by John Lloyd, Reuters
The Church of England voted not to ordain female bishops last week, a move widely seen as defying the modern world. Much justification was given for this view.
[...] Evangelical Protestants are carving out large congregations in Latin America, Africa and South Asia with their charismatic brand of worship and their iron promise of salvation. Islam, itself caught between moderation and militancy, can in the latter guise present a deadly threat to Christians and others. Primate Okoh’s immediate concern is not liberal Christianity but the Islamist Boko Haram group, which is responsible for bloody massacres of Christians in northern Nigeria.
It appears that the church is militant or it trembles; the rock on which it has claimed to stand must be granite or it crumbles. The part of the Anglican communion that has most enthusiastically accepted the “trends and priorities of…wider society” is the North American one, with (in its U.S. guise) a history of independence from Britain and a more recent history of proactive promotion of women’s equality. But it, too, is declining. Women’s ascent to the House of Bishops, which is, as Archbishop Welby indicates, probably a matter of time rather than doctrine, will not save it from further shrinking. Liberal Christians cannot pretend to square the testaments with what they believe are the truths of science and the liberations of social progress. In that honorable dilemma lies the cause of their slow marginalization.
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