Saturday, March 22, 2014

Women’s ordained ministry has not stemmed CofE decline


In Westminster Hall this week the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP led a short debate on the role and contribution of women to the ordained ministry of the Church of England. The debate celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ordination of the first women as priests in the CofE and looked ahead, both to the ongoing process to legislate for female bishops, as well as enabling them to sit in the House of Lords without delay.

Sir Tony Baldry MP responded in his capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner, and contributions were made by Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP and Helen Goodman MP. The Equalities Minister Helen Grant MP was also present to hear the speeches. Sir Tony’s speech is reproduced in full below:

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): I start by thanking my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) for initiating the debate and providing the House with an opportunity to celebrate the contribution over the past 20 years of ordained women clergy to the Church of England. I also thank her for providing me with an opportunity to advise the House on where the Church of England now stands in respect of women bishops, which I shall do later. We are all grateful for the presence and support during the debate of the Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Mrs Grant).

Sir Peter Bottomley: If you will allow me, Mrs Brooke, I wish to apologise to the House and to my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone and The Weald. I meant to rise to catch your eye after she had, and I apologise for jumping up when I did. If she had spoken, three men and three women would have spoken in the debate, which would have been the perfect balance.

Sir Tony Baldry: That is a timely intervention. For anyone reading the debate in Hansard, I should explain that, although I am effectively responding to the debate, I am not a member of the Government. I am by statute appointed by the Crown as Second Church Estates Commissioner, so I am accountable neither to the Government nor to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Indeed, as the Bishop of London pointed out to me shortly after I was appointed, I am, like the Dean of Westminster, accountable only to God and the Queen—that is how he put it. This is not a ministerial response, then, but one I make in my capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden was absolutely right to say that the ordination of women has unleashed an appetite in other women to come forward for ordination. She was also right to set out some of the many qualitative contributions that women have made to ordained ministry and, indeed, the pivotal role of many women clergy. We were also fortunate this afternoon to have heard some excellent and helpful speeches from the right hon. Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw), my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley) and the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman), all of whom are members of the Ecclesiastical Committee, the Committee of both Houses that considers Church of England measures when they come to Parliament—as indeed is my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden.

The right hon. Member for Exeter was absolutely right in making clear the urgency and effectiveness with which the Archbishop of Canterbury grasped the issue of making progress towards sorting out the General Synod on the issue of women bishops after its very unhappy vote. The Archbishop clearly recognised that there was a need to get a grip on that issue and get a grip he did.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is going back to Exeter this weekend, and I hope he takes back the good news from yesterday’s Budget that, between all of us, we were able to secure from the Chancellor £20 million towards repair of cathedrals. If I may say so, that indicates that the Church of England is taken seriously by Government. There is a recognition that it is sometimes difficult to raise money to repair the electrics, or the roof or guttering. That fund is meant to be put towards such problems and will be welcome news, I hope, to cathedral cities such as Exeter.

Mr Bradshaw: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his letter outlining the details of that fund—it was in my postbag this morning. I congratulate him on the successful lobbying he has clearly conducted with the Government to deliver that support.

Sir Tony Baldry: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for those comments. It was a team effort. We also have to thank Lord Cormack in the other place, who brought all the deans together, who then made their views known to the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey). In due course, he made his views known to the Treasury. It was a good example, as so often happens in this place, of the House working across parties consensually and collaboratively to secure a result that we all wanted to see.

My hon. Friend the Member for Worthing West, who is the church warden of St Margaret’s, was absolutely right in his comments that we all now see women priests as normal and natural, and that we all hope to see a situation in which women as bishops will equally be seen as normal and natural.

The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland, who has been a great supporter of women in the Church, appropriately made the point that the best realisation of the hopes of all those who had supported the ordination of women priests, way back when she had done so in the 1980s and earlier, is the work that women priests are now doing in our parishes.

On 11 November 1992, the General Synod passed the measure that would enable women to become priests in the Church of England. That measure then received parliamentary approval in both Houses in 1993 and it received Royal Assent on 5 November 1993. On 12 March 1994, at Bristol cathedral, the first 32 women were ordained as priests to minister to the cure of souls in the Church of England. It had been possible for women to be ordained as deacons in the Church of England since 1986, but it was not until 1992 that the General Synod was able to agree the measure necessary to enable women to be ordained as priests. Since then, some 4,200 women have been ordained as priests.

Today, some 23%, or nearly a quarter, of stipendiary ministers—full-time paid clergy—are women. Just over half, or 53%, of self-supporting ministers are women. At present, some 1,245 people in England are training to become Anglican priests and of those, 594, or 48%, are women.

Therefore, it can be seen that over the past 20 years women clergy have played an important part in the life of the Church and of our nation’s life, and over the coming 20 years, I anticipate that the proportion of clergy who are women will grow. With the exception of women as bishops, which I shall say a little more on shortly, women already make a much valued contribution to every part of the Church.

There are now five women deans of cathedrals—in Birmingham, St Edmundsbury, Salisbury, Guildford and York—and of course, as has been said, Canon Jane Hedges, one of the canons whom we know well from her work at Westminster abbey, will shortly be leaving to become dean of Norwich. There are 16 women archdeacons and 51 women in the House of Clergy, where they make up 27.5% of the House of Clergy. One finds women as stipendiary canons in 16 of the 44 cathedrals and women clergy as chaplains in hospitals, hospices, prisons, schools and universities. As we know well in this House, we are fortunate to have a woman as the Speaker’s Chaplain—Rose Hudson-Wilkin. In the armed forces, four women are serving as padres or chaplains, and of those appointed as honorary chaplains to the Queen, seven are women.

Mr Bradshaw: On the Speaker’s Chaplain, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the Speaker deserves a lot of congratulation for making that appointment? It was greeted terribly by some Conservative forces in the media at the time, and she has turned out to be the most fantastic chaplain to this House.

