Earlier this week I wrote about the “battle” within the Church of England regarding the ordination of woman as bishops. What sparked by comments, and concern, was the lack of genuine theological reflection and verbal conviction from those that desire for this to become the practice of the church.
I came across another example of this tendency toward giving in to the trends of the culture rather than forming opinions and views because that is where our understanding of Scripture is taking us. The Washington Post recorded the following comments
An official close to Maria Miller, minister for women and equalities, expressed concern about the move. “Whilst this is a matter for the church, it’s very disappointing,” the official said. “As we seek to help women fulfill their potential throughout society, this ruling would suggest the church is at the very least behind the times.” [Source]
I may be the only one, but this is not the way for the church to move forward by worrying if the world feels that we are behind the times. This is one of the reasons that I give the Roman Catholic Church credit. They are not willing to surrender their identity for the sake of making those outside the church happy.
Enter Bishop N. T. Wright.
I have read a few things by Dr. Wright and I have heard him speak on a variety of subjects through the miracle of technology. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I appreciate his thoughtfulness and desire to be faithful to what he has come to believe from years of study and reflection. Yesterday, Bishop Wright spoke to the issues that I raised this week when the vote for women bishops was defeated. Wright took particular exception with Prime Minister David Cameron‘s comments that the church should “get with the program.”
“Now I’m very clear, the time is right for women bishops,” Cameron said. “It was right many years ago, they need to get on with it as it were and get with the program, but you do have to respect the individual institutions and the way they work, while giving them a sharp prod.”
As a member of the clergy, it bothers me for the state to encroach on the prerogative of the church to discern where God is leading her. This could be an American bias (something I willingly admit). However, I still believe that the state should not dictate to the church what God is saying. You can call me old-fashioned if you want to.
Bishop Wright’s entire article is great and it comes from a voice within the fray. One line stood out to me and I share it here to encourage you to go and read the rest of the article.
The Church that forgets to say “we must obey God rather than human authorities” has forgotten what it means to be the Church.
All I can say is, “Amen!”
- Maria Miller calls on Church of England to ‘act quickly’ over female bishops (guardian.co.uk)
- Pressure grows over women bishops – expressandstar.com (expressandstar.com)
- Women Bishops – an honest reflection (godandpoliticsuk.org)
- The Three Self Church of England (thesignofthecross.blogspot.com)