Monday, December 2, 2013

The Pilling Report must be on the right path ... look at its critics

Additional Addition

Am a bit pressed for time at moment re December madness.

Part of that madness is no time to read the whole of Pilling. But thanks be to God for others having time. Here is a great focus on pastoral accommodation via Oliver O'Donovan.

Might I commend a searching post from Steve Bell on grace in the face of evil madness, here.

A different kind of madness, good madness, is cricket joy. NZ doing well against the West Indies. Adelaide Ashes test about to start. Here is a pic, courtesy of Jonathan Agnew (here) of the pitch.

What a belter! Even I could score runs on that :)


Head to Living Out for a great site, much longed for in the conservative evangelical wing of the Anglican church, of people speaking out about their same-sex attraction.

The Bishop of Birkenhead's dissenting statement is worth reading. Here is the first paragraph (i.e. para 415 of the whole document).

"A Dissenting Statement by the Bishop of Birkenhead

415. It is with much regret that I have concluded that I cannot sign
the report of the House of Bishops’ Working Group on Human
Sexuality (‘the Report’). I offer this dissenting statement to set out
another vision and explain why. Those who have been part of the
Working Group on Human Sexuality have gone out of their way to
listen to my views. They have sought to produce a report that, in their
view, goes as far as possible to meet those concerns. I am supportive of
many of the Report’s recommendations and share many of the concerns
driving the Report as we wrestle with being faithful to Christ in our
changing culture. For the sake of the peace and unity of the Church
I would have loved to have put my name to a unanimous report. I
have no desire to see issues of human sexuality distracting us from
proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. However,
after much prayer and soul searching, I have concluded I cannot sign."

The remainder of his statement can be accessed here (look for paragraph 416 on page 119 and keep reading until paragraph 489). Further, a paper of Bishop Sinclair is included as Appendix 3.

In my own quick read I note this:

"459. On theology the Report summarizes the presentations to the
Group made by Fr Timothy Radcliffe and Professor Oliver O’Donovan
(Paragraphs 254–278 and 313–315). It emphasizes that they warn us to
take seriously the things that we do not know and to avoid closing
down the debate about sexual ethics prematurely. But remaining open
to debate is not the same thing as claiming that the Church no longer
has a basis for what it has taught until now. " Precisely!

Original Post

I am thrilled that the Pilling Report, which apparently bears imprints of a Down Under invisible hand, has generated a very good conversation in the comments below the previous post.

One of the issues highlighted by the process of reception of the report is what is the right path a divided church takes on a difficult issue.

For example, picking up from one comment, should the weight of content for such a matter be on the side of doctrine  rather than practice (including the action of holding the church together)?

To take another matter, does the Pilling Report represent the beginning of the end of the Church of England? That is, when the various 'hedging your bets' and 'buying a bit more time' bits of the report are taken away, is the long-term impact of the report a compass steer to some kind of pure liberalism, of the kind which essentially finishes a church off because it is indistinguishable from 21st century Western secular social democracy?

Then there is the endlessly interesting historical perspective on such a report: if only in 19XX (or even 17XX or if Bloody Mary had never ascended to the throne halting the inexorable destination of the reforms) the church [or, Evangelicals] had not decided to take [a certain progressive and/or compromising step] then we would never be in this confounded situation.

But we are in this confounded situation. And we are in it for a very good reason: our predecessors were neither more nor less gifted in decision-making than we are. In their lights they made the best of their confounded situation. As for historical circumstances beyond influence of decision-making, e.g. Queen Mary. There is no point in 'if only'. No one knows what a confounded mess an alternative situation would have produced! If Edward VI had lived he might have turned on his Protestant advisors ... or turned out to be a playboy like some of his namesake successors :)

Now one interesting aspect of the present moment is that it is difficult to find a 'liberal' chorus for the Pilling Report singing a congratulatory anthem. If we go to Changing Attitude we find a very disappointed lament for the Report being chanted. Here is a summary of the lament from this CA 'initial response':

"This report does not herald radical change and does not therefore fulfil the expectations of Changing Attitude. There are no practical proposals which will begin to dismantle the present culture of secrecy, denial of reality, suppression of identity and the maintenance of unhealthy attitudes. The group has met people and listened and the unhealthy attitudes remain unchanged as the report demonstrates."

