All in all then, we see that Bishop Andy’s argument, while initially plausible perhaps, falls apart on closer examination. On none of the issues he mentions has the church changed its teaching by setting aside the plain meaning of scripture in favour of ‘other sources of authority’. This means the pattern he is wishing to follow is not there, and neither is it endorsed by scripture or church practice. The inclusion of the Gentiles is not a model for the affirmation of conduct that scripture prohibits, and there is nothing in the New Testament or Christian history to suggest it should be. Scripture does not mandate us to go beyond scripture, and any move in that direction must be regarded as a move away from Christian orthodoxy.
Category : Wales
Will Jones Responds to Bishop Andy John–Should we extend the boundaries of ‘gospel freedom’ in sexuality?
History was made on Saturday when the Church in Wales consecrated its first woman as a bishop in front of more than 500 people.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, consecrated Joanna Penberthy as the 129th Bishop of St Davids.
He also paid tribute to the Church’s women clergy for “daring to trust and hope” during what had been a “long and hard journey” to ordination.
Average Sunday attendance for over-18s had fallen from 30,424 in 2014 to 29,019 in 2015: a fall of five per cent. Easter communicants were down one per cent to 51,435, while the number of Christmas communicants had fallen three per cent to 49,972.
“I’d like to make clear I am not here as a doom-and-gloom merchant, merely to present the facts,” the chairman of the Representative Body, James Turner, said.
“Attendances appear to be falling, but that is not the case in nearly half of our parishes. We fear the church is losing touch with our young people, but there are indications that, through hard work and intentional investment, good things are happening around the country.
We want to wish the Archbishop well in his retirement. We note the Archbishop’s final presidential address at Governing Body, and still struggle to understand how his approach to scripture is not just licence to disregard its authority. We believe that the inclusivity of Jesus, to which the Archbishop referred, was one not only of loving everyone, but also of calling everyone to a degree of repentance which would result in following him exclusively as Lord. We note Jesus gave an invitation to everyone, but warned repeatedly and frequently of consequences for those who rejected him. We are therefore delighted that one of the closing discussions at Governing Body got people talking about the need to engage in mission and evangelism. We hope and pray that these are the issues that occupy the time and energy of the Church in Wales in the years to come.
In the New Testament too, some of the passages often cited are not about loving, committed, faithful relationships between people of the same sex, but about pederasty and male prostitution. But all that apart, and given that each of the passages purported to be about homosexuality can be interpreted in more than one way, we come to the fundamental question as to whether taking the Bible as a whole, we can come to the same conclusions about committed, faithful, loving, same-sex relationships as we did about slavery.
We are not thereby abandoning the Bible but trying to interpret it in a way that is consistent with the main thrust of the ministry of Jesus, who went out of His way to minister to those who were excluded, marginalised, and abandoned by His society because they were regarded as impure and unholy by the religious leaders of His day, either because of their gender, age, morality or sexuality. Taking Holy Scripture seriously means paying attention to Jesus’ ministry of inclusivity.
And all of that without bringing into the reckoning what we now know about same-sex attraction in terms of psychology and biology and the experience of homosexual people. And surely if God is the creator, He reveals Himself to us through new knowledge and insights so that, for example, we no longer believe the world was created in six days. As I have tried to show, in the Bible there are a number of totally different perspectives on the same issue. What was responsible for this shift was a growth in understanding about the issue in question.
He compared biblical interpretations of same-sex relationships with those of slavery ”“ a practice once defended by the Church. As opinions on that changed, he suggested, so may the Church’s view on same-sex relationships.
“In spite of all the passages in favour of slavery, when you examine the Scriptures as a whole and the ministry of Jesus in particular, you realise it is about freedom from all that diminishes and dehumanises people. No Christian I hope would today argue that slavery is good, but for nineteen centuries the Church accepted it and defended it. God through His Holy Spirit has led us into the truth of seeing things in a totally different way today and we are rightly horrified when we read about people who have been kept as slaves by others.
“What all this amounts to is that one cannot argue that there is one accepted traditional way of interpreting Scripture that is true and orthodox and all else is modern revisionism, culturally conditioned. Scripture itself is diverse and theological views held in some biblical books are reshaped in the light of experience by other writers”¦.
Wales is onto its first semifinal at a major tournament ever after coming back from an early deficit to defeat Belgium 3-1 in Lille on Friday in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals.
Radja Nainggolan’s rocket put Belgium up 13 minutes in, but Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes all scored for the Dragons, who will play Portugal for the right to reach the Euro 2016 final after eliminating the highest-ranked team in the field.
The goal is to unwind Britain’s 43-year membership of the bloc, disentangle and sever the legacy of shared sovereignty, and then reshape the biggest single market on earth.
Three fundamental issues arise.
