic is exactly what you accuse me of. I never said the RCC was entirely made up of weeds, nor that a church with errors and weeds was not a church. You erect a straw man and then try to tear it down.

            You said this:

            The Holy Spirit works in individuals (who in turn affect the churches) but not in the institutions per se (which are worldly).

            Now you simply cannot get to the Holy Spirit not working in institutions per se, from the fact that some members of the institution are weeds. Neither does my previous post give any basis for the idea that I think you said that the Catholic Church is entirely made up of weeds. It is the move from “some individuals are weeds” to “therefore the Holy Spirit does not work through the institution per se” that I cannot follow.

            All churches have weeds. I am saying that the RCC is no better and has no more authority or holiness than any other Christian denomination/church. It is your elitist arrogance as a Catholic that I am revealing to the world. NO CHURCH IS PERFECT.

            The Catholic Church does not claim to be perfect. We believe simply that Christ guides the Catholic Church, even though she isn’t perfect. Thus, our claims about the Church are not about ourselves, or arrogant, nor are they elitist. They are claims about the generosity and providence of Christ. It is your elitist arrogance in believing that you know better than all the millions of Catholics who went before the Protestant Reformation that I am revealing to the world. NO INDIVIDUAL READER OF THE SCRIPTURES IS PERFECT. That’s why we rest on Christ’s promises to his Church, not on ourselves.

            As sinners saved by grace, all believers are in the same boat

            That doesn’t follow. It certainly follows that no believer is better off because of any goodness in himself, but I expect you believe a believer in GAFCON is better off than a believe in mainstream Anglicanism. After all, you will regard yourself as supported and encouraged by faithful Christians, while the latter you will regard as weighed down and under attack from unfaithful Christians. In the same way, it does not follow that all believers are in the same boat simply because we are all saved by grace.

            and those who think they are superior need to look at the one religious group that Jesus condemned the most– the Pharisees.

            Quite, so resting on one’s own judgement, with its attendant claim of superiority is rather dangerous.

            They were the ones who probably on the surface sinned the least but who refused to see their own pride and arrogance, who believed themselves better than the people in the street, and thus deserved the greater condemnation.

            Exactly, so. That’s why, although we have faith in the promises of Christ to his Church, we make no claim for ourselves. It is because we make no claim for ourselves, that we know we need to rest of the Church as the pillar and the bulwark of the truth.

            Humility is always appropriate. I will boast about my God and Saviour but not about any human being or organized church.

            I just do not think you understand a word I am saying or have any understanding of Catholicism. Perhaps it will help, if I put it like this:

            Humility is always appropriate. I will boast about my God and Saviour but not about any human claim, least of all, concerning my own interpretations, and rest instead on Christ to guide me through his Church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.

            The odd thing here is that you seem to think Catholics are arrogant. Can you not see that Protestants looks arrogant to Catholics? On sometimes very minimal reading of scripture, they know it all.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Dang! Your internal logic is far from what my words actually say. When I wrote: “The Holy Spirit works in individuals (who in turn affect the churches) but not in the institutions per se (which are worldly)” it should be obvious to all that the Holy Spirit working in individuals within the churches is a very good thing but that the Holy Spirit is NOT working in all the individuals (there are goats among the sheep in virtually all churches in this world). Therefore, the organized churches per se cannot be said to be fully led by the Spirit but are certainly positively affected by these Spirit-led individuals. I should not have to say all that, it should be obvious to anyone who read that sentence. Churches as organizations are impure and none have it all together. Do you deny that?

            You choose to not hear me at all (an act of the will) so I am done interacting with you on this thread. My focus was more on our listeners than on you and they have received what they needed to hear.

            Go in peace.

          • Albert

            When I wrote: “The Holy Spirit works in individuals (who in turn affect the churches) but not in the institutions per se (which are worldly)” it should be obvious to all that the Holy Spirit working in individuals within the churches is a very good thing but that the Holy Spirit is NOT working in ALL the individuals (there are goats among the sheep in virtually all churches in this world).

            I really do not think that that is at all obvious, for it makes the improbable leap that the institution of the church is coterminous with all the individuals in it. When the institution of the Church of England, for example, voted for women priests, many members did not support the change. However, I had already given space for my misunderstanding, because your language was so difficult. I wrote:

            If the Church is the body of Christ, and individuals are able to act in Christ’s name, even though they are themselves sinners, then how can the institution as institution (if that’s what you mean), not be an instrument of the Holy Spirit?

            So it seems we are at crossed purposes. You think that institution refers to all the members together, whereas I think institution refers particularly to the offices and official judgements of the Church.

            Therefore, the organized churches per se cannot be said to be fully led by the Spirit but are certainly positively affected by Spirit-led individuals.

            That point is obvious, but it is now hardly consistent with your original claim:

            “The Holy Spirit works in individuals (who in turn affect the churches) but not in the institutions per se (which are worldly)”

            In this last quote, you say the Holy Spirit is not at work in the institutions, but in the previous quote you say they are not fully led. It’s hard for you to find fault with me when your comments are so unclear that they seem to be mutually exclusive, and contrary to what the words normally mean.

            Churches as organizations are impure and none have it all together. Do you deny that?

            Depends on what you mean by the word “all”. I certainly agree they are all impure to some degree, insofar as they have sinful members.

            Despite your quoting me, you choose to not hear me at all (an act of the will) so I am done interacting with you on this thread.

            Dear me. So rather than hold out the possibility that I am misunderstanding you, or even (God forbid) that you are unclear, you prefer to insinuate something resembling lack of good faith on my part in this discussion. I hope that this post has made clear to you that lack of logical clarity on your part, rather than lack of good faith on mine.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Organizations and institutions are by their very nature partly worldly rather than spiritual. Fortunately, members of the True Universal Church (not a worldly organization but rather made of only true believers, only sheep and no goats– who only God knows for certain who is whom), are also mixed into the organized churches. The Spirit keeps them from going too far wrong. But some churches have very few such true believers (like the Episcopal Church) so they do go very far wrong.

          • Albert

            Organizations and institutions are by their very nature partly worldly rather than spiritual.

            But the Church is not just another institution, so you cannot infer from other institutions. The Church having a divine foundation and being divinely led is partly divine and partly human. That is, it is partly spiritual and partly worldly.

            Fortunately, members of the True Universal Church (not a worldly organization but rather made of only true believers, only sheep and no goats– who only God knows for certain who is whom), are also mixed into the organized churches.

            I have pointed out already, that that idea is not consistent with scripture.

          • Albert

            Since both are eternal, how can you say that the Kingdom of God and the Church are not coterminus? All of the Church is within the Kingdom of God (there are no Church members outside it). We have One King and ALL who believe in and follow Him are in the Kingdom, and also in the Church (at least in the current Age of Grace). Your arguments are not even logical.

            Dear me. This is neither logical nor informed. Firstly, I don’t think your major premise here is true: All of the Church is within the Kingdom of God (there are no Church members outside it). Obviously I don’t think that. I would have to accept a very particular kind of Protestant ecclesiology to think that. The very ecclesiology I have been disputing. And you say you understand Catholic ecclesiology very well!

            Secondly, it does not follow that because All of the Church is within the Kingdom of God (there are no Church members outside it). That obviously doesn’t follow logically. It would be like saying that because all of the flour has been put in the bread, the bread and flour are the same thing. So the premise of your argument is open to dispute and the logic of your argument fails. You have this curious thing of reversing modus ponens.

            We have One King and ALL who believe in and follow Him are in the Kingdom

            Again, I obviously don’t think that. Even the demons believe — and shudder. Did not our Lord make this quite clear?

            “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

            That the Kingdom and the Church are not the same is clear from the very passage you quote. Jesus says, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” So the Kingdom is not something that can be observed, but the Church is: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”

            All you need to do is to go through all the references to the kingdom and substitute the word “Church” for kingdom and you can see the concepts are distinct. Often it works okay for the two are clearly in a state of mutual perichoresis, but not always:

            Our Father who art in heaven,
            Hallowed be thy name.
            Thy church come.
            Thy will be done,
            On earth as it is in heaven.

            Why would we pray for the church to come, when it is already here? Isn’t it obvious that the two are not the same, even while there is overlap?

            Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Pet.1.10-11

            Is not your point that we are already part of the Church (if we among the elect that is)? And did our Lord really go out and preach the Church or the kingdom? Did the apostles preach the Church or the kingdom?

            Now as for clericalism, I think you need to define the term. The passages hardly argue against apostolic ministry, so I don’t see the point here. I’m intrigued by your reference to Thomas Cranmer. Have you read his ordinal?

          • David

            I don’t find your word games very edifying Albert.

          • Albert

            There’s no word game there, David, just the plain truth. The Church is Christ’s body, it cannot be divided. That is his gift to us. Thus, there are no schisms within the Church, only from it.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          The idea that sinful humanity can triumph by the Church instead of by the grace of Christ is one of the blasphemies of Romanism. The entire gospel account (and Paul’s explanation) is about believing in Jesus, not believing in any church organization.

          We are saved by the grace of God through the faith of each individual. The Church itself promotes and spreads the gospel Good News about Jesus Christ and how faith in Him saves, but the Church itself does not save anyone. The scriptures (without which we would have had no gospel foundation to pass on) are always above the Church, not below it, not subservient to it.
          “The Word of our God in Scripture is the final and authoritative word of His Church – spoken and recorded by her chief prophetic and apostolic spokesmen and forever binding on her lesser, subsequent spokesmen and members. In other words, the Church speaks most authoritatively (as the mouthpiece of her heavenly Bridegroom) in the Scriptures – and any other words she speaks on behalf of Christ must necessarily be tested by and brought in submission under this infallible and inerrant standard.” (William A. Scott)

          • Albert

            The idea that sinful humanity can triumph by the Church instead of by the grace of Christ is one of the blasphemies of Romanism.

            The idea that that is what Catholics believe is one of the misunderstandings of Protestantism. It is not that the Church triumphs instead of by the grace of Christ, it is that, since the Church is really and truly the body of Christ, the fulness of him who fills all in all Christ’s grace triumphs in the Church. While you make statements of this sort, it is clear you are not even close to understanding anything at all about us.

            The entire gospel account (and Paul’s explanation) is about believing in Jesus, not believing in any church organization.

            Believing in Jesus in Paul means believing something about his body, the Church. The Bible clearly sees the Church as united, with Christ,, as being the body to the Head or the one flesh of Bride and Bridegroom. Thus the Bible does not see the Church as a separate organisation from Christ.

            We are saved by the grace of God through the faith of each individual. The Church itself promotes and spreads the gospel Good News about Jesus Christ and how faith in Him saves, but the Church itself does not save anyone.

            Obviously. However, it is also clear that grace comes to us through the Church.

            The scriptures (without which we would have had no gospel foundation to pass on)

            That’s obviously false, from a historical perspective. The Church had the Gospel directly from the Lord, before the NT was written, and her members, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the NT, and the Church (again, by the guidance this time, of the Holy Spirit), led the Church to recognize as scripture what was the word of God, and reject what was not.

            are always above the Church, not below it, not subservient to it.

            There’s nothing wrong with that statement in itself. But one needs to acknowledge that the Word of God is not restricted to the written text, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in interpreting the word of God is certainly not limited to individuals distinct from the Church.

            The Word of our God in Scripture is the final and authoritative word of His Church

            But that does not mean that the interpretation of any individual evangelical is the Word of God. It plainly isn’t, to be honest.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Thanks for proving my point. The Church (in your view) is the essential thing that brings salvation, not the Word of God. You assume that God is not powerful enough (nor His Holy Spirit) to guide each individual into truth. The scriptures say otherwise. Very, very few scriptures can be found in the NT that promote a church organization over the individual’s faith in God’s Word. Jesus clearly promoted belief in Him and His Word rather than belief in any church.

          • Albert

            Thanks for proving my point. The Church (in your view) is the essential thing that brings salvation, not the Word of God.

            No, that isn’t my point.

            You assume that God is not powerful enough (nor His Holy Spirit) to guide each individual into truth.

            I most certainly don’t think that. Just because God hasn’t done X does not mean he cannot do X. I think that God has chosen to save us as part of a people, and that therefore, the Church, as his body, is an instrument of grace in his hand. Now I can see that you might disagree with that, but it’s bit harsh to somehow say that my position lacks faith in God’s power, or that I somehow substitute the Church for God’s saving power.

            Very, very few scriptures (if any) can be found in the NT that promote a church organization over the individual’s faith in God’s Word.

            Well you only need one. And how many scripture promote the Protestant doctrine sola scriptura? None, ironically!

            Jesus clearly promoted belief in Him and His Word rather than belief in any church.

            If you understand the Church as scripture does, as Christ’s body, the fulness of him who fills all in all, as the pillar and bulwark of the truth and so forth, then you would set the Church in opposition to God’s Word. Rather you would see the Church as the instrument of God’s Word, for the latter is, in the first instance, Christ, who promises to be with his people forever.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I have never pushed “sola scriptura’ because even the Reformers had five solas, which means none of them are actually “alone.” I am for “prima scriptura,” meaning that our primary source of authority is the scriptures (not anything that has happened since their writing). I challenge anyone to find the scriptures that can truly demote this truth or which put any church organization above the scriptures.

            I agree with Dr. John R.W. Stott’s words:
            “We take our stand on the divine origin of the Bible because we believe the Bible itself requires us to do so. Indeed, it is a strange fact that theologians who are prepared to accept the biblical doctrine of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, of man and of the church, are often not willing to accept the biblical doctrine of Scripture. [And yet it is in the scriptures where we find all the other doctrines and it is the only place where we can find the words of Jesus Christ.] So…if the Bible is authoritative and accurate when speaking about other matters, there is no reason why it should not be equally so when speaking about itself. “

            So what does Scripture say about itself?
            “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

            God-breathed!

            “And we have the words of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter
            1:20-21)

            “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

            “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:48, ESV)

            “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8, NKJV)

            “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89, NAS)

            “It is written: ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3, quoted by Jesus in Matthew 4:4)

            “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV)

            “Then Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” (John 6:68, NKJV)

            “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jesus speaking, John 6:63, NIV)

            “I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything…” (Psalm 138:2)

            There are more passages than these that promote the word of God (like Isaiah 55:8-11).
            See the Anglican Articles VI and XX of the 39 Articles of Religion for the proper role of scripture in the Church.

            Now find me those scriptures which promote the primacy of a church. There is no comparison. To assume that a church which has a history of many errors and heresies is somehow better able to interpret the scriptures than any of the rest of us (especially those of us trained in their interpretation) is absurd. I am responsible to the Lord for what I believe, I am not responsible to any church. On Judgment Day, I will not be able to say, “But my church taught me this!” and get away with it.

          • Albert

            Like most Anglicans, I believe in “prima scriptura,”

            I think that Anglicanism goes further than that:

            VI. OF THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES FOR SALVATION

            HOLY Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

            XX. OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH

            THE Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

            But if you want to defend the doctrine of prima scriptura then I probably don’t have a problem with that. After all, the key issue is the teaching of the apostles. Clearly this wasn’t only done in scripture, but also in person. However, it is clear that the scripture being fixed has a kind of objectivity that their preaching lacked.

            The issue with this is then down to interpretation and whether the individual has the kind of authority over the proclamation that you claim. There are several problems with this claim. Firstly, what light is able to be shed on the written word of the apostles from their proclamation? Secondly, what reason have we got to say that the individual has this capacity accurately to interpret scripture? You say for example:

            To assume that a church which has a history of many errors and heresies is somehow better able to interpret the scriptures than any of the rest of us (especially those of us trained in their interpretation) is absurd.

            Well the claim that the Church is guilty of heresy, is to assume the point you wish to prove. Obviously, if the Church is the divinely appointed teacher of truth, then if you think you detect heresy in the teaching of the Church, it would follow that the heresy is in you. So you cannot, except by arguing in a circle demonstrate your point. However, without arguing in a circle you will be able to identify loads of examples of individuals falling into heresy.

            On Judgment Day, I will not be able to say, “But my church taught me this!” and get away with it

            Indeed not, because your Church does not claim to be the Church of the scriptures: the fulness of him who fills all in all, the pillar and bulwark of the truth, the one against which the gates of hell will not prevail, the bride of Christ, his body, which has Christ as its head, the apostolic body which is led into all truth by the Holy Spirit, and with whom the risen Lord abides until the end of time. I cannot see any passage which makes such claims of individuals, and clearly any Church which denies of itself what Christ promises to the Church in scripture, is not the Church of scripture.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Of course Jesus and the Apostles taught in person and it was not all yet written down. But it is also true that we have none of their teachings today (reliably, validly) EXCEPT for what is written in the New Testament scriptures. So all Apostolic teaching is necessarily scriptural. Prima scriptura.

            But our protest is about the reality that the Roman Church (and even the Eastern Church to a lesser extent) accumulated lots of revisionist ideas and ‘add on’ practices that were nonexistent in the New Testament Church. I have listed these elsewhere on this thread.

          • Albert

            Of course Jesus and the Apostles taught in person and it was not all yet written down. But it is also true that we have none of their teachings today (reliably, validly) EXCEPT for what is written in the New Testament scriptures. So all Apostolic teaching is necessarily scriptural.

            I don’t accept the second sentence. It’s true that I cannot point to a sentence and say “Paul said this”, but I can know that what the apostles did and taught by word of mouth affected the shape of the early Church and what the early Church handed on. For example, did they baptize infants? What actually did they believe and do about the Eucharist? Now these are disputed questions from a biblical point of view, but it is hard to believe that the apostolic practice and oral teaching simply disappeared without trace.

            But our protest is about the reality that the Roman Church (and even the Eastern Church to a lesser extent) accumulated lots of revisionist ideas and ‘add on’ practices that were nonexistent in the New Testament Church.

            These things, where they are proper teachings, rather than just customs, are the unfolding of the realities of which scripture speaks. For example, we know a great deal about the God of the NT, but what the NT never says (and what many with a Protestant mindset have denied) is that God is Trinity. We know that God is Trinity because this is the God that is encountered in the Church. It doesn’t rest on fallible human reasoning or interpretation, but on the encounter with the Trinitarian God. It doesn’t matter if unitarians appear to have better arguments or better exegesis. The God we encounter is the God named in scripture, and he is Trinity. And this is true of everything taught. It is the one faith delivered to the saints, but the one reality, always encountered, has been expressed with greater clarity

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You wrote: ” I can know that what the apostles did and taught by word of mouth
            affected the shape of the early Church and what the early Church handed
            on.”

            This is total assumption with no proof whatsoever. It took a few centuries for the Roman ways to fully take control over the organized church. Such gospel scriptures as Jesus’ words in Mark 10:42-44 and Matthew 23:1-12 were completely ignored as the Roman church instituted clericalism and the two-tiered elitism such that clergy would truly rule over all other members of the church.

          • Albert

            This is total assumption with no proof whatsoever.

            That’s just silly. The idea that when the apostles died, everything they did, the example they set and so forth, just disappeared with them is simply silly. And if you have such a low view of the Holy Spirit, how can you be sure of the canon?

            Not everything that the Roman and EO church did was influenced by the Apostles.

            Not a claim that I made.

            The many ways that Paul criticized the churches in Corinth and Galatia show us that churches can go astray quickly.

            Yes. And that could apply to your churches (manifestly), and do you not see the criticism sometimes of individuals? Might that not apply to you?

            It took a few centuries for the Roman ways to fully take control over the organized church.

            Fully take control. Did you really think about that sentence?

            Such gospel scriptures as Jesus’ words in Mark 10:42-44 and Matthew 23:1-12 were completely ignored as the Roman church instituted clericalism and the two-tiered elitism such that clergy would truly rule over all other members of the church.

            You are assuming that your interpretation of those passages, and of the structure of the Church, and of the significance of that structure is correct.

            The late great Anglican teacher John R.W Stott put it this way

            You quote Stott more than scripture. Stott is not an authority to me. But look, I agree that there can be forms of clericalism that are bad. However, it is downright odd for you as an Anglican to quote Stott who was ordained an Anglican priest, against any form of clericalism.

            “There was never anything so well devised by men which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted.” (Thomas Cranmer)

            Like Anglicanism. But the true Church is not devised by men, but by God himself.

            Both catholics and protestants believe in the historic creeds because they are easily found in the scriptures themselves.

            You and I might think that, but there are those who disagree. If our decision which way to go on that only rests on our private judgement, then it can hardly be called faith.

            We Anglicans certainly believe in the Trinity (and likewise Pentecostals believe it even more than do catholics).

            That’s just a stupid offensive claim. Are you going to provide any evidence?

            Unitarians certainly do NOT have better arguments or reasonable exegesis as you suggest.

            I most certainly did not say that. I said:

            It doesn’t rest on fallible human reasoning or interpretation, but on the encounter with the Trinitarian God. It doesn’t matter if unitarians appear to have better arguments or better exegesis.

            “If” and “appear”. So the point is that it doesn’t matter if someone thinks they have better arguments, because the authority and discernment of the Church in teaching what she encounters is greater than the authority of an individual reading the Bible. My point was a reductio ad absurdum, not a suggestion that they have better arguments (although I certainly think their arguments are good enough to make Trinitarian faith proceeding from private judgement impossible).

            I am only debating the unreliability of post-apostolic RCC traditions which are not clearly found in the scriptures. Much of your arguments are superfluous.

            And thereby you assume the point that seems to be under examination: namely that things have to be clearly found, by you, in the scriptures. But that’s not clearly found by me in the scriptures, any more than all those other solas which are just human tradition.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I have never once promoted the idea of “sola scriptura,” so you are arguing with someone else (or just again using strawman arguments). Prima Scriptura is what Anglicans believe, as your own quotes from the 39 Articles prove. I gave you a long list of scriptures a little earlier which also prove this from the scriptures themselves. The authority of scriptures is a foundational doctrine of all true churches because every other essential doctrine is based upon the scriptures, nowhere else do we hear the words of Jesus or the Apostles. So nothing that came after them can be trusted as equally reliable (we simply cannot know which beliefs and church customs came from the Apostles — or the Holy Spirit– and which did not …. except by comparing them to what we find in the Canon.)

            The Reformation occurred, I believe, according to the will of God in order to correct a number of accumulated errors. Protestant churches are not perfect either, and some have not yet protested enough (for example, too much elevation and rule by clergy in Anglicanism). Obviously, I am more evangelical than AngloCatholic.

            Albert, our differences will remain long after we cease this thread, but I sincerely am praying for both us to grow in wisdom and discernment about the things that pertain to God and His Kingdom.

          • Albert

            I don’t understand how prima scriptura differs from sola scriptura, in such a way that make the Articles prima rather than sola. But my comment about solas wasn’t only about that sola.

            But I’m not sure exactly what you’re arguing with. After all, I have said this:

            if you want to defend the doctrine of prima scriptura then I probably don’t have a problem with that. After all, the key issue is the teaching of the apostles. Clearly this wasn’t only done in scripture, but also in person. However, it is clear that the scripture being fixed has a kind of objectivity that their preaching lacked.

            I think the issue is much more about interpretation and the framework of interpretation.

            (we simply cannot know which beliefs and church customs came from the Apostles — or the Holy Spirit– and which did not …. except by comparing them to what we find in the Canon.)

            Mmmm…then I don’t think we can get very far. We only have to look at the vast differences between Protestants themselves to see that comparing these things with the Canon hardly resolves matters. There is too much unclarity in the scriptures, and too many areas where it is hard to know what is binding for all time and what is just contemporary custom.

            But Christ has promised more than that kind human fallibility. If we are reduced to such fallibility then we cannot have faith, for faith proceeds from God, not from human fallibility. Thus God gave us an infallible Church.

            Albert, our differences will remain long after we cease this thread, but I sincerely am praying for both us to grow in wisdom and discernment about the things that pertain to God and His Kingdom. As this happens, we must necessarily move closer together in our individual perspectives.

            The feeling is mutual. I sometimes get irritated with Evangelicals because they so often cannot see that scripture is open to other interpretations than their own. This is why I usually argue from a position of sola scriptura (a position I obviously don’t hold), because I just don’t think that Evangelicalism is that convincing from a Biblical point of view. However (to return to your kind comment), my real beef is with liberal Christianity, and I rejoice that Evangelicals are not such!

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Most people assume that “sola scriptura” indicates that scripture is the ONLY authority (which is nonsense). Prima scriptura indicates that scripture is our primary and highest authority until Jesus returns.

            Sola means alone. The whole idea of the five solas is a bit inconsistent since there five of them; none of them therefore are “alone.” I prefer saying there are seven (or eight) essential principles, which include the Reformed five solas.

            http://www.virtueonline.org/seven-solas-toward-reconciling-evangelical-and-anglo-catholic-perspectives

          • Albert

            Most people assume that “sola scriptura” indicates that scripture is the ONLY authority (which is nonsense).

            I was referring to the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture, as found in the 39 Articles. That seems pretty clear.

            The whole idea of the five solas is a bit inconsistent since there five of them; none of them therefore are “alone.”