Is the C of E going to a liberal hell down a slippery slope on a handcart without brakes? Not according to Changing Attitude!

For me the Pilling Report ticks two important boxes in terms of an Anglican church responding to the present situation which (arguably) is without precedent in the history of the church.

Box One: No change to doctrine of marriage expressed through marriage liturgies.

Box Two: offering pastoral accommodation in a context where opposition to traditional doctrine is not going away, steadfastly remains open and vocal, and continues to tug on the heart strings of the undecided middle (and, taking up a comment below the freshly minted minds of younger generations).

I suggest a question to ask of the Report is whether it is both reasonable and responsible in the context of a divided church in a changing society?

The opposition of Changing Attitude to the report alerts me (at least) to the possibility that the report answers that question with more than a pass mark.

From a Down Under perspective the more work done well by others in the Communion the less we have to do here!

Coda: There is something I feel strongly about re some comments to the previous post. Evangelicalism is itself divided on such matters. But where does responsibility for that division lie? One implication in the comments is that the responsibility lies with open/moderate evangelicals such as organisations like Fulcrum and individuals such as, well, myself. When we could have been united, certain people/groups stepped out of line! But is this a fair analysis of the situation? Isn't there a question of why Fulcrum was formed and why evangelicals such as myself cannot go all the way down a certain conservative line (or set of lines)?

To give one answer, I suggest some conservative evangelical thinking is 'too conservative' to simply go along with it and not vocalise reservations. To give one example, and intentionally steering away from certain 'hot button' issues, there is a line of conservative evangelical theology which is deeply suspicious, if not downright antagonistic to charismatic theology and experience which supports exercising of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophesying, and giving words of knowledge. I cannot go along with that and if I were travelling close to that path I could not be silent if suspicion/let alone antagonism was being preached from the pulpit and taught from the conference platform.

In other words, could we who happily wear the label (libel?) 'evangelical' be kind to one another? Within our community of faith, we have differences, some of which give rise to named groupings. Is there much to be gained from lamenting genuine differences among us, or from one group blaming another group for a currently difficult 'fissiparous' situation?


carl jacobs said...

The path of the Pilling Report is exactly the same path traversed by TEC. You may fantasize that this report offers a solution that squares the circle. It doesn't because people like me will never accept it. I will again point you to the article by Peter Ould. He was a forthright advocate for not leaving the CoE ... until he saw the contents of this report. You can't just ignore this reality. If this report is approved it will set in motion a chain of events that will not be stopped - and certainly not by the promise of pointless discussions. If you want 'open' evangelicals to be 'the right' of the CoE then follow this path.

You say formal teaching has not be changed. That's both true and irrelevant. The unchanged formal teaching has been undermined. This path creates de facto conditions that will eventually force the teaching to be changed. In fact that is the whole point. Avoid a bruising fight in Synod by changing things unofficially and not formally. Keep everyone around long enough (presumably by talking) in hopes that the dissidents will come to accept the new order. Let the informal changes force the issue slowly and inevitably. That was TECs strategy and it worked. Conservatives in the CoE will not be likewise fooled.


Father Ron Smith said...

"You may fantasize that this report offers a solution that squares the circle. It doesn't because people like me will never accept it. I will again point you to the article by Peter Ould. He was a forthright advocate for not leaving the CoE ... until he saw the contents of this report. - carl jacobs -

But carl, the fact that 'people like you' will never accept the Pilling report, is no guarantee that it is fallatious.

In fact, to some of us who have been hoping for a more gracious outcome for those in society who have for too long been judged 'immoral' by such as yourself; the outcome of the Pilling Report is more acceptable - precisely because people like you find it unacceptable.

This may be the very proof we have been looking for - that the report is at least a movement towards the overturning of inflexible and endemic homophobia in the Church of England.

Anonymous said...

