Friday, July 29, 2011

Andrew Sullivan: the Church of England is gone

There is a thought-provoking (and beautifully-written) article on The Sunday Times website by Andrew Sullivan, who has returned to the UK to find it not quite as he remembers. This quoted section is worthy of some reflection:
...

What’s gone, of course, is the C of E. Religion itself appears to have been wiped from the cultural map in Britain in ways unimaginable in faithful America. This, to my mind, is a tragedy, for a society without some relationship to the transcendent can become simply boorish and myopic. But, again, I see the merits of secularism more clearly now. It takes constant exposure to American fundamentalism to feel relieved by the prosaic dismissal of the spiritual by the English. And again, I wonder whether this has really, truly changed. Anglicanism, as it was founded by the first Queen Elizabeth, was always about the blurring of doctrinal difference, the aversion to looking into others’ souls, the modesty of a limited spiritual imagination epitomised by the Book of Common Prayer.

An old don of mine once remarked that he supported the Church of England as a bulwark against religion. He had a point. And, yes, I know evangelicalism is on the march in England. But take it from me: it has a huge, long way to go. And an occasional, real, vibrant debate about what is existentially true could add some colour to the shades of grey in England’s tepid spiritual conversation.
With these brief observations, Andrew Sullivan identifies the spiritual essence of what it is to be English, and what it used to be to live in England. But when he talks of 'religion', he must mean Christianity, for religion per se has certianly not been 'wiped off the map'. Unless His Grace is hallucinating.

78 Comments:

Anonymous tony b said...

Perhaps he hadn't visited Leicester.

29 July 2011 at 20:20  
Blogger Span Ows said...

"...the modesty of a limited spiritual imagination epitomised by the Book of Common Prayer."

Indeed. And simple wooden pews etc. No gold, no jewels, no baubles.

"Unless His Grace is hallucinating."

Most definitely not.

29 July 2011 at 20:34  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

"...the modesty of a limited spiritual imagination epitomised by the Book of Common Prayer."

Unless one is a Prayer Book Catholic. And to think there is such a thing as as an Anglican Patrimony much admired by Pope Benedict.

Cranmer meets Rome in the Ordinariate!

29 July 2011 at 21:26  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

I know a Pastor who is invited out to Chicago every year, they cannot get enough of the Brits over yon.

We enjoy a conflab from time to time, there are things I see in the Bible never occured to them but in their eyes I am backsliding.

Myself though, when confronted with a couple of Mormons in the street the other week, managed to convert them to the idea Britain was the true Holy Land.

They got the spirit of my ministry, when I explained how the Sword of the Spirit must be pulled from the Firestone in Flintshire and thrust up into the Spiritual Sky, it brought tears to theirs eyes.

72 converts returned to Utah on a Quest for the Once and Future King.

Keep it pure YG, our folk cannot see the wood for the trees but surely at the core of their very being they will be called back to truth.

29 July 2011 at 22:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old 'tight buns' knows nothing of American religion.

29 July 2011 at 22:40  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

"Anglicanism, as it was founded by the first Queen Elizabeth, was always about the blurring of doctrinal difference, the aversion to looking into others’ souls, the modesty of a limited spiritual imagination epitomised by the Book of Common Prayer."

Is this a reasonable summation of Anglicanism?

A blurring of doctrines - resulting in wide differences about interpretation and application.

Aversion to looking into the souls of others - resulting in a failure to be consistently critical and outspoken about unChristian behaviours.

Modesty in spiritual imagination - reducing the joyous expression of God's greatness in song, art, ritual and buildings.

Is the really Anglicanism?

Maybe I've completely misunderstood, as I have in the past. If so, I'm sure I'll be corrected.

29 July 2011 at 23:39  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"Modesty in spiritual imagination - reducing the joyous expression of God's greatness in song, art, ritual and buildings"

Nice come back Dodo!

Where did the Perpetual Choirs go and although I do not propose a Roman Catholic view, I certainly support a true Brit Heritage.

30 July 2011 at 00:02  
Anonymous carl jacobs said...

This, to my mind, is a tragedy, for a society without some relationship to the transcendent can become simply boorish and myopic. But, again, I see the merits of secularism more clearly now.

