Thursday, October 13, 2016

Do not accommodate Pastoral Accommodation?

This week Andrew Goddard has published a stern critique of the possibility of "Pastoral Accommodation" in respect of SSB, with specific reference to the situation in the CofE. Effectively his critique strikes two important blows (at least from my perspective):

- against notions that hitherto accommodation of remarriage/blessing of marriage of divorcees is a straightline analogy to the possibility of accommodation of SSB

- (more or less) against proposals such as the submission I have recently made to our Archbishops (viz. that we might be a church that acknowledges its differences on these matters and neither offers an official liturgy for SSB nor prohibits liturgies for SSB being offered).

Two sites with a range of comments about Goddard's piece are Thinking Anglicans and Psephizo.

The last two paragraphs of Goddard's article are these:

"In summary, how the Church of England has responded to remarriage during the lifetime of a former spouse is the best example to consider in relation to forms of pastoral accommodation that might be extended to same-sex couples.  However, there are many serious problems in so doing.  In particular, the practical changes only occurred with official sanction once it had been shown how they were compatible with the church’s teaching on marriage and agreement reached on such compatibility.  The Church of England has not done this in relation to same-sex unions and it is difficult to see how it could do so given its current teaching.

Conclusion
The appeal to pastoral accommodation as a way forward has now been analysed both in principle and in relation to three examples.  This has shown there are major problems with appealing to pastoral accommodation to justify commonly proposed developments affirming of sexual same-sex unions without either changing the church’s teaching or demonstrating and getting agreement that the developments are in principle consistent with that teaching.  This does not rule out such developments as clergy in same-sex sexual unions (including marriages) or the liturgical recognition of such unions.  It does though mean that if they are to be proposed (by the bishops or anyone else) then some other justifications than simply an appeal to pastoral accommodation are needed and these other rationales will need to be developed and weighed by the church.  An appeal to pastoral accommodation properly understood and as we have used it in the past simply will not work."

In other words, Goddard is appealing for a better depth of justification than currently offered for where the CofE (and ACANZP) seem to be heading.

Now read my lips: 

I will NOT PUBLISH COMMENTS HERE on this thread which generally comment on "the issue" or on my submission or anyone else's submission or on the fate of ACANZP or the CofE of the Anglican Communion if such and such does or does not happen. (You can always go back a few posts to post a comment along those lines, but you will almost certainly be repeating comments already made). 

I WILL CONSIDER publishing comments which discuss specific point(s) Goddard makes. My consideration will be helped if you actually cite something Goddard writes!!! 

58 comments:

Bryden Black said...

We should take serious note of the robust nature of AG's arguments - especially the added material he references in his notes, which are in effect more detailed essays on his examples of abortion, polygamy and remarriage, all of which have enjoyed some degree of "pastoral accommodation".
We should take special note of the fact that drifting into a de facto accommodation of two so-called integrities, which precipitates a schism between theory and practice, between theology and tolerated behaviour, is truly a recipe for "seriously flawed" confusion.
All of which prompts my real concern. Shall we in ACANZ&P heed the likes of AG's solid call for far deeper "rationales" which may justify any "accommodation" in the Church of anything that looks like either SSB and/or SSM? Or shall we be content with either our penchant for the pragmatic or our capitulating to simplistic slogans - like "#love", "#justice", or "#equality"?

Father Ron said...

My only comment on this thread will be to discredit Andrew Goddard's summary dismissal of 'Pastoral Accommodation'. Pastoral Accommodation was precisely what Jesus exemplified in his own life, seemingly preferring to keep company with 'Sinners' rather than those who thought they were righteous. The basic ministry of the Church is the Ministry of Reconciliation: of humanity to God.
The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a mausoleum for saints.Redemption is not what the Church does. It is what Christ has already done. Deo Gratias!

Glen Young said...


Can not agree more with A.G. Have already spoken on this site about the need for Pastoral Care in the Church to be subject to Scriptural Authority and not man made philosophies. It is interesting to see that Psephizo has included material from +Keith of Birkenhead;a very informative dissenting statement in the Pilling Report, which deals with Pastoral Care.

The Church is both a "hospital for sinners and a mausoleum for Saints.Have spent many happy hours wandering around the Cathedrals of England and Europe. But as a hospital for sinners,I guess we must first of all recognize sin and being sinners.

Rosemary Behan said...

So in effect, AG is saying it IS a first order issue?

MichaelA said...

AG's comment on the argument that that there is a valid analogy to pastoral accommodation for those in polygamous marriages is an interesting one. He points out that:

"there is a genuine pastoral accommodation [in the Anglican Church concerning polygamy]. First, there is a witness to the norm [i.e. that polygamy is forbidden by scripture] in explicit teaching and in the conditions set down when moving to no longer exclude those whose situation did not conform to that norm. Second, the accommodation extends only to permitting baptism and confirmation. No Anglican province will accept a current polygamist into orders or liturgically celebrate a polygamous marriage. Christians entering a polygamous marriage are usually disciplined in some way such as being refused participation in communion and/or removal from ministry."

The arguments based on polygamy need to consider the context, that great economic hardship could be caused, particularly to older wives, if a polygamous marriage was broken up e.g. because the husband became a Christian. Goddard points out that it is not an analogy that assists those seeking some sort of pastoral accommodation for SSM in the Anglican Church:

"If polygamy were to be taken as a model for pastoral accommodation to those in same-sex unions then the most obvious application would be to allow their baptism and confirmation subject to a promise not to enter another same-sex union once this one ended. There would however be no permission for those in such unions to be ordained or to have their unions celebrated in church. The church would also be expected to find the most appropriate way to discipline and pastor any Christian who enters such a union..."

That of course is not an argument against pastoral accommodation per se, but its a pretty strong case that the example of polygamy does not assist.

Glen Young said...


A.G. makes a very valid point in that Pastoral Accommodation will end in not satisfying anyone. The very strongly held opposition, to his well constructed argument; presented by bloggers on the T/A site, make it clear that they do wish for an ACCOMMODATION. They want the FULL MONTY,bells,whistles and all.They want no part in a nudge,nudge,wink,wink entry through the back door scenario. They do not want PASTORAL ACCOMMODATION,they want PASTORAL ACCEPTANCE IN ITS FULLEST SENSE.