Your analogy doesn't really work, Peter. Most evangelicals are not really bothered about charismatic theology (though liberals are generally pretty negative about it). Charismatic theology is usually (not always) very conservative, reflecting a provenance in fundamentalism. Most evangelicals accept that a God of miracles can act today to heal; what they object to is prosperity theology and claims of supplementary revelation that trump Scripture. Charismatic evangelical churches are not that charismatic today!


Peter Carrell said...

Er, Martin, my analogy does work because there are evangelical churches which implicitly if not explicitly downplay many aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit, thus creating a spiritual context others of us could not belong to comfortably. That is, there are evangelical churches this charismatic evangelical would choose not to belong to and to which this charismatic evangelical is unlikely to ever be invited to preach in.

Anonymous said...

And there are "charismatic churches" - e.g. Maurice 'Miracles' Cerullo, Creflo Dollar (Credit Flow Dollar?), not to mention Todd somebody the demon-buster of Pensacola - where I imagine you wouldn't be all that comfortable. Or perhaps I do you an injustice?

Brother Martin Pentecost
- follow me on @nameitclaimit
(all major credit cards accepted)

Peter Carrell said...

Indeed, Martin, I would be as uncomfortable with a strident, biblically unhinged charismaticism as with a charismatic suppressing, 'the gifts died with the apostles' evangelicalism.

Anonymous said...

"Indeed, Martin, I would be as uncomfortable with a strident, biblically unhinged charismaticism as with a charismatic suppressing, 'the gifts died with the apostles' evangelicalism."

Darn! I was hoping you'd be preaching at Midnight Mass this Christmas for the Exclusive Brethren!

Martin Darby

Peter Carrell said...

I shall be preaching at Midnight Mass, Martin, and Exclusive Brethren are most welcome :)

Father Ron Smith said...

There you are, Bryden. Our Host, peter, is offering you yet another trophy to add to your theological treatises. Advent blessings!

Bryden Black said...

... from the other Pilling thread, Ron: I shall happily share my “trophy” with you - especially when the second prize is two weeks yonder and not just one ...!

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that you'll be preaching at the Eucharist at midnight Peter; that is if you follow the language of our formularies. By the way, what was the reasoning behind the adoption of this opaque Greekism, when holy Communion' and Lord's Supper had been used for centuries

Anonymous said...

Perhaps better expressed as "preaching during the Eucharist
Liturgy" see NZPB p404, 456 etc

Father Ron Smith said...

Yes, Bryden. I don't know how my remark about your trophy got onto this thread. Isn't science wonderful? Enjoy Invercargill.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rhys
I like winding people up!

I think we are calling out service 'Midnight Communion'.

Why 'Eucharist'? I don't know. Beware liturgists when they come bearing gifts from Greece?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bryden, it is good to share. As too many Anglican redundant churches indicate, hanging on to a trophy can cause atrophy.

Rhys asks an interesting question. It's propbalby a political choice: a search for common language. The rite is known in the NT as the 'The Lord's Supper' or (perhaps) 'breaking bread' - though often this just denotes a meal. 'eucharist' isn't like any word we use in English except (unfortunately) 'eukaryotic' in cell biology.

St Martin of Seville

liturgy said...


"Lord's Supper" κυριακὸν δεῖπνον occurs, of course, only once in the New Testament.

There was the long tradition of not celebrating the Lord’s Supper at supper time, in the evening.

Then there are some who insist that the Lord’s Supper can only be celebrated at supper time, in the evening.

“Holy Communion” never occur in the New Testament. “Communion” (κοινωνία), is not regularly connected to the Christian service with bread and wine in the New Testament. The connection appears only once.

The breaking of the bread appears to be essentially a Lukan title.

It occurs in slightly different forms, as far as I can see, four times in the New Testament.

The lesser-used terms in the New Testament are the more common titles today. The ones not used at all are used most.



Father Ron Smith said...

What does it matter what you call it, as long as you actually DO IT:
"To remember Me" - Jesus. Apart from Baptism, it is the only sacramental activity authorised by Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Once is once more than not at all, for a rite that is rarely described in the NT.
'The Lord's Supper' was apparently how the Apostle Paul knew it. 'communion' is mentioned twice in 1 Cor 10.16 for the cup and the bread, but it looks more like a description than a name at this stage. Since there are all kinds of koinonia, it was natural to specify the 'Holy' koinonia.
'the table of the Lord' is also used in 1 Cor 10.21 - was this also terminology of the time, or is it anachronistic to speak of 'terminology' here?
What we do NOT have, of course, is 'the sacrifice of the mass at the altar' - obvious, but sometimes the obvious has to be pointed out.

