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A Christian country – but what kind of Christianity? A response to David Cameron and Justin Welby

April 22nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Christianity, Politics Comments Off

By Andrew Symes

Senior Conservative politicians have been declaring their support for the Christian faith during the Easter season. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and then more recently David Cameron himself have stated that Britain is “a Christian country”. This has been greeted with predictable fury by secularists who think that this is somehow privileging Christians over those of other faiths and none, and will fuel “sectarianism”. A Jewish commentator in a radio interview dismissed this, pointed out the irony of the secularists’ complaint coming during the official public holiday celebrating Easter, and said he was very comfortable about being in a Christian country. Secularism, far from being neutral about religion as they claim, is much more hostile to all faith than Christianity is to other belief systems.

The majority of ordinary people identify with the Christian religion even if only a small minority are regular churchgoers. Campaigning secularists come disproportionately from well educated and affluent sectors of society; they are not representative but highly influential. Because of their success in this life and their dismissal of the idea of the afterlife, they will usually tend towards Darwinian and even Nietzschian views about weakness and suffering, and are often strong proponents of liberalisation of abortion, euthanasia, sexual ethics, and new genetic and reproductive technologies. They believe they are not accountable to any God, and history has shown how this can lead to dangerous and tragic arrogance when applied to government policy. While Mr Cameron did not take on the secularists about these issues, it must be seen as a good thing that he has maintained the validity of the Judaeo-Christian worldview as the basis for many of the good things in our culture. Hopefully the Bishops will take the opportunity to follow up, and explain the folly and sinister consequences of secularism, as well as the meaning of God and the relevance of proper Christian faith.

However, there were problems with Mr Cameron’s message. Firstly, its timing, just after fierce criticisms from church leaders about the effects of reformed welfare policies, and just weeks before elections where Conservatives are tipped to lose many European seats because of defections to UKIP over gay marriage, smacked of political opportunism. Secondly, his urging of Christians to be more up-front about their faith rings hollow for those who have to silence their views for fear of dismissal, as another recent case reminds us.

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Archbishop Welby fails to hold Love of God and Holiness of Life together in Gay Dithering

April 21st, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

By David Virtue, VOL

[...]  The notion of an Anglican via media on a variety of pansexual behaviors (LGBTQII) is false. Welby is trying to urge a mutual respect for each other’s views, but that will not wash with the orthodox provinces of the Global South. They never bought those nostrums when Dr. Rowan Williams was archbishop and it won’t wash with Welby. Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh publicly condemned the outgoing archbishop in language never before seen from one primate to another.

 Canon lawyer Allan S. Haley says the Archbishop gives away both the game and his role as a neutral arbiter – because the opposing views can by no objective means be called equally worthy of respect. That is an understatement.

The Global South’s traditional and hermeneutical reading of Scripture absolutely and totally rejects that so-called authoritative position. For them it is not “Anglican” (nor authoritative) to say, “one side says this, the other side believes that”. The Law of Non-Contradiction makes that an impossibility.

Again, as Haley observes, “The South’s ‘experience’ of same-sex unions is exactly the opposite of the West’s: in the South, even a perceived support of them leads to violence and death. Most often recently, such murder comes from the hands of Islamic terrorists bent on exterminating a Christianity that could conceivably espouse (even if in the South, it doesn’t) what has always been regarded as an abomination among the people of the Book. The West, on the other hand, regards the Islamic terrorists as a local problem of the South – a problem that is traceable largely to tribalism, fear and ignorance.

“So the South cries ‘Help! Stop adding fuel to the fires of our foes!’ – While the West largely says, ‘They are your problem, not ours.’ (Though that stance does not stop the West from actively intervening to ostracize Southern attempts to legislate on homosexuality, which intervention only exacerbates the tensions between Muslims and Christians in the South).”

In his attempt to be culturally sensitive, the Archbishop of Canterbury has tried to bridge the impossible. In the name of a false compassion, he has dared to place experience above reason, tradition and Scripture. In doing so, Welby violates holy-love dealing a deathblow to both holiness and its cousin sanctification.

