Brisbane priest responds to Abp. Phillip Aspinoll

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by Ananias, Jul 15, 2022.

  1. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    759
    Likes Received:
    644
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    Rev. Peter Judge-Mears, a senior priest in the Diocese of Brisbane, has written an open letter to his Bishop regarding the latter's Presidential Address at the diocesan Synod. You can find the letter here. This bit deserves being quoted in full:

    I've said this many times: the protracted arguments over homosexuality and transgenderism (and women's ordination, and a host of other social and cultural pathologies) always come back to a more basic argument over Biblical authority. To undermine Biblical authority is to undermine the Christian faith itself (Deut. 4:2, Rev. 22:18-19). But this has always been the goal. Satan twisted Scripture to tempt our Lord (Matt. 4:1-11), and this has been the go-to strategy ever since for those wanting to break the authority of the Bible. It is this that makes the effort Satanic -- Satan's message to humans has always been one of disobedience to God and his commands as revealed in Holy Scripture. Satan whispers a seductive promise that we know better than God what is good for us. Eve was the first to fall, and it was this trap that brought her low.

    EDIT: Forgot to include the link.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2022
    Othniel and Stalwart like this.
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,731
    Likes Received:
    1,237
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    A strictly literal interpretation of this text would mean that all amplified and paraphrased bibles should be burned immediately and no more ever produced. It also implies that laws imposed upon a Bronze age people should still apply today and cannot be repealed or replaced by modern laws for modern people. Surely you cannot be suggesting that Capitol Hill and the House be replaced with a tent, and US law go back to the Bronze Age.
    An ill informed strictly literal interpretation of this text might assume that book refers to The Bible, because it's on the last page of the 'book', but in fact it only refers to the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John. And then only because it had become common practice, at the time he wrote it, for other authors and copyists to add or subtract from the originals whenever they were copied and passed on to others. Some of variants of which exist today even in the copies we have of The Revelation of John. It could not possibly have referred to The Bible because the Bible did not, at the time the author wrote it, even exist, in the form of a 'book'. It would have been a collection of many scrolls and letters all over the place, copies held by many churches and Jewish communities, not a book.
    .
     
    Invictus likes this.
  3. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    I agree, and I'll add to this a little bit if I may. The book of Deuteronomy (literally "Second Law") was written at a time when much of the rest of the Tanakh/OT either hadn't been written yet or was still going through the editing process. Whoever wrote Deuteronomy could not have been saying "add no further books to this", or that would have ruled out much of the rest of the Tanakh/OT canon, to say nothing of the NT. More importantly, it is a confusion of terms to speak of "biblical authority": people exercise authority, books do not. Taking an ancient law code that was intended for a different people, at a different time, in a different place, under different circumstances, and with radically different assumptions, and attempting to superimpose it on contemporary Western society, without any attempt to sift through inapplicable assumptions, inherent injustice in particular rules (e.g., slavery), etc., is both backwards, and a sure path to folly.
     
    Tiffy likes this.
  4. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    759
    Likes Received:
    644
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    Yes, yes, I know the liberal line quite well, thank you. And when I tell you that you are teaching a different Gospel than the one handed down by the saints, you deny it. You're either fooling yourself or you're trying to fool me, and it won't work no matter which. As an Anglican, I believe that Scripture is God's word written. Your argument is not with me; it's with the church (and the faith) you claim fealty to. If the Bible is not true, there's no reason to be a Christian -- remove Biblical authority, and all that's left is just a really high-concept book club that meets every Sunday.
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Most would call it common sense realism.
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,731
    Likes Received:
    1,237
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Allegiance should not be to a book but to the living Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. That book did not wholly exist when Christ established his church. It is a guide but not the person we owe our allegiance and obedience to as disciples of Christ. The church decides what the written word of God means to us Christ's church, through the Holy Spirit's inspiration, it's not the written word that dictates itself. The church recorded the Bible, the Bible did not make the church.
    .
     
    Botolph and Invictus like this.
  7. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    759
    Likes Received:
    644
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    I can only repeat: this goes against the teaching of the Anglican church, based on a fundamental creed of the Reformed churches (Sola Scriptura). Article VI of the 39 articles lays it out plainly:
    So says our church.

    And so Christ also believed himself. He had what we call the Old Testament; he knew it by heart, and he preached and taught from it constantly. He quotes from the Bible as an authoritative source: when rejecting Satan's temptations (Matt. 4:4-10), when confronting the scribes and Pharisees regarding divorce (Mark 10:7-8), during his sermon in Nazareth (Luke 4:18-19), and extensively in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:21 and 5:27). Christ was constantly quoting from Scripture in his teaching. He was a Bible preacher, a model for all who followed. This is why Christ would say in Matt. 5:17-20:
    This is why Paul, like Christ before him, would say of Scripture that it was "breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

    Scripture has a dual authorship. First and foremost, it was written by God himself as his Word to his people. Scripture is God's revelation about himself, his nature, and his plan for us. Only secondarily was it authored by men, and then only as they were guided divinely by the Holy Spirit. Our God is a God who speaks, who wants us to know his commands. Note the word: commands. Not "wishes". Our sovereign Creator, Lord, and King does not ask for obedience. He demands it, on pain of death and eternal damnation.

