Saturday, July 19, 2008

Death to St. Vincent -- the Naitnecniv Canon

Many readers are probably familiar with the "Vincentian Canon" -- the statement of the fifth-century bishop Vincent of Lerins of the Church's responsibility to hold fast to the apostolic Tradition:
Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly 'Catholic,' as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality [i.e. oecumenicity], antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, bishops and doctors alike.
By this, St. Vincent did not mean that truth is decided by majority vote, though some have tried to cast it that way. Rather, truth was given in revelation by Christ and the Holy Spirit to the apostles, who in turn - through both their written statements recorded in Scripture and their teaching and practices preserved in Tradition - passed on that deposit of faith to their own disciples and the Church throughout the ages.

Accordingly, from the beginning, the Church received revelation from God. Subsequently, errors arose not by God's act but by man's. Yet because they were subsequent and particular, these errors were not "universal" as the initial deposit of faith was. Suppose, for example, a heresy were to arise in fifth century Germania, and two differing theological teachings or Biblical interpretations of some issue were to be found there. But suppose only one of those interpretations appeared in Spain and Thrace and Egypt, and that that same interpretation was that perseved by the Fathers from the previous century, whereas the other one were localized to just fifth century Germania... well, then it's a fair bet that it is that more "universal" or "catholic" interpretation, not the Germanic novelty, which represents the original teaching of the Church. This is the reasoning behind St. Vincent's statement -- that that which has been universally received, taught and preached in Scripture and Tradition is normative, whereas the heresies peculiar to a particular time or place are deviant.

Thus, when various heresies arise (Gnosticism, denying that the one God is creator of heaven and earth; Arianism, denying that Christ was truly God; Nestorianism, denying that Christ was truly one Person; Monophysitism, denying that Christ was truly Man; etc) -- heresies which are contrary to the established interpretation of Scripture and to the Traditions of the Church -- the "Vincentian Canon" alerts us to the fact that these novelties are, in all likelihood, erroneous. Thus the condemnation of these errors -- and so too the condemnation of iconclasm, of the denial of the Real Presence, etc.

Now, this is not to say that new articulations - or new applications - of the fundamental truths do not arise. Of course they do. For example, the New Testament teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. At one time and place, a particular culture might advocate polygamy. The Church, encountering this practice, would see that it violated that Scriptural norm and condemn it. At a different time and place, a culture might advocate homosexuality, or bestiality, or marriage to kitchen appliances. In all these cases, the Church would turn to the same teaching of Scripture to evaluate the cultural practice and condemn it. Sure, the situations might be new -- none of the apostles wrote about carnal relations with electric mixers -- but the faith, the norms of belief and morality, by which the new situations are evaluated remain those eternal truths of revelation.

This means, also, that what is true and established remains true and established. The fact that new issues or occasions or clarifications arise in the life of the Church does not mean that the faith, that Scripture and Tradition, have changed, or been abrogated, or been replaced by some new Third Covenant. It simply means that a new articulation is required. If the Church says, in first century Palestine, "Jesus Christ is Lord" in Aramaic, then in 7th century Rome the Church says in Latin "Jesus Christ is Lord", not "Jesus Christ is Merely a Philosopher". The language and cultural context have changed -- the message remains the same. And this is true of both theology and morality. And if murder is a sin in 4th century Milan, then murder is a sin in 21st century Dehli. The circumstances may change -- but the truth? The truth endures.

Yet various modern churchmen and academics would have you forget all this. Of course, it has been trendy in academic circles for some decades now to deny that there is any objective truth. And one can play very entertaining intellectual games - and have some remarkable discussions - playing around with these ideas. Yet I guarantee you that the most adamant advocate or such relativism will stop at the street corner to let the cars go by... he may claim in the seminar room that "there is no objective truth", but he still believes it to be objectively true that those cars exist, and that they will hit him if he jumps in front of them, and that it will hurt! Unfortunately for theologians and churchmen, the equal spiritual dangers of denying the truth of the faith are not quite so apparent in this life.

And so, day after day, we encounter people throwing out rationality, objectivity and faith. To pick just one recent example (found simply by a quick google search) we get an episcopal candidate in PEcUSA saying:
I am committed to work toward the reconciliation of our church [there's that "reconciliation" buzzword -ed]... I believe the Episcopal Church is called to bear witness that God is doing a new thing among us, to share our experience of God’s blessing through the gifted ministries—both lay and ordained—of our gay and lesbian members. And yet, both scripture and history teach us that whenever God does new things, we mortals are slow to learn.
Slow to learn, is that it? Seems to me that people are awfully slow to learn that while God may do new things, he doesn't do contradictory things. And yet this is what PEcUSA leaders would have you believe -- homosexual activity is explicitly condemned by Scripture and Tradition and the practice of the Church for centuries... but now it's suddenly okay. Out with the Vincentian Canon... God is doing a NEW THING! Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him? Hey-hey! Not any more! God is doing a NEW THING!!!

This same kind of thinking infects academia as well -- the notion that there is no objective (or obtainable) historical truth; that because truth is unknowable or non-existent, there's no point in treating historical evidence as objective starting-points for an investigation into fact; that history merely provides the raw material for rhetorical constructions advocating your own opinions, preferences and policies; that a historian's job is to re-create the past to support their image of the future... rather than (as St. Vincent believed) obediently to discern the truths preserved in the past to safeguard them for the future. Of course, academics are not charged with defending the truths of revelation and the faith of the Church. Nor are they required, by their offices, to believe them. (Unlike the case with clergy... well, unlike what is supposed to be the case with clergy, not that you'd know it from PEcUSA's leaders!) But this doesn't stop them from advancing revisionist history about the Church.

Ruth Glendhill gives us a preview of an upcoming article, claiming it is Christian tradition to ordain women. Now, the article isn't published yet, so it's a bit irregular of her to blog about and quote from it. And, of course, a proper evaluation of the article would require seeing the whole thing and checking its sources... who knows, perhaps this author has uncovered a radical and huge cache of evidence which will overturn the clear historical facts and precedents.

But, judging from what Gledhill quotes, I don't think so.

Here is an excerpt from the article (at least, so Gledhill presents it) which gives a preview of how this radical claim is to be defended:
The Council of NĂ“mes, held in 394, noting that “women seemed to have been assumed into levitical service,” ordered that “such ordination should be undone when it is effected contrary to reason. It should be seen that no one so presume in the future.” It is quite likely that the ministry of women to the Eucharist was being discussed here, although some scholars have argued that it was the diaconate rather than the presbyterate that the Council intended to forbid. Ninety years later, in 494, Pope Gelasius in a letter to the bishops of southern Italy and Sicily also spoke out against bishops who were allowing women to serve at the altar. Gelasius had heard that “women are confirmed to minister at the sacred altars and to perform all matters imputed only to the service of the male sex and for which women are not competent.
This is supposed to convince us that it's okay to ordain women... because this evidence of condemnation shows it was done before.

Hang on there just a sec, buddy. We're not asking if it was done before. Lots of things have been believed and done before. The divinity of Christ has been denied before, as has the Virgin Birth, the resurrection, the Real Presence, and all those other teachings which Spong and his Episcopal buddies regularly deny. Nothing new there. And just about any behavior you care to think up, no matter how deviant, has got its own historical precedents as well. Whoop-de-doo.

But not only have these things been believed or done before... they have been consistently condemned by the Church as heretical, apostate, and damnable. Sure, people - even churchmen - have done or said things contrary to Scripture and Tradition in the past. And, because they are contrary, the Church has condemned them (as in the fourth and fifth century examples above). Condemned them because, since such teachings and practices "depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed," these beliefs, interpretations and policies are WRONG. They were wrong then; they are wrong now. The medium might change (English rather than Aramaic; internet rather than papyrus; 21st century culture rather than 2nd century culture)... but the message, the truth, remains the same. THAT's what the Vincentian Canon has to say about these revisionist innovations and recycled heresies.

Of course, you can guess what the modernist liberal/heretic/apostate response will be:
Oh, but that was the real truth which was viciously oppressed by all those misogynistic homophobic fundamentalist bigots (like St. Paul) who wrenched control of the Church away from Christ and the Holy Spirit within the first months of its existence and have rigorously suppressed the truth in their vast right-wing conspiracy (burning documents, hiding evidence, and crushing dissenters and freedom fighters) until, finally, in our day, the real truth has been rediscovered [be it by a new examination of well-known documents or the prophetic voice of homosexual activists or the pseudo-scientific babbling of retired clergy] and restored to the world! The fact that there is so little evidence of these practices, and that when they do show up they are consistently condemned, just PROVES that these are the true, original teachings and practices of Jesus which those demonic right-wing patriarchs have been suppressing since day one!
Or something like that.

In other words, what we have being preached by PEcUSA and its allies today is the exact inverse of the Vincentian canon... the Naitnecniv canon!

I.e. if something has ever been done or preached by somebody in (or claiming to be in) the Church, and especially if that practice or belief was criticized and condemned -- and even more so if it's a behavior or teaching which only appears rarely in a few isolated, out-of-the way spots -- then those isolated examples justify our mimicry of them... for their very rarity and historical rejection proves that they MUST be the truth!

And so there's nothing to do for it now but impose these "new things" on the rest of the world and to persecute all those who disagree... those who uphold traditional Christian teaching and practice. It is, after all, their turn now, those evil repressive bigots!

