Luther

signing off

you may all have noticed that I've not posted in a long long time.

Truth is, I spend no time here anymore. Inbetween my studies, getting the personal site up and running and much more activity on Stand Firm, LJ has dropped off my radar.

I'd love to stay in contact with those of you who used to read me regularly. Perhaps someone with a paid account would set up a syndicated account for my RSS feed.

Do come over to davidould.net and say hello.
Luther

Jefferts-Schori: How not to listen to anyone at all

...which is, frankly, quite appalling for someone who keeps going on about "listening".

From here, Schori's "Word to the Church". Here's the bits that really grabbed my attention.

The current controversy brings a desire for justice on the one hand into apparent conflict with a desire for fidelity to a strict understanding of the biblical tradition and to the mainstream of the ethical tradition. Either party may be understood to be the meat-eaters, and each is reminded that their single-minded desire may be an idol. Either party might constructively also be understood by the other as the weaker member, whose sensibilities need to be considered and respected.

The reference to meat-eaters is key here. Schori has just brought up 1Cor. 8, where Paul is concerned about those who eat food that has been offered up to idols in the pagan temples. What is clear from 1Cor. 8 is that this is a one-way thing. To put it another way, there are those who are meat-eaters and there are those that are not. How should those who don't eat the pagan offerings treat those who do? It's not a completely balanced issue, both parties are not the same. But Schori wants to argue that they are. The mainstream majority position is marginalised by the use of the term "strict" (i.e. blinkered). She uses the term "mainstream" but wants to suggest that it's a "narrow" view. Note that no such qualifier is used for the liberal position; it is simply "a desire for justice".

Also, we're all just making a mountain out of a molehill. The conflict is only "apparent". If we call all just understand Schori's position then we'd see how divisive our "strict" stand is and the "apparent" conflict would disappear.

This attempt to level out the two positions, indeed to subtely undermine the mainstream position, is almost dishonest since it doesn't even remotely represent either the current situation in the Communion or the scriptural witness. We're all aware what the mainstream position actually is; it was laid out in specific detail in Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10.

From misrepresenting the current position, she then moves to misrepresent the Communiqué.
Justice, (steadfast) love, and mercy always go together in our biblical tradition. None is complete without the others. While those who seek full inclusion for gay and lesbian Christians, and the equal valuing of their gifts for ministry, do so out of an undeniable passion for justice, others seek a fidelity to the tradition that cannot understand or countenance the violation of what that tradition says about sexual ethics. Each is being asked to forbear for a season. The word of hope is that in God all things are possible, and that fasting is not a permanent condition of a Christian people, nor a normative one. God’s dream is of all people gathered at a feast, and we enter Lent looking toward that Easter feast and the new life that will, in God’s good time, be proclaimed.

Ask yourself this question: are TEC being asked in the Communiqué to put a ban on things "for a season" or permanently? It is, surely, the latter! The exact requirements were "unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the communion - see Windsor para 134". This is obviously not the "season" that Schori is talking of because does anyone really think the mind of the Communion is going to change on this issue in even the medium-term? Schori, rather, is trying to put TEC into a holding-pattern.

Now, I assume that she's not stupid. This is a clever ploy. She is working hard to understate the strength of the requirements placed upon TEC. She needs to placate people like Integrity who are abundantly clear on how stiff the demands of the Communiqué are.
The Rev. Michael Hopkins, immediate past President of Integrity had this reaction:

“Jesus weeps, and so do I. If the House of Bishops (or any other body with actual authority in this church) capitulates to these demands and sacrifices gay and lesbian people to the idol of the Instruments of Unity, it will have become the purveyor of an “anti-Gospel” that will (and should) repel many.”

For Integrity, this isn't just a matter of eating meat - it's about how you understand the Gospel. It's a refreshing clarity on what is going on. The tragedy of how Schori is handling all this is that by trying to tread a middle ground she is demonstrating that she's not really listening to any of the key voices. Perhaps one of the issues that we need to watch out for is how long these people will think they need to keep listening to her?

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...which is, frankly, quite appalling for someone who keeps going on about "listening".

From <a href="http://blog.edow.org/weblog/2007/02/the_presiding_bishops_word_to.html#more" target="_blank">here</a>, Schori's "Word to the Church". Here's the bits that really grabbed my attention.

