A number of people have asked me to lay out my thoughts on what is going to happen in 2020 in the Anglican Church of Australia. Others just want to know where we’re up to and what lies ahead. So here’s my update on the lay of the land and the contours I can see ahead.

What’s the current situation?

We’re in the middle of what I think is best described as a tentative ceasefire. Of course, with any ceasefire there’s opportunities for both sides to position themselves for the conflict that is yet to come. If you think all this language sounds combative then you’d be absolutely right. Both sides recognise that this is exactly what it is – a battle for the soul of the Anglican Church of Australia. There are clearly defined positions; one that seeks to uphold the orthodox view on human sexuality (but sees that as part of a wider issue – the authority of Jesus in the church through the Scriptures) and the other side that sees a liberalising of sexual ethics as a gospel imperative.

For both sides, therefore, this is a matter of fidelity to what they think is most important.

Every conflict, of course, has particular battles. Here’s what happened in 2019 (and in the run-up). The background is pretty clear – repeated General Synods (national parliaments) of the national church have upheld the orthodox position on human sexuality. The last General Synod even censured the Scottish Episcopal Church for legislating for same-sex marriage. In addition, the bishops of the church agreed together not to pursue changes to the doctrine of marriage without going through the appropriate constitutional processes. For the Anglican Church of Australia that process was abundantly clear – it would have to come from General Synod.

Despite this apparent clarity, a number of bishops have continue to actively pursue revisionism. Some did so quite openly, like Bishop John Parkes of Wangaratta who was quite transparent in his desire to have some form of liturgical blessing of same-sex marriage and, indeed, promoted such a motion at his diocese’s synod. Others attempted to persuade us that they were simply allowing their diocese to work out which way to go. Bishop Peter Stuart of Newcastle, who told the 2017 General Synod that we do not have a settled doctrine of marriage, would be the prime example of this course of action, speaking about a “Newcastle Way” to decide the matter, promising a “Faith and Order Commission” to examine the question and yet allowing (and effectively supporting) a “Wangaratta Bill” to be presented at Newcastle’s 2019 Synod. He has appointing a new chair of the Faith and Order Commission; Canon Andrew Eaton who is a known supporter of same-sex marriage.

The decision to support such bills was in clear contradiction to the intent and spirit of the Bishops’ Agreement.

Both Wangaratta and then Newcastle passed their bills but with differing outcomes. There was an expected protest against the Wangaratta bill which was referred to the Appellate Tribunal – a body which offers opinions on constitutional matters in the Anglican Church of Australia. The diocese was persuaded to hold back from using the liturgy until the Tribunal offers a ruling.

The Newcastle bill has followed a different pathway. It, too, was referred to the Appellate Tribunal but also required (under NSW law) ratification by the Diocesan bishop within 30 days. Those 30 days have long passed and the bill has now lapsed, despite attempts to write a clause into the bill that would override the legal requirement. The Newcastle bill appears to have died a quiet death and the Wangaratta bill is the focus of attention of the Appellate Tribunal.

There is little indication that the Tribunal will properly meet, let alone offer their opinion, before a number of other events are completed, the election of a Primate and the next session of General Synod.

A New Primate

More imminently on the agenda is the election of a new Primate (head bishop and chair of General Synod). I wrote previously back in November when the news was announced that the most likely candidate to be elected will be Geoff Smith of Adelaide.

Since then I’ve consistently heard about two other candidates who are understood to want their name to go forward and have been effectively working towards that end, even being spoken of as “running a campaign”. The first, Kay Goldsworthy, has already been discussed in my piece above. The second is Peter Stuart of Newcastle who was described by one source as “trying to position himself above theological camps”. I don’t think either candidacy will have even a remote chance at success and Geoff Smith remains the favourite.

The New Primate will inherit a fracturing church and his or her first major test will be chairing the upcoming General Synod.

General Synod: 31 May – 5 June

All of these matters are going to come to a head at the upcoming General Synod. We reported previously of the failed attempt to avoid full debate and voting on these contentious matters. There will now be a full session, including a “conference” and we should expect to see a climax of the conflict.

There is now no doubt that conservatives will present a number of very robust motions and they will do so with increasing confidence. The censure of the Scottish Episcopal Church at the 2017 session has shown that the weight of the General Synod is for the orthodox position.

Expect to see a motion, or several motions, that not only clearly reassert the long-held position of the church but also speak against revision of that position or ordination and consecration of candidates who’s life is not in keeping with clear Biblical standards. There may even be some strengthening of disciplinary canons. Whatever the specifics, I’m predicting a victory for conservatives in June. We will end up with a very clear position set out and upheld by the most important body in the national church.

Such a decision should also render the related work of the Appellate Tribunal somewhat redundant. If the General Synod has spoken clearly (and not for the first time) then what more is there to say?

After General Synod

All the above seems pretty straight forward and I can’t see anything happening to change the outcomes I’ve described. But what then? Well, on the basis of how things have played out in almost every other western province of the Anglican Church I think we’re going to see the following:

  1. A number of revisionists (possibly even a Metropolitan Archbishop) will ignore the clear (restated) mind of General Synod and push on with a renewed energy to legislate for same-sex weddings and related changes in disciplinary structures.
  2. Conservatives will begin disciplinary procedures against any clergy who participate in or preside over the new liturgies and against bishops who approve of them in their own dioceses.
  3. Conservatives will also refuse to meet with those who continue to openly reject Biblical standards as reiterated by the General Synod.
  4. The new Primate will be faced with a difficult decision – will they uphold the clearly-stated position of the General Synod and refuse to invite to meetings those who reject it, or will they still act as though we’re all united?

In one sense the answer to 4. will be partly academic. Either way I don’t expect conservatives to continue to pursue fellowship with those who have shown no desire to maintain catholicity, undermine the doctrine and discipline of the church and won’t uphold their ordination vows.

So what will the Anglican Church of Australia look like in 2021? My best guess is that we will have a sadly fractured church. Whether we are meeting nationally as the entire church depends on whether the new Primate will be robust in upholding the position of General Synod. If we don’t meet in this way then expect the bonds of fellowship within the GAFCON movement to be only strengthened and expressed more formally.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if we see planting of congregations by conservatives in those dioceses where the bishop or synod have rejected Biblical authority and the doctrine and discipline of the national church. We will also see oversight being offered by GAFCON bishops to those clergy and parishes who cannot, in good conscience, remain in communion with such dioceses and bishops.

The story of the Anglican Church of Australia is going to be decidedly different to that of other western provinces in the Anglican Communion. Our history and our constitution have left conservatives in a much stronger position than in England, Wales, New Zealand, the USA or Canada. We have no plans to leave the Anglican Church of Australia, but my best guess is that we’re rapidly reaching the moment when we’re not going to be able to recognise others as being part of that national grouping.

What do you think? Comment below.

Leave a Reply

244 comments on “What Future for the Anglican Church of Australia?

  1. Twice the author uses the expression “the clear Biblical standards” or similar.
    This is the issue which remains unresolved, because unfortunately the Bible does not address unambiguously the matters of same-sex attraction, bisexuality, faithful monogamous same-sex unions or other consensual homosexual relationships.
    It is deeply to be regretted that scholarship within the Anglican community on what the Bible does actually teach on same-sex relationships is so scant.

      • Hi David,
        It is not clear that Jesus is giving a definition of marriage in Matthew 19. Equally frustratingly, Jesus does not define who he is referring to as “eunuchs”.
        Some scholars claim this is a reference to people with same-sex or bisexual orientation. The text is just too brief a record of what was apparently a long and much more complex conversation.
        This is why more scholarship would be most helpful.

        • Fascinating response, Alan. So if Jesus is not describing marriage, just why does he respond to the challenge on a broken marriage by going to those specific verses?
          And why, when the Apostle Paul writes about marriage, does he think it is sufficient to cite exactly the same verse from Gen. 2? Was he mistaken in doing that?

          • Jesus is certainly discussing marriage, David. That is the topic. But it is not clear that he is offering a full and final definition. We see from other passages that marriages in Scripture take all kinds of forms, with various numbers of wives and concubines. 2 Samuel 12:8 shows that God’s prophet told David that he could have had more wives had he wished. In the same way that Scripture leaves open the number of wives God permits, there is uncertainty regarding other aspects of marriage, including the gender of the spouses.
            This is why debate on this issue should be based on sound biblical scholarship.

            • It’s a bit of a false dichotomy you put up there. You don’t need to offer an exhaustive description to offer something accurate.
              So I ask you again, how does Jesus define marriage in Matt. 19 = Mark 10? It’s a pretty simple question but you seem at odds to provide the answer. The cynical reader might think it’s because to do so would be to rather undermine your attempt to cast mud on the water of the matter. Jesus seems to be able to provide a pretty simple framework and he seems surprised that the teachers of Israel haven’t worked all this out or that they accept it. But then perhaps your comments prove the necessity of such a response.

              • Yes, David, Jesus is certainly offering something highly accurate here. No question. But it is a description of what usually happened in marriages at that time rather than a definition.

                The challenges in understanding Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke are similar to those with Genesis 2:24,25:

                “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

                It is description of what happened, carrying neither injunction nor prohibition. There is no reason to draw any instruction from this regarding the gender of the “wife” or number thereof than there is to draw instruction about the permissibility of newlyweds residing with the groom’s parents, or the obligation for nakedness.

                • There is no reason to draw any instruction from this regarding the gender of the “wife” or number thereof…

                  I think this is so breathtaking it deserves to be highlighted.

                  Every single usage of this text in the rest of the Bible argues against Alan’s audacious attempt to reinterpret what for almost 2000 years the church has had no problem understanding.

                • “But it is a description of what usually happened in marriages at that time rather than a definition.”

                  No Alan, you have got that 180 degrees wrong! Jesus is quite clear that he is telling the Pharisees what marriage is, regardless of how they are currently practicing it based on Moses’ teaching.

                  “It is description of what happened, carrying neither injunction nor prohibition. ”

                  Only if you disregard the plain meaning of the words, because you don’t like what they say. Jesus is quite plain that he is stating what God’s teaching is on marriage, and that it applies throughout human history. When the Pharisees ask why divorce is permitted, Jesus explains that it is a concession to keep order among those who reject God’s law, but that doesn’t change what God’s law is: Marriage is between a man and woman for life.

                  Trying to pretend otherwise may make you feel better, but reality doesn’t shift to accomodate your feelings!

                  “There is no reason to draw any instruction from this regarding the gender of the “wife” or number thereof ”

                  Too bad, because that is exactly what Jesus does.

        • “It is not clear that Jesus is giving a definition of marriage in Matthew 19.”

          Thanks for the wild assertion, but the meaning of the passage is plain: Jesus is giving us a definition of marriage.

          “Equally frustratingly, Jesus does not define who he is referring to as “eunuchs”.”

          Nothing frustrating about it. The meaning seems quite clear – some don’t marry because they don’t have the gift for it, some can’t.

          “Some scholars claim this is a reference to people with same-sex or bisexual orientation. ”

          But none who can argue their case credibly.

          “what was apparently a long and much more complex conversation.”

          The passage and context give us no reason to think so.

          “This is why more scholarship would be most helpful.”

          More scholarship on any passage is always useful, but what you really mean is that you don’t like the plain meaning of what is written there.

    • To be blunt or to the point Alan, Rubbish. The Scriptures, including the OT and NT, make it plain. Sin is sin. Including homosexual and heterosexual sin. Think Sodom and Gemorrah. Think Paul the Apostle.

      Your spin sadly lacking veracity.

      Sin is sin, and we mere clay pots dont get to redefine sin as not-sin.

      • That is, there is but one God, and God is Sovereign. God calls the shots. Complain all you like, you and I live because God Is. God is I AM, so we also exist, and only in Him. We also exist after Death, either in Heaven or Hell after Judgement Day, forever and forever.

      • The problem, Bruce, is that none of the passages with which we are all familiar addresses same-sex orientation. And none deals specifically with faithful, monogamous same-sex marriage.
        Sodom and Gomorrah deals with rape. Leviticus deals with ritual prostitution in worshipping Molech. Paul deals with unnatural relationships, abusive behaviour and adultery.
        None of these addresses committed, exclusive, loving unions.

        • If it is the case, that as you suggest, ‘we are all familiar’, then it is not Scripture is your issue. It becomes interpretation and pre-defined positions.

          Scripture is clear. For me. For many.

          You say, apparently not. And not for Bishop Peter Stewart either, who refuses to meet with me. On theological grounds.

          I say tomato, you say tomaato. The refrain of the said song, goes lets call the whole thing off.

          I suggest, spiritual warfare, and biblical interpretation, that is doubting God or not, is the central issue.

          ie: Heaven or Hell in a Hand Basket.

          That is In Fact. The Gospel. Repentance from Sin, and Faith.

