This is quite special.

Rev. Rod Bower, vicar at Gosford Anglican Church in the Diocese of Newcastle, has posted this up on facebook

Rod Bower no heaven hell

Here’s the full text of his statement:

I don’t really believe in Heaven and Hell at least not in the traditional sense. If there is a Heaven it must be a bit like Mardi Gras. Everyone just being totally themselves regardless of gender, race, creed or sexuality and everyone else being totally OK with that. I would never feel comfortable walking down the streets of Sydney in my robes but tonight I did, totally comfortable and accepted. How ironic is that?

I know some people are not comfortable with what I have done. I guess Heaven and Hell are really the same place and it’s just a matter of perspective.
Happy Mardi Gras.
Fr Rod

Yet another example of an ordained Anglican minister denying basic Christian belief.

Every week Rev. Bower will be leading those in his care in the words of the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed, speaking of heaven and hell, and yet he tells us he doesn’t believe a word of it. All the while taking a stipend.

I wonder what the Bishop of Newcastle has to say? Well, let’s find out. You can send an email directly to the Bishop of Newcastle, Greg Thompson, by using the form below. Please be courteous and respectful, I’m sure it will not be easy for him to receive a number of complaints about Rev. Bower. It might also be helpful to post a copy of your email in the comments below.

Friends nothing will happen to improve the Anglican Church that we love so much unless we take a principled stand on matters like this. Our bishops are also called to defend the faith and drive away erroneous teaching. I’m sure Bishop Thompson will do what’s right but we need to make sure he understands the gravity of the situation. You know what to do.

*UPDATE*

Bishop Greg has asked me to remove the contact form from this page which I am more than happy to do. No doubt this means he is fully aware not just of the situation but of the large level of concern about it. We look forward to reporting how the matter has been dealt with.

Comments

comments

58 comments on “Rev. Rod Bower: “I don’t believe in heaven or hell…”

  1. my email:

    Dear Bishop Thompson,
    By now I think you will be aware that Rev Rod Bower of Gosford Anglican Church has posted the following statement on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/anggos/photos/a.120959381268037.12242.115067218523920/712838688746767/?type=1&stream_ref=10),

    “I don’t really believe in Heaven and Hell at least not in the traditional sense. If there is a Heaven it must be a bit like Mardi Gras. Everyone just being totally themselves regardless of gender, race, creed or sexuality and everyone else being totally OK with that. I would never feel comfortable walking down the streets of Sydney in my robes but tonight I did, totally comfortable and accepted. How ironic is that? I know some people are not comfortable with what I have done. I guess Heaven and Hell are really the same place and it’s just a matter of perspective. Happy Mardi Gras. Fr Rod”

    I am confident that you will agree with me and the majority of believing Anglicans who consider such a denial of basic Christian truth to be unacceptable for a minister in the church. I have written about this matter on my website (http://davidould.net/?p=6445) and encouraged others to express their concern to you too.

    There are many loyal Anglicans around the country who are looking to our bishops to uphold Biblical truth and you should be assured of my prayers as you seek to deal with this difficult matter.

    Yours in Christ

    David Ould

      • Hi Rodger,
        There are already Christians ministering at Mardi Gras. For many years, the staff of St Johns Darlinghurst, just around the corner from Taylor Square, has been working behind the scenes, offering a cuppa, counseling and just spending time with anyone who wants to talk.

  2. And here is my email:

    Dear Bishop Thompson,

    As you will be aware, Rev Rod Bower of Gosford Anglican Church posted the following statement on facebook – (https://www.facebook.com/anggos/photos/a.120959381268037.12242.115067218523920/712838688746767/?type=1&stream_ref=10),

    “I don’t really believe in Heaven and Hell at least not in the traditional sense. If there is a Heaven it must be a bit like Mardi Gras. Everyone just being totally themselves regardless of gender, race, creed or sexuality and everyone else being totally OK with that. I would never feel comfortable walking down the streets of Sydney in my robes but tonight I did, totally comfortable and accepted. How ironic is that? I know some people are not comfortable with what I have done. I guess Heaven and Hell are really the same place and it’s just a matter of perspective. Happy Mardi Gras. Fr Rod”

    I am sure you will agree that such a denial of basic Christian truth is unacceptable for a minister in the church. While I am not currently a member of the Anglican church, I was baptized, converted and subsequently confirmed in the church and I now worship in a Presbyterian church. All the same, I am motivated to write for the good reputation not only of the Anglican church but also of the wider Christian church, and a statement such as that of Rev Rod Bower is offensive not only to Anglicans but to all sincere Christians. I believe it is also offensive to Almighty God who has established these precious truths and conveyed them to us in the gospel of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

    There must be many Anglicans around the country who are looking to their bishops to uphold Biblical truth and you should be assured of the faithful prayers of many as you seek to deal with this difficult matter.

