Anglican Samizdat

November 30, 2008

Bm Mass: Christe eleison

Filed under: music — David Jenkins @ 7:02 pm

From Bach’s Bm Mass, Karl Richter.

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The cheque with the number of the beast

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 5:42 pm

In the year 2000, the Diocese of Niagara had made a mess of its finances – again.Add an Image
As a result, it mounted an appeal to all its parishes begging asking for donations to help bail itself out of the self-inflicted financial pickle.

As a result, St. Hilda’s, being a soft touch, donated $3850 to the diocese – as far as I know, we were the only parish to respond. The only problem, was that the next cheque number in our cheque-book was 666 – I swear I am not making this up. Had we known what was to transpire in 2007/8, we would have recognised this as a prophetic warning.

As it was, we tore up 666 and sent 667. If only we had listened.

Bedtime stories

Filed under: Daft — David Jenkins @ 12:12 am

Forget about Winnie the Pooh, Narnia, and The Wind in the Willows, let’s confuse our children with The God Delusion instead.

From the lunatic’s guide to children’s literature here:

A book you hope parents will read to their kids: “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. He is one of the intellectual heroes of our age.

November 28, 2008

He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada — David Jenkins @ 3:32 pm
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From the Anglican Journal

Conservative Anglicans determined to stay within church
About 50 conservative Anglican leaders, including eight young theological students, gathered in Toronto for a one-day consultation on Nov. 25 and emerged with a determination to remain within the Anglican Church of Canada. They came from 16 dioceses across the country.
Rev. Brett Cane of St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg is chair of Anglican Essentials Federation who was quick to point out that the organization is going through a name change. He said that the “Essentials” label has negative connotations in some parts of the country. He said that the federation is loosening its connection to the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). “We will still maintain links of fellowship with the network but we will not be organizationally tied together.”

The “Essentials” moniker does indeed have a bad reputation – amongst heretics posing as believers in the ACoC. One can only assume from this that Brett feels more at home with the heretics, so long as they are part of the Canadian Anglican establishment. But to soften the blow for those in ANiC with fragile sensibilities he says this:

Mr. Cane said that the federation will continue to meet together with those involved in ANiC, “being together in preaching, youth work and mission.” “We are all still brothers and sisters in Christ; we need to recognize their pain because it isn’t easy to leave the denomination you love.”
He said that the one day consultation dealt with “reformulating our vision” rather than issues around structure. He said he saw this conservative federation as more of a movement within the Anglican Church of Canada than an organization.

Looking forward to seeing the “reformulated vision”, Brett; although I do wonder how one can reformulate something that was never there in the first place. And I can’t help feeling that calling the Federation a “movement” is akin to calling a tortoise a Ferrari.

The concerns of conservative Anglicans reach beyond the blessing of same-sex unions, he said. There is a need for theological reflection on the uniqueness of Jesus, biblical interpretation, marriage, and the rights of children. Mr. Cane says the federation – whatever its new name – will be encouraging theological students to become engaged in these conversations.

We’re on the right track, then: more reflection and conversations; oh joy.

He said there are five key areas on which the federation will focus: giving voice to the issues at various meetings of dioceses and synods, continuing to network with other conservative organizations and denominations in Canada, international representation (Mr. Cane says he will attend the Common Cause Partnership meeting in December as an observer), encouraging conservative theologians to meet and work on the issues, and working with theological students and others under age 40 to “help the rest of the church affirm authentic Anglicanism.”

Yes, but what are you actually going to do?

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, sent a lengthy pastoral letter to the consultation in which he acknowledged differences in biblical interpretation and expressed appreciation for the fellowship’s determination to work within the Anglican Church of Canada.

Only on Anglicans would the irony of having to have determination to stay within one’s own denomination be lost.

In his letter, the primate said that “the St. Michael Report itself acknowledges that ‘the interpretation of scripture is a central and complex matter’ and that, at times in the church’s history, ‘faithful readings have led to mutually contradictory understandings, requiring on-going dialogue and prayer toward discernment of the one voice of the gospel.’

