Monday, November 5, 2018

What to do about Lambeth Conference 2020?

With a H/T to Ron Smith I can alert you to a post by Stephen Parsons exploring "Challenges for Lambeth 2020. The end of the Anglican Communion?"

There is no doubt that the Anglican Communion, in the sense of (my description) "the largest global collective of churches claiming to be authentic heirs and offshoots of the Church of England," is in the fight of its life to date.

The rise since 2008 of GAFCON, notwithstanding its desire to be within and not without the Anglican Communion, is the formation of another large, global collective of churches claiming to be authentic heirs and offshoots of the Church of England. 

GAFCON's particular claim is that its churches' legitimacy as heirs is stronger than the remainder of the Communion because what GAFCON teaches is a doctrine more purely true to the English Reformation.

Just as the English Reformation was a reformation of doctrine (cementing in place the Henrician Reformation in respect of governance of the English church) which resulted in schism from Rome, so we are arguably in another doctrinal reformation, a Communion Reformation which will also result in another schism.

But need that be the result of the present differences and disputes? Can schism be averted? Could Lambeth 2020 be an occasion which holds us together rather than drives us apart (or, just as undesirable, reveals how big the loss of GAFCON-oriented Anglicans is from the Anglican Communion)?

Intriguingly, Parsons offers his own reflection on the state of the play which he sees as a state of warring loyalties within Archbishop Welby himself. I have no idea whether or not this is accurate analysis of ++Justin but it is probably fair speculation in the light of his background:


"Archbishop Welby is faced with a difficult problem in planning for Lambeth 2020. He is caught between two expressions of Anglicanism. The one that he has embraced since ordination is what we would describe as a flexible and even liberal version of the Anglican tradition. At the same time he is still the product of a tradition which is inflexible and strongly into intransigent Church politics.  
The right-wing model of politics in church and state knows only the need to dominate and control. Bodies like GAFCON want to create the whole Communion in their own image – a uniformly monochrome body, affirming the ‘unchangeable’ message of Scripture. The fundamentalism espoused by GAFCON (and the 11 bishops) cannot and will not tolerate differences.  
The problem for Welby is that, while he can claim to belong to a broader form of Anglicanism today, these older strands of thinking still claim part of his loyalty. His major task must be now to try and reconcile the warring factions which exist in the wider church but these rivalries also struggle inside himself. Can he provide the leadership that will hold things together? Will he be tempted to succumb to the intense lobbying and pressure from his old conservative friends?  
The battles being fought before and during Lambeth 2020 will define the nature of the Anglican Communion for ever. Will it become more like a conservative right-wing sect as many desire, or, will it be the place of inclusion and generosity which many of us also long for? The stakes are high, and we must pray that Archbishop Welby rises to the challenge of providing the leadership that Anglican Communion needs at this critical time."
What Parsons puts his finger on is the difficulty of drawing together into one conference (let alone one communion service of bishops) a strand of Anglicanism which "will not tolerate differences" and a strand which will.

The ever hopeful bridge-building optimist in me would be keen to see this explored.

To a degree my optimism can draw on the paper Archbishop Glenn Davies spoke to, at a meeting of ACANZP folk in August this year (which I blogged about here, and the paper is mentioned (with links to it) there).

In that paper ++Glenn talks up the prospect of "distinctive co-existence", proposes that this is worked out in the Blessed Isles (with more than a nod to the model of two overlapping Dioceses of Europe), and offers a working plan for a truly global Lambeth Conference (my bold):

" If the Lambeth Conference is to mean anything it is to be the fellowship of bishops who share our Anglican heritage, not merely those whom the ACC recommend to the Primates to be in ‘fellowship with Canterbury’. If our relationships are not grounded in our belief in the Bible, our practice of the principles of the Book of Common Prayer and our adherence to the Thirty-nine Articles, then it is difficult to say that those who depart from these fundamental provisions are Anglican at all. If, on the other hand, TEC could recognise ACNA as a legitimate expression of Anglicanism; if the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (formerly the Church of the Province of South Africa) could recognise the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church (formerly the Church of England in South Africa); if the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil could recognise the Anglican Church in Brazil; if the ACANZP could recognise an alternative expression of Anglicanism in New Zealand, then we could all gather as bishops of Anglican heritage with the Archbishop of Canterbury. This would necessarily redefine the nature of the Lambeth Conference from its historical role as a resolution-making body. The gathering could celebrate our heritage, our common desire to see Christ glorified, without pretending there are no differences among us. Would that not be a celebration worth having?"

