Friday, January 29, 2010

Lowder V McDowall

And now for a bit of balance to the previous posts, courtesy of Phil (thank you).

The Jury Is In

The Ruling on McDowell's "Evidence"

Jeffery Jay Lowder (editor)

Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict (hereafter, "ETDAV") is arguably one of the most influential Christian apologetic books today. The purpose of Jury shall be to evaluate how well it does.
In ETDAV, McDowell begins his defense of the Bible with the claim that it is unique. He parades before us an array of "scholars" to testify to various features of the Bible that qualify it to be considered "different from all others" [books], as if anyone would seriously try to deny that the Bible is unique, i.e., different from all others. At the very beginning of my analysis of this chapter ofETDAV, I will concede that the Bible is undeniably unique. Certainly, there is no other book like it, but this fact, as we will see, becomes more of an embarrassment to the Bible than proof of its divine origin.
A critical reply to chapter three of Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict.
In this essay, the author reacts to Josh McDowell's Chapter 4 entitled "Reliability of the Bible" in his book ETDAV. He first distinguishes between Pauline faith and McDowell's insistence that the Bible reveals historically true propositions, which the author calls the "reliability doctrine." McDowell's reliability doctrine is then examined from three perspectives: biblical criticism, archaeology, and philosophy. The author concludes that the gospel narratives are not to be understood as factually true propositions of history, but rather they communicate the theological meaning of faith in Christ.
In the fifth chapter of ETDAV entitled, "Jesus--A Man of History," Josh McDowell lists a series of "sources for the historicity of Jesus." According to the table of contents of ETDAV, this chapter lists "documented sources of the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth apart from the Bible." In this chapter I shall consider each of McDowell's sources. Although I agree with McDowell that there was a historical Jesus, I shall argue that most of McDowell's sources do not provide independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.
Virtually all the rest of McDowell's sixth chapter is taken up with defending what no one challenges: that various New Testament writers believed Jesus Christ was a heavenly being come to earth. That McDowell can for a moment imagine that such scripture prooftexting even begins to address the objections of nonbelievers shows once again that he really has no intention of engaging them. He is simply a cheer-leader for fundamentalism, preaching to the choir.
A critique of chapter seven of Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict.
If anyone needed further proof that apologetics as practiced by Josh McDowell is merely an exercise in after-the-fact rationalization of beliefs held on prior emotional grounds, I welcome him to Chapter 8 of ETDAV. One can only say again that McDowell is the worst enemy of his own faith: with defenders like this, who needs attackers? The more seriously one takes him as a representative of his faith, the more seriously one will be tempted to thrust Christianity aside as a tissue of grotesque absurdities capable of commending itself only to fools and bigots.
As I will try to show in this article, defenders of the fundamentalist Christian faith, like Josh McDowell, have in fact lost the luxury of an easy appeal to fulfilled prophecy even if they remain stubbornly oblivious of the advances of modern biblical scholarship; this is because biblical scholarship has thrown their appeals to the "proof from prophecy" so seriously into question that their task is now to defend it, no longer to use it as a powerful defense for something else, i.e., the true messiahship of Jesus. Any appeal to "proof from prophecy" today only lengthens the line of defense rather than shortening it.
As a historian with a good knowledge of Greek, Richard Carrier is finally qualified to make a professional judgement in the matter. Now the fifth edition of a project that began in 1998, this essay explains why he finds the Resurrection to be an unconvincing argument for becoming a Christian.
'Sceptics' are not interested in bashing the Bible as such. They use the Bible and contemporary documents which shed light on the Bible to try to find out what was really happening, what the Biblical writers really meant to say. If it turns out that they were divinely inspired prophets, then that would be accepted. It just so happens that they weren't and the archeological evidence discovered this century and the Biblical texts themselves show that they weren't.
In his chapter on "The Uniqueness of the Christian Experience" (a chapter that McDowell or his editorial staff chose to delete from the latest edition of ETDAV), he made a variety of sweeping claims about the "Christian Experience," and also argued for the uniqueness of the Christian experience in history, but McDowell did not investigate history very deeply, nor the lives and writings of the Christians whom he cited, some of whom came to hold different views on a wide variety of theological subjects. Lastly, McDowell seems to have only examined superficially his own youthful conversion experience (any reasonable analysis of which would seem to confirm how young and emotionally unstable he was when he converted).

