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Griffith Meets Schori: Doing My Part for the Listening Process

Monday, January 19, 2009 • 11:52 am

“You have been, both personally and in your office, very supportive of homosexuality in the church, especially the blessings of same-sex marriage. There are parents in this church right now, and all over the country, who are very uneasy with the prospect of explaining to their children that while the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as sinful, the Episcopal Church wants to confer its blessings on it. If you were asked, for example, to lead the youth group class here tonight, what are the precise words you would use to explain to teenagers how it is that the Bible says homosexual behavior is a sin, but our church should confer its blessings on it?”


On Sunday, January 11 Presiding Bishop Katharine Schori visited my old parish for a one-hour question-and-answer session as part of her visit to the diocese of Mississippi. The day before, she had visited Greenwood’s Church of the Nativity for a similar Q&A forum.

You can view the video of Stand Firm president The Rev. George Woodliff’s question at the Greenwood session concerning Schori’s TIME magazine interview, and Schori’s response, here, by going to 34:10 into the video (use the counter on the bottom left). Note that in response to Woodliff’s question, which references this quote:

Time: Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?

KJS: We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.

Schori claims she was not quoted accurately, and ducks Woodliff’s real question.

In Jackson Sunday, Bishop Duncan Gray introduced Schori as someone he believes has been “called by God to lead this church at this time.” Schori’s patter was a carbon-copy of what she said in Greenwood - the remark about most of us in Mississippi being related is one example; her characterization of TEC’s openness regarding communion as “y’all come” is another.

The first questioner was a lady who informed the presiding bishop that she was, in her own words, “grieved” at the way, during Schori’s tenure, the church had begun to disintegrate, the authority of Scripture was challenged, and there increasingly seemed to be no room left for people who held traditional Christian beliefs. Schori responded by re-phrasing the lady’s question, which came out something like this: “So… you’re disturbed… that some people have a different interpretation about Scripture?”

After that followed a lengthy and frankly weird exchange between Schori and several attendees attacking the Roman Catholic church for its stance on communion. Noting that Episcopalians offered communion to “all baptized Christians” (but failing to note that open communion to the un-baptized is a widespread practice), she characterized the policy of the Roman Catholic church of not offering communion to non-Roman Catholics as, and I quote, “a great scandal.”

A few attendees echoed this in their questions and comments, and the incessant tut-tutting of Roman Catholic policy as a way of patting themselves on the back for what they perceived as their own openness and inclusion amounted to a pretty embarrassing display of ignorance and hypocrisy on the part of both the attendees and the presiding bishop. Setting the bar for exclusion at “all baptized Christians” as opposed to “all Roman Catholics” may be more “open,” but it is only a matter of degree; the fact remains that, officially at least, the Episcopal Church excludes non-baptized Christians from communion as a matter of official policy. But even that is misleading, because in a large percentage of Episcopal churches, offering communion to non-baptized Christians is not only practiced, but embraced as an act of “radical inclusion,” a “justice” issue. Add to that the fact that St. Phillip’s itself, the very parish in which the presiding bishop was speaking, routinely practices open communion, and you have a situation of such incoherence as to make bemused laughter the only rational response.

About 35 minutes into the session, I asked my question, part of which is in the video below. It began this way:

“You have been, both personally and in your office, very supportive of homosexuality in the church, especially the blessings of same-sex marriage. There are parents in this church right now, and all over the country, who are very uneasy with the prospect of explaining to their children that while the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as sinful, the Episcopal Church wants to confer its blessings on it. If you were asked, for example, to lead the youth group class here tonight, what are the precise words you would use to explain to teenagers how it is that the Bible says homosexual behavior is a sin, but our church should confer its blessings on it?”

Let’s just pause for a moment and savor this little moment of surrealism: Katharine Schori actually gave me - ME - the “shellfish” and “cult prostitution” lines. Priceless.

I was able to make two brief follow-up questions. The first was:

“So, it sounds like you’re saying that for the last 2,000 years, all of Christianity has gotten this very important question completely wrong, and only in the last 30 or 40 years have a few Episcopalians gotten it right.” The response was more boilerplate about interpretation.

Second follow-up was:

“But you, yourself, have authorized same-sex blessings in your diocese of Nevada…”

Schori cut me off to clarify that what she had done was to allow those parishes that wished to perform same-sex blessings, to do so. There was some mention of discernment by the congregation, but when she was through explaining, there was nothing to indicate that the sum of the situation was anything other than: If you want to do it, go for it. How that differs from “authorizing,” she never explained.

Soon after, though, Schori began rambling about “ubuntu,” and it was like getting a root canal, so I left. The session ended, I’m told, with a question from a man in the very back of the nave about Leviticus 18:22. I was told Schori was visibly perturbed by the Leviticus question, to the point of her face turning red. So in contrast to the softball jamboree in Greenwood, the soiree in Jackson began with a lengthy and eloquent complaint, hit its stride with my questions about teaching teenagers that sodomy is a gift from God, and ended up with some classic OT. All in all, not a bad outing.

I want to point out to everyone that doing things like this - going and sitting in these miserable little forums, listening to all the nonsense, standing up and asking your question, opening yourself up for derision from your friends and fellow Episcopalians - is not pleasant. Yes, I get a little charge out of the confrontation - that’s just my personality - and I suspect there are more than a few of you out there who get a similar charge, but I suspect most of you do not. But doing things like this is important, and here’s why:

I estimate that there were probably 30 or 40 priests and deacons there. Almost all of them were either gung-ho revisionists or not terribly critical of the PB’s theology and agenda. There were another 30 or 40 lay people who were similarly either gung-ho or basically compliant. In the middle, though, there were probably 70 or 80 lay people who came to the event with little to no knowledge of the nature and depth of the crisis in the Episcopal Church, or Katharine Schori’s role in it. I can guarantee you most of them walked in there with no idea she had authorized same-sex blessings in her own diocese, or that she is a fierce proponent of doing so across the entire church. I can guarantee you most of them had no idea that there had been “challenges to the authority of Scripture” by leaders in the church. I won’t reveal the identity of the lady who asked the “challenges” question, but suffice it to say she is quite well-respected around the diocese, and her opinion carries enormous weight among other lay people of her generation and social set.

When we do things like this - show up on a Sunday afternoon and challenge the direction and “leadership” of revisionists in this church - we accomplish two important things:

The first is that we demonstrate to people like Katharine Schori and our diocesan bishops that there is disagreement out there in the pews, that it is real and it has a face, and that it’s willing to take a stand in public. It makes it impossible for them to claim that “all is well.”

The second is that we ensure that of those 70 or 80 people who walked in there with no idea of the nature or depth of the crisis in the church, some number of them - perhaps only a dozen or so, perhaps 30 or 40 - walk out of there having been alerted to the crisis, both in general and specific terms. They will return to their churches and homes, talk to each other, talk to their rectors, call their bishop, get on the web and do their own research, whatever… but what’s important is that they are now aware that there is a problem, and they are aware of the core issues of the problem. They leave with a hook, which, when cast out into the conversations of church communities and the web, grabs things in the form of information, allies, and a new awareness of what’s going on in their national church, their diocese, and their parish.

Also worth noting is that this was completely un-coordinated: This is what can happen when people who care simply show up of their own accord determined to get to the truth. Imagine what could happen when three or four people actually coordinate their attendance and their questions.

Sometimes, this is the way this battle has to be fought: A few people here, a few people there. It’s not glamorous, it’s not fun, it’s certainly not what I want to be doing on a crisp Sunday afternoon, but our failure to keep a check on this heresy and false teaching in decades past is what got us into this mess in the first place, and now we’re playing catch-up, which is never easy and rarely fun. For anyone doubting whether efforts like this are worth it, I would simply ask: Is the future of your own church - forget the national church - but is the future of your own parish and diocese, worth the trouble of showing up, voicing your dissent, and asking the hard questions of the people who would presume to lead you?


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Comments:

Greg—thank you.

Thank you, thank you.  For this article.  For being one of the few people who got to ask follow-up questions that didn’t allow her off the hook.  For being able in your questions to communicate reality to the listening audience—which was the important part.  For being willing to go into an already supportive audience for Schori [since usually it’s only the true believers who show up for the woman].  For being willing to go spend your time doing such things.  For writing this article.

And for pointing out why your effort is important and why it is the kind of effort that should be repeated in every diocese and at every such meeting.

[1] Posted by Sarah on 01-19-2009 at 01:28 PM • top

BTW,

KJS’s comment that the Leviticus passage is in a long list of passages that excludes certain behaviors for “observant Jews” is wrong.  Christopher Seitz and others have argued convincingly that the Leviticus passage is in the middle of a list of commandments (ch. 17-19) that are addressed not only toward “observant Jews,” but specifically to the “sojourner in the land.” Seitz also notes that the behaviors forbidden in this Leviticus section are the same behaviors that are picked up on in the New Testament, and expected of Gentile converts to Christianity. 

That is, the New Testament ethic is specifically a continuation of the ethic that was expected in Israel to be practiced by the “sojourner in the land” in Lev. 17-19.  The NT regards Gentile converts to Christianity to be equivalent to the Gentiles who lived in ancient Israel, and expects them to observe the same moral behavior.  The Gentiles are not required to keep kosher, but they are required to abstain from things like incest, bestiality, or homosexual activity, and it is precisely because the inhabitants of Canaan do not refrain from these activities that they were regarded to have “polluted the land,” and were expelled by God to be replaced by Israel.

So when the Presiding Bishop says that these are behaviors expected of “observant Jews,” she is simply mistaken.

[2] Posted by William Witt on 01-19-2009 at 01:51 PM • top

Nothing quite like a little mustard gas floating over the trenches.

[3] Posted by francis on 01-19-2009 at 01:56 PM • top

Greg, good for you.  I think the revisionist never knew that there was anyone alive that could not believe just like them.  Those that go to seminary in TEC are isolated from what is taught in other good seminaries.  They don’t even know what the arguments are for other positions.  This sort of confrontation must be a shocking revelation to them.  Keep after them and alert the sleeping that their house is on fire.

[4] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 01-19-2009 at 02:00 PM • top

Come now.  I am sure that the Presiding Bishop left Mississippi telling her staff and anyone else with ears to hear that she had an absolutely marvelous time there and that there is peace across the land.  Just look at Greenwood.

[5] Posted by onesimus on 01-19-2009 at 02:05 PM • top

William Witt—your comments are Very Divisive.

We can tell this because they . . . divide people.

I hope that you will reconsider your divisive ways.

[6] Posted by Sarah on 01-19-2009 at 02:14 PM • top

God grant that more people speak out from the pews. Thanks Greg

[7] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 01-19-2009 at 02:21 PM • top

Greg,
Do you have the rest of the video or did you only get that first 1.28 minutes? When you write “let me pause”, I had thought you would then show us the rest.

[8] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 02:22 PM • top

Dr. Witt,
Even looking at Lev 17-19, we do find the ones about sex with a woman during her period and about the mingling of two types of fabric. What do you say about those?

[9] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 02:24 PM • top

And then, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church jumped upon a hickory stump and said: “Boy let me tell you what. I bet you didn’t know it, but I’m a fiddle player too. And if you’d care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you.  Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy, but give the devil his due, I bet a fiddle of gold against your soul, ‘cos I think I’m better than you.”

And then, Greg said, “My name’s Greg and it might be a sin, but I’ll take your bet, your gonna regret, ‘cos I’m the best that’s ever been.”

You’re close to Georgia, right?

[10] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 01-19-2009 at 02:25 PM • top

The devil went down to Georgia [Mississippi?]
[S]He was lookin’ for a soul to steal
[S]He was in a bind ‘cause [s]he was way behind
And [s]he was willing to make a deal

[11] Posted by RedHatRob on 01-19-2009 at 02:30 PM • top

Greg,
Great job!!!!! And without a Kevlar Vest! WOW!!!! smile
Seriously….great job….more people that have stayed in TEc need to stand up to her and hold her accountable and call her out on her heresies.

[12] Posted by TLDillon on 01-19-2009 at 02:31 PM • top

Wow. She is scary. Not only is she a poor student of the bible, but she seems to have a real disconnect with the person and work of Christ. She does not seem to understand that all of scripture is about Christ and the OT can only be understood in the light of Christ. May God have mercy on us and save us from leaders like Schori.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me John 5:38-40

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:26-28

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:16-18

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-25

[13] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 02:31 PM • top

Heh.

I wonder how long it will be before we learn about ‘routine’ searches of church and government databases for information about Greg the Plumber.

wink

[14] Posted by tired on 01-19-2009 at 02:34 PM • top

KJS’s argument about we don’t follow everything in Leviticus, so it’s all good is directly in opposition to Acts Chapter 15, where the council considered how to apply the Mosaic Law to Gentiles.  They said that such ritual laws like circumcision &c;. need not be followed by Gentiles, but moral laws must be, and specifically pointed out sexual immorality/fornication.  It is not intellectually credible to argue that same-sex conduct does not fall within the definition of sexual immorality that the council operated with.

Perhaps revisionists can go back to the drawing board and come up with some other clever argument, but the Jerusalem council addressed the issue about as clearly as it could.  Reserving sexual relations to men and women in marriage absolutely foundational. 

The Jerusalem council had to address it specifically because of the temptation of hedonism to chip away at the theological principle.  One would think they made it clear, but apparently not clear enough for today’s Episcopal Church.

[15] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 01-19-2009 at 02:35 PM • top

1928,

That’s all the video we have, unfortunately. it was pure happenstance that I even got that clip.

[16] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-19-2009 at 02:36 PM • top

Shellfish, of course, is usually considered to be permitted in light of Mark 7:18-19, and Acts 10:9-15.  One considers the famous debate between Fr. Rutler and the vegetarian.

I’m not seeing a text approving homosexuality, though.

[17] Posted by The Abbot on 01-19-2009 at 02:39 PM • top

It would be helpful if a downlable video of her answer coule be provide in order that it could be e-mailed.  I have sent a copy of this article to 10 of my Episopal friends and have asked them to share it with 10 of their friends.
The only reason that the revisionist have been able to hijack the Episcopal Church is nobody is paying attention to what they are doing.
Shine the light on their activity and we might have a chance to save our church.

[18] Posted by trdaitional on 01-19-2009 at 02:40 PM • top

Another desecration of the sanctuary.

[19] Posted by MasterServer on 01-19-2009 at 02:43 PM • top

Interesting, that when she announces that there are different interpretations of Scripture, you attack her for not believing in the authority of Scripture!

The authority of Scripture does not depend on Greg Griffith’s literal approach to it—at least not in traditional Anglican, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestantism and the Orthodox churches. In fact, the Biblical literalism expounded by those who refer to themselves as “orthodox” is anything but orthodox.

When you, Robert Gagnon, Wm. Witt and others take bits and pieces of Scripture, without noting the large amount of Scripture that contradicts them, I would urge you to write a major piece on those famous words of Jesus: “hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus’ embrace of the marginalized is just the opposite of SF’s intent on burying them, despite what Leviticus and Paul say.

The PB’s comments recorded in Time Magazine and expanded upon many times and places does, in fact, reflect the overwhelming witness of Jesus and of the authors of our Christian Scriptures (and even official Roman Catholic doctrine).  The evidence is so clear that one almost has to conclude that these attacks are on the woman, not her public statements.

[20] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-19-2009 at 02:47 PM • top

Greg - at least she didn’t bring up David or the Centurion’s pais (servant) as scriptural evidence that God does bless homoerotic relationships.

Good Job!  Thanks for standing up to her and Standing Firm for the faith.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[21] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-19-2009 at 02:50 PM • top

RE: “I have sent a copy of this article to 10 of my Episopal friends and have asked them to share it with 10 of their friends.”

Fantastic, traditional.  I’m thinking others will do the same.

[22] Posted by Sarah on 01-19-2009 at 02:52 PM • top

Greg,
“When we do things like this - show up on a Sunday afternoon and challenge the direction and “leadership” of revisionists in this church - we accomplish two important things:”  I also think it must really bother them because they thought all the troublemakers had left the building (TEC). I’m waiting for a question that KJS hasn’t been coached on previously.

[23] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-19-2009 at 02:54 PM • top

TBW (#20) you said:

When you, Robert Gagnon, Wm. Witt and others take bits and pieces of Scripture, without noting the large amount of Scripture that contradicts them, I would urge you to write a major piece on those famous words of Jesus: “hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

I challenge you to show where Scripture contradicts the prohibition on homosexual sex.  Can you show where the scriptural prohibitions on homoerotic relationships are taken out of context or where Holy Scripture does any one of the four things concerning homoerotic relationships:
1.  God ordains it in creation
2.  Jesus is present at the blessing of a homoerotic relationship
3.  Paul says it signifies the union between Christ and the Church
4.  Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

Can you show where the restrictions on Gentile converts in Acts 15 no longer apply?  Can you show where the Apostles did not consider homoerotic relationships to be forbidden?

It is actually the reappraisers who are taking scripture out of context and twisting its plain meaning to suit the prejudices, not the reasserters.  (At least in this case)

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[24] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-19-2009 at 02:56 PM • top

But TWB#20, I thought she was ‘misquoted’ in Time Magazine?

[25] Posted by Pigeon on 01-19-2009 at 03:05 PM • top

I hope I have earned enough “street cred” here not to be taken for a troll.

What about “blood” and English “blood pudding”? Acts 15 is clear that prohibitions against eating blood as decreed in Lev 17-19 should be retained. How has this tradition survived in Christian countries for so many centuries?

[26] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 03:09 PM • top

#20 Good grief - here we go again. Yes - Our Lord called sinners to repentance. No - your view of NT interpretation is not widely held in my experience (doctoral NT research, attended NT academic conferences in Europe and USA) - it’s in my experience a minority view amongst NT scholars. Just look at the papers at SBL, or in JBL or NTS or CBQ.

Making the same claim again and again when it has been reasonably disputed (and evidence presented that it is untrue) begins to look argumentative at best and maybe even intentionally deceitful - given that most folks who read you will have no great experience NT scholarship. (I do wonder at your own knowledge of the breadth of NT scholarship. I intend no insult - I’m just trying to work out why you repeatedly make such broad claims about the world of NT scholarship that are so implausible).

[27] Posted by driver8 on 01-19-2009 at 03:15 PM • top

TBWSantaFE,

As for “official Roman Catholic doctrine” are you referring to Catholic doctrine on the reading of Scripture, such as   Dei Verbum<a>, <a href=“http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_30091943_divino-afflante-spiritu_en.html”>Divine Afflante Spiritu, and Providentissimus Deus; Catholic teaching on homosexuality, such as in the Catechism (starting at, say, para. 2357) or in the 1986 letter from then Cardinal Ratzinger and the CDF on behalf of John Paul II to the Bishops; or Catholic teaching about how salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ such as in, say, Dominus Iesus

I’m curious as to a) which doctrines you are referencing, and b) where you are getting them from? I do not see much agreement between Ms. Schori and my sources, but I’m willing to entertain the possibility that I may be reading them wrong. 

Respectfully,

THe Abbot

[28] Posted by The Abbot on 01-19-2009 at 03:15 PM • top

Should have known that Tom Woodward would show up on this thread and try and derail it to be about him and his interpretation on Scripture and take the focus off of KJS and her heresies!

[29] Posted by TLDillon on 01-19-2009 at 03:18 PM • top

Mr. Woodward #20,

You’re appealing to the “traditional Anglican, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestantism and the Orthodox” understanding of Scripture here (so you vainly think, anyway), yet we know you reject the traditional Anglican, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestantism and Orthodox teaching that sexual immorality is wrong, which is based, to a significant extent, on those groups’ understanding of Scripture.  What is that kind of picking and choosing suppose to prove, other than intellectual hypocrisy on your part?

[30] Posted by Phil on 01-19-2009 at 03:24 PM • top

#29 Let’s get back to the Presiding Bishop and Greg’s version of the “Thriller in Manila”. Ding, ding…

[31] Posted by driver8 on 01-19-2009 at 03:33 PM • top

The PB’s comments recorded in Time Magazine and expanded upon many times and places does, in fact, reflect the overwhelming witness of Jesus and of the authors of our Christian Scriptures (and even official Roman Catholic doctrine).  The evidence is so clear that one almost has to conclude that these attacks are on the woman, not her public statements.

Tom Woodward,

Contemporary theologians who deal with the specific question asked of the Presiding Bishop generally distinguish between three positions: 1) exclusivism—salvation comes only through explicit faith in Jesus Christ; 2) pluralism—there are many paths to salvation, and Jesus Christ is one path among others, or, put another way, Jesus Christ is the path for Christians, but not necessarily for others; 3) inclusivism—Jesus Christ is the exclusive path to salvation; however, this does not demand that all who are saved by Christ have explicit faith in Christ; 4) Recently George Sumner has pointed to a fourth position which he calls particularism—it is the position supported by theologians like J.A. Dinoia and James Griffiths.  Again, Dinoia and Griffiths affirm that salvation comes exclusively through Christ, yet there are not happy with the way this is formulated either by the exclusivists or the inclusivists.

The Presiding Bishop has been asked the question so many times that her position is indeed clear.  She is a pluralist in the tradition of John Hick.  There are many paths to salvation and Jesus Christ is “a way” for those who call themselves Christians.  Other religions have their own ways.  This is a far cry from the Roman Catholic position, which is either inclusivist (Karl Rahner) or particularist (Dinoia and Griffiths).

The only way to pretend that the Presiding Bishop’s position is the same as the Roman Catholic position is to reduce the possible positions to two only: 1) exclusivisim, and 2) pluralism, and then to read the Roman Catholic position as if it is pluralist.  It is not.

I have read you (and others) defend the Presiding Bishop on numerous occasions.  In each case, they have argued (without evidence) that the Presiding Bishop is an inclusivist, or, they have falsely read the Roman Catholic position as pluralism.  The plain reading of the Presiding Bishop’s answer is “pluralist,” not “inclusivist” or “particularist.”  The plain reading of the Documents of Vatican II, or of theologians like Karl Rahner, is “inclusivist.” If you have evidence that the PB has ever qualified her statement to make clear that she is not a pluralist, please present the evidence.  Otherwise, please cease from making unsubstantiated claims. 

When you, Robert Gagnon, Wm. Witt and others take bits and pieces of Scripture, without noting the large amount of Scripture that contradicts them, I would urge you to write a major piece on those famous words of Jesus: “hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Not at all necessary.  I would refer you to Gagnon’s own book, or, perhaps to the magisterial work of Richard Hays on The Moral Vision of the New Testament, both of which show in a careful way how New Testament exegesis is done, and the heremeneutical application of the NT to contemporary practice. 

That you so casually refer to “the large amount of Scripture that contradicts [other passages of Scripture)” seriously calls into question your many claims that you [and the Episcopal Majority] are simply a traditional orthodox Anglican, and those who disagree with you are Fundamentalists who have departed from Anglican tradition.  Anglican hermeneutical principles are laid down in the 39 Articles, art. 6, 7, and 20.  Your statement contradicts art. 20: “[I]t is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.”  The Presiding Bishop’s pluralist theology contradicts art. 18.

[32] Posted by William Witt on 01-19-2009 at 03:36 PM • top

I wish there was a video of Schori’s red face after the person asked about the Leviticus 18:22 question.  That would be priceless.

[33] Posted by doogal123 on 01-19-2009 at 03:49 PM • top

subscribe

[34] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 01-19-2009 at 03:49 PM • top

Sigh.

Further divisive comments from William Witt—attacking smears too.

What shall we do?

[35] Posted by Sarah on 01-19-2009 at 03:52 PM • top

The Presiding Bishop’s pluralist theology contradicts art. 18.

Reason <i>n<> that the PB (and numerous other pluralist TEC leaders) should not have even made it through the discernment process prior to having been approved for holy orders.

[36] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 01-19-2009 at 03:53 PM • top

Further to William Witt’s comment, look, if Tom Woodward wants us to color (as he imagines it) pieces of Scripture with the whole corpus, can we be consistent and do the same thing for Katharine Jefferts Schori?  After all, the Time comment doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  Far from it; NPR followed up on this very question, and Schori doubled down:

Robin Young [NPR]: TIME asked you an interesting question, we thought, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?” And your answer, equally interesting, you said “We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.” And I read that and I said “What are you: a Unitarian?!?” [laughs]

What are you– that is another concern for people, because, they say Scripture says that Jesus says he was The Light and The Way and the only way to God the Father.

Bishop Schori: Christians understand that Jesus is the route to God. Umm– that is not to say that Muslims, or Sikhs, or Jains, come to God in a radically different way. They come to God through… human experience.. through human experience of the divine. Christians talk about that in terms of Jesus.

Robin Young: So you’re saying there are other ways to God.

Bishop Schori: Uhh… human communities have always searched for relationship that which is beyond them.. with the ultimate.. with the divine. For Christians, we say that our route to God is through Jesus. Uhh.. uh.. that doesn’t mean that a Hindu.. uh.. doesn’t experience God except through Jesus. It-it-it says that Hindus and people of other faith traditions approach God through their.. own cultural contexts; they relate to God, they experience God in human relationships, as well as ones that transcend human relationships; and Christians would say those are our experiences of Jesus; of God through the experience of Jesus.

So, it is clear that Schori expresses a naked pluralism here.  Worse, she appears to believe that, not only is Christianity only one of the many, equally valid ways of experiencing the divine life-force, but those ways are all pretty much made up out of the whole cloth of our cultures in our blundering search for something transcendent in our lives.

We see also, by the way, that Schori skirts on expressing what is perhaps a corollary to all of this, namely that God is a construct of human interaction with one another.  Good grief.

Transcripts such as these can’t capture what may have really been going on in Schori’s head, i.e., it is recorded as Christians would say those are our experiences of Jesus, when, in context, it appears what was meant was Christians would say those are our experiences of “Jesus.”

[37] Posted by Phil on 01-19-2009 at 03:54 PM • top

Boy it sure ain’t pretty when the mask gets ripped off.

[38] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 01-19-2009 at 03:55 PM • top

Arise Gregory, kill and eat.  Does anyone want to bet a dime she won’t last 10 years?  Especially if the remaining ECUSA laity who believe anything keep pummeling her like this?  FINALLY someone both thought of something to ask her AND asked it.  Keep em flying, keep her ducking.  Towel will be thrown soon enough.

[39] Posted by nwlayman on 01-19-2009 at 04:01 PM • top

Tom Woodward refers to Jesus’ statement in Matt. 22:40: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  The two commandments are, of course, the commandments to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew makes clear what he understands this to entail in 5:17 when Jesus says: ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”

Richard Hays is clear on the meaning of “love” in the NT:

From his chapter on “Homosexuality” in Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996).

“What the New Testament means by ‘love’ is embodied concretely in the cross. . . . The content of the word ‘love’ is given fully and exclusively in the death of Jesus on the cross; apart from this specific narrative image, the term has no meaning. . . . The biblical story tells us that God’s love cannot be reduced to ‘inclusiveness’; authentic love calls us to repentance, discipline, sacrifice, and transformation. . . . We can recover the power of love only by insisting that love’s meaning is to be discovered in the New Testament story of Jesus—therefore, in the cross.” (202)

In his last column in the recent issue of First Things, Richard Neuhaus well summarized the inclusivist reading of the New Testament.  It is as if Jesus had said: “If you love me, you won’t keep my commandments.”

[40] Posted by William Witt on 01-19-2009 at 04:03 PM • top

#9 pb LOYALIST.
Have you ever made a garment with 2 different fabrics? Try it and tell me what happens after washing and also how it wears. Do the 2 different fabrics wear evenly. To go beyond your query have you ever had shellfish that had been shipped without refrigeration, or left out of refrigerator to long, as it was in biblical times. have you ever seen a farmer who sowed wheat and oats or barley in the same field? Not if they know what they are doing. ripening is at difeerent times and then how to seoarate the seed is another matter. So everything in leviticus was given as a law to help the people live a good life by being healthy, by having clothing that fit and wore right, and by having the instructions on not just how to plant, but most things in ones life.

[41] Posted by art+ on 01-19-2009 at 04:05 PM • top

When you, Robert Gagnon, Wm. Witt and others take bits and pieces of
Scripture, without noting the large amount of Scripture that contradicts
them, I would urge you to write a major piece on those famous words of
Jesus: “hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

I am amazed at the ignorance of the revisionists on the person and work of Christ. I think this person needs instruction since he seems to completely misunderstand this passage. So I would ask this person, “Who is Christ and what did he do for you?”

The context of this verse is from Matthew 22. Immediately after Jesus answers the Pharisees’ question on which commandment is most important [by telling them that love for God and neighbor is manifest in obeying the laws of God and that the prophets prophesy of him (eg: he is the Christ who came to lay down his life and die for us)]. Jesus then asks the Pharisees (who do not understand who he is and why he came) this question? “Whose son is the Christ?”

This is the important question from this passage. Who Christ is and what he did for us are facts upon which all our faith hangs… this is the question the revisionists do not appear to understand. IMO, If they understood the person and work of Christ they would fight for the truth not against it.

[42] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 04:06 PM • top

Good points #41 art! Made me think of the washing and caring instructions on our clothing we buy and wear. An angora sweater will not fit well if washed and dried! And that pre-cooked rump roast may not taste as good if I over cook it with out knowing the proper temperature and time at which to cook it! smile

[43] Posted by TLDillon on 01-19-2009 at 04:12 PM • top

Greg-
Do not get too close to any TEC bishops, or one of them will ordain you so that KJS can have you deposed.

[44] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-19-2009 at 04:13 PM • top

Tom Woodward refers to Jesus’ statement in Matt. 22:40: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The two commandments are, of course, the commandments to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” 

The reappraisers keep bringing the above up as if it replaces the 10 commandments. When in actuality it is summarizing them with the first 4 being covered by Love the Lord your God and the next 6 by love your neighbor as yourself. I always get the feeling that they are discarding the 10 commandments and using the summary because it is feely good to them and they dont have to hear what they are not supposed to do, what is actually sin.

[45] Posted by art+ on 01-19-2009 at 04:17 PM • top

On the fabrics:  preiestly garments were made of linen and wool.  This combination was holy to the Lord and thus was not to be mixed otherwise.  Also muche of the law is concerned with the separation of Israel form the other nations and served to mark the Hebrews as a distinct people.

[46] Posted by Br. Michael on 01-19-2009 at 04:19 PM • top

tj,

I already thought of that - that’s why I recently had my spine bolted to the rest of my skeleton. Hard to ordain someone when you can’t remove their spine.

[47] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-19-2009 at 04:19 PM • top

[comment deleted as off-topic - NRA, contact me via private message on this if you like - G.]

