Friday, 7 June 2013

Why Be C? Why Conservative Evangelical Anglicans Should Still Pass 'Resolution C'

The Background
In 1977, at the conclusion of the second National Evangelical Anglican Congress, resolution J6 of the Nottingham Statement declared,
We repent of our failure to give women their rightful place as partners in mission with men. Leadership in the Church should be plural and mixed, ultimate responsibility normally singular and male.
At the time, that represented the majority position of Anglican evangelicals. They recognized that women had not been allowed a proper role in the church in the past — but then neither had the laity in general. These were still the days of the clergy ‘one man band’.
They were also prepared to involve women in local church leadership at every level.
But they reserved ‘ultimate responsibility’ to the male. And although it was not spelt out in the Nottingham Statement, this was undoubtedly because of a general mood amongst Anglican evangelicals at the time that the New Testament in general, and the Apostle Paul in particular, taught that point of view.
Well, of course, things have changed a lot since then. In 1992, the General Synod of the Church of England approved the ordination of women as priests. And although working out the details has proved difficult, there is no doubt that women bishops will soon follow.
Yet there are still evangelical Anglicans today who hold to the position of the majority in 1977. And — officially at least — they are recognized as having an ‘honoured’ position in the Church of England. So provision has been made for them and will probably be made in the future.
The irony is, however, that very few evangelical churches have made us of this provision, which not only creates occasional problems locally, but weakens their argument for continuing provision in the future.

Resolutions A and B
The legislation to introduce women priests took the form of a Measure — a legal document drawn up by General Synod but approved by Parliament. This provided that in any given parish, the Parochial Church Council could pass one or both of two Resolutions.
Resolution A provided that, “this parochial church council would not accept a woman as the minister who presides at or celebrates the Holy Communion or pronounces the Absolution in the Parish.” Resolution B stated, “this parochial church council would not accept a woman as the incumbent or priest-in-charge of the benefice or as a team vicar for the benefice.”
From an evangelical viewpoint, it was Resolution B that more specifically preserved the position of Resolution J6. A leadership team could include women, but the incumbent, priest in charge or team vicar would be male.
Resolution A was more relevant to the Anglo-Catholic position, where it would be unacceptable for a woman to celebrate Holy Communion. Nevertheless, from a ‘political’ point of view, it proved wise to pass both resolutions in any given parish rather than just one, regardless of one’s views about the administration of the Lord’s Supper.

‘Resolution C’
However, the 1993 legislation including an extra provision, presented as an Act of Synod. This did not have the legal force of a Measure, but it laid down the ground rules by which the Church of England has largely operated since then.
The 1993 Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod allowed a PCC to petition the diocesan bishop for episcopal duties to be carried out by a bishop opposed to the ordination of women — a petition which popularly became known as ‘Resolution C’.
The Act originally envisaged three possible forms of provision. The first would be a local, diocesan, arrangement. This still prevails in the Diocese of London, where the Bishop of Fulham carries out these functions. The second was a regional arrangement, where several dioceses would nominate someone together. The third was the appointment of Provincial Episcopal Visitors, or so-called ‘flying bishops’, as ‘suffragans’ of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
And in fact it is this scheme of flying bishops which has proved the most popular and enduring. But this has also caused problems for evangelicals.

Anglo-Catholicism and the PEVs
From the outset the Provincial Episcopal Visitors have been exclusively Anglo-Catholics, generally of the ‘highest’ sort in terms of churchmanship. (Indeed it is significant that three of the bishops appointed under the Act of Synod subsequently joined the Anglican Ordinariate, set up by the Pope as a way of entering into communion with Rome.)
One argument for this arrangement has been that almost all the Resolution C parishes are Anglo-Catholic. But — not surprisingly — one of the arguments heard amongst evangelicals against passing ‘Resolution C’ is that it would mean accepting an Anglo-Catholic bishop, and indeed this is generally what has been offered when this has happened.

Why Be C?
Yet despite this limitation, there is still a strong case to be made for evangelical parishes who remain in the tradition of the 1977 Nottingham Statement to pass not only Resolutions B and A, but also ‘Resolution C’.
A priest, or presbyter, in Anglican theology, receives his lawful authority to minister from the bishop (see Article XXIII). Ths is not the same as his ministry being an extension of that of the bishop (as is often mistakenly claimed by bishops). The Chief Shepherd of the shepherds is Christ (1 Pet 5:4). Nevertheless, the one in lawful authority over the presbyter is the bishop.
For this reason, the bishop is also the one who determines the membership of the body of presbyters under his lawful administration. He decides who should belong to that group, has the authority to call them together and can address them as a body who all relate to him as well as to one another.
However, when it comes to the ordination of women, whilst our disagreements can be charitable, those who hold to the position of the Nottingham Statement would disagree with admitting women as incumbents, team vicars and priests-in-charge and therefore would (and do) find themselves sometimes in awkward company (and, to be fair, vice-versa).
Nevertheless, in its wisdom the Church of England has provided a ministry from bishops who do not ordain women for those whose PCCs will pass the necessary Resolutions. This means that whilst, as members of the wider Church of England, the clergy of those parishes must be prepared to rub along with those with whom they disagree, they can be ministered to, and can occasionally gather with, those who share their convictions about the membership of the ministry.
Other things being equal, therefore, it would surely make sense for clergy to avail themselves of this provision, to gather under a bishop whose understanding of ministry they share and to gather with clergy whom they regard as properly occupying the leadership roles they exercise.
Indeed, if there were evangelical ‘flying bishops’ available, my suspicion is that traditionalist evangelical churches would have flocked to do this — which the cynical may suggest is exactly why they have not been provided. But still it remains the case that if you don’t ask you don’t get, and traditionalist evangelicals have not asked! On the contrary, they have treated the role of the bishop as almost an irrelevance, which may be one reason why no bishop of their persuasion has been appointed since 1997 — and he retired in 2012!

A Plea for C
Personally I have been advocating for years that parishes which designate themselves as Conservative Evangelical ought to pass Resolution C. This is not a ‘protest’ against their existing bishop. This is not a rejection of him and his ministry. It is an act consistent with what we claim to be our theology of ministry and with the way in which the Anglican church puts that theology into practice.
There are other reasons as well as those I have outlined above. A ‘C’ parish is in a stronger position when there is a vacancy or interregnum. I am afraid it is not unknown for bishops to use such occasions to push parishes in a more ‘central’ direction. The patrons legal rights of presentation are suspended, the parish representatives lose their veto, merger with a less conservative parish is proposed and a ‘suitable’ candidate is sought. Often the PCC finds itself ill-informed or lacking in resolve. But where it is a ‘C’ parish, the ‘C’ bishop steps in and provides support and a counter-balance to the bishop’s power.
We must also think about the future. Conservative Evangelicals have been pushing hard for ‘proper provision’ when legislation introduces women bishops. But if they won’t make use of the present provision why should anyone take them seriously? And what makes them think they will be able to persuade their PCCs to act some time in the future when they are not willing, or perhaps able, to persuade them to act now?
Yes, there are problems with the Resolution C provision, but they are partly of our making. And above all ‘C’ in this case stands for ‘consistency’.
Contrary to what many people assume, however, there is still time, and therefore reason, to act. A parish needs only a few weeks to complete the legal processes necessary to pass the Resolutions. If enough evangelical parishes did it now, it would send a clear message to those framing the new legislation (which will not come in before the middle of 2015) and it would create a united front amongst traditionalist evangelicals.
By contrast, the longer this is left, the more likely it is that the future will be full of unpleasantness and conflict. Let us act charitably, let us act lawfully, but let us act now.
Why be ‘C’? Because we need to be consistent, determined and effective.
(Feel free to download and reuse this in any format you like for the furtherance of the aims it sets forward. Credit should be © Revd John Richardson, 2013)

Comments are closed.


  1. Your post may be very wise, but it includes one major error. It refers to the "Anglican Ordinariate". There is no such thing. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, to give it its correct title, is very much part of the Catholic Church.

  2. One reason why Anglo-Catholics avail themselves of the resolutions but male headship evangelicals have generally not done so may be that, although the PCC has to pass the resolutions, the reality is it would have to carry the church with it. Of course, it is not, as you say in passing at one point, for the clergy to avail themselves of the resolutions - it is the PCC on behalf of the parish, or, effectively, the congregation.

    In most Anglo-Catholic churches it may be that the allegiances and theology of the church are very overt, in its liturgy and churchmanship. The likelihood is that the congregation will know and buy into the theology, so passing the resolutions has been simple - resolutions may also have been passed initially many years ago when the climate was different.