By which he means "I really appreciate being free of the moralism, but life once removed from the transcendent collapses into meaninglessness." What he wants is a soft vaporous connection to the Transcendent. Something not too morally demanding and devoid of exclusive answers. He wants to relish in the ego gratification of the intellectual quest for answers that do not exist. He wants to think great thoughts about metaphysics. He wants to explore without boundaries. Mostly he wants to speak by his own authority. Somewhere out there is something hidden that we all call 'God' and he wants to uncover that something according to his own lights.
The finite seeks to explain the infinite. He wants TEC, in other words. A nice non-demanding liberal religion built upon a foundation of doubt and presumed human goodness.

He is welcome to it. A few intellectuals find it appealing. Most people have better things to do than chew on their metaphysical angst.

carl

30 July 2011 at 00:05  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

carl jacobs

An insightful summation of the secularisation of religion and the morality of Andrew Sullivan.

30 July 2011 at 00:24  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

carl jacobs

Of course, we must acknowledge, he was responding to the protestent fundamentalism gripping parts of the USA which you must know about.There is fundamentalism and there is Fundamentalism.

From this side of 'the pond' it looks like the prostestant ethic is reaching a crisis in the USA -spiritually, socially, politically and economically. You will know my social principles, broadly Christian Democrat in the European sense, and I see America as epitomising the worst of the flaws in liberal-democracy.

30 July 2011 at 00:34  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"A nice non-demanding liberal religion built upon a foundation of doubt and presumed human goodness"

Yes, he wants us to dismiss the Noble Savage and accept Ignoble Beast.

30 July 2011 at 00:48  
Blogger English Viking said...

O, to have had a 'Don'.

What I might have been, if only?

30 July 2011 at 02:44  
Blogger English Viking said...

Tony B,

I have been to Leicester.

I will not, of my own volition, go there again.

What at a stinking shit-hole.

Full of Pakis.

(Am I allowed to say that?)

30 July 2011 at 02:47  
Anonymous carl jacobs said...

Dodo

There is fundamentalism and there is Fundamentalism.

Not to Andrew Sullivan. He doesn't think of fundamentalism as a set of doctrines, but as a relationship to Truth. To him I am as much a fundamentalist as Jerry Falwell.

I see America as epitomising the worst of the flaws in liberal-democracy.

I'm not sure what this means. The problems in America all stem from the same virus infecting Europe - the moral vacuum left behind by secularism. Limited Gov't only works if the population is broadly virtuous. It must act to restrain its own passions. The Founding Fathers all knew this. They understood the necessary role religion would play in the success of the American form of Gov't. Secularism is destroying the necessary precondition for limited Gov't by destroying the idea of restraint.

carl

30 July 2011 at 03:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think many people have a tendency to blame secularism rather than oriental influence or islamism or other oriental culture for the declining state of Church of England. Whether people believe in god or not, Church of England should progress according to its community needs and according to its original decent western cultural needs, that is, if it is not infiltrated by other worse ideology from the east, such as islam.

WLIL

30 July 2011 at 04:20  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

There are so many individuals now making up their own theories and denying obedience to Our Lord. The result has been, in the political arena, a massive departure from Christianity and more and more the imposition of secularism. We should not be surprised. We have legalized divorce, tolerated pornography, promoted homosexuality, invested in corrupt financial systems, abolished the Sabbath, slaughtered millions by abortion, genetically modified the language of life, created human animal hybrids etc. These are the things the people of our nation have been complicit in because we have been so passive towards political leaders and generally voted for our financial interests rather than out of our Christian convictions. When we abandon Christ in the way we vote we get the leaders who will abandon Christ more and more and we will have a nation of people all proposing a different philosophy generally based on their addictions. It is because of our disunity and unwillingness to truly follow Christ that we are weak in the face of the cancer of Islam. We were told at Fatima that wars are the result of the sinfulness of mankind. We have got to get our own house in order before we can hope to convert the world but I think most people on this blog agree that peace and stability in society will only come about by a return to Christ the prince of peace.

30 July 2011 at 05:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Viking: "I have been to Leicester. I will not, of my own volition, go there again. What at a stinking shit-hole. Full of Pakis. (Am I allowed to say that?)"

