Friday, April 29, 2016

ACANZP on verge of deconstructing itself in one GS hit?

I have woken up in the night to this absurdity of our GS papers (motions, bills).

Suppose everything in the papers is approved "as presented."

Then: we would have (by 2018 confirming votes)

ABOLISHED CONFIRMATION

CHANGED DOCTRINE OF MARRIAGE

RADICALLY REVISED DOCTRINE OF ORDINATION

That is three sacramental actions of our church (sacraments to the catholic-minded among us) altered in a direction which can only be described as a progressive departure from our catholic heritage and a liberal embrace of new ways of thinking about rites which are core to our identity as a not wholly Protestant or Catholic church.

There are no prizes for being the most liberal, progressive Anglican church in the Communion.

Actually, I suggest we would be more than the most liberal, progressive Anglican church in the Communion. I suggest that we would be the least Anglican church in the Communion.

We could significantly begin to deconstruct ourselves as an Anglican church if we decide to change what we believe about all three sacramental actions in one hit. (Some might say we would simply be accelerating a deconstruction already begun).

Instead of being the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia we would be the Evolving Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Through 2020 and 2022 synods we could work on the remaining sacramental actions and even have a go at the Dominical Sacraments of Baptism and Communion. After all, we are running out of water in NZ as we allow it to be bottled up and sold overseas ... but there is plenty of spare milk ... #justsaying.

On the other hand, at a pre General Synod meeting last night a good observation was made by one of Christchurch's GS reps (re the abolition of confirmation): constitutionally, can we actually make such a change? Confirmation is, after all, firmly embedded within our Fundamental Provisions.

Calling chancellors ... dialing now sir ... yes, they will take your call ... as soon as some other legal messes in our  amalgam of canons and formularies are solved :)

Seriously: what kind of (Anglican) church do we want to be? 

I do understand that each of the proposals for change of marriage, confirmation and ordination (via recognition of Methodist orders) has its own background of concern and desire to make progress on perceived and experienced difficulties or shortfalls in our life together, and that each has its own logic as a response to those difficulties and shortfalls. But I think it right to stand back from these individual proposals and ask the naive question what the accumulation of all three changes would mean for what kind of church we want to be.

67 comments:

Sarah Behan said...

I personally don't understand the desire to change all these fundamental aspects of our church. The point, in many ways, of being an Anglican is because of where we come from, what we were founded on {think Cranmer}, however imperfectly, and the well reasoned doctrines of faith and theology. That was one reason I chose to attend my church, instead of any other type of Protestant church. It seems as odd to me as when hymns are "modernised" to the point where the original goodness of language and meaning and depth of biblical truth are lost.

I'm all for keeping the church running well and addressing issues at Synod etc, but why this determination to change so much? If people are so unhappy with how - in their minds - un-progressive we are, why not go to a denomination that suits them more? Not that I want that, of course, I just don't understand the unhappiness with what has always been. And I can think of no other solution that doesn't involve the radical changes they demand.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Sarah
I might be overstating the implications of "unhappiness" in our church.
Those unhappy with confirmation, for instance, might be quite happy with the status quo on marriage and ordination!
But your point is worth making: (in my words) should we be constantly changing ACANZP to suit, or should we look for an existing church which already suits us?

Jon White said...

With the three Tikanga structure and a prayer book that is mostly optional anyway (at least according to Bosco Peters)I would have thought you were already the least Anglican church in the communion :)
However,I think all three of these are "in the air" in many Anglican churches around the world.

At the same time, all involve important conversations about our identity as a particular way of being Christian. Other Christian bodies, even full partners in communion look at Confirmation and ordination differently from us and don't seem to have divorced themselves from the movement of the Holy Spirit. What exactly makes an Anglican anyway? I doubt there is any real agreement on that beyond some sort of relationship with Canterbury that cuts across the whole communion (and even that looks threatened).

Peter Carrell said...

Perhaps, Jon, we feel threatened by the competition and wish to entrench our position as "least" Anglican church :)

Yes, these things are "in the air", and our possible Methodist recognitional move draws on moves in England and Ireland.

But (and not wishing to regurgitate debates in this thread about Communion and sexuality) do such moves not raise questions about "Anglican" meaning some kind of coherency through the Communion itself: considering these matters together rather than apart, keen to develop common ground in fellowship rather than to celebrate pioneering individualism?

Jon White said...

In thinking about what it means to be "Anglican" I think you might have it backwards. Since we first started talking about women's ordination, many have woken up to discover that when it comes to being "Anglican," there is no "there" there. There has never ever been anything that ties us all together, not the 1662 Prayer Book (American and Scottish versions predate the first Lambeth Conference), not the 39 Article (A civil Law applicable only in England), and not even the Whippels catalog.

Anglicanism arises out of a single nations desire to find a particular for them to be Christian - and even all the English didn't agree amongst themselves. And what we have discovered is that the one thing "Anglican" have in common is a desire to find culturally specific and nation specific ways of being Christian while holding the catholic agreements of the early church. The only common ground that can hold us together is a willingness to be together, and a willingness to celebrate each others ways of following Christ.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

I also note a motion regarding climate change and a bill that "seeks to transform unjust structures of society".

I'd have thought it somewhat outside the Church's field of expertise to take a position on climate change, or to expect there to be consensus view amongst Anglicans on this topic?

I also wonder at the wisdom of our church becoming political social justice warriors. As individuals we are free to join political parties and seek to bring about change, which is entirely appropriate. Somehow I just cannot see Jesus (or any of the Apostles) lobbying Herod or Pilate for improved working conditions and extended paid parental leave.

#justsaying

I loved your use of the hashtag and couldn't resist following your example. :-)

The Anglican Church in England used to be called the Tory party at prayer. After reviewing the above motion and bill, I'm wondering if the New Zealand Anglican church might see itself just a little to the left of the Tory party? *chuckle*

Anonymous said...

I have been keeping up with the other two, but the abolition of confirmation surprised me. Would it be possible for to you give a potted history of the background and proposal for the ill-informed amongst us? (Please feel free to ignore the request if it is not appropriate to aksk!)

Mary

Father Ron Smith said...

