a thread on topic: “Have any other top church leaders denied essential aspects of Christ’s identity in manners more profound than +KJS?”

June 28, 2010

(posted June 28, 2011 – back-dated so as not to appear amongst current articles)

It appears that the answer here is a resounding “yes” – the degree however to which the churches they are a part, are contributing to these teachings, and the degree to which these are “significant churches,” remains in question.

Jesus’ divinity doubted

Church leader holds controversial views

By BOB HARVEY Southam Newspapers “The Ottawa Citizen” October 30, 1997

The divinity of Jesus and the reality of heaven and hell are irrelevant, says the new moderator of the United Church of Canada.

What really matters, says Right Rev. Bill Phipps, is mending a broken world.

In a free-wheeling debate with the editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen, Phipps said Jesus was more interested in life on Earth than the afterlife and had more to say about economics than any other subject. “I don’t believe Jesus was God, but I’m no theologian,” Phipps said.


Dear Southwark and Scotland: Evidence of Election fraud

June 17, 2010

I am, to my great dismay, coming to realize that few in the Church of England have any stomach to investigate Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori’s words regarding our dear Christ, and what she commends to belief (or unbelief) about Him amongst those she is given opportunity to teach. Any who are still in doubt on this matter, please read this. For any who are still wavering on what they believe about Christ, there is ample reason to avoid further invitations to Jefferts-Schori, and to general cooperation with TEC, simply because this cooperation is inducing fundamentalism within the Communion and within world Christianity.

To add to this matter, for many years now, supporters of TEC – often high-ranking clergy – have been implying that persons who oppose TEC do so because they do not “want their gay and lesbian friends and relatives to be part of their church communities.” This last quote is from Diana Butler Bass – a church historian whose writings I have enjoyed, and is usually a good bit more honest than this. I have never known an Anglican who does not want gay and lesbian people to be part of church communities, and the Anglican Communion’s official teaching on sexuality (known as “Lambeth I.10”) makes very clear that gay and lesbian people must be welcomed and provided pastoral care. I am concerned about this trend of attempting to paint all opposition to the Presiding Bishop as stemming from homophobia, or opposition to female leadership amongst respected Episcopalians, especially when it involves ample deception, as is so often the case.

In the Diana Butler Bass article, one of the respondents who seems to identify himself as an attorney writes: “Rowan Williams personifies the lower terminus of the alimentary canal.” Is it not obvious that writing such untrue things will induce some to extreme prejudice against those it targets, and are not such comments clear evidence that this may be happening? Is it not worth trying to paint a more honest picture of the beliefs, values, opinions, and actions of the group one is criticizing? Does she not realize that some gay and lesbian people who oppose Jefferts-Schori because of her Christology will also be thus tarred with the same brush as persons who do not wish to have any gays and lesbians visit their churches (and I repeat, I have never met any such person who is an Anglican)?

I must warn people in the other provinces of the Communion that TEC is frequently defended by words which are either untrue or patently false – and that even respected “moderates” such as Diana Butler Bass are capable of engaging in such.

Anyone who is still in doubt regarding the integrity of inviting Jefferts-Schori to the Church of England, and in the general credibility of the General Convention of TEC and its other reigning bodies, should look into what occurred at the time of the Presiding Bishop’s election. A major problem was found in the materials given to convention delegates describing Jefferts-Schori’s accomplishments – while she had been an assistant clergy member at her church (I believe 200 or so parishoners – the number dropped during her tenure), she was in charge of adult education. Someone – perhaps she – chose to describe this as being “dean” of a “school of theology,” and on the CV it appears just like this – “Dean of the Good Samaritan School of Theology.” She later provided an explanation for this fanciful description, which I find quite unconvincing, here, though she doesn’t explain why the language is so deceitful, nor if it was she herself was the one who provided the CV information, nor why she did not tell General Convention that the information was false before they voted. This was discovered shortly after the election occurred, though it was a few months before she was invested as Presiding Bishop. No inquiry was made, as far as the public knows, and no transparency was brought to the weighty questions arising from it.

This has far-reaching consequences for issues of trust regarding the structures which govern The Episcopal Church. If they are willing to tolerate deceit to their very General Convention, and when this is discovered, do nothing to investigate it in a transparent manner, where else might deceit be tolerated, and under what conditions can we trust the governing structures of The Episcopal Church? And if, as is very likely, this deceptive language came from the Presiding Bishop herself, to her own General Convention, how difficult it becomes in trusting her in her words to the larger Communion at such a time that there is so much tension, and so much to gain for The Episcopal Church by representing things in a manner other than how they actually stand?

I would plead with loyalist supporters of The Episcopal Church to be generous in honesty when engaging in dialog with others, and especially when describing those who they feel are opposing their views and aims.

