Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bishop Robinson at St. Mary's, Putney

It seems Robinson delivered the goods at St. Mary's; I had not heard much from him in the past in terms of preaching or theology, but it seems he does them well:

We should not be fearful for the church, for the church is not ours to win or lose. It is God's gift to us.

My homosexuality is not my sin - but I am just as frail and self-absorbed as the next person. I am not unworthy - I am made good by Jesus Christ.

Right here, in St Mary's church, Putney, I am going to divulge the homosexual agenda. It is Jesus!

Hints of a theology of the Cross, an evangelical sensibility, no? With a hint of eschatological inclusivism:

Peter Akinola and I are brothers in Christ, and one day we will be in heaven together. And we will get along, because God wouldn't have it any other way."

Here's +Fraser's take, which seems right to me:

What makes this person so interesting is that he has lost any sense that he is able to support himself spiritually through his own effort alone. His recognition of his "failure" to cope is precisely his strength. The theology is pure Luther: only when you recognise that you are unable to make yourself acceptable to God under your own steam can you collapse back upon God as the sole source of salvation. Later in the sermon, he described going from a meeting of the US House of Bishops to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, and being relieved that, at this second meeting, he could at last speak about God.

One thing: if Robinson can keep doing this, with God's help, the opposition to his ordination will seem incredible. It makes sense that in spite of everything the Episcopal Church would want him out front; the very fact of his presence--where he does things like this--does terminal damage to the efforts of GAFCON and the sour machinations of Radner. Indeed: Robinson doing this creates an audience for a critical reading of Scripture.


At 1:45 PM, Blogger Moral Order said...

Thankfully th3e C of E and it's branches are dying, someone merely meeds to give it the coup de grace - and ' Bishop' Gene may just be in the process of doing so.

Now we will be able, from the ashes of this now bankrupt and heresy - apostate - ridden body, be able to build a proper and Godly Church in England.

To suggest Luther or Lutheranism would have anything to do with this sad, sick and demented individual is to say the least a foul suggestion.

At 1:38 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

allotment p,

Of course he is sad,sick and demented--he is a sinner. But look: so are you: ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; the wages of sin? Death.

The salient point about Robinson is that he recognizes his sinfulness, and live on in grace. You should too; we should repent.

As for Luther: his theology of the Cross is all about being a sinner living in ongoing repentance; the strength of the conception comes out of Paul's complaint about his "Sarx"/the Flesh, conceived not as material body but rather his being fallen.

Perhaps your apparent expectation--of a Christian walk where you are already finally saved and are no longer a sinner, having no need to repent of anything further, & of a church already completely faultless without dead leaves and diseased branches--is symptomatic of GAFCON and Robinson's critics in general. Perhaps not.

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My homosexuality is not my sin - but I am just as frail and self-absorbed as the next person."
I think he tends to be far more self-absorbed than most and not just since 2003, having been in NJ and NH with him around. And I say this not emotively but, well, almost clinically. It's always about Gene. I do think he is very sad.

"I am not unworthy - I am made good by Jesus Christ." Better to say we are not "worthless" but, truly, "unworthy" of the grace lavished on us.

JOHN 2007

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His juxtaposition of homosexuality with alcoholism is interesting, and reveals his error: "alcoholism" is not a sin, but the abuse of alcohol is. "Homosexuality" is not a sin, but homosexual acts are. Yet is this respect he denies that he is sinning, which is just plain arrogance.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Beryl Simkins said...

Holy Smokes, Annonymous writers, What are you about?

Such harsh judgements. I just don't get it.

I thoughtfully listened to the sermons by Gene Robinson and just did not see arrogance. But is it for us to say, anyway?

I don't know the mind of God. I certainly know that was not my commission as a baptized Christian, to go forth and judge others to see if they are worthy of the calling. What a huge responsibility that would be and definitely beyond my level of expertise.

But I have learned to note who speaks my understanding of Jesus's call to us. It is a person who proclaims God's love, the God who calls to us in love, and not out of fear. It is one who acknowledges his/her own sins, and proclaims God's willingness to forgive us all. Sounds like what is being said by Bishop Gene Robinson. So, yes, I will listen to people who speak in this manner.

People who judge so harshly, I take no note of what you say.

At 8:10 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

anon JOHN 2007,

That is interesting, but note that your opinion has no foundation in normative Christian tradition--it seems heretical.

In normative Christian tradition, grace is either infused or imparted. In either case, the saved are judged Worthy in the end.

Thus, speaking of himself eschatologically in hope--as he is called to do in Scripture--he would be permitted to say he wis worthy of being saved, inasmuch as Christ makes him worthy through grace imparted or infused.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Second Anon,

I thought he said his homosexuality was not a sin--which you agreed with, on analogy with alcoholism. I did not pick up anything about him saying his homosexual acts were not sinful. So far as I know, he did not mention those, and so I do not know what foundation you have for claiming he said his homosexual acts were not sinful. You seem to be making things up, unless you have a source to be named.

Suppose though, for the sake of argument, we were to ask: are homosexual acts sinful? We need to be very clear--do you mean ALL or only SOME homosexual acts but not others?

If you said ALL, you are almost certainly wrong--you would have to show that all homosexual acts, like hand-holding and letter writing, intend something like sodomy that might credibly be held to be simply sinful, come what may. But that seems tendentious at best.

So suppose you say SOME. Then why do you suppose Robinson claims those homosexual acts are the ones that are not sinful, rather than the innocent ones? It seems once again that you simply have no good evidence; you are making things up.

At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a person who has read and studied the writings of +Robinson, I feel I am very familiar with his theology. I would submit that those here who sit in judgement of the Bishop are, first and foremost, ignorant of his theological views.

While the good Bishop does indeed hold a different view of sexuality, the remainder of his theology would find a good many admirers from the "conservative" side.

Condemnation of +Robinson by people who don't read past the headlines is rather empty and comes across as simply self-righteous bigotry.

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the BBC in 2003:

Canon Robinson says he is not celibate.

"I think it's important to understand that celibacy is a gift given to some but certainly not to all," he told the BBC. "I would say it's not God's intention for all gay and lesbian people to be celibate, just as it's not that gift given to all those who are heterosexual."

At 5:48 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Anon at 320:

That's good, but it is still speculative. In particular, he did not claim he lacked the gift of celibacy.

More to the point--even supposing without foundation that he means above that noncelibacy implies intercourse and he is not celibate--he did not claim that his non-celibate actions were free from sin.

that is significant, inasmuch as it is obviously true that the fact Q is permitted DOES NOT imply Q is always performed without sin.

At 5:55 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

This is to say--finding a foundation to judge him guilty will be difficult. To take a case: even if you hear him say "I did XYZ" you have to be sure the claim is true.

You can keep trying if you wish, but the thing that makes him interesting is precisely his capacity to defy stereotypes about homosexuals--not argumentatively so much as by his presence. He is helping make the case to the CoE that persuaded the Episcopal Church already by giving an argument from experience some ground: here is an openly gay bishop, and there is nothing to fear.


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