‘Heretic’ grandmother banned by Tasmanian Anglican bishop

Anglicanism is traditionally tolerant of theological variety.  It is not even clear that all the episcopate believe in God -Runcie, for instance.  So this news is a surprise.

There is no doubt that the woman is heretical:  She defies the absurd Trinity doctrine.  But her rebellion is against the hierarchy, not the Bible.  The Bible is thoroughly on her side.  Jesus said "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28) and he prayed to God (Matthew 26:39).  If he was God, who was he praying to?

I can only hope that she manages to form a study group of others who respect what the Bible says

A 72-year-old grandmother and devoted Christian has been labelled a “dangerous heretic” and banned from Anglican churches upon pain of police action, after a disagreement over theology with Tasmania’s bishop.

Former nurse Sue Carlyon’s exclusion – confirmed in writing – was ordered by Bishop Richard Condie over differences in ­interpretation of scripture that Christians have been debating for millennia.

Dr Condie has expelled the churchgoer over her view that God did not die on the cross, only Jesus as a man and son of God.

Ms Carlyon, who voluntarily cleaned at her parish church, believes firmly in her interpretation, arguing it helps her and others aspire to be more like Jesus.

She has published a short book explaining her interpretation.

The grandmother of five sent a copy to Dr Condie, seeking his views, and was later invited by the bishop to meet him to discuss it.

At this meeting on November 2, Dr Condie informed her she would be banned from her parish church, in Kingston, south of Hobart, and all Anglican churches in Tasmania.

Dr Condie confirmed the ban in writing on November 7, telling Ms Carlyon her book “contains significant dangerous heresy” and she would be allowed to return only if she retrieved and destroyed every available copy and publicly repented.

“To claim Jesus was not God when he died on the cross does not accord with orthodox teaching in any Christian tradition, undermines the doctrine of the Trinity and the efficacy of Jesus’ death for sin,” Dr Condie wrote.

He said her position “undermines people’s confidence in Christ” and she had continued to ignore directives not to distribute the book. “I am left with no other option that to forbid you from attending any Anglican church in Tasmania,” he said. “This includes Sunday services or visiting the church through the week.”

Ms Carlyon was told by Dr Condie: “If you do attend (any church), I will be instructing the ministers to have you removed from the property by the police.”

A survivor of domestic violence and family abuse, Ms Carlyon said she was “truly devastated” by the ban. “I thought I was settled in this church, I had made some nice connections and it’s a very active church with a lot of functions,” she said. “I find it exhausting to be contending with this at my age.

“To expect me to make a public declaration of repentance is just ridiculous – it’s from the dark ages.”

She would have preferred the bishop hold a group discussion. “There would have been others who would have fully supported what I’m saying,” she said.

The bishop had “bullied” her, Ms Carlyon said. “He was using bullyboy tactics – he was like a dog with a bone.

“He wanted me to cave in and apologise and be submissive and repentive. But it wouldn’t be true if I had given in. “As one of my sons said, ‘It’s just as well they can’t burn you at the stake’.”

Ms Carlyon said she was considering seeking legal advice or appealing to the Anglican Primate.

Dr Condie said it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment on a “matter of private discipline”.

Ms Carlyon’s book argues: “If God had died on the cross at Calvary, the world would have ended because of the fact that God is the ultimate source of life, and life is only sustained because of God. It is understood that Jesus died once He surrendered His spirit to God, His Father.”

However, others argue God died on the cross in the human form he had assumed in Jesus, and that his divine form did not and cannot die.

Ms Carlyon believed seeing Jesus as God when he died, rather than a man and son of God, “distorts people’s understanding of who God is, who Jesus is, what life’s about”.

“If we’re true to the scriptures in the New Testament, there’s nothing in it that says Jesus was God, so it’s an interpretation by church elders that, as Richard Condie said, took them 300 years to work out,” she said.

“They have over-intellectualised and theorised it and come out with a dogma that doesn’t align with the scriptures.”

Dr Condie said Ms Carylon’s views were an “extremely serious matter” as they “undermined” the “good news” that people could turn to Jesus for forgiveness for their sins.

“The Bible teaches that Jesus died to take the full punishment for the sins of humanity so that anyone who turns to him can be forgiven,” Dr Condie said.

“To satisfy God’s own just requirement, it is necessary that he be the one to provide the sacrifice for sin, which he did in the person of the divine Jesus Christ.”

In 2017, Ms Carlyon’s parish priest, Peter Adlem, gave her a reference expressing “no concerns about Sue’s Christian faith” and praising her “bold witness and obvious love and concern for others”.

Dr Condie is no stranger to controversy, with some Anglicans concerned about his key role in the anti-gay marriage Anglican “breakaway” Southern Cross, his sale of churches, and what some see as the spread of evan­gelism at the expense of “high ­Anglicanism”.



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