Thinking Anglicans

Church Society calls for 12 Conservative Evangelical Bishops

Church Society issued a press release this afternoon. In it the director of Church Society calls for the appointment of 12 Conservative Evangelical Bishops.

News Release from Church Society
12 February 2014

Lee Gatiss looks to Archbishop for credible action after positive words

‘I welcome Archbishop Justin Welby’s Presidential Address to General Synod this morning, particularly his important reminder to us all that ‘where God is involved, there is no limit to what can happen, and no limit to human flourishing.’ He is absolutely right that if the Church of England is to live out its commitment to see conservative evangelicals flourish ‘there is going to have to be a massive cultural change’ that some may find threatening. I deeply sympathise with him when he confesses that this may be a hard course to steer, but am heartened when he says ‘Yet I know it is right that we set such a course and hold to it through thick and thin.’

After this candid speech, we are looking to him, in a positive and hopeful way, to make the claim that he wants evangelicals like us to flourish in the Church truly credible. He could do that in two ways: first, by engaging conservatives in real dialogue, listening in detail to our concerns; and second, encouraging and ensuring the appointment of 12 Conservative Evangelical Bishops.

A commitment in this area would convince us, including many young evangelicals exploring vocations, of the sincerity of the House of Bishops’ claim that they wish to provide for our flourishing. It would be a welcome game-changer in creating trust from our constituency. In an episcopal system, to which we are happily committed, this would be a very persuasive sign that we have a future.’

Lee Gatiss
Director, Church Society.

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Alastair Newman
7 years ago

Pick a number, preferably a Biblical number.

Father David
Father David
7 years ago

As the General Synod gallops further and further away from Biblical orthodoxy it is encouraging to read of this Conservative Evangelical plea for twelve bishops of a Conservative Evangelical outlook. Since Bishop Wallace Benn’s retirement there are approximately none within the episcopal ranks of the C of E. Let’s also have a dozen orthodox Anglo-Catholic bishops as well! If Archbishop Justin really means what he says then he will react positively to this earnest request. Sadly with so many past broken promises and previous pleas for a Conservative Evangelical P. E. V falling on deaf ears what does that say… Read more »

Peter Sherlock
Peter Sherlock
7 years ago

Hopefully at least six of these twelve Conservative Evangelical Anglican bishops will be female.

Lionel Deimel
7 years ago

For maximum diversity, perhaps the Church of England can engineer appointments so that no bishop agrees with any other bishop on any issue of significance. The idea of a quota system for reactionary bishops is ludicrous.

Malcolm French+
Malcolm French+
7 years ago

Again with the English heresy that every Christian is entitled to have a bishop who agrees with them.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
7 years ago

I like this idea,

As a recent, very comprehensive, survey found that 40% of church going Anglicans are in favour of Gay Marriage, can I assume that 40% of Bishops being appointed will be in favour of Gay Marriage too.

Simon

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
7 years ago

Since the Church Society wants bishops that reflect the factions of the Church, I assume they won’t oppose the appointment of 12 gay bishops to reflect that faction.

Revd Laurie Roberts (not McCain)
Revd Laurie Roberts (not McCain)
7 years ago

Why this sudden penchant for bishops ?

Evangelicals don’t even believe in bishops in any real way. Just ‘district chairmen’ (sic).

I look forward to the devise , in due course, of the PEVs.

James Byron
James Byron
7 years ago

Why don’t the Church Society instead call for the abolition of bishops, in line with presbyterian ecclesiology?

JCF
JCF
7 years ago

*12* bishops? A completely random number, I’m sure. {sarcasm/Off} Even if his prognostication didn’t come true, I can’t help but think (in this “Give us 12 bishops!” demand) of V.I. Lenin’s boast: “The capitalists will sell us the rope by which we will hang them.” I echo Lionel Deimel’s wise words (from a thread below): “Flying bishops, I suggest, have not served the Church of England well. Whereas the church might have made a decision about the ordination of women and moved forward, it instead institutionalized opposition to such ordinations…I fear the Church of England is about to continue in… Read more »

Father David
Father David
7 years ago

Nay, Dr. Primrose not just twelve Gay bishops, if as Simon reports 40% of church going Anglicans are in favour of Gay marriage then surely we must ensure that 40% of the House of Bishops are Gay and married! I calculate that would mean that in future 45.6. Bishops of the Church of England should be Gay. There are enough current episcopal vacancies to ensure that a good start is made in achieving this figure, so let’s begin by making the multi-talented and highly gifted Dean of St. Albans a diocesan bishop.

John
John
7 years ago

12 is certainly a big ask. Nonetheless, since most people (including these) in the C of E seem to be acquiring some common sense (not before time, of course), this constituency should have greater representation.

