Comments: Reform Ireland criticises appointment of new Bishop of Meath and Kildare

The only response to this nonsense could not possibly published in this family friendly blog.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 4:41pm BST

A very sad, if, not unexpected, comment. I do not see the saving grace of Jesus Christ in the Reform Ireland comment.

Posted by Susan Cooper at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 4:54pm BST

Jesus wept.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 6:04pm BST

"By ignoring God’s equality agenda and role for man and woman and substituting it with a ‘spirit-of-the-age’ equality agenda,..."

What, not even an acknowledgement that the others base their difference in sound theology? That there IS sound theology that Reform just happens not to agree with?

And we want to accommodate these people? Why?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 6:13pm BST

I got so cross reading this. I celebrated last week with the apt of Pat Storey and look forward with huge excitment to when the same happens in the C if E. It's been a long painful road, but developments like this in Ireland and Wales recently give us hope.

Posted by Ruth at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 6:22pm BST

What a bunch of nonsensical special pleading! Does anyone outside of a tiny group of entirely self-focused male clerics find this other than ridiculous? Fortunately, their day is long gone in both the Church and the world.

Posted by james lodwick at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 6:22pm BST

No good deed will go unpunished.

Posted by Alan T Perry at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 6:26pm BST

"The Church of Ireland, by its recent appointment of a woman to be Bishop, has not only brought more disharmony and disorder into God’s church, but it has also side-lined Christ in his own church. If God’s Word does not rule his body, the church, then Christ is a mere figure-head and not the captain of his people."

This is not just ridiculous. It's illogical. Embarrassing. Even disgusting.

Not to mention misogynistic. And therefore the very opposite of Christ-like.

Christ was forever raising women up.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 7:05pm BST

The bishop designate is condemned by some because of her chromosomal constitution and genitalia, and by others because of her avowedly evangelical anti-LGBT rhetoric. It’s possible that the latter may be subject to ‘nuancing’, au Justin, but hardy the former. Those who take the Holy Bible as the inerrant word of God will reject her for one and accept her for the other. For those who accept that Holy Scripture is a product of a certain time and place, it will be vice versa. Though there is no provision for dissenters here, not all clergy of the Church of Ireland will consider her orders valid. Bishop-designate Storey will have an interesting time. Don't worry too much about Reform Ireland: they are a sad pair!

Posted by Rambler at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 7:53pm BST

Men are called to Christlike self-sacrificing leadership, and women are called to Christlike self-sacrificing submissiveness.

Self-sacrificing leadership surely means sharing leadership with others - or even giving power (that's what we're talking about ultimately) away altogether.

What I think is most damaging is the message to women in abusive relationships (and not every abusive relationship involves violence) that their role is a dependency and a loss of autonomy. And that that is what the gospel is about?

Posted by Jeremy Fagan at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 8:29pm BST

Beyond parody.

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 8:59pm BST

Enough with complementarity!!!
Nuts and bolts need to be complementary. Electric plugs and electrical outlets need to be complementary. But people are NOT machine parts.

And equality? I bet Reform doesn't believe in "kirche, kochen, und kinde" for men!

The notion that men should be head of the family and the earthly church in the same manner that Jesus is supreme head of the church, quite frankly, I find frightening. In that Pauline model, Jesus is absolute master. His word is Law, not to be disobeyed, period. But, according to Christianity (simplified), Jesus is God. Human males are definitely not.
Even worse, from my point of view, the Reform attitude spills over into the secular world. During the last USA presidential election, a woman campaigned in a party’s primaries, hoping to be chosen as the party candidate. In the midwestern USA, pastors put up billboards asking people not to vote for her. Not because of any alleged lack of ability. Not because of ideological differences. But solely because “men should not defer headship to women”!!! I actually detest this woman’s politics, but if she wanted to run for president, and she felt she was qualified, then she had a right to run! Period!

There's a movie based on the apocryphal Saint Joan, who allegedly became pope, and after she died, the Roman Catholic Church discovered pope John was a pope Joan, and allegedly erased her from history. In the movie, as a child, Joan wants to attend school. But, she is informed “No girls allowed!” She appeals to the headmaster to allow her to attend, saying "God gave women brains. Don't you think God intended us to use them?" Amen!

If God gives a woman a calling, shouldn't she be allowed to fulfil it?

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 9:13pm BST

My mind is boggling at the thought that there are people who actually believe this - totally illogical and demeaning, to women and to men.

Posted by Perpetua at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 9:31pm BST

I am not a theolgian but isn't the submission of the Son to the Father in the Trinity a heresy, and where does that leave the poor Holy Spirit? Out on a limb as usual, especially as she is usually depicted as female and presumably subservient as well.

Consubstantial, co-eternal.. .
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God...
Perhaps I have missed something in all those years of hymn singing, listening to the scriptures etc?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 9:47pm BST

Sounds like another entry on the list I carry in my head entitled "Glad I'm a Quaker"...

Posted by Frank Cranmer at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 10:47pm BST

Whilst evangelicalism is strong in the Church of Ireland...especially in the north, it is far closer to Fulcrum than Reform. You see having one theological college has toned down the once almost Sydney style Protestantism of the Church of Ireland.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 10:57pm BST

If you live in the Diocese of Chichester you get used to people (and their fellow travellers from the opposite wing)who live in a world before women even got the vote!

