In stark contrast to the national General Synod held earlier this month in Maroochydore, the synod of the diocese of Brisbane (“Southern Queensland”) has refused to uphold the biblical doctrine of marriage.

The original motion (#5 on the business paper [pdf]) was a very simple:

“That in the view of the impending plebiscite regarding possible significant changes to the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), that this Synod reaffirm and uphold the traditional and biblical dynamic of marriage as exclusively of that between a man and woman, consecrated by God.”

A lay member moved an amendment to replace the wording with a verbatim duplication of the marriage motion passed at the General Synod:

That this Synod:

  1. recognises that the doctrine of our church, in line with traditional Christian teaching, is that marriage is an exclusive and lifelong union of a man and a woman, and further,
  2. recognises that this has been the subject of several General Synod resolutions over the past fifteen years, and also
  3. recognises that the nature of marriage is the subject of ongoing conversation within the church and wider community and that we need to listen to each other with care and respect, and therefore
  4. awaits the collection of essays, written and compiled by the Doctrine Commission of the General Synod, on marriage and same-sex relationships that explores Scriptural and theological issues relating to:
    1. The doctrine of marriage expressed in the formularies of the Anglican Church of Australia
    2. Our current Australian context, exploring the relationship between the State’s definition of marriage and the church’s doctrine of marriage
    3. Key Old Testament and New Testament texts on sex, marriage and friendship
    4. Scripture and hermeneutics
    5. A theology of blessing
    6. A theology of desire
    7. Godly disagreement on this issue
    8. The case for and against same-sex marriage and/or the blessing of same-sex unions;

Synod considered the amendment clause by clause and rejected the first 3 clauses in turn leaving a motion that simply awaited the completion of the General Synod Doctrine Commission’s work. Synod then chose not to put the motion.

So we’re now at the situation where the synod of Brisbane could not bring itself to affirm what the national church had already affirmed. This refusal to agree to the Biblical definition of marriage follows on from a controversial sermon given by Assistant Bishop Jeremy Greaves at the “Pride Evensong” held in Brisbane Cathedral on Sunday September 17. Readers will be aware that Bishop Greaves was appointed recently amid controversy over his claims that he was “happy to abandon the creeds”.

The text of the sermon is available here and replicated below:

In his sermon, Greaves refers to God as “she”, claims that God affirms it’s ok to be whoever we are (our cry of “I am”) and states that Jesus did not give his disciples assurance of salvation. davidould.net has to admit to having read the sermon through many times and still not having an idea which part of the Bible bishop Greaves was expositing. We understand the sermon has caused some concern amongst traditionalists and the events of synod over the weekend will not have helped.

Comments

comments

44 comments on “Brisbane Synod refuses to affirm doctrine of marriage

  1. Deeply troubling.

    I attended the recent Assembly of Confessing Congregations within the Uniting Church in Australia recently held its annual conference AGM in Townsville in early September 2017, with 5 key note speakers, affirmed traditional male female for life marriage, and celibacy outside of marriage as the only Godly expressions of human sexuality.

    One key speaker was the Anglican Bishop of Northern Queensland.

    Perhaps the Diocese of Brisbane will soon become like Scotland?

  2. This breaks my heart for the Anglicans of Southern Queensland, looking to their appointed leaders for clarity on what God says in such confused times over our sexuality, gender and marriage.

  3. I am a clergyman in the Diocese of Brisbane who trained at Moore College (1995-97). I cannot deny that what is written here is factual. However please remember that the votes on these matters were not unanimous. There are those clergy and lay people who continue to minister in the Diocese of Brisbane who hold to scripture as the word of God and Christ to be the only way of salvation. We would value your prayers and your encouragement as we try to do this.
    Please remember that not all Anglicans in Southern Queensland are represented by the decisions of our Synod just as not all the Anglicans in Perth are represented by the decisions of their Synod and just as, I would expect, not all Anglicans in Sydney are represented by the decisions of your Synod.

  4. First time posting here but I have a lot to get off my chest as I am frightened and horrified at where the Anglican Church is going. I have held my peace for a long, long time but I think it is time to start naming some of the key players here.

    I want to show everyone what is happening in Brisbane and my post will provide links (if Rev Ould allows them) to prove my claims.

    If you drive past the Cathedral in Brisbane, you will see a rainbow pennant out the front and an electronic sign stating that they support the Brisbane Gay Pride week (https://brisbanepride.org.au/awards/choral-evensong/). ?

    Jesus must weep. If he was upset at moneychangers in the temple, how must he feel about the sexual perversion being actively promoted by the “progressive theologians”?

    Some of the people in the Diocese of Brisbane who support same-sex marriage and transgender people are:

    * Cathedral Dean Peter Catt (https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/time-has-come-for-gay-marriage-queensland-priest-20170729-gxl99v.html)

    * Archbishop Phillip Aspinall (evidenced by his recent letter of support for transgender priest Jonathan Inkpin: http://www.anglican.ink/article/archbishops-statement-sex-change-priest ). For more about Inkpin, see http://www.ministryeducation.org.au/theological-studies/people/faculty/the-revd-dr-jon-inkpin/ and http://www.blessedimp.org/blog/cradled-in-gods-love-becoming-more-truly-who-i-am-a-transgender-female-priest ) A vote to endorse Inkpin and praise him for his courage was held during the Synod.

    * Saint Francis’ Seminary head Bishop Jonathan Holland (son of Newcastle Bishop and Royal Commission target Alfred Holland [http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/royal-commission/i-cant-recall-sex-abuse-claims-says-exbishop-alfred-holland/news-story/014180acffa54419be5a083b65d02048]. Jonathan Holland is also a former priest at the Sydney Anglo-Catholic parish Saint James King Street whose current priest supports same -sex marriage: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/church-split-over-antimarriage-equality-views-of-the-australian-christian-lobby/news-story/cd099c78477e3684c42ae6e4d0d0eb9d),

    * The Oratory of the Good Shepherd homosexual clique in the Fortitude Valley parish which even includes known paedophiles (https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/anglican-church-investigates-brisbane-parish-over-paedophile-readings-20160504-gomduw.html and http://www.news.com.au/national/pedophile-seedy-priest-teaching-kids/news-story/3b53931ee3e9c22300ed653cc7823ef4)

    * Bishop Jeremy Greaves. (Here is another link about Greaves from a long time ago when he was just a priest in a small town. He was always known for pro-gay views long before being elevated to the bishopric: http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/tag/rector-jeremy-greaves/)

    Beyond these people, it seems that the issue is mainly supported by the women priests in the diocese.

    In a way, this makes sense, since I do not see how you can be logically consistent and argue that Paul’s injunction on women speaking was limited to a certain cultural context and not say the same thing about homosexuals. These women priests have to push the homosexual line to justify *their* own ordinations. In that sense, it is valid to say that there truly is a “slippery slope” from ordaining females to promoting homosexuality.

    Here are some of the main female culprits of the liberal Catholic faction in the Diocese of Brisbane promoting the gay marriage agenda:

    * Rev Penny Jones (Parish of Milton): As the parish website states, she is “One of the first English women ordained priest” she is the wife of the aforementioned Jonathan/Josephine Inkpin who has just come out as a transgender. If we take the arguments the transgender side give us as a given, that means Penny is now effectively married to a woman. http://www.miltonanglican.org/about-us.html

    * “Mother” Julie Leaves (Parish of Sandgate-Northpoint) – did have a rainbow banner up on her website stating how welcoming and inclusive her church was (ie the usual pro-gay code terms.) It is fine to be welcoming but there is absolutely no talk of repentance there, of course, amongst these inclusive ministers… They omit the fact that Jesus called on people to “sin no more”. The banner has now been removed (so presumably they have either received criticism for it or maybe they thought it was prudent to take it down for the duration of the Same Sex Marriage Survey campaign): http://sandgatenorthpointanglican.vpweb.com.au/About.html

    * Rev Tiffany Sparks (Parish of Ashgrove) – another liberal Anglo-Catholic, she is a member of A Progressive Christian Voice and organiser of the “Gay-e-Tea” event at the cathedral, which even included a rainbow sponge cake (you couldn’t make this stuff up): http://www.wherevent.com/detail/St-Johns-Cathedral-%E2%80%9CThe-Rainbow-Intersection-Sunday-Conversation-and-Gay-e-Tea

    * Rev Gillian Moses (priest at Saint John’s Cathedral) – another strident advocate of gay marriage, who has written a piece for Justice Kirby’s book on the issue (https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=36395#.Wc2O-nWGNpg)

    * Rev Sue Wilton (also a priest at Saint John’s Cathedral) – also promoting gay marriage as per this interview on “Queer Radio”: http://www.4zzzfm.org.au/podcasts/culture/queer-radio-interview-reverend-sue-wilton-christians-marriage-equality and her signature on the letter for marriage equality (https://mysunshinecoast.com.au/news/news-display/more-than-500-religious-leaders-send-marriage-equality-letter-to-prime-minister,50765) She is also a member of “Christians for Equality (http://www.christiansforequality.com.au)

    To end on a brighter note, I commend Rev Uptin for standing up against this faction which,as you can see is mostly clustered around the Cathedral. With the Bishops, key staff at Saint Francis’ College and this large group of female priests all advocating same-sex marriage, the future seems hopeless for Christians wishing to keep to a traditional understanding of the Bible and uphold the morality that has stood since Christ’s earthly ministry. What can we do in such circumstances other than strive to maintain our personal integrity? Unfortunately, it may come to the point where we have to leave the Anglican Church, to seek another denomination. I have been thinking of the Presbyterians for some time or the possibility of starting a home church along sound Calvinistic low church lines and upholding traditional morality.

    Christ be with you, Rev Ould.

    • What a truly sad response. Instead of “driving past” the Cathedral, why not stop and come in. Meet one of those “sexual perversion” people.
      Like me.
      I am the one who was instrumental in having our Cathedral support the diverse in gender and sexuality community by hosting events as part of the Brisbane Pride Festival.
      Instead of judging from a distance, come into the heart of a life-giving faith community that lives the word preached by the Nazarene daily.

      • I have. At the Cathedral and at Holy Spirit Fortitude Valley with your Oratory crowd. I know exactly what those places are like. Never again.

      • Blair, thank you for coming forward and taking ownership of your actions. I am glad to see you come and talk about this matter on a forum where most peoples’ views will oppose your own.

        I am not a Sydney Anglican. I have never attended a Church service in Sydney. I am however very much a “low church” Anglican. I believe you have done the wrong thing. I am not a homophobe – I do not hate nor fear homosexual people and I certainly do not wish for them to face any harm, intimidation or threats at all. I do not believe a homosexual orientation is sinful of itself. i simply feel that maybe God has given you an extra cross to bear in life – we all have temptations and weaknesses. Maybe you are especially strong people in terms of character, since God trusts you can deal with this particular burden.

