Friday, January 28, 2011

On Christians, homosexuals and B&Bs: It is not for the believer to impose his morality upon the non-believer


His Grace is deeply shocked, appalled and profoundly upset.

In the last 24 hours, he has been accused of ‘doing the Government’s work’, of spouting ‘the rhetoric of Robert Mugabe’, and even – horror of horrors – of being Melanie Phillips.

It is always interesting to observe the ad hominem when the issues are incontrovertible and the logic impeccable.

His Grace would, however, like to make something clear.

And what he is about to write may offend some Christian sensibilities (so read no further), and will undoubtedly offend those who seek to denigrate, insult and oppose him at every turn (with whom there is no reasoning).

Both Peter & Hazelmary Bull and Susanne & Francis Wilkinson are wrong to discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of B&B services.

Indeed, they are not only wrong: they are, in His Grace’s opinion, manifesting a profoundly un-Christian attitude, devoid of all charity and contrary to the scriptural command to love one’s neighbour.

The Jesus of the New Testament was inordinately hospitable to the oppressed and outcast: he welcomed tax-collectors and ate with prostitutes. In an era of Roman occupation and zealous pharisaical morality, in which the act of eating together was a communion of divine agape, Jesus was seen not only to be sleeping with the enemy, but condoning (even blessing) all manner of licentiousness. He purposely disregarded accepted rules and conventions and went out of his way to be hospitable to the alien, the outcast and the sinner.

And it is worth noting that his tolerance of and generosity towards those engaged in sexual sin preceded all judgment and any rebuke. He did not turn prostitutes from his dining table, quote the Torah to their face, or say ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’ but only if the whore repents.

The exhortation to ‘sin no more’ was always preceded by acceptance, healing and love.

By focusing on the sexuality of Martyn Hall & Steven Preddy and Michael Black & John Morgan, the Bulls and the Wilkinsons show themselves to be preoccupied with the sexual obsessions of the age: they have exchanged Mammon for Eros.

Would they welcome Muslim guests to their B&Bs?

Or Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs?

If so, would they seek to prevent them praying to their gods, chanting in their karma or reciting their sacred scriptures? Would they object to a Muslim laying out his prayer mat, a Buddhist turning his prayer wheel or a Hindu setting up a little shrine to his murtis and doing puja to Hanuman?

For the Bible is quite clear that the root cause of sexual sin is idolatry:
…Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet…(Rom 1:22ff).
Because they worshipped idols, God gave them up: the women to the use of their bodies which is ‘against nature’, and men ‘burned in their lust one toward another’.

His Grace is not going to proceed with an exegesis of Romans, for scholars differ on the enduring hermeneutical significance of St Paul’s argument that homosexual acts are ‘contrary to nature’. The main riposte is that his words are not applicable to persons of homosexual orientation (for that may be natural), but apply to heterosexual people unnaturally ‘exchanging’ heterosexual relations for homosexual ones. Thus the Greek 'para phusin' may mean ‘contrary to their nature’, with the sense of ‘unusual, or different from what would occur in the 'normal' order of thing.

Suzanne Wilkinson allegedly told Mr Black and Mr Morgan: 'It is against my convictions for two men to share a bed', adding 'this is my private home'.

Is it against her convictions for her guests to worship false gods and pray to idols?

Hazelmary Bull allegedly told Mr Hall and Mr Preddy that they permit no unmarried couples to share a bed, asserting their business was also their home.

Is it against her convictions for her guests to worship false gods and pray to idols?

The question is perfectly serious, and begs an answer.

There is a clear ethical issue in how best to apply millennia-old biblical teachings to modern society. On the one hand, there is a danger of making the biblical teaching irrelevant by emphasising the change in and uniqueness of contemporary society, and on the other, the danger of insisting that the Old Testament or New Testament speak to every circumstance, ignoring or refusing to acknowledge societal change. If the passing of two thousand years is sufficient justification for re-visiting a teaching and seeking modification, it is a hollow victory to get rid of the problem of time if in its place we have a problem of change which is every bit as insurmountable.

The New Testament prioritises witness over any moral imposition designed for the social perfecting of society. While the church is to be a ‘new society’, upholding biblical principles, witnessing to the world the kind of society God wills for man, this is ultimately so that people may come to know Christ. St Paul manifestly had a relaxed attitude to some ethical issues: he prioritised mission. Only when society is deeply permeated with a vital church can significant social change occur: prioritising the amelioration of secular society, or pursuing an agenda of moral imposition upon the unregenerate, even in one’s own home, is a violation of New Testament theology.

The centre of Christianity is Christ, not the Bible. Unlike some religions, we do not worship a book but the living presence of the Spirit. Of course, Scripture and exegesis are important, but the Bible is more a series of signposts set up to guide the believer to a destination than a book of intractable law with which to beat the non-believer around the head. Both the Old Testament (Deut 10:12-19) and the New (Eph 5:1f) speak of ‘walking in God’s way’: the discerning of God’s character may be gleaned not only from Scripture, but also Christian thought, tradition, and experience throughout the ages, including the present. To pursue God’s values by grace means first of all that Christians are not to impose God’s standards upon non-believers. This is in contrast to Old Testament model, in which the Law was necessarily imposed upon all because of Israel’s spiritual weakness. Today, God does not call non-believers to keep the Law; he calls them first to know him. This is why we see in the New Testament believers refusing to impose Christian ethics on non-believers (1Cor 5:12f). A man can be compelled to abstain from work on the Sabbath; but he cannot be compelled to love God with all his heart. The secret of the good life lies in a change of heart, an inward transformation, the corollary to which is an outward reformation of behaviour.

Throughout the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ rebukes his children for idolatry over and above all other sin. Marriage in the Old Testament was endogamous, prohibiting ‘marrying the daughter of a foreign god’ (Ezra 9:11), which would lead them into idolatry (cf 1Kg 11:4). When believers cease to retain a knowledge of God, He gives them over to a reprobate mind (Rom 1:28). And when He has abandoned them, they engage in ‘unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful…’ (vv29ff).

If homosexual guests call at your B&B, there is little point passively sticking a Gideon’s Bible in their bedside table, leaving ‘Jesus loves you’ tracts dotted about the breakfast table, or sermonising at check-in.

The only just action is to show them love, patience, kindness, goodness, humility…

But that costs.

And it hurts.

For it means welcoming those with whom we may profoundly disagree, and that involves considerable self-sacrifice.

To those homosexual couples who are turned away by Christian B&B owners, His Grace would say be patient, tolerant, generous and understanding: do not waste your lives seeking redress in a court of law, but show the Christians a better way.

Do as the Lord exhorted: simply wipe your shoes politely upon their doormat, shake their dust from your feet, and seek an inn which will bid you welcome.

157 Comments:

Blogger Botogol said...

very good, Your Grace. very good indeed.

It was not what I was expecting you to write, but it is what I *should* have been expecting you to write - for it is quite correct ethically, and manifestly Christian as well.

28 January 2011 11:01  
Blogger Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Both Peter & Hazelmary Bull and Susanne & Francis Wilkinson are wrong to discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of B&B services.XX

IF it was a public service then fine. It is not. It is their privete property to do what they LIKE with.

If I don't want bin lorry drivers on my property, then I have, and SHOULD have the right to ban them.

28 January 2011 11:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good your Grace.

28 January 2011 11:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Furor Teutonicus

I agree that people operating a business within their home should have some discretion on whom they choose to accept into their home.

However to claim that they are refusing someone because they don't meet some (debatable) Christian criteria is, in itself, profoundly unChristian.

28 January 2011 11:21  
Anonymous +Dewi Menevia said...

Has His Grace been hacked?

No seriously, I agree with your understanding of Christian love towards the other in the cause of mission. There are still two points at which we must disagree, however.

Firstly - my own personal struggle when called upon to marry divorcees. Is it right for us act so as to promote sin? Providing a double bed for homosexuals is openly placing temptation in their way, although not necessarily causing them to fornicate. That is their choice.

Similary, I have turned divorcees away as I simply do not see it right to be complicit in adultery. Of course the couple will make their own choice, and I would not gainsay them that right, but surely in matters of conscience the Christian is called upon to model God's Kingdom standards? Not imposing my morality upon others, but also not giving licence to theirs?

That is the first point at which we appear to disagree, Cranmer. Secondly, the legal issue. Whether or not we agree with the moralistic approach taken by the B&B owners, I'm sure that we can agree they did so out of their own deeply held Christian convictions (in the broad church sense).

Whether as Christians we disagree as to how to love our neighbour, surely we have a right to follow our own convictions as to how to do so?

Keep blogging, Cranmer. I agree with you 99% of the time.

28 January 2011 11:21  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

Dr Cranmer -

Well said. This article largely echoes the sentiments I expressed in the comment I added to your previous post a few minutes ago.

28 January 2011 11:21  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

YG, they may or may not be wrong from a religious perspective, but isn't the issue more that they should not be forced, by law, to offer a service that they do not wish to offer. Why can't the law be kept out of this and if they wish to restrict who they permit to stay at their B&B, then why not? I may not like what they are doing, but is that a reason to force them to change their rules?

28 January 2011 11:23  
Blogger Dave said...

Your Grace has excelled himself.

28 January 2011 11:24  
Anonymous Elliot Kane said...

I completely agree with Your Grace on this matter.

28 January 2011 11:25  
Blogger Paul said...

Why 'allegedly' regarding the Bulls and double beds? They were ridiculed for the policy 20 years ago.

The idol example doesn't work. Giving them a room in no particular way aids them in their sin. A better comparison would be as follows: A Satanist walks into a pet shop and wants to buy a hamster for the purpose of sacrificing it to the Devil.

'Moral imposition upon the unregenerate' is a violation of new Testament theology? Phhpt. Let's let them have all the abortions they want.

28 January 2011 11:35  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Well, that's rather better. Is Your Grace actually a collective consciousness these days?

To be fair, the Melanie Phillips thing was a comment about the style of writing in that particular blog entry, not an ad hominem in the absence of argument.

Perhaps dear Melanie has something important to say at times, bless her, but it's hard to get to it given her usual style of delivery and choice of phrases.

28 January 2011 11:39  
Anonymous Hans Wildebeest said...

I suspect YG is confusing this issue with the issue of personal choice.

28 January 2011 11:50  
Blogger Ray Barnes said...

As Botogol said "not what I expected you to write", but a good clear and very well illustrated point of view. I agree that B&B is a service which should be open to all comers.
If the set-menu included "full English Breakfast" would they then turn away hungry one of a couple who asked for a vegetarian alternative? Or, if one of a couple were hearing-impaired necessitating in other person's extra loud conversation, would they demand the couple leave because they might disturb other guests?
Just how far should someone purporting to offer a service be allowed to exercise personal prejudice.

28 January 2011 11:51  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Your Grace :-)

I am moved.

28 January 2011 12:02  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

Archbishop Cranmer said Friday, January 28, 2011

Part 1 A Response

'Both Peter & Hazelmary Bull and Susanne & Francis Wilkinson are wrong to discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of B&B services.' (WHY. Are ALL the B&B through out the country run by bible believing christians and any others who believe otherwise can only lodge there? Or is this an AGENDA?)

'Indeed, they are not only wrong: they are, in His Grace’s opinion, manifesting a profoundly un-Christian attitude, devoid of all charity (Charity is ALWAYS given without receiving recompense, for the charitable act given or shown!) and contrary to the scriptural command to love one’s neighbour (We are commanded to love the sinner, NOT CONDONE the sin).'

'The Jesus of the New Testament was inordinately hospitable to the oppressed and outcasts: he welcomed tax-collectors and ate with prostitutes.(He sought out sinners, not the 'Righteous')'
'Jesus was seen not only to be sleeping with the enemy, but condoning (even blessing) all manner of licentiousness.(The pharisee's believed they were righteous by keeping the law and that all who were poor, destitute, diseased etc were sinners, hence their situation. Jesus knew otherwise, take Corban for example, as enforced by religious leaders, contrary to God's commandment to provide for your parents, that they were the one's most sinning of all) '

'And it is worth noting that his tolerance of and generosity towards those engaged in sexual sin preceded all judgment and any rebuke. He did not turn prostitutes from his dining table, quote the Torah to their face, or say ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’ but only if the whore repents.(Truth but why should He restate all that had been already stated by the Law, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, whether in thought, word or deed. He held them to account that they knew the law and their own failing to live up to it and what their response should be to God's grace)

Luke 17;11-19
'11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee WHOLE.

What Jesus expected of sinners, perhaps?

So says KINGOFHIGHCS

28 January 2011 12:03  
Blogger margaretkiaora said...

I agree with you .Well said!

28 January 2011 12:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My take is slightly different.

I agree services offered to the market ought to be free of value judgements against customers. I'd prefer a free market that punished suppliers for discriminating between customers with fewer customers, consumer boycotts etc but can live with a law about it. Though I am sure there are unintended consequences, it may be short curt to the sort of market we want.

However, something tells me that B&Bs have a good case for an exception because they are people's homes. Homes are the subject of plenty of other exemptions (e.g. even Income Tax on renting a room) so there is precedent. And I don't necessarily feel it is right to force older couples from religious, sheltered or provincial backgrounds to confront the realities of modern liberalism in their own homes.

I am a supporter of gay rights, civil partnerships etc from a libertarian perspective. However, I don't think it is right to treat those who adhere to the traditional Christian view of homosexuality as quite the same as, say, antisemites. It may be illibertarian, discriminatory and we may not support it. However, it was the Christian view for 1995 years and although I agree it is wrong I don't feel it and its adherents should be treated as though it was a random gut prejudice akin to racism. These people should be treated with sympathy and understanding until their view pretty much dies out.

