This first appeared on VirtueOnline in the US:
One would have thought the UK publication Evangelicals Now would be
supportive of beleaguered conservative evangelicals in the Church of
England who wish to uphold the biblical principle of male headship. But
its August Anglican Update column comes across as sympathetic to the
Archbishop of Canterbury's view that there should be no canonical
provision for opponents of women bishops.
The columnist David
Baker, a rector in East Sussex, seemed to affirm Dr Justin Welby's
stated rationale in his address at July's General Synod for a single
clause women bishops' measure. 'Essentially, what is envisaged for those
opposed to women bishops is to be founded not on regulations but on
establishing relationships of trust,' Mr Baker explained, claiming that
this approach was rooted in Dr Welby's relationship with Christ.
Commandeering the Apostle Paul's language in 2 Corinthians 3, Dr Welby
had said: 'History and contemporary experience show that detailed
arrangements not only embed division, they are also unworkable and lead
to frequent and prolonged litigation...If they do not lead to gaming the
system they invite a box-ticking approach that seeks to conform to the
letter not to the spirit.'
Sounds lovely. But the problem is that
if this approach were taken to its logical conclusion, then there
would be no Canons for the ordering of the Church of England, including
the forthcoming Canon to consecrate women bishops. The women bishops'
measure is itself a piece of legislation.
evangelicals want to see proper provision in that legislation, a
recognised Canon that allows for the appointment of bishops who uphold
the traditional interpretation of the Bible on church leadership. We do
not believe that such canonical provision would be an act of Old
Covenant legalism conforming to the letter and not to the Spirit because
we believe the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, including Paul's New
Testament teaching about male headship in the family and in the church.
believe that under the single clause measure a uniformly unbiblical
pattern of church leadership will be imposed on the Body of Christ
meeting locally. Our concern is thus for the local conservative
evangelical churches we love and serve. The new single clause measure
will sweep away all the provisions for them that were in the 1993 women
priests' measure, which - pace the Archbishop of Canterbury - have
One would hope that a good publication like
Evangelicals Now and a good writer like David Baker would be sensitive
to that pastoral concern, instead of apparently falling for a 'trust me,
I'm not legalistic' public relations line.
Is there a link between the NHS crisis and the decline of Christianity? appeared on ConservativeHome.