Friday, 30 July 2004

CT comments on Reform

Today, the Church Times carries a news report on the Reform statement discussed here earlier, Reform is ‘estranged’ in 11 dioceses, it declares, and also has a leader part of which comments directly on the matter:

Reform has issued a fresh statement that publicly declares impaired communion with bishops of named dioceses, and sets out its ominous intention of soliciting “adequate” episcopal ministry, and of requiring bishops to assent to three propositions in order to gain acceptance. This does seem, on the face of it, to take matters a step further. “We believe”, say its authors frankly, “it would be wrong to countenance delay and possible inaction.”

If this remains Reform’s considered view, then it will be obliged to act accordingly. But we wonder whether Reform is not in fact distancing itself from a large and fairly conservative constituency that would take an altogether more cautious line, and includes congregations no less thriving and zealous than those led by some of Reform’s supporters.

The appointment of Jeffrey John to the deanery of St Albans is one thing, and in many minds not at all the same thing as the elevation of Gene Robinson to the episcopate in New Hampshire. But there may well be an element of summer silliness not only in the timing of Reform’s statement, but in taking it as more than a message to the Lambeth Commission drafted in terms designed not to be ignored. Since it has set up a panel to offer Anglican leaders advice, Reform may also be willing to listen to the Commission’s advice when it comes.

The dioceses named by Reform are at least eleven because they mention

Hereford, Leicester, Newcastle, Ripon and Leeds, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Salisbury, Truro and Worcester [those who signed a letter in support of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading; of course the Bp of Hereford in question has since retired, has Reform noticed?]

Oxford and St Albans (whose diocesans have sought to promote Canon John to senior office)

some other dioceses where bishops have publicly supported the “gay-agenda” [an unknown further number]

and Canterbury, where the Archbishop holds that homosexual relationships can be compatible with Christian discipleship.

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…and Canterbury, where the Archbishop holds that homosexual relationships can be compatible with Christian discipleship.

Oh ? So only the absolutely pure can be Christian disciples ? Good luck finding them. If every unrepentant sinner left our churches, the pews (and that place in front of the altar) would be EMPTY. We all sin, and none of us is as repentant as we could be. Why do you think we ask for forgiveness for things known and unknown ?

The fact that “conservatives” don’t acknowledge this, and seem so keen on persecuting this one sort of supposed sinner over all the others, is what exposes their position as simply arrogant hypocrisy.

Posted by: David Huff at July 31, 2004 02:29 PM

Crap, saying unrepentant homosexuals or adulterers or whatever should not have leadership positions in the church is hardly persecution.

Posted by: WannabeAnglican at July 31, 2004 06:57 PM

Well, to try my main point again - just where are you going to find completely pure and repentant candidates free from sin ? Not amongst any group of actual human beings I’ve ever met…

There’s also this continued harping on gays and lesbians by “conservatives” that I find so suspicious, comparing them to adulterers and such. The whole thing just reeks of a socio-political agenda hiding behind religion. I’m old enough to remember the battles to fully include people of color and women in the life of the Church, and the rhetoric from those who opposed that is exactly the same as I’m hearing now…

Posted by: David Huff at July 31, 2004 11:19 PM

Yes, we are all unrepentant sinners. However, if I proclaim that (say) embezzlement can be compatible with Christian disciplship, I have passed far beyond this point. Since Reform believes that homosexual practice is clearly a grievous sin, its position is neither hypocritical nor self-righteous.

Posted by: Douglas Lewis at August 3, 2004 07:02 PM

Two (monogamously-committed) people making love, or someone stealing from someone else: yeah, there’s a comparison for ya.

I’m sorry, but the idea of homosexuality as a faith-dividing issue simply does not pass the smell test. It instead feels like the b*stard progeny of simple bigotry and a crass power-grab.

I just have to ask “Reform,” the Network, et al: do you not FEAR GOD? Do you think that the angels will be caught unawares of your dirty-dealings?

Yes, yes: off to remove log from my own eye now. Maybe this is all your form of Tough Love, towards sinners standing perilously close to the abyss.

To which I can only conclude that you’re truly not hateful—-you’re just insane.

May God grant us ALL healing.

Posted by: J. Collins Fisher at August 26, 2004 02:52 AM

As for purity, good people do exist, though our modern world does not like to admit it. They are few, it’s true.

As for repentance, to say that one cannot find either people who are pure or people who are repantant is inaccurate. There are plenty of people who know what they have done wrong and are sorry and committed to repentance.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at August 27, 2004 01:17 PM