Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Messy Church just got messier

It's been a while, but I think we could be allowed a peep over yonder where the green grass grows (legal now, I am told, in Colorado) and the wild wind blows. Yes, ++Katharine Jefferts Schori has caught my attention with this sentence in a Church Times interview:

"Some people argue for the primacy of scripture, and won't accept that there are other sources of authority."

Other sources of authority?! There is one God, one authoritative divine voice. God does not speak with a forked tongue. How we hear that voice is our challenge, through Scripture, aided by tradition and reason. But let's not speak of 'sources'.

While in the States, Curmudgeon draws attention to a 'you must follow the canons, you need not follow the canons' mess. (Incidentally, while still in the States, Preludium has a very interesting analysis of what can only be called 'manoeuvres' in the process leading to the election of the next PB).

Closer to home, the Australian Anglican church has created something which is messy, at least as it is being digested around the Anglican world. At its General Synod it has decided on a policy which permits priests, in certain circumstances, to break the 'seal of the confessional.' Bosco Peters has a judicious, careful response here. Conciliar Anglican highlights a response by George Conger and suggests it is confused about our 'confessional' theology. But isn't the confusion around this decision also a reflection of our Anglican messiness in refusing to make such matters the subject of a global search for Anglican solutions to problems we face as churches in the modern world?

Meanwhile, at home, all has gone quiet around the working out of Motion 30. I presume the working group is getting cracking on with its task. The sands of time are moving through the hourglass. How we work our way through the mess of being a church with a constitution and an empowering act of parliament while trying to do something (arguably) inconsistent with it could be, well, messy. Ditto our work on liturgical change. Diocesan synods coming up will likely be grappling with Bill 4. Time for clear heads, sound thinking, tidy minds, clarity of purpose.

ACANZP could be a global leader in de-messifying Anglicanism!

34 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

Other sources of authority?! There is one God, one authoritative divine voice. God does not speak with a forked tongue. How we hear that voice is our challenge, through Scripture, aided by tradition and reason. But let's not speak of 'sources'. - Dr. Peter Carrell -

This, Peter - respectfully - is my big problem with sola scripturism.

Do you really believe that God has not communicated 'authoritatively' with humanity since the time of the canonisation of Scripture?

This certainly would cut out any understanding, for instance, of the Stigmata received by Saint Francis of Assisi! Or, indeed any other manifestation of the Holy Spirit in modern times.

Do you not believe that anyone -since Scripture was written - has in any way received visions or messages from God? How limiting!

Bang, then, goes the historic Holiness movement of the Wesleys! that brought new spiritual insight into the propagation of the gospel

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
The present Presiding Bishop of TEC,[USA];has a penchant for making questionable statements.
"If you begin to explopre the
literary context of the first century and a couple of hundred
years on either side,the way that someone told a story about a great figure was to say'this one is born of the gods'.That is what we are saying.This carpenter from
Nazareth or Bethlehem-and there are different stories about where he came from-shows what a godly human being looks like,shows us God coming among us".KJS.,
Parabola,Spring 2007.
KJS."Christians understand that Jesus is the route to God.That
is not to say that Muslims,or Sikhs,or Jains,come to God in a radically different way.They come to God through human experience-through human experience of the
divine.Christians talk about that in terms of Jesus.[Interview by Robin Young on NPR's"Here and Now",Oct.18th,2006.
With this type of theology being espoused by the leadership of TEC,
it becomes obvious why the Orthodox are leaving in droves.

Kurt Hill said...

Well said, Father Ron. Sola scripturism is definitely a recipe for a hobbled theology. Witness Glen Young’s 19th century Evangelical dogmatism. Yo, Glen, it’s the 21st century, dude!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Jean said...

Hi Ron

It is my understanding that when God speaks to us through the Holy Spiirit it either a personal prophency for the individual, or a prophetic message. If the later then the test for its validity is whether or not it contradicts scripture. As such the working of the Holy Spirit supports not adds or undermines the authority of Scripture.

Blessings,
Jean

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Kurt
I am not at all clear why "How we hear that voice is our challenge, through Scripture, aided by tradition and reason." should be an objectionable 'sola scriptura' position given that it is a simple expression of Anglican theology of revelation!

