Get with the program, you fools...

An article on the failure of the General Synod of the (state) Church of England to approve woman bishops indicates where we're headed, state church or not:

The Church of England has much explaining to do following its failure to vote to allow women to serve as bishops, its leader says - and politicians from the prime minister downward are already demanding action or answers. ...One MP even suggested there might be an issue under anti-discrimination laws.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.


Not that I know anything at all about the C of E and its polity--though I am a cradle Episcopalian--but what is of interest to me is that it was the laity who scuttled woman bishops.  I found this heartening.  But I think that in Europe, if you're left in the pews at all, you probably take the bible pretty seriously.

Regardless of the issue, things like this make me grateful that we don't have a state church in the U.S.!

P.S. The denomination to which I belong, the Anglican Church of North America, requires that only males can be ordained as bishops, as is still the case in the Church of England after this vote.

P.P.S. Going off topic- I know...His name escapes me, but our rector recently told us a little about the new Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC). It sounds like he is more orthodox and hopefully will be less wishy-washy than ABC Rowan Williams. The new ABC has experience in the lay non-academic workforce before being called to the priesthood; he worked his way up to being an oil-company executive. Unlike ABC Williams, he has also been a parish priest (which is sort of a "duh" factor to me), although he hasn't been a bishop very long. 

(Sorry if this has been boring to the majority of readers/posters to this blog, the Presbyterians.)

The new Archheretic of Canterbury is just a different flavour of squish from Williams.  Ditto for Carey.

 Does anybody know who the 3 bishops were who voted against having women bishops?  It sounds like it will be an easy task to memorize the names of sound C of E bishops.



Sorry, the above "Exactly!" is to Roger Keane's comment above.

As usual, the news media AND the so-called "traditionalists" are spinning this in Alice-in-Wonderland fashion.  "Reject women bishops" in this case means that a super majority in favor of women bishops failed by a little bit.  In other words, a substantial majority of every one who voted is in favor of women bishops in the Church of England.

I remember in the General Assembly of the Episcopal Church USA in 1997, gay marriage "was rejected" when it passed comfortably among the clergy vote and "failed" by a single vote among the laity.  And so what? In the last General Assembly, well past the time that ordination of gays to be priests and bishops had passed (women bishops long before that), the canons were revised again to insure that men who had surgically turned themselves into women (and vice versa) were entitled to serve in all capacities of ordained and non-ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

And, so, this Doo-dah Dooh-dah Day in the C of E is just another occasion to keep breathless journalists and bloggers writing their breathless reports.  Blech.

Sue wrote "The denomination to which I belong, the Anglican Church of North America, requires that only males can be ordained as bishops, as is still the case in the Church of England after this vote."

Wanna wager on how long the ACNA (which happily ordains women as presbyters) will hold out against ordaining women as bishops?  According to the actuarial tables, I'll have an easy time waiting to collect from you any amount you want to wager. Name any odds; I'll take 'em.

Roger Keane wrote "... but what is of interest to me is that it was the laity who scuttled woman bishops.  I found this heartening."

Don't be heartened until a majority of laity rejects women bishops (which was not the case here; a substantial majority of laity approved it.).  See above on the American Episcopals.  The British Anglicans are no different.

And ditto, doubled and redoubled in no trump, to what David Gray says.


I initially though Wallace Benn (Bishop of Lewes) must be one of them as he positively reviewed Grudem's Apollos edition of EFBT here in the UK. But it seems that he retired on Oct 31st this year. Not that it would have made a difference to the house of bishops result.

I'm not so sure as Fr. Bill that it will surely get worse. The thriving churches within the CofE are generally the ones that are conservative evangelicals. The liberal churches are dying. This perhaps has demographic implications for the future. The small but significant minority group within the CofE are called 'Reform' who are the conservative evangelicals, connected with the Christian Institute news website. Whilst they would be a bit soft compared to the venerable Bayly's, given the terrain they are operating in it is quite remarkable. I tend to see the result of the vote as God honoring their faithful work.

