Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Decision 2018 [updated x2]




If you wish to comment about this decision, please do so with grace or I will not publish your comment.

(But give me a bit of grace, please, 
and allow me an hour or four to publish your comment, 
as I may prefer to publish your comment with my immediate reply as well.
Am still at GS (as I write on Wednesday) and opportunity to be on my laptop is limited.)

The further work we need to do will not change the substance of the matter, 

that there will be blessings of same gender civil marriages or civil unions in episcopal jurisdictions 
which authorise services for this to happen.

There will be a substantive report on Anglican Taonga soon, and I will post the link here when I see it.  HERE IT IS.

Also HERE is the report on yesterday's debate.

HERE is an article re Polynesia's opposition to same-sex blessings (but not to our church passing legislation permitting them).

I make one observation, well two: 

There will be Anglicans who are unhappy with this decision, fullstop. 

There will be Anglicans who wish to stay in our church and wonder if they can live with this decision: to you I make this observation: there will not be one canonical change which requires you to do anything differently to what you are currently doing or to believe anything differently to what you currently believe.*

*I have been challenged about this observation because it is not as simply true as I make out. That is, while one does not have to change practice or to change what one believes (about blessings, about homosexuality, about marriage), a member of ACANZP does have to shift their sense of alignment, from alignment with a church which previously offered no official space for such blessings to alignment with a church now offers space for such blessings.

Note the first few comments published below were received by me ahead of me including the links to Taonga articles above.

Apparently Newshub reads Anglican Down Under :)

The FCANZ statement is here.

The AFFIRM (NZ) statement is here.

UPDATE: Thursday 10 May 2018

Some readers will be aware that there was also a motion for consideration which sought to set up a working group to do work on our marriage canon. Timewise it turned out to be the last motion we debated. The motion was lost.

83 comments:

James said...

I note that Anglican Taonga states that "some have said they can no longer stay in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia".

Was there any discussion about these parishes? Will they forfeit all property and use of buildings?

I also note that the role of Visitor Bishop for a "christian community" is still very much subordinate to that of the Diocesan - the Visitor Bishop may have influence and advocacy, but no authority. That begs the question - what is the point of a christian community which offers no real authority or protection?

Conservative and evangelical ministers who serve in a diocese headed by a bishop who allows the blessing of same-gender relationships (or even different-gender relationships of unmarried people in a civil union) must now choose to continue to serve under a bishop with whom they disagree significantly on theological matters, (and with no real protection from any other episcopal authority), or else leave the church that they feel has left them.

Sam Anderson said...

A devastating day for the Anglican Church in this country. When I read that Polynesia was going to abstain, I knew it was over.

Are you willing to share which way you voted, Peter?

Caleb said...

Thanks Peter. Do we know at this point which episcopal jurisdictions will authorise services for this to happen?

Peter Carrell said...

HI James
Decisions by individual parishes to leave the church will be decisions made by those parishes and responses to those decisions will be made by the episcopal unit to which they belong. General Synod did not discuss what those local responses might be, let alone what they should be. Any parish with any such questions as you raise should engage in discussion with their local bishop.

Yes, Christian Communities are still subject to the authority of the diocesan bishop. How could there be any other way? Any other way would be to be not under that submission which would that authority which would mean alternative episcopal oversight. Such an option was not in the recommendations of the working group and not discussed.

What I personally ask, simply as an Anglican blogger who care about fellow Anglicans is that we take care about what "leaving" means and ask whether we can find creative ways forward to be in some kind of relationship with fellow Anglicans, even if that relationship is not one formally governed by the constitution and canons of this church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Sam
It is not a devastating day for this church. A difficult day for the church but not devastating for the church as a whole. Some Anglicans and their parishes will be devastated, I accept that.

Yes, I am willing to say how I voted but I am not - should you or anyone else ask a supplementary question!! - willing to say how any one else voted.

I voted for the Motion believing that our church should:
- provide space for those whose consciences allow them to bless same sex relationships, or, if in such relationship, to seek such blessing;
- offer a signal that this church's welcome to GLBT Anglicans or new members is inclusive of the desire of that community to be able to seek blessings;
- to end the debates on this matter (at least for a period of time);
While also being thankful that the specific proposal before us required no one to change their behaviour nor their beliefs (unless that belief requires them to leave a church with which they severely disagree);

I found myself voting for a proposal which the Diocese of Polynesia opposed but yet found they could yet stay together with the other Tikanga. Conversely I also found myself voting for a proposal which some fellow GS members could neither support nor, over which, see themselves remaining for much longer in this church.

Incidentally, by a majority, Polynesia did not abstain but assented when we voted by Tikanga.

All in all, a difficult and sad day on a number of counts, but also a day of this church finding a way forward.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Caleb
No and no diocese or hui amorangi gave a signal re taking up the permission being provided for.
As reported on Taonga the Diocese of Polynesia has clearly indicated it will not permit such blessings, not least because no civil jurisdiction in its midst currently offers juridical support for same sex partnerships.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
I am posting your comment below with a slight amendment - even in jest, I think it better that you do not use the name of other commenters here.I have substituted my name instead!

""There will be Anglicans who wish to stay in our church and wonder if they can live with this decision..."

I suppose the apt analogy is this one: you have known someone all your life, so that you are sure that you know her well, yet suddenly (as it seems to you) she does something so uncharacteristic that you cannot explain it. Eg-- always the most prim and proper widow you know, she comes back from her winter cruise married by the captain to a rather wild woman she met on the boat. What do you say when your paths cross downtown?

"Virginia, I am so... surprised!"

"Well, I am glad that I am still capable of it at my age!"

"But she is nothing like you!"

"They don't let you marry yourself. Not yet anyway."

"But I had no idea that you..."

"Truthfully, neither did I. It was divine."

"It was sudden."

"If you cannot make fast decisions at our age, then you have not learned much from life, have you? We do not have all the time that we used to have."

"But really-- can you see this at all?-- she is outlandish!"

"If she were onlandish, I would not have met her on a boat. Anyway, you never asked me to marry you, so why do you care? I do not mind your uninvited meddling in my business as I so enjoy meddling provocatively in yours, but really: why do you care?"

"I..."

"After all of these years, are you going to unfriend me on Facebook?"

"No, I am not a child. But I liked the friendship that we had, and it does seem different now."

"It IS different now. I am a married woman again. But what does that change between us?"

"You. It changes you. The widow I knew was always so graciously conservative."

"Do you think that I have become an annoying Social Justice Warrior just because I married one?"

"Oh dear God, is she...?"

"Yes. And she's a real-- she can be very trying in her political moods. But I can bite my tongue until my hard-shelled conservatism softens a bit."

"I hope that never happens."

"Dear, I not only expect to change; I expect to die too. A friendship based on changelessness is doomed. You know that. Are you willing to give it another try?"

"Another try."

"Good. We're hosting a homecoming party at the house next Sunday. She's putting it together and her friends will be there so for all I know it will be a rave. I'll need your company, especially if I try a hallucinogen. (Did you know that LSD is back?) It will be well after church, so perhaps the vicar will say grace over the table."

"Is there an authorised blessing for raves?"

