Switch to Southern Cone by San Joaquin Appears to Violate Canons of New Province

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The newly available English-language translation of the canons and constitution of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone indicates several inconsistencies with moves by dioceses to switch their affiliation from The Episcopal Church to the South American-based province.

The situation seems especially complicated for the Diocese of San Joaquin which already approved the switch at its annual convention last December. Article two of the Southern Cone constitution limits membership in the province to dioceses “that exist or which may be formed in the Republics of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and which voluntary declare themselves as integral diocesan members of the province.” Article four of the constitution requires that amendments “be submitted to the Anglican Consultative Council for consideration and then to each diocesan synod for approval.”

In a statement given to a reporter from The Living Church, a spokesman for Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone said the provincial leadership was aware of the constitutional impediments before voting unanimously to issue its “emergency, temporary and pastoral” invitation to affiliate. “Both the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone and the General Synod decided to go ahead because of the nature of the emergency,” the spokesman said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Posted February 27, 2008 at 6:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. seitz wrote:

This explains why +Gregory has been consistent in saying that his pastoral actions are emergency only. He has not sought to change the constitution of his province to reflect a different polity than heretofore (as in Nigeria). He is doing something he judges pastorally necessary, for a season.

February 27, 9:21 am | [comment link]
2. Adam 12 wrote:

It all reminds me of the knock at the door in the middle of the night that Jesus speaks of…

February 27, 9:58 am | [comment link]
3. Grandmother wrote:

Wouldn’t want to be repetitive, but ALL of the supervising Primates have always made the same statement.  Emergency and for sure, temporary! 

Seems they have the odd notion that souls at risk are their business.

What an odd idea.

Gloria in SC

February 27, 10:01 am | [comment link]
4. Marie Blocher wrote:

“Seems they have the odd notion that souls at risk are their business.”
Grannie Gloria, it must have something to do with
thinking upside down, as it only seems to occur to Primates in the southern hemisphere.

Marie at Rez

February 27, 10:26 am | [comment link]
5. seitz wrote:

That is not true. SC has said this. Rwanda has not said this (AMiA is not ‘temporary’). Nigeria has not said this. It sought an actual polity change.

February 27, 10:39 am | [comment link]
6. Grandmother wrote:

AMIA was not an “emergency” situation anyway, there were on the scene before GC03.  As far as I remember, they were “church-planters”, until the flap at Pawleys Island. I clearly remember ++Orombi (Uganda) making the statement to the effect that “they”(meaning the Global South)  will be happy when there is reconciliation and they can relinquish oversight.

I’ll double check on Nigeria, but not just now.


February 27, 10:57 am | [comment link]
7. Words Matter wrote:

Reminds me of the last line from the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church:

the prescriptions ... are to be applied with due regard for canonical equity, and having before one’s eyes the salvation of souls, which is always the supreme law of the Chuch.

February 27, 11:04 am | [comment link]
8. robroy wrote:

I know this is a shock to some, but there are people out there that believe that carrying out our Gospel mission is more important than polity. KJS bends canon laws to oppress the orthodox and persecute Christians. The province of the Southern Cone bends it to rescue them.  Oh, well. Is that living in the tension? I won’t be criticizing ABp Venables.

February 27, 11:08 am | [comment link]
9. Doug Martin wrote:

Seems to be the continuing profound deafness and self righteous justification of the conservative wing of the church, that the only part of the Tanzanian communique which pertains is the part we like, not the prohibition against intervention in other provinces, that canons are only of value when they support our cause, and are otherwise fluid and can be ignored at will, that the function of a central authority is only of value when it agrees with us, and not as an instrument of general accord (as the ACC approving alterations in the Canons).  One unholy, separated, divided, and shattered communion trying to justify its shame.

February 27, 11:33 am | [comment link]
10. Wilfred wrote:

#1 Matt -  Well, if Immanuel Kant, maybe Genghis Khan.

February 27, 12:09 pm | [comment link]
11. Virgil in Tacoma wrote:

#10…Couldn’t have said it better Doug.

February 27, 12:11 pm | [comment link]
12. Sarah1 wrote:

RE:  “. . . that canons are only of value when they support our cause, and are otherwise fluid and can be ignored at will”


Don’t be so hard on yourselves, Doug.  ; > )

Rich.  Rich Irony.

