Thursday, 2 August 2012

Women Bishops - cutting the knot

What did the Anglican Reformers think they were doing when they subscribed to the notion that the monarch was more entitled to rule the Church than was the Pope?
Personally, I believe that the ‘settlement’ achieved under Henry VIII was the uniquely Anglican contribution to the Reformation itself. Certainly it was not a viewpoint shared by Martin Luther, who wrote about Henry in strong terms to the Elector John Frederick in 1539,
Away, away with this head and defender! Gold and money make him so cocky as to think that he should be worshipped, and that God could not get along without him. (LW 50:206)
Nor, despite a ‘high’ view of secular authority amongst some of the ‘magisterial’ Reformers, did others come to quite the same view about the Church’s relationship with the state.
Yet it is often forgotten that the affirmations made about the monarch required corresponding denials to be made about the Church’s ministers. The most obvious of these is in Article XXXVII:
The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.
But that was, as it were, the tip of the iceberg, for it was not just the Bishop of Rome who lacked jurisdiction over the Church. A necessary plank of the English Reformation was the assertion that, in the absence of the monarch, none of the clergy had such ‘jurisdiction’.
According to Cranmer himself, prior to the advent of a godly monarch, the arrangement for the oversight of the churches relied on a kind of voluntarism:
In the apostles’ time, when there was [sic] no christian princes, by whose authority ministers of God’s word might be appointed, nor sins by the sword corrected, there was no remedy then for the correction of vice, or appointing of ministers, but only the consent of christian multitude [sic] among themselves, by an uniform consent to follow the advice and persuasion of such persons whom God had most endued with the spirit of counsel and wisdom. And at that time, forasmuch as the christian people had no sword nor governor amongst them, they were constrained of necessity to take such curates and priests as either they knew themselves to be meet thereunto, or else as were commended unto them by other that were so replete with the Spirit of God, with such knowledge in the profession of Christ, such wisdom, such conversation and counsel, that they ought even of very conscience to give credit unto them, and to accept such as by them were presented: and so sometime the apostles, and other, unto whom God had given abundantly his Spirit, sent or appointed ministers of God’s word; sometime the people did choose such as they thought meet thereunto; and when any were appointed or sent by the apostles or other, the people of their own voluntary will with thanks did accept them; not for the supremity, impery [sic], or dominion that the apostles had over them to command, as their princes or masters; but as good people, ready to obey the advice of good counsellors, and to accept any thing that was necessary for their edification and benefit. (Questions Concerning the Sacraments and the Appointment and Powers of Bishops and Priests, Cox, John Edmund. Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer, Vancouver: Regent College, 1999)
Notice that Cranmer twins the ‘authoritative’ appointment of ministers with the correction of sins by the sword, thus joining together what Luther strove to separate — the two ‘kingdoms’ of law and gospel.
Although he saw them as both deriving from God himself, Luther endeavoured to keep these apart as antithetical to one another.
But for Cranmer the development of “christian princes” meant they could safely be combined. Indeed, this would be to the advantage of “christian people”, since the “sword” would restrain vice and the “governor” would secure the appointments process.
And this is particularly pertinent to our present situation, for it is a reminder that, according to the Anglican understanding of the Church, all the clergy — as shown by the reference to “curates and priests” above — are ‘crown appointments’.
Even at the time of the Reformation, it was only the senior clergy who were a matter of direct appointment by the monarch. Nevertheless, Cranmer was quite clear that the entire ecclesiastical hierarchy, from top to bottom, parallelled the secular administration, so that the most humble parish priest (he referred to “the parson of Winwick”) was as much an agent of the king as “the Bishop of Duresme” on the one hand or the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the other.
The legal establishment of the Church of England thus reflects a particular view of society as ‘one nation under God’, expressed in Article XXXVII, that there is a prerogative,
... which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.
To this end, however, the Prince (or indeed Princess) must have suitable ministers, both “Ecclesiastical and Temporal”, who operate under and through his or her authority. And so in the Church we no longer rely on the ‘good advice’ of those “replete with the Spirit of God, with such knowledge in the profession of Christ, such wisdom, such conversation and counsel”, nor do we ourselves choose such as we think “meet thereunto”. Instead, we abide by the principle of Article XXIII:
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of publick preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same.
And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have publick authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.
Notice, however, the careful choice of words, particularly the fact that the Article does not refer to bishops, as we might have expected. What is at issue here is not who may ordain (though Cranmer clearly envisaged that the congregation could previously have done this themselves).
Rather, it is a question of whom we should judge to be lawfully appointed, and therefore who has the right to “call and send” such ministers. The answer to the latter (which determines the answer to the former) is those “who have publick authority given unto them”. This is indeed the bishops, but from whence comes their authority to impose such appointments or to render them ‘lawful’?
