March 25, 2017

July 28, 2011


JI Packer on Anglicanism, Homosexuality, and Heresy

From an interview with Mark Driscoll:

On Homosexuality

As we sat on the couch together, he explained that Anglicanism is patterned after the ancient Roman governmental system so that a bishop has jurisdiction over a geographic area. However, this long-established ecclesiological pattern has been breached because Anglicanism is suffering from “heretical bishops.” By “heretical bishops,” Packer was referring to those bishops who sanction homosexual activity. He explained that the “heretical bishops” won support for their position following much lobbying. This sadly required Bible-believing Anglican churches to come under the authority of other orthodox bishops outside of their geographic area rather than remain under “heretical bishops.”

Homosexuality: A Heretical Issue

When asked about calling those who support homosexuality and profess to be Christian “heretical,” Packer very carefully and insightfully explained what he meant. He began by saying that as Christians we are tempted to sin in many ways, including homosexuality. However, because God has saved us through Jesus and empowered us with the Holy Spirit, we are to practice ongoing repentance of sin and rejection of sinful desires. He explained in great detail that he perceives the approval of homosexuality to be “heretical” because it denies a fundamental aspect of the gospel—namely repentance. Packer explained how for six years he called his Anglican Diocese to repent of their sinful support of unrepentant homosexual activity, to no avail. Eventually, his own archbishop sought to pull his license (essentially his ordination or credentials) as a punitive measure. In the end, Packer, along with roughly thirty Anglican churches, came out from under their “heretical” leadership to form a new Anglican alliance. Returning to the issue of denying a fundamental aspect of the gospel (repentance), he explained that 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 says,

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Packer was clear that those who do not call Christians to repent of homosexual activity are, as Scripture says, “deceived.” He told me that the first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was that the whole of a Christian’s life is to be one of repentance of sin. Any Christian who does not practice and promote repentance is denying an aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When I asked how the denial of repentance merited the label of “heretical,” Packer said, “ “‘Heresy’ ought to be used when an aspect of the gospel is being denied.” He further explained that because God through Paul warns the Corinthians that those who practice homosexuality unrepentantly will be damned to hell, “Souls are put at risk every time homosexuality is tolerated.”...more


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23 comments

There is some unclarity or confusion here, which I will attribute to the interviewer rather than to Dr Packer, who is always lucid.

He explained in great detail that he perceives the approval of homosexuality to be “heretical” because it denies a fundamental aspect of the gospel—namely repentance.

No, the revisionists do not deny the need for repentance by Christians.  They deny that homosexual behaviour is something that need to be repented of—big difference.
What needs to be explained on behalf of Dr Packer’s position is why this particular misunderstanding of the Gospel is heresy, rather than grave error. (My own view is that this denial is not heretical; but that 90% or so of the time people who commit this error commit it as a result of, or in association with, heretical views of one kind or another, most obviously, about the authority of Scripture.)

Packer explained how for six years he called his Anglican Diocese to repent of their sinful support of unrepentant homosexual activity, to no avail. Eventually, his own archbishop sought to pull his license (essentially his ordination or credentials) as a punitive measure.

This timeline suggests that Dr Packer was inhibited as punishment for his brotherly calls for repentance by diocesan leaders, when (I believe) his licence was removed only after he absolutely renounced the bishop’s authority and left the Anglican Church of Canada. As any bishop would naturally do.

[1] Posted by Real Toral on 7-29-2011 at 01:32 PM · [top]

A letter from Dallas in this week’s Economist suggests more than a hint of the inexorable concerning the LBGT issue, which has led to a destructive, obsessive sidelining from the fundamental core and revolutionary precepts of the Gospel by all of the disparate Anglican constituencies involved.
Damn it, or not! This comes not from San Francisco…it’s from Dallas! Let’s move on and save the human race and the planet.