    I do not think that male headship churches have the same overt identity. Indeed, my local experience is that in neither of the churches which are strongly committed to Reform is the congregation aware even of the links of their leadership to Reform - a quite extraordinary state of ignorance, but there it is. Although the Reform website identifies them as supporting churches, neither of their own websites do. If either of those PCCs tried to pass any of the resolutions, I can imagine quite a row resulting. It might well be that the leadership think it best not to try.

    Personally, I wish they would, then we would truly get to know where the congregations stand on this. I suspect that they would not share their leaders' convictions, but it would be good to know.

  3. Those outside the Reform group are puzzled: the more one examines the arguments of those who oppose women’s promotion in the church, the more it raises the issue of why they chose to join a church founded in its final form by a woman and now led by a woman.

    Reform group clergy love the Thirty Nine Articles, and exhort others to give regard to them. The final architect of these Articles was Elizabeth I. In addition, Henry VIII had claimed to be Supreme Head of the English Church and Clergy, and but Elizabeth wisely corrected him and changed the law so that the monarch should be the Supreme Governor rather than Head, as Christ is the head of the church. Great female leadership one might note.

    These clergy actively chose to join a church the Supreme Governor of which was originally a women and is now a women. When they were ordained, they each made the solemn Declaration of Assent to this (Article XXXVII, of the Thirty Nine Articles).

    It is therefore very difficult, to say the least, for the rest of the church and those outside it, to understand the problem of conscience they are experiencing on female headship lower down the church structure. They may make arguments about the exact nature of the power held by the monarch and how it differs from that held by bishops. Nonetheless power, some now delegated, is involved, as we see when controversial appointments to bishoprics loom, or in the recent suggestion that the Queen might dissolve the present General Synod, ironically to move things forward on women bishops.

    These clergy all did somehow manage to overcome their scruples so that they could join and then hold office in the Church of England. If they objected to women in leadership they could have decided to join another church led only by men.

    Let's hope that peace can now prevail and we can all now move forward in as much unity as possible, respecting Gamaliel's exhortation, safe in the knowledge that God will hear our prayers and move in His church accordingly.

    1. Anon, if I may say so gently, the puzzlement is also, in my opinion, because there is a widespread misunderstanding of the Anglican 'settlement' - illustrated, for eample, by your apparent belief that the Anglican Church was founded by Elizabeth 1 or is in any sense led now by Elizabeth II.

      Read the Articles: "Where we attribute to the King's Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only 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."

      What does the monarch have? (Hint, not church ministry.)

      It would be too long to explain via a Blacberry, but the gender of the monarch is an irrelevance to this understanding, as indeed (for the same reason) is their faith - see Cranmer's answer to the question, put to him at his trial, as to who was head of the Church in the Apostles' day. (See if you can guess.)

  4. Not sure your response meets the point, John.

    Seems to me that the monarch has authority in the church (the ecclesiastical bit), defined here as ruling all estates and degrees, such as are committed to their charge by God. So what are "estates and degrees"? Is the latter not a reference to ministers in the church? Glad to be corrected if that understanding is wrong. So the monarch may not have a (formal) ministry of the word (though hearing her at Christmas in recent years, she does a pretty good job of that in the time allocated to her), nor does she administer the sacraments, but she certainly does have authority over ordained ministers. I don't see that that can be denied really. All you might argue is that the type of authority or sphere of authority she has does not contravene biblical precepts - indeed you have to argue that in order to maintain coherence with the resistance to female bishops.

    To put anon's comment in the context of your post, the point of passing resolution C would be to obtain a male bishop - the maleness being the point attainable by resolution(though no doubt theological conformity would also be desired). Why? Because only men can have authority, by male headship thinking. But that simply does not square with being in a church headed - however nominally you might argue it is - by a female monarch.

    Actually, I rather like the idea of the Queen restraining some stubborn clergy with the civil sword. Now, there's a thought!

    I'm with anon. I don't get it.

  5. Simon, the confusion is in thinking the Queen is 'head of the Church of England'. She isn't. At least not in the sense you think. The important word in the Articles is not "estates and degrees" but "all".

    What that means is there is no church which I could join or set up in this realm of which the Queen is NOT the supreme governor.

    Do you get it now?

  6. If your answer means that there is no difference in her relationship to the C of E and its ministers and her relationship to other churches and their ministers, then, yes, I understand the argument, but it is clearly wrong.

    She is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the Article expresses the relationship between monarch and established church. That comes from reading the Articles as a whole in their historical and prayer book context. It is no more appropriate to proof text here than anywhere else.

    The notion that the monarch is supreme governor of other denominations is not one that would command assent in those denominations, I suspect ... maybe other contributors will disabuse me, though.

  7. Simon, the point of the English Reformation was to reassert the sovereignty of the monarch over the Church. This was done on the basis that the monarch was entrusted by God with the rule of all estates.

    In later years, with the development of denominationalism, the CofE began to claim, and enjoy, special privileges based on a claim to a special relationship.

    But the Reformation principle is that the monarch's writ runs everywhere - even to the Church, which is why "the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England".

    The laws of the land thus apply to the Baptists, the Muslims and yes, even the RCs, because the Queen is their Supreme Governor too.

  8. Simon, as a PS, how else would the logic of the argument behind the Reformation have worked? You can't start from a 'special relationship' with one 'branch' of the church.

  9. We shall have to agree to differ, I suspect.

    My take is that the monarch is only ever identified in the Articles as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. If some other church emerges with a different structure and legal basis there is no warrant for assuming the monarch has an ecclesiastical/spiritual role in that new church. Do any ecclesiastical lawyers or historians support your argument? Or indeed other theologians?

    But there is a sense in which I don't care - if you are right, there is a God-given monarch (female) over all ministers. So, as I said before, you come down to saying that the bible allows her to have this bit of authority over ministers, but not that bit. And it doesn't say that. Or does it?

    And she does not have authority, or at least it is wielded in her name - appointments of archbishops and bishops, for example, and assorted other ecclesiastical appointments.

  10. Sorry, she DOES have authority.

  11. Simon, you need to read Cranmer on the need for the king to have both ecclesiastical and temporal ministers, which in the case of the former extended from "the bishop of Duresme" (sic) down to "the parson of Wynwycke".

    The other thing to read is the relevant Acts which led up to the break with Rome, which can be found in Gerald Bray's "Documents of the English Reformation". That will give you the legal 'logic'.

  12. You could also try this:

    And this:

  13. John, check out the recent Evangelical Alliance survey:

    Your views are in the minority, built on a questionable theological foundation that most people now regard as a false teaching.

    My question to you is: how does your position serve the gospel, both in the CofE and in the country? All it seems to do is create unnecessary division within the evangelical world.

    1. Ian,

      Does this mean that the majority of church through history (as well as many globally today) are false teachers and/or believed in false teaching?

      Isn't this what CS Lewis called "Chronological Snobbery"?

      Darren Moore

  14. John, given the content of your Churchman article, I find the position you are trying to adopt extraordinary. In that article, although you express a preference for a different state of affairs - a separation of the civil and the ecclesial - you acknowledge the authority the Queen in fact has in the Church of England. You even argue that, properly speaking, the monarch has doctrinal authority, not just rights of appointment and so on, and you acknowledge the obvious point that her authority in the Church of England is indeed on a different legal basis to her authority in other denominations and religions.

    The fact seems to be that anon is right to point out the dissonance of the male headship evangelicals' position on women bishops and their continuance in the Church of England under a female monarch.

    That being so, there are better - if intellectually less complete - answers that you could have given to anon than what you have written above. You could, for example, have said that the proximity of a priest to his/her bishop makes the gender of the bishop a more pressing matter to more priests than the gender of the remote (and somewhat titular) supreme governor. Or you could have said that since the monarch is chosen by birth there is simply nothing that any priest can do other than live with what is presented. And there may be other pragmatic answers available too - the Church of England being a good boat to fish from and all those things people used to say, for example. But whilst there are pragmatic answers, there is no convoluted way out of the issue anon raises, and it deserves acknowledgement as correct.

    1. Simon,

      Let's assume for the sake of argument that you are right about the Queen and John is wrong. What follows? That women can become the head of a Diocese or its Supreme Governor. It also follows on from the Queen's position that she has no authority to preach, pastor or administer the sacraments. So may we should create a new office in the Church: that of Supreme Governor of a Diocese or an Area, open to lay men & women. But then I guess Bishops could continue to a ordained clergy Men? It is seems to me that this solution would satisfy both conservative Evangelicals & Traditional Catholics. Would you be happy with that?

      Ro Mody, Bournemouth

  15. Simon, a couple of observations. First, Cranmer didn't seem to think that he should leave the Church when Mary became Queen. Neither did anyone seem to suggest there was a problem with QE 1 re the Church which either ought to prevent her being Queen or them remaining in it because of her gender.