[48] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 01-19-2009 at 04:39 PM • top

In re [20], When I was growing up we had peewee leagues of various kinds that helped build the skills necessary and sustaining interest in the various sports. So for example, the young folk who were learning hockey were taught to set up and shoot at the goal. It really didn’t matter that the shot went wide, or petered out halfway there - the shot was the important thing. Because it was all about encouraging those whose skills were not yet honed, or needed extra help and encouragement. Likewise I think TBW, is in one of those liberal/progressive groups that self-congratulates when they merely get a “shot off”, rather than honestly be on target or even scoring a legitimate point. Its more about “hey you guys! I went out to that StandFirm site and told them what’s what! Gave them the old ‘not literal, not traditional like the big guys, and scripture contradicts itself - right between the eyes, man! Right between the eyes!’ They were all like sputtering the usual crap they do about Scripture being the word of God and stuff. I so owned them!” And of course there’s PB L chiming in with “yeah me too! I got them with the old shrimp and same fabric cloth hit on one hand and the (heh-heh) menstruating woman one with the other! Left them staggered man - just staggered.”

So TBW and PB L, just for the record, shots in the right direction, but way wide of the mark and way short, but hey excellent effort, and keep practicing. The purpose is of course to actually hit the goal, so swinging and hitting the puck is good, aiming in the right direction is even better, but hitting the goal is what you want to do.

Remember, in a scholarly argument, a solid command of the facts in evidence is to your advantage. General statements like “everyone knows”, some NT scholars have challenged, 4 out of 5 dentists, and so forth, do not count and will be disregarded. So collect the facts, not hearsay, collect majority opinion by experts in the field, not a couple of sideline crackpots with dreams of DaVinci Code popularity, and please don’t try to sell your own opinion as fact. We are a well-read and educated lot here, and what we can’t verify immediately from our own background is searchable on the intertubes. And denying the facts in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary flags you as simply petulant and dishonest, not heroic and sacrificial as you seem to think.

[49] Posted by masternav on 01-19-2009 at 04:43 PM • top

Hi #41 art+,

Thank you for your reply. And it is a disaster to try to launder wool as if it were cotton, for example. And we certainly can’t bleach linen as we would cotton.

It also occurs to me that there could be a kind of fraud by mixing a less expensive fabric with a more expensive one and then trying to sell the textile as being all of the more expensive fabric. We have the labels sewn in with the contents listed, but I wonder what it was like for people buying fabric before that.

[50] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 05:04 PM • top

Greg,
Many, many thanks for every attempt to help the PB & TEC see the error of their ways.  But don’t you really see this is like spitting in the ocean?  You wind up with a dry mouth and never raise the water level!

[51] Posted by CanaAnglican on 01-19-2009 at 05:04 PM • top

“We are a well-read and educated lot here.”
Speak for yourself Masternav!

[52] Posted by DaveG on 01-19-2009 at 05:13 PM • top

Oh Dave, I cannot proffer accolades on my own account, standing as a do a persun of great height potential among those who are of great height. But I do get a great view of scholarly knees from this vantage point!!!

[53] Posted by masternav on 01-19-2009 at 05:16 PM • top

I was looking at the block of Leviticus that Dr Witt referred to up in comment #2, Lev 17-19. I am thinking that this is the basis for Act 15:19-21. And was surprised to see the “Love your neighbor as yourself” is in there.

Lev 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

That makes me think that Jesus was referring to Leviticus 19 in the passage in Matt 22:36-40.

[54] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 05:19 PM • top

I will respond to Wm. Witt - and gratefully for his kind and generous response. I believe ++Katharine’s position is very close to your description (#3) of the inclusive theory. I believe that is the view closest to a Biblical theology, though I agree with her that while we make our affirmations of our own deep belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior and as the way to salvation we cannot proscribe actions of the Holy Trinity.  Were we dealing with a finite universe and complete knowledge with no room for any but a single interpretation, that would be one thing—but I agree, we cannot say “God cannot act in any way not approved or defined by our doctrine.”

To others: From time to time I post observations here because I believe a balancing view is important—especially in view of such absolute certainty and, from time to time, such unnecessary attacks on people I know and love. I note that whenever I or other visitors make comments, most of the responses are intended to demean or attack. It was fruitless for Bruce Garner to respond with his mind and his heart—just as it is fruitless for me to make observations. I will respond to honest questions or concerns on my blog. I agree with Sarah Hey that these threads are not about me.

[55] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-19-2009 at 05:20 PM • top

Dr. Witt,
Even looking at Lev 17-19, we do find the ones about sex with a woman during her period and about the mingling of two types of fabric. What do you say about those?

Off the top of my head, I don’t have anything to say.  I’m a Systematic Theologian, not an exegete. I am aware that those two statements and the statement about not eating blood are in this passage.

However, I think it helpful to look at the passage carefully to discern by context to whom the commands are addressed.

Portions seem addressed to Israel and Israel only: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them, This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. If any one of the house of Israel . . . ” (17:2-3). 

Other parts clearly apply to the sojourner: “And you shall say to them, Any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them . . . If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them. . .”

The passage about two kinds of garment (along with commands about beard trimming and tatoos) occurs in a section addressed to Israel: “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them . . . “

The sexual offenses in 18:1-23 are considered grievous, and are the reason that the nations in Canaan were driven out, and they clearly apply to the sojourner as well: “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. . . . Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.”

The list of offenses are such that they would be repudiated by any civilized peoples: incest, adultery, child sacrifice, bestiality, and, of course, homosexuality.

Even among the commands addressed specifically to Israel, the vast majority of the commands are what we would call moral rather than ceremonial: commands against theft, oppression of the poor, false swearing in court, hatred, vengeance, making one’s daughter a prostitute.  And the sojourner appears again—as one who should be treated as oneself.  The command to love the neighbor as the self—the second statement of the summary of the love—appears in 19:17.

The commands about blood eating and sex during menstruation seem rather odd to us, but the Acts 15 prohibition clearly echoes this passage.  A friend of mine commented after hearing a revisionist try to make his case that the Leviticus commands didn’t apply: “You’ve not convinced me about homosexuality, but I might think twice about eating blood sausage.”

Clearly, given the surrounding textual context, the burden of proof is on those who are claiming that the prohibition of same-sex relations is not a moral prohibition, but a purity regulation—unless, of course, we want to argue that prohibitions of incest, adultery, bestiality, and child sacrifice are also mere purity regulations. (Every single one of these would meet with social disapprove today, and, in one or two cases, imprisonment.)

The later Christian distinctions between moral, ritual, civil, and ecclesial law attempt to set forth some ready to hand principles to decide what applies, and what doesn’t.  But the distinctions themself are justified not only by Jesus’ statement about clean and unclean foods, Paul’s discussions of circumcision, and the Acts 15 passage, but also the kinds of distinctions that appear in this Leviticus text itself.

Obviously not every case is going to be clear cut.  Mixing of two kinds of fabric, not trimming the edges of one’s beard, and commandments about sacrifice seem to have a specific ritual context.  Commandments against incest, bestiality, rape and theft, are clearly moral.  The two prohibitions you mention above seem like anomalies.  Immediate context indicates what the ancient Israelites thought about homosexuality.  They believed it equivalent to adultery, Molech worship, or bestiality.

[56] Posted by William Witt on 01-19-2009 at 05:22 PM • top

Question for Matt+, Dr. Witt, or another knowledgeable commenter:  The PB’s standard response, it’s clear, to her “box” comments are to point to the Jews and the Muslims.  What’s the reasserter response to that?  It occurs to me that I grew up hearing that the covenant with the Jews had been fulfilled in Jesus, not that it continued unchanged.  I’m not sure what I heard about Hagar and Ishmael.

[57] Posted by DavidH on 01-19-2009 at 05:35 PM • top

I will respond to Wm. Witt - and gratefully for his kind and generous response. I believe ++Katharine’s position is very close to your description (#3) of the inclusive theory. I believe that is the view closest to a Biblical theology, though I agree with her that while we make our affirmations of our own deep belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior and as the way to salvation we cannot proscribe actions of the Holy Trinity.

Tom Woodward,

Thank you in kind for your kind and generous response.  I find it interesting that you believe that KJS’s position in “inclusivist,” not pluralist.  I have read others who have interpreted her this way as well.  As Phil shows in #37 above, her own elaborations seem nakedly pluralist.  I have read countless interviews and sermons of the PB, and have yet to see any qualification that would lead me to believe otherwise.

To say that we “cannot proscribe (prescribe?) actions of the Holy Trinity” when speaking of “Jesus Christ as the Savior and as the way of salvation” has echoes of Nestorianism IMHO.  The whole point of the doctrine of the Trinity is that God is in himself who he has revealed himself to be in Jesus.  The arguments of Athanasius, the Cappadocians, and Cyril of Alexandria about the true deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity were largely to the effect that Jesus Christ must be truly God because only God can save.  To say that Jesus is “the Savior,” and yet the Trinity can save apart from Jesus is to separate the persons, and simply to miss the point of the incarnation.

[58] Posted by William Witt on 01-19-2009 at 05:38 PM • top

TBW (#55)
While you may believe that +KJS holds the “inclusivist” theory (that theory holds that the saved are saved through the work of Jesus Christ - even when they haven’t accepted that work personally) rather than the pluralist view (where they are saved by their own expience of the divine).  Here is a quote from +KJS on that issue:

[T]hat is not to say that Muslims, or Sikhs, or Jains, come to God in a radically different way. <b>They come to God through… human experience.. through human experience of the divine. Christians talk about that in terms of Jesus</b). (emphasis mine)

First, Christians do not about the “human experience of the divine” in terms of Jesus.  We talk about Jesus as divine.  Jesus is not just the human experience of the divine, he is divinity itself.  Second, no one comes to God through human experience - not even Christians.  Salvation is an act of God, not a human experience. Perhaps there are other quotes from +KJS that show here to hold an inclusivist view, but I have not found any.  This quote’s most simple explaination is that she holds a pluralist view and believes that non-Christians are saved by their experience and not by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[59] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-19-2009 at 05:42 PM • top

btw, sorry about the bold.  I thought I had a close tag in there.
Phil Snyder

[60] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-19-2009 at 05:43 PM • top

I don’t understand - the standard early christian response to the rise of Islamic theology is to find in it a heretical distortion of christian truth. 

I find it astonishing that the PB, who seems wedded to the most historicizing hermeneutic in other places (eg in her interpretation of Leviticus), could interpret the Covenant with Ishmael as having anything to do with Islam at all. At the least centuries (and more probably millennia) separate the covenant with Ishmael from the rise of Islam and there is no conceivable sense in which the original intention of the author of Genesis could include reference to Islam.  If consistency had more significance in her theology, one might reasonably have expected her to see it as concerning relations between ancient Israel and her neighbors.

Romans 9 - 11 is where I would begin to look for guidance on how Christ fulfills the Covenant made with Israel. It’s best I think to see God keeping all his covenants through Christ.

[61] Posted by driver8 on 01-19-2009 at 05:54 PM • top

What’s the reasserter response to that?  It occurs to me that I grew up hearing that the covenant with the Jews had been fulfilled in Jesus, not that it continued unchanged.  I’m not sure what I heard about Hagar and Ishmael.

There was NEVER a covenant with Hagar and Ishmael. And Jesus did fulfill the law and did pay the penalty for our sin.

I think re-asserters will really like this resource. I cannot say enough good about this man and I think he will suit Anglican tastes. Michael Horton, an excellent Dutch Reformed pastor and professor at Westminster Seminary (CA) wrote a good book on this subject titled, God of Promise:
http://www.amazon.com/God-Promise-Introducing-Covenant-Theology/dp/0801012899

[62] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 06:02 PM • top

Thank you so much, Dr. Witt.

Now as I look at Lev 18 (something I have always found embarrassing and not quite “nice” to read) I realize that this is where we find the list ordering of incest, then adultery (i.e. neighbor’s wife, child sacrifice, homosexuality, and then bestiality. So, when homosexuals take offense that someone is equating homosexual behavior with incest and bestiality, the answer is that they are placed next to each other in the OT, this is how the OT lists these cases of sexual morality.  However, it is inappropriate to equate homosexual behavior with child sexual abuse (child sacrifice, yes, but not child sexual abuse).

I left out the one about having sex with a woman during her period. But now it occurs to me that that does fit in to the list if we understand that God’s purpose in giving sexuality to people is for procreation. Then sex with a woman during her period, homosexual behavior, bestiality and child sacrifice all circumvent the intention of procreation.

So first we see sex which disrespects family or neighbor, i.e., incest and adultery, then we see the types of sex that disrespects God intention for sex as procreation, i.e., sex with a woman during her period, homosexual behavior, bestiality and child sacrifice.

[63] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 06:04 PM • top

What’s the reasserter response to that?  It occurs to me that I grew up hearing that the covenant with the Jews had been fulfilled in Jesus, not that it continued unchanged.  I’m not sure what I heard about Hagar and Ishmael.

Gal. 4:21-31 is where Paul deals specifically with Hagar and Ishmael.  As drive8 points out (#61), Romans 9-11 deals specifically with Israel. 

The point of both passages is—as Paul says in Gal. 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise,” and (in contrast to Hagar’s slavery), 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free: stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  And in Rom. 10 (in the midst of his discussion of Israel): “[I]f you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. . . . For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [Jesus, v. 10] will be saved.”

Paul imagines no separate covenant for Israel or the descendants of Ishmael apart from God’s salvation in Jesus Christ.

[64] Posted by William Witt on 01-19-2009 at 06:10 PM • top

The exchanges in this thread well illustrate the outright futility of “the listening process”.  Practitioners of revisionism may hear what “reasserters” are saying, but there certainly is precious little listening occurring by revisionists.  On the other hand, revisionists staunchly utilize all the rhetorical devices in the arsenal (redirection, misdirection, misinterpretation of fact, filibuster, stonewalling, ad hominem, misrepresentation, delay, appeals to humanly ideated issues of justice, ad nauseam, ad infinitum) with the goal of wearing down all opposition.  Revisionists are full well aware - the honest ones, that is - that they are fighting the ancient faith and its concomitant theology with modern/postmodern human ideology.  Revisionism represents a misplaced faith - in humankind and our idea of the “divine”, rather than in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who reveals that what truly counts is faith in Him - not faith in the practically royal “us” - and His idea (will/purpose/plan) for us. 

Revisionism has the net effect of the question that appears at Genesis 3:1, “Did God actually say…?”.

Two faiths cannot possibly co-exist under the same roof.

[65] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 01-19-2009 at 06:35 PM • top

I hope this further comment helps on the issue of Ishmael.

Genesis 17 clearly shows that Isaac is the child promised by God and chosen by God to be given a covenant. God agrees to bless Ishmael for Abraham’s sake, but will not establish any covenant with him. If you remember the story, Ishmael was conceived by Hagar because Abraham and Sarah tried to help God fulfill his promise to them. They got tired of waiting for God to fulfill his promise and give them Isaac.

Paul distinguishes between the two women and the two children in Galatians 4 when he shows the differences. Isaac is the legitimate heir given by God’s promise and Ishmael is the slave’s child made by human effort. Paul uses the term ‘2 covenants’ allegorically (which is clearly stated in the text)

To try to put the matter succinctly, to be saved by grace is to receive the promise/covenant with Isaac. To try to be saved by the law (human effort), is to be Ishmael, the slave’s child. As we all know, We are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by any human efforts at keeping the law (Please purchase Michael Horton’s book, “God of Promise” - it truly lays out the OT & NT covenants well)


Genesis 17:19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. [d] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

Galatians 4:21Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

[66] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 06:45 PM • top

Please get this book if you want to blow Schori’s twisting of scriptures to smithereens.

There was NEVER a covenant with Hagar and Ishmael. And Jesus did fulfill the law and did pay the penalty for our sin. The promise came through Isaac not Ishmael.

I think re-asserters will really like this resource. I cannot say enough good about this man and I think he will suit Anglican tastes. Michael Horton, an excellent Dutch Reformed pastor and professor at Westminster Seminary (CA) wrote a good book on this subject titled, God of Promise:
http://www.amazon.com/God-Promise-Introducing-Covenant-Theology/dp/0801012899

[67] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 07:02 PM • top

A couple of observations: first, it was pointed out, correctly I believe, that the New Testament continues the moral commandments laid down in Leviticus and elsewhere in the OT, but not necessarily the ones which were to keep people living in camps from dying of food poisoning, and indeed we “gentile converts” seem to be excused from any food laws in Acts, as has also already been pointed out. That having been said, #26, my English wife assures me that blood pudding contains no blood!
Second, right on, Phil Snyder and William Witt!!!!!!
desertpadre

[68] Posted by desertpadre on 01-19-2009 at 07:24 PM • top

Bishop Schori: Uhh… human communities have always searched for relationship that which is beyond them.. with the ultimate.. with the divine. For Christians, we say that our route to God is through Jesus. Uhh.. uh.. that doesn’t mean that a Hindu.. uh.. doesn’t experience God except through Jesus. It-it-it says that Hindus and people of other faith traditions approach God through their.. own cultural contexts; they relate to God, they experience God in human relationships, as well as ones that transcend human relationships; and Christians would say those are our experiences of Jesus; of God through the experience of Jesus.
—————————————————————————————
So if ++Katie is actually a Bahai (or maybe a Theosophist) in disguise, why does he want to wear that multicolored pointy hat?
Rdr. James
PS Sorry, I didn’t want to take time to figure out how to do a quote..
Olympia, WA

[69] Posted by rdrjames on 01-19-2009 at 07:32 PM • top

Early in the Second Century there arose a theologian called Marcion. He thought that there were two Gods in the Bible, a punitive, angry, legalist God, and the Christian God. On this basis he ‘outed’ all of the Old Testament, most of the Epistles and large parts of the Gospels as sub-Christian, leaving as Scripture really only the ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild’ parts of the Gospels. His view was rejected as aberrant before he died, but never died with him, for it has been popping up again at intervals ever since. It is actually in modern terms a variant of anti-Semitism, for it flourished among the ‘German Christians’ during the Third Reich. Article VII was written to contradict the Marcionite heresy. It states among other things that in the New Covenant we are still to obey “those commandments which are called moral”.

        Why was Marcion mistaken? First and foremost, one cannot disentangle two ideas of God from one another in revelation: they are completely interwoven, the idea of His love and the idea that out of love He gives us standards and is angry when they are broken. Marcion ignored the teaching of Jesus Himself, that His Bible was one, and that the apostolic witness too was to be inspired and one with it. He ignored the position that is Dominical, Pauline and that of the writer to the Hebrews, that Christian people are obliged to ‘fulfil’ all of the Law which remains unfulfilled in the Person and Work of Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit to follow His example of a perfect obedience to its demands. He went in for ‘DIY’ integration, or non-integration, of Scripture; the Church said that the broad method of approaching the diversity within Scripture was already contained within Scripture: Jesus was the supreme authority over the whole, the interpretation of the Old Testament was to be governed by that of the New, and the meaning of the whole caboodle, whatever that was reverently found to be, was to be believed and obeyed.

        Furthermore, Article VI states, again in accordance with catholic doctrine, that Scripture contains perspicuously all that everyone needs to know about salvation (which as you all know includes sanctification and glorification in the New Testament view). Article XX says that the Church has no right “so to expound” one passage of Scripture “as to be repugnant to another”. It adds that the Church has no authority to require anyone to believe ‘extras’ (e.g. the necessity of baptising sinful behaviour as a part of being ‘loving’) which are not demonstrable from Scripture.

        It is in accordance with the catholic view of Scripture that as great a New Testament scholar as the still-living C.F.D. Moule said in my hearing when lecturing on Romans, “The Jew attempted to keep the Law in order that he might be saved; we are saved in order that we may keep the Law.”

As I wrote years ago in my Dialogue with Hugh.

Charlie Moule has gone to glory now, but otherwise I think this part of my argument still sound.

Nothing new under the sun ...

[70] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-19-2009 at 07:43 PM • top

Greg—I add my thanks to you as well.  Your comments about being more organized at future meetings put me in the mind of this SF gem from July 9th, 2008—http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/14113/

It seems that a review of and familiarity with the Delphi Technique may have some value even in these sorts of meetings.

Blessings,
Susan Jones Engelhardt

[71] Posted by Summersnow on 01-19-2009 at 07:51 PM • top

DavidH, SjB, Re: the “covenent” (more poperly, “promise”) with Hagar & Ishmael
Gen 16:10&12;“The angel of the LORD also said to her, ‘I will so greatly multiply your decendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude….Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.  He shall be a wild ass of a man and every man’s hand will be against him; and he shall dwell overagainst all his kinsmen.’”  And to Abraham: Gen 17:20 “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I will make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of 12 princes, and I will make him a great nation.  But I will establish my Covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”

The Covenant with Isaac was fulfilled in Jesus.  The promise concerning Ishmael is still being fulfilled; his decendants are a big part of the Arab world.

[72] Posted by Frances S Scott on 01-19-2009 at 08:11 PM • top

I’m not sure if this comment is directed or partially directed towards some of the comments I made:

Early in the Second Century there arose a theologian called Marcion. He thought that there were two Gods in the Bible, a punitive, angry, legalist God, and the Christian God. On this basis he ‘outed’ all of the Old Testament, most of the Epistles and large parts of the Gospels as sub-Christian, leaving as Scripture really only the ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild’ parts of the Gospels. His view was rejected as aberrant before he died, but never died with him, for it has been popping up again at intervals ever since. It is actually in modern terms a variant of anti-Semitism, for it flourished among the ‘German Christians’ during the Third Reich. Article VII was written to contradict the Marcionite heresy. It states among other things that in the New Covenant we are still to obey “those commandments which are called moral”
Why was Marcion mistaken? First and foremost, one cannot disentangle two ideas of God from one another in revelation: they are completely interwoven, the idea of His love and the idea that out of love He gives us standards and is angry when they are broken. Marcion ignored the teaching of Jesus Himself, that His Bible was one, and that the apostolic witness too was to be inspired and one with it…. Jesus was the supreme authority over the whole, the interpretation of the Old Testament was to be governed by that of the New, and the meaning of the whole caboodle, whatever that was reverently found to be, was to be believed and obeyed.

Furthermore, Article VI states, again in accordance with catholic doctrine, that Scripture contains perspicuously all that everyone needs to know about salvation (which as you all know includes sanctification and glorification in the New Testament view). Article XX says that the Church has no right “so to expound” one passage of Scripture “as to be repugnant to another”. It adds that the Church has no authority to require anyone to believe ‘extras’ (e.g. the necessity of baptising sinful behaviour as a part of being ‘loving’) which are not demonstrable from Scripture.

It is in accordance with the catholic view of Scripture that as great a New Testament scholar as the still-living C.F.D. Moule said in my hearing when lecturing on Romans, “The Jew attempted to keep the Law in order that he might be saved; we are saved in order that we may keep the Law.”

If my comments came off sounding Marconian, I do apologize. What is said in this quote reflects orthodox confessional Lutheranism (not to be confused with the Reichsmark Church that allied with Hitler). I find it interesting to talk with different orthodox confessions because we all say pretty much the same thing, but tend to phrase/word it differently. I think we are both saying that we are saved by grace not works. But we are to obey the moral laws and we are saved to serve/obey with a merry and free heart!  smile

I do assure you that the book I recommended is not in the least Marconian. It is straight-arrow confessional Reformed. I offered it because it is an intelligent well-written book that is probably the best on the subject and it does show the God you so eloquently described. I believe it is very compatible to Anglicanism and would be an asset to your endeavors. smile

[73] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 08:18 PM • top

The question I would have liked to ask would NOT have been about Lev 18:22, but rather Lev 18:6-17 (incest) and Lev 18:23 (bestiality). Neither sin is directly proscribed in any New Testament passage (although a technical form of incest—a man sleeping with his unrelated step-mother—is assumed very scandalous in I Cor).  Therefore since the homosexual passage of Lev 18:22 is supposedly rendered irrelevant (though such behavior is specifically mentioned more than once in the NT) since we don’t eat shellfish…an even more compelling case can be made to allow mothers to marry sons, or a Wyoming shepherd to marry his sheep!

I believe it is vital to reassert at every opportunity the question of whether they recognize the Civil, Ceremonial and Moral parts of the OT law—and if so, why they throw out the homosexual MORAL prohibitions for other than arbitrary reasons.
————-
The Thirty-nine Articles
VII. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. <u>Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.</u>
——————————Another good question would be, “If an older couple, with the woman past menopause, came to you—who were a brother and sister—and told you they were cohabiting sexually, what counsel would you give them and why?”

[74] Posted by banned4Life on 01-19-2009 at 08:23 PM • top

Oh dear… I hope I can clear up this misunderstanding of what I was trying to say… ?

The Covenant with Isaac was fulfilled in Jesus.  The promise concerning Ishmael is still being fulfilled; his decendants are a big part of the Arab world.

I was trying to make the distinction between the two promises because Schori had mangled the meaning so badly. The promise to Ishmael is NOT fulfilled in Christ (redemptive). Please re-read the passages carefully. Notice that the covenant is made with Isaac not Ishmael. Christ is promised to come through Isaac not Ishmael. What God says he will do for Ishmael is temporal in nature and not related to the redemptive promises attached to Christ. 

While it is true that the passage about Ishmael is still being fulfilled in his decendants - it has nothing to do with redemption promises for them. It does help explain the problems in the middle east!

He shall be a wild ass of a man and every man’s hand will be against him; and he shall dwell overagainst all his kinsmen.

[75] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 08:41 PM • top

#49 masternav,
I think your #49 posting is to blogs what a cadenza is to music. Monologistos, Robroy, Martial Artist, Sarah Hey and others on S.F. are great at these types of cadenzas.  I on the other hand am at the “riff rant” level for posting(not be be confused with riff raff). There is still hope for observational learning to occur but not much room remaining on the hard drive.(Sorry I couldn’t reply to your post sooner, I had a Costco run.)
YBIC

[76] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-19-2009 at 08:46 PM • top

Great idea, LuxRex.

The bad news is that revisionists often don’t have a problem with brother-sister incest or with bestiality.

The Rev. Dr. William Countryman who was her New Testament Professor at CDSP actually has it in his book on sexual ethics that bestiality is OK. Really.

[77] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 08:56 PM • top

Re my post #68, my English wife has reconsidered and now says that she thinks blood pudding <b>does<b> actually contain blood. Mia culpa—————But I still think Acts frees us from the dietary restrictions.
desertpadre

[78] Posted by desertpadre on 01-19-2009 at 09:04 PM • top

Hi desert padre,
It is in Acts 15:19-21 that the prohibition against blood is retained:

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

[79] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-19-2009 at 09:09 PM • top

SjB, I wasn’t thinking of you for one moment. It’s your PB, and others of similar views, who are classic Marcionites.

You must remember that all these ‘leaders’ know two paperback books on this whole subject: Boswell and Countryman. Countryman and Boswell. Oh, and let’s not forget Boswell and Countryman.

[80] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-19-2009 at 09:17 PM • top

Many gratitudes Dcn Dale, I believe you grace me entirely too higher with the attribution of candenza. In fact I frequently feel much more “riff-like” in my responses. Hoping largely to be not as discordant as some others, yet with fingers flying, delivering an interval of creativity.

Do not discount your “riff-rant” too much either. I have heard some inspired metal riffing that in its own way does challenge some of the classical orchestral fingering offered under the guise of cadenza. But now see, I have digressed and threatened to move the melody off-topic. Thus realizing, I move to somehow cleverly return the riff to the melody line by a quick shift to note that where I have had to don stage costume for my erstwhile musical experiences, pure spandex was always preferred to a blend for durability, and thus do I return the thread to the Schori commentary about mixing fabric being tolerated in the much more inclusive TEC. And thus do I end my riff with clumsy but well-intentioned rhetorical flourish.

[81] Posted by masternav on 01-19-2009 at 09:22 PM • top

Thanks, Loyalist, I have to agree. I certainly have no intention of knowingly eating anything containing blood—the idea of a pudding made of it turns my not-very-delicate stomach!
desertpadre

[82] Posted by desertpadre on 01-19-2009 at 09:25 PM • top

I admire you for the specific question. Thats the key, be specific and follow up.

Better you than me. A few years ago, I decided that life was too short to be in perennial conflict with my own church leaders.

[83] Posted by Going Home on 01-19-2009 at 09:26 PM • top

she characterized the policy of the Roman Catholic church of not offering communion to non-Roman Catholics as, and I quote, “a great scandal.”

Pope Benedict passes on his apology to you for saving the souls of pretenders. He meant to tell you when he was down the street from your from your office but he heard you were doing your Green Acres bit in Texas. Phony Bishop-condemned to the pit.
Intercessor

[84] Posted by Intercessor on 01-19-2009 at 09:43 PM • top

Desertpadre,
Your English wife is a very wise woman….(and I love her very much), she is correct….her is the Wikipedia definition:

Black pudding or (less often) blood pudding is an English term for sausage made by cooking blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. It is also called blood sausage (first attested in 1868, perhaps influenced by German Blutwurst). Although “blood sausage” is often labeled as a North American term, it is also found in English (e.g., in the story “The Name-Day” by Saki). “Blood sausage” is also a useful term for similar blood-based solid foods around the world.

smile

[85] Posted by TLDillon on 01-19-2009 at 09:50 PM • top

Desert Padre, your lovely bride’s recollections are accurate.  Black Pudding (kindly note the correct name) is usually made of onions, oatmeal, pork fat, and pig blood.  It is a particular delicacy in northern England, and apparently violates Leviticus. Drat!!!
May I offer the following have a deal to you and Loyalist?  I’ll take your Black Pudding if you’ll take my “lizards and gizzards”.

[86] Posted by Invicta on 01-19-2009 at 09:56 PM • top

#81 masternav,
(me standing up)
The sound of two hands clapping.
(me sitting down)
Blessings

[87] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-19-2009 at 10:05 PM • top

One of the problems with the exclusivist theory of the salvation only through explicit faith in Jesus Christ is the long and careful analysis of Paul in Romans 9-11. There he says that the promises to Israel that they were the People of God is a promise that is not abrogated with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For God to go against that promise would make God a liar; rather through the atonement we Christians have been grafted into Jewish Holy History.

Wm. Witt, thanks for your kind response. Part of our problem here has to do with the nature of religious language. So much of the language of Scripture regarding the Incarnation is metaphorical and told through story rather than in declarative sentences. Even our creeds have the same character. The point of this language is to disclose the reality of the Incarnation - we do not have the language or the symbols to define it. We attempt to say what it isn’t as we point to ways it is true for us.  One of the things I treasure about Raymond Brown is that he combines the vocation of a scholar with the understanding of the poet. When we are clear about these matters, our conversation becomes easier and the possibilities of growing in understanding deepen—much preferable to arguing about who understands the infinite and the mysterious and the Holy better than the other. We share the Scriptures and we sort that through with our best scholarship and through centuries of discernment.

Just for the record, my reference to preaching on the half-text “Hang all the Law and the Prophets” was to point out the dangers of half-texting or proof texting.

