Saturday, July 26, 2014

If to lose one vicar is careless, to lose two is what?

In my view, being up front at the start, I do not think anyone should leave our church because of Motion 30 approved at our recent General Synod. But some are leaving. I can imagine some are leaving because Motion 30 does not go far enough towards blessing of same sex partnerships, but I have no specific evidence of that. Some are leaving because Motion 30 goes too far towards blessings and appears to presage a future line our church will cross.

A few weeks ago Charlie Hughes, then Vicar of Henderson, left. This past week Michael Hewat, until yesterday Vicar of West Hamilton, and a sizeable number of his congregation have left. By Sunday they will be worshipping in a new location. You can read the NZ Herald report here.

Rather than discuss why someone shouldn't leave at this time, here are my present reasons for staying:

- we have not crossed the line where we have changed either our constitution or canons in an unacceptable manner,
- the grace of inclusion of viewpoints at GS in Motion 30 requires a reciprocal obligation for holders of various viewpoints to remain engaged with the process of the next few years,
- the evangelical witness within the Anglican church historically has been a witness against the tide of majority viewpoint and the current tide is flowing no more strongly than in past times,
- if our church does not wish to retain an evangelical witness within its midst, the church should be honest about that and drive that witness out through expulsion rather than have that job done for it by resignations and departures,
- speaking personally, I have gay friends in the church whom I would like to remain in conversation with as a fellow Anglican rather than as a former Anglican.

39 comments:

Michael Godfrey said...

Nicely put. As usual I have a line bigger than the centre median strip of the South Auckland Motorway right down the middle of my back ... however, while I respect that Hewat and Hughes' lines in the sand are in a less middling place, I do feel sad that what seems to me to be, in Motion 30, a commitment to (yet more!) dialogue has been to others a bridge too far.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,Having known Charlie for 15 years and Hichael for a shorter time through AFFIRM;I feel that it is a great loss to see these men forced out of the Church.We need to be clear that they did not resign or leave;they were removed from their ministry through the cancellation of their
licence.
It was suggested to me by an Archdeacon, that if I could not accept where the Church is heading;I perhaps should consider whether I am in the right Church.
Sadly,I am in the position of considering, not as to whether I am in the right Church;but as whether I wish to fellowship under the leadership of APOSTATE
BISHOPS.
Both the Episcopal Offices involved in these explulsions,
were also involved in the Commission of Doctrianal And Theological Questions which reccomended the writing of a new
theology for the Church because the present theology is born of the experience of white ,patriarchial and hetrosexual men.
Motion 30 is being driven by the highest offices of the Church and they will push on regardless.They will not stop at anything short of RADICAL INCLUSION AT ANY PRICE.
Good on Charlie and Michael for
taking their stand,paying the price and now serving their
congregations in circumstances
which are not distracted by the ANGLICAN CIRCUS PRESENTING TOP
CLASS ClOWNS AND PERFORMING SEALS.


Peter Carrell said...

I am publishing your comment, Glen, on the basis that it expresses the strength of your feeling about the situation which represents a crisis in our church. I am NOT publishing it on the basis that I agree that our church is currently some kind of circus with clowns running it.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
Thanks for the tolerance;good to get that frustration vented.
Charlie had visited today and we spoke of these matters over a cup of coffee.
It seems incomprehensible,that with the Scriptures,the Constitution and the Church of England Empowering Act; that we
are unable to bring the leadership oif the Church back into line with the legal Doctrine.
A High Court action would be a waste of time and money;because even if it was sucessful (and there is every reason to believe it would be),it would only be the first of many.
The promoters of liberalism have no intention of stepping back from their drive of establishing Progressive Christianity as the
theology of the Church.
It is a shock at seventy years of
age to find out that your Jaguar
was realy assembled in Polland out of Lada parts.

Father Ron Smith said...

Very nice of you, Peter, to want your gay friends to stay with us - despite your own problems with Motion 30. May God's will be done on the outcome of that legislation.

Regarding those who wish to leave, It would seem that they would be ready to go at some time or other, so perhaps better sooner than later.

