Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We cannot let this news go unnoticed

The dear old CofE is now the CofE with new leaderships faces (soon) as it has been agreed by the General Synod meeting in York that women may be appointed as bishops.

NZers should remember that bishops are appointed in the CofE, not elected, so as day follows night, there will be women bishops in that church within six to twelve months. No need to await the vagaries of elections etc.

63 comments:

liturgy said...

Right. And the news reaches us not from a formal CofE church news site but through the London Evening Standard.

Surprise! Not!

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

Despite all the arguments going around the dear old Anglican Communion; this affirmation of Women as fellow workers in God's Vineyard - in the Vote for Women as Bishops in the C.of E. - is a vote for the fact that God is still in God's Heaven and all;s (reasonably) well with God's world. Deo gratias!

Gave special thanks at the 10am Mass at St. Michael's, Christchurch, this morning.

carl jacobs said...

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

So what happens now?

The stronger Evangelical churches will pull up the drawbridge. The weaker ones will be left like severed branches on the ground. Unless they get help, they will wither. The egalitarians will crush them one by one by one - all the while assuring them that they are 'flourishing' of course. As far as I can tell, the Anglo Catholics are just waiting to die - having lost their leadership to the Ordinariate. There seems no fight remaining in them.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the CoE will be pushed further and further to the Left by each new selection of a woman to the HoB. The CoE will become progressively more radical in its praxis even as the resistance bleeds away. This will force the remaining conservatives to withdraw even further and begin to look elsewhere for leadership. The fault line will open over money as conservatives stop contributing parish share. It will get ugly then.

There won't be any conservative Evangelical bishops appointed ever again. The feelings of betrayal will emerge and once again be countered with "But we never said this was forever." Conservative ordinands will no longer feel capable of serving in the CoE and so look elsewhere. Eventually it will be difficult to find conservative clergy to replace those currently serving. A couple of years and the words of "Trust us" will be nothing but dead letters. There won't be any serious discipline for failing to follow guidelines and the ombudsman will prove toothless. The whole Code of Practice will quietly fade away from deliberate neglect.

In ten years, the CoE will be indistinguishable from TEC. In twenty years, it will be bankrupt and depopulated. Today the CoE drank from the cup and declared it sweet. But the drink will quickly turn sour in its stomach. Even so it will be required to drink that cup - every drop.

Be careful what you celebrate. The pagans celebrated the capture of Samson as well.

carl

liturgy said...

I retract my previous comment:

http://churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2014/07/church-of-england-to-have-women-bishops.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland/posts/10152632243706385

Blessings

Bosco

Caleb said...

Great news.

Not sure how I feel about the exit clauses and assurances that the church is still a place "where those opposed to women's ordination can flourish" (to quote a reporter from - I believe - the BBC, that I heard on the radio this afternoon). I suppose that was what they needed to do for it to pass. I'm happy if it's a temporary measure... ie, in a few decades, if it turns out it's working well and the sky hasn't fallen on anyone's heads due to primates' privates, leadership without gender restrictions can be universal across the CofE, and perhaps even the whole Anglican communion. For those who don't like it at that point, there is always the Catholic church or various patriarchal evangelical churches (or indeed the various breakaway bodies).

Jean said...

Hi Carl

By what plumb line do you consider all women to be liberal in their theology?

Of the five churches in my rural area there is one male Priest. I would not consider any of the churches overtly liberal.

Blessings, Jean

Father Ron Smith said...

The stronger Evangelical churches will pull up the drawbridge. - carl

Simply not true, carl. The majority of Anglicans - as proved by the Synod vote - are now content with the result of the Women Bishops vote.

The only ones who might walk are people like yourself, who would find the Church of England no longer to their taste. The best thing for them, and for the rest of the C. of E. is to quietly leave, shutting the door, quietly, behind them.

carl jacobs said...

Jean

The population of women who constitute 'women clergy' form a theological distribution that skews far to the left of the spectrum. Women clergy are self-selected. The more traditional women opt themselves out of that population. So when you sample from that distribution you will bias the result to the left. Especially now in the CoE. It therefore does not matter where any given woman falls on that spectrum. What matters is the distribution of the population. The women who are made bishops in the CoE will in the aggregate be decidedly heterodox in their theology, and that will have consequences.

The leadership is now irretrievably committed to a leftward trajectory. It will pursue and follow that trajectory to the increasing alienation of its laity. This must result in terminal decline. There is no other possibility. The conservatives will be progressively driven out by an increasingly liberal praxis. The secular population will not replace the departing laity because liberal religion offers them nothing of substance. It is simply a religious veneer slapped onto the secular worldview. They don't need it ir want it, and they sure won't pay for it. Liberal religion is to them nothing more than a religious form that is safe for post-modern society. It's a castrated servile bovine that won't get in their collective face over how to live. And that is all secular society cares about it.

So it will be a great liberal party for a while in the new progressive modern CoE. And then the money will run out. And the people who did this will watch the collapse from the safety of their retirement and funded pensions. Anyone with sense won't be getting ordained in the CoE anymore. It's not a good long term employment prospect.

carl

carl jacobs said...

FRS

Even if what you said was true, it would have a life span of about two years because:

1. There is no commitment on the part of the majority to sustain this provision.

2. The majority will not restrain its desire to enact liberal revisions.

3. Conservatives will not long tolerate either 1 or 2.

carl

Anonymous said...

Jean, a study was done of CoE priests' and lay beliefs several years ago and found that, yes, women priest were more liberal. The survey found that women priests had less faith in all of the Creeds. They also noted that when choosing bishop candidates, pro-women candidates were often chosen for areas that didn't even want women priests, implying a deliberate forcing of pro-women ideals on the church.

