Friday, March 30, 2012

Is this false teaching?

It is less than a week out from Maundy Thursday. Check. That's quite close to Easter. Check. Must be a new billboard up at St Matthew's-in-the-City. Check.

It is a bit hard to read, so here it is in words: Jesus hanging on the cross, a picture on a Facebook page with a "Judas Iscariot likes this" tag.

News reports and St Matt's own page here, here and here.

Actually as St Matt's billboards go, this is probably the least provocative of them all. If there is any poor taste here it is the disrespect shown to Judas, who clearly had other things on his mind than checking out Facebook just before he committed suicide.

But what is a genuine worry in these days of upholding Anglican identity and all of us saying how fine a theological statement the first three sections of the Covenant make and all, is what Glynn Cardy, Vicar of St Matthew's says to justify the message they want to promote through the billboard.

In Anglican Taonga we read this,

"In explaining the billboard, Mr Cardy says Jesus’ death caused his followers to blame each other and themselves, and Judas was particularly vilified across the ages – symptomatic of the human desire to hold someone responsible for tragic events.
“Jesus did not die for our sins. He died because he peeved a bunch of powerful people off,” he says.

“He lived and preached a message of radical inclusion that threatened the status quo [and] the authorities killed him for it.

“The ‘dying for sins’ business was a spin the church applied at a later date.” "
Where does one begin in disappointment if not anger that one of our leading clerics believes and teaches these things about our Lord and Saviour and the meaning of his death on the cross?

The consistent witness of the New Testament is that Jesus did die for our sins. That Bible which Glynn is required to read Sunday by Sunday (and to have his congregation say "Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church" or "This is the Gospel of Christ") includes these verses Matthew 26:28; Mark 10:45; Luke 24:45-47; John 1:29; Acts 5:30-31; Romans 3:22-26; 5:8-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Galatians 2:17-21; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 3:7-11; Colossians 2:6-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; 5:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 2:14-18; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 1:7; 2:2; Revelation 1:5.

So, problem #1, How does Glynn know that Jesus didn't die for our sins? The New Testament which tells him about Jesus (including, yes, that he peeved a bunch of people in authority) also tells him that Jesus died for our sins.

Glynn gives an explanation, but really this is problem #2, "The ‘dying for sins’ business was a spin the church applied at a later date." A spin? This is a licensed cleric of our church and he calls the gospel message preached  by the apostles "a spin".

Spin? It was the preaching of the gospel that Jesus Christ died for our sins which began the parting of the ways of Christianity from Judaism, for the former no longer believed that the key to the forgiveness of sins lay in the sacrificial system centred on the Temple. It was the preaching of the gospel that Jesus Christ died for our sins which spread Christianity throughout the Mediterranean and over to the British Islands. It was the preaching of the gospel that Jesus Christ died for our sins which impelled Samuel Marsden to first preach the gospel in Aotearoa New Zealand on Christmas Day in 1814, which led the Williams brothers and other missionaries to these islands and which drew Selwyn to become our first bishop.

If that is 'spin' then Christianity is one gigantic mistake. Worse, it is one gigantic mistake which was perpetrated by 'the church'. Which brings us to problem #3.

'The church' here is made to sound like a cancer on the body of Christianity. There was Jesus, pure, simple, innocent man with a clear message about power and authority which got up people's noses. Along came the church and misinterpreted Jesus right from the beginning by teaching the wrong things about Jesus. If we know the truth about Jesus, the real truth, not the spin by the nasty church, why would we want to have anything to do with the church?

But Glynn is an ordained, licensed clergyperson sworn to uphold the teaching of the church, to further its aims and goals, and to contribute to it bringing glory to God. He belongs to the church which was founded on the preaching of Christ as Lord and Saviour. It stretches credibility that one can be part of 'the church' in such an integral way and call the foundational message of the church 'spin.'

Does this approach to Jesus dying for our sins constitute 'false teaching'? The width of Anglican tolerance means we explain 'died for our sins' in a variety of ways. But it does not mean we are free to describe it as 'spin'!


Andrew said...

Peter. a serious response requires a title D complaint. are you up for it?

Fr. Bryan Owen said...

Good Lord, Peter. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

We've tolerated this sort of thing in the Episcopal Church for years. and it has not served us well (if anything, it's made it possible for this sort of thing to become a new normal). For some Episcopalians, it's a mark of intellectual sophistication because it differentiates us from those poor simpletons who actually believe things like what the Bible says about Jesus dying for our sins or what the Nicene Creed says about Jesus being "God from God." (I'm thinking, for instance, of Bishop Spong.) It's rather like a kind of gnosticism insofar as such folks make the claim (implicitly, but sometimes quite explicitly) that they are privy to truth that the rest of us are simply too unenlightened or encumbered by the dead weight of Tradition and/or "Biblical literalism" to see.

It's important to be loving and kind to everyone. But it's also important to enforce the norms that define our common life and which link us to the larger Church down through the ages. Appropriate discipline is therefore in order when clergy - who have taken very particular vows to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of their church - are deliberately and consistently preaching and teaching against the very things they have vowed to uphold.

Zane Elliott said...