<blockquote>The current controversy brings a desire for justice on the one hand into apparent conflict with a desire for fidelity to a strict understanding of the biblical tradition and to the mainstream of the ethical tradition. Either party may be understood to be the meat-eaters, and each is reminded that their single-minded desire may be an idol. Either party might constructively also be understood by the other as the weaker member, whose sensibilities need to be considered and respected.</blockquote>
The reference to meat-eaters is key here. Schori has just brought up 1Cor. 8, where Paul is concerned about those who eat food that has been offered up to idols in the pagan temples. What is clear from 1Cor. 8 is that this is a one-way thing. To put it another way, there are those who are meat-eaters and there are those that are not. How should those who don't eat the pagan offerings treat those who do? It's not a completely balanced issue, both parties are not the same. But Schori wants to argue that they are. The mainstream majority position is marginalised by the use of the term "strict" (i.e. blinkered). She uses the term "mainstream" but wants to suggest that it's a "narrow" view. Note that no such qualifier is used for the liberal position; it is simply "a desire for justice".

Also, we're all just making a mountain out of a molehill. The conflict is only "apparent". If we call all just understand Schori's position then we'd see how divisive our "strict" stand is and the "apparent" conflict would disappear.

This attempt to level out the two positions, indeed to subtely undermine the mainstream position, is almost dishonest since it doesn't even remotely represent either the current situation in the Communion or the scriptural witness. We're all aware what the mainstream position actually is; it was laid out in specific detail in Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10.

From misrepresenting the current position, she then moves to misrepresent the Communiqu&eacute;.
<blockquote>Justice, (steadfast) love, and mercy always go together in our biblical tradition. None is complete without the others. While those who seek full inclusion for gay and lesbian Christians, and the equal valuing of their gifts for ministry, do so out of an undeniable passion for justice, others seek a fidelity to the tradition that cannot understand or countenance the violation of what that tradition says about sexual ethics. Each is being asked to forbear for a season. The word of hope is that in God all things are possible, and that fasting is not a permanent condition of a Christian people, nor a normative one. God&rsquo;s dream is of all people gathered at a feast, and we enter Lent looking toward that Easter feast and the new life that will, in God&rsquo;s good time, be proclaimed.</blockquote>
Ask yourself this question: are TEC being asked in the Communiqu&eacute; to put a ban on things "for a season" or permanently? It is, surely, the latter! The exact requirements were "unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the communion - see Windsor para 134". This is obviously <b>not</b> the "season" that Schori is talking of because does anyone really think the mind of the Communion is going to change on this issue in even the medium-term? Schori, rather, is trying to put TEC into a holding-pattern.

Now, I assume that she's not stupid. This is a clever ploy. She is working hard to understate the strength of the requirements placed upon TEC. She needs to placate people like <a href="http://www.integrityusa.org/" target="_blank">Integrity</a> who are<a href="http://www.integrityusa.org/press/2007-02-19.htm" target="_blank"> abundantly clear on how stiff the demands of the Communiqu&eacute; are</a>.
<blockquote>The Rev. Michael Hopkins, immediate past President of Integrity had this reaction:

&#8220;Jesus weeps, and so do I. If the House of Bishops (or any other body with actual authority in this church) capitulates to these demands and sacrifices gay and lesbian people to the idol of the Instruments of Unity, it will have become the purveyor of an &#8220;anti-Gospel&#8221; that will (and should) repel many.&#8221;</blockquote>
For Integrity, this isn't just a matter of eating meat - it's about how you understand the Gospel. It's a refreshing clarity on what is going on. The tragedy of how Schori is handling all this is that by trying to tread a middle ground she is demonstrating that she's not really listening to <i>any</i> of the key voices. Perhaps one of the issues that we need to watch out for is how long these people will think they need to keep listening to her?

<img src="http://www.extensor.co.uk/articles/listening/fingers_in_ears.jpg" title="the "listening process"" border="1"/><p><font size=-1><a href="http://whitehorseinn.classicalanglican.net/?p=242">View this post at the WhiteHorseInn</a></font></p>
Luther

The Communiqué

Well, it's with us. The clone has a good summary.