"And what we have discovered is that the one thing "Anglican" have in common is a desire to find culturally specific and nation specific ways of being Christian while holding the catholic agreements of the early church. The only common ground that can hold us together is a willingness to be together, and a willingness to celebrate each others ways of following Christ." - Jon White -

This seems to me the least panicky of the responses, above, to the G.S. proposals for alteration to the polity of ACANZP. One only wants to continue to be of practical use to and in the world in which we find ourselves, as Christians, at any given point in time. That's why new insights like the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women have been part and parcel of our Church's revised theology over the past few decades.

Issues such as the necessity for the researching of new ways of being propagators of a Gospel (Good News) relevant to the contemporary world are surely more important than hiding our heads in the sand - pretending we are still living in the middle ages and having to abide by what may be outdated understandings of church polity and what makes for human thriving and social cohesion in our environment.

Unlike Sarah, I didn't have the luxury of choosing my Church affiliation, it chose me. Born into a family of Church of England membership, I was therein Baptised, raised, Confirmed and nurtured. There has been nothing in my subsequent experience to give me cause for changing my allegiance to Christ within that catholic and reformed tradition. In my later calling, first to the Religious Life as a Franciscan, through which I discerned a further call to secular priesthood and eventually into marriage and family life, I believe I need to witness to what is good and helpful for the people around me. I also have a duty to help relieve the lot of those suffering from prejudice and injustice, including the poor and the outcast of society - especially when I see the Church colluding in a culture of oppression and judgementalism.

My own feeling about the Measures coming before G.S., which I think is consonant with my Anglican sensibility, is listed here:
1. Could the Rite of Confirmation not be retained, but with the proviso that its adminstration devolve upon the local clergy?
2. Should there not be a more general discussion of the Ordination rite, before the devolution of its traditional association with the Apostolic role of the Episcopate?
3. re the Rite of Marriage (which is described in the BCP as NOT a sacrament of the Church of England) - could it not be extended to allow for the monogamously committed union of Same-Sex persons? In the face of opposition to this (on grounds of its 'devaluation of the sacrament of Marriage), I ask: How could this possibly devalue the current Marriage Rite for celebrating the Union of heterosexual persons?

The very least the Church should be willing to do, IMHO. would be to allow a special rite of Blessing of a Civil Marriage - whether hetero or homosexual - that has been performed legally by the State. This is not to be seen as 'legitimsing ' a marriage, which is already legal.

(There is an excellent article in today's 'Christchurch Press', by columnist Johnny Moore, entitled: "Same-Sex Marriage not the end of our civilisation", which I commend to Christians concerned to know what the secular world is saying about this important subject).

Whatever our General Synod of ACANZP chooses to do, in these three areas of pastoral or ministerial enablement; I cannot see how we are being disloyal to our Anglican ethos of being Good News to our world.
May the Holy Spirit guide and bless the proceedings of General Synod!

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Fr Ron

“Same-Sex Marriage not the end of our civilization” may prove to be overly optimistic.

The re-definition of marriage to include couples of the same sex, is but one expression of the sexual revolution that is defying the Biblical narrative about what it means to be human. It coincides with the debate around issues of gender. Are we just male and female, or are these simply two end points on a self-defined gender continuum?

This debate has now moved into the absurd realm of human rights, where it is considered discriminatory in some parts of the western world, not to allow transgendered persons to use bathrooms of the sex opposite to the one shown on their birth certificate.

What about the rights of girls and women who may not want a ‘transgender’ with a penis in their toilets and their changing rooms? What about the rights of their parents who may not want this either?

But back to gay marriage which is simply another branch of the same tree. What about the rights of children to be raised by a birth mother and their birth father?

Gay marriage is an expression of cultural narcissism that demands rights not formally ascribed to those in gay relationships and in doing so tramples on the rights of the most vulnerable in our communities – children.

What could possibly go wrong?

The idea that the Christian Church would not only sanction such behaviour, but seek out ways to ‘bless it’ is beyond comprehension for most believers.

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm not at all sure, Brendan that any responsible Christian Church Leader would agree with your patent disregard for human rights. That is one of the problems I have, at the moment, with our Anglican Church in the Gafon Provinces, where their leaders seem to collude with their local governments in the process of the illtreatment - even the continuing criminalisation of gay citizens and their friends and families. This is out of kilter with the tenor of Our Lord's tenderness with the outcast of society in his own day, where a woman (not the man, you'll notice) could be stoned to death for her role in sexual infidelity.

Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Partnerships are all about the desire of monogamously faithful and committed partnership of Same Sex couples that the Bible has nothing to say about. The Bible has plenty to say about sexual promiscuity, which Marriage - whether straight or gay - seeks to avoid, thus ensuring stability in society.


Regardless of what you may think about Same-Sex Marriage, It is now a fact of life, legally, here in New Zealand. How the Church treats such couples and their immediate families is going to be a test of Christian hospitality. It is not going away!

Brendan McNeill said...

“I'm not at all sure, Brendan that any responsible Christian Church Leader would agree with your patent disregard for human rights.” – Fr Ron

Ron, what is the source of human rights?

Are you sure the Bible has nothing to say about same sex relationships?

Does love make everything right?

Are you able to differentiate between what is legal under civil law and what is sinful?

Brian Kelly said...

Brendan, to cite Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:

you waste your sweetness on the desert air.

The Great Cause of Civilisation has now moved on to whether men in drag but still possessing their tackle can use women's loos.

And no, Jesus had nothing to say about this burning issue.

Who was it who said, 'History repeats itself - the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce'?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
It is a long time since the Anglican church here was the Tory Party at prayer.
Justice is at the heart of God's vision for his creation and the church should fight for it.
Climate change is becoming too urgent to worry about whether the church has an expert on it at hand.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jon
In your version of Anglicanism the Reformation plays an inconsiderable role in shaping the doctrinal substance of the reformed and catholic church which I love, work for and, on this blog, fight for.

It is not a version which inspires me!

Father Ron Smith said...

"Does love make everything right?" - Brendan McNeill -

Well, Jesus obviously thought so: "They will know you're my disciples by your love!"
It was Jesus' love of Sinners (like you and me) that got him into trouble with the religious leaders of his day, who thought that God was more about judgement than an love. As a committed disciple of Jesus, I am bound to to err - if that's how you see my mission as a priest - on the side of love. I have heard it said that love covers a multitude of sins. I'm reminded of a popular chorus: "He lived singing love, and He die singing love..."