        I do however oppose homosexual acts and believe they are sinful. The fact is that you and your comrades take “pride” in being active homosexuals and you seem to take “pride” in your role in lobbying the Cathedral staff to promote a sodomistic lifestyle. I pray that you will see the error of your ways and repent.

        Have you heard of Wesley Hill? He is a Christian homosexual himself who lectures at churches. He rejects the notion of gay marriage but points out that churches have had many shortcomings in supporting people who live a celibate lifestyle – for all kinds of reasons. Even if you end up disagreeing with him, he is worth checking out on YouTube or Vimeo as he gives thoughtful discussions on the issue – so probably worth engaging with.

        Can I challenge you as well? Can you come up with a justification – based on scripture alone – for promoting a homosexual lifestyle? If you cannot come up with a plausible, coherent Biblical argument in favour of it I suggest you stand on very shaky ground morally to put it mildly.

        I will keep you in my prayers, Blair. I sincerely wish you all the best.

      • Blair, I will also pray for you. I sincerely feel what you have done in lobbying Saint John’s Cathedral to promote “Gay Pride” is very, very wrong but I feel the religious authorities of the Cathedral have a much greater share of the guilt since they acquiesced to your demands. As spiritual leaders trained in theology they know better than this. They now use God’s house to promote the sin of sodomy.

        Like James, I feel no anger or hatred to you as a person, however. A lot of the discussion on this blog post has been about instances of bullying in the Diocese against people with different views than the prevailing liberal Anglo-Catholicism. Just as low church Anglicans and socialists, etc, experience and witness bullying ourselves, we wish no one bullies or harms you for your orientation. I do, however, oppose the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle within the Church and duplicitous moves by religious leaders and theologians to twist the scripture in order to find a way to validate this lifestyle.

        For whatever it is worth, I am a straight single man, who cannot marry for other reasons. If someone as weak and sinful as me can remain chaste and celibate, anyone can. I cannot do it through my own strength – only through God’s aid and submitting to His Will.

        Thank you for coming here to engage with your opponents.

  5. Thank you for your bravery in speaking out, Reverend Michael and Andrew. I am a parishioner in Brisbane, too, and I am also increasingly upset and concerned at what has happened. I am just a voice from the pews – I also identify as evangelical or Calvinist but I am not a member of any lobby group or anything like that. I simply go to church each week to worship God and try to avoid the politics.

    However there comes a time when we must speak out. I applaud Andrew for naming names. I would like to add some more of these culprits involved in the progressive theology/Liberal Catholic faction undermining God’s word in Brisbane. I will follow his lead in posting here. There were a number of people who created the Diocese’s theological book, “The Once and Future Scriptures” which undermines mainstream interpretations of the Bible. These people were as follows:

    1. Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, who implicitly approved the book by contributing the foreword;

    2. Gregory Jenks, former Dean of Saint Francis’ Theological College in Brisbane but now in the Diocese of Grafton;

    3. Rev’d Cathy Thompson, Director of Formation and lecturer in systematic theology at St Francis’ Theological College and former priest at Christ Church Parish in Saint Lucia in Brisbane;

    4. Rev’d Steven Ogden, Dean of Saint Francis’ Theological College;

    5. Rev’d Susan Crothers-Roberts, College Chaplain at St John’s Anglican College;

    6. Rev’d Canon Dr Marian Free, another lecturer at Saint Francis’;

    7. The aforementioned Cathedral Dean, Peter Catt.

    WIth these liberal catholics and their cohorts like Jonathon/Josephine Inkpin, it is no wonder that the entire Diocese is being reshaped in this image.

    One of the sad things is that the liberal approach leaves no theological depth. I knew of a young man who studied at the college, Daniel Gullotta. He was a terrific young bloke , very knowledgeable and had the potential to be a wonderful priest but he was quite liberal in his theologial thinking (a big fan of Marcus Borg etc) and these Siant Francis College people, which did not allow his roots to dig down in the deep soil of faith. Eventually, due to a personal crisis (he is quite open about this) he left the priesthood and is now an atheist. He is now studying in the USA in theology but as an “outsider”. Fortunately, he is looking at Jonathan Edwards and other puritan figures so I hope and pray that he will one day return to faith and that this is God’s way of guiding him.

    The thing is that these progressive theologians have so relativised everything that there is no morality anymore and no simple faith. I agree the Bible must be approached critically but we must also keep our distance from the culture. I would challlenge any of the theologians listed above (or someone along the lines of the late Marcus Borg or John Shelby Spong) to write a simple catechism clearly stating their beliefs and understanding of the faith in a way that children can understand. These people obfuscate so much and have so little grounding in faith, I truly believe it would be beyond them to clearly articulate exactly what it is they do believe and why.

    I think the tragedy of someone like Daniel Gullotta is that he had a real zeal for social justice and peace (areas that I do believe are blindspots Sydney needs to address). However, his zeal for liberal causes sidelined him into liberal theology with no Bible basis and the “identity politics” of feminism, gay rights, etc that has wasted the energy of so many on the left, including left-leaning Christians. The poor, socially disadvantaged, civilian victims of war, etc desperately need Christ’s Gospel and also practical help from Christians. Issues like same-sex marriage and reinterpreting and twisting the Gospel to help justify liberal stances on this issue and those of women’s ordination waste time and energy and mean it is no longer spread to the needy or when it is, it is in a distorted, disingenuous “poltically correct” form.

    Unfortunately, the Diocese is obsessed by it. Go into the Saint John’s Cathedral gift shop and every book is on identity politics, queer theology and gay and feminist rights. A very narrow choice indeed!

    Speaking of the Cathedral, I am almost embarrassed to go in there with the rainbow banners and pride signs out the front. Why should I feel ashamed to go into my Father’s house? Something has become so wrong here. It is because an agenda counter to the Gospel is being proclaimed, In that sense, you could almost argue it is “anti-Christ”.

    However, if you do go in, you will see only 3-4 elderly people at midday mass on any given day of the week. Being an Anglo-Catholic Diocese, i would have thought mass would be important to most parishioners of that ilk. However, compare Saint John’s to the midday masses at Saint Stephen’s Catholic Cathedral just a few blocks away. There are people in every pew of the entire church building (not just a side chapel) every day of the week.

    Hence, I do not really see why these progressive theologians/liberal catholics are doing what they do? Do they really believe their own nonsense? Maybe a couple of the younger more naive ones have swallowed the line (a la Daniel Gullotta). Most however must understand how they are twisting scripture to fit the world (maybe tjhat is what will always happen with a state church). Are they trying to be populist? If so, they are failing and numbers are in free fall compared to Sydney Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Are they trying to appease the gay lobby in the Diocese? Maybe – we know there are a lot of them, from groups like the Oratory of the Good Shepherd to Archbishop Aspinall’s statement in the letter Andrew linked above that he was aware of several more transgender ministers who haven’t yet “come out”.

    To change subject, yes, I have met Rev’d Jeanette Jamieson and I can confirm the horror sttories about her. A very unpleasant lady who has bullied people. I think she is typical though of the mindset of the liberal Catholics – dogmatic and authoritarian in pushing their liberal beliefs and welcoming gays, even if that means driving genuine Christians with traditional beliefs from the Church. The progressive theology undermines morality, not just on sexual matters but, ultimately, on all matters, which leads to people like Jeanette Jamieson bullying parishioners and using underhand tactics to drive them away. Furthermore, there is no depth to the preaching of people like her – their homilies are shallow and agenda-driven.

    To end this long message, I would just like to reiterate this point about bullying. Some young people might come across this blog and hear the word “liberal” and think that the Diocese of Brisbane might be a nice place to worship, being laidback and tolerant, etc, as the word liberal has these connotations. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. The “liberalism” here is of an authoritarian kind. The Diocese is highly centralised/hierachial around the Bishops and autocratic. I know a priest who was too afraid to publish his sermons online or anywhere else in case the bishop (Jonathan Holland in this case, when he was still Bishop of the Brisbane North Region) read them and found anything he considered unorthodox. The priest in question who was too afraid to publish his work was the most orthodox humble and sincere minister imaginable. However, he was afraid to put out his work – and potentially evangelise to a larger audience – due to the authoritarian nature of the Diocese. In this way, the spread of the Gospel was impeded.

    Hence, an authoritarian clique is likewise forcing acceptance of homosexuality, rejection of traditional marriage and acceptance of women priests on to everyone else. Priests are afraid of speaking out. In no other ways is the diocese liberal though. It is basically just a miniature version of the Roman Catholic Church with all the same problems as Rome. It just happens to be a lot more liberal than Rome – or just about any mainstream protestant church other than the Uniting – on issues of identity politics and homosexuality. It is twisting the Bible with bizarre readings to fit the culture instead of standing apart as Paul advocated in the days of the Roman Empire. It is also rejecting the Protestant Reformed line of Bible interpretation in its entirety so that, in the final analysis, it is a counter-reformational Diocese.

    That was a long post and I thank Rev’d Ould for allowing us to air our concerns. These things must be brought to the light. I pray that Christ may save the Diocese of Brisbane but huge reforms are needed.

    • One person is “embarrassed” to enter the Cathedral, yet hundreds are welcomed and return grateful for finding a place that nourishes them, affirms them and allows them to reach a potential that is stifled by a misogynist, homophobic and judgmental few elsewhere.

      With regard to your “head counting” – I will quote Matthew 9:13
      “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

      • Bringing the good news to sinners and urging them to repent is one thing. Blessing the sin is another. The Cathedral is doing the latter.

  6. Wayne, thank you for your kind words and for speaking out as well. It is tragic to see the Diocese go down this path. I am worried about how many people are being led astray.

    I knew of Daniel Gullotta but did not know he had left the church. I have now read his blog posts. Whatever his personal situation was, I pray he may come back to God some day. I gully concur with your comments that progressive theology does not allow someone to plant deep roots in the faith. By studying the Puritans at Stanford, I hope he can find God again and, whatever his personal crisis was, that he can, with time, see it from God’s viewpoint. Perhaps that is what he is trying to do, consciously or subconsciously, by pursuing his Biblical studies, albeit as an atheist at this point in time. He was a brilliant young man and would have made a fine priest had he been able to keep his strong sense of social justice but let go of the intellectual dead end of liberal/progressive theology and headed into deeper spiritual waters.

    Your other point is spot on as well. These progressives are almost solely focused on identity politics and subversive issues. They do not care for the liberalism that cares for the poor and suffering. Poor struggling people do NOT care about political correctness, as you rightly assert.

    How many of the liberal catholic theologians and pastors in Brisbane listed above do any work for Anglican Board of Mission to help the poor? Zero but I know good, honest laity in Brisbane who do.

    How many of the liberal catholic theologians and pastors in Brisbane listed above are members of the Church’s international peace organisation, the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship? Zero but I know good honest laity in Brisbane who are. They work with absolutely no support from the Diocese.

    Have any of the trendy progressive factional lobby groups in Brisbane who are supposedly so concerned with social justice ever reached out to traditional Anglican social justice groups like the Board of Mission or the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship? No, never.

