Saturday, 2 June 2007

Wife of Alister McGrath criticizes conservatism at Wycliffe

[...] Conservative Anglicans feel under threat these days. So it is not surprising that they feel the need to police their boundaries with vigilance, and that their greatest ire is not reserved for atheists or secularists, but for members of their own group who stand at the margins - the significantly named "open evangelicals" (gatekeepers who leave the gate ajar).

Alas, none of this is new. With supreme irony, we find it played out in the life and death of Jesus: a man from a minority religious culture attempting to keep itself pure in the light of dominant secular powers; a man repeatedly criticised by a high-minded religious group intent on maintaining purity, the Pharisees, for his association and physical contact with marginal people (Roman collaborators) and the ritually unclean, and for his critical engagement with valued cultural traditions such as strict Sabbath observance.

The threat posed by Jesus was precisely that he was open, and that he was a "category violator" - a holy man who embraced the profane, a religious man who loved the secular. And because such marginal people are threatening, they must be rooted out. We see in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus a coming together of the religious and secular powers to achieve this end. The marginal person is expelled well beyond the margin. The impurity is removed to a hill outside the walls of the city and destroyed. Read more


Anonymous said...

How utterly barmy! Who is making the fuss here, if not Blaster Bates, "Inclusive" Fraser, and now Mrs Who?

One can only conclude that it is the failed liberals who feel threatened, since they are the ones making all the squawking noises!

Anonymous said...

Joanna McGrath's piece is an exercise in religious psychology. It amounts to saying: 'I've got you taped. You're defensive, frightened and judgmental - Pharisees, in fact - but we - we're with Jesus. That's why you hate us.'
I wonder how many orthodox Jews hate this Pharisee bashing.

Iconoclast said...

I think that Anonymous's post is a very fair assessment of Joanna McGrath's bitter criticism. McGrath does not really address the issues. I have been following the discussions on this Blog re Open/Conservative Evangelicals with interest.

Turnbull had the temerity to suggest that there are aspects of Christianity that are far from inclusive - eternal damnation being one of them. Christianity seems to me to be inclusive only as a far as forgiveness is concerned.

There is no one who is so bad that they cannot be redeemed - this is very reassuring and is something strongly emphasised by CE's - but- there are conditions. Repentance from sin is also a key. When Jesus encountered the sinners, tax collectors and other 'marginalised' groups in society then they were changed.

He told the women at the well to sin no more (we don't know if she did). The tax collector gave money away. Mary Magdalene repented and became radically changed.

Jesus was also highly dogmatic. The gospels contain many dogmatic statements that Jesus made " no one comes to the Father but by me" - - for a Roman that rules out Mithras then.

1 Corinthinans Ch 9-11 could hardly be read as being inclusive -perhaps Mr Fraser needs to cut it out of of his Bible.

All this sits uncomfortably with Liberals and I think many OE's. It seems to me that only CE's are prepared to address head-on what Jesus said about eternal Judgement and the final destiny of human souls. For whatever Hell and eternal separation is, it is something put forward not by CE's, but by Jesus for our careful consideration.

It is the Elephant in the corner that the Liberals would deny exists, the OE's would prefer was not there and only the CE's prepared to proclaim and address the issue.

Yet if "Jesus saves" it must be ultimately from this Elephant is it not? (unless we are talking about some divine Building Society account).

PS Have you noticed that the "CE" mark appears on lots of consumer equipment? (my computer has one).

dave williams said...

So on who wants to be a millionaire the big question is

You're the wife of the previous principal of Wycliffe and the current Principal is misrepresented in the secular press for reminding people that our priority is evangelising the 95% of people who have very little contact with Christianity do you

a. Keep a diplomatic silence due to the problems arising from the college.
b. Write an article further emphasising alleged differences within Evangelicalism


c. Write an article explaining why Christians do see evangelism as a priority and explaining why people do need to consider their eternal future.

Well commonsense says at least a if not c. Approach b seems the type that would require appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against someone more concerned with attacking the body of Christ that proclaiming the gospel.

Incidently where was the other Mcgrath whilst the article was written. These people are much diminished by their behaviour in the media.