Friday, July 28, 2017

Beautiful Anglican proposal's shortcomings critically exposed

I actually find it quite amusing to have described the proposal before our church as "beautiful" and to find less the number of fingers on one hand of supporters for doing so.

A very sharp, thoughtful criticism of the proposal and of my response to it is made by eminent CofE theologian Martin Davie here.

I have a comment or two percolating in my mind, but you may have comments to make immediately!

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Martin Davie makes a point in passing that can and should be stated more crisply here.

(1) An SSB is only intelligible as an act of the whole Church. That is the point of having a pastor do it *in persona Christi* in a church.

(2) No change of venue alters the fact that some, if not most, of the recognised Church opposes it.

(3) To perform SSB anywhere at all despite that continuing dissent is either unintelligible (cf #1), or misrepresentation (cf #1), or assumes that the dissenters are not in the Church (cf #3).

Check.

I suspect that the ACANZP proponents of SSB are embracing unintelligibility as just fine because the sort of meaning they care about is social, not theological.

A reply to this argument common in TEC is that those who perform SSM today are simply the first of the whole Church to do what all will eventually do tomorrow. That is, the actual dissent of today is discounted as unimportant in light of the unanimity expected in the future. This may explain TEC's rough treatment of its dissidents, but it does not actually comport with #1. And as time goes by without change in the position of the rest of the Church, it will be less and less credible.

Checkmate?

Bowman Walton

Andrei said...

My only comment is this question

Do you seek to maintain unity within the Anglican Church of Aotearoa or do you seek greater unity with the Universal Church?

My observation would be thus even within global Anglicanism the majority do not accept the proposition of same sex marriage and by adopting it you distance yourself even further from Rome, Constantinople and Moscow

A second observation is that where the Church is dynamic, vibrant and expanding this issue is not even on the radar whereas those churches which are debating this or have adopted it appear to be in terminal decline

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
No.
Within the life of the church people pray for and give thanks for all sorts of things in the name of Christ. Some such "blessings" have official sanction represented by an agreed liturgy, some do not. Much depends on the reception and recognition of the blessing.
There is no dedication of a child formally recognised in an Anglican liturgy (where dedication does not equal a baptism and nor is it precisely the service of thanksgiving for the gift of a child). Yet parents wanting a dedication can often find an Anglican priest willing to do such a service (perhaps rationalising it as, Well, they will leave if I don't; they are not from a paedobaptist background, etc).
In such cases the priest is not dedicating in the name of the church yet the family are more than likely to be very satisfied to have dedicated their child and left their baptism until they can choose for themselves.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
All churches are open to some degree of accommodation on challenging pastoral matters. The Orthodox churches permit remarriage after divorce but accommodate Scriptural strictures against it by offering a (sort of) marriage-lite service. Catholic churches do not permit remarriage after divorce yet have accommodated divorce to a degree by instituting the process of canonical annulment of some marriages after investigation of the poor quality of the marriages. There is no intrinsic reason, IMHO, why the Orthodox and Catholic churches would not find a way to accommodate SSB if they set their minds to it.

All churches are open to some degree of accommodation to the prevailing hegemony of the local culture combined with the dictates of civil power. Need I remind you of the accommodations the Russian Orthodox Church reached with the Soviet regime? While Putin and co are currently very against SSB, indeed any public signs of homosexuality, the fact is that if Putin and co were very for SSB etc, it would be fascinating to see how, over time, the Russian Orthodox Church would make subtle adjustments. Of course they would be very subtle and we Anglicans might not spot them :)

Andrei said...

"All churches are open to some degree of accommodation to the prevailing hegemony of the local culture combined with the dictates of civil power. Need I remind you of the accommodations the Russian Orthodox Church reached with the Soviet regime?"

