Saturday, December 23, 2006

For unto us a child is born

Christmas has become an annual Sabbath; almost the only time now when families gather together, friends are remembered, and the ghosts of Christmases past are recalled, some with joy, some with sorrow. It is the one time of the year when thoughts of God enter directly into the home. And so must it remain, for it infuses hope into lives of despair, and light into a world of darkness, conflict, and turmoil.

Politicians win elections by promising heaven on earth – they will feed the starving, house the homeless, dispel the fear, and instil a hope as bright as day. Yet when the electorate realises that they are still in purgatory a decade later, another swathe of disaffected voters views the democratic process with cynicism, and declares a plague on both their houses. The government of man is in crisis, and the heart of man is bereft.

But this child, this Jesus, this god-man mystery – some day, the government shall be upon his shoulder.

The deliverer is human, one of us, flesh of our flesh. He is born to rule, born to be a king, conceived of the house and lineage of David. His name is Wonderful – a mystery of divinity in humanity; Counsellor – the oracle of wisdom; the mighty God – the Word was not just with God, but was God; the Everlasting Father – not the same person as the Father, but of one substance with the Father; the Prince of Peace – bringing a peace that passes understanding.

Cranmer wishes all of his regular communicants, and all of his intermittent guests, a joyful Christmas, and a blessed New Year.

55 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen.

23 December 2006 at 10:46  
Blogger Nilk said...

God bless you, Your Grace, for your words.

Have yourself a wonderful Christmass*, and a peaceful new year.

*misspelling intentional. cheers, all.

23 December 2006 at 11:05  
Anonymous Voyager said...

We will become so disillusioned with Secular Socialism that God will be the refuge our forefathers found when living precarious lives bereft of control of their destinies.

Our lives are fundamentally no different from those of the Old Testament save that we no longer fear poor harvests or infant death; the rest is much as before save for the baubles we collect and display in our lives and the modern delusion of immortality

23 December 2006 at 11:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I have decided to read John Bunyan - The Pilgrim's Progress which amazingly has not been out of print since 1678

23 December 2006 at 11:19  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

Merry Christmas, Cranmer.

Your blog is also light in the darkness. It is eloquent, intelligent, and unique. It is a blessing to all your readers.

23 December 2006 at 11:42  
Blogger Eddie said...

Thank you for your words, your Grace. May you know His richest blessings this Christmastide and for the New Year. And please, keep shining a light into the dark world of politics.

23 December 2006 at 12:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas your Grace and to all.

23 December 2006 at 13:28  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to Your Grace and to you all.

And thank for the education you are all giving me. I may not often comment, but I read every word.

23 December 2006 at 13:51  
Anonymous peter Hitchens said...

Thank you your Grace
As ever beautifuly written and thought provoking.
Wherever you are , merry christmas (+:

Peter

23 December 2006 at 14:33  
Anonymous peter hitchens said...

And Voyager

wise words indeed (+:

23 December 2006 at 14:35  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Wishing a Merry Christmas to His Grace and all his regular communicants.....from the Mohammedan lands. Remember Turkey's Christians during the holiday....

23 December 2006 at 15:58  
Anonymous Northwing said...

Merry Christmas to Your Grace. I look forward to more of your erudite epistles, written from that ethereal portal into the endless sea of inerrant wisdom, which inspires them.

23 December 2006 at 16:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

modern delusion of immortality

Yo voyager I used that precise phrase about a week ago. I must be improving


( Also I have read Pilgrims`s Progress and Grace Abounding ...)

Don`t get stuck in Vanity Fair

23 December 2006 at 19:14  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

The Angels blessing "...on earth peace, goodwill to all men" is translated by Calvinists as "...peace towards men on whom His favour rests".

I am sure His favour rest on you, Your Grace.

23 December 2006 at 19:58  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Don`t get stuck in Vanity Fair

Looks as if Bunyan supplied the tirles to at least 3 English novels

Vanity Fair

Mr Standfast

The Good Companions



is translated by Calvinists as "...peace towards men on whom His favour rests".

It is interesting that the same error occurs in the Original Luther translation of The Bible corrected in the Revised Luther Bible

23 December 2006 at 20:17  
Anonymous dexey said...

God bless you and yours, Your Grace, whoever you may be.
It is good that there is an overtly Christian message here.