Bryden Black said...

Dear Ron,

As is often the case with your comments, they appear superficially cogent but on deeper examination you omit the really important things ...

Jesus not only kept company with sinners, but to extend the language, he kept company with sin itself. For having lived his life in complete obedience to his Father’s will, and thereby demonstrating full covenant faithfulness as the true Israelite, he surrendered himself to death on behalf of sinners/covenant breakers, identifying with sin itself and all its consequences. In addition, he was able to do all this due to his complete surrender to the Holy Spirit.

Thereafter, having demonstrated himself to be “The Man of the Spirit” (Jimmy Dunn), he became “Lord of the Spirit” [so Luke-Acts as a two volume presentation of the Gospel], for the purpose of incorporating men, women and children into himself and the full fruits of his personal redemption. This sharing of the self-same Holy Spirit who enabled him to fulfill the covenant is meant subsequently to be the means of our own covenant faithfulness. Having been put into his death, we now ourselves put to death by the Spirit; having been raised with him, we now walk in newness of life by means of the Holy spirit (Rom 6 & 8, Gal 3 & 5).

In other words, there is far, far more to the divine redemption and reconciliation undertaken in the missions of the Word become flesh and the Holy Spirit than you mostly give credit for.

And it’s in this light, with its added depth and breadth (and this assessment above is but a snippet), that the robustness of AG’s own analysis warrants far more seriousness than you give it. Theology frankly matters! And to avoid it is but to play right into the hands of whatever spirit is floating past in the wind ...

And finally re Glen Young and T/A. To be sure; 'they' want full and complete acceptance of the current Zeitgeist - no holds barred ... In other words, 'we' cannot, simply cannot be following the same 'spirit'.

Andrew Reid said...

I think the really helpful part of Andrew Goddard's piece is how he shows that pastoral accommodation is usually employed to deal with pre-existing circumstances rather than plotting a way forward, eg someone already in a polygamous marriage before becoming a believer, someone already divorced wishing to be re-married.
So pastoral accommodation ought not to be about offering a way forward for those who disagree with the church's teaching, but rather dealing with past actions and seeking to be forgiving and restorative in people's lives.
Another question not raised in this paper is how do we deal with people in a same-sex civil union or marriage who then become believers and want to conform themselves to Christ's teaching? The Church of England's current answer (for clergy at least) is to require celibacy but is that sufficient? Doesn't that overlook the other forms of intimacy in a same sex union?

Glen Young said...


Thank you Bryden,

In your first and last sentences,you so eloquently expressed what I have wanted to say for a long time.

Bryden Black said...

You're welcome Glen.

Father Ron said...

"In other words, there is far, far more to the divine redemption and reconciliation undertaken in the missions of the Word become flesh and the Holy Spirit than you mostly give credit for." - Bryden Black -

Or, perhaps, Bryden, I am giving more credit to the salvific action of Christ than you are! As the bishop said to the charismatic on the train to London, when asked: "Bishop, are you saved". The Bishop answered, "I have been saved; I am being saved, and I will be saved". My goodness has little to do with the salvation that Christ has gained for me. It is purely Christ's goodness that gives me salvation. End of story.

Glen Young said...


Ron,

The type of Pastoral Accommodation which A.G. has so soundly spoken against, is the type of ACCOMMODATION that has led TEC into claiming it's emphasis on ORTHOPRAXY instead of ORTHODOXY.Your bloggs on this site lead to the assumption that you support TEC; but here you are stating, that you may be giving more credit to the salvific action of Christ, than Bryden. Perhaps,we should just recognize the place CHRIST has in our lives, proclaim that GLORIOUS GOSPEL and agree with A.G. about Pastoral Accommodation.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Commenters
We are getting very closing to not actually discussing AG's paper and moving off into discussing other matters re "the issue" including general tendencies within this or that Anglican church ...

Back to AG's paper: here is a thought.

Within ACANZP and CofE (to say nothing of other churches) is an urgent question of how we Anglicans respond "pastorally" to various actual pastoral situations: young people sensing that not only is the world against them but so is the church (and contemplating suicide in some instances); couples married according to civil law who then subsequently engage in the life of the church (cf. a question raised by Andrew Reid above) ... does AG's cogent case for not making a formal "pastoral accommodation" (at least not until a different development takes place in theological reflection than has been experienced to date) nevertheless overlook the need for a pastoral response for situations some of us, let alone the writers of Scripture never envisaged in times past?

That is, could AG be correct in principle but unhelpful in practice?

Shawn Herles said...

" for situations some of us, let alone the writers of Scripture never envisaged in times past?"

Is not God the author of Scripture? And that means He could and did envisage any and all possibilities. Add to that the culture of the Roman Empire at the time, which accepted homosexuality and pederasty as more or less normal, and I'm not convinced we are in a new situation.

The question that lies at the heart of AG's paper is, does God accommodate sin? If we take seriously the Biblical teaching that homosexual acts are sinful, then that is the question we need to answer. And perhaps we can answer with a cautious yes/but. It would seem that in the lives of the Patriarchs and Israelite kings, that God, to a degree, accommodated polygamy. But, did He ever actively bless it? This is what I see AG getting at. In terms of a pastoral approach to people who experience themselves as homosexual, is there a way to minister to them, with compassion, but without actively blessing sin? And does an acceptance of both SSM and SSB entail an active accommodation of, and blessing of sin?

Glen Young said...


A.G. is both CORRECT in PRINCIPLE and HELPFUL in PRACTICE. He is both correct and helpful, because his thinking is founded on the AUTHORITY of the SCRIPTURES. A Pastoral Accommodation based on TOLERANCE of this type, is not an accommodation;it is a compromise.Peter's statement:....."young people sensing that not only is the world against but so is the Church (and contemplating suicide in some instances)."; is a sad comment on a world which has rejected it's CREATOR and KING; but is not sufficient reason to chane two thousands years of Church Doctrine and practice. A.G. is correct to say that Pastoral must be based on TRUTH. I had twenty years of trying to apply best practice, which changed every time some intellectual wrote a new paper;and it very quickly ceases to be best [practice.Hopefully the ABC reads A.G's. paper and puts it into practice

Father Ron said...