Here are the direct disciplinary requirements:

  1. The House of Bishops of TEC needs to make a statement that all it’s members will unequivocally NOT authorise or allow any same-sex blessings in theit dioceses or TEC as a whole
  2. The House of Bishops of TEC needs to make a statement that all it’s members will unequivocally NOT consent to the consecration of any person as a Bishop who is living in a same-sex union
  3. Both these unequivocal statements need to be delivered by September 30th 2007 - Failure to do so will have “consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion”

It is, frankly, inconceivable that TEC will sign up to these. They have charted a clear path in the opposite direction. Plus, it would make the position of Gene Robinson untenable - he falls under both of the proscriptions.

This is good news. Schori will, no doubt, have claimed that TEC hasn't been able to respond. It's on the table now, unequivocably - put up or pack your bags.

View this post at the WhiteHorseInn

Luther

An example of "Tradition" in the pre-Nicene church? "I'll take just one!"

A wonderful clip from a debate between James White and Gerry Matatics on Long Island in 1996. Here White presses Matatics to demonstrate how those things that are supposed to be part of the 'Tradition' were believed by the early church. Well worth watching through the end. Pay careful attention to the arguments and assumptions on both sides.



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Luther

the liberals still don't get it?

what is amazing about the liberals in the Anglican Communion is that, despite our abundantly clear talk, they still don't understand our position. It must be that they don't understand because no-one, surely, could be so dishonest as to deliberately misrepresent what their opponent is saying?

Surely?

Thing is, that becomes a bit hard to believe when the person talking nonsense is the Primate of Canada, Andrew Hutchison

Here's his blog piece from today.
I am going to a meeting with a gospel of hope and a preferential option for the poor and we are debating who is in and whom we are going to keep out. I have been at this long enough to know that it never boils down to one simple question. Meetings like this are filled with all manner of ego, authority and power but as we gather and are preparing to begin, that endless stream of humanity that I saw on my way haunts my memory. I wish we were dealing with what difference a gospel of hope could make in their lives, rather than worrying about strategies for the Primates and the politics that are an inevitable part of such gatherings. Please remember to pray for my brothers and sister who share in these meetings in the next few days. There is a huge amount at stake and the world needs to hear the good news again - that the gospel does not say God so loved the Church - rather it says God so loved the world!

This is a great example of both abuse of and total avoidance of what the bible says. Consider his first statement about "a gospel of hope". Notice how Hutchison uses those words in a completely different way to the Bible. For Hutchison, "hope" is about "a preferential option for the poor" (particularly those in Tanzania who he spends a whole paragraph describing in his post). In the Bible, hope and poverty are considered completely differently:
Colossians 1:3 We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints. 5 Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel.

Simply put, the "gospel of hope" in the Bible is nothing to do with alleviation of poverty. It is about a certainty of an eternal future. Why is that eternal future so important? Well, Paul goes on to explain:
Colossians 1:21 And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, 22 but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him 23 if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant.

The Christian hope is that whereas we used to be stangers and enemies of Christ (as the context makes clear) we are now reconciled to God by His death on the Cross. We are now considered to be holy, without blemish and blameless. What must we do? Simply "remain in the faith" - that is, just keep trusting Jesus who has done everything for us to make us right before God.

As Paul puts its, we should continue, "without shifting from the hope of the gospel you heard".

But, Hutchison seems to have another gospel - one that's not about presenting us as holy, without blemish and blameless before God but about the here and now.

And that's why we worry so much about these things. Because unrepentant homosexual practice, the Bible is clear, is a bar to entry into that saving hope (just as other blatant unrepentant sin is) (1Cor. 6:9; Jude 1:7 etc). Hutchison, and so many like him, ignore the real gospel and, to compound their error, then encourage people in activity that scripture tells us is a bar to entry into that gospel hope.

And, to make it worse, he then butchers the words of Jesus Himself (not that other scripture is less authoritative):
There is a huge amount at stake and the world needs to hear the good news again - that the gospel does not say God so loved the Church - rather it says God so loved the world!

There is "a huge amount at stake" - as John 3:16 (which Hutchison has so abused) makes abundantly clear.
John 3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone would pursue the United Nations Millenium Development Goals.

whoops, no, hang on a minute - I think that's wrong.

*flicks through bible*

oh yeah...
John 3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

That's the gospel, Hutchison.

As someone once said:
John 3:10 Jesus answered, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don't understand these things? 11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

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