Letters to the Church of England Newspaper on women bishops
I note with sadness that Rowan Williams has issued dire warning over voting down the women bishops’ measure. I can understand that getting this measure approved could be his valedictory parade. However for Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals what is on offer is not good enough and not becoming a church which has claimed all along that we are wanted. What is offered is a Funeral Plan pure and simple. It does not give us any hope for the future.
Some of my colleagues ask why I just can’t trust that the supporters of women bishops will respect my theological needs. I tell them to look to history and recent history at that. At the recent Forward in Faith National Assembly it was noted that: In just 3 decades Anglo-Catholics in the USA have gone from being considered: 1. A Respected minority 2. A Recognized minority 3. A Welcome minority 4. A Tolerated minority 5. A Marginalized minority 6. A Persecuted minority 7. An Extinguished minority. Is it any wonder why we fear a Code of Practice?
Anglo-Catholics and Conservative Evangelicals have often been urged just to put our trust into the hands of those who will write up this Code of Practice and be confident that our place will be assured.Oh, please, who are they kidding! I don’t need a boffin from Bletchley Park to tell me that eventually all codes will be broken.
All our experiences have shown that Codes are not worth the paper they are written on. Anglo-Catholics in the USA, Canada and Australia have been almost hounded out of the church. That is why I have written to every member of General Synod asking them to vote down this unfair measure. Something better has to be offered. Something better must be offered that will honour all sides and lose none. If this measure is passed it will be a form of religious apartheid where traditionalist will be so marginal that our voices will cease to be heard.
We have to stand up and fight for our parishes and congregations. We are not saying there should not be women bishops but that a fair system is made so that traditionalists can continue believing in the faith that has been delivered from the apostles. I ask that you pray and contact members of General Synod expressing your grave concerns.
Fr Patrick Davies,
St Crispin’s Church, Withington,
Fulcrum’s internet discussion forum is to be commended because it posts convictions from all points of view, including views, like mine, which are critical of several Fulcrum stances on vital matters of Christian truth, such as Fulcrum’s support for the ordination and consecration of women. Under the discussion thread ‘Evangelical opponents of women bishops’ there is a disagreement in progress on the right understanding of what Paul says in Ephesians 5:21-33 and its implications. To maintain the view that that there is no notion of the husband’s authority in this passage (and, therefore, no such notion in 1 Corinthians 11, Genesis 2 or 1 Timothy 2) some supporters of the consecration of women are saying that just as the church submits to Christ, so in some sense Christ submits to the church. This view is necessary from their point of view to nullify the force of the analogy Paul draws between the Christ-church relationship and the husband-wife relationship.
I encourage all General Synod members who take the Bible seriously to visit the Fulcrum website and review their voting intentions on 20 November in the light of the arguments and counter-arguments in this disagreement. There is a lot at stake here.
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