The women bishops here in the US also seem to follow that assessment, none are strong on stating their faith in the Creeds, including the PB who has questioned several publicly.

Chris Harwood

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
The Evening Standard link was due to a combo of me being in a rush (before travelling), picking up a link off a Tweet from a UK-based person I am following ... otherwise the church press is "all over the story"!

Jean said...

Hi Chris and Carl

With all due respect the COE is not the US Episcoopal Church. In the UK and NZ the majority of clergy still remain men,even in the US Episcopal Church 66% of employed clergy are men and employed women clergy are more likely to be in supportive roles rather than sole leaders of congregations. I as a woman, do have reservations about some of the comments made by your Primate.

Caleb what do you mean by women Priests in the UK being self selected or that traditional women opt themselves out? It is my understanding in the UK women are appointed?

There is the common quote there are lies, lies and then statistics. The report commission by Christian Research was done so by a Minister who strongly believes the church is being feminised. The survey results (2000 clergy surveyed 20%) said 1/2 did not believe in the resurrection. 1/3 did not believe in the virgin birth. The majority % of clergy in the COE being currently male. Of the quoted 'small portion of females included in the survey'. 1/3 did not believe in the resurrection and 1/2 in the virgin birth. One could argue endless whether belief in the resurrection is more or less important than the virgin birth but there is no indication of either sex having any virtue over the other in this regard.

I would propose the ordinands by age and sex in NZ, the USA and the UK reflect more the make-up of the church attendees out of which they come than any great agenda to feminise or liberalise the church. And also that the Baby Boomer generation and the loss of 'passing on the faith' from this generation to Generation X is a more logical argument for the lower proportion of people in general and younger people in particular attending Anglican Churches.

I was blessed to attend an Anglican church for a long time with an equal number of women and men attending. I was blessed my mother a baby boomer sustained her faith so I grew up in a church environment and as a result despite all statistics two of her three children have kept their belief. I am blessed to know most of the women Priests I encounter actively desire more men in the church - but I am hesitant in blamming them for the absence of men in the pews, men must account for that themselves.

Blessings Jean

carl jacobs said...

Jean

To become a member of the clergy, a woman must voluntarily put herself forward. There a lots of women - my wife, for example - who would never do that. They voluntarily opt out. That biases the population of women who are available for appointment. The more orthodox the woman, the less likely she is to present herself for ordination. That is the self-selection.

Everything I have said is falsifiable. If you think I am wrong, then just wait and see. You are correct that the CoE is not TEC - yet. But the progressive religion is the same and will induce similar outcomes. What TEC is the CoE is destined to become.

carl

Mark said...

Carl - I understand your pessimism entirely although, in my personal opinion, I'm not sure women bishops is the church's biggest problem. What I do find quite disconcerting are comments such as Ron's which support your theory, and I quote:
"The best thing for them [people like your Carl - my insert], and for the rest of the C. of E. is to quietly leave, shutting the door, quietly, behind them."
Maybe I've misunderstood what he was saying but it sounds like "move along, you're not welcome here, when you leave don't come back, and don't make a fuss about it all."
Perhaps I'm putting words in his mouth.

While it may never have initially been the intention of those with liberal theology to force conservatives out it appears, as you assert, to be heading that way.

In some ways I hope you're completely wrong Carl but ultimately I think in time your theory will prove to be correct.

Jean said...

Hi Carl

Yes whether the teachings in the COE come to mirror those of the TEC is indeed yet to be known.

In terms of self selection of women I now understand what you mean by the term. I remain unconvinced women opting out is justifiable by tradition. God has called women to ministry in the past (seen in scripture), present and will do so in the future. It is good to discern whether the tradition being adhered to is really supported by scripture or one historically practiced in society.

It would indeed be a sad thing if women who held commonly termed conservative beliefs such as; Jesus rising from the dead; Belief in the virgin birth; Jesus as the only way to God; were prevented or opted out of serving Christ if they were called to do so.

I am not sure if it is the same in the US. But in NZ the ordination selection process is a thorough one and not as easy as 'wanting' to be a Priest.

Blessings Jean

liturgy said...

Jean, thank you for regularly providing points that make me sit up and rethink things I generally just take for granted.

I am fascinated by the survey you found that “1/2 did not believe in the resurrection. 1/3 did not believe in the virgin birth.” I myself have never, ever met a single Christian who believed in the virginal conception of Jesus, but did not believe in His resurrection. Such a position intrigues me, and yet you are suggesting that this is an extremely common position, with far more believing in Christ’s virginal conception (2/3) than in his resurrection (only ½)! Have you ever met such a person? Is there anyone visiting this site who would put their hand up to holding to this for-me-inexplicable position?!

Further you point to there being an “endless argument” “whether belief in the resurrection is more or less important than the virgin birth”. Far from it being endless, I have never come across such a debate and would love you to point to some places where this is discussed.

I’m fascinated by your contention that “in NZ the ordination selection process is a thorough one”, particularly as there is no agreed standard for ordination in NZ, nor any agreed examinations, training, etc. People in the CofE or in TEC would be surprised by the lack of such an agreed standard, examinations, or training, in a church that, by their standards, is quite tiny.

Carl’s point about ordained women’s beliefs being skewed makes perfect sense. Those males who believe women should not teach mixed-gender congregations, for example, obviously can and do present for ordination. Women who believe women should not teach mixed-gender congregations, don’t.

I think Carl’s challenge that some (many) churches have a low threshold between “the world” and “the church” is worth further exploration.

Blessings

Bosco

Anonymous said...

