Sunday, April 22, 2012

Who needs enemies when you have friends like

Stand Firm. I cannot believe the tone in this article on Stand Firm in which one of their leading writers, excoriates Truro Church for the agreement they have reached with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia re their property and other assets. The article's title sets the tone for what follows: "The Incomprehensible Surrender of Truro." I reckon the tone to be spiteful rather than graceful.

For readers unfamiliar with the politics of Anglo-Episcopalian or Episco-Anglicanism in North America, Stand Firm and Truro are on the same 'side' (albeit if we thought in terms of a spectrum they might be on different places, but, again, they would be at one end of the spectrum rather than at opposite ends).

Essentially Truro, a departing-from-TEC congregation wanted to keep its buildings, but, many courtroom battles later, it has recognised that it cannot do that, and it has negotiated a deal which means they stay a bit longer etc, but eventually leave. And compared to some deals (or, more accurately, non-deals) elsewhere in TECland, this is a good deal.

There is something dispairingly dark in the soul of some parts of conservative Anglicanism around our globe, a part which can spit and snarl even at people fairly close in theology and ethos. I wonder why that is?* I wonder why there is a lack of grace in some of us (I do not want to exempt myself here as I am not always gracious) even when we have been converted by the God of grace through the gospel of grace. This article, to me, represents that spit and snarl.

In the meantime I hope Stand Firm's firm of writers do not want to be my Facebook friends because, frankly, I won't be accepting until I see some more grace being posted on Stand Firm. If any one on Stand Firm is reading this - Sarah Hey sometimes passes by here - please, please think about what being 'Christian' really means, and start with loving your friends.

*Thinking some about this question, I wonder if this is going on: saved by grace we might then be sympathetic to human weakness or intent on finding and maintaining perfection. If the latter, then lots of things in the life of the church fall short of perfection, so there is always lots to criticise. But if I fall short of perfection by 5%, haven't I done 95% worth of things that could be appreciated? (I am not talking about sin here so I am not talking about approval of being nearly righteous). In the case of Truro, they have fought the good fight, they have tried to act with grace, in a spirit of reconciliation, and in recognition of the reality they were up against. Why not write about the 'Comprehensible Good Sense of Truro'?

26 comments:

carl jacobs said...

Peter Carrell

There is something dispairingly dark in the soul of some parts of conservative Anglicanism around our globe

A few days ago you annotated a comment of mine about ad hominem argument. I did not agree with the charge. In fact, I rejected outright every specific assertion you made about my post. But this is your blog and therefore your rules apply. Because you hold the authority here, it is incumbent upon me to submit to that authority. And so I did.

Even so, I expect consistency from the weblog owner. I have no doubt that if I had said that there was something "disparingly dark in the soul" of one of my opponent here, you would not have accepted the comment. Why then do you violate your own rules? And, no, you cannot evade by suggesting that you have made a general comment instead of a specific comment. You made a general comment that was obviously targeted at a specific author - Greg Griffith. You even called out one blogger by name.

The difference between the conservatism represented here and the conservatism represented at SFIF is that the conservatism represented here doesn't reject the legitimacy of liberal Christianity. It doesn't see liberal Christianity as an inherently different religion teaching an inherently different gospel. That's why it does not comprehend Greg's post. It does not comprehend the nature of the conflict as seen by the eyes at SFIF.

You said "There is something dispairingly dark in the soul of some parts of conservative Anglicanism." They would say "There is something dispairingly blind in the soul of some parts of conservative Anglicanism." And there the stand-off begins.

carl

In the past, I was a long and established commenter at Stand Firm. For reasons not germane to this discussion, those days are over, and have been for about a year now. I still maintain a small presence there, but I don't comment at even 5% of my previous levels. It is my respect for Matt Kennedy that keeps that 5% going. I say this only to establish that I am not simply defending my own home turf. SFIF isn't my home turf anymore.

RMBruton said...

Hi Peter,
I am sure this isn't the first time that you've seen the Editorial and writing staff of Stand Firm spreading the love. Try posting on most of their sanctioned blogs if you are committed to the Thirty-nine Articles or the actual 1662 BCP and you will be shown the door in no time at all. The problem is that many of them believe that they are somehow different from TEC; but Episcopalianism and Continuing Episcopalianism are joined at the hip. You would be looking for grace in the wrong place amongst their writers. Imagine how toxic the environment would be to you if you lived over here, as do I?

