Sunday, 10 July 2011

C of E on "borrowed" time?

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a post about the possible collapse of the Church of England. I don't know (yet) what happened at the last meeting of the Synod, but his post is taken from an article in the Telegraph about the financial situation of the C of E.

I must admit I am fascinated by the problems of the Anglican Communion. In fact I was planning to write a long piece about these things on my other blog, but I have not had time to do the necessary reading, though I did read one eye-opening book about the effect of Archbishop Rowan Williams' theology on the Church. It will be interesting to see what happens in the near future. Will the ordinariate entice more Anglo-Catholics away? Will the conservative evangelicals form a stronger and more identifiable Anglican body? What will happen to the plan to consecrate women bishops - will it be shelved?

One thing is clear to everyone, and it is that no matter how long it takes there is a very strong group in the Church of England that will push for women bishops. Another thing is certain; that one of the effects of the ordination of women, along with the more open acceptance of the gay lifestyle, is that many Anglicans are now unhappy with the Communion they believed was their spiritual home. The Holy Spirit does not cause chaos and disunity. How long will it be before our brothers and sisters in the pro-women priests/bishops and pro-gay lifestyle camps realise their errors? How hard it is to back away from radical decisions that turn out to be dead wrong. So much has been invested in these "modernising" decisions. The danger is that, in the end, and perhaps some years down the line, the C of E will not only be financially bankrupt but spiritually weakened to the point of losing the will to live.


  1. "Heresy is depriving women of leadership in the church after the early apostolic centuries.
    Have another look at Romans 16 which commends the Deacon Phoebe, the Apostle Junia-the female name has been restored in almost all modern editions- and the missionary couples who preached the gospel Priscilla (woman first) and Aquila, Mary, Tryphaena and Tryphosa, and Julia.
    This is not advice given to one community as in Corinth or the restoration of hierarchy across the board as in Timothy, these are names of historical women approved and recommended by Paul. Scripture and tradition are NOT on one side in this controversy-custom alone has deprived women and [through their absence]-the Church."
    Edited from Church historian comment.

  2. In the New King James version (Note: not a "Catholic" translation), the word "deacon" is simply translated "servant" which is the literal translation from the Greek. In the Orthodox footnote (Orthodox study bible)the word "deaconess" is used. I don't think anyone would quibble with the former Anglican custom of deaconesses. In fact as the late Cardinal Hume said at a famous ecumenical gathering in Bradford, the Catholic Church has no problem with women's ministry - for example, the Methodist idea (non sacramental as far as that goes). As for the word "apostle", the above translation does not use the capital "A", which as we know makes a heap of difference.Plus,Junia is mentioned with others. There can be no doubt that early Christian Tradition focused on 12 Apostles as the foundation of the Church and that it is from these that the priesthood comes. Paul is clearly an exception and recognises this himself (born out of time etc). Thus we have many "apostles" (which means sent) but not many Apostles. In the Church today we speak of "apostolic work" and "apostolic institutes" which include both sexes. There is no contradiction here.
    It is NOT women's leadership that is at issue (although some conservative evangelicals will not allow that). In fact, the Middle Ages produced many powerful abbesses (Hildegarde being one)and in the 16th century we had St. Teresa of Avila who, in terms of leadership, was more influential than St. John of the Cross.
    The real issue here is the sacramental priesthood as understood by Catholics and Orthodox. In so far as Anglicans have claimed - and still claim - to have the Apostolic Succession (however complex that may be historically and theologically)and to have retained the ancient sacramental priesthood (though the evidence for and against this leaves many still in a quandary)the ordination of women cannot and will not be accepted by the RC and Orthodox churches, for scriptural and theological reasons (see my post on my other blog). Simply saying "there are no theological reasons against it" which we heard at the Synod vote, and before and since, is not enough. There ARE reasons against it and it is not simply a matter of sexual equality (again, see my post). In any event - and this is very much an additional question, though of immense importance - the fact that the move to unity which was so evident to many of us in the 70's was derailed by this is a sign that women's ordination cannot be from the Holy Spirit. Christ prayed for unity, and that "High Priestly prayer" is of such importance that anything which actively goes against it simply cannot be right.

  3. A reminder - for those who are interested - about the article on women priests on my other blog;