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Should evangelicals be embarrassed by Newcastle?

There have been some strange goings on amongst evangelical Anglicans in Newcastle in recent days. Peter Carrell, who is Director at Theology House and Director of Education in the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand, offered this succinct summary, together with his reaction to the events, which I reproduce here with permission.


In the last few days Anglican news has taken an unexpected twist and turn. About a week ago the GAFCON Primates announced that they were thinking of ordaining a bishop for the British Isles. Cue wondering who that might be, which country they might come from, where their support would be and whether or not they would in some way be recognised by the powers that be.

But a couple of days ago it was announced that a senior priest/presbyter in the Jesmond Parish (Diocese of Newcastle, England), Jonathan Pryke, has been ordained a bishop by bishops of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa [REACH SA] (formerly known as the Church of England in South Africa [CESA]). This church, for the record, has orders recognised by the CofE.

At this point, because you will be bursting with episcopathological fervour to know more (sometimes also known as epistemology), I need to point you to some articles and press releases and what have you, because “why” Jonathan has been ordained a bishop, “where” his territory (or even simply his focus) will be, “what” his relationship with his licensing bishop (as a priest/presbyter) will be, and “to whom” he will be accountable as a bishop, to say nothing of “whether” he will be disciplined and “by whom” is quite beyond this bear of small brain.

Try here, here, here and here. Also, fascinatingly, here for the relationship of REACH SA, CPSA and the CofE. Note also this report which suggests that despite ad hoc action(s) taking now or proposed now, a larger plan is being worked out. Also Andrew Brown on the case here.

But here is what I do get about this situation, as an evangelical Anglican I am embarrassed that:

  • Other evangelical Anglicans have taken unilateral action ordaining a bishop without transparently informing proper authorities (the Bishop of Newcastle, the Archbishop of York) of intention to do so. Does not basic courtesy and commitment to living in the light require that?
  • When GAFCON and its English partner, AMiE, had another plan, this action is unilaterally taken against that plan. What is it about fraternity and coherency that these English and other evangelicals do not get?
  • Also, in terms of walking in the light, how could Jonathan Pryke, on the executive of AMiE, not inform his fellow executive members of what was going to happen? Are they not on the same side? Why hide things? In what way does such manner of doing things enhance the reputation of evangelical Anglicans?

It is not unknown for evangelicals to operate factionally rather than coherently, it is a bug in the feature of the Reformational DNA which spawned evangelicalism!

I think in this situation there are also significant episcopathological questions about what we Anglican evangelicals understand ecclesiology is. I will leave that for another post, save for this teaser: Is it not strangely “Catholic” rather than “Anglican” when we go outside our national church boundaries to secure the ordaining hands of another bishop in order to have a bishop “of our own”?


Peter Carrell’s comments above say almost everything that I would want to about the event itself. But there are some wider issues that it is also worth reflecting on.

First, I get the impression that those supportive of a GAFCON move to consecrate a bishop in England from within the Anglican Communion look on the events with a mixture of disdain, frustration and probably some anger. Whereas they had a considered plan which operated within the Communion as a whole, this move has jumped the gun without proper consideration or consultation. And I suspect that GAFCON supporters hope that everyone can see the difference between the two initiatives. But they won’t. Most of those within the Church of England will not be able to tell the difference, and the same will be true of all of those outside the Church. Both initiatives will appear to all but the best informed (and most highly motivated) to be petty, fracturing and unhelpful interference from people outside the Church of England. (I am not claiming that this view is correct—just that this will be the widespread perception.)

Secondly, it is becoming abundantly clear that this sort of approach to dealing with the perceived drift in the doctrine and teaching in the Church is singularly unhelpful. For one thing, no new line has been crossed: canon law has not been revised; the liturgy has not been changed; nothing formal has changed in the Church’s teaching. If some are unhappy with the drifting practice of the Church, then they should probably have left the C of E in the 1960s, when, if anything, both practice and teaching were more heterodox than they are now. But the bigger question for evangelicals in the Church of England is: Why adopt a strategy of institutional separation rather than continue to engage and lobby from within? If evangelicals believe that they are the ones who are being faithful to the actual, historic teaching of the Church, why simply hand that to others by engaging in this ecclesial jiggery-pokery? The appointment of Rod Thomas as Bishop of Maidstone looked to many like a significant concession to conservative evangelical views, and these other episcopal moves look very much like evangelicals wanted to have their ecclesial cake and eating it—in another venue of their own choosing. You only have to look at the mess that is TEC in the United States to see that this strategy is not the way to go.

But, thirdly, I think the Diocese of Newcastle and its bishop need to think very carefully about what action to take in response. At one level, anything less than a serious move, such as removing Jonathan Pryke’s license, could be seen as an institutional failure. The problem is that this will then play straight into the hands of those who want to see more splintering. If the Church fails to remove the licences of those who teach contrary to core doctrines of the Church (such as members of the Sea of Faith movement, who don’t believe God is ‘real’) or those who are living in contravention of the teaching of the Church on marriage and sexuality, then it proves to those in Newcastle and their supporters that the Church is more concerned about ecclesial form than doctrinal substance.

To all involved here: handle with care.


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292 Responses to Should evangelicals be embarrassed by Newcastle?

  1. Dave May 11, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    “episcopathological” – now that’s a new one for me!

  2. James Byron May 11, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    The Sea of Faith aren’t atheists: they view religion as a human creation, and caution against treating the human conception of God as being synonymous with God himself. Even some non-realists would say they’ve got faith in God outside of humanity: they’re simply humble about their ability to comprehend him.

    As for the schismatic fun and games, as I said over at Thinking Anglicans, I’ve no problem with it. The sooner the CoE (and Anglicanism in general) morphs into a loose confederation, the better. They church has become so broad that it’s tearing itself apart, and it’s clear that the various factions can’t coexist within the same structure. Space is good for everyone.

    Let the con-evos go off and do their own thing, and the Sea of Faith do likewise.

    • Ian Paul May 11, 2017 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks James—glad to see someone being honest that ‘broad church’ is not necessarily a virtue.

      But I am not sure I am persuaded by your solution. Why not, instead, actually ask everyone to honour their ordination vows? I think that would help in all sorts of ways!

      • James Byron May 11, 2017 at 10:12 am #

        Ask by all means, but the horse has long bolted: the affirming camp will never stop fighting for equality; and those who hold to the church’s historic position will never compromise on marriage. That being so, the only solution now is a parting of the ways. Let it be amicable.

        • Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

          James, what does ‘affirming’ used either (a) as a participle intransitively or (b) as an ‘absolute’ adjective sans object even mean? It is either illiterate or (worse) a Trojan Horse.

          The idea seems to be to smuggle in a package deal so that affirming the rights of the disabled is essentially the same as agreeing with the agenda of LGBT activists? These are actually not even remotely the same thing.

          Everything in creation has in common that it is possible either to affirm or not to affirm it. Consequently the word is either ignorant or sinister.

          • James Byron May 12, 2017 at 6:20 am #

            Gesundheit. Parse the term as you like, it’s not mine: substitute “equality” or whatever alternative you prefer. Substance is the same.

            I’m defending the schism precisely because I’ve no desire to impose my views on anyone else.

          • Will Jones May 12, 2017 at 7:32 am #

            Then leave James. And set up a new affirming church severed from the Christian orthodoxy to which the CofE is and always has been committed.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

            Will, hi. On the other hand there are those of us, affirming certainly, but who consider ourselves orthodox and traditional, who might politely suggest that the schismatics and the Donatists leave to set up their own church. As they seem to have done.

          • Will Jones May 12, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

            Hi Penelope. There is no sense in which the affirming position can be considered orthodox. Why on earth should the orthodox leave rather than the people who aren’t satisfied with current and orthodox teaching? That just wouldn’t make sense. Clearly it is those who disagree with their church’s teaching who, if they can abide their position no longer, should go and set up (or join) a church whose teaching they do agree with.

          • Christopher Shell May 12, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

            ‘Consider ourselves orthodox and traditional’ – (1) ‘If I witness of myself my witness is invalid’; (2) this is not a subjective matter anyway.

            James – it is well-known that the term ‘equality’ is as un-straightforward as you can get.

          • Mikhail Ramendik May 21, 2017 at 1:59 am #

            As someone not “affirming”, I would still see “affirming” as valid shorthand in the long-standing Anglican tradition. Remember “recusants”? How about “non-jurors”? Did anyone think recusants recuse themselves from everything, or non-jurors refuse to swear any oath of anything at all?

            If there could be a nonjuring clergyperson. there can be an affirming one.

  3. Nick May 11, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    i wholeheartedly agree with you on everything you say. Particularly the dilemna that now faces the Bishop of Newcastle and the Archbishop of York. There is something about ordination and consecration

    However if, as the Church Times reports that:

    “He will continue as a senior minister on the church’s staff, spending 80 per cent of his time with Jesmond, while also ordaining men for the ministry and helping to establish new conservative Evangelical churches under the auspices of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE).”

    It is difficult to see how they can continue to license a person who is proposing to make it his practice to undertake irregular ordinations.

    Can someone also explain what is meant by the term “gospel decision”. It is my understanding that the gospel is furthered, among other things, when the church models love among disciples (Jn 13:34-35) yet this seems to do the opposite.

  4. Andrew Godsall May 11, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    I agree with James Byron, as I often do. This was coming and probably needed to. It’s schismatic. It’s not Anglican. But ultimately not that many people really care, or even understand what’s going on here in the grander scheme of things.

    This is certainly not a gospel decision however. It’s a self righteous decision, in the strictest sense of that term, and the gospels have a great deal to say and quite directly about that – whilst in contrast saying nothing directly about homosexuality at all. We are all self righteous of course, and the gospels see that as a genuine human failing. But this is so obviously against the gospel in lacking humility, lacking grace and lacking the love that casts out fear. And that’s ultimately why it will fail as a gospel venture and ultimately why I don’t really care too much about it. Farewell Jesmond – you tried to be a good ship.

    • R. Crawford May 12, 2017 at 12:02 am #

      Jesus did use Sodom and Gomorrah as a warning to others so,it is not true to say that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. The LGBT movement also like to cherry pick the scriptures. Can’t believe the OT look at the silly laws they had on all sorts of things we do now; Jesus never mentioned homosexuality; Paul was homophobic; Sodom was all about lack of hospitality etc.etc.
      The Church of England allows heresies to be promoted that the early church would not have tolerated. Ordination vows mean little to many. Those who deny them are very, very seldomed sanctioned. The ABC seems to be more interested in the world of politics than biblical truth which he seems happy to compromise. So every blessing on this new venture. If God be for us, who can be against us.

      • Nick May 12, 2017 at 10:01 pm #

        “Sodom was all about lack of hospitality etc.etc.” Do you question the authority of Ez 16:49-50? Which says this.

        • David Shepherd May 12, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

          If you would have a point, if Ez. 16:40 summarised the foregoing verses: ‘they were haughty and did this abomination before me’, . Instead, it simply reads ‘they were haughty and did an abomination before me’

          There is no basis here for confining the condemnation of Sodom to nothing more than its ‘lack of hospitality’.

        • Christopher Shell May 13, 2017 at 7:54 am #

          Nick, Ezekiel says nothing of the sort.

          First, although the passage speaks of ‘the’ sin of Sodom, more than one sin is listed. Agree/disagree?

          Second, had Sodom had only one sin, it would have been a paragon of virtue not of vice. We can therefore take it that it had several sins. Agree/disagree?

          Third, some things are considered too sinful or unpleasant to name (the very naming of them is considered to contaminate), and this will sometimes be the reason that the sin you are looking for is not named. Paraphrases like ‘detestable things’ will sometimes cover such cases. Agree/disagree?

          Fourth, Ezekiel as a book is very hard-line on sexual sin. Agree/disagree?

          Fifth, when Jesus speaks of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, he makes the same central point he elsewhere makes about Jerusalem: they were culpably neglectful of the time of their visitation and/or of the evidential force of the miracles they had seen. Do you agree or disagree that this is only tangentially related to hospitality?

          Sixth, Sodom was the bad city par excellence, the yardstick with which to compare other cities whatever the *nature* of their shortcoming had been. Agree/disagree?

          Seventh, in the Chorazin/Bethsaida passage, Jesus also cites Tyre. Where was Tyre known for inhospitality? The fact that Tyre is cited shows that bad cities, not specifically inhospitable cities, are what is being cited. Agree/disagree?

          • Nick May 13, 2017 at 9:22 am #

            1) Agree
            2) Agree
            3) Agree – but that then leaves us unclear as the the nature of the ‘abomination’. The word abomination is used for a wide range of sins in the old testament including, for example, idol worship. If we build a whole doctrine on reading between the lines it does not have very firm foundations.
            4) It does but it is far from being the main theme of the book.
            5) Agree, but given my answer to question 1 I am not sure of the relevance.
            6) Agree – A city where gang rape is permitted in such a way would be judged so by the standards of our own secular society.
            7) See answer to 5 above.

          • Christopher Shell May 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

            Nick, I agree with your (3) and don’t understand the relevance of your (4). My point (5) was made because, of course, I did not know what your answer to (1) would be.

            (6) Gang rape – absolutely not just gang rape but homosexual gang rape. This is where you are surely being selective. Within the narrative Lot is the righteous man. Who escapes Sodom? Practically no-one. But Lot does, which is a sign of his righteousness. Therefore in this narrative and culture Lot’s offer of his daughters’ virtue is seen as a righteous act. Why? To highlight that anything at all, however dreadful, would be better than the homosexual option. This may not be our culture (nor is our own culture of one mind on many issues), but anyone who expects distant cultures of 4000 years ago to agree with our own lacks imagination.

      • Father Ron Smith May 13, 2017 at 2:35 am #

        Mr. Crawford. You should really dig a little deeper with you hermeneutic. Your understanding iof the ‘sin of Sodom’ is, in modern theological terms, not homosexuality, per se, but rasther the uncivilised lack of hospitality. However, if you’re loooking there for sexual scandal, it may be that the patriarch could be seen as all too eager to offer his daughters’ virginity to the invaders’ pleasure. Now that really is a problem!

        • R. Crawford May 13, 2017 at 4:25 am #

          Now those who want to argue that this text is vague in meaning, begin by stating that the phrase “have sex with them” is more literally rendered from the Hebrew as “that we may know them.” And it is true that the Hebrew word ????? (yada) is rendered “know.” But this word is also a Hebrew idiom for carnal knowledge. For example in Genesis 4:1 we read: Now Adam knew (yada) Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”

          That the carnal knowledge meaning is intended here is also made clear in the context of what follows. Lot first calls their proposal a “wicked thing.” But just getting to know someone, or to greet a stranger, is not a wicked thing. Further that unlawful carnal knowledge is meant is also made clear in that Lot (horrifyingly) proposes that they have sex instead with his daughters “who have never slept with a man” (i.e. his virgin daughters).

          It is true that Lot is further motivated by the fact that these men (angels in disguise) are under his care. But that does not change the nature of the threat that is involved, namely homosexual seduction or rape.

          Being unable to dissuade “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old” from the attempt at homosexual seduction, Lot is pulled to safety by the the two angelic visitors who tell Lot to get ready to go since they have come to destroy the city.

          Now to the average reader who does not need to be defensive, the text conveys a clear message of widespread homosexuality in Sodom, a fact rather bluntly confirmed by the angelic visitors. And this is the clear emphasis of the story, not hospitality norms or other secondary concepts.

          However, it may help to confirm this fact in other texts of the Bible and to legitimately ask if this is the only sin involved. Two texts are most specifically helpful in this regard. First there is a text from Ezekiel:

          Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did abominable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

          Now this is the text used most often by those who deny any homosexual context in the sin of Sodom. And, to be fair, it does add a dimension to the outcry God hears. There are clearly additional sins at work in the outcry: pride, excess or greed, and indifference to the poor and needy. But there are also mentioned here unspecified “abominations.” The Hebrew word is ?????????? (t?·w·‘ê·??h) which refers to any number of things God considers especially detestable, such as worshiping idols, immolating children, wrongful marriage and also homosexual acts. For example, Leviticus 18:22 uses the word in this context: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination.

          But of itself, this text from Ezekiel does remind us that widespread homosexuality is not the only sin of Sodom. And while the abomination mentioned here may not be specified exactly, there is another Scriptural text that does specify things more clearly for us. It is from the Letter of Jude:

          In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. (Jude 7-8)

          And thus it is specified that the central sin of Sodom involved “sexual immorality (?????????????) and perversion (?????????? ????? ?????? ?????? – literally having departed to strange or different flesh).” And this would comport with the description of widespread homosexual practice in Sodom wherein the practitioners of this sin are described in Genesis 19 as including, “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old.”

          Hence we see that, while we should avoid seeing the sin of Sodom as only widespread homosexual acts (for what city has only one sin?), we cannot avoid that the Scriptures do teach that homosexual acts are central to the sins of Sodom which cry to heaven for vengeance, and for which God saw fit to bring a fiery end.

          Genesis 19 speaks plainly of the sin, Ezekiel 16 broadens the description but retains the word “abomination,” and Jude 7 clearly attests to sexual perversion as being the central sin with which Sodom and Gomorrah were connected.

          God the Holy Spirit has not failed to teach quite clearly on the fundamental nature of the sins involved in these ancient cities. Widespread homosexual practice is surely the keynote of condemnation received by these cities and attempts to recast the matter as a “hospitality” issue must be seen for the fanciful distortion they are.

          • Father Ron Smith May 13, 2017 at 6:53 am #

            And yet, Jesus tells the puritanical Pharisees: “The people of Sodom and Gomorrah will fare better than you.on the Day of Judgement.”. So what was it about the Pharisees that displeased Jesus even more than whatever we perceive to be the ‘sin of Sodom’, one wonders? Could it have been their judgement of S. & G. ?

          • Nick May 13, 2017 at 8:52 am #

            And is not attempted rape (whether homosexual or heterosexual) both an abomination and a lack of hospitality? I do not believe we can say with any certainty the the abomination referred to here was homosexuality per se. It could equally be suggested that rape was somehow a normal part of life there. I think that even today’s secular
            society in the west would regard that as an abomination!

          • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 10:30 am #

            ‘I do not believe we can say with any certainty the the abomination referred to here was homosexuality per se

            No, not per se, but inter alia.

        • Christopher Shell May 13, 2017 at 9:20 am #

          Fr Ron – to add to the seven points I made to Nick:

          Eighth: is it coincidence that the city that’s a byword for sin behaves in a mass-homosexual way? Coincidence / relevant?

          Ninth: is it coincidence that none of the other cities in the Bible behave that way? Coincidence / relevant?

          Tenth: a mass-homosexual way of behaving as a city is vanishingly rare now and would have been vanishingly rare then? Does its rarity therefore not make it stand out in relief as a very prominent feature, central to our intended characterisation of that city? Agree/disagree?

          Eleventh: We scarcely learn anything else about the city’s behaviour from the text. This again means that the few things that we do learn stand out all the more prominently. Agree/disagree?

          • R. Crawford May 13, 2017 at 10:36 am #

            I should imagine that their rejection of the Messiah, their plotting against Him, their encouragement of the crowd to plump for Barrabas and their determination to kill Him is a lot more serious than any sexual sin.

          • Nick May 13, 2017 at 11:33 pm #

            8. It could just be a circular argument. It is understood to be homosexual sin because the word Sodomy has come to mean that.

            9. Behave what way? This could again be just a circular argument. I do not think it is a relevant question.

            10. It is plausible. But you assume that that was the sin.

            11. Indeed we do not learn much else about them – but enough to have more than one plausible explanation. We know even less about the behaviour of the other cities of the plain. A lack of information is not a reason to jump to a conclusion using only the little information we have, rather a reason to be cautious.

          • Christopher Shell May 14, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

            8. This point is clearly wrong. Because their mass homosexual behaviour is in the text. And their being a byword for sin is in the text. Whereas the word Sodomy is not in the text, and originated later, therefore is nothing to do with the point.

            9. Behave what way? All join into a single male crowd and demand sex with men. Behave in the way that the narrator narrates.

            10. We have long ago established that there was no ‘the sin’ because a very sinful town will have several sins. In a brief narrative, the narrator is unlikely to show the inhabitants (apart from Lot) doing anything unsinful. How would that contribute to the plot? If they are doing it, it is regarded by the narrator as sinful.

            11. So Nick you consider that there is no necessary connection between the strikingly unusual mass-homosexual nature of Sodom’s behaviour in the narrative and their characterisation as exceptionally sinful.
            No, that is clutching at straws, and must be judged far less likely than not. Why? Because if they have sins, those sins will be shown by the narrator in the narrative, since especially in a short narrative how can you fail to have characters acting ‘to type’?.

          • Nick May 14, 2017 at 10:41 pm #

            I accept that there was an intention for homosexual activity. That is not to say that it is the abomination that lead to the destruction of the cities of the plain. You seem to take it for granted that if there was homosexual intent then that must have been the abomination when there are other plausible explanations. One thing I have learnt in years of research is to question when people say something is obvious.

            You rightly say that no one has been able to prove that the abomination was not consensual homosexual activity, but you cannot prove that it is either.

            While there are other plausible explanations it seems wrong to say homosexuality is sinful on the basis of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

          • Christopher Shell May 15, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

            Nick you have so far not seen the importance of the point that homosexual activity is correlated with teh most sinful city, and simultaneously not with the others.

            If we add to this that we learn few things about that city, and H activity was frowned on in Israel – well….

            I am not identifying anything with ‘the abomination’. There was more than one sin present, and doubtless more than one abomination.

          • Nick May 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

            “Nick you have so far not seen the importance of the point that homosexual activity is correlated with teh most sinful city, and simultaneously not with the others.”

            You are correct I have not seen such a significance. I still do not see any significance in it.

            “If we add to this that we learn few things about that city, and H activity was frowned on in Israel – well….”

            But that is chronologically later.

            “I am not identifying anything with ‘the abomination’. There was more than one sin present, and doubtless more than one abomination.”

            Don’t disagree.

          • Christopher Shell May 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

            So in other words, out of all the cities that could have been correlated with the extremely unusual behaviour of mass-homosexuality, the fact that it was the one that’s a byword for evil – and also none of the others that were not a byword for evil – is of no significance in your view. It’s a pure coinicidence, yes?

            It’s not necessarily chronologically later in terms of when the account was written, only in terms of when it was set.

          • Christopher Shell May 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

            typo ‘coincidence’

          • Nick May 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

            “So in other words, out of all the cities that could have been correlated with the extremely unusual behaviour of mass-homosexuality, the fact that it was the one that’s a byword for evil – and also none of the others that were not a byword for evil – is of no significance in your view. It’s a pure coincidence, yes?”

            You miss my point! You only speak of mass homosexuality. Others see many sins such as gang rape, adultery, a culture of sexual immorality as well and wonder whether the homosexuality is relevant.

          • Christopher Shell May 17, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

            But that avoids the correlation point, which then and earlier was my main point.

            Is the correlation coincidence or not-coincidence, in your view?

            The rape aspect is often seen as the main sin. Yet Lot, whom the text continues to affirm as righteous, judges some rapes to be worse than others (it’s not a case of rape is rape is rape). He can only be saying ‘rape of virgins in my family is not as bad as rape of distinguished guests (or any guests)’ or ‘rape of women by men is not as bad as rape of men by men’ – or similar – or both.

          • Nick May 17, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

            Christopher,

            I see no evidence that Lot regarded one type of rape as worse than another. He set the wellbeing of the strangers higher than that of his own daughters. I find that extraordinary and not a little challenging.

            I am trying to stand outside the story (Genesis 19 together with other Bible texts that refer directly to it) without any preconceptions and ask the question ‘Does this story provide a justification for saying homosexuality is wrong?’

            At the moment, as I see it, it neither says it is right nor that it is wrong.

            Many of the arguments that it does, seem to me at the moment, to come from preconceptions.

          • Christopher Shell May 18, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

            Can you address the point: positive correlation between precisely the evil city with homosexual behaviour *and simultaneously* lack of correlation of a myriad other cities with homosexual behaviour. Coincidence of not? Thanks.

          • Nick May 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

            “Can you address the point: positive correlation between precisely the evil city with homosexual behaviour *and simultaneously* lack of correlation of a myriad other cities with homosexual behaviour. ”

            No because there is insufficient data. We know so little about the other cities.

          • Christopher Shell May 22, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

            Nick, we are at cross purposes.

            I am not talking about the way the cities were, not even about the way that Sodom was.

            I am talking about the way that they are portrayed in the texts.

            Sodom, which is the byword for evil, is *shown* with mass-homosexual behaviour. Rape and all the other things are together with this – intended rape and homosexuality are obviously not alternatives, here or anywhere else!! It is obviously both/and, as you’ll agree.

            The other cities are not shown that way.

            Is this positive correlation (most wicked together with homosexuality) *and simultaneously* also this negative correlation (not most wicked, together with no especial association with homosexuality) (a) coincidence or (b) not coincidence?

            What are your reasons for your answer (a) or (b), and what is your confidence in the answer (the percentage likelihood you would assign to its being correct)?

            Thanks.

        • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 10:21 am #

          Ron Smith wrote: ‘And yet, Jesus tells the puritanical Pharisees: “The people of Sodom and Gomorrah will fare better than you.on the Day of Judgement.” So what was it about the Pharisees that displeased Jesus even more than whatever we perceive to be the ‘sin of Sodom’, one wonders?

          Well, we don’t have to wonder, since in Matt. 11:23-24, we read of Capernaum:‘For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.’

          Even Nineveh was not so hardened as to remain impenitent when God’s message of impending doom was proclaimed by His miraculously delivered prophet, Jonah.

          What displeased Jesus even more than Sodom’s vices was the hardened impenitence of rejecting miraculously vindicated pronouncements against all violations of divine order by God’s Messiah, apostles and prophets.

          Revisionists do the same today.