    It is all about Diocesean politics, power games and trendy issues of the moment for the Brisbane groups.

    Finally, the other thing that prompted me to comment again is to alert Rev Ould to the fact that one of these trendy Brisbane liberal catholic/progressive theology groups “A Progressive Christian Voice” (this is the Dean Peter Catt and Rev Tiffany Sparks group) has just published their paper on euthanasia. Here it is:

    https://t.co/xOtOUw99CL?amp=1

    So if you look at the paper, according to these progressives, love trumps all, EVEN the sanctity of life. This is where the progressives with their emphasis on a nebulous, vague formulation of love ultimately leads. It leads not just to homosexual rights but to death. It is the ultimate theology of the selfish individualist.

    At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, many Nazis probably argued they were being compassionate by euthanasing the disabled. Later, some argued it was more loving to exterminate via the gas chamber rather than shooting their victims, as it was more humane for both the victim and for the executioners. Love can be used to justify anything but it is not the sacrificial, suffering love of Jesus. To link this back to my earlier statement, it is no wonder that “A Progressive Christian Voice” has never dared to reach out to any traditional Anglican pro-life and peace groups like the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship if this is how the progressives truly see human life. Their mask has slipped off.

    Reading further on in the paper, it seems that A Progressive Voice think that euthanasia is comparable to martyrdom(!) Martyrs embrace suffering for Christ but those being euthanased seek to flee it. Reading through this paper, it seems that A Progressive Christian Voice has just slipped into pure self-parody. The sad thing is that so many of the movers and shakers in Brisbane will take this paper seriously and will lobby for euthanasia right alongside the secular advocates once that issue becomes topical again, just as they have for the same sex marriage issue.

    If Cathedral clergy really do support this kind of thing only God can save the Diocese of Brisbane from itself. Saint John’s Cathedral Brisbane truly is becoming the Synagogue of Satan, where the sanctity of life is trampled underfoot and where sexual immorality is celebrated, in a bizarre State religious reflection of the wider society’s cult of the self.

  7. Just to clarify a little on one point, whilst the A Progressive Christian Voice paper does talk about the sanctity of life, they clearly state love takes precedence and that they will support euthanasia if suitable legislation is created. Hence, there are no moral absolutes for these groups. They claim to decry selfish capitalism but then their paper clearly endorses a selfish position. They reject all moral absolutes about the sanctity of life, the same kind of thinking that has been used in other contexts to justify countless wars. They are taking a “lesser of two evils” approach or even endorsing euthanasia as a “good” to end suffering. They are using “love” as a catchall, whereas true love is embodied in God, the God who gives us the moral law that includes the sanctity of human life and places clear limits on sexuality. It is the love of the self that they are worshipping, not the love of God. To compare euthanasia to Christ’s suffering sacrifice or that of the martyrs is an affront and a twisting of scripture and history like that seen during the same sex marriage debates.

    Though some may take it as hysterical, I stand by my comment that Peter Catt and his cohorts truly are turning Saint John’s Brisbane into a Synagogue of Satan with their twisting and undermining of all traditional Christian morality to suit selfish individualistic desires.

    Could we imagine the Apostle Paul preaching such selfishness? There would be nothing to distinguish Christians from Romans.

    Dear Father in heaven, please remember and have mercy on the Anglicans in Brisbane who remain faithful to Your word and try their hardest to obey it. Please raise up sincere and faithful pastors amongst us to lead us from the errors of our current leaders. Please open the eyes of the sinful priests mentioned in this thread. May they come to know you and repent of their sinful doctrines. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  8. Thank you for the kind words in your personal email, Rev Ould.

    I just did a bit more digging and the further down the rabbit hole you go, the more interesting it becomes… At leats two of the people involved in producing the Diocese’s “Once and Future Scriptures” book, Gregory Jenks and the late Nigel Leaves (who happened to be the husband of Mother Julie Leaves, mentioned above), are/were members of the Westar Institute, the organization that drove the shonky scholarship of the notorious, agenda-driven “Jesus Seminar”:

    https://www.westarinstitute.org/about/

    The Westar Institute is also one of the main drivers behind the Progressive Christianity movement that the Liberal Catholic priests and theologians in Brisbane have so readily embraced. By their own admission, they are seeking to redefine Jesus and Christianity.

    This piece, which I am about to quote at some length, from the Progressive Christianity website really reflects how this movement is indeed utterly opposed to any traditional Proetstant or Orthodox understanding of Christianity and is counter-reformational:

    ***
    The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Son of God for the salvation of mankind would be a key doctrine to the vast majority of Christians. Yet progressive Christianity seeks to rid itself of any kind of soteriology and the related concepts of the Original Sin, guilt, judgement and inherent worthlessness of humans. They see these ideas as extremely negative, destructive and oppressive in the sense that they lead people to needlessly despise themselves sometimes leading to self-flagellation; one leader even felt that the promotion of such an ideology was the worst injustice committed by Christianity. Not content with the rejection of Christian soteriology, progressive leaders also seek to jettison traditional Christian eschatology; progressive leaders reject the view of heaven and hell as existing separately from and beyond this life. If they believe in such concepts it is in a very abstract way, more as states of mind which can be achieved in this life by anybody (see Sanguin, 2011; Plumer, 2011b; Lawton, 2011) so that ‘heaven’ can be found in this world by a variety of methods (see the section below on progressive spirituality).

    Progressive theology goes even further in its rejection of orthodox Christian doctrine to the redefinition of both God and Jesus. In the same way that they cease to view heaven and hell as existing outside the universe, many progressives reject any theistic model of God preferring to see him as part of the universe thereby allowing us to touch the divine in this life. God is no longer the big man in the sky who controls the world, makes demands of us and can be petitioned. Prayer is now seen more as a therapeutic activity, a way finding the inner strength to solve our problems for ourselves. That God is the universe or the universe is part of God means that each of us is also in some small way sacred or even divine; we are all sons (or daughters) of God, which reinforces the emphasis on the inherent worth of human beings. The actual word ‘God’ has become an issue for progressives because of its theistic connotations and so there is no agreed label for this new concept which may reflect a wider confusion over what ‘God’ actually is to post-theistic Christians.

    Source: https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/redefining-christ-and-christianity-what-can-progressive-christianity-tell-us-about-modern-religion-secularisation-and-the-future-of-spirituality/
    ***

    So the Diocese of Brisbane, the Westar Institute, the agenda-driven Jesus Seminar and progressive Christianith all have links to each other. The rejection of soteriology and original sin is why they are prepared to act unethically, not just in terms of the pro-same sex marriage stance but also the bullying and unethical behaviour of priests.

    There is more, though. I will quote again from the same piece:

    ***
    Related to the emphasis on social justice is the progressive insistence on being ‘Open and Affirming’5, also referred to as an ‘Extravagant Welcome’. This simply means that they accept anybody as a member of the church whatever their race, gender, sexuality etc (see Point 3 in Appendix 1). This is normally used in reference to the LGBT community who have long been excluded by Christianity but, as the example below will show, the invitation does go beyond this group.

    5 The phrase ‘Open and Affirming’ actually arose from the UCC but all progressive churches would be expected to have the same universal acceptance of new members however they might phrase it.

    Although this is seen as a very important aspect of progressive Christianity, many of the ministers I spoke to told of the initial difficulties of convincing a congregation to accept this openness of membership. The majority of members were usually happy for the church to be Open and Affirming, but there was always, apparently, a small minority who were extremely unhappy about it and also a larger group of less confrontational members who weren’t really all that sure. The main sticking point, as with many churches across the world, was the acceptance of LGBT people into the church. The ministers involved did their best to reduce opposition to the change through biblical and theological education and sermons which tried to convince people that universal love and acceptance was the real message of the Bible. In all cases the change was eventually made but not without the loss of some members although this was usually accompanied by the arrival of new members, often from the LGBT community. Some ministers also said that those that left were generally the more vociferous and “bigoted” members who didn’t really fit in anyway and held back the whole church so that once they left the congregation actually got closer and felt reinvigorated by the change.

    The ‘Extravagant Welcome’ extends beyond the LGBT community and one of the churches I attended had one particular person ask to be a member who caused a huge controversy both among the congregation and beyond. A convicted sex offender arrived at the church one day and asked the senior minister if he could join the church. Many members of the congregation especially those with young children, whilst not wanting renounce their Christian values, felt distinctly uneasy about such a person attending their church.

    Source: https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/redefining-christ-and-christianity-what-can-progressive-christianity-tell-us-about-modern-religion-secularisation-and-the-future-of-spirituality/
    ***

    Hence someone feeling validated ruthlessly bullying out anyone who opposes active homosexuality in the name of her warped versions of “love” and “tolerance”. Hence also the Diocese of Brisbane having convicted paedophiles near children at Fortitude Valley as per the news reports linked above. Hence also the bizarre A Progressive Christian Voice report where “love” (their redefined “god”) is more important than the sanctity of life. These people are taking everything to a logical but extreme conclusion in their new religion which you can barely, if at all, call “Christian”.

    I was thinking about these things a lot last night. I wonder when this rot set in at the Diocese of Brisbane? Was it under the leadership of Phillip Aspinall and Jonathan Holland over the last decade or so or does it go further back? I used to know David Thawley, one of the unsung heroes of Australian Christianity, when he was living in retirement in Melbourne before his death. Although an Anglo-Catholic, Rev Thawley was suspicious of the homosexual movement, if not a strident opponent of them. He had been vice-principal of Saint Francis’ Theological College and a Canon of Saint John’s Cathedral back in the 1960s but his views were light years away from those of the Progressive Christians. He had a real passion for social justice and peace that he actually acted upon and lived out, unlike the faux-social justice activism of the A Progressive Christian Voice cohorts. Having known him personally, I feel emboldened to say that he too would be deeply troubled, if not repulsed, by what is happening in Brisbane now.

    You can read more about him in his obit here:

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/embodiment-of-english-christianity-20110501-1e2vn.html

    What can be done? Faithful Protestants can vote with their feet and leave the Diocese either by going to a faithful Christian Church that still upholds Bible teaching and orthodox Christian morality or we can start planting new churches perhaps. We can try to resist but we know many will be driven put – the leaders are not above bullying out those who oppose same sex marriage and Progressive Christianity. We have seen the evidence they are not above using dirty tricks as they are not restrained by traditional Christian ethics. In fact they will do any dirty, bullying trick in the name of “love” and “tolerance”. Finally, we can turn the other cheek and sit it out until their ideas collapse. What happens if, by some chance, the same sex marriage vote results in a “No”? It is unlikely but if it did happen, the Church would be backpeddling like crazy after all these priests have so publicly advocated in favour of it in the media and with their signs in front of the cathedral? They will be caught out and no one will trust them again. Eventually at some point, whether through this vote or much later in the future, the pendulum will swing back in favour of traditional morals. The Churches who held to orthodox faith will be respected for having stood firm but what will happen to the Brisbane Diocese which flips and flops with every new trendy idea as it seeks to keep pace with worldly morality? They will be well and truly caught with their britches down and will face the backlash.