Sir Tony Baldry: Yes. I entirely endorse those comments and I think that the House would feel that the Speaker’s Chaplain has done what hopefully chaplains do in every institution. As part of the Church of England, the national Church, they are chaplains to everyone involved in the institution. Rose Hudson-Wilkin has made, and is very much making, the Speaker’s Chaplaincy a chaplaincy for everyone working in the Palace of Westminster. We all saw that particularly when—I think for the first time probably since the Reformation, or indeed ever—the Archbishop of Canterbury came to take holy communion in the Crypt Chapel on Ash Wednesday, and people were present from both Houses and from every walk of life in which people work and serve in Westminster. One felt that this was a community coming together to worship.

Women priests are now involved in every part and aspect of the Church’s life, from Lambeth palace where two of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s close team are women priests, to parish priests up and down the country. As time goes on, I think everyone expects that the proportion of women as cathedral deans and archdeacons will grow.

On Saturday 3 May, to mark and celebrate the 20th anniversary of women as clergy, there will be a gathering of ordained women clergy and others at Westminster abbey in the morning, followed by a procession to St Paul’s cathedral, where there will be a service of celebration for 20 years of women’s ordained ministry. I know that many similar services are planned across the country. For example, on 7 June, the diocese of Oxford—the diocese in which my constituency is situated—is holding a service of celebration in Christchurch.

The diocese of Oxford has always had a strong record of ordaining women, starting with 67 women who were ordained in six separate services in 1994. Of those 67 women who were ordained priests in Oxford 20 years ago, nine are still in active ministry in the diocese and many more, although formally retired, still hold permission to preach and are continuing to support parishes.

Among those first women priests still working full time in the diocese of Oxford, we have a school chaplain, an area dean, who has just been appointed our newest archdeacon, a university college chaplain, and priests in rural and urban parishes. Of the four archdeacons in the diocese of Oxford, three are women, and the diocese has seen women ordained in every sphere of ministry. There are ordained women on the staff of all three theological colleges in the diocese. The military bases in the diocese have had women chaplains, as have prisons and detention centres.

From those first 67 women ordained 20 years ago, there are now more than 250 ordained women currently ministering in the diocese of Oxford, and I am glad to say that many more are coming forward to offer themselves for priestly ministry. Every diocese could tell a similar story of the achievement of women over the past 20 years in ordained ministry. It is appropriate to reflect not only on the significant quantitative contribution over the past 20 years that women have made to ordained ministry, but on the qualitative contributions that women in ordained ministry have made to the life and work of the Church.

It is also important to recognise that there are still challenges. For example, there are still relatively few young women offering themselves for ordination—those coming straight from university—and a significant number of the current women priests are self-supporting; in other words, they are non-stipendiary.

In anticipation of this debate, like my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden, I wrote to several people asking them whether they felt there were observations I should include in the debate, and one of them was the Speaker’s Chaplain. Rose Hudson-Wilkin made the following observations, and as she is our chaplain, I think they are worth sharing with the House:

“As we go forward, the Church must stop leaving women to feel ‘second best’; We are not tainted and the Church leadership must ensure that they do not embed a theology of taint in their keen desire to embrace all. Women must not suddenly become the scapegoat for all the ills of the Church (e.g. talk of the ‘feminisation of the church’. When we were all male leadership, the numbers of women were still higher than men).

We should not be talking of ‘fast forwarding women’—the reality is that if some of these women had been men, they would have been in senior roles! The Church of England needs to embrace the gifts that men and women bring as the future flourishing of the Church depends on this. All dioceses should look at their senior management team and begin to ask questions about what is preventing women from being included…As a Church, we must embrace unconditionally, the reality that women in Leadership is with us to stay (we should not be using the language of discernment)…I am aware of women who go to challenging parishes with very few people and through sheer dedication and the work of the Holy Spirit, make a difference.”

Not surprisingly, those supportive of women’s ordained ministry have for a long time been supportive of women being consecrated as bishops in the Church of England. As the House will know, this has been a long process, with much debate in the Church and in the General Synod. The process has not been without its setbacks and disappointments for those supportive of women being consecrated as bishops in the Church of England, particularly in the General Synod last November, when the appropriate Measure failed by a very small number of votes in the House of Laity.

Following that, the Archbishop of Canterbury invited Canon David Porter of Coventry cathedral to involve, in a process of dialogue and mediation, various groups in the Church that were concerned about both the theology and the practicalities of women being consecrated as bishops. I would hope that in that process of dialogue and mediation, the concerns of every group, including WATCH and others, were listened to and considered and that efforts were made to resolve them. It resulted in the bringing forward of a much simpler, four-clause Measure, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by the General Synod at its recent February meeting.

The General Synod also agreed that dioceses should have three months in which to decide and report their views on the new Measure. So far, 13 dioceses have met and voted on the new Measure. All have overwhelmingly endorsed the new Measure. Indeed, in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, there was not a single vote against the Measure in any of the houses of the diocese.

Last time, 42 out of 44 dioceses supported the Measure. This time, for practical reasons, it will not be possible for the diocese in Europe to meet in time, but if the majority of the dioceses do support the Measure, it will return to the General Synod in July. I hope that if at that General Synod the Measure succeeds in obtaining two-thirds support in each of the three Houses—the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity—the Measure can be referred to the Ecclesiastical Committee of both Houses as soon as possible. I am sure that that Committee will want to meet as speedily as possible if and when a Measure comes before it and I hope that, if it finds the Measure expedient and approves it, the Measure can then go before each House separately for approval. Every indication that I have had from my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House of Commons is that the House will do everything to make proper provision for a debate that is as timely as possible when the time arises. I hope that in way we can have the Measure fully and properly considered, approved and passed into law well before Christmas and that we will see the first women bishops consecrated shortly thereafter.

