Thursday, November 16, 2017

About that submission ...

I have decided not to make a further submission to the Motion 29 Working Group (by end of tomorrow 17 November 2017), being happy and privileged to now be part of General Synod/te Hinota Whanui itself.

Bosco Peters' has made a submission and posted it here.

The summary of it is this:

"This submission suggests:
• If discussion since the publication of IRWG deems it sufficiently helpful, amend the declarations of adherence and submission to the authority of GSTHW.
• Have an explicit, clear and positive recognition and acknowledgement that we are living together with disagreement – differences in belief and practice on committed same-sex couples.
• Provide immunity from complaint for bishops and clergy for exercising their discretion on whether or not to authorise or conduct blessings of committed same-sex couples. Clergy and couples can choose from available resources and/or work together to produce a service of blessing. 
• Provide immunity from complaint for bishops for exercising their discretion on whether or not to ordain or licence anyone in a committed same-sex relationship."

If you want to comment directly on it, please do so at Liturgy itself. I am reproducing the summary here because it offers thoughts I generally agree with. And they are similar to what I proposed here on 26 September 2017 - resulting in some robust comments! That was:

"My thought re an improvement to the proposal is to pare it back and slim it to a minimum set of changes:
(1) our declarations are changed in line with the proposal
(2) clergy and ministry unit office holders may determine without fear of discipline whether or not blessings of same sex relationships will be conducted within the ministry unit
(3) bishops have discretion to accept a person in a same sex marriage or civil union as a candidate for ordination or appointee to licensed ministry position."
If I were to make a submission (i.e. combining Bosco's submission and my 26 September points) I would now add a bullet or numbered point, supporting the principle of the recommendation in the interim report of the working group that there be provision for "Christian communities" of individuals and ministry units who share common values on one side or another of the disagreement. 

In practice that recommendation involved a proposal for legislation which also references Religious communities, with some severe commentary against that inclusion. 

If we could excise that reference and focus on what it might mean for individuals and ministry units to make compacts together - the underlying model of voluntary societies is not new to Anglicanism - then my understanding is that many (but not all) conservatives on this matter would be comfortable supporting the proposal.

A few other thoughts

Since this will be my last post on these matters until the Final Report is out (unless some major development warrants comment) I want to put down a few further thoughts, some arising from discussions in the last few days with colleagues.

(1) I remain of the view that the core of the proposal on the table (no change to formularies, permission to bless same-sex relationships) is not reason to split off a new church from ACANZP. My primary reason is that I can only see any new church formed having at the core of its new identity a view about homosexuality (whatever formal, rhetorical protestations are made that this would not be the case). There are no grounds in the New Testament for forming church on the basis of a view on homosexuality. (Not even 1 Corinthians 5 offers those grounds - the opening to that chapter speaks of church discipline not church formation). 

(2) When Bosco Peters writes, "Have an explicit, clear and positive recognition and acknowledgement that we are living together with disagreement – differences in belief and practice on committed same-sex couples." I wholeheartedly concur. We need a written something in the canon/resolution we final decide which explicitly names the church we are on this matter: in disagreement and therefore (if we so choose) remaining together as that church and not as another church. Living with disagreement is possible - personally I do it on a daily basis as an Anglican!!

(3) I am interested (please comment to support me or disagree with me) in the possibility that GSTHW might also decide on a moratorium on discussing this matter for (say) ten years.* In his post Bosco Peters laments the amount of energy we have spent as a church on this matter. One way to dissolve the energy level, at least for a period, would be to have such a moratorium. To be clear: this would mean those who wish to make further "progress" on the matter desisting from pushing for further change and this from provoking further resistance by those who value tradition and orthodoxy in matters of faith and practice.

*Some readers here will recall that a moratorium along similar lines has been a recent feature of the NZ Presbyterian church.

187 comments:

Malcolm Falloon said...

Peter,

It is clear to me that there can be no rest for our church if the working group report continues to avoid addressing the theological implications of its proposals on the doctrine of marriage.

How can the liberal agenda be satisfied with anything less than marriage equality? I have not heard a single person who owns a liberal agenda declare themselves satisfied with the report. In fact they all decry its injustice.

Likewise, I would be surprised if conservatives were happy with the ghettoizing of their churches. Sure, evangelicals have been familiar with the concept of voluntary societies, but they have also always been clear that a voluntary society was not the church! To suggest that conservatives would be happy to equate the two is quite bizarre in my opinion.

As for your idea of a moratorium: its simply unworkable. In fact, the proposals will have the exact opposite effect. For now every church appointment and electoral college will turn on the candidate's view of same-sex marriage.

This report cries Peace, Peace, but there is no Peace, at least until we do the theological hard-yards.

Malcolm

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

It is somewhat disingenuous to suggest that any new church expression that may come out of the ACANZP following the possible adoption of motion 29/30 would be founded on a doctrine of homosexuality. It is the ACANZP that is attempting to form a ‘new church’ based on the endorsement and blessing of homosexual practice; contrary to Scripture, contrary to 2000 years of church practice, contrary to sound doctrine.

You raise 1 Corinthians 5 in support of your argument that it offers no grounds for a new church formation, but rather in support of church discipline. It’s difficult to avoid the irony evident in your chosen example. Paul was offended at the church failing to discipline someone who had transgressed Leviticus 18:8 “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.”

However, not only do you refuse to practice church discipline against someone who transgresses Leviticus 18:22 “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”, but you claim such relationships should be blessed by the church, and those in homosexual relationships are eminently suitable for ordination and pastoral leadership.

On what theological basis can you affirm Leviticus 18:8 but refute Leviticus 18:22?

Sadly, the advocates of SSB have never been seriously bothered about theology. Theirs is an emotive response to a cultural imperative.

In considering motions 29/30 the ACANZP is deciding whom it will serve, God or man. It is not surprising therefore that so many Anglicans are taking the matter seriously.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Malcolm
Even when we do the hard yards of theology, would we be closer in agreement?
We might be but we should reckon with the possibility that we would remain in disagreement (albeit with a better understanding of why). Accordingly the question remains, what might help us to live in disagreement rather than breakaway. I continue to suggest that this proposal helps.

I am not sure that there will be much "peace" if GSTHW refuses to change anything in 2018 and commits instead to further theological work. Would we see renegade blessings take place? Who will do the theological work? (I detect considerable fatigue about the place on this matter).

Speaking of fatigue, the moratorium might be very welcome on that ground alone!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
What GSTHW is trying to solve (with or without help from my suggestions!)is how we live with disagreement over one verse in Leviticus 18.
I am not aware of any disagreement over the other verses.
Of course it could help if one side walked away because of that disagreement: those left would agree! (Those who leave would agree together too! Sweet ...).
I think it worth trying to live with disagreement on this particular matter because the disagreement is between people who agree on so many other things.

Malcolm Falloon said...

Peter,

Yes, disagreement will remain. But there is an obvious constitutional and doctrinal issue involved. For the report to leave that question unresolved (or at least provide a pathway for its resolution) is a major flaw in my view. Consequently, the working group's proposals do not help: I would argue that they are a de facto admission of failure and that the proposed solutions are but dissolution writ large.

You worry about renegade blessings. What about renegade marriages? The church will become ungovernable under the current proposals. What happens in the Waiapu diocese (or Nelson for that matter) when their next bishop takes a different view to the current incumbent? Chaos—unless you take the view that we are to be locked into our theological silos and that each diocese is to be subject to an unspoken sunset clause.

Forget fatigue. Only political activists talk like that. General Synod needs to do the work. It can't delegate it away to diocesan bishops (as currently proposed), synods, or other church forums. I would suggest the question that needs to be answered is along these lines: does our constitution allow the church to conduct same-sex marriages?

Malcolm

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

We both know the disagreement has never simply been over ‘one verse in Leviticus’. Never the less, I look forward to reading your exegesis explaining why Leviticus 18:22 has been abrogated, whereas the other verses relating to sexual morality in chapter 18 have not.

There is a much larger Biblical narrative at stake here, one that includes but is not limited to Jesus affirmation of Marriage between a man and a woman as being the only God ordained context for sexual expression. This is a constant theme that runs through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

I understand the exhaustion around this subject. It is a circle that cannot be squared irrespective of how many ‘respectful conversation’ evenings are initiated by the Bishop. This ought to have been obvious, particularly to the Bishops from the very outset. If they and others want to preside over a church that sanctifies and honors homosexual practice, that’s their choice, but let’s not pretend that it is an orthodox Anglican expression; one that has been handed down to us for hundreds of years. It plainly is not.

My objection is not simply that the Bishops appear to be largely in favour of blessing same sex relationships, but your implication that it is those of an orthodox disposition who may invoke schism, and in doing so would establish a church based on homosexual doctrine.

You cannot reasonably change the rules of the game and then blame your fellow team members for objecting. But then it appears you can.

Father Ron Smith said...

a serious question, Peter; will your suggested 'moratorium' outlawing public discussion in Synod of Same-Sex Relationships become as unenforceable as the Anglican Communion's moratorium on Cross-Borders Intervention. If so, it would be a good thing never to be promulgated.

You mention the possibility of the dangers of both 'extension' and provocation by allowing further discussion. Are you, thereby, hobbling our Synods against any further exploration into the moral implications of gender & sexuality? And is that wise?

Now that the Australian Same-Sex Marriage issue seems set for resolution, the Archbishop of Sydney seems definitely against any sort of moratorium that might hinder his diocese's right to pursue its moral superiority.

Make no mistake, Peter, I would like both parties in ACANZP to agree to live together with the reality that we have people in our Church who are LGBTQI who have a right to exist. Some of them will be legally married and need to be considered fully part of the Body of Christ in full fellowship with us.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Sadly, the advocates of SSB have never been seriously bothered about theology. Theirs is an emotive response to a cultural imperative." - M.F. -

A wee bit inflammatory, and therefore 'Ad Hominem', Peter?

As for Brendan's assertions, it may equally be said that these are founded on homophobia - a term that is not welcomed on this site. Incidentally, I have never heard of any 'doctrine' that is 'founded on homosexuality'. Where did this come from? Alternatively, the acceptance of ALL people into the Church is founded on the direction of its Founder, Jesus Christ' who died 'for the sake of the world' - not only for the Church. The other 'gate-keepers' - the Scribes and Pharisees - were roundly criticised by Jesus as 'whited sepulchres', preventing sinners from approaching the Holy of Holies. God forbid any of us should be so accused.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Malcolm and Brendan
You may be right.
There may be a strong voice and sufficient votes in retaining the status quo ... but they are going to have to come from more than the Nelson and Christchurch Dioceses.
Are they coming from the Dunedin Diocese, Malcolm?
I know in some quarters there is energy for further theological work and in other quarters there is grave concern re the possibility of silos: it may be that such voices combine to be the core of a majority for the status quo.
But ... will there really be no change at all at our next GS?

Brendan:you write, "I look forward to reading your exegesis explaining why Leviticus 18:22 has been abrogated, whereas the other verses relating to sexual morality in chapter 18 have not." The exegesis is very simple: a significant number of members of the church to which I belong have abrogated that verse and in sufficient numbers to warrant our church recognising that we have a serious disagreement on the matter. In the minds of those who have abrogated them, of course, there is no question of abrogating the responsibility to sexual morality; there is a question of whether that verse applies or not to a lifelong committed same sex couple. If you do not like that question being raised you should talk to those who are raising it. I am not. I am simply recognising the relative strength of opposing convictions on a matter.

Whatever we think about who is provoking whom to leave (and there are many gay ex Anglicans who have felt provoked to leave by the strength of conviction against their loving relationships), those who leave are choosing to leave.

I am choosing to stay in the light of the proposal on the table at the moment.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Brendan [not "M.F.}
Apologies to you Ron and others, I did let that ad hominen "through the gate".
Brendan: please do not do that again. There is plenty of theology around, subscribed to by SSB advocates. Start with Rowan Williams famous paper on the Body.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Malcolm
Do you not read what I write?!
A moratorium is entirely possible and enforceable - see the NZ Presbyterian church (which I mentioned).
All that is required is for motions and resolutions about these matters to be rejected by the order paper committee of the GS.
It is not for ever - that is unreasonable!
But I think it quite reasonable to say that we are taking a break from discussing these matters.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,
Perhaps, you are mistaking The Anglican Institution in N.Z. [ACANZP] for the Church Of Christ. The former being established in N.Z. with a legal Constitution 1857, which defines the legitimate DOCTRINE, from which many of the Bishops and Clergy wish to deviate; and the later being defined as :"The visible Church of Christ, is the congregation of faithful men,in which the pure Word of God is preached and the Sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things, that of necessity are requisite to the same" Art 19.

Due to the broken nature of man [Art 9], there is bound to be disagreement, in the former. Sadly, I feel that G.S is being more loyal to the former, rather than the latter.

So let us see the theology that justifies the recognition, in the visible Church, of those same sex couples who have undergone secular marriages [Ron at 3.43 PM].

Father Ron Smith said...

Brief response to Glen re Marriage. This word, in Scripture, is not cinfined to the union of one man with one woman. It also refers to the desrcription of the Celebration of a union of ALL the Redeemed to Christ - in the "Marriage Feast of the Lamb". Nothing to do with gender or sexuality - much as con/evos might want it to be.
This is from Scripture, not the stories if Michael Mouse

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron, Please let us see your Scriptural foundations for the belief that all those who knowingly act against Romans 1:18 on; are REDEEMED IN CHRIST.

For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth,there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, Hebrews 10:26.

The ACANZP has to establish, with backing from SCRIPTURE, that same sex relationships fall within the CREATED NORM.If Christ was the pre-existent Logos [John 1:1-5]; then He would have known whether Genesis was the "Infallible Authority" to quote [Matt 19].

It is the General Synod of the ACANZP, which has to decide what JESUS they are following. If their belief is in the JESUS CHRIST of the Creeds,then motion 30 is heresy.Quite simply,the point has come; Do I believe in the Church as defined Art./19 and the Constitution 1857 or do I believe in the ACANZP?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Glen
Below, a redacted comment from Ron to Glen:

"Glen, you haven't yet replied to my assertion - that the word marriage in Scripture is not solely reserved for a relationship betwen one man and one woman!

Your message is just a reiteration of what you've been saying []
"

Ron: I don't think a grizzle about reiteration is required. Most comments here repeat themselves over time, I find!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Glen
The 39A demonstrate a very clear and profound respect for the role of "princes" and "magistrates" in the life of church and country and the CofE ever since has remained an established church, beholden to the powers of parliament.
I suggest that an Anglican church which recognises changes to society undergirded by civil law might in fact be acting entirely in the spirit of the 39A if it found a way to (i) preserve its doctrine of marriage between a man and a woman, and (ii) pray for couples who follow the law of the land on marriage.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
It is something of an canard from you to reiterate many times here your belief that when the Bible talks about marriage it does not restrict itself to understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Actually, the principal and most frequent talk in the Bible re marriage is that it understands "marriage" to be between a man and a woman. On those rare occasions when marriage is referred to in respect of God/Israel, Christ/church, Lamb/church, the metaphor continues to assume binary gender in marriage because God/Christ/Lamb is the groom and Israel/church is the bride.

There is simply no way from such metaphor back to real, physical, social life between human beings to assume that "marriage" in the Bible can then be reworked towards a "biblical" understanding of marriage as potentially also between two people of the same sex.

Anonymous said...

Is it really unclear whether the phrase *hard yards* is from farming or sport?

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hard%20yards

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

The 37th Art. does indeed speak of godly Princes, to whom God has given estates to rule; however, the modern secular Parliament does not claim that their "right to rule" comes from God.They claim a mandate from the "people". Indeed, they wish to remove the Name of JESUS from the Parliamentary Prayer. Secular governments are a theft of God's Creation and a false claim to His Power and Authority.

So, when their laws conflict with God's Word as explained by the Church's Formularies, is there any basis for praying for people whose relationships are only recognized by civil law.

If the Church prays a blessing on such a civil marriage which contravenes God's Word, you have certainly,in a underhand and back door way
changed the Church's teaching on marriage; only that nod, nod,wink,wink, we have not.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Malcolm, I enjoy and ponder all your comments. Your last two batches have raised four questions in my mind that a working group might helpfully discuss.

(1) Distinct meta-ethics with Christian origins frame the opposing arguments of opponents and proponents of SSB. Would it be valuable for a working group* to explore and explain them? From afar, it seems that is could be helpful to ACANZP for those on each side to be able to recognise the origin and the appeal of the perspective(s) of the other one(s). Put another way, the mutual incomprehension--

"Authority articulated in scripture is God's chief means of saving the world. How can you be a Christian at all if you fail to see that and obey as I do?"

"Love that transforms the way we see others, even when it disrupts the order of things as they are, is God's chief means of saving the world. How can you be a Christian at all if you do not yet see those with SSA as I do?"

--seems very destructive, and neither side seems capable of answering the questions being put to it by the other.

(2) Would the hard yards be easier if, prior to any further deliberation on a proposed ecclesiastical rite of SSB/SSM, ACANZP first took positions on (a) *what is done that could not be accomplished otherwise when holy matrimony between a man and a woman is solemnised in church*, (b) *whether the church supports the repeal of civil SSM or the criminalisation of homosexual acts*, and (c) *whether it is possible or desirable in this aeon, for the morality of a church to be the same as that of the civil society and state.*

(3a) What is the reason for favourable references to fasting and celibacy in the Bible? (3b) Do biblical references to homosexuality document God's unique negation of a kind of person, or are they the organic outworking of an ethos of procreation? (3c) Can the sexual ethic found in the New Testament be better characterised as a code or as an account of the spiritual consequences of virtue and vice?

(4a) What mission is better served by remaining a unified church than by being sister churches with a warm but ecumenical relationship? (4b) How far should ACANZP's position cohere with those of the Anglican Communion and of other churches in New Zealand?

Perhaps you have other hard yards in mind than these. But these questions do seem less exhausting than the leap to a final conclusion.

Bowman Walton

* I have in mind a group like the one that in 1938 reported under the title, "Doctrine in the Church of England: The Report of the Commission on Christian Doctrine Appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 1922."

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, with all due respect - for a person who, as an Evangelical Christian might be expected to attribute equal importance to every verse of Scripture - how can you belittle the importance of the phrase "Marriage Feast of the Lamb", according it to be of less value than the other references to Marriage as being between 'one man and one woman". Either the word has the same implication for a 'special relationship' of similar spiritual benefit or it does not. If not, then why is it used in Scripture?

The most important thing about marriage - certainly in the context of the relationship between Christ and the Church - cannot properly be understood as strictly gender specific. Otherwise, the 'Bride of Christ' would be purely female! In fact, this relationship includes both male and female children of God - without reference to either gender or sexuality.

This would resonate with the fact that binary gender relationships - capable of procreation - are for this world only, and should be treated as such. They are not of 'eternal' significance, nor should they be treated as such. Otherwise, we really would be concerned about 'which wife' we would be related to in heaven if, a widow/er had remarried; or, like some characters in the Bible, had married more than once. Our primary relationship, as the children of God is to God in Christ. Our earthly relationships are only a foretaste of our fuller relationship, in Christ.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, with regard to Malcolm's earlier reference to the possibility of congregations/dioceses being 'ghettoised' by the implications of our Church agreeing to the Blessing of Same-Sex Marriages; this has NOT happened with our Church's agreement to the solemnisation of a second marriage after divorce. No one has ever forced an Anglican priest in ACANZP to perform such a ceremony. Nor has any priest/congregation been 'ghettoised' because of its refusal to conduct such a (re)-marriage.

Why should a Church Blessing of a legally-constituted marriage (n.B. not a 'solemnisation rite of marriage) become a source of 'ghettoisation' now?

That is, of course; if divorce and remarriage is seen as acceptable by those who feel they would be marginalised, while a same-sex legal relationship is not acceptable, then it would seem that a degree of 'culpability' seems to have been accepted and lived with.

To put this point briefly; it would seem that con/evos can live with the remarriage of divorced persons (acceptable?) while rejecting a legally-recognised S/S/ Married couple (unacceptable?). There's no getting around this problem for its presenters.

Father Ron Smith said...

" Secular governments are a theft of God's Creation and a false claim to His Power and Authority." - Malcolm Falloon -

Oh dear, Malcolm! What universe do you think you inhabit? There will come a time for absolute unworldliness - but not in this present age! Ordinary people have to live with what we are given by divine providence. (By the way, did you vote in the last election?).

Malcolm Falloon said...

Peter,

This is the second time that Ron Smith has wrongly attributed words to me. We probably share the same universe, but I'm not so sure about the same planet!

Malcolm

Father Ron Smith said...

Sorry, Malcolm. You and Greg say such similar things on this thread that I do sometimes forget which of you has contributed which remarkable comment. Mea culpa! I hope you were not too acutely embarrassed by my attribution.

Anonymous said...

Peter referred to Rowan Williams's lecture The Body's Grace--

http://www.anglican.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/the-bodys-grace.pdf

John P Richardson has offered this critique of it in The Churchman--

https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/churchman/121-02_107.pdf

BW

Anonymous said...

"Secular governments are a theft of God's Creation and a false claim to His Power and Authority."

-- Glen Young to Peter Carrell, 17th November, 8 am.

BW

Anonymous said...