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Archbishop of Canterbury likens foodbanks to suffering in Syria

April 20th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Conflict, Poverty Comments Off

By John Bingham, Telegraph

Archbishop of Canterbury leads Easter assault on hunger, praising food banks as bishop speaks of “sinful” effect of Coalition cuts

Church leaders renewed their stand-off with the Coalition over hunger in Britain using Easter sermons to speak of poverty and destitution, as one bishop claimed Government cuts were having “sinful consequences”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby singled out the experiences of people turning to food banks in the UK as an example of suffering in the world, alongside the crises in Syria and Ukraine.

He also said those who quietly man food banks were making a more powerful statement of the Christian message than figures such as himself who “shout” about religion on a national stage.

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, also singled the issue out, speaking of those in Britain and elsewhere who feel “excluded from the fruits of the Earth”.

The new Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, highlighted the demand for food banks in a sermon on the theme of fear.

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Gay marriage: the silence of the Archbishop of Canterbury

April 20th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Damian Thompson, Telegraph
My goodness, this Archbishop of Canterbury is clever. Not in the self-conscious way that Rowan Williams was, but in his deft handling of Cole Moreton's sympathetic but crafty questions in our fascinating two-part interview with him. Take the subject which looms over this Easter Sunday, sowing division in parishes celebrating the Resurrection: gay marriage.

Justin Welby addresses this question in the context of a heartbreaking visit to South Sudan, where 6,000 Christians had been killed but only 3,000 buried. He could smell dead bodies in the cathedral – surely a unique experience for an Archbishop of Canterbury. Life is difficult enough for African Christians facing Islamic persecution: it's often been suggested that they will be targeted even more viciously if their mother Church sanctions marriage between two men. What a gift to Islamists, who could then demonise local Anglicans as members of an organisation that blesses sexual depravity – irrespective of the fact that nearly all African Christians oppose gay marriage.

But if that's your reason for opposing same-sex marriages, says Moreton, then wouldn't that be giving in to a form of blackmail? Here Welby could have waffled but didn't. “It would be. You can’t say, 'We’re not going to do X, which we think is right, because it will cause trouble.’ That’s ridiculous.”

No: the Archbishop's reason for trying to stay the hand of the C of E in blessing gay marriages in church is that the persecuted Anglicans themselves would feel disowned by the leader of the Anglican Communion. To quote Cole Moreton: "In some ways it would be easier for him to yield to campaigners in this country. But Justin Welby believes that to shift doctrine too quickly or too far would be to turn his back on those in South Sudan whose tears he has shared."

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Justin Welby: the anguish I face over gay marriage

April 19th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Cole Moreton and John Bingham, Telegraph

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested he is powerless to provide blessings for gay marriages because to do so would split the global Anglican Church.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the Most Rev Justin Welby says that the Church had probably caused “great harm” to homosexuals in the past — but there was not always a “huge amount” that could be done now to rectify the situation.

Although indicating that he was sympathetic to calls for the Church to publicly honour gay relationships, the Archbishop says that it is “impossible” for some followers in Africa to support homosexuality. In the interview, the leader of the Anglican Church, which has 77 million followers globally, speaks movingly of the persecution faced by Christians in parts of the world. He indicates that the Church must not take a step that would cut off these groups, most of them in the third world, however much this angers parts of society in Britain.

The introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales last month has brought divisions within the Church of England to a new intensity.

Although the Church is legally exempt from carrying out same-sex weddings, it is about to embark on a consultation on the possible introduction of informal blessing-like services. The Church’s attempt to ban its own clergy from marrying people of the same sex has already been openly defied by at least one priest who married his partner last week.

Read here

Read also: Justin Welby’s vision through tears at a grave – Telegraph editorial

The Archbishop of Canterbury's deadly dilemma by Cole Moreton

Cor wot a cop out! by Peter Mullen

Archbishop Welby Struggles with a Greater Truth by A S Haley, Stand Firm

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‘We face attacks if C of E marriage policy changes’

April 11th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Persecuted church, Sudan Comments Off

by Madeleine Davies, Church Times

BISHOPS in South Sudan have confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury's warning that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings.

Archbishop Welby gave his warning during a phone-in on LBC radio last Friday. Asked why the Church of England could not permit clergy to bless same-sex relationships, he said: "The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria, and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic."