Gay life in the South

SIR – I don’t know if it was just a disappointingly typical buy into stereotypes, but the tone of your article on gay life in the South simplified a complex situation (“Still far behind”, July 9th). Gay life in the South is pretty much like gay life elsewhere in America: large, vibrant communities in urban areas, lower visibility in rural districts. This is true in all states. In San Francisco gay life is easy; in Fresno, not so much. It is the same in Europe. London, Paris, Berlin, Prague and Copenhagen are very gay-friendly, though I’m guessing that a small town in Yorkshire is probably not.
In Dallas, the “Buckle of the Bible Belt”, gay city-council and school-board members no longer make news. We have the largest church with a gay and lesbian membership in the world. We have a famous gay men’s chorus, which performs to packed audiences.
I don’t expect Texas (or any other southern state) will allow same-sex marriage any time soon, but it will, eventually, as time is on our side. Dallas will never be another San Francisco or New York, but we wouldn’t want that anyway. Most of us living here are doing quite well, and to imply that we are cowering under the lash of wild-eyed evangelicals is simply misleading.
Richard Sears
Dallas

And…if you’re all feeling strong enough after reading the above, go to the Lexington column in this week’s EconomistConnubialBliss.
economist.com/node/215224903

[2] Posted by gweilo on 7-30-2011 at 01:20 AM · [top]

[2] extended…
Apologies…the Link provided is unfit for purpose.
Use: http://www.economist.com
Go to: United States….Lexington…Connubial bliss in America. Enjoy!

[3] Posted by gweilo on 7-30-2011 at 03:26 AM · [top]

The belief that homosexual practice is not sinful is an outright heresy.

This is one area where the Roman Catholics are spot on. Likewise, the assembled bishops of the Anglican Communion adopted a statement (Lambeth I.10), “rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and promoting “faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.”

Holy Scripture is rather clear about the punishment for unrepentant sin. That’s why teaching otherwise is heresy.

Some of those who teach this, also teach universalism, which is also a heresy.

[4] Posted by Ralph on 7-30-2011 at 06:21 AM · [top]

Meanwhile (and on-topic) the August newsletter of All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, California features a “Wedding Invitation”. Carissa Baldwin and Pam McGinnis will be blessed and celebrated on Sept. 3, followed by a cake reception in the parish hall. Children are welcome.

[5] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 7-30-2011 at 05:51 PM · [top]

Real Torel:  I believe Dr. Packer was threatened with inhibition BEFORE he left the diocese.  Also in placing himself under ANOTHER duly consecrated Anglican bishop, there was no renunciation of his bishop’s authority, or his ordination vows—only a transference, therefore the ACC bishop over Vancouver didn’t even have a case.

Besides all that, teaching the lie that grave sin is really a blessing of the Holy Spirit, does, actually, directly “deny an aspect of the Gospel” since it then makes repentance of that sin impossible.  It’s certainly true that the heinousness of heresy increases with the level of authority (hence a confused parishioner, is in no way as near a peril, as a priest or most certainly a bishop…). 

The bishop is heretical, therefore by that alone he has already forfeited his authority under God as a bishop—so he didn’t have the rightful authority to censure Dr. Packer.  This is a bit like the Roman Catholic idea of “latae sententiae” or silent excommunication. 

TEC and ACC of course are full of, and dominated by, such false bishops…why I think any and all orthodox clergy need to leave.  These groups are simply no longer Churches.

[6] Posted by banned4Life on 7-30-2011 at 07:35 PM · [top]

Y’know, it used to be that a clergyman could transfer by means of a Letter of Demit from one Anglican province to another without much trouble, but nowadays, the ACC and TEC are going out of their way to cause trouble for any clergyman desiring to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction!  It’s almost as if they don’t recognize anyone else in the Communion except those who agree with them, although they claim to recognize differences in that same Communion as normal and legitimate.

[7] Posted by cennydd13 on 7-30-2011 at 09:46 PM · [top]

Googling all this, it seems clear that +Ingham sent Dr Packer a Notice of Abandonment of Ministry only after Dr Packer had renounced the New Westminster/ACoC and sought oversight from +Harvey and Southern Cone.
And as for a simple transfer—I see no reference to Packer ever requesting this. It would surprise me if he would make such a request to +Ingham, as he had by then repudiated +Ingham’s authority. Indeed according to this story via Conger Dr Packer relinquished his license before +Ingham could take it away.