23 December 2006 at 20:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pilgrim’s Progress was a hugely influential book , I recall Maggie Tulliver referring to "Dear Christian" and her reading would have been common .The other book whose centrality has faded perhaps is Paradise Lost., a terrifically good read to this day if anyone has never bothered. George Elliot’s attitude to Christianity was informed by Feuerbach (spelling?) and tales of Clerical life is full of affection for the Church .from a humanist perspective .
Mathew Arnold used the phrase A beautiful Angel beating its wings in vacuum of poetry but also Christianity . He was describing the despair of honest late Victorians at that time that they could not maintain an intellectual adherence to a faith they loved.

My own attitude has some of these elements , at a toadishly low level of course. I was much affected by a long debate with “Jack Target “(not real name) who is a most impressive young chap determined on a life in the Church . He is a Theologian and ferocious debater . Suffice to say I was sufficiently tied in knots as to end up defending high church mysticism….yeeeeesh..

Oh well the presents are packed , the car is checked , the map is at hand . I look forward to singing Carols and listening to the words I know so well. Especially I look forward to young master New mania (15 months) opening his Telly Tubby., tricycle and thousand other "baubles" .

23 December 2006 at 21:09  
Blogger 3 lions said...

Grace and peace to you and your readers, through MESSiAH.

http://journals.aol.co.uk/tommy3lions/Repairerofthebrokenwalls/

http://england-is-cool.blogspot.com/

23 December 2006 at 22:37  
Blogger Tom Tyler said...

Happy Christmas, your Grace.

24 December 2006 at 04:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a visitor, I should like to say that your words in this blog are powerful and undoubtedly true, your Grace. When so many figures in the Church fail to convey a Christian message in a politically correct world, it is pleasing to hear the truth being spoken.

Blessings this Christmas and New Year.

24 December 2006 at 14:12  
Blogger DV said...

Amen to that, Your Grace!

24 December 2006 at 15:02  
Blogger Croydonian said...

And a joyful and restful Christmas to His Grace and his communicants.

24 December 2006 at 16:55  
Blogger wrinkled weasel said...

Amen to that. A blessed Christmas.

24 December 2006 at 19:59  
Anonymous I.L.M. said...

cranmer said...
the Word was not just with God, but was God
this passage has confused me. would you be so kind as to define who God is in Christianity. Is there a touchstone in christianity which can be used to define God, or else you wouldn't know what you're beleiving in, right?

24 December 2006 at 20:58  
Anonymous Voyager said...

the Word was not just with God, but was God
this passage has confused me


Then try reading The Bible starting with Genesis............

http://christiancadre.org/topics/cosarg.html


http://www.theholywordofgod.com/

25 December 2006 at 05:47  
Anonymous i.l.m. said...

if jesus is the son of god, how am i to distinguish between this man who is supposedly god, and any other ordinary man. This is why i'm asking, is there a touchstone in christianity which can be used to define god (cranmer it would be most appreciated if you could answer this question directed at YOU)

25 December 2006 at 12:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

Seeking the Truth contact the evangelists at www.theevangelists.blogspot.com

25 December 2006 at 13:02  
Anonymous dexey said...

i.l.m. said...
if jesus is the son of god, how am i to distinguish between this man who is supposedly god, and any other ordinary man. This is why i'm asking, is there a touchstone in christianity which can be used to define god (cranmer it would be most appreciated if you could answer this question directed at YOU)

12:08 PM

There is no need for you to be able to distinguish. He knows you.

25 December 2006 at 16:40  
Anonymous i.l.m. said...

dexey said...
There is no need for you to be able to distinguish. He knows you.

yes, it is understandable that he knows me, but how am I to know him? I understand that man cannot completely comprehend the concept of God, evenso, man must know and have awareness to the extent that he can distinguish between any false claimers and the true God.

25 December 2006 at 19:34  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I understand that man cannot completely comprehend the concept of God, evenso, man must know and have awareness to the extent that he can distinguish between any false claimers and the true God..

If you find someone claiming to be Infinity you will find yourself in a unique position; if you mean with respect to Jesus I suggest you propose to your interlocutor that he be put to death and undergo physical resurrection........

26 December 2006 at 06:33  
Anonymous dexey said...

i.l.m. said...
yes, it is understandable that he knows me, but how am I to know him?
7:34 PM

Do you mean 'know him' as in recognise him as Jesus in a crowded room?
For me, and this is strictly my personal opinion, I'd say live a Christian life before meeting him and you will have the Holy Spirit to aid you.
On the other hand you can try voyager's trick and hope Jesus is having a meek and mild day.

26 December 2006 at 12:10  
Anonymous i.l.m. said...

dexey said...
Do you mean 'know him' as in recognise him as Jesus in a crowded room?