Peter there is only one Church, that which is headed by Jesus Christ - various Churchmen may accommodate themselves to the "the dictates of civil power" = Need I remind you of Fr Josef Tiso or Miroslav Filipović balanced out of course by people like Fr Kolbe

There's the thing - you can accommodate yourself to the current zeitgeist or stand firm right up to the point where you receive the crown of martyrdom

And surely I don't need to remind you that thousands of Christians won the crown of Martyrdom in the Soviet Union

From where I stand the Church in the West circa 2017 looks to be in a similar position to the Church in the Soviet Union during the time of Leonid Brezhnev

The trial of Cardinal Pell looks very much like a show trial from Stalin's time to me.

The point being made though by both me and Bowman (I hadn't seen his comment when I wrote mine) is that by adopting this novelty you are putting yourself out of step with the Church at large

I actually think this whole issue promoted with distortions and deceit as it is comes from Satan himself to undermine the Church both from without and within

Bringing up divorce is a red herring - Christian doctrine unequivocally says that whatever our past sins we can with repentance have a new start - how might should their repentance might vary between Orthodox, Catholics and Anglicans but in no case is divorce considered to be a good thing, rather a symptom of our fallen nature

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
The Russian Orthodox Martyrs under Communism were not forgotten by me when I wrote that comment! The church is often in a difficult place re resistance and accommodation and may find itself doing both at once.

I acknowledge that SSB puts Anglicans out of step - with Romans, Orthodox and even other Anglicans. A question I have is whether this particular ACANZP proposal puts us wholly out of step since we are changing no official doctrine or liturgy of our church to accommodate SSB. Another question I have is whether other churches, likely unofficially rather than officially, are looking and wondering whether we are pioneering a way forward ... it is not as though there are no partnered gay Catholics or Orthodox or Baptist. Nor is it the case that caring pastors of other churches do not realise that current approaches are inhibiting partnered gay ex-Catholics etc from rejoining their preferred church.

(A slight analogy:I am always intrigued by Catholic priests who admit aloud that they support the ordination of women and see the hierarchy above them as the main stumbling block to it proceeding ... if all such Catholic priests united in direct action for this cause, surely it must come to pass sooner rather than later!)

Andrei said...

1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

Zane Elliott said...

Peter, do you truly believe that by declaring SS relationships Rightly Ordered (for we must if they are to be blessed) that 'we are changing no official doctrine or liturgy of our church to accommodate SSB'?

While I see the Working Group for Motion 29 are clear in suggesting that no changes should be made to our Canons or te Pouhere our Doctrine must change by necessity, even if not on paper, or are you expecting Anglicans in ACANZP to believe it isn't so because the working group say it isn't so?

Brian Kelly said...

Zane, you have put your finger on the issue and I am a little surprised that Peter, with his fine analytical mind, cannot see it.
A simple syllogism demonstrates the point.

1. The 'blessing' of a relationship is, first of all, a doctrinal declaration that the way of life being so 'blessed' (whatever else that word means) is approved by Almighty God as a fitting and godly way for a Christian to live in the new life of the Kingdom of God.
2. This means that the way of life, including its sexual dimension, is not sinful but pleasing to Almighty God.
3. Therefore the Church has decided that this sexual behaviour (with its attendant desire) is not sinful but godly.
4. Those Christians who demur from 'blessing' same-sex relationships can only be ignorant of or disobedient to the will of God. (See my quotation from Krauth above.)

If Peter thinks there is a logical error here, please let him put it right.
(And yes, before anyone rejoins "But the Chruch already blesses battleships and pets etc, what's the fuss?", 'blessing' a warship is a declaration that a Christian may serve God rightly as a warrior and therefore we pray for his or her safety on board. If it is OK for Christians to serve in the military, then it is fine to pray for the security of their environment. And prayer for the wellbeing of animals is found in the Bible. The real analogy should be the 'blessing' of a new brothel. Well, why not?)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian

Syllogisms have not always been helpful in my experience in pastoral care ...

