March 23, 2017

March 4, 2014

Rev. Rod Bower of Gosford: Jesus Didn’t Die for Our Sins and Atheists can be “Kingdom People”

You’ve got to give it to Rev. Rod Bowers, Rector of Gosford Anglican and denier of heaven and hell, he’s not shy about saying what he believes (or, more accurately, doesn’t believe). So, for example, there’s this page on his blog entitled “Jesus came to show us the “Kingdom” not to die for our sins!” (pdf copy available here):

Progressive Christians believe that Jesus came to manifest the Kingdom. That is to reveal the Sacred in our every day life. For far too long we have been obsessed about Jesus’ death being a payment to a wrathful god for the insult of human sin.

The gospels have Jesus mention the Kingdom 106 times; there are very few allusions, and they are only allusions, to Jesus dying for our sins.

Admittedly St Paul and other New Testament writers understand Jesus’ death as replacing the temple sacrifice, and that is understandable given their context. However there is no necessity for us to understand the death of Jesus in this way.

Why did Jesus have to die? For him to do anything else would have required him to compromise with violence rather than absorb it.

Sometimes Kingdom moments can feel a little bit like dying because it normally involves giving something of ourselves up for the good of another. But when this happens, that very part of us finds “salvation” or healing.

The Kingdom is bigger than the church, bigger than Christianity, it must be. There are Kingdom people who are Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and atheists. You don’t have to be a Christian to be a Kingdom person, but you do have to be a Kingdom person to be a Christian.

It’s got everything in it that an Anglican minister could want, doesn’t it?

Jesus doesn’t die for our sins.

Article II

Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man

The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.


Article XXXI

Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross

The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone.

1Cor. 15:1-3    Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

We don’t need to accept the authority of the New Testament epistle writers

Article VI

Of the Sufficiency of the holy Scriptures for salvation

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the holy Scripture, we do understand those Canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books


All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

2Pet. 3:15-16    ... our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


People are “Saved” by Good Works therefore Atheists can be “Kingdom People”

Article XIII

Of Works before Justification

Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea, rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.


Article XVIII

Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ

They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

John 3:3    Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ”


These are not isolated things that Rev. Bowers writes. His blog is full of material promoting what he calls “progressive Christianity”. I trust it is abundantly clear that Rev. Bowers’ publicly stated position is entirely at odds with the Scriptures and the official doctrinal position of the Anglican Church of Australia. The matters on which he writes are not peripheral but central to our understanding of who Jesus is and what the Gospel is.

Our leaders have a solemn reponsibility to deal with this kind of thing. Whether they will or not is a different matter. Rev. Bowers is a rector and therefore has incumbency in his parish. It is difficult to remove him and yet it can be done, certainly on a charge of teaching that is utterly contrary to the teaching of the Anglican Church of Australia. Even if he is not removed it is entirely possible for his bishop to clearly and publicly repudiate his teaching and rebuke him for it. The bishop of Newcastle Diocese is the Right Rev Greg Thompson. In his answers to the election synod of the diocese [pdf] when asked “What should episcopal leadership in the Anglican Church of Australia look like today? “he stated,

The Bishop ought entrust to the body the mission of the Church, yet never abdicate the responsibilities entrusted in this office.

That responsibility includes those which every bishop promises to keep in their consecration vows (AAPB)

Are you ready to drive away all false and strange doctrine which is contrary to God’s word; and privately and publicly to call upon and encourage others to do likewise?

I am, the Lord being my helper

Let me be clear, I have absolutely no reason to doubt that Bishop Thompson is a man of his word and will take this matter seriously.

Just another important thing to note. All Rev. Bowers’ stuff is in the public domain on a blog which is, let’s not be under any misunderstanding, a means of having as many people know about it as possible. He and others cannot complain that his writing is being further publicised. I think it’s time as wide an audience as possible know exactly what Rev. Bower believes and, more importantly, whether our church leaders think it’s acceptable for an ordained minister in the Anglican Church of Australia. And not just Rev. Bower but any Anglican minister who teaches contrary to our doctrine on these key matters of salvation. And not just the ministers but also those in leadership who do nothing about it.