Bryden Black said...

As always, Peter, discerning what is actually occurring in the midst of such great historical upheavals is really rather tricky - as we simply don’t have the benefit of hindsight.

It’s frankly anyone’s guess what the Anglican franchise will look like locally yet alone globally in 2030. All we may safely say: pretty well nothing like it did in 2000! And 30 years historically is a snitch ...

So; by all means grant Motion 30's ‘way’: the real distinctions between “contrary to” and “consonant with” need time to emerge. Curiously; they’ve been with us for a while anyway (200+ years?!). Yet again; thanks to the likes of Jamie Smith’s ‘noddy guide for dummies’, How (Not) to be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor, does give us a real steer on the consequences for the Faith of our ‘age’. (Apologies to that great Canadian philosopher; but 850+ pages proved too much like hard work for many folk ...!)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am not publishing your latest comment on this thread as it amounts to a "telling another commenter what to do" comment. That is, in a certain kind of way, "ad hominem."

Comment on comments, not on commenters, please.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
May I suggest that the site of
"Wolhart Pannenberg" is worth a look.

mike greenslade said...

Kia ora Peter,

Glen Young's "Radical inclusion at any price" has a gospel ring to it.

Father Ron Smith said...

Agreed, Mike, Sometimes the rhetoric seems to have the opposite effect to what the proclaimers hope will be the common understanding. Radical Inmclusion is, indeed The Gospel.

Mark said...

Ron - I am somewhat bemused by the attitude expressed in your comments at times. It appears to me that your comments are along the lines of "Everyone is welcome - except those who disagree with me."

Your latest comment suggesting that those who don't agree should leave and the sooner the better does not match your apparent desire to welcome people of any age, race, sex, faith or any other difference you can think of. The lack of grace in such comments merely reinforces to those who disagree, that maintaining "fellowship" in the current and future situation is not possible.

Mark

Glen Young said...

Hi Mike and Ron,
Sorry but there is definitly no Gospel ring to 'Radical Inclusion at any Price'.I refer you to "THE
Cost Of DISCIPLESHIP" by Dietrich
Bonhoeffer.There he speaks about
'cheap Grace' and 'costly Grace'.
Bonhoeffer states clearly that when Christ calls a man;He bids him to " Follow Me, and die to the old life, for you have a new life in Me".
"And it came to pass,that,as they went in the way,a certain man said unto him,Lord,I will follow
thee whithersoever thou goest. And
Jesus said unto him,"Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests;but the Son of manhath not where to lay his head".Luke 9:
57 & 58.
Jesus was not prepared to bend the rules just to get disciples.

Father Ron Smith said...

Mark, you have grossly misread my comments if that is what you think!

My consistent stance is that ALL must be given the right to be included. However, one cannot do much about those who don't want to be included. Intentional Schism is their choice - for which they need to accept responsibility.

Glen Young said...

Hi Mark,
Sorry to butt in on a
comment which was directed to you,
but I am sort of married to the particular issue in question.
Charlie and Michael did not resign their positions, nor did they orchestrate an exodus of their congregations.
They both had their licences taken off them because they were sufficiently honest to say that they would give their submission
to a General Synod,which on good
advise, states that motion 30 is
ultra vires of its powers.
Those who followed Chalie and Michael did so because they wished to remain under their
shepherd.
The 'INTENTIONAL SCHISM' has been brought about by the liberals who
wish to take the Church down a path which is outside the Scriptures,the Constitution,the Church of England Empowering Act and two thousands years of Catholic and Apostolic teaching and tradition.
In announcing the Ma Whea Commission's visit to their Church,the clergy of St.Matthews in the City,Auckland;wrote in their newsletter (Sunday 7th Oct,2012),"the primary task of the CXommission is,given the differences on these issues in the Church,how those of a liberal and conservative convictions remain part of the same organisation".They were the only
congregation I know of which was accorded a four hour private visit by the Commission.Many of us others who made submissions
were not even given ten minutes.
But it is apparent that the promoters of this agenda realise
that their stance has caused a 'schism' in the Church and now that those who are Faithful to what the Church has always stood for are being forced out:the liberals are blaming the Orthodox.
What a false unity???The liberals sit in the left hand pews and the
orthodox in the right hand pews;
"to get your appropriate service,please out on your headphones and select the service you wish.Part way through the
service we will have the PEACE and you can all shake hands, because we are ALL ONE".

