Friday, 31 May 2013

Women Bishops and Anglican Priorities


Coming back from a couple of days break, I have finally got around to beginning to read the House of Bishop’s report, GS 1886, on the next stages in the legislation to introduce women bishops.
Let me say first of all, even doing this fills me with a sense of terrible weariness. OK, the majority of the Church of England’s legislature wants to have women bishops — indeed, probably the majority of its active members wouldn’t mind. But why can’t we find a way that accommodates more positively a group who, whilst they may be in the minority amongst modern Anglicans, are standing by the tradition of the ‘catholic’ Church?
At the moment I’m reading Doris Kearns’ Team of Rivals, the massive tome on which was based Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln. One thing I have gathered early on is that whilst Lincoln was opposed to slavery, he was passionately concerned for the union, cognizant of the intentions of the founding fathers expressed in the Constitution and sensitive to the convictions of Southerners. Hence his political approach to slavery was that it should be contained, with the expectation that it would die out, rather than fought with the aim of enforced abolition.
Some may find this shocking, but Lincoln was weighing one set of considerations against another, and we ought not to forget that when it came, the civil war led to more American combat deaths than all subsequent conflicts (including two world wars, Korea and Vietnam) put together.
Let us then consider our own situation. The great need before us is the evangelization of the nation — or at least, that was considered to be the case in 1945 when the Church of England published the report Towards the Conversion of England. Actually, our actions since then have hardly supported this contention and it is only recently that the Church has turned its attention in any systematic way towards growth – and that has been partly under the pressure of decline, which is hardly a pure motive for evangelism anyway.
To look at what we have done since 1945, one might conclude that the needs of the hour have successively been the revision of Canon Law, the revision of the liturgy, the ordination of women priests, the preservation of the global Communion and the consecration of women bishops. This is where the time and energy has gone, whilst hovering in the wings is the issue of same-sex relationships.
The Great Commission, “Go and make disciples”, is surely the Church of England’s ‘Great Omission’ in practical terms. Nevertheless, those with a true vision for the Church ought to keep it at the forefront of their thinking and planning.
It could also, however, be seen as the overriding principle which ought to allow us to hold together our difference in the interests of jointly pursuing a higher goal. We ought not to forget, furthermore, that unity is itself a ‘value’ — not ‘unity at all costs’, of course, as the pro-women bishops lobby have been quick to vocalize in recent months, but certainly unity in Christ and unity in truth. And ‘the truth’ is what seems to have eluded us on the women bishops issue, with some in the Church adamant that the truth lies in one direction, whilst others are equally adamant it lies in the opposite direction.
The classic ‘wisdom’ of liberalism is that truth does not lend itself to binary categories. But there are factors about the women bishops issue which make the acceptance of a ‘sliding scale’ approach difficult. Is a woman bishop a bishop or not? Nevertheless, the Church of England has tried to adopt a ‘sliding scale’ approach, which until now has worked reasonably well — or at least, has not been the key factor holding us back from the conversion of England.
This is why I (and I suspect there are others like me) would like to see the issue resolved as soon as possible with as much commitment as necessary to take all the members of the Church forward together. Unfortunately I think that calls for some wiser heads and more diplomatic hearts than currently seem to be driving things. Nevertheless, we can keep hoping for this and urging others to keep it in mind.
If reservations about women bishops are something that will eventually die out, and which can meanwhile be ‘corralled’ in a number of other ways, why should those in favour fear making strong provision for those who hold the minority view?
The answer seems to be that this would concede ‘too much’. I suspect, however, that one of the reasons why the minority so mistrust the policy makers for the majority on this one is that they are deeply suspicious of what will come next.
What they do not see is the conversion of England finally assuming the priority it ought to have had for the last sixty-eight years. They do not see a legislature champing at the bit to get this out of the way so that we can get down to evangelism. If they did, there might be a bit more trust in the cries to “Trust us!”
Rather, what they see and fear is a repetition of what happened after 1945, only worse — a Church sidetracked by its internal concerns and deaf to the call of its Master: Go, baptize, teach to obey. Perhaps if that were a shared priority there might be more of a shared acceptance.
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43 comments:

  1. I'm writing the dissertation of my MA on how clergy can be active in evangelism. It will only ever be read by the markers however. I'm not really sure of the point of this comment other than to say that I heartily agree and will be trying to work out what this looks like in practice.