Try this:

1. The 'blessing' of a relationship is, first of all, a doctrinal declaration that the way of life being so 'blessed' (whatever else that word means) is approved by Almighty God as a fitting and godly way for a Christian to live in the new life of the Kingdom of God.
2. This means that the way of life, including its sexual dimension, is not sinful but pleasing to Almighty God.
3. Therefore the Church has decided that this sexual behaviour (with its attendant desire) is not sinful but godly.
4. Those Christians who demur from 'blessing' adulterous behaviour (such as remarriage after divorce beyond the Matthean and Pauline exceptions) can only be ignorant of or disobedient to the will of God.

Here is a different argument:
1. The church has attempted in teaching and in practice to be faithful to God's revealed will concerning sexual behaviour, principally teaching that sexual intercourse is right behaviour only within permanent, lifelong, monogamous marriage.
2. Many people have not been able to sustain this marriage ideal. In response the church has varied its teaching to permit remarriage after divorce in circumstances not envisaged in Scripture and/or not according to the bare statement of Scripture (e.g. inventing annulment to pretend a marriage did not exist; applying general teaching about repentance from sin to the specific case of divorce, even though neither our Lord nor Paul made such allowance).
3. That is, the church has acknowledged, albeit without a common solution across all churches, that it is appropriate to respond pragmatic-pastorally when the ideal situation is fallen short of. In doing so the church acknowledges that it is promoting something which is less than ideal but it is also taking care not to cast people with good intentions for the rest of their lives as "sinners" even though strict application of the bare text of Scripture requires that.
4. It is possible that the church might at the least permit those who for pragmatic-pastoral reasons believe it appropriate to conduct SSBs (less than the ideal of marriage, not casting people with such good intentions for the rest of their lives as sinners) to in fact conduct SSBs; while, of course, approving those who do not see such a pragmatic-pastoral situation as appropriate, when they do not conduct SSBs.



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Zane
Let's take a step back.
We are a church which (cutting a longish story short) has asked two thing of itself:
- let's not change the doctrine of marriage as written down in canons and formularies;
- let's permit those who wish to conduct SSBs to do so without fear of discipline.

We have also said we must try to do this, it is not an option to say the combination is too hard so we will settle for the first one only and SSBers can wait for ever.

I think the accommodation proposed does a very good job of reconciling those two desires in our church. I find it difficult if not impossible to think of a better proposal in regard to such reconciliation.

Does something change about our understanding of marriage as a result (of the proposal being agreed to)?
(i) I do not see how anyone could teach that our church believes marriage can be between two people of the same sex (because that is nowhere written down as being what our church believes).
(ii) I do see that an observer could say (after witnessing an SSB), "so your church believes that an SSM (civilly contracted) can be blessed in church". That would be true: the proposal means that we believe that such a relationship can be blessed by a licensed priest who believes that such a relationship can be blessed.
(iii) But the observer would need to be challenged if they went on to say, e.g., "so the church believes such relationships should be blessed" (because, No, that is not what the church believes if it accepts the proposal); or, "so the church believes that God does bless such relationships when a priest blesses them" (because, No, our church has not agreed to a view on whether God does or does not bless such relationships).

So, I do not see much if any effective change occurring to our formal understanding of marriage because of the proposal; and if there is a little, then that is the price we necessarily pay for reconciling the two strong desires in our church enumerated above.

What is your improvement to the proposal?

Brian Kelly said...

Peter, you continue to miss the point.

A syllogism isn't an illustration of pastoral counselling in practice. A syllogism is simply a logical flow chart for thinking which we use to determine whether arguments are valid or invalid, coherent or contradictory.

All I did was demonstrate that the proposals are incoherent and contradictory. (Actually they are more than that: they are dishonest.)

Your attempted analogy with divorce practice fails, for reasons I am tired of repeating - but here goes:

1. Divorce with remarriage is *not impossible ipso facto for a Christian; i.e. it doesn't make one necessarily into an apostate. Please learn about the ancient practice of the Orthodox Churches.
2. Nevertheless, many divorces with remarriage do have the character of adultery - and the church should not grace these with 'blessings'.
3. Divorce with remarriage, in any case, is not comparable to a same-sex relation.
4. Two wrongs don't make a right - or a rite.