"Is not God the author of Scripture? And that means He could and did envisage any and all possibilities. Add to that the culture of the Roman Empire at the time, which accepted homosexuality and pederasty as more or less normal, and I'm not convinced we are in a new situation." - Shawn Herles -

Precisely, Shawn. But you seem not to realise that Paul's fulminations against the Roman culture of the day - which included homosexual prostitution that was accessed by heterosexually married people and pederasty (which is not the 'norm' today for homosexuals as it is not the norm for heterosexuals, either).
This was all rather different from the possibility of faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships that are being affirmed by today's Church.

You may not be convinced that the situation is 'different today', but I guess the majority of people with eyes in their heads and whose family members are involved in legally establishing stable same-sex relationships actually are more than convinced.

Shawn Herles said...

"This was all rather different"

It's not different at all. The Roman world accepted homosexual sex. The modern world accepts homosexual sex. Scripture teaches that it is wrong. The context of "faithful, monogamous" relationships makes no difference to that. Scripture makes no mention of the context, because the context is irrelevant. It is wrong in any context.

But we are, once again, getting away from Peter's clear instructions that we are to deal only with AG's paper.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves once said to me (when working on a conference statement about a controversial matter ... no prizes for guessing what it was ...) that it is the adjectives that cause problems. So a little excision below to increase civil discourse!

"".Peter's statement:....."young people sensing that not only is the world against but so is the Church (and contemplating suicide in some instances)."; is a sad comment on a world which has rejected it's CREATOR and KING; but is not sufficient reason to change two thousands years of Church Doctrine and practice." - Glen Young -

That you, Glen, should assert that Peter's is a 'sad comment' and 'not sufficient to change 2,000 years of Church doctrine and praxis' is merely a statement that denies that Church practice is ever, or should ever, be subject to change - even in the light of new evidence of its impracticability.

It is precisely this view of the immutability of biblical and pastoral praxis that has taken so long for the Church to recognize the infelicity of its historical patriarchal treatment of women, slaves, and eunuchs. Just because something has been done for 2,000 years doesn't mean its always the correct thing to do - even by the Church.

Perhaps that's why Jesus is delaying His return in glory - because the Church is not yet ready for Him! It still has more to learn. There is still more work to be done in Gospel proclamation - "The Truth shall set you free"
"

Peter Carrell said...

To help get us back on track to AG:

A great strength of AG's paper is to pointedly point readers towards solid, sound exegesis of what is known from Scripture as we engage with the hitherto unknowns and uncertainties of modern life. Thus his case that remarriage of divorcees is not an analogy for what is being sought re SSB/SSM and his last remarks which do not rule out that solid, sound case for SSB and/or SSM being found, yet!

My point above is that as we do theological work on a somewhat formal Pastoral Accommodation (note capitals) we are also to engage in the informal pastoral accommodation (note lack of capitals) of people in their real life circumstances. In those pastoral situations I have found that engaging in "moral certitudes" is normally not helpful. Engaging in a care for the troubled soul which encourages finding a way forward under God is what is required. In due course I am confident that God can impress on the Spirit-led conscience exactly what the moral certitudes are.

One further point: has God given us all we need to deal with all that comes our way? Perhaps, and perhaps not. It is fascinating, is it not, to consider that in 1 Corinthians 7, when Paul deals with the situation in which a Christian is married to a non-Christian and the latter seeks divorce, then the guidance Jesus himself gave, according to the gospels, needed elucidation and clarification. Ditto ourselves in the 20th and 21st centuries working with a "pandemic" of divorce and determining (as AG brings out the CofE has done through a length of years, a variety of reports, and a string of decisions) what we ourselves are to do in this new situation.

All the while, of course, both holding to moral certitudes concerning marriage while engaging with the lack of certitudes as to what exactly to do when a marriage breaks down for reasons not otherwise discussed in Scripture.

Shawn Herles said...

"God given us all we need to deal with all that comes our way?"

Yes, in terms of first principles.

With regards to 1 Corinthians 7 Paul was working from Scripture first (presumably in an oral form at that time), and only then trying to work out the practicalities. And that is the heart of the debate as I see it; First principles. Do we start with Scripture, and work our way forward as AG does, or do we start with modernity and work back to change or ignore Scripture? That is the question. Hopefully the answer is obvious.

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Peter,

The second form of non-capitalized pa is one I am entirely comfortable with, so long as it does not involve verbally denying Biblical teaching. That form of pa is what I suggested in my response to your final way forward post, a patient, gentle, compassionate, long term approach, rather then the hammer approach. So I think we are on the same side there.

The capitalized form of PA, which involves acceptance of SSM or SSB, is in reality not a pastoral approach at all, but a rebellion against God and a capitulation to the world and the false spirit of modernity.

Bryden Black said...

If you are right Ron @ October 13, 2016 at 11:21 PM ... Then what's left to "accommodate"? Seriously ...

Glen Young said...


Conclusion: ".............This has shown that there major problems with appealing to pastoral accommodation to justify commonly proposed developments affirming of sexual same-sex unions without either changing the Church's teaching or demonstrating and getting agreement that the developments are in principle consistent with that teaching." A.G.

The elusive "accommodation" is not stepping out and hitting us on the nose, because pastoral care is not capable of determining what the Church's teaching should or should not be. Surely our pastoral care is an outworking of our faith; not, that our faith comes about, because of our outworking actions. In common parlance, it is asking the cart to draw the horse along.

It strikes me that Bryden made some very cogent and valuable insights in his opening blogg of this thread.( Oct 13 @ 8:48 AM.)The Church needs to examine Her Faith,History,Traditions and Purpose so She can rightly and prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit to discern Her missions, and perform them righteously according to the Will of the Father,as Christ would have.In stepping outside the recommendations of A.G.,it is easy to get immersed in the old Orthopraxy v Orthodoxy argument.(right actions over right beliefs).Both the orthodox and the liberal factions can lead the Church into false positions on the treatment of sin-Graceless Truth on one hand and Truthless Grace on the other.

