Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stay or go?

UPDATE: NZ Herald is on the case. COMING here soon. The case for staying whatever is made of these motions. ONE PERSON not going away anytime soon is our latest bishop, +Justin Duckworth of Wellington.

We are edging day by day closer to our General Synod in which three motions (20, 21 and 23) will be proposed for consideration. The text of these motions are as follows:

GS Motions Re Same Sex Relationships

For some, an approval by GS of these motions could be a signal to "go" (albeit, with discussion as to whether it is ACANZP rather than those who disengage from the institution which is the one "going" away from being a true Anglican church).

For others, an approval of these motions could be, well, difficult: stay or go?

Then there is the possibility that there will be a "kick for touch": let these motions lie on the table and let the Commission of Eminent Persons do its work and report back to the next GS.

What do you think?

75 comments:

hogsters said...

What do I think? That most of the viable and growing parishes, which by the way as a simple matter of fact are evangelical, will either leave, or ignore. As had been said the liberal movement has within it the seeds of its own demise. It is never fun watching a section of the church "bleed out" as many would argue we are witnessing in TEC. Spin all you want; history and reality are hard to argue with. Sad that maybe the same will happen in some sections of the ACANZP

Shawn said...

Well, simply going is not an option for some. However approval of these motions will lead to a further, and perhaps major decline in Anglicanism in NZ.

Exactly who are these so-called "eminent" persons? What makes them "emenint". On what basis will they make their deliberations?

The whole process is very disturbing and reeks of elitism.

Anonymous said...

surely there is an irony...if not downright hypocrisy...of a Diocese pleading for a traditional understanding of Episcopal autonomy in ordination, whilst rejecting any form of traditional understanding of suitability for ordination. If they embraced the latter they would have the former one would think!
This is just one example of why I'm a supporter of the covenent. It seems to me that we have just gone as far as we can with our "autonomy" without making a mockary or our unity. We have joined the great secular rush to protest our "rights", but reneg on our responsibilities.
In this case the problem appears (to me anyway) pretty clear. One is ordained a priest into God's church, not merely into a Diocese. Hence each bishop I imagine should take seriously the implications for the whole church of ordaining someone - not just the needs/wants/desires of their own Diocese.

Ben

carl jacobs said...

That these motions are even being considered is a bad sign. How did the corruption get so advanced that they would even be put forward? That fact itself is reason to consider leaving. But those who choose to stay must realize they will need to fight to drive out the corruption at the root of these motions. What those who stay cannot do is try to coexist with those who possess this understanding. If they try to co-exist, they will eventually find themselves driven out.

carl

Malcolm said...

Hi Peter,

Am I being too pedantic when I wonder why Motion 21 refers to same-gender rather than same-sex relationships?

I thought the traditional definition was to view sex as referring to male and female, and gender as referring to masculine and feminine.

I realize that nowadays the words are used interchangeably in many contexts. But shouldn't this motion be more careful in its use of key wording?

In addition I notice that the Taonga website refers to the Gender Commission, while the GS Standing Committee calls it the Commission on the Ordination and Blessing of People in Same Sex Relationships. The Commission itself has chosen the name: the Where To? Commission.

I'm beginning to wonder whether there is more than a simple semantic confusion taking place here? Are we actually sure as a church what we mean by the terms we are using in this debate?

Malcolm

Rosemary said...

What it is Peter, is immeasurably sad. It’s hard to believe it has come to this, even though one has seen it coming for so long. May I make a couple of comments that perhaps you will hear and acknowledge.
1. This is not something I want to happen.
2. Above is the most important statement, BUT, I have some experience of the pain that will now be inflicted on far more people. I think everyone here knows that I do not believe [for Scriptural reasons only] that women should be in charge of mixed congregations. When the Eames report came out and said that people of either persuasion had Scriptural reason on their side, and the Windsor Report further stated that this was an adiaphora matter, that it was not a ‘salvation’ issue lets say .. then I hoped that my brothers and sisters would accept that my point of view was valid within our church. That did not happen with the exception of one person who regularly writes on this blog, Bryden Black. Instead moves were made to curtail anything people who agreed with me might say within our church. Further moves were made to stop the ordination of anyone in any Diocese of New Zealand, who agreed with that Scriptural interpretation. That of course, drove me to re-assess and re-assess again and again if I had in fact understood what the Scriptures say, after all it was my brothers and sisters in Christ who were making these moves. My colleagues. My elders. How could I possibly have been correct in my interpretation.
Personally it hurt too, because I was referred to as ‘intolerant,’ ‘ unjust,’ other personal epithets, but the one felt most dearly, a ‘weak submissive woman’ .. because I honestly don’t see myself that way. Those who disagree with these motions are going to be called names too. The most common are homophobic, intolerant and unjust, but others will hurt just as badly because they seem so utterly unfair to the way you’re both feeling about the matter Scripturally, and they way you see the matter in the realm of natural justice .. but probably like me, you’ll have very few opportunities to say so. This blog has always permitted me my say, thank you Peter!
Unfortunately there will be no ‘winners’ in this situation, just a lot of hurt which could indeed escalate into something worse.

Father Ron Smith said...

Well, Peter, we've heard here from your 4 most outspoken Evangelical cobbers on the subject of these 3 Motions being proposed to the General Synod. Their combined response is enturely predictable.

I gues all of you will know what my immeidate response will be; If it dipleases you folks, then I think there must be some Gospel value it these motions.

My own personal view is that these motions will be thoughtfully debated by most representatives as the Gneral Synod and will be passed with a substantial majority.

So ACANZP will proceed with the liberalisation of those in the Church who have suffered the indignity of harassment and disdain by those heterosexual persons who have never quite understood their situation, and who have never really wanted to.

My prayers are for the Holy Sirit to bring more light than heat into the discussion.

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you all for comments here - much appreciated.

It is difficult to see the light of the Holy Spirit on the situation, Ron, when, as Malcolm points out there is already confusion over the simple naming of the commission.

Rosemary, it is good to hear from you!

hogsters said...

Re Ron: I guess all of you will know what my immeidate response will be; If it dipleases you folks, then I think there must be some Gospel value it these motions.

Your understanding of the Gospel is curious. Ron are you saying that the Gospel is somewhat about displeasing those who have committed themselves to living within its guidelines as they understand them?

If that is you are pointing to those you are thinking of in your opening shot. (Well, Peter, we've heard here from your 4 most outspoken Evangelical cobbers on the subject of these 3 Motions being proposed to the General Synod. Their combined response is enturely predictable).

As far as the Holy Spirit bringing more light than head I guess that means the liberal revisionist agenda equals light?

Zane Elliott said...

The fact that motion's 20 & 21 are before the GS/THW shows that the time of discussion and listening is effectively over on this divisive issue. Obviously the Diocese of Waiapu is withdrawing from the listening process to push it's agenda, in spite of the fact that the Where To? Commission has only just been formed. What a sad day for our Church.

Many will say this is really no surprise, that the listening process was a waste of time, energy and money and that Evangelical Anglicans should have acted long ago to leave the Province of Aotearoa, new Zealand and Polynesia. That Waiapu would pre-empt the outcome of the commission, and be so eager to move away from the traditional beliefs of the Anglican Church, while as others have noted touting the 'traditional position of Bishops' are sad indeed.

I'm sure many of us will now be wrestling in prayer as to what our response will be if these motions pass. I am deeply saddened, and do not look forward to the possibility of being excluded from this Church I love, and whose traditional values outlined in the canons and formularies (abandoned or reinterpreted by many) I still truly believe in.