See Also:

A review of McDowell's New Evidence That Demands a Verdict.
Feedback on Jury (1997?-1999)
Miscellaneous feedback we received on Jury between 1997? and 1999.
Links to critiques of Josh McDowell's other books.
Glenn R. Morton (Off Site)
The ghost author of the evolution section in Josh McDowell's book, Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity, Morton is now a theistic evolutionist on the basis of the scientific evidence for evolution.
The official website of Josh McDowell Ministries, which refuses to link to this critique.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 but does it mean he's the son of God?

This is taken from I'm not quoting the whole post but the bit that interests me - which concerns the probability of Jesus fulfilling the prophecies.

QUOTE:I have taken the liberty of summarizing certain prophecies and providing the verse for the prophecy along with the verse evidencing its fulfillment. These verses are as follows:Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled in One Person:Betrayed by a friend. (Psalms 41:9; Matthew 26:49).Thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15).Betrayal money cast to the floor of the temple (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:5).Betrayal money used to buy the potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13: Matthew 27:7).Forsaken and deserted by his disciples (Zechariah 13:7; Mark 14:50).Accused by false witnesses (Psalms 35:11; Matthew 26:59-60).Silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12).Wounded and bruised (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 27:26).Hated without a cause (Psalm 69:4; John 15:25).Struck and spat upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67).Mocked, ridiculed and rejected (Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 27:27-31 and John 7:5, 48).Collapse from weakness (Psalms 109:24-25; Luke 23:26).Taunted with specific words (Psalms 22:6-8; Matthew 27:39-43).People will shake their heads at Him (Psalms 109:25; Matthew 27:39).People will stare at Him (Psalms 22:17; Luke 23:35).Executed among “sinners” (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38).Hands and feet will be pierced (Psalms 22:16; Luke 23:33).Will pray for his persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34).Friends and family will stand afar off and watch (Psalms 38:11; Luke 23:49).Garments will be divided and won by the casting of lots (Psalms 22:18; John 19:23-24).Will thirst (Psalms 69:21; John 19:28).Will be given gall and vinegar (Psalms 69:21; Matthew 27:34).Will commit Himself to God (Psalms 31:5; Luke 23:46).Bones will be left unbroken (Psalms 34:20; John 19:33).Heart will rupture (Psalm 22:14; John 19:34).Side will be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34).Darkness will come over the land at midday (Amos 8:9; Matthew 27:45).Will be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60).Will die 438 years after the declaration of Artaxerxes to rebuild the temple in 444 BC (Daniel 9:24).Will be raised from the dead (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:31), ascend to heaven (Psalms 68:18; Acts 1:9) and be seated the right hand of God in full majesty and authority (Psalms 110:1; Hebrews 1:3).

Professor Peter W. Stoner who authored “Science Speaks” stated that the probability of just eight particular prophecies being fulfilled in one person is 1 in 1017, i.e. 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000). The eight prophecies used in the calculation were:

1. Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Matt. 2:1-7; John 7:42; Luke 2:47).2. Messiah is to be preceded by a Messenger (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; fulfilled in Matthew 3:1-3; 11:10; John 1:23; Luke 1:17).3. Messiah is to enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Luke 35-37; Matthew 21:6-11).4. Messiah is to be betrayed by a friend (Psalms 41:9; 55:12-14; fulfilled in Matthew 10:4; 26:49-50; John 13:21).5. Messiah is to be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; fulfilled in Matthew 26:15; 27:3).6. The money for which Messiah is sold is to be thrown “to the potter” in God’s house (Zechariah 11:13; fulfilled in Matthew 27:5-7).7. Messiah is to be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; fulfilled in Matthew 27:12).8. Messiah is to be executed by crucifixion as a thief (Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 53:5,12; fulfilled in Luke 23:33; John 20:25; Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27,28).This statement was validated by the American Scientific Affiliation. This number has been illustrated as follows:If we take 1 X 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, they'll cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one?Professor Stoner went on to consider 48 prophecies and says, “… We find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157.“This is a really large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 times 1015 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line one inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them it would take us, counting steadily 250 each minute, 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 [nineteen million times nineteen million times nineteen million] or 6.9 times 1021 years.This is approximately the total number of electrons in all the mass of the known universe. In other words the probability of Jesus Christ fulfilling 48 prophecies is the same as one person being able to pick out one electron out of the entire mass of our universe.Such is the chance of any one man fulfilling any 48 prophecies. Yet Jesus Christ fulfilled not just 48 prophecies, not just 61 prophecies, but more than 324 individual prophecies that the Prophets wrote concerning the Messiah. I haven’t been able to find the statistical projection representing the possibility of Jesus Christ fulfilling 324 prophecies but I really don’t think it matters given the illustrations set forth above.Does it really take faith to come to salvation through Jesus Christ? Absolutely but that faith is not a blind faith as some would want you to believe but instead, it is a faith based upon facts. How much faith? Maybe not very much if one really takes the time to look at the facts and take into consideration the statistics and probability of the prophecies concerning the Messiah.When someone tries to tell you that Christianity is a religious faith based upon ignorant acceptance of certain precepts that have no basis in fact, they are sadly mistaken. Christianity only makes sense. It is a faith that not only can be an emotional faith (which it is), it is also an intellectual faith.Given the odds, I wouldn’t bet against it. Would you?Comments or questions may be directed to the author at

Atheism - the easy option?...for now anyway

Is atheism the easy option? With atheism I can do what I like in this life and then there is nothing.....except that IF I get it wrong then according to the Christians I will then spend my eternity in hell.

Whereas, with christianity I have to choose to surrender to Jesus (see Salvation Prayer blog) and then live by the rules of the bible (see Ten Commandments blog) and then hope I go to heaven but potentially, given the life I have led so far...i.e have two children out of wedlock - go to hell.......for eternity. That's the interesting thing - all the good stuff we do doesn't seem to count for anything if you don't surrender. You could be an aid worker in Africa, living in poverty and devoting your entire life to helping others and that would not be enough because you have not surrendered your life to Jesus. You can spend your life helping others and being the kindest person in the world but if you don't believe you will be damned to hell for eternity.

Scary stuff eh? But would it be wrong, morally weak, to believe - not because of a positive belief in Jesus but in a fear of hell?

I used to look at christians and covet what they had -

  1. The moral certainty
  2. Quite often - the loving husband
  3. The beatific smile
  4. You've heard of "smug marrieds" (Bridget Jones) - well the glow on a Christian's face (not all - but especially the evangelical ones) makes the married friends of Miss Jones look as though they are in mourning.
Now, I just don't know. To be fair - I don't think I've ever heard a Christian tell me theirs was the easy option - just the only option.

I've heard some atheists speak of Christians as being weak in their need to believe in something, but actually the weak position seems to be atheism. "Nothing" is much easier to believe in than "eternity".......potentially in hell.

Daniel Everett was a missionary. His book "Don't sleep, there are snakes" is an autobiography of his journey to atheism. He went to the Amazon to convert a tribe to Jesus and they ended up converting him to atheism. The question that has been perplexing me is - if he got it wrong, the fact that he showed the tribe the option of Jesus - has he now damned them to hell because they have rejected Jesus? If he had not visited them and they were not aware of their options then would a kind and compassionate God really send them to eternity in hell when they had not had the opportunity to know Jesus?

Last week my friend Jane offered for me to give my life to Jesus. She said "You can do it right now". I replied in increasingly desperate tones, "I can't, I can't". I could not begin to verbalise why as it has taken time to process my reaction.

I am fascinated when I hear of people who have no or little knowledge of the bible suddenly falling down and "giving their lives to Jesus". How can they do that? Why could I not do that?

I want to continue questioning and exploring and I fear that if, or once, I make that declaration it is game over - I must live by the rules of the bible (open to interpretation) and no longer question.

A huge part of me feels that when and only when I can argue logically and cogently with an atheist and potentially win will I be able to "surrender" but is that my ego getting in the way? and what a risk to take? Why put my eternal future in the hands of an atheist? Surely the logical answer is that the atheist can make their own journey.

