Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bp. Harold Miller, Dean Tom Gordon, Church of Ireland, and Gay Marriages

Bishop Harold Miller and Dean Tom Gordon, Anglican Church of Ireland

General Synod of the Church of Ireland 2012
Christ Church, Dublin, Ireland
Synod votes to affirm traditional marriage
Fissures still remain Bp. Harold Miller observes

          A senior Anglican Bishop in the Church of Ireland discusses the resolvability of tensions between traditional and liberal Churchmen on the gay dispute, noting that resolution, long term, is unlikely.  Reformation Anglicanism does not think the matter is resolvable either;  the gay advocates are hell-bent on their agenda.

          For researchers, see our “Search Button” on the right.  Reformation Anglicanism has posted several articles on the Irish Church and continues to call for an investigation into Dean Tom Gordon.  

          As for Dean Tom Gordon, the liberals would call this a “witch hunt.”  Reformation Anglicanism continues to insist on vetting elites, especially the media, but also the clerics and Bishops.  In this instance with Dean Tom Gordon, the question revolves around his suitability as a  “moral example” for an individual, family, church and even nations.  We think with the Westminster Larger Catechism, something Irish Anglicans fail to confess or assert (their loss).  Here are the relevant applications: 

Question 123: Which is the fifth commandment?
Answer: The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God gives thee.
Question 124: Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
Answer: By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God's ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth.
Question 129: What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
Answer: It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God has put upon them.
Question 130: What are the sins of superiors?
Answer: The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, an inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behavior.

          Aside from the fifth commandment and Dean Tom Gordon’s situation, we turn to a larger issue:  the gay advocates accuse traditionalist of hate, homophobia, meanness and more.  These are strenuously over-wrought objections needing correction, moderation and moral insight.  The leaders should insist on this.  Reformation Anglicanism has been involved in counseling gay Christians.  Ne’ry once was there hate, fear, or meanness. The counseling was kind, compassionate, direct and biblical.  Impenitent and non-celibate sexuality is lawlessness and sin. 
          Here are some ninth commandment concerns that need to operate in these discussions.  Correction of these frequent and false charges by gay advocates against Confessional and Catholic Christians, need these corrections. 
Question 143: Which is the ninth commandment?
Answer: The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Question 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things: Whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requires; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of: Whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.
Question 145: What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calls for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, tale bearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any, endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering: What we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.
          Here is an article about Bishop Harold Miller and his view that the “gay issue” in the Church of Ireland is un-resolvable.   Given the current leadership, it probably is not resolvable.  With courageous leaders, however, this is a 10-minute issue.  See:

Church may never resolve gay dispute – says Bishop

Bishop Harold Miller pictured at his offices in Belfast
Published on
Tuesday 15 May 2012 08:46

A SENIOR Church of Ireland bishop has said that he doubts whether the divide on homosexuality between conservatives and liberals in the church can be reconciled.

The Bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Miller, said that the debate over whether same-sex relationships were sinful or normal had not been resolved anywhere in the Anglican Communion and questioned whether Irish Anglicans could find middle ground between the two positions.
In his first in-depth interview since it became public last year that a serving Church of Ireland cleric, Dean Tom Gordon, had entered a civil partnership, Bishop Miller told the News Letter that the development had created a “serious situation”.
Bishop Miller, who is the leading conservative bishop in Ireland, said that it would be “very helpful” for Dean Gordon to now say whether he was in a sexual relationship with his partner.
His comments follow a victory for conservatives within the church who on Saturday secured more than two-thirds of the votes in the church’s General Synod for a motion which backed traditional marriage, despite the public opposition of two liberal bishops.
When asked whether the two positions within the church – that homosexuality should be celebrated and that same-sex relationships are sinful – were in any way reconcilable, Bishop Miller said: “They have not been reconcilable in the Anglican Communion.
“This was clarified at the 1998 Lambeth [conference] and groups have continued down, as it were, a certain direction. They have not been reconcilable in the Communion so I doubt if those two views are in the end reconcilable.”
Asked then what in that case the point was of continuing to discuss the issue, he said: “I don’t think that a dialogue is held only to see if two definite positions are reconcilable. A dialogue is held so that each position has clearly heard each other...and all of us going into a dialogue have to have a preparedness to look at our own points of view and reflect on our own points of view.
“But I couldn’t say that I really have great hope that the two opposite positions will suddenly come together into one.”
Bishop Miller said that he did not personally see any problem with the three motions put to the church’s General Synod last Thursday in an attempt to help clarify the church’s teaching on marriage and same-sex relationships and was “very disappointed” when debate was stopped.
Bishop Miller said that as the motions stood on Thursday the word “therefore” — to which the liberal Bishop Michael Burrows objected — “quite obviously” referred to the preceding paragraph, not the preamble to the motion.
However, he said that that was “neither here nor there” as he went by the ruling of the Archbishop, whom he said had given a “wise” decision not to debate the motions, something which he said was “not in any way a political decision”.
“I felt that we may not have anything to put to the synod and that worried me because when you don’t have anything to put to the synod, especially a synod that actually wants to discuss it – and the synod did want to discuss it – you create a vacuum.
“And when you create a vacuum, if there are any disagreements the gulf can become wider. So I was very exercised that the thing should be discussed at this year’s General Synod.”
However, despite his unhappiness at the three motions not being debated on Thursday, Bishop Miller said he now believed that it was better to combine them in a single motion and remove the preamble which referred to the fallout from Dean Gordon’s civil partnership.
“I think it was better and more than two-thirds of the synod voted for it but for those who didn’t, I have to recognise that some of them feel very strongly about it. I can’t quite get to the core of what the issue is for them.”
Opponents of the motion argued that it could become a pretext for a “witch hunt” against gay clergy and possibly even lead to a retrospective attempt to bring Dean Gordon and Bishop Burrows before an ecclesiastical court over Dean Gordon’s civil partnership.
But Bishop Miller said that in his view the motion made no difference to Dean Gordon, who he said could not be disciplined retrospectively based on a motion which had not been passed when he entered his partnership.
“If anybody was bringing either Bishop Burrows or Dean Tom Gordon to an ecclesiastical court, it would have to be on the basis of what was in place when the problem occurred.
“The motion wasn’t creating something new – it was just restating [doctrine]. So it makes not the slightest bit of difference.”
And Bishop Miller hit out at liberals for alleging that a “witch hunt” could take place against gay clergy, something he said that he had “never ever seen” in the “generous” church.

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