Bosco, the survey Jean referred to is here and it does confirm what she said:
http://trushare.com/88SEP02/SE02SURV.htm
This was in 2002. Since then, many more women have been ordained in the C of E, mostly in part-time courses, and an unknown number of Anglo-Catholics and other traditionalists have departed to the Ordinariate and elsewhere.
So Carl's point about the ranks of the English Anglican clergy becoming ever more theologically liberal seems well founded.
Meanwhile, we must note some further uncomfortable facts.
1. Usual Sunday attendance in the C of E in March 2014 was under 800,000, half of what it was 40 years ago while the population of England must be at least 10-12% greater. I know most denominations have globally declined since then, but it should be recalled that WO in 1994 was hailed as unleashing new life and new gifts in the C of E. But this really hasn't happened; instead there has been retrenchment all round and the 'occasional offices' have become even more occasional.
2. Churches like the Methodists have become ever more liberal, embracing same-sex marriage, while their numbers have imploded: now under 200,000. The same story across the pond.
3. About two-thirds of churchgoers in the UK are women; in some small congregations the figure will be much higher. Whatever the intention, WO has only further feminised the C of E.
4. Meanwhile, Islam has outpaced the C of E as the religion with the most worshipers. The C of E is openly spoken of with contempt by pundits (who wisely keep their own counsel, along with their heads, when it comes to speaking out on Islam). You would be charged with a 'hate crime' elsewhere for saying this, but one of the wisest things NZ can do is to discourage any Muslim immigration.
There is a law of unintended consequences in the tide of human affairs. Who would have foreseen all this 30 years ago?

Grammaticus

Jean said...

Anything to make you sit up and rethink Bosco.

Now you are sitting up you can take a closer look at the details.

Surprising really given your writings often appear to refer to specific details.

If you read Carl's post you would no doubt have noticed he (not I) first referred to a survey of COE regarding beliefs by male and female clergy. I merely quote those statistics and reflect on their relevance - I am not suggesting they are common I am stating they came from a survey done in the UK (a.k.a. a bit of a difference Bosco):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1403106/One-third-of-clergy-do-not-believe-in-the-Resurrection.html

Carl first suggested the influence of women as Priests would lead to more liberal tendencies. I by pointing out the differing statistics of belief in the virgin birth and ressurection of a selection of clergy (dominated by men), and then the statistics of the beliefs of women clergy (a small sample of women) on the same topics.

I said one could (not that people do) endlessly debate over the beliefs of each group - e.g. with the male dominated clergy surveyed favouring disbelief in the resurrection, women surveyed disbelief in the virgin birth, according to the survey and yet find neither sex has virtue over the other when it comes to liberal beliefs - (ie: tis hardly a case for the liberal tendencies of women's theology feminising the church it is made out to be). Dawkin's and Dr Spong have done a better job of liberalising theology.

I do believe your "inexplicable position" is a result of you misquoting 1/3 with 2/3rds, and leaving out reference to the different groups surveyed when you repeated the information. It is also my understanding, and hopefully yours that if one takes a survey and 1/3 disbelieve in the virgin birth they may or may not be a part of the 1/2 who disbelief in the resurrection or vice-versa.

Yes Carl's point of the possibility of women's beliefs being skewed in regards to belief in women teaching does make sense (one is unlikely to find a women Priest teaching women should not teach), but I challenge whether this necessitates women clergy holding to what are coined 'liberal' beliefs in other areas of theology.

I would agree wholeheartedly regarding the comments of some liberal thinking (examples stated in my last post) as being accommodating to the 'world' rather than to following 'the Way'.

Blessing Jean

Jean said...

Grammaticus

What do you think of the idea that it is the 'passing on of the faith' between generations that was interrupted when baby boomers left the church in droves rather than women's ordination that has majorly influenced the decline in church numbers? Demographics would suggest this. As a Gen X a lot of my peers have never been to church, do not know the basic aspects of the christian faith, and Generation Y is yet twice removed again.

Is the predominance of women in congregations an example of the feminisation of the church or the faithfulness of women despite the number of men abdicating their christian faith? Wasn't it such a time as this Deborah was appointed a Judge over Israel?

Blessings Jean

liturgy said...

Either you or I must be missing something, Grammaticus (but you are not known for admitting an error - whilst I have already done so in this thread)? The survey you point to says the exact opposite of Jean's contention, and confirms my point - not Jean's.

Blessings

Bosco

Anonymous said...

Jean, my point was simply that WO goes hand in hand with a more pervasive religious liberalism, in which a 'pastoral' focus rather than a more 'evangelistic' or church planting one predominates. You have a similar phenomenon in primary education, nursing and social work, where the great majority of the work force is female.
Put simply, younger men don't want to be in women-led churches. They vote with their feet, and the churches become increasingly women's groups.
And if fathers are absent from church, their sons are likely to be absent as well.
But the proponents of WO have ignored these sociological - I would say 'creational' - facts. They have followed instead modern secular democratic principles in which gender is treated as an irrelevance (as it is now in the modern redefinition of 'marriage').

Grammaticus

Anonymous said...

Bosco, the survey states: "The survey revealed that the beliefs of women clergy were consistently weaker than their male counterparts on every single item of the creed.
They are especially weak on Jesus. The Virgin birth receives only 33% confidence, Christ as the only way to salvation 39% and the bodily resurrection gains a bare majority conviction at 53% among women clergy."

Any way you spin it, it does seem a very large number of the clergy of the C of E sit very loose to the historic Creeds. These are the people who elect the House of Clergy.

I admit my errors every Sunday in the public confession and every day in private prayer.

Grammaticus

liturgy said...