Where I have no sympathy with the B&B couples is in them taking a booking and then turning their customers out onto the streets on, effectively, a whim and an uncommerical one at that. There was no mention of sexuality in the contract and the gay couples were absolutely right to be furious. Any restrictions on customers have to be advertised upfront to avoid breach of contract situations.

28 January 2011 12:08  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

Archbishop Cranmer said Friday, January 28, 2011

Part 2 A Response

'For the Bible is quite clear that the root cause of sexual sin is idolatry (I agree IF the idolatory you speak of is SELF WORSHIP. Self at the centre of ALL choices! )

'Suzanne Wilkinson allegedly told Mr Black and Mr Morgan: 'It is against my convictions for two men to share a bed', adding 'this is my private home'. and 'Hazelmary Bull allegedly told Mr Hall and Mr Preddy that they no unmarried couples may share a bed, asserting their business was also their home.' and 'Is it against her convictions for her guests to worship false gods and pray to idols? ( All are applicable to Christian belief, as God ONLY endorses the relationship between a man and woman called Marriage and NOTHING ELSE. Fornication and adultery is equally as condemned as homosexuality, as the first two are a perverse selfish abuse of what God INTENDED and outside His commandment but the last is ALWAYS SIN!!)

'The centre of Christianity is Christ, not the Bible. (They are INTRINSICALLY linked and cannot be separated as they are Christ's commandment in both Old and New testaments..Is He not called The Word Of God for a reason?) Unlike some religions, we do not worship a book but the living presence of the Spirit.(Intrinsically LINKED) Of course, Scripture and exegesis are important, but the Bible is more a series of signposts set up to guide the believer to a destination (It is called the straight and narrow way!) than a book of intractable law with which to beat the non-believer around the head.(Agreed. But where does it state what you assert?, it is not to beat up an unbeliever but to show they SIN and are condemned, as we ONCE were before we BELIEVED this as true and repented. '

'If homoseual guests call at your B&B, there is little point passively sticking a Gideon’s Bible in their bedside table, leaving ‘Jesus loves you’ tracts dotted about the breakfast table, or sermonising at check-in. (Again this is not christian charity but a commercial transaction!)'

For it means welcoming those with whom we may profoundly disagree, and that involves considerable self-sacrifice.(So that if a set of people brought in a miniature alter and a couple of chickens to desecrate in their paid for accomadation, this would be acceptable as showing..love, patience, kindness, goodness, humility…WHERE is the line drawn or does Jesus and satan join hands and walk in agreement now???)

'To those homosexual couples who are turned away by Christian B&B owners, His Grace would say be patient, tolerant, generous and understanding. and 'Do as the Lord exhorted: simply wipe your shoes politely upon their doormat, shake the dust from your feet, and seek an inn which will bid you welcome.' (These were not 'CHANCE' stumblings upon a christian B&B that these homosexual couples found upon arrival but an orchestrated attempt to inflict hurt and punishment on people they sought out IN PARTICULAR, who believed contrary to their OWN LIFESTYLE..So much for Live and Let Live!)

Sorry Cranners, It appears you want to be all things to all men in this instance but YOU ARE WRONG, however I still love you!.

So says KINGOFHIGHCS

28 January 2011 12:10  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

Surely any contract should be on the basis of a willing buyer and a willing seller. If someone is unwilling to sell for any reason, it's not really the state's business to interfere unless there is a really good reason - which Harriet Harman's odious "equality" laws are manifestly not. Any really conservative or really liberal administration would have seen it as its duty to repeal them at the first opportunity. Then the behaviour of the parties in this case becomes a matter of private conscience - unless the hotel keepers had previously entered into a binding contract, in which case there is a remedy under ordinary law without the intervention of the Thought Police.

28 January 2011 12:14  
OpenID Paul Dean said...

I see your point but the element you've neglected is that these B&B owners would be facilitating the opportunity for sin, because they are providing them a bed for sex. This is equivalent, in your analogy of the idols, to someone who makes a living renting out statues refusing to rent them to idol worshipers. What's more, and critically, from doing this they would be making a profit and could see themselves as morally compromised. I can understand why they would not be happy to do that, regardless of all the good Christian considerations you have discussed above.

Now people are saying, in effect, you are not allowed to run a B&B if you have these perfectly valid principles. What business is next? Perhaps in the future in order to get any job I will have to sign up to an equalities charter with which I cannot agree?

28 January 2011 12:17  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

A well thought out, well reasoned, theologically and morally sound piece here YG. Bravo!

To those who speak of the law I say that HG's intention was not to state what should be the law, but what was morally sound.

I have started to think, perhaps, that maybe a blanket ban on sex in the B&B would have avoided this whole problem and there is no Christian basis for preventing people sleeping in the same bed, whatever their relationship. It is not tempting them to sin, as it is their choice to present at the B&B in the first place. A ban cannot be enforced very well, of course, but it is then left to the clients to respect the hospitality of the hotelier.

If I were Mrs Bull receiving all these bookings from the gaystapo, I would implement the 'no sexual activity' rule, put the prices up and accept them. Jesus calls us to resist malice using intelligence rather than force. Just think how easily they could pay off their debts with all these clients!

28 January 2011 12:30  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

I agree with Your Grace theologically, but as a lawyer hold the view that in a true liberal democracy "People have the right to be wrong". Accordingly I would not force such couples to act contrary to their consciences even if I disagree with their interpretation.

I am particularly struck by your phrase that
"The centre of Christianity is Christ, not the Bible" and having had debates recently with some who seek to trump any argument by claiming to be "Bible -based Christians" I have been obliged to reflect upon this issue somewhat.

If some claim theological superiority by such a description what does that make the likes of you and I?

My answer is in a phrase I have coined - "Gospel Gracious" - by which I mean that some of us are moved by the spirit and example of Jesus - without being shackled to any narrow application of the text without appropriate discernment. We are "saved" by the grace of God and the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, not by belief in any text. In consequence we are compelled to act as you describe as a reaction of gratitude not fear of consequence.

As I have reflected upon the matter and undertaken some study, I am reminded that not only are there still a majority of languages that do not have a full text of any version of the Bible, and not only are there different Books in the content pages of the King James Bible, the Catholic Bible, the Coptic Bible the Orthodox Bible etc etc, but that Christianity made considerable progress for the first three hundred years of its existence without any "Bible" as such to rely upon.

The faith spread through "Gospel Grace" then, and that is still the best way to bring others to celebrate
our redemption.

28 January 2011 12:33  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

Martin Sewell said 28 January 2011 12:33

You state;
'"The centre of Christianity is Christ, not the Bible"
(Bible believing christians do NOT state this but that BOTH are instrinsically linked and CANNOT be separated) and having had debates recently with some who seek to trump any argument by claiming to be "Bible -based Christians" I have been obliged to reflect upon this issue somewhat.'
'If some claim theological superiority (Please explain how they supported this argument as I was not there to hear these debates) by such a description what does that make the likes of you and I?'
'My answer is in a phrase I have coined - "Gospel Gracious" - by which I mean that some of us are moved by the spirit and example of Jesus (How do you know anything about the example of Jesus and indeed anything that He said, being only influence by the Holy Spirit?)- without being shackled to any narrow application of the text without appropriate discernment(How do YOU arrive at discernment without the texts to see if what is said is TRUE??). We are "saved" by the grace of God and the redemptive sacrifice of Christ (How do you KNOW this without the text??), not by belief in any text (So how did you hear without knowing what was said to you was true.By your HEART ONLY..Jeremiah stated the heart is wicked beyond human comprehension?). In consequence we are compelled to act as you describe as a reaction of gratitude not fear of consequence.(I cannot grasp what you mean by this statement, could you explain?).
'As I have reflected upon the matter and undertaken some study, I am reminded that not only are there still a majority of languages that do not have a full text of any version of the Bible, and not only are there different Books in the content pages of the King James Bible, the Catholic Bible, the Coptic Bible the Orthodox Bible etc etc, but that Christianity made considerable progress for the first three hundred years of its existence without any "Bible" as such to rely upon. (Then you know NOTHING about the history of the books of the old and new testament and how they were preserved throughout history and lump catholics(Who use corrupted alexandrian texts and also include Apocrypha) and other bible believing christians together to build a FALSE PREMISE. The early church elders only arrived at the TRUE books of the bible BECAUSE early christians had them in their possession and knew that the others being spread as authentic WERE NOT. Please read the works of Sir William Ramsey, William F Albright, Sir Fredric Kenyon, FF Bruce and other famous archaeologists and historians to show that you are mistaken with this assumption!)'
'The faith spread through "Gospel Grace" (How would you KNOW about this grace without the books of the Holy Bible..Were YOU or others, eyewitnesses during His earthly ministry to Christ's thoughts, words and deeds?. So how do you KNOW) then, and that is still the best way to bring others to celebrate
our redemption.

So Says KINGOFHIGHCS

28 January 2011 13:05  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

I wonder, idly, what would happen if a Fascist turned up at a leftie run B&B dressed as Hermann Goering.

Something tells me that little lectures like this would be conspicuous by their absence.

These people did right in refusing to endorse vice in their own homes.

28 January 2011 13:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

An erudite piece. I have been pondering the rules and morays of this situation. The law proscribes what is and is not 'acceptable behaviour'.

In the case of the Christian B&B owners, one may argue that they made a mistake in stating why they refused service, as that opened them up to the claim of discrimination. If they simply chose to withhold service and did not proffer a reason, what could be done?

In either case, it does seem here that sexuality trumps religious belief. But, in any case, it is agreed that by operating a business/providing a service, you must abide by the rule of law and not discriminate.

Thus, I draw your Grace's attention to this establishment (http://www.brighton-mh-hotel.co.uk/muslim/) which is a Muslim B&B. Their site/page clearly states they have strict policies, including no smoking, alcohol or pork.

Smoking is now banned in places of business anyway, so that is a moot point, but alcohol and pork are expressly forbidden for Muslims. That is a religious view. Other religions do allow consumption of both items. Being told not to consume alcohol or pork certainly does not fall foul of any discrimination law I can bring to mind, but could it not be argued that the owners may discriminate on religious grounds? - although I find it unlikely that (no puns intended) anyone would actively seek to consume sausage within such as establishment.

Interesting times.

28 January 2011 13:15  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Paul Dean: "I see your point but the element you've neglected is that these B&B owners would be facilitating the opportunity for sin, because they are providing them a bed for sex."

Blimey. Do couples ever rent a room with a bed in it for the weekend from a hotel primarily as a place to store one's luggage, wash, and sleep?

Maybe the Bulls rent their rooms by the hour, or there's an option box indicating double-for-sex, double-for-sex, or double-for-tall-singleton?

Perhaps I'm a bit odd or very self-conscious but having sex in a hotel set up in a converted house would feel like having sex in a tent on a campsite.

I suppose the Bull's Hotel might have solid beds and good internal walls like a purpose-built hotel. But I doubt it.

28 January 2011 13:37  
Anonymous Philip said...

Perhaps the most important point in this post is: "To those homosexual couples who are turned away by Christian B&B owners.... do not waste your lives seeking redress in a court of law...Do as the Lord exhorted: simply wipe your shoes politely upon their doormat, shake their dust from your feet, and seek an inn which will bid you welcome."

28 January 2011 13:52  
Anonymous tory boys never grow up said...

@Cranmer 11 May

"David Cameron must espouse limited government, individual freedom, private property ownership and the rule of law."

Given that Chris Grayling did not espouse the rule of law in this case shouldn't Cameron sack him?

I find it interesting as to how Cranmer is so selective in his views as to when the rule of law should apply and when it shouldn't - there seems to be a certain political bias. Should I take it that the rule of law should only apply to non Christians and left wingers?

28 January 2011 14:15  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Has your Grace been 'Got At' by the righteous. I understand that Christians should show love, understanding and forgiveness, but surely they can also stand by their conscience. Most people I know, Christian or not, would not like the idea of Homosexual activity going on in their house as I think most of us find it unnatural and somewhat depraved. If most of the religious world find Homosexuality to be wrong, there must be a reason.

Before I get shot down as a raging Bigot,(not that I care if you do) I do not believe in persecuting Gays but neither do I believe in promoting them. People have a right to discriminate in their private life and in their public life to a degree.

What is most likely to turn one against something is having it shoved in your face and told to accept it or else.

28 January 2011 14:21  
Anonymous nicodemus said...

Well yes, I think you are right.
But does this make the law right?
And where will this end? Will ministers of the gospel be forced to marry homosexual couples? How does one deal, to quote you in your previous article, with the "obnoxious extremists?"

28 January 2011 14:41  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Nicodemus,

None of this makes the law right: it remains illiberal and coercive, failing, as it does, to accommodate the religious conscience.

It really is quite astonishing how many of these comments above appear unable to hold today's post in harmony with yesterday's. They no more contradict each other than First Corinthians contradicts Second Corinthians: they are written to address the same issue from another perspective, or to expand upon points already made.

28 January 2011 14:46  
Blogger jdennis_99 said...

Excellent post. What more can be said?

28 January 2011 14:58  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Phillip, quoting His Grace out of context: "Do as the Lord exhorted" But why should a gay non-Christian couple do that?

In terms of rights and pursuing them in a court of law, would that also apply to a black couple when turned away from a hotel run by a white racist?

28 January 2011 15:05  
Blogger Owl said...

Excellent writing YG.

We have had the thesis and the antithesis.

When do we get the synthesis?

28 January 2011 15:18  
Anonymous rosie said...

Why does religion have to come into it? It is just a question of manners. People should be allowed to decide what they shall be in their own houses, and if the custom of the house is for guests to have their own beds unless married, why get so upset about it? And what on earth is it to do with the government or the law?

28 January 2011 15:43  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Maturecheese: "If most of the religious world find Homosexuality to be wrong, there must be a reason."

Yes. It's a form of the naturalistic fallacy, I expect, based on the premise that a god or gods created us.