          • David Runcorn May 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

            Sodom was an attempt at gang rape. Of what relevance is this to contemporary expressions of homosexual love – unless we are claiming this is typical homosexual behaviour? But then as now male rape of men is a widespread feature of war and ethnic violence where it is a means of utterly humiliating and disgracing the victim. For the concern at the core of this story you need to start where the story starts – at the entrance of Abraham’s tenwt here he was faithful to the covenant obligation to honour the stranger in the midst. The narrative moves to the door of Lot where he insists on the same.
            That hospitality is the issue here is made clear by Lot’s protest to those who come demanding to rape his guests. He does not say – ‘do not do this because homosexuality is wrong’ but ‘do not do this because they have come under my roof’ (19.8). The message is clear. Hospitality offered leads to blessing. Hospitality rejected leads to destruction.
            [But what should be the marks of a Christian reading of this harrowing story, set in a male-centred world in which a binding hierarchy of social obligation requires the honouring of (male) guests above the most basic obligation to protect your own family? In such a world a (heterosexual) man will offer his own virgin daughters to distract gang rapists rather than breach this code. We might ask why heterosexual behaviour in this story is not more scrutinised? It is appalling.]
            To welcome an other into home or community is to offer hospitality solely on the basis of common humanity, rather than any condition or judgement based on presumed or actual knowledge of them. The obligation to hospitality therefore confronts the behaviour of any community that excludes others to ensure the maintenance of its own hierarchical, moral or social preoccupations. This has all too often been the experience of homosexuals in the church. Inclusion has too often come at the price of silence or compliance. The challenge lies in an insistence that Christian debate cannot proceed on the basis of a supposed ‘us’ and them’ but on the basis of shared humanity. Furthermore the story makes plain that hospitality is a theological obligation. The refusal to welcome the ‘other’ into the midst is actually an assault on God’s own honour who is present in that story as a guest (cf Jesus – ‘you did it to me’. Matt 25.40).

          • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

            David,

            Even Sodom was guilty of attempted gang rape, this is a single recorded incident. In contrast, the apostolic denunciation of Jude 7 has the wider context than just Sodom: ‘As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)

            Even if the condemnation of sexual immorality includes gang rape, the guilt of going after other flesh (sarkos heteras) extends to all of the cities.

            Since the angelic visitation in Gen. 19:1 was solely to Sodom, in what way can you demonstrate that Jude’s phrase, which refers to all of the cities, is about gang rape and/or sex with angels.

            In fact, the only plausible alternative which is applicable to all of the condemned cities is that, in this verse, sarkos heteras refers to carnal desire for what is, in the Genesis account, ‘other flesh’ to that ordained by God, thereby reaping His condemnation.

            Jude is plainly referring to the homosexual nature of such acts, and not just sexual violence, or a lack of hospitality.

          • Christopher Shell May 13, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

            David R, within the narrative Lot is intended to be seen as the righteous man who escapes the doom that comes on the whole city.

            That means that his offer of his daughters’ virtue is a way of saying – *anything* at all, however bad, to prevent the particular (and clearly worse) abomination that you propose. Otherwise he could not do that and remain a righteous man within the narrative.

            We may not agree with the hierarchy of values in this narrative, but is that surprising when our culture is so distant?

          • David Runcorn May 14, 2017 at 9:28 am #

            David Shepherd … thank you to you and others for this continued debate.

            Three brief responses? …

            1. Jude 1.7. ‘Eteras’ means ‘strange’ not ‘natural’. In a quick survey of 25 of the main English bible versions none translate sarkos eteras as ‘natural’ flesh as you do. I wonder where you find this? In fact 13 translate it, with the KJV, as ‘strange flesh’ – which I find the most obvious translation given the context of sexual desire between humans and angels. The most obvious meaning of ‘strange flesh’ is surely ‘the flesh of angels’. 6 actually use the word ‘unnatural’. Paraphrase variations on ‘Sexual immorality/immorality’ are offered 10 times. ‘Homosexuality’ is only mentioned once (though it is true that some commentaries nevertheless assume this to be present).
            In his commentary on Jude, Richard Bauckham notes that only very rarely in the Jewish tradition was the sin of Sodom identified with homosexuality which makes it unlikely that Jude is accusing the false teachers of this.
            2. I think you miss the huge theological significance of ‘hospitality’ in the covenant theology in the scriptures and therefore treat abuse of hospitality is somehow less significant than sexual sin.
            3. When it is insisted that the story of Sodom is about homosexuality what point is being made? ‘Look, this is what homosexuals do. This is what they are like. The bible teaches it’? That is the teaching I received at an early stage in my faith – that homosexuality was a uniquely extreme expression of human disorder and Godlessness – and that Sodom was the defining statement of this. This even became enshrined in criminal law. Not only am I now clear this is dreadful misreading of the story of Sodom, it is utterly offensive to associate a story of attempted gang rape with contemporary expressions of faithful, committed same-sex relating.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

            Christopher quite right that we don’t agree with the hierarchy of values presented by the author of this text. Though, sadly, some are still influenced by the belief that violence against virgin women is more licit than violence against men, and some still believe that females are meant to be penetrated whilst men who are penetrated are emasculated, shamed and humiliated. Sadly, violence against women is still endemic and can be seen to be condoned by texts like these. A narrative which has nothing to do with ‘homosexuality’, and everything to do with transgressive and abusive violence. A God who believes that the violation of women is preferable to the violation of men is an idol and a monster.

          • David Shepherd May 14, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

            David R,

            Thanks for your reply. In responding, this is not, as you described in another thread, an ‘oh no you’re not’ ping-pong argument

            I’m just seeking to express why many conservatives would consider your position to be untenable in relation to scripture, tradition and reason. It explains why some will seek alternative oversight as part of an unofficial Great Ejection and especially after the Philip North watershed.

            You wrote: ‘The most obvious meaning of ‘strange flesh’ is surely ‘the flesh of angels’ Nevertheless, I repeat that the neighbouring cities were under the same judgment. So, your thesis does not explain how they shared Sodom’s guilt of pursuing the flesh [sic] of angels.

            You cite Richard Bauckham’s 2010 commentary on Jude, in which he notes ‘that only very rarely in the Jewish tradition was the sin of Sodom identified with homosexuality which makes it unlikely that Jude is accusing the false teachers of this.’

            1. ‘Unlikely’ does not prove your position, and it does not integrate the preponderance of philological scholarship. Even if we accept your reading, Robert Gagnon demonstrates from Greek syntax that homosexual relations are not excludedm, so where do you think he is wrong?:

            (2) Jude 7 and 2 Pet 2:6-7, 10. According to Jude 7 the men of Sodom “committed sexual immorality (ekporneusasai) and went after other flesh.” Jones is correct in thinking that “went after other flesh” refers to sex with the angelic visitors but fails in his assumption that “committed sexual immorality” has the same referent. Jude 7 is an instance of parataxis: two clauses conjoined by ‘and’ where one is conceptually subordinated to the other. Jones follows other homosexualist interpretations in assuming the meaning as “they committed sexual immorality by going after other flesh.” But a paratactic construction in Greek can just as easily make the first clause subordinate; in this case, “by (or: in the course of) committing sexual immorality they went after other flesh.”

            In other words, in the process of attempting the sexually immoral act of having intercourse with other men, the men of Sodom got more than they bargained for: committing an offense unknowingly against angels (note the echo in Heb 13:2: “do not neglect hospitality to strangers for, because of this, some have entertained angels without knowing it”). This is apparently how the earliest ‘commentator’ of Jude 7 read it.

            For 2 Peter 2:6-7, 10 refers to the “defiling desire/lust” of the men of Sodom. Since the men of Sodom did not know that the male visitors were angels—so not only Gen 19:4-11 but also all subsequent ancient interpreters—the reference cannot be to a lust for angels but rather must be to a lust for men. So both Jude 7 and 2 Pet 2:6-7 provide further confirmation in the history of interpretation that the Sodom narrative is correctly interpreted when one does not limit the indictment of male homosexual relations to coercive forms.’

            Earlier scholarship, which agrees with Gagnon, includes:
            Thayer (p. 570; cf. p. 449) – section dealing with sarx (flesh): “to follow after the flesh, is used of those who are on the search for persons with whom they can gratify their lust, Jude 7”
            A.T. Robertson (1934, p. 748) – ‘The sense of “different” grows naturally out of the notion of duality. The two things happen just to be different…. The word itself does not mean “different,” but merely “one other,” a second of two. It does not necessarily involve “the secondary idea of difference of kind” (Thayer). That is only true where the context demands it.
            Moulton and Milligan (1930, p. 257; cf. Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 315) – “how readily heteros from meaning ‘the other class (of two)’ came to imply ‘different’ in quality or kind”

            2. I’m not even disputing that ‘hospitality’ is a significant theological dimension to this story of divine reprobation and judgment. That is still no basis for inferring that the homosexual direction of their rapacity is peripheral to this and that it carries no theological weight whatsoever.

            3. I’m not insisting that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is solely about homosexuality. It simply represents in one society all of the concomitants of divine reprobation, one of which is same-sex sexual activity.

            As I’ve explained in a comment on another thread, Herodias exhibited stunningly faithful and committed relating after re-marriage to Antipas (her first husband’s brother), even sharing the exile imposed on him by Caligula after Agrippa’s denunciation.

            John the Baptist still declared God’s word to Herod (Matt:14:4) and, on hearing of his execution, Jesus still described him as a ‘burning and a shining light.’ (John 5:35)

          • David Runcorn May 14, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

            David

            Thank you again for your trouble replying. I’m afraid work means I can’t sustain this conversation further at this point. If I could here are some responses to your comments i would wish to pursue with you.

            By the way I am not playing ping pong either. It is too serious for that. The traditional reading of this story has led directly to violence and exclusion of so many … and still does. Though I am not for a moment suggesting you support that, the responsibility for correctly understanding this story is huge.

            Who is ‘Jones’ in your comments?

            ‘and the neighbouring towns’ is quite clear to me – they were under the same judgement as S&G. I don’t understand your question.

            Something very ‘rare’ is presumably very unlikely. I did not say it proved anything. But the burden of proof is on you to establish that Jude is opting here for a very rare meaning of the Gen text. I am not convinced.

            I take ‘other’ to mean ‘strange’/’different’ here – thus angelic. The only other use of eteras is in Hebrews where it refers to ‘other tribes’. I am not sure if you accept my challenge to your translation ‘natural flesh’ here? The Greek actually means the opposite of ‘natural’. So it cannot be use to support your argument here.

            You do not reply to my point 3 at all. And how are you using the word ‘homosexual’ here? The story is of attempted violent, anal rape. There is no love or attraction here. You do not respond to my question about how this relates in any way to contemporary expressions of loving, commitment relationships. What possible comparison is there?

            I agree with you in part when you say that the story of S&M ‘represents in one society all of the concomitants of divine reprobation, one of which is same-sex sexual activity’. But the only example we are given is attempted violent gang rape. I do not agree with you I calling that ‘same-sex sexual activity’ ‘homosexuality’ in the contemporary meaning of the word. Gay or Straight coercive, violent sexual assault in any time or place is wrong, criminal and Godless and rightly under judgment.

            Finally you describe Philip North as the ‘watershed’ for the Newcastle move. I find this both baffling and disturbing. Concern with Philip North’s appointment centred on the honouring and treatment of women in the church and exposed just how flawed the existing idea of ‘mutual flourishing’ was – since it required women (but not men) to endure having their vocation being treated as invalid by their own bishop, among others. Am I to understand that you (and Jesmond) think that the concern for the full honouring of women alongside men in the church is actually part of a revisionist plot? Well maybe history is repeating itself. For the traditional (male) reading of the story of Sodom (including parts of this thread) has always accepted (or just not noticed) the appalling treatment of women while other ‘more important’ concerns are debated.

          • Christopher Shell May 14, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

            Penelope, you actually say that a narrative which has an entire town (which just so happens to be a byword for sin) acting in the biblically very strange way of massing its men together to demand sex with other males – that narrative has nothing to do with homosexuality?

            You are saying that?

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 14, 2017 at 11:06 pm #

            Yes Christopher that is exactly what I am saying. Rape is an act of violence. Male rape (I.e. The rape of males) is a an act of violence and humiliation and emasculation, especially in warfare. It has nothing to do with ‘homosexuality’ or, indeed, heterosexuality.

          • David Shepherd May 14, 2017 at 11:27 pm #

            David,

            Given our respective commitments, there’s no hurry to respond, but I agree with you on the seriousness of this issue.

            1. Jones in the Gagnon quote refers to John R. Jones, who has a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and (at that time) was an associate professor of religion at La Sierra University. He wrote the article: “‘In Christ There is Neither …’: Toward the Unity of the Body of Christ” in Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-Day Adventist Perspectives (eds. David Ferguson, Fritz Guy and David Larson; Roseville, Calif.: Adventist Forum, 2008), 4-42.

            2. You wrote: ‘‘and the neighbouring towns’ is quite clear to me – they were under the same judgement as S&G. I don’t understand your question.

            Apart from being under the same judgment, Jude 1:7 describes ‘Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities’ as collectively being under the same guilt of ‘going after other flesh’.

            Given that the visitation of angels specifically occurred in Sodom, as did the attempt at coercive sex with them, where is the evidence that these neighbouring cities were visited by angels and also committed Sodom’s sin of seeking to have sex with them? There is none.

            3. You wrote: ‘But the burden of proof is on you to establish that Jude is opting here for a very rare meaning of the Gen text. I am not convinced’

            And my response was to present the philological evidence to the contrary. You may not be convinced, but Gagnon’s thesis of paratactic construction has been reiterated here. You should explain why you consider his position to be wrong.

            4. You also wrote: ‘You do not reply to my point 3 at all.’

            Your point 3 went: ‘When it is insisted that the story of Sodom is about homosexuality what point is being made? ‘Look, this is what homosexuals do. This is what they are like. The bible teaches it’?

            In fact, my response was to counter: ‘I’m not insisting that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is solely about homosexuality.’ echoing your own phrasing. clarify, I’m specifically referring to same-sex sexual activity. I cannot speak on behalf of those who have, as you say,’insisted that the story of Sodom is about homosexuality’.

            However, the fact that the narrative describes an attempt at coercive same-sex sexual activity does not somehow magically restrict Sodom’s guilt to sexual coercion. See point 2 above.

            5. Neither is same-sex sexual activity somehow elevated above any scriptural denunciation, once it occurs in the context of a PSF relationship.

            Consider the context of Herodias’ re-marriage to Herod Antipas, which still didn’t escape John the Baptist’s prophetic denunciation, despite her tragic first marriage (after her father’s execution) arranged by Herod the Great to her half-uncle, Herod Philip. Yet, she fell in love with Antipas and demonstrate stunning commitment to him by following him into exile. This didn’t alter their guilt.

            5. Finally, you ask: ‘Am I to understand that you (and Jesmond) think that the concern for the full honouring of women alongside men in the church is actually part of a revisionist plot?’

            This is just resorting to empty rhetoric and you know it. I could just as easily ask of you: ‘Am I to understand that you (and other affirming evangelicals) consider that Jesus did not provide an apostolic leadership with the full honouring of women alongside men?’ You see how the slur works?

            In fact, it just shows up the charade of liberals seeking pastoral accommodation without changing canon law.

            Once agreed, anything short of amending the marriage canon will be decried as a shameful lack of ‘full honouring’ of LGBT people.

            Instead, what about the full honouring of the Five Guiding Principles? No agreement can be relied upon because those on one side of that agreement can never be trusted.

            Conservatives have early warning this time.

          • Christopher Shell May 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

            Penelope, you have clearly posed a false either/or.

            Both rape and homosexuality are present, but if anyone says that one of the two is more present than the other, then that person is immediately identified as biased.

          • Christopher Shell May 15, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

            As though that were not enough, you then speak of ‘homosexuality’ and ‘heterosexuality’ as though both were (a) equally likely to be found in a given Biblical text, (b) equally regarded by the Biblical writers.

            Not only are both (a) and (b) false, they are false to a very high degree. This is added to the point made in my previous remark.

            And: the biblical writers (in common with most cultures) did not and would not have use for a concept like ‘heterosexuality’, just as they do not use the words ‘living, breathing’ every time they say someone’s name.

          • Christopher Shell May 15, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

            And thirdly – you just agreed with me that the biblical writers’ values are often not ours. Well – if you think that the biblical writer is speaking here of (intended) rape but not of homosexuality, then so far as that goes, their values ARE ours (or yours anyway).

            Sodom was destroyed for intended but not actual rape?

            The homosexuality was actual, the rape merely spoken about.

            Nor does righteous Lot’s remedy remove rape, so how does that work in your scheme?

          • Christopher Shell May 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

            Fourthly: you say that male rape has nothing to do with H.

            Wrong. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

            Christopher as DAVID Runcorn has also observed, the narrative isn’t ‘about’ homosexuality at all. If, as you say, there is even such a thing as homosexuality in the biblical texts. The narrative is about violence and violation. The men of Sodom are culpable whether the intended victims are men, angels, or virgin daughters. Lot’s action here is very far from righteous. I don’t have a ‘scheme’. The story, like Judges 19, doesn’t reflect well on anyone (except for, maybe the virgin daughters and the Levite’s wife).

          • Christopher Shell May 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

            Penelope, do you think that the Sodom passage has (a) one theme/topic, or (b) more than one theme/topic?

            Even if we were to agree that ‘violence/violation’ were the main theme, that could not possibly stop other themes being present!

            Inhospitality and violence have both been proposed as the main theme. Inhospitality and violence in this case *consist in* a proposed mass-homosexual attack. On this occasion they are one and the same. Do you think they can be separated, and if so, how?

            You have not addressed the question of the suspicious correlation between predominant homosexual behaviour and the worst city, and the other correlation between lack of predominant homosexual behaviour and all the other biblical cities? Is the idea that we are to be encouraged to believe that both of these correlations are coincidences?

            Lot is not righteous, but the question is whether the narrator considers him to be.

            If the passage’s values can be different from ours on virgin-rape, why cannot they be different from yours on homosexuality?

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

            Because there is no ‘homosexuality’ in the narrative. You are reading homosexuality into it. Gang rape of men, angels or virgin daughters is appalling. It has nothing to do with ‘homosexuality’ or ‘heterosexuality’. If all the men of Sodom were homosexual, there wouldn’t have been any women or children of Sodom!

          • David Shepherd May 15, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

            ‘If all the men of Sodom were homosexual, there wouldn’t have been any women or children of Sodom!’

            That’s according to the thesis that sexual orientation doesn’t exhibit fluidity. Yet, among others, Lisa Diamond’s study proves otherwise. And there are same-sex married clergy who self-identify as homosexual, but have fathered children…with women!

          • Christopher Shell May 15, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

            Glenn Stanton thepublicdiscourse.com (Witherspoon Institute) 19.4.2017 sums up the way that the various studies are pointing here.

            Lesbians are *more* likely (*far* more) to get pregnant than what you call straight women.

            Gay men are *far more* likely to impregnate a woman than are what you call ‘straight’ men.

            So what price ‘orientation’? That whole paradigm is wrong. (It would actually be wrong even if the gay figures merely came close to the straight – so how wrong is it if they far *exceed* them?) Hypersexuality (boundary-less living) looks a more accurate description of the picture.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

            David s others have pointed out, that’s a misrepresentation of Diamond’s study. And I was being facetious. All the men in Sodom were homosexual? Really?

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 11:40 pm #

            Christopher gay men are far more likely to impregnate a woman? Are you sure that you’re interpreting this research accurately?

          • David Shepherd May 16, 2017 at 6:29 am #

            Penelope,

            You wrote ‘I was being facetious’. Regardless, the point you were trying to make by your anything but facetious remark was that if, in fact, the phenomenon exhibited in Sodom was widespread homosexuality, it would be incompatible with the opposite sex attraction and procreation (as exemplified by women and children)

            Whatever others have pointed out, the evidence is clear that such fluidity exists, which demonstrates another patent falsehood in your ‘any counter-argument will do’ debating approach.

          • Christopher Shell May 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

            I did not read these research papers, but the figures, across different studies, are fairly plain – it’s not a case of slightly more, it’s a case of clearly more.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis May 14, 2017 at 12:19 am #

        The Bible itself defines the sin of S&G, and it was living in plenty as others lived in want. If you are going to take the Bible literally, then there’s no way out of this. Further, if the abomination is the rape of angels or men, then it is about rape and not same-sex monogamous couples. God forbid that our society would be as outraged at the rape of women as they are putting misplaced rage upon gay men!

        How can we even have a conversation when so much of the “belief” in the anti-gay position is indefensible. In the case of linguistic issues in the NT, again, the Greek does not say what the English translations want it to say. It simply does not carry that meaning. The scholarship is vast and compelling.

        I was raised Orthodox and I don’t think my Orthodox sisters and brothers would see evangelical Anglicans as orthodox. Which speaks to the point that everyone needs to carry their own theological weight. We know that Christian tradition also includes burning heretics (usually uppity women) and supporting anti-semitism and slavery.

        If you take S&G as an anti-gay narrative, you do so at your peril. In the Summary of the Law, Jesus tells us to love God (which means loving God’s Creation, including God’s gay creation), and loving your neighbor as yourselves (including your gay neighbors). One can pick at the Bible to confirm our worst bigotries. At the end of the day, being Christian is about following Jesus.

        • David Shepherd May 14, 2017 at 7:00 am #

          Unfortunately, the apostolic writing of Jude proves you wrong.

          Jude 7 extends the description
          of God’s punishment of S. & G. for ‘sexual immorality and going after other flesh’ to ‘the neighbouring cities’ which weren’t visited by angels.

          Therefore ‘other flesh’ cannot refer to the rape aspect of their sin, but to its disparity with normative sexual union. We know from the account in Genesis that the disparity from this was homosexual.

          Of course, you may choose to treat that chosen apostle of Jesus and his writings with the contempt you feel that he deserves.

          • David Shepherd May 14, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

            Not nonsense, since you are employing that fallacious tactic.

            David: ‘Cutting people with knives is criminal’

            Penelope: ‘Gosh, hadn’t someone better warn people about those terrible surgeons who cut people with knives for a living.’

            David: ‘That’s the converse accident fallacy.

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accident_(fallacy)

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

            I know what it means David. You may not have noticed that Mr Crawford was seeming to conflate all same sex activity into the one act, which he deemed physiologically unnatural.

        • R. Crawford May 14, 2017 at 8:03 am #

          Being a Christian is all about obedience to God’s revealed will. Of course that includes loving our fellow sinners but it does not give us licence to condone their sins. I certainly do not accept that viewing homosexual acts as a sin is indefensible or that your support for it is based on “vast and compelling scholarship.”
          Throwing in anti-semitism and slavery is a rather cheap attempt to debase your opponents as extreme and unacceptable.
          Of course you ignore the unnatural aspect of homosexual activities. Quite apart from its Biblical condemnation, all the evidence shows that the human body is not physiologically adapted to these activities and there are many people with same sex attraction who in faithfulness to their God remain celebrate. I have the utmost admiration for them but sadly they are being encouraged to sin by those whose opinions are based on the moving sand of worldly opinion rather that the clear teachings of scripture.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 14, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

            The human body isn’t physiologically adapted to mutual masturbation, intercrural intercourse and oral sex? Gosh, hadn’t someone better warn all the straight couples pretty sharpish that they are indulging in unnatural acts.

          • David Shepherd May 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

            Oh dear, Penelope,

            Now you’re resorting to the converse accident fallacy. It’s called a fallacy for a reason!

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 14, 2017 at 11:12 pm #

            Nonsense David. Mr Crawford (we’ll presume it’s a he) believes that same-sex activities are physiologically unnatural. I was wondering which activities he had in mind.

          • David Shepherd May 14, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

            Not nonsense, since you are employing that fallacious tactic.

            David: ‘Cutting people with knives is criminal’

            Penelope: ‘Gosh, hadn’t someone better warn people about those terrible surgeons who cut people with knives for a living.’

            David: ‘That’s the converse accident fallacy.

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accident_(fallacy)

          • R. Crawford May 15, 2017 at 8:10 am #

            Because heterosexuals engage in certain practices does not make it natural. It’s a question of which physiological properties of the human body facilitate which activities. Suggest you study tissue issues, self lubrication and self cleaning. I will elaborate no further but research it for yourself then come back and prove your point. Those who bleat on about equal marriage ignore the fact that only heterosexuals are capable of procreation; only heterosexuals can provide the complementary role of mother and father and only heterosexuals can engage in a form of sexual activity to which the human body is physiologically suited. Equality is unachievable.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

            Dear Mr Crawford. I am aware of the research. Did you know that, according to some studies, more straight people’s indulge in anal sex than do gay people?

          • R. Crawford May 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

            Firstly homosexuals make up only one and a half per cent of the population. So even if they all engage in sexual perversion, it only requires a relatively small number of heterosexuals to copy them in order to win your numbers game. But it has absolutely no effect on the physiological argument. Numbers engaging in unnatural sex do not naturalise it or make the human body compatible with it. Regardless of who engages in it, the misuse of an orifice used for the ejection of semi solid body waste is unnatural as well as disgusting.

          • David Shepherd May 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

            Hi Penelope,

            One of the best statistical modelling studies of heterosexual vs. MSM (men-who-have-sex-with-men) STI epidemiology was conducted in 2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2598698/pdf/458.pdf.

            Rather than focus on relative level of heterosexual vs. MSM promiscuity, which is debatable, the study modelled two key differences:

            ‘At the same time, at least two factors inherently distinguish MSM and heterosexual epidemics, regardless of relative partner numbers. First, heterosexual individuals are a two-sex population and MSM are one sex. As a result of this fundamental demographic difference, heterosexual individuals are necessarily ‘‘role-segregated’’ (men always insertive and women receptive) for sexual acts with high transmission probabilities (vaginal and anal sex), whereas MSM can be versatile. Previous work has demonstrated that role segregation can have a strong dampening effect on the efficient transmission of HIV through a population when there are differences in transmissibility for insertive and receptive roles.

            Second, the predominant form of high-risk heterosexual contact (penile–vaginal sex) has a lower risk of transmission than the predominant form of high-risk MSM contact (penile–anal sex).’

            In short, in a same-sex coupling, the fact that either partner can be receptive and the heightened risk of infection through anal intercourse significantly increases HIV-transmissibility. By way of comparison, the study claims: ‘Fixing the fraction in each activity class and the ratio of partner number for high and low-activity individuals, we find that achieving the same equilibrium prevalence as MSM requires heterosexual individuals to average 4.9 UVI (unprotected vaginal intercourse) partners annually, 2.7 times more partners than MSM.

