The Archbishop of Canterbury responds

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Earlier in the week we had coverage of the release of letters written by the Archbishop of Canterbury about his private views on the question of the sanctity of same-sex unions.

This statement appeared on the Archbishop’s website:

“In response to the recent coverage of the correspondence dated back to 2000, The Archbishop Canterbury has made the following statement:

In the light of recent reports based on private correspondence from eight years ago, I wish to make it plain that, as I have consistently said, I accept Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics and thus as providing the authoritative basis on which I as Archbishop speak on such questions.

That Resolution also recognises the need for continuing study and discussion on the matter.  In the past, as a professional theologian, I have made some contributions to such study.  But obviously, no individual’s speculations about this have any authority of themselves.  Our Anglican Church has never exercised close control over what individual theologians may say.  However, like any church, it has the right to declare what may be said in its name as official doctrine and to define the limits of legitimate practice.   As Archbishop I understand my responsibility to be to the declared teaching of the church I serve, and thus to discourage any developments that might imply that the position and convictions of the worldwide Communion have changed.”

Read the full article here.

Also linked at the article is the letter that 19 bishops of the Church of England published responding to charges that the Archbishop was being less than forthcoming in leading the Communion and holding to one position when his private views were at variance.

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Huw Richardson
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Jim - I do disagree with your calling my argument "intellectual" although you are free to point out it's not what I hope: which is loving and Christlike. I don't think a political fight is where the Church should be. In which case, I ask your forgiveness.

We're trying to convince our Brothers and Sisters in Christ that there is a defect in their theology - in their understanding of God and in their prayer (as the Saints have said, the True theologian is the one who prays.)

*We* are the ones doing a new thing here. It is we who should make the presentation of our reasons, we who should wait for the weaker ones to catch up. We who should be praying for them and loving them into where we see God acting. The only way to do that is in showing them the action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. If we are right - that God is doing a new thing in the area of human sexuality - we should stake our lives on it as Jesus did: by praying for those who disagree. If we are wrong... well, either way, we trust to God's mercy.

But +Rowan doesn't willing to do the work needed. Like I said, he's not willing to use his vast theological gifts to make that argument. I don't think we are, either.

Regarding your comment about Jesus calling evil by it's name. I think "he without sin" *may in fact* cast the first stone. That's not me, however. I've got enough evil in my own life than to wory about someone else. Jesus said "resist not evil": I'll stick with that.

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Jim Naughton
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I don't recall Jesus having a problem calling evil evil. That's all we are talking about here. And I don't see how concluding that a political fight (as I do) is actually an intellectual argument(as you do) is more Christlike than concluding the reverse.

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Huw Richardson
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Jim -

I am talking about people who don't think you have the right to reason,

So am I.

You know, Turn the other cheek. Pray for them that persecute you. Resist not evil. All that silly Jesus stuff.

If I fail to treat them as Jesus would - right up to the point of nails, thorns, spears and tombs - I have no reason to expect any better.

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tgflux
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tgflux

Well said, Jason. To say that the Bible contains narratives and counter-narratives, mandates and counter-mandates, is NOT to throw up one's hands, and say to heck w/ it.

As a Christian, to me it's just another reminder that Jesus Christ is THE Word of God, and it's through his life, teaching, self-offering-unto-death, and resurrection, that we (in all humility, and provisionally) judge the Words of God in Scripture.

Daveed: IF it came down to following the "plain reading" of the Bible, and affirming my own (and those MORE holy than my!) God-created sexual identity then, like you, I'd go w/ the latter.

Fortunately, as I interpret Scripture (with the help of Tradition and Reason), I haven't had to make that decision. Scripture, in the Wholeness of Salvation History, luvs us LGBTs! 🙂

JC Fisher

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JasonC
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JasonC

Nick--

I don't know that I entirely agree. Being a good product of VTS, I don't think I would say as strongly as David that sections of scripture I don't like are "wrong," more just that those passages are a product of their culture and don't have much to say to our culture. But in the end it comes to the same thing: if the Bible says pretty clearly that men should not lie with men, and yet my experience (and I think experience, or as I called it above, perspective, is key) tells me that God loves me as I am and blesses the same-sex relationship that I am in, then I'll go with the experience and ignore Leviticus.

Everyone picks and chooses: to pretend that you don't is dangerous.

And to add to amplify David's statements: there are scriptures and there are scriptures. There are narratives in the Bible, and then there are counter-narratives. There are passages that seem to support Patriarchy and gender submission (creation in Gen 2; Pseudo-Pauline writings); and passages that seem to posit a radical gender equality, counter-their-original culture view (Gen 1; Galatians). Some passages are relentlessly pro-Hebrew, smash the skulls of the enemy with God's blessing; and some hold that Israel was blessed by God in order to be a light to all nations.

How to pick between the narratives? Well, I laid out above some ways that I use to pick one view over another (which bears fruit? which leads to more love?). What would you propose?

-Jason Cox

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