I have always assumed the preference for 'eucharist' was due to the post-biblical usage in Didache IX:

'peri de tis eucharistias ...'


Anonymous said...

Anyway, Peter, when you give the homily at the Midnight Mass to the Exclusive Brethren, I hope you won't cast aspersions.
Will you make them cross (themselves)?
Will they be incensed?


Bryden Black said...

I have to say Peter this kind of deliberation by Oliver O’Donovan is vintage! And I have myself over the past few days been trying to weigh it - somewhat; for in essence, his thesis takes time.

For all that, if I may try to engage with my former tutor and ask the question of cultural aetiology, it really does seem to me that what is bearing fruit here goes back to seeds sown some 300 years ago. Michel Foucault is actually not so novel an individual after all. When the European mind turns to the subject, when that subject begins to foreclose on certain options, notably the transcendent, and when that subject migrates from an existential horizon to an autonomous secular one, and when the individual begins to take centre stage, then voila - Msr Michel est arrivé! Slow has been the accommodation already. But now the incremental steps have issued in an avalanche at the glacier’s edge, for all to see what has hitherto been more stealth.

Whether or not the Church is capable of sifting such detritus from the authentically human - and by that I mean the authentically redeemed possibilities - when the sirens of political identity have become so shrill, remains to be seen, frankly. And that is why Andrew Reid’s observations of the Report are so very pertinent.

Peter Carrell said...

They (and you) will have to come to find out, Martin!

Kurt said...

Humm, Martin. Consider this formulation of New York’s Bishop John Henry Hobart from his 1804 book “A Companion for the Altar” which was quite popular over 200 years ago:

“The Eucharist therefore is not only a Sacrament, in which, under the symbols of bread and wine, according to the institution of Christ, the faithful, truly and spiritually receive the body and blood of Christ; but also a true and proper sacrifice, commemorative of the original sacrifice and death of Christ for our deliverance from sin and death: a memorial made before God, to plead with him the meritorious sacrifice and death of his dear Son for the forgiveness of our sins, and all other benefits of Christ’s Passion. The Eucharist being as it name imports, a sacrifice of thanksgiving, the bread and wine after they have been offered or given to God, and bless and sanctified by his holy Spirit, are returned by the hand of his minister to be eaten by the faithful, as a feast upon the sacrifice; both, to denote their being at peace and favor with God, being thus fed at his table, and eating of his food, and also, to convey to the worthy receivers all the benefits and blessings of Christ’s natural body and blood, which were offered and slain, for their redemption.”

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll hum. What would you like - 59th Street Bridge Song? I was hoping you'd give us a weather report, Kurt.
Actually, most of what you quote here from Bishop Hobart could have been written by John Calvin (Institutes Bk 4), though I don't know if he would have cared for 'sacrificial' language. Cranmer of course, following Calvin, believed in the spiritual presence of the body and blood of Christ being received by faith.


Kurt said...

Actually, Martin, it is foggy and around 15C. Quite warm here for this time of year.

Yes, we all know that the Receptionist view was once a very popular conception of the Real Presence among many Anglicans, and even among some people like Calvin. I doubt, however, that Hobart held a Receptionist view; he likewise most likely did not hold to Transubstantiation. My reading of Hobart puts him closer to Consubstantiation.

To obtain the benefits we receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily in faith, but the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Mysteries is not contingent upon faith or worthiness.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Anonymous said...

'EVEN among some people like Calvin'? Kurt, you make the greatest theologian of the Reformation and the primary influence on Karl Barth sound like some backwoods preacher. This *was Calvin's view, not a surprising blip in his thought, and was what his follower Cranmer believed as well.

I have never heard of Hobart until now.