            Another key finding was that ‘Our results differ from those of some previous models, and several limitations affect our work. In contrast to other models of heterosexual HIV, our base model did not generate a significant heterosexual epidemic. This partly reflects the fact that we modeled vaginal heterosexual sex as a self-contained risk network, excluding injection drug use, heterosexual anal sex, and the bridging role of bisexual individuals. Recent data suggest that most heterosexually acquired HIV cases in the United States can be directly linked to a sex partner who is either an injection drug user or an MSM, and these bridging relationships have been important in generating and sustaining heterosexual HIV epidemics in developed nations.

            So, even the epidemic levels of HIV among heterosexuals can only be attributed to secretly bisexual partners who maintain a heterosexual relationship in public while secretly participating in high HIV transmission risk activity that exposes their straight partners to infection.

            Let’s be clear, HIV may affect gay and straight people to differing degrees, but its epidemic levels of transmission, even among heterosexuals, can only be attributed to a form of sex that allows either partner to switch to receptive roles, to both incur a higher rate of HIV transmission than any other, even exposing the straight partners of closeted bisexual men to infection.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

            You may find it unnatural and disgusting mr Crawford. Others, clearly, do not. I loathe rice pudding, but I consider it neither unnatural nor disgusting.

          • R. Crawford May 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

            Perhaps that tells us too much about you Penelope. You may not be disgusted by it but it does present a lot of health risks. http://www.biblebelievers.com/Cameron2.html

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

            David S I have no idea what relevance promiscuity nor the rates of disease have to this debate. I do not advocate promiscuity or drug use for either straight or gay people. So throwing in statistics about risk and multiple partners is a bit of a red herring. Quite apart from the risks involved in anal sex, which Mr Crawford alludes to in rather too much detail, it seems to me that part of the response of disgust is to the idea of men being penetrated. Women are meant to be penetrated; men are meant to remain intact and inviolate. Finding something disgusting is a natural response, but it does not make the ‘thing’ itself disgusting.

          • David Shepherd May 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

            Penelope,

            Your response to R. Crawford’s statement that ‘all the evidence shows that the human body is not physiologically adapted to these activities’ was to cite other activities which are not specific to a particular sexual orientation, and which the human body is also not physiologically adapted to.

            The relevance of the study is that it shows how same-sex sexual partners incur a higher physiological risk due to both being receptive partners in a particular sexual activity to which the human body is not physiologically adapted.

            I have no further interest in engaging with your ‘any counter-argument will do’ approach.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 15, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

            Mr Crawford I said nothing of my own disgust. Or lack of it. Anal sex presents health risks. So does childbirth. I don’t understand your point. Is every activity which involves health risks immoral?

          • R. Crawford May 16, 2017 at 6:27 am #

            Penelope I am really staggered at your defence of anal sex. The basic requirement for hygiene in the third world is good sanitation, the washing of hands to reduce the spread of infection etc. By advocating anal sex where tissue strength, thickness and elasticity are weaker and lubrication is non-existent, is a recipe for disease and infection.
            To compare that with childbirth where complications of a totally different nature can arise simply shows how your advocacy of same sex relationships has destroyed your ability to reason.
            No one is stopping you and your homosexual coterie engaging in whatever bizarre activity you wish but you cannot claim authority for it from the physiology of the human body or the canon of Scripture. If you cannot see that I’m afraid I can be of no further use. “God has given them up to their own vile affections.”

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 16, 2017 at 12:03 am #

            David Bless you. Most sexual activity is not specific to a particular sexual orientation. And I have no idea what you mean by ‘also not physiologically adapted to’ – masturbation, oral sex? I think a lot of couples would say that their bodies adapt rather well to these ‘practices’. And, again, you seem to be haunted by the red herring of physiological risk. As I have pointed out to Mr Crawford, childbirth is quite a risky process. Risk does not, in itself, imply immorality.
            But, I too, am tired of this. Repetition of statistics about promiscuity and the health risks thereof tells us nothing about the good fruits of same-sex relationships. You would not introduce a discussion about heterosexual relationships with the caveats that straight sex (whatever that is) involves health risks.
            I rather think your agenda is showing. (So, is mine, of course. But I do not need to pursue red herrings to support my argument. Give me a plausible counter argument on why faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships are immoral and you might be worth attending to.)

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 16, 2017 at 12:11 am #

            Mr Crawford. I have read your link. I am still at a loss as to what this has to do with faithful, monogamous relationships.

          • David Shepherd May 16, 2017 at 6:10 am #

            Penelope,

            You could have considerably shortened your diatribe to just the bit about you having ‘no idea’ and not just what I mean.

            In fact, you are the least able of all the liberal commenters here. Andrew Godsall and James Byron command far more respect. At least, in part, that’s because they don’t resort to obvious logical errors, like the converse accident fallacy, which you’ve applied this time to comparative physiological risk.

            And now to shore up your poor argument, you are now resorting to supercilious remarks like ‘bless you’. Such empty rhetoric suits your vacuous approach, so please keep it up. You really are priceless!

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 9:18 am #

            David Shepherd: resorting to personal remarks of the kind you make here does you no credit and gives the conservative approach such a bad reputation. You take this approach whenever you are losing an argument. It’s reminiscent of the playground.

            The fact remains: nowhere does Jesus say ‘woe to you gays and lesbians’ but he does quite specifically say that about the scribes and Pharisees and very specifically points out the error of the self righteous approach. The casual reader of the bible would have no knowledge of the context of the Sodom and Gomorrah story and your attempt at making it fit your ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ narrative does nothing to make it at all relevant. By contrast I find the explorations by David Runcorn and Penelope Doe gracious and courteous and rather more convincing in their scholarship.

            It is very clear that both you and R Crawford and Christopher Shell find certain aspects of human sexuality disgusting and distasteful. Theology won’t help you with that. Physiology and psychology are more likely to. But I suspect this is touching some difficult area of life that comments on a blog are unlikely to really progress.

            Jesmond Parish Church have chosen a particular course which just doesn’t fit the models we currently have. They can get away with it in part because the Vicar holds an obsolete Freehold and has been left alone for that reason. The fact that he has now split the conservative evangelical faction is probably helpful in the long run and come his retirement, which can’t be too far way in the grand scheme of things, Jesmond will have to choose whether to stay and conform rather more, or go and set up their own little show. Either way, it’s an embarrassment to evangelicals as Ian Paul graciously admits.

          • R. Crawford May 16, 2017 at 9:35 am #

            Losing the argument? Must be a rogue referee.?

          • Christopher Shell May 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

            Penelope, as we’ve said before the figures for AI are equally matched, far more H couples avoid it post-AIDS-epidemic. However, the disease figures related to this are not equally matched. Men who have sex with men are streets ‘ahead’ on that – which is the main point, since AI is shunned for that reason only (aside from unnaturalness): the connection to disease.

          • Will Jones May 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

            Penelope you know very well the plausible counter-argument against PFS same-sex relationships. You just don’t accept it.

            It is that humankind has been created male and female and designed for mutual sexual attraction for the furtherance of the species. Any aberration from that is the result of a disorder and should be understood as such and not normalised. This, or some variant of it, was the standard understanding of almost everyone until a few years ago – that’s how plausible it is.

            Physiological and risk factors vividly illustrate the disordered nature of same-sex attraction and behaviour but they do not constitute the fundamental argument, which is grounded in elementary considerations of human identity and human nature.

          • Christopher Shell May 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

            Penelope,

            (1) When you say that ‘AI has health risks but so does childbirth’, are you just assuming that all these things have similar levels of health risk?

            (2) What kind of level would make you oppose a given practice? How many deaths would it take?

            (3) You will certainly see that bad diet brings health risk and good diet doesn’t, so how is it that this is not a parallel to bad and good sexual practice?

          • David Shepherd May 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

            Andrew,

            You wrote: ‘resorting to personal remarks of the kind you make here does you no credit and gives the conservative approach such a bad reputation.

            Well, that’s rich, considering your previous personal remarks about me.

            Neither does Jesus say ‘Woe to you polygamists’ and, yet, the Lambeth Conference 1988 resolved: ‘That it is the opinion of this Conference that persons living in polygamy be not admitted to baptism, but that they be accepted as candidates and kept under Christian instruction until such time as they shall be in a position to accept the law of Christ.’

            Your arbiter of relevance, ‘Mr. Casual on the Clapham Omnibus’, would also see little relevance to prohibiting polygamy, so I suppose you’d support the abandonment of that resolution too.

            In terms of Jesmond, you make too much of it. It’s just one parish and one curate.

            Ian may well consider Pryke’s consecration to be an embarrassment to evangelicals. That’s nothing when compared to the misguided heroics of a 78 year-old retired vicar who, in marrying his 20-year old partner, declarred, and I quote from the Kent live web-site: ‘”He wants to work as a model, and bring me lots of money so he can start paying for things.”

            http://www.kentlive.news/a-retired-priest-has-married-a-romanian-model-24-to-make-a-stance-against-the-church-of-england/story-30292926-detail/story.html

            A more heroic role model for the LGBT cause would be hard to find!

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

            So David. Two questions.
            1. Do you think that practising LGBT people should not be admitted to baptism?
            2. Do you think same sex sexual activity should be criminalised again?

          • David Shepherd May 16, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

            Andrew,

            Whether you or I think practicing LGBT people should be admitted to baptism is irrelevant. As you know, the CofE is a church by law established and the case law on access to the sacraments, including baptism, was settled through Banister vs. Thompson.

            1. In this context, the purpose of exclusion is neither to enforce discipline, nor to inspire reform (the latter being the role of preaching, exemplary behaviour and pastoral care). Instead, it is to ensure that there is no connivance at the behaviour of an ‘open and notorious and evil liver’ who might scandalise the congregation (Canon B16). This refers to an ostensibly objectionable course of life, the observation of which requires neither intrusion upon anyone’s private life, nor acting upon isolated occurrences, nor mere suspicions, nor hearsay. ‘By the mouths of two or three witnesses should every word be established’.

            Paul’s greater emphasis on sound teaching and self-scrutiny is as true of baptism as it is of Communion: ‘So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.’ (1 Cor. 11:27-30)

            2. No, I don’t believe that same-sex sexual activity should be criminalised again. Such a regime would require an inordinate and unwarranted intrusion of the State upon private life.

            Lasting change is only effected by grace which permits truth to prevail upon the conscience.

          • Andrew Godsall May 17, 2017 at 7:31 am #

            David I need to push you a little on those questions if I may. You raised the matter of polygamy and quoted the Lambeth conference resolution on the matter, referring to the view that those living in such polygamous arrangements should not be admitted to baptism. Clearly there is no such Lambeth resolution in relation to those in same sex relationshiips. The Church of Enlgsnd has made it clear that we are not to deny any of the sacraments to those who are in same sex relationships, saving only that there are currently questions to those seeking ordination but little restriction on those already ordained.

            So why do you wish to treat those in same sex relationshiips differently to those in polygamous relationships? Why does the church permit one but not the other?

            You and others on this thread have expressed your absolute disgust at what adults do in private but you seem happy to defend the states reluctance to enter that realm. Are you not putting yourself above the state in expressing such views?

          • Will Jones May 17, 2017 at 9:43 am #

            Andrew there is nothing private about gay marriage. Marriage is fundamentally a public institution.

            Communion for those in same sex relationships is a pastoral accommodation for something that under church teaching is sinful. It is not a reason to change any substantive matters of church teaching. Your argument here undermines the concept of pastoral accommodation, since it implies that nothing should be accommodated that is not affirmed. I assume you don’t wish to do this.

          • Andrew Godsall May 17, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

            Will: I’ve never heard anyone claim that gay marriage WAS private. Where have you got that from and what relevance does it have to the questions I have out to David?

          • Will Jones May 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

            Hi Andrew

            It was a response to this comment, which seemed to imply that same sex marriage should be regarded as a private affair – though I may have misunderstood your meaning:

            ‘You and others on this thread have expressed your absolute disgust at what adults do in private but you seem happy to defend the states reluctance to enter that realm. Are you not putting yourself above the state in expressing such views?’

            Though to be honest the comment is also odd because of course the church does consider its teaching to be ‘above the state’ – the state may not take interest in what people do in private (though actually it does in lots of areas) but God certainly does.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

            Will, hi. Yes, of course I know the theological counter arguments to SSM. I was asking David S. If he could present one, because he, like Christopher S and Mr Crawford appear to be arguing that same-sex monogamous, faithful relationships are immoral because of promiscuity, STDs, and the disgustingness of anal sex. Those are not plausible arguments against PFS SS relationships. They are fallacious red herrings.
            As you probably know, I don’t find the theological counter arguments plausible. If the telos of sexual intimacy was only procreation (and nothing else) that might be a strong argument against SSM. Since marriage has other goods, recognised in the church down the centuries, there is little in the tradition to deny the unitive benefits of sexual relationships to those in same-sex marriages. All marriages have the potential to be generative, even if the couple are not biologically parents.

          • Will Jones May 17, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

            Hi Penelope

            As you know I regard considerations of relative levels of STDs, promiscuity and open relationships, and co-morbidities to be sound auxiliary arguments supporting the first principles argument from the apparent design of nature.

            You also know that I disagree that the benefits of unitive sexual intimacy justify their extension to same-sex couples (or indeed to triples or larger groups) because they cannot overcome considerations arising from the disordered nature of the appetite and behaviour. I don’t regard the existence of purposes for sex besides procreation to have any bearing on this argument, because procreation is part of the binary sexual natural order, not its sole defining element.

          • Andrew Godsall May 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

            Will: it’s a very different thing to say that gay marriage is a private thing (which it is not) to saying that ANY married couple, be they gay or straight, has an absolute right to privacy in their bedroom. If you want to argue against that, then you will need a very kinky lawyer indeed. It’s a basic human right. Straight couples have anal sex and all sorts of other sex. The fact that some of their practices disgust you or R Crawford, or David Shepherd of Christopher Shell does not mean they are not protected in their privacy,

            And nine of this has anything to do with the questions I put to David Shepherd.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

            Hi Will but those auxiliary arguments could as well be applied to heterosexual promiscuity with its attendant risks. Promiscuity, it would seem is potentially unhealthy as well as, in the Christian view, sinful. Most sexual intimacies, enjoyed in monogamous relationships, are not potentially unhealthy.
            I don’t regard same-sex orientation or desire as disordered. I would find it hard to see scriptural warrant for that view.
            Likewise, I think it is fairly clear that sex and gender are not part of a binary natural order.

          • Will Jones May 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

            Andrew – so abuse is acceptable provided it takes place between a married couple in their bedroom? I’m sure you don’t mean that. But then the privacy isn’t absolute, of course.

            I think there is a strong health case for banning anal sex, but I can understand the reticence to pursue such a measure because of serious problems of enforceability, not least in terms of privacy.

          • Andrew Godsall May 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

            There is a much stronger health case for banning smoking Will. There is a much stronger theological case for tackling self righteousness. Hence Jesus talks rather a lot about that and says nothing about anal sex…..but I’m still interested to know why David Shepherd thinks the Lambeth conference has banned polygamists from baptism but not actively gay and lesbian people.

          • Christopher Shell May 17, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

            Penelope – The natural order is very binary indeed. Multiple billions of humans have been born. Not only did every single one of them have precisely two parents (not fewer or more) but in each case those parents were one male, one female.

            Obviously I like others feel funny making that point because it is obvious biology 101. Not the sort of thing one expects to have to make into a protest-march message, but the sort of thing that everyone is aware of anyway.

            What you say about monogamous sexual relationships does not apply to sequentially monogamous SRs, but only exclusive lifelong ones.

            On AS: whether or not more hets or more homs or roughly equal behave this way, what is solved by saying that hets to it as well. The disease will still be as great. The problem would be addressed only by neither of the two groups doing it – but you never mentioned that solution. How weighty are STI considerations with you? The proliferation also of OS in the wake of the sexual revolution is a case of people daring others to challenge facts on the ground, rather than of OS being actually instrinsically safe and unproblematic. HPV is rife, adn even Michael Douglas was not aware of it. The extreme irresponsibility, disregard for life and health, and selectivity of the sexual-revolution movement (of which the new attitude to homosexuality is very much a part) is not a part of your normal message. Why?

          • Christopher Shell May 17, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

            for ‘to it as well.’ read ‘do it as well?’

          • Will Jones May 17, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

            You’re right Andrew, there is a strong health case for banning smoking, and lots of other drugs which are, in fact, illegal. I don’t see your point.

            And we do try to discourage smoking of course. Perhaps condom packets should come with a warning about the risks of AS!

          • Christopher Shell May 17, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

            Andrew Godsall, you say I find certain things disgusting and distasteful. I have made many logical points, but show me one place where I have made the merely emotional point that things are disgusting and distasteful (to me).

            But it’s worse. you are summing up the various points I have made, which have been logical and not emotional from beginning to end, as though my main or only point was an emotional one!

            This shows two things. (1) You have not provided answers to the logical points, and if you have not then that means losing the argument. (2) You are fulfilling the stereotype that your ‘side’ is all about emotion, never about whether their position makes sense.

          • David Shepherd May 18, 2017 at 12:13 am #

            Andrew,

            A long day at the office intervened, but you asked: ’ So why do you wish to treat those in same sex relationships differently to those in polygamous relationships?’ There’s no wish on my part to do anything of the kind.

            In fact, Andrew Goddard has reflected upon what an equivalence of the pastoral accommodation for polygamous and same-sex marriage would look like and it doesn’t include any prospect of public affirmation: https://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Polygamy.pdf

            However, there’s more than a modicum of irony that mentioning the Lambeth Conference of 1888 and its Resolution 5 on polygamy has prompting you, as a clergyman, to ask of a layman like me ‘why does the church permit one but not the other?’

            As far as I can see, the most significant differences are probably consensus and mutual respect. I doubt that converted Zulus were respected as responsible moral agents and consulted on the fairness of Resolution 5 and how it would impinge upon their children. Certainly, apart from Bishop Colenso’s lobbying, their personal testimonies don’t figure in the written account of the first three Conferences.

            However, while some African provinces continue to maintain a hard line on polygamy, resolution 5 itself and subsequent Lambeth resolutions did represent a steady progression towards greater pastoral accommodation that would reduce the social deprivation caused by the earlier condition of baptism that polygamists had to put away all but one wife.

            In contrast, Issues in Human Sexuality reflected on the Gloucester and Osbourne reports, and made no secret of the Church’s lack of consensus over homosexuality:
            ‘What is striking, however, as one reads the Reports, is how little the main lines of argument have changed in the ten years that separate them. Details have changed – on some scientific points, on biblical exegesis, and in the volume of testimony from homosexual people themselves – but of any substantial agreement there seems as yet little sign.’

            There was also far more mutual respect exhibited in more allowance for personal discretion than on the issue of polygamy: ’It is important to bear in mind the historic distinction between the God-given moral order and the freedom of the moral agent. While insisting that conscience needs to be informed in the light of that order, Christian tradition also contains emphasis on respect for free conscientious judgement where the individual has seriously weighed the issues involved.’

            The bishops also committed themselves ‘to listen to the experience of homosexual persons’ in a way that was never extended to African polygamists.

            Fast forward to Pilling and we hear a similar refrain about further listening: ’ The Church should continue to listen to the varied views of people within and outside the church, and should encourage a prayerful process of discernment to help determine the relationship of the gospel to the cultures of the times.’

            I don’t favour disparate treatment, but the principal determinant of whether the Church of England commits to listen is whether your experience is shared by a significant number of Westerners. There’s still a fair bit of neo-colonialism going on.

        • Christopher Shell May 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

          Cynthia, are you taking the impossible position that a city that was a byword for sin had only one sin?

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 17, 2017 at 8:39 pm #

            Christopher the thread has got do long that I’m replying to ypur above here. No, I have no interest in what consensual sexual activities people enjoy in the privacy of their own.homes.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 17, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

            Sorry for typos. On a phone.

          • Christopher Shell May 17, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

            So you would consider someone who wanted to act right in the sight of God (whether privately or publicly) no better than someone who did so only in public. Very many would call the latter two-faced.

            How can ‘consent’ justify anything. People consent to the most awful things. They consent to adultery, fornication etc etc. The only reason you are treating consent as a good thing rather than as a neutral thing is that the culture says that it is a good thing and you have (as seems) swallowed this cultural message (which may have been noised abroad for a purpose, i.e. to justify certain behaviours) rather than being critical of the culture and not assuming it is going to be right.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 17, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

            Christopher please attend to what I said. I am not saying that certain sexual acts are good – or bad. I am saying that I have no interest in them so long as they are consensual, however immoral you or I mIght find them. If they are not consensual, then they are abusive and the Law should, rightly, intervene. If they are consensual then, however disgusting you or I might think them, we have no right to intervene.

          • Andrew Godsall May 18, 2017 at 7:40 am #

            Christopher: I think you will find that having sex in public is both illegal and considered indecent by many. Therefore it has to be private. That isn’t being two faced, it’s simply being respectful.

          • Will Jones May 18, 2017 at 7:51 am #

            Penelope by that logic the state has no right to ban any harmful substances because no violation of consent is involved.

            It also fails take into account the social nature of all harmful human behaviour, setting bad examples and having a knock on effect on society through health services, dependents and those who care for a person. It is too atomistic and individualistic.

            Considerations of harm, personal and social, can therefore also justify regulation and prohibition. In fact, violation of consent is a species of harm.

            Your principle also can draw no warrant from scripture. Sounds more like J S Mill to me.

          • David Shepherd May 18, 2017 at 9:35 am #

            Penelope,

            You replied to Will:‘Yes, of course I know the theological counter arguments to SSM. I was asking David S. If he could present one, because he, like Christopher S and Mr Crawford appear to be arguing that same-sex monogamous, faithful relationships are immoral because of promiscuity, STDs, and the disgustingness of anal sex. Those are not plausible arguments against PFS SS relationships.

            Anyone following the course of this thread can see that the later physiological arguments were subsidiary to and not the plank of the conservative argument. Your response to this subsidiary issue was prompted by R. Crawford’s comment: ‘Of course you ignore the unnatural aspect of homosexual activities. Quite apart from its Biblical condemnation, all the evidence shows that the human body is not physiologically adapted to these activities and there are many people with same sex attraction who in faithfulness to their God remain celebrate [sic]’ (Clearly, he meant ‘celibate’)

            In response, you resorted to the converse accident fallacy. You argued along the same lines as someone who declares that: ‘If we allow people with glaucoma to use medical marijuana, then everyone should be allowed to use marijuana.

            Nevertheless, the main argument hinged on whether, in God’s condemnation of Sodom, Gomorrah and its neighbouring cities, the homosexual direction of their rapacity was a central or peripheral matter. Lot’s desperate alternative of offering his virgin daughters would suggest the former.

            I’m aware that due to other pressing commitments, David Runcorn was unable to respond. Nevertheless, three key points arose from our exchange:

            1. I challenged David R’s notion that, in Jude 1:7’s apostolic denunciation, sarkos heteras doesn’t refer same-sex sexual acts, but instead sex with angels.

            I asked: ‘Given that the visitation of angels specifically occurred in Sodom, as did the attempt at coercive sex with them, where is the evidence that these neighbouring cities were visited by angels and also committed Sodom’s sin of seeking to have sex with them? There is none.

            2. Additionally, my counter-argument highlighted Robert Gagnon’s conclusion from the philological evidence that: ‘For 2 Peter 2:6-7,10 refers to the “defiling desire/lust” of the men of Sodom. Since the men of Sodom did not know that the male visitors were angels—so not only Gen 19:4-11 but also all subsequent ancient interpreters—the reference cannot be to a lust for angels but rather must be to a lust for men. So both Jude 1:7 and 2 Pet 2:6-7 provide further confirmation in the history of interpretation that the Sodom narrative is correctly interpreted when one does not limit the indictment of male homosexual relations to coercive forms.’

            3. David Runcorn wrote: ‘Not only am I now clear this is dreadful misreading of the story of Sodom, it is utterly offensive to associate a story of attempted gang rape with contemporary expressions of faithful, committed same-sex relating.’

            I compared this to John the Baptist’s denunciation of Herodias’ second marriage to Herod Antipas and asked him to: ‘Consider the context of Herodias’ re-marriage to Herod Antipas, which still didn’t escape John the Baptist’s prophetic denunciation, despite her tragic first marriage (after her father’s execution) arranged by Herod the Great to her half-uncle, Herod Philip. Yet, she fell in love with Antipas and demonstrate stunning commitment to him by following him into exile. This didn’t alter their guilt.’

            Apart from my previous reference to St. Augustine’s enduring marital good of ‘natural partnership in difference between sexes’ (with whom you disagree), these are the three key points, which I’ve made here and which inform my theological position against even PSF same-sex sexual relationships.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 18, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

            Hi Will. I think that’s a good point. But, as Andrew observes, sex is (usually) a private activity, unlike smoking, so what you do in the privacy of your home can’t set a bad example to your peers or your children. Indeed, although banning smoking in public has been very successful, it doesn’t stop people smoking like chimneys at home and inflicting this on their families.
            Further the notion of proscription is interesting. It seems to have worked for smoking, but not for heroin. There was a very small number of heroin addicts when the drug was legal. Likewise, you seldom see a drunk Greek in Greece. The drunkards there are the Brits and the Scandinavians.
            So, I don’t know how you would stop people partaking in risky sex. Adverts? Info in doctors’ surgeries? Maybe, but these haven’t stopped obesity rising. Personally, I think people should be informed and then if they take risks, they do so knowingly.
            Which brings me to scripture. My guiding principle in this is 1 Corinthians. Eat idol meat but not if it causes your sibling to stumble. So I wouldn’t smoke in front of my granddaughter (I don’t smoke btw), but, sex, which is private, can’t cause my sibling to stumble.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

            Hi Will I suppose I should have said in the privacy of your bedroom (tho I know sex isn’t confined to bedrooms). Otherwise it reads as if sex and smoking are going on quite openly at home!

          • Christopher Shell May 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

            So if adultery is ‘consensual’, then we ought not to stand up for the wronged spouse?

            *If* that is what you are saying…?

          • Andrew Godsall May 19, 2017 at 11:29 am #

            Christopher: I apologise if you don’t find AI disgusting and if I have misrepresented you. Now is your chance to say that you don’t find it at all disgusting.

            As to the talk of it being ‘natural’ or otherwise – I’m puzzled. Clearly it occurs in nature so it must be natural? Obviously some people don’t like it, but that’s true of all sexual activity.

            In terms of it being pleasurable – well clearly it is, else lots of people would not engage in it.

            In terms of it being legal – it is, and those making it legal would have taken a number of factors into account, including the moral questions.

