Britain Evangelism Theology

Ravi praises, Curry explains and Cranmer Spins…

Wedding Gate continues. The sermon that divides continues to do so. Because this is such an important issue in the Western Church, and because it has revealed deep fault lines within evangelicalism, I intend to continue to look at this for the rest of the week.

Ravis Royal Wedding

Broad evangelicals have been broadly welcome of the sermon and largely unwelcoming of those who criticise it. Amongst others Ravi Zacharias now says it was an excellent sermon. “ The message preached by Bishop Michael Curry was extraordinary. Few speakers in the world can match the eloquence and passion of the African-American preacher. One is riveted to every word. I believe a wounded person and a wounded culture tells of the wounded Savior the best. The world heard the gospel that day. Thank you, Bishop Curry.”  Ravi is normally very careful in his public comments but this he has got badly wrong. And it’s not just me that says so. Bishop Curry says so – because he has just helpfully explained what his version of the Gospel is:

Bishop Curry Explains His Gospel

“Asked on CNN what he (Bishop Curry) was motivated by in writing the sermon, he said: ‘if we could just harness the real power of love we could actually change and transform this world. That is was what was driving me. I’m convinced this is the case. That is really what Jesus of Nazareth was getting at and was willing to die for.’

He added: ‘At its root this love is a sacrificial way that seeks the good and wellbeing of others sometimes even over and above one’s own self interest.”

This means that Jesus did not die for our sins. Jesus did not die to save us. He died so that we could just harness the real power of love so that we could change and transform this world.   And love is just seeking anothers well being over and above one’s own self interest. That is not the Good news.   Jesus did not die on the cross to inspire us to love one another. He died to forgive us for our sins, so that we might have eternal life, and a new heart and spirit, SO that we CAN love one another.

Angus MacRae14e nwLets begin with some good news though. A couple in my own denomination have also spoken out. The Missions Director, David Meredith argued against the sermon on social media. And the Moderator, Angus Macrae, said that it was ‘unclear to him that the message preached by Michael Curry was as clear on the nature of God and love as it could have been.

Others wrote in to say that having considered what was said they had changed their mind.  This is exactly what clear biblical teaching should do.

“Dear David Prior to the Royal Wedding, I had never heard of Bishop Michael Curry.  I was one who got caught up in the enthusiasm of his sermon.  I really appreciate your courage and clarity in speaking about the many errors of his sermon and the lost opportunity… but then given the things he stands for, there was never going to be an opportunity for the hope we have in Jesus to be made known.  For me, realising how easily I was hoodwinked has been cause for some sober thinking, so thank you! It is only recently that I have come across your blog; it has been wonderful to read.  Keep up the good work and be encouraged! “

Another pastor wrote that he despaired at the reaction of his congregation and couldn’t really put his finger on what was wrong but was going to pass on my critique of the sermon to them. Two other leaders who had initially welcomed the sermon have also come a different conclusion. It’s not always the case that people just dig down!   It’s worth taking time to patiently point out what was wrong.  The problem is that so many of us were caught up in the moment and need to take time to think through and reassess things.  And so we continue….

Unity between Conservatives and Liberals?

Noticing the way that so many ‘conservative’ evangelicals have welcomed the sermon, the Church Mouse tweeted…”Great to see conservatives enjoying and appreciating Bishop Curry’s Royal wedding address. I hope it does something to reveal the common ground between ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ and their unity in Christ, despite some theological differences”. You can of course see where this is going.

Whilst some conservative evangelicals either praise Curry or keep silent about the fact that he denies the Bible, denies the cross and the judgement of God, they seem more than happy enough to attack their fellow Christians who don’t buy into the Curry narrative. What’s worse is that they ignore the fact that Bishop Curry in his ‘room for all’ theology/church has no room for conservative evangelicals who dare to question his rewriting of marriage, the Bible and the prayer book. The Episcopal Church in the US has spent over $60 million suing its own members who want to leave because they hold to the biblical view of marriage.   So we now have the bizarre situation where evangelicals are praising the man who is suing their brothers and sisters, whilst attacking those who seek to defend them.