He spoke of a visit to South Sudan in January: "The church leaders there were saying, please don't change what you're doing because then we couldn't accept your help, and we need your help desperately."

The LBC presenter, James O'Brien, suggested that gay Christians might interpret the Archbishop's words as a ban on marrying "because of the conniptions it would give to some, dare we say, less enlightened people in Africa".

"I don't think we dare say 'less enlightened', actually," replied the Archbishop. "That's nothing to do with it. It's about the fact that I've stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who'd been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America."

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Welby explains gays and violence in Africa remarks

April 10th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Global South, Homosexuality Comments Off

By Marites N Sison, Anglican Journal

After a 12-hour day of back-to-back engagements, a jet-lagged Justin Welby, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, sat down for a 15-minute interview with the Anglican Journal late Tuesday evening, April 8.  [...]

Q: In 2016, the church’s General Synod will be presented with a resolution changing the marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage. Is this a cause for concern?

A: That's a really tough question. Well, it's got to be a cause for concern because this is a particularly tough issue to deal with…And, I hope that two or three things happen: I hope that the church, in its deliberations, is drawing on the wealth of its contribution to the Anglican Communion and the worldwide church, to recognize…the way it works and how it thinks, to recognize the importance of its links. And that, in its deliberations, it is consciously listening to the whole range of issues that are of concern in this issue. We need to be thinking; we need to be listening to the LGBT voices and to discern what they're really saying because you can't talk about a single voice anymore than you can with any other group. There needs to be listening to Christians from around the world; there needs to be listening to ecumenical partners, to interfaith partners. There needs to be a commitment to truth in love and there needs to be a commitment to being able to disagree in a way that demonstrates that those involved in the discussions love one another as Christ loves us. That’s the biggest challenge, that in what we do, we demonstrate that love for Christ in one another.

Q: Some people have reacted strongly to your statements about the issue of gay marriage in your interview with LBC radio.

A: Lots of people have.

Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

A: I was careful not to be too specific because that would pin down where that happened and that would put the community back at risk. I wouldn't use the word “blame”— that's a misuse of words in the context. One of the things that's most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said…It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said.

Q: So what exactly were you saying?

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Law, morality and difficult love

April 4th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Gay Marriage Comments Off

by Martin Davie

The legislation allowing same-sex ‘marriage’ in this country came into effect last Saturday and when asked for his comments on the matter the Archbishop of Canterbury declared in an interview with The Guardian ‘I think the Church has reacted by fully accepting that same-sex marriage is the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.’

Archbishop Justin is obviously correct in saying that the Church of England has fully accepted that the change that has taken place in the law means that same-sex ‘marriage’ has become legal in this country. However, what is not clear is why he thought that this was a point that needed to be made. There had never been any suggestion that the Church of England would bury its head in the sand and contend or pretend that the law had not really changed.

However, accepting that the law has changed is not the same as accepting that the law should have changed. In subsequent comments on the Sunday programme the Archbishop went on to say that the government was ‘perfectly within its rights to make this law.’ This is a problematic statement because whether or not it is correct depends on what the phrase ‘perfectly within its rights’ means.

If what this phrase means is that the government had a legal right to change the law then it is correct. There was nothing that legally prevented the government changing the law relating to marriage in this country providing it could get the change in the law agreed by parliament and that the change received royal assent. These conditions were met and so the change in the marriage law was perfectly legal.

However, saying that the government changed the law in a legally valid way is not the same as saying that the government had the moral right to change the law in the way that it did. Recent history is full of examples of laws that were legally enacted by governments, but were nevertheless morally wrong. Two examples from Southern Africa will serve to illustrate this point.

First, following its election victory in 1948 the National Party in South Africa introduced legislation that entrenched racial segregation in every area of the country’s life. This legislation was introduced perfectly legally, but it was morally wrong in that it gave expression to a racist ideology and led to decades of oppression for the black majority in the country. Secondly, after Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980 the governing ZANU PF party introduced legislation that led to the confiscation of farms and other property owned by white commercial farmers. Once again, this legislation was introduced in a perfectly legal manner, but it was nonetheless immoral in that it was racist legislation that was designed undercut political opposition to the Zimbabwean government and to enrich the members of the ruling elite. The governments in both South Africa and Zimbabwe were ‘perfectly within their rights’ to do what they did, but what they did was nonetheless wrong.