February 27, 12:25 pm | [comment link]
13. seitz wrote:

#9—let it be put then in simple terms: the best fires have the best fireplaces. Gospel and Order are gifts of One Lord.

Maybe that is what is shocking.

February 27, 12:32 pm | [comment link]
14. seitz wrote:

#9—and: there was no criticism of +Gregory from me…quite the opposite. I said he himself acknowledged this was temporary.

February 27, 12:33 pm | [comment link]
15. TLDillon wrote:

It never ceases to amaze me that some, or many, ......no make that a vast amount really want what we have done in the San Joaquin Dioceses to be a bad thing. That we and our bishop are wreckless and illegal and just plain wrong. And that the invitiation from AB Venables and the So. Cone and its HoB was in violation. What is it really all about with many who just go after Bishop John-David and the Dio. of San Jooaquin that the masses just have to pick, and pick, and pick to vilify him, his shepherding, those that faithfully believe in him and his leadership and now the So. Cone. Just not happy enough to accept that maybe what has and is being done is a very good, right and just emergency, temporary move…No not a NEW THING, but a very good thing and pastorial care for those who stand firm on the traditions we and our ancestors have lived into for more than 2000+ years that is being changed by TEC? Yes! Souls are at stake. As our chacellor so aptly put…“The building is burning and the fireman are at the door there to rescue and those inside are asking for their credentials and verification before they exit with the firemen!”

February 27, 12:49 pm | [comment link]
16. TLDillon wrote:

BTW…..I will go on record right now to say that I believe that his “temporary” oversight will not last as long as the the reign of Griswold and Schori!

February 27, 1:01 pm | [comment link]
17. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Matt Kennedy [#1] writes:

The canons are living documents. Surely words written so long ago cannot have a binding effect on us today. ... I am thankful that ++Venables and his bishops are enlightened men capable of letting yesterday’s dogmas go the way of the dodo.

So it’s OK to cast aside yesterday’s dogmas when they prove inconvenient to doing what we want to do. I’m delighted to hear you will no longer oppose TEC’s prayerful decisions to allow gay bishops and, perhaps, committed same-sex unions.

February 27, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
18. Br. Michael wrote:

10 and 12 border crossings were in response to what you and your folks are doing.  You won’t stop as you have been repeatedly requested, so the border crossing response to your actions won’t stop.  You know for a group that made cannonical violation a standard tactic to advance your agenda your sudden appeal to the canons is hypocritical to say the least.

February 27, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
19. tired wrote:

FWIW, I have personally heard Abp Kolini and Bp Murphy describe AMiA as a temporary mission.  Here is a link in which Abp Akinola says the same.

My understanding of the canonical changes was that they were made to avoid criticism that the more substantial mission efforts were somehow defective under canons of the overseeing province.  AFAIK, the SC appears to avoid the criticism by using existing bishops for oversight.

February 27, 1:18 pm | [comment link]
20. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Doug, rather lopsided of you to observe that someone’s not complying with Windsor when the whole NEW THANG(TM) gospel of the ECUSA/TEC/GCC/Whaz-UpToday started and has defiantly and continuously and deliberately destroyed the Anglican Communion without so much as a concern other than for their autonomy.  Even in the face of the disapproval of the ABC, the ACC, the Primates, and Lambeth 1998.  But stick to that plan, it seems to be working.  Focus all the attention on the canons elsewhere so as not to look for the non-existent ones that the PB/Beers dreaming team have manufactured out of whole cloth, abused where existent, and look for the creation of new ones in GC2009 by the illiberal GC to force compliance to canons and NOT Gospel. 

We have a theme song if not totally new that is so apropos of this attitude:

February 27, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
21. Wilfred wrote:

#18 D.C. - Do we need to start putting “Satire Employed” warnings on posts like Matt’s, when irony is used, so that you can “get it”?

February 27, 1:46 pm | [comment link]
22. Mike L wrote:

Re: the canons of the SC….
Resolution of the Provincial Synod of the Southern Cone of America
WE the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America meeting in Valpariso, Chile, in November 2007 welcome into the membership of our province on an emergency and pastoral basis those dioceses of the Episcopal Church taking appropriate action to separate from that Church.
We do this in order that such dioceses may continue in the mainstream of the Anglican Communion and be faithful to its Biblical and historic teaching and witness; and we pray for God’s grace and help to resolve the painful, critical situation in our beloved Anglican Communion.
Received 11/09/07

February 27, 2:08 pm | [comment link]
23. TLDillon wrote:

Thank you Mike L #24,
Myself and many other congregants in the Dio. Of San Joaquin were given a copy of the So. Cone’s Canons & Consitution at our Deanery meetings. There is no attempt to hide or confuse anyone. This article by Steve Waring is a blatant attempt to stir up ire and cause contempt.

February 27, 2:15 pm | [comment link]
24. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Matt Kennedy [#23], the “Progressing Toward Utopia” piece that you link to above says in part:

But of course, man’s nature is not good.

You definitely have a low anthropology, Matt, apparently coupled with a tendency to see things as purely black and white.  Humanity’s imperfections don’t mean that we’re 100% immutably bad.  (To forestall a black-and-white strawman retort:  neither does our evident ability to improve ourselves imply that we’re perfectible.)

Matt writes:

And, as the horrifying wars and genocidal massacres fueled by the godless “reason” and “science” of the twentieth century demonstrated, increasing knowledge does not necessarily lead to reasonable government or peace.

Perhaps; but let’s try looking at more than just a few scenes from the (on-going) movie. Consider a variation on Gregg Easterbrook’s thought experiment:  If you polled 10,000 randomly-selected people living in the world today, how many do you think would be willing to trade places permanently with a random person living in 1908?  True, you might find yourself living the life of a wealthy English nobleman. But statistically, you’d be more likely to end up as a Russian serf or a Chinese peasant. I doubt there are many people, in any of today’s cultures, who would be willing to make such a trade.

If you truly believe in a better life after this one, then you must concede that the 20th century, notwithstanding its horrific costs, wasn’t irredeemably bad.

February 27, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
25. Cennydd wrote:

Dear One Day:  I was at the deanery meeting Sunday at St Matthias’ in Oakdale, and I have to say that you’re right on the money.  It looks to me as though this is an effort on someone’s part to discredit what we did and torpedo our temporary arrangement with Archbishop Venables and the Province.

February 27, 3:07 pm | [comment link]
26. Br. Michael wrote:

DC don’t confuse advances in technology with human progress.  But then you don’t have a Christian worldview along with the Christian understanding of sin, which you, yourself, have admitted.
Man has not advanced in dealing with others since Cain killed Abel.  We can just do it more effeciently now.

February 27, 3:18 pm | [comment link]
27. Irenaeus wrote:

It sure would be ironic for ECUSA’s “might makes right” revisionist rulers to fulminate about another province deviating from its canons. Ironic as in Matthew 23:24.

February 27, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
28. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Matt Kennedy [#29] writes:

I wonder what you would say to this gentleman: ... Have you happened read Romans 3:10-20 lately?

I’d probably say to Paul:  It’s intriguing, brother, that —

• you’re invincibly certain (at least to outward appearances) that you’re got all the answers.  You were zealous in following the Law.  You were zealous in persecuting Christians.  After your sudden flip-flop, you were zealous about spreading the gospel that you decided was correct, scornfully disdaining what the people who actually knew and worked with Jesus had to say;

• paradoxically, you seem to despise your own human weaknesses;

• you’ve generalized the above into an accusation of man’s total depravity, from which your gospel is, conveniently, the only hope of rescue.

In other words, Paul, you’ve got some serious issues there, bro’ ....


Matt writes: 

We are “totally depraved” in that every faculty is twisted and warped and yet we are not “utterly depraved”. We still carry the imago dei.

Yes, our material circumstances are better now than in the past but our nature is not.

“Twisted and warped” compared to what, exactly? 

And to what, exactly, do you attribute the improvement in our material circumstances, if not (at least in part) our “twisted and warped” faculties?

The total-depravity view strikes me as bitter and soul-destroying.