What is a grizzle? Is it a sort of anti-derp? ;-)

"...there can be no rest for our church if the working group report continues to avoid addressing the theological implications of its proposals on the doctrine of marriage."

Forgive me, esteemed brothers in the Lord, but I have been listening to these same arguments on That Topic since 1976. Each side-argument has been discussed here before, and sometimes in a stronger form. Although there are flashes of insight here from each of us, these presentations are too hasty, crude, and unresponsive to past rebuttal to be convincing.

In contrast, Bosco's plea of exhaustion, Peter's proposal for a moratorium, and Malcolm's critique of that proposal arrest this reader's attention with something comparatively new and perhaps urgent. Bryden too has often objected that SSB/M was being finessed pragmatically rather than seriously examined theologically. But how would such an investigation be done and what might it accomplish?

My 9:45 proposes a calm investigation of some sub-topics that are relatively tractable, upstream of the main disagreement, and able to inspire a degree of mutual respect despite probable disagreement. But surely there are other and perhaps better ways to structure the inquiry. What might they be?

Bowman Walton

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

Yes, I did say that secular government is a theft of God's Creation, and a misappropriation of His Power and Authority. How do they explain, how all the Universe is here,as it is; and acts as it does. Is there any plan or purpose for the Universe and how did life originate? Is man just the smartest [?] of the animals?

Maybe my faith does not alien with the beliefs of the progressive modernists; who see no issue, with having a form of Christianity; founded on the shifting sands of intellectualism.

But give me the Faith of our Fathers; the Creeds ["We believe in one God,the Father, the Almighty,maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen"]. He who gave Eve to Adam in the first recorded marriage.And His Only Begotten Son, our LORD and SAVIOUR,JESUS CHRIST; who said:" Have you not read that He who made them in the beginning, made them male and female...".

The secular parliamentarians seem to believe that the world and all of life are at their disposal to do with, as they please. Sadly, it appears that the General Synod of the ACANZP share their beliefs and wish to join them.

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Bowman

The reason why SSB can never be resolved theologically is because the proponents view homosexual relationships through a neo-Marxist progressive liberal framework, while orthodox Christians are saying, ‘What does Scripture teach us’?

To break this open, the neo-Marxist progressive liberal approaches the question using the following presuppositions:

First is the Marxist narrative of power and powerlessness. The institution of the church represents the domain of the powerful, homosexuals being a minority are powerless and therefore automatically qualify for victim status. Consequently, the institution must acknowledge its role as an oppressor, repent, elevate and support the claims of the victims as a matter of justice and restitution.

Second, we have pseudo-science that claims sexual orientation is fixed at birth, whereas gender identity is fluid. Homosexual orientation is therefore not a question of personal choice, or of nurture, nor does it rest on any spectrum of human desire. It’s a binary birth identity. To marginalize someone for being gay, is akin to marginalizing someone for being black. Marriage equality is an issue analogous to the civil rights issues of the 1960’s. To question any of this is to be a hater, a homophobe, a clan sympathizer.

Third the cultural zeitgeist has elevated personal choice, equality and diversity as the pre-eminent virtues of social inclusion. To make a truth claim that separates sheep from goats, the righteous from the unrighteous simply based upon ‘who they love’ makes about as much sense to them as gassing the Jews at Dresden.

So, where shall we begin?

Glen Young said...


Hi Brendan,

Was it Rudyard Kipling who said:" The East is the East and the West is the West;and never shall the twain meet".

There are houses built on rock and houses built on sand. All the talking on earth will not change the foundation of the house which is built on sand.The ACANZP was built on rock,[the legitimate Doctrine as defined in the Constitution 1857]; but now the house movers turn up and want to relocate it onto a paddock of sand,[radical inclusion at any cost].

And now the shifty house movers are saying;"Trust us,we have all sorts of specs and the new site is more up market than the old one".

The issue will never go away, because the whole Identity and Purpose of the Church is being viewed from two diametrically opposed foundations,God and man.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
I am publishing your last comment because it is a view I know a number of people hold.
It is simply not true that Anglicans I know keen to see SSB approved are under the spell of neo-Marxism.
They are uniformly seeing fellow people with the eyes of compassion, a compassion they have because of their love for Jesus.
We will have a split in our church if we cannot do better than this kind of non-understanding of what makes brothers and sisters in Christ think what they think and do what they do.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
In line with my comment above to Brendan, perhaps a starting point for theological work would be willingness to understand each other.

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Peter

I accept that your friends who support SSB would never articulate their acceptance of same sex relationships using the philosophical and cultural framework that I have outlined. Most would be incapable of expressing it in those terms. They support SSB as you have expressed it, ‘because of their love for Jesus’.

I fully understand that.

What we believe and how we live, and whom we love is informed by a range of influences including the cultural framework within which we live and move and have our being. From these influences, we intuit what is good, what is just, and what is reasonable. It may be from Scripture, and/or it may be from those with whom we have a close and loving relationship. It may be politicians or clergy whom we deeply respect. It may be our friends, our parents or even the blog posts we read, but usually it’s a combination of all the above.

It is inescapable that those Anglicans who ‘love Jesus’ and who support same sex relationships, and in this grouping I include your good self, are at the very least somewhat conflicted. These Christians know the Biblical narrative, they know that homosexual relationships are condemned by Scripture, and yet, and yet…. For them the pull of the implicit cultural narrative I have articulated in my previous post trumps the explicit Biblical narrative.

It’s a sad reflection on the church, but there it is. Many who respond to your blog have expressed this, most recently Glen in his post. ‘Choose this day whom you will serve’ comes to mind.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

For me, your remarks to Brendan are both confusing and miss the mark. It is not that I don't have a willingness to understand the proponents of SSB; nor is it a lack of compassion which causes me to hold firm. I understand only too well that the issue will not go away, if General Synod gives the blessing for blessings. There will be the claim that the Church blessing SSM [civil]; is recognition that such unions are "RIGHT ORDERED" and are not an impediment to Ordination.There has already been one unsuccessful case brought before the Human Rights Tribunal on this matter. I have the records of the case here and it is interesting to read the evidence put forward by
+ Ross and ++ Phillip.I do wonder if they say the make the same points to General Synod.

Are you claiming that those who back SSB, [site unseen and no promises from the house movers that they will repair any shoddy workmanship]; hold their
compassion, because of their love for Jesus, when there is no Scriptural reference proving Jesus held that view. His disciples say unto Him,"If the case of the man be so with his wife,it is good not to marry".Matt.19:10.They obviously felt that Jesus did not show a lot of compassion. But He said unto them: "All men cannot receive this saying, save they unto whom it is given". The servant can never be greater than the master.

Jesus said unto him: "If thou wilt be perfect,go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor,and thou shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me". But when the young man heard that saying,he went away sorrowful;
for he great possessions. Matt 19:16-30. Did Jesus call him back and cut a deal with him, say 50/50? Nope. Jesus had bottom lines.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen and Brendan
I also accept that the wider culture we live in influences the way we think and thus the values we declare we hold, and for Christians the way we read Scripture will be influenced by culture.
Nevertheless in my experience I have cherished friends in our church - on both sides of the debate re SSB - who are wonderful Christians, share many theological understandings in common, except divide on SSB, and on that matter may be influenced above all by the fact that it is their own son or daughter who is gay, or even their own good selves.
I want to impute more responsibility in such people to their understanding of Jesus and their love for those they know best than to dear Karl Marx!
I also observe that just as fine upstanding Christian friends become very understanding when faced with the divorce of one of their own children, an observable similar level of compassion comes over fine upstanding Christian friends when they discover that one of their own children is gay.
Easier in my view to suppose that parental love is deeply influential than to wonder about the connection with a bearded fella who spent endless days in the British Library!

As for Jesus, you will be well aware that an argument favouring SSB works from the love the centurion had for his servant whom Jesus healed (without comment about the relationship); another observes the close bond between Jesus and the Beloved Disciple [one need not jump to any conclusions re Jesus' own sexuality when reflecting on that bond]; and if neither of those arguments work for you, to paraphrase another Marx (Groucho), I have more arguments to sell you! (Seriously: it is the compassion of Jesus, his refusal to break the bruised reed, which moves Christians to support SSB because that offers a way of affirming a minority group in our society who have been treated terribly by the majority through human history, with that affirmation including the possibility of a stable, faithful permanent relationship which is open and transparent - I am sure I do not need to tell you that when societies marginalise gay and lesbian people an outcome is a closeted but often promiscuous lifestyle.

In particular, I ask whether Christian churches are finding that gay and lesbian Christians are UNIFORMLY joining because they relish the chance to live celibately with supportive fellowship or whether a few are doing that and the majority have simply left feeling that churches are unsafe, inhospitable places for gay and lesbian Christians.

In other words, Glen and Brendan, we conservatives may be right in our understanding of Scripture but unconscious of the effects of what we proclaim. Talking of Jesus I do wonder whether he might critique us conservatives for hanging on to the "letter" of Scripture and missing the "spirit" of Scripture. He did have some form in that area when he walked on earth!

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

May I repeat what I have said on your site before:"There are two errors which the Church can fall into ;]a]Truthless Grace and [b] Graceless Truth". What needs to change in the ACANZP is it's Pastoral Care. Pastoral Care does not become Best Practice by removing all boundaries and restraints around it. But what is being considered by the working party is an open invitation to chaos.
There is a ton of difference between sensitively welcoming gay people into the Church and what is being promoted. I have no desire to marginalise the gay people but I have no desire to see Ordination changed though back door
processes. You speak of gays leaving the ACANZP and about the letter and Spirit of Scripture; what about the Henderson and Hamilton parishes which were torn asunder by adamant actions of two Bishops.Where was all the wonderful understanding and promotion of UNITY then? It strikes me that there has been no honesty and integrity in the way the issue has handled, or what is all about; I'm sorry to say Peter.

Brendan McNeill said...

Peter

It is to draw an extremely long bow to imply a sexual relationship between the centurion and his servant whom Jesus healed, and even if they were in a sexual relationship, Jesus wasn’t asked to bless it, neither did he volunteer to do so. He simply responded to the centurion’s faith by healing his sick servant.

I find it disturbing that you would imply, even obliquely that there was an explicit sexual component in Jesus relationship with any of his disciples. While fully human he was formed by Scripture and led by the power of the Holy Spirit. To imply that Christ was given to homosexual expression with his disciples is an obscenity.

You have just provided two examples of reading your own cultural presuppositions into the text.

It’s my observation that the church in the West, including the Anglicans has generally succeeded in producing Christians who ‘love Jesus’ but has failed miserably in producing disciples.

The Jesus that much of the church ‘loves’ is one formed predominantly in their own image; inclusive, ready to fulfill our every need and to affirm our every desire. Yes, He is compassionate and will not break a bruised reed, but he began his ministry following on from John the Baptist, calling everyone to repentance for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Malachi speaks prophetically of Jesus in chapter 3:2 “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.”

John the Baptist speaks of Jesus in Matthew 3:11 ““After me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

We cannot embrace the compassionate Jesus without also embracing the Jesus who is God’s expression of divine justice, righteousness and truth.

If I am guilty of ‘hanging onto the letter of the law’ with (say) Leviticus 18:22, and have somehow missed the spirit of Scripture, then I stand with the Apostle Paul who saw fit to expose sexual immorality, and to hand the sinner over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh, in order that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5)

With whom do you stand?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Brendan!

"So, where shall we begin?"

I think my 9:45 has its advantages. "[It] proposes a calm investigation of some sub-topics that are relatively tractable, upstream of the main disagreement, and able to inspire a degree of mutual respect despite probable disagreement."

But you and Glen have identified a few sub-topics that I missed, for which I thank you both.

(1b) Do souls recognise the applicability of words in the scriptures to their several circumstances through a hearty process or a mechanical one?
(1c) What is the wisdom that St Paul expects to grow in believers, and on which he counsels them to rely in moral crises?
(1d) How can a soul in Christ distinguish that which God gave him to distinguish him from others from that in him which is flesh of the passsing aeon?
(1e) How can a soul in Christ distinguish true from false self-knowledge?
(1f) In the teaching of Jesus, are commandments from God arbitrary exercises of his inscrutable will that do not make sense to the souls obliged to obey them, or are they healing prescriptions that complete their effect as they are understood in the light of the Father's eternal will?

(3d) Must a person ignore empirical observation to be guided by the Holy Spirit through the scriptures?
(3e) Must all persons be constitutively the same for the gospel of Jesus Christ in scripture to be true?
(3f) Do the scriptures indicate that there were, are, and can never be persons with a fixed ans exclusive attraction to persons of the same sex from birth?
(3g) Hypothetically, would the existence of persons with a fixed and exclusive attraction to persons of the same sex from birth be incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ in scripture?
(3h) Hypothetically, would the existence of persons with a fixed and exclusive attraction to persons of the same sex from birth be incompatible with the credibility of the scriptures?
(3i) Hypothetically, if no souls were lost, would the gospel of Jesus Christ in scripture be intelligible or effective?
(3j) Does the Bible contain inferences from observed nature?

My phrase *the gospel of Jesus Christ in scripture* is a Johannine mouthful, but it distinguishes reading the scriptures from within a desire to do the eternal will of the Father from reading the scriptures as a lawyer might construe a statute.

Anonymous said...

"(2c) Is it possible or desirable in this aeon, for the morality of a church to be the same as that of the civil society and state?"

Your description of the proponents of SSB as neo-marxists etc, to which Peter objects, captures something that I think has been true, but presents it in a way that can confuse readers here. Some secular proponents of civil SSM do more or less fit your description of them; some churchly proponents of SSM in TEC etc are not easily distinguished from them. I do not think anybody associated with say, the Episcopal Divinity School, would want to disavow your description.

But this is an effect of the way churches have usually avoided sustained *theological* reflection on late modern homosexual acts and being. Had they acted as if God were real and theology therefore unavoidable for believers in God, then, in a very different debate from the one that we have had, we would have seen an actually Christian debate that is mostly not reducible to the secular one that happened in courts and parliaments. There would still have been disagreements, factions, etc, but not necessarily the ones we have today. My (2abc) are meant to make the differences between the Two Kingdoms and hence the two debates clearer.

Peter's objection points to proof that these differences are real. In my world as in his, some Anglicans regarded as conservative on religious questions take an unsystematic, empirical, prudential, and so provisional position that persons who claim to have been gay from birth simply have to be believed about their own bodily states. Put another way, just because they are rather conservative, these Anglicans doubt that the Holy Spirit has put a window into men's souls that churches can peer through to correct their self-knowledge, mistaken though that often is. We can take note of the spiritual fruit that we see from a soul, but even that is not perfect knowledge of it. This critique should sound familiar; it is what they have always said about *enthusiasm* and *conversionism*. Such Anglicans would cheerfully admit that their skeptical sword can cut both ways in a truly churchly debate on That Topic and that is what would make them an unpolarised third voice in it.

Bowman Walton

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, I detect the nitty-gritty of the Gospel (Good News) of our Lord Jesus Christ in your response to the sad obduracy of Glen and Brendan - our resident legal advisors on this thread. My immediate response is to re-iterate the thoughts of priest-poet George Herbert, which I read aloud to a beloved parishioner recently when I gave him the last rites:

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.

'A guest', I answered, 'worthy to be here:'
Love said 'You shall be he'
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.'
Love took my hand and smiling, did reply;
'Who made the eyes, but I?'

'Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; Let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.'
'And know you not' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'
'My dear, then I will serve.'
'You must sit down,' says Love, "and taste my meat.'
So I did sit and eat.

I find these last two lines (from Jesus), particularly affective, and possibly much more consoling than aany one of us deserves.

Father Ron Smith said...

"You have just provided two examples of reading your own cultural presuppositions into the text." - Brendan McNeill -

Do you not realise, Brendan how hollow this sounds, when it is patently obvious that you are doing precisely the same?

Do you not understand that Peter's cultural presuppositions are from exactly same source as your own? However, his qualifications to discern the true meaning of the Scriptures is surely - at least - equal to your own. Give credit where credit is due. If you think Peter is erring on the side of compassion, he is doing so because this is following the example of Jesus.
"They will know you're my disciples by your Love" (Jesus).

Father Ron Smith said...

"If I am guilty of ‘hanging onto the letter of the law’ with (say) Leviticus 18:22, and have somehow missed the spirit of Scripture, then I stand with the Apostle Paul who saw fit to expose sexual immorality, and to hand the sinner over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh, in order that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5)" - Brendan McNeill -

I, personally, find this statement abhorrent - completely unworthy of any
Minister of the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

"I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth..."

Postscript-- I have commented today simply to agree with Bryden and Malcolm, and in that way with Bosco and Peter. Further comments from me on That Topic will probably be more and more rare. My comments just above should make plain why that necessarily must be-- we need a churchly debate independent of the worldly one; it must engage the theological issues upstream of the troubled confluence. Thus far, no Anglican church has supported that sort of discussion.

Comments here in which A demands to know why B will not just agree with his invincible deductions from unassailable premises are understandable, but again only in light of considerations that are logically and historically far upstream of them. Since nobody has time to follow each such deduction back upland to the spring from whence it came, debate in the lowlands will always be something of a food fight-- messy, unproductive, uncharitable, and ungodly. Every pastoral writer in the NT counsels us to avoid such wrangling.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NP-completeness

Please note that I do not blame Peter or any of my other friends here for the present state of discussion. And when the higher matters are considered as they should be, I will gladly contribute what I can. Meanwhile, we can pray that God will raise leaders who are not afraid to love God and man with the mind.

Apart from ADU, my thinking these days is focused on what sort of koinonia new Christians need in the new situation of the C21.

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Brendan
I think we had better have a progressive Christian/Anglican putting forward arguments since when they are not my own I am not making a very good fist of them!

Yes, law and spirit are intertwined and there are situations in which 1 Cor 5 decisiveness is required. BIshops I have known, whatever their views on That Topic, tend to act decisively when confronted with a certain level of depraved immorality (while acting with care and compassion towards those whose marriages breakdown, and towards those whose orientation does not allow them to marry).

What I would like some comment from you on, since it is the most important point I am trying to make to you, is whether, in the bigger picture of relationships between church and LGBT communities the hard line you are taking is drawing more people to church than it is turning away?

And, please remember, what is at stake here, for me, in this debate, is not whether the hardline or the softline wins: rather it is whether those taking the hardline and those taking the softline are willing to remain in the one church, continuing to engage in conversation about which line is, in fact, faithful to Jesus.

Peter Carrell said...

HI Bowman
I hope you will not despair of the loss of sight here of your appeal for debate about what is upstream rather than what is downstream.
My self-imposed moratorium re That Topic (after this post) does not restrict me posting on the "upstream."

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
There is no doubt that, in general, we get the mix between law and grace (or law and spirit/Spirit) wrong in our church, at least some of the time.
However I do not know enough about the two parish situations (which are, incidentally, different to each other in important respects) to comment on whether the mix was right in the way each party dealt with the situation. I do know enough to know that there seem to be at least two views ...!

Yes, sensitive welcome and inclusion is important. It would be important, wouldn't it, to ask members of the GLBT community whether they feel they are sensitively welcomed and included.

I suspect their response will be to mark us down when we think we have done very well ...

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Bowman

What appears to be missing in Ron’s understanding of Paul’s actions in 1Corithinans 5, and I suspect possibly Peter’s as well, is that Paul’s sanctions against sexual immorality (based on Leviticus 18:8) were motivated by love and compassion towards the individual involved. He was not only concerned about sexual purity in the church, but for this man’s eternal destiny.

True, I have interpreted Paul’s actions such that I believe he would have acted in the same way had the man been involved in a homosexual relationship based on verse 22 of Leviticus 18. Why for example would Paul have less compassion for those involved in homosexual activity in the church, than he demonstrated towards someone in a sexual relationship with his father’s wife when both actions are similarly condemned by Scripture?

The Scriptures tell us that some sins are obvious, leading to certain judgement, but there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. (1 Timothy 5:25). I would have thought transgressing any of the prohibitions in Leviticus 18 was an ‘obvious sin’.

If you believe any of those prohibitions have been abrogated in some way by the introduction of the new convenient, then please enlighten me. I mean that quite sincerely. If we don’t derive our understanding of sexual morality from the Bible in its entirety, how do we know what bits to include and which to exclude?

Again, please enlighten me. This surely is not a difficult question for someone like yourself or Peter or Ron to answer?

My point here is that God’s love demands something from us as believers, perhaps best described though our engagement with grace and truth. Glen canvased this earlier. How can it be loving for a Christian to affirm someone in their sin, when from my reading of Scripture, we should be calling them to repentance?

To your point Peter, I don’t view homosexual practice any differently than other sexual sins (for example). All sinners are welcome in the church, albeit we are all expected to repent and forsake our sins, not to affirm and to bless them.

Should I be concerned that any sinner rejects Christ, or the church because they are offended by a call to repentance? At one level, yes, but am I at liberty to modify the gospel to please the sinner? Again, you tell me.

Anonymous said...

"I hope you will not despair of the loss of sight here of your appeal for debate about what is upstream rather than what is downstream."

No, Peter, I just have to prioritise my time online with care, even when I spend it with friends as good as these.

It is worthwhile to try to identify the upstream assumptions that bedevil downstream discussion, so from time to time I try. My inspiration is the patient work of that 1922 CoE commission on doctrine that reported in 1938.