            But surely they are “alone” in contrast to something else. E.g. faith alone, not faith and works. Scripture alone, not scripture and tradition. etc.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes. As with you, I am always quite ready to “contend for the faith once delivered.” But I think we agree more than it might seem. Everything you have written so far suggests that you might like my article, with the link provided above. Again,
            http://www.virtueonline.org/seven-solas-toward-reconciling-evangelical-and-anglo-catholic-perspectives

          • Albert

            Yes, I quite like the article. I particularly like the addition of Sola ecclesia. But I think that Protestantism has generally misunderstood Catholicism. For example, when you say

            Sola gratia (“by grace alone”) – From God’s love and grace springs His mercy and redemptive will for us. It all starts and ends with God.

            I have no worry about that. For it is perfectly possibly for God’s grace to come through an intermediary. Equally, it is perfectly possibly for God’s grace to effect a good work in us. In neither case is grace downgraded, on the contrary, in both cases, grace abounds all the more. Does that ring any bells (i.e. not warning bells!)?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Intermediaries always tempt us to give them too much credit/glory, which in my mind, does not add but rather steals from the glory of Christ, who needs no intermediaries.
            http://www.virtueonline.org/matters-glory-and-trust-bruce-atkinson#.U4NsrPldWSo

          • Albert

            Well this seems a rationalist critique. It seems to you that there is a problem. It seems to you that there is a temptation. But what if God has revealed that this is how he works? Personally, I would see it the other way: the use of intermediaries shows the sheer grandeur and scope of his grace. The quality of Michelangelo’s Pieta hardly takes away from the glory of Michelangelo. The use of intermediaries also deepens our sense of communion, which is related to our sense of love being created by Christ, not just between us as individuals and him, but between us and all his own.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Because I am aware of the dangers from subtle idolatry (elevating and glorifying
            intermediaries and second causes), I am better protected from it. Your argument could lead to permission to erect statues of golden calves (as did the impatient and immature Hebrews), since after all, God made both cows and gold, and He gave human beings artistic abilities to make such things with their hands. This tendency of humans to overvalue (and even worship) intermediaries is why God instituted this commandment:
            “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:4-5)

            At the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9). The Father honored Moses and Elijah by having them show up and talk with Jesus… but note carefully what God did and said when Peter wanted to honor them overmuch by building shelters for each of them, as if they were equal to Jesus. These two prophets suddenly disappeared and they heard: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to HIM.” Purposefully God said nothing about Moses and
            Elijah. The point was clear.

            Extending this point, we can say that Christianity is all about Jesus Christ, and we can read and value what came before as well as what came after His Incarnation, but we must beware of elevating anyone or anything too highly. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit are happy about our competing loyalties.
            Jesus teaching: “…when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears…. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you.”

          • Albert

            I still think this is a rationalist argument. I.e. it is based on how it seems to you, rather than on revelation. Firstly, while you might be protected from subtle idolatry, you might also be missing out on glory and grace that is on offer. You might have a distorted view of matter, unfitting in one who believes that the world is very good and that grace can come through created things. Finally, you might end up overly individualistic in your spirituality. So whatever you fear, I can play back at you.

            Your argument could lead to permission to erect statues of golden calves (as did the impatient and immature Hebrews), since after all, God made both cows and gold, and He gave human beings artistic abilities to make such things with their hands.

            The argument could not lead to that. The golden calf was clearly designated as gods who brought them up from Egypt. But an intermediary is not a god.

            This tendency of humans to overvalue (and even worship) intermediaries is why God instituted this commandment:

            I don’t think that is the reason. The temptation to worship intermediaries is not a current one, at least not for those of us who realise grace comes through them. God commanded the abolition of images because people then did not know God properly and worshipped created stuff. This is not the same case now, in religious terms. The worshipping of created stuff relates much more to consumerist culture etc.

            Purposefully God said nothing about Moses and Elijah. The point was clear.

            The point was not about Moses and Elijah, but about Jesus. They prepared the way (and were intermediaries). Obviously, they fall away when Christ comes. But as Christ comes to us, that is a different matter. Grace comes through intermediaries. The identity of Jesus vs Moses and Elijah is not affected by that.

            Extending this point, we can say that Christianity is all about Jesus Christ, and we can read and value what came before as well as what came after His Incarnation, but we must beware of elevating anyone or anything too highly.

            But the incarnation necessarily means Jesus is bound into a series of human relationships. He may be unique, but he is never abstracted from humanity. Moreover, the nature of the Church means those in the Church are also bound into those relationships. I fail to see how saying “The grace of Christ comes through X” can possibly cause Christ or his grace to be lost from view. Quite the reverse. It means that the power of grace is such that created things can be elevated to be channels of that grace. The problem with your view is that it seems to limit grace.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            “But an intermediary is not a god.” Absolutely true. That is the point I am making. Also, people are highly tempted to make such intermediaries into gods … or close to it. Like with Mariolatry and saint worship. When there are no elevated intermediaries allowed by the Church, that temptation is greatly lessened.

          • Albert

            I’m afraid that I just think that because of your emaciated view of grace and nature, you don’t get that we do not worship Mary. I mean, my point is that there is not the danger here that you worry about because we do not worship people like her. And you just come back and say we do. Will if your own evidence for the problem is your own misunderstanding, then that’s not evidence for anything, except your own misunderstanding.

            When there are no elevated intermediaries allowed by the Church, that temptation is greatly lessened.

            This is what I mean by rationalism. You seem to disallow in your churches what scripture plainly teaches.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            My “emaciated view of grace of and nature”? This is quite insulting and ad hominem; I guess you have run out of good arguments. Regarding Mariolatry, thou dost protest too much methinks. That worship of Mary occurs frequently in the RCC cannot be denied; but officially it is not promoted. The problem is this… officially it also is not condemned or even discouraged. The Pope and Archbishops have always looked the other way. Guilt by silence; guilt by codependent passive acceptance.

          • Albert

            My “emaciated view of grace of and nature”? That is quite insulting and ad hominem; I guess you have run out of good arguments.

            No, I’m being deadly serious, I am simply speaking the truth as I see it. It’s not an ad hominem – unless you think to say anything that challenges someone else is automatically an ad hominem (in which case you will think little of Jesus, who doesn’t care about upsetting people if they are in error, as I believe you are). I think that Protestantism rests on a series of assumptions about the limitations of nature and grace. Everything seems to be about what isn’t possible, rather than what is. It’s all about how nature cannot be elevated by grace, not about how it can.

            That worship of Mary occurs frequently in the RCC cannot be denied; but officially it is not promoted.

            Mary is not worshipped in the Catholic Church. It only appears that way to you because of your emaciated view of nature and grace. To acknowledge the height to which grace raises nature in Mary looks like worship to you because of your limited take on nature and grace. It may also reflect the limited nature of your worship of God.

            The problem is this… officially it also is not condemned or even discouraged.

            That’s just silly. Obviously, the worship of Mary is condemned, since the worship of anything other than the Holy Trinity is condemned – for example in the commentary on the 10 commandments. And then consider this:

            Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men originates not in any inner necessity but in the disposition of God. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. It does not hinder in any way the immediate union of the faithful with Christ but on the contrary fosters it. …

            Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator.

            For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You and the majority of Catholics may not worship Mary. But I have known Catholics who pray only to Mary, not the Father or Jesus Christ, have only her pictures in their houses (with altar shrines to her), and who loudly glorify her at times (never Jesus). These people are hardly alone in kissing of statues of Mary and elevating her above Christ (or at least to co-redemptress). It is leftover Roman goddess worship.
            Do the leaders teach this? Of course not, but they dare not publicly condemn it either. It is Catholic culture. But it is idolatry, a deceptive kind of polytheism.
            And you would denigrate my own worship of the Trinity as “limited”! You betcha it is limited … only to God!

          • Albert

            You and the majority of Catholics may not worship Mary. But I have known Catholics who pray only to Mary, not the Father or Jesus Christ, have only her pictures in their houses (with altar shrines to her), and who loudly glorify her at times (never Jesus).

            I have never known a Catholic like that. Neither is it possible that someone can operate as a Catholic in that way. The most important act of worship for a Catholic is Mass, which is offered to the Holy Trinity, and the Second Person of the Trinity is received in Holy Communion. Moreover, the key prayers, which the Church commends to us are these:

            Sign of the Cross

            In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

            Our Father

            Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

            Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

            I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

            And even the rosary, is a deeply Christocentric prayer, since the purpose is to meditate on the mysteries of Christ.

            Thus, anyone who only prays to Mary, as you claim, and does all those other things, is plainly outside Catholic practice. Not to leave the matter unclear, the Catholic Church teaches they would be in a state of mortal sin.

            These people are hardly alone in kissing of statues of Mary and elevating her above Christ (or at least to co-redemptress).

            Kissing a statue of Mary or seeing her as co-redemptrix does not elevate her above Christ, neither is it a form of worship. However, it is not taught by the Church as official doctrine, not because there is no truth in it, but because it is too open to being misleading.

            It is leftover Roman goddess worship.

            How can it possibly be leftover Roman goddess worship? It is based on the grace of Christ!

            Do the leaders teach this? Of course not, but they dare not publicly condemn it either.

            Here again you speak from ignorance. Take Pope Benedict:

            the formula “Co-redemptrix” departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings. …Everything comes from Him [Christ], as the Letter to the Ephesians and the Letter to the Colossians, in particular, tell us; Mary, too, is everything she is through Him. The word “Co-redemptrix” would obscure this origin. A correct intention being expressed in the wrong way.

            You then claim:

            It is Catholic culture. But it is idolatry, a deceptive kind of polytheism.

            It isn’t idolatry and it isn’t polytheism.

            I can only repeat that your problem, shared by so many Protestants is an emaciated view of nature and grace, both of which reflects a limitation on the goodness and power of God.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I have always been glad that Mariolatry is not promoted by the leaders or the mature faithful in RCC. But it does exist, especially in South and Central America. The very existence of the term suggests that it has been a problem at time.
            https://www.gotquestions.org/Mariolatry.html

            Just exchange the word “Protestants” for “Roman Catholics” in your last sentence, and I would agree.

            You are happy in your church tradition and I in mine. That is unlikely to change, and this may be a good thing.

          • Albert

            I have always been glad that Mariolatry is not promoted by the leaders or the mature faithful in RCC. But it does exist, especially in South and Central America. The very existence of the term suggests that it has been a problem.

            Really? Try this:

            I have always been glad that Bibliolatry is not promoted by the leaders or the mature faithful in Protestant groups. But it does exist, especially in places where fundamentalism is strong. The very existence of the term suggests that it has been a problem.

            I read the link. I couldn’t where is showed we are guilty of Mariolatry. I could see however, the same problem, that there seems to be a lack of faith in the power of God’s grace, to change creatures from glory to glory.

            Just exchange the word “Protestants” for “Roman Catholics” in your last sentence, and I would agree.

            I’ve given my reasons for thinking Protestantism can be a perversion and limitation of Christian teaching on nature and grace. What is your reason for thinking the same of Catholicism?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Haven’t you got any kind words of approval for the signatories of the letter Jack?

      • Jack wasn’t quoting from the letter.

    • Clearly the Roman Catholic sharks are eagerly swimming around the sinking wreck that is the Church of England, seeking whom they may devour.
      .
      Church unity is spiritual, not organizational. the churches we read of in the N.T. were independent, but not isolationist. Paul, in his church-planting, ‘appointed elders in every church’ (Acts 14:23). In the church at Philippi, there was a plurality of ‘Bishops’ (more properly ‘overseers’) and deacons (Philippians 1:1). From Titus 1:5-9, it is evident that ‘elder’ and ‘overseer’ are synonyms. What we don’t hear of are priests, archbishops, cardinals or popes, nor of bishops in the form they exist within Anglicanism or the Church of Rome. All that paraphernalia is of later vintage.
      .
      In my opinion, Episcopalianism carries with it the seeds of its own destruction, and it certainly cannot be found in the New Testament; but if Anglicans, desire an Episcopalian lifeboat to escape into, then let them revitalize the Free Church of England or appoint their own bishops as some churches have already done. But to join the Church of Rome ‘will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him’ (Amos 5:19).

      • Those people foreknown to God and predestined for the Church, will do as God’s grace propels them.

      • Jonathan

        Elder = “presbuteros” = ‘priest’. Overseer = “episcopos” = ‘bishop’. Deacon = “diakonos” = ‘minister’.

        • First of all, the word for ‘priest’ in the New Testament is hiereus. It is only applied to the Jewish priests, and, in 1 Peter 2:9, to every Christian. We are all priests in that we have direct access to God the Father through our Great High Priest Jesus Christ.
          Secondly
          Philippians 1:1. ”Paul and Timothy………to the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.’
          In the one city of Philippi, there was a plurality of ‘bishops.’ Ergo, episkopos meant something different to that which the Anglicans and Church of Rome make it. Also, every Christian in Philippi was a ‘saint,’ but let that pass.
          .
          Now look with me at Titus 1:5-7. ‘For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should…..appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. If a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless as a steward of God…….’ Elders and bishops, presbuteroi and episkopoi, are the same position.

          • Jonathan

            The word for priest is hiereus – indeed it is, as in the Jewish priests (cohenim). But the word priest in English as used does not mean ‘Jewish priest’ (hiereus) but is etymolgically derived from presbuteros.
            Of course this means that if used in this manner then priests from the Anglican or Roman tradition should not be using this as a justification that the priest should have any function like the Jewish priests, but should instead be like elders.
            But yes we are all priests in the manner of the Jewish priesthood “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests (hiereis) to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:6

  • Inspector General

    A pure aside.

    The Inspector knows he is unpopular on Cranmer, but it’s even worse on BBC online’s ‘Have your Say’. This from an article informing that if the Greenland ice cap melts completely, sea level will rise by 20 feet. His comment is 8th most popular, sadly…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. Posted by You on
    8 hours ago

    20 feet! That’s the end of me in Gloucester then!

    Number of positive ratings for comment 55
    Number of negative ratings for comment 4

    • Little Black Censored

      The Severn Bore confronts his extinction.

      • Inspector General

        Little black thing, the Severn Bore, (which happens early morning or very late evening and certainly not at a more social time) is a damn sight closer than 20 feet above sea level. All attempts at redecorating Inspector Towers will henceforth cease…and the waters will reclaim in much the same way as our physical presence is ultimately dust…

        • Manfarang

          In the west Bangkok flood of 2011, there were water taxis and big army trucks transported people along the main road.

  • Albert

    For some, Anglicanism and the Anglican tradition is strengthened and enhanced by continuing reformation on what are considered ‘second order’ issues, such as the nature of church authority, liturgy, sacramental ministry and moral theology.

    Two questions naturally arise:

    1. Is the distinction between first and second order issues a first or second order issue?
    2. I can see how on earth can issues fundamental to salvation like Church authority, sacramental ministry and moral theology possibly be second order issues?

  • Albert

    These tensions echo those within the Worldwide Anglican Communion, which mirror those in the Roman Catholic Church.

    There’s some truth in this, but three things here.

    Firstly, Anglicanism is uniquely badly placed to deal with the problem of a secular culture, for Anglicanism is, by its DNA wedded to the culture. That was fine while the culture was Christian, but now it isn’t, there is a cleavage in Anglican thought, well summed up by the rejection of St Thomas More: I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” Anglicanism tried to pretend there was no conflict. Weirdly, it still had the strength to stand up to James II’s Catholic Christianity. It is a sign of how depleted it is that it lack a similar strength against the pagans at the gates in our own time.

    Secondly, when I was an Anglican, I was led to believe that Catholics were about as liberal as Anglicans were. When I became a Catholic I found this was not true – and that’s just here in the flaky West.

    Thirdly, the Catholic Church is able to weather this problem because the Magisterium is bound by past teachings and is guided by the Holy Spirit in the present. Take that away and yes, the moment the culture ceases to be Christian, you can expect to divide as individuals choose between God and king.

    • len

      The Magisterium is bound by past errors.The Holy Spirit is the truth . The two cannot co- exist

      • Albert

        I agree with the second and third statements. I do not see you as being in a position to judge the first, since you are in error and like begets like.

        • len

          You are locked into deception Albert,

          • Albert

            You are locked into deception Len.

          • len

            The the Holy Spirit is as well.
            Do you realise what you are saying Albert(again)

          • Albert

            No Len, I find it hard to follow your logic.

          • len

            I know Albert ,I know.

          • Albert

            And so your answer is…

          • len

            Childish response.

          • Albert

            It was your response Len!

    • Royinsouthwest

      What was Catholicism guided by in the age of the Borgia?

      • Albert

        The Holy Spirit. Despite the corruption of the Borgia, the Church did not in fact fall into heresy. The Borgia are a sign of God’s grace, therefore. Or as scripture puts it:

        But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

        • len

          A corrupt Church,headed by evil men who torture and burn the men of God?…..

          • Albert

            That is not heresy, but sin. There is nothing in Catholicism that says the Church will be free of sin, so the presence of sin cannot falsify Catholicism. Sorry about that, Len.

          • len

            Christ is the Head of His Church.Do you realise what you are saying Albert?.

          • Albert

            It seems you think there is an implication of what I say. Do tell.

          • Martin

            Albert

            When the sine is the murder of God’s people it is clear that what was once a church is no longer part of the Church, and hence not Catholic at all.

          • Since when did you become God?!

          • len

            When did the Pope?

          • Once again, you’re confusing delegated authority with the source of that authority.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Are you saying that a church that kills the people of God is still part of the Church?

          • Albert has already answered that.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No he hasn’t.

          • Mike Stallard

            Remember the bombing of Hamburg and the firestorm? Or the bombing of Hiroshima?
            Come on, humans have always been sinful and we – yup – we have no business to do the holier than thou bit.

          • Albert

            Quite so. The mark of the holier than thou type of argument is lack of charity. Which given how important charity is in Christianity…

          • carl jacobs

            So I take it you weren’t a Korean in occupied Korea or a Chinese in occupied China or a Marine on Okinawa in July 1945.

          • Personal circumstances do not justify an evil action. You need more than that. Besides, haven’t you got homework to do, Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            It’s actually hundreds of thousands of personal circumstances. Involving people who have a superior claim of protection.

            And not until Saturday.

          • Then make an early start. You know it makes sense.

          • carl jacobs

            Are you trying to get rid of me, Jack?

          • Just being supportive, Carl. You’re not getting any younger and have to pace yourself.

          • carl jacobs

            I just watched the first episode of “Allo Allo”. On the bright side, I laughed twice.

          • Terry Mushroom

            As an Australian whose father fought the Japanese in New Guinea and helped relieve Singapore, I know where Carl is coming from. They were a vile, cruel, fanatical enemy.

            It’s not something that figures in British consciousness very much. The British don’t seem very aware of how much, how long and how many people suffered under the Japanese yoke. The awfulness of Japanese behaviour was about far more than “personal circumstances”.

            Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki proportional? Many considered so at the time. Although, with no previous experience, they can’t have realised just how devastating the two bombs would be.

            “Do you hate the Japs?” I asked many years later of an army mate of my father. He’d suffered for two years on the Burma railway. “I don’t like them,” he said. “But they didn’t break their honour code the way the Germans did.”

          • Inspector General

            It had to happen. It was just.

          • magnolia

            How just? Just?? An innocent five year old child sits at a desk learning his tables. Next moment he is vapourised. A baby lies in a pram. next moment vapourised. All due to a nasty bomb called Bad Boy I think, made by adults who should have known better. Where is the justice there? Oh, and one of the the target cities is changed –at the last moment– to take in the biggest concentration of Christians in China; all that missionary work- vapourised… Nice people in charge of that military manouevre…NOT. Deliberate anti-Christian fervour in there, not surprising from the dealers in death, devastation, torture and destruction of civilians. Wake up…or do you really think Michael Aquino was the first Satanist to be high up in the military?

            It was very far from proportionate or necessary.

          • carl jacobs

            There were innocent five year-olds dying all over Asia. Do they not count in your calculation? How many Chinese would you have sacrificed to save Hiroshima? Understand that this is not a theoretical question. That was literally the trade. These will die or they will die. How do you weigh the scales? But in truth you aren’t focusing on who dies. You are focusing on who kills.

            The alternative for the Japanese five year-old was starvation of course. Would that have been preferable?

          • Inspector General

            Mags. As a woman, you would be spared such gruesome decisions. And that is how it should be. The two atomic bombs saved around a million allied military lives it is said. Did your father fight in the 39 45 war? Are you a result of his survival. Millions of Britons are around because of those bombs.

            By the way. One is sure those who made the decision slept peacefully in their beds thereafter. Not lying awake cursing the Japanese for making them do what they had to…

          • magnolia

            Yes, my father served in the armed forces and honourably in WW2. A bit besides the point. Yes, amongst the billion zillion other things (including lack of headache!!) I owe my existence to is that his ship, like many, barely saw enemy action. However being a result of survival of war is a weird one. Many more would have been born had there been no war at all, though clearly not the same people. Not a thought which gets one far.

            Those Christians who were close to the decisions typically did precisely NOT sleep peaceably in their beds afterwards. This is a matter of record. Particularly the chaplains.

            Indeed from the UK and on regular bombing sorties some who won DFCs were harrowed long after, and in the case of one man he had even shot at the wings rather than the person. War is not pleasant; decent sensitive people don’t enjoy potentially killing others; it is profoundly counter-intuitive and uncivilised.

            Many of the US generals and experts at the time were of the opinion the bombs were unnecessary. Here for instance:

            http://www.doug-long.com/quotes.htm

            There is nothing to be gung-ho about. Thoughtful people were not.

            https://consortiumnews.com/2016/08/09/christianity-and-the-nagasaki-bomb/

          • Inspector General

            Enough of your feminine soft hearted nonsense, Mags!

            The most marvellous thing about those two amazing bombs is how they made a stunned Japanese empire surrender immediately. There and then. Just think, one day you risk being beheaded by a guard for not bowing low enough, the next, same guard has no army to belong to any more. No supply lines. Nothing. One expects a bit of field justice was then dished out and the worst of them put to death on the spot. With God’s approval too.

            You see, they had no time to murder their POW charges. Or withdraw from territories having laid waste to them and the inhabitants. They would have done that. No time to slink back to Japan for a last stand. The country would have been blockaded, of course, and millions would have starved within. Hundreds of thousands would have been killed in air raids. But they still wouldn’t have surrendered. They would have fought to the last round. Taken British armed forces fathers-of-not-to-be-born-children with them too, perhaps yours included.

            Only the most wildly optimistic of Allied planners ever gave any consideration to them just suddenly giving up. Until the technology was there to achieve it.

          • The Inquisition lasted for 600 years, from 1203 until 1808.
            It wasn’t occasional sinning, it was deliberate, wholesale extended torture and murder in the name of religion run from the very top.

          • Martin

            Mike

            So what are you saying about a church that kills God’s people?

          • Albert

            Not in the slightest. You are a Donatist. And your position is plainly contrary to your own doctrine of simul iustus et peccator.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Not at all, I’m saying that gross sin, such as the murdering of God’s people is prima facie evidence of an absence of the Holy Spirit within a professing church. Such a gross sin, which has never been repented of, cannot sit with righteousness. Remember, David repented of his sin, Rome has not, indeed cannot for to do so would be to admit that those they killed were the Church, and Rome was not.

          • Albert

            Such a gross sin, which has never been repented of, cannot sit with righteousness.

            Well firstly, you do not know whether it was repented of. Secondly, you do not know that it was a gross sin as opposed to a bad judgement (cf the bombing of civilians in WWI – gross sin? Yes, materially, but I’m not at all sure that each bomber is guilty of gross sin)? Thirdly, you are confusing personal sin of a member of the body of Christ with the body of Christ itself. Thus, you cannot charitably and truthfully make your argument.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I said nothing of sin on the part of the body of Christ, what I spoke of was the persecution of the saints. That was carried out by an organisation that had as its head, popes, who acted more like Roman emperors than servants of God. Paul clearly and openly repented of his sin in persecuting the Church, Rome has never done so.

          • Albert

            I said nothing of sin on the part of the body of Christ, what I spoke of was the persecution of the saints.

            Your position stands or falls on the claim that a grossly sinful action on the part of the Church leader nullifies the Church of which he is a part. This claim is false, and indeed, absurd. Moreover, I do not accept that Protestants were the Church.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The gross sin on the part of one who claims to have been a church leader nullifies his claim. That others, also claiming to be part of the Church, either follow his leadership or fail to stand against it nullifies their claim to be part of the Church. Rome, as an organisation, ceased to be part of the Church not long after Constantine and was certainly not a part of the Church when it persecuted the Church. You may say that you do not accept the Reformers were part of the Church, God says otherwise.

            John Paul II was never a Christian and thus not part of the Church.

          • Albert

            The gross sin on the part of one who claims to have been a church leader nullifies his claim.

            So say you, and as always, you confuse you own prejudices with the movings of the Holy Spirit.