Another example of foggy Fred’s fuzzy logic. A “faithful reading” must surely be an accurate one; so how can two faithful readings of scripture be contradictory? They can’t except in Fred’s miasma clouded little dream-world.

Mr. Hiltz said he was “deeply mindful of your conscientious struggle over this matter.  I acknowledge with deep gratitude your faithfulness to Christ.  I recognize your commitment to remain within the fellowship of the Anglican Church of Canada, to support its witness to the gospel and to take your place in its councils.  I assure you that there continues to be a place for your voice at the table.  That assurance is in keeping with an abiding conviction that as Anglicans we value the comprehensiveness so long a characteristic of our history and tradition as a church.”

To translate: we have no interest in your opinion but we’re glad you’re staying because we need your money. You’re welcome to sit in at our synods, but we will ignore you because you’re a bunch of antediluvian fundamentalist throwbacks.

November 27, 2008

The St. Jude’s Newsletter: ideological borborygmus

Filed under: Anglican Angst,Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 3:54 pm
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The St. Jude’s Oakville newsletter is now online here. In it, Martha Tatarnic, priest-interloper at St. Hilda’s tells us (I am not repeating comments already made here):

Martha Tatarnic – Pastoral Care Coordinator

I have had many occasions since my appointment to St. Hilda’s on September 15th to brag about St. Jude’s. Now that I am the part-time priest-in-charge in this unusual ministry setting, I am invited to many more diocesan meetings than I ever have been in the past. At synod council meetings, Mission Strategies meetings, and various other gatherings of diocesan staff, I have been able to share the good news that in the midst of a very unfortunate situation, the community of St. Jude’s has stepped up to the plate in a remarkable way to demonstrate true Christian generosity, neighbourliness, and vision.

I am sure St. Jude’s parishioners are well-meaning decent people. Which means they have been conned by the Diocese of Niagara: through the latest court ruling, St. Hilda’s, ANiC has no access to its church building during the times it conducts its Sunday services. St. Jude’s parishioners – who already have their own building – in a spirit of ‘true Christian generosity, neighbourliness’, have set up camp in St. Hilda’s building, displacing its rightful owners. Parishioners of St. Jude’s: you are being used by the diocese in their bid to steal our building.

When I started in September, there actually was no ‘remnant.’ There was one woman worshipping there regularly who is a chaplain in Hamilton and who decided to come to St. Hilda’s following the split to see if she could offer some ministry to the parish. I literally was sent to a parish with no people.

Thank you, Martha for admitting that the Diocese of Niagara has no use for this building – other than to sell it.

And not only does the church have no people, it also has a building that is tied up in an ugly law suit between the Network and the Diocese and is therefore essentially being treated like the child of a divorce, with specific terms of joint custody laid, which each party is required to follow to the letter.

The law suit was instigated by the diocese. We, St. Hilda’s ANiC, have made repeated overtures to the diocese to settle this out of court. The response has been consistent: the diocese wants to see this ‘played out in court’. So, yes, it is ugly; and the author of that ugliness is your employer, Martha.

It paints a rather bleak picture, doesn’t it? From the second that my appointment became public, however, St. Jude’s has joined me in my new ministry.

The ‘new ministry’ is that of playing pawn in the vindictive game of ‘persecute the Christians’ that the diocese is engaged in.

It is a heartbreaking loss to our communion that St. Hilda’s and three other parishes in this diocese Add an Imagebelieve they can no longer walk with us in the journey of faith.

Funny, the diocesan hearts I saw in the courtroom didn’t appear that broken to me; I did note a certain level of frustration, though.

The particular ‘journey of faith’ that the Diocese of Niagara has embarked on is one where it has departed from the Christian faith; so, no, we cannot accompany you.