Long live Saint Naitnecniv!

Friday, July 18, 2008


If there's one thing worse than bad theology, it's bad theology over and over and over again.

Which makes me think yet again, not surprisingly, of Dr. Schori, Presiding Apostate.

In a recent emission about "What we're here to do and be as part of the Anglican Communion", Schori once again riffs on her theme of "reconciliation", telling us all about
the ways in which you and I live out our baptismal covenant and engage in God's mission of reconciling the world (Book of Common Prayer, page 855)
Of course, she needs to check her BCP (no doubt she's already working off the martini-stained pages of a draft of the more eco-friendly BCP we've been promised), which actually says "The ministry of lay persons is... to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world". (Of course, the BCP itself rather selectively reports the Bible's own words, which speaks of reconciliation to God... but we don't want to talk about God, but focus on "in the world." But the perversions of the Episcopal 1979 BCP are too many and varied to examine here.)

Anyway, does Schori on "reconciliation" sound familiar? It should. This has been a pet theme of Schoria Law for years now. It showed up in her comments upon her election as Presiding Apostate, as she described what the mission of the Episcopal church is:
Having the experience of sitting down face to face with a broad spectrum of viewpoints in the Episcopal Church over numerous days gave us the opportunity to build relationships with people who on the surface we might not choose to have relationships with. That kind of relational work, of reconciling work, is what this church is about.
And the theme has come up over and over again... it's the mantra she chanted when some Virginia parishes fled PEcUSA for a Christian jurisdiction:
Our mission as a Church is the reconciliation of the world. We will continue to feed the hungry, house the homeless, educate children, heal the sick, minister to those in prison, and speak good news to those who have only heard the world's bad news. That is the work to which Jesus calls us, and that is the work we shall continue - with a priority of peace and justice work framed by the Millennium Development Goals.
Do a google search and you'll come up many more examples.

Skim a few, and you'll see (as from the above) that for her, this mission of "reconciliation" apparently equates caring for the "least" and the "left out" -- i.e. the poor, the oppressed, the minority (but loudest) deviant sexual practices, etc. In other words, it appears to mean, in the world, the Millenium Development Goals of which she's so fond... and, in the church, supporting the pro-lesbigay-activity lobby. This is her "reconciliation of the world."

Now, caring for the poor; healing the sick; &c all these are good things. Make no mistake. But are they the "ministry of reconciliation"? Is gay marriage, and adultery, and toleration of heresy & apostasy what Scripture really means by this "ministry of reconciliation"? Can it even support this interpretation?

I realize that what Scripture actually says is of very little interest to Episcopal bishops... but if you're one of those antiquated knuckle-dragging brain-dead oddball (like myself) who actually is interested in Scripture, perhaps we should take a quick look at it to appreciate just how far from divine truth and revelation this Episcopal goodspeak has fallen.

Presumably, Dr. Schori and the BCP are referring to 2 Cor 5 when they talks about a "ministry of reconciliation".
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

So, what is Scripture's view of this "ministry of reconciliation"? Well, first it is fundamentally the ministry of Christ - reconciling us to God. We needed reconciliation with the Father because we were separated from him by our sin, and the death which is its wages. Christ reconciled us to the Father when He "made Him to be sin who knew no sin" -- i.e. to take our sins upon Himself and suffer for them, paying their price (archetype of the OT's "scapegoat")... our sins, which prevented the reconciliation, being thereby removed.

This is why the passage describes us, having been reconciled, as being "a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come." In other words, this ministry by Christ results in the destruction of sin and our transformation into the likeness of Christ by the law of Grace. (A process described throughout the NT; if the Presiding Apostate isn't familiar with this it's time for some remedial Bible study. Instruction by a child with a fifth-grade reading level who hasn't ever been corrupted in an Episcopal Sunday School class might be a good place to start.)

The Father, in turn, has given Christ's "ministry of reconciliation" to us: "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation".

In fact, this "ministry of reconciliation" isn't, strictly speaking, something we do -- rather, it's something God does and to which we invite people: "So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." It is Christ who performs the ministry of reconciliation... we are ambassadors, urging others to be reconciled to Him.

Now, is this "ministry of reconciliation" to celebrate homosexual marriages and ordain active homosexuals, so they don't feel left out? No. Is it to reduce bovine methane emissions or use more sporks? No. Is it even to address the urgent needs of third-world poverty? No. Is it, in short, any of the things that Schori describes as the church's "ministry of reconciliation"? Not a one.

Rather, this ministry of reconciliation is to reconcile man to God through Christ by abandonment of sin, by God's forgiveness, and by a life of righteousness. And the destruction and abandonment (not the celebration) of sinful activity is at the heart of this "reconciliation" -- it is what Christ accomplished for us as the prerequisite for our reconciliation to the Father.

The Church's "ministry of reconciliation", in short, is to beseech the sinful world to repent and be reconciled to God through Christ. Which is the opposite of PEcUSA's self-appointed ministry, which is to reconcile the laity to the sinful practices of the world, thus alienating them from God.

Let's quickly look at a few other instances in which the New Testament speaks of "reconciliation" (both 'katallasso' and 'apokatallasso') to make sure that this reading of 2 Cor 5 hasn't been taken out of context.
For in him all [Christ] the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel. (Col 1:19-23)
I.e. we are "reconciled" by removing, through His body and death, the "evil deeds" of our sin, that we might be "holy and blameless" before the Father... provided, of course, that we continue in the faith!
But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:8-10,21)
Once again, that which separated us from the Father -- our sin -- is removed by Christ that we might be reconciled to Him.

In summary, then, what the Presiding Layperson has done is to bandy about the Scriptural notion of "ministry of reconciliation"... but using the vague reference to pervert and invert its meaning. For when she says that the "ministry of reconciliation" means advocating social justice in this world, particularly in promoting the homosexualist heresy and persecuting Scriptural Christians, she reveals she doesn't have the first clue about what the Scriptural meaning of "ministry of reconciliation" actually is.

And, in fact, she uses it advocate the exact opposite of its Scriptural meaning: i.e. the alienation of man from God's righteousness -- the rejection or abandonment of the reconciliation which Christ offers us -- by reconciliation with sin, with the "old man", and with the world.

But, then again, as Episcopal bishops keep telling us by word and deed... we can always rewrite the Bible. I guess Schori's ignoring and perverting of the plain meaning of the passage is just part of that well-established Episcopal process.

They still don't get it

It really is hardly news, these days, when Episcopal sorts show their complete ignorance of matters Scriptural and theological. Given what sort of garbage their seminaries have been teaching for the last few decades, that's hardly surprising.

Nevertheless, I'm still amazed at their periodic attempts to defend their lunacy and apostasy by ignorant appeals to Tradition. This particular swine pearl caught my eye just now:
The Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has vowed to ask Dr Williams "to encourage other parts of the Communion to cease their incursions" while they are together at Lambeth.

She said: "It's totally opposed to a traditional Christian understanding of how bishops relate to each other. That's the biggest difficulty. They're setting up as something else in the same geographical territory."
That's a lovely institutionalist sentiment... but it's not "a traditional Christian understanding."

You see, the Christian understanding is not that bishops form some arbitrary corporation, each with a bailiwick in which he can do whatever he likes. (And Schori herself obviously doesn't believe this... after all, she illegally deposed +Schofield when he and his diocese did what they canonically and legally chose and imposed her own illegal and uncanonical shadow diocese which is, by any reasonable measure, even more irregular than those parishes or dioceses which have sought alternate oversight!) Rather, the Christian understanding is that the bishops represent Christ to their people, and their authority as head of the people and their relationship with their peers is grounded in that unity in Christ. A unity which involves preserving the faith that is His will and teaching. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments..." THIS is the "traditional Christian understanding" of the bishop -- take a look at what St. Ignatius of Antioch, who died less than a century after Christ's resurrection, wrote on the subject:
I have therefore hastened to exhort you to set yourselves in harmony with the mind of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable Life, is the Mind of the Father, as also the bishops, established in the furthest quarters, are in the mind of Jesus Christ. Hence it is fitting for you to set yourselves in harmony with the mind of the bishop, as indeed you do. For your noble presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted to the bishop, as the strings to a harp. And thus by means of your accord and harmonious love Jesus Christ is sung. Form yourselves one and all into a choir, that blending in concord, taking the key-note of God, you may sing in unison with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father, that He may hear you and recognize by means of your well-doing that you are members of His Son. Therefore it is profitable for you to live in unblameable unity, that you may be also partakers of God continually.
Sure, there is a tradition that established diocesean boundaries should be preserved. You can point to canon 15 of the Council of Nicaea for example. But the more fundamental issue, indeed the context, for understanding "bishop" and "diocese" and "jurisdiction" is that this is among the "communion" of bishops who share, preach, and defend that same catholic faith. And the same Ecumenical Councils which condemn certain persons for boundary-crossings are exactly those which excommunicate heretical bishops and replace them with orthodox ones.