Jon White said...

Peter,
If by the Reformation you mean the emergence of an understanding that every human person is invited into a personal and unmediated relationship with God, then I think my version certainly includes that, even I didn't specifically address it above. If though, you mean adherence to a particular Calvinist-inspired doctrinal view then perhaps not. For me, what is of value from our Reformation heritage is the idea that our movement is rooted in the living Christ and his invitation to us and that Christ's invitation is not captured within a human-created edifice to which we need entry prior to meeting Jesus. Their (the Reformers) interrogation of the ecumanical agreements of the first councils and writings of the Patristic fathers offers to us an example. We, like them are invited to find Christ's invitation to love and God and neighbor with our whole selves and without judgement, rooted in the whole experience of the church. I find that pretty inspiring.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Brian

Thank you for introducing me to Thomas Gray. I will attempt to pay more attention to his wisdom. My weakness is thinking that a patient explanation of ‘the obvious’ to reasonable men will lift the median experience of wellbeing and joy for all.

"Does love make everything right?" - Brendan McNeill -

Well, Jesus obviously thought so: "They will know you're my disciples by your love!" - Fr Ron.

Ron, in that case, could you please explain to me the cause of Paul’s indignation over the loving monogamous committed sexual relationship described in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2? A relationship that the Church was happy to bless?

Why didn’t Paul, although he objected, simply view this as something about which sincere Christians could ‘agree to disagree’, and encourage them instead to focus their attentions upon the supremacy of Christ?

After all, the Kingdom of God is not about ‘eating and drinking’ (deeds done in the body) but about spiritual and heavenly things, ‘righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’.

Father Ron Smith said...

"could you please explain to me the cause of Paul’s indignation over the loving monogamous committed sexual relationship described in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2? A relationship that the Church was happy to bless?" - Brendan McNeill -

In my Jerusalem Bible, here are the verses you quote (to suit your thesis, concerning a scriptural ban on the Blessing of a monogamous, faithful, Same-Sex legal relationship) - 1 Corinthians 5:1-2:

"I have been told as an undoubted fact that one of you is living with his father's wife. This is a case of sexual immorality among you, that must be unparalleled even among the pagans" - St. Paul -

It must be obvious to you, Brandan, that this is about a case of incest, repugnant to both you and me; against both divine and civil law, and has absolutely NOTHING to do with same-sex relationships!

How you can use this piece of Scripture to warrant your opposition to Same-Sex monogamously committed and faithful S/S relationships I just cannot fathom. You'll need to do much better than this if you want to convince anyone of your prejudice against S/S relationships.

Brian Kelly said...

Brendan, it was one of my mother's favourite quotations (no doubt plucked from that famous wartime anthology, Wavell's 'Other Men's Flowers'). Many others before you have tried to engage and debate as you are doing, only to discover you can't play soccer with someone who thinks he's playing basketball. All the stranger when the person insists (selectively) on the styles and conciliar doctrines of the pre-Reformation church but denies the teaching authority of that church on his conscience. I think in America this is called 'Cafeteria Catholicism'.
But I hope you will still contribute in forums where your ideas will be understood and faithfully interacted with, by Bible-believing (not deconstructing) Christians. The emergence of FCA in NZ is a hopeful sign in days which, humanly speaking, look pretty dark for the progress of the Gospel in NZ.
As for 1 Cor 5.1-2, you are quite right: the issue is not incest sensu stricto, but a sexual relationship with his father's (second) wife. Whether the father was still alive or not is unknown. Paul's condemnation is based on Leviticus 18.7 - yes, Leviticus again! - which forbids father and son from having sexual relations with the same woman.

Sarah Behan said...

Ron,

What about your prejudice against those who disagree with same-sex relationships within the Church?

And, I genuinely don't understand how you disregard so much of scripture to warrant the blessings of same-sex marriage within the church. By your own admission previously, you don't believe scripture is as relevant/powerful/authoritative for life today, so I am not sure why you ask those who do hold to the "Sola Scripture" belief to prove to you something that would not make an impact on your theological stance.

And to say that Paul is right about incest being sinful but was intentionally lying about same-sex marriage seems quite inconsistent. If the quote you said "The Church stops at the bedroom door" is even slightly true, then incest shouldn't be repugnant to you. Especially if the man and his father's wife love each other and don't feel any personal conviction before the Lord {which is where you said you draw the line on what the nature of sexual sin is}.

Brian Kelly said...

Sarah, I think you have answered your own question: you cannot have a meeting of minds if two parties can't agree on the controlling authority; and Ron Smith has a selective post-modern view of the Bible, dismissing as false those parts of the Bible that fail his personal extra-biblical canon of authority. How can you argue with someone who is directly inspired by the Holy Spirit, who knows which parts of the Bible are true and which are not? Not to mention an extremely literalist view about the meaning of 'This is my body' which strangely doesn't apply to 'I am the gate' or 'I am the true vine'. So I don't think your questions are going to bear much fruit (pun intended).
Your question about 1 Cor 5.1-2 is perfectly fair in a world where we invent our own sexual norms based on adult consent. Such a marriage would be perfectly lawful today. Didn't Woody Allen marry his former step-daughter?

Anonymous said...

Well said Sarah and Rev Dr Brian Kelly. I find Fr Ron's arguments as a whole difficult to analyse on any basis with which I am familiar. If I am being unkind (and Peter feel free to defend) I offer immediate apologies. The gospel is not a Beatles song about love being all you need.

Nick

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Brian, Sarah, Nick, Ron, and well Peter too…

Debating matters of morality and Biblical authority with Ron and Professor Chris Marshall, is like playing tennis with the net down. The court looks familiar, there are calls of ’15 Love’ but the primary point of reference has been removed.

You make what you believe is an important point only to be told ‘your ACE is no more than a social construct’ – (with acknowledgement to Mark Steyn).

I have debated with liberal Christians before, some of them dear friends, only to discover that while we use the same language and make reference to the same texts, they have reinterpreted them to mean something entirely different to the Orthodox understanding that has been handed down to us through more than 1,000 years of Church history.

Consequently, we end up talking past each other.

