Women Bishops – more delay?

Jonathan Wynne-Jones in a Telegraph article Church leaders ‘back to square one’ as talks on women bishops fail writes:

The Church of England’s plans to allow women to become bishops are in disarray after its leaders failed to reach agreement on how to introduce the historic reform.

and

the House of Bishops will ask next month’s General Synod for more time to work out a mechanism which they hope will prevent the Church from descending into civil war over the issue.

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Merseymike
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Merseymike

There will never be a decision that appeals to all – that is the problem. Trying to find one is a pointless exercise.

Dave
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Dave

Good news ! At last the HoB is realising their duty to do more than follow the latest societal norms. Even though I am supportive of the episcopy being open to men and women I think that the attitude of the leaders of WATCH (in particular) and Inclusive Church is reprehensible. A measure concerned with extending “women’s rights” cannot be said to be reducing those rights because it is has limitations. I’m brought back again to the idea of episcopy along the lines of official Anglican networks, rather than geographically. This has in fact been the way real spiritual authority… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

A hit, a very palpable hit. Thanks to Dean Faull for speaking up, though it must have been difficult or stressful. The idea of a virtual province, uncontaminated by divergence in Anglican ethics or religion must still seem like the beginning of the end of historic Anglican leeway. Imagine, Anglicans now wish to be uncontaminated by women with leadership gifts and callings? You would think if the Anglican house were really on fire, they would welcome whatever help came in the dire emergency from whatever neighborly quarters. But this crisis is not that sort of crisis. Apparently. You know, when… Read more »

MadPriest
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I am a smoker. My society has decided that it is morally wrong for other people to have to put up with my smoke when they are in a pub. Not only will abide by the new laws when they come in, I have already, because of the moral decision of society stopped smoking in enclosed public spaces, even though this makes my life less enjoyable. Fox hunting has been banned because society, overwhelmingly regards it as wrong. Not only has this made its practioner’s lives less pleasurable it has deprived some people of their livelihood. Yet I still expect… Read more »

Mark
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Mark

A couple of points in response to Dave. I don’t have a great deal of time for the rights agenda, nor for simply following social norms. (What rights did Jesus ever claim?) Unfortunately the early church did follow social norms and excluded women from positions of leadership. I firmly believe this was a mistake, that men and women can be and are called to serve God, are equipped with the gifts to do so, and that the church should recognise at long last the fact that women are called to be bishops. I believe this on biblical and theological grounds,… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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I watched “The Associate” with my daughter last night. Great movie. One thing that is really annoying is the degree of stereotyping and “bundling”. All women are to be as Paul desired (for himself?), and too bad if their temperament or gifts make the roles unfulfillable. Especially, too bad if they witness the houses of their sisters and their children burning with the distress of abuse. It’s okay, Jesus loves them, and when they die they can live happily ever after in heaven. So in the meantime, shut up do the dishes and look after the children, or else we… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Dear Mark, thanks for your comments… it’s nice to know that demanding “rights” is not ubiquitous in Watch. (In fact I imagined that is wouldn’t be hence I was critical of the leaders’ attitudes – not necessarily all Watch supporters). Although I wouldn’t join you in using the word “unfortunately” about the decision taken by the Apostles (!), I also think that the issue in St Paul’s mind was primarily cultural and practical – therefore, as I said in my first post, I am not against women bishops. However I’m not prepared to walk over other people’s legitimate beliefs. And… Read more »

Prior Aelred
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Well, this is all very sad, very sad, indeed.

As Lord Runcie said, after receiving communion from a woman priest when he was in hospital in the states, “What was all the fuss about?”

Of course, “papering over the cracks” does not make for a very solid join.

What is the position of the spiritual leader of the Church and Primate of All England?

Ordinad
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Ordinad

Dear Mark,
Can you please explain to me “the robust and theologically grounded stance of WATCH”?

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Dave ; if it doesn’t ‘put folk off’ then why is church attendance still only 5% at best in the UK? I would say that if you actually talk to those outside the church, there is hardly any appeal for the conservative position. It appeals to those who want that very narrow focus but I think that is by its nature a small number of highly committed zealots. Linking that to womens ministry, the appearance of a church which is still arguing about something as old-hat as this is an antiquated and irrelevant institution. I think the entire ides of… Read more »

Rae Fletcher
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Rae Fletcher

Perhaps the CofE should look west to North America where the issue of ordaining women to both priesthood and the episcopacy was handled without spliting the church. Yes there were those who were unhappy and a small number went their own way, but 20 years later the church has found the blessing of those women whom the Spirit has called to ordained ministry.

