Saturday, September 06, 2008

Last rites?

(follows on well from the title of the previous post!)
Finished reading Michael Hampson's Last Rites - the End of the Church of England - strongly recommended. Borrowed from the library and due back today, about to attempt a renewal and reread.
It is time for a serious progressive challenge - for the sake of the gospel - to the increasingly vacuous liberal establishment... it is about having a faith and a theology with some substance, taking the scriptures seriously, having some concern for the truth, putting right a hideous betrayal of the gospel, and maintaining gospel values without compromise. For a decent progressive theology there is an ideal single-question test of orthodoxy: What is your attitude towards homosexuality?' If you delay or fudge your answer you are betraying the heart of the gospel, at the cost of real human lives.
His testimony and manifesto are worth (re-)reading. I think he sees hope - a new birth rather than a complete end as you might guess from the title.


Michael Hampson said...

From Michael Hampson (author of Last Rites).

Great blog. Google Alerts brought me here (Google Has The Answer). I hadn't heard about Scargill: I've been following all the links about that just now.

That's a great passage you quote from Last Rites: a real rousing challenge. I'm as down on the liberals for betraying the gospel as on the fundamentalists.

I realised while writing Last Rites that the real issue is the God you believe in. I simply don't believe in the same God as the fundamentalists - and intellectually lazy liberal protestants tend to have the same God but in a kind of Lite version: Fundamentalism Lite.

The result of that realisation was the next book - "God Without God: Western Spirituality without the Wrathful King" (published this summer).

It goes back to the most authoritative documents of the Christian tradition to show that the image of God as wrathful, angry and punishing is totally wrong, a heresy (and a virtually universal one in protestantism) ... embraced with enthusiasm by fundamentalists and also in a Lite version by liberals, who still argue about what God likes and what God gets cross about, just arguing that God gets cross about different things. They are both chasing an idol. Start again from scratch, with the authentic Christian tradition, from the earliest times, from the scriptures and into the early church, and we find a God of infinite compassion. The book deals with all the details, all the objections, one by one, presenting the faith that most ordinary Christians already hold, they just don't know how to express it, because all the leaders are into wrath wrath wrath.

- Michael H :)

rajm said...

Many thanks for this comment, will keep an eye out for 'God without God'- and looking forward to the Last Rites reread! Many of your experiences echoed for me.
Yes Burnley feels - for me very close to Scargill as it's on the route from Cheshire, saw quite a bit of the north Lancs towns in my years in Wharfedale