28 January 2011 15:46  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

rosie: "Why does religion have to come into it? It is just a question of manners." ... "And what on earth is it to do with the government or the law?"

As gets stated time and again, it's a business with private accomodation attached, not a self-contained private home in its entirety. The government and the law doesn't much care what happens in the private bits. However, the business bits i.e. the seven rooms when they're available to the public for rent fall under the sale of goods and services law and presumably various fire prevention and food health laws. Any people the Bulls employ no doubt fall under the employment laws too. No surprises there, except to some Christians and various anti-homosexual people by the look of it.

28 January 2011 15:59  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"He purposely disregarded accepted rules and conventions"
Spot on YG and that will do for me, a natural society can self regulate by way of its own cultural norms and Christ would have been accepting of British culture as the British have accepted Christ.

The marxist system is unatural though and therefore needs heavy handed Government intervention to achieve, in the style of heavy handed occupation.

To ignore marxist rules and conventions was a brave step indeed.

I here Cameron needs a new spin doctor are you applying or me.

28 January 2011 16:27  
Anonymous Bede said...

As I understand it, the Bulls did not want to allow any unmarried couple (heterosexual or homosexual) to have a double bed. So this was not specifically aimed at homosexuals. How many unmarried couples (a man and a woman) have decided to sue?

28 January 2011 17:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments today seem to contradict your two posts written on January 18th where you appear to support the Bull's position with few reservations. Why did you take so long to state that you think that they are now wrong? If you have changed your mind it would me more honest for you to say so. It is interesting to see how influential you are because whatever you write your followers tend to agree with you!

I do agree that some Christians today, especially those of the evangelical variety, have a tendency to condemn sexual sins above all others. Hence having homosexual intercourse is considered a worse sin than, say, getting drunk or swearing , against which the Bulls do not seem to have any written rules. ( It might also be pointed out that the rule would not be enforceable anyway as sexual relations of any sort can take place in single beds, and conversely, a gay couple might choose to spend a celibate weekend in a double bedded room – so we are talking about appearances here rather than what might actually occur. ) However, appearances may be important too. Christians need to consider whether by adopting a more liberal attitude which you suggest is the most Christian approach, the Bulls might thereby become a stumbling block to other people who look to them as examples of the Christian lifestyle. As St Paul says, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom, does not become a stumbling block to the weak” 1 Cor 8:9.

28 January 2011 17:23  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Bede: "As I understand it, the Bulls did not want to allow any unmarried couple (heterosexual or homosexual) to have a double bed. So this was not specifically aimed at homosexuals."

At the time of the incident, this was the wording on the hotel website:

"Here at Chymorvah we have few rules, but please note, that out of a deep regard for marriage we prefer to let double accommodation to heterosexual married couples only - thank you"

This is the wording today:

"Here at Chymorvah we have few rules, but please note that as Christians we have a deep regard for marriage(being the union of one man to one woman for life to the exclusion of all others)."

The judgement in the case talks about marriage and civil partnership. Contrary to what some people say, the judge did not equate marriage to civil partnership in law. He was actually quite careful by the look of it.

He refers to the articles in the Human Rights Act and specific parts of the regulations published in 2007 which support the Equality Act 2006. The regulations are specifically about determining discrimination.

The judge says: “There is no material difference (for the purpose of this regulation) between marriage and a civil partnership.” in (35). and “Regulation 3(4) says that there is no material difference between those who are married and those who are in a civil partnership.” in (45) and “for the purpose of 3(3)(b) there is no material difference between the two legal forms of relationship.” in (45). He also says “The claimants are a family in the eyes of the law just as much as are the married defendants.” in respect of Article 8 of the HRA which deals with the right to a private and family life.

28 January 2011 17:29  
Blogger OldSouth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 January 2011 17:30  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Having lost a bit in the copy and paste, here's the full quote:

"Here at Chymorvah we have few rules, but please note that as Christians we have a deep regard for marriage(being the union of one man to one woman for life to the exclusion of all others).

Therefore, although we extend to all a warm welcome to our home, our double bedded accommodation is not available to unmarried couples – Thank you."

28 January 2011 17:38  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

So may Your Grace's position be summarised as, "Since these people cannot prohibit all sinful/idolatrous behaviour from occurring on their premises they should prohibit none"?

Secondly, because this is a business transaction I think it is more incumbent on them not to entertain behaviour they would not normally entertain. The primary function of these premises is as a home. If they were to say we would not normally suffer such behaviour on our premises, however since you are paying us we will, then that surely is unchristian.

Jesus would most certainly entertain prostitutes (and paedophiles & racists & rapists & porn stars). It is pushing it to say He would entertain or facilitate prostitution (or any of the other behaviour).

I had a friend who lodged with a Christian couple. They would not allow him to do his laundry on Sunday. Discrimination? Outdated? Or just their way of attempting to honour God in their own home?

28 January 2011 18:06  
Anonymous Unsure said...

First of all, thanks for this blogpost your Grace - it's spot on.

To those who have suggested that providing a bed to gay people in a B & B is encouraging them, may I ask a few questions?

1) If you work in a store that sells beds, would you refuse to sell a bed to a gay couple, as that would be encouraging them to have sex?

2) If you worked somewhere that sold condoms, would you refuse to sell a gay couple condoms as that would be enabling them to have sex?

3) If you worked in a store selling computers, would you refuse to sell a computer to a gay person in case they looked up gay porn on the internet?

4) If you worked at a stationers, would you refuse to sell a calendar with pictures of half-naked firemen to a gay person, in case that contributed to impure thoughts?


If you answered yes to any of those, may I ask some follow-up questions:


1) If you work in a store that sells beds, would you refuse to sell a bed to an unmarried heterosexual couple, as that would be encouraging them to have sex?

2) If you worked somewhere that sold condoms, would you refuse to sell an unmarried heterosexual couple condoms, as that would be enabling them to have sex?

3) If you worked in a store selling computers, would you refuse to sell a computer to a straight person in case they looked up straight porn on the internet?

4) If you worked at a stationers, would you refuse to sell a calendar with pictures of half-naked firemen to a woman, in case that contributed to impure thoughts?

I'm guessing that many who would answer yes to the first set of questions would answer no to the second set. I'm unsure why that would be though - sin is sin, so I don't get why people deem gay sex to be inexcusable, but unmarried couples having sex to be something to be overlooked.

For clarification, I do think sex was designed for within marriage. Having said that, I agree with everything that was written on the original blogpost. It's not our place to judge others - Jesus' judgment was reserved for the religious, not the "sinners".

28 January 2011 18:07  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Unsure ... if the people in any of the situations you cite wanted to bring their computer/bed/condoms/calendar into my HOME, and the businesses were owned by me, then my answer would be yes.

And God does judge sinners. The judgement for sin (of which you & I are just as guilty as any homosexual) is death. Which is why Jesus died, and which is why if we confess our sin God grants us His pardon. We need love AND truth.

28 January 2011 18:22  
Anonymous non mouse said...

"and even – horror of horrors – of being Melanie Phillips." Your Grace, that's funny.

Seems to me, though, that your critics exercise proclivities that are not only ad hominem, but also ad feminam, racist, Judaeo-Christianphobe, and judgemental besides!

Mind you, on the praxisist side of the Martha/Mary equation, I'd have a problem if it were my own B&B, and I had to do the laundry and clean the rooms. That would be bad enough at the best of times....

Oh - and while I may be civil towards lesbians, their behaviour towards me is usually unpleasant and aggressive. So I would be stone-faced and discouraging, and I would let them force me to whatever law courts they chose. That would be better than the alternative.

28 January 2011 19:28  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

The rise of the gay mafia has been alarming. Alarming as the lack of response from the church. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are being persecuted and the church remains silent as usual. Like it did in WWII.

Whenever I meet members of the gay mafia I am struck by their hatred and viciousness. They know they aren't forgiven, not being repentant of their sins and so seek humanistic redress.

I once belonged to a lovely church, full of the Holy Spirit. Under new leadership, it fell into an apostate gospel. Nothing to do with the Bible at all. Soon, true believers were leaving by the droves. Including myself. The reaction of those left behind was astounding. They became full of hatred and viciousness and turned on us, the ones who were leaving. We refused to follow them and preferred to follow Christ. They hated us for it. They knew they weren't forgiven, they'd forgotten or were ignoring repentance. They soon sought humanistic redress in the form of charitable works and money raising ventures for the roof.

Repentance really is the key. For all of us. Not just gays.

All fall short of the glory of the Lord...

28 January 2011 19:52  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...

The best thing that I have ever read on this blog.

I have no vested interest in this, being neither gay nor Christian (nor do I even run a B&B).

But I can recognise goodness when I see it.

28 January 2011 19:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is another way. Let all B&B owners who wish to live in a Christian Way (dark ages version rather than soft and fluffy enlightened version) offer monastic style cells for single occupancy. This then prevents them being tempted by mammon to offer double rooms of any bed size or sizes and eliminates the temptations of anything bar monosex to the Guests.

28 January 2011 19:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old prophesy has come true. The worst thing about Christianity are the Christians. Bar you and me, of course, Your Grace. Just like the worst thing about The Left are the Lefties and the worst thing about The Right are right-wingers. Most 'belief communities' as I imagine they should now be called have their headbangers, zealots, Pharisees, Radical Rebels and quiet unassuming majority who just want to get on with it.

28 January 2011 20:01  
Anonymous Gerry Lynch said...

An excellent expostion, so much so that even this old fashioned, liberal-left, Prayer Book Catholic and proud member of what others here seem to term the Gaystapo would agree with pretty much all of it.

But I still think you owe Messrs. Black and Morgan and apology for accusing them of bandwagon jumping in your previous post. They did no such thing. And Tatchell has always defended the right of conservative Evangelicals to preach against homosexuality. You are a big enough man to apologise all of them.

28 January 2011 20:14  
Anonymous Michael said...

"Jesus would most certainly entertain prostitutes (and paedophiles & racists & rapists & porn stars). It is pushing it to say He would entertain or facilitate prostitution (or any of the other behaviour)."

Yup.

28 January 2011 20:43  
Anonymous graham wood said...

rosie said...

"Why does religion have to come into it? It is just a question of manners. People should be allowed to decide what they shall be in their own houses, and if the custom of the house is for guests to have their own beds unless married, why get so upset about it? And what on earth is it to do with the government or the law?"

Simple and excellent post Rosie and the sanest I have read so far in response to Cranmer's article.

In essence, what you have said is a reiteration of what was once commonly understood, namely the superb value of our Common Law, (based largely on Christian principles), sadly now all but extinguished by an army of Statist legislators.
Common Law summary: All is permissable unless it is expressly forbidden by Statute law, or unless the action actually harms others.
There is no right, or grounds for litigation therefore merely for being "offended" as in the artificial criteria so beloved of modern lawmakers encouraging the culture of victimhood.
Thus the Bulls were entirely justified. Nobody forced the homosexuals to take the rooms, and more so as the "rules" applied alike to heterosexuals and homosexuals, as others point out. The law, and courts have no business in such a private arrangement.
Many posters appear to have forgotten entirely the outworking of the basic principles of freedom in this case. As mentioned in my comment yesterday, the central issue here is freedom, both of conscience and of association. Freedom of association includes the right NOT to associate with those with whom one profoundly disagrees. The Bulls have that right, as also the full right of freedom of conscience.
Cranmer has confused two issues. The exercise of Christian love towards the persons (homosexuals in this case)as for all others is a given. However that same love towards the person is not compromised in a refusal to condone sinful practices.
This is the important difference, and one which "law", per se, is incapable of either discerning or judging.
But the judge himself in this case was undoubtedly WRONG in failing to allow the Bulls to exercise their undoubted right of freedom of conscience.
Let us hope this principle, once recognised until recently as a hallmark of British wisdom and benign toleration, is understood by an appeal judge, and the Bulls thereby vindicated.

28 January 2011 20:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest we all pray for these corageous people and send them a few quid to help them survive, it appears now that peole are leaving poor ratings of their business on sites such a trip advisor, this is wrong, peope are setting out to deliberately destroy them, the decent people of the land and the christian community should support them in prayer and send them a finaicial gift, I have done this, I don't say this to boast but to encourge others to do the same as many have.

28 January 2011 21:10  
Anonymous Petronius said...

Yet another excellent and thought-provoking post, YG. There are two points I’d like to make if I may, and I think I’ll write two separate comments, one for each point, as I don’t want to write a long, boring essay!

My first point is that I found your following words very helpful as a practical approach to understanding the Protestant tenet of Sola Scriptura:
“The centre of Christianity is Christ, not the Bible […..] Of course, Scripture and exegesis are important, but […] God’s character may be gleaned not only from Scripture, but also Christian thought, tradition, and experience throughout the ages, including the present.”

Upon reading these mature, reasonable words, I suddenly realised that (as a RC) I have often ‘jumped to simplistic conclusions’ in my interpretation of this issue. In the past, I took nothing but a brief glance at the issue of Sola Scriptura, and I had always thought to myself “Hold on a minute: I can accept the other ‘Solas’ of Protestantism quite easily, but this particular ‘Sola’ seems, to me, quite obviously flawed”. However, reading these words of yours, coming as they do from such a devout defender of the Anglican Church, I am quite amazed to find that your understanding of the importance of Scripture, and of how to apply that understanding in the broader context of our faith, is actually not all that much different from that of the RC church, after all!

Now, I understand that you were not referring directly to Sola Scriptura in your above words, YG, and that you might want to admonish me lest I confuse or misinterpret two totally separate issues here. Don’t worry – I do understand this potential problem, and I know that that is not the point you were addressing. But even so, I found your words very helpful in this regard. It made me realise that sometimes, when a Roman Catholic takes a brief glance at some element of Protestant belief, we can all too easily misunderstand “the true heart of the matter” until someone comes along and carefully elaborates upon it and expounds the broader context.

