Thursday, July 17, 2008

Archbishop: Christian doctrine is ‘offensive to Muslims’

Should any of Cranmer’s readers or communicants be interested, the voting preferences for votes cast electronically at the recent sessions of the General Synod are on-line.

Some bishops abstained and some, in true Ruth Kelly style, absented themselves.

All of this is proving highly entertaining for those who profess allegiance to the Bishop of Rome, highly embarrassing for those who profess allegiance to the Church of England, and profoundly upsetting for those who worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

And as the Lambeth Conference continues apace, the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared that Christian doctrine is ‘offensive to Muslims’.

In a letter to Islamic scholars - A Common Word for the Common Good - he calls for closer dialogue and understanding between Christianity and Islam, and he admits that the Christian belief in the Trinity is ‘difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims’.

What a scholar. What a theologian.

The Lord said this would be the case. The Apostle Paul said it would be the case. And it appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury is almost apologising that it is indeed the case.

Has the Archbishop considered that God becoming man might be offensive to women? Has he considered that he himself might be offensive to Anglicans?

And one wonders why he has never seen fit to issue such a statement out of respect for Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Unitarians, for the Trinity conflicts with their beliefs as well as the Islamic teaching that Allah is one.

He also equates the Crusades with Jihad, noting that ‘Christianity has been promoted at the point of the sword and legally supported by extreme sanctions; despite the Qur'anic axiom, Islam has been supported in the same way, with extreme penalties for abandoning it, and civil disabilities for those outside the faith.’

No theological or historical distinctions at all: no mention that the Prince of Peace told his followers to lay down their swords, while Mohammed actively took up his.

One awaits the admission by any Islamic scholar that Christians may find the central tenets of Islam offensive – the denial of Jesus as the Son of God; the denial of the crucifixion; the disparaging of the integrity of the Bible; the insistence that the coming of Mohammed was prophesied in the Bible.

The Archbishop’s letter is apparently a response to the letter from Muslim leaders written last September. The Pope beat him to it, without any apology for Christian doctrine. Curiously, Dr Williams describes the document from the Muslim scholars as being ‘hospitable and friendly’. This was not Cranmer’s recollection, but it is wondrous how the perspectives of time distort the reality.

His Grace will now shut up, lest he be accused of hating Anglicans. He is happy to commend the considered musings of Tory Heaven on the matter.


Blogger Tomrat said... is an extremely useful site and one I read daily for a scripture; lately a lot of the scriptures God brings to my attention confirm to me the present state of my own soul and the things we see around us.

This is today's verse:

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”- Romans 1:16

It could not be put better to the coward Rowan.

17 July 2008 at 08:17  
Anonymous The recusant said...

The dialogue which has taken place over the years has been quite promising at times. The work of the Holy See has been intensive in conversations with the Anglican Communion. Together they have tried to determine what we hold in common and where we agree. The conversations continue because the Catholic Church believes that the Anglican Communion holds a special place in relationship to her.

This relationship was stressed in a homily given on the occasion of the Canonization of the English Martyrs on October 25, 1970 by Pope Paul VI. He said:

"May the blood of these Martyrs be able to heal the great wound inflicted upon God’s Church by reason of the separation of the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church. Is it not one – these Martyrs say to us – the Church founded by Christ? Is not this their witness? Their devotion to their nation gives us the assurance that on the day when – God willing – the unity of the faith and of Christian life is restored, no offence will be inflicted on the honour and sovereignty of a great country such as England. There will be no seeking to lessen the legitimate prestige and the worthy patrimony of piety and usage proper to the Anglican Church when the Roman Catholic Church – this humble ‘Servant of the Servants of God’ – is able to embrace her ever beloved Sister in the one authentic communion of the family of Christ."


Some great strides have been made in the last two years in improving the mechanics of the Pastoral Provision. We are working on expanding the mandate of the Pastoral Provision to include those clergy and faithful of “continuing Anglican communities.” We are striving to increase awareness of our apostolate to Anglican Christians who desire to be reconciled with the Holy See. We have experienced the wonder of several Episcopal bishops entering into full communion with the Catholic Church and we continue to receive requests from priests and laity about the Pastoral Provision. I also take this opportunity to thank the Anglican Use Society for their work under the Pastoral Provision, and for the invitation to address this conference.