          • Martin

            Albert

            To accept your arguments I’d have to accept that Nero was a Christian.

          • Albert

            Really? Is that a serious comment or a childish one? If serious, please show how my argument ends up there. If childish, don’t bother to reply.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You have told me that popes that were as evil as Nero were in the line of apostolic succession. Do you wish to maintain that position?

          • Albert

            Where did I say that? But even if I did, your logic is laughable. It does not follow that because Pope X is a Christian and wicked that person Y who is as wicked is also a Christian. How can you understand the scripture when you draw such bizarre and illogical conclusions?

          • Martin

            Albert

            It is certainly the implication of what you’ve been claiming. Personally I’d say we know who is saved by their fruits, that is their good works.

          • Albert

            “Certainly the implication” – it is nothing of the sort, and your failure to provide anything more than this is proof of that.

            Personally I’d say we know who is saved by their fruits, that is their good works.

            Good. So you deny simul iustu et peccator, imputed righteousness, and sola fide? You can’t have it both ways.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The implication remains. And yes, I can have it both ways.

          • Albert

            The implication does not remain unless one has bogus logic. And no you can’t have it both ways. If someone remains a sinner while being righteous, we will not see their good works.

          • Martin

            Albert

            David was both righteous and a sinner.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            King David was perhaps “relatively righteous” when compared to other men of his time. But no one is truly righteous before God but Jesus Christ…. and only He can cause us to be reckoned righteous by our faith in Him. No human being can be righteous as a result of their own behavior and works (it is not possible due to our fallen flesh and fallible souls — which are still susceptible to sin).

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Every Christian, and those who in the Old Testament looked forward to Christ, is absolutely righteous before God. Their sin was borne by Christ on the cross and they have, in exchange, His righteousness.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            No argument here. In short form, you have described “the right hand, the solution side” to the Truth about righteousness and justification by faith. But let me also add “the left hand, the problem side” to the Truth, where we must confess that “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). And John, speaking of every person but Christ: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Even believers have no righteousness of their own, only that of their Saviour and Lord.

            Honesty and humility demand that we confess, not only our sins of the past but also our weaknesses and our susceptibility to sin until God takes us home. There is nothing about which we can rightly boast … but the mercy and grace of our God.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            And that is true also.

          • Albert

            David was both righteous and a sinner.

            Adulterers are not righteous.

            Your Romans passage, as I have pointed out already does not show simul iustus et peccator, but sin raging within a man. If he sins he ceases to be righteous, but Christ saves him from this sin and makes him righteous, overcoming his sin. The passage is the opposite of what you say, and rather teaches our position: that although a man has faith, sin still needs to be over come within him, otherwise, he will not be delivered from his body of death. As usual, you have quoted without knowing what comes next. Here it is:

            for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Sin in the body, the spirit warring against it:

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

            Romans 7:21-25

            The wretched man is the believer.

          • Albert

            Yes, I understand the passage, it is describing the process of justification. Christ will deliver me from this body of sin, not in the sense that I cast it off, but in the sense that my body will cease to sin because I have been made righteous, by faith.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I am righteous, my body still sins. When the body dies I will leave sin behind. When I have a new body I will be without sin

          • Albert

            You and your body are not two distinct things. You sin in your body, your body doesn’t sin by itself.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I suggest you read what Paul wrote again.

          • Albert

            Why? Your sentence one “I am righteous my body still sins.” Is your body and agent? This is what Paul says: with my flesh I serve the law of sin. So it is not your body that sins, but you in your body. Now if you sin, how are you righteous?

          • Martin

            Albert

            You need to understand the duality that Paul is describing. And remember, the Christian is righteous because of the righteousness of Christ alone.

          • Albert

            Paul is not describing any duality of a metaphysical nature, as the post I gave to you, just now shows. What he is talking about is the person warring against himself. I am glad you believe the Christian is righteous because of the righteousness of Christ because I really struggle to see that you believe that, owing to the fact that you do not think the Christian is righteous at all.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Again, who is the wretched man?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Isn’t that handy. So you can sin with impunity? You best fill in the gaps.
            Here ya go:
            Romans 6:1-2, 12-15
            “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

            Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
            What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!”

            Faith in Christ will get us into heaven (we receive Christ’s righteousness by faith), but if we keep sinning, it reveals a lack of faith. So don’t brag that it is OK for your body to keep on sinning; there still will be consequences for sin. If you are a true believer, then those consequences are likely to be in this life on earth as a result of God’s discipline of His children.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            So where did I say I could sin with impunity?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Martin, you wrote: “I am righteous, my body still sins. When the body dies I will leave sin behind. When I have a new body I will be without sin.”
            This statement is very suggestive that it is somehow OK that your body sins since you are actually righteous. You will get a new body that does not sin. So it is OK to sin now. This can easily be interpreted from what you wrote. I am fine if you clarify what you really meant.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies
            close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I
            see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and
            making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched
            man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be
            to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of
            God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

            Romans 7:21-25

            I’ve already posted this above, I suggest you read the whole thread in future.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I agreed with that part and felt no need to respond. Romans 7 is clear enough. We are indeed in spiritual warfare against the flesh (as well as with the world and the devil). I just wanted to make the point that just because the flesh is severely tempted to sin does not make it OK to do so, or that I can overlook it just because I am righteous in Christ or because I will someday be resurrected and no longer be tempted.
            I now think we agree on this point.

          • Inspector General

            Do you know, you yourself are not beyond that if given the opportunity. We all know it.

        • Martin

          Albert

          However, Rome did. It long ago abandoned the gospel.

          • Albert

            No it didn’t. Protestantism abandoned the Church because it abandoned the Gospel.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Rome had abandoned the Church and even persecuted it. The Reformers were the Church together with their fellow believers.

          • Albert

            Rome never abandoned the Church, and the Protestant “Reformers” were not the Church.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I could give a list of those murdered by Rome who were of Christ’s Church. And Rome would had murdered the Reformers, part of Christ’s Church if they had been able. You have blood on your hands.

          • Albert

            I could give a list of those murdered by Rome who were of Christ’s Church.

            How long does it take for you to realise that you are not proving anything. Sin does not the Church unmake.

          • Merchantman

            That’s not what St Paul seemed to be writing about to the church at Corinth.

          • Albert

            Do give the references.

          • Martin

            So you are saying that when Paul was persecuting the Church he was godly? Not quite how he put it:

            I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
            (I Timothy 1:12-14 [ESV])

          • Albert

            So you are saying that when Paul was persecuting the Church he was godly?

            You really have no idea of logic. It does not follow that because sinful Christians may have persecuted other Christians while remaining in the Church that therefore, anyone who persecutes Christians is in the Church.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You are claiming it was Christians persecuting Christians, as far as I can see it was unbelievers who were persecuting Christians. Rome had ceased to be a Christian church and become the persecutor of the Church.

          • Albert

            as far as I can see it was unbelievers who were persecuting Christians

            But that is based on other commitments not on the persecution itself, as the next line proves.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So why would a Christian church be persecuting Christians?

          • Albert

            Sin presumably, or because the persecuted Christians were a threat in some way. For example, I see no reason why the Dutch Reformed Church should not have been persecuted by other Christians, because of their stance on racism.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course you can see no reason, you aren’t a Christian and you do not understand the imperative placed on a Christian, the imperative that 1 Clement expresses.

          • Albert

            So you would share communion with the Dutch Reform Church even while they support apartheid? How exactly do you get from 1 Clement to that position?

          • Martin

            Albert

            I doubt that they’d share it with me. But those errors of the DRC are not those that would cause excommunication.

          • Albert

            Really? In Christ there is no Jew nor Greek. Surely, they were guilty of heresy, and we justly expelled from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches?

          • Martin

            Albert

            While I’d say that Apartheid is error I don’t see it as heresy. Why would you say it was heresy?

          • Albert

            Because the divisions between the races has been broken down in Christ:

            There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

            and

            Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands — remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.

            Besides, would you not say that the sinful lack of charity and justice of apartheid is sufficient to exclude from the Church those who practice it?

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, I don’t think that makes Apartheid heresy.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Of course it Apartheid is heresy when it occurs within a Christian church or is supported by that church. But the Church does not yet have accepted authority over civil governments so “heresy” would not be the appropriate label when it occurs in the secular culture. Perhaps calling it simply one of the “sins of world” would do.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            I see it as error, not heresy.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I say apartheid is heresy and not just error in a secondary matter, and I will attempt to prove it here. (What fun!) I am not sure whether our disagreement is about the definition of “heresy” or whether you do not see apartheid as an evil which clearly goes against the scriptures. So I will address both issues.
            Let us start with the common definition of “heresy”: 1) belief
            or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine 2) opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted.

            Therefore, any belief or idea which can be proven to go against
            what the NT scriptures teach (and especially when no passages can be found to support it), then that belief can easily be defined as heretical.

            For Christians, there are to be no distinctions to be made based on
            race, ethnicity (Acts 10:34-35), or socioeconomic status (James 2:1-5)… and when it comes salvation and essential human worth (as opposed to roles based on gifts and callings), there are no distinctions even with regard to gender/sex (“In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.” (Galatians 3:28).

            Three main biblical principles teach about human equality. First, all human beings are “created in the image of God.” Therefore, there is immense dignity and incalculable worth in each individual person. Secondly, all human beings (other than Christ) are sinners deserving of death and condemnation. We are all in the same boat. A third equality principle must be added: Salvation is inclusive in the
            sense that Christ died (potentially) for every sinner; forgiveness and eternal life is offered to all who hear and is bestowed upon all who believe (John 3:16) without regard to race or other external factors.

            This is why our forefathers eventually abolished slavery. They wrote that we have inalienable rights and that all human beings are created equal — at least in the eyes of God. This is why racism and ethnic discrimination are all considered evil today.

            Here is Apostle Peter’s revelation: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34-35).

            Some of Paul’s writings about the issue:
            ”There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:9-11)

            Recall Paul’s use of the metaphor of the Body of Christ as the Church (Col 1:24, Eph 5:30) and his graphic teaching illustration about the parts of the Body in 1st Corinthians. Although the body parts look different and have different functions, all are important and necessary for the functioning of the whole Body: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts: and though all its parts are many they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free and we all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part only but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Cor. 12:12-20)
            “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many actually form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)

            Therefore, race and ethnicity mean nothing in the eternal situation and should not separate people in the present. The belief and practice of apartheid is heresy.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            But surely, Apartheid isn’t about salvation but that the separate races should be allowed to develop in their own way. It has more in common with Evolution at its heart. That being so, I should treat the one who believes in Evolution in the same way as I treat the one believing in Apartheid

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Please examine the definition of “heresy” again.
            1) belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.
            2) opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted.

            It is not necessarily about salvation.
            An evolutionary interpretation of Genesis is common among Christians, even for respected leaders and theologians. So it is controversial, but not heresy.

            True, Apartheid was not regarded to be heresy 200 years ago by a hefty minority of believers. However, I challenge you to show me the Christian leaders who currently believe in Apartheid; you will have a very difficult time finding any (except perhaps in some questionable cults). So it is heresy according to both the primary and secondary definitions of the term.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            I’d say that anyone who seriously believes Evolution is an acceptable belief for Christians is seriously in error, just as someone who believes in apartheid is in serious error. Heresy I would define as relating to a belief relating to God or salvation.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Martin,
            No wonder we disagree. You refuse to use the dictionary definition of “heresy.”
            We cannot debate anything if you make up your own definitions of the words which are essential to our debate.

            Heresy is not always about soteriology or even Christology. It could be significant errors regarding the doctrines of the authority of Scripture, ecclesiology, Creation, the Holy Spirit, eschatology, and many other topics.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            I’d not say that my position differs from that of the dictionary. There are differing errors, some affect serious matters some less so. And no, I don’t think you have proven that apartheid is heresy.

            I think the problem is that we have been conditioned to think of apartheid as dreadful.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Although I wish to end our debate, I cannot resist asking the question:
            How is apartheid not dreadful? Where exactly is the good in it? Conditioned or not, I have revealed many scriptures that reveal that it is indeed dreadful. BTW, if I am conditioned by Holy Writ, then I am blessed.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Apartheid is dreadful, but then so are many things, some of which we happily accept.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Thank you for admitting it is dreadful. So why have we been debating the issue?
            It has nothing to do with what people happily accept, it is all about what God accepts or rejects. And we find that only in one place.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Many things are dreadful, the baptism of infants for example and much of the modern songs that are sung. I can choose to reject them, but I may not reject a brother in Christ.

          • Albert

            Well so much for your private interpretation of scripture. But surely you see it as sufficient breach of charity as to exclude someone from the body of Christ?

          • Martin

            Albert

            That isn’t my call, but I don’t.

          • Albert

            Interesting. In your view, whose call is it? But why don’t you see apartheid as a sufficient sin against charity to justify such a person being removed from the Church?

          • Martin

            Albert

            It is the call of the counsel of elders in each local church. I’d expect them to address the real motivation rather than a left wing view as well.

          • Albert

            And who’s to say whether they really are the elders of the local church, or just a bunch or heretics? I notice you do not answer my second question.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’d already answered your second question. As to who says they are the elders, the church does.

          • Albert

            And who says which body is the church?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The church is the local body of believers who meet together,

          • Albert

            And who decides who are the genuine believers?

          • Martin

            Albert

            The believers do.

          • Albert

            So the believers have to make these judgements in the end, but earlier you said it was not their place to do so.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You are equating two different things.

          • Albert

            No, you’ve just contradicted yourself.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Not at all.

          • Albert

            Yes. It comes down to the fact that you must discern who the genuine church even while you do not have authority to judge such matters because that is down to the elders.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Church is the people of God. The Church’s discipline is entrusted to elders in their local context.

          • Albert

            Yes, but this is a question of discernment. Elders making the wrong choice would not be in the Church, according to you. So you have to make the discernment on the basis of their decision. But you claim it is not up to you to make this discernment. Therefore, your position is contradictory.

          • Albert

            and you haven’t answered the second question.

          • len

            Rome is ‘the Harlot Church’.The Mother of Harlots.This leads to the fact that a mother has daughters and they retain some characteristics of the mother.Which is the way the C of E is going.

          • Albert

            Think very carefully about this, Len. How would you like your bride to be called a harlot?

          • len

            Gods description.

          • Albert

            Would you care to give the reference? I would like to see what you are referring to specifically before giving a reply.

          • Merchantman

            The Faithful Remnant.

          • len

            The RCC abandoned the church because the RCC Pope wanted total power.That was the Church split. The initial one anyway.

          • Albert

            No. The office of Peter was always integral to the Church. Therefore, when there was a split, others split from the Roman Catholic Church.

          • len

            Its you who is splitting…hairs….. Albert.

          • Albert

            I really don’t see how.

          • CliveM

            “Protestantism abandoned the Church because it abandoned the Gospel”.

            Oh, oh, must resist……..!

          • Albert

            Well it did. The Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone is not good news, because it is not a doctrine of justification at all.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Reformers discovered the gospel, that Rome had abandoned and made it their centre, thus becoming the Church. Rome had long since left the Church.

          • Albert

            The Reformers discovered the gospel

            What a telling comment. They discovered the Gospel. Had the Holy Spirit been negligent?

            They didn’t discover the Gospel for it was never lost.

          • Martin

            Albert

            How do you think they discovered the gospel, through the Holy Spirit. And Rome long ago lost the gospel.

          • Albert

            Rome never lost it and the Protestants didn’t discover it. Faith comes through hearing, thus the Church cannot have lost it – at least not if you mean “faith” in the sense that scripture means it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Yes, Rome lost it, it no longer has the gospel, as you frequently demonstrate. But the Church did not lose it, for the Church, of which the Reformers are a part, cannot lose the gospel.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Indeed. The real Church (invisible in the sense of not being institutionalized in any unified organization on earth) is made up of all true believers in Jesus Christ. Only God knows for certain who they are. This true universal Church (the Bride of Christ) is always unified, always believes the gospel, and cannot be divided. As it has been said of her: “Unity in essentials, liberty and diversity in non-essentials, and love in all things.” The problem is finding agreement on deciding what are the essentials and what are not. “The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Eph 6) allows us to separate the wheat from the chaff. [See J.I. Packer’s wonderful monograph “Fundamentalism and the Word of God.”]

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Aside from sola scriptura, I’d agree.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            “Sola scriptura” is easily misinterpreted. It is part of the Five Solas of the Reformation and so none of them are truly “sola” (alone). I believe in Prima Scriptura, which means that (since Jesus in not here in the flesh) there is nowhere else we can find the Word of God except in the scriptures. The Bible is thus our top authority, although not our only authority. I also examine the Apostolic traditions and of course I use the best reason of which I am capable. But both tradition and reason are more fallible than Holy Writ.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            But where do we have apostolic tradition than in the Scriptures?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You got me there, Martin. The scriptures and Apostolic tradition are inextricably intertwined (don’t make me say those two words out loud quickly). We have the words of the Apostles (and Jesus of course) nowhere else but in the New Testament. But many churches call their own traditions Apostolic and yet stray in many areas from what we can find in the scriptures. They twist and “spiritualize” the scriptures in order to validate their traditions.

          • Albert

            Since you consistently show you do not understand Rome’s teaching, nothing places you in the position of being able to make that judgement.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then it seems you’ve failed to explain your church’s teaching.

          • Albert

            I haven’t tried to explain it. I’ve been giving you openings to ask for an explanation, but I am content to let you avoid understanding it, while attacking what you think it is.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If you haven’t tried to explain it you have been decidedly remiss in this discussion

          • Albert

            I offered you endless opportunities for you to ask me to do so, not just in this thread, and you never take me up on it. Instead you continue to fight your straw man.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You had endless oportunities to put me right, why did you not do so?

          • Albert

            Because you’ve shown no interest in knowing, and Jesus warns us of such.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then why reply to me?

          • Albert

            Because when you make a false statement, I feel I should correct it. That is entirely different from giving a full excursive of the faith. Having said that, I probably have covered most things one way or another, it’s just that you don’t bother to take it in, as your constant re attributing of false positions to me shows.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So what false statements of mine have you corrected?

          • Albert

            I’ve just corrected your assertion that adulterers are righteous, for a start. I’ve also corrected your assertion that I think that God needs good works to know if someone is righteous, as if God’s knowledge is limited. I’ve also corrected your misunderstandings about Catholicism and predestination.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’ve corrected your understanding that a believer is righteous based on their deeds. And since it is God who applies the righteousness of Christ, justifying the sinner, clearly God knows to whom He will grant righteousness. That is predestination.

          • Albert

            You have created a contradiction that someone is righteous while being a sinner. The Bible clearly says these things are opposites, like light and darkness.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Paul clearly says we are righteous while still sinners.

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            (Romans 7:21-25 [ESV])

          • Albert

            Where does the word “righteous” appear here?

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you don’t know what righteous means.

          • Albert

            No, it’s that you are assuming that it is talking about being righteous, while using it to prove what righteous means. You assume the point you need to prove…as usual.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, I’m saying that the righteous soul is at war with the unrighteous body.

          • Albert

            Then I think you need to listen more to the Lord:

            Jesus said, Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on?
            [18] But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man.
            [19] For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.
            [20] These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

            That’s from Matthew 15 BTW! And Paul’s teaching is similar:

            May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            Now if the soul needs to be kept sound and blameless, then it is evident that the soul can sin. And 2 Peter makes the same point:

            They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

          • Martin

            Albert

            And Paul also wrote this:

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close
            at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see
            in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and
            making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched
            man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be
            to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of
            God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            (Romans 7:21-25 [ESV])

            Who is the wretched man?

          • Albert

            Presumably, Paul himself. What is clear is that he and his body are not distinct, after all, Paul believes he will receive his body back in the resurrection.

          • Martin

            Albert

            If we can be in Heaven without our body then our body must be just a part. And our new bodies will not be the same as our present bodies.

            Who is the wretched man, is it not every believer?

          • Albert

            The key word here is “part”, you made it sound like it was a distinct agent.

            Every believer is, by extension the wretched man, but that does not help your case because the passage does not say what you say it says.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Correct, so every believer experiences the warfare of the soul against the body.

          • Albert

            But the body is not a different agent from the soul. The body is only alive because of the soul, and it is the disorder in the soul that gives the body power to disorder the person.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Read what Paul says again.

          • Albert

            Why don’t you quote the bit that disagrees with me.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close
            at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see
            in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and
            making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched
            man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be
            to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of
            God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            (Romans 7:21-25 [ESV])

            The inner being, the soul and the members the body.

          • Albert

            You keep repeating this, but repeating it is not the same as showing it supports you and undermines me.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It’s clear meaning does.

          • Albert

            Do you believe that the body is an agent independent of the person?

          • Martin

            Albert

            So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law ofGod with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
            (Romans 7:21-25 [ESV])

            Does it require an independent agent for the body to wage war against the law of my mind?

          • Albert

            You are only one agent. Yes, it may be that bodily passions tempt me to sin, but it is still me who sins.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Did I say it wasn’t and isn’t that what Paul is complaining of?

          • Albert

            I think we have probably got so far from the original point of dispute that it is hard to continue.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I think I’ve proven your wrong.

      • The Borgia were too busy sinning to corrupt the Church doctrinally.

        • Martin

          HJ

          That Borgia was elected is sufficient to show the corruption of Rome.

          • No, it’s sufficient to show sinful men have been, are and will always be members of the Church.

          • len

            Even heading it. And professing to be’ as Christ.’

          • Yes, Len, even the small handful of corrupt Popes.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It’s hardly a handful, indeed it must go back at least to the Borgias and before. To call oneself pope is to be corrupt.

          • Name the corrupt Popes – and provide evidence to substantiate your claim.

          • len

            You really don`t know? And the RCC is your chosen religion.?

          • Just calling out ignorance and false history, Len.

          • Martin

            HJ

            That’s easy, anyone who called himself pope or allowed anyone else to call him pope. They are in clear contravention of Scripture:

            And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9 [ESV])

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Bible provides sufficient to deny the openly sinful the leadership. That the Bible was ignored shows that the lampstand had already been lost.

          • “The scribes and Pharisees, He said, have established themselves in the place from which Moses used to teach; do what they tell you, then, continue to observe what they tell you, but do not imitate their actions, for they tell you one thing and do another.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            It is interesting how you and Albert seem incapable of adding references to your quotes. Perhaps you should have continued a little farther with that quote:

            Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

            But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

            Woe to you, blind guides, who say, If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath. You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath. You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

            Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

            Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

            Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

            Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets. Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
            (Matthew 23:1-36 [ESV])

            It almost seems as if Jesus is prophesying the existence of Rome so well does He describe it. And, of course, the rulers of Rome appoint among themselves, just as the Scribes and Pharisees did.

          • Jesus was referring to the hypocritical and sinful practices of the scribes and Pharisees. Nevertheless, He did say the “scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you ….” It’s clear their authority is from God – and it was passed to the chair of Peter.

          • Albert

            How little you understand of the shape of God’s providence in history.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Indeed, God allowed such an election to further destroy the claim of Rome.

          • Albert

            Presumably, you think he allowed the execution of Jesus to further destroy his claim.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Now you are being silly.

          • Albert

            Really? That was my point from the beginning God permits things to go wrong to show his power. The execution of Jesus appeared to show he was not the Messiah – actually it just gave God’s power the space to show he was the Messiah and more than that. As St Paul says: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

          • Martin

            Albert

            But you have no treasure, your jars are empty and cracked.

          • Albert

            So you’ve conceded that the presence of earth vessels is not a proof that a body is not the Church. So in the end you have to argue on the right grounds: what is the Gospel. Answer that question, and everything will follow. The trouble is, since sola scriptura is not scriptural, you can’t answer that question.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Our bodies are the earthen vessels, their content is what makes them part of the Church. If you have no treasure they are not part of the Church.

            The gospel is that God, by His grace alone, saves those He had chosen to save before Creation. Nothing that anyone can do can stop God’s grace.

          • Albert

            The gospel is that God, by His grace alone, saves those He had chosen to save before Creation. Nothing that anyone can do can stop God’s grace.

            There’s a sense in which that is perfectly Catholic. One of your problems is that you’ve never understood the Catholic doctrine of predestination.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course that’s perfectly Catholic, the trouble is that you imagine men can refuse God’s grace. The Catholic doctrine of predestination is as we find in the Bible, that God has chosen those He will save before the foundation of the Earth, and nothing will stop Him saving them.

          • Albert

            The Catholic doctrine of predestination is as we find in the Bible, that God has chosen those He will save before the foundation of the Earth, and nothing will stop Him saving them.

            And here’s the thing that is really going to surprise you: I agree with that entirely. As St Thomas Aquinas says:

            Predestination most certainly and infallibly takes effect

            While Augustine teaches:

            “The number of the predestined is certain, and can neither be increased nor diminished.”

            And Aquinas again:

            it must, however, be observed that the number of the predestined is said to be certain to God, not by reason of His knowledge, because, that is to say, He knows how many will be saved (for in this way the number of drops of rain and the sands of the sea are certain to God); but by reason of His deliberate choice and determination.