    People are already seeing that Brisbane is a hollow Diocese of no substance, promoting an intellectually vacuous form of religion in the form of progressive christianity/liberal catholocism, that is only sustained by hollowed out rituals, bullying authoritarianism from priests and bishops in the hierarchy and a mindless mantra of “love” and “tolerance”, words that really mean “conform in welcoming unrepentant sinners and let them continue in their depravity for all sin and ethics are relative – apart from dissent, questioning of authority and intolerance.”

    The whole hollow edifice of the Diocese will eventually collapse in my view unless it is reformed but with bishops like Aspinall and Holland entrenched in power and the Cathedral and Saint Francis’ College under the control of the progressive Christians with their blessing, reform does not seem unlikely in the near future. Then again, people probably thought the same thing in 1517. Just as Luther had the Gutenburg Press, at least we now have the internet to network and expose the rottenness at the heart of the Diocese of Southern Queensland. I hope my few posts here have helped shine a light on the problems and the key culprits.

    Other than that we can pray and trust that, in His time, God will bring about change as he hears the cries of the faithful.

    • Andrew, you are entirely out of step with those in the Church who truly understand that Jesus was the embodiment of Love of all of Our Father’s creations. Why would our Father make a man or woman gay, and then command them to behave otherwise ? It doesn’t make sense. You have lost sight of our Father’s true intentions. You need to think more on this before you so casually condemn those acting in the name of our Father’s Love.

      • This is so warped I don’t even know where to begin answering. I couldn’t care less if I am “out of step” with the bullies and heretics who push such an agenda on the church.

        What gives some fringe theologians and priests a “true understanding”? Why is their interpretation of the Scriptures suddenly more accurate than everyone else’s?

        “Why would our Father make a man or woman gay, and then command them to behave otherwise ?” To teach us to carry each other’s burdens. We all face temptations. Even the Appstle Paul had a thorn of some kind in his side that he had to bear.

        “You need to think more on this before you so casually condemn those acting in the name of our Father’s Love.” I can assure you I have thought a lot on this. I casually condemn no one. So acting in Our Father’s Love now includes bullying out of the Church anyone who disagrees with your definition?

        BTW, are you related to Tiffany Sparkes?

  9. Okay, this will be my last post on this issue but here are a few more priests that seem to support same sex marriage in the Diocese of Brisbane:

    * Rev Rod Winterton (Saint Mark’s in Warwick) supports it according to this interview: https://m.gympietimes.com.au/news/generational-shift-on-marriage/2690093/ Winterton also notes that, “In my previous parish two of my clergy were gay and in a long-term monogamous relationship”, his previous parish being Green Hills Anglican at Enoggera.

    * Rev Julie Woolner (All Saints Chermside): Has been inspired by Gosford.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/north/all-saints-anglican-church-chermside-takes-a-stand-on-homosexuality/news-story/1d37904e883ddc16c4b9edd6d77a13d9

    These priests/churches may support it. At the very least they are part of the progressive Christian/liberal catholic fold. I do not know for certain and I do not want to bear false witness against my neighbours, which is why I have tried to provide clear evidence for the statements I have made so far. With these ones, I am just inferring from statements on their websites, so I hope they forgive me if I am misinterpreting things. I do not know these priests and I have never attended their parishes:

    * Father Olaf Anderson (Saint Michaels and All Angels, New Farm) – extremely high church and has the same usual codewords on the website: “a genuinely inclusive community that embraces diversity, acceptance and tolerance…” http://stmichaelsnewfarm.org.au/about-us

    * Father Michael Faragher (Christ Church Saint Lucia) – extremely high church and has the codewords on the parish homepage, to quote, “Our diverse and inclusive Parish…” http://www.anglican-stlucia.org

    That’s all I will say on the subject. Researching it more deeply has been an eye-opener for me, especially the links between some Saint Francis’ lecturers, the Westar Institute/Jesus Seminar in the United States and the promotion of the intellectually vacuous ideology of Progressive Christianity in the Diocese and the moral bankruptcy that has resulted amongst those who should be our community’s moral leaders.

    • Andrew, you are not well in your mind. You have lost sight of our Father’s will. Stop defaming good people acting in the spirit of Christ our Lord.

      • Now I see you are just an internet troll. Funny how it is always the pro-Same Sex Marriage crowd and apologists for the Diocese who come up with the abuse. Can’t argue on a factual basis, can you?

  10. Might I suggest to all concerned that if we really want to have some practical Godly input – some action of service toward all our neighbours nationally – then put at least as much effort into the immediate issue at hand as into these other posts. It is not about church navel gazing into who has said what but it’s about the Law of the land and should be about seeking to influence those who may change it. So, have we all contacted our Federal MPs? I have twice (to Tony Smith, yes The Speaker). And have we (individuals, organisation, Synods etc) expressed & reasoned our position to them in ways which make sense to them (& push their buttons – do some research) or just barked our theological opinion? It is NOT simple nor easy – especially to convey a view respectfully which our LISTENER may understand and respect, even if they disagree. Do they go away amazed at how much we still love them even though they might not agree with us?

    I hope we all bear in mind, with some shame, that the reputation battering taken by the Christian Church (& others) – quite justifiably – from the child abuse Royal Commission has burned up a lot of influence we have previously been entrusted with. We need to be very careful what we say & how and, if we really want to be taken seriously by the community we claim to serve, we have much work to regain broad trust again & be understood. Do we care about this?

    And, if anyone is interested, I voted No in the postal survey – because I think the Law should changed so that the legality of the term MARRIAGE is taken off the Statute books altogether for everyone. Remember, this is about the Law of the land, not what God has joined.

  11. I, too, must thank people for being brave enough to speak out. I am
    another Brisbane parishioner who has watched in despair as the Diocese
    of Southern Queensland has degenerated into a pit of immorality and
    bullying. Reading the other comments in this thread has connected
    several things in my mind that I had not considered before. Here is a
    long, rambling post of my own about the endemic problems in the Diocese,
    including the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle and the culture of
    bullying and authoritarianism.

    I have met several of the clergy mentioned here and, I say with great
    sadness and hesitancy that I do not consider them Christians due to
    their actions and lack of ethics. The way in which the play politics and
    bully people – even common parishioners – even threatening litigation in
    some cases I am aware of, speaks volumes. (The one possible exception I
    am curious about is Peter Catt. I have never met him but I have spoken
    to people who have and they believe he is the one genuine, sincere
    person in a fairly rotten hierarchy. He certainly has done admirable
    work in his advocacy for refugees and peace so it is deeply
    disappointing to see him pushing so vigorously same sex marriage and
    euthanasia. Perhaps he is more misguided than anything due to his
    unorthodox ideology and views of the Bible. I would like to meet him. If
    only he could grow towards a more mainstream faith and understanding of
    scriptures.)

    Sadly many parishioners also play this game so that churches are divided
    against themselves into faction, priests and priestesses encouraging
    this in order to build their power bases within parishes.

    Why is there so much bullying and such an authoritarian hierarchy in the
    Diocese of Southern Queensland? I think Andrew partly answers it with
    his quotes from the Progressive Christianity paper. Fueled by this
    fringe ideology, Liberal Catholic priests and parishioners are applying
    its maxims to bully out Christians with traditional beliefs. They want
    diversity and tolerance of different sexuality but will not tolerate
    orthodox Christians. Thus they are prepared to drive away people who
    have often been lifelong Anglicans.

    There is perhaps more to it than that, however. Consider the enigma that
    is Phillip Aspinall. He originally comes from Tasmania. At the time he
    was down there, he was one of the key supporters and assistants of
    Bishop Phillip Newell who was an Anglo-Catholic bishop in a strongly
    evangelical diocese (most of the clergy there were trained at Ridley
    College). Newell was disliked by priests because he was a controlling
    autocrat with a strongly centralising policies). It is likely Aspinall
    learned his leadership style from him.

    After Newell left, the evangelical John Harrower came to power and
    immediately began decentralising the Diocese, thereby giving ministers
    much more autonomy, to their relief. The Diocese has continued to become
    more and more evangelical under Harrower and his successor Richard
    Condie to the point where there are only a handful of Anglo-Catholic
    parishes left, including just one in hobart.

    Aspinall and Newell must have felt quite threatened with so little
    support from ministers and with an ecclesiastical outlook in direct
    contrast to that of most of the clergy!

    Likewise, as stated in other comments above, Jonathan Holland spent his
    early career at Saint James King Street, one of the few Anglo-Catholic
    parishes in profoundly Protestant Sydney, and the most gay-friendly
    church in town at that. Undoubtedly this shaped – but definitely does
    not excuse – his autocratic behaviour and obviously very pro-homosexual
    stance during his time as Bishop of the Northside, with his apparent
    ease at turning a blind eye to the homosexual gatherings at Holy Trinity
    Fortitude Valley and so on. (In fact, these days I have taken to rather
    sardonically calling Saint John’s Cathedral and Holy Trinity Fortitude
    Valley ‘Sodom’ and ‘Gomorrah’ respectively, given their close proximity
    to each other and the way they both revel in gay ‘pride’. In fact, don’t
    even get me started on the Cathedral in general. Leaving aside the
    promotion of sodomy momentarily, why does Aspinall continue to poor huge
    amounts of money into it, such as his recent purchase and blessing of
    statues worth tens of thousands of dollars each for the exterior? The
    Cathedral, with its anachronistic architecture and camp interior of pink
    altars and jewelled crosses is a millstone around the neck of the
    Diocese. Surely the money that has been spent on it would be better used
    feeding the poor, promoting evangelism programs or subsidising
    impoverished Anglican children through the Diocese’s elite schools?)

    Perhaps it is the fear of being marginalised again as they were by the
    tide of evangelicalism in Sydney and Tasmania that has led to this
    authoritarian by the leadership.

    To change subject slightly, the Diocese of Southern Queensland itself is
    a strange place. Despite what many people interstate may think, Brisbane
    is a relatively liberal city. As soon as you go even a few kilometres
    outside the city limits however, you enter an extremely conservative
    area. There are small rural towns all along the western fringes of the
    city that, despite being often as little as twenty minutes’ drive out of
    town, might as well be on another planet. These places exemplify the
    deeply conservative Queensland of the stereotypes – the people are very
    insular and nationalistic, often living in the proverbial 1950s with
    stridently conservative views on many issues, particularly around race,
    patriotism. Do not think fo them as ignorant country hicks however, many
    farmers are extremely wealthy and are powerful backers of the LNP and
    One Nation. The strawberry and beef farmers northwest of Brisbane helped
    fund Wyatt Roy’s campaigns for instance. They are basically a landed
    gentry and although their power is declining as demographics, they still
    wield a considerable amount.