Cranmer’s Spin

header170611One prominent conservative blogger is Adrian Hilton, who goes by the name ‘Cranmer’. His blog is usually brilliant although of late he has become a lot more tetchy both in his blog and tweets. None more so than on this issue. It’s worth reading what he said about those who didn’t buy into his exuberant praise of Curry’s sermon.

In a style that is becoming all too typical, he first of all sets up a straw man – this wasn’t a ‘sermon of dogmatic theological instruction’ or an ‘exhortation to corporate penitence’ as if anyone expected it to be! (Incidentally I find this style of argument from anyone, but especially Christians, disappointing. It is dishonest to set up strawmen that you can then easily knock down.)

Cranmer then goes on to tell us that this sermon touched two billion souls with the fragrance of Christ. But did it? How does he know that? What does he mean by ‘the fragrance of Christ? The bishop was enthusiastic, exuberant and a great communicator – but what did he communicate? I haven’t heard or read anyone speaking about Christ – they are all talking about the bishop.

Cranmer then goes even further. He complains and carps that those who criticised the bishop’s sermon were complaining and carping. He then suggests that they would have done exactly the same to Christ. In other words he condemns those of us who were not enamoured with bishop Michael’s sermons as being guilty of opposing the work of Christ (its an extremely serious charge – is that not the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?). He says of Jesus at the wedding in Cana “he gives them instead gallons upon gallons of wine and a distorted messianic message”. “What a feeble excuse is that for not denouncing adultery, drunkenness, greed or gays.” Again note the dripping sarcasm and ‘loving’ cynicism from Cranmer. As well as the setting up of yet more strawmen – who was complaining about Bishop Michael not denouncing adultery or gays? It seems that when you are on a crusade, truth and honesty should never get in the way of an angry soundbite!

Cranmer then boasts that no one has answered his point. So let me help him. Saying he didn’t denounce adultery, drunkenness, greed or gays’ is setting up a double false argument – Nobody was arguing that he should, furthermore we don’t know what Jesus said at the wedding in Cana because the Bible doesn’t tell us. Jesus was not invited to give the sermon at the wedding.   We should also point out that Bishop Curry is not the Messiah and he did not turn water into wine at the Royal wedding – with 16,000 glasses of champagne available he did not need to! Jesus Christ was at the wedding in Cana to reveal his own glory. Bishop Curry was at the Royal Wedding, or should have been there to reveal the glory of Christ, not his own glory.

But Cranmer is not done. Jesus on the Mount of Olives preached, “It’s the social-justice gospel of endless beatitude and boundless inclusion… Honestly, anyone would think the Kingdom of Heaven were open to the world and his dog with all this pap about spiritual happiness and compassionate love. It was a gospel of infinite mercy which missed the reality of judgment.” Again more strawmen….who is arguing that the Gospel is not for everyone? The problem is what is the gospel?

Cranmer then tries to defend the bishop by saying that “for what its worth he did speak about sin and salvation”. That’s a classic case of hearing what you want to hear. The bishop never mentioned sin (other than in the quote from there is a balm in Gilead).   He did not speak about ‘the imperative of the Cross’. He gave a distorted view of the Cross.

Don’t Read – Feel!

Cranmer then tells us that we shouldn’t read the sermon – we really need to experience it…to feel it. Never mind what it really says, the medium is the message! And he can’t resist having another dig at his strawmen.  “It needs to be watched and heard, for the medium is the inspirational message. And those who have ears to hear will do so, and they will understand the essence of the mission. Others will carp and carve it up, and then they’ll condemn and criticise it because it doesn’t quite conform to every jot and tittle of their own theology or soteriology. It is all about faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is not expository dogmatism.”

Where is the Love?

Cranmer’s commentary is such a bitter commentary that one has to ask ‘where is the love?’.   Adrian needs to have the charity to take what we are saying at face value and not make things up. Neither I nor anyone else is arguing for expository dogmatism (that’s a cheap shot) – I am arguing for the love of Christ and the love of God – which is actually very clearly defined in the book that Bishop Curry used – 1 John. Loving God is to obey his commands, accept his atoning sacrifice, reject false Christ’s and love your brothers and sisters.   Bishop Curry rejects the first three of those and it is questionable whether he follows the last – given his actions in suing his brothers and sisters.