I really like Leicester, in part because of its diversity. Were you mistaking Indians for Pakistanis, I wonder? Anyway, it has a good rail link to London and the M1 close by. It's got some nice historical artefacts from Roman remains, a motte and bailey castle mound, through a medieval guild hall, to Victorian facades. The modern city centre is good too, and the surrounding countryside and villages are often lovely.

From the article quote: "An old don of mine once remarked that he supported the Church of England as a bulwark against religion. He had a point. And, yes, I know evangelicalism is on the march in England. But take it from me: it has a huge, long way to go."

I'd probably support it too if it were still like that. It's the more recent evangelicalism that puts my back up politically. Sure, members of the CofE might feel threatened by Islam in particular but becoming assertive hasn't won many friends, I'd say. Quite the opposite.

By the way, I watched the 3rd episode of Rageh Omaar's Life of Mohammed thing last night. What a pile of crap! It was all: slow, slow, quick (as he skates over the controversies), back to slow with emotive music. The most annoying thing was how he dug up all the Western academics and converts to try to give it (I reckon) a more acceptable feel to the audience. I can't be doing with sly stuff like that.

30 July 2011 at 06:40  
Blogger len said...

The Christianity which started as a relationship with Christ has become so lost in religion as to be unrecognisable from its roots.
Paul tells Timothy in his second letter what it will be like in the last days:

2 Tim 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
..................
The sad thing is that this is describing 'Christians'or those who claim to be Christians.
Satan was unable to destroy Christianity at the outset so his next best plan was to contaminate it and render it void by introducing pagan practices into what was officially recognised as 'christianity'.
The true Church went underground and ran a parallel course to the false church but is emerging today persecuted and oppressed but supported and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

30 July 2011 at 07:35  
Anonymous Tony B said...

I like the Church of England, except the evangelical wing which irritates me. A middle-of-the road Anglican service is just about perfect. The evangelical services are annoyingly modern and happy-clappy silly. I quite like an Anglo-Catholic service too - possibly because I was brought up a Catholic.

I cannot throw myself into it, but I think it would be very sad were it to disappear.

Viking, that was kind of what I meant really.

Judging by those station names..Hurst Green, Woldingham, etc he must have used the same train line as me..

30 July 2011 at 07:59  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Len, If you read again Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation it is clear that there never was a time of pristine perfection for the Church. Looking back through history we see that the Church of all times has had to deal with the same sort of thing we are grappling with now and the testimony of the Old Testament is the same. When Jesus was here the Jewish people welcomed him into jerusalem as the Messiah but although Jesus condemned the Scribes and Pharisees he told the people that they still had to follow what they teach (not their example) because they occupied the chair of Moses. In the modern day we have to ask nowadays who occupies the chair of the apostles? Chesterton says: 401 It is wildly unfair for instance, to quote the letters of bishops and such authorities denouncing the sins of [medieval] monastic life, violent as they often are. They cannot possibly be more violent than the letters of St Paul to the purest and most primitive churches … Christianity is not a creed for good men but for men. Such letters … do not prove so much that there were bad abbots as that there were good bishops. Moreover, even those who profess that the monks were profligates dare not profess that they were oppressors; there is truth in Cobbett’s point that where monks were landlords, they did not become rack-renting landlords and could not become absentee landlords.
The Bodley Head, G. K. Chesterton

30 July 2011 at 08:35  
Anonymous IanCad said...

Mr. Shacklefree @ 08:35

Am I correct in gleaning from your post that the writings of G. K. Chesterton and William Cobbett are among the canons of scripture?

30 July 2011 at 09:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ian Cad

Are the writings of Luther, Zwingli, Knox and Calvin? Not to mention all the current self proclaimed prophets of the 'end times'?

30 July 2011 at 11:09  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

Are you now accepting the writings of St Paul as scripturally authentic? A little while ago you suggested he may have been inspired by Satan!

30 July 2011 at 11:11  
Blogger len said...

Dod,
All things should be tested by scripture and examined closely(like the Bereans).
You might find it enlightening to do the same.

30 July 2011 at 11:32  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

The 'Bereans' deny the doctrine of the Trinity - don't they?

The Bereans, according to scripture, received the word of God with all readiness and searched scripture daily to verify the teaching of the Apostles.