Those who now come as missionary bishops, or extend their jurisdictions into, Shori's "territory" are not crossing diocesean boundaries... not "setting up shop" in someone else's jurisdiction. They are, rather, extending their authority into territories which no longer have valid bishops. This is precisely what GAFCon said:
We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.... We recognize the desirability of territorial jurisdiction for provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion, except in those areas where churches and leaders are denying the orthodox faith or are preventing its spread, and in a few areas for which overlapping jurisdictions are beneficial for historical or cultural reasons.
Which is, in fact, similar to what the Continuing Church movement said (rather more strongly and expressly) decades earlier:
We affirm that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, by their unlawful attempts to alter Faith, Order and Morality (especially in their General Synod of 1975 and General Convention of 1976), have departed from Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church... We affirm that all former ecclesiastical governments, being fundamentally impaired by the schismatic acts of lawless Councils, are of no effect among us, and that we must now reorder such godly discipline as we strengthen us in the continuation of our common life and witness... We affirm that the claim of any such schismatic person or body to act against any Church member, clerical or lay, for his witness to the whole Faith is with no authority of Christ's true Church, and any such inhibition, deposition or discipline is without effect and is absolutely null and void.
THESE are the sentiments which reflect "traditional Christian understanding" of bishops, their responsibilities and their inter-relations.

Because, you see, it is not that these alternate non-Lambeth jurisdictions are coming in to "set up as something else in the same geographical territory."

It is, rather, that they are coming in to preserve in that territory the faith and order which Shori and her cronies are replacing with SOMETHING ELSE.

It is these missionary actions (those condemned by ++Williams and Schori) which truly represent fidelity to "traditional Christian understanding." As Williams himself, scholar of the Arian crisis, knows full well.

++William's impotent frustration

The Archbishop of Canterbury may be running a bit low on charity. Or, at least, on chairs.
The word he uses to describe himself is “frustrated”. He even admits to having “kicked the furniture a bit over the last few weeks”.
And this is because some Anglicans don't seem to be taking him seriously any more:
“There are also issues of perceptions of power or influence. And there is a great deal of — not unfounded — anxiety about where decisions are made in the Communion, which we are unclear about.” Dr Williams is careful to convey that he takes the concerns of those who attended GAFCON seriously. Our conversation is peppered with references to these “serious concerns”; but GAFCON’s Jerusalem Declaration, and its inherent attack on his authority, is clearly a significant source of his frustration.
And just why might that be? Seems to me, in light of the history of action (or inaction) during his tenure as ABC, the one individual most responsible for undermining Williams' authority is.... you guessed it!... Williams himself!

After all, elected into his position in a Communion-wide crisis which called for clear direction, firm statements, moral leadership and enforced accountability, Williams proceeded to display precisely the antithesis of every one of those qualities.

What the Communion needed was the upholding of the norms articulated by Lambeth 1998's 1.10. What it got was more committees and incoherence undermining them.

What the Communion needed was a meeting in which divisions were addressed and commitments honored. What it got was the Windsor Report, which Williams himself was among the first to ignore. (Beat to the punch only by his buddy Schori, who repudiated it within days of agreeing to it!)

What the Communion needed was a leader willing to take a stand and hold people accountable. What it got was a milquetoast who spends more time explaining that he has no authority than actually exercising what little he has.

What the Communion needed was someone who upheld and represented basic Christian and Anglican teaching. What it got was a former (at least) homosexualist-supporter who refuses to take sides at all, and seems more interested in telling us how wonderful Islam and Sharia law are -- and how offensive some Christians and Christian beliefs are -- than in upholding basic orthodoxy.

What the Anglican Communion needed was an Athanasius. What it got was a Liberius or Clement VII.

And so, after all this, why is Williams now kicking the furniture over?

Because no one takes his leadership seriously any more... and because, having exhausted all other options and tired of waiting for him, various Anglican primates and bishops are starting (and far too late to save many victims of the apostasy!) to take matters into their own hands. To exercise the primatial and episcopal authority and responsibility which is theirs... to effectively lead Christ's people and defend the faith as their offices require of them. And, because Williams has consistently refused to aid that effort or to offer any effective alternate possibilities, to do so without waiting for him any longer.

And because -- the horror -- they don't seem sufficiently to value the one bit of "authority" he has chosen to exercise... the mailing of gold-trimmed invitations to a month-long indaba-fest in the English countryside. It said RSVP... and some bishops weren't P.ed... P.O.ed, perhaps, but not P.ed! The affrontery!

So, yes, there are "issues of perceptions of power or influence". And, yes, there are increasing problems "legitimacy for all in the Communion." And, yes, there are bishops who think that GAFCon is more relevant that the Lam-indabadabadoo-beth. Yes, there is an implicit "attack" upon his authority.

But if Williams wishes to look for the source and reason for that attack, he ought not to be glowering at GAFCon, or scowling at empty seats around the indaba tables, or glaring at the "illegitimate" bishops of the AMiA, CANA, or San Joaquin.

He ought to be looking in the mirror.

Institution Uber Alles

From Lambeth:
We learned yesterday that The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield’s invitation was withdrawn last week, as were the invitations of two bishops from Recife, Brazil. All three are now under the Most Rev. Greg Venables of the Southern Cone. It seems that they, like the “irregularly consecrated bishops of CANA and the AMiA” in the states, will not be recognized. This leaves little doubt about the future for other clergy and bishops who leave TEC and hope to remain part of the Communion. It looks like any intervention into another Province will be denied acceptance, be they priests, parishes or dioceses transferring to a foreign bishop. Those whose only desire was to remain Anglican within the Communion now stand outside those vast boundaries.
For several decades, now, there have been innumerable organizations and affiliations which have attempted to "remain Anglican" in theology and morality while yet "remaining in the Anglican Communion." And while this is possible in national jurisdictions which have not abandoned the faith, it simply isn't possible elsewhere. And yet, time and time again, when confronted with this reality, folks in American, Canada and elsewhere refuse to leave the institutions which have abandoned Christianity... and, thus, increasingly abandon the faith. Check out one of the latest moves -- bishop Howe recinding support for the Anglican Communion Network for fear it might cease being recognized by Canterbury.

But of just what does "recognition" from Canterbury consist these days, and is it any true measure of being Anglican?

The quote opening this post shows that any "boundary crossing" immediately gets you "thrown out" as far as Canterbury is concerned. The AMiA and CANA bishops are not welcome at Lambeth, not even in to the extent of joining the warm fuzzy indaba fellowship with ++Williams, and even formerly welcome bishops (such as +Schofield) who now find themselves in any sort of "jurisdictional irregularity (though, arguably, since his whole diocese reaffiliated, this isn't even the case there) are also disinvited.

Nor is this a case of simply "upholding Windsor" -- even if that report were given more than the barest lip service by anyone. After all, though that statement criticized "boundary crossing", it condemned even more severely the violation of Anglican principles (e.g. Lambeth '98's 1.10) in certain ordinations and persecutions. Yet the bishops guilty of those major offenses are still welcome at Lambeth (remember, it's those who consented to VGR's elections who were the chief offenders, not VGR himself) while those who have taken the faithful response caused and required by those major offenses are shunned.

Nor does ++Williams stop there. Not only are those involved in "boundary crossing" in the face of increasing apostasy and persecution more guilty than the apostates and persecutors, but his greatest criticism in the face of a crumbling Communion is not for those who are abandoning Anglican Christianity, but for those who (having seen how pointless and fruitless such meetings are, and an indaba one to be doubly so) have chosen not to attend Lambeth.
The paper, commissioned by Dr Williams, made clear that bishops who had transgressed diocesan and provincial boundaries in search of “orthodox” primacy were considered guilty of undermining collegiality. An even worse sin, it suggested, was boycotting the conference.

The warning was published in the Lambeth Reader, a document intended only for delegates but seen by The Times. “Given the present state of the Anglican Communion it is the special collegial responsibility of the bishop to be at prayer for and with fellow colleagues,” the paper said.

“This is particularly relevant for those bishops who are in conflict with one another. Their failure to attend fervently to this ordinal vow weakens the body of Christ for which they have responsibility. This in turn weakens the bonds that all the baptised share with one another.”
No suggestion that the abandonment of the faith and violation of baptismal promises to guard that faith undermines the "baptismal bond"; no recognition that his history of ineffectual, waffling leadership or PEcUSA's decades-long habit of ignoring the Communion's consensus might play a role. Nope. It is those who have tired of endless rounds of directionless, ineffectual and interminable "conversation" who are at fault. Who are, as Chane of D.C. puts it, "demonic".

Which is, of course, all of a piece with ++William's criticism of GAFCon -- his quick attack on them for not continuing to rely on the ineffectual "Instruments of Communion" (himself included) and the policies of disregarded meetings and ineffectual resolutions which have plagued the Anglican Communion for over a decade now. After all, it is only those latter which have "legitimacy".
GAFCON's proposals for the way ahead are problematic in all sorts of ways, and I urge those who have outlined these to think very carefully about the risks entailed.

A 'Primates' Council' which consists only of a self-selected group from among the Primates of the Communion will not pass the test of legitimacy for all in the Communion.