But even they admitted to a difficult problem: better thought had overtaken the positions that they were trying to reconcile. This could happen to That Topic in the C21 as it happened to the notion of *eucharistic sacrifice* in the C20. For subversive example, what if Romans 1:18-32 really is *prosopoeia*?

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
Two observations about your remarks:
(1) you do not account for the (hypothetical) situation in which Paul knows at Corinth that roughly 40% think he ought to eject the offending homosexual (a la 1 Cor 5:1), 20% don't know what to think, and 40% are aghast that he should even think of such an ejection. Would Paul have been a bit more, let's say, Romans 14 if that were the dynamics of the Corinthian "Down Under" church?
(2) you see the Bible as offering complete guidance re sexual immorality. That does not account for the following:
(a) how we respond to divorce which goes beyond exceptions permitted according to Matthew and 1 Corinthians 7? (Do we follow modern Protestantism or modern Catholicism?)
(b) should artificial contraception be permitted for married couples? At one Lambeth Conference Anglicans were agin it; at the next they were for it; Rome is agin it but, seemingly, many Catholics ignore that teaching? Are they immoral to do so? What guidance does the Bible give?
(c) in recent days certain Republican evangelicals in the States, otherwise very "fundamental" on abortion, homosexuality, have come out in support of older men (say 30+) dating younger women (say 14-15) and drawn support from the example of Mary and Joseph. Is that a right use of the Bible? If it is not, who says so? (Remember: culture might tell you and me that they are nuts but in their "good ol' boys" culture it is, apparently, the right thing to do). I think they are desperately wrong and I assume you do too!

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

As to your first point, the Corinthian church was 100% ‘loud and proud’ about the sinner in their midst. “A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?” 1 Corinthians 5:1-2.

As to whether we should refrain from church discipline because the congregation has a different standard to the one expressed in Scripture, I’ll leave you to judge, but Paul was clearly willing to confront an unrepentant Corinthian Church over sexual sin.

To your second question, Jesus was clear about the legitimate grounds for divorce, albeit he did acknowledge that Moses allowed a broader definition because of their ‘hardness of heart’. On that basis, I believe there are genuine grounds for theological debate, albeit I lean towards Jesus teaching as being definitive on the matter.

The Bible is almost silent on contraception except perhaps around a practice in the OT where a brother was expected to marry his deceased brother’s wife and to father children on his behalf. On balance, I believe It’s not unreasonable for this to be a matter of conscience for Christians.

So yes, the Bible does provide clear guidance on sexual morality / immorality for believers on those issues it speaks to directly. On those it doesn’t speak directly about we are free to exercise our conscience before the Lord.

As to your Republican example, I’m not a big fan of grown men sexually molesting 14 year old girls, as I hope by now you would have intuited.

Peter, in your response to me, you have avoided my question around how Christians determine sexual morality if not from the entire narrative of Scripture? You hinted at taking a straw poll of the congregation in your point (1) which I hope we both think (on reflection) is laughable.

So, when the Bible speaks directly to a specific sexual practice, regardless of it being in the Old or New Testament, does it apply to Christians or not?

HINT: Paul thought the OT sexual prohibitions applied to Christians with the 1 Corinthian 5 example taken from Leviticus.

Do you agree with Pauls actions in 1 Corinthians 5 or did he miss the mark?

Assuming you agree with Paul in this instance, do all of the sexual prohibitions in Leviticus apply to Christians today, or just some of them? If it’s just some of them, on what basis have those that don’t apply been abrogated?

I know you don’t like answering direct questions, but I have honoured your questions with a direct answer. Could I please be extended the same courtesy?

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

When you became a citizen of this wonderful country, did it ever enter your head that there was an expectation that you would live by the country's laws?
If every nation on earth has it's own laws; is it not possible that the Kingdom of God might have some? Why was Lucifer thrown out of Heaven with one third of the Angels? "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee". Ezk 28:12 - 26. "How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations. For thou said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God". Isai. 14:11-32.

Why is it that you attack the person instead of the argument; referring to Brendan's and my blogs as "sad obduracy of our resident legal advisers".If, seeking the wisdom and understanding of the full Nature and Character of God as revealed in His Holy Word; leads to a God, which is not the god of Progressive Christianity, who is simply "ALL LOVE"; so be it.

Father Ron Smith said...

". If we don’t derive our understanding of sexual morality from the Bible in its entirety, how do we know what bits to include and which to exclude?"

How about a wee bit of consistency, Glen, from your understanding of obedience to EVERY WORD of Scripture. What about all the other shibboleth in Leviticus?

And; how do they measure up to the absolute compassion of Jesus, Incarnate Word in his treatment of Sinners in the Gospel? Are you implying that present-day Sinners will need ANOTHER act of Redemption by the Redeemer? Or was the Cross a sign of Redemption for ALL SINNERS throughout salvation history? My own understanding is that all that is missing from the grace of Redemption, is our willing acceptance of our NEED of it. The task of the Church, the Body of Christ is to alert us to that need. Not to condemn us - that is God's job, not yours or mine. I, as a priest, am never given the license to consign a Sinner into the hands of the Devil. That is the Devil's job.

Liturgy said...

"Jesus was clear about the legitimate grounds for divorce" Brendan McNeill

I would think that Jesus was clear about divorce. But I suspect it's not the clarity that Brendan thinks it was. A little more humility, and a little less generalisation, and some fewer straw men wouldn't hurt in the comments on this site would they?

Both in Mark 10:11-12 and in Luke 16:18, Jesus is pretty straightforward about divorce:

"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

This seems to fit in with the usual teaching style we have come to expect from Jesus, and with his (strong) contrasting with interpretations by the Pharisees (who, as we’ll see below, allowed divorce and remarriage).

Matthew 5:32, however, appears to add a (single – note that) exception:

"I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity (πορνεία porneia), causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery (μοιχάω moichaō)."

And that “exception” is repeated in Matthew 19:9.

Let’s leave to someone on a higher pay grade the debate whether or not this “exception” comes from the mouth of the (radical) historical Jesus, and just treat the text as inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

Clearly, then, the issue is – how to translate πορνεία (porneia) [not forgetting that the Gospel’s Greek text is itself a translation of what Jesus would have originally said]. Put simply, πορνεία means illicit sexual intercourse in general (Demosthenes, 403, 27; 433, 25): Acts 15:20, 29; Acts 21:25.

And here’s the crunch (again put as simply as I can):

Position A holds that Jesus is, in Matthew’s single “exception”, talking about the couple being in a πορνεία (porneia) relationship with each other. In other words, this couple consists of a brother and sister, or some other relationship that cannot be married. We see this use of the word πορνεία (porneia) in, for example, 1 Cor 5:1:

"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality (πορνεία porneia) among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife."

This interpretation, Position A,

* is consistent with Jesus’ teaching as presented elsewhere (and Paul’s “from the Lord“),
* makes sense of why, in Matthew 19, the Pharisees are “putting Jesus to the test” (the followers of Hillel held that divorce could be for any reason; the followers of Shammai contended it could be only for adultery; seeing on which of these two sides Jesus stood is hardly putting him to the test!),
* explains the disciples apparent shock in Matthew 19:10,
* provides the context for Jesus talking about eunuchs,
* and explains why πορνεία (porneia) rather than the ordinary word “adultery” (μοιχάω moichaō) is being used.

Position B holds that Jesus is referring to one of the partners in the marriage having intercourse with someone other than their spouse. There are two responses to Position B.

B1 would understand that Jesus then allows separation from bed and board (this is mentioned by St Paul, St Augustine, and St Jerome). It is not licence to marry another.

B2 would allow remarriage by the innocent partner. To suggest any other interpretation, that Jesus, in this text, would allow you to divorce if you commit adultery first, is patently absurd.

Some adherents of sola scriptura who want to allow remarriage after divorce stretch the least likely interpretation, B2, and stretch it to breaking point by suggesting that Jesus is here giving an example of an exception. Their logic is: Jesus made an exception therefore we can make more exceptions.

Brendan can pick whichever position is pleasing in his own eyes.

But let's PLEASE stop with the Side X just follows God and the Bible and Side Y just follows Marx and the World and the Devil.

Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

Brendan, I cannot help but note that your objections in the field of human morality have all to do with sex. IO cannot help but think that this is for you the very greatest area of sinfulness mentioned in the Bible? Worse, say. than hypocrisy (like Roy the Republican in the U.S.); injustice (like Mugabe's shennanigans in Zimbabwe or the Nigerian Church's collusion with the State in their persecution of Gays and their families); or greed (those Pastors in mega-Churches who make a rich living out of discipling the poor and the needy? What is it about loving sexual relationships that you hate so much, and which you think Jesus would outrighly condemn?

One further question, Brendan; would you commend all divorcees who remarry into the hands of Satan? No ducking this one, Brendan, I need an answer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brendan,

Thank you for your question. My reply this morning must be more brief than I would like.

We did discuss your question during your absence from Peter's threads. In that discussion I pointed out that while Jesus himself was a Torah conservative who opposed innovations of the Pharisees and did not personally even abrogate laws of kashrut (kosher) or circumcision, the idea that the law is in a sense prophecy that he fulfilled is central to his identity as the Messiah. The obvious examples of such prophetic fulfillment of the law are the Sabbath and the Temple; a subtler example is in his replies on marriage. "Fulfillment" leads to a replacement in Christ, which may to our eyes be very different (eg the eucharist) or the same but changed (eg abrogation of Mosaic divorce) or simply a reinterpretation (eg St Mark 7).

Therefore, an argument that a sexual rule in scripture (eg Leviticus) does not count among Christians is not unthinkable, but it has to follow the same pattern to make sense. Here, the challenge seems to be that one has to find the prophetic point of both Jesus's own celibacy and his balancing concern for children before one can get down to the details of rules that excite people today. In taking that up, we are stuck in a bottleneck now by the somewhat benighted debates of the last century on birth control.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

Side X do follow God and the Bible, albeit in many cases very poorly and we might not get the Lord’s smile. Side Y, on the other hand do use Marxist line-drawing arguments and appeal to the World’s new norms as if they were self-evident truths. Where is the serpent ? It probably has other families to destroy and has moved on.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen, Brendan, Ron
On "resident legal advisors": yes, a bit personal, but no matter how much (for instance) the spirit of Scripture is brought up, Glen and Brendan, you have kept coming back to remind us of the ongoing application of the law of Scripture. I feel there is a cap which fits ... so let that one past the goal keeper. Just to mix metaphors :)

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Brendan at 6.51 pm [1/2]
In order to respond to your request for directness in response I am (so to speak!) fisking your whole comment. For (I hope) clarity, the first word or two and the last word or two in my reply will be in CAPS.

"As to your first point, the Corinthian church was 100% ‘loud and proud’ about the sinner in their midst. “A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?” 1 Corinthians 5:1-2.

TRUE SO let me put what I am trying to say a little differently. There are times when a congregation is completely off the rails and you or me or the Apostle Paul rightly should take a Martin Luther Here I Stand stand and challenge the error. I respect that you think ACANZP is in such a situation. I think, however, that we are in a different situation, akin to Romans 14, where two (or more) sides have strong, unresolved views on a matter (including dispute as to whether the matter matters or not). Thus, I am not as confident as you that I know how Paul would speak to ACANZP ABOUT IT.

As to whether we should refrain from church discipline because the congregation has a different standard to the one expressed in Scripture, I’ll leave you to judge, but Paul was clearly willing to confront an unrepentant Corinthian Church over sexual sin.

To your second question, Jesus was clear about the legitimate grounds for divorce, albeit he did acknowledge that Moses allowed a broader definition because of their ‘hardness of heart’. On that basis, I believe there are genuine grounds for theological debate, albeit I lean towards Jesus teaching as being definitive on the matter.

I RESPECT YOUR conviction on the matter. I am sure you will read Bosco Peters' comment above re the complexity OF THE MATTER.

The Bible is almost silent on contraception except perhaps around a practice in the OT where a brother was expected to marry his deceased brother’s wife and to father children on his behalf. On balance, I believe It’s not unreasonable for this to be a matter of conscience for Christians.

IT IS NOT AS simple as that. One could reasonably, and biblically oppose contraception on the grounds that the command to go forth and multiply still applies (e.g. Jesus never abrogated it). There is also a strong theological argument about the procreative intention for sex to be respected by sex always being open to procreation, an argument (as I understand it) that drives forward Roman opposition to CONTRACEPTION.

So yes, the Bible does provide clear guidance on sexual morality / immorality for believers on those issues it speaks to directly. On those it doesn’t speak directly about we are free to exercise our conscience before the Lord.

ERRRR! AAARGH! The Bible says nothing about sex with children; nothing indicative about a right and proper age for marriage; indeed seems to imply (as in the case of Mary and Joseph) that a girl might be ready for marriage at the age of puberty. We are seeing "conscience" being exercised in the Moore controversy in the States right now. I suggest we need more than "free to exercise our conscience before the Lord" on matters that the Bible does not provide clear guidance on. We need considered THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION, BY THE CHURCH, INFORMED BY ASSOCIATED THEOLOGIES OF RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY.

As to your Republican example, I’m not a big fan of grown men sexually molesting 14 year old girls, as I hope by now you would have intuited.

I CLEARLY presumed you shared my distaste for the perverted fundamentalism we see reported on in the States. but your comment does not demonstrate how you use the Bible to undergird that distaste. SEE COMMENT IMMEDIATELY ABOVE.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Brendan at 6.51 pm [2/2]

"Peter, in your response to me, you have avoided my question around how Christians determine sexual morality if not from the entire narrative of Scripture? You hinted at taking a straw poll of the congregation in your point (1) which I hope we both think (on reflection) is laughable.

So, when the Bible speaks directly to a specific sexual practice, regardless of it being in the Old or New Testament, does it apply to Christians or not?

HINT: Paul thought the OT sexual prohibitions applied to Christians with the 1 Corinthian 5 example taken from Leviticus.

Do you agree with Pauls actions in 1 Corinthians 5 or did he miss the mark?

Assuming you agree with Paul in this instance, do all of the sexual prohibitions in Leviticus apply to Christians today, or just some of them? If it’s just some of them, on what basis have those that don’t apply been abrogated?

I know you don’t like answering direct questions, but I have honoured your questions with a direct answer. Could I please be extended the same courtesy?"

ACTUALLY I agree with you that sexual morality is determined "from the entire narrative of Scripture"! It is that entire narrative that helps us formulate moral principles regarding (e.g.) divorce, contraception, paedophilia. In some instances there is pretty much a straight line from OT through NT to today's situation (e.g. adultery is always wrong); in some instances what the OT permits the NT forbids (or at least constrains) and the church mostly agrees still today (notable example is polygamy which some churches today, esp. in Africa, have to work around a little, acknowledging that while polygamy is forbidden to a (single or so far only once married) member of the church, there may be converts to the faith who are multiply married and for the second, third etc wives of whom there would be economic and social cruelty involved if the church insisted on divorcing the extra wives). In the case of homosexuality, our debate is precisely because the straight line from OT through NT to the church today is accepted by some [including me] and not by others. Those who do not accept it effectively are saying that the prohibitions of Scripture do not cover the case (because not directly reflected on there) of the couple who enter a permanent, faithful life partnership. [Re a question you raise about Leviticus, Leviticus 18:19 receives no confirming clarity in the NT; and Leviticus 18:16 raises an interesting question whether it applies when the brother dies, as another part of Scripture is keen on (so called) Levirate marriage to assist the retention of property in the one family. I mention these NOT to discuss them but to make a point that Leviticus 18 is not a set of texts that apply for the whole of history WITHOUT ANY QUESTIONS BEING RAISED.]

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
Isn't that oversimplifying things?
Yes, on some matters there are two sides, one of which may be over-confident, over-zealous, over-legalistic in its understanding of God's will and the other may be imbued with Marxist stuff it never realised it was imbibing from Mother Culture's nurturing milk; but do current controversies over (e.g. divorce/eucharist or homosexuality) boil down to two sides?
Is there no room for a third side trying to find a middle way (Francis on one, me on the other)? :)

If we bring the devil into things then the devil has made a lot of mischief from conservatisms which deter people from the door of the church ... Francis (at least) seems to me (and many others!) to be trying to find a way to avoid that deterrence. In the specific case of his own church, to reach out to Catholics who are lost currently to the Mass and who are not going to be brought back by (say) discounts on the cost of annulment.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Well then, what about the "sad obduracy of our resident libertine adviser".He continually combats any suggestion, that God expects Christians to keep His Commandments; with sermons on "LOVE which covers as multitude of sins". What an easy out for everyone;just join one of certain ACANZP congregations; and you can carry on your old sinful habits, because God does not expect you to change.That, Peter, is the ramification of motion 29/30. No wonder the ACANZP is losing ground to other denominations.

Brendan McNeill said...

Thank you Peter

One of the challenges of discussing homosexual practice in the light of Scripture on your blog, is that the shepherds of SSB want to respond with ‘yeah but what about divorce eh? What about pedophilia hmm? And contraception, yeah what about that?’

Never the less, I thank you for being clear about your own view that there is a ‘straight line’ between the OT and the NT on homosexual practice. I’m assuming no pun intended.

I do lament that you have put your advocacy into supporting SSB, and even the ordination of those in homosexual relationships, rather than in support of your theological convictions.

If homosexual practice is sinful, as we both agree, and the wages of sin is death, then it’s difficult to see how SSB and the ordination of those in homosexual relationships is God’s ‘good and perfect will’ for the individuals involved or for the church at large.

Sometimes we must recognise that something is broken beyond repair. Could a church that is determined to bless a practice that God has deemed detestable be such a thing?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
Yes, obduracy abounds here and the grace of the moderator also abounds!
I do not think "libertine" is fair to Ron ("liberty", "love" would be fairer) but I will also let that past the goalkeeper as it is part of a larger exchange about the role of law, our freedom in Christ and how we deal with those who see application of the law continuing and those who do not.

I do not think that ACANZP is losing ground to other denominations because of the question of homosexuality [I do think it is losing ground for all sorts of reasons, including its general love affair with progressive theologies]. My sense from talking with church leaders in other denominations is that (i) most denominations are quietly wrestling with these matters and are grateful that the heat of public discussion is being borne by Anglicans; (ii) some of those denominations are also looking to see where Anglicans end up on these matters and may (again, quietly) follow our lead.

Sure, some Anglicans are leaving because of a perception that ACANZP is progressive on this matter but my point in this thread is that there are potential Anglicans not joining us because of conservatism also at play in ACANZP and (I gather) a few Anglicans leaving because of that conservatism. A zero sum game?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
My response above citing divorce etc, Bosco's too is not "homosexuality, what about?" but "Scripture is straightforward opn sex. No, actually, it is more complex than that."

As for the Anglican church: a very strange and complex social organism, within which there are few straight lines ... did I tell you about how you can get funding for educational projects? :)

Liturgy said...

"one has to find the prophetic point of both Jesus's own celibacy" Bowman Walton

Yes - with an argument from silence and a reliance on some traditions, one certainly cannot find any reference to Jesus's own celibacy, prophetic or otherwise, sola scriptura!

Blessings

Bosco

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

I can only summise what Ron believe because he has declined to answer any question I have put to him.He seems to believe it is his right to ask and not answer.

Surely the "Love Affair with Progressive Theologies"; should be considered ADULTEROUS and discarded. But is this not where the issue of SSM/SSB springs from. Can Christ be married to a Church who believes that homosexuality is not sin, when His Word quite clearly says it is.[Rev]. Perhaps the grace of the moderator might abound a bit wider than Christ's.

Anonymous said...

Curses, Bosco. May a plague of annoying Jehovah's Witnesses hang by your door.

https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/was-jesus-married/

BW

Anonymous said...

Maybe it would be better if you all had a pillow fight in a churchyard somewhere? Advantages--

(a) Whacking someone with a pillow is the same as whacking someone with a coercive question, but it feels so much better!

(b) Battering people with pillows accomplishes just as much as arguments that attack the moral sentiments of other people, but possibly does less harm.

(c) Pillow fights (like Jesus's wife) are never mentioned in scripture but (unlike unproductive wrangling) they are not prohibited there.

;-)

BW

Anonymous said...

Fathers Peter and Ron have identified three more upstream questions that I missed in my reply to Malcolm--

(1g) What considerations determine the importance of SSB relative to all the other concerns that might reasonably claim the attention of this church?
(1h) If possible, name five concerns with a stronger claim on the attention of this church, and the five concerns with the next strongest claims.
(1i) How is sexual morality in Christ similar to and different from the rest of morality in Christ?

And, given the popularity of exegetical arguments hereabouts, why not this--

(3k) Is Romans 1:18-32 *prosopoeia*?

Warning: If you do not answer all of my direct questions right now with direct and well-defended answers, then... absolutely nothing will happen to you, and we will remain friends.

BW

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Bosco

“one certainly cannot find any reference to Jesus's own celibacy, prophetic or otherwise, sola scriptura!” - Bosco

I’m wondering if some of our difficulty has arisen because you are talking about a different Jesus?