To summarise, I have learned that “when you take only a brief look at an issue, then you can sometimes be mistaken in your initial judgement of it, for what SEEMS to be happening is not always what IS, in fact, happening, once you delve into it a bit deeper”.

As I said, I wanted to make two points. I’ve made the first one. My other point is about my total agreement with Mr Edward Spalding’s comment (12:14pm, Jan 28). Too many people, both on this and on other blogsites, when commenting about this particular news story, seem to be confusing the phrase “running a privately owned business” with the phrase “offering a public service”, because, at first glance, the two things SEEM to be one and the same. But they’re not: they’re absolutely oceans apart. The key point here is that of property ownership. But I’ll write a separate post on that, if I have time tonight.
In the meantime, Thank you, YG, for allowing me to comment on your august and erudite blog.

28 January 2011 21:17  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

What is always ignored by christains when doing their whole love, charity and kindness bit is are these queers politically motivated?

Their sexual preference is of no interest to me but their political motivations are.

The legal industry is the most subversive organisation in our midst and as Camerons austerity measures bite ever more deep, remember folks that legal organisations will want to take more and more of the Lords daily bread from the mouths of you and yours to feed its own insatiable destructive habit.

28 January 2011 21:57  
Anonymous JayBee said...

Your Grace,

The links between idolatry and sexual sin that you make in your discourse are compelling and I feel that both raise questions of conscience in the context of a Christian B&B. Although Jesus spent a lot of time with the outcasts of society I cannot believe that He ever condoned or facilitated their sin. Therefore concerning this matter of religious conscience it is my view that on Christians, homosexuals and B&B's it is not for the believer to facilitate either the idolatry or the immorality of the non-believer and that policies of inclusiveness and hospitality do not absolve us from this responsibility. If Christian B&B's are no longer allowed to uphold Christian values in formulating their terms of business then they are faced with a stark choice of acting against their consciences or selling up. I hope and pray that Mr & Mrs Bull's appeal succeeds.

The real villains in this saga are the Cultural Marxist elite and their nefarious agenda. The Equalities Act has been crafted in a way that removes the right of anyone to exercise their moral or religious conscience. It is illiberal, undermines freedom of association, and sets a dangerous precedent. They could legislate further in ways that prevent any form of conscientious objection to anything. Conscription into a European Army? Same sex 'marriages' in churches? Ministers of Religion, particularly those of the Established Church have good reason to ponder the latter.

28 January 2011 21:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only think, contrasting this post with the previous ones you have posted recently on this subject, that you must be making a distinction between how you believe the B&B owners SHOULD have acted towards the homosexual couples (in the purely Christian moral sense), and what they should have had the RIGHT in law to do (i.e., deny the couples access, regardless of whether that would constitute Christian behavior or not).

If this is the case, it is a rather fine distinction, which I fear is completely unappreciable by a high percentage of the people who read your blog, who have no Christian foundation.

I am concerned that many people will assume you have been "turned," and are now lending your tacit support to the "gay mafia" which, only yesterday, you censured.

28 January 2011 22:31  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

To me this is not a matter of Christians ethics, it is one of, Property Rights. I agree with your grace, as far as you go. The question is, should the LAW came into play?

In my business I have the right to sell to, do work for, or buy from whoever I wish. I very much choose, and desire to keep it that way, and do not want the law to even come into my thinking.

In a FREE, property owning liberal democracy the sanctity of property right must be preserved.

When the law starts first chipping away at fundamental rights we should all pay swift, and proper attention to the full implications.

I has been announced this week that McDonalds is to ban the waring of track suits at its establishments.

I do not ware such things, and personally believe this to be a reasonably silly idea, however it is their business, and so they should be allowed to allow, or not anyone they wish into their premisses.

The same goes with people's own homes, whether they get money for doing so or not.

For this intrusion of the state into Property rights can, and does work both ways.

We currently have a situation where the owners of private pub's are forced to bad an otherwise perfectly lawful activity from their own premisses, namely smoking. This sort of thing is the not so thin edge of a very damaging wedge.

You will all I hope note that when the freedom of certain individuals are trampled on, their seems to be no public outcry whatsoever. Even when there is, and the removal of rights affects literally millions of individuals in a very serious manner, protesters are often completely ignored until they simply give up and go away. A few issues that come to mind, are fuel and other tax protests, families need fathers, The UK's membership of The EU, universal smoking bans, parking tickets, anything REAL Christians protest about, speed cameras, the perfectly dire standards of education in our schools, mass immigration, corruption at all levels of society, Common Purpose infiltration of all levels of society, congestion charging, bankster bail-outs, and last but not at all least horrendously murderous, and massively expensive Middle-Eastern wars.

On the other hand certain other issues gain full media attention, without any real protests at all, and then the law is either quickly changed, or more seriously reinforced. A few that come to mind, is anything to do with feminism and gay rights, the dangerous dogs act, our gun laws, intrusive airport, and other so called forms of security, very much adversely affecting peoples every day live.

It would seem that the establishment has long since been HIGHLY selective to say the least in what it considers important issues worth the attention of the law. What that people want or do not want, makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to what actually happens.

It seems this way, because it is this way, and very deliberately made to appear so.

Over time the effect is becoming ever more plain to see. An ever increasing amount are waking up to the FACT that voting, or protesting only makes any difference at all if the powers that be want it to, and so are now not bothering to pay any attention to party politics at all.

Please be aware that this is happening because the establishment what it to happen, not because the public have become more stupid. Indeed the public have become more wise, as they can now more plainly see that the emperor has no cloths, and that democracy is, and always has been a cruel ILLUSION.

28 January 2011 23:45  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I also notice that, from time-to-time, Your Grace exercises his right to discriminate against certain types of comment.

I believe you are perfectly entitled to do that. The law should not compel you to accept all comments on your blog. Nor do I think it unChristian of you to exercise discrimination. Indeed, I believe it is not only your right but also your duty to exercise such discernment & discrimination.

The exercise of proper discrimination is a virtue. Prejudice is not.

29 January 2011 00:35  
Blogger Owl said...

A very good analysis Atlas.

Unfortunately you leave "the establishment" as some sort of faceless elite group.

The name you fail to mention is the Fabian Society which has long since controlled "the establishment".

Stonewall is just another Fabian front.

Most known "think tanks" are Fabian controlled.

I don't think George Bernhard, Sidney and co. really understood what they started.

Joining up with the Frankfurt school and Tavistock really let the Geni out of the bottle.

It's a Movement, not a conspiracy.

29 January 2011 00:39  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

I guess you think Jesus said, "Go and sin some more"?

Really, evangelizing the lost is way different from inviting them to have sex in your home.

Please.

Charlie

29 January 2011 01:10  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Dear Owl

Thank you very much indeed, it is good to know that someone reads my comments, and better still agrees with them.

You are of course perfectly correct to mention The Fabian Society which are to my knowledge a wholly fascist organization, and every bit as dangerous as the German variety.

They are a wolf in sheep's clothing and one of the many abominations of the earth.

Shaw knew exactly what he was said to have started. however the actual and very real founders of the Fabian society where indeed the highest members, indeed the richest and most powerful leaders, of The British Establishment.

29 January 2011 04:48  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Dear Owl

If I did not make it perfectly clear that it is The Establishment that set up and controls the Fabian Society and not the other way around, I hope I have now done so.

We have to be clear what the establishment actually is. For when I use the word I am indeed talking about a faceless and highly elite group of incredibly rich and powerful families, collectively sometimes known as The Black Nobility, The Capstone, The Unseen Hand, The All Seeing Eye, The Jesuit Orders, The Great Conspirators, The Dark Forces, The Devil on Earth, The Illuminati, The Four Horses of The Apocalypse, The Worlds Ruling Elite, or simply the proverbial THEM.

I collectively call them the establishment because what I would prefer to call them might offend people with a sensitive disposition.

29 January 2011 05:22  
Anonymous Petronius said...

"Not imposing my morality upon others, but also not giving licence to theirs?"

His Grace provides a welcome illustration of what actual Christianity is, but it is no surprise that some of us - and even those who should know better - are incapable of grasping the difference between Christian conscience and their own.

29 January 2011 08:02  
Anonymous len said...

Your Grace,
In my opinion you are wrong.
Not to speak out against sin( of any sort)is to condone it.
In Jesus`s time sin was quite clearly defined,people KNEW they were sinners because they had the law of God.
We have a generation now who have no knowledge of God or the Bible.They have been fed Darwinism,Political Correctness and the constant ridiculing of Religion(Dawkins and co) so they have no guidelines and in the present climate no one telling them the truth.
You seem YG to be promoting the sort of wishy washy Christianity which deludes people into thinking God is a kindly old gentleman who will'wink' at their sins.
Who needs to get saved and from what(If you don`t tell them?)
Jesus came to planet Earth(first time) as saviour, He will return as Judge people should be told that!.
Read Revelation, the Seals which release judgement are opened by...........Jesus Christ.

29 January 2011 08:16  
Anonymous Flossie said...

Mr and Mrs Bull can be supported by signing the petition which will be sent to David Cameron:

http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41726.html

Not that he is likely to take any notice, but at least the Bulls will know from the comments that there are many right-thinking people who believe in freedom prepared to back them up.

29 January 2011 09:35  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

I believe Rosie's short comment said all that needs to be said, i.e. that the law should never have been allowed to intrude into our lives in this manner in the first place. How shall we ever reverse the fascist tendency in this country? So few people seem to find it objectionable.

29 January 2011 10:12  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Spot on Len.

Presumably YG thinks Premier Inn are exemplars of Christian charity & hospitality since they extend the same welcome to everyone who will pay them?

29 January 2011 10:37  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Your Grace.

I keep coming back to this post and reading Rom 1:22ff over and over. It has occurred to me that our fallen state is something natural, a natural consequence of falling from grace. This is why we were in need of a saviour. God made us out of nothing and bestowed upon us His sacred image; it is hardly any wonder then that he would not choose to do nothing and let His special creation be consumed forever by the state of corruption that that came about through the transgression of the natural and divine law that once kept us incorruptible in innocence.

Rom 1:22ff describes our fallen state. It describes our sinful nature as fallen creatures. But the love of God our creator was so great that He freely gave His own temple and bodily instrument as a substitute for the life of all, He fulfilled in death all that was required. Naturally also, through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all men were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word's indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.

I like this passage from On the Incarnation by St.Athanasius:

"You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so is it with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be. For the human race would have perished utterly had not the Lord and Savior of all, the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death."

We are still fallen beings, fallen from grace but can now access that promise of unity with the God who is our creator; we have the chance to regain that incorruptible union of innocence with God. We have the message of the Good News; the story of our saviour Jesus Christ, which includes the Christian message of acceptance and love. We are all sinners and we all have much to repent. Whether or not homosexuality is a sin, it is not our place to make eternal judgements, in stead we are commanded to love and and share the Good News with all.

29 January 2011 10:55  
Anonymous bluesdog said...

And based on your reasoning, Your Grace, do you believe Christ would sanction the consecration of holy matrimony by a gay bishop where the happy couple are two gay priests? Or have I misunderstood you?

29 January 2011 11:07  
Anonymous Southern Cross said...

I believe His Grace meant something altogether different from what has been assumed by many commentators.

Unless I am mistaken, His Grace suggests it is not the province of the law to decide upon these matters; B&B owners should be free to decide who enters their home and (private) business. That is for the legal part.

However, the Bulls being observant Christians, they should not have behaved in this fashion as it contradicts Christ's teachings. Although they should have been, in the eyes of the law, perfectly entitled to refuse entry to Mr Hall and Mr Preddy, they should not have done so from a religious point of view.

Did I get it right?

However, I do wonder about the relevance of the OT in this case: "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." (Leviticus 20:13) Now I am aware the NT erases much of had been said and written in the OT. To show them kindness would have been better and Christian, but why should they have put up with practices abhorrent to them in their very own? One of the fundamental rules of hospitality is that the stranger must adapt to the landlord's prescriptions in exchange for kindness and shelter.

29 January 2011 12:38  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

It is one thing to invite someone to talk over dinner. It is quite another to invite them to have sex in your bedroom.

The author is definitely wrong.

29 January 2011 14:23  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

@Jarod

"We" don't have to make that judgment. God has already made it in His Word. Homosexual behavior is a perversion of nature and creation and is sexual sin. 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 1:19-21, 3:15-16.

29 January 2011 14:26  
Anonymous len said...

If there is 'no sin,'if there are 'no moral absolutes'as we are told today, why in Heavens name would anyone want to 'get saved'.?

Why would we need a Saviour? What would He be saving us from?
Did God Forget what He said in the Old Testament(or perhaps not really mean what He said?

God was giving people a chance to change, there is a period (somewhat like an amnesty)a period of Grace when all who repent and accept Christ will be saved.

There is a vast difference between people being convicted or condemned.I suppose it all depends on the individual reaction.

To the woman caught in the act of adultery Jesus said: After the scribes and Pharisees drift away (probably because Jesus wrote their sins in the sand!), our Lord stands up and he says to her, "Has no one condemned you?" She replies, "No one, sir." To which Jesus responds, "Neither do I condemn you."

But he still does convict her!—and that’s the essential point which is so often overlooked! He convicts her of her sin by what he says in the very next line of the text. And she doesn’t argue the point! Immediately after our Lord says to her, "Neither do I condemn you,’ he adds the instruction, ‘Go, and from now on do not sin anymore."

He calls her action a "sin"—not a mistake, or a foible, or a weakness. He labels the deed a sin, and commands her not to do it again.

This leads to the obvious question: What exactly is the difference between "convicting" and "condemning"?