        • True, the Bible does not address what alanaustin refers to as “… [c]ommitted, exclusive, loving unions”. The reason why it does not is, precisely, because it addresses sexual relations between members of the same sex, in the clearest possible terms, as being abominable. The fact that alanaustin addresses homosexual relationships in terms of being “committed, exclusive and loving” is his problem.

        • “The problem, Bruce, is that none of the passages with which we are all familiar addresses same-sex orientation.”

          None of them address any sort of orientation, Alan. Jesus tells us what marriage is, and what sex is to be used for. He doesn’t allow “orientation” as an exception for one simple reason: In God’s eyes, it isn’t an exception.

          Whether you claim to be same sex oriented or not, God’s law says that marriage is only between a man and a woman. If you can’t do that, then don’t get married.

          “And none deals specifically with faithful, monogamous same-sex marriage.”

          For a very good reason: It doesn’t exist.

          “None of these addresses committed, exclusive, loving unions.”

          On the contrary, the passages which forbid homosexual activity do so regardless of any commitment, exclusivity or “love” in the union. So they have addressed these unions – they are not an excuse for homosexual activity.

    • Thus Alan, your Gospel is fake. Repent and believe, else spend Eternity in Hell and the Lake of Fire. Like the rest of any and all of your liberal-progressive colleagues, the Sanhedran of the day.

    • “It is deeply to be regretted that scholarship within the Anglican community on what the Bible does actually teach on same-sex relationships is so scant.”

      I had to laugh when reading this little bit of intellectual snobbery, particularly after scanning the comments below and seeing how little self-awareness is involved.

      Alan, the Bible is quite clear on the issue. Your real problem is that you don’t like what the Bible says, not that it isn’t clear.

      In a nutshell, Jesus tells us that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and any sexual activity outside of that relationship is immorality.

  2. Open your hearts to the Holy Spirit!

    The use of the word “Ceasefire” is a military term inappropriate for theological discussion.
    The above comments seem judgemental and unhelpful.

    • hi Peter. I explain the use of the term in the piece. It is a military term but that’s hardly in and of itself inappropriate for theological discussion, as even a brief read of the Scriptures (e.g. Eph. 6:11 et.seq., 2Tim.2:3 et. seq. etc.) will make clear.

    • There is no truce in spiritual warfare against Satan. God’s enemy and our adversary.

      We are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare. Military language is thus entirely appropriate. Even Jesus performed miracles with the child of a Military person, at distance.

      Redefining sin, that is the 10 Commandants, is ‘playing God’, pretending to be the Creator, not the clay pot/creature.

      Peter Wotton, please cease and desist being a Satanic agent, as, my suggestion, an anti-biblical-authoritarian-satanic-agent.

        • Peter, would you prefer to be judged now in this present life by a loving peer or three, or when it is too late on Judgement Day on the left of the Christ, who says, to those on His left, depart from Me, I never knew you.

          • Judged by three aggressive Puritans or a loving God?
            I think that you might guess my answer. Burning witches ceased centuries ago

            • It is a loving and just and holy God who brings about restorative judgement within the Church in this life, and final solution love and justice in the next.

              We are called to lovingly and firmly correct and judge within the Church in this life, that someone on the wrong path may be yet saved.

              Puritans, evangelicals, conservatives, Calvinists, Sydney Anglicans, Presbyterians and Baptists and many others, even evangelicals within the UCA essentially are on the same page on Biblical authority, and against redefining sin, sexual sin, and against those who seek to redefine the 10 Commandments and play at pretending to be God. This is ultimately a satanic act. Satan, the Great Pretender.

              If you wont accept loving reproof by the likes of David, or me, or other evangelicals, you are placing yourself at great spiritual peril. Repent and believe. Do not listen to the false teaching. That is what David is speaking to. Do not wreck the Anglican Church of Australia away from orthodoxy of faith matters, the Scriptures and the 39 Articles of Religion.

  3. It is sad that there is a lack of love & understanding and suggestions of separation in this dialogue. Hell & damnation form little of the Anglican Christianity which I have experienced from my early days and indeed little of the words of Our Lord himself.
    The dogmatic assertions used are more Calvin than Cranmer and seem somewhat outside the Anglican tradition.
    Would you all not be happier in some other denomination and leave the Anglican Church , as did the Puritan clergy after the end of Cromwell’s Commonwealth

    • “Hell & damnation form … little of the words of Our Lord himself.”

      Oh dear, Peter, are you sure you have read much of the words of our Lord?

      Jesus refers to hell and damnation (often in very graphic terms) a great deal. In fact, far more than anyone else does! Jesus warns people about hell far more than Paul ever does, for instance.

      This is just one among scores of teaching by Jesus about hell:

      “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:45-46).

  4. A good analysis David. However, I suspect, as here in Britain, Australia will eventually fall under the same relentless undermining of historical and biblical doctrine and succumb to the same secular liberalisation that is evident elsewhere in society. We see this with the appointment of gay and lesbian clergy, including Bishops and activist lay members of Synod influencing such appointments and overall direction of travel. It is inevitable.

    I also think you are being too kind as to the motivations of such people as sexual liberalisation being a gospel imperative. I suspect in my heart, that by denying homosexual marriage in church, the church is being an influential hold-out against the cultural zeitgeist and homosexual activists, after decades of secular success, see this as just one more hill to climb, after winning every battle they have fought, in their desire to wipe out any opposition and achieve ‘equality’. They cannot have a mirror held up to them to say what they have is not the same and never could or will be.

    Why the Anglican church should be the target I’m not sure, perhaps because historically they are the most compliant to change and receptive to being influenced by outside forces. Other churches and religions are less pliable I suspect.

    • Warming to my theme, so forgive the addition; I’ve just come across a review by the historian A.N. Wilson of Olivier Roy’s book ‘Is Europe Christian?’ Wilson makes the following analysis which I think is directly relevant to the topic under discussion;

      ’In Is Europe Christian? (Roy states that) ‘’De-Christianisation never takes a step backward’’.

      His analysis of what has happened is convincing. Fifty and more years ago in the West, the young began to question the fundamental values – based on family life – which the secular generality of people shared with Christianity. Little by little, these questionings turned…to be enshrined into European Law. Heterosexual monogamy was no longer regarded as an ideal and the notion that homosexuality, abortion or divorce were morally wrong was simply discarded.

      Institutional Christianity then faced a crisis. What do you do when the majority of ‘’intelligent’’ opinion has changed? Protestant Churches decided to go with the flow and to abandon all their principles. What C.S. Lewis would have called ‘’mere Christianity’’ no longer satisfied, for example, a Church of England which had not merely a gay clergy, but gay clergy who wished to wed one another. The conventional doubts about the allowability of birth control, abortion and free love, were seen as obscurantist. The only Christians who retained these doubts were conservative evangelicals and Catholics.’

  5. If people want to reject the Bible, I can’t see what the debate is about, it’s just a different religion & clearly not Anglican as defined in is foundational documents. Great to sort this out so Anglicans can get on with teaching Christ as revealed in the Bible.

    • This is not an issue where one side accepts Scripture and the other rejects it, James. Both accept Scriptural authority, but read the content differently.

      The Church is reliving the solar system debate of 400 years ago. The Bible seemed to clear – “the sun stood still, and the moon stopped” – but science showed us that exegesis was flawed.

      Same today. The sciences of of anthropology, human physiology, psychology, genetics and now zoology are revealing to Christians that same sex and bi-sexual orientations are normal, natural, healthy, unchosen, unchangeable, non-contagious, exist throughout the animal kingdom, are confined to a discrete percentage of the population and pose no threat to anyone.

      This is the reformation of our age.

      • Hi all, Alan Austin, I think it’s more accurate to say both sides claim biblical authority.

        Both sides want to see themselves lining up with the (still noble to some) tradition of bringing the teaching of the Bible to the world.

        But maybe we can also agree that there are very different visions of what the Bible says on offer? There are always two sides to this kind of disagreement. What we say we believe (and we all say we follow the bible.) And then there’s the actual content of what we say we believe.

        This second question is the issue that matters, in my view: what is the content of what the Australian Anglican Church believes?

        And so, in passing, it’s not really very helpful for people here or elsewhere to sling off at people with insults or ad hominem comments. You just entrench yourself and others in their positions.

        However, having said that, this question is not academic. It is a struggle for the direction of the Anglican Church in Australia. I believe it’s a matter of eternal life and death. So it’s no wonder people get pretty hot under the collar.

        My take is that the ‘progressive’ bishops are leaving behind the settled teaching of the church, on sexuality for instance, but more too, for various complex reasons. They are departing from ‘the doctrine of Christ’ which all of them publicly stated they believed at confirmation, promised to teach at their ordination, and to correct and set aside all erroneous alternatives to it at their consecrations.

        The prayerbook, and especially the ordinal, explains and defines the centre and the content of the teaching of this church, its limits and more importantly even, the methodology of arriving at these teachings. To say otherwise is disingenuous, no matter the spiritual language used, such as ‘what the Spirit is saying to the church.’

        To me, the ‘progressive’ bishops are mistaking their own evolving beliefs for what is a settled, publicly agreed, coherent biblical theology. And the presenting problem is that others in the group are saying ‘No way’.

        Disagreement is not in and of itself condemnation. But we shouldn’t mistake how different are the visions of the Christian life of these two sides.

        But the other problem is that there are very limited ways to work this out internally if those who want to change the beliefs of the institution will not leave of their own will and start their own thing. There are no apparatus to dissolve the Anglican Church of Australia. It was deliberately not countenanced at the time of writing the constitution when there were decades of previous mistrust among the various groups within the national group. And thinking more practically, it’s inconceivable that we would get the timely cooperation of state legislatures which is what would be required to wind up the ACA. Furthermore, no side has shown any intention to wind it up but to struggle for ultimte control or perhaps, now, even to wreck what is left in the pursuit of perceived noble ends.

        And that last is an important point. I know of no player on the national scene who is not seeking in their own mind to do the right thing, to follow where they understand Christ is leading them. Some of them are profoundly wrong; frankly they are deceived by the evil one in my mind; but they are sincere. Sincerely wrong let me say clearly. But just because my opponent is wrong it doesn’t follow that I am therefore always right. It’s still possible to argue in a way that undermines what we say we believe. So let’s make sure we do battle in a way that honours Jesus in this arena. Not just by defending the truth that is under fire by the opponents of the gospel, but is threatened by our own sinful nature.

        Defend the truth. But don’t mistake everything that my side does for the measure of truth. It’s Jesus to whom I’m accountable, not my tribe’s accolades.

        • Tim, your “tribe” is the body of Christ, my friend. It is not time and place for civility with the Prince of this world who, in our time, is veritable Prince of the Anglican Communion. Wake up, brother. I would say, “Take seriously your belief that God has made Himself known, and has shown us the way to live as His people”.

  6. I rarely enter into these sort of debates, but I hope you will all permit me to quote my Bishop who in a recent publication wrote regarding understanding Scripture and interpreting Scripture.

    “Understanding the Scriptures requires you to listen to what God has said and to sit under his authority. Where a part of the Bible is unclear we don’t ignore it but we look to the rest of the Bible to offer us further understanding.

    By contrast, interpreting the Scriptures makes you the authority over what God has said allowing influences such as tradition, reason, and experience to determine your thoughts.

    This is not just semantics. When we seek to understand, understanding submits our reason, tradition and contemporary circumstances to God’s Word. When we seek to interpret, interpreting submits God’s word to our reason, traditions and contemporary circumstances. The outcomes can be significantly different when it comes to faith and practice.

    Start with God and you start with the Almighty, the Sovereign, the Holy and Perfect. Start with humanity and every effort is flawed from the start by our creatureliness, weakness and fallen nature. It is hardly surprising that when we get God wrong we get ourselves wrong. It is hardly surprising when we put ourselves in God’s place that we will compromise God’s absolutes.

    Given that contrast, it can only be the sin of hubris that would have us pursuing interpretations that offer permissions to things God has spoken against rather than encouraging repentance and faith that comes with understanding God’s Word. Such hubris will heal no ills, trivialise sin, reduce Christ, profit no salvation and consign people to hell”.

    • Thank you, Joshua. Pretty sure we all agree with your Bishop on God’s authority. And with you.

      Would you agree that it is also the sin of hubris to pursue interpretations that condemn things God has not spoken against, rather than encouraging repentance and faith that comes with understanding God’s Word?

      • alanaustin, if you believe that God has not spoken against homosexuality because the Bible does not use your tendentious language to describe the abomination, then you should inform yourself of the common sense shown by other advocates of homosexuality in the institutional church eg. the Roman Catholic activist, Luke Timothy Johnson.

        • Hi Chris,

          Thank you for this response. Yes, I believe God has spoken against sinful homosexual behaviour. In six scriptural passages.

          But God has also spoken against sinful heterosexual behaviour. In nearly 300 passages. For example:

          And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. (Leviticus 15:24)
          It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (1 Cor 7:1)
          So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. (1 Corinthians 7:38)
          Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. (Galatians 5:19)

          We do not take these 300 warnings against heterosexual sin as prohibitions of all opposite-sex unions, do we, Chris?