The Jesus of Scripture was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he fasted for forty days and forty nights, at the end of which he was tempted by the devil. It is recorded that this Jesus resisted the devil’s temptations with the Word of God. (Matthew 4:1-11)

When speaking of the Biblical Jesus, Hebrews 4:15 says:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

And then there are Jesus words:

"Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19)

To suggest that the Jesus of Scripture might have been anything other than celibate, is to conclude:

(a) That he succumbed to temptation (refuted by Matthew 4, Hebrews 4:15)
(b) Was disobedient to the Father (refuted by John 5:19, Phil 2:8)
(c) Or that the Father led him into an illicit sexual relationship. (absurd)

But the Jesus you refer to is more ambiguous, may have engaged in illicit sex. Probably did.

Bryden Black said...

I take up somewhat Bowman’s cue re asking a series of questions - but first the umbrella idea under which they are all to be couched: A Conversation Waiting to Begin by Oliver O’Donovan. [(SCM, 2009); published in the USA as Church in Crisis: The Gay Controversy and the Anglican Communion (Cascade Books, 2008). This is a nuanced and vital exposition, not to be missed - despite its brief size (120+ pages). Couched originally in the form of seven “Sermons on the Subject of the Day” (after JH Newman) on the Fulcrum website, these chapters condense O’Donovan’s typically trenchant ability to reframe fundamental questions. “Certain older assumptions and ways of coping that served Anglicans well in the past have now failed. Nothing will do but that we bend our minds to the task of thinking deeply together, asking basic and open-ended questions about the challenges we face and the authority we acknowledge.”]

1. The first question regards any moratorium. While I have a certain sympathy with the likes of Peter and Bosco - absolutely NOT! Our conversations have barely begun! What’s 40 years (after BW’s 1976) in the life of the Church?! It’s a blip. Look how long it took the Early Church to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity; and that too precisely in the teeth of basic cultural opposition, which very paradigm itself needed overturning. Our current dilemmas are the exact counterpart: what is a due Christian anthropology? And these questions are truly, technically basic: for ours is an Incarnational Faith through and through. That is why I disagree with the Canadians and their St Michael Report: we are dealing with “core doctrine” here (even while they do say our differences are indeed “theological/doctrinal” and not just “pastoral”, and certainly not adiaphora).

Some may try to rebut my claim regarding the parallels of a “basic cultural opposition”. Well; perhaps a read of Robert Reilly’s evidence in Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything (Ignatius Press, 2014) will help change your mind. Nor is he alone: both Ephraim Radner and Philip Turner in The Fate of Communion: The Agony of Anglicanism and the Future of a Global Church (Eerdmans, 2006) have assembled a trenchant collection of essays whose conclusions are similar. And of course we may rise above our own cultural paradigms: that is exactly what Athanasius did vis-à-vis Arius, both of the 4th C, in the light of the Gospel’s revelation!

2. Since good theology and good pastoral care are of course the exact flip-side of each other, secondly, I cannot for the life of me follow why it is that our church’s “companionate and loving” default response to those who find themselves “attracted” to people of the “same gender” should be SSB/SSM. I have quite literally never seen it argued definitively and soundly. True; there are a host of arguments out there which have attempted various approaches. Over the past few years I’ve assembled a long list of them, which I’ve called “a very select annotated bibliography re marriage and homosexuality” and which includes a variety of works along sundry spectra, numbering at last count 29. For somewhat like BW, I’ve been associated with this “conversation” now since the mid 1980s. And at root, it’s never a trite question for Christians to ask, “What IS loving and compassionate action in any given situation? What does it look like?”

Bryden Black said...

(cont.) One example of what I mean takes the form of my submission to our own NZ Select Committee re Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. The Bill’s preamble states the governing principles of the Bill to be “equality” and “non-discrimination”. And yet the sections that followed only provided for the further ‘marriage’ between two men or two women. On what basis were there no subsequent sections for the provision of ‘marriage’ among, say, two women and a man, or two men and a woman, or among a number of men and women; that is, why are not polygamy, polyandry and polyamory not being legislated for—on the basis of equality and non-discrimination?! The short answer is that marriage has a whole lot more to its nature (and definition therefore) than these two lauded, ‘liberal’ features. Yet at this point of time, our state’s parody of marriage wishes to keep it between couples only ...

3. There’s the vital issue raised by Kenneth Locke in The Church in Anglican Theology, which the WG relied upon heavily in their Interim Report, that such things as Women’s Ordination and SSM excite some fundamental “difficulties in the Anglican practice of ecclesial authority” (pp.121-126). Therefore, I asked in one of my responses to the WG: “how might one maintain with due honesty and integrity, and with due theological coherence therefore, just such a provisionality or suitable openendedness [seemingly desired traits of Anglicanism as per Locke’s own summary] when actual, settled forms of relationships are at stake?” That is, both WO and SSM/SSB are public and settled ‘facts on the ground’, which may precisely not be undone. I concluded therefore:“the lauded principle of “probability” (Locke, pp.112-117), as it impinges upon Anglican theology and its decision making role, is [itself] simply undone” by these confusions and contradictions. We must do better than this therefore, long term, as a Church, both nationally and globally.

4. Some years ago (after the publication of the RCD version of the proposed AC Covenant) in our national Taonga magazine, I claimed our current difficulties were essentially to do with “authority”, and how we might duly “recognize” it. Oliver alluded to this too in the quote with which I started. In which light, I wish to raise what is perhaps the most basic question of all. Peter says this: “I think it worth trying to live with disagreement on this particular matter because the disagreement is between people who agree on so many other things.” Well; at first blush Peter might have a point: there appear to be many features of Christian life and belief we hold in common together at present. But let’s see how that truly pans out via the sorts of things I proffer here (I’ve more to proffer ...!). For as we dig more deeply by way of probing conversation, with its sharper Q&A, our paring process might just reveal some truly embarrassing divides - at precisely this point of authority, its exercise, its due recognition, and its means of legitimation. I have myself come to this awkward conclusion after what probing I myself have managed to do these past three decades, by means of close conversation with folk who represent many and various positions.

Bryden Black said...

Interim conclusion

So; herewith four key areas (I’ll take up contraception soon enough, if pushed, let alone divorce!). I’m not sure they echo exactly Bowman’s list! But they do represent the sorts of topics of conversation neither the AC nor the ACANZ&P have adequately begun, let alone formulated any ‘catholic’ conclusions over. Our own current Interim Proposals just settle for the sorts of foggy muddle akin to TEC’s “Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church”: A report offered by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops (2010). As I said in my “annotated bibliography” re this report: “the basic problem with this ‘report’ from TEC is that in its attempts to be “inclusive” all we have really are two contrasting reports alongside one another, with no probative conclusions - other than those of ‘inclusive pluralism’! Nor does the logic within each account permit of an overarching possible solution, seemingly. .... We incoherently drift on .... “Thank you, Fog!” (WH Auden).”

Bryden Black said...

Thanks Bosco for your returning yet again to the seeming parallel of divorce: where we seemingly flout our church’s formulas. It’s important - may be. While I liked the partial evidence you tabled here and the processes you engaged in, as and when you care to address the CoE’s 2002 GS decision and the Winchester Report behind it, then and only then might I begin to agree we indeed have a parallel scenario. It’s readily available; I ordered my copy from England. Tolle! lege!

Liturgy said...

Yes, Bowman, I agree with you entirely: pillow fights would be a more productive use of my time! As for Jehovah's Witnesses - in my younger days, friends would ring me up when they had trapped some inside, "We've got some, Bosco!" My home was banned by them because of the bad influence I had on the younger members of the teams as they came round. Having moved house, I, out on a walk, recently saw them moving down our street - I nearly abandoned my walk to go home to greet them...

As for Brendan - a lot more makes sense now that you have clarified that you see marriage as succumbing to temptation, being disobedient to God, and sinful.

Blessings

Bosco

Anonymous said...


Hi Peter,

Peter to Brendan- Nov 19th @ 9.10am. It was probably early in the day and you were getting breakfast ready; but you spilt the baked beans in your comment to Brendan. "As for the Anglican Church,a very strange and complex social organism,in which there few straight lines". Article 19:The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men,in which the pure Word of God is preached and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same".
Are you saying that is no straight lines in the pure Word of God or the Sacraments?

"For God is not the author of confusion,but of peace,ass in all churches of the saints"; 1 Cor 14:33."But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,then peaceable,gentle and easy to be intreated,full of mercy and good fruits,without partiality and without hypocrisy".James 3:17

Who has allowed the ACANZP to disintegrate into the mess it is?G

Glen Young said...


Hi Brendan,

From time to time,I have commented on Peter's site, regarding what appears to me as a strong and ever present stream of Arius influence,flowing not to deep under the surface of the ACANZP's life. It requires but a a small rupture for this influence to surface. I consider the question you pose to Bosco, to be very relevant; "Which Jesus?". But,I also suspect that the Jesus we encounter,
is in reality, a mish mash of a number of Jesus characteristics. My mentor, Dr Anderson, was insistent that we comprehended the full "Nature and Character Of God" and did not elevate one facet of his being above another."God is Love","God is Merciful","God sits in Judgement".God is all these things,but He is PERFECT in His Knowledge of the timing of His Attributes.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden at 1.36 pm
To clarify: my commendation of a moratorium is a moratorium on bringing "business' about these matters to GS (and thus, inevitably, to all our synods). It is very distracting since it seems to raise questions of schism, EPD, AEO etc etc.

But what I am not calling for is a moratorium on discussion/reflection/conversation. I would be very happy if (perchance? fine chance?!) GS 2018 said, "Let's have a commission which includes Bryden Black as a member and Bowman Walton and Nick as external consultants [etc! re ADU commenters] which slowly, carefully, upstream first and downstream only later, meets over that 10 year period of "GS business" moratorium and then and only then brings its report and recommendations to GS 2028.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear G at 2.53 pm
1. Commenting policy: please use a name and not an initial. Thank you!
2. Don't read too much into what I am saying about the complexity of our church: I am not saying it is a complete mess theologically (though others may beg to differ). I am saying it is a complex social organism because it consists of Three Tikanga, a governance polity which enables each Tikanga to have a veto (alongside the potential of bishops, clergy and laity to have a veto), many shades of theology, church style, traditions and customs; jurisdictions of multiple countries to consider; new cultures coming into our church through migration.
That is, ACANZP is a challenge to engage with, to negotiate when seeking change (or funding) but I am not saying it is chaotic.

Brendan McNeill said...

Posted for and on behalf of Neville Rogers:

Dear Peter,

In Matthew 7: 13 Jesus (the real one) adjures us to enter by the narrow
gate, "for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction,
and many there are who find it." This is a clear description of the Anglican
Church which you are so fond of describing as "broad", and to which you and
others would welcome "many". Yes, of course we are all sinners, but Paul, in
contrast to Mr Smith, reminds us (1 Corinthians 6: 9 - 11)( that even though
our sins are despicable, we were washed, we were sanctified, we were
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
It is blasphemy to continue to claim that Jesus died for the sins of which
we refuse to repent. In the imagery of Ephesians 5, and of the "marriage
feast of the Lamb" so atrociously misused by Mr Smith, what offence do we
attempt in presenting ourselves to Jesus still covered in the ordure of the
dogs, or the filthy rags of self-righteousness? "Israel played the whore"
says God, and now so too does the Anglican Church, flirting with the
detestable ways of the world and prostituting herself to the "modern
understanding" of those practices that YHWH names as sin and calls
abominable. Please don't accuse me (or Glen or Brendan) of a lack of
understanding: I am reminded of Mark Twain commenting that "It's not the
parts of the Bible that I don't understand that I have trouble with, it's
the parts that I DO understand." You admit that you too understand the clear
morality of the Old and New Testaments; why then, in the language of the
books of the Kings do you make a pretence of walking in the way of the Lord,
while giving approval to the altars and the high places? As has been so
clearly pointed out, we show no love when we give a nod and a wink to the
false beliefs of others, no matter how sincerely they hold them. Let us this
day choose whom we will serve, and let us serve him with due fear, awe and
worship.

Neville Rogers

Liturgy said...

Bryden, you may have skipped over some of the 80 comments in this thread,; I was not "returning yet again to the seeming parallel of divorce" - I was, as the beginning of my comment made clear replying to the contention that "Jesus was clear about the legitimate grounds for divorce" (Tolle! lege!). Peter, our longsuffering host, has made clear in a comment that this isn't a "what about divorce" argument. But you may have missed that one also.
Blessings
Bosco

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Glen

Thanks for the insight regarding the Arius influence. I hadn’t considered it before, but then I could never get my head around why the ‘obvious’ was never obvious, or why the opaque was preferred to the transparent.

I agree that we often view Jesus through different prisms. Grace, mercy, truth, righteousness, humility, love, patience, justice, compassion, suffering and yes, even judgement to name but a few.

Apparently, when he appears, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. Imagine that!

Liturgy said...

I'm quite used to having my comments misconstrued - I'm OK with people finding (even making up) whatever reflects their preconceptions - it fits with people finding (or creating) whatever fits in their reading of the scriptures. I'm in excellent company!

With that prolegomenon, let's have another look at Leviticus 18 - none of which, apparently, has been abrogated.

Specifically, let's move on to Leviticus 18:19 - the rules around women in their menstrual uncleanness. People biblically agile will immediately be able to tell us, from the regular teaching about this from Christian pulpits, that the woman's uncleanness lasts for seven days after her bleeding ceases. So - no sex for about half of the woman's monthly cycle is the biblical norm.

Interestingly, of course, in the context of discussions around contraception already on this thread, those terrible anti-biblical Romans advocate FOR having intercourse during the exact time when the Bible FORBIDS it (Humanae Vitae - available free online. Tolle! lege!)

But good sola scriptura Christians can be easily recognised because the Bible, hence, has intercourse permitted precisely from the time when the woman is most fertile. Would God have arranged His rules otherwise?! A clear consistency with פרו ורבו

But wait! There's more! The Bible is crystal clear that anything that anyone touches that has been touched by the woman who is unclean for two weeks out of four now makes THAT person unclean as well. Good biblical followers of these rules take care to silo off chairs, etc. Biblical women, of course, cannot therefore really get involved in the workforce. And let's not even begin to discuss having them preside at the eucharist!

Because none of Leviticus 18 has been abrogated...

Blessings

Bosco

Bryden Black said...

Peter @ 4:09. Alas, it is my suspicion that my fourth and now your pair of paragraphs will in fact - shld they ever occur of course - precipitate exactly your list of outcomes of schism and the like - and ... perhaps they shld, what with the severe cleavages and divisions they actually reveal. But of course you and our current process don't want to hear this, being bent on organizational unity ...

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bryden @ 5.09
I am bent on unity, of which organizational is a part (there will be only one "organization" in heaven, remember!), but so is family (and, as far as I can tell, members of my church whanau are on both sides (or more) of this matter and I would quite like us to stick together, being, after all, brothers and sisters in the one Christ), and so are missional considerations (and, frankly, another Protty split will do nothing at all for the mission of God's church, though it might do a bit for congregations here and there). There is also the matter of how we honour our Lord's own prayer for the church ...
So, no, please do not make the unwarranted charge that I am "bent on organizational unity": I do not deserve that and you are a better critic than that.

As for severe cleavages and divisions being revealed: what actually is newly revealed? I see no new revelation of Anglican divisions in theology in current matters and thus I must ask, with many others, why it is that suddenly homosexuality precipitates division and not, say, Honest to God way back in 1963?

Further, while some proponents of SSB or even SSM are carriers of theological timebombs capable of provoking schismatic explosions, I keep coming back to colleagues and friends who are not carriers of theological timebombs but are parents of beloved children who wonder whether Jesus would really have been as fussed as commenters here?

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Neville,
We are not in ancient Israel and I am not making "a pretence of walking in the way of the Lord, while giving approval to the altars and the high places".

We are part of a church of disciples who follow Jesus and find ourselves in disagreement on a matter, despite agreement on many other matters.

What are we to do about that?

We could go separate ecclesiastical ways - schism - and, on the logic of your post, that must happen.

Except I keep asking if it must happen! I am asking whether we might - we who have in common so much - find a way to walk together even in disagreement.

You know well that locally here in Chch we have found that way on numerous matters, including now the Cathedral in the Square. Is it not worth trying to find that way on this matter of human relationships?

But it will not help if we characterise those who disagree with us as making a pretence of walking with the Lord ...

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

You are right,we are not in ancient Israel,but we are in exactly the same situation as Modern Israel and much of the Middle East. Israel does not know whether someone coming from the West Bank is carrying a time bomb or not. They have had to build barriers and try to vet them from a distance.All too often,the bomb is hidden and only becomes apparent at the border or in Israel itself with horrific consequences.

Now you admit that "some proponents of SSM/SSB are carries of theological time bombs capable of provoking schismatic explosions"; yet, you are still prepared to blithly and blindly open the ACANZP up to this danger. Any Public Company Director who acted so recklessly would go to jail. I have said before, and I will repeat it; "we are being ask to accept this deal, site unseen and with no guarantees that anybody will/can repair the damage.

So, how do we vet these time bomb carriers out, before we have happily Blessed these civil marriages and recognized them as being "right Ordered" and "Chaste", and allowing Ordination. I cannot believe it.

Jesus said: Father,forgive them, they know not what they do!!!!

Bryden Black said...

Peter @ 6:03
Firstly, your second para, which then slides into the rest. I too have been puzzled as to why ‘This Topic’ has precipitated all this heat (and/or some light) these past years. But when I encountered Edith Humphrey’s “Why This Issue?” (http://www.augustinecollege.org/papers/EH_30June03.htm) much began to fall into place. Her list of nine “areas” which she tables is pretty fulsome, not to say comprehensive! It also encouraged me to probe more deeply into the sorts of questions which eventually emerged as those three key ones I’ve posted here on ADU and which recently got incorporated (though tweaked) into my WG response. That is: (1) How did western Christianity finish up here? How did we reach the point we have? Where the ‘two sides’ are utterly opposed: there are those who claim X is “sin”, and then there are those who claim X is “reasonable and holy”. Frankly, that stark present reality is well worth investigating historically. (2) Then, these differences take the form they did with Motion 30's 1a vs 1b, with their wording of “contrary to” vs “consonant with”. Which thereafter precipitates my own concluding question regarding the “integrity” of any such organization that seeks to house such disparate legitimizing principles. (3) Then thirdly, how is that people become genuinely mistaken? NB the sheer historical nature of this process of becoming, both individually and collectively. Yet that also raises all sorts of matters, notably around authority and self-deception and even therefore the nature of sin itself. The Gospel is after all the Gospel of the kingdom of God mercifully addressing sinful, deceived, blind and deaf, dead in our sins humanity.

For surely, I too know and have known for many years individual people who fall into either camp - and elsewhere too! Some of these are very dear and/or close to me indeed! It’s just that I seldom tout them as “examples”. Yet that very intimacy makes me more persuaded to probe these realities than merely to tolerate muddle and confusion. Good theology // good pastoral care :: sloppy pastoral care // sloppy theology ...

As for Jesus: two things. Jn 17, the climax of Jn 13-16, is stunningly rich! Just so, the unity for which he prays is similarly predicated upon a complex package of realities - not least of which is the Very Name of YHWH, whose Name keeps getting profaned among the nations, no less biblically (Ezek 36, Jer 3, Isa 63) than also ecclesially. [Your missional ‘wish’ cuts at least two ways ...] For Jesus the Incarnate One bears that Name: FG in its entirety; Phil 2:9-11. Then Matt 5-7, surely a most fulsome section of Jesus’ teaching, is very clear about “maturity/perfection” (5:48), the climax of 5:17ff. Just as it is also clear about the significance of its very structure: chiasmically reflecting each petition of the Lord’s Prayer. To the point that every time we say the Prayer (three times a day in the Didache!), we enjoin upon ourselves the entire Sermon, not least its conclusion. Now I don’t know about you, but one of my conclusions to these two Gospel purple passages is that we’ve made a dismal job of formation in our contemporary church. The sheer rhubarb that gets trotted out by way of justification at many a synod is proof enough of that! And we’re reaping that whirlwind ...

Bryden Black said...

Conclusion: perhaps my criticism of not only yourself but our entire current process within ACANZ&P is this. When we seek to stay together, what is it rather that is in fact already, deeply subterranean though it may of course be, tearing us apart, sifting us like fire refines gold? For my questions will not lie idle; they already have a momentum of their own, which demands addressing. And we still refuse to address the matter in the only way it may be addressed - theologically. Any organization that denies its ideology is destined for ruin. It was not for no reason that John Webster coined that seeming tautology “theological theology” in his inaugural lecture as Lady Margaret Professor in Oxford (27 October 1997), reprinted in Confessing God (T&T Clark, 2005). Please Peter ponder these things far more seriously than some of our confreres are doing.

Father Ron Smith said...

"It is blasphemy to continue to claim that Jesus died for the sins of which
we refuse to repent. In the imagery of Ephesians 5, and of the "marriage
feast of the Lamb" so atrociously misused by Mr Smith, what offence do we
attempt in presenting ourselves to Jesus still covered in the ordure of the
dogs, or the filthy rags of self-righteousness?
-Brendan McNeill, p.p. someone else -

Actually, I do not see anything in Scripture that says the Jesus did not die for unrepented Sin. Jesus died for ALL SINNERS, as only He could!

