Pouring scorn

From Bishop Colin Buchanan

I read the article in the April issue by Sarah Mowbray with considerable interest. I respect her integrity and can sense the value to ND’s cause of a straying daughter returning to her rightful place in the fold.

However, my interest turned to amazement when I came to the crucial theological point, and I quote: ‘James and I got onto the subject of being a priest forever, and what that now means for me. We talked about the rites of ordination and the part that says, ‘You are a priest forever like Melchizedek of old.” I simply ask, in my relative innocence: which ordination rites are thought to have contained this allusion to Melchizedek?

I am not asking what the bearing of the text from Psalm 110.4, so beloved by the writer to the Hebrews, might have upon whether Sarah Mowbray should have continued as an Anglican presbyter or not. I simply ask where in Anglican ordination rites the text comes.

Until I know where it is, and then what use is supposedly made of it in that rite (for, after all, the text is solely and exclusively about Jesus Christ himself in the Letter to the Hebrews), I cannot but think the husband-and-wife conversation which precipitated Sarahs return to orthodoxy was based upon a liturgical text which did not exist.

I am not asking her to change her mind – only to explain it a whisker more to a doubter.

Colin Buchanan

21 The Drive, Alwoodley,

LeedsLS17 7QB

Flaws in universalism

From Mr Michael Penny

It seems to me that ‘Gregory MacDonald’ [The Evangelical Universalist ND March] is unaware that many evangelicals do not believe in eternal torment. The choice is clearly between ‘eternal life’ and ‘perish’ [John 3.16], not eternal life for all. And for well over 100 years a growing group of evangelicals, which today includes people like John Stott, believe in annihilation, either at the first death or at the second death [Revelation 20.13-15].

And a growing group of evangelicals also realize that those who have never heard of Christ, or have heard a warped Gospel or a confused one, may well have their names written in the Book of Life following the judgement of Revelation 20.11, which is in harmony with Christ’s words of John 5.28-29.

Having mentioned the first resurrection, for those who believe in him, the Saviour goes on to mention a second resurrection, which has two possible outcomes. Thus there is some hope for the unsaved. Many who have not heard may have their names written in the book of life, but not all. This is the gross error that ‘Gregory MacDonald’ has made.

Michael Penny

Gentle unity

From Fr John Little

As a schoolboy when more of one’s mates attended church than would be the case today, one such mate attended what was then described as Low Church or Evangelical, and went to ‘High Mat-tins’ on Sundays and sang in the choir. I was also a choirboy but went to High Mass. What united us was the Book of Common Prayer and we never doubted that we belonged to the Church of England and though at times we jested with each other about the different ‘cosmetics’ of our Anglicanism, our relationship was always good and wholesome and we agreed ‘to differ pleasantly,’ even on the football pitch when competition was ferocious.

Both of us became priests and have remained lifelong friends, and through the years my friend has moved further up the candle. We share the same fundamental objections to women in the priesthood and episcopate, though we are careful to be courteous and polite to those with whom we differ. So Sister Mary Michael’s inspirational article [ND April] struck a chord in me but also reminded me of a recent retreat address in which the conductor was making a plea that church-life become less adversarial. This will only happen when ecclesiastical politics ceases to be primary. Our concern is much bigger than one issue.

It must be the restoration of orthodoxy and sanctity and our method must not be polemical but theological, the devotional/contemplative way, the way of holiness. ‘We can only expect to retain an honoured place in our much-loved CofE if our aspiration to holiness is totally without guile or humbug and our genuine love for one another at least aspires to the standards of 1 Corinthians 13.’

John Little

14 Beaumont Avenue,

Leicester LE4 8DZ

Pray and listen

From Mr Christopher Wilkinson

So we now know that the Church in Wales rejected the bill to allow women to be ordained bishop. In the parish I serve (as Musical Director ) we held two evenings of prayer – with Benediction -asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit before ‘the vote’, not asking for a yes or a no, but that the Spirit direct those voting on this issue in our beloved church of our baptism.

On the television, after the vote, the Archbishop of Wales was obviously very angry that the bill had been defeated, and this has been the cause of much comment from both church people and those who owe no allegiance to the church. Dear Fr Barry, don’t you think the Invoked One was telling us something, or is prayer pointless?

Christopher Wilkinson

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