Simply put, to convict is to identify or expose a particular sin; to condemn is to say or imply that someone is damned. During his earthly life, Jesus very often did the first, but he never, ever did the second—as we see evidenced in this Gospel. But Jesus is God—which means that on the Day of Judgment he will do the second or should we say that people who do not become convicted have condemned themselves?
And how will people become convicted without knowledge of what sin is in this present Politically Correct, liberal, anti-god climate?

29 January 2011 15:27  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Mr Ray,

I believe that Cranmer is not condoning homosexual practise, nor the legality of forcing someone to accept it. He is simply stating the orthodox Christian view on sin and sinners. Note he did not say that they weren't sinners, but the proscription of services to them is immoral.

It is my belief that the discrimination based on relevant moral objection is justified, but one must work around this to avoid unnecessary discrimination. In this case the best option would be to allow the pair a double bed (as far as I'm aware there is no moral proscription of this) but ask them to refrain from sexual activity. This is not the same as condoning their actions, but is also not the same as refusing service to someone simply based on their sexuality (something no Christian ought to do). If the pair refuse to your terms then it is a rudeness on their part and a violation of the hospitality granted to them.

29 January 2011 15:44  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. (John 12:48 ESV)
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:17-18 ESV)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36 ESV)

29 January 2011 15:47  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Important words to understand Mr. Ray, but what is your point?

29 January 2011 15:53  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

I would say that Mr. Pseudonymous--Cranmer himself would never go against the Word of God--has misunderstood the moral law of God.

The Christian couple would have been immoral if they had not prohibited services to the perverts since the law of God condemns fornication and homosexual sexual behavior. Furthermore, this is not a hotel. It is their home. They should have a right to conduct business from their home as they see fit.

As a matter of fact, I believe that any family owned business or small business should be able to hire and fire whomever they please or conduct business with whomever they please without government interference. This attempt by the government to play Big Brother to Christians is outrageous and simply the outflow of totalitarian government imposing state doctrine upon individual Christians. It really is no different from a communist or a socialist regime in China or Russia denying the right to freely worship and believe as one believes. This is seen by democratic governments as a basic human right, whatever that means.

But in reality, the right to worship the Christian God and Jesus Christ freely and without government interference extends to the right to conduct business in one's own home as one sees fit. The secularists, socialists, and godless have gone over to the materialistic atheism of the communists from all appearances. Democracy seems to have gone down the tubes.

It truly is a sad day to see such totalitarian tactics employed against Christians in what was once a Protestant and Christian nation.

God save the queen.

Charlie J. Ray

29 January 2011 16:01  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Forgive me for being a blunt American but whoever is hiding behind the pseudonym is doing a great disservice to true Christianity.

29 January 2011 16:02  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

The term "politically correct" is synonymous with "propaganda". A Christian should have the right to believe and practice his or her religion without fear of police action.

29 January 2011 16:04  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

My point, Lakster, is that Jesus does judge. In fact, he called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers". He even told them their father was the devil. Do I need to quote the verses here?

I have wonder if anyone here has actually read the Bible or if maybe they are reading the expurgated version?

29 January 2011 16:06  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

I should add that democracy itself once held that "human rights" where "God given rights". The American Constitution says that all men are created equal and have certain "inalienable" rights. Creation implies deity, does it not?

29 January 2011 16:32  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I think you have misunderstood the original post and my interpretation. Remember it is up to God to judge and us to interpret.

29 January 2011 16:36  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester, and it's very easy to interpret the Bible. Have you heard of the doctrine of the perspecuity of Scripture? God clearly and plainly reveals His will and the moral law in the Bible. Those who question His written word bring judgment upon themselves. It's very clear that sexual sins, including homosexual sins, are forbidden by God's Law.

I'm sure you understand the king's English:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13 KJV)

I have other verses if you wish to see them.

Who are you afraid of that you would use a fake name on the internet? I stand by my good name for what I believe. I do not hide from any man.

Let me say it clearly. Homosexual sins are an abomination to the Lord God.

Charlie

29 January 2011 17:56  
Anonymous Bede said...

@Atlas shrugged, and other posts

I doubt if there is a carefully formulated conspiracy against Christianity here (or even in Europe), except for a small minority.

What has happened is that the 'liberal' ruling establishment (here and on the continent) has developed an outlook on various ethical issues which it thinks is so obvious that it is beyond refutation. Anyone questioning it is ignorant or malign, and should be forced, by law, to accept the 'liberal' views of the ruling elites. Some of these views are consistent with Christian ethics, but some are not. Where they are not, Christians must be forced to accept a particular moral outlook (preached by the 'liberal' establishment), which is contrary to basic Christian values.

The 'liberal' establishment (in academe, politics and the media) sees no inconsistency in preaching tolerance and inclusiveness while attacking and prosecuting those who do not share their own 'incontrovertible' values.

29 January 2011 17:57  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15 KJV)

Even a little child can understand what the Bible says.

29 January 2011 17:57  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

I have understood that Mr. Pseudonym has tried to call Christians immoral for standing against what is clearly immoral.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20 KJV)

29 January 2011 17:59  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

I suppose it is for the non-believer to impose his perversion and immorality on the believer? Silly, irrational and --frankly--stupid argument.

29 January 2011 18:00  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Bede, precisely right. It's not a "conspiracy" per se. But it IS a calculated take over of things on the part of the socialists and atheists. They want to reverse things and impose their will on Christians. It's really no different from the Papists taking over during the reign of Bloody Mary. Only this time it is the socialists, liberals and various other atheists and progressivists.

Be encouraged, however. The Christian church thrives under times of persecution. The blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the Christian faith.

Charlie

29 January 2011 18:04  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I am torm between Your Grace's words, and those of Len... @ 08:16 et al.

I usually shy away from absolutes, prefering a civilised hypocrisy, a 'muddle-through' C-of-E 'cosy' exemplifer to most problems.

However, Len is not poking an awkward, rebarative finger; but he does point to the ultimate ''ah but'' of the issue. How does one 'square the circle' Your Grace?

29 January 2011 18:39  
Anonymous Seth said...

I do think that rule book lovers like Mr Ray would be much happier "reverting" to Islam, which really is a faith meant to be lived by the book.

As HG reminds us, the Bible is no more than a guide, and those who choose to act otherwise are being disingenuous.

While one can pick and choose from the Bible to suit one's prejudices, there is nowhere to hide in the light of Christ.

29 January 2011 20:34  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Seth, I didn't make the rules. God did. Unfortunately, you seem to be unfamiliar with Reformed theology and with your own Anglican Formularies given in 1571, namely the 39 Articles of Religion.

The 39 Articles express the doctrine of the English Reformation to which Anglicans are expected to subscribe:

"Article VI
Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scripture for Salvation
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

In the name of Holy Scripture, we do understand those Canonical books of the Old and New testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church."

And Article VII makes clear that the Old Testament is not opposed to the New Testament:

"Article 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. 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."

(See 39 Articles of Religion: Articles 1-8).

The Bible makes it clear that God's law reveals to us that we are sinners:

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20 ESV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV)


Secondly, I never said that we are able to keep God's rules. We are in fact unable to do, which is why you so quickly rebel against God's command. As a sinner you are unable to accept God's Law and in fact you willing refuse to do so.

As St. Augustine said, "Lord, command what You will and GRANT what You command." Unless God grants us the grace to believe we will never believe nor will we be saved.

Salvation comes from faith, not law keeping.

Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." (Galatians 3:11-12 ESV)

29 January 2011 21:00  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Mr Ray it is almost like you refuse to understand the point made rather than cannot. No one has said that homosexuality is moral or justified. The point is that it is also immoral to arbitrarily deny service to those who are immoral when their immorality is irrelevant to the service offered. It is unjustified for a grocer to refuse to sell food because of someone's sexuality would you not agree? The point I made, which you have refused to even acknowledge is that one can integrate homosexuals into society without condoning their behaviour, and even while condemning their actions. The Bulls could have offered the double bed to the pair and simply requested that they refrain from sex in their house. That is not condoning, promoting or enabling homosexual behaviour.

'Lakester, and it's very easy to interpret the Bible. Have you heard of the doctrine of the perspecuity of Scripture? God clearly and plainly reveals His will and the moral law in the Bible.'

I have heard of it, and it is manifestly untrue. Were it true, then we would not have hundreds of different denominations in America fighting over semantics. The Bible is truth throughout, but it takes a great wisdom to determine which kind of truth each passage espouses. Without historical and cultural knowledge, much of scripture is lost on the modern mind. This is after the puns and jokes are destroyed during translation, and any irony is lost in transcription.

In reality biblical literalism is one of the main enemies of Christ's Church. It only serves to give the anti-Christians fodder for ridicule and mockery. Thanks to biblical ignoramuses I have had to explain on many occasions that the vast majority of Christians (e.g. Catholics and Anglicans) actually follow the idea of evolution and that seven day creationism is for philistines who cannot understand poetry.

'If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13 KJV)'

Do you truly not understand the new covenant? Jesus did not do away with the law but clarified it. This is to make a distinction between God's law and Mosaic law. God's law states that homosexuality is a sin and Mosaic law says they should be put to death. We do not follow Mosaic law because we are not bound by its covenant.

To sum up, if you still cannot understand that no one here is pro-homosexuality or that they wish for society to promote and enable sin, then you lack the intellect to interpret anything as beautiful as Scripture.

29 January 2011 21:03  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." (Galatians 3:10 ESV)

29 January 2011 21:06  
Anonymous Southern Cross said...

Thank you, Seth, for saying for me what would have been a scathing reply to Mr Ray.

The Bible is made up of bits of texts written over hundreds of years, even though the Scripture is considered the Word of God, we should bear in mind that our English Bibles have been translated from a range of ancient languages: Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. No translation can ever be perfect. Moreover, the different books were written by men who were no contemporaries, even though they were inspired by God or had their writings dictated by the LORD, they could have misunderstood or misconstrued the sense of God's Word. Also, the Bible is firmly grounded in its historical context.

Therefore, as His Grace wrote so adequately, the Bible is a guide in the broadest sense. We must heed it and draw upon it, however, it cannot be considered infallible, because it may be ambivalent and open to different interpretations. Biblolatry is a dangerous thing and was exposed as such by many authors before us (e.g. Samuel Taylor Coleridge). If we took the Old Testament too literally, we would be chopping heads all day long. Furthermore, many prohibitions or rules were later questioned by Jesus; let us not forget our Lord Jesus also rescued Mary Magdalene from her seven demons, and redeemed various people. Christianity, strictly speaking, is following Christ's teachings.

29 January 2011 21:10  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Southern Cross, thank-you for admitting that you regard the Bible to be just another human book and not the very Word of God. You have appointed yourself as your own independent god and you think you will not answer to the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth. You might be in for a surprise some day.

No one lives forever, you know.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27 ESV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ESV)

Human reason might seem to be "enlightened" to you but the Bible actually says it is "darkened":

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21 ESV)

I guess you think that textual criticism and the fact that the Bible has human authors refutes the doctrine of divine inspiration and infallibility?

That's odd since every Evangelical I know of upholds that the original autographs are inspired of God. Even more to the point textual criticism has proved that of the literally thousands of Greek manuscripts the disagreement between them is mostly variations in spelling or syntax/word order. And in fact, the differences between the Byzantine text family or Majority Text and the Alexandrian or critical text family represented by Westcott and Hort is only 3%. That is 97% of the New Testament is agreed upon as being in the original writings.

And do I need to mention that the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Old Testament? The Dead Sea Scrolls date to a couple of hundred years before Christ.

I know you think I'm some ignorant fundamentalist. But what most liberals are unwilling to acknowledge is that Evangelical Christians are for the most part highly educated.

Yes, it might surprise you to know that I have two degrees in theology from accredited schools, including a master of divinity.

Please don't pick a fight with me. I really don't want to embarass you with your lack of preparation.

Charlie

29 January 2011 21:24  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester said, "I have heard of it, and it is manifestly untrue. Were it true, then we would not have hundreds of different denominations in America fighting over semantics."

Well, actually none of that proves the Bible isn't clear. In fact there is an amazing consensus among Christians on the major teachings of the Bible, including by the way, the doctrine of perspicuity and of infallibility. Simply because you in sinful rebellion insist on twisting Scripture to your own destruction is no evidence that the Bible is in error. It rather proves that your won mind and heart is darkened by sin and blinded by God Himself.

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:15-16 ESV)

as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day." 9 And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever." (Romans 11:8-10 ESV)
and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (1 Peter 2:8 ESV)

29 January 2011 21:31  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Furthermore, only someone who is anti-christian would dare to tell a Christian that they must invite a pair of perverted homosexuals into their own home where the sex act might occur. It is against everything the Bible teaches.

The fact that there is a business in their home is irrelevant since they as Christians ought to be able to conduct business ANYWHERE they see fit without government interference and that applies particularly to their own home.

While I know you think it is "moral" to condone sinful behavior, the Bible stands squarely against it. In fact, at one time homosexuality and adultery could have gotten you jail or the death penalty. Now the atheists and the homosexuals are trying to make the law force Christians into accepting all sorts of immorality which flies in the face of Holy Scripture.

The fact is your militant liberalism is just like the Islamic law except you're forcing perversion and immorality on Christians.

Don't try to hide your evil behind some patent lie like, "It's immoral to resist immorality." That's about the silliest thing I've ever heard.

29 January 2011 21:37  
Blogger Owl said...

Lakester91,

Thank you for expressing so elequently what I would have liked to have written, were my writing abilities up to your excellent standard.

Furthermore, would you please help me to respectfully request our colonial Bible puncher to put a sock in it.

29 January 2011 21:55  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Owl, just remember the hare who lost his spectacles.

The moral of the story is some people actually use logic when it comes to debating those who talk in circles. If it were not for Christianity you wouldn't have any sort of democracy atall.