All the same, I note that by attempting an analogy with a church that is happily permissive about divorce and remarriage and one that should be 'relaxed' about same-sex relations, you have placed yourself where most of 'the middle' of ECUSA (as it was then) found itself c. 1996 after a failed attempt then to censure a bishop over SSBs. (I don't recall the bishop's name but the case concluded that ECUSA had no 'core doctrine' on sexual behaviour.) You are seriously mistaken if you think you can avoid that trajectory. (Or in 'Chaldee': mene, mene, tekel, parsin.)

You see, that's what a syllogism is all about: about thinking clearly. Isn't that pastorally useful?

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, the price you are paying for trying to become inclusive in our Church (via this statement made by you in response to Zane Elliot) in not too dissimilar to that being paid by Pope Francis, for his eirenic movement for change within the Roman Catholic Church. You said:

"So, I do not see much if any effective change occurring to our formal understanding of marriage because of the proposal; and if there is a little, then that is the price we necessarily pay for reconciling the two strong desires in our church enumerated above."- Dr.Peter Carrell -

Christian doctrine has, by its very nature, to adapt to the circumstances of human life; as it has progressed from the times of slavery and the subordination of women in marriage. For conservative clergy like Zane to hold back the pastoral provision of 'Same-Sex Blessings'is tantamount to upholding the outdated provision of criminal sanctions against LGBTI people in certain conservative countries around the world - a situation recently decried by no less than the ABC and the ABY in the Church of England,

"What I want is mercy and not sacrifice"is God's word to the Church in these days of enlightenment against harsh treatment of sinners like ourselves.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian
I may not be seeing!
Your (3) does not accurately describe what our church would decide if it agrees to the proposal. It would be deciding that certain behaviour might not be sinful and might be godly and it would be leaving it to the discretion of various authorities (local bishop, local priest) whether they pursued, according to conscience, the option of so blessing.
I remain of the view that this is analogous to the situation regarding remarriage after divorce where in, say, situation X, priest 1 might demur from conducting the wedding believing that doing so would be to bless adultery and priest 2 might conduct the wedding believing that no such blessing of sin would be taking place.
As for the slippery slope of the US situation.
It remains before us.
I thought we were in about the same situation ourselves in 1996.
Funnily enough we have not taken the path TEC has taken since then.

Finally, two wrongs do not make a rite or right. I agree with that. What we are trying to get our heads around, ditto in the CofE, and also the RCC re remarriage, if not presently then imminently, is what a church does when it does not have unanimity with what is deemed to be wrong.

Maybe separation should occur - that does seem to me to be the logic of your syllogism. But I am very, very hesitant to foster schism over sex ... I find no teaching in the NT which warrants that.

Brian Kelly said...

"Maybe separation should occur - that does seem to me to be the logic of your syllogism. But I am very, very hesitant to foster schism over sex ... I find no teaching in the NT which warrants that."

"Fostering schism" is a loaded expression. Just who is doing the "fostering"? Is it not those who have agitated for 30 years to change the practice of the Church? (And I don't have to remind you of the old tag 'lex orandi lex credendi' - although the proposers of this innovation don't seem to have heard of it.) But since you don't seem to know any teaching in the NT about discipline and division over sexual immorality, have a look at 1 Cor 5.1-13 for starters.

As for the slippery slope: it is not just 'before' you, you are on it. You recognise the de facto state of affairs in many places, and now you want to give it formal recognition.

In any case, the division is already underway. Just from England today: Bishop Andy Lines has his permission to officiate (PTO) withdrawn by the Diocese of Southwark, while the Diocesan Director of Ordinands celebrates her civil partnership with the team vicar of Wimbledon with 'Dinner and Dance' inside Southwark Cathedral.
Can you seriously tell me what St Paul would say about that? In your face or what?

Meanwhile, Co-Mission continues establishing a network of evangelical churches across South London.