And yet, despite that total breakdown of the principles of Christian community, week by week, there is ‘Church’ – in the widest sense of the word – happening in this parish building.

No, it is not ‘Church’ that is taking place in St. Hilda’s building: it is a dog-in-the manger occupation.

I will say though, that as difficult as it is for me to leave, it is time. I have had the privilege of being here a great deal longer than assistant curates typically stay in one place, and it is without a doubt my time now to assume leadership in my own parish. At this point, it looks like there are two appealing and viable options for where that ministry might take place starting in January. I hope to know in the next few weeks which of those two places God will lift up as being the one for me at this time. It is no secret that one of those two places might very well be St. Hilda’s.

Martha: you cannot possibly be so callow as to think that the diocese will keep this building open for your current bogus congregation. If the enticement the diocese has offered you is that of parish priest at St. Hilda’s, you have been deceived; if the diocese wins the building, it will be sold to help pay its mounting debt.

However, if you persist in the delusion that the parish of St. Hilda’s will be your reward, please contact me as I am trying to sell a used car.

November 25, 2008

Bigamy is the only crime where two rites make a wrong

Filed under: Daft — David Jenkins @ 12:39 pm
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From Here

Muslim is spared a speeding ban so he can drive between his two wivesAdd an Image

When it comes to avoiding a ban for speeding, the courts hear every excuse in the book.

But yesterday one motorist offered what must be a unique reason why he should keep his licence.

Mohammed Anwar said a ban would make it difficult to commute between his two wives and fulfil his matrimonial duties.

His lawyer told a Scottish court the Muslim restaurant owner has one wife in Motherwell and another in Glasgow – he is allowed up to four under his religion – and sleeps with them on alternate nights.

He also needed his driving licence to run his restaurant in Falkirk, Stirlingshire.

Airdrie Sheriff Court had heard that Anwar was caught driving at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Glasgow, fast enough to qualify for instant disqualification.

Anwar admitted the offence, but Sheriff John C. Morris accepted his plea not to be banned and allowed him to keep his licence.

Instead, he was fined £200 and given six penalty points.

His lawyer, Paul Nicolson, said: “He realises his licence is at risk, but this is an unusual case and is very anxious to keep his driving licence.

“He has one wife in Motherwell and another in Glasgow and sleeps with one one night and stays with the other the next on an alternate basis.

“Without his driving licence he would be unable to do this on a regular basis.”

Now this all seems perfectly reasonable to me. In fact, I think the speeding laws should be modified thus:
1 wife: must drive at the speed limit
2 wives: allowed to drive 20 km/hour over the limit
3 wives: allowed to drive 30 km/hour over the limit
4 wives: allowed to drive 40 km/hour over the limit
5 wives and above: should be given a state supplied Aston Martin and allowed to drive at any speed.

November 24, 2008

The Crying Game

Filed under: Daft,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 8:12 pm
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Boy George, the shallow yet not pathologically stupid, musically interesting, 80’s Add an Imageprecursor to much that has gone wrong subsequently androgyne had the dubious distinction of being named the best dressed man and the best dressed woman in the same year. When, in his youth, he was asked what he would look like in his 40’s, he said ‘ugly probably’. He was right.
From here:

Boy George chained up a male escort and beat him in a revenge attack, a court heard.
Audun Carlsen, 29, told how the former Culture Club singer pinned him to the floor of his bedroom, beat him up, swore at him, then handcuffed him to a hook next to his bed.
George produced a box of sex toys, chains and leather straps but the escort, originally from Norway, managed to pull his hand free and ran for the door.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Filed under: Politics,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 4:39 pm
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No longer, it seems: it has withered under the glare of leftist lunacy. The corrosive influence of the Welfare State, from Here:

Overall, I think in general the bigger evil effects of welfare have been enormously underestimated, even by commentators who regard themselves as more pro-capitalist in their sympathies. Welfare is the basic cause of the deleterious cultural changes we have witnessed in the West over the past 60 years.