No need for angry refutations. This is how Paul argues. It does give credence, though, to alternate theories or doctrine.

[88] Posted by TBWSantaFe on 01-19-2009 at 10:06 PM • top

As far as the PB’s critique of our communion policy goes, I think I can safely speak for the Churches in communion with as well as the Orthodox Churches of the East and say, “her wrath we can endure.”

[89] Posted by Ed the Roman on 01-19-2009 at 10:11 PM • top

Ah the esteemed Gregory Griffith, I can only say to you that the shade of emerald green that I now find myself could ONLY have been made by my extreme jealousy of your opportunity here.

Not only did you show up.  Not only did you give us a parsing of the crowd.  Not only did you keep us on edge about how she reacted to things, but you wrote what I can only describe as the perfect question to expose BeerKat’s heresy, and then CONNECTED IT TO HOW SHE WOULD EXPLAIN IT TO A YOUTH GROUP!!!

BRILLIANT!  I am so in awe of your idea right now. 

Seriously, thanks for unmasking her before a group of people who had, literally, no idea what the heck was going on in “their” church.  If BeerKat hasn’t figured out by now that there is a massive disconnect between her imported Nevadan Ivory Tower at 815, and the orthodox Christianity of the Hinterlands (with apologies to that noble Lancelot of our dear BeerKat, The Esteemed Tom Woodward) which she now may begin to understand.

Of course, she may console herself with the Obama position and write off the interpid Mississippians as unhappy yokels clinging to their religion and their guns, but there it is.

Top Notch, TOP NOTCH!!!

KTF!...mrb

[90] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-19-2009 at 10:27 PM • top

#45, art+, THANK YOU!!!!! You are dead on with your explanation of the two great commandments as Jesus quoted them. Unfortunately the majority of professing Christians don’t understand this truth.

[91] Posted by Mugsie1 on 01-19-2009 at 10:31 PM • top

she characterized the policy of the Roman Catholic church of not offering communion to non-Roman Catholics as, and I quote, “a great scandal.”

Oh, like she doesn’t have enough problems with Common Cause, Communion Partners and 21 Anglican Primates, now she wants to take on the Pope.  If I understand correctly, there are also some provinces of the Anglican Communion where KJS might not be offered Communion either.

[92] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-19-2009 at 10:34 PM • top

Respectfully, I must tell you that you misunderstand this passage and have come to the wrong conclusion

There he says that the promises to Israel that they were the People of God is a promise that is not abrogated with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Please carefully reread the passage and discern the differences between flesh and faith. These things belong to them by the being the nation of Israel (flesh), but not all are children of Abraham (faith). Jacob was chosen and Esau was not chosen. This does not nullify his promise to Abraham. God has not rejected his people Israel, he has, is, and will yet save a remnant from Israel. All are consigned under disobedience that God might have mercy on all. Yet all do not receive mercy.

Christianity is exclusive. It is all based on:

By grace alone
Through faith alone
In Christ alone

‘In Christ’ is the central and controlling factor of everything else. He is central and nothing exists without him. It is by the grace won by Christ and it is through faith in Christ. There is no other name, way, truth, or life that we are saved by. We are not saved by nebulous experiences. We are saved by Christ and Christ alone.

[93] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 10:38 PM • top

Ooops! My comment #93 was in response to #88

[94] Posted by Lily on 01-19-2009 at 10:42 PM • top

TBW(#88) - I don’t know of anyone here who was arguing for the exclusivist view.  I do know that +Matt Kennedy holds that view, but he also thinks that the inclusivist is within the bounds of orthodoxy.  I, myself, am an inclusivist.  To me, the question is “Does Jesus save or does saying ‘Jesus saves’ save?”  If Jesus saves, then we can trust those who do know know Jesus to his love and mercy.  But it is still Jesus who saves.  It is not our experience that saves us, but God’s actions in the incarnation, live, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus that saves us. 

You claim that a lot of incarnational language is metaphorical.  That is true, but it is also concrete.  “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” is not just a metaphor for how strongly God was with Jesus of Nazareth.  It is also a concrete statement that God has become man.  God’s mind took on flesh and bone and blood and psyche.  If the incarnation and resurrection are just metaphorical truths and not hard realities, then we are, of all men, most to be pitied.  If Christ has not been raised, then I need to go talk to a Rabbi about becoming Jewish or become a Buddhist or Hindu or an amoral atheist because there is nothing more important than me and mine.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[95] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-19-2009 at 11:22 PM • top

Loyalist, on #79 and the eating of blood. 

You’ll note that that verses declaring the 1st Council of Jerusalem’s command also warns against eating meat offered to idols, yet Paul makes the case in 1 Cor 10 that all prohibitions about such eating are now provisional, depending on the conscience of the eater, and others around, on the basis of loving the brother of weaker conscience.

Mark 7:19 and other gospel passages clearly indicate Jesus Himself declared all foods clean (this would include shellfish, and blood…) and this along with Peter’s vision in Acts 7 (telling Peter to kill and eat unclean animals) was clearly understood by the primitive Church, and ever since, as nullifying all Kosher dietary regulations for gentile Christians at least, if not for all followers of Christ, be they of a gentile or Jewish background.

It appears God in his mercy allowed the old habits to taper off—and the Church didn’t enforce absolute rules on diet at all.  This makes all the more sense since it also appears from the book of Acts the 1st generation Jewish-Christians (including the Apostle Paul) also continued to participate in the old covenant Temple sacrificial system, even though they came to understand this was completed in the sacrifice of Christ Himself.

I daresay all the current recipes for blood sausage in Europe were developed by at least professing Christians—and the prohibition on eating blood, like that of eating ceremonially unclean animals, or meat sacrificed to idols—has, since the 1st Century, been treated with the law of love…that is one must only not eat such, if it bothers your own (weaker) conscience—or that of those around you, for the sake of the gospel.

The 1 Cor 10 principle is more likely today to be applied to say the drinking of alcohol in front of alcoholics…or the eating of pork when witnessing to Moslems, or other such situations where people have certain scruples—though not based on God’s law any longer—God’s love still may call us to limit our freedom. This is in spite of the fact that our Lord declared all foods clean, in that it is not what goes into the body which makes it unclean, but what comes out of the body which actually defiles.

I for one couldn’t drink blood (though we “eat” it all the time, when we eat non-Kosher butchered meat) if I knew it was a part of some pagan ritual, however, if I were starving in the wilderness (as I knew a military survival instructor teach) I’d certainly drink the stuff to keep myself alive—in thankfulness, with a very clear conscience.

Treating any dietary regulation provisionally—does not however, make the prohibitions—given here and elsewhere in the NT—against sexual immorality (as defined in the OT) less binding.  Christ and the Apostles never treated sexual activity like diet, and they and the Church were never gnostically indifferent on how we behaved in our bodies.

[96] Posted by banned4Life on 01-19-2009 at 11:23 PM • top

Correction: That would be Peter’s vision in Acts 10, not Acts 7.

[97] Posted by banned4Life on 01-19-2009 at 11:28 PM • top

RE: “Many, many thanks for every attempt to help the PB & TEC see the error of their ways.”

Hey CanaAnglican—Greg wasnt’ trying to help the PB or TEC in general to see the error of their ways.  He was trying to help the cluster of people in the audience who are ignorant and uninformed, but not raving revisionists, to understand further and be informed.  I don’t believe Greg has any interests in attempting to get Schori to desist from her heresies.

RE: ” . . . most of the responses are intended to demean or attack.”

at·tack (ə-tāk’) Pronunciation Key
v.  at·tacked, at·tack·ing, at·tacks
v.  tr.

1) To set upon with violent force.
2) To point out inaccuracies and a tiny grasp of facts and reason in progressive activists in The Episcopal Church—used frequently by priests like Tom Woodward.

de⋅mean
1    [di-meen] Show IPA Pronunciation  
–verb (used with object)
to lower in dignity, honor, or standing; debase: He demeaned himself by accepting the bribe.

2 to abuse the comments, musings, and theology of progressive activists in TEC by pointing out their irrationality, inconsistency, and Biblical illiteracy, which then results in a public lowering of dignity for their intellectual credibility—a word used frequently by priests like Tom Woodward

[98] Posted by Sarah on 01-19-2009 at 11:30 PM • top

Tom,
What of exclusivity based on belief in the promise of Messiah, Whose name we now know?  Where does that fit with your reading of the text (and doesn’t it exclude the ‘work their way there by ritual’ of the Hindu?)?

[99] Posted by Bo on 01-19-2009 at 11:50 PM • top

Dear LuxRex,

I can make the distinction between food and eating versus sexual behavior. The problem is that many of the gays and lesbians find eating a very powerful metaphor for sex. They love the shellfish argument because they really do think of sex as the same as eating.

So they can’t understand how food laws could be abolished but sexual laws retained. I am thinking that it is for that reason that we have to retain, not the kosher laws that are abolished earlier in Acts, but those that are retained in Acts 15:19-21 and linked with the retention of the rules about blood and sexuality in Lev 17-19.

[100] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-20-2009 at 12:09 AM • top

...she characterized the policy of the Roman Catholic church of not offering communion to non-Roman Catholics as, and I quote, “a great scandal.”

The policy of McDonald’s, while exploiting a proper Irish name, of not selling alcohol is a major scandal. grin

[101] Posted by Piedmont on 01-20-2009 at 12:09 AM • top

She’s not a big one for furthering ecumenical relationships is she? You know the anti catholic animus within some of the clergy of TEC is astonishingly stronger than in the COE. I’m baffled by it. Is it because a significant minority of them are former Catholics?

One might regret the RC policy or state a disagreement with it. To name it a “scandal” seems intemperate. It was the traditional policy of the COE and the Episcopal Church for most of their existences, after all.

Presumably underlying the PB’s immoderate words is a very different theology of the sacraments from the normative Catholic theology. It is presumably precisely this difference that leads the Catholics to decline to give the eucharist to those, such as the PB, who do not share the Catholic faith.

[102] Posted by driver8 on 01-20-2009 at 12:24 AM • top

Since the Silly Shellfish Argument has come up again, here are a few interesting quotes from an article that ran in our local paper concerning the very real fact of shellfish poisoining. 

Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard: Algal blooms can be beneficial but also have a darker side.

“The Native Americans who originally lived along our shoreline took advantage of the abundant fish and shellfish in the coastal waters, but learned that at certain times of the year the mussels were dangerous to eat. Legend has it that these early inhabitants posted sentries along the shoreline to warn against harvesting contaminated shellfish. Today, health officials closely monitor commercial shellfish harvests and post signs to warn those who might be looking for dinner on the rocks.”

“The toxic algae may be filtered out by shellfish or consumed by tiny krill or small fish such as anchovies and sardines. Most fish and shellfish don’t seem to suffer any obvious effects from eating the toxic algae. Unfortunately, the toxins get passed up the food chain. The real trouble starts when marine mammals, birds or people eat the contaminated fish or shellfish. Paralytic shellfish poisoning, amnesic shellfish poisoning and diarrheic shellfish poisoning are serious diseases caused by different algal toxins.”

“A famous incident of seabird poisoning occurred in the summer of 1961, when a large flock of sooty shearwaters, fresh from a feast of anchovies, collided with coastal structures from Pleasure Point to Rio del Mar. Residents were awakened in the middle of the night by birds slamming against their homes, and in the morning their yards and streets were littered with dead and confused birds.”

“Alfred Hitchcock, who had a home in Scotts Valley at that time, read about this event in the Sentinel and used it as the inspiration for his film of avian malice, “The Birds.” The reason for this event remained unknown for more than 25 years until it was discovered by researchers at UC Santa Cruz analyzing preserved samples that the birds had been affected by domoic acid, a toxin produced by a particular type of phytoplankton.”

The bottom line is that shellfish are filter feeders so any toxins that are in the water will be ingested and concentrated in their bodies.  This includes, along with the toxins associated with algal blooms, any bacterial contaminations carried out to sea in coastal sewage run-offs.  As a result, shellfish can and have been carriers for pollution-born diseases such as cholera.

And a few last bits of trivia, there are people that have shellfish allergies, and also the actor Marty Feldman, Igor in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein”, died as a result of shellfish poisoning while on location in Mexico.

For all of you folks who live in fly-over country, and have never had the opportunity to live on the coast and go clamming or collect mussels, the real reason that you can go to the supermarket and buy shellfish that is always going to be safe to eat is not that the shellfish argument, along with those silly ancient Hebrews, are/were just wrong; it is because we have government inspectors that make sure the shellfish that are harvested for your dinner table are going to be safe to eat, before they ever get sent to your market.

[103] Posted by wildiris on 01-20-2009 at 12:35 AM • top

When KJS emphasizes that passages she doesn’t like were normative only for *observant Jews* I wonder if she thinks Jesus wasn’t?  Or if some parts of the Law were undone by Jesus, did his disciples at once begin to suggest homoerotic relationships to be allowable, blessed?  The ignorance is simply breathtaking.

[104] Posted by nwlayman on 01-20-2009 at 12:37 AM • top

#88 I think Romans 9 - 11 is most commonly interpreted to mean that Paul expects his people to come to faith at the Parousia.

OTOH I do think that the “inclusive” (salvation only through Christ but possible outside the limits of the church - Rahnerian) theological option is faithful to Scripture. I think similarly of the “exclusive” theological option. Both have a venerable heritage in tradition and Scriptural support. I don’t think it is possible to hold orthodox christian convictions and be a “pluralist” (Hick).

I have never been sure about what the PB believed about salvation. Her vision is so skewed towards a social gospel ethic, that I’m not sure she is clear herself. In other words she is much clearer about the what she thinks salvation looks like (no epistemological quandaries about the varieties of human experience for her there, apparently) than about how salvation is possible.

[105] Posted by driver8 on 01-20-2009 at 12:38 AM • top

TO Tom and anyone else:

If redemption and forgiveness of sin cd be obtained by any means OTHER than Jesus’s crucifixion, wouldn’t that crucifixion be irrelevant and a cruel hoax? 

If KJS is right, that other faiths lead to God, why on earth would anyone want to “evangelize” the cruelty of redemption a la Christianity?  Where is the “good news” in that?

On the other hand, if redemption and forgiveness of sin can be obtained ONLY through Jesus’s crucifixion, isn’t it a cruel hoax to be all warm and fuzzy toward any other religion, NOT to spread the good news of the availability of that forgiveness?

[106] Posted by maineiac on 01-20-2009 at 12:56 AM • top

I believe it is best to ignore Tom entirely.  He will still post and provide ample evidence of what is wrong with the intellectual culture of TEC without any encouragement.  Back on topic, what a hoot!  Schori talking about closed communion being a scandal, that is. One could almost imagine that open communion was an Anglican tradition…

[107] Posted by monologistos on 01-20-2009 at 12:57 AM • top

I just wonder if the protestant churches that do their version of “communion”....you know the Welch’s and crackers at Easter and Christmas time and maybe one or two other times through the year….....fit into KJS <i>“scandel”<i>? Or maybe they’re okie dokey?

[108] Posted by TLDillon on 01-20-2009 at 01:04 AM • top

As far as I can see, the PB doesn’t communicate support for evangelism - in the sense of persuading people to change their religious beliefs to acknowledge the truth of Christianity.

Insofar as I understand her, for the PB, the Gospel is largely a set of social outcomes.

[109] Posted by driver8 on 01-20-2009 at 01:06 AM • top

BTW..She could not celebrate the eucharist and she would not receive communion in our diocese as well. Wise Bishop is John David Schofield.
Intercessor

[110] Posted by Intercessor on 01-20-2009 at 01:08 AM • top

#107 I’m very loathe to agree with that. But his simple restatement of disputed points in the face of contrary evidence and reasonable counter argument is dispiriting - even for one, like me, who is committed to conversation. Perhaps it is the medium - the rough and tumble of blogs is not conducive to the relationship building that underlies any real dialogue.

[111] Posted by driver8 on 01-20-2009 at 01:10 AM • top

1928 PB Loyalist, post #100
I’m sure you’re right, the pansexualists cannot distinguish between eating and sex.  That however is a product of their unregenerate minds, unable to understand even a basic principles of grace—spiraling downward into, ultimately, Hell.

Since the essence of Kosher regulations is about avoiding blood (hence the specialized butchering—being careful to drain all blood) we cannot even practically avoid eating blood—that is follow the specifics of the Acts 15 command—without actually limiting our diet to Kosher meat.  My point is tensioning the Acts 15 commands with what is said in the rest of the New Testament about diet—of any kind—makes ANYTHING of what we put into our bodies as food as ultimately irrelevant, and only to be limited in specific and limited scruple circumstances, for the sake of unity and love for weak consciences (the meat sacrificed to idols argument). 

Peter’s vision in Acts 10, contrary to what I’ve heard from some, was NOT merely about accepting gentiles…they were to accept gentiles via the abrogation of dietary regulation. 

I really do not believe that those dedicated to sexual immorality will be impressed if the orthodox suddenly, after 1900 years, start to eat Kosher meat….or merely avoid blood sausage.  These folks are unregenerate, without the grace of the Holy Spirit within them enabling them to obey Christ—or even to understand the basics of the good news of the cross.  The dietary objections—claiming we are arbitrary in obedience to OT law since we eat blood—are simply a smokescreen, and nothing else.

[112] Posted by banned4Life on 01-20-2009 at 01:45 AM • top

I think that I have to post this again:—

When I published my short but then-pioneering article on the biblical texts relevant to homosexual orientation and practice (CSR June 1997, expanded and improved edition here), I still thought that what was meant by πορνεία (fornication, sexual immorality, unchastity in general) at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 was what might be termed core πορνεία, matching “blood”, meaning murder, in seriousness. Core πορνεία might be said to include incest, bestiality, rape, same-sex intimacy and sexual intercourse out of wedlock. I have moved, in the light of further reading, to the view that all four prohibited items were relatively unserious, because they were things which only Jews took seriously, so that if engaged in by Gentile Christians they would hinder table-fellowship, without which a united Church was impossible. This way of looking at the list makes much more sense: after all, NO Gentile converts would have been left in any doubt from the outset of their new life about the wickedness of murder, incest, bestiality, rape, same-sex intimacy and sexual intercourse out of wedlock. The list would then read “(abstain from) food polluted by idols, unchastity (as further defined by Jewish sensibilities), the meat of strangled animals and (from) blood (in the dietary sense).” This makes a more unified list. Jewish Christians would have had particular sensibilities about certain prohibited degrees which might have struck Gentile Christians as over-scrupulous, and which would have broken table-fellowship between them. Core-πορνεία is thus not in question, only what might be termed fringe-πορνεία. This understanding, far from weakening the argument against same-sex intimacy, actually strengthens it, making it a fortiori. Core-πορνεία is not fringe-πορνεία, and its commission is much much more serious than certain Gentile practices which would have upset Jews at that time.

I am indeed sorry that for instance Rob Gagnon got from me what I now think is a wrong idea about Acts 15, namely that in that setting any kind of core-πορνεία was in question. The wrongness of core-πορνεία has been a closed question for up to three millennia.

I suspect that some items in our old Table of Kindred and Affinity reflect those Jewish scruples. In it incest is defined a little more strictly than in some other codes.

[113] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-20-2009 at 01:47 AM • top

Dr. Turner - thanks for that. What do you make of Richard Bauckham’s work on Acts 15 and its connection to the Levitical prohibitions.

[114] Posted by driver8 on 01-20-2009 at 01:52 AM • top

You have been, both personally and in your office, very supportive of homosexuality in the church, especially the blessings of same-sex marriage.

Greg:  Only one adverb?  This is quite the understatement. grin

[115] Posted by Piedmont on 01-20-2009 at 02:33 AM • top

Conservatives and fundamentalists in the Anglican Communion or in any Christian denomination are fighting a lost cause. Modern science and 21st Century humanity have no tolerance for the type of thinking that was employed over two thousand years ago. To take the Bible or any religious book of that era in a literal sense is simply absurd. Any intelligent individual can easily see that this type of book is outdated and refers to many myths that were employed by the writers of that epoch to try to comprehend events that they had little understanding of. Here we see an idea of “God” that is tribal, paternalistic, and extremely primitive. How can we expect modern men and women to accept such a notion of a “God”? It is simply unbelivable that people in our times still accept the Bible as the ultimate word of a deistic God. If Christianity is too survive, it must accept the premises of a modern, secular, and rational society. We must adopt the thinking of such great and courageous theologians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and seriously think of what the concept of “religionless” Christianity means for a new and modern Church in our secular and rational world. As Paul Tillich stated, we must surrender the concept of a deistic “God” and visualize the mystery of the divine as the “Ground of Being”. If we refuse to radically change and still cling to outdated mythologies and rigid dogmatic ideologies that have no ground in our present day reality, then Christianity is surely dead.

[116] Posted by Carlos de la Cova on 01-20-2009 at 03:17 AM • top

Nice job, big man.  Oh and Carlos? If you want to invent a deity that doesn’t get in your way, that’s fine.  Just don’t expect any of the rest of us to worship your powerless wimp of a god, okay?

[117] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 01-20-2009 at 03:29 AM • top

Bauckham, Richard, “James and the Jerusalem Church.” 415-489 in Richard Bauckham, ed., The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting,
vol. 4. Eerdmans, 1995.
“James and the Gentiles (Acts 15.13-21).” 154-84 in Ben Witherington III, ed., History, Literature, and Society in the Book of Acts. Cambridge, 1996.

I know his argument about Leviticus only from references on the Web.

The only relevant volume that I have here at home is Bruce, F. F. The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary, 3rd ed. Eerdmans, 1990. I am impressed by the fact that if πορνεία in Acts 15 is core-πορνεία, it becomes ‘odd man out’ in a list of difficulties which seem to have melted away quite soon, and became a mere memory after 70. Unless of course αἷ μα, blood, is murder, in which case you have two foody prohibitions and two really serious ones in the list.

Lev. 18 is a blend of prohibitions that are of behaviour so detestable that they hold in all cultures, and could scarcely be news to any Gentile convert, and prohibitions that are not so universal. What was missing in Gentile society was not knowledge about the detestable practices, as Roman 1 says, but abstention in practice.

This is my own summing-up of the context and content of the Holiness Code with reference to sex-ethics:—

Given that there are Old Testament passages about male cult-prostitution, one has to take rather more seriously the possibility that the double prohibition in the Holiness Code [Leviticus 18:22, 22:13] of homosexual acts is grounded in the running polemic against idolatry and occult practices. Certainly Yahweh would not be ‘tamed’ as a fertility-god; and the Code that was prescribed to express what it meant for Israel to belong to God can strike modern people as a curious mixture of taboo, ceremonial, hygiene, politeness, humanitarianism and ethical principle, of which not all by any means can be viewed as binding in New Testament terms. “Cult” covered the whole of life as the area of the nation’s response to redeeming love. Hence the Code is an admixture of the apparently trivial and the profoundly serious. It would be a mistake, however, to dismiss any element as arbitrary or otiose. Pagan cults must have been condemned partly because of their foul practices. Purely cultic customs, and kinds of behaviour which are obviously vicious and cruel, were offered as a package deal. If Israel compromised at any point, she bought everything including the destructive elements.

In addition, the larger context shows that we are dealing with a whole catalogue of kinds of behaviour which have been universally execrated, in or out of cultic contexts. If there were any sign of their being approved in the Bible, the Bible would fall below the best secular standards. They include bestiality, child sacrifice, incest and adultery. These are all evil customs in any culture; to them the text applies the strongly condemnatory תועבה or “disgusting thing”, as highly offensive to God. It is difficult to label all תועבות as arbitrary or having no permanent connection with human good. Moreover there is every sign that the Torah as a whole was taken seriously even under the New Covenant.

[118] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-20-2009 at 03:41 AM • top

#116 Tillich - blimey there’s a blast from the past - let me get my tie die T shirt. and kaftan I’m rather taken by R. R. Reno’s comment on Tillich in First Things:

Paul Tillich certainly knew a great deal about Christian tradition, but his overall influence on American Protestantism was largely destructive. He was the master of translating scriptural truths into vague existential slogans that countless preachers easily manipulated into a capitulation to the spirit of the age. American Lutheranism has never recovered from his gloss of justification in Christ as “you are accepted.” His account of the so-called Protestant Principle turns anti-Romanism into a global rejection of any and all forms of historical authority, including the creeds and Scripture itself. The interpretation of faith as the “courage to be” struck me as fastuous when I was a teenager, and as an adult I have seen Tillich used to justify any and every attack upon traditional forms of Christian faith and morals….By my reading, Paul Tillich helps the barbarians maintain their illusions. His primary role in the twentieth century was to unburden the consciences of clergy who no longer believed but wanted to maintain their roles and reputations as men and women of spiritual seriousness. I have difficulty thinking of a more destructive writer. Give me the ardent atheism of Richard Dawkins any day over the pseudo-mystery and easy spiritualism of Paul Tillich.

[119] Posted by driver8 on 01-20-2009 at 03:42 AM • top

I have “James and the Gentiles” as a pdf. If you want to PM me with your email I could forward it to you. It’s a fascinating article.

[120] Posted by driver8 on 01-20-2009 at 03:50 AM • top

Part of our problem here has to do with the nature of religious language. So much of the language of Scripture regarding the Incarnation is metaphorical and told through story rather than in declarative sentences. Even our creeds have the same character.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.”

With all due respect, there ARE declarative sentences here.  Have a problem with that?  If so remedial English is taught somewhere near you, I’m sure.  BTW, the I believes and we believes of the creeds are declarative, too.

And with that, here endeth my dealing in theological “discourse” with TBW and any other revisionist.  As they persist in the tactics I outlined in #65 above, they demonstrate a thoroughgoing unwillingness to engage in anything even resembling true, classical debate.  That is because their positions on theology are set upon sinking sand.  If y’all persistently refuse to engage us point by point, you’ve de facto conceded the battlefield.

In the word(s) of the esteemed host of the MCJ, Christopher Johnson:

Ballgame.

[121] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 01-20-2009 at 05:23 AM • top

How do you logically get from here:

We must adopt the thinking of such great and courageous theologians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer

to here:

As Paul Tillich stated,

in consecutive sentences?  Some sort of quantum state logic in which opposite states occur simultaneously? 

And on the subject of declarative sentences in the creed, in what way is “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty…” not declarative?  The entirety of the Creed is declarative, since the “I believe in…” is implied in every sentence.

[122] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-20-2009 at 07:09 AM • top

Carlos #116, I haven’t read all of Bonhoeffer, but I’ve read enough to believe you’ve been misled.  Here are some quotes from The Cost of Discipleship:<blockquote>We can only achieve perfect liberty and enjoy fellowship with Jesus when his command, his call to absolute discipleship, is appreciated in its entirety. . . Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church.  We are fighting today for costly grace.  Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares.  The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices.  Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.  Grace without price; grace without cost!. . . Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.  Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can remain as it was before.

[123] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-20-2009 at 07:37 AM • top

Carlos #116, more Bonhoeffer:

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. 
Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.  It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner.  Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.  Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.  Costly grace is the Incarnation of God. . . . Happy are they who know that discipleship simply means the life which springs from grace, and that grace simply means discipleship.

[124] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-20-2009 at 07:41 AM • top

I don’t think people give the PB and the revisionists enough credit.  All the headstanding they do and posturing and sophistry is hard work.  After all, it’s no easy task to create a positive and enduring affirmation for homosexual activity when there is NONE in the Scriptures that you supposedly have pledged to uphold in your ordination to the ministry.
So, when you set out to create whole-cloth with nothing to work with, it’s a lot of work doing all that weaving.  Good job PB, keep it up and you will secure that nice warm place for eternity.

[125] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 01-20-2009 at 07:43 AM • top

Conservatives and fundamentalists in the Anglican Communion or in any Christian denomination are fighting a lost cause. Modern science and 21st Century humanity have no tolerance for the type of thinking that was employed over two thousand years ago. To take the Bible or any religious book of that era in a literal sense is simply absurd. Any intelligent individual can easily see that this type of book is outdated and refers to many myths that were employed by the writers of that epoch to try to comprehend events that they had little understanding of. Here we see an idea of “God” that is tribal, paternalistic, and extremely primitive. How can we expect modern men and women to accept such a notion of a “God”?

Is that you, Bishop Spong?

[126] Posted by Derek Smith on 01-20-2009 at 07:58 AM • top

I hope that newcomers to this heresy battle will recognize the role of semantics.  However one classifies it, Schori’s theology is, historically speaking, a radical change.  George Woodliff asks a valid question; her answer falls short; and then she deems him judgmental.
Pay attention to the adjectives! The extraordinarily enlightened Episcopalians view themselves progressive: their opponents agenda-driven.  They are cutting-edge, their opponents divisive.  They are bold, their opponents reactionary.  They are discerning, their opponents judgmental.

[127] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-20-2009 at 08:02 AM • top

RE: ” . . . She’s not a big one for furthering ecumenical relationships is she? You know the anti catholic animus within some of the clergy of TEC is astonishingly stronger than in the COE. I’m baffled by it. Is it because a significant minority of them are former Catholics?

One might regret the RC policy or state a disagreement with it. To name it a “scandal” seems intemperate.”

You know, I think in her case, it’s probably explained by a personal bitterness from the past.  “Intemperate” yet vaguely general and unexplained words like “it’s a scandal” are basically used in front of audiences where the speaker knows they’ll have a lot of agreeable “tut tutting” and self-satisfied smugness, as Greg pointed out.

Driver8, thanks for the excellent quote about Tillich—his words, which I am blockquoting below, are simply perfect to describe some of the TEC progressive clergy who post here:

“By my reading, Paul Tillich helps the barbarians maintain their illusions. His primary role in the twentieth century was to unburden the consciences of clergy who no longer believed but wanted to maintain their roles and reputations as men and women of spiritual seriousness.

[128] Posted by Sarah on 01-20-2009 at 08:11 AM • top

I think it would be fair to say, Sarah, that to KJS the only thing more “scandalous” than Roman Catholic theology is the Anglo Catholic theology.

[129] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-20-2009 at 08:35 AM • top

Carlos de la Cova

You know I read your ‘modern’ understanding of the Bible in Judges I think - didn’t work a few thousands of years ago EITHER.

Catch a clue - intelligent people usually try to KNOW what they are talking about BEFORE trying to converse in a conversation.  If you have a shred of hope of communicating anything of worth on this site, better do the research, understand the perspective and realize…

GULP - People can actually be intelligent who actually don’t think like you!  I know this is going to be a little hard for you to wrap your head around, but I hope the cognizant dissonance will be of short duration and you will be able to make the mental leap.

When you have gotten there, let me know.  Don’t feel badly, Shori never has gotten that one through her head which is the reason she and TEC are loosing people like water from a strainer.