Even when people pointed out where they thought Cranmer was wrong he just dug deeper: “ Dear critics of Bishop Curry’s sermon – Jesus said the world will hate you because of Him; not the hatred of the world is a sure sign of your upright Christian character and certain evidence of your sound exegesis. You might just be naturally unpleasant.”  Notice again the unpleasantness of Cranmer assuming that those who critique the sermon are sure of their upright Christian character and certain evidence of our sound exegesis.


The Book of Common Prayer is the real Cranmer’s most wonderful legacy to the Christian church. It contains some of the most sublime language ever used in the English language – including its beautiful marriage services.   The irony is that the blogger who takes the name of Cranmer is angrily defending a heretical bishop who is in the process of changing that liturgy by removing the references to procreation and ‘man and woman’ so that they can fit his new doctrine of humanity; and who is leading the charge to attack those who want to uphold the doctrine and teaching of the church. Cranmer would be spinning in his grave!


The Wedding, the Sermon and the Reaction – Article on Christian Today

Bishop Michael Curry’s Sermon – A Distorted Gospel Divides the Church

Right Royal Preaching

Note:  In an additional blog today Cranmer adds: “We ought perhaps to remind ourselves that at Pentecost, too, there were stiff-necked observers who could only see negativity and ascribed the extraordinary of the divine to everyday drunkenness. Happily, the majority then and now are more interested in the big picture rather than any individual score to be settled.”  – This time equating those who disagree with the sermon as opposing the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Speaking of which he then goes on to describe the Holy Spirit as “hat free and indiscriminate Spirit of Pentecost, to whom we should all be faithful.”  Except the Holy Spirit is not ‘indiscriminate’ (what does that even mean?).  He is Holy.   End of.












  1. I didn’t watch the royal wedding (never do) as I don’t care much for all the sycophancy and I had a very important football match to go to!

    However, the divisions the sermon has created is very sad and looks to be illustrating the decline in orthodox gospel theology. We’ve been through this all before so many times, but it’s so depressing when it happens with people you trust and respect. Some of the abuse and sarcastic responses you’ve had have been terrible, but it probably shows you’re winning the arguments. Stand firm!

    I also worry that many in Presbyterian Scotland believe so firmly in the monarchy when it is clear that after Queen Elizabeth dies there is little evidence that any of her heirs believe in Christ at all, never mind have such a strong faith as she does.

  2. A number of points (sorry, but I think this is such an important matter).

    1. Obviously a wedding is not the time for a “hell fire and damnation” sermon. I have heard many wedding sermons which have been entertaining, funny and profound – BUT also true to the bible. That the world is astounded that a preacher could be entertaining says something…….. Perhaps 2Tim. 4,3

    2. I am very unclear as to the purpose of the AB of C in all this (he was the one who recommended the invite to Curry). Given that the vast majority of the world-wide Anglican communion have disassociated themselves from the American Episcopalians because of their apostasy on many key matters, what message was Welby giving? That the Anglicans should again welcome and embrace the Episcopalians despite their heresy? I cannot imagine that many of the other Anglican Primates will be happy with this. That the Head of the Church of England, who we know is a lady of faith, should be obliged to listen to a sermon by a man who holds radically different theological views is surprising to say the least. Perhaps that is why she looked so glum.

    3. I generally enjoy reading Cramner’s blog, but on this occasion I read the first few sentences and gave up thinking that he was writing utter tosh. Perhaps I had better go back and re-read the whole thing (or perhaps my time could be better spent….). But it does seem that he, like many others, has been infected by post-modernism – “feel it don’t think it”.