Here I don't want to critique the Davies' paper in its details - save to observe that "recognition" locally involves a specific respect for the Treaty of Waitangi as critical to our understanding of claims to being Anglican - our gospel fellowship between Maori and Pakeha must be just as well as congenial, and the measure of justice - e.g. sharing resources of the church - is the Treaty.

But I offer this reflection which I think is friendly to the intention of the Davies' paper:

Can the ACANZP actually recognise an alternative expression of Anglicanism in these islands without there first being a Lambeth Conference which works out the basis on which we might recognise one another as authentically and faithfully Anglican?

(There are many Anglicanisms around the world. In the Davies' list above there are some notable exceptions such as the Free Church of England. Which Anglicanisms are we going to recognise and which are we not, and how will we know the difference?)

Obviously there is a chicken-and-egg scenario here: a local recognition of alternative Anglicanism could confront the Lambeth Conference with a movement to so recognise which works from the ground up rather than the Conference down; whereas I am proposing the Conference tackles this matter first.

Nevertheless, I suggest a conferencing on what "Anglican heritage" means when there are not only differing but divided claimants to be heirs would be helpful.

Critically, we would need to examine whether mutual recognition that we all have authentic Anglican heritage is a sufficient basis on which to have some local/regional/global meetings of Anglican minds. To say nothing of asking whether "Anglican heritage" is a serious ecclesiological principle when it likely does not mean we can celebrate the eucharist together, even when we are serious about "recognition" of one another.

Is the future of global Anglicanism worth one Lambeth Conference in which we meet to discuss such matters, acknowledging there will be no communion of the whole group and that for the purposes of the conference the invitation list will cohere with the Davies' list above?

What could be lost by doing so? Not much I suggest. Whereas by not doing so we might be facing the Parsons' prophecy that the 2020 Conference will be the last ever.

31 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter. Perhaps I am too optimistic. However, I believe that whatever happens at Lambeth 2020, provided those who attend do so with clear conviction about God's purpose in calling them into its meeting, the resultant assembly will still represent what God requires of us as a legitimate part of the Body of Christ as Anglicans in our separate regions of the world where we are seeking to do our best to be 'alter Christus' - 'other Christs' - for the sake of other people.

Unknown said...

Peter, my recent comments hint at my reply here.

Any enduring human association will have-- and needs to have-- some conservatives, but only those conservatives who actually conserve what the whole is meant to be.

So the Holy Spirit may well break the hearts of those who want a floaty, flaky liberal Communion (for that, join Utrecht or Porvoo) and also those who want to restore the lost religion of Edward VI (for that, join the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, if they will have one).

The existential question for the enduring Communion, whatever its size, is: what is the ballast in the ship? If not GAFCON's JD, then what?

And that is also the existential question before any divided province.

With ballast, a ship can sail; without, it stays in drydocks.

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am not so optimistic that a Conference representing a truncated Communion will do much for the "situation" we are in as Anglicans. (That doesn't mean that God cannot do other good things through the gathering).

Hi Bowman
You are right except not the JD - that has hardly been given the imprimatur by all Anglican conservatives - but 2020 could be a time to gather up the fragments that remain, including much that was in the Covenant, and mix the theological concrete required!

Unknown said...

No, Peter, not the JD, and yes, perhaps the doctrinal part of the ACC.