30 January 2011 02:20  
Anonymous len said...

WHY DID JESUS COME?

"... I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matt. 9:13).

The reason Jesus came to this earth was to call sinners to repentance. Those who did not see themselves as sinners, deserving God's wrath, were not candidates for God's salvation. The sinner must reject his own righteousness, because Jesus did not come to call the righteous, not even the self-righteous. The only way a sinner will come to reject his own righteousness is by coming face to face with his own wickedness. You can take it from the lips of Jesus Himself as a settled issue that He will not call the righteous. Only those to whom it is revealed (by God's Spirit) that they are lost, depraved, ungodly sinners will respond to the calling of the Saviour in salvation.

30 January 2011 08:39  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Amen, len. Even after conversion our righteousness is in Jesus Christ, not ourselves:)

Peace be with you,

Charlie

30 January 2011 12:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A twisted exegesis of Romans 1. His "grace" succumbs to the Zeitgeist.........it was only a matter of time. A sad reflection on the C of E.

In the last days many shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils

30 January 2011 12:42  
Anonymous JayBee said...

I fear that His Grace's ashes have been exposed to dangerously high levels of liberal theology.

30 January 2011 13:17  
Blogger Owl said...

Charlie said:
"Yes, it might surprise you to know that I have two degrees in theology from accredited schools, including a master of divinity.
Please don't pick a fight with me. I really don't want to embarass you with your lack of preparation."

Charlie,

There is a difference between debating and preaching.

You have preached in "batches" of emails. Your hatred of homosexuals is not even disguised. Hate the sin but not the sinner doesn't seem to apply to you.

You reject all debate and show disrespect to others in your statement which I have quoted above.

If you care to take the time to read some of the articles from HG and the comments attached to them, I think you will find more than enough intellectualism to match your lofty status.

You may not wish lower yourself to agree with other opinions but you may learn something from them nonetheless.


"Owl, just remember the hare who lost his spectacles."

Charlie, Oh dear, I think you have missed the point of the article and the preceeding article completely!

30 January 2011 15:02  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

@Jaybee, I concur, brother.

30 January 2011 18:46  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

@Jaybee, I concur, brother.

30 January 2011 18:46  
Anonymous Southern Cross said...

Mr Ray, you have completely misread my comment, and I do not care how many degrees you hold. This is totally irrelevant to the present conversation. Where exactly did I accuse you of being an “ignorant fundamentalist” (sic)? Nor did I write or assume evangelicals have no education whatsoever. I usually abhor generalisation.

That is precisely because we humans are fallible beings that we cannot use systematic exegesis and are limited by our natural shortcomings, this also includes fully understanding the implications of Scriptures. This also apply to our interpretation of the Word of God. The very fact that exegesis exists and has occupied many theologies over centuries is because the Scriptures are not always understandable in themselves and need interpretation and careful analysis. Furthermore, you overlooked my point about historical contexts, something even prominent Christian scholars or theologians, not especially reputed for their liberal leanings, are willing to acknowledge.

Nowhere have I denied the Bible is, broadly, the Word of God and has been inspired by our Maker. Perhaps, a re-read of my previous comment would not go amiss. You are wide off the mark and did not address my points. Instead, you chose to picture me—and you are grossly mistaken—as one of these stuffy, frothing-at-the-mouth liberals. My views are commonplace among clergy of the Roman Catholic Church and mainstream Protestant churches alike, including in conservative segments of these, and Bibliolatry, as I pointed out, was exposed by many pious figures, you would be wrong to assume you can match the piety of some of them. You insulted the vast majority of Christian who are not part of your current, and you cast assertions on my character without having the slightest bit of information regarding me. Sorry to disappoint you; but I am a Christian and I take religion very seriously.

As for translation, let me take a single example: Greek (koine) has at least four words for 'love' where English only has one, and their meaning can vary quite significantly (agape = sacrificial, self-denying love, as opposed to eros, inter alia). It is precisely because I am aware of my own shortcomings and those of my fellow man that I abstain from dogmatically applying every single sentence of the Bible without carefully examining which meanings it could have and considering the margin for interpretation while pondering my limitations as a human being.

PART I

30 January 2011 19:29  
Anonymous Southern Cross said...

PART II

I abhor homosexuality, however, I also abstain from judging, lest I be judged, too (Luke 6:37), and none of us is pristine enough not to be accounted a sinner. Christ pardoned a great many their iniquities, and showed them the path of reform and improvement, he also questioned certain parts of the Old Testament through his teachings or even express commandments. However, if you want to stone homosexuals, go ahead and please do, and we will see who ends up being judged. Alternatively, Iran is a relatively nice destination for this type of sport, no doubt many a Wahhabite would concur with this Weltanschauung. Even though I said we should show kindness to people, including homosexuals, and help them to understand how they are making a mistake (the rest will be settled by the Almighty in due time), I also stressed that hospitality implied to abide by the rules of the landlord. In short, I agree with the Bulls while understanding what His Grace meant and accepting parts of his point (i.e. the emphasis on kindly behaviour) and disagreeing with others (i.e. the definition of hospitality).

You have shown a complete disregard for civility and the most basic rules for rhetoric engagement, and yet civility lies at the very heart of Christianity. Your tone has been most condescending while you felt the need for bragging about your academic qualifications, as if they were a badge of honour, they did not teach you humility, it seems. I shudder to think how you could engage atheists considering how you engaged me, a fellow Christian. Little wonder evangelicals always manage to alienate atheists before having made any point at all (I saw some of your colleagues at work in Glasgow last week, they scared off my atheistic friend before she was even given a chance to coming to terms with Christianity. Moreover they showed utter contempt for tradition and priesthood, a deplorable attitude). You have also made ad hominem assumptions about myself; I am no liberal, quite the opposite, I quote Burke, Kirk, Coleridge, Eliot and John Adams and I am unapologetically and unashamedly conservative. Also, your boastings (I have two degrees, which is true of many people today) display a dangerous propensity for pride, a deadly sin (Proverbs 6:16-17). However, I bear you no grudge for this, although I shall certainly abstain from debating if you cannot be more polite. Hopefully we will have a more civil, mutually respectful debate if you do want to carry on.

30 January 2011 19:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer,

First, have you been hacked?

Second, you say homosexual orientation may be natural. Wrong. Here you show your lack of understanding of how the Bible depicts God's providence. God gives people over to turn to the same sex, which means they become homosexually oriented, hence why they commit homosexual acts. The distinction that conservative Anglicans and conservative Catholics are now making between orientation and acts is dishonest, a lie concocted to appease the gay men's lobby so that they don't persecute those churches. The gay people who complain that 'God made them that way' are not far from the truth, except that they they 'made' (or 'born that way') without then acknowleging that present sin can be the result of the sin of previous generations. We see this in the Old Testament. It's no different than if other kinds of sins are passed down the family line.
Hence the portrayal of the origins of homosexuality in Romans should never be taken in isolation from the rest of the passage, which lists all manner of other sins, and the rest of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.

This means that as you say, idolatry is the real problem in our society. It is true that some Christians, wittingly or not, have come close to making homosexuals scapegoats for this. However, we must never forget the obsessive cheerleading for gay MEN in our media.
Would this cheerleading and idolatry be pursued for lesbians? Of course not, because secular culture and many conservative Christians are hypocritical, believing that men 'can't help themselves' and are just stuck as homosexuals, whereas women can change.
The real problem at the root of the entire handling of homosexuality is a double standard, different from the single sexual standard of the New Testament - sex is reserved for marriage, end of discussion.

30 January 2011 20:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pleasantly surprised, your Grace. I do not consider homosexuality to be a sin but my gravest issue has never been with this idea, but rather with the ideas that homosexuals out to be condemned, B&B owners have the right to turn them away and hatred of homosexuals being justifiable.

Your commentary today is sound and manifests a deeply Christian attitude - seemingly the result of careful, prayerful reflection as opposed to vitriolic spiel.

30 January 2011 23:03  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Southern Cross, you're preaching to the perverted choir, obviously. Of course the evil world will agree with your twisting of Scripture to your own destruction. What else is new. The Bible is not broad. It is particular and detailed. The problem is you don't like what God has said in those details. The truth is you don't believe the Bible is the very word of God or that it is inspired of God.

Frankly, it doesn't matter if you can point liberals in the CoE or the RCC who agree with you. So what? The devil agrees with you as well:)

Why should I be impressed by that?

You should know that there are literally thousands of conservative theological colleges around the world. Just to name two, you have Wycliffe Hall at Oxford which is at present predominately Evangelical. I could name Moore College in Sydney as well. Here in the US we have hundreds of Evangelical colleges and seminaries which are conservative. So we outnumber you.

I could even mention that there are way more traditional and conservative Roman Catholics than liberal ones. I should probably add that I do not accept the Papists as Christians since they have a completely different religion from the Protestants who believe the Bible alone is the final authority in all matters of morality and Christian doctrine.

So you can blow hot air but no Evangelical is going to take you seriously.

Surely you've heard of Church Society there in the UK?

While you might win a few political battles in the secular world, in the religious world conservatives still dominate. There is a good reason for that. Liberals have no need to go to church or pray or read the Scriptures.

Sincerely yours,

Charlie

31 January 2011 00:40  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Southern Cross, I should add that C.S. Lewis' book, The Four Loves, does not count as Scripture. The word Eros is not in the Bible whatsoever.

Charlie

31 January 2011 00:41  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Southern Cross,

I've obviously made you angry. That's good. It means I've made you think.

The truth is I am not a theonomist or a reconstructionist. I do not advocate the death penalty for homosexuals nor do I hate homosexuals.

In fact one of my younger brothers is a homosexual. But I for one refuse to tell the homosexual or anyone else who is unconverted, "God loves you." The truth is that all who are not converted to Christ are under God's wrath. Homosexuals are no special case. They deserve hell along with everyone else.

In fact, Christians deserve hell as well. No one is good. There is none righteous. The issue, however, is not how loving or tolerant we "pretend" to be. The issue is whether or not we're looking to please men or God? You obviously want men to praise your love and tolerance for homosexuals and their immorality.

I'm willing to bet you're an Arminian at best.

I OTOH am a Calvinist. God shows no partiality to any sinner or even to any Christian. He judges all equally worthy of hell. Mercy is that God does not give everyone what they deserve. He chose some out of fallen humanity for objects of His grace and mercy--even though they deserve the opposite.

So please, don't give me you false tolerance and liberal views as if it is "love". You're really just a dissimulator who loves evil and hates good--right along with the rest of the world.

I intend to turn the world upside down for Christ.

Charlie

31 January 2011 00:48  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. (Acts 17:6-8 ESV)

31 January 2011 00:49  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

'I should probably add that I do not accept the Papists as Christians since they have a completely different religion from the Protestants who believe the Bible alone is the final authority in all matters of morality and Christian doctrine.'

If you believe you have an entirely different religion from the Catholics, Anglicans and others on this blog then I completely agree with you. Your religion of hate is nothing like Christ's Church. I have yet to see you acknowledge that no one here is claiming that homosexuality is moral or justified. I have yet to see you justify your basic and biased interpretation of scripture. I have yet to see any knowledge of basic Christian thought or belief. Memorising Bible verses is a commendable practise, but quoting them randomly helps no one; Dawkins does the same, yet no one is claiming he is any authority on scripture.

If we arbitrarily discriminate against people, then we are no better than the Pharisees of old. Ought you refuse service to the homosexual when it does not concern his practise? Ought you refuse service to the adulterer when it does not concern his adultery? If you truly believe that, then I ask how can society possibly function? To deny service to any who sin or have sinned is to deny service to everyone.

I shall repeat this for the last time, because if you haven't learned now, then you never will (I apologise for the all-caps). NO ONE HERE IS TRYING TO SAY THAT HOMOSEXUAL ACTIONS ARE JUSTIFIED; NO ONE HERE IS TRYING TO SAY THAT THEIR ACTIONS SHOULD BE NORMALISED; NO ONE HERE IS CLAIMING THAT WE SHOULD LAWFULLY FORCE PEOPLE TO ACT AGAINST THEIR CONSCIENCE. THE ONLY POINT BEING MADE IS THAT WE SHOULD NOT JUDGE PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR SIN; IF THEIR SIN IS IRRELEVANT THEN IT IS UNJUSTIFIED TO DENY THEM OUR HELP AND OUR SERVICE. IF THE BULLS HAD SIMPLY ASKED THE HOMOSEXUAL COUPLE TO REFRAIN FROM SEX THEN THEY WOULD HAVE PERFORMED THEIR CHRISTIAN DUTY.

Please for God's sake stop this. You give real Christians a bad name. You claim to acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of salvation, yet this has yet to manifest itself in your comments. I have two points to make for you and I dare you to tell me they are wrong.

1. Judge not, lest thee be judged

2. Even demons believe in God, does that justify them in his eyes? Does Christ not say several times in the Gospels that unless you change your life you will not enter paradise. Did he even once say that simply by believing in God that you are saved?

31 January 2011 02:56  
Anonymous Petronius said...

Just a quick technical note: I want to state that the commenter "Petronius" whose comment is stamped 29 January 2011 08:02, is not the same person as myself, whose post is stamped 28 January 2011 21:17. (Perhaps the bloghost can confirm this from the stat-counter). I definitely was not yet out of bed at 8:00 on Saturday, unless I was sleepwalking and sleep-blogging!
Please don't be rude, be polite and choose a unique moniker, "Petronius #2".

31 January 2011 03:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't waste your time Owl and Southern Cross -- we are dealing with the American equivalent of Stephen Green -- and nothing we can say will make the slightest bit of difference to his (Ray's) bigoted, self righteous and fundamentalist world view.