    4. I do not think that this is just a storm in a teacup, but has far more serious implications for the church at large. I think it is a Galatians 2, 11 moment. “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong”. We know that Peter was a wobbler (despite the wonders of Acts 10), and God in His providence raised up a man with great strength of character to bring him back on track. That confrontation between Peter and Paul was crucial to the future of the church. It also teaches us today the importance of standing firm on biblical truth and confronting error and false teachers. I know that the world laughs at this (another ecstatic interview on Radio4 “Today” this morning about the sermon), and even many Christians do not regard it as important – but it is. I think the debate around this sermon has exposed great weaknesses in the witness of the church in the West – which is almost certainly why we have become a post-Christian culture.

    I wonder what the persecuted believers in North Korea / Iran / Pakistan / India etc. etc. etc. would make of this John Lennonesque “all we need is love” nonsense theology? Hardly worth laying down your life and liberty for, is it!

    1. The Protestant Truth Society challenged the invitation to Curry before the wedding. It is to be noted that Welby’s spokesmen both pointed one thing up, ‘he was invited by the couple’. They both failed to answer, in any way, the question we asked twice, ‘Did Welby suggest him?’ – leaving us to assume that he did.

      Of course, M & H have publicly stated their intention of supporting and promoting lgbti issues, so I imagine he found it very easy to get them to invite Curry.

  3. Yet again it amusing to see Christians divided over what the message is and how it should be told. All of this during a high profile wedding, for which holds as much interest to me, as any other strangers marriage.
    Thankfully I don’t hold with vicarious redemption and have no need for it. Addded to the fact there are no other accounts of his existence except for the bible, does it really matter?
    Be thankful your religion had some exposure, as my hope is that future royal weddings might be secular.

    1. Everyone else has moved on to the next thing (hopefully the next thing will actually be something important), meanwhile Christians are apparently in an uproar over a sermon…….over words.

  4. Personally, I’m not as opinionated about how awful the sermon was. Maybe I’m being a bit cynical, but I actually expected it to be worse going into it, so I was pleasantly surprised in some ways. Key phrase “some ways.” However…

    I think the biggest qualm I had was the utopian undertones of the homily. Bishop Curry’s message of a new world being created by discovering the love of God was biblically inaccurate. The new world will only come through the second coming of Christ, who is love; not by discovering his love and passing it on.

  5. Here is a link to a blog by Rev. Dr. Ian Paul, who, I understand, is on the AoC Council.
    He does an excellent assessment of the style and criticises the content, with some interaction with Adrian Hilton, and with others in the comments section:
    There is clearly some concern over the content and the exemplary theory of atonement, espoused by Curry, in some significant parts of the CoE.

  6. Thank you David. You clearly say what you believe. The Bible says: ”watch your life and doctrine closely”. It’s amazing to see how readily some evangelicals will heed the siren song of a ‘good sermon’. Albeit one given by a corrupter of the gospel. Bishop Curry. Sad days indeed when an Anglican prosecutes Christians and emasculates the teachings of Christ.

  7. What an extremely poor, strawman stuffed, article on Christiantoday by Mark Woods, from someone who seems to set some stall on his own ability to comment without presuppositional bias and with a sense of balance, to see any merit at all in the critiques, which he largely places into one condemnatory category.

  8. As a conservative evangelical, may I ask you to please, please, please stop this unseemly one man ‘dog with a bone’ protest about what you seem to have forgotten was the wedding sermon of two actual young people getting married. It made me feel physically ill to what it’s now your 3rd or 4th epistle on what is apparently such an important topic that to use your own words, you must keep going and ‘can do no other’.

    You seem unaware that you come across as one who loves notoriety, and anything but the humble but bold servant of God you seem to perceive yourself to me. I find how you come across deeply desturbing, but perhaps it is me that is wrong. Only God knows.

    Please, feel free not to post this comment if you would rather others didn’t see it. I only pray it gives you pause for thought.

    1. Yes – the thought has occured to me many times. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to answer people who make the kind of accusations you do – because you dare to judge my heart and motive and no-one can do that except God alone. You seek to silence me by accusing me of selfish pride, knowing that if I don’t agree then it just proves your point! Thankfully I answer to the Lord, not to you. Meanwhile feel free to engage with what I said, not why you think I said it.

      1. I, for one, am very glad that you are continuing to challenge the false gospel preached that day, given how many people heard it.

