Wednesday, July 17, 2013

By what authority does Caesar impose moral relativism upon the Church?


From the Rev'd Julian Mann:

The recent exchange between Labour MP Ben Bradshaw and the Second Church Estates Commissioner Sir Tony Baldry in the House of Commons has huge potential implications for local parish churches in the Church of England and their ability to shape their communities according to the revealed truth of God.

Thinking Anglicans has helpfully set out the exchange from Hansard on July 4th. It merits very careful reading by anybody concerned about the Christian integrity of parish churches serving local communities around the country:
Ben Bradshaw (Exeter, Labour) What guidance the Church of England plans to issue to parishes and Church schools on pastoral care for same sex couples and their children?

Tony Baldry (Second Church Estates Commissioner; Banbury, Conservative) The House of Bishops issued a pastoral statement before the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force in 2005. I expect that the House of Bishops will want to issue a further statement before the legislation on same-sex marriage comes into force. The House of Bishops is due to consider this December a report on sexuality, chaired by former permanent secretary Sir Joseph Pilling. The work of that group will assist the House of Bishops in its deliberations.

Ben Bradshaw (Exeter, Labour) I am grateful for that reply, because I recently came across a case of a Christian couple in a same-sex relationship and with children in the local Church primary school to whom it was made clear by the local conservative evangelical church that they would not be welcome to worship in it. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that such intolerance and bigotry have no place whatever in the Church of England? When the Church issues guidance, it is very important that that is made quite clear to both parishes and Church schools.

Tony Baldry (Second Church Estates Commissioner; Banbury, Conservative) Of course I agree with the right hon. Gentleman about that. If he would like to give me the details of that case, I will most certainly take it up with the diocesan education officer. Children in Church schools come from a wide variety of family backgrounds, and teachers offer the same compassion and care for all. Each child is valued as a child of God and deserving of the very best that schools can offer. I would not expect any Church school to discriminate against any child, whatever their personal or family circumstances. If any right hon. or hon. Member comes across any instance where he feels that a Church school is in any way falling short of the standards that this House would expect, I hope they will get in touch with me."
Note Mr Bradshaw claimed the same-sex couple in Exeter were debarred by the conservative evangelical church from 'worship'. That claim raises significant issues. Was the couple banned from attending the church? That, in practice, is almost inconceivable in any local Anglican parish church holding a public service of corporate worship. It would only happen in the case of a major breach of the peace.

But it is conceivable that the minister, with the support of his churchwardens, told the couple that Holy Communion was not appropriate for them. Clearly, the claim that the couple were debarred from worship sounds much more sensational and enhances their victim status. But there urgently needs to be clarification in this case as to what precisely the couple were debarred from.

If it was Holy Communion, then the issue here is not primarily that of practising homosexuality. Many of us in the Church of England and more of us in the wider Anglican Communion believe that such practice is contrary to Holy Scripture and therefore disobedient to God. But practising homosexuality is very far from the only sin forbidden by the Word of God. In some cultures - for example The Honduras - being an unrepentant drug dealer might be considered compatible with professing Christian faith. A local church that refused Holy Communion to such a person would certainly be doing the right thing and risking life and limb by so doing.

The issue here is the authority of the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Lord Jesus Christ to exercise due biblical discipline over its members and rightly and duly to administer His Sacraments. The Church of England's own rules, its Canons, with which Sir Tony is no doubt familiar, are very far from advocating a free-for-all at Holy Communion. Canon B16 - Of notorious offenders not to be admitted to Holy Communion - clearly states that worshippers guilty of 'grave and open sin without repentance' should, after due process, be debarred by the local minister from the Lord's Supper.

By what right does Caesar impose moral relativism on the precious Body of Christ meeting locally?

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire.

348 Comments:

Blogger BeeLZeeBub said...

By what right does the church believe it can simply ignore the basic Christian message of love and tolerance.

Not once does Christ mention homosexuality.

17 July 2013 at 08:18  
Blogger David B said...

If the church were to become disestablished, if it were able to back up advertising claims in the same way that commercial companies are obliged to, if it were to lose tax exempt status, which is subsidy by another name, if it were to keep out of education, then there would be no good reason for any government intervention - unless there is something or things that at this early hour of the morning escapes me.

All consummations devoutly to be wished, as Jeeves might say, IMV.

David

17 July 2013 at 08:20  
Blogger David B said...

After writing the post above, I saw something that seems to me relevant in the NSS media feed.

A story in the Daily Mail concerning a judge ordering senior Jehovah's Witnesses to give evidence in a child abuse case, in which they claimed a duty to God not to do so.

Worth looking at, I think

Here is a flavour

"Judge Moreland made an order that the men must reveal what they heard and said: “It is apparent that the three elders who were present when this conversation took place are in possession of relevant evidence as to a point which is of real significance in this case.

'They claim the right of confidentiality, they claim that what they heard said by the defendant during the course of that meeting ought to be subject to privilege, as ministers of religion.'

Judge Moreland refused to withdraw the summonses and said: 'Public interest is clearly in favour of this evidence being given."

I tend to the view that the Judge was right, but I would be interested to see what, if any, is the consensus of opinion among those who comment here.

David



17 July 2013 at 08:29  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

As myself and others have stated Ad Nausem over this same sex issue and the church and its establishments, tis only a matter of time and contrived circumstances before Christ and His are dragged before the new court of Caesar's in Brussels.

Blofeld

BeeLZeeBub
Christ endorsed Moses and scripture on many occasions that deals with sexual immorality and homosexual behaviour and as Ernst has said before, Christ spoke predominantly to a Jewish audience who did not have to be re-directed as to what constituted sin in Yahweh's eyes. They were only too aware of how the unbelieving nations behaved!!

pps

Christ asks for obedience to God's commandments, not tolerance for any scurrilous behaviour committed by sinners, but then you are a devil, are you not, who is looking forward to an extended vacation at the Lake of Fire resort. Don't forget your sin factor 3,000,000 creme.

17 July 2013 at 08:37  
Blogger Richard Watterson said...

"But practising homosexuality is very far from the only sin forbidden by the Word of God"

Good point. How many people has the church debarred from Holy Communion for offences other than loving each other when they are of the same sex?

17 July 2013 at 08:37  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Richard Watterson said...

Dear young man

All society has rules and regulations to maintain order and obedience, these can be for many purposes that we all may disagree with in part. However because this affects those it applies to, hence we have discord.

I imagine that a society of repeat thieves find the Thou shall not steal discriminatory by singling out their behaviour but this does not make their chagrin valid.

How about 'other when they are of the same sex or brother and sister, mother and son, father and daughter etc, etc? May I remind you that homosexuality was against the law as these practices still are..Our laws are relative to each generation and this one appears to be a very immoral one....Where is the love INDEED Hmmm???

E S Blofeld

17 July 2013 at 08:49  
Blogger Richard Watterson said...

Blofeld.

"Our laws are relative to each generation and this one appears to be a very immoral one..."

Right. Whereas in the 19th century, when homosexuality was illegal, we had legal drug trades. Slavery. Extreme poverty...etc etc

17 July 2013 at 09:15  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Oh dear, what a pickle.

I suspect, being an Evangelical Protestant Anglican Church, that this was less about admission to Holy Communion and more about admission to the Church building for praise and worship as, very clearly and openly a gay couple presumably with their children.

They might have done it once - and the other members of the congregation asked the Pastor-Vicar to look in to it... And he probably gave the Evangelical Protestant Biblical line that those practising homosexual acts were only welcome in the Church if they stopped...

Bradshaw's intervention is remarkable, though, because he's basically saying this:
Look, Caesar requires incense to be burnt to him. The Christians came a long and, after much pain and bloodshed for refusing to do so won the battle: First they were decriminalised, later they replaced the worship of caesar. Caesar never really accepted that, though, and, down the centuries tried all sorts of ruses to muscle in on the act - getting turbulent priests killed, setting up Orthodox Churches, and, in England, laying claim to be head of the Church. He didn't require incense to be burnt to an image of his corpulent, gouty, adulterous form - but he required the next best thing:

The worship of Christ would be nationalised - in the very original sense of the word.

If you belonged to the nation you worshipped Christ according to national rules. And, if you didn't do that - then, well, you weren't a real member of the nation - you were a johnny foreigner, a non-comformist, and whole swathes of national life were limited or closed to you. In short - you weren't a REAL English man... Either you were an out and out invasion force of a dangerous international movement that spuriously claimed to have been the body usurped by Caeser. Or you were an internal Fifth Columnist, weakening the Nationalised Church with division and separation and preaching in fields and writing hymns.
Or you were an out and out crazy and deserved to be shipped off to America on the Mayflower...and have a whole continent to trouble as long as you left England in peace.

And that's how Caesar organised things for centuries.
Until something very, very odd happened.
Caesar ended up having taken it over then had to carry on bothering about it even as the vast majority of his subjects no longer could be bothered by it.

The irony of it.

In short - Bradshaw's is one of Henry VIII's progeny.
He's doing nothing different.
Why is this causing surprise?
I can't think of anything more Anglican than being told by Caesar what you can and can't do.

What's un-Anglican in all this is refusing to co-operate. But, of course, please note - Tony Baldry IS going to co-operate. It's the Evangelical Protestants back from the Mayflower who are fishing out of the Anglican boat who aren't co-operating.

Plus ça change...

17 July 2013 at 09:16  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Dear Mr Blofeld, may I ask if the society of repeat thieves referred to in your piece above is a euphemism for Westminster, in which case the zeal in which Praise-Bum Bradshaw is hounding the Church makes perfect sense?

17 July 2013 at 09:17  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear ardenjm...goodness, you do have a point...

17 July 2013 at 09:20  
Blogger Gareth said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again - disestablish the church of England!

17 July 2013 at 09:28  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Mrs Proudie

And expect me to be castigated for making it...

17 July 2013 at 09:29  
Blogger Drastic Plastic said...

I see the professional (and deeply dishonest) gay comment warriors are here. Astro-turf anyone?

No, Christ never mentioned sodomy; nor paedophilia either, come to that, nor any number of revolting vices. He did mention telling the truth, which these campaigners might find rather relevant, since they couldn't care less what Christ taught, and use his name merely to advance their cause (thereby breaking the third commandment).

Atheist homosexual DavidB is probably salivating at the thought getting policemen arresting clergy, breaking up congregations, dragging people into court, fines, taxes and all the other ways in which oppressive regimes use the state to deny freedom of religion. Funny how he doesn't put his name to his hate. But he hangs around the religion blogs, shrieking. Don't you have a life, David?

Back to the article. Good article, Cranmer. It's a surreal exchange, isn't it? Do we really want to go back to the religious persecutions of the 1660's? This must be the first time in 200 years that MP's feel the urge to discuss who may or may not be allowed in church!!

It does highlight the way in which the state is abusing the establishment. Every single bishop appointed since 1997 has been an unbeliever, appointed to make sure that women bishops and sodomites were smoothly introduced.

Christians are a very tolerant lot, so I imagine the case referenced must be another of those where gay "agents provocateurs" deliberately provoke a reaction by parading their vice, in order to go shrieking to the authorities.

How far we have come since "what two perverts do in private is nobody else's business"! It makes you realise that legalising homosexuality was an appalling mistake.

17 July 2013 at 09:32  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

"By what right does Caesar impose moral relativism on the precious Body of Christ meeting locally?"

By those laid down in the 1662 Act of Uniformity and the 1558 Act of Supremacy, presumably.

By virtue of being the established national Church the Church of England has legal duties to all men and women in England which other Churches do not, hence all the hoo-ha about gay marriage exemptions specifically for it.

"If it was Holy Communion..." - excluding someone just from Holy Communion doesn't sound like a very Conservative Evangelical thing to do, since in their theology Holy Communion is one particular service amongst many; they'd either exclude from all or none, I'd have thought.

17 July 2013 at 09:34  
Blogger Gary said...

To the father of lies, three facts:

1. The Bible is the very word of God.
2. Jesus Christ is God.
3. The Bible defines homosexuality as rebellion against God, and condemns all those who rebel against God to hell.

17 July 2013 at 09:34  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear ardenjm, not by me sir, not by me...

17 July 2013 at 09:36  
Blogger David Hussell said...

As a theologically traditionalist Anglican I feel that establishment has many burdens and few blessings. Although I would want to see the arguments set out very clearly before making an unhurried final decision, I generally feel that disestablishment could be an attractive option. But I reserve the right to reconsider that once all the arguments are teased out.

Regarding the homosexual couple, well I feel that all should be allowed to worship, otherwise we are preventing them drawing nearer, but sacraments are well sacraments, and should not be taken by those living lives in open rebellion against revealed Scripture and long established, clear Judaeo-Christian tradition.

17 July 2013 at 09:44  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Do we even know if this is an Anglican church? The Dean seems 'surprised'.

It is possible that this is a simple matter of getting an action condemned by what's called the mainstream church, then using that 'Christian condemnation' to whack a more faithful group of Christians.

Possible - not necessarily what's going to happen, and I can't judge Mr Bradshaw's motives.

17 July 2013 at 09:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Beel.ZeeBub

A classic case - in view of your name - of the Devil quoting scripture for his own ends.

Christ did speak a lot about love. 'Tolerance' is more problematic: can you cite some particular examples you have in mind, so we have something to work on?

And don't forget that Christ also spoke quite a lot about judgement. (I can supply the examples if you really want them: if you don't, I won't waste your time or mine.)

17 July 2013 at 09:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ardenjm:

The most lucid argument for disestablishment I've read in a long time.