    Yours most faithfully in Christ

    Owen Wormald

      • Hi Rodger
        Thanks for commenting here. How exactly was Rev Bower “ministering” at Mardi Gras? And does that make it acceptable for him to deny basic Christian doctrine?

        • feed my sheep, I dont think he said dont you believe in heaven or hell, he said he didn’t and then opens the discussion. now the fanatics are coming out. Thank goodness for Grafton’s new bishop. the church slowly becomes more christian and inclusive and less churchie

      • “God’s flock at Mardi”? Mardi does not represent God’s flock. In fact it is representative of the people of Sodom & Gomorrah.

        “I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
        And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
        In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

        Those who give themselves over to the sexual immorality and perversion that Mardi Gras represents, can hardly be called God’s flock now can they?

    • yes i replied to bish supporting exploration and diversity of expression of faith testing the common book of prayer, the creeds and traditions of an ancient faith as it carefully and painfully emerges in the new world of knowledge. fancy even debating the call of women into priesthood and bishopry.

      • Roger,
        I hope you don’t mind me coming responding to your post…

        “Supporting exploration and diversity of expression of faith” is a good thing of course. As an Anglican Priest I am all for it. At our parish we encourage anyone to explore the Christian faith, which is why we run Christianity Explored. As for diversity in expression of faith, again…a good thing. Scripture supports it, as does Article XXXIV. But the issue at hand is not pertaining to exploring the faith nor diversity of expression faith, but rather is about the substance of the faith. The issue of Heaven and hell, judgement and justification are in my view, not issues that are adiaphora.

        I agree that we do live in a new world of knowledge, but our knowledge and human reason are subject to the supreme authority of Scripture (and of course the BCP, the Ordinal and the 39 Articles make it perfectly clear that Scripture is not the only authority but it is the supreme authority) thus to filter the Christian faith through the grid of culture and/or human reasoning is the either elevate us to God’s level and/or to bring him down to our level. Both are wrong.

        Lastly, I cannot speak for David of course, but I don’t think the Bishop being a woman, or the fact that she is a priest is his major concern.

        Sorry for the long post, and again, I hope you don’t mind me jumping in.

  3. I had already come across this and written in the comments to his original post. I believe the most concerning part is when he says, ” I guess Heaven and Hell are really the same place and it’s just a matter of perspective.” Here is the comment I made on their facebook page:
    _________________

    “I guess Heaven and Hell are really the same place and it’s just a matter of perspective.” …

    Fr Rod, how does this fit in with a Christian cosmology? I try to presume that you still believe in Christianity and are leading your community in the faith, but if you believe that being in the presence of God, and eternal separation from God, are just a “matter of perspective” you are not just pushing the envelope but tearing it apart, leaving scraps of paper at best.

    Christian cosmology and eschatology are not just being challenged here but flatly denied.
    _________________

  4. never thought what the traditional view of heaven and hell is as i find NO consensus across or within denominations. Pearly gates, big book, sexless spirits flying around naked dressed in light, singing. oh and that other place. but i am happy to hear discussions on the matter. I enjoy a great Calvin hymn, a weslian hymn and a great cohen alleluia but then tim minchen has some good questions too – then again i need to run into the bush and be alone sometimes
    when Jesu went to hell, why, what did he do, what affect did he have surly must have been the first higgs boson affect or like a black hole

  5. christian truths are very personal, are fluid and mature over time. they are social, geographical, economic and physcocis . some have that simple faith of sunday school stories others thank goodness, a more open mind to discuss female ordination, sexuality {same thing} and during the victorian bush fires – hell on earth bereft of a loving caring interventionist god men women and children burning alive, then with the resurrection of community new birth, refreshed community reconstructed community = heaven on earth. fluidity of heaven and hell at the same place – different time.

    • so basically, Rodger, the complete opposite of the clarity that Jesus brings in the Bible. Thanks for helping us to understand your position and why it’s hardly the best point from which to robustly defend Christianity.