          So why should we take just six warnings against homosexual sin as prohibiting all homosexual unions?

          Is there any textual basis for regarding homosexual or bisexual orientation as any different from heterosexual orientation?

          Thanks, Chris.

          • alanaustin, certainly, we do not take the aforesaid 300 warnings against heterosexual sin as prohibitions against the work of our Creator God in His making man a sexual being, whereas the prohibitions against sexual immorality do not even refer to “sexual” relations between members of the same sex. To lie with a man as a man would lie with a woman is to act in a manner that is beyond the pale in the Creation theology of the Judaeo-Christian world. It has always been known thus, except for the nonsense that has overtaken biblical scholarship recently in some quarters. Most advocates for homosexuality in the institutional church, however, support a program of reform that may be taken seriously in an intellectual sense.

            The problem is that reform would entail our choosing to be disobedient as the people of God. What would be required, fundamentally, is that the Church should aspire to speak with one voice, as it once did, to the effect that it now seems good to us – and the Holy Spirit – (Acts 15:28) that we should bless sodomy in the name of our Creator. I dare you.

          • You are employing some pretty contorted reasoning here, Alan:

            “Yes, I believe God has spoken against sinful homosexual behaviour. In six scriptural passages. But God has also spoken against sinful heterosexual behaviour. In nearly 300 passages.”

            That is hardly surprising – sinful heterosexual behaviour is much more common.

            “We do not take these 300 warnings against heterosexual sin as prohibitions of all opposite-sex unions, do we, Chris? So why should we take just six warnings against homosexual sin as prohibiting all homosexual unions?”

            Because we don’t take them that way at all – your argument is bulit on a false premise. Jesus defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is immorality. That excludes all homosexual sex.

      • Judging from your comments (prior and post) I am not confident that you are in agreement with me and my bishop.

        As to your question, I do not believe the issues of human sexuality are matters of adiaphora.

  7. Maybe I’m being simplistic, but shouldn’t clergy who don’t hold to their ordination promises be told to step down from their leadership and leave the Anglican Church?

    Why don’t clergy who want to change the constitution leave voluntarily and start their own denomination? Sadly, I suspect it’s a matter of wanting to take advantage of the property and reputation of the Anglican Church. Why should Anglicans in liberal dioceses have to plant their own churches at the expense of their conservative congregations? This seems very unjust and a betrayal of past generations of Christians who donated their money to support a traditional Anglican Church in good faith.

    Why are these clergy allowed to remain, pillaging the resources of the Anglican Church and causing division?

    • Well said Lucy. Thank you.

      I pose the very same questions to the current Bishop of Newcastle, Rev Dr Peter Stuart who oversees the Anglican Rector of Gosford, a notable same sex marriage advocate, and open denier of the key Doctrines of the Faith once received.

      It is now time for the Bishop of Newcastle to resign on doctrinal integrity grounds alone, not upholding his Episcopal to defend the faith. Not invent a new one.

  8. Thanks, Chris.
    You accept that God created people as sexual beings. I presume you also accept that He created most gregarious birds and mammals as sexual creatures also.
    But do you accept that God created a small, discrete percentage of all birds and mammals as having same-sex attraction, and the much greater percentage with opposite-sex attraction?
    This is clearly the findings of the sciences today.
    So why would Christians regard same-sex attracted people differently from opposite-sex attracted people?

    • Yes, an interesting line of ‘defensive offensive’ tactics often trotted out by liberals and their ilk who refuse to believe God at His Word.

      1) Sin
      2) God tells us plainly.

      We are made in the image of God.

      The animal kingdom is not ‘made in the image of God’. Animals do not have souls.

      • Yes, we are in agreement on sin, I believe, Bruce.

        But probably differ on “God tells us plainly”. As mentioned earlier, God’s special revelation in Scripture tells us plainly that the sun moves around the earth. But His general revelation – in nature as shown by the sciences – now tells us plainly that the earth revolves around the sun.

        This is a parallel debate. Some passages in Scripture appear to suggest all homosexual behaviour is sinful.

        The human sciences have now shown, however, that same-sex orientation is natural, healthy, not reversible, not contagious and poses no threat to anyone. Anthropology and sociology have shown the proportion of same-sex attracted people is about 3% and bi-sexual people 4%. And has been so in all societies throughout human history.

        Zoology has confirmed that a small discrete percentage of same-sex couplings is natural throughout the created order. So it is not a sinful choice. Pediatrics and other behavioural sciences have shown same-sex parents are just as effective as straight parents in child-rearing outcomes, or more so. Medical science says both straight and gay sex entail inherent health risks.

        Historians tell us there have been periods when the Church has celebrated same-sex unions. Many congregations today are greatly blessed by the ministry of same-sex attracted individuals and couples.

        Progressives within the Church believe God’s general revelation. But they do not reject His special revelation in Scripture. They suggest we have not been reading it rightly. And they are calling for more scholarship on the texts.

        • alanaustin, first, “God’s special revelation” does not tell us that the sun moves around the earth. God is not an ignorant astronomer, nor is He a deceiver. It appears that you are now being silly.

          Second, your comments on the human sciences and zoology are not to the point insofar as there is no consensus in these fields, and even if there were, it would be irrelevant to normative questions in sexual ethics.

          Third, there have been degenerate periods in the history of the institutional church, none more so than today, but again, you miss the relevant point. It is the Body of Christ that speaks of the sacrifice that was made for the life of the world (John 6:51). In doing so, it calls all sinners to hide in the loving arms of their Redeemer. Your reference to the Church celebrating the union of sodomites is appalling, albeit this sort of talk is typical of those serving the interests of wickedness, despite being in positions of leadership throughout the Anglican Communion.

          Finally, your statement that “more scholarship on the texts” is required is utter balderdash. I will leave it at that.

        • Zoology has also confirmed that the males of some species are inclined to eat their own offspring (grizzly bears for eg), or to crush them to death (walruses for eg). What happens in the natural world may not always be desirable behaviour in humans.
          Paediatrics and other behavioural sciences have not concluded any such thing that child raising by same sex couples is just as effective as being raised by the child’s biological parents. The statistical norm is that children are raised by their biological parents, so anything else is abnormal. As with any statistical distribution there are outliers, which indicate that in a few cases, some homosexual couples do a better job at raising a child than a few married biological parents, but this small sample should not be taken to justify it becoming normal practice. It is not biologically natural for a child to be raised by two women or by two men. Many longitudinal sociological studies in many countries has shown that in general, children experience far better outcomes and experience far fewer risks of harm when they are raised by their biological parents who are in a marriage relationship.
          Medical science has proven that anal sex has some serious health consequences and risks, and that homosexual couples engage in far more promiscuous and risky sexual practices than stable married heterosexual couples. “Marriages” of homosexual couples in general experience a rate of domestic violence that is an order of magnitude greater than the rate of DV in heterosexual married couples. They also have a greater rate of relationship breakdown, and a higher rate of infidelity and sexual involvement of other men than heterosexual couples. The idea of a life long exclusive married relationship is foreign to most homosexual couples. So the evidence from general revelation supports the injunctions in special revelation against male to male coupling.

          • Further, Brian, for what it is worth, what we do not evidently see in the behaviour of organisms (despite the Fall), is reproduction avoidant copulation. If we were to see this clearly instanced in animal populations, we would identify it immediately as being pathological. The very idea of “same-sex attraction” is poorly defined for research purposes, that is, because it is actually a political concept. It has no role in biology which is a life science.

          • So many assumptions and so little data!
            1. Children raised by gay couples
            https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/23/children-raised-by-same-sex-parents-do-as-well-as-their-peers-study-shows
            2.Sexual diseases –
            you totally ignore the aspects of all venereal diseases including chlamydia and uterine cancers and other urinary tract infections in male/female sex
            3.More promiscuous sex?
            You appear to be unaware of the sexual activities of young men and women outside your bubble. Current birth control knowledge has largely removed any difference in occurence of sex outside marriage.
            4.Domestic violence>
            Given that one woman every week dies as a result of domestic violence .
            https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-in-australia-2018/contents/summary
            5. Domestic breakdown
            “Whilst 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce, they are lasting longer than 2 decades ago. In 1993, the average length of marriages that ended in divorce was 10.7 years, today they are lasting 12.1 years on average. 77% of Australian couples cohabitate before getting married..

            You really need to burst out of the Calvanist bubble and accept the facts about relationships in Australia .
            Stop being exclusive and start being inclusive and accepting.

            However I accept that you will probably wipe these comments

            Peter Wotton

            • “You really need to burst out of the Calvanist bubble and accept the facts about relationships in Australia .”

              Peter, what is the relevance of all the points in your post? You appear to be saying merely that sinful activity is rife in Australia. I am sure everyone knew that already.

              “Stop being exclusive and start being inclusive and accepting.”

              Why? You don’t state a reason for your demand.

              You also aren’t being very specific: Are we to be inclusive and accepting of all sin, or just particular types of sin that you find acceptable?

        • Thanks for the assertions in your post, Alan, but that’s all they are:

          “The human sciences have now shown, however, that same-sex orientation is natural, healthy, not reversible, not contagious and poses no threat to anyone.”

          No, they haven’t.

          “Zoology has confirmed that a small discrete percentage of same-sex couplings is natural throughout the created order.”

          No it hasn’t. It has just shown that such behaviour exists, and assumes that it must be “natural”. However that’s like saying that human selfishness and rage are “natural” – in a sense that may be so, but we still have laws to stop us indulging in them.

          “Pediatrics and other behavioural sciences have shown same-sex parents are just as effective as straight parents in child-rearing outcomes, or more so”

          No they haven’t.

          “Historians tell us there have been periods when the Church has celebrated same-sex unions.”

          No they don’t.

          “But [progressives] they do not reject His special revelation in Scripture. ”

          Yes, they do. They just aren’t honest about it, and try to get around the plain words of scripture by twisting them.

          “And they are calling for more scholarship on the texts.”

          No, once their arguments are subjected to analysis, its soon apparent that they are calling for less scholarship on the text. They only want scholarship that agrees with their a priori conclusions.

    • “But do you accept that God created a small, discrete percentage of all birds and mammals as having same-sex attraction, and the much greater percentage with opposite-sex attraction?”

      No, but I would accept that that has occurred as a result of sin. Same for animals eating meat – that’s not how God created them, but it is the effect of the Fall, i.e. the entry of sin into the world.

      So by extrapolation from your point, we see that homosexual orientation is a result of the Fall, just like any other sinful attitude. Its not how God originally created mankind.

  9. alanaustin, the abstraction that is referred to as “same-sex attraction” is not an explanatory category that is found in any of the scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. It has been employed recently in scientific theorising. The results are problematical (see Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences, by Rebecca M. Jordan-Young, Harvard University Press, 2010). The results are also irrelevant. The Doctrine of Creation explains the origin of human sexuality in the creation of man and woman, which is why Christians regard people who have sexual relations outside of marriage differently from those who follow the will of God for their lives. Quaint, do you think? Perhaps you could pursue your sexual agenda where it is appropriate – away from the people of God.

      • it seems that you are trying to defend sexual relations outside of marriage Alan, because marriage in God’s sight is only between one man and one woman. To say, as some revisionist theologians do, that marriage can apply to a same sex relationship requires some special pleading in exegeting the critical texts of Scripture that refer to same sex relationships. It seems that you are not satisfied with any theological investigation of Scripture that comes to a different conclusion to the one you want. The Church already has a settled doctrine on marriage, that does not need any revision, because Scripture itself has not changed.

        • Yes, that is the question, Brian Fyffe.
          Is “marriage in God’s sight is only between one man and one woman”?
          Some Bible-believing Christians believe it is, other equally committed Bible-believing Christians believe it isn’t.
          This is where more scholarship is required.
          No, the Church does not have “a settled doctrine on marriage”. Many Christian denominations now accept that same-sex unions are not prohibited by Scripture.
          It seems to depend on what passages we look at, which ones we ignore, and how we interpret the ones we choose to focus on.

          • Since you are asking the questions and putting the propositions, Alan:

            “Is “marriage in God’s sight is only between one man and one woman”?”

            Yes. Jesus is quite clear about this, in Matthew 19 and related passages.

            “Some Bible-believing Christians believe it is, other equally committed Bible-believing Christians believe it isn’t.”

            No, l beg to differ about that. As we have seen on this thread, those who claim to be “committed Bible-believing Christians” who press same-sex “marriage” are refusing to accept the plain words of Jesus, and merely using sophistry and fast-talking to try to get around them.

            “This is where more scholarship is required.”

            Sure, if you mean actual scholarship. Unfortunately, looking over all your posts, it appears that what you really want is tendentious scholarship which merely reinforces a priori conclusions. That isn’t scholarship in anything but name.

            “No, the Church does not have “a settled doctrine on marriage”.”

            Yes, the Church does. Just because liberal heretics have managed to talk a few slivers of the Church into accepting false teaching doesn’t change anything. This has always happened.