As Rev Bowers himself insists…

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What I don’t get is, if Jesus was not the Son of God and did not die for our sins..

a)  Why was he crucified?  I mean, did social workers get executed in Roman society? Did Jews demand the death penalty for really nice people?  I mean, either Jesus was just a proto-hippy, in which case why would anyone want him dead, or he was against the establishment in such a way that he would be regarded as an insurgent?  But if the latter, why does history not record him as such?  (I suspect many revisions wish Jesus had been a violent revolutionary along with Che Chevera…)

b)  Why bother with Jesus at all?  If he did not die for our sins and had all this religion stuff that pointed away from ‘The Kingdom on Earth,’ unless the religion stuff was just metaphor but even then why spend time talking about Jesus when you can follow the plain speaking, even more revolutionary Karl Marx instead…. Oh, right.

But, also, why can’t loonies like this just resign and join the Revolutionary worker’s society or whatever?

[1] Posted by jedinovice on 3-5-2014 at 05:35 AM · [top]

How long has this been going on? Couldn’t he be inhibited by his bishop?

[2] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-5-2014 at 08:09 AM · [top]

So the only way this guy can earn a living with his fanciful musings is by masquerading as an Anglican priest. 

Nice racket - vestments may be required, but leave all integrity at home.


[3] Posted by tired on 3-5-2014 at 08:33 AM · [top]

“Admittedly St Paul and other New Testament writers understand Jesus’ death as replacing the temple sacrifice, and that is understandable given their context. However there is no necessity for us to understand the death of Jesus in this way.”

Add Marcionism to the list of charges.

[4] Posted by David Fischler on 3-5-2014 at 08:43 AM · [top]

Here in TEc, he would be a guest speaker at many a leadership conference.

[5] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-5-2014 at 08:53 AM · [top]

How do people like this fella get through the discernment process to even go to seminary? Did they forget to ask some very basic questions? Why ordain someone who obviously doesn’t believe in the basic tenets of the Christian faith??  I certainly hope Bishop Thompson does the right thing.

[6] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 3-5-2014 at 08:56 AM · [top]

#6, I share your questions, particularly wondering when his bishop will take appropriate action.

He’s quite the poster boy for Down-under (so-to-speak) Anglicanism:

Where’s Deacon Payne when you need him? (The pain train’s a-comin’. What could be more ascetical than a savage beat-down?)

[7] Posted by Ralph on 3-5-2014 at 10:16 AM · [top]

Here again the words of the late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple in his preface to Writings in St. John’s Gospel come to mind, “why anyone would bother to crucify the Jesus of liberal Protestantism remains a mystery.”

[8] Posted by Cranmerian on 3-5-2014 at 10:50 AM · [top]

Perhaps Bishop Thompson should take the advice of the “conservative” bishops of TEC, and invite Rev. Bower to give a sermon at Australia’s most conservative seminary.

[9] Posted by tjmcmahon on 3-5-2014 at 11:48 AM · [top]

Again…Mr. Bower is a dishonest thief who is devoid of integrity.

[10] Posted by Nikolaus on 3-5-2014 at 08:25 PM · [top]

Thank you for publicising this David.  News like this needs to be spread.

It does indeed ask a pointed question of +Thompson:  This has happened on his watch.  What is he going to do about it?

[11] Posted by MichaelA on 3-11-2014 at 12:59 AM · [top]

“How do people like this fella get through the discernment process to even go to seminary?”

Hi blu cat lady, there are some seminaries in Australia who would positively welcome his views.

[12] Posted by MichaelA on 3-11-2014 at 01:03 AM · [top]

MichaelA,  Sigh…. The naiveté of us laity….. We really think our clergy believe the same things we do.

[13] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 3-11-2014 at 08:09 AM · [top]

Too many clergy are recruiters for self or the causes of people like them rather than ambassadors for the kingdom of God.

[14] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 3-11-2014 at 08:15 AM · [top]

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