I would take issue, though, with the last sentence. The way things are going, this time there really COULD be change.

17 July 2013 at 10:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Beel.ZeeBub

Not once does Christ mention homosexuality.

He doesn't mention the word, it's true, but it is plainly covered in the things he says:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man

"Fornication" includes all kinds of sexual immorality, including homosexual acts.

Jesus also says:

"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Of course the ceremonial and ethnic parts of the Jewish law have already been accomplished in Christ. However, the moral law remains and that condemns homosexual acts.

17 July 2013 at 10:15  
Blogger Albert said...

By what authority does Caesar impose moral relativism upon the Church?

Shouldn't the question be "By what authority does Caesar impose anything on the Church"?

17 July 2013 at 10:16  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Judge Moreland refused to withdraw the summonses and said: 'Public interest is clearly in favour of this evidence being given."

I agree. And it should be required of the abortion abattoirs as well. Each year three to four thousand girls aged 16 or below have abortions. Each girl is a rape victim and a victim of child abuse. But these clinics don't even tell their parents - despite the fact that the vast majority of these abortions will be paid for by tax-payers' money, and are therefore offering a public service, in "clinics" which are classed as charities (the irony!) and are therefore not taxed as commercial companies.

There is no justification for secular/liberal practices being privileged above the law. Especially when they are covering up child abuse and child rape, and especially when they are doing it on an industrial scale.

17 July 2013 at 10:23  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

David B had something here.

"If the church were to become disestablished, if it were able to back up advertising claims in the same way that commercial companies are obliged to, if it were to lose tax exempt status, which is subsidy by another name, if it were to keep out of education, then there would be no good reason for any government intervention"

There's a similar issue in the US at present with the RCC involving itself in politics (to the point where a large quantity of money donated by the faithful has been diverted to political lobbying) and which is currently being used by certain other people with a different agenda to challenge the tax exempt status of the RCC in America since one of the criteria for said tax exempt status is that they can't interfere in the political approach. It's a huge mess.

Albert, in a situation where Sharia law and the law of the land were at odds, which one do you think should take precedence? Exactly. This is the problem.

Now, all that said, I'd like to know a lot more about the circumstances of this particular incident before making a judgement. I can't imagine I'm the only one here who thinks there's a lot more to it than a same-sex couple being turned away at a church door....

17 July 2013 at 10:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Sr T,

I wonder if we are at crossed-purposes. There's a major difference between the state expecting agencies to comply with the law, when it come to issues like criminality, and the state presuming to tell a church who can receive communion.

17 July 2013 at 10:32  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Perhaps a better example would be this.

A couple wish to marry in a Catholic church. One of them is a divorcee. The priest (quite rightly) explains to them that without an anullment he cannot marry them.

Now - my reading of the situation is this.

The RCC has no right to prevent that couple going and getting a civil marriage. That is their right under the laws of this land.

The State has no right to attempt to force the Catholic priest to marry them. His refusal is his right under the provision of freedom of religion.

Now, where does this incident with this same-sex couple fall? That's why I think we need the full facts of this case.

17 July 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@The Explorer

Oh, I'm not sure at all that I favour disestablishment in the current climate - not sure at all.

It would be used to attack the monarchy which, as much as I regret its persistence in heretical doctrine is, nevertheless, a force for continuity, stability and tradition.

And is part of that wider cultural attack on institutions that we've seen since the 1960s.
Needless to say, as a Catholic, I'm all too conscious of how the Church is hated by the world. What's fascinating from a historical point of view (and horrifying from a believer's point of view) is how, principally, in the Catholic Church at least the real, lasting damage done to the Church has been caused by its own members: Priests and Bishops... the "mystery of iniquity" at work in the Church...
Dreadful to behold.

So, no, on balance, I'm not for the disestablishment of the Church of England at all - but, of course, the irony is that it is inevitable.
Having been started and predicated and continued all down its history in subservience to Caesar: when Caesar says "And now we will privatise you since it is politically expedient for us to do so" - the Church of England will be subservient and obey!

That's where the plus ça change comes in.

The Anglican Church is British caesropapism.
Simple as.
"In my beginning is my end" - as T.S. Eliot, that great Anglican, so presciently wrote.
It will finish as it began:

By political diktat.


17 July 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I think we're indeed at cross purposes, Albert. I also think we don't have enough information here

17 July 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Well, for clarity then Sr T. I agree entirely with you in first post at 1033. You've given a helpful example to express an important distinction.

It's interesting though, that before the Queen has even signed the law, Parliament is already moving forward to impose the next step on the CofE.

17 July 2013 at 10:35  
Blogger Woman on a Raft said...

Inclusive churches lists Central Exeter Parish and St John the Evangelist,Ivybridge as being particularly anxious to welcome same-sex couples.

Without firmer details, I doubt this is as Mr Bradshaw presented it. Rather, it looks like a set-up where people who are insincere about their Christianity try to find a place which holds traditional views, then picks a fight with them instead of approaching a church which I'm sure would welcome them with open arms.

17 July 2013 at 11:09  
Blogger David B said...

@Drastic Plastic, who said "Atheist homosexual DavidB..."

As it happens I am, as far as I can tell, 100% heterosexual.

But far better to be an atheist homosexual than a - let us not beat about the bush - liar.

You have no grounds for saying that I am homosexual, and I have ample grounds for pointing out that you are a knavish scoundrel.

David

17 July 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Am I alone in feeling despair and disillusionment with my country at present? Everything I was brought up to respect and revere is under attack, morality has been put in the blender and every pipsqueak who gets into parliament wants to leave his mark on the national fabric (edging towards toilet humour there but resisting at the last minute).

17 July 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger Martin said...

Much of what I would say has already been said from the bigotry of Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, apparently a homosexual by practice whose father was a vicar, to the wimpish behaviour of Tony Baldry, who should have pointed him to the Bible.

RB rightly points out what was my first reaction, not all Evangelicals are Anglicans, indeed most aren't.

For someone who is a notorious sinner, as a homosexual couple in a current relationship are, to worship God the first requirement is repentance and turning away from their sin else they cannot worship. Indeed one would wonder why such a 'couple' would want to come to a worship unless to cause trouble. To those who think that their relationship is about love - love does not cause you to involve another in sin.

So clearly we have a case of a minor part of Caesar's entourage seeking to poke his nose into what he has himself rejected. Trouble is, from recent events, we can be pretty certain that this is likely to be an ongoing process, once more Christians will be called to suffer for what they believe in these islands.

Of course some of the restrictions placed on non conformists were not repealed until the 19th century so religious freedom in the UK is less than 150 years old, and may not reach that anniversary.

17 July 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"Not once does Christ mention homosexuality" (Beelzebub) - Ah! The li'le old Silence of the New Testament' (as I call it) argument!: "Because Jesus never mentioned ... we are all free to do it." And also "Christian message of love and tolerance." - the old 'Love and tolerance'!. Any person or institution who facilitates, mandates, or otherwise encourages any "lifestyle" that involves anal intercourse (and the disease, pain, suffering, and death which is very likely to follow from it) is not so much "loving", but rather very cruel.

17 July 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger LEN said...

'By what right does Caesar impose moral relativism on the precious Body of Christ meeting locally?'

IF believers does not use ones God given authority then that same authority will be taken up and used against the self same believers by those who 'assume it' for themselves.

This is illustrated in the bible when Adam surrendered his God given authority to Satan when Adam chose to doubt God`s Word and chose instead to believe the lies of Satan.We then see that Satan used his[stolen] authority to rule over mankind[he still does unless one has been redeemed by Christ)
So IF one[believers ] does not take up the authority won for them by Christ at Calvary then Satan will continue to use his authority to sow death disease and destruction unhindered.Of course believers can only use the authority delegated to them by Christ if they are submitted to Him.The' Roman Centurion' understood this delegated authority precept because he was under authority himself.(Matthew 8: 8)

Some religious systems[no names mentioned but we know who they are] have abused this delegated authority {given by Christ]and have used this authority to further their own ends.

Jesus gave His Authority to ALL True believers to further His Kingdom purposes.
Mark 13:34, "For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch."
Jesus is given authority: Matthew 28:18, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Authority given to Jesus' 12 disciples: Luke 9:1, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases."
Authority given to Jesus' 70 disciples: Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."


IF we [believers] do not use our[God given] authority then it will be taken up and used against us!.



17 July 2013 at 11:24  
Blogger Nick said...

Does anyone else find themself asking: What are a gay couple with a child doing in the church anyway?

I don't mean why were they allowed in the church. What I mean is, they either don't read the Bible, read it selectively on issues of homosexuality, don't understand the Bible, or maybe this is just a test of how far they can push equality in the Church?

They obviously love their sin more than they love God, so one wonders what they were even expecting from attending Church.

17 July 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger Jon said...

I tend to agree with David B. Disestablishment and the end of all "faith" involvement in schools is surely preferable for all concerned. "Faith" schools are just ways for churches to force attendance on the educationally motivated but religiously unwilling, and to vainly hope that the indoctrination of successive generations is achieved.

Imagine if Ikea opened a school and the price of attendance was a requirement to buy an inexpensive bookcase a couple of times a year, we'd all be up in arms!

We should let all schools be free of church/ mosque/ temple involvement.

17 July 2013 at 11:29  
Blogger David B said...

@Albert 10.23

As so often, a thought provoking post.

Confidentiality, both in a religious and secular context, is, it seems to me, something of a difficult matter, with often conflicting desiderata.

There is one rather significant difference between the JW elders and a staff of the abortion clinic, though.

In the former cese, the elders knew, it is alleged, that someone had had committed crimes.

In the latter case, the staff of the abortion clinic knew that a statutory rape had been committed, but there is no reason to think that they knew who committed it.

I'm don't think I would want staff at a clinic interrogating the poor girls in question.

Whether the police should be informed, and what, if anything, they should do about it is not, I think, an easy question, but one in which what is in the interest of the victim, that is to say the pregnant girl, should have a lot of consideration.

David

17 July 2013 at 11:35  
Blogger LEN said...

Jon.. Hardly a 'liberal' attitude.

Homosexuality is on the School curriculum which is a lifestyle choice.

17 July 2013 at 11:36  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

One wonders what has happened to our ability to listen to others. Especially our politicians. Ben Bradshaw (Exeter, Labour)asked a question relating to the policies of a local parish church and Tony Baldry (Second Church Estates Commissioner; Banbury, Conservative) gave a reply about the policies of a local church school.

No wonder we are in such a mess.

17 July 2013 at 11:38  
Blogger David B said...

Sister Tiberia, that is a good point you make about sharia law in your post of 10.24

David

17 July 2013 at 11:39  
Blogger Martin said...

I'd be quite happy to see the disestablishment of the CoE, it is an entirely sub-scriptural arrangement.

On the other hand I'm reluctant to hand the education of children to the church of Atheism, to be taught the 'fact' of Evolution & moral relativism. And be in no doubt, that is where education is going.

For a Christian to willingly hand their children over to those who hate God, despite their knowing God exists, is a hard thing at the best of times!

17 July 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

There is danger for the CoE in this. It needs those Con Evo churches for money and people. If the government provokes a fight over homosexuality, those churches could respond by leaving to free themselves from gov't diktat. The fight over Women Bishops is not yet over and already this issue is being pushed to the fore.

Bad times ahead for bishops.

carl

17 July 2013 at 11:58  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

May I take a moment to ask you to pray for our Queen. She has to decide whether or not to sign this piece of legislation. (Do not say she has no choice. She has!) And remember that one day she will have to stand before our Holy God and give account of her decision - and all the other decisions she has made to sign unholy legislation in the past sixty years.

Pray for her.

17 July 2013 at 11:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Btw it would not surprise me at all if this church did put this couple out in accordance with 1 Cor 5. That would be the right response. If this kind of church discipline becomes impossible then there is no reason for a parish to remain within the CoE.

Twenty years from now when the gov't is desperately casting around trying to convince people to have children, these decisions will be rethought. Slow chronic economic decline has a way of focusing the collective mind.

carl

17 July 2013 at 12:23  
Blogger Preacher said...

There's not much that I can add to the responses from Martin, Len & others. Other than it's high time that Christians, irrespective of their chosen denominations, stood up to the bullying tactics of the men of straw & no faith, who haunt the halls of power & flaunt the laws of God to impose upon the subjects of the Lord, laws that are contrary to His supreme ordinances.
Cast out those who make a healthy living from the state Church if they haven't either the courage or the ability to stand up & protect the flock when the wolves come sniffing around.
Be Bold, Be Strong, the Lord your God is with you.
If unrepentant sinners want to carry on sinning, that is their choice. No problems, Warn them of the wrath & judgement of God to come. God loves ALL people & His word tells us that All have sinned. God uses sinners, but their are only two types, the penitent, who reject temptation & are forgiven by the precious Blood of Christ, even if they do sometimes fail & fall. & those who reject the agony it cost to provide their salvation & prefer to continue unabated to follow their chosen path of rebellion & will one day have to give account & pay for their choice.
Scripture is clear that the penalty also applies to those who not only commit sin but also to those who condone & encourage them.
I believe that Cameron stated that he was a 'nominal' Christian. In my book their is no such creature. You are or you aren't. If you aren't, then you have neither right or authority to impose on the Church of Christ the rules that have been given to it by it's God.

17 July 2013 at 12:28  
Blogger Martin said...

I'll second what Irene's Daughter has said, the Queen is in an invidious position. Perhaps she is made of sterner stuff than those Anglican bishops who allowed the ungodly to ride roughshod over them.