    Secondly, does this mean we should join and leave the CofE depending on the gender of the monarch? Perhaps you think no traditional evangelical can be an Anglican.

    Unfortunately (of fortunately) the Anglican Communion disagrees with that and welcomes me as a 'loyal' Anglican but offers me conscientious provision.

    I like that.

    BTW I'm right about the Queen being Supreme Governor of all estates 'ecclesiastical' de facto, so I couldn't found or join another church to get away from her.

  16. One thing seems to be missing in the above. It needs to be borne in mind that the Queen is a laywoman. She therefore does not possess presbyteral or episcopal authority. The discussion in the Church of England at the moment is wether women can indeed posess such ministerial authority. Scripture and the universal practise of the Church since Apostolic times has ruled that they cannot. This question does not touch the Queen's authority as Supreme Governor which is a different matter altogether.

  17. Hi Nigel. Agreed that the monarch does not have presbyteral or episcopal authority, not as we recognise it anyway. She is referred to somewhere (sorry, can't look it up now) as the chief ordinary, so there are hints of episcope in there, but happy to leave that aside for the moment. I have said twice above that the argument on this issue on the male headship evangelical side seems to come down to some difference between women as potential bishops and women as monarchs. The former are apparently impermissible but the latter permitted. This is meant to be a biblical distinction. But where from?

    And remember that any distinction also has to justify male headship in a family context, but presumably allow female headship in business, political, educational, health etc contexts. Or is the male headship argument actually that women cannot biblically be head of anything if there is a suitable adult spare male about?

  18. Simon good questions. I think the answer lies in the fact that both the Family and the Church are the two covenental institutions in Scripture brought into existence by a specific act of God himself. In these two institutions male headship applies in a way that it does not apply in business/secular government. Also the Queen specifically does not have ANY presbyteral/episcopal in that she cannot preach or celebrate the sacraments.

  19. John

    Earlier in the thread you mention 'loyal Anglicans'. But the real question that must now be addressed is this:

    What would it now mean for those who want to remain in, to be 'loyal' members of the Church of England?

    (Not just 'loyal Anglicans', which now means something quite different.)

  20. Anon
    To be a loyal member of the Church of England must be to be loyal to her received doctrines. In our context that must mean that our money cannot be used to prop up what the institutional Church of England believes in any one given moment. For whereas Rome has an infallible Pope we now possess and infallible General Synod that seems to think she has the power to define new teachings. This cannot be right. This means that we need to stay in the Church but not contribute to her financially beyond paying our way. N

  21. What does paying your way actually mean?

  22. covering the cost of the vicar but no more than that

  23. Really? I think you will find that CoE members will feel that ministering acceptably, and 'loyally', in the CoE needs henceforth to include:

    -Honesty and openness on church websites, stating that some or all their clergy subscribe to the idea of male headship, so that congregations and potential church members know what views inform the ministry and what activities their congregations are funding.
    -Honesty and openness about criteria and procedures used for appointments where Resolutions (while they remain) have not been passed.
    -No channelling of parish funds and clergy working time (with external roles and appointments) into groups, organisations and structures outside their parishes and outside the CoE.
    -No withholding of parish share.
    -Using ministers' (often considerable) gifts to work in the CoE wholeheartedly, accepting oversight in letter and spirit, and no longer publicly disparaging the CoE leadership.
    -Dismantling the church-within-the-church, i.e. the shadow structures for ministry selection, training and appointments.

  24. Anon
    I do not follow your logic at all. Please explain.

  25. However, Her Majesty can't actually do anything with her position in the C of E. As Head of State, she does have the power to withhold the Royal Assent, though unlikely to use it even though she might be sorely tempted (eg Gay Marriage). But as Head of the C of E, she doesn't even get the chance to intervene in Synod affairs.

    Most of us find this rather theoretical argument that a woman actually runs Anglicanism to be yet another red herring, when it's fairly obvious she doesn't.

  26. Nigel

    Sorry you don't follow this. It will be clearly articulated in coming months, but in short, it is not possible to be both loyal and disloyal at the same time.

    Following your comment on only paying for the vicar - does that mean not paying for the bishop?

  27. Anon
    I agree you cannot be loyal and disloyal at the same time to a single institution. But the question being raised is whether the contemporary institution is synonymous with the Apostolic Church of the past.

  28. Yes. I suppose it comes down to whether you accept that the church has changed developed as history has progressed. The early church tolerated slavery, and St Paul told slaves to obey their masters. But we now see that teaching as related to the historical context the early church was working in. Do you see a similar pattern with the issue on women?

    But getting back to the issue of paying parish share: it contributes to things such as repairing and maintaining clergy houses, training and development of ministers, cost of things such as General Synod, central services such as child protection, legal protection/fees, pension fund management, etc, as well as to paying for bishops. Would you not be considering availing yourself of these anymore?
    Or would you want the rest of the church to pay for them for you?

  29. Another red herring creeps into the argument - it is not true that the early church tolerated enforced mass migration for economic reasons. That was the slavery that C18 evangelicals fought so hard against, not the system of servanthood that existed in the Roman Empire that allowed those with no start in life to be able to achieve their freedom. Anonymous, I see no pattern here.

  30. Thanks Anon. I am afraid I do not hold that in the onward progression of history things are improving. Neither do I see any connection between slavery and the women's issue. As regards your other points all those issues will need to be carefully thought through and some with great minds financial and theological have already given extensive thought to them. Suffice it to say that the institutional church cannot expect funding from those they are trying to exclude. N

  31. Yes Richard, to bring up slavery either is being dishonest (we don't want to be like 18th C slave traders do we, better give in on this issue too), or massively ignorant.

    1 Tim 1:10, Paul makes it perfectly clear what he thinks of slave trading! The amazing thing is that church would have had owners and slaves together! That didn't happen in 18th C either. There's a lot more to be said, but I think that torpedos the irresponsible way that argument is used.

  32. 2 things on Parish share;
    1st, as I recall Bishops are paid from a different source. (awkward if it were the same source, they earn a fair bit more - bit of interesting theological justification for that)

    2nd I'm in a denomination where the share is, "pay what you want". Each congregation pays it's own Minister, houses them, pays repairs, does all the CRB stuff. Most of our congregations are small, some are in UPAs.

    90% of our "share" is spent directly to support the short fall on church planting, most of our plants start in single figures. Our entire central admin, is done by volunteers.

    Now, we're small & new-ish. But you get the point. After a while central bureaucracies exist for their own sake.

    & John - this is the longest comments closed thread I've ever seen.

    But Nigel's point stands. You have to see that any institution is not "The One Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church", which takes in other denominations, countries and time periods. So, really without some sort of witchcraft, we can't consult the whole church catholic. There is also a double standard at work: when something is "modernised" it is decided, but old stuff is somehow not... how does that work?

  33. Darren. Yes, Bishops in the C of E are paid centrally from income from investments, and cost the diocese nothing. In much of the rest of Anglicanism, bishops are paid for out of giving.

    That's the plus side. On the other side, Bishops are neither paid for by parishes, nor do they have any say in their election, so I'm tempted to ask whether they are entitled to speak on our behalf.

  34. Andrew Godsall, Exeter14 June 2013 at 11:30

    'Paying for the Vicar and no more' is hardly moral. Who is going to pay for people to oversee the Church Schools some of you value so highly? Who is going to pay for the CMD that clergy now have, by law, to undertake? (And they have to undertake this in exchange for the incredible job security that they have under Common Tenure)? Who is going to pay for the up keep of the Vicarage? Who is going to pay for the legal advice that clergy get behind the scenes? (To name a few examples)
    If you want to be congregationalist then why not be honest about it and leave, rather than hiding behind the institutional security of the C of E?

    What John neglects to say is that the number of parishes that are 'Resolution C' is tiny, and the number of 'Conservative Evangelical' parishes is even smaller. Any Conservative Evangelical parishes that might pass such a resolution in our diocese would be provided for by the suffragan bishop, who is completely in communion with the diocesan bishop. It's rather like a family going to the local undertaker thinking they are going to the old family firm, whereas in fact it's owned and run by the Co-Op or a large American firm, but has simply kept the old name.
    Pass a resolution if it makes you feel better John. All it does is force up the cost of ministry for all of us and enable a few of you to feel that you won't get 'tainted'. There is absolutely nothing christian about it, there never was, and the whole system is just considered a laughing stock in the rest of the Church.