Peter Carrell said...

Again, Glen, I am prepared to publish the above comment as a heartfelt expression of your views in a difficult situation.

But I wish to make clear to any other readers here that Motion 30 is not intended to cause any schism. Quite the opposite: it is intended to hold us together; and it represents a serious pulling back by liberals within our church; that is, Motion 30 is a sign that our church is serious about including conservatives.

For some conservatives such as Charlie and Michael to choose to publicly signal their inability to continue to submit to the authority of General Synod is their right and their choice, in the light of the interpretation of Motion 30 which they have adopted. But it is not the choice, nor the interpretation of many other conservatives in our church at this time.

MichaelA said...

"Intentional Schism is their choice - for which they need to accept responsibility."

Actually they don't. The responsibility for schism lies on those who teach falsely and who thereby force the orthodox into schism.

MichaelA said...

"But I wish to make clear to any other readers here that Motion 30 is not intended to cause any schism."

Peter, I may have missed it, but where did Glen ever say or imply that Motion 30 was intended to cause schism?

He asserted (several times) that it has in fact caused schism, but that is a different thing. It is not an assertion of intention.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
Glen used the phrase 'intentional schism' and I am working from that.
If our church had moved beyond Motion 30 to simply approve blessings it would have been intending schism because it knew that would be the immediate effect.
Motion 30 is a pulling back from that option.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
I am not saying that Motion 30 is
going to cause a schism in the
Church.
What is at the root of the issue, is the denial of the 'Authority of
Scripture'as the basis of Church
life.
Also,the denial of the histrocisity of the Church Fathers, as in the Report of the Commission on Doctrinal and
Theological Questions.
If a majority of the Church decided to adopt Arianism in place of the Trinitarism;would you be happy to accept that stance?
We have complained to the Auckland Bishop, regarding material posted on St.Matthews (Auckland) website questioning the validity of the historical
Creeds;only to be told that if the website offends us,not to visit it.
The issue which lies behind the
blessing of same-gender relationships;is simply,how far the liberals will continue to bend
the plain meaning of Scripture.
That is what is causing the disunity and is bringing about the schism.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
To pick up a key question in your comment above, No, I would not be happy re "If a majority of the Church decided to adopt Arianism in place of Trinitarianism;would you be happy to accept that stance?"

But my points of reflection if that were the majority wish would be: (1) am I required to adhere to Arianism as a licensed clergyperson? (2) is the will of the majority of the current church able to override the fundamentals of the constitution? (3) Am I called as a Trinitarian to remain in this changed-and-changing church to bear witness to Arian Anglicans?

On analogy with Motion 30 I suggest that questions 1 and 2 are currently unanswered; and question 3 is a matter for continuing personal prayer.

But the vital 4th question, analogously speaking is this: is a divide over the blessing of same sex partnerships a matter with the same clarity as the divide between Arianism and Trinitarianism?

As Bosco Peters points out [http://liturgy.co.nz/god-and-the-gay-christian], "It is unhelpful and erroneous to state, without qualification, that the Bible is clear that all same-sex relationships are sinful. The concept of homosexual orientation as exclusive, permanent, and unchosen, for example, is a relatively new understanding. "

As long as a majority of Anglicans in our church do not see an analogy re clarity between Arianism/Trinitarianism and clarity between blessing SSP/not blessing SSP, then your constant reference to the constitution/1928 Act as prohibiting Motion 30's charting of a series of possible ways forward for a divided church is undermined.

It might be more helpful to ask how our church, in keeping with its constitution and the 1928 Act is going to be inclusive of diverse commitments re responses to people in same sex partnerships. The overwhelming approach of our church over decades now has been to find a way to stay together rather than to divide. Repeated suggestions that those on the liberal end of the diversity should leave to form a new church with a constitution which reflects their viewpoints is a bold challenge which will cut no ice with any legal tribunal you or others care to take these matters to.

More constructive is to find a way forward. That, of course, is precisely what Motion 30 seeks to do.

Bryden Black said...

These thoughts are helpful Glen and Peter.

The clarity should emerge Peter when we address those primordial texts of Scripture, Gen 1 & 2. And precisely in relation to that basic Trinitarian analogy.

While much of the Tradition was content to see certain properties (like reason) to be the sum of Imago Dei, when we focus our attention on the clear poetic parallelism of Gen 1:27, we may conclude the Image of God has to do at least with that essential relationality we have with male and female. This is furthermore taken up in Gen 2, via the language of "companion/helpmeet opposite him" and "ish/ishshah".

The trouble is late 20th and early 21st C western culture has little appreciation in its postmodern context for either the metaphysical or the ontological. We are preoccupied with autonomous social construction. At root, this is trying to make everything in our image. It becomes a form of idolatry.

Time will show just how tragic all this is. For the reality is: logic and the metaphysical has a habit of working their way out in history. This too is the nature of God's creation.

MichaelA said...

"But the vital 4th question, analogously speaking is this: is a divide over the blessing of same sex partnerships a matter with the same clarity as the divide between Arianism and Trinitarianism?"

Where did you ever get the idea that the divide between Arianism and Trinitarianism had "clarity"?

At the time, those who favoured either compromise with Arianism found lots of ways to argue that there wasn't a clear divide - just as you are doing now on this issue.

"As Bosco Peters points out [snip], "It is unhelpful and erroneous to state, without qualification, that the Bible is clear that all same-sex relationships are sinful. The concept of homosexual orientation as exclusive, permanent, and unchosen, for example, is a relatively new understanding. "

You might see it that way. I just see Bosco's argument as another way of saying, "Hath God really said...". Its not hard to do - come up with a "new understanding" of just about any question and you can create a basis for arguing that the Bible isn't really clear on that question. But that doesn't mean its any more than sophistry.

"As long as a majority of Anglicans in our church do not see an analogy re clarity between Arianism/Trinitarianism and clarity between blessing SSP/not blessing SSP, then your constant reference to the constitution/1928 Act as prohibiting Motion 30's charting of a series of possible ways forward for a divided church is undermined."

Its only undermined if that "majority of Anglicans" are correct. If they are not correct, then Glen's reference isn't undermined at all.

There is a distinction between what people believe to be the case, and what actually is the case.

Father Ron Smith said...

Bryden seems to be stuck on marriage for some reason. Perhaps he has no regard at all for those eunuchs that Jesus commended - those who were eunuchs 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.' (Matt.19:12.) I don't see Jesus anywhere speaking of marriage as being undertaken 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven'.

Let's not be idolising the state of marriage above singleness!

Father Ron Smith said...

Nice, Peter, to see Michael Godfrey commenting on your blog. Is he by any chance identifiable with the person who used to appear here on a horse with an Australian hat? If so, I wonder why he prefers ACANZP? And where has the horse disappeared to?

If it is not the same person, please excuse my Tasmanic maunderings.

Peter Carrell said...

I think that may be a different person, Ron. The commenter here was at the funeral service today in his capacity as Dean of Waiapu!

Glen Young said...

Thank you Peter,Bryden and MichaelA;your thoughts are most interesting.I guess, that if I was inclined to the thinking of Arius,I would simply join the J.Ws
when they come knocking on the door.
I raised the question,because it
seems, that when the Inerrant
Authority of God's Revelation (Scriptures) is cast aside as the basis of Church Life;then there is no telling where one is going to end up.
My reading on the life of St.Luke leads me to accept that he was extremely well versed in matters Greek.It seems most unlikely that he did not ever broach the subject of homosexuality, with St Paul,during the long hours they spent together.
I would disagree with Bosco's argument that the modern phenomenon of committed same-gender relationships is not covered in God's Revelation.
What is new is that people are basing their identity on their
sexual preference.To argue that this issue is not covered by the
Scriptures, raises a number of interesting points.
Article V1 states:"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation;.......".So if this modern homosexual phenomenon is not mentioned in the Scriptures;
does it concern one's salvation?




Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael A (and, by logic, Glen)

When you write "There is a distinction between what people believe to be the case, and what actually is the case" you are hitting the nail on the head, but perhaps not as you may have intended.

The situation I am trying to work on is the situation in which "what people believe to be the case" is the reality of life in our church. "What actually is the case" is potentially a wonderful state for our church to be in, but it is not our current reality because we do not agree "what actually is the case."

Thus in working out how to be a minority in a church in which the majority holds a different set of beliefs (at least on certain matters) I am offering the reflections I am offering (and Glen, appropriately, is offering his). Your critique, Michael, is not particularly germane to the situation ACANZP is in through these days.

MichaelA said...

"The situation I am trying to work on is the situation in which "what people believe to be the case" is the reality of life in our church."

Of course, Peter - I don't think anyone on any side of the debate has missed that. Jesus didn't just accept "what people believe to be the case" - he witnessed for the truth. So did his apostles. They suffered opprobrium and rejection as a result, at first within the Jewish community, and then later within the smaller Christian community, but they also saw the fruits of their labour in substantial change.

If your church has leaders who will witness for the truth despite the fact that many people believe differently, then it will flourish. But if it has leaders who are focussed on learning to live with what most people believe, then it will wither and die.

That trend is accentuated when those who do have the courage and integrity to stand up for what is right are forced out. Those who stand by and watch the forcing out happen will receive the greatest condemnation.

You also wrote: ""What actually is the case" is potentially a wonderful state for our church to be in, but it is not our current reality because we do not agree "what actually is the case"."

When has the church been in a different situation? Most of the leaders we revere today did not work in a friendly environment within their church.

My post above was in response to a comment about the Arian controversy. Dr Tighe's summary of what really went on during that period is worth reading - it was not a situation of "clarity" and bore many resemblances to our situation today.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Article V1 states:'Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation;.......'. So if this modern homosexual phenomenon is not mentioned in the Scriptures;
does it concern one's salvation?
- Glen Young -

The only answer possible to your query here, Glen is NO!

One's given, innate sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with the prospect of one's eternal, God-given, salvation.

Father Ron Smith said...

'"If this process is not resolved satisfactorily to the biblically conservative group, then we would expect that there could well be further departures," he said.'

This report in an Auckland newspaper, to which you, Peter, have referred - on the departure of the Henderson clergyman from ACANZP - gives the above statement made by the Revd. Max Scott, the local organiser of the so-called 'AFFIRM' conservatives in the N.I.

I think Max is being more than a little provocative when implies the need for ACANZP to bow to the demands of AFFIRM, in order to prevent his departure - and that of his fellow conservatives - from the Anglican Church in N.Z.

I must say that I prefer your more eirenic view of the present desire of General Synod to continue in dialogue on the issue of Same-Sex Blessings in our Church - in common with those of our partners in the Anglican Communion who would like to see justice done for those in our Church who happen, through no fault of their own, to be Gay, and desirous of a loving monogamous relationship with one of their choice.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
While I do not believe that all roads lead to Rome;there are several main thoroughfares into that beautiful city.You seem to be travelling down one(where you place more accent on 'unity' than I do), and I on another.Hopefully, we will meet at one of those terrific cafes to enjoy pizza and a good red together.
The Ordination Services of the
Church state:'Our authority is in
Scripture and in the Church's continuing practice through the
ages'.
I believe that both the Scriptures and the Church's continuing practice through the ages speak quite clearly on how the present dilemma should be solved.
THE SCRIPTURES:"Remember therefore from whence thou art
fallen,and repent,and do the first works;or else I will come unto thee quickly,and will remove
thy candlestick out of his place,except thou repent".Rev 2/5.
Instead of apologising,we should have been REPENTING.
THE CHURCH'S CONTINUING PRACTICE
THROUGH THE AGES.Again there is no better authority on how to deal with these matters than the record of the Apostles.Beyond that,Dr.Bicknel's writings on the Church Father's attitude to our
Catholcisity leaves no doubt.
They placed the Purity of the Holy Writ above the unity of the Church.
With regard to the purity of the Holy Writ:"This is why we meet
with 'anathemas' for the first time at the end of Creed of the Council of Nicaea.The anathemas are there because and only because
the Creed is no longer the layman's confession of faith, but the Bishop's. The old principle that the profession of belief of catechumens should be positive in character is not infringed: the Council has not even in view, the case of the clergy, still less that of the faithful laity: to the Bishops alone belong the office of deciding in the last resort what was Christian and Catholic and what was heretical, and therefore Bishops alone should be called upon to guarantee their soundness in the faith by formal and solemn anathemas of error; History and Use of the Creeds page 28-Dr.Turner.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
If I may have the indulgence of diverging from the theme a little,
to answer Ron's comment about one's given,innate sexuality having absolutely nothing to do with the prospect of one's eternal,God-given,salvation.
There are two God-given innate
sexualities;males bearing the XY
chromosomes and female bearing XX
chromosomes.Percentage wise,to the number of normal births; a small number of abnormalities occur.
However,how we choose to utilise
that God-given sexual gift,does
impact on our propect of God-given
salvation.
I would be interested in any Scriptural texts that suggest otherwise.

Father Ron Smith said...

Glen, I think your primitive biology lesson needs a little up-dating.
also, a bit of thinking 'outside the square might be useful. Sexuality is so much more complex than you are willing to concede. Nuff said!

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,
No,It is not'Nuff said'.I actually asked you to provide Scriptural texts to support your stance;not to trot out your usual
'us liberals know much more than you conservatives'line.
While you are at it,you could also provide the 'conclusive
scientific evidence', which you base your biologicl knowledge on.

Father Ron Smith said...

While we're on the subject, Glen, of demanding 'Scriptural texts' for verifying the rationality of new understandings of the created order; what about you providing S.T.s for a created world existing millennia prior to the creationists' 6,000 years as the interval from Creation.

You see, Michael, you may not have realised it, but the Bible does not tell us everything about the facts of Creation. It does, however, give us guide-lines of how our ancestors lived at the time of writing, and how they understood the place of God in all of it.

What is most important about the Bible is that it gives us insights into God's plan of redemption in God';s beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who brought freedom from inherited prejudice and undue reliance on compliance with the Law as the key to redemption. Deo gratias!

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,
If the gyms relied on liberal Christians for business,they would soon go broke.They seem to get their exercise 'jumping to conclusions'.
Please draw my attention to the posting where I have ever said that the world was only 6000 years old.
Also,please draw my attention to where I have ever said that the Scriptures tell us all there is to know about the Creation.
I simply prefer to base my understanding on the Foundation that God created and that His
Revelation tells us ;not only about His nature and character,but also about His relationship to us humans.This makes much more sence to me, than all the Darwinism and materialism that I have studied.
But your postings seem fixated on
the Progressive Christian stance of achieving social justice for the gays and the feminists.
I am happy to see all of us in the Church on the same basis,as sinners.That is true 'Radical Inclusion'.And that is far different from promoting the ideology that' God made me this way and I am going to rejoice in it'.


Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Glen, I don't know whether you have access to 'Daily Word' an excellent Bible Society aide to the study of Scriptures. Today's words would give you something to think about - together with the author's comment on the theme of liberation through Jesus Christ in the Gospel.

Andrew Reid said...

David Virtue has launched a rather unfortunate attack on you and this blog post on his site. I disagree with your position also, but I don't think excoriating you on a blog is a helpful or Godly way to express different opinions.

http://www.virtueonline.org/new-zealand-slow-train-wreck-schism-comes-anglican-church-aotearoa

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrew
It is not helpful to laugh so much this late at night - I find it hard to sleep after laughter.

Could you not have told me this news in the morning?

:)