"Of course there is. There is a blessing for hounds that tear hapless foxes to bits. There is a blessing for submarines that can annihilate much of the planet. [Peter] knows everything, and he says that there is only one thing that you can't legally bless (but if you were doing That why would you want a priest around blessing it?). A rave's not That, so there must be some blessing for it."

"While you were afloat on your love boat, Virginia, our Most Holy Synod made it somewhat legal to bless even That. It's now a sacrament in some dioceses and a sin in others. You're a big donor to our diocese; I am sure there will be no difficulty getting a prayer out of the bishop."

"Simony, my trying-again friend, is a sin. But I suspect that you are right. Alas, my dear life partner is the greater obstacle. She hides under the bed when I so much as mention church. (Did I mention that her father was a vicar in Nelson?) Anyway you mustn't tell her that I've invited the vicar."

BW
"

Kathy Watkins said...

It is a black day for the Anglican Church in New Zealand which has now committed apostasy.

Anonymous said...

An utterly foolish and theologically confused outcome - but not surprising because the standard of New Zealand Anglicanism has always been pragmatic liberalism and the intellectual caliber of its leadership weak. Prattle about 'staying together' and 'sending signals are only par for the course, but this time the prattle has come from liberal (former?) evangelical voices - even those who quote Neuhaus's dictum 'When orthodoxy becomes optional, it will soon become proscribed.'
Have you learned nothing from the catastrophe that has overtaken North American Anglicanism? No, evidently not. Well, the camel is in the tent now. Faithful, biblical Anglicans will find a new tent - and Gafcon in Jerusalem will set wheels in motion.
So long, Peter- you have voted to accelerate the death of Anglicanism in New Zealand, just as they have in Scotland and North America. Perhaps you can rename your blog 'Anglicanism Six Feet Under '.

William

Anonymous said...

An utterly foolish and theologically confused outcome - but not surprising because the standard of New Zealand Anglicanism has always been pragmatic liberalism and the intellectual caliber of its leadership weak. Prattle about 'staying together' and 'sending signals are only par for the course, but this time the prattle has come from liberal (former?) evangelical voices - even those who quote Neuhaus's dictum 'When orthodoxy becomes optional, it will soon become proscribed.'
Have you learned nothing from the catastrophe that has overtaken North American Anglicanism? No, evidently not. Well, the camel is in the tent now. Faithful, biblical Anglicans will find a new tent - and Gafcon in Jerusalem will set wheels in motion.
So long, Peter- you have voted to accelerate the death of Anglicanism in New Zealand, just as they have in Scotland and North America. Perhaps you can rename your blog 'Anglicanism Six Feet Under '.

William

Peter Carrell said...

Dear William and Kathy
The gist of your comments is pretty much the same.
If we have foolishly committed apostasy we will go down the tubes, destroyed by our wickedness.
If we do not do that, does that mean you would accept that the GS made the right decision?

Anonymous said...

Peter,

Forgive me if I don't understand half of the motions and am repeating something that has been asked before

How are ministers (and parishes) protected if they differ in belief from their current bishop (liberal or conservative....or anywhere in between)?
and...
Do you feel that this motion was accepted as a stepping stone to further changing the definition of marriage at a future GS (realising you're not a mind-reader...just your thoughts?)

Thanks

Andrei said...

I suppose the saddest thing about this is it was done without reference to the greater body of the Church and thus further seperates Western Anglicans from the greater body of Christendom and the Church.

There is great hubris on display in the West particularly the English speaking West that they know better than everyone else and that the opinion of others count for nothing, not only in this matter but in many others besides.

When you hear people speaking of ecumenism as a heresy you might cringe but you have just added ammunition to that claim

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Anonymous at 6.45 pm (please use your first name, at least)
I think a question to ask is what "protection" is sought?
We are a church and it is reasonable to trust our bishops and for bishops to be expected to be kind to parishes.
There are already considerable differences between bishops and clergy/laity/parishes which are successfully nogetiated without "protection."
If the provision of Christian Communities, with a Visitor or Protector bishop, who can act as advocate and supporter of the members of the Community, though not have the authority of the Diocesan bishop (remember our Lord said something about not having two masters!), is insufficient "protection" then the legislation being passed is inadequate for you/your church.

I do not want to mind read the future. I would say that the difficulty and complexity of getting this particular proposal across the legislative line, with considerable reservations on the part of Tikanga Pasefika, should give those who may wish to push for SSM pause for thought.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Andrei,
Yes I get what you are saying but this is not about the West versus the rest.
Strong advocates for this change have come from within Tikanga Maori.
Strongest resistance has been from within Tikanga Pakeha; second strongest has been from Tikanga Pasefika, but even then with signs that as the years go by both Polynesian societies and churches will be on a journey of reflection about what it means to have people of different sexualities in their midst.
Further, on the ecumenical front, we know that other churches are doing their own thinking about a more liberal approach to such matters. Some of that thinking is very quiet, only whispered at ministers association meetings.
Some a bit louder.
Best I can tell the hearts of many Roman Catholics are sympathetic to our move, even if change in Rome's official view is a long way off.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Andrei
I make no claim, of course, about the hearts of the Eastern Orthodox!
One further point.
Ecumenical concerns figured little in our debates (indeed I cannot personally recall any such concern being expressed) and I think that is because we have been concerned pastorally for people, for past (I.e. Have left our church), present and future members of our church, who identify as members of the GLBT community.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, when one [prays for 'God's Will to be done on an issue, that can be very dangerous. It can also be a sign of trust - that what one is praying for will be in accordance with God's will - in Christ's Name. I believe that God's will has been done in the decision to adopt Motion 29 in our Church.

It should not be too surprising then, that those adamant on refusing to accept a positive vote should then resign from their respective places at General Synod of ACANZP. I think that Jay Behan and Aldye did their very best for their constituency and that their resignation was predictable and right for them. Whatever they decided to do in future, we who are keen to live out the principles of a full acceptance of God's Blessing on Same-Sex monogamous relationships legalised by the State would want to wish them the very best for the conscientious following of their own path.

Here is a link to the reaction of FCANZ to today's G.S. decision:

http://www.fcanz.org/media-messaging

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, what some commenters seem not to understand is that Polynesian Anglicans are not allowed to participate in any form of marriage in their own countries. This would have made difficulties for the Anglican Churches in the Pacific Islands to seem to go against their government's policy. However, our Polynesian (and Maori) sisters and brothers in Christ have both allowed the local cultural acceptance of Same-Sex relationships to become acknowledged by the Anglican Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand - an act of gracious koinonia.

Phil McCarthy said...

Lest it be thought that all Anglicans who bump into this blog are unhappy the church has gone too far, let me add a note of muted celebration, muted because it is far too late. I came to Anglicanism from Catholicism 20 years ago for reasons that don't matter but have stayed because of (a) my local faith community and (b) a growing delight with the professed embrace by NZ Anglicanism of Romans 14 - the celebration of difference. My own position on the legitimacy of gay relationships has shifted during this time, so I appreciate the traditionalist viewpoint. However, I am now clear that scripture (shocking mis-translations notwithstanding) does not condemn committed same sex relationships. My own view is that opposition to gay relationships will shortly, if it is not already, be as supportive of Gospel penetration as racism, misogyny or belief in a flat earth! It is of course also greatly harmful. But thanks to those who have been at the cutting edge of GS; I know it cannot have been easy. And thank you Peter for your vote.