On substance, what political and commercial arrangements will Brexit Britain demand and will the EU accept them?
In execution, will the exit deal ”” the divorce and breaking of old obligations ”” be struck at the same time as a trade agreement covering post-Brexit trade? And if no, is a transition possible to ensure a soft landing?
Reflecting on the forthcoming vote, we recognise the historic nature of this referendum and its implications for future generations. The outcome will have consequences for the future not only of the United Kingdom, but for Europe and for the world.
In our view, three things are essential:
”¢ that we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
”¢ that we all inform ourselves of the arguments on both sides of the debate;
”¢ that we each exercise our vote with a view to the common good of all.
Only two per cent of Anglicans in England and Wales are converts, a new study suggests.
The director of the Benedict XVI Centre at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Dr Stephen Bullivant, has gathered statistics on religious affiliation from the annual British Social Attitudes surveys. His report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales, launched on Tuesday in the House of Commons, deals mainly with the Roman Catholic Church, but looks at other denominations for comparisons.
His deduction is that, in a group of 100 Anglicans, 93 will have been brought up as such, five will have started life in another Christian denomination, and only two would have belonged to no religion. (The sample group was 1681 Anglicans.)
The Revd Stephen Trott has tabled a Private Member’s Motion at General Synod, as follows:
“CIVIL PRELIMINARIES TO MARRIAGE IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
The Revd Stephen Trott (Peterborough) to move:
“That this Synod, noting the Registration of Marriages Regulations 2015 and the growing burden and complexity of the legal requirements imposed on members of the clergy who conduct weddings in the Church of England, invite the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward draft legislation to replace ecclesiastical preliminaries to marriage by universal civil preliminaries, such as those which have been in operation in Scotland ”¦ when banns were replaced by a Marriage Schedule issued by the civil registrar.”
He has raised the issue before. I
The next point I want to make I think is one that is of increasing importance in a time when there is a certain set tendency to say that religion should be privatised. To use an old expression, many think religion should be only between consenting adults in private.
Far from it, the faith communities are those who provide the glue in society in so many ways, from their social action through to the eternal values which they reflect and support, and which eternal values are themselves the foundation for British values of which we’ve heard a lot over the last few months. Because of what the Scriptures teach us, especially from the prophet Jeremiah, we are committed to seeking the welfare of the place where we live, the common good.
Christians and Muslims are not called to a ghetto-like existence, although both our faiths have from time to time acted in that way, through fear or defensiveness. We are called by contrast to be actively involved in our society not for our own good but for the common good. We are called to seek the flourishing of the society, as Jeremiah said to the Jewish exiles: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” [
The Governing Body of the Church in Wales has voted narrowly in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry in the Church. But it appears that the non-binding, advisory-only secret ballot has not produced enough votes in favour to persuade the Bishops to frame new legislation.
The vote on Thursday does not constitute a decision of the Governing Body. Instead, the results ”” and the two-and-a-half-hour debate that preceded the vote ”” will be used to guide the Province’s Bench of Bishops when it meets to discuss the issue in October.
Three options were under consideration: the first would mean no change to the Church’s current teaching and practice on marriage and partnerships; the second would allow same-sex unions to be blessed in the Church in Wales; the third would enable same-sex couples to be married in church.
Same sex marriages should be conducted by the Church in Wales its governing body believes, but results of a secret ballot held were too narrow for change to be considered now.
Members of the Church in Wales Governing Body voted 61 in favour of gay marriages in church, nine in favour of blessing gay partnerships and 50 for making no change.
The result shows a majority in favour but does not constitute a decision and bishops are unlikely to draft a Bill for gay marriage as any such Bill requires a two thirds majority of each of the three houses the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said.
The video in my 24 June entry, + Richard outlines his survival strategy, gave some clues to the dismemberment of the Church in Wales as the bishops implement Abp Barry Morgan’s strategy for their survival, ie, retain all the bishops with their expensive diocesan structures, get rid of paid parish clergy and fool the laity into running the ministry areas nobody wants apart from Barry and his bench sitters.
Despite all Dr Morgan’s political posturing the secularised Church in Wales (CinW) is barely significant in Anglicanism representing less than 0.04% of the Communion. If he were to be represented in the above chart in proportion to the average number of people attending CinW services the Archbishop of Wales would be invisible. According to CinW published figures the average adult Sunday attendance in Wales is 31,048 (Table 1 here) out of a population of 3,063,456 (1%). With seven bishops supported that works out at a mere 4,435 attendees per bishop.
Of more than 190,000 abortions, 51 per cent were medical, where a pill is taken to end a pregnancy. Ten years ago medical abortions made up only 20 per cent of procedures, while in 2013 the number was 49 per cent.
