Monday, October 21, 2013

That's Evolution: ++Welby's adapting position on GAFCON

Intriguing article here about ++Welby preaching twice in Nairobi cathedral with a (seemingly) evolving perspective on Communion/GAFCON. What do you think?

26 comments:

Joshua Bovis said...

Peter,

After reading the reports, I am more confused than encouraged.

How Welby deals with the Revisionsits within the Communion I think will reveal whether he shares the convictions of GAFCON.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
It is one thing to say this which I am happy to publish:

"Regarding Joshua's comment: Primus-inter-pares'Welby', in his position as Archbishop of Canterbury, might well consider the 'revisionists' as those affecting to produce their own version of Anglican orthodoxy in the 'Jerusalem Statement'.

'Orthodoxy' is a very subjective understanding of Anglican Tradition at the moment, ..."

It is another thing to go on to speak about what a commenter "needs to do". That is ad hominem comment as it is commenting on a comment and not on the comment they have made. Further, it presume that you know all about the commenter's life and thus are justified in making a judgment about what the commenter "needs to do".

Do not judge, Ron!

Joshua Bovis said...

Ron,

The notion that those at GAFCON or those who hold to TJD as being revisionists is special pleading. TJD upholds Scripture as the final authority, the proper place of the BCP, the Ordinal, and the 39 Articles. I would be very interested in you elucidating Anglican orthodoxy so we can know just how it is that GAFCON and/orTJD is deviating from producing their (in your words) 'own version'.

Though I suspect Ron that in your eyes, Anglicanism that does not endorse an inclusive pansexual gospel where LGBT rights are lauded in your eyes is deviant. You make this obvious by the content of the majority of posts that you usurp for your own pansexual agenda.

And as for Orthodoxy being subjective at the moment; this is only the case if the authority of Scripture is jettisoned. When this happens one is adrift subject to the currents of subjectivity and we end up with a Christianity that instead of being a prophetic voice to our culture, mirrors culture and its values. When this happens we are no longer keeping to the pattern of sound teaching that has been passed on to us by the Apostles.

Peter,
I am not too fussed about Ron commenting about me rather than the comment itself. On my own blog he has referred to me as being 'post-Anglican'. He simply does not like Reformed Anglicans,

Peter Carrell said...

'Post-Anglican', Joshua, could mean anything: swum the Tiber, joined Hillsong, refused any further baptism of infants, become a Presbyterian minister (as one of my colleagues has done). Somehow I cannot imagine you making any of those moves!

Bryden Black said...

Money lines of the ABC’s sermon(s):

“witness, worship, evangelism, and a passion for the Holy Spirit.” “The more seriously we take the Bible” the more effectively we will be able to deal with our divisions, he said.

Precisely because Welby joins together these two strong sentiments (assuming GC’s reporting), and does not view the Spirit’s mission as being apart from the Word - as did Griswold, and as do many contemporary westerners seduced by the Zeitgeist - I for one am reasonably hopeful he will indeed “deal with our divisions”. For which he needs all the wisdom God may provide as well as the courage to apply it.

Father Ron Smith said...

I agree with Bryden here. to 'take the Bible seriously is quite important for a proper appreciation of its precise place in an evolving world and universe. Jesus said "When the Spirit comes, He will reveal the truth......" That is from Scripture. I believe that the Holy Spirit is still 'revealing the Truth', which, Jesus told His disciples, they could not bear at that time.

The purpose of the Bible, I truly believe, is to help us towards the ultimate Truth of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospel - not confined to Scripture (otherwise there would be absolutely no new revelation of God at work in God's world) but consonant with the Scriptures as they reveal, through continuing hermeneutical discernment, the true nature of God in Christ - who 'So loved the world......')

Bryden Black said...

While humanity’s understanding of the world - the book of nature - surely does evolve, Ron, and while therefore the truth is “not confined to Scripture” alone, surely, there do arise conflicts from time to time, when the words of Scripture seem to conflict with an understanding of the world. When such conflicts arise, it is wise to evaluate our understandings of both books, the Scriptures and the world.

For any new revelation to occur, this revelation has to extend our understanding by building upon previous understanding, not contradicting it. The difficulties many of us have, Ron, is with that last wee clause - “not contradicting it”. And that includes the very set of criteria by means of which we may evaluate our understandings of our experiences: what legitimates them?! So much of what passes for ‘understanding’ in today’s western church is premised upon an anthropology which is itself premised upon an autonomous view of human being. And that has given rise to a rather arrogant view of what ‘counts’ as ‘new revelation’ - IMHO ...