    @s_snowberry

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  2. If the liberals were sincere in their desire to make provision for 'the minority' they would first make provision that is acceptable to the minority before legislating for themselves. The fact that they will not reveals their true motives, to be rid of us, the only minority unacceptable to liberals.

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    1. Provision ideally needs to work for everybody, rather than just one group. The fact that the C of E is not willing to make all the provision requested is not proof of motivation to get rid of any particular group, merely an indication that the provision requested may be considered have negative implications for the C of E as a whole, however beneficial one group might find it.

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    2. licensetobless, your parochial view of Christianity raises your agenda to dominance only in the Church of England. Among the 80 million Anglicans worldwide and in the wider Christian community, our 'group' upholds the majority catholic view. Which ever way you choose to select figures to support your argument, Christianity in the UK is dying while Islam is increasing rapidly
      http://muslimvillage.com/2013/05/20/39548/study-shows-islam-growing-christianity-declining-in-the-uk/

      Taking the wider view, Christianity is 'close to extinction' in the Middle East
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9762745/Christianity-close-to-extinction-in-Middle-East.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+delicious%2Fgqlf+%28Christian+Headlines+Top+Headlines%29

      Christians need all the help we can get by supporting each other. Burying traditionalists will not serve Christ.

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  3. Dominic Stockford31 May 2013 at 18:20

    'Scratch a liberal and you'll find the most conservative person you've ever met'. That is one version, but I tend to this following one:
    'LIberals love everyone, as long as you agree with them about everything, including liberalism'.

    Our emphasis on sin, and on the need for individual's need for repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ, else they will spend eternity in hell, really goes down badly with them. The idea that anything at all could be 'wrong' in anything anyone does, and put them outside God's love, just doesn't compute. And they are always right, despite their allegedly liberality. In fact, they frequently make dictators seem reasonable.

    But then because the CofE didn't fight early enough (women lay-readers), and because the CofE isn't capable of disciplining people for doctrinal unorthodoxy (like the Bishop of Salisbury's decidedly errant views on marriage), I have pretty much lost all hope in the CofE. I await the application of the Holy Spirit to the hearts of the many, in trust that He* will work at some time soon to rescue this errant nation and this (in the majority) errant national church.

    *And the Holy Spirit is male, isn't He?! Or do I need corrective indoctrination on this point as well?

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  4. Church growth research(The Road to Growth, Bob Jackson) indicates that women incumbents are leading growing churches. Further study with a larger sample would be good for confirmation, but this does seem to suggest that ordained women's leadership is not entirely incompatible with The Great Commission to 'go and make disciples'. The legislation for Women Bishops therefore can be seen as a core part of the Church of England's strategy to get on with evangelism, rather than a distraction from it. The issue could have been resolved last November, but was blocked by those opposed who clearly felt that spending more time trying to get illusive further provision took precedence over seeing this matter resolved as soon as possible. Or in other words exactly who thought it would be good to spend more time on this issue than on mission and evangelism? Clearly not those in favour of women bishops who were willing to accept a compromise despite reservations) Now it looks like the C of E would rather rely on grace than legislation and is moving further away from such provision. Maybe it is time to question whether continuing to pursue a hermeneutic of suspicion, continuing to block the legislation until the wider Church of England is forced to make further provision against its will is a wise use of Conservative Evangelical time, energy and influence? (Dominic, *Clearly you do need to be aware of doctrinal orthodoxy in this matter, strictly speaking the Holy Spirit is gender neutral, neither male nor female. In Hebrew the word for spirit (ruach) is feminine.[2] In Aramaic also, the language generally considered to have been spoken by Jesus, the word is feminine. However, in Greek the word (pneuma) is neuter.[2], On other occasions in Holy Scripture, male gendered words are used to describe the Holy Spirit. Problematically the English language has no suitable gender neutral pronouns and 'it' is inappropriate, so switching between He & She intermittently avoids bias either way.)