Pray for Her Majesty.

As Preacher has said, those who should have protected the flock have failed to do so, but God will protect His people, even if they must go through persecution. Praise His Name.

17 July 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

I agree there is a difference between the two cases. However, more similar cases could be made. School are required to report plausible examples of abuse - even if they do not know who committed the abuse. The school cannot say "We did not wish to interrogate the girl" or "we thought it was in her best interests not to report it." Now an under-aged girl presenting for an abortion, has by legal definition, been raped. It is this general point I am interested in.

Secondly, we know that abortion clinics work outside the law - they are involved in gender discrimination and other sundry crimes. We know these things are happening, but no one gets prosecuted. Why is this?

We all know why. In a secular society, sex has become the new religion. It is protected by new blasphemy laws (the street preacher arrested for challenging state morality on homosexuality). It is entitled to as much tax-payers money as it needs (the coffers for abortion , sex education and free contraception seem limitless). It is allowed to cover up child abuse on an industrial scale. It is allowed to break the law on other areas - even to the point of taking life that the law protects. And so on. It is surely time that we were all treated fairly.

17 July 2013 at 13:22  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

Disestablishment and the end of all "faith" involvement in schools is surely preferable for all concerned. "Faith" schools are just ways for churches to force attendance on the educationally motivated but religiously unwilling, and to vainly hope that the indoctrination of successive generations is achieved.

That is just plainly not true. My children go to faith schools. They go to faith schools because I exercise my human right for them to be brought up and educated in a religion or philosophy of my own choice. When we go to Mass on Sundays we see a very large proportion of my children's classmates at school as well.

It's true that not all parents are so religiously committed, but perhaps they are internally, and want a faith school to provide the religious values they know they are failing to provide themselves.

We also know that faith schools are much better than secular schools.

And what would we get if we abolished faith schools? A load of secular schools. In other words, we would lose choice and freedom, we would lose out best schools, and people like you would be able to indoctrinate other people's children in the least self-aware and least self-critical and most legally dogmatic ideology in the country.

The only people that would interest would be people who just like imposing their views on others: that is, your average (though not all) secularist.

17 July 2013 at 13:27  
Blogger IanCad said...

When the state church reluctantly grants to Caesar a few dinari it will always be less of a struggle to grant a few more.
Thus do we convert sin into legality.

It has been remarked that the US has no established church.
In a way, that is inaccurate.
Most churches there operate under tax exempt 501(c) status. This does limit churches as to what they may or may not teach. It is a curb on the gospel.
Perhaps we should be grateful for that.

Christianity was spread through persecution and sanction. It may well have to tread that path again.

17 July 2013 at 13:29  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Caesar can demand what he likes of the Church. If Caesar is owed it, the Church should pay because it is obedient to God. If Caesar isn't, he ain't getting it.

Both possibilities stem from obedience to God.

Preacher:

"Scripture is clear that the penalty also applies to those who not only commit sin but also to those who condone & encourage them."

It's this which I think should concern all of us who profess faith. I'll admit that there have been plenty times where I've said to myself that I'm being compassionate or just well-mannered for not making clearer my opposition to sin - even occasionally where I have been specifically given the opportunity to do so. The truth is - and I know it at the time - I don't want to have to deal with hassle, potentially the loss of employment, or the irrevocable tarnishing of reputation.

"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone's life, that person's life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood." (Ezekiel 33:6).

I'll certainly be praying to be a better watchman.

17 July 2013 at 13:35  
Blogger Martin said...

Albert

I asked my MP to enquire why no one had been prosecuted for pre-signing of abortion consent forms. He has asked and not received a reply. I wonder why?

17 July 2013 at 14:39  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

'Not once does Christ mention homosexuality'

But he did say in Matthew 10:6

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

17 July 2013 at 14:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Martin,

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

17 July 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger David Hussell said...

As Martin said, we should pray for The Queen.

She is a committed, sincere Christian and has been put in an invidious position by her Godless Prime Minister. I suspect that she will spending time in prayer. All loyal subjects of Her Majesty should be able to join those of us who are praying for her. Perhaps even atheists could in some sense, pray ?

Whilst not wishing to increase the burden that she carries, I hope that she declines to do that which she customarily does, as her Christian conscience disallows her.

As for that sham conservative Cameron, I hope that history records him as perhaps, the most destructive, divisive PM ever.

17 July 2013 at 15:11  
Blogger graham wood said...

Following 'Irene's Daughter's very important reminder:
". . . ask you to pray for our Queen. She has to decide whether or not to sign this piece of legislation. (Do not say she has no choice. She has!) .. . .

HMQ is not the only one who has to make a choice on this issue, for it is profoundly anti-constitutional.
Both Apb. Welby and Cameron are duty bound on oath to observe the Constitution.

A letter to Apb. Welby by me (sent in June and still unanswered) puts the question:

"I ask whether you as Primate have formally advised Her Majesty on this matter (SSM Bill), or extended such advice to Mr Cameron on the implications of giving the Royal Assent to this Bill under these circumstances?"
The "circumstances being that HMQ is duty bound to reject a policy which would force her to deny her Coronation Oath.... namely to "maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant reformed religion as established by law".
The Bill is totally incompatible with that declaration.

17 July 2013 at 15:34  
Blogger Albert said...

I'm terribly sorry to say it, but I think it almost certain that HM the Queen has already decided to sign the gay marriage law. If she were going to object, she would have done so at the start, and the law would never have got to this stage.

Questions must surely be asked as to whether the PM is forcing her to break her coronation oath. I leave that to others to judge - although those who think she is, will most certainly wish to pray for her, even more than those who simply think we should pray that she shouldn't sign it.

The following comes from the Coronation of 1953:

Archbishop: Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel?

Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?

Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England?

And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?

Queen: All this I promise to do.

Then the Queen arising out of her Chair, supported as before, the Sword of State being carried before her, shall go to the Altar, and make her solemn Oath in the sight of
[The Bible to be brought.]
all the people to observe the premisses: laying her right hand upon the Holy Gospel in the great Bible (which was before carried in the procession and is now brought from the altar by the Archbishop, and tendered to her as she kneels upon the steps), and saying these words:

The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God.

[And a Silver Standish.]
Then the Queen shall kiss the Book and sign the Oath.

The Queen having thus taken her Oath, shall return again to her Chair, and the Bible shall be delivered to the Dean of Westminster.

17 July 2013 at 15:36  
Blogger Albert said...

Graham,

it is profoundly anti-constitutional.

If she is breaking her Coronation Oath, and the Coronation Oath is part of the constitution (as it surely is) then such a law is plainly unconstitutional. And that raises serious concerns about the monarchy. I would have thought that first duty of the Head of State is to preserve the constitution. If an unelected monarch feels unable to do so, because to do so would be to go against the will of Parliament, then, I am afraid, that raises serious doubts about whether constitutional monarchy is a viable system of government any longer.

There's so much at stake here.

17 July 2013 at 15:39  
Blogger Albert said...

Too late, she's done it already:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10185567/Gay-marriage-is-officially-legal-in-the-UK.html

17 July 2013 at 15:41  
Blogger Gary said...

The Queen today has placed herself above God. She is no longer in Christ. This country is damned.

17 July 2013 at 15:49  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Of course her Majesty has already done it!
What did you expect?
She's hardly going to risk her dynasty for the sake of the Gospel, is she?
Not only is she far too pragmatic, she's also an anglican monarch and like I said earlier, kow-towing to the Political authority is hard-wired into Anglicanism.
At the start, of course Caesar was the King was the authority.... And the Church was made to submit.

That The Queen must now herself submit or become a martyr is one of the delicious ironies of the Reformation.

What goes around, comes around....
By political diktat Anglicanism was born.
By political diktat Anglicanism will be buried.
But you can be sure the House of Windsor will do everything in its power not to be buried with it....

Immanent justice, the scholastics called it.

Remember this day.

17 July 2013 at 15:54  
Blogger Martin said...

David

To be fair, it was Irene's Daughter who said it first.

17 July 2013 at 15:56  
Blogger Jon said...

Hi Albert,

I went to CoE primary schools. They were really good schools. It wasn't the affiliation with the Church (although I personally enjoyed that aspect of them greatly) that made them good schools. It was the teachers.

Why should erasing "CoE aided" from the front of my primary schools' names have any impact on the quality of teaching there? Of course it won't!

What's more, the religious instruction imparted in CoE schools is pretty wishy washy stuff in my experience. Hardly conducive to life long adherence. And the less said about Catholics and running schools, the better, I'd say!

In some respects, I'd rather let Coca Cola or Tesco run schools than the Church - at least their motives for doing so are transparent. Given declining attendance numbers, I don't think it's unfair to say that churches cling to their role running schools because it provides them with an audience who have to attend for fear their little ones won't be able to (or will be less likely to get into) their local school. This is therefore inhibiting religious freedom, rather than the opposite as you suggest.

As to educating your kids in their faith, I'd have thought that was your job? Why should the state pay for that? And if you're looking for the teaching of critical faculties - I'm all for philosophy lessons in primary school!

As with our previous discussion about your church buildings, you want to have your cake and to eat it. You want to suppose that the church has a wider role in the community and that your buildings and your institutions are a public good, but you don't want the public's elected officials to have any oversight. Is this really what the Church is called to do?

Len - we aren't allowing profit making businesses to run schools, so why should profit making charities like the CoE and Catholic church be allowed to do so?

17 July 2013 at 16:06  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 July 2013 at 16:09  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

"What guidance the Church of England plans to issue to parishes and Church schools on pastoral care for same sex couples and their children"

Don't worry mate, Paul was wrong and the scriptures cannot be trusted.

God loves you and so he wants you to live your life the way you want.

The way to salvation is to love your neighbor as yourself.

We have a new covenant and in it there are no rules.

The way to salvation is via equality and the mark of salvation is the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

End of guidance

Phil

17 July 2013 at 16:17  
Blogger David said...

The basic christian message is that Jesus is the King and has declared an amnesty so that sinners have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven, before he returns to judge. The most loving thing to do therefore is to call on people to repent of all their sins (including but not limited to sexual sins such as any sexual activity nor between a husband and his wife while there remains time to do so before Jesus' judgement falls.

17 July 2013 at 16:20  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Jon

All my kids went to non Christian and I would say very anti faith schools.

The staff often made their day uncomfortable and made every effort to argue them out of their faith.

As they got older, my kids were often not allowed to take part in debates or in Science classes ask the teacher questions about Evolution.

They are were excellent schools in some ways and my kids are the strong Christians they are today because of it.

Having said that I would have loved them to have gone to a Christian School.

However, I fear that some of them would have lost the faith if they had.

Persecution over wishy washy any day of the week.

Phil

17 July 2013 at 16:27  
Blogger Nick said...

Did anyone on this blog really think Her Majesty was going to play a significant role in preventing this bill becoming law? I for one never did. HMQ has a lot of axes to grind, and some of them, like preserving the monarchy, and the constitution, have trumped sprirtual matters. Having said that, I doubt Mr Cameron is her favourite PM for putting in an impossible postion on the issue, and I doubt that the issue is any sense dear to her heart.

The scriptures themselves tell us not to put all our faith in monarchs. Her Majesty will have to deal with her own conscience on the matter and how that affects her relationship with God

For myself, I believe this is God's battle. It isn't just about SSM either. The nation is nose-diving into a moral abyss on all kinds of issues. We don't know what the Earthly punishments will be for those who hate God, though we obviously know what will happen to them ultimately. This anti-theistic system will collapse one day, just like it did in the Soviet Union. They learnt that social engineering just doesn't work. My Russian wife tells me that "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" was apopular saying in those times.

I think Christians are going to have a tough time, not least because of feeble leadership within the CofE. But God's law doesn't change with the latest fashion or philosophy. It is solid and reliable, and the sanctions for breaking it are unavoidable

17 July 2013 at 16:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

It wasn't the affiliation with the Church (although I personally enjoyed that aspect of them greatly) that made them good schools. It was the teachers.


I don't think it is reasonable to try to draw any conclusions from one example - especially not as you were a primary child! I would look at the government evidence.

Why should erasing "CoE aided" from the front of my primary schools' names have any impact on the quality of teaching there? Of course it won't!

The issue is about ethos and community involvement. Apparently Cameron asked Cardinal Cormac (or was it Vincent) whether we can export the success of Catholic schools. This question is just brainless.

And the less said about Catholics and running schools, the better, I'd say!

And why would you say that? Because (I assume) you have bought the lie that Catholic institutions have more child abuse than others. Isn't it obvious that that isn't true? The best evidence we have suggests the strongest driver of child abuse is sexual liberalism. Why then, on these terms, would we allow secularists to runs schools?

In some respects, I'd rather let Coca Cola or Tesco run schools than the Church - at least their motives for doing so are transparent.

As opposed to obscure - like letting secularists run schools.

As to educating your kids in their faith, I'd have thought that was your job? Why should the state pay for that?

Because education doesn't happen in a vacuum. If it isn't Catholicism it is something else. You really need to reflect on whether secularism is really neutral. I went to all non-faith schools, and I assure you, it isn't.

Once you see this, you will ask why should the state have to pay for non-religious people to have non-religious schools? They are unclear with the children about their philosophical bias. They have questionable success in giving a basis for morality, and above all, they tend not to be as good in every other respect. Yet, I still support state non-faith schools, because I support the right of non-religious parents to choose the ethos of their children's education.

You want to suppose that the church has a wider role in the community and that your buildings and your institutions are a public good, but you don't want the public's elected officials to have any oversight.

