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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Episcopalian Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, Found Loitering in the Shadow of Jean Rousseau

In his October 2006 presentation to devotees of ISCAST, reported in blogs and comments on this blogspot, Episcopalian Bishop of South Sydney - Rob Forsyth, disclosed his reservation about miracles including the creation event and Israel's crossing of the Red Sea.

Bishop Forsyth brings to mind Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) who was born in a Protestant home, converted to Roman Catholicism, then finally renounced Christianity completely. Rousseau became a "free-thinker" amongst the intellectual set in Paris. During his period of attachment to the Church, Rousseau was a Deist - he categorically denied all biblical miracles and saw God as an absentee landlord. In this he identified with Aristotle and Rene Descartes.

Rousseau's Social Contract, published in 1762, put forward a radical and secular theory of government based on general will of the people rather than on laws appointed by God. This work paved the way for the French Revolution and set the stage for secular humanism which requires the theory of evolution to maintain the belief that there never has been and never will be any divine intervention in the world.

Atheism is not a condition like the common cold which develops overnight. With Atheism there is an accumulation of thoughts and departures from conventional thought. With hindsight, Atheists can describe a clear path pursued to reach the end point.

Bishop Rob Forsyth has divulged, by certain admissions, that he is placed somewhere on a similar path to Jean Rousseau. This is a very dangerous path to be on. Bishop Forsyth should know that, with the thinking he cultivates, Atheism will never be far from his door.

Sam

19 comments:

Eric said...

Thanks Sam, similarly, Moore is on the same path, I fear, as Princeton, for similar reasons. Princeton was once a bastion of conservative scholarship. It then compromised on Genesis 1 and is now, for that, and other reasons, I guess, but note the first apostasy: a well known liberal college. Should Moore go the same way, say bye bye to a strong diocese in a couple of generations (God forbid).

geoffc said...

Hi Sam

What did Rob actually say? Is there anywhere we could find his skepticism over Israel's crossing of the Red Sea?

Cheers

Geoff

Critias said...

Well, I can vouch for Rob's general position. I was at a meeting with him many years ago, in his Barney's days; there he denied that Adam and Eve were real people, and inferred that the creation in Gen 1 was story time. He appeared a little hesitant about the flood, but kept his cards to his chest; as the group was busily kicking the dust over Adam and Eve and silly people who believed they existed (Paul springs to mind!).

John said...

Geoff,

Yes, the proof is in a 2006 talk he gave at ISCAST, an organisation brimming with silly men who pretend to be Christian but it just seems much easier to believe they're not because of their fanciful and deluded ideas about Scripture and Jesus.

See my 24/2/07 blog piece called 'Gaia, or how I traded my Anglican heritage to a pagan goddess for 30 pieces of silver.' on some of Rob's "Christian" material.

BTW, rumour has it that Rob has two atheist sons. Having been once a heathen myself, I really don't blame the lads for not accepting the watered-down version of Christianity that their father spruiks as the genuine thing.

geoffc said...

What did he say about the crossing of the red sea?I've heard evangelicals deny Gen 1-11, but never the events of the Exodus.

He wasn't denying the location was he? Saying it was probably "The sea of reeds" as opposed to the "red sea" was he?

John said...

Geoff,

As I recall there was a thread on the Anglo Forums discussing this and some have denied its historicity. It's rarely 'this' to the exclusion of 'that' but a continuum of disbelief.

If you go to the website for the pagan group ISCAST you should be able to find Rob's complete text.

As I stated, he watered down the clearly miraculous occurrence of the REd Sea's parting and made it more of a naturalistic event to do with fortuitous timing. If he had read the account he just couldn't be so dismissive of the miracle that occurred.

sam drucker said...

For the information of Geoff, the article was on the your.sydneyanglicans.net website under the title of Miracles, Intelligent Design and the limits of science.

I quote an extract "The same can be said of other genuine miracles. By miracle here I am talking not about events in which the remarkable timing of a natural event has significance, like possibly the wind blowing back the Red Sea in Exodus 15."

Sam

geoffc said...

"The same can be said of other genuine miracles. By miracle here I am talking not about events in which the remarkable timing of a natural event has significance, like possibly the wind blowing back the Red Sea in Exodus 15."

Weird. i don't see how the crossing of the red sea can be seen as anything less than a miracle. Even if natural events like that occur, the timing and the biblical account seem to show it as something else.

I shall have a read!

neil moore said...

If Bishop Forsyth has two atheist sons it brings to mind the NT instructions concerning the qualifications for leadership in the Church. Obviously something has gone wrong in the instructiuon given by Bishop Forsyth to his sons.

I wonder whether he has considered his position and come to a satisfied mind?

Neil Moore

geoffc said...