In short, then, the picture which clearly is emerging from ++Williams' statements is that:
  • The only "acceptable" Anglican is one who remains a member of his or her national jurisdiction... even if that jurisdiction is apostate.
  • The "sin" of seeking asylum from apostasy from a different Anglican jurisdiction, even if that jurisdiction is itself a national "Lambeth" jurisdiction, is greater than the apostasy itself.
  • The only acceptable way forward to address these issues is to continue to hold interminable meetings and powerless resolutions (or, even better, indaba meetings which issue no resolutions at all)... a policy which has been tried, and has completely and utterly failed, for over a decade.
The only hope for this approach to work would be the willingness to make a firm statement of basic Anglican faith, require jurisdictions to uphold it, and censure or even expel those which do not. You know, the approach GAFCon's primates -- after trying to accomplish this through the existing "structures" of the Communion and seeing the effort thwarted, undermined and ignored at every turn -- did in Jerusalem. Nor does Lambeth offer any hope whatsoever that it will take such steps... as bishop Ackerman notes:
this Conference will "require a very honest analysis of what it means to be a communion," indicating, however, that he holds little hope that this analysis will happen at the Conference.
No hope indeed... after all, this whole indaba nonsense is expressly designed to avoid such discussion or resolutions... meaning that Lambeth 2008 is structured, from the get-go, to be even less effectual and relevant than Lambeth 1998.

And perhaps the most remarkable thing is that there are still people who claim to take their faith seriously -- like bishop Howe or the A.C.I. -- who are buying in to this!!! Not to mention all those Episcopalians who refuse even to consider leaving their parishes -- no matter how liberal their parishes, heretical their bishop, or apostate their jurisdiction -- because they're more afraid of "leaving the Anglican Communion" (whatever that is) than of abandoning the Faith and Order of Christ's own Church.

And yet that's the choice Anglicans have been given -- either stay a member in good standing within the traditional boundaries of your national "Lambeth" jurisdiction or give up (at least in the eyes of many) your "legitimacy" as a "real" Anglican. And if you don't want to give up that (increasingly vacuous) identity, then, if you find yourself in an apostate jurisdiction (America, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa... looks like England soon too!) then you must pin your hopes and the future of your faith on Canterbury's indabadaba-doo process as the solution to the Communion's ills and the muscle to discipline those who have abandoned the basics of the Christian faith. For if that fails, then you are "yoked" to unbeliever and in communion with apostates, contrary to the basic teachings of Scripture and Tradition on these matters. But, then again, by your institutionalism you show that it is the organizational affiliation, not Scripture and Tradition, which matter most to you.

The impotence and unwillingness of the Anglican Communion as such to defend, require, or enforce basic Christian faith and order upon its members has been glaringly obvious for decades. It was clear in PEcUSA by the failure to discipline its apostate bishop Pike in the '60s, as well as its abandonment of the apostolic succession by the ordination of women and of the prayer book tradition by the '79 Book of Alternate Services (a.k.a. the 1979 BCP). And it's been clear Communion-wide first by the failure to censure PEcUSA and support the Continuing Church movement in the late '70s (for the Continuing Church appealed to the wider Communion to uphold basic Christian faith and order by censuring PEcUSA and supporting traditional Anglicanism) as well as its consistent failures (amid more and more "conversations" of course) to uphold it since.

Perhaps all those who, for years, criticized the Continuum's approach for "not staying in the Anglican Communion" might be forgiven for thinking, decades ago, that the "reform from within" approach would be profitable. Perhaps back then (without the perspective the past decades have granted us) people reasonably could have concluded that the Communion as a whole might take effective action against the tide of revisionism, heresy and apostasy which started sweeping Anglicanism in the '60s.

But, ever since then, one after another, those in the "institutionalist" crowd have discovered that that approach is a dead end, sucking away time, energy and resources in ineffectual efforts against the apostate "Lambeth" jurisdictions. Is it any wonder that the path chosen by the Continuum has been followed, in subsequent years, by the AMiA, CANA, the Global South parishes, and now, most recently, GAFCon?

Because apparently, to judge from ++Williams' comments above, when it gets right down to it, these other "alternate" jurisdictions aren't really part of the "Anglican Communion" any more than the Continuum is.

So perhaps the biggest Anglican question over the next year or so will be whether or not the GAFCon primates and organizations have the courage of their convictions and follow the pattern of the Continuing churches (which also, initially, had hopes of remaining in communion with Canturbury), essentially creating angloprotestant "Continuing" jurisdictions... or whether, when push comes to shove, they take the well-trodden institutional path and follow Howe and the ACI into the spiritual eunuch-hood: acting as if non-binding non-resolving "conversations" (and vague and unenforceable "bonds of affection") have any possibility whatsoever to slow the snowballing apostasy within national Lambeth jurisdictions or to re-create a genuinely Anglican meaningful Communion.

Don't hold your breath.

Indabadaba doo, man.... Indabadaba doo.

New Stuff!

Lots of new news from Lambeth... but I've been busy setting up this blog instead. I think I've created most of the widgets I want now.

Check out the new "News" section at the bottom, where you can now see the headlines from various Anglican blogs around the web, as well as the lead-in to various Main Stream Media stories relevant to Anglicanism which show up on their RSS feeds. If you know of other news or blogs sites I ought to be including, drop me a note.

Check out the new "shoutout" widget too... a fun way to say hello to fellow bloggers outside of the usual posting formats.

And the CafePress scrolling widget I created (after much headaching) is currently showing offerings from a worthwhile Anglican charitable organization.

Happy blogging!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Right writing righting +Wright's wrongs

In one of Bishop Wright's latest screeds against GAFCon, he made some comments on its constituency, noting that it represents:
a very odd combination of hard-line evangelicals, who would never use incense in a communion service, who would never wear Eucharistic vestments, along with Anglo-Catholics from America for whom those things are absolutely de rigeur.
Now, perhaps this is a reflection of the situation in England - my sense is that the "anglocatholics" there are either what I would call either (not to disparage, simply to clarify) "anglopapists" -- i.e. Anglicans who have no genuine objection to Rome's claims for universal ordinary jurisdiction, infallibility, etc -- or "high church angloprotestants" -- i.e. Anglicans who aren't really committed to "catholicism" in a theological sense (i.e. to that "catholic heritage" recognized by the seven Ecumenical councils, the traditional "catholic" teaching and practices of the Fathers, and accepted by both Rome and Orthodoxy... and, for that matter, many of the Protestant Reformers themselves!). The less said about the completely non-catholic "Affirming Catholics" in the U.K. the better.

But the problem with +Wright's comments are two-fold. First, insofar as the "anglocatholics" he describes are merely "high church angloprotestants" (you'll note that he cites incense and vestments -- not theology -- as the things which 'distinguish' those he is calling 'anglocatholics'), there really is no problem with this "odd combination" at GAFCon. Generally speaking, such liturgical matters are all adiahpora... and there's nothing to prevent "high church" and "low church" angloprotestants from working together in a unified jurisdiction and communion in common cause against the apostasy of PEcUSA and its like.

Now if it were just this liturgical difference represented at GAFCon it would be no big deal. High church vs low church liturgies?... have 'em both! To each his own! Not an issue. And that's all that some mean when they say "anglocatholic" these days.

Indeed Dr. J. I. Packer himself said much the same thing in the post-GAFCon press conference in London:
It is important to know who our friends are. Anglo-Catholics generally believe in Trinity, Scripture, atonement, resurrection, judgement, prayer, etc. A 'higher' view of sacraments and priesthood seems secondary in the light of those primary correspondences. I can be friends with Anglo-Catholics. Modern Anglo-Catholicism has a different agenda from in the past. I can, with qualifications, be friends with Anglo-Catholics. I have good will towards Forward in Faith.
The problem -- and +Wright would have been right if he had been talking about theology, not liturgical style -- is that GAFCON is trying to keep together two fundamentally different "strains" of Anglicanism. These strains have been together since the 2nd generation of Anglicanism -- when the Calvinists came over from the Continent and imported more extreme Protestant thought into the "English catholicism" of the first generation -- but "strains" is the right word: it has always been strained. And the way Anglicanism (under pressure from the State) has kept those two "strains" in one group by that highest of Anglican virtues: vagueness.

The thing is... it's precisely that vagueness which has allowed the apostates to take over PEcUSA, the AcoC, and other groups. And one of the things which GAFCON is doing -- like the Continuing Church did 30 years ago with the Affirmation of St. Louis -- is to address that problem of vagueness by articulating a standard for belief and practice. In this case, the Declaration of Jerusalem. And, as I pointed out with a side by side comparison of the Affirmation and Declaration, there are some fundamental THEOLOGICAL differences between the two. Not liturgical. Theological.

That being the case, and once we've figured out what subset of the GAFCON group is actually going to be willing (against the pressures from Canterbabble and PEcUSA and the nay-sayers( to make the necessary breaks and stands, and once that subgroup (or subgroups) have put something in place to replace PEcUSA... what will hold them together? We know what they are against in common... but what about all the differences in what they are for? Because there are some whopper differences there -- things like the nature of the sacraments, the apostolic succession, the ordained ministry, the Ecumenical Councils, and the authority of Tradtion. Dr. Packer's "good will" toward FIFNA, however collegial it might be, isn't nearly enough.

And so when the dust from GAFCON settles, and the buzz dies off, and the group (or surviving subset of it actually willing to break from PEcUSA) stops looking back and starts facing and trying to move forward (toward something rather than away from something)... then, yes, I think the passage you quote is, actually, quite correct: "That's not a coalition that's going to last very long, to be honest..."

