Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Bishop of London responds to the Rev Dr Martin Dudley

Cranmer has been sent a copy of the letter sent by the Bishop of London to the Reverend Dr Martin Dudley, following his decision to officiate at the Church of Englands first 'gay marriage'. There have been a few unintelligible mutterings from Canterbury, and a bit of hot air from York, but nothing amounting to a formal rebuke. The final paragraph is incisive and damning, and far more strongly-worded than Cranmer ever expected to emanate from London or Canterbury:





The Reverend Dr Martin Dudley,
St Bartholomew the Great Parish Office,
6 Kinghorn Street,
London,
EC1A 7HW.

Dear Martin,

You have sought to justify your actions to the BBC and in various newspapers but have failed more than two weeks after the service to communicate with me.
I read in the press that you had been planning this event since November. I find it astonishing that you did not take the opportunity to consult your Bishop.

You describe the result as "familiar words reordered and reconfigured carrying new meanings." I note that the order of service, which I have now received, includes the phrase "With this ring I thee bind, with my body I thee worship".

At first sight this seems to break the House of Bishops Guidelines which as I explained in my letter of December 6th 2005 apply the traditional teaching of the Church of England to the new circumstances created by the enactment of Civil Partnerships.

The point at issue is not Civil Partnerships themselves or the relation of biblical teaching to homosexual practice. There is of course a range of opinion on these matters in the Church and, as you know, homophobia is not tolerated in the Diocese of London. The real issue is whether you wilfully defied the discipline of the Church and broke your oath of canonical obedience to your Bishop.

The Archbishops have already issued a statement in which they say that "those clergy who disagree with the Church's teaching are at liberty to seek to persuade others within the Church of the reasons why they believe, in the light of Scripture, tradition and reason that it should be changed. But they are not at liberty simply to disregard it."

St Bartholomew's is not a personal fiefdom. You serve there as an ordained minister of the Church of England, under the authority of the Canons and as someone who enjoys my licence. I have already asked the Archdeacon of London to commence the investigation and I shall be referring the matter to the Chancellor of the Diocese. Before I do this, I am giving you an opportunity to make representations to me direct.

Yours faithfully,

The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres DD FSA


Of particular note is the Bishop's valediction. It is customary to sign off letters 'Yours sincerely' when the recipient is familiar to one and addressed by name: it is considered a more friendly form of address, while 'Yours faithfully' communicates distance or formality.

He is evidently not amused.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Voyager said...

When the Rector is removed we shall have evidence that the Bishop of London has influence within his diocese and that some strange and alien presence is not officiating at this Anglican church.

Your Grace drew up a Prayer Book for a purpose

18 June 2008 at 20:36  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

mm "homophobia is not tolerated in the diocese of london"

i would have been happy with practising homophillia , but its a start .

given that it looks like he was doing it with some assent , will show just how far up the CofE structure it goes.

whilst i can see the problem with legal assetts in a gay partnership , and would happily allow the legislation , the problem i have is in the USA they are refered to as "marriages" , this weakens marriage i think as it would seem somthing anti christian is worth the same as the real christian meaning .

does like someone has been embarrased though !!

18 June 2008 at 21:07  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Yes, it is the case that the Bishop of London has asked the Archdeacon of London to investigate. But I don't think Bart's Rector, Fr Martin Dudley, will be too worried. The Archdeacon was an honoured guest at his recent birthday party, and the two are great friends.

Ruth Gledhill - The Times

18 June 2008 at 21:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually the Bishop of London signs everything "With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel." (Phil 1:5)

No partnership now. The clear threat is that the License will be revoked; but whether the incumbency can be removed - well the parson's freehold is a wonderful thing. . .