[130] Posted by Eclipse on 01-20-2009 at 08:49 AM • top

Wm. Witt, thanks for your kind response. Part of our problem here has to do with the nature of religious language. So much of the language of Scripture regarding the Incarnation is metaphorical and told through story rather than in declarative sentences. Even our creeds have the same character. The point of this language is to disclose the reality of the Incarnation - we do not have the language or the symbols to define it.

Of course, much of the language of Scripture is that of narrative and symbol.  Theologians have always known this.  Thomas Aquinas’s distinction between negative language, metaphorical language, and analogical language is a case in point. 

Edwyn Bevan in his classic work Symbolism and Belief makes a helpful distinction between symbols “behind which we can see” and “symbols behind which we cannot see.” Symbols “behind which we can see” are essentially metaphors. The symbol “behind which we can see” refers to another more abstract generalizable idea that we can use to express the symbolic language more literally. So, for example, Christians do not understand the “hand of God” to mean literally, since God does not have a body. When we say that we see the “hand of God” in an event, we mean that an event has taken place that expresses a particular value, for example, justice, that we believe that God cares about, and that we believe that the event in some way has been brought about by God’s will, either directly or through events in the natural order.

In contrast, those symbols “behind which we cannot see” are those symbols that point to something unimaginable, and yet we cannot find any idea or reality that is better than the symbol itself. We cannot get behind the symbol: “The symbol is the nearest we can get to the Reality.”

Controversy arises in cases of disagreement over whether various symbols are symbols behind which we can see or are symbols behind which we cannot see. So, for example, historic Christianity has affirmed that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is a symbol behind which we cannot see. “Resurrection” language is the use of metaphor or symbol (the imagery of rising from sleep) to refer to an event that is, strictly speaking, unimaginable. Nonetheless, the Church has affirmed that the resurrection is a real event that happened in space and time. The tomb really was empty. Jesus really did appear to his disciples in bodily form.

To the contrary, as Bevans points out, there are those who say that the resurrection is a symbol and they mean by this that the reality is something wholly imaginable, and something quite different from the narrative texts. Jesus’ body was buried in an unknown grave and decayed; there followed his remembered influence on his disciples, and this memory led to the interpretation that Jesus was still alive, although in actuality he was quite dead. Resurrection refers not to something that happened to the dead Jesus, but to the way that his memory has lived on in the Church. As Bevans points out, if this understanding of the symbol of resurrection is the correct one, then the resurrection of Jesus is a pious fiction.

Applied to the narratives of Scripture, the crucial question is whether their subject matter is “history-like” or rather “history.”  Do the narratives refer to events that really happened in space and time? Did God really act and speak in the history of Israel and Jesus?  Did he deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt and give his law on Sinai?  Did God raise Jesus from the dead? Or are the narratives really “stories” about things that did not really happen, but have some profound psychological or moralistic or political meaning?  Would it make any difference to Christian faith if the bones of Jesus were discovered in a grave in Palestine?

The same question arises when it come to the incarnation and the atonement.  Granted, the language used to describe “incarnation” and “atonement” is symbolic, and must be, but that does not imply that the incarnation is not itself a literal true happening—God becomes human in Jesus Christ in such a manner that the personal identity of the man Jesus of Nazareth is that of God.  The answer to the question “Who is Jesus?” is “Jesus is the Word of God made human, the second person of the Trinity.”

Similarly, the language about atonement is metaphorical.  Jesus’ death and resurrection are compared to the atoning sacrifice of a lamb, to the victory of a warrior, as redemption (buying back) from sin, as substitutionary punishment, as recreation.  This use of symbolic language does not imply that the atonement is itself merely a metaphor.  The relevant question is: Are the saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ uniquely constitutive of a salvation that can be found nowhere else, or, are they illustrative of a salvation that can be found elsewhere or everywhere as well?  That is, does the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ create salvation?

KJS makes clear in her interview above that she does not regard the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to constitute salvation.  Rather, salvation lies in “human experience of the divine.”  Different religions have this “experience” in different ways, and Christians talk about this “experience” in terms of Jesus.

KJS shifts the focus of salvation from something objective and outside the self—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—to something internal and psychological—human experience.  This is actually a gnostic rather than historically Christian account of soteriology. This is John Hick’s pluralism, not Vatican II’s inclusivism.

[131] Posted by William Witt on 01-20-2009 at 08:53 AM • top

Tillich was a notorious serial adulterer.  I’m just a church lady, but the sway he held over academic theologians strikes me as dissonant with Matthew 7:16.

[132] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 01-20-2009 at 09:00 AM • top

Carlos (#116)
People of your thinking have been predicting the fall of traditional Judaism and Christianity because of “modern” thinking for over 2000 years.  There have always been people willing to “think away” God’s self revelation.  Remember that science said it was impossible for man to fly.  Science said it was impossible for man to travel at > 25 mph.  Science said it was impossible to split the atom.  Science says it is impossible for a virgin to conceive and bear a son and science says it is impossible for a man to be raised from the dead.  Science (not Christianity) also said that the planets and sun revolved around the earth and, when the heliocentric model was accepted science said that the orbits were circular. 

What is doomed to fall into the dust in of history is not Christianity, but today’s thinking about what is right and wrong.  I urge you to not marry the spirit of the age today and be its widow tomorrow.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[133] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-20-2009 at 09:18 AM • top

#116 Carlos de la Cova,
“Modern science and 21st Century humanity have no tolerance for the type of thinking that was employed over two thousand years ago.”  I would amend this statement to, “....that has been employed for the last two thousand years.” Christianity and Scripture have stood the test of time because they are enduring immutable Truth.  In an effort to make the Gospel “relevant” for science and 21st Century humanity, TEC has lost it’s way. Somehow TEC has seen evangelism become nothing more than a P.C. public relations campaign. Save the earth, Green Gospel, inclusiveness, diversity and biodiversity, Jesus as a role model, Human Actualization etc.  Guess what?  Green Peace, the Sierra Club, Social Work, the United Nations and the Salvation Army already have established their turf.  TEC is losing its own soul in attempting to duplicate and substitute secular works for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and him Crucified.  The new Gospel of TEC has NO efficacy.

[134] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 09:34 AM • top

“Modern science and 21st Century humanity have no tolerance for the type of thinking that was employed over two thousand years ago”

Sounds like another prime candidate for the TEC episcopate.  I hope you give us the privilage of knowing your name and the position you hold in TEC, particularly if you are clergy, so that if we need to quote you in the future we can do so with proper attributions.

At any rate, the world having little tolerence for us is nothing new to us Christians. 

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
  “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord

[135] Posted by AndrewA on 01-20-2009 at 09:52 AM • top

Refresh my memory, but while everyone is talking about KJS rejecting her RCC background (until eight years old)  didn’t I read that her mother converted to Orthodoxy and specified that her funeral was to be by Orthodox clergy and litergy?  I think I recall that when her mother died, KJS overturned her mother’s will and gave her a 79 Episcopal service at which she presided.  Or am I mistaken or confused with someone else.  Just wondering.

[136] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 01-20-2009 at 10:01 AM • top

Carlos #116
If we refuse to radically change and still cling to outdated mythologies and rigid dogmatic ideologies that have no ground in our present day reality, then Christianity is surely dead.

It sure sound that your Christianity and Christ for that matter are surely dead! Do not ask the rest of us to join you in that sepulchre! The real Christ whom we love and trust was raised from his by the power of God!!!

Christians, wether liberal or the quasi fundamentalist bunch that post here, do not have to be grounded in the shifting sand of present day perceptions of reality, as defined by folks like you… but in the God who is the origin of all that is real. Why you would call yourself an Anglican or a Christian at all is rather amusing!

As far as promoting a religion with a politically correct dead deity….good luck with that!

Blessings
Seraph

[137] Posted by seraph on 01-20-2009 at 10:03 AM • top

Carlos de la Cova, “deistic God”? Not quite, Christians do NOT believe that God abandoned the world after creating it. He does intercede, though it might not always be apparent to us. Also, you might take some time from your quest to redefine everything according to your your wants, and use spellcheck.

[138] Posted by mari on 01-20-2009 at 10:17 AM • top

Why hasn’t someone asked her to explain away the ‘one man, one woman, one life-time’ statement of how marriage is supposed to be ‘from the begining’ of Jesus? Matthew 19:4-8 ?

[139] Posted by Bo on 01-20-2009 at 10:29 AM • top

Just an aside on Carlos’ post, which has been excellently responded to by others. The phrase he uses: and extremely primitive. The “modern” notion is that no culture is privileged to call a society “primitive” - unless, it appears, that society is Jewish or Christian. Someone posted a list here the other day of just a few of the many, many things the world can thank Christianity for. Maybe we need that in an easily linked-to form. But “modern science” relied greatly on Christian universities to ever get off the ground.

[140] Posted by oscewicee on 01-20-2009 at 10:30 AM • top

“Is that you, Bishop Spong?”

Heh.

[141] Posted by Sarah on 01-20-2009 at 10:42 AM • top

RE: Schori calling the RCC closed communion a scandal.

Once again, Schori shows either her complete ignorance of other traditions or her unwillingness to acknowledge any authority except her own. In either case, she seems to be completely obtuse when it comes to any fear of God, respect for orthodox traditions, or any feeling of responsibility to instruct or protect God’s flock from harm.

I would like to try to defend the practice of closed communion based on the reasoning behind it. I do not know the theology behind the RCC’s closed communion, but I do know some of the reasons behind the orthodox Lutheran (LCMS) closed communion.

1. To restrict the Lord’s supper to those who are instructed in the Lord’s supper is to protect the flock. The LCMS take the admonition of 1 Cor 11:27 to heart (Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord). It is out of love for God’s flock that they restrict the supper to those who are LCMS members or church denominations they have formal fellowship with.

2. To restrict the Lord’s supper to those who are instructed in the Lord’s supper strengthens the faith of the flock. Instructed parishioners understand that the Lord’s Supper is central to worship, understand that it is communion with God, and it is a means of grace (in the Lord’s Supper they receive the forgiveness of their daily sins in thought, word, and deed - Matt 26:26-28 Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins)

3. By having limits on only giving the Lord’s Supper to Churches that they are in fellowship with (agreement in doctrine and practice), it protects the flock from being led astray by people like Schori. The reasons why there is no fellowship with the ECUSA is clearly understood and it’s the same reasons that ya’ll are not in agreement with Schori. No big duh there! smile

CAVEAT: The LCMS has it’s own synodical problems and many LCMS churches are straying away from orthodox confessional liturgical Lutheranism.

[142] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 11:18 AM • top

KJS shifts the focus of salvation from something objective and outside the
self—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—to something
internal and psychological—human experience. This is actually a gnostic
rather than historically Christian account of soteriology. This is John
Hick’s pluralism, not Vatican II’s inclusivism.

Thank-you for such a wonderfully accurate diagnosis, Dr. Witt! BRAVO!!! smile

[143] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 11:20 AM • top

Why hasn’t someone asked her to explain away the ‘one man, one woman, one
life-time’ statement of how marriage is supposed to be ‘from the
begining’ of Jesus? Matthew 19:4-8 ?

This is such a good question. Has she re-written this part of the bible too? Or does she cut out the parts she does not like as Thomas Jefferson did?

[144] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 11:30 AM • top

#110 Intercessor,
“BTW..She could not celebrate the eucharist and she would not receive communion in our diocese as well.”
I can only speak for myself on this but I would commune her. Please follow my thinking on this.  It seems hypocritical for us to pray for KJS daily in our diocese if we are unwilling to offer her Christ’s body and blood also.  We pray for her as an adversary yes, but we pray that she will be convicted by God.  Additionally, we pray that our hearts may learn to love her as God loves her. If God led her to come to our congregation (and being a man of faith) I believe if she came, it would not be an “in your face” gesture but an honest desire to hear the Gospel in its truth and purity. If she were to then be moved based on the call of the Gospel, to go forward for the Eucharist, how would you know what was in her heart?  Are you willing to risk grieving the Holy Spirit by denying her the communion that all of us desperately need? I would hope that you would be true to your name “intercessor” and make an effort to kneel beside her and place your hand upon her as she receives the cup and say a silent prayer for her. If KJS had the courage to come to our church and commune with us, it would do more for peace and reconciliation within the body than we could hope or imagine.  Some would say, “but what about all the lawsuits?” I would say, that we need to start somewhere. KJS would be blasted by both sides for this but it would separate those who are willing to fight for the truth from those who just want to fight.
Blessings Intercessor, MSIC

[145] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 12:18 PM • top

The recognition by the Catholic Church that there is division within the body of Christ is not the scandal.  The scandal is the division.

[146] Posted by phil swain on 01-20-2009 at 01:13 PM • top

#145- Dcn Dale
I know that you have a priestly heart and are very well equipped for God’s work, but I have this question for you. If a congregant or an E P I S C O P A L V I S I T O R is in conflict with a LEM or priest who is administering the sacraments and the priest is keenly aware of these facts and the conflict that has not been resolved why would the priest allow her to endanger her soul by allowing her to engage in Christ’s treasures without first resolving these barriers?
A blessing from the priest…the perfect loving gift…the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ…no, not without true repentance and resolvement of conflict.
Intercessor

[147] Posted by Intercessor on 01-20-2009 at 01:32 PM • top

Dcn Dale… I have read your response more closely (as work allows!) and I have more to ask of you:

If God led her to come to our congregation (and being a man of
faith) I believe if she came, it would not be an “in your face” gesture but an honest desire to hear the Gospel in its truth and purity.

When Jerry Lamb sat in the front row during Bp. Schofield’s post convention celebration in 2007(?) was he offered Christ’s Treasures? I did not see if he even approached the rail. I doubt that Mr. Lamb came to St. James because he “saw the light!”

I would hope that you would be true to your name “intercessor” and make an effort to kneel beside her and place your hand upon her as she receives the cup and say a silent prayer for her. If KJS had the courage to come to our church and commune with us, it would do more for peace and reconciliation within the body than we could hope or imagine.

What could be more tragic than to witness a hardened heart and not put forth the miracle of the power of prayer upon her until if necessary her last breath. It would also be damning to my witness of Christ’s love and healing power. His gifts to me can never be repaid but all he asks is to love him and bring all to share his grace. May God’s blessings be upon you and your family for all of your days Dcn Dale.
Intercessor

[148] Posted by Intercessor on 01-20-2009 at 01:49 PM • top

Let’s see.  Is one of those obsolete 2,000 year old-teachings the one that says we are to love our neighbor as ourself?  Or perhaps it is too antiquated to any longer pay attention to “whatsoever you do to the least of these, you do to me.”  Wouild one of the “Progressives” please give us a list of the 2,000 year old teachings we are supposed to follow and tell us why those are the only ones we should care about.

[149] Posted by DaveG on 01-20-2009 at 02:24 PM • top

#127-Jill
I thought your post was brilliant and very important to illustrate the postured and repeated messaging by TEC and its disciples.
Other examples came to mind:
TEC is “Listening” We are “devisive”
TEC is ” Doing a New Thing” Global South is “Fifty years behind the Times”
This list is long,bruising and not of a loving nature.
Thanks Jill…
Intercessor

[150] Posted by Intercessor on 01-20-2009 at 02:25 PM • top

#147 and 148 Intercessor,
These are fair questions. I believe this situation tests us all about what we would do under the circumstances. Is it a matter of church discipline on the one hand versus cheap grace on the other?  I think not.  I would rather err on the side of grace which is not cheap anyway.  It was obtained with an enormous price.  I am not our rector but trust that he would be led by the Holy Spirit in his decision about giving her Christ’s Body.  I believe that much of the hue and cry from our side has been counterproductive and helped KJS become more firmly entrenched in her position. How we state our case is as important as what we have to say. I would be interested to hear from other about this.

[151] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 02:25 PM • top

I have always had trouble balancing the idea that Christ, at the Last Supper, apparently shared bowls, bread, and wine with the man who had already killed him in his heart.  He did not banish Judas from the table, the table which he has created in his own way and commanded us to emulate in our worship.  I’ve read all the arguments of the early Fathers, Church Tradition, Confessional Connections to the Eucharist, the display of Unity that is Communion and believe the arguements for “closed” communion to be quite strong.

That has not eradicated from my mind, that image of Jesus facing his accuser, his betrayer, his killer and NOT sending him away from the table. 

Always been tough for me…..KTF!...mrb

[152] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-20-2009 at 02:33 PM • top

Mike Bertaut, According to John 13:21-30, Judas left before Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. 
It was the “cup of blessing”, the third cup of wine served at the meal, that signified the new covenant.  When I was growing up in the LCMS one of the ushers was likely to confront those who walked out before communion (takes a long time to commune 300 people 12 at a time) with the comment, “remember who it was that walked out before the first communion.”

[153] Posted by Frances S Scott on 01-20-2009 at 03:06 PM • top

May I ask on what grounds a person should be denied the Lord’s Supper?

I only thing I can think of is for the purpose of lovingly protecting the unrepentant. What other reasons are there for excluding someone?

1 Cor 11
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

[154] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 03:11 PM • top

SjB, you are precisely correct that the grounds for excluding someone from the Lord’s Table is for his or her own spiritual health.  The Roman Catholic Church teaches that one should not take communion if one is guilty of a mortal sin and one has not confessed the sin and received absolution.  The Church also teaches that only priests in the apostolic succession may grant absolution on behalf of our Lord—what you bind on earth is bound in heaven, etc.  To be sure, Anglican priests do consider themselves to be in the apostolic succession, but Rome disagrees with them.  Rome of course teaches that the Eucharistic elements are the actual body and blood of our Lord.  If one regards the elements not as body and blood but instead as important symbols, then they would probably be regarded as having much less or no mystical power than the Catholic Church says they have, and one might be inclined to be more “inclusive”, so to speak, about who can come to the table. 

Mike Bertault, in his book, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, the great twentieth century theologian and ABC, William Temple, argued that Judas Iscariot must have been sitting right next to our Lord at the Last Supper, which would have been a place of honor.  In John’s account, when Jesus announced, “One of you will betray me,” a commotion broke out among the apostles and Peter asked John to ask Jesus who it was.  Jesus answered, “The one to whom I will give this morsel.”  Jesus then dipped a morsel and gave it to Judas.  It was the custom at the time to eat while reclining, propped on one’s left elbow.  If this custom were followed at the Last Supper, Jesus could not have reached anyone with a morsel except someone sitting beside him.  Temple posits that Jesus offered Judas the place of honor at table, and offered the morsel, which was another honor, as a last chance plea for repentance.  John says that Satan entered Judas after the morsel was given to him (John 13:27).

[155] Posted by Rick H on 01-20-2009 at 04:03 PM • top

FS Scott (153), I don’ get ‘positive linkage’ between your statement and the text cited.  Judas left after the sop was given, but the “Lord’s Supper” doesn’t seem to explicitly follow (or indeed to be in this Gospel).  We have the Lord’s Discourse on things to come, the promise of the Holy Ghost, and High Priestly Prayer.

How do you ‘time sync’ the story to have that assurance?

[156] Posted by Bo on 01-20-2009 at 04:04 PM • top

She’s just plain wrong in her response to Greg’s question.  The lists she refers to in her response include murderers, drunkards, etc., not the type of tweed in someone’s coat.  So, draw your own conclusions - does she not know the Bible, or is she a liar?  She is one of the two…and either way she doesn’t need to be PB.

[157] Posted by B. Hunter on 01-20-2009 at 04:48 PM • top

1928 PB, Dr. Priscilla, and LuxRex:

In the midst of several conversations on the thread, thank you for an interesting discussion about Acts 15, Leviticus 18, and Paul’s letters.  That this discussion from the Missouri Synod makes good sense:

http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2619

Acts chapter 15 was a conciliar approach to what laws apply to non-Jews.  The prohibition on eating blood (which was derived from idol worship as well as potentially defiling one’s health) was retained out of respect for Jews in the group.  However, St. Paul made clear that as the Church grew outside the Israelite world, dietary restrictions were not part of the Moral Law.  However, St. Paul of course did make clear that sexual morality was part of Christ’s imperative.

Christ Himself made that clear in the proscription on fornication in Matthew 15:9.

This gets to a larger problem about theology, though.  This is complicated and requires lots of study.  It is not sufficient to found a church simply on the proposition that the Bible is authoritative without having some hermeneutic to interpret and apply it.  Without such a discipline, you will have theological chaos.  The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have this theological underpinning based on the apostolate founded by Christ’s Apostles.  The new Anglican formations must rebuild this as well, or otherwise it will be pick-and-choose from the Bible verses.  Ultimately, one must be guided by Heavenly wisdom and not random personal choices.

[158] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 01-20-2009 at 06:06 PM • top

To add, as a practical matter, theological debate is impractical for a layperson without such structure.  If you try to rely on sola scriptura and just use “the Bible is the final authority” when arguing with a revisionist, s/he can easily skewer the vast majority of the people by just using the old shellfish example like KJS did.  Unless you are quick on your feet, you will get caught tongue-tied and look foolish.

A Catholic can rest on the Magisterium and Apostolic authority as the guiding source of wisdom for applying the Bible.  A Protestant must rely on synods or the reservoir of commonly accepted Christian doctrine (which is quickly being eviscerated by revisionists).  The 39 Articles are not of great help, because they are so broad and basic.

Meeting this challenge is at the core of the Christian struggle this century and beyond.

[159] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 01-20-2009 at 06:14 PM • top

Dcn. dale,
I understand where your thinking is coming from and I admire it. However, I am in agreement with Inercessor here.
1 Cor. 11:27-29
  Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. [28] Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. [29] For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

As ministers of the sacraments, I cannot see how a clergymen could in good conscience give the Holy Food of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to one who has blatantly stopped not only following Him and His Word, but one who vowed to defend and uphold the faith once delivered for all no longer does and cannot even profess that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and yet wears a collar?
I think accountability for ones own knowledgeable actions with those who are no longer following the faith and the Word is something that God would ask of all His priests, Deacons, and Bishops to stop and consider what you are doing. Otherwise giving to someone like KJS or even VGR or Susan Russell or an atheist, or a non-repentant thief, etc…is like giving open communion IMHO! We can all live and commit sin without any repentance and still receive….that makes no sense to me!

[160] Posted by TLDillon on 01-20-2009 at 06:31 PM • top

160, ODC,
My guess is that there are plenty of unrepentant sinners that I have unknowingly communed over the years.  Some knew it in their heart and some did not.  If KJS comes to the church and hears the Gospel and is moved in her heart to repent, then if I refuse her communion, I have grieved the Holy Spirit in my mind. How would I know that she had not repented any more than anyone else who comes to the communion rail? Am I supposed to ask each one before I offer the cup, “have you repented of your sins?” I used to smoke cigarettes and was unrepentant about it but even though I was an addict, I was not refused communion.  Should my LCMS minister have refused to commune me? Clean people don’t need communion. The rest of us do.  Should I have repented of my addiction. Yes, and eventually I did quit smoking. I will continue to think about what both you and Intercessor have said but need to hear from others on this too.

[161] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 07:02 PM • top

Dcn Dale

My guess is that there are plenty of unrepentant sinners that I have unknowingly communed over the years

The key word in your sentence is “unknowingly” - there is an enormous difference between knowing and not knowing someone is in gross unrepentant sin. If my understanding is correct, as a minister, you are not responsible to confront unknown sin, only known sin.

How would I know that she had not repented any more than anyone else who comes to the communion rail?

If my understanding is correct, prior to the divine service, the pastor would need to explain that she would not be served communion unless there was repentance for her known sin.  She would have to declare her repentance in order to receive communion.

The burden is on her not the ministers. She has publicly sinned against the entire church and the repentance would need to be declared publicly in order to be restored.

I used to smoke cigarettes and was unrepentant about it but even though I was an addict, I was not refused communion.  Should my LCMS minister have refused to commune me?

The LCMS does not consider smoking cigarettes a sin.

[162] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 07:27 PM • top

162, SjB,
Thanks for the clarification on this.
“If my understanding is correct, prior to the divine service, the pastor would need to explain that she would not be served communion unless there was repentance for her known sin.  She would have to declare her repentance in order to receive communion. The burden is on her not the ministers. She has publicly sinned against the entire church and the repentance would need to be declared publicly in order to be restored.”
Where can I find the rubrics to support this statement?
Have you ever seen this applied?

[163] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 07:40 PM • top

Then shall the Priest say to those who come to receive the Holy Communion,

YE who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; draw near with faith, and take this holy sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, devoutly kneeling.

I think that this must be your American 1928.

[164] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-20-2009 at 07:49 PM • top

R&R;(159),
We agree that to engage on who is apostate is risky business. 

If one is to base their position on Scripture, one must devote a considerable amount of time to the study of the Scriptures, and be constantly engaged in shared learning (Iron sharpens Iron).  Likewise, however, if one is to rely on the Teachings of the Church one must spend considerable time in the study of the Doctrines and Disciplines of the Church.

I have come more and more to appreciate the ‘old’ Anglican ‘position’ which requires much study of the Scripture and the Traditions and Councils of the Unified Church.

As soon as the PB went into ‘explain away’ mode, I would have come back with ‘explain away’ Jesus words on Marriage, not the Tradition, Discipline and Doctrine of the Church, because I know the Scriptures more fully than I know the Church Fathers.

She doesn’t seem to accept the Scriptures as authoritative, I doubt she would be more impressed by the Traditions of the Church (Her being in her office is rather untraditional!).

[165] Posted by Bo on 01-20-2009 at 08:07 PM • top

164 Dr. Turner,
The public confession of sin and repentance for Rite 1 is in two forms on P. 331 of the 1979 BCP. For Rite II, the public confession of sin and repentance is in one form on page 360. SjB is saying in post #162, “If my understanding is correct, prior to the divine service, the pastor would need to explain that she would not be served communion unless there was repentance for her known sin.  She would have to declare her repentance in order to receive communion.” I’m not sure if he is saying that the person would have to privately confess and repent before the service even began or that the individual would have to confess and repent in front of the congregation.”  Why wouldn’t the confessions in Rite I or II be adequate?

[166] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 08:08 PM • top

Even the ‘79 TEC BCP does a pretty good job with this one, if you know where to look (p. 316):

But if we are to share rightly in the celebration of those holy
Mysteries, and be nourished by that spiritual Food, we must
remember the dignity of that holy Sacrament. I therefore call
upon you to consider how Saint Paul exhorts all persons to
prepare themselves carefully before eating of that Bread and
drinking of that Cup.

For, as the benefit is great, if with penitent hearts and living
faith we receive the holy Sacrament, so is the danger great, if
we receive it improperly, not recognizing the Lord=s Body.
Judge yourselves, therefore, lest you be judged by the Lord.

Too bad that seemingly half the clergy of TEC, perhaps fewer bishops, seem to be unfamiliar with those large parts of the BCP. I can’t see squaring the Exhortation with open communion.

On the question of KJS and whether or not one should commune her, it strikes me that perhaps the answer would be in her manner.  If she approached the communion rail in a rainbow miter and boldly proclaimed she owned the place, I would think not.  If she approached the rail humbly, then I would think perhaps yes.  We are all sinners, and while granted, when I confess such during the Mass, I do repent.  But anyone who knows me well knows that there are sins I repeat. 

  So, I think that if she presents herself as “the presiding bishop of TEC, a church not in communion with yours and which does not accept your orders” then both church order and St. Paul would require withholding communion.  If on the other hand, she knelt at the rail like the laity of your church, and it is the policy of your church to commune all the baptized, then it would be appropriate.

  Out of curiosity (this will show how old I am), in my youth, it was still the policy of some Episcopal parishes (and I assume the stricter Anglo Catholic bishops) not to commune those who were not confirmed.  Is this still the case anywhere within TEC, or in Ft. Worth, Quincy or San Joaquin?

[167] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-20-2009 at 08:35 PM • top

apologies for the several grammatical errors in the above, but you get my point.

[168] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-20-2009 at 08:41 PM • top

I think that the words of invitation, which I know in a more archaic form from 1662, are designed to be in accordance with the Apostolic stipulations in I Cor. We are to judge ourselves in the first instance. Not communicating an individual who presents himself is a serious act, only appropriate if that person is an unrepentant “open and notorious evil-liver”.

[169] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-20-2009 at 08:47 PM • top

#167 tjmcmahon,
It is the policy of the DSJ (The Cathedral at least)that all baptized members are eligible for communion. I really appreciate your input and can always count on your wise counsel on this and would assume that if KJS came dressed as the P.B. of TEC that she was unrepentant. Since I am a Deacon, it would be easy to say that this is the business of the Priest but Lord Willing I will be a Priest someday and this is one great discussion.  I hope I did not hijack the thread for my own purposes but hope that others would find it in their heart that under the proper circumstances that they would commune KJS.  I am still waiting for any rubrics that would tell me otherwise.
What would you folks do if she came to your church?

[170] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 08:51 PM • top

What would you folks do if she came to your church?

Dcn. Dale,
I AM in your church! You have deftly and lovingly discussed a most interesting “conumdrum” and I look forward to more discourse in the future.
Blessings to you.

Intercessor

[171] Posted by Intercessor on 01-20-2009 at 08:55 PM • top

Dcn. Dale,
I repent of my grievous sins everyday….I think you have missed my point, but that happens alot….I am used to it.
Yes…I think we miss the mark of understanding more fully the reason fo and administration of Holy Communion if we just give to whom ever comes to the rail!

[172] Posted by TLDillon on 01-20-2009 at 08:56 PM • top

#169 Dr. Turner,
Thank you once again. (1662 prayerbook)
only appropriate if that person is an unrepentant “open and notorious evil-liver” I would never describe her in this manner.

[173] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 08:57 PM • top

Dcn Dale,

No, I have not seen church discipline applied, I have only read about it. I wish I could be of more help.

I wish I could give you my exact resources. I was writing from memory. If I remember rightly, my information is from the orthodox Reformed books I was studying during a two year period.

I was reading books that ranged from the Puritans to the modern authors. I remember being fascinated by whole concept of church discipline because I had never heard of it before and did not know there were such a practices.

I did try to google the internet for some Anglican resources for church discipline and everything that came up seemed to be on the current property disputes. I did not look, but I have begun to wonder if the African or other orthodox Bishops’ would have good resources to draw from?

[174] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 09:07 PM • top

Dcn. Dale,
If you are in DSJ, then the wisest counsel I could offer would be to discuss this with your bishop.  (But I thank you for the very generous remark)

This discussion does tempt one to ask the presiding bishop (should one have the opportunity): “How many Anglican Primates would receive communion at a Mass in which you were the celebrant?”

You Piskie clergy should get this stuff out of your system now.  Once GC09 votes in the new Title IV, and making derogatory comments about TEC and the PB becomes grounds for deposition, you all will have to watch your Ps and Qs. (That was intended as satire, but now that I read it over, it sounds just like the sort of thing they might actually do)

[175] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-20-2009 at 09:16 PM • top

Dcn Dale

I’m not sure if he is saying that the person would have to privately confess and repent before the service even began or that the individual would have to confess and repent in front of the congregation.