Father Ron Smith said...

Having read through the comments on this thread yet again, Peter; I am surprised that opposing parishes seem not to understand that no parish or their clergy will be disadvantaged because of their refusal (inability?) to Bless Same-Sex Married or Civilly-Partnered couples. No doctrine of our Church has been affected by Motion 29. It could be 'business as usual' for their day to day operations. Their local bishop cannot interfere with their decision to abstain from S/S Blessings.

It does appear, though, that the resignation of Messrs Behan and Dye from membership of ACANZP General Synod could signal some sort of disassociation from the majority in ACANZP. FCANZ people will need to regroup, and we must wish them well for their future.

John Sandeman said...

Peter,
reflecting on your response to Andrei at 8.36pm, being concerned pastorally for GLBT community of past , present and future members of your church, what pastoral concern is there for the new community which will soon be past members of your church?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi John
There is great concern but let's not pretend that all parts of the General Synod are equally concerned for LGBT Anglicans who seek blessings or that all parts of General Synod are equally concerned for conservative evangelical Anglicans who seek no such blessings.

The challenge for our church and especially my own diocese is how we care for those who are likely to leave as a result of this decision. I can only speak for myself to say that I will be doing what I can, encouraging others to join me, and working with others who already are signally their willingness to pitch in.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid Ron that much has changed in our church today. For that reason I will have to walk apart from the church I have loved for over 30 years, 20 of those as an ordained person. I will now be an Anglican in the FCANZ.

Rev Andrew Hoggan.

Father Ron Smith said...

John (Sandeman). Won't the answer to your question better be provided by one of the GAFCON Primates - the people behind FCANZ?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
John's question rightly asks a church full of love for marginalised people how much love it has and how many marginalised groups it includes in the scope of its love. It has nothing to do with GAFCON.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Phil
Thank you for your supportive comment.
Currently comments here against the vote seem to be running at about the same proportion as people actually voted FOR the proposal :)

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Peter, I wonder whether your readers on both sides can agree that these are a true statement of the situation:

(1) The vote on Motion 29 polarised Anglicans with opinions about it into two tendencies.

(2) Most in both tendencies agree that the scriptures should inform ACANZP's faith and life.

(3) However, at least with respect to That Topic, one tendency hold that the scriptures should be applied in the way that most limits the scope of personal and ecclesial discernment, whilst the other hold that the scriptures require (St Matthew 7:15-20, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, St John 15:15) and indeed support just such discernment.

(4) If the two tendencies become two ecclesial bodies, their most characteristic members will disagree most over whether discernment of the good in situ merely rationalises resistance to God's will or enables the application of scripture according to God's will.

BW

Jonathan said...

Bowman, you do have some interesting friends! Did you get to the rave?

Peter, " whether we can find creative ways forward to be in some kind of relationship with fellow Anglicans, even if that relationship is not one formally governed by the constitution and canons of this church" is a positive hope. My small experience of being part of evening services and a home group across two Grace Presbyterian churches (separate from PCANZ) over the last 10 years or so is that this may well take place as believers participate in congregations across the "divide", or through ministers fraternals. I hope we will desire more than this; at the same time, maintaining and promoting relationships if we end up with two separate Anglican churches may or may not be straightforward. But we are already in the situation of unity, separateness, and distinctiveness: for example, in Mosgiel, a town of 12 000 ish people there are about 12 tribes of Christian Churches.

Can someone tell me what the difference is between what may be permitted by yesterday's decision, and the "Liturgy for the Blessing of a Relationship" mentioned a while ago by Bosco, which has been around for a while?

Martin Platt said...

I am devastated. Jesus made the boundary between sexual chastity and sexual immorality clear (Mk10.5-9), by assigning authority to the Genesis passages which constrain fidelity to "one man, one woman, for life". When would the Spirit ever endorse what Jesus described as "an evil, proceeding from the heart"?

Anonymous said...

Postscript-- To be clear, I recognise the asymmetry that opponents of SSB have often commented upon both here and elsewhere. They been far more likely than proponents to argue that the scriptures, especially the Six Texts, have straightforwardly determined their position. Conversely, proponents of SSB have not often offered effective argument from scripture, have almost never shown familiarity with advanced secondary literature about scripture, and occasionally have raised objections that seem intended to limit the influence of holy writ. I doubt that even the proponents of SSB would claim that they have the stronger case from scripture.

Plainly too, proponents of SSB have preferred to make broadly social arguments eg for inclusion or equality over specifically religious ones eg that SSM actually means something to Christians. Opponents may be mistaken in supposing that this preference signals social conformity at the expense of an integrally Christian ethos for sexuality, but they are not being unreasonable when they suspect this. Going forward, ACANZP clergy will have an interesting time finding consensus on what that ethos is, and indeed on why they are still in the marriage business in the first place.

Still, when proponents have made religious rather than social arguments, the claims that they have made depend on the Bible, even if they do not quite know how to connect those dots to the satisfaction of evangelicals. Claims that Christians should reason from God's mercy, or from a compassion like Jesus's, or from qualifications to marital precept, or from the evidence that the Spirit is in some SSMs are claims inferred from what the Bible says about mercy, compassion, marriage, and sanctification. For the most part, opponents of SSB have not engaged these sources in depth; rather, we have questioned the inferences. And our favourite question about those inferences has been: how can we trust them when they seem to depend on subjective judgments that might just be that of the social zeitgeist? Proponents who nearly always rather like the social zeitgeist have not answered well. And a representative synod ruling by majority really does look like an instrument for ensuring that a church never, ever, under any circumstances has even a whimper of independent judgment about anything the secular majority has strong views about.

But hypothetically, a more robust answer has been possible all along: Anglicans, from Richard Hooker on, have been *reliabilists* who recognise God's provision of a reliable testimony in and through the Church, not consistent *internalists* like Hooker's opponents for whom no individual should believe anything that he cannot independently verify from scripture in the internal forum of the conscience. The 39A seem to recognise internalism at a single point-- justification-- and then undercut it everywhere else. This is why strict internalists who became Presbyterians ultimately could not remain with those who became Anglicans, and why Anglicans today cannot stop being catholics even as we are somewhat glad that we are not Catholics. The participatory soteriology of the Prayerbook presumes the reliabilism of the Tudors, and both are all through the NT. Thus the Holy Spirit presses scripture into our thinking, not simply as we try to warrant something to ourselves directly from its pages, but also as we test the testimony of this or that preacher, saint, theologian, or synod against the eternal dialogue of Israel with the Church.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Jonathan
The rite you mention had no authorised status within our church but was a resource provided from within our church and so I am told used here and there in our church but maybe not so much after the Communion wide controversy since the ordination of Gene Robinson as bishop.

