From Mr Geoff Sage
Sir, — I refer to your report on the work of
the Lambeth Commission (
News, 17 September). The comments from the Church of England Evangelical
Council (CEEC) and Anglican Mainstream do give cause for concern as we await
this important document. Their rush to judgement betrays an arrogance that
undermines the serious and difficult work that the Commission has undertaken.
Is this their strategy?
I find the comment from the Ven. Paul Gardiner most perplexing. Your
reporter quotes him: "We [the CEEC] want to see the Eames report upholding
traditional biblical and orthodox understandings of behaviour and the place of
holiness in Christian life. We will judge all things by scripture."
It is interesting to hear of an Evangelical who wants to uphold the
traditional and the orthodox. Thank goodness his predecessors didn’t heed this
in the 18th century, when they led the fight against slavery. The CEEC appoints
itself as the judge of scripture. By what right does it take on this role?
Anglican Mainstream also sees itself as the champion of the orthodox. If we
are all trying, however inadequately, to be followers of Jesus Christ, where
precisely in the Gospels and in his teachings do they find the exhortation to
seek the traditional and the orthodox?
Perhaps they read a different version from mine, with all the unsettling and
challenging parts safely bowdlerised.
North Lanarkshire ML6 8NP
From Mr Michael Hampson
Sir, — I am delighted to read that many
people will accept the Lambeth report "only if it passes the test of scripture".
I propose three scriptural tests that it must pass if it is to be deemed
properly Christian. Matthew 7.1 requires that the report should not involve
anybody’s presuming to sit in judgement on anybody else. Hebrews 8.13 and
Romans 7.6 require that there should be no dependence whatsoever on Old
Testament law. Matthew 22.37-39 requires that the report should be
characterised exclusively by compassion.
It is time, as Bishop Gene Robinson has said, to reclaim the Bible from its
misrepresentation by those who have taken it hostage and claimed for themselves
the exclusive right to speak on its behalf.
26 Hanover Avenue
London E16 1SD
From Dr Alan Sheard
Sir, — Mr Richard Wilkins (
Letters, 17 September) regards the Pentateuch as "opposed to extramarital
affairs". He seems to be unaware of Genesis 16, which says, with apparent
approval, that Abraham had a child by his wife’s maidservant Hagar; and chapter
28, which records that Esau chose for a wife Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, "in
addition to the wives he had".
I am not condoning extramarital affairs or polygamy, but merely pointing out
that Mr Wilkins’s letter is an example of the casual sophistry and misuse of
the Bible which are all that the critics of lesbian and gay people have to
East Yorkshire HU14 3RG