If my memory serves:

There was a distinction between private sin and public sin. Schori’s sins are public and they are sins against the church. That is why it would need to be made public with a request for forgiveness from the church. Private sins are kept private with request for forgiveness from whoever was sinned against.

There was also a distinction between leadership and laypersons. Leaders were removed from their office for a period of time.

only appropriate if that person is an unrepentant “open and notorious evil-liver” I would never describe her in this manner.

May I respectfully disagree? Schori is leading a national church body astray and into sin. It does not matter if her mannerisms are nice or pseudo-pious. Until she repents, she is an open and notorious evil liver.

Not only are the orthodox Anglicans aghast at her behavior, so is the rest of the orthodox church bodies. She has made the Anglicans a joke and a byword for heresy and apostasy. She is more than a blemish to the name Christian.

[176] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 09:35 PM • top

176 SjB,
I’m still looking for the rubrics on this approach. Can you help me on this? Where are you getting this from?

[177] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-20-2009 at 09:44 PM • top

Dcn Dale

Please see my full comment # 174

Here is part of it: <i> I was reading books that ranged from the Puritans to the modern authors. <i>

My resources were not from the rubrics. My resources used scriptures to support their practices.

I will try to locate some good resources and post them on this thread when I find them. I can’t remember the names of the books I was reading. I am sorry. It did not dawn on me that I might ever need to use the information. I was studying for pleasure and it was a fascinating topic that kept coming up in my reading.

[178] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 10:01 PM • top

Dcn. Dale,
I would hope that Scripture would trump a rubric!

[179] Posted by TLDillon on 01-20-2009 at 10:52 PM • top

Dcn. Dale,

Here is an excerpt from an article that seems to reflect the gist of what I learned. I will keep looking and scratching my head to remember the books I read, but I wanted to send you something as soon as I could. The full article can be read here: http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=788

Let us consider some of the key elements of church discipline, as taught by our Lord and reiterated by Paul in our text.

(1) Church discipline is a process. Here, in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul speaks of the final step of discipline. Matthew 18 spells out the full process of church discipline, from the private rebuke of a single saint, to the collective expulsion from the congregation by the whole church. The reason Paul deals only with the last step of this process in 1 Corinthians 5 is that the willful rebellion of the sinner is evident, and his sin has already become public knowledge. Discipline must be as public as the sin.

(2) Church discipline is the obligation of the whole church. Paul speaks of the discipline process taking place when “you are assembled.” Our Lord instructed that the matter be told “to the church” (Matthew 18:17). In the Matthew text, it is assumed that this will happen after the wayward individual has been privately confronted. In the case of the immoral man in the church at Corinth, the matter has already become a matter of public knowledge. Consequently, the correction must be as public as the sin. We see in the Scriptures that the final step of discipline is taken by the entire church, when they have assembled. The Lord promises His special presence when such a gathering is assembled for discipline:

(3) Church discipline involves all of the local church, and it has implications for the church at large. Paul calls for the whole Corinthian church to be involved. This is a most difficult assignment, for the Corinthian church is divided into various factions that seem unable to work together on anything. Church discipline should be exercised in unity. But Paul goes even further than requiring the whole church to participate in this act of discipline. Paul, acting with the church in this matter, strongly implies that church discipline should be exercised more generally, by all the churches. In our day of great mobility and many churches to attend, someone who is under discipline usually finds it easy to simply attend elsewhere. It seems that word of discipline needs to be communicated to other churches, and that other churches have an obligation to honor that act of discipline if the wayward party attempts to “move his membership” to that church. It also suggests that newcomers to any church should be interviewed, to be certain that they are not under discipline elsewhere.

(4) Church discipline is to be done in the name and in the power of our Lord.The church acts on behalf of the Lord in carrying out discipline. This is why the Lord’s presence is promised in discipline. This is why Paul speaks of acting “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and in “the power of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:4). We act on God’s behalf, and thus when we act, God acts as well (see Matthew 18:18-19).

(5) Church discipline delivers the sinner into the power of Satan. Church discipline expels the wayward and unrepentant saint from the church, from participating in its worship (i.e., the Lord’s Table), and from fellowship with individuals or small groups of believers. In so doing, the sinning saint not only loses the positive benefits of being a part of the church body, but is placed in the very dangerous position of being vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. In Paul’s words, the one who is disciplined is “delivered to Satan” (see also 1 Timothy 1:20). Satan is a destroyer, a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (see1 Peter 5:8). When the church expels a wayward member, that person is given over to Satan, knowing that he delights in destruction. It is not a pretty picture, nor is it something any church should take lightly. When we deliver one over to Satan, we are simply giving the unrepentant Christian what he has chosen. To remain in sin is to be in the bondage of Satan (2 Timothy 2:24-26). To be disciplined is simply to hand that one over fully to Satan.Discipline confirms a choice that the sinner has already made.

(6) While Satan has the power to destroy the flesh, he does not have the authority to destroy the spirit. At Satan’s request, he was given the authority to attack Job, but this authority has always had boundaries. Given God’s permission, Satan could do so much to Job and no more (see Job 1:12; 2:6). Satan does not have the power to spiritually destroy one who is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ:

(7) Church discipline is only for those who are saints or for those who profess to be saints. Paul makes it very clear in verses 12 and 13 that church discipline is for those who are inside the church, and not for those who are outside. The Lord makes the same point in Matthew 18:15, where He begins, “If your brother sins … .” The final outcome of church discipline is that a believer who willfully remains in sin is treated as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer (18:17). Association with the believer under discipline is to be terminated, but he is still to be regarded as a brother, and not as an enemy (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).

(8) Church discipline is not a final judgment which condemns one to eternal hell, but one which has the goal of the sinner’s repentance and final salvation. Church discipline is to be exercised for the highest good of the sinning saint. Consequently, Paul makes it very clear that “turning one over to Satan” in church discipline is not a final act of condemnation, but an action taken with a view to the wayward saint’s repentance from sin in this life, or at least his spiritual salvation in the next. Discipline is a severe mercy, which is painful to those who discipline, and to the one disciplined. It is mercy in that it seeks the highest good of the wayward saint.

[180] Posted by Lily on 01-20-2009 at 10:58 PM • top

There is a serious error in practice if “all baptized members” of the congregation (or of any denomination, for that matter) are allowed at the communion table. I still marvel that Paedo-communion was so easily accepted so quickly across the traditional denominations. A personal profession of faith and confirmation (or adult baptism, if you’re of that persuasion) was for centuries the norm for admission to the table. Baptism was a sign and seal of the covenant, and a reflection of the sanctification of children through the faith of their parents - but you need to be able to “discern the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ” before admission to the table.
Admitting children to the table feels inclusive - but it has had a corrosive effect.

[181] Posted by RedHatRob on 01-20-2009 at 11:50 PM • top

Just try telling that to the Pope!

[182] Posted by Cennydd on 01-20-2009 at 11:56 PM • top

180 SjB,
Thanks for the links and information.  I’ll study it.
YBIC

[183] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-21-2009 at 12:01 AM • top

Dcn Dale,

Here is a list of Reformed resources that should be helpful on the topic of church discipline. These sources all rely on scripture not rubrics and are well worth the time to read, IMO.

First a list of free online articles that I skimmed through and look good (Al Mohler is highly respected):

Church Discipline - Heretics http://www.okcsbs.com/articles/discip5.pdf
Church Discipline - False Teachers http://www.okcsbs.com/articles/discip6.pdf
Al Mohler ..discipline is required when sin threatens the faithfulness, integrity, and witness of God’s people.The Bible reveals three main areas of danger requiring discipline. These arefidelity of doctrine, purity of life, and unity of fellowship. Each is of critical and vital importance to the health and integrity of the church. (For the complete article: http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2005-05-18)

Lastly - these are two well recommended books (by pastors) and I do finally remember reading these two and I remember them as being very good and heavy with scripture:

Handbook of Church Discipline by Jay E. Adams
The Peacemaker by Ken Sande

[184] Posted by Lily on 01-21-2009 at 12:10 AM • top

Reason and Revelation #158:

Article 7 of the 39 Articles (posted above) gives a tried and true hermenuetic as to what are the Moral laws of the OT still binding on us today.  One does not need a Magisterium to apply the common-sense distinction of Civil, Ceremonial and Moral law in the OT.
Such distinctions have never, to any great degree, been terribly confusing to the Church catholic (did Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, the Pope, or the E. Orthodox EVER disagree over Kosher law’s inapplicability?), except since the sexual revolution of the ‘60s, and folks general ignorance of both scripture, and the 39 Articles.  Revisionist leaders are either ignorant of the 3 kinds of OT law, or, what I really believe, are apathetic (or antagonistic) toward the bible, and its authority, hence they are using the “arbitrary application” argument simply as a canard, to try to fool ignorant parishioners.

Of course the reason lay persons are ignorant is they have not been fed by these same false shepherds—who are telling them lies about why they are hungry now….

The irony is, this basic hermeneutic of the OT law is found in every pew of every TEC church out there—explicitly stated in the Articles in the Prayer Book, and implicit in looking at the OT through the eyes of the NT.  If people were interested, they could easily know…but for many, they just want their ears tickled I’m afraid—so they can live as they want, and make religious sounding excuses for that….

[185] Posted by banned4Life on 01-21-2009 at 12:36 AM • top

LuxRex,
I agree that Article 7 is on point and excludes the sort of college dorm-room argument that KJS makes about shellfish.  The only problem is that in times past, knowing which laws were ceremonial and which were moral was far more commonly understood, such that it was not really questioned.  This common reservoir of Christian principles that you allude to (broad agreements between Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, the Pope, and the Patriarch) was so firm that there was no need to explicate every jot and tittle. 
The problem is that this common framework (which, for what it is worth, came from the unity of the Catholic Church and Nicene council) is now either gone or fast fading, even on foundational issues like the uniqueness of Christ’s salvation.
At any rate, liberal clergy and the episcopate can run circles around most parishioners in these kinds of discussions because that is what they do for their daily work.
I also think that how to apply the 39 Articles consistently will require something more than “isn’t it obvious which precepts are moral, which are prudential, and which are ceremonial?”

[186] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 01-21-2009 at 08:53 AM • top

Hello,

With all of the talk on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and each side here, claiming him for their own, remember that he purposefully committed a sin—plotting the murder of Adolf Hitler—and knew the possible recriminations of that sin. He wrote quite a bit about it, and, he knew he would answer to God for his choice, but he did it anyway.

Personally, I think he was right. I also believe, when he was put to death by the Nazis, that in the afterlife he was completely forgiven for that sin.

As well, another giant from the Holy Bible, King David, plotted murder—which was carried out—which, according to the Bible, is breaking one of the 10 Commandments. He paid dearly for that ‘sin,’ but I do believe he was forgiven by God.

What I cannot fathom is how many of you seem to put such degrees on what you deem ‘sin.’ Do you truly think that God judges sin by degrees?  Do you feel that God says, “Murder is wrong, but HOMOSEXUALITY….THAT’S THE WORST.”

Isn’t up to God about judgment concerning sin?  Do we not play God ourselves, when we rabidly poke our noses into other folks’ business?

As Christians, isn’t our job to spread the Good News, open the church doors to ALL sinners (since we all are sinners), and then let God handle the rest?

Just curious.

[187] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-21-2009 at 09:11 AM • top

What I cannot fathom is how many of you seem to put such degrees on what you deem ‘sin.’ Do you truly think that God judges sin by degrees?  Do you feel that God says, “Murder is wrong, but HOMOSEXUALITY….THAT’S THE WORST.”

Of course, no one believes this.  But then, no church has called for the blessing of murderous actions, or ran a campaign for a bishop with the slogan, “Just Ask Me About Jack the Ripper.”

BTW, in most standard accounts of Christian ethics, Bonhoeffer’s attempt to assassinate Hitler would not be considered a sin.  Aquinas argues that subjects have the right to depose unjust rulers—by force, if necessary.

[188] Posted by William Witt on 01-21-2009 at 09:17 AM • top

#187, IdaLupino08,
You open up an issue for me that I have not quite dealt with in my own mind. “..he purposefully committed a sin—plotting the murder of Adolf Hitler—and knew the possible recriminations of that sin. He wrote quite a bit about it, and, he knew he would answer to God for his choice, but he did it anyway.” Many consider Bonhoeffer to be a martyr yet it seems to me that to plot the murder of another human being (even a monster like Hitler) is not that much different than someone bombing an abortion clinic to save babies.

[189] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-21-2009 at 09:18 AM • top

RedHatRob [181] I gotta tell you Rob, I see young children from our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program that know more about Communion and the signifiance of it than some of our adult parishioners. The grasp they develop, even early in the program is amazing, and in some cases much deeper than even their parents. I have heard youngsters explaining each part of the Eucharist to their parents as it occurs, excited and totally engaged in the experience, based on their training in CGS. So to paint this broadly as a serious issue (Paedo-communion)or as having a corrosive effect is a serious error in judging the ability of children to grasp the kingdom of God, and their role in it. We serious underestimate the ability of our children to “get it”, and pander to their superficial age. CGS seriously engages them at the right level of understanding and when done right, produces a profound realization of their belief.

[190] Posted by masternav on 01-21-2009 at 09:34 AM • top

Of course, no one believes this.  But then, no church has called for the blessing of murderous actions, or ran a campaign for a bishop with the slogan, “Just Ask Me About Jack the Ripper.”

BTW, in most standard accounts of Christian ethics, Bonhoeffer’s attempt to assassinate Hitler would not be considered a sin.  Aquinas argues that subjects have the right to depose unjust rulers—by force, if necessary.

But wait a minute.  I thought the Bible is to be taken literally, with no room for interpretation. If so, it matters not what Aquinas, or any other apologist, says, right?

Murder is murder, period, according to the Bible. “Thou Shalt Not Murder” Bonhoeffer gets a pass from you, because Aquinas said that subjects have the right to depose unjust rulers.

Yet someone can argue that Homosexuality is not a sin, because a certain apologist said that it is really not a sin and that Jesus never uttered a word about it.

So, Bonhoeffer gets a reprieve, but homosexuals do not, yet if we take the Bible literally, it states Thou Shalt Not Murder. It doesn’t say, “Thou Shalt Not Murder…except in these instances.”

The rules seem to change, depending on the person responding here. First, the Word of God is absolute, but not so much on certain topics, except for Homosexuality.

I understand the problem it creates for many of you, when Schori allows same sex blessings and unions, and Gene Robinson is allowed to serve. But do you not think there are more pressing issues—as Christians—that we need to focus on at this juncture?

How about the homeless folks that walk the streets, many of them mentally ill?

How about loving they neighbor as thyself?

Again, I am just curious.

[191] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-21-2009 at 09:35 AM • top

Dcn Dale [189], of course he erred in his approach to dealing with Hitler. Contemplating the murder of the despot was easier and more expeditious than tolerating in Christian submission the heinous crimes of his regime. We as humans frequently seek the expeditious solution to our condition, when often God requires patience and forebearance under extreme circumstances if we are to be obedient. Wrong is still wrong, we are not called to violence against the forces that threaten us. It’s very tough to endure that. We here in America are very good at justifying our use of force to prevent evil or to mitigate wrong. It is tightly woven into the very fabric of our existence as a nation, and our role as citizens. We spring instantly to react against any challenge to this ideology. So Bonhoeffer had to at some repent of his desire to murder Hitler, no matter how well-justified he felt in desiring to do so.

[192] Posted by masternav on 01-21-2009 at 09:47 AM • top

Sic Semper tyrannis!-if bloodless means are not sufficient to protect human lives, of course.

[193] Posted by phil swain on 01-21-2009 at 09:56 AM • top

IdaLupino08,

We routinely have people show up here and ask the same basic series of questions:

“Who are we to judge?”

“Aren’t there more grievous sins you people can focus on?”

“Don’t we have good works to do?”

While I defer to folks like Bill Witt on the particulars of Scripture and history, and hope they’ll chime in, the answers to them, in order, are:

We are to “judge” in the sense that we are to discern right from wrong; to encourage what is good and rebuke what is bad, particularly when it is called out by name in Scripture.

Certainly murder is worse than homosexual behavior - few if any people are claiming the opposite. But as Bill Witt pointed out, the church isn’t proposing to incorporate murder into the sacraments. It’s not composing a liturgy for murder. (Not yet, anyway, but stick around… the fringe-liturgies we’ve seen for women who have had abortions are pretty close, and are sure to evolve). If it were, no doubt you’d see the same group of people here up in arms about THAT. But you’ll also notice that we spend a good bit of time combating heresy and false teaching, too. The Episcopal Church is very sick, and there is much triage that needs doing.

Do not proceed from the assumption that people who spend time here combating the church’s innovations in homosexuality do not also help the poor, the mentally ill, the imprisoned, etc. When compared to the efforts of our theological opponents, we usually come out well in the black on that balance sheet. The Christian life is about doing all of these things - spreading the Good News, helping others, AND rebuking heresy, false teaching and sinful behavior. To be perfectly accurate, we sat quietly for too long while these things infested our church. We ask forgiveness for not putting a stop to it years ago, but that may help explain our sense of urgency now.

[194] Posted by Greg Griffith on 01-21-2009 at 09:56 AM • top

Bonhoeffer was obviously deeply troubled by what he contemplated. From accounts of his time in the camp, it sounds as if he learned more deeply how to “tolerate in Christian submission” as masternav put it. I doubt there are any among us who haven’t knowingly made a sinful choice - with the intention of repenting afterward. I suspect God is not very impressed with that attitude. But I pray that there is mercy for people in such terrible situations as the people of conscience in Nazi Germany were in. Murder must have been sorely, deeply tempting and only God knows what justice was there. Only God can “measure” sin. IdaLupino is right that it often seems that we reasserters are condemning homosexuality as if it were the worst sin of all, as if we knew the measuring stick. I am content to leave that to God’s mercy. It is being asked to bless what we are told are sinful acts that I find deeply troubling. But the real issue to me is not homosexuality, but the shallow “theology” of TEC’s leadership, the tossing of Christianity out the window (no resurrection, “one of many paths”, etc., etc., well documented on another thread), the being *ashamed* of Christianity. That the church wants to bless sinful behaviour is a symptom of this profound drifting away from Christian faith toward some undefined something that is so agreeable that it tells us all that we can contemplate is “good.”

[195] Posted by oscewicee on 01-21-2009 at 10:01 AM • top

#191 IdaLupino08, thanks for pointing something out for me:

The rules seem to change, depending on the person responding here. First, the Word of God is absolute, but not so much on certain topics, except for Homosexuality.

Hmmm, fancy that!  The orthodox are not all mindless robots marching in lockstep with Rush Limbaugh, or Jerry Falwell, or the leader du jour!  Fancy that.

Yes, that’s correct.  You will find that the posters on this board are living, breathing, thinking Christians who wrestle with their faith just like anyone else.  There are nuances of the faith that we all disagree upon, or hold different views on.  It just so happens that the boundaries placed around Christian Marriage by Scripture, Tradition, and Reason are something that we agree are not only salvific, but good for society and important enough to demand we separate (in some cases) or fight (in other cases) any view that would seek to disembowel the truth.

So as you read the board here, remember that we are united in our belief that souls are for God alone to judge, but behavior that is plainly prohibited by 2,000 years of faith deposited with the Church will be judged, including our own.

Welcome, I appreciate and enjoy your views.

KTF!...mrb

[196] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-21-2009 at 10:03 AM • top

Masternav, the prisoners of Auschwitz stand in awe of your patient submission.  Bonhoeffer as far as we know didn’t desire to murder Hitler.  What he desired to do was his moral duty.

[197] Posted by phil swain on 01-21-2009 at 10:10 AM • top

Red Hat Rob,  Eastern Christianity , both Orthodox and Catholic, communes infants.  This is not a new, trendy, modern idea which takes the holiness of the sacrament lightly,  but a practice as old as infant baptism itself.  The three sacraments of initiation into Christianity, Baptism, the anointing after Baptism which is confirmation, and the Eucharist, were always given together.  Baptism and Confirmation got separated because Confirmation was the Bishop’s part,  and as Christianity grew and the Bishop’s flock was larger,  he couldn’t get to every initiation.  The anointing now given after baptism is a survival of the anointing of confirmation which was expected at that point in the ceremony. 
All of this implies an idea of the sacraments in which God is the chief actor and in which His grace is effective unless opposed by the will of the recipient, which an infant cannot do.  It also implies a much more communal idea of Christianity, in which salvation was understood to take place when, and by means of, joining the saved community, the Church.  Of course an adult came to belief first,  but he became a Christian when he passed through the waters of baptism.  When he was later urged to remember his dignity as a Christian, he was reminded of his baptism.
Of course there would be questions about what happened to someone who came to belief in Christ but died before they could be baptized.  In the early days, some of those died for their profession of Christ, and these were said to have the “baptism of blood.”  Others who happened to die after they had expressed the desire to be baptized were said to have “the baptism of desire” because God bestow on them the grace they desired.  But these were called “baptism” because the way one became a Christian was baptism.  One died to the world, went under the water, and emerged reborn in Christ’s church.  God grants the rebirth, and our only contribution is to ask for it and not to oppose it.  With infants, their parents ask for it in their name, but what is granted is the same.  Once baptized, they were sealed (confirmed) and communed like all the newly baptized. 
    If you have a “moment of conversion and personal acceptance of Christ makes you a Christian”  theology, then I think you probably should not baptize infants.  Then, of course, you have to decide whether the eight year old who professes Christ is making the same kind of decision an adult is, because many of these fall away just like those baptized as infants.  But if you don’t believe that baptism makes one a Christian,  then one should not baptize infants, and one certainly shouldn’t put the Body of Christ into the hands of those one does not consider to be Christians. 
    Our society, in which individualism is stressed and the expectation that one will follow what is taught by one’s parents is not there, where in fact there is more of an expectation of rebellion and contradiction of one’s parents,  the model in which the child is baptized on the faith of the community and the faith of his parents, is very difficult to live out in practice But if we do baptize children, then they are regenerate and they are Christians, and so long as they do not contradict their profession of the faith by their words or their behavior, it makes sense to commune them. 
Susan Peterson

[198] Posted by eulogos on 01-21-2009 at 10:25 AM • top

By one reading of moral theology, Bonhoffer did not contemplate the murder of Hitler, but the death of Hitler.  Hitler’s crimes of murder and unjust war resulted in the deaths of millions.  His death could be seen, not as murder, but as justice.

Now on to the question of Holy Communion and sinners.  Bishop Schori is a sinner and I believe she is apostate.  As a Deacon, I do not get to make the determination of who receives and who doesn’t receive.  I would defer to the Celbrant if Bishop Schori were to attend our congregation. 

In an alternate universe where I am the celebrant and she were a visitor, I would probably reason that she asked forgiveness for sins “known and unknown.”  I doubt that she sees what she is doing as sinful or harmful to the body of Christ.  I would probably err on the side of Grace and let her receive communion.  As a priest and bishop, she is supposed to be aware of the dangers of receiving communion with serious sins that have not been confessed and forgiven.  As a bishop, she is not a member of my cure of souls - she would be a visitor to the congregation and treated as such.

Now, if she were a member of my congregation (in that alternate universe) and were not a bishop or priest and had committed similar sins (such as suing members of the congregation for imagined damages or for publically teaching apostacy and saying that this is what the Church believes), I would meet with her privately and tell her the serious dangers that her soul is in for teaching and holding what she does and for fomenting actions that harm the Church and that I would not give her communion until I saw signs of repentence.  Then I would write my bishop and inform him of my decision.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[199] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-21-2009 at 10:33 AM • top

It is interesting reading the debate about Bonhoeffer. What struck me is that Bonhoeffer seemed pretty clear that his claim to righteousness was based on what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. We are debating his actions; right or wrong. He probably would say; there is no debate; I am a sinner; from the heart. I therefor cannot trust any of my actions to be righteous ( Mt 5).
Bishop Robinson declares that he is not sinful in the matter of his homsexuality. So who goes home justified?

Back to the presiding Bishop; It is her anthropology that is off, leading to a low Christology. If she were drowning, below the surface, without any hope of survival, and a Coast Guard recue swimmer pulled her out, and she came back to consciousness; she probably would not say; ” I demand anouther method of being saved. ” She would just feel gratitude. So it is all in where you see yourself. She does not see herself as being dead in her sinfulness. And if she is alive she has choices.

[200] Posted by Jimmy DuPre on 01-21-2009 at 10:41 AM • top

Quote of the Week:

Of course, no one believes this.  But then, no church has called for the blessing of murderous actions, or ran a campaign for a bishop with the slogan, “Just Ask Me About Jack the Ripper.”

And on another related note, thank you Dr. Witt and Dr. Turner for participating on this thread, and on the others that you have recently engaged in.  I have deeply appreciated your comments.

[201] Posted by Sarah on 01-21-2009 at 10:49 AM • top

Phil, I’m gonna split hairs here, but I think it’s important.

I would probably reason that she asked forgiveness for sins “known and unknown.”

From my understanding, we are not really supposed to “ask forgiveness.”  We may do so.  We are to confess, and in confessing we presume that we will be forgiven because of Christ’s promises.  I suppose “asking forgiveness” is a form of confession.  We may confess sins unknown.  However, already in doing so we are entering murky territory if we attach any consequences to such confession.

Confession and asking forgiveness are really two different things.  The former lays emphasis on the act of the individual in describing the act done wrong and one’s conviction that such act indeed was wrong.  The latter lays emphasis upon a desired act of another.  This desired act - forgiveness on the part of God - is very important - I still don’t like using the words “asking forgiveness” in place of the word “confession.”

Confession is also supposed to imply a conversion, a turning, a turning away from the sin.  In this case, you would need to consider how reasonable it is to assume true confession when there is public sin without notification on your part of ammendment of life.  Things would be different if, for example, she whispered to you before the service, “You know that interview in Parabola of Spring 2007?  I’m issuing a statement that I was wrong there and issuing a few other such statements.”  Then you’d have grounds to think that she had ammended her life.

Otherwise, we can really give communion to anyone.  That phrase “known and unknown” acts as a sort of passe-partout in a manner similar to the way the heirarchy now interprets TEC’s Baptismal Covenant.

[202] Posted by j.m.c. on 01-21-2009 at 11:12 AM • top

Bo 156, The time sync for when Judas left the last supper is based, not one John’s gospel alone, but on all four gospels plus the writings of St. Paul and knowledge of the events required by Jewish law & tradition in the first century A.D.  For more information you might want to read “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim, Book 10, chapter 5.  Edersheim (1825-1889) was born in Vienna to Jewish parents and was converted to Christianity as a young man. He studied theology at Edinburgh and Berlin.  He was one of the leading authorities of his day on the practices of Judaism in the centuries prededing and during th early Christian era.  He was ordained in the Scottish Presbyterian Church at age 21, later became a clergyman in the Church of England, was a missionary to the Jews in Romania, taught at Oxford 1884 to his death.  In the light of other research on this, I have found Edersheim to be reliable.  FS Scott

[203] Posted by Frances S Scott on 01-21-2009 at 11:28 AM • top

A further note on Bonhoeffer - he noted that if he actually would be involved in killing Hitler, he would renounce his holy orders first. Obviously, he knew the seriousness of his potential sin and did not want to bring scandal to his church by performing this sin as an ordained person. Contrast this attitude with Gene Robinson.

[204] Posted by Branford on 01-21-2009 at 01:02 PM • top

IdaLupino, I do not get the continued contention by revisionists that Jesus did not say that homosexual acts were not sins.  He clearly proscribed fornication in Matthew.  It would be the height of squirrely logic to try to argue that the common understanding of the term fornication (porneia in the original) did not include homosexual conduct in Jewish law.

[205] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 01-21-2009 at 01:41 PM • top

phil swain [197], no actually phil most of them died. Horrifically. Those few that were left to be rescued by the Allied forces may have been in awe of those who had fought valiantly and selflessly against the adversaries that stood in their path. But let us not also celebrate the inevitable loss of life that war incurs, nor the spiritual results of the need to shed blood in order to contain those whose sins would threaten to subjugate the world to darkness.

[206] Posted by masternav on 01-21-2009 at 01:56 PM • top

Hi Reason and Revelation,
I’m trying to catch up on this thread. Would you please point me to the verse in Matthew to which you refer in your post 205?

[207] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-21-2009 at 02:07 PM • top

Is there any doubt that Niebuhr perfectly described the PB and her “progressive” fellow travelers when he described the liberal church as preaching “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross?”

[208] Posted by DaveG on 01-21-2009 at 02:08 PM • top

Murder is murder, period, according to the Bible. “Thou Shalt Not Murder” Bonhoeffer gets a pass from you, because Aquinas said that subjects have the right to depose unjust rulers.

Yes, “murder is murder,” but, also, “according to the Bible,” not all “killing” is murder.  The verb rasah in the Decalogue does not mean “kill.”  In its original context, it means something like an “illegal slaying which calls forth blood vengeance.”  (Brevard Childs, Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context (Fortress, 1985), 76.  The Bible does not condemn all killing, but specifically the taking of innocent life, and, under certain circumstances commands that those who take innocent life are subject to having their own lives taken, e.g. Gen. 9:6, Rom. 13:4.  That is, the Bible sometimes demands killing, and one can make a good case for capital punishment from Scripture.  (I say this as someone who generally disapproves of capital punishment.)

There are Christians who interpret Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 5:39 to mean that Christians must be pacifists, but this has been a distinctively minority opinion.  Bonhoeffer abandoned the pacifism of his youth.  In his Ethics (Macmillan, 1955), he distinguishes between “arbitrary killing” (murder) and “non-arbitrary killing” (not murder).

[T]he killing of the enemy in war is not arbitrary killing. . . . [T]here is nothing arbitrary about the killing of a criminal who has done injury to the life of another. . . All deliberate killing of innocent life is arbitrary.”

Would the killing of Hitler fall under the prohibition against murder (rasah)?  Would it be the deliberate taking of innocent life?  Hardly.

So, Bonhoeffer gets a reprieve, but homosexuals do not, yet if we take the Bible literally, it states Thou Shalt Not Murder. It doesn’t say, “Thou Shalt Not Murder…except in these instances.”

Yes, the Bible says “You shall do no murder.”  It does not have to say . . . “except in these instances,” because not all instances of killing are murder.  Whether Bonhoeffer gets a reprieve depends on whether tyrannicide qualifies as murder.

I do find it odd that it is now the revisionists who are making a comparison between homosexuality and murder.  If an orthodox Christian were to do so, he or she would be accused of extreme homophobia.

But, of course, the church would give a practicing homosexual a “reprieve” on the same grounds that it would give a murderer (including Bonhoeffer, if he was one).  The most evil serial killer or repeat rapist, the most egregious adulterer or promiscuous fornicator would all be welcome to communion on the same grounds as a practicing homosexual—repentance.  That’s why we have a sacrament of reconciliation.