Rosemary Behan said...

Peter, this is your blog, you get to say what you want. Of course this doesn’t mean you are correct. God is in charge, and apparently your understanding of His word is not quite what ALL the conservatives who write here understand. Does that matter? You seem to be very concerned about the pastoral care of a small group of brothers and sisters .. as if no one else is. Whereas the much bigger numbers of your brothers and sisters see you as ignoring them, never mind pastorally caring for them. You are not teaching the hundreds of Anglicans who look to their leaders to help them understand what Scripture says, apparently you would rather they all feel guilty about their supposed lack of love and care. Yes, Jesus said the shepherd must look for the lost sheep, we all know that, but He didn’t say we should therefore ignore the care of the rest of the flock. Your words and behaviour indicate that you think we shouldn’t care about them.

Peter, Jesus’ church will not die if the Anglican church dies, but many many people will leave it if the changes you propose take place. That I’m afraid, will be laid at your door, because you have been either brave enough or stupid enough to put them out there. Jesus always told the truth when asked by a sinner what the answer is. He is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. Not the way, the unity and the life. AMEN.

Shawn Herles said...

In Matthew 19 the rich man asks Jesus what he can do to reach perfection, and Jesus, knowing his heart, tells him to sell all he has and follow Him. The rich man walks away, and here is the important part for this debate, Jesus lets him go. He does not accommodate the man by saying, "I understand the realities of life, I know it's hard, so just sell a quarter of what you have, then you can follow me."

We all have our baggage that gets in the way of following Jesus. It may be wealth and materialism, or it may be many other things, including our sexual obsessions and addictions. Whatever it is, Jesus is not accommodating because He wants all of us, every part of our being and lives, so He can transform us totally. And His grace is sufficient for the challenge.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Thanks for your personal comment to me, regarding a comment above.
I am comfortable with being criticised and would not ever wish to be above criticism.
As moderator I can take direct and efficient responsibility for my response to criticism. But it is different when I see a comment criticising another commenter because I do not have a direct and (time) efficient way of working out whether the criticism will be well received or not, thus I am a hard moderator of comments I perceive to (a) be critical of another commenter, and (b) potentially involve me in a lot of time if a ping-pong match of counter criticism ensues!!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Rosemary,
I am certainly not above criticism!
On one point you raise, I would like to apologise for conveying one wrong impression, that is for any impression I have conveyed that I do not consider fellow Christians to be pastorally caring in daily life and practice as Christians.
That is not how I think of you or anyone else figuring here.

But on your other main point, that I have offered insufficient support for conservative Anglicans and their convictions (viz, " Whereas the much bigger numbers of your brothers and sisters see you as ignoring them, never mind pastorally caring for them. You are not teaching the hundreds of Anglicans who look to their leaders to help them understand what Scripture says, apparently you would rather they all feel guilty about their supposed lack of love and care."), I demur.

(1) I accept that there are such hundreds (and thousands) looking for guidance and support but at this point in the life of this blog/life of this church, I am comfortable that that support is being provided through many avenues (FCA, Latimer, regular weekly teaching in sermons, etc, to say nothing of international blogs, some noted on my sidebar, such as Psephizo), and thus I am focusing on a different question and related set of messages: can we hold together as a church in these islands?
(2) To frank and maybe a bit brutal, when I am in company of fellow conservative Anglicans I often find myself to be something of a minority if not lone voice asking whether we are paying sufficient attention to the arguments for staying and not for going. I think both arguments should be made, heard and discussed.
(3) If our church gets to a point where those hundreds if not thousands leave, it may well be that I am in some way responsible, though I don't think I will be largely responsible.

The way I see it, if the conservative argument for the status quo prevails (e.g. because of Glen Young's point about the resilience of the constitution) then I have no quarrel with that. But if that status quo does not prevail then I will have done my best to explore whether our "way forward" can hold us together or not.

If we do not hold together, I will have done my best and my conscience will be clear. And I will then have to make my own decision in the light of the options which at that point present themselves!

Finally, I have no desire to make anyone feel guilty re lack of care, but I cannot - for reasons I will not go into publicly - refrain from asking myself and readers here whether the "what" we are saying and the "way" we are saying it contributes in any way to the possibility that the church is less than helpful rather than helpful to young people working out that they cannot be part of the heteronormative world.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,I apologize in advance, that this blogg is not strickly in accordance with the limits,but I feel it is necessary to correct any impression that I am a Bible bashing,hell fire and brimstone legalist. Hopefully the Constitution and the DOCTRINE it protects are sufficiently resillient to hold the ACANZP together as part of the One,Holy,Catholic and Apostolic Church;but that is only the FOUNDATION upon which the MISSIONS of the Church are build.In fact, I would from there, find much common ground with another blogger on this site,(in an open and honest discussion without either side having predetermined stances);that both pastoral care caps and non-caps) and the proclamation of His Holy WORD (sermons) need to be on a basis of TRUTHFUL GRACE. So often we hear the preacher begin by saying, "may the thoughts of my heart and the words of my lips be pleasing in thy sight" and then go off on warbling tangent or insensitive condemnation.

Yes, the Church is a hospital for sinners,where all of us are called ( as Bonhoeffer says) to die and let the Holy Spirit raise up the new man.But it is not for man to decide how that occurs.The Holy Spirit has sufficient WISDOM of HIS own,He does not need our bumbling well intended input based on our preconceived notions.He just needs us to be there,LOVING,SENSITIVE and ENCOURAGING.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I think of you as a strong constitutionalist and not as a Bible basher.
The connection with AG's piece is close at hand: in the actual situation of ACANZP, what does our constitution permit us or not permit us to do by way of "Pastoral Accommodation" or other possible change or not!

Andrei said...

Ephesians 4:17-25

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Bryden Black said...

The nitty gritty question!
1. So far, the claim has been that this church will not change its doctrine of marriage.
2. Yet we've changed one feature of that - in accommodating remarriage of divorced persons in church.
3. AG has robustly shown this form of accommodation cannot (without a far more fulsome series of deliberations) coherently lead to the further accommodation of either SSB or SSM.
4. Andrew Reid has further nailed the point that pastoral accommodation properly covers past failings.
5. Consequently such a principle should not be used for any way forward into the future - unless ...
6. SSB/SSM can be shown to be per se a good and not therefore a failing.
7. We are seemingly back where we started: sin versus a created good; a created good versus a manifestation of sin.
My tuppence worth conclusion of this entire thread ...

