This is just sad, even depressing

Evangelicals call Williams a prostitute
Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Wednesday October 13, 2004
The Guardian
Conservative evangelicals flexed their muscles yesterday by denouncing the Church of England and its leader, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, as sinful and corrupt, and threatening to refuse to recognise the authority of liberal bishops.
They warned that they might seek the ecclesiastical oversight of more theologically congenial bishops from the developing world if the church did not offer them the chance to align with bishops of their own stamp in England.
The complaints came in the run-up to next week’s publication of an international
commission reviewing the structure of the Anglican communion in the wake of the gay bishops dispute.
Supporters of the evangelical pressure group Reform, meeting at their conference in Derbyshire, overwhelmingly supported its plans to start disengaging from liberal bishops and refusing to pay funds to their dioceses, to indicate their disapproval of what they see as the church’s slide into acceptance of sexual immorality.
Dr Williams was denounced as a theological prostitute by the Very Rev Phillip Jensen, the controversial Anglican dean of Sydney, addressing the 200 clergy and lay members attending the conference.
He and his brother Peter, Archbishop of Sydney, have led the way in aggressive low church conservatism.
Dean Jensen was applauded as his sweeping denunciation of the Church of England took in the Prince of Wales – a “public adulterer”; King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, attacked as a “temple to paganism” for selling the records and compact discs of its famous choir in the ante-chapel; and women priests because, “as soon as you accept women’s ordination everything else in the denomination declines”.
But the dean reserved his strictest condemnation for Dr Williams, because he holds liberal private views about homosexual relationships, even though he has struggled to uphold the church’s unity by maintaining its traditional opposition to ordained gays.
“That’s no good. That’s total prostitution of the Christian ministry,” the dean declared, to applause and cries of “Amen”.
“He should resign. That’s theological and intellectual prostitution. He is taking his
salary under false pretences.”
Reform is developing links with the Anglican church in the developing world in readiness for the outcome of the report of the commission headed by Archbishop Robin Eames, set up a year ago in response to the decision by the US Episcopal church to ordain its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, to lead the diocese of New Hampshire.
Bishop Robinson was elected by parishioners in the state, even though he was known to be living with his partner, in defiance of traditional church practice.
Evangelicals now want the commission to discipline the US church, or at least those of its bishops who supported Bishop Robinson’s appointment, until they repent, though there is at present no mechanism for the worldwide church to do so.
In England the first targets of conservative evangelicals are likely to include the eight diocesan bishops who publicly supported the appointment of the celibate gay cleric Jeffrey John to the suffragan bishopric of Reading last year.
Dr John was later forced to give up the appointment, because of evangelical protests, but he has subsequently been made Dean of St Albans.
Reform members are already beginning to demand answers from their diocesan bishops about where they stand on the gay issue before deciding whether to continue to support them.
But some at the conference believed that shunning bishops was not going far enough. Ian Seymour, a churchwarden in Arborfield, Berkshire, said: “The Church of England is over, its days are numbered.
“If our rector was an adulterer, a drunk or a liar, he would be removed, but if he was in a same sex relationship he would be cherished.
“The institution is sinking – new groupings will emerge.”


The “Anglican Communion Network Thank Tank” has been issuing different series of questions to the Presiding Bishop intended to narrowly define the parameters of the debates going on within Epsicopalianism and Anglicanism around the world. Below is a second list (which I want to respond to at some point in the near future, once course work slows down a bit – ha-ha), followed by a response by the Salty Vicar, who proposed what he considers more appropriate questions for the Presiding Bishop. Five more days until the Lambeth Report is issued.
Here are the “Thank Tank’s” questions (don’t you just love leading questions?):

1. Do you not agree that the primary basis of Anglican theology is the
teaching of Holy Scripture and that half a century of reappraising
scholarship has failed to overthrow the classical view that scripture
consistently views homosexual activity as sinful?
2. Do you not also agree that Anglican theology has historically always
taken seriously the witness of the Christian tradition as a guide to its
reading of Scripture and that reappraising scholarship has likewise failed
to overthrow the view that this tradition has also consistently viewed
homosexual activity as sinful?
3. Is it not also the case that there is no agreement about the cause(s) of
homosexuality and that even if there was this would not of itself mean that
homosexuality was morally acceptable?
4. In the light of the above what reason does ECUSA have for changing its
traditional stance on sexual morality? Given the widespread evidence that
exists about the harmful social and medical effects of homosexual practice,
and given that Scripture warns that those engage in homosexual practice and
who do not repent will be excluded from the kingdom of God, is not ECUSA
encouraging people to live in a manner that will harm them in this life and
cut them off from God in the next?
5. Is it consistent for ECUSA to say that it wants to be part of the
Anglican Communion and yet to take no notice of the Communion when what it
wants to do is called into question?
6. Can the consecration of Gene Robinson be seen as the consecration of a
Catholic bishop given that consent from other bishops is an integral part of
such a consecration and that the Primates Meeting had made it clear that
such consent would be lacking from a large part of the Anglican Communion?
Was this consecration not in fact an un-Catholic act and as such invalid?
-The Anglican Communion Network Think Tank

Now, here is the Salty Vicar’s response:

Here are some better questions to ask Frank, that don’t set him up.
1. What are the sources of your understanding of homosexuality? If possible, describe how they accurately represent, complement or differ from the Christian witness.
2. Please explain the method(s) you use to understand the Christian witness: how do you choose what texts you use to interpret an event in your life? When does a preacher misrepresent the Gospel? Under what criteria would you best judge your mistakes?
3. How do you see ethics generally differing from or similar to “Christian” ethics?
4. Explain the legitimate limits a Christian demands of sexual behavior. How do you justify those boundaries? How is the scriptural witness similar and/or different to your understanding? If different, upon what basis do you disagree with scripture? How do you justify this?
5. How does the church establish who is included in the Kingdom? Is it merely baptism or the taking of the eucharist? What are the fundamental criteria for discerning the difference between false and gospel teaching? How do you interpret scripture so that the written Word does not apparently contradict the Word?
5. How would you limit communion with another church? When is it justifiable to demand repentance from another church? How would this be enforced?
6. When might catholicism contradict or affirm republican or democratic polity?
These are real questions.