Erasmus
Erasmus
7 years ago

The elephant in the room is this – are we really prepared to be a church that has Diocesan Bishops (and Deans and Archdeacons)who are opposed to the ordination of women?

Stephen Bates
Stephen Bates
7 years ago

But conservative evangelicals don’t like bishops and refuse to recognise their authority in an episcopal church if they disagree with them! Perhaps if there were more conservative evangelical clergy of real intellectual, spiritual and pastoral quality and sensitivity they might find more were appointable…

Stephen Watkinson
7 years ago

dr.primose wouldn’t the equivalent not be 12 gay bishops, but 12 bishops whose theology is in favour of gay marriage or some such thing as Simon Dawson suggests (although his figure would make a few over 40 bishops). I wonder if for both figures that wouldn’t already be the case already…

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
7 years ago

Quite right, Erasmus. One of the five principles underpinning the new package is that no-one will be able to suggest that the CofE has not reached a clear decision on the matter. Having diocesan bishops who take an opposing view suggests otherwise, and I personally hope that +Martin Warner will be the last such diocesan appointed. Although the new package is inevitably full of compromises, I think it would be better if future provision for all dissenters, traditionalist catholic or Conservative evangelical, were made by means of PEVs, and not through any bishop having jurisdiction, direct or delegated, over women… Read more »

Charles Read
Charles Read
7 years ago

We might take Church Society more seriously if they were committed to the flourishing of women in ordained ministry but they are not. This mutual flourishing seems pretty one sided to me! In addition, they might distance themselves from some of the young male ordinands they allude to who tell female ordinands they should not be in college because, by training for ordination, they are ‘disobeying the Lord.’

Historian
Historian
7 years ago

The new Bishop of Blackburn describes himself as a Conservative Evangelical but presumably he wouldn’t count as one of the twelve because he ordains women and has no truck with the novel doctrine of male ‘headship’. Church Society (and others) have redefined ‘Conservative Evangelical’ along one-issue lines.

Simon Kershaw
Admin
7 years ago

We have a nomination system in which diocesan representatives can — if they choose to act in this way — veto any candidate for diocesan bishop.

Therefore if any diocese wants to insist on having a bishop who will ordain women then its CNC representatives can veto the nomination of anyone who won’t.

Father David
Father David
7 years ago

“I personally hope that + Martin Warner will be the last such diocesan appointed” Malcolm, how does your hope fit in with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s words in His Grace’s Presidential address to Synod concerning “commitment to the flourishing of every tradition of the church”? You seem to be looking for extinction rather than mutual flourishing. Martin Warner is proving to be a first rate diocesan bishop who is indeed himself committed to the flourishing of every tradition within his diocese. The appointed but yet to be announced Bishop of Lewes has been specifically chosen for his commitment to all… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
7 years ago

Fr David – I think we have had this conversation in these pages at least once before, after the appointment of +Blackburn and/or the withdrawal of Philip North from Whitby. I agree that +Chichester is a good and holy man, and I welcome his promise to appoint a bishop to Lewes who will ordain women, which you appear to know through privileged information is to be fulfilled. But, good and holy though he undoubtedly is, his refusal to ordain women represents a serious handicap as a diocesan in a Church which has decided that women can be ordained as priests(and… Read more »

robert Ian Williams
robert Ian Williams
7 years ago

Like the clergy promoted to their livings, Church Society mean by conservative evangelicals, men who are to the right of Oak Hill,and Moore College Sydney.

Men who will not wear mitres, are solidly Protestant and reject:

1) intercession of Saints.
2) Mass vestments and the idea of the apostolic succession.
3) candles, incense, altars etc
4) women priests and bishops. Maybe deacons if they function like the old deaconesses.
5) gay unions and blessings (but accepting of divorce)
6) ARCIC
7) wishy washy evangelicals like Welby.

Do you think the Crown Appointments are nutty enough to satisfy their wishes?

Malcolm Gray
Malcolm Gray
7 years ago

I have been attending CofE for 49 years, choir boy, altar server, organist.
I am on the brink of leaving
what a farce.

William Moorhead
William Moorhead
7 years ago

A lot of this fussing would become moot if the C of E simply did what many of the rest of us in the Anglican Communion do: each diocese elects its own bishop in a synod of clergy and laity. Not without its flaws, but in general it has been working well for us.

Father David
Father David
7 years ago

Dear Malcolm, I can’t claim to be privy to privileged Information I have merely read the Job and Person Specification for the next Bishop of Lewes which was freely available on the Chichester Diocesan Website for anyone to read.
So what about traditionalists having to swear obedience to a Diocesan Bishop who ordains women in all things “lawful and honest”. How does that differ from a female incumbent having to swear obedience to the Bishops of London and Chichester?