Father Ron said...

Seeing the potential of some here to quote Scripture, to make a point, usually of morality; may I just be allowed to quote from Paul's First Letter to the Church at Ephesus, Chapter 2, verse 3 to 10:

"We all were among them too, in the past, living sensual lives, ruled entirely by our own physical desires and our own ideas; so that by nature we (Christians) were as much under God's anger as the rest of the world.

But God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ - IT IS THROUGH GRACE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED - and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.

This was to show, for all ages to come (today), through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how infinitely rich he is in grace. BECAUSE IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED, THROUGH FAITH; NOT BY ANYTHING OF YOUR OWN, BUT BY A GIFT FROM GOD; not by anything you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit.

We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it!."

Rosemary Behan said...

“I am certainly not above criticism!”

None of us are, we are all huge failures confronted with Our Lord’s purity.

“I would like to apologise for conveying one wrong impression, that is for any impression I have conveyed that I do not consider fellow Christians to be pastorally caring in daily life and practice as Christians. That is not how I think of you or anyone else figuring here.”

If that is so, then I’m afraid you cannot say, “I am comfortable that that support is being provided through many avenues (FCA, Latimer, regular weekly teaching in sermons, etc, to say nothing of international blogs..” By your very opposition to FCA, Latimer and other vicars teachings in sermons, you imply that you do NOT think their pastoral care is sufficient. You brought up the issue of pastoral care .. and as I pointed out, that pastoral care you mention is focussed in the couple of cases that you bring to our attention, but not to any others. I hesitate to point this out Peter, but that is what you did to me! You cannot put right thousands of years of wrong teaching by going too far the other way, all that does is refute the TRUTH. But that also implies that you do NOT trust your brothers and sisters in FCA, Latimer and other vicars to have that same pastoral care. It comes across that you oppose them. They are not doing the right thing, but you are?????

If your opposition to FCA, Latimer and other vicars implies that they are not giving enough importance to unity, [which I think seems much more likely] that is a different matter to pastoral care. When you bring in pastoral care, you are putting yourself as I said, at odds with your conservative brothers and sisters .. and many of the rest of the flock. So .. if unity is your be all and end all, then you are saying, as I pointed out in my above post, that Jesus said, “I am the Way, the UNITY, and the LIFE.” But He doesn’t does He? So in effect you are saying that your brothers and sisters are wrong, but YOU are right in wanting unity above truth. Prove it Peter. Prove that this is a second order issue.

Glen Young said...


Ron,

I understood the whole force of A.G's paper to be based on the premise that P(p)astoral A(a)ccommodation must be based on properly accepted and agreed Church teaching.Your blogg concerning Salvation and Grace would be common belief with most orthodox Christians. It would perhaps be better directed to the leadership of TEC, who promote Orthopraxy and preach that Christ is not the only "WAY TO THE FATHER".

Shawn Herles said...

Ron, every single Evangelical here believes we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone.

But we are saved that we may, through the grace of sanctification, be transformed, and progressively leave the life of sin behind us. We are not saved so we can willfully continue in our sins, or have them blessed by the Church.

Jean said...

I quite like the idea of the captial P and A and the little p and a because I do think there is a difference. For example I know of an example of a mistress in an Asian country coming to faith in Christ. Her new faith didn't mean she immediately left her situation (little a) - she would have no where else to go. Neither does it mean her Church is likely to have taught being a mistress is appropriate behaviour (big A). And in time she may have the opportunity to get free from her situation.

I also do think there is a difference between the accommodations made re divorce and the role of women and what is currently being debated now. The primary difference being the accommodations of the former involved a wrestling with scripture to ascertain whether accommodation was appropriate before it was put in practice. As I have said in a previous post this is my biggest hurdle re introducing the blessing of SSB, I think first I need a theological premise I can find convincing.

I agree re Paul making accommodations not previously covered by Jesus's teaching. In the governance of the church he did many of these in order to mediate the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. Including asking the gentiles to observe feast days so as not to offend the Jewish christians (even though it was not necessary after Christ's crucifixion). As he no doubt did in governance of the relationships of early Christians who found themselves in positions at odds with family members.

I respect your attempts Peter to find a workable solution to keep unity, as I have christian friends who have no objection to same sex relationships (although they currently submit to present practices), and I would find it hard to end up having to reside on different sides of a fence. Re extended PA I can also comprehend where this desire comes from for it takes little empathy to imagine how it is to 'be' or 'know' yourself one way (whether you are same sex attracted or living in a defacto relationship or have an anger management issue) and get the impression you don't belong in a church where such things are not encouraged. I am just unsure whether this is a new scenario. I think of the song, Take Me Just as I am for I can come no Other Way; somehow the true Christian message is able to convey a sense of acceptance of people as they are; while retaining the truth of what God desires for us. How to communicate this in practice I believe is a real challenge for the church.

If the Anglican church accepts SSB now, I fear we could end up with two churches one which emphasises strong views on God's truth, in which people will see only that they don't measure up and stay away; and one which emphasises strong views on God's inclusiveness, in which people will see only that they are okay as they are without ever coming to the knowledge of the truth of Christ's sacrifice for sin. Both of course that we don't measure up and that we are okay are true, but they only work when they come as a package.



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
We might be talking at cross-purposes and I might be confusing you, others and myself!
Let me try to do better ...
(1) Unity: yes, I am trying a different approach to unity compared to valued evangelical colleagues and friends. I hope that is okay, that more than one voice is encouraged within Kiwi Anglican evangelicalism, and I also hope that for me to pursue the line I am pursuing is not understood as "opposition" to those valued colleagues and friends. Surely to disagree is not to oppose?
(2) Pastoral Care: no, I am not opposed to the pastoral care being exercised by my colleagues and friends, both the pastoral care shown by speaking the truth and shown in the traditional art of parish visiting (albeit these days via the coffee shop?), nor, to reiterate a point above, do I think for a moment that colleagues and friends are not to be trusted on this matter.
BUT, yes, I am raising the question whether the public conduct of discussion on matters concerning gay and lesbian Christians is helpful or not; and, yes, the first direction of this wondering is to myself and to ADU. Since blogging at the end of 2007, has my personal contribution to public discourse in our church been helpful to those who wonder how safe and caring the church (in its most general sense, not just its evangelical wing)? So, if it seems that on this point I mistrust others, may I say as clearly and as loudly as I can via writing, I am first and foremost mistrustful of myself and my own contribution!