I have a sense that for now we are being allowed to ‘bubble along’ on the surface of this ‘fascinating debate’ - something akin to the time in Israel where Elijah was God’s man for the hour. You will no doubt recall this passage from 1 Kings 18:21

“How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people answered him not a word.

Today the people are undecided. The only public teaching they have received in this diocese is the progressive narrative from Professor Chris Marshall where he suggests ‘we should agree to disagree and focus on the supremacy of Christ.’

Have we forgotten that God knows how to answer such situations with fire and with power, and that all of the prophets of Baal were slaughtered on that day?

Not Politically Correct, not particularly nuanced, but effective none the less.

I’m not suggesting that such judgement awaits those on the progressive side of this debate, but I am suggesting that sooner or later, like the people of Israel, we will all be forced to choose between the authority of Scripture, and the extra-Biblical narrative presently espoused by some within the Church.

That day has not yet arrived, but it is rapidly approaching.

Father Ron Smith said...

Sarah, can you actually cite one single instruction about Same-Sex Marriage in any of Paul's writings? Most theologians of any repute today would agree that Paul's references to same-sex relationships are in tne context of orgiastic behaviour or prostitution - nothing to do with today's concept of committed, monogamous, loving relationships.

And as for Mr. Kelly's offensively dsismissive comment; he seems to have missed the point of my remark about 1 Cor, 15:1-2 entirely.

No, Nick, you are not bring unkind; merely indicative of your limited understanding of the subject on hand.

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you Sarah, Nick, Brian, Brendan for clear thinking and for challenging all readers here, not only Ron!, to read Scripture with sagacity and consistency.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jon
I am puzzling over your last comment.
It is a different way of talking about the Reformation than I am used to.
One puzzle I have is when you talk about meeting Jesus apart from a human-created edifice.
Do you mean "the church" by "human-created edifice"?
Where does baptism fit into your understanding of the Reformation when you talk about meeting Jesus in this way?

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Brendan, spoken just like a prophet of the Old Testament! It may be time you entered into the era of the New Commandment of Jesus. I'll bet you just can't wait for the fire to descend - on everybody else but you! Christ is risen, Alleluia.
AND 'Perfect love casts out fear'.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
You cannot find incest offensive (and agree with Scripture) and find same-sex marriage inoffensive (despite Scripture consistently condemning, sex between people of the same gender AND never commending same-sex marriage even though it was not unknown in the ancient world) without incurring some robust responses questioning the consistency of your handling of Scripture.

Conversely, if you claim (as many other Anglicans do, you are not alone in your view) that what matters in a relationship is "love" then you cannot be offended by a loving yet incestuous relationship as Paul condemns in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2. Either love is determinant of the acceptability of all adult consenting relationships or it is determinant of none. To only claim it is determinant of some relationships is to enter a very difficult world in which you set yourself up as sole arbiter of what the Spirit is saying to the church.

Such is not a helpful position for advancing either rational argument nor for seeking to draw competing claimants in debate into a single ecclesiastical consensus.

Please, Ron, consider these responses as serious claims that something better is required if we are to find common ground in a church which values (as you often say) Scripture, reason and tradition.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I want to be constructive following the last comment!
I suggest the better way to find common ground for our church is to converse about how we make a pastoral response to
- those who choose to enter a civil marriage (since this is a genuine state of commitment and support for another person, and it can scarcely be the church's response to suggest such couples divorce). I note that in some comments here and elsewhere you do commend this matter for consideration and conversation.
- how we make a pastoral response to those who are same sex attracted. This is an orientation which deserves care and consideration. You have rightly observed in comments over the years that whereas people can choose whether to (e.g.) engage in adultery, incest, fornication - none of which are expressive of any orientation other than heterosexuality - most gay and lesbian people do not choose their sexual orientation. I think we can agree here that whatever the Bible says about homosexuality, it does not discuss the specific pastoral situation of supporting those who are same sex attracted.

Jon White said...

Peter,
First I find it interesting that we seem to be having a private conversation amidst a very different one that most other commenters are having. One of the reasons I love your site!

As to your questions; by a human-created edifice, yes I mean the church. In terms of the Reformation, I understand it to be motivated by a desire among the reformers to open up the "religious" life to all believers and not just those who were vowed to the church (monks, nuns, priests, etc); i.e; to understand the laity as an 'order.' We can surely quibble about the meaning of 'church' in the ways that Avery Dulles outlined in 'Models of Church' but I think its fair to say that the medieval church was an institution that jealously guarded its perceived role as gatekeeper to God. That didn't (and doesn't) seem to correlate with God's image of the "church" and the Reformers were right to call that into question I think.

As to baptism, I understand it to be full inclusion into the body of Christ. I agree wholeheartedly with the American Prayer books statement on baptism in its Catechism:
Q. What is Holy Baptism?
A. Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us
as his children and makes us members of Christ's Body,
the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.
As to the role of the Reformation in that understanding, I'm not sure I have anything of value to offer. In our baptismal rite, there renunciations of Evil and Satan's power and affirmations of our desire to follow Christ. To that extent, whatever cosmological mystery is at work in Baptism, I do believe it is the invitation to a lifelong journey of conversion and sanctification as we seek to conform ever more fully to God's will and encompasses Christ's promises of redemption and salvation.

Brendan McNeill said...

Peter,

On the one hand you say:

”You cannot find incest offensive (and agree with Scripture) and find same-sex marriage inoffensive (despite Scripture consistently condemning, sex between people of the same gender AND never commending same-sex marriage even though it was not unknown in the ancient world) without incurring some robust responses questioning the consistency of your handling of Scripture.”

And the next moment, you say in respect to homosexual marriage:

“since this is a genuine state of commitment and support for another person, it can scarcely be the church's response to suggest such couples divorce.”

If we are to be consistent in our application of Scripture and church discipline, why would the pattern of 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 not apply equally to incestuous and homosexual relationships?

Or, has the State now become a purveyor of indulgences that must be honored by the Church?

Sarah Behan said...

Ron,

Others have replied with my own thoughts really well, so I'm not sure what else to say to the question you posed. The point I made was that, if one doesn't take Scripture wholly as God-breathed and relevant, then it cannot be the grounds on which they try to argue their point. So your question {can I find one instruction from Paul about same-sex relationships?}, in many ways, cannot be one I can ever answer to your satisfaction. Yes, there are many instructions, as well as the whole biblical picture right gender relationships spanning from the beginning of creation, but because of our differing understanding of truth, there really is no need for me to list off everything. Furthermore, your commentaries of repute would differ greatly from my own. Hence, one great impasse!