I presume the 'Mr Smith' you speak of is me! I presume from this statement that the writer considers me, and those who think like me, might "attempt in presenting ourselves to Jesus still covered in the ordure of the
dogs, or the filthy rags of self-righteousness?" - in which case, I think Peter that this comment amounts to gross ad hominem. (Interestingly, in his homilies, St. Francis of Assisi relates the word 'ordure' to the money that some people value more than their duty to the poor and disenfranchised). The 'self-righteousness' that Jesus encountered was that exercised by the Scribes and Pharisees, who thought they knew more about God than Jesus.

Regarding Brendan McNeill's frequent comment about the 'other Jesus' that he presumes is embraced by me and anyone who advocates the Love of God in Christ for Sinners; the Jesus we advocate is found clearly in the Scriptures - especially for those of us who are dedicated to leading people into Christ's Kingdom, rather than delivering them into the hands of satan -
who, by the way, loves to be brought into otherwise Christian discourse by religious fundamentalists.

A little more Love, Compassion and Mercy in this world, when practised by believing Christians, would do more to fill our churches than all the Hell-Fire preaching that some are wont to deliver. Those who preach that anti-Gospel need to heed their own warning, as Jesus warned the Scribes of his own day and age: "Judge not, that ye be not judged yourselves!"

Father Ron Smith said...

"I pray, Father, that they may be ONE, as you are in me and I in you" Jesus.

There are those who really WANT this unity and, sadly, those who don't! And on what grounds? Justification?

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron and Neville
I understood the following phrasing by Neville, "what offence do we
attempt in presenting ourselves to Jesus still covered in the ordure of the
dogs, or the filthy rags of self-righteousness?", to be referring to any of us who might attempt to present ourselves to Jesus having deluded ourselves as to what was sin and what was not. That is, I did not see an ad hominem in that phrasing.
However, Neville, I should not have let through the word "atrocious": people are entitled to understand something which is wrong in the view of another without incurring such a judgment.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I am simply meaning that the agenda of some (but NOT all) who would wish to see SSB even SSM permitted in our church is, frankly, provocative and would not mind conservatives leaving as a result of permission.
Others, however, are not so minded and genuinely seek a way of peace, even as they would really like the option of (at least) SSB.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
(Thank you for engaging at a deeper level of criticism :).)
I would prefer to do my theological theologising in a broad company of Anglicans where we can pretty freely think and pray and reflect together and "aloud" (i.e. publicly) rather than in a more sectarian minded church which by its nature will rule certain thoughts out before they are thunk. A schism over homosexuality - no matter how justified because of subterranean differences of deep theology/ideology - can only result in two sectarian churches!?

I hope I am thinking as deeply as anyone roundabouts (albeit in my small bear brain way) and that I am mindful that good theology and good pastoral care are intertwined if not synonymous. But ... but ... but ... I am not sure that Edith Humphreys is correct. Is there any actual distinctiveness in saying X is sin, X is reasonable and holy in respect of homosexuality? Have we not been there before as church over (say) usury, slavery, death penalty, war? Only the second on that list has yielded a definitive, universal "No" from church.

So, again, my question, playing on Edith's is "Why this issue, indeed?"

Why, for instance, is climate change (all of us might die!) unable to generate the comments I can always generate when I post about This Topic?!

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

I realize that you are referring to a faction of the proponents of SSM/SSB who are probably motivated in their efforts by other than pure spiritual motive.
But it appears to me, that sadly they have the largest voice and how you separate them from the genuine cause. I simply believe that this faction will not rest until they dominate the Church with their doctrine.Have you got any idea of the theology? coming out of TEC? Do we want to see the ACANZP in the same place? I would be equally out spoken if the subject was the denial of the Christ's resurrection.

Anonymous said...

"Why this issue? Because what we think and say and do about our sexuality is intimately connected to who we are – who we are in the created order, who we are in society, who we are with our spouses and friends, who we are ecclesially, and who we are in the new creation which God has brought into being and which he will complete through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is no doubt because of the inter-relatedness of this issue that it brings forth visceral reactions, for good or for ill. Those who have difficulty thinking seriously about the intricacies of Trinitarian relationships are galvanized to consider this present question. In so doing, they find themselves on the brink of multiple very serious questions. To ask, as a Christian, about homoeroticism, leads ineluctably to a many-directioned quest, with numerous areas of inquiry:

creation and the human body;

marriage and the inter-relationship of male and female;

the place of male and female relations and same-sex relations in society;

the way that the human gendered condition is an icon of Christ’s relationship with the Church;

how we interpret Scripture in its various forms of narrative, law, gospel and epistle;

revelation and authority, and how we understand the different roles of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience in hearing God’s word;

the contemporary problem of individualism in the Church, and the existence of multiple denominations, which divided for various theological and ecclesial reasons;

what we mean, in the Church, when we enact a rite, bless a relationship, enter into a “holy mystery” or participate in liturgy;

what it means to be part of the holy, catholic and apostolic Church, that new creation of the Holy Spirit that spans time and geographical space.

That these issues are all involved becomes clear when we analyze the rhetoric of those who tackle this question..."

Edith Humphreys

http://www.augustinecollege.org/papers/EH_30June03.htm

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bowman (and Bryden)
Yes, I get all that, and once upon a time I would have strongly brought such arguments to bear (particularly back in the day of +Gene Robinson making waves around the Communion and a strong ideology re "gay liberation" seemed to bear down upon us).
These days I am more focused on individuals making their way through life, quietly living it out with a same sex partner, not vocalising any activist spirit, wondering whether a "don't ask, don't tell" policy will see them through their days, wondering what happens if that policy fails and something agreed by the church is not put in its place.
And I wonder if the Humphreys list above is akin to a sledgehammer cracking a nut.
Do gay Anglicans warrant such anxiety about the fate of theology and the church if they are quietly living out their lives and not seeking to change the foundations of the faith?

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Bryden

I appreciate your comments on this matter. While some of us might reasonably expect the question of SSB to be primarily one of theology, I have concluded that for the proponents of same sex blessings, theological justification is not a perquisite, or even a major consideration.

Sure, when pressured they will quote a few Bible verses like: “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink (that is to say, earthly matters, like sex), but (spiritual matters), like righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

And, it’s all clear from Romans 14. “You know how some people eat meat, others don’t. Some men have sex with men, some don’t. What’s the big deal here? Paul understood matters of theological difference and framed it appropriately.”

When SSB is not primarily a theological issue for the director of Theology House, we should all pause for a moments reflection.
I don’t make this observation lightly. Peter who agrees that homosexual sex is sinful, has not only proposed a ‘beautiful accommodation’ to facilitate SSB in the Anglican church, he is advocating for the ordination of men (and presumably women) in same sex relationships.

Was it you Bryden who asked, ‘how did we end up here?’

I don’t normally quote angels but the one who spoke to John in Revelation 22:11 perhaps best concludes the matter:

“Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I posted Edith Humphreys's list because Bryden mentioned it, because I like lists, and because I like her scholarship. Her list dates from 2003, so yes, it is from an earlier phase of debate. That said, we have seen nearly all nine of these bubble to the surface of comment here in your most blessed blog.

"Do gay Anglicans warrant such anxiety about the fate of theology and the church if they are quietly living out their lives and not seeking to change the foundations of the faith?"

Indeed. The gay Anglicans that I know well are among the most conservative and conscientious Anglicans. And I have noted often hereabouts that That Topic has been a sort of recruiting poster for causes that are not theirs.

"Why, for instance, is climate change (all of us might die!) unable to generate the comments I can always generate when I post about This Topic?!"

For once, an easy question! Conflict generates comment. The comments that you are getting are polemics between proponents of the evangelical and liberal ways of being a Christian in the modern world that are couched in terms of That Topic. Each tribe believes that its faith is confirmed by the incredibility of the other, so each tribe strives to strengthen its faith by attacking the other.

BW

Father Ron Smith said...

" I would be equally out spoken if the subject was the denial of the Christ's resurrection." - Glen Young -

Yes, Glen, and that's precisely what disturbs those of us in the Anglican Communion who fell that you and others on this thread are equating the Doctrine of Christ with the issue of human sexuality. You are confusing the Orthodoxy of Faith in Christ with your confusion about human sexuality. They are not one and the same.

Bryden Black said...

Probing Peter @ 8:27 pm

Your first para. Are these actually the only alternatives? Might there not be further options, ones precisely arising out of the sorts of things you, and we here in ACANZ&P generally, continue to miss? For WHY the seeming tautology of "theological theology"? Because all that passes for 'theology' is not actually in fact that at all. [All that glitters is not gold ...] Sure; the vocabulary etc may create the impression we're all on the same page - or at least similar ones. So that we're all speaking, and believing, and acting "in common". Yet - and here I bring Webster and Alasdair MacIntyre together, since I sense they're grappling with the same (western) problem - what's occurred is indeed that experiment/“disquieting suggestion” which kicks off After Virtue. Fragments of discourse remain in circulation but the framework that gave them rise is ... forgotten, like a dream. These fragments prompt echoes of the old, but when we use them, they in fact cannot invoke the meaning they once held. Sure; we think we're speaking a known and the same language together - but we're not! For at root, Feuerbach is proving to be partially (or completely; see below) correct: theology is anthropology, has become anthropology. (Which prompts three remarks I treat as a footnote: ***)

When I define our present cultural assumption regarding the nature of "human being", that it is deemed to be "an autonomous self-positing personal subject", and further call it "the bastard step-child of the classical Christian", since this contemporary view could only have arisen out of Christian culture, with its Christological-cum-Trinitarian root paradigm, this conclusion is the product of the sorts of moves I've divined in my own first para above. There are seemingly large overlaps between a true and full Christian anthropology and our present western anthropology. But these similarities are specious in fact. The notions may appear similar or the same, but the deep frameworks out of which they derive their actual meanings are not just disparate but contradictory. Paradoxically, where we might think our ideas and practices might easily marry, their being related, even of the same/similar pedigree, the fruit is a sterile mule. Just so, Webster’s forceful campaign for “theological theology”, since so much that has passed for ‘theology’ and all it has undergirded, including swathes of exegesis, is alloyed at best, or at worst just plain poison.

That is where I discern Peter the trouble is with your seeing "much in common". Probe deeper, far more deeply, and you'll discover most likely only feint echoes, fragments that in fact cannot cohere, with the old framework dissolved. The unity you think exists is actually rather superficial ... This is abundantly my own experience these past years in Australia and NZ. Which places the onus squarely upon how any of us evaluate the understanding of our experiences, and notably our religious and spiritual ones. That is, how seriously theologically literate is our church?! And like Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme (who’s been speaking “prose” all his life!), folk are simply unaware they have been speaking the language of an inadequate theology these many years, for they have been drinking from polluted wells. Sure; in the ordinary run of the mill (which you like referring to) most dear folk are struggling to navigate the next bend in the road of life as they come up to it; I too know many such folk! YET your job and mine as Watchmen (Ordinal) and ministers of the word of God (ordained priests) is far more serious than that: we’ve precisely to handle the word of life in such ways as to NOT deliver folk down dubious paths, with pits and snares along them (heffalump traps?!), to NOT offer water from cracked cisterns.

Bryden Black said...

cont.
Frankly Peter, Edith H gets my vote: she’s got it correctly; she’s divined the foundations of our western church - and found them (pace Tillich) more than a little shaken ... As for your list of seemingly similar ‘differences’, which the Church has suffered yet lived with. Well, to take two. The Just War theory seeks precisely to mitigate a deemed necessary evil, stipulating those conditions under which it may be so mitigated and those not. Slavery: Philemon sows that classic seed which Rowan Williams called “a cultural time bomb”. Show me the money/the texts and the theology so arising re SSB/SSM - and I’ll go quietly. BUT no-one has so delivered - yet!

*** (1) Karl Barth CD, II.1, pp.269-70: God is the authentic object or subject matter of Christian theology, based as it should be on revelation, and not on the exaggerated claims of that humanism which thinks it can say "God" by saying "man" in the loudest and most forceful tones (paraphrased, and echoing CD I, addressing Feuerbach’s key objections, that theology is but anthropology, ‘God’ is but a human projection).
(2) Scripture: What are these writings exactly? Are they human records of human religious experiences? Or, are they indeed the dual authored testimony (fully human and fully divine, Jn 15:26-27, 1 Jn 1:1-4, 1 Thess 2:13) of the economy of salvation of the triune God, both in words and deeds, written precisely as any covenant needs to be, enshrining the relationship between God and humanity, climaxing in that one true covenant partner, Jesus, Word made flesh, who embodies the entire covenant in himself, the autobasileia (Origen)?
(3) a key manifestation of the problem: the resurrection. Is the resurrection an event in human space-time history, with the empty tomb as The Sign? Or does it rather refer to the ‘resurrection’ of the disciples’ faith, somehow, following the death of Jesus?
These three examples all reflect the “Silent Legacy” of the likes of Descartes and Kant, whose impact downstream on western culture has been enormous, and near fatal for Christian faith.

Father Ron Smith said...

"I don’t normally quote angels but the one who spoke to John in Revelation 22:11 perhaps best concludes the matter:

“Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” - Brendan McNeill -

Well, I suppose the theologians among us might - at this assertion - be tempted to compare the theology of Brendan McNeill with that of former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, Lady Margaret Professor of Theology, whose well-known Book 'The Body's Grace', would certainly challenge the opinion of Mr.McNeill on this important subject.

Also, I'm not sure that the self-described 'Beloved Disciple' of Jesus St.John the Divine, whose Apocalyptic Revelations Glen is pleased to quote as his supporter in this argument, would agree either.

What you do not seem to understand about this whole business of human sexuality, Brendan, is that there are points of view about the current interpretation of the scriptures that are different from your own. You need to allow that - or else be content to accept that yours is a sola Scriptura, conservative view of the Bible that is now questioned by many mainline Church theologians of worldwide academic authenticity. Even Pope Francis is proving to be more compassionate on this issue than you are.

Father Ron Smith said...

"I have concluded that for the proponents of same sex blessings, theological justification is not a perquisite, or even a major consideration." - B.McN.

Now this could turn out to be a real howler!

Brendan, did you really mean 'pre-requisite', or just a 'perk'?

Anonymous said...

Dear Peter,
Sorry, your answer simply won’t do. No, we are not ancient Israel, but we are still supposed to be the chosen people of God, holy just as he is holy, and distinct from the world. Titus 2: 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
There doesn’t seem to be much ambiguity in this passage. There is neither worship of YHWH nor favour to men when we attempt to widen the narrow gate for the sake of a soft-hearted affection for any, whether friends or family, who will not turn from a life that the Bible calls sinful. You keep talking about “gay Christians”, but there aren’t any. There are Christians who have repented of their sexual practices of whatever sort, and steadfastly endeavour to live just as Paul has exhorted Titus, and who need above all things the encouragement of other Christians to know that they are on the right track and not wasting their hard-fought chastity. When it comes to “that Day”, there will be no comfort for those who were made to feel welcome in an Anglican Church and at the communion table without any requirement that they take up their cross and follow the Saviour.
Yes, I’m aware that folk who disagree over the cathedral have found ways of living in harmony; Euodia and Syntycche probably also managed to agree together in the Lord. However, there can be no agreement between those who have no common inheritance in Christ. What fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6: 14; follow the context.)
I repeat what I, and Brendan, and Glen and Bryden and possibly Bowman have all espoused, that the purpose of this debate is not to alienate people from the church or from salvation, but rather the opposite: Ezekiel 18: 23 "Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord YHWH, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?
Thank you for your correct reading of the other part of my post. My use of the word “atrocious” was not directed personally, but at the, if you prefer, inapt suggestion that the Biblical description of the marriage between the Lamb, Christ, and his Bride, the church, as in Ephesians 5 and in the Revelation, could have any relativity to homosexual partnership because there was no mention of gender. I don’t suppose anyone else gave it any credence; it was, as a more competent contributor would say, drawing a long bow indeed, and a rather distasteful one.
Yours faithfully, warts and all, in the service of the King,
Neville Rogers

Bryden Black said...

Bowman @ 9:41 am
Your last para: I trust my latest (yet to be posted) series of comments offers a real way through and even past these tribalisms! BUT it does involve far greater work and deeper soul searching than is customarily done. It also relies upon the work of the likes of MacIntyre, Barth and Webster, let alone TFT and all good trinitarians. But; what the heck! Who's afraid of good hard toil?! It's called conversion of course ...

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bryden, it does sound like fun, but any way past the tribalisms will be the end of the tribes. Since they are not looking forward to extinction, one also needs a constituency for the life-saving but unwanted cure. The single greatest frustration of my Barth/TFT-informed friends here up yonder is that there is almost no ecclesial home for their work here. Naturally, I send as many to fair ACANZP in the blessed isles as I can ;-)

BW

Bryden Black said...

seems to have dropped off the end of my last comment to Peter (NOT to Bowman!)

Frankly Peter, Edith H gets my vote: she’s got it correctly; she’s divined the foundations of our western church - and found them (pace Tillich) more than a little shaken ... As for your list of seemingly similar ‘differences’, which the Church has suffered yet lived with. Well, to take two. The Just War theory seeks precisely to mitigate a necessary evil, stipulating those conditions under which it may be so mitigated and those not. Slavery: Philemon sows that classic seed which Rowan Williams called “a cultural time bomb”. Show me the money/the texts and the theology so arising re SSB/SSM - and I’ll go quietly. BUT no-one has so delivered - yet!

*** (1) Karl Barth CD, II.1, pp.269-70: God is the authentic object or subject matter of Christian theology, based as it should be on revelation, and not on the exaggerated claims of that humanism which thinks it can say "God" by saying "man" in the loudest and most forceful tones (paraphrased, and echoing CD I, addressing Feuerbach’s key objections, that theology is but anthropology, ‘God’ is but a human projection).
(2) Scripture: What are these writings exactly? Are they human records of human religious experiences? Or, are they indeed the dual authored testimony (fully human and fully divine, Jn 15:26-27, 1 Jn 1:1-4, 1 Thess 2:13) of the economy of salvation of the triune God, both in words and deeds, written precisely as any covenant needs to be, enshrining the relationship between God and humanity, climaxing in that one true covenant partner, Jesus, Word made flesh, who embodies the entire covenant in himself, the autobasileia (Origen)?
(3) a key manifestation of the problem: the resurrection. Is the resurrection an event in human space-time history, with the empty tomb as The Sign? Or does it rather refer to the ‘resurrection’ of the disciples’ faith, somehow, following the death of Jesus?
These three examples all reflect the “Silent Legacy” of the likes of Descartes and Kant, whose impact downstream on western culture has been enormous, and near fatal for Christian faith.

Bryden Black said...

Kia ora Ron! I realise that RDW's piece is often touted as somehow definitive in certain circles. But it has hardly gone unchallenged - and for good reason. Here is how I annotated it myself in that collection I mentioned in this thread earlier. You shld also really read the other full review also linked, most helpful:

Rowan Williams, The Body’s Grace (1989), being the Harding Memorial Address to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. Reprinted in Eugene Rogers,ed., Theology and Sexuality (Blackwell, 2002)
This nearly 6000 word “exploration” is often proffered nowadays as somehow definitive - although what it does is to shift the core of the sexual and the marital to the relational per se, to the exclusion of the procreational ‘good’. Some details. Sarah’s experience of seduction, and her supposed “discovery”, which gives way to the essay’s title, is hardly an auspicious move, frankly! That said, there is the important truth nonetheless, first extensively worked by St Augustine, that we humans are indeed “desired” by the triune God. And so desired that this God should become one with us, one with all our very materiality and even fallenness, so that we might become one with him, the fruit of reconciliation and the rejection of rejection itself. However, none of this suggests properly the extension, in some analogous way, of such “desire” and “joy” in ‘self-abandonment to the other’ to same-sexed partnerships. And for one real reason which Williams strenuously avoids in this essay: “a picture of what sexuality might mean at its most comprehensive” is surely reproductive, one where procreation is not sidelined but viewed as a necessary and integral element of the whole - including the discovery of the joy Williams so earnestly desires; to be sure! “Our [human] bodily selves mean” at least this much too, and in countless cultures, surely. For the “language of creation and redemption” is, at the very least, fruitful, both literally and metaphorically. And if it is viewed only so in the latter sense, divorced from the former, then that is precisely Gnostic - ever the temptation of the abstract academic view. For overall, he erects here a strawman view of the heterosexual “norm” which is as bourgeois as it is crass: “Marxist” “material” “production” be damned! See too notably this review by John Richardson in the Churchman: https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/churchman/121-02_107.pdf
For NB the failure to extend his own logic re “desiring the other”, and notably others who prompt “vulnerability”, especially “strangers”: for what greater examples of such people might there be other than one’s own children?! As paradoxical as this may seem at first blush ...That is, the very literal fruit of heterosexual sexual desire!

Peter Carrell said...

A comment from Ron to Neville, edited, to omit a quite unnecessary comparison to a non-Christian fundamentalist group!

""When we attempt to open wide the narrow gates..."

- Neville Rogers -

Sounds like something the Scribes and Pharisees were castigated for by Jesus, himself.
Real 'gatekeeper stuff'. (Remember the Temple Veil being torn by the Resurrection!)