            In terms of it being a health risk – well lots of things are greater health risks and the church doesn’t get quite so exercised about them. It is possible to have AI safely.

            So I think these arguments don’t entirely stand up do they?

          • Will Jones May 19, 2017 at 11:56 am #

            Andrew you are surely well enough read to know that the terms natural and ‘something that happens’ are not synonymous from an ethical point of view. So why play ignorant? Natural means according to nature, which refers to the natural order e.g. the proper characteristics of a species. Make arguments, don’t play on the meanings of terms.

          • Andrew Godsall May 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

            Come off it Will. Are you saying it’s the proper characteristic of a species to have artificial insemination, fertility treatment and a whole host of other invasive surgeries that were never thought of 2000 years ago? It’s natural for a married couple to find pleasure that is not harmful to others. Hence they go out driving. Cycling. Flying. Are those part of the proper characteristic of our species? Or where do you draw a line?

          • Will Jones May 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

            Where do you draw the line? Welcome to ethical analysis. One place it certainly isn’t though is ‘anything that happens’ – that’s no line at all!

            Of course it’s proper to our species to use reason to improve our lot.

            But it is also proper to our species to be male and female with the corresponding form of sexual attraction. It is also proper to use our bodies as they are clearly intended. We can be creative, but there are limits, and this is one of them – established by reason and confirmed by scripture.

            So where do we draw the line? Where reason and scripture tells us to.

          • Andrew Godsall May 19, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

            Yes Will. But scripture and reason are open to interpretation. Hence there are debates about the things I mention in my post above, and not just anal intercourse. Welcome to the world of theology.
            It is clearly intended that a heterosexual married couple will seek pleasure in their love making. Hence some will engage in oral and anal sex. See Penelope’s comment about 1 Corinthians above.

          • David Shepherd May 19, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

            Andrew,

            For comparison. let’s look at alimentation: another evolved function of the body. Few would dispute that chewing and swallowing are natural oral functions for consuming food. There is a self-evident alimentary function of our specialised mouth and throat organs. (This is what R. Crawford described as physiological adaptation).

            These are not exclusive functions, but to abandon the fundamental functions of these organs purposefully and without medical justification is unnatural.

            Of course, there are people who, because of disease receive sustenance through nasogastric intubation. Another disease for which treatment is provided is infertility, which is defined as “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

            So, clearly, in the case of disease, medical intervention is justified. Nevertheless, while the mouth may have a myriad of other uses, there is no obligation on either government or private enterprise to recognise and support any person’s predisposition to intubate and bypass mastication without such medical symptoms as require it.

            I mean, how would the liberal press would present such a proclivity as a civil liberty issue: ‘Feeding funnel freedom’? ‘Alternative alimentation for all’? Or simply, ‘Chewing is a choice’?

            Equally, there is no reason why anyone should be under a legal obligation, which same-sex marriage imposes, to dignify, endorse and celebrate the marital equivalence of relationships for which the self-evident purpose of our sex organs is completely subverted.

            That’s where we should draw the line.

          • Will Jones May 19, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

            Unconventional forms of sexual intimacy for married couples are a grey area in terms of scripture and reason. But I’d argue that AS is a no-no – risky, gross, unnatural, unfair to ask or expect. If people like it then there’s something wrong with them and they need to educate their tastes.

            Same sex sexual relationships are not a grey area though. Black and white out of bounds. Scripture and reason agree – humankind was not made male and female in order to pair off with their own sex.

          • Andrew Godsall May 19, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

            ” If people like it then there’s something wrong with them and they need to educate their tastes.”

            This is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for cheering up my Friday will! I think there is nothing more to be said……Hahahaha …

          • Will Jones May 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

            Glad to entertain. I assume you think that all proclivities are equally acceptable. Unless they’re abusive of course. But then you must have some agreement that taste can be faulty.

            Taking pleasure in the objectively gross (or harmful, or wicked) is faulty.

          • David Shepherd May 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

            Hi Will,

            Asked and answered. The response is just a smokescreen for a weak and implausible revisionist argument which can only hope to be rescued by a political compromise.

          • Christopher Shell May 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

            Andrew:

            *Disgusting?* – I certainly do find it disgusting, but as you’ll see above that semi-subjective point never plays a role in the arguments I lay out, which ar elogically and statistically based.

            *Natural* – Surely this point has been done to death over decades – let us progress not rehearse old ground. The problem is that ‘natural’ has 2 meanings. The first is ‘attested in nature’. Well, everything both good and bad is attested in nature! You seem to think that being attested in nature is a plus-point. That is the most obviously wrong stance yet. Everything that is bad is also attested in nature. The second meaning is ‘aligned with nature’s apparent purposes’. Certain things one can see why they exist within the overall scheme; other things, on the other hand, look like deviations because they are variants on (or are not) the first category of things.

            *Pleasurable* – this is actually an equally weak point. (I never mentioned pleasure, unless I forgot doing so?) Pleasurable things = things that we desire. James 1.15: desire gives birth to sin; sin gives birth to death. Sin is pleasurable – for a while. It gives a thrill and zing, and it is thrillingly wrong and daring.

            *Legal* – this is equally weak. Things become legal by means of people performing the incredible feat of…walking into a lobby. Why do they do so? Because they are experts on the topic? No – they are MPs, who are required to know a little about a lot of things. Because they believe in what they are voting for? Not half the time they don’t – they often vote not out of conviction way their constituents might want, and of course there are also future votes for them in pursuing that policy.

            *Health risk* – all sorts of things are health risks, you say. Well, don’t do any of them, then. An immature schoolboy thought his punishment unfair because he had broken a window but how could that be wrong at all considering that his friend had broken a bigger window? Illogic, illogic…. Your argument is that because there are worse things, then X is OK. There are always worse things one can name. Taht means that everything in the world is OK except for one thing.

            I invite readers to go through these paras to understand the weakness of all these arguments from Andrew.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 19, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

            I see that David still believes same-sex she’s in same-sex marriage inevitably involves anal sex. It doesn’t, even in male relationships. And it certainly doesn’t in female ones. So what is the ethical and theological argument against lesbianism? And you think revisionist arguments are weak and implausible?

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

            Same-sex sex, not same-sex she’s!

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

            Will you may find anal sex disgusting and risky. But that doesn’t mean that all people do. As I said above, I find rice pudding disgusting. But, surprisingly, many people don’t share my disgust.

          • David Shepherd May 19, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

            Penelope,

            I’ve already clarified that the physiological argument was subsidiary to the main debate, which centred on the nature of the guilt which precipitated the condemnation of Sodom, Gomorrah and the neighbouring cities.

            You have not responded to my three key scriptural points here: https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/should-evangelicals-be-embarrassed-by-newcastle/#comment-345525

            Until you can provide cogently argued responses to these points, I’m happy to leave you to highlight further converse accidents (this time, same-sex couples who don’t engage in anal sex) to counter-act fallaciously any inductive argument against same-sexual activity.

            Your fallacy lies in the mistaken notion that merely mentioning the existence of exceptions (instead of a preponderance of contrary evidence) is sufficient to destroy an inductively reasoned argument.

          • Will Jones May 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

            Hi Penelope.

            Risky is objective, based on probability of harm. AS is an objectively risky sexual practice.

            It is also objectively disgusting, like eating vomit or faeces, or perverse sexual practices. If someone finds pleasure in things that are objectively disgusting it is because their sense of taste is faulty.

          • Will Jones May 19, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

            And do I really need to repeat (again) the ethical/theological argument against all same-sex sexual attraction and behaviour? It’s not just about AS!

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 20, 2017 at 7:39 am #

            Hi Will no you don’t need to repeat your theological and ethical arguments. As I’ve said, I don’t find them plausible or convincing.
            As for objective disgust, again, you may find something disgusting, that is subjective. What is perverted (in adult consensual sexual practices) is in the eye of the beholder.

          • Will Jones May 20, 2017 at 8:47 am #

            Hi Penelope. Obviously the experience of disgust is subjective. The standards are not though. Or else there would be nothing wrong with delighting in abuse while abstaining from it. Our taking delight in something can be faulty.

            Also, the principle that all that is consensual between adults is acceptable (and not a proper object of disgust) is not a biblical one. It’s from J S Mill.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 20, 2017 at 11:38 am #

            Will. It’s not Mill. As I said above, it’s 1 Corinthians. Paul on idol meat.

          • Christopher Shell May 20, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

            Penelope, why do you still imagine the main point to be whether things are considered to be disgusting (a merely emotional point) rather than measurements of the amounts of harm things cause (a logical, factual and objective point)?

            This is all the more strange since correspondents did not raise the ‘disgusting’ point till you and Andrew brought it up.

            Your ‘consensual’ point is one-dimensional. Things that are highly harmful in terms of shortened lives, STIs, promiscuity and becoming psychologiclly mixed-up as a result: do these things not concern you ‘provided that they are in the privacy of someone’s bedroom’?!! You will understand how uncaring and blase that comes across as being.

          • David Shepherd May 20, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

            Penelope’s assertion is absolutely ridiculous. There is a fundamental distinction between sexual conjugation (1 Cor. 6:15; 1 Cor. 6:19) and personal discretion in the consumption of food (Mark 7:19; Rom. 14:20; 1 Cor. 6:13)

          • Will Jones May 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

            Thank you, David – you took the words out of my mouth. Paul’s teaching on bearing with one another’s consciences on some secondary matters like food is (obviously) not a carte blanche to ignore biblical moral teaching in the area of sex (or anything else).

          • Andrew Godsall May 21, 2017 at 7:44 am #

            Christopher: thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I don’t find your arguments at all convincing for the following reasons.

            Disgusting: you may not have mentioned it before but disgust is clearly shown here as your primary ‘driver’. It clouds your judgement.

            Natural: I see your distinctions but you leap to personal judgement because of your disgust.

            Pleasurable: your argument is not argument. You simply sound puritanical because of your inherent disgust.

            Legal: if you don’t agree that homosexuality should be legal you’d be better off standing for parliament and campaigning on that issue. You will find some support I’m sure – from those who find it disgusting.

            Health risks: all kinds of things have health risks and the issue is not that we stop doing them but that we find ways to minimise or eliminate those risks. Hence people drive. Have artificial insemination. Climb ladders. Fly in aeroplanes etc etc ad nauseum.

          • Will Jones May 21, 2017 at 9:36 am #

            Andrew – no one has said homosexuality is disgusting. It’s AS which is disgusting, which as is repeatedly pointed out, is not limited to gay couples. It’s disgusting whether gay or straight, because of what it is.

            But anyway, this is only one point, and not the strongest against AS.

            Your dismissal of a person’s other arguments because they confess disgust is ridiculous – by that logic you will dismiss the arguments of anyone appalled by the things whose faults they enumerate. You find abuse disgusting? Then remain silent on the matter, I can’t accept a word you say!

          • Andrew Godsall May 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

            Will: just because you find AS disgusting does not make it so. There is no objective measure of such a thing. You will simply have to allow for the fact that some people – even conservative evangelical heterosexual couples I know – find it to their liking. There is just no way around that.

          • Will Jones May 21, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

            Andrew if there are no objective standards of taste then there is nothing wrong with taking delight in depravity (while abstaining from it). Knowing someone who likes something by itself tells us nothing about whether it is good. Some people enjoy blaspheming. In fact many sins can be enjoyable, that’s why people do them.

            But as I say, this issue of taste is not a major part of the objection to either AS or homosexuality.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 21, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

            Wow, a barrage from three sides. I did ponder whether to bother replying, especially since one of you had been egregiously rude (thanks for the new Twitter profile by the way!), but I spent yesterday teaching Reconciliation and Redemption, so I thought I’d have one last attempt at civilised discourse.
            So, taking the last point first. By saying that food is a ‘secondary matter’, you are importing a modernist, contemporary hermeneutic into an ancient text (ironic really, since that is what you all accuse so-called liberals of doing). Food was not a secondary issue for Jews and Jewish Christians in the first century – for the Corinthians, for Peter (and the other Pillar Apostles) and in Antioch. Indeed, so important an issue was it, that it (and circumcision) were the occasion of the so-called Jerusalem Conference. According to Acts the Decree that was issued following the Conference, gentile believers are to abstain from things polluted by idols, from porneia and from things strangled and from blood. There is no indication that any of these are secondary matters. But how many Christians today, whilst abstaining from the first two, eat black pudding or a bloody steak? Most, I would suggest. All Christians are selective in their use of scripture. Some of us are honest enough to admit it.
            Furthermore, Paul’s teaching on not offending siblings here and in Romans can be used analogically to teach Christians to avoid anything which would make a sibling stumble. Or, are you suggesting that this is a contingent, rather than a core teaching of Paul’s. The teaching from 1 Corinthians on sex with a prostitute has no bearing here, since we are discussing consensual sex, nor does teaching on adultery, since we are discussing faithful, monogamous relationships. Neither Jesus nor Paul spoke positively about marriage and procreation and the family. Celibacy and alternative kinship groups seemed to be the mark of the new eschatological group in Christ. Paul allowed that it was better to marry than to burn. A teaching which can easily accommodate SSM, since the apostle does not seem to place any emphasis on the good of procreation. (1 Cor. 7, rather than 6.)
            Sodom – how did we get here from Jesmond? I think it was Mr Crawford who first introduced Sodom into the conversation, and hence all the comments about the Sodom narrative and about the unnaturalness and riskiness of male same-sex sex.
            Firstly, Christopher – and I think, perhaps, David – asked whether homosexuality was central or peripheral to the narrative. My answer, if you’d been attending to what I said above, was neither. Again, you are importing a modernist concept – ‘homosexuality’ – into an ancient text. The sin of Sodom had nothing to do with sexual identity or preference, it was the lust, pride, greed, and excessive inhospitality manifested in the attempt at gang rape. The desire was to humiliate and emasculate the visitors (as men are often raped as captives in war in order to dishonour them). Christopher and David observed that this was seen as so outrageous by the author(s) of the narrative that the ‘righteous’ Lot’s offer of his virgin daughters was seen as preferable. As I said, women were meant to be penetrated, but a man being penetrated was dishonourable; males were more valuable than females; and visitors more honoured than daughters who, like wives were merely possessions which could be given or traded. I infer, perhaps wrongly, that Christopher and David concur with the author’s conclusion that same-sex rape is more offensive (to God?) than the rape of women. I would interrogate the text to ask why is the violation of women more acceptable than that of men. Which brings me to the p// text, Judges 19. Here, the men again want to violate the (male) guest. Here, again, the virgin daughter and, this time, the Levite’s wife are offered instead. But this time the Levite thrusts his wife out of the door and she is gang raped all night. In the morning, she returns to her ‘master’ who puts her on his donkey; it is not clear whether she is alive or dead even when she is cut into 12 pieces. This is a much more violent and terrible story that Genesis 19. But the almost exact re-telling indicates that the violence of the men of Sodom and the Gibeahites was not ‘homosexual’, since the latter violated the woman as the men of Sodom would have violated Lot’s daughters had not supernatural blindness intervened. Again. I think it is important to ask if (and why) the authors of these text thought the men of Sodom and of Gibeah were more wicked and depraved than the hosts, Lot and the Levite.
            As to the other flesh referred to in Jude (not an apostolic witness), I would agree with David Runcorn and contra Gagnon, that it refers to angelic ‘flesh’; male flesh is not ‘other’.
            John the Baptist condemned the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias because it was within the forbidden degrees of kinship. He might have agreed with Jesus’ teaching on divorce and believed that Herodias should not have left her former Herod, nor Herod Antipas divorced Aretas IV’s daughter.
            And finally, on to what Will calls the auxiliary matters, although they seem to have dominated the discussion. Firstly, my argument about anal sex being enjoyed by both heterosexual and homosexual couples is not an instance of the converse accident fallacy. I didn’t argue that anal sex is good because straight couples do it too. I argued that it is not an exclusively same-sex activity and that it cannot be unnatural and perverted because it is a same-sex activity. You might argue that it is unnatural and perverted for other reasons (as you do), but you cannot claim that it is so because it is enjoyed by homosexual men. Indeed, I did not argue that any of the other sexual intimacies I mentioned were good or bad, merely that they were common to all sexual relationships (some even to lesbians, whom you largely ignore) and that all, except penile/vaginal intercourse are not open to procreation (though I suppose intercrural intercourse may be, exceptionally).
            Some of you find anal sex subjectively disgusting. Will argues, wrongly in my view, that it is objectively disgusting, like faeces. Babies and small children are not disgusted by faeces. I would argue that disgust and shame are culturally conditioned, learned behaviours. We cannot ban things simply because some us find them disgusting. As I said, I find rice pudding disgusting, but I wouldn’t try to ban it for everyone. Some of you argue that anal sex is inherently risky and imply that it should therefore be banned. This brings us back to the consideration of other risky behaviours like smoking, which has been banned in public places, and some private places like cars, but not in the home. It would be awfully difficult to enforce. Similar, the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967 was not because Church and State had suddenly decided that male homosexual relationships were moral, but because Church and State had come to believe that the State should not be regulating adult, consensual relationships. Christopher suggests that we should give up all risky behaviours. Drug taking? But what about the use of marijuana and opiates for medical conditions. Driving? Flying? Horse riding? Rugby? Swimming? Perhaps, Christopher, who is so fond of statistics could tell us if more people are killed each year by STDs or in road traffic accidents.
            The assertion that humankind was made male and female, so should not pair off with the same sex/gender is not an argument. Nor is Christopher’s assertion that creation is binary. Human males and females do produce offspring. So? Is this their only telos? You are, clearly, massaging each other’s egos, but I don’t think your arguments are convincing many readers of this blog, nor many of the commentators here.

          • Will Jones May 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

            Hi Penelope. Wow thorough response!

            On food versus sex and other moral matters: I think Matthew 15:11 and Mark 7:15 will suffice to show that the point is not a modern imposition. The issue of blood was an issue at Jerusalem but, despite that, was not subsequently in Christian tradition (presumably because the church quickly lost its early Jewish character).

            You say: The assertion that humankind was made male and female, so should not pair off with the same sex/gender is not an argument. On the contrary, it is the most important argument of all, taking us back to the natural created order and the purpose of God in creating humankind male and female. It is from this fundamental element of the created order that all further points about procreation, harm, sin and depravity stem.

            I don’t really want to make a big thing of the distaste argument, but I would say that I hardly think the tastes of babies and children are relevant to objective standards of taste of the mature adult. Your rejection of the concept of objective standards of taste is worrying. But, as I say, this is only a peripheral argument in relation to AS and H.

            I’m aware of the rationale behind the 1967 legislative reforms surrounding adult consensual relationships. In fact, there was a linked widespread view at the time that the law had nothing to do with morality – not a view that is still much in favour. Neither view (about adult consensual relationships not being proper objects of regulation, or law having nothing to do with morality) is correct of course, or bears any relation to biblical teaching.

            Your application of biblical teaching on disputable matters (such as food) to sex is clearly contrary to the plain teaching of scripture. The biblical authors regarded marriage as a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church (which you have previously described as a queer marriage, but whatever, it shows how highly they regarded it), and they taught sexual purity outside marriage (or else why would marriage be a solution to ‘burning’?).

            You say my arguments are unconvincing, but yours really don’t bear any scrutiny at all.

          • Christopher Shell May 22, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

            Andrew – what dishonest argument. All readers can see I never mentioned disgust as any part of my argument until you brought up the topic (not that I am averse in any way to doing so). It is not an insignificant point, but the most significant points by far are:
            rates of STIs
            rates of promiscuity
            rates of early death
            lack of biological purpose and therefore lack of being able to prove biological justification
            increased average association with less healthy practices (hence all the above)
            need to use contraception, proving that participants have moved outside natural law.

            In your discourse, however, the association of me with disgust is everywhere. As all readers will agree, this mismatch between (a) the way you inaccurately report my emphases and (b) the reality of the matter can logically only identifiy you as a debater who is either biased or actually dishonest.

          • Christopher Shell May 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

            Penelope, the presence of same-gender lust is a very unusual thing in a biblical narrative. To gloss over this as though it were not there, and also to claim that the things that are there (like rape) are somehow alternatives rather than both/ands (how would anyone defend that line of argument?) is not adequate. Why do you think thay same-gender lust is in the text, and why in *this* text that deals with the city that is a byword for evil. Other cities do not show this characteristic. Not are they bywords for evil. Is all this coincidence? What percentage likelihood do you assign to its being coinceidecne, and why?

          • Christopher Shell May 22, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

            Andrew, when you say that ‘all kinds of things have health risks’, do you agree or disagree that the *levels* of risk can vary enormously?

            And that consequently your generalisation is inadequate?

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 22, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

            Will you have rather proved my point about the selective use of scripture. The plain meaning of the Jerusalem agreement is that gentile Christians must abstain from things strangled and from blood. It was not meant for Jewish Christians. Nowhere do the apostles say that this is secondary to the teaching on idols and porneia. Yet, you dismiss it.

            Likewise, the plain meaning of Jesus and Paul’s teaching on marriage and celibacy was that the latter was preferable and that the new kinship groups of those in Christ took precedence over blood family, whom we must ‘hate’. Not until the Reformation (which, ironically, was supposed to return the church to scripture) was the family given more status than celibacy and asceticism. So much for the plain meaning of scripture.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 22, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

            Christopher do you ever try to read my argument? Rape is the desire for power over another human being, the desire to violate and humiliate them. The rape of men was (is?) considered worse than the rape of women, for the reasons I listed. Soldiers who raped male captives were not ‘homosexual’; they wanted to emasculate their victims. However, women would ‘do’ instead as the Levite’s wife found out.

          • Will Jones May 22, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

            Hi Penelope. Biblical teaching on food and sex comes from more than just the Jerusalem council, as my quotes from Christ make clear. It is not selective to take the scriptural witness as a whole on a matter.

            I agree that the church has traditionally, and the NT probably, regarded celibacy as superior to marriage. It still had a high view of marriage though, and a purity ethic in relation to sex.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 22, 2017 at 8:44 pm #

            Will the Church may have had a high view of marriage, but Jesus and Paul didn’t. And I have a purity ethic! I believe in PFS SS relationships.

          • Christopher Shell May 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm #

            But I agree on all that. It is not the feature of the text that I am addressing. The feature of the text that I am addressing is that homosexual intent (which is not a ubiquitous theme by any means) happens to be correlated with the acknowledged worst city. That is either coincidental and irrelevant (against massive odds) or non-accidental. Which do you think, and how sure are you of your answer?

          • Will Jones May 22, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

            Paul (or at least a Pauline NT author) described marriage as an image of Christ and the church – that’s about as high a view as you can get.

            Jesus’ teaching on lust and sexual sin shows how seriously he took sexual activity outside marriage.

          • David Shepherd May 23, 2017 at 12:42 am #

            Penelope,

            It’s useful that you’ve gone somewhat further than your previous posts in explaining where you differ. However, your detailed response shows little more cogency than before. In fact, your rounding on the traditional position is more rambling that reasoning.

            It’s also more than a slightly self-indulgent for you to cast yourself as the vastly outnumbered minority subjected to persecution through social media. After all, it’s not exactly a barrage of three against one when you seem quite happy to form a revisionist tag-team with Andrew Godsall.

            Nevertheless, let’s consider your assertions.

            1. You wrote: ’ Indeed, so important an issue was it, that it (and circumcision) were the occasion of the so-called Jerusalem Conference.

            An occasion is defined as ‘a reason, or cause’. So, firstly, contrary to your mistaken assertion that food was the added reason (alongside circumcision) for the Jerusalem Conference, we read in Acts: ’ Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

            While abstinence from strangled animals and blood was part of the conference’s resolution, circumcision, rather than food, was its occasion.

            2. Secondly, regarding abstinence from things strangled and blood, you asked rhetorically ’ But how many Christians today, whilst abstaining from the first two, eat black pudding or a bloody steak?’

            What you’ve omitted is the focus of the Council’s edict (and of Paul) on ensuring that Antioch’s Gentiles, liberated to recognise Christ as the fulfilment of all OT externalisms and rituals, should neither revert to licentiousness, nor inadvertently and unnecessarily cause Jewish converts to be alienated by needless offence. The Jerusalem decision was both an injunction against licence and a pastoral accommodation of those whose consciences were steeped in the OT demand for overt segregation, as expressed through these self-same externalisms.

            Mosaic externalisms, such as food regulations and circumcision, were clearly provisional to the revelation of the gospel (cf. Deut. 30:6). In contrast, Christ distinguished the relative innocuousness of food consumption (Mark 7:19) compared to the inner defilement caused by ungodly sexual conjugation (Mark 7:21).

            We see a further example of this voluntary deference in avoiding inadvertent offence in Acts 16:1-5: ’ Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.’

            Throughout the NT, any attempt to diverge from what could be inferred ‘from the beginning’ about sexual conjugation as ordained by God is treated very much as a salvation issue.

            In contrast, the attempts of Judaizers to turn the aforementioned gracious deference into a rigid imposition were rejected as a defection from reliance upon Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for eternal reconciliation with God: ’ Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. (Gal. 5:6)

            Again, Paul tells the Colossians: ’ Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Col. 2:16)

            So, the Council’s injunction to abstain from blood was consonant with Paul’s avoidance of unnecessary and inadvertent Jewish disaffection by exhibiting generous deference towards their shared heritage: ’ To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law’. (1 Cor. 9:20)

            Your rhetorical question would make more sense if we, like Paul, were in Asia Minor, seeking to identify with Jewish traditions in order to win Jews to Christ.

            3. You claimed: ’ The teaching from 1 Corinthians on sex with a prostitute has no bearing here, since we are discussing consensual sex, nor does teaching on adultery, since we are discussing faithful, monogamous relationships’.

            Here, you are implying that sex with prostitute invariably non-consensual. This is blatantly false, since the exchange of sex for money does not somehow vitiate mutual consent.

            Also, Christ’s response to divergence from the Genesis archetype was: ‘it was not so from the beginning’. Clearly, a same-sex relationship, even if faithful and monogamous, diverges from this principle. So, asserting that: ’ nor does teaching on adultery, since we are discussing faithful, monogamous relationships.’ does nothing to alter this fact.

            4. You assert that: ’ Neither Jesus nor Paul spoke positively about marriage and procreation and the family.’ Yet, contrary to this, Paul declared: ‘But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety’. (1 Tim. 2:15) Now, why would he attach significance to a woman’s procreative responsibility, if he held such a dim view of marriage?