The answer (according to Cranmer at least) is, from the monarch — the one who, with respect to the “christian people”, holds the power “to command, as their princes or masters”, unlike the apostles or anyone else.
Now my guess is that there will be those who will dismiss this as an aberration of Cranmer’s own personal views (as did the author of Vox Ecclesiae: or, The doctrine of the Protestant Episcopal Church on episcopacy and apostolical succession, embracing a refutation of the work known as “Goode on orders”, published in the United States in 1866).
However, the same principle is also found, and somewhat more authoritatively, in the Homilie against Disobedience and Wilfull Rebellion, where we read,
... it is euident that men of the Cleargie, and Ecclesiasticall ministers, as their successours ought both themselues specially, and before other, to bee obedient vnto their Princes, and also to exhort all others vnto the same (Romans 13.1, 1 Timothy 2.1-2, 1 Peter 2.13). Our Sauiour Christ likewise teaching by his doctrine that his Kingdome was not of this world (Matthew 27.11, Luke 23.3), did by his example in fleeing from those that would haue made him king, confirme the same (John 6.15, 18, 36): expresly also forbidding his Apostles, and by them the whole Cleargie, all princely dominion ouer people and Nations, and hee and his holy Apostles likewise, namely Peter and Paul, did forbid vnto all Ecclesiasticall ministers, dominion ouer the Church of Christ (Matthew 20.25, Mark 10.42, Luke 22.25).
Furthermore, it is a necessary part of the argument whereby at the time of the Reformation the Church of England separated itself from the Church of Rome (that italicization is always used in the Book of Common prayer, where the Church of England is an instance of “a particular or national church”).
Those who wish to argue that the people and clergy ought, simply by merit of a bishop’s orders, to be subject to his (or her) authority (rather than merely attentive to their advice as Cranmer argues), need to ask on what grounds the authority of the Church’s chief pastor was suddenly rejected within these islands (having been acknowledged before) in the sixteenth century — I refer of course to the assertion above that “the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England”.
The truth is that all of us in the Church of England are ‘rebels’ against ecclesiastical authority if that authority derives from the orders of the minister. That is why the recognition of the Pope as the ‘Holy Father’ is so important for an Anglican thinking of joining the Church of Rome, involving as it does a ‘re-acknowledgement’ of a rejected authority and a reassessment of the Church’s hierarchy.
The point is not that the Church’s orders have no existence or validity outwith the authority of the monarch, but that, according to the principles on which the Anglican Reformation was founded, they do not include the authority to command, and enforce by means of statutes, rather than advise.
What, then, of the issue regarding women bishops?
According to most recent document from the House of Bishops itself, we are on the ‘final legislative lap’ (GS Misc 1033). Yet one of the hurdles that must be cleared is “the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament”. Furthermore, in its attempts to appease one side and satisfy the other over the phrasing of the now infamous Clause 5(1)c, the document offers a variety of alternatives, each of a labyrinthine complexity, since the final result will be the ‘law of the land’, not just the principles of the Church.
Some of those most opposed to the insertion of the Clause in the first place, however, have been most vocal in suggesting that it should all be left to ‘grace and goodwill’ and the Code of Practice. Those who most want something like Clause 5(1)c, on the other hand, are motivated to keep it (or something like it) in place, precisely because they doubt the reality of the ‘grace and goodwill’ that will actually be enforced.
But might it not be time to question the whole enterprise?
We are, after all, “not under law but under grace” (Rom 6:14). Our being under the ‘law of the land’ regarding the implementation of our theology, then, is an anomaly, brought about by the peculiarities of Anglican history and theology, but hardly intrinsic to the nature of the gospel.
Moreover, the arrangement under which that operates is increasingly dysfunctional. The Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament clearly thinks it has a right to hold the Church to account regarding its ministry. Would that Committee be equally willing to convey to Parliament the Church’s reproofs and rebukes — for that is what the Henrician settlement would envisage?
Our difficulty constructing a satisfactory law to cover the present need is perhaps an argument in itself that the whole enterprise is reaching its ‘sell by’ date. Perhaps the opponents of Clause 5(1)c are more right than they realize — perhaps it is time to let grace and goodwill be the rule itself.
But in that case, let Cranmer’s principle apply to the ministry today as he asserted it did in the time of the apostles, when,
... sometime the people did choose such as they thought meet thereunto; and when any were appointed or sent by the apostles or other, the people of their own voluntary will with thanks did accept them ...
Those, then, who wanted women bishops (or any other bishop) could have them, and those who did not, need not. And if grace and goodwill indeed underpin these choices, then it should overcome our differences as well.
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  1. "But in that case, let Cranmer’s principle apply to the ministry today as he asserted it did in the time of the apostles, when,
    ... sometime the people did choose such as they thought meet thereunto; and when any were appointed or sent by the apostles or other, the people of their own voluntary will with thanks did accept them ..."