Where have I said that? It is quite proper that the state should inspect state schools, but that the state should have a proper regard to each school's ethos.

17 July 2013 at 17:00  
Blogger Albert said...

Nick,

For myself, I believe this is God's battle.

There's a battle between good and evil to be sure. But God is not a combatant like other combatants. There will be no gay "marriage" in 100 years time.

17 July 2013 at 17:01  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Hhmm, a sad day, a very sad day. Much pain will flow from this.

Any country that places itself above God is damned, full stop. The end may be slow or fast in coming, but the outcome is inevitable. God and His Laws are not to be mocked. Actions have consequences.

This fact does not relieve all Christians, of whatever tradition, from working towards the Kingdom according to their gifts. Individually we all remain answerable for our actions, or lack of them. It is therefore more important than ever for each believer to do what they can, even from within this society, which is now without a doubt in open rebellion against God, to try to further His Kingdom.

Ultimately nothing else matters.

17 July 2013 at 17:10  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Albert

I didn't make myself clear perhaps. I mean a battle where Christians will take their leadership from God, where their Earthly spiritual leaders have failed them.

As to how God helps those people, we will have to wait and see, but I think the Scriptures provide ample evidence that God helps the faithful.

17 July 2013 at 17:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The vociferous minor devil BeeLZeeBub is damn quick off the mark these days. This Pink News stalwart is now 4th on that site for sheer volume of comments, all equally bad, and is an enthusiastic church hater. He has admitted he chose his name to annoy Christians. He is aged 47, in a seven year CP and likes gay sex. He’d like us Christians to like gay sex too, or else, given the chance, he’d close our churches down, and he is far from the only one of his ilk who would do that.…

Thankfully, not all LGBT are hurtful hateful Christophobic bigots like BeeLZeeBub.

Now, yesterday the Inspector brought unpleasant news of the Gay Games. Another manifestation of gays not merely wanting tolerance these days, but enforced acceptance, and finally, a hand in running society, a situation welcomed by politicians of all colours these days, the very blighters the silent majority put into parliament to stop this kind of thing happening. Startlingly, the current gay offensive is similar in many ways to how Protestantism arrived on the scene in the sixteenth century. We all face being queer by legislation, and to suffer a form of martyrdom if we resist.

How much better for all of us then if Homosexually Active Christians keep to themselves and worship in some room somewhere, such as in a gay club, and not infect the rest of us with their corrupting zeal. Let’s be honest here - do you want to worship standing next to a pair of men holding hands, or would you do what the Inspector would, and move well away…






17 July 2013 at 17:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nick: "The nation is nose-diving into a moral abyss on all kinds of issues. We don't know what the Earthly punishments will be for those who hate God, though we obviously know what will happen to them ultimately."

You must realise at some level that people (like me) don't hate your god at all, we simply don't believe in your god. That's not hating a god which exists in some way or other, which would be completely stupid, it's seeing no compelling reason to accept the hypothesis.

17 July 2013 at 17:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. You continue to view the ‘state’ as some kind of atheistic guardian. It is nothing of the sort. WE tell the state what to do, not the other way round. And if WE want our children educated by Christian schools, educated by Christian schools they will be. And if WE want churches and schools to have tax breaks, then that too will happen.

17 July 2013 at 17:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10185567/Gay-marriage-is-officially-legal-in-the-UK.html

Gawd bless 'er.

17 July 2013 at 17:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Nick. Earthly punishment ? Here’s some...

There’s growing calls for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to be extended to young gay men in the UK, because they have an increased risk of developing cancer, new research has shown.

According to a study published in the journal “Sexually Transmitted Infections”, young gay men are 15 times more likely to develop genital cancer than straight men.

HPV can cause cervical, penile, anal and throat cancers, as well as genital and anal warts.



17 July 2013 at 17:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Think the throat and anal cancers are caused much the same way. Bless em

17 July 2013 at 17:41  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@David Hussell

"Any country that places itself above God is damned, full stop. The end may be slow or fast in coming, but the outcome is inevitable."

And so, 500 years after Henry VIII did exactly that, the inevitable has arrived.

Expect the disestablishment of the Anglican Communion soon after Her Majesty is buried and be confident that the House of Windsor will do NOTHING to prevent it from happening.

Dynastic continuity above the Gospel !

Ask Katharine of Aragon about it....

17 July 2013 at 17:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Some more...

Sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is seeking to reassure gay men in Britain following a recent spate of bacterial meningitis cases among gay men in Berlin and Paris.

The disease is rare, but people with HIV-weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection.

In September 2012, a deadly cluster of bacterial meningitis erupted among HIV positive gay men in New York City, killing several people.



17 July 2013 at 17:44  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

"His wonders to perform..."

17 July 2013 at 17:46  
Blogger Albert said...

David H,

Any country that places itself above God is damned, full stop.

Let's not get carried away. This legislation can hardly be anything like as much as an affront to God as abortion.

17 July 2013 at 17:58  
Blogger piddingworth said...

By what right does Caesar impose moral relativism on the precious Body of Christ meeting locally?

That was settled in England, as The Vicar and His Ghostly Grace surely well know, in the 16th century and applied liberally in diverse places.

17 July 2013 at 18:11  
Blogger Nick said...

Inspector

It is deeply disturbing that the German Government is proposing to lift the ban on gay men donating blood, despite their 100X greater risk of carrying HIV. My advice is drive carefully on the Autobahn and stay out of A&E


http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2013/06/25/%e2%80%9canti-discrimination%e2%80%9d-policies-always-were-ridiculous-but-now-they-turn-into-a-serious-danger/

17 July 2013 at 18:14  
Blogger David B said...

Albert, in view of the fact that most estimates of fertilised cells which are spontaneously aborted before the prospective mother is even aware that she is carrying a fertilised and dividing collection of cells run up to around 80%, it would seem unlikely to me that a putative god cares very much about abortion.

I don't believe in any sort of God as the term seems to be generally understood myself, that is to say an entity active in the world, and concerned with human affairs, thoughts and deeds - but do you suppose that these vast numbers of spontaneous abortions, greater than the number of fertilised eggs that result in births, are the results acts of commission or omission by God as you understand the term?

David

17 July 2013 at 18:16  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

What is the point of the Queen's role if she just does and signs everything she's told to by the obnoxious bunch of queers that bully the government?

She should not have signed the homosexual "marriage" bill, shame on her for breaking her oath.

17 July 2013 at 18:17  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Albert

Concerning Abortion:
Exactly.
And a big fat silence from the House of Windsor over that, as well.

Like I said above - EVERYTHING about this situation is entirely consonant with the Anglican Communion's origins, the changing role of the Monarchy within it, but the continuing subordination of the ecclesiastical to the political - after the initial coup d'église that was Henry VIII's caesero-papist take over of the Church.

The Anglican Communion was started by political diktat.
And, when the expedient time comes it will be brought to an end by political diktat.
And if the House of Windsor see that as a price to pay for remaining as Royal Family they won't hesitate to sacrifice the Established Church on the altar of their dynastic future.
Just like Henry VIII did 500 years ago.

The Anglican Bishops, will, of course, be utterly supine - just as the original "Anglican" Bishops were (with the honourable exception of St John Fisher).

17 July 2013 at 18:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Marie1797: "What is the point of the Queen's role if she just does and signs everything she's told to by the obnoxious bunch of queers that bully the government?"

If she'd done as she was told by that bunch then surely she wouldn't have signed the Act? Besides, I think you're over-stating the influence of Cardinal O'Brien and his merry men. They may have tried that but clearly it didn't work.

17 July 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger Nick said...

David B

Just as we believe God creates all life, so He has the right to take it (or not allow it to flourish). We all die, but does that stop us Christians believing in God? Gods law is quite clear that for Humans it is a sin to take human life.

17 July 2013 at 18:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 July 2013 at 18:38  
Blogger ardenjm said...

David B

I'm sure Albert will reply for himself.
But just a couple of points: the medical profession estimates that around half of all pregnancies that end miscarriage - but can't be sure. 1 in 7 recognised pregnancies miscarry, however.

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/miscarriage

Your question is apposite, however.
Why does God permit that natural evil to occur?
(It's a permission - neither willed not desired by God - but allowed presumably because of the post-lapsarian state humanity finds itself in.)

Well, of course, we don't know when ensoulment - the creation of a soul in the body of an embryo occurs. There are various schools of thought. And the Church's magisterium has never pronounced definitively on the subject. Largely because the moment of animation with a rational human soul doesn't alter the fact that the developing embryo is a living human being (with a unique genetic identity moreover) - and, as such, requires the protection and respect of a human being at its most vulnerable stage of development. Ensoulment/animation does, however, mean that there is henceforth a soul with an eternal future that has been brought into the world.

17 July 2013 at 18:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

There is opportunity here for those with eyes to see. The mob rushes towards the cliff unaware that it has been judged. In fact, it's quite taken with the rush towards the cliff. But the fall is inevitable and that fall will hurt. That is when they might listen again. So:

1. Differentiate. Declare clearly and forcefully a consistent Christian sexual morality - and begin with recovering the ground of divorce. Don't single out homosexuality because it is a derivatiove problem. Attack the fundamental issue of sexual autonomy. They will rage and gnash their teeth - now. But tomorrow is coming.

2. Wait. Let judgment have its way. Pain is an amazingly effective corrector of behavior. The Welfare state is going to run out of money. What then will happen to all those people who 1) no longer have benefits 2) who have no skills 3) who would have no opportunity even if they did possess skills 4) who don't possess the necessary character to keep a job in the first place and 5) have no family upon which to fall? What happens when there is massive unemployment and the state is flat broke and the family has been atomized by this thoroughly post-modern world?

That's the coming future. That is where this rush to deify man in the name of personal autonomy is leading the West. The Church cannot be associated with this outcome. It must stand astride history and cry "Halt." The crowd will not listen, but it might remember once it falls over the cliff and hit the rocks.

It's more likely however that the crowd will turn to that National Socialist orator on the street corner. They would kill us as Enemies of the State. And then judgment would be complete. But we must not give way to despair. Proclaim like the prophet Jeremiah. God doesn't require success, but only faithfulness.

carl

17 July 2013 at 18:39  
Blogger Drastic Plastic said...

@DavidB got all cross... after I said he was a fascist intent on causing untold misery to everyone, an atheist, and a homosexual; all of which I inferred from his numerous posts promoting all of these things. He got so cross that he yelled, "But far better to be an atheist homosexual than a liar." (Which part of the official Atheist Creed of morals and behaviour teaches him this we need not ask!)

Apparently everything else is true. And apparently he is so upset at the idea of being thought gay (and only that) that he yells a mindless personal insult. Funny that someone engaged in promoting homosexuality thinks that being gay is far worse than anything else I said about him!

But of course I am deeply sorry for the mistake (oh hang on; he sees into my head: he "knows" that it wasn't a mistake, that I knew, knew in advance that he wasn't a poof and yet said it anyway. At least, that's what he's saying. Funny chap, as I said).

Still, let's believe him. For now. And, little man; if you run with the skunks, be prepared to be thought a skunk. If you don't like the name, don't associate with those who bear it. Promoting an evil that you actually don't participate in is even worse than the poor souls who do. We don't think a pimp superior to a prostitute; I don't think you a better man because you deny that you practise what you preach.

17 July 2013 at 18:43  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

in view of the fact that most estimates of fertilised cells which are spontaneously aborted before the prospective mother is even aware that she is carrying a fertilised and dividing collection of cells run up to around 80%, it would seem unlikely to me that a putative god cares very much about abortion.

100% of "fertilised cells" which end up being born die. Does that mean murder is not wrong?

do you suppose that these vast numbers of spontaneous abortions, greater than the number of fertilised eggs that result in births, are the results acts of commission or omission by God as you understand the term?

I understand the term "omission" in a moral sense - in which case, God is never guilty of omission, as God has no obligations. Similarly, commission would imply God doing something in addition to the usual course of nature, in order to achieve a particular end - the termination of the pregnancy. Here again, I cannot see that God is doing that - doctors typically attribute spontaneous abortions to natural causes, not miracles.

So, if you like, I would say that spontaneous abortions are to God a cause of regret, but they have no moral agency causing them, and they occur because God chooses a world in which his creation is raised to participate in his purposes. The trouble is that, when you use created (and therefore finite) secondary causes, sometimes those causes fail.

17 July 2013 at 18:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

It is interesting that on the same day that the Queen signs this into law, the OBR, an official economic forecaster is warning that Britain needs "millions of immigrants" to reduce the strain of an ageing population:

The report found that allowing more than 140,000 immigrants into Britain a year, equivalent to 6 million people, would help increase the overall number of people who are in work and improve public finances.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10185342/Britain-needs-millions-more-immigrants-to-reduce-strain-of-ageing-population.html

The judgement against this country that began with the selfishness of the disordering of sex through contraception and small families, developed into widespread abortion, and now the undermining of marriage and family life, looks well advanced.

This country which has stood firm against foreign invasion for 1000 years, and which resisted Hitler for the good of the entire Western world, is losing it's own life from within. I don't blame the immigrants at all. What kind of culture are they bringing? - conservative Islam and Catholicism as far as I can see. The latter I regard as highly valuable. The former I prefer to aggressive secularism. Either way, the days of secular liberalism seem numbered

But who can deny that Britain is killing itself from within? The suicide of this country is a moral one, dating back decades. The judgement of God is clear: but it is not a capricious act on the part of God, it is the simple logic of the selfish disorder of our culture. As scripture says, we are:

receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

17 July 2013 at 19:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Spontaneous abortion happens because the foetus is no longer viable. The very idea of ‘God regrets’ is laughable...