Allow me to give you an example. After asking the same question to a muslim friend of mine, he replied that in Islam God is defined via the following verse of the Quran.

"say he is allah the one, allah the eternal refuge. He begets not nor was he born. Nor is there to him any equvialent".

Now if you as a Christian were to try convincing a Muslim to accept Jesus as God, he would say no because according to the above verse, Jesus has to be the one and only (which he's not becasue the holly trinity consists of three not one). He has to be the eternal refuge (which he's not because in the gospel of John, Jesus claims "I of my own self can do nothing") He can not be born of someone (but Jesus had a mother), and there can't be any equvalent to him (there are to Jesus because there were many human prophets who could do miracles).

My argument may be flawed, but the point i'm trying to make is that as with Islam, God can be defned. He has a unique personlaity. What makes Jesus God as of this perspective?

26 December 2006 at 17:19  
Anonymous Voyager said...

That is the difference in itself. Islam is a very simplistic politico-religion dreamed up by one man. Christianity is a subset of Judaism and cannot be understood without a grasp of The Old Testament.

Islam has no baptism; it has no concept of Grace. It is more akin to Marxism-Leninism than to Judaism which is why it has no complexity. Christianity is Judaism plus Hellenic Inquiry............there is no mantra but a belief.

You could I suppose recite The Nicene Creed

Nicene Creed

You are far too anthropomorphic in your way of looking at things. The Creed states that The Son is uniquely of the Father...............that it is borne by Mary through the Holy Ghost.

That is a complexity that Islam cannot comprehend because it is a literalist simplicity and treats women like sheep or goats as chattels.

The nature of the Holy Trinity is also alien to Muslims whose comprehension is too limited to comprehend that what is Infinite cannot be grasped as a whole by men, but only in fragments............it is therefore quite possible for an Infinite God to be incarnate through The Holy Ghost, and the only way that incarnate humans in God's image have ever come into the world is through the womb..............that has not changed.

Then again Macbeth could not be killed by any man of woman born yet Macduff was able to kill Macbeth.

The matter of The Holy Ghost enabling Sara to conceive in old age; Elizabeth to bear John; and her cousin, Miriam to bear Jesus are all part of the "Mysteries" of God's ways.

Islam is predicated on a distant, fatalistic God rather like the Gnostics............The key fact in The New Testament is that Jesus was executed on the Cross and Resurrected...................that was what stood in the way of Mohammed pronouncing himself God's messenger and he could not do that if Jesus were the Son of God, so he had to rewrite the script so Mohammed got a bigger part.



http://www.bible.ca/islam/library/Tisdall/Sources/index.htm

"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him."

"Christianity is a faith in which God sent his Son to die for you."

26 December 2006 at 18:26  
Anonymous Voyager said...

God can be defned. He has a unique personlaity.

I disagree completely. God cannot be defined and he does not have a "personality".........this is idolatry as is a piece of black basalt in Mecca.

You should read Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason because the epistemology of your Muslim friend is so flawed as to be heretical. How can a subset of a system comprehend the system ?

Can you define a watch by any one component, or understand a computer by looking at one chip, or know about a bridge by looking at one bolt ? It is presumptuous and suggests a complete inability to comprehend Infinity.

http://www.polkinghorne.org/

Have a wander around John Polkinghorne's site and look at some of the issues in Physics as it approaches Metaphysics. There are only TWO ways we know how to acquire knowledge - one is Deduction - the other is Induction - yet not one of us can prove our own existence, nor whether we will exist tomorrow. There is no principle we as humans can establish that will prove that we will be here tomorrow and yet people make plans in diaries based upon a belief that they will exist in the future.

The problem with Islam is that it sets down rules for everything in detail and as such churns out adherents whose faith is in the rules and who lack any grounding in the metaphysics. This is the hallmark of the cult.

26 December 2006 at 18:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VOYAGER
…one is Deduction - the other is Induction -

Voyager , what about direct empirical experiment and observation. It is by this method we discover handy things about how to invent jet engines , irrigation systems medicines and so on . If any evidence is treated as possibly misleading then you might as easily argue for the existence of a cream bun with the unique ability to disappear when looked upon It is only fairly recently that Christianity has been obliged to defend itself by seeping back into the mountains offering no hard edges to attack. This is a new sort of religion , one that flits from rock to bush , hiding behind physics , or linguistics , never presenting a clear case.