Father Ron Smith said...

Many will say this is really no surprise, that the listening process was a waste of time, energy and money" - Zane -

It seems to me that the time for mere 'listening' has been quite extensive already, and that those who oppose the emancipation of the LGBT community in our midst have been 'listening' with fingers in their ears. Time for action!
Justice delayed is justice denied!

Jethro said...

Ron is this really a justice issue? Most people I know from the LGBT community don't give a hoot about the church, just like most of society. Not allowing someone to be ordained is surely not a justice issue but an issue of church management and leadership. There are many people who should not and would not be allowed to be ordained, and not just for moral reasons but simple personality reasons, is that a justice issue?

In my opinion this is not the time for action. As a young person in the church and young ordinand at that, I fear I am going to inherit bad and hasty decisions that came from a debate between two parties that I have no stake in.

You can implement all the action you like, talk about justice and scripture, but both evangelicals and liberals are just as bad as each other in my eyes. Two parties trying to grab for power and using a stupid and publicly destructive debate as their battle ground.

The real question at stake here is how does the church engage well in a post-Christendom society, and it seems to me that neither parties have offered anything creative or helpful on that account, but are more interested in proving the other wrong.

Under this generation's watch the church has been hemorrhaging disciples like no other generation in a long time and what is at the top of their agenda? I wonder if their is a correlation?

Anonymous said...

Hey Ron
I have actually been quite interested in the listening process, of learning what i can both informally, and through my formal studies about the issues around this issue. I have family members, family friends, and personal friends who identify themselves as Homosexual. I have also talked with a few who used to identify themselves in this way, but now no longer do. I have had very gracious conversations with all of the above about this issue. In many ways it would be much easier for me just to accept that Homesexuality is part of God's plan for human sexuality.

But after all these conversations, prayer, and a lot of reading I find that the traditional view of God's plan for Human sexuality established in Genesis 2:24, affirmed by Jesus in Mark 10:6-9, and by Paul throughout the rest of the New Testament, is still the most convincing.

I don't think this makes me a bad person, homophobic, or a bigot. There is nothing "Just" in affirming things that God doesn't affirm, or leading people astray, or without redemptive hope. I love my family and friends that I mention above. I try to be very understanding and respectful of them. They are very understanding and respectful of my views and in fact understand them as the Christian view of Sexuality themselves.

What I find harder then to understand are Christians who don't understand this as the Christian view of Sexuality, who usually employ a dazzling array of Hermenutical Gymnastics, and when this remains unconvincing resort to claiming some sort of special divine revelation. or sometimes just end up calling people names!

So there's my 5 cents worth. I love and have a lot of empathy for people who identify themselves as Homosexual. As is the case though for my friends in hetrosexual De Facto relationships, i don't think that such relationships are Godly expressions of our sexuality and I certainly think that Church leaders need to be modelling Godly ideals in this area as much as any other - if not more, when we live in such a sex-saturated culture where "anything goes"

Blessings
Ben

Bryden Black said...

Thanks Ben and Jethro for your participation.

2 points.

1. It is because the established churches have indeed been by and large bleeding badly in our contemporary context that I now, at this stage in my ministry, invest the better part of my energies in 18-30 year olds. And it’s such fun too, albeit very challenging. What’s more, ‘they’ seem to offer me such grace in accepting what this older geyser has to offer!

2. Motion 20 is an absolute classic howler! What on earth is this talk of a bishop’s diocesan autonomy?! Have they never pondered the true significance of there being THREE bishop’s present (so the BCP Ordinal) at any bishop’s consecration?

A diocesan bishop is NEVER strictly “autonomous”. They signify the catholic nature of the Church. And if the Diocese of Waiapu and/or ACANZ&P wishes to unchurch itself ... well; that’s going to cause a bit of a barney! And Rosemary is surely correct: massive hurt all round. For the matters before us are not adiaphora; they pertain to nothing less than issues of the Imago Dei and the Trinity. And since we Christians affirm as the core of our belief the Incarnation, what we do with our bodies matters. Just so Rom 12:1-2 one more time as the fulcrum of our practical existence.

Father Ron Smith said...

" I love my family and friends that I mention above. I try to be very understanding and respectful of them. They are very understanding and respectful of my views and in fact understand them as the Christian view of Sexuality themselves." - Ben -

And in that statement, Ben, you may have some clue as to the difference between you and the Gays among your family and friends; You 'try' to be understanding and respectful of them; whereas they actually respect and understand your situation - but do not necessarily agree with you.

Have you not yet realised that your view is not the sole 'Christian' view; but rather that of a sola-scriptura advocate? Anglican spirituality demands that we respect all human beings - not just those who think the same as we do. The Anglican Way is based not only on Scripture and Tradition, but also on the God-give charism of sweet Reason - which engages with reality and not fantasy.

hogster said...

" I love my family and friends that I mention above. I try to be very understanding and respectful of them. They are very understanding and respectful of my views and in fact understand them as the Christian view of Sexuality themselves." - Ben -

Ron's response: And in that statement, Ben, you may have some clue as to the difference between you and the Gays among your family and friends; You 'try' to be understanding and respectful of them; whereas they actually respect and understand your situation.

SHAME!

Peter Carrell said...

Moderated comment from Ron Smith:

""A diocesan bishop is NEVER strictly “autonomous”. They signify the catholic nature of the Church. And if the Diocese of Waiapu and/or ACANZ&P wishes to unchurch itself .."

- Dr. Bryden Black -

1. An Anglican bishop in ACANZP has the right and the necessary authority to ordain whom s/he thinks fit for ministry in her/his diocese.

2. Fortunately, the Bishop and the Standing committee of the Waiapu Diocese in ACANZP need no advice from a ... priest in the Christchurch Diocese to pursue the outworking of what they discern as the Gospel in Waiapu. ... "

I have moderated this comment Ron because I do not like your attitude to a fellow priest as expressed in the words I have omitted. As a matter of fact, and I really would like you to get this message very clearly: the concerns Bryden raises are precisely the concern of many in this church, including at the episcopal level, about the Waiapu motion. Bishops ordain for the whole church and they must abide by the protocols of the whole church re ordination. Please do not dismiss the concerns of the wider church.

Father Ron Smith said...

"... the concerns Bryden raises are precisely the concern of many in this church, including at the episcopal level, about the Waiapu motion."

- Dr. Peter Carrell -

Obviously, your ear must be closer to the ground 'in this Church' than mine, Peter. Exactly how many bishops in ACANZP share your concern? Or is it only one? It would be handy to know who they are

Father Ron Smith said...

"How did the corruption get so advanced that they would even be put forward? " - Carl -

I have noticed that this pejorative statement, made by someone from outside our Church, as a judgement of the intentions of the Waiapu Diocese in presenting perfectly permissible Motions to our General Synod, has not been accounted at all abusive or at least insulting!

Is this going to be the measure of what may be the substance of comments from now on?

Bryden Black said...