"I do believe your "inexplicable position" is a result of you misquoting 1/3 with 2/3rds" Jean

As far as I can see I have copied and pasted your own statistics. If there is any misquoting, I think it would be by you. That would make more sense than what you had, Jean.

And no, I don't at all hold to your "understanding, and hopefully [mine] that if one takes a survey and 1/3 disbelieve in the virgin birth they may or may not be a part of the 1/2 who disbelief in the resurrection or vice-versa" - that was the very point of my surprise. And so you appear not to be reading my comment in response to you.

Blessings

Bosco

Jean said...

Check out my link Bosco it also includes the figures for the clergy surveyed overall not just the 'small' sample of women.

"A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection and only half are convinced of the truth of the Virgin birth, according to a new survey. The poll of nearly 2,000 of the Church's 10,000 clergy also found that only half believe that faith in Christ is the only route to salvation." - this is the group made up of predominantly men.

It is worth noting the position of the man who requested the survey and interpreted the information from the link Grammaticus referenced:
"The pulpits are being filled with feminized, homosexualized, simpering,
emotionally weak men, women (not all bad) types, but nearly all liberals, who have no ability to make churches grow because they have no
discernible gospel."

Generalisation? Although not COE Bosco I hardly would have thought you would like to be considered an "emotiionally weak man" any more than women like to be labelled "feminized, simpering or nearly all liberals."

carl jacobs said...

Jean

In theory, you can have any mix of beliefs. In practice, some beliefs are strongly correlated with others. Already in England, you are hearing people call for the victory on women bishops to be exploited for purposes of homosexual normalization. Why? Because in practice, both positions are logically derived from a common worldview. Progressive Christianity proceeds from a combination of epistemological doubt and the presumed goodness of man. It naturally elevates human autonomy as the greatest good. That is the common driving force. I admit that there are women clergy who are orthodox in the essentials. But they do not form the bulk of (or even a significant part of) the female clergy population that actually exists in the real world.

I will never willingly place myself under the authority of a woman in a church. That said, I could quite happily co-exist with a church next door that had a woman pastor - assuming she was orthodox and I was not required to legitimize her eldership in any way. This disagreement doesn't deny the reality of her faith. There are all sorts of possibilities for Christian cooperation below that threshold. But that is not the case with the bulk of women clergy who currently populate the old Protestant denominations. They are not orthodox. They are not identifiably Christian. They are false shepherds and wolves. They are legion in the CoE and this outcome on Women Bishops guarantees their theology a perpetual lock on its leadership.

That is why I say the CoE is dead. Its not prophesy. As a wise man once said "If I drop a rock on a planet with positive gravity, I do not need to see it fall in order to know that it has fallen."

carl
carl

Jean said...

Hi Bosco

Sorry I realise after the last post that you did read those statistics, you just reversed them. However, they were the ones given you will have to argue their accuracy with Christian Research not me. It might indeed be possible that there are people out there who believe in the Virgin Birth but not the Resurrection.

Blessings Jean

Jean said...

Hi Grammaticus

I understand your point re women having different strengths than men. However, as with all leaders a good one makes up what they lack by doing what they can to ensure a balance exists if possible. At the church my mother currently oversees they have a young man in charge of evangelism.

It would be interesting to see however if there is any actual correlation between women becoming priests en-masse (noting even in the TEC only 1/3 of practicing clergy are women), and Fathers/men leaving the church. As they say if I was a beating man (woman) I would put my money on the latter happening first.

In respect to primary education, nursing and social work - the lack of men in such positions is just as likely to be pay rates and public perception of the status of such roles as gender attributes.

I am afraid Bosco was right in his number crunching you might see me in confession.

Blessings Jean

Jean said...

Hi Carl

I am aware the proponents of homosexual marriage often equate this ethical issue with the one of ordination of women. The primary emphasis on 'equality'. However, in a past post Peter has given reference to a good article outlining why scripturally the foundations for the acceptance of each one are quite different.

I can accept you would not choose to attend a church pastored by a woman. I also have in the past chosen not to join popular church in a former region where I lived because they did not believe in women being allowed to teach men, or in the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in the present age. I did however visit it and go to their women's events.

I do not know enough about the beliefs of the women priests in the COE to make a statement on their theological standpoints. It does pay though before making comments such as "They are false shepherds and wolves" to be very certain one is correct.

Check out the sermons on this post by the women priests at St Paul's Cathedral. http://www.stpauls.co.uk/Worship-Music/Join-us-in-Worship/Read-Sermons
and see if they are not 'identifiably christian'.

Blessings Jean

liturgy said...

“A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection and only half are convinced of the truth of the Virgin birth” Jean at July 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM Statistics that at least make sense to me – whether or not they are correct.

“The survey results … said 1/2 did not believe in the resurrection. 1/3 did not believe in the virgin birth” Jean at July 16, 2014 at 9:27 AM statistics that made no sense to me, that I questioned, and that Jean now claims it was I who reversed! (July 17, 2014 at 8:08 AM)

“It might indeed be possible that there are people out there who believe in the Virgin Birth but not the Resurrection.” Jean. Yes, there seem to be all sorts of illogical and surprising positions held by Christians – but I repeat, I have yet to meet a single one that holds to this position. That you & Grammaticus insisted it was this statistically common I questioned. Your quoting of the actual statistics underscores my point.

Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

" You would be charged with a 'hate crime' elsewhere for saying this, but one of the wisest things NZ can do is to discourage any Muslim immigration." - grammaticus -

This may be the difference between where you live - grammaticus - and the democracy that is New Zealand.