      You and Rev. Bower are free to believe whatever you want. What Rev. Bower is not free to do is take a salary and then declare the opposite of what the salary stands for.

      • Quite so David.

        Rodger, the Bible that you pretend to know about and falsely claim wonderfully soft, inclusive philosophies from, actually has this to say this about Reverend Silly and his supporters:

        2Pet 2:10 Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. 12But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

        13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer,f who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

        17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

  6. thats the clarity of the reformation – a 30 year war and death of 40% of population, the perpetual lambeth conferences, oh an the canonical council to choose text to form your bible of choice and convenience that meets criteria for canonicity. I forget, are Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation in or out this year. What about the inspired works of Judith (a woman let out of the kitchen). hardly a robust process or scientific methodology to determine whats in and out and which religion. regardless the sacred texts are awesome, but so to the inspired works of great speakers such as Bishop Dr Selby Spong who moved me from teh common homophobia of many christians to a tolerant and acceptance that god made each as we are slave free homo and calls each into relationship and ministry.

    • Selby Spong has led many astray, but at least we now understand why you no longer hold the essentials of Christian belief.

      The flock is entitled to receive the Gospel teachings from the pastor whose salary they pay. If he now feels unable to do so, that is his prerogative, and the flock needs a new pastor.

  7. many of my friends born with gods gifts of homosexuality have many stories of being rejected by church and christians to which we must seek forgiveness and restore fellowship as we journey in faith and christian life the acceptance of yet another female bishop is the beginning of that journey and discussions

  8. Roger,

    I read this quote recently”,

    “The heart of the Gospel”is God’s gracious unconditional gift of communion and we embrace this gospel when we take hold of the key New Testament understanding of unconditional acceptance so evident in the encounters with Jesus in the gospels”.

    This is not the gospel as it is an incomplete gospel – it has no repentance. A very godly man once said in a sermon,

    “A half – truth expressed as a whole truth is an untruth.”

    “The heart of the Gospel is God’s gracious unconditional gift of communion and we embrace this gospel when we take hold of the key New Testament understanding of unconditional acceptance so evident in the encounters with Jesus in the gospels” is not the whole truth. The whole truth is that God’s gracious gift of communion is conditional on our belief and our repentance.

    God’s acceptance of me is unconditional in that it is not dependent on my own good works but it is conditional on my belief and repentance.

    This is why the endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle by the priest in question is about the very nature of the gospel. Allow me to express it another way to show why the issue is about the very nature of the Gospel.

    For us to say that:

    1: the non Christian fornicator can become a Christian and keep on fornicating, as long as the person they are fornicating with is in the context of a ‘loving, committed, faithful relationship’

    or:

    2.the non Christian alcoholic can keep getting drunk as long as they do it in the context of a faithful, loving and safe environment

    or

    3:the non-Christian thief can keep on stealing as long as they steal in a faithful and safe and harmless environment

    or

    4: the non Christian adulterer can keep on being unfaithful to his wife as long as the relationship he has with his mistress is in the context of a faithful and committed relationship

    is completely unthinkable and totally antithetical to Scripture.

    Yes of course the fornicator,alcoholic, thief and adulterer can become Christians but they cannot stay that way nor define themselves as being fornicators,alcoholics, thieves and adulterers. Why? Because they have repented.

    I have met people who used to be these things before they came to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus,and they are a wonderful testimony to God’s power to save those who believe but they would never (and have never said to me) “I am now a Christian thief, or a Christian fornicator, a Christian alcoholic or a Christian adulterer.
    They are new creations.

    Here is the rub – For anyone in Holy Orders who advocates same sex marriage within the church, the blessing of homosexual relationships, are teaching that homosexuality is good in God’s eyes and are saying that the homosexual can keep on engaging in homosexuality as long as they are in a committed, faithful homosexual relationship are in practice and in essence believing a different and wrong gospel, and a gospel that is not the gospel as defined and outlined in the Scriptures, the BCP, the Ordinal, the 39 Articles and (in an Australian context) the Anglican Constitution. So anyone who is Holy Orders is denying the very gospel that they have vowed to believe, uphold and teach at their ordinations.

    Can a homosexual become Christians?

    Of course they can!!! But there must be repentance; and a demonstration of that repentance is that they no longer define themselves as homosexual and no longer engage in homosexual expression.