Posted by Confused Sussex at Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 11:52pm BST

To argue that women are equal to men and at the same time submissive to them looks like sheer nonsense. I wonder why I bother to read this stuff.

Posted by Flora Alexander at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 1:40am BST

I simply cannot understand the position that a God that supposedly loves each individual simply created us as breeding stock.

How, really, is that different than the Sumerian deities that supposedly created Humanity to be mere self-replicating slaves?

No one seems to be willing to engage with that question, the basic one, beyond even rights or equality issues. I don't see how it can *not* be seen as a deformation of the relationship between God and His Creation and the supposedly special place humans have in that Creation. I find it, personally, obscene.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 4:38am BST


Is it denigrating women, or is it raising men to Christ-like stature? Or both? Or does it matter...? Crazy.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 6:41am BST

"As God’s Word makes clear, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal persons of the eternal Trinity..." so clear it took us four centuries of theological disputes to clarify it. And to draw a parallel between complementarianism and the doctrine of the Trinity is gobsmacking.

Posted by Lorenzo at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 7:52am BST

As a Catholic I totally agree with Reform. Here is a statement from the Church of Ireland website:

"The Church of Ireland is Catholic because it is in possession of a continuous tradition of faith and practice, based on Scripture and early traditions, enshrined in the Catholic Creeds, together with the sacraments and apostolic ministry.

The Church of Ireland is Protestant, or Reformed, because it affirms ‘its constant witness against all those innovations in doctrine and worship, whereby the Primitive Faith hath been from time to time defaced or overlaid.’ (Preamble and Declaration to the Constitution of the Church of Ireland of 1870, 1.3)."

By "consecrating" a woman bishop, it is contradicting its own constitution and becoming a Sect. How do you explain that?

Posted by Locuste Iste at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 8:17am BST

This is so sad

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 8:25am BST

I also have to agree with Lorenzo - the disconnected parallel between animalistic complementarity and (which no two preachers, let alone a whole Church understand as being made clear in Scripture or anywhere else) is perfectly baffling. There is no attempt to elucidate the correlation between the two, no attempt to demonstrate the assumptions made about the nature of the interrelationships in the Trinitarian formula here; all there is is an apparent assumption that because certain people have said it, no further proof is needed. The only evidence of authority is its presumption that it exists, which seems to be the position taken by - almost exclusively - male traditionalist clergy and laity.

Even if there were no other benefits to the inclusion of women in ordained ministry, the clear benefit reaped is a requirement for these entrenched attitudes to be explained rationally, rather than expounded from a position of "because I say so!" and the abandonment of a perceived, rather than actual authority.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 9:04am BST

Locuste Iste,
I'd be surprised if you actually agreed with Reform. Because your Catholic arguments are based on sacramental assurance, whereas theirs are based on St Paul's idea that women should not teach men.

I can't tell you how often FiF people have told me that they do emphatically not believe that women should be subordinate and that it would undermine their whole argument.

Reform, on the other hand, are not interested in sacramental assurance but in male headship.

You come from two completely different corners and just happen to meet in the "no girls allowed" position in the middle.

Tradition is a poor argument when it originates in cultures where men naturally decide what happens to women. We have moved on and began to understand the errors of our ways and to see how God acts in the lives of all of us.

That doesn't make our churches sects, it just makes them churches with a different understanding of what God wants for all his people.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 9:30am BST

Reform's is not an entirely new utilisation of the Doctrine of The Trinity as an excuse for the subjugation of women in religious affairs.

Patriarchy has long been the edifice on which male supremacy has tottered. To try to justify present-day misogyny with either quoting Trinitarian or Old Testament typology is just lazy theological non-speculation.

Despite the tendency to equate power and authority with the human male, I'm not sure that we need any longer to assert 'Male Headship' as any longer an excuse for the suppression of women's rights and dignity - and the under-valuation of women's contribution towards spiritual enlightenment.

"Hail Mary full of grace....."

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 9:31am BST

Yes, the view of the Trinity espoused here is akin to Arianism. Kevin Giles has written two good books (as an evangelical) exploding this nonsense.

Posted by Charles Read at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 9:49am BST

Reform's position is at odds with what the universal church has always believed and taught about the Trinity. It's not so much 'trinitarianism' as 'bifurcarianism', in that it drives apart the first and second persons of the Trinity and marginalises the third. I just made that word up but you are welcome to borrow it!

Reform also remind us why theology matters, because if you get the original building blocks in the wrong places whatever you put on top will be wobbly, such as their harmful teaching about female subordination. The Church knows this, which is what it went to such lengths in the fourth century to define an orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

Reform often ask why there is no conservative evangelical bishop in the House of Bishops - by which they mean one who signs up to their particular version of 'headship'. I think they have answered their own question. It's a bit difficult to be a bishop in the Church of England if you don't believe the doctrine of the Trinity as the universal church has defined it and the Church of England has received it.