Todd Granger said...

Well put, Peter.

As a member of extra-mural Anglicanism in North America (PEAR-USA/ACNA), I am thoroughly disheartened by the tone of some of this, and I am deeply concerned that conserving/conservative Anglicanism in North America will end up destroying itself in the sort of "purer-than-thou" nastiness you've pointed out in this instance. God help us. This is not Anglicanism - this is not classical, traditional, conservative Anglicanism. Perhaps the more narrow-minded and self-righteous of the Puritans have won and are remaking the English ecclesiastical legacy in their image. Lord have mercy.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks for comments. In particular reply, Carl, I make the following observations:

(1) A particular concern about ad hominem "comments" is that in the nature of the ping-pong of commenting it becomes quite time consuming as moderator to deal with ad hominem comments, reactions to them, etc, etc ... so I am trying to get both tough and educational about them here.

(2) My initial version of the post did name Greg Griffiths (though had the dark soul etc observation as general), then I thought better of it as I think it better to engage with Stand Firm as an entity rather than one individual. Nevertheless sometimes individuals make a call which is (say) crass or crazy or crude, and one might feel that it needs to be named as unacceptable. In such cases it is pretty difficult to distinguish between describing the badness of the writing and the character of the writer ... but I am trying here, nevertheless, not to peer into A Stand Firm writer's soul, while saying of a particularly execrable piece of writing that it represents something dark and dangerous in the soul of conservative Christianity/Anglicanism.

(3) Of course a liberal might not be exempt from similar charges; and I agree with you about blindness (and I think that too can apply to conservatives such as myself, as well as to liberals who (say) are blind to the decline of the church which seemingly they are hastening.

(4) A point where I think you and I disagree is that I distinguish between liberal Christianity which is Christianity and a liberalism which masquerades as Christian. I have many liberal Christian friends here in NZ whom I believe are and will remain Christian while being aware that some liberal Christians are on a journey which is taking them out of Christianity.

liturgy said...

Greetings

May I just stand up for Peter’s efforts to encourage discussion to produce more light than heat.

Some moderation calls (I speak as a blog owner) are straightforward; sometimes it is less clear-cut. Peter IMO has tended more towards allowing comments through. That has resulted in a good number of comments – but there have also been several occasions when commentors have publicly declared they will no longer engage here.

Blog-owners are not infallible. There is, unfortunately, not a simple computer program that removes inappropriate comments. Blog-owners, like Peter, do this freely, voluntarily, and in their leisure time.

As a secondary point, I continue to think it unhelpful to categorise people in a binary manner into liberal or conservative. I am more liberal than Peter on some things, more conservative than him on others. It is better IMO to discuss issue by issue (and tends to be less ad hominem) than to make general statements about “liberals” or “conservatives”. Certainly there will be people who hold a liberal position on every issue – or a conservative position on every issue. Such a person could fairly be classed a liberal, a conservative. I am seriously struggling to think of someone I know well whom I could thus categorise.

Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

"the conservatism represented here doesn't reject the legitimacy of liberal Christianity" - carl jacobs

Mr Jacobs is right when he says that a blog host has every right to control the contents of the comments on his web-site. I have had the privilege of having some of my comment excised. However, his complaint here, that you, Peter, are actually allowing what Mr Jacobs calls 'liberal Christianity' (surely the opposite to an oxymoron here) and not rejecting its 'legitimacy' is a squeak too far.

One thing I admire about your blog, Peter, is that, although you and I tend not to see everything in the same light, we both acknowledge the 'Light of Christ'as our primary motivation. We are not in 'opposite camps', such as carl appears to want to place us.

I, too, feel deeply that Stand Firm is standing a little too firm in its desire to claim the ascendancy in the 'thirst for righteousness' Like Paul, I see my righteousness as 'filthy rags' - not something to be exalted - by myself or other people.

Please, Peter, don't be put off!

David Ould said...