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Jean.

"I quite like the idea of the captial P and A and the little p and a because I do think there is a difference."

Yes, it works for me, and it makes clear that most of us who oppose SSM/SSB are not heartless or lacking in compassion, which is sadly an oft repeated accusation (or worse), or that we don't have any idea of the struggle people are engaged in. I have both a family member and a close friend who are homosexual, and I love both them unconditionally. My stand on the issue does not mean I am unloving to them or that I have no understanding of their feelings and experience.

And I like what Glen said about truth-less grace and graceless truth. Neither is good.

"I think first I need a theological premise I can find convincing."

That is the basic issue for me. I have never seen one I find remotely convincing, and I am fairly sure I have seen every theological argument for SSM/SSB there is. But none have held up to close scrutiny. As a follower of Jesus, the only way I can know who Jesus was and what He taught is through Scripture. So in order to take Jesus seriously, I have to take Scripture seriously.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

I respect the manner in which you have raised the questions you have,and your attempt to find a solution, while maintaining a spirit of unity;however,the experience of the American Orthodox Anglicans,leads one to believe that at the very heart of the question of Radical Inclusion,is the belief that we have grown beyond the need of subjecting Church Ministry and Mission developments to SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY.Is not A.G. saying, that this is not the correct methodology.

The manner in which G.S. has approached these questions has been divisive and not at all helpful to maintaining the unity of the Church.It has left parishioners on both sides feeling that the Church has either moved away from them on one hand,or that it has failed to move to them on the other.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian
I am excising one part of your comment below. It may be true but I do not find it helpful!

"Rosemary makes a fair if painful point; labelling other Christians as "uncaring" or "unloving" is judgmental and tends dangerously toward Pharisaism, presenting oneself as "more caring", sometimes on the basis of a couple of anecdotes. []
Shawn makes an excellent point about "capitalizing PA". Pastoral care of people struggling with sin can involve all kinds of informal improvisations, none of which should be formalised into a doctrine - or a liturgy. "

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Please do not engage directly with commenters with personal questions ... It might lead to me the moderator having to disentangle a fraught subsequent conversation. Hence a little excision ...

" [] My thesis, as a person entrusted by my ordination with the Good News of Christ's salvation and Redemption of all who look to him for life; is that we are all on the way to Salvation; not through any virtue of our own (we all sin every day - that's one reason why we celebrate Mass on a daily basis at SMAA, where we meet with Christ) - but purely through the enabling grace of Christ in his Sacraments. "

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
NOOOOO!
Do not submit a comment here which directly addresses a commenter and then continues to use the word "you" as it makes a number of assumptions about the commenter which may or may not be true.
Address issues not commenters.
The issue you are addressing is not what X feels or thinks but whether any of us can fully empathise with the GLBT community who are not themselves members of that community. Make the matter about all of us and not one of us!
Currently me and my laptop are separated. I am willing to redact your just submitted comment when we are rejoined, later tomorrow, but the severity of the redaction requires my laptop not my iPad!

Jean said...

I agree with your thesis Ron, and it describes the heart of what Jesus did for us!

I truly do not believe this though is what the debating is about. If you will excuse my simplification. Say I lie, which I do, but I continually work at trying to stop that habbit. For such I will still be welcome in Church and covered by the grace of God who forgives my sins. My welcome and God's grace does not mean I will find any teaching saying lying is the right thing to do or any rite that blesses it.

I believe (with hope) nobody here is intending to say being same sex attracted is the unforgivable sin, which makes one unwelcome in church or unable to be covered by the Grace of God. The contention appears to be whether or not the act of homosexuality sits on a par with the act of lying or whether iin a monogomous union it is acceptable - and a need when attempting to come to a consensus on this to have scripture as the primary point of reference ...

I have witnessed many defacto couples come to church over the years, fully welcomed. As they attend longer and some become Christians the is a gradual conviction not primarily from people, but I believe the Holy Spirit convicts them that perhaps the situation they are in is not the best and from that point they seem to make a decision about this. While I believe it is our job to share in love and truth what we believe I think it is the job of the Holy spirit to convict and to lead those who come to Jesus.

Shawn Herles said...

Jean said:

"I believe (with hope) nobody here is intending to say being same sex attracted is the unforgivable sin, which makes one unwelcome in church or unable to be covered by the Grace of God."

Absolutely not. For myself I have never said that, nor is it what I believe. And well said with that post Jean.

Father Ron said...

Dear Peter; a lovely reflection, here, on the Jesuit 3 minute retreat site:

"Each of us has different gifts, yet we are all called to unity as members of God’s family. Through the Sacraments we are united more deeply with Jesus and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. We, as members of the Church, should reflect on the unity of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When we deviate from our devotion to God by committing sin, he extends his mercy through the healing Sacrament of Penance. These wonderful gifts of grace are given so that we can more closely follow Jesus and serve others."

Unity 'in diversity' is still important, whatever our individual thoughts.

Glen Young said...


Certainly Jean,I have no desire to look at the person in the pew next to me and wonder what sort of sin s/he is in to or has been into.