31 January 2011 10:03  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
It matters little what you or I or anybody else thinks of the rights & wrongs of the situation. What SHOULD be of concern is what the Almighty says about sin. Too much airtime in Churches is given to sermons & messages about Gods Love & not enough about His justice. God will judge ALL Sin, That is what the Bible tells us & we do no one any favours by telling them that He will turn a blind eye or give a knowing wink at some sins & not others.
Certainly be gracious & loving to the lost, whatever their sin.
But is it loving not to tell them of the danger they are in? Will they thank us on judgement day when they realise that we failed to have the courage to warn them of Gods verdict on sin? to condone because of fear is to be as guilty of the sin as they that are sinning.
To knowingly eat food offered to idols & therefore to stumble another is sin in itself because we are condoning the sin & not exposing it, condemning the sinners to judgement instead of reaching out in an attempt to rescue them.

31 January 2011 11:13  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Mr. Anonymous seems to think ad hominem is the best way to ignore the logical and proposition statements in Holy Scripture. Just label the Christian a "bigot" and then you don't have to actually refute the argument. Wonderful. It actually reflects back on yourself, though.

Charlie

31 January 2011 11:41  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester,

I believe I said that "modern" Anglicanism is "Anglo-Catholic" and therefore "Papist." However, EVEN the Anglo-Catholic conservatives disagree with you. They don't tolerate women's ordination and they certainly don't endorse tolerating homosexual behavior in the church.

You seem to be unaware that the Roman Catholic Church unequivocally condemns homosexual "behavior".

What rock do you live under?

I think you might want to inform youself rather than simply spouting off hotheaded opinions, Mr. Tolerant but not so tolerant:) Fact is you're not tolerant of conserative Christian morality, whether it be the Roman Catholic saying it or the Evangelical and Protestant Anglican who says it.

Charlie

Charlie

31 January 2011 11:49  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester said:

1. Judge not, lest thee be judged

2. Even demons believe in God, does that justify them in his eyes? Does Christ not say several times in the Gospels that unless you change your life you will not enter paradise. Did he even once say that simply by believing in God that you are saved?


Lakester, your ignorance of basic Christian doctrine and teaching is simply amazing! Perhaps this is the problem? You reject the authority of Holy Scripture and replace it with "tolerance" and "liberalism".

The fact is "I" am judging no one in particular. What I DID say is that the BIBLE condemns unequivocally ALL mankind as sinful. They are all in bondage to sin and are UNABLE to obey God's commands.

This is called ORIGINAL SIN. It goes all the way back to the argument between Augustine and Pelagius. Augustine said, "LORD, command what You will and GRANT what you command." This upset Pelagius who rejected the doctrine of original sin and total corruption of the human nature.

Homosexuals get no special treatment if you say that they are born that way. I would concede that they ARE born totally sinful and corrupt AND that they are UNABLE to change. But the part you don't get IS that is NO excuse. You see, God owes them hell, not mercy. Now if God sees fit to give them the grace of regeneration and the gift of repentance, I'm certainly not offended by that.

Secondly, you assume that "I" am judging homosexuals. You have it completely wrong. The Bible makes it clear that GOD judges homosexuals and ALL sinners as deserving what they get.

Need I quote Romans 1:18-32 again? Or the OT law in Leviticus 20:13? Or 1 Corinthians 6:9?

I judge no man. I'm simply pointing to you to what GOD says about these things.

I might add that I have no power to "change" myself. Only God can do that. I am nevertheless responsible for everything I say and do before God.

If you were familiar with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer you would know that it is Augustinian and not Pelagian. In the service for the Lord's Supper the Decalogue or Ten Commandments are read and after each commandment is this prayer:

People. Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

If we have the power to change ourselves we would not need to first be born again (John 3:3-8). We can no more make ourselves born again than we can make ourselves in our natural mother's womb or cause her to give birth to us. The new birth precedes conversion. It is not subsequent to it.

The same applies to sanctification. Without God's preceding grace we will not grow progressively in holiness. Salvation and sanctification is ALL of God.

You might want to pray for God's mercy and grace before He gives you what you really deserve. It's abundantly clear that you hate true Christianity and God's inspired Word, the Holy Scriptures.

May God grant you the grace to believe His Word,

Charlie

31 January 2011 12:15  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester said: WE SHOULD NOT JUDGE PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR SIN; IF THEIR SIN IS IRRELEVANT THEN IT IS UNJUSTIFIED TO DENY THEM OUR HELP AND OUR SERVICE. IF THE BULLS HAD SIMPLY ASKED THE HOMOSEXUAL COUPLE TO REFRAIN FROM SEX THEN THEY WOULD HAVE PERFORMED THEIR CHRISTIAN DUTY.

Brilliant logic. You're against sin but for promoting sin. Huh?

I suppose if someone is about to commit murder I should not prevent it. Instead I should step back and say, "Please don't kill?" OK?

No, if someone is going to come into my home, they will not be sharing the same bed. That's basic Christian tradition 101. No Christian I know of would invite unmarried hetersexuals to share a bed with a flaccid request, "Please don't fornicate tonight, OK?"

How stupid do you take us to be, Lakester?

Your logic rises to the level of confused at best.

I'm persuaded. Really I am:)

Charlie

31 January 2011 12:21  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

The Church of England from the English Reformation to the 19th century was Protestant and Reformed. Unfortunately, the Anglo-Catholics and Tractarians came along and hijacked the CofE back in a Papist direction. That is why it has gone liberal as well. The Tractarians are experts at dissimulation, even twisting the Thirty-nine Articles out of context to make them seem Roman Catholic. The 39 Articles are nevertheless totally Reformed and Protestant and in fact condemn both Anglo-Catholic doctrine and Roman Catholic doctrine as in serious "error".

31 January 2011 12:26  
Anonymous Southern Cross said...

I believe you are right, Anonymous, this is simply a waste of time.

However, I will still say this before leaving: do not presume, Mr Ray, that you have made me angry, it would take much more than you depredations to push me on the edge.

I never was an Arminian, which you were at some point of your life if your blog is to be trusted. You lost your pointless wager. In fact, I am a lapsed Roman Catholic in waiting of conversion to Lutheranism. I reject the doctrines of Calvinism as erroneous. You teach total depravity, while I agree that all men sin ("for there is no man that sinneth not" according to King Solomon, 1 Kings 8:40, KJV) and cannot be expected to be ever deserving of God's mercy, I also believe we are saved out of God's love, not because we deserve it, but because He loves us. So far, we do agree that men cannot deserve to be saved, for we are all sinners. Nobody questioned the doctrine of original sin here. You fantasise, in your quixotic quest, about adversaries that do no exist, and you combat mills instead of ideas. You stubbornly believe you are talking to liberals whereas some of the most conservative British commentators gather here, and I have seen none advocating homosexuality so far.

As for the select few that shall be saved according to Calvinists, I believe this is hubris. I feel it is my duty, as a Christian, to tell homosexuals their behaviour is deeply immoral to give them a chance to get a grip. Many before were guilty of considerable sins, such as St Paul who persecuted Christians before joining Christ on the road to Damascus, or Peter who reject our Lord Jesus Christ thrice and was eventually martyred under Emperor Nero. Surely you should also preach to sinners, for Christianity is really more interested in repentance (that is grief for sin and amendment of one's behaviour) than sins (which are intrinsic to men, as you justly pointed out). As someone wrote in some previous comment: "hate the sin, not the sinners". God will judge, not us.

Again, you have cast aspersions on my character. You have shown preternatural aggressivity and lack of understanding. You have cloaked yourself in feinted righteousness, ignoring your most basic duties as a Christian, and giving in to anger (animosity is etched in every one of your harsh words). You have overlooked the fact we agree on the immorality of homosexuality, and we only disagree about how to treat it. There is nothing more to say, really. I shall henceforth abstain from replying, for this is indeed pointless. No wonder His Grace hitherto tacitly declined to debate you. You may have not realised it yet, but no-one is willing to engage you. Blessings.

31 January 2011 12:58  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Southern Cross said:

"As for the select few that shall be saved according to Calvinists, I believe this is hubris."

That's a brilliant straw man. It's untrue since we preach the Gospel all around the world to all races, classes, tribes, nations, genders, and sexual orientations. I'm sorry that you object to the fact that God saves whom He will save.

Luther said the same thing in The Bondage of the Will, by the way. There is no Free Will and God is the deciding factor in conversion, not free will. Even Luther believed in the sovereignty of God in "election" or the choosing of who would be saved:

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.

Sect. 9.—THIS, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, "Free-will" is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert "Free-will," must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them.


That does not remove the fact that God uses the preaching of Law and Gospel to regenerate, convert and justify the elect.

As I said, even the elect deserve hell. How you can pervert and twist this to some "elite" few and a source of pride is beyond me. The idea that we are saved does not bring pride but humility, something you seem to be sorely lacking--especially since you think preaching LAW is somehow "immoral".

Might I remind you that Luther is the theologian behind the Law/Gospel distinction. Luther recognized that the Law condemns us as sinners and drives us to Christ. Only after Law is preached can we get to "Gospel". You seem to focus on a lopsidded preaching on Gospel without law. Such preaching is not Gospel but merely sugar coating.

Christians are condemned by LAW at every step of the way, which is why we need Gospel as much as anyone else.

God promises to save us not because we deserve it or because we've made ourselves part of some "elite" group. No, God promises to save ALL who come to Him in faith. It's hard to see how you can twist that into a source of pride rather than humility.

Sincerely yours,

Charlie

31 January 2011 13:35  
Anonymous Southern Cross said...

"I'm sorry that you object to the fact that God saves whom He will save."

Where did I write that? The meaning of my comment was that Calvinists believe in predestination and that the select few that will be saved are therefore indicated by signs of His grace. I do believe this is a conceited attempt to reassure oneself as to Divine election, but that it is not necessarily an indication of God's pleasure. As for saving whom He will, I entirely agree, otherwise I would be no Christian. Perhaps I should have made that clearer in my previous comment. What I mean is that people who believe they have been chosen lack humility in that they anticipate God's election whereas the choice is only His, and His ways are often beyond the understanding of simple human minds, which is why we study history and Scriptures so intently.

As far as free will is concerned, you must be familiar with the Missouri Synod, a fundamental source of Lutheran doctrine, that states there is no free will in spiritual matters (as you rightly stressed). However, it also proclaims there is free will in matters that reason can comprehend, and even where moral choices are concerned (although we do this with the active help of the Holy Spirit). This means people still have a decision to make between good and evil.

Again, I cannot see why you procrastinate here. My only serious disagreement is on how the select are well-nigh impossible to identify before Judgment Day. Nowhere have I denied that God alone decides who shall be saved. Perhaps I am also partly responsible for that misunderstanding, and should have made myself more plain, but sometimes you also bend my words. As for lacking humility, alas, I am fallible and a human being, so I cannot pretend I am perfect or always up to our Maker's standards, I can only try and hope for His forgiveness.

Blessings.

31 January 2011 14:00  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Southern Cross said,
What I mean is that people who believe they have been chosen lack humility in that they anticipate God's election whereas the choice is only His, and His ways are often beyond the understanding of simple human minds, which is why we study history and Scriptures so intently.

What you really mean is that no can have any assurance of salvation, don't you?

It is a non sequitur to infer that assurance of salvation is somehow automatically a point of pride and arrogance. Those who understand that they deserve hell and could have been cut off have no sense of pride but of great humility.

We ALL could be cut. The fact that we persevere in the faith is God's grace.

Amazing Grace, in fact. Read Newton's hymn again. It is a Calvinist hymn, by the way.

Charlie

31 January 2011 16:04  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Southern Cross,

Before you go creating anymore straw man arguments against Calvinists it would do you well to find out what they really believe. The Westminster Confession of Faith makes it clear that we do not believe humans are robots nor that we have no genuine accountability in the choices we make. God violates the "will" of no man. What He does do is to withhold his gifts from them and He turns them over to do what their own wicked nature provokes them to do: rebel.

Only God can raise the spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:1-3 makes it clear that we were once dead in our sins and trespasses as well.

Sincerely,

Charlie

31 January 2011 16:24  
Blogger Owl said...

Charlie,

I feel really sorry for your brother, but not because he is homosexual.

I also now understand better some of the comments of the gay community concerning their sufferings due to so called christians. Thank you for making this clearer.

Your opinions I acknowledge even though they sound very defensive.

I think you should be a bit more confident in your approach.

Are you sure you are one of the "Elect" or did you just do the electing yourself. You mustn't cheat you know.

On a more serious note, have you tried therapy?

I've been told that sometimes it helps.

31 January 2011 17:44  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Owl, it truly is a pity that you're unfamiliar with the doctrines of the Bible and those of the Protestant Reformation. It's a pity because you cannot possibly understand the Christian worldview and you cannot properly discuss it without creating numerous straw man misrepresentations of it.

First of all, there is a culture war between Christians and the secularists/atheists/socialists/theological liberals. Obviously, you fall on the side of the world. Conservative Christians will not be coerced or forced to accept immorality or false teaching no matter how many laws you might pass to make us and what we believe "illegal" or politically incorrect or out of line with the "doctrines of the totalitarian state".

No amount of your illogical and irrational approval of immorality can ever make it right. It's really no different from the holocaust. You could take the side of the Nazis from here to etenity but genocide would still be immoral.

Simply because the Christian stands against abortion (modern holocaust) and against homosexuality (modern immorality) does not make us "immoral". On the contrary, we are quite willing to die if necessary for the Christian Gospel.

It is good news that God can and does set homosexuals from from their bondage to sin and immorality. You, however, would rather they go to hell and you're quite willing to go with them, all the while persecuting and ridiculing Christianity and the Almighty God who has created you and every living thing.

That's brilliant logic. Or should I say "illogic"?