17 July 2013 at 19:23  
Blogger David B said...

Drastic Plastic, it would take very little intelligence to understand from my posts that I am an atheist, since I have often said so.

However, for you to infer from my posts that I am a fascist, that I am intent on causing misery, or that I am a homosexual from anything I have said would take a great deal of stupidity.

In fact, it is also very stupid to infer from any of my posts that I promote homosexuality, since it is something I have never done.

I have, however, said things to the effect that homosexuals should be treated as fairly as heterosexuals, which of course I stand by.

Everything you say shows you to be a fool or a rogue, keeping in mind that folly and roguery are not mutually exclusive.

I don't think the honourable people here who disagree with me on many matters will be impressed with your posts, any more than I am. Rather, I think they will find your posts embarrassing.

David

17 July 2013 at 19:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nick. The cleanest blood available in the UK is Northern Irish. No doubt highly valued at private London clinics, should the wealthy or an expectant royal duchess need any. This is because they do not accept ANY blood from gay men. In England, gay men can give blood if they have abstained from gay sex for 12 months. If they are HIV+ from before that, it will be picked up in tests. The problem is, these tests do not pick up on the recently infected.

Personally, to be on the safe side, this man would like to see any HIV+ case branded on both arms - hot iron or tattoo. It matters not.

LGBT activists want NI to adopt the same as England. Apparently, they don’t feel very equal about giving blood, or not being allowed to, as in interferes with their ‘rights’ and thus they are not ‘equal’. These sensitivities being of greater import than the health of some poor unfortunate on the receiving end of their contaminated HIV carrying filth...


17 July 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Drastic Plastic. David B is what you would call a fellow traveller. Not being homosexual has done nothing to stop him beating the drum for those that are. With this in mind, do carry on, that man...

17 July 2013 at 19:40  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

Spontaneous abortion happens because the foetus is no longer viable. The very idea of ‘God regrets’ is laughable...

It is literally laughable, but only because God does not have emotions. Even if all SAs occured because the foetus is no longer viable (and I cannot see why that would be the only reason) then the non-viability of the foetus would itself be a cause for divine regret.

17 July 2013 at 19:45  
Blogger Nick said...

"...Proclaim like the prophet Jeremiah. God doesn't require success, but only faithfulness"

Well said Carl

17 July 2013 at 19:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Albert, you are heading off down the ‘every sperm is sacred, every egg divine’ road again...

Goodbye

17 July 2013 at 19:48  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Albert,
I have considered for a while now that liberalism, social "progressivism", whatever you wish to label it as, will only be a transient thing. It will be squeezed between on the one hand, the greater moral resolve of many of those now joining us from abroad and on the other, the strain and perhaps collapse of the welfare state because of the rampant, society trashing individualism touched upon by Carl Jacobs.

Social liberalism will self destruct, which will be the wrath of God. His instructions are there for our own good, to stop us harming ourselves, so ignore them, and things unravel. Simples really !

17 July 2013 at 19:50  
Blogger Albert said...

Drastic,

David B says:

people here who disagree with me on many matters will be impressed with your posts, any more than I am.

I think he is right - I'm only talking about one post of yours that I have read. In any case, even if David B had been promoting homosexuality, he is still perfectly consistent in being upset with the charge that he is himself homosexual. Sexuality in our culture, rightly or wrongly (and I think wrongly) signifies of our whole identity. So to accuse a heterosexual of homosexuality, is to associate him against his own real identity with an identity he does not share.

And, little man; if you run with the skunks, be prepared to be thought a skunk.

The "skunks" I assume are homosexuals. They are made in God's image like you. They are loved by him, like you. God became man to die for them, like you. Among the saints there will be millions of homosexually oriented persons. Skunks is hardly the right word is it? Remember the warning that Jesus gives us:

"Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

If you are not tempted to same sex acts, what honour is it to you, if you do not do them? And if you have overcome all sin - even your own deepest temptations: What have you that you did not receive? ... But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

17 July 2013 at 19:57  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

‘every sperm is sacred, every egg divine’ road again...

I have never been down that road, and it is a non-sequitur to think I am going down it now.

17 July 2013 at 19:58  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B said ...
I don't think the honourable people here who disagree with me on many matters will be impressed with your posts, any more than I am. Rather, I think they will find your posts embarrassing.2

Oh I don't know about that. I thought Drastic Plastic was on the money - especially the comment about pimps and prostitutes. You chosen sexual lifestyle isn't really that relevant.

Then I may not be among those you count as "honourable.

17 July 2013 at 20:03  
Blogger Albert said...

David H,

Of course the idea that modernity = secularism has been virtually abandoned by sociologists. It just doesn't fit the pattern. Modernity = pluralism - at the moment at least, and secular liberalism is feeding that pluralism by its low birth rate. The profile of modernity according to sociologists is not "too many gods" not "not enough gods".

So there will come a time when society is so poor and disparate that it cannot carry on without more unity and mutual cooperation. And then presumably it will end up appealing to something that pull everyone together. There are only two possible candidates for that, Islam and a certain preacher from Galilee. The only genuinely secular response to this will be the one it always offers: totalitarianism. But when have they managed to pull that off for any length of time?!

17 July 2013 at 20:04  
Blogger Peter D said...

Albert said ...
"The judgement against this country that began with the selfishness of the disordering of sex through contraception and small families, developed into widespread abortion, and now the undermining of marriage and family life, looks well advanced."

Spot on!

17 July 2013 at 20:06  
Blogger Albert said...

Whoops

The profile of modernity according to sociologists is not "too many gods" not "not enough gods".

I should have lost the first "not":

The profile of modernity according to sociologists is "too many gods" not "not enough gods".

17 July 2013 at 20:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

ardenjm @ 10:33

Double congratulations if you gave such a clear case for disestablishment without even intending to.

I'm not sure if the C of E is quite such a tame animal as you suggest. Its intellectual antecedents probably pre-date Henry VIII. I'm thinking Wycliff and the Lollards, Tyndale. Then there was the Civil War which was more than political: two religious factions within the same church. Then there was the Evangelical Revival amidst the spiritual torpor of the Eighteeenth Century.

Some of that spirit is not dead, even now. That's why I think disestablishment is a real possibility. Time will tell.

17 July 2013 at 20:12  
Blogger Nick said...

"Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."

Yes, Jesus was referring to those repent of those sins. Those who take the difficult but honourable step to admit they have fallen short of what God expects from them and want to lead a different life.

I don't know about you but I haven't heard of many repentant homosexuals recently. No doubt there are some, and I applaud any that take that step.

17 July 2013 at 20:18  
Blogger Nick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 July 2013 at 20:18  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Jon:

This faith-schools issue.

I'm sure you're right that having parents of potential pupils as a captive congregation is a factor.

On the other hand, most of these schools are heavily over-subscribed: sometimes by two or three times, or even more. So what is to be the criterion for entry: given it's a faith school? What sort of vetting process should there be to determine if parental faith is genuine ir not?

Realistically, parental willingness to attend church is indicative, if not necessarily of faith, at least of parental commitment to the children. That has to count for something.

17 July 2013 at 20:22  
Blogger David Hussell said...

The Explorer,
I think that you may have a point. It is not timid obedience to a Godless Government that could lead the CoF E to disestablishment, but the possible emergence of a faction which simply refuses to worship the god of our age, secularism and individualism, in the form of Equal Marriage Rights, backed by a political intolerance for freedom of religious conscience.
So the flash point between Christianity and illiberal Secularism would, under that scenario, be not the The Catholic Church vs Government, but with the established, reformed one, or both of course.

Alternatively the politicians could just become bored with the whole thing and look for other mischief. However some sort of clash is very likely, if not inevitable.

17 July 2013 at 20:37  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@ The Explorer

I'm not sure I follow your argument, to be honest.
For sure caesero-papism has been around even in England long before Henry VIII - it's always been present in the Church wherever the Church is found in the world.
It's just so happened that in 16th century England our particular Caesar successfully usurped the Church.
You could argue that the Orthodox Churches emerge from Byzantine imperial appropriation of the ecclesiastical sphere - but, being Byzantine there was always going to be less resistance to caesero-papism than in the barbarian and converted West.
In that sense, Constantine's establishment of Constantinople was a great day for ecclesiastical liberty in the Latin West...
But other problems presented themselves, as inevitably they do - but they are too long and complex to rehearse here.

I don't see anything in the Church of England that will be able to successfully resist disestablishment. The Bishops and the Clergy will vote for it and foist it on to the reluctant laity as paternalists always do. They've done the same over women bishops. And in fact they did the same over the Catholic laity way back in the 16th century.

The monarchy CERTAINLY won't resist disestablishment if it threatens their own standing as Monarchs.
Like I said: the established Church will most certainly be sacrificed on the altar of dynastic succession when it becomes politically expedient to do so.

That's how the Church of England came to exist in the first place. It seems kind of fitting that this is how it will cease to be the Church of England....

It will become, for a time, one more Church in England. But eventually it will split up into its constituent parts: the Evangelicals will do well.
The Liberals will disappear into the social working humanism which is their destiny.
And the Anglo-Catholics will appear on the cover of National Geographic as an anthropological curiosity...

17 July 2013 at 20:55  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@David Hussell

Thank you for explaining it to me!
Okay, fair enough. There might well be some initial resistance - but I doubt it. Like Albert said: if we're killing 160,000 babies a year through abortion without any consistent or united Anglican opposition then the battle has surely already been lost....
In any case - to avoid conflict on this level it will be voices within the Anglican Church that will suggest disestablishment as an Anglican middle way - a typically Anglican solution to accommodate the national ethos - yadda yadda yadda.

You can hear the platitudinous hogwash already, can't you: presenting it all as a marvellously Anglican compromise and saying: "It's so typically Anglican to vote for our own disestablishment for the common good of the country as a whole...."

No, I'm afraid, T.S. Eliot was right:
"In my beginning is my end."
This started with political expediency.
It will end with political expediency.
And Prince Charles will have an Imam and a hologram of Laurens van der Post to crown him King.

The Archbishops will, of course, shake hands with everyone - on the way out.

17 July 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger ukFred said...

If there is a church that has asked a homosexual couple with children not to come to its services, I hope that they will have asked any cohabiting heterosexual couples with or without children not to come to their services too. Indeed, they ought to extend this treatment to gossips, slanderers, the haughty, boastful, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless and those disobedient to their parents, and that is just the list from Romans 1.

I know that most of the contributors here are either RCC or anglican, but a good explanation of how the church ought to treat homosexual people who attend is held at http://www.theologymatters.com/MayJun05.pdf

As for schooling, I believe that the only Christian alternative is to home-school, because the curriculum is now so debased - or should it be debauched - that to express Christian orthodoxy is to be likely to lead to one being branded homophobic.

17 July 2013 at 21:09  
Blogger Peter D said...

Going back to one of the themes of the article:

Never mind the secular state, how should churches respond to active homosexual couples who see nothing wrong with their behaviour and want to be participating members of their congregations?

17 July 2013 at 21:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

ardenjm:

A common argument is that the C of E emerged as a political expedient. (Henry's marriage). I was arguing that it also had spiritual causes: Wycliff, Tyndale. In Wycliff we see stirrings of a Protestantism that precedes the Reformation.

You make the point about the Church's obedience. I was talking about its spirit. In the C17, people cared enough about their beliefs to fight a war. Wilberforce annoyed the Establishment. Elements of that spirit still exist, and could emerge in new rebellion.

In your first response to me you were hoping disestablishment would not happen becasue of its effect on the Monarchy. I was simply saying it might come about. It could be, as Carl Jacobs says, by the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wings simply withdrawing. That has happened in the US, leaving the official liberal church with empty pews.

Hope that clarifies things a bit: the problem on a blog is when complex stuff has to be given in abbreviated form.

17 July 2013 at 21:23  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

UK fred

"because the curriculum is now so debased - or should it be debauched - that to express Christian orthodoxy is to be likely to lead to one being branded homophobic."

Or Evolutionohphobic! One of my kids after a series of lessons on Evolution put his hand up after being told that the evidence for Evolution was overwhelming. He asked which evidence was the best, Lucy, the Piltdown man or Nebraska man? THe teacher apparently got so angry sh could not speak for a few seconds and then just shouted "no, not like any of them them" End of discussion.

He loves retelling that story. Would he have had the same chance to provide this "bread and fish" for God in a Christian School?

If we are worried about our child's faith then we need to look carefully at ourselves, not blame the Church, the school, the BBC, Free porn or queers in the classroom.

Phil



17 July 2013 at 21:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

ardenjm:

I suppose there's two strands to disestablishment. Whether the C of E loses its privileges relative to other Christian denominations, and must make its own way like the rest of them.

Or whether Chrsitianity itself is disestablished relative to other religions. You might then have a situation like the old Roman Empire: a set of competing religions (all nonsense alike to those in power) all allowed to do their own thing provided it did not conflct with the laws of the state, and provided they all acknowledged the supremacy of the Emperor.

17 July 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger Peter D said...

" ... no law made by man can override the norm written by the Creator without society becoming dramatically wounded in what constitutes its basic foundation. To forget this would mean to weaken the family, penalising the children and rendering the future of society precarious."
(Benedict XVI)


ukFred said ...

"If there is a church that has asked a homosexual couple with children not to come to its services, I hope that they will have asked any cohabiting heterosexual couples with or without children not to come to their services too."