First you question St Paul's writings, as I understand it they are central to Berean beliefs, and now the Trinity!

I feel no need to scour the bible in search of verification of 2000 years of Catholic teaching. I do read the bible and reflect on its personal meaning and application to my life.

30 July 2011 at 12:00  
Anonymous Philip said...

Blurring of Biblical doctrine and morality is the last thing we need - as this era of moral confusion and chaos demonstrates. Rather the certainty of Biblical revelation contained in the reformed protestant Christian religion of our constitution and heritage.

30 July 2011 at 13:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dodo the Dude said...
"Anglicanism, as it was founded by the first Queen Elizabeth, was always about the blurring of doctrinal difference, the aversion to looking into others’ souls, the modesty of a limited spiritual imagination epitomised by the Book of Common Prayer."

Is this a reasonable summation of Anglicanism?

A blurring of doctrines - resulting in wide differences about interpretation and application.

Aversion to looking into the souls of others - resulting in a failure to be consistently critical and outspoken about unChristian behaviours.

Modesty in spiritual imagination - reducing the joyous expression of God's greatness in song, art, ritual and buildings.

Is the really Anglicanism?

Maybe I've completely misunderstood, as I have in the past. If so, I'm sure I'll be corrected.

29 July 2011 23:39

30 July 2011 at 13:42  
Blogger len said...

Dodo,
You are too frightened and intimidated by the Catholic Church to question their integrity and the validity of what they teach.'Grow a pair' is the modern terminology I believe.
If your belief system cannot hold up to honest questioning then it cannot be worth having(In my humble opinion)
Don`t tell me you have examined Catholic theology because all you ever do is say 'there is no problem' which is an ostrich like behaviour( befitting for someone who uses a bird with little survival instinct as a symbol.

30 July 2011 at 14:16  
Anonymous Oswin said...

''...the Church of England as a bulwark against religion'' - my view entirely! However, I don't believe 'religion' means 'Christianity' - but 'excess'.

Elizabeth had it right, and any departure has lead to turmoil and bloodshed.

All hail the C-of-E as it should be. If it ain't as it should be, then change it until it is, as it was meant to be!

30 July 2011 at 14:56  
Blogger English Viking said...

Len,

I thought you suspected Paul of having fallen prey to the same demonic deception as Mo?

30 July 2011 at 15:33  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

Go on come clean. Answer English Viking about Paul. And, while you're at it, let us know your views on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

Sorry, no good insulting me, you're losing all credibility with me.

I've read the Cathecism, read a wide variety of encyclicals and, yes, surprise, surprise, I have read the bible and questioned Catholic theology - for over 40 years of questioning, all told.

Just because I walk a different Christian path doesn't mean I'm not being faithful to the message of Christ. What makes you so sure you are?

30 July 2011 at 15:43  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin said ...
"All hail the C-of-E as it should be. If it ain't as it should be, then change it until it is, as it was meant to be!"

Just what is 'Anglicanism' as it should be? Is it doctrinally fluid? Morally 'non-judgemental' and silent? Is sspiritual expression restricted and dull?

I asked yesterday but noone has answered.

30 July 2011 at 15:51  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

The last paragraph reminds me of a character in Tom Jones (I can't remember which):

"When I say religion, I mean the Christian religion; and not just the Christian religion, but the Protestant religion; and not just the Protestant religion, but the Church of England".

30 July 2011 at 16:34  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Thwackum

30 July 2011 at 16:39  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

IanCad, the writings of G. K. Chesterton are definitely not in scripture but if you read him you will find them most definitely in conformity with scripture as well as being remarkably well written to boot. As a Scotsman I can say he is one of my English heroes.

Philip, If the Reformed tradition is so clear and certain how is it that division has been the most obvious characteristic of the Protestant Reformation.

Len, I have examined Catholic theology in my own way (not being an expert) and if you want to read my book "The End of Heresy", published by Authorhouse.com I think you will find extensive Biblical justification. Let's have a debate by all mean instead of accusations.

30 July 2011 at 17:21  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Dodo the Dude @ 15:51

I'll settle for ''England's tepid spiritual conversation'' with the occasional elements of ''real, vibrant debate''

The C-of-E should be again, the bulwark against religious excess. It holds a place for everyone; enough ought to be sufficient.