The Welfare State, pioneered in Britain of course, has corrupted this country to its core. It has transformed the country caricatured by Noel Coward and others – essentially pretty decent, self-reliant, and plucky – into a country which is thuggish, selfish, mindless, dispirited and lost. Gone is the British stiff upper lip. Modern Britons are moaning, self-pitying inadequates. The welfare state has bred a generation of obnoxious, drug-addled criminals and ne’er-do-wells. It has also, incidentally, burdened what was once the world’s biggest, most dynamic economy with the dead weight of an obstructive and vastly expensive state machine.

I’m sorry to sound cross about this, but I don’t think people fully realise what’s happened. Britain has, I think, the highest crime rate of any industrialised country in the world. It is twice as high as the US. The violent crime rate is higher in London than New York. Britain has the highest rate of drug abuse, the highest teenage pregnancy rate and the highest rate of sexually transmitted disease in the modern industrial world. What the hell happened?

Born to believe

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 2:29 pm
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From the Telegraph

Children are born believers in God, academic claims

Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.

He says that young children have faith even when they have not been taught about it by family or at school, and argues that even those raised alone on a desert island would come to believe in God.

“The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children’s minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“If we threw a handful on an island and they raised themselves I think they would believe in God.”

“Children’s normally and naturally developing minds make them prone to believe in divine creation and intelligent design. In contrast, evolution is unnatural for human minds; relatively difficult to believe.”

Almost looks like a Divinely planted predisposition, doesn’t it? Richard Dawkins would have to claim that the genetic inclination to believe in God is a product of evolution; in which case, he and Christopher Hitchens must be throwbacks.

November 22, 2008

The Diocese of Niagara does St. Hilda’s

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 4:01 pm
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Martha Tatarnic is the priest that the Diocese of Niagara has installed in St. Hilda’s building. She is the spearhead for the occupation forces that wish to seize the building for financial gain, so she is compelled to inhabit St. Hilda’s Church building on Sunday mornings to maintain the fiction that the diocese really, really needs this building to conduct services. Even though there is another half empty diocesan church within walking distance.

Until very recently, she was the curate at St. Jude’s Church, Oakville, a parish 10 minutes drive away from St. Hilda’s. Her masters in the diocese convinced her to take on the ‘priest in charge’ position at St. Hilda’s, tweet1presumably with the enticement of better things to come. In truth, of course, almost anything would be better.

In order to present a convincing front for the future court cases where the final ownership of St. Hilda’s building will be decided, Martha has brought with her a ready-made congregation consisting of parishioners from St. Jude’s. The diocese is desperate to create the illusion that they are doing something useful in the building and that the very last thing on their minds is how valuable the property is and how much profit they can make when they sell it for condominium development. That thought never enters the gloriole enshrouded sainted heads of the leaders at the Diocese of Niagara. Really.

Martha has written an account of her experience at St. Hilda’s for St. Jude’s parish Newsletter. Much of it is a regurgitation of this. There are some new revelations, though:

“The building itself, particularly the sanctuary, is far from being in tip-top condition,”

Martha, you don’t like the orange carpet? So sorry about the shabbiness. Tell you what, why don’t you bring all of St. Jude’s parishioners with you on Sunday morning? We’ll even put a coat of paint on the place for you. Then we could use your building.

“and the Network had made their exit taking with them any musical instruments, sound system equipment, and hymn books.”

We did consider using spoons and biscuit tins for instruments at the school where we now worship and leave the stuff we paid for behind for you to use. In this case, though, sanity prevailed and we took our instruments with us. After your predecessor, Brian Ruttan, the Parish Terminator, took over with his congregation of zero, he did insist on our returning the communion vessels and altar linen. If they are not there now, I can only assume he took a fancy to them and decided to keep them for himself.

And we did leave you a sound system; it’s the thing with knobs on at the back.

“Various parishioners have donated everything from a piano, to a de-humidifier, to make worship space more useable.  St Jude’s itself has absorbed various ministry costs, along with weekly printing costs of the bulletin”.