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  5. The writing is on the wall with this recommendation. You have already been offered the best deal that will be offered. Eventually you will receive a "provision" that amounts to nothing more than "Trust us." It will be couched in terms of 'mutual trust' but the reality is that the majority has nothing to lose. They have no need to exercise trust because they are subject to no risk. The future is found along the path of Christ Church Walkley. Best to start planning now.

    carl

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  6. LTB, you will not gain trust by attributing base motives to those with whom you disagree. I refer to this: "The issue could have been resolved last November, but was blocked by those opposed who clearly felt that spending more time trying to get illusive further provision took precedence over seeing this matter resolved as soon as possible. Or in other words exactly who thought it would be good to spend more time on this issue than on mission and evangelism?"

    In other words (a) it was the fault of the minority in 'opposition' that the legislation didn't gain approval (b) what the minority wanted was "illusive" (c) the minority are holding back evangelism, which is what the majority want to get on with.

    I do not read that and feel a sense of 'trustworthiness'.

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  8. John, you misunderstand me. I'm not judging motives and certainly not attributing base ones. I am arguing that if your point is that spending time on Women Bishops legislation, amongst other things 'is where the time and energy has gone' rather than ' the evangelization of the nation' then blocking the legislation was counterproductive because it prolongs the time spent on that issue, which is one of the things you are unhappy about.

    I think the word 'fault' is unhelpful as it implies blame and wrongdoing, which clearly wasn't the case, however I think the responsibility for the failure of the legislation to gain approval does lie with those opposed (that would include a wider grouping than the conservative evangelicals). Here are my reasons; The Reform representatives I spoke to before the vote were very clear that they were intending to block the legislation. Public statements are consistent with this and a matter for public record.

    My opinion that further provision was likely to be 'illusive', is drawn from the fact that several such proposals had been previously rejected by General Synod on a number of occasions.

    I share your concern for evangelism and would argue that passion for evangelism and mission is not the preserve of those in favour or those against the ordination and episcopal ministry of women. Your argument in this blog is that too much time is being spent on the issue of Women Bishops, if that is the case, then logically prolonging the time spent on it is counterproductive. My thinking is slightly different given that I see women in ordained and episcopal ministry as a positive contribution to the evangelisation of the nation, rather than a red herring. The fact that we disagree, the fact that you do not like my point of view does not mean that I am untrustworthy. Or can I only be trusted if my views are the same?

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  9. May I ask why Simon's comment has been removed - is it because it pointed out that the 2010 Reform statement said that they were intending to gain enough Synod votes to block the legislation if necessary?

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    1. LTB, for someone who is "certainly not attributing base [motives]", you're very quick to, erm, attribute base motives. The comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Ok I assumed that meant the author of the blog - apologies.

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  10. It says "This comment has been removed by the AUTHOR" so I have no idea.

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  11. If morw of the PROPONENTS of women bishops had been willing to concede a little more (and, dare I say, listen a little more) all this could have been wrapped up in November.

    As I have said before, though, the writing was on the wall in 2008 and that is what motivated people to stand as they did in 2010. What would be good to see now is repentance and reconciliation - though I don't see much appetite for it, that is surely the basis of the gospel we reckon we're going to start preaching to others when this is over.

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  12. John, your comparison with the American Civil War is an interesting one. Was Rowan Williams like Lincoln in considering preservation of the (Comm)Union worth fighting for at all costs, even that of thousands of lives?

