Monday, October 16, 2006

Michael Howard’s son refused ordination

His Grace usually leaves political gossip and tittle-tattle to Mr Iain Dale, but this news has a theological angle, and Mr Dale tends to steer clear of those.

Michael Howard is a family man, and occasionally has deployed his genetic progeny in his political pursuits. Nicholas Howard, the 31-year-old son of the former Conservative Party leader, converted from Judaism to Christianity at the age of 15. For him, it was more a fulfilment of his Jewish heritage than a conversion, and he has pursued a 3-year theology degree at the impeccably-named Cranmer Hall, part of St John's College, Durham University. He was hoping to become an ordained minister in the Church of England, but the Diocese of Oxford, which sponsored his theological training, has rejected his application for ordination. The reasons are interesting…

Mr Howard’s supporters cite his Evangelical commitment to uphold the Church’s traditional teaching on homosexuality, which he staunchly opposes – i.e., he his being persecuted for condemning homosexual practices and adhering to the traditional Church doctrine; a dogmatic stance considered unpalatable in the 21st century.

Mr Howard’s detractors quote a written opinion from Cranmer Hall, which states that he is unsuitable for ordination because he is ‘unwilling to listen to other viewpoints’.

Cranmer knows one or two who might just think the condition to be inherited...


Blogger Iain Dale said...

This was in the Sunday Times 2 weeks ago. Old news I'm afraid.

16 October 2006 at 19:45  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Quite so, quite so, Mr Dale. His Grace has never aspired to be the breaker of blog scoops, and is more than content to leave that to your expertise.

He just couldn't resist the observation: ‘unwilling to listen to other viewpoints’, and the possibility of the condition being heritable.

16 October 2006 at 19:54  
Anonymous vikki said...

The Church of England is an Apostate church! Any wonder the Mohammedans are gaining ground?

16 October 2006 at 20:23  
Blogger istanbultory said...

By implication, if Mr Howard was a gay rights activist or a Bolshevik, he would be embraced with open arms. It's two weeks since Church of England leaders warned that calling God 'He' encourages men to beat their wives. Clergy should also check the hymns they sing to remove signs of male oppression.
It's all very demoralising frankly.If the Church can no longer assert its own beliefs and seems in fact, intent on destroying them and betraying its members and the martyrs who died for the faith. Then, what is the purpose of the CoE? To serve as spirtual clothing for the ideology of political correctness? I despair.

16 October 2006 at 20:23  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

I had the great pleasure of listening to Mr Howard preach on the sunday evening of the Tory party conference. What I can say is that his sermon was absolutely orthodox. It lacked passion, perhaps, seeing he was preaching in a Baptist church, but he was polite, literate, wise and thoroughly Christian. It was perhaps an error for him to train in Oxford where the Bishop was to my mind so heterodox that in a former day he would undoubtedly have suffered the fate of our illustrious host.

Many years ago the great Martyn Lloyd Jones called out to the remaining Christians in the Church of England, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate." Nick Howard would do well to heed the call. There are many evangelical churches up and down the land looking for a pastor.

16 October 2006 at 20:56  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace,

Unfortunately, this is another unjust incidence of the destructive effect of two centuries of unrelenting atheistic ideology which I just critized on your other thread with harsh words rather untypical for me in order to rebut Cinnamon’s unholy remarks:


You wrote "As if Christianity was a set of virtues and morals to be held up... "
"I can make a rational argument that iff a deity or deities exists, all religon is blasphemy even -- I got kicked out of religious education at 7..."

Shame on you for questioning received wisdom and demanding proofs.


Shame on you for preaching atheism not dissimilar to the nonsense of other atheists, e.g. the article Atheism and Liberty by the philosopher Georg Batz.

It seems that you agree with the claims of the latter that "Every baby is born as an atheist. Only during his growing up, it is drilled in religion (in our region Christianism and in other world religions other ideologies contempting humans such as Islam)."