Regarding the new ABC, I think it is a step in the right direction. Unlike Rowan Williams I actually think this man may be regenerate and has on a couple occasions publicly expressed his recognition of the grace of God on the ministries of those who are against women bishops. That is heartening when everyone else calls them bigots and misogynists.

I wonder if this is in part due to the reported influence of John Wimber on Justin Welby (the new ABC). Wimber was Grudem's friend (Grudem dedicated his ST in part to him I think), and Wimber surprisingly is on record as saying that governing roles in the church are restricted to men (see his Wiki page). (Though his wife did/does not seem to agree, and his daughter Christy Wimber is gallivanting around as senior pastor or something).

Fr. Bill wrote,

Wanna wager on how long the ACNA (which happily ordains women as presbyters) will hold out against ordaining women as bishops?  

I have a lot of respect for you, Fr. Bill, even if we don't always see eye-to-eye on everything. However, I'm smack in the middle of the baby-boom generation and I'd be shocked if I lived to see a bishop ordained in the ACNA, and anytime afterward in the foreseeable future. Among the ACNA churches with which I'm familiar (all but one is in my diocese and two have at least one female priest and/or deacon), the subject has never come up. Nor has it been discussed on the Anglican blogs that I follow.

Well, Sue, we'll just have to let the (probably few) years roll by and see who's expectations are realized. My pessimism is founded on the fact that the ACNA has already given away the farm by approving the ordination of women as priests.  In catholic (note the small-c) tradition, sacramentology, and ecclesial theology alike, the priesthood (otherwise the presbyterate in Presbyterian circles) is the gateway church office to the bishop's office. 

Once you open the priesthood to women, the restriction of the bishop's office to men cannot be otherwise than purely arbitrary, resting on absolutely nothing in Scripture or tradition. This is why, very likely, the PCA will one day soon ordain women as teaching and ruling elders. Once you apply the rite of ordination to women (no matter how fussy-wuzzled with weasel words), the restriction of Presbyterian eldership to men will be ever open to the charge of arbitrariness.

Yes, I know, and I am grateful for, the defense of the Apostolic mandate for male-only leadership in the Church among many PCA presbyters. But, really -- has Tim Keller and those like him in the PCA gotten where they are (with no discipline effective against their placing of women in leadership over men) and it not demonstrate just where values throughout the PCA are heading?

I note in the news that the Romans have recently defrocked and excommunicated one of their Maryknoll priests who preached that women should be ordained. Has anything remotely resembling that ever happened in PCA circles?

And, of course, that question is wildly absurd in Anglican circles.  Including the ACNA.


Something I appreciate about dispensationalists of the old (fundamentalistic) variety is that, even if often for the wrong reasons, they're not afraid of a fight: even with other dispensationalists, and it was by "Reformed" (or Reforming) folks who come from such roots, whether keeping a modified dispensationalism or renouncing it), who urged discernment and called "false" where other doctrines and practices were, that I was brought out of neo-evangelicalism in America, and was inculcated with a sense of importance to discernment, of "separation" (that hated thing), and other such factors that I credit (ultimately to God) with bringing me out of the torpor that "evangelical" American "religion", or spirituality, puts men in.

Something I remember was their disdainful and careful documentation of celebrated religious figures who are influential in America; there are libraries full of the stuff, and much of it online: so that anyone careful to check into the personalities behind the influencing of the day, or even influences behind the personages of the day, can do it: it is unparalleled in Reformed (proper, and to a great extent baptistic Reformed arisen out of the recent Calvinistic movement) circles of our day, and it's courageous when we live in an "always positive, don't dare speak negatively" (in the "religious" and "secular" cultures alike) time.