    This rural elite has always been wedded in a strange relationship with a
    very conservative form Anglo-Catholicism, far removed from the
    Anglo-Catholic socialism of the cities of England and perhaps Melbourne.
    However, despite being extremely chauvinist and insular on many issues
    and basically wedded to the hard right politically, the country parishes
    have been quick to accept women priests and the drivers of same sex
    marriage. Perhaps it is their historical antipathy towards Calvinism
    that has led them to be very liberal in matters of identity politics and
    sexuality. Generations of Anglo-Catholicism has perhaps molded them to a
    liberal acceptance of sexual deviance and lower standards of morality.
    People in these towns are more accepting of Peter Catt’s work for same
    sex marriage than they are of his work for peace. Despite the wealth and
    power of these rural parishioners, their insularity in matters noth
    worldly and ecclesiastical means that their knowledge of religion is
    often extremely low and they have virtually no knowledge of
    Protestantism. I was once in a rural Anglo-Catholic parish in a room
    full of mostly life-long Anglican parishioners and when I mentioned the
    word “predestination” not one of them had ever heard of it! They are
    Catholic through and through and it was like I was speaking another
    language to them. Exposure to low church Anglicanism or Protestantism in
    general and its stricter morality, rooted in personal integrity, not
    groupthink patriotism/nationalism, would come as a huge culture shock to
    these rural Queensland Anglicans. Due to their Catholicism, they tend to
    follow the word of the Bishops over the the word of Scripture, so
    folllow their interpretations. If someone who strongly advocated social
    justice on issues other than sexuality and gender politics one day came
    to power in the bishopric though, their political and social
    conservatism would trump that and they would at best ignore the
    teachings of said bishop or, at worst, rebel.

    The culture of bullying and cliques in these churches is very widespread
    too but perhaps that is a reflection of the general factionalism that
    occurs in small insular communities, where for those who think
    differently ostracism is common.

    By contrast, the city parishes are a mix of camp high church
    Anglo-Catholicism and liberal Catholicism. As Andrew pointed out, it is
    curious that they so rapidly adopt identity politics causes but not
    other social justice issues, at least not through traditional Anglican
    structures.

    The focus on Anglo-Catholicism in rural and city parishes has meant
    there is little to no focus on studying the scriptures, especially
    privately, no exposition in sermons, no evangelism and no preaching of
    Christian morality or ethics. With Progressive Christianity now being
    “welded” onto Anglo-Catholicism, notions of soteriology, sin and
    repentance are all being thrown away. Instead “love” is preached but, as
    stated above, it is not a traditional understanding of Christian
    understanding of love. It is a love that means tolerating all sin,
    without any notion at all of repentance. The only unforgivable sin is
    intolerance of sin, for which you will be driven from your church.
    There is a conformist group think at work. Diversity of sexuality and
    race is welcome but diverse interpretations of the Bible are not
    welcome, particularly if they contradict the mandates of progressive
    Christianity or feature calls to repentance. Just as in the traditional
    rural parishes if anyone questions the conservative values of patriotism
    they are bullied out of the church, in the emerging liberal catholic
    ones, rural or urban, questioning progressive Christianity also leads to
    parishioners being ostracised and even threatened.

    It is revealing to me to learn of the links between Saint Francis’
    College, the flawed, agenda-driven “findings” of the Jesus Seminar and
    the push to introduce the fringe Bible interpretations of Progressive
    Christianity. I probably should not have been surprised to learn that
    this junk is being forced on us from a liberal fringe in the United
    States. Why do we always so blindly accept everything coming out of
    America? Why are the Saint Francis’ scholars so readily following the
    lead of some very marginal US academics, who are treated as a joke by
    the mainstream? It always struck me that people like Marcus Borg were
    trying to share their own doubts with others, to either validate
    themselves or hope someone would rebut them strongly enough to convince
    them of the error of their ways. Even MT Wright couldn’t convince Borg
    to come over to orthodoxy though, no matter how many sound arguments he
    presented. Who in serious academic theological circles actually takes
    the Jesus Seminar seriously these days, when the agendas of those who
    created it have been so thoroughly exposed? Why are they now taking
    onboard the warped, bias interpretations of Progressive Christianity and
    ignoring mainstream scholarship? Why are they so readily taking the
    twisted interpretations of a few fringe scholars from America and making
    it the new orthodoxy in Brisbane, when these interpretations are so
    widely rejected in the wider world?

    It is the flaw of a state church to always want to ingratiate itself to
    Government and the culture of the day instead of standing apart
    counter-culturally, so I guess Progressive Christianity provides the
    Diocese of Southern Queensland with a mechanism to do this, allowing it
    to support the populist Same Sex Marriage and identity politics
    movements, never mind how many people it leads to hell as a result and
    never mind the secularists pushing for same sex marriage simply don’t
    care what the church thinks anyway.

    Ultimately, despite this ongoing promotion of same sex marriage by so
    many Brisbane priests, the Diocese of Southern Queensland is not a ‘gay’
    place; rather, it is a very sad Diocese, filled with bullying, an
    autocratic hierarchy, threats of litigation. There remain small clusters
    of faithful orthodox Anglicans who have been marginalised or alienated
    but their voices are not heard and neither are the words of scripture.
    That has been replaced by homilies on pseudo-“love”, tolerance and
    diversity and nary a word on repentance, sinfulness, sacrifice, ethics,
    integrity, sanctification or Godliness.

    ADDENDUM:
    Geoff, I just saw your post – it appeared while I was composing mine.
    I think these issues are inter-related – the entire culture of the
    Diocese is toxic and the Progressive Christianity and culture of
    bullying out those who dissent on the issue of gay marriage has led to
    the problem at hand with regard to this Synod motion. I completely
    agree that churches have lost credibility with regard to the child sex
    abuse but that means more openness and transparency is needed, not more
    caution about what is being said. Let’s have these conversations. The
    culture of cover ups and protection of the establishment has led to this
    culture.

    Yes, the churches in particular and other institutions have lost
    credibility in the eyes of the public but I think there are other issues
    as well: whilst we have been wrangling over female priests, gay marriage
    and such issues for years, secular Green groups have stepped in and
    taken the churches’ places as the de factor moral authorities in our
    society. They were quick to speak out on issues like global warming,
    nuclear disarmament, etc, when the churches (with notable exceptions)
    failed to do so. Regaining that moral authority and the trust of the
    public is going to be extremely difficult and I do not see dioceses like
    this one taking any real tangible steps to do so.

    • I work in the CBD and I do not go to the Cathedral now either. I just have a sense God is telling me not to go in there anymore. I started feeling it for a while and then last year the “Gay-e-Tea” signs appeared and then a few other homosexual promotion events.

      I have never heard it called “Sodom” before but I have heard it called “Aspinall’s Folly” because of the amount of money Phillip Aspinall has wasted on it that could have been given to the poor. To think that Catt has the temerity to complain about the Sydney Anglicans giving a million dollars to the “No” campaign to uphold Christian doctrine, when he and Aspinall have wasted tens of millions finishing that ridiculous, anachronistic building!

      There is something “off” about the whole place – could be the prominent money boxes you see right in the middle, the camp crosses, the Anglo-Catholic feel of the Lady’s Chapel, etc, the eccentricity of the floor labyrinth, as well as all of the promotion of homosexual rights. Also, something else that struck me the last time I went in was all the quotations on the banners promoting the environment, and refugees, etc, which are extremely good causes in themselves but not one of the quotations came from Scripture. God’s Word was not really on display.

      I guess I prefer plain, whitewashed or unadorned walls and simple, low church services. The blatant, in-your-face promotion of sin is the deciding factor though.

      • LOL about “Aspinall’s Folly.” Yes, it is an extravagant waste that could be put towards helping those in need. Anglo-Catholic ritualism is more focused on buildings, liturgies and theatrics than on doctrine, though, leaving a hollowness. When I read about Aspinall paying tens of thousands for those statues and blessing them, I was sickened.

        Don’t get me wrong – I love the arts so I appreciate the statues on an aesthetic level and the arts community needs the support of patronage.

        However, I do not think statues are appropriate in Churches – it stinks too much of Romanism, especially the fact of the “blessing”. Also, I do not think it is appropriate for the Church to be a patron of the arts when there are so many people in need. Leave that to secular bodies and private benefactors.

    • I can confirm a lot of what is being said here about rural parishes. I have relatives and friends who attend the church at Kilcoy on the Sunshine Coast hinterland. They are active in the parish but stand apart from its culture for the most part because they identify as Protestants instead. They feel like outsiders there.

      What is being said here about the rural parts of the Diocese is basically correct: most of the people up there are hardline right-wingers with a very, very narrow view of the world and of Christianity. They are also very, very Anglo-Catholic in these country towns. (In fact, they were one of the first parishes to sign an agreement document of common understanding with the local Roman Catholic Church, just to show how closely linked the two are.) One woman there, whom I will not name, even had a veneration for the Shroud of Turin.

      Most of them dislike Protestantism, maybe partly through ignorance. In, fact, would not know a Calvinistic or Puritan doctrine if it came up and bit them. What low church Anglicans consider normal is completely foreign in these towns.

      Unfortunately, they can be unpleasant places. My relatives at Kilcoy have heard people making racist comments about Muslims, Indians, etc before the service starts. It is “RSL comes first, God second” at these towns. My relatives have seen bullying and groupthink and – ironically enough – rejection of people holding orthodox Anglican views by the Anglo-Catholic right wingers, who think there way is the only way.

      Here, though, is the funny thing: despite the racism, the bullying, the hard-right politics, the narrow-mindedness and the bigotry, the people up there are really open towards homosexuality. At one stage, they actually had an openly gay trainee priest, Brother John, doing his internship, and they were all over him like a rash (apparently they didn’t realise he was very much part of the Diocese homosexual community at first but when someone saw his FaceBook page they saw he was a gay rights activist). It didn’t bother them in the slightest. It is a bigger sin to be a Calvinist or a Christian socialist than to be actively homosexual up there.

      As stated above, presumably it is because they are accustomed to having gay priests at times because they are Anglo-Catholic and it just goes with the territory… This, though, is why I think the “Yes” vote will almost certainly win although I am strongly in the “No” camp – even older, rural, hard-right ultra-conservatives seem to be for it. I can definitely imagine many of the Kilcoy crowd will vote yes, though a few people like my relatives, will be dissenters and vote no.

      Anyway, eventually the trainee priest left and then the incumbent minister retired because his wife was ill and the parish was given a new priest. This time, it was a woman. Again, they had no problem with that. I think it may partly be that they tend to blindly obey the bishops given how hierarchical the Diocese is. Being Anglo-Catholic there is a lot less focus on reading Scripture for one’s self and making up one’s own mind about it.

      Anyway, their new woman priest arrived and it was none other than your friend, Jeanette Jamieson. I can confirm that what has been written about her is true. My relatives found her very rude and overbearing so she alienated some people straight away. She had fairly hard views herself and some people up there compared her to a extreme comic parody version of Annastacia Palaszczuk.