I had a read of his article. Concerning the red sea crossing. When Rob wrote; "The same can be said of other genuine miracles. By miracle here I am talking not about events in which the remarkable timing of a natural event has significance, like possibly the wind blowing back the Red Sea in Exodus 15."

My interpretation was he was saying that SOME might say it was natural phenomena with remarkable timing. So a conversation like this might go;

person a: See, miracles happen, the crossing of the red sea is an example

person b: Oh I can explain that, it's a natural phenomena, the blew it back and the timing was remarkable.

I think this is the case because he then goes on to say he is talking about miracles like the feeding of the five thousand, where no possible explanation can be given if it were to happen before your eyes other than accepting it as a miracle or a clever trick.

I know it doesn't disprove what you are saying Sam, as you believe is he is guilty of the same thing with how he views Genesis. But based on his article I wouldn't say he was denying that a miracle took place. But then again maybe his October 2006 thing was different altogether.

John said...

Geoff,

Here is what Rob wrote on this blog:

"One point of clarification. I do not think Exodus 14.21 (thanks for the correction) is a miracle as such, but I do believe that the Lord did bring it about that the sea was turned into dry land, by providential use of so called 'natural' means."

Geoff, this is not what the passage says. Furthermore, would a bible-believing Jew subscribe to this "naturalising" up of the text?

Rob then goes onto to attempt to find an inconsistency in our reading of the Bible:

"And now a question to John. I see you deny my hermeneutical principle about what God by his word is teaching us. What is yours?

An example will make my point. Do you believe that the Bible is teaching that there is a large body of water above the sky of heavens as is asserted by Genesis 1:6-8"

You work it out yourself, Geoff. We already have.

sam drucker said...

Geoff, I didn't say this earlier because it was passed on to me by another person but I tend to trust that person's testimony.

If I am wrong I am happy to apologise to Rob Forsyth.

The story is as follows:

Several years ago, Evangelical Union was planning on bringing John Polkinghorne out to speak. There were EU members who were disturbed by this and went to Rob Forsyth to complain that John Polkinghorne does not believe in the Virgin Birth, to which Rob replied something along the lines of "Well, I have some problems with the Virgin Birth too."

Now I might be misquoting Rob here. It might have been a throwaway line. As I said, I am happy to be corrected by Rob and will apologise if I am in error.

If the statement, as relayed to me, is true it is consistent with an observable depreciation of miracles elsewhere by Rob.

Sam

geoffc said...

Thanks Sam.

Warwick said...

Folks I have always had a problem with the idea that a providential wind blew, exposing the land for those chaps to stomp across. As I understand physics(my physics teacher would have said-not very well)said wind would have to continue blowing, until all had scurried across, right? I don't suppose even the most deluded propose it blew the water up to Transylvania so as to give them time to make the trip, right? So we have a very strong providential wind, one that dries absolutely sodden land and holds back megga litres of water, against gravity. But this same fierce wind didn't blow the scurriers away? What a miracle!

Those who propose this are like those who, contrary to Scripture and reason, deny that the flood of Noah was world-wide, as in covering the whole globe.

BTW CMI has recently released the latest version of The Answers Book which covers such issues as The Flood, Carbon 14 dating, races, skin, colours, and who did Cain marry etc, questions which are in many peoples minds. Available at www.creationontheweb.com In my experience those who bring up objections to Scripture have never read The Answers Book. Vital reading for any Christian.

neil moore said...

I would like to receive comments negative or positive on my question of whether a man whose instruction to his sons or daughters has reared atheists has demerits in terms of leadership in the Church according to New Testament guidleines.

Neil Moore

John said...

Neil,

I am no expert on these matters. In fact, I know nada about it. However, it would seem strange that an honourable and kindly man who, say, for the sake of argument, had his wife leave him for no fundamentally good reason (e.g. physical abuse or adultery), would have his appointment threatened because of this very sad and lonely event, yet a man who failed to raise his sons to know the love and wisdom of our heavenly Father is allowed to continue in his position.

Then again, as a new father myself I can only begin to sense the difficulties of this responsibility and fatherhood is not some algorithm of certainty. In others words, I know I'll cock up sooner or later.

Ktisophilos said...

It is suspicious, but to be fair, the NT criteria for an elder include managing his *children* well, not necessarily his adult offspring. After all, Adam and Eve had the best raising possible, but still sinned.

neil moore said...

Yes, but we know that at least Cain & Able beleived there was a God who created all things and both offered sacrifices to God.

In the end Cain did not heed God's advice and descended into sin, even murdering his brother. Bad it is yet atheism is another thing.

Nevertheless, I recognise what I have pondered about raising children and instruction which resulted in atheism is a big call to take away a man's commission.

I'll leave it at that.

Neil Moore

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