            You see, I keep telling you that you don’t understand our doctrine, and you keep doing me the service of proving me right.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Have you not told me that God’s grace can be refused? Curiously it seems to me that this is what the Bible denies.

            though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call— she was told, The older will serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
            (Romans 9:11-13 [ESV])

            Doesn’t sound as if Jacob and Esau had any choice in the matter.

          • Albert

            Have you not told me that God’s grace can be refused?

            Yes of course, by those not predestined. But that follows of necessity. Do you really believe that those not predestined are saved? If not, you agree with me. Now you can hardly deny that grace can be refused, for scripture says:

            Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.

            As for choice, no one has any choice in predestination, but if we are predestined, we will freely accept the grace, for that is what predestination means.

          • Martin

            Albert

            God’s offer of mercy is refused by all, but when God applies His grace to the sinner it saves them. No amount of made up quotes can change that.

          • Albert

            Did you seriously just call 2 Corinthians 6.1 made up?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Where did you quote 2 Corinthians 6.1? I can’t see any reference to Scripture in your post.

          • Albert

            You’re kidding me? I said:

            Now you can hardly deny that grace can be refused, for scripture says:

            **Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.**

          • Martin

            Albert

            As I said, where did you quote 2 Corinthians 6.1

          • Albert

            In the post you said had made up quotes in. It begins with me quoting you and then saying Yes of course, by those not predestined.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Are you sure, you gave no reference.

          • Albert

            Scripture gains its authority from God, not the reference. You play a very foolish game when you describe a scripture quote as dodgy simply because it does not have a reference. You thus describe the word of God as dodgy.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Actually what I’m describing as dodgy is your method of quoting.

          • Albert

            No you’re not Martin. I’m simply following the biblical practice of quoting scripture without the post-scriptural tradition of references. What you are trying to do is to evade any passage of scripture that challenges your view.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Those who went before did not have the benefit of chapters and verses to help them navigate. We have that benefit, why not use it. The only excuse you’ve given in the past is that it is too time consuming.

            And you’ve yet to present a passage that challenges my view.

          • Albert

            Judging by your excuses, and your comments, you are yet to read the scriptures I give to you. Pointing out that a passage has not been referenced does not justify you calling scripture dodgy or dodging responding to it.

          • Martin

            Albert

            As I’ve said before, if you will not bother to give a reference I don’t feel obliged to consider what you have written.

          • Albert

            You will learn scripture more if you learn to look things up – like I did. Scripture has authority over you whether or not it is backed up by a reference. Yours is just an excuse to not have to answer passages which challenge you. If you don’t wish to answer those passages, why not let them challenge you?

          • Martin

            Albert

            I’m pretty certain that your failure to give references is down to a desire to confuse, together with your use of an obscure translation. I’ve answered passages that you thought challenged me in the past and they haven’t been that challenging.

          • Albert

            Well then you are simply wrong. Unlike most Protestants, I often cite loads of scripture in my posts, and I write a lot of posts. I would ask you to have the charity to accept that as the truth. Moreover, it is hard to see how you can charge me with trying to confuse, given that the passages I cite are far from obscure (although I admit they appear to be obscure to you), and as for the translation, I typically use the RSV, although I do use others. None of them is obscure, the RSV is probably the least obscure after AV (which is obscure in other ways).

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then why do you not give references when I’ve repeatedly asked you to?

          • Albert

            Because I write a lot of posts and I typically include a lot of scripture. If you are ignorant of scripture, you have easy ways to look it up. I might add that I find your laziness and lack of desire to learn, in this respect puzzling.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Then by now you should have got into the habit of giving references.

          • Albert

            Or you might have developed an interest in looking them up. God is speaking to you through the scriptures, but you can’t be bothered to read.

          • Martin

            Albert

            As I’ve said before, you have an interest in creating confusion.

          • Martin

            Albert

            On the contrary, I understand that there were godly people continuing to find the gospel, despite Rome, all through the time of Rome’s ascendancy. That is God’s providence, together with Wycliffe and the Lollards and the invention of the printing press. And then, in God’s providence, Luther survived to set the ball rolling. Even Henry’s failure to produce an heir was, in God’s providence, to weaken the hold of Rome on England. I could say more but you should have the gist by now.

          • Albert

            On the contrary, I understand that there were godly people continuing to find the gospel, despite Rome, all through the time of Rome’s ascendancy.

            And so you seem to have dropped your original claim and are now making another one. Even if Wycliffe did hold the Protestant doctrine of sola fide (a controversial claim) one early bird in the 14th Century hardly proves the point that there were sola fideists all through the centuries.

            Even Henry’s failure to produce an heir was, in God’s providence, to weaken the hold of Rome on England. I could say more but you should have the gist by now.

            I just wonder why God’s providence, in that case allow Rome to prevail for so long, and certainly come out the stronger of the two from the Protestant Reformation period.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I have dropped nothing, and remember, Clement also held to salvation by faith alone.

            Why does God allow evil to flourish? I think, though, you kid yourself if you think Rome was strong. But then you probably hold a different view of what strong is.

          • Albert

            I have dropped nothing, and remember, Clement also held to salvation by faith alone.

            He does not teach that, he teaches the Catholic doctrine of justification by faith. We have been through this several times, the things he says of works exclude sola fide in your sense.

            Why does God allow evil to flourish?

            You’ve just undone your own argument about Henry VIII’s failure to produce a male heir. What is evil to me is good to you, and vice versa, thus no argument can be produced, provided we have answers to the problem of evil.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Here it is again, show me where Clement denies sola fide:

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ
            Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or
            understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart,
            but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have
            been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

            And no, my argument of God working through Henry’s failure to produce a heir is not undone.

          • Albert

            And no, my argument of God working through Henry’s failure to produce a heir is not undone.

            It cuts both ways, both for the thing that went well for Protestantism and those that didn’t. Therefore…

            Now as for your quote from Clement, this is illogical. I never said 1 Clement 32.4 denied sola fide, only that (i) it does not require sola fide, and that (ii) other passages of Clement do deny sola fide. I have cited those other passages at least twice already.

            Thus the question you ought to be asking is how 1 Clement 32.4 does not require sola fide.

          • Martin

            Albert

            God’s provision always works to the benefit of those He has chosen. Even the burning at the stake of His people was of benefit for them.

            1 Clement 32.4 clearly expresses sola fide, and you have not cited any passage that denies it.

    • Isn’t it more accurate to state that protestant doctrine has infected some in the Catholic Church – not that Anglicanism “mirrors” tensions in the Catholic Church?

      • Albert

        I’m not sure. I suspect the infection has come straight from secularism rather than Protestantism.

        • For an infection to take hold one’s immune system must first be compromised. Secularism i.e. the world, has never been the problem.

          • Albert

            Secularism is the infection, the weak immune system is the lack of faith.

    • Martin

      Albert

      Except, of course, that Rome is way down the route of sacralism, hence its loss of lampstand.

      • Albert

        Just silly.

        • Martin

          Albert

          Indeed Rome is.

          • Albert

            It was your asserting that I was claiming was silly. Nothing you’ve added here has done much to remove the accusation.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You deny that Rome is addicted to sacralism, that they have lost their lampstand is obvious since they no longer have the gospel.

          • Albert

            I don’t know what you mean by sacralism, but I do deny we have lost the Gospel. I take it as a mark that we have kept it that you think we have.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Rome joined with the secular power in order to share power. It is no longer the Church but a power broker. As to the gospel, you have added to sola fide and hence destroyed the gospel.

          • Albert

            Rome joined with the secular power in order to share power. It is no longer the Church but a power broker.

            Is that what you mean by sacralism?

            As to the gospel, you have added to sola fide and hence destroyed the gospel.

            Sola fide isn’t the Gospel. It’s just made up.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Clearly Clement disagrees:

            1 Clem. 32:4 And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

          • Albert

            We’ve been through this endlessly. Clement plainly did not believe in sola fide as other passages show. This passage, like Eph.2 is consistent with the Catholic/biblical doctrine of justification by faith. For your own reasons, you never want to hear how.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Funny, I’ve not seen any such passages from Clement. And saying that the Catholic/biblical doctrine is sola fide I quite agree. But then you don’t hold to that doctrine, you hold to that of Rome.

          • Albert

            Funny, I’ve not seen any such passages from Clement.

            Even though I’ve quoted them twice and you haven’t explained how they are consistent with sola fide. All you do is quote again the passage which you think can only be interpreted in a sola fide way.

            you hold to that of Rome

            In view of the fact that you think Ephesians and Clement contradict Rome’s doctrine, it is evident that you do not know what that doctrine is. And as usual, you seem determined not to find out!

          • Martin

            Albert

            You say you have, I don’t recall any such. And you’ve not shown that the passage I quoted is not to be understood as sole fide.

            Surely Rome’s doctrine is to contradict sole fide, since Clement & Ephesians contradict sole fide Rome’s doctrine must be wrong.

          • Albert

            You say you have, I don’t recall any such.

            Then evidently you do not read my posts. Try this:

            1Clem 30:3
            Let us therefore cleave unto those to whom grace is given from God.
            Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being lowlyminded and temperate,
            holding ourselves aloof from all back biting and evil speaking, being
            justified by works and not by words.

            You say:

            And you’ve not shown that the passage I quoted is not to be understood as sole fide.

            It can be understood as sola fide, but it does not have to be. Now since Clement in 30.3 teaches justification by works, it cannot be that in your passage he teaches justification by faith alone. (Incidentally, it is sola not sole.)

            Surely Rome’s doctrine is to contradict sole fide, since Clement & Ephesians contradict sole fide Rome’s doctrine must be wrong.

            Well if you now agree that Clement and Ephesians contradicts sola fide, then surely you are now agreeing with Rome!

          • Martin

            Albert

            The passage you quote does not deny sola fide, nor does it teach justification by works any more than James does. The meaning is clear, works demonstrate that salvation through faith has occurred, they are the fruit of that salvation. Hence Rome is wrong.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You are correct.
            Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) is quite clear about the relationship between grace, faith, and works.
            “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. . 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

          • Albert

            The passage you quote does not deny sola fide, nor does it teach justification by works any more than James does.

            That’s fine. James explicitly denies sola fide.

            The meaning is clear, works demonstrate that salvation through faith has occurred

            No it doesn’t it says:

            Let us therefore cleave unto those to whom grace is given from God. Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being lowlyminded and temperate, holding ourselves aloof from all back biting and evil speaking, being justified by works and not by words.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Both James and that passage refer to works that are the result of faith.

          • Albert

            I.e. they teach the Catholic faith.

          • Martin

            Albert

            But not what Rome teaches.

          • Albert

            What you stated is what Rome teaches. It’s just that Rome doesn’t teach what people have told you it teaches.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Have you not told me that Rome does not teach sola fide?

          • Albert

            Rome does not teach sola fide, but it does teach what you taught:

            Both James and that passage refer to works that are the result of faith.

            You see, you have assumptions at play here, which need not be accepted.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you accept that James doesn’t teach that we are justified apart from anything we do and James is entirely consistent with sola fide.

            No, I didn’t think so.

          • Albert

            For, probably the 10th time: we all agree, works are the result of faith. If you can’t understand that we believe that, then you don’t understand anything you are attacking (which won’t stop you attacking us, of course).

          • Martin

            Albert

            But since faith is the gift of God it, and works, are the result of salvation and have no bearing on gaining salvation. Do you agree with that?

          • Albert

            But since faith is the gift of God it, and works, are the result of salvation and have no bearing on gaining salvation. Do you agree with that?

            Salvation is used in different ways. On the one hand, we can say that Christ is the Saviour of the world since, as scripture says, he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world And And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

            But no one thinks that because Jesus is already the saviour of the world, that therefore, justification of every person has already taken place, or even that every person will be justified. Thus your logical move from faith and works are the result of salvation to therefore they have no bearing on salvation is flawed.

            Faith and works clearly do cause Christ to become our saviour, however, him having become our saviour and given us grace, then they do. If you can’t see the point I’m making, take out the “works” in that sentence and you will see I am right, for salvation is by faith. The fact that Christ is already the saviour of the world does not mean we don’t need faith in order to be saved. In other words, you are equivocating over the word “salvation”.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No, works, as I have already pointed out, are the result. I was not referring to Christ being the saviour of the world. It is very simple:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
            (Ephesians 2:8-10 [ESV])

          • Albert

            There are several problems here, and the main one is that, despite my last post, you haven’t clarified what you mean by salvation. We can use it in two ways: the act of Christ on the cross (he is the saviour), and the effect of that on us (we are being saved). Our good works are the result of his salvific act (this is what Eph.2 means), sure, but they are not in every sense subsequent to our personal salvation – at least not insofar as no one is saved who is not made righteous.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Our good works are the result of our being saved.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yep. Ephesians 2:10 is quite clear.

          • Albert

            Depends on what you mean by saved. If you mean the death of Christ, then yes.

          • Martin

            Albert

            I mean the sinner made just before God.

          • Albert

            And by just you mean he actually is just or is just declared to be so, while being a sinner?

          • Martin

            Albert

            He is just in Christ, how can he be other than just.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Not perfect yet, but justified in Christ and growing in spiritual knowledge and faith. This is a work of the Holy Spirit within us, it is not something we can accomplish on our own.

          • Albert

            If you don’t understand the question, you don’t understand Protestant theology.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Didn’t you understand the answer?

          • Albert

            Yes, but it wasn’t a Protestant one. You say:

            He is just in Christ, how can he be other than just.

            He can be simul iustus et peccator.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You may think it not a Protestant answer, but it was a Christian one.

          • Albert

            If you have now agreed that there is a difference between a Protestant and a Christian answer here, then we are agreed. There is the Protestant doctrine of simul iustus et peccator, and there is the Christian doctrine of righteousness, which excludes sinfulness, as scripture says:

            For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Be’lial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
            What agreement has the temple of God with idols?

          • Martin

            Albert

            Some who call themselves Protestants I’d not call Christian, just as I’d not call the church of Rome a Christian church.

            I take my definition of the righteousness of the believer from:

            If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
            (Romans 5:17 [ESV])

            Since righteousness is a gift, that is, not something we have earned, it is clearly imputed to us, the righteousness of Christ.

          • Albert

            What’s really going to bug you is that I find nothing to disagree with in your post, beyond the assertion just as I’d not call the church of Rome a Christian church.

            Obviously righteousness is the free gift of God in Jesus Christ according to Catholic theology. What did you think it was? Your quote exactly shows what’s wrong with evangelical thought. Sin and death are not merely imputed to us, and so the “much more” gift of grace is not merely imputed, but infused. On evangelical theology, the Bible is denied because the gift is less than the vice.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Grace causes us to receive the righteousness of Christ and the faith that cases us to believe.

            So you are saying that Christ’s righteousness is infused in us and our sinfulness is infused in Him? I’d rather accept that we receive that we receive imputed righteousness and, by the grace of God, are being sanctified.

          • Albert

            So you are saying that Christ’s righteousness is infused in us and our sinfulness is infused in Him?

            What on earth makes you think I said that? The point scripture is making is that the free gift of righteousness is much greater than Adam’s sin. As Adam’s sin makes people sinners (not just caused them to be declared sinners, but really made them sinners), so Christ’s free gift of righteousness cannot be less than really making us righteous. Your doctrine of righteousness is therefore different from scripture’s since, contrary to what it says in your own passage, according to you, the righteousness given by Christ is less than the sinful received from Adam.

          • Martin

            Albert

            On the contrary, not only do we have Christ’s righteousness, far greater than anything Adam had, but we are also being sanctified that we may be like Him.

            But you still haven’t explained why our sinfulness is not infused in Christ.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You guys keep playing at words. Call it what you will (imputation, infusement, substitutionary shouldering, assuming responsibility), Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross for our redemption. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…” (1 Peter 2:24). “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Whether Jesus carried our sin physically infused or metaphorically imputed does not matter. When He died, so did the sin; it was forgiven and was eliminated from the requirements of justice (now already paid for). This is the Atonement.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            The question is, is salvation all of God or do we have to do something to complete it? Is salvation by works or grace?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yep. This is the old monergism versus synergism debate. We will not resolve it here. IF I must give credit either to God’s doing (grace) or to human will (works) for salvation, I will always give God the glory. I must ask: How much credit do we give a drowning man for his rescue when all he does is to grab hold of the flotation device thrown to him?

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Unlike the drowning man the sinner is already dead and must be given new life.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes, but …. the sinner (lost sheep variety) is not so dead that he or she cannot say “Yes!” to God. That may be all that person can do, but God’s grace has made this option open. What sinner-saved-by-grace has not chosen this option? God chose the Elect before the foundations of the world and He made it more than just possible for them to choose God’s Savior.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            That’s not what the Bible says:

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
            (Ephesians 2:1-7 [ESV2011])

            We don’t have a choice, indeed, given a choice we’d all say no.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I do not disagree with the scripture (or any scripture for that matter); but understand that when Paul says “dead in trespasses and sins” he quite obviously is talking about being spiritually dead, not that the person does not have either physical or soul life… and a will, howsoever damaged by sin. Otherwise, there would be no reason for the Law and no reason to evangelize, no reason to think we have any responsibility for our choices in this life. We do still have responsibility for our choices… especially those for God or against.

            Why would God call upon Old Testament sinners to choose if they have no free will at all? Did they have the Holy Spirit to
            help them choose right? Not within them like Christians do.
            “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to
            him. For the LORD is your life, and He will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
            (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

          • Martin

            Bruce

            No one has the ability to choose God in respect of salvation. it is God who does the choosing. It is, however, their responsibility to do so, just as it is their responsibility to not to sin. At the heart of their problem is their devotion to their sin, they have chosen to make sin their master and cannot do anything that pleases God. The reason we apply the law in evangelism is that they might see their state. Often that will result in hostility. Evangelism is only successful when the Holy Spirit awakens the sinner and brings about the new birth. Then they will turn from their sin and seek God. Your quote from Deuteronomy is not in respect of salvation but the nation of Israel living in the land they are about to enter.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You are going to have to learn to say this better. You only sound like you are contradicting yourself and don’t know how to reconcile the reality. God chooses who to save but these people have the responsibility to choose God. Which is it, God or those who are saved? The Deuteronomy and Romans quotes are simply to remind us that we ARE given the capacity to choose God or not, so we are responsible. We cannot use our original sin nature as an excuse to say, “Well, I have no say in this; if God wants to save me He can, if He doesn’t, well so be it. He chose who to save from the beginning and so I have no responsibility for my salvation.”

            It is indeed a paradox, but you said right, “Evangelism is only successful when the Holy Spirit awakens the sinner and brings about the new birth. Then they will turn from their sin and seek God.” God’s choice (grace) brings about our own correct choice. But always — we still must choose. Grace leads to faith leads to obedience/works.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            All men have a responsibility to obey God, is that not true? No one does obey God, therefore all are condemned. God chooses whom He will save because otherwise no one would be saved.

            Our choice is the result of salvation, all those saved, and given faith, choose to worship God. Their nature has been changed, they now love what they once hated and hate what they once loved.

          • Albert

            The passage you quoted, speaks of righteousness being greater than sin. Therefore, it is righteousness and not just sanctification that must be greater than sin.

            But you still haven’t explained why our sinfulness is not infused in Christ.

            If you’re really asking what Christ was not sinful, then it is because sin is an absence of good, and Christ, being God himself, has no lack of goodness in him.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Since it is God’s righteousness it covers our sin.

            If the righteousness we receive is infused then so must the sinfulness we lose.

          • Albert

            Exactly. But that would not apply to Christ.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Why not, it is an exchange, Christ takes our sin, we take His righteousness. If it is infused, then Christ must be infused with our sin.

            For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
            (II Corinthians 5:21 [ESV])

          • Albert

            I’ve answered this already. It is so elementary that I can only think you are trolling.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You’ve made it not an exchange. Why does it not apply to Christ.

          • Albert

            Because he’s God incarnate. The presence of God overcomes sin like light overcomes darkness. Is this not obvious?

          • Martin

            Albert

            But Jesus took upon Himself our sin and the punishment for it. According to you Jesus must have been infused with our sin. It was an exchange, we receive His righteousness, He receives our sin. If His righteousness is infused into us our sin must be infused into Him. That’s the nature of an exchange.

          • Albert

            You are so far from understanding even Protestant theology that it amazes me. Original sin affects all of humanity, because of the distance caused by sin, from God. However, God is in Christ, so original sin does not affect him.

            Let me ask you this: do you believe that prior to grace we actually are sinners, or are we really righteous with sin merely imputed to us?

          • Martin

            Albert

            What is Protestant theology?

            An exchange takes place, our sin is laid on Christ, His righteousness is laid on us. If the latter is imputation then also the former must be imputation. It’s a very simple question, why are you finding it so hard?

            Of course we are sinners, but how is that relevant?

          • Albert

            What does it mean when it says God made him to be sin? It cannot mean that he actually sinned or that sin entered into him, but rather that, as Paul says, he became a curse for us. We might say he received the punishment due to sin, so that we could be forgiven. However, there is more to justification than simple forgiveness, as my earlier passage showed.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It means that as we received His righteousness so He received our sin. If His righteousness was imputed to us then surely our sin was imputed to Him.

          • Albert

            But that interpretation is excluded by the passage itself. For it says:

            For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

            Thus it is not a parallel with the passage I raised.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you are saying that in the exchange:

            For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
            (II Corinthians 5:21 [ESV])

            His righteousness was imputed to us, but our sin was not imputed to Him. Seems a little one sided to me.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Are you two guys still in your interminable argument about words? (“Imputed,” “infused,” etc.) Absolutely nothing is being accomplished except that you are both looking increasingly foolish. Perhaps that is a worthy goal — to warn the
            rest of us from paying you any attention in the future. I would not notice your interaction at all except that disqus keeps emailing your comments to me, which I then delete.

            I guess I am supposed to warn you again: Paul in his letters to Timothy warns against an “unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words” (1 Tim 6:4). In his second letter, Paul writes: “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.” (2 Timothy 2:14)

            To coin a phrase: “Quit beating a dead thread.”

          • Martin

            Bruce

            I’m merely asking why the is imbalance, If an exchange takes place surely it is the same thing on each side.

            I see I wrote imputed when I should have written infused.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Of course you are becoming confused. Step back a few paces and see how ridiculous this argument is (from both sides). There is only one thing now left to do.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            I don’t see any confusion, and I’m not sure why you should care.

          • Albert

            Seems a little one sided to me.

            It’s obviously one-sided, and it says so “made him to be sin who knew no sin“. So it’s downright odd for you to complain at the scripture in this way. In contrast the passage I can give:

            For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

            does not contain the deliberate one sided element. It is exactly balanced. Adam’s sin makes us sinners – truly, not just imputedly, and Christ’s righteousness makes us righteous, truly and not just imputedly.

            If you want one-sidedness, then you find it here:

            For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

            “much more” scripture says. The gift of Christ is greater than the trespass of Adam. Now since Adam’s sin makes us truly sinners, the righteousness of Christ must make us truly righteous. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be much more, it would be less. And that’s the problem with your doctrine – it flatly contradicts God’s word, and finds no basis for itself there.

          • Martin

            Albert

            So you agree that our sin is passed to Christ in exactly the same way that His righteousness is passed to us?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            This is not a debate, it is an addiction. Martin and Albert, you two should be locked up together for eternity. I don’t know whether it would be hell or heaven for you. You sure can ‘t leave each other alone, even after two months interacting on this website– you continue to beat the dead thread. I would not care one miniscule bit what you two did here if DISCUS did not keep emailing me your responses to each other.

            I will now cease to be the codependent parent and exit the thread for good, and I will ignore any of your further interactions. Otherwise I will have to take an anti-emetic. Enjoy your addiction to each other.

          • Martin

            good.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            The word “infused” is not used in the scriptures, at least none of the most used English translations of the NT. There is absolutely no good reason to argue about such a thing, anyway. The only reason I can see is a liking to argue.

            Paul in his letters to Timothy warns against an “unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words” (1 Tim 6:4). In his second letter, Paul writes: “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:14-15) You two have been warned.

          • Martin

            Bruce

            Albert insists on infusion, I am trying to show him he is wrong.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I did a little scripture research, as I cannot help but do when a discussion seems unclear.
            Yeast infuses bread: The use of leaven in the NT
            The Jews used unleavened bread for the Passover, as did Jesus in the Lord’s Supper. The closest use of anything resembling “infusion” in the NT is Jesus’ frequent figurative use of yeast (leaven) in His parables. His most common use of leaven was as a symbol of corruption, specifically of how sin (especially false teaching and hypocrisy) can permeate a culture (Matthew 16:6, Mark 8:15, Luke 12:1). Jesus explicitly explains this meaning in Matthew 16:12.