  9. I’m glad you’re continuing to press this. Although there was nothing in the sermon strictly wrong, there was so much that it didn’t say that it usefully could have done, and given all the stuff going on in the background, it was really quite a provocative thing to invite him to preach.

    Incidentally today’s post on Cranmer’s blog was by a different contributor, Martin Sewell.

  10. Hi David, I’ve been enjoying your coverage and think you are pretty much on the money.

    However, I wonder if some of the positivity towards the sermon that you’ve seen, or at least lack of criticism, might be for strategic reasons. I thought the sermon was gospel-denying. But I didn’t rush to facebook to say that because my non-Christian friends would say, “Classic Christians fighting amongst themselves”. I would rather keep the door open for a conversation about the sermon. To come out publicly against it, for me, would probably shut that door.

    I’m not saying no-one should come out against it. I’m glad several people have! But I just want to dampen the panic by asking whether some of the positivity or lack of criticism might not be because of warmth towards the sermon in itself, but rather a desire to keep certain opportunities alive?

    1. I think thats true – and I think it is typical of the ‘strategic’ thinking which is crippling the witness of the Western church. It enables us to dress up accomodation with the world as just a desire to spread the Gospel

  11. David,

    Prayers for you as always. Bless you and thank you.
    “…whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.”

    Concerning Bishop Curry’s preaching style and Adrian’s exhortation to watch the sermon rather than just read it. It’s been years since I read Johnathan Edward’s biography but didn’t he have a simple unembellished style yet lasting fruit was born? I wonder and doubt whether similar results will come from Bishop Curry’s sermon.

    And two things struck me about Bishop Curry’s use of “…whoever loves has been born of God…”
    1) The verse comes from 1John which surely is a letter to Christians, not the world. (We become a Christian then we truly love, not cart before horse.)
    2) Any non-Christian hearer could dangerously assume that they are okay before God because they ‘love’ in their own eyes (their understanding of love.)

    We must not fret, good can come from this whole episode; is God whetting His sword? Are the foundations being shaken?

  12. Dear David
    Please let me remind you from the outset that I remain an ally and even a friend; that I admire what you do; that I am an avid reader of your blog and am generally and usually in full agreement with what you say. The prospect, however, of a further week of reading about your take on Bishop Curry is causing me concern.

    I knew nothing about Curry or his theology and I avoided the wedding as I had many better things to do. I only listened to Curry’s sermon when the brouhaha about it commenced. I listened carefully to what he said in the context of a rather ostentatious wedding ceremony. What he spoke on was truth, was appropriate for the context, was worth pondering over and has provided the stimulus and opportunity for many fruitful discussions.

    The main point he made, as far as I could see, was this:
    “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole,” and one of the stanzas actually explains why. They said:
    “If you cannot preach like Peter,
    And you cannot pray like Paul,
    You just tell the love of Jesus,
    How he died to save us all.”
    Oh, that’s the balm in Gilead!
    This way of love, it is the way of life. They got it. He died to save us all. He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn’t – he wasn’t getting anything out of it. He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life, for the good of others, for the good of the other, for the wellbeing of the world … for us.
    That’s what love is. Love is not selfish and self-centred. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world.”

    For me, this is speaking of the truth of love: self-giving, sacrificial, honouring the other above self; but more than that, this love flows from God, from the sacrifice of God of His Son, and the Son of His life, to redeem a world. A world that is in need of redemption, that is broken and needs to be made whole, that is sick and requires healing, or, to use the traditional phrase, that is sin filled and needs a Saviour. This is the undisputable conclusion of this sermon. Certainly, the further aspects of the Gospel could have been stated, but given the occasion and audience, this was still well put. Plus, he could have said so many other things that would have been so much worse, and this requires little imagination.

    In subsequently reading about Curry’s theology and the denomination that he represents, I agree with Glen Scrivener that he ought not to have been given this platform, but this does not detract from the message. After all, was it not our Lord Jesus who said of the religious leaders of His day:

    “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.”