    If we promoted a gospel that says that fornicators,alcoholics, thieves and adulterers could stay as they are and engage in activities and the lifestyle indicative of being a fornicator,alcoholic,and maintain fidelity to Christ, it would be extremely disingenuous on our part. With homosexuality is it no different even though our culture says it is.

    • Agreed. Well put Joshua,

      There are many quotes from homosexuals & ex-homosesuals that no one is born with it, it is a choice.
      I will try to post some here for anyone else who comes up against the ‘willful ignorance’ that is being expressed by some in this thread.

      Jesus was some times angry(read ‘intolerant’) with ‘willful ignorance’.
      I will add here for honest seekers, but will not answer the ‘willfully blind.’

      What fellowship has Light with darkness?

      • Gay activist: ‘born gay’ is just a convenient excuse

        How’s this for a powerful and insightful quote from gay-activist, writer, and professor of history and of gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago – John D’Emilio:

        ‘The idea that people are born gay—or lesbian or bisexual—is appealing for lots of reasons. Many of us experience the direction of our sexual desires as something that we have no control over. We just are that way, it seems, so therefore we must be born gay. The people who are most overt in their hatred of queer folks, the religious conservatives, insist that being gay is something we choose, and we know we can’t agree with them. Hence, again, born gay. Liberal heterosexual allies love the idea. If gays are born that way, then of course they shouldn’t be punished for it. “Born gay” is also a relief to

        any of us who have some doubts about our sexuality or who feel ourselves sinking under the weight of the oppression. If we’re born gay, then it’s not our fault, and we’re certainly not choosing to be oppressed: we just can’t help it, so leave us alone. It also answers those who worry about the effect of too many out-of-the-closet gay men and lesbians: if people are born this way, then young people won’t be influenced by us.
        I hope you see where I’m going with this: “born gay” is an idea with a large constituency, LGBT and otherwise. It’s an idea designed to allay the ingrained fears of a homophobic society and the internalized fears of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. What’s most amazing to me about the “born gay” phenomenon is that the scientific evidence for it is thin as a reed, yet it doesn’t matter. It’s an idea with such social utility that one doesn’t need much evidence in order to make it attractive and credible.’

        From the interview found here:
        http://www.isreview.org/issues/65/feat-demilio.shtml

      • Homosexuality is not life-giving, he said, and “I choose life.” Michael Glatze

        A leader in the gay-activist movement, Michael had just gone public about leaving his lifestyle and rejecting the gay movement. Homosexuality is not life-giving, he said, and “I choose life.”

        Michael credited his gradual change to many things; a transformation in his understanding of the meaning of his same-sex attractions, a strong spiritual life, the centering power of meditation, and the conviction that fulfillment would come through living a life congruent with his biological design.

  9. If God is for homosexuality (condemn the sin not the sinner) why did God come into my husband’s room 40yrs ago and tell him His spirit would no longer strive with man and heal him from homosexuality? Homosexuality is a conditions which requires a miraculous healing from God himself. No-one can come out of homosexuality without the power of God to perform what His word says. As a result of his healing from God he helped to start Liberty which is now an Australia wide organization that is there for Homosexuals to come out of homosexuality by the power of God.

  10. Joshua, thanks for your exegesis which is absolutely true except for one premise in that being homosexual is to be a fornicator which is no more true then a heterosexual is a fornicator. Slowly many are realizing that sexuality is largely predetermined and as in the past like left handedness, skin colour, slavery and femininity is not a curse of the devil, but as designed.
    as left handedness can bed whacked out of a child like i experienced at school so too can, to some degree homosexuality and trans gender can be socially conditioned out of some people, for a while,
    But returning to the fornication, it is no more an issue of anyone entering a relationship, there is inappropriate sex premarriage sex, multi partners etc.

    Being homosexual is a state of being not an act.

    Attending Mardi is an act of choice hardly worthy of such vicious condemnation. Did our Lord not sup with sinners of all forms

    i too like many christians was a misogynistic homophobic and based my view on my community’s view of biblical understandings and thought no more of it.

    I too like many CofE refused the communion rites from the hand of woman.

    now we understand that sexuality is largely prewired. so there are many things that i need seek forgiveness for.

    now passing the injured man on the cyber bullying network the samaritan {the most despised by jew and christian} is not helped by priest or levite but himself becomes the victim – a dog eating its own vomit, {was that the reference laid against me?}

    so i see how religious fanaticism turns to so much evil, hatred and wars in our world.