Peter, notwithstanding the question of whether your more general comments are correct or not, it is worth mulling over that this summary statement on your part:

Essentially Truro, a departing-from-TEC congregation wanted to keep its buildings, but, many courtroom battles later, it has recognised that it cannot do that, and it has negotiated a deal which means they stay a bit longer etc, but eventually leave. And compared to some deals (or, more accurately, non-deals) elsewhere in TECland, this is a good deal.

simply does not address the main area of concern that we have over the "deal". As your post currently stands, you give an erroneous impression by accusing us of being unloving while at the same time not fairly representing the issue on which we have taken this stand. That doesn't strike me, in it's own way, as being "loving". It is, however, a particular way of misrepresenting those you disagree with, or at the very least a lack of desire to deal with the issue fairly.

carl jacobs said...

Bosco

It is better IMO to discuss issue by issue (and tends to be less ad hominem) than to make general statements about “liberals” or “conservatives”.

I don't much like the terms 'liberal' and 'conservative' but I don't have better terms available. I use these binary terms for the same reason I would speak in binary terms about Mormons and Christians. What I refer to as 'liberal Christianity' is a coherent identifiable religion that is in no sense compatible with the Christian faith. What remains of TEC is held captive by this religion.

There are some doctrines in the Christian faith that are non-negotiable. If for example a man comes to me and says "I am a Christian, but I believe there are many roads to God" then I will say to him "You are not a Christian. You are deceived." I must say this to him. He must be told the truth about his own testimony. These are the bright sharp lines that I defend, and that Peter Carrell refuses to define. That is the difference he and I, and by extension the difference between this site and SFIF.

carl

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
When Stand Firm has admitted and apologised for the speck in its own eye, perhaps we could continue a discussion about whether there is a log in my eye?

David Ould said...

well Peter, the problem is that it's hard to apologise to you for a supposed wrong when you have, yourself, chosen to misrepresent your opponent by not fairly describing their position.

Our complaint has never been that Truro arranged a settlement, and you know that. How about reporting the facts fairly?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
I am not asking for an apology to me personally, I am asking for an apology to readers of Stand Firm, especially any from Truro.

Stand Firm is complaining that Truro arranged a settlement because the title of the post is "The Incomprehensible Surrender of Truro." If you are not complaining about the arrangement, why that title?


As for reporting the facts fairly, I have linked to the post and all readers here can read it for themselves. I am complaining at the tone of the post which sets out systematically to rubbish the good faith negotiations of Truro. So far more commenters here on this site agree that I am making a fair call.

I ask you: consider the tone, consider the way in which you are treating your brothers and sisters in Christ at this point of settlement. Are you modelling gracious and charitable behaviour? Are you representing evangelical Christianity at its finest?

There is a point in the pursuit of truth and purity in which the pursuers cheese off the very people they seek to win as friends. Ask yourself whether there is anything in the post about Truro's settlement, starting with the title, which will enable the base of evangelical Christianity to be broadened, which will draw more and more people into the camp?

I suggest there is nothing, absolutely nothing in the post which is attractive to the case being made; nothing which is winsome. That is the matter you ought to be addressing, not wasting your time challenging me on whether I have fairly characterised the post or not. (As matter of fact I think I have).

Wake up, David and your fellow writers at Stand Firm, ask whether you are serving the gospel of grace with what appears to be a zealotry for an ever purer expression of gospel truth. Hear what the commenters here are saying: you are turning off and turning away more than you are drawing to your cause.

David Ould said...

So far more commenters here on this site agree that I am making a fair call.

and yet only one of them has remotely articulated what the actual issue at stake is. You don't like the fact that we've expressed real concern about a serious issue - one which we believe utterly undermines the stand that a number of good and godly people in TEC have take over the past decade. I have yet to see you even remotely address that actual argument. You don't think it's winsome, sobeit. It's not particularly winsome to willfully misrepresent those you criticise - it's just "not winsome" in a different way.

If you think you have fairly characterised the post then I ask you to point to the section in your OP where you set out the core issue that has been raised by us at Stand Firm. I don't see it anywhere. And then you accuse us of not seeking to understand but being quick to criticise. Does that not strike you as deeply ironic?

Peter Carrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
As I reread the post and also read comments on Facebook and 40 comments on the StandFirm site, including an interchange between a warden at Truro and Greg Griffiths, I understand (and I am trying very hard to represent the post well), the major issue as a disagreement between the fruitfulness/danger of maintaining a friendly, collegial relationship with Bishop Shannon Johnstone.