      She formed a fact with a very unsavory laywoman named Margaret Pearson who had left the Lutheran Church under a heavy cloud and had become an Anglo-Catholic. They, along with the Parish Council, started to do some unethical and even allegedly illegal things that I will not document here. Rather, I will say that Jeanette Jamieson drove out people opposed to the pro-gay agenda and also showed a distinct dislike towards anyone with low Church or traditional Christian socialist/peace tendencies. There was bullying, ostracism and lying as she and Margaret Pearson set out to control the Church. Pearson had totally rejected her Lutheran past and was very much a Liberal Catholic just like Jamieson. (Jamieson had a strong high church focus and emphasised the Mass and liturgy and even set up a choir.) The Gospel was no longer being taught in that church. Her sermons were glib and insincere with a focus on identity politics.

      Jeanette Jamieson promoted the gay agenda in her sermons which were rarely Biblically based (expositionary preaching was not her strong point.) There was never any talk of penitence or sin or repentance. It was all about the usual agenda of “love” and “tolerance” and “welcoming all”, except for those she had already disagreed with as listed above. People were willing to give Jeanette Jamieson some leeway because her husband had died shortly after she commenced at the church but this eventually wore off as she alienated more people and her lack of ethics was on show.

      People like my relatives, long time supporters of the church, wanted to leave but if you live in an isolated country town like Kilcoy there are not many other options. You cannot simply drive to another church. Eventually, however, Jeanette Jamieson did leave and people were relieved to see her go. The division and problems she and her clique on the parish council caused will linger for a long time though.

      In some ways, perhaps the people reaped what they sowed – they had no problems with gay or women priests, so they ended up with a figure who promoted both and damaged the fabric of what had been a stable church enormously. They lost the few voices of dissent, including all the people with better understandings of the Bible.

      The Parish of Kilcoy apparently now has a “reputation” in the Diocese for bullying because of Jamieson’s parish council clique and some priests have allegedly actively avoided placement there. I understand Jeanette Jamieson has a “reputation” too around the Sunshine Coast as word about her bullying and hypocrisy and unethical actions spread on the grapevine. In hindsight, some Kilcoy people I have spoken to feel that she was basically an arrogant bully who was drunk on power and intent on pushing her personal agenda.

      More positively, there is hope that the culture at Kilcoy will change. Both Kilcoy and Woodford (where the parish has a small daughter church) are expanding and sub-dividing. They are slowly transforming from rural to semi-rural areas. As the old guard dies off (most of the parishioners are elderly), hopefully new blood will be injected into the church to transform it. One positive thing that happened was that, when the small Lutheran Church at Woodford closed, the remaining handful of Lutherans joined the Anglicans to worship at their service (this group were nothing to do with Pearson). My relatives tell me it is really noticeable to see how the Lutherans have a much higher ethical standard than the Anglo-Catholics, so that alone can help bring about cultural change.

      I, myself, am lucky to have grown up in a low church Anglican environment, firmly rooted in Calvinism. I did not appreciate it enough when I was young but I am so glad to have this firm foundation now. My heart goes out to people like Daniel Gullotta who maybe did not have this firm foundation and have found themselves blow in the wind when crisis strikes in their lives. I am also so grateful to have a grounding in the Bible so that I can tune my conscience to it and be alert to these false doctrines of gay rights and women priests and bullying and hypocrisy being promoted by the likes of Jeanette Jamieson and the “little popes” high up in the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Diocese. I have even heard stories of priests in Adelaide warning Anglicans intent on moving to Brisbane to go to the Presbyterian Church instead of finding an Anglican parish, because Brisbane is so unorthodox and has such a bad reputation now.

      • Thanks for responding, James.

        Yes, it is hard to understand the culture of the rural parishes, so thanks for explaining, James and Frederic. They have much in common with the redneck, far-right mindset southern United States but infused with Anglo-Catholicism rather than Southern Baptist Convention theology. The fact that they are ultra-conservative but are open to the homosexual agenda and to women priests is telling of how deeply entrenched the Anglo-Catholic mindset is. TheAnglicans there can be wealthy and powerful but lack education and culture, so fall into ultra-conservative politics. This becomes infused with Anglo-Catholic ritualism. They miss out on the depth and doctrinal soundness of Protestantism as a result.

        It is sobering to think that many small country towns only have a Roman Catholic and an Anglican Church, so there is no access to Protestant teaching. I know there are Presbyterian and Lutheran churches at some places like Glasshouse and Landsborough but things change as you head further inland and they become a lot rarer. These towns are potentially rich mission fields for church planting since Protestantism hasn’t reached out there yet, even in the 21st Century. it could help rural youth with no spiritual home who see through the meaningless rituals and spiritual emptiness of Anglo-Catholicism.

        It is positive to consider the culture is changing in some towns, which again leads credence to the possibility that they are rich mission fields. As they urbanise and as people move from the country to the city, things will continually change. Most of the entrenched Anglo-Catholics are now elderly so their culture will most likely die with them over the next decade and hopefully something much more positive and Biblically-based will emerge in its place.

  12. Thanks for your responses, Geoff and Frederic.

    Geoff, like Frederic, I have mixed feelings about what you are saying. I am a fairly strong advocate of laicite (separation of Church and State) but I don’t know exactly where the boundaries on that should be drawn in Australia. When you say things like “I hope we all bear in mind, with some shame, that the reputation battering taken by the Christian Church (& others) – quite justifiably – from the child abuse Royal Commission has burned up a lot of influence we have previously been entrusted with” I wonder if we ever should have had that influence in wider society to begin with.

    I strongly oppose same sex marriage and I voted against it but I wonder how much of a role the Church should have in dictating on this issue. If anything, I am far, far more worried about the Diocese of Brisbane advocating for gay marriage than secular society supporting it. Let me put it this way: if same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia, the Diocese of Brisbane will definitely have it within 10 years. That is what they have been laying the groundwork for with the posters outside the Cathedral and this synod motion. I suspect they will use an “opt-in” model like some churches have overseas, so that individual parishes will have the right to conduct or refuse same-sex marriages.

    Secondly, I strongly support Fredric’s comment that more transparency is needed. I know ordinary parishioners within the Diocese who were opposed to the Royal Commission itself because they didn’t want the Diocese’s dirty linen aired in public. The ongoing culture of bullying in the Diocese shows the culture of secrecy has not gone away. Things need to be spoken about openly. The Diocese of Brisbane is a very sick place and the Synod motion is only one symptom of it. We need to “navel gaze” to reflect on why things are so badly wrong in Brisbane. People will only respect us once we put our house in order.

    Fredric, I agree about the power of the Anglo-Catholic “landed gentry” in the rural parishes of the Diocese. It is amazing to see such an ultra-conservative class of people so readily accept women priests and also, apparently, the acceptance of homosexuality in the priesthood, when they are deeply opposed to other “liberal” causes like global warming, the anti-war movement, etc. I wonder what kind of influence such a politically conservative class has on the Diocese. Geographically, they are quite removed from Cathedral Square but I know of at least one who used to lobby Bishop Holland over issues from time to time.

    Your comments about John Harrower point to a way out of the current mess in Brisbane. By delegating power, he broke the old hierarchy. Something like that is needed in Brisbane. A delegation of authority would make the Diocese more transparent, hopefully rid much of the climate of bullying and fear and empower priests to work more effectively within their grassroots parishes, and hopefully lead to a change of culture in those parishes where bullying and factionalism currently occur, particularly in the country towns.

    I have been trying to get a bit more of a grasp on who Peter Catt is by reading his Twitter history to see his own words. He basically is of the “loony left”. He is deeply “liberal Catholic”. He is no pacifist so no wonder he has never reached out to an organization like the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship. See here for his support of the military:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/put-war-veterans-before-monuments-rev/news-story/6e3720c2e642a7a71c74e39e707e555d

    He also reiterates his support in several tweets, such as supporting the Navy during the asylum seeker controversies.

    In another tweet (29 March 2014), he makes this “interesting” statement: “I long for the day when the term ‘politically progressive Christianity’ is recognized as the tautology it is”

    Source: https://twitter.com/DeanPeterCatt/status/450083363575963648

    I take that to mean that he basically wants to turn the Diocese of Brisbane into “the Greens Party at Prayer”. He seems to espouse stereotypical a modern-day Greens viewpoint with the move away from pacifism towards identity politics issues, whilst maintaining an environmentalist and pro-euthanasia outlook. The Greens Party has been heading in this direction for about two decades.

    What does this Tweet by Catt say to Christians with more conservative views on identity politics issues such as women in the ministry and same sex marriage? Will they be welcome in the Church anymore? Do statements like this endorse the bullying out/ostracism of those with conservative or even traditional socialist views, like the pacifists and those more interested in the plight of the poor than the rights of gays to marry? Conflating Church and politics like this is quite chilling to be honest, if he means by it you cannot be Christian in his view *unless* you support same-sex marriage. So much for “diversity” and “tolerance”.

    Catt is effectively the Diocese’ spokesman in the media these days, so we can assume the hierarchy, including Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, endorses his views – presumably Aspinall is using him as a mouthpiece so that he can distance himself in case there is a backlash against anything said later down the track.

    Again, dear Father, I pray for the Diocese, that the Gospel may be taught once more and not in a way that it is warped by the “progressive” interpretations by some fringe theologians from America. May our leaders have the intellectual honesty to return to the mainstream to guide their flocks faithfully in Your way and into be lead astray by largely discredited ideas. May the worldly cult of identity politics be rejected in favour of the Sermon on the Mount, where peacemakers and the meek are blessed and care for the poor is mandated. May we remember that “love” does not also mean tolerating willful, continual sin, when we are told that from true commands of love hang all the laws and the prophets, including laws that illustrate what “love” truly means in order to guide us, laws that, amongst many other things, forbid all forms of sexual immorality, including sodomy.

    May we also remember that in calling for forgiveness, Jesus entreats the lady caught in sexual immorality – and all of us, by extension – to “go and sin no more” and he also warns of the punishment that awaits sinners, particularly hypocritical religious leaders. Let us heed those words of warning and balance them wisely with Your other words forgiveness and love that we may awaken to the correct balance and true understanding one day.

    Please, dear Father, awaken the clergy of the Diocese of Brisbane before it is too late. May they not lead their flock astray through their willful errors. Please awaken all of us to your Word. May bold leaders arise who break down the hierarchy and who may set up a culture of delegated authority and transparency in Your Church, that child abuse, bullying, ostracism and factionalism may end and that a safe, loving, morally rigorous environment may emerge once more.

    In the name of Your Son, Jesus our Lord, Amen.

  13. Thanks for your response, Andrew.

    Yes, I definitely agree that if the same-sex marriage survey returns a “Yes” vote, the Diocese of Southern Queensland will follow and we will see homosexual marriage services in some parishes in just a few years. 🙁 🙁 🙁 Instead of standing apart from the world, the Diocese is intent on following it in order to remain “relevant” instead of following the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I think there is a lot of merit in the other things you say. This is essentially a case of the Old Left (consisting of both Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical) Christian Socialists and Pacifists, who cared about peacemaking and feeding the poor, being driven out by the New Left (consisting of Liberal Catholics) Identity Politics crowd, who care about feminism and same-sex marriage and seem to have a deep dislike of their predecessors.