In this new situation it is possible that precisely that rite would be openly and formally authorised by a bishop for use in their diocese.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Martin
Please note Phil's comment above.
The argument in favour of SSB is that Jesus' words do not address the possibility of a marriage-like relationship between two people otherwise unable to enter into marriage between a man and a woman (which is what Jesus teaches about in Mark 10).
If you define a permanent partnership of love between two men or women as "evil" then, indeed, our church is playing a game with the Holy Spirit.
The challenge your comment faces is matching it with the discussion in Synod which never treated such relationships as evil (not even the most conservative of speakers did that).
Our discussion engaged with the possibility that where there is love, God also is there and that love may be blessed. Obviously some participants to the conversation denied that such love may be blessed when it is between two people of the same gender, but those who believed it may be blessed do not see themselves as rebelling against the Spirit; rather that they are listening to the Spirit.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
Thank you for your comments.
I don't think our Synod has been quite as you have described it (though others present here and reading your comments may take a different view).
To me it has been less about driving through a view itself driven along by secular zeitgeist and much more about creating space in our church, spaces, in fact, in which we can act according to our understanding of Scripture and tradition, understandings which have opportunity to continue to be informed (e.g.) by your comments pointing us to Hooker etc.
Our great difficulty though is that (already) some reactions I am hearing about are presuming this church now has one view and therefore it feels like there is no space to have another view and thus ... well there are going to be parish meetings ... and I wonder what will inform those meetings!

Father Ron Smith said...

One very good Point, Peter, that you made in your opening speech to the General Synod was to identify the respective demands of (a) Love, and (b) Law - Holiness Code.

The longer I live *nearly 89 years now* the more I realise that there was only ever one 'holy' human being and that was Jesus. However, when a would-be disciple addressed Jesus as 'Good Master', he did say "who are you calling good? There is one alone (God) who is good".

I believe that, in the human frame, Jesus was pointing out the FACT that we earth-bound human beings are incapable of holiness - holiness belonging to God alone. What we human beings can do, however, is endeavour to reflect the Holiness of God by our exercise of the charism of Love with which Christ has redeemed us. Jesus told his disciples that they would be identified by Love.

Human love - and I'm not speaking here of lust (a sin) - is a sign of God's holiness at work in us - whether hetero or homosexual. "Where Charity and Love are - There is God" (Maundy Thursday Liturgy - when Jesus washed feet). I believe that when Jesus counselled us to 'Be Holy as God is Holy', he was looking forward to the eschaton when ALL will be wrapt in God - incapable of further sin! Christ is risen, Alleluia! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Martin Platt said...

My point was that the Genesis passage defines fidelity as “one man, one woman, for life”, and Jesus ascribed to this position by clearly ascribing authority to it. Therefore it cannot be said that Jesus does not address the possibility of a marriage-like relationship that is not “one man, one woman, for life”. In fact he was extremely clear about it. In ascribing authority to the Genesis passages, he mandated “one man, one woman, for life” for all of us.

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Peter

This is indeed a sad day for the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Aotearoa. It has now set itself upon a course that defines it as being outside the apostolic tradition. At its core, motion 29 was always a debate concerning the place of Scripture in determining faith and practice in the Anglican church. On that matter you have voted decisively.

This couldn’t have happened without the express support of the Bishops, even those whose inclinations may have been otherwise. In the end, none stood opposed.

We will form part of the exodus that will now take place, either great or small from the Anglican church. There is much to commend the Anglican expression, and we have valued the fellowship and friendships we have formed. No parting is easy, farewell.

Father Ron Smith said...

Hello Bowman, what do you think of the suggestion put forward here by Phil (ex-RC) that Romans 14 would be a good place to start in a discussion about eclecticism in the Church on matters of a 'holiness code' when confronted with the eirenic quality of Christian Love? Jesus has already spoken of the other alternatives to heterosexual relationships when he mentions the 3 types of eunuch - one of which is created so 'from his mother's womb'. Is this one allowed a same-sex monogamous loving relationship, do you think?

It does seem to me that Jesus himself suffered the most opposition from the Scribes and Pharisees on matters of Law versus Grace. That's why he was killed - because of his liberality on behalf of sinners (of whom we are part).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Martin
Jesus did not address the question modern Western societies have raised re civil marriage between two people of the same gender.
Would Jesus demand such a couple coming into the church get a divorce? We have no idea what Jesus would say, save that we have reason to be confident he would speak kindly and work from a position of mercy. I am not ruling out that he would speak from Genesis alone and be as strict as you are in your understanding but our church has clearly said it is willing to make space for those who contemplate a different answer to your own.

Anonymous said...

Brendan, please accept my warm thanks for many well-reasoned comments here at ADU, and for your counter-cultural commitment to the procreative ethos of the scriptures. Do keep us posted on your ecclesiastical pilgrimage toward the Benedict Option. Could we have your blog address again?

Phil, what commitment to Romans 14 have you found in ACANZP?

Jonathan, yes, I have very interesting friends. Two do research on hallucinogens in medical schools, but I have been to no raves.

Martin, your comments on Genesis prompt a friendly question. Some would say that if the Creator's providence presents one with an condition that is anomalous in the created order, then he himself has thereby directly permitted one an anomalous response to it, provided that one's response aims in good faith to do God's general will as far as one can. So, the reasoning goes, if one anomalously cannot obey Genesis 1:28, then "as it is not good that man should be alone" at least obey Genesis 2:18 in the anomalous way that one can. What do you think?

Peter, a somewhat open space is an historical necessity. But an amicable open space requires that all parties see themselves as partial and provisional, and no faction in ACANZP presently does (so I hear).

Moreover, I doubt that a truly open space can be sponsored by any religious institution whatsoever. Institutions are power-holders and people fear power, especially power wielded by zealots in the name of God. The synodical determination to go ahead with decisions certain to divide the local Body cannot have reduced that fear. If a certain withering of the state is a precondition for pure communism...

An alternate path to the space that you have sought might have been recognition of the secular justice case for civil SSM, and renunciation of the power to punish persons for recognising the civil SSM of members, provided that they did so in ways that did not misrepresent the views on marriage of ACANZP as a whole.

Father Ron, I am waiting for Phil's reply before responding to your quite reasonable question.

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan
I don't think the place of Scripture in the Anglican Church here has changed one iota because of this decision.
We have always been a mixed bag of interpretations, and a diversity of allegiances to what we understand to be the authority of Scripture over the church.
What may change is that those who formerly have lived within the church with an allegiance to a strong view of Scriptural authority will be a smaller group.
No one actually needs to leave but some are choosing to reject the space given them.
There is integrity in that rejection but I remind you that both the Polynesian Diocese and the Nelson Diocese (which share your views on homosexual sin) do not think they ought to leave this church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
I don't think our decision making re M29 has been driven by zealots.
It has been driven by pastoral concerns (and resisted by those with pastoral concerns).
While your solution has a certain attractiveness it overlooks the desire for something more substantial than what your solution offers being offered.

Father Ron Smith said...

Brendan, your insistence that our Bishops have defied the Scriptures in allowing Motion 29 to go forward without protest is based on your own singular understanding of Sola Scriptura and a paucity of understanding of the total salvific message of the N.T. Scriptures, The process of hermeneutics in an ongoing duscipline - monitored by observable phenomena in God's Creation - not limited by the 'Flat Earth' philosophy of earlier times. Having moved out of your own self-led church community into Aotearoan Anglicanism, it will be interesting to learn of your next move. Let's hope you don't get disappointed with your next community - seemingly a distinct possibility.