I prefer to see this moment as one testing where the effective doctrinal authority that supports convert-led growth will emerge for Anglicans. Where we do not see this happening, we have little interest in whether the local prelates attend Lambeth Conferences or not. They are, after all, gatherings for discernment.

BW

Unknown said...

So, Peter, I would get much more excited about almost any sort of gathering of Anglican bishops to discuss eg recent bible scholarship than about another conference in Lambeth or Jerusalem that is preoccupied with the politics of That Topic. For now, the Primates have said all that can be said about it without some better articulated theological basis.

BW

Unknown said...

What I most enjoy about your OP, Peter, is the question that you yourself pose: who goes first?

Probably, the bishops of a troubled province, not the whole global Conference. Gatherings for discernment evaluate proposals but cannot feasibly generate them. This is analogous to the relationships among a trial court, an appellate court, and a supreme court.

Orthodox precedent is also telling: the authority of a bit of doctrine or practice is recognized by its reception by the whole, not by the level from which it originates. There are provincial synods whose local decisions are as binding throughout Orthodoxy as the seven ecumenical ones. In fact, much canonical tradition has come from monasteries or individuals. Reception, not origin, is what matters. I see no reason why an evangelical would dispute that.

So what +Peter does will probably matter more to the Communion than what ++Justin does. (See Diocese of South Carolina.) No pressure, but...

BW

Unknown said...

Confusion over whether doctrine and practice are authoritative because of their origin, as with civil law, or because of their reception, as in the canonical scriptures and later tradition, is one cause of unhappy division. The law-analogy has alienated Rome from the rest of the Body, and has prompted a century-old squabble between advocates for TEC's GC and for the Communion's Lambeth Conferences. By their fruits shall we know them; the law-analogy is an error. To be regenerate in Christ is to live free of bondage to a will to power.

Another cause is confusion between the koinonia of the Body and the subordinate contribution that a lineage of tradition makes to doing things decently and in order. What unites two opposing bodies of the same lineage is not their disputed tradition, but their membership in the Body. Breaking-- or in any way messing around with-- communion is an offense against the Body and indeed the Holy Spirit, about which St John could not be more severe: "Those who have left us never belonged to us." Again, by their fruits shall we know them; they err who do not discern the Body in those of their lineage who receive their common subordinate tradition differently. To be regenerate in Christ is to live free of bondage to the narcissism that makes cut-offs seem safer than koinonia in the Lord.

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman,
Briefly re last three comments:
1. Indeed, though I am interested in a conference which doesn't discuss That Topic but does discuss being Anglican in a changing world: how we read the Scriptures, proclaim the gospel and serve humanity faithful to Anglican heritage (or some such).
2. That's flattery :). Yes, I understand that a lead here may help everyone over there. However there are aspects of such a lead (notably in respect of the vexed question of property) which could be helped by a lead from over there (because that would help our local decision makers to feel they were following the mind of the Communion, not the mind of (say) their bishop). [This is an observation about the state of the matter generally, not a declaration of what I am personally thinking on these vexed matters.]
3. Noted. Breaking of communion is unhelpful but I recognise that those who have chosen to do so hereabouts are intending to make a point that truth matters and changes to canons may have consequences.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, you said:

"3. Noted. Breaking of communion is unhelpful but I recognise that those who have chosen to do so hereabouts are intending to make a point that truth matters and changes to canons may have consequences."

May I humbly suggest that the 'truth' the departees are seeking to uphold may be somewhat different from the 'truth' that we remaining in ACANZP are maintaining as our attitude towards people in same-sex relationships. That 'truth' also contains some ambiguity on how both we and they interpret the Holy Scriptures - on matters of human justice and thriving.

As one of our representatives (Bishop of Christchurch) at the next Lambeth Conference (2020), I would expect you to uphold the synodical decisions that the departees have resiled from - so that the wider Anglican Communion as presently constituted may be in no doubt as to the direction in which our Church is proceeding on those matters that have given the departees their excuse for leaving us.