30 July 2011 at 18:03  
Anonymous Tony B said...

" It holds a place for everyone"

everyone, or everyone middle-class and Tory?

30 July 2011 at 18:36  
Blogger English Viking said...

Tony,

As you might have guessed by now, I'm not Mr. Popular, but I have always found a warm welcome at my local (C of E, not pub) and, strangely enough given the ABC's non-sensical rantings, decent, sound exegesis,

If they can find a place for me, surely they'll find one for anyone?

PS No, Dodo, I'm not C of E, but my faith does not prevent me from entering a C of E 'church', although it does prevent me from entering one of yours. Spooky!

30 July 2011 at 19:05  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

English Viking

On my travels I often attend Anglican services. What strikes me is the vast differences within it.

Some churches are actually more Catholic in appearance than my own local parish - candles, statues, icons to Mary etc. Some are as empty and cold as my local veterinary surgery. Some are all music, clapping and 'praise the Lord'.They don't seem to follow any particular common litergy and many of the vicars tend to talk more than Catholic priests.

SoI quess it depends on what your 'local' is like. Does Norway have a large CofE communion?

30 July 2011 at 20:42  
Anonymous tony b said...

Dodo,
There are Evangelical churches within Anglicanism, the happy clappy sort. And there are Anglo Catholic where you would see little difference to a Roman Catholic service, and then there is the rest. I've had a dose of all three. I don't like the happy clappy sort much but enjoy the others.

30 July 2011 at 21:10  
Anonymous tony b said...

Viking, what is your faith if you don't mind my asking? I've often wondered.

Are there Anglican churches in Stavanger, or wherever it is you are, or did you men when in England etc?

30 July 2011 at 21:13  
Anonymous tony b said...

One interesting thing about Mr Sullivan is his indecisive relationship with facial hair

30 July 2011 at 21:16  
Blogger English Viking said...

Dodo and TB

I meant when I was in England. As far as I am aware (and I could be wrong, it's not unusual) there is zero C of E representation here. BTW I live about 900 miles away from Stavanger, although I have been there, and a jolly nice town it is.

The closest thing is the Lutheran 'church', which has gone all lovey-dovey to queers and perverts, abandoning the faith of its fathers in favour of political correctness. The only times I go there is for funerals.

TB

I don't mind you asking, just a little surprised you hadn't worked it out by now.

I am Christian.

30 July 2011 at 22:43  
Blogger English Viking said...

Shacklefree,

I speak as a most ardent opponent of catholicism when I say that what I have read of Chesterton, so far, is gospel truth.

A very clever man, who had grasped the most precious idea of conveying truth in the least words possible.

I'm also rather partial to Belloc.

Perhaps I'm backsliding?

30 July 2011 at 22:51  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

English Viking

It may surprise you to learn my daughter was recently married in an Episcopalian church. A beautiful, beautiful service conducted by an Episcopalian Canon.

This means she is now out of communion with the Roman Catholic Church and her marriage is not recognised by it. Does it concern me?

No! She has accepted Christ into life and has made her life long bows before Him. This, tome, was far more important than the denomination.

And you think you may be backsliding!

30 July 2011 at 23:11  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

That is vows and bows!

30 July 2011 at 23:12  
Blogger English Viking said...

Dodo,

Then you are a very bad Catholic, and therefore a fairly decent chap.

Do you live in that dreadful place, America?

I assume that's what you mean by 'episcopalian'.

Perhaps C of E?

Whatever, it cheers me to know that your children do not carry the same affliction.

31 July 2011 at 00:01  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

English Viking

Now that's very cheeky!

Actually, and do keep this to yourself, I live in Scotland, hence the Episcopalian church. A wonderful church and a sincere and welcoming Canon. I really hey immense spiritual joy from attending services at his church too.

I raised all of my children as Roman Catholics but also encouraged them to think critically about their faith. When they didn't want to attend Mass as they grew older I ever imposed Catholicism on them.

Thankfully, all still believe in Jesus Christ. Each expresse their belief in different ways. They have different intellectual understandings of Christianity but do know Him and His message.