Two novels that understands this well are Thomas Mann’s The Holy Sinner, the story of a man who commits incest, and then becomes pope, and Graham Greene’s story of the “whiskey priest” in The Power and the Glory.  The gospel is not about “lowering the bar” so that we can feel comfortable with our sins or pretend that they’re not really sins.  It is about forgiveness.  But forgiveness is hard on self-esteem.  It means we have to admit that we are sinners.

[209] Posted by William Witt on 01-21-2009 at 02:09 PM • top

Thank you for all of the comments! I appreciate the chance to discourse here.

To those who wrote that Bonhoeffer didn’t desire to kill Hitler. Actually, he did. The reason he was imprisoned by the Nazis, along with his collaborators, had to do with an assassination plot that failed—which led to the second attempt shown in the film Valkyrie—that Bonhoeffer was directly involved with. You can check that fact, if you wish.

This choice was what he wrestled with, greatly, before during and after the fact. We consider him a martyr, yet he broke one of God’s commandments willingly. Personally, I admire him.

What I heard, in the snippet of video from Schori, was that she was leaving thoughts on Homosexuality open to interpretation, and allowing those parishes that wish to celebrate same-sex unions to do so. I would assume that the parish in Mississippi, and others throughout the country, do not believe that is right.  So, then, either don’t allow it in your parish, or leave the TEC altogether, as some have done. When is her tenure through, or how does that work?  I do not know.

But most of you, here, feel that is an abomination and that God set up the union between a man and woman as the only Holy union that should be recognized by God.

The ‘sanctity of marriage’ right?  But, I don’t see any real sanctity of marriage within many traditional, heterosexual unions. There is just as much fornication, adultry, child abuse in many heterosexual unions.

Look at that kid in Florida, whose ‘heterosexual’ mother killed her own child?  Just because a person is ‘heterosexual’ does not mean that there is any ‘sanctity of marriage’ or sanctity of much else, right?

If heterosexual unions are the ‘litmus’ test for Holy marriage in general, I’d say most have failed that test.

What concerns me is that there is no ‘sanctity of marriage’ outcry, when idiots like Britney Spears get married in a drunken stupor, then annul the marriage a few days later, when she is sober.

How is that union ‘Holy?’ How is a heterosexual union automatically ‘Holy’ just because it’s a heterosexual union?

So, when my former youth minister got one of the girls in our youth group pregnant—sin, sin, sin—and HAD to marry her, that is a ‘Holy Union’ in your eyes? Simply because you feel it’s ‘sanctified’ between a woman and man?

That couple went on to have terrible fights and the wife left her husband and abandoned her children, causing the children great grief, not to mention therapy bills later on in their life. And this is from a ‘sanctified’ union.

However, I know a lesbian couple who have been together for 25 years. No drugs, alcohol, serve in a church and are productive members of the society. How is that union not ‘Holy?’

Just because some cite Bible verses from the Old Testament, and some claim to know Greek so well that you can decipher every word Jesus said, and how he meant it, even though Christ, himself, never uttered a word on Homosexuality.  Not one.  Paul did, but not Jesus. What is wrong with Schori saying that those words that Paul wrote are open for interpretation, based on the original GREEK texts? I know it’s been discussed here, I am sure, that the context for Paul’s words had to do with a Roman society that accepted, as a rite of passage, that an older man would take a younger boy as a student, including having sex with the student, etc.

I do know that there are extremes in every group, whether it be gay/lesbian or heterosexual, right? There are some fringe elements within the GLBT society that make me cringe, but, most that I have contact with are very down-to-earth, normal, stable individuals or couples. Just like many of you, I am sure.

Do some of you, or all of you, feel that what you deem fornication and sexual sin is worse when it’s a homosexual who is doing it, or a heterosexual?

I would guess that, according to statistics, about half of you reading and/or writing have engaged in ‘fornication’ as it listed in the Bible.  From that half, I bet some of you do it in secret and nobody knows about it.

How would you feel if your church started a campaign to rid itself of all ‘fornicators’ whether gay or straight?  Probably half of your church’s congregation would be purged. How about the rest of Paul’s inclusion of alcoholics, gluttons, liars, thieves?

I dare say our church pews would be barren, under such scrutiny.

Explain, also, so I understand it, why only certain people are allowed to partake of communion?  We serve a homeless population, due to our location, and we include them all during communion, with no reservations. I do not believe we are committing a sin when we do so.

Here is a great quote by Bonhoeffer. I only wish I had half of his conviction and maturity in the Lord.

Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as ourselves. The Cost of Discipleship

[210] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-21-2009 at 02:18 PM • top

“idalupino”, Murder, as with other sins do not, can not get a pass. Dietrich Bonhoeffer doesn’t get one, he
asked for one. He never sought justification. Rather, Bonheoffer placed himself as a sinner before God, and requested his mercy.

Bonhoeffer in fact said:

“When a man takes guilt upon himself in responsibility, he imputes his guilt to himself
and no one else. He answers for it… Before other men he is justified by dire necessity;
before himself he is acquitted by his conscience, but before God he hopes only for grace”

There is a vast world of difference between interpretation, and the obfuscation of those who seek to misrepresent
what Scripture says, and peddle cheap grace.

Bonhoeffer had this to say about the difference between cheap and costly grace:

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a world of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

It has been repeated, over and over again, scripture repeatedly refers to homosexual behavior as sin. You can attempt to twist and spin that fact to your
hearts content, but it doesn’t change the fact, it is unalterable. Homosexual behavior is a sin, as is adultery, murder, etc…

We are also called upon to protect the innocent, that includes children from that and all other sins. Our constitutionally protected right to free religious expression protects that right to raise our children in our religious beliefs unimpeded.

The rules don’t change, in fact, orthodox or traditional Christians are very consistent on the subject. The facts that our beliefs clearly define homosexual activity as sinful, does not mean that we hate homosexuals.

The inconsistency is on the part of the revisionists, especially when they rant on and on about “grace” and “joyful” this and that, yet their words and actions clearly display the fact that they neither know nor understand grace, and far from joyfulness, they seem bitter and mean spirited.

Frankly, they do no work to help the homeless or hungry, though they are wont to beat their breasts talking about charity, and good acts, their actions, again, betray their lack of commitment to helping the poor. The rantings about the MDG’s are meaningless, as the MDG’s do not help the poor, they merely give untold billions to the wealty, powerful and corrupt, and more likely to hasten the deaths and suffering of the poor in Africa and elsewhere. When one reads her past statements, it’s apparent that the PB refuses to address the poverty here in the US, her interest in the MDG’s seems more than anything else, to be in aid of depleting any funding for helping the poor here. I also remember reading about her inviting to Lambeth, an advocate for the starving of the poor in the developed and undeveloped world, so as to decrease the world population, aka.. save the world’s resources for deserving elites, like the PB and her pals. That man and what he advocates is no different than what Hitler and other monsters like him advocated. The mere fact that the PB found his agenda acceptable, speaks volumes about her true beliefs.

From my point of view, traditional or orthodox Christians aren’t the ones who need to prove anything to you, rather it’s the revisionists who hypocritically attempt to lay claim to the faith, while working openly to destroy it.

[211] Posted by mari on 01-21-2009 at 02:30 PM • top

IdaLupino08 - thank you for your thoughts.  It seems you continue to introduce other sinful behaviors - fornication generally, gluttony, lying, stealing - as though they are somehow relevant to the discussion.  To the extent that they are sins just like homosexual activity, they are, of course, relevant.  But, in the way you are using them, they are not: the church does not, and is not being pressured to, bless and glorify gluttony, lying and stealing as it desires to bless and glorify homosexuality.

Can you address this?

[212] Posted by Phil on 01-21-2009 at 02:32 PM • top

IdaLupino08,
Thank you for being willing to engage here at SF. At present, the Church does not celebrate any sin except homosexual sex.  It does not rejoice over divorce.  It does not bless adultery.  It does not proclaim as “good” when a youth minister gets a girl pregnant. 

Jesus did not speak against homosexual sex by itself.  However, he does use the word “KJV"><porniea in Matthew 15:19.  Now Jesus was an observant Jew and did not transgress any of the law.  The observant Jews of his day believed that homosexual sex was covered in proniea and, since the Gospels are silent on the topic, we must assume that the authors of the Gospels believed Jesus to accept that definition.  Paul further confirms it in Romans and elsewhere.

I have asked this question of several people (including the Presiding Bishop) and never received a satisfactory answer.  Perhaps you can give me one.
According to the Book of Common Prayer, the Church blesses marriage for four reasons:
1.  God ordained marriage in Creation
2.  Jesus adorned marriage by his presence and first miracle at the Wedding at Cana in Galilee
3.  Paul speaks of marriage as symbolizing the union between Christ and his Church.
4.  Holy Scripture commends it to be honored by all people.

Now, can you show me where, in Holy Scripture, any one of those four statements are true for homosexual unions.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[213] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-21-2009 at 02:52 PM • top

Yes, the Bible says “You shall do no murder.” It does not have to say . . . “except in these instances,” because not all instances of killing are murder.  Whether Bonhoeffer gets a reprieve depends on whether tyrannicide qualifies as murder.

When I respond, please know that I get just as passionate as some of you do, and I don’t want that to be taken or interpreted as belittling or not hearing you. I do, and it’s made me think a lot.

Here goes:

According to YOUR interpretation, which is very subjective. It’s amazing how some of you declare you know the real meaning of the Bible, and wish to take it at its word, literally, especially when arguing homosexuality, yet, oddly, when confronted with your literalism as it relates to whatever version of the Holy Bible you read, comments such as, ‘It does not have to say…’ etc. and selective interpretation are invoked.

I do find it odd that it is now the revisionists who are making a comparison between homosexuality and murder.  If an orthodox Christian were to do so, he or she would be accused of extreme homophobia.

First of all, I am not a revisionist. Secondly, the point—which you glibly try to evade—is that many here seem to clamor for taking the Bible literally and following the laws very strictly, with no room for any subjective thought, or questions on interpretation.  You have proven my point that you, along with some here, subjectively interpret the Bible to prove a point, when you are called on it.  But let someone who identifies as Christian dare to question the scriptures as it relates to Homosexuality, and suddenly they become apostates.

That’s interesting logic. Anyone who does not agree with you, or leaves things open for dialogue and interpretation—like Ms. Schori as it relates to the TEC, this thread, etc.—are unrepentant sinners and apostates.

But, of course, the church would give a practicing homosexual a “reprieve” on the same grounds that it would give a murderer (including Bonhoeffer, if he was one).  The most evil serial killer or repeat rapist, the most egregious adulterer or promiscuous fornicator would all be welcome to communion on the same grounds as a practicing homosexual—repentance.  That’s why we have a sacrament of reconciliation.

Oh, okay, well, why don’t you invite Mark David Chapman (killer of John Lennon), The Manson Family (Many who have given their lives to Christ, supposedly), and let’s see…oh, well Ted Bundy already fried, but he did become a ‘Christian’ right before he was executed, and invite them all to communion with you.  Or, take communion to them!!  Take the focus off of the sinning Homosexuals, and start a new campaign: “Murderers are People Too.” Seriously!

Does the concept of Bonhoeffer’s ‘Cheap Grace’ mean something to you? From what I read above, all you have to do is repent and say, “I’m sorry I bludgeoned Sharon Tate and stabbed her unborn baby, and I believe in Jesus,” for you to allow communion?

So, all I need to say to you, in publc is, “Oh, I’m sorry that I’m Gay and that I acted on it,” and then I can have communion….and then go straight home and continue to be gay. It’s called Cheap Grace.

I want to join your church!!!

Two novels that understands this well are Thomas Mann’s The Holy Sinner, the story of a man who commits incest, and then becomes pope

Incest is glossed over by you, but stopping homosexuals from marrying is the bane of your existence?

It doesn’t surprise me that there would be a book about a Catholic that commits incest and then becomes Pope.  I’m sure, in my lifetime, that book will move from fiction to non-fiction.

Just like Lot had sex with his two daughters, after they got him drunk, and that’s all okay too, because, well, it’s in the Bible.

The gospel is not about “lowering the bar” so that we can feel comfortable with our sins or pretend that they’re not really sins.  It is about forgiveness.  But forgiveness is hard on self-esteem.  It means we have to admit that we are sinners.

But ‘sin’ is subjective, according to all that you have written to me here. Incest and murder can be forgiven, pretty easily by you, but not that darn homosexuality.

I sin every day, period, whether I willingly want to or not, as do you. It’s when you start putting degrees on sin, and who can take communion and who can’t, who can marry someone and who can’t, who is worthy and who is not, that it becomes a problem.

Schori seems a bit ‘out there’ most of the time, however from what I saw in the snippet above, she clearly explains her views are not for everyone, but they are hers, period.

My philosophy is: It’s God’s place to judge and to change someone’s heart.  The only thing I can do is see beyond the supposed ‘sin,’ share the Good News, get them into my church, and let God do the rest of the judging and changing.

Thanks!
Ida

[214] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-21-2009 at 02:53 PM • top

Phil,

Wow. Thank you for that post. You have given me much to ponder.

The thing is, I don’t see—anywhere—in the Bible where Jesus himself spoke out against homosexuality.  I see where Paul discusses homosexuality (as translated in the King James version), along with a slew of other sins, but I don’t see any passage where Jesus, himself, discusses homosexuality.

Ida

[215] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-21-2009 at 02:57 PM • top

IdaLupino, I, too, would like to see your answer to #212.

[216] Posted by oscewicee on 01-21-2009 at 03:04 PM • top

Masternav, what I am celebrating is the moral courage of Bonhoeffer in his attempt to kill Hitler.  You have implied that Bonhoeffer morally erred in his course of action against Hitler. I assume you believe that any killing is immoral or sinful.  I don’t believe that’s a mainstream Christian position.  C.S. Lewis has a helpful thought from ‘Mere Christianity’,

I have often thought to myself how it would have been if, when I served in the First World War, I and some young German had killed each other simultaneously and found ourselves together a moment after death.  I cannot imagine that either of us would have felt any embarrassment.  I think we would have laughed over it.

Branford, I don’t know all the details about Bonhoeffer’s decision, but it occurs to me that he may have, as a clergyman, taken a vow not to kill.  So, that the relinquishment of his collar was not because he was about to do an immoral act, but because he was breaking a vow.  For instance, I believe that Catholic clergy cannot participate in the armed forces as combatants, but that doesn’t mean they don’t believe in just war.

[217] Posted by phil swain on 01-21-2009 at 03:14 PM • top

“idalupino”, discourse requires examination, you are not examining or contemplating what is said, merely kicking the facts out of the
way because truth is inconvenient to you. You aren’t participating in discourse.

Christians, throughout our entire history have known that homosexual behavior is a sin, the bible, both in the old and new testament clearly state that it is sinful and an abomination.

I pity you, in that you haven’t seen or been capable of recognizing the sanctity of marriage, because it does exist.

Like all sacrements, it must be entered into seriously, with commitment. Like with other things, individuals can and do give in to sin, but that does not cheapen the institution of or sanctity of marriage.

It’s been recorded by the justice department, that homosexual couples, have higher rates of domestic abuse, lesbians have an even higher rate for violence against their partners, than heterosexual couples. What does that tell you? Or will you ignore that fact as well?

Homosexuals include pedophiles, alcoholics, criminals, and tendencies towards fascistic and violent behavior, including murder.

The vast majority of marriages are normal, stable, and non-violent, or is that also inconvenient to you?

In 2004, the American College of Pediatricians stated the following regarding homosexuality and parenting:
“Children reared in homosexual households are more likely to experience sexual confusion, practice homosexual behavior, and engage in sexual experimentation. Adolescents and young adults who adopt the homosexual lifestyle, like their adult counterparts, are at increased risk of mental health problems, including major depression, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, substance dependence, and especially suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

[218] Posted by mari on 01-21-2009 at 03:15 PM • top

IdaLupin08[210], the response I offer here is simple and based on the logic of your arguments above. I’m not going to quote scripture to you. You have offered all kinds of “bad” examples of the “heterosexual marriage” as a kind of justification for allowing “homosexual marriage/union”. That the failure of broken human nature to get the ordained and sanctioned biblical union correct thus disallows the proscription against the homosexual union. Two “wrongs” therefore make a “right”. Or perhaps more accurately you are trying to posit a “dog-in-the-manger” argument, based on human behaviors. God did in fact set up the union between a man and a woman as holy, and reflecting the relationship between Christ and His church, as Phil noted above. The failure of humans spanning the belief spectrum from ardent Christian to ardent and dissolute hedonist in the enactment of that holy union only reflects our brokenness not the desired state itself.

If human behavior were the only standard against which we were to compare relationships, then we would have no basis for declaring anything holy, or sanctified. But that is not the case, is it. Your reference to the social norms of the time as being the only arbiter of whether or not Paul was able to address relationships beyond the social context of the moment belies your attitude about the Bible as well. It appears then that to you, as has been argued here before, that the book is merely a collection of folk tales and culturally bound metaphors that reflect humankind’s search for the divine.

If you insist that human behavior is the only standard against which we can determine the “rightness” or “wrongness” of an act, that places you in a precarious place morally. What you disallow for your own convenience or preferences’ sake outside of this issue is no more relevant that your argument for homosexual union. Your preferences and conveniences behaviorally are only relevant, as long as they as socially desireable. As soon as your social context decides that your conveniences and preferences are invalid, you lose - a completely arbitrary standard against which there is no defense, except to go with the flow, until it turns against you. This is a distinctly secular and humanist approach to the issue, and has no ground nor basis in Christian theology. Your claims also do a nice job of debasing “holy” and “sanctified” to nice, tolerable and reasonably pleasant. A “lowest common deniminator” approach used repeatedly here as a progressive argument.

The argument here is not to exclude sinners but to include them. However we are not going to celebrate and sanctify or declare fornication in any form as holy. Or any other sin.

Likewise your argument about Holy Communion. What is it to those who come to the rail unbaptised and/or unbelieving? Is it a bite of bread and sip of wine? Then for them it is not Holy Communion, is it? It is some silly ritual that involves bread (or a fish-food like wafer)and watered down wine served in a distinctly uncomfortable way. It is not hospitality, it is a demeaning of the essential truth of the Lord’s Supper. If Holy Communion is not the commanded commemoration of His suffering, death and resurrection, and does not proffer grace, then why do it as some meaningless ritual for those who could care less? I will not swap Bonhoeffer quotes with you, the man wrote enough to feed such an exchange for long threads indeed.

[219] Posted by masternav on 01-21-2009 at 03:20 PM • top

Is Matthew 15:19

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

a reference back to Lev 18-19?

In Acts 15: 19-21, James says that Lev 17-19 was read in the synagogues on every sabbath:

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

[220] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-21-2009 at 03:22 PM • top

FS Scot (203)
Expert testimony then, and not ‘simple text’, right?
(In other words, likely true, but not ‘proven from the scriptures’.)

Thanks!

[221] Posted by Bo on 01-21-2009 at 03:22 PM • top

Where exactly are Christians glossing over incest or adultery? I’d like to see proof that they ever have.

Nor does legitimate Christianity go for cheap grace, Ida.. it’s TEC that does that by inferring that if one is baptized one already has the grace, and need never repent of one’s sins and commit to sinning no more.

Ida obviously does not feel confident in his/her ability to honestly debate on the subject, as he/she has been too cowardly to answer #212

[222] Posted by mari on 01-21-2009 at 03:23 PM • top

IdaLupino08,
Thank you for being willing to engage here at SF. At present, the Church does not celebrate any sin except homosexual sex.  It does not rejoice over divorce.  It does not bless adultery.  It does not proclaim as “good” when a youth minister gets a girl pregnant.

Thanks for engaging with me, as I navigate this issue with great confusion, coupled with compassion.

Of course ‘the church’ doesn’t celebrate sin, and you know that is not my point. What you see as ‘celebrating’ sin, may not seem a ‘sin’ to someone else.  All of this is very subjective, though most of you would like to claim that it’s not subjective. It really is. The only way to really know, is to speak to God, through prayer, and let HIM answer.

But your point is that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that union is the only one ‘blessed’ by the Lord, yet, clearly I’ve encountered very dysfunctional and unholy unions between men and women. Marriage seems to be a part of the ‘cheap grace’ in my opinion.

All is okay, as long as its a man and woman married. If all of the other sins Paul states are relevant—and they are in this discussion—I’m wondering why so much emphasis is placed on homosexuals having unions within your church?

See, I don’t see you and your church fighting for the real sanctity of marriage, by decrying those who marry and divorce like pulling the arm down on a slot machine, commit adultry, fornicate.

Before you cry out that homosexual unions are ‘destroying’ the fabric of heterosexual marriage, might you clean up your own backyard, first?

Jesus did not speak against homosexual sex by itself.  However, he does use the word ”KJV”>

Jesus did not physically write the Bible, as you well know. The gospels were written by fallible MEN.  Men like Paul, who believed that The Second Coming of Christ was to happen in his lifetime. But I am intrigued, and want to research the ‘proniea’ issue. Thanks for that.

<blockquote>I have asked this question of several people (including the Presiding Bishop) and never received a satisfactory answer.  Perhaps you can give me one.
According to the Book of Common Prayer, the Church blesses marriage for four reasons:
1.  God ordained marriage in Creation
2.  Jesus adorned marriage by his presence and first miracle at the Wedding at Cana in Galilee
3.  Paul speaks of marriage as symbolizing the union between Christ and his Church.
4.  Holy Scripture commends it to be honored by all people.

Now, can you show me where, in Holy Scripture, any one of those four statements are true for homosexual unions.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

You have got me there, Phil. But, since homosexuality was not discussed by Jesus, I can only go on my own interpretation—as you interpret for yourself—scripture, or the absence of scripture.

This makes me want to discuss Ruth and Naomi, and my first questions about whether homosexuality was a huge concern for God.

I shall do that, if permitted, with my next post. Now, I have to get back to work.

Thank you for your thought provoking response.

Ida

[223] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-21-2009 at 03:28 PM • top

phil swain [217], phil, we have to at some level as Christians resist the call to violence until it becomes impossible to do otherwise. Just wars against oppression require it of us. We are not in a position however to celebrate it as virtuous, nor are we called to. We should be rightly troubled in spirit at having to take a life, even in order to avert a greater evil. Not plunged headlong into guilt, but repentant nonetheless. And the argument as to whether a stance is “mainstream” or not is rather immaterial, in this case. We are commanded specifically to respond in certain ways under certain circumstances - to turn the other cheek, to deliver your tunic when your cloak is required of you, and so forth. Bonhoeffer acted as he did under full conviction as a Christian. I imagine neither you nor I have been placed in such circumstances, nor have had to make that choice. I know my broken self well enough to know that taking another life would come entirely too easy for me, under the right circumstances.

[224] Posted by masternav on 01-21-2009 at 03:34 PM • top

Ask the activists. The conservatives have largely been reactive over the last 20 years.

If we had gluttonous activists - you perhaps be asking “why are you so obsessed about food, after all what’s wrong with a simple deep fried peanut butter sandwich”. Perhaps you’d add - “some people are in favor of gluttony and some people are against it so what else can I do than go by my own interpretation”. Or maybe you’d correctly identify some other problem and say because nothing has been done about that then gluttony should be left alone…

[225] Posted by driver8 on 01-21-2009 at 03:45 PM • top

Idalupino,
First, I don’t believe that anyone here thinks that homosexual unions in any way harm hetersexual ones.  Quite the contrary.  I believe that the downfall of hetersexual marriage is responsible for the rise of homosexual “marriage.” 

Do heterosexual people need to be more committed to marriage?  Absoutely!  Amen!  Yes!  I’ve known priests to refuse to bless 3rd and 4th (or even 5th or 6th) marriages - even from wealthy parishoners. 

I do have to warn you against your apparant Marcionism.  Marcionism is the heresy that proclaims that some part of Scripture is “real” scripture while another part is not.  Marcionism leads to statements like “Jesus never condemned auto theft, so it should be OK to steal cars.”  This is not a case of finding one or two or six or 6000 verses in scripture to make a point.  It is a case of the whole witness of Holy Scripture to what God designed us for and how we are to use the blessings that He has given us. 

You ask about repentance.  I do quite a bit of work inside prison.  Repentance is life and death to these men.  It is vital to them.  Now, I know that several men say the words without believing them.  But I do not know which men say the words without belief.  I accept each “conversion” as if it were real and hope and pray and work to make it real - even if it isn’t real at the time.  All that is required is to repent and ask forgiveness.  It comes easily.  Even if you commit the sin again and again and again.  God forgives again and again and again and again.  Sin like that is known as “besetting sin” and my besetting sin is gluttony (ok and pride and sloth and greed and envy and anger and lust).  But each time I sin - each time I fall, I pick myself up, ask forgiveness, ask for help (grace) to amend my life, and try again (and fall again - repeat cycle).  The same grace is offerred to you.

The problem with sin is not that it is against God’s will or it violates some words in scripture.  The problem is that sin leads us away from God - the Author of Life.  Sin leads us to darkness and death.  Another problem is that our minds are already so darkened by sin that we cannot know the good by ourselves.  We only know the good because God has revealed it to us.  We ignore His revelation to us at our own peril.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[226] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-21-2009 at 03:56 PM • top

FWIW heterosexual marriage is under huge strain. Those who, on average, suffer the consequences of heterosexual marriage break down (ie those who are, on average, more vulnerable to undesirable social outcomes are women and children). Easier divorce has been one factor in causing these undesirable outcomes. Maggie Gallagher and David Blankenhorn have argued that redefining marriage so that heterosexual union is no longer normative is likely to add to the strain under which heterosexual marriage is toiling. Remember again that it is on average women and children who are made more vulnerable to undesirable social outcomes as marriage weakens.

[227] Posted by driver8 on 01-21-2009 at 04:27 PM • top

masternav #192 and #224,
I believe Bonhoeffer did not just act alone.  By conspiring with others, he aided them in committing sin also. How in any way does taking of ones clerical collar make something more “honorable”?  It just says to me that he as a man thought he could do something that he could not do as a priest.  It doesn’t matter whether he had his collar on at the time.  To me that would be like a married man taking off his wedding ring before he had sex with another woman. I am just adding additional thoughts to why I believe as you do that he “erred”.

[228] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-21-2009 at 04:59 PM • top

It isn’t obvious that redefining marriage has no effect on the real thing.  The same thing was said about easy divorce: “How does my right to kick my wife to the curb like yesterday’s trash affect your marriage?  Mind your own business.”

How’s that worked out?

Somebody, I forget who (maybe it was Peggy Noonan) once said that the culture is to us like the sea is to fish.  We can argue the zeitgeist shouldn’t make any difference to our personal choices, or we can live in the real world.  Some people are vulnerable to temptation but could go their whole lives, for example, not cheating on their spouses - not, that is, until there are sex-splashed images everywhere they turn.  Similarly, the wholesale devaluation and mockery of traditional marriage - that is, marriage - is going to suck a lot of people under the waves who would not otherwise drown.

[229] Posted by Phil on 01-21-2009 at 05:01 PM • top

I wanted to touch on some of idalupino’s other attempts at distraction.  He or she starts throwing “Naomi and Ruth” out, as I’ve seen a few other homosexual activists have, inferring that because a widowed daughter inlaw, who wants to help, stays with her mother inlaw, who in those days, with no husband, no sons living, would have no means of support, there had to be something untoward going on.

That is despicable, and shows an example of how they truly do not understand the difference between love and sex. That families, including those not related by blood and friends do care for each other, and there is nothing sexual about it.

As to the claim that Christ didn’t speak out against homosexuality, had Christ disagreed with the laws in the old testament regarding it being a sin, he surely would have said something. Christ never stayed silent when he disagreed with, or supported something.

Paul spoke out against homosexuality as a sin, along with adultery, incest, murder, etc.. and Christ spoke about the natural order of a male leaving his parents home, to join with a female in marriage and being one. Christ as well as speaking out against all sin, and the need to repent and sin no more.

[230] Posted by mari on 01-21-2009 at 05:15 PM • top

Is there anyone here who might recommend a convincing “reasserter” or “traditional” interpretation of Leviticus? I mean aside from Gagnon, who is not at his best on that book. Do you have other favorites?

Witt has mentioned Seitz, but doesn’t Seitz do Isaiah? Has he written on Lev?

Has anyone had a chance to look over Radner’s new stuff on Leviticus? I have not.

Much appreciated.

[231] Posted by The Anglican Scotist on 01-21-2009 at 05:16 PM • top

In support of what Phil just wrote in 229, there was a recent series of social research experiments that showed that people are more likely to commit antisocial acts when they perceive others are already violating social norms.

[232] Posted by perpetuaofcarthage on 01-21-2009 at 05:17 PM • top

About Bonhoeffer’s decision to conspire with others to kill a foul tyrant: it seems to me that some contributors to this thread have not read the very extended account in E. Bethge’s massive Life of that great Christian.

[233] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-21-2009 at 05:48 PM • top

#231 You might try the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches’ statements on same-sex attraction, and Patristic writings for insight into the teaching of the Church Universal since Paul in Romans 1.

Just a thought.  Not that you’ll particularly agree with their consistent Christian Tradition and witness and all.

[234] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 01-21-2009 at 05:54 PM • top

#233 Dr. Turner,
I have not read the volume you mention.  It just seems hard for me to see him as a martyr if He conspired (and caused other to conspire) to kill a human being?  Why would he feel he could commit an act as a “plain clothes” clergy that he could not commit in a clerical collar. He still would have represented the clergy in his actions whether he had a collar on or not. St. Paul says in Corinthians, Though I give my body to be burned (Martyr), if I have not love, I have nothing.  I grant that he was a courageous man, willing to put himself in harms way who did what he thought was right.  I ask again, how does it make him different, from the man who would bomb an abortion clinic to save babies. I realize this is an unpopular position to hold about him and am willing to be convinced otherwise.

[235] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-21-2009 at 06:24 PM • top

Bo 221, Both and.  Check out what Edersheim has to say and his use of Holy Scripture.  FS Scott

[236] Posted by Frances S Scott on 01-21-2009 at 06:27 PM • top

About that old chestnut “Jesus said nothing”: it looks as though I have to post this yet again:—

It is never wrong to love another human being; but we all know that particular expressions of that love may be wrong, and that the wrongness is independent of the depth, intensity and permanence of love. That some kinds of genital expression, for instance between parent and child, two siblings, close friends of the same or different sex, are displeasing to God is the united witness of the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Old Greek version (which adds an allusion to lesbian relations in Ez. 16), the Intertestamental literature, the Fathers, the Reformers and all Jewish and Christian ethicists until perhaps thirty years ago. The differentium of same-sex ‘unions’ and of Gene Robinson’s relationship with his close friend is a case in point. In biblical Greek and language derived from it (for instance in Philo) such kinds of physical expression are frequently called πορνεία: at least twice in the Lord’s teaching according to Matthew, in I Cor. 6-7 and in Gal. 5 (where it stands at the head of the list of the ‘Works of the Flesh’) it is made clear that πορνεία in all its forms is gross sin, persistence in which has transcendental and eternal consequences. Abstention from mild forms of it, probably transgressions of stricter Jewish conceptions of prohibited degrees, was at issue at the Council of Jerusalem; incest at Corinth provoked the strongest possible apostolic reaction. No argument for the goodness and beauty of same-sex physical relations can be made on Scriptural grounds which does not apply equally to, say, child-molestation, incest, adultery and so forth.