I know that some of you experienced difficulty and anxiety at the time you made the decision to leave what was so dear to you when you felt the Lord calling you to come to the Catholic Church. In some regard your journey has been heroic. The Church is enriched by your struggles for our Lord.

John Cardinal Newman, who is numbered among the more famous of former Anglicans to reconcile with Rome, was no stranger to such struggle. He felt he was abandoning family, abandoning friends and colleagues. People and places who were dear to him, full of memories and tradition, speaking the same language of faith – how would it be possible to leave such things?

The struggle is real. The choice is not always easy. However, the Holy See’s allowance of the Anglican Use liturgy for now might help to make the burden a little easier for some to bear. The mark toward which we press as Catholics and as Christians is Jesus Christ. He is our goal and we can only find Him through the Church he founded on Peter. The sentiments which Newman expressed in his poem “Lead Kindly Light” speak eloquently of how we bear the difficulties we experience in our faith lives and the Venerable Newman teaches us that the ultimate goal is Christ and it is His will, not our own, that we seek:

Excerpts from the Keynote Address delivered by the Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark and Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, at the Anglican Use Conference in San Antonio on 11 July 2008.

Coming to an Anglican Church near you soon, Tiber swim team anyone?

17 July 2008 at 08:44  
Blogger Laban said...

The Mad Monk could have pointed out that the Crusades were a response to 350-odd years of Islamic expansion at swordpoint and the extinction of the historic Anatolian and North African churches.

Rasputin's predecessor Matthew Parker was a little less nuanced :

"The florishing churches in Asia, the learned churches of Grecia, the manifold churches in Africa, which were wont to serve thee now are gone from thee. The seven churches of Asia with their candlesticks, whom thou didest so well forewarne, are now removed. All the churches where thy diligent apostle S. Paul, thy apostle S. Peter and John, and other apostles, so laboriously travayled, preachyng and writying to plant thy Gospell, are now gone from thy Gospell. In all the kyngdome of Syria, Palestina, Arabia, Persia, in Armenia, and the empire of Cappadocia, through the whole compasse of Asia, with Egypt and with Africa also, unless among the farre Aethiopians some olde steppes of Christianity peradventure yet do remayne, either els in all Asia and Africa, thy church hath not one foot of free land, but all is turned either into infidelitie or to captivitie, whatsoever pertaineth to thee. And if Asia and Africa onely were decayed, the decay were great, but yet the defection were not universal. Now in Europa a great part also is shronke from thy Church. All Thracia with the empire of Constantinople, all Grecia, Epyrus, Illyricum, and now of late all the kyngdoms almost of Hungaria, with must of Austria, with lamentable slaughter of Christen bloud is wasted and all become Turkes. "

(From Frank Henderson's excellent site

17 July 2008 at 09:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared that Christian doctrine is ‘offensive to Muslims’. "

So, who cares. If they don't like it here, bugger off back to bongo bongo land where they can kowtow to Allah and martyr each other without anyone noticing.

17 July 2008 at 10:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it would be best for all if the Archbishop Dhimmi just f*cked-off & converted to islam, and stopped meithering christians.

17 July 2008 at 10:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Islam is very offensive to Christians especially the Hadith
"If anyone changes his religion - kill him".
Which has been used to justify killing many christians.

17 July 2008 at 11:10  
Anonymous the last toryboy said...

What is Rowan Williams actually for?

And how can you Anglicans get rid of him? As that seems to be of paramount importance right now.

17 July 2008 at 11:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared that Christian doctrine is ‘offensive to Muslims’."

I take it this is another one of the old twats deeply intellectual and misunderstood utterings.

What an utter and total wanker. No wonder Anglicans are bailing ship by the busload.

17 July 2008 at 11:58  
Anonymous edward tattysyrup said...

Can't let go can you?

Maybe stop inflicting regular doses of the Orwellian two minutes hate on a decent man?

17 July 2008 at 12:54  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Cranmer, what the Church policy towards war? Must war be necessary to defend the church?

17 July 2008 at 13:05  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Homophobic Horse,

It depends on the weather.

17 July 2008 at 13:14  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

Here is a response from a Baptist to A Common Word Between Us and You, and the response of some Christians to it.

17 July 2008 at 13:29  
Anonymous edward tattysyrup said...

A questionnaire for Cranmer. The questions require simple 'yes' or 'no' answers.

1. No Muslim on earth could possibly adopt the word 'offensive' as regards the Trinity.

2. I am a complete berk and believe that by identifying such a stance, Williams is endorsing it.

3. There is absolutely no point to any inter-faith dialogue with any Muslim anywhere because every man jack of them wants to murder those of the rest of us who won't convert in our beds as any fule kno.

4. I am wholly surprised that my posting has resulted in mindless largely anonymous abuse such as 'coward' 'Archbishop Dhimmi' and and 'old twat'.

5. I am quite comfortable with this sort of stuff.

6. I haven't taken my meds today.

17 July 2008 at 13:31  
Anonymous Dr. Irene Lancaster FRSA said...

This is my latest blog on the recent exchange of Arab prisoners for Israeli Jewish bodies, cruelly murdered.

One of the Arabs exchanged is a vicious murderer, who bashed in the skull of a little girl just north of Haifa.

My blog has elicited a great deal of positive feedback from Israel, which is currently in mourning.

I wonder how many contemporary Christians are guilty of such heinous crimes, which are being trumpeted by the so-called moderate Lebanese governments, as well as the Fatah group on the West Bank. As for Hamas and Hezbollah, also espousers of the Muslim religion, who carried out the kidnappings of two years ago, what can one say.....

I wonder how many Christians are carrying out

17 July 2008 at 14:36  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

Enter Muslimbaiter General 2 shroudwaving vigorously.

17 July 2008 at 15:59  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Much of Islam is offensive to me in the way they treat woman in particular, and much else. Why does he not condem this instead of betraying our beliefs.


17 July 2008 at 15:59  
Blogger Unsworth said...

@ Dr Irene Lancaster

"Let him who is without sin" etc....

Wonder you may. Those of us with slightly broader vision might concern ourselves with such things as Guantanamo Bay, Rendition, Haditha etc. Believe me, that is but the tip of the iceberg.

Or is your position that Israel is somehow so much more virtuous than other nations?

17 July 2008 at 16:57  
Blogger Dr.D said...

In some senses, what he says is a relief. Christian doctrine MUST be offensive to muzlims, otherwise it is not Christian. The relief is that Rowan is still able to see that much; I had begun to question that.

Now if he would just understand what his role is, as a Christian LEADER, to lead Christians, rather than to capitulate, to throw in the towel as it were, then we might get somewhere!

Alas, leadership is a concept simply lost on Rowan Williams who would rather dither and consider all the sides. He cannot for the life of him understand that there really is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE and that there are, in the end, no other options. What a great pity he was ever foisted upon us!

17 July 2008 at 17:16  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Look "unsworth", even when the evidence is staring you right in the face you can't draw the conclusions can you?

Why don't you just cut to the chase and call Lancaster a Jewish Supremacist?

17 July 2008 at 17:17  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

I have been reading about this "Law of attraction" theory which is supposed to enable us to manifest our dreams into reality.
I watched the movie "The Secret", and even felt inspired to watch "The Moses Code", I am always ready to keep an open mind.
My first experiment, I have decided, will be to convince myself that the bearded wonder is already dead. So if he does indeed drop dead some time soon, then yes it was me using my gratitude stone, thanking it for the timely death of this evil satanist.

17 July 2008 at 17:55  
Anonymous Dr. Irene Lancaster FRSA said...

Israel is far from perfect. How could it be perfect, seeing how young it is and how many immigrants from all over the world it has had to absorb, as well as having to defend itself on all sides from fanatical enemies whose stated aim is to destroy it, whilst trying its hardest to integrate its minorities, which make up 20% of the country. And it does this far better than the UK, I can assure you.

However, the two Israeli soldiers in question were illegally abducted, or kidnapped, murdered and then used as bait. Their families only learned that they were murdered two years after the event.

Hamas still has Corporal Shalit somewhere in Gaza, unless he has been murdered as well.

Regarding atrocities carried out by westerners on Iraqis etc, these have not been carried out in the name of religion. When exposed the perpetrators are punished, not greeted as heroes by their governments.

I do admire Cranmer's blog, but some of the people posting on it are racists of the worst sort.

As it happens my own blog on the issue of the prisoner exchange has elicited much favourable comment from Israel and elsewhere.

What I have said in my blog is that the Jewish people believe in 'the world eternal'. Here suffering will cease for the victims of atrocities. Those who perpetrate such atrocities, for which which they may be rewarded in this world, will surely meet their just desserts in the world eternal.

17 July 2008 at 17:57  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

mmm "those that do not believe in the christ are the anti christ"

mm looks like lots of common ground .

i we are now at theological dead end where we are having to re write 1500 years of theology to perform a feat of friendship .

i still say this until , the muslim leaders start showing the world that , some bits of the koran are not theologically sound , that they can produce goverment leaders of better intelligence that a third rate despot. i fail to see why they think islam is so right .

there is no critique of it , it cannot enlighten itself .

17 July 2008 at 18:02  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Dr Lancaster,

His Grace is inclining to agree, and, having pondered a few deletions in the past, he is getting a little irritated by those who are beginning to abuse his space, for this blog is indeed his space, and all communicants are his guests.

Racism is repugnant, and ought to be to all Christians and right-minded individuals. Since there is neither Jew nor Greek in Christ Jesus, racial equality is evidently a prerequisite of Christian orthodoxy, even if this has not always been manifest or observed by sundry Christian groups or individuals throughout the Church age.

His Grace is open to receiving complaints and requests for deletions. He will not delete simply because something offends, for none has the right not to be offended. That he does not delete does not in any way indicate his approval of any comment. However, racism or unreasoned disparaging generalisations of any ethnic group will not be tolerated.

Should any comment fall foul of this, His Grace asks that you please adduce your reasoning for his consideration.

This prohibition does not and cannot in any sense be applied to matters of religion, upon which very broad topic His Grace continues to welcome intelligent and erudite comment.

17 July 2008 at 18:24  
Anonymous Highlander said...

I’m not convinced that the ABC is apologising for Christian doctrine, especially the doctrine of the trinity, but his entire letter seems to me to be unnecessarily cautious, gracious and friendly though it is.

I have no real axe to grind or position to defend on this one, being of another persuasion, but the sense I do get from his response to the Muslim world is one of a general downplaying of Christian theological distinctives in order to keep the waters of inter-faith dialogue calm.

For instance, although he argues for the centrality of the Bible, his letter offers no strong doctrine of scripture as inspired and inerrant. The doctrine of the trinity is confused and unclear and the distinctiveness of the three persons not fully maintained. Is it an effort to appear sufficiently monotheistic to Muslim theologians? There seems little mention of the absolute centrality of the cross in penal substitutionary terms, and therefore it lacks a proper explanation of the Christian doctrine of salvation. An evangelistic opportunity missed?

Nor is there any mention of the suffering and martyrdom of Christians in Islamic lands. This would have the moment and the place for it.

Finally, the letter is signed off ‘In the love of God.’ Is the name of Jesus Christ embarrassing, and too provocative to be used in inter-faith dialogue?

We do look for graciousness in Christian leaders, but we also expect clarity and conviction.

17 July 2008 at 18:25  
Anonymous edward tattysyrup said...

Highlander - a thoughtful and moderate response with no personal abuse or vilification of Williams.

Whatever next!

Cranmer - delete him immediately!

17 July 2008 at 19:13  
Blogger Unsworth said...

@ Homophobic horse

Simply because I do not believe that to be so. I may have other views as to Dr Lancaster personally, but I'd prefer to attack the argument rather than the individual - at least whilst a guest on His Grace's blog.

17 July 2008 at 19:22  
Blogger Unsworth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 July 2008 at 19:23  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Racism is not something a Christian should have anything to do with. I personally pray regularly that one day John Sentamu will become the ABC.
But at the same time I really do feel that Islam is going to be the end of us, I really do. These feelings have nothing to do with race, because Islam is not a race. I feel this way because of the things that are being said by leaders of the church, and politicians, whom seem oblivious to the indignity which we Christians have to suffer when they make ridiculous statements about the nature of our heritage, culture and religion.
This is a bloody Christian nation, I was brought up in such a way as to have high regard for my religion, it was meant to mean a great deal to me, and suddenly it means jack shit.
I make no apologies for feeling this way. Inter-faith relations is a marvelous idea; equality is equally marvelous, but this Orwellian Animal Farm type equality is nothing less than a bum deal for those of us who are supposed to have pride in our nation, and who have to explain to our kids why everyone seems determined to turn it into some kind of multicultural zoo, or safari park with no definable boundaries.

17 July 2008 at 19:28  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Dr Lancaster

Perfection has nothing to do with age.

Israel has chosen to absorb these people. It was not obliged to do so.

What is your definition of relative success of integration? You say Israel does this "far better". By what criteria and are there any published comparative studies?

Care to define a 'legal' abduction? That the families learned of the soldiers' deaths two years post the fact is a matter of regret, but is your point that they should have learned of this earlier?

"Atrocities carried out by westerners on Iraqis etc", have been carried out in the name of 'Democracy' and the national security of countries thousand of miles away. Which is worse, the forcible imposition of 'Democracy' or 'Religion'? For that matter what are the practical differences?

"When exposed the perpetrators are punished, not greeted as heroes by their governments." That is patently not so. Look at the Governments' statements about those who are 'defending freedom' by torturing their fellow man. Condemnation? I hardly think so.

I take it that you'd wish those whom you regard as "racists of the worst sort" to be silenced. That is a steep slope to perdition.

As to one's "just desserts in the world eternal" - we can all live in hope.

17 July 2008 at 19:46  
Blogger the doctor said...

Rowan Williams is the Anti Christ arrayed in Archbishops robes .

17 July 2008 at 19:57  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

You wont get a reply unsworth because it is a vast subject that embroils the whole intellectual firmament of our time.

Oh but here's my answer nonetheless.

In the same way the Nazism is Islam made fleshy, and Nazism made spiritual is Islam: Modern Liberalism is secularized Christianity.

This explains the bizarre syncretism of religions to create a "universal" theology which is "in harmony" with and not "offensive" to any peoples and religions. This "universalism" has been taken as the theological and philosophical linchpin of "The Bush Doctrine" - War for Democracy etc. This "universalism" is behind the attempt to create "universal" "multi-cultural" society.

The actual end result of this "universalism" is to destroy the church, destroy nations, start bloody wars, and bring about epidemics of madness such as "Global Warming".

For the Devil is only the Ape of God.

17 July 2008 at 21:54  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

'I got me flowers to strew thy way,
I got me boughs off many a tree,
But thou was up by break of day,
And brought thy sweets along with thee.

The sun arising in the East,
Though he bring light and the East perfume,
If any offer to contest with thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day like this?
Though many suns to shine endeavour,
We count three hundred, but we miss,
There is but one, and that one ever.'

'Easter', George Herbert.

Rowan is a saintly, delightful man, who needs our prayers in his current anguish. To say that the doctrine of the Trinity is offensive to Muslims is not to say that the doctrine is wrong or that it is not our best understanding of the nature of God as revealed in scripture, or that we should relinquish it in deference to the much simpler statement of monotheism in the Koran. But the doctrine of the Trinity as expressed in the Athanasian Creed is not accessible in 'soundbite' form, which is the only form that contemporary media can cope with. I feel that Rowan should have attempted a more vigourous defence of the doctrines of the catholic church, and possibly would do so, if he were not bogged down in the endless current controversies.
The Church of England will survive its current woes; women will be ordained bishops, and will be fully acceptable and accepted as such. Homosexuals in loving and caring unions will stand in the congregation on the same basis as all of us, as sinners without merit, but saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I commend the study of Calvin's discourse on usury, and his analysis of the relationship between scripture, tradition, authority and reform, and think, pray and meditate over his deep insights, and how they cast light on these disputes, and suggest a method of resolution.

18 July 2008 at 10:45  
Blogger Dave said...

When Paul said that he'd gladly be a fool for Christ I don't think he intended what the ABC has become.
The man is a fool. He is hopelessly out of his depth, wrongfooted at every turn. Can't he resign through ill health or something? I'm sure he's searching through his contract right to see if there's a get-out clause.
Will someone please put him out of his misery?
I fear for the church. I pray for Unity but not for uniformity ( as Rome would insist on)
What sets our faith apart from Islam is the possibility of dissent, of differences in theology, of the willingness to question what has been written and what has been our tradition through the centuries.
ABC was stating the obvious (to us) to a world that doesn't understand. He'd have been better shutting up and proclaiming the gospel through action.
O for another Archbishop Temple!
steadmancinques referred us to Calvin. Wasn't he the man who had all his opponents burnt at the stake once he'd gained power?

18 July 2008 at 11:22  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

One, actually, Michael Servetus who was to the Protestant Reformation what Bin Laden is to Islam. Everyone was after him, it's just that Calvin got him first!

I wasn't recommending Calvin's theocracy in Geneva, which was a sort of Protestant Riyadh, but his theology, particularly his rejection of using minutely selected portions of scripture to justify a position, whilst ignoring the universal Christian principles as proclaimed in the gospel.

I don't agree that Rowan is a fool, but he has perhaps been naive in casting pearls before swine. I have heard him preach a number of times, and his expositions are simple and clear. I would that he could bring that talent to bear witness in an unbelieving and uncomprehending world, but how many of us have that gift, after all?

I wholeheartedly agree with your contrast between Christianity and Islam. Christian education, thank God, does not consist in making rows of boys (only) squat on the floor and learn scripture completely parrot fashion in a language totally incomprehensible to most of them.

'The opposite of faith', I heard Rowan say once, 'is certainty'

18 July 2008 at 11:56  
Blogger Hiraeth said...

The difficulty with Islamic responses to the Trinity is that Mohammed simply did not understand what it was. There's a very good reason for this. Mohammed never read the Bible, chiefly because he couldn't read, and had no knowledge of the original languages. Seventh Century Arabia contained a very great number of pseudo-Christian sects, with whom Mohammed had some knowledge. The only sura in the Koran that actually has Jesus speak has him speak from the crib, something we find in gnostic texts and not in the Bible itself, for example.

Mohammed's attack on the sin of associating partners with God and the Koran's language about the incarnation indicate that what Mohammed was rejecting was not orthodox Christianity, but sort of Polytheism which gave God a family, the sort of arrangement described in the 'satanic verses' of the Koran. It is eminently probable that the Prophet saw inside a church in Syria while out with one of his caravans and saw images of Jesus, The Father, and Mary. Coming as he did from a polytheistic culture, Mohammed assumed that the Trinity was a family. Note that that attacks on Christians at the time of the Crusades often referred to them as 'polytheists', a label Chistians then, as now, would have rejected.

We should try to understand why Muslims have a problem with the trinity, but let us also be aware that this is due to an historic error. It is also due to the fact that Muslims will insist on reading the Bible through the lenses of a man writing 700 years later who knew neither Greek nor Hebrew. For those who are interested, I would suggest Doctor Salim K Haddad's book on 'The Bible and the Qua'ran'.

18 July 2008 at 19:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


18 July 2008 at 21:09  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Where is the word Trinity in the Bible?

19 July 2008 at 13:56  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...


As you probably know, the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible. But the idea, that the word is a quick way of conveying, is very clearly taught in the Bible.

1. There is only one God.

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God." -- Isaiah 45:5

2. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate persons.

"For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does." -- John 5:20

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." -- John 14:26

3. Each of these three persons is fully divine.

"To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." -- 1 Timothy 1:2

"But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom." -- Hebrews 1:8

"Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? ... You have not lied to men but to God." -- Acts 5:3-4

19 July 2008 at 14:07  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The Bible has more than three names for God.Is the Lord of Hosts a person?

19 July 2008 at 15:25  
Blogger Laban said...

"Christian education, thank God, does not consist in making rows of boys (only) squat on the floor and learn scripture completely parrot fashion in a language totally incomprehensible to most of them"

But you can go too far the other way. Last time I attended a CoE service I stayed behind to read the Book of Common Prayer again and "think on't". A churchwarden said I could take a copy. "We don't use it any more. The language is too difficult. The children wouldn't understand it"

I thought about the cheerful kids in spotless white pouring out of the madrassa on a Friday night when I lived in Bradford. Apparently they can hack classical Arabic, but rhe glorious language of the BCP is deemed beyond 'our lot'.