    But your words Joshua were respectful engaging in christian admonishment of a brother you deemed errant with a form of dialogue, which i thank you and hope it is not offensive to you to call you brother.
    shalom.

    • Roger,
      Thanks for getting back to me. Will respond more later when I have time. Regarding my argument I had 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

      9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

      • Roger,
        Of course to be a fornicator is to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage. However in light of the passage above, I think Holy Scripture is clear that on who is excluded from the Kingdom of God, it is those who are unrepentant, be they sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, the greedy, the drunk, revilers and swindlers.
        It is quite a list!
        All of us (you and me included) are on this list. But the great news is that being on this list does not exclude people from being recipients of God’s grace in the Lord Jesus. And we know this because in the very next verse (v.11) Paul says these beautiful words!

        “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God”.

        What wonderful words!! The sexual immoral, the idolater, the adulterer, those who practice homosexuality, the thief, the greedy, the drunk and so forth can come to the cross of Christ and receive grace, and they are to come as they are.
        But they cannot remain as they are. The message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be summed up by saying, “Come as you are”. While true of course, this is incomplete, the message is rather “Come as you are and go differently” and/or “Come as you are and go as the Lord Jesus says”.

        When it comes to sexual expression Roger, an honest reading of Holy Scripture (and I am not saying you are dishonest 🙂 ) reveals to us that there are only two types of sexual expression that God endorses:
        1. Sexual intercourse within a committed heterosexual marriage
        2. Celibacy for those outwit a committed heterosexual marriage, (for those who are single)

        The argument that there is a third sexual expression, in this case:
        3. Sexual intercourse for those who are not in a committed heterosexual marriage falls outside of the teaching of Holy Scripture. In fact the teaching of Holy Scripture always pot rays sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage in a negative light.

        So I cannot see how any Christian, who is a priest or otherwise can say that God endorses this third sexual expression.

        Regarding your comment that being homosexual is akin to being left handed, I cannot speak to this in that biology is not my strong point (not that I have any strong points), but from what I have read, it does appear that the evidence for someone being born gay si rather weak. Rather it seems to me that this argument is designed to provide moral legitimacy (i.e. “How can God say that being a practicing homosexual is sinful,? I was born that way. [The implication being that God made me, so how can God blame me?])

        For the sake of argument Roger, if this was actually true, then I don’t believe this puts homosexual people off the hook. To use a heterosexual example. If a straight married man has the proclivity to lust after a woman, or to commit adultery, and this is biologically determined, this I believe is testimony the reality of our fallen sinful human nature. It shows how sinful he is.
        However what I find interesting Roger is this:
        In light of the passage from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 where Holy Scriptures describes the sort of behaviours that exclude people from the Kingdom of God, could we in all honesty use the “I was born this way” argument? Allow me to take the example of the straight married man. He cheats on his way. He is still culpable for his actions. Could you imagine him saying to his wife “Come on Honey, don’t be so judgemental and adulterophobic! “I was born this way”. We don’t use this argument for adultery, or alcoholism, or theft.

        Two more points Roger (I don’t want this post to be too big), disagreeing with the homosexual lifestyle, gay marriage, etc is not to be a homophobic. I think the word is used too carelessly and loosely. It portrays a false dichotomy over the issue. It portrays two options with are not helpful:
        View 1: Approve of Same sex marriage, homosexual relationships, see it as God’s gift: (due to being informed, loving, inclusive, accepting)

        View 2: Disapprove of Same sex marriage, homosexual relationships, see it as a sin (due to being ignorant, hateful, exclusive, judgemental , bigoted and homophobic) and there are no other reasons to disagree.

        This is I believe, wrong. I disagree with same sex marriage and also believe that any form of sexual expression outside of the parameters of Holy Scripture is wrong (be it straight or gay), this does not mean I am ignorant, or hate gays and lesbians and am exclusive and bigoted or any other pejorative adjective.