    Cranmer's principle would therefore have allowed for women to be in such ministries John, and I assume you will therefore recognise them as such?

    I would be delighted if you could explain why it is, given the above, that some bishops are not acceptable in some parishes and why you so clearly support the whole notion of 'Resolution C' as it is (although in fact no such thing exists - it is a resolution for a petition under the act of General Synod). What have the bishops who are unacceptable done exactly to make them unacceptable? Or what is it they espouse that makes them unacceptable?

    Welcome back!

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  2. "Those, then, who wanted women bishops (or any other bishop) could have them, and those who did not, need not. And if grace and goodwill indeed underpin these choices, then it should overcome our differences as well." - J.Richardson -

    So, anarchy should prevail in the Church of England? It would do - if your recommendation here were followed through - no matter whose precedence you might opt to slavishly follow.

  3. kiwianglo wrote:

    So, anarchy should prevail in the Church of England?

    Yes, anarchy is only allowed for doctrine. When it comes to unimportant stuff like the nature of man, or the nature of God, or the nature of the atonement, or the person of Christ, or the exclusivity of the Christian faith, or the virgin birth, or the reality of the Resurrection, then any Creedal interpretation will suffice. But when it comes to the authority of bishops ... well, there are just some lines a Christian can't cross. The masses will run riot, don't you know.


    1. Brilliant.

      You wonder how the Protestant church in the USA continues to grow without the benefit of the wise leadership of the bishops of the ECUSA, so ably led by Katharine Jefferts Schori

  4. And of course Carl you have evidence of these things and have produced it in the cases you have referred for complaint......
    I'm tired of the caricatures that some conservatives produce. Please be real.
    John I note is not answering my questions.....

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  5. Er, Andrew, why does Carl need to cite particular cases when the rot is so pervasive?

    A quick google yielded this:

    which also notes lack of clerical faith in the uniqueness of Christianity as the way of salvation.

    Also Andrew why do you ask for John to reply to you when you yourself never replied to me? (And perhaps others?)

    And Carl's biting reply to kiwi is right on the money. Reminds me of the ultras' objection to 'the clause' etc. because they want WBs to be universally acknowledged as such. As though that were in their power to achieve! (Re. Rome and Constantinople for starters)


  6. Er, Dan

    Two points

    It is John's blog. He raises questions, and invites comments. Why would he not want to dialogue?

    If you want to remain anonymous, then you are not likely to get replies. I think I have made that point before.

  7. I have given full name and location before, and as no other Dan currently participates on threads here I simply sign off in brief for convenience, not evasion. The fact that John allows me to do this despite his 'rule' is evidence that he accepts this in good faith. However I'm not particularly concerned for replies to me, just thought it odd that you'd remark on John's absence when he could be busy with any number of things?

    My major point stands, and again I have to wonder why Andrew you keep trying to blow smoke in front of what are frankly undeniable facts of history and current religious affairs (whatever one thinks of theological issues).