Glynn Cardy has been getting away with this kind of thing for far too long. He continues to undermine the ACANZP and those of us who are working hard to bring others the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is precisely the kind of behaviour that shows the need for a covenant. Heterodox teaching doesn't seem to be challenged at all. these statements Glynn has made aren't Christian, and less importantly they certainly aren't Anglican!

I will be writing to +Ross Bay today, and encourage others to do the same.

Father Ron Smith said...

One of the problems of being Anglican is that we are exposed to all sorts of understandings of what needs to be said about God's plan of salvation. One person's 'spin' is another person's way of explaining to a largely apathetic and disinterested world that which needs to be 'teased out' from the accretion of received 'wisdom' from an unexamined appraisal of what the Bible actually tells us about the amazing, salvific, life, death and resurrection and glorification of the Son of God, O.L.J.C.

Modern human beings need to be challenged about those aspects of the Faith that are seemingly not accessible to the modern mind - opened up by science and technology to new discoveries about the secrets of the universe, and the complexity of human biology.

I certainly would not use the same paradigm as Fr. Glynn Cardy to tease out the mystery of salvation and redemption. But then, most people know that Glynn does not necessarily look at these things in quite the same way as most of us.

Glynn is pastored and disciplined by his own diocesan authorities. I think we do not need to 'get our knickers in a twist' about how the Auckland Diocese chooses to preach the Gospel. We have enough to do in our own diocese, not to interfere with what others are doing!

liturgy said...

Greetings Peter

One of the marks of a “great preacher” is to be able to get from the given text to what they really want to talk about within one paragraph or so.

You are a great preacher :-)

You manage to get from the St Matthew’s poster to an advocating for the “Covenant”. But a closer reading actually underscores that the “Covenant” in no way is the “solution”.

As you yourself indicate, we have strong promises we make at our ordination, documents we sign – including each time we are licensed to a new position. We have a process where anyone (including you) can object to what Glynn Cardy says.

The Anglican structures and processes haven’t been tried and found wanting – they have just not been tried.

Any honest reading of the actual “Covenant” text will clarify there is nothing in Section 4 of the “Covenant” that provides a process to solve global warming, the world’s economic crisis, earthquakes, cancer, world hunger, the Palestinian issue, or an individual clergyman’s comments.

If you want to address Glynn Cardy’s point you know what to do.

“Vote for the Covenant” is the wrong answer. In reality the “Covenant” delays addressing actual, specific issues, and diffuses energy.



carl jacobs said...

The center of the Gospel is the work of Christ on the Cross. To deny the work of Christ on the Cross is to deny the Gospel. It is to assert the truth of a false gospel, and therefore to manifest a different false religion to the world. The man who would say this:

Jesus did not die for our sins.

That man is a false shepherd. He is a wolf among the sheep, and should be driven out. There is no possibility of compromise on this.


Anonymous said...

Of course it is false teaching and heresy. And this "church" should be expelled from ACANZP. But that would require someone in leadership with courage and a passion for God's truth.

I won't hold my breath.

But what concerns me the most is the message it sends to those mired in the consequences of their own sins. It tells them there is no salvation.

It actually takes hope away from people.

Struggling with alcohol or drugs? Sorry, Jesus doesn't care and can't help, he was a left wing political activist, not a Saviour.

Facing ten years in jail for abusing your daughter? Sorry, Jesus is off on a pro-union protest. Can't help you.

Reeling with guilt and despair after committing adultery? Sorry, no help from Jesus. He's more concerned with global warming, plus your rich and he only cares for the working class and poor.

The Jesus that Glynn wants us to accept is a Jesus that is no use to anyone. Political activists are a dime a dozen. We have more than we need. Perhaps too many. Turning Jesus into one makes no difference to the world.

What people need is a Saviour. But Glynn would deny those in despair, desperation and need that Saviour, because he selfishly wants an idol to reflect his Chardonnay-Marxist politics.

May God have mercy on him.

This is yet more proof that the pro-gay "inclusive" movement is not arguing about one small interpretation of Scripture,or offering a legitimate new hermeneutic or teaching, but in fact is promoting a total repudiation of the Gospel and any reasonable understanding of orthodoxy.

I have much more I would like to say, but it would not be polite or constructive.

Anonymous said...

"and to have his congregation say "Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church""

His congregation do not say that. They have changed the liturgy so that people respond "Here what the Spirit MAY be saying to the Church"

Father Ron Smith said...

I am reminded, here, of an attempt made by a certain group of Christchurch clergy who wilfully interrupted a service of ordination in Dunedin Cathedral, to try to prevent the ordination going forward - all because of their objection to e grounds on which they saw as improper for his ordination to be allowed.

Fortunately for the candidate and the Church; and to the discredit of the invading clergy; the ordaining Bishop went ahead with the ordination.

Interference with the polity of another diocese is what is causing problems in the Church at the present time. Diocesan officials have enough to do, keeping their own house in order, without trying to interfere with the mission in another part of the Church.

hogster said...

Re "Mr Cardy" as quoted in Taonga, given his views "Mr" sounds more fitting and appropriate than Rev dont you think?

Zane Elliott said...