Dear Ron,

I have not sighted your original post, nor do I wish to do so. My/our concern is exactly as Peter outlines. We may express it this way: what is the nature of the catholicity of the Church?
Perhaps it seems strange for a supposed Evangelical to put that question to a supposed Catholic member of the Anglican Tradition. But there it is; we live in strange times! The BCP requirements of episcopal consecration begin to offer an answer. My observations last time seek to locate Anglican theology and polity precisely where they have mostly been found - in liturgy.
In your reply to Ben you bang on about what is technically termed the Wesleyan Quadrilateral - of Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience - as if somehow that mantra solves all issues. Yet perhaps you are unaware that even the likes of Rowan Greer, retired Emeritus Prof of Anglican Studies, Yale, and author of the acclaimed Anglican Approaches to Scripture: From the Reformation to the Present, puts little store by it. Indeed he concludes: “My suggestion will be that the idea [of the “Triple Cord”: he focuses upon this correctly per Hooker et al, so as to not be anachronistic] is less helpful than it appears and that it proves impossible to argue that Hooker’s view really illustrates it or that the Caroline divines after Hooker follow his views.” In other words, what authority does this mantra really hold, if any?! Even if it is seemingly popular, at present, in some quarters!
I.e. once more: our current dilemmas really highlight an abysmal lack of appreciation of due Christian authority. And while you might cry sola Scriptura in a pejorative manner, the actual use of this slogan by the likes of say a Calvin in his many commentaries might just show you (and others) a powerful expression of reason’s abilities - and notably vis-à-vis others’ uses, which are to be eschewed, mostly due to their premises. If Israel had to eschew many of the practices of their surrounding cultures and was finally judged by a patient Covenant Lord when they persistently conformed to those practices, why should the western Church of the 21st C expect anything less? Just so 1 Pet 4:17, Heb 2:1-3, 12:18-29 & passim.

Anonymous said...

"Anglican spirituality demands that we respect all human beings - not just those who think the same as we do. The Anglican Way is based not only on Scripture and Tradition, but also on the God-give charism of sweet Reason - which engages with reality and not fantasy" - Ron

I agree with Ron's statement about respect, and I hope that's what we're trying to do here.

In regards to Ron's acknowledgement of the 'Anglican Way', which includes scripture, tradition and reason, I think he's highlighted a fundamental issue when disucssing issues within the Anglican church. For all Anglicans, regardless if they're aware of it or not, are putting emphasis on one of these three 'pillars'; scripture, tradition or reason.

Richard Hooker, who we give credit to in regards to these 'pillars' came up with a 'via media' (a middle way) for the Anglican Church in the 16th century. He disagreed with both the Catholic church, who leant on tradition (over scripture), and also with the Protestant church, who pracitally disregarded tradition & reason and leant on scripture alone (sola scriptura).

His work gave the Anglican Church the framework and freedom to include all three; scripture, tradition & reason. However, when reading his work (fundamentally found in 'The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity')one finds that he still has a heirachy to which of the pillars one is to look to first.

"what Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that the first place both of credit and obedience are due; the next whereunto, is what any man can necessarily conclude by force of Reason; after this, the voice of the church succeedeth. That which the Church by her ecclesiastical authority shall probably think and define to be true or good, must in congruity of reason overrule all other inferior judgments whatsover."
v.8.2, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.

Some food for thought in our discussion.

Paul

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I do not have time and energy to moderate every comment so that it is perfectly acceptable.

What I am drawing a line around (or trying my best too) is comments directed at individual people. "Corruption" speaks to a whole state of affairs in the life of our church, not to one individual and what the commenter thinks of them.

Anonymous said...

Rosemary's comment, from her personal experience, is heart-breaking but true and reflects the fact that western Anglicanism is being torn apart by monomaniacal sexual revisionists who have not brought new life to this communion but hasve only fractured and divided it further, as it declines inexorably, both numerically and spiritually. Many of us who have spent most or all of our lives in this church wonder whether it is worth it now.
Martin

Joshua Bovis said...

Ron,

The Anglican Way is based not only on Scripture and Tradition, but also on the God-give charism of sweet Reason - which engages with reality and not fantasy

Scripture and the 39 Articles (which all clergy at their ordination are sworn to uphold) make it clear that Scripture is the final authority and this trumphs all other authorities. Article XX for example states:

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 anything 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.,

In other words Ron, the church does not have the right or the power to prescribe anything that is contrary to Holy Scripture. So when any teaching and/or doctrine undermines the authority of God as revealed in the Scriptures and nullifies the gospel, it is to be rejected.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Scripture and the 39 Articles (which all clergy at their ordination are sworn to uphold) make it clear that Scripture is the final authority and this trumphs all other authorities"

- Joshua Bovis -

I presume then, Joshua, that you are not ordained into ACANZP within the last 30 years at least. Because if you were, you would realise that ordinands are no longer required to specifically affirm the 39 Articles. Perhaps now you will realise why ACANZP is not bound to their observance.

I was ordained a deacon and then a priest in ACANZP in 1980/81, by archbishop Paul Reeves, and was not required to affirm these Articles.

Chris Spark said...

The understanding Josh presents just here from Article 20, and indeed the type of thinking that Paul brings to our attention through the quote from Hooker, reflects the basic understanding I had of the Anglicanism I was ordained to minister in less than two years ago (and, seen in retrospect, the Anglicanism through which I became a follower of Jesus some 12 years ago).
Will that be the Anglicanism I am still serving Jesus under in a few months time?
Good question, and a disturbing one.

Dave Clancey said...

Ron: You, I, and every other clergyperson in this province did, however, assent our submission to the fundamental provisions of the Constitution of our church, which therefore includes assent to the 39 Articles. ACANZP, it's clergy, and most certainly our General Synod IS bound by those provisions, and every person who holds a license declares that they will be bound by them. If our General Synod chooses to agree to the motions before them, they will not only be disregarding Scripture, they will also be disregarding their own Constitution.

Chris Spark said...

When I was ordained here in Chch in 2010 I was asked, just prior to the service, to sign a declaration. I had to look up what I was signing in the Canons (Blue Book), and when I did I saw I was agreeing to to Part B.1 of the Constitution in those Canons. Part B.1 speaks of the church upholding the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ as found in Scripture and explained in a number of documents, one of which was the 39 articles (others included BCP and NZPB). And Part b.2 says General Synod / te Hinota Whanui shall also maintain them.
I therefore was pretty sure I was affirming among other things that I was being ordained into ministry in a church bound by the Articles, at least as far as Doctrine and Sacraments go.
I am just a young chap, perhaps I misunderstood?

Shawn said...

Ron's claim that opposition to homosexual marriage is merely that of sola scriptura Christians is utter rubbish. Neither the Eastern Orthodox churches nor the Oriental churches nor the Roman Catholic church accepts homosexuality. The pro homosexual lobby in the church are a small minority of Western urban liberals pushing an elitist agenda that has nothing to do with justice. In reality it is an agenda that is deeply unjust, oppressive and totalitarian.

Shawn said...

Ron's claim that opposition to homosexual marriage is merely that of sola scriptura Christians is utter rubbish. Neither the Eastern Orthodox churches nor the Oriental churches nor the Roman Catholic church accepts homosexuality. The pro homosexual lobby in the church are a small minority of Western urban liberals pushing an elitist agenda that has nothing to do with justice. In reality it is an agenda that is deeply unjust, oppressive and totalitarian.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Shawn, you've called him out again. Some people never let facts get in the way of their assertions. Any informed catholic Christian knows our position is determined by the consentient witness of Scripture, Tradition (the unbroken teaching of the churches through the centuries) and Reason (the teaching of natural law on our bodies, as well as the consequences of homosexual behavior). If I can find it, I'll post a fine saying by C.S. Lewis on marriage.
Martin

Anonymous said...

