Lambeth at a “Local” Level
August 6th, 2008 Posted in News |
By David Skinner
David Skinner of the Salisbury Diocese has written the following letter in response to same-sex issues raised by the recent visit of TEC’s Katharine Jefferts Schori to Salisbury Cathedral. The Presiding Bishop preached at the cathedral 13 July 2008. On the following Monday, a forum was given which was ‘touchy-feely’ in ambience and theologically light-weight in content. Also, and interestingly, the forum was tightly (though covertly) controlled, monitored and directed. Echoes of various people’s experience of Lambeth are heard loud and clear here! David responds here to the aftermath of Jefferts Schori’s visit as written up by a local Anglican clergy.
Dear Reverend Shirley Smith,
I wish to take the opportunity of making a few comments about your article, printed on the front cover of The Hill, July 2008.
First, I must applaud you on your courage, in raising such sensitive issues connected with sexuality and gender. I suspect that the vast majority us hide deep vulnerabilities concerning sexuality and we may also have family, friends, people we know personally, who are directly effected by these issues. No wonder we close ranks when subjects such as these, that can become so emotive and divisive, are raised. Little wonder, in fact that the elephant in the room was ignored at the Lambeth Conference. Rowan Williams must be sighing with relief and congratulating himself on the fact that no crockery was smashed or tables overturned. But you have raised it and it deserves a response. In fact I would go as far to say that it is high time that these issues were properly aired at the local level, for it is at the local level, in our churches, schools, places of work where the challenge to truth, morality and what it means to be human are already being forcibly worked out for us by powerful lobby groups like Stonewall.
For people to say that what people do in the privacy of their homes is none of our business no longer holds true because, whether we like it or not, we are being forced to approve of what people might do behind closed doors. We are having our faces rubbed in it. What previously was considered shameful behaviour is now proudly celebrated from the roof tops. Not only are we being asked to be accepting and “inclusive,” of sexual perversion, but our children are being groomed by government sex education programmes to also conform to this behaviour.
When dissenters to the homosexual agenda are having their collars fingered by the police, jailed, fined, dismissed from their jobs, denied work, publicly humiliated and threatened with prison sentences, this concerns all of us.
A predictable idiosyncrasy of the cover article to The Hill, made by clergy in the Okeford Benefice, is the use of poetry as opposed to scripture. I was pleased to see that you had resisted this conceit.
However there are quotes that I believe are relevant to us. Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and Holocaust survivor who paid a heavy price for faith and freedom, said:
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up”.
None of us can hide from the effects of a world view that is presently working as yeast to destroy the family, the church and ultimately our nation. We will either appease or fight it at both the national level and more importantly where God has placed each one of us, in our local communities.
Words attributed to Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’”
The great reformer, Martin Luther said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, then I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefront besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
Other quotes made more recently are indeed both poignant and chilling.
“The journey that our civilisation took “from barbarism to civilisation required centuries but the journey from civilisation to barbarism needs but a day.” (Will Durant)
“Tony Blair has given us 20 months to adapt 2,000 years of Christian teaching. It’s unacceptable.”
(Gerald Howarth MP, Shadow Minister for Defence)
“We felt six or twelve months would be a reasonable period for agencies to retrain their( adoption) staff but if it takes eighteen months to reverse a thousand years of prejudice, we can probably live with that.” (Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall)
Returning to your account, therefore of the evening of the 14th July when Bishop Jefferts Schori, presiding Bishop of TEC conducted a forum in Salisbury Cathedral, I would like to make this response. Whilst in total agreement that we must honour and respect one another, we are not called to honour and respect all and every belief . Above all we are called to honour and respect God and his word. Respect for one another is dependent on first respecting God, not the other way around. I was therefore alarmed by your positive response to an evening which concentrated almost exclusively on our human experience, rather than statements that are predicated by “ Thus saith the Lord.”
Knowing something of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s reputation for the deconstruction and emptying of the Anglican church in America ( her Sunday sermon at Salisbury on Sunday, July 13th made reference to tearing down the church in order to make something new ), I also took myself and my (long suffering) wife, along to the forum at Salisbury Cathedral on the evening of Monday, 14th July, in anticipation of asking a few questions. I have to say, Shirley, that I came away from that evening with my worst fears confirmed. This lady, at the very least, is an impostor who needs to be exposed and, at worst, a false prophet, warnings about whom are given in numerous places in the Bible.
Just in case I had not listened carefully enough to what Katharine had said I tried, the following day, to procure a transcript or recording of the evening but was told that the machinery had malfunctioned. This, therefore is my recollection of the evening, and please correct me where necessary.
Bishop Katharine started the evening by giving a little, academic talk on the Latin for “conversation” and how it had its roots in monastic life. This immediately gave a tone of authority and credibility that I can only assume was designed to put us at a disadvantage. I understand that this is a standard tactic of hers. She then started to talk about conversations, especially those in the Garden of Eden and at the River Jordon. My mind immediately shot to the Lambeth Conference, where indeed the theme has been conversations – and listening, a lot of listening – in groups of 40, called “Endabas.” As Archbishop Jonathan Sentamu pointed out, Endabas have not worked in South Africa so why should they work there? However I was more minded of the conversation between Balaam and his donkey.