My question back to you Ron is how we would know when God had spoken authoritatively beyond Scripture?

Again, it is simple Anglicanism, to check all such claims against Scripture aided by tradition and reason.

With reference to the Stigmata of Francis, I am completely in the dark about how they constitute the voice of God. The shape of Francis' life work for God was given when he heard the gospel.

As for people hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, nothing in my statement says the Holy Spirit does not speak today. All it is saying is it is not the Holy Spirit speaking when a claim is made which contradicts the voice of God heard through Scripture, aided by tradition and reason.

Surely that is the basis on which we reject claimants to God speaking, from Mohammed to Joseph Smith, to say nothing of the reason why, respecting the Salvation Army as we do, we continue to practice sacramental worship, and, respecting Methodists (in the British tradition) as we do, we remain committed to episcopal ministry.

Kurt said...

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."--Francis of Assisi

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Father Ron Smith said...

"With reference to the Stigmata of Francis, I am completely in the dark about how they constitute the voice of God. The shape of Francis' life work for God was given when he heard the gospel." - Dr. Peter Carrell -

This is an instance, Peter, not only of the voice of God, but also God's divine intervention - a 'mystery' that has been the instrument of the conversion of many souls to Christ.

As indeed, was the stigmatisation of Padre Pio, whose 'Imitation of Christ' became the source of many conversions of real lives. His life, and that of blessed Francis, though formed by the Scriptures, was radically renewed in faith, hope and love, by the radical intervention of God - the the point where both Francis and Pio
'knew' beyohnd any shadow of doubt, the truth of Christ's Passion in their lives.

An Anglican, Dorothy Kerin, was given this very same sign of the Passion of Christ - who actually visited her on her 'death-bed' and gave her new life, with which to preach the Gospel. Her ministry of healing - after this further revelation of the Passion of Christ - was legendary, and is continued today in the ministry of the Home of healing at Burrwood in the U.K.

These further revelations were not dependent on the existence of the scriptures - although they could be considered to be a consequence of the life and ministry of Jesus as described in the scriptures.

The Scriptures are a tool of grace. But not the only one. The living Christ in the Sacrament of Baptism and the Eucharist are the agency through which grace is offered and obtained in the Church.

"Do this, to re-member me!" (Jesus) He also said "You read the Scriptures, but....." and this latter was to the 'Keepers of The Law'!

Jesus did not say "Read this..."

Father Ron Smith said...

A word for Jean. I wonder if she thinks that the modern understanding of the cosmos is totally dependent on the biblical exposition?

Also, the modern understanding of the place of women in society. Is that dependent on some of the
hat-wearing, silence-keeping, advice of Saint Paul? Even he had to come to the new understanding that "In Christ, their is neither male nor female, slave not master"

So, even in the revelation of the Scriptures, there was a progression that denies some of the preliminary understandings - also in scripture.

liturgy said...

Thanks, Peter, for, in your potpourri post, the compliment about my writing judiciously and carefully!

You are right to watch the progress through our diocesan synods of changing our constitution set in train by Bill 4. Without it, of course, motion 30 cannot proceed. Even as it now stands our church is left with the official acknowledgement of decades of illegal and possibly invalid actions that need attention. Watch how the politically astute will downplay its significance and get it passed with as little fuss as possible…

As to your sola-scriptura discussion going round the usual bases, all was going fine… until you mentioned the Methodists! Who, of course, want to claim their church order is as biblical as yours. Once we notice the tens of thousands of different denominations, all claiming to be sola scriptura, all unable to agree on basic issues like membership, baptism, communion, church order – then the question which looked nice in theory, in practice comes back several thousandfold: how would we know when God had spoken authoritatively in a particular reading of Scripture?

Let me just save some time. The response to that is that it is not the scriptures that are the problem in sola scriptura, it is our sinfulness that blinds us to the what-must-be-obvious (to the sinless) actual overt meaning of the scriptures. In other words, God, in creating the scriptures for his sola-scriptura purpose, was unable to produce a text that would sola-scripturally work as intended for us sinners…

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Ah, Bosco, our dear friends the Methodists have misread tradition and thus misread Scripture!

Jean said...

Hi Father Ron,

"I wonder if she thinks..." - please feel free to address me personally rather than in the third person.