I see no possible link between physics and metaphysics and I suspect the usual retreat into obscurity . The argument is something like this. Common sense would tend to make us wary of a deity .It is counterintuitive and at odds with everyday experience. Aha yes but so is advanced theoretical physics and that is truer than everyday experience. Thus we prove that anything which , at face value appears silly and strange is probably true . …or not .Such an argument would be useful for proving that Australia didn`t really exist and other drawing room confections of little interest.


Take for example your notion of one part of system understanding its whole . This I recall being arrestingly presented as the possibility of a written character , say Hamlet , comprehending Shakespeare.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern , (Stoppard) , may be read as including such ideas , or (if you must ) Waiting for Godot. The argument is , there is something whose relationship of including us , not visa versa ,is such as preclude any meaningful attempt to describe “him” .I have heard multidimensional physics related , to this suggestion when there is no link other than a superficial similarity of “final” words and concepts .Wittgenstein allowed you to falsify you premise with your conclusions but allow that conclusion to stand , an ad hoc lifebelt I doubt you would wish to reach for .(Lets leave what he was actually doing for now) .Returning to the relationship between man and god …..

Blake was approaching the problem in many , if not all, of his poems but most famously and explicitly in the final two stanzas of “Tiger Tiger”

When the stars threw down their spears, #
And water'd heaven with their tears, #
Did He smile His work to see? #
Did He who made the lamb make thee? #20

Tiger, tiger, burning bright #
In the forests of the night, #
What immortal hand or eye #
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? #






By the symbolic fire and power of the tiger I impute the thousand fold greater fire of the creator but I can only strain for it , not directly touch or see it .

This mystical or poetic approach seems more satisfying to me . I see great danger in the current vogue among theologians for piggy backing on science .I see from your posts (which I read avidly and with great enjoyment) that you may be tempted to imagine that the amassing of details and reading might have a religious significance. It does not ring true to me the process is entirely artificial .

If a flaw in your logic is found will god flip out of being , and with your elegant retort will he be saved . I doubt you believe such a thing . A conjuror may make Mrs. N appear to split in two . I know that he has not and whether I have the time to see the trick or not is the only question .

The recent anti clerical best seller …whatever it was (Dawkins) was very shallow but good , I thought , on the sort of theism a scientist may with impunity lay claim to .On the other hand I agree with WH Auden”Those who run to the apes to explain our behaviour are chuckle heads too dumb to know their arse from a hole in the ground”

We do not know what “light” is , (yet) we also do not know what love is . We cannot conclude from this that these problems are in any way of the same sort .
`ll give a counter intuitive idea “Facts are the enemy of truth”. Cervantes (Don Quixote ). A joke but also a philosophy.Are you too interested in facts ?Can you tell the difference between “truthiness” and truth” ?.

I am tending here to an argument for mysticism art and ritual as the best approach to god also tradition and a social religion as part of that ritual . A terrifying idea for those accustomed to argument and rationalism and a step I am unable to make myself .

I heard a Rabbi deal with the problem rather well

“So you have a problem with faith ? Don’t worry , he`ll get by “.


On Islam ..I couldn`t be bothered myself

26 December 2006 at 22:16  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Voyager , what about direct empirical experiment and observation. It is by this method we discover handy things about how to invent jet engines ,

OK Newmania - build a jet engine. Don't talk about it.........do it !

26 December 2006 at 23:13  
Anonymous dexey said...

i.l.m. said...
Allow me to give you an example. After asking the same question to a muslim friend of mine, he replied that in Islam God is defined via the following verse of the Quran.

"say he is allah the one, allah the eternal refuge. He begets not nor was he born. Nor is there to him any equvialent".

Now if you as a Christian were to try convincing a Muslim to accept Jesus as God, 5:19 PM

Wouldn't happen. I'm not an evangelical. I'd be much happier smiting the Muslim rather than arguing the toss with him.

27 December 2006 at 00:14  
Anonymous newmania said...

VOYAGER

...Tricky ...and the Jet I subsequently talked into existence is far to big for the backgarden.

(No doubt you feel you have a point )

27 December 2006 at 00:43  
Anonymous Voyager said...

God is defined via the following verse of the Quran.

What a peculiar concept - an Infinite God is defined by a few words in Arabic ? How arrogant these Mohammedans are !

27 December 2006 at 06:45  
Anonymous newmania said...

How arrogant these Mohammedans are !


VOYAGER-I`ve said it before but I really cannot work out why you bother. Did you know that more people attend a Mosque than a church in this country and once again the end of the Anglican Communion looks on the cards .

There is surely more to worry about than a primitive set of superstitions . Put it like this; discussion with you is good for their CV and not for yours.