            Elsewhere, scripture declares: ‘Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled’ (Heb. 13:4) and denounces those who forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. (1 Tim. 4:3)

            In fact, you compound your embarrassing ignorance of scripture when you claim: ’ Paul allowed that it was better to marry than to burn. A teaching which can easily accommodate SSM, since the apostle does not seem to place any emphasis on the good of procreation. (1 Cor. 7, rather than 6.) Of course, to make scripture fit your thesis would require excising 1 Tim. 2:15 for revisionist convenience.

            5. You wrote: ’ Sodom – how did we get here from Jesmond? I think it was Mr Crawford who first introduced Sodom into the conversation.

            What you omitted was that R. Crawford was responding to Andrew Godsall’s assertion that Jesus said nothing directly about homosexuality. Of course, neither did He say anything directly about incest nor polygamy. So, it’s a flimsy argument from silence.

            6. You assert regarding my earlier mention of Sodom and Gomorrah in relation to homosexuality: ’ Again, you are importing a modernist concept – ‘homosexuality’ – into an ancient text. The sin of Sodom had nothing to do with sexual identity or preference.

            However, homosexuality is defined as ‘sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex’ and this is how the rapacity in Sodom was expressed. Neither Christopher nor I made any mention of sexual orientation, so your comment that ‘the sin of Sodom had nothing to do with sexual identity or preference’ is a ‘straw man’ argument.

            7. You wrote: I infer, perhaps wrongly, that Christopher and David concur with the author’s conclusion that same-sex rape is more offensive (to God?) than the rape of women.

            That’s a cheap shot, since I could also infer, perhaps wrongly, that David Runcorn’s reply about the huge theological significance of ‘hospitality’ in the covenant theology in the scriptures means that somehow raping foreigners is more offensive (to God?) than raping fellow residents, like Lot’s daughters.

            8. You offer no exegesis in support of your assertion that Lot’s alternative was based on the belief that ‘women were meant to be penetrated, but a man being penetrated was dishonourable’.

            Nevertheless, your phrasing reminds me of Jerome T. Walsh’s contention that ’given the constraints of Hebrew syntax and semantics, the verse cannot be read as a condemnation of male-male sexual contact in general, but only of anal penetration and, probably, only of anal penetration of a free Israelite citizen.

            This notion was comprehensively defeated by Robert Holmstedt here: https://www.psephizo.com/biblical-studies/the-grammar-of-leviticus-18-22/#comment-329990

            9. You wrote: ‘As to the other flesh referred to in Jude (not an apostolic witness), I would agree with David Runcorn and contra Gagnon, that it refers to angelic ‘flesh’; male flesh is not ‘other’.

            And that might be significant, if you were an acknowledged expert in hermeneutics. Also, a) that would mean that the neighbouring cities (Jude 1:7) shared Sodom’s guilt of going after angelic ‘flesh’, despite not a shred of evidence of them receiving a similar angelic visitation; and b) given that David Runcorn did not have time to respond to Gagnon’s exegesis, it’s sheer partisanship for you to side with David Runcorn and contra Gagnon without knowing how he might object to Gagnon’s philological evidence.

            10. You wrote: John the Baptist condemned the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias because it was within the forbidden degrees of kinship. He might have agreed with Jesus’ teaching on divorce and believed that Herodias should not have left her former Herod, nor Herod Antipas divorced Aretas IV’s daughter.

            My point is that the specific degree of kinship, which prompted John the Baptist’s condemnation of their PSF relationship, was declared as forbidden in Leviticus 20:21, just a few chapters away from Leviticus 18:22.

            Also,it demonstrates that just as mutual faithfulness (as characterised Herodias and Herod Antipas) did not lessen the immorality of their relationship before God (through a prophet whom Jesus eulogised as ‘a burning and a shining light’), neither does a same-sex couple’s mutual faithfulness lessen the immorality of their relationship before God.

            11. You claimed ’ Firstly, my argument about anal sex being enjoyed by both heterosexual and homosexual couples is not an instance of the converse accident fallacy. I didn’t argue that anal sex is good because straight couples do it too.

            Essentially, your argued that, if the basis for deeming a sexual activity to be unnatural is that the human body is not physiologically adapted to it, then there are several straight sexual activities which should also be deemed unnatural.

            As you say, you ‘argued that it [AS] is not an exclusively same-sex activity, and, in so doing, you were identifying the converse accident.

            Inductive arguments are not deductive absolutes, but based on the preponderance of evidence. So, in response to R. Crawford’s inductive argument, your fallacy lies in highlighting an exception which does not relate to any analysis of where such activity is preponderant.

          • Andrew Godsall May 23, 2017 at 7:11 am #

            Christopher: thanks again for replying. I find some peculiar omissions and mistakes in your argument and for sake of time let me just address two here.

            Firstly you said: “As all readers will agree…”. What is your evidence for this peculiar assertion please? When did you conduct the survey and how large is it?

            Secondly you ask if I think that there are different levels of risk with risky things. Absolutely I do, and have alluded to this. Penelope also asked you if you might give the statistics of those dying from road traffic accdients compared to those dying from STIs. The point of that question is to address the different levels of risk. And I also made the point that of the many risky things people do, like driving, flying, climbing ladders, having artificial insemination etc, you only seem keen to focus on the risks of anal sex. I then made the point that our approach to all these risky behaviours (and many more which we undertake daily, like crossing a road) is to take steps to minimise the risk.

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 23, 2017 at 9:49 am #

            Will Christ/Bride is a metaphor taken from the Hebrew Scriptures. It is not unproblematic. I wasn’t defending sex outside ‘marriage ‘. One metaphor does not trump Jesus and Paul’s antipathy towards marriage and family and Jesus’ own queer asceticism (I think that’s how Halvor Moines describes it).

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 23, 2017 at 9:51 am #

            Sorry, Will, Halvor Moxnes.

          • Will Jones May 23, 2017 at 10:33 am #

            Penelope – you may see it as just ‘one not unproblematic metaphor’ but that doesn’t alter the fact that it counters your ‘Paul had a low view of marriage’ claim. It’s not about trumping anything, it’s just about hearing the testimony of scripture to the things of God.

            You can’t keep dismissing the views of Jesus and the NT as queer and expect to be taken seriously by those seeking to be obedient to the word of God revealed in Christ and recorded in scripture.

          • David Runcorn May 23, 2017 at 11:32 am #

            I have continued to follow this discussion without time to contribute.

            Thank you, Penelope for continuing to politely and thoughtfully challenge tradition readings of the texts debated here. I value the care with which you have clearly studied them. I invariably agree with you and you express it all more clearly than I can. I am grateful.

            All of which leaves me pondering why David S is unable to engage with Penelope’s arguments without lacing his comments with constant put downs, personal insults, barbs and patronising asides. ‘sheer partisanship, ‘that might be significant, if you were an acknowledged expert in hermeneutics’ (which excludes most contributors on this thread), ‘cheap shot’, ‘you compound your embarrassing ignorance of scripture …’, ‘blatantly false’, ‘revisionist convenience’ ‘self-indulgent’, ‘more rambling that reasoning’ ‘your detailed response shows little more cogency than before’.
            I note this language is absent from his responses to men here who hold similar views to Penelope.

            David S – since you name me at one point – just one response.
            “Penelope wrote: ‘I infer, perhaps wrongly, that you concur with the author’s conclusion that same-sex rape is more offensive (to God?) than the rape of women’.
            You reply: ‘That’s a cheap shot since I could also infer, perhaps wrongly, that David Runcorn’s reply about the huge theological significance of ‘hospitality’ in the covenant theology in the scriptures means that somehow raping foreigners is more offensive (to God?) than raping fellow residents, like Lot’s daughters.’
            What is cheap about questioning the offer of women for rape in this text? – not ‘fellow residents’ – daughters. This is about the acceptability of sacrificing women in order to honour/protect men and angels.
            In my Pilling appendix I offered this aside in my challenge to the appropriateness of the Sodom story for discussing faithful, committed same-sex relationships.
            [‘But what should be the marks of a Christian reading of this harrowing story, set in a male-centred world in which a binding hierarchy of social obligation requires the honouring of (male) guests above the most basic obligation to protect your own family? In such a world a man will offer his own virgin daughters to distract gang rapists rather than breach this code.]
            The Bible records this without comment. Nor have you replied to Penelope so far. Do you find it acceptable? (And please bear in mind I am not an acknowledged expert in hermeneutics.)

          • Christopher Shell May 23, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

            Hi Andrew.

            Whenever I write ‘As all readers will agree’, the ‘will’ means that I am not speaking of a survey, so why speak of a survey? This is a phrase I use when I cannot conceive of any counter-argument. If there are counter-arguments (not counter-arguments to the fact that they agree or not, but counter-arguments to the stated position) then let me know what they are.

            I think I may have used the phrase more than once. The only use of it I can now find is when I said that all readers will agree I never mentioned disgust till others brought up the topic. I could have done so, but as it happens I didn’t. This is not something anyone needs to conduct a survey about!! It is a simple matter of checking back through the thread.

            Things like disgust and emotions are not topics I often mention when debating, since debate is essentially a rational matter.

            If there are risky avoidable things, don’t do them.

            I agree with you and Penelope on road-traffic accidents. Till the improvement in the last 15 years, there used to be 10 people dying every day on this small island. Several of these never made the news. A train accident that killed 30-40 (just 3-4 days’ worth of car accidents) would be massive news. Cars are able to go faster (far faster) than the speed limit. Speedometers pointlessly parade 140mph. Why?

            How do all the other risky things make anal sex etc any less risky than it is? They are utterly irrelevant to the topic of its riskiness. A red herring or a deliberate red herring?

          • Andrew Godsall May 23, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

            Christopher: it is a phrase you use very inaccurately then. Why should all readers agree with you? You have no way of knowing this.

            I gave the very clear opportunity for you to say that you did not find anal sex disgusting. I apologised that I surmised it if I had got it wrong. You made it clear that you DID find it disgusting. Readers can quite easily see this if they look through the thread. The plain evidence, Christopher, is that not everyone does find it disgusting, else it would not be quite so popular. There is no ‘objective’ way of saying that some consensual sexual practice is disgusting that I know of. And just because Christopher Shell finds it disgusting does not make it objectively so. I think readers could easily see that too.

            As to undertaking risky things. Why do people go rock climbing? Do you want to stop them doing that? Why do people climb a ladder to paint their house? Do you want to stop them doing that? Why do people undertake extreme sports of one sort or another? Do you want to ban all of that as well?

            So – not a red herring in sight I’m afraid.

          • David Shepherd May 23, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

            David R,

            I’ve responded to Penelope point by point. So, instead of responding to cherry-picking of perceived weaknesses in my argument, I would expect reasoned contradictions of each point.

            Nevertheless, your estimation of my remarks is biased, since Penelope had no difficulty in describing Christopher Shell as ‘obsessed with anal sex’ https://www.psephizo.com/sexuality-2/what-does-sec-need-to-do-to-approve-same-sex-marriage/#comment-345193

            In the interest of balance, here are a few examples of what you describe as ‘polite and thoughtful challenge’ on Penelope’s part. Of course, you may well discern exemplary Christ-like restraint in these, and not a whit of patronising sarcasm, or put-downs:

            ‘Gosh, hadn’t someone better warn all the straight couples pretty sharpish that they are indulging in unnatural acts.’
            ’If all the men of Sodom were homosexual, there wouldn’t have been any women or children of Sodom!
            ’ Nonsense David.
            ’ David Bless you. Most sexual activity is not specific to a particular sexual orientation.
            ’ I see that David still believes same-sex she’s in same-sex marriage inevitably involves anal sex.

            Perhaps, I should recognize these remarks as just good-natured banter and playful repartee!

          • Will Jones May 23, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

            Andrew – if consent can provide an objective standard of taste then in principle so can other criteria.

            Here’s another one: inserting objects into waste outlets whose products are toxic and smelly, and which in doing so can cause damage and spread disease.

            To be honest, inserting anything into an anal passage is disgusting. That’s an objective judgement based on the principle of taste just outlined.

            I don’t know why you think the only standard of taste is consent – what an odd view. There are lots of principles underpinning objective aesthetic standards.

          • Christopher Shell May 23, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

            ‘Obsessed’ means always thinking and talking about something. If something is killing precious people regularly before their time and is thoroughly avoidable, and these facts are not being publicised, then that is something that should be both talked about and emphasised. The unsustainable position is to ignore it or consider it of mimimal importance. Are their *lives* of minimal importance?

            This reminds me of Griswold at the consecration of G Robinson. ‘Spare us the details’ he said. Yet these are the details that prove that it is a bad and harmful thing – something which ironically even he found nasty to listen to.

            Things can be risky in the sense of being unhealthy, causing disease. That is different from being risky in the sense of running the risk of accidents. The former have nothing good about them, there is no reason to do them. The latter are undertaken at participant’s own risk.

            You make one extremely incorrect point. That is when you cite my use of ‘all readers’. All readers simply have to agree that I never mentioned disgustingness till you did, since that is an objective fact. If any reader disagreed, then the evidence would show their position to be false. So I call on ‘all readers’ to examine Andrew’s answer here: Andrew, do you understand, and do you agree?

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 23, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

            Hi Will. It doesn’t exactly counter it, but it does make Paul’s views more nuanced, if he is the author of Ephesians. The deutero-Pauline and the pastoral epistles are more ‘pro family’, perhaps to counter the asceticism which was prevailing in early Christianity, particularly in gnostic strands. Indeed, Paul himself, seems to counter excess asceticism in the Corinthian church.

            I am not dismissing NT views as queer. I think queer readings can give us some interesting insights into these texts, particularly those which describe the new eschatological community. I think we have lost the sense of how radical and counter cultural that community was

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 23, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

            David Runcorn, thank you.
            David Shepherd, I was again pondering whether to respond, not because we disagree, but because you are invariably sanctimonious and insulting. I hold up my hand in apology for replying ‘nonsense’, the other remarks were meant to be humorous and, to some extent, to take the sting out of the discussion.
            I had noticed that I am one of the few women who comment on this blog and that your words tend to be harsher to me than they are to the men here.
            I do know quite a lot about the Bible, particularly the NT, and I don’t know if I could claim to be an expert in hermeneutics, but I am doing a PhD on the hermeneutics of Pilling.
            To answer some points from your earlier comment:
            The so-called Jerusalem Agreement was occasioned by both circumcision and table fellowship, as Galatians indicates. Gentile believers were enjoined to obey the Noahide Covenant. No subsequent church council has undone those injunctions, but most Christians choose to obey one and not t’other.
            Similarly, Herod and Herodias relationship was within the forbidden decrees within Jewish Law (as you point out). Gentiles were never bound by Jewish Law (see above).
            The sexual rapacity in Sodom and Gibeah was directed at the honoured guests (male of course). Nevertheless, had supernatural blindness not intervened, Lot’s daughters would have been violated, as was the Levite’s wife. Even if the lust was for sex rather than for violence (unusual in rape), the object could be either male or female.
            The text gives us Lot’s offer of his virgin daughters rather than the guests. Surely, the reader can infer that Lot regards his daughters of less worth than the (male) visitors and his obligations to hospitality? My observation that women are of less worth than men and that they are meant to be penetrated is the result of fairly wide reading on the ANE.
            My comment that I agree with David R rather than Gagnon on Jude was not because I have read David R on Jude etc., but because I have read Gagnon. And, if you’ll permit a little acidity, that’s a few hours of my life I’ll never get back.
            I think you are proof texting with your citing of 1 Tim. Firstly because it goes against the grain of most of Jesus teaching on the eschatological community and on the authentic Pauline sayings.
            Secondly, the Pastorals come from a later strand of Christian teaching and reflect the conflict between ascetic and pro-family forms of Christianity: the Pastorals vs. Acts of Paul and Thecla. Thirdly, the women saved through childbearing is a very problematic text. Am I not saved?
            And, finally, point 11. That’s not what I argued. I made two points: most sexual intimacies are enjoyed by both straight and gay couples; most sexual intimacies are not ‘unnatural’.
            Time for a glass of wine, I think.

          • Andrew Godsall May 23, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

            Christopher: thank you again. What you said was “In your discourse, however, the association of me with disgust is everywhere. As all readers will agree, this mismatch between (a) the way you inaccurately report my emphases and (b) the reality of the matter can logically only identifiy you as a debater who is either biased or actually dishonest.”

            Two points then. You admit you find AS disgusting so I believe that informs your approach to the whole debate in the ways I gave above. I stand by every remark.

            Whether all readers will agree about a mismatch is up to the readers I would say. I don’t know how you think you know what all readers will think about the matter or what evidence you have for that view. That’s all I can say.

            As to risks, you have not answered my questions at all.

            I don’t think we can go any further with this now, but thank you again.

          • Andrew Godsall May 23, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

            Will: I don’t think I said that consent provided an objective standard of taste. The point about taste is that one person’s meat is another’s poison. I’m not aware of any objective standards. Lots of people enjoy anal sex Will. They always have and they always will. There is nothing you can do about it. But you don’t have to have any part in it. And that’s your absolute right. It’s not your absolute right to impose your view about this matter on others.

          • Christopher Shell May 23, 2017 at 9:20 pm #

            Andrew, don’t tell me you are backing off from giving a straight answer by unilaterally proclaiming an end to this mini-debate.

            ‘As all readers can see’, it’s quite simple:

            (1) Is the idea of homosexual quasi-sexual behaviour being disgusting something that *you* introduced first or that *I* did?

            (2) Did I ever mention any such thing before you posed the question of disgustingness to me? Yes/no.

            (3) Are things like considerably lowered life expectancy; considerably higher average promiscuity; very considerably higher average susceptibility to STIs; restriction (among men), where it comes to quasi-unitive acts, only to acts that are unsafe in themselves so require contraception – are these not sufficient in themselves to be opposed to homosexual ‘sexual’ practice, without any need to evoke emotional considerations like disgustingness? Sufficient; or insufficient? Your call?

            (4) When you say that you ‘believe’ my view that such things are disgusting informs my whole approach to them, even (believe it or not) where comparative statistics are so damning, then can you list what that ‘belief’ is based on?

            (5) What would lead you to prefer that second-hand belief or supposition to my own first-hand knowledge of why I do, say and think what I do, say and think? Is it superior, is it equally good, or is it inferior?

            Many thanks.

          • Christopher Shell May 23, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

            For ‘to be opposed’, read ‘to cause anyone to be strongly opposed’.

          • Will Jones May 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm #

            Hi Andrew. You said: There is no ‘objective’ way of saying that some consensual sexual practice is disgusting that I know of. From this I inferred that you do know of an objective way of saying that some non-consensual sexual practice is disgusting. I therefore I assumed that you regarded the lack of consent to be a valid criterion for objective disgust. Which I would agree with. And on that basis I pointed to another criterion which I think would also be widely accepted as a valid criterion for objective disgust.

            Perhaps though you do not regard the lack of consent to be a criterion for objective disgust? In which case can we infer that you would not regard a person’s sense of taste to be faulty if they failed to be disgusted, or indeed took delight in, non-consensual sexual practices? I can’t believe that is what you mean. But you do seem to be denying that there are any objective criteria for a sense of taste, and indeed have just now apparently denied that you regard lack of consent to be an objective criterion of taste.

            So do you not consider a person’s sense of taste faulty if they take delight in abuse? (We assume of course that they abstain from actually acting on this since we are only discussing whether the aesthetic faculty can be faulty, not the moral wrongness of abusive actions.)

          • David Shepherd May 24, 2017 at 12:23 am #

            Penelope,

            It’s ironic that which decrying my sanctimonious and insulting remarks, you’ve seen no reason to apologise to Christopher Shell for describing him as ‘obsessed with anal sex’.

            1. You are insinuating the accusation of sexism by saying that ‘I had noticed that I am one of the few women who comment on this blog and that your words tend to be harsher to me than they are to the men here.’

            However, regardless of gender, I have debated opposing views on this blog with the same exacting rigour. At least on this blog, lazy logic is not indulged. And why should it be, when Jude urges us ‘to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.’? (Jude 1:3)

            BTW, I am probably the only black man commenting on this blog. I still don’t insinuate that harsh replies are motivated by racism. Without incontrovertible evidence, such a groundless accusation can easily reap the counter-accusation of ‘playing the race-card’ in order to generate sympathy and undue deference.

            2. You wrote: ‘The so-called Jerusalem Agreement was occasioned by both circumcision and table fellowship, as Galatians indicates.’

            However, you previously asserted: Food was not a secondary issue for Jews and Jewish Christians in the first century – for the Corinthians, for Peter (and the other Pillar Apostles) and in Antioch. Indeed, so important an issue was it, that it (and circumcision) were the occasion of the so-called Jerusalem Conference.

            Food and table fellowship are not the synonymous. Also, Peter’s withdrawal of table fellowship from the Gentile Christians at Antioch was not based on the violation of food regulations, but on their lack of circumcision.

            In fact, Paul described those who segregated themselves as the circumcision group: ‘For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. (Gal. 2:12)

            3. You maintain that ‘Gentile believers were enjoined to obey the Noahide Covenant’, but it would be useful if you could explain why the apostolic declaration that we cannot be judged in respect of food regulations (1 Cor. 6:13; Col. 2:16) is irrelevant.

            4. You wrote: ‘Similarly, Herod and Herodias relationship was within the forbidden decrees within Jewish Law (as you point out). Gentiles were never bound by Jewish Law (see above).’

            I can only hope that you don’t believe that John the Baptist’s condemnation of kinship violations was only enjoined upon Jews and that Gentiles are free to marry within the forbidden degrees of kinship (i.e. to commit incest). The point remains that Herod’s mutual, consensual and committed relationship was still condemned as an ungodly sexual conjugation. The much-vaunted relationship virtues of mutuality and fidelity do not ipso facto negate divine censure for being an ungodly sexual conjugation.

            5. ‘Even if the lust was for sex rather than for violence (unusual in rape), the object could be either male or female.’

            We don’t have to speculate about whether the men of Sodom might have accepted Lot’s desperate offer to make his daughters the object of their lust. We do know that the offer was refused because they wanted to indulge their same-sex sexual desires.

            4. You wrote: ‘My observation that women are of less worth than men and that they are meant to be penetrated is the result of fairly wide reading on the ANE.

            On this basis, I understand that you have based your position on ANE studies. This does not ipso facto outweigh the contrary philological and theological evidence which I mentioned. This evidence stands until you can disprove it.

            6. You explain that your agreement with David R, rather than Gagnon on Jude ‘was not because I have read David R on Jude etc., but because I have read Gagnon. And, if you’ll permit a little acidity, that’s a few hours of my life I’ll never get back.

            I was asking for your estimation of the Gagnon quote per se. Your response gives no-one the slightest idea of where you believe that his Greek interpretation falters. Your argument is that you’ve read enough of Gagnon to dismiss his argument out of hand.

            7. You provide three bases for claiming that I am proof-texting 1 Tim 2:15.
            a) ‘it goes against the grain of most of Jesus teaching on the eschatological community and on the authentic Pauline sayings.’
            b) the Pastorals come from a later strand of Christian teaching and reflect the conflict between ascetic and pro-family forms of Christianity.
            c) Thirdly, the women saved through childbearing is a very problematic text.

            a) If I had quoted just one verse, you would have had a point about proof-texting. Instead, I referred to Heb. 13:4 and 1 Tim. 4:3. Again of family, Paul declares of family: ‘Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.’ (1 Tim. 5:8)

            b) Identifying these as part of a later strand of teaching does not make them a less authoritative part of canonical scripture.

            In fact, in the earlier part of your argument, you emphasised about the Jerusalem Council’s edict that ‘no subsequent church council has undone those injunctions’.

            Now, by disputing the authenticity of those parts of 1 Tim. which, you say, go against the grain of the ‘authentic Pauline sayings’ (and don’t support your argument), you undermine the self-same successive church councils to which you referred and which endorsed the whole epistle as canonical.

            How is that even remotely consistent?

            c) ‘saved in childbearing’ is no more problematic than James writing of Abraham: ‘Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:21) Without offering up his son, was he not already saved by faith?

            Paul’s reference to childbearing is reasoned inductively (and not as a deductive absolute). It demonstrates that Paul spoke positively about the importance of marriage and family.

            8. You wrote: ‘I made two points: most sexual intimacies are enjoyed by both straight and gay couples; most sexual intimacies are not ‘unnatural’.

            Those may have been the points that you wanted to make, but you stated in your post on May 21, 2017 at 4:12 pm: ‘I didn’t argue that anal sex is good because straight couples do it too. I argued that it is not an exclusively same-sex activity and that it cannot be unnatural and perverted because it is a same-sex activity. https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/should-evangelicals-be-embarrassed-by-newcastle/#comment-345618

            It was only on May 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm that you eventually mentioned the broader term of ‘most sexual intimacies’.

          • Andrew Godsall May 24, 2017 at 7:26 am #

            Will: lack of consent is nothing to do with poor taste. It’s about an imbalance and misuse of power. A perfectly straightforward and chaste kiss, without consent, is not in poor taste but it becomes abusuve if there is an imbalance of power.

          • Andrew Godsall May 24, 2017 at 7:42 am #

            Christopher: if it helps you, let me answer your questions directly.

            1. You introduced it first by showing your obvious disgust which you later confirmed in your own words.

            2. You didn’t need to mention it, you simply demonstrated it and then confirmed it in your own words.

            3. Good reasons to make any sexual practice as safe as possible.

            4. Belief is based on your seeming obsession with this subject above others. (As others have observed).

            5. I’ve no idea what your question in 5 means. You need to make the meaning plain and give some context.

          • Will Jones May 24, 2017 at 10:51 am #

            Andrew, thanks, but are you willing to give a straight answer to a straight question? The question is do you consider that a person’s sense of taste is faulty if he or she takes delight in abuse?

            I assume from your last response that your answer is no, because you are committed to the idea that there are no objective standards of taste. But for the sake of clarity on this point it would be helpful if you stated it then we all know where we stand.

          • Andrew Godsall May 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

            Will: I have answered but let me answer again in case you are not clear. I don’t think abuse and taste have any connection. It’s a category mistake to think that they are connected.