Which is why, as I've said before, I think the best thing GAFCON could do for its own long-term survival is to be honest and up-front about the fact that it is a Protestant group -- tolerant of high church liturgy but not traditional anglocatholic theology -- and move forward without the "vagueness" and internecine tension which, otherwise, threatens both the coherence of its identity and the security of its future.

Or, even better, think about things a bit more and come home to the traditional Anglicanism of the Affirmation of St. Louis.

First posted on the MCJ blog.

Conversation with a liberal: the "listening process"

A few weeks ago on the MCJ blog, I had opportunity to exchange a few posts with another poster, a fellow called David, when the subject of +Akinola came up. In the course of these exchanges, I realized we were being treated to a rather stereotypical example of liberal "conversation" and "listening" in action. I excerpt the relevant posts from that thread here...

Submitted by David at 7/2/2008 9:23:32 AM

No, Diane, you did not detect a note of "racist cultural imperialism", but I think there was probably a note of "cultural imperialism". Both sides of this debate have been guilty of yelling "racist" at the other side, while the reality reveals that one of the few things everybody can agree on is the condemnation of racism.

As far as the size issues, TEC is "relatively tiny" in membership when compared to the Anglican Churches of Nigeria and Uganda. Of course, on the other hand, the splinter groups (AMiA, FIF, ADV, etc.) are "relatively tiny" when compared to TEC.

When considering the actions of certain African Bishops I come to two conclusions: First, TEC needs to do a far better job of listening to the concerns of Anglicans outside the USA and not dismiss them as ignorant or uneducated. And second, if the Archbishops of Uganda and Nigeria invested an equal (or greater) amount of time addressing the desperate needs of the people in their own Churches as they spend pointing out the flaws in Churches half-way around the world, they might be taken more seriously.

Besides, if you consider the amount of people in many parts of Africa that are hungry and don't know where their next meal is coming from, do you really think that person gives a #*@$ what some Church in the USA is doing?

I find it strange that some find the "relatively tiny" remark humorous, as that begs the question of why they are so obsessed over actions and pronouncements coming from such a "teensy-weensy, miniature, and wee" group of people?

Submitted by LP at 7/2/2008 10:00:43 AM

why they are so obsessed over
Not "obsessed" but "concerned". And a concern with, along with their many concerns over the plight of their people (on which they _do_ spend more of their time), they faithfully exercise.

The reason being that -- like Christ's own apostles and the Christian tradition throughout the ages, as well as the majority of faithful Christians today -- their chief commitment is to proclaiming the Gospel. For that is the true "desperate need" of all mankind.

Feeding the hungry and nurturing the body - while of huge importance (as Christ Himself shows us) - is ultimately a secondary priority to feeding the soul (again, as He shows us) with the Truth of the Gospel and salvific, sacramental grace.

Which is why reaffirming Christian truth in the face of the apostate whining and media frenzy of a tiny and shrinking - but culturally influential and vocal - post-Anglican organization is, thus, an appropriate exercise of their responsibilities.

But, of course, for those coming from within PEcUSA circles - as I guess, from the tenor of your posts, may possibly be your case - you've probably never encountered that sort of faithful and Scriptural Christian thinking before, so I can understand why you may find it mystifying.


Submitted by David at 7/2/2008 11:15:51 AM

Whatever gets you thru the night, there LP. I doubt, however, God is impressed by those who use that line of thinking to justify their ignoring the basic needs of others. Agreed, proclaiming the "Good News" must be foremost, but to do that and ignore the rest is what a great many are guilty of doing.

Please don't get offended if there are some who do not seek your stamp of approval concerning what is or what is not "faithful and scriptural Christian thinking". I have encountered a great deal of "faithful and scriptural Christian thinking" on this website, but have yet to see it in great amounts from your posts.

Submitted by LP at 7/2/2008 11:33:08 AM

I doubt, however, God is impressed by those who use that line of thinking to justify their ignoring the basic needs of others.
You do seem to get a kick out of making that accusation -- first against ++Akinola, now against me.

Should you care to investigate the facts of ++Akinola's ministry and Church, you will find that they do tremendous work - and spend much of their time and energy - striving to meet the desparate needs of their people.

However -- unlike PEcUSA, which touts its 0.7% contribution to the MSGs while spending 100s if not 1000s of times that much in legal bills for their continued persecutions of Christians -- ++Akinola and other faithful Christians recognize that feeding the body is not a substitute or replacement for feeding the soul... nor a justification for abandoning the Gospel. Which is why - by proclaiming that Gospel as they minister to the body - they do both.

Please don't get offended if there are some who do not seek your stamp of approval
I have no interest in whether or not you care for the Christian content of my posts. In my beliefs, I strive to be faithful to the norms of Scripture and Tradition, and so (in part) seek the approval of the Christian God who speaks through them. It is his approval - not yours - I seek.

Like others here, it grieves me to see when folks -- like the leadership of PEcUSA -- turn away from obedience to God in indifference to His approval, seeking instead to please the "Prince of this world" in their conformity to the heresies and apostasies of our time.

Like ++Akinola and others, seeing such individuals acting to poison or steal the Gospel truth, the sacraments, and the message of salvation away from their people, I protest every bit as much as I would seeing a leader poisoning or stealing his people's bread. Perhaps even more so -- for the latter tries only to starve and kill their bodies; the former, their souls.


Submitted by David at 7/2/2008 12:35:29 PM

Indeed, LP, the facts surrounding Akinola need to be investigated. If you do a through job of fact-checking, you may just reconsider taking up for this man. The well-documented facts surrounding his encouragement of (and advocation for) violence against those he views as "unfit" are enough to show me his words carry little weight in matters of faith.

Submitted by LP at 7/2/2008 12:54:11 PM

The well-documented facts surrounding his encouragement of (and advocation for) violence
Your repetition of this oft-disproved libel from PEcUSA and the liberal media shows that you aren't actually interested in the facts at all.

Of course, ++Akinola -- like all Scriptural Christians -- believes homosexuality is a sin and, thus, is not a behavior that should be blessed or sanctioned as "approved" by the Church... which is, in their view, no doubt sufficient "violence" for them to accuse him of such, regardless of what manufactured incidents they try to pile up on top.

However, your original post here -- it's above, you can review it to refresh your memory -- was to accuse (likewise falsely) ++Akinola of neglecting the needs of his people to spend all his time "obsessing" about the apostasy of PEcUSA.

As it has now been pointed out to you that ++Akinola has done great work trying to address the poverty and hunger in his country, that addressing those physical needs doesn't prevent (or prohibit or replace) the addressing of spiritual needs as well, and that to take a firm stand against apostasy and abandonment of the Gospel is one of the ways to take such a stand, I see that you are now trying to turn the conversation away both from the observations of your own first set of errors and incoherent reasoning with these new cries of "homophobia!" and unsubstantiated accusations of physical violence.

You are, indeed, following to the letter the PEcUSA playbook for trying to draw attention - and turn the discussion - away from its own abandonment of the Christian faith (with, among other techniques, the ad hominem libel of anyone who points out that fact).

The problem with this approach of denial, deceit, and misrepresentation is that it is now, after all these years, so blatantly obvious that it doesn't fool anyone any more... except, perhaps, its own gullible practitioners. To the rest of us, it's just laughable.


Submitted by Ken at 7/2/2008 12:57:12 PM

David -

I tend to agree with you that "racist" gets thrown around too much. There are racist overtones - akin to the classic "white man's burden" - in much western denigration of the Africans. But the racist angle does get overplayed.

And second, if the Archbishops of Uganda and Nigeria invested an equal (or greater) amount of time addressing the desperate needs of the people in their own Churches as they spend pointing out the flaws in Churches half-way around the world, they might be taken more seriously.

Well, CAPA issued a 18 or 19 point statement of needs that was entirely about basic needs, with one little statement about the same-sex heresies rampant in the west. So what did the Integrity types carry on about? That one little thing. They completely ignored the bulk of the document. Now, who is obsessed with sex?

Besides, if you consider the amount of people in many parts of Africa that are hungry and don't know where their next meal is coming from, do you really think that person gives a #*@$ what some Church in the USA is doing?

Well, since Louis Crew let the mask slip and explicitly tied TEC money to acceptance of sodomy, I don't think you have a leg to stand on as to who doesn't care about African hunger. Anyway, the problem is that the African Christians live in an environment where Islamists can tar them as sympathetic to sanctified sodomy. Early on, there were reports of Anglicans being targeted by Islamic assasins over this, but I haven't heard that in awhile and don't remember if it was confirmed. At any rate, the body is one and the world will certainly connect the African experience to the American heresies if they can. The well-documented facts surrounding his encouragement of (and advocation for) violence against those he views as "unfit"

Evidence please. I have yet to see anything but homosexualist claims about Abp. Akinola, not an actual statement from him "encouraging violence".