[8] Posted by Real Toral on 7-30-2011 at 10:12 PM · [top]

cennydd13:  Actually a CANA bishop told me that the TEC lawsuit in Virginia prevailed on appeal(only) at the Va. Supreme Court level (after losing consistently at the trial court level) on the legal theory that THERE IS NO WORLDWIDE ANGLICAN COMMUNION! Clergy and Churches, it apparently was argued, were going into an entirely different denomination, since they have foreign (arch)bishops…so it didn’t actually constitute a Church denominational split, which the Virginia law was reliant upon. 

Therefore, the faithfulness of ex-Episcopalians in gaining the authentic oversight of orthodox bishops within the Anglican Communion, was used against them in what I can only see as a perverse, devious, and frankly, wicked, legal argument.  Had the fact of a rival AMERICAN Anglican province been brought in…theoretically, the orthodox could of prevailed.

But of course, legal arguments ultimately were not what it’s been about….

The reality—hinted to me—was that justices from the former capitol of the Confederacy simply didn’t like the idea of middle class white clergy and Churches submitting to African bishops.

It was liberal icon Spong after all who said that the Africans had just come down from the trees, right?

[9] Posted by banned4Life on 7-31-2011 at 01:14 AM · [top]

In San Francisco gay life is easy; in Fresno, not so much.

While Fresno is a city based on half a million people, it is small town in other ways. http://sanjoaquinsoundings.blogspot.com/2011/05/church-of-fresno.html.  I think another core issue may also be disconnecting guilt from repentance. Are folks not experiencing guilt or simply denying it?

[10] Posted by Fr. Dale on 7-31-2011 at 08:58 AM · [top]

Ah, yes, LuxRex, racism raises its ugly head again, doesn’t it?  Well, it looks like it’s true.  It’s hard to argue against that when one looks at the facts.  It’d be pretty hard to accuse these justices of being Christians, wouldn’t it?  Imagine the incongruity of it all.

[11] Posted by cennydd13 on 7-31-2011 at 09:26 AM · [top]

‘He further explained that because God through Paul warns the Corinthians that those who practice homosexuality unrepentantly will be damned to hell, “Souls are put at risk every time homosexuality is tolerated.”’
Many thanks to the good doctor for this salutary reminder.  There is infinitely more at stake here than the chattering classes recognise.  However, the GBLT supporters do stump me when they say “Yes, but what about divorce?  Jesus was pretty clear about that, wasn’t he, but there are plenty of divorcees in you churches. Why aren’t you telling them to repent and go back to their divorced partners huh?”

[12] Posted by Fenella J Strange on 7-31-2011 at 11:38 AM · [top]

the revisionists do not deny the need for repentance by Christians.

Not sure that I would agree with this point.  Certainly, the revisionist party is not uniform on this issue.  But many do not believe in confession or repentance in historically understood terms.  To a large faction “amendment of life” means forsaking orthodoxy for the current agenda.

[13] Posted by Nikolaus on 7-31-2011 at 12:14 PM · [top]

Good to see that J. I. Packer is still speaking and writing. I wonder if the liberal bishops of the church in Canada really thought they were going to shut him up?!

[14] Posted by MichaelA on 7-31-2011 at 09:57 PM · [top]

Fenella J Strange,
There are some, under the ‘porneia/fornication’ ‘escape clause’ which are legitimate, as are those where abandonment is a factor.

But, in essence, they are right: we ‘lost our minds’ back when we went soft on divorce.  Much more harm to ‘marriage’ has been done by ‘straight’ adulterers than those who claim to be ‘married’. 

The trouble is lack of repentance, due in part to lack of hearing the counsel of God - both on the part of the ‘dump and run’ spouse, and the actively homosexual person.

[15] Posted by Bo on 7-31-2011 at 10:06 PM · [top]

You can’t blame “going soft on divorce” for the issues surrounding divorce.  It’s a choice to be married, just as it’s a choice to take up our cross and follow Jesus.  However, it only takes one spouse to choose divorce to make it so.  Divorce is a symptom of spiritual issues.  So is abortion.  We need spiritual healing for our great country.