I am simply devastated to learn that St. Jude’s has actually had to donate something to make your occupation more tolerable; and fancy having to absorb the cost of printing your bulletin: outrageous! Of course, we are paying your heating, water, hydro, cleaning, maintenance and every other conceivable building related cost. We paid for Brian’s advertisement in the Oakville Beaver, we pay to rent the school that we are forced to worship in and we gave you our Communion vessels. I suppose it’s only natural that you thought we would pay to print your bulletins too.

“A few people who used to attend St Hilda’s have decided to return, and a few new people have been attending regularly as well”.

It’s true that 1 family who sporadically attended St. Hilda’s now sporadically attends the diocesan service at St. Hilda’s building; that is a shame. Perhaps you could ask them to pay for printing your bulletins?

November 20, 2008

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the land is rudest of all

Filed under: Manners — David Jenkins @ 2:52 pm

Liberals according to Theodore Dalrymple:

Vulgarity is for rightists, say vulgarians on the left.
The Sunday before the American election, the Observer in London published an assessment of President Bush’s legacy by several well-known American writers. One of them, Tobias Wolff, wrote: “When I see someone being rude to a waiter, or blocking the road in a Ford Expedition, or yakking loudly on a cell phone in a crowded elevator, I naturally assume they voted for George W. Bush.”

Now, President Bush’s credentials as a conservative might well be questioned; but I take it nevertheless that he was elected preponderantly by conservative voters. Is there, in fact, a connection between being a conservative and having the selfish thoughtlessness (of the kind with which we are all familiar) that Wolff describes?

My guess is that there is no such connection, but rather the reverse. Modern conservatives tend to see the locus of appropriate moral concern more in personal behavior than in social structure (I am not here concerned with whether they are right or wrong). They believe in personal responsibility rather than causation by abstract social forces. They do not believe in entitlement, their own or anyone else’s, or in an indefinite extension of rights. They do not believe in perfection, and they think that even improvement usually comes at a cost.

Modern liberals, by contrast, tend to focus their moral concern more distantly from themselves, on the more abstract political and economic sphere. For example, the personal sexual code does not concern or worry them much unless it is restrictive. They believe that bad behavior finds its origin in social forces rather than in man’s soul. They believe in everyone’s entitlements, which are never met quite sufficiently and need to be extended endlessly. For them, the perfect society will result in perfect people.

Which outlook is more conducive to good manners? It seems to me, a priori, the conservative rather than the liberal: for what can the daily personal conduct of a single man add to or subtract from the sum of human goodness or evil, happiness or misery?

This applies equally to churches. Mainline liberal churches are very keen on the UN’s MDGs and their leaders will even make buffoons of themselves in the hope, presumably, that the government will be blackmailed into acting in order to forestall an unsightly repeat performance. But ask a liberal Christian-manqué to personally exercise self-control and all one hears about is entitlement; if one is particularly unfortunate, prophetic entitelment. Theologically conservative churches, on the other hand, simply do things themselves to help people; take a look at the parish presentations at the first ANiC synod here.

Which brings us to the rudeness. During the examination of St. Hilda’s affidavit declarants, the lawyer for the ultra-liberal Diocese of Niagara, John Page, spent hours literally screaming abuse at his victims in an attempt to goad them into saying something they would regret.

If it were not for Fred Hiltz’s period of gracious restraint, who knows what it would have been like.