  8. Dan

    An undeniable fact of history is that Lambeth 1998 said that those who support the ordination of women are faithful Anglicans. An undeniable fact of history is that the majority of Anglican provinces ordain women. An undeniable fact of history is that the C of E is going to ordain women as bishops quite soon. Why do you keep blowing smoke in front of these undenbiable facts?

    I have not seen your full name and location Dan so have no idea who are you I'm afraid. As I've said before, several times, if you wish to e-mail me you are more than welcome to do so.
    Meanwhile, I wait for John's replies....

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  9. Andrew Godsall

    So, you mean besides Jeffrey John and that whole "Cross as Divine Child Abuse" episode?


  10. I was just waiting for the anarchy thing to be mentioned. The C of E is in anarchy! Compare that with Confessional Evangelical groupings and denominations. E.g. FIEC, EFCC, EPCEW, where limits of diversity are clear and everyone gets along just fine. And, guess what they grow! Carl's right, if you raised any of those doctrinal questions people will just look at you like you are weird. When I was selected for C of E ordination I was asked hardly any doctrinal questions. When my credentials were transferred to EPCEW I was asked them rigorously (& pastoral ones too). Andrew & others, have to ask (& answer) honestly, do churches that introduce ordination of women, over a few decades, become more or less orthodox. Do their congregations & finances grow or die, over 30-50 years.

    I think John is actually pre-occupied with Olympics whilst being off, rather than being stumped. (The Lambeth statement refered to also aknowledges those who DON't accept ordaining women as faithful Anglicans too. If it didn't, then we're claiming to be the 1st generation of faithful Anglicans! - ponder that for a while).

    But, his stuff about the Reformers and the godly prince is worth exploring. Lots of the doctrine comes from 1 Peter and Romans for church-state relations. But the context for those is a state that is aggressive to the church, which is the case for most churches through most of history. I think the state of both church and nation does give cause to re-examine. Do people REALLY think that the C of E is the 1st ordered church? That the 1st 2-3 centuries the church was less healthy? That the persecuted church is less ordered? That Independent and confessional Presbyterians are in disarray? Shows a bit of island mentality.

    currently nomadic wanderer

  11. I should perhaps make it clear that the long quote from Cranmer above is actually an answer to a specific question: "Whether the apostles lacking a higher power, as in not having a christian king among them, made bishops by that necessity, or by authority given them by God?"

    Cranmer's answer begins with a claim reflected in Article XXXVII: "All christian princes have committed unto them immediately of God the whole cure of all their subjects, as well concerning the administration of God's word for the cure of souls, as concerning the ministration of things political and civil governance."

    He then goes on to state: "And in both these ministrations [ie God's word and civil matters] they must have sundry ministers under them, to supply that which is appointed to their several offices."

    So he instances on the one hand, "the lord chancellor, the lord treasurer" etc, down to "mayors, sheriffs, &c." On the other hand, "the bishop of Canterbury, the bishop of Duresme ... the parson of Winwick, &c.", concluding, "All the said officers and ministers, as well of the one sort as of the other, be appointed, assigned, and elected in every place, by the laws and orders of kings and princes."

    So we have not the Church subject to Parliament (as in the present 'Erastian' imbalance) but twin 'pillars' of the state: Church and Civil ministrations, each with their 'administrative staffs' and each under the ultimate authority of the monarch.

    Especially noteworthy is this comment about admission to office in either case: "And there is no more promise of God, that grace is given in the committing of the ecclesiastical office, than it is in the committing of the civil office."

    I'm not sure that made it into the Ordinal, but that is the evident position of Cranmer himself, in late 1540 (see Cox, op.cit. 115 fn).

    Now the reason for raising all this is that such aspects of our 'heritage' seem to be generally glossed over - indeed it is evident that most people are unaware of them, which is why they loosely talk about the Queen being "the head of the Church of England", when in fact according to this fundamental principle she is the head of everything - including the Church of England.

    I raise these points because we are probably going to have to discuss, and probably soon, disestablishment. And when that happens it is important that we proceed from an informed position.

    To begin with, disestablishment would NOT mean that the Queen ceased to be the "supreme governor" of the Church of England.

  12. Carl: penal substitutionary atonement is a bit of a minority view in the C of E and does not warrant support or indeed obtain it from our mainstream bishops. Jeffrey John was not alone in raising the problems it presents us with either.

    Darren: the point is that we are both faithful Anglicans. John and other conservatives tend to pretend that those who support the ordination of women are not faithful Anglicans. It is time to point out that he is completely wrong in that assessment.
    I know of churches in our diocese led by women that have grown a great deal. We are by no means alone.

    John does seem to be stumped by my questions.........

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

    1. I don't want to be a "faithful Anglican" or, for that matter, a "faithful Baptist" or faithful "X" (insert your denomination here). I want to be a faithful Christian, a follower of Jesus.

      There are two reasons why I left the C of E.

      1. Because the overlap between Anglicanism and Christianity is diminishing

      2. Because the organisation is run by incompetent bishops with a retinue of equally incompetent diocesan hangers-on. The statistics charting the decline of the Anglican church are astonishing, halving in forty years (in England, only the Methodists have similarly poor outcomes). In any normal organisation, such a performance would mean that the bishops and their hangers-on would be told to clear their desks - by the shareholders in the case of a company, by the electorate in the case of a government. But the bishops are responsible to nobody, bumbling on in their laughable attire until they reach pensionable age.

      Poor England. Cursed by the hierarchy of the Anglican Church.

      David, Cheltenham

  13. Andrew,

    That is very clearly NOT what John is saying. Actually that is pretty close the opposite in fact. The conservative question/issue for a time has been along the lines of; If we are to be properly part of this denomination, consider our conscience.

    It would serve you well (as it would many others) to take 5 mins out to read this about how to read/listen to others with whom you disagree. It seems that modern discussion is win, not understand. John's position, which I'm confident I've understood is something like this: Some (faithful) Anglicans want women bishops, we already have ordained women... how can (faithful) Anglicans stay in, with integrity, without crossing their fingers.

    This may not be understood by some, as they clearly don't mind crossing their fingers. E.g. penal substitution, if it is a minority view, that's worrying. Of course you mean minority in this particular slender window of time. It's heavily implied in the communion service & XXIX articles & in the Homilies. But then holding to the XXIX articles is a minority thing nowadays too.

    I'm not sure John's stumped, rather your question is irrelevant to the thread. People don't understand the Queen-state-church relationships, nor how these things came about, nor give much thought to how the early church sorted itself out.

  14. Is disagreeing with someone & asking for a historical position to be honoured the same as accusing people of being "not-faithful Anglican"?

    Denying 39 articles = being Anglican with zip integrity.

  15. Darren
    I'm confident that I have understood John's position as wanting special provision for his views in the form of things like 'Resolution C' as he calls it. He has encouraged evangelical parishes to petition for it. So I am afraid that he seems to regard bishops who are in favour of women's ordination as unacceptable - and so presumably unfaithful. So my questions are absolutely on topic and absolutely essential.

    If John proposes Cranmer's principles as he sets them out, why is it that he finds the ministry of some bishops (presumably the majority) unacceptable? What have the bishops who are unacceptable done exactly to make them unacceptable? Or what is it they espouse that makes them unacceptable?

    Clearly he has no answer to this crucial question.

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  16. Andrew,

    When you assert that a fundamental scriptural principle (penal substitutionary atonement) is a minority opinion in the C of E, especially among bishops, then you have answered your own question - the one about the unacceptability of bishops. If we deny scriptural authority as a church, then exactly what authority do we sit under? And if the answer to that is 'none', then we are of all men most to be pitied (St Paul's words, not mine).

    I haven't even mentioned the decline in leadership in the church, as evidenced by the decline in people in the pews, and the complete failure of the Purple to bring any sort of prophetic word to the nation. And now we have schism in the C of E - if that isn't a failure of leadership, I don't know what is.

  17. OK let's just be clear about this. PSA is one aspect of atonement and not entirely biblical. The most recent statement by the Church of England on the meaning of the Cross is the Doctrine Commission’s report The Mystery of Salvation (1995).

    It restates the view of the 1938 Commission that “the notion of propitiation as the placating by man of an angry God is definitely unchristian”. It also sates “the traditional vocabulary of atonement with its central themes of law, wrath, guilt, punishment and acquittal, leave many Christians cold and signally fail to move many people, young and old, who wish to take steps towards faith. These images do not correspond to the spiritual search of many people today and therefore hamper the Church’s mission.”