Father Ron,
we are a communion, and whether you like it or not, what happens in one diocese affects the others. Have you forgotten the imagery of the body of Christ? If you eye causes you to sin....

We MUST be aware of those who stumble, and we MUST, if we truly love them, urge them to turn back to the path of righteousness. To simply keep ones nose out of others business, as you suggest, is callous and unchristian.

We are one catholic and apostolic church, we are accountable to each other.

The self-righteousness you exhibit above is unhelpful.

Rosemary Behan said...

Small point .. the clergy who attended the ordination in Dunedin, did so on the advice of their Bishop under title D.

Anonymous said...

Bosco said "there is nothing in Section 4 of the “Covenant” that provides a process to solve global warming, the world’s economic crisis, earthquakes, cancer, world hunger, the Palestinian issue"

That's because the Covenant was about strengthening the bonds of Communion, not a laundry list dealing with left wing political fashions.

Ron said "Glynn is pastored and disciplined by his own diocesan authorities."

Clearly not, otherwise he would not still be in charge of a parish church.

The authorities have failed to either pastor him or discipline him.

Bryden Black said...

Well; he/they have done it again - grabbed our attention, and clogged up the blogging sites ...! Far more to the point though: when we too behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin (singular) of the world, do we fall before him and say, “My Lord and my God!” For if we do, then our righteous anger should know no bounds re this ‘commentary’ on the meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion. As with St Paul’s assessment, the perpetrator needs to be quite simply handed over to the Evil One. If amongst other things that means episcopal sanction, then so be it. “Love” is not mamby-pamby candy floss; Aslan is not a tame lion! For who knows, righteous indignation might just undragon the man! It did Eustace ...

Anonymous said...

"“Jesus did not die for our sins. He died because he peeved a bunch of powerful people off,” he says."

Somewhere out there is a double decree Calvinist who will agree with at least the first part of this statement. An amazing ecumenical breakthrough, as Father Jack might say.
But seriously, what's the point of such a "church"? Wouldn't Rotary or golf be a better use of one's time?

Father Ron Smith said...

" As with St Paul’s assessment, the perpetrator needs to be quite simply handed over to the Evil One."
- Dr. Bryden Black -

And I can smell the sulphur from here. At Lambeth 1998, some prelates from the GAFCON sodality tried to exorcise a gay priest. It caused a great furore in the Church of England and did not gain one convert to Christianity.

In Australia, (apart from perhaps the Sydney diocese) Mr Black's comment would be attributed to the ethos of the 'devil-dodgers'.

liturgy said...


I'm fascinated by Shawn's editing of my comment in his quoting.

The only interpretation I can muster for his excision is that he sincerely believes that Section 4 of the “Covenant” does provide a process to solve an individual clergyman’s comments.

What is particularly intriguing with that is that we have a perfectly appropriate provincial process for such. Rosemary and Andrew are the only ones who appear to be aware of it. Others here appear to allude to arcane rituals and leaving it to the diocesan bishop.

I repeat for the pro-Covenantors:

The Anglican structures and processes haven’t been tried and found wanting – they have just not been tried.

Putting angry comments on blog posts isn't part of the agreed process. Nor will voting in favour of the Covenant help.



carl jacobs said...

This kind of story always brings out the difference between conservative and liberal understandings of a legitimate church. A conservative is going to look for the three marks - Gospel, Sacrament, and Discipline. This kind of statement denies the first mark and so leaves the church excluded. This means that unity is first an formost doctrinal. As in you can't be considered a legitimate Christian church if you teach a false gospel.

The liberal on the other hand bases church unity on organic connection. They love the analogy of family but struggle to come up with some analogous connection to blood relation. The closest they can come is (for lack of a better word) mysticism surrounding the Sacrament of Baptism. Anyone baptised is supposedly irretrievably placed within the fold of the Christian church, and therefore has permanent claim to loyalty of every other baptised member. This conception obviates any need for doctrinal fidelity. Indeed, the revisionist will demand fellowship on the basis of organic connection no matter what deviation he invents.

The conflict is therefore inevitable. One side says "You must repent of your doctrinal deviations." The other side responds "You owe me fellowship no matter what my doctrinal position." There is no way to square the circle.


Father Ron Smith said...

"The liberal on the other hand bases church unity on organic connection"
- carl jacobs -

The only problem with your thesis here, carl, is that you have missed out the qualifying words: 'en Christo'.

Your sentence should read thus:

The liberal, on the other hand, bases Church unity on 'organic connection (with) in Christ'. This is what our Baptism is all about.

And our Baptism is renewed every time we feast together, en Christo, in the Eucharist. This is the sort of liberality we claim: the liberality of Christ in our Baptism - in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist.

Holy Week has a lot to teach us about Scripture, Tradition and REASON. - the marks of a 'good' Anglican. Oh, and of course, a radical openness to the ongoing teaching of the Holy Spirit!

You'd better amend your manual of ritual anathemnas!

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you everyone for commenting. A few responses to matters raised:

(1) I would be wary of a Title D action - this strikes me as the kind of case where a form of "martyrdom" might ensue. More powerful would be a rising chorus of Auckland clergy and laity supporting their bishops in making clear to Glynn that he needs to consider the contrast between his vows and declarations as a licensed clergyperson and his denial of the gospel.