All I know is that currently I enjoy going to church but feel I am on borrowed time. I feel I have temporary membership of a club and the Manager at some point soon is going to say "You either pay your subscription, abide by the rules of the club and have access to all the rooms in the club....or you leave. Your 6 month trial membership is up".

You know there is one thing that winds me up - (I am about to be judgmental and not christian at all!). The same friends who talk of me becoming a "God botherer", pity me, or try to join Dawkins on his particular hillock of high ground are the same people who can be found searching for peace, contentment, an answer to their worries or even "enlightenment" through yoga and/or meditation. They are the same people who do "reiki" or "horoscopes" or visit clairvoyants. They are the same people who believe in "The Secret" or "Cosmic Ordering". They are the same people who believe in luck and believe in ghosts. Do any of them see the contradiction in their position? They are prepared to believe a random set of beliefs and practices to be found on the shelves of New Age bookstores but not a word of Jesus.

They are saying they believe in a spirit world but when you talk about the spirit world referring to Jesus they go all atheist on you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leap of Faith

Desmond Tutu described the bible as a "library of books" and the point he was making was that we should read different parts in different ways. Some take the whole bible literally, for example, the people who have set up the creation museum in Kentucky Others choose to follow some bits and not others. When I was speaking about the bible with my friend Ian the other day he said "Yes but it is just a collection of stories". Over the past year I have been quite surprised at the historical accuracy of certain parts as put forward by historians as opposed to theologians.

Nicky Gumbel (Holy Trinity Brompton) poses this question - If Jesus was not the son of God - who was he? Either he was a lier or a fantasist. Nicky doesn't give any further options. I have turned to historians to assist me in trying to find an answer."The Unauthorised Version - Truth and Fiction in the Bible" has been a really useful resource. Its author Robin Lane Fox is an English historian, currently a Fellow of New College, Oxford and University of Oxford Reader in Ancient History.

Another incredibly useful book has been "A history of Christianity, the first three thousand years" by Diarmaid MacCulloch, who is Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford (since 1997) and Fellow (formerly Senior Tutor) of St Cross College, Oxford (since 1995). This has also been made into a successful BBC series which can be purchased on DVD.

Despite all this erudite reading I have to ask myself whether I am any further down the path of either atheism or theism. As a christian gentlemen said to me, clearly exasperated by my constant questioning - "It's called a LEAP OF FAITH for a reason!"

So I took a change of tack and decided to explore literature by christians that I admire - hence reading Desmond Tutu's biography. His brand of christianity is, if I believed, where I would sit most comfortably.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Ten Commandments

The sermon at St. Mark's today was about the ten commandments - "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's porsche" (the Jersey version). So that got me thinking? Is there ever a good time to covert something? I covet the certainty that both my christian friends (who have surrendered their lives to Jesus) and my atheist friends have - as opposed to this limbo land I find myself in.

I have atheist friends who judge me intellectually lacking for even considering believing. When I am with them I feel I am not an atheist. I end up arguing the historical accuracy of parts of the bible and explaining "It's not just a story". Then when I am with my christian friends I realise to be authentic I have to admit to not being one of them. I look at some of the great christians and feel intellectually weak for just not "getting it". My friend Jane today gently challenged me. I explained that there were certain key things I could not get my head around. "Like what?" she enquired. I knew at this point that I would have to tell the truth and as I squirmed in my seat I said "The, errrr, bodily resurrection". To which she replied "Well Luke saw him eat and he was a Doctor".

I figure all I can do - if I have a desire for answers one way or the other - is keep going to church and keep listening and learning.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Serenity Prayer

Posting the Salvation Prayer this morning got me thinking about the Serenity Prayer which I am sure many believers and non-believers alike know well - whether as part of recovery through AA or similar organisations following the twelve-step programme or whether on a fridge magnet or a Hallmark card.
Only recently I discovered there was more to this prayer than I thought. I knew the section below that I've marked in purple but the next part is relatively new to me.

GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
the next. Amen
Reinhold Neibuhr-1926

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Salvation Prayer

Bit of an early start today as the dogs decided they wanted to go out at 0500. I've just read on facebook that Steven Baldwin (brother of Alec Baldwin) has just done the salvation prayer with Alex Reid who I am told is Jordon's boyfriend. We don't watch TV here so I have a slightly different perspective on the world i.e not sure who either of them are. Anyway, I bet they didn't expect that to happen in the Big Brother House. So what is the salvation prayer?
Just type it into google and see what you get. There are lots of answers but they follow a theme. Here is what the website had to say.
The Salvation Prayer - The Cornerstone is Christ?
What is the so-called Salvation Prayer? What do I do to get "saved?" At one point or another we all ask ourselves this question. 

"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) 

"Jesus answered and said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" (John 3:3)
Salvation Prayer - Back to Basics
The Salvation Prayer is merely a road to rebirth in Jesus Christ. To be born again you must confess Jesus as Lord and believe that He is. When you ask Him into your heart, you are allowing Him to be the Lord of your life. Unfortunately, the Church today has complicated the Salvation message with various layers of extra "stuff." 

So, let's get back to the basics! 

A. Salvation is the "permission slip" to enter heaven when you leave this world.
B. Salvation takes place when a person listens to the salvation message, believes it, and makes a decision to receive Jesus into his or her heart.
Salvation Prayer - The Simple Steps:
1. Acknowledge in your heart that Jesus is Lord. 

2. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. 

3. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised three days later. 

4. Repent of your sins and get baptized in the name of Jesus.
Salvation Prayer - Merely a Tool to Communicate Our Faith
The Salvation Prayer is not a ritual based on specific words. This is not the power of a prayer, but the power of truly committing our lives to Christ as Savior and Lord. The following is merely a guideline for our sincere step of faith: 

"God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross at Calvary, and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in Jesus' precious and holy name. Amen."
If you decided to repent of your sins and receive Christ today, welcome to God's family. Now, as a way to grow closer to Him, the Bible tells us to follow up on our commitment.
Get baptized as commanded by Christ.
Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ.
Spend time with God each day.
It does not have to be a long period of time. Just develop the daily habit of praying to Him and reading His Word. Ask God to increase your faith and your understanding of the Bible.
Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus.
Develop a group of believer friends to answer your questions and support you.
Find a local church where you can worship God.

Just in case you are wanting to know more about Steven Baldwin. This is what google had to say. He's the younger brother of Alec Baldwin. He is also an actor. Here's the relevant bit....
In September 2006, Baldwin released his book titled The Unusual Suspect, which details highlights from his personal life, career, days of drug abuse and ultimately his turn to becoming a born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks. In the same year, Baldwin, Mario D'Ortenzio and Bobby Brewer founded, "Breakthrough Ministries", which was designed to utilize extreme sports as a ministry via arena tours, which were referred to as, "Assault Tours", and featured extreme sports celebrities, with Christian Hosoi being the most notable one. In 2007, Daniel Southern joined Baldwin as President of his ministries. In late 2008, Baldwin formed a for-profit organization called, "Antioch Ministry", which exists, "to facilitate the gifts and calling of Stephen Baldwin". In 2009, Baldwin and Southern launched a third ministry called, "Now More Than Ever", designed to reach enlisted men and women in the military, around the world.

A Rabble Rouser for Peace - Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu

David Beresford wrote in the Guardian on Tuesday 26th September 2006 -

About 10 years ago, when the truth commission and the activities of South African death squads were still fresh in people's minds, a basket of fruit was delivered to my door. A card said it had come from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I shouted at my family to take cover.

After a few prods with a broomstick persuaded me that it was not a bomb, and I had calmed down, I remembered that I had asked the archbishop to launch a book I had written. He had been unable to do so because of pressure of work. The fruit basket was by way of apology.

So I was prepared, when I took delivery last week of a parcel containing the archbishop's biography, Rabble-Rouser for Peace, and did not have recourse to a broomstick. In fact I was reluctant to open it at all, so gorgeous was the wrapping: shocking pink paper tied with gold ribbon in the shape of a cross, with an ornamental crucifix and a parchment dove of peace.