I understand your anger at the seemingly audacious stance of conservatives/FCAers and their increasing resignation of moving away from the AC. From your point of view, it is prejudiced and offensive. But your stance fromour point of view, that disregards Scripture in order to have ears "tickled" {2 Timothy 4:3} by personal preferences, is as equally offensive.

You may never agree with us, and so be it {though we would love you to}, but it may be a relief to you if we did move away, because then it would all go to plan the way you want it to. We would be out of your hair, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Peter, your question appears to be: can Anglican tradition per se coexist with radical synodicalism?

Bowman Walton

Father Ron Smith said...

"The point I made was that, if one doesn't take Scripture wholly as God-breathed and relevant, then it cannot be the grounds on which they try to argue their point." - Sarah Behan -

If this really were the case, Sarah, then there would have been no need for councils of the church to reject certain of the scriptures that were (seemingly) found 'inconvenient' and thus not included in the canon of the acriptures. Were they, also, not 'God-breathed'?

Another question; do you think that testimony - equivalent to the words of the Scriptures - actually ceased to be 'God-breathed' since the canon of the Scriptures were settled? Has the Holy Spirit stopped breathing teaching in and to the Church ever since? What think you?

Sarah Behan said...

No, I certainly don't think so. He is our Helper and His primary job is to direct our hearts to Jesus and convict us of the reality that we are sinners and need to repent. Do I think there are new revelations that are given on top of what we have? No, I don't think so. Do I believe that the Bible, as we have it, is the main source of how we can know God, be known by Him and understand His ways for us today? Yes, absolutely. I believe He guided those pioneers all those moons ago and that He doesn't change. Jesus {the Word} is the same yesterday, today and forever.

And I think that Councils are needed, because we are sinful and are absolutely bent towards self, and through history, there has been times when people have tried to change the truth. As well as, there have been times where people have brought others back to the truth.

But, back to my point, we will never agree because our very sources are not the same. You seem to believe that a select few have a special understanding of new revelation from God, that God seems to have decided not to let millions of other Christians know, so we're fools not to be in on this new revelation. I believe that God's full revelation of Himself, His Son and His Spirit is found alone in the Bible, and that to change/add/reject what has been accepted as sound Christian doctrine for thousands of years is deeply saddening and, honestly, painful as a sister-in-Christ to see.

Anonymous said...

Fr Ron, if only it were as simple as my lack of understanding. You ask that Christians following 2000 years of tradition rethink Paul, ignore Leviticus and embrace modern gender theory. You have no answer for those of us who view this all as a direct attack on the created order and on the holy catholic church itself, though I do not doubt that holders of progressive views are sincere. The next step must be blessings of relationships anywhere along the LGBTQI spectrum, none of which are endorsed by scripture despite being known to the ancient world. Your justifications for ssb seem to draw on secular rights and an assumption that heterosexual and homosexual love are the same. If that were true, God could have left Adam with his rib. So, you are correct that we think differently, but my criticism of your arguments is that I cannot follow them. With respect, they seem circular ie they beg the question that you set out to prove.

Nick

Father Ron Smith said...

Sarah, you haven't really answered my wquestion above: Do you thin the Scriptures left out by the Church in forming the Canon of the Scriptures were not 'God-breathed'? And, if so, why did they ever come to be regarded as 'God-breathed' Scripture?

Also, the Holy Spirit taught the Church that slavery and sexism (the subirdination of women, like yourself) were both - though embedded in the Scriptures - were wrong. This is why your opinion on this blog has been accepted by our host. These are Gospel revisions that occurred in comparitively recent history - after the Bible was written in paper.

Thus, many of us in the Church believe that the statements by Saint Paul, on promiscuous male to male relationships were mainly a result of orgiastic rites and prostitution - nothing to do with the commitment of 2 same-sex parterns to make a home together.

No, it would not please me for you to leave the Church. That is the very point I'm making about the need for each of us to accept one another's differences in what I see as adiaphoral matters.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
I should hire you to write Tweets for me and I'll close the blog down!
Yes, I think your pithy comment sums my post up.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
Briefly,
1. A civil marriage is a contract and I have yet to hear anyone in our church on any side of these arguments counsel that conservatives should teach the breaking of such contracts.
2. The situation of a same sex civil marriage is different to the kind of relationship Paul opposes in 1 Corinthians 5:2 in at least this respect: the man and woman of the Corinthian relationship, having broken up, are free to seek a morally and legally proper relationship; a same sex attracted couple in a civil marriage do not have that option open to them. Their marriage presumably provides companionship and support which would be lost through divorce.
3. We (all Christians) need to pause and think carefully. We live in a culture pressuring us in various ways and we do want to buckle to it. But we also live in a civil society, with a governing system appointed by God, which frames rules for order and not chaos in our society. We may not wish to bless all outcomes of that ordering process but are their some such orderings which we should seek to live with rather than disrupt?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jon
Thanks for your reply which clarifies that your earlier comments were not boiling the Reformation down to a vague response to Jesus, disconnected from church and sacrament!

I suggest (as a reflection on what you say, not as a rejoinder) that the Reformation opened various pathways for the "brokerless" Christ to encountered, some involving more church ceremony and robed clergy than others. The ongoing challenge to Anglicans is to ensure we do not rebuild an edifice which gets in the way of people meeting Jesus.

Sarah Behan said...

Ron,

I really respect your knowledge of the early Church and have to admit that I have very little knowledge of it. I can only trust that God guided those at the Council of Nicene and that the Bible we have today has been written by and put together, through man's hands, by God's will. If I can't trust the Bible, why bother with God at all? If I cannot believe that it is His history and will written for us to know Him, I could live life any way at all I wanted to. But what kind of God, who is so holy and apart from us, leave us to drown to our own devices?

But I do deeply trust that He has been kind to the lost and given us all that we need pertaining to life and godliness in the Scriptures {1 Peter 1:3}.

Genuinely, how do you know the Holy Spirit at all? How do you know how He works? How do you know what He does, what His purpose is? That He is part of the Trinity? We only know this through the Gospels, found in the Bible. God was so good to us to show us this by the Word.