Absolutely pivotal are Our Lord’s own teaching and example. That the Lord both taught and lived fully within the Old Testament sexual ethic is certain. We may indeed know His attitude to same-sex genital relations. No case can be made for the modern notion that there was or could have been any Dominical silence or ambiguity about them. His attitude is actually quite plain from the πορνεία references in Matthew, where His teaching is represented by the Evangelist as Jesus-Torah, and Himself as the new Moses. If anyone in His time and place had had the temerity to produce a challenge to Him as teacher along the lines of that about divorce, He would most certainly have replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”. By analogy, He would if anything have sharpened the moral demand for His disciples. There would have been no qualifications at all, no mention of pastoral provision for failure, there being none in Leviticus or elsewhere. This was a closed question: it is not open to us to attribute to Him historically impossible attitudes.

Not only is the language unambiguous, we must also come to terms with Jesus as our pattern, here as elsewhere. Any compromise on His part would have produced an immediate challenge to the validity of His ministry, and that challenge must have left some trace in the record. Some want to ignore Him as example of perfect First Century Jewish sex-ethics, while using Him as a stick to beat the rest of us into other more fashionable attitudes. The idea of Him as the best of husbands and fathers, even (just about) as the best of wives and mothers, is possible; but not the idea of Him curled up in bed with John the Beloved Disciple at any stage. The man in Melbourne who has just got a PhD for arguing that case deserves at least one for ingenuity, but none at all for scholarship.

Many things may be Christian but not Anglican. But unless something may be Anglican which is not Christian, we must understand that to call right what the Lord Himself called wrong, and to do what appalled Him, is to part company with essential Anglicanism, endangering not only the souls of those who teach this untruth and wickedness, but in many cases the very lives of little children, young girls, young men, women and all the sexually weak and vulnerable wherever they may be, now and for the foreseeable future. It is to say that the right to the physical expression of love trumps all the obedience we may owe to the one we call Lord. As ethicists we know that there is no human right to orgasm at any cost. We need to hold onto the subtler truth, that there is no Christian right to redefine love in the face of the God Who commands and supplies it.*

———————————————————————

* For corroboration of this whole argument reference may be made to:–

Robert A.J. Gagnon The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001; 520 pp.).

http://www.robgagnon.net/ArticlesOnline.htm

http://www.nwnet.org/~prisca/HomotextUnicode.htm

http://www.nwnet.org/~prisca/MOTION9.htm

Dialogue with Hugh

In matters of sex-ethics the Lord in the days of His flesh is recorded as saying very little, and nearly all that He did say was about marriage, or more accurately about divorce, closing the last (in the minds of His hearers) male loophole. There was absolutely no need for any Rabbi to teach in any detail against other forms of porneia or sexual immorality, because all of that had been settled so long before. You can read all about it in Gagnon’s big book.

We can be absolutely certain that if He had been convicted of falsehood about homosex, He never could have lasted as a Rabbi; and if He had been convicted of such a sinful practice, He’d have got Himself stoned so fast that He’d never have known what had hit Him.

Both Testaments show the Lord to be absolutely for marriage, that great good, and opposed to any self-indulgence that deprives men, women and children of that good.

[237] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-21-2009 at 06:31 PM • top

#231 Have you read Milgrom? (He has an interesting and implausible interpretation that the prohibitions only apply to Jews living in Israel).

I really think you might enjoy Radner’s new Leviticus commentary. It is a stunning achievement. When I began to read it I was, as they say, literally, amazed. Very much theological rather than historical critical. Non polemical, ruminative, dense, prayerful.

[238] Posted by driver8 on 01-21-2009 at 06:36 PM • top

To those still interested:

I came from a ‘traditional’ family, with a ‘sanctified union’ between a man and a woman. It was the most dysfunctional, abusive, chaotic environment that I have ever known.

Like many of you—who will not admit the truth—everything looked great on the outside, as we all went to church on Sundays, etc. It was a sham, a farce, and the only ‘truth’ I learned from growing up under a ‘sanctified marriage’ was that my parents got married, because it was ‘the thing to do’ according to them, and because my mother was knocked-up before she was married.

Because they were so ‘afraid’ of what the church would think, if anyone found out that my father drank himself into a stupor, abused his children, or how my mother frequently had nervous breakdowns and took it out on her children, they kept up with the charade. The reasons they were afraid seem to show themselves in some of the posts here.

Finally, under this ‘sanctified and holy’ union, my father fooled around on my mother and told her about it. End of marriage.

My mother went on to be ‘the other woman’ with a man she went to church with.  The man left his wife for my mother.

Please tell me how the homosexual agenda, and homosexuals wanting to be just as screwed up as heterosexuals in marriage, is causing this huge deterioration of the ‘sanctity of marriage’?

Tell me how it’s tearing at the very fabric of being for many of you?

My mother told me openly, while she was living with this man and not married, that she knew she was sinning, but ‘oh well,’ she felt God would forgive her. Ha. Ha.

And, for many of you here, you have no problem with my parents actions, really, as long as they weren’t homosexuals engaging in it, and they are forgiven with a snap of the finger, and a bend at the knee.

But two people of the same sex, who are more committed to each other non-legally, than most heterosexuals are legally, must be stopped from a same sex union ceremony, because it makes a ‘mockery’ of traditional marriage?

No, many of you have made it a mockery, without any help from the homosexuals. 

My question about Ruth and Naomi is not about whether I think they had a physical relationship.  I do not think that was the case, however, they did deeply love each other.

Phil, and others, what about this?

“Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die — there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!” (Ruth 1:16-17)

I find it interesting that it’s this verse that is used in marriage ceremonies between a man and a woman, when the verse is spoken by a woman, about another woman.

Also, in Ruth 1:14 it says that Ruth “clung” to Naomi, and the Hebrew word for clung is “dabaq,” I believe. The same Hebrew word, “dabaq” is used in Genesis 2:24 to describe how Adam felt for Eve.

I know that Dr. Gagnon’s work is heavily quoted and promoted, but there are other viewpoints on the scriptures, like Robin Scroggs from Union Seminary (the same seminary that Bonhoeffer attended, I believe).

Phil, I so appreciate your comments and do not think I have flippantly glossed over them. I have not. God bless you with your prison ministry.

Ida

Thanks,
Ida

[239] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-21-2009 at 06:41 PM • top

Ida, I am deeply sorry that your parents’ marriage was like that. None of these evils sprang from marriage itself. Perhaps you may have a chance in God’s grace to learn from these horrors how not to do it. May I PM you with a recent sermon? Mine has not been a life free of suffering.

I know that Dr. Gagnon’s work is heavily quoted and promoted, but there are other viewpoints on the scriptures, like Robin Scroggs

You do realise what is the relative chronology of these publications, and who comments effectively on whose views? Get hold of Gagnon’s book, and start with the ‘blurb’ on the outside. Notice how many specialists of international standing, conservative and not, did not commend it.

[240] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 01-21-2009 at 07:09 PM • top

Not quite, Ida, “dabaq” means to cleave, or something that can not be undone. It does NOT mean “what Adam felt for Eve”. You really are getting desperate, aren’t you?

Ruth was saying, that she would not abandon Naomi, but would stay and take care of her. Perhaps it doesn’t conform to the stereotype, for a daughter inlaw to care for her husband’s mother, as a true daughter would, but Ruth did. Please take your mind out of the gutter, Ida.

Had my husband not died in June of ‘06, we would have been married for 25 years. We loved each other, took our vows seriously. Marriage is not something entered into lightly, it’s a lot of work, as is anything worthwhile. Our lives, especially towards the end wasn’t easy, because of his illness, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I’ve only known a few couples who didn’t take their marriages seriously. I have seen dysfunctional individuals and families, but they aren’t representative of marriage and families as a whole. You seem to have a vindictive attitude towards heterosexuals, marriage and families. If that is the case, then you should consider getting some help, it has warped your perception, because it will only harm you in the end.

[241] Posted by mari on 01-21-2009 at 07:11 PM • top

Ida,
So, do bad, sinful heterosexual relationships give license for the church blessing sinful homosexual relationships?
I am sorry your parents had a bad marriage.  Mine did as well.  While my father was not an alcoholic, my mother was a drug addict (sleeping pills).  The difference is that the clergy I grew up with knew about the sin in her life and tried to work things out.  Eventually, the marriage fell apart and my mother died when I was 15. 

I don’t know of anyone on this board who would say that your parents actions in the marriage (and, more importantly, outside of it) were anything but sinful.  As I said in my earlier post, homosexual “marriage” is not the cause of breakdown in heterosexual marriage.  Homosexual “marriage” is the result of the breakdown of marriage in western civilization.

Unfortunately, society made a mockery of marriage when it decided not to enforce societial norms.  When it determined that being “judgemental” was worse than being moral.  I think the worst question that society has come up with is “Who am I (or you) to Judge?”

As a human being, as a Christian, and as a Deacon in Christ Church, I have the duty to discern good from evil, right from wrong and faithfulness from sin.  When society determined that no one had the right to determine good from evil or right from wrong, we began down the path that leads us to today.  The sexual sin in our society is only a symptom of a greater sin - the idea that I am an individual who was created to be “happy.”  Whatever makes me “happy” is OK.  Thus “money makes me happy” and we have the collapse of our banking system.  “Power makes me happy” and we have our present political system where the party in power abuses it until it is thrown out of power by the people and then the new part in power begins to abuse it.  “Sex makes me happy” leads to divorce, shattered lives, children growing up not knowing what love is or what a stable marriage is like.  People grow up to learn that “what makes me happy” is right and “what makes me sad” is wrong.  I can show you a whole lot of them in prison.  But they have had their wake up call.  We, as a society, are in prison too.  When will we hear our wakeup call?

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[242] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-21-2009 at 07:29 PM • top

[advertising link and off-topic comment deleted]

[243] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-21-2009 at 07:31 PM • top

239,
The pot calling the kettle black doesn’t make either of them any lighter.  We’re not called to ‘comparative error’, we are called to walk worthily.

Jesus clearly held that marriage is supposed to be ‘one man, one woman, one life time’.  We’re not to ignore or deny that just because our parents couldn’t act right. 

(I have 5 brothers and two sisters and none of us have a ‘full-blooded’ brother or sister, so I’m well aware that homosexuals didn’t bring about the ‘fall of marriage’ the fall of moral behaviour did.)

You note yourself that they ‘hid’ the actions from the Church - likely because the church would have (back then anyway) called them on their sinful behaviour.  That is what the church should do, not encourage sin and call it ‘blessed’.

[244] Posted by Bo on 01-21-2009 at 07:32 PM • top

I myself came from a ‘traditional’ job, with a “hierarchy,” “set hours,” and “regular paycheck.  It was the most dysfunctional, chaotic, and yes, even abusive environment I have ever worked in.

Like many of you—who will not admit the truth—everything looked great on the outside, as we all went to work on Mondays, etc. It was a sham, a farce, and the only ‘job skills’ I learned from working in a “real job” was that “human resources” did nothing at all about abusive peers and bosses, and the only way to receive “justice” was to leave the abusive “corporation.”

That is why I have left the ‘traditional” job field and entered a more autonomous, free, and “irregular” workforce of bank robbers.

When a community or association of committed, highly skilled professional bank robbers—who have learned to work together as a “team” far far far better than that of the “traditional” employees in a “traditional” job—must be stopped from simply engaging in normal, everyday, but highly skilled labor, because it’s not a “traditional” way of earning money . . . well, many regular employees and bosses have made a mockery of “traditional” work, without any help from the bank robbers whom you wish to thwart and claim are somehow “sinning.”

[245] Posted by Sarah on 01-21-2009 at 07:35 PM • top

Sarah’s comment 245 now qualifies as the first individual comment I’ve bookmarked on Stand Firm.

[246] Posted by AndrewA on 01-21-2009 at 07:46 PM • top

Witt has mentioned Seitz, but doesn’t Seitz do Isaiah? Has he written on Lev?

Anglican Scotist,

Christopher Seitz is nothing if he is not prolific.  Isaiah is just one of the areas in which he has written.  The article I mentioned is entitled “The Ten Commandments: Positive and Natural Law and the Covenants Old and New—Christian Use of the Decalogue and Moral Law,” in I Am the Lord Your God: Christian Reflections on the Ten Commandments, Chistopher Seitz and Carl Braaten, ed. (Eerdmans, 2005).  Also of great value (on the Old Testament) in that volume is an essay by Marcus Bockmuehl entitled “Keeping It Holy: Old Testament Commandment and New Testament Faith.”

[247] Posted by William Witt on 01-21-2009 at 07:46 PM • top

Actually it was not off topic at all, but rather complimentary, and certainly not advertising.

Perhaps a look at the lead link on Anglican ecumenism would be beneficial.

[248] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-21-2009 at 08:00 PM • top

Also may I recommend the most current issue of “Touchstone” magazine which covers really well the deconstruction of the Western understanding of marriage and how it logically leads to the acceptance of gay marriage.

[249] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-21-2009 at 08:06 PM • top

Okay, soo… the opposite of a widowed daughter-in-law kissing her mother-in-law goodbye and leaving, is a lesbian relationship? 

Call me silly, but ‘whither thou goest, I will also go,’ sounds a lot like familial loyalty.  Is there anything else about the book of Ruth that leads you to your conclusion?

[250] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-21-2009 at 08:15 PM • top

According to YOUR interpretation, which is very subjective. It’s amazing how some of you declare you know the real meaning of the Bible, and wish to take it at its word, literally, especially when arguing homosexuality, yet, oddly, when confronted with your literalism as it relates to whatever version of the Holy Bible you read, comments such as, ‘It does not have to say…’ etc. and selective interpretation are invoked.

Ida,
You do not read very carefully.  MY interpretation was not subjective.  You reached a conclusion based on an English translation—“Thou shalt not murder”—that the Old Testament prohibits all killing. Your interpretation was entirely subjective, and mistaken. Even normal English makes a distinction between “murder” and “killing,” which is why English law distinguishes between such things as “Premeditated Murder” and “Manslaughter.”  In most law systems, “self defense” is not considered murder.

The Bible itself distinguishes between “murder” and “killing,” which is why modern English translations say “You shall do no murder,” and not “Thou shalt not kill.”  What a word means depends on its usage.  If we want to know what “You shall do no murder” means in the Bible, we have to look at what the Bible says about different kinds of killing, and which are considered to violate the command, and which not.  My interpretation was not subjective.  I referred to one of the more respected Old Testament scholars (who knew the original language, and pointed out that the word did not mean “kill”), and provided examples from the Scriptures where certain kinds of killing are not considered murder.  I then pointed you to Bonhoeffer himself—who makes the same distinction between killing and murder.  You can complain all you want about “subjectivity,” but the texts say what they say, not what we want them to say.

But ‘sin’ is subjective, according to all that you have written to me here. Incest and murder can be forgiven, pretty easily by you, but not that darn homosexuality.

Again, you do not read very well.  I wrote: “But, of course, the church would give a practicing homosexual a “reprieve” on the same grounds that it would give a murderer”—repentance.  So I obviously do believe that homosexual activity can be forgiven.  And, no, forgiveness following genuine repentance is not “cheap grace,” nor is it subjective.  “Cheap grace” is demanding forgiveness without repentance (or, rather like TEC, lowering the bar, and asking that what Scripture says is sin should be blessed).  Indeed, if Mark David Chapman, Charles Manson, or Ted Bundy were genuinely to repent, Christians are indeed required to forgive them, and welcome them to communion.  That is what the gospel is all about.  Jesus died to save sinners.

It appears from what you say that you do not really want to believe that God forgives.  So it is very important to you that some behavior (of which you approve) is not sinful.  And other behavior (of which you disapprove) apparently is beyond God’s forgiveness. A good friend of mine reminds me occasinally (to my considerable discomfort) that there are two kinds of sin: there are the things we disapprove of that we don’t do—which we call “sin.” There are the things we do, which we don’t want to disapprove of—and these we don’t call sin. So, sin is something that someone else does that we disapprove of.  But, of course, the first step to repentance, and genuine (not cheap) grace is the honest willingness to admit that there are things that are reprehensible, shameworthy, and worthy of disapproval—and that we all do them.

If God in Christ forgave those who crucified him, he can very well forgive the most heinous and the most trivial sins.  He can forgive the sins of Ted Bundy or Charles Manson.  He can forgive even mine or yours.

[251] Posted by William Witt on 01-21-2009 at 08:28 PM • top

Moot #250,
I Will call you correct AND “Call me silly”, I will call you ‘silly’.
Blessings

[252] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-21-2009 at 09:18 PM • top

#246 AndrewA,
“Sarah’s comment 245 now qualifies as the first individual comment I’ve bookmarked on Stand Firm.”
I’m going to bookmark this (246) as the ultimate Fawning- over-Sarah Hey quote yet on S.F.

[253] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-21-2009 at 09:25 PM • top

#98.  Sarah, thanks for the clarification.  I was glad to get it, ‘cuz I sure wasn’t seeing the water-level rise! —Stan

[254] Posted by CanaAnglican on 01-21-2009 at 09:36 PM • top

Ida,
I spent a long time in the shoes you have described above, especially in the ones where I would never, ever reach a decision about my opinions on someone else’s actions.  In essence, I applied on the standard of “mind your own business” which means I expected everyone else to apply that same standard to me. 

This of course gave me license to do some terrible things, which I did.  And it gave me the ability, during that terrible time, to still feel as though I was a good guy.  With no standards, why would I not?

But when my awakening came, that I had used my own desires and given into the Tyranny of Feelings (that which we more and more are using to guide an entire generation of souls into perdition) at the expense of the Law of God, as posited by the Church Catholic for over 20 centuries, it nearly killed me.  By not paying attention to what “right” behavior looked like, I had given myself license to hurt 10 people badly, even though they had done nothing to deserve such treatment.

I learned important lessons from that experience, now some 5 years behind me.  I learned that mankind is fraught with evil, especially myself.  I learned that all humans seek power and control from the womb, especially myself.  And I learned that FREEDOM meant freedom from a life of sin, not freedom to act as I thought best. 

So you see, we all need the standard of behavior God has set down for us, we all need to hold each other accountable, secure in the Knowledge that we are ALL sinners, but have the potential for forgiveness through Jesus himself.  And that we are called to love all sinners, and ABHOR their sin.

Trust me.  That really is the way it is.  Anyone who leads you differently is only interested in furthering their own agenda and chaining you to their own errant lifestyle, they are not interested in real freedom for you:  Freedom from sin.

God Bless You, and Keep the Faith!...mrb

[255] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-21-2009 at 10:33 PM • top

Well said Mr. Witt (251), and Mr. Bertaut (255).

None of us measure up to His standards, but by His Grace, we can grow in Him, day by day!

[256] Posted by Bo on 01-21-2009 at 11:08 PM • top

Reason and Revelation #186:

I’m sure you’re correct. We cannot expect laypersons starved of scripture—who are so ill-informed they don’t even know enough to know they are ill-informed—to go up against disobedient clergy on the pansexualist issue—or many other basic issues.

And unless TEC’s unregenerate bishops and clergy can be disciplined—that is corrected or removed—orthodox Christians need to move out from under TEC supervision.  I see no hope—on the horizon that TEC can be revived as an organisation.  Last week at the Mere Anglicanism conference of leading Anglican orthodox bishops and clergy NONE of them saw any hope for TEC either.  That individual priests and parishes are still orthodox there is no doubt, however, these are fast (very fast) disappearing.  In the same way that the original disciples didn’t stay long under the supervision and authority of the unbelieving priesthood, rabbis and congregations, so too believers in Christ must now abandon leadership and institutions hostile to our Lord.

It’s one thing to have skeptics in the crowd, questioning orthodoxy—it’s quite another thing to have those skeptics primarily in the pulpit, as has been the case for at least a couple generations now in TEC.

[257] Posted by banned4Life on 01-22-2009 at 07:45 AM • top

RE: “I’m going to bookmark this (246) as the ultimate Fawning- over-Sarah Hey quote yet on S.F.”

Hey—this is so cruel and cold. 

Why is it when commenters huzzah over a paltry patriachal effort by Greg—“way to go, Greg”—“you rock, Greg”—“Double-G knocks it out of the park”—etc, etc. that’s just high fiving and not fawning.

But when some courteous soul indicates that he admires my brief little eloquent assertion that good things poorly executed does not mean that bad things well executed are therefore a moral option . . . it’s “fawning”?

There seems to be a double standard here.  When Greg gets crucified deservedly for some foolish error, the SFers flock to his side with smelling salts and lavender scented handkerchiefs for his brow, and a little whiskey, all the while scowling at the mean “negative” naysayers.

When I go up against some guy, SFers warn me about being too harsh.  When I’m crucified, SFers are too busy discussing liquor and clerical wardrobes to even pay attention.

There’s something suspicious in this pattern.

[258] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 08:40 AM • top

Sarah,
You are being devisive.
Intercessor

[259] Posted by Intercessor on 01-22-2009 at 08:46 AM • top

devisive? Make that divisive…can’t spell before 6 am…

[260] Posted by Intercessor on 01-22-2009 at 08:50 AM • top

#257 LuxRex,
“I see no hope—on the horizon that TEC can be revived as an organisation.”
I don’t believe that TEC will not survive as an organization but it will continue to become secularized to the point of no longer being a church. It will become a “Good Works Society” with “chapters” instead of parishes. It is expediting the process with the lawsuits that would turn “recovered” property into coffee shops and bars etc. TEC will eventually look like a blend of the Sierra Club, Green Peace, Unitarianism, and a Humanist Political Action Committee. You can add whatever else you wish to this mix. It is fast becoming a sect.

[261] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-22-2009 at 08:51 AM • top

I agree Dcn. Dale. We have seen very little behavior in DioSJ that would indicate that Jerry Lamb’s crowd are anywhere near the Great Commission. Perhaps 815 will even sell its building to raise cash for the move to Waco.
Intercessor

[262] Posted by Intercessor on 01-22-2009 at 08:58 AM • top

#258, Sarah Hey,
You are very much capable of taking care of yourself and have demonstrated that enumerable times. The rest of us mortals are flawed poor miserable sinners who post with trepidation. My use of the word “fawning” was intended to convey that AndrewA was attempting (once again) to curry favor. I must confess that I have done the same from time to time in an attempt to buy a little grace from “Your Grace” (Yes, I know that grace is a gift).
Blessings,

[263] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-22-2009 at 09:05 AM • top

Reference post#55 “Were we dealing with a finite universe…”

The material universe is finite.

[264] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 09:16 AM • top

<block quote>Masternav, the prisoners of Auschwitz stand in awe of your patient submission.  Bonhoeffer as far as we know didn’t desire to murder Hitler.  What he desired to do was his moral duty.</blockquote>

Straight from the Bhagavad Gita.  “Slay them all o Arjuna, but without hate and you will incur no karma.”

[265] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 09:30 AM • top

Dcn Dale, I should have added a winkie to my above comment.

[266] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 09:42 AM • top

What does the Bahgavad Gita have to do with anything?

[267] Posted by oscewicee on 01-22-2009 at 09:56 AM • top

My point is that killing without passion is sinless is a Hindu concept.  There is nothing in Christian theology that confirms that concept, so even if Bonhoefer didn’t desire to murder Hitler, but only to “do his moral duty” as he saw it, he was still doing the wrong thing.

“And the last temptation is the greatest treason
to do the right thing for the wrong reason.”

Bonhoefer was not a soldier wearing a uniform so the Geneva Convention did not apply to him.

Wonder if any Christians wanted to murder Caligula or Diocletian?  Bishop-General Leonidas Polk (last Anglican bishop killed in combat)wanted to get his hands on the tyrant of his era Abe Lincoln, but he did put on a uniform and obey the laws of land warfare, he never thought of taking off his collar and becoming an assassin.  If you are going to declare war on something or somebody don’t sneak around about it.  Bonhoefer could have died an honorable death by openly baring arms and wearing some kind of uniform, instead he was executed for conspiracy to commit assassination.

In a similar fashion Count Colonel Von Stauffenberg chose to blow up a room full of his fellow officers, including people who called him friend, rather than simply pull out his pistol and shoot his intended target.  Yes, all of the officers present at the war situation briefings were armed prior to the July 20th attempt to kill Hitler.

Oh life without honor.

[268] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 10:25 AM • top

Thanks for clarifying, anglicancatholicpriest.

[269] Posted by oscewicee on 01-22-2009 at 10:31 AM • top

#258 Sarah,
If you haven’t figured out by now that we males require easily as much positive energy and support as the average female (often more) then you’re not paying attention.  Of course, we do such a masterful job of hiding our needs (not!).

In any event, I remember very clearly after reading your post above (#245) as quoting Bill Engvall and saying really loudly “Righteous!!” to the dismay of my co-workers.  That’s about the best praise I can bestow short of a cash contribution.

KTF!...mrb

[270] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-22-2009 at 10:34 AM • top

While all this discussion of Bonhoeffer is interesting—and certainly Bonhoeffer’s decision to participate in the assassination of one of the world’s most horrific dictators is an interesting case for ethical discussion—it has no bearing whatsoever on the actual issue, wherever we come down on Bonhoeffer.

To the best of my understanding, the argument being posed is something like the following:

1) The Bible forbids murder.
2) Dietrich Bonhoeffer participated in a plot to kill Hitler, and thus violated the biblical command against murder.
3) Some Christians approve of Bonhoeffer’s actions.
4) Therefore, the church should bless same-sex unions.

As a sheer non sequitur, this makes the shellfish argument look like Aristotle.

Similarly the other argument offered here—

1) Conservative Christians believe that marriage between man and woman is the only sexual union approved by God.
2) Some heterosexual marriages are bad marriages.
3) Some homosexual people have good relationships.
4) Therefore, marriage between man and woman must not be the only sexual union approved by God, and the church should bless same-sex unions.

—is not exactly stellar reasoning.

[271] Posted by William Witt on 01-22-2009 at 11:54 AM • top

#270 Mike B.
We give Greg support because that is what he needs.  We do not offer support to Sarah but we do give her what she needs, praise and adoration.

[272] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-22-2009 at 11:56 AM • top

Dr. Witt, thank you for that succinct summary.

[273] Posted by oscewicee on 01-22-2009 at 12:07 PM • top

Dr. Witt (#271)

The second argument is actually a form of Donatism.  I call it “Reverse Donatism.”  As you will remember, Donatism’s basic flaw is that the moral character of the priest has a bearing on the effacacy of the sacrament.  In its extreme form, only the sinless could be stewards of God’s grace. Thus, if something is sinful, it cannot be a conduit of God’s grace.

Now the reappraisers will say that they see God’s grace in the lives of partnered homosexual men and women.  Since God’s grace is present, then the people involved must not be sinful, thus homosexual unions are not sinful.

As you say, not exactly stellar reasoning.  I would hope that God’s grace can be evident in the lives of sinful people (such as myself).  If this is true, then the grace that appears evident in the lives of men and women involved in homosexual unions is not, itself, evidence of blessing or even evidence of moral behavior.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[274] Posted by Philip Snyder on 01-22-2009 at 05:13 PM • top

To the best of my understanding, the argument being posed is something like the following:

1) The Bible forbids murder. ....4)Therefore, the church should bless same-sex unions.

As a sheer non sequitur, this makes the shellfish argument look like Aristotle.

Similarly the other argument offered here—

1) Conservative Christians believe that marriage between man and woman is the only sexual union approved by God.
.....4) Therefore, marriage between man and woman must not be the only sexual union approved by God, and the church should bless same-sex unions.

—is not exactly stellar reasoning

And this is stellar reasoning? With all due respect you should rethink it!

The “therefore” should be… Christians are inconsistent in their treatment of what they call sin!!!

The point which Ida has been making very clearly is that, on this issue Christians, appear quite hypocritical! They seem inflexible when it comes to any kind of homosexual intimacy and union…much more flexible in practice to other things Scripture condemns!

How can you pretend to be horrified at people in the church considering the possibility of lifelong, loving unions between same sex attracted people being holy…when our churches ignore other things Jesus clearly taught….its silly???? 

There is an abundance of divorced and remarried heterosexual couples living openly in “holy unions”, in holy orders or leadership in our churches and taking communion…  without objection despite Christ calling that “adultery”!!! Most of us do not really take it literally, turn a blind eye, do not meddle…that is life!!!

Come a gay couple trying to escape a life of loneliness or causal sex and attempt to live a life of commitment and faithfulness while true to their orientation…and the world is ending…the church has been taken over by Satan!!!

It is not a non sequitur to tell you that it is HYPOCRITICAL,not consistent, and makes your arguments about the Bible and sin not credible..! It seems you can bend the words of Christ for some things, yet hold the words of others as sacred and inviolable when it comes to homosexuality!!!

I am not buying it and the funny thing is…most of your children will not either!

Blessings

Seraph

[275] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 05:32 PM • top

Seraph,

You should meet my kids.  At 18, 13, and 11 they can argue most adults I know right into the ground.  And even they, on their own, know the difference between prohibition and standards, and reality.

The reality is that the Church embraces and blesses boundaries around Christian Marriage.  Does the Church always follow it’s own rules?  Clearly not.  Do Churchgoers always follow the Church’s prohibitions?  Also, clearly not.

Does that justify changing the rules?  Because it’s “too hard” or “lots of people ignore that rule anyway?”

I’ll leave that to you.

KTF!!!..mrb

[276] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 01-22-2009 at 05:37 PM • top

The problem is when you apply the rules consistently and mercilessly only to my kids and yours get a pass….that will just not do!

How that applies to the church and same sex attracted people I will leave to you!

blessings

Seraph

[277] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 05:40 PM • top

Just for clarity’s sake….

When your unmarried pregnant daughter gets a baby shower by the women of the church… its love and acceptance!

When you sister has her 3rd wedding blessed by the priest…its new beginning and hope for tomorrow!

When your newly remarried uncle gets elected to the vestry ...its grace!

When my gay cousin is ostracized, his desire for relationship and intimacy deemed demonic…that’s holiness?

No cigar…!!!!

Blessings

Seraph

[278] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 05:52 PM • top

Most of us do not really take it literally, turn a blind eye, do not meddle…that is life!!!

For quite a long time, I think everyone in the church and in the culture was quite content to turn a blind eye and not meddle in the private affairs of parishioners and neighbors.