"To obtain the benefits we receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily in faith, but the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Mysteries is not contingent upon faith or worthiness." You might as well say Christ is everywhere, which, as God, He is. But without faith it is impossible to please God, and without faith there is no feeding on Christ.


Kurt said...

Well, Martin, most folks on this site know that I have always had a very low opinion of John Calvin and his doctrine of “predestination.” And, quite frankly, I’ll take Dr. Martin Luther over him any day of the week as the “greatest” mind of the Reformation.

I’m sorry to have confused you. I’m not talking about a general presence of God in creation. I think that you may be conflating what we all (I think) agree are the requirements necessary to benefit from the reception of Holy Communion (faith and worthiness), with the special (not general) Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. In my view, the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Mysteries is more akin to God’s localized Presence in the Ark of the Covenant described in the Jewish Scriptures.

The Rt. Rev. John Henry Hobart (d.1830) was a High Church Bishop of the
Diocese of New York. His theology was Catholic, but his method of presentation of doctrine in sermons was quite Evangelical for the period. Early in his ministry he adapted religious tracts—which until then had been Evangelical vehicles—to promote Catholic teachings. He visited England in the 1820s, and had long discussions with British Anglican leaders, including Newman. In fact, many historians believe that the general idea of the “Tracts for the Times” was born out of these discussions.

PS: We will probably have snow here this weekend.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Anonymous said...

Kurt: re Calvin - it wasn't "his" doctrine of predestination - this was pretty much what St Augustine taught and a whole host of Catholic writers throughout the Middle Ages.
I agree on the greatness of my namesake from Thuringia, although on many things he was just plain wrong. Calvin had a better mind and greater breadth of scholarship, especially in the Greek Fathers. His sermons were less colourful but his commentaries more penetrating.
And I understood what you were saying the first time about 'real presence'. I actually spent some time years ago studying the Hebrew texts about 'l'pne yhwh' in Deuteronomy (via a friend's Cambridge PhD on the subject, as well as my own investigation of the Samuel and Chronicles texts on the nature of Yhwh's presence in the Ark and the Solomonic temple) and didn't come to any definitive conclusion about this.
I don't see the NT making this link with the element of the Lord's Supper, but maybe some Greek Father has done this. Their theology is rich in allegory and typology (sometimes a little fancifully so).

As Oliver Cromwell would say, praise the Lord and keep your powder snow off the driveway (though maybe you don't have a driveway in Brooklyn ...)


Father Ron Smith said...

As users of the 'New Daylight' reflections on Scripture, my wife and I were delighted this morning to be reminded of advice given to the clergy by Michael Ramsey, in his book 'The Christian Priest Today' (SPCK, 2009)

Here is the reflection for today:

"May it one day be said of you, not necessarily that you talked about God cleverly, but that you made God real to people"

Bryden Black said...

I had the privilege to be around this ABC after he retired - to Cuddesdon Hall outside Oxford. So I can vouch for this kind of thing, Ron. I’ve also gained much from the book cited. That said however, I will point out two things, prompted by a single question: Which God?!

1. When he preached at an intercollegiate service, the punch line I remember well was this: “Do not fall for fashions of the day; fashions, even in theology - especially in theology - come and go; we’ve seen one tonight ...” He was referencing a reading from the Bhagavad Gita!! Very trendy in the 1970s!!

2. Sitting at the back of the lecture room, he was listening to a lecture by a rather trendy man of the day (he’ll remain anonymous for this blog), who was waxing lyrical about “Hellenist redeemer myths” being the provenance of the likes of the Fourth Gospel’s Prologue and even Phil 2:6-11. During the Q&A he remained silent for while - then pounced: “But have you actually spent much time really dwelling in their world, the world of those documents? For I have; and the parallels are spurious.” He never returned to that course again!

So; I say again: Which God? In this 21st C there is a vast and varied field of claimants to deity. And unfortunately, within the AC itself there is considerable confusion as to what deity certain pockets within it are actually trying to “make real”. That is why I have steadfastly said our current ‘crisis’ is at root one of authority; for embedded in that word is another, namely, author. I.e. just what is the source of one’s notions of deity? Which then one might be trying to “make real”.