Submitted by LP at 7/2/2008 1:16:10 PM

I have yet to see anything but homosexualist claims about Abp. Akinola, not an actual statement from him "encouraging violence".
Yup. All you'll find from ++Akinola is a condemnation of homosexual acts. In this, his is quite clear. To quote his own words (something you'll never find the homosexualists doing to back up their claim that he supports violence against persons, because ++Akinola has never said any such thing):
Homosexuality does violence to nature. As someone puts it: "It contradicts the very light and law of nature." Romans 1.26-27 says it this way: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."... What we are talking about is an attack on the Church by some whose aim is to discredit the gospel, pollute the Church, neutralise its power and pull it down. Christ has forewarned: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12.30).
His province's own website emphasizes that, while one hates the sin, one is to love the sinner... and that all repentant sinners are welcome in the Nigerian Anglican church:
The Church of Nigeria maintains that God's plan as evidenced in Genesis 2:18 - 25 and affirmed by Christ is for marriage between male and female. Efforts to bless same-sex unions are unscriptural and those in such dilemma are called to repentance as they pray for God's love to lead them aright. As a caring church, committed to Christ's command to "love one another", we do not turn anyone away, but we exhort all Christians to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God as outlined in the Holy Scriptures. Churches and church leaders who teach or live otherwise are walking away from the truth of the Scriptures and they endanger the lives of their followers. Our Church does not hate any human being. Rather, we have been outspoken because of attempts by some to undermine the importance of God's word written as received by the fathers of the Church and accepted by the Creeds and Anglican Book of Common Prayer 1662. We continue to pray for everyone to experience God's transforming power.

But, again, let's not get these replies to David so busy refuting the patently absurd, dishonest, and objectively false claims that ++Akinola supports violence against persons, that we permit ourselves to be distracted from the main points (which is, after all, the real reason apostates and heretics will introduce these falsehoods into the conversation in the first place). To wit:

  • Homosexual activity is unequivocally condemned by Christian Scripture and Tradition.
  • Church leaders have a moral and priestly duty to preach and defend the Christian faith, which especially includes speaking out against those false teachers -- like PEcUSA's leadership -- who deny the Gospel.
  • Preaching the Gospel, and ministering to mankind's spiritual needs, is not incompatible with (nor rendered unnecessary by) ministering to their physical needs.
  • ++Akinola has done a great deal to minister, likewise, to these physical needs (which David, above, appears to deny or ignore)... even while also -- by preaching the Christian Gospel, which David appears to reject -- ministering to their spiritual needs as well.

And, yes, you're quite right Ken, the fact that PEcUSA has made its physical aid to the needs of these people contingent upon their rejection Scriptural teaching on sexuality (just as, back in the '80s, they did in demanding that recipients accept PEcUSA's revisionism on women's "ordination") shows that - unlike ++Akinola's efforts to aid both physical and spiritual life -- PEcUSA makes their physical aid contingent upon the recipients chosing spiritual death. That, in fact, promoting their own anti-Gospel is more important to them than helping the physical needs of the very people David falsely condemns ++Akinola for ignoring. And, as you can see from the quotes above, ++Akinola's not fooled. That little PEcUSAn game has had, finally, the light of day shone upon it.


Submitted by David at 7/2/2008 1:25:17 PM

If I might ask, LP, was it actually Akinola or was it Martyn Minns? One in the same, when it comes to speech writing.

The fact that you, evidently, think the only facts and truths concerning these matters can be found entirely on the Church of Nigeria's website reflects a level of ignorance (on your part) that I do not believe to be true. Your writings give evidence that you are much smarter and more informed than that.

Submitted by LP at 7/2/2008 1:38:49 PM

If I might ask, LP, was it actually Akinola or was it Martyn Minns? One in the same, when it comes to speech writing.
I notice that you do absolutely nothing to address any of the facts, theology, or information presented above ... nor do anything to show that ++Akinola doesn't mean what he says ... but merely continue to avoid the central issues by throwing out red herrings like this one.

Another classic -- and transparent -- PEcUSA ploy.

found entirely on the Church of Nigeria's website
You have made claims that ++Akinola advocates violence against persons. You have provided no evidence to back up that assertion.

By contrast, I have provided you evidence -- from ++Akinola and his church's own words -- that they do not.

Instead of playing more silly red herring and distraction and misdirection games -- which do absolutely nothing to substantiate your claims -- how about you put down the "how to avoid the issues" PEcUSA handbook and provide some evidence of your own, from ++Akinola's own words, to back up your unsubstantiated assertion that he advocates violence against persons. If you can.

Or will you chose to follow the PEcUSA playbook of red herrings, question avoiding, ad hominem attacks, sweeping claims, manufactured rumors... all the while trying to avoid the salient points. As I noted above. Because, if that's the course you chose to continue to take, then you are confirming, for any enquiring visitor who happens to read this blog, that your position has no merit, truth, or substance... merely rhetorical smokescreens.

Actually, come to think of it, please do continue as you have started -- thus showing that you can't back up your libellous assertions. For, the revelation of that duplicity will be a service to truth and to the Gospel, as it will help seekers realize just how vacuuous and empty PEcUSA's false religion is... and inspire them to turn a more attentive ear to the Gospel being preached and practiced by its many faithful ministers, such as Archbishop Akinola.

Indeed, in that way, your posts may well prove to be a very effective advocate for ++Akinola, for which support I suppose we should thank you!


Submitted by David at 7/2/2008 2:36:06 PM

When I come across certain worn-out and misused phrases like "red herring", and "ad hominem", I have learned that the conversation has gone from valuable to worthless. We past that point an hour ago.

LP, if a person like Akinola qualifies for the status of "faithful minister" in your play-book, then you and I are not even in the same ball park.

Anyone with internet access can, in a fast manner, find numerous articles concerning Akinola's public advocation for jail sentences for all gay people and his support for the attempted passage of laws to make that a reality in Nigeria. Of course, many commenters here on the MCJ would probably be 100% behind a law to do that here in the USA (truth be told). Akinola "grinned and said no-comment" when asked about his knowledge and/or previous approval of an attack on a Muslim village by C.A.N. members under his direction. As recently as last week, Akinola lied thru his teeth at GAFFECON when he said he had no knowledge of violence against gay people in his country. His dishonest and underhanded actions surrounding his getting voted out as leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria has been well reported on. The list could go on and on.

Of course, it would all be refuted by people like you, LP, who believe anything they are told as long as the person telling it is "conservative" enough. Maybe I was mistaken when I wrote you were not that ignorant.

Submitted by Matthew at 7/2/2008 2:59:21 PM

Kewlness, a two fer one ad hominem attack. Let's break it down.

First, I've read the article you're getting your Akinola info from. It's by Eliza Griswold. She's a poet, reporter and just happens to be the daughter of ol' Frank Griswold, fromer PB of these here Episcopal Churches. She doesn't like conservatives. She has never let the facts get in her way in her articles in The American Prospect, The Nation and the New Republic. She is very much a polemical reporter. Other people have very much had a different experience of Archbishop Akinola. If you are going to cite facts, you may wish to find more authoritative or unbiased sources.

I'm not in favour of jailing anyone fro sexual preference. Sorry, but i am not.

Again, do you have actual knowledge that Archbishop Akinola has actual knowledge of violence against gays? Can you please cite sources? Feel free to strengthen your case please.

Insulting people of course is always a good way to prove a point. It rarely proves the point you wish to make though.

Submitted by Sasha at 7/2/2008 3:43:02 PM

David, if ++Akinola were inciting violence against homosexuals, then why did he support a law calling for 5 years' imprisonment for those of them caught in the act - compared to the Muslims' wishing to have them executed? If he was doing what you're claiming he was doing, this was his perfect opportunity to go along with them - AND HE DIDN'T!!!

Submitted by LP at 7/2/2008 4:39:32 PM

A case study in insult, dishonesty, and deception
Presented for your education, edification, and enjoyment

you, LP, who believe anything they are told as long as the person telling it is "conservative" enough. Maybe I was mistaken when I wrote you were not that ignorant.
I see that you have now shifted to "phase 3" of the liberal playbook -- insult your disputant. What a good little foot-soldier you are!

Let's review the exchange to date, shall we?

You began this exhange by posting to assert that it was foolish for ++Akinola to worry about the false gospel being preached by PEcUSA since (a) PEcUSA is so tiny (true... and it's working hard to keep shrinking) and (b) he ought to worry about ministering to his own people instead.

In response, various people refuted every one of your points, observing that:
a) ++Akinola does minister to the needs of his people
b) Including a great deal of ministering to their physical needs
c) But also to their spiritual needs, which is his responsibility as a Christian leader
d) And that ministering to the spiritual does not (as you implied) prevent ministering to the physcial as well.

It has also been pointed out that:
e) PEcUSA has done a very failed job - and one that is continuing to shrink, as their budget is increasingly used up in the litigation costs of suing and driving out traditional Christians from that organization -- in giving to those same physical needs
f) And what little support has been given, has been given with the "strings attached" of requiring the recipients to deny the Gospel and basic Christian morality by supporting the homosexualist heresy, thus showing their priority is to advocating homosexualism, not to social services.

When presented with these arguments and facts, rather than present any comparable facts of your own to back up your sweeping condemnations, you instead attempted to turn the conversation to a discussion of ++Akinola's supposed advocation of violence against homosexuals.

Once again, your sweeping and false generalizations were met with facts to the contrary -- including ++Akinola's own words. And, once again, you failed to answer or present evidence to defend your defamations or assertions but instead threw out more question-dodging irrelevancies, such as "ooh, maybe someone else typed up his statement!"

And now - after your many accusations and substanceless posts - you have provided -- amid a heap of insults to me -- a few brief references, in an effort to support your view... examples which are (as we shall see shortly) at best largely irrelevant and, in some cases, show exactly the opposite of what you claim.