[16] Posted by B. Hunter on 8-3-2011 at 05:20 PM · [top]

I can and do blame ‘going soft’ on divorce for the issues surrounding it.  Had we been vocal and prayerful in campaigns against ‘no fault’ divorce it wouldn’t be a ‘one partner choice’ now.  If we were not soft on it, ‘Christian’ couples wouldn’t be divorcing at about the same rate as non-Christian couples.  I am not alone in this.

Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention in Oklahoma commented: “I applaud the Catholics,” says Jordan. “I don’t think we as Protestant evangelists have done nearly as well preparing people for marriage. And in the name of being loving and accepting, we have not placed the stigma on divorce that we should have.”

[17] Posted by Bo on 8-3-2011 at 08:52 PM · [top]

At least in Australia, we were vocal and prayerful in campaigns against no-fault divorce. I was pretty young at the time, but my father took me to the demonstrations and they were very large by the standards of the 1970s. But no-fault divorce came in anyway.

In ancient Israel, divorce was not quite as easy as in our modern society, but it was much easier than in 19th century North America or Northern Europe. There was no point in an Israelite complaining that God’s people had not been voval and prayerful in campaigning against this, because the easy divorce had been instituted by God himself! But that didn’t mean God wanted any of his people to get divorced. I think this is the point that B. Hunter is making, and its an important distinction.

I agree with you that the church should put great emphasis on the virtue of “staying married”, as it should on all forms of obedience. I don’t know where that stands in terms of being “hard” or “soft” but we certainly should value constancy in marriage.

[18] Posted by MichaelA on 8-4-2011 at 04:07 AM · [top]

voval = vocal!

[19] Posted by MichaelA on 8-4-2011 at 04:08 AM · [top]

We didn’t do that here (stand up and demonstrate against it), shoot Florida has one of the ‘easiest’ laws, and in Florida we can even ‘unelect’ Judges.

It wasn’t a whole lot easier in the 19th than in Israel - if you wanted to stay in, the other side pretty much had to willing to ‘prove’ the offense, or take the hit as the offender and give up all the worldly goods.  That was true right up till the 1970s.

In further condemnation of our own unwillingness to truly support marriage, in Louisiana, where one can ‘opt’ for ‘covenant marriage’ at the time of marriage - only about 3% of the couples do so.  I rather doubt that only 3% of the folks getting married called themselves Christians.  We wish to point the finger rather than ‘own up’ to the fact that we do not ourselves treat Marriage as a Vow to God before the Church and the People.

[20] Posted by Bo on 8-4-2011 at 08:51 AM · [top]

cennydd13:  I don’t know if I’m reading your sarcasm right, however I didn’t comment on whether or not the justices were Christians.  How is that material, unless you’re arguing if they are Christians they have to be right?  Historically Christians have actually been sinners…and even racists.  So what?

Of course for repentant sinners reliant on Jesus, simul justus et peccator.

My main point was: The TEC legal argument that prevailed on appeal (and only on appeal) was that THERE IS NO ANGLICAN COMMUNION. That doesn’t sound very Christian, or even honest, to me.

[21] Posted by banned4Life on 8-4-2011 at 10:12 AM · [top]

“It wasn’t a whole lot easier in the 19th than in Israel - if you wanted to stay in, the other side pretty much had to willing to ‘prove’ the offense, or take the hit as the offender and give up all the worldly goods.  That was true right up till the 1970s.”

I actually meant the opposite - that divorce was much easier in Israel than it was in 19th century North America or Northern Europe. That “easiness” was instituted by God, “for your hardness of heart”.

[22] Posted by MichaelA on 8-4-2011 at 08:03 PM · [top]

Sorry,
I misunderstood…

The thing is, only 3 percent choose to marry under the ‘old rules’ even in Bible Belt Louisiana…

[23] Posted by Bo on 8-4-2011 at 10:25 PM · [top]

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