(2) I do not think addressing this public reportage of remarks on a national church website is interfering or intervening in the business of another diocese. Glynn is (arguably) the best known Anglican priest (who is not a bishop) in Aotearoa NZ, and the billboards St Matt's puts up are regularly reported in the national and sometimes international media.

(3) I think you are being ever so slightly mischievous, Bosco. There is no argument above for the Covenant in all its four sections. My point in invoking the Covenant is that we are a church which has expressed its support for the first three sections, the sections which spell out an international understanding of Anglican doctrine, and thus we are a church which continues to affirm that its own constitutionl and canonical commitment to doctrine are real, continuing and substantial. All of which only underscores the dissonance between what this church think the gospel is and what Glynn thinks the gospel is not.

carl jacobs said...

Father Ron Smith

1. There are plenty of baptized unbelievers. Simply experiencing the Sacrament of Baptism does not place one in the Body of Christ. You cannot reduce being one in Christ to the externals found in common celebration of the sacraments. Neither can you wave your arms, and pop smoke, and try to appeal to subjective mysticism. Unity is first and foremost about Creed. The Gospel has essential content.

2. The Holy Spirit is not the author of Confusion, and so does not teach contrary to the Scripture. As you have already admitted on a previous thread, words have meaning. Meaning can be understood. When the words come from authority, they become binding. So I already know limits beyond which the Holy Spirit will no go. They are His limits after all.

3. As I have mentioned before, Reason is not an authority. It is a process. It must be informed by presuppositions before it can operate. So please tell me the authority that informs your reason.


liturgy said...

Continuing my ever so slightly mischievousness, then, Peter, please can you remind us when we decided we are a church which has expressed its support for the first three sections of the "Covenant"?

Rosemary Behan said...

Title D isn't worth the paper it's written on. The clergy followed their Bishops advice, secure in the knowledge that they would delay things if nothing else, because that HAD to happen if someone used Title D .. but they were comprehensively ignored. Ask the Press who were there.

Bryden Black said...

Wonder of wonders! Fr Ron and I agree on an aspect of sacramental theology: it must be the season of Lent/Holy Week/Easter! For indeed: “our Baptism is renewed every time we feast together, en Christo, in the Eucharist.”

Thereafter, however, “the Scriptures” - e.g. Galatians as a whole - would indicate most serious consequences of both baptismal and Eucharistic practice. The “liberality” of Jews-and-gentiles feasting together is reflected in their mutual accountability before God in honouring their new identity in Christ - otherwise Paul would have never written his Letter! Their new creation has no truck with any sort of “fleshly” thought or behaviour or attitude. Just so, the three sections of the Letter hang together, chs 1-2, chs 3-4, chs 5-6, all building to an understanding of what Jesus has actually done for humanity and the world in forgiving our sins through his death on the tree, and promising us his Holy Spirit, the arrabōn of our redemption. Orthodoxy and orthopraxis are integral in the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. And when the Church fails to endorse all this, we run the risk of Paul’s “anathema”!

Bryden Black said...

Bosco: at our last GS

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
At GS 2010 the following resolution was passed:

"Now therefore be it resolved that this General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui
1. Receives the November 2009 text of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant:
2. Approves in principle the provisions of Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the proposed Covenant
3. Refers the proposed Covenant to the Episcopal units of this Church for consideration and reporting back to the 2012 Session of the General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui, with a view to the Synod/te Hinota then making a final decision regarding its adoption.
4. Requests the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to obtain an opinion from the Legal Advisor to the Anglican Consultative Council and from the Chancellors and Legal Advisors Committee of this Church regarding the appropriateness of the provisions of Clause 4.2.8 of the proposed Covenant in relation to decisions regarding membership of the Anglican Consultative Council.
5. Reports these decisions to the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion."

Source here:

Naturally our church has accepted S1-3 "in principle" rather than in practice and that confirmation may or may not come at GS 2012, so I could stand corrected. But then I note informally that a lot of our friends and colleagues seem fine with S1-3 even when anti-S4.

Peter Carrell said...

You made a comment earlier which I have deleted.
I am prepared to print the following part of it:

"Now, about the Covenant - which is what our host Peter Carrell's post is REALLY all about: The Church of England's clergy and laity seem not to be convinced by the assurance of their bishops that the Covenant can help to bring the Communion back together.

The Diocese of London, instead, has moved a subsidiary Motion to the effect that the ACO needs to go about things differently. At least, that is a way forward for Anglicans who actually WANT to work together in the message of the Gospel to ALL the world."

Please do not again attempt to put past me such malicious material.

I apologise unreservedly for my poor moderation to the offended person who expressed their offence in the strongest of terms in another comment.

liturgy said...

Ah, I see, hence, I am not the only one being ever so slightly mischievous. There appears to be some slippage between “approves in principle” and expressing support – slippage that will have to be watched particularly as we approach our diocesan synod which uses more “in principle” than in practice language ;-)

Rosemary, with respect, you will need to quote which part of Title D you are referring to specifically. That people were incorrectly advised is one thing. That Title D does not apply in a situation such as this thread is discussing is another.