Are they 'saved'? I don't know. Do they need to be 'born again;? Who knows. Is it necessary for them to figure out all the nuances of theology and doctrines? I don't think so. Should they be Roman Catholics? That is between them and God Himself.

They're still young - well younger than me!

God Bless.

31 July 2011 at 01:02  
Blogger English Viking said...

Dodo,

God bless you and Yours.

I know how difficult it is to try to raise young ones in the faith.

God bless you, in spite of your heresies.

PS C'mon. we all know Rangers are best.

31 July 2011 at 01:25  
Anonymous Tony B said...

Viking: "I don't mind you asking, just a little surprised you hadn't worked it out by now."

Now, you are naughty. You said to Dodo "I'm not C of E, but my faith does not prevent me from entering a C of E 'church', although it does prevent me from entering one of yours."

You've defined your faith there as something more specific than "Mere Christianity", that's what I was getting at.

31 July 2011 at 07:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Butting in to your new, loved-up relationship, I want to use this as a launch pad for something: "This means she is now out of communion with the Roman Catholic Church and her marriage is not recognised by it."

I wonder how people would feel if a Roman Catholic B&B turned non-Catholic married couples away at the doorstep with their suitcases who had booked a weekend there not realising that the owners were Catholic and had a married-only policy in the small print of their website.

31 July 2011 at 07:54  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

English Viking, Why is it you are so opposed to Catholicism? Is it for doctrinal or spiritual reasons. I say that because you have indicated you are a Rangers supporter and unfortunately some so called Christians identify their religion more with a football team than with Christ and very rarely go to Church. Their allegiance to the Church seems to be more to do with hating Catholics than for love of Jesus and what he did for us. Also I'd like to know if you consider Catholicism to be worse than Islam.

31 July 2011 at 08:05  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, EV ,

Unlike many who practice religion I do not have a 'blind faith'.
I question everything, and want to know the 'why'of everything.
Much of what is taught in 'Christianity' comes from the teachings of Paul.Sometimes Paul seems to contradict Jesus.
All the disciples were chosen by Jesus even Judas.
Paul is an Apostle by his own 'authority'.The Bible says that a thing is confirmed by TWO WITNESSES.
John announced Jesus , and God confirmed Jesus`s authority.
So if (as he did ,apparently)Paul contradicts Jesus, Paul`s words ,and his authority must be scrutinised.
Why is Paul not mentioned in Revelation?.
Jesus said to the Church at Ephesus
'You have tested those who claim to be Apostles and have found them liars'.
Who was that?

31 July 2011 at 10:23  
Blogger len said...

Not for me to speak for E V but as one who is opposed to Islam and Catholicism(and some branches of the Protestant faith) I will add my contribution.

The Islamic 'Jesus' the Catholic 'Jesus'and in some cases the Protestant 'Jesus ' are not the Biblical Jesus at all but a 'made up' Jesus according to their traditions, Popes ,and 'prophets'.

There is a parody of 'religion' called 'Christendom'which has gathered and entrapped countless million in its clutches.The foundations of 'Christendom ' are being shaken and its starting to come apart.In the House built on sand there are those who are still clutching on to the 'House' stating that it is a 'good house' and in complete denial of its shaky, insecure, foundations.Great will be its fall and many will be crushed if they do not get out of 'Her' in time.

31 July 2011 at 10:36  
Blogger len said...

Dodo,
The Trinity.

According to Catholic tradition the trinity is a' mystery'.
In other words they cannot explain or understand what they are saying?Just accept this because the Pope says so?.
...............
I have a body, a soul, and a spirit,so does this make me a trinity, am I three separate persons?

.............
But what about the Trinity? Many millions believe that God consists of three distinct persons or entities—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—in one being. How do we choose between explanations regarding the nature of God?
Simply stated, only the Scriptures can give us the true answer. The fact that the word Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible also gives us reason to reflect. We must not cling to long-held religious traditions if they contradict the Scriptures. Our beliefs must rest solidly on the teachings of the Holy Bible. Jesus declared that God's word is truth (John:17:17; compare Psalm:119:160).

"The term 'Trinity' is not itself found in the Bible. It was first used by Tertullian [one of the early Catholic church theologians] at the close of the 2nd century, but received wide currency and formal elucidation only in the 4th and 5th centuries" (1996, "Trinity").