Anonymous said...

Doctrinal Error Alert

We have detected intolerable doctrinal error in this thread. Anglicans in Parador, Christians of all churches, and persons of good will are cautioned as follows.

(1) In scripture, God blesses procreation, not the individuals who happen to be wedding for that blessed purpose, and not relationships per se. No church anywhere makes it a matter of faith that X and Y have a God-pleasing relationship which it therefore blesses for Him.

Thus it is always in error to say that God has blessed a relationship with a ceremony of any kind.

(2) Protestant churches, including Anglican churches, have no tradition of giving sacramental meaning to church weddings, a civil ordinance conducted in Western churches from the C12 when only clergy could do the paperwork. Even when conducted in the Church of England according to use of the Book of Common Prayer, the ceremony was wholly civil in function; a couple married in court by a judge or at sea by a ship's captain were no less fully married under church canons. Where a marriage has been solemnised by a recognised state today, no further rite has any meaning for Anglicans.

Thus it is always in error to say that any couple registered by the state as married needs a further ceremony to complete what Christ has done and what Caesar has recorded. They err, for example, who say that a couple "are not married in the eyes of the Church" if they have not undergone a special rite.

But see (4) below.

(3) In the first instance, the cure of souls is directed to individuals in Christ who will be judged on the last day. Therefore, pastoral care takes note of marriage as an individual contemplates the state of holy matrimony, his or her call and readiness for it, and his or her disposition toward a spouse, either prospective or actual. Thus the cure of souls is not directed to couples, but to individuals.

Thus it is error to suppose that officiating at a ceremony for the purpose registering a marriage is a form of pastoral care. To the contrary, it may pose an unacceptable conflict of interest for one officiant to advise both parties to an intended marriage.

Anonymous said...

Cont'd

(4) The Church is not agreed on the duration of valid marriages. The ancient East believed them to be indissoluble and eternal; the medieval West later supposed that they were lifelong and dissolved by only by death; many Protestants, including Anglicans, have believed that they begin and end as provided by civil law. Individual Christians are free to hold any of these views, but we note here that on the Eastern view, the indissoluble bond is formed ex opere operato when the married couple first receive communion together, even if the ceremony is civil and the eucharist is simply the ordinary Sunday liturgy. Thus although the Byzantine Ordo is beautifully elaborated, even the highest marriage theology in Christendom requires no special rite.

Thus it is an error to say that a high view of marriage requires a special rite administered for each couple. It rather requires that they duly receive holy communion after contracting their union, much as baptism duly follows birth.

(5) Christians daily recite "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth" and live in accord with the created order that he has established. Therefore, each conscientiously attempts to flourish in his or her biological sex with confidence in God's creative purpose in assigning it as he knows every hair on the head. In every life, there are times when this striving will require some discernment and prayer with a pastor. But although the Lord does prize a visibly good life, holy fools have lived to his great glory, his strength is made perfect in weakness, and our hope is in the age to come. The Anglican pastor's distinctive calling is to manifest the Father's unconditional love for all that he has made, to lead the praising of God in all circumstances, and to invite all to offer all their lives to him as sacrifices of thanksgiving.

Thus they err who care for souls according their membership in a hypothesised class, rather than according to their humanity in Christ.

"O taste and see that the Lord is good!"

The Commission for Doctrinal Integrity
The Anglican Province of Parador

Brendan McNeill said...

“It would be deciding that certain behaviour might not be sinful and might be godly and it would be leaving it to the discretion of various authorities (local bishop, local priest) whether they pursued, according to conscience, the option of so blessing.” – Peter Carroll.

Peter, as Bryden has pointed out previously, the crisis of the Anglican Church is one of authority, and your reflection above simply confirms that. I suggested to you previously that SSB takes us back to the time of Judges where everyone did what was right in their own eyes. You refuted that, but your observation appears to confirm it.

