Sunday, 17 November 2013


One could see the Apostle Paul getting into real trouble with the 'chair' of a reconstructed General Synod that disallowed parliamentary-style, adversarial debating and required a more postmodern, consensual, 'indaba' approach.

A motion is going before this week's Synod in London calling for a review of  the 'parliamentarian' way in which its debates are conducted. The Daily Telegraph's religious affairs editor, John Bingham, reports that the critical views of the revisionist Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, about the style of Synod have inspired those pushing for a review.

Ironic that, given that Bishop Holtam recently likened opponents of gay marriage to supporters of apartheid. Now the Holtam brigade apparently want to extinguish the fires of odium theologicum with a pile of indaba-daba-doo.

But before they decide to mire themselves in managed dialogues around cafe-style tables, Synod members have a biblical responsibility to consider some rather adversarial statements of the Apostle Paul.

To the churches of Galatia:
But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party (Galatians 2v11-12 - RSV).

To Timothy, pastor of the church at Ephesus:
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will requite him for his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message (2 Timothy 4v14-15).

To the church at Philippi:
Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the true circumicision, who worship God in spirit and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3v2-3).

To Titus, his delegate on the Greek island of Crete:
One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith (Titus 1v12-13).

To quote but a few of his hard-hitting statements. Paul was passionately against false teaching because he saw it as spiritually damaging to souls for whom Christ shed his precious blood. As a loyal servant of Christ, Paul was not afraid to argue in public against those promoting it. 

If every member of the General Synod were an orthodox Anglican who upheld the biblical doctrine of the Church of England as expressed in our Book of Common Prayer, 39 Articles of Religion and Ordinal, then there would be no false teachers to oppose.

Without false teachers getting up to trumpet revisionist views sanctioning immoral life-styles, General Synod would be a much better decision-making body than it currently is and its disagreements, inevitable in any council of sinful human beings, would be much more agreeable.

But that is not the present reality of Synod. So parliamentary has got to be a lot better than indaba-daba-doo, otherwise it really would be 'win-win' for the false teachers.

This piece by Dr Peter Saunders - Why British evangelicals are not that bothered about ethics - is very helpful.

In the modern schoolyard, being an Evangelical Christian is just so gay appeared on Heresy Corner.  

Christians should not play the Stonewall game appeared on Christian Today.


  1. From what I gather, Indaba C of E/Lambeth style, is very different from Indaba in Africa, which is NOT just talking in circiles & massively "tolerant"

  2. Good post, Julian. We've seen the same sort of search for a more 'conciliatory' and chummy model of debate up here in the Church of Scotland. It seeks to avoid clear decision-making and does nothing to patch up the divisions, which cannot be healed by a change of strategy, only by repentance.

  3. Imagine there are no bishops
    It's easy if you try
    No archdeacons to bully us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for Jesus

    Imagine there are no dioceses
    It isn't hard to do
    No synods to waste your time on
    And no mitres too
    Imagine all the people living life in Him

    You, you may say
    I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
    I hope some day you'll join us
    And the world will be like in the early days of the church

    Imagine no quota
    I wonder if you can
    No need for the diocesan finance department
    No hierarchies of man
    Imagine all the people sharing God's word

    You, you may say
    I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
    I hope some day you'll join us
    And the church will be as God intended

    1. David - there are such places!

    2. Darren - I know.

      I left the CofE two years ago after 13 years and joined a growing non-conformist fellowship that is committed to the Gospel as set out in the Bible, everyone is involved in making decisions under a godly leadership, and there is not a chasuble in sight.

      What a pity that our brethren in the CofE are so dazzled by historical traditions that they continue to waste their time and God's money supporting the Anglican church.

      Perhaps today's Pilling report will wake them up. But I doubt it.

      Being an Anglican is a bit like being a Wolverhampton Wanders supporter. Despite their long and proud history, everyone knows Wolves are a rubbish team, now reduced to playing in League One (Division 3). They know that better football is being played down the road at West Bromwich or Aston Villa, but hey! that's what they were born into, where they went as students, what their parents did before them.

      Sad. For England. And for Christ Himself.

  4. Paul wouldn't stay quiet for very long if he were to granted a voice, but I don't think he would even be allowed in the door, and if he did, he would probably be shown the door pretty quickly.

  5. "Ironic that, given that Bishop Holtam recently likened opponents of gay marriage to supporters of apartheid."

    How typical of liberals.