Simply as a matter of writing style, I suggest that when a major issue is the major issue, it is better to focus on that. By working his way up to the major issue, GG builds up a tone of complaint and grizzling against Truro, an attitude of finding fault with everything about the decision, which does not bode well for drawing people to one's cause.

To the major issue: is Truro entitled or not to take a different view of Bishop Johnstone and what he stands for (or is alleged to stand for) than Stand Firm takes? To me it appears not. Stand Firm will not accept, either in the post, or in the comments, that the church which actually works with Bishop Johnstone on this agreement might be entitled to take a different view than Stand Firm's. For this they get slammed by Stand Firm. I do not find this winsome behaviour on Stand Firm's part. It is aggressive as it challenges the good faith negotiations of this church. This aggression is frightening to behold. Included in the criticism is a goodwill desire to work with fellow Virginians on assistance to a church in South Sudan: even this is found wanting by Stand Firmers. Is this not a form of Protestant papacy? A "check with us first before you make a decision so we won't need to criticise you" approach which is frightening in another way: it is the approach which induces infantile dependent behaviour. "I daren't make a decision on this matter without checking with my allies first because, hey, they don't take kindly to anyone who steps away from their line." This is dictatorship within the Christian community, David, not democracy.

Christians should be able to make decisions of this kind without referring to other bodies such as Stand Firm in case they make the wrong decision.

I remain very concerned about Stand Firm and the approach it takes to those we thought were its allies. How about showing some appreciation and respect for those closest to you?

David Ould said...

Peter, honestly - who is arguing for a "Protestant Papacy" or suggesting that people need to check with us first? That's just scaremongering of the worst sort and hardly aids the conversation at all.

No-one is accountable to Stand Firm for anything - SF is an independent group commenting on those matters of interest to it. Where have they ever claimed an authority over other Anglicans? If someone does something we think is daft, we say so. If someone does something we think aids the cause of orthodoxy in the Anglican wars then we say so too.

Just as you do, in fact.

We take a particularly attentive approach to our allies since they are just that - allies - and what they do affects others like them. In this instance they have named a false-teaching bishop as a brother in Christ and affirmed his ministry. That's the issue on which we take great exception. How exactly is one meant to "appreciate and respect" it?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David
When a post such as GG's calls Truro to account for letting down all the people he believes they are letting down, then Stand Firm is holding Truro to account. It would have been wiser of Truro to check first with Stand Firm in order to avoid the bollocking they receive from GG.

If Stand Firm wishes to argue that Truro have done the wrong thing, then just say that and explain in what way it is the wrong thing. But in this post the argument is not that they have done the wrong thing per se but that they have let a lot of people down.

Shannon Johnston is a false teacher in Stand Firm's eyes but Truro have taken a different view. There could be appreciation and respect for Truro taking that different view even if there is disagreement with them for doing so.

Either way, if this is how you treat your allies, why would any one or any church wish to be allied with you?

You seem not to understand in any way shape or form that there might be anything amiss, on any aspect of the post. In fact I would go so far as to say that you have responded here as though GG has written infallibly and Truro has acted fallibly, in particular because they have not lined up with the Magisterium at work in Stand Firm. In my mind Stand Firm is acting as a Protestant papacy.

David Ould said...

and yet you also call us to account! So why is it appropriate for you to tell us how we ought to manage our affairs but not for us to make comments about how others have managed their affairs?

And if you honestly think that I think Greg Griffith is infallible then you really are reaching at straws. As for "the Magisterium at work in Stand Firm", how much more sensationlist could you be?! It seems that every time a conservative says "you know what, I think this is wrong" they get hit with the "you want to be in charge of everything" brand. That is, of course, far easier to do than take their argument on its own merits.

It's acutely ironic. You don't like the way that we've told someone they've made a terrible mistake and so you tell us that we've made a terrible mistake. Does that mean that you are setting yourself up as the ├╝ber-Pope of protestantism? Are you so unwilling to have someone do things differently to you that you must immediately denounce them on your blog? Why the double standards, Peter? Why do you get to criticise others - insisting that they have made great errors? What is it about you that means it's acceptable when you do it but not when others do?