The wrapping was no doubt the inspiration of the publishers (Simon & Shuster) or the biographer (John Allen), but it was somehow in the style of Tutu: a bit "over the top".

The question is whether that is evidence of his guilt of the charge that George Orwell, talking about Gandhi, said should be levelled at all saints until they are proven innocent. As with Gandhi, the charge against Tutu is that of vanity. And although Allen, who is Tutu's former press secretary, may be taken aback by the claim, the biography does go some way towards sustaining it.

This is a man who wants fame, and makes no bones about it. The night before the Nobel prize was about to be announced, he slept badly, he recalls. "It was almost like waiting for exam results," he said. "It had happened twice before that people said I was a strong candidate and the let-down then was very hard."

Perhaps more episcopalian was the "holy indifference to the result" for which Natal's Michael Nuttall prayed while awaiting the outcome of the election to determine the archbishop of Cape Town, in which Tutu was his rival.

Tutu was a man who made much use of public gesture. During a hearing of the truth commission in Bloemfontein, he went on a pilgrimage to the memorial of an Anglo-Boer war concentration camp. "The next day Afrikaans newspapers featured a photograph of him in his cassock, bending his head in prayer in front of a statue of two women and a dying child," records Allen.

And on occasions, when a shepherd might be expected to be consoling his flock, it was the shepherd who required consoling. So, at the outset of the truth commission hearings, while listening to an account by a torture victim of his treatment by the police, Tutu put his face down on the table "and wept uncontrollably, disrupting the proceedings".

The charge of vanity is nothing new. Nelson Mandela used the word "arrogant" to describe Tutu in an interview with Allen. Recalling that the cleric had made an offer to call off the boycott campaign against South Africa if the then US president, Ronald Reagan, would meet his (Tutu's) demands, Mandela is quoted as saying it was as if the archbishop had introduced the boycott.

"He made a statement which was regarded as arrogant by many of us," said Mandela ­ referring to fellow ANC prisoners then with him in Pollsmoor jail.

Tutu's presumption as he trod the international diplomatic stage appeared overweening, as on the occasion when he "cut off contact with British officials below the rank of foreign secretary".

Linda Chalker, minister at the British foreign office, who was herself "cut dead" at a diplomatic function by Tutu, recalled how the archbishop ­ at one stage considered to be in the running to succeed Robert Runcie as Archbishop of Canterbury - even managed to upset the Queen. "I was escorting ... the Queen around and remember him coming up with a very sharp remark," recalled Chalker. "She heard it and said to me afterwards, 'Why does he have to be unpleasant?' I said: 'He's just angry.'"

But there is a defence for Tutu, and it is not just anger. It is to be found in a remark by the rector of Trinity church, in Wall Street, Daniel P Matthews, who observed that Tutu had "a genius for intuitively sensing his audience". To appreciate the point one needed to witness such moments as the archbishop jiving to drums around the altar of Cape Town's St George's Cathedral in front of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Or, for that matter, weeping in front of that torture victim, or posing for cameras in front of that concentration camp memorial.

With that intuitive genius comes a confidence and courage that is all the more extraordinary in the South African context. Africa is a continent on which hierarchy of leadership means much. It takes particular courage, for a black man in this part of the world, to describe Robert Mugabe as "bonkers"; to tell the leadership of the ANC, "I have struggled against a tyranny; I didn't do that in order to substitute another"; or, for that matter, to face down ­ as he did on so many occasions ­ white South Africa.

In an epilogue to the authorised biography Allen quotes a nun, an Anglican solitary, who wrote to Tutu saying: "You have been a celebrity too long and it is taking its toll. You need once more to realise your nothingness before God." Tutu replied with the agonised protest: "I could not sit by quietly."

Desmond Tutu - a Rabble-rouser for Peace

This week I am reading "A Rabble-rouser for Peace" about Desmond Tutu - who is very much an inspirational person to me. It's extraordinary to look back and realise I can't remember a time without his force for good. As a child, we would see images of him, his robes flapping around him as he spoke of the iniquity of apartheid. I was very surprised to discover that whilst he campaigned for the release of Nelson Mandela from his Robben Island prison and subsequent prison on land, the men did not meet until the day he came out of prison.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Latin Mass in the Anglican Church?