            “It seems to depend on what passages we look at, which ones we ignore, and how we interpret the ones we choose to focus on.”

            No, it doesn’t. We are not ignoring any passages. We have given you a full and convincing answer on each. Whereas you are trying to explain away the passages you don’t like.

  10. Given where the comments above have focussed (or fixated?) I hope we’re all watching Insight tonight on SBS. Honest & authentic lives & struggles to understand – and some sad faith-based reactions.

  11. And looking over previous inputs again it seems odd that the arguments seeking to silence / remove those who are contrary to orthodoxy (whether Clergy or this site’s Commenters alike) are reversed when it comes to an instance like Israel Folau, & his very public biting-the-hand-that-feeds-him. But perhaps that’s just Experience & Reason getting in the way again?

    • I don’t see the parallel myself.
      Here we are debating the place in leadership in an institution – the Church – of those who deny it’s central tenets and want to reinvent them.
      Whereas the Folau question is around things that are peripheral to the institution he was in – Rugby Australia.

      • This debate as such here (& it’s barely remaining civil from some) & your piece that kicked it off started out as about leadership but more recently has some inviting contrary views & clergy to be removed / go away.
        And the Folau question was central, not peripheral. It was more about his contract, what he agreed he would do (& then did not) and from where his money was coming from. Is that much the same as for contrary clergy – so perhaps that IS the parallel?

        • It remains incredibly civil, sincere and loving to warn people against unrepentant sin and unbelief. The extremely uncivil act of the beheading of John the Baptist for preaching this warning and message about sin, sexual sin to boot, is by stark contrast.

          It is incredibly civil and loving to warn, remind, teach, rebuke both laity and progressive liberal clergy (teachers) alike about false teaching and unrepentant sin and unbelief in the risen Christ and its eternal consequences. Hell and the Lake of Fire forever and forever. This is indeed a loving act, and a most Anglican thing to do.

          The most uncivil, unkind and unloving, that is, Satanic act, is to falsely teach against the settle doctrine of the Church and the Scripture about what is sin and rebellion against God. In this case, in this presenting issue, (a) sodomy dressed up to be marriage, that is, strange flesh unnatural sexual relations, that is, sin, and seeking to some how bless sin by the Church even, and (b) the underlying issue, the authority of Scripture over the reason and traditions of mere man, a clay pot mortal creature.

          • Each side of this debate is at risk of “Hell and the Lake of Fire forever and forever” if we are wrong, Bruce.
            Yes, those who allow sinful behaviour within the Church will be called to account. Certainly. That is a potential judgment I have had to ponder prayerfully.
            Equally, those who exclude from the Kingdom good and godly couples whose God-given sexual orientation happens to be in the 8% minority rather than the 92% majority will also be called to account.
            Hence it is incumbent upon us all to be sure we have diligently studied God’s revelation in this area – both His general revelation through the sciences and His special revelation in Scripture.
            Increasingly, those who have studied both together are coming to the view that the Scriptural texts used to prohibit all same-sex unions actually prohibit only same-sex conduct which is coercive, abusive, adulterous, idolatrous or otherwise destructive.

            • 1) Adultery? Not in my dictionaries, not in any of them. Only sodomy remains.
              2) At risk of Hell?? I am not a gambler in the things of Eternal Life. You seem to be willing to be.

              I am sorry for you. I will leave you to your folly Alan. And I am unable to bless you. Time for GAFCON to step in in Oz me thinks, as they have done so across the ditch in NZ.

              • Hi again Bruce,
                You have used the term ‘sodomy’ a couple of times here now.
                Are you sure you understand what the sin of Sodom actually was?

                “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, fulness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

                Ezekiel 16:49

                • a) Well, back to my trusty dictionary again.

                  sodomy

                  n. Any of various forms of sexual acts regarded as perverted, especially anal intercourse, oral-anal contact, or sexual intercourse with an animal.
                  n. Unnatural sexual relations, as between persons of the same sex, or with beasts.
                  n. Carnal copulation in a manner against nature; buggery.

                  from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

                  b) sodomy noun

                  sod·​omy | \ ˈsä-də-mē \
                  Definition of sodomy
                  anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex
                  also : copulation with an animal

                  c) Yes the sins of Sodom were many and varied, ust as Israel Folau pointed out. A great big long list that encompasses just about everyone, with one exception: the Christ. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the Glory of God”. (Rom 3:23 ff)

                • Are you sure you understand what the sin of Sodom actually was?

                  “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, fulness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

                  Hi Alan. It’s surely not your contention, is it, that this is an exhaustive list of the things that Sodom was notorious for?

                  • Hi David. Thanks for this question.
                    It appears to be the exhaustive list of the ‘depraved’ and ‘detestable’ behaviour in Sodom which God told the prophet Ezekiel to record in that particular revelation. But, of course, there may well be other lessons to be learned from the Sodom stories.
                    It is difficult, however, to see any relevance of these to the debate within the Anglican Church on welcoming same-sex couples into membership and ministry.
                    The only reference to anything sexual is the attempted gang rape, a practice which has never been a matter of contention anywhere in the Church.

                    • Well then you need to make up your mind about what argument you’re making. With one breath you claim that the Ezekiel passage tells us what “the sin of Sodom” is. Then you have a different answer when I show that the text doesn’t lock down the argument you thought you were making.
                      That’s been the way you’ve consistently treated the Scriptures in this whole thread. But I think that’s clear to those reading along.

                    • Perhaps I can enlighten you Alan.

                      No openly same-sex couple is welcome to partake in Holy Communion in any orthodox Christian Church in Australia, Protestant or Catholic. Sydney Anglicans, The Roman Catholic Church, the Continuing Presbyterians, the Greek Orthodox and many others.

                      There are of course the exceptions. Parts of the now apostate Uniting Church (not the Assembly of Confessing Congregations) amongst others.

                    • Yes and no, David.

                      The argument I am making is fairly simple – that the Anglican Church and the rest of Christendom need much deeper study of the nature of same gender attraction, the history of same gender marriage in the Church and the content of Scriptural passages dealing with this.

                      Referring to the Sodom stories and even using the term ‘sodomy’ is not helpful.

                      Arguably the most relevant passage, Acts 8: 26-39, is seldom discussed.

                    • The number of denominations which accept same gender couples is expanding each year, Bruce.

                      Churches which now permit the blessing of same-sex unions include the United and Anglican Churches of Canada, the Episcopal Church in the USA, the Uniting Church in Australia, the Anglican Church in New Zealand, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, the Church of England, the Church of Denmark, The Church of Iceland, The Church of Sweden, the Scottish Episcopal Church and most Lutheran, United and Reformed Protestant churches in the UK, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy.

                      Liberal Jewish communities celebrate same-sex unions in many places, as do some Buddhist and Hindu communities. Dialogue is continuing within Islam.

                      Where synods, councils and assemblies are listening to the Holy Spirit and studying all the necessary disciplines, including the biblical texts, change is occurring.

            • “St John” the Apostle is not John the Baptist.

              John the Baptist was indeed under direct instruction from God the Holy Spirit.

              Folou’s case settled. Rugby Australia did not win their case. In fact, they paid up.

              • The settlement in the Folau case was confidential. Neither side won. Folau was paid to go away.
                Folau broke his contract with RA. There are similar clauses in his new Spanish contract, if he breaks those, he again will be dumped

                • Peter,

                  A) Like I said, which is

                  1) RA in the Folau case did NOT WIN their case.
                  2) In fact, RA paid up AND apologised.
                  3) Folau’s right to freely speak what is his version of the Gospel, was maintained.
                  4) RA needed to settle, to avoid major sponsors walking away
                  5) Folau was the clear winner in my view. Not only that, he got to get another sporting gig.

                  B) You confused John the Baptist with St John the Apostle, hence my point. Although, one could certainly say John the Baptist was a prophet, like Elijah, as Jesus alluded to on the mount.

                • “Folau broke his contract with RA.”

                  No Peter, you cannot say that. Folau’s legal position was that he did not break his contract with Rugby Australia. The matter was never litigated, remember? The two parties settled – that means no final legal determination of ANY of the issues.

                  All we have are the fairly consistent rumours that Rugby Australia agreed to pay Folau a sum said to be $ 4 million or more.

            • alanaustin, you do not have to “ponder prayerfully” the potential of God’s judgement if you are on the wrong side in the homosexuality debate. It is not the making of an intellectual error that you ought fear.

              As it is, you are not, in fact, taking part in a debate. In reply to other commentators, you are simply repeating assertions which have already been contested by me. For example, you continue in effect simply to declare that “those who have studied” the matter (who might they be?) have found that the plain meaning of the text (as it has been understood by believers and unbelievers alike for two thousand years), is misleading.

              Admittedly you may have an argument here – against the Holy Spirit – inasmuch as it appears that He could have failed to comfort His people as promised by our Lord; instead, on your reckoning, it must have seemed good to the Holy Spirit that the people of God should live so long in darkness by thinking that Scripture prohibits (all) homosexuality.

              This is why I have previously said that what is required – if there is to be reform – is that the Church announce that it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit, in the twenty-first century, that the people of God should henceforth teach sexual ethics in accordance with the new mores that have appeared recently in liberal democratic societies. Yes, I know, it would be difficult to keep a straight face.

              Further, it is not “incumbent upon us all to be sure we have diligently studied God’s revelation in this area”. This comment is particularly specious. In relation to the historical question at issue, we know that homosexuality, historically, is on a par with bestiality in Judaism and Christianity, and that, as such, it was considered a vile offence against the Creator God, so much so that St Paul told the Christians in Rome that God had given up perpetrators to their lust (cf St. John Chrysostom). (The Apostle was not talking of husbands and/or wives who fall short of the relevant standard appropos human sexuality that is the relationship that exists between Christ and the Church).

              If you wish to debate the matter, please feel free to reply to any of these comments.

        • Geoff, as to the “Folau question”, it has no place whatever in the present debate. Admittedly, the rugby player was not taken in hand by spiritual advisers, on day one, who could have told him that followers of Christ do not look to assert their rights. It was a dreadful witness before the world, I agree, but please keep on the topic.

          As for the tone of the current debate, I would certainly hope that it matches the speech of the sectarian Jew who is Chirst the Lord.

          • I think David Ould takes a slightly different approach to the Folau messaging controversy. But Folau’s messaging was essentially no different than John the Baptist. Look where that got John.

              • Folau’s position is that he was not under a binding contract in regard to declaring his faith. And he has never been proved wrong by any court or tribunal.

                In any case, so what? There is no meaningful difference between an ungodly football code that tries to hide from the Christian message behind a contract, and an ungodly king that tries to hide from the Christian message by imprisoning and then decapitating the messenger. In the end, the word of God always prevails.

  12. I’m with you alanaustin – much more effort re study & better textual scholarship is required for many things. Along the expertise lines of a Bart Ehrman maybe? But if the current view is admitted as being simply church status quo & dogma then not much point inviting enquiry, nor discussion.

    • Interesting motivation revealed in full view here Geoff.

      The sleeper cells of liberal progressives clear intentions l;aid bear in fact. Both yourself and Alan and Peter for that matter.

      That is, it is your ultimate purpose to query, question, challenge, and through these means overturn the status quo of Church dogma, that has been considered settled for 2000 years.

      This is precisely what Satan, the Great Pretender wants to do, Destroy the Church.

      At least we now have a clear understanding of the purpose of liberal progressives to engage.

      Repent and believe.

        • One must be schooled well and study hard to be fluent and expert in Church dogma, the Creeds and the Scriptures. Moore College would be a great starting point. Or Morling, or ChristCollege, or even SBC.

      • Thanks, Bruce.

        It is certainly not true at all that “the status quo of Church dogma … has been considered settled for 2000 years.” Even a cursory survey of Church history shows enormous doctrinal changes over the centuries.

        For most of history since Old Testament times, marriage has been a legal contract between men transferring property from one to another.

        In the New Testament marriage was discouraged: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman,” Paul instructs. And later, “So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.”

        Only in 1563 did the Council of Trent decide marriages should be celebrated in the presence of a priest and witnesses. The idea that love should be an ingredient in marriage came much later again, as did couples choosing each other.

        Same-sex unions have frequently been celebrated by the Church throughout history. Here in France, academic Allan Tulchin researched mediaeval brother-making rituals. He wrote in the September 2007 Journal of Modern History that Christian ceremonies joined unrelated same-gender couples in lifelong unions which raised family, held property jointly and were equivalent to marriages.

        For us to divine rightly God’s mind in this area, Bruce, we need deeper study of Church history as well as of the Scriptures.

        • Creating children through the process of Church blessed third party sexual relations (adultery) for a supposed same-sex coupling via the anus, is not God’s preferred position. Its not Scriptural, nor nature.

          A same sex male couple relies on a female outside the supposed connexion, which in fact remains sodomy.