What this means is that we cannot simply say ‘the law is the law,’ shrug our shoulders and get on with our lives. While accepting on the basis of biblical texts such as Proverbs 8:15, Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2: 13-17 the God given right of ruling authorities to enact and enforce law, the Christian theological tradition has always insisted that unjust or immoral laws have less authority than just laws and should in some cases be opposed. Thus in Summa Theologica I-II. Q 96. Art 4 St. Thomas Aquinas asks ‘whether human law binds a man's conscience.’ His response is to argue that:

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Why won’t church leaders fight for Christian values?

March 31st, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Christianity, Islam, Religious Liberty Comments Off

by Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

Anglican leaders spout dreary Left-wing pieties that pass for socialist thought, whether on Europe, immigration, or welfare.

Yet this establishment, so eager to parade its progressive credentials, is utterly craven towards militant Islam, which represents a growing threat to Christian and liberal values here and abroad.

[...]  There is a crisis facing the world’s Christians as a result of mounting persecution by Muslim hardliners.

Yet the Anglican Church prefers to show solidarity with environmentalists in pursuit of a green agenda rather than with its co-religionists in defence of their faith and lives.

On the day Williams’s article appeared it was reported from Pakistan that Christian Sawan Masih has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend.

When the accusation was first made against Masih about 3,000 protesters set fire to Christian homes and churches in his native city of Lahore.

This is the terrifying reality of life for Christians in much of Asia and Africa, though you would hardly know it from the muteness of our established church.

Again in Pakistan, Christian Asia Bibi has been on death row since 2010 after her conviction for blasphemy.

Two Pakistani politicians who dared to speak up for her have been assassinated while her family has gone into hiding. It is the same grim pattern elsewhere.

In Nigeria at least 119 people were killed in three Christian villages by Muslims armed with guns and machetes.

In Kenya gunmen stormed a Christian church, shouting “Allah is great” as they killed seven worshippers.

We in Britain have experienced nothing like that kind of violence but disturbingly Muslim zealots are gaining in confidence, particularly as they perceive the failure of society to defend our traditional values of tolerance and equality.

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Accommodating Archbishop Welby

March 30th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Doctrine, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Peter Mullen

Archbishop Justin Welby has told The Guardian: ‘I think the Church has reacted by fully accepting that same-sex marriage is the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.” He added on this morning’s Sunday programme that the government was “perfectly within its rights to make this law.”

Two things then.

First, we know that Christians should continue to demonstrate the love of Christ for everyone. Welby’s words are just cliche, cant and touchy-feeliness. Secondly, while we might agree with him that the government was within its rights to pass this law, does this entail that Christians must accept it? Whatever happened to the Scheltrede and the Drowert – the prophetic word of judgement? Marriage is a Christian Sacrament instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency for, among other things, the procreation of children and the avoidance of fornication. Neither of these two things is possible in same-sex “marriage.” A same-sex “marriage” is not a marriage. The Book of Common Prayer directs us to the second chapter of St John’s gospel which tells how Christ “ordained and beautified with his presence” the wedding at Cana. In The Book of Revelation, Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is his Bride. Thus the Sacrament of marriage – which includes the definition of marriage – belongs to the Church. And the Church says it is between a man and a woman.

This is not to say that there are no other forms of personal and sexual relationships. But whatever they are, they are not marriage. It follows that anyone who declares marriage to be something other than what the Church celebrates and defines thereby desecrates the Sacrament

And it is the duty of the Archbishop to say so.

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Read opinions on the future of the Church of England from Roman Catholics David Lindsay and Damian Thompson, and one from the Ordinariate

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Archbishop of Canterbury hosts major gathering of Anglican Religious Communities

March 28th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is today welcoming over 100 members of a broad range of Anglican religious communities to Lambeth Palace to discuss the renewal of Religious Life within the Church.

The conference brings together members of diverse religious communities – some centuries old, others newly emerging – that are bound together by a common commitment to prayer, community living, and a radical service of Christ, often in demanding social contexts.