27 December 2006 at 09:51  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Did you know that more people attend a Mosque than a church in this country and once again the end of the Anglican Communion looks on the cards ..

Newmania you seem sadly uninformed but to have the tabloid lines down pat.


Moslems pray 5 times a day, many - a huge number - are unemployed and live at the mosque where EU funding provides PCs and social events. It is harder for Anglicans to spend all day at church even though some churches in The City are splendid.

The figures collected for the C of E are quoted on Sundays as if weekday services are unimportant. They also rely on some very flaky counting which has an effect on the diocesan levy.

You make a fundamental error in equating Christianity with participation in a Church Service - this is denominationalism not Christianity. By your token an Army Padre is not Christian but someone trying to get junior into a Church School and attending a Service is.

Further the Church of England operates a more open Communion than the Catholic Church and will accept Methodists and Baptists and Catholics but the Church of Rome will only permit baptised Catholics to be present at Communion.

Since i only accept the use of the 1662 BCP I refuse to attend any Church using ASB or Common Worship because even the supposedly 1662 BCP contained therein has been botched and adulterated. I no longer appear on the Church Roll or in the Church because I reject its corrupted values and apostasy. I am inclined to view certain clerics as Non-Christian and in violation of Article XXVI

As for what you call "The Anglican Communion" it is a fiction. You mean the Franchised Church which has 2.2 million Americans who have turned the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA into a rag bag of Wiccans, Druids, Muslims, and Gays ? That the real reason for the Church of England tolerating apostasy and heresy from the Americans is that they have paid the hotel bills for years and ECUSA money funds Anglican Churches in Germany and Europe and Brazil because the Church of England is so poor.

Well, ECUSA is dead. It has a gay bishop in New Hampshire - a state populated by refugees from Boston colleges who refuse to pay Mass income tax - the Anglican diocese in New Hampshire is 15.000 nominal headcount

The Presiding Bishop of ECUSA is a woman - a weird woman from Nevada whose diocese has c 3000 parishioners. It is a joke. I bet Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas or the Baptist Church in Dallas has more congregants.

The Church of England courted the spirit of the age and is being rent asunder by Anglo-Catholics and the increasing irritation of Protestant Evangelicals, the fastest growing segment of the Christian Church worldwide.

You Newmania have no Christian Faith so your viewpoint is irrelevant with respect to Protestantism; and in fact with respect to Islam. You can communicate with a Muslim only as a Non-Believer - a Kafir - others can communicate as 'People of The Book' with a grounding in Scripture.

What you dismiss so readily as a primitive set of superstitions does not let you understand why people blow themselves up to kill you..........and all you can offer is civil partnerships, human rights legislation, and a swim in alcohol as your contribution to discussion. In short it is your value-system which is corroding not that of Christians. In fact Christians will emerge stronger from all this.

Church attendance was enforced under The Act of Uniformity with a 12d fine for each Sunday church was absented. The high rates of compliance had much to do with punishment for non-attendance. It is probably a Southern English thing - this Church of England as the epitome of Christian Faith - but outside the South it is not the only Church and in fact attendance drops as you migrate North.

By the same token the Labour Party can only expect 198.000 to vote it into office since noone else subscribes to its funds...............yet seemingly 9.562.000 voted for this party with just 198.000 members...................the Conservatives with around 230.000 members received 8.772.000 votes suggesting each party can expect to gain support of 40-45 times its stated membership. Applying that to your figures for the Church of England Sunday attendance register would yield 40-45 million Christians or around 73% population which is in line with the 72% in the 2001 Census identifying themselves as "Christian"

27 December 2006 at 11:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VOYAGER- You spit like a drenched cat don`t you.

Newmania you seem sadly uninformed but to have the tabloid lines down pat......ho hum

Just today’s Daily Telegraph Voyager. I couldn’t care less who has the most attendance myself .It isn’t a voting matter with feet or otherwise and as such the further detail you supply is of no special importance . (Interesting though) I am ,as you say , someone of little faith , I am nonetheless a lover of the Book of Common Prayer . I regard the Christian traditions of this country as something of which I am an heir as much as anyone but you are right the unfortunate inconvenience of the non existence of god leaves one with an uncomfortable paradox.
It has been a problem for a long time now , perhaps you recall my mention of Mathew Arnold’s anguish which was common .
I wouldn’t preen your self quite so much on your ability to enter the mental world of people who wish to blow other people up Voyager I am pleased with my inability to understand such madness. Neither would I be so conceited as you appear to be about your antiquarian hobbies. This smacks somewhat of the sin of Pride .Quite a bad one that.
You contradict your own point as to the irrelevance of my views on religious matters by your wish to claim all those within the Christian tradition as fellow travellers . I am pretty sure I am more religiously inclined than the vast majority of the 72 % you mention. In fact I dare to suggest I am more representative than you of this majority . Are we irrelevant or not ?