          It is reasonable to divine God’s intention in both special and general revelation relating to those created in His image, ie: those who have a soul, who will live forever and forever in God’s presence, or eternal torment.

          Animals do not have such a fate.

        • I return to David’s previous brief and succinct interaction with you, on this platform, David’s blog.

          The great chasm is what is what it is. I do not look forward to seeing you on the other side, forever and forever, in the next life.

          Que sera, que sera.

          Repent and believe, as Glenn Davies would advocate.

        • alanaustin, your arguments based on inter alia historical references (which are not in dispute), overlook the essential distinction between the history of the institutional church and the life of the Bride of Christ in the present world. You can not reduce the latter to a secular historical investigation. That is a task for the unbeliever. There is nothing wrong with that task, but it is a theological question as to what the Bride of Christ or the Body of Christ rightly divines as “God’s mind in this area”. It is not therefore contingent upon “deeper study of Church history as well as of the Scriptures”. It is contingent upon the reception of the Holy Spirit by God’s own people. The revelation of God is not subject to historical inquiry, nor is it amenable to reform. What you appear to have your mind fixated on is the Bible as a document of ancient history and the Church as a social institution. From a critical perspective, this is the root problem generally in the methodology of homosexual activism.

          • Yes and no, Chris.
            Historical inquiry is not the only discipline helpful to resolving the current impasse in several Anglican communities and in other Christian denominations.
            But it will assist in knocking aside some of the more absurd obstacles to discerning God’s mind such as the claim that “the status quo of Church dogma has been considered settled for 2000 years.”
            We are in full agreement on the need for the reception of the Holy Spirit by God’s own people.

        • And yet more assertions from Alan that we are seemingly expected to accept without question. However, they don’t stand up, on closer scrutiny:

          “It is certainly not true at all that “the status quo of Church dogma … has been considered settled for 2000 years.””

          Yes it is. The scriptures are the teachings of the apostles, who were commissioned by God to deliver his teaching direct to the Church. They haven’t changed. Of course we have freedom in everything else, wherever the scriptures allow. And that freedom is very broad and wide-ranging. But that doesn’t change the fact that that which is dogma hasn’t changed and never will until Christ returns.

          “Even a cursory survey of Church history shows enormous doctrinal changes over the centuries.”

          Not just over the centuries – we see enormous doctrinal variation right now. And in areas where the Apostolic Scriptures allow us that freedom, that is fine.

          “For most of history since Old Testament times, marriage has been a legal contract between men transferring property from one to another.”

          Even if that were true (I can think of many cases where it was not), so what? We are talking about the Church of God here. What they did in pagan Rome or China is irrelevant.

          “In the New Testament marriage was discouraged:…”

          It appears to me that you are misreading 1 Corinthians 7, as well as conflating different passages. Paul’s teaching is consistent with the rest of scripture. ” Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” [1 Cor 7:8-9] That isn’t discouraging marriage. Its just warning people to consider it carefully, i.e. why they are doing it. 1 Cor 7:38 is referring to a man who feels the compulsion to have conjugal relations before the betrothal period is ended.

          I will write a separate post concerning your assertion about Allan Tulchin.

        • I suggest this assertion in Alan’s post is inaccurate or misleading:

          “Same-sex unions have frequently been celebrated by the Church throughout history. Here in France, academic Allan Tulchin researched mediaeval brother-making rituals. He wrote in the September 2007 Journal of Modern History that Christian ceremonies joined unrelated same-gender couples in lifelong unions which raised family, held property jointly and were equivalent to marriages.”

          Your summary goes way beyond Allan Tulchin’s conclusions. His work was only minimally about homosexuality, and he has since commented about it as follows:

          “I would not claim, as Boswell was understood to claim about adelphopoesis, that affrèrements were designed for gay couples. Instead, I would say that in this period the affrèrement offered a way for two single, unrelated men to express their love and arrange to live with each other. But even this is a dramatic change in popular attitudes….” [https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/42361]

          So note the point: Tulchin is not suggesting that the Church accepted homsexual unions or blessed them. He is suggesting that a particular legal arrangement was in fact used by homosexuals (on a few occasions among many others which were clearly not homosexual). That is saying no more than what we see today – there are constant attempts to get the church to accept homosexuality as not constituting sin. But the words of Jesus don’t change.

    • “But if the current view is admitted as being simply church status quo & dogma ”

      No, the current view is admitted as being what Scripture teaches. Alan is trying to talk his way around scripture and pretend it says something it plainly doesn’t. Why should any take his arguments seriously, unless he can justify them with a process of rational argument?

      • Yes, it is obvious that Alan “is trying to talk his way around scripture and pretend it says something it plainly doesn’t”. His approach actually is quite rational. It reminds me of advocacy by a barrister in defence of an accused. This can be very effective in a court of law if it engages a narrative that appeals to a jury. In response, we need to be as wise as serpents, whereas Michael A is clearly brilliant at killing a fly with a hammer.

  13. No, not really, Bruce.

    The Church does not regard creating children as essential to marriage. Couples well beyond child-bearing age or otherwise unable to reproduce are still eligible for holy wedlock.

    Raising orphaned children and assisting parenting in other ways may indeed be one of the reasons God created a small percentage of same-sex attracted creatures throughout the bird and mammal communities, including humankind.

    Again, more study on why a discrete percentage of all birds and mammals are same-sex attracted will be instructive.

    • re your comment alanaustin about small percentage of same-sex attracted creatures I think an aspect of evolutionary biology might shed light upon this & is readily observable. All traits of beings exhibit some range of variation within the species. This is not a defect but how all species are primed to survive & adapt to changes in environment. Some trait variations are fatal to the individual (before or after birth) and some hugely impact, for good or bad, on the life of surviving individuals and may or may not be transferred to subsequent offspring, if reproduction is possible. Sexual attraction is essentially a function of brain chemistry & response and therein also is variation. By definition same-sex couples cannot reproduce so it cannot be a characteristic which grows to dominate a population. I daresay that may please some people.

      • Further: I have two dogs. The bitch mounts the male. It appears to be on the basis that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Same as what you find with some human beings, by the way. We use to call them perverts. Again, end of story.

  14. Outside of the humanities, the notion of same-sex attraction is shot through with anthropomorphism. I have a small flock of English Leicester sheep. If I enclose two rams in a small paddock, they will mount each other. I’ve heard it claimed even that rams will couple. I wouldn’t be surprised. Whatever, when my rams run with the ewes, they forsake all other. End of story.

    • Chris, you have not explained what the relevance of your example is to the topic.

      I assume you are not disputing that Jesus taught that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sin.

      Why then would the sexual habits of sheep be relevant?

      • MichaelA, my comment on the sexual habits of my sheep and my dogs was purely anecdotal. It followed my previous comments as to the notion of “same sex orientation” being problematical in scientific research.

        • Thanks Chris, but you still haven’t explained the relevance of the sexual habits of sheep to the discussion. Looking at your previous comments doesn’t help me, I’m afraid.

  15. As a scientist and teacher of critical thinking (evidence-based medicine) I have long been bemused by the assumptions of many, as expressed above, that homosexuality has been proven to be determined genetically. The first “scientific” study claiming that was applauded by many but was later shown to be scientific fraud and struck from the literature.
    Can anyone produce rigorous scientific evidence that homosexuality is determined biologically?
    If not, will people be honest enough to stop making false claims that pollute serious discussion and lead astray those with impressionable minds?

      • The same applies to heterosexuality.

        I literally laughed out loud. Can anyone produce rigorous scientific evidence that heterosexuality is determined biologically?!
        That we are two complimentary sexes is quite literally built into our DNA at a fundamental level. Every cell in your body screams that you are male and every cell in a woman’s body screams that she is a woman. Do I need to get Robert Bruce in to teach you how the next generation is produced?

        One fascinating symptom of the current revisionism/liberalising trend is that it is noticeable unscientific.

        • They are BOTH determined biologically – that was my point above. Only one leads to sustainable transmission of genes and survival of the species. That’s how it works. The age-old question here maybe is how should we to treat people who are different from the majority? It’s what we DO that matters.

          • Galatians 3:28— In Christ there are neither Jew nor Greek, Slave nor Free, Male and Female

            David how do hermaphrodites fit into you DNA senario?

            We are not just bodies but a complex combination of soul, mind and body.

            • hi Peter,
              Hermaphrodites are quite clearly an example of when things go wrong. Yet another sign of a fallen broken world. Another exception that serves to prove the rule.

          • Geoff, you may be missing the point (like many others). There are no “people who are different from the majority”: there is none righteous, not one (Romans 3:10). Ditto peterwotton.

      • alanaustin, the same does not apply to “heterosexuality”. It is not the case that advocates for homosexual sin in the church, like yourself, must show, in Robert’s words, “that homosexuality is determined biologically” or that, in your words “[t]he same applies to heterosexuality”. Insofar as there is a biological or genetic question that is at all relevant to a debate on sexual ethics, it concerns merely whether human beings are in fact differentiated sexually. Admittedly there is a novel claim now being made (in your circles), that what this amounts to is nothing more than an anatomical distinction. (I hope that we can bother ourselves, for the moment, not to be distracted).

        The Biblical account of human origins does not make any quasi-scientific claim to the effect that heterosexuality is natural or that God created human beings as heterosexual, not homosexual. It seems to me that sexual behaviour is learned behaviour, for that would explain how it is possible for people to behave sexually in a manner that is unlike the behaviour of animals. What is theologically relevant, however, is the elementary truth that God created man as male and female. This is what Genesis explains. 

        In my lifetime, it has come about that society approves of men and women behaving sexually after the manner of animals. Nothing astounds me more on a daily basis, except that this madness is also being promoted in the church. Thank God, it will not, and could not possibly, be countenanced in the Body of Christ.

        I note finally that you have made reference to “the Holy Spirit” in your comments. May I ask please that you refrain from using language so as to make yourself a blasphemous obscurant. Pay careful attention to the commenting rules.

        • Thanks Chris. Just a few clarifications.

          No-one here advocates homosexual sin in the church. The Bible is fairly clear as to what conduct is sinful. These must be firmly condemned.
          The research across the disciplines assures us that same gender attraction, opposite gender attraction and bisexual attraction are different but equivalant. Our orientation, whichever of the three it may be, is natural, normal, healthy, unchosen, fixed, unchangeable, occurs in fixed percentages of the population and poses no threat to anyone.

          The science is settled on those aspects, even if not settled on the biological determinants or the evolutionary function of the minority experiences.

          No, there are no anatomical differences between people with different sexual attractions.
          Yes, we find evidence that God created human beings as heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual in both God’s general revelation and His special revelation.
          Yes, some sexual behaviour is learned, but sexual orientation is fixed. To verify this, ask any heterosexual man when he chose to put aside his homosexual desires and decide to become straight.
          No, it is not just in our lifetime that same gender unions have been accepted as normal. This has happened frequently through history, and through Church history.

          • alanaustin, OK, let’s deal with the substantive matter: the topical notion of sexual orientation. I have argued inter alia that it is theologically redundant in sexual ethics based on Scripture. What you need to do in order to stop repeating yourself is to put the alternative case that sexual orientation is not theologically redundant. You can not rely on “research across the disciplines”. If you can find evidence of “sexual orientation” in God’s Revelation, Scripture and/or Nature, I would be happy to hear about it. I have already responded to your various claims in this respect, in my previous comments. You simply ignore those comments, and keep repeating yourself. What you need to do is debate the issue. The problem that you face is that, for you, and other homosexual activists, the issue is political, whereas I do not play that game.

            • Thanks, Chris,

              Yes, there are many references to sexual orientation in God’s revelation. None explicitly defines what it is, unfortunately. Nor why Creation features this variation. The obvious ones are the five passages which warn against sinful same-sex misconduct.

              Secondly, scholars tell us many references to eunuchs are probably references to LGBTQ folks. Not all, but many.

              Thirdly, there are at least four biblical relationships which scholars increasingly are reading as possible same gender unions. Possible, perhaps probable. But not definite.

              In the absence of specific teaching on treating people with same gender or bisexual orientation differently from the majority with opposite gender orientation, it is safest not to do so.

              All this hangs together if we accept the learnings from academia and praxis. So this is very much like so many other brawls in church history which were decided – eventually – when better understanding of the nature of the world prevailed.

              • alanaustin, your reply gives me something to go on. As I understand it, the term “homosexual” is 19th century in origin. Since that time it has become increasingly less common to refer simply to the phenomenon of sexual activity between members of the same sex. As is usual in the attempt to grow scientific understanding, the empirical evidence has been subject to abstraction procedures, and, in this way, the notion of sexual orientation has become pivotal in our understanding of sex. I am referring here, of course, to our scientific understanding of sex. I am not in dispute with any of this, although I have found it relevant to note that science, in this area, is still comparatively primitive.