18 June 2008 at 21:30  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Again, the question is asked, "Why do many ministers of Jesus not speak out against the unbiblical aspects of the marriages that are going on among their people or in their nation?" Are they fearful? Often, yes. By refusing to take a stand for what is right, these "Christian" preachers are hurting their flocks and misleading them. Perhaps they have forgotten the fear of God. Perhaps they just want to "get a long" and not "rock the boat," so to speak. Perhaps they do not want to offend anyone—as the truth often does. Because of this, many "Christian" preachers ignore these things and do not teach the people what is right in the eyes of God regarding these things. Thus, people remain in darkness. A minister of God is to show his flock what is right and wrong in the eyes of a Holy God, not in a few things but in all things.
In some countries of the world, it is estimated that nearly eighty percent of the marriages are not really marriages at all, when viewed in light of Scripture. Many of what they call marriages are nothing more than living together or following after certain cultural traditions. These traditions vary from country to country. Most do not even know or understand a biblical marriage, and very, very few "Christian" preachers teach on this subject. Thus, the people remain in darkness.
There are many preachers (in certain countries) that call themselves Christians and are living with a woman they are not married to in the eyes of God. They wipe their mouth and say, "I have done no wrong." They will perish and so will those that follow their wicked ways.
How can a preacher teach these things to the flock, when he himself, will not obey them? The first way a preacher is to teach is by being an example to the flock. How can a preacher teach the flock to hate every evil way, when he himself does not?
And in many other countries of the world it is the same. God's concept of marriage is often ignored.
Again, we ask the question. "IS MARRIAGE OF GOD OR OF MAN?" If it is of God, let it be done God's way. Take a stand for what is right in the eyes of God. Do and teach God's Word the way Jesus would, never fearing what man might do. Follow Jesus

18 June 2008 at 21:31  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

It is written, Mt 7:13-ENTER YE IN AT THE STRAIT GATE: FOR WIDE IS THE GATE, AND BROAD IS THE WAY, THAT LEADETH TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY THERE BE WHICH GO IN THEREAT.
You can only enter heaven through the "strait gate," BECAUSE STRAIT IS THE GATE, AND NARROW IS THE WAY, WHICH LEADETH UNTO LIFE, AND FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.
The STRAIT GATE and NARROW...WAY is a total commitment to Jesus Christ. It is not just saying, Lord, Lord. It is not just saying you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. Many name the name of Jesus, but they perish. The STRAIT GATE and NARROW...WAY is: BE YE DOERS OF THE WORD, AND NOT HEARERS ONLY, DECEIVING YOUR OWN SELVES-Ja 1:22. As Jesus tells us, AND WHY CALL YE ME, LORD, LORD, AND DO NOT THE THINGS WHICH I SAY?-Lk 6:46. It is doing THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN-Mt 7:21.
Mt 7:15-20-BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS, WHICH COME TO YOU IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING, BUT INWARDLY THEY ARE RAVENING WOLVES.
YE SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS. DO MEN GATHER GRAPES OF THORNS, OR FIGS OF THISTLES?
EVEN SO EVERY GOOD TREE BRINGETH FORTH GOOD FRUIT; BUT A CORRUPT TREE BRINGETH FORTH EVIL FRUIT.
A GOOD TREE CANNOT BRING FORTH EVIL FRUIT, NEITHER CAN A CORRUPT TREE BRING FORTH GOOD FRUIT.
EVERY TREE THAT BRINGETH NOT FORTH GOOD FRUIT IS HEWN DOWN, AND CAST INTO THE FIRE.
WHEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM.
Mt 7:21-23-NOT EVERY ONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.
It is written, MANY WILL SAY TO ME (to Jesus) IN THAT DAY, LORD, LORD, HAVE WE NOT PROPHESIED "IN THY NAME"? AND "IN THY NAME" HAVE CAST OUT DEVILS? AND "IN THY NAME" DONE MANY WONDERFUL WORKS? AND THEN WILL I PROFESS UNTO THEM, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY.
Understand, it is not a matter of, if you know Jesus. It is a matter of, does Jesus know you?-ref Mt 25:12. Jesus shall say to many that are absolutely positive they are saved, "I KNOW YOU NOT"-Lk 13:25.
You might ask, "How can this be?" It is because people base their belief that they are saved on emotions, or what someone tells them, or on lying thoughts in their mind from the devil, or on a lack of understanding of God’s Word, or on other things. They may say, "I feel I am saved. I can feel the Holy Spirit inside me. God is my Father. God has answered my prayer. Jesus has done this or that for me. I have suffered for Jesus. I serve the Lord. The Spirit of God leads me. I sing in the church. I teach a Sunday school class."