Adieu, Brendan!

John Sandeman said...

Peter,

I think you might be heading towards a "man on the right hand end of the pew" scenario. Some of the people who may have voted differently to you may leave your church. It is fair to describe them as conservatives, and on a left to right spectrum describe them as sitting to your right. Without them you may soon be the person sitting on the right hand end of the pew. Previously you might have called yourself a moderate, but now there are fewer (or even no) people on your right.
The spectrum of opinion in your church will move somewhat to the left just because some conservatives are soon to go. What this feels like will depend on how many leave. But it may be that you end as the "man on the right hand end of the pew".
Some of those who go will attempt to remain anglican in some form. It may put this blog in a similar place to the living church magazine who aruns material from both TEC and ACNA. it is a new world.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

How can anyone continue, with a straight face, to say that nothing has changed regarding DOCTRINE, in the ACANZP after this vote? This vote has redefined MARRIAGE and thus HOLY MATRIMONY; completely to fall in line with our secular Parliament"s law.It is quite simple,get married in a civil service,and then get the church to bless that marriage and hey presto, you have HOLY SAME SEX MATRIMONY.It contravenes the 39 Art. and the Legitimate Doctrine as defined in the Constitution. But that's the church G.S. wants and it has got it.

Now, wait for the legal hearings to start.I am legally married to a same sex
partner and my marriage was blessed by the church. If it is not "RIGHT ORDERED", why then could it be blessed.Therefore,I am living in a relationship that the church recognizes as right ordered, so there is no impediment to my being ordained.

So, Peter,if you are in G.S. when this issue arises;I would consider that it would be cruel if you did not vote to accept their ordination.If they are okay to sit in the pew along side us, then then are okay to be ordained.

Anonymous said...

"...people fear power, especially power wielded by zealots in the name of God. The synodical determination to go ahead with decisions certain to divide the local Body cannot have reduced that fear."

"I don't think our decision making re M29 has been driven by zealots. It has been driven by pastoral concerns (and resisted by those with pastoral concerns)."

Peter, we do not disagree. Seasoned parliamentarians know in their bones that good intentions and even good deeds do not create their own favourable reception.

Person A's single-minded pastoral concern can look threatening to person B. A few here at ADU, despite having ample evidence of your pastoral concern, have said that they feel that threat. In their defense, it is rare for a church to make a decision that so baldly chooses one constituency over another. If the losers take it badly, we cannot be surprised at that.

If solutions that did not require that dire trade-off were politically out the General Synod's reach, that supports my general point that synods are creatures of high modernity too frail to be the glue holding Christians together in postmodernity.

BW

Martin Platt said...

Hi Peter
While Jesus did not address civil marriage between two people of the same gender, he did make the Genesis passages our authority on chastity, and these passages rule out same-gender relationships - whatever our church is willing to make room for. Jesus, though gentle and humble of heart, never says sin is not sin. He said to the woman caught in adultery “go and sin no more”, for that is the path to life. Jesus calls us to life in him; we live in him by putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh by the Spirit, and we fulfil the law by so doing. We cannot do this if we call flesh, Spirit. We can only attain life in Christ if the boundary between flesh and Spirit is clearly defined. The bible does clearly define it. Our authority defines chastity as “one man, one woman, for life”. Jesus says anything outside of this is “an evil that proceeds from the heart”. How much clearer could it be?

Anonymous (can you provide a name we can call you?): It is not a good idea to use a scripture like “it is not good that man should be alone" to endorse something that Jesus calls an evil proceeding from the heart! But don’t get me wrong: I am talking about endorsing such practices. God has been merciful to us in our sin; we need to be the same to others, whatever life they are living and mistakes they make. But what we should not do is endorse a lifestyle that Jesus calls sinful.

Anonymous said...

“Best I can tell the hearts of many Roman Catholics are sympathetic to our move, even if change in Rome's official view is a long way off”.

Hi Peter; I don’t know your basis for this comment, but we Roman Catholics are a very, very, very large Church, which is not particularly interested in the presumptions of people who happen to speak English (usually all they can speak). Even in New Zealand, our non-European members are significant and their traditions are not insipid white liberal.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

The thing is Martin, despite the clarity of Jesus, the church has faced a number of questions to which it has felt that the clear, simple answer of Jesus is not the answer. Marriage "for life", yes. Ideally. But when it comes to divorce and the possibility of remarriage, the church has wriggled and squirmed (relative to Jesus' clear, simple answer). Why has that done so? Not to bless sin but to bless lives, to bless people making the best of the situation they are in, to bless people working out what it means to be sexual beings with ability to form partnerships. Fair enough if you think remarriage after divorce is sin and a continuing one at that (cf. Roman Catholicism). But, generally, Protestantism has been kinder to marriage failure. Now it is seeking, in the spirit of Jesus, to be kinder than it has been to homosexuality (i.e. inability to marry). A church some 80:20 in favour has been driven in that direction.

But if we have gotten this completely wrong, then we have and we are answerable to God on judgment day for this.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I hope your lawyer can find the canon where we have redefined marriage because I cannot see it. And the liturgy for marriage which we have changed. I cannot find that either!

Ordination questions are now up to the local bishop to work through. I do not think GS will be tackling that in the near future.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi John
Maybe.
The funny thing about "extreme" conservatism is that there is a left and a right to that too, and the left think the right are the actual extreme ones!
There is another image that fits here too, it is called whanau or extended family. ACANZP is that family (for many, not for all, because some do not see our church in that way). In that family I am finding that some take a "right" rather than "left" position on X but the converse on Y. The key thing we then find is to stick together in love. Something the GS has mostly done this time. I can only hope that parishioners realise that and seek to mimic it.

Father Ron Smith said...

You're right, Martin. Jesus did not say that sin is not sin. What he did say - on one remarkable occasion - about sexual sins that could have been met with being stoned to death (pretty serious?) -

"Which of you has not sinned? You throw the first stone". And what did the 'Righteous' do? They just walked away, knowing they were themselves NOT sinless.

In this case, The Law demanded a penalty - DEATH - but even the 'Righteous' were not allowed, by Jesus, to exert what they thought was their right to punish.

No wonder the Lawyers hated Jesus. He showed up their hypocrisy.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
I am speaking anecdotally rather than statistically and, fair enough, those anecdotes come more out of the "white/Western" part of the RCC.

Perhaps I could be more precise with respect to the ecumenical criticism brought against ACANZP by saying I am pretty confident, in view of some recent public comments by Kiwi Roman bishops (to say nothing of some German ones!!) [which I think I have mentioned here previously], that the RCC is not going to cut ties with ACANZP because we have moved forward on an area of life which the RCC - in its own way - is acutely and often creatively pastorally sensitive to.

But I may be wrong and a "hardline" will be taken against us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter, the Germans have no parishioners. No one cares what they say. Even the Pope is bored with them and no doubt embarrassed by their riches from tax. As for NZ Catholic bishops, I agree that they will not decline to engage because of motion 29. They are very aware however that urban congregations are multi cultural. The Bishops will offend Anglicans before their own flocks.
Nick

Anonymous said...

