Tuesday, 17 August 2004

FiF comments on AM

“Anglican Mainstream” claims to have support from conservative catholics as well as evangelicals.

However, in the latest issue of the Forward in Faith magazine New Directions Geoffrey Kirk has this to say (you can read the whole article here):

Anglican Mainstream is a well-intentioned group of serious-minded Evangelicals. But it is a group which seems to have no tactical ability, strategical sense or basic ecclesiology. It claims fidelity to scripture as its salient principle – and yet many of its members have already departed from scripture in the matter of the remarriage of divorced persons and the ordination of women. In the first instance they are ignoring one of the most categorical dominical injunctions, and in the second they are setting aside Pauline texts arguably more comprehensive and definitive than those against homosexuality.

Mainstream has a lot of questions of answer. Why not, if a man’s sexual acts are more ecclesially significant than his expressed opinions, accept Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading in the first place? Why refuse to receive the ministry of Christopher Herbert and not also refuse Richard Harries, Stephen Cotterell and Rowan Williams? Why was it more serious to appoint Dr John as Dean of St Alban’s than to appoint him as Canon Theologian of Southwark? And why was it more objectionable for him to be Dean of St Alban’s than for his self-appointed defender and advocate, Colin Slee, to be Dean of Southwark?

The English revisionists are, for the moment, very polite about all this. They have no need to be aggressive when they are winning so easily and so comprehensively. But American revisionists have begun, with great effect, to cast the same in the Evangelicals’ teeth. ‘You have already swallowed two things which scripture forbids and the tradition has comprehensively condemned,’ they point out. ‘Why are you gritting your teeth now at what is merely a consequential amendment?’

It is an accusation, of course, which implicitly suggests that, by making opposition to homosexual practice the cynosure of orthodoxy, Evangelical traditionalists are motivated more by homophobia than faithfulness to the Bible And, alas, it is an accusation which the incoherent behaviour of Anglican Mainstream and similar groups, makes it very difficult to refute.

In the same issue, Michael Heidt comments from America on the problems FiFNA has being part of what he refers to as NACDAC (with the final C standing for “congregations” rather than “parishes”). So perhaps these difficulties are not only an English issue.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 17 August 2004 at 9:30 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

I’m certainly not the first person to suggest that, once the “liberal” bogeymen are no longer available, these hardcore conservatives will just turn on each other. But here’s a perfect example.

I suspect the same will happen here in North America…

Posted by: David Huff at August 18, 2004 06:20 PM

Geoffrey Kirk is a keen observer and astute ecclesiastical politician. He has carefully considered this statement which I must assume now throws a spanner in Anglican Mainstreams works. This wounding attack on the credibility of AM could well develop into a haemorrhage, particularly as many Evangelicals are questioning the whole basis of their thesis. The Church of England Newspaper itself carried an interesting piece from Mike Pilavachi the founder of Soul Survivor this week; he too finds it strange that the test of orthodoxy has come down to what one thinks about homosexuality: “I thought it was what you thought about Jesus.” he said.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds at August 18, 2004 08:17 PM

All Christians who are aware of what the New Testament says, and do not take it lightly, have at all times advocated 100% holiness and 100% mercy, since this is the New Tesstament way. None of them have at any time approved the promotion to leadership of anyone who either indulges in homosexual activity or approves those who do. None of them have at any time supported any compromise with worldly standards re marriage.
It’s just that we are not aware of every case when such people are appointed to leadership, and are not inclined to go around gathering evidence (what busy person could?). On no occasion have we approved their being appointed to office, and on no occasion do we approve their being in office now.

It may seem on the surface that we are being selective in whom we single out, but that is (a) because the list of those who should be singled out for compromising with 1960s-style (often) atheistic ‘Christian’ humanism is impossibly long, and (b) because it is wearying to try and shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Since all evangelicals, baptists, pentecostals etc everywhere have (independently) pretty much identical views on these matters (since those views are the views of the New Testament) such views are obviously not strange but normal.

Posted by: DR CHRISTOPHER SHELL at August 25, 2004 06:30 PM

Oh BS: these are not the views of the New Testament (well, partly on divorce/remarriage, but the NT is not completely agreed on that!), but a dreary 19th/20th century Modern reaction against so-called Modernism.

The phobes and misogynists would love to have 17-1800 year-old cases from “Tradition” wherein two persons of the same-sex presented themselves for marriage/a woman presented herself for ordination . . . and were, after a thorough, fair-minded investigation and discussion by ecclessial authorities, DENIED.

But they don’t.

All they are the increasingly shrill pronouncements of the last 40 or 50 years. Pronouncements which fly in the face of Reasonable evidence, that women serve so fine as priests—-following the canons—-that we must conclude that they ARE called by God to ordained ministry. Reasonable evidence, that same-sex couples maintain, over decades, all of the same virtues that heterosexually married couples do (yes, including “when it is God’s will, the gift of children and their nurture in the Lord”), that we must conclude that they ARE called to the married state.

It doesn’t matter how many “Canon Theologians” or “Most Reverend Doctors” they stick before or after their names: when the ‘phobes and misogynists start flapping their pie-holes (and when don’t they?), it’s just more of the same ‘ol (willfully) ignorant bigotry which comes out.

Posted by: J. Collins Fisher at August 26, 2004 03:36 AM

What proportion of New Testament scholars (e.g. of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas) would agree with you that these are not the views of the NT? They are: see Romans 1, 1 Cor. 6, 1 Tim. 1.
Seriously, we can’t just ‘find’ in the NT whatever fits our own ideas or worldview. We can disagree with the NT by all means, but can’t alter it to agree with whatever we ourselves wish.

Some of the NT presentations of divorce regulations are more detailed and unpacked than others. But there are criteria we can use: go to the earliest gospel (Mark) and so on: not all the gospels are chronologically on a level.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at August 26, 2004 01:28 PM