Surely we have arrived at the point where the only honest conclusion to be drawn is that we are a church divided on the issue of sexual morality, specifically ‘loving same sex relationships’. One side believes they are good and Godly and therefore approved by God for blessing, the other they are sinful and lawless and antithetical to human flourishing.

Both sides view this as a hill to die on and refuse to take a backward step. A lot of time, energy and resource has gone into attempts to square this circle. It’s not possible.

You say “I am very, very hesitant to foster schism over sex ... I find no teaching in the NT which warrants that.” There are 22 injunctions in the NT for Christians to avoid/flee sexual immorality. For 2000 years, the church has consistently viewed sexual relationships outside of marriage as immoral, same sex relationships are therefore by definition sexually immoral.

If schism is not permitted from those who insist upon blessing rather than fleeing sexual immorality, on what possible basis might it ever be permitted? In Acts 15 19:20 James stood up and gave these instructions to the gentile Christians:

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21

Sadly, there are those within the Anglican Church who refuse to heed James instruction to the Gentile church. Let’s admit this, and allow for a gracious separation for each to go their own ways, and for God to bless what he will bless.

Anonymous said...

"1. Divorce with remarriage is *not impossible ipso facto for a Christian; i.e. it doesn't make one necessarily into an apostate. Please learn about the ancient practice of the Orthodox Churches.
2. Nevertheless, many divorces with remarriage do have the character of adultery - and the church should not grace these with 'blessings'."

To be clear, the Orthodox teach that because one's first marriage continues into the next aeon as part of the new creation, divorce is not ontologically possible, but does remain legally possible under Roman civil law. Although the second and third permitted marriages are not called adulterous, the Orthodox are very clear that they are concessions to human weakness. The rite for a first marriage is celebrative (martyrs' crowns, triple circumambulation); that for the two later marriages is penitential (bare feet, Psalm 51/50). Most canonists would agree that a fourth marriage or any marriage to an unbaptised person incurs excommunication.

Byzantine exegesis, culture, and history led to a tradition very different from the more recent Western one. It can be said to support an argument on each side, but only if you swallow its suppositions as well as its applications, and that leads to some paradoxes.

Yes, there can be a case for an ecclesial rite that goes beyond the civil ceremony. If the reconciliation of male and female in Christ is an aspect of the new creation, then a true marriage must be eternal, and that is an occasion for a celebration. But the whole mysteriological character of the first marriage depends on the differentiation of the sexes. Already in the C12-13, the idea of blessing borrowed from Western sacramental theology was already notably less organic and more forced.

Yes, there can be a case for marriage as a concession to weakness. Although mourned by the Church as falling away from the great mystery, second and third marriages are indeed permitted, even to divorcees. Previously administered by civil magistrates, these creatures of Roman civil law were dumped on the bishops by an emperor keen to use his jurists for more important tasks. The bishops were thus faced with the administration of a law that flatly contradicted their doctrine. The rite they devised does not just presuppose repentance; it is itself a penitential rite. This is probably not what proponents of SSB are seeking.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

There is a tension between the idea of blessing as a pastoral act like confirmation, confession, tonsure, etc and the idea of blessing as a social act like marrying, conferring a degree, or presenting the Nobel Prize. For plausibility, the former depend on a personal self-understanding, but the latter depend on the recognition of others.

The correlation is not perfect, but Peter seems to imagine SSB that is a pastoral act, while the combatants on both sides seem to imagine it as a social one.

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Bowman for elucidation.
I hadn't thought of my approach to the proposal in the terms you mention in your most recent comment but I think you are on to something!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan and Brian
Is it fair of me to think that neither of you are capable of recognising that the church might be in two minds about something? Euthanasia strikes me as another (and very important, literally life and death issue) where we are not going to be of one mind ... are we going to schism over that?

"fostering" schism: of course one can say that this action by the progressives or that is fostering schism, particularly when it is particularly provocative (cf the ordination of Gene Robinson as bishop), but my use is about fostering schism in the sense that one moves from arguing vigorously that X should not be the case to arguing that we are going to need to schism over the matter of X. I am not going to do that because I do not think a sexual issue should be the catalyst for dividing, not least because the side which makes the schismatic move will be forever identified as the church whose distinctive feature is that its identity rests on a particular approach to sexual matter X.