February 27, 4:02 pm | [comment link]
29. Christopher Johnson wrote:

You’d say all that to theApostle Paul, would you?  How very Episcopalian of you.  But on one level, quite admirable, actually, and I really do mean that.  I certainly wouldn’t have the hubris to correct the Apostle Paul in such a fashion.

February 27, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
30. robroy wrote:

Doug #10 and Virgil #12, have you guys even read the DeS communique? If not, you can look at the links in the right margin. (Not that it matters, DeS is dead. Killed by Rowan Williams.) But ancient traditions, you know paragraph 12 of subsection 5 of the Council of Nicea Appendix III, say there shouldn’t be border crossing. (Of course, women bishops really ought not cite this lest their noses grow.)

February 27, 4:35 pm | [comment link]
31. William Witt wrote:


You may not be read for the apostle Paul yet.  I suggest you start with someone safer, like Reinhold Niebuhr.  It has been noted that original sin/total depravity is the only dogma that is empirically verifiable.

February 27, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
32. Rick D wrote:

A repeat ad hominem attack against the bishop has been deleted by elf. The commenter is warned.

February 27, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
33. tired wrote:

#27 Your scenario seems quite likely to me and, if this is of concern to anyone, it would be to those in the SC (who seem to have no problem with the situation.)

Of course, it would be illogical for anyone to conclude that DioSJ did not withdraw from GC because there were problems with a receiving province’s canons.  Withdrawing is not the same thing as reception.


BTW, on a related note, I never received any response to my several invitations to show me where in the C+C of TEC is there a requirement to maintain the accession clause.  As I read the C+C, there is merely a requirement for entry of a diocese into GC.

February 27, 5:35 pm | [comment link]
34. Alta Californian wrote:

I think the issue here is one of hypocrisy.  TEC really has no right to complain about violated canons.  But if DSJ and other reasserters use that as an excuse, and submit to violated canons of their own, than I think they all lose the right to complain of TEC violations.  How do I put this….Two wrongs don’t make a right!  If nothing else this may make DSJ’s job that much harder in court.  And as to Southern Cone’s resolution, it looks like it may have been unconstitutional, by their own rules and canons.  What interests me is that DSJ made the effort to change their constitution appropriately, while Southern Cone did not.  I respectfully suggest that Archbishop Venables should have thought that through more carefully.  In not doing so he has opened his actions and the movement that is forming around him to a new line of attack.  We’re drowning in a sea of disorder and hypocrisy every which way.

D.C., you won’t agree with this, but it has been the belief and teaching of the Church that Paul did know Jesus, that they actually met on the road to Damascus.  But never mind, you and Matt+ are talking past each other and I think always will be, in part because you start with such different epistemologies.  Whether or not it is useful to keep talking in such a situation is an open question.

February 27, 5:55 pm | [comment link]
35. Dale Rye wrote:

Re #34: If the canons are unbiblical, as you assert, then Southern Cone has deliberately chosen to regulate its corporate life by unbiblical principles. If so, how does it constitute a refuge for those who are seeking a community that is regulated by biblical principles?  You can’t have it both ways.

Re #9: There are certainly “people out there that believe that carrying out our Gospel mission is more important than polity.” However, those people are not generally Anglicans (whose adherence to the Historic Episcopate is a defining feature) or members of any of the many other Christian groups that differentiate themselves from other denominations chiefly by the way they organize their churches (Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Independent Baptists, Church of Christ, etc., etc.). People who regard polity as irrelevant are generally members of independent Evangelical or Charismatic congregations that hold a very different doctrine of the Church (ecclesiology) than any church that recognizes structures above the local level.

The differences in polity among these groups were not adopted arbitrarily; they reflect important differences in ecclesiology. The final clause beginning “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” is just as much a part of the Creed as “I believe in God.” For those who can say the whole Creed without crossing their fingers, it is just as important a clause. For them, “Carrying out the Gospel mission” is not about private action, but about what the Church does as a corporate body. Our individual missions can never be abstracted from our place within the Body of Christ and its corporate mission. For people who take that last “I believe” seriously, obedience to the Church is an integral part of obedience to God, not an optional extra ranking below obedience to what our private conscience and individual reason tell us God wants.