I can go into this further if you wish and His Grace will tolerate us straying from the issue at hand(again)


Incidentally it is the whole issue of the 'Trinity 'which makes Muslims so hostile to Christianity as they assume that Christians are worshipping three' Gods'.



WV (unian)trying to tell us somthing?

31 July 2011 at 10:56  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

len, Are you then a Unitarian? Sometimes in this blog it is difficult to know where people are coming from and it is true that Muslims accuse us of worshiopping three Gods and yes it is difficult to understand. So is the idea that God became man or that the Holy Spirit descended at pentecost and that all the people assembled there heard the apostles talking to them in their own language. Not understanding something is what we expect sometimes when we are talking about spiritual matters. However, Jesus talks about Father, Son and Spirit quite explicitly; He said I and the Father are one; He said before Abraham was I AM which as you may know was the name God attributed to himself when speaking to Moses thus making him the equal of the Father. There are biblical reason for the doctrine of the Trinity and simply to say that it is all nonsense because the word does not appear, is an inadequate justification. God expects us to use our reason rather than parroting some verbal formula. If you think that is unjust please explain what Jesus meant when he spoke about Father, Son and Spirit and what he mean when he said I will send the Holy Spirit. Be careful, Jesus said a sin against the Spirit cannot be forgiven

31 July 2011 at 11:26  
Anonymous IanCad said...

Len,
True, the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible. Neither is the word "Rapture" They both define established Biblical doctrines. The former the magnificence of the Godhead and the latter a total perversion (or parody) of the return of Christ. Particularly emphasised in the US evangelical churches with their embrace of the "Left Behind" theology.
To my mind the simplest description of the Trinity is in the prayer:
"There are not three incomprenhesibles, not three uncreated: but one uncreated and one incomprehensible."
Touching on the two witnesses and Paul's authority, certainly Luke and Christ should suffice with Ananias as backup.
Paul is not mentioned in Revelation but I see no conflict in the writings of Paul and John. The "liars" at the church of Ephesus were surely the Nicolatanes.
You wrote: "We must not cling to long-held religious traditions if they contradict the Scriptures."
So right indeed; the Bible is an account of the waywardness of man in which the majority is nearly always wrong.
False teachings must be exposed. What about Original Sin, Sunday Worship, The Nature of Christ, Eternal Hell, Once Saved Always Saved and other unbiblical doctrines which are taken as gospel.

31 July 2011 at 13:23  
Blogger len said...

The' sin which will not be forgiven' is to deny the Holy Spirit.

Since salvation is accessed through the Holy Spirit this makes sense to me.

Paul had a meeting with the Jerusalem Church as he was accused of preaching a different Gospel and spreading a Gospel of Grace and the message that the Law had ended.
This has caused enormous confusion to many people(myself included)
Now as I understand it(correct me if I am wrong)that the Mosaic law ended with Christ ,but Gods Moral Law(The Ten Commandments) remains.
If this assumption is correct then my initial assessment of Paul was wrong.

31 July 2011 at 15:34  
Anonymous Oswin said...

DanJo @ 07:54 :

My only objection would be to the 'small print' and the wasting of my time. I'm in favour of clear and exact adverrtising, is all.

Mind you, were it a Muslim establishment, it would be entirely different; as neither they, or their guests, should be here, dictating anything whatsoever, to anyone. Happy now?

31 July 2011 at 15:54  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

len

Sounds to me that for all your biblical reading you're very confused!

Are yor the writings of Paul or not? For the Holy Trinity or not? I have to say it seems terribly arrogant of you to form your own private opinion of the Gospel and take this as Truth.

31 July 2011 at 16:03  
Blogger English Viking said...

Len,

Peter considered Paul's writing to be scripture.

2 Peter 3:16

31 July 2011 at 16:42  
Anonymous IanCad said...

Len,
Most certainly Paul's "Handwriting of Ordinances" pertained to the Mosaic Laws. These were nailed to the cross.
The Moral Law (Ten Commandments) are for all time. Many modern denominations conflate the two.
The Ten Commandments were placed inside the Ark whilst the laws written by Moses were placed in a pocket outside the Ark.
The Moral Law is the "Law of Liberty" and "The Royal Law."
The Mosaic Laws were written by Moses in a book.
The Moral Law was written by the finger of God on tablets of stone.