Right hon. and hon. Members have asked about the situation of women in the House of Lords. This House will not be surprised to learn that I have been discussing that issue with the Leader of the House of Lords and the Leader of the House of Commons. Of course, the position of bishops in the House of Lords—the Lords Spiritual—is that they are Members of the House of Lords. It is therefore a question of who is summoned to Parliament. It is not something that can simply be resolved by a Measure of the General Synod; it will require primary legislation. However, I think that it would be fair for me to summarise the position of the Government, as I understand it, thus. In terms of primary legislation, they will seek to facilitate as speedily as possible what the Church of England feels would be most appropriate in these circumstances. I think that discussions are now taking place within the Church of England. I understand that the Lord Bishop of Leicester, who convenes the Lords Spiritual, is in negotiations with various groups to give some thought to how best that can be achieved.

People have to understand that there are suffragan bishops and there are diocesan bishops. Not all the diocesan bishops sit in the House of Lords; some do so on the basis of seniority. Several issues need to be considered, but I am confident that as and when the Church of England comes forward with a proposal, the Government will give it the most serious and positive consideration.

Helen Goodman: If and when the proposal is made, Her Majesty’s Opposition will be as co-operative as possible in expediting it.

Sir Tony Baldry: That is a very helpful intervention because by definition, given the parliamentary timetable, it is likely to come towards the end of this Parliament and, as all those of us who have been here for some time know, the usual channels, for understandable reasons, tend to get a bit jumpy as we move towards Parliament being prorogued and so on. However, I think that everyone—including my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who at Prime Minister’s questions made this very clear—wants the consecration of women as bishops to happen at the earliest possible moment and does not want that to be in some way overshadowed by acrimony or a debate about their not being properly represented in the House of Lords.

I make no pretence of seeking to be a theologian, but I have always been struck by the observation of St Paul that “if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain”.

The resurrection is central and crucial to Christianity, and at the time of the crucifixion, the disciples, for understandable reasons, had fled. It was the women who stood witness to Christ’s crucifixion. It was the women who found that the stone was rolled away, and it was to Mary Magdalene that the resurrected Christ first revealed himself.

I quote from the New Testament: “Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.”

The last 20 years have demonstrated that women priests are well able to proclaim the risen Christ throughout the land and, by their ministry, have made and continue to make an enormous contribution to the life of the Church, community and the country. Today’s debate and all right hon. and hon. Members who have contributed, from both sides of the House, have demonstrated and confirmed how much women’s ordained ministry is valued and appreciated.

++++++

Which is all very nice.

But it hasn't done a thing to stem the decline in weekly church attendance (full stats HERE). Dr Bev Botting, Head of Research and Statistics for the Archbishops’ Council said: “These statistics for 2012 show that weekly attendance over the past decade has not changed significantly."

But they do represent a significant change on attendance in the 1960s. Women's ministry may have brought equality and justice, but it has not - as we were so often assured - heralded renewal or revival.

Baroness and Supreme Court Judge Brenda Hale hasn't put her finger on the absent pulse of the problem, either. The Washington Post reports that she attributes the decline of the Established Church to its being so utterly undemanding: she told a recent conference at Yale Law School: “It has no dietary laws, no dress codes for men or women, and very little that its members can say is actually required of them by way of observance.”

That is a bizarre assertion: freedom from the law does not lead to church decline, corporate shame or spiritual death. Freedom from the law - be it dietary, dress or aggressive notions of equality - leads to knowledge in Christ: a glad response to God's work and the setting aside of idolatrous worldviews (Rom 1:18). The Church does not exist to convey the laws of man, and neither should it be preoccupied with the fads and obsessions of the age. Only when the focus is the Kingdom of God and the eschatological reality of the fulfilled vocation will we witness the Church's freedom to engage in decisive acts of truth-telling, and the individual's freedom to manifest a community of love. Growth will then take care of itself.

195 Comments:

Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

I think it is in any case mistaken to frame this debate in terms of abilities, gifts or results. Rather than asking the question "What is successful?" we should be asking the question "What is faithful to the word of God?"

22 March 2014 at 11:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

I say, there are women in the picture wearing purple. The traditional colour for bishops. Are they English ladies displaying outrageous ambition, by chance ?

22 March 2014 at 11:54  
Blogger Jim said...

Growth - it must be added - isn't in our hands in any event. 'I planted, Apollos watered, but it is God who gave the increase' - St. Paul, to the Corinthians. The notion that if we do a certain thing or act a certain way or ordain a certain flavor of Cleric then growth will come is little more than self-deception and at its worst, arrogance.

The Church is not ours, it is Christ's, to do with as he pleases, when he pleases.

22 March 2014 at 12:25  
Blogger 45minutewarning said...

"Women’s ordained ministry has not stemmed CofE decline "

Why would it?

Why would people return to their local churches because it has a woman minister? It is strange that so many think that ordaining women will be the CofE's salvation. We now also have the sad situation where politicians are effectively imposing their own "religion" on the church.

22 March 2014 at 12:52  
Blogger Integrity said...

Jim said;I planted, Apollos watered, but it is God who gave the increase' - St. Paul, to the Corinthians.
What you say is right but we are commanded to do certain things so that growth can come.
The trouble is, those that are supposed to plant and water are not doing their job in an effective way, They don't teach the Gospel or Evangelise because they don't know how to or don't believe it.

22 March 2014 at 12:59  
Blogger Macira said...

Do we know how many female Anglican priests are divorced, and the number who are lesbian?

22 March 2014 at 13:00  
Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 March 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger Et Expecto said...

I live opposite a church, and see the congregation arrive each Sunday. Out of a total of about 30, I rarely see one under the age of about 65, and most would be over 75. What will the position be in 10 years time?

22 March 2014 at 13:22  
Blogger Mark said...

I wonder if women clergy are part of the larger problem of liberal clergy preaching false gospels that neither save nor attract people.

Women clergy are overwhelmingly liberal, are they not? I, for one, have yet come across a woman priest who was a robust preacher of the Gospel. Surely there are a few out there, but they are indeed few.