My job, as a priest, is to open gates, not close them. That is the mistaken prerogative of the Fundamentalists - [].
"

Bryden Black said...

ah yes; that "life-saving but unwanted cure": sounds like any and all of us frankly, Bowman! And the true wonder of the Gospel of Mercy is that our very denial, our very No, is actually the VERY MEANS of God's Yes, the divine desire to affirm the rebellious creature, to welcome them HOME - forgiven. It's called the Cross, BTW! And KB and TFT taught it me ...

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

So,now we have taken up the Maxwell Smart technique,have we; you are up against all of us in the Anglican Community who feel.... !!!! Ron,you have never once answered a question which I have put to you; but I will again try, Who are those in the Anglican Community who feel.......? Up front and honest,tell us,give us names,disclose whether they also advocates of SSM/SSB. Peter admits that some of the proponents of SSM/SSb carry theological time bombs that could split the Church asunder. Do any of those,"in the "Anglican Community" to which you refer, fall into that group?


In the case,: The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Discrimination Society Inc. V The Bishop of Auckland [Hearing May 2013,Decision Oct 2013]; at [32.1 ] "the first witness was Dr. John Salmon............." [32.2]"the second witness was Mr Clay Nelson......" [33] "We have not found this evidence of assistance for three principal reasons".[33.1] "............,both these witnesses accepted that they were activists and advocates for the ordination of gay and lesbian candidates not living celibate lives as defined by Anglican Church Doctrine. There was a real issue as to independence if the evidence was to be received as "expert " testimony".

Was it just over morning tea that you all came to this conclusion;or have you been having little meetings with the Anglican Communion about this Glen Young et al who are "equating the Doctrine of Christ with human sexuality?

I can not express an opinion for the "and others"; but for myself,I have no confusion what so ever about the Doctrine of Christ, of the ACANZP [as defined in Her Constitution 1857]. On this subject,I respectfully suggest you read :"The Nature and Character of God". W.Pratney.

Again,I can not express an opinion for the "and others"; but having having studied "Sexual Abuse Counselling, under both recognized secular and Christian mentors; and having some years of ministry with sexual offenders in the Medium Security Jail; I do not consider myself confused about human sexuality.

In fact, Ron, I am prepared [at my own expense]; to come to Christchurch and defend my understanding of both the Doctrine of the ACANZP and human sexuality. However, it would be on the basis that any authority, that you wish to bring forward, that is not consistent with the Formularies is not relevant. Just name the date and place and I will be there.

Anonymous said...

Dear Peter,
It becomes difficult to pursue honest debate in the presence of someone like Mr Smith who so frequently mistakes contributors, mis-spells names, misquotes what we say, and misrepresents the words of scripture, particularly those of Jesus whom he is so fond of paraphrasing.
What I actually said was: There is neither worship of YHWH nor favour to men when we attempt to widen the narrow gate for the sake of a soft-hearted affection for any, whether friends or family, who will not turn from a life that the Bible calls sinful.
My reference, noted in a previous contribution, was directly from the words of Jesus himself, the real one, recorded in Matthew 7: 13 – 15:
Matthew 7: 13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Criticism for its own sake without ground or foundation is properly ad hominem, or in sporting cant, “playing the man, not the ball”. Let us see more substance and less invective from this source. A careful reading of my contribution, and those of a few others, demonstrates clearly that our primary purpose is to give glory to our God YHWH and to maintain the integrity of his church which is the pillar and buttress of the truth, and in so doing to shine the light of Christ to draw sinners (the “children of wrath” as we once were ourselves) out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Humbly in the service of Christ,
Neville Rogers

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter, in response to my comment on side X and side Y, you asked “but do current controversies over (e.g. divorce/eucharist or homosexuality) boil down to two sides?” I agree that they do not. Unfortunately, people in the middle tend to belong to one or more of the following groups : the majority; those busy with their practical Christian service; people not interested in blogs; the theologically unsophisticated; followers of reasonableness as a value in itself. Centrism is dreadfully boring :)

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Nick,
Around here, centrism is also quite unpopular :)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Neville and Ron
Neville: you have spoken clearly and strongly and in doing so have argued a case for the way of Christ being narrower than many Anglicans conceive.
Ron: you have responded to Neville, concerned that espousal of the way of Christ in "narrow" terms may be more like the Scribes and the Pharisees than like Christ.
However, Ron, I accept Neville's point, that your comment's actual wording was focused on the man and not the ball. There is no need, for instance, for the use of the word "fundamental(ist)" when someone articulates a case which clearly cites the words of our Lord himself.
A difficulty with your criticism when it invokes the scribes and the Pharisees is that it sometimes takes that line when all people have done, as Neville has done here, is cite the words of the toughest teacher of God's will the world has ever known!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Neville
I ponder why I do not agree with you, when all you have done (essentially) is quote Jesus himself. Not agree with you, that is, that the matter is as straightforward as you make out, that is, a same sex relationship which is permanent, stable, faithful, loving is simply sin and needs to be repented of.

A same-sex couple, I suspect, if they ever commented here - I suspect they won't for reasons I hope commenters here find obvious - would plead that they do not feel like they are sexual sinners, they are just two people trying to care for each other, companions in the journey of life and why would God be down on that?

Now it is hard to square that with Scripture, at least with some explicit texts, and I do not see Scripture is offering scope for us to be confident that such a relationship should be blessed in God's name. But the way this hypothetical couple feel and think about their relationship is what it is. Most couples I know in this situation know their Bibles very well, used to belong to conservative churches in fact, so I don't think much is to be gained from restating things as you have stated them.

So my difficulty, the challenge for all of us, is what to do when things are not straightforward. When we see a simple set of truths in Scripture as we also see beloved brothers and sisters in Christ resisting that set of truths in the name of love - something Scripture also, let us not forget, has a bit to say about. Are these Christians who are gay particularly bad for not repenting because they think love might trump law? Are we to expel them from our churches because they won't do what we teach? Are we to form a whole new church "because of them"?

So, I am prepared to live with some complexity in order to be in the same church as you and Ron Smith ... and many others whose views make up the diverse wonder of Anglicanism!

Jonathan said...

This has only indirect relevance to this topic, but can anyone remember a split vote several decades ago on the matter of church union? I have a feeling it was more or less exactly 50 / 50, and I'm guessing a decision that would have seen the Anglican church sort of become unAnglican, or less Anglican, might rank as an equally controversial matter. Was the process then the same? Anything useful to repeat or avoid from that experience?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
I am pondering whether you are as right as you sound :)
In particular I am pondering your (summary, my words) claim that theology in the Anglican church (such as it is!) is going to hell in a handcart, unless it discovers tout de suite, Torrance and co (even though Torrance was, shock, horror, a Prezzy).
The reason why I am pondering is that this kind of handcart to hell motif has quite a history in theology! You will have read many a theologian deeply regretting X, or Y, or Z because they set up a whole train of consequential thinking which has been very bad, very bad indeed for Western civilization. Augustine, Duns Scotus, Aquinas (he got a very hard time from Francis Schaeffer I recall), Luther, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Barth. The list goes on. In 2017 we have had a piece or two in the media about how Luther is, more or less, responsible for Trump (Reformation = accent on the individual = individualism x reality TV x America = Trump). Bad Luther. Bad, bad, bad! Actually, Paul is probably the baddest bad boy theologian of them all. Quite good on grace and inclusiveness (of Gentiles which means everyone) but shame about the misogyny, tolerance of slavery and destruction of Judaism!

OK. To be quite serious. Are things really as bad as you make out? Who is to say that a couple of hundred years from now, theologians won't be saying what a terrible pity it was that (say) Torrance led so many others up a long but ultimately dead end alleyway? Isn't the important thing that we keep talking to one another, keep learning from one another, keep looking for the gems in each other? Everyone of the theologians named above (including you!) has so much to teach us, even if we have some grave concerns about where some of the theologies associated with these figures has led or will still lead the church.

Is it possible that there is more good going on in Anglican theology today than you make out?

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I do acknowledge Jesus to have been among the toughest Teachers in the Bible. However, I will remind you and Mr. Rogers of whom Jesus' toughness was most directed towards - those who were the gatekeepers of The Law in Judaism. His kindness, on the other hand, was directed towards those little people who knew their need of Him.
Jesus drew peple to himself because they saw his loving-kindness towards the meek, the lowly and the disenfranchised - and reserving his sternest criticism for the Scribes and Pharisees, who thought they had salvation in their grasp, and withheld it from others on account of their interpetation of The Law.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jonathan
I am sketchy on the details but the progress towards Union got a long way down the track, with the Anglicans needing to close the deal. Some kind of reservation - I think it was over the nature of the episcopacy in the proposed Union church - troubled the minds of the Anglican bishops and a vote was lost, Anglicans could not get across the line and it then never happened, even between the remaining parties to the Union conversation.

I guess the least thing we can learn is that Anglicans have form when it comes to "bottom lines" and sticking to them. No Winston Peters among the bishops :)

One crazy thought - Glen, are you reading this? - is that the NZ Anglican church then thought its constitution allowed it to make such a decision even though it would effectively dissolve the church!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am publishing your latest comment solely on the grounds that it tells the story of Jesus.
If perchance you had another story in mind, such as the story of our church today and thus perchance you are making a judgment about fellow Anglicans, then might I remind you that no one in our church is withholding the possibility of salvation from anyone.

Bryden Black said...

Peter re yours @ 10:47. I think I must return the favour and ask you too now to be more deeply critical still! But first things first: the footnote (***) of mine @ 12:19 plus its lead-in persists being lost in cyberspace. I resubmit it - again. (My response to Ron’s “Body of Grace” has also gone AWOL BTW!)

... to NOT offer water from cracked cisterns.

Frankly Peter, Edith H gets my vote: she’s got it correctly; she’s divined the foundations of our western church - and found them (pace Tillich) more than a little shaken ... As for your list of seemingly similar ‘differences’, which the Church has suffered yet lived with. Well, to take two. The Just War theory seeks precisely to mitigate a necessary evil, stipulating those conditions under which it may be so mitigated and those not. Slavery: Philemon sows that classic seed which Rowan Williams called “a cultural time bomb”. Show me the money/the texts and the theology so arising re SSB/SSM - and I’ll go quietly. BUT no-one has so delivered - yet!

*** (1) Karl Barth CD, II.1, pp.269-70: God is the authentic object or subject matter of Christian theology, based as it should be on revelation, and not on the exaggerated claims of that humanism which thinks it can say "God" by saying "man" in the loudest and most forceful tones (paraphrased, and echoing CD I, addressing Feuerbach’s key objections, that theology is but anthropology, ‘God’ is but a human projection).
(2) Scripture: What are these writings exactly? Are they human records of human religious experiences? Or, are they indeed the dual authored testimony (fully human and fully divine, Jn 15:26-27, 1 Jn 1:1-4, 1 Thess 2:13) of the economy of salvation of the triune God, both in words and deeds, written precisely as any covenant needs to be, enshrining the relationship between God and humanity, climaxing in that one true covenant partner, Jesus, Word made flesh, who embodies the entire covenant in himself, the autobasileia (Origen)?
(3) a key manifestation of the problem: the resurrection. Is the resurrection an event in human space-time history, with the empty tomb as The Sign? Or does it rather refer to the ‘resurrection’ of the disciples’ faith, somehow, following the death of Jesus?
These three examples all reflect the “Silent Legacy” of the likes of Descartes and Kant, whose impact downstream on western culture has been enormous, and near fatal for Christian faith.

Bryden Black said...

And so back to yours of 10:47. Of course there are legitimate schools of theology! One feature of the beauty of our God is precisely that God himself generates them! E.g. Augustine and Aquinas; Dominican vs Jesuit views of grace; Reformed vs Lutheran views on Covenant(s); even dare I say Calvinists vs Arminians! To say nothing of Latin and Greek, and their respective subsets!! This is not my point which you seem to be still missing.

We in NZ know all about subterranean seismic fault lines ... Webster and MacIntyre are addressing such a thing deep within our western legacy. True; like many such things it is mostly a “silent legacy”, with folk being completely unaware of its existence. YET its consequences are enormous, at every level of human society, including Christian Faith and its institutions. The beauty of living in the 21st C is we are actually getting something of a handle on it, such is the nature of human knowledge nowadays, and notably historical knowledge. And should we care to embrace it, we are being offered an opportunity for deeper Christian conversion.

MacIntyre wishes to necessarily go back further than Descartes and Kant (mine from last time). He invokes the voluntarist turn in the late Middle Ages, when will, both divine and human, takes centre stage. This rends asunder what Augustine—almost the discoverer of personhood (both divine and human, the original and its image/ectype) with his psychological analogy of the Trinity—beautifully integrates: knowledge and will, understanding and love, the cognitive and the affective. I’ll let both MacIntyre and his delightful guide, Christopher Stephen Lutz, Reading Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue (Continuum, 2012) be your tutors in this school and its effects - NO NOT a ‘school’! Rather, a tectonic fault line of such enormous proportions in our human history that stuff, every kind of stuff, is really screwed up because of it! It’s actually as significant as the discovery of God-with-us, that poor Arius could not quite get, stuck as he was in his Hellenistic dualism. It’s as significant as the Nicene Creedal Settlement (325-381). It’s as significant as the Chalcedonian Settlement (451). For of course it rides piggy-back upon them all - and Augustine’s glorious synthesis. Only to screw it up ...

Peter, we are witnessing nowadays the desire to integrate theology and biblical studies, with the movement of “theological exegesis”. I’m pushing you and all our colleagues, to whom the ministry of the word of God is entrusted, to get with the programme! Dig boys and girls; dig!!! Dig deep into our legacy and redeem our blind prejudices, especially this prejudice that is actually far more significant than “homophobia”. This is MY submission ... For all this heat about That Topic is yet another symptom of this ghastly fault line. And if we wish to heal/redeem - really heal and redeem - those dear folk among us who happen to be afflicted in this particular way, then ... get with the programme ... This might just be real love and compassion, in Christ Jesus.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

+ Winston or not; I believe that the Bishops are making a decision that will dissolve the Church without him anyway.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
Apologies for lost comments ... I think I have now found them and posted them ... but not 100% confident! (A metaphor for lost but important theological insights???).
(A book I am about to promote on ADU - a beautiful summary of Paul by John Barclay sees Paul as somewhat ambiguous about slavery!)
I note what you write, I hope I am a theological exegete, there is a danger that Christianity at large will go the way of the North African church of Augustine (and, terrifyingly, note that Augustine's magnificent theology did not save that church from ruin).
When you write this, "Augustine—almost the discoverer of personhood (both divine and human, the original and its image/ectype) with his psychological analogy of the Trinity—beautifully integrates: knowledge and will, understanding and love, the cognitive and the affective.", is it not the case that gay and lesbian Anglicans are saying to us, "after years of struggling with my identity as a person, accepting who I am and finding a partner to share life and love with, I am now a beautifully integrated person, at peace within myself, complemented by "the other" and rejoicing in the privilege of giving unconditional love - as God has loved me - to that "other", my partner for life."
Now, I think I know your response to that! But is it at least possible that some good theology, imbued with the theologies of (say) Augustine, Barth (wasn't he sympathetic to homosexuality? He applauded Stringfellow ...), R. Williams (whom you cite approvingly above) can be brought forth which is not part of the trainwreck flowing from voluntarism etc?
Is it necessarily the case that Webster, McIntyre and co, applying their brain power sympathetically to the cause of being a church in difference, would find not one whit of theological sympathy with SSB?


Brendan McNeill said...

Peter

Just reflecting on your gay Christian friends, and the place of desire in the human experience.

We are all subject to various desires throughout our lifetime. The Scriptures provide insight into the desires of the flesh competing with the desires of the Spirit. Galatians 5:17-21. Obeying the flesh leads to death, and obeying the Spirit leads to life.

Paul lists the works of the flesh, and there is no need to rehearse them again here, but my point is this. How is a Christian to know whether their sexual desires, if given full expression, will lead to life or death? From both a theological and pastoral perspective, the only God ordained context for sexual expression is within the confines of Biblical marriage, between one man and one woman.

Therefore, what is a Christian to do, when they find themselves attracted to someone else’s wife, or someone of the same sex, or to children? What if their sexual desires are such that they take no account of mutual consent?

Given that the above expressions are either explicitly or implicitly proscribed by Scripture, how would you council such persons? Would you encourage one to peruse their desire for someone of the same sex, while admonishing another to flee adultery? On what basis should they differentiate their various desires?

How can you affirm your gay Christian friends in their civil marriage, while presumably condemning their neighbours promiscuous relationship with older teenage girls in the youth group?

It’s at this point that the entire house of cards collapses and we become those Pharisees that Ron has been warning us about. It’s at this point the church loses all moral authority. Failing to uphold its own standards, the church can hardly condemn politicians and the like for their failures when it comes to climate change, inequality or any other social cause the church has chosen to patronise.

We are condemned to silence.

Psalm 19:7-14

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
It is not moral rocket science to distinguish between relationships founded on mutual consent, equality of standing in life (i.e. two adults), legal standing, faithfulness and committed love and relationships which are not (so even non-Christians do not approve of adulterous affairs, paedophilia, incest, each of which fails at least one of the above criteria).

I do not find among my wider circle of family and friends that some kind of moral collapse to the life of respective communities of blood, common interest, etc, occurs because A and B live together in a faithful relationship while not being married. I imagine you find life works out similarly. So, no, I am not particularly struck by your "house of cards" metaphor. Even in the life of the church, a few same sex partnerships here and there - even in the mighty Diocese of Christchurch - have not made us into a "house of cards."

What is a quite fair concern within what you say is the question of how we teach sexual immorality as Christians beholden to Holy Scripture, for, indeed,there is a question of how we might distinguish upholding rule A while not upholding rule B. What potentially might then "collapse" is a sense of a coherent Scriptural morality.

But, even then, as often canvassed here, the church has found itself able to make a change or two without "collapse." We now, for instance, would happily accept (unless we are certain fundies in the southern US states!) that girls should not be married at puberty but should wait until the legal age of 16. We now, in a highly divorced society, have found ways around the strict teaching of our Lord and his Apostle Paul. I think I recently mentioned the legal and moral gymnastics of African churches to accommodate polygamy where it would be heartless to insist on a Christian brother divorcing wives numbered 2,3,4 and more.

Now, as I continue to insist, in my own reading of Scripture, I do not see how we get to SSB - a confidence that God will bless such a relationship. But others say they can get there; they cite those instances when the church has found a workaround; they propose that there will not be a "collapse"; they want me to still be in our church ...!

Father Ron Smith said...

Brendan - from his experience as the Leader of his own House Church, and now a member of a conservative Anglican Parish offers these reflection; with my answers following - (from my own experience as a former franciscan Borther and as a retired, but active, parish priest):

1: Therefore, what is a Christian to do, when they find themselves attracted to someone else’s wife, or someone of the same sex, or to children? What if their sexual desires are such that they take no account of mutual consent?

(a) avoid adultery (b) if you are Gay, make sure your intentions towards a potential partner are mutually accepting (c) avoid this illegal and immoral behaviour.

2: Given that the above expressions are either explicitly or implicitly proscribed by Scripture, how would you council (sic) such persons? Would you encourage one to peruse their desire for someone of the same sex, while admonishing another to flee adultery? On what basis should they differentiate their various desires?

I would counsel people as individuals, with respect to their current marital status. Marriage requires fidelity - whether binary or same-sex.

3: How can you affirm your gay Christian friends in their civil marriage, while presumably condemning their neighbours promiscuous relationship with older teenage girls in the youth group?

I can affirm Christians in a Same-Sex Marriage if they acknowledge (a) their inability - by virtue of their innate sexuality to sustain binary marriage, and (b) have together determined their relationship to be monogamous and faithful.

All promiscuous sexual relationships are not to be encouraged! Certainly, Youth Group teen-age relationships need to be carefully supervised, with the encouragement of Youth Leaders for open discussion about teenage sexuality.

Does that answer Brendan's questions?

Father Ron Smith said...

"Frankly Peter, Edith H gets my vote: she’s got it correctly; she’s divined the foundations of our western church - and found them (pace Tillich) more than a little shaken .." - Bryden Black -

Dear Bryden seems to be making the sort of assertion here that is, sadly, common to many academic theologians - that their version of the Gospel is purer than that of anyone else's. Granted, we all have our favourite, out-there theological heroes - usually perfectly aligned to our own specific ideas of Law versus Grace - and we are inclined to quote them, sometimes ad nauseam, often to the confusion and despair of our friends in the pew. No wonder they get tired of our squabbles in the Church and move on.

What people really need of the Church, is evidence of a Creator God, whose worship is merited - not by fear but by love. The evidence we have of this is God's willingness to be Crucified for our Redemption. This is the basic theology we need to present and to live out in our own lives - to the point where others can see the results of Faith in such a God, and surrender.

Anonymous said...


