Skip to comments.IRELAND: Anglican Canon Taken to Task over Doctrine of Original Sin
Posted on 03/18/2014 6:25:12 PM PDT by ReformationFan
IRELAND: Anglican Canon Taken to Task over Doctrine of Original Sin "Clergy have an obligation to hold and teach those things they've taken an oath to do"
A leading Anglican cleric in the Church of Ireland who questioned the Doctrine of Original Sin has gotten a push back by fellow Irish clergymen who say he has an obligation to uphold the church's teaching on the subject and cannot plead "further enlightenment" when the church's Constitution and 39 Articles forbid it.
In his column Rehabilitating Eve in the March 7 issue of the Church of Ireland Gazette, the Rev. Stephen Neill questioned the doctrine of Original Sin and actually blamed God and commends Eve for her actions.
Referring to Original Sin as "one of the biggest elephants in the room in Christian and especially Protestant theology," the Rev. Canon Stephen Neill describes the doctrine as a "distortion of the divine human relationship and, indeed, the relationship between humanity and the rest of Creation." He described people who believe in it as being "defensive" and "elevating it to the level of Scripture rather than interpretation."
On the subject of God's handiwork in creation which God called "good", Neill asked, "Is God's Creation so terribly marred by the sin of Adam and Eve that what was fundamentally good only a couple of chapters earlier has become fundamentally flawed?"
The Rev. Christopher Pierce of Ballymore Rectory in Co. Donegal wrote a letter to the Church of Ireland Gazette expressing his "discomfort and dissatisfaction with the theology that underpins" Neill's remarks.
"[Neill] took a signed and sworn oath to teach as an ordained minister in the Church of Ireland the doctrinal understanding that includes the Declaration of 1870 and assent to the 39 Articles specifically Article IX which sets forth the sworn doctrinal understanding of our Church in regard to Original Sin.
"Whether it is comfortable or not, clergy have an obligation to hold and teach those things they've taken an oath to do. Nothing less is satisfactory," wrote Pierce.
The Rev. Dr. Alan McCann, the Rectory in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim took Neill to task saying that what he believes is neatly summed up by Richard Niebuhr in The Kingdom of God in America: "a God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."
McCann accused Neill of having an "innovative interpretation of Genesis 3" saying he denies Article 9 of the 39 Articles, and denies the teaching of the Church Catholic concerning "the doctrines of original sin and the substitutionary atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the same."
McCann finished his letter by saying that unlike Canon Neill he "will continue to teach the doctrines of original sin and the substitutionary atonement of Christ."
Canon Neill responded to his critics saying he was not trying to undermine the doctrine of Original Sin, but rather to question some more extreme interpretations of that doctrine which have a very pessimistic outlook on the human condition.
He described the 39 Articles of Religion as "evolutionary" and therefore open to discussion. "I fully accept that the discipline of the Church requires my assent to these formularies as currently received, but I do not think that it requires me to close my mind to the possibility of further enlightenment."
Neill said that what he wrote was an expression of 'faith seeking understanding'.
VOL believes that his views are the thin end of the wedge which seeks to water down fundamental doctrines like Original Sin to make them more palatable to post-Christian minds.
It would be nice if someone went after the heretics in the Episcopal Church, but it is too late for that.
original sin brought death into the world. death is not a friend to anyone. creation suffers and creation awaits things being made right and good again.
they are too busy performing gay “marriages”.
*** “Clergy have an obligation to hold and teach those things they’ve taken an oath to do” ****
Now there is a concept!
More evidence for the truth of the doctrine of original sin IMHO.
They’ve already allowed a druid to be the head of their church. How can they recover from that?
Indeed. Can you imagine how much better our nation and world would be if clergymen and our elected officials and judges actually followed this concept?
“Rev. Stephen Neill questioned the doctrine of Original Sin and actually blamed God and commends Eve for her actions. “
Um, I don’t think so.
Actually, the (capital-O) Orthodox churches don't believe in original sin at all.
I was referring to small-o defining orthodox as “conforming to the usual beliefs or established doctrines, as in religion, politics, etc.; approved or conventional [orthodox ideas]”.
“Denial of original sin leads to increased liberalism and departure from orthodox Christianity.”
All Protestantism IS departure from orthodox Christianity.
I figured you’d probably show up in this thread. What is your opinion of the current Pope, vladimir998?
“...creation awaits things being made right and good again”
yes it’s called Baptism!
“What is your opinion of the current Pope, vladimir998?”
Fair to middling. His personal holiness: I don’t doubt it for a second. His understanding of human problems in the world: complete hit or miss. His impact on the Church: overall, in the long run, good. He will excite many people about the faith. He’ll get many people to be more charitable and to re-examine their relationship to, and service to, Christ. And then in ten or fewer years he’ll die and be replaced with Francis II who will be almost as outgoing and joyful as this Francis, but much more careful in his public statements, and much more supportive of traditions both great and small. No one should ever get too hung up on any particular pope. They all die soon enough whether you think they’re great or terrible. The Church is 2,000 years old and founded by Christ. The Pope has a role to perform. He does it. He dies. He’s replaced. The Church goes on.
Let's consult their Catechism:
Because all have come of Adam since his infection by sin, and all sin themselves. As from an infected source there naturally flows an infected stream, so from a father infected with sin, and consequently mortal, there naturally proceeds a posterity infected like him with sin, and like him mortal.
I see a desire by many Orthodox to try to differentiate themselves from Catholics by any means they can, even if it strains their own teaching.
Bookmark for later read
With regard to original sin, the difference between Orthodox Christianity and the West may be outlined as follows:
In the Orthodox Faith, the term original sin refers to the first sin of Adam and Eve. As a result of this sin, humanity bears the consequences of sin, the chief of which is death. Here the word original may be seen as synonymous with first. Hence, the original sin refers to the first sin in much the same way as original chair refers to the first chair.
In the West, humanity likewise bears the consequences of the original sin of Adam and Eve. However, the West also understands that humanity is likewise guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve. The term Original Sin here refers to the condition into which humanity is born, a condition in which guilt as well as consequence is involved.
In the Orthodox Christian understanding, while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.
One might look at all of this in a completely different light. Imagine, if you will, that one of your close relatives was a mass murderer. He committed many serious crimes for which he was found guiltyand perhaps even admitted his guilt publicly. You, as his or her son or brother or cousin, may very well bear the consequences of his actionpeople may shy away from you or say, Watch out for himhe comes from a family of mass murderers. Your name may be tainted, or you may face some other forms of discrimination as a consequence of your relatives sin. You, however, are not personally guilty of his or her sin.
I would think original sin would be one of the easiest ones to believe. Just look around.
Canon Neill, if you’ve ever read Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”, just so you know, the Episcopal Ghost wasn’t intended to be a role model.
“I would think original sin would be one of the easiest ones to believe. Just look around.”
Agreed. Still, there are those who’ve been around infants yet they still deny original sin.
Translation: “conservative” .
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