  35. To my mind, one aspect of loyalty is paying the full parish share, assuming it can be afforded. 'Loyalty' in the sense it is used in discussion of women bishops is not just doctrinal, but institutional, and always has been. Loyalty (to the institution) includes or should include full engagement with deanery etc etc. And it precludes use of alternative competing church and para-church structures such as the Reform Panel of Reference, GAFCON/AMiE bishops for confirmations, overseas ordinations etc etc. None of that is compatible with loyalty. The persistence of all this, and its likely continuance whatever settlement is reached, is one reason to my mind why attitudes have become so polarized. Expressions of loyalty don't seem to have any content in the face of such behaviour.

  36. Andrew

    "the number of 'Conservative Evangelical' parishes is even smaller"

    The number of parishes might be small, but what about the numbers worshipping?


  37. At the end of the day the payment of parish share is a voluntary matter and is dependent on trust between the Church and the Parishes. If the institutional church is determined not to provide any ongoing security to parishes who hold that the Church of England has departed from scriptural obedience and catholic faithfulness then the financial consequences of such a move can only be placed at the feet of a dogmatic intolerant and illiberal hierarchy

    1. Andrew Godsall, Exeter17 June 2013 at 12:11

      Fine. Then if parishes don't actually want to pay for the ministry they get (in all kinds of ways) the diocese will, eventually, stop providing any ministry (in all kinds of ways). It's an easy choice.

    2. Yes clarity will have been achieved. The parishes will pay for their own ministry and secure their own line of bishops. But they will do this only because an intolerant and dogmatic hierarchy reneged on their promises and and rushed into schism

  38. Thanks Nigel and Phil. The number worshipping/parishes is not necessarily relevant any longer, because up till now the clergy of most of these churches have not made their views on male headship clearly known to their congregations and potential church members. For example there is usually nothing in the 'About Us' or 'What We Believe' sections of their websites, normally no mention of Reform membership or a link with Reform, and most often Resolutions have not been passed. Strange, given how important this is to at least half the congregation.

    For proof of this see those listed on the Reform website as Reform churches or Reform-linked churches, and compare that with the content of their individual church websites.

    It seems likely their congregations will shrink once their views and allegiances become known, which they will. The parishes will not necessarily follow the clergy on this.

    While Parish Share is technically voluntary, the reality of the situation is that not paying it effectively means taking money from members of the wider church, by expecting them to pay for the services you use, and if this continues and becomes more widely known and understood, it will be viewed as parasitic.

    At least John's superb analysis in'A Strategy that Changes the Denomination' provides a positive vision for the way forward.

    1. What if they DON'T take centrally?

      You're right, if a church is a REFORM member, they should state it. But sometimes the Vicar is, the Church isn't. Also, it isn't just REFORM who oppose Women Bishops.

  39. I sit here pondering an interesting question. Why should anyone be concerned about the financial contributions of a tiny, shrinking, declining minority that is on the wrong side of history and soon to die out like the dinosaurs before them? Hrmmmm. Tis a puzzlement.


    1. Andrew Godsall, Exeter17 June 2013 at 12:14

      Not in the least concerned actually. The big payers are not the Con Evos (who are small and shrinking) but the open and charismatics who are grwoing and entirely supportive of women in ordained ministry and leadership.

  40. I went into a village church to learn of God so near.
    The Suffragan he up and says "We let no bigots here."
    The girls behind the altar rail they giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again and to myself says I:
    O it's Connie this, and Connie that, and "Connie, go away!"
    Then it's "Where is Mister Evo? There's a bill we need to pay."
    A bill we need to pay, my boys, a bill we need to pay,
    O it's "Go find Mister Evo. There's a bill we need to pay."

  41. Independent & Presbyterian Churches, even with small congregations in poor areas pay their own way, Ministers CRB etc. They also give away 10% +. Conservative Evangelical Anglicans often pay for extra staff & extra staff at other churches (indeed Nigel's church is particularly generous).

    There was a time when Diocese didn't have 100s of staff. Yet the C of E (& others) did loads in society, without employing all these people. There are plenty of charities that do this work, why double up? Cover up failing churches that aren't doing anything (or doing the wrong stuff).

    If Conservative Evangelical money is so insignificant and Charismatic/Open churches are giving so much, why are most Diocese in deficit? That's before talking about demographic collapse that most churches face (look at average age, think life expectancy). It's true CEs are insig, over all... that's why there is so little hope!

    What is VERY interesting, is that "modernising" doctrine seems to fail in attracting the very people they are aiming at, whilst "fundies" average age drop (our growth in the past year has been across age groups, but mostly 18-25). Also mostly those wanting to "modernise" doctrine, seem to not want to modernise anything else, want to dress up and keep hierarchical titles.

  42. I have never heard of a Diocese that has 100s of staff. Tilting at windmills, Darren.

  43. They do between them.
    Think about it. DDO, Urban officer, kids work, youth, schools, race relations (in a few), training (normally more than 1 post), someone who talks about mission, giving officer, then administrators.

    There was a time when NONE of these jobs existed, yet the Church was more engaged. Many denominations, younger growing etc. cope without these staff. They don't need them, they bring in expertise from outside in a far more cost effective way. Since the C of E has brought these people in have they grown or shrunk? Have they had a bigger or smaller impact on society? Exactly.

    Any declining organisation starts to become increasingly centralised. Diocesan staff are busy and dedicated, but spread very thinly.

    A better way of doing finances is the way it used to be done and still is outside of the C of E, that is relationally. You get to know a Church, you send people there way, you send money their way, perhaps for a particular project to get things going until it's viable by itself. Rather than just getting a bill and paying it without really asking hard questions.

    People then don't mind giving, they see it's impact & there is trust.

  44. " ... DDO, Urban officer, kids work, youth, schools, race relations (in a few), training (normally more than 1 post), someone who talks about mission, giving officer, then administrators ..."

    Having trouble seeing which of these are not needed, at least to some degree. But then maybe that is because I come from a small, relatively poor church that values the availability of support from the diocese in these areas from time to time.

    And yes, we preach the gospel and care for our community and do all the things that make some churches grow but not others. We don't have much money to spend on glossy stuff. Of course, we would have more to spend if all the churches in the diocese paid their share. Still, just the way it is. Someone has to pay for those churches that genuinely cannot afford the services the diocese provides, and we are happy to. And no, we are not so convinced of our own righteousness that we wish to control the final destination of all our payments - happy for the diocese to do that, since we are part of the Church of England. We would not agree with all it does by any means, but then we have not been given oversight of the whole.

    We are tired, though, of having to apologise to headteachers, local authority, people who run the community centre etc etc about the Church of England's attitude to women, and explaining that we support the ministry of women at all levels - last year's vote continues to be a barrier to mission.

    1. Simon,
      I'm not sure how to put this politely, but that is just poor stewardship. Yes giving should be just that (low on strings), but say over time it was mostly to fund rank heresy (denial of trinity, bowing down to Baal stuff) - you'll still pay?

      DDOs, much could/should be done by the Minister, then panels of other local Ministers. Put it this way, denominations without DDOs, is there more or less consistency with candidates?

      Other officers: I was in a small poor urban church (rated poorest 1%), now in a small, not rich, not poor church. But we find good kids/youth workers to come in & do training, it's more relational. We'd look at other good models of growth/mission, get people in to help us. How do you think non-Anglicans cope, how most of the world (where the church grows) copes and how the C of E coped before it declined?

      Apologising - well there in lies the problem! Do you also apologise for the offence of the cross, for hell, for the exclusivity of Christ?

      As someone said to their house mates who cheered for acceptance of women bishops, "so you'll all be in church this Sunday?" - of course not! In our denomination, we have all male leadership, yet our congregation grow by about 30%, mostly young, many non-Christians, & 50/50 male female. It's a pattern I see elsewhere. Every time the church innovates to accommodate society, it has the opposite effect. In the world's eyes most of what we say is foolish, but it's the wisdom of God. Stop being ashamed & on the 1 hand your struggles will increase, but your growth/finance ones will start to fade.

  45. Darren,

    Another thing for that list... conservative evangelical theological colleges.

    Isn't it wrong that we who do not support the teaching of the male headship&female submission are paying for Oak Hill, while (am I right?) many of those attending Oak Hill come from churches that in reality do not pay their share of its overheads?

  46. Where on earth do you get that idea?
    We are sending a guy to Oak Hill (he looked at some other places here & overseas). He has been living with his parents and saving as hard as he can to pay the fees. There are a few grant making trusts that will give some money to people like him for studying.

    Most of the world through most of time have to pay for their own theological education. I paid for 90% of my Masters, it certainly motivates you when you've had to give up stuff to pay for it. That is basically part of the problem, welfare state mentality, which generates wastage.