New Zealand is not a theocratic state. We allow immigrants from any country, irrespective of their religious beliefs. What may become a problem is the admission of fanatical fundamentalists of any religion.

Jean said...

Hi Bosco

Both sets of statistics you quote in your last post are correct, and both were contained in my original post. One lot refers to a survey of the group of clergy as a whole, the other refers to a survey of a small number of women clergy which was also noted.

The fact that the surveys of the two different groups (one being a subgroup) revealed statistics which were direct reversals of each other is indeed intriguing.

Grammaticus and I were not insisting it was statistically common for a person to believe in the virgin birth but not the resurrection. We were quoting research done by Christian Research in the UK that analysed belief among clergy in the CofE.

Like you I have not met anyone who believes in the virgin birth but not the resurrection (mind you I don't often ask people these questions).

My reference to your reversal was whereas I quoted 1/3 didn't belief in the virgin birth, you quoted 2/3rds believed in the virgin birth. Perhaps inverted would have been a more appropriate word.

All things said and done this just distracts from the original point I was trying to make, which is the research referred to by Carl does not indicate women as being any more liberal in their theology than men.

Blessings Jean

Father Ron Smith said...

apropos pf my last posting @ 1.05pm; I don't recall Jesus discouraging any non-Jew from the reception of His infinite wisdom. Nor, IMHO, should any disciple of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Democracy is a great gift to be enjoyed, Father Smith. I am sure if NZ faced the prospect of many thousands of Muslims wanting to immigrate (as opposed to Chinese and Pasifika) there would be an outcry equal to things I've seen in my trips through England, Holland and France. The only theocratic states in the world are Iran and north Korea, with a proto-caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
Perhaps we are seeing the death throes of Islam, but it will be a long and bloody time dying, and the west will get severely burned in the process.
Bosco, I wonder what your thoughts are on the impact of the pervasive theological liberalism among so many Anglican clergy. I don't believe you'd find anything like this among Catholic, Baptist or Pentecostal clergy. Do you have any idea why this doctrinal laxity - infidelity - is so common among 'western' Anglican clergy? And what kind of doctrinal standard should Anglicansim have? It seems that having Creeds 'on the books' makes no difference in practice.

Grammaticus

Father Ron Smith said...

"The only theocratic states in the world are Iran and north Korea, with a proto-caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
Perhaps we are seeing the death throes of Islam, but it will be a long and bloody time dying, and the west will get severely burned in the process." - grammaticus -

(n.b. the reason I don't give a higher-case initial to your nemclature here, g, is that it is not a personal pronoun deserving of such. No insult intended)

I am interested in your automatic juxtapositioning of the 'death throes of Islam' and 'the impact of theological liberalism' - as though they were necessarily connected.

To my mind, the problem with the current oppositional stance of the Islamic world - which you see as the possible 'death throes of that religion - is not necessarily the same as the internecine struggle of liberal against conservative Cheristianity. However The resulting weakening of any public (secular) perception of the value of its spiritual impact might be one of its downsides.

The ultimate valuation of any religious movement might best be seen in its application for bringing justice and peace into the world it seeks to influence.

The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ is, I believe, most interested in the propagation of these particular virtues; which advocate the love of God and one's neighbour in the world.

Anonymous said...

A pronoun is a work like 'he' or 'she', not a name, father ron smith.
Stickly, i know. But that's why I'm Grammaticus.
(Voices off: 'I'm Grammaticus.' 'No, I'm Grammaticus.')
I'm not aware of any 'internecine warfare' between liberal and conservative Christianity. I was referring to the very real warfare between Sunni and Shia as well as among other Islamic sects which has left the Muslim world from Libya to the Persian Gulf a festering mess, killed hundreds of thousands and driven out most of the ancient Christian communities.
The disappearance of Christianity from much of Europe has created a vacuum into which an assertive immigrant Muslim community has arisen, and given their current birth rates, they will be the majority in these old English, French and Dutch towns in a few years' time.
Most young white Europeans profess no religion at all, while most from North Africa or South Asia self-identify as Muslims. It is from these that have come the thousands of young 'Europeans' who have been flocking to jihad in Syria.

Grammaticus

Father Ron Smith said...

grammaticus. Do you feel personally threatened by what you see as the rise of Islam? Where is your faith?

Anonymous said...

ron, where is your shift key?

:)

Grammaticus

tachesterton said...

Grammaticus: 'You would be charged with a 'hate crime' elsewhere for saying this, but one of the wisest things NZ can do is to discourage any Muslim immigration.'

This reminds me of something said by Ovide Mercredi, Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations here in Canada, back in the late 1980s when the government of the day brought in more restrictive legislation around immigration. Asked what he thought of the new legislation, Mercredi responded, 'Good - just five hundred years too late'.

When they look back on five hundred years of genocide, mass theft of land, and treaty after treaty that wasn't worth the paper it was written on, I sometimes wonder whether the people of the First Nations of North America don't wish they had all manned the beaches of the eastern seaboard in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and made it absolutely impossible for the benign forces of Christian civilization to come ashore.

Tim

Father Ron Smith said...

Good one, Tim!

I guess the recipients of the murdering Crusaders felt the same.

In all these arguments, I guess a lot depends on which side of the fence one is sitting.

Religious fundamentalism is the enemy of true spirituality.

Anonymous said...