Their feelings mean nothing at the judgment. The Word of God (the Bible) shall judge. As it is written, THE WORD THAT I HAVE SPOKEN, THE SAME SHALL JUDGE HIM IN THE LAST DAY-Jn 12:48.
Mt 7:24-27-THEREFORE WHOSOEVER HEARETH THESE SAYINGS OF MINE, AND DOETH THEM, I WILL LIKEN HIM UNTO A WISE MAN, WHICH BUILT HIS HOUSE UPON A ROCK:
AND THE RAIN DESCENDED, AND THE FLOODS CAME, AND THE WINDS BLEW, AND BEAT UPON THAT HOUSE; AND IT FELL NOT: FOR IT WAS FOUNDED UPON A ROCK.
AND EVERY ONE THAT HEARETH THESE SAYINGS OF MINE, AND DOETH THEM NOT, SHALL BE LIKENED UNTO A FOOLISH MAN, WHICH BUILT HIS HOUSE UPON THE SAND:
AND THE RAIN DESCENDED, AND THE FLOODS CAME, AND THE WINDS BLEW, AND BEAT UPON THAT HOUSE; AND IT FELL: AND GREAT WAS THE FALL OF IT.

18 June 2008 at 21:38  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

cant fault your love of scripture mckenzie

18 June 2008 at 22:05  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

PRRAAAAAIIIISE BE!!1!!

John 3:16 John 3:16 John 3:16 John 3:16 John 3:16

18 June 2008 at 22:57  
Anonymous bergen said...

It is the clerical equivalent of a solicitor's "letter before action".

19 June 2008 at 08:17  
Blogger Tomrat said...

Your grace,

Remembering my days at school doing English grammar and letter etiquette I remember that the letter-end "yours faithfully" inferred that you did not know the individual you were addressing; how right this letter is in addressing some serious issues within the established church, to which so few of our own liberalised, comfortably numb bishops and priests in this country have lost the plot over, so much that newer converts and priests from less fortunate backgrounds have been quick to address and condemn - it is these voices in the wilderness who will lead the true church in the future.

19 June 2008 at 08:38  
Blogger Dave said...

I scanned over McKenzie's list of quotes, and came to the same conclusion as C S Lewis. When he was asked what set the Christian religion apart from all the other faiths he repiled "grace".
I'm not condoning what happened last weekend. It was the kind of behaviour that reveals the church at its hypocritical worst. What will now happen is that both sides will thumb through their Bibles looking for texts to justify their actions. (Yawn)
Philip Yancey quotes someone who was asked to sum up the Christian faith. He wrote "We're all bastards but God loves us anyway"
I'm a sinner. We all are. I thank Jesus that his death on the cross wiped out my sins and I thank God for his grace that he chooses to everlook my sins and welcomes me because His son Jesus has recommended me.
However, we still have to deal with Jesus' warning to those in leadership. Or rather- they will have to answer to God. Me?
I'm with the publican- not the pharisee.
Off topic- is anyone watching Big Brother? Interesting portrayal of islamic behaviour that saw one of the housemates removed from the house yesterday. It's worth investigating and commenting on

19 June 2008 at 09:41  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

With regard to Chartres' valediction, I find it disturbing that such a senior member of the Chorch of England has such a poor grasp of the basic protocols and courtesies of letter-writing.

'Dear Sir' - 'Yours faithfully'

'Dear Martin', or 'Dear Dr Dudley' - 'Yours sincerely'

Surely to Heavens we should be doing better than that?

As to the content of the letter itself, the arguments are decidedly weak. I'm really not impressed.

19 June 2008 at 10:20  
OpenID yokel said...

Two comments.

1. What happened in that church building was so decidedly unscriptural that I completely agree that action must be taken if the CofE is not to become a complete laughing stock, and not to become guilty of leading its flock even further away from the truths of the one true God. I must therefore support +London without hesitation (unless he blinks first).