Based on 1 & 2, I think Michael Ramsey might have something to say about how we might better answer these questions for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Which God?, indeed, Bryden.

Jim Packer, no less, was fond of quoting these words from Michael Ramsey:

'God is Christlike, and in Him is no un-Christlikeness at all.'

Of course, Christ in the gospels is a rather different figure than those who never read the Bible imagine.

But you are a tease! Who was the Bultmann redivivus in the lecture hall? Spill the beans!


Kurt said...

Aside from your more favorable take on Calvin, Martin, we may have a bit more agreement on some things than I might have expected—though I’ve never been a big fan of Augustine, either, for many of the same reasons…

Of course, a Holy Mystery is just that; but the parallel of God’s Presence in the Ark of the Covenant is the only analogy I can think of that conveys my sense of the significance of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

I live in a five-story building constructed c. 1850; no driveway. Sunday’s snow is expected to be converted into icy slush by Monday morning. Dangerously slippery. This little old hippy doesn’t need to fall and break a bone at my age…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Anonymous said...

The nature of God's localised presence in the Old Testament was discussed a fair bit in the past. Aside from the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule (whose comparative religion assumptions I could never accept), Gerhard von Rad thought there was some 'transcendent' shift in the 8th century and pushed the idea of a 'Name theology' in Deuteronomy ('Yhwh is in heaven, his name is in the sanctuary'), but the Cambridge PhD I referenced above dissuaded me from this idea. The Bible isn't a philosophical book (one of the problems of the not-yet Christian Augustine before he listened to Ambrose of Milan), so we have to do the donkey work of conceptualising these questions, even as we admit our concepts may be wrong. But that's one reason why I reject transubstantiation: it's a concept too far. I find the OT speaking of God's presence in dynamic terms, i.e. when the Lord was 'with Joseph' in prison, it means He was acting in a special way on his behalf.
Are you in one of NY's famous brownstones? I hope ‘the New York winters aren’t bleedin’ you’ and for your safety and well-being in the snow may I recommend the finest piece of medical advice ever to come from New Zealand, from the father of All Black Israel Dagg:
Martin Noth

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron,

I am happy to post this part of your comment:

""Jim Packer, no less, was fond of quoting these words from Michael Ramsey: - Commenter -

Frankly, I cannot see too much equivalence between the theology of Archbishop Michael Ramsey and that of Mr. Packer. After all, Archbishop Michael Ramsey was instrumental in helping the British government to change the law regarding homosexuality, whereas ...."

Unless you can show the equivalence you draw in the omitted part of the comment with "chapter and verse" citation of evidence supporting your allegation of an equivalence between conservative theology and a draconian law passed by a stern government, that equivalence is false and thus a slur.

I might point out that many commenters here, as I myself do, hold equivalent theological views to Dr Packer while never showing signs of political views about the introduction and implementation of draconian laws.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ron has ever met Jim Packer or read any of his books - or knows that he co-authored a book with Anglo-Catholics E.L Mascall and Graham Leonard (latterly bishop of London before he swam the Tiber)? He really is the humblest, most irenic Christian intellectual you could meet, in a world where humility and peacableness can be in short supply.
I think I've turned to his 'Knowing God' and 'Keep in Step with the Spirit' more often than any other popular works to get a ready grounding in doctrine.
His lectures on systematic theology, which demonstrate both his encyclopedic grasp of detail and his precision with language ('Packer by name, packer by nature' as he likes to say) are freely available on the web and have instructed me, via my mp3 player, in tedious hours of work in the garden.
England's loss was Canada's and the US's gain.


Tim Chesterton said...

Although I do not share Jim Packer's Calvinism, nor his opposition to the ordination of women, I would like to echo Martin's comments on his character. I've had the privilege of meeting and chatting with Jim a few times over the years, and he has always impressed me with his humility, his servant attitude, and his diffidence. I should also mention that many, many years ago Jim wrote an article in Christianity Today about the Emmaus Road story. I was going through a pastoral situation at the time that caused me to question some of what he had written, and I took e liberty of writing him a letter about it. To my great surprise he replied with a handwritten letter that was a model of biblical pastoral concern. I have never forgotten that.