"In the entire history of the last 2000 years, Christianism and liberal ideas were incompatible. Ever since the Christian church during the reign of emperor Constantine became state church, the church did everything to eradicate all dissidents. The campaign of annihilation of Christian religion against Jews, pagans, witches, gays, and many other groups continued until the 20th century, although the influence of the church on the state has been rolled back since the enlightment. The victims of Christianism are going into millions. Besides Stalinism, Maoism and National Socialism, Christianism is the greatest criminal ideology of humanity. Its victims cannot rise anymore. But their blood is screaming. Therefore, I want to be their mouth and together with Nietzsche (from the Antichrist) characterise Christianism as what today is Islam: the immortal blemish of humanity"

I am wondering whether he and you are aware of the Pope's recent lecture which clearly states, "listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding."

Do you really believe what this atheist wants us make to believe, "that the existence of God was already questionned by freedom-loving philosophers in antiquity, especially by Epicur (and his successors, the Epicureans, during all the centuries). It is a famous quote of Epicur which poses the Theodicy problem which keeps theologians still busy because they are unable to solve it: "God either wants to eliminate evil but cannot do it, or he can do it but doesn't want to do it, or he cannot and doesn't want to do it, or he wants and can do it. If he wants but cannot, he is weak which does not apply to God. If he can but doesn't want, he is grudging which is similarily alien to God. If he doesn't want and cannot, he is grudging and weak which isn't God either. If he wants and he cans, where does the evil come from and why doesn't he eliminate it?"

And it is even more outrageous to claim that "Voltaire and Diderot, Holbach and Helvetius, d'Alembert and others unveiled religion, especially Chritianism, as priestly deception." Furthermore, this atheist quotes from Betrand Russel's book "Why I am not a Christian": "The entire belief in God descends from the old oriental despotism. It is an idea unworthy of fee men ..A good world needs knowledge, kindness and courage; it doesn't need .. chaining of free intelligence by words which have been spoken a long time ago by ignorant men."

You do not believe in Betrand Russel's and other atheist's nonsense , I hope, such as his insulting remark "I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptic orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely."

Or Robert Ingersoll's stupid assertion: "Ministers say that they teach charity. That is natural. They live on hand-outs. All beggars teach that others should give."

Or the quote from Lemuel K. Washburn's "Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays": "What a queer thing is Christian salvation! Believing in firemen will not save a burning house; believing in doctors will not make one well, but believing in a savior saves men. Fudge!"

Or finnaly, Voltaire infamous accusation "What can we say to a man who tells you that he would rather obey God than men, and that therefore he is sure to go to heaven for butchering you? Even the law is impotent against these attacks of rage; it is like reading a court decree to a raving maniac. These fellows are certain that the holy spirit with which they are filled is above the law, that their enthusiasm is the only law that they must obey."

You should feel ashame if you believe in such destructive atheism since Western civilization is built and depends on Christian values. Let me cite again the Pope's lecture: "In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist."

16 October 2006 at 23:18  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The Diocese of Oxford suffered from The Bishop of Oxford who was a former Army Officer of peculiar opinions and odd outlook.

One should not expect to find Orthodox Christianity in the British subsidiary of ECUSA

17 October 2006 at 06:44  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Peter O,

His Grace thanks you for your contribution. He was rather wondering why he had never heard of Cranmer Hall's association with Cambridge University, and had attributed this to the fact that it was not named after him while he was incarnate, and one's reduction to ash has a tendency to deaden the senses. After a little Google, he discovers:

"Cranmer Hall is one part of St. John's College, Durham, an independent Christian foundation within Durham University. All Cranmer students are members of St John's College and graduate with Durham degrees."

His source for this story was an official Church of England news bulletin. His Grace shall never trust such documents again.

17 October 2006 at 07:51  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

Well the current Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, is supposed to be an evangelical,(although criticised by The Briefing, the evangelical magazine that is produced from the diocese of Sydney) so perhaps Nick suffered at the hand of one of the underlings appointed under the misrule of David Jenkins.

17 October 2006 at 09:15  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Hamblin,

Notwithstanding that Cranmer Hall is Durham, Mr Howard's training was nonetheless sponsored by the Diocese of Oxford. Bishop Wright would have had no problem with Mr Howard's theology at all.

17 October 2006 at 09:32  
Anonymous Mr Counsel said...

This is the problem with your religion Cranmer. Its changed so much that anyone who adheres to the texts of the Bible is rejected as a total freak.

You then rant and rave about other faiths especially Islam becoming more established in the UK when you should be spending your energy trying to establish teachings of the Bible on the so called Christian 'majority whose only link to christianity is getting legless at christmas.

The furore over the veil is an epileptic reaction of this christian majority who realise that their religion is in total decay while another is pro-active and is converting many white christians.

The Church and its teachings are in decay and unless this is reversed by reverting back to the original teachings of the Bible, the 'majority christians' in this country will be christian in name only and not in their actions. The fault lies with the church and its christian followers not with anyone else or any other faith.

17 October 2006 at 12:20  
Anonymous Lena Mouse said...

I think that's a strength, Counsel. A religion that can adapt is one that is sensitive to culture and human differences!

If it never adapted, we'd all still be living in the first century, like many Muslims stil live in the seventh or eighth.

17 October 2006 at 13:10  
Anonymous Mr Counsel said...

Lena Mouse - Where is the strength in a religion so diluted that its unrecognisable from its original? Islam is spreading faster than ever because its followers have values to hold onto. Regardless of what people say of Islam it is gaining in numbers and more people here show their faith in their everyday lives.

Christianity is in decline as no one knows what it stands for. And what has it adatpted to - Secular views and beliefs? If that is what it is trying to do then why have any faith?

17 October 2006 at 13:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Noone should be permitted to officiate in a Church of England Establishment unless they declare conformity with The XXXIX Articles of Religion.................holding a copy of the 1662 BCP works rather like garlic before vampires when held near modernday impostors in clerical robes

17 October 2006 at 13:51  
Anonymous Alfred of Wessex said...

It takes alot of guts to convert from Judaism to Christianity, but I am genuinely delighted to hear that one of Mr Howard's family has come to accept Yeshua as his own Messiah.

Perhaps it would be more helpful if those of us who would claim to have committed our lives to Christ were to covenant to pray over the next few months that God would guide Nick Howard into the path that He wants him to follow. If he has a real 'call' from God to the Christian Ministry, God will find a way. Let us pray that God, having closed this door, will open a window somewhere else.

17 October 2006 at 16:23  
Anonymous Colin said...

Alfred of Wessex,

"It takes alot of guts to convert from Judaism to Christianity"

Really? Why? In European history, many Jews converted to Christianism because of political pressure or professional advantages. Are Jews now following the Islamic model and try to kill apostates?

17 October 2006 at 17:41  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Are Jews now following the Islamic model and try to kill apostates?

No !......are you disappointed ?

17 October 2006 at 17:48  
Anonymous Colin said...

Are Jews now following the Islamic model and try to kill apostates?

No !......are you disappointed ?


Why should I be disappointed that Jews don't follow the Islamic model?

Nevertheless, I still don't understand why "It takes alot of guts to convert from Judaism to Christianity", especially since it apparently takes more guts to remain Jewish among an increasingly antisemetic population in Europe. Or am I wrong?

17 October 2006 at 19:46  
Blogger Croydonian said...


To adapt the old cliche, '*most* of my best friends are Jewish', so I would like to think that I can speak with some knowledge of Jewish culture. What I have seen is the immense disappointment among Jewish folk when their relatives marry outside the faith, or when their kin slide into secularism. The flip side of that is that anyone leaving the faith, directly or indirectly will likely have distinct burdens of guilt / unease, in part because of family issues, and in part because of the sense of leaving an entire culture. I would imagine that Nicholas Howard might well have suffered the odd twinge on Yom Kippur.

17 October 2006 at 23:11  
Anonymous Colin said...


Thank you for your insight.

Also many of my friends are Jewish but nearly all of them are not strongly religious so that I don't cannot talk about the guilt issue.

17 October 2006 at 23:36  
Anonymous Voyager said...

There was research done on the Cohanim and from the groups sampled the VNA markers suggested a very very low rate of marriage outside those particular families

18 October 2006 at 06:39  
Blogger Croydonian said...

If marrying out is bad for a Goldberg or a Stein, it is infinitely more serious for a Cohen.