19 July 2008 at 15:54  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

Manfarang: "The Bible has more than three names for God.Is the Lord of Hosts a person?"

There are many names or titles used for God - one of which is Lord of Hosts:

"O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth." -- Isaiah 37:16 (King James Version)

This fits in my point 1 of the definition of what is meant by the Trinity - There is only one God.

However, that is not all that can be said about God. There is also verses in the Bible that talk about the Father relating to the Son (eg. John 5:20 quoted previously, and also John 3:35 and Mark 1:11.

"The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands." -- John 3:35

"And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." -- Mark 1:11

There is only one God. And God eternally exists as three distinct persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

19 July 2008 at 17:42  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

I think you are right. I think we expect too little of children.
In previous generations children would be expected to know far more than we think is possible now.

I remember reading a blog post about John Murray

"Murray, being a product of Scottish Presbyterianism, was an ardent supporter of the Shorter Catechism and once said this to a group of children:

'Now everyone of you children should know the Shorter Catechism from the beginning to the end without a mistake by this age. Now that’s without joking at all. At the age of twelve you ought to know the Shorter Catechism from beginning to end without even making a mistake. You don’t know what you are missing! Get down to learning it, if you haven’t already learned it!' "

Now I think asking twelve year old children to memorise 107 questions and answers is asking quite a lot. But surely past generations of Christians were not wrong to encourage even children to learn the Bible and Christian doctrine from a young age.

19 July 2008 at 17:54  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

The doctrine of the Trinity — that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are each equally and eternally the one true God — is admittedly difficult to comprehend, and yet is the very foundation of Christian truth. Although skeptics may ridicule it as a mathematical impossibility, it is nevertheless a basic doctrine of Scripture as well as profoundly realistic in both universal experience and in the scientific understanding of the cosmos.

Both Old and New Testaments teach the Unity and the Trinity of the Godhead. The idea that there is only one God, who created all things, is repeatedly emphasized in such Scriptures as Isaiah 45:18:

“For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; …I am the Lord; and there is none else.”

A New Testament example is James 2:19:

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble.”

The three persons of the Godhead are, at the same time, noted in such Scriptures as Isaiah 48:16:

“I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.”

The speaker in this verse is obviously God, and yet He says He has been sent both by The Lord God (that is, the Father) and by His Spirit (that is, the Holy Spirit).

The New Testament doctrine of the Trinity is evident in such a verse as John 15:26, where the Lord Jesus said:

“But when the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, He shall testify of me.”

Then there is the baptismal formula:

“baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).

One name (God) — yet three names!

JESUS — That Jesus, as the only-begotten Son of God, actually claimed to be God, equal with the Father, is clear from numerous Scriptures. For example, He said:

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

HOLY SPIRIT — Some cults falsely teach that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal divine influence of some kind, but the Bible teaches that He is a real person, just as are the Father and the Son. Jesus said:

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13).

TRI-UNITY — The teaching of the Bible concerning the Trinity might be summarized thus. God is a Tri-unity, with each Person of the Godhead equally and fully and eternally God. Each is necessary, and each is distinct, and yet all are one. The three Persons appear in a logical, causal order. The Father is the unseen, omnipresent Source of all being, revealed in and by the Son, experienced in and by the Holy Spirit. The Son proceeds from the Father, and the Spirit from the Son. With reference to God's creation, the Father is the Thought behind it, the Son is the Word calling it forth, and the Spirit is the Deed making it a reality.

We “see” God and His great salvation in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, then “experience” their reality by faith, through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit.

Though these relationships seem paradoxical, and to some completely impossible, they are profoundly realistic, and their truth is ingrained deep in man's nature. Thus, men have always sensed first the truth that God must be “out there,” everywhere present and the First Cause of all things, but they have corrupted this intuitive knowledge of the Father into pantheism and ultimately into naturalism.

Similarly, men have always felt the need to “see” God in terms of their own experience and understanding, but this knowledge that God must reveal Himself has been distorted into polytheism and idolatry. Men have thus continually erected “models” of God, sometimes in the form of graven images, sometimes even in the form of philosophical systems purporting to represent ultimate reality.