                What I have sought to question you about is your readiness to project the new terminology of sexual orientation back into the Bible, where sexual attraction outside what we would refer to today as heterosexual marriage is always characterised as simply being immoral. Please note that I am not saying that you can not read the text in this way. Your response as a reader is not subject to constraint any more than my own response. I would say however that you are taking such liberties that your understanding of the text is in peril, and that your motivation appears to be political. You are seeking to take control of the text away from the Church, with all the best intentions from the point of view of homosexual civil rights. Needless to say, I believe that what you need to do is come to Jesus the Lord who loves you and gave Himself for you.

                • Thanks, Chris.

                  Yes, your first section is excellent. We are in accord. In your second section, we differ on two matters. The first is:

                  “… your [Alan’s] readiness to project the new terminology of sexual orientation back into the Bible …”

                  Yes, the biblical texts must be examined again in light of God’s fresh revelations through the sciences. Always. This happened in earlier internal church conflicts over:

                  the shape of the earth,
                  the movement of the planets,
                  schizophrenia versus demon possession,
                  illness caused by viruses or evil spirits,
                  the equality of the races,
                  the equality of the genders,
                  the age of the earth,
                  the size of the universe,
                  the authorship of the Pentateuch,
                  women in church leadership.

                  In all of these, those seeking “to overturn what the Church has always believed since the time of Jesus” prevailed.

                  The second is: “… sexual attraction outside what we would refer to today as heterosexual marriage is always characterised as simply being immoral.”

                  Careful biblical exegesis does not support this, Chris. There are five texts which address same-sex abusive acts – rape, paedophilia, adultery, prostitution and pagan ritual worship. None of these relates to loving, faithful unions.

                  So it is quite wrong to condemn wholesome, committed same gender unions on the basis of texts prohibiting destructive acts. What we would need to prohibit all same gender activity is at least one clear, unambiguous declaration, like one of these:

                  “It is good for a man not to touch a woman”.
                  “So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.”

                  • alanaustin, I have said elsewhere, in one of my comments, that I think you run into problems because you treat Scripture as a document of ancient history (which of course it is). This is also a common error of branches of the institutional church in response to conceptual change: for instance, in relation to the matters listed by you in your comments above. Thus the Bible is read so as to identify various ways in which it appears deficient in referencing matters that are described differently in subsequent eras. This may be done to any historical document, including the literature of our own society, and is happening as we speak. It is what we refer to as writing being dated.

                    You state that “the bliblical texts must be examined again in light of God’s fresh revelations through the sciences”. I think this viewpoint is naive, in historical, theological, and scientific respects.The Bible refers, for example, to demon possession. We have long since medicalised the condition in question; there are some who believe that we are wrong about this and that our understanding of mental illness is politicised (eg.Thomas Szasz). However the gospel accounts of our Lord’s ministry of healing should be read at face value, and not so as to make them contribute proleptically to intellectual debates that first arose in the twentieth century. This, in fact, is how we should first read any text.

                    It is not for the Church to provide a translation that accommodates scientific or political understandings of mental illness at subsequent times in history, nor is it for God’s people to do what academic theologians try to do eg. translate Genesis so that it may be read in a manner that is not inconsistent with Darwin. The problem is that God has not made “fresh revelations through the sciences”. In fact, He has never made any revelations in respect of the matters that you list eg. the authorship of the Pentateuch. Jesus referred to the writings of Moses, but he did not have a theory of the authorship of the Pentateuch. The Bible explains the origins of man, but it is neither consistent nor inconsistent with explanations that do not refer to His creation of mankind.

                    As the people of God, we know that the Almighty transcends time, and thus, accordingly, we must articulate our faith in a manner that testifies to this. It is not only an act of faith to read the Bible at face value, it is the only way to reach an understanding of it as propositional revelation. So I do not condemn “wholesome, committed same gender unions on the basis of texts prohibiting destructive acts”. This is tendentious interpretation of the text, but that is not so much the point.
                    The Bible can not be read as if it is not an historical document, but nor can it be read as a legal code simply because it contains references to various rules, laws and prohibitions. This is not the ground of our holiness.

                    • Thank you, Chris. Pretty sure I understand that. Also pretty sure we agree on a fair bit there.

                      Can I ask you one hypothetical question arising from your claim “that God has not made ‘fresh revelations through the sciences’.”

                      Martin Luther, wrote this in about 1539:

                      “There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon … But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must needs invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth.”

                      If you had been Marty’s housemate back then (separate bedrooms, of course), whose side would you have been on? Luther’s or Copernicus’?

                  • alanaustin, the following is in reply to your post at Feb 29, 8.29am. (I can’t find anywhere the reply).

                    In astronomy, I would have been on the side of the winner, albeit with the caveat, of course, that science is revisable. I would have told Marty that he was no more an astronomer than Joshua; more generally, I would have told him that he was up to no good in the institutional church, being no more a theologian than Frederick III.

                    • Thanks, Chris,

                      The reason I ask is that there is a close parallel here.

                      Luther made the error of taking what seemed to be the plain reading of Scripture and applying it to exclude people from the Kingdom. He was not alone. A few years later, the philosopher Giordano Bruno wrote that the universe was larger than the earth, sun, moon and stars. He claimed, amongst other things, that there was more than one sun and other planets like the earth.

                      The Church was outraged, because the Bible records the creation of one earth and one sun. All references to the sun rising and setting are singular. Therefore there can only be one sun. We now realise – a bit late for Bruno and others who were killed for their heresies – that taking a passage of Scripture, however plain and straightforward the apparent meaning and applying it to exclude others can be fraught.

                      Many Christians, church leaders, biblical scholars and theologians who accept same gender unions today understand that references in Scripture to singularity do not necessarily exclude plurality. And references to one gender do not necessarily exclude the other.

                  • alanaustin, further: when generations of the faithful seek to read the Bible at face value, it is obvious that their understanding of what it says will vary a great deal over time. We see through a glass darkly.

                  • alanaustin, I acknowledge the fact that many professing Christians treat Scripture as if its authority is potentially vulnerable to the growth of scientific knowledge, and I agree that the Bible has been invoked in the making of “the error of taking what seemed to be the plain reading of Scripture to exclude people from the Kingdom”. So, yes, I think it is true that the Bible is being misused on both sides in the debate concerning homosexuality. Certainly it should not be read as a rule book in order to exclude homosexuals from the priesthood. That would be like killing a fly with a hammer.

  16. Hey – we cracked the ton (now 101) for Comments on this one! It’s been interesting – and thanks again to davidould for facilitating all this. Honest, respectful discussion where people will own their opinions is the way to go.

    • Leaving aside the Old Testament in favour of the New, I wonder what Our Lord might have said.

      well, he wouldn’t have said that, for starters. He did affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman and he did proscribe “porneia” (sexual immorality – a general term that included any sexual activity outside of marriage). So the onus is on those making the argument from silence to demonstrate that Jesus had anything positive to say about homosexual activity.

      • Hi again David,

        Several passages in the New Testament relate to this issue, including some words of Jesus, and also including two of the examples of possible same-sex relationships in the Bible.

        For those locked into the view that all same-sex unions are intrinsically sinful, however, these will not be persuasive.

        For many of the countless Christians who have shifted on this issue across Christendom in recent decades, the beginnings of that enlightenment – as they see it – have been first-hand experience of the ministry of gay and lesbian individuals or couples.

        For others, that enlightenment has arisen from the teachings of several academic disciplines, probably starting with the nature of sexual orientation.

        This is why finding accord within the Anglican Church, as in all faith communities, requires us all to engage together in diligent study across the various disciplines.

  17. A broken world indeed, forsaking the love and inclusion of Our Lord for those created in God’s image but differing from the mainstream?

    Not a sustainable argument

    • Now you’re just being disingenuous. Whoever suggested that because someone’s physiology was marred that we ought not to love them? I certainly didn’t.
      Yes, we’re all made in the image of God, an image that is (not least) male and female. But that image is broken in each and every one of us in different ways. We seek to restore, where we can, what is broken back to the original intended order. We don’t celebrate and promote brokenness. You wouldn’t tell a diabetic to embrace their malfunctioning pancreas, would you?

    • Further, Peter, what we need to do is to see the world from the viewpoint of the gospel, that is, to assess its beliefs and values eg those espoused by alanaustin, with the mind of Christ.

      What happens otherwise is that we may come to see our faith in Christ from the perspective of the world’s beliefs and values. Thus, you appear to focus on diversity in human society in the way that the media is currently doing. Beware the Angel of Light, my friend.

    • Peter, a very good example of seeing the gospel of Christ from the perspective of the world’s beliefs and values appears in alanaustin’s latest comment above (Feb 28 at 1:10pm), where he appeals to the influence that homosexuals have succeeded in exerting on the ministry of the church, and also, where he refers to the teachings of “several academic disciplines”. Paul’s writings to Timothy may be recalled, in this context, for there we find both love and wisdom. God bless.

  18. We are ordered to love! I see little love here, just an obsession with sex. Where is the love , compassion , support for women in violent marriage.
    I see massive money to support Folau but little for safe refuges or compassion for divorced women from these marriages to a church remarriage.

    • Hi Peter

      At the risk of repeating myself, sodomy is not in anyway shape or form, sex. It remains strange flesh, and forbidden in Scripture. An abomination and repugnant. Sin, in other words.

      This it therefore not love.

      We are certainly called to love the Lord our God your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and our neighbour as ouselves.

      This in no way permits sodomising them, desecrating their body and one’s own.

      Those who preach a message of sodomy as if it were Holy Matrimony, on Sundays and any other day, and seek to desecrate and despoil the Holy Communion with such breathtaking evil and wickedness, are to be rejected and refuted constantly, in case even just one will repent.

      But alas, the Scriptures warn us well about the Great Falling Away, the Great Apostasy, and thus there remains little hope for such as these, except there be a turning back.

      See also https://www.gotquestions.org/great-apostasy.html

      • Again , You appear to have an obsession with sex and sodomy. Same sex marriage is about the public acknowledgment of a loving relationship which does not necessarily include sodomy. Respect, love, company are all more important in an acknowledged relationship than sex.
        How do you feel about a blessing on a same sex relationship which does not involve sex? I understand that many relationships between older men do not involve sex. One publicly known case is that of the author Gore Vidal who never had sex with his life long partner.
        Peter Wotton

        • Obsession with bodily union?

          YOU are the one asking about ‘blessing’ of a certain style of relationship. If there is any obsession, or persistance with strange flesh, you seem to be the one pushing this line, – the ‘blessing; of SSR, along with others in this forum.

          There is no need to ‘bless’ nor ‘set apart’, to the ‘forsaking’ of all others, (this is exclusive to normative heterosexual Biblie-lawful lifelong marriage) tp non-connectional normal at-distance friendships. Bodily union can only be lawful (Biblicall lawful) male female marriage for life. Divorce is indeed problematic to this vision of perfection.

          Thus, no, I will NOT EVER partake in blessing same-sex relationships that mimic or seek to subterfuge normative heterosexual connectional marriage. In fact, I will neither participate in any Holy Communion that knowlingly involves such sinners. These will be excluded.

          Given that God created man, male and female in His image, it is hardly surprising that there remains, has been, and will always be, until Judgement Day, the lastday, a significant focus on the sexes, and in part sexual relations. Human kind only flourishes (that is, procreates – increases in number – also according to God’s command), with the key iingredient, being heterosexual marriage.

          Homosexual sodomy only increases by false teaching, and in some cases third-party normative sexual relations to produce the next generations (sin in itself).

          Bruce

        • I think you have a point there (& previously) Peter – if only more people would prefer to have an obsession for love, grace & acts of service then I reckon the world would be a better reflection of godly intention, for believers & non-believers alike. If only all people wished for that . . .
          Where I differ from you is that SSM is NOT about public acknowledgement of a loving relationship, any more than is man-woman marriage. It is a legal creation by the State of a union, nothing more (to the exclusion of others, voluntary, for life etc). Any blessing that might follow may well / should contain other aspects. I am sorry I have never heard that pointed out in a church wedding.
          And again, as you rightly (or in vain?) try to get the focus off sexual behaviour, I wonder what we ought to make of the loving relationship of David & Jonathan?

          • Geoff, your reference to David & Jonathan is a good example of reading the text with an obsession for sex. It can be done. How does it feel to do so in the presence of the Living God?

            • Most normative-married Christians, in the intimacy that is the basis of marriage, complete their union in the presence of the Living God, and are blessed.

              Anything else connectional is also conducted in the presence of the Living God, and not blessed but judged.

            • No, Chris – read what I wrote. Trying to get the focus OFF sexual behaviour I raised what I thought was an OK example of a loving adult relationship that happened to be between two men, after others raised the question of sexless committed relationships. Bruce threw in a few good examples below. But YOU noted obsession with sex & here we are again!
              Don’t know what you’re getting at with your question . . .