            Jesus also uses leaven to illustrate for how He would infuse the world with the gospel of the Kingdom over time. For example: Matthew13:33 — “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

            Even Paul used the metaphor: 1 Corinthians 5:7-13 – “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ,
            our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
            I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at
            all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or
            idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of
            sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not
            those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

            However, none of these scriptural uses of the infusion idea point to imputed righteousness in the individual. It is used either for sin in the society or church, that is, evil people mixed in with believers, like the parable of the
            weeds with the wheat, or as the effect of the gospel in the world in Matt 13:33
            and Luke 13:31.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I am ‘butting in’ here.

            Who says the gift is less than the vice? Not evangelicals. The various Roman Catholic means of works (rituals, supererogation, working off sins even in purgatory) is what makes the vice more than the gift. But the grace of God is far more powerful than any negative force.

            The sin/death that was infused in us prior to faith was eliminated (in terms of salvation) at the Cross. By faith we receive this Xing out of sin. The heart (innermost desires) was transformed by the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, and the soul is being sanctified (progressive spiritual growth) until our physical body dies and we go to be with the Lord, awaiting resurrection.

          • Albert

            Who says the gift is less than the vice?

            If the sin of Adam makes people sinners, then the gift will be less than the vice if it is is only imputed and not infused.

            I find it odd that you think so little of rituals given that our Lord participated in rituals and even instituted a few. It is also odd that you do not accept the words Bear fruit that befits repentance.

            The sin/death that was infused in us prior to faith was eliminated (in terms of salvation) at the Cross. By faith we receive this Xing out of sin. The heart (innermost desires) was transformed by the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, and the soul is being sanctified (progressive spiritual growth) until our physical body dies and we go to be with the Lord, awaiting resurrection.

            A perfectly Catholic statement.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            We will not fully receive the entire gift until the Resurrection. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and thus have the down payment.
            Even Catholics believe that there is a sanctification process going on down here. Our earthly bodies are still of the flesh we inherited (original sin) and this world remains a fallen world. The temptations remain great even for true believers. Forgiveness does not mean “infused” righteousness; the Spirit within still battles the flesh (see Romans 7). God sees the final product (righteous in Christ) even though we are hardly perfected yet (John – He who says he is without sin is a liar.). We will not fully receive the entire gift until the Resurrection.

          • Albert

            Forgiveness does not mean “infused” righteousness

            Agreed – forgiveness and righteousness are two quite different concepts. I think the point is that justification is a process that takes time, not a one off event.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yep. A process. Legalistically, theologically, one might rightly say that once one truly believes and is born again, justification is a done deal. But sanctification must be lived out in this life.

          • Albert

            one might rightly say that once one truly believes and is born again, justification is a done deal.

            This is problematic for two reasons. Justification and righteousness are the same word. A person who is righteous is without sin. Therefore, justification cannot so easily be separated from sanctification.

            Secondly, scripture clearly warns of the risk of falling away, so therefore final perseverance is not certain.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Imputed righteousness does NOT mean ‘without sin.’ None of us are without sin until we leave these bodies. Perhaps our playing at words is not helpful to our listeners. Here is what I learned from the scriptures and later had confirmed in seminary:

            1) Redemption. What Jesus accomplished at the Cross and the Resurrection redeemed all of mankind. Our souls are all now immortal. All human flesh will be resurrected, some to the eternal Kingdom with God (Salvation) and some to eternal separation and destruction (condemnation). However, no one can receive the Salvation unless he/she believes in Christ and what His crucifixion accomplished (John 3:16).

            2) Justification. When we believe in Christ, then we are justified and God counts us righteous by our faith (not by our works; we do not instantly become sinless). We use the word “imputed” for such righteousness because it is not earned. As a result of God’s grace and our faith, we become born-again children of God with the Holy Spirit within. We are ‘saved’.
            Justification and imputed righteousness are essentially the same thing. It explains why we are ‘saved.’ It is not a process but a once and for all “born-again from above” reality for the Elect of God. For the Elect, perseverance will always occur to the end, but pretend Christians will fall away. On earth, only God knows who are among the Elect.]

            3) Sanctification. God is in the process of perfecting our souls. We are still immature children who must battle the unresurrected flesh which still desires to sin. But this physical body will die and we do best by regarding it as dead already (I call it the “zombie”) and keeping it under control (via that “fruit of the Spirit” called self-control).
            Through the process of spiritual growth and maturation, we (our now immortal souls) learn to resist temptation and to “walk in the Spirit” and “live by the Word of God.” True believers will always persevere to the
            end. Half-hearted believers will not.

            4) Resurrection. As indicated above, all human flesh will be resurrected, some to the eternal Kingdom with God (Salvation) and some to eternal separation and destruction (condemnation). In the Resurrection, true believers will put on a supernatural, indestructible body like that of the resurrected Jesus.

          • Albert

            ‘Imputed’ righteousness does NOT mean ‘without sin.’

            I’d like some Bible here to let me know what you mean. My case after all, is that the Protestant notion of imputed righteous is inadequate as a an account of justification.

            Our souls are all now immortal.

            Human souls were always immortal – at least, they already lived on.

            Justification. When we believe in Christ, then we are justified and God counts us righteous by our faith (not by our works; we do not instantly become sinless). We use the word “imputed” for such righteousness because it is not earned. As a result of God’s grace and our faith, we become born-again children of God with the Holy Spirit within.

            No. You’ve just conflated justification and forgiveness to some degree. These are different concepts. At the moment, of conversion sins are forgiven. In that sense the person is righteous, because they have no sin in them. However, sin is still at work in us, and should we give in to it, we will lose our justification. However, it can be regained, by repentance.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Perhaps “final perseverance is not certain” to you and for most people. For His Elect, it is certain to God. And I can have ‘blessed assurance’ and do not have to live in doubt as you do. Paul wrote that he was “convinced that [the Lord] is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12). Me, too. Likewise, I trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in me toward full sanctification. That is my assurance, my security. By His power, I will persevere.

            Remember, the sole ground of our salvation is ‘the finished work of Christ’. For our acceptance with God depends not on ourselves and what we could ever do (which could never be enough for any of us) but instead depends entirely on Christ and what he has done for all on the Cross, and who God has chosen before the foundation of the world. “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will…” (Ephesians 1:4-5, NIV).
            We simply must believe… and receive. But the one who doubts cannot expect to receive anything from God but conviction of sin.

          • Albert

            Perhaps “final perseverance is not certain” to you and for most people. For His Elect, it is certain to God.

            True.

            And I can have ‘blessed assurance’ and do not have to live in doubt as you do.

            True again – although I don’t know the complete contents of the doctrine of blessed assurance. What is not possible is to move from “I have faith to” to “Therefore, it is certain I am going to heaven.” It’s that logical move that fails, not your subjective state in relation to the Lord. I have confidence of going to heaven, because I have faith in the grace of God, that is different from making a logical leap.

            Remember, the sole ground of our salvation is ‘the finished work of Christ’.

            Remember: that’s what we believe too, if you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand what you attack. It’s worth pointing out, that I agree with you so much of the time. It’s the bits where you infer things, which go beyond scripture, to conclusions you seem to think are the only logical ones to follow from scripture, where I disagree. It does not follow that because Christ is the sole ground of salvation, for example, that therefore there is nothing in me that is necessary for my salvation. Whatever is in me that is necessary for my salvation is there because of Christ being the sole ground of salvation. Salvation just is being (not just called) righteous. I am made righteous by Christ’s grace, received through faith. Why is it so hard to believe that?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I could have easily written to you the same exact thing: “Remember: that’s what we believe too, if you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand what you attack. It’s worth pointing out, that I agree with you so much of the time. It’s the bits where you infer things, which go beyond scripture, to conclusions you seem to think are the only logical ones to follow from scripture, where I disagree.”

            As the droll saying puts it: “I know that you think you heard what I said, BUT… I am not sure you realize that what you understood is not what I meant!”

            I have not attacked you or your beliefs, I have simply stated my own beliefs and the way I perceive theological truths, with scripture back up. It does appear that we mostly agree and where it seems we do not, the difference is about how we use the words, not the essence of our meaning. Have a great weekend.

          • Albert

            Have a great weekend.

            You too. I suspect that, in the end, we will be able to greet each other in heaven, and although one of us will have been more right than the other concerning how we got there, in the end, it will all be down to the grace of Christ and we ill agree on that.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes we ALL agree on that. I hope that ‘ill’ was not a Freudian slip but a normal typo.
            : )

          • Albert

            🙂 Yes!

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Well explained here:

            http://www.ligonier.org/blog/simul-justus-et-peccator/
            This also explains Romans 7 (which can be confusing).

            By faith, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us sinners by virtue of the Cross where our sinfulness is imputed to Jesus. The exchanged life principle. But we are still subject to sin as long as we live in these fleshly bodies and in this fallen world where Satan still has influence. But ‘born-again’ believers are forgiven for past, present, and future sins. But with changed hearts, true believers do not want to sin anymore and through the Holy Spirit within, God is transforming us into the “image of Christ.” It is a process of spiritual growth and sanctification where our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are increasingly becoming “righteous.” God is able to see the future final product of who we are becoming, so of course He sees us as perfectly righteous as well as where we are right now in terms of our spiritual progress.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            A fuller definition of “salvation”? Let me give it a shot (off the top):
            Salvation:

            1. Those who are among the Elect are known and chosen by God before the foundations of the world. “Salvation” means that they are saved eternally as true Children of God and are an essential part of the Kingdom of God (in heaven and coming to earth); they will rule with Christ in that eternal Kingdom.

            2. This salvation is evidenced/confirmed by their repentance of their sins and coming to belief and faith in Jesus Christ— leading to forgiveness (made possible by Jesus dying on the Cross—“the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”)

            3. Such faith is also part of their being “born again” by the Holy Spirit, who thereafter dwells within them. They generally desire and receive water Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and become members of some Christian church, worshiping and serving God to the best of their ability (God enabling them to do so – as they are “created for good works”). In some churches, children are baptized prior to coming to faith and then at the age of decision they are “confirmed.” Some of these are not truly converted until many years later (and some not at all).

            4. “Sanctification” is the process of spiritual growth and maturation; that is, “living into” one’s baptism. Good works will necessarily occur and there will be growth of the spiritual fruit: Love, inner peace, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

            5. From initial election to final sanctification and resurrection, none of this is possible unless God does it (which we call grace). Yes, the Elect will of necessity
            agree and cooperate with this process, but this cooperation is entirely engineered and enabled by the Holy Spirit of God. The Elect have nothing of which they can
            boast except the wonderfulness of God.

          • Albert

            Thank you for this, but I was asking how Martin was using it.

          • Albert

            The point being that without him offering clarification, his sentence tells us little since agreement and disagreement are both possible depending on which meaning he intends.

    • Little Black Censored

      “That’s just here in the flaky West.”
      The centre of gravity of Anglicanism is now in Africa and Asia. That may save it from itself.

      • David

        It will save global Anglicanism that’s fairly certain.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      And Catholics are not wedded to early Roman culture? Come on, get real. Revisionism was rife in the first centuries after the Apostles were gone. Clericalism (Roman government and classism), ritualism and superstitious relic worship (pagan mystery religions), Mariolatry (goddess worship), and Gnosticism (dualistic philosophy) all got a foothold in the Roman Church long before the East-West split.

      • On the contrary, Rome fought successfully against all these heresies.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Not according to the Reformers … and my own eyes and ears.

      • Albert

        The list of accusations here is rather odd. On the one hand you claim we are in the business of worshipping relics and Mary, but on the other hand, you say we are dualists. How do you square that?

        We do not worship Mary, we simply follow scripture in calling her blessed and honouring her as Christ did. Likewise, we do not worship relics. I find the lack of relics in Protestantism odd. After all, does not scripture say:

        So Eli’sha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Eli’sha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Eli’sha, he revived, and stood on his feet.

        If this is the case prior to the incarnation, then how much more will it be true after the incarnation?

        • Bruce Atkinson

          These things I mentioned are external Roman cultural influences which of course are not necessarily consistent with each other. I know what the official stance of the RCC is on these things, but because they are common among Catholics and because the leaders do not rebuke members for being involved in superstitious worship, then they are passively allowing them. This is almost as bad as actively promoting them. And who can deny clericalism, the elevation of Mary beyond anything in NT scriptures, and the ritualisation of worship also beyond anything we can find in the NT? All of this was the result of early revisionism, still not fully repented and reformed. And I have not even mentioned yet the mandated requirement of priests to remain unmarried.

          • Albert

            These things I mentioned are external Roman cultural influences which of course are not necessarily consistent with each other.

            Well, there’s everything wrong with this claim. Firstly, it is not clear that they are external Roman cultural influences. Secondly, they are not all things in the Catholic Church. Thirdly, they exist in ancient Churches outside the Roman sphere, leading to fourthly, they are not Roman influences but the flowering of apostolic teaching.

            Take the question of relics. I gave a clear biblical basis for that – actually one that begs the question of why relics aren’t more important amongst Protestants. You have not replied to that, but blyhtly condemn the word of God for superstition. And this is of course what the Catholic comes to expect from Protestants. Nothing the Bible actually says will change the dogged determination of a Protestant to maintain his 16th Century human tradition. Take the question of our Lady. You say:

            the elevation of Mary beyond anything in NT scriptures

            In the NT Mary brings forth God himself, as man from her virginal womb! Nothing in Catholic teaching elevates her higher than that. She is clearly elevated in scripture higher than her role in Protestantism.

            And who can deny clericalism

            Definition of clericalism, please.

            and the ritualisation of worship also beyond anything we can find in the NT?

            Really? Have you not read the Book of Revelation?

            then they are passively allowing them. This is almost as bad as actively promoting them.

            What a dreadfully compromising statement. You really haven’t studied that which you hate have you? The things I have discussed here are not simply tolerated in Catholicism, but actively promoted as being part of the faith. The reason you do not have them in Protestantism is because yours is an unscriptural dualist religion, a resurgence of Manichaeism.

            And I have not even mentioned yet the mandated requirement of priests to remain unmarried.

            As a Catholic, one can agree or disagree with that, but there’s no objection on principle.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            “Clericalism”– the hierarchical rule of priests over laity. Scriptures against clericalism– Mark 10:42-44, Matthew 23:1-12, 1 Peter 2:4-9, Galatians 3:23-29).

            In 1 Timothy, Paul mentioned overseers, presbyters (elders), and deacons (servers). After all, the church did need leaders. He did not prescribe a ruling class priesthood for Christians, which Jesus warned against (Mark 10:42-44). Peter,
            the only Apostle in the entire NT who used the Greek term for priest and
            priesthood in reference to Christians (‘hiereus’ like a priest in the OT
            priesthood who makes sacrifices for the people) used it only in 1 Peter 2:4-5,
            & 9– to include all believers. Our word for ‘priest’ came much later as a shortened form of ‘presbyter’ which originally only meant “elder” in the Greek. Hebrews 7 and 8 uses the term for priest/priesthood but only in reference Jewish Levitical priests and Jesus, our High Priest in the order (priestly role) of Melchizedek. There is no place (not one instance) in the NT that directs the Church to develop a separate priesthood like that of the Jews (Levites).

            Our Christian leaders are not really priests at all, as the Puritan Reformers made clear. Hebrews 7-8 is quite clear that we only need One High Priest, Jesus Christ, who made the supreme and effective sacrifice for us all. As for such sacrifices, “It is finished.” And because all literate people can now read the Word of God for themselves, we do not even need teachers as we once did. In Hebrews 8:10-11 the writer quotes the prophet Jeremiah (31:31-34):
            “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
            And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”

            The late great Anglican teacher John R.W Stott put it this way: “It is only against the backdrop of the equality and unity of the people of God that the real scandal of clericalism may be seen. What clericalism also does, by concentrating power and privilege in the hands of the clergy, is at least to obscure and at worst to annul the essential oneness of the people of God. Extreme forms of clericalism dare to
            reintroduce the notion of privilege into the only human community in which it has been abolished. Where Christ has made out of two one, the clerical mind makes two again, the one higher and the other lower, the one active and the other passive, the one really important because vital to the life of the church, the other not vital and therefore less important. I do not hesitate to say that to interpret the church in terms of a privileged clerical caste or hierarchical structure is to destroy the New Testament doctrine of the church.”

          • Albert

            Mark 10 teaches against the misuse of authority, not authority itself. I don’t think that 1 Peter is the only place in the NT to use the term “priest/priesthood” of believers, it appears also in Revelation (the Greek root is the same), but perhaps your point is more precise than that. But it makes little difference, the whole body is priestly, but that does not exclude a ministerial priesthood, as the OT shows.

            There is no place (not one instance) in the NT that directs the Church to develop a separate priesthood like that of the Jews (Levites).

            I find all this attacking of the priesthood odd, given that there is a priesthood in the Anglican communion. But the NT clearly expects the Eucharist to be offered, and the person who offers this, cannot do so in his own name, but only in the name Christ, therefore, he shares Christ’s priesthood.

            Our Christian leaders are no more priests than other believers, as Peter and the Puritan Reformers made clear

            I couldn’t care less what blind guides like the Protestant Reformers thought, but Peter did not teach that. That is an inference you have drawn. He speaks of the whole body as a priesthood, not of individuals, and, as I have shown this is perfectly consistent with having ministerial priests.

            Hebrews 7-8 is quite clear that we only need One High Priest, Jesus Christ, who made the supreme and effective sacrifice for us all. As for such sacrifices, “It is finished.”

            How precisely is this meant as an attack on Catholicism?

            The late great Anglican teacher John R.W Stott

            Would that be the same Stott who was ordained priest in 1946 according to the CofE? But again, why do you keep asserting authorities I do not accept? I don’t try to win arguments against you by quoting popes, I only try quote them to correct your misinterpretations of Catholicism.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Again, no church is perfect. I personally do not think that the Anglican Reformers protested enough and I critique their retention of some Roman ways (like a separate priesthood). All churches do need leaders, and yes it is all about how they lead. But anything that tends to separate the leaders as an elite group from the main Body will always be a strong temptation to rule instead of serve. Power corrupts.

          • Albert

            I personally do not think that the Anglican Reformers protested enough and I critique their retention of some Roman ways (like a separate priesthood)

            the priesthood Mr Stott whom you keep quoting was ordained into. BTW, it is historically inaccurate to regard a priesthood as Roman. Ancient Churches have a priesthood even if they are not Roman.

            But anything that tends to separate the leaders as an elite group from the main Body will always be a strong temptation to rule instead of serve.

            Undoubtedly, but the fact that that temptation exists does not mean the idea is itself false. We both believe in the forgiveness of God, and we can see that forgiveness can lead to the temptation to be lax. We can say “I can do X because God is forgiving.” Forgiveness is not falsified just by that.

            Power corrupts.

            Actually, the saying is “power tends to corrupt.” The “tends” is important, because Jesus said:

            you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you

            But Jesus did not corrupt his apostles by giving them power. On the contrary, he showed that power was necessary in the Church, despite its dangers. And if Jesus gave power, who are you to say that he was wrong to do so?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            “Worldly power” tends to corrupt. Not necessarily always, I agree. The power to rule over others and have positions of prestige and authority in organizations is worldly power. Such positions always stir up temptations. Holy Spirit power is the opposite of this.

            “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6b, KJV)

            “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness
            through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
            Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that
            through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption
            in the world caused by evil desires.
            (2 Peter 1:3-4).

            Evil desires are often associated with worldly power and authority, money, popularity, prestige, and lots of other people serving you and seeking to please you. This is the corruption I am talking about. Holy Spirit power is a totally different thing and is motivated by pleasing God, glorifying Christ, and does not seek anything for oneself.

          • Albert

            The power to rule over others and have positions of prestige and authority in organizations is worldly power.

            Not necessarily. The apostles clearly have power of ruling, while the idea that a minister for example, should receive some kind of honour is not foreign to the scriptures. For example:

            Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching

            The problem then, appears to be in seeking honour or in rejoicing in it oneself. In a sense, prestige is like money, it is not money that is the root of all evil, but the love of money.

            Now the Holy Spirit’s power can clearly stir up temptations, for example:

            Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

            I grant you, this is not a temptation in the apostles, but it is clearly a result of the power, and men who are less holy than the apostles, they might give in. But that does not make power bad.

            Evil desires are often associated with worldly power and authority, money, popularity, prestige, and lots of other people serving you and seeking to please you. This is the corruption I am talking about.

            And I am not disagreeing, I just think it is a breach of charity to assume that anyone who has power or honour in the Church is necessarily corrupt. It is also a breach of logic. Thus no argument can be found to the non-existence of hierarchy in the Church from the fact that some may be tempted by such hierarchy.

            Holy Spirit power is a totally different thing and is motivated by pleasing God, glorifying Christ, and does not seek anything for oneself.

            Quite. The danger of flat church structures is that all that creeps in by the back door. Individuals push themselves forward on the strength of their claims to holiness or scriptural erudition, all of which is really likely to be more than a claim about their own ego. The prevent such power grabs, we have a clear structure in the Church, which, through the process of discernment seeks to filter out those who seek ministry for the wrong reasons. It’s not fool-proof of course, but it’s better than the self-assertion of a semi-literate church member.

  • len

    Anglicanism is trying to set its House in order while there is still time.
    Those false shepherds who have led the flock astray need to repent …or go.

    Peace at any price is not worth having , the Church is at war with an enemy within its Gates.
    God gave His Word to men so that they could know the truth (despite Satan trying to silence those who put Gods Word into print) So there is no excuse for following the deceptions of Satan.

    • bluedog

      len, it’s all a question of leadership. The current church leadership is incapable of providing the intellectual authority needed to defeat the Jesus-themed Marxists who are dominating the episcopacy and the clergy in the CoE. Cometh the hour, cometh the man? We can only pray.

      • David

        “Jesus themed Marxists”
        Nice phrase.
        On Sunday I stated pointedly in my sermon that the passage I was using (from Acts 4) was not about Marxism or any other ‘ism’, but about practical Christian charity in action.
        And yes we need a great leader to knock heads together and re-evangelise the C of E.

  • jsampson45

    If the Church is a teaching body certain things need to be made clear to the people, who will not understand such terms as catholicity or eschatology. Local churches are where the teaching is done, so vicars and PCCs need to state clearly and publicly to their parishes whether they are following the counsel of the archbishops, bishops and/or General Synod, as publicised in the secular media, or not.

  • len

    Perhaps it is time to pause and reflect?.
    Jesus did not come to start a Church’.The ‘church’ is an invention of men. Jesus did not come to start ‘the christian religion.’
    Jesus came to call out believers to be reconciled to God through the Cross.
    Followers of Jesus Christ are to spread the Good News about being reconciled to God to others.
    Followers of Jesus Christ are to act as’ signposts’ to Jesus Christ.

    The Holy Spirit is to be our guide;

    John 14:16-17 — And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

    To allege that The Church has got the Holy Spirit captive within its system(even a corrupt system) is ludicrous.Jesus came to set people free not to bind them up in a religious system!.

    ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.'(2 Corinthians 3:17)

    This [above]scares people in religious systems because they think if there is no restraint then sin will flourish but the reverse is true if the Holy Spirit dwells within the believer.

    • Mike Stallard

      And all that stuff about the Body?
      And all that stuff in the Epistles?
      And the Petrine injunctions?

      • len

        What about stuff?.

        ‘Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ’ (Philippians 3:8)

    • Jonathan

      “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build MY CHURCH, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” – Jesus Christ. Matthew 16:18

      • Bruce Atkinson

        Catholics like to point to the conversation between Jesus and Peter in Matthew 16:13-19. Peter’s faith in Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” led to his publicly claiming this faith (which was provided only by the Father), which is the foundation for the Church.

        A reasonable exegesis of this passage indicates that the foundation of the Church was not Peter himself, it was the truth that Peter was the first to actually state, that is, the truth regarding the identity of Jesus. . This is the essential truth of the Gospel and its proclamation is the primary purpose of the Church. Anyone who believes in this same truth is part of the priesthood of all believers. Peter himself wrote of all believers as being such rocks as himself: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ … you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:5-9)

        Peter was no more the foundation of the church (which is actually Christ) than he was Satan (which Jesus also said to Peter, “get behind me Satan.”) It was a metaphor, a genre which Jesus often used.

        • Jonathan

          That is a direct quote from scripture and I was not making any argument about the status of Peter either way, but rather pointing out to Len (above) who suggested that the church was an “invention of man” that in fact Jesus Christ owned the church – hence ‘MY CHURCH’. Also why I pointed out that Christ is the head of the body that is the church. Additionally why I pointed out that if the Spirit is to be our guide as he states we are encouraged to build up the church.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I had no assumptions about you or your point in using this scripture, but this passage is often used by Roman Catholics to bolster their propaganda for popism and for being THE Church (as opposed to all the other lesser groups who are not really part of THE Church). As you know, there are a number of Roman Catholics who post on this Anglican website.