This is so wrong and this line of reason has contributed to this law being passed.

"We're all sinners ... Let's not be judgemental towards one group ... ".

Common sense tells us sins are different. There are sins that go with nature and sins that go against nature.

The desire for heterosexual sex, in itself, is natural. This is not the case for someone whose “intrinsic disorder” consists in wanting to have sex with a person of the same sex. This behaviour goes against the very fabric of our human nature and the created order.

Homosexuality is not a wrong use of a God-given desire. It goes against the way God made us. God makes every healthy man and woman with the desire for sex but none with the desire for the abomination of homosexuality.

We need to openly profess that there is an intrinsic gulf between the sinful use of desires that are supposed to be there and perversions.

17 July 2013 at 21:55  
Blogger Albert said...

Peter,

This is so wrong and this line of reason has contributed to this law being passed

Surely, homosexuals should not be told not to come to Church? And yes, if homosexuals are told not to receive communion, so should cohabiting couples. Surely, that is the teaching of the Catholic Church?

17 July 2013 at 21:59  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

I don't think Her Maj has broken her Coronation oath. Under the Bill to which she has just given Royal Assent, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offering same sex weddings, and crucially, the Church of England and Church in Wales are both banned in law from doing so.
Within the walls of the Established Church it seems to me that nothing has changed. Holy matrimony remains intact - for now.

17 July 2013 at 22:02  
Blogger Albert said...

Jay Bee,

You may be right. But the questionable point comes here:

Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel?

Notice that this is not referring specifically to the Church, it therefore speaks more widely. But who, in the Constitution (or the oath) interprets the Laws of God? Well, the CofE of course! But the CofE says gay "marriage" is wrong (indeed, so wrong that the new law has had, for the first time, to separate two kinds of marriage - state and religious - that's quite an indication of how far this is from the CofE).

One of two outcomes seems plausible: (i) HMQ just broke her oath (ii) HMQ, as Supreme Governor of the CofE has just unilaterally decided gay "marriage" is not contrary to the Laws of God and this is now the teaching of the CofE.

I'm not saying I've got the answer so I'm interested in people's opinions on this.

17 July 2013 at 22:12  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@The Explorer:
Thank you - yes - I understand what you are saying better now.
I agree - there were spiritual antecedents to the reformation in England. They were called heresy ; )
And, of course, Henry VIII dealt with them stridently and violently. Until dynastic "necessity" forced his hand.
Then he made use of them. And was, in turn, made use of to a degree: The Boleyn family being a case in point. To say nothing of, ahem, he who must not be named - the man with the toasted hand...

@Jay Bee
"Within the walls of the Established Church it seems to me that nothing has changed."
I think this is wishful thinking, to be honest, by virtue of the fact that the Church of England is the nationalised Church. All it will take are successive human rights complaints to be taken up to open a breach in those walls.
But, in fact, before that point, numerous vicars and some Bishops will have opened the doors wide already and will be daring the Church of England to "bring it on."

And then - well - I've said it far too often on this blog already - just scroll up.

This legislation is a redefinition of marriage.
As it stands neither gays nor straights will be married in the eyes of the Church.
All kinds of legal problems rear their heads at this point....
A separation of Church and State à la Française will happen when it comes to marriage. And that will be the start of the untying of the established Church.

Don't look to the Queen to save you.

She won't.

I like Queen Elizabeth II. I think she's great.
But she's no King Baudoin of Belgium: refusing to assent to abortion legislation and preferring abdication to the violation of his conscience. The Belgians found a way around this that kept the King AND his conscience.
The Queen didn't even require her ministers to look for one.... She'll look out for her family's future first - and the Church of England's second.

17 July 2013 at 22:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

ardenjm

And that will be the start of the untying of the established Church.

But that is a good thing for the Church. It should be celebrated. It shouldn't be feared .. unless you are a liberal religionist in the CoE. Then you should be scared ... well, you know ... [insert particular expression here].

carl

17 July 2013 at 22:30  
Blogger LEN said...

Should believers obey the laws of the land even when the laws of the land contradict God`s Law?.


The answer to that question may be found in Acts 5:27-29, “Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 'We gave you strict orders not to teach in this Name,' he said. 'Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood.' Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!'“

The wheel seems to have[almost] turned full circle and we must make a stand for the truth regardless of pressure from our [increasingly] secular Government.

17 July 2013 at 22:38  
Blogger Peter D said...

Albert said ...
"Surely, homosexuals should not be told not to come to Church?"

Cohabiting homosexuals - who see nothing wrong with what they are doing? Truly, I don't know the answer to this. Should there be 'special' services for homosexuals as in Westminster? Just how does the Church welcome them and at the same time be clear where their lifestyle choices are leading?

"And yes, if homosexuals are told not to receive communion, so should cohabiting couples. Surely, that is the teaching of the Catholic Church?"

I completely agree - as well as divorced couples, those using contraception and those involved in abortion.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that there is a significant difference between homosexual couples who regard their behaviour as acceptable and those who know they are in a state of sin and decide not to receive the Eucharist.

17 July 2013 at 22:47  
Blogger ardenjm said...

carl jacobs

The people who are calling for disestablishment are generally trying to excise religion from the public square altogether.
They've failed to distinguish the State (which can and probably should be secular) from Society (which is made up of all kinds of beliefs and varying beliefs) and they want Society to be secular and all religious identity to be absolutely privatised.

Even though I don't think the Church of England is the true Church that Christ established I am reluctant to see disestablishment because it is being motivated by those who want to marginalise as much as possible the Gospel from public life.
In that sense - the Church of England, created by the political expediency of the King - will, in grim irony - be one of the last victims of that same political expediency.

Why should I celebrate the restoration of the godless Imperial cult? Caesero-papism is bad enough.
But Caeserolatry tout court is even worse...
And that's where we're headed.

17 July 2013 at 22:52  
Blogger David B said...

Peter D re "Oh I don't know about that. I thought Drastic Plastic was on the money - especially the comment about pimps and prostitutes."

Whether you are honourable or not, silly or not, or have picked on something I have missed is, I think, rather dependent on whether you can explain just how that is on the money.

I fail to see how my support for the idea that homosexuals who have formed a loving pair bond should not be permitted to have this loving pair bond recognised by the state with regards to becoming each others next of kin can be confused with pimping and prostitution.

Which is also the POV of many Christians.

Is it not possible that your claim is a post hic confabulation resulting from your emotional discomfort at people who deny gods in general, and the gods of the middle eastern religions in particular?

David

17 July 2013 at 22:54  
Blogger David B said...

Oh, and by the way, for the Catholics here, what do you make of the reports that you can get time of purgatory if you follow the Pope on twitter?

Hoax? True?

Assiduously following twitter? Or not?

David

17 July 2013 at 23:02  
Blogger Martin said...

Albert

The Bible clearly shows that God loves - is that not an emotion?

God does not love everyone:

“As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."” (Romans 9:13 NKJV)

17 July 2013 at 23:09  
Blogger ardenjm said...

David B

It would be true if we had to pay for it.

Since we don't have to pay for it. It is manifestly untrue.

There. Have I reflected back the flippant irony well enough to be able to say auto da fé?

17 July 2013 at 23:09  
Blogger Martin said...

ardenjm

Tyndale, Wycliffe et al were not the heretics, they sought to live by God's Word, unlike the Pope who has always been an antichrist.

17 July 2013 at 23:11  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B

"a loving pair bond"?

You make it sound like a couple of love birds on sale in a pet shop!

"recognised by the state with regards to becoming each others next of kin can be confused with pimping and prostitution."

And you are 'selling' the idea, are you not? The normalisation of perversion, thereby causing grave harm to society - from this Christian's POV.

I have no "emotional discomfort" at all with atheists. You, as I recall, go further being an anti-theist. Am I correct?

17 July 2013 at 23:11  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Albert@22:12

In practice its a legal fudge to get out of a tight spot. Whether or not she has failed to maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel would seem to hinge on the words "to the utmost of your power."

Did she do the utmost to advise, and warn her Ministers to the full extent of her power as a constitutional monarch. That is the question to which we are unlikely to get an answer.

17 July 2013 at 23:13  
Blogger Simba Hosting said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 July 2013 at 23:33  
Blogger David Anderson said...

The Revd Mann appears to be shocked to discover that he's actually part of an Erastian set-up. Who'd have thought?

17 July 2013 at 23:35  
Blogger David B said...

Peter D, I am not selling anything, but I do suggest that some ideas are better moral rules of thumb than others.

Among them, the idea that for sexual relations to be moral, a necessary condition is that they should be between consenting people who have reached some necessarily arbitrary age of consent, which should be in a sensible range and prescribed by a reasonable law.

I see that as a sufficient condition as well, unless there are strong arguments to the contrary - one partner withholding information about their status as a carrier of some STD for instance.

As far as being an anti-theist goes, then it would be true to say that I regard some god concepts as pernicious, others relatively benign, and some few, as Douglas Adams might have said, as mostly harmless.

I certainly think that some conceptions of the middle eastern gods are very far from benign.

Perhaps you might share my opinion regarding some of these conceptions, or maybe not?

Fred Phelps' view of God?

David

17 July 2013 at 23:43  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Martin

Don't be silly.
There are two saint Martins to whose interecession before God I'll confide you tonight.
The first is the famous St Martin of Tours - a wonderful saint, much loved through out Europe down the centuries.
And then his namesake, Pope St Martin, who died in prison for the Gospel in the 7th century.
His story is particularly apposite given the caesero-papism of Henry VIII:

"Elected pope in 649 without imperial approval. Conducted the Lateran Council which condemned the patriach of Constantinople for Monothelitism, which claimed that Christ had no human will. This put him in opposition to the emperor who had him arrested and tortured.
Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, repented of his stance which saved Martin from execution, but the pope died soon after from damage done during his imprisonment, and is considered a martyr - the last martyred pope."

Antichrist indeed....

17 July 2013 at 23:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Should the church welcome men who freely defecate in the street...

17 July 2013 at 23:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

...or in the church...

17 July 2013 at 23:48  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B said ...
" ... the idea that for sexual relations to be moral, a necessary condition is that they should be between consenting people who have reached some necessarily arbitrary age of consent, which should be in a sensible range and prescribed by a reasonable law."

Moral? Surely you mean legal - an entirely different standard? And "necessarily arbitrary age of consent"? Now we seem to be in the realm of man made ethics without any moral basis. Just check out the weird and wonderful sexual norms of a range of societies down the ages.

"As far as being an anti-theist goes, then it would be true to say that I regard some god concepts as pernicious, others relatively benign, and some few, as Douglas Adams might have said, as mostly harmless."

Well we are in agreement on this. Unsurprising, I believe there is only one God, we are created by Him to live in a certain way for our own good and for the common good. These are not arbitrary 'rules' imposed by 'religion' for us to 'submit' to. The truly radical revelation of Christ is that there is harmony between our individual and common welfare and God's will.

No other 'middle eastern' faith system, or any other for that matter, quite gets this.

18 July 2013 at 00:09  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

Come now, that's harsh even by our standards.

We are talking about people caught in the grip of grave sin in a society that's condoning and encouraging their behaviour.

What should the Church do to make them aware of the implications of this without abandoning them (or should it abandon them?) whilst also preserving the integrity of Christian communities?

I really don't know the answer.

18 July 2013 at 00:22  
Blogger Peter D said...

That should be "your standards".

18 July 2013 at 00:22  
Blogger Ditari said...

David B -

Phelps would subscribe to the 1689 London Baptist Confession, whose description of God is as in the 1647 Westminster Confession:

"There is but one only, living, and true God: who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty."

So go on, tell us which of the above concepts you like and which you dislike (and why).

18 July 2013 at 01:09  
Blogger David B said...

Ditari, it is hard to know where to begin,but I shall start by saying that like the attributes of Superman there are some that I find attractive, but all are rather flawed by the lack of evidence to show the existence of Superman on the one hand, God on the other.

There are other things on the list which seem to me internally contradictory, others, which seem at variance with actual Christian practice.

What, for instance, is the point of intercessory prayer directed to a being of immutable will?

Free, absolute and immutable, all at the same time?

It all looks a bit confused to me.

Well, when I say 'a bit' that is being kind.

Where, do you think, is the justice and mercy in the long and painful deaths of children born with cystic fibrosis, or any one of many fatal and painful diseases?

Where the love and mercy?

I could go on, but I haven't had my coffee yet.

Do you, in fact, endorse the actions of Phelps and his fellow cultists?

David

David

18 July 2013 at 06:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ardenjm:"The people who are calling for disestablishment are generally trying to excise religion from the public square altogether."

Not the ones, like me, who are attached to political liberalism of course but it suits some religionists to portray it like that anyway because it enhances their victim status.

18 July 2013 at 07:25  
Blogger The Explorer said...

ardenjm @ 22:52

Your comment to Carl contains an important point: there are different motives for wanting disestablishment.

To the Anabaptists, the idea of a state church was anathema: faith was a matter of personal choice that could not be coerced; hence their opposition to infant baptism. The 'church' was the body of believers within the wider community.

Others, however, see Christianity as a misguided and reactionary belief system that stifles our legitimate impulses. They would like to see it expunged entirely: from social, cultural, intellectual, sexual, political and whatever other 'al' area onen can think of.

18 July 2013 at 07:41  
Blogger David B said...

Explorer, I don't think that even the most militant of atheists want the church expunged. Too many desiderata concerning personal freedom, freedom of expression etc would have to be set aside to expunge it.