I think Ovide Mercredi had a point - except that his own 'nation' was probably complicit in the genocide and enslavement of another 'nation' (while his own name indicates a certain classical European influence in his own upbringing; was it all bad?). This was the near-universal practice of pre-literate peoples, including Maori (tribal warfare, destruction of the Moriori). Conquest and enslavement of other Amerindians was common in the pre-Columbian Americas, but the absence of a written record makes the reconstruction of the past all the more difficult. But it didn't start in 1492.
Nevertheless, I imagine that Tim Chesterton is glad that the conquest and settlement of North America was by the British rather than the Ottoman Sultan or the Bey of Algiers, who did extend their rule elsewhere in Africa, Europe and Asia by force of arms.
Political left-liberals cannot admit this (because they depend on garnering 70-80% of the immigrant vote) but mass immigration is the single most contentious issue in European politics, in cities, including London boroughs, where Christianity has withered away while Islam has become aggressively assertive as it has taken over local politics.
As for "true spirituality", ron smith may not have met any thoroughgoing Salafists whose commitment to Sharia is precisely "true spirituality" for them. They would be appalled by his bigotry and apparent belief that their religious experience and commitment is false. Meanwhile, the ethnic cleansing of the ancient Christian communities from the Middle East continues; I imagine that in 20 years' time they will be found only as small enclave in Lebanon and flourishing in Israel. What Britain and western Europe will be like, who can say.

Grammaticus

liturgy said...

Grammaticus, I wonder what your thoughts are on the impact of the pervasive theological fundamentalism among so many Anglican clergy. I don't believe you'd find anything like this among Catholic…

And I wonder what your thoughts are on the impact of the pervasive liturgical contumaciousness among so many Anglican clergy. I don't believe you'd find anything like this among Catholic…

Do you have any idea why this practical infidelity is so common among Anglican clergy? It seems that having vows and formally signing promises makes no difference in practice.

Blessings

Bosco

Anonymous said...

Hello, Bosco - since you ask, I am glad to add my two cents' worth in sincerity and trust you will reply to my questions above in the same way.

1. I don't know what you mean by 'theological fundamentalism'. This isn't usually a helpful term because it is equivocal in usage. I speak instead about the classical orthodoxy of the Creeds, which teach: 1. that God is a holy, undivided and eternal Trinity (not Unitarianism); 2. that Jesus was born of the Blessed Virgin (without a human father); and 3. that he was raised bodily (his incarnate flesh transformed and glorified). This is what the church catholic has always taught. Only people like Socinians in the 16th century and liberal Protestants from the 19th century onwards have taught differently.
Are these beliefs 'pervasive' among Anglican clergy?
It depends where you are. Not in Tec or ACC, and evidently not among several thousand English clergy, as per the survey discussed above. How many Anglican clergy in NZ? c. 800? You are much better informed than I am re how many NZ Anglican clergy believe traditionally rather than in a heterodox way.
It's a different scene in Africa, where the vast majority of Anglican clergy, whether of evangelical or catholic persuasion, believe in a traditional, creedal way.

Let me ask again: why do you think so many clergy in Tec, ACC and the C of E don't accept traditional understandings of the VB and Resurrection? Is it to do with their training or different doctrinal beliefs in these provinces?

2. As for 'pervasive liturgical contumaciousness', perhaps it's because Anglican bishops don't care or don't feel able to enforce liturgical conformity in all services, provided there's a by-the-book 8 o'clock communion service provided by the parish (even though most people never attend it). If this legal requirement is met, they are happy to let the rest ride. Is it 'practical infidelity'? I don't think so. Communion services stick pretty closely to the book.
If you are referring to reduced use of vestments, I think it is because many evangelical and charismatic churchgoers no longer care much for these things in a more informal culture, and bishops see little point in straining at a gnat. It really doesn't touch on faith and morals.

You ask: Why doesn't this happen among Catholics (but not Baptists or Pentecostalists)? I think you already know the answer to that one. For Catholics, the mass is just about the only Sunday service they have, and there is strict, centralized control of what must be in this (as well as clerical dress), from bishops and Rome. Even so, you get some doozy things going on ('clown masses' etc).

That's the best I can answer. Now how do you answer my questions about theological liberalism in the 'western' Anglican churches?

Grammaticus

tachesterton said...

'Nevertheless, I imagine that Tim Chesterton is glad that the conquest and settlement of North America was by the British rather than the Ottoman Sultan or the Bey of Algiers, who did extend their rule elsewhere in Africa, Europe and Asia by force of arms.' - Grammaticus

Ovide Mercredi was named by Catholic missionaries. There was a well documented tendency amongst missionaries and government officials to give First Nations people 'white' names because they couldn't pronounce the names in the aboriginal languages. I wonder who gave you your name, Grammaticus???!!!

The point is not whether or not I'm glad about it, but whether or not the original inhabitants are glad about it. You'd have to ask them about that.

Ovide Mercredi was named by Catholic missionaries. There was a well documented tendency amongst missionaries and government officials to give First Nations people 'white' names because they couldn't pronounce the names in the aboriginal languages. I wonder who gave you your name, Grammaticus???!!!

Tim

Anonymous said...

Moi-meme, Tim. Ovide Mercredi is a highly educated Canadian who has been through 'white" education. I personally think the British Canadian treatment of native Canadians has been among the best of colonial experiences, compared to US Indians, Aussie Aborigines and NZ Maori. But you know more about Canada than I will ever know.
must go now before the owl calls my name!

Grammaticus

Jean said...

A step too far? For anyone wanting to over-estimate the influence of ordaining women Bishops....

The ordination of Female Bishops in the CofE is here being linked to the lack of pastoral care for elderly female parishoners....
http://virtueonline.org/church-england-no-church-old-ladies

liturgy said...