18 October 2006 at 09:18  
Anonymous vikki said...

Mr Howard's story reminds me of the crippled man in the Bible who was thrown out of the Synagogue because Jesus healed him. Would anyone expect any less from the hypocrites(CoE) who make the word of God void with their traditions of men!? would Jesus Christ recognise this gospel of inclusion?

18 October 2006 at 10:02  
Anonymous Alfred of Wessex said...

Colin 5:41 PM said...
Alfred of Wessex,

"It takes alot of guts to convert from Judaism to Christianity"

Really? Why? In European history, many Jews converted to Christianism because of political pressure or professional advantages. Are Jews now following the Islamic model and try to kill apostates?

I am not talking about history, I am talking about today, and, as far as I am aware, I do not know of any Jew being murdered for converting to Christianity. However, if, for example an Orthodox Jew marries outside the faith, the family actually hold a funeral service and cut them off from the Jewish Community. The persons is treated as if they had died. In our highly individualistic culture that has few if any moral or societal boundaries, it is difficult for us to appreciate the power of ostracism.

A Jew who genuinely comes to believe that Jesus is the longed-for Messiah and receives Him as Saviour and Lord can come under intense pressure from his or her family, especially if they are young. The pressure can become especially intense if and when the person decides to be baptised, as this is the point at which the person actually confesses their faith publicly and nails their colours to the mast.

When I first became a Christian as a student in London, I met a young Jewish woman who had received Christ as her Saviour. When she and the Minister had asked her parents for permission for her to be baptised, they had refused and insisted that she wait until she had reached the age of majority (either 18 or 21, I cannot remember which).

18 October 2006 at 13:33  
Anonymous Voyager said...

A good book and highly amusing and therefore to be recommended is Girl Meets God

It is a Jewess Lauren F. Winner ( I like that word) daughter of a Baptist mother who converts to Christianity and looks at Christianity through the eyes of a Jew and finds Cambridge University the place where conversion takes place

Raised by a lapsed Baptist mother and secular Jewish father, Winner feels a drive toward God as powerful as her drives toward books and boys. Twice she has attempted to read her way into religion to Orthodox Judaism her freshman year at Columbia, and then four years later at Cambridge to Anglican Christianity. Twice she has discovered that a religion's actual practitioners may not measure up to its theoretical proponents. (Invariably the boyfriends or their mothers disappoint.) It is easier to say what this book is not than what it is. It is not a conversion memoir: Winner's movement in and out of religious frames, but does not tell, her tale. It is not a defense of either faith (there is something here to offend every reader);

18 October 2006 at 16:33  
Anonymous G Eagle said...

Your Grace

I am greatly obliged to your Grace for bringing this matter to our attention

I hope that you can use your good offices to persuade the Oxford Ecclesiarchs to reconsider their obstruction of Mr Howard Jnr's ordination and to do so without any further arrogance or prevarication on their part

To adapt Jane Austen's words, it is very ungenerous in these Oxford Ecclesiarchs to reject Mr Howard Jnr, alleging that he is ‘unwilling to listen to other viewpoints’ - and give me leave to say, very impolitic too - for it is provoking Evangelicals to retaliate, and such things may come out, as will shock these Ecclesiarchs to hear

The Liberals currently dominate the Higher Offices of the Church. They have the power to shew that it is they who are ‘unwilling to listen to other viewpoints’ by excluding Evangelicals like Mr Howard Jnr

However, these Ecclesiarchs need to appreciate their financial vulnerability

Under their "Leadership", the C of E is now close to numerical & financial melt-down - Congregations dwindle to vanishing point and the money is now running out - the People of our Beloved Country are understandably rejecting the lifeless Caricature of Pseudo=Christianity that these Ecclesiarchs seem to think they have the right to impose on those in the Church who actually believe in Christianity

It is the Evangelicals who are increasingly expected to pay the financial costs of the C of E & its top=heavy & Leadership

These Ecclesiarchs should not be surprised if their arrogant conduct (their mal=treatment of Mr Howard Jnr is just one example) provokes Evangelicals to "vote with their Wallets" and to withhold their Diocesan Quota payments

I have the honour, in Christ, to remain your Grace's obedient servant and

Yours ever

G Eagle

18 October 2006 at 20:40  

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