22 March 2014 at 13:23  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Sir Tony Baldry: "I make no pretence of seeking to be a theologian."
He was in good company.
But who needs theology in the new 'do-as-you-please' C of E? It's all about feminism and a distorted view of equality.

22 March 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Et Expecto
In 10 years time new old people will be going to this church.

22 March 2014 at 13:28  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I would find it easier to feel relaxed about female ordained ministry if it was demonstrably effective. Tend to agree with Mark at 13:23. All very 'lets hold hands in a circle and think about climate chance and the poor Palestinians', not much 'unless you repent you will all likewise perish.'

Not my problem any more.

22 March 2014 at 13:58  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your article raises relevant questions, Your Grace, so thank you.

The main body of the Church of England will not grow again until it preaches the gospel of repentance and salvation through faith in Christ. The present, predominantly liberal, Church will not do this. Indeed following social trends to attempt to "become relevant" will not achieve growth. People will return to the pews when the Church is seen to offer a distinct alternative to the hopelessness of contemporary relativism.

Women priests ? I have met many fine, very skilled, well educated and trained, deeply dedicated, sincere and incredibly hard working ordained women who I respect greatly. Every single one of those that I have met is either liberal or deeply liberal.

It is a matter of fact, that the part of the C of E that does offer the undiluted gospel, the conservative evangelical section, is growing steadily. They believe in the equality and complementarity of men and women, but not their interchangeability. Women, young and old, and families are found there in abundance. Indeed women contribute enormously to various ministerial roles within those churches, but their head is always male.

Those are the facts, inconvenient though they are for liberals. At the present rates of expansion of the traditional, conservative protestant section of the overall Church, their influence can only grow. It may well be that a predominantly liberal C of E is a passing phase. The future Church could well be, in my opinion, smaller in overall numbers, but more gospel orientated. Only God knows for sure.

This article raises important issues but I doubt whether many within the C of E are listening or pondering them, as politically inspired thoughts are masking the deeper theological ones. Eventually the evidence will be undeniable.

22 March 2014 at 14:08  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

In conversation quite a number of years ago with a Principal of a theological college he told me that the problem was not finding conservative women willing to serve the church, but placing them, which then had a knock on backwards effect.

So there are more liberal female clergy than conservative ones. I can think of one lady who would have been superb as a priest, calm, measured, intelligent, humble, good at public speaking, RE teacher brought up 4 children, PhD who went forward and was turned down, while they went for the trendier ones with male haircuts, social science slang and non standard English pronunciation far more.

It doesn't always pass through the mind of the selectors that it is better to put forward someone who attracts people as one of a number of aspirational role models, rather than someone who is a showperson who is "down with the kids" or the big kids.

An intelligent cultured person can moderate their vocabulary, esp. if they have had plenty of experience in that direction, to those with lesser vocabulary, but a person with a limited vocabulary and culture cannot speak to the influential in their terms, quite often, and those sections of the community just stop going to Church if they are not engaged with intelligently, and without someone grovelling to them and bowing while walking backwards, which I have seen in some places which will remain nameless.

I think therein lies more of the core of our difficulties, and doubt that there is a positive correlation between having a female vicar and non attendance. The other major difficulty is corruption at high levels of an extent hitherto unseen, and which much of the Church has failed to engage with, and the equivalent of constant anti-church advertising in much of the media.

A recent poll suggested that being a vicar had the most job satisfaction of any job. Well many vicars who engage with the worst aspects of present day society are deeply troubled in my experience which makes me think some others are coasting in still waters just keeping the show on the road if they are not a little anguished in this country at this time. Wakey wakey!!

22 March 2014 at 14:32  
Blogger Len said...

How does the C of E (indeed all the rest of the Church as well) stem the flow of people out their doors.

This is a question that many must surely be asking themselves?.

The foundations that the Church stood on for Centuries have been attacked and [seemingly] destroyed by the Evolutionists.In some cases the church has even given credibility to Darwin`s theory.

So 're arranging the furniture' will have no affect on the credibility of Christianity but we Christians need to make sure that 'the House' is sitting firmly on the foundations and that everyone can inspect the Foundations for themselves..

Until then evolutionists hold up the 'theory of evolution' which [to most people] seems to trump the Christian card.

22 March 2014 at 14:59  
Blogger Flossie said...

John Richardson (The Ugley Vicar) observes on his blog that 'The Church of England has only consecrated one Conservative Evangelical bishop of 'complementarian' views since 1997. Since he retired in October 2012, it has been without ANY of that persuasion for 507 days and counting.

Given the bishops' role in clergy appointments, could this perchance have anything to do with the disastrous decline in membership?

That is without the additional problem of women clergy themselves, who are by their own admission far more liberal than their male counterparts.

22 March 2014 at 15:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Why would anyone want to go to a Church to celebrate non-belief?

They can do that by playing sport, DIYing, or watching a DVD.

22 March 2014 at 15:42  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Flossie

"Without the additional problem of women clergy themselves, who are by their own admission far more liberal than their male counterparts".

But because this derives from the difficulty of PLACING conservative women working backwards, as in my post above you are confusing cause with effect.

Which we would not wish to.

If you look at very successful churches many of them have women priests. I could produce a list of well attended churches bursting at the seams and generally they have teams that include female clergy. So positive or negative correlation of success with the existence of female clergy would be virtually nil especially once one had taken into account other variables, like preaching and teaching ability, personal charm and integrity!!

22 March 2014 at 15:48  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

notes that the RCC has not been exempt from the falling pew populations (and whatever our problems are, it isn't female priests causing it) :)

http://faithsurvey.co.uk/catholics-england-and-wales.html

22 March 2014 at 15:51  
Blogger Anglican said...

I have largely stopped listening to 'Thought for the Day'. Most speakers are either members of other faiths (they have a place, but surely not in this slot – with one exception, below), or are very liberal. Traditionalists, either evangelical or catholic, are as rare as hens' teeth. Jonathan Sacks, though - or because - he is Jewish, was one of the best speakers. So is Roy Jenkins. The women worth hearing are Ann Atkins and Angela Tilby. There may be a very few others.