    Most colleges also run on a colossal loss, but certain individuals consider certain colleges worth while & so do so. That's true of all colleges, but obviously some are finding it harder to persuade than others to prop them up. Things like the Hind report just means failure has to be shared.

    Put the question the other way. Should Evangelical Churches pay for theological studies in institutions that cannot uphold the 39 articles?

  47. I understand that the fees for those training for ordination at Oak Hill are paid for by the Church of England. Are the individuals you refer to who are paying their own way studying another course that does not actually lead to ordination in the CoE? They may be paying fees if they are studying there, but are not actually training for ordination.

    The point is that members of the wider church are funding the training of those who train for CoE ordination at Oak Hill, even if those ordinands are from churches who do not pay their parish share. How does that look to you?

    1. The assumption seems to be that the Quota funds the CofE.

      It does not.

      Dead men's money mainly keeps the CofE afloat. (So far)

      Who would they favour? Conservative or liberal?

      We can probably guess


  48. Darren re your comment 17 June.

    I'm afraid it is no longer good enough to say that if it is just the vicar and not the church that subscribe to male headship, then it doesn't need to be put on the website. It is hard to hear this, but really - face it - this is not being honest with the congregation or potential church members, is it? And that is not what God requires of us. He will hold us to account for it.

    It does matter to congregations. They do want to know the personal views that inform and shape the ministry of the church. They want to know what kind ministry, teaching and activities they are supporting, however subtle the 'leadership' on this is.

    When a vicar or curate's position is not stated on the website, it seems to those on the receiving end as if they have been deceived when they find out the truth.

    Web sites need to say something in the About Us or What We Believe section like:

    'Some of/all our ministry team subscribe to the doctrine of male headship, and believe this to be the correct interpretation of Paul's teaching on the respective roles of men and women in church and in marriage. [and for Reform- or Reform-linked churches] 'We are part of a network of churches that believes the same.'

    It sounds bleak when you put it out there like that doesn't it? Small wonder that there is a fear congregations might shrink if clergy were open and honest about their views and links.

    1. If you truly believed this then proper provision would have no issue for you.

      Bible believing Reform and other conservative churches could have their proper provision. Everyone would then know what they stood for, so you say people would avoid them and so they would clearly die out

      The problem is that evidence is the opposite and that Bible believing churches grow and the liberal (you can believe anything you want here mate) types of churches are losing members.

      What if separate provision happened, then those churches were successful and grew instead of doing the right thing and dying out?

      This is the real nightmare that keeps the liberal church awake at night.

      And this is why you will fight any proper provision for Bible believing Anglicans in the CofE.


    2. Anonymous (if that is your real name),

      (if anyone scrolls this far back)

      I'm not quite sure what you're saying proves.

      1. When I was at Oak Hill, there wasn't one authoritative view, although there was a majority one.
      2. People have been approved by a selection conference, so it's their problem who they let through.
      3. Not all "Oak Hill types" go to Oak Hill. Same as not everyone at Oak Hill are typically Oak Hill, on this issue or others.
      4. What about people who don't believe very much at all but get their theological education paid for by C of E
      5. People who don't pay their quota don't take for these purposes - nor do they get through selection conferences.

      6. Declaring on websites... seriously? Anything else needed to be declared? Views on sexuality, filioque clause, where they stand on lapsarian issues? Nobody else makes such statements. I know congregation members on both sides of the ordination of women issue in churches where their view is not the majority. People choose their churches for a number of reasons. We're always being told that this isn't a central issue, yet you are saying that it is.

  49. Andrew Godsall, Exeter21 June 2013 at 10:38

    Darren: it sounds bleak because Reform is a very bleak organisation. John often moans that no Conservative Evangelicals have been appointed as bishops. The truth is that they could not be anything like a unifying presence in a diocese. The views of Reform and Conservatvie Evangelicals are pretty marginal within the C of E. Why would any Diocese want a bishop who was so completely at odds with where the Church is?
    We are just in the midst of consultations in this Diocese about a new bishop. It is clear that even within an inherently conservative diocese, the huge majority want a bishop who fully supports the ministry of women in all three orders and wants a much more inclusive church. Does that mean that don't actually want any 'conservative' Christians? Of course not. What it means is that they (you, if you are C of E) need to be a bit more engaged with what the vast majority are trying to do and not try to pretend that your views are the only 'true' ones.

  50. Andrew, when you write “John often moans that no Conservative Evangelicals have been appointed as bishops”, your language is both revealing and depressing.

    If I wrote, “Women often moan that none of them have been appointed as bishops”, I could rightly be accused of using language that was belittling and insensitive, the word ‘moan’ suggesting, as it does, both the illegitimacy of the claim and the self-indulgence of the complainants.

    But think, for a moment, about the reality for Conservative Evangelicals. The 1993 Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod states as its first declaration, “There will be no discrimination against candidates ... for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their views about the ordination of women to the priesthood.”

    Yet clearly such discrimination has taken place, and is increasingly open.

    Does this not matter? Is it acceptable for the rules to say one thing but for people to do another? And am I, and others, ‘moaning’ about this when we query it?

    If so, then please do not offer us another ‘Act of Synod’ (as is being mooted in the bishops’ proposals). Indeed, please do not ask us to trust you, not only because we evidently cannot, but because you equally evidently have no sympathy for our position.

    Gosh, what a mess!

  51. Andrew Godsall, Exeter21 June 2013 at 12:16

    John: the plain truth is that you wish to discriminate but don't want to be discriminated against.
    Read my post carefully. The reason that there are no Conservative Evangelical bishops is that they can't be a focus for unity as they represent a small constituency. Women represent half the population. A great deal more than half have indicated their urgent desire to have women ordained as bishops and understand this to be a proper development.
    Our concern is that despite assurances that you want to sort it out the only way forward you propose is discriminatory. But discrimination won't work in the Church and would not get through Parliament.
    And read the last part of my post again too.
    Does that mean that I don't actually want any 'conservative' Christians? Of course not. What it means is that they need to be a bit more engaged with what the vast majority are trying to do and not try to pretend that your views are the only 'true' ones. That is what is depressing.

  52. Andrew, you have fundamentally missed or avoided my point.

    I repeat,

    1. Is this 'moaning'?

    2. Have commitments been stuck to or reneged on?

    3. Is it legitimate to doubt assurances now being offered on the basis that assurances currently in place are ignored?

  53. John - Yes, you are right. This is a big problem and is part of the overall picture in which the contribution of excellent preaching has not been recognised and rewarded as well as it might have been in the CoE.

    The reason for the problem is that it has been difficult to promote male headship clergy, because all though no one wants to discriminate against them and the promise was genuinely made, the negative consequences of appointing them have been serious for the church. That is what has given pause in the process.

    We have come to see how much harm is done by an overseer who himself discriminates: the undermining pain caused to half the clergy in a such bishop's diocese makes his appointment a practical problem for the church, and this was not foreseen when the promise was made. Now we see the issue: how can the church knowingly appoint a discriminator to minister to those whose orders he does not - in his heart - recognise? It is putting on them a yoke they are not able to bear and it actively sets up dysfunctional working relationships in the church. Then also, such leaders also create a stumbling block for the church's mission - repelling many who may seek The Lord. Very serious consequences indeed.

    So though there has been a genuine intention not to discriminate, the negative consequences of promoting those who discriminate against women have put the brakes on the process.

    An example: last year a male headship candidate was appointed to a bishopric, wasn't he? He was not discriminated against when he was appointed. Has it been a good thing for the diocese? How does it affect women in his diocese ordained and lay, and so this whole part of the Church, as well as the church's mission there? Perhaps you know the answer.
    Andrew - yes this is a now focus of pain, division and great concern both in that diocese and beyond.

  54. Who is this "male headship" bishop to whom you are referring? I was not aware of any.

  55. Sorry John - I shouldn't have said 'male headship' candidate, which I know strictly means conservative evangelical. I meant Martin Warner.

    To me, 'male headship' also includes those who oppose women's ordination to priesthood and episcopacy based on sacramental assurance, etc. Whatever the particular thought-strands behind the stances, it comes to the same thing in the real world, namely saying that men should lead in the church.

  56. Anon, although you say “it comes to the same thing” it really is not helpful to treat the Anglo-Catholic and Conservative Evangelical positions as interchangeable - they are not. Not least, the AC position rests on a different, and distinctly ‘ontological’ concept of priesthood and therefore of the Church.

    If you want to see a good argument for that position, read C S Lewis’s “Priestesses in the Church”. I have to say, though, that whilst agree with some of Lewis’s suggestions, I cannot accept his argument because I do not accept his ‘iconic’ view of the priest.

