Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Church to impose 'rule book' of beliefs

This from the Sunday Telegraph (2007JUN03):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/03/nchurch03.xml

The bishops' paper warns that in order to preserve the unity of the Church, those who do not conform to a more prescriptive statement of faith will be "forced out".

I appreciate that this is probably the Telegraph's journalistic interpretation, but it still left me wondering about the logic of trying to counter disunity by ... enforcing disunity.

And anyway, doesn't the Church of England already have a 'rule book'? (I think King James had something to do with it....)

5 comments:

  1. As an Anglican I say good for them for doing this. If it means something in particular to be a christian then I don't see why it is unreasonable to set that down in writing and expect those who want to call themselves Christians to abide by it.

    Otherwise you end up with a situation, as you see in parts of the Anglican Church today, that would be the same sort of stupidity as someone claiming to be an atheist who goes to church twice a week and spends his days preaching the christian Gospel to anyone who will listen.

    I once declared myself a liberal atheist to make a point about this sort of thing. I'm an atheist but ... I happen to believe in God. People who claim to be "liberal christians" do essentially the same sort of thing. "I'm a christian but ... I reject some fundamental tennants of what it means to be a christian".

    Words mean things in particular and people should not be allowed to redefine them as they see fit.

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  2. "Words mean things in particular and people should not be allowed to redefine them as they see fit.

    I think you're on shaky ground there. Language develops (dare I say 'evolves'?) over time. People do redefine words, and if enough other people agree with those redefinitions, they stick. I'm not a linguist, but I understand that some of the words I use today had quite different meanings in a previous age. An example: "prevent" used to mean "go before" but these days it means "stop something from happening".

    It's all about consensus. I can be a righteous pedant as much as I want, but if people don't understand me I'm wasting my breath.

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  3. "I think you're on shaky ground there. Language develops (dare I say 'evolves'?) over time. People do redefine words, and if enough other people agree with those redefinitions, they stick."

    Sure, but you'd be making my point here in noting this. If you redefine what it means to be a christian then that means what it used to mean to be a christian no longer applies and you have something else in its place that just happens to go by the same name.

    Does the word christian mean something in particular, something that refers to a historic faith with particular beliefs ?

    Simply redefine words to discard the meaning but keep the form is foolishness in this sort of setting where it is done deliberately do that the liberals in question can claim the mantle christian while discarding everything that makes it distinctive.

    I might as well insist that I can be a liberal atheist.

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  4. Wait a minute... The word "Christian" is defined by the Anglican church? Who gave them the authority to define that particular word? Did they get the OK from the Catholics, the Lutherans, etc...

    Here in the USA the word "Evangelical" has changed. It used to be Evangelical simply meant someone who embraced the "evangel" which is the Gospel itself. Nowadays it represents extreme fundamentalists who are politically outspoken. I highly suspect they would not agree with the Anglican definition.

    Some Churches teach "ignore the Old Testament", others teach "every single word of the Whole Bible is 100% inerrant". Who is right? The latter would need to follow Deuteronomy 21:18-21 which said a stubborn, disobedient, rebellious son who would not submit to parents or civil authorities was to be stoned to death.

    If they want to define "Anglican Christianity" that is fine, but don't start telling me theirs is the ONLY definition of "Christian".

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  5. I apologise for the confusion. Anglicans would define what "Anglicanism" is, I broadened the scope a little using the term Christian. Idon't think the Anglican Church has a trademark on the term, i'm just noting that historically it means something.

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