Peter Carrell said...

This is the mischief-making of and among friends, Bosco!

However I think something slightly stronger is at work in the GS 2010 resolution than your comment might imply since Sections 1-3 are about 'principles' so to approve them 'in principle' is more or less to agree that they are good principles. Further, the language of 'principle' then is an acknowledgement that the request of the Communion was to adopt the Covenant (or not), so the resolution was a way of saying that we were agreeable to S1-3 but had very strong reservations about S4 and thus could not agree to adopt.

Father Ron Smith said...

" So please tell me the authority that informs your reason." - CARL -

Presumably, the same as yours, but are you listening properly to the liberation of Christ in the Gospel?

Now for Bryden:

"Orthodoxy and orthopraxis are integral in the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. And when the Church fails to endorse all this, we run the risk of Paul’s “anathema”!"

And are you automatically assuming that my orthodoxy and orthopraxy are in conflict with the tenor of the N.T. Scriptures - just because I have a more expansive view of
the 'liberty of Christ in the gospel' than yourself?

N.B. I am more careful not to attract Christ's anathema. Agape.

Peter, thank you for the distinction of having one of my posts excised from your blog. The moment you find me too difficult to deal with, let me know. I will not bother you, or your readers, again

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and all commenters,
You are all welcome here - that is what the gospel is about, inclusiveness in the body of Christ of all who love the Lord Jesus.

Sometimes in our passion for the truth of that gospel our words stray into the territory called 'ad hominem' and sometimes those words, inadvertantly or perhaps accidentally when trying for a certain kind of humour, spill over into an "attack" on the person. I think any one of us can be susceptible to this, and I do not exclude myself from that possibility.

What was excised was something that 'went too far', one paragraph in an otherwise okay comment.

With best wishes to you all,

liturgy said...

OK, Peter,

So principles in principle are stronger than practices in principle because principles in principle are essentially those principles in practice, while the practices in principle are merely in principle and not, unlike the principles, in practice.

I’ve got it haven’t I?



Peter Carrell said...

Practically speaking you have got the principle of the matter!

Bryden Black said...

Well Ron; let’s just try to address what has been said re Peter’s initial post and this thread, which is mostly my approach.

Galatians has a wonderful use of both baptism and Eucharist, which is why I chose it, as a key part of Scripture, expounding a clear, deep, broad appreciation of the Gospel, all within the brief compass of six chapters. This enabled me to overlap with an important part your third comment, happily. In addition, this Letter addresses head on Cardy’s ‘silliness’ re the meaning of Jesus’ death. And while the meaning of this awesome “mystery” (your word) is portrayed via a number of perspectives in the NT itself, never have we the kind of disparate or contradictory assessment highlighted in Peter’s initial post as that of Cardy’s.

So; your own apparent interpretative largesse of your first comment is equally “foolish”, when you try to draw parallels between “the Faith” and “modernity”. Nor is it quite clear even in your comment who exactly is being challenged by what! Are this age’s cultured despisers of Christianity (BTW: there’s an allusion to Schleiermacher here, and all that!) to be challenged by the “wisdom of the Cross” (so both Gal and 1 Cor), or are the supposed adherents of an antiquated Faith to play some sort of alleged ‘catch up’ ...? For while some “paradigms” may sit alongside each other (as with Newton and Einstein generally, except when the very small, the very large, and the very fast are involved), other “paradigms” are mutually exclusive (like the Ptolemaic vs. Copernican). Cardy’s ‘view’ on the meaning of the death of Jesus parallels the latter form, frankly! And Paul wishes to declare that sort of ‘gospel’ anathema!

So get a grip Ron; the salvation of the world IS at stake here. Not just a trendy bill-board that has an unfortunate habit of provocation. Those who are baptised Christians have the responsibility to live out authentically their faith; just so, Gal 4-6. How much more so those entrusted with Christian leadership of the baptised. One of the major “problems” with contemporary Anglicanism is its failure to adhere to even its own historical roots, in due discipline of those who fail such responsibilities. And no amount of supposed largesse will excuse that before the bar of The Gospel - especially when its genuine “liberality” (Gal is preeminent on freedom again) among God’s diverse People creates a catholicity much secular inclusivity tries to mimic but in the end cannot effect, due to its premise being sheer human autonomy, which is NO ‘freedom’ actually and which is the very opposite of humans being/having to be redeemed by sheer divine grace in Christ Jesus.

Bryden Black said...

Bosco: will the Ang Covt be the principal item at our forthcoming synod - practically speaking? Or will something else become the principal matter? ;-)

carl jacobs said...

Father Ron Smith

Presumably, the same as yours, but are you listening properly to the liberation of Christ in the Gospel?

No, I am not reading into the text of Scripture meanings not found in the text. I am not inverting the text so that black becomes white and white becomes black. I am not warping the text so that it might mean what I prefer it to mean instead of what it actually means. I am not norming it according to some unspecified external standard. Freedom does not mean that I am free to pursue my authentic desires on the assumption that my authentic desires are good. It does not mean I get to 'expand' the concept of good in ways that seem right in my own eyes. It means I am free to do good given a prior definition of good.