Finally, men have always known that they should be able to have communion with their Creator and to experience His presence “within.” But this deep intuition of the Holy Spirit has been corrupted into various forms of false mysticism and fanaticism, and even into spiritism and demonism. Thus, the truth of God's tri-unity is ingrained in man's very nature, but he has often distorted it and substituted a false god in its place.

19 July 2008 at 18:29  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

When I was a boy, each Trinity Sunday in church, we read through the Athanasian Creed, and our rector then preached on the Trinity; we don't do that anymore, I suspect for the reasons laban has identified. However at the church I attend, the BCP is still fully in current use for communion and evensong.

The Athanasian Creed is an exposition of the doctrine of the Trinity; to master it takes a lot of hard thought, prayer and study, which is probably why Mohammed didn't understand it, but rejected it superficially as an expression of polytheism. However, in my opinion, it's not as difficult as the Chalcedonian Declaration on the dual nature of Christ, some of the implications of which I am still struggling with.

I have found a useful strategy is to contemplate and meditate on Andrei Rublev's 'Ikon of the Trinity', easily available on the net, and try and think through and grasp the concept of three persons in one entity.

Perhaps I should not have been so harsh about the madrassas; so many of our children receive no Christian education at all; the law requiring a collective assembly of a broadly Christian character is not implemented in most secondary schools. RE curricula of the multi-faith variety only confuse, and tend to inculcate an inchoate and vague syncretism.
If the children in the madrassa come to understand that there is something greater than any and all of them, that the universe is not the result of blind chance, that what you see is not what there is, neither is it all there is, then the madrassas are doing a good job.
Perhaps then, the half a loaf (in my opinion) of Islam is better than no faith at all.

19 July 2008 at 18:30  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

My heart goes out to those who have never felt the power of the Holy Spirit.
When God sends His Holy Spirit, It comes with power and force and Love.
It doesn't ever leave you, you may get angry and say things you will regret, but it never leaves you.

19 July 2008 at 18:48  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Athanasian Creed


1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.

5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.

8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.

9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.

11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.

12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.

14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;

16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;

18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.

19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.

21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.

22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.

23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.

26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.

32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.

36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;

38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;

39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;

40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;

42. and shall give account of their own works.

43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

19 July 2008 at 18:59  
Anonymous Saudi said...

I think the ArchBishop of Canterbury should look at the Muslim view point of Christians and Jews
that school children are taught each day

20 July 2008 at 14:15  
Blogger Dr.D said...

"...the king also rejected extremism, saying that Muslims must present Islam's "good message" to the world."

And that message would be, "Off with their heads!"

20 July 2008 at 18:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It always seemed easier to accept the doctrine of the Trinity when singing Cardinal Newman's great hymn ('Hymns Ancient and Modern' no. 118) to the accompaniment of 'Ottery St. Mary':

"Firmly I believe and truly
God is Three and God is One;
and I next acknowledge duly
Manhood taken by the Son."


von Hayek

20 July 2008 at 23:15  
Blogger Manfarang said...

These creeds were developed centuries after the life of Jesus.The Trinity is not a biblical concept- God has many names and titles,but there is only one God.

21 July 2008 at 11:18  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Sometime soon the British and European Peoples are going to have to wake up to what is being done to them and take back their countries by force.

21 July 2008 at 11:36  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

Manfarang: "The Trinity is not a biblical concept"

Did you read the Bible passages I quoted about the persons of the Trinity relating to each other (John 3:35, John 5:20, Mark 1:11). What do you think these passages mean?

21 July 2008 at 12:28  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The Son of God is the Messiah.
(The Messiah is not God)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.
Romans 8:14

21 July 2008 at 14:26  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

manfarang: "The Son of God is the Messiah. (The Messiah is not God)"

That is not what Hebrews 1 says:

"8 But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." 10He also says,
"In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." -- Hebrews 1:8-10

21 July 2008 at 14:54  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The Son of God is the King.
All the kings of Judah and Israel were God's messiahs.

21 July 2008 at 16:17  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

You are clearly not reading what I am writing.

"But about the Son he says "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever...
He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." -- Hebrews 1:8-10

Did King David make the universe, or King Solomon? No, but Hebrews 1 says that Jesus did.

21 July 2008 at 16:45  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The words which are from the Psalms are God's promise of an everlasting kingdom to His Son.

22 July 2008 at 04:16  

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