22 March 2014 at 15:54  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sister T:

Len's explanation @ 14:59 is much more plausible.

22 March 2014 at 15:54  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Flossie @ 15.24

You point to a significant concern amongst conservative Evangelicals, the absence of bishops of that persuasion. In part the position is worsened by the exclusive focus of many conservative evangelicals on church planting and growth, and a lack of interest in entering the episcopacy. Preaching the gospel wins out over "management".

Now if that latter point is true, it represents a serious oversight and lack of strategic vision, as creating the right organisational atmosphere for evangelism is vital. However I have yet to meet an ordained person with a sense of the truly strategic.

22 March 2014 at 15:58  
Blogger Len said...

The Churches are dying particularly in the West because there has been a concerted sustained attack on our Judeo/ Christian Foundations by Humanists.
'Humanism' is taught throughout our entire education system and our entire youth has been indoctrinated into humanist philosophy.
To reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ today one has to go back to the very foundations of Christianity and to start again..These are the very Judeo/Christian foundations which have been attacked and undermined by 'Greek thinking' intellectuals.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is of' no relevance' to our youth of today because they have no foundational knowledge of Christianity.
'Ken Ham' highlights the problems we Christians face when speaking of the Gospel.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/lie/crumbling-foundations

22 March 2014 at 16:34  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The foundations that the Church stood on for Centuries have been attacked and [seemingly] destroyed by the Evolutionists.

No doubt they felt that way when geocentrism was rejected.

22 March 2014 at 17:08  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Len

Within a short time we have been taken back to a time similar to St Patrick's and his spiritual duels with the Druids.

What did he do? He prayed and prayed and prayed. He bound the "strong Name of the Trinity" to him, asked for divine protection against all the forces ranged against him, and spoke forcefully against all that was evil and for Christ, not being afraid to take on anyone.

He also interestingly is supposed to have wrung an agreement from God that Ireland would be flooded rather than ever come under the dominion of Satan in the end times. Some see this as a tsunami from an eruption in the Canaries. Me, I don't pretend to know if it is a myth or a reality!!

22 March 2014 at 17:16  
Blogger Flossie said...

Lucy Mullen @ 15:48 - personal anecdotes do not, alas, present the whole picture. I too know several wonderful women clergy who do an excellent job, but that is not the point.

At the risk of sounding like a broken gramophone record (for those who remember such things) I refer once again to the 2002 Mind of Anglicans Survey, in which by their own admission women clergy proved to have less conviction on doctrinal issues as well as being more liberal on moral issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

Things have changed since 2002 - there was a lot more clergy opposition to women's ordination then, which raises more questions. The survey is a fascinating snapshot of how various groupings along the spectrum from ultra-liberal to ultra-conservative churchmanship regarded the central tenets of the Christian faith.

While it takes some stamina to read the whole thing (there is miles of it) here is just one page of analysis:

http://trushare.com/88SEP02/SE02SURV.htm

I would just add that WATCH, the group representing women in the church, threw in its lot with the Inclusive Church movement (on a 'you scratch our backs, we'll scratch yours' basis) quite a few years ago.

Really, it's not too difficult to see why hardly anybody goes to church any more.


22 March 2014 at 17:25  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 March 2014 at 17:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 17:08

How do you think today's science will look a hundred years from now?

22 March 2014 at 17:40  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

HG puts it so well in his last paragraph.

I've noticed two types of women clergy, the chubby clucking hen types fussing over everyone and the ambitious black trouser-suited, sports car driving, styled&coiffured, I'm on my way up types.
I feel neither really believe that they actually have to be obedient to God and inspire others to also.

I don't go to Church now, they wouldn't let me in when I was wearing my gardening clothes as I had no time to change into the right outfit to be seen in Church in and keep up with the in crowd Joneses. There's quite a lot of bitchy back biting and snootiness amongst some Church congregations which means that they are not getting God's message.

I prefer to watch and listen to inspiring services on You Tube from people who do have the authority and belief in the Kingdom of God. Men are so much better at doing this.

22 March 2014 at 17:46  
Blogger non mouse said...

Women’s ordained ministry has not stemmed CofE decline - of course not, Your Grace.
If anything, it'll put people off, especially if said "priestesses" look and behave like lezzos. One should no more trust the development of children to such types than to men of the same persuasion. Readers here who went to girls' schools will be wise to the games these perverts play - and that some carry further, even into good universities.

The fact is that women are not better than men in any sphere where both can operate, and women are certainly not more knowledgeable about people, or more gentle and sympathetic. Indeed, when it comes to ignorance, unfairness, and ruthlessness, the worst managers I've ever known have been women. One reason is, of course, that slander and defamation are their greatest strengths: not for nothing was the pagan goddess "Fama. In addition, females of the type favour females and fill up the workplace with others just like themselves. It's horrible and, if possible, it's best to avoid working for them.

So no one with any sense goes to a church run by such people.

What I say, then, is "user beware"! Remember:
There was a little girl
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very, very good;
But when she was bad, she was horrid.


Of course, some women are very good in their chosen fields - as are some men. However, the best of anything tends to be a scarce commodity! I'd say that any woman who wants to force herself into any traditional 'man's job' (or vice versa - men to women's) should undergo special inquiry as to motive. If they are about 'equality' --- Uh-uh.

22 March 2014 at 17:58  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Marie

Why on earth being a woman do you think women are so caricaturable? I am not ordained, but do find your caricatures really dreadful and rather uncharitable, and deeply inaccurate, truth be told.

If you came to my church we would let you in whatever you were wearing, as long as it covered the necessary, and we have a delightful lady amongst our team who is gentle, pretty, married, sensitive, moderate, thoughtful, slightly built, an interesting and accomplished preacher,and deeply spiritual, and doesn't drive a sports car, so doesn't fit into any of your caricatures at all.