Most thinking atheists in my experience are also secularists, and despite the misinformation given out by misinformed or plain dishonest religionists, secularism remains the best guarantor of religious freedom.

Having religion fade away as more and more people become convinced that religion is false on the one hand, and often harmful on the other, is another matter of course.

David

18 July 2013 at 09:45  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

Good point. Religious sceptics are widely differing in their motives.

For Flashman (he of the novels) all religions are nonsense, but when it comes to keeping people down, one load of nonsense will do as well as another. (Attack on missionaries).

For the great humanist Gilbert Murray, all the great religions of the world were both untrue and harmful. The decent thing would be to get rid of the lot asap.

Machiavelli, however, saw religion as important for containing the mob. Retaining religion for social control was as important as not believing it oneself.

For secularism as the guarantorr of religious freedom, ever read Wurmbrand's 'Tortured for Christ'?

Good to see you back on this Blog: in my estimation, you ask searching questions.

Regards.

18 July 2013 at 09:59  
Blogger LEN said...

Disestablishment is the only way for the Anglican Church to free itself of the corrupting influence of our secular Government.

IF the Anglican Church surrendered itself to God then God would be able to breathe His Life into it.

This would of course apply to other churches as well.

18 July 2013 at 10:37  
Blogger Albert said...

Martin,

The Bible clearly shows that God loves - is that not an emotion?

We have to be careful when using language in relation to God that we do not take it to mean in God what it means in a creature. If we don't get this right, then we make God a creature: we anthropomorphise him. Emotion implies someone being moved by something outside of him. But God cannot be moved by anything outside of him. Therefore God does not have emotions - or at least, not emotions as we have them.

Although a Catholic, I can quote with approval a Baptist formula quoted above:

There is but one only, living, and true God: who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible

(Passions would include emotions, immutable would exclude them.)

18 July 2013 at 10:37  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

The Explorer - Excellent book. Have you also read In God's Underground? Interesting how nothing was guaranteed in the end- persecutors ended up in their own prisons. Also an enlightening narrative of how the church leaders were so easy to herd.

Sorry - a bit of a diversion.

18 July 2013 at 10:42  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Free, absolute and immutable, all at the same time?

It all looks a bit confused to me.


Not all at the same time, as such, for God is not in time. However, leaving that picky point aside, why is it confused?

Where, do you think, is the justice and mercy in the long and painful deaths of children born with cystic fibrosis, or any one of many fatal and painful diseases?

Where the love and mercy?


Well, this is a general problem of evil issue. We are all terrified by evil, and it is easy to feel that evil is a great threat to belief in God. However, at the intellectual level, I think the argument for the non-existence of God is very weak indeed. Specific examples speak to the emotions, but the general arguments - which appeal to the intellect are usually confused and unsound.

18 July 2013 at 10:42  
Blogger Albert said...

David,

Having religion fade away as more and more people become convinced that religion is false on the one hand, and often harmful on the other, is another matter of course.

No, that's not what's happening - I refer to the sociology I mentioned earlier. Modernity does not imply secularity - that simply isn't what's happening globally. Modernity is implying pluralism. Pluralism implies the growth of many positions - including atheism, givng the impression of secular future. But other positions are growing with it.

In any case, as the population ages we import more of our labour - and those who come to the country tend to be from conservative religious backgrounds. 10% of young people in this country are already Muslims, and they have larger families and seem to become more fervent the more they encounter the West. And that's in Europe, which is known as the exceptional case (exceptional because more secular than the rest of the world)! The future will not be secular. If anything is certain, it is that.

Often harmful? Water is often harmful - you can drown in it, you can die from drinking too much of it. It can cause you to slip and you can burn yourself on it. All things are often harmful, but history shows, some ideologies (say atheism) are more harmful than others.

18 July 2013 at 10:48  
Blogger Martin said...

Albert

I'll agree we have to be careful not to take those passages in Scripture that speak of human emotions as a way of describing God's view of mankind's behaviour and of course God cannot be surprised, but I think you sidestepped my question.

18 July 2013 at 11:07  
Blogger Martin said...

ardenjm

I am far from silly. Only those whom God makes holy by the new birth are saints, and they are all saints.

Among them are Wycliffe and Tyndale besides the many throughout this land who meet together to praise and glorify the God who saved them when they were still His enemies.

18 July 2013 at 11:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Martin,

I think you sidestepped my question

Really? Here is your question:

The Bible clearly shows that God loves - is that not an emotion?

And I answered, in God, no (or rather, I showed how it couldn't be). I wonder if you are asking a different question - what does it mean to say God loves? Is that where you are?

18 July 2013 at 11:14  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Albert/Rasher B

Albert: David seems to be following the Positivist line there: evolving beyond religion. Remember the 'Death of God' school in the 60's, followed by the New-Age explosion of religious interest (pluralism in its Western form)? Comte must be turning in his grave.

Rasher:

Don't know 'Underground'. Thanks, I'll look it up. The persecutors in prison so often happens: Robespierre himself guillotined; 'Darkness at Noon'.

18 July 2013 at 11:18  
Blogger Albert said...

Explorer,

Yes, I think you are right, but it does seem clear that isn't what is happening. It looked like it 50 years ago. But not now.

18 July 2013 at 11:24  
Blogger Martin said...

David

Why the children dying long and painful lingering deaths? In a word, sin. Your sin, my sin a whole world of sin for 6000 years, and that is a lot of sin.

Do not, however, be under the mistaken impression that those children are innocent, they aren't for they are sinners too. They deserve the wrath of God as do you and Jesus answer to such a question was to call to repentance lest such a fate befall you.

18 July 2013 at 11:39  
Blogger Peter D said...

Martin

Militant protestantism is so uplifting!

18 July 2013 at 11:45  
Blogger Martin said...

Albert

Goodness, yours is a hard God who does not feel emotion over His people.

I'll stick to the God of the Bible who is angry with the wicked, loves His people from eternity and sorrows over the state of His creation.

Is the joy in Heaven over the one who believes not shared by God?

Indeed, how does God impart emotion to His creation when He doesn't know it Himself?

18 July 2013 at 11:45  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Martin

"Only those whom God makes holy by the new birth are saints, and they are all saints.

Among them are Wycliffe and Tyndale"

I was accusing you of being silly over your remarks about the Pope.
As for Wycliffe and Tyndale, I have no idea if they made it to Heaven. God is merciful so maybe they did.
Just because they themselves said "Lord! Lord!" does not mean, as The Lord very clearly states, that He recognised them as His own...

However, if the criteria are going to be the ones you've given above, then you have to include people like Pope Saint Martin.
Which, of course, you can't do. Because he was a Pope and therefore he was the antichrist.

And that's just daft, I'm afraid.
You sound as if you know nothing about the history of the Church between 100AD and 1500AD - and even less about its history beyond Great Britain.

The ignorance of Church history on behalf of some Protestants is simply breathtaking. It's as if Christianity only really kicked off in 1517 and prior to that were tiny pockets of people languishing in the shadows waiting for the coming of Martin Luther to lead them to the Promised Land.

It's ridiculous.

As any perusal of the Lindisfarne Gospels should demonstrate - for those who are attached to these islands....

18 July 2013 at 12:27  
Blogger Preacher said...

IMO it will be interesting to see if the Prince of Wales on being crowned King. Will persevere with his wish to be crowned & named "Defender of Faiths", & what effect, if any this would have on the CofE. Would the Church split?, It could be a good thing, Sheep & Goats, Wheat & Tares! or maybe not.

Perhaps if the Full Gospel was Preached in more of our Churches, focusing on the Cross, Salvation, Redemption & the results for those that reject God's Mercy, there wouldn't be a problem of sinners attending Church. They would be most welcome (Not enough sinners in Church seeking the Lord allows for lethargy & sleeping among many of the saints). If they come to hear the gospel, repent & find Salvation it could be the match that lights the fuse of Revival.
The friction arises when those that have no desire to seek the Lord, demand their 'rights' of God & man unaware that they will receive their due, all in good time on the day of judgement. An assize & place they will not demand to gain entry to.

18 July 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Martin,

Goodness, yours is a hard God

Well, you've just said that you think children who are suffering are being punished by God for their sins - even though they may not have reached the age of reason. I don't think you are in a position to call anyone else hard.

I'll stick to the God of the Bible

You're quite sure that the God of the Bible has emotions? That he changes? That he goes from one state to another? That he is therefore a temporal being? Why?

It's easy to just say "I'll stick to the God of the Bible" but I referred to a Baptist formula from 1689. Now I know that is hardly going to be authoritative as such to you in the way in which a Catholic definition is. But that's the point. Why do they say that? They say it, because they believe that is what the Bible reveals God to be.

The issue surely is not "Does God love?" The Bible says he does, so he does. The question must be "Given that God is not a creature, that he does not change (emotion), that he is the cause of time, not an inhabitant of it, what does the Bible mean when it says 'God loves?'" These are the questions those Baptist Divines will have had in mind, indeed they will have worried that to get the answer wrong would have resulted in a reversion to a pagan view of God. Moreover, understand God as the Baptists did and you find is so much more generous and loving than if he simply has anything remotely approximating to human emotion.

Indeed, how does God impart emotion to His creation when He doesn't know it Himself?

I might as well ask "How does God impart fluffiness to his creation when he doesn't know it Himself?" Of course, God knows both what emotion is and what fluffiness is, and he can cause both in his creatures, but that does not mean God must have fluffiness (or smallness, or greenness, or bodilness) in himself and it therefore does not follow that God must have emotion in himself.

18 July 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger Albert said...

Martin, To clarify,

in the way in which a Catholic definition is to a Catholic.

18 July 2013 at 12:39  
Blogger Martin said...

ardenjm

Curiously the view of the pope I expressed is one that many Christians have expressed.

To teach a false gospel is quite clearly the work of the antichrist, the one who is accursed in the words of Paul. To teach that men have any say in their salvation, that they can have any influence on the outcome is without a doubt to preach another gospel.

The Bible teaches that salvation is the work of God alone who gives the faith through which it is alone gained to whom He chooses to save.

The popes down the ages have been in opposition to this truth and persecuted those who proclaimed it.

There have always been those, often hidden away, who have kept to this faith who were only free to worship openly after the Reformation.

18 July 2013 at 12:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Martin,

To teach that men have any say in their salvation, that they can have any influence on the outcome is without a doubt to preach another gospel.

The Bible teaches that salvation is the work of God alone who gives the faith through which it is alone gained to whom He chooses to save.


There is a sense in which everything you say here is true, and taught by the Catholic Church. I think you need to be more specific - especially if you are going to band the word "anti-Christ" about.

18 July 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

"the local conservative evangelical church". Where does it say that the church was CofE? Sounds more like an independent to me.

18 July 2013 at 12:51  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"What, for instance, is the point of intercessory prayer directed to a being of immutable will?"

I'd suggest trying to find a copy of C.S. Lewis' essay "The Efficacy of Prayer" (or indeed, a number of his letters), since this is an issue that he deals with directly, and it might interest you to read his extended argument on the subject rather than just a few lines.

However, here are a few lines (from Letters to Malcolm - also largely dedicated to the subject of prayer), which at the least turn some of the assumptions underlying your question on their head:

God and His acts are not in time. Intercourse between God and man occurs at particular moments for the man, but not for God. If there is – as the very concept of prayer presupposes – an adaptation between the free actions of men in prayer and the courses of events, this adaptation is from the beginning inherent in the great single creative act. Our prayers are heard – don’t say ‘have been heard’ or you are putting God into time – not only before we make them but before we are made ourselves."

18 July 2013 at 13:15  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Martin

Ah, okay. Thanks for clarifying.
You really do subscribe to the view I suggested above:

"It's as if Christianity only really kicked off in 1517 and prior to that were tiny pockets of people languishing in the shadows waiting for the coming of Martin Luther to lead them to the Promised Land."

Allow me to put you in the Jehovah Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon category of:
"Until we came along there were only a handful of people who had discovered the truth but then we came along and we now proclaim it to the world."

Lucky world.

"The Bible teaches that salvation is the work of God alone who gives the faith through which it is alone gained to whom He chooses to save."
No it doesn't.
Revelation teaches us pretty clearly that Scripture can only be faithfully interpreted by the Holy Spirit-led Magisterium of the Church (see John 16 vs 13 and Acts 15 vs 28).
The Word of God likewise teaches us that salvation is the work of Our Saviour (John 19 vs 30), and He offers us His saving grace through His Church (John 15 especially vs 20, Acts 9 vs 4, Matthew 28 vs 19).
When we assent, in Faith, to His Truth and receive His Love and Charity into our hearts we have started on the way of salvation:

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own."
Philippians 3 vs 12.

I'm sorry that people were persecuted and killed because they disagreed with the teaching of the Faith.
Just as I am sorry that Henry Ireton killed around 600,000 Catholics in Ireland in the years 1649-1651 because he was a Puritan and hated the Catholic Church....
Was Ireton therefore the antichrist?

I'd hestitate before I identified any historical figure with the Man of Sin. That Ireton did anti-christian things is clear - as his last words indicate:
"blood! blood! I must have more blood!"

You, however, see the antichrist everywhere - in any one who doesn't preach the same things as you do.
It absolves you, therefore, of ever having to call yourself into question when you can categorise all those who disagree with you as agents who seek your damnation.... That's neat. But desperately sad.

As C.S. Lewis says in his Narnia books:
"Oh, Adam's son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!"

18 July 2013 at 13:32  
Blogger LEN said...

Martin.. Be warned 'Albert' is a bit like a 'heat seeking missile' pursuing protestants.