    This explains the rise of people like Peter Catt, Jeremy Greaves, Tiffany Sparks, Jeanette Jamieson, etc, etc, who share so little in common with traditional left wing Christians and are apparently so intent on driving out of the Church those with different views, even if they are ostensibly on the Christian Left.

    BTW, it is interesting to note that the minutes from the last day of the 2017 Synod still haven’t been published on the Diocese of Southern Queensland website a few weeks later,,. The minutes for the first two days went up fairly quickly. It was on the last day that the debate around the marriage motion occurred as well as, I believe, the motion to endorse the transgender priest/theologian, Jonathan Inkpin. I am eager to read exactly what transpired there, although Reverend Ould already seems to have covered it accurately on this page.

    Finally, yes we definitely need our own mini-Reformation in Brisbane and a return to the preaching of the Gospel and our priests and bishops need to be held to basic ethical standards. Transparency and accountability are required!freder

  14. Thanks for all responses – I appreciate the sustained discussion! I shall unpack more what I previously hinted – that this is several issues, not one (as I petitioned to my Federal MP!).

    re the issue of marriage at all : Do we all acknowledge that the current survey & proposed parliamentary action is solely about the Law of the land? Only. When anybody has a traditional marriage service in a church with a minister who says (words to the effect of) “What God has joined let noone put asunder” – all of that matters not one jot legally. Neither does the invocation of God in all that is said. It may well be that these actions are more significant to all those AT the wedding (including the Bride & Groom) than the legal framework they may be entering – and may even hold them in a stronger bond than that framework. Only if the celebrant is empowered under the Commonwealth Marriage Act (as an agent of the State) and does as they are instructed therein then they may effect a legal marriage. Try reading that Act – and the relevant part of the Constitution re marriage law, which is solely about “peace, order & good government”. Only. Not about love, or creating children, or sex (or with whom), or kindness, or respect. It’s about a willful union to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. And I agree that these aspects are what are needed for peace, order & good government. The current question is whether the “man & a woman” bit is crucial to these ends? I don’t agree with the scenario of so-called “open marriages”, where the sex is shared around (any more than I disagree with SSM) but the current law does not prevent that. I don’t hear anybody objecting to open marriages? I wish voices from within the Church, not just from convention but in proportionate response to observed social suffering (ie. our neighbours), would focus more on fighting for “union to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life” and less on the genders involved. Divorce (& preceding Separation & preceding relationship breakdown) of ANYBODY does more damage & is the greater social evil than the marriage of same gender people. What are we doing – SHOULD we be doing – to make marriages better at all levels for everybody? Why aren’t we lobbying for something like compulsory marriage preparation workshops for all engaged couples?

    Some years ago (June 2015) several senior (Christian) government Ministers – Scott Morrison & Philip Ruddock – went public with a view that I wish would get up : change the Law of the land to create gender-blind Civil Unions only (not marriage) and leave marriage as such, as a non-legal optional rite, to the tradition of choice for the families involved. As is similarly played out in several other countries.

    Should the Church have had wide societal influence at all? Only if we attract society and they freely choose to follow – follow Jesus as we claim to – not because we hide behind old legal structures to which we perhaps have lost legitimate claim. I am so weary of all the Church antics. I struggle on but our neighbours outside – the vast majority of the population – have just moved on & we don’t seem to notice. And I wonder if we even care? This Royal Commission re child abuse is doing truly Godly work re justice and caring for the defenceless – where the Church has both failed to respond and, in many cases, BEEN the problem. The arrogance & aloof indifference with which some Church leaders spoke to the RC is breath-taking. I await the bombshell that is dropped when their Case Study #42 findings are released (re Newcastle Anglican Diocese).

    That will do for now . . .

  15. Thanks for responding again, Geoff.

    “Some years ago (June 2015) several senior (Christian) government Ministers – Scott Morrison & Philip Ruddock – went public with a view that I wish would get up : change the Law of the land to create gender-blind Civil Unions only (not marriage) and leave marriage as such, as a non-legal optional rite, to the tradition of choice for the families involved. As is similarly played out in several other countries.”

    Hmmmm…. Yes, this is a bit like what they have in France: over there, all weddings are conducted by state officials (usually the mayor). The couple can then have a Church rite in addition but this has no legal standing. I agree this would simplify things and remove some of the problems we are having here and feeds into my belief in stronger separation of Church and State than we have currently.

    “The arrogance & aloof indifference with which some Church leaders spoke to the RC is breath-taking.”

    Definitely!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 I watched a lot of it over live-streaming and it was shocking to see.

  16. Yes, the Royal Commission really ripped a veil away and showed the arrogance of these bishops to the world. I just hope it meets the needs of the victims.

    Given the extent of child abuse and the cover ups, it seems little wonder that there is also a culture of bullying of adults by priests and bishops and congregational factions over doctrinal issues in the Diocese. It is all part of the same, legalistic, Pharisaic culture.

    Marriage should definitely be one man and one woman. I never though I’d see the day when the majority of priests in the Diocese would openly be endorsing sinful depravity. Interesting that both secular and religious promoters of same sex marriage always talk about “love” but never mention the depraved physical acts involved in this kind of relationship or the health risks. They so not confront the reality -they have a strange, fantasy, idealised view of homosexual lifestyles.

    I can definitely see a split coming in the Church when Brisbane eventually starts conducting same sex marriages which will happen if this is passed. aspinall and Holland have always disliked Sydney and place heavy restrictions on what Moore College graduates can do if they come to Brisbane. I cannot see the Australian communion staying together if Brisbane revels in sin. It could end up like the split between Uniting and Presbyterian. Trouble is that polarises things even more – Uniting are now super liberal politically correct types and rump Presbyterians have become too hardline conservative and have some very extreme positions themselves that are sinful in their own way.

    Sad thing is people like Catt are deluded if they think this will attract more congregagnts to Anglicanism. Secular same sex marriage proponents nearly all have deep hatred of the Church and this move will only drive more of the faithful to other churches. Lutheran is looking good for me…

    Strange that rural parishioners so readily accept gays and women priests when they are ultra conservative in other areas. No wonder so much of the LNP are on the bandwagon. It also makes me more convinced the same sex marriage survey will pass.

    I tend to agree with the No case about flow on effects with regard to Safe Schools, threats of litigation, stifling of freedom of conscience and so on. I do not think this is unwarranted fear mongering. If conscientious objection is denied to proverbial baker and florist on whatever matters will it be denied, such as conscription if/when a major war erupts? Truly frightening.

    Brisbane Anglicans might reap a whirlwind if they ever step out of line with what is taught in schools or churches even if ostensibly pro-gay. There is potentially all kinds of litigation. The militant gay lobby won’t stop at marriage and Briabane Anglicans are walking straight into this.

    Can’t believe people would vote yes without even seeing the legislation. We have no idea of the implications which is why I feel negative no campaign is so warranted.

    All we can do now is cling to Christ and his teachings while our shepherd priests reveal themselves to be wolves.

  17. Christ IS Love. For all of his Father’s Creation. How can you not see that ? Christ our Lord would be sick to his stomach at all of you, so casually defaming those who do no more than spread his core message of Love.

  18. Christ is indeed Love but he also brings a call to repentance. That is exactly what we are saying. The message of the Gospel is unbalanced if repentance is omitted. Omitting this is turning Christ’s message back against itself by twsting and warping it, to validate sin.

    There is no “casual defaming” here. I have been careful to provide links to back every assertion. Everything is in the public domain.

    For that matter, here is another female priest/Saint Francis Theological College lecturer who stated in the media yesterday that she supports same-sex marriage:

    * Dr Cathy Laufer, priest in charge of Coolum: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-11/archbishop-defends-1m-donation-to-same-sex-marriage-no-campaign/9040322

  19. Hello Andrew

    Yes, it is best to ignore internet cranks like Albert Sparkes. It was sadly predictable that people like him would start posting on this thread eventually, especially when you were brave enough to start naming names.

    I love how he repeats the “God is love” chant over and over in his posts and then shows himself to be so “loving” that he just turns around and starts bullying you and accusing you of being mentally ill – for holding traditional Anglican positions.

    He accuses you of defaming (which you obviously took very special care not to do by citing every single claim) and then he defames you himself.

    Albert, thank you for providing further evidence of the culture of bullying within the church by the Liberal Catholic crowd. Apparently anyone who does not support the “yes” vote or Pope Albert’s one true interpretation of the Bible is to be abused and bullied online.

    Andrew, you could probably sue Albert if you are so inclined.

    On a happier note, I am glad to see the Sydney Anglican Diocese put its money where its mouth is and donate $1 million dollars to the “No” campaign. Peter Catt is fuming this morning: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/1-million-to-oppose-gay-marriage-why-do-i-persist-with-the-church-20171011-p4ywev.html

    The Brisbane Diocese *still* hasn’t put up the minutes from the last day of the Synod but they have posted an interesting file of statistics related to Church attendance: https://anglicanchurchsq.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Annual_Return_2016_Synod.pdf

    Probably the most telling figure is that average Sunday Church attendance across the Diocese has dropped by a massive 7% in just four years. Meanwhile, conservative Sydney is holding steady. That says a lot about the real appeal of this twisted liberal Catholic/progressive theology of Albert and his mates. It is driving away core Christians from the Church. Those who actually turn up on Sundays are the ones who are now fleeing.

  20. I have been lurking on this page for a while, following the conversation. I applaud people like Andrew and Frederic for having the courage to speak up. I can affirm that what they describe is what I have witnessed, too.

    Shame on you, Albert, for your ad hominen attacks on people whose views are not the same as yours. This just proves that people are right about the culture of bullying within the Diocese. It is interesting that the bullying all seems to come from the “Yes” camp. “Christ is Love” seems to equate to a belief in permissive culture for you people. You have no shame about launching personal attacks on those with different views. So much for your “tolerance” and “love”. How far the church has fallen.

    I just want to share my personal story. I have grown up in the Anglican Church and I have been a faithful believer all my life. I moved to Brisbane with my parents some years ago and it was a culture shock to see how different Anglicanism is here from other places on the eastern seaboard, where low church evangelicalism thrives and ministers still have very high moral standards. At first we tried to fit in with this “liberal Catholic” culture but the promotion of homosexuality has been too much.

    The constant pushing of the gay agenda by people like Peter Catt has finally driven my parents away to another denomination. My mother was extremely grief-stricken that she feels she has to leave the church she has served all her life in order to preserve her moral standards and remain faithful to Christ. That is the real world effect these ideologists like Catt are having.

    I personally stayed with the Church a bit longer (I attended a different parish once I left home.) The thing is though that I am soon hoping to start a family of my own. My wife and I have made a decision we do not want to raise our child in a Brisbane Anglican Church. It has nothing to do with a fear of paedophile priests (fortunately, we have never ever encountered one of these in all our years of church-going). Instead, we are concerned about the permissive culture and lack of sexual morals being promoted by the Diocese.