When we recently had another ordained guest lady preacher many people said how interesting she was, and more men than women actually said that. Really it is WHAT is said, and how well that matters, before the matter of WHO says it and it shows how shallow and focused on inessentials we can be that we so frequently do not realise that, and swallow large amounts of total nonsense from people high up in government and don't hear words of wisdom spoken by an impoverished person in tatty cords- or jeans!!

22 March 2014 at 18:07  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ non mouse

You cannot be serious! For Heaven's sake judge, in the sense in which it is proper, your fellows one by one with fairness. You cannot make such sweeping generalisations, as they have no currency, and fall dead and withered before groups of people to whom they do not apply and I am mentally totting up vast numbers of people I know to whom they most certainly do not.

22 March 2014 at 18:13  
Blogger Flossie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 March 2014 at 18:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 17:08

Heliocentrism put paid to the notion, derived from Aristotle, that only the sublunary realm was subject to mutability: and that was a good thing.

For most people, it made damn all difference. People still spoke of sunrise and sunset.

The implications for morality (apart from the precedence of the planets disrupting concepts of social hierarchy: sounds barking, but I remember reading it somewehere) was minimal. The Earth going round the Sun was not an argument for genocide.

The same cannot be said for evolution.

22 March 2014 at 18:45  
Blogger Flossie said...

Lucy, with every respect, you illustrate perfectly why women should not be priests! Women are 'heart' people and men are 'head' people - sweeping generalisations, I know, but nevertheless fairly accurate.

The heart is useless without the head, and vice versa - hence the 'complementariness' of men and women, and Christ and his bride, the church.

22 March 2014 at 18:53  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says just read Genesis and how Satan turned Eve.

22 March 2014 at 18:59  
Blogger Albert said...

A good post (although I struggled to keep attention during the Hansard bit).

it hasn't done a thing to stem the decline in weekly church attendance

exactly, because the decline in attendance was not being driving by a lack of women clergy. Faithfulness to Christ is what matters, but this innovation has made it harder to see Jesus as the foundation.

22 March 2014 at 19:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

The foundations that the Church stood on for Centuries have been attacked and [seemingly] destroyed by the Evolutionists.In some cases the church has even given credibility to Darwin`s theory.

How on earth does the theory of evolution undermine the foundations of the Church? I thought it was all built on Christ?

22 March 2014 at 19:39  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ flossie

Yours is both a sweeping generalisation and inaccurate. According to the latest best research on personality on the heart head continuum women are scattered, but preponderantly around the middle, whereas men tend to be either strongly head or strongly heart. You will see this on stock market bulletin boards where the men become extremely emotion. This is also the thinking behind the assertion that "Warren Buffet invests like a woman".

Men can get extremely personal and wave around ad hominem arguments with the best, or worst of them. And man can be very intuitive, gentle and kind too. Some of the myths surrounding "male" traits and "female" traits when put under scrutiny have proved to be entirely false.

I admit to getting frustrated, but time is short to get this country back to its roots and to inveigh against ministering women is to miss where the real battle is taking place and to my mind a real waste of energy.

I don't think all the women ordained are the right people, but neither are all the men. It is a tricky task getting the right people and someone who is brilliant for a number of years can go way off track.

22 March 2014 at 19:57  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

How do you think today's science will look a hundred years from now?

Totally dumb question really,(I can read your perfidity Explorer) unless you apply it to specifics.

Any ten-year-old could tell you that Science is always incomplete.

22 March 2014 at 20:00  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

A new lady priest was appointed to a local church she was divorced and now single but he had a dog. She brought it every where even to Church

At a fete she was late but turned up later with another woman who also had a dog.

She then said in front of everyone "sorry we are late we have just been out dogging".

Silence for about 10 seconds. The other woman just turned to her in horror at what she had just said. Then when I and a few others realised that she had not the faintest clue about what she just said.

Laugh...I had to sit down.

The other woman looked liked she was going to murder her there and then!

Phil

22 March 2014 at 20:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught:

You could predict it if I were specific? How do you know completely new disciplines won't emerge?

We do the best we can with the knowledge available to us at the time, and that does not make us contemptible.

Same applied in the era of Copernicus.

I'm intrigued you consider my questions a) devious (previous thread) b) perfidious. Both seemed to me completely straightforward; each making a simple point.

What is devious about asking when the earliest New-Testament book was written?

Incidentally, you haven't answered my follow-up question about the reliability of carbon dating.

22 March 2014 at 20:17  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

you haven't answered my follow-up question about the reliability of carbon dating

Who the hell do you think you are to make demands for attention on someone else's Blog? Don't be lazy - do you own research if you really want to understand carbon dating and run with it on your own Blog, instead of as usual Trolling for diversion from the OP here.

22 March 2014 at 20:44  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Sister Tiberia said...

notes that the RCC has not been exempt from the falling pew populations (and whatever our problems are, it isn't female priests causing it) :)

http://faithsurvey.co.uk/catholics-england-and-wales.html

22 March 2014 15:51

No female priests yet, but can you be sure it's going to stay that way? There must surely be people in the Vatican keeping an observant eye on those churches (Anglican, Lutheran and others) that have women clergy and even bishopettes, to see whether the innovation is helping to staunch the bleeding or not.

22 March 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Quick ecumenical question: why are women Vicars still called Priests (masculine), when there is a feminine word Priestess?

22 March 2014 at 20:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Uncle Brian,

No female priests yet, but can you be sure it's going to stay that way?

Yes.

There must surely be people in the Vatican keeping an observant eye on those churches (Anglican, Lutheran and others) that have women clergy and even bishopettes, to see whether the innovation is helping to staunch the bleeding or not.

Not long after I converted, I became friendly with a woman who was a Catholic and a feminist. She told me that she had been enthusiastic about women's ordination, but having seen the damage it had done in the CofE, she had changed her mind. If the Vatican is watching other communities' experience of ordained women they are hardly going to want to add the innovation to the Catholic Church.

