Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mourning our infidelity

From Fulcrum-

The passing of the measure to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England was not a victory for liberal revisionists in the church. It was the overwhelming sense amongst evangelicals, Catholics, charismatics and liberals that this was now where God was leading our church. The Women Bishops measure would not have gone through the General Synod without the co-operation of many traditionalists. I say co-operation, rather than agreement, because that is what it was.  Opposition remained. For conservative evangelicals it was on biblical and ethical grounds – they felt that scriptural exegesis meant women should not become bishops. For Anglo-Catholics it was on identity and sacramental grounds – they felt that women could not become bishops. But as we went into Synod for the final debate, several Anglo-Catholic friends came to me, separately, to extend a hand of friendship across our theological divide and tell me they were now going to abstain.  I found this gesture of respect and reconciliation very moving. Amongst many key speeches, Adrian Vincent, a member of the Catholic party, shared his struggle with conscience and scripture, as he made the difficult decision neither to vote against, nor abstain, but to vote the measure through in faithfulness to those who elected him. His one caveat was that there should be ‘enough provision for traditionalists to enable them to remain in the Church of England with theological integrity.’

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