    This would seem to be apposite in Curry’s case. But the point is, as long as what the Pharisees were saying was a faithful rendition of the Word of God as revealed at that time, then they were worth listening to and the teaching worth following. It was truth worth contemplating. One was to look at the Word and not the example of the person.

    Now it would be nice (more than nice really), if the person preaching lived out the message that they spoke, but this does not always happen. For example, few would dispute that Martin Luther King’s words were biblical, authentic and inspiring, but the man himself had serious issues and did not live out the faith he proclaimed. And the deeper truth is we are none of us exempt from this disconnect. God may still use His message in spite of the speaker, and I believe that He has chosen to do so in this case.

    And that is really all I have to say about that Sermon.

    Now if we were to leave at this; simply state that we have a difference of opinion over this sermon and give our reasons why, and then move on, I would not be writing to you at all. But you are seeking to take this onto a whole new level of opprobrium.

    For example:
    • The fact that something was widely accepted does not mean, per se, that it is wrong, any more than saying that something is unpopular must always be right. There is the possibility here that, actually, what he said resonated well with people and this provides a basis for fruitful discussion.

    • The fact that he did not mention what you would have mentioned does not make it unbiblical nor without positive effect.

    • To point to the man and not the words is to identify the flaws in the person, not in the message.

    • The idea that this discloses fault lines is as ludicrous as it is over reaching. It discloses nothing more than a difference of opinion. To exalt this to the status of ‘fault lines’ which suggests deep seismic divisions, is nonsense. Is it not possible that you are making too much of this and continuing to do so will result in a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    • You make much of criticizing the man. Whilst you feel that may be appropriate, it suggests that your disdain of him and his theology has predetermined you to attack his message. You leave the strong impression that even if Curry did say all the right words, in the right way and with the right attitude, you would still find fault and still be critical of his message.

    • This is nowhere so apparent as in your attack of Hilton (Cranmer). You say that “I haven’t heard or read anyone speaking about Christ – they are all talking about the bishop” after this sermon. This is simply not correct as Cranmer and Scrivener and Ravi are, as in fact, did Curry. This suggests that you are not listening to what people are saying, but readying your arguments in defence. David, has this become a matter of pride to be seen as the person in the right, whilst everyone who holds a different opinion to you is clearly in the wrong? After all, according to you, this is no longer a matter of seeing things differently or holding opinions lightly, but tumultuous “fault lines” tearing people apart….

    • You talk of straw men, but then argue that Cranmer is stating, “In other words (a wonderfully Cathy Morganesque opening) he condemns those of us who were not enamoured with bishop Michael’s sermons as being guilty of opposing the work of Christ”. Nothing could be further from what Cranmer wrote. Cranmer was pointing out that this miserable criticism of everything that does not conform to one’s narrow point of view is both unnecessary and unhelpful – which it is. Cranmer makes no mention of opposing the work of Christ and much less an attack on the Holy Spirit – that is the Straw Man you have created.

    • And this was the point of the parody that Cranmer made by suggesting that even those listening to Jesus Himself would have said negative things about Him had He not said precisely what they wanted to hear. It was not a biblical exposition Cranmer was stating, but a parody and to be treated like one.

    • You argue that Cranmer is setting up a straw man by stating, “Cranmer then boasts that no one has answered his point. So let me help him. Saying he (Curry) didn’t denounce adultery, drunkenness, greed or gays’ is setting up a double false argument – Nobody was arguing that he should”. Once again, you misuse the parody, but the point of your argument is that Curry HAD to mention sin in order for his message to be in any way meaningful or efficacious as far as you discern.

    • Sadly, you use pejorative expressions to demean your opponent (Cranmer), particularly his sarcasm. Have you already forgotten the sarcasm and cynicism that dripped from your pen in your recent open letter to Mr Dawkins? Is it okay to be sarcastic to your opponent, but critical of those who employ sarcasm towards you? Does this mean that what you say and how you live are to be judged by different standards (in which case, are we not back to where we started)?

    And so on.

    People differ. There is no seismic rift here. This is a sermon that has people talking, and that is an exciting opportunity. I plead with you to join the conversation as an opportunity to add more truth to what has already been shown.

