Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Anglican TV: Interview with Archbishop Venables

Archbishop Gregory Venables is interviewed by AnglicanTV's Kevin Kallsen where he discusses the recent Primates Meeting in Ireland.  I respect Bishop Venables very much - he was so kind at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury and worked hard to speak the Gospel in love those who were there. Yet I also have to say that I am concerned about the trajectory we are now on.

To paraphrase Romans 2, do we have any excuse, we who pass judgment on someone else?  Is it not true that whatever point we judge the other, are we not condemning ourselves, because we who pass judgment do the same things?  Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth, yes.  But when we, mere human beings that we are, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do we think that we will escape God's judgment ourselves?  Or do we show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not yet realizing that it's God's kindness that leads to repentance?

One of the major issues that we all wrestle with - that we (liberal and conservative) can identify with is quite frankly talked about in this recent sermon at Truro and I very much commend it to you.  If you can take a few minutes to listen, please do. Here is the link:

The speaker is Dr. Curt Thompson, M.D.


Matt Kennedy said...

Thankfully, when it comes to sex acts with people of the same sex we need make no "judgments". God has already revealed his judgment on such matters in scripture.

Moreover, the judgment of God with regard to those who take what God reveals and twist or deny it is also revealed in scripture.

And it is the task of ministers of the gospel like +Venables to make that judgment known and to take whatever measures are necessary to prevent false teaching from spreading to the flock.

It is, in fact, a dereliction of duty not too.

BB you continue on this trajectory that brings you to mouth the superficial and contradictory and self defeating arguments employed by those who are supporting false teaching.

It is very disturbing and your post makes little sense.

Anonymous said...

BB - I assume this means you have decided to rejoin Tec.


Unknown said...

You're getting it wrong. No one is condemning anyone. It's God judgement on sin which has to be preached. We are all guilty as he says.

Wilf said...

We're all responsible for what's happened in TEC and in the Communion. +Gregory points out that we all share God's condemnation. I think this is an important point to consider. It's important that parties with whom we have disagreements realize that we are forgiving, and even in cases of egregious wrongdoing, are willing to accept them back into the fold, when they show genuine repentance. This might not always be as evident as it should.

Sometimes, to provide evidence, we must quote (and those who read the quote usually want to know it's authentic - which involves showing where, when, who - "A Primate of one of our provinces once said ..." usually won't cut it). But naming parties isn't always helpful. I have in mind here specifically speaking of "the liberals" and "the conservatives." I have many friends who would consider themselves one or the other, but who in this Anglican context would be categorized otherwise.

We do need to be careful in how we go about our discussions and criticisms.

On the other hand, I have great understanding who call out "the liberals" or "the conservatives" on various issues. Otherwise it seems like we are being completely vague. But we could probably all pray more about how we engage in these discussions.

Wilf said...

You could probably find a better way to ask bb what it is she intends with this post and if she has any concrete intentions. Your assumption here ... not productive for the discussion, could end up hurting in ways you didn't intend - especially given all that bb has been through at the hands of TEC.

Kevin said...

Hi Matt+ & Jackie,

Now BB can certainly speak for herself (& probably will), I guess I did not read her statements like you did. I more hear her rebukes to me as a friend to my need of Grace. Not in justifying another's sin (in that case more "selfish Ambition" that hurt other - kind of common one in DC), but in how we all fail. Maybe more like the warning Jesus gave to James and John wanting to call down fire or with the tower in Siloam.

As one who been of the receiving end of "the wounds of a friend are faithful," I'd suggest there is a more accurate way to take what BB meant. Maybe more we focus so much on sin we do not struggle with or those of others that hurt us, we miss our sin & our need of Jesus.

I'd give her the benefit of the doubt, myself. Maybe it's been watching the affects and changes the last four years.

Dale Matson said...

You spent a considerable amount of time pleading for the orthodox primates to attend Dublin. Do you still feel that they should have gone?

Unknown said...

Yes, I do. I do not think it's in our best interest for primates to not show up for meetings they are invited to attend by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The "Gafcon Primates Council" needs to be careful that it does not extend it's "voice" beyond a collegial group of friends.

Their recent "Oxford Communique" was all over the map in its pronouncements and it's voice and it's audience was entirely unclear. We can't forget that the whole Gafcon meeting was advertised as a pilgrimage, not a political action meeting. No one elected those that went - it was an amazing opportunity for Anglicans all over the world to come together, to build relationships, and to be encouraged. But it became, in retrospect, a political meeting (and political meetings are important, but how they are put together is even more important). The Oxford Communique was troubling for many reasons, but one is that a took a voice of authority that just seems highly inappropriate for how that group was formed. To then boycott the Primates Meeting actually seems to be the same kind of political actions that we're getting from TEC. It's a very American thing to do and it doesn't surprise me that the British are not going to deal with American style politics (on either side, so let those with whom we disagree beware). We come across as rude and cranky.