    But I was surprised that you linked support of slavery with opposition to women bishops, both as things that can be expected to die out. There are of course many who would find another comparison, that they are both gross injustices. I might suggest that the C of E try to follow Lincoln's example, aiming to contain opposition to women bishops, rather than fighting it with the aim of enforced conformance. But the Confederates saw what was coming and seceded from the Union. Perhaps that is the best approach now for those who want to keep alive what is dying, as somehow I don't see Welby as following Lincoln in launching a bloody civil war to bring them back.

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  13. Peter

    To quote Carl

    The conflict over race is not a good model for the conflict over homosexuality. Racist attitudes ultimately cut across the grain of Scripture, and that is why they were unsustainable. On the other hand, the sinfulness of homosexuality (and women's leadership in the church) cuts with the grain of Scripture.

    End of your argument.

    Phil

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    1. Phil, racist attitudes cut across the grain of Scripture as you interpret it, but not as many people have interpreted in the past and a few do today. Acceptance of women in church leadership cuts with the grain of Scripture as you interpret it, but not as many people, including the large majority of the C of E, interpret it today. And similarly with homosexuality, but I didn't mention that as it is a separate if analogous issue. Who is to decide which is the correct interpretation of Scripture?

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    2. Peter

      I should shut up because the majority now says so?

      And anyway

      "but not as many people, including the large majority of the C of E, interpret it today". I think you find that the vast majority of Anglicans and almost all other Christians worldwide disagree with you, especially where the Church is strong and growing.

      The Cof E is following the lead of TEC, ..... but without the money.

      My own Church, the CinW is in severe financial difficulties. No doubt we will follow soon and drive what little is left of the congregations out of the door.

      It is so sad to see vast numbers of Welsh Churches virtually unused, say for one service once a month with 5 people.

      If you go online (Church in Wales website) you can buy one for a holiday home, except even this market has dried up as you can get a nice house at the moment, for a small fraction of what it would cost to buy and covert a Church.

      Phil

      Phil

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    3. Phil, I am not asking you to shut up, I am debating with you.

      "almost all other Christians worldwide disagree with you"

      Nonsense! Here in the USA almost all believers in mainline Protestant denominations, many Roman Catholics although not their leaders, most Pentecostals and independent charismatics, and a large and growing proportion of evangelicals agree with me, at least in accepting woman in ministry on more or less equal terms with men (not all accept women bishops because not all accept bishops of any kind). Many of these churches are strong and growing, although some like TEC are not. I know the USA is not the world, but it probably has the largest number of practising Christians of any one country. So a majority in the USA is enough to invalidate your proposition even if you ignore the many other countries where women are widely accepted as church leaders.

      Anyway, the worldwide issue is not decided by popular vote, thank God. But in any one denomination the issue is decided by its own structures, whether democratic or not, and it seems likely that Anglicans in England and Wales will both decide soon to accept women as bishops, whether you like it or not.

      I'm sorry for the Church in Wales. But I know there are also strong churches in it, including the two where I have ministered in the last few years. (My vicar in England used to be in the C in W and took occasional ministry teams back to Wales.) Are you seriously suggesting that the decline can be reversed or stopped by rejecting the ministry of gifted women?

      (Virginia, USA, ex-Chelmsford, UK)

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    4. Peter

      I seriously doubt your contention that the majority of Christians in the USA accept Female Headship in the Church

      "Are you seriously suggesting that the decline can be reversed or stopped by rejecting the ministry of gifted women?"

      Ministry no of course not. Headship yes.

      As always seems to be the case women's ordination seems to inevitably lead to homosexual acceptance.

      Our own Archbishop (Dr Barry Morgan) is a fanatical liberal. Among other things he says he looks forward to appointing an openly gay Bishop in Wales.

      Well the numbers are bound to increase then. Especially as we will then not be rejecting the ministry (and church leadership) of gifted and openly homosexual, men and women.

      Perhaps we should accept the leadership of those in incestuous relationships and poly relationships.

      Orgies did get the people into the ancient temples, so presumably if we are "open" and "accepting" then the "fun" can go on in our Anglican Churches and, hey our numbers will surely take off and God will look down and will be pleased with us.................

      Perhaps you are right we ought to try it.

      Cannot be worse perhaps.

      In some Churches near me, the congregation is almost in negative numbers.

      However, if you attend a service, in 10 min you will know why. So a priestess arriving with a few "husbands" to look decorative might at least be interesting.

      You never know I might stay 20 min

      Phil

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    5. Phil, I made no "contention" about "Female Headship in the Church". I would not dispute your doubts that the majority of Christians in the USA accept this. I do not accept it myself. Nor do I accept male headship. I acknowledge only one form of headship in the church, that of the risen Jesus Christ. Yes, his human body was male, but I consider that incidental to his headship and not an attribute of that headship.

      What I was talking about was women serving or ministering in the church, equally with men, including in the "highest" positions in its hierarchy which are the lowest in God's sight.

      I am glad that you agree with me in accepting the ministry of women. I wonder why you cannot apparently accept them serving as priests or bishops.

      I will leave the Welsh to sort out the problems of the Church in Wales, which don't seem to me at all related to gender issues.

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    6. "Yes, his human body was male, but I consider that incidental to his headship and not an attribute of that headship."

      That's interesting Peter - so does this mean you think that if JC had been a woman 'she' could still have redeemed 'her' people?

      Dan

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    7. Yes, Dan, absolutely, if it is meaningful to give a definite answer to such a hypothetical question. No doubt in this case the apostles Pauline and Jane would have written metaphorically about the church as the bridegroom of Christ. ;-) Seriously, I don't see the slightest theological connection between gender and salvation.

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  14. Dominc

    Corrective indoctrination.

    Coming to a church near you soon.

    LTB has already put us right ref the Holy Spirt issue.

    As a man doesn't it just make you just wish she was your vicar?

    No wonder there are no men in the Church.

    Before LTB says that there are men in her Church, .................I said men. The Church is full of men behaving as women.

    "LIberals love everyone, as long as you agree with them about everything, including liberalism"

    Agreed. LTB's comments clearly show you can add the extra line " if you don't agree with the majority we will force you to agree or leave."

    Liberal/illiberal you chose, but same outcome.

    The question is, do we as men let the liberals destroy our faith and our families?

    Phil


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  15. Peter,
    I have no idea about the % involved and as you rightly say, it's not down to numbers. But in the USA, PCA, OPC, CREC, REC (& other conservative Anglican types), URC, Southern Baptist, & these trendy Young/Reformed/Baptists (I think also some conservative Lutherans, e.g. Missouri Synod) are all complimentarian. Some of those denominations run into a few million, so they're not obscuritst. EPC (in USA) has a very robust 2 integrities (EPC everywhere else in the world doesn't ordain women & aren't connected to EPC-USA).

    I'm just saying that for the sake of balance. Also, personally, I wouldn't wish ill on Evangelicals who have a different view from me on this. However, could you name ANY liberal who isn't egalitarian? Any "pro-gay marriage" who isn't? Or anyone with some quirky Trinitarian views who isn't? - I think that's the kind of think Phil is getting at. Which is why, for any sane Anglican, you'd want to make provision for "dissenters" - or you'll be the fundamentalist!

    Darren Moore
    Chelmsford

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    1. Sorry, I meant "Young, Restless & Reformed" - had just been talking to a baptist... maybe I thought he looked restless. But it did then remind me of a whole host of smaller complimentarian denominations & groups. But you get the point.

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    2. Darren, I didn't make any claim about all, even in mainline denominations. I'm not sure how many of the groups you name would be considered mainline - Southern Baptists usually are not, and "Young, Restless & Reformed" certainly are not (but they are probably relatively a small group although a vocal one). Even if 50% of American Christians are complementarian, that makes the other 50% egalitarian (well, I guess there are in fact a lot of fence sitters and don't knows in the middle), which proves my argument.

      But your last paragraph seems to be ad hominem. Just because liberal Christians, "pro-gay marriage" people and non-Trinitarians believe in motherhood and apple pie, does that make them bad things?

      I am happy to make sensible provision for "dissenters", but not to allow them to hold the rest of us to ransom by dictating their own terms, especially if those terms fatally undermine the ministry of women bishops.

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    3. Southern Baptist, not mainline... but the biggest Protestant denomination in N America? So interesting definition of mainline. Most people I know in USA would say American Churches are pretty compromised and just trying to be trendy and "relevant" - there are still lots of good ones of course). Young Restless lot, interesting bunch - new to the scene, should cool & hip, but believe this reformed stuff and growing big young churches.

      I don't think it is purely ad hominem. People do join the dots. If there really is NO difference between men and women etc. Which is I guess brings it round to this threads title about priorities. IF your gospel = equality (in this sense) - then people will want some provision (& won't get it).

      Also, it's not JUST ad hominem anyway. Sure causation isn't the same as correlation. BUT if everyone who believes in A, also believes in B, it's well worth asking why that might be (even if not everyone in B believes A).

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    4. Darren, this may be a strange definition of "mainline", but it is not mine. It comes from groups like The Association of Religion Data Archives, as described on Wikipedia. The term is used in distinction from "evangelical" and so excludes specifically evangelical denominations - although some of the included denominations include many evangelicals, indeed the article notes: "Nearly one-third of mainline Protestants call themselves conservative, and most local mainline congregations have a strong, active conservative element."

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  16. Peter/Darren

    "I am happy to make sensible provision for "dissenters", but not to allow them to hold the rest of us to ransom by dictating their own terms, especially if those terms fatally undermine the ministry of women bishops"

    Here lies the root of the problem.

    I am willing to be a "living stone" with you Peter to build the Church, but you are not willing to be one with me. So we have to leave or our Church collapses for everyone. Don't for one min think that this would mean that you can all now get on with ............. with the awkward ones removed.

    There will be more awkward ones over ............ issues.

    The middle ground is hard. Far easier to build a castle and remove those that make you feel uncomfortable at dinner.

    Phil

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    1. Phil, I am quite willing to be a "living stone" with you. Indeed we already are such within the church universal. But if you or I wish to be members of specific denominations within that church, we need to accept the structures of those denominations and their properly made decisions.

      It is of course within your right to say, during the debate before such a decision, "Accept our terms or else", although it is rather childish surely. But what is your "or else"? Why should the denomination not call your bluff on that one? If your "or else" is "we leave", then they may think that preferable to compromising their principals - and they can continue to accept you as fellow Christians in a separate structure. Or is your "or else" simply "we will stick around and grumble"? In that case they will be happy to call your bluff. Or maybe it is "we will stick around and undermine your work until you change your mind"? I hope not, because that is totally unChristian and likely to lead rather quickly to churches even emptier than the Welsh ones. If that is your attitude, I can understand people wanting to force you out. So please clarify that that is not your intention.

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    2. Peter

      You lost me here

      Where did I say "accept our terms or else"?

      If you want to live in a Christian Community it will involve people who have adifferent opinion to you. That is why the phrase "brothers and sisters in Christ" is used.

      Brothers and sisters may disagree but they are always family. The family needs (certainly in Paul's time) everyone in it to survive. So disagrements must come secondary to unity.

      It is inconceivable to throw out a family member as they are always your family. You may not like them, agreee with them, trust them, or even get along with them very well but they are always family and under the same father's authority. Nobody but the father can take away their status as part of the family.

      This I considered was the model for Anglicanism and why it worked for 400+ years.

      The question is are we still one family or are the children now taking the role of the father?