Of course I know about 1 Corinthians 5 etc (I am about to teach a degree level class on 1 C 5-7!). But I do not see Paul in such passages as promulgating schism on the basis of sexual scandal.

The point of Acts 15, also, "of course", is that the church found a way to stay together. It made an accommodation which held two factions together which were otherwise in danger of separating.

Of course, in this church of ours you are more than entitled to disagree with me! But I hope we can remain together in it.

Anonymous said...

The Six Texts are also about this--

https://tinyurl.com/yc48n655

And this--

https://tinyurl.com/krlb7mj

Bowman Walton

Brendan McNeill said...

“Hi Brendan and Brian
Is it fair of me to think that neither of you are capable of recognising that the church might be in two minds about something? Euthanasia strikes me as another (and very important, literally life and death issue) where we are not going to be of one mind ... are we going to schism over that?” – PC

Peter, I have been reflecting on what might be a moral and theological equivalent to SSB that has caused schism in the church in times past. The closest I have come to is the selling of indulgences in the Catholic Church. This, amongst other things grieved Luther, and became the catalyst for the reformation movement and the resulting schism.

http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his101/web/37luther.htm

But here’s the thing. The Catholics only went so far as to offer absolution, the forgiveness for sins. The ‘progressives’ within the Anglican Church would have the church go beyond this, and offer God’s blessing on sin.

If the former was cause for schism, how much more the latter?

And please, let’s not pretend there is a theological debate to be had concerning sex outside of marriage, or that marriage is anything other than between a man and a woman. The church has never been in two minds about this; there are simply those within the church today who seek to overturn 2000 years of church theology and doctrine to satisfy the cultural zeitgeist.

Bryden Black said...

"Maybe separation should occur - that does seem to me to be the logic of your syllogism. But I am very, very hesitant to foster schism over sex ... I find no teaching in the NT which warrants that." - Peter C August 1, 2017 at 8:12 AM

Given the Corinthian context, Paul is pretty ‘robust’ about both his teaching and pastoral practice. Extending Brian’s point, which naturally comes to mind: what might we make overall of 1 Cor 5:1-6:20, 2 Cor 2:5-11, 6:14-7:1 (after that long authoritative section 2:14-6:10), 13:1-13? And dare I say, today’s ‘world’ is pretty similar to the ethos of Corinth in C1.

Father Ron Smith said...

"But here’s the thing. The Catholics only went so far as to offer absolution, the forgiveness for sins. The ‘progressives’ within the Anglican Church would have the church go beyond this, and offer God’s blessing on sin."- Brendan -

And here, Brendan, is the crux of the whole business. The Anglican Church once thought that homosexual love was SINful. In most Churches today, homosexuality is considered to be a part of God's gift of sexual diversity. I suggest you read the latest theological reasearh on this matter - backed up by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in their latest statement on the matter.

That there are conservatives in the Church (mostly heterosexual - with no understanding of what it might be like to be 'different in their human sexual responses', and wanting to enforce an outdated biblical binary sexual response - who still insist on demonising other humen beings because of this important way of expressing human love that is natural to them; should not be too surprising.

Attitudes towards other aspects of our common humanity that have bedevilled the Church for many centuries - that have since been outlawed by the Church but seemingly cherished by the nay-sayers - (e.g. Slavery and Male domination, not to mention usury and social stigma) have changed dramatically. However, the Puritans among us - like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus day'- insist on feeding the stigma that Jesus Himself might well have considered unGodly. How long, O Lord, how long?

My response to the call for separation by the Purists is: "We are prepared to live with your separate values on this important matter of the capacity to love; but are you prepared to do the same? If not, than you must be prepared to go it alone and face the consequences of intentional schism".

From one sinner to another; Fr. Ron