The original CV is still on the site of The Episcopal Church here – and if it is removed from their site, a copy is available from this site: PB.Booklet.EnglishFinal

I shan’t judge whether election fraud took place, or not; this is immensely trivial compared to a Primate of the Communion who denies the resurrection and the divinity of Christ. I write this for the sake of those who are still wavering in faith about the reality of Christ – that you might not be deceived by the information you are hearing from TEC’s loyalist supporters. They are under stress, there is something understandable about using extreme characterizations of their opponents; and we must forgive and not judge. But forgiveness does not mean that we must agree with them, nor relinquish a healthy skepticism.


“No life, here – no joy, terror or tears”: Bishop Spong and Archbishop Williams’s response

June 10, 2010

This article appeared originally in the Church Times, 17 July 1998; it was posted for a number of years on the site of the Anglican Church of Tasmania (including the last line “transcribed …”), but has since been removed, so I am re-posting it here. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was, at the time, bishop of Monmouth.

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Anglicans and Unity

May 16, 2010

We as Anglicans sometimes make the mistake of emphasizing unity at the expense of other things, and furthermore, maintaining a very narrow-minded notion of “unity.”

We are not unlike a family with a prominent member who attacks and maims passersby before its home, but then lies to the authorities about these events, and fails to curb the predations of this member, justifying itself to others by saying it cannot do otherwise because it values charity.

“Unity” pertains not only to life amongst our own little group of Anglicans representing a small percentage of those committed to Christ, but also to how the whole body of Christ behaves together.

We are inducing fundamentalism in many areas of the communion and the whole body of Christ with our Primate who denies the resurrection and the divinity of Christ. We are the agents of spiritual death for the many who come into contact with Anglican priests, bishops, and church leaders, who deny the very things that Christ taught us about Himself.

Maintenance of unity within the Anglican Communion is sowing massive division within the body of Christ. As long as this is the case, the question of “what serves unity best for Anglicans” must be moot compared to the question of “how can we best serve Christian unity, and prevent our own diseases and evil from afflicting those around us.”

We are no longer a body that needs worry about schism; we ourselves have become a schism within the church catholic.

James Coder is a layman in the diocese of Europe



February 10, 2010

The passing of this resolution is a great blessing for the Church of England, and for Christianity as a whole. An earlier rather than later adoption of full communion with the ACNA will help preserve the impression that the mission of the Church of England is still viable, and thus stave off various likely “fundamentalist” tendencies inside and outside of the fold of the Church of England that I expressed my support of the motion (http://bit.ly/djxD8Z), by realistically increasing the likelihood that our Church, and the Communion, will not lose sight of who Christ is.

– James Coder, layman, Diocese of Europe


In favor of expressing a desire to enter full communion with the ACNA

February 9, 2010

PDF format: communion_ACNA

DOC format: communion_ACNA

James Coder is a layman in the Diocese of Europe, Church of England

Should the Church of England remain in communion with The Episcopal Church while failing to enter full communion with the ACNA, I fear we shall be inducing “fundamentalism” within our own church, and outside of it.

“Fundamentalism” is indeed a “loaded word” – it is also highly pejorative, but I believe that it’s probably the most fit word to describe what a likely effect will be of a prolonged period of time continuing in full communion with The Episcopal Church, without entering such with the ACNA. Indeed, I believe that entering full communion with ACNA will do a great deal to stem the tide of fundamentalism which will likely come from our continuing communion relationship with The Episcopal Church.

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What do people mean when they say that Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori has denied the resurrection or the divinity of Christ?

February 8, 2010

PDF version of this article: PB_Christology

.doc version of this article: PB_Christology

(note: this article was written to accompany a piece advising the Church of England to endorse a synod motion expressing a desire for full communion with the ACNA, for the sake of preventing a rise of “fundamentalism” – James Coder is a layman in the Diocese of Europe, Church of England)

I write this with a sadness which probably few readers will comprehend. Nonetheless, I write it, because I can not find any treatment of this subject that deals with the subject matter in an extensive fashion; what I have found so far are just a few quotes, and a few statements regarding what the authors believe the Presiding Bishop to have said, and to have accomplished with her words. It is important to understand what the Presiding Bishop has said, and what she has not said; what it implies, and what it does not imply. I assume others have neglected to do so simply because this is such an utterly depressing matter, and because the writer of such an article will surely draw a great deal abuse from those who care more about loyalty to The Episcopal Church than about the church’s teachings on Christ.

Some in the Communion seem to take it as a “fact” that the Presiding Bishop has denied the resurrection and the divinity of Christ; others passionately assert that she never has. The reality of the matter lies somewhere between the two.

The texts I draw from are very well-known statements of the Presiding Bishop; they have been officially brought to the attention of Archbishop Williams in an open letter from Archbishop Akinola, almost precisely one year ago. It must be presumed that Presiding Bishop Schori has been aware of them for some time, though she has chosen not to respond to them.

My conclusion here in both cases is: Schori most definitely never, at any time, denies these outright, in simple, “literalist” words; however, her words can indeed be reasonably taken to deny the doctrines of the Church on both matters. And those who say that she denies the divinity of Christ or the resurrection, assumably, mean to assert that she denies the doctrines of the church on these matters, rather than making “flat” denials.

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