Monday, October 14, 2013

This is why people are leaving the Anglican church

Judith Collins, Anglican parishioner and Minister of Justice in our country has offered an interesting reason for why Anglicans are leaving the church. It is found within the video within this TV One News item about Bishop Justin Duckworth of Wellington beginning a novel form of prayerful action drawing to the number of people in our prison system and the need to find better ways to cut the crime rate and re-offending rate. Taonga has two reports here and here about this week long focus on penal reform.

Incidentally what shoddy reporting by TV One's print team! Not one word within their words below the video clip about Judith Collins' challenge to the Bishop.

TV Three's clip is here.


mike greenslade said...

That is why people are leaving the National Party...

Peter Carrell said...

Heh, Mike! But are they joining Labour or the Greens ... or NZ First? :)

mike greenslade said...

They will be joining the Anglican church!

Anonymous said...

This Bishop is going to get annoying real fast.

"Prison Reform" is almost always a euphemism for soft on crime policies that ensure larger numbers of criminals are on the streets instead of behind bars.

The Bishop pulls a publicity stunt, but offers nothing more substantial than easy slogans.

He very conveniently fails to mention that, like the US, our crime rates are falling.

For decades New Zealanders had to put up with a system that allowed violent criminals to re-offend almost ad-infinitum, I lost count of the number of horrific attacks, rapes and murders committed by someone described as on their 7th, 10th, 15th offense, many after having attended some rehabilitation program.

Now we have, to a greater degree at least, a system that takes a harder line, and what do you know, crime is falling.

Rehabilitation has it's place, but it's naive to think that it alone will lower crime or prison rates. This naiveté is born of the Liberal delusion that if only people get enough hugs, self-esteem, and education, then they would magically become good, non-violent citizens.

Real change is much harder than that, and usually much more long term. For violent criminals, shorter sentences or alternatives to prison are not realistic, and it is a failure of justice to put such criminals back on the streets so they can create more victims, destroy more families.

Collins is right. The Anglican church in NZ is declining in part because people get fed up with the biased, shallow, trendy lefty politics preached from pulpits and by Bishops.

Father Ron Smith said...

"When I was on prison, you visited me" - Jesus of Nazareth. One presumes that Jesus was in favour of prison visiting, at least. But then, that may be just one of the reasons Jesus was crucified! (I am proud to have been a one-time prison chaplain. It takes guts, but infinitely worth it.)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Martin
I am prepared to publish this part of your comment:

"If Justin Duckworth has a sensible answer to the questions, how to punish murderers, rapists, perpetrators of violence, bank robbers and burglars; how to deter others from following in their steps; how to protect the public from harm (especially the poorest members of society, the chief victims of crime); and how to reclaim criminals - then let's hear it. He needs to think outside his little 'box' - from which he is granted day release."

Otherwise I think you are cutting to close to the ad hominem bone and too prescriptive in how you think he ought to run his life and ministry. You could always email him with your suggestions ...

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
I am lightly re-touching your comment. I think it reads fine if we omit remarks which mark another's exegesis ...

"Ron:(I am proud to have been a one-time prison chaplain. It takes guts, but infinitely worth it.) 10/10, and good on ya bro!

Ron: "When I was on prison, you visited me" - Jesus of Nazareth. [].

The point of the parable - judgement of "the nations" - has ministry TO CHRISTIANS in mind - the little ones who are Jesus' brethren, 25:40, as established elsewhere in the Matthean text in various places.

It was a NT PhD thesis that put me onto this historical line of exegesis rather than that of trendy social gospel stuff from the 20th C. There's ample teaching elsewhere in the OT & NT that supports -demands! - ministry among the poor etc, NOT to have to falsely stretch this Great Judgement Parable of the Goats and Sheep.

Anonymous said...

Visiting prisoners is a fine thing to do. Bit that's not what this was about. It was about Justin's views on the issue of prison numbers, which Jesus says nothing about. Jesus also does not advocate any political policies, including so-called restorative justice.

Too many leaders in the Anglican Church advocate dubious political policies too easily, often on thin Biblical grounds, and often taking note only of Left-Liberal political views when they do so. This problem stems in part from the Social Justice Commision, which operates as a kind of Left Wing think tank in the Church, and effectively excludes contrary views from the Right. This is unbalanced, and leads to superficial comments from our leaders on political issues which can come across as shallow, knee jerk political correctness, rather than seriously considered thinking. I think this case is sadly a perfect example of that.

Peter Carrell said...

It is just the beginning, Shawn.

Wait till we hear from those who drive cars for their ministry that, nevertheless, we are deeply opposed to deep sea oil exploration off the coast of NZ ...

Pageantmaster said...

I like the Duck - what a breath of fresh air.

The problem is that many of those who commit violent crime are extremely angry people or completely lacking in empathy. If it were not the case, they would not do it. There are some at the start of their careers of crime who have done something foolish for which some form of confrontation with what they have done or restorative justice would work.

There has been some interesting work done over here to identify the reason we have so many hardened criminals. The surprising result was that a high proportion of those convicted of the more serious crimes display the same symptoms as those of battlefield post traumatic stress disorder. We are still working out what to do about it, but it is being taken seriously by police and government.

As Christians however, Father Ron is right - we should visit the prisoners - bravo for him. We are seeing remarkable results from prison ministry including Alpha for Prisoners
Here is one story:

Pageantmaster said...

Some links to the relation of criminal violence and offending with post traumatic stress disorder:
The full report can be found here:

Anonymous said...

Peter, you were right to excise my more irritated comments (though I stand by the burden of those remarks). By all means let us consider alternatives to prison - if these are truly just and treat serious crime seriously. But we really don't have many serious alternatives today. If the Church is going to fulfil its mission to prisons, it will be by running Prison Alpha courses, by praying for prisons in their midst and visiting them, and by helping in the risky business of post-release rehabilitation (as Holy Trinity Brompton has also pioneered). Nothing easy in any of these options.
I agree with Bryden that Matt 25.34-40 most likely has in mind how the world treats Christian missionaries ('the least of these my brethren', some of whom in the first century had already faced imprisonment for the Gospel (Paul, Silas, Barnabas) or even death (Antipas in Revelation). Matthew doesn't teach 'work-righteousness'.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pageantmaster,

I agree, there are prison ministries doing remarkable things in turning peoples lives around. Chuck Colson's work in the US is a good example.

That is the kind of practical action I can respect and support. Far more effective than political posturing and easy sloganeering.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Parable of the Goats and Sheep." BB

Reminds me of a lecture on this subject at SJC years ago, when the lecturer reminded us high-minded theologs that, when we are lined-up on judgement day, we might just be quite surprised at the category in which we find ourselves - and who might be alongside us - and indeed, who might get through the pearly gates before us.

He reminded us that God alone is judge and jury when it comes to the parousia.

hogsters said...

If I might wade in here. I have been in ministry for around 30 years. Youth work for a few years. Vicar of two parishes and a bit of priest in charge as well. add to that 4 years of community development work.
Now i am a prison chaplain and I love it. Someone who had also been a prison chaplain said to me as I tested a door that I thought the Lord might be opening to me, "its the best kept secret in Christendom". (Prison chaplaincy that is)

There is something glorious about preaching the gospel and opening the scriptures to these men, and in a context where you are able to get beside them to pastor and encourage them. Love it.

Suffice to say I'm always looking for ones who can open the scriptures in the context of bible study and preach with confidence and competence.