                • My point was to ask – ask us all to consider it. To me it reads like a loving committed relationship – and sexless, to save you the worry. Much like close brothers, comrades or even twins? All sounds innocent, healthy & wholesome to me.
                  Honestly, be it between men or men with women or men with children so many of the ills in this world come back to bad MEN thinking badly & behaving badly – certainly a vast majority compared to problems sourced from women. Might be time for us males to shut up a bit more and take counsel from that other half of humanity? I note no women have entered the fray on this or many other posts (assuming you are a Christopher & not a Christine – sorry if I’m wrong). Perhaps they have better things to do?

            • Not at all, Chris. That is most unfair.

              If you follow this thread, it is not Geoff with the obsession regarding one particular sex act.

              As for the same gender love story between David and Jonathan, it was the Living God who inspired that account for our edification.

              • alanaustin, the obsession with sex consists in the development in biblical studies of “queer reading”. In this context, you can not raise a rhetorical question in relation to the story of David and Jonathan without appearing to be disingenuous. So I asked Geoff what ought we to make of their loving relationship. Does he, like you, make the point concerning the relationship between David and Jonathan that it is a same gender relationship, rather than that it is a loving relationship.
                Of course, it is both. To read it one way, rather than the other, however, is to be obsessed with sexuality.

          • Geoff, Calvanists have an obsession with sex, sin and hell and prefer to forget about love and the unambiguos order from Jesus Christ in his Second Great Commandment and of course the Beatitudes.
            If they were honest in their beliefs, surely they would be better leaving the anglican ( non Calvanist) Church and joining one which has more in common with their beliefs.

              • Hmmm – I don’t know, David. I’ve been lumped in with a few who have been told a lake of fire awaits us. But I don’t take offence – just some pity on those who say it.
                And here I was thinking it was climate change warming me up . . .

                • I’m glad you don’t take offence, Geoff.
                  I’ll leave it up to Peter whether he wants to continue the conversation here. He is very clear on what is required for that to happen.

    • No. And neither does the law.

      A) I have been in a non-sexual same-sex relationship all my life. In fact, multiple/
      And, I most certainly do not ignore these persons.

      One is my sibling brother, and the other is my biological father
      And these same-sex relationships are non-connectional, as otherwise they would be criminal.

      B) Well, finally you have got something correct. Same-sex-relationships are connectional indeed always non-sexual, for they are sodomy, which is not sex.

      C) Non-familial, non-connectional same sex relationships are normally called ‘friends’. Most people have them.

  19. Are all the prohibitions, apart from the ones relating to sex, in Leviticus still observed?
    Are menstruating women and women after child birth still unclean?
    Are tattoos allowed?
    Can we now eat pork and crustaceans?
    Wear polyester cotton shirts?

    • Are all the prohibitions, apart from the ones relating to sex, in Leviticus still observed?
      Are menstruating women and women after child birth still unclean?
      Are tattoos allowed?
      Can we now eat pork and crustaceans?
      Wear polyester cotton shirts?

      Peter, this comment is specifically in breach of the commenting rules
      Being a Leviticus troll (an ignorant beast, which is saying something given the company it keeps) makes someone a persona non grata here.

  20. Good morning all. Fascinating discussion. Thank you.

    Just catching up on this, Chris Russell: “Certainly it [the Bible] should not be read as a rule book in order to exclude homosexuals from the priesthood. That would be like killing a fly with a hammer.”

    What are the grounds for excluding men and women in same gender unions from the priesthood if not rules drawn from Scripture?

    Are you acknowledging that the Anglican prohibition against gay and lesbians in ministry is not based on Scripture?

    • The sexually immoral, including openly gay practising males, do not have the Scriptural qualifications to be ordained as Presbyters.

      Only males can be ordained as Presbyters.

    • The Pauline / Biblical dictates for male headship is yet another reason for rejecting the evil that is sodomy dressed up to look like Holy Matrimony.

      Most especially by those who have become so spiritually deluded as to redefine ‘wives’ as male.

    • Hello Alan. The Anglican prohibition against the ordination of homosexuals is obviously consistent with the prohibitions against homosexuality in Scripture. This is made clear in the comments by Bruce. It is a very odd question, however, that you ask, “What are the grounds for excluding men and women in same gender unions from the priesthood if not rules drawn from Scripture?”.

      The Body of Christ is not a community organisation with a Constitution, but if per impossibile it were to seem good to the Holy Spirit that a given party of unrepentant sinners should form part of the Bride of Christ, then, in that case, I would see no reason why “gay and lesbians” should be excluded from ministry. Do you know of any other reason?

    • Alan, let me put this another way. I may indeed cite John 3:16 of Scripture when I testify that by God’s grace, I have been born again of the Spirit; however, I do not thereby do anything that might possibly establish my regeneration. God bless you on this day of the risen Lord.

  21. Thank you, Chris. That is very gracious of you.
    May I wish you every blessing this day also (although it is still Saturday here in France).
    I shall respond to your latest after our day of rest … which I suspect for you and most of us here is something of a misnomer.

  22. Greetings all.

    Our fundamental point of difference, Michael and Chris, is whether Genesis 2 and Matthew 19 teach one man and one woman as the only acceptable godly union. We are all most welcome to draw this from the text. (For me one wife is absolutely fine.) But we cannot assert that other interpretations are invalid.

    There are far too many problems in so doing – with the meaning of the words, the context, the writer’s purpose, what followed in history and so on.

    Ultimately, what we risk when we insist on this rigid interpretation is not just being on the wrong side of the debate on same gender marriage, but also undermining scriptural authority.

    The movement is on. Communities of faith in all nations are steadily coming to accept same gender unions as equal to opposite gender unions. Hostility to this advance is diminishing both within those faith groups and across the wider society.

    Yes, I understand you now see this as the advance of satanic wickedness. That is how many people of faith viewed earlier challenges to long-held doctrines such as the age of the universe, the number of suns God created, the movement of the earth, treating mental illness by live burnings and the subjugation of the black races.

    But we must be open to the possibility that this is a movement of God. There are ways we can judge this.

    Now here is the problem we Bible-believing Anglicans have.

    In many local churches, people are discovering from their experiences of gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in membership that God is blessing their lives, their ministry and their unions. These observers are thus encouraged to abandon the doctrines which in recent history have served to exclude same gender unions.

    Tragically, some who have been convinced that the Bible teaches exclusion of gay and lesbian couples then simply abandon the Bible.

    But the Bible doesn’t teach that at all.

    This is what is at stake. This is why more diligent study of the Scriptures and of the sciences is imperative for us all.

    • Satanic wickedness?

      Hmmm …. Alan Austin says “wife does not mean woman”, but can also mean a same sex partnering via routine anal penetration acts, or connexions, otherwise known as sodomy.

      Yes, Alan, I think your approach remains completely Satanic, wicked and thus demonicallty driven, seeking if at all possible to mislead the Saints.

      You are still playing your spiritual gambling trick with eternal life hanging in the balance, with out any signs of repentance.

      sigh

      I leave you to your folly.

    • Alan, in relation to the relevant change of mores in society, including in its various churches, you write that “we must be open to the possibility that this is a movement of God”. I don’t know about MichaelA, but I have always been open to this possibility. The reason why I do not, in any practical sense, remain open to this (as a possible change of direction in the life of the Body of Christ), is that professing Christians, who refer to “their experiences of gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in membership that God is blessing their lives, their ministry and their unions”, appear to me to be totally confused, misguided, and without any understanding of the holiness of God.

      Thus the aforesaid “brothers and sisters” do not even offer any explanation to the Church as to why God should be blessing them in this way i.e. contrary to what He has done, previously, in a manner that was consistent with His special revelation that sexual relations outside marriage are prohibited. Furthermore I note that there has been no Council of the Church (upon which we might otherwise rely), that has found that it now seems good to the Holy Spirit not to prohibit sexual relationships outside marriage.

      My experience of the sexual revolution in society is that it is actually the work of the Devil, whereas the suggestion that “more diligent study of the Scriptures and of the sciences is imperative for us all” seems to show no insight at all as to how God is at work in our lives.

    • Hi Alan,

      “But we cannot assert that other interpretations are invalid.”

      Sure we can. Its called rational analysis and logical debate.

      “There are far too many problems in so doing – with the meaning of the words, the context, the writer’s purpose, what followed in history and so on.”

      So far you haven’t been able to demonstrate the existence of any of these problems. I’m happy to consider further arguments that you wish to present.

      “…when we insist on this rigid interpretation …”

      Its no more or less “rigid” than any other interpretation – than yours, for example.

      “Ultimately, what we risk … is … undermining scriptural authority.”

      I haven’t seen the slightest rational support for such a suggestion, but happy to consider it if you would like to suggest some. The orthodox view supports (or, more correctly, is supported by) scriptural authority.

      “But we must be open to the possibility that this is a movement of God. There are ways we can judge this.”

      There certainly are. That is why we don’t accept that it is a movement of God.

      “Now here is the problem we Bible-believing Anglicans have.”

      Alan, so far I have seen no indication that you are a Bible-believing Anglican. You either pretend to be, or have deluded yourself into thinking that you are. Either way, that’s different to being one.

      “people are discovering from their experiences of gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in membership that God is blessing their lives, their ministry and their unions.”

      People throughout history have deluded themselves into thinking God is blessing their ministry, when really all they are seeing is the blessings that this World showers on those who conform with its values.

      “Tragically, some who have been convinced that the Bible teaches exclusion of gay and lesbian couples then simply abandon the Bible.”

      The Bible doesn’t teach “exclusion” of anyone. It does teach that marriage is between a man and a woman, and any sexual activity outside that is sin. Those who can’t accept that end up excluding themselves. As for those who abandon the Bible on such spurious grounds, they are merely fools (I say that not pejoratively, but in the sense that scripture uses). Its up to them to repent. Otherwise they will spend all eternity regretting their decision.

      “This is why more diligent study of the Scriptures and of the sciences is imperative for us all.”

      What you actually mean is that you only accept “study” which leads to the a priori conclusions that you desire. That isn’t scientific and it isn’t studious.

  23. Thanks, Chris.

    We judge a movement by its fruits. The decline in the rate of suicides of same gender attracted young people in our churches is just one huge positive. There are plenty of others.

    Whether or not Scripture teaches “that sexual relations outside marriage are prohibited”, this is not the principal issue. One outcome of the current movement sweeping the global church is that far more same gender sexual relations are enjoyed inside marriage.

    Yes, some aspects of the sexual revolution are certainly demonic and should be condemned. Scripture guides us clearly on this. But not all.

    • Alan, you have referred to possible outcomes that result from normalising homosexuality eg “… that far more same gender sexual relations are enjoyed inside marriage”. This shifts the debate somewhat, that is, so as to raise a question concerning whether the change in the Marriage Act legislated by the State is an example of the work of the Holy Spirit. If so, it is for professing Christians who supported political change to explain how it is that the Holy Spirit should appear to be working against Himself in the domain of human sexuality.

      I don’t know what to make of the claim that suicides and rates of mental illness are in decline in our churches. Maybe they are. I believe that abortions are also widespead, and that marriage breakdowns are rife amongst evangelicals.

    • Hi Alan,

      “We judge a movement by its fruits”

      No, actually we don’t. “Fruits” are easily fudged, by spurious claims about who is benefited by what. We judge a movement by the teachings of Jesus Christ and those he commissioned to deliver his teachings to the church. I.e. by scripture. That’s where your arguments fall apart.

      “Whether or not Scripture teaches “that sexual relations outside marriage are prohibited”, this is not the principal issue.”

      You don’t want it to be the issue, because that cuts the ground from under your position. But it is the issue: Marriage is only between a man and a woman, and sexual activity outside marriage is sin.

      “the current movement sweeping the global church”

      Its just another aspect of the Liberal movement, which leads to dying churches and widespread abandonment of faith. That is why most Christians reject it, including a significant majority of Anglicans. The liberal movement is prominent because it has managed to capture a few prominent but rather small churches such as ECUSA in the USA. Its not a big movement, and its going nowhere.

      “far more same gender sexual relations are enjoyed inside marriage.”

      Zero same gender sexual relations are enjoyed inside marriage. Marriage is only between a man and a woman, remember? Our society can pass laws in defiance of God’s teachings, just as ancient Rome did, but that doesn’t change the truth of our Lord’s teachings.

  24. Not sure this shifts the debate, Chris.

    From the outset, the view I have suggested both science and Scripture support is that same gender, opposite gender and bisexual attractions are equivalent in most respects. It is true that same gender sex cannot result in conception, but that is true also of opposite gender sex after a certain age and in other circumstances.

    Yes, changing marriage legislation to include same gender unions automatically reduces sex outside marriage. It also alleviates other social evils arising from stigmatisation, isolation and prejudice.

    The Holy Spirit would only “be working against Himself in the domain of human sexuality” if we accept that Scripture proscribes same gender unions.

    Much scholarship says it doesn’t. More scholarship is needed.

    • Thus Alan you demonstrate the spirit to which you are listening is not Holy, in suggesting / questioning, as Satan did in the Garden “did God say” …

      Your version of more scholarship is just another way of ‘kicking the can down the road’ and leave it to another generation or three. More and more progressive, cloudy, confusing, and misleading the people of God, as if this were possible.

