David Jenkins

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Ian McKay
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:04 am

David Jenkins

Post by Ian McKay » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:37 am

Yesterday the Right Reverend David Jenkins, former Bishop of Durham, died at the age of 91.

Theologically he was a modernist, interpreting doctrines like the virgin birth and the resurrection as symbolic rather than as literal history. Of the virgin birth he said, “I wouldn’t put it past God to arrange a virgin birth if he wanted, but I very much doubt if he would.” According to today’s Times, he believed passionately that much English religion was backward-looking and had not come to terms with modern scientific knowledge. He welcomed women who believed they had a vocation to ordination, homosexuals who did not regard their orientation as sinful and questioners who doubted that the whole Bible was literal history.

He was consecrated in 1984 during the miners’ strike and in his sermon he made a passionate plea for compromise in the process of closing down the mining industry. Miners’ families remember him as the only establishment figure willing to speak out in their defence. His sermon was interrupted by spontaneous applause.

A few days later York Minster was struck by lightning and part of its roof was destroyed by fire. Religious traditionalists declared this was how God expressed his disapproval. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood in a letter to The Times declared that the Gospel came to rescue us from believing in a world where lightning strikes or illness are divine punishments.

According to today’s Times,
The speed and sophistication of his speaking could leave his hearers bemused but deeply moved by his emotional pleading: once at Christmas in the cathedral he cried as he spoke of God’s generosity in giving his son for humanity. He gave talks expounding faith for professions such as social or health workers in which no contemporary Christian speaker could equal him. At the York General Synod in July 1986 his mystical tour de force speech on the question “Is our God worth believing in?” received a standing ovation.
Those who shared his vision and those who opposed it will at least agree that his legacy will be felt for a long time.

Gal 5.1
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Re: David Jenkins

Post by Gal 5.1 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:31 pm

It is interesting that Billy Graham said "While I most certainly believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, I do not find anywhere in the New Testament that this particular belief is necessary for personal salvation".

The Questioner
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Re: David Jenkins

Post by The Questioner » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:23 pm

He was something of a hero to me. His questioning and doubts increased his authenticity. He was a great advocate for the most important people in his time as bishop: the ordinary folk of the North East of England.

He became bishop as I left the EB.

PosterChild
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Re: David Jenkins

Post by PosterChild » Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:11 pm

Gal 5.1 wrote:It is interesting that Billy Graham said "While I most certainly believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, I do not find anywhere in the New Testament that this particular belief is necessary for personal salvation".

What about the resurrection? Can one doubt that it actually happened (as apparently the Right Reverend did) and be saved?

The Questioner
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Re: David Jenkins

Post by The Questioner » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:32 pm

His supposed questioning of the resurrection is usually greatly exaggerated. In any case, wasn't he just expressing the doubts most have at some time? The evidence is limited - a few verses in the bible - and requires faith. Doubt seems to me to be integral to faith, not opposite.

Gal 5.1
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Re: David Jenkins

Post by Gal 5.1 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:03 pm

I am quite content to leave the question of David Jenkins eternal welfare and indeed that of James Taylor junior and others whose utterings I might have had cause to question in the Lord's hands.
It does not seem to me to be either positive or profitable to deliberate on the eternal destiny of those who are no longer with us. The gospel of Christ is for those who are alive.

The Questioner
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Re: David Jenkins

Post by The Questioner » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:24 am

Too often we see the arrogance of evangelicalism - I've been there - which always tries to detemine what happens to people whose views are at variance to my own.

As I asked elsewhere, is the exclusive method of salvation subscribed to by evangelicals a mere human invention? Jenkins, who made a choice to follow Jesus Christ at age 14 in an evangelical Crusaders Group, caused and still causes palpitations for so many when what he does in asking hard questions is to be applauded.

I suspect he might well have championed the ex-EB cause!

Ian McKay
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Re: David Jenkins

Post by Ian McKay » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:54 am

There was a day when Posterchild’s question would have brought lots of bigots out of the woodwork, all believing themselves qualified to deliver a verdict, and all with a verse of scripture to prove that they are right. The verse would be chosen to suit their chosen verdict, and there are plenty of verses that could be used in that way, no matter what verdict you wanted to deliver.

Brethrenism used to breed such bigots, testifying against everyone but themselves. JSH could condemn a man to hell without a trial, and BDH was certain that God would stand by JSH’s judgment. Today it is reassuring to see that no such bigot has replied. Brash, arrogant, dogmatic religion now seems to be something of an ebbing tide, at least in this little corner of cyberspace. That is a good sign.

PosterChild
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Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:10 pm

Re: David Jenkins

Post by PosterChild » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:59 pm

It did not cross my mind as to Jenkins current residence when I made the previous post on this thread, that was not my concern or consideration. I know nothing about David Jenkins other than what I have read on this thread, and regardless of how much or little I know of him, God alone will determine his final placement and ours.
The comment that "belief in the virgin birth" is not required for salvation raised the question I posed because of two things.-- One being Ian's comment that Jenkins did not take the resurrection as historical fact, and two being my belief that the resurrection is a requirement for salvation. Meanwhile of course, I have taken another look at the scriptures as well as at various peoples thoughts on it with google's help, and my belief remains as it was.

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