2. As we are in the last days, we must have extra care for the consequences of our actions. One of the threads running through many of the last days prophesies is some form of state controlled apostate religion. We must be very mindful of the law of unintended consequences when seeking measures to restore the CofE to true religion. We must not make structures that can be easily manipulated by the opposition. For we can see just such action regarding the laws put in place to protect the Jews, that are now being manipulated by Muslims to their own advantage - the case of Ezra Levant and his battle with the Alberta Human Rights Commission in Canada is just one such instance. See http://ezralevant.com/

19 June 2008 at 13:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, I must say that having heard the Bishop of London on a number of occasions, I can vouchsafe for his soundness. He's refreshingly engaging, lucid and gospel-focused for a Bishop, and I'm not in the least bit surprised at his robust letter.

PB

19 June 2008 at 14:11  
Anonymous TexasAnglophyle said...

Yokel, I agree with your first comment, except for the notion that CofE is in danger of becoming a complete laughing stock. Unfortunately, that horse left the barn many years ago. It reminds me of Jimmuh Carter worrying about becoming irrelevant. Tomrat expresses the CofE's best hope, of being renewed by "wilderness voices" from abroad, as we shall hear again at Lambeth.

19 June 2008 at 16:44  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Coming from me this will sound odd,
but there is no divine condemnation, some things will evolve us , and some things will not. What is needed is to acknowledge the quantum self before we can move on to the next stage along the script of human drama. The end times, yes, a threshold: growing pains. In the kingdom of heaven, there is no judgment, no hate, no testing; that we simply are has allowed this reality we call real from the power of intangibility, to pull out of inertness, action, chaos, and hold it into it,s form. But first we must learn to choose, learn to acknowledge.

19 June 2008 at 18:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The man himself writes about why he performed the ceremony in this weeks' The New Statesman.

I particularly like the comment by David P Newton therein;

They can ask for God's blessing all they want, but they will not get it.

Seems rather presumptuous to me that - knowing the mind of the God.

http://tinyurl.com/458r2u

20 June 2008 at 09:26  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

There's no fool like an old fool.

20 June 2008 at 09:56  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

The Bishop is wise to couch his response in terms of Dr Dudley's breach of faith and discourtesy
(at the very least) towards his Bishop.

We can argue the merits of gay marriage but the chosen ground leaves the Bishop surely unassailable.

Any honourable priest would resign

20 June 2008 at 16:35  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

If the CofE made a stand, the People, currently looking for a leader might follow.

20 June 2008 at 22:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CHURCH OF ENGLAND?
CHURCH OF ANYTHINGGOES MORE LIKE!.
TIME THE C OF E WORKS OUT IF ITS GOT ANYTHING WORTH STANDING UP FOR.

23 June 2008 at 21:58  
Blogger Martin Dudley said...

The Man himself writes: I have read your many comments with interest and ferwquently with amusement. I shall not resign - draw your own conclusion Mr Sewell. I first read the Bishop of London's letter on the Daily Telegraph website and heard about it from friends before receiving my own copy. The courts will no douby find it interesting that the Bishop chose to disregard the Code of Practice attached to the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. The letter contains a significant legal error: neither I nor any other beneficed priest of the diocese operates under the Bishop's licence and, even if we did, he has to use the proper legal procedure to deal with anything he sees as disobedience. No investigation has been begun, yet. If it does, then I have legal advisers, including the chancellor of another diocese, to deal with it. The matter must be decided by law and not by episcopoal rage.

23 June 2008 at 22:50  
Blogger Martin Dudley said...

Better proof reading promised in future!

23 June 2008 at 22:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO SAD TO SEE THE C OF E DESTROYING ITSELF.
IF YOU BOW TO THE WORLD YOU WILL FIND ITS FOOT UPON YOUR NECK!

24 June 2008 at 07:46  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Dr Dudley (if it be you),

His Grace thanks you for your contribution. He is more than happy for you to make your case via his august blog of intelligent and erudite comment upon matters religio-political.

If you wish to make him privately aware of anything untoward in the way the matter is being reported or the manner in which you are being treated, his email address is in the top right-hand corner.

He is himself, however, a little pertured by the use of a liturgy based upon that of his own Prayer Book.

+Cranmer

PS
His Grace is most appreciative that you find his postings amusing. He takes great delight in bringing a smile to the faces of his readers and communicants.

24 June 2008 at 09:35  

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