He has a whole armoury of weapons specially prepared by the Vatican to launch against anyone who dares to proclaim the Reformation...

Fly High and fly fast.




18 July 2013 at 13:39  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Yawn......

There is no command against love. Your comment is therefore an abuse of language intended to create confusion.

If men want a religion in which same gender sexual acts are blessed, let them create one. But they can't call it Christianity as there is already a religion of that name which has always and everywhere opposed such acts.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 5 to discover the authentic Christian response to sexual immorality in the church.

18 July 2013 at 13:42  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

But people including unbelievers are desperate to get their children into Christian schools because they are better not least at ethos and discipline. It would make more sense for the secularist state to get out of education and give it back to the church.

If an IKEA school was better than the dumbed down comprehensives the socialists imposed on us, people would willingly buy more than a cheap bookcase to get their kids in!

18 July 2013 at 13:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

ardenjm @ 12:27

(Since I was the one who raised the issue of Wycliff and Tyndale in the first place).

Tyndale did more than say, "Lord! Lord!" He died for his faith. Whether he did the will of God (the other bit of the example you cite) by translating the Bible into the vernacular, or whether God wanted it kept in Latin (itself a translation) I leave to God to decide.

I fully take your point about the treatment of Catholics at the hands of Protestants. If it's worth anything, I wish it hadn't happened.

18 July 2013 at 14:04  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Shame on Archbishop Welby and on Her MaJesty. But then Welby is an old etonian and part of the charmed Cameron circle of power. I see no future of any value in either the Church of England or the Monarchy from 17th July 2013 on. A very black day for this Nation.

18 July 2013 at 14:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

You say such lovely things!

18 July 2013 at 15:25  
Blogger Albert said...

Belfast, David B.,

What, for instance, is the point of intercessory prayer directed to a being of immutable will?

Well, one thing's for certain, we're not trying to change God's mind or will about anything! CS Lewis is spot on here (as so often). I'll not add anything until David has clarified where he thinks the confusion is to be found.

18 July 2013 at 15:28  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@The Explorer

Well, like I said, the eternal destiny of Tyndale et al is something beyond my ken.
And, of course, as 1 Corinthians 13 tells us:

"though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing"

I don't think he was burnt for translating the Bible but because, ironically enough, he publicly opposed Henry VIII's divorce and thus became one more object of the King's ire.
Of course some of his ideas were heretical - including his "soul sleep" idea - thus denouncing prayers for the dead, the communion of the saints both living and dead and so on.

Interestingly, he was the first English author to advocate the theory of the Divine Right of Kings...a Protestant idea, initially, ironically enough.

So, no, he didn't die as a martyr to Biblical translation. Parts of the Bible had been translated and used for centuries - the Passion Plays included whole chunks of scripture in the vernacular, for example.
It wasn't even the appropriation of the Bible and the advocacy of vernacular translation as part of a wider refusal of the Church's teaching authority that really got Tyndale into trouble.
In the end it was because he'd made an enemy of the King...

18 July 2013 at 15:31  
Blogger IanCad said...

ardenjm @ 13:32

You wrote: "--Henry Ireton killed around 600,000 Catholics in Ireland in the years 1649-1651 because he was a Puritan and hated the Catholic Church..."

Granted the sanguinary times and the passions of the rightgeous that still seems an outlandish overstatement.

Anyway you can back it up?

18 July 2013 at 16:23  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@IanCad

I know! It sounds unbelievable, doesn't it?
600,000 during the Puritan wars in Ireland.
Over 40% of the Irish population of around 1.5 million.

I understand why the British government supports Turkey's refusal to accept the Armenian charge of genocide. Whatever the Turks did to the Armenians - The Puritans (please note, I don't say the English) did to the Irish. Why? Because they were Irish? No. But because they were Catholics.

You asked me to back up my claim.
When I first came across this number on Wikipedia I said to myself: typical wikipedia exaggeration:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromwellian_conquest_of_Ireland#Historical_debate

However, wikipedia sends us here:
^ Frances Stewart (2000). War and Underdevelopment: Economic and Social Consequences of Conflict v. 1 (Queen Elizabeth House Series in Development Studies), Oxford University Press. 2000. p. 51.

And elsewhere the figure is corroborated:

The Physician-General of the Army of Cromwell, Dr. William Petty, estimated that about 504,000 of the Irish perished and were wasted by sword, plague, famine, hardship and banishment between 23rd October 1641 and the same day in 1652. Put another way, the population of Ireland in 1641 was 1,448,000 and by 1652, 616,000 perished of which 504,000 were natives and 112,000 colonists and 40,000 soldiers left Ireland to join armies on the continent.

http://www.irish-society.org/home/hedgemaster-archives-2/people/cromwell-oliver-tyranny-of-1649
http://www.historyireland.com/cromwell/how-many-died-during-cromwells-campaign/

History Journal, Ireland, doesn't hesitate to call it ethnic cleansing:
http://www.historyjournal.ie/irish-slavery/55-irish-slavery-main-page/112-cromwells-ethnic-cleansing.html

Do you want some more "back up" or will the word of the Puritan Physician General of the time be sufficient?

18 July 2013 at 16:47  
Blogger The Explorer said...

ardenjm:

He did oppose the divorce. That would have annoyed Henry. On the other hand, propounding the divine right of kings would probably have pleased Henry.

However, the English bishops had banned English versions of the Bible since 1408 because they feared the Lollards, who had their own inaccurate translation made from the Latin Vulgate.

Tyndale set out to make an accurate translation from the original Latin and Greek. He could not do so in England because the bishops opposed such a translation as aiding the spread of Lutheran ideas and challenging the authority of the Catholic Church. He did his translating on the Continent, was betrayed, and arrested outside Brussels.

He was found guilty of heresy by an Imperial Court, strangled (at the intercession of Thomas Cromwell), and then burned.


That was the version of events I was going by.

18 July 2013 at 16:48  
Blogger ardenjm said...

p.s.

I'm sorry I got the years wrong.
Wikipedia indicated a shorter time frame which I took at face value.
The 600,000 is for the whole period of 10 years, not just over 3 years.
My mistake.

18 July 2013 at 16:49  
Blogger Albert said...

I think we can say with confidence that wicked things were done on both sides of the divide. Although, to add to the Protestant mass murder of Catholics in Ireland, we should remember that the largest single act of religious violence in this country was also carried out by Protestants. In a single act, more than twice as many Catholics were executed than Protestants were burnt in the entire reign of Mary Tudor.

And then you can add the extreme treachery of Protestants towards lawful monarchs - two executed, and one deposed.

18 July 2013 at 17:08  
Blogger Albert said...

Explorer,

Tyndale set out to make an accurate translation from the original Latin and Greek.

I'm no expert on this, but I was under the impression that Tyndale's translation was ideological and at times tenuous. I expect authorities on both sides of the divide burnt people for such.

18 July 2013 at 17:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Peter D. One hates to leave a question unanswered, perhaps you do to.

Take the very likely scenario of two gay men, a couple, attending church. They always hold hands during the service. Quite naturally, this conduct results in parishioners informing the priest that they consider this unacceptable. You are the priest – what to do ?

Here’s the Rev Inspector’s response. He would ask the gay men to see him after service and let them know the feelings. He would suggest that when they are in church, they do not hold hands. The gays respond by saying this would not be an issue if they were a different sex couple. The priest, for he is an honest man, agrees. The gays then say their ‘rights’ are being infringed and they do not feel ‘equal’. The priest responds by saying that he is sorry the gays do not consider other peoples feelings. The gays reply again with rights and equalities. The priest then tells them that he has no other option but to regret they do not do compromise, remind them of the church’s teachings on sodomy, and inform them that it would be better if they did not attend. Adding, that he does not wish to bar them, but saying they would not be truly welcome as a result of their attitude. He would end with that he would feel free to advise any complaining parishioner of the proceedings of the meeting.

In other words, skilfully throw the complaint back to where it originated, and then kneel and thank God that he has been granted the divine gift of cunning…





18 July 2013 at 17:54  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thank you ardenjm,

I have to confess that I had never heard of Dr. William Petty.
Astonishing figures indeed.
No excuses; Satan is ruler of this world.
When confronted with numbers so huge it is tempting to parse the figures. Perhaps there was a miscalculation? Or, maybe, most victims were "Collateral Damage"? I shall not go there.
The evil in this world continues.
Lord, Come Soon.

18 July 2013 at 18:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Albert:

All this blew up because I said that the origins of the C of E were spiritual as well as political. I was not setting myself up as an expert on Tyndale.

The best acccount I know is in C S Lewis' 'English Literature in the 16th Century'. He covers More as well, and says both of them were men to whom the rest of us should bend the knee. He certainly covers Tyndale's theory of grace.

Re Protestant/Catholic atrocities, I've recently been wading through William Cavanaugh's 'The Myth of Religious Violence'.

I don't recommend it if you don't know it: very dense to read, and he bludgeons you with data; but he does make startling points about the Thirty Years' War.

Just two: Catholic France allied with with Protestant Sweden against Catholic Austria; Catholic Wallenstein had Protestant officers in his army. His point: national factors were quite as important as religion in dettermining who fought who.

18 July 2013 at 18:32  
Blogger Naomi King said...


And shame on the Church of England Bishops too, most of whom failed to even turn up to the debates in the Lords and to vote. Too frightened to stand up for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ I would guess. How they can call themselves a "church" at all I now wonder.

Doesn't look very much like the bride of Christ to me.

18 July 2013 at 18:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Explorer,

Yes, it's fair enough to say that the CofE has spiritual origins as well as political ones. Even as a Catholic, I do tend to defend the CofE against the charge that it was all about Henry VIII wanting a new wife. However, I think it is pretty clear that, without the political element (and some of it very dodgy - Thomas Cromwell being a beast), that the Protestant Reformation would not have got far in this country. On the whole, Protestantism wasn't popular.

What you say about the Thirty Years' War is interesting - and it's the second time I've seen someone make that point in the last week (the other being in a book), so I'm beginning to think I ought to read something on it.

It seems to me that that war was crucial in pushing Europe in a secular direction. Because it was perceived a religious people asked how to resolve the conflict. The answer was that if only people kept their beliefs within the limits of reason, then there would be no fighting.

The trouble is that secular Europe has been more violent, so if religion wasn't the cause of the violence (or not by itself anyway), then we have yet more reason to give up on unbelief and return to the true faith. (Reason #6987!)

18 July 2013 at 19:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Naomi,

And shame on the Church of England Bishops too, most of whom failed to even turn up to the debates in the Lords and to vote.

That is really shocking. I didn't know that. What's the point of them being there if they will not defend the common good?

18 July 2013 at 19:14  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"On the whole, Protestantism wasn't popular

This undoubtedly true, and I know I don't have to cite Duffy to you. However, it ought to be nuanced by saying that, particularly prior to the Reformation, there was an awful lot in reform movements which was popular with otherwise orthodox Catholics (both in the laity and more widely in monastic, clerical, and mendicant audiences).

Accessible Scripture being the prime example: it was immensely popular, and despite the usual narrative that it was forbidden, was widely available, not only through full translations in the vein of Wyclif, but also selected commentaries, glosses, and - we should never forget - in the form of countless spiritual directors who read and instantaneously translated devotional and Gospel material with their charges.

My difficulty with both the "Catholic" and "Protestant" narratives of history is that they often elide these things into signs of (consciously anti-Protestant) orthodoxy, or proto-Protestantism. The very diversity of medieval religion made it perfectly possible to be, to all intents and purposes within one's community, orthodox, whilst appearing formally heterodox with a retrospective view.

My own sympathies tend to lie with "soft" reformers/"soft" orthodox, who retreated from explicit attempts to provoke schism because they recognised spiritual unity as valuable, but who were also uncomfortable with centralised attempts (with an emphasis on "attempt") to command adherence to a form of orthodoxy that was at odds with the spiritual collegiality which had defined and so enriched Christendom.

18 July 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@The Explorer

Catholic France systematically sided with whoever was against the Habsburgs down the centuries.

They even sided with the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto!
Outrageous betrayal of Europe for the sake of short term national interest.

18 July 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Burn the lot of them...

18 July 2013 at 19:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

...the bishops in the Lords. Blasted waste of time them being there...

18 July 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@AnonymousinBelfast

"My own sympathies tend to lie with "soft" reformers/"soft" orthodox...who were also uncomfortable with centralised attempts (with an emphasis on "attempt") to command adherence to a form of orthodoxy that was at odds with the spiritual collegiality which had defined and so enriched Christendom."

Who are you thinking of ?

18 July 2013 at 19:40  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

ardenjm

Specifically? Not many famous people, I'm afraid - but I should make it clear that I'm thinking about the late medieval rather than the early modern, when the seeds of both were being sown but the sides weren't as clearly drawn. The writers of parish chronicles, for instance - there's one that always sticks in my mind from Ghent in the late fifteenth century who lamented both the destruction of his parish by "parishioners" and the destruction of his parishioners by the authorities.

Wyclif himself could tentatively be adduced to this group rather than his posthumous reputation. He didn't really get going as a full-blooded schismatic until he was dug up again.

I'd also put William Langland in this camp: someone who could see corruption (both spiritual and financial) and the dangers of schism simultaneously and was repulsed by both. I read Piers Plowman as an anguished attempt to steer between the two towards a vision of the Church that is not wholly of this world, precisely because it becomes apparent that the contemporary Church was too much of this world.

18 July 2013 at 19:59  

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