Thoughts on Sexuality and Gender

John RichardsonJohn Richardson in the UK has been thinking theologically about sexuality and gender in the context of the current push for ‘same-sex marriage’.

It’s worth taking some time to read his latest posts at The Ugley Vicar.

Toward a Biblical Theology of Marriage

John RichardsonJohn Richardson in the UK has been exploring a Biblical Theology of Marriage. Here are his posts to date –

Toward a Biblical Theology of Marriage – Old Testament

Toward a Biblical Theology of Marriage – New Testament (1)

Toward a Biblical Theology of Marriage – New Testament (2)

Worth checking out – at The Ugley Vicar.

‘Why Steve Chalke is mistaken and the liberality of liberals cannot be trusted’

John Richardson“Before the vote, there were many people telling the ‘traditionalists’ that they were ‘valued’, that they should be ‘enabled to flourish’, ‘respect’ and so on. …

Unfortunately, when the vote went the ‘wrong’ way, what we saw was not an acknowledgement that the flourishing of traditionalists would have to be sought another way, but an outbreak of something little short of rage and the heaping of opprobrium on those, especially those evangelicals, who had dared to mess things up.”

John Richardson in the UK reflects, not so much on this week’s announcement by Baptist Minister Steve Chalke affirming same sex relationships, as on words and intentions.

Steve Chalke affirms same sex partnerships.
The Bible & Homosexuality: a response to Steve Chalke – Evangelical Alliance UK.

Evangelical and Catholic letter to The Times on the Women Bishops measure

The General Synod of the Church of England will vote on Women Bishops this week. A letter was published in The Times on Saturday –

“As active priests from both the Catholic and Evangelical groupings of the Church of England, we write to express our deep concern over the draft Women Bishops Measure. We believe that our future ministries will be severely prejudiced if the General Synod votes to approve the draft Measure…”

It was signed by The Rev. Rod Thomas, Chairman of Reform and Canon Simon Killwick, Chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod – and 324 others. There are many familiar names in the list. John Richardson has the full text, the list of signatories, and some comments.

Related: General Synod: women bishop vote in balance (EV News from Church Society, 19 November 2012.)

(Photo: Church of England website.)

1662 and all that

A talk given by John Richardson

“1662 and all that: How the Prayer Book changed the Church of England, and how the Church of England Changed the Prayer Book

An address given in our Benefice to mark the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer

On March 21st 1556, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake in Broad Street, Oxford. A metal X still marks the spot where you can, if you’re very careful, briefly pause in the middle of the traffic. The charges against him of treason and heresy both merited the death penalty…”

Read it all here.

The Archbishop we don’t need (but will probably get)

“Central to the role of the next Archbishop of Canterbury will be his views on human sexuality, not because that is the most important thing about Christian theology (though it is quite important), but because the agenda of our society will make it so…”

– John Richardson calls for an Archbishop of Canterbury who will ‘uphold sound and wholesome doctrine, and … banish and drive away all erroneous and strange opinions’. At the Ugley Vicar.

What marriage is, and why it matters

“Why do Christians care about marriage, and what does it mean to them? The answer is quite simple, though it demands a considerable amount of unpacking: just as, according to Genesis 1:27, human beings ‘image’ God, so marriage ‘images’ the relationship between Christ and the Church, or to put it another way, the relationship between the Creator-Redeemer God and his created-redeemed people…”

– John Richardson in the UK seeks to flesh out (so to speak) the significance of marriage – at The Ugley Vicar.

Reforming a diocese from within

“What can you do if you are a small group of evangelicals in a diocese where it seems that nothing organized by the institution ever reflects a sound theological agenda or is likely to feed the mass of God’s people?

That was the question raised almost thirteen years ago at a committee meeting of the Chelmsford Diocesan Evangelical Association, following a diocesan conference for laypeople…”

– John Richardson shares his experiences and offers encouragement – in the Winter 2012 Crossway. (Article: PDF file.)

When bishops disagree

“What should bishops do when a bishop breaks ranks and violates the collegiality of the House of Bishops?

That would seem to be the question confronting the Church of England since the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam apparently stated, in an interview with The Times, that he did not see any need to ‘sublimate’ his support for same-sex marriage to the views of the Church.

Given the inevitable shortcomings of newspaper reporting, that may not be exactly what he said or exactly what he meant, but given also that there has been no refutation from him, for the moment we must assume this is the case…”

– John Richardson at the Ugley Vicar looks at events in the UK.
Related: ACL Statement on developments in the Diocese of Gippsland.

The value of a theological education

John Richardson wonders about the future of theological education for ordination candidates in the UK. It seems some are suggesting that ‘on the job’ learning instead is the way to go.

“For a lot of what passes for ministry is not a ‘theological’ ministry at all. ‘Pastoral’ ministry in the Church of England is ‘helping people with their problems’, not bringing people to the knowledge of God in Christ.”

In reflecting on this, he draws attention to a booklet he wrote in 1993, after a year at Moore College:

“What I found at Moore was a Christian community committed to the pursuit of intellectual excellence by every student, where it was assumed that the ordinary parish clergyman both should and could be conversant with the most ‘academic’ of theological thinking. I soon realized that in this country we have been setting our sights far too low.”

Read his post here, and then the booklet, A Little Knowledge (PDF).

Evangelism cannot be enough for Evangelicals

John Richardson writes of what it is to be an Evangelical in the Church of England:

“We have an ‘honoured’ place in the institution, but the price exacted from us is to identify ourselves as a ‘tradition’ — one amongst the many different traditions which make up the all-embracing comprehensiveness of the Church of England.

But, … at least from our own perspective, this is a betrayal not only of ourselves but of everyone else. To accept this definition of ‘evangelicalism’ is to cease to be Evangelical. …”

– Read it all at The Ugley Vicar.


Anglican Evangelism and Evangelical Anglicanism, 1945-2011 — the challenge we face

This week John Richardson spoke at the Evangelical Anglican Junior Clergy Conference in the UK, and he’s posted the text of his first address online. It’s a very interesting overview of Post-war UK evangelical Anglicanism. He includes mention of some help, in the Lord’s providence, from the colonies –

“Many in the Evangelical Anglican constituency were therefore increasingly uncomfortable with the direction being taken by the movement, and in the mid-1980s, under the leadership of Dick Lucas, the Evangelical Ministry Assembly and the Proclamation Trust struck out in a different direction.

The Proclamation Trust aimed unashamedly, and in its own mind principally, at a recovery of preaching. Nevertheless, this inevitably entailed a recovery of theology, and so the speakers invited to address the EMA were often men of theological acumen as well as skilled communicators.

Notably, however, most of them came from abroad — it seemed that in the UK they were in short supply. Many were from America but some, and in the end the most influential, were from the Diocese of Sydney in Australia.

Two key English Evangelicals made some revealing comments about the impact of just one of these visitors, John Chapman, who then headed the Department of Evangelism in the Diocese of Sydney. …”

– Read it all at The Ugley Vicar. (Photo of John Chapman, courtesy of AFES.)

From subtle exclusion to overt discrimination

“Since 1993 I have chosen to belong to a church that ordains women priests, and before I retire it is likely I will belong to one that consecrates women bishops. Yet this is a practice that I believe to be mistaken, so why am I still here? …

In 1993, as the ordination of women to the priesthood was brought in, the Church of England similarly committed itself to treat those on both sides of the debate equally. Thus the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod (which is still in force) stated as its first principle that,

There will be no discrimination against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their views about the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Unfortunately, that commitment was never upheld, and has now effectively been overturned.”

– John Richardson laments shifts taking place in the Church of England.

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