The total number of abortions last year was down slightly from 190,800 in 2013, and has fallen every year since 2007. Ninety-two per cent of abortions were performed at less than 13 weeks, and 80 per cent were carried out at less than ten weeks, compared with 60 per cent a decade ago.
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Bibles Could Be Removed From Aberystwyth University Student Halls After Being Deemed 'Inappropriate'
Bibles could be removed from student halls at Aberystwyth University after more than half of students said they found the presence of the holy book “unacceptable” or “uncomfortable”.
A proposal to have the bibles withdrawn will be put forward at the university’s student union council later this month, following the results of a survey conducted by the SU.
Only 4% of students said the inclusion of bibles was a “good idea”. Student John David Morgan first highlighted the issue last month, where he said the Bible’s were “inappropriate in a multicultural university”.
Assembly Members (AMs) were asked to vote on whether they supported the principles of the Assisted Dying Bill.
The answer was a clear and refreshing “No” – it does not support it. Only 12 Assembly Members voted to support it, 21 voted against doing so; 20 abstained.
It was heartening to watch the quality of this debate from the public gallery.
I was particularly impressed by the understanding which many Members showed of a Bill that goes to considerable lengths to dress up what it is proposing in reassuring language (for example, by describing the lethal drugs it would supply to terminally ill people as ”˜medicines’) yet makes no effort, beyond stating a handful of vague eligibility conditions, to provide for any serious safeguards to protect vulnerable people from harm.
When asked if the church’s discipline on homosexuality needs to change, he tells the author: “Let me just say that I think the present situation doesn’t look very sustainable.”
However, on gay marriage he says: “I have no problem with legal parity for same-sex couples. But I’m not sure it’s an appropriate use of the state’s power to change a social institution.
“It felt as though we were being bundled into redefining a word without sufficient time to reflect.”
t can be said that the Bible is very clear in its directives on same-sex relationships and by even discussing them the church is giving in to the culture of the age. The church’s relation to its culture is of course an important one and Richard Niebuhr, an American scholar, wrote a very important book entitled “Christ and Culture” in 1951. He outlined five possible Christian attitudes to the question of Christ’s relationship to culture. By culture, we mean the accepted beliefs and values of our age. Is Christ against culture, calling Christians to reject the world entirely? Or is Christ allied with culture as the perfector of all that is good in society? Or is Christ above culture, drawing us out to become what God means us to become as human beings? Or are Christ and culture totally separate, and set apart, until God’s Kingdom arrives? Or is Christ the transformer of culture, rejecting the bad aspects and enabling us to bring all that is good into God’s redemptive love? As the Gospel of John puts it ”˜being in but not of the world’.
The trouble is you can find all these different attitudes to culture in the Bible if you look hard enough. The Bible, for example, sees the created world as God’s handiwork and so is to be cherished, valued and affirmed. When, however, Israel wants to have a king rather than a prophet as its leader, she does so initially because she wants to conform to the pattern and culture of neighbouring nations and against the advice of the prophet Samuel. In spite of that, the institution of kingship was introduced and came to be venerated but individual kings were castigated for their idolatry and mistreatment of the poor and “doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord”. In other words, the culture of surrounding nations changed Israel’s own culture ”“ a culture that was sometimes endorsed and sometimes criticised by the prophets.
In the New Testament, Paul in 2 Corinthians 6, seems to ask Christians to separate themselves from non-believers “Come out from among them and be separated” ”“ do not be infected by the world about you”. Yet he was the apostle, along with Peter, who in the end advocated that Gentiles did not have to become Jews first in order to become Christians, so that purity laws concerning food and circumcision did not have to be observed. That was an affirmation of the culture of the Gentiles ”“ a culture that was alien to Judaism ”“ a view that was eventually ratified by the Council of Jerusalem. St. Paul also urges disciples of Jesus to follow whatever is noble, just and true in the culture around them. The issue of faith and culture is not, therefore, as straightforward as it seems.
What then of our use of the Bible? The few texts we have in the Bible about same-sex relationships are very negative. Yet, it can be argued that homosexual relationships as we understand them in terms of committed, faithful, monogamous, long lasting relationships, were unknown in biblical times and what the texts rail against is sexual promiscuity and experimentation. In 1972 the American Institute of Psychiatrists believed that homosexuality was a mental illness. We no longer believe that to be the case yet, that view was widespread just 40 years ago.
Holy Scripture itself is far more nuanced, subtle and complex than we often realise.
The Bishop of St Davids, Wyn Evans, said violence against the weak and defenceless, particularly when sanctioned by the state, should have no place in a civilised society.
The Bishop was speaking at a vigil at St Davids Cathedral on Monday (Feb 3) dedicated to Ending Legalised Violence against Children. The service was led by the Dean, Jonathan Lean, and Canon Dorrien Davies. It was attended by the Mayor of St Davids, members of the City Council and the Churches’ Network for Non-violence which is part of an alliance of organisations under the umbrella of Children Are Unbeatable! Cymru which campaigns for a change in the law to give children the same protection under the law on assault as that currently enjoyed by adults.