Of course, the truth is that Stand Firm claims no such authority at all. We've never once claimed to be the leaders of orthodox Anglicanism. We understand that we are far more of an annoying gnat than alpha leaders of the pack. We're simply part of the conversation just like you are. One difference, however, seems to be that when we don't like the way that other people do things we don't go accusing them of grandiose claims to authority. We just point out what we think they did wrong and there you have it. You don't like that - all well and good, but how about you ease up on all the outlandish claims about who we think we are? Why not yourself retreat from some of the utterly uncharitable things you have written even in this thread?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
What you are not recognising is the way you conduct yourself in conversations like this (which we have had a few times over the years). As I reflect on your style of response it is (a) never admit you might be wrong (b) agressively pursue what might be wrong in the commenter's approach (c) when the commenter fights back, continue to critique the commenter's approach, if possible, put the commenter on the backfoot and/or off continuing to comment, and (d) never admit you might be wrong.

Yes, it is beginning to look like double standards from me, calling Stand Firm to account, especially as I am caught in this cycle of responding to your agressive challenge to my comments without any recognition that anything might be wrong on Stand Firm's part.

I simply suggest that Truro's decision is of less consequence in the great scheme of things than the consequence of evangelical/conservative Anglicans failing to act with grace and generosity in their dealings with their own allies.

If you want to call things differently that is your prerogative. I wonder if any other commenters out there are willing to call this: am I wrong or am I wrong? Or is Stand Firm in need of a firm hand, being taken aside, and told to Stand Gently?

Joshua Bovis said...

Sighs deeply after reading comments

David Ould said...

Peter, again it's fairly easy to accuse someone else of being 'aggressive' and the rest of it. For some, I guess, no clear disagreement can ever be voiced. Nor have I ever suggested I can't be wrong. Again, it's simply unfair to label me in this way. You draw a very long bow.

We disagree on a couple of fundamental issues

1 I think the impact of Truro's decision is massive.
2 You repeatedly give the impression that you are more than happy to tolerate heterodoxy in the church.

As I reflect upon your own conduct in these conversations it seems to be to continually to seek to paint all those who take a more conservative position that you as "aggressive". We all have our lines in the sand, mine are drawn further back than yours - if you are just going to accuse those of us further along the continuum than you of being "ungracious" then there's little I can do about it.

You can always appeal to your commenters as though you assume they will be neutral in the matter. It's a little like preaching to the choir but then for some types it's the more comfortable option.

carl jacobs said...

Peter Carrell

I distinguish between liberal Christianity which is Christianity and a liberalism which masquerades as Christian.

No, I don't think that is the difference at all. You might admit to the hypothetical existence of something called "liberalism which masquerades as Christian" but you manifestly refuse to specifically identify it. You won't draw that line. You won't set the boundary between Truth and Falsehood; between Light and Darkness. By your own admission, you want broad fuzzy lines so that you don't have to exclude anyone. If you ever admitted to those sharp distinct lines, you would be obligated to do something about it. You would have to take a stand against false teaching, point your finger in someone's chest and say "If you really believe what you just said, then you are a heretic and you are leading people straight to hell." You would have to deny the authority of false teachers and call them false by name.

The first time you rebuked me for one of my comments was when I called KJS a heretic. You said that if I made that charge then I should provide the evidence to substantiate it. So now I am going to repeat the charge. KJS is a heretic. She is a false teacher who is teaching damnable lies. And here is the evidence I will present. These are two examples among many.

TIME Question: Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?
Katherine Jefferts Schori: We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, TIME Magazine interview, July 10, 2006 CNN

Question: So what happens after I die?
Jefferts Schori: What happens after you die? I would ask you that question. But what‘s important about your life? What is it that has made you a unique individual? What is the passion that has kept you getting up every morning and engaging the world? There are hints within that about what it is that continues after you die. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, interview by CNN Live, June 19, 2006


Will you defend this or will you call it what it is? Will you stand up and defend the Truth of God from false teaching or not? If you will not condemn it, then how can you claim to be fulfilling obligation to the people under your charge? If you will condemn it, then why are you railing against SFIF for calling out a false teacher; for rebuking those who would be foolish enough to sit under his authority?

carl

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
Yes, our lines in the sand are different, and I think that is a good way to sum up the different perspectives we bring to this conversation. You have been very gracious through this and I compliment you on that.

