The Lord is a Shoving Leopard

Posted on 21 April 2008
So said, it is alleged, the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), after whose repeated lingustic gaffs, spoonerisms are called.

This week, Stephen was invited to the inaugural meeting of a consultation between evangelicals and orthodox believers in what, formerly, was Spooner’s ‘front room’. Now the home of the Fellowship of St Alban and St. Sergius, about 20 leaders from the respective communities met to explore their different understanding and shared commitments to the Christan faith.

The senior Orthodox leader and scholar, Archbishop Kallistos, gave the inaugural address and suggested that our understanding of ‘Salvation in Christ’ was an area that required examination. Surveying some of the various metahpors used for Christ’s work he suggested that the idea of ‘exchange’ lay at the heart of the Orthodox understanding. He invited those assembled to ask four questions of their understanding of Christ’s work: Does the model envisage a change in God or us? Does it separate Christ from the Father? Does it isolate the Cross from the Incarnation and the Resurrection and does it presuppose an objective or subjective understanding of Christ’s work? The implication was that he felt evangelicals defaulted on all four of these questions!

Those who attended the conference agreed that the Way of Salvation was among a number of issues that needed to be explored more fully and that further such meetings should be arranged to facilitiate dialogue… the first of which is planned for the autumn.

Stephen comments, ‘There is little doubt that Archbishop Kallistos boldly went straight to the heart of our differences; though his questions, I thought, betrayed a lack of understanding as to the nuanced way in which evangelical scholarship, at its best, addresses such questions. I felt , too, his willingness to accept paradox in certain areas of faith was not matched by his willingness to admit the same into his reflections on the atonement… but we await further discussion!‘

Archbishop Kallistos


Colin Newton pic

I feel I should defend Spooner by pointing out that his verbal problem may have been due to an unhappy childhood.  Well, who wouldn’t have an unhappy childhood if they repeatedly referred to their parents as “Dumb and Mad” ?

Comment by Colin Newton on 24 April 2008 at 02:32 AM
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