        And going to Mardi Gras – behind the glitz of the Mardi Gras is pain. The media appears to promote the LGBT lifestyle as attractive as do those who are in it. From my experience of LGBT culture (which I have seen from being a hairdresser in Sydney), it is anything but glitzy, carefree and exciting. From the homosexuals I met and even worked with, they were very lonely, wanting to be loved, but most whom I met, their relationships were characterised by promiscuity and infidelity. Like straight people, they need to know the Lord Jesus and become part of his Kingdom, yet to remain unrepentant is to be excluded. Thus for an Anglican Priest to attend Mardi Gras is betraying I believe a surface level understanding of the LBGT culture. And more importantly and more sadly attending Mardi Gras is to say, “God loves you, come as you are” and yes this is true, but it is an untruth, because it is not the message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that what Fr Rod Bower has done is in reality the most unloving thing he could have done as in essence to say that God loves you as you are and you can stay as you are and you don’t need to repent – it is actually a lie.

        Roger I appreciate your kind words to me. Please know that I write this not to cause a flame war or to offend, but I write this in Christian love. I pray that you will receive this post in the spirit in which it is written.

        in Christ
        Joshua

        • DEAR JOSHUA: I ENJOYED YOUR WRITINGS. I HOPE IT WILL BE AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHERS. I ACCEPTED CHRIST AS MY SAVIOR A FEW YEARS AGO. I OFTEN SIT IN WONDER THAT GOD COULD LOVE ME EVEN WHEN I WAS HIS ENEMY AND SEND HIS SON, WHO IN OBEDIENCE TO THE FATHER AND LOVE FOR A LOST SINNER, WOULD BE WILLING TO DIE SO THAT I COULD LIVE. I WISH I COULD SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE SO THAT THEY WOULD KNOW HOW MUCH GOD LOVES THEM AND WHAT HE HAS TO OFFER IS SO MUCH MORE TO BE DESIRED THAT WHAT THEY HAVE IN THIS WORLD. I AM NOT VERY GOOD AT WRITING BUT JUST WANTED TO SAY HOW I APPRECIATE YOUR WORDS AND HOPE OTHERS WILL BE ENCOURAGED BY THEM.

  11. Unfortunately Christians do not understand homosexuals. This is where the problem lies. They (including pastors and ministers) do not know how to relate to them. God did not create our bodies. There are many imperfect bodies that He puts us as spirit beings into including amophradites. God makes us in heaven and then puts us into the bodies that have been made by the coming together of a man and a woman. The bible is very clear that homosexuality is an abomination to God because His plan for our purpose on earth is to join with Him in pro-creation and that cannot be done in any other way except with a man and a woman which is why He can never accept homosexuality as a marriage. However He loves the homosexual and desperately wants to be able to heal them and have them join with Him at the end of their earthly life.

  12. “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain.”

    Neuroscientist Simon LeVay

    ======================================

    “Homosexuality is not ‘normal.’ On the contrary, it is a challenge to the norm; therein rests its eternally revolutionary character Queer theorists – that wizened crew of flimflamming free-loaders – have tried to take the post structuralist tack of claiming that there is no norm, since everything is relative and contingent. This is the kind of silly bind that word-obsessed people get into when they are deaf, dumb, and blind to the outside world. Nature exists, whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single, relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction. (male organ) fits (female organ); no fancy linguistic game-playing can change that biologic fact.” – Camille Paglia

    According to lesbian activist, Camille Paglia

    ========================================

    No One Is Born Gay

    “In a nutshell, if you take pairs of identical twins in which one twin is homosexual, the identical co-twin is usually not homosexual. That means, given that identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. No-one is born gay”

    Dr. Neil Whitehead

  13. Greg Thompson, Newcastle Diocese is fortunate in having you as its Bishop and to have Rev Rod Bower as one of its priests. For months, now, I have been re-posting to Facebook the pithy statements Rod Bower has put up on the Gosford Anglican Church noticeboard. I’ve read literally thousands of comments from completely un-churched people who have said, “Until now, I’ve thought the church was completely irrelevant but if I lived in Gosford, I’d come to your church”. I read a two-page spread about him in the Sydney Morning Herald as everyday Australians and media people alike have marvelled as he has reflected the incarnation: the compassion, human concern and love of God to society’s most powerless, most often asylum seekers, but also people’s right to fair working conditions, and, as summarised in this quote, “to be who they are regardless of gender, race, sexuality and creed”. It’s hilarious (if it wasn’t so sad) that people are leaving comments on this site that show bigotry, fanaticism, ignorance and bibliolatry – passionate devotion to what THEY believe the Bible says, instead of passionate devotion to God the Creator, God the Redeemer and God the Comforter to whom the Bible points us. Jesus said, “Even as you do it unto the least (in society’s peck order), you do it unto me.” I wonder to whom Australia’s weakest, poorest, most homeless, most suicidal (gay young men are those most likely to commit suicide in Australia today – and the judgemental tirade of comments I’ve just read above demonstrate to me WHY that might be so), most powerless might turn? David Ould (whomever you might be), Theresa (who asks us, “why did God come into my husband’s room 40yrs ago and tell him His spirit would no longer strive with man and heal him from homosexuality?” to which I would respond, “How on earth can you expect any other human in the world to answer such a question?”), Neil 3806? Or the Rodgers and Rod Bowers of this world? The overwhelmingly clear answer is the latter. I’m glad that there are people such as you out there who can do the sort of pre-evangelism required to restore or build some confidence in Christians and Christianity so that people are even ready to listen to the story of the love of God and the desire of God that people are in fellowship with each other and with our Creator, Redeemer and Comforter.

