Comments: RW television interview with Melvyn Bragg

"While some Christians use “biblical grounds” to oppose homosexuality, said the Archbishop, it tended to be more about social prejudice and inherited ideas."

'bout says it.

[inherited *mistaken* ideas: just so we're clear]

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 2:59am BST

What these pronouncements on women bishops and on homophobia say is that Rowan was playing to an audience in this interview.
I'd like to bet he won't be taking the same position with the ACC this week: that unless they precede every word with a proof text they're plain bigoted and prejudiced. ;)

Not for the first time with Rowan, we wonder whatever happened to let your yes be yes and your no be no.

Posted by Neil at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 8:01am BST

The above is a selective comment. According to the article, this is what Rowan Willimas is reported to have said:

"On the subject of homosexuality, the Archbishop said the Bible clearly pointed to the sanctity of marriage for the expression of sexual relationships.

But he said there was pressure from some Christians to accept that homosexual relationships have elements of the same qualities associated with marriage.

Dr Williams added: “And I think one of the problems we face at the moment is distinguishing between two rather different things.

“One is the sort of hesitation which many people quite rightly feel about moving too quickly to a new scheme which might jeopardise what’s said about marriage.

“And the other is, if you like, plain prejudice and bigotry about homosexuality as such, of which there is an awful lot in Christian circles.”

While some Christians use “biblical grounds” to oppose homosexuality, said the Archbishop, it tended to be more about social prejudice and inherited ideas.

“That’s why I’m reluctant to see us foreclosing this by independent decisions which lean on one side rather than the other.”

Dr Williams’ remarks could inflame the tensions between conservatives and liberals within the Anglican movement about same sex relationships and the ordination of homosexuals."

Posted by Robert at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 8:28am BST

There is a confusion here. Just because RW is a big name does not make him (as he would readily admit) a New Testament expert. It reminds me of the time when Enoch Powell and A.N. Wilson wrote books on the New Testament, confident that, even though they had not a tenth of the expertise of specialists, they would get quoted ten times more often. Simply because they were 'big names'.

One might compare the tendency to ask Big Brother 'stars' their views on the big issues of life.

Whereas in plenty of other areas RW is very much an expert.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 10:53am BST

Clearly some do have visceral dislike for gay people, Akinola for one, but he doesn't have the ability to 'shade' his true opinion with 'appropriate' language.

I still think that there are profound disagreements which are not going to be bridged. The divide is too great.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 11:55am BST

I wonder what we will all do when this is over and done. I feel that so much of my time is comsumed in this malay especially since my home parish will leave the ECUSA. I'm very sorry that after 38 years my beloved parish will excuse me (some already have) as a fallen Christian. I will find a new ECUSA church and build new relationships and have a new family in Christ. I'm grieved (a Duncanite word) that old friends will just walk away from me. Hopefully when this is over we can get back to God's work and bringing the Good News too all people.

Posted by Christian Fellow at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 5:44pm BST

"While some Christians use “biblical grounds” to oppose homosexuality, said the Archbishop, it tended to be more about social prejudice and inherited ideas."

It meaning the divide. I respect his honesty. When the "biblical grounds" are backed up with a denial to live out the commandments and the many references to unity in scripture are ignored to further particular viewpoints on sin and divide the church, then this accusation of social prejudice and inherited ideas is honest and true. This is when tradition hits the fan. Jesus himself taught against the traditions of mankind and when we make the law null and void by what we do. I hardly think Rowan is playing up to the press.


Posted by Annie at Monday, 20 June 2005 at 6:04pm BST

In that case, why do none of the relevant biblical scholars (writers of commentaries on Romans and 1 Corinthians) agree?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 9:58am BST

You mean the conservatives you agree with, Christopher, none of whom have any genuine academic credibility, since they insist on analysing the Bible as some sort of 'divine document'rather than simply words on paper, written by people, and thus as able to be seen as both fallible and culture-bound as any other text of its provenance.

If that approach was taken in any other academic discipline, it would be laughed out of court. Conservative theology is a self-serving, delusionary set of superstitions.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:46am BST


I don't understand your point. If you were correct, then there would be writers of Romans and 1 Corinthians commentaries who agreed with you.
Go ahead and name them, then. Neither I nor any other NT scholar has ever come across their work. This leads us to suspect that it does not exist?! :o(

The fullest modern critical / scholarly Romans commentaries in English (and some German) are:
Cranfield, Dunn, Fitzmyer, Moo, Nygren, Sanday & Headlam, Barrett, Dodd, Kasemann, Ziesler, Achtemeier, Edwards, Murray, Porter/Reed etc.

Those on 1 Corinthians:
Barrett, Fee, Thiselton, Conzelmann, Weiss, Zuntz, Murphy-O'Connor, Hays, Orr/Walther etc.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 2:44pm BST

And you have missed the point, Christoher. The sort of analysis you talk about is utterly redundant. Any analysis whioch begins from the view you hold about the inspiration of the Bible is irrelevant. Only analysis which works from a sociological perspective, and views the Bible as 1) purely a book, 2) written by humans, and 3) limited bith by its authorship and the time in which it was written, would be of help.

Looking at what the Bible says alone isn't enough. Thereare some liberals who may think the Bible isn't negative about gay people, but I'm not one of them. I think it is negative,because of the time in which it was written and the assumptions and lack of knowledge of its human authors.

There was a time when liberals were proud to be liberal and could simpky say 'the Bible is wrong, not infallible, and not inerrant'. An attempt to justify affirmation of gay sexuality and relationships using purely conservative theological tools is limited in its use, because I don't think the Bible should be analysed in that way.

I should say that I am a sociologist, and thus look at the Bible in sociological terms ie as a social construction.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 3:43pm BST

Gasp! Faint! Smelling salts, please. Etc etc.

Most of the above-named commentators do not hold that view of the Bible at all. I am merely naming the fullest critical commentaries on the books in question. The conclusions are conclusions of exegesis.

But otherwise, Im pleased that you are one jump ahead of Abp Williams in realising the obvious: namely, that the texts in question are obviously anti-homosexual practice.

One point where I dont agree: there is no possible universe where sociology is the bottom line, the most fundamental science. How come the world, the humans, and their societies are there at all in the first place?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 4:39pm BST

Would it be possible to advise me when the text of the Rowan Williams/Melvyn Bragg interview (20/08/06) is available or even to email it please

Posted by David Nix at Friday, 25 August 2006 at 10:12pm BST
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