The event marks a significant early step towards Archbishop Justin’s vision for the renewal of prayer and the Religious Life, which he has declared as a core priority for his ministry. The Archbishop gave a keynote address this morning setting out his vision to explain and encourage those gathered.

The conference, ‘Religious Life and Renewal: Exploring Roots and Shoots’, has three aims: to give members of religious communities around the country an opportunity to interact with Archbishop Justin’s vision for the renewal of Religious Life; to receive affirmation and build vision together; and to seek to reinvigorate and reimagine connections between religious communities and the church’s structures.

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Archbishop of Canterbury chairs first meeting of Evangelism Task Group

March 24th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

Press release from Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is chairing the first meeting of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group at Lambeth Palace today.

The group, which comprises about a dozen experts and practitioners in evangelism, has been set up following a debate on intentional evangelism at the General Synod in November. It intends to encourage and equip every church and Christian proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

During its inaugural meeting, the group will consider how it can bring influence to bear on the church in the short, medium and long term. It will also discuss the group’s future structure and work. It is expected that the group will meet five times during its first 12 months.

Archbishop Justin, who has identified evangelism and witness as one of the three priorities for his ministry, said: “It is the task of this group to see every church and every Christian embrace their calling to be those who proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. Nothing quite brings energy and renewal to a church than seeing people come to faith.”

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said: “Next to worship, witness is the primary and urgent task of the Church. Compared with evangelism everything else is like re-arranging furniture when the house is on fire. Making disciples is at the heart of our Christian faith and our Anglican tradition."

Archbishop Justin’s Advisor for Evangelism and Witness, the Revd Canon Chris Russell, said: “The task group will attempt to shine a spotlight on best practice and do all it can to put those tools in the hands of the many. It is about bringing all the influence we can to bear, rather than being a command and control centre telling churches what to do.”

In addition to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the group’s members are:

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Justin Welby makes great strides, but his greatest challenge is yet to come

March 21st, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

By John Bingham, Telegraph

It could have been like one of those moments in a country parish where a trendy new vicar rolls up with plans to rip out the Victorian pews to make way for a drum-kit and an overhead projector. The arrival of Justin Welby, a former businessman whose brand of Christianity is marked with the zeal of the convert, as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury had the potential to ruffle more than a few feathers in the established Church.

Within months of his enthronement, a year ago today, he seemed on course to do just that. He had overhauled his staff, with a series of new appointments. He had persuaded rival factions to take part in something akin to drama therapy sessions to confront their differences over women bishops, and he had delivered a blistering address to the General Synod on how it needed to face up to a sexual “revolution”.

[...]  But now the honeymoon is long past, Archbishop Welby is preparing for what promises to be a far bigger battle for the soul of the Church both in England and in the wider Anglican Communion over an issue that has plagued it for years: its unresolved position on homosexuality. Even his admirers admit privately that in comparison with the rows over women bishops, the battle over sexuality is like “an elephant compared to the flea”.

Many once-vehement opponents of women bishops have recently softened their stance precisely because they are keeping their powder dry for a bigger fight to come. In just over a week, the first gay weddings will take place in England, something senior clerics said would amount to the redefinition of a timeless institution. Despite their own disagreements over the issue, the Church’s bishops have circled the wagons and last month issued a joint “pastoral statement” effectively banning gay clergy from marrying.

But within hours, it was clear that a handful of clerics were preparing openly to defy the ban, with little sign that the Church will stand in their way.

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Bishops are naive over cuts, warns former Archbishop of Canterbury Carey

February 25th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Poverty Comments Off

Lord CareyBy Stephen Johns, Mailonline

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has hit out at ‘naïve’ Bishops for entering a political row on benefit cuts.

Last night, Lord Carey of Clifton said that it was too simplistic to blame the recent welfare cuts for the rising use of food banks and bishops are doing the Church no favours by entering the debate.

He said such opposition to reducing the welfare bill was ‘Canute-like’ and reflected an ‘overt left-right politicisation of Church versus government’.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury said Anglicans and Catholics share outrage at the rising levels of hunger among the most disadvantaged and that the welfare state has reached ‘gargantuan’ proportions.