I find what you say about the Anglican “Communion “convincing but you are mistaken as to my lack of values. Christianity can have nothing to do with prescribing moral values and I have already explained to you why ( Bertrand Russell / John Stuart Mill ). You replied that morality was something you offered to god. To me it seems you offer values and morality to you fellow man and offering such a quality to God becomes is a shallow self serving exercise in juggling abstractions. In any case you know nothing of my values .

From the position you have so kindly granted me as within the broader Church I shall continue to comment as I see fit. The general principle of those with no stake being excused class is a good one however .
Those who do not work or contribute to the nation’s wealth should have no say on taxation?
Those who are disinclined to enjoy normal intercourse should have no say on marriage?

Such thoughts enter my head at times. I wouldn’t want to get into your bad books I like the Church of England and dislike the influence of Islam in this country . I do not swim in alcohol and have a moral sense of the world . It will not do to describe religion as useful , it is not a set of social tools and vicars are not social workers .Ultimately what it has “to offer “ socially is a secondary benefit at best.At worst a dangerous distraction .

27 December 2006 at 13:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

VOYAGER- You spit like a drenched cat don`t you.

No, and your apology would be appreciated.

27 December 2006 at 13:43  
Anonymous Voyager said...

by your wish to claim all those within the Christian tradition as fellow travellers .

I don't. I merely show the fallacy of using silly headlines in newspaopers as if they were an argument by assertion.

Those who do not work or contribute to the nation’s wealth should have no say on taxation?
Those who are disinclined to enjoy normal intercourse should have no say on marriage?


Politics again...........it is so ephemeral in the history of the universe........whatever rules politics chooses but they have no effect on the universe at all. Noone has any say on taxation - even Commonwealth Citizens living in Pakistan can vote in Britain if they reside for one year - it is not restricted to British Citizens

John Stuart Mill and his godson Betrand Russell are hardly authorities I should set against Scripture both being highly flawed, and Russell basically amoral. You should remember that the Church of England in its founding values is Calvinist

27 December 2006 at 13:52  
Anonymous newmania said...

No, and your apology would be appreciated.

I didn`t mean to upset you Voyager.Naturally I am sorry to have done so.

27 December 2006 at 14:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is so ephemeral in the history of the universe........

To God , if there was such a thing ,a fleeting moment of decision and the "whole history of the Universe" may not be such a convincing argument from /scale" as it is to you.



On the Church of England I am probably Voyaging towards an iceberg here but the Church of England was established by Queen E 1 as a compromise

`The Elizabethan Settlement (1559) was her attempt to replace both the Catholic Church and her father's Church of England with a coherent "reformed Catholicism," Roman in most doctrines, but national in organization and worship. Her new Act of Supremacy made her "Supreme Governor," not "Supreme Head," of the Church of England. Her Act of Uniformity restored the Book of Common Prayer as the liturgical standard. In 1571 she made the Thirty-Nine Articles the doctrinal standard. Recognizing the ability of "zely people" (fervent Protestants and Catholics) to frighten one another into supporting her moderate approach,


I understand it to have elements of Catholicism which you might call high church and low church Evangelicals. It was subsequent to the Catholic Henry`s church of convenience instigated by Crammer and others.
I take this new national Church to be inclusive and seeking to reconcile these elements both spiritually as well as politically. Additionally I note with pleasure that zealy people were at its periopheries from the beginning . The terribly sin of “enthusiasm “ is much mentioned in Victorian Novels …well George Elliot anyway. Now zeal is a prerequisite there is a contradiction at the heart of it perhaps .

A sense of this inclusive confidence in its beginnings is expressed by the following in some lines as joyful, as any I know .

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!
The heavens are not too high, His praise may thither fly,
The earth is not too low, His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

(Written by an ancestor of my wife …and therefore dragged out at any excuse)


What rather confuses me is that looking at what Calvinism is it does not seem very Protestant . The doctrines of depravity and salvation strike me as rather Catholic ( not to say unattractive) as they remove the importance of the individual conscience and his acts. No doubt there is some cunning resolution but it is not as one would imagine..

Sadly I have to do the little work I have set aside for today before resuming festivities but I have interested myself at least .