31 January 2011 17:56  
Blogger Owl said...

Charlie,

I've got to admit it, when you are wrong then you go the whole hog.

You insinuate without knowledge.

You know nothing at all about me and have got just about eveything upside down which doesn't surprise me at all.

Bigoted, insulting, belligerent and feeble minded are just a few of the adjectives which spring to mind when reading your posts.

I meant it quite seriously with the therapy, it might help, if it's not too late.

It is a real pity that such self opinionated and weak minded people like yourself can do so much harm.

31 January 2011 18:31  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Owl, I'm just going by what you have said. Of course I don't know you:)


Obviously if you knew anything at all about the history of the Protesant Reformation, the Bible, or the English Reformation and the Anglican Formularies you would at least have a "clue" about what I've been talking about here.

You haven't.

We're talking two different languages and you haven't understood a thing I have said.

At least Southern Cross is in the ball park. You're somewhere beyond the milky way:)

Charlie

31 January 2011 18:48  
Anonymous len said...

God views the greater part of humanity as spiritually dead.

Unless you are born again of course!

You will never die for your sins, you will die IN your sins,You were born a sinner it is your nature to sin(not very Politically Correct to say this, I know. )

Unless someone is brave enough to tell you the truth ( repent and get saved, Born Again ,Born of the Spirit of God )you will remain a sinner, in your sins!

31 January 2011 19:20  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Mr Ray

'Lakester, your ignorance of basic Christian doctrine and teaching is simply amazing!'

The two points I make are Biblical. Perhaps it's the Lutheran in you that insists on telling everyone that the Bible is your only source of truth and then blithely ignoring great swathes of scripture. Perhaps you can tell me which books you actually count as truth. Obviously not the 'apocrypha' as Luther decided to remove those as inconsistent with his own view of God. How about the other books that he disagreed with, only keeping them in as they were part of the new testament; hebrews, james, jude, revelation? They all claim that faith and works are one and the same, and are both required. Interesting that he might see them as problematic don't you think? Perhaps your personal bible would remove the scripts referring to Christ's love of and association with sinners.

You speak of straw men. I'll provide examples of straw men arguments for your reference.

'You're against sin but for promoting sin. Huh?'

Rather a brilliant simplification. Sadly there was never even an implication of promoting sin.

'I suppose if someone is about to commit murder I should not prevent it. Instead I should step back and say, "Please don't kill?" OK?'

Obviously the logical conclusion of what I wrote. When two people sleep in the same bed there is nothing forcing them to have sex; just ask any married couple. I dare you to tell a Royal Marine or an SAS soldier that sleeping in the same place as others implies sexual contact. Your straw man works on the basis that the homosexual pair.

1) Stated before that they wished to have sex in the bed
2) Are, like psychotic murderers, incapable of reason or reasonability in the face of their actions.

31 January 2011 19:42  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester,

I refer you to the 39 Articles of Religion once again.

The apocrypha are not part of the canon:

Article VI

And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine. Such are these following:

The Third Book of Esdras.
The Fourth Book of Esdras.
The Book of Tobias.
The Book of Judith.
The rest of the Book of Esther.
The Book of Wisdom.
Jesus the Son of Sirach.
Baruch the Prophet.
The Song of the Three Children.
The Story of Susanna.
Of Bel and the Dragon.
The Prayer of Manasses.
The First Book of Maccabees.
The Second Book of Maccabees.


Regarding my ignoring "great swathes of Scripture", that would be your view since I accept the plenary verbal view of Scripture. Your view is that Scripture is broad and sweeping. You get to ignore what doesn't agree with your presuppositions.

I, OTOH, must deal with all the details since Scripture is the very Word of God:

But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:4 ESV)

I think "every word" means just that. Every word. And Paul says "all Scripture" is inspired. Not just the parts you happen to like:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV)

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV)

Charlie

31 January 2011 20:06  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

As for you second argument. I guess you buy the argument that we tell little children when they ask about the birds and the bees? "We found you under a bush!"

Hah!

The idea that civil partners in the homosexual world don't have sex when they sleep in the same bed is childish, Lakester. Even I'm not that naive:)

But it's obvious you're not going to admit the silliness of your argument. Nevermind:)

Charlie

31 January 2011 20:10  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

A Short Catechism for Young Churchmen

By the way, I'm not a Lutheran simply because I accept the Lutheran doctrines of justification by faith alone and the Law/Gospel distinction. Calvinists also accept those doctrines. They are found in the 39 Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms and in the Dutch Reformed "Three Forms of Unity".

You can find links to all of them at my blog.

Sincerely yours,

Charlie

31 January 2011 20:13  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Mr Ray,

Turning the point I made about you against me without any evidence or reason is simply childish. I am not the man who removed books from the Bible because I disagree with them. I take it that all that is found in the Bible is truth. If you had taken the time to actually read any of my posts you could possibly have perceived this by now.

What point do you make about the 39 articles? What makes them truth? They are not scripture; just because they say that 7 books are apocrypha does not make them so. These books were removed despite their being contained within the Jewish scripture at the time the Bible was collated.

If it has failed to come to your attention I do not follow the 39 articles so your argument makes no more sense to me than telling an atheist that something is true because it is in the Bible. If he does not accept that the Bible espouses only truth, then your argument is meaningless.

'The idea that civil partners in the homosexual world don't have sex when they sleep in the same bed is childish, Lakester. Even I'm not that naive'

These straw men are starting to crowd the room Mr Ray; They smell quite strongly of a desperate argument.

'Your straw man works on the basis that the homosexual pair.

1) Stated before that they wished to have sex in the bed
2) Are, like psychotic murderers, incapable of reason or reasonability in the face of their actions.'

Oh deja vu! Yes homosexuals do sometimes have sex, but (shock horror) they don't have to, and (even more shockingly) don't always, and finally (now this will blow your mind) might actually take into account a request not to in someone's house.

Here's the crux of the matter Mr Ray. You would rather stop mixing with these sinners and turn them away from your door, than attempt to ask them to stop sinning, even if only temporarily. The reason homosexuals have a chip on their shoulder about Christianity; the reason there are so many anti-Christian homosexuals; the reason that every Christian is tarred with the brush of 'homophobia' is not because they are so intrinsically evil that they see all that is good as evil and evil as good; it is not because there is a conspiracy in homosexual ranks to destroy all Christianity; it is probably not even because homosexual sex is considered a sin in Christian morality. No, I have come to realise that it is the loudest voices that are heard; the quiet voice of orthodox Christian thought on sin and sinners is ignored; it is people like Fred Phelps who make the news. Your hatred and ironic self-righteousness have caused you to consider homosexuals as evil and anyone who claims they might just be normal sinners as just as bad.

I sometimes wonder why you even care about homosexuality considering that you believe that only the elect are called to salvation. If they were chosen to receive God's grace then surely they would repent without needing to be told they were sinners. Ah, but then if they are called to condemnation, then you are free to despise and belittle them; that makes sense.

31 January 2011 22:03  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester said, What point do you make about the 39 articles? What makes them truth?

They drawn their "most certain warrant from Holy Scripture." No one has removed books from the Bible:)

Jerome and Athanasius both said in the 4th century that the apocrypha were not Scripture. The 39 Articles simply follow the church fathers on that point.

Hello:)

I'm tired of trying to teach you the Bible and the Articles. Enough with the endless questions, straw man fallacies, and non sequiturs:)

Why would I take you as a pope when I have the Bible, the English Reformation, and the English confession of faith in the 39 Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer? And I could throw in here the Westminster Standards and the Dutch Three Forms of Unity.

Charlie

31 January 2011 22:37  
Blogger Owl said...

Charlie,

for once I can agree with a statement from you:

"At least Southern Cross is in the ball park. You're somewhere beyond the milky way"

If possible I would be even further away.

I have no degrees in theology but I spent nine years studying such subjects as "early Christianity", philosophy and psychology because I realised that I had an enormous gap of knowledge in these areas.

I also thought it wise to learn as much as possible about the reformation and the various Christian denominations as I could.

My wife belongs to the Lutheran church so I also took the trouble to find out as much as possible about it.

I found, on this Blog, others with far more knowledge than myself who have helped me to gain insights that I would have been unlikely to have gained by myself.

I listen and try to learn.

You don't.

One day, when you regain sanity, I hope that you will try to make up for the damage you have done to your brother.

I will say a prayer for your recovery tonight.

31 January 2011 22:37  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Lakester said, The reason homosexuals have a chip on their shoulder about Christianity;

Well no. The reason they have a chip on their shoulder about Christianity is better explained by the Apostle Paul and the other Scriptures:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21 ESV)

The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. (Psalm 58:3 ESV)

31 January 2011 22:40  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Owl, if you meant to impress me that you're open to learning by the content of what you have said here, you've not learned much.

You've demonstrated that you knowledge is all from secondary sources. The rule in scholarship is simple enough: Go straight to the horse's mouth. If you want to learn Luther's view, ... how can I say this nicely??? READ LUTHER! If you want to understand the English Reformation, read the documents of that Reformation. The most basic and simple of those are the 39 Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Read the Homilies! Read Cranmer's selected works!

Oh, nevermind. I know you're not that interested in the truth. You'd rather read someone else's "opinion" so you don't have to actually do that much work or thinking for yourself. So be it.

Charlie

31 January 2011 22:44  
Blogger Owl said...

Charlie,

You're outdoing yourself again.

I think it's called opening your mouth and putting your foot in it.

When I started to learn about the reformation, I started with the 39 articles, what else.

When I first read the 95 theses of Martin Luther, I read the originals in German because I am also fluent in this language.

Your insinuations are as obnoxious as ever and as incorrect as ever.

I have no need or wish to impress you, I just wishes to stop your unjust and unfounded accusations.

I am perfectly aware that many of the bloggers here have a better knowledge and understanding of the subject. Unfortunately your myopic views disqualify you completely.

The only thing I could learn from you is hate. It appears to be burning you up.

You sound more like an indoctrinated robot, no thinking and less understanding but an enormous monotonous ego.

So be it.

31 January 2011 23:19  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Owl, I'm not the one using the word "hate" and "bigot", etc.

Maybe it you who hate?

What I do hate is what the Bible says I should hate: evil.

Obviously, if you read all that you claim, then you should have a clue about what the English Reformation was about.

Since you're reading those documents from a revisionist perspective you don't get it that my view is in line with what they teach in their own historical context.

It's really sad that you hate me and the conservative Christians so much, Owl:)

I don't hate you. I pity you since you're unable to think for yourself. Instead you must go along with what's popular.



Charlie

1 February 2011 00:32  
Blogger Owl said...

Charlie,

Thanks for the laugh.

I don't hate you at all, I feel sorry for you.

But more for your brother.

1 February 2011 00:50  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Well, yes, I feel sorry for my brother, too. His friends are all dying from AIDS. I'm concerned he will be next.

I know two gay men from my high school days who are also dead because of AIDS.

Did it ever occur to you that the homosexual lifestyle is self-destructive?

Nah, I guess not. The blind following the blind.

Charlie

1 February 2011 00:59  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

charlie ray said 1 February 2011 00:59

Mr Ray

It appears you have fallen into a common trap here on this blog.

You will be challenged by Roman Catholics pretending they are protestant.
They will use multiple names to confirm what they say in another name, or try to humiliate your statement in a new name.
It is likely the same person. Sad I know but that's how it plays!

You are making statements but not asking the correct questions once they respond that will reveal this to you.

Hope this helps in future.

So Says KINGOFHIGHCS

1 February 2011 20:57  
Blogger Charlie J. Ray said...

Thanks for the heads up. But I think they got a whole lot more theology than they bargained for:)

1 February 2011 22:55  
Blogger Owl said...

King,

That's not very Christian of you to make fun of Charlie.¨

I think he is quite serious, even when a bit odd, and he can't be expected to understand British humour.

Mind you, that one about the Catholic with multiple personalities was pretty good.

1 February 2011 23:49  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

owl said 1 February 2011 23:49

'Mind you, that one about the Catholic with multiple personalities was pretty good.'

Or should I say COUNT JIM MORIARTY?

(Wasn't wrong though, WAS I?. It's all a MR.E is it not?. What next, which religion/creed have you not got a 'Voice' for. Peter Sellars would be green with envy!)

Sapristi nabolis !
Ha Ha

So Says KINGOFHIGHCS

2 February 2011 02:24  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

owl (and others??) said 1 February 2011 23:49

I know it's not a box of Clozaril but I hope this helps?

http://www.szmagazine.com/e107_plugins/contactform_menu/contactform.php

Get well soon

So Says KINGOFHIGHCS

2 February 2011 03:00  
Blogger Owl said...

Excellent Mr. K.

Mr. R is certainly getting an education in higher crutty French schlappers.

I don't believe Mr. S joined the green party. I think Mr. Welsh S and Mr. M and Mr. B joined him in the grey party. I'm sure their still having a good laugh.

Best wishes,

The trinity of four or more

2 February 2011 17:44  
Blogger KINGOFHIGHCS said...

Owl said 2 February 2011 17:44

The thought that really scares me is that we are the only 2 who frequent this blog regularly (with the few choice exceptions of the blog wanderers).

With myself, giving comments whilst at home, whereas you (and therefore your alter egos) are in a high security facility for the criminally insane and with access to a computer and the internet.

Quid Pro Quo Mr Lecter?

Ha Ha

So Says KINGOFHIGHCS ;)

2 February 2011 19:24  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

You wrote:

'If homosexual guests call at your B&B, there is little point passively sticking a Gideon’s Bible in their bedside table, leaving ‘Jesus loves you’ tracts dotted about the breakfast table, or sermonising at check-in'.

How will you know they are homosexual?

'The only just action is to show them love, patience, kindness, goodness, humility…'.

And to provide them with facility?

3 February 2011 09:48  

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