From C S Lewis on the nature of Christian marriage:

"The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism — for that is what the words ‘one flesh’ would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact — just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined. The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong I about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

As a consequence, Christianity teaches that marriage is for life. There is, of course, a difference here between different Churches: some do not admit divorce at all; some allow it reluctantly in very special cases. It is a great pity that Christians should disagree about such a question; but for an ordinary layman the thing to notice is that the Churches all agree with one another about marriage a great deal more than any of them agrees with the outside world. I mean, they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation. Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases. They are all agreed that it is more like having both your legs cut off than it is like dissolving a business partnership or even deserting a regiment. What they all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another, or when either of them falls in love with someone else."

Martin

Shawn said...

It is clear that when liberals invoke the "Anglican Way" they are being very selective. The 39 Articles are a vital part of the Anglican heritage, and they are part of the heritage priests commit too. If liberals are going to invoke the Anglican Way they cannot just pick and choose which parts are convenient.

But I strongly suspect that when liberals invoke the "Anglican Way" what they really mean is the Liberal way. Tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and pan-sexual freedom are liberal notions, the fashionable idols of Western, urban elites.

When such notions are invoked at the same time that the 39 Articles are rejected we can be sure that it is not the Anglican Way that is being respected

The same is true when "Reason" is invoked. There is nothing rational about homosexual behavior. Simple, and rational observation of human biology is proof of that. Neither is there anything rational about the Church blessing same sex couples. Doing so is contrary to Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

And while we are on that topic the three legged stool nonsense is not an accurate understanding of the Anglican heritage. Sola Scriptura, with tradition and reason as tools for Biblical interpretation but not equal to Scripture is a far more accurate reflection of the theology of the Caroline Divines.

There is nothing in the real Anglican Way that leads to an acceptance of homosexuality.

Father Ron Smith said...

" Neither the Eastern Orthodox churches nor the Oriental churches nor the Roman Catholic church accepts homosexuality." - Shawn -

This is, quite patently, an untruth. You need to keep up with the reality of what is going on in the Roman Catholic Church of your youth. Archbishop Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has personally spoken of his acceptance of the fact of homosexuality, and has affirmed Civil Partnerships.

Truth is a double-edged sword!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn/Ron

Ron: please recognise that principled Christian opposition to same sex marriages is shared beyond the 'sola scriptura' Protestants.

Shawn: 'against homosexuality' is too blunt an instrument to describe the nuanced pastoral responses of the Catholic and Orthodox churches to gays and lesbians in their midst.

Shawn said...

Ron,

The official teaching of the Roman Church remains the same, and there is no likelihood that this will change. The opinion you speak of was to do with the civil state, and does not even hint at a change in the RC's teaching on church marriage. So I stand by my point that neither the RC nor any of the Eastern Orthodox churches is going to accept homosexual marriage in the church, proving my point that opposition to homosexual marriage is not solely the preserve of Sola Scriptura Christians. That claim was the only patent untruth.

Father Ron Smith said...

" So I stand by my point that neither the RC nor any of the Eastern Orthodox churches is going to accept homosexual marriage in the church,"
- shawn -

This sounds exactly like a papal statement - ex cathedra! Do you have a private line to the Vatican and to the Archimandrites of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. You need to admit Shawn, that you have no such mandate to speak for other churches. So please don't speak for them in these conversations.

Father Ron Smith said...

I would like to ask any one of you people on this thread who say that 'Scripture forbids homosexuality' to point to any solitary statement of Jesus to this specific end.

Then I would like to to explain what you think Jesus meant in Matthew 19:12, in the context of His talk about heterosexual relationships.

If you can find just one specific statement made by Jesus about homosexual relationships, I will be most surprised.

Now I'm speaking of Jesus - no-one else. If He thought the subject was important for future Christianity, why did He not even mention homosexuals (except, perhaps, when he spoke of 'eunuchs', so from their mother's womb?) Jesus in fact did make a point of speaking about heterosexual relationships.Why did He say nothing about homosexuals?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
Matthew 5:17-20.
I have no idea why you invoke Matthew 19:12 which is about eunuchs and not homosexuals.
Your question in general terms can be countered by asking you (a) to name a specific statement of Jesus about abortion, bestiality, genetic engineering, and if none are forthcoming, then asking whether we may or may not advance a case against such things on the basis of other parts of the Bible or not; (b) to advance the theological grounds by which you propose to distinguish the priority of the teaching of Jesus in the gospels over the teaching of the apostles in the epistles; and (c) to offer instances where the teaching of the apostles contradicts the teaching of their Master.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, you still cannot convince me that your quoting of Matt.5:17-20 contains an actual statement of jesus about homosexuals./ If you go back to the 10 commanmdnets (which Jesus did not cite, but rather told his disciples that all the Law and the Commandments are summed up in just 2 Commandments 1. Love God, and 2. Love your neighbour as yourself. I don't see anything there about homosexuals.

You really are missing the point about the message of Jesus in Matthew 19:10-12. Surely you have made the obvious connection between the 'eunuch, born that way from his mother's womb' and the modern-day understanding of a homosexual being a eunuch in that specific instance?

The other 2 types of eunuch are either 'one made so by others' (e.g. the castrato); or 'the eunuch who makes him/herself such for the sake of the Kingdom' (e.g. Jesus).

I know this is not part of the conservative s.s. hermeneutic, but it is something to be seriously considered by all Christians.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, you are still missing my point. Jesus spoke directly about misplaced heterosexual behaviour.

If Homosexuality was at all an issue, and considered by Jesus to be even worse than heterosexual behaviour, why did he not address it directly?

Was it because he did not consider Gays to be noxious? And could it be possible that, for Jesus, a eunuch, born so from his mother's womb, was actually a person not disposed to procreate, and therefore possibly Gay? If you dispute this, on what grounds to you base your argument?

Or Are you saying, Peter, in common with many of your con/evo friends, that to merely be Gay is an abomination?

If so, you are out of step with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, the R.C. Archbishop of Westminster, and many other eminent Christian theologians.

And it is possible that rather than accepting a basic human difference, you could be rejecting an intrinsic part of God's creation. Is that a Christian virtue?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
Please do not put words in my mouth or anyone else's here. No one thinks anyone is noxious. What we are engaged in here is determining what it means to be Christians seeking God's will by the means God has willed for us, including Scripture. In that context it is important to consider what Jesus meant when we read Matthew 5:17-20.

It is also important not to put too much weight on obscure points and speculations about eunuchs. Jesus' words would be less obscure on that point if we had some supporting hermeneutical wisdom from the apostles. We do not.

carl jacobs said...

FRS

I would like to ask any one of you people on this thread who say that 'Scripture forbids homosexuality' to point to any solitary statement of Jesus to this specific end.

Hrmmm. So let's think now.

1. I assume the you won't accept the whole idea of the Economy of the Trinity. In which case I can't simply point to the Law as the words of the Second Person of the Trinity who mediates and intercedes between the Godhead and man, and thus gave the Law.

2. I also assume that you won't let me claim the unity of the Godhead. That means that even if you reject (1) above, you won't let me claim unity between the Father and the Son on this matter. This must be the case since your whole argument collapses into dust if you once grant the divine authorship of the law and the unity of the Godhead. If the Father gave the Law, and the Son is in perfect agreement with the Father, then the Words of the Father in the Law are also the Words of the Son. I do believe that the Lord Jesus had much to say specifically on that matter.