Grammaticus, answering your questions, as you suggest, “in the same way”:

1. I don't know what you mean by ' theological liberalism'. This isn't usually a helpful term because it is equivocal in usage. For some it means denying the Mosaic authorship of Genesis, or the Pauline authorship of Titus; or allowing remarriage of divorcees; or not using the King James version; or accepting evolution; or ordaining women; or allowing women to teach men; or accepting Motion 30 as a possible way forward; or dividing Christ’s body into cultural Tikanga…

2. No, liturgical contumaciousness does not refer to “reduced use of vestments”. It does not even simplistically place, as you do, the bishops on the right side of this and priests on the wrong. It includes the bishops in their disregard of their own vows in, for example, not following the agreed form for ordination – so that we have a raft ordained illegally if not invalidly.

I have clearly indicated the reason why I think there is an issue - in our inability to take our liturgy, our vows, and our signings seriously. You have answered your own question by repeating the common response to not taking our vows seriously (heard repeatedly also on this site): being faithful to such and such a declaration, vow, or promise, you say, is “straining at a gnat”.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Grammaticus
The point Bosco makes is exemplary.
Our liturgy enshrines our doctrine, if we expect our clergy to be faithful to our doctrine we rightly expect them to be faithful to our liturgies. Even more so when making a signed declaration of willingness to do so.

That some clergy say the liturgy but do not believe its content and other clergy believe the liturgy's content but do not say it does not provide reason for licensed clergy in ACANZP to disregard their own integrity as signers of documents.

Anonymous said...

No, Bosco, you did not answer the question 'in the same way'. You know fully well we have been talking about the Creeds, especially the Virgin Birth and Bodily Resurrection of our Lord - not the authorship of Titus or which Bible translation you prefer.
As a student of church history, you know these have been the decisive storm centres of western Christianity, at least since the time of Troeltsch, Harnack and Bultmann, right up to Geering, David Jenkins and the WA archbishop whose name I forget.

Why do *you* think so many 'western' Anglican clergy do not believe these creedal doctrines? - as the survey indicated? Please don't punt this question with distractions.

I said it is 'straining at a gnat (and swallowing a camel)' to insist on saying a form of words but disbelieving and teaching against them. I was being generous. I should have said 'hypocrisy'. Do *you* disagree?

As for 'liturgical contumaciousness', if you explain what *you* mean by this - with relevant examples - then I could attempt to answer (if my opinion matters).

But I've already indicated (as I hope you'll acknowledge) that it comes down to centralized control and enforcement - as you get in the RCC and the Orthodox. Presbyterians, as you know, have their own norms as well.

If NZ bishops don't enforce liturgical obedience (as Catholics do), the fault lies with them. But if bishops aren't even following it, then you do have a problem.

Perhaps NZ Anglican clergy are inherently anarchists. Or maybe part of the problem lies with the NZPB - which is quite a mishmash compared to the BCP; a PC curate's scrambled egg.

Anyway, back to the central Christological doctrines of the Creeds: why so much infidelity?

Grammaticus

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,I raise the question again;which I asked on other of your bloggs:Why is it that there is such an issue of evangelical
priests who will not submit to Gen Synod,when so many others are simply signing the Sec 15 Declaration and then thumbing their noses at the Constitution and Canons.How can anyone who does not believe in the Virgin Birth and the Physical resurrection make that declation honestly.They are lying to God,The Church and their congregastions.
No wonder that attendance nubers are falling.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I quite agree that there is a question to ask!
It is good if it is asked by those who abide by the law otherwise we may descend into "two wrongs do not make a right" arguments.

tachesterton said...

Dear Grammaticus: I have learned over the years that those who have been on the receiving end of colonialism do not always see it in quite the same benevolent light as the colonizers (? Not sure whether that's actually a word!)

I would recommend Tom King's book 'The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America' for a healthy corrective to the colonialist view.

Tim

tachesterton said...

I'm rather confused about all these western clergy who don't believe the Christian faith. Earlier on, Grammaticus talked about the historic orthodoxy of the Creeds as affirming the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus. I'm a member of a very ordinary diocese in western Canada, and I'd be very, very surprised if more than half a dozen of my clergy colleagues could not affirm all three of these beliefs (i.e. Less than 10%). And yet we are usually seen as a 'liberal' province!

Tim

Jean said...

I think Tim words such as 'liberal", although I use it myself as people seem to use it as a term of reference, are loaded as they can be interpreted in a multitude of ways.

I would hope also you would not find too many NZ Clergy disbelieving in the virgin birth or the physical resurrection of Christ. Notwithstanding it does appear such beliefs are common both in the UK and US. I do not think they are exclusive to the Anglican Church. They do also exist in NZ there is a strand of teaching which denies the resurrection of Christ, reducing Christianity to the practice of good morality.

Hence, Bosco's call for clergy to rermain true to liturgy which reflects such doctrirne is an essential one. As is it is for the leaders of the church to hold those they oversee accountable to it. I think perhaps Bosco why people always respond to liturgy in respect to such topics as wearing vestments is a lot of us are unaware of the core aspects of liturgy and what is non-negotiable. You do a good job of educating the clergy (according to my mother); it could be beneficial for lay people to also know this information (I am not assuming here this is your job to do).

Influences by people such as Geering in NZ are wide among the lay population with his viewpoint on Christ's resurrection or not having a lot of press alongside Spong. Personally I was on a course in Wellington Cathedral some time ago and half of the group of around 28 believed Jesus was the only way to God, half believed all religions led to God. Most attendees were from Anglican churches.

So keep up the good teaching of the creeds all you clergy!!

Blessings Jean

Anonymous said...