His Holiness Pope Francis, announced that Archbishop Nichols will be made a Cardinal at the next consistory on 22 February 2014.
Archbishop Vincent issued the following statement:
“Today, I am deeply moved by the honour conferred upon the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on the Diocese of Westminster in my appointment as Cardinal by His Holiness Pope Francis.
“The Catholic Church in our countries has always had a profound and loving loyalty to the Holy Father, the Successor of St Peter. This appointment enables me, on behalf of all, to serve the Pope in a direct and prolonged way.
Forward in Faith regrets the decision of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to authorize the ordination of women as bishops without first agreeing arrangements for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive episcopal ministry from them.
We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be ”“ a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese. This vote therefore makes the question of the provision of episcopal ministry for those who continue to uphold catholic faith and order in the Church in Wales even more pressing.
Experience in Wales and elsewhere does not give us confidence that the promised ”˜code of practice’ could offer the level of assurance that would encourage growth and flourishing ”“ so sorely needed in Wales ”“ or the degree of certainty that would remove the possibility of damaging and distracting disputes.
Our brothers and sisters in Credo Cymru will seek to enter into dialogue with the Welsh bishops. We can only hope that their representations will be met with the generosity of spirit that ought to be the hallmark of Christian episcopacy. Meanwhile, we continue to pray for and with our Welsh sisters and brothers, encouraging them to follow St David in being joyful and keeping the faith.
X JONATHAN FULHAM
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, Chairman
The Church of England was left isolated in the UK in its opposition to women bishops after the Church in Wales voted yesterday to ordain women bishops.
The first woman could be consecrated in Wales in just over a year.
The bill was passed by a two-thirds majority in the houses of laity, clergy and bishops. A code of practice will now be drawn up to safeguard the place of traditionalists. The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said that it made “no theological sense” not to ordain women as bishops when the Church already ordained them as deacons…
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The Anglican Church in Wales voted on Thursday to allow the ordination of women bishops, putting pressure on the Church of England, the last part of Britain and Ireland to hold onto the men-only rule.
Disagreements over whether women can become bishops and over gay relationships have roiled the 80-million strong Anglican Communion – the world’s third largest Christian grouping after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The Welsh vote will intensify the spotlight on the Anglican leader, Archbishop Justin Welby, who wants to speed up plans to allow women bishops in England. Scotland and Ireland allow female bishops although none have been ordained.
The first female Dean of Llandaff has resigned two months after being installed, which the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan accepted with ”˜enormous sadness’.
The Very Rev Janet Henderson, 55, became the second female to assume such a role in Wales when she became dean in March, but has now stood down.
No official explanations have been cited for the resignation, but it was initially thought an argument over the choir’s performance on Songs of Praise was to blame.
Almighty God, who didst call thy servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of thy mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ, we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.
This Bill, for the first time in British history, fundamentally seeks to break the existing legal link between the institution of marriage and sexual exclusivity, loyalty, and responsibility for the children of the marriage. If the Bill passes, several previously foundational aspects of the law of marriage will be changed to accommodate same sex
couples: the common law presumption that a child born to a mother during her marriage is also the child of her partner will not apply in same sex marriages (Schedule 4, para. 2); the existing provisions on divorce will be altered so that sexual infidelity by one of the parties in a same sex marriage with another same sex partner will not constitute adultery (Schedule 4, para. 3); and nonconsummation will not be a ground on which a same sex marriage is voidable (Schedule 4, para. 4).
Marriage thus becomes an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, is no longer central to society’s understanding of that institution (as reflected in the law). The fundamental problem with the Bill is that changing the legal understanding of marriage to accommodate same sex partnerships threatens subtly, but radically, to alter the meaning of marriage over time for everyone. This is the heart of our argument in principle against same sex marriage….
The Abortion Statistics for England and Wales in 2010 were published in May 2011…tell us (Table 9) that in 2010 there were only 482 abortions for Down’s syndrome, 164 for Edwards syndrome and 51 for Patau’s syndrome. Together these made up 30% of the 2,290 abortions carried out for congenital abnormalities (ground E) in that year. But the total with one of these three conditions is only 697.
The disparities are astounding. 740 babies aborted with one of the three trisomy conditions, or 51.5% of the NDSCR’s total of 1,437, were apparently not reported by the Department of Health. For Down’s syndrome 460 out of 942, or 49%, were not reported.
If the NDSCR statistics are accurate, and there is no reason to doubt them, then this means that the Department of Health is being notified about less than half of the abortions carried out for trisomy 13, 18 or 21.