Posted by Jane Charman at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 9:57am BST

Does this mean that 'Reform' clergymen (they will, of course be 'men') in the Church of Ireland will actively conspire against the ministry of the first Woman Bishop in their Church? Let's hope the C. of I. authorities will be prepared to dismiss from their posts any clergy who refuse to accept that women are legally part of the ministry of the C. of I.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 10:11am BST

'Locus Iste'. Your argument is not one appropriate to membership of the Church of Ireland (Anglican). You are (rightly, for you) espousing the doctrine of your own faith community, which does not happen to coincide with the doctrine of the C. of I., and may therefore not be relevant to this discussion.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 10:15am BST

I am so pleased that the Church of Ireland has had the courage to make this appointment - the first of the four British and Irish Anglican Churches to do so. We should not be allowing the inevitable sour grapes articles like this one distract from celebrating this Good News! Alleluia. Amen.

Posted by Fr Paul at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 10:30am BST

I live in the diocese of Chichester and can confirm that 'Sussex' is indeed 'confused'.

Posted by Jill Armstead at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 10:36am BST

Reform have spoken well.
Many seem to forget that God has not been made in our fallen image, but we were made unfallen in His - and we were made male and female.
It seems also that many have forgotten that our Creator God has spoken and acted in His Son to recreate us fallen creatures in Christ.
So we can have hope! - notwithstanding the outcries here.

Posted by william at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 11:25am BST

while what you say is all undoubtedly true, what does it have to do with the question of who can be a priest?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 12:40pm BST

From the statement, "God’s order for the family and for his church is male headship, ....This ordering, initiated by God at the creation of man and woman, is not based upon or designed to produce any inferiority or inequality of woman to man..." Sure it is.

Ah yes, we are all equal but some are more equal than others because God says so, and we know God says so because it is written thus by men. Just more sexist rationalizing in an attempt to give socially constructed roles a divine mandate.

Human and civil rights are merely the "spirit of the age", I gather. Funny thing is, sexism and the oppression of women by patriarchal religion are the spirit of a by-gone age that lives on in various kinds of fundamentalism.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 1:47pm BST

Well, its been a long time since I took anything from Reform seriously.

This time, though, I just fell about laughing!

Reform lecturing the Church on abandoning Catholic order! That is priceless!!
I can only imagine that the author was having great fun composing this.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 3:16pm BST

You see evangelicals believe mono-episcopacy is historic and not apostolic in origin,and that it is of the bene esse of the Church not the esse.

Erika is absolutely spot on....

Posted by robert Ian williams at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 5:31pm BST

Reading the last paragraph, about how the CofI will now be discriminating against those "who hold biblical beliefs" reminds me of this cartoon.

Posted by David at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 8:51pm BST

It's not my world, but why don't people who think that the Anglican Church is insufficiently Catholic just become Catholics?

I mean, I can see why people who think the Labour Party is insufficiently left wing stay rather than join some random bunch of Trots, because the Labour Party (even today) has money and volunteers and the machinery of politics. Bending the Labour Party to your will is substantially more politically effective than flogging badly printed newspapers outside railway stations.

But that's not the case here, because anything Anglicanism can do (money, buildings, ability to get an audience with world statement) the Catholic Church can do at least as well. So if you want the Catholic Church, why not just join it?

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 10:40pm BST

'So if you want the Catholic Church, why not just join it?'

A fascinating question, IO, which has puzzled low church Anglicans since the beginning of the Oxford Movement! :)

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 11:32pm BST

'So if you want the Catholic Church, why not just join it?'

But that question has been answered here, thoughtfully and comprehensively, by a number of contributors who have not yet converted to Rome precisely because they do not accept many of the Roman doctrines, but they believe in what the CoE still held to be true 20 years ago.

It's not about money, power or influence, it's simply about not being able to swallow Papal infallibility, some of the Mary doctrines etc.

We should accept that one can hold very traditional views on sacramental assurance without being a Roman Catholic.

Conversion because you truly believe in what the other side has to offer is perfect. But then do it independent of whether the CoE has women bishops or not.
Conversion because you're walking away from one thing without being able to embrace the other fully lacks integrity.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 9:14am BST

Thank you, Erika. My Dad (strongly evangelical, as you know) used to say 'All the things I disagreed with about Rome yesterday, I still disagree with today'.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 11:37am BST

'So if you want the Catholic Church, why not just join it?'

A fascinating question, IO, which has puzzled low church Anglicans since the beginning of the Oxford Movement! :)

This is rather incredible. We ARE the Catholic Church, Tim - or don't you believe in the erm, Catholic Creeds of your Church ?

The Church of Rome is not 'the Catholic Church.'

Posted by Rev'd Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 6:48pm BST

David on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 8:51pm BST,
Thank you! That cartoon is spot on!
Here across the Pond, we have innumerable types, both religious and secular, complaining about taking away their rights to take away GLBT rights.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 9:02pm BST

In the Church of England we are (General Synod has entrusted a group with the task of ...) trying to establish a principle of supporting "mutual flourishing" - or not. This statement suggests the answer is "not". Or is there evidence otherwise?

Posted by Mark Bennet at Friday, 27 September 2013 at 7:56pm BST
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