And in this last pot, you turn to the "final phase" of the liberal's traditional rhetorical smoke-screen and assertion-in-place-of-argument tactic by insulting those who disagree with you.

Doing so, you have demonstrated the classic liberal "endgame" -- rather than continue to attempt your campaign in the face of people who present reason and facts that show the absurdity of your own position (a pity more people in the pews of Episcopal parishes are unwilling or unable to do so, it's really not very hard at all) -- you retreat (patting yourself on the back no doubt) with the "oh, there's no point in arguing" claim. Oh, and, of course, with the parting false & libellous ad hominem attack -- such as claiming that the posters on the MCJ are homophobes who would be "100% behind a law" to jail homosexuals.

Dude, you're right... we haven't been arguing. You have been throwing out unsubstantiated claims, accusations and insults. The rest of us have been presenting facts and rational discussion. That is, indeed, not an argument. How can we have an argument or discussion with you, when all your posts have amounted to no more than a screed and a hissy-fit? Some of us left that kindergarten-level playground misbehavior behind us years ago. I'm sorry you haven't.

Your methodology is quite apparent in your concluding remark:

Of course, it would all be refuted by people like you, LP, who believe anything they are told as long as the person telling it is "conservative" enough
In other words, when presented with facts and arguments, rather than engaged in reasoned exhanges, you've simply said "there's no point in discussing things with you, because you are a 'conservative' and so would credulously believe anything 'conservative' and never agree with me!"

As seen from the above exchanges, it is the 'conservatives' who have been giving facts, reasons, and quotes -- basing their position on something objective -- while as all you've done is handwave and make unsubstantiated claims. If anyone deserves to be called "credulous", it would be those who agree with you!

Thus, as shown above, you make quite clear that your posting here is merely to have that on-line tempertantrum. I'm not sure why. Who could you hope to convince? Anyone approaching this exchange with an open mind and a view to the facts will see precisely what I have outline above... do you really think that will convince them of anything?

In point of fact, virtually nothing you have written has merited reply, but it has been such a delightfully obvious and typical example of the typical liberal/apostate propaganda machine -- based on insult, ungrounded assertion and distraction rather than facts or reason -- that showing it up for what it really is ought to prove an excellent "object lesson" for those genuine enquirers who do run across this thread. I thank you for providing that demonstration.

Now, to turn specifically to your last post above: finally, after all your other ones -- you attempt (amid the usual insults and contempt) to give some actual "evidence".

Of course, the "evidence" you claim is nothing of the kind -- you have presented a misrepresentation of the various incidents rather than anything honest. Still, trying to present any "fact" at all is a big step forward for you, and I congratulate you on that accomplishment.

And perhaps you're repeating them merely as a credulous mimic of things you've seen posted elsewhere, without having bothered to check the facts yourself, since they appear to flatter your own preconceptions and you wouldn't want the facts to get in the way, eh?

But -- in a contrasting desire to actually base opinions and interpretations on actual facts and statements -- let's take a look at your points in order, shall we?

You will notice that, by doing so, I have done something you have yet to do -- actually engaged in a reasoned discussion with points you have raised and examined them each for their actual merit. And, as usual, investigation into the facts show just how much dishonesty and distortion has to be employed by liberals to come up with arguments which even appear to support their position. No wonder you folks prefer to stick to insult, hypothesis, and unsubstantiated accusation!

Indeed, since you have now -- after giving us such a terrific example of the "liberal argument strategy" -- provided a sterling example of "liberal misrepresentation and distortion of facts", it's worth a similar examination... yet another object lesson for interested readers.

1. Nigerian secular law.

The proposed law that you refer to did not, as you claim, call for "jail sentences for all gay people." Rather, that law made homosexual advocacy organizations illegal (its section 7(1)) and called for a 5 year jail sentence (section 7(3)) on those who founded or participated in such organizations, those who made a public show of homosexuality, or those who engaged in homosexual "weddings".

In other words, this was a secular law directed against actions, not persons. Of course, you could claim that denying the actions would be denying the persons... but that would just be silly. Or, at least, utterly inconsistent with Christian teaching.

Now, founding an Integrity chapter or screwing another man out on a park bench might be "essential" behavior for you (or whomever), and you might feel excluded by a law which prohibits it -- but it is those actions, not you yourself (or whomever), which were criminalized.

Moreover, this was a secular law being proposed by a civil government, not something proposed by the church. And ++Akinola's support for it was - as he himself explained - because it reflected "the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality." I.e. that homosexual activity is sinful.

Further, as has been pointed out above, strange as it seems, ++Akinola's commendation of this law is actually support for the more tolerant option, given what Islamic law calls for!

And while you and I, as Westerners, may find this foreign prohibition of free speech and free assembly to be an alien and distasteful secular policy, that is a separate issue from the ethical question of "is homosexual activity moral or immoral". I disagree with ++Akinola on his Nigerian toleration of such strict restrictions on reasonable free speech and free assembly. But I agree with his Christian and Scriptural condemnation of homosexual activity as immoral.

2) CAN attack on a Muslim village

CAN is the "Christian Association of Nigeria". The question to which Akinola responded "no comment" was whether he had sent them into that Muslim area. Given Muslim Shari'a law about missionaries, OF COURSE he said "no comment". That had nothing to do with persecuting homosexuals or Muslims -- that had to do with protecting himself and the Christian missionaries.

Second, the implication that these attacks were carried out "under his direction" is false. The "no comment" was answering whether or not they had been sent as missionaries into that region, not whether or not they had been sent in to attack people. His "no comment" referred to whether or not he had authorized their presence, not their actions. Thus, by it, he was not condoning their actions. In fact, on the subject of the violence itself, he replied "No Christian would pray for violence".

Third, these were not unprovoked attacks by CAN, but were in response to the incident in which "a group of Muslims raided a Christian church, set it on fire, and killed 78 people." I am not saying that that condones the retaliation -- I am simply pointing out the larger context, which you conveniently chose to omit.

Fourth -- and only here to we find a shred of possible support for your position in any of your "evidence" -- ++Akinola said in the interview:

I’m not out to combat anybody. I’m only doing what the Holy Spirit tells me to do. I’m living my faith, practicing and preaching that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God, and they respect me for it. They know where we stand. I’ve said before: let no Muslim think they have the monopoly on violence
I.e. ++Akinola is not praying or advocating violence, he is not setting out to combat anyone, he is simply preaching the Gospel. But if - as in the incident described above - Muslims attack Christians, he is not going to condemn a Christian reaction.

Now I, personally, am a bit troubled by this. It's hardly "turn the other cheek". Then again, I'm not in Nigeria and have no personal experience with the religious situation there. It may well be that a willingness to defend themselves or respond with force, when attacked and murdered by Muslims, may be the only way Christians in that country can hope to survive. I don't know... and I won't presume to judge.

However, all we can conclude from this incident and ++Akinola's statements is that while he is not praying for violence, not advocating it and not seeking it, he also chooses not to condemn Christians who respond in kind when attacked and murdered by Muslims.


This is your weakest example, particularly as anyone can easily find and read the transcript of the Q & A session you describe. Indeed, the whole homosexualist distortion of the interview has, itself, been a marvelous case study in the dishonesty with which they advance their agenda.

The entire substance of the exchange with ++Akinola was about his country's laws. We've dealt with that above. ++Akinola was defending the right of his society to criminalize certain behaviors and public activities -- again, actions, not people. This is why he said:

in your Western society many of these have arisen but in some of our African societies many things have not arisen and this happens to be one of them.... to that extent what my understanding is, is that those that are responsible for law and order will want to prevent wholesale importation of foreign practices and traditions, that are not consistent with native standards
I.e. he supports the right of his government to establish laws (like the one above) to criminalize certain public actions and foreign organizations. A secular question, even if touching on a moral issue.

I take it you -- like the U.N. -- would prefer a "new colonialism" of importing and enforcing a liberal first-world sexual and "ethical" agenda (one which is, in fact, actually a minority position in many of those first-world countries themselves) as normative upon every country on Earth. But that's a separate debate about state, not Church.

You cited this GAFCon press interview to support your claim that ++Akinola advocated violence against gay people. This interview does no such thing. In it he simply defended his secular government's sovereign right to criminalize certain public behaviors and organizations. Nothing new here not in #1 above.

Additionally, this exchange was not in a vacuum. ++Orumbi and +Jensen both also addressed the question, and ++Akinola is reported as nodding affirmation to what both of them said. Here is ++Orumbi, pointing out precisely the church/state issue which ++Akinola spoke to:

There’s very little influence to stop the legislation of a law, an institute, in practice by the church. The church’s practice is to preach, to proclaim... And that is in Uganda as already Archbishop Akinola is saying.
And here is +Jensen:
Can I add to that, because I think it needs to be said, on behalf of these brothers, if not by themselves, any violence against any person, is in Christian terms wrong... I certainly have public condemned and will continue to publicly condemn any violence against any people and in particular gay and lesbian people.... I am sure I speak for all in saying that any such violence, any such behaviour within the prison system, for Christians of another variety, or whatever, is condemned by us.
In short, as an honest reading of this press conference makes quite clear, ++Akinola did not say what you claim he did (he did not advocate the imprisonment, torture, or rape of homosexuals for being homosexuals) -- in fact, he nodded his agreement to a statement that said exactly the opposite ("I speak for all in saying that any such violence, any such behaviour within the prison system, for Christians of another variety, or whatever, is condemned by us").