Alastair Newman
7 years ago

Does the church society hold to the historic threefold ministry? And if so, how? There’s not so much in the good Book about it.

Do the church society want twelve conservative evangelical bishops based on the current position and role of bishops? Or they after twelve bishops and in addition a package of reforms such as are embodied in the Reform Covenant? i.e. “The urgent need for decentralisation at national, diocesan and deanery level, and the need radically to reform the present shape of episcopacy and pastoral discipline, to enable local churches to evangelise more effectively.”?

Father David
Father David
7 years ago

I suspect that if the Church Society aren’t given their Biblical Twelve Conservative Evangelical Bishops they will begin to import or even consecrate their own. Once Scripture and Tradition are jettisoned and the first woman bishop is ordained – that’s when the realisation will dawn that we have got ourselves into a right old tangle which will never be unravelled.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
7 years ago

Father David. How does it differ? Well no one believes that the orders and vocation of traditionalist (male) priests are actually invalid and that they should not even exist in the church. No traditionalist has ever sworn allegiance to, or had their reviewed under the authority of a bishop who does not accept their vocation as valid in the first place. No one can legally discriminate against them in church employment law solely on grounds of their gender. This only happens to ordained women. The truth is that we men can have no idea what this whole era of institutional… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
7 years ago

Church Society believe bishops are of the bene esse and not esse of the Church. Mono-episcopacy is historical in development and not apostolic.

Indeed this Protestant view influences the Anglican statements about the “historic episcopate” as the Protestants in Anglicanism would nver have agreed to calling episcopacy, “apostolic.”

cryptogram
cryptogram
7 years ago

The historic problem with conservative evangelical bishops (with several notable exceptions) has been their unwillingness or even inability to be bishops to the whole of their flock. Even those that have been able have been vilified and written off as turncoats or backsliders by their erstwhile peers. If you believe anglo-catholics and liberals are on the high road to hell, you can hardly encourage them,can you?

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
7 years ago

Most evangelicals in the CofE believe in bene esse, no tactile succession, and historic episcopate as faithfulness to the teaching deposit. It’s not a new view in reformed catholicism – and it’s what the Articles and Ordinal teach. It’s only relatively recently that catholics in the CofE have tried to impose mono-episcopacy as the only model. Church Society may be more Protestant than many can stomach, but they are arguably in the mainline tradition of reformation Anglicanism.

John
John
7 years ago

Obviously, the questions raised by David Runcorn are very difficult, and – equally obviously – they are even more difficult for women priests (and women in general). But I recall a London woman priest writing on TA in protest at the more or less forced withdrawal of Philip North from Whitby, on the ground that he was completely supportive of her ministry. Many of course would say that he can’t be completely supportive because he doesn’t recognise it (or has doubts about it – whichever). But, to return to Warner, I also recall a woman priest from Chichester writing appreciatively… Read more »

Jean Mayland
Jean Mayland
7 years ago

What a depressing thought ! My intelligence grand daughters will have even less time for the Church.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
7 years ago

I’m sorry, Fr. David, but I thought when you said that the next +Lewes had been ‘appointed but not yet announced’ that you must know who had been appointed. As to your question ‘how does it differ?’, David Runcorn has already answered it more eloquently than I could hope to, and I thank him sincerely for it.

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
7 years ago

I disagree trenchantly with Martin Warner on the subject of the priestly and episcopal ministry of women. But I’m not sure I could love a Church of England that did not have room for his rich gifts as a Diocesan bishop, any more than I find it possible to love the Church that has no room for Jeffrey John’s obvious calling as a bishop, or June Osborne’s.

The emerging leaders of what calls itself traditionalist Anglo-Catholicism are a world away from their immediate predecessors. The messy ecumenical experiment that is Anglicanism can, and I trust will, benefit from their leadership.

Father Ron Smith
7 years ago

The new Apartheid in the Church? I guess we always knew the Male -Supremacy Party would want its own ‘special provision’ – when it seems that the Ultra-Montanes might be allowed their own opposition to Women Clergy and Bishops – on different grounds. Once the Church of England begins to structure such preferential treatment to Dissenters, there may be no end to it.

We Anglicans outside of ‘Mother Church’ have great difficulty in seeing what all the fuss is about.

Bishop Cuthbert Heaver
Bishop Cuthbert Heaver
7 years ago

Noote, dear boy, that’s the wisest thing I have heard from you in all the years you have been my Domestic Chaplain! I am astonished at your sagacity. The entire Church of England ( with the exception of the diocese of St. Ogg’s, of course, where things go on as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be) can in itself now be regarded as “Messy Church” thanks to the machinations of the General Synod ( a body I try to avoid at all costs, although I did speak at it once when I asked for a… Read more »

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