As for tolerating 'heterodoxy' perhaps that arises from living in different contexts? Apart from a few years away from these islands I have lived out an ordained ministry (which has involved parish, diocesan and national ministrations and administrations) in a context where there is considerable diversity in beliefs, among colleagues who are perceived to be heterodox if not heretical, and, in some cases, even I think the perceptions are accurate. I have felt that the best way to work for the gospel in these years has been to work in friendliness and respectful conversation. On the one hand that has (I think) given rise to a belief on the part of some evangelical friends that I compromised too much; on the other hand I have been privileged with some roles that no other evangelicals in our church have been given. Whether in those roles I have been of use in the cause of the gospel I leave to God to judge.

Anyway, cutting to the point, I have considerable sympathy for the manner in which Truro have worked out their settlement, marked, as it would appear, by a desire to conduct friendly relations with Bishop Johnstone.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl,
First, I appreciate that in making your judgement about ++KJS you have brought forward evidence. I think that is a helpful way to proceed; and I have found those kinds of statements, as reported through the years, to be disturbing, coming as they do not only from the PB of TEC but from one who has a considerable role in the life of the Communion (and whom some would wish to see become the next ABC!!). I myself hold back a little from describing ++KJS as a heretic, simply because I like to see a bit more theological material before I make that kind of judgement (ditto, a few remarks here and there do not necessarily mean someone is orthodox!).

Secondly, I differ from you (it would appear) in that I am happy to accept as Christian, those who (say) subscribe to the creeds but take a liberal approach to sexual ethics; or subscribe to the creeds, subscribe to a traditional approach to sexual ethics, but understand Scripture to be errant, fallible, and not in and of itself 'the Word of God written'. From what you say above, you would not make that distinction. Fair enough, that is a point of difference between us. However I wonder if you would accept that I am not completely fuzzy about liberalism?

carl jacobs said...

Peter Carrell

I myself hold back a little from describing ++KJS as a heretic, simply because I like to see a bit more theological material before I make that kind of judgement

Considering everything she has said over these past five years or so, what more do you think you need? What single piece of additional information would convince you? It's not hard for me to multiply these statements. You know that. I could stack them up.

This following statement is not strictly speaking true. Let me address each in turn.

I am happy to accept as Christian, those who (say) subscribe to the creeds but take a liberal approach to sexual ethics ...

The issue is one of authority. To adopt a liberal sexual ethic, you must - must - compromise the authority of Scripture in some way. That has consequences that cannot be isolated. In addition, it is rebellion. So what is a Christian to do to support a fellow Christian who persists in serious and unacknowledged error? He must correct, admonish, and if necessary discipline. What would you do if a couple came to you and advised you of their active participation in a 'Christian Swingers' organization? They do exist. That is the correct analogy for me.

... or subscribe to the creeds, subscribe to a traditional approach to sexual ethics, but understand Scripture to be errant, fallible, and not in and of itself 'the Word of God written'.

There was a commenter at SF who fit this exact bill. He was very orthodox in his theology, but he rejected the historicity of huge sections of Scripture. I was happy to call him my brother. What's the problem then? He was a priest. The people he taught would not make the fine distinctions he tried to make. He would lead people right out of the faith. This man was my brother but he was absolute poison in the position he occupied. And he will have to give account for that. How do you support a fellow Christian who persists in serious and unacknowledged error? In the first place, he must be removed from a position of authority. Then he must be corrected, admonished, and if necessary disciplined.

This is serious stuff. It's not adiaphora. It is rebellion against the revealed Word of God. And I haven't even touched on the high correlation between heretical doctrine and a weak view of Scripture. They go together for obvious reasons.

carl

Kate said...

I stopped reading Stand Firm a long time ago. I find their 'if you vote Democrat you can't possibly be a real Christian' attitude and the way they treat people who make comments they disagree with repugnant.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl,
Working under the authority of Scripture is sometimes challenging, and I quite agree that there are instances of people moving away from that authority and heading into dangerous territory re false teaching.

I would like to think, however, that when someone such as myself marries a divorced person a little (or even a lot) out of the seemingly permissible Scriptural grounds for doing so, I am not necessarily on a slippery trail to teaching heresy, nor about to lose my ability to tell any Swingers in my parish that their behaviour is out of God's will.

Of course, conversely, I do not find myself particularly motivated to call out ministers for disobedience when they omit to include the Lord's Prayer in worship, though I think it is disobedience to omit it. In my worldview some latitude for some disobedience to the authority of Scripture is allowed for: life can get really, really complicated otherwise.