Peter (and John)

Will many or few leave ACANZP over M29?

Supposing that some conservatives do leave, will there still be a substantial evangelical constituency for an M29 community?

Can one speculate on the theological character of that community?

Is it likely that liberals in ACANZP will see any theological differences between evangelicals who are leaving and evangelicals who are staying?

BW

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

I was actually referring to the LGBT taking the next obvious step and claiming the right to ORDINATION; because their marriage is "right ordered".If it is not "right ordered", why is the church blessing it?


Both the legitimate Doctrine of the ACANZP and the 39 Art.[18th Homily on Marriage] state clearly that clearly that sex is only permissible within marriage,and now one blesses same sex marriage,therefor sex is okay in that relationship or it is not marriage;so which part of you have changed the nature of Holy Matrimony between a man and woman,was not apparent to G.S.

Sam Anderson said...

HI Peter,

First, when I spoke of it being a devastating day for our church, I was not speaking personally, but "prophetically." This is the beginning of the end for ACANZP. There will be increased decline and eventual collapse.

Secondly, you wrote, "There is another image that fits here too, it is called whanau or extended family. ACANZP is that family"

To which family do you consider yourself primarily attached, the parish, the denomination, or the universal church? To which of these do you think Christ calls us to show greatest fidelity? Even at the expense of the others?

Martin Platt said...

Surely better to get it right now that face judgment on judgment day! Actually, you may have misunderstood me - I agree with you on being kind to people suffering marriage failure. But the analogy with marriage is not ‘forgiveness and understanding after a regrettable divorce”, but “endorsing ongoing divorces”. We should always be ready to do the former, and never the latter. And thus with same-sexual relationship: we should always have an attitude of kindness and humility towards people in same-sex relationships, remembering God’s kindness to us, but we should never endorse the practice of same-sex relationships.

Father Ron: that is true. But the law teaches us right and wrong, and the holiness of God; it does not tell us how to apply the law. The Spirit does that, and always has done. “The righteous will live by faith”. In the days of Moses, the Spirit would have showed them the need to apply the penalties of the law to adulterers in fear of God, for God would only dwell among the nation of Israel if they put away sin. But the situation was different in Jesus’ day: a lost nation with blind leaders. Therefore the Spirit inspired Jesus to say: “let the one without sin cast the first stone”. And so it is with us - we should do the same, not seek a (‘spiritual’ or otherwise) death penalty. But the discussion here is about endorsing a sin of the heart, not being ready to forgive those who have committed a sin of the heart. The first former we should never do, the latter we should always do.

Anonymous said...

Father Ron, we have no reply from Phil, so I will comment on my guess about what he and you have in mind about Romans 14. In commenting here, I-- and perhaps also Phil-- have in mind not just those Anglicans who disagree both there and on ADU about SSB, but also the more consequential upstream disagreement between homosexual Christians practising Side A (SSM) and Side B (celibacy). Now that M29 has passed, ACANZP has the interesting problem of pastorally supporting both vocations.

About four good but imperfect ways of reading Romans have had wide influence, and each has a slightly different take on chapter 14. If parties disagree in their basic understanding of the whole letter, then discussing chapter 14 may not lead them to agreement on That Topic. But if a discussion took the premise that all four channels may help us hear something that God is saying through St Paul, then a quadraphonic listening to the whole of Romans for a discussion focused on 12-14ff may nevertheless enable better disagreement in three important and cumulative ways.

St Paul can help C21 Anglicans to work through the fact of multiple orthodoxies: an indubitably inspired text has long supported more than one inspiring orthodox reading for as long as we have had an NT canon. Everyone can see that Romans gives-- somewhere-- a mountaintop view of God's macrocosmic plan, but the best godly readers have never agreed among themselves on precisely where in the letter that is. Romans 3? Romans 5? Romans 8? The summit where one plants one's flag is the trailhead of one's hike to 12-14, revealing some trails, but also missing other trails from other putative summits. No single orthodox reading shows us everything that God tells us in Romans.

Romans can help Anglican readers to relate the personal discernments of 12-14 back to the cosmic realities of law, life, covenant, etc about which, in St Paul's view, they have no live choice at all. Grasping that relation is important because many of our debates, not least in ADU, uselessly pit against each polarities that St Paul would surely reject. If authoritative positive law were the bedrock reality for Israel's Creator God, then the well-versed Saul was right to go around killing revisionist Christians for obscuring its demands on believers. If personal autonomy were the bedrock reality for believers in the Lord, then St Paul is wrong to address them again and again as persons who (like St Mary) have been overtaken by the Holy Spirit regenerating the creation. We need not apologise for having the anxieties of our time, but we cannot mature in Christ--and we certainly cannot consider That Topic sanely-- so long as we keep projecting them back into the NT. St Paul can heal our fearful obsessions with authority and identity by drawing us into God's peaceful mystery.

Finally, if there has ever been a matter that depends on one's view of *vocation*, That Topic is surely it. Many of St Paul's readers, not least Protestants of the C16-17, have understood the final chapters of the letter as a codicil on vocation. That is, after the mountaintop view of God's macrocosmic plan for the ages, St Paul leads the reader back to the microcosm of the soul making sense of her everyday life between the aeons. Everyone would do well to think with St Paul and some forthright fellow readers about how one discerns a *vocation* from God in which one's lived experience reflects the Father's will for all things and nurtures the heart's obedience to something higher than the self. But those contemplating lives in Side A or Side B should surely think this through, as should any church (or M29 community) that would support them. I doubt that serious consideration of that would leave any position-- or its opponents' stereotypes about it-- unchallenged.

BW

Father Ron Smith said...

In the end, folks. Each of us has to deal with our own conscience on all sorts of issues - inbcuding this one. AS for one's own participation, in either personal or group (Church) actions - whether obstructive or compassionate - we must each face the judgement of God. There is no such thing as a 'group conscience'. I guess, if your outlook is focussed more on God's Wrath against sinners than God's Love for all who seek it, then you must be eternally worried about your own culpabiility as well as the culpability of the other you judge as being more sinful than yourself,

This, I believe, is at the heart the intention of Jesus in the Lord's Praer: "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive the sins of others".

Father Ron said...

Dear Bowman, as an ex-Franciscan Brother, myself, I am acutely aware of the fact of intrinisically ordered homosexuals whose vocation is to remain celibate - whether as friars. monks, nuns or clergy, whose church affiliation requires that status, are an important part of the world-wide Christiasn community However, They may be a small minority called to such vocations, BUT they are a tiny minority of gay people in the Church. Their calling - together with that of all who serve God as Catholic clergy or in the Religious Life - was described by Jesus as 'eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven'

However. they are a small minority of the gay community, the majority of whom maybe Jesus had in mind when he spoke of 'eunuchs who are so from theur mother's womb' - many of whom eventually seek life partners of the same sexual orientation, with whom they may settle down and live lives of monogamously faithful relationship based, not only on their mutual sexual attraction but also their shared interests other than sex. This latter quest is the similar experience of heterosexual people, too.

My own experience is to have been part of both of your categoriues of (A) and (B). As a former Religious, I found it very difficult to maintain the state of celibacvy required of the Communty. This was part of the reason - together with what I discerned as a calling toi priesthood - that occasioned my renunciation of temporary Vows and my subsequent call to train as a priest in ACANZP.