            The question as you put ot makes no sense. It’s like asking “how many apples does it take to make a space rocket”

          • Penelope Cowell Doe May 24, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

            David
            I don’t think an apology is necessary, since Christopher clearly is obsessed with anal sex, as he has demonstrated on this thread and earlier threads. Indeed, he admits as much in an answer to Andrew, above.
            I have found numerous examples of lazy logic on this blog, and, yes, I am suggesting that your aggression may be owing to your unexamined male heteronormative privilege. It is not obvious from your name that you are black. It is obvious from my name that I am female.
            Of course, food and table fellowship are synonymous. I don’t know what you mean by asserting that they aren’t. The two comments of mine you quote are not at all contradictory. Food/table fellowship was not a secondary issue for Peter and the men from James, and Peter withdrew from table fellowship, not because of circumcision (alone) but because he was condemned for enjoying table fellowship with the gentile believers by the circumcision party, i.e. the men from James, the Judaisers. Yours is the strangest exegesis of Galatians I have ever read.
            I didn’t say that the Noahide covenant or the Jerusalem Agreement were irrelevant. I said that, despite the plain meaning of scripture, most Christians are content to ignore the food regulations they prescribe.
            You may have noticed that there are some differences in the kinship regulations enjoined on Jews and Christians (except for Orthodox Christians where the degrees of affinity are tighter). Nor do I know many same-sex couples who would encourage their daughter to chop off your head, even though you may strongly disapprove of their relationships. I might even suggest that most of the gay men and women I know are rather more moral than Herodias.
            As I have pointed out before, my hermeneutic of Gen. 19 (and Judges 19) is that, of course the men of Sodom wished to penetrate the visitors (rather than the lower status women), because that would be a much greater violation of hospitality and a greater defilement of the men penetrated. It has nothing to do with homosexuality (as the p// in Judges 19 demonstrates); modern readers are importing that concept into the text. Your philological case doesn’t stand (the comment you cite is on the grammar of Lev.18, not Gen. 19). The men of Sodom want to ‘know’ the men, which, presumably, refers to penetrative intercourse. The text thus condemns rape and the violation of hospitality.
            I didn’t realise that you had made a theological case for the text’s condemnation of homosexuality.
            I have read enough of Gagnon. I think some of his exegesis is good. Some of it is stretching the text beyond any credible hermeneutic, because he is writing with a very powerful ideology.
            I know 1 Tim is in the canon and that, therefore, we take it seriously. Nevertheless, it was not written by Paul and has a very different (2nd generation) theology and ethics. It does go against the grain of Pauline teaching and the Jesus of the gospels (you know the texts). I’m not being at all inconsistent if I suggest we ignore it (though I didn’t suggest that); because we also ignore parts of the Jerusalem Agreement.
            I believe, as I said, that the Pastorals were written, partly, to counter the stream of Christian asceticism, cf. 1 Tim 4 (which developed into both gnostic strands and the mainstream teaching on celibacy and virginity of the Church Fathers). Furthermore, I believe that 1 Tim 11-13 is a hugely problematic text, which has infected the church for centuries. I wear jewellery and expensive clothes, I teach men, I have not borne a child. Am I not saved?
            Lastly, my comments about sexual intimacies in no way contradict each other. I cannot see why you think they do.

          • Will Jones May 24, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

            Thanks Andrew. I think you’ll find that if you were to say to people ‘there is nothing wrong with finding delight in abuse because to assert there is is a category error’ you’d quickly find yourself out of favour, to put it mildly. Your refusal to recognise that there is a proper constitution of the human appetite is odd, and worrying.

            Penelope: I’m pretty sure the childbearing in 1Tim 2:15 is a play on the concept of virtues or good deeds as children cf. Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35. Presumably the idiom would have been readily understood at the time, particularly as women are obviously not saved by actually producing offspring!

          • Andrew Godsall May 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

            Will: please don’t deliberately twist what has been said. nowhere have I said that there is nothing wrong with finding delight in abuse. There is everything wrong what finding delight in abuse. But that is not about ‘taste’ but about abuse.

            Anal sex that is consensual between two people is not abusive.

          • Will Jones May 24, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

            Andrew, I agree it is about abuse, but it’s also about taste, specifically that it is distasteful (objectively) to find delight in abuse. I wasn’t trying to twist your words: I thought you had denied this statement because you deem it a category error. Was that not correct?

            I am in no way claiming, or trying to claim, that AS is abusive, and apologise if I have given that impression. I am rather making a general point about objective standards of taste by taking what I hoped would be an easy counterexample to denying their existence.

          • Christopher Shell May 24, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

            Readers will note that Penelope swallows whole the idea that I am obsessed with AS, period. What an unpleasant and inaccurate way to portray someone. Penelope, cannot you see that it will come across that way?

            I consider that the topic ought to be talked about a great deal IF people persist in ignoring its ill effects and thereby spread a culture of silence that causes a lot of deaths. In other words, I am so-called ‘obsessed’ with it only in the one way that every single person ought to be obsessed with it in order to prevent deaths. If anyone belongs to the other camp (keep quiet and let the deaths proliferate) then they should put their hands up now, otherwise I will assume you are with me on this.

            Andrew – *where* did my disgust show earlier? Can you quote chapter and verse please.

            And please do not avoid my central question. If something is everywhere linked to very high rates of promiscuity, STIs, premature death, ‘sexual practices’ so unsafe that in virtually all cases contraception is required, and to boot violation of biological common sense, then why do not those facts (not emotions, facts) mean that any reference to emotions such as disgust becomes superfluous? This is my central point: do you understand it? Thanks.

          • Andrew Godsall May 24, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

            Christopher: I don’t need to quote chapter and verse. Your disgust shows in every comment you make about it. It biases everything you say. And by your own admission you find it disgusting.

            And yes, I understand your central point. I just don’t agree with it. Millions of people the world over have anal sex quite safely. You just have to deal with it Christopher or stand for parliament and get it made illegal in this country again.

          • Christopher Shell May 24, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

            OK, let’s have some voting here. Who knows more about my actual motivation? (a) Do I know more about it? (b) Or does Andrew, who has never met me, know more, or even anything like as much, about it? (One possibility is that Andrew may be stereotyping.)

            Voters for (a) or for (b) ought to back up their answer with evidence. This is a comparative question: the two of us should be considered, with a view to which of us is more likely to know about *my* motivation.

          • Christopher Shell May 24, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

            In addition, readers will note that Andrew uses ‘I don’t need to quote chapter and verse.’ – the oldest copout in the book.

          • David Shepherd May 24, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

            Penelope,
            Christopher Shell has commented on a far wider range of posts than most here. Many have nothing to do with same-sex relations, far less about AS.

            The John Smyth scandal;
            David Tomlinson’s rejection of certainty
            Can we have a kingdom of god without God?
            Palm Sunday according to Matthew
            Why did Trump win?

            In the same way in which you’re trying to brand Christopher Shell as obsessed with anal sex, you’re also trying to brand me a sexist. The latter notion was based on you and David R perceiving that my harsher remarks on this comment thread were being directed at you, a woman. So, I guess that when all else fails, your only hope is to tag-team on an ad hominem strategy.

            2. You wrote: ’ I am suggesting that your aggression may be owing to your unexamined male heteronormative privilege.’

            As you’ve explained elsewhere: ’We all have assumptions. Many of us have privilege. I am no more objective than Tom Wright. But I am aware of that fact. You also wrote: ’ I was using it to show that we all, scholars not excepted have bias and privilege.
            So, we should factor your own bias and privilege into your suggestion about what you perceive as my aggression. I might also suggest that your introduction of the word ‘aggression’ to describe someone whom you now know to be black is a typical reaction and rallying cry of threatened white privilege. Now, you just need the debating equivalent of a lynch mob to become sufficiently incensed by that threat.

            3. You wrote: ’ Of course, food and table fellowship are synonymous.

            So, on the basis that you believe them to be synonymous, they must be interchangeable terms. Therefore, you are asserting that when the Pharisees enquired of Jesus’ disciples about His table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners, this was about the violation of food laws: religious restrictions on which kinds of food which could be consumed.
            Far from strange exegesis, your assertion is blatantly false.

            4. You wrote: ’ Peter withdrew from table fellowship, not because of circumcision (alone) but because he was condemned for enjoying table fellowship with the gentile believers by the circumcision party, i.e. the men from James, the Judaisers.

            We are discussing a specific aspect of the Jerusalem edict: the religious restriction on which kinds of food were permissible to consume. So, the issue is whether Peter’s separation from the Gentiles was because of their violation of these kinds of food laws (which are not synonymous with restrictions on table fellowship), or because they weren’t circumcised. There is no evidence of the former, but you’re welcome to prove otherwise.

            5. You wrote: ’ I didn’t say that the Noahide covenant or the Jerusalem Agreement were irrelevant.’

            If you read my remarks carefully, the question was not about the relevance of the Noahide covenant. It was regarding: ‘the apostolic declaration that we cannot be judged in respect of food regulations (1 Cor. 6:13; Col. 2:16)’.
            The fact that ‘most Christians are content to ignore the food regulations they prescribe’ has no bearing on my question about whether you believe that the apostolic declarations in 1 Cor. 6:13 and Col. 2:16 are at all relevant to the dietary aspects of the Jerusalem edict.

            6. You wrote: ’ You may have noticed that there are some differences in the kinship regulations enjoined on Jews and Christians. Nor do I know many same-sex couples who would encourage their daughter to chop off your head, even though you may strongly disapprove of their relationships. I might even suggest that most of the gay men and women I know are rather more moral than Herodias.

            Of course, despite some differences in the degrees of kinship, the guilt which JTB denounced was not Herodias’ eventual plot to decapitate him, but that her relationship with Herod Antipas, though mutual and committed, still violated God’s will revealed in scripture. That (and not a desire for decapitation) is the similarity with PSF same-sex relationships.

            7. You wrote: ’ Your philological case doesn’t stand (the comment you cite is on the grammar of Lev.18, not Gen. 19). The men of Sodom want to ‘know’ the men, which, presumably, refers to penetrative intercourse. The text thus condemns rape and the violation of hospitality.

            Actually, the reference to Lev. 18 was based on my earlier surmise about your reasoning: ’ Nevertheless, your phrasing reminds me of Jerome T. Walsh’s contention that ’given the constraints of Hebrew syntax and semantics, the verse cannot be read as a condemnation of male-male sexual contact in general, but only of anal penetration and, probably, only of anal penetration of a free Israelite citizen.

            I later responded to your clarification about your ANE studies, by stating: ’ On this basis, I understand that you have based your position on ANE studies.

            So, my philological case was not based on Lev. 18, but on Gagnon’s exegesis of Jude 1:7.

            8. Given that you’ve said that ’ we all, scholars not excepted have bias and privilege, you are refuting nothing by saying: ’ I have read enough of Gagnon. I think some of his exegesis is good. Some of it is stretching the text beyond any credible hermeneutic, because he is writing with a very powerful ideology.

            The question that you appear to be repeatedly incapable of answering is why you believe he is mistaken in his interpretation of the Greek in Jude 1:7.

            9. I’m happy to leave you to believe whatever you like about 1 Tim. going against the grain of Pauline teaching and the Jesus of the gospels.

            Your approach to scripture echoes the Jesus Seminar with its flawed criteria for authenticity and coloured bead scholar voting system.

            In fact, the whole project was flawed and based on its members’ unwarranted presuppositions.

          • Will Jones May 25, 2017 at 12:34 am #

            So Andrew, if ‘there’s everything wrong with finding delight in abuse’, you must logically accept that it is possible for a person to find delight in something that is wrong, and thus for a sense of delight (i.e. a matter of taste) to be wrong or faulty. If you deny this, please can you explain how there can be everything wrong with finding delight in abuse, yet there be nothing wrong with the sense of taste of the person who experiences this delight?

          • Andrew Godsall May 25, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

            Will: I’m not finding this at all helpful so will try to answer your question and then cease if you don’t mind.

            I don’t think sense of delight and taste are the same thing at all. If someone takes delight in abuse then that itself is abusive. It’s not poor taste. It’s a criminal act.

            Taste is about preference between equal things. So I go to buy an ice cream. I choose flavours that I find satisfy my taste. My ice cream buying partner buys bubble gum flavoured ice cream. Now I find that quite disgusting actually. But he loves it! All the ice cream flavours are objectively equal I think. It’s just that our tastes differ. Considerably. I think he’s bonkers to like bubble gum flavoured ice cream. But I can’t say he is objectively faulty.

            If you are not choosing between inherently equal things then taste is the wrong category – hence I say it’s a category mistake. In the case of abuse – it’s not faulty taste, but a criminal thing.

            Hope this helps.

          • Will Jones May 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

            Andrew, I’m trying to explain to you why there must be objective standards for the human aesthetic faculty. Your ice cream example only proves that some aspects of taste are discretionary, which is obviously true. But for your denial of all objective standards to hold you must be able to deny it in all cases, not just the easy ones.

            Now you are distinguishing between taste and delight, but that is obviously a false distinction because what else is taste but a matter of what we find delight in?

            You also argue that taking delight in abuse is criminal. But that means that you think that the estimated 5% of the population who are paedophiles are criminals even though most of them don’t abuse. Maybe you should stand for Parliament if you want to criminalise merely the desire to abuse and not the behaviour.

            You introduce concepts like ‘inherently equal things’ as though they don’t assume the very thing we’re disputing about, namely what is equally valid when it comes to matters of taste.

            I don’t know whether you’ll reply to this because you seem to want to end this discussion, but I think you need to become more aware of the ethical and philosophical assumptions you’re making since at the moment your position is marked by inconsistencies and implications that you don’t agree with and ad hoc responses that don’t make sense.

          • Andrew Godsall May 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

            Will: none of this will change the fact that you think AS is objectively disgusting and I don’t. And I don’t see any grounds on which you would be able to prove that AS is objectively disgusting. Clearly it’s a pretty normal activity for many people. So it’s not so much that I want to end the discussion, but I am not really interested in taking further part in it myself. Please pursue it with others on here if you wish to.

            To clarify one thing: I assumed by ‘taking delight in abuse’ you actually meant that someone was observing and doing nothing about it. Aiding and abetting if you like. That would, I think, be abusive in itself and so criminal.

          • Will Jones May 25, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

            Thanks, Andrew. Well maybe if I’ve troubled you a little bit on your ideas about taste never having objective standards then that is enough, for now!

            I did offer a basis for AS being objectively distasteful/disgusting, but I won’t repeat it here because I know I won’t persuade you. However, perhaps you now have some appreciation of why the idea of an objective standard of taste is not inherently ridiculous.

        • Christopher Shell May 25, 2017 at 6:31 am #

          Andrew says he does not agree with my central point.

          Andrew, does that mean you do not agree that levels of promiscuity, STIs, premature death, proportion of ‘sexual’ acts that require contraception, proportion of ‘sexual’ acts that are not naturally suggested by biology – are *not* higher among men who have sex with men?

          That is 5 questions not 1.

          Are you therefore denying things that are everywhere acknowledged to be true? See my chapter 11 in ‘What are they teaching the children?’, and myriad other secondary and primary sources.

          These things will be true whether you ‘agree’ with them or not. What then is your ‘disagreement’ based on?

          • Andrew Godsall May 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

            Christopher: thank you once again. Let me try to explain once again.
            Your point, as I understand it, is that given the statistics in relation to the things you mention, anal sex is too risky to undertake. So people should not do it. Yes?
            My disagreement is as follows. There are all kinds of risky behaviours, and you have acknowledged that road traffic accidents pose, statistically, a greater threat. Your solution, as I understsnd it, was to minimise the risks by decreasing speed limits or making cars go slower.

            So, my observation is that you will not get people to stop having anal sex as they find it pleasurable and rewarding. So I disagree that getting people to stop by quoting awful statistics at them presents any kind of solution. The thing that provides the solution is minimising the risks. Single, faithful partnerships. Condoms if necessary. Cleanliness. All true of any sexual activity basically.

            If you don’t agree with this way forward, then I think your only solution is to stand for parliament and campaign to make certain forms of sexual activity illegal – as it true in some places.

            I hope this helps. Every good wish.

          • Christopher Shell May 25, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

            Hi Andrew

            The statistics I refer to are not specific to AS, they are specific to MSM (men who have sex with men). The majority of those, in fact, do not practise AS.

            Can you refer to any context where the said risks have ever been minimised to anything acceptable level?

            If not, why do you think there is any prospect of that?

            To say there is only one solution (standing for Parliament) means you have not taken the trouble to think of all the solutions there are.

            One solution is to speak of harmful things as though they are harmful. Shame and tabu have saved a lot of lives before now. Shame is not a bad thing but a good thing when it is directed towards harmful things. All societies have tabus and the healthier societies have the more worthwhile tabus that achieve good results.

            I don’t call this a solution because there is no problem so long as one does not adopt the sexual revolution in the first place. And given the number of families that horrible revolution breaks up, no-one in their right mind *would* do anything but reject it in the first place.

            Anyway, when you said you will not get people to stop having AS, that is not true. They have it at significantly increased levels once the sexual revolution sets in and it is not portrayed (counterintuitively: against all the statistical and death-related evidence) as a bad thing. (The more the deaths and diseases increase, the more people say we must embrace the behaviours that lead to them, at least not condemn them outright. Would they say the same of Russian roulette? What do they take us for?) You are speaking as though every society is or must be a sexual revolution society. That is not even close to the truth – and who would want it to be?

          • Christopher Shell May 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

            And as for your saying ‘You just have to deal with it’, did that bullying phrase, which shows such depth of analysis, come from the same stable as ‘Some people are gay – get over it’?

            Neither I nor any caring person will ‘deal with’ our opposition to the deaths and diseases caused by using the human body (which is an intricate masterpiece) for things it was not made for – and then not telling the truth that that is in fact what is happening., and trying to silence those who say the emperor has no clothes, take away their jobs etc..

          • Andrew Godsall May 25, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

            Christopher: do you think road traffic accidents have been reduced to an acceptable level? Do you think there is any prospect of if happening?

          • Christopher Shell May 25, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

            I think road traffic accidents are an excellent example of how people just accept the way their own society is without really thinking, however mad it might seem to a Martian newly arrived and looking at the situation with fresh eyes.

            The way they accept the bad fruits (statistically, on average) of extramarital sex and of men who have sex with men is another example of the same phenomenon. Not thinking and/or not wanting to think.

          • Andrew Godsall May 25, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

            And do you drive a car Christopher?

  5. Alan May 11, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    It looks as though Jesmond has prepared a lifeboat – it has bought a neighbouring (redundant) RC Church to move into – and now it has acquired for itself a bishop, albeit not one acknowledged even by AMiE, which it claims to represent. Disciplinary action again the Jesmond clergy may well prove to be the catalyst for their departure from the Church of England, to become a new and tiny denomination in its own right. What a pity that such energy and resources have not been poured into reforming the Church of England instead.

    • Ian Paul May 11, 2017 at 11:18 am #

      How interesting. Yes indeed. Numerically, ecclesially and culturally such a departure would be completely insignificant.

      • Philip Almond May 11, 2017 at 11:29 am #

        Who can tell what God might do. Judge nothing before the time.

        Phil Almond

      • David Shepherd May 18, 2017 at 10:22 am #

        But, it wouldn’t be spiritually insignificant – 1 Cor. 12:21.

    • Little Black Sambo May 12, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

      “…this is so obviously against the gospel…”
      If it were obvious, the difficulty would be less.

      • David Shepherd May 15, 2017 at 9:18 am #

        ‘Little Black Sambo’?? How offensive an ‘avatar’ caricature can you get!

  6. David May 11, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    “”Gospel decision” must mean a decision made for the sake of the gospel. In this context it refers actions seen as required to plant new churches to facilitate evangelism. The mystery is why the bishops have not been able to work with this energy and enthusiasm

    • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 9:07 am #

      Oh, have you not heard of the Renewal and Reform programme?! The Archbishops have persuaded the Church Commissioners to put millions of pounds into church planting and other evangelistic and church growth initiatives. In what way does this lack ‘energy and enthusiasm’?

  7. Philip Almond May 11, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    ‘Secondly, it is becoming abundantly clear that this sort of approach to dealing with the perceived drift in the doctrine and teaching in the Church is singularly unhelpful. For one thing, no new line has been crossed: canon law has not been revised; the liturgy has not been changed; nothing formal has changed in the Church’s teaching’.

    The disagreement about sexuality is very important and nothing formal has yet changed in that teaching. Neither has there been any formal change in the Church’s teaching on Original Sin as outlined in Article 9. (The wording of Article 9 needs improvement but as it stands it captures the seriousness of the human condition before the just and holy God). What Article 9 says is much more important than even the sexuality disagreement.

    A better strategy for GAFCON, AMIE, Reform etc. would have been (would be?) to concentrate on that doctrine and its implications. In the CofE they could be much more forthright in humbly, courteously, publicly challenging the Archbishops and Bishops and ordained persons in general to say whether they believe that Article 9 is true and when was the last time they preached about the wrath and condemnation of God which we all face from birth onwards.

    This needs doing before considering any alternative structures.

    How about you, Ian?

    Phil Almond

  8. Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    Specifically in the year 2017, to continue in perceived compromise would be perceived as a vote for the institutional and against Luther. It’d be seen as a a now or never year, after years of provocation.

    There is no way that some would vote that way. Therefore the present move is very unsurprising.

  9. Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    I think Jonathan Pryke was on the recent transgenderism Big Questions, and spoke sense, in other words he just said what anybody (who had not lost or abandoned their clear sight and common sense) would say.

    • David Runcorn May 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

      Christopher – several discussions on FB by evangelicals about Pryke’s appearance of Big Questions – all embarrassed by him. Including this exchange:

      JE: ‘After Pryke’s disastrous appearance on BBC I’m surprised that they’d choose someone who is so un-savvy…not saying that Bishops are only good for that of course…’
      Ian Paul ‘Yes it was terrible’.

      • Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

        Re: Big Questions –
        I was thinking of particular sensible comments that I vaguely remember. I don’t at all have an accurate memory of his entire contribution, may not have watched the whole thing. If he said inaccurate things, could someone quote them? Thanks.

        • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 9:08 am #

          ‘What is sex for?’
          ‘It is for the procreation of children’
          ‘Isn’t it for pleasure?’
          ‘No’.

          I think most people would be disappointed at the lack of credibility of such a response. I was disappointed that it lacked savvy—but more that it was not biblical.

          • Christopher Shell May 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

            Yikes. For some reason I thought he was on the 9.4.17 one, but he wasn’t. I haven’t traced which one he was on.

            This TV exchange, as quoted, is highly inadequate as it stands. Or rather the 2nd half of it is.

            The devil of The Big Questions (and most media) is that too much of it is soundbites and you have to be able to summarise in half a minute, which then leads to partiality and inaccuracy. I so felt for Prof Swinburne who was developing a cumulative argument. ‘Let’s get the genuine non-twitter academics! They spoil our neat 140-character world.’

          • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

            Indeed–but being a skilled communicator in this context is part of engaging with our culture, even if we disagree with the parameters. It is possible to do it well, with training…

          • David Shepherd May 12, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

            Hi Ian,

            I suspect that Pryke’s response was etiological and oriented towards explaining the ultimate purpose (or, as Aristotle might say, final cause) of sex in the context of marriage. And, for Christians, marriage is the only appropriate context for sexual activity.

            He cited procreation as a final cause which is essential to the origin of sexual union in the context of marriage (causae matrimonii). Of course, there other final causes are secondary and accidental to this purpose (causae contrahendi.

            People would also be just as disappointed when the question: ‘what is salt for?’ is answered by the unexpected alternative of ‘effecting neutralisation’, instead of the layman’s response of: ‘imparting flavour to food’.

            Nevertheless, pleasure is no more the ultimate purpose of sex than flavour is the ultimate purpose of eating!

          • Christopher Shell May 12, 2017 at 9:20 pm #

            Those who are on top of a subject can summarise more succinctly than those who aren’t.

            Clarity (clear communication) is often a sign of clear-sightedness and intelligence.

            The culture of course ought not to be in thrall to 140 characters or anything of that nature. Part of what we communicate ought to be: ‘We stand against soundbites.’ The very word ‘soundbite’ (which is not complimentary) was coined to make that point.

            A lot of the academics who are actually the ones who answer the big questions better than anyone else would not be much good on The Big Questions, and all power to them for refusing to dumb down. However, it is amazing how (1) being on the ball and (2) being prepared with one’s best points and best-anticipated counter-arguments can produce summary-statements that can advance understanding in the listener. That is a basic teaching skill. I lament the tacit agreement that arguments are not to be won and lost (apart from by, of all things, show of hands or voting in lobbies). That puts social considerations above truth. The things that win and lose an argument are: formal philosophical fallacies or the lack of them; self-contradiction or the lack of it; being in accord with (and not opposed to) the way that reality is according to research/stats.

          • Christopher Shell May 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm #

            I think his central view on sex is probably that articulated by Christopher Ash, but I have never before met the idea that pleasure is not *a* purpose. Maybe he thinks it’s strictly a by-product? Or maybe he is following the convention of imagining that only one thing can be a ‘purpose’ as such, speaking literally? Just as in evolutionary terms pleasure would be not the purpose but the catalyst that achieves the multiplicatory purpose.

            I guess none of us would have given the 2nd answer he gave. ‘No’ is utterly concise. He had no more to add here, therefore – and, as I said, if he didn’t, his ‘No’ is highly inadequate to the topic.

          • Ian Paul May 14, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

            I find Christopher Ash’s exposition of sex in creation reductively functional. And you can read neither ‘Here is flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone!’ in the context of ‘it is not good for the adam to be alone’ nor the Song of Song and think that procreation is the sole aetiological purpose of sex.

            The reason that there will be no sex in heaven is not simply because there will be no need for procreation, but also because the marriage of the lamb and the bride is consummated, so there is no lack of intimacy. In a biblical anthropology, both are central.

          • Christopher Shell May 14, 2017 at 10:01 pm #

            Yes, I’m with you on that, Ian.

  10. David Runcorn May 11, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    And the secrecy and complete lack of consultation with even their closest fellow conservatives Christopher? Embarrassment is not the issue for me. Where in this process can any of them say, like Paul, ‘be imitators of me?

    • Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

      David, I am not politically minded in the least. I was interested in whether what he said was true – life is too short for politics when there are already x-thousand denominations who are happy to work together in missions and so forth. Truth is always my focus, and I am sorry if I neglected the political side, it’s just I cannot convince myself that it has importance, life being as short as it is.

      • Andrew Godsall May 11, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

        So what are you saying Christopher, you won’t bother to vote in the forthcoming Genersl Election because life is too short for politics? Please get real. The Church of England only exists because of politics…..

        • Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

          Yes, but I am not exclusively a member of the C of E only of the universal church of which the C of E is one of the several much-loved constituent parts. The existential ‘reality’ classification (e.g., Bp Alan Wilson’s ‘child of God by adoption) overrides organisational memberships.

          It is characteristic of much Anglican discussion to be small-horizoned, which is the worst of all perspectives in such a big world/universe as we inhabit. OK there is a fourth-largest Christian denomination, just as there is a second-largest and a twelfth-largest – but it seems quite obvious to me that a far more central question is: how do we spend our tiny allocation of days on earth? In a thousand lifetimes there would not be time for the kind of internal politics that seems so common.

          It is true, I did spoil my paper both in 2015 and in 2016, and in 2016 it was for that very reason – skewed priorities.

        • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 9:10 am #

          Um, no Andrew, the C of E exists because of the resurrection.

          You might as well say that my essay exists because of my pen.

          • Andrew Godsall May 12, 2017 at 10:45 am #

            Um no Ian. The Church universal exists because of the resurrection. The C of E was born out of the political turmoil of the English Reformation.

          • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 5:14 pm #

            I cannot myself write an essay without a pen. No instance of the church universal comes into being without political dynamics.

            The English reformers were quite clear that they were using politics to effect spiritual ends. You only need to read the BCP to see that.

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am #

            A good model of thesis – antithesis – synthesis working there Ian! Thank you. It’s still pretty clear that life is not too short for politics, which was Christopher’s clam.

          • Christopher Shell May 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

            Andrew – by ‘politics’ I meant things like office politics, church politics, navel-gazing internal wranglings – of which national politicians are not always innocent.

      • David Runcorn May 11, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

        Christopher I have no idea how your comments on politics are a response to my comments on the secrecy and lack of basic courtesy and consultation? You have let me there. But yes, truth is the focus here. We are agreed. And so is living in the light.

        • Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

          They are a response, because his perspective will probably be that organisational structures may be of high absolute importance but of very low relative importance compared to loyalty to God / the Gospel. So it all depends on whether he classes his denomination or wing as faithful and/or compromising.

        • Simon May 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

          I understand David’s disappointment at the lack of ‘Courtesy and Consultation’ in this affair, but presumably Pryke et al believe we are well past these values. Many feel that all that courtesy & consultation have got us is compromise and condemnation and the time has now come for radical action to secure faithfulness to a gospel ministry and sound doctrine. I have sympathy with these sentiments, but personally feel the moment premature.

          • David Runcorn May 11, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

            Who are ‘we’ Simon? I was referring to their secrecy and exclusion even in relation to their own conservative colleagues. To not even consult with GAFCON, AMiE or the conservative Bishop of Maidstone, knowing this was something they were discussing?

          • Simon May 11, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

            David – by “we” I meant “Pryke et al” meaning the conservatives evangelicals in the CofE. I was not including ‘me’ in the ‘we’, as personally I do not approve of this action taken in this manner at this moment.

  11. Veronica Zundel May 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    What you have failed to mention, although it is referenced in some of the articles the piece links to, is that CESA supported apartheid in South Africa right to the bitter end, and regarded Desmond Tutu as a terrorist. I think that tells us all we need to know – other than how to pronounce ‘Pryke’ – is it ‘Prick’?

    • Christopher Shell May 11, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

      Veronica,
      (1) if that is the case and they are proud to use the same organisation-name, that is despicable;

      (2) One single assertion can never tell us all we need to know. To the contrary: the more detailed our knowledge, the better.

      (3) The last remark shows just why your sector is dismissed as unscholarly and shallow whenever it is so dismissed: does not help your cause. In addition it is playground bullying regarding something that no-one can help: their surname. Empathy would have the forethought that the poor chap has probably heard that witticism 5000 times.

    • Stephen Gwilt May 11, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      With all due respect Veronica, CESA did not support Apartheid. All it’s services where open to all races, it had more Black clergy then White clergy and more Black members that White. I assume your not accusing the Black members and clergy of being pro Apartheid racists ? St. James church in Kenilworth fed thousands of school children daily in Khayelitsha and the Cape Flats. and may churches through out the country worked in disadvantaged communities to try and counter act the depredation caused by Apartheid

      It didn’t call for sanctions so that the poorest members of society would suffer, nor did it march through the streets and get lots of air time and publicity. Instead Bishop Frank Retief and other senior clergy from other evangelical denominations met with FW.De Klerk privately and prayed with him and challenged him from the scriptures to bring an end to the appalling system of racial segregation which caused so much harm.

      • peter reiss May 11, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

        If you follow the link in the article by Andrew Brown about CESA and apartheid, it is to a report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where we see that almost all denominations confessed to not doing enough to oppose apartheid. CESA was certainly more conservative and less politically engaged than the Church of the Province; like many more evangelical churches CESA took Romans 13:1ff very seriously as a key text. In some or many of the congregations, church members did a lot pastorally for the poor. There is a quote from the CESA bishop, Frank Retief, in the link, “We declared ourselves to be apolitical, and in this way failed to adequately understand the suffering of our many black members who were victims of apartheid”. This was typical of many evangelical churches. I think Stephen’s view of CESA is rather too positive. CESA did not support apartheid, but it failed to speak against it and the state-sponsored violence and injustice; white members certainly benefited from the system.
        Whatever the other merits of Andrew Brown’s piece (and I think there are other errors in his article), he is wrong to imply that CESA was somehow peculiar in its lack of opposition to the apartheid government, though it was very much at the quietist end of the spectrum.
        CESA or as it now is REACH-SA, has co-existed with the much larger Church of the Province of South Africa, now called the Anglican Church of Southern Africa from its start and from before its formal constitution in 1938; it has strong links to Sydney Diocese “from where” one of its recent bishops was consecrated. It tested the Anglican Communion as to whether there could be two Anglican denominations in the same geography (which is why, I think, it is not part of the Anglican Communion), and its roots go back to the turmoils of the church in the 1860s and the formation of the Province.
        Is this a new version of the disputes in the nineteenth century in South Africa, including arguments over who “owned” churches and properties.
        Presumably Bishop Pryke will form REACH-UK and separate formally and properly. [??]
        There will be legal wrangles over property and churches, vicarages and money, as there were in South Africa and as there are in the US.

        There is something very “shady” about a secret ordination of a bishop, in a private location and with the closest friends uninformed and not present. It is not as if the participants might suffer persecution.
        In 2005 a bishop from CESA ordained three deacons in Surbiton, within the diocese of Southwark, again without public knowledge beforehand, which led to the bishop of Southwark removing the incumbent’s licence and clarifying that the three deacons had no authorisation to minister in the diocese. CESA has “previous”! This time it seems they have a bishop, not just deacons so future ordinations should be straightforward!
        The Church of England in South Africa now wants its presence in this country, or maybe is being used by others as a different and “purer” version of “Anglicanism”. Infiltration rather than mission seems to be their modus operandi.

        • Nick May 12, 2017 at 7:57 am #

          “There will be legal wrangles over property and churches, vicarages and money, as there were in South Africa and as there are in the US.”

          Less likely here as the law is much clearer. If a parish were to leave the CofE it could not take benefice property (i.e. the church building and the parsonage). Presumably that is why Jesmond Parish Church receives the bulk of its income through a separate trust which and appears to own a significant amount of the non-benefice property. They appear to be well prepared for a separation.

          • Ian H May 12, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

            “If a parish were to leave the CofE it could not take benefice property (i.e. the church building and the parsonage).

            It’s secondary (or is it?) but I’m not sure it is that clear. The diocese may be trustees but that’s not the same as simply ‘owning’. Messy court actions could be the outcome.

            ‘m guessing that in the case of larger churches the ‘saved’ parish share would fund quite a lot of new property…

          • Ian Paul May 14, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

            But the law also means that an incumbent and congregation can effectively secede from the Church, but continue to use the buildings and vicarage because of freehold/common tenure. There would be little that a bishop could do if a parish decides simply to cease collaboration with the diocese. That is what will happen here, not the visible and organisational schism in the US. That is why Newcastle is not really the beginning of anything.

          • Jonathan Tallon May 14, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

            It is what Jesmond appears to have done for decades already. The power of the bishop comes into play if a parish goes into interregnum.

  12. Marcus Honeysett May 11, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

    I hesitate to comment as a non-Anglican. But surely the right response from everyone else if a church or group is sufficiently worried you have departed from orthodoxy as to do this, that you should rush to examine yourselves and answer their worries to the best of your ability. This simply wouldn’t be happening unless a Bible-believing church thought there was no way that will ever happen.

    If you think we are going to see a rush of people trying to persuade JPC otherwise then by all means question whether they are motivated by the gospel. But if you don’t then be slow to judge this a non-gospel-motivated move. It certainly won’t have been undertaken lightly

  13. Chris Gill May 12, 2017 at 8:18 am #

    Red line – Philip North? JPC on their own? – I doubt it.

  14. Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    Interesting comment from Michael Lakey on Facebook, that I thought it worth reposting here.

    One thing to observe is that there is a difference between alternative episcopal oversight (on behalf of the ordinary) and irregular ordinations. The former, though in my view unsatisfactory, is not the same as the latter. There is a difference between preserving the status of and communion with the diocesan de jure but implying some level of ecclesiological ambiguity de facto (AEO), and validly ordaining bishops that are out of communion with the Church de jure. The former is incoherent whereas the latter reminds me of Augustine’s critique of Donatism–i.e. valid, but irregular, hence not effectual. This objection would not have held if this consecration had been made to a Church in full communion with the CofE.

    Despite these very major theological reservations, I find the tone of a lot of the coverage (not yours) to be characteristic of the poison typical of Church rows. I wonder how many folk willing to write bile have had actual, longitudinal experience of this particular community and these particular people’s ministry before taking to the green ink in order to focus upon personal qualities and imagined motivations rather than the theology of the matter (you have of course focussed upon the theology!). My own experience of this community, now a decade ago, was that I received faithful and charitable pastoral care from the ministerial team over several years, even though it was clear that theologically I was somewhere else. I remember courteous and charitable disagreement over my support of some of +Rowan’s public statements and nothing but tolerance of my particular (emergent-Catholic) approach to sacramentalism. I know that they prayed for me as I took up my post at Cuddesdon and I am grateful to them for that. I have also witnessed occasions in which not only the personalities, but also the community character, are routinely misrepresented by the media. NONE of this is to support this action, which I consider to be gravely mistaken, and a little perplexing, and more than a bit theologically catastrophic, BUT it is simply to raise what I think is a major inconsistency in the coverage.

    Lastly, I agree entirely with your last paragraph. This move has placed +Newcastle and ++Ebor in an impossible dilemma. On the one hand, it would be hard for many to see notorious heretics and those in breach of canon and their ordination oaths to continue their careers (and keep their rectories, pensions etc) uninterrupted, if discipline were to be fully implemented in this case. To be sure there is a postcode lottery about these things, but that is, in a sense, about the lack of legal personhood of the Church rather than any substantive moral or theological point. It would just be hard. On the other hand, one imagines that anything short of a fulsome response will make the relevant authorities seem like paper tigers.

    I suppose that final point interacts with the second point about charity, consistency and presentation. During the Pemberton discussion I vividly remember reading progressive commentators lambasting traditionalists for being selective about which bits of canon they defend (e.g. I remember reading an argument of the sort ‘you defend the present canon on marriage but neglect the canon on public daily prayer according to the rites of the CofE’). Isn’t it interesting that out there in internet-land some of those same commentators are pressing for their own form of inconsistency. Again, NOT to defend this action, only to point out how vicious the quality of our discourse has become.

    • David Runcorn May 12, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      Michael Lakey offers an important challenge to the tone of some of the debate out there. Thank you. But can I note the real mismatch between his testimony of the impressive quality of pastoral care, acceptance and respect he experienced within the Jesmond fellowship and the behaviour of the Jesmond leadership at this point towards the wider church – including their closest partners in faith and mission?

      • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

        Yes, I agree, and it was a point I made specifically to Michael on Facebook. But that question does not undercut his observation.

  15. Peter Ould May 12, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    I’m completely opposed to this consecration BUT for me the “why take action against this but not others” question is the political elephant in the room.

    • Mat Sheffield May 12, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      You beat me to it Peter.

      I’ve held off commenting, despite reading this article as soon as it was published, because I confess (as a non-CofE reader) to have only the most tenuous understanding of what’s going on. The comments and responses here have been far more illuminating, as specifics have been unpacked and contextualized, but I can’t invest the time and energy to read more widely on the issue.

      My comments/observations would echo Peter’s:

      First, it seems that this appointment is illogical, unnecessary, and ultimately divisive at a time when that is precisely what is not needed. It cannot be dismissed as insignificant, it’s likely to have repercussions.

      Second, that because it was seemingly ‘out -of-the-blue’ no one has the foggiest idea what to do about it. Perhaps that was the intent?

      Mat

  16. Simon Kershaw May 12, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    Regarding the secrecy, there’s the concept of “plausible deniability”. “Well,” they can say, “we didn’t know it was happening so don’t blame us. But now that it has …”

  17. Chris Wooldridge May 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    As others have mentioned, it may be a deliberate ploy to force the bishops to ask some hard questions along the lines of “how can we impose discipline in this case but not in others?” It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  18. Simon May 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    I would appreciate a considered post from Ian on when such consecrations would be appropriate.

    • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

      I’ll think about it! But it might be part of a reflection on why evangelicals are so interested in bishops, when in previous generations they were less so…

  19. Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    I was sent this comment by Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream, and post it here with permission.

    I wouldn’t normally send you one of my pieces but I think this might give some information of which the author of the recent article you carry, and some of your readers, seem to be unaware.
    http://anglicanmainstream.org/unofficial-bishops-non-c-of-e-anglicans-fragmentation-and-schism-or-new-reformation/

    For example, Gafcon UK knew what was planned, which had been in the public domain for some time. David Holloway announced it in February which was when I first heard it, but others tell me that he has been talking about this for months if not years before that.

    Gafcon UK’s statement points out that CESA/REACH Bishops have been ordaining clergy irregularly at Jesmond for around 15 years or more.

    The church was always going to continue on this track rather than go the wider and more comprehensive Gafcon route as we would have preferred.

    So it’s not a surprise – what perhaps is more surprising is that it hasn’t happened before now, given Jesmond’s long term estrangement from the Diocese, and the overall theological trajectory of the C of E as a whole.

    • Ian Paul May 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

      I personally was not aware that this had been muted some time ago, nor that there have been ‘irregular’ ordinations over so long a period.

  20. David Shepherd May 12, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

    Peter Carrell wrote: ‘But the bigger question for evangelicals in the Church of England is: Why adopt a strategy of institutional separation rather than continue to engage and lobby from within? If evangelicals believe that they are the ones who are being faithful to the actual, historic teaching of the Church, why simply hand that to others by engaging in this ecclesial jiggery-pokery?

    Well, here’s an answer: look at the CofE’s disciplinary track record in the aftermath of its pastoral guidance that ‘it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives’.

    Andrew Forshew-Cain married his same-sex partner in June, 2014. He remained vicar of St Mary with All Souls, Kilburn, and St James in West Hampstead, until his recent resignation from the .
    Official disciplinary action: On resignation, he was quoted as saying: ‘I am on a blacklist’.

    On the day after his retirement, St. Agnes’ Church (Diocese of Manchester) conducted a service of ‘blessing’ on the occasion of Clive Larsen’s same-sex civil marriage. (Here’s his ex-wife’s account of the impact of his ‘coming out’ on her 16-year marriage to him: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/finding-priest-husband-gay-devastating-death/)
    Official disciplinary action: according to Larsen, he was told by the bishop that if he ‘married in post, there would be consequences’.

    In May 2016, in her capacity as a friend of the family, Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker led a ‘celebration’ of the marriage between Mpho Tutu and Marceline van Furth.
    Official disciplinary action: None, According to the diocese, ‘contrary to some press reports, it should be made clear that the event was NOT a wedding, and nor was it a blessing of the couple. It was simply a celebration of a wedding that took place in the Netherlands in December last year.’

    Add to this, the ongoing connivance at repeated violations of Lambeth 1.10.

    So, despite Peter Carrel insisting that: ‘canon law has not been revised; the liturgy has not been changed; nothing formal has changed in the Church’s teaching’, the above examples and even the bishops themselves provide ample evidence of what the bishops mean by: ‘interpreting the existing law and guidance to permit maximum freedom’

    In fact, apart from the Bishops of Blackburn and Maidstone, as exemplified below, it’s easy for outspoken revisionist bishops to stand out from the crowded backdrop of episcopal equivocation (in which the Canon B30 formula is merely recited).

    Bishop of Chelmsford: ‘we want to listen to them and work with them [LGBTI+ people] so as to find appropriate ways of expressing their love – for it is not good for human beings to be alone – in permanent, faithful, stable relationships…there is no reason why prayers of thanksgiving for these relationships – perhaps a Eucharist – cannot be offered.”

    Bishop of Bradwell (Suffragan of Chelmsford): ‘More time does need to be given to a well-founded theology of relationship, friendship and marriage which I hope will lead in time to a full acceptance of same sex marriages in the Church of England. That will take time. However, that should not hold us back in the immediate from proper recognition through prayers, blessing, celebration and affirmation of all that is good and wholesome in a wide variety of relationships including stable, faithful, committed and God given same sex relationships.

    Diocese of Hereford introduced the following motion, which was subsequently withdrawn: ‘‘That this Synod requests the House of Bishops to commend under Canon B4 an Order of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Partnership or Same-Sex Marriage, indicative of no departure from the doctrine of the Church of England on any essential matter, and furnished with ample safeguards that no parish should be obliged to host, nor minister conduct, such a service.’

    Bishop of Selby (Suffragan of York): ‘we need to explore a more creative way ahead for faithful human relationships rather than remaining where we are or simply offering maximum freedom within the present settlement. To do this will involve a major re-engagement with and renewal of Anglican anthropology…I do feel that our tradition has the resources to bless other relationships of love, longevity and depth.

    Yet, Carrell just focuses on chiding conservative evangelicals for their lack of transparency and consultation when he should be challenging the self-serving vagueness of the mealy-mouthed BRGS report recommendation that ‘a balance will need to be struck between specifying what may not take place and offering advice about what may.

    Well, guess what? If ‘rules’ were in place for good disagreement, they were torn up when the spirit of the Five Guiding Principles were reneged upon during the Philip North debacle.

    Most evangelicals will not be so naive as to end up with no alternative, but that kind of paltry ‘provision’ for those who disagree!

  21. Peter Carrell May 12, 2017 at 10:59 pm #

    Hello All
    Interesting comments and citations (not all accurately ascribed, let the reader understand!)
    Are we not dealing with two large issues:
    (a) when conservatives (evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics) find the breadth of an Anglican church engaged with a changing society unconscionably broad, what should they do?
    (b) In doing something such as has been done in Jesmond, when does organising the ordering of the same Anglican church contrary to the canons of that church amount to the beginnings of a new Anglican church?

    • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your thoughtful contribution.

      In response to (a),’unconscionably broad’ wouldn’t be an apt description of the current situation according to concerns of Conservatives. Instead, it is unconscionable connivance and impunity of the Church hierarchy towards specific constituents of that breadth.

  22. David Runcorn May 13, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    So Jesmond has been doing irregular, unauthorised ordinations for the last 15 years without being disciplined – and this is is not the only place. This rather weakens the argument that what is happening is a response by the faithful obedient to watching ‘other groups’ breaking the rules without being reigned in doesn’t it? The institutional church has clearly been tolerating a great deal of unauthorised, irregular behaviour on all sides.

    • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      David,

      I’m not sure what needs to be authorised. REACH-SA may be Anglican in tradition, but it is neither in communion with the Church of England, nor part of the Lambeth Conference.

      Pryke is neither overseas clergy, nor an overseas bishop, so you should clarify the law under which Pryke committed an offence. He is not attempting to replace the episcopal oversight of the parish for which he is curate.

      Every minister has discretionary time to devote to pursuits other than the immediate pastoral care of those in his parish.

      It would be important for any charge of schism to clarify the parish or diocese in which Pryke has usurped the Church’s governance of its members.

      Even in the Fillingham case, the Court of the Arches suggested that ‘offences of this nature differ from very grave moral offences in this, that they are not so irretrievable in their results on the reputation of the guilty person’ (p.186).

      • David Runcorn May 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

        Greetings David I don’t think you have actually responded to my comment here. Authority is one of the central issues for evangelicals of course – but always complex one hence its historic tendency to fracture. I think the wider concerns have already been well expressed in this thread by Ian and Peter Carrell. I am not clear how you are responding to them. As to legal and authority questions I wonder if you if you have read Andrew Goddard on the Fulcrum site. In his typically meticulous study of the issues he poses significant questions for those involved in this irregular consecration – in the UK and in South Africa.

        • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

          Hi David,

          I really have responded, but, perhaps, not as you would like. In your summarised observation, you wrote: ‘The institutional church has clearly been tolerating a great deal of unauthorised, irregular behaviour on all sides

          Also, Jesmond is one parish and Pryke’s ordination bears little similarity in scale to the affirming camp’s widespread insistence that ‘in all things lawful and honest’ is the proviso which permits conscientious dissent from specific prohibitions imposed under the duty of clergy to render canonical obedience to the bishop.

          I’m merely questioning the allegation that Pryke has contravened the lawful governance of the Church (as implied by the word ‘unauthorised’).

          I’m happy to reflect on and later respond to Andrew Goddard’s piece as much as those posted on Law and Religion UK and Ecclesiastical Law.

          • David Runcorn May 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

            David Thank you. My request for clarification was quite genuine not an avoidance of any point you are making. I know we differ here. iIf I wanted to avoid anything I would not be here discussing with folk. I have found this wider discussion here really helpful. I look forward to your response to Andrew Goddard’s piece. He raises a series of searching questions about the regularity of the Pryke’s consecration.

          • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

            Andrew Goddard wrote: The situation does, though, appear to be governed by the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 Section 4. This relates to “An overseas bishop or a bishop consecrated in a Church not in Communion with the Church of England whose Orders are recognised and accepted by the Church of England”.

            However, this measure is not applicable to the consecration of bishops, but to the ordination by an overseas bishop (defined as of priests and deacons to the Church of England.
            As explained here: ‘The effect of a grant of permission is that the priest or deacon concerned can exercise his or her orders as if ordained in the Church of England, and in so doing is subject to the rules and obligations applying to all other clergy so ordained.’
            GAFCON was clear in its statement that the role of the missionary bishop provides alternative episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

            We are aware that some Christians within these provinces who are contending for the faith may at first perceive the news of a missionary bishop as a threat to their hopes for reform from within.

            We believe that the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution. Faithful Christians may be called to different courses of action. We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand. The only true failure would be to waste time through inaction.

            Although the conscration was not authorised by GAFCON, the Newcastle diocese misses this provision for those who will end up outside of the current structures: ’It is the clearly established law of the land that no one can exercise ministry in the Church of England without either holding office or having the permission of the diocesan bishop.’

            Jesmond parish has stated of Pryke: ’He will continue as a senior minister on the church’s staff, spending 80 per cent of his time with Jesmond, while also ordaining men for the ministry and helping to establish new conservative Evangelical churches under the auspices of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE).’

            And what’s wrong with that. I mean, for instance, look at what happened in Philip North’s situation to the ‘provision’ for those whom the Church declared to be faithful Anglicans, who have remained within the current structures, who oppose women bishops.

            I don’t see anything immoral about a stipendiary minister spending less than 20 per cent of his time ensuring adequate preparation for alternative ministry for conservative evangelical Anglicans, who will eventually be told of a conservative episcopal appointment (to paraphrasing your concerns):
            ’What is so hard to get about this? That to have as your diocesan bishop a man (so richly gifted in other ways) and who does not think that same-sex relationships should been celebrated, who will not ordain the same-sex married, is undermining of LGBT people and their God given ministry.’

            You should be glad that REACH-SA is pre-empting such concerns and already making provision for faithful conservative Anglicans to receive compatible oversight elsewhere.

          • David Shepherd May 13, 2017 at 9:47 pm #

            Hi David,

            [Typos corrected] Andrew Goddard wrote: The situation does, though, appear to be governed by the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 Section 4. This relates to “An overseas bishop or a bishop consecrated in a Church not in Communion with the Church of England whose Orders are recognised and accepted by the Church of England”.

            However, this measure is not applicable to the consecration of bishops, but to the ordination by an overseas bishop (defined as a bishop of the Church of England or a Church in Communion with the Church of England having a diocese or office elsewhere than in the province of Canterbury, the province of York, Ireland, Wales or Scotland) of priests and deacons to the Church of England.

            In terms of CofE permission, the Legal Advisory Commission has explained its purpose in ‘The Effect of Acts by Women Bishops of Churches in Commission with the Church of England: ‘The effect of a grant of permission is that the priest or deacon concerned can exercise his or her orders as if ordained in the Church of England, and in so doing is subject to the rules and obligations applying to all other clergy so ordained.’

            GAFCON was also clear in its statement that the role of the missionary bishop provides alternative episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

            ’We are aware that some Christians within these provinces who are contending for the faith may at first perceive the news of a missionary bishop as a threat to their hopes for reform from within.

            We believe that the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution. Faithful Christians may be called to different courses of action. We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand. The only true failure would be to waste time through inaction.’

            In its statement on the matter, the diocese of Newcastle misses this provision for those who will end up outside of the current structures: ’It is the clearly established law of the land that no one can exercise ministry in the Church of England without either holding office or having the permission of the diocesan bishop.’

            Jesmond parish has stated of Pryke: ’He will continue as a senior minister on the church’s staff, spending 80 per cent of his time with Jesmond, while also ordaining men for the ministry and helping to establish new conservative Evangelical churches under the auspices of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE).’

            And what’s wrong with that. I mean, for instance, look at what happened in Philip North’s situation to the ‘provision’ for those whom the Church declared to be faithful Anglicans, who have remained within the current structures, who oppose women bishops.

            I don’t see anything immoral about a stipendiary minister spending less than 20 per cent of his time ensuring adequate preparation for alternative ministry for conservative evangelical Anglicans, who will eventually be told of a conservative episcopal appointment (to paraphrase your concerns):

            ’What is so hard to get about this? That to have as your diocesan bishop a man (so richly gifted in other ways) and who does not think that same-sex relationships should be celebrated, who will not ordain the same-sex married, is undermining of LGBT people and their God given ministry.’