Writing in The Times he said that the reasons were far more complex than bishops claimed in a letter last week.

Lord Carey said: ‘They are right in describing a serious problem but only partially correct in their analysis.

‘It is much too simplistic to blame these problems on cutbacks to welfare and failures in the benefits system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions.

He added that the welfare system is being ‘asked to replace kinship and neighbourliness’ and is ‘never going to pass muster as the ideal vehicle to deliver aid to those in greatest need when they most need it.’

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Read also:  George Carey is more in tune with the poor than our bishops are by Cristina Odone, Telegraph

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Rowan, Justin and Either/Or

February 16th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Doctrine Comments Off

From Anglican Samizdat

[...]  In attempting to resolve the disagreements in his church about sexuality, Rowan Williams tried to find a middle ground between the opposing views. He used Indaba groups to do this. He didn’t succeed partly because there was no middle ground to find and partly because, even if it had been found, anyone with any common sense knew that once the mythical entity was spotted, it would immediately start to drift leftward.

Justin Welby has astutely noticed that Rowan’s efforts were a dismal failure so, rather than look for a half-way point between opposing views, he is seeking, through the odious tedium euphemistically known as “facilitated conversations”, to convince polar opposites to coexist within one organisation – he calls it “good disagreement”. What will prevent the whole thing flying apart is “love” – it’s all you need, after all.

At heart, I am a simple minded computer technician and, through bitter experience, I have been forced to reach the conclusion that if I write a program in which false and true propositions are compelled to coexist, disaster will ensue. Programmers are renowned for being sentimentally attached to their creations but, no matter how much love I pour into it, a routine whose rules of logic include (1 ∨ 0 = 0) ∧ (1 ∨ 0 = 1) = 1 is destined for spectacular failure.

Now, you may say, that’s all very well for computers; they are by nature binary, almost Kierkegaardian in their Either/Or obsessiveness. When it comes to sexuality and the Church one must expect diverse opinions, differing interpretations, loving disagreement. Complete nonsense. If the church can’t come up with a unified view on a subject which it has been pondering for 2000 years, something whose boundaries are clearly prescribed by the book it claims to follow, something – morality – in which it supposedly specialises, then it is time for the clergy to call it day, dissolve their institutional church and find more useful employment.

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Some integrities are more equal than others

February 14th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

By Peter Mullen

Many a good book has been produced as an act of retaliation. For instance, Newman’s magnificent Apologia Pro Vita Sua was provoked by a jibe from Charles Kingsley to the effect that truth didn’t matter to Roman Catholic clergy and moreover they were proud of the fact. I am feeling a bit Kingsleyesque myself as I read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the General Synod in which he said that “inconsistency and incoherence” among members of the Church of England is no bad thing. Well, I have long thought that incoherence and inconsistency are hallmarks of the Anglican hierarchy, but I hardly imagined I would live long enough to hear an Archbishop actually recommend these qualities.
On second thoughts though, what Justin Welby said is rather like the creative device of the “two integrities” ingeniously invented by Archbishop John Habgood back in 1992. By creating flying bishops, this allowed those who opposed the ordination of women equal right – guaranteed by statute – to their view with those who supported women priests.
But in what fit of partisan spite does the Synod now decree that the statutory guarantee of their right, and thus their integrity, be withdrawn from the opponents of the appointment of women bishops while it remains extended to supporters of females in the episcopacy? For this is exactly the shameful action perpetrated by the biased Synod this week.
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Archbishop Welby and Facilitated Conversations: Summary and Comment

February 14th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

Archbishop's Presidential Address to the General Synod

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Some initial reflections on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address to General Synod

February 13th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Church of England Comments Off

By Thurstan Stigand

 Having read through Archbishop Justin’s presidential address carefully several times it seems to me that he makes two major points in it. The first is that we need to be a church marked by love rather than fear, and the second is that as this sort of church we need to be a place where people will seek to ensure the flourishing of those with whom they disagree. The Archbishop sees these points as applicable both to the issue of the ordination of women to the episcopate and to the issue of human sexuality.

In what follows I want to raise critical questions about each of these points.

First of all, is it right to see fear as always being a bad thing?