I'm afraid I'm going to be a little more controversial!

Where does the Bible talk about slavery or sexism being wrong? I'm not saying the Bible says is good, but for example, I well-remember Paul encouraging new Christians in Colossians to remain under their masters, for it is really the Lord they are serving. And a few passages before, he commends wives to submit to their husbands.

I am a happily married, strong and intelligent wife who willingly submits to my husband. It can be a struggle at times {that part of Eve in me that desires control} but I trust God that he knows whats good for me. And Tim, my lovely man, though imperfect, is a great leader.

Brendan McNeill said...

Peter

I have been reflecting on your response, and think it appropriate to go back to first principals. Either the Church affirms that the only legitimate form of marriage is between one man or one woman, or it doesn’t.

If it continues to make this affirmation, then I cannot see how it can acknowledge the legitimacy of a State sanctioned gay marriage without compromising its first principals.

Please correct me if I have missed something.

So, what to do if a homosexual couple who are legally married outside the Church express their desire to follow Christ, and wish to be baptized, and confirmed as Anglicans?

I suggest a faithful Anglican minister might begin at Luke 14:25-34. (please read the entire passage).

Are they prepared to ‘give up everything’ to become a disciple?

Everything?

Well, yes Jesus said everything.

Even my homosexual marriage?

Yes – especially your homosexual marriage.

If readers of this blog object, then perhaps reflecting upon verse 34 may be useful.

Jesus said, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”

Should we be surprised that the demands of Jesus surrounding discipleship may prove too costly for some to accept? The gospels record many turned away from him during his ministry on earth.

We can no longer expect to be affirmed by our culture, or to embrace its norms, especially when they run counter to the Biblical narrative. We had better get used to being ‘on the wrong side of history’ as far as our culture is concerned, or else expect to be ‘thrown out and trampled underfoot’. Matthew 5:13.

So Peter, what have I missed?

Brian Kelly said...

Before any more old chestnuts are roasted on the fire of historical ignorance, it's helpful to know some Hebrew, some linguistics and some ancient history about what was actually a very diverse institution: 'avodah' in the ANE and the classical world had little in common with Colonial chattel-slavery in the New World, just as the ecomomic and familial structures of today have little in common with the ancient world (except that I fear we are falling back into serfdom through massive inequalities of wealth today).
My old acquaintance from the Tyndale Fellowship, Peter Williams tackles the issues - and the clichés - in this video lecture:
https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2015/12/03/does-the-bible-support-slavery/
But don't watch this is you think you already know the answer!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
You have missed nothing.
But once that marriage is given up for Christ, does the now divorced partner (who presumably still loves the other partner) have to cease all contact with the loved-but-now-divorced partner?
And if the relationship may continue (since Christ calls us to love one another) why couldn't it continue as a marriage (e.g. A celibate marriage?)
It does strike me that your proposal increases the number of lonely single Christians.
But have I missed something?

Brian Kelly said...

"We had better get used to being ‘on the wrong side of history’ as far as our culture is concerned" - Brendan

Fair comment. Being 'on the wrong / right side of history' is one of the oldest clichés in the Neo-Hegelian playbook. That was how Marxism justified its infamous crimes, and that's how the pansexual progressives speak as well. Jacobins to the end!
What this means is that the Church in the Soviet Union was 'on the wrong side' for seventy years and the early church 'on the wrong side' for about 200 years until the Edict of Milan in 313.
Being a Catholic Christian means thinking deeper than that, and deeper than 1960s pop slogans as well ('All you need is love').

Sarah Behan said...

Brian, you are right that slavery was different in the times of Jesus, compared to say the English Empire or sex slavery today. Forgive me for not clarifying my answer better {and for my "historical ignorance" which is a shame since I have a degree in it, but hey, perhaps baby brain is a real thing}. I definitely didn't mean to imply that cruelty and abuse of people is condoned in the Bible.

What I meant was, at the time, Paul obviously wanted new converts to Christianity to remain as they were, I guess, to be witnesses. I'm also thinking of 1 Corinthians when we commends singles to remain as they were, or married peoples to remain as they were at the time of conversion.

Father Ron Smith said...

I must confess Peter, that some of your commenters here have wised me up on what 'Sola Scriptura' really means, and I have an even greater problem with it - as any sort of paradigm of traditional Anglicanism. More like the 'Bible Baptist Church' that existed in the vicinty of my former Auckland parish.

I wonder if some people are really convinced that, e.g., a person called Adam and another called Eve (constructed from Adam's rib) were actually the sole progenitors of the whole human race, or was this story actually a human understanding of the origins of humanity in Creation? And what about the differing orders of Creation in Genesis? Can these be considered literally cohesive? Just one of the problems of literal biblicalism.
If my faith depended on literal biblcalism, I would have great difficulty in believing.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
My sense is a little different to yours.
What commenters here are doing is "taking Scripture seriously" and trying to interpret it wisely. For example taking seriously those parts that admit of a literal understanding ("This is my body" springs to mind) and working on those parts which admit of both a literal and an enlarged understanding (e.g. Slavery, which had a literal meaning in the first century when slaves were common to many societies, and which also raises questions about life today when the working lives of many is a form of slavery - we might ask ourselves how dairy workers are treated on some farms here in NZ).
It is a tricky business, but most important because only through Scripture (Sola Scriptura) do we have the gospel message of how God saves us and how we should respond to the gospel. Further, only through Scripture (and the creeds) do we have a common document for all Christian churches to engage with in terms of testing claims that the Holy Spirit is speaking today- to this individual, that synod or the council of many synods.
There are definitely parts of the Bible that admit of metaphorical and allegorical understandings, and which those are generate their own controversies (why, someone in this thread dared to suggest that "This is my body" might be metaphorical like "I am the gate"!
I would be a bit worried as moderator if we do get onto Genesis: this thread is already complex :)

Anonymous said...

Fr Ron; are you really suggesting that I am a sola scriptura apostle? I who think Luther fiddled with the canon because it did not suit said sola-ism. After reading Tobit tonight, I'll pray our Lady to give you clarity. That will be after I have meditated on the immaculate conception and venerated the monstrance.