Wimber was one of the men documented. There's something of a naivete and idiocy that I love in those people, who documented that the man prophecied but they did not come to pass; that he spoke openly and fondly of "church growth" philosophies (whose roots and methods are Pelagian even if guys like Finney were only "semi-") acquired at Fuller; that God commanded that if anyone shoud prophecy "in My name", and it does not come to pass, we are not to fear that prophet; and they even dared be such simple minded idiots as to say "you should beware those who speak fondly of or who have been this man's disciples, directly or otherwise." They even dared speak of reservations for men like Wayne Grudem because, despite being well-respected, he did serve as a Vineyard representative and re-define prophecying, it appeared, to excuse John Wimber and the early band of Vineyard "prophets" who made so many engage in excesses and disorderliness.

I have relatives (strike, now acquaintances through family divorce) in the Vineyard, attended them at times in different locations, and found them neither unlike the rest of evangsmellicalism's establishments that I visited so long, nor much good to the souls who inhabit them: they invite people in and get them trying to be a part of church to become "core" in order to repeat the same cycle, preaching nothing, without really investigating, pastoring, digging deeply: just another bunch of people with personalities at the center and a sense of "mission" to "change lives" and to make more come and not believe. :( I wouldn't think influence/s from the Vineyard or its founder/s is/are a sign of good things or of hope. They could be, but frankly, many of the outward signs and order we speak of, though important, is fighting to insist that the whitewashed tombs around us should return to or keep or maintain an order of things that suggests they are not whitewashed tombs!

I don't want to celebrate little non-"victories" like this, but men to use the near-misses and other deviations already accomplished ("losses") to point-out to those who pretend to know God that they do not, expose their variance from the word by juxtapositions with the Scriptures, and declare to the world "this is what God says, see! It is unacceptable to you: and you will die in your sins unless you repent." And reply when called "troglodytes! Chauvinists! Damn fools! Sexists", with something like "amen." Hopefully the British parliament will pass something like the 666 bill soon, to eliminate funding for the sinecures of the CoE and perhaps as desirable, relieve it of the pretty old buildings from its hands that silly women who believe surrounding oneself with beauty and going through rituals is religion or true Christianity.

If only the (professed) adherents of our own kind of religion were as foolish and unacceptable, even to their own congregations as the silly Reformed-ish (and often not-reformed) fundy dispensationalists: frankly the academical rigor and civility and speak to be able to demonstrate one's care for the feelings of the <STRIKE>heretics and deviants</STRIKE> "people of different persuasions" who they are <STRIKE>exposing</STRIKE> "making you conversant with" for the good of the sheep is...almost wholly useless to the sheep to be warned, and often incomprehensible: it's no wonder the PCA et. al. are in decline as the unprincipled/wolv-ing kind don't feel a concern for getting things right: when they are academical they mis-cite anyways. Keller writes popularly.

I believe Calvin, though he was a scholarly thinker and could cite ancient patristics, famous persons, and scriptures alike, is famously summarized as one who did not write in the style of a scholastic? I love the opening for the king, where he simply holds his opponents in contempt and charges them as liars who are purposefully deceiving the king: too bad more preachers don't openly speak of the ill religion recommended to rulers today. Today's heretics know they can exchange civilities with their enemies, whom they rarely actually consider highly, and even get invited to the others' pulpits to make congregations aware of their teachings.

Hi Fr. Bill,

Two additional comments from your post of November 21, 2012 - 2:52pm:

(1) You wrote: 

Don't be heartened until a majority of laity rejects women bishops (which was not the case here; a substantial majority of laity approved it.)

From what I read today in the latest issue of Newsweekit would have taken only a few more lay votes (~6) for the C of E to begin ordaining women bishops.

(2) You also wrote (and I am putting the relevant phrase here in bold print):

Wanna wager on how long the ACNA (which happily ordains women as presbyters) will hold out against ordaining women as bishops?

From what I understand, a condiserable number of ACNA dioceses oppose ordination of women to the priesthood and the diaconate, and others are OK with ordaining women to the diaconate but the not the priesthood. The parish to which I belong is part of the ACNA's Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes, which allows ordination of women to both the diaconate and the priesthood. However, there seems to be complete freedom for parishes to call clergy and recommend candidates for ordination regardless of the sex of the candidate(s). 

Oops! Last sentence should have ended, "...regardless of the sex of the candidate(s) within our diocese."

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