So, we come back again to the essential unity in motive between those who are dissolving the Anglican Communion from the left and from the right—-both are equally convinced that their personal reading of God’s will as it has been revealed to us trumps any decision that the Church might reach in accordance with its own self-understanding (its ecclesiology reflected in polity).

February 27, 6:10 pm | [comment link]
36. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Dale, the Anglican Communion as a church did reach a consensus in Lambeth 1998 I.10. The question is why is a provincial attitude, ECUSA/TEC’s to be precise, is considered to trump what the Spirit has said in the church and the Church Catholic?

February 27, 7:13 pm | [comment link]
37. Cennydd wrote:

Does anyone remember what Franklin Roosevelt said to critics of Lend-Lease?  “When your neighbor’s house is on fire, lend him your hose!”  That, in a sense, is what Archbishop Venables and the House of Bishops did for us in the (now) Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.  They “lent us their hose…...for as long as we need it.”

What would YOU have done if you had been in our shoes?

February 27, 7:26 pm | [comment link]
38. jamesw wrote:

I think that Christopher Sietz makes a very important point (and I would like to thank him for always making reasonable and intellegent posts to the debates).  I would agree with him completely that it is very important that any and all “interventions” be understood to be temporary in nature.  From my perspective, while I am very supportive of the concept of emergency interventions, I am somewhat wary of creating American bishops for these emergency interventions, and definitely opposed to creating what appear to be permanent American structures.

Looking at it legally then, I would suggest that the Diocese of San Joaquin must now be regarded as a stand-alone diocese in the Anglican Communion (because I would argue that there was NOTHING in TEC’s constitution and canons that prevented it from seperating itself from TEC), not part of the Province of the Southern Cone (because that appears to be not possible canonically at this time) but with a special relationship with that primate.

February 27, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
39. Dale Rye wrote:

Re #40: I can’t answer your question because I’ve been asking it myself. Still, how does that justify another province from repeating TEC’s sin of preferring private revelation and individual conscience to obedience to the mind of the Church Catholic as Anglicans have always understood it?

February 27, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
40. robroy wrote:

OK, everybody. I have a deal in the spirit of strict adherence to canon law. San Jaoquin doesn’t come under ecclesiastical authority and women’s ordination (also in violation of canon law) is repealed. (Hat tip to Chris Johnson)

I think that #8 hit the nail on the head.

To Chris Seitz, from ++Peter Abuja’s wonderfulletter to KJS:

It is my heartfelt desire – and indeed the expressed hope of all the Primates of the Communion – that The Episcopal Church will reconsider its actions – and make such special measures no longer necessary [CANA]. This is the only way forward for full restoration into fellowship with the rest of the Communion. Further, I renew the pledge that I made to your predecessor, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, that the Church of Nigeria will be the first to restore communion on the day that your Province abandons its current unbiblical agenda. Until then we have no other choice than to offer our assistance and oversight to our people and all those who will not compromise the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

I am reminded of the nun in Les Miserables who had never told a lie:

This was Sister Simplice, who had never told a lie in her life. Javert knew it, and held her in special veneration in consequence.

“Sister,” said he, “are you alone in this room?”

A terrible moment ensued, during which the poor portress felt as though she should faint.

The sister raised her eyes and answered:—


“Then,” resumed Javert, “you will excuse me if I persist; it is my duty; you have not seen a certain person—a man—this evening? He has escaped; we are in search of him—that Jean Valjean; you have not seen him?”

The sister replied:—


She lied. She had lied twice in succession, one after the other, without hesitation, promptly, as a person does when sacrificing herself.

“Pardon me,” said Javert, and he retired with a deep bow.

O sainted maid! you left this world many years ago; you have rejoined your sisters, the virgins, and your brothers, the angels, in the light; may this lie be counted to your credit in paradise!

February 27, 11:42 pm | [comment link]
41. Sherri wrote:

I can’t answer your question because I’ve been asking it myself. Still, how does that justify another province from repeating TEC’s sin of preferring private revelation and individual conscience to obedience to the mind of the Church Catholic as Anglicans have always understood it?

Dale, perhaps it’s because the “mind of the Church Catholic” has shattered. When TEC couldn’t wait upon it, it took actions that put others in untenable positions. In balking at the mind of the Church Catholic as expressed at Lambeth in 1998, it made it impossible for TEC members who *do* want to follow the mind of the Church Catholic. Actions provoke their own consequences.