    • Patricia,

      Thanks for the warning about “passionate devotion to what [people] believe the Bible says”. Always a good corrective.

      In your next sentence, you quote Matthew 25, so I take it that what you believe the Bible says is that Jesus will condemn people to hell. That’s one of the key points Jesus makes in that story.

      You also call God our redeemer. I think any fair reading of Matthew would suggest that Jesus saw God’s redeeming being achieved through his own death and resurrection. Redeeming us from bondage to sin and freeing us to live righteously without fear of Jesus’ judgement.

      I put it to you that interpreting “the least of these” as the least in society clouds this. Jesus redeems us so we can look after the poor etc. But he does this by dealing with our issue of sin.

      When it comes to sin, we should be wary of listening to a sinful society, and ignoring (or half-listening) to our sinless saviour.

    • Non-Christians prefer this view of Christianity because it does not challenge them, they can continue the same way they are, just with the affirmation that it’s good in God’s eyes also. If a man only comes to Jesus if what He says reflects their own desires then he doesn’t submit to Jesus at all. It’s a false gospel they are being preached and therefore it’s worthless.

  14. well lets not be the judge and jury of Bishop Spong et al, but celebrate his great witness drawing many into faith with the willingness to raise questions and explore traditional faiths of issue that are significant stumbling block to many drawn to the christian faith.
    I dont agree with a lot of what he says but admire his special gifts of conversation and challenging arguments though cast aside and cursed by some in the church, he has been a corner stone of many a revival and new christian faith.
    I could never understand why the teachers at my school would bash kids for being left handed, now I do. are you sure the same thing is not happeing here?

    • His books and his own words condemn him .He denies every basic tenet of christian faith. What faith ins he drawing anyone to ,more like unbelief .We remember what Jesus said “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea”. A strong warning ,he will have a lot to answer for. If it don’t walk like a duck and don’t talk like a duck, it ain’t a duck

  15. i’ll spend more time reading your review above and maybe respond, however it seems the argument has become larger than the issue.
    I raised the issue of being; Homo/Hetro/Trans/sexual being. some are born one or another or migrate through various circumstance ie jail.
    People are born generally male or female but draw a lineal line between the two and we lie somewhere between the two {Men from mars and women cant read maps}. ie some males have some femininity some more some less and visa-versa. That is how I come to understand it.
    In your reference a homosexual is no more a fornicator, liar or thief than a heterosexual.

  16. can we share our views and opnions with less cyber bulling and earthly judgement.

    can you find nothing good in this man spong and his works? I too disagree or am challenged by many of his ideas but he is right and the bible is wrong, absolutely wrong about condoning slavery and subjugation and denigration of women by misogynist views of biblical author, translator and editor for a start.
    and teachers bashing school kids due to phobia of witchcraft of lefthandeness. I have been traumatized by the latter two issues and am amazed that some may say they believe in the absolutism the bible in every aspect or origin, translation then, which one? which religions bible.

    through the glass darkly then clearer we can begin to understand the inspiring works of the books of the bible as people journey from savagery and barbarism [OT} to simple culture and faith [NT] and a great holy and sacred texts that help us understand and seek fellowship with our god.

    we do not need to study so in depthly and quote convenient bits and half passages from this book and that book then divide into yet another denomination or level of high/low church condemning the other. yes we are passionate, [and scared] people greatly in need of a spirit of humility, forgiveness and tolerance.