I have mentioned this before, Ron, when you have had occasion to cast aspersions on this fine man. no, I do not agree with some of Jim's theology, but I see him as far ahead of me when it comes to practical Chorstian living.

Anonymous said...

I think Tim's words capture the spirit of the man nicely. I would add that when I last heard Packer years ago in NZ, he was giving a sermon on the Ascension which wove together images from C.S. Lewis and elsewhere that I hadn't heard before but went on to use myself several times. This was a lesson to me on the striking impact of oral communication and the need for preachers to hone their words and images with precision and care - a lesson equally reinforced by the more patrician but equally gracious and humble John Stott.


Father Ron Smith said...

I have never actually met Mr. Packer but the laudation he receives from people on this thread whose theology I have problems with have, in must confess, coloured my opinion of his theological stance.

On the other hand, I have met the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Fisher, when he visited the church of All Saints, Margaret St., in London, and impressed us all with his love for people. I also remember his visit to Auckland, N.Z., when he preached at the Town Hall before walking down the centre aisle. One was amazed by the fact that everyone there, it seems, stood or knelt for his blessing. Such charisma for a truly humble prelate. Also, he did not demonise Gays, rather he helped to see them free from public condemnation. He managed to model Christ - not only by his words - spoken and written - but also by his actions.

Kurt said...

Fred’s little ditty was quite amusing and witty. Fortunately, Sunday’s projected snow/ice did not really materialize, but may do so today or tomorrow.

No, Martin, I don’t live in a brownstone, but in a brick apartment building such as was considered standard in most parts of what is now Brooklyn from c. 1850-1900.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Anonymous said...

"On the other hand, I have met the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Fisher, when he visited the church of All Saints, Margaret St., in London"

I think you might be confusing or conflating Michael Ramsey with Geoffrey Fisher.

I am thinking of writing a little book, 'Archbishops who have met me' (taking my inspiration from Spike Milligan, 'Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall'). What do you think, Peter? - you have some experience in this matter: a Lenten book for 2015?

Martinius Superbus

Peter Carrell said...

Indeed, Martin, the list of archbishops glad to have met me is rather long and only exceeded by the list of archbishops not glad to have met me!

As I scratch my head I am personally hard pressed to think about illustrious or not archbishops I have met ... mostly confined to NZers ... but including Archbishops G Driver and P Jensen from Oz, Bob Duncan from ACNA (but when he was Bishop of Pittsburgh), shaking hands in a line up with ++Rowan last year ... that, tragically, is about it!

My book about shaking hands with Billy Graham, John Stott, Jim Packer, Michael Green, Tom Wright would be far more interesting!

Father Ron Smith said...

O.K., Martin, You got me there. That really was a 'senior moment' of which I may not have many left!

Of course, the prelate I was really thinking of was the beetle-browed, much loved, Archbishop Michael Ramsey. Call it a Freudian slip if you like, he certainly was rather different from the gaitered schoolmaster, Dr. Fisher - who probably had never heard of ASMS

And, by the way, with regard to 'archbishops I have met', I was really taking a leaf of of the book of one of our illustrious fellow commentators here, who has 'Sat at the feet of' - so many eminent theologians, he must have absorbed something from them, if only be osmosis.

Happy Advent, everyone!

MichaelA said...

Its not only Changing Attitude which is unhappy about the Pilling Report.

I posted a version of this list on the other thread. These are links to a number of English groups, mainly "conservative evangelical" or "orthodox evangelical" (or whatever term takes your fancy). I think it is fair to say that their reaction to the report is generally very negative, although there is some nuance.

From Reform:

From Church of England Evangelical Council:

From the director of Co-Mission churches in London:

From the Gafcon chairman (his attitude is likely reflect those of local English members of the FCA and AMiE):

From Church Society:

There are also a number of comments on parish web-sites. I think its fair to say they are pretty negative (by evangelical parishes, I mean). Here are a couple of examples:

St Stephens and St Wulfstans in Birmingham:

St Johns Knutsford and Tofts in Cheshire:

Not an evangelical, but an anglo-catholic rector in Dio Chichester:

From a well-known open evangelical, Ian Paul: