Pentecost Battle of the Bishops

Just read these two interesting blog pieces.

Firstly Bishop Alan Wilson

Pentecost does raise in acute form the question of what we really believe Christianity is. It burst on the world as a process of incarnation, God bursting out of the limits of all preconceived thought about him, and starting again.

and then Bishop Nick Baines

So, Pentecost isn’t about something necessarily new. It is about God’s people being reminded of their story and vocation and being empowered to live it out in a still-hostile world. Thrown together as a ragbag of saints and sinners, this new community re-members its past and unites in shared love for its neighbours.


Who’s right?

[poll id=”5″]

12 Comments on “Pentecost Battle of the Bishops

  1. How interesting – telling perhaps – that you see this in terms of a 'battle of the bishops', and ask which is 'right'. Alan's piece about gnosticism might have something to say to that very idea.
    I've always found them both to be insightful bloggers, and it's been fascinating to read both of them on the Kirchentag this last week. It would have been wonderful to hear Hans Kung and Moltmann talk together and hear their visions for the renewal of the church. And the chances of anything like he Kirchentag happening in the UK? They rate them as nil., which is such a shame. Their reading of it makes the Lambeth conference look rather like a side show at best and more like a school boy debate. It is at least encouraging and refreshing that we have bishops like Alan and Nick.

    • How interesting – telling perhaps – that you only seem to want to comment here to criticise what I've written. Perhaps Alan has some wisdom for you too?

      It should be fairly obvious to anybody who took the time to read the two blog posts that they're actually talking about two different things. There's also the presence in the poll of an answer completely unconnected to the question which should indicate that this is not exactly the most serious of debates.

      But hey, let's not let anything get in the way of some Evangelical bashing shall we?

  2. What a really odd response Peter. Just where do you see any evangelical bashing? Having applauded both of the bishops you refer to, I recally can't see any evangelical bashing at all – in fact quite the opposite.
    If you read my comment you will see that it focusses on what the the bishops bring to debate about something they have both witnessed – which relates entirely to the state of the church around the feast of its birthday. Again, it's telling that you dont actually want to engage in that debate but just attack the poster.

    • Quote:

      "How interesting – telling perhaps – that you see this in terms of a 'battle of the bishops', and ask which is 'right'. Alan's piece about gnosticism might have something to say to that very idea. "

      So basically, I'm naive, perhaps even Gnostic, to even begin to try and explore the possible antithesis between these two blog pieces.

      As I said – evangelical bashing. You just can't resist the urge to constantly tell me my faults. This from a man who makes wild allegations about members of the House of Bishops but won't back then up with a shred of evidence.

  3. Peter I really can't see where there ia any 'evangelical bashing' – and in fact writing in support of two evangelical bishops does quite the opposite. And I can't see anywhere I've pointed out your faults. We've all got faults. I'd seen no reason to point our yours – but I do see every reason to debate, which sometimes involves asking further questions or making a critique.
    Your comments come across as rather sad and angry abd personal – and the fact that you keep dragging things up (innacurately) from other threads (which many readers would haved no idea about) is just a bit sad also – especially when I have made it quite clear that pastoral reasons make it impossible to say any more about that situation.
    Most of all I'm sorry that you can't actually engage in a debate about the topic you raised – the excellent blogs of two bishops.

    • Andrew,

      If you won't reveal any details about something because its "pastoral", but you're happy to use the unsubstantiated allegations as a stick to beat people with in an argument then I think you really have to question who the "sad and angry" person is. Such an approach to debate is deceptive and dishonest. Either have the maturity to debate properly or stop making assertions which you refuse to back up with any evidence.

      I'm perfectly happy to have a debate on this particular issue, just not with someone who makes wild allegations which he then won't substantiate. If you want to have a discussion with other people where you can say whatever you want without having to be responsible for proving it, go and start your own blog.

      Can't wait for you to come back and have to have the last word to prove you're right.

  4. "The Canon Chancellor spends 80% of his time working in the Diocese of Exeter and 20% in the Cathedral."

    Methinks not.

  5. I was disappointed that I couldn't vote for both "O God of burning cleansing flame, send the fire" AND "they're both right in their own ways" – because they would both have been an appropriate response and not contradictory.

    I have to say, Peter, that only being able to vote for ONE option could be seen as "stirring". Human beings are human beings at the end of the day – and asking God to send the fire of His Spirit can be seen as being so "super spiritual" as to being of no "earthly" use, particularly by Christians who have not "received the Spirit since they believed".

    • Me? Stir? Me?


      On the theology, all Christians have received the Spirit. If you haven't received Him then QED you aren't a Christian. At the same time, receiving the Spirit does NOT mean manifesting a particular gift. That way lies heresy…

  6. Hi, Peter,
    I’d say that, according to scripture, Apostle Paul was convinced that repentance and obedience wasn’t enough to constitute a “believer” and that was why he asked whether they had “received” the Holy Spirit SINCE they “believed”. Repentance and obedience (even followed by baptism under John the Baptist) could be undertaken by choice but “signs following” were a sovereign act of God and could never be by choice. Moreover, such sovereign acts were visible to unbelievers, unlike invisible piety. This was the “something new” to which Bishop Alan refers – a sign of the New Covenant.

    However, the Jewish people were clearly a people who had forgotten the “immanence” of God like “Cinderella with amnesia” (a book by Michael Griffiths) who had known of (but perhaps had never seen or experienced) the evidence of God’s faithfulness and goodness, thus the “something old but forgotten” referred to by Bishop Nick. (more comment to follow)

  7. (following comment)

    I’d also say (because of this) that Holy Spirit indwelling is more of a first-order issue to orthodoxy than either women’s ordination/consecration or the possibility of salvation for homosexual activists.

    As a matter of interest, I was a babe in arms when I first heard “O God of burning cleansing flame” (albeit to a different tune) being sung in my “classic Pentecostal” church – and this would have been at least 30 years before you were born (according to online information in the public domain).

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