          • ardenjm

            So why did Our Lord bother to change the name of Simon to Simon-Rock unless he wasn’t saying to Simon-Rock that – thanks to his declaration of Faith in the Divine Sonship of Jesus – he was now the (frail but grace-supported) man on whom Christ would build HIS Church?
            Only that exegesis chimes with:
            1. The Keys of the Kingdom given to Peter as an exact echo of Isaiah 22 when Eliakim received the Keys of the Kingdom of Israel and thus acted with the King’s authority as a kind of Prime Minister
            2. The conversation with Peter that Our Risen Lord had at the end of John’s Gospel – which moves from the singular you to the plural you – so that Peter’s role as strengthening the other apostles and caring for the (whole) flock be emphasised.
            3. The Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 where Peter speaks and James refers to his intervention as the line to follow.
            So on balance – from the Old Testament and the New Testament I’d say the Catholic interpretation of “Thou art Peter” is faithful to Our Lord’s intention.

            There is the second question of whether and how this role perdures in the life of the Church down the centuries. It was certainly believed to – and this from very early on: St Ireneaus of Lyon is VERY clear that the Bishop of Rome had a long-established authority as Peter’s successor and he was writing in the 2nd century. So the idea of Apostolic Succession and the episcopacy down the ages seems, likewise, Our Lord’s intention. So all in all I’d say that the office of the successor of St Peter is firmly founded in Scripture and in the Church’s understanding of herself.

            Protestants dispute this, of course, I do understand that.
            But then they have to. Their movements have no raison d’être once they accept the Petrine Office.

            But look, don’t worry, you use words like Popism etc so I know you’re an old-fashioned protestant bigot. I’ll ask Our Lady and all the saints and the Holy Souls in Purgatory to intercede for your conversion to the fullness of the Faith.

            Mind how you go.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            “Rocky” said the essential truth first (and the Father got all the credit for this, by the way) so he is honored as the first Christian. But how many scriptures are there (many) which name Jesus as the Rock of our Salvation (which the builders rejected– Matthew 24:42, Psalms 118:22)? See also 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Matthew 7:24-29, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. Peter pointed to the Rock, he was not the rock. It is like naming your child “Christopher”– no one was thinking that the child was Christ.

          • ardenjm

            So why did Our Lord “co-incidentally” change Simon’s name to Rock at the moment he was talking about the Rock on which He would build the Church.
            Also: Keys of the Kingdom. I notice you say nothing. Nor about my other two points either.
            Surprise surprise…

            As for the bigotry thing: Catholics can be bigoted, of course they can.
            But as an English Army Captain said on a tour of duty back during the Troubles, ‘There’s bigotry and then there’s Scots Presbyterian Bigotry.’
            I guess we still hear too much Orange Lodge anti-catholicism.
            Oh and of course the Protestants traditionally defined themselves as what they were against in Catholic teaching. The Catholics – having been around for 1500 more years tended to describe themselves on their own terms.
            But, yes, bigots can be found everywhere. Am I an anti-protestant bigot: only when responding to people like you. I let you spit out the first bit of bile – as you did with your Popish jab – and then I come out swinging. You’ll never see me launch an invective against Protestants out of bigotry.
            I guess you could say I’m bigoted against the anti-catholic bigots – whatever their religion or none.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Peter himself indirectly indicated that the Keys to Kingdom are given to all true believers in Christ. Peter said we are all such stones as himself:
            As you come to Him, the Living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:4-5,9)

            And the now humble Peter, in not taking an administrative or an archbishop type role with the early Church (leaving it to James, the brother of Jesus), was following His Lord’s teaching in Mark 10:42-44: “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Clericalism (the rule of an elite clergy over lay believers) was a major error of the post-Apostle institutionalized church.

          • ardenjm

            You STILL haven’t referred to the Keys of the Kingdom.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            All believers have the Keys to the Kingdom, which of course is faith in Christ. In the passage there is an undeniable connection between the words of the Father through Simon Peter “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Believing this statement is the key to salvation (and thus the Kingdom of God). It is John 3:16 (all who would believe in Him), John 5:24, Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, Eph 2:8-9, etc. The Keys are all about believing in Jesus Christ. What else will get you into the Kingdom? Once you have that faith, then of course you will become baptized.

          • ardenjm

            So you set aside the clear typological link between the Keys of the Kingdom that Eliakim receives in Isaiah 22 with the delegate prime ministerial authority from the King and the direct reference Our Lord makes in giving them to Peter for this long extrapolation that is merely a rationalisation based on your refusal of the Catholic fidelity to Scripture.

            Okay. Whatever.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            As a conservative Christian (Reformed orthodox Anglican), I do indeed refuse to accept the Roman revisionist interpretation of these scriptures, revised by the RCC for the purpose of elevating the RCC and its leaders above all others in this fallen world and in order to maintain its hierarchical power structure so that clergy can continue to strictly rule over laity (disobeying Christ’s clear commands in Mark 10:42-44, Matthew 23:1-12, and Peter’s leveling of the priesthood in 1 Peter 2:4-9). Roman worldliness and infidelity, I call it. My conscience is clear before God.

          • ardenjm

            This:
            “the RCC has gotten quite right– keeping the Eucharist the centerpiece of congregational worship.”

            and this:
            “Thomas Cranmer was the essential writer of our Anglican Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles of Religion.”

            are not consistent.

            Cranmer hated the Catholic Mass and called it a blasphemy. Naming it as such is still one of the 39 articles and it has never been called in to question by Anglicans.

            As for you accusing me of trolling for converts. No. I’m just replying to posts that distort the Catholic Church’s teaching. If you stop doing that, then I shall stop replying. I’m not interested in continuing a discussion that is futile. But I won’t not reply to misrepresentations. I shall continue doing so until Archbishop Cranmer blocks me. Again.

            I’m sorry if my arguments disturb the tranquility of your settled convictions. How inconsiderate of me.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Chuckle. Your arguments cannot disturb the tranquility of my settled convictions, especially when they obviously reveal your ignorance of Anglicanism.
            It was never the celebration of the Lord’s Supper that Cranmer objected to, it was the ideas of the priests’ re-sacrificing Jesus, the idea that it was the ritual that saved people (and thus absolutely required), and the idea of transubstantiation.

            From the 39 Articles (final revision 1571, slightly revised in my version from the USA BCP 1928): XXV. Of the Sacraments.
            Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s
            profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of
            grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in
            us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in
            him.
            There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
            Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
            The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

            XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
            The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to
            have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our
            Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and
            with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the
            Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of
            Christ.
            Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

            The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

            The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.

          • ardenjm

            The Real Presence IS the Eucharist. We adore Jesus Body Blood Soul and Divinity in the Sacrament of the Altar.
            The Eucharist IS the Crucified and Risen Body of Our Lord offered (by Him through His instrument the ministerial priest) for the Salvation of the World.

            So whatever it is you think you’re praising in the Catholic Church if it’s not THAT then it’s just a figment of your imagination.

            Anything other than that Catholic and Orthodox i.e. traditional understanding of what the Eucharist is, by the way, and you are fatally on the path to the Baptists with their Coke and Currant Bun communions as even Luther understood at the Marburg Colloquy. And that was just with other Protestants!

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Thank you for your evident judgmentalism and haughty sense of ecclesiastic superiority. It is not uncommon among Roman Catholics. It will forever keep me away from your heterodox doors.

            Between the scriptures themselves, the Anglican 39 Articles (which you apparently did not read), and your own arrogant statements, my points have been proven.
            Nothing more needs to be said, but here is a prophecy: you will take the last word in this debate.

          • ardenjm

      • len

        Very shaky church built on Peter?

    • Jonathan

      “So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:12

    • Jonathan

      “After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.” Ephesians 5:29

    • Jonathan

      “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Colossians 1:18

  • Mike Stallard

    In the olden days (1950s), everyone in England believed in the same thing – more or less. We were the New Israel. We had won two world wars single handed because we were the heirs of the Anglo-Saxons. London was the centre of the world and the British were the finest people on earth.
    The Church represented this feeling very well. Stained glass windows, traditional clergy in traditional clothes, ancient parishes each with its own vicarage and vicar, open churches and bell ringing on Sundays. Marriages, Baptisms and funerals were quite normally done in the local church.
    In other words, the Church was in tune with the Zeitgeist in England.

    Now it isn’t at all.
    What next?

    • bluedog

      What came next was the 1960’s, when the institutions of the establishment fell over themselves in a desperate attempt at ‘modernisation’ and to be ‘swinging’. Pride in the achievements of Britain and the British people was replaced by shame. A people taught to be ashamed of themselves lose their self-confidence in both themselves and their social institutions. And here we are, fifty years later on. Perhaps Brexit will prove to be the start of a great renaissance in all regards, as everything old becomes new again.

      • David

        That’s about right.
        An effective brexit, like the one the majority voted for, could well precipitate a national resurgence, as some have predicted. But at present the jury is out on whether we will get the full restoration of sovereignty that we so desperately need.

      • Manfarang

        Did you watch on TV “Tomorrows World” back in the 1960s.
        The 1960s an age of full employment, growing affluence, and optimism.

    • Anton

      Persecution.

    • Manfarang

      “We had won two world wars single handed”
      Read up on the Dodecanese campaign.-German victory
      because the Americans could not provide any air support.

      • Mike Stallard

        Yup – and Russia. Yup and Asia. Yup and General Sim and Montgomery and the air war over Germany. Benn there, done that.
        But it was what we believed at the time. Ridiculous. But compared with today? Buggery=marriage?, Global Warming, Equality, Gender, Safe Spaces… I could go on.

        • Manfarang

          General Slim of the forgotten army. My father once fixed the radio on his plane which had been damaged by enemy fire.

    • Dreadnaught

      You see, this is why myopic attitudes as this get up the noses of residents of the three other countries that make up the United Kingdom. England is not the UK. English people and I am one and proud of it, exist in great numbers outside of the confines of the arrogantly mis-named ‘Home Counties’.

  • Gregory Morris

    It is an age old problem. What level of evil do we put up with before leaving a system that has departed from orthodox teaching? The declension is so gradual and the changes so incremental that it seems an absurd over-reaction to leave over matter D when one has swallowed matters A, B, and C.
    My parents were stuck in the extreme form of exclusive Brethren now labelling themselves as The Plymouth Brethren Church. They were unhappy with the increasing spritual and mental oppression but there was good teaching, happy fellowship and material prosperity inside, and outside was the great unknown and spiritual ruin. They saw people treated with terrible cruelty and unjustly judged – they were treated badly themselves. They saw their own relatives cast out for questioning the judgement of the Assembly. Still they did not leave. But they did pray that God would show them the right way and deliver them from the enslavement they were in. And God was faithful in his deliverance – he always is. A situation arose which they could not overlook so they ran, like Lot from Sodom to Zoar – a small place (far from the well-connectedness they had known) but they found a place of safety. Like Abraham leaving the civilised certainties of Haran we need to believe that God will make provision for us when we trust and obey.

    • Plasterer

      You will probably appreciate this letter from Groves to Darby, which is insightful to the point of being prophetic:

      http://www.bruederbewegung.de/pdf/grovesdarby.pdf

      • Gregory Morris

        Thank you. It is good to re read the letter in full. It would be good to have JNDs thoughts in later life about the issue. Certainly Darby was right to stand against Newton’s de facto clericalism at Bethesda but his haste in dealing with the problem caused long lasting damage to the brethren movement.

  • Interesting article Jack stumbled across this evening when researching Revelation.
    https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/2127-apocalypse-now-another-great-sign-rises-in-the-heavens

    • bluedog

      Easy. The twelve stars around the woman’s head represents the EU. The dragon is the rise of China, seeking to devour the West. The man-child that the woman delivers is an allegorical reference to Donald Trump.

      • You read and considered that in 7 minutes, Bluedog? It could have a spiritual meaning about something greater than mundane events.

        • bluedog

          Pure stream of conscious, HJ.

          • The Higher Understanding? Are you a disciple of the Inspector?

          • Sarky

            He is a prophet and I’ll shortly be starting a pilgrimage to the mouse and wheel.

          • Hi

            I’m sure being a follower of inspector would be like being kung fu panda to his master Shifu, only with less kung fu (probably) and more of the daily constitutional (definitely).

          • bluedog

            The twelve positions are already filled.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            When I hear talk like that, I am reminded of Madame Blavatsky.

            She only spent six years in New York (1873-9), but that was where her influence took off, and maybe when the city started to go bonkers.

          • Anton

            Of New York, Evelyn Waugh wrote in Brideshead Revisited that “in that city there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.”

          • bluedog

            Magnificent! One can envisage the Inspector, complete with top-hat, white tie, tails and a silver-topped cane as a Master of the Ancient Wisdom. It is surely to this that the Higher Understanding leads.

      • carl jacobs

        I am standing and applauding, dog!

    • Astrology is not exactly approved of by God. Isaiah 47:13-15 for instance.

      • But t’s not “astrology”, is it. The article makes this plain.

        • I know what the article said, but I think you’ll find it is astrology nonetheless.

          • “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
            (Psalm 19:1-4)

            Paul directly quotes this Psalm in Romans when making the case that the Jews had knowledge that the Messiah had come.

            “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. But I ask: Did they [the Jews] not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.””
            (Romans 10:17-18)

          • From the article:


            On September 23, 2017, we will see the constellation Virgo with the sun rise directly behind it (the woman clothed with the sun). These events transpire during the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of “the woman clothed in the sun,” Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. What does it mean?

            What is this ‘constellation Virgo’ except some nonsense of more interest to Mystic Meg than to Christians, I would have thought? Not to mention the further nonsense about supposed appearances of dead people.

            ”And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?
            To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them’
            (Isaiah 8:19-20).

          • What is this “constellation virgo”? Why, it one of the constellations of stars. Its name is Latin for virgin. Lying between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, it is the second largest constellation in the sky and can be easily found through its brightest star, Spica.

            “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.”
            (Revelation 12)

            On November 20, 2016, Jupiter enters into the constellation Virgo. Jupiter will spend the next 9 ½ months there. After 9 ½ months, Jupiter exits Virgo. Upon Jupiter’s exit, on September 23, 2017, we see the constellation Virgo with the sun rising directly behind it. At the feet of Virgo, we find the moon. And at the head we find twelve stars, formed by the usual nine stars of the constellation Leo with the addition of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

            Make of this what you will, it is a unique series of astronomical events with a startling degree of concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12.

            And Mary isn’t dead. She is in Heaven with her Son, the Saints and Angels. No divination, no wizards or mediums and no mutterings.

          • Anton

            This gives fuller details, for those who are interested:

          • Richard B

            Many thanks Anton as am planning to blog on this as it ‘naturally-supernaturally’ begins the start of my next decade – if I’m still here, not enraptured or got a ‘left behind’ of course!

          • Richard B

            With respect Martin, it maybe better to investigate and get a well-informed ‘think’?

    • Sarky

      What a load of old toot Jack. Do you know how many times this has happened in the past??
      A couple of years ago christians were getting their knickers in a twist about the 4 blood moons and guess what? We’re still here.

      • CliveM

        Let me correct that last paragraph for you Sarky.

        “A couple of years ago, most Christians either hadn’t heard of or didn’t care about the 4 blood moons. Guess what they were right, we are still here”.

        • Sarky

          It was dem crayzeee ‘mericans.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Dem’s crayzee on both sides of the culture war.

          • CliveM

            I suspect it was a subset of a subset.

          • Chefofsinners

            Blood moons and end times is nothing. More than half of ’em voted for Hilary Clinton.

          • Redrose82

            Add a “y” to the end of blood and an “r” to the middle of moons and you can see why they voted that way.

      • Anton

        A couple of years ago one Christian in our local prayer group for Israel was getting her knickers in a twist about the 4 blood moons but most of us hadn’t heard of the issue and one of us (me) was saying it was nonsense. We are not all the same.

        • Hi

          I get lots of emails from Evangelical Charismatic Christians and messianic Jews who send me enthusiastic epistles on these end of days things , there’s one for every year it seems.

          I remember they were convinced this blood moon would herald the end times or whatever and I should convert quickly.

          Last year it was the visit of the pope francis to Israel as the apparent “anti Christ”, followed by an asteroid.

          This year I’m told there’s going to be a solar eclipse in August , but the end started in 1947 with the creation of modern Israel 70 years ago and for whatever reason 70 is an important number in Christianity. But it’ll start the tribulations from now until Rosh Hashanah 2024, 2,550 days or something.

          Then there’s the rapture where you Christians get whisked to heaven and us non believers are left to die on earth in the tribulations , although I could be one of those 144,000 Jews who get saved if I became a Christian.

          • Anton

            You have described the “pre-tribulation rapture” interpretation (the phrase is self-explanatory) but some of us (including me) think that the rapture happens seconds before Jesus returns bodily to this earth to put an end to the “great tribulation” (ie worldwide persecution of the church, and for non-Christians horrendous global-scale conflicts).

          • Hi

            All so confusing for the causal reader. And would I be right in thinking there’s a difference between an evangelical tribulation and rapture to the Catholic version e.g. happy jack’s Fatima vision thing?

          • Anton

            I’m not familiar with any claim that the verses about the Rapture relate to the Fatima vision spoken of by Catholics. Nor, I think, are Catholic friends of mine.

          • Anton

            It’s confusing for the casual reader as well as the causal reader!

          • Sarky

            Isnt that tge jehovahs??

          • Hi

            My sister Esther always used to open the door to JWs and gave them tea.* I think they used to enjoy going round , but now they’ve been reassigned to train stations apparently .

            *Middle eastern custom : you can’t let a stranger, friends or family knock on the door and not offer beverages or food.

          • Manfarang

            I remember seeing a lunar eclipse in Israel. Looked nice in the desert sky.

          • Cool.

        • Sarky

          I think it was that fine christian gentleman john hagee who brought it up. Haven’t heard from him since.

          • Anton

            If he had a proper comprehension of the Christian faith then he wouldn’t have said that Jews don’t need Jesus, as he did.

      • Has such an astronomical event happened before?

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Around Christmas, 2015 I think, the Sky at Night team did a programme comparing six hypotheses regarding the Star of Bethlehem. I think the strongest contender proved to be twice-visible comet, seen by the Chinese as it approached the Sun and a few months later after it emerged from the Sun’s glare.

      I prefer the new team to Patrick Moore.

      • Manfarang

        They are a clever lot those Chinese.

    • Chefofsinners

      Matthew 2 records that the star which guided the Magi went ahead of them from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and stopped over the house where Jesus was. No natural planetary event could have indicated an individual house.

      • bluedog

        So what was it?

        • Sarky

          A made up story???

          • Chefofsinners

            There are three approaches to miracles:
            1. Say they are made up – which re-emphasises that faith will always be required to follow God.
            2. Believe them and be awed at God’s power.
            3. Try to explain them as natural events – which is a hopeless halfway house between the above two, because it reveals nothing.

          • carl jacobs

            The Star was technically revelation – a manifestation of general revelation given to the whole world. It is properly contrasted with the Special Revelation given to the shepherds. So it could have been a natural event.

          • Unusually sensible of you, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s a miracle either way. When you think about the math involved in constructing that event at that exact moment at that exact place, the concept is mind-boggling. It clearly reveals the glory of God displayed in creation, and that’s why I prefer it.

            But Chef could be right. I wouldn’t fall on my sword about it.

          • No, nor would Jack and he prefers your perspective too. The whole of creation is a miracle revealing the glory of God. He orders events as He sees fit to serve His purpose. Why would He need a special miracle to announce to the wider world His Son’s arrival?

          • Chefofsinners

            You are attempting to discern whether a miracle was a miracle by asking whether God would ‘need’ a miracle. Stop and think what a stupid question that is.

          • What is and what is not a miracle, Chef? An infinitely intelligent Creator who orders all of creation is more than capable of using astronomical events to reveal the arrival of His Son.

          • Richard B

            Agreed, and scripture does support the concept of planets and constellations as astronomical signs (or signals) being of ‘sign’ificant import – NOT astrological meaning!!

          • Jack is aware some claim God’s plan of redemption is written in the constellations.

          • Chefofsinners

            You will meet a tall dark stranger and should avoid the number 7 this week.

          • That’s astrology. Not the same thing.

          • Chefofsinners

            I know.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            The moon can never be in a planet. It can be in a sign, however.
            You are obviously ignorant of what astrology actually knows and attempts to do. Their error, made clear by the OT, is in trying to predict the future from celestial events and allowing the planets to rule their everyday decisions. THAT is idiot superstition. However, that the stars/planets have been used by God as signs to communicate knowledge to us is quite biblical (witness the Star of Bethlehem and a number of scriptures, a few of which I posted earlier).

          • Chefofsinners

            A miracle, working definition, is something we can’t explain.
            It is man’s arrogance to attempt to explain all that God has done.

          • With that position – “the God of the Gaps” – there would be no science. God has given us intelligence and a desire for knowledge.

          • Chefofsinners

            Name one event recorded in scripture which appeared miraculous at the time but has been subsequently explained by science.

          • The Star of Bethlehem has a number of possible scientific explanations. You do realise that science is simply a means of trying to understand the laws of all of nature.

          • Chefofsinners

            The only scientific explanation I have seen so-far for the star of Bethlehem is unlikely. What are the others?
            I do realise what science is. Do you realise what faith is?

          • Do you know the difference between the two?

          • Anton

            Depends what you mean by a miracle. See my comment above about the crossing of the Jordan.

          • carl jacobs

            We are actually examining whether a sign requires supernatural content, and (if so) what that supernatural content must be. We don’t actually know what the Magi saw in the sky.

          • Chefofsinners

            Jack’s argument was:
            Does a sign require supernatural content?
            No.
            Therefore nothing supernatural occurred.

            A mind like yours will spot the fallacy.

          • Actually Jack’s position is:

            Does a sign require supernatural content?
            Not necessarily, given God created the universe and the movement of the constellations, planets and other bodies.
            Therefore nothing supernatural occurred.
            Possibly not if we restrict the definition of a miracle to a specific intervention of God which disrupted His natural laws.

          • Chefofsinners

            Inserting the word ‘possibly’ makes this a logical argument.
            All you need now is a convincing natural explanation of how a star visible to the magi in or around Babylon could also move to indicate an individual dwelling in Bethlehem at least a year later.

          • Because Jack cannot give one doesn’t mean one does not exist. Perhaps they were ancient astrologers. Do you regard creation as a miracle?

          • carl jacobs

            Not necessarily

            Only in the most mechanical sense. The supernatural aspect would involve the ordered confluence of events. Here’s the question. If the probability of occurrence for a natural event approaches zero, can it be considered a supernatural event if it occurs? I don’t know. That’s why one shouldn’t make definitive claims.

          • The whole of God’s creation, including human history, is really a supernatural and “ordered confluence of events”.

            A miracle is defined by the Church as: “an extraordinary sensible effect wrought by God that surpasses the power and order of created nature.”

          • carl jacobs

            Congratulations. You’ve taken your first step on the road to receiving the Doctrines of Grace. But you are operating at a scope just a little above what I was referring to.

          • We don’t differ over what you call the Doctrines of Grace. Where we differ is just how God dispenses His grace, to whom and with what effect.

          • carl jacobs

            I would be surprised if we agree on the Doctrines of Grace since the Council of Trent condemned them.

          • You tricked Jack, didn’t you?

            The phrase “doctrines of grace” is used as a replacement for the term “Calvinism,” in order to remove the attention from John Calvin and instead focus on how the specific points are biblically and theologically sound. The phrase “doctrines of grace” describes the soteriological doctrines that are unique to Reformed theology, which is Calvinistic. These doctrines are summarized with the acronym TULIP. The T in TULIP stands for Total Depravity, U for Unconditional Election, L for Limited Atonement, I for Irresistible Grace, and P for Perseverance of the Saints.

            No wonder Trent condemned this distortion of the Gospel.

          • carl jacobs

            I was commenting on the explosive implication of your statement – an implication about which you seemed unaware. Plus I was expanding your vocabulary.

          • Jack was fully aware of the implications of his statement. It’s entirely Catholic (as opposed to Arminianism). Calvin just didn’t grasp its true meaning and how it squares with both God’s Sovereignty, His will that all be saved and free will.

            Just stick with TULIP in the future.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Over generalization. I happen to be an orthodox Anglican and agree with the Anglican 39 Articles of Religion. They were not written by Calvin but by Thomas Cranmer and Anglican associates. TULIP, nor even the 5 Solas are not part of that document nor officially accepted by our church. I also happen to agree with Carl Jacobs that the Roman Catholic Council of Trent condemned the “doctrines of grace” made clear by St. Paul. Much of the argument is about salvation by grace and faith versus works and sacraments. This argument continues today.

          • The whole of God’s creation, including human history, is really an “ordered confluence of events”.

            A miracle is defined by the Church as: “an extraordinary sensible effect wrought by God that surpasses the power and order of created nature.”

          • carl jacobs

            The sign given to Ahaz was doubly fulfilled. The immediate fulfillment was not supernatural at all. And yet it was identifiable. We can therefore conclude that a sign must be unique and distinguishable but not necessarily possessed of supernatural content. The star of Bethlehem might therefore not be properly considered a miracle. It could be a manifestation of some natural event in the heavens. There is nothing in Scripture that requires the star to be a miracle. We also know that creation acts as general revelation to the power and glory of God simply by virtue of its existence and operation. The star was an instance general revelation. We may therefore at least consider the possibility that the star was always intended to be a manifestation of natural processes. God could have set the image of the star into the created order to be revealed at the proper moment.