3. I assume also that you won't let me refer to the Lord Jesus' general affirmations of the law - which by implication condemn homosexuality. For if He affirms the whole of the law and the law condemns homosexuality, then He has condemned homosexuality.

4. No, I suppose that you want me to say "No, He didn't mention the subject of homosexuality anywhere in the four Gospels." Of course he also didn't specifically condemn having sex with your neighbor's sheep. Or having a threesome with your brother and sister-in-law. Or boiling your children in goat's milk and eating them as a sacrifice to whatever god du jour you happen to be engaging that week. Perhaps because those subjects weren't overly controversial issues in first-century Israel. You don't have to tell people that homosexuality is wrong when everyone to whom you speak already knows it.

So what then is your point? Or should we look forward to learned arguments from learned progressive theologians about the benefits of holy sex with horses, and mutual monogamous commitment in threesomes simply because Jesus isn't recorded as having specifically condemn those activities in one of the four Gospels?

carl

liturgy said...

Dave, Chris, and others

Let’s first quote what is actually signed:

I DO SOLEMNLY MAKE THE FOLLOWING DECLARATION:-
I believe in the faith, which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the Catholic Creeds, as this Church has received it and explained it in its Formularies and its authorised worship.
I assent to the Constitution of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
I affirm my allegiance to the doctrine to which clause 1 of the Fundamental Provisions and clauses 1 and 2 of Part B of that Constitution bear witness.
In public prayer and administration of the sacraments I will use only the forms of service which are authorised or allowed by lawful authority.
I will uphold the covenant and partnership expressed in the Constitution between Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa as a whole and through its constituent parts, and the Dioceses in New Zealand together and severally and through their constituent parts, and the Diocese of Polynesia as a whole and through its constituent parts.
I will pay true and canonical obedience, in all things lawful and honest, to Te Pīhopa o Aotearoa
Te Pīhopa ki te [name of Hui Amorangi] The Bishop of [name of Diocese]
and to the successors to that Pīhopa / Bishop, and will be obedient to the ecclesiastical laws and regulations in force in the said
[Pihopatanga] [Hui Amorangi area] [name of Diocese]
The foregoing declaration was made and subscribed by the abovenamed

1) Pots and kettles and all that, obviously only those who have only ever used authorized forms of service can continue this particular line in this conversation. Jesus draws in the sand: grapejuice, baptism service, “Eucharistic prayers”,…
2) The language is obviously very carefully framed: “believe…assent…affirm…bear witness”. Fr Ron is quite correct – in other provinces there may be a signing up to all 39 Articles; that’s not the case here. Peter, here, does not accept all 39 Articles as given. I do not believe he is in breach of his promises.
3) Why, Chris, did all this happen “just prior to the service” of your ordination? Surely in any profession with integrity such things are carefully discussed at the start of one’s training – not finding the possibility that one cannot sign up to the requirements of one’s profession at the end of the years and years of rigorous training, formation, preparation, and study that our province rightly requires of our ordained?
4) That the motions are contrary to our constitution (it is not just “their” constitution) is debatable. But where was this outcry when our province was about to publish a revised Prayer Book certainly contrary to our constitution?!

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Lest I be thought a 39A slacker, following Bosco's entirely accurate comment re my adherence to the 39A above:

I like our ACANZP phrasing re the doctrine of Christ being explained in the 39A (quoting from memory here): excellent.

I am unconvinced that Article 37 is relevant to NZ in the entirety and literality of its wording, notwithstanding the fact that the Queen is the Sovereign of our dear nation: the political reality is that she is not the 'chief power' in our nation.

I also could not subscribe to Article 35 to the extent that it enjoins something which I don't believe actually happens, or would happen, even in those churches which do subscribe to the 39A, namely, the regular and diligent reading out of the homilies (fine though I am sure they are, never having read them all through myself).

Father Ron Smith said...

Carl Jacobs, despitre your most inventive and marginally amusing attempt to answer my question, you still have not answered it:

Despite the fact that Jesus has mentioned his disapproval of sexual behaviour in 'natural' opposite-sex relationships; He has not mentioned his disapproval of 'un-natural' same-sex relationships. If Jesus was concerned about any 'deviation' from what He considered 'natural' relationships, would He not have taken care to mention the same?

We are not speaking here of all the many oddities you have come up with; just the matter of ordinary human sexual relationships that Jesus might have been concerned about at that time.

I ask you again to give me chapter and verse of Jesus' condemnation of same-sex relationships; remembering that he HAS condemned illicit heterosexual relationships.

f said...

"It is also important not to put too much weight on obscure points and speculations about eunuchs. Jesus' words would be less obscure on that point if we had some supporting hermeneutical wisdom from the apostles. We do not."
- Dr. Peter Carrell -

Peter, with all the respect I can muster, I submit that your argument here must also extend to your own speculation about what Jesus actually meant to include in his summary of The Law in your quotation of Matthew 5:17-20.

The 'unknown' about what Jesus 'really meant' about eunuchs, must also apply to the quality of 'unknown'-ness about what Jesus really meant in his statement of the need to 'keep The Law'.

After all, he did summarise the 'Keeping of The Law' into just two specific Commandments.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear f,
Who are you?

Shawn said...

Ron,

I do not need a personal line to the leadership of the Roman and Eastern churches to be able to have an informed view of what those churches currently teach, nor to take an informed guess as to what they are likely to teach in the future. Simple reading is all that is required. The Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe are at the forefront of opposing the normalisation and promotion of homosexuality. And there are powerful conservative/traditionalist forces in the RC that make any change unlikely in the extreme.

So my point, which you have failed to answer, remains. Opposition to homosexual pratice (not to homosexual persons by the way)is not merely a Sola Scriptura view. It is the majority view of the whole Church across denominational lines.

" Carl Jacobs, despitre your most inventive and marginally amusing attempt to answer my question, you still have not answered it"

In fact Carl did answer your question, and he did so clearly and with solidly orthodox theology. When you ask for a statement from Jesus, then ANY statement in the Bible is valid as a statement from Jesus. ALL of Scripture is breathed out by God. Thus every word of Scripture is the Word of God. Jesus was God. So every word of Scripture is a word from Jesus. Thus the very clear statements in both Old and New Testaments condemning homosexual relationships are also the very words of Jesus. So, in answer to your challenge: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders."

Now before you claim that this is just a Sola Scriptura view, or a "perculiar" view, or any of your other usual rhetorical tactics, it is in fact the view of all branches of the Christian Church and has been the view of all branches for over a thousand years. I can show you, if need be, doctrinal statements from the Roman and Eastern churches affirming that ALL of Scripture is to be taken as the Word of God.

The liberal attempt to take Jesus out of Scripture, to excerpt His words from the rest of the Biblical canon, is deeply contrary to orthodoxy in any form, and self-contradictory.

Moreover, your attempting to make an argument from silence alone, which is not a valid approach to Biblical hermeneutics. As Peter pointed out, Jesus does not mention child abuse or nuclear war either. Do we take it then that he would approve?

Of course not.

Also it can be quite reasonably argued that every time Jesus mentions sexual sin in general, that includes homosexuality, as the Hebrew mindset did not make the kinds of conveniant distinctions that modern Western liberals are fond of.

Let me turn your challenge around.

Show me one, just one, clear and positive statement affirming homosexual practice or same-sex marriage from anywhere in scripture, or from any Church statement or theologian from prior to the late twentieth century.

Just one.

Tim Chesterton said...