Besides, globally, the Catholic Church is growing, ordination of women doesn't stop decline in numbers and we don't adapt the Church just to stop numbers falling anyway. So I really cannot see it happening.

22 March 2014 at 21:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

Lucy- Oh I'm serious all right; I think, though, we may each have mis-communicated somewhat. Perhaps you do not read the old rhyme as I do, or notice my "Of course, some women are very good in their chosen fields - as are some men."

Indeed my post suggests that reactions to one's fellows [should be made] one by one with fairness. So let me say, further, that I was once, briefly, the patient of an excellent woman (medical) doctor. Only once; and I know that not all male doctors are excellent. Please note, also, I'm talking about suitability for types of work - not overall "judgement," which is God's prerogative.

One trouble is, though, that touchy-feely, power-hungry, feminist types do tend to waft about considering themselves 'perfect' judges of 'perfection.' In my experience, they generally start off trying to manipulate those whom they seek to dominate (who would otherwise threaten their power). When their games don't work, things get nasty - unless wiser people (often men; often both men and women) can keep them under control. And I, too, am looking at many individual encounters, throughout a lifetime.

Actually, I think you're lucky if faminazis haven't ever bothered you - you're obviously intelligent and capable, and therefore pose a potential threat to their hegemony. Perhaps, though, you've never been alone and unprotected; that's when they show their true colours.

I've never met a lezzo who wasn't like that - and that includes the 'bi-s' - many of whom are married. [At first I was horrified that men could be such poor judges of female character, and so easily taken in .... Then I realised: all men have mothers, and all women have fathers - to shape their understandings. 6 of one, etc. - and unto several generations!]

No. Nothing will drag me to female ministries, to trust them for advice, or to ask them to perform sacred rites for me or mine.

22 March 2014 at 21:09  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

David Kavanagh asked, "Quick ecumenical question: why are women Vicars still called Priests (masculine), when there is a feminine word Priestess?"

'Priestess' is reminiscent of paganism when priestesses were ten a penny. Their absence set Christianity apart but on a secular level it is on a par with actresses becoming actors when a Chair ceased becoming just a piece of furniture.

22 March 2014 at 21:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

In conversation quite a number of years ago with a Principal of a theological college he told me that the problem was not finding conservative women willing to serve the church, but placing them, which then had a knock on backwards effect.

I don't follow that. If conservative woman are difficult to place, it is because conservative parishes don't want women clergy. Why? Because it is not conservative. Thus such women are not really conservative. But if they are, then they should surely be placed where they can be, and that would spread the conservative word.

No, it seems to me that Flossie is right. Women clergy are more liberal by the very nature of the case.

22 March 2014 at 21:10  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Albert

I fully agree, Albert, that as long as the surveys go on showing that those other churches are not solving their problem that way, there will be no reason for the Catholic Church to consider changing its own rules. But if the statistical trend were to start moving in the opposite direction, what then?

22 March 2014 at 21:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

David Kavanagh @ 20.52, this communicant offers 'Vicarene' for a female vicar. One could argue that the mutation of the word 'Priest' to a gender neutral status is proof of 'Equality' in action.

Now this communicant has attended a bar-mitvah where the Rabbi was female (obviously not an Orthodox celebration). As a matter of interest, how should she have been addressed?

22 March 2014 at 21:18  
Blogger Albert said...

Uncle Brian,

f the statistical trend were to start moving in the opposite direction, what then?

Rather a big "if"! But even so, we don't change things just to get people in. If we did, we'd have been finished long ago.

22 March 2014 at 21:25  
Blogger Albert said...

The question of titles is interesting. The more "catholic" clergy tend to be addressed as "father". But that makes no sense when the clergyperson is a woman.

Any answers?

22 March 2014 at 21:27  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert

You may not follow that, but it is a classic distinction between cause and effect. Conservative women went forward feeling called, but it was harder to find parishes to take them, because it was a new thing, and conservatives have lots of good things about them, but readiness to take on new ideas as a whole congregation is not foremost among them. Therefore word went back about those finding it hard to find curacies amongst that section, and fewer came forward in succeeding years.

I guess it will improve. Maybe it already has.

It is only a new-ish thing in Anglican circles. The Salvation Army got there ages ago in terms of ministry (though clearly non sacramental) and no one flung heaps of opprobrium the way of Catharine Booth, as far as I know-and it is nothing new to Methodists and Baptists. To suggest large nos. are lesbians is very unfair. It is the contents of the soul that matter to me and there are many women I can learn from, and have learnt from, just as there are many men. I think it must be rather inhibiting if you proclaim that you will only learn from one gender, and it is not a path I would go down.

22 March 2014 at 21:29  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert

You already have "Reverend Mothers" in your own monastic orders, so the answer in your own terms is there already.

I have limited enthusiasm for calling people these names anyway.

22 March 2014 at 21:32  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Ancient Briton,

Thank you for that explanation, noted and appropriately filed in my little scrapbook of ecumenical dialogues.

22 March 2014 at 21:52  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

" It is the contents of the soul that matter to me and there are many women I can learn from, and have learnt from, just as there are many men. I think it must be rather inhibiting if you proclaim that you will only learn from one gender, and it is not a path I would go down"

For you Lucy it is not an issue. There is no problem for you to be instructed by another woman.

It is men the Bible tells us, should not not put themselves under the spiritual authority of a woman.

Logical or not it is God's command. Presumably he has his own good reasons.

I could guess why and perhaps we can start to see why if we take a step backwards in the Church and look carefully from he outside.

Phil

22 March 2014 at 21:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

You may not follow that, but it is a classic distinction between cause and effect.

I quite understand the cause and effect thing. I just don't think it works. Conservative Christians are not made conservative Christians because they don't like change. It is because they believe certain things, and these things tend to make it harder to accept women as clergy. I simply don't think your account accounts for the disparity in orthodoxy as well as the more obvious explanation.

I think it must be rather inhibiting if you proclaim that you will only learn from one gender, and it is not a path I would go down.