From this side of the pond I sit and wonder whether this will be the next issue to stand as a wall between the “mother” church and North America (and South Africa, and New Zealand and…)

Mark
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Mark

I can’t speak or write for WATCH as a whole, and there is too much literature to summarise. I think it is unarguable that the stance of WATCH is robust so I assume the question is about ‘theologically grounded’. Here, for me Gen 1.27 that humanity was created male and female in the image of God (so both are required) and Galatians 3.28 that we are all equally redeemed in Christ underpin a wider grounding attested through scripture. (Richard Bauckham’s ‘Gospel Women’ contains some interesting studies for example). The exegesis of the head image as referring more naturally to a… Read more »

Edward
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Edward

With respect, that theology sounds like fitting the end result around a theology rather than the other way round. Someone mentioned that the moral arguement for women priests has already been won. Just because it makes more sense to a more disingenous population does not mean that it should be taken seriously as an academic arguement. I do admire the H of B for trying to reach a solution of sorts – the fact they are divided implies strong views all round, and I respect that, despite my known belief that 1992 et al was perhaps one of the most… Read more »

Mark
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Mark

Edward Perhaps it only sounds like the wrong way round if you’ve already decided the answer the other way. How a culturally fixed idea of God as male and the male as the iconic image of God gets so embraced by the church when the first statement on the subject in scripture says something different – well that’s an interesting question. That it is culturally embedded in some parts of the church is shown by how difficult it is even to ask the question amongst some groups, let alone have a discussion where the answer has not been decided in… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

“The moral argument for women priests has already been won” – but Cardinal Kasper (representing a much bigger chunk of world christianity) did not think so, and neither does a majority of the Anglican Communion.

And is it not just a tad hypocritical for the Church of England to be leaning on ECUSA for consecrating VGR, and at the same time to be planning to break the sound barrier itself by ordaining women as bishops?

Dave
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Dave

Merseymike wrote: “Dave ; if it doesn’t ‘put folk off’ then why is church attendance still only 5% at best in the UK?” Dear Mike, If the liberal arguements were right you would expect to see the liberal CofE churches doing better, not worse, that the evangelical and traditioanalist churches. But it is overwhelmingly the liberal churches that are shrinking away. Evangelicals are still attracting new members, winning converts and, overall, at least “breaking even”.. with some show extremely impressive growth over the last 20 years (eg HTB). The conservative traditionalist “FiF” churches have also been growing, I understand, and… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

No, you wouldn’t, Dave. Most Anglican liberals simply have no idea at all how to communicate or engage the many people who are interested in spirituality but feel utterly alienated from ‘church’

Conservative churches of all sorts attract the small minority who want that sort of conservative religion. They always will. But they will never be more than a small minority.

What religious liberals need to do is have a major rethink. I fully agree that soggy Anglican liberal compromisers appear frightened to do so. And, frankly, most liberal churches are deadly boring.

Tim Stewart
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Tim Stewart

Simon, can this story be true?

That FIF (and the Ahmanson-Scaife-IRD-AAC-Network folks) must agree before there are women bishops in England?

Hope not!

(just my 2 cents worth)

Steve Watson.
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Steve Watson.

Merseymike, I guess what you are saying is that most people don’t really want Christianity, either in its full-blooded or anaemic versions. On that, and on the boring character of liberal churches, I fully agree. But Paul said it all long ago (Romans 1.21-23). The contemporary interest in ‘spirituality’ is as much a flight from God and a quest for power (crystals and mumbo jumbo that appeal to women of a certain age) as it is a search for truth.
Actually, our Lord never encouraged his ‘little flock’ to imagine they would ever be the majority.

Erasmus
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Erasmus

Dave, you wrote “I also think that the issue in St Paul’s mind was primarily cultural and practical”. If you look carefully at 1 Tim 2:11-14 the reasons Paul gives (vs13-14)are theological, based on Creation and the Fall, and still apply today if they applied then.

Edward
Guest
Edward

I’m afraid to say that Aquinas never would have agreed with Mark !

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Erasmus, verse 12 starts with a rather telling word “I” – to me this is reminiscent of 1Cor7:12 “… I say this (I, not the Lord)”. Paul could be indicating by this form that he believes an instruction is right (and gives his reasons in this case) but not an absolute. You might also note that, in Acts 18:26, Priscilla is said to have taught Apollos. Now Paul was very close to Priscilla and Aquilla… maybe that is why he said “I” ?