However, my blood pressure started to rise when she replaced the recipient, Jesus Christ , of God’s affirmation (“ You are my Son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased.” Mark 1.11) with us. This was clearly an abuse of scripture, like Genesis 15:6, that credits us with righteousness, through faith (in the Jesus Christ). She then proceeded, for seven minutes to skilfully manipulate and massage 400 souls, sitting beneath the high vaulting of the north transept of this ancient building, with that distinctive slow and mesmeric drawl. She led us with her rod and staff into paths of introspection that were designed to engender the feel-good factor and hopefully to put to bed anyone, like myself, who might have come with the slightest of negative thoughts. The lady is a consummate performer. Naturally this begged for a response from the assembled: “How did people feel?” As one person after another bared their feelings to this lady, I became more than a little tortured with the thought that maybe this was the direction in which the whole evening was going; so I raised my hand so as to ask a question. The Bishop of Ramsbury, officiating from the platform, extended the sceptre towards me and I was offered the microphone.
Talking of conversations I spoke about one that I had had two weeks previously, on the steps of All Souls, Langham Place , London, with the celebrated homosexual activist, Peter Tatchell. I likened our conversation to that between the two thieves hanging either side of Jesus Christ. One was trying to make the other realise that both of them deserved God’s wrath but that Jesus Christ was indeed totally innocent. He was numbered amongst the transgressors and there was none of “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” The temperature became a little arctic here, I believe.
I then reminded Katharine Jefferts Schori of another conversation, of an agreement she had made in Dar EsSalaam not to pursue Anglican churches in the United States that realigned with GAFCON and Southern Cone bishops. Why had she reneged on this promise? My final question was whether she had come to England in order to encourage the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to pursue similar conversations, which in the USA, had led to litigation and the forced evictions of whole congregations from their churches some of which I understand have since been sold off – one of which has become a casino. I was tempted to ask how she would feel if Salisbury Cathedral were to be converted into a mosque, furniture warehouse or gay nightclub, but I restrained myself in such genteel company.
I cannot remember precisely her answer, except that in justifying her action , the assembled throng received it with warm acclamation.
At least my initial question broke the spell from the therapy session and questions were now invited from the floor. After some moments I attempted to ask another – this time related to her belief that Jesus Christ is not the one and only way to God. How would she regard passages like the following?
‘” I am the way , and the truth and the life; on one comes to the Father , but by me.“ Jn 14:6
Jesus said “I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he shall be saved.” Jn 10:9
“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it”
“Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” Jn 8:24,
“There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim. 2:5
“I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no saviour besides me.” Isa. 43:11
I raised my hand. The roving microphone came my way but before I had time to finish my first sentence, the Bishop of Ramsbury interrupted, suggesting that others should have an opportunity of speaking. Mercifully, after some further questions, a vicar (from Melksham I believe) asked precisely that which I had I had been denied the opportunity of asking. Predictability and depressingly her answer involved talking about the Dalai Lama and Ghandi. I assume that for her, along with the rest of the Bible, the scriptures above can be revised and re-interpreted to mean whatever one wants.
And so the evening wore on, until the end when she received a standing ovation- but not from everyone. To me this was a quite an eye opener as to state of the established Church in Britain and why it is soon to become not just an irrelevance but also financially bankrupt. The First Church Estates Commissioner, Andreas Whittam Smith is going to be a busy man.
Very few are aware of events in America and how Anglican congregations that are faithful to God’s word are being persecuted by bishop Katherine, for realigning with orthodox dioceses from overseas. The links below are designed to enlighten, but by logging onto Anglican Mainstream or Virtue – on -Line much more would be explained..
http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/2008/01/standfirm-katharine-jefferts-schoris.html (the true face of Katharine Jefferts Schori)
http://www.duomo.ac.nz/acnz/?p=620 (cost of litigation)
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2008/07/13/civil-war-law-is-blow-to-episcopal-church/ (Jefferts Schori looses court cases in Virginia)
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=8785 (the madness of Katharine Jefferts Schori)
Shirley I have no wish to knit pick your article but you say that the homosexual issue is important because it focuses on our identity as children of God and what it means to be human. This is very true but it also focuses on the nature of God and as to whether the Bible is the true truth, or whether we need further revelation gathered from our own subjective experience and especially from Gene Robinson.
The issue of homosexuality is not a peripheral one; it lies at the very heart of the debate on what is Truth. As when Christ was tempted to turn stones into bread, we are tempted to change the essential meaning of words into something that is non-threatening and with which we can live comfortably. In the same way that Satan successfully tempted Eve by twisting words to say what they did not mean, we too are being deceived and confused into accepting homosexual marriages and civil partnerships because they can be described as “Christian, committed, loving and praiseworthy.“ “How can anyone debate the practice of two men using their respective waste passages as a playground in order that it may become legally acceptable is totally beyond my understanding.” — Nicholas Fairbairn, MP for Fife, in the House of Commons, when, I believe, the legislation regarding homosexual practice was first debated in the late 1950’s.
Shirley you say that you find it interesting that very few people have wanted to talk to you about the disagreements in the Anglican communion at this time. May I say that over the last two years, I have thought about little else, apart from the homosexual issue, especially since, in my mind it is the catalyst or Trojan Horse that will destroy families and ultimately all western European nations. When I am tempted to think that maybe I have been shut up with books and my computer for too long and need to get out a bit more, I discover that many, globally, think precisely as I do.
I would be delighted in joining in a constructive discussion on this issue, preferably in the company of others. Obviously this is fraught with dangers, especially if it were open to the community. It could either be so tightly controlled as it was at Salisbury and Canterbury that the issue is not discussed at all or it could, if not skilfully managed, become destructive – a second Civil War could break out – though in truth, the enemy has been prosecuting a war on Britain without anyone being aware it. It is time to wake people up to the fact that whether we like to admit it or not we are in a state of war and it is time to take sides .
I am yours sincerely