You reject Sola Scriptura. You reject Tradition as well when it suits your desires. So what does that leave? It leaves Reason - to which you appeal endlessly. But Reason is not an objective neutral authority. It in fact depends upon prior authority. Syllogisms cannot infinitely regress. They must originate in unprovable axioms. If you change those axioms you change the output of your reason. So what then is the authoritative source for the unprovable axioms that undergird your reason? They don't come from Scripture. You have made that abundantly clear through your repeated rejection of Sola Scriptura. They don't come from Tradition either, or you wouldn't be pounding the table over homosexuality. Where then do they come from?


laudable Practice said...

How exactly does one pray the collects of Passiontide, Holy Week and the Easter season, and read the passages of Scripture invariably used by our lectionaries for these seasons, while believing that "Jesus did not die for our sins"?

This day next week (it's still Saturday here in Ireland) many of us will be hearing the words of the Exsultet during the Easter Vigil:

"It is right and good that with hearts and minds and voices we should praise you, Father almighty, the unseen God,
through your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who has saved us by his death, paid the price of Adam’s sin, and reconciled us once again to you".

On Easter Day the traditional proper preface will proclaim "he is the very Paschal Lamb, which was offered for us, and hath taken away the sin of the world".

How can a priest who will pray these words for and on behalf of the eucharistic community then say "Jesus did not die for our sins"?

liturgy said...

Only one critique, Bryden, keeping within Peter's description of our approach and as a scientist: the Ptolemaic vs. Copernican are not mutually exclusive. This is probably best explained in layman's terms in Stephen Hawking's most recent book, The Grand Design.



Father Ron Smith said...

"So; your own apparent interpretative largesse of your first comment is equally “foolish” - Dr. Bryden Black

I find it quite a privilege to be accounted a fool - for Christ's sake. But I do detect that's not quite what YOU mean, here. Arrogance is no substitute for holiness!

"The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men".

Anonymous said...


you have nailed it. The basic problem in any attempt to defend the kind of heresy that Glynn has advocated is that it is impossible to do so by any traditional Christian means. Thus "Reason", by which Ron really means liberal ideology, and "science", by which he means the same thing, become conveniently vague super-authorities that are produced, like rabbits out of a hat, to trump Scripture and tradition when they become inconvenient to the political aims of liberalism.

On a sad note, this is my last post here. I no longer feel safe to do so without being the object of extreme personal abuse and public attacks on my character. If this had been something that occurred rarely it might be different, but it has been a repeated experience from the very first time I posted. Accusations that I need psychological help and that I am engaged in serious criminal behavior are the last straw. I am not even sure this will be posted, as I seem to have been silenced, while the perpetrator is allowed to continue.

By for now.

Father Ron Smith said...

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church - Holy Writ.

"Your read the Scriptures, but you do not........" - Jesus

The Pharisee in the Temple: "I thank God that I....... read the Scriptures, pay my tithes. worship x times a day. I thank God that I am not like other men~"

The Sinner: "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner"

Jesus; "Which one went away justified?"

Answer: The Sinner (humble not proud).

Jesus: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing".

"The Pharisee sought a way to put Jesus to death" - because He was too liberal for them.

Fr. Bryan Owen said...

Peter, getting back to your original question "Is this false teaching?", the answer is YES! Not a hard question to answer.

carl jacobs said...


When I first started commenting on Anglican weblogs, I frequently visited a weblog called 'Father Jake Stops the World.' It was a very liberal site run by a very liberal Episcopalian priest. I learned a lot at that site by simply reading the comments. It was probably the most valuable 15 months I spent on the internet reading all those comments. I really got to know my opponent at FJSTW.

A certain kind of conservative was tolerated at FJSTW. I was not that kind of conservative, and so I was treated very roughly. It wasn't too long before I stopped commenting there. But I didn't stop because of the frequent insults. I stopped because the weblog owner tolerated those who insulted me, but threatened me frequently with banning for objecting to the insults. His weblog. His rules. As I said, Father Jake tolerated only certain kinds of conservatives. He was more than willing to let the mob silence those he didn't like, and ban those who wouldn't be silenced. And he made no secret of it. That is not the case here. The weblog owner has defended you. In one sense you are dishonoring him by your declaration. He deleted a post for your sake and publicly called out the post as malicious. To leave now would be to show him disrespect.

You should also consider this. The ad hominem argument is the last refuge of the intellectually defeated. When your opponent is reduced to insults, it typically means that he has no other effective response. He strikes out in his frustration. The occasional insult should therefore actually encourage you. Frequent insult should delight you. You should also realize that the insult reflects far worse on the author than on you. The readership here is not going to take seriously any accusations made against you. Instead they will wonder why one would choose to make such accusations in the first place.

You are safe here. You have friends here. There isn't any reason to retreat simply because someone chooses to cover up weak argumentation with invective. You just smile and tell yourself that every insult is a de facto admission of "Touche."

thwacking liberals since 2006

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn
I did not see that publishing the comment I did not publish would be helpful to the concern you raised. I may or may not have judged that right. But I would be sad to have you not comment further.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
The comment above where you impute all kinds of wilful badness to people who love Scripture and seek to uphold the truth of what is taught in it is the last I will accept along those lines. Essentially the you are charging that fellow sinners are self-righteous. That is not a good thing to do.