    can we agree that we have divergent views of the same journey toward faith and its mysteries and unite in the fellowship of the holy spirit with agape

    shalom

  17. no cyber bulling here, really, well thanks goodness but it feels that way. I’m sure our brother rod bower and celby spong, et al might feel the same way as i.

    it is often the case that we see what we want to see in the mirror, particularly with the support of friends.
    when you join a crusade, mob mentality rules and objectivity diluted.

    heres a more direct link to the interview with author of 3000 years of history of christianity,
    http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2014/03/05/3957179.htm
    i need to hear the author of this inspiring and thought provoking body of work – i might even read it!!!

    but back to the issue, I see and hear no consensus on what heaven and hell is and there are a few description found in our scared texts within the high/low anglican or wider christian community. clearly these views are not black and white but are widely divergent. Now here is a learned man encouraging open discussion one by expressing a view other than a ‘traditional’. And has it not done so, however more with cyber stones than logical and inspired ‘apologia pro vita sua’ and discuss the primary problems of theism ex professo
    shalom brethern

  18. We see also in this discussion, that, as in the New Testament times, there are those who spout all manner of vile heresy under the guise of being so reasonable and kindly – their voice dripping with ‘niceness’.
    But, as it was in Scripture, so it is now, and we must call them for what they are – a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ indicating the deceptive way they try to ‘teach their evil teachings.’ For them, ultimately God MUST be removed from the Throne.

    Matt 7:15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep {some with voices dripping with niceness} but are really vicious wolves.”

    But sadly, we are no longer allowed to speak the truth plainly for fear of being sued – strange how the liberal element hate the truth and will persecute, despise and sue anyone who dares to declare it, just to keep the truth quiet.
    But all the while they do not lose sight of their secret aim and they continue the process (often with a passive aggressive – shaming you by making you look unacceptably intolerant (because Christians are supposed to love everyone implying we must always be nice and accepting of everyone) and ignorant of the ‘real’ Bible teaching, as in this case) plan of destroying the very essence of the Gospel. Christ must be reduced to some ‘all-accepting, tolerant mere man’ in order to remove any power from His Word and the Bible.

    Let’s look at how intolerant Jesus was of bad teaching that reduced His Father, His Word, or wrong attitudes:

    Matt 23:17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?

    Matt 23:27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.

    To call the religious elite ‘tombs with dead people’s bones’ was extremely offensive to the ‘unclean conscious’ Jew.
    Jesus would have had law suits if He said these things today.
    He was not ‘nice’ as we envisage – love for people yes; but love for his Father, his Father redemptive plan and the Kingdom, was far greater. Hence, he could love people by being harsh at times – tough love. The alternative was an eternity in hell – far better to get some fleeting tough love now, than to be condemned to eternal torment.

    To truly love someone in error and in danger of hell, is to warn them, even strongly to save them – it’s for their own good, not ours.

    Can you imagine someone publicly calling today’s leading, most respected Church leaders “False teachers, dogs, snakes, blind fools leading the blind, stinking graves”?
    Because that is the equivalent to what Jesus did.
    No, He was no ‘all accepting liberal’ by any stretch of the imagination.

    Paul knowing the importance of the Truth was quick to refute, even insult:

    Phil 3:2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.

    God is also intolerant of anyone who changes His Word:

    Matt 5:18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie,

    Beware brothers and sisters of such people, for as on this post, the disgraceful liberal justifying will continue as long as one feels one is having some effect, but will leave in a huff if one can no longer have an influence over the thinking of genuine Christians and cannot sway them from simple Bible truths.
    Then you may see the ‘real’ character of a person, in filthy language and insults of all here being ‘bigoted, ignorant, fundamentalist fools’

    My suggestion, as you see fit, is to refute insidious liberal statements, so that the Word of God may shame them that speak them and maybe they will turn and repent.

    While there is no call to insult back – we are called to love, but with ‘tough love’ as Jesus would – saying something like “We extend to you friendship and respect, but you are in error and grave danger of hell.” Now Jesus (or John the Baptist, Peter, John, Paul etc,,) would not hesitate to go on and say “Repent and stop being a fool!” And sometimes even more strong things than that.

    Watch now for the silky-smooth replies, calling so nicely for ‘tolerance’ with the false inference that it is Christ-like to be all tolerant.

Leave a Comment - but please pay careful attention to the commenting rules