27 December 2006 at 14:39  
Anonymous i.l.m. said...

voyager said...
"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him."

"Christianity is a faith in which God sent his Son to die for you."

but why should God die for you? you are his servant and creation, not vice verser. why is it wrong for a muslim to die for his God whom he loves so much, if Jesus can die for the people he loves so much. If jesus died for the sins of mankind, can a muslim not die in the name of God's religion to have his sins forgiven? (do correct me if i'm wrong)

dexey said...
Wouldn't happen. I'm not an evangelical.

evenso, if you truly believe that you're right, wouldn't you want others to believe too? wouldn't you want others to love and respect jesus as is his prerogative? why be so selfish and keep the truth to yourself?

27 December 2006 at 14:40  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I didn`t mean to upset you Voyager.Naturally I am sorry to have done so.

Accepted. Thanks

27 December 2006 at 16:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Actually Queen Elizabeth was daughter of Ann Boleyn and succeeded her half-sister, Mary Tudor who was wife of Philipp II, later King of Spain and ready to reinforce Catholicism - it was she who had our host on this site cremated in Oxford.

It was Edward VI under the supervision of Somerset and Cranmer who had brought out the 1549 Prayer Book, revised into a more Protestant form in 1552; and it was this 1552 Version that Elizabeth I issued with minor amendments in 1559.

However the Clarendon Code, The Test Acts, The Corporation Acts following The Restoration set out to expunge Roman Catholicism from public life and Nonconformism; though Charles II seemed to like trying to get Acts of Indulgence passed to relax the penalties - and both his wife, and that of his brother James II maintained secret Catholic Chapels and when James II started to introduce Catholic rites and statuary into University College, Oxford - the 1688 Revolt was inevitable with The Act of Settlement.

So I believe the fiction of High Church and Low Church is a post-Cardinal Newman experience and that this has caused the friction in the Church of England once attempts were made to ignore the only legal Prayer Book in the Church of England, that of 1662.

By moving away from the XXXIX Articles the C of E set off on a voyage of drift and turmoil with no anchorage and the Catholics have pulled pieces off and the Protestants have become more organised. If you look at the XXXIX Articles you will find Cranmer wrote in Calvinism in the Predestination clauses.

Calvinism is a long way from Catholicism and Electionism is biblical whether you go for Luther Electionism or Calvinist Electionism. The presbyterian Church is Calvinist, but the modern Church of England is confused and hollowed out.


"Christianity is a faith in which God sent his Son to die for you."

but why should God die for you?


Are you trying to make a theological point or simply don't you understand the nature of Christ and the Crucifixion at Passover ?

27 December 2006 at 16:29  
Anonymous dexey said...

i.l.m. said...
dexey said...
Wouldn't happen. I'm not an evangelical.

evenso, if you truly believe that you're right, wouldn't you want others to believe too? wouldn't you want others to love and respect jesus as is his prerogative? why be so selfish and keep the truth to yourself?

2:40 PM

It is somewhat old fashioned but I believe that faith without works is dead. I try to live my life so that it reflects my belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the path to salvation. I am aware that I am not always successful.
I firmly believe that if Christianity is right then all other religions are wrong. I believe that Christians should not compromise with other faiths. If the other faiths have a problem with that and it manifests as violence then we should turn the other cheek once. After that we should strike back harshly enough that they question their beliefs.
I look forward to the day, although I may not be here for it, when the liberal, handwringers no longer have charge of the Church and people like the Bishops of Rochester and York have greater authority. They seem to articulate a more fundamental Christianity.

27 December 2006 at 16:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no idea that "electionism" was such an important idea and I cannot accept the supposed authority of the Bible which is plainly full of nonsense starting with Genesis.

Hmmm . needs a bit more thought

27 December 2006 at 17:20  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I had no idea that "electionism" was such an important idea and I cannot accept the supposed authority of the Bible which is plainly full of nonsense starting with Genesis.



Article XVII
Of Predestination and Election
Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.

De Praedestinatione
Praedestinatio ad vitam est aeternum Dei propositum, quo, ante iacta mundi fundamenta, suo consilio, nobis quidem occulto, constanter decrevit eos, quos in Christo elegit ex hominum genere, a maledicto et exitio liberare, atque ut vasa in honorem efficta per Christum ad aeternam salutem adducere. Unde qui tam praeclaro Dei beneficio sunt donati, illi, Spiritu eius opportuno tempore operante, secundum propositum eius vocantur; iustificatur gratis; adoptantur in filios Dei; unigeniti eius Iesu Christi imagini efficiuntur conformes; in bonis operibus sancti ambulant; et demum ex Dei misericordia pertingunt ad sempiternam felicitatem.

