Comments: Reform responds to House of Bishops Standing Committee

"As you will know, conservative evangelicals have always been assured that their theological outlook relating to male headship in both church and family life will have a respected position."

Translation: As you will know, conservative evangelicals have always been assured that their interpretation of scripture will always justify their misogyny.

Posted by Deacon Charlie Perrin at Monday, 10 September 2012 at 7:59pm BST

"As you will know, conservative evangelicals have always been assured that their theological outlook relating to male headship in both church and family life will have a respected position."

And the conservative evangelicals in the South African Reformed Church once had that same assurance re their their "theological outlook" relating to apartheid.

Times---THANK GOD---change!

Posted by JCF at Monday, 10 September 2012 at 9:08pm BST

>> pre-conceived notions of ‘human rights’

Wow, that's just plain scary how they put "human rights" in quotes like that.

Posted by Randal Oulton at Monday, 10 September 2012 at 10:13pm BST

The personal tone of the Letter from 'Rod' to William' would seem to indicate their mutual desire for the demands being made by 'REFORM' - a title that would seem to indicate a desire for 'change for the better'. However, from the text of Reform's Letter to the S.C. of the House of Bishops, it is clear that they are hopeful of maintaining the very unsatisfactory 'status quo' which allows Reform and its conservative allies to ignore the institutional role of Women Clergy licenced to operate in the C.of E.

With their plea to out-moded 'tradition', both FiF and Reform are ignoring the reality that women make up at least 50 percent of the human race, and probably a greater percentage of the Church. They are also oblivious of the fact that both Women and men are 'made in the image and likeness of God preferring to ignore the progress made by women in the society into which the Church needs to minister.

Let's hope the House of Bishops will graciously resile from their original intention to proclaim that the ministry of Women in the church is less valuable than that of Men - which the enactment of their Amendment Clause 5.1.c. would effectively pronounce to all the world.

Even Saint Paul was moved to say that: "In Christ, there is neither male nor female", but all are baptized by the same Spirit! Can the Church take action on this matter in a way that would give evidence of anything less affirming of women?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 11 September 2012 at 2:52am BST

>> "Those of us who believe in male headship"

The American right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson is perhaps in the foremost "male headship" advocate in the North America. This week, he advised a man to move to Saudi Arabia where it would be legal for him to beat his disrespectful wife (ya just can't make these things up, can you?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoHdO2rwGwE

Of course the English "headship" people would distance themselves from Robertson. They'd probably be more along the lines of the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr, who said, "You just have to accept this from us. The male position in the household has been taken over by the female. She handles all the available money and he turns his money over to her. That's an illegal relationship. My bones are bigger than hers. I'm designed by God to take that responsibility." [cited in: Hass, Jane Glenn. Their New Recipe for Happiness. Hayward, California. The Daily Review. Tuesday, 7 June 1977. Page 8.]

Posted by Randal Oulton at Tuesday, 11 September 2012 at 5:43pm BST

The response states:
'Option 3 would remove from Clause 5(1)c a key element that is of significance to evangelicals - namely an implication that bishops who believe in male headship will continue to serve within the Church of England. The phrase ‘consistent with’ implies that some ‘Scheme’ bishops will need to share the theological outlook of petitioning parishes.'

I suggest that this is precisely the sort of situation that should be avoided. Parishes do not currently have any right to determine that their bishop should have any specific views, and there seems no reason to me why that should change.

A conservative evangelical parish (or rather, a parish whose incumbent and/or PCC take a conservative evangelical line; what the rest of the congregation and parish think is not easily ascertainable but should not be forgotten) cannot currently insist that its bishop must agree with male headship. Why should the new legislation change that?

It ought to be acceptable enough that a bishop is male -- because then there is no change from the present, and it is only the question of women as bishops that we are addressing not any other theological question (whether liberal, conservative, middle of the road or anything else on any other topic).

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Tuesday, 11 September 2012 at 5:45pm BST

If you are in Chichester or London and you don't like your Bishop's views on the ordination of women will you thus be able to request oversight from an 'inclusive' Bishop? Surely we should all be given the same choice of having a Bishop with theological views similar to the parish; not only those churches that do not wish to have a woman (or a man not opposed to women) as Bishops.

Posted by Fr Paul at Tuesday, 11 September 2012 at 7:38pm BST

When did this rather chilling idea of male headship in family life slip into the debate? The leading opponents of women in the episcopacy haven't mentioned that openly before, have they?

Posted by Feria at Wednesday, 12 September 2012 at 10:57am BST

"The leading opponents of women in the episcopacy haven't mentioned that openly before, have they?"
- Feria -

I'm pretty sure that the members of REFORM would count their advocacy of men as sole leaders in the Church as being primary - in their opposition to Women as either clergy or bishops.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 15 September 2012 at 1:40am BST

It is a very novel idea to have a bishop with theological views similar to every parish. Since neighbouring parishes, or rather their PCCs, may hold radically differing theological views depending on those who participate and influence in any given church, how could any bishop possibly hold theological views consistent with all his or her parishes. Surely the most one can hope for is a priest who holds similar theological views - and even that will not always be possible within a large benefice.

Posted by TBPilgrim at Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 3:16pm BST
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