Dear Peter,
You’ve stated your position clearly and strongly, although without supporting scriptures. Good luck with persuading Jesus that a few extra rips and stains in the bride’s gown are worth it for the inclusion of the folk you describe.
I guess I hold the simplistic view that since Jesus, the real one, the Christ, has been given the task of judging on “that Day”, then he would be the one who would know most accurately the dimensions of the narrow gate. It may be a shame for those Anglicans who conceive of a wider gate, as in Matthew 7: 13, to miss out, especially through poor advice. I’ll stick to pleading the blood of Christ.
Bryden, your analysis is scholarly and accurate. Yet I think that you are simply saying that true theology arises from the nature of YHWH, as it must, and must necessarily be discerned from the scriptures of which he is the dual, and primary, author. “ . . . secundum verbim Dei.”Yes, let’s establish the whole narrative of the Bible, and let’s ensure that it comes from the Bible, that it points to YHWH in all his fullness, and let’s avoid smearing the issue with accommodations for the subjective nature of man, or the way that Peter’s loving couple feel, which I take to be the major error made by the philosophers of whatever bent, and of the lesser theologians whose focus has slipped earthwards. Descartes could never destroy the church; the gates of hell could not prevail. Yes indeed, let’s get with that program, which the scriptures describe as seeking first the kingdom of YHWH and his righteousness, worshipping with reverence and fear, working out our salvation with fear and trembling and so on so thoroughly and wonderfully throughout the Bible. As you say, for us it is all summed up in the Cross, to the glory of God. The account for the debt of my sin was nailed to that cross, and the only nails I know of went through the hands and feet of the Christ.
I’m sorry, Peter, I’ve become very aware of the dust on my sandals. Excuse me while I go out and shake it off. In the immortal words of Captain Oates, and with a similar sorrow, “I may be some time.”
Neville Rogers

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

I understand that ‘mutual consent’ has become the determent virtue in a culture that has embraced moral relativism. I also understand how that narrative has permeated through the very bones and marrow of our church to now express itself in a desire for SSB.

Prostitution is a sexual activity based upon mutual consent, and yet we don’t appear ready to celebrate that quite so much in the Anglican church. But then who knows what new blessings may be formulating in the cloisters.

It should be obvious therefore that mutual consent does not of itself sanctify all forms of adult sexual activity, even if they are permitted by the laws of the land.

Your suggestion that tolerating ‘a little sin here and there’ has not caused moral collapse, and by implication is therefore justified, is both disturbing and profoundly short sighted. You imply that we can indulge the desires of the flesh without consequence, both as individuals and as communities. This is a deeply anti-Biblical assertion, and one that is refuted by the evidence of history.

You say the church has been able to ‘make a change or two without collapse’, but the Anglican church is collapsing.

I wonder instead of accommodating those who ‘insist we can get there’ with respect to SSB, and who still ‘want you to be in our church’ it might be time to remind them that instead of blessing sin, they should consider proverbs 3:7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil.”

Need I remind you again that SSB is not a destination, but a stepping stone towards full acceptance of SSM. You have previously stated that you cannot remain in a church that does this, yet I respectfully suggest that in supporting SSB you are facilitating the very outcome you fear.

You will become a victim of your own accommodation, and forced to exit the Anglican church you love. Such is the consequence of tolerating a little sin.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Neville
I appreciate your commenting here ... I hope you will return at some point (unlike the unfortunate Captain Oates); and I trust all is well with you in a very special part of God's world!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
I did mention "committed love" which is normally not a feature of a "relationship" with a prostitute!
At no point have I argued that tolerating a bit of sin here and there then justifies it. Not at all. I long for those who are in my wider circle of friends and family to live righteous lives. My point is that "collapse" is not necessarily a consequence of the messiness of social communities and the relationship within them.
Nor have I said that we can indulge the flesh without fear of consequences: there are always consequences. But the consequences do not necessarily cause "collapse." The CofE sails on, even though back in a certain age there were bishops with mistresses and what have you. Rome survives despite some very dubious domestic circumstances to the lives of some medieval popes.
Whether or not SSM is inevitable and whether or not I am facilitating my own demise, I and others involved in our leadership have to work with what is in front of us, not what might or might not happen.
However if I have to leave, you are entitled to smile!

Anonymous said...

"So, now we have taken up the Maxwell Smart technique, have we?"

Exactly, Agent 99! It's the old *close all the double doors behind them and then call their names to make them turn around and mash their noses between the doors* trick. A known tactic of KAOS agents and spy-spoof screenwriters. Very effective in reminding people that they watched tv sit coms in the 1960s when not playing Beatles records, whirling a Hula Hoop, or growing long hair to upset their parents and preachers. And why do they do this, 99? To make us feel OLD, OUT OF DATE, and UNFUNNY; that's why! Less sophisticated agents might think that we are indeed just creatures of a fad for espionage in movies and television. But you and I are too smart to fall for that! We know that we are parodies of the heterosexual dyad that will be funny forever-- even to people who no longer get spy jokes-- because the dyad itself will survive KAOS in the great comedy of all things. They will laugh at us hardest in the New Jerusalem. Which reminds me, I need your help, 99...

Agent 86

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, having read some of the despairing comments on this particular thread, I am beginning to sympathise with your call for a moratorium on the subject.

Such comments, to my mind, evince only a sense of calamity, which militates against the Gospel call to Faith, Hope and Love (Charity). For Faith to flourish, there must always, surely, be Hope for the Future. Something I find singularly lacking in the hand-wringing despair.

However, "Christ, our Light", will not be dimmed by deleterious comments about the 'Death of The Church". Jesus promised Peter that he would be a Rock against which the Devil would never prevail. Deo Gratias, Peter, for your most encouraging comments.

Bryden Black said...

Peter (and perhaps Brendan)

The very friends/relatives I have, who are as you describe as “committed ss couples”, are the very reason I ask/am forced to ask the third of my questions: how do we become genuinely mistaken? Both as individuals and collectively? AND that question cuts both/all ways NB!

For in a similar way to slavery being once espoused by genuine Christians, who while being slavers were not vicious or unnecessarily violent or whatever ghastly evil one might have to avoid (in their eyes), and which other slavers indulged in, and who therefore saw no pressing moral imperative to free their slaves (until ...), so too I strongly suspect we are caught in a double banger of a bind today: are these forms of behaviour sinful and to be repented of, or are they holy and reasonable? Just so, the vitally important nature of the question re “genuine mistakes”.

At this point in time, I am still persuaded, and have not been persuaded otherwise, that my (interim?) conclusion should be the former, and not the latter - a conclusion based on exegesis-and-theology, the only Christian means of evaluating our understanding of our experience any of us have. And once a church decides upon a course of action which is (almost) impossible to undo [ref. all my stuff re Kenneth Locke and my formal submissions], serious consequences necessarily follow. Now; given the fact that humans are necessarily time-bound critters, only time sometimes answers such questions regarding our “mistakes”. Even science is a time bound enterprise, and is full of reversals and counter reversals (if we know the history well enough)! To be sure; many a contemporary western society has embarked/is embarking upon a massive social experiment, the likes of which is utterly novel, historically and culturally, and which frankly (I am realistic enough to acknowledge) only time will render judgment upon. And to be sure again; O’Donovan makes “time” an essential feature of discerning Christian practical reason and its implementation (cf. his recently published trilogy, 2013/14/17). For all that too, I remain unpersuaded. For what actually constitutes a “loving and compassionate” CHRISTIAN response - to such friends and relatives? Time will tell; and time will also necessarily create a multitude of (interim) reactions. And within it all, sub specie aeternitatis, the Church stands and will ever stand under the judgment and mercy of God, to whom we are all accountable (e.g. Rom 1-11, 1 Cor 4:1-5 although Paul is actually in many places bold enough to actually pass judgment, now!).

Anonymous said...

Peter, why oh why you are being flogged in the public square yet again?

Supporting SSB is saying something like: SSB is good, and the people who disagree are bad, because they are wicked, wicked Pharisees, but even so they are minimally qualified for unity. I have not heard you say that.

You have been saying something else very clearly: SSB is bad-- you will not give one!-- but the people who would give one it are somehow qualified for unity, for now, though they be confused.

Is that still your position?

Saying that is not supporting SSB at all. It's tolerating confused people in a church that is trying to be the Church.

Explaining why people are confused, as you have done a lot lately, is not being confused yourself. It is acknowledging, as a human, that some people on some matters have not separated the true from the merely thinkable. And it is acknowledging as a fellow sentient mammal (with all higher primates, probably whales, certainly lab rats, etc) that this is difficult for them because they have mental capacities for caring, autonomy, equality that other sentient mammals such as your readers can replicate *as if* in their own mental activity. Mental competence is, in part, being able to explain another mind's thoughts accurately and dispassionately without losing one's own. You have it; you reasonably expect creatures reading you online to have it.

If that toleration is still your position, then why WHY! are you being flogged for supporting SSB rather than being flogged for tolerating confused people?

(On public flogging. I do not mind that people are disagreeable in the present aeon-- God will annihilate all ornery people Eventually, and serene empathic discussion in the New Jerusalem will be a delight-- but even now those who think that they believe should at least try to have the self-control to disagree with positions that are actually held. That would be much safer for them.)

You seem to be tolerating two kinds of confused people. In the holey but holy whole synod of the blessed isles, you tolerate people who are confused about SSB because they do not understand (or resent what they do understand) about marriage. In ADU, you tolerate people who are confused about your toleration because they do not understand (or resent what they do understand) about the unity in Christ that God commands as a part of his reconciliation with all things.

Briefly, Grandfather Brendan and Father Ron raised the issue of toleration itself in an exchange quite a while back. That was helpful. The former, after Calvin after St Paul, wanted the expulsion of sinners. The latter, after Luther after St Paul, wanted the inclusion of sinners. The Church as virgin bride v the Church as mother of souls. Since that tension is actually related to your position, why do we not (safely) discuss that? A salient advantage of this course is that it may even save souls from annihilation. This would be good.

Blessed are the peacemakers, Peter! But if that does not work, there is a fall back position. Blessed are you when men shall persecute you, and revile you, and say all manner of things about you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be glad, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you!

BW

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Bryden (and Bowman)

Yes, the possibility that I’m mistaken about same sex relationships has naturally occurred to me as it should to anyone thinking about this and any issue for that matter. I too know people both male and female who identify as same sex attracted, some Christian some not, some choosing celibacy, some not, some civilly married some not.

Equally I have grappled with the question of how do we/they become genuinely mistaken? While Romans 1 provides some insights, it is not a compelling answer in every circumstance.

Hebrews 3:13 talks about the deceitfulness of sin, which is a little more helpful. In addition, I can easily imagine a circumstance where someone is ambiguous about their sexual orientation, and being shown love and affection by someone of the same sex concluding they are same sex attracted.

Recently someone in their fifties who has been in full time Christian ministry their adult life, someone whose ministry I respect, left their wife and family to come out as gay. How does that work?

So, it’s not that I don’t have questions, it’s just that as believers we have one primary source in which to look for answers. If we agree that Scripture condemns homosexual practice, then it makes about as much sense as condemning someone for being left handed, if orientation is set at birth.

However, even if it were set at birth, is celibacy for homosexuals a greater cross to bear than for those heterosexuals who would choose marriage but cannot find a suitable partner? I think particularly of many fine young Christian women in our churches who cannot find a husband.

Then there is Romans 9:19-20 “One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?”

Quite so.

Bowman, for the sake of clarity, my problem with Peter’s response to SSB is not personal. In my humble opinion, the duty of any Christian in leadership, is to uphold the truth, to expose error and to refute it. When you read the Epistles, this is a recurring theme of the apostles.

Nowhere are we called to make a covenant of accommodation with error, particularly when Paul tells us to flee from sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:18. Paul warned the church with tears that after he left ‘wolves would come in and not spare the flock’. Acts 20:29.

The thing about wolves is that if they looked like wolves the sheep would scatter. The wolves Paul was concerned about look like shepherds, they sound like shepherds and probably even smell like shepherds, so consequently many sheep are confused, some are even deceived.

From my vantage point, the wolves shouldn’t be getting any encouragement from the shepherds, rather they should be removing them from the sheep pen, at least until they repent.

In my experience, wolves are seldom interested in repenting.

Father Ron Smith said...

Brendan, in the wake of your comment at 4.46pm; one has to search recent history for those Church Leaders who have been seen to have acted as 'Wolves' among the shepherds. Rather strikingly, I can remember a particularly outstanding mega-Chutch Leader in the U.S. - name of Baker - whose wealth and status in his 'Church' led him to certain excesses that revealed such sins as were considered - even by his faithful followers to have required his ignominious discharge from ministry. In comparison, I don't recall too many Church Leaders in mainline congregations who have been publicly shamed for their same-sex relationships. So, Brendan, were does the danger really lurk, in the area of sexual depravity? Do not the trappings of wealth and hero-worship have more hidden dangers than same-sex faithfulness in the leadership and membership of the Church?

Bryden Black said...

I trust Peter my 12:35 addresses one element of your 7:31 - although I still actually sense mere “otherness” as often cited nowadays is not quite what is intended by those texts given us in Gen 1-2. Yet again, the ‘abstract academics’ who coin “otherness” has become too removed from the sheerly material: Gnostic even! That said by way of endorsing yours, with qualifications, now for the rest of how you respond.

The “trainwreck” is only partially begun to be addressed by (some of) those whom you cite - and RDW overall I’d not include in that list! The trouble with such upstream pollution is its ubiquity ... And it takes a massive effort, as well helpful geographical/cultural distancing to assist the effort, to realize the problem, let alone address it. I personally sympathize enormously with Jerome’s cry after the council of Rimini 359: “The world groaned to find itself Arian!” For that is where I sense we truly are - not Arian (though to be sure bits of that continuously float hereabouts) but blighted by an equivalently deeply situated fault line (the primary cause of Arianism, in Hellenistic dualism, the root paradigm of their day) which imprisons our own options. It’s not for nothing that I speak of “deeper conversion.” Labeling it “voluntarism” is surely a start; and MacIntyre’s “emotivism” spells out some of the consequences. But what might a full reintegration of the Augustinian truly look like for the 21st C? Like Lonergan’s polymath “Enterprise” ...? (His tomes on the Trinity are gloriously awesome ...) Cross-fertilized “through” (S Sykes) a Barth, a TFT? On verra ... Meanwhile - 1 Cor 15:19 (and NB the context, vis-à-vis that footnote ***!!!)

Glen Young said...


Hi Brendan and others,

I was always uneasy with the secular teaching about psychosis;where the brain
[mind] was the center of attention. Much preferred the Spiritual paradigm; which holds that the heart [spirit] is the resevoir of our being.
(1) Moses says:"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart,and be no more stiff necked". Deut 10:16
(2) Solomon says:"Keep your heart with all ;for out of it are the issues of life. Prov.4:23
(3) Jesus said:"But those which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart.;and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts,murders,adulteries,fornication,thefts,false witness,blasphemies:These are the things which defile a man:but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man". Matt 15:18,19&20.
(4)Paul says:"For though we walk in the Flesh,we do not war after the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the Knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled".2Cor.10:3 on.

Just a small selection of verses which formed the foundation of our counselling.
We believe that Christ Archetype, which Adam and Eve bore,died in the Fall.
Having descended from Adam and Eve,we share with them the vulnerability to be deceived about the true nature and value of all things,particularly our human identity.Being BORN of the SPIRIT [John 3:1],we "put off"the "old man"
and allow the Holy Spirit to impute the "Righteousness of Christ" onto us.
But this process requires us to allow the Holy Spirit,the Divine Surgeon to circumcise all the Adamic images out of our hearts.

How all this fits into "Best Practice Pastoral care" ,is a another topic.Hope I am not trying to teach Grandma to suck eggs.

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Ron

In so far as wolves exist in both the mainline and evangelical denominations I’m happy that we both call them out for what they are. In this we are in complete agreement.

I am bemused however, that ABC Justin Welby is willing to affirm that homophobia (whatever that may be) is sinful, but he cannot give a ‘straight answer’ on whether gay sex is sinful.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/02/justin-welby-unable-to-give-straight-answer-on-whether-gay-sex-is-sinful

How is it that the supreme primate of the Anglican communion is ‘theologically illiterate’ on this matter when our dear Peter, Director of Theology House in little old NZ is able to confirm there is a ‘straight line between the OT and the NT on homosexual relationships’?

Arch Shepherd Welby is conflicted. One suspects he knows the theological answer to that question just as Peter does, but for reasons best known to himself, he refuses to articulate the answer. Worst case there is the stench of wolf. I don’t know, perhaps there is some spectrum in-between truth and error that he may justifiably occupy. But here’s the thing. It’s OK for Bill Smith, Anglican parishioner of Saint Michal’s on Avon to be unable to give a clear answer on this question. I fully understand that. But the ABC – really?

So, be it Rev Baker in the USA, or the ABC in the UK, both appear to have feet of clay.

I have feet of clay. But I know my redeemer lives, and I know the truth of his Word. Ultimately his truth will prevail.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
I suspect ++Welby would join with me in being quite clear that no married man has the right in the Lord to separate from his wife in order to come out as gay. Faithfulness to vows is not under question.
What is under question, whether or not you consider ++Welby or me or any other person with leadership responsibility, a wolf or a shepherd, is how we respond as a church to those who are unable to marry a member of the opposite sex and do take up opportunity now provided by civil law to marry a member of the same sex.
Again, ++Welby seems to join with me in being a little less than as clear as you are about what to do about that, including leading churches respectively in which a range of views exists. Clarity on homophobia is much easier, by comparison, to achieve, since homophobia is disrespect for the person made in God's image. I imagine you are as clear as ++Welby on the importance of respecting every human being.
Finally, whether a wolf or a shepherd, I have these strangely compassionate feelings for gay and lesbian members of our church who feel silenced by the rhetoric of conservatives, who quietly go about their lives with discretion, hoping desperately that a "don't ask, don't tell" approach will help them see out their days in a church which is hostile to them.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bowman,
Thank you for your beatitudinal concern!
I am, of course, not at all concerned for myself, so long as all public floggings are metaphorical, but rather concerned that we find a way forward, not only for the church as a whole but also for individuals within it, especially those who worry that my public flogging presages theirs!

Peter Carrell said...

THanks Bryden for your recent and erudite comments.
To a degree, time will tell, as we journey through the 21st century, not so much who is right and who is wrong, but what the gospel of incarnation in the humanity of today - such as it is! - turns out to be like.
Meantime, in the most alarming news of today, I see an article about Chinese Christians, in at least one province of China being told to replace images of Jesus with images of the Chinese President. I assume all commenters here are united in praying for resistance to that attack on our faith!

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Just perhaps, if the gay activists (with Theological Time Bombs), were not quite so active;then the conservative people would not get drawn into defending their faith.Sheet the blame back where it belongs.As I have already said, the answer lies in formulating proper "best practice Pastoral Care"; not in SSM/SSB. There many people with mental health issues who want to feel at home in the Church.So while you are General Synod,get them to come with a blessing on DEPRESSION.Breaking News,"Anglican Church finds new cure for Mental Disorders,BLESS THE DISORDER".

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

It is a red herring to say, that this issue arose because gay people felt unwanted in the Church.It's genesis lay in the voice that given to certain people who were under submission to G.S.;and the refusal of the Auckland Bishop and two Archbishops to do anything about it.Their demand was that: "living in a same sex relationship should not be a bar to Ordination". I have all the motions presented to the Auckland Synod covering the issue,our complaints to the Bishop that such motions were unconstitutional as well as + and ++ replies. But now I become the bad for saying that it is outside the Constitution to make these changes.Quite simply,same sex relationship are "right Ordered" or they are "Disordered".

Father Ron Smith said...

" I personally sympathize enormously with Jerome’s cry after the council of Rimini 359: “The world groaned to find itself Arian!” For that is where I sense we truly are - not Arian (though to be sure bits of that continuously float hereabouts) but blighted by an equivalently deeply situated fault line (the primary cause of Arianism, in Hellenistic dualism, the root paradigm of their day) which imprisons our own options." - Bryden Black -

And, in the meantime, some of us are just getting along quietly with the work of the Gospel - 'Setting Prisoners Free'; celebrating the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist;addressing injustice; ministering to the sick and needy and getting on with the proclamation of the Good News of God's love for ALL God's children - leaving the Head Stuff to the theologians who quarrel among themselves as to what the gospel is really all about.
"Jesus, mercy; Mary, pray!"

(Feast of Saint Cecilia, Marty at Rome)

Father Ron Smith said...

"(1) Moses says:"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart,and be no more stiff necked". Deut 10:16" - Glen -

As I was saying. It's all about sex for some people!

Father Ron Smith said...

"I am bemused however, that ABC Justin Welby is willing to affirm that homophobia (whatever that may be) is sinful, but he cannot give a ‘straight answer’ on whether gay sex is sinful." - Brendan McNeill -

Maybe, you, Brendan - especially if you actually are not aware of what damage homophobia has caused throughout the world - might be persuaded to THINK that the reason for the ABC's reluctance to label same-sex committed relationships as sin is because they may not be! The real sexual sin is unfaithfulness and promiscuity among both straight and gay relationships.

Anonymous said...

"I assume all commenters here are united in praying for resistance to that attack on our faith!"

Amen!

BW

Anonymous said...

Glanced at the comments today.

Bryden, you have mail on the more interesting thread.

Brendan, I do not quarrel with your expectation that leaders be truthful, but because episcopal leadership is in succession, in college, and now alas in synod, a sane bishop is speaking for others (and to effectively influence others behind closed doors) and so will not often shoot from the hip. This can try one's patience, but then the notable exceptions are usually liberals who try one's patience even more.

Glen, if an ADU thread seriously engages the nexus of spirituality, psychology and therapy, we will have a lot to talk about. Thank you for describing what you do.