But the homosexual lobby is no longer content with that. The do not want tolerance. They demand approval and blessing.

Marriage was intended for one man and one woman. Sexual relations are a gift and a blessing from God for those who are married. It’s really not complicated.

[279] Posted by RedHatRob on 01-22-2009 at 05:59 PM • top

Seraph, unfortunately, there is no sin you can name about which Christians do not fall short.  But the point that Ida seems to miss and that you seem to overlook as well is that we don’t ask the church to bless those sins or include liturgies celebrating them. There may be a revisionist somewhere who has written a liturgy celebrating divorce, but you won’t find that in use among orthodox. Unless revisionists are doing it, I don’t think there are any Christians pushing to have the church celebrate divorce or create a ritual to celebrate adultery. Or gluttony. Or greed.

[280] Posted by oscewicee on 01-22-2009 at 05:59 PM • top

But the homosexual lobby is no longer content with that. The do not want tolerance. They demand approval and blessing.

So you would have gays live in the dark ...ashamed of their relationships based on your interpretation of Leviticus and St. Paul….but you would celebrate, with joy the second nuptials of the divorced seemingly content to ignore the words of Jesus?

And that is supposed to be okay?

Blessings

Seraph

[281] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 06:04 PM • top

When you sister has her 3rd wedding blessed by the priest…its new beginning and hope for tomorrow!

When your newly remarried uncle gets elected to the vestry ...its grace!

I don’t think either is appropriate, Seraph. And the church shouldn’t have allowed things to come to this pass. I don’t think the shower is really appropriate either - but I also don’t think the baby should be punished for what its mom did and that for its welfare, supplies will be needed that an unwed mom may not be in a position to supply. I also think it would be highly inappropriate to ostracize your gay cousin.

[282] Posted by oscewicee on 01-22-2009 at 06:08 PM • top

When my gay cousin is ostracized, his desire for relationship and intimacy deemed demonic…that’s holiness?

Ostracized, how?  By not taking the Lord’s Name in vain by “asking” Him to bless a state of open and unrepentant sin?  By threatening him with excommunication in order that he might repent and be saved? 

Is it inclusive to divorce God from His holiness? 
Is it loving to offer assurance to someone who is in danger of eternal damnation? 

With that said, I do appreciate you giving the cross-section of things which require discipline, then repentance.  Yeah, we all need to repent in sackcloth and ashes.

[283] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-22-2009 at 06:19 PM • top

<blockquote.When my gay cousin is ostracized, his desire for relationship and intimacy deemed demonic…that’s holiness?</blockquote>
Your gay cousin should be ostracized…....period! But his/her desire for a relationship and intimacy if is contains a living with situation with sex then sorry that is not something to bless or condone….No Cigar!

[284] Posted by TLDillon on 01-22-2009 at 06:20 PM • top

So you would have gays live in the dark ...

Nope.  I appreciate the conversation, as it opens opportunities for evangelism.  But (were I a priest), I would ask them to take a vow of celibacy in return for retaining their rail privileges.  And I’d give homosexuality equal time in the pulpit’s rogue’s gallery, along with heterosexual deviance.

[285] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-22-2009 at 06:27 PM • top

Who is to say that a person that has had ...forced…..to go through a divorce and wants to remarry and goes through counseling and confesses their sin of divorce even if it was something they didn’t want (our society makes it very easy to obtain) then asks for forgiveness is not fit to receive it or has not received it from God?
You cannot mix the two issues of divorce and open homosexual living together as if they are on the same plane! Geesh people! A person who has divorced and gone through all that would require repentance and forgiveness is not the same as someone going home to someone of the same gender having sex with them! Give me a break ....really!

[286] Posted by TLDillon on 01-22-2009 at 06:27 PM • top

By threatening him with excommunication in order that he might repent and be saved?  Is it inclusive to divorce God from His holiness?  Is it loving to offer assurance to someone who is in danger of eternal damnation? 

With that said, I do appreciate you giving the cross-section of things which require discipline, then repentance.  Yeah, we all need to repent in sackcloth and ashes.

Context it is so important to keep in mind ...not just as it applies to books but where each of us live and practice our faith in the Holy Living God!!!!

You have to admit in the context of our generalized permissiveness its a little hard to take seriously any righteous indignation at a few scattered gay couples taking the Lord’s name in vain by vowing love and mutual fidelity to one another….when our churches are teeming with other folk we have given a pass, and a welcome to ...in the name of forgiveness and love! 

By the way…when was the last time the remarried in your church were threatened with excomunication till they repent from adultery and go back to their “real” spouses?

curious

Seraph

[287] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 06:28 PM • top

Was this thread hijacked?

[288] Posted by Fr. Dale on 01-22-2009 at 06:28 PM • top

You have to admit in the context of our generalized permissiveness its a little hard to take seriously any righteous indignation at a few scattered gay couples taking the Lord’s name in vain by vowing love and mutual fidelity to one another….when our churches are teeming with other folk we have given a pass, and a welcome to ...in the name of forgiveness and love!

I’ve admitted that the Church has failed in winking at heterosexual sin.  What I fail to understand is how humans justify one sin by winking at another.  Anyhow - it is God who defines sin and holiness, not us, and He’s quite clear about the categories. 

By the way…when was the last time the remarried in your church were threatened with excomunication till they repent from adultery and go back to their “real” spouses?

(Chuckle)
Oh, I’ve got a keeper.  It’s my understanding that he did actually excommunicate an unrepentant adulterer once.  You wouldn’t know that from talking to him, though.  He and his wife exude grace.  And they love Jesus. 

God made them for these times.  And then He blessed me and mine by bringing us to their feet.

[289] Posted by J Eppinga on 01-22-2009 at 06:37 PM • top

NO the thread was not not hijacked…you just dont like it when people point to the practical hypocrisy existent in our churches…and that is all I will say about that!

You can go back to your regular scheduled program of mischaracterizing Ida which had been going on before these last series of posts.

blessings

Seraph

[290] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 06:40 PM • top

Just for clarity’s sake….

When your unmarried pregnant daughter gets a baby shower by the women of the church… its love and acceptance!

When you sister has her 3rd wedding blessed by the priest…its new beginning and hope for tomorrow!

When your newly remarried uncle gets elected to the vestry ...its grace!

Seraph,
you see, what you are pointing out is precisely the problem, all those things happen in TEC.  Those are the things that many here are objecting too.  The problem is that TEC does not want to talk about any of those things.  TEC WANTS bishops who have been married 3 times (much less vestry).
  It is TEC that insists on making everything about gay sex.  I was labeled a homophobe in a meeting once because I objected to omitting the Nicene Creed and Confession from the mass.  Or on a blog, castigated as a homophobe, because I objected to communion of the un-baptized (after which the poster damned me: “You will burn for eternity for rejecting the all-inclusive love of Christ”- how’s that for oxymoronic?).  Seemingly, no matter the issue, the response is that if you do not agree with the way TEC does things, be they doctrinal or disciplinary, you obviously hate gays.
  The issue for me is not gays, per se.  The issue for me is that the Episcopal Church LIED to all of us, worldwide.  In 1991, the GC of TEC determined that it was not right for a single national church to make a decision on ordination of gays, or gay marriage, and that these decisions must be made at the Communion level.  The resolution is B020 of 1991.  Go read it for yourself.  The Anglican Communion did studies, the eventual outcome was Lambeth 1.10.  It was not the outcome TEC expected.  So, TEC went back on its word.  Suddenly, B020 was forgotten, and provincial autonomy declared in all matters pertaining to ordination of gays and blessing of gay unions.  The history from that point on- Griswold’s and Schori’s lies to the Primates, Bruno’s “not in my diocese”, etc. etc.- has been documented and reiterated ad infinitum.
  If TEC stops openly lying to people, perhaps there can be some form of reconciliation.  Until that time, how is it possible, when the probability they are telling the truth is well below 50%?
  My hope is that they come right out and state their intentions at GC’09- whatever those intentions are.  The current company line- “We are the official Anglican entity in the US, you cannot be in communion with Cantaur but through us, but we hold no Anglican doctrine and answer to no Anglican discipline”- must end.  Let them walk away and be done with it, if that is their choice, but let us put an end to the mendacity.

[291] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-22-2009 at 06:45 PM • top

Seraph you seem to be under some misapprehensions about this blog.

We don’t support the “umarried pregnant daughter” being ordained a bishop or a priest—or a “blessing of unmarried pregnancy” being proclaimed either.

I’m fine throwing baby showers for both umarried pregnant straight daughters, and unmarried pregnant gay daughters as long as neither are living in sin with their paramours.

We don’t support 3rd weddings being blessed by the priest unless the former marriages were dissolved by Biblical means.

We don’t support newly remarried uncles [unless his marriage was dissolved by Biblical means] being elected to the vestry.

I’m sorry you’ve missed the threads on those—but they certainly exist.

[292] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 06:50 PM • top

Amen, Sarah!

[293] Posted by Cennydd on 01-22-2009 at 06:54 PM • top

As a teacher of almost four decades, I can tell you from observation that divorce is the most devastating (other than death) thing that can happen to a child, even into high school.  We have made divorce so easy to get and so completely neutral morally that we are today reaping the results.  It is politically incorrect to speak out and say this, because divorce is so common and we all want to believe that, hey, no biggie!  The kids are fine!  But the kids are rarely fine.

[294] Posted by GoodMissMurphy on 01-22-2009 at 06:57 PM • top

Sareph

I know it sounds harsh—but just because many churches have been easy on some sins—not asking for repentance—before forgiveness is offered, does NOT mean we should through biblical standard’s out altogether. “Cheap” grace is no grace at all…
What would you say if someone argued to you:

Just for clarity’s sake….

When your unmarried pregnant daughter gets a baby shower by the women of the church… its love and acceptance!

When you sister has her 3rd wedding blessed by the priest…its new beginning and hope for tomorrow!

When your newly remarried uncle gets elected to the vestry ...its grace!
(what if you had said:)
When my <strike>gay</strike> incest-living cousin is ostracized, his desire for relationship and intimacy deemed demonic…that’s holiness?

No cigar…!!!!

Blessings

Seraph

THE SOLE SOURCE of the ethic against incest and bestiality is in Lev 18, the same chapter which contains the major moral law against homosexual behavior.  As someone pointed out above, once you ignore one moral law about sexuality, logically, why should you not ignore them all?

Article 7 of the 39 Articles clearly indicates that the MORAL COMMANDS (not the Civil/political—having to do with the governance of the ancient Jews, nor the Ceremonial—having to do with the pre-Christ blood sacrificial system) of the Old Testament do actually still apply to us.  We are saved only by the cross of Christ—but once saved, as members of Christ body, we are called to live holy lives.  How do we know what is holy?  By our feelings?  By vague ethics?  NO, by obeying the ethical guidelines of the bible.

I am a celibate man—within middle age.  I know what it is like to have unfulfilled sexual desires—yet I also know that, given my being unmarried, I cannot go and sleep around…or even just live with a woman in a “monogamous” state outside of marriage—that would dishonor my Savior.  In the same way, the person who has homosexual desires is not condemned because he has such desires, but only when they give into them.

But of course you may say, “at least you can get married and fill those desires if you like….”  That is true, though for me not that easy it seems!  Perhaps a better illustration is material possessions.

I’ve always wanted to accumulate things for as little as possible…or even for free!  I remember before even adolescence having those deep desires…I never made a choice to have them or not.  I guess being greedy is just my “orientation.” However, the law judge would laugh at me if I told the court, I couldn’t help but steal that car—as that is just my orientation. 

In the same way, though I can sympathize with someone with unfulfilled desires—there are such things as sinful desires, and just because you have a deep desire for something—or someone, does not make it right in God’s eyes.

Only the power of the Holy Spirit though, working in each person, can help a person overcome wrong desire. The Church grieves and hinders God, and the believer too,  when we call good, what He has called evil.

Personally, I prefer cigars, but, not stolen ones.

[295] Posted by banned4Life on 01-22-2009 at 06:59 PM • top

Geesh people! A person who has divorced and gone through all that would require repentance and forgiveness is not the same as someone going home to someone of the same gender having sex with them! Give me a break ....really!

Sure…except;

Luke 16:18- Jesus says:  “...Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery…”

Mark 10:
“...9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Where is there for the “healed, repented, forgiven partner” permission to marry another?  Who gave it…??Well tacitly we all have! Just look at your reasoning!

Geesh ....not so clear now? 

However, when two people exclusively oriented and attracted to the same sex, therefore UNABLE to marry…desire to pledge to each of fidelity and commitment and make a life as best they can…all of the sudden St. Paul is crystal clear…!

Yeah ...a break for sure!

blessings

Seraph

[296] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 07:05 PM • top

# [292] Posted by Sarah Hey on 01-22-2009

Sarah I have been around churches all of my life…! It really is not at all about what I read on your threads but about…what I and you, if you are honest, have witnessed, permitted, tolerated and even celebrated, for many years in our parishes in and out of TEC!

Blessings

Seraph

[297] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 07:13 PM • top

RE: “It really is not at all about what I read on your threads but about…what I and you, if you are honest, have witnessed, permitted, tolerated and even celebrated, for many years in our parishes in and out of TEC!”

Speak for yourself, buddy—not for me.  That explains your guilt response about non-celibate gay people I suppose.

[298] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 07:16 PM • top

I was talking about divorce…you it seems have the guilt response!

blessings

Seraph

[299] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 07:17 PM • top

Now the thread has been hijacked to be all about how gays are more persecuted than divorced people!

[300] Posted by TLDillon on 01-22-2009 at 07:20 PM • top

The point which Ida has been making very clearly is that, on this issue Christians, appear quite hypocritical! They seem inflexible when it comes to any kind of homosexual intimacy and union…much more flexible in practice to other things Scripture condemns!

If this is Ida’s argument, then Ida is quite wrong.  I stated above that even murderers, rapists, those who commit incest, and, yes, practicing homosexuals, could be admitted to the sacraments on the same basis—repentance.  This would certainly apply to those who have divorced as well.  A quick google search would show you countless websites in which churches and denominations lay out their policies on divorce and remarriage.  There is no “simple” pass for divorcees, and so, no “hypocrisy.”  And no church blesses divorce or claims that it is a good thing.

The only inconsistency is that Ida seemed offended that the church was willing to same extend the mercy and forgiveness to repentant murderers and those who commit incest as it extends to repentant homosexuals.

But, of course, Seraph, neither you nor Ida are really interested in the church consistently applying the same policy of forgiveness and grace to those who practice same-sex activity as it applies to those who are divorced, or even murderers.  You are offended by such consistency.

What you want the church to say is that same-sex activity is not a sin, needs no repentance, and should be blessed.  That is an entirely different argument, and so, yes, Ida’s argument is entirely illogical and a non sequitur, even if your accusations of inconsistency were true. 

The following would be valid arguments:

1) The church inconsistently practices discipline against certain sinners. 
2) It welcomes divorcees and murderers who repent, but does not welcome practicing homosexuals who repent.
3) Therefore, to be consistent, the church should welcome repentant practicing homosexuals as it welcomes repentant divorcees and murderers.

Or:

1) The church inconsistently practices discipline against certain sinners. 
2) It welcomes divorcees and murderers who do not repent, but does not welcome practicing homosexuals who do not repent.
3) Therefore, to be consistent, the church should apply consistent discipline.  Not only practicing homosexuals, but also divorcees and murderers should be required to repent before the church can welcome them.

However, both of the following are entirely illogical.

1) The church inconsistently practices discipline against certain sinners. 
2) It welcomes divorcees and murderers who repent, but does not welcome practicing homosexuals who repent.
3) Therefore, to be consistent, the church should recognize that the practice of same-sex activity is not a sin after all, but should rather be blessed.

Or:

1) The church inconsistently practices discipline against certain sinners. 
2) It welcomes divorcees and murderers who do not repent, but does not welcome practicing homosexuals who do not repent.
3) Therefore, to be consistent, the church should recognize that the practice of same-sex activity is not a sin, but should rather be blessed.

This is not consistency, but inconsistency.  You are not asking that the church be consistent in its discipline, but that it rather treat same sex activity differently from other sins condemned in Scripture. You cannot get logically from: “The church is inconsistent in its discipline of certain sins” to “Therefore, practicing same-sex activity is not a sin after all.”

[301] Posted by William Witt on 01-22-2009 at 07:20 PM • top

Let’s try that in English:

The only inconsistency is that Ida seemed offended that the church was willing extend the same mercy and forgiveness to repentant murderers and those who commit incest as it extends to repentant homosexuals.

[302] Posted by William Witt on 01-22-2009 at 07:25 PM • top

[comment deleted—commenter is warned]

[303] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 07:33 PM • top

Try this…

1) The church inconsistently practices discipline against certain sinners. 
2) It welcomes divorcees who remarried and murderers who do not repent, but does not welcome practicing homosexuals who do not repent.
3) Therefore, to be consistent, the church should exclude all, or require repentace and change of all or welcome all!!!

By the way , just curious…does the repentant divorcee having sex with her new hubby sin?

blessings

Seraph

[304] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 07:37 PM • top

You see, the whole issue revolves around the definition of sacramental marriage.  There is no divorce in the Church, that is is in civil courts, in the Church one must obtain a declaration of nullity or in common parlance, an annulment.  Of course we’ve been separated from TEC for over thirty years now, so maybe those canons are all changed now for you all.

Anything called a marriage outside of the Church is really just a temporary license for fornication.

[305] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 07:55 PM • top

I still do not know what I am doing wrong here.  Please be charitable and educate me.

[306] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 07:57 PM • top

Therefore, to be consistent, the church should exclude all, or require repentace and change of all or welcome all!!!

Again, this is really not difficult.

A) the church should be consistent
B) the church should require repentance and change of all

I believe this has been the church’s understanding of the gospel for the last two millennia.

[307] Posted by RedHatRob on 01-22-2009 at 07:59 PM • top

We don’t support 3rd weddings being blessed by the priest unless the former marriages were dissolved by Biblical means.

We don’t support newly remarried uncles [unless his marriage was dissolved by Biblical means] being elected to the vestry.

I’m sorry you’ve missed the threads on those—but they certainly exist.

Yes, you do support 3rd weddings blessed by the priest, whether the former marriages were dissolved by Biblical means or not.

I happen to personally know of one, who engaged—with his first wife—a ‘swingers’ lifestyle, and then ended up divorcing his first wife, to marry the ‘other’ wife he was ‘swinging’ with. Then, the second wife passed away, and ‘God spoke to Him’ and called him to be a Priest, but he met a woman who had been married twice herself. But, you know, in all of those conversations with God, God just forgot to tell him that it was ‘a sin’ to live with a woman that you weren’t married to, but that turned out to be okay and not so much a ‘sin’ after they decided to marry.

Sort of like the book choice one of you told me about, (though it’s fiction) where a man commits incest, and becomes Pope.  Hey, as long as it’s not some ‘homo,’ we can overlook many things, right? Who cares if he ‘diddled’ a few kids, as long as he said, ‘God I’m sorry, forgive me.’

But not those homos. Forget them.

From what I understand, the priest I speak of and know, personally, is able to give and receive communion with no problems.

Personally, I have no problems with any of it, but, given the diatribes here, concerning what constitutes sin, and concerning someone who rebels—when they know they sin—by continuing to engage in sin should NOT have their marriage or union blessed, right?

Oh, but I can’t wait to see the flurry of keyboard tapping, explaining that because his second wife died, biblically he was blessed to marry again, and God ‘forgives’ him for shacking up with his third wife, before feeling ‘compelled’ to marry again.

Oh, these ‘Holy Unions’ that God has blessed!!!

Let me repeat this: There is no delineation between heterosexual FORNICATION and homosexual FORNICATION.

But all of you seem to think that there is.  Hey, ‘Holy Men’ of God here…according to the Bible, Sodomy is wrong.  It doesn’t say “Gay Sodomy is wrong, but if you decide to practice it with your wife, we give you a pass, because you are a heterosexual.”

So, that means if you want to get a little ‘adventurous’ with the Mrs., you are committing the sin of Sodomy. So, if you decide to engage in that act this weekend, I suggest you stay away from the communion rail on Sunday, lest you put yourself in danger of eternal damnation.

The hypocrisy you spew is laughable, and much more hilarious than any cutesy post you put up mocking those with whom you despise.

To use the ‘stellar reasoning’ of many of you here:

See, all one has to do is just say, “God?? Forgive me for my sin. I’m sorry,” and, then, for homosexuals, they just have to stop ‘acting’ on that sin, and all will be okay.

But, we ‘all’ sin, it’s just that when we commit acts that are forbidden like ‘sodomy,’ other forms of fornication, like living with someone without being married, it’s different because we are heterosexual and our union is ‘blessed by God,’ so that sort of gives us a better standing, don’t you see?

We can still partake of communion, and continue our behavior, period.

This is just for Sarah:

The views are not unlike the views of King Henry VIII, who created the Anglican religion, basically, because he wanted to divorce one of his EIGHT wives, but the Catholic Church said it was a sin. Oh my! What should he have done?

According to ‘stellar reasoning’ he should have turned AWAY from his sin, and not asked the church to change for HIM.  That’s just plain selfish. Asking the church to grant his divorce and bless his next marriage, that’s just blatant SIN. 

Instead of applying ‘stellar reasoning’ what did he do? Rebelled against God and, gosh darn, he created a NEW religion, when he was told he was sinning!

Then, he cut off the heads of some of his wives!

I think, using the ‘stellar reasoning’ tools that I have learned from this very thread, that anyone who is engaged in practicing this religion might be headed to Hades, and should be considered apostates.

This is a religion that ‘celebrates’ the sin of adulterer, and that’s just plain WRONG!

But, then again, Henry wasn’t a homosexual, so we’ll just overlook the rest of it…

I’m sure he ‘repented’ every time he offed some woman’s head, or slipped into another bedroom to ‘bugger’ a new woman, and, because of that, we can thank him for creating the Anglican Church!

Ida

[308] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-22-2009 at 08:01 PM • top

3) Therefore, to be consistent, the church should exclude all, or require repentace and change of all or welcome all!!!

If the church were to exclude all, it would cease to be the church—for the promise of the keys is a promise of forgiveness to those who repent.  If the church were to welcome all, it would cease to be the church for the same reason—for the promise of the keys does not extend to the non-repentant.  Consistency requires that the church welcome all—who repent.

By the way , just curious…does the repentant divorcee having sex with her new hubby sin?

As it stands, the question cannot be answered without further information.  Was the divorcee the injured party in the divorce or the cause of the divorce?  Did the divorcee cause the divorce by an act of adultery?  Is her new husband the person with whom she committed adultery?  Has the previous husband remarried?  Did he divorce in order to marry the person with whom he committed adultery, and with whom he remarried?  Is the previous husband living?

“By the way,” I don’t think you’re asking because you’re “just curious.”

[309] Posted by William Witt on 01-22-2009 at 08:02 PM • top

I believe this has been the church’s understanding of the gospel for the last two millennia.

And of course the praxis of the church as well…this is very funny! Outside the RCC this claim can not be seriously made.

Blessings

Seraph

[310] Posted by seraph on 01-22-2009 at 08:04 PM • top

Henry asked for an annulment not a divorce.

[311] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 08:04 PM • top

Seraph,
As I said, you are correct if you mean a church like TEC. TEC would welcome an unrepentant divorcee and probably ordain her.  Although I doubt even they would ordain an unrepentant murderer.

The orthodox churches would NOT knowingly do this.  I won’t claim that an unrepentant divorced ordinand hasn’t slipped through here or there, but there is certainly no intent to bless these things.

The Church welcomes all to hear the Good News of Christ.  We are all sinners.  That I received the welcome I did amazed me when I came back from “40 years in the wilderness” (not really quite that long). It was the conservative clergy I knew from my youth that did the welcoming- those same men I hear defamed as donatists. 

The real Church does require repentance and change from all. All. ALL.  Is any of this getting through? 
The Church does NOT condone all.  The Church does not marry all.  The Church does not ordain all.  The Church does not commune all. 
But it welcome’s all to its door.  It welcomes all to hear the Good News.  It invites all to the gift of grace through reconciliation with our Lord. But that reconciliation is conditional upon our repentance.  I fear for those who think they will stand before the Lord one day to boast of their holiness.  Better that we kneel before Him and beg His forgiveness.

[312] Posted by tjmcmahon on 01-22-2009 at 08:05 PM • top

Ah, Idalupin08 returns.

RE: “Yes, you do support 3rd weddings blessed by the priest, whether the former marriages were dissolved by Biblical means or not.”

No I don’t.

And when you say “you” if you mean TEC—welcome to the blog, Ida—you’ll find we’ve had numerous threads about remarriage and divorce.  You’ll need to look those up.

But we’re going to make back to the topic of this post—which is GG, Schori, the listening process, her support of homosexuality, and The Episcopal Church deciding at its highest levels to formally bless sinful behavior and pronounce it holy and good.

We usually close off comments after 300—please don’t comment further on the red herring topics that you’ve introduced.  Further comments from all sides will be deleted on those topics.

Thanks.

[313] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 08:08 PM • top

I think the thing that is being overlooked here is that civil marriage, that is marriage outside the church, is fornication pure and simple, and treated as such by many who enter into such a “union.”

If a person is not a Christian and marries another non-Christian, and perhaps even repeats the process several times, then is converted while legally divorced they should certainly be counted as having never been in a sacramental marriage. The marriages that many, or perhaps even most, people contract today hardly qualifies as marriage as Christians understand it. Such people should be free to contract a real marriage in the Church if God calls them to the married state of life. If they had been serial fornicators, that is had no piece of paper from the state, they would be allowed to marry. Why should secular marriages, contracted in ignorance, be held against people coming into the Church?

Whether or not they are fit for ordination is another matter, and that should be decided on a case by case basis.

Unless the couple is married in an apostolic church and were well instructed in what constitutes a sacramental marriage, they have no need of an annulment.

The problem of course arises when people are married under the above conditions. Annulments for such marriages should be extremely difficult to obtain. If the standards are high, then anyone with such an annulment should be able to fully participate in the life of the Church to include ordination if they have a calling.

Jesus did say that Moses allowed men to put away their wives for adultery, but only because of the hardness of their hearts, the implication being that even with adultery a man should not put away his wife.

Divorce is an ugly thing whether civil or sacramental marriage is involved, but there is a world of difference between the two.

The final thing I want to point out is that as long as the annulment granted is honestly and accurately evaluated,one may say with all candor that any subsequent marriage is a first one.

If I am ordained a minister in the Baptist Church as a young man, then later in life ordained as a priest in the Church Catholic I can only claim one ordination. If someone ask me how long I have been ordained I count from the date of my catholic one, the sacrament CANNOT be repeated, so I have not been ordained twice.

If I contract a marriage outside the Church Catholic I am not truly in a Christian marriage anymore than I would be in Holy Orders if ordained in any protestant body.

[314] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 08:11 PM • top

RE: “But, we ‘all’ sin, it’s just that when we commit acts that are forbidden like ‘sodomy,’ other forms of fornication, like living with someone without being married, it’s different because we are heterosexual and our union is ‘blessed by God,’ so that sort of gives us a better standing, don’t you see?”

Not at all—as we’ve pointed out numerous times on this thread and others fornication is wrong.  So that avenue for you is closed, Ida.

Best for you to get back to bleating about how bad your parents’ marriage was.  It wasn’t really rational—as was neatly pointed out by WW.  But it was a nice try for some sympathy votes, I suppose.

[315] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 08:11 PM • top

Ah, Idalupin08 returns.

RE: “Yes, you do support 3rd weddings blessed by the priest, whether the former marriages were dissolved by Biblical means or not.”

No I don’t.

And when you say “you” if you mean TEC—welcome to the blog, Ida—you’ll find we’ve had numerous threads about remarriage and divorce.  You’ll need to look those up.

But we’re going to make back to the topic of this post—which is GG, Schori, the listening process, her support of homosexuality, and The Episcopal Church deciding at its highest levels to formally bless sinful behavior and pronounce it holy and good.

We usually close off comments after 300—please don’t comment further on the red herring topics that you’ve introduced.  Further comments from all sides will be deleted on those topics.

Thanks.

Thanks for the laugh, Sarah.  I think your response here is funnier than your lame attempt to mock me.

Ida

[316] Posted by IdaLupino08 on 01-22-2009 at 08:16 PM • top

By the way . . .

RE: “and much more hilarious than any cutesy post you put up   . . . “

I’m so glad you liked it.  ; > )  It was all the more vexing because it so beautifully paralleled your irrational assertions.

But don’t you think that maybe your blood pressure has spiked rather alarmingly?

RE: “I think your response here is funnier than your lame attempt to mock me.”

Oh, I didn’t attempt to mock you.  I succeeded in mocking your idea—which is a very different thing.  ; > )

[317] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 08:19 PM • top

Sort of like the book choice one of you told me about, (though it’s fiction) where a man commits incest, and becomes Pope.  Hey, as long as it’s not some ‘homo,’ we can overlook many things, right? Who cares if he ‘diddled’ a few kids, as long as he said, ‘God I’m sorry, forgive me.’ But not those homos. Forget them.

Ida, your ongoing comments indicate that you are not seriously interested in conversation.  You’d rather rant.  The point of Thomas Mann’s book was that even such a shameworthy act as incest can be forgiven and overcome by grace, and that, through grace, people can be transformed. A fortiori, this would include homosexual activity.  (As I said above, God in Christ can forgive even my sins—and I have many—or yours.) So your concluding remark is evidence not only that you have not been listening here, but that you would rather rant and misrepresent the views of others.

Thomas Mann’s book The Holy Sinner is one of the great works of modern literature.  You might greatly profit from reading it.  You sound like a person who needs to hear the message of grace.  I will not respond to further ranting, nor attempt to reason further with you, as you are clearly are not interested in rational discussion.  Blessings.

[318] Posted by William Witt on 01-22-2009 at 08:22 PM • top

Ida Lupino,

The point being is that TEC does and made acceptable all those things you point to as inconsistencies. Many don’t.  The acceptance of gay marriage has its roots in the acceptance of divorce and the contraceptive mentality.

By the way, say hello to Howard Duff for me.

[319] Posted by Sarah Hey has a hidden agenda on 01-22-2009 at 08:23 PM • top

I hope you’ll stick around Ida.

Because most of us are in TEC, and this blog is about Anglicanism and the foolishness of one teensy teensy segment of it and its efforts to bless and proclaim holy sexual relationships between same genders—something that you also approve of—there will be numerous threads about this issue for you to demonstrate the . . . er . . . strength of your arguments here.  And we enjoy very much having progressive activists around to do the same thing—demonstrate the . . . . strength . . . of their arguments.

The page is groaning with comments, so I’ll be shutting off comments soon.

[320] Posted by Sarah on 01-22-2009 at 08:25 PM • top

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