MY own calling, I felt (and still feel) then included heterosexual marriage - but with the explicit understanding with my future wife that there would be no children of our marriage because of my innate sexual orientation. As Diana already had two young children from her deceased husband, she was (gallantly) prepared - with me -to take a leap of faith that our marriage, though technically non-connubial, would be within the divine providence and good for the children as well as us. My bishop had known of my sexual-orientation before my ordination, and - with due preparation - was happy to perform our marriage in church. We have now been married nearly 35 years, and are still happy. Our two children know of our marital situation and have been very supportive of us both. They are now married to other people and have both given us the joy of grandchildren.You could now say that I am a married eunuch!!

My interest now - as a happily married man (without 'cohabitation' - except that we are living together) - is to ensure that LGBTQ people in the Church are given the respect they deserve, and the opportunity to celebrate their monogamous partnerships without let or hindrance in the community - and with the encouragement of the Church in their quest to live their lives within the confines of a faithful monogamous relationship that is comparable to the status and stability of heterosexual marriage

Sam said...

Hi Peter, I sent a short comment this morning/afternoon that hasn't been published. Not sure if it never sent or got lost along the way???

Sam Anderson said...

Dear Ron, your story is fascinating. The life people live...

Anonymous said...

Father Ron, now that M29 has passed, I hope that you will be finishing your memoir. You would enjoy that, I think. The installments that you post here from time to time hint at a long and engaged faith journey well worth reading about. Even at my lesser age, I find that few younger than I am can imagine church life as it was when I was their age, and that both robs them of some resources and confuses them about what they are taking on.

Every soul is precious to God. If life is hard for those in a somewhat persecuted minority, it is harder still for those in the minority of that minority. The animosity of Side A against Side B is evil, and I expect that the passage of M29, in removing the political occasion for that sin, will lead to some repentance.

Anyway 100% of homosexuals who grow up Christian are Side B until some chance at Side A comes along. Even homosexuals far from God who stumble into a church to marry someone need and deserve some compassionate exposure to the Side B ethos of chastity to give them a chance to make Side A work. In passing M29, ACANZP has taken on the task of assembling a culture of fidelity and spiritual freedom for those in SSM. The time of the happy warriors (or pushy diplomats) has passed; the time of the pastors has begun.

Words about sex do sound differently in the ears of different generations, and I know that words like *chastity* and *celibacy* sound fearful and repressive to some fidgety souls out there, and if less off-putting ones can be found then we can use them. But there is no spiritual freedom in or out of marriage without the virtues to which they point. This is not discrimination; this is traditional wisdom and evolutionary psychology about human nature.

When all one has is a hammer, one thinks every problem is a nail. Anglicans, having a tradition of liturgical excellence, have a natural hope that a new ceremony will somehow solve the problem of the emergence of sexual minorities from the margins. But has blessing nuclear submarines solved the problem of nuclear war? To some of our best theologians, it is not even clear that solemnisation solves any problem for heterosexual couples in 2018. Whatever we have thought of SSB up to the passage of M29-- and whatever it becomes as it evolves-- we need to resist the delusion that a soul's long, complex, struggle with the body and with others can be won with a ceremony.

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Sam et al
I am on limited internet means for a couple of days i.e my phone which sometimes means I miss comments.

Also means I won't reply to questions directly asked of me till back on my laptop.

Jonathan said...

Over the eastern ditch there seems to be a change from "two views / two practises" to "one view / one practise" https://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/articles/communion-partners-and-marriage-doctrine-and-liturgy-in-the-episcopal-church-usa/
I hope with you Peter that our context and intention is different...


Bowman, I would say that animosity whether from Side A toward Side B or vice versa simply undermines their own arguments no matter how true or good they are.

Anonymous said...

Sam, is it possible that M29's provision for communities with bishops will be more consequential than its limited permission for SSB? You are aware of more than I can possibly know, of course.

From here up yonder, it appears that Peter-- and + Nelson-- may have gotten something very important right: the community provision is enough to enable evangelicals to regroup for evangelism, church planting, and overall growth without wasting years on starting a new, weaker, and perhaps more contentious church under GAFCON.

There is no doubt that community with more consensus and less entropy can be very refreshing to efforts to recruit and train clergy, plant new churches, etc. For a US example of that, one could consider the Prebyterians who founded the Evangelical Covenant Order (ECO) from within the PCUSA. Some have left their denomination and some have not, but they are collaborating on a lot of good work without which their brand would surely die. Perhaps an M29 evangelical community could make similar efforts for Anglicans on the blessed isles.

From up here, however, it is hard to miss the comparison between the original C18 Diocese of South Carolina and the ACNA's start-up dioceses. South Carolina is rather robust despite the loss of some parishes and indeed a major litigation to TEC. In contrast, the ACNA's startups are good news, of course, but they are also as weak as young churches usually are. They could catch up to South Carolina in time, but that time cannot be soon. How much time do you think New Zealand has?

Moreover-- meaning no disrespect to any present company-- those first to bolt from an erring denomination may have the angels on their side, but they are rarely team players. It has taken GAFCON several years to contain the petty squabbles among those who first left TEC. That first generation of continuing Anglicans wasted years of their professional lives in fruitless rivalries. It is exciting to think about the creative energy pooled in a new venture, but any outbreak of purple rage could dissipate all of it.

As I think you yourself said last summer, if conservatives stayed in ACANZP to grow as a community together, that should result in a much healthier Anglican church for New Zealand within a generation. Which is to say that + Nelson struck a shrewd bargain in the M29 Working Group. Where is the flaw in that argument now?

I have no idea what anybody down there is thinking, of course. But when clear minds recover from the shock of the vote on M29, might they not conclude that their most missional concern is, not to vent their rage at the occasional SSB someplace, but to reverse the disastrous decline in their membership and support? It would not surprise me if the most ornery did indeed leave, never to be heard from again, whilst the most wise stayed, got to work, and with the Lord's help, built a solid church for C21 New Zealand.

BW

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Bowman and Sam. I hope that exposing a little bit of my personal faith journey has helped others to understand something of the struggles some of us have with our given sexual identity. It is by no means the 'whole' of us - any of us - but it does orient much of our personality as individual, and much-beloved, children of God.

God has gone up with a merry noise, Alleluia.
He has gone up with the sound of the trumpet, Alleluia, Alleluia.

(Dear Bowman - there is an autobiography in progress - has been for some time now. I have called it: "A Whiff of Incense" - I will let you know if I ever get around to publishing it. Agape)

Blessings. Fr.Ron

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

As I have said previously,this issue was not just about a few LGBT couples having their relationships blessed; it was/is about a much wider set of issues which can now be given "air time".

A Conservative report on G.S. in front of me says: "The question of ordination was left deliberately vague and some bishops will take that to mean that they can ordain someone in a same sex relationship who has been through a blessing service". Exactly what I blogged the other day. "The motion from Auckland to review Christian Marriage was defeated". No, motion 29 made the Auckland motion of no consequence. Blessing same sex sexuality in the name of God the Faster,God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; pretty much makes Holy Matrimony, between man and woman,as the center of human sexuality and family, redundant.