November 19, 2008

Fidel’s Folly

Filed under: Christianity,Politics,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 4:19 pm

Christopher Hitchens on the old megalomaniac’s latest lunacy. From SlateAdd an Image

Why on earth did Castro build a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Havana?
Fidel Castro has devoted the last 50 years to two causes: first, his own enshrinement as an immortal icon, and second, the unbending allegiance of Cuba to the Moscow line. Now, black-cowled Orthodox “metropolitans” line up to shake his hand, and the Putin-Medvedev regime brandishes its missile threats against the young Obama as Nikita Khrushchev once did against the young Kennedy. The ideology of Moscow doesn’t much matter as long as it is anti-American, and the Russian Orthodox Church has been Putin’s most devoted and reliable ally in his re-creation of an old-style Russian imperialism. If you want to see how far things have gone, take a look at the photograph of President Dmitry Medvedev’s inauguration, as he kisses the holy icon held by the clerical chief. Putin and Medvedev have made it clear that they want to reinstate Cuba’s role in the hemisphere, if only as a bore and nuisance for as long as its military dictatorship can be made to last. Castro’s apparent deathbed conversion to a religion with no Cuban adherents is the seal on this gruesome pact. How very appropriate.

It just goes to show that all the sycophantic antics of the Anglican church towards this vicious, thuggish crambazzle did not pay off: he didn’t build an Anglican  cathedral.

Anglican Church of Canada: yes we can.

Filed under: Christianity,homosexuality — David Jenkins @ 3:38 pm
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Exercise discipline, that is. Learn from the Lutherans: read it all at the National Post.

Lutheran parish suspended over gay pastor

A Newmarket Lutheran parish has been suspended for ordaining a married gay man — a move that the national church called a clear violation of its rules.

But the man at the centre of the controversy said he has no intentions of stepping aside.

Lionel Ketola was made a minister by a non-traditional American Lutheran group that ordains gay men and women. Mr. Ketola was then hired as the associate pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in May and was immediately warned that he had no official status in the national church and the parish would be subject to sanctions.

It is the first time a parish has ever been suspended in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the largest Lutheran denomination in the country, with 600 congregations and 180,000 members. The rule on ordination says no “self-professed practising homosexual” can be ordained.

“They extended the call [to Mr. Ketola] without the authority of the church,” Rev. Dahle said. As a result, “we have suspended the congregation’s right to be involved in the active life of the church.”

It means that Holy Cross cannot take part in synods, conventions and conferences. It also means that even legitimate clergy at Holy Cross are excluded from national positions.

I am sure this is not over, but it is encouraging to see mainline church leaders with the courage of their convictions –  something one could never accuse Fred Hiltz of.

The latest in educational diversity: Gender Neutral Washrooms

Filed under: Daft — David Jenkins @ 11:32 am

From the National Post

Queen’s new ‘dialogue’ monitors.
Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., has hired six students whose jobs as “dialogue facilitators” will involve intervening in conversations among students in dining halls and common rooms to encourage discussion of such social justice issues as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and social class.

“We are trained to interrupt behaviour in a non-blameful and non-judgmental manner, so it’s not like we’re pulling someone aside and reprimanding them about their behaviour. It is honestly trying to get to the root of what they’re trying to say – seeing if that can be said in a different manner.”

It is just one of many recent efforts to promote diversity – such as gender-neutral washrooms, prayer space, and halal and kosher food service – at a school that is still smarting from a report on systemic racism two years ago that criticized its “culture of whiteness.”

It is heartening to know that the future leaders of Canada will have been ‘dialogue facilitated’ before being released into polite society. For the rest of us who had to struggle through our educational years without the benefits of Ideological Police – what is a gender-neutral washroom?

November 17, 2008

Chatting with J. I. Packer

Filed under: ANiC,Christianity,The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 8:42 pm
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I first met Dr. Packer about 28 years ago. I was a fairly new Christian with all the naivety, enthusiasm and questions common to this affliction. I was fortunate enough not only to be next to the great man in the lunch line, but to sit opposite him during lunch. Having seen the fate suffered by someone who disagreed with him, I decided for the most part to keep my opinions to myself and simply ask questions. A lot of questions. One was this: the Anglican church appears to be bent on a course of self destruction; why stay in it? Dr. Packer is a gracious man, even to impudent whippersnappers, so he patiently explained to me the richness of the Anglican heritage and worship. So I stayed.