I note that Jesus also had absolutely nothing to say on the subject of whether or not the president at the Eucharist needs to be an ordained priest.

I wait with bated breath for Ron's spirited defence of lay presidency, on the grounds that Jesus has no expressed opinion on the subject.

Shawn said...

I do take notice of those I debate with here, and I do listen. I am open to the reality that I may be wrong on a specific issue.

Thus both Peter and Bosco may be pleased to learn that as of today I have begun a week long intensive doing Otago's Liturgical Theology paper, so that I can better understand the history and importance of shared liturgy in the Church. :)

carl jacobs said...

FRS

It is usually good form to at least attempt an answer before you dismiss your opponent's arguments. Otherwise you appear to be covering up for a total inability to respond. And if you are going to try to introduce a new argument, it is usually wise to look and see if your opponent has already answered that new argument before you try to raise it. Here, let me illustrate. You said ...

Despite the fact that Jesus has mentioned his disapproval of sexual behaviour in 'natural' opposite-sex relationships; He has not mentioned his disapproval of 'un-natural' same-sex relationships. If Jesus was concerned about any 'deviation' from what He considered 'natural' relationships, would He not have taken care to mention the same?

... after I said ...

Of course he also didn't specifically condemn having sex with your neighbor's sheep. Or having a threesome with your brother and sister-in-law. Or boiling your children in goat's milk and eating them as a sacrifice to whatever god du jour you happen to be engaging that week.

So let me re-phrase your statement in accordance with my prior argument. If Jesus was concerned about having sex with a neighbor's sheep, would He not have taken care to mention the same? Because he obviously didn't. So you can either admit that He isn't all that concerned about men having sex with sheep, or you can admit that your entire argument is fallacious.

You see, I anticipated where you were going. That's why I pre-empted your argument before you could use it.

carl

liturgy said...

Shawn, I looked up that paper - it doesn't tell us a lot. I am genuinely interested in what such a paper covers; I hope you might give a short summary (here?) later. I hope you enjoy the course and are enriched by it.

Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

" ANY statement in the Bible is valid as a statement from Jesus."

This is such a silly statement that I can barely muster the enthusiasm to reply to it - except by quoting just one passage from scripture that I think Jesus actually refuted, by his own actions:

Deuteronomy 22:21 (try this one, for a start).

Shawn said...

Bosco,

Thanks. Briefly it is an introduction to the theology of liturgy and sacraments covering the Patristic, Medieval, Reformation and Modern periods, Mostly it involves a lot of primary source reading. For example tonight I am reading Ambrose and Chrysostom's sermons and homilies on baptism. I'll let you know more as the week progresses.

Father Ron Smith said...

Tim Chesterton said...
"I note that Jesus also had absolutely nothing to say on the subject of whether or not the president at the Eucharist needs to be an ordained priest."

I agree with you on this one, Tim. Neither did he.

But what does that say about the Church's implicit independence from literally following the whole record of what Jesus, or anyone, did or did not say in Scripture.

What does that mean to you?

Are you more keen to follow what Jesus did presumably say, only? Or do you also elect to place your own importance upon what he did not say?

Father Ron Smith said...

Shawn quotes this:
" "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders."

One notes that this is not solely a warning against homosexuals, but also a warning against sexual immorality among heterosexuals. Thus even heterosexuals who have offended against the biblical standard of monogamous sexual relationships (outside of the marriage bond), are guilty!

Contrary to your inference, Shawn, that this scriptural warning is solely directed at Gays and Lesbians, it is also directly at the much larger percentage of the world's population who happen to be heterosexual who have, in any way,
had a single sexual relationship outside of the bonds of marriage.

Neither Jesus nor Paul separates heterosexual and homosexual persons in their charge of culpability of sins against sexual immorality.

Don't keep aiming at Gays. Heterosexual people are equally culpable in God's sight.

Fortunately, God is more forgiving than some of God's children in such matters. (From the Lord's own Prayer: Father, forgive ME, as I forgive THEM)

Think of Jesus' treatment of the woman 'caught in the act of adultery', whom the Scribes and Pharisees were about to stone - until Jesus reminded them of their own culpability with regard to SIN.
(One wonders what happened to the men concerned).

We are ALL Sinners. It is surely better not to rant about other people's culpability, when we have (secret?) sins of our own!("Judge not; that you be not judged!"

Tim Chesterton said...

Ron said:

'I agree with you on this one, Tim. Neither did he.

'But what does that say about the Church's implicit independence from literally following the whole record of what Jesus, or anyone, did or did not say in Scripture.

'What does that mean to you?

'Are you more keen to follow what Jesus did presumably say, only? Or do you also elect to place your own importance upon what he did not say?'

Sorry, Ron, but that's an unusually opaque post! I've read it four times and I'm still not sure what you're saying!

I believe (as the 39 Articles say) that the church is at liberty to devise whatever liturgies and ceremonies it likes, as long as their doctrine does not contradict what has been revealed to us in Jesus and the Scriptures. And I believe, as Archbishop William Temple says in one of his books (sorry, can't remember which one - it might be 'Nature, Man, and God'), that 'although the rule requiring that the celebrant at Holy Communion be a priest may be a good one, it is nonetheless a rule of man and not a law of God'. This means, to me, that in differing circumstances it can be changed, and that a Communion service presided over by a layperson is a perfectly valid service in which the body and blood of Christ are truly given and received.

And as for placing an inordinate amount of importance on what Jesus did not say - well, I'm just following your lead, Ron. You're the one who made such a big deal out of the fact that Jesus says nothing about homosexuality. I just want to see if you will be consistent and encourage the Anglican Church to allow lay readers to preside at the Eucharist (as is clearly the pastoral need in some places), as Jesus obviously has no opinion on the subject.

Tim Chesterton said...

By the way, I should clarify that I don't necessarily completely disagree with Ron about the importance of the words of Jesus in relation to the rest of scripture. I think we Anglicans clearly make this distinction when we sit for the other readings but stand for the gospel reading. And the writer to the Hebrews clearly teaches that, although in days gone by God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, 'who is the exact representation of his being' (1:3). Surely we can all agree (to use John's language) that Jesus is 'the Word of God' par excellence, because he is the Son.

If this is true, then it seems to me that it does relativise other parts of Scripture - i.e. the word of Jesus becomes the standard by which other parts are judged. Last week in our daily office we read the story of Dathan and Abiram from Numbers. I note that God's punishment for them was that not only they, but their wives and little ones (who presumably had done no harm) should be swallowed up by the earth and go down alive to Sheol. Personally, I find this incompatible with the teaching of Jesus. To say that it is God's will for a little child to be killed in punishment for the sins of his or her father seems a long way from the One who said that each of their angels constantly beholds the face of his Father in heaven.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Tim, I shall bypass those other bits of your last message that I do not agree with, in order to back you up in your insightful understanding that The Word has been made flesh in Jesus Christ, and that it is through this fulcrum that we must discern what God is actually 'saying' in scripture.

This is not to agree with Shawn (presently heavily involved in part 1 of Knox College's understanding of Liturgy in The Church) - that Jesus is present in every word of the Scriptures. Like you, Tim, I am appalled at that possibility.

However, Tim, I do not agree with your statement that, because Jesus said nothing about precisely who should be involved in presidency at the Eucharist - therefore, the unordained ought to be allowed to preside at the Eucharist.

What is the distinction of your own ordination to priesthood, if you think in that way? And, is there such a thing as a 'Calling' to the priesthood?

