What’s wrong with Women Bishops?

The controversial issue of the ordination of women, and especially the appointment of women bishops, continues to be a discussion point within the Anglican communion. A recent blog by Richard Perkins, the minister of a new Anglican church in south-west London is an excellent summary of the position held by many evangelical Anglicans and others who hold to what they believe is the biblical position. He says,

Given that we’ve had a woman Prime Minister, a woman as Head of M15 and we send women to war it’s surely a little anachronistic that an institution like the Church of England should prevent women from having the top jobs. Of course, whether they’re the top jobs is a discussion for another time. ….But people increasingly find the ineligibility of women for the Episcopacy as an act of outrageous and ‘criminal’ discrimination. It may well be that Government Legislation will one day make it a criminal offence to ‘victimize’ women in this way.

To deny positions of authority and leadership to women in the church is not meant to cause offence. But because of where our culture is, it does. But just because the culture is saying something doesn’t necessarily require us to change our position, but it ought to send us back to the Bible to make sure we’ve got it right.

Christ Church, Balham is part of a group of churches in the west end of London known as Co-Mission churches. These churches are vibrant, growing congregations, and are popular among a younger generation of committed Christians. Their position on the issue of women bishops does not seem to detract from their ability to attract and use the gifts of able, talented young men and women.

I had a conversation recently with a senior Anglican cleric, and he was pointing out that, in some English dioceses, if a candidate for the ministry expressed reservations about the ordination of women he would almost certainly be rejected, but another candidate could express concerns about basic Christian doctrines like the resurrection and no eyebrows would be raised. If true, that seems to send out a crazy message: we know exactly what the Bible teaches about the ordination of women, but we aren’t sure what it says about the resurrection.

The ordination of women as ministers or their appointment as bishops is not a gospel issue, but it is one which requires careful biblical reflection. I am sure God does not want us to be confused on such a practical issue.

7 Replies to “What’s wrong with Women Bishops?”

  1. Dear Stafford
    I agree with Richard Perkins especially when he says that ‘to deny positions of authority and leadership to women in the church is not meant to cause offence. But because of where our culture is, it does. But just because the culture is saying something doesn’t necessarily require us to change our position, but it ought to send us back to the Bible to make sure we’ve got it right’.
    I would like to expand this statement a little by saying that I believe that there is a culture of modernization sweeping the church today and indeed society. By modernization I mean a culture that embraces liberalization, feminism, political correctness and a 21st century view of theology. This modern culture treats the true word of God (King James Bible), not so much as the word of God, but rather as a piece of literature to be altered, and misinterpreted according to the prevailing whims of modern society. In terms of the roles of men and women in society, this modern culture is promoting its aim of having women represented in every sphere of life. I believe we are heading for a unisex society were the roles of men and women are becoming so blurred that there is no longer any difference. Sadly this mindset is being promoted in our Church as well, creating division where none should exist but far worse defying the very word of God.
    I believe that the current practice of women being accepted as Elders and Deacons is not a practice approved of in the New Testament (1 Tim2:11-15, 1 Cor14: 34 &35, 1 Tim3: 2, Titus 1:6 and 1Tim3:12). The Bible is very clear that women are forbidden to teach or preach the word to men (1Tim:2:11-15). This obviously means that a woman cannot be an Elder, Minister, Deacon, preacher, teacher etc in the Church; however, women can and should have a teaching ministry among other women and children. There really is no issue here as far as the word of God is concerned. To exclude women from teaching or preaching to men on the basis of Gods’ word does not sit very comfortably with today’s modern view on the role of women. Another reason is that many ladies in our church today, who claim to be followers of Jesus, do not accept the biblical model as regards their role either in the home or in the church. But thank God there are a few women in our church and society who do follow the biblical model where men are indeed given their proper place in the home and the church. I believe a woman who fulfils the supportive role that God has established for women in His word, is not inferior but is a Godly woman. We are all equally valued by God, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, spiritually speaking, we are are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28), but it must also be accepted that the roles of men and women are different both in the home and in the church (Read Ephesians 5: 22 – 24).
    The preaching or teaching of God’s word by women in public whether ordained or not is a clear departure from the word of God and in some cases in defiance of the clear commands of scripture.
    God does not want us to be confused over this man made issue, thats why He has given us such clear instructions over who should lead his church.I believe this is not just a practical issue but a spiritual one because God has made it abundantly clear that only men are to be spiritual leaders in the church and preachers of His word and God has given us the reasons why as well.(1 Timothy 2:11-15).
    Yours in Christ
    Wesley