One of the things he said then stuck in my mind: I asked what had gone wrong. He said that, as a result of the Enlightenment, people had ceased to believe in God’s propositional revelation.  I reminded him of this last Friday; he said “hmm, I would probably put it differently now”. Which leads me to last Friday.

I was sitting in the first ever ANiC synod listening to financial statements, when I was asked if I would like to interview Dr. Packer or continue listening to the financial statements. With the enthusiasm of a man who has been reprieved from a tooth extraction without anaesthetic, I chose the interview. There were 3 journalists interviewing Dr. Packer – and me.

A lot was said; so much that there was a concern that it might be too much for Dr. Packer. He said, no, a professor likes talking to his students. Although physically a lot more frail than the last time I saw him, he has lost none of his mental acuity, nor his sense of humour, nor his graciousness. I referred to one of his arguments as “compelling”, something which, apparently, was kind of me.

Time passed and dinner arrived; we ate together. Dr. Packer was pretty insistent on procuring chairs for everyone, but he was persuaded to sit down and let others do it. Eventually, the other journalists left and I had him all to myself.

Nevertheless, so many questions, so little time.

I reminded Dr. Packer of his ‘propositional revelation’ remark of 28 years ago. Here is the argument today: Jesus is God in the flesh; did he use words to communicate? Yes, therefore, God uses words to communicate; can that be extended to Scripture? Yes, because Jesus did. How do liberals wriggle out of this? They refuse to engage the argument at all. They are implicitly Unitarian.

How can liberals keep referring to the Holy Spirit and yet get everything so wrong? Because they do not view the Holy Spirit as a person: to a liberal, the Holy Spirit is another way of saying “God in action”. Therefore, once consensus is reached, the liberal declares it to be a work of the Holy Spirit.

Theologians today tend to suffer from parochialism: they know more and  more about less and less. Their minds have been narrowed.

I have a habit of referring to the ACoC as an organisation that is no longer Christian. What does Dr. Packer think? He puts it like this: many dioceses and the ACoC itself have leaders that are sub-Christian. As a result, many of those they lead are also sub-Christian.

What about Tom Wright? It seems to me, I said, that he has placed church hierarchy above the gospel. You are not the first to say that, said Dr. Packer; nevertheless, he is a brilliant man. His large books are better than his short ones, apparently. He said more that I would rather not go into, but it included the words: ‘ego’ ‘blog’ and ‘Tom Wright’. And had Rowan not been given the ABC job, Tom Wright would probably have been next in line. Power corrupts – that’s my comment, not Dr. Packer’s.

Every week, Malcolm Muggeridge used to declare that Western Civilisation was about to collapse; what does Dr. Packer think? He agrees. We are living in a post-Christian era whose roots have been destroyed. We used to believe in the validity of Christianising an institution because we believed in the truth of Christianity; no more.

Does Dr. Packer really think that Rowan Williams should resign? He was not happy with David Virtue’s headline “J. I. Packer calls on Rowan Williams to resign”, later to be picked up by every other miscreant in blogger land. What he actually said was “he is not qualified to lead the Anglican Communion and enforce the rules laid down at the Lambeth Conference in 1998”. The reason for this is that he is attempting to publicly uphold the 1998 Lambeth ruling while privately disagreeing with it. At the very least, said Dr. Packer, on this issue he should defer to someone who is not subject to that dichotomy.

Another journalist asked Dr. Packer if he believes in demons. Yes, in the same way that C. S. Lewis did. And does he believe in spiritual warfare? There was an interesting answer: he does not believe that demonic forces engineer cultural trends, but that they take advantage of them. Dr. Packer thinks that a lot of damage has been done by those that believe otherwise. We didn’t have time to probe this further.

A lot more was said; I was the only person there without a tape recorder – an omission that led to a lot of self kicking.

J. I. Packer is now Theologian Emeritus to ANiC. We are in good hands.

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