Quemadmodum Praedestinationis et Electionis nostrae in Christo pia consideratio dulcis, suavis, et ineffabilis consolationis plena est vere piis et his qui sentiunt in se vim Spiritus Christi, facta carnis et membra quae adhuc sunt super terram mortificantem, animumque ad coelestia et superna rapientem, tum quia fidem nostram de aeterna salute consequenda per Christum plurimum stabilit atque confirmat, tum quia amorem nostrum in Deum vehementer accendit: ita hominibus, curiosis carnalibus et Spiritu Christi destitutis, ob oculos perpetuo versari Praedestinationis Dei sententiam perniciosissimum est praecipitium, unde illos diabolus protrudit vel in desperationem vel in aeque pernitiosam impurissimae vitae securitatem.

Deinde promissiones divinas sic amplecti oportet, ut nobis in sacris literis generaliter propositae sunt; et Dei voluntas in nostris actionibus ea sequenda est quam in verbo Dei habemus deserte revelatam.

27 December 2006 at 17:32  
Anonymous Voyager said...

It is somewhat old fashioned but I believe that faith without works is dead.

Article XII
Of Good Works
Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

De Bonis Operibus
Bona opera, quae sunt fructus fidei et iustificatos sequuntur, quanquam peccata nostra expiare et divini iudicii severitatem ferre non possunt, Deo tamen grata sunt et accepta in Christo, atque ex vera et viva fide necessario profluunt, ut plane ex illis aeque fides viva cognosci possit atque arbor ex fructu iudicari.

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

De Operibus ante Iustificationem
Opera quae fiunt ante gratiam Christi et Spiritus eius afflatum, eum ex fide Iesu Christi non prodeant, minime Deo grata sunt, neque gratiam (ut multi vocant) de congruo merentur: imo cum non sint facta ut Deus illa fieri voluit et praecepit, peccati rationem habere non dubitamus.

Article XIV
Of Works of Supererogation
Voluntary works besides, over and above, God's commandments which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for His sake than of bounden duty is required: Whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We be unprofitable servants.

De Operibus Supererogationis
Opera quae Supererogationis appellant non possunt sine arrogantia et impietate praedicari. Nam illis declarant homines non tantum se Deo reddere quae tenentur, sed plus in eius gratiam facere quam deberent: eum aperte Christus dicat: Cum feceritis omnia quaecunque praecepta sunt vobis, dicte, Servi inutiles sumus.

27 December 2006 at 17:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture

Arguement by assertion.You seem to require higher standards from me than you ask of god Voyager. Not appetising exactly is it.I recall CS Lewis dealing with the heartless laughter of god in Paradise Lost( because he knows the end of the story ) by removing time from God`s perspective. In fact I was thinkimg of this earlier.
It is certainly a problem for those who require more than an old book as a reason. Do you understand this quite as literally as it sounds ?


What a miserable prospect

27 December 2006 at 22:15  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Arguement by assertion.You seem to require higher standards from me than you ask of god Voyager.

Of course Newmania.............but not just you. It is a prerequisite of presenting a case that it be argued. God is a different matter because it is a matter of Belief which is different from Knowledge.

You are wrong about an old book because it is not - it is a series of scrolls bound in a defined order - a Catholic Bible is different from a Protestant Bible - and a Protestant Old Testament is more like a Jewish Tanach, save that several "books" were split in The Old Testament because printers could not run the full length in one go in the early days of printing.

Protestants do not read Deuterocanonical Books or The Apocrypha because of the order Martin Luther established in his translation of The Bible.

'Sola Scriptura' is a doctrine to avoid the accretions of Roman practices on the Christian Church and is an attempt to return to the Christian Faith before it became the Established Church of the Roman Empire and acquired other doctrines like revering relics and bones. Most people tend to forget that Jesus was a Jew and only in understanding the Jewish aspects of Jesus and his Disciples and Paul can you really understand what the message was..........and too many have a superficial understanding of a very glib formulation in some Modern English format or oral version.

It is not as simple as reading a book as such and each person looks at it differently. Some as Medics, some as Physicists, some as Lawyers, some as Literary types...........but the Old Testament contains the whole gamut of human lives and behaviour since it covers a 6000 year span of Jewish history - the New Testament attempts to improve human behaviour be exhortation and example. All the time you get to see just how debased human behaviour can be.

28 December 2006 at 07:24  

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