    It suggest that the Cross should be presented “as revealing the heart of a fellow-suffering God”.

    This is C of E teaching. Not my teaching.

    John's silence on my key questions is still telling...

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  18. Andrew, no offence but would you shut up on the "he clearly has no answer" thing. It makes you come across as arrogant, a dullard and rather obtuse, to say the least, and makes me (and I am sure many others here) less inclined to care for what you say.
    So what if John doesn't have any answers? Let the rest until an appropriate time to reask them appears. To keep on as you do points to the comment made earlier about people only wanting to "win" the argument rather than understand.

    Regarding PSA, Isaiah 53, Romans 3, 1 Peter 2 all strike me as parts of the Bible so methinks it is biblical.

    On the issue John posted about, it raises a lot of very interesting questions about the way the CofE runs now, to my mind at least. And John's comment on how the CofE is not under parliament but equal to it under the Church's establishment would suggest that part of the problem in the last 150 years or so has been down to the fact that the CofE has been shifted to Parliament rather than staying under the monarch.
    Of course, the other issue that then comes out is that the way the CofE was supposed to be run relied on grace from all to all, something that those in WATCH declare should be the only support for those who, in conscience, cannot accept the authority of women. And look how well that has turned out in the past!

  19. Youthpasta let me try to explain why these questions need an answer quite urgently. This is the time to press these key questions because this is the time of consultation. I am a member of General Synod. We have until 24 August to make responses to these questions. If I can be given good reasons why most of our male bishops are unacceptable then my response might be different.

    The whole point about grace from all to all is something John appeals to in his post when he says "Those, then, who wanted women bishops (or any other bishop) could have them, and those who did not, need not. And if grace and goodwill indeed underpin these choices, then it should overcome our differences as well."

    I am all for overcoming our differences. I agree with much of what John says in this post. But it relies on him, and others, showing grace to those who are in favour of ordained women in all orders. The arrangements that he advocates do not show that grace because they confirm a view that male bishops who do support this view are not acceptable. Hence my questions. Why are they not acceptable? What have they done or said that makes them unacceptable?

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  20. Andrew, it's not about your reasons for wanting answers, it's the way you go about it. You appear to crow about the lack of response from John, seemingly lording it over him that your questions have left him without response. It is very distasteful and very much unbefitting of a member of GS to act in such a way.

  21. Sincere apologies if that is how it seems. It is certainly not intended to. It was intended to communicate urgency. It would be much better to meet face to face.
    GS can be far too polite. But then people go off and are unpleasant behind each others backs. Parliament is the reverse - people tend to be robust on the floor in debate, but them much friendlier outside the chamber. I favour the latter.

    Andrew Godsall

  22. Andrew, as a member of General Synod I imagine you will have followed the debate about the consecration of women for several years. You will also have had access to all the various reports and papers. In addition there is the opportunity to discuss matters informally outside the debating chamber - something I gather some people find very helpful in situations where there is disagreement.

    If you want further clarification of the evangelical position, I suggest you read Mike Ovey's helpful section of The Church, Women Bishops and Provision, published by the Latimer Trust.

    If you have already read that and are still not clear about the reasons for the evangelical position, I would be willing to try to help in private correspondence. (My email address is in the left-hand column.)

    However, the rationale for the evangelical position - which I believe to be accessible both on this blog and elsewhere - is really 'off topic' for this post (as is, incidentally, a discussion of penal substitution, although people could try reading Tom Wright on that).

    We all have busy lives, and there is only so much time and energy one can put into so many things, so I have to make choices between what is useful and what is probably not.

  23. John - thanks.

    I have read all the material and am absolutely unclear about the specific questions I have addressed to you. Your post is (partly if not exclusively) about women bishops and I think my questions are completely on topic. I would therefore love to have succint, simple, easy to understand answers to the very specific questions I have raised.


  24. Andrew, I'm not sure I'll be able to help address those questions, but like I say, you can email me.

    The topic of the post was really meant to be about the complex relationship between the Anglican Church and the English State, and the difficulties this creates when we seek to impose solutions by law.

    The 'whether' and 'why' of women bishops is strictly peripheral to that, though the 'how' is obviously pertinent as the 'presenting issue'. Penal substitution, however, is way off topic.

