Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Albert Mohler:‘Get with the Program’ — The Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops

July 15, 2014

As for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the church’s chief cleric, Archbishop Justin Welby said that the measure adopted Monday would mark “the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing. The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds.”

That “adventure” will leave conservative evangelicals in the Church of England increasingly out in the cold, despite all the talk of “mutual flourishing.” The measure approved by the synod means that women bishops will be bishops in full, with mandatory recognition of their episcopal status by all within the Church of England. This will leave conservative ministers under the authority of bishops they do not actually believe to be bishops in fact. It is hard to imagine “mutual flourishing” in that circumstance. The measure also called for the appointment of one conservative evangelical male bishop in coming months — which means that the church has just committed itself to appoint a bishop who does not believe that at least some of his colleague bishops will meet the biblical requirements.

This is the kind of “compromise” that pervades mainline liberal Protestantism. It shifts the church decisively to the left and calls for mutual respect. Conservatives are to be kindly shown the door. Ruth Gledhill of The Guardian [London], one of the most insightful observers of religion in Great Britain, recognized the plight of the evangelicals, though she celebrated the vote: “In the last 69 episcopal appointments, there have been evangelicals but not a single conservative one.” In this context, “conservative” means more concerned with doctrinal matters and opposed to a change in the church’s teachings on gender and human sexuality. But, as Gledhill recognized, “This wing of the church is where so much of the energy is, giving rise not just to growth, but also that necessary resource, cash.”

Yes, there is another pattern to recognize — evangelicals have the growth and the cash, just not the votes. The talk about mutual flourishing is really an argument to remain in the church and keep paying the bills.

Ruth Gledhill is profoundly right about another aspect of Monday’s vote as well. It won’t stop with women bishops. “Now the church can move into the 20th century, although perhaps not the 21st,” she wrote. “A change on gay marriage would be needed to do that.” Well, stay tuned, as they say. The same church now has bishops living and teaching in open defiance of the church’s law on sexuality as well.  the rest


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