February 27, 11:56 pm | [comment link]
42. Brian from T19 wrote:

I certainly wouldn’t have the hubris to correct the Apostle Paul in such a fashion.

I guess I have hubris too Christopher.  I’d say all that and then I’d ask him why he is the self-hating father of anti-semitism.

But more relative to the post.  It goes back to what Matt+‘s Calvinism alludes to - we are all self-serving.  The reasserters create this mythological “emergency” and use the “you started it” defense to make themselves feel better about breaking their own rules.

The reappraisers use the same sort of self-justification.  It boils down to this - we all do what we’re comfortable with.  We make up excuses to “justify” our cognitive dissonance, but in the end the best course is to be honest.  The Southern Cone unanimously called this an “emergency” not because of any damage to the soul, but because they knew that the ACC would have trouble with it.  ++Venables, +Lyons and +Schofield claimed the ABC approved to strengthen their position - wanting to try to cite some moral authority.  The whole thing has really gotten out of hand.

February 27, 11:57 pm | [comment link]
43. Cennydd wrote:

Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?  If the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and his House of Bishops issued us an invitation take shelter among them as a member diocese on a temporary and pastoral basis until a new Anglican province is up and running in North America…....as it surely will be…....then why would you think we shouldn’t have accepted that invitation…....knowing full well what would have happened to our diocese if we hadn’t? 

We were absolutely right in doing what we did!  I knew over a year ago that I would vote as I did this past January in taking us out of TEC.  I also knew that we would likely face some tough sledding and would have barbs slung at us for doing what we did. 

All of the talk about this is nothing more than an outright attempt to say that legally, the Southern Cone was wrong in inviting us, and we were equally as wrong in accepting that invitation…....and I very strongly suspect that this attempt was instigated by liberals who are actively trying their best to sow discord among us.

Our membership is a done deal!  We are a member diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone….....temporarily, to be sure….....but a member diocese just the same.  I do not think of us as “standing alone,” because I know that we are NOT alone!

February 28, 2:56 am | [comment link]
44. Cennydd wrote:

If this looks like I’ve got a case of “tight jaws,” I DO!

February 28, 3:04 am | [comment link]
45. TLDillon wrote:

Right On, Cennydd!
Most of these posters do not even live or worship in our diocese yet they think they know everything there is to know about what has been said and what has transpired here in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. It would be like you ad I talking about what is happening in Quincy or Pittsburg, or any other diocese that we do not worship in nor are privy to the goings on behind and within the scenes!
Get a grip people!

February 28, 3:49 am | [comment link]
46. Martin Reynolds wrote:

As I recall Presiding Bishop Venables made a declaration at the time of the San Joaquin vote incorporating the “diocese”. At the same time he made a declaration abandoning his previous position on the former bishop of Recife and his clergy, held in relationship until then in what I believe he referred to as a Personal Prelature, and also incorporated them into what I assumed was some new ecclesial unit as yet unknown in Anglicanism. I had not realised that that this was all “temporary”, I thought it constituted part of a new shape of Church for Bishop Venables and his friends.

But much of this new ecclesial construction appears to exist in bishop Venables’ mind so it will be interesting to hear the report of his account when he visits with other chums soon.

February 28, 7:20 am | [comment link]
47. Larry Morse wrote:

DC: I read Genesis again and again. Now, I do not take Adam and Eve literally as I suppose you do not, but this notion of total depravity is not in Genesis anywhere. We committed a serious crime, disobedience to God, because of intellectual vanity, as we are punished for it, but the punishment is that we will sweat for our survival and we will die at last. In short, God has specified our punishment, and total depravity isn’t it. 
    On the other hand, Paul has made the case of our utter depravity but I wonder where he got that concept. I’ve always thought that he made it up because it is in his nature to think this way. As you may suppose, I find Paul’s version of Christianity the result of a passionate commitment to extremity,  a neurosthenic’s pursuing his misery with fanaticism. As a result, I have found the refusal of “good works”  wholly untenable; we may not be able to save ourselves unaided, but I find no evidence in Genesis or reports we have of Jesus that justify Luther’s obsession with total depravity.
We sinned, God has specified our punishment; we sweat and die, and Christ came to lift this burden for those who believe in him. Christ didn’t take away our sins; we obviously still have them. He came to show us the way to eternal life for which he was obliged to die.
  Are good works meaningless? Are they done only by the saved, Luther-fashion? Or is it that good motives produce good works -as much as the world allows this causality -  and the motive is the issue. Well, I submit the motive IS the issue and Christ has made that clear as can be. Does Christ say anywhere that we are hopelessly depraved? Can right motive on our part contribute to our salvation? If not, then the churches are pointless. God’s mercy may be essential, but the notion of depravity leaves us helpless and our free will purposeless.
  I must say that Christianity in the long run would be better off if Paul has never appeared. He was a great salesman, he sold a lot of pre-owned cars, but I find it hard to believe that what Christianity need most was a Salesman’s manual on increasing                                 sales. What we have is not Christianity, but Paulianity. The Heretic in the Deep Snow

February 28, 11:09 am | [comment link]
48. Alta Californian wrote:

Funny how a post about the Southern Cone descends into old chesnuts about St. Paul.  He has always been easier to dismiss than to closely track.

February 28, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
49. Didymus wrote:

I find it funny the tendency to pick on Paul when there is a much easier target.  I’m talking about that crackpot who claimed to be the Son of God, the charlatan who obviously deceived people with tricks and illusions.  This man was an egomaniac who claimed to be the only path to heaven, while the whole time surrounding himself with “former” prostitutes and lots of wine.  I hear that he was a glutton, too.

I mean, come on, who’d want to go to a church that was based on the teachings of a guy like that ?

(sorry for the usage of sarcasm and reductio ad absurdam, but seriously, if we know so much better than what has been writ, why not call our religion for what it is: “Bobianity”, “DCianity”, “Didymusianity”, “JohnDoeianity”?)

February 28, 4:42 pm | [comment link]
50. Larry Morse wrote:

Sorry. I meant I will NOT respond. Larry

February 28, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
51. Larry Morse wrote:

Well, I asked a question or two and it did not g et answered. Now I shouldn’t have asked here because it is clearly off the thread and I am surprised that the Elves didn’t g ive me a whack.  However,  you didn’t address what I said about essential depravity and what Genesis tells us.  You didn’t address the issue of right behavior as measured by motive ( as Christ declared the rule), not by act. You did not address what I asked about the purpose of a free will if we are from birth doomed to hell. Instead I get #54 and a a good deal of puerile sarcasm. Where did the notion of utter depravity come from? Not Jesus, surely. By all means, take Peter’s word, but this doesn’t answer the question of where Paul got his notion of our utter depravity - or am I in error, that he does NOT hold this notion?
  OK Elves, I will res[pond to any response. I am off thread. Larry

February 28, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
52. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Matt Kennedy [#51] writes:

““Twisted and warped” compared to what, exactly?”

Compared 1. To our original nature prior to the Fall. 2. To the perfect standard of God’s character as revealed in scripture.

I’m pleasantly surprised that this thread is still going; it’s an interesting topic.

Matt, the notion that our original nature was somehow good and noble, before we went and willfully screwed it up, is even more risible than the (a)historical claims of the LDS Church: The Mormons’ tales are likewise sheer fantasy, but at least theirs aren’t contradicted by the extant evidence.


Matt Kennedy [#55], concerning Peter:  The NT evidence reveals a man who was physically and morally courageous but intellectually hesitant, even timid.  He seems to have fallen under Paul’s influence even though by his own admission he didn’t understand him.

February 28, 9:08 pm | [comment link]
53. D. C. Toedt wrote:

A follow up about Peter’s intellectual gifts:  In his big Pentecost speech, Peter seems to have anticipated a sin not uncommon to lawyers, that of mischaracterizing an authority in the hope of furthering his argument and convincing his audience. 

According to Acts, Peter argued that in Psalm 16.8–11, David supposedly foretold God’s rescue of the Messiah from the grave — and since God had just raised Jesus from the dead, it stood to reason that Jesus must have been the one about whom David spoke (Acts 2.25–28). 