            You should be glad that REACH-SA is pre-empting such concerns and already making provision for faithful conservative Anglicans to receive compatible oversight elsewhere.

  23. Don Benson May 13, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    While some of us might say that organisationally the CofE is unfit for purpose, almost everyone must be ready to acknowledge its current failings surrounding discipline and integrity. While you would always want to run a nationwide church which allows for individual initiative, creativity and imagination (and the moving of the Holy Spirit) there does need to be a sense of good order, honesty, impartiality and a general sense that you can expect discipline and integrity of a high order. And this applies both from the top down (archbishops and bishops) and from the bottom up (clergy and parish churches).

    In the present circumstances at JPC it would be easy to ‘mouth off’ according to your particular viewpoint on the sexuality issue and your group loyalty, but I would think that few of us know much more about events there than what we have read in the last few days – which amounts to a rather febrile source of information and comment. There seems to be an almost Masonic type of secrecy about what has been going on and, if that is so, it is a most unhealthy situation. However what seems clear is that, rightly or wrongly, you have a somewhat maverick parish that can work neither with its diocese nor with fellow evangelicals in the wider CofE. And it has apparently fallen out of love with the parish system and looks to a Celtic church-planting vision as the way to go forward. Is this empire building or hubris or a Spirit-led desperation to spread the Gospel to needy people everywhere? Is it of God or of man?

    I thing that, as reported, it is embarrassing for evangelicals, at least to a degree, and it needs careful handling on all sides if it is not to become a lot more embarrassing. But let us not forget that the catalyst (the excuse?) for this is the lamentable current position of the Church of England; it’s only by resolving that, and restoring doctrinal and disciplinary integrity, that a far greater degree of future chaos right across the CofE can be forestalled.

  24. Laurie Roberts May 13, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

    ‘What is sex for?’
    ‘It is for the procreation of children’
    ‘Isn’t it for pleasure?’
    ‘No’. ‘

    Even Humane Vitae does not go quite this far, and in such bald terms.

    That Encyclical would have bee very different, had Paul VI accepted the guidance of the Panel of Advice which he himself set-up.

  25. Dick May 14, 2017 at 7:05 am #

    The involvement of bishops of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa [REACH SA] (formerly known as the Church of England in South Africa [CESA]) is understandably a cause of alarm to all factions of the distracted mother church. The action of the Jesmond church has all the trapping of conservative rebellion, which seldom bodes well. But it is the association with South Africa that unites the Church in approbation. At last….
    But the South African involvement, I think, signals the possibility that the church has an existential problem. For it is conceivable, at least to some, that REACH SA has more virtue as a church than its English mother. Or have things both in the UK and in SA gone too far for redemption? Reading the discussion brought to mind Josiah, the last reforming King of Judah, who “…did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.”(2 Kings 22:2) But as can be read there, the Lord brought disaster upon Judah.

  26. Bernadette Burbridge May 14, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    This thread has been thoughtful and thought provoking. Like many others, my experience of JPC has been slight and mostly tangental. I know some who have found a welcome and subsequently embraced a theology. They are well schooled in Scripture. We disagree on interpretation on matters that have already been discussed here. Nonetheless, the commitment to the study of Scripture is remarkable and much that is good comes from that.
    While I didn’t know enough to anticipate what has taken place, I’m not surprised. I am very sad that the tone has been discourteous and judgemental. Having experienced the pain of split within a local church, I also know that the consqunces of breakdown in wider relationships may take years to recover. More damage has been done than is evident to the onlooker.
    Is this a one-off or are there other versions of JPC who may take courage now and begin their own process of separation? I use the word advisedly. Do other church communities feel similarly isolated or in some way, disenfranchised? Are there other communities who are similarly strategic about thei future?
    I first read the story in a national newspaper. No friends left at JPC that I know of, so no one to let me know or to contact. The behaviour of the church is important to everyone. I read a leader this week complaining that the voice of the church is barely heard in this general election despite the measured letter from the Archbishops. Whatever the out working of the Jesmond actions turns out to be, these are not the actions of a peace builder or reconciler. It is hard to imagine how anyone could think that such a level of disunity could witness to the power of Christ to bring together those of widely differing understanding. At a time of such evident division in our nation, it seems to me that JPC has swallowed the zeitgeist.
    To employ a visual image that some of you may be old enough to recollect. When I was younger, if a stone hit the windscreen of a car, it would craze until it was no longer possible to see through. If that happens today, there will probably be a small nick that can be repaired. If left unattended, the whole windscreen will crack. It’s just a metaphor, please don’t take it apart for major analysis! When I think about the future of our church, I fear that gradual disintegration. I also fear that we may not make it through together.
    If JPC moves into their new premises… What happens in their former home? Who is the parish priest? That is not a question with legal intention. It’s a question about how we care for people within the parish system when the parish goes awol.
    This is the question that is troubling me most. What is the nature of our unity in Christ at such a time? The Bishops are clearly not in agreement concerning the relevant theological issues but for the sake of unity they are working together to find a way forward. It is a precious example when we are all exercised about these matters. Of course, some will behave in a way that is Maverick but if they wish to remain within the church, then we remember Jesus’ final discourse with the Father, he prays that we will be one. They are not choosing to opt out by their actions but rather to challenge from within. It seems to me in this instance that we have not been given a challenge but rather a statement of position. We are living with an impossible conundrum but the new commandment is to love one another and my interpretation of that is that we find a way to live together in love and in peace. How can we learn to cherish our unity above those things that divide us?

    • Philip Almond May 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

      ‘It is hard to imagine how anyone could think that such a level of disunity could witness to the power of Christ to bring together those of widely differing understanding. At a time of such evident division in our nation, it seems to me that JPC has swallowed the zeitgeist’.

      ‘Of course, some will behave in a way that is Maverick but if they wish to remain within the church, then we remember Jesus’ final discourse with the Father, he prays that we will be one. They are not choosing to opt out by their actions but rather to challenge from within. It seems to me in this instance that we have not been given a challenge but rather a statement of position. We are living with an impossible conundrum but the new commandment is to love one another and my interpretation of that is that we find a way to live together in love and in peace. How can we learn to cherish our unity above those things that divide us?’

      Love and Peace and Unity? But what about Truth and Honesty? Surely what matters is where the truth lies in the ‘widely differing understanding’ of what are the essential truths, true for God and true for us, of Christianity. Like the doctrine of Original Sin. Despite the need for amendment in wording Article 9 summarises the dreadful teaching of the Bible that we all face from birth onwards the just condemnation and holy wrath of God. How many ordained Presbyters and Bishops and Archbishops in the Church of England believe that this is the fundamental diagnosis of the human condition in the sight of God?

      Contra the first quote above, the zeitgeist, which the CofE is in danger of swallowing (has already swallowed?), is the sentiment of the Rubayait:

      Said one – “Folks of a surly Tapster tell,
      And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell ;
      They talk of some strict Testing of us – Pish!
      He’s a Good Fellow, and ’twill all be well.”

      Phil Almond

      • Bernadette Burbridge May 15, 2017 at 8:10 am #

        Truth and honesty are weighed with love, peace and unity or they don’t count for much. Am I embarrassed by this situation? Yes, of course, as a Christian. The church should be embarrassed that we have allowed this to happen. No church should have become so isolated that this action could be considered,let alone planned. I’m quite often embarrassed to call myself an evangelical but that’s a different matter.

        • Philip Almond May 15, 2017 at 8:28 am #

          Bernadette
          ‘Truth and honesty are weighed with love, peace and unity or they don’t count for much’. What do you mean? The truth, God’s truth, is the truth. In what way can it ever be ‘weighed’? Or are you saying that we must speak the truth in love, humbly, respectfully and courteously. I agree with that and we all (I include myself) tend to fail here. But let us be honest with each other and speak the truth. If we disagree fundamentally (and I believe we do), let us openly face that sad fact and seek to persuade/be persuaded by all confronting and being confronted by the strongest arguments from all sides. Starting, I suggest, with the doctrine of original sin. In open debate – on the web, with Archbishops, presbyters, Bishops, Scholars included – and any lay people who want to express a view.
          Phil Almond

          • Bernadette Burbridge May 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

            You used the phrase truth and honesty. I just assumed, perhaps naively, that you were referring to people. It would be surprising to use a word like honesty to describe God. It always seems to imply a value judgement. That would sit uncomfortably next to an absolute. This sad story is riddled with judgement so I repeat it masked me more sad than embarrassed

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 9:36 am #

            Phil: your obsession with the doctrine of original sin is a bit worrying. You mention it anytime and anywhere and no one responds. I’ve never, in my 58 years, heard a sermon about it, or preached about it myself or have any intention of ever doing so. Does that help your unofficial survey? As I have said before, the 39 articles are part of our historic formularies and I’m very happy to have given general assent to them as an historic formulary every time I’ve been asked to do so. But in thirty years of formal Church of England ministry I’ve never been taught specifically about them, been examined in them, been asked informally about them by a bishop or examining Chaplain or theological college tutor. I did read Bicknell’s study of them and thought it very helpful. As a DDO I was never asked to enquire about the articles or the doctrine of original sin. As a CME officer I was never asked to include either the articles or the doctrine of original sin in any curriculum. You will probably conclude that this is why only 1.5% of the population bother to attend church. But as Billy Joel once so eloquently put it – I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

          • Philip Almond May 16, 2017 at 10:01 am #

            Sorry not to make my meaning clear. I was trying to talk about the truth of God and our honesty – honesty to face the sad and painful fact that those Anglicans who believe that Christianity is in some sense true disagree fundamentally about in what sense it is ‘true’. And those disagreements about the truth really are fundamental – they involve what we believe about who God is and what he is like, what is our state as sinners in his sight and how we may be saved and brought into a forgiven and living relationship with him.

            Repeating what I have said elsewhere (sorry, Ian):

            There are three vital, closely linked but distinct questions. It is essential to always remember that they are closely linked but distinct

            Who are the Christians? What does each Christian believe? What are the truths of Christianity?
            On the assumption (amply supported by the New Testament) that God’s action on a person is necessary to make that person into a Christian, then whether a person is a Christian or not (question 1) is an objective fact, known to God.
            Such a Christian who possesses the necessary and developed faculties will have beliefs and experiences. These, in each individual case, give the answers to question 2.
            The answers to question 3 are the essential objective revealed truths, true for God and true for us, which together make up the truth of Christianity as a whole. It is possible, because we may fall into sin in what we hold to be true or false as well as in moral matters, for an ‘objective fact’ Christian to believe things which are ruled out by the truths of Christianity and/or to reject some or all of the essential truths of Christianity. Conversely it is possible for someone to give merely intellectual assent to all the essential objective revealed truths of Christianity and not be an ‘objective fact’ Christian.
            So it is possible (not certain but possible) for someone to (erroneously) reject the idea of the wrath and condemnation of God and deliverance from that wrath by the ‘satisfaction’ of Christ and yet to have been delivered from and by those very things which are intellectually rejected.
            Conversely it is possible (not certain but possible) for someone to intellectually believe the truths of the wrath and condemnation of God and the propitiation of Christ and yet not to have been delivered from and by those very things which are intellectually accepted.
            As far as I am concerned, the disagreements we have among professing Christians are about the right answers to question 3. I would never say to anyone, ‘You are not a Christian’. But I would say and do say, ‘What you believe is inconsistent with the truths of Christianity’ – hoping and praying that that person would seriously reflect on whether the God and Christ they believe in is the real God and Christ. Conversely I have to examine myself to make sure that the doctrinal convictions I have are not just intellectual assent but are married to a vital experience of the realities of which they speak.

            There is a fourth vital question: how can any of us be assured that we are ‘objective-fact’ Christians. What I have said above does not address that question.

            Phil Almond

          • Philip Almond May 16, 2017 at 10:09 am #

            Reply to Andrew Godsall Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 9:36 am

            As I see it, and keep on saying: the important question is whether Article 9 is true. I believe it is essentially true (though the wording needs revising). Do you believe it is true?
            Phil Almond

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 10:16 am #

            No Phil. I believe it is an expression of what was believed by some people at the moment it was written. It was written specifically to counter certain claims made by medieval Catholicism. It’s of its time.
            The important question always to ask is: what did they believe then that made them express things in the way that they did? It’s a very helpful analytical tool.

          • Philip Almond May 16, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

            Andrew

            To make the Declaration of Assent is to affirm ‘loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care’ (from the Preface to the Declaration).
            The ‘inheritance of faith’ is ‘The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons’ (from the Preface to the Declaration).

            How can anyone honestly promise to be loyal to an inheritance of faith which includes the statement that the Church was led by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Christian truth in historic formularies which include the Articles, without believing that the Articles are true?

            There is also:
            ‘A 5 Of the doctrine of the Church of England
            The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.
            In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal’.

            Phil Almond

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

            Phil: it’s all carefully worded. I’m certain there are lots of interpretations of the articles and the Bicknell book makes that quite clear.
            If the wrath of God and original sin are all it’s about then you are welcome to them. But they need to be countered by the love of God and original blessing. I certainly do not believe anyone is going to hell because they fell genuinely in love with, and expressed that love for someone of the same gender. Do you honestly believe that?

          • Philip Almond May 16, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

            (If Ian thinks this too long/off topic I am quite happy for him to edit it/not post it)

            Andrew

            ‘It’s all carefully worded’.

            Not sure whether this observation is about the Preface and Declaration or the Articles themselves. If it’s about the former, I note that you have not addressed the point I was trying to make in my last post: that to make the affirmation in the Declaration and to have the conviction that one of the Articles (Article 9 in your case) is not true is to avoid facing up to the language in the Preface that is being affirmed. It involves affirming loyalty as your inspiration and guidance under God to a doctrine you believe is not true and which the Church has been led by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to.

            If your observation is about the Articles themselves, I comment:
            Articles 9, 10, 11 and 17 fit together and are self-consistent. All of us are ‘very far gone from original righteousness (your point about original blessing) and are of our own nature inclined to evil’ and deserve ‘God’s wrath and condemnation’. We cannot ‘turn and prepare ourselves, by our own natural strength and good works to faith and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will’. ‘We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith and not for our own works or deservings’. God has chosen in eternity who he will deliver from curse and condemnation and he works in history to bring those he has chosen to everlasting joy and felicity, through effectual calling, justification, adoption, conforming them to the image of Christ, and their perseverance in good works.
            God’s promises to save all who turn to Christ are sincere and genuine promises and we must obey all that God and Christ command us to do in the Word of God.

            All these statements are true and should not be played off (‘countered’) against one another. I agree that we cannot understand how Predestination and the Sincere and Genuine invitation to all to repent and turn to Christ can be simultaneously true. That is one of God’s secrets and we should resist the temptation to accept one of these truths and reject the other.

            On your remark about same-sex attraction and practice, I comment:

            I believe, on grounds of exegesis of the Bible that such attraction is a sin like any other sin and a result of the Fall

            Because of the Fall all humanity is in the same position: condemned and with a corrupt nature inclined to evil. We all have besetting sins which we are called upon to put to death. For some, their besetting sin is same-sex attraction. When God in his grace regenerates and justifies any of us, we are all in the same boat, whatever our besetting sins which we are exhorted to put to death. There are no ‘second class Christians’. If Christians with same-sex attraction believe that this is sinful and deliberately sin in this way, they are in the same position as heterosexual Christians who, knowing adultery to be a sin, commit adultery. They are called upon to repent and ‘by the grace of God arise again and amend their lives’ (Article 16) with an earnest determination by the use of all the means of grace not to fall into sin again. If Christians with same-sex attraction become convinced that this is acceptable in the sight of God and live accordingly then they have made the same kind of mistake as those of us who have disobeyed the command to be content with food and clothing (see below). They, like all of us who mess up in various ways, face Christ’s refining fire (who can endure it?), perhaps before death, perhaps when we stand before the judgment tribunal of Christ and the wood, hay, stubble we have built on the one foundation are consumed, with loss, but we shall be saved yet so as through fire.

            It does not follow that if we mess up in the ways described, or in other ways, that God abandons his gracious sanctifying work in our hearts and lives to conform us to the image of Christ. So the fact that same-sex Christians continue to exhibit the fruit of the Sprit in their lives is not an argument that same-sex attraction is not a sin. That is decided by a correct exegesis of the Bible. I once read somewhere that the way Jehovah’s witnesses behaved in the Nazi murder camps was, from a Christian, Biblical point of view, exemplary. I have no reason to doubt that this is true. Does this mean that the Watchtower doctrine of the Person of Christ is the true doctrine? No, because the true doctrine is also a matter of careful exegesis. On all these controversial points – eternal punishment, predestination, the ordination of women, homosexuality etc. – we should always start by asking what the true doctrine is, whether we like our conclusions or not (and, often, in our natural selves, we do not like them) before we consider the question of the behaviour and experience of those who reject that true doctrine.

            But people like me, who hold these views, have to be aware of beams in our own eyes. I mean this: the picture of mortification which Christ (the honest God-Man) uses, of plucking out an eye and cutting off a hand warn us of the excruciating experience (so vividly described by Jayne Ozanne) when we try, really try, to put to death our members on the earth. Have I tried, really tried, tried to the point of agony, to mortify my failure to obey the command to be content with food and clothing and give the money saved to those in need? The Bible says much more about such sacrifices than about homosexuality.

            To quote Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin :

            ‘This doctrine teaches us to think no worse of others, than of ourselves: it teaches us that we are all, as we are by nature, companions in a miserable helpless condition; which under a revelation of the divine mercy, tends to promote mutual compassion.’

            Phil Almond

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

            Oh dear Phil I’m sorry but I just find your repeated obsession with this to be such bad news and anything but gospel. I’m going to quote John Pritchard, the former bishop of OXford.

            “God is not a narrow minded repressive deity fingering the red card he wants to brandish at his failing followers. God is a huge, all embracing giver and sustainer of life, committed to the flourishing and happiness of his people. Both individuals and religious movements can be crudely divided into those that emphasise the Fall and the failings of humankind, and those that emphasise the possibilities of redemption and hope. The one is addicted to saying ‘no’, the other to saying a forgiving ‘yes’. I’m clear that, as Paul says, ‘in him (Christ) it is always yes. For in him every one of God’s promises is a yes’

          • Philip Almond May 16, 2017 at 7:27 pm #

            Andrew

            I emphasise (as you well know) both the Fall and the resulting wrath and condemnation of God and the wonderful gracious loving merciful message of hope, forgiveness and redemption sincerely and genuinely offered to all who submit to Christ in repentance, faith, love, obedience and fear. The first responsibility of a doctor confronted with a sick patient is honest diagnosis. It is dishonest and fatal to diagnose a slight cold when the patient is suffering from a life-threatening cancer which needs a radical operation to be cured.

            Phil Almond

          • Andrew Godsall May 16, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

            I’m sorry Phil but I don’t well know it. I only see you emphasising the fall and wrath of God. It feels like that’s the only side you relate to. You are not the doctor.

          • Philip Almond May 17, 2017 at 7:59 am #

            Andrew
            You should know it from what I posted only yesterday:

            ‘God’s promises to save all who turn to Christ are sincere and genuine promises and we must obey all that God and Christ command us to do in the Word of God’.

            You and all who have promised to be faithful to the Anglican inheritance of Faith are the doctors.

            Phil Almond

  27. Perry Butler May 14, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    ‘re Ian’s comment about the English Reformation above…the recently published Vol1 of the Oxford History of Anglicanism Reformation and Identity c1520 to 1662 ( edited by A Milton) gives us an excellent view of the state of play among current academic historians and clears away a number of misconceptions….

  28. Steve Langton May 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    Me, I’m looking at this from way outside as basically an ‘Anabaptist’. Which in the UK means that while attending an ordinary Baptist Church, I’m also involved in the UK ‘Anabaptist Network’ via its Greater Manchester Study Group; the network has considerable links with the US/Canadian Mennonites.

    For me the big issue here is the one none of you seem to be discussing – the established status of the CofE in England with the Queen as secular head. David Holloway at Jesmond is I understand deeply committed to the idea that Christianity should be ‘privileged’ in the state and the state should favour Christianity. I think it fair comment that the views on this on the website of the Christian Institute reflect Rev Holloway as a leading player in the Institute.

    While I’ve serious doubts (very serious doubts) whether it will work as he probably hopes, the current shenanigans do make some sort of sense if you understand that for Jesmond, secession from the Anglican Church to become just another non-conformist church or several-churches-denomination wouldn’t really be acceptable. Rather I think they are trying to force a situation in which the CofE either returns formally to being a biblical evangelical church, or takes a position of virtually open apostasy which would mean it could no longer credibly claim to be a national Christian church, and other evangelicals would leave to form the nucleus of a future alternative biblical/evangelical national church.

    The timing is probably partly because they want this settled during the Queen’s reign, since Charles’ accession would clearly, as things stand, raise some serious further anomalies and difficulties.

    The irony is that the whole establishment/Christian-nation thing is in fact unbiblical, involving creating for Jesus precisely the kind of ‘kingdom of this world’ that he disclaimed when confronting Pilate. On that both Jesmond and the institutional CofE are simply wrong and are fighting – at the expense of Jesus’ reeputation – over something that just should not be in the first place.

    • Will Jones May 14, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

      Oh right, it’s unbiblical but for some reason this wasn’t picked up by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, John Knox, the Westminster Divines…. The church-state distinction – rendering to God and to Caesar their respective dues – has rarely been interpreted to mean that a ruler or state may not be Christian and base its laws on the moral law as expounded in scripture and favour the church as the foundation of sound religion and morals. It’s generally been taken as a much more subtle distinction than that.

      I suppose in your view Christians may not seek to influence public policy, or may only do so in accordance with some set of secular values divorced from actual Christian morality, or perhaps only in a way that doesn’t intend to promote (or indirectly succeed in promoting) the Christian religion? Or do we just have to hide our faith as we influence the public realm and pretend we are not aiming to promote the Gospel? Please do explain your position as I confess that I am yet to find a version of this view that makes any sense at all and doesn’t contradict clear teaching of scripture.

  29. Steve Langton May 14, 2017 at 11:53 pm #

    by Will Jones
    “Please do explain your position as I confess that I am yet to find a version of this view that makes any sense at all and doesn’t contradict clear teaching of scripture.”

    Funny, that’s rather how I feel about all the assorted ‘Christian State’ views. It was partly the lack of biblical support in such views – including the Westminster Divines – that led me to look elsewhere in the NT. Christianity ran for nearly 300 years without a view of itself as a state religion and it actually took from Constantine to Theodosius – decades – for things to slip from the church being tolerated and somewhat favoured in the state to being effectively totalitarian – “If you are in my Empire you are a Christian or else….” And then the wars and persecutions in the name of Jesus started…. very biblical…..

    It’s fairly straightforward; to become a Christian is to be ‘born again’ by a personal act of faith; so for starters by definition a society with Christians in it will be ‘plural/multi-faith’ because you can’t coerce true belief – though you may coerce a lot of nominal superficial faith often adopted for worldly reasons.

    To keep it topical look at the problems we currently have with Islam – because Muhammad set up Islam as a state religion supported by state military and police powers. Jesus pointedly didn’t do that (as other Jewish Messianic claimants did), but set up a ‘kingdom not of this world’, biblically depicted (eg by Peter, who was far more Anabaptist than Papal). as a body of citizens of the kingdom of heaven living on earth as a ‘Diaspora’ of ‘resident aliens’, not trying to boss the world around – not to be, in Peter’s word ‘allotriepiskopoi’ or roughly ‘bossy-boots over other people’s affairs’ but to offer a peaceable alternative to all. And among other things, to not be affected by state allegiances to end up with Crusades and events like the post-Reformation religious wars…. and there’s lots more in the NT, while the pro-Christian-state texts are noticeably thin on the ground and even then ambiguous and to me actually work more coherently interpreted the other way. You’ll find a lot of the details on my blog, stevesfreechurchblog.

    Yes there are lots of OT texts you can use – but I would submit that they precisely ignore the big differences that Jesus made when he ‘fulfilled’ the OT with a religion offered on the basis of faith rather than birth, trust in Jesus as Lord rather than allegiance to earthly emperors, kings etc.

    Whereas the problem this thread is considering is actually a problem from someone, Rev Holloway, who very much believes in the state Church. And that, as far as I can see, is why he is behaving as he does. My outsider view hopefully offers a fresh perspective.

    I’m not clear, Will, from your earlier posts exactly where you stand on this – you appear to be basically on the biblical/evangelical side, but not clear what you think of Jesmond.

    • Will Jones May 15, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      Hi Steve

      Your polemic against state-church engagement is interesting. But what I was hoping to obtain from you was your position i.e. what you believe in these things.

      Perhaps if you would answer the following questions I will be clearer on what you think:

      1. May Christians seek to influence public policy on any matters at all? If so, which and why?
      2. May Christians seek to promote the Christian faith through government, or must government aim to avoid any mention of religion and any direct promotion of religion? Must it also avoid indirect promotion? Should Christians specifically aim to make government secular?
      3. Are Christians required to conceal their faith in the public realm? If not, how may they express it and why?

      Thanks.

  30. David May 16, 2017 at 2:46 am #

    I have not embarked on the some twelve-dozen (or gross) of previous comments, but at the risk of ignorantly repeating many, my first impression is that this is a matter of episcopoanatrophy, and, indeed, ecclesioanatrophy, rather than anything resembling epsicopopathology. If the Ven. Dr. Carrell knows more, he should tell us; if not, his remarks seem rife with unfounded assumptions, and the begging of questions. For example, on what basis is it assumed “this action is unilaterally taken against that plan”? In what sense of “against”? Again, in asking about “‘Catholic’ rather than ‘Anglican'”, in what sense are those terms being opposed or indeed used? Was, for example, the raising “to the episcopate of the first Anglican bishop ever appointed to minister outside the British Isles” on 14 November 1784 (to quite Stephen Neill) “‘Catholic’ rather than ‘Anglican'”?

    Similarly, with respect to your question, Dr. Paul – “Why adopt a strategy of institutional separation rather than continue to engage and lobby from within?” In exactly what sense is this “institutional separation”, rather than a (distinctly English Reformation) manner of continuing “to engage and lobby from within?” (whether one is particularly thinking of the visible Church catholic, the world-wide Anglican Communion, or the Church of England).

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