    We want to raise our children in the firm understanding that homosexual activity is sinful and that heterosexual couples “living together” before marriage is also sinful. Of course, we would teach this in an age-appropriate way. Later, when they reach their teens and have a fuller understanding of these issues they can make up their own minds but, to begin with, it will be my duty as a parent to guide my children as best I can and to provide them with a bedrock of good faith and morals.

    Unfortunately, they are not going to hear such basic moral teachings in the Anglican Church in Brisbane, which is why we are going elsewhere. I have also witnessed firsthand the culture of bullying that is being described here. How can I send a child to a church where the ministers themselves repeatedly fail in their duties to be social role models?

  21. I made a mistake above. The troll’s screen name is Alfred Sparkes, not Albert. My point about the hypocrisy of his name-calling and defamation still stands.

    Leaving him aside, since I have wasted enough energy on him, I thought I’d engage with something else that was raised in the discussion above. When you all discuss the New Left that the Liberal Catholics embody, it reminds me of some of the articles on the WSWS website (I am definitely no communist but I sometimes go there for an alternative view of the news.)

    The WSWS journalists frequently accuse other left-wing organisations of being “pseudo-left”. This is partly propaganda on their part as they are trying to promote themselves as the one true heir of communist ideals. They have a point however. When groups like the Greens and Labour (and the Democrats in the USA) promote identity politics issues like feminism and gay rights and other politically correct fads, they are doing absolutely nothing to help further the interests of the working class or promote internationalism, world peace, etc. In that sense they are a “pseudo-left” because they have left behind the core values of the old left. They have also lost the working class as a voting bloc as well. (Paul Keating lost working class Australians who drifted right and became “Howard’s Battlers.” The Greens have always courted middle class support, not that of the working class.)

    I can see the same thing here with what you are saying about Peter Catt, Tiffany Sparks and co. They really are typical of the pseudo-left Green voters: they are heavily engaged in promoting middle class identity politics causes around sexuality with a bit of a tip of the hat towards asylum seekers but doing nothing to help the working poor or promote peace. I think that was the point of your post. We can correlate that with the collapse in Anglican numbers. People like me are leaving because of the moral decline and others are leaving because the Anglican Diocese is focused on being a pseudo-left group like the Greens and working people see through that. The political correctness offers them nothing in terms of the social justice or moral support, which they look for from the Church.

  22. Thanks for your support, Frederic and Martin. Thanks also for sharing your personal story, Martin. It sounds like you will be a very good father since you are already thinking about how to raise your children well.

    I am sorry you have to leave the Church but I can understand that since it is what I am considering myself. I am very sorry for your parents. I presume there are many more people like them out there making the same hard decisions. I can definitely see a split coming the communion in Australia in our lifetimes, as Sydney and Perth and Brisbane are diametrically opposed on these issues now.

    • LOL – I managed to get the troll’s name wrong, too, which shows how much attention I pay to people like him. The only interesting thing I take away is how defensive pro-sodomy, sorry pro-love, types like Alfred Sparkes must be if they take to childish name calling online. He can’t use the Bible to defend his position. As Rowan Williams famously sais, “It is very hard to come up with a pro-homosexual position” from scripture. The paucity of Alfred’s position is reflected in his comments. All he can do is chant about love -love drained of all depth of meaning – and abuse his opponents.

      Martin, yes I am familiar with WSWS. I think it is accurate to say the situation is the same. Peter Catt, Tiffany Sparks and their identity politics crowd have nothing at all in common with old school Christian Socialism. The Old Left who cared for the poor, have been driven away by the current crop of clergy. Now the war is between the Liberal Catholic identity politics crowd I Brisbane and the conservative form of Calvinism in Sydney. All the while, Brisbane is losing parishioners left, right and centre.

      Of course in a liberal Catholic diocese, women priests and gay AngloCatholics are going to want to push the ideologies of feminism nd same sex marriage though to cement their positions. Never mind the poor and weak and lowly who are begging to hear the Gospel though.

      Sosorry to hear you and your parents and wife are among those driven away. Possibly a good thing to be out of it with the church imploding. Hope they found somewhere where the gospel is taught with fidelity.

  23. Frederic, yes that is how I understand it. Also it is interesting that there are as many people in favour of same-sex marriage on the right of politics as there are on the left in the general public. The ABC did a breakdown of it – the only factor that differentiates support is if people live in the inner city, they are more likely to be in favour than those who live in outer suburbia or the countryside, where the support drops closer to 50-50. Political allegiance doesn’t matter so much. That probably explains why in the comments above, so many “conservative” people in country parishes are in support of it.

    The same is true on other issues – there are just as many “hawks” on the left of politics now as there are on the right. Shorten, Blair, Hillary are all just like their right wing counterparts. Joscha Fischer is the most pro-war person in Germany and he is the leader of the Greens! Merkel is much more pacifist and she is the conservative. I can see our Greens heading further down the Fischer path now.

    Although I am a fairly young person, I would probably see myself as a Christian socialist of the old school – a “Calvinist socialist” if such a thing can exist. The new left’s identity politics has completely alienated me though. I have nothing in common with them. I have seen the bullying myself of people driven from the church (I am not talking about my parents or wife now. I am speaking of friends who were pushed out of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane by priests and parishioners because they had more Calvinist views.)

    If I were living in a Calvinist parish in a Diocese like Sydney or Hobart, my parents and I would be back in the Anglican fold in a flash but I know so many people who will never set foot inside a Brisbane parish again because of how they have been treated.

    In response to Blair Martin above, you are brave to come forward and post in your own name. Thank you for acknowledging you are the person behind the Cathedral’s sponsorship of gay pride. I am another person who does not feel comfortable in that building. By walking in past those signs it seems like I am endorsing to passersby that I am comfortable with a pro-same sex marriage position when I am not. Furthermore, inside I find the atmosphere sordid. As per my comments above, I see myself as fairly Calvinist so I am far removed from Roman Catholicism but I find myself much more comfortable with the atmosphere in the Brisbane Roman Catholic Cathedral than I do in the Anglican Cathedral. That’s the honest truth.

  24. It is great to see here in print what I have been thinking for a long time. There is definitely a culture of bullying and legalism in the Diocese of Southern Queensland. I have witnessed incidents myself. There is an arrogance about the leadership of the Diocese that lends itself to promoting this kind of culture.

    Someone above said Brisbane needs its own mini-reformation. I agree but perhaps Brisbane first needs its own Savonarola to clear the way by pointing out the decadence and corruption in the Diocese and call people back to a more pure spiritual path. I leave it to God to do what is best. I trust fully in Him.

  25. I forgot to add some points yesterday: Peter Catt is not just the Dean of the Cathedral and founder of A Progressive Christian Voice. If anyone is unaware, he is also the head of the Diocese of Southern Queensland’s “Social Responsibilities Committee”. This committee is responsible for developing the Diocese’s social justice policies. This includes identity politics issues. That way, Phillip Aspinall can distance himself from the policies if there is a backlash against them.

    Likewise, Jeremy Greaves has taken over from Jonathan Holland as the Bishop of the Northern half of the Diocese. Jonathan Holland is now the Bishop directly responsible for Saint Francis’ Theological College, which has always been his hobby horse. This means he is directly responsible for the group pushing “progressive theology” and Westar Institute-derived agendas in the Diocese.

    These are the people driving the culture in the Diocese. The culture of fear,intimidation, legal threats and driving through of gay rights comes from this Committee and this College, which is breeding generation after generation of liberal Anglo-Catholic priests and stifling sexually conservative and Calvinist voices.

  26. Thanks for responding, James. This tallies with what I know about Jeanette Jamieson. I am also aware of at least one serious allegation since she moved to Maleny.

    Yes, it is hard to understand the culture of the rural parishes, so thanks for explaining, James and Frederic. They have much in common with the redneck, far-right mindset southern United States but infused with Anglo-Catholicism rather than Southern Baptist Convention theology. The fact that they are ultra-conservative but are open to the homosexual agenda and to women priests is telling of how deeply entrenched the Anglo-Catholic mindset is. TheAnglicans there can be wealthy and powerful but lack education and culture, so fall into ultra-conservative politics. This becomes infused with Anglo-Catholic ritualism. They miss out on the depth and doctrinal soundness of Protestantism as a result.

    It is sobering to think that many small country towns only have a Roman Catholic and an Anglican Church, so there is no access to Protestant teaching. I know there are Presbyterian and Lutheran churches at some places like Glasshouse and Landsborough but things change as you head further inland and they become a lot rarer. These towns are potentially rich mission fields for church planting since Protestantism hasn’t reached out there yet, even in the 21st Century. it could help rural youth with no spiritual home who see through the meaningless rituals and spiritual emptiness of Anglo-Catholicism.

    It is positive to consider the culture is changing in some towns, which again leads credence to the possibility that they are rich mission fields. As they urbanise and as people move from the country to the city, things will continually change. Most of the entrenched Anglo-Catholics are now elderly so their culture will most likely die with them over the next decade and hopefully something much more positive and Biblically-based will emerge in its place.

  27. Thanks for your responses, James. I can definitely see a split coming one day between Canterbury aligned liberal Catholic Anglican Dioceses like Brisbane and Perth and GAFCON-aligned Calvinistic ones like Sydney and Tasmania and the Global South. It is hard to see a way forward when fundamental issues of morality are so diametrically opposed. I pray to God that it does not happen.

    Yes, maybe he will send a Savanarola. Although I have spoken out a little on this blog, I am definitely not that person. Someone needs to say that the “Emperor”, Progressive Christianity/Liberal Catholicism, has no clothes though.

    There is a link to this article on the Progressive Christian Voice Facebook page now so they are aware of it but neither Catt nor Tiffany Sparks have come here to respond to the serious legitimate concerns that have been raised here, which is disappointing.

    Likewise, the minutes from the third day of the Brisbane Synod still have not been posted, weeks after the Synod was held. The minutes for the first two days were posted almost immediately.

    I will continue to pray for the Diocese, that people may wake up to themselves and that there will be major reforms before it all implodes.

  28. They still have the mentality of a state church. That leads to a lot if the arrogance and haughtiness and legalism displayed by the leaders of the Diocese. It also however leads them to being blown around by the winds of culture. They are tied to the world, not standing apart. Therefore, whatever direction society takes, whether it be into political correctness or anything else, they will follow. Eventually people realise the Diocese stands for nothing because it lacks a firm gospel foundation.

    Yes, huge changes ate needed but there us no catalyst for change yet. The church leaders are focussed on politics, the priests -aside from a brave few – on being yes men (and women) and pushing through the liberal sexual agenda, and meanwhile numbers of parishioners are falling. I still cannot get over the fact that actual attendance has fallen overall by 7% in just 4 years according to the Diocese’s own internal polling. That is more dire than even I expected. Meanwhile heads remain buried in the sand about the real cultural problems in the Diocese we have been discussing here.

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