            We don’t know what they saw. We know the description of the event from their perspective. It looked like a star but did not act like a star. So what was it? There is no way to tell. But we shouldn’t worry too much about the actual nature of the object. What is important is the sign given – no matter what the nature of the star might have been. This is all somewhat similar to speculation about the Incarnation. How did Mary become pregnant by the Holy Spirit? It doesn’t really matter. What is important is that she did.

          • Anton

            It’s the influence of Aquinas, who is inordinately fond of reasoning “from necessity.”

          • carl jacobs

            And anyways …. Now that I get around to it …. What did you mean by that “sensible” crack?

          • Eh?

          • carl jacobs

            “Unusually sensible of you”. What were you implying?

          • Jack cannot recall exactly what was in his mind at the time this was written.

          • carl jacobs

            OK. Well I would hope you weren’t making some backhanded comment about the inanity called evolution.

          • We both agree God created the universe and man from nothing. Just how is another matter (excuse the pun). But no, Jack did not have that in mind. Jack thought you’d adopt the same approach as Chef towards the Star of Bethlehem.

            (Aquinas’) Argument from Design is not that living systems are amazing exceptions to a lawless and chaotic world, but that the world is not lawless and chaotic. A complex living thing is not a proof of creation while an uncomplex rock is not. Rather, the rock and the living thing and everything else in creation bears witness to its Designer and Maker by the fact that it exists, it is obedient to the Rules, and it is intelligible to the three pound piece of meat behind our eyeballs. It is this lawfulness of all of nature, not the exceptions to the laws, that impresses St. Thomas. It is from this that he infers Design, just as we infer design when an arrow (that is not itself intelligent) keeps finding its mark or a goose (also not too brainy) keeps finding its migratory nesting ground every year. And it is this consistent lawfulness of nature that makes things like science possible at all. If there were no consistent laws governing time, space, matter, and energy, there could be no science to discover what those laws are and make use of them to create the technology we enjoy. So the irony is that those who keep appealing to “science and reason” in opposition to God are, without realizing it, bearing witness to St. Thomas’ point that nature is lawful–and therefore the creation of a God who not merely exists, but who is an orderly Legislator. And this is why, as we shall see next time, the best fig leaf atheist materialists have for their philosophy–evolutionary science–no more disproves the existence of God than the science of hydraulicss, nuclear power, or optics does. Of which more next time.

            http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/intelligent-design-vs.-the-argument-from-design

          • carl jacobs

            Surely it was not lost on you the “unusually sensible” implies “usually insensible”. And anyways, Chef wasn’t being insensible. It could have been a supernatural object.

          • Grouchy Jack

            “Surely it was not lost on you the “unusually sensible” implies “usually insensible”.”

            There you go then. Sometimes Jack doesn’t know what he knows.

          • Chefofsinners

            Sometimes?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I agree.

          • Sarky

            You know my views on faith.

          • Anton

            Do you believe you have no faith? Please notice that I don’t mean “no faith in a supernatural being”.

          • Sarky

            Nope, i believe in evidence.

          • Little Black Censored

            And he believes is saying “nope”.

          • Anton

            Whence your criteria for evaluating evidence?

          • Sarky

            Peer review.

          • Anton

            Where do they get their criteria?

          • Sarky

            STAR sufficiency, typicality, accuracy and relevance.

          • Anton

            Yes yes, all good criteria, but how is it decided what is sufficient, accurate and relevant?

          • Sarky

            Because most of these things are measurable and not just plucked from the air.

          • Anton

            What I am asking is what is the origin of logic?

          • Sarky

            Try google

          • Anton

            I have an answer that makes sense, thanks. I’m interested in what you think.

          • Sarky

            Depends if you’re talking about formal logic.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            If you do some research, you will find some very good theories based on astronomical facts which occurred around the time of the birth of Jesus (unusual conjunctions of Venus, Jupiter, etc. in Leo the sign of kings, and associated with Judah and the Jews). Would that work for you?

          • Chefofsinners

            i.e. Finding someone else who agrees with you. We can all do that.

          • Sarky

            Where the evidence is tested?

          • Chefofsinners

            Tested how? Your answer to that was ‘peer review’.

          • Sarky

            Thats what peer revue is.

          • Anton

            Peer revue is the House of Lords.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            chuckle

          • Sarky

            Erm…thats not how it works.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You got lots of peers and many above your educational station right here, right now. But you respect none of us, only your own personal judgment of what comprises evidence. You are your own little god…. without worshipers.

          • Sarky

            Very true. But none who are qualified in the relevant scientific disciplines.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Depends on your criteria. Historian/archaeologists who have many years experience examining ancient documents and physical archeological evidence? Of course, the farther back we go in time, the less evidence there is of any human events and people. However, compared to all other ancient writings, these (secular) scientists generally agree that the Bible is the most reliable for documenting real events and people.

          • The Snail

            only too well! Your faith is in atheism

          • Sarky

            Try again.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Whatever you feel or think at the time?

          • One can be awed at God’s power as displayed through the timing of natural events which coincide with His plan of salvation worked out through the births, lives and deaths of people. No?

          • Chefofsinners

            The point is, a natural star cannot lead you to an individual house. Trying to explain miracles by recourse to natural events in this way betrays a lack of faith and denigrates God’s miracles.

          • Anton

            Without question there is something supernatural about the event. The question is: was the ASTER of Bethlehem a celestial body behaving according to what Jeremiah (33:25-6) called “the fixed laws of the heavens”, with supernatural timing to match Jesus’ birth; or was its very motion supernatural?

            This physicist has read a great deal about the question and doesn’t know the answer. I have no axe to grind. I would say, though, that you are adding somewhat to the scriptures by saying that it led to a individual dwelling. The verse in question, Matthew 2:9, says that it stopped over the location of the child. It is not unusual for some celestial bodies to stop and reverse their motion as seen from the earth (although of course they are doing no such thing relative to the sun). It might have done so, from the point of view of the magi, over a small village where there was only one infant of the requisite age.

          • Chefofsinners

            The magi already knew that they should travel to Bethlehem. In this context the star evidently gave them more precise directions. As the text reads prima facie, the star stopped over the place (within Bethlehem) where the child was.
            What conjunction of planets can do that?

          • Anton

            Who said a conjunction of planets? Asteroids disturbed from their long-term orbit by a collision, and comets, may shift around the sky as well as stars and planets. If it were one of those, we would have no idea where it is today and therefore be unable to use Newton’s laws of motion to work out where it was during the short interval in which we know Jesus was born.

            Suppose the magi were walking south toward Bethlehem and the star was slowly descending directly ahead of them, and continued to descend when they reached the centre of the village but ceased to descend by the time they were approaching an isolated farmstead another few hundred yards south?

            I have no commitment to this theory – please note – but you have to eliminate *every* scenario of this sort which is consistent with Matthew before you can say that the supernatural aspects are in more than the timing.

          • Chefofsinners

            And I’m sure that all of the remarkable events described in the bible could be explained with equally or slightly less far fetched scenarios. The natural human reaction to these events is to seek to construct a rational explanation for them. However, this is not what God requires of us, He requires faith.

            But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above.) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
            Romans 10

            The star, like all God’s actions, was simply a signpost to the Saviour. Possibly a laser light show put on by time travellers from the future. Who knows? What does it matter?

          • Anton

            I am content that it is a miracle; you seemed to be concerned about what sort.

          • “And I’m sure that all of the remarkable events described in the bible could be explained with equally or slightly less far fetched scenarios.”

            Well, no they couldn’t. There is a danger that some label everything we cannot rationally explain as a “miracle”. Equally, there is a danger that stretched rational explanations are given to all miracles. The Star of Bethlehem can be understood in different ways. It might have been a physical manifestation of God’s presence on earth; it might have been an astronomical phenomena of some sort. We can agree and insist that the scriptural account is a narrative of fact.

          • Chefofsinners

            No, indeed they couldn’t, but it doesn’t prevent every halfwit trying. In case you hadn’t noticed there is a massive industry devoted to books and documentaries explaining everything from manna & quail to the resurrection.
            I thought you Catholics loved miracles. All too keen to suck up crying statues and Jesus on a slice of toast and wot not. But give you a bona fide star in the East and you can’t wait to get your grubby logical explanations all over it. Pope Francis would be most disappointed in you, Jack. Most disappointed.

          • An incoherent comment, Chef, riddled with nonsense. Catholics look to the Church to assess claims of divine miracles and whether they are worthy of belief. We accept the obvious miracles in scripture. Do calm down.

          • Chefofsinners

            Thought you’d enjoy that one.
            What does the Church say about the star of Bethlehem?

          • Nothing definitive. There’s no controversy so Jack is free to see it as he chooses – provided he accepts it was a manifestation by God of the arrival of His Son.
            Here’s one view:
            http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/was-the-star-of-bethlehem-a-myth-a-ufo-or-something-else-8-things-to-know-a

          • Chefofsinners

            You’d think they’d have managed an opinion after 2000 years.

          • Why?

          • Anton

            At the beginning and end of the Exodus, the Israelites met a water barrier. The crossing of the Jordan took place in the spring (Joshua 4:19). The river would have been in flood from snowmelt off the Mt Hermon range, fast-flowing and treacherous. Before 1940, when modern irrigation schemes diverted much of the water, it might burst its banks to a width of half a mile. God exposed the riverbed (Joshua 3) by piling up the water upriver, near a town called Adam. Scholars believe that this is modern Damiya, 18 miles north of the crossing point near Jericho. The Jordan valley is a boundary between two continental plates, which extends south down the Red Sea and through the great Rift Valley in Africa. The geophysics professor Amos Nur looked at historical records and found that smaller earthquakes occasionally trigger mudslides of the riverbank – which in places is quite steep. These mudslides may temporarily block the river and cause the water to back up. In 1267, for instance, a bridge project was in difficulties until the flow stopped for several hours and workers rapidly built proper foundations. The local sheikh, intrigued, found that a landslide had taken place upriver. Obviously the same thing happened near Damiya when the Israelites reached the river. “When Israel came out of Egypt… the Jordan turned back, the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like lambs… tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord” – from Psalm 114. This miracle at least is in the timing of a natural event.

          • Sarky

            Do you not read the bible?

            It took the wisemen about 2 years to get there and when they did they went to see herod first?

            1. What sort of star would stay put for two years?

            2. Why would Mary and Joseph hang around in a stable for two years?

            3. If the star pinpointed the stable, why go and see herod?

            Its plainly just a story.

          • Anton

            Where do you get two years from?

          • Sarky

            Herod killed all the kids aged 2 and under. Why do that if he was aware jesus was younger?

          • Anton

            How long do you think it took Herod to twig that the Magi had outwitted him and weren’t coming back through Jerusalem? And when the slaughter of the infants began you can bet that parents didn’t answer truthfully ho old their children were; the soldiers had to go by appearance.

          • Sarky

            I think they could tell the difference between a baby and a toddler.

          • Anton

            But my question about Herod?

          • Sarky

            ???

          • Anton

            How long do you think it took Herod to twig that the Magi had outwitted him and weren’t coming back through Jerusalem?

          • Sarky

            Pretty quickly.

          • Chefofsinners

            What it is, is evidence.

          • Sarky

            The bible isnt evidence.

          • Anton

            That you are not prepared even to treat it as a fallible human historical document, as many secular historians do, shows clearly that you argue from a position of faith.

          • Sarky

            No, from a position of evidence. There isnt any.

          • Anton

            The Bible is evidence. Some of us regard it as conclusive evidence, by which to weigh other things. You use other things to weigh it, which is your privilege. But evidence it is. Don’t you get this point, which is about logic, not the contents of the Bible?

          • Sarky

            The contents are everything.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes it is. You mean that you have chosen not to believe this piece of evidence.

          • Sarky

            Show me the evidence then.

          • Chefofsinners

            You are confusing the terms ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’.

            Proof is when an individual judges that the evidence is sufficient to be convinced.

          • Sarky

            Cop out.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Not to you.

          • Sarky

            Not to the vast majority of the scientific community.

          • Sarky

            If it was evidence the stories regarding the birth of jesus would correlate..they dont.

          • Chefofsinners

            If the differences are real, why do you think no-one over the last 2000 years has altered the stories? It could have easily been done if Christianity were, as you believe, a conspiracy to deceive.

            Perhaps if you looked closer you would find that your perceived contradictions dissolve.

          • Sarky

            They really dont. The differences are ignored because the skeleton of the story remains the same. The differences are brushed aside by christians who are either unaware of them or just ignore them. But when you really start examining the claims of christianity these differences start screaming at you and you can’t ignore them, they are the difference between faith and atheism.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Perhaps not easily interpreted, but the written Word of God is still the Word of God. Doubt it all you want, to your own downfall.

          • Sarky

            I dont do blind faith.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            When it comes to worldly philosophies and scientific theories, give me facts, evidence, and rational arguments that connect the facts with your contentions.

            But when it has to do with the scriptures and Apostolic doctrines, blind faith is a very good thing. As Jesus told doubting Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).

          • Sarky

            Which basically sets up a religion without the requirement for evidence.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You may choose to value the evidence of your own senses or even worship the empirical evidence of scientific research (both of which are fallible and always changing as science learns more). These may be your chosen ‘authorities.’

            However, one particular religious point of view (the special revelation from God which we find in the scriptures) is already far above science. The Word of God neither requires nor desires that we depend first on our senses or the results of research. That would make a god of either ourselves or science. Idolatry.

            If there is (as we believe) a personal Almighty God who created the entire universe, then of course He is above and beyond any requirement for evidence. He desires for us to trust Him without requiring overwhelming evidence (we call this ‘faith’). His will and choices are absolutely not going to submit to merely human requirements… for anything. In fact, He desires to be hidden to those who do not want to believe and only reveal Himself to those who do. Being God, He knows each individual’s heart and soul.

          • Sarky

            If there is a god then he is conspicuous by his abscence, to the point that there would be no point worshipping him even if he did exist.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            My experience is the opposite. God is VERY conspicuous by His presence. Perhaps you do not really want there to be a God so you have blinded yourself to His abundant signs and messages. The idea of being accountable to an all-powerful Being is scary at first, before you know Him personally enough to trust Him. So you refuse to see the evidence before your eyes and mind.
            People don’t just believe things because of the evidence, they can easily believe or disbelieve despite the evidence; psychologically, people believe what they want to believe. What we “want” to believe reveals our inner nature, what the Bible calls our heart. And He says “if you seek the Lord with all your heart, you will find Him. Knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find.” (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7-8)

            “Just as it is the nature of light to shine, so it is the nature of God to reveal Himself. True, he hides himself from the wise and clever, but only because they
            are proud and do not want to know Him; He reveals himself to ‘babies’, that is, to those humble enough to receive His self-disclosure. The chief reason why people do not know God is not because He hides from them, but because they hide from Him.” — John R.W. Stott

          • Sarky

            Stuff that goes on in your head is not evidence. Why does my unbelief mean I’m scared or hiding?? Maybe ive examined the claims and found them to be untrue.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You have “examined the claims.” So your interpretations of the evidence which “goes on in your head” (as all of our opinions do) keep you from believing. OK. The evidence for a billion believers out there is obviously not evidence to you. You have not experienced a direct interaction with the Lord, so of course you cannot believe. I was quoting Stott about hiding… I don’t know your innermost motives, desires, and reasons. But it is easy to say that you do not WANT to believe and therefore this must bias all your examinations of the evidence.

          • Sarky

            I was in the church until i was 18. Never saw anything to convince me that god exists. I’m not committed to disbelief, nothing has convinced me otherwise.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You protest strongly enough to indicate otherwise. The evidence from your posts reveal that you are not a seeker but a reprobate. Nothing is likely to convince you now, not even if Jesus showed up in your bedroom tonight.

          • Sarky

            Im at work, so that would be pointless.
            You’re right im not a seeker, seen enough to convince me it would be like searching for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

            (P.s. reprobate is a bit harsh)

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Duh.

          • Sarky

            Derrrrr duh.
            Derrrr duh.
            Is that the start of the jaws theme?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            No, “Duh” is written on the chest of the costume of Obviousman.

          • Sarky

            Did you just make that up?

          • Sarky

            Coincidence, no?
            Or just stories to fit the stars.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            To the faithless, all the amazing order of the universe is but ‘coincidence’.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            If all the scriptures consist of a made up story…. NOT!

          • Sarky

            Evidence please.

          • Anton

            What would you accept?

          • Sarky

            Corrobative texts. Archeological evidence. Astronomical evidence. Etc etc

        • Chefofsinners

          A star, certainly, because that is what it is called. But one which behaved in a miraculous way, not part of the normal run of events.

          • Anton

            Without taking sides here on whether it was a natural body with supernatural timing, or a supernatural body, the word ASTER in ancient Greek meant more than we mean by “star” today.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            It may have been a miraculous “star event” but even if it was in the normal mode of stars and planets, it was designed perfectly for this event (Jesus’ birth), so it was miraculous in some sense of the word (God designed and planned it in the ‘natural’ course of things). The fact that only the astrologers (who were the earliest astronomers who we call the wise men) knew about it but not the Jews (who also had those who watched the stars) suggests strongly that it was not obvious to those who did not watch the stars as a science. It was not some strange event that all could see. So this also suggests that it was an alignment that they could interpret out of their past experience and knowledge (which happened to be correct).

            Genesis 1:14-16
            And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.

            Psalm 19:1-8
            1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
            the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
            2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
            night after night they reveal knowledge.
            3 They have no speech, they use no words;
            no sound is heard from them.
            4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
            their words to the ends of the world.

    • David

      Yes interesting. Many thanks.

    • Richard B

      Thanks Jack for this interesting addition to what I’ve just read over lunch from a friend. FYI (and 4 others 2) this diagrammatic ‘compendium’ points out the need to distinguish differences in the Greek between ‘heaven’ and ‘the sky’ as well as offers critiques of several claims on the matter > http://www.unsealed.org/2017/01/the-revelation-12-sign-compendium.html

      Imho, such astronomical phenomena (eg the blood moon sequence) combined with God’s feast days (not Jewish of church ones) may indicate subtle changes affecting mankind and events in accordance with His plans and purposes. (Huge subject of debate am not entering: plumbing 1st!)

      • Thank you, Richard. Jack usually avoids such speculation but this astronomical event, even without its associations with Fatima and Pope Leo’s vision, struck him as interesting. Given what’s going on in the world, it may well signify some revelation from God about future events. Just what this might be, is above Jack’s paygrade. How would the modern world react to the Star of Bethlehem?

        • Richard B

          Thanks Jack, and just quickly whilst guy servicing boiler in bathroom so am held up replacing shower: haven’t studied current articles but understand 23Sept’17 may repeat that astronomical ‘sign’ and that prophet Daniel bequeathed details about the associated planetary/zodiacal movements to his school of magi. Hence its direct relevance to prophesied ‘Second Coming’ of Jesus Christ.
          Btw, Synod’s apostasy and Speaker of Parliament’s reaction could be construed as indicating fulfilment of what St Paul heard from Holy Spirit…(2Thess2:3-4)

          • Richard, may be wrong here, but weren’t you a friend of an old blogging mate of Jack’s who went by the name of Ole Blowers?

          • Richard B

            Regret to say ’tis not me, but if you wish to check me out see https://richards-watch.org/about/

          • Thanks. Jack was hoping you might have news of him.

        • Anton

          The world is certainly gong to get the breeze up when astronomers detect and plot the course of the asteroids/meteorites spoken of in Rev 8:8, 8:10, 9:1-2.

    • Lucius

      Fun article, but if we mortals can “crack the code” that in and of itself is evidence that the event is not a sign of the end of days. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32). Odds are it will come on some random, non-suspect Tuesday afternoon while folks are simply going about their business. IMO.

      • Jack is not claiming it signifies the end of the world – just that it is interesting.

  • prompteetsincere

    “We are very few, and we wish to be.” No, no, brethren! We are a little detachment of The King’s soldiers detained in a foreign country upon garrison duty; yet we mean not only to hold fast, but to add territory to our LORD’s Dominions. We are not about to be driven out;but, on the contrary, we are about to drive out the Canaanites; for this Land belongs to us, it is given to us of The LORD, and we will subdue it…never rest while there remains yet a class to be rescued, a region to be Evangelized.”
    ‘The Greatest Fight In The World’, C.H. Spurgeon, p. 47.

    • len

      We could do with men such as C H Spurgeon to lead the C of E.

      • The Snail

        The first thing he would do – Abolish Infant Baptism!!

        • len

          Spurgeon would certainly tell the C of E some home truths.

          • IanCad

            Such as; The Archangel Michael is Christ.

          • len

            What?.

          • IanCad

            Yep!!! A position also held by John Wesley and Matthew Henry, and. if memory serves correct, John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards.
            Had a debate with Anton about the controversy a few months back – nothing resolved – salvation doesn’t depend on any for or against position. I tend to think they are one and the same but wouldn’t go to the stake over the issue.

          • len

            I wonder how they came to this conclusion?.

          • IanCad

            Here’s a case against:

            https://carm.org/michael-archangel-jesus

            And another one for:

            https://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/book/e/85/t/who-is-michael-the-archangel-

            Both heavy stuff for so late an hour!

        • len

          Infant baptism is a nice social gathering.But that is all.Babies cannot repent of their sin!.

  • magnolia

    An interesting article here:

    http://www.prophecytoday.uk/comment/church-issues/item/773-the-lights-go-out.html

    However I stay and fight for the Anglican church. Why desert the big ship to pirates? What faithfulness is that? Having said that I live in one of the more faithful dioceses where the light is still there, and we are free to be faithful. Others contend within faithful parishes under lesser faithful Bishops. For a time that is possible, and meanwhile they hope and pray for the Spirit to sweep through and renew. Always the Spirit can do that.

    Appalling that an amendment that sought to constrict legislation to what could be biblically validated was voted AGAINST and spoken scathingly about by an Archbishop. Those who no longer love and adore Scripture have completely lost it; the Word has become dead to them, and they are no longer in the Spirit. Of course church leaders may have times of dryness, or lack of faith, but they should tone down their rhetoric meanwhile.

    • David

      Well said Magnolia. I am in a faithful parish in Bury St Edmunds under a less faithful bishop who supported the dreadful motions. Which diocese are you in ?

      • Sarky

        Im in the same as you!!

        • Little Black Censored

          It is a pretty pathetic diocese, but so are most of the others.

      • magnolia

        A French person from L’Aigle once illegally hacked an account of mine; LAigle is an interesting place where the residents clubbed together to buy their own castle….own castle….own castle…. For this reason I am careful not to put too many details on this blog ….if you get me.

        • David

          Understood.

    • Anton

      Fine, but how are you fighting this good fight; what are you actually doing?

  • Anton

    Let non-Anglican Christians pray for the CoE’s evangelicals. Those evangelicals need either to commence militant spiritual action within the CoE or quit it for protestant churches that have not apostatised. I believe that God will honour either alternative, and it is not for me to say which any individual should do. But doing nothing won’t do.

    • One could also pray for Anglo-Catholics and groups such as Forward in Faith and The Society. May they find their true spiritual homes.

      • Anton

        Christ referred often to the true spiritual home of all who believed in him. He called it the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.

        • Chefofsinners

          Not the Church of Rome? How very remiss of him.

          • It’s only heretics and heathens who refer to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as the “Church of Rome”. The Bishop of Rome is the earthly Shepherd and Servant of this Church.

          • Chefofsinners

            Ah. That would explain it.

          • Some might disagree.

            Besides, wasn’t he saying that in his role as Bishop of Rome knowing the Patriarchs of Constantinople didn’t accept his primacy over other Bishops?

          • Was only pointing out that he referred to the “Church of Rome” on this occasion – and yes, I’m well aware of what that raving nutter Mundabor says about Francis 🙂

          • It’s no longer just Mundabor and that’s the problem. There are a few more sites now expressing serious concerns about Francis’ orthodoxy and the confusion and disorientation he is causing in the Church.

            https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/the-abcs-of-our-concerns-with-pope-francis

          • mollysdad

            Isn’t it odd that the General Synod finds it plausible that a man can change a man into a woman (camel), but can’t beliebve that the Holy Spirit can change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ (gnat).

          • That site doesn’t seem to exactly be a bastion on unbiased journalism either – https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/life-site-news/

            The site is reported as “moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.”

          • James60498 .

            Whereas of course The Tablet only tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. Really?

            And who is Media Bias Fact Check anyway? Who appointed them judge and jury as to what is biased?

          • Look at it this way. If the Tablet was screaming about JPII, are you telling me anyone here would not be yelling about “left wing bias”?