So, let us, again, review. You have posted almost nothing but red herrings, insults, sweeping generalizations, and false assertions.

Your initial post was to condemn ++Akinola for criticizing PEcUSA's homosexualism while not doing enough to minister to his people, which was shown to be both factually inaccurate and logically incoherent. Evidence was provided to show your error.

You then jumped -- having provided no proof for your assertions nor counter-evidence to what others provided showing your error, despite being asked repeatedly for such evidence from those other posters -- to the "homophobia!!!" game, announcing ++Akinola's "advocation" of "violence" against "those he views unfit" such as homosexuals, again with only generalizations and continued insults (both against ++Akinola and, increasingly, against me as well.)

And finally, in this recent post, you announce that conversation is useless, that I am ignorant and credulous, claim that I (and others here) would be "100% behind" a law to jail homosexuals, and so forth. I take it this is what qualifies as "discussion" and "reason" in your book? It certainly is a fine example of precisely the kind of "conversation" and "dialog" and "listening" we've come to expect from PEcUSA!!

But you did -- mirabile dictu visuque -- in this final post (now that we've digressed far from your original topic) mention a few items as "proof". I have analyzed those 3 examples above, and we find (shouldn't suprise anyone at this point) that #1 doesn't give any support to the position you are trying to defend; #3 - if one looks at the transcripts and reports from GAFCON - shows that ++Akinola actually endorsed +Jensen's rejection of precisely the position you falsely claim for ++Akinola; and that #2 (the closest you come to anything relevant to the larger point we've digressed to) doesn't say what you appear to think it does -- i.e. the incident does not show that ++Akinola ordered C.A.N. members to go burn down a Muslim village -- it merely shows that he wasn't willing to condemn Christians for responding with force to a murderous attack upon their community. (I wonder, do you condemn self-defense? If someone is threatned with mugging, murder or rape, is it their Christian reponsibility - in your view - simply to submit? Would you condemn them if they did resist? No? SHOCK Why, you're not better than ++Akinola then!!!)

So, once we discard all your increasingly shrill insults, empty rhetoric, unsubstantiated claims, and misrepresentations of fact, I believe we can boil down your argument to the following statement:

I reject Scripture's teaching on homosexuality and reject the right of anyone to criticize it, because Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria once failed to condemn Christians for responding with force to a murderous Muslim attack on their community and church.
Hello? McFly? Hello?

I don't understand why you homosexualists don't just save yourselves lots of time and bother by saying:

We reject the teaching of Scripture, Tradition and the Church about homosexuality (and women's ordination; and the divinity of Christ... etc) and we have no intention to change those views or engage in constructive discussion or cooperation with anyone who thinks differently. We reject any other Anglican's right to dispute with us over this; we reject any authority of the Anglican Communion to discipline us. We intend to drive out of our organization anyone who thinks differently on these issues.
That, at least, would have the virtue of being honest, and would save lots of time and bother, allowing the traditionalists to get on with their preaching of Scripture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ... and allow you to simply ignore them and get on with your advocacy of your own new religion and morality.

Perhaps if you folks weren't so preoccupied with spending time on blogs acting out the "liberal handbook" argument style; weren't so obsessed with insulting those who strive to be faithful to Christian Scripture and Tradition; weren't so committed to suing and persecuting them in and out of courts... why then you might just find that you had more time and funds and man-power to go do all that social service work which you obviously think is so essential -- funds for which PEcUSA is increasingly cutting as it puts ever higher percentages of its resources and energy into advocating homosexualism and persecuting traditional Christians.

But, anyway, thanks again for the quite sterling "object lesson" in liberal Episcopalian norms of "conversation" and "evidence". I hope many readers will find the example illuminating.

pax omnibus,

Submitted by David at 7/3/2008 10:02:10 AM

Quite an emission, guys. I suppose that, since I have been accused of wasting bandwidth, that the best thing would be for me to briefly address a few points and drop out.

LP: It's amazing what you can find by using yahoo and google searches, if you are willing to spend some time and work your way down from a broad search and not limit it to the point of uselessness as Fuinseoig done in his search. I'm sure you realize that Akinola is not an ignorant person, and as such, would know better than to have information posted on his Church's website that would reflect poorly on him as a Bishop. You accuse me of being fooled by believing everything you claim I read on "liberal blogs", while you trust everything you read on a website Akinola controls. I don't place a great amount of trust in articles on leftist blogs because the agenda they espouse sometimes trumps truth, and the same thing goes for ultra-conservative blogs. In the end, despite any "weaknesses" you perceive in my views, your vulgar comments about "screwing a man on a park bench" served to strip away a layer of your facade to reveal a person I'd rather not associate with.

It's a funny thing to me that you and (many, but not all) of the people here can spout off ad homenim attacks, make outlandish claims, and demean anybody not "conservative" enough for your tastes....but just let someone come along and direct a little of the same thing your way, and all he** breaks loose. Hypocritical is the most tactful and accurate description I can come up with....

In the end, it's a shame that I've not been banned from here, but that would make the MCJ no better than SFIF (and we know it is). Thanks, Chris, for not banning me. But, never fear my conservative pals, I will voluntarily refrain from posting. That doesn't mean that "ad hominem attacks" won't happen any more, because if you took that away, at least 75% of the content of the MCJ would disappear.

I will leave you all to your own dark devices.

Submitted by LP at 7/3/2008 10:35:14 AM

Addendum: How a liberal says "goodbye"
I will leave you all to your own dark devices.
Ah, of course, the "exit strategy". David wasn't quite done with us yet.

He has been confronted with arguments, facts, quotes and analysis, all which confound and contradict his vague assertions, sweeping generalizations, and petty insults. Some posters have done so with more vigor and rhetoric, some with less -- but all have posted substantive and fact-based refutations.

David, now, perceives that his bluff has been called. It has been repeatedly pointed out that all but one of his posts contained no facts or evidence... and, of the one that did, investigation into the actual quotes and incidents shows that the examples he provided do not, in fact, support his assertions after all.

Does David respond with a differing analysis, to show that our examination was incorrect? No.

Does David respond with new evidence or quotes to provide more substantive support to his wild suppositions and allegations? No.

Does David, in short, begin to attempt, in any way, a mature and fact-based rational exchange in an effort to arrive at some coherent and objective view? No.

Because that's not the liberal exit strategy!.

Nope, the liberal knows that when he's met with actual challenge and argument -- rather than credulous acceptance of unsupported assertions and sweeping condemnations -- that the game is up and he's going to continue to look sillier and sillier if he keeps trying to defend his subjective and counter-factual point of view.

(It is not, mind you, just the homosexualist heretics who do this -- I've seen it regularly (though not always) in discussions of women's "ordination", and it's a staple of liberal political discussions and behavior (Dick Morris reports that the Clintons had an employee whose official full-time job was to dig up dirt for ad hominem attacks on opponents, precisely to distract from examination of the substance of the disagreements and discussion); etc.)

And so now it's David's turn for the cut-your-losses "exit strategy" with the liberal's "goodbye". And -- no surprise here -- he has treated us to a wonderful "object study" of the phenomenon.

Look back over his post. Does he address any of the facts raise? No. Does he refute any of the arguments or analysises of his supposed "evidence"? No. Does he, in other words, engage any of the substance of those who have replied to him? No.

Nope... all he does is get in his "parting shots" of contempt, insult, and attack... oh and, of course, the "victim" angle. "You said something rude that hurt my feelings.. if you're going to be mean to me, then I'm going home!" AHA! I see that your retreat from this discussion has nothing to do with the fact that your assertions were shown to be so, your illogic pointed out, your lack of factual support noticed, and the inadequacy of your 'evidence' revealed. Nope, that had nothing to do with it. It is merely we are evil people who hurt your feelings. Riiiiiiiiiiiight....

In short, his "reply" is to say:

  • You were rude
  • You said something I think is ad hominem
  • I don't trust your sources.

(By the way, David, all the sources I used in examining your "evidence" are the exact same news media reports that you yourself cited... it was you who picked those sources to "support" your position, not me. If you don't trust those sources, why did you use them to try to support your position in the first place?)

And, having done so, he proudly announces that he shall "voluntarily refrain from posting". Now whether that's because he is soberly and rationally refusing to participate in a conversation with rude, irrational fundamentalists who refuse to listen to a word he says because of their blinding preconceptions -- or, instead, if it is because we have listened to what he has said, examined its logic, pointed out its lack of substantial content, and (by checking the facts and sources) undermined what little "evidence" has has claimed for his assertions and contemptuous and inaccurate characterization, challenged him to rationally support his claims... and thus revealed that the only check-your-brain-at-the-door fundamentalism going on here is the accustomed liberal type -- well, I'll let the reader decide. All the pertinent documentation is available to you above... don't take my word for it: check the facts and reach your own considered decision.

And, meanwhile, let us all wave a charitable goodbye to David... and then evilly slink back to our "own dark devices" of objective and fact-based analysis & discussion of newsreports, Scripture, and cultural developments. More shame to us.

pax omnibus,