And,Peter, I to am saddened that my input into this vital question for the Anglican Community in general and the ACANZP in particular,has had to be so forceful from a Constitutional and Scriptural stance; because it may be seen to be adding to the disunity. However,A.G. makes the cogent point that such Pastoral Accommodations should not be entered into until a proper premise for them is found.The search for such a premise cannot occur in a Theological vacuous void;based on human feelings and emotions.The foundation of the Church lies in the LOVE of God,not only for His Creation but also for Man,whom He made in His likeness and image;He revealed Himself to us not only through His Creation but also through His Spoken Word to Adam.Even after our "rebellious fall, He came looking for us (and still does-Rev 3:20); He spoke to us through the Prophets of Old;He spoke to us through the LIFE,DEATH and RESURRECTION of His Only Begotten Son:He spoke to us through the Holy Spirit,who emboldened and inspired the Apostles to record His Revelation;He has spoken to us through the Church Fathers,their teachings , traditions and their inspired interpretation of the Holy Writ;and now He speaks to our FAITH through hearing His WORD and our Holy Spirit led consciences an reasoning. And none of this Revelation should contradict any of the other part of it, if it is is prayerfully considered. For He inspired St. Paul to give us the valuable Wisdom of 1 Cor. Chapter 14 including v. 33:"For God is not the author of confusion,but peace,as in all the Churches of the Saints.

So,out of this, and only from this FOUNDATION comes the basis of all the Anglican Communities Ministry and Mission.

And it probably even less helpful and more confusing to take cognizance of the opinions of secular "tilters at the windmill" Jack Tame writes -"...The
political argument in favour of same-sex marriage is beautifully simple.If you truly believe in the seperation of the church and the state,which most Aussies and kiwis do,then marriage in a strictly legal context should have no religious base. We are all free to practice whatever religion we like and
religion is free to define marriage by whatever norms it chooses,so long as only two people are involved. If your church says marriage should only be between a man and a woman and you wish to be married by your church,go for it.But you cannot impose an individual church's interpretation upon the broader population." Herald on Sunday-Oct 16th 2016 @ page 23.


Shawn Herles said...

From Jack Tame's article:

"If you truly believe in the seperation of the church and the state"

Nope, I don't. Certainly not in the radical way militant secularists define it.

"We are all free to practice whatever religion we like and
religion is free to define marriage by whatever norms it chooses"

The large body of evidence from the US and Europe is undeniable. Where gay marriage has prevailed and enacted in law, individual Christians and churches have NOT been left alone and free to practice their faith. Within weeks of the Supreme Court's invention of a right to gay marriage, legal persecution of Christians began. Even before then it had begun. When a lesbian was elected mayor of Houston, on a promise that she would not interfere with Christian freedom or make her sexuality a political issue, she immediately did an about face and tried to force all Christian ministers to submit their sermons to the mayor's office so they could be vetted and approved by her. So I just do not believe these promises anymore. And it's only a matter of time before it begins in NZ.

Andrei said...

".The
political argument in favour of same-sex marriage is beautifully simple.If you truly believe in the seperation of the church and the state,which most Aussies and kiwis do,then marriage in a strictly legal context should have no religious base."


So we have "gay marriage because we have separation of Church and State? Bizarre

"
Gay Marriage is a rebellion against God and what makes it particularly abominable is that marriage as given to us by our creator is about children not about how you acheive an orgasm

Let us never forget the poster child couple for same sex parents in Australia were sharing their child among their friends for their sexual gratification

Sweep that under the carpet

Separation of Church and State demands gay "marriage" that has to be the most vapid argument to justify this abomination I have ever heard

Glen Young said...

Blogg from Oct 16th @ 1.05PM cont:

Such secular argument, as put forward by Jack Tame,which happens to be aimed at the Aussies about why they should accept same-sex marriage,is is not beautifully simple; but simply philosophically flawed.To argue that marriage in a strictly legal context should have no religious base is to argue that marriage is simply a legal contract,which can be entered into and dissolved on whatever terms the state specifies; is the type of law,of which we are seeing the consequences of today.It is a law which victamises so many children.It is a law about political pragmatism.He then writes:"so long as only two people are involved";Who are you to say only two people???? Who are you to impose your view on the broader population????If the state wishes to say that ten people at the most may be in marriage,who is Jack Tame to say only two???

And this is the problem when the state wishes to remove itself from the Authority of God. It becomes a god and starts to "eat of the fruit of the tree of tree of knowledge of good and evil." We know the ramifications of that and understand, that is the reason all societies that put themselves above The Word Of God sooner or later fall.We know who gods serve,certainly not the God of the Bible. Secular states are nothing more than THEFT of POWER and AUTHORITY from GOD.

This is the very reason, why such input, cannot provide that elusive premise on which to base our Pastoral Care. A.G. is quite correct,we must dig deeper into our CATHOLIC ORIGINS.

Peter Carrell said...

The following comment has been heavily redacted. It is from Ron Smith.

"[Can practising heterosexuals understand homosexuality when they have never experienced "same-sex attraction"? Even though Jesus never mentioned the subject of same-sex attraction, even though he had a particular same-sex friendship with John, the Beloved Apostle, who laid his head on Jesus' breast at the Last Supper, is it not strange that some Christians are unwilling to believe anything different from what they perceive in Scripture?

A further question, Is freedom from sin possible in the human frame for everyone who is Baptized into Christ? My belief is that we are all are 'on the way' to perfection, through our relationship to Christ in our Baptism.]

Catholic Christians have the priceless understanding that, at the Eucharist, Christ is present to hear confession of one's sins, and to offer the message of forgiveness provided in the liturgy. Reception of the Body and Blood of Christ then provides assurance of both forgiveness and the Spirit's empowerment necessary to make a new start. This is why SMAA provides a daily opportunity for such therapeutic exercise of human repentance and divine grace. We, thus. like the bishop in my story: "Have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved" - unless we reject the presence of Christ in our lives.
"

Brian Kelly said...

"A.G. is quite correct, we must dig deeper into our CATHOLIC ORIGINS."