            Of course every news site is biased. “O” level Sociology taught me that, even if I don’t remember anything else about it. But if all the criticism about someone is coming from one specific side of the political spectrum, then I am unlikely to give it much weight in my decision making about that person 🙂

          • James60498 .

            But if the person being criticised is on one specific side of the political spectrum then is it not likely that the criticism will come from the other side?

          • But if the only people doing the criticising of for example a politician are the ones on the far side of the political spectrum from him, then one pays little attention. If those on the center ground are also complaining that his figures don’t add up, then one is more inclined to get a calculator out and check 🙂

          • Also, if one looks at the opposite side of the spectrum from the ones who are screaming “he’s going too far” and the main complaint from the other side is “he isn’t going far enough”, then probably the man has the balance about right 🙂

          • James60498 .

            LSN is a pro-Life website.

            I am absolutely certain that many of the complainants are pro-abortionists and many too will not even pretend to be Christians.

            Not sure that you can claim that numbers prove much unless you know the reality behind those numbers. Statistics and numbers can prove all sorts of rubbish. Ask my old Accountancy lecturer.

            Perhaps I should get all my fellow pro-lifers to go on the website and complain about the Tablet. Then the numbers will change.

            Unfortunately I probably won’t be successful. Not because many people don’t share my view but because we are not good at coordinating that kind of thing.

            Who makes the most complaints ? The left.

            The one thing that you are very good at is jumping in bed with anyone who shares your views on anything and complaining. We have a LOT of learning to do on that score.

          • If you want to know how Media Bias Fact Check form their ratings, here’s a good article where they explain what they do – https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/2017/02/26/snopes-is-a-least-biased-source-despite-what-you-may-have-read/

          • James60498 .

            Before the US Presidential Election pretty much everyone except Breitbart said that Clinton would win. Some by enormous margins.

            Only Breitbart said it would be close.

            Who did Media Bias Fact Check have down as being biased?

          • As the old proverb has it – even a stopped clock is right twice a day 🙂 Bias is never the only reason for media inaccuracy, just one of them 🙂 On this occasion the stopped clock had it 🙂

          • James60498 .

            But usually most of the other clocks are right too even when the stopped one is wrong.

            In this case nearly all the other clocks were wrong.

          • It’s a Catholic site specifically devoted to upholding and promoting Catholic moral teaching, especially pro-life issues.

          • Not denying any of the above – just pointing out that they are more than capable of cherry-picking the facts they want to fit their agenda. (How cafeteria of them) 🙂

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Although many pretend to be unbiased, no magazine, journal, or website in fact is unbiased. Those who claim to be are disingenuous. Everyone has opinions and wants to promote them; it is part of being human.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I fully admit that the one thing the RCC got right was their strong pro-life stance. Conservative evangelicals agree with this.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            But Francis is clearly in the line of Apostolic Succession. Surely he cannot be heterodox! If he is wrong then the whole RCC system which made him Pope is wrong.

          • Why? There have been a few Popes who were manifest heretics (two or three, if Jack recalls correctly) and a handful who were scandalous sinners. None ever formally and Magisterially (i.e. binding on one’s conscience and faith) redefined an established doctrine in such a way that it was heterodox.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Your first sentence is the point. The Church of Rome is just a church like any other and subject to errors and bad leaders like any other. No Pope has ever had the authority of an Apostle, nor has the RCC any scripture-based superiority or hegemony over other churches or over the rest of Christians.

          • Paul warned the Church there would be sin, division and dissention. He counselled faith and trust in God and in His Church. The doctrinal integrity of the universal Catholic Church is protected by the Holy Spirit, even if from time to time it suffers internal and external trials.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            And this includes all churches who truly believe in Jesus Christ and the scriptures. The difference between us is that you identify the true universal catholic Church with the RCC (an earthly institution made up of both the Good Shepherd’s sheep and the devil[s goats, both the wheat crop and weeds). I identify the true universal catholic Church with that Body of believers in Christ from every congregation from every denomination and non-denomination. Only God knows exactly who is a believer and who is not, and it definitely is not limited to any particular church organization down here.

          • Jack doesn’t dispute there will be members of the Body of Christ outside His visible Church and, indeed, that there will be members of the visible Church who are not members of His Body. He also agrees only God knows who will be with Him in Heaven and who will not.
            None of this contradicts the fact that there is only one visible Church in full possession of the Truth and the effective means of sanctification.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I am glad we agree where we do agree. It does seem you are beginning to lean in the ecumenical direction. However, I will always refute your contention that there is “only one visible Church in full possession of the Truth and the effective means of sanctification.” If there is such a church, it sure ain’t the RCC, not with its long list of unrepented errors.

          • Errors, repented or unrepentant, do not disqualify the Catholic Church as being the one, true Church. Remember, the Church is both material and spiritual.
            As for the unrepented errors, human, not doctrinal, Jack thinks the Church has been expressing regret and apologising left, right and centre of late.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            True, lots of regret and apologies lately. I happen to believe that no church organizations and their leaders can be perfect in this fallen world. But we can know the tree by its fruit. And I detect Pergamum fruit.

          • We’re not in the end times – yet.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            What makes you say that?

          • The term “endtimes” applies both to the era of Christ’s first coming (Heb 1:2, 1 Cor 10:11, Heb 9:26) and to the events immediately before his return and the end of the ages (Mt 24:13, 2 Tim 2:1, 2 Peter 3:3). The definitive Catholic teaching on the ” endtimes” is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC 668-682]. The Church provides us with a general order of events at the End. Chronologically they are:

            1. The full number of the Gentiles come into the Church;

            2. The full inclusion of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of the full number of the Gentiles;

            3. A final trial of the Church in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. This is the supreme deception of the Antichrist.

            4. Christ’s victory over this final unleashing of evil through a cosmic upheaval of this passing world and the Last Judgment.

            We are not at the end of the world. In fact, the Second Coming, the physical return of Christ, cannot occur until the full number of the Gentiles are converted, followed by all Israel.

            Various Catholic mystics have thrown considerable light on this order by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ, the personal Antichrist will arise and the Tribulation of the End will occur.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Life is short. In one sense, we are ALL in our last days.
            If you define “last days” as right before Jesus returns, then the reality is that we just do not know. There is certainly evidence of the last days. Some have pointed to Matt 24-14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” This is very close to being completed even as we speak. The other signs of the end are variously interpreted as already having occurred or surely in the distant future.

            The Doctrine of Imminency is confirmed by many Bible verses
            that indicate that Christ could return at any moment, without warning. The imminency doctrine is based upon passages instructing believers to wait expectantly and look for the Lord’s coming. As indicated by the parable of the bridesmaids/virgins in Matthew 25, we are to “keep our lamps trimmed and burning” for He will come at a time that we do not expect. Including you and me. If we truly expect Him at any moment, then we will keep ourselves ready.

            Jesus gave us the directive for expectational living when he announced that His coming will be like a sudden flash of lightning (not a crash of thunder) and like a thief in the night, in the twinkling of an eye.

            Matthew 24:36-46 – Jesus Prophesies
            “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be
            taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
            Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

            As C.S. Lewis said, a person may be about to be married on earth, but
            before the wedding can take place, Christ may come and call His
            responding guests to The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. So, he said,
            always make your first priority a preparation for that event. He also
            said that one may be a scientist on the verge of a society-changing
            discovery or invention; but before he reaches his goal, Christ may
            come. So get ready now for that event—that way, said Lewis, you live
            in a constant state of meaningful expectation.

            1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 –
            “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”

            Revelation 22:20 –
            He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” … Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

            Besides, even if our Lord delays for a thousand years, neither you nor I know when we will personally take our last breath on this earth. So either way, we need to be ready to suddenly meet our Lord face to face. So we should always have an attitude of living in the last days.

          • Agreed. Each of us will die at a time appointed by and known only to God. Similarly, Christ will return as and when His Father determines. However, scripture does suggest broad and some specific signs for Christ’s Second Coming. Beyond this, we can know no more. The Catholic Church does not claim to have it “all pinned down”. Quite the opposite. She teaches it is idle and contrary to the Gospel to speculate.

            The Catholic Church, is not constrained by the new theological systems of dispensationalism and covenant theology and avoids the extremes of both while acknowledging both contain some elements of truth. Along with the dispensationalists, the Church acknowledges that God does still have plans for the Jews as a unique people. One day the Jewish people as a nation will turn to Christ, and this will be one of the signs of the Second Coming and the resurrection of the dead. She rejects the idea of a physical, earthly Kingdom ruled by Christ. The Catholic Church specifically condemns “millenarianism,” according to which Jesus will establish a throne in this world and reign here for a thousand years. She teaches instead that Jesus already reigns in eternity and that in this world His reign, established as a seed, is found already in the Church. The 1000 years, the Hebrew way of indicating an indefinite long time, is the time between the first and second comings, the era of the Church. Along with covenant theologians, Catholics acknowledge that the Church is a “spiritual Israel”, the “new Israel”. The other Israel, does not include those who have rejected the Messiah. This new Israel, founded by Christ, exists in spiritual continuity with the Old Testament saints. It includes Gentiles who believe in the Messiah and who through baptism are spiritually circumcised and are reckoned as spiritual Jews.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I totally agree with your Catholic perception of the Jews and and an eventual returning to their true Messiah. However, I cannot so easily dismiss Revelation 20.
            Historic Premillennialism
            Also called the “covenant” position, or “Chiliasm,” after the Greek word for 1,000. Christ will come again personally in His resurrected body to reign on earth for a thousand years of peace, then Satan is loosed for a final battle. After that, Satan is cast out forever and there is a new heaven and a new earth. This was the dominant Christian view during the first three centuries. But after Christianity became the official
            religion(s) of Rome and Constantinople in the fourth century, this was declared
            a heresy and suppressed. Early in his writings, Augustine was a premillennialist but then changed later his views, presumably because of Catholic triumphalism associated with the great success of the ‘holy’ Roman Empire at the time.
            The premillennial view was “resurrected” by some of the European reformers.

            I cannot understand otherwise the reasons why the Roman Catholic Church dismissed the repeated emphasis on “a thousand years” in Revelation 20. The need to ‘spiritualize’ or ‘allegorize’ this period of time does not make sense. Sure, it ‘could’ mean just a long period of time but there is no reason to make a hard and fast decision that it is not literal. Here is what Revelation 20:1-6 actually teaches.

            Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
            Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.
            Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

            Seems clear enough to me. So what is actually wrong with believing the 1000 years period as stated?

          • In the 1940s the Catholic Church judged that premillennialism “cannot safely be taught,” though she has not dogmatically defined this issue.

            The amillennial view interprets Revelation 20 symbolically and sees the millennium not as an earthly golden age in which the world will be totally Christianised, but as the present period of Christ’s rule in heaven and on the earth through his Church. This was the view of the Protestant Reformers. There will be a coexistence of good and evil on earth until the end. The tension that exists on earth between the righteous and the wicked will be resolved only by Christ’s return at the end of time. The golden age of the millennium is the heavenly reign of Christ with the saints, in which the Church on earth participates to some degree, though not in the glorious way it will at the Second Coming. The thrones of the saints who reign with Christ during the millennium appear to be set in heaven (Rev. 20:4; cf. 4:4, 11:16) and the text nowhere states that Christ is on earth during this reign with the saints. During this millennium Satan is bound in such a way that he cannot deceive the nations by hindering the preaching of the gospel. People are rescued from his grip. Remember when the disciples returned from a tour of preaching the gospel, rejoicing at how demons were subject to them? Jesus declared, “I saw Satan fall like lightning.” Satan was defeated at Calvary and the gospel moved forward to all in the world, although he is still active in attacking individuals.

            The millennium is a golden age in comparison to all other ages of human history when the world was swallowed in pagan darkness. Jack cannot see where scripture supports the idea of a thousand year span between the Second Coming and the Final Judgment. (Matt. 16:27; 25:31–32; 46)

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Ok, we can agree to disagree on the details. The future will resolve the differences. I figure that both views are to some degree in error.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Here’s a droll perspective. I cannot get this cartoon to paste here, but let me describe it: In some city, downtown, there is a man in a long white beard wearing ragged robes carrying a sign. It says: “Don’t worry, you still have lots of time.” Two businessmen are looking at him and one says to the other, “Ok, now I’m worried.”

          • Gregory Morris

            The one Holy, Catholick (don’t forget the k as found in the old Book of Common Prayer) and Apostolic Church is much greater than the See of Rome. That is self evident. The bone of contention is to whether the See of Rome itself is a subset of it or not.

          • Anton

            Why not Apostolick too?

          • Gregory Morris

            Just googled that. It’s fine too. The goodly Cedar of Apostolick & Catholick Episcopacy, compared with the moderne Shoots & Slips of divided Novelties in the Church …

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Unless you are speaking tongue-in-cheek here, Jack, you are showing your true colors here. Of course, it is the Church of Rome, and nothing more than that, and of course the Pope is no more than just its leader. All else is hubris and presumption. Spiritual pride may be the worst of sins.

          • The Church is universal because it is united with the Bishop of Rome.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            That is nuts. The Church universal is not particularly united with the Bishop of Rome, not in the sense of coming under his authority in any way. Only members of the RCC are under his authority, and the RCC is hardly the Universal Church (just one part of it). You may not want to include Protestant and EO churches as true churches of Jesus Christ, but that only shows your own arrogance. Heaven will be full of Protestants as well as EO and RCC members. You might want to talk to the Lord about this. It is faith in Christ that gets you the keys to the kingdom. Jesus talked often about the requirements of salvation: primarily repentance and belief in Him. And through such belief, individuals get baptized and seek to be discipled. Not a word about Rome.

          • Only those who are orthodox members of the Catholic Church are full members of Christ’s Church on earth. Others, in breakaway sects, whilst baptised into Christ, are not Churches in the true sense, with the exception of the Orthodox Church. There may well be non-Catholics and non-Christians in Heaven. This doesn’t disprove this and neither is it arrogance.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Surely such a sense of superiority and making other Christians into second class citizens of the Kingdom (and of the Body of Christ) is arrogance. To say that I am in any way not a full member of Christ’s Church on earth is offensive and of course untrue.

            To paraphrase John Stott, your view of the RCC dares to reintroduce the notion of privilege into the only human community in which it has been abolished. Where Christ has made one out of two, the Roman Catholic mind makes two again, the one higher and the other lower.

            I do not think the majority of Catholics think this way.

          • Is it offensive and arrogance to speak the Truth? This is the same sort of claim homosexuals level against orthodox teaching. Being in error, without access to the full means of salvation through the Catholic Church, is an objective fact and Jack feels no sense of superiority towards those in this situation.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            NOT an objective fact, but a subjective opinion. And one which many leaders of the Roman Catholic Church do not even believe. They have become much more ecumenical and accepting of other Christians (as equally saved) these days. You seem to be living in the ancient past.

          • Faith in Christ does not give one the authority to loose and bind in His name, to forgive and retain sin in His name, to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood, or to act as the steward of His Kingdom and Shepherd of His flock, leading and feeding them, until His return.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You have a big surprise coming.

          • One of us has.

        • Gregory Morris

          I am always intrigued by preachers suggesting that The Kingdom is something that will be ushered in by us by pursuing justice and truth. We pray that it may come but surely it is something we enter into and become part of by being obedient Subjects of the King rather than waffling on about social justice. This dawned on me some years ago when you I heard a clergyman droning on about Seeking the Kingdom of God and how Mr Blair was just the man to do it. It struck me that the bit missing from the Dominical injunction was “and its righteousness”. The end of the quotation is rarely cited. Social Justice will be a byproduct of Seeking first the Kıngdom of God and its righteousness.

          • David

            Sounds like one of those left-leaning clergy that believe that Jesus was the Labour Party MP for Galilee South.
            Well done for spotting that, in fact, he wasn’t !

          • Chefofsinners

            Commonly known as ‘kingdom theology’, this tosh has blighted many a modern church. A moment’s reflection on what scripture actually says about ‘the end times’ reveals the fallacy.

          • Anton

            I call it faux triumphalism.

          • Anton

            Blighted not only a modern church. It was Constantine’s view too.

          • carl jacobs

            A definition of ‘Social Justice’ would be nice.

          • Maalaistollo

            Any phrase including the word ‘social’ needs to be regarded with suspicion, as it is likely, at best, to be a euphemism for something that used to be called by a name that was more plainly descriptive eg ‘Social Housing’ (council houses), ‘Social worker’ (lady from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), ‘Social Security’ (National Assistance). ‘Social Justice’ seems to be no more than an umbrella term for any form of leftist wealth distribution as part of the construction of the Marxist heaven upon earth.

          • Gregory Morris

            Sorry to be so slow in answering you. I suppose it is a parallel gospel which takes on board Jesus as a moral teacher and a good example and hopes by moral endeavour and social programmes whether private or public to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven but doesn’t want a bloodstained cross or the resurrection or the judgement to come. It is clearly espoused by a lot of unbelieving clergy and laity.

            Christian endeavours to help our neighbour are vital in a living practical faith as is doing justice and loving mercy. Often trendy clergy are keen to preach justice from the pulpit and one finds that their vision seems to assume that it can be totally outsourced – the Welfare State or someone else can get on with it and then it ceases to be the responsibility of each one of us. I am not saying that the government shouldn’t be involved but I do (as one who works in social care) wonder whether it is capable of doing much good.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Well said, and I agree.

  • David

    Just responded to the general invite issued by email from the Reform Group, of conservative, orthodox Anglicans, to add ones signature to the letter His Grace shows above. Many of us will stand and fight this heterodoxy in the hope that, by the Grace of God, the ship can be recaptured from the theological pirates.

  • John

    You can add your signature to this open letter here: https://anglicanlive.wordpress.com/open-letter/

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Glory be to God for the beginning of the Second English Reformation!

      https://youtu.be/ORmVnD6Yn68

      • David

        Yes, many pray for that.
        It will happen if God wills it.

      • IanCad

        Thanks – most interesting. Of some concern though is the implication that traditional, bible believing clergy may separate themselves from the church proper. This I contend, is a form of surrender, for it would seem to acknowledge that the rebels have conquered the institution and change from within is no longer possible.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          I am no tactician.

          There appear to be two operations launched simultaneously neither, as far as I can see, appears to be coordinated with each other at the human level (so who or what is doing the coordinating?):

          1. Establish in the public domain the presence of dissent;
          2. http://thirtynine.org.uk/episodes/170725-rfc-badboys.mp3
          3. Latest battlefield reports: at least one major parish has withheld funds; a bishop in The Times reports that liberals are jumping ship (false flag report).

          ‘Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.’

          Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

      • Lollia

        How can the Universal Law of an Immutable God be reformed? Was it wrong the first time, (and the time before “the” Reformation?
        And while we are at it, how does an immutable( unchanging) God change anything at all,-especially Christian theology itself?
        Why is it not a contradiction?

        • Bruce Atkinson

          It is way more understandable than you indicate. God does not change, but human beings absolutely need to change. They are fallible, ignorant, selfish, and tend to refuse to believe what God clearly reveals. God also deals with us as the divine Father, which means according to our developmental level of maturity and capacity for understanding. We are all in need of reformation; every church and every individual. If all goes well, God’s children in every generation are more in touch with His divine Word than those before. But don’t forget that God chose (very specially) those at the start (the Apostles and other writers of the NT) so that His written Word would be accurate and consistent with His will. No contradictions and not really all that complicated.

          • Lollia

            Yes I know humans change,-and evolve; but that was not my question.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Well, you did ask “how does an immutable( unchanging) God change anything at all,-especially Christian theology itself?” So I made an attempt to answer it. It is our own perceptions that can change … and need changing. God does not change, nor His Word, but He is in the ‘human-changing’ business (transformation into the image of Christ).

            But your first comment I agree with in that God’s word does not change. Right will remain right regardless of how many people call it wrong. Wrong will remain wrong regardless of how many people call it right. Essential Christian doctrines (e.g., the historic creeds) will not change. The scriptures remain the Holy Bible.

            Isaiah 40:8
            “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”

            Psalm 33:11
            “… the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”

            Psalm 119:89
            “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”

            Matthew 24:35
            “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.”

            As for “reformation,” the RCC gradually became corrupted and heretical over its thousand plus year reign and the Protestant Reformation was necessary to bring believers back to the actual words and directives of the scriptures, back to the New Testament faith … for which we must continue to contend (Jude 1:3). We are now in the midst of an Anglican reformation versus apostasy in the liberal western provinces which have co-opted cultural Marxism and its attendant PC values of pansexualism, abortion, radical women’s lib, etc.

  • mollysdad

    “There is no already existing empirical ‘body’… with which Anglicanism seeks a home, except in the universal Church.”

    That’s tantamount so saying that there is a past in which the Church on earth was united, and a present in which it is not, just as before 1918 there was an Austro-Hungarian Empire, but now there is not.

    What, then, has happened to the Church originally founded by Jesus Christ? Like the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it has ceased to exist.

    Has it really?

    • Chefofsinners

      “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” 2 Timothy 2:19

    • Lucius

      There was basically a Universal Church (with trivial exception) for about the first thousand years of Christianity. The Schism of 1054 divided the Bishop of Rome (now know as the Pope) from his brother Bishops (or Patriarchs) in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Then there was the Protestant Schism from the Bishop of Rome in the 16th century.

      • David

        Yes, and in all those now institutionally separated organisations are to be found true Christians, alongside some who may be nominally members of the institutions but without full allegiance to Christ. Ultimately only God knows who is and who is not a Christian; His unseen Church being invisible to human eye, but cutting across and through the human institutions.

      • Anton

        Sadly it’s not true that there was a universal church for roughly the first thousand years AD. At the Council of Ephesus in the 5th century the church within the borders of the old Roman empire ended up labelling the church to its east – at least as large – as heretical and therefore not Christian. The issue was not whether Jesus was both fully man and fully God, ie the Arian controversy, which had to be fought, but HOW He was both, which is needlessly divisive. (Worse still, Cyril, the victor over Nestorius at Ephesus, did not win the debate but bribed his way back into favour after both men had been condemned partway through the council.) Because this “church of the east” died out a few centuries later it is not around to protest at its subsequent writing-out of church histories. Please see Philip Jenkins’ book “The Lost History of Christianity”; Jenkins is a bit liberal in his theology, but he is a decent enough historian.

  • dannybhoy

    John posted this below..
    (John • 16 hours ago ‘You can add your signature to this open letter here: https://anglicanlive.wordpr…’
    I followed the link and sent it out to some of the bigger fish in our particular Anglican ‘pond.’
    It is no small thing that has been undertaken by Gavin and the other signatories. No one wants to be disloyal to the Church. Even if we are convinced by the rightness of our actions it is still hard to escape the feelings of unease that we have somehow betrayed our fellow believers and undermined unity and authority in the established Church. (Or that may just be my particular boarding school experiences speaking.. :0)
    Anyway as I was pondering how the Church has come to the point where its leadership seems to be moving further and further away from its Biblical roots, I remembered a document that had been sent my way a few years ago regarding the Common Purpose agenda..
    http://www.cpexposed.com/about-common-purpose
    I filed it under ‘conspiracy theorists’ and thought no more about it. However in reading around the current crisis in the CofE I came across this old AC thread posted Monday November 4th 2013…

    ‘Cameron the “Common Purpose” Prime Minister’ http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/cameron-common-purpose-prime-minister.html

    It got me wondering whether this Common Purpose movement is actually real and if so has it (like Freemasonry), penetrated the General Synod?

    • IanCad

      The same old plan Danny. CP is following the Kirk & Madsen playbook (After the Ball) which in turn is a rewrite of all manuals on how to control a nation.
      What is disturbing though, was your link to HG’s 2013 post in which I had participated, but forgotten entirely.
      We owe a great deal to HG – over the years he has fed his unruly flock a steady diet of enlightenment, encouragement and truth (mainly)
      The collection plate is still in the same place. Come on Ladies and Gents !!! Make it ring!

  • The Tablet is a UK based Catholic magazine considered to be on the centre-left as opposed to the Catholic Herald’s centre-right. Traditionalists refer to it as the “Bitter Pill” which does imply they’re actually trying to swallow what it says. Or maybe they don’t understand the implications of the nickname 🙂

    • James60498 .

      I had never used that term and I do see how you have twisted it to suit your left wing views.

      A tablet is otherwise known as a pill and it’s very unCatholic and nasty.

      Bitter Pill seems an excellent description.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    My first thought: weren’t there two tablets?

    Second: you’ve reminded me of Mosaic Magazine, which I’ve forgetten to read for some time. I like Roman flooring.

  • Martin

    A huge privilege to be asked to speak at @LiverpoolPride alongside many of our political leaders, our Chief Constable & others. #LoveNotHate pic.twitter.com/jZf7KooJje— Paul Bayes (@paulbayes) July 29, 2017

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Clearly Paul Bayes has abandoned any claim to be a Christian.

  • Richard B

    There’s one good thing about Sin-nod’s shenanigans: they fit Jesus’ and Paul’s End-time prophecies! (http://wp.me/p1Y1yB-a60 refers)