Unfortunately, Peter’s argument appears to be a complete fabrication.  The psalm clearly is not a prediction of a future event, but an expression of confidence that God will protect the psalmist himself.

Assuming (dubiously) that Peter was accurately, my guess is that he wasn’t deliberately misrepresenting, but was merely woefully misinformed.

(Adapted from here.)

February 28, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
54. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Dale, #43, if you look at the canons of the Second Ecumenical Council, and read the numbers II and IV, with their epitome and commentary, you’ll have your answer.

See pp 176 - 180+ at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/const1.txt

The teaching of heresy and the “elevation” of a false bishop led to the intervention of bishops, the nullity of the elevation and ‘episcopal’ acts of the “never was a bishop”.  These are clear limitations of the claims made for canon II by ECUSA/TEC/GCC and from the same council, therefore of equal age and respect and power.  That is precisely why interventions are permissible and date from the same arrogance and provinciality problems as ECUSA/TEC/GCC has wrought.

It is not two wrongs make a right.  It is the duty of the body of bishops to police the matter, restore order, and correct the error of the malignant bishop or province or both.

February 29, 3:12 am | [comment link]
55. Larry Morse wrote:

But 58, where did the notion come from that we are so depraved that we are all doomed to hell. Death, yes, but damnation? We are to return to dust, we are told, not condemned to New Jersey for eternity. LM

February 29, 9:38 am | [comment link]
56. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Matt Kennedy [#62], Peter and Paul were what they were. Either one is willing to face the facts — which incidentally goes hand in hand with truly putting one’s trust in God — or not.  If not, then (to paraphrase David Pailin) one worships human wishes, not Ultimate Reality.

February 29, 10:47 am | [comment link]
57. Didymus wrote:

re: #63 “Peter and Paul were what they were. Either one is willing to face the facts — which incidentally goes hand in hand with truly putting one’s trust in God — or not.  If not, then (to paraphrase David Pailin) one worships human wishes, not Ultimate Reality”

Interesting.  So first you attack Paul and Peter on your “new” ethical grounds (Paul was an anti-Semite for claiming Christ was better than the Law, and now Peter was intellectually weak, certainly the greatest sin of all in our enlightened age), now you want to say “We can ignore the facts and worship ourselves or worship the Ultimate Reality and ignore the apostles.”

I certainly have to wonder about this “Ultimate Reality” of yours.  You see, I worship the LORD God Almighty, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who begat our Lord Jesus Christ.  This God works in very mysterious ways to interact with humanity, even going so far as to talk with us directly (for the edification of the entire world) and tell us how He wishes us to behave.  Even more important, this God is a god capable of miraculous tranformation, able to turn water into wine and the zombie we call man into a living being we would be tempted to call a god.

This is a God capable of turning an anti-Christian rabbi into the greatest defender of the Truth and the Way, and capable of turning an “intellectually weak” fisherman into a true powerhouse of inspiration.  This is a God who not only can, but did, reveal His will for His Church and His people (same thing, but I wouldn’t want to cause confusion amongst those who think the two are different).

Either these tranformations were truly “fact” and my God can do anything, or they were forgeries and I have wasted my life in pursuit of a lie when I would apparently have been better off meditating on a mountaintop in Nepal with the Dalai Lama in hope that the Ultimate Reality will enlighten me by not doing really anything at all.

On the one hand we have Christianity: a belief in a single fact, the Ressurrection; the basis from which all “fact” springs eternal.  On the other hand we have a hodge-podge of Zen Buddhism, Nietzche, and Darwin, good philosophical society, perhaps, but not too good at discovering “Truth” in any shape, form, or fashion. 

For me, the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has proven Himself to be true.  The Law is there for any who look with open eyes to know He is good and cares for us (perhaps someday I will set up a web-site explaining how all those purification rituals kept the Hebrews germ-free, or how all those rules about stoning would have prevented genetic abnormalities to creep into the Hebrew bloodlines, or those bizarre rules about land would have kept the environment sustainable, or how the Law provides a welfare system unequaled by any modern government).  I know not this “Ultimate Reality” of which you speak, save perhaps when I hear the wind howl past the opening of an empty crypt.

February 29, 3:18 pm | [comment link]
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