In your statement here you are implying that there is no personal, distinctive call to ordination. Did you ordaining Bishop know that this was how you felt before ordaining you? Or have you 'grown into it'?

Peter Carrell said...

A clarification about the course on liturgy which Shawn has mentioned: it is a St John's College/Otago University course which has nothing to do with Knox College. The course is being taught by one of our brightest liturgical stars, albeit little known in these shores because he has been studying overseas.

Chris Spark said...

Hi Bosco - I know I am very late in saying anything to your points in which I was mentioned, but that is how I usually go - not so good at the blog commenting thing. But a couple of quick thoughts re your 4 points (thanks for putting the declaration up here by the way):

1. re your alusion to John 8 and Jesus - I'm not looking to stone anyone, and I certainly do not think I am without sin in this or any other area. But I do think it is worth pointing to something here, as a sinner who has gone home justified (as per the NT reading this morning). So...
2. We may well not sign up to the letter of the Articles in a sort of hyper-legalistic sense. They are certainly also a document with historical context, and I think Peter has given a good example of a respectful attempt to deal with this re Article 37. Another example, Article 35 was written in the context of a country full of under-trained parish ministers (cf 'these times' in the wording), and whether that still applies today I leave to the reader to discern. But Article 20 expresses something which, historically speaking, really would be hard to argue has changed a lot, and fits in with other articles too. In that sense, I think 'affirm[ing] my allegiance to the doctrine' which the 39 Articles and the other formularies 'bear witness to' clearly includes the sort of issues Article 20 is talking about.
3. Fair enough. I was a little disappointed myself to be presented with something to sign just before (within about an hour) of the ordination service, and not to have had it flagged to me for study before hand (as I had studied the ordination service itself). My co-ordinands were in much the same position. It may have been an oversight? I for one was overseas until shortly before the ordination. Perhaps it was a mistake, we all make those.
4. this outcry seem to have been made quite loudly to me :) And our synod did put certain motions, as I remember :) But for all that I realise this is a serious issue legally, at least as far as I can work out (hence I voted in favour of your movement at Synod), it is of a different measure to the official shift in doctrinal authority that would be expressed if these motions passed - with serious theological implications that are more than letter of the law, more than the constitution itself - along the lines of the theological importance that Bryden B noted in his first comment on this thread. That's why this one has me more concerned than the possible revision of the Prayer Book.

God bless
C

Chris Spark said...

Hi Ron,
Without wanting to get into this particular comment discussion further, I just thought one thing worth noting. You expressed nearly exactly what in my experience most of those who are opposed to this motion would think (I can't speak for Shawn, I don't know him) when you said:

"Neither Jesus nor Paul separates heterosexual and homosexual persons in their charge of culpability of sins against sexual immorality."
and further when you said "we are ALL sinners".

It is precisely because it seems to many of us that the place for expression of sexuality is within heterosexual marriage that we can't affirm either heterosexual nor homosexual sex outside of marriage. Therefore orientation itself is not the issue, nor is whether someone has acted in this way, or struggles with it - God is, as you say, deeply forgiving, sa revealed in Christ. The issue is rather the affirming of sexuality expressed outside of marriage between a man and a woman which poses the significant problem within these motions, precisely for the reasons you have noted - it falls into the area of sexual sin as represented by both Jesus and (more explicitly) Paul. Therefore affirming it in a way that indicates it is not-sin becomes deeply problematic.

For what its worth, I thought I'd mention that.

Shawn said...

Ron,

"This is not to agree with Shawn that Jesus is present in every word of the Scriptures. Like you, Tim, I am appalled at that possibility."

You can be appalled all you like. It is the standard orthodox view of Scripture, a view shared by Protestants, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodoxy for over a thousand years.

"One notes that this is not solely a warning against homosexuals, but also a warning against sexual immorality among heterosexuals. Thus even heterosexuals who have offended against the biblical standard of monogamous sexual relationships (outside of the marriage bond), are guilty!"

Yes, nobody is saying they are not. BUT, the passage nevertheless does show that scripture condemns homosexuality. Yes, it also condemns many other sins, many committed by heterosexuals, but it does include homosexuality as a sin, which is the substance of this debate.


"Contrary to your inference, Shawn, that this scriptural warning is solely directed at Gays and Lesbians,"

I made no such inference. You are putting words in my mouth.

"Neither Jesus nor Paul separates heterosexual and homosexual persons in their charge of culpability of sins against sexual immorality"

Untrue. Because both Jesus and Paul accept heterosexuality as normal, and homosexuality itself as a sin. While heterosexuals are equally as guilty of sin as homosexuals, heterosexuality itself is not a sin, while Scripture is clear that homosexuality in and of itself is.

"Don't keep aiming at Gays."

I don't. That is a false interpretation of my view. Once again you are putting words into my mouth I have not said.


"Fortunately, God is more forgiving than some of God's children in such matters."

But Ron, the liberal position is that homosexuality is NOT a sin in the first place, so what is there to forgive? This totally contradicts everything else you have said. If there is something to forgive, then homosexuality is a sin.

"It is surely better not to rant about other people's culpability, when we have (secret?) sins of our own!"

I am NOT ranting about other people's culpability. I am not "ranting" at all. Liberals are the ones trying to tell us that homosexuality is not a sin. I have the right to debate that. THAT is what I am doing.

Thbis sadly is the standard liberal approach.

Step One: Proclaim a radical change to the Church's traditional understanding of marriage.

Attempt facile and shallow theological arguments.

When those arguments fail, accuse your opponents of being hateful, judgemental, and engaged in "ranting".

Sad.

But it proves my point that Liberals do not have a good, solid, theological/Bibilical argument. What they have is a political ideology that has nothing to do with Christianity.

Shawn said...

It is important to for us to see that Liberals deliberately confuse/mix two entirely different issues. One is the issue of judgementalism. The other issue is whether or not Scripture teaches that homosexual practice is a sin.

Saying that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, and therefore the Church cannot bless same-sex relationships, is not being judegemental, anymore than saying that stealing is a sin, or that murder is a sin.

If we take the argument used by Ron above seriously, then those that campaign against child abuse should stop, because they are being judgemental and are just as much sinners as the abusers.

Does that make sense to anyone? Of course not.

So saying that homosexual practice is a sin is simply a statement of Biblical truth.

To be judgemental a person would have to say something like: "Homosexuals are terrible people who cannot be saved, and I am morally superior."

But nobody, least of all myself, is saying that. Quite the contrary, as a Calvinist I am painfully aware of my own sins, and I consider ALL people to be sinners equally.

But accepting that I am a sinner does not mean that I should also accept as good and right what the Bible plainly does not.

Nor is is true that when people respond to the Liberal claim that homosexuality is not a sin, they are "ranting", "obsessed with sex", "hiding secret sins", or any of the other accusations that are used.

After all, it was Liberals who started this debate. How then can they complain when other people agree to engage in that debate? How can they accuse others of such things when they wanted the debate in the first place?

There IS an issue of genuine hypocrisy and judgmentalism here.

When Liberals accuse those of us who do not agree with them on marriage and sexuality that we are "ranting", "judgmental", "intolerant" and so forth, IS NOT THAT AN EXAMPLE OF JUDGMENTALISM????

Of couse it is!

Lets keep this debate focused on what it should be. That is, what can/should the church teach about marriage and sexuality.

Tim Chesterton said...