The theological grammar of Jn 16:12 is best viewed by how John himself assembles all his Paraclete sayings, notable among which is 15:26-27 coupled with 16:12-15. For that is exactly what he is doing when we turn to the Epistles of John. John, who was “with [Jesus] from the beginning” (Jn 15:27, 1 Jn 1:1), is precisely unfolding both old and new truth with the anointing of the Spirit - when confronted by others who also claim ‘new truth’ about Jesus’ identity, and so the meaning of his mission from the Father. Yet upon “testing these spirits”, he concludes that these ‘newbies’ “have not remained” in the truth/“the teaching of Christ” (2 Jn 9); they have “gone beyond it”. This has resulted in their “not having God, neither the Father nor the Son”, at all!

All these steps help to appreciate how high the stakes might be in Nairobi at the present time ...

Joshua Bovis said...

Ron,

Part and parcel of Anglicanism is the normative principle rather than the regulative principle. However I think the BCP, the ordinal and the articles are clear that while Scripture is not the only authority, it is the supreme authority and all other authorities come under the authority of Scripture.

Father Ron Smith said...

Bryden. How on earthy can you say what you have just said about the immutability of Scripture. Will you not allow that Scripture needs to be RE-interpreted, in the light of new evidence? pace the Creation stories - for instance.

What worries me, personally is the dogmatic tendency to put Scripture in the place of God, it is an ikon, through whose lens we may discern God's purpose for our life. What needs to be remembered, constantly, is that God's Word became flesh, and dwelt (dwells) among us. He is with us still, in the Eucharist.

Father Ron Smith said...

Joshua, looking through your various comments on this site; might I take it that your position re doctrine and praxis is possibly identifiable as 'sola scriptura'? A clear answer would suffice.

(If I'm allowed by our Host to put this question - as a means of identifying precisely where Joshua's arguments come from).

Joshua Bovis said...

Ron,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. BTW I think your question is a good one because I think there is some confusion about what 'Sola Scripura' means for some.

'Sola Scriptura' is the view that the church and traditions are subject to Scripture, not vice versa. Scripture is the final authority, but not the only authority.

The view that Scripture is the only authority is not 'Sola Scriptura' but is what is know as 'nuda Scriptura' or 'solo Scriptura' . My understanding of the Reformers such as Luther, Calvin Zwingli did not hold this view, but was more akin to the anabaptists.

So for me Ron I would be very remiss to adopt a praxis that says that Christianity began in the 1980's and/or that I should ignore what faithful Christians down the centuries have learnt, or that Christianity began with the Reformation. I am not the first reader of the Scriptures. This would make me ignorant and arrogant (which I know sadly from my own life make a revolting combination).
So in practice I think it wise for myself to seek counsel from trained and faithful interpreters of Scripture (as long as they themselves were submitting to the authority of Scripture) which I think is one of the strengths of the Anglican Church. (but perhaps that is for another discussion).

I hope this helps answer your question.
Joshua


Shawn Herles said...

Sola Scriptura is the Anglican norm. Tradition and Reason merely serve Scripture, but are not equal to or above Scripture.

The Bible is not an icon. An icon is a human creation. The words of Scripture are the very words of God. This does not replace God with Scripture, but brings God's word to us. The words of Scripture are the very words of the Word made flesh, thus to disobey or change Scripture is to disobey the Word made flesh. That Word is still with us today, in the Word of Scripture, in the Presence and Power of the Spirit, and through the Sacraments. But when it comes to knowing what the Word made flesh said and did and teaches, Scripture alone can reveal that.

Tim Chesterton said...

Joshua, the Anbaptist position(s) on scripture is (are) hard to pin down, but I think identifying them as 'scripture alone' is simplistic. Most Anabaptists would identify the authority of Jesus as being higher than the authority of scripture. This, by the way, is clearly taught in the gospels, where Mark says 'thus he declared all foods clean', clearly setting Jesus' authority as higher than that of the OT food laws. Anabaptists of course would use this principle to say that the authority of Jesus is higher than that of the war texts of the OT.

By the way, I'm not trying to resurrect the pacifist debates on ADU, which I think have proved to be pointless. I'm simply trying to add a little nuance to a rather simplistic view of what Anabaptists teach. And on this subject, unlike many others I spout off about, I do actually know a bit about what I'm talking about, as I spent a sabbatical leave six years ago in a concentrated study of Anabaptism.

Father Ron Smith said...

I must confess, (though not a member of a 'confessional Church), that here there would seem to be two different opinions on the expression 'sola Scriptura' as being - or not - the norm for Anglicanism. One from Shawn and one from Joshua. I wonder, can our Host help them to differentiate?