    Do get in touch if you want to and I'll see what I can do.

  25. I was not the one who introduced PSA. I agree it is way off topic.

    I was specifically addressing the last point of your post. And I agree things become complex when we seek to impose solutions by law. Hence the current Act of Synod has not been very helpful and putting Clause 5.1c back in (which you are campaigning to do) would be most unhelpful.
    Very happy to hear your reply by e-mail but it still needs to be succint, simple and easy to understand. Will e-mail you directly.

    Many thanks


  26. Andrew, I look forward to hearing from you. It would help if you would state your questions as 'bullet points' and I'll try to address them in that form.

  27. John, Mike Ovey's contribution is not the evangelical position, but a conservative evangelical position. Important not to get that confused ...

  28. Simon, while we're doing the Pedant's Revolt, I was answering Andrew Godsall request for clarification about opposition to women bishops. In that context, Mike Ovey give 'the evangelical' position.

  29. It does rather give 'evangelicals' a bad name however, so I think it is better to clarify and indicate 'conservative evangelicals'. I work closely with quite a few evangelicals and what characterises them is their joy and 'can do', postive spirit. They are 'for' things, and not 'against' them, which is how conservative evangelicals come across.

    That said I am having a helpful exchange with John via e-mail for which I am very grateful.

    Andrew Godsall

  30. Well at least we all know whom we're talking about. Yes, Andrew, I met some of your local evangelicals in Exeter when I spoke to the DEF a couple of months ago on my book about denominational change. They certainly seemed a positive bunch.

  31. If I could press a 'like' button for Pedant's Revolt I would.

  32. I'm afraid it's not original:

    "Watt Tyler, leader of the peasants' revolt; Which Tyler, leader of the pedants' revolt."

    (And this time I got the apostrophe in the right place.)

  33. Dear sir,[ To the Reverend John Richardson.]
    Please forgive the anonymity, but this is not a medium I am used to.I am a mere woman,and the discussion here seems to be predominantly amongst men, well versed in Church of England doctrine and practice. But as a lifelong member of the Anglican laity - attending various parishes in Scotland and England over decades - I hope it is not presumptuous to offer a comment or two.(My training is Philosophy) I hope and pray there will be a resolution in November as to the legitimate role of women in public office. I understand some of the complexities of the established status of the C of E. The arguments may be evenly balanced-for and against. But as regards the Canon you refer to, I have read it through, and the authority of the Diocesan Bishop - male or female -remains paramount, and it is clearly stated as such. In practice, it will indeed be a matter of Grace and Goodwill as to the practical arrangements in any specific parish. I truly hope we no longer live in Cranmer's political world, but I understand how grim things look on paper. They looked even worse for a first-century Jew, attempting to return his religion to its moral core. The authorities asked Him "By what authority do you dare to challenge the traditions of ages?" His answer was not a legal justification, nor a special pleading, but another question. As Charles Gore has argued, in his oft-cited, but never read works,His Method was to draw out His enquirers to think for themselves. "I will ask you all one question: John's baptizing - was his authority from men or from God?" They answered Him not.
    Thank you for a very interesting discussion. You are right that establishment will become increasingly discussed. Yours sincerely, Miss H.F.T. Oxford.

  34. Belated thanks for this informative post!

    In the later controversial literature, Hooker notes (Laws VIII.ii.14) that on the 'Roman side' "Stapleton claimed for the prince the right dogmata promulgandi, defendendi, et contra violatores vindicandi" and that it was "a Parliament that had in Mary's days resubmitted all to the Pope" ( - to quote Lewis in his OHEL volume (p. 459), who also says "'Prince' could often be translated 'government' or 'State'" (p. 47).

    How unusual, then, was "the ‘settlement’ achieved under Henry VIII"?

    And how different, ultimately, was the 'next step' achieved, following American Independence, when, for the (so to call it) Anglican Church in the U.S., Monarch, Parliament, and State drop out of the picture?

    After all, the 'worldwide Anglican Communion' (to use anachronistic terminology) continued, no less one in doctrine and Order(s).

    From none of which followed, historically, or necessarily follows in any other sense, "Those, then, who wanted women bishops (or any other bishop) could have them, and those who did not, need not"!

    (formerly of) Oxford

  35. thanks for sharing.