I am not a 'liberal' - I believe every word of the historic Creeds - but I take issue with Shawn's repeated statement that homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuality is a complex physical and psychological condition that most gay and lesbian people did not choose. I would hope that we could all agree that, whatever our views on the rightness or wrongness of gay and lesbian sex, the sexual orientation of homosexuality, in itself, is not sinful.

I say this as a person who has a lesbian daughter and many gay friends, who take phrases like 'homosexuality is sinful' as meaning that their very being is inherently evil. Not surprisingly, they do not hear this as good news. And for most gay people, this is the most obvious thing to them about Chirstianity right now - that Christians hate gays and lesbians. Not that God loves all people, or that Christ died for sinners, or that the Gospel offers us the power to live Christlike lives, but that Christians hate gays and lesbians. I think we need to be very, very careful about the language we use in order to avoid giving that impression.

Tim Chesterton said...

Ron, one of the differences between us is obviously that I see ordination as being about far more than presiding at Holy Communion. And I'm not especially concerned about having a 'distinctive' in my ordination to the priesthood. Paul says that our role is 'to equip the saints for the work of ministry'. That spells it out for me.

Did my ordaining bishop know my views? The bishop who ordained me as a deacon - Jack Sperry, 3rd Bishop of the Arctic - certainly did. But he also knew that I would live by the order and discipline of the Anglican Church until such time as it was lawfully changed - in just the same way as you, Ron, live by the order and discipline of the Anglican Church re. gay and lesbian marriage, while all the time working and praying for it to be changed.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Tim, for your thoughtful explanation of Shawn's mistaken understanding of the aetiology of homosexuality. I find this is a common misunderstanding by some conservatives in the Church, which makes a completely false impression on non-believers as to what they perceive as the 'Christian' view of the incidence of sexual-identity.

I find more of a problem with some modern-day wife-swapping that goes on than I ever have with the admitted problem of homosexual promiscuity. This seems so often not be be even noticed by the Church. Perhaps the problem there is that it is confused with what might be perceived by anti-Gay people as 'normal' sexual behaviour

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Tim,
I too appreciate what you say - thank you re the language we use.

Janice said...

Ron asserts that homosexuals are, "born that way" and that homosexuality is, "an intrinsic part of God's creation". Where is the reliable evidence supporting these assertions? There is none. It is worthless to appeal to reason when one has nothing of substance with which to reason.

Anecdotes are not good evidence no matter how feelingly told and most studies reported suffer from small numbers of participants, selection bias, poor study design, poor definition of terms and inadequate analysis, including failure to address confounders. Randomised, population-based research is sorely lacking and the one such study I know of contradicts the notion that originally moved the APA to remove homosexuality from the DSM list of mental disorders, i.e., that there is no difference between the psychopathologies of homosexuals and heterosexuals. In fact there is such a difference. This study showed that there is, twice the rate of suicide attempts among lesbian, gay and bisexual people. The risks of depression and anxiety disorders were at least one and a half times higher, as was alcohol and other substance abuse.

Furthermore, despite Robert Spitzer's recent attempt to re-interpret the results of his study of sexual orientation change by suggesting that participants may have lied or been self-deceived about having changed and achieved "good heterosexual functioning", the data remains the same. No new study has cast doubt on Spitzer's findings and there exists no reason to disbelieve the participants' accounts of their own change. That they have changed is evidence that homosexual orientation is not an inborn, unchangeable fact of a person's life. It is just another of the many psychological/behavioural disorders human beings can exhibit in this disordered world.

Augustine wrote:
"When [non-believers] produce from any of their books a theory contrary to Scripture, ... either we shall have some ability to demonstrate that it is absolutely false, or at least we ourselves will hold it so without any shadow of a doubt. And we will so cling to our Mediator, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, that we will not be led astray by the glib talk of false philosophy or frightened by the superstition of false religion."

(The Literal Meaning of Genesis. [trans. John Hammond Taylor.] 1982)

Father Ron Smith said...

" This study showed that there is, twice the rate of suicide attempts among lesbian, gay and bisexual people. The risks of depression and anxiety disorders were at least one and a half times higher, as was alcohol and other substance abuse."

- Janice -

Janice, If you are not prepared to read a little more widely on the subject of innate sexual-differentiation, there is going to be no way i can convince you of the fact that Gays are born, not made.

However, in your statement here: Why do you think there are more suicides among gay and lesbian people than among heterosexuals?
And do you think that they would be that way if they had any real opportunity to be different? I would like your considered reply.

Tim Chesterton said...

Janice quotes a study which she says shows that gay and lesbian people have significantly higher levels of suicide, depression,etc.

I note the following paragraph from a little further down in the article she quotes, which gives the reason for these findings:

'He stated that, although the level of discrimination was low, it was still significantly higher than against heterosexual people. This “lends support to the idea that people who feel discriminated against experience social stressors, which in turn increases their risk of experiencing mental health problems,” he says.'

In other words, it is the discrimination gay and lesbian people experience from mainstream society that leads to the negative factors underlined in the study.

The solution is in our grasp.

As far as the general point being made goes - well, I don't know what to say. So many studies have been published demonstrating that for most people a homosexual orientation is an inherent part of their psychological makeup. There have even been studies demonstrating common physiological differences between gays and lesbians and the rest of the population. Furthermore, the way Janice misread Dr. Chakraborty's study as being about the effects of homosexuality, rather than (as the article she referenced clearly states) being about the effects of discrimination against gay and lesbian people, does not give me confidence that her reading of other studies is the correct one.

Finally, as the father of a devoutly Christian lesbian daughter who silently struggled for years to 'be like other girls', I resent the implication that she and others like her are lying about their sexual orientation. Her story may indeed be 'anecdotal evidence, however feelingly told' - but research is simply large collections of anecdotal evidence, is it not? And as for 'feelingly told' - well, in most cases the feeling is compassion, which I would hope we would all wish for more of, not less.

Shawn said...

Ron said:

"there is going to be no way i can convince you of the fact that Gays are born, not made."

It is not a fact. There is no serious study proving this. It is, like so many liberal myths, an ideology driven assumption. Janice is correct, and I suspect has read far more widely on this issue, as I have, than you.

"Thank you, Tim, for your thoughtful explanation of Shawn's mistaken understanding of the aetiology of homosexuality."

I don't misunderstand it at all. I just do not confuse ideologically driven liberal propaganda with truth.

Tim,

There is no proof that homosexual compulsions are an orientation. In fact using the term "orientation" is again, ideology, not science.

That said I should choose my words more carefully. It is homosexual sex that is a sin, not the compulsions and feelings themselves.

Peter Carrell said...

TO ALL COMMENTERS ON THIS POST

The thread has segued, currently, into a 'what are the causes of homosexuality?' topic which is quite a long way from the original post. I do not wish to suppress discussion on any matter unduly and accordingly have shifted the most recent comments re homosexuality to a new post on Hermeneutics and Human Dignity.

http://hermdownunder.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/aetiology.html

You may or may not wish to continue that particular discussion there. Otherwise, pleasse comment here on staying or going from an Anglican church when one disagrees with a matter of note.

Father Ron Smith said...

A very clever move on your part here, Peter. Just when some of Shawn's ridiculous and mistaken ideas about the aetiology of sexuality (which is probablye the root reason for con/evos thinking about leaving the Church - the subject of your posting0 are being exposed) - you move the pertinent conversation onto to another, unrelated, thread. I will not be persuaded to dabble there.