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A New Thing?
The Kew Continuum ^ | 3/20/2006 | Richard Kew

Posted on 03/20/2006 4:30:45 PM PST by sionnsar

Several weeks ago I wrote a piece about the theological vacuum that there is among those who believe the whole issue of rethinking our understanding of human sexuality is of God. As I have before, I asked at that time if anyone could come up with an adequate theological response to orthodoxy, and as usual, there has been a resounding silence. I guess it should not surprise me because few 'reappraisers' visit this blog, but stuff does get around on the Internet and I had hoped that somehow or other it would get into the in-box of some of those leading this charge away from received biblical values.

However, I have raised the issue with one or two 'progressive' friends, and it would appear that the only approach they can come up with that gives them permission to move forward is that God is doing a new thing. That is, to assert that God is doing something that is above and beyond anything that has ever happened before in the history of monotheism, outside the canon of Scripture, and having little to do with the on going tradition and life of the church.

What this allows for is an end run on the last 4,000 years or so, and seems to obviate any need for a response to careful historical analysis, and the mindset of the church catholic through the ages. It also obviates any need to respond to careful and disciplined theological analysis that makes it very clear that a revisionist understanding of sexuality has no place in the Christian story.

The manifesto in the Episcopal Church of those who are going down the path that God might be doing a new thing is a document that was presented to the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, England, last year, and which goes by the unlikely title of To Set Our Hope on Christ. Shallow and thoroughly postmodern in its approach toward Scripture, it asserts that "For almost forty years, members of the Episcopal Church have discerned holiness in same-sex relationships and, have come to support the blessing of such unions and the ordination or consecration of persons in those unions" (TSOHOC 2.0). It believes that this is the gift that we have to offer the rest of the world.

It is not my intention to respond to this document, although obviously I find it totally lacking, but to move forward to discuss the wider implications of what it means for God to be doing a new thing like this in our midst.

First of all, we have to get a clear answer to the question why God has broken completely will all precedent that was set by... God! If we are to be trinitarian Christians believing in the God who has revealed himself, then it is essential that we accept that this deity is eternal, almighty, and immutable. This means that God was, is, and always will be unchanging and changeless, and that in this Almighty God we live and move and have our being.

This also means that what we believe (and have always believed) about this God and God's self-revelation is either wrong, or was revelation just for a limited period of time and now has been superceded. This would mean that we are part of some kind of evolutionary continuum, and not only have we evolved 'upward' but so has God.

This further means, therefore, that if God is doing a new thing, then God is a process rather than all the things that Christians have declared him to be since 325 AD and the Council of Nicea. If this God is always changing, developing, and altering, because we are always changing, developing, and altering, then this God is becoming a different God than the One he used to be. It is also to say that those who are in the know, gnostics if you like, have a better idea of who God is and what God is up to than the whole of the rest of world Christianity.

To say that God is doing a new thing is an attempt to totally sidestep revelation and all our Christian past in favor of an untried and untested future. It also raises such huge questions that it soon becomes apparent that this solution to a profund theological dilemma is actually no solution at all, unless you want to abandon all that the church believes about God, and start again from scratch. It is to happily declare ourselves out of step and out of communion with the whole Christian faith tradition of the last two millennia. This is nothing less than chronological arrogance that flies in the face of To Set Our Hope On Christ's protestations of humility.

That these 'progressives' are prepared to go to such lengths illustrates that not only does the left not understand precisely what it means to be human and made in the image of God, but also that they have totally lost touch with the nature of the triune God in whose image we have supposedly been made (Genesis 1:27, Mark 10:5-9). This is perhaps the most supreme example of cutting off your nose to spite your face, or of demolishing the whole building in which your apartment is located for fear that your home will be repossessed!

Looking at the history of the church, there has been a steady stream of those who have pronounced that God is doing a new thing going back as far as Montanus, a prophetic individual from Asia Minor at the end of the Second Century. His prophecies were claimed to be of a higher order than what God had already revealed, and were finally declared suspect. There were also a variety of strange practices and values attached to the Montanists.

It would seem that a good few of these movements of new or higher revelation have a sexual component to them. Somewhere within them there are individuals who chafe under biblical standards of sexual morality. We have certainly seen this in plenty of 20th Century groups who have made such claims. And here we have such a claim being made again, except this time instead of being on the fringes it is in the heart of the established churches.

I actually had an experience of this phenomenon early in my ministry. In the early 1970s as the charismatic renewal was cranking up and from America's West Coast came the Jesus Movement, I was the assistant on the staff of a young and dynamic parish in North London. A Jesus Movement group had found its way to London and began preying on our fairly large and lively congregation of teens and twenties. This group was then known as the Children of God.

The Children of God had been founded by a Christian Missionary Alliance pastor who subsequently took for himself the name Moses David. He had been a plain vanilla evangelical minister, but as the phenomenon went forward he began receiving revelations which resulted in the Children of God moving away from revealed Christianity. In a relatively short time they went from being a quirky but basically orthodox outfit, to being something entirely different.

Among the revelations that Moses David had was one that opened the doors for a different kind of sexuality. Certainly, his own appetites were met by a variety of women, and not long after this, supposedly under the guidance of God, they launched their "flirty fish" initiative which based upon the teaching of Jesus that he would make his followers fishers of men, sent out a bevvy of pretty young women into the streets to offer their bodies to men as evangelistic outreach.

For more than a year I lived in proximity to this group, and the problems and damage that they did in the lives of individuals. Indeed, one young woman who had gone off and joined the group for a while until her parents abducted her, lived with us for many months, so we were up very close to all that was going on among these people.

If God is doing something new, then I suggest that those who adhere to this notion rather than ignoring objections to their position should provide solid and strong justification for it that item by item, issue by issue tells us clearly why God's nature has changed, and why God's nature even needs to change. We need evidence, we need hard facts, we need solid research and clear spiritual insights to help us grasp the kind of new thing that God might be doing because God's nature is in a process of evolution. Those asserting that a new thing is taking place are the ones who are obligated to clear away without reason of doubt objections to their position, not vice-versa.

We haven't received this, and certainly To Set Our Hope On Christ does not provide anything but the most tentative grounds for accepting this huge sea change that is being claimed is taking place. This is what I might call as a result of my experience Moses Davidism.

In effect, what I am being asked to do as I climb the mountain of faith is to change midstream to untried and untested equipment. Not only that, but I am being asked to put my whole weight on some new kind of rope that was designed by someone who has never done any research on why the old one doesn't work as well as it should. Sorry, I'm just not in the business of doing such a thing.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 03/20/2006 4:30:47 PM PST by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; axegrinder; AnalogReigns; Uriah_lost; Condor 63; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:
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Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 03/20/2006 4:31:37 PM PST by sionnsar (†† | Libs: Celebrate MY diversity! | Iran Azadi 2006)
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To: sionnsar

ANYTHING new idea can be presented as if "God is doing a new thing" What is the purpose of the scriptures?

3 posted on 03/20/2006 5:29:41 PM PST by Al Gallo
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