    It would be quite foolish, however, for me to say Lewis’s attitude at this point is one of ‘male headship’. Lewis did accept that doctrine. As he acknowledged in Mere Christianity, “Christian wives promise to obey their husbands. In Christian marriage the man is said to be the “head.”, but he did not invoke it in relation to his argument against priesthood, and nor have I heard any Anglo-Catholic rely on it.

    The outcomes are therefore quite different. For example, I know would have no problem in some contexts receiving Communion where a woman had ‘presided’ by reading the narrative of institution in any of the official Anglican liturgies. It wouldn’t invalidate the sacrament and it would be no different from her praying (or prophesying) in the congregation. I don’t, however, know a single AC who would be happy with this. I would bear in mind that the Jewish Kiddush, which in striking ways resembles the Lord’s Supper, the wife has, as far as I am aware, a joint role with her husband.

  57. Andrew Godsall24 June 2013 at 09:56

    John: I'm sorry you thought I was ignoring you. I have read my post again and assure you that was not the case, but let me try to be even clearer.
    I am clear that I can't see that any commitments have been reneged on. The problem, as I outline above, about the Conservative Evangelical constituency is that it is tiny and very separatist. That's the reason that the constituency are not represented in the House of Bishops and in other appointments. The fact that they have particular views about the ordination of women is not the reason - that's just a symptom. If you could encourage your constituency to stop the separatist attitude then I thik things could change a good deal. Forget Gafcon. Forget other provinces you happen to admire more than your own. Get on board more here and then see what happens.
    As for the word moaning - apologies. Not sure what other word to use.

  58. Andrew,
    Globally, GAFCON (or whatever it is now), represents 10s of millions. C of E & those lining up globally... don't. So maybe a better way of putting it isn't about separatism, but who you line up with.

    & if someone believes Christianity is revealed,then it isn't about going with a majority.

  59. Separatism is exactly the word. This is what Rod Thomas of Reform was demanding in March this year: alternative oversight to ...

    "be applied in the key areas of selection for training; ordinations; appointments, discipline and confirmations, without requiring the ‘alternative' bishops to be accountable to the Diocesan Bishop. This does not exclude the possibility of requiring them to consult over such matters or relating their decisions to diocesan financial constraints."

    Yup, Rod, it's called a denomination. Really begs the question why he and his friends don't just go off and form one.

  60. Simon,
    Maybe, some mileage in what you're saying. But what is more important; a denomination, nationally, or the World Wide Anglican Communion... or the CHURCH, as defined in Hebrews 12, the creeds and the Anglican communion liturgy, which is the global church of all denominations and those through time. Arguabley the accusations of separatism could run the other way then.

  61. Salient to the discussion on whether Conservative Evangelicals are a tiny minority, I note the references from different sources in this 2012 article by David Virtue, a fairly caustic commentator, but here relates figures from Peter Brierley, various General Synod members, etc.:

    "Church statistician Peter Brierley says that 40% of Church of England attendees currently go to evangelical churches - up from 26% in 1989.

    He also notes that of the estimated 175 churches with a Sunday attendance of over 350, 83% are evangelical. Writing in the May issue of New Directions, Andrew Presland, a member of the Church of England's General Synod, writes that in the Southern Province of the CofE, there are more conservative evangelicals in pews than traditional catholics.

    Conservative evangelical churches are a high proportion of the very large churches and have impressive numbers of committed Christian teenagers, students and young adults. According to the Ven. Norman Russell, Archdeacon of Berkshire, these churches also typically attract an unusually high proportion of men. The results were drawn from 300 churches in the Church of England who were contacted by researchers. Of the 142 that provided information, 38% of congregations were aged under 30; over 425 women were part of the staff team or working for a para-church organization and attending the church.

    Some 345 ordinands were sponsored in the last 10 years (an average of three per church). Most churches reported significant growth in those 10 years, with at least 55 new church plants. The average weekly attendance reported was 209 compared with a national average of 53, and an average of 200 electoral roll members compared with a national average of 75, reports Susie Leafe of General Synod. Conservative evangelicals are also active in Anglican relief and development in the Anglican Communion. Anglican International Development and St. Helen's Bishopsgate (an evangelical parish in London's financial district) recently held a week of Bible teaching for 50 pastors in Juba cathedral in South Sudan."

    Tiny? Perhaps better described as significant and growing.

    Yours sincerely,
    Clifford Swartz

  62. Clifford,

    That's right. I think what Andrew Godsall will say is that your number of Evangelicals includes those that are some way from Reform. Now, to a point he's right, it's now a broad (almost meaningless term).

    But I had seen some stats that suggested that "charismatic" churches were growing, but much slower than before (in the C of E), "Open" were standing still or in slow decline. "Conservative" were growing quite fast. Numbers of ordinands under 30 = high, that sort of thing. Giving (over & above quota) to releif and overseas outreach extremely high. If you look at non-Anglican conservative church giving your jaws would drop further. It is amazing, even in poorer areas.

    I'd heard of a "larger church" conference and the elephant in the room that 95%+ were evangelical. Also those that had recently grown to that were mostly of a more conservative ilk.

    Other thing I've noticed, this is highly subjective and personal, but among women that I meet in Church, the younger and the better educated, the more conservative they are on EVERYTHING. They love it when we tell the guys to man up (Christianly speaking).

    The other thing I've noticed is people from diverse backgrounds (including what we might say "moral" backgrounds) claiming that they are less patronised, more accepted and more challenged. The result is we really see radical change, that can only have a supernatural source. If you just say "you're fine as you are", you'll not see any change. If you say, "come as you are - but warning, God might do something" - you'll see some wonderful stuff. I think those who accuse more conservative types of judgementalism (often in quite black/white "binary" judgemental/nasty terms) just haven't seen God turn people round.

  63. Clifford,

    Here is the link to the article you quote:

    Anyone reading it would note the full first sentence, of which you choose to quote just a part:

    "No definitive statistics exist on conservative evangelicals in the Church of England because official church forms do not exist about such things; however, Church statistician Peter Brierley says that 40% of Church of England attendees currently go to evangelical churches - up from 26% in 1989. etc"

    You cannot draw conclusions about conservative evangelical churches from statistics that cover all evangelical churches.

    Why did you not quote the whole thing? Your rather selective approach damages your argument.

  64. Andrew Godsall26 June 2013 at 14:35

    Virtue online is not known as Vitriol online for nothing. Best to read the last part of that rather slanted report as well.

    "Evangelicals are a growing proportion of church attenders in the Church of England, and many of the largest churches are Evangelical - but not all of these are Conservative Evangelical, by any means. Many of them support women's ordination, and a growing number, influenced by the liberal "evangelical" Fulcrum crowd are "open" on the subject of homosexuality."

  65. Andrew,

    Do you find it interesting that outside the C of E, those denominations where liberalism has the upper hand (URC & Methodist, for e.g.) are heading towards collapse. Those where that's begining to happen are now in decline. Basically outside the C of E liberalism can't be sustained.

    Also, that may well be true about the open sort of evangelical. But 2 things come from that.
    1st: where are the big growing planting liberal churches full of under 30s?
    2nd: I know this isn't a popular idea, but "open" churches are on a trajectory & still working off momentum. They say things unthinkable 10-20 years ago. Those "open" on homosexuality is a swore point to many within their constituency (some in ours might say told you so). But they still have a concept of conversion etc. hence they will still grow or at least hold their numbers. But as they loose their edge, so in time we'll see that take effect, but possibly not for some time.

  66. Andrew Godsall26 June 2013 at 15:54

    Darren: I find it interesting that in a very traditional diocese like Truro there is only one 'Reform' church. Just one. Interestinfgly the newly appointed 'Director' of Reform comes from that Diocese.
    In our Diocese, Exeter, which has the Chairman of Reform, there are just 6 - and seeing as we have over 600 churches that makes 1%. How else do we describe this other than 'tiny proportion'?
    (source of figures: Reform's website)

  67. Andrew,
    What has that to do with anything?
    For a start, things are patchy. It would be a rather different state of affairs in say London or Chester and some others. Also, in the case of London, Chester, Southwark & others, Reform churches are by far larger than normal, growing & planting.

    Then there are members of Reform who end up in non-Reform Churches. They've sent more than they can take back.

    Then there are Churches that are conservative but have nothing to do with Reform, perhaps thinking they are all a bit wishy washy, prefering perhaps Church Society or the like.

    Andrew, are you really saying that you think conservative churches are in decline? Ageing etc?

    Again, open churches may make up a good number, time well tell if they are still dining out on their old currency, but where are the growing liberal congregations numbering 100s, giving large amounts to overseas relief & mission? Liberals are dependent on others, open or whatever to prop them up. If I believed what "Thinking Anglicans" (just think about that title for a moment - contrast to whom?) believed, I'd have a lie in on Sundays.