Tim, the discussion referenced above is about the survey of English clergy a few years ago. I can't speak for the Diocese of Edmonton. Even so, that 10% shouldn't be in the ministry.
I don't doubt the experience of being colonized isn't great for those on the receiving end. I was simply saying some are worse than others. I rate the British in Africa better than the Belgians.

Anyway, Bosco, your response to my questions is awaited eagerly. No punting now!

Grammaticus

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
In this case,are not those who can
not sign the declaration because
General Synod is advocating and
inculcating doctrine which is
repugnant to the Doctrine and
Sacraments of Christ as held by this Church(ACANZP)Constitution Part "C" clause 14.
It is interesting, that it the very next clause, which requires the submission to General Synod.
If Motion 30 is not affected by the Doctrinal constraints of the
Constitution;why has it not been put into effect?
Part of the Ordination Service of Deacons,Priests and Bishops is the words:'Our authority is in Scripture and in the Church's continuing practice through the ages."
Those who can not accept the actions of General Synod when it's clearly ultra vires recieve a very swift answer from above;
but our formal complaints about priests who are acting outside the Constitution and Canons are met with the response:'The Anglican expression of Christian faith in this Province is a very broad one,and will continue to be so."Letter from +Ross Bay to G and G Young,28th Dec.2012.
The message which comes through loud and clear is that provided you are prepared to put your signature on a submission to Gen.synod;preach what you like.The defnition of Doctrine in the Constitution and Canons does not matter;but woe betold if you will not say we(G.S)are not jolly fine guys and gals.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I am not entirely convinced that GS can be legally out of line when, as our highest body of governance, it makes a decision it determines is in line with its own constitutional bounds.

The alternative is to take the GS to court ... but I do not advise that cost wise.

Anonymous said...

& btw, Tim, I entirely agree that nobody likes being colonized. I have lived in a place where half the family homes (it seems) have been bought up and turned into student flats. Families are driven out by the expense, others find their quality of life degraded. So mark me down as an anti-colonialist!
If the indigenous white people in England and elsewhere feel the same, who can blame them? The difference is that many of them are too poor to decamp to the leafy suburbs.

Grammaticus

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,
Of course General Synod can be legally out of line, if it makes a decision which goes beyond the
'powers' or 'authority' given to it, by the Constitution or the Church Of England Empowering Act.
The First Fundamental Provision of the Constitution(1857) after defining the Doctrine and Sacraments adds.....'And the General synod hereinafter constituded for the government of this branch of the said Church
shall also hold and maintain the said Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ,and shall have no power to make any alteration....
The Church Of England Empowering Act sec 7 contains proivisions for the actions of Gen.Synod to be
tested in the High Court.
It is indeed a sad day,that such actions even need to be contemplated.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Of course General Synod can be legally out of line, if it makes a decision which goes beyond the
'powers' or 'authority' given to it, by the Constitution or the Church Of England Empowering Act."
- Glen Young-

A question here: What if the legal ruling of a national government were to be in opposition to 'canon law'?

How might that affect canon law, do you think? What if canon law were to deny civil justice to a member of the Church. Is that going to affect Church polity? And should it? Big questions for you, Glen.

Do you think that English ecclesiastical law should still rule in the ACANZP - especially where it restricts ACANZP from determining its own canon law?

Theocratic states do not have a good record for local justice.

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,
National Governments V Canon Law.
This question is impossible to answer in a general sense,because of the range of forms of governance.It is difficult to say what would be the case in Russia,China or the Middle East.
However,here in N.Z.,the issue is far more clear cut.The Church of England Empowering Act 1928 Third Schedule clause 4:'The following
exolainatory words shall be appended to the thirty-seventh of
the Thirty-nine Articles,viz:"it
is not to be inferred from this Article that the Civil power has
authority in this colony to determine purely spiritual questions,or to hinder the Church in this colony from finally determining such questions by its own authority,or tribunals constituded under its authority."
Refer to Title G Canon 1.
This provision of course relates to the seperation of the Church and the State.
Therefore,the Caon relates to the Doctrine of the Church,the NZ
Parliament can not interfer.Any
human rights leglislation which may impinge upon Church Doctrine
usually contains provisions excludung the Church.
Before I am prepared to enter into debate on'civil justice',could you please define
'Justice' for me.'The Republic'
may help you come to the conclusion of the enormity of the task in front of you.Justice,like
patience, is a virture,spoken of by many and possessed by few. so
Canon Law V Civil Justice is a BIG Question.The Biggest part being,ever defining what we are talking about.I much prefer the Bonhoefferan approach ,that an action is either God's Will for me to do or it is not.What Ceaser
thiks about it with his civil law comes well down the list.When
Ceaser's Will equates to God's Will;I might be more inclined to take it on board.
English Ecclesiastical Law V ACANZP Canon Law.
Please provide an example???

Father Ron Smith said...

"English Ecclesiastical Law V ACANZP Canon Law."
Please provide an example???

It is you who are complaining that ACANZP cannot pass any canons that contravene the Church of England Empowering Act. Presuming that stems from English canon law - perhaps you could tell us what YOU are complaining about.

I must say, Glen, your arguments seem so convoluted, I tend to lose the thread.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen and Ron
Perhaps you are talking past each other on this matter?

The facts of the matter are clear: the Anglican church of these islands is an Anglican church so the roots of all its legislation lie in the Church of England and thus reference is made to the BCP and the 39A and the Ordinal in our constitution.

If it were otherwise we would cease to be Anglican.

The Empowering Act is permissive legislation to pass what we will PROVIDED it does not contradict our Anglican roots.

Enough said?

Anonymous said...

Well, this thread has fallen below the fold. Is it too much to hope that Bosco will answer my questions as I have sincerely answered his, and not punt them?

Grammaticus