      Phil

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    3. OK, Phil, you said "accept our terms or else" in the same place that I talked about female headship. But you did object to my "not to allow them to hold the rest of us to ransom by dictating their own terms", and inferred from that that "you are not willing to be one with me". I see that as you insisting on your right to dictate terms.

      Yes, you will still be a part of the Christian family whatever happens (at least unless you deliberately deny the faith). But if a member of your family will only come to stay with you if, for example, you throw all the women out of the house, would they be welcome?

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    4. Peter

      Nobody is suggesting "throwing all the women out of the house"

      The problem is that you seem to only want fellow ship with me if I agree to submit to your rules.

      Just because the majority decide that it what you say is right does not automatically make it right.

      I can think of examples e.g. discrimination against people with a particular racial characteristic, but you would object. However, intolerance is still intolerance.

      Phil

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    5. Phil, I am happy to have fellowship with you within a denomination as long as you agree to the officially adopted rules of that denomination, and I am happy to have fellowship with you in a non-denominational setting without that condition. As a Christian you need to obey the law whether or not you consider it right, and I would say that the same applies to the rules of a denomination.

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    6. Peter

      I am not sure that we are getting anywhere.

      Your way means that Christians divide into their little clubs.

      It works for a while then they divide again into smaller and smaller Churches over another argument.

      I thought we were beyond this.

      Obviously not

      Phil

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    7. No, Phil, that is not my way. My way is that the Church makes properly considered formal decisions and then everyone in it agrees to live with those decisions, submitting private interpretations to the consensus of the Church and setting aside their personal reservations for the good of the body. Are you willing to do that, if the decision is to allow women bishops? Or are you going to insist on holding to your personal or minority group interpretation of Scripture and reject the leaders that the Church may formally appoint over you? If you do the latter, it is you who are schismatic.

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    8. Peter

      consensus of the Church?

      Come on now it is far from that.

      Phil

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    9. Peter

      I don't think you really get it. We cannot in all concience accept this. We are not objecting to the size of the new church carpark!

      The majority seem to be inclined to say that our consiences are irrelevant as they are in a better position to know God than us.

      What we are being asked to accept is comparable to being told to worship idols.

      You clearly have a different view, I accept this, but since you have the power you no longer need to listen or make any provision for those that do not agree with you.

      Phil

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    10. OK, "consensus" is too strong a word for the 2/3 majority required, at least in the C of E, for the proposed changes. So more accurately I should say "considered and officially accepted position". That is what you should submit your private interpretation to, if you want to remain within that church body.

      If you truly believe that the church is requiring you do something equivalent to worshipping idols, then you should consider that church to be apostate and flee from it as fast as you can: 2 Corinthians 6:16-17. But how can the church tolerate within it those who consider it apostate in this way?

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    11. Peter Kirk

      But how can the church tolerate within it those who consider it apostate in this way?

      Well, it can't. But the intolerance won't be expressed in terms of apostacy. It will be expressed in terms of injustice. That's why those who reject WO as a matter of principle should recognize the (lack of a) future that is being prepared for them. Any provision offered will be a transient phenomenon. Once women are in place as bishops there won't be any further need to provide it. The minority must eventually be expunged. All the arguments made today about protections promised opponents in 1993 will be resurrected. Any non-legally binding provision is a clear and present death sentence.

      Opponents of WO have no future in the CoE. The sooner they accept that fact, the sooner plans can be made. The worst possible outcome would be to accept some false provision that allows current leadership to retire gracefully while exposing the laity to the ministrations of those who only interest will be to change their minds. If the principle has been worth fighting over all this time, then it is worth departure. Compromise at the end will only undermine the theology, and make it contemptible. Why should the laity continue to believe it if the leadership won't follow through on their convictions? Many in the majority camp are counting on that outcome. They would prefer the leadership to stay under compromised terms. It would make re-education ever so much easier.

      carl

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