    1. Thanks Jerome – your comments are appreciated – especially where you disagree – because it helps me to think things through. On reflection whilst I agree with much of what you say let me point out a couple of areas of disagreement.

      1) Most importantly the nature of God and the nature of the love of Jesus. Curry believes and taught clearly that Jesus’s love is exemplary, not atoning. That it should serve to inspire us to love because our love will change the world. It is the antithesis of the Gospel.

      2) I think this does disclose deep fault lines. Its not just about opinion (although every thing can be dismissed to that if we want). It is about what is the Gospel and even more so – how should we proclaim it.

      3) You misattribute motive to me. If Curry had been impeccably orthodox in reputation and had preached that sermon I would still have regarded it as dreadful. The only area where my knowledge of him affected my view of the sermon was the sheer hypocrisy of him talking about sacrificial love whilst he is spending millions suing fellow Christians! As regards the reputation thing I suspect if Steve Chalke had preached that sermon lots more evangelicals would have been upset – but because it was a black preacher who spoke superbly and there was lots of emotion and it was a royal wedding, then in effect they ignored the substance of the sermon.

      4) When I said I had not heard anyone speaking of Christ I was meaning non-Christians. I had already said that the only people who heard the Gospel in this were some evangelicals! They heard what they wanted to hear.

      5) Its a cheap jibe to suggest that because I think I’m right then I must be proud and therefore wrong! I assume you have written what you think is right. I am open to having my mind changed – but not by being abused or as Cranmer does putting arguments into my mouth that I did not use.

      6) Cranmer does talk about opposing the work of Christ and criticising the work of the Holy Spirit. He makes that very clear.

      7) Of course Curry had to mention sin if he was going to proclaim the good news of the forgiveness of sin. Cranmers exaggeration was to equate that with homosexuality and adultery and state that is what we were saying.

      8) I don’t have a problem with sarcasm. I do when it is based on a falsehood – as Cranmers clearly was. And I don’t appreciate being accused of double standards and hypocrisy.

      There is a massive seismic rift here. Bigger than anything I have known in my lifetime. It is about the very heart and essence of the Gospel. You will not persuade me that I am wrong by engaging in an attack on my personal character and motives. That is not for you to judge. You can persuade me by dealing with the issues that are involved – and let me know where any of them are wrong.

      1. We were very struck David by what you say in your first three sentences of the final paragraph above and entirely agree with what you say there. We too believe “it is about the very heart and essence of the Gospel,” as you put it. Thank you again for your stand on this.

  13. Cranmer shoots himself in the foot a little. The world didn’t hate Curry for his sermon…the world loved it!

  14. This is a reply to Jonathan Tallon, who posted this comment on Ian Paul’s blog, after I’d linked your blog post above:
    Curry’s motives, goals, aims, aim theme for the sermon – to make it clear:
    Bishop Curry Explains His Gospel
    “Asked on CNN what he (Bishop Curry) was motivated by in writing the sermon, he said: ‘if we could just harness the real power of love we could actually change and transform this world. That is was what was driving me. I’m convinced this is the case. That is really what Jesus of Nazareth was getting at and was willing to die for.’
    He added: ‘At its root this love is a sacrificial way that seeks the good and wellbeing of others sometimes even over and above one’s own self interest.”
    This was posted today on David Roberston’s blog, where he also comments on Adrian Hilton’s continued comments.
    The critiques of the sermon in Ian Paul’s original piece and the comments above have not been off beam.

    He said this:
    Bp Curry in his sermon:
    ‘…you just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all.’
    ‘He died to save us all.’
    David Robertson on what Bp Curry meant:
    ‘Jesus did not die to save us’.
    This critique certainly seems off-beam.