Nick

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

Well first of all I’m sure we both agree that we are navigating uncharted territory here, at least as far as a State sanctioned marriage that is in conflict with Church doctrine is concerned.

But to your question, I’d be concerned about the couple attempting to live together as a celibate married couple, because that would be exposing them to temptation that would be difficult for anyone, new Christians especially, to overcome.

There is also the question of ‘abstaining from all appearance of evil’ 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Should they remain celibate friends? I would think they may want to, but in a God honouring relationship that was substantially different from the one they had previously known.

It’s not my intention (and I’m sure its not God’s) to commit these new Christians to a life of loneliness. To be celibate does not have to equate to loneliness. We had a young woman who was gay live with our family for a year. She became in all respects a family member and participated in the life of our family, as well as having friends of her own.

I do accept that long term celibacy for homosexuals presents potentially greater challenges than it does for single heterosexuals, as the latter can at least live in hope and expectation of marriage.

We might also remember that Paul counselled against marriage for those who could receive it so that they may not be caught up with the concerns of this life, and be better equipped to serve Christ. So celibacy in this respect provides an opportunity for service that is not available to those who are married.

Jesus was after all celibate so I’m sure he is able to identify and help those in the same situation.

…and it’s not as if marriage is without its own set of challenges!

Father Ron Smith said...

No, Nick. I don't think any conscientious Roman Catholic could ever claim to be 'Sola scriptura' - if only for the fact of extra-biblical measures that have been inaugurated into the common understanding of the known world (think 'Galileo') by Catholic theological construction.

I already have my own relationship, thank, you, to our own Anglican representation of the understanding of the place of Our Lady in the Christian story, as disseminated from the English (Anglican) Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham - a copy of whose statue we have here at St.Michael's, Christchurch. My understadning of Mary's provenance does not include the Roman conception of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of Christ. How far back would one need to go to ensure that none of Mary's forebears were brought into being through human generation? I, personally think that the term 'Immaculate Conception' should be restricted to the conception of the Incarnate Jesus. (This is just one of the applications of our Anglican faculty of 'reason').
However, for Anglicans, it is not a matter that would affect one's personal salvation - by believing or not.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
I am glad that you recognise the uncharted territorial aspects of otherwise charted life!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick and Ron
Perhaps we could find common ground singing Ave Verum Corpus (as we did, well, the choir did at the Transitional Cathedral this morning) ... that is about as far as I can go re Marian devotion a la Reformational Anglicanism!

Father Ron Smith said...

"There are definitely parts of the Bible that admit of metaphorical and allegorical understandings, and which those are generate their own controversies" - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Thank you, Peter. I rest my case.

By the way, the most important biblical passages for me are those of the 4 Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, that, together, help us to understand the thrust of what God was 'up to' in Christ. However, even these are filtered through the hearts and minds of human beings like ourselves, needing careful and prayerful interpretation. At SMAA, every single day, passages of The Scriptures are read at the Daily Eucharist, wherein we believe Christ is present in the Elements of the Eucharist - That is our (Catholic) understanding of Scripture.

Anonymous said...

Peter; Fr Ron and I can both pray to our Lady of Walsingham that your openness to Marian devotion augments :)

Nick

Father Ron Smith said...

Brendan McNeill said thi:

"I suggest a faithful Anglican minister might begin at Luke 14:25-34. (please read the entire passage).

Are they prepared to ‘give up everything’ to become a disciple?

Everything?

Well, yes Jesus said everything.

Even my homosexual marriage?

Yes – especially your homosexual marriage."

Now Brendan, think about what you're really saying here. From your comment above - believing that what Jesus was saying was about the reliquishing of personal possessions in order to become a disciple - would that not include one's heterosexual marriage, too?

I think you are giving quite the wrong interpetation of the passage you have quoted here - which is really about, not literally 'hating' in the modern sense one's own family; rather, it is about not 'preferring' to treat one's family as more important than one treats their relationship to God: as in the commandment of Jesus to Love God first, and then everything else will come into their proper order of being loved.

Yours is just one af many misinterpretations of scripture that makes things so difficult for people looking for the enlightenment that God wants for all who seek that from an understanding of the Scriptures.


Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Ron

There are many things that can prevent us from following Christ. For the rich young ruler, it was his wealth – yet he was someone who had kept the commandments from his youth.

Is there anything wrong with wealth per say? No, it was just that for this man it meant more to him than becoming a disciple.

Conversely it can be our sin that keeps us from following Christ. It might be our pride, our promiscuity, or our homosexuality. Following Christ means putting all of those things on the alter, and forsaking them in order to obtain the Perl of great price.

I don’t disagree entirely with your analysis of that passage from Luke, I suspect where we part company is over the nature of homosexual relationships. I believe God calls us to repent from them, whereas you appear to believe we should celebrate them.

Father Ron Smith said...

"I don’t disagree entirely with your analysis of that passage from Luke, I suspect where we part company is over the nature of homosexual relationships. I believe God calls us to repent from them, whereas you appear to believe we should celebrate them." - Brendan McNeill -

Thank you, Brendan, for that admission - about my interpretation being a possible one for Luke 14:25-34.

And yes, you are correct when you say that the principle difference between us is the way in which we see the phenomenon of homosexuality as either abominable (you) or a natural part of human creation (me).
I guess neither of us is going to change their point of view on this matter. What I want to know is; will that encourage you to distance yourself from a Church that might embrace the idea of such human relationships being within the compass of God's loving provision.

God is Love, and Christ is Risen, alleluia!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Nick and Ron
I am absolutely certain that if Mary hears your prayers the she passes them onto her Son.

But at this time near to Pentecost, it is a puzzle how prayers were heard from the upper room when the disciples were there praying with Mary and not to her.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Ron

You asked: “What I want to know is; will that [blessing of homosexual relationships] encourage you to distance yourself from a Church that might embrace the idea of such human relationships being within the compass of God's loving provision.

You have made the point in the past that we are all sinners, and that’s true. To cleanse a church of sinners would leave us with empty pews. I understand that. As Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 5:24 “the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later.”

On that basis should we overlook obvious sinful behaviour in our congregations? No, Paul makes it clear that we must deal with sin, and as 1 Corinthians 6:18 reminds us, particularly the sin of sexual immorality.