No she doesn't think the total understanding of the cosmos is dependent on the bible. Just as the bible does not include all knowledge (e.g. how to cook pumpkin soup). However she does believe the world was created by a creator and therefore any new information needs to be evaluated with this in mind.

Yes progression and revelation of the understanding of God to His people exists with the scriptures, its intended purpose I believe. I however am not willing to 'add anything to this book', you can decide your own position on this one.

As for Paul's passage on women being silent in the church I do like Tim White's analysis Peter referred to.

Bosco re your comment to Peter:
How can we see the bible as an Authoritative source when so many different intepretations exist? This is a good point.

For me personally I see the bible as the word of God so verses such as "My sheep will know my voice" and "The spirit will lead you into all truth" encourage me to believe in the bible as being an authority. This and personal experience.

In answer to prayer I received the word so that 'your faith may be proved as genuine', before I knew it was a bible verse, I knew Jesus was the mediator between myself and God when I prayed as a young child even before I ever read the bible and understood salvation. Revelation by the Holy Spirit in my experience anyway, has always confirmed the authority of the bible.

Blessings
Jean

liturgy said...

Greetings Jean

Just to be crystal clear and you are not putting words into my mouth:

I too "see the bible as an Authoritative source"
"I see the bible as the word of God" (and not limited by your "For me personally")
I "believe in the bible as being an authority"

I would be very surprised if Fr Ron and Kurt and all involved in this conversation would not be able to similarly make these affirmations, and not, as you appear to be implying, that these affirmations are somehow held by you in contrast to others here.

Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

" However she does believe the world was created by a creator and therefore any new information needs to be evaluated with this in mind." - Jean -

Well, Jean, all I can say to this is that you have already denied the efficacy of continuing reasonable revelation by the movement of the Holy spirit in the Church. What can I say that might convince you that there may be more yet to be revealed? If you're happy with your position, who am I to be the agency of your disillusionment.

For me, openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit is all.

Kurt said...

"I would be very surprised if Fr Ron and Kurt and all involved in this conversation would not be able to similarly make these affirmations, and not, as you appear to be implying, that these affirmations are somehow held by you in contrast to others here." --Fr. Bosco

Well said, Father Bosco!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Jean said...

Hi Bosco

I seem to have done a good unintentional job of offending people in the last post : ) . My use of "me personally" are the words I use when making a comment to ensure others know I do not assume everyone thinks as I do, or needs to.

In respect to putting words in your mouth, I apologise I thought wrongly you were ascertaining in your previous post that biblical authority could be questionable because of the different interpretations. I read your commment "God, in creating the scriptures for his sola-scriptura purpose, was unable to produce a text that would sola-scripturally work as intended for us sinners…" as being sarcastic. My mistake. I made the error I try hard to avoid and that is "assumption"; I assumed you would not think God was unable to create a book that would work for sinners so read it as sarcastic.

As for Kurt and Ron. I think here you make an assumption Bosco. Nowhere have I indicated they did not respect the authority of scripture. My understanding from Ron's first post, and Kurts support of it, is that they believe the Holy Spirit has/or may have/or can add to scripture based on Ron's comment:
"Do you not believe that God has communicated authoritatively with man since the canonisation of scripture?"

My response to this has been my experience is God does communicate through the Holy Spirit but that His revelations do not contradict current scripture.

F.Y.I. Ron, I have given examples of my openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit, in fact I believe we need to be even more so open to the person of the spirit. Such revelation/visions or words of knowledge add understanding to scripture and prophecy to personal situations and people for building up the church. What I find it difficult to conceive is that God would 'reveal' new information through the Holy Spirit that would replace or challenge the authority of our current Holy Book. The last time God 'added' words in the literal sense to scripture I believe was through the recording of the life of Jesus.

Blessings to all, Jean

tachesterton said...

Kurt said...
"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."--Francis of Assisi

Actually there is absolutely no evidence that St. Francis of Assisi ever said this. And I would also say that it is completely contrary to the example of Jesus and his apostles, who always used words when they preached the Gospel.

Tim

Kurt said...

Perhaps not, Tim, but as one Franciscan put it:

"This saying and the “Peace Prayer,” which Francis certainly did not write, are easily identified with him because they so thoroughly reflect his spirit. Unfortunately, they would not have become as widespread if they had been attributed to “John Smith” or “Mary Jones.”

For a broader discussion, see:
http://www.americancatholic.org/messenger/oct2001/Wiseman.asp

Describing it as "completely contrary to the example of Jesus and his apostles" simply reinforces my distrust of the ethos of contemporary Evangelicalism in general and that of Anglican Evangelicalism in particular.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Jean said...

Hey Kurt

Purely out of curiosity what is your background re faith...

My faith journey stems from and I currently worship at an Anglican Church but I consider myself a Christian (e.g. wouldn't have too many issues with attending any christian church which adhere's to the core tenants of christianity).

Coming from the US you offer on this blog a perspective/s on how things are viewed in the US which we don't always get except second hand. This is valuable when discussing different issues.

Cheers
Jean

tachesterton said...

Kurt, you said 'Describing it as "completely contrary to the example of Jesus and his apostles" simply reinforces my distrust of the ethos of contemporary Evangelicalism in general and that of Anglican Evangelicalism in particular.'

I would be glad if you would point out how this apocryphal saying is not contrary to the teaching and example of Jesus and the apostles, Kurt. I'm also completely at a loss to see how they reflect the spirit of Francis, who sent his little friars out as preachers of the gospel by words and actions.

But let's be generous and assume that it is authentically Franciscan. Today the world has changed. Francis lived in Christendom and could assume that people were familiar with the content of the Christian story. Today we're in at least the third generation of biblical illiteracy. Yes, words without deeds lack credibility, but deeds without words lack clarity. We need both/and, not either/or.

Tim

Father Ron Smith said...

" What I find it difficult to conceive is that God would 'reveal' new information through the Holy Spirit that would replace or challenge the authority of our current Holy Book. The last time God 'added' words in the literal sense to scripture I believe was through the recording of the life of Jesus." - Jean -

I think my real problem with sola scriptura is that this mentality may be resistant to anything new that God may want to reveal in the course of the evolution of Faith.

I don't think it was ever the intention of any reformers to 'add
to the Scriptures' - in any way that would deny the record of the faithfulness of the Scriptures as a source for revelation of God's purpose for creation. What all the reformers have done is add the voice of their own (subjective) experience of God's work in THEIR lives. Just like you, Jean, have related the(subjective) effect of YOUR experience of God's work in your life. This is not to say that
your experience trumps any other. It is just to affirm that you have had an experience of God in your life - as I have in my 85 years as an Anglican in many different contexts - as both lay and clergy.

I don't think any authentic reformer (leaving aside Joseph Smith - who copied the resources of the King James Bible anyway) would say they have 'added to Scripture' in ways that deny its basic authenticity. What has been done - by generations of scholarly interested parties - is to look at Scripture in terms of it context and purpose in its own time, and try to relate that to a different era - which is the time and space we now occupy.

Much of the Old Testament can be securely put into the category of 'myth'. That does not mean untruth but merely representational. That is reckoned to be why Jesus some-times taught by parable - so that his audience and future historians would not misconstrue what he really meant. This meant prayerful engagement with 'The Word', not just abiding by jot, tittle & iota.

Sola Scriptura belief carries with it the danger of idolatry - the same as any belief that tries to encapsulate God in concrete terms - without reference to the adjunct: "Hear what The Spirit is saying to The Church".
"Behold, I tell you a mystery...!"

Father Ron Smith said...

"And I would also say that it is completely contrary to the example of Jesus and his apostles, who always used words when they preached the Gospel."
- Tim Chesterton -

Dear Tim, I think you have missed completely the reason for the attribution to St. Francis of the saying that urges Christians to preach the Gospel with Deeds as well as Words.

The actions of Jesus often gave more credence to his loving Gospel provenance than any words he might have said. There are so many accounts of Jesus comforting and healing people - often not Jewish by religion or birth - that we might begin to understand the admonition of scripture:
"Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only"

I also think of the saying of Jesus, about 'outsiders' who were able to demonstrate by their actions their belief in him: "Never, in all of Israel, have I seen faith like this".

Like Eliza Doolittle in that lovely musical 'My Fair Lady':
"Don't talk of love, show me!"

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
Bosco said:"God in creating the scriptures for his sola-scriptura purpose was unable to produce a
text that would sola-scripturally work as intented for us sinners".
Is the issue,that God was unable to;or that, us sinners in general,
refuse to take His revelation at face value?
Why would a God,who is both 'all
knowing and 'all powerfull'reveal
Himself to man in a time constrained manner which requires
new revelation to'sophisticated
Western Man'?
And thirdly,St.Paul writes:"For God is not the author of confusion,but of peace,as in all the churches of the saints".
So why we got all this dissention
in the Church now?Prehaps it tells us more about man than it does about God.
We have traveled together my Bible
and I,
through all kinds of weather,with
smile or sigh;
In sorrow or sunshine,in tempest or calm,
Thy friendship unchanging,my lamp,
my Psalm.

We travelled together,my Bible and I,
When life had grown weary and death was nigh;
But all through the darkness of mist or of wrong,I found in thee a solace,a prayer and a song.

So, now who part us my Bible and I
Shall "isms' or 'schisms' or new
lights who try?
Shall shaddow for substance or stone for good bread,
supplant Divine wisdom and give folly instead!

Ah no,my dear Bible,exponent of light!
Thou sword of the Spirit,put error to flight.
And still through life's journey,untill my last sigh;
we'll travell together,my Bible and I.

A hand witten verse ,in the front of an old loose leafed Bible ;given to many years ago when one of my mentors died.

Glen Young said...

Father Ron says:
(Sola Scriptura belief carries with it the danger of idolatry).

When one returns to the refference, Peter quoted from the Presiding Bishop of TEC(USA)and also researches the theology being espouced by that leadership;
it becomes aundantly clear that there is a greater danger in the beliefs of those liberals.
In Dec.2007,St.Andrew's Episcopal Church in Seattle offered a three session course titled"They Followed A Star:Astrology and Christianity as Allieson the Journey".The course was taught by
Dan Keusal,a licensed counselor
and astrologer in private practice.He said that participants will "explore the connections between astrology and Christianity,and look at how astrology can support and deepen our journeys as men and women
seeking meaning and purpose for our lives"
In 2004,The Rev.Bill Melnyk and his wife,both priests in the Dio.
of Pennsylvania,were exposed as leaders of the local Druid Society.She composed a pagan
fertility rite which was featured on TEC;s Office of Women's
Ministries webpage.The Bishop of
Pennsylvania referred to the situation as"a small error of judgement".
With the Report of the Commission on Doctrine and Theological Questions ,Chaired by the C0-Bishop of Auckland;wanting to "forge theology that is not born of the singular oppressive experience of patriarchial,white,
hetrosexual men;we choose to priviledge the experience of the 'other'-the outcast and the stranger".It is certainly going to be an interesting time if Bill 4 is passed in Church law!!!!!

Father Ron Smith said...

So, Glen. He didn't take his bible with him. They were finally separated - at the 'last sigh' - at the very time it could have taken it with him to affirm his belief in it.

Seriously, though, Glen. Do you take it to bed with you? When swimming?

Kurt said...

“I would be glad if you would point out how this apocryphal saying is not contrary to the teaching and example of Jesus and the apostles, Kurt.”—Tim Chesterton

Please see Father Ron’s reply (11:12 am) above.

“Purely out of curiosity what is your background re faith...”—Jean

Happy to oblige:

I discovered the Episcopal (Anglican) Church when I was 15 years old—I’m now 65. I consider myself a lifelong Episcopalian.

I was raised in upstate Chautauqua County, NY, one of the last counties in the state to be settled (1796) by Anglo-Americans—the same period that the Hawkesbury district was being settled in Australia, and commercial whaling began in New Zealand. I grew up in the Swede Hill neighborhood of Jamestown, NY, a small industrial city founded 1810. Our house, a traditional American “salt-box” type, was one of the oldest in the neighborhood, having been built in 1835. I still remember the very narrow, winding staircase which was original to the structure; the hand-honed beams; and the old “box locks” on some of the doors, including that to my bedroom.

Faith-wise, I had been brought up in a 19th century split from the Church of Sweden called the Evangelical Covenant Church, where I (and other children) were terrified into being “saved” on more than one occasion. By the time I was a teenager, however, I was heartily tired of the shallowness of the ECC denomination and was actively shopping around for another faith community. I explored the Presbyterian, Lutheran (both ELCA and the Missouri Synod), Roman Catholic and Episcopal (Anglican) churches. I was particularly drawn to TEC, which offered a “thinking person’s religion.” I was happy not having to “check my brains at the door,” which was expected by most of the Evangelical denominations with which I was familiar (particularly in the “off brands” such as the Pentecostals, Free Methodists, independent Baptists, etc). By the time I was graduated from college, I was thoroughly accustomed to the different theological perspectives in TEC, and had early on adhered to the High Church (Anglo Catholic) wing. Years later I was graduated from the four-year Education for Ministry program (EFM) and received my theological certificate after completing the course in 1988 at Trinity Church Wall Street. I am presently a lay leader of Ascension Church in Greenpoint Brooklyn, NY, a moderately Anglo Catholic parish within the Diocese of Long Island.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

tachesterton said...

Ron, I understand the saying very well, thank you. The story of St. Francis has had a great impact on my wife and me over the years. But this saying does not say that we need to preach the gospel with deeds as well as words; I entirely agree with that sentiment. As I said, words without deeds lack credibility, but deeds without words lack clarity. Jesus did not just heal the sick; he also preached the gospel of the Kingdom, and in fact, he was often at pains to play down the miracles, and when his disciples wanted him to stay at a place where there was plenty more healing ministry needed, he refused; "Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came to do'.

The so-called Franciscan quote, however, goes further than that; it assumes that it will not usually be necessary to use words at all - that our deeds will be enough to share the Gospel of Jesus with others. But Christians don't have a monopoly on good deeds, so good deeds by themselves are not a sufficiently clear way of sharing the good news of Jesus with others. The norm in the New Testament is always words and deeds together; the norm is not (as this saying assumes) deeds alone, with words sometimes necessary as well.

Tim

Mark said...

Hi Tim

I'm a bit of a church history "numpty" so you'll have to pardon my ignorance when it comes to quotes such as the one being debated. I've always understood the phrase accredited to Francis, whether it is or not, quite differently than the way you've interpreted it. Perhaps there's a back story somewhere I don't know about.

I've always interpreted it along the lines of: We speak and use words to convince people that what we're saying is true and right and that they need salvation. But more often than not we contradict the words and the Gospel by our actions. The Gospel isn't just salvation from our deserved eternal punishment but rather salvation to a transformed life. We can preach the Gospel with words but if our lives don't show the transforming power of Christ then the words are meaningless.

In James 2 the writer says show me your faith without works and I'll show you my faith by my works.

I'm also reminded of Romans 6: Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are thoes who have died to ssin; how can we live in it any longer?

Anyway, I've always taken it as a helpful pithy phrase to remind myself of who I am in Christ and into whose image I am being tranformed by the Holy Spirit.

Mark

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,
A.G Broomfeild was a very close friend of my late parents.He had derees in theology,philosophy,
science and then was admitted to the bar.After some very prominent
Court successes,he came tho the wee village where we resided and spent his time writing up defences for other barristers.Most Sundays he would lunch at our home.
The night that he died in sleep as a 80+ year old,the bible was beside him on his bed open at St.Matthew.I am sure,that he no longer needs his Bible,as he is with Him who, revealed the Father and Himself to us, through the
Holy Spirit.No need for the 'written Word' when you are in the company of the WORD Himself.
As for myself,I am not fixated on
the physical book itself;but the
revelation in it.So,yes,I do take that Revelation to bed with me and
when I go swimming.Is is not the teaching of scripture to 'store these words in your heart.I do not go to the extent of Judaism and make 'frontlets' to wear around my forehead.
blessings.

Bryden Black said...

There’s much that could be commented upon here, Peter, both re your post itself and its links, and then the subsequent rash of comments. I’ll say only two things.

The initial observation is this. How interesting that some/many folk side with Fr Jonathan’s ‘reading’ of Sacramental Confession and yet disavow his view on the Sacrament of Marriage (also on his site). What’s happening here?

More generically and fundamentally, this observation only opens up the point I have myself made again and again: our present ‘dilemmas’ in the AC are at root matters of authority and their (attempted) legitimation - as Fr J also states. Yet few seem able or willing to peel back their own position(s) to better establish how and why they stand where they do. Instead, we have exactly the confused and confusing situation of the first observation - incoherence and so instability, with multiple theologies and forms of practice that simply may not circle around a Common Sun/Son - real “wanderers”!

Nor, may I venture, is the ‘solution’ a series of parallel jurisdictions ... Nor even a mass swimming of the Tiber into an Ordinariate ...! Me miserum! “Marana tha!!”

Jean said...

Hi Fr Ron,

After googling sola scripture and realising the debate over the idea of the bible being the 'only' authoritative source for the true faith, is a long held debate between the protestant and catholic arms of the church since for a long time, I realise the can of worms open here and doubt any resolution to this is likely to come via Peter's blog : ) ...

Glen does highlight the fact that teachings in churches overseas (which I read about) and those which I have heard here in NZ some in person, which depart from the bible as the source of authority tend towards preaching a message against what Christ Himself taught. For example teaching Jesus did not rise from the dead. This is a danger faced where there is no measure we can use to determine what is acceptable.

I do think the use of Catholic's of the teaching of those deemed Saints by the church for example, or of their 'revelations from God' although not something I necessary include in my own beliefs but enjoy the wisdom of, fall into a different category than that of the above. I imagine the Saints of the Catholic Church would in their lifetime have been faithful to the teaching of scripture.

Blessings Jean

Glen Young said...

Hi Bryden,
I have been prepared to peel back
the layers tho ascertain why I hold the position which I do.
Anglicanism is my chosen belief
system because it is Catholic and Apostolic;without the theological
errors of Rome.Socrates said an unexamined life was not worth living.
It frustrates me that many clergy and much of the leadership of the Church, can not simply accept the Scriptures on face value;but need to dig beneath them
trying to discover the religous experience which the Apostles had.
Simply,as Josuah said:"As for Me and my household we shall serve.."
Blessing Glen.

Glen Young said...

Father Ron said:
"The actions of Jesus often gave far more credence to his loving Gosple Provenence than any words he might have said".July 10@11.12
This overly simplistic and reductionistic approach to the Scripture is a tenet of Progressive Christianity.(see wikipedia definition)
It is referred to as emphasizing
orthopraxy over orthodoxy,(right actions over right beliefs).
St.Matthews in the City,Auckland;
felt the need to give the modifier 'Progressive Christianity', to the brand of Christianity they follow, when establishing their websight.
The new vicar at that church,Helen
Jacobi is reported in the NZ Herald 26/05/2014;as not believing the 'virgin birth' to be
literally true-Michele Hewitson
interview.

Glen Young said...

Father Ron said;
"The actions of Jesus often gave far more credance to his loving Gosple provenance than any words he might have said".
This reductionist approach to the
Scriptures is a basic tenet of Progressive Christianity and is referred to as emphasizing orthopraxy over orthodoxy(right actions over right beliefs.
The inherent danger, is of course, that one can very quickly arrive at the assuption of 'salvation by works'.

As is the case, with St.Mathews in the City,Auckland;where their website poses the rhetorical question of why they need to give the modifier (Progressive Christianity)to the brand of
Christianity they follow.
The N.Z.Herald Interview By Michele Hewitson26/5/2014;of the new vicar to St.Mathews ,Helen Jacobi , is reported thus :
"I wondered which bits of the Bible she found to be literally true .......She does not of course believe that the virgin birth is literally true.God is not Him or Her,but 'a creating,loving presence in the world"
It is interesting to read Wikipedia's definition of Progressive Christianity.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Messy Church" - your title here, Peter, reminds me of the movement in the Church of England to re-focus and revive classical evangelism.

I have a priest friend in England whose parish has just brought in the new ideas connected with 'Messy Church'. Since the beginning of this new activity, parish life has become much more of a place of engagement - with how the christian Faith can make a difference in the lives of people who might not otherwise darken the Church's doors.

Activities for children, young mums, single-parent families - and other people of lapsed or no faith - are given radical hospitality on Church premises - in ways that engage their attention outside of normal worship times. As a direct consequence - surprise, surprise! - the Church is full on Sundays.

Radical hospitality to ALL is proving to be an attractive tool of evangelism that was not unknown in the time of Jesus and His disciples. Perhaps we need to leave of the judgmentalism and do a bit of hospitality.