Father Ron, thank you for the George Herbert poem the other day. Refreshingly theological, no?

BW

Bryden Black said...

Playing farmer Bowman these past couple of days. Might engage with that Black Pope (?!) soon enough tho!

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

For the life of me,I can not even start to comprehend how anyone, who is required by their submission to the General Synod of the ACANZP, and hence to Her legitimate Doctrine (as defined in Her Constitution 1857); and is required to hold and maintain that Doctrine,(as indeed G.S. is also); can twist the Word of God, to the extent of seeing human sexuality in the work of the Holy Spirit. But then again,I'm not into "Progressive Christianity".
The Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone, as the Divine Surgeon can "CIRCUMCISE" those false images out of our hearts.

If you had read (4),you would seen Paul saying:"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.These are strong holds we have built up in our spirits (hearts) to shield our Adamic Archetypes from being questioned.We as humans can only bring false or incomplete healings, through other powers than Christ.So how you are setting prisoners free, I do not understand.Confirming people in broken sexual identities is not my idea of setting them free.

It certainly does seem all about sex for some people. But I am not the one who has a blog site advocating homosexuality. I am not the one who brought this whole sad mess into the ACANZP. I am not the who has to announce to the whole world what my sexual preference is. I am not the who wants science to establish at any cost, that my sexual orientation is innate. I am not the who is trying to circumvent the Constitution and Canons of the ACANZP so I can be Ordained;when both the Doctrine of the ACANZP (as defined in the Fundamental Provisions of her founding Constitution 1857) and Her Canons
say :"NO".



Father Ron Smith said...

"It certainly does seem all about sex for some people. But I am not the one who has a blog site advocating homosexuality." - Glen Young -

To 'advocate homosexuality' would be 'pushing it'

In actuality, Glen, I am reminding people like your good self that there are people in the Church and in God's world (created in God's Image and Likeness) whose innate sexuality is different from the binary majority.

My struggle with people like yourself, who would reject such a reality, is that you are closed to the possibility that you may be wrong!

My openness to the FACT that the majority of human beings are heterosexual should help you, and people like you, Glen, to understand that all I am doing in my blog - and in my participation in argument on ADU and other blogs - that there are other ways of perceiving our common humanity than that of your own experience - which is of a binary sexual attraction.

My thesis is that our common humanity should be able to cope with difference - in the way that nature has revealed itself over time - no more, no less.
Whatever the writers of Scripture were able to tell us about our sexual makeup was necessarily limited by the biological knowledge available at that time - as was their knowledge of the makeup of the cosmos. The advance of scientific knowledge since, has enabled humanity to recognise a credibility gap - between what was understood then, and what is now discernible by means of data available - about the extent of the cosmos and the complexity of our human development - including our human sexual responses.

Flat earth theology, has had to give way to the exigencies of the Space Age.
God's Spiritual intervention is not limited to the past, but is eternally revealing, by love, the redemption Jesus Christ has already secured for us

Bryden Black said...

Customarily, Ron, I have often just let some of your remarks go through to the keeper. This time however, at 10:44 am, you need to be called out, and the water not allowed to merely run off the duck’s back, so obdurate and lacking in imagination are your comments.

First off, castigating Jerome is a mistake, and you might find yourself apologizing to him when you meet, so fulsome was his ministry - and still is! Then secondly, it is just possible that many items on your list in that second paragraph you term “the work of the Gospel”, plus a few more, are being engaged in by a good number of Christians who simultaneously engage in that “Head Stuff” you deride - which leads not to “quarrels” but to true edification of “the saints’ work of ministry” (Eph 4:11ff), and even necessary correction (sometimes) on account of their being “tossed about” by those “deceitful” “winds of doctrine” perpetrated by many a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

Caveat lector ...

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Ron

I wanted to respond to your latest post because you ask all the right questions of those of us with an Orthodox faith.

Speaking personally, I don’t deny or doubt the existence of people who sexually attracted to those of the same sex. I have met many of them in all walks of life. There appears to be a spectrum, as you suggest with opposite sex attraction being in the majority, same sex attraction being a small minority, and with an even smaller minority those who are bi-sexual.

Of course, our common humanity allows us to ‘cope with difference’.

I understand and agree that the writers of Scripture had limited biological knowledge when compared to the imperial knowledge we have gained in recent times. I note however that you make no claim that same sex attraction is immutable, and set at birth in your post, an assertion that would be highly contestable.

So far we are in broad agreement.

You then go onto imply that God’s revelation is progressive, and at one level I would agree. Scripture itself is a progressive revelation about the person and nature of God.

However, what has not changed since the first Adam is human nature. We are just as willful, rebellious and sinful as we have ever been. What has changed for humankind is the incarnation, the cross of Christ, Jesus resurrection and his subsequent redemption and renewal of all those who truly repent and believe.

What has not changed is the reality of sin.

What has not changed is God’s definition of sin.

What has not changed is the wages of sin.

The subtext of your post is that mankind now possesses a greater knowledge than the Biblical writers, therefore what was once considered sexual sin by God in (say) Leviticus, is no longer sin. That our lived experience now trumps the revelation of Scripture. What God once deemed to be sin has been abrogated by increased human knowledge.

I’m reminded of the serpent in garden when first approaching Eve in Gen 3:1 “Did God really say….”?

To which I’m hearing you respond something like ‘yes he did, but now we are free to ignore what he said without consequence’. Usually followed by a celebration of love, and grace and so on. Presumably you have chosen to believe that God has changed his mind on this sexual prohibition?

Yet Scripture does give us some insight into God’s unchangeable character:

Numbers 23:19 “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.”

1 Samuel 15:29: “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”

Somewhat scarily, Psalm 55:19 “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.”

Finally, James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

I do understand this is not a question of what Scripture says for you, and to some extent neither is it a theological question for Peter. You both appear to have an emotive response towards those in same sex relationships. Understandable, but dare I say it, un-Christ like? After all, he did charge the woman caught in adultery to ‘go and sin no more’.

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

(1) "To 'advocate homosexuality' would be pushing it". Ron @ 12.02pm.
Advocate: 'One who pleads for another;one who speaks on behalf of a proposition', Collins Dictionary.

(2) An issue which makes meaningful dialogue difficult, in a any discussion; is when one party uses terms and expressions, which have a commonly accepted meaning, to express an different notion.Your use of "people created in God's likeness and image", (has no connection,except on a emotive and subjective basis to the rest your sentence);"whose innate sexuality is different from the binary majority". There can be no argument that all people are created in the likeness and image of God, Gen 1:26 & Heb 11:3. But then you speak of innate homosexual orientation as if it was established in Gen 1:26. "And God saw everything He had made and behold it was good", Gen 1:31. Are you saying that homosexuality is part of God's perfect creation? Why then the prohibitions in Lev."Thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination". Lev 18:22. & Romans 1:

Or do you accept that it became innate after the fall and is part of broken man, which needs to be REPENTED of. At the 'fall',(mankind's DNA,the information or story of our history,present and future changed), when the Christ Archetype departed from us. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,thou shalt not eat of it.For in the day thou eatest thereof,thou shall surely die". Gen 2:17. They ate thereof, but they were still alive in the Garden; so how did they die? We ceased to be fully human as God intended us to be,when He created us in His image and likeness.False doctrine gives us either a flawed or incomplete understanding of the Nature and Character of God,a false image of man or a flawed understanding of our relationship to God and His Creation.

I will cover the issue of the advance of our knowledge later.


Father Ron Smith said...

I'm sorry if you thought I was castigating Blessed Jerome, Bryden. A clearer discernment of my comment might have shown that it was your lengthy prolix dissertation that I was questioning - (Very good for the lecture theatre, but less useful in conversational interchange on blogs).

Father Ron Smith said...

"I will cover the issue of the advance of our knowledge later." - Glen -

Well, Glen, if you could limit your comment on this topic to about 100 words, I might stay around long enough to read it.

I find lengthy comments (limited by most blog-owners) to be not only tiring to read, but sometimes, also tiresome - especially if prolix (see my comment to B.B. in this thread).

re Your remarks about 'The Fall' to which all humankind since the mythical Adam and Eve have been subject; you must remember that ALL humanity has been flawed - even red-blooded heterosexuals like yourself. The fallenness of Gay people is no more culpable than that of Straights!

What modern theological process demands of us, is to try to discern the goodness that is still present in all creation - not just one part of it - according to the demands of Justice and human thriving. This is where the New Commandment of Jesus becomes so important - overcoming our human potential for partiality and judgement of others: in his encouragement to 'Love one another as I have loved you".

As the modern chorus goes: "By this shall all wo/men know you are my disciples; if you have love one for another"

The Maundy Thursday Antiphon puts it very well: "Where Charity and Love are: there is God" This is at the heart of the Gospel to a flawed humanity

Bryden Black said...

I'm not sure your continued derision gets you off the hook that easily Ron!

Anonymous said...

Douglas Campbell (Otago, Kings, Duke) on the gospel of grace in Romans--

https://youtu.be/0RPiJpMAJrQ

BW

Father Ron Smith said...

Further to comments on the inevitability of the effects of 'The Fall', and Saint Paul's acknowledgement to Timothy of grace at work in ALL Creation:

1 Timothy 4:4 "Everything that God created is good..."

Comment in today's 3-minute Retreat:

"God is love. It is impossible for God, whose essence is love, to create anything that is not good. Sometimes, our own labels of “good” and “bad” get in the way of our ability to see the goodness of God in its fullness. Paul challenges Timothy, and us, to renegotiate our categories and to simply receive all that God creates with thanksgiving. We believe that God created us and loved us into being. God continues to provide for all our needs, in sometimes surprising ways."

I find there are still great problems for the Church when, despite modern understanding of the diversity of human biological make-up, we continue to apply 'our own labels of "good" and "bad" to people who are 'different' from ourselves, and whose behaviour we are simply unable to comprehend.

I will not contribute any more conversation to this particular thread - on the grounds that I seem to be a single voice against so many of you.

Off now to be with the God of Love at the Mass. Deo gratias!
Blessings to ALL!

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

I think you will find it was the Beatles and not Jesus that sang "ALL you need is love". Jesus said one needs a few other things like repentance.

The mythical Adam and Eve is straight out of Progressive Christianity and not ACANZP Doctrine. It is also contradicted by both modern "Y" and "XX" DNA knowledge.

Father Ron Smith said...

My first post on this seems to have dropped into the ether. I will try again:

"I understand and agree that the writers of Scripture had limited biological knowledge when compared to the imperial knowledge we have gained in recent times. I note however that you make no claim that same sex attraction is immutable, and set at birth in your post, an assertion that would be highly contestable." - Brendan -

au contraire, mon ami; I may not have before on this blog claimed that 'same-sex attraction is immutable, and set at birth". However, I now tell you, from personal experience, that I have never experienced anything other than this. Those who have sought and found release from S/S attraction by either spiritual counselling or aversion therapy were probably not totally S/S attracted anyway.

As you may be aware, Brendan; despite the majority of people being primarily heterosexual; there are also bi-sexual people whose attractiopn can be to either gender. However, with heterosexuals being fearful of the prospect of homosexuality, one does wonder - if society thought differently - how many of them could be converted to homosexuality? I guess not many.

Morality apart, Brendan; do you think you could be converted to become gay?
Well, I have to inform you that gay people have the same problem. It is also important to understand that most gay Christians would actually prefer to be like you - heterosexual - especially when the Church seems to set against them. However, mental health experts - and an increasing number of reputable spiritual counsellors - have pointed to the dangers of 'conversion therapy', which - when it proves to be unsuccessful - can cause to be a major cause of breakdown - both mentally and spiritually. Is that good for the Church?

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

If Adam and Eve are "MYTHICAL";then surely the Genesis account of MARRIAGE is also mythical.Why then did Jesus say:"Have you not read (where?);that He who made them in the beginning"? What authority was He quoting? I have heard this before from the Progressives here in Auckland.

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Ron

I’m not a coercion kind of guy. Be as gay as you like.

From my reading of Scripture, God’s not into coercion either.

He does appear to favour obedience over rebellion, but again, that’s just my observation.

Anonymous said...


"Are you saying that homosexuality is part of God's perfect creation?...Or do you accept that it became innate after the fall and is part of broken man, which needs to be REPENTED of?"

Or...?

http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=378485654

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Perhaps, in light of Ron's statement to me : 're-Your remarks about "the Fall" to which all humankind since the mythical Adam and Eve have been subject". Nov.23rd @ 7.29am; you may like to revise you comment to me:"I do not think libertine is fair to Ron Nov.19th @9.07am.

Mythical: "Purely fictitious narrative usually involving supernatural persons. Collins Dict.

Questioning the authority of the Genesis account of God's making and dealing with mankind,to the point of calling it "mythical";is surely completely outside of the legitimate ACANZP Doctrine.If the Church is so broad as to allow this type of denial,then you have no Church.Any ACANZP priest making those sorts of comments needs to read Art 9 & 10.

If the "so called" inspired writers of the Scriptures, just wrote a whole lot of mythical nonsense; the ACANZP's basis to Christian marriage is mythical,because God did not give Eve to Adam. There was no Garden of Eden and there was no "Tree of the knowledge of good and evil" Paul is quite wrong:"For since by man came death,by man came also the resurrection of the dead.For as in Adam all die,even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor 15:21 & 22. For if there was no Adam then........!!!!!! Shall I go On!!!

If this is acceptable Doctrine to the Bishops of ACANZP, because the Church is so broad; your UNITY is worth nothing and it looks like a Fraud.

Peter,You need to sort out image you are as Church portraying to thinking people.

Father Ron Smith said...

Glen Young,

Here is an Oxford Dictionary explanation of the Creation Myth:
"A myth describing or explaining the creation of the world."

These are not merely my words, Glen, but are out on the www.

In consideration of that explanation, would you agree that the Biblical account(s) of Creation actually meet(s) that criterion, or not?

I am aware of the 'Sola Scriptura' school which accredits every word of the Bible as historically true. However, when dealing with the 'Creation Story', can you tell me which one of those in Genesis is the truest, in your opinion? Personally, I belong to the traditional three-legged stool of the Church of England - Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

Also, there is the need to ask; which of Adam and Eve's daughters did Cain get to marry? Did they have a daughter? Was it his sister? These are questions that kids are likely to ask in a Bible-in-schools class. Have you got the answer, Glen?

I think the closest parallel in the Bible to the stories of Creation - and their historical background - would be the parables of Jesus in the N.T. Do you think Jesus was recounting an historical event with each parable? Or was it a method of teaching already known to his mainly Jewish audience?

To me, the beauty of O.T. Biblical teaching - apart from the actual historical narrative - is its recounting of a spiritual journey made by God's people from exile into a settled existence in Palestine (twice) and an ongoing grappling of the Jewish people with their relationship to God.

In the New Testament, I believe - along with the members of the body of Christ, the Church - that Jesus was the Person identified in the Catholic Creeds - the Son of God, Second Person of the Trinity; through whom God chose to redeem the population of the world to God's-self. I believe in the miracles wrought by Jesus - either in his own Incarnate being or through the Holy Spirit in the lives of His disciples.

I believe, with Pope Francis, that doctrine is not static, but a living organism. God does not change, but we humans do evolve. How will that do for a start. I may not be as 'orthodox' as you, Glen, but I can claim to be as orthodox as, say, Gregory of Nyssa. Do you know of him?

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,
Thank you for your reply but it was far too long winded for me to bother reading. Could you stick to 100 words.

Anonymous said...

Apart from Glen's intriguing aside, comments in this thread seem to recognise Jesus's authority only in his arguments about the torah, and not in his acts of healing. But that is surely unscriptural and giving full weight to the latter can make some inferences from the former alone hard to maintain.

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

I now see where you get your theology from; "Google". I much prefer The ACANZP's Doctrine, as per Her Constitution.

Of course, "creation Myth" would have to be defined as a Myth about creation; So,if the Genesis' account of creation is mythical,tell us when and where gay people were made in the image and likeness of God,(your words).

Anonymous said...

Hi Bowman, do you mean that the ancient Jews considered disability a direct result of sin : eg the blind man or his parents were responsible, as opposed to our fallen state. And, if so, that’s interesting in this context, but I cannot see the end. There again I might have misunderstood.

Nick

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Glen,

EVERY HUMAN BEING is created in the Image and Likeness of God - which places due emphasis on their intended perfection, not their instinctual nature. You see, Glen, the 'children of God' are on a journey - into perfection, the perfection only God can supply. This is probably why we'll all need the interim resting place in Paradise - the place where Jesus visited the dead, together with the thief from the Cross. This could be (from my very own interpretation of the work done by the Spirit in Paradise, before Christ's coming again in glory to claim his own (per St.Paul's description).

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

I can but refer you back to Art. 6: "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to Salvation: ........". God did not inspire a classic 'history of the world' or'a manual of science'.There are cities buried under the sea dating back 17,000 years; Who and what were they? What technologies did they have. Interesting, but my salvation does not depend on the answer.

"So who did Cain marry?" To know that is not necessary to my salvation. So, perhaps if Priests stuck to their true functions and stopped trying to be everything to every body; the ACANZP might not be in it's present mess.



Bryden Black said...

Chuckle, chuckle Bowman, with your quote of Jn 9 @ 2:11

But we both know the medieval tradition of “felix culpa”, of the debate whether God would have become Incarnate or not if there’d been no Fall, of Luther’s conclusion: “God created humanity so that he might redeem us.” etc. etc. So perhaps not fair a riposte of a most complex issue.

As for Ron’s 1 Tim 4:4 - it is yet more classic silliness: CONTEXT CONTEXT CONTEXT! It’s about eating and receiving “foods”, which are deemed “ritually clean” ... “with thankfulness.” And so, let’s also read Jn 9 with similar circumspection ...

Glen Young said...

Hi Ron,

"Every Human being is created in the image and likeness of God" Nov.235th @ 12.11 PM.

Is this more of your GOOGLE THEOLOGY or do you have a authority that is not MYTHICAL????

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nick, for your 8:54 on my 2:11. My allusion to St John 9 draws attention to Jesus's *covenantal* action where others were trying and failing to make *contractual* sense of a birth defect. Reflection on this contrast between covenant and contract is essential to biblical theology in its Reformed mode, and among systematicians, it is a specialty of the House of Torrance. To see how it works, you might compare what Phillip Cary said about the logic of *sacramental faith* with this by Robert Torrance--

https://tinyurl.com/yca9fuwr

BW

Jonathan said...

I think I might have missed something, Glen, in your query, but I wonder if Fr Ron was referring to Genesis 1:27 (and, on the topic of Paradise, "For all the Saints" refers to the progression from the sweet calm of Paradise to the Yet more glorious day). However one views the Things-to-come it will be wonderful when God's kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven!

Jonathan said...

Fr Ron, I wouldn't have a problem if Adam's biological sons married his biological daughters, but am happy with other explanations, and, with Glen, happy that I don't have a definitive answer! Personally, I would see Sola Scriptura as understanding scripture literally - i.e. understanding passages in the manner that their own literature demands, which will take into consideration literary style, what original audiences understood (which may require a little in addition to Sola Scriptura), how other parts of scripture reflect on any given passage, and which covenant was in operation at the time of writing. That might not be far from your understanding too.

Father Ron Smith said...

Jonathan, I appreciate your intervention in my tussle with Glen - which I find difficult to navigate in view of our very different assumptions.

However, I do take up your point about the problem of Cain's having to raise up children through a possible liaison with his biological sister - with all that this might raise up about such relationships. My own understanding is that there were other humans created at the same time. the reason we don't hear of them in the scriptures is that the real point at issue was rebellion on the part of A. & E.

While not being a 'sola Scriptura' advocate, I do recognise certain passages of Scripture as having the 'ring of truth' - meaning that they are pivotal to the redemption theme running through the Bible. For me, the Gospels are the most important Scriptures, speaking, as they do, of human contact with the Incarnate Christ - albeit with cultural connotations present.

I've long been a believer (from Paul's testimony mainly) in 'Paradise as a type of 'waiting room for the departed', which Jesus visited for the 3 days between his death and resurrection. There must have been a purpose for this. Was it a period of spiritual regeneration for dead human beings, where their Adamic nature was translated into their 'heavenly nature (pace: 1 Cor.15) preparing them for the Second Coming of Christ in glory? Paul also speaks of "the dead in Christ, being raised first" in 1Thess.4:13-18.

In all of this, Jonathan, I am (at the age of 88) keenly aware of the FACT that "Now, we see through a glass darkly; then, we shall see Him face to face" - a glorious prospect for us who believe.

Glen Young said...


Hi Jonathon,

Your comments were interesting.I understand that Anthropology raised more questions for me, than it ever answered;so now I divide things into three categories,(1) things which truly matter, (2) things which are interesting and (3) things which don't really matter at all.Salvation (1) Who Cain married (2)

My tussle is not with Ron;but with the leadership of the ACANZP; who wish to trample on the legitimate Doctrine,as defined in Her Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bowman; I’m having trouble with the link. Can you check it?

Nick

Anonymous said...

Nick, the tiny one works for me, but if you still have trouble with it, try the full length URL--

http://www.biblicalchristianworldview.net/documents/The-Unconditional-Freeness-of-Grace-James-B-Torrance.pdf

BW