    My reply:
    1 I repeat the comment I made earlier in the comments box above, to you as it still stands.
    I’m not here to defend David Robertson, as he is more than robust enough to do that himself,
    but you have seemingly disingenuously quoted him out of context. Why don’t you post that comment on his site?
    2 the whole gist, thrust, of the sermon, was as I commented to you above which seems to need repetition:
    “I had no idea who Curry was before the event and didn’t watch the ceremony, but merely heard the sermon live on the radio, so had no idea of what he looked like, and made comments what he said and sounded like – an American accent with a passionate delivery. I still don’t know much about him, but I trust what I have subsequently learned from Ian Paul and others about the effect he has had on TEC.
    There is still no content, in what you have quoted, just well used Christian language. “Died to save us”. from and for what? It seems from everything that has been written above in the original IP piece and comments even words like redemption are not explained. And the speed of delivery was such that, as I said above, it gave the impression that they were dropped off in passing to get to the main theme, thrust. Such is the current commonality of use of language, even soccer players are able to self-redeem or atone for their mistakes when they score an own goal, by scoring one for their own side. Surely then it is a small step that covers a huge amount of ground to emphasise, that humanity can redeem itself through human love which is the take-home message I was left with.
    It just doesn’t wash. In more ways than one.
    3 To extend the soccer illustration – a player may chop down an opposing player, to stop him/her scoring into an open goal, and get sent off and it is said by a pundit that, “he took one for the team”. Is that the type of saving love for his team we are talking about? Guest, David Beckham, may have recognised that.
    4 If you are a vicar, what does vicarious mean? It is at the root of employment law in the law of Torts, where an employer pays the penalty for acts and omissions of an employee, stands in the place of the employee. Is that what we are talking about?
    5 As Ian Paul said originally the sermon revealed an exemplary theory of atonement, not substitutionary, good news. I was there, hammering in the nails. Where were you?
    6 By the way, what do you think it means, that Jesus died to save us all?
    7 This is no in-house Anglican discussion, it is germane to the whole of Christianity, and it’s spread.
    It is cross-shaped – crucial. And as Christopher said above, it is either reality or isn’t. Is it not a theory.
    8 Much more could be said and will be, but I’ll end with this from Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones;
    “Stop talking about all these things that are held to be absolute essentials if I am to be a complete Christian. I do not want them. “God forbid that I should glory”, I will make my boast in nothing and in no one, nor in any special teaching “except in the Lord Jesus Christ” and Him alone. He is enough, because of Him “the world has been crucified to me and I am crucified unto the world”.
    Let me put it plainly, I will not make my boast, I will not glory, even in my orthodoxy, for even that can be a snare if I make a god of it. I will glory only in that Blessed Person Himself by whom this great thing has been done, with whom I died, with whom I have been buried, with whom I am dead to sin and alive unto God, with whom I have risen, with whom I am seated in the heavenly places, by whom and by whom alone the world is crucified unto me and I am crucified unto the world. Anything that wants to come into the centre instead of Him I shall reject. Knowing the apostolic message concerning Jesus Christ in all its directness, its simplicity and its glory, God forbid that any one of us should add anything to it. Let us rejoice in Him and in all His fulness and in Him alone.”
    (Based on Galatians and from his written sermon “False Teaching)
    9 Is that what “died to save us all”means to you, to any of us?

  15. It doesn’t take much to realise Jesus didn’t come to show us how to love.
    Go ahead! Try it! The first thing we will realise is we cannot. He set a standard that exposed our sin. And our need for redemption.
    To love like Jesus, cannot be imitated, cannot be copied, cannot be mimicked. It cannot be ‘harnessed.’
    It has to first be received, before it can be given. It must be imparted, before it can be poured out. But we won’t come to Jesus for it, therefore we will continue in our state, unable to be as he was. The desire of Bishop Curry will remain unfulfilled.

  16. Tom Wright once put in one of his books that Jesus did not come to show fellow Jews how to be nice to one another. Indeed he didn’t, he showed them instead how unable to love they could be, and how far from God they were.

    This is what both bishop Curry and President Biden haven’t grasped. Either the character of God,the problems of man, and what living under God really looks like. Both have fallen into the trap of thinking that it looks something like the best bits of the modern USA. I remember someone saying once that what goes on in most American cities would leave God requiring to give Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. Not that they’ll get one. If 2 billion people had really heard the gospel that day, the response of the media would have been very different…..

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