    Yes, Christ took our sins on himself so that we might, by God's grace, be saved. But this does not render Biblical morality or convention moot; to the contrary. Rom. 6:1-4:
    And how do we know all of this to be true? Because the Apostle Paul, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, set it down in writing so that Christians of that time and ever afterward would remember.

    Christ will not judge us based on how well we followed the laws of men. He will judge us on how well we followed his laws as set down in Scripture.

    Anglicans confess this truth. The church only speaks with authority insofar as it is agreeable to Scripture. Holy Scripture is our highest authority because it comes from God himself. Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation. It is sufficient in itself. Nothing more is needed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2022
    Othniel and Rexlion like this.
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    This sounds more like something one would hear in a Baptist church than an Anglican one. Also, Art. 6 does not conflict with the contention that we owe our allegiance to a person rather than to a book. To be necessary for a task means that something contains the minimum needed to attain it. It does not mean that it is sufficient for all purposes. The latter is the exact opposite of what the phrase “necessary for salvation” means. There are many issues that the Scriptures never address at all, and for which other resources are needed. Hence the “three-legged stool” of Scripture, Reason, and tradition…
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2022
    Tiffy and Shane R like this.
  9. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    759
    Likes Received:
    644
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    And yet, it's all right there in the 39 Articles and the BCP. These are Anglican instruments, not Baptist ones. (And last time I checked, Baptists were still brothers and sisters in Christ; have the Episcopalians cast them into the outer darkness along with the rest of us now?)
     
    Othniel and Rexlion like this.
  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Art. 6 isn’t relevant to the topic at hand. Yes, Baptists are still our brethren, but that does not mean they aren’t in error. It is no service to Anglicanism to perpetuate them. I’m also not particularly keen on being lectured about “casting anyone into the outer darkness” by schismatics that insist without any basis that canonical Anglicans like myself are heretics. :disgust: The original point remains: there is no such thing as “biblical authority”; people exercise authority, books do not. The Bible is the Church’s to interpret and apply. It is the Church’s book, and it is the Church, not the Bible, that is the “pillar and ground of the truth”, and that is being “guided into all truth” by the Spirit, who teaches the Church in the place of Christ.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2022
    Tiffy likes this.
  11. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    492
    Likes Received:
    469
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    - The Church came before the bible
    - Christ created the Church, but Christ did not create the bible†
    - The Church created the bible†
    - The bible only has authority because the Church gave it authority, because Christ gave the Church authority.
    † in a literal sense, obviously there's some nuance here

    It is for this reason that we hold it is the Church that interprets the bible, not the bible that interprets the bible. The Anglican Church is not a denomination that holds the bible alone as the source of truth. We merely hold that if all you have is the bible, then that is enough. There is more that is not contained within the bible. The bible contains all that is necessary for salvation, but there is more truth than just that pertaining to the minimum knowledge required for salvation.

    The being said, naturally the Church cannot contradict the bible. The Church is not "above" the bible, and the bible is, in some ways, above the Church.

    Archbishop Aspinall is my archbishop. My parish sent around a copy of his statements after they were made, but I haven't got around to reading them yet. I notice your link doesn't include his speech, which if it was so damning would surely have been included. I'll be withholding my judgement until after I've finished reading them. In my experience the archbishop has been enthusiastically committed to keeping the diocese comprehensive and broad, allowing parishes on both extremes of the Anglican division full rope, so long as they remain within the lines of orthodoxy. I'm skeptical he said anything particularly exclusionary, because that would go against everything he has done within the Communion for the past 20 years. I'll keep an open mind when reading it though.

    That being said the letter does have some points, albeit in an intentionally unhelpful public manner. Evangelicals are not particularly well represented in the diocese administration (although that isn't a reflection of a liberal/conservative doctrine divide. Plenty of liberal and conservative Anglo-Catholics having debates high up the food chain. It's a liturgical tradition blind spot, not a doctrinal blind spot). I would highlight that as a proportion of the diocese they are not very well represented amongst parishioners and clergy either though, so its not like there's a conspiracy to lock them out of the halls of power.
     
    Invictus and Tiffy like this.
  12. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    759
    Likes Received:
    644
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    And once again I point out that the Anglican 39 Articles refutes you. Specifically (in addition to Article VI which I quoted earlier) Article XX:
     
    Othniel and Rexlion like this.
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    I’m not sure what you think is “refuted” here. I said that people exercise authority. Of what is the Church comprised but people?
     