Taking his cue from the statement in 1 John 4:18 that ‘perfect love casts out fear’ the Archbishop consistently sees fear as something negative which we need to allow God to overcome in us. I have two reservation about this approach.

My first is about his appeal to 1 John 4:18. If you look at the context of the words which he quotes from 1 John 4:18 you will see that the Apostle John is not talking about fear in general, but about a very specific form of fear, the fear of the judgement of God on the last day. What the Apostle is saying is that as Christians filled with God’s love we should not fear the judgement.

The specific nature of what the Apostle John is talking about means that this verse cannot be taken as a blanket rejection of all kinds of fear. This is particularly the case as the Bible elsewhere depicts fear as perfectly legitimate. Three examples will serve to illustrate the point. In Ecclesiastes 12:13 the writer of Ecclesiastes declares ‘fear God and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of man.’ In Luke 12:4-5 Jesus warns ‘fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him!’ In 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 St. Paul writes about his fear of what he will find if he comes to Corinth ‘For I fear that perhaps I may come and find you not what I wish, and that you may find me not what you wish; that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned before and have not repented of the impurity, immorality, and licentiousness which they have practiced.’

What these examples show is that some forms of fear are entirely legitimate. In his address Archbishop Justin notes the fears of those on the conservative side in the Church of England and the wider communion who are concerned about where the Pilling process will lead the Church of England in terms of its belief and practice with regard to sexuality. He rejects that fear, arguing that we cannot find a way forward on this issue on the basis of fear.

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Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, looks to Archbishop for credible action after positive words

February 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

From EV News

I welcome Archbishop Justin Welby's Presidential Address to General Synod this morning, particularly his important reminder to us all that 'where God is involved, there is no limit to what can happen, and no limit to human flourishing.' He is absolutely right that if the Church of England is to live out its commitment to see conservative evangelicals flourish 'there is going to have to be a massive cultural change' that some may find threatening. I deeply sympathise with him when he confesses that this may be a hard course to steer, but am heartened when he says 'Yet I know it is right that we set such a course and hold to it through thick and thin.'

After this candid speech, we are looking to him, in a positive and hopeful way, to make the claim that he wants evangelicals like us to flourish in the Church truly credible. He could do that in two ways: first, by engaging conservatives in real dialogue, listening in detail to our concerns; and second, encouraging and ensuring the appointment of 12 Conservative Evangelical Bishops.

A commitment in this area would convince us, including many young evangelicals exploring vocations, of the sincerity of the House of Bishops' claim that they wish to provide for our flourishing. It would be a welcome game-changer in creating trust from our constituency. In an episcopal system, to which we are happily committed, this would be a very persuasive sign that we have a future.

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Archbishop Welby’s Speech at Synod: Understanding the English

February 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, General Synod Comments Off

By Matt Kennedy, Stand Firm

This speech by Justin Welby could have easily been given by Rowan Williams or, indeed, any number of revisionist Episcopalian bishops. It is, of course, about women bishops and how those who rightly oppose the move to make them ought to open themselves to the “perfect love” that casts out all that curmudgeonly concern for biblical fidelity which as we all know inhibits “human flourishing”. But this speech is not only about women bishops. The language he uses here is “precisely” the language he uses to push reconciliation with those leaders in the Communion who want to mainstream and bless homosexual behavior. This subtext breaks to the surface quite clearly in the paragraph below
“This sort of gracious reconciliation means that we have to create safe space within ourselves to disagree, as we began to do last summer at the Synod in York, and as we need to do over the issues arising out of our discussions on sexuality, not because the outcome is predetermined to be a wishy-washy one, but because the very process is a proclamation of the Gospel of unconditionally loving God who gives Himself for our sin and failure. It is incarnational in the best sense and leads to the need to bear our cross in the way we are commanded.”
Note here that Welby identifies the gospel with the “very process” of creating a “safe place” to disagree about human sexuality.
No. That is not the gospel. The gospel is the truth that God became Man to save sinners from the consequences of sin and its enslaving power. God did not become Man to make peace with those who lead people into sin. To those who do such things, quite contrary to the Archbishop’s claim, Jesus suggested millstones and deep lakes would be far more bearable compared to what he has planned for them apart from repentance.
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