Peter Carrell said...

I cannot see a substantive difference re Sola Scriptura in the views of Joshua and Shawn.

The point is, what is the highest authority in the church, before which bishops, sovereigns, synods and, dare I say it, bloggers must bow?

It is Scripture. Reason and tradition assist in the understanding of Scripture but do not trump it!

Tim Chesterton said...

Peter, I'm not splitting hairs when I say that the highest authority in the church, before which bishops, sovereigns, synods and bloggers must bow is not scripture, tradition, or reason, but Jesus our Lord. And if anyone says, "Well, of course, that's understood", I would reply that all too often it is not understood. It is tragically possible to affirm the authority and inerrancy of the Bible to the point that we use Jesus to point to it, rather than (as the gospel of John makes clear - 'These are the very scriptures that testify about me) using the Bible to point to Jesus.

C.S. Lewis sets out what I think is a more Christian position in a letter to a 'Mrs. Johnson' on Nov. 8th 1952 (found in 'The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis'):

'It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers will bring us to Him.'

This is my view exactly.

Peter Carrell said...

I don't think that is splitting hairs, Tim, but my rejoinder would be that through Scripture Christ speaks authoritatively to his church and in Scripture we meet Christ. Any voice of Jesus Christ distinct from Scripture runs the same risk of query as to 'how can we be sure?' as claims about the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

The 16th c. Anabaptists didn't follow the principle of 'Sola Scriptura'; if I were to coin a phrase for them, it would be something like 'Spiritus super Scripturam'. That, and their consequent behaviour, was why Luther called them 'Schwaermer'. Their indirect 17th c. descendants, the English Baptists legitimised in the reign of James II, were a good deal calmer and more patristic in their theology (the good influence of Puritans and Presbyterians on them).
The Quakers were more their spiritual heirs in England - and the first Quakers were a rowdy disruptive lot, far from sandal-wearing raffia-weavers.
Martin Bucer

Anonymous said...

John Wenham's little book 'Christ and the Bible' is still a very useful work - as are the books authored by his sons (Gordon is an old acquaintance of mine and I've gained a great deal from his scholarship).

Martin

Tim Chesterton said...

Peter - yes, that would be consistent with my view too.

Martin, it's difficult to describe the Anabaptists exhaustively as there are at least three different streams (Swiss, South German, and North German) and they are not the same. The Swiss were more literally 'Jesus-centred' and discipleship oriented, the South Germans were more mystical ('Spiritus super Scriptorum' as you describe it), and the north Germans were more apocalyptic until the debacle of Muenster. After that, under Menno Simons;' leadership, they became more like the Swiss.

Anonymous said...

Tim - agreed. Groups like the Hutterites and Amish have lived admirable Christian lives in the backblocks of America and Canada, and I do see the way they live as a constant challenge to live out the Sermon on the Mount and to embody the Beatitudes.

Martin

Shawn Herles said...

The Anabaptist position, assuming Tim has it right, is incoherent.

We seem to have two Christ's, and two God's, and a dollop of Marcionism.

Too say Christ is higher than Scripture assumes that Scripture is not breathed out by God, and thus is not reliable. Or, it is breathed out, but only in parts, and we need a "higher" Christ to rightly point out which parts are. But of course parts of Scripture are the words of Christ, except we have a higher Christ, so that must make two Christs, one in Scripture and one higher.

But wait, there's more. This Christ is higher than the God who breathed out the "war texts" so we have another God, or that part of Scripture is just an accident. At this point we may need the Gnostics to help out.

I seriously doubt that the Amish and Mennonites actually approach Scripture in this way. It is incoherent, it makes ANY authoritative claim based on Scripture a meaningless impossibility. It is reliant on a "Christ" who is not the same as the one in Scripture as this "Christ" has a higher authority. It makes Scripture a convenient bag of individual sayings, which may or may not be from God, that we can dip into and puck out just what we want.

Bryden Black said...

G'day Ron; I cannot see how your reply is derived from my second post ... May I suggest you re-read IT, and then, if you are still of a mind, to engage again.

Bryden Black said...

Hi again Ron; you might like to see how Jesus' words work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0gfdJpnYVc

Tim Chesterton said...

Shawn, may I suggest you read the book 'Biblical Interpretation in the Anabaptist Tradition' by Stuart Murray (see my review at http://tachesterton.wordpress.com/2007/05/15/sabbatical-report-8-book-report/), and then decide whether I have represented the range of Anabaptist positions accurately.

MichaelA said...

I thought a 'post-Anglican' was someone who got their ordination certificate from an obscure foreign college by mail...