31 July 2011 at 17:07  
Blogger len said...

I stand corrected.
Thanks for helping clearing up this(very important) matter .

I am sure there are many who do not totally understand which law was kept and which ceased.

I think it important(vital even) that matters are brought up and into the light that that might be examined and discussed honestly.

I do not claim to have a perfect grasp of theology and will bring any of my thoughts to the light that they might be examined and discussed.

The bottom line is I want to know the truth and will reject anything which doesn`t line up with the truth.
It is a tribute to HG that his blog is a platform for discussion of such things as this.

31 July 2011 at 18:42  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

I concur with Len's last statement.

31 July 2011 at 19:58  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

len

So do you accept Paul's writings as divinely inspired? And what about the doctrine of the Trinity?

31 July 2011 at 20:09  
Blogger len said...

I do accept Paul`s writings as divinely inspired.

I welcome yours(and others) views on the Trinity.

31 July 2011 at 22:40  
Anonymous Ross J Warren said...

I do accept Paul`s writings as divinely inspired.

Although not-infallible, as he is at pains to point out.

1 August 2011 at 12:36  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

It all indicates that the Christian God works through imperfect people and doesn't browbeat them into submission but works through their intellect and their goodness. The Church he founded is not perfect because it consists of sinners. The Old Testament is a catalogue of God complaining about the imperfection of his people but he remained faithful to them. The same has happened through the New Testament times up to the present but he keeps coming back and asking us to reform. Miracles and prophesies did not stop with Jesus but have continued up to the present time and there have been urgent prophesies about the great chastisement to come. Obviously there are different opinions and interpretations about the New testament in this blog but I find it useful to compare the problems God has with us now with the problems he had with the Jews. We are no better than them and we display unfaithfulness just as they did but it is God's consistently and faithfulness that stands out. Nevertheless for all the differences of opinion I think that in general the people in this blog do listen and think about the other points of view.

1 August 2011 at 15:52  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len and Ross J Warren

Are we splitting hairs here?

Do the writings of St Paul carry the same weight as the rest of the books of the Christian Bible?

1 August 2011 at 20:11  
Blogger len said...

What if there was no Paul?

This is hypothetical!.

2 August 2011 at 18:18  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

God alone knows why He chose Paul and inspired him to write what he wrote to reveal His message.

There is Paul - answer the question!

Was his writing from the Holy Spirit and as authoritive as the rest of Holy Scripture?

3 August 2011 at 00:56  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

... and consistent with the rest of Holy Scripture?

3 August 2011 at 00:57  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Without the writing of Paul my father would have remained within Judaism. After serving in Palestine alongside and then fighting both Jews and Muslims he converted to Christianity. It was a process that took some years and was not a 'Road to Damascus' experience.

Central to his conversion was the writings of St Paul. In my opinion, without Paul the Christian sect would have remained an obscure Jewish cult and not become a world wide religion. As a man tradition teaches was an educated Pharisee who was steeped in a knowledge of Jewish Scripture.

Who better for God to choose to show the rational progression from the 'Old' to the 'New' Covenant? A man of religion and theology with a spirit filled revelation and mission to give the Good News to gentiles and Jews alike.

3 August 2011 at 01:42  
Blogger len said...

Dodo,
(22:40)

I am beginning to wonder why you need me to endorse Paul`s writings for you.

3 August 2011 at 23:01  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

Simple really.

You implied his writings were inspired by Satan and you appear to think it contradicts the words of Jesius.

Do you deny this?

4 August 2011 at 00:44  
Anonymous MichaelA said...

Andrew Sullivan writes:

"This, to my mind, is a tragedy, for a society without some relationship to the transcendent can become simply boorish and myopic."

That logically implies that he sees the secularisation process having gone so far in England that it now has NO "relationship to the transcendent".

Surely ++Rowan Williams would be rather distressed by that suggestion!

4 August 2011 at 07:26  
Blogger len said...

Dodo,
As we separate and go our different ways can we both be right or only one of us .?

Time will tell.

4 August 2011 at 13:29  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

About St Paul - only one of us. About other matters - who knows?

4 August 2011 at 21:23  

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