I truly believe that GAFCON/FOCA is currently confecting its own version of 'truth' that, sadly, is encouraging conservatives to believe that theirs is 'The Only Way' - whereas the Creation proclaims a variety of human responses that some Puritans (not unlike the biblical Pharisees) find they cannot live with. And see what the outcome of that was for 'Jesus, The Liberator'!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Peter, for your surprisingly swift replies!

Perhaps this link to Roger Olson's OP on *post-conservative evangelicalism* also belongs here as a context for your and my (1) and (3).

"how we read the Scriptures"

On (1), fidelity to scripture entails at least considering the contemporary understanding of the scriptures mentioned by Olson.

"truth matters and changes to canons may have consequences"

On (3), advocates for truth and canons sometimes expect others to agree that understandings of these things should be as static among Anglicans as they are among, say, those few Presbyterians still bound to the Westminster Standards until Jesus returns to free them. But in fact, Anglicans have differed from those of some other good traditions in continuing to correct received imbalances, misunderstandings, factual errors, etc. And as the Olson OP shows, one's fidelity to the best current understanding of the scriptures can and presently does disrupt centuries-old theological traditions. If any would contend for the truth in scripture, that's wonderful of course, but then let them engage the best readings of the canon that are being taught today. Those down under will know the situation better than I do, of course, but here up yonder your secessionists look as though they are overestimating the support in scripture for a very costly witness against a still-evolving proposal.

BW

Father Ron said...

Bless you, Bowman, for your final sentence. How important it is for a continuing dialogue with Scripture that actually helps us to come to terms with new revelation. The Holy Spirit is still opening hearts and minds to God's unfolding gifts of lve and mercy toi ALL creation.

Unknown said...

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerolson/2018/10/what-is-a-postconservative-evangelical/?

BW

Liturgy said...

BW, do tell us, please, your actual lived experience of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht that merits your judgment of them in your comment. In my experience of them and of the Anglican Communion, if one were asked to choose only one of them for the description floaty and flaky, I would have to apply that description to the Anglican Communion.

I have some thoughts about Peter's excellent reflections, but I find such unnecessary, unhelpful, unjustified put-downs of others stick in my craw.

Blessings

Bosco

Unknown said...

No putdown of either Utrecht or Porvoo was intended.

BW

Unknown said...

Let us then stipulate, without any pejorative intent, that in referring to ecclesiologies--

*flaky* = localism or congregationalism that prefers tight consensus even at the cost of disagreement with the universal Church. Not *wholey*.

*floaty* = social engagement and generational immediacy privileged over the Church's own consistency through time. Not *rootsy*.

These can seem very different, depending on whether one sees authority in *reception* or *promulgation*.

BW

Liturgy said...

Someone will need to explain what “recognise” (used in this post) actually means, entails, and results in. As used in this post, it appears to simply mean “belong in the same Church/Communion” ie. precisely the opposite of disaffiliation!

If what is being sought is permission to use the word “Anglican”, the example in Brazil, given above, highlights the issue. I have often pointed out that people – all the way to the ‘highest’ level of our Church - cannot get the name of our own church right! The most recent example I saw: a parish voting whether to disaffiliate, on its formal voting form, was voting whether to disaffiliate from a church that doesn’t exist. They got our name wrong. LOL! Following Brazil’s example, the disaffiliating Anglicans could become The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia [some might join them for correctly using the Oxford Comma! Or they could simply keep our “in” and be distinguished by having the Oxford Comma!]

It is to be noted that, whereas those disaffiliating can agree on one thing, they are finding that "Trying to get people to agree to a new name is horrific." I thought BW’s recent comment is quite relevant to them.

As an aside, I am more interested in being Christian, a follower of the Way.

As to advocating for overlapping episcopal geographic areas (and with doctrinal, not simply cultural differences and historical accidents), far from being a model that works well in Europe, the Archbishop seems unaware of the reality. It was actually strongly criticised, and at the meeting of ACC in Auckland no less: “the strange phenomenon of the five different jurisdictions in continental Europe where all these churches are in full communion with each other is something that is a reality, but an increasingly undesirable one, because it is in conflict with ecclesiological principles of the ancient church to which the Old Catholics – hence their name – refer to.”

Blessings

Bosco

Liturgy said...

Dear Bowman

Can you explain then, please, how you find the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches to be “localism or congregationalism that prefers tight consensus even at the cost of disagreement with the universal Church” and “social engagement and generational immediacy privileged over the Church's own consistency through time”

Thanks in anticipation

Bosco

Unknown said...

Hi Bosco.

Was ++ Katherine Jefferts-Schori mistaken in thinking that Utrecht is compatible with TEC's own provincialism and presentism? Was Utrecht mistaken in asking her to guide its North American adherents into a common canonical order? I see no reason to doubt the judgment of either.

And although their ecclesiology is not my ecclesiology, I have found that it is well worth thinking about.

What do you think?

Bowman

Liturgy said...

In the context of Peter's post, I approve of Katherine Jefferts-Schori's support for Joris Vercammen's hopes for dealing with overlapping jurisdictions. And they certainly express an ecclesiology I support.
Blessings
Bosco

Unknown said...

Agreed, Bosco: no overlapping jurisdictions. The Nicene canons, reiterated in the Apostolic Constitution, mandate one bishop for each diocese. Such accommodations as episcopal peculiars, suffragan bishops, etc have not violated the underlying principle of the unity of the Body in every place. This is less a rule for churches than a definition of what the Body is-- the image of God in humanity whose unity has been renewed by a proper work of the Holy Spirit begun at Pentecost.

BW

Unknown said...

Postscript-- That is to say that when we see overlapping jurisdictions, we do not see several churches in one place. We see a place with, as yet, no church at all, just binitarian missions or secessions to individuals that have tried to please the Father with the grace of the Son but without the koinonia of the Holy Spirit.

Of course, all will be standing firm for some creaturely reality that in its bubble on the stream of time seemed important enough to call "truth." But the unity of the Body is of a higher order than these representations-- the triune Being of God. We do not find unity by arguing about the truth; we find the truth by being united in Him.

And when we disagree within the Body, our discussion of this should be, not a collision of egos, not plank-eyed mote-picking, but a conversation both trusting and healing. Normally, we should be able to trust that those who seem to err are concerned about something more or less real, even as they and we are far from the integrity that we will someday be granted. Argument in this therapeutic mode dwells less on what each side knows that it knows than on what hinders each from grasping what the other knows. It is usually tentative, exploratory, and slow. As in any pilgrimage, God blesses the journey as well as the arrival.

Provisional decisions must meanwhile be made, and they will usually reflect what most of the Body thinks at that moment. But even if the majority wants to make a golden calf, the persistence of a thinking minority saves the Body from being altogether confused, and in God's time all will see what it sees. For the Holy Spirit in the whole is always striving to deepen and manifest its unity in the Son to the glory of the Father. And to those who believe, this is itself the presence of the Kingdom, the salvation of the world.

So then what believer would abandon this? What motivation is there for either secession or expulsion? What would be gained by starting a mere mission alongside a living local Body? If we prefer any sort of disunity to the love that the Spirit pours into our hearts, what do we really believe?

BW


Unknown said...

The Father will not permit more dissent than the Spirit can integrate in the Son. So when holy minds differ, we should give thanks to him for the fuller glimpse of the New Jerusalem toward which we know he is leading us.

And dissenters who will not bow to a majority's golden calf should say, not "Because we are too pure to follow your strange way, we are apart from you and too pure to be mixed with you," but rather, "Although we do not follow your strange way, we belong with you nonetheless, and you cannot throw us out." For the Father has ordained this time between the times and we cannot hasten the separation of the wheat from the tares.

BW



Anonymous said...

Post-Postscript-- Some godly folk may read my two (2) Postscript comments with ambivalence. Knowing the Bible well, they hear its echoes and feel its passion for the unity of Israel and the Body of Christ. But being as resolute as Phineas in their zeal for the faith, they distrust an account of unity that seems to discourage the contending for the truth that is so much a part of their piety and perhaps of their personality and culture as well. When others make a golden calf, these readers know that they have to do something. Drawing a line, standing firm, and leaving rather than backing down seem to be the faithful thing to do, even if, like Phineas's sword-work, this is a destructive and normally a sacrilegious act.

To be clear, I have not recommended doing nothing, nor have I criticised protesting a golden calf. But contending for the truth is not *derping* that repeats one's own views over and over whilst dismissing those of others without credible reply. Even in worldly debate, one would explain what hypothetical evidence might change one's mind if only it existed. But debate in the Body happens within, and should be transfigured by, the Holy Spirit's transforming work inside and among persons. That work occasions a dialogue that is different in tone and substance from the snarky coolness of worldly confrontations outside of it.

Much could be said about this, but here I have emphasised trust and healing. It takes some imagination to consider how possibly mistaken persons may nevertheless be grappling with reality that one has oneself ignored or discounted, but the lazy supposition that their concerns are wholly groundless is a dead end. It takes even more imagination to help persons or groups through changes in the way they appraise and act upon emotions that will enable them to see adequately what you yourself know well.

In short, not every struggle is a fight. And when the Holy Spirit releases us from the blind impulse to fight, he also heals our reliance on *cut-offs* that abruptly sever bonds of affection between persons within families, wider social circles, and the Body. In the place of that unregenerate habit, he grows the fruit of the Spirit that enable the new habit of *covenant relations* more like those that God has with us. Those weakened by narcissism cut others out of their lives to stabilise their inner worlds; those in deepening union with Christ instead practice covenantal relations that help others to stabilise their own inner worlds.

There is a tragic coincidence that I hope that Peter's readers will avoid. For since the way we relate to others in the household of faith shapes the way we relate to others in our own families, when we commit to cut-offs in the Body-- of all places!-- we also validate such cut-offs in our own families. That hurts the texture of family life even where no cut-off actually severs the bonds of affection, but it is especially devastating to persons who fear the rejection of their families. When I hear of factions and congregations severing their ties to those with whom they disagree-- especially when they do this over That Topic-- I fear for their children.

https://www.guilford.com/excerpts/friedman2.pdf

BW


Father Ron Smith said...

Bowman said:

" But the unity of the Body is of a higher order than these representations-- the triune Being of God. We do not find unity by arguing about the truth; we find the truth by being united in Him."

Once again, Bowman; in the midst of your extensive critiques of the current situation of disunity in the Church, one finds a pearl of wisdom - such as your statement, above.

In all our arguments about first and second order matters, the fact remains that the closest paradigm to the Kingdom of God is that of Jesus' prayer for the Unity of the Church. Anyone resiling from that unity risk offending against the heart of the Gospel: "Father, that they may be one as you and I, Father, are one".

Glen Young said...


"Anyone resiling? from that unity risks offending against the heart of the Gospel". Ron @10.42 AM.

But what about the silence of the A.B.C. as well as our own Bishops, about the plight of Christians in Africa and Egypt being slaughtered and their girls being taken as sex slaves by Moslems. And England [as well as us] stands aside from the Christian lady from Pakistan who was condemned to death but now free; however she will not be given safety from Moslems beying for her blood,in either England or New Zealand. So much for all this talk of "by their LOVE".

I seem to remember Jesus telling a parable about a man on a mountain road. If we do not LOVE our fellow Christians and allow Moslems from Africa and Syria into our countries ahead of persecuted Christians; it is small wonder that GAFCON is alive and well.

Father Ron Smith said...

Glen, I don't really understand the thrust of your last comment here.

Are you suggesting that only LGBT+ Christians are ignoring the issues of justice regarding persecuted Christians in other countries? If so, you are ignoring the FACT that among them are persecuted LGBTI people among them who are ignored by the Church in GAFCON Provinces. This important matter of justice and human rights affects ALL Christians - some of the actual persecutors being themselves 'Christian'.

Jesus was open to ALL humanity - not just his own people. That was one of the reasons he was put to death by their Church officials.

Also, what you seem not to realises is that God has NO favourites. All human beings are made in the Divine Image and Likeness. We need to be concerned for ALL of them - not just our own family.

Glen Young said...


Ron,

Let me clearly spell out the thrust of my last comment; that being, the UNITY of God's Church is of far greater moment than who do and who do not attend Lambeth. At it's core is the Question of how seriously we take Jesus prayer to His [and our Father] in John 17/1-26. If one of my Christian brother or sisters is persecuted, simply because they live in Christ,then it is my duty as well as His Church's, to stand by them. Verse 9:"I pray for them:I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." Here is the true UNITY of His Church; not those baptized or claiming to be part of the Anglican Community; but "those given to Christ by the Father".

So,no I am not suggesting that only LGBT and Christians are ignoring persecuted Christians; but I am nailing the charge to the doors of the Anglican Cathedrals and the Vatican, who I argue have a duty in Christ to their fellow Christians, which superceeds any obligation to mankind in general.

Your comments seem to confuse my "right to answer the Call of Christ". "For
God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3/16.
With human rights from the U.N. re LBGT. Nowhere to date, have you put forward any clear Scriptural backing, that God from the start, intended mankind to chose their sexual preference.

Father Ron said...

Glen. You have made a true statement when you quote John 3:16. Our salvation - in that verse - tells us that "Whosoever believeth in (Jesus) should not perish, but have everlasting life". There are no restrictions mentioned here, on the sexual identity of anyone. However, I accept that you, yourself want to exclude certain people. But this is not the message of the Scriptures (See references to a Samaritan woman - or the Ethiopian Eunuch, or the 'paide' of the Centurion). God has ways of inclusion that you may never haved heard of. But it doesn't mean that God's prolific provision and mercy is at all restricted to your parameters, thank God.

And, as for Scriptures not mentioning God's creation of non-binary sexual beings; the very existence of such people is proof of their actual creation. Only God creates!

There is one piece of Scripture, Glen, that you ought to take really seriously, which says (on God's behalf) "My ways are not your ways, nor my thoughts your thoughtss, but my intentions towards you are good!".

Blessings, Fr. Ron

Glen Young said...


Ron,

Having just reread C.S.Lewis's "Compelling Reason - Essays on Ethics and Theology"; I accept that the rationality of my objective arguments, both from a scientific,historical and theological stance, are not going to change your subjective beliefs based on your perceived personal experiences. However,I wish to clearly put the case that so called "conservative Christians" are not an "dark age remnant", who wish to enslave mankind into understandings of life in the 10th Cent.

One of the greatest mistakes, which has hindered modern science and historical studies eg [modern Egyptology] is the acceptance of ":The uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system".This understanding of the
natural processes, including the life of mankind; accepts that everything is evolving from simple forms to more complex or sophisticated forms. `But everything, I see in the world leads to the opposite conclusion; The 2nd law of Thermodynamics states that everything left to itself, descends into chaos. So much of our well meaning involvement accelerates that process. Thus Jesus prays on the the Cross,"Father,forgive them for they know what the do". So much of our well meaning, subjective interference falls into this category

As for your statement that"Scripture does not mention God's creation of non-binary sexual beings,the very existence of such people is proof of their actual creation. Only God creates." GOD CREATES: SATIN DISTORTS. So God created PSYCHOPATHS?

If this is the Doctrine of the ACANZP?- Give me GAFCON any day.


Father Ron said...

Glen. No-one is 'born' a psychopath. This is a behavioural syndrome - totally different from one's sexual orientation, which is a 'given' - not assumed.

If 'SATIN distorts' silk may yet redeem. You are welcome to your GAFCON. Blessings!

Glen Young said...


Ron,

Precisely my point and I am waiting for you to establish scientifically that
sexual orientation is a, genetically given; and not a spiritually/psychologically behavioral response.