General Convention 2006

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of God, and I will praise you . . . Psalm 43:3-4

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church
met in Columbus, Ohio from June 11-21, 2006.
This blog offers a view of the convention and beyond from the perspective of Lydia Evans, a two-time lay deputy from the Diocese of South Carolina.
Visit the links found below for additional resources
as well as pre- and post-convention coverage.
Thank you for remembering the convention deputies and their families in your prayers. For further resources, visit my webpages.
For all posts from the month of June, click here.
For all posts from the month of July, click here.


Kendall Harmon writes The Times

Reprinted with the permission of the author, who was, at the time this letter was written, a Ph.D. candidate at Keble College, Oxford.

The title of his dissertation? Finally excluded from God?: Some twentieth century theological explorations of the problem of hell and universalism with reference to the historical development of these doctrines.

A Letter to the Editor of The Times (London) in 1992

From the Reverend Kendall S. Harmon

Sir, Conor Cruise O'Brien's arguments (article, April 22) against John Patten's call for greater fear of hell and damnation (report, April 17) may be summarised as follows: hell ``is for the others'', it does not work as a deterrent, and only those whose minds have been ``steeped in traditional Christian theology are capable of reconciling the notion of infinite love with the practice of eternal punishment''. Therefore, it should be left quietly alone.

Throughout his column he focuses his criticism on the idea of hell as ``fire and brimstone'' in spite of the fact that (a) Mr Patten did not specify the ``damnation'' which he hopes Britain will be taught and (b) a careful reading of the New Testament reveals that there are three images of hell and not one: punishment, destruction, and personal exclusion.

The most important function of hell in Christian thinking is the one which Dr O'Brien never discusses: hell serves as the alternative to salvation. Mr Patten recognised this by calling for the teaching of redemption and damnation.

The two belong together: to deny hell in any form is implicitly to repudiate the requirement of redemption.

If men and women do not need to be saved then the central focus of Christianity, the cross, loses its primary significance and the Church loses her sense of urgency and moral seriousness.

Dr O'Brien would do well to think on these words from Soren Kierkegaard:

Do away with the terrors of eternity (either eternal happiness or eternal perdition) and the idea of an imitation of Christ is fantastic. Only the seriousness of eternity can compel and move a man to take such a daring decision and answer for his so doing.


24 Princes Street, Oxford.
April 23.


Post a Comment

<< Home