Glen is right: the Catholic faith which I espouse as an Anglican priest isn't simple Biblicism (as if the Bible was a set of Scrabble pieces one could arrange to one's desire) but a profound understanding of how the different strands of the Bible are unified in our credal professions and the underlying ontology of God (Trinity) and man (theological anthropology) and epistemology of reason and revelation. The Bible, natural law and the teleology of human nature (transfigured in the resurrected Christ) combine to provide the Catholic vision, which is underwritten by a pastoral practice aimed at overcoming sin in our nature and growing in holiness. Catholicism is not about incense and vestments; it is about a solid, Christ-exalting and Christ-imitating faith that is rooted in God's Word Written and fused with a robust philosophy of logic, ontology and transformative ethics.
A capitalised "Pastoral Accommodation" is simply the camel's nose in the tent. In North American Anglicanism, the camel is in full possession of the tent in many places, such as the Canadian man "married" to another man who has just been elected a bishop. The Anglican Church of Canada is in free fall, even if there are places in the prairie where it is holding its own (as Tim would likely tell us). Eloquent and erudite voices like Ephraim Radner have long pleaded for a turn-around and then, when that has failed, for permission just to be themselves in an apostate church. Sad and hopeless.
The truth is, few people actually self-identify as homosexual. The latest social survey in Britain put the figure at 1.8% - and this was published by the BBC, which has always championed that cause.
But the prevalence among Anglican clergy has historically been much higher, especially among so-called Anglo-Catholics. Once they followed a traditional askesis but they abandoned that in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s. The result was a peculiar and repellent chimera: Tractarian liturgy with radical, even sceptical theology and radical sexual ethics.

Brian Kelly said...

"Even though Jesus never mentioned the subject of same-sex attraction, even though he had a particular same-sex friendship with John, the Beloved Apostle, who laid his head on Jesus' breast at the Last Supper ...."

- This comment from Ron Smith verges on the blasphempous - or at the very least is extremely naïve in its use of language. "same-sex friendship" in common parlance denotes homoerotic attraction; otherwise it is pretty meaningless.
Practically ALL my friendships are 'same-sex' (i.e. with other males), and none of them is erotic.
If friendships between men and men or women and women are viewed as homoerotic, then that is a pretty queer way of looking at the world.

Shawn Herles said...

" Even though Jesus never mentioned the subject of same-sex attraction"

This argument has two flaws. First, it was a given at the time that it was wrong, every Jewish person knew that already, so there was no need for Jesus to mention it. Secondly, Jesus is God, and all of Scripture is the Word of God, so Jesus does mention it, in the OT and in the epistles. And He is very clear that it is a sin.

"even though he had a particular same-sex friendship with John, the Beloved Apostle"

No, He had a close mateship with John. Close male friendships have nothing to do with homosexuality.

"A further question, Is freedom from sin possible in the human frame for everyone who is Baptized into Christ? My belief is that we are all are 'on the way' to perfection, through our relationship to Christ in our Baptism."

Yes, we are all sinners on our way to perfection. But the path to perfection means progressively leaving sin behind, not asking the church to bless our sins and approve of them. Liberal Christians cannot have it both ways. Either homosexuality is not a sin, in which case the above argument that we are all sinners is irrelevant, as there is nothing for homosexuals to have forgiven as far as that is concerned, OR homosexuality is a sin, and in coming to Christ for forgiveness, homosexuals are asking for forgiveness that as well.

"Catholic Christians have the priceless understanding that, at the Eucharist, Christ is present to hear confession of one's sins, and to offer the message of forgiveness provided in the liturgy."

ALL Christians have that, including Baptists and Pentecostals. It is called communion in those churches because they believe Christ is present in the church and in the believer. "Where two or three are gathered in my Name, there I am." The exact theology of that presence, even if it understood as a purely spiritual presence in the heart of the believer, is irrelevant. All Christians understand that in communion we are coming to Christ for forgiveness and strengthening. I took communion in a Pentecostal church tonight, and Jesus was certainly present in the act.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian
A man of your learning can scarcely be surprised that Jesus' friendship with the Beloved Disciple/Apostle has been the subject of speculation in certain theological quarters? Surely ... :)

Shawn, Brian, Ron
I am not that keen to continue this particular part of the thread: you have now made points and rebuttals, but they belong to much the merry-go-round of comments we have been around before ... can we get back to the actual words of AG's argument?
Cheers
Peter

Brian Kelly said...

1. Reply: "A man of your learning can scarcely be surprised that Jesus' friendship with the Beloved Disciple/Apostle has been the subject of speculation in certain theological quarters? Surely ... :)"

I responded because you allowed Ron Smith to slip in the offensive and blasphemous suggestion that our Lord had a homoerotic relationship with St John. I do not grace fraudsters like Morton Smith ('Jesus the Magician') with the title of 'theologian' - or stupid (but very rich) novelists like Dan Brown (but here the supposed liaison is with Mary Magdalene ....). Complete trash.


2. Comment on AG: 'pastoral accommodation' is an informal, temporary measure intended to tolerate some evil to avoid harm to others and to allow a person to grow in grace and leave sin behind in time. This is not what people in NZ have been advocating.

Father Ron said...

Brian, precisely where did I suggest that "Jesus had a homoerotic relationship with Saint John"?

I think, Brian, you need to read comments here much more carefully. I object to being called 'almost blasphemous'. My remark was in the context of male to male relationships. there was no mention of erotic activity, but that of a loving tactile relationship. I guess that, like most critics of same-gender relationships, you were too quick to jump in on a judgement of their content.

"To the pure, all things are pure".

Brian Kelly said...

"Brian, precisely where did I suggest that "Jesus had a homoerotic relationship with Saint John"?"

Where you said the Lord "had a particular same-sex friendship with John".

Good grief, Ron, don't you know that "same-sex friendship" is code for "homoerotic relationship or attraction" in most contexts today? I don't say I have "same-sex friendships" with my male friends: that would be either pointlessly redundant or more likely would be taken to imply homoeroticism. Shawn called you out on this as well.
Frankly, a lot of shoddy nonsense about the Bible has been peddled by sexual revisionists under talk of "same-sex friendship": about David and Jonathan, about Ruth and Naomi, and about Jesus and John. It doesn't stand up to scrutiny at all, but some use it to blur the difference between friendship and homoeroticism. But Jesus did not have sinful desires.
And you "need to read my comments much more carefully". I didn't talk about "erotic activity" but "homoerotic relationships", i.e. a relationship based on homosexual desire. But I already made this point in my comment above when I took you to task for naïve use of language.
Enough. My last comment on this thread.

Peter Carrell said...

Indeed, Brian and Ron.
That is it on the BD - I will print no more here.
Back to AG if you want comments published!