  2. But isn’t the ‘Supreme Governor of the Church of England’ and the ‘Defender of the Faith’ a…?

  3. I was passing just through here.
    Sometimes it would be nice to live in the black and white world that some of my evangelical chums seem to inhabit but the world I know is messy and broken.
    Thankfully Jesus is Lord of the grey as much as He is Lord of the black and white.

    ‘Another reason is that many ladies in our church today, who claim to be followers of Jesus, do not accept the biblical model as regards their role either in the home or in the church.’

    Dear Wesley,
    A lady like my wife not only claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ but is a follower of Jesus Christ even though she training to be a minister in the Presbyterian Church.
    That is a dangerous thing to say as we’re suggesting that someone is not doing so well in following Jesus.
    But what would someone say if they could look into our hearts beneath the surface? I know I wouldn’t be getting full marks for following Jesus and I’m guessing that you or anyone else reading this wouldn’t be getting full marks either. There seems to be far more warning in the Gospel about us becoming Pharisees than women bishops. So we need to watch out!

    Perhaps I should do the ‘biblical’ thing and command my wife into the kitchen while I train to be a minister but she is the one gifted by the Holy Spirit in preaching, pastoral care, prayer and encouraging and she is the one who has been called to be a minister while I am neither gifted in preaching, gifted in pastoral skill or prayer.

    We’re just doing our best to follow Jesus mate…

  4. Like I mentioned before, this is not a theorectical position about whether a woman should be a pastor, this is my wife whom I love.

    So firstly as an imperfect follower of Jesus and secondly as an imperfect husband all I can say is that we have prayed,listened to Scipture and thought about this as husband and wife.
    We believe Jesus has called us to this life and at the end of the day we will answer to Him, and Him alone.

    I don’t want to be rude, but I feel there is no point in us debating this, (two strangers as we are) in a depersonalised medium such as the comment section of a blog.

  5. @Dave

    Dear Dave

    You are right; we are all imperfect followers of Jesus. Christ came for sinners after all! (1 Tim 1)

    However, as his followers He has called us to be holy, different from the world even when culture and worldly pressure demands otherwise. We are to be salt and light. Something we will never achieve through our own strength and need the help of the Holy Spirit and guidance in his Word.

    You said in your previous post that:
    “We believe Jesus has called us to this life and at the end of the day we will answer to Him and Him alone.”

    I don’t know your family or your circumstances, but what I do know is that Jesus will never call his followers to a life of sin. We as Christians have to hold God’s word as the final authority over our lives and He will never contradict himself. In obeying God’s word, we do not become Pharisees, because we believe in a gospel of grace. It is through obedience that we show we love Him and have assurance that we are in Him. (1 John 1 / 1 John 2:3-6 / John 14:15)

    It is certainly not a “biblical” requirement to command your wife to the kitchen. If you have some time, read the following blog which is a great biblical explanation of the roles of men and women both as equal servants of our Lord.
    http://theurbanpastor.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/whats-wrong-with-women-bishops/

    Yours in Him
    Annelize

  6. I find it strange that all you devout Presbyterians who claim to also be Christians, will quote from any scripture except the Gospel of Jesus Christ,when trying to justify your totally unchristian attitude to women within the ministry.

Comments are closed.