  68. Andrew Godsall, Exeter26 June 2013 at 17:04

    Darren: I should have thought it was clear what I am saying. 'Conservative' churches, be they evangelical or catholic represent a very small proportion of C of E Churches. Very small. Conservative catholic churches certainly are declining. Conservative Evangelical are probably about holding their own but represent a tiny percentage (typically a few % according to Reform's figures).
    The growth is certainly in open evangelical churches and they would certainly not want to go for Resolution C, the subject of this thread. Many of them are led by women incumbents!
    Are you suggesting that if a woman has leadership of an open evangelical church that it can't grow?
    If I believe what Anglican Mainstream believed (just think about THAT title - Mainstream compared to what?) then I'd certianly have a lie in on Sundays.

  69. Two quick points (as I'm working from my Blackberry).

    1. Full participation by Conservative Evangelicals in the life of the Church of England is something I've been advocating for years. Indeed I've written a book on the subject: "A Strategy that Changes the Denomination".

    2. The basis and purpose of this participation is evangelism. I don't care who evangelizes so long as the gospel is proclaimed. But having said that, 'the gospel' is not just any message about Jesus that appeals to us. Rather it is that we have a Saviour from judgement who died as a sacrifice for our sins (see 1 Cor 15:1-3). Nevertheless, it doesn't matter who preaches it, so long as it is preached.

  70. Andrew,
    You are the specialist at finger pointing & self absolution.

    I asked, where the thriving, growing, young, liberal churches are? Response, deafening silence.

    Anglican Mainstream as I understand it, includes Open & Charismatics, some that I know involved in forming it are pro ordination of women.

    The reason why I flagged up the name, is that you get very upset about people labelling themself "Bible believing", say, wanting to claim the title for yourself (then went to lengths to show what that means & yes you believe it exists - but isn't God's word), but ignore the rather arrogant terms used to define others, Open (as opposed to closed), inclusive (rather than excluding), thinking (as opposed to un-thinking). You say some people are prone to binary thinking, but exercise very little nuance in your own thinking. E.g. Reform must be abusing gay people and excluding women, especially their director.

    Really, current numbers mean very little. It's all about trajectory. By Acts 2, there weren't that many Christians compared to Jews... were they wrong? So where are the go getting exploding liberal churches in England?

  71. Sorry last comment from me on this thread. Also again directed at Andrew,

    The lie in comment was simply this. For an Evangelical, we are all equally sinners in need of grace, wanting to be transformed by God. Our view is that Christ says, "come & be clean" not, "be clean then come". But what seems to be advocated in many churches is, "you're cool, just as you are... no need to change". That short changes people and diminishes God. It's also pointless & can stay just as I am in front of the TV. A similar point has been made to me by non-church goers when they go along to "liberal leaning" & more conservative churches... even though they disagreed with the conservative one!

    Open Evangelicals still offer something, even if from where I stand, it's not as much. Charismatics, the ones I know outside of the C of E are as conservative as me! Some inside are too, although not as many, for sure.

    In fact, an interesting thing about "Open" evangelicals & "Reform", is that in TEC, the "ultra-cons", resemble Fulcrum in theology and practice. Reform types have long left! So on the global scale, the baddies Reform (boo, hiss), are backing Fulcrum types, while Fulcrum here moan about it. Look 10 years into the future, some "Open" will be liberal, some will be much as they are but fighting something or other, probably sexuality, with the establishment. That is those not historically/globally "Mainstream".

    If Reform (& their kind) are so small. Surely giving them Res C or the like poses no threat? These few old foogies will die out & replaced by 1,000s of hip liberals - surely?

    But again, Where are your 100s of "mainstream" liberal churches that are need to have extensions?

  72. I would be very happy for the whole of the article to be cut and paste as a comment. My explanation of the selection was to note the quotations from OUTSIDE sources included in the article. These make clear descriptions of evangelicals generally and conservatives specifically. There was nothing hidden, as I noted the source as "fairly caustic".

  73. As to the matter itself, some observations to offer to what I hope is a conversation which assumes good faith on the part of all participants.

    These are primarily in response to Canon Godsall's points:

    Your descriptions rest on several premises, which may be false, or may not lead to the conclusion of a "tiny" minority.

    1. If I read your statements correctly, for someone to be a conservative evangelical, they must be a member of Reform. There are people who hold to male headship in the family of the church and in the home, but who are not members of that organisation. There may be a number of reasons for this, and I can think of several based on friendships with men and women in full-time paid Christian ministry.

    2. Your criticism of the number of Reform ministers compared to the fewer number of Reform churches fails to note that this is not exclusive to conservative evangelicals. For example, I know New Wine or Forward in Faith members whose churches are not officially associated with those organisations. This does not mean that these churches do not contain significant numbers of those in agreement with those positions.

    3. In the case of a conservative minister leading a church that is not in agreement with Reform's principles, you may conclude this is based on deceit on the part of the minister. There is an alternative explanation for such a divide. In that article, I noted the ordination figures. What I see happening is that conservative evangelicals are producing more leaders than they can place in their own churches. These ministers are going out to non-conservative churches and leading them. Your statements seem to imply (to me anyway) that this signals deception or obfuscation by the minister at the time of appointment. In my case, I answered all questions fully, including matters related to women bishops, marriage after divorce, human sexuality, etc. I then went out of the way to raise issues the bishop, archdeacon, trustees and PCC had not asked about, noting clearly "I may be too conservative for you. I am an evangelical. Do not appoint me if these positions are unacceptable to you." (Today, we work well together, though not without differences of opinion, of course.)

    4. Your statements about the number of churches changes the terms of the discussion. You began by saying that conservative evangelicals are a tiny minority, by which most would think you mean numbers of people, not numbers of congregations. If not, then the churchmanship of rural benefices with twenty-two church buildings, for example, would comprise the majority of the Church of England. Usually the term is not meant in that way. One might point out that cathedrals form a minimal proportion of the total number of congregations but do not therefore lack importance.

    I note these because your overall argument is that conservative evangelicals' concerns should not be taken into account because they are a tiny minority. The same principle of ignoring minority concerns, when applied to other groups (for example, sexual minorities) would perhaps be unacceptable to you.

    I read John's book and profited from it and agree with his second point about evangelism above.

    Yours sincerely,
    Clifford Swartz
    St Bees, Cumbria

  74. Darren - Thanks for your comments. You are right that evangelical preaching leads to church growth. That is the power of the clear preaching of God's word. As John has been saying so eloquently for so long we desperately need this in the CoE. That is why it is appalling that someone or something has cut in on the race of our superb evangelical preachers, to make them believe that holding on to an interpretation that requires women submit to men is a test of their faith. This is a snare to them and it has made them utterly repellent to the majority of those who need to hear their life saving message. This is the hideous fruit it has borne.

    There is other bad fruit too, such as underhand behaviour from some (you out there know who you are). And then the exclusion and control of women in church and home, in thought and deed, with all its consequences.

    Fruit is one test. In the end too, we can be sure that if women's ministry is not from God it will come to nothing, and if it is from God nothing will stop it. And then you are opposing Him.

    John - thank you for describing the different lines of thought supporting male dominance in the church. I did think you might say something like that. All I would say is that I expect you know that for most CoE members and the wide world starving to death beyond, these fine points are of no interest. All they see is that ministers follow various yokes, each of which are believed to be true though they can't all be, the outworking of which is the rejection of equality for women in the church and an inner belief that women should submit to male authority.

    Clifford -You have been brave and honest. Well done.

  75. Andrew Godsall, Exeter27 June 2013 at 10:38

    Clifford and Darren:
    Great questions - let me try to respond within the subject of this thread.
    Clifford - I don't at all argue that the minority should be ignored. My point is that legal provision is not necessary - we need to do this by grace and not law. Resolutions A B and C are all descriminatory and they need to go as soon as possible.
    As to Reform being a tiny minority or not - all I can go on is their own figures. Even in this diocese there is a church listed where I know that it just happens to be that the incumbent is of that persuasion - but the congregation are definitely 'central'.

    Darren: I don't know what you mean by 'liberal' I'm afraid. My point (relating to this thread) is that I can show you churches where a woman is the incumbent that are growing. That's the issue here - can women be in leadership. Clearly they can, and so Resolutions A, B and C need to go. They are discriminatory.
    I don't know what this phrase 'bible believing' means. I'm bible believing. The Archbishop of Canterbury is bible believing. I suspect what you mean by it is 'literal' bible believing, and something about the inerrancy of scripture. That's fine if you want to believe in such things - to me (and indeed most people) they don't make any sesne.