I was wondering whether latin words could be used in the Anglican church as I wanted to compose a setting of the Sanctus. The following section from Father Timothy Dalton's blog seems to say it's OK and I've found a church in the North of England that is very keen on it. So with that in mind I've used the following words -

Sanctus, sanctus, dominus deus sabaoth
Plenisunt caeli et terra gloria
Hosanna in Excelsis
Hosanna in Excelsis
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna in the highest

This is what Father Timothy had to say;

42 Of the language of divine service

1. (1) Subject to the following provisions of this Canon, authorized
forms of services shall be said or sung in English. (2) In the provinces of Canterbury and York outside England authorized forms of service may be said or sung in the vernacular. 2. Authorized forms of service may be said or sung in Latin in the following places – Provincial Convocations Chapels and other public places in university colleges and halls University churches The colleges of Westminster, Winchester and Eton Such other places of religious and sound learning as custom allows or the bishop or other the Ordinary may permit Except for musical arrangements of canticles and eucharistic propers and such, I wonder if this has ever been done. Has it been a common practice? Was it once upon a time, when Latin was more common at the university? I know it is still a technical requirement for ordination in England and Canada, according to the Prayer Book, that they be "learned in the Latin tongue." I know they used to recite the table blessing at Nashotah in Latin and I assume that was common in England around the same era. Anyone know details about Latin liturgies from the Prayer Book in actual practice?


Andrew Teather said...
There is a Latin Mass at St Silas, Kentish Town (London) every Saturday and St Lukes Southport has celebrations in Latin from time to time. Bourne Street has Latin Benediction as well. I had a conversation with friend some time ago about setting up an Anglican Latin Mass society, which will come to fruition in a few years, i think.
Just in case anyone was wondering what the words of the Sanctus mean - here's what Wikipedia has to say...oh and I just want to add that I find something very moving about the fact that whilst I am singing Sanctus - my Jewish friend up the road is singing the same thing - Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tz'vaot Melo Kol Haaretz Kevodo.

The Sanctus (Latin for holy) is a hymn from Christian liturgy, forming part of the ordinary of the mass. In Western Christianity, the Sanctus is sung (or said) as the final words of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, the prayer of consecration of the bread and wine. The preface, which alters according to the season, usually concludes with words describing the praise of the worshippers joining with the angels, who are pictured as praising God with the words of the Sanctus:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.[1]
The first part of the Sanctus is adapted from Isaiah 6:3, which describes the prophet Isaiah's vision of the throne of God surrounded by six-winged, ministering seraphim. A similar representation found in Revelation 4:8 appears to be the basis of the Trisagion, with which the Sanctus should not be confused. In Jewish liturgy, the verse from Isaiah is uttered by the congregation during Kedusha, a prayer said during the cantor's repetition of the Amidah (18 Benedictions) before the opening of the ark:
Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tz'vaot
Melo Kol Haaretz Kevodo.
The text of the second part, beginning with the word Benedictus (Latin for "Blessed"), is taken from Matthew 21:9, describing Jesus' Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem.
The Sanctus has been set to numerous plainchant melodies, many of which are given in the Roman Missal, and many more composers have set it to more complex music. It constitutes a mandatory part of any mass setting.
In the Tridentine Mass the priest joins his hands while saying the word "Sanctus" and then, bowing, continues to recite the whole of the Sanctus in a lower voice, while a small bell is rung; then, on reaching the words "Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini", he stands erect again and makes the Sign of the Cross.[2] He then continues immediately with the Canon of the Mass, while the choir, if there is one, sings the Sanctus, pausing for the Consecration and continuing with the Benedictus part afterwards. As a result of this division, the Sanctus is sometimes called[who?] the Sanctus-Benedictus.
In the Mass as revised after the Second Vatican Council, the only ceremony prescribed for the priest is to join his hands. He and the people sing or recite together the whole of the Sanctus, before the priest begins the Eucharistic Prayer.
In the Roman Catholic church, an indulgence of 100 days is associated with the Sanctus when prayed once a day together with the Trisagion, with a contrite heart to adore the Holy Trinity.[3]

[edit]Translated versions

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.