You would have more friends here if you could bring yourself to critique the wilful denial of our shared faith by those who push liberal/progressive agenda. I find it very odd that you are unable to publicly object to Glynn Cardy denying that Christ died to save our sins. I thought that was germane to the gospel as understood by catholic Anglicans.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, in reply to your last comment here; the fact is, that I see my primary task as a priest in the Church is to show 'sinners' the way to heaven - not condemn them to hell - as one commenter was doing.

Glynn Cardy's methods of getting the largely apathetic public to even discuss religious subjects are not mine, and I do think he is sometimes provocative. However, he gets people talking about Christ and the Faith, and probably entices some of them into his church. Who knows what God cannot do with them once they enter into the debate?

Anonymous said...

you make some good points about reason (in the Hookerian) sense being essentially about developing correct logical syllogisms from unprovable axioms - or, to develop the point as Budjizewski and Plantinga have put it, things "we can't not know", warranted beliefs that we know directly (such as our existence, other minds, God's existence etc - the famous conundra of epistemology). I have given up expecting Ron to deal with this analytical-philosophical issue, as he doesn't seem to be aware of his own presuppositions and how they function, and ad hominems don't warrant a reply.
What does dismay me is that a post-Christian (sensu stricto) like Glyn Hardy should be considered NZ's 'most prominent Anglican preist' when he doesn't teach the faith he was ordained to proclaim; and that his latest childish provocation should become the talking point. If his bishop can't disown him, then he has surrendered any claim to Vincentian catholicity.

Anonymous said...


"That is not the case here. The weblog owner has defended you. In one sense you are dishonoring him by your declaration. He deleted a post for your sake and publicly called out the post as malicious. To leave now would be to show him disrespect."

You are right. Thanks for calling me out on that.

Peter, my apologies for my reaction and my thanks for defending me.

I will continue to post, after a careful look at my own role in this, and some reflection on how I can word my posts better, so they are less likely cause trouble.

Bryden Black said...

Ah; the esteemed Stephen Hawkins: now there’s an authority! Thanks Bosco! However, I do not consider myself a “layman” re “science”, and certainly not one re cosmologies and the philosophy of science. Yet to the average layman, the Copernican revolution did claim a heliocentric paradigm versus a Ptolemaic geocentric one - which in usual parlance are mutually exclusive.

For either the sun is at the centre of our solar system, or the stars including the sun do go round the earth. To be sure; there are important subtleties (which I suspect SH is alerting us to) in relation to not only the planets and the sun (i.e our complete solar system) that the Ptolemaic paradigm addresses/seeks to address. So I will not disagree with you (or SH, as I surmise him) when we have to account for all objects of the night sky (I deliberately say night vs. day, and so avoid the sun!), either by means of Copernicus or Ptolemy or Einstein or now SH ... Some of which "overlap" (SH's word) better with some than with others ... [BTW: have you heard they’ve revised their measurements re light at CERN - phew!]

Bottom-line: I was myself truly addressing the layman and not even venturing into SH territory. For I have it on good authority that even his earlier A Brief History of Time was a bit too much for the average layman (which is perhaps why he brought out his Briefer version ...!). If you’d be so kind to lend me his latest “Theory on Everything”, then we can both enjoy these subtleties and many more besides...!

Bryden Black said...

Ah; Fr Ron Smith, the Great Evangelist. Your approach is commendable. There is however a slight problem.

When we seek to emulate Jesus’ example, we surely should note his talking about both heaven and hell - and in particular the respective audiences for such themes. If we do pay careful attention to both topic and audience, then of course your approach is generally sound. Except for one thing: religious leaders. His scathing attacks on many a religious leader who should know better and who are often the target of “hellish” remarks might just apply to the likes of Cardy ... And then of course, there’s St Paul, whose theo-logic I have only applied via the use of Galatians and 1 Cor 5. If you find such texts of Holy Writ offensive, then ...

Which I take it is the point of the entire post by Peter ...

Father Ron Smith said...

Bryden, why are you Evangelicals so insistent on portraying the horrors of Hell? Jesus was more intent on pointing the way to Heaven, and in correcting the Scribes' and Pharisees' tendency to punish what they saw to be a breach of the Law. (cf: Those men who were about to stone the woman 'caught in the act of adultery').

This may not have seemed fair to them - perhaps even unrighteous. But, then, this apparent liberality of Jesus towards a known Sinner, was a deadly mark against Jesus that led the Temple authorities, eventually, to have him crucified.

Do you remember the occasion when Jesus warned the 'righteous' that even prostitutes would get into heaven before them! Notice, he did not say they would go to Hell. They would just have to wait for Sinners to get to heaven first. Now there's liberality for you!

Holy Week is such a fruitful time to reflect on our own sinful nature. No-one has a right to enter Heaven. It is only the unique righteousness of Christ that will give us a pass to enter. Pointing the finger at others' sins may not be the best way to gain favour with God.

"Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore. let us keep the Feast. Not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth".

liturgy said...