  76. The key questions, if I may say so, is neither "Who has the most churches?", nor "Who has the growing churches?".

    There are, as the United States has constantly shown, many ways to grow a church numerically. Here in England, experiments with Messy Church and other 'fresh expressions' attempt to address the issue in various ways. Indeed, in our own Deanery I chaired for several years the 'Deanery Church Growth Task Group', which focused our efforts on this for some time and with some success.

    However, the crucial issue is not growth but faithfulness. Is the gospel being proclaimed? Is Jesus being set forth as Saviour through his death? Are people being called to repentance?

    That can be happening without growth and growth can be happening without that.

    And this is also where the 'Liberal' 'Non-liberal' divide matters, if it matters at all. We sing, "We have a gospel to proclaim". Well what is it?

  77. Andrew Godsall, Exeter27 June 2013 at 12:25

    John: I have to say that I have agreed with your last two posts and have found them most helpful - thank you.
    I'd just say that the liberal/non-liberal divide has nothing to do with Resolutions - the topic of your thread. The Gospel is proclaimed faithfully and wonderfully by many women incumbents.

  78. And with Andrew Godsall agreeing with me, and the gospel being that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, what better place to close this thread?

    Mind you, if you think Resolutions A, B and 'C' are about discrimination, can you be trusted to provide people graciously with discriminatory provision? I'm not sure about that.

  79. Andrew Godsall, Exeter27 June 2013 at 15:08

    As much as you can trusted not to discriminate I guess has to work both ways.

    1. Andrew, I have to say I have no idea what your last comment means. What would qualify as us 'not discriminating'?

    2. Hi Andrew. Any further thoughts about a clarification of your last point: "As much as you can be trusted not to discriminate"?

      I'm afraid it looks as though you're saying, "Since you, Reform etc, discriminate, you cannot expect us to act graciously." But if that is the case, then we cannot trust you.

      Have I got this right?

  80. Andrew Godsall28 June 2013 at 14:20

    John: No, I don't think you have got that right at all. Pete Broadbent's blog is very helpful indeed about what we now have before us and I commend it to you.

    Pete is, of course, an evangelical. My point was that you have had opportunity to come up with a scheme that is not discriminatory in law, and have not (yet) been able to do so. I think Pete is absolutely right to say that "I cannot see Synod or Parliament now allowing us to pass legislation where there is overt discrimination against women priests and bishops on the face of a Measure (or even an Act of Synod)."

    Trust has obviously got to work both ways. The majority have to trust the minority not to try and discriminate in law, and the minority have to trust the majority to ensure that the minority view is honoured. If we proceed with option 1 (and I think Pete is right to say that this is the only option that can go forward) there is bound to be a panel of reference who will ensure such trust operates.

    Trust is not only the practical way forward, it is the only way Christian way forward, for both of us. We are no longer in 1992, and the C of E looks very different 21 years later. As you know, I don't beleive that 'promises' were made then, and Rosalind Rutherford's paper excellent makes that clear for us.

    In that paper Rosalind quotes Bob Runcie, addressing the House of Lords.

    “The assurances, the special provisions, the extraordinary episcopal oversight are all judged necessary—I accept that—but nevertheless they are symptoms of an illness which replaces trust and good will with the flawed logic of two integrities. It is a sad paradox that those most fearful of one development in the life of the Church should be blind to their collusion with another which seems far more obviously illegitimate within that same spiritual life.”

    I'm not inviting you to trust ME, (or any of my colleagues) John. I'm inviting you to trust God. So long as you are faithful to what you beleive your calling in Christ is, why is God going to let you down?

  81. Andrew, it is when I read contributions like your last post that I feel most gloomy about the Church of England, its integrity and the place in it for people of my convictions.

    The issue of provision being ‘discriminatory in law’ ought to be no problem – the Church of England has lawyers, the law of the land allows the present situation in the Church of England. It shouldn’t be beyond the wit and ingenuity of lawyers to come up with a solution that is legal and no different in principle from the present arrangements which work pretty well.

    The problem is the language of ‘discrimination’. If keeping to the tradition of the last 2,000 years and our particular understanding of Scripture is merely ‘discriminatory’ then, if I may quote the words of CS Lewis in this context, this represents ‘an argument not in favour of Christian priestesses but against Christianity’.

    We need not be surprised that a Parliament prepared to rewrite history and biology regarding marriage would have a problem with the Christian tradition, but we need not collaborate with it either.

    As to trust, however, the present practices regarding senior appointments already show that the institution cannot be ‘trusted’ to deliver what it promised — a non-discriminatory approach. It is no good claiming that ‘discrimination works both ways’. The rules here have not been followed.

    As to ‘promises’, all that the ducking and diving about these really represents is that in 1992/3 we were persuaded with smooth words which are now treated as dispensable. Let me quote Lady Saltoun of Abernethy in the debate about the 1992 Measure in the House of Lords: “I myself asked the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury [George Carey] whether it was envisaged that the Act of Synod would operate in perpetuity or whether it would be in the nature of a temporary measure which would cease to operate at some future date. He replied that it was the intention that it should be permanent and that they were not thinking of rescinding it or anything like that. Then he added the caveat, ‘with the goodwill of the House of Bishops’. He went on to say that of course anything could happen in the future.”

    If you want to side with those who want to undo what was held out then, that’s your choice.

    As to trusting God and leaving the rest to the institution, why not let’s all do that? Let’s get rid of oaths of canonical obedience, for example, binding us to bishops and their ‘lawful successors’. That would indeed be the Christian way, but I can’t see it being advocated in the foreseeable future.

    You say it is not 1992, and indeed it is not, but we remember 1992, what was said then and what happened subsequently, and no, we do not really trust what is being said now. This is not a lack of faith - how extraordinary to suggest that it is. Rather it is an example of Bishop Broadbent's realpolitik.

  82. I understand why you feel gloomy, and I think you are right to do so. Not sure it is really about principles of any sort anymore. It is more or less agreed (willingly or unwillingly) that there will be women bishops and there will be some sort of provision for those who don't want them. That's the principle done and dusted.

    The issue is, as it has been for a couple of years - really since Mansell's committee started its work - is the detail of what the provision will be. It was pretty clear to those of us on the pro side that the hard legal provision offered last November, notwithstanding its faults and the antis' wish lists, was as good as it was going to get for headship evangelicals and traditional anglo-catholics. Reform set out to block the legislation in a pretty cynical way (see its electoral campaign strategy in 2010). After all the work that had been done the mantra "there must be a better way" was empty rhetoric, and those who promoted that mantra knew as much. Blocking the legislation was a huge mistake, as I suspect the antis are now gradually realising. Parenthetically, I wonder who ought to carry the can for that within Reform?

    In any event, whether legislation goes through in this Synod, or the next, or later still, or by Parliamentary intervention, will make no difference to the eventual outcome. Provision, if there is any at all (and I think the bishops will make sure there is), will be by soft rather than hard mechanisms. In short, the antis will, I think, have to make do with what the pros give them, or move on. Not good, and a poor advert for denominational unity, but I do think that is the reality. And, in my neck of the woods anyway, the actions and words of the headship evangelicals make it pretty clear that they detest pretty much everything to do with the diocese and denomination anyway.

    Maybe the only strategy headship evangelicals could now employ to have any chance of bringing about a better outcome for them would be to get rid of the present leadership of Reform and adopt a different approach. I do not think that headship evangelicals have begun to appreciate how repellent the Reform tactics and tone have become to the rest of us. If I was on that side of the argument, that is what I would be pressing for, since the current approach has brought conservatives to the brink of disaster. I do not think the appointment of Susie Leafe is enough because we all appreciate she is not in charge! Rod Thomas and his team need to go because their strategy has failed and they fail to recognise that fact. His letter to the working party setting out the Reform position in even more strident terms than before, as if he was in a strong negotiating position, was risible.

  83. Andrew, you complain that legal safeguards would be seen to be discriminatory in the eyes of the secular authorities. Is t not discriminatory to restrict ministry in the church to Christians? Religious discrimination is OK but not gender discrimination?

  84. Er, yes, Anonymous, some religious discrimination is ok in a ... CHURCH ... or indeed a mosque, temple or synagogue. An Imam would not make a suitable president at the Eucharist, though someone of any religious persuasion might make a perfectly good cleaner. Doh. Just possible that is self-evident, even to a secular mind, except to the deliberately hard of understanding. Gender discrimination rather harder to justify. Tell me your point was not really a serious one?

  85. OK, I'm a bit bored with this discussion, so comments are closing. Meanwhile I've posted something else for you to get your teeth into: The Doctrine of Male Headship - Why Everyone Should Have One. Good luck!

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