  14. Anglican Observer

    Anglican Observer Member

    Posts:
    17
    Likes Received:
    29
    Country:
    Canada
    Religion:
    Christianity
    Reading this discussion, I see expressions of thought from contributors of differing viewpoints that resonate with me. I was reminded of a section from the catechism from the Canadian BCP (1962), which I have pasted below that I think ties things together nicely and echoes what others have said. For example, the third Q&A below resembles some of the point I understood @Tiffy to be making.


    Question.
    Why ought you to read God’s holy Word, the Bible?
    Answer. Because it tells how God has made himself known to man; and how we may come to know him, and find salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ in the fellowship of his Church.

    Question. What does the Church teach about the Bible?
    Answer. The Bible records the Word of God as it was given to Israel, and to his Church, at sundry times and in divers manners; and nothing may be taught in the Church as necessary to man’s salvation unless it be concluded or proved therefrom.

    Question. Where then is the Word of God to be found in all its fulness?
    Answer. In Jesus Christ, his only Son, who was made man for us and for our salvation.
     
    ZachT, Invictus, Tiffy and 2 others like this.
  15. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    759
    Likes Received:
    644
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    Anglicans -- clergy or lay -- only exercise authority insofar as: a) the authority is given to them to do so by God in Holy Scripture (see Tim. 3:16 again), and b) the authority exercised by them does not go against Scriptural teaching. No one can overturn or set aside Biblical teaching and replace it with the teachings of men. This is the central error of the Roman Catholic church, and it is why the Reformers' efforts were not a revolution but a reformation; a "re-forming" of the historic, Scripture-centric faith handed down to us by the Apostles.

    The Anglican BCP is a monument to the centricity of Scripture in our faith. It teaches Anglicans to read the Bible daily, learn from it, apply it, and carry it out into the world. It forms the very beating heart of our church practice and liturgy. And even if every Archbishop and Primate were to claim it incorrect on some cultural issue or other, Anglicans are bound to follow Biblical teaching and not the clerics...according to the founding declarations of the Anglican church itself (cf Articles VI and XX of the 39 Articles cited above). Which is why when you call orthodox Anglicans "schismatics", you are getting it exactly backward.

    No person, or group of people, may overturn Scriptural teaching. The Bible is God's Word written; for a Christian, it is the measuring-stick by which we will be judged when Christ returns.

    This is why the Rev. Judge-Mears is correct to admonish his Archbishop -- he is bound by the codes and canon laws of his own faith to do so, based as they are on ultimate Biblical authority.
     
    anglican74 likes this.
  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    The Scriptures are testimony to the Church’s historic teaching, not the basis of it. Neither the Articles of Religion nor the Book of Common Prayer teach ‘plenary verbal inspiration’, nor is holding such a hypothesis necessary to sustain the teaching that Scripture “contains all things necessary to salvation”. The historic dogmas of the Church concern God and Christ, and there is considerable latitude within the Church as to how precisely those dogmas are to be understood today. The Church is comprehensive enough to include both a Barth and a Schleiermacher, a Thomas Wright and a Marcus Borg. (And in the case of both Barth and Wright, this included acceptance of modern scholarship, so there was recognition of the same set of facts on all sides.) It is no mark of ‘orthodoxy’ to elevate particular doctrines about the Bible and secondary moral teachings to a dogmatic status that they’ve never had in Anglicanism. Such is in fact a new ‘orthodoxy’, and something other than the authentic orthodox Anglicanism which continues to be maintained in the canonical jurisdictions. The very assertion, that orthodoxy is not to be found in jurisdictions such as my own, is itself schismatic. The evidence of the work of Spirit is the seeking after unity, not division.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2022
  17. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    759
    Likes Received:
    644
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    J. C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool in the late 1800's, said it this way in his book Bible Inspiration:
    I think it is your formulation that is outside the Anglican mainstream (particularly global Anglicanism).

    I will admit that it is a very Episcopalian habit to prefer heresy over schism. And you can see the fruits of this attitude all around you. I prefer the actual Gospel myself, but opinions obviously vary.
     
    Othniel, Rexlion and anglican74 like this.
  18. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    One nearly two decade old statement does not a habit make. My ‘formulation’ is mainstream, as you can see from the other comments in this thread (and would be fine even if it were not, because it’s also historical fact), and is not in conflict with the proposition that Scripture “contains all things necessary for salvation”, which I affirm.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2022
  19. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    1,807
    Likes Received:
    1,322
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    So if we find canonical statements that say the holy Scriptures are inspired, will that satisfy your Episcopalian instincts
     
    Othniel likes this.
  20. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,180
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    I never denied that the Scriptures were inspired.
     
    ZachT and Tiffy like this.