Martin Platt said...

Phil, Father Ron, BW: just to clarify, Romans 14 is about disputable matters - what food is ok, what days are holy. But there is nothing disputable about sins of the heart. No one should be in any doubt about Jesus’ position on sexual chastity: one man, one woman, for life. Same-sex relationships are excluded. And no one should be in any doubt about his position on sexual unchastity: an evil, proceeding from the heart, defiling us. Is the church now to bless that which defiles us and make us unacceptable to God? Is our mandate now to shut people out of the Kingdom of God? If the split of the Synod vote was 80-20, then 80% of Synod have made the mistake of their lives! Our mandate is still to bring the good news that Jesus saves sinners from sin and death, not endorse sin.

Sarah Behan said...

Hi Peter,

I'm a little late to this thread, but a comment you made earlier has raised a question for me that I would really appreciate your response on.

"Jesus did not address the question modern Western societies have raised re civil marriage between two people of the same gender.
Would Jesus demand such a couple coming into the church get a divorce?"

My question is not in regards to the SS issue but rather your thoughts on other examples of permanent/de facto relationships. Forgive me if this has been addressed before, I am a sporadic reader.

Question: if a heterosexual couple came into the church, having been in a de-facto relationship for a number of years and, let us say, have children in tow, and whom had a genuine desire to know the God's teaching on family order, what would your response be?

Where in Scripture (and I would like the answer to be Scripturally based, please) would you point this young couple?

I am genuinely interested as I have read your thoughts on the SS aspect of such a scenario, and wonder - if the basis is a committed relationship (and how more committed can a couple be by having children!) - where your line is drawn for gentle and loving rebuke?

Thank you, Peter.

Glen Young said...


Hi Sarah,

More importantly,you should be asking Peter the question of where this couple stands, if either/or both parties have had other sexual partners and even possibly,children.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

I also raise the question of + Gene Robinson, whom I believe left his wife and two daughters to marry his queer lover;from whom he is now separated.Is he an example of your committed same sex relationships?

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks for recent comments and questions, Sarah, Glen et al. As noted above I will respond on Monday when back at my laptop.

Anonymous said...

"Blessing same sex sexuality..."

Glen, estimates vary, but that's probably about 3% of a normal population.

"...pretty much makes Holy Matrimony, between man and woman, as the center of human sexuality and family..."

So leaving e = 3%, this is about 93% of a normal population. And: sex with men still gets women pregnant sometimes.

"...redundant."

What on earth do you mean by this?

NEWS-- For those following the Church of Cockaigne synod now meeting there by the sea, several members are likely to recover from injuries sustained during Saturday's session. In a much-anticipated synod vote, a heavy majority voted for a measure repealing the Law of Gravity. This victory inspired several of its light-hearted proponents to rush to the windows and jump out flapping their arms. Witnesses on the beach near the hall say that they hovered in the sky over the sea for several exhilarating minutes. But with most of the proponents out of the room, the cautious members remaining inside further voted to refer implementation of the matter to a committee scheduled to meet nect September. When this too passed, the chair rapped his gavel, and the hovering proponents fell from the sky. Providentially, they fell near passing ships of the Royal Bohemian Navy, which rescued them and treated them for their injuries onboard. The archbishop of the province has called for all to pray for their speedy recovery. The leader of the group has vowed to keep up the fight for "full freedom from discriminatory geo-centrism." FoCAC, the local GAFCON affiliate, declined to comment on the record for this report. However, a prominent member did say "I told you so."

BW

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
Your questions are not particularly clear, and the reference to Gene Robinson's lifestory is simply inaccurate (and may be deleted by me soon - I have no wish to be sued for publishing inaccurate information).

Hi Sarah and Sam: I have published responses to your questions in a new post (Monday 14th).

G said...


Hi Peter,

Which part of my blog is simply inaccurate. Wikipedia states that his spouses were: Isabella Martin M 1972 D 1986; they had two daughters. He married Mark Andrew 2008 till 2014. I am happy to remove "to marry" and replace it with
"and letter married". The point I am making, is that same sex relationships are as liable to failure, as heterosexual relationships; but this man was held up by the parts of the leadership of TEC as the "poster boy" for loving and committed same sex relationships.

Peter Carrell said...

It is the dates, Glen, as you are seeing.
As best I understand, +Gene did not leave his wife for another man, but to live openly as a self-identifying gay man.
He later met Mark Anthony and they formed a partnership well before same-sex marriage was legal in the US.
During this period of unmarried partnership, Gene was ordained a bishop.
He and Mark later married when it was legal to do so.

Yes, relationships on all counts are sadly prone to failure in the life of the church.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Nick,
And the Belgians too.
https://kiwianglo.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/belgian-cardinal-affirms-gay-couple-relationships/
Is Europe getting out of control?
:)
PS Please don't tell me no-one worships in Belgian Catholic churches anymore. I went to one once and the congregation was impressive in size and the next one of that day was even better!

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; Europe might be getting out of control. Cardinal Eijk of the Netherlands has very recently criticised Francis for causing confusion on the Lutheran spousal communion issue. Having one Cardinal invent a blessing unknown to the Church and a neighbouring Cardinal openly criticise the Pope is perhaps more a reflection on Francis himself and his highly unusual papacy. I have lamented on several occasions that we don’t require Popes to offer their resignation at 75 like all other bishops. As for the number of people in Belgian churches, I wouldn’t know for certain but any growth will almost certainly be immigrant driven and almost certainly conservative. I suspect that your trip was not recent or was on Easter Sunday.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
I seem to recall Belgian cardinals and theologians creating "happy mischief" long before Francis arrived :)
It was 2015 and not Easter Sunday ...
Perhaps we need an ecumenical commission on 21st century global Christianity: are we dying because of adaptation? Will we live if we do not change?
Cheers
Peter

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; let’s forget the ecumenical talk fest. A good start for the Church is to feed the hungry; give water to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; visit the sick and visit the imprisoned. The good news has historically always been a winner too.

Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Nick
I think we have ecumenical agreement on that ... without needing a meeting!

Jonathan said...

On the topic of committed same-sex relationships failing more than occasionally (as do committed opposite-sex relationships) the question might also be asked why mixed-orientation marriages start in the first place.
One of the reasons would be that "It is not good for man to live alone: I will make a helper comparable to him." (Which traditionalists understand as a verse that doesn't apply to gay people amongst others - or if it does it refers to flatmates, church friends, finding a a heterol family to become an honorary part of, or David-and-Jonathan / Jesus-and-John type friends).
What if you are gay and have a very good opposite-sex friend who is straight, you decide to take a risk (with disclosure of course), and after persevering for some time, come to the conclusion that a separation would be better? (See for instance http://joshweed.com/2018/01/turning-unicorn-bat-post-announce-end-marriage/)
What if you grow up in a social context where a situationally heterosexual marriage is just "the done thing" or become committed to a tradiitional-scriptural viewpoint and then enter a mixed-orientation marriage which one party is able to endure but not the other?

A website that a friend alerted me to recently is http://www.straightspouse.org , a place where there is recognition that being in a mixed-orientation marriage is not straightforward and that company on this journey is important.