      Its the old boiling frog trick, slowly slowly simmering, awaiting for the Evil one to cover the eyes of those who ight otherwise be saved.

      Cease your lies and mischievousness, oh servant of Satan. But alas, I fear you will not.

      Repent and believe.

    • Alan, whether the Holy Spirit appears to be working against Himself is not contingent on whether we accept that Scripture proscribes same gender unions. This is to misuse Scripture in a manner that is parallel to those who oppose homosexuality because it appears clearly to contain undeniable prohibitions. More generally, we are not left to make sense of our experience as children of God by having simply to read the Bible, although I do use this approach when I try to figure it how my DVD player works i.e. because it comes with a manual.

      In the Orthodox Church, it has been possible to have more confidence in apostolic succession. It does not work merely in a bureaucratic manner, allowing the Angel of Light to promote an unbeliever in order to lead the people into iniquity. There is also the succession of the saints referred to by Saint Symeon as the “golden chain”. Kallistos Ware, Orthodox bishop, has noted that the life of the Church is sustained, in this way, by a continuity that is sanctified and secured thus by the grace of God. I can give you the reference if you like. In contrast, scholarship may be misleading because it refers merely to the growth of knowledge, which, historically, has meant that naturalistic conventions have been adopted exclusively.

    • “I have suggested both science and Scripture support is that same gender, opposite gender and bisexual attractions are equivalent in most respects.”

      Neither proposition is true Alan – unless you read both the science and the scripture through a lens of what you have already decided you wish them to say.

      “Yes, changing marriage legislation to include same gender unions automatically reduces sex outside marriage.”

      It does the opposite. Changing marriage legislation to include same gender unions increases sex outside marriage, because it encourages those who enter such unions to believe they are married, when in God’s eyes they are not.

      ” It also alleviates other social evils arising from stigmatisation, isolation and prejudice.”

      Of course – telling people that the wrong thing they have been doing is actually right will always make them feel better. But that doesn’t make it true.

      “…if we accept that Scripture proscribes same gender unions. Much scholarship says it doesn’t.”

      So far you haven’t come up with any such scholarship Alan. Nor has anyone else.

  25. Yes, agree with much of that, Chris.

    No, we are not left to read Scripture individually in isolation and, no, it is not an instruction manual. Scholarship is important most of the time, but particularly in times of reformation.

    Your penultimate post asked if my post “raised a question concerning whether the change in the Marriage Act legislated by the State is an example of the work of the Holy Spirit.”

    Yes, many members of the church worldwide believe it is.

    You then suggested: “If so, it is for professing Christians who supported political change to explain how it is that the Holy Spirit should appear to be working against Himself in the domain of human sexuality.”

    Christians who supported this political change do not perceive the Spirit working against Himself at all. This misapprehension would seem to arise from a misreading of Scripture.

    • It appears Satan misread God at His Word too, in the Garden, and again in the Temptations of the Christ in the Wilderness.

      I see nothing different in your misreadings too Alan.

      To paraphrase you Alan in mathematics.

      Wife <> female or XX <> XX is Satanic – Alan

      Whereas

      Man <> wife or XY <> XX is Biblical – God

      Tu ne comprends pas l’esprit de satan?

    • Alan, yes, I know that “Christians who supported … political change do not perceive the Spirit working against Himself”. The question at issue however concerns whether they are “… totally confused, misguided, and without any understanding of the holiness of God”, which is how I put it, in an earlier post.

      Your comment is not therefore to the point viz. “[t]his misapprehension would seem to arise from a misreading of Scripture”. As MichaelA, would say: “No, it doesn’t”.

      So I must respectfully refer you again to my previous post, at 10.22am, where I addressed your claim that the Holy Spirit would only be working against Himself in the domain of human sexuality “if we accept that Scripture prohibits same gender unions”.

    • Alan, perhaps it would be helpful if I make the point expressly that we do not find in the succession of saints anything to support the view that God is at work in the normalisation of homosexuality. What we find, instead i.e. in the witness of the saints, is evidence to suggest that it is the Devil who is at work therein, namely, the Angel of Light.

  26. Hi David – I am a relative latecomer to davidould but am curious to know if you’ve had previous posts which have nudged or surpassed 200 Comments? Well done you to prompt all this!!

  27. Good morning all.

    Hi again, Chris.

    No, those in the Church worldwide who now welcome same gender unions are not “totally confused, misguided, and without any understanding of the holiness of God”. There is no basis to suggest they are.

    On the central issue of whether or not Scripture prohibits same gender unions, supporters of the current reformation are divided. Some say it does, and so they are obliged to abandon the doctrine of the authority of Scripture. This is a great tragedy.

    Others say it doesn’t. They claim Scripture condemns homosexual gang rape (Genesis 19), ritual prostitution in Satanic worship (Leviticus 18 and 20), prostitution, perversion and idolatry (1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Tim 1) and straight men and women seeking cheap thrills with gay sex (Romans 1).

    They claim the deeper themes of Scripture affirm loving, committed same gender unions just as they affirm loving, committed opposite gender unions.

    The latter group appears to have scholarship – across all disciplines – on their side.

    • Hi Alan, you appear to be making some huge leaps of illogic in your post:

      “Some say it does [i.e. scripture does prohibit same gender unions], and so they are obliged to abandon the doctrine of the authority of Scripture.”

      On the contrary, they are the ones who are upholding the doctrine of the authority of scripture. There is no point just saying “black is white” and expecting to have it accepted, Alan!

      “The latter group [i.e. those that argue scripture permits same gender unions as marriage] appears to have scholarship – across all disciplines – on their side.”

      No, so far they haven’t been shown to have any scholarship at all on their side. Not an iota. Again, you are trying to tell us that black is white, Alan.

  28. Hi Alan, the basis to suggest that reformists are without any understanding of the holiness of God is the testimony of the succession of saints, as I have argued above. The central issue, as I have been trying to argue, alas, to no avail, is not “whether or not Scripture prohibits same gender unions”. It is odd that you should side with Bruce, but it confirms what I have been trying to argue, alas, to no avail, which is that both sides in the debate are misusing Scripture. I’m happy to leave it at that, as it appears that others have also picked up that the debate has become disengaged. All the best.

  29. Suitably anonymised, this entire conversation would be worth publishing in a book, or pamphlet, or even a theological paper.

    Essentially, it canvasses a wide spectrum of argumentation about sin and the Bible and culture.

    Its nothing new, and entirely consistent with Biblical prophesy about the end times Great Apostasy, where people become wise in their own minds, devoid of the saving Gospel. That is, a false gospel, such as universalism and its variants.

    These debates in Anglicanism world wide and also in Oz now, are also the subject of the same or similar in the Uniting Church of Australia, and the GAFCON equivalent of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations of the Uniting Church of Australia (ACC).

    I am a Reformed, conservative ex Sydney Anglican and ex continuing Presbyterian in Oz, and an ex-Newcastle Anglican, and now and a member of the ACC.

    I was hoping GAFCON could help me out 5 years ago in Newcastle with its poor theology teaching and expressions. Bad timing.

    Go GAFCON.

  30. Who thought of the concept of same sex marriage?
    As far as I can tell it was not the preacher who wanted to proclaim sanctifying truth, nor the missionary risking life for the sake of the gospel, nor the Bible translator trying to get it just right, nor the Bible scholar who had a revelationary moment.
    Instead, the concept came from elsewhere, and then debated by the church which included the thought process: this looks attractive – how can we justify it?
    It’s the wrong way round.

  31. We can carry on for all we’re worth but if we refuse to live in accordance with the Word of God as in 2 Chron. 7:14 will there be any forgiveness of sin or healing of our land or its inhabitants for that matter.??? Our wicked ways have reached a degree of moral decadence that could cause us to believe Covid-19 could spell the end for many of us.

    • Jim van Ommen (& Bruce Lyon if yours was in response) – are you kidding about a link related to COVID-19?

      • Nope.

        Read here, dear Geoff, the sovereignty of God.

        We have seen this before, if you remember.

        The Great Flood.

        The Egypt pestilences.

        Go figure. And pray. And repent.

        One of the great blessings of COVID19 is virtually zero in person false public preachings.

        AKA, deplatforming.

        • I don’t see the link between a reported bat-sourced virus from a Chinese food market and the Biblical examples cited? Is the same link drawn for 1918 Spanish ‘Flu, or other deadly viral outbreaks in more recent times? What does davidould make of this??

          • Then you reject the sovereignty of God.

            AKA … you seem to be displaying to be a continuing unbeliever, like for example, the false teaching Bishop of Newcastle, and all that follows.

            Repent. And … Believe.

            • Hmmm. You seem to claim some insight into who I am Bruce? Perhaps stick to the issue & continue the discussion on the points / questions raised? And maybe spare a prayer for the health departments & governments worldwide struggling to respond?

              I prefer : Think. And be kind.

              • Hi Geoff, what is your concern about this? I note Bruce wrote above: “Temporal judgement(s)? Could indeed be.” which is not saying that this Wuhan Virus is a judgment from God, but saying it could be.

                Is there a problem with saying that God has sent judgments on mankind in the past, and may do so again?

                • I think there is a problem with saying that God has sent judgments on mankind in the past, and may do so again. The problem is not that what is said is untrue, or else Jesus would not have taught otherwise (see Luke 13:1-4). I think Bruce may be guilty of mixed messaging, when he responds: “Repent. And … Believe”.

                  • This is the essence of the Gospel. Repent and believe.

                    I have no confidence whatsoever of this actually being the case in the progressive liberals who make themselves known in these pages, sadly to say, much to their eternal detriment.

                • Thanks Michael. My concern still remains as I raised it, and now is greater. I don’t see the link being made between moral decadence & this plague-like COVID-19. The Biblical examples cited (and others) include specific warnings beforehand about such a link and opportunity to respond. Perhaps it says something about an observer’s thinking, who reaches to push the judgment / punishment button before also considering the message of Job, or that of Joseph, whose dream & attitude didn’t make a point about any punishment for years of approaching drought but just got on with obeying and serving. Should we first think of helping the Neighbour, and not waste time imagining we can divine some causal link (other than simple biology) in such emergencies? How does that help?

                  • Geoff, I think that what happens when observers appear “to push the judgment/punishment button” is that they represent the gospel call to repentance: “unless ye perish”, as if it were a threat, rather than a warning. This can be misleading to the lost who otherwise understand correctly that an ethical message is incompatible with coercion; as a result, what happens is that people may often fail to heed the warning.

                    You do not find Paul preaching the gospel like this i.e. in a negative manner, to the Jew and the Greek, whereas he always gave the early church correct instruction in theological matters. The distinction appears to be lost on professing believers like Israel Folau.

                    • Thanks Chris. This is important to think through & get right. We ought to be greatly saddened & moved to action on account of the growing suffering, which will get much worse before it passes (which it will). Loving response must find a way.

                    • “call to repentance: “unless ye perish”, as if it were a threat, ”

                      Um, quite so. This is both prophesy, and an asbsolute promise by God to carry out his warning / prophesy / active and clear danger, (e: threat). These things are otherwise known as love.

                      Was Paul’s forced conversion on the Damascus Road free will?

                  • “During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. This happened during the reign of Claudius. The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:27-30) “.

                    • Useful quote. “The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.”

                      Note that the giving was very specific. To the ” brothers and sisters”.

                      NOT the whole of humanity. That is the role of others, including governments, appointed by God.

  32. One reason for the particular giving, was to allow the Gospel of Grace, including the Doctrines of Grace, to be continually preached, that those Chosen before the Foundation of the World, those predestined to Life, and not Hell, would actually hear the Gospel.

    To the rest, who are not chosen and will therefore not believe, the Gospel remains a message of perishing and destruction.

    • “John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same (Luke 3:7-11)”.

      • I was going to quote that. Thanks for doing so. “You brood of vipers. Who warned you of the coming wrath” … Coercion or warning? Threat? Yup.

        What is good fruit?

        It is most certainly not a good works Gospel we preach.

        Good works saves no one.

  33. Showing my age but I recall that wonderful solo of the late Keith Green setting Matt 25 to a poetic piano, and booming out at the end that the only difference between the Sheep & the Goats, according to the Scripture, is what they did, and didn’t, DO.

    • Hmmm …. Articles of Religion (39 Articles) XII thru XV

      Article XII

      Of Good Works

      Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s Judgement; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

      Article XIII

      Of Works before Justification

      Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea, rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

      Article XIV

      Of Works of Supererogation

      Voluntary Works besides, over, and above, God’s Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

      Article XV

      Of Christ alone without Sin

      Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world, and sin, as Saint John saith, was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    • Further to this Articles IX thru XI

      Article IX

      Of Original or Birth-Sin

      Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, phronema sarkos, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

      Article X

      Of Free-Will

      The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

      Article XI

      Of the Justification of Man

      We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

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