Gadgetvicar has an interesting post today in which he discusses the difference between what he calls "two different faiths."

I’ve tried to post a comment to his post as I’m interested in what he is saying, but his blog must have a heresy filter set or something at the moment. I received the message: "Comments are not allowed on this entry."

Anyway, this is what I would have posted….


Whether or not these two columns represent two different belief systems, neither of them represents what I believe. (And I presume that it is supposed that someone like me would assert the second column). I’m not convinced that means that I’m sitting on the fence, and my bottom is, thankfully, splinter free at present.

Are people really being expected to choose between two completely different faiths or between differing caricatures of faith?

And anyway, has it not been the Nicene creed that has been the generally accepted test of orthodoxy?

For me, I could only respond to these assertions with my own list of beliefs which would go something like this.

Jesus is Lord and in him I have found salvation.

Everyone is saved – as voices in the Bible teach us. Everyone is made in the image and likeness of God. Alleluia!

Scripture, reason and tradition are sources of authority, each utterly inter-related to the others. Scripture can best be understood in the light of reason and tradition. Tradition can best be understood in the light of reason and scripture. Reason can best be understood in the light of scripture and tradition. Etc.

We are to be salt and light, acting to transform, preserve, nourish and influence the world.

Personal holiness, character and competency are as important in leaders as in everyone else.

Sex is is a gift from God. Sex without committed love is miserable.

God changes me when I pray.

Evil is a reality that anyone and any group is capable of.

In dying the death he died, Jesus the Son of God identified with and experienced utterly what it is to be human.

Judgement (like Love and God’s other attributes) is something which God shares with us. Today is the Day of Judgement. Today is the Day of Salvation.

Heaven is real, and neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

[Comments are allowed on this entry!] 


  1. Bishop David says

    Yes – I’d sign up to that.  Of course one can nitpick endlessly.  I suppose it is a bit relationships-lite – love/seeing Christ in one another – and could maybe do with a bit of a lurch/bias towards the poor.

  2. Oh, I just fell foul of the heretic filter as well, after tapping out this lot, so I hope you can cope with it appearing here:

    Those two lists are certainly extreme caricatures, and while they might serve to define the extremes, I am neither.

    At root I believe none of the issues are clear-cut black & white like [you] seem to be saying.

    I don’t believe that the majority defines what is right, nor that the best choices in one location are the best for other people elsewhere, and I certainly don’t believe in imposing my views and expectations on others (unity over uniformity).

    I have to leave a hole in the bureaurocracy for the Spirit to act. Coupled with the idea that it’s consistent for someone to be both on the Christian path and homosexual, this means you might well get homosexual members of the church hierarchy, probably in decreasing likelihood the higher up one looks. It should not be a matter of forcing someone to take up a role, it’s a matter of choosing the *person* God would have to occupy the role to
    facilitate His will in that place at that time. Failure to leave such a loophole is one step towards being a modern-day Pharisee, just asking for Jesus to smash through the wall of legislation one has built up. Success is not measured or determined by the number of people complaining thousands of miles away, but by the fruit of blessing amongst those with whom the appointee has contact.

    And now to tackle the items listed:

    Scripture is authoritative over the domain in which it exists, read sensibly and with a mind prayerfully open to various interpretations, with reasonable extensibility. One has to be very careful about what it “says” or not; indeed, the phrase “the Bible says” rings warning-bells of “with what personal interpretation?” here.

    To say `Jesus is the only way to God’ is too simplistic. It does not take into account the Old Covenant/Testament; it does not take into account any who’ve lived without ever hearing the Gospel. Therefore you have to consider either a bunch of extra cases, and/or some kind of semi-metaphorical system in which Jesus’ actions justify those who’ve never heard of them.

    Logically the Bible is not the supreme authority, but rather its source and author, God, who, in the form of the Holy Spirit, through the medium of prayer, guides us today. Tradition is no reason for either doing, or ceasing to do, something.

    I don’t like the idea of `the world guides how the church thinks and acts’, no; but I note such phrases as `even heathens don’t do that’ in Paul’s letters, whether that counts as some form of `guidance’ or not.

    Looking at `leaders permitted to remain despite immorality and failure’, I have to ask `by whose morality? In what situation?’ and fundamentally, `where’s the forgiveness?’. Do we really believe that God forgives sin absolutely? If so, then holding it against a brother or sister is a failure to `love, because He first loved us’.

    Prayer is more complex than just change. Not only is it not just presenting a shopping-list, but it’s a positive opportunity to meditate with God.

    Jesus’ death is more than just substitutionary atonement. There are at least 8 other slants / interpretations / angles to be taking on it.

    If you want some middle-ground, then you can ponder:
    a) is it my business? if a group of Christians are doing something right, I’m happy for them; if not, then am I called to correct them as per Paul’s methodology (start local and work outwards involving more folks)?
    b) Scripture teaches not only how someone else should behave in one area, but how I should conduct myself. Mote & plank. “Wise, discerning the Lord’s will, giving thanks to God the Father for each other”. Are those making the most noise conducting themselves in this manner?
    c) you don’t have to like someone nor agree with everything they say or do to have a Christian love for them.

    d) how about this attitude of fellowship: before I meet you, I have one idea about a verse. I meet you, you have a different view. I go away rejoicing, because now I have two ideas!

    If the fence falls, I will choose the side that’s not been provoking the difference, simple; there are no bars saying “you have to be THIS holy to enter this social group” on the doors to the Church. Events may happen, but inflamatory reactions are not necessary.

  3. Brannon Hancock says

    here here
    Excellent response to Gadgetvicar’s post, Fr. Kelvin. His point, while perhaps not entirely invalid, is far too simplistic and at BEST a caricature of the true complexity and diversity of the Christian faith. I’m glad to have a space here to post what would have been my response, as you and another already have. It would’ve gone something like this…
    The thing is, there are those at the extremes who are content to launch missles at the opposing side from the safety of their foxholes hundreds of metres away from the fence…and then there are those who are willing to sneak up to the fence and get close enough to talk to and perhaps even shake hands with or hug the “enemy.” If there aren’t only two polarized positions (and there aren’t), there certainly aren’t only three: the two extremes and the fence-sitters. I’m afraid you might be mistaking some of those brave souls who are doing the hard work nearest the fence as ineffectual and non-committal wafflers. The true fence-sitters surely won’t last long, as they’re likely to just get mowed down in the crossfire.

    This all reminds me a bit of Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall”, wherein the two neighbors rebuild their wall year after year – the only time they really come together and fellowship – when ironically the natural elements persistently tear the wall down, attacking its cracks and fissures with water and roots:

    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down. […]
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

    The natural condition (according to Frost) is wall-less. It is we who erect, maintain and guard the walls. How sad when the only reason we have for coming together with the other side is when it looks like the wall might be unstable…and how much sadder when we just keep on repeating the lines that have been handed down to us, so eager to change others but unwilling to be changed ourselves…

  4. I think I’m a fence-sitter too, Kelvin.

    On some things I’m a reasserter, and in some I’m a reappraiser. Maybe I should do an LJ poll for these? Though I think that’s ultimately useless, given them being extremes, poles, of spectra.

    I like Brannon’s comment too, though: it is we who erect, maintain and guard the walls.

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