This was very much the case at the Lambeth Meeting where TEC came in full force to engage in political activities and it did not work. We may speak English, but the cultures between the American activists on both sides and the British leadership is polarized. To think we can have an Anglican Communion without the Archbishop of Canterbury is like McDonalds without the Big Mac, Burger King without the Whopper, or Energizer Batteries without the bunny. His position is iconic and his role is historic. It can be done, but why go and create yet another splinter group. We separated because we wanted to remain Anglican, not create some sort of Ideal Church Where Everyone Agrees With Us.

And what are left with - we are left with a demoralized rank and file of laity who are losing faith in the Anglican way, so much so that even the flagship church of the Diocese of Pittsburgh would rather take a break from Anglicans for five years and keep their property then hang with their brothers and sisters. What I am saying to our leadership is please, please pay attention. We are not where we were five years ago.

It's not just what we believe that matters, but it's how we believe that speaks volumes not only to our adversaries, but to those who do not yet know Christ.


Wilf said...


"To then boycott the Primates Meeting" - I've gone on at length to point out that the word "boycott" was, amongst "official" sources, probably only used by an ill-informed web administrator for a title on the ACNA site; that it does not properly reflect the theological reflection behind the situation; and that repeating this "meme" unnecessarily only goes toward obfuscating the intentions of those who did not attend.

I understand your concerns here, but I think they are misplaced, as this was not a boycott.

I understand your concern with people abandoning the "Anglican way," and it saddens me as well. However, this may be one of those necessary consequences we take, given the state of sin the Communion has fallen into - a part of that judgment. This gift may be something more for the future, than for right now - though I love the thought of protestants and Catholics worshiping together, I would much rather have people remember that Christ is our center, than have people considering themselves to be protestants and Catholics meeting together tipping their hats to a mascot representing civil rights and environmentalism (as much as I value both of these). The world needs to see first that Anglicans suck in the suckiest way that one can possibly suck. Some will leave with this impression only. Others will move beyond it, and realize that most - almost all - Anglicans are faithful Christians, and that this has to do with somehow getting our church structure wrong, and mostly to do with what's on top.

We can continue to speak faithfully to those who do not yet know Christ by pointing out that no other church in the last 1,500 years has been unfaithful to Christ in the way that we have.

If Scripture prevents us from meeting certain people or speaking with certain people - yes, many will think, "this is the ultimate of hatred." And we do risk being misunderstood. Where we are misunderstood - we must make clear why we do what we do. E.g., in some situations, ignoring Fred Phelps is probably the best way of loving Fred Phelps. This might be the only way to get him to change, after all the various exhortations to change. And his not changing has tremendous costs. Or his community might decide they need to relieve him of his obligations as pastor of their church, focusing on caring for him, instead of publishing his words.

Now, I don't want to make too many comparisons between Anglicans and the members of Westboro Baptist - this would be unfair to both parties.

And if there is one group which Christians should despise more - from a New Testament point of view - I think it's clear that it is us Anglicans, and not the Westboro Baptists.

I'm sure the Westboro Baptists would also hate the idea of people leaving their community in the various ways they can be misunderstood. There may well be some amongst them who do not support Fred Phelps; and I'd guess that not all of them hate gay people. But for the sake of world Christianity, it is better that we not meet with Fred Phelps, and risk being misunderstood, than meet with him.

Anonymous said...

I found nothing particularly alarming about either the Archbishops statements in the post or in BB\s commentary on them. Both seem to be reasoned comments on the same subject but with differing emphases. The first two commnets particularly seem to reflect disappointment that reasoned discussion has broken out. Perhaps Im missing the point of the second one. It perhaps was meant to be sincerely congratulatory, but given the juvenile way things associated with The Episcopal Church are frequently commented on here, I think it was meant to be disparaging. Apologies if that is not the case.


Matt Kennedy said...

Of course you don't Scout. You are a revisionist. : )

Anonymous said...

Love the smiley face, Matt. I realize you're joking. But there is a serious point lurking. The term "revisionist" seems to mean nothing more than someone with whom I disagree. You may be kidding here, but others use the term seriously, not in any theological sense (I would hardly qualify in that context) or historical sense (ditto), but simply as a signifier of some sort of negative "otherness". At this point in the intra-Anglican debate, the term "revisionist" has been so overused as to deprive it of whatever meaning it ever had.


Wilf said...


Quite agreed there that it is overused, and often in a manner that's quite unhelpful and damaging.

Anonymous said...

Wilf - we really should have a cup of coffee sometime. Although, at least for me, agreement is not necessary for good fellowship.

Wilf said...


Let's have that cup of coffee over skype. I'll give bb my email addy, you give her yours, and she can put us in touch.

Anonymous said...

I'm in England much more than in Virginia these days, Wilf. We'll work something out this spring. I'll ask BB to be a go-between.