Wednesday 23 July 2014

Last week the General Synod of the Church of England voted to approve the appointment of women to the post of bishops. So society triumphed over Scripture; out is thrown the doctrine of Apostolic succession, (no Jane or Lucy in the Apostles). Even the secular press acknowledged that the entire tradition of the Church was being upturned. Tradition however does not warrant too much consideration in to-day’s Church.

There was considerable jubilation at Synod with people being thrilled and excited to tears, (and that was just the men). If that was what was desired then so be it, but let all be honest and admit the reason was to appease society and not pretend there was biblical authority for such as some vainly tried to twist Scripture.

There was also a tendency to jump before David Cameron, who having wiped away 2000 years of Christian tradition about marriage, followed up by dismantling Church tradition by passing a law making the Church vulnerable to the Equality Act. It was not so long ago that all manner of people were beseeching Cameron to lecture China on human rights; that seems a bit rich.

The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches don’t have any problem with their traditions. The ethic faiths too seem immune from any interfering. I suspect David Cameron would shy away from meddling in their affairs knowing that he would not have so easy a ride.

Now a press report discloses that the Church is to give precedence to women being appointed bishops. If a man and woman of equal merit are being considered, a woman is to be selected, we are told.

Personally I am not involved; apart from regretting the fact that the Church has turned its back on Scripture, I am not now affected. I can understand that it is anomalous to see a man having selective belief in the Bible, even being able to be a Suffragan bishop, rebelling against every Church edict and drawing attention to himself, whilst a godly woman is in a subordinate position. But the issue here, if we are honest is power and status.

The most inspiring, stimulating Christian speaker I have heard for a very long time was a woman; Andrea Williams, the Chief Executive Officer of Christian Concern. I am sure she has led many men and women to Christ with her speaking. But she is not a bishop, not even ordained, but far more effective than the majority of women who are. (and men)

Similarly in America, I see numerous admirable and powerful women evangelists, Wendy Griffith, Anne Graham Lotz, Joyce Meyer to name a few who are content in their (not) ordained role.

The President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in America, Dr Albert Mohler, in a comment on the Church’s decision reminds people that once upon a time the Anglican bishops were men of conviction ready to resist the culture of the day. We had Rowan Williams upset when Synod rejected the proposal two years ago because of how society would react. When society starts to attend Church we can then consider their feelings.

The present Archbishop was said to be excited by the vote as it was the start of a great adventure. I an surprised that seeing the Church’s tradition destroyed is considered an exciting adventure.

But there was never any doubt that the measure would pass. Rules were overridden, pressure brought to bear on objectors, and hidden threats made as to what would happen if Synod did not pass. Now we wait for the next change of heart. I don’t expect the bookmakers to offer attractive odds on the move to appoint homosexuals to be bishops. Ruth Gledhill, a religious correspondent has already seen that coming.

It is significant, as Dr Mohler pointed out, of the last 69 appointments as bishops, there has not been one conservative evangelical appointment.* And yet people seriously wonder why the Church is losing members.

The Very Rev. W.R.Inge, who was Dean of St.Paul’s Cathedral many years ago once remarked, ‘whoever marries the spirit of the age will find himself a widower in the next’.

* – believes in the triunity of the one true God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
– believes that the Bible is the Word of God and that it is true
– believes that Mary, being a virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ
– believes that all mankind has sinned and that sin has separated man from God
– does not desire to continue living a lifestyle of unrepentant sin
– believes that there is nothing that can be done to earn eternal life by human effort
– believes that Jesus died on the cross to take upon Himself the just punishment for our sins
– believes that Jesus rose from the dead
– believes that Jesus offers eternal life to anyone that places personal faith in Him
– has eternal life because he has placed his faith personally in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour
– has experienced a new life as a result of that personal faith
– desires to live in obedience to God

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