What interests me, is that there are churches that tolerate obvious sexual immorality in their midst, and still appear to enjoy the blessing and presence of God. The Corinthian Church was one of them. Again, take Israel’s experience in the wilderness - God provided them with food every day, their clothing did not wear out, and his presence was with visibly with them both day and night. – Yet they were a rebellious and disobedient people who failed to enter into his promise.

Therefore, when it comes to a church affirming homosexual marriages, we must not confuse the blessing and even the manifest presence of God in those churches with His approval.

Ron, I would suggest that such a church as you describe above has distanced itself not just from me, but from the purposes and character of God as revealed throughout Scripture.

To directly answer your question, provided our local parish retains an orthodox understanding of marriage, and refuses to participate in this obvious heresy then it will retain our full support.

Father Ron Smith said...

"But at this time near to Pentecost, it is a puzzle how prayers were heard from the upper room when the disciples were there praying with Mary and not to her." - Dr. Peter Carrell -

One reason might be that Mary was not yet in the Courts of Heaven!

Dear Peter, my deeper attachment to Our Lady stems from a personal experience, as an Anglican Franciscan Brother in Brisbane, of a sermon given by a R.C. Sister, who asked "Is there anyone here who did not know their birth mother". My attention was immediate. My mother died soon after my birth. Sister then said: "Close your eyes and imagine the Mother of Jesus opening her arms to you and welcoming you in her embrace. That was an actual experience of mine, which I still treasure.

(Mary, in a very real way, became my surrogate Mother)

Regarding Mary's prayers; I think most people who have a devotion to any of the Saints are prone to ask for their intercession - a very catholic tradition. I am not indulging in Mariolatry (worship of Mary). Rather; my attachment comes through a theological assessment of her importance to God as 'theotokos', the God-bearer - to which the Scriptures bear witness.

I'll always remember the advice of a Father confessor of mine who related this phenomenon in very human terms: "If you want a favour from someone, and you feel you need an intercessor on your behalf, who is the best person to ask to do that for you? Their mother, of course!" (Sentimental? Maybe. But very humane and helpful).

Most of us understand the ministry of intercession via a mediator. Why, it is even incorporated into our courts of law. The Saints are in the Royal Presence. As a Sinner, I'm all for getting as much help as I can from my 'friends' in the Court of Heaven.

These are scriptural warrants for Mary's Blessedness:

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, Blest are you among women, and blest is the fruit of your womb, Jesus" - St.Eilzabeth -

"All generations shall call me 'Blessed' " - Mary's Magnificat -

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Thank you for sharing your personal story. Mary is indeed blessed, not only because Scripture tells us so, but also because of heart-warming testimony such as yours.

Not for a moment do I think you are worshipping Mary.

One day, in the courts of heaven, we will find out whether Mary and the saints have been able to hear our prayers ...

Father Ron Smith said...

" I understand that. As Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 5:24 “the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later.” - B. McNeill -

Well, Brendan, as you keep telling us on this thread, you have already discerned the 'sins' of homosexual people - so they are already obvious.

Now, what about the sins of people who so readily see the sin of homosexuals - without disclosing, or admitting to, their own sins.

Are such people destined to be confronted 'later' - with appropriate judgement by God? Something to think about here - on your own testiimony.

And, regarding another statement of yours, above:

"Paul makes it clear that we must deal with sin, and as 1 Corinthians 6:18 reminds us, particularly the sin of sexual immorality."

I am quite aware - as I'm sure most other viewers on this site, brendan, of you particular emphasis on 'sexual sins', as being more heinous and therefore punishable by God (and. perhaps, in your case, by 'The Church') than any other sins in The Book. However, Jesus was usually more gentle with sexual sinners than the 'hidden sin' of the Scribes and Pharisees; who rallied the exigencies of The Law (in the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery - not the men, you'll notice). This particular Law was obviousloy disregarded by Jesus as too horrendous, needing 'mercy, not sacrifice'

Now, we need to consider what Jesus - in the Scriptures - thought about the (hidden) sins of the Scribes and Pharisees: "Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of corruption. In the same way, you appear to people from the outside like good honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" - (Matthew 23:27-28).

In some ways, from that testimony of the judgement of Jesus in the scriptures, I would rather be a sinner out in the open - judged by men - than an outwardly respectable sinner, whose sins are deeply hidden and not obvious to the world - except, by those able to detect their self-righteousness in condemning others.

Now, I'm not sayingyt you are like this, Brendan. But I'm sure you get my drift - on how a homosexual person may react to pious human jusdgement - especially when they are intrinsically unable to be different from how they are made - despite their need for love.

(I am mindful of the story of the 'Crafty Steward', in Luke 16: 1-8. I recommend it's recognition of mercy in an exquisite parable of how our forgiveness of the debts of others can actually gain us reward in Heaven. Despite the Steward's dishonesty in dealing with his master's debtors by letting them off their debts; the rich man's steward was praised by his master for his 'astutenessa'). God be praised!

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Fr Ron

How the Apostle Paul and possibly even Jesus must irritate you when it comes to making judgement, particularly with respect to those inside the Church.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

And again.

1 Corinthians 6:3-4

3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

Even Jesus was not opposed to making judgements (as you pointed out), nor was he beyond suggesting that we do as well.

Matthew 7:15-20

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

So yes Ron, I unashamedly make judgements about the teaching and behaviour of those inside the church, as I suspect you do also. Where we differ is ‘by what standard’.

I think we are done with this now, albeit I’ll accept your right of reply.

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm glad you are resigning for this combative issue, Brendan. I have nothing more to say to you, except that Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Perry Butler said...

Perhaps catholics and evangelicals might fruitfully dialogue on their understanding of the Commuion of Saints.....with some help from the Christian East? Michael Ramsey once said to me that when Western Christians got into a tangle an engagement with the Orthodox might be helpful.

Father Ron Smith said...

A good idea, Perry. My own experience of the Orthodox, in Greece, was most informative. I was once invited to be present at the early morning Eucharist on a Greek Island (as an Anglican priest on holiday) by the local parish priest. It was Holy Cross Day. I was seated in the sanctuary - behind the iconostasis - during the whole of the Celebration, and (though not privileged to receive the Host) was given the 'Blessed Bread' by the priest. I was invited afterwards to share breakfast with the priest and his family. Christian hospitality!