I am hesitant to comment, as Peter’s primary focus in this thread is very important, and I would fear distracting from that focus. But, with Peter’s forbearance:

Bryden, anyone who has kept even a general interest in current, (and not undisputed) developments in ideas in theoretical physics will not be surprised by anything in Hawking’s book. His point about Copernican/Ptolemaic is that there is no “objective centre” – just different models with the Copernican model giving nicer, simpler equations – that is all.

Far too much was claimed for this book by the “new atheists”. In fact he argues (correctly IMO, and contra many scientists as he acknowledges) for the strong anthropic principle (the weak anthropic principle holds little interest for me personally). The trouble is (as those many scientists realise) that if you then don’t have the (dubious, and currently, at least, unscientific) multiverse, your only option remaining (as far as I can see) is theism.

The book veers steadily away from Science. M-theory and multiverses currently do not appear falsifiable; hence, following Popper and the philosophy of Science (the reports of which death are greatly exaggerated!) this is not Science.

So in summary – if you haven’t read it yet, you’ve missed nothing.



carl jacobs said...

Father Ron Smith

why are you Evangelicals so insistent on portraying the horrors of Hell?

1. Because Hell is a real place and people are going to end up there.

2. Because the nature of Hell indicates the evil nature of man, and the requisite level of punishment he deserves.

3. Because the nature of Hell indicates the magnitude of the Sacrifice offered on our behalf.

Man thinks too highly of himself. The reality of Hell offers a sobering corrective. Man thinks too little of the sacrifice of the Cross. The reality of hell offers a sobering corrective. Man thinks he can earn his way to heaven by being good. The reality of hell reveals what man is really like. To understand what it means to be saved, you first understand what you have been saved from.


Bryden Black said...

Another phew: that is, if you havn't read it yet...
I agree wholeheartedly re your conclusion abt the strong anthropic principle: theism rules; ok!
As for SH's "no objective centre": if - and naturally that's an 'if' - we follow the likes of the late TF Torrance, there IS a due theistic centre: he's called Jesus, the Word become flesh, whose entire mission reveals the Reality behind and within this one creation.

Bryden Black said...

Oh dear; I sense Ron you are just not hearing the balanced way I am trying to address this particular post and your comments ... Amen; so be it ...

Perhaps, Thomas Tallis’s robust theology captured by the majesty of his music will answer some of your queries. In addition, I’d refer you to that Catholic giant of the last century, Hans Urs von Balthasar, whose seminal work, Mysterium Paschale, is unabashed and unashamed in its addressing Hell, just as his more fulsome Theodrama, and notably the last volume, waxes lyrical on the subject - and on many more naturally!

Stet sicut!

Father Ron Smith said...

Now here at last, carl, you have the nitty0gritty of the gospel. Mankind, indeed, can never earn redemption, it has been freely given,through Christ, in his sacrificial death.

No amount of personal 'holiness' can ever match up to the price paid by God for our redemption. Only by knowing the love of God (NOT by any thought of God's malevolence), can anyone be brought to faith in Jesus as Redeemer! That is the heart of the Gospel. Hold on to that and you won't go far wrong.

The task of a Christian pilgrim, is to show the 'great Love of God as revealed in the Son'. There is nothing else that can save us. I think Jesus made this message well known to the scribes & Pharisees.
That's why He ended up on the Cross that you imagine I despise. Cheer up, carl. Have a little bit more faith in God's power to redeem! And try to fast from judgement of others this Holy Week.

Anonymous said...

God's love cannot be seperated from God's wrath. In fact the latter is an expression of the former.

D.A. Carson in 'The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God' (available as a free pdf download) critiques the current fashion to reduce God solely to love alone, and then to reduce that love to little more than sentimentality and soft universalism.

God's love is fierce and terrible, tender and caring, jealous and demanding. It will not brook any idols (including sexual idols) and will settle for nothing less than the total surrender of our hearts.

The elect are truly free from God's wrath and enfolded eternally in His love, but only because God's wrath was exhausted on the cross.

"And try to fast from judgement of others this Holy Week"

Good advice Ron. Perhaps you could do the same and fast from your judgement of Evangelicals, especially those who post here. You could start by ceasing to call us Pharisees.

Follow the words of our Lord;

"first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."

Bryden Black said...

“Knowing the love of God” (...) - RS

The curious thing about tracking the way the writer of the Fourth Gospel and the First Epistle of John goes about specifying the nature of God is the progression: Word > Life > Light (Prologue) > Spirit (ch.4) > Light again (1 Jn 1) > eventually, Love (1 Jn 4) - in the very context of hilasmos = both propitiation and expiation; hence the NIV translation vs. AV and RSV. Just so; there IS no divine love without either a sense of ‘wrath’ and ‘sin’ and the awesome “mercy” of God - Romans 11:32, giving rise to 12:1-2.

And does not Jn 3:16-21 say all this in a nutshell! Just so, the revelation of the Gospel (Jn 1:1,18) has to maintain this rich combination of themes. If we loose any of the threads, we begin to unpick that seamless garment laid aside at the Cross ... At which we may only “bow down” à la Rev 5 ...!

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