Indeed so. But what's that got to do with ordination?

no one flung heaps of opprobrium the way of Catharine Booth

But then it wasn't sacramental.

You already have "Reverend Mothers" in your own monastic orders, so the answer in your own terms is there already.

No, because "Reverend Mother" is not a sacramental term, like "Father" is for a priest.

I have limited enthusiasm for calling people these names anyway.

Which is fair enough. But the CofE includes people who think them important and reflective of something significant. If adequate language cannot be found, then (as one Anglican clergyman put it to me once) that is probably a sign that all is not well with the innovation.

22 March 2014 at 22:07  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 20:44

So we may assume that when you ask questions on this blog, they are purely rhetorical.

Note: my question was not what is
carbon dating? My question was if you consider it reliable.

Yes or no will do.

22 March 2014 at 22:09  
Blogger Roy said...

Blogger Macira said...

Do we know how many female Anglican priests are divorced, and the number who are lesbian?

I don't know the answer to that question and you presumably don't know it either. However we do know that Moses was a murderer, don't we?

22 March 2014 at 22:15  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Greetings Bluedog,

How should you have addressed a female Rabbi? As 'Rabbi *insert name here*. רַבִּי from hence the title is derived from literally translates as 'my master'[As an Orthodox Jew myself, I am unable to agree to the validity of their rabbinate or office, male or female].

The 'job description' of a Rabbi was traditionally seen as a 'teacher of the Torah', hence why Rabbi is oft translated to 'teacher' & via the centuries of Christian and Islamic influence Rabbis became akin to Christian Vicars/Islamic Inmans (spiritual leaders of a community, pastors, people who officiate at marriages, as well as teachers of Torah etc).

You might be interested to know that the wife of a Rabbi is called the Rebbetzin or Rabbanit. I dunno if this is the same as being a 'Vicar's wife', but believe you me they are a force to be reckoned with (like most Jewish women,ahem!) as influential as the Rabbi himself within the community...

interestingly enough I received an e-mail the other day, via my feedback form on my blog, telling me that the "pussy riot" band in Russia were the Christian equivalent to the Jewish "women of the wall" movement& I was a hypocrite/Sexist pig for being an Orthodox Jew, apparently supporting the pussies, but not the women of the wall [not that I've ever supported the Pussy rioters agenda or for that matter the women of the wall, Oy Vey].

22 March 2014 at 22:17  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

BTW the Anglican Church keeps in hammering on about we need good quality candidates. That is why we need women's ministry. Look at the candidates Jesus chose. He could have chosen a lot better if he had chosen women the argument goes. Look who was first at the tomb? Peter had not even understood what Jesus was about right up to the night of Jesus' arrest when he was still into cutting off ears. You can almost hear Jesus thinking and mentally holding his head in his hands thinking "Peter, you still don't get it even after all this time". In contrast, the women in the Gospels understand Jesus and often get who he perfectly the first time they meet him.

This is all true. Women might be better at doing "the job" in the worlds eyes.

The problem is. It is not a job.


Phil

P.S. I agree we always have had and always will need, women's ministry in the Church.

But not over men.

22 March 2014 at 22:23  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Lucy at 21.29

The RCC has four women to whom the title Doctor of the Church has been given (Latin doctor, teacher, from Latin docere, to teach) - Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Therese of Lisieux and Hildegard of Bingen. I don't think it's a case that Catholics don't learn from women, they do. The arguments about ordination of women within the RCC come from a different angle and it isn't something that really this discussion needs to go onto (given the Roman Catholics round here have a reputation for derailing every thread sooner or later).

22 March 2014 at 22:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 20:44

I interact with others on this blog. Isn't that what this sort of blog is about? Sharing ideas, and questioning them?

Trolling? Well, this is an Anglican blog, and I am a Anglican. No great mystery as to why I should be here. What's YOUR motive?

22 March 2014 at 22:35  
Blogger Flossie said...

Yes, we do need women's ministry - the church could not function without it. But ministry should not be confused with priesthood.



22 March 2014 at 22:43  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Explorer,

When Dredgenoght accuses a person of trolling you can guarantee he has lost the argument & deflects this via ad hominem. Standard bullying tactic of his, actually.

22 March 2014 at 23:09  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Sister Tiberia, Happy Jack believes there are two objections to women's ordination from members of the Anglican Church. One is whether the bible actually prohibits it. The other is about the very nature of the priesthood and also about who Jesus and His successors chose for ministry.

Conservative Anglo-Catholics will probably agree with Roman Catholics. Conservative evangelists will go with the scriptural prohibition.

Jack has no beef with women as teachers of the faith or getting involved in other things. He is of the view that Jesus chose men as Apostles for a reason and His Church should continue to do so too.

And anyway, Jack believes there is a lot more serious issues to be getting on with than this distraction about feminism and equal rights for women.

22 March 2014 at 23:36  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Sister Tiberia, Happy Jack believes there are two objections to women's ordination from members of the Anglican Church. One is whether the bible actually prohibits it. The other is about the very nature of the priesthood and also about who Jesus and His successors chose for ministry.

Conservative Anglo-Catholics will probably agree with Roman Catholics. Conservative evangelists will go with the scriptural prohibition.

Jack has no beef with women as teachers of the faith or getting involved in other things. He is of the view that Jesus chose men as Apostles for a reason and His Church should continue to do so too.

And anyway, Jack believes there is a lot more serious issues to be getting on with than this distraction about feminism and equal rights for women.

22 March 2014 at 23:36  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Fellows, there is a conspiracy out there to denigrate the sexes as God would have them. Have us all the same, bodily bits not withstanding...

Militant homosexual nonsense, if you don’t know.

Leadership of men, and that includes religion, is man’s exclusivity.

Nurture is woman's.

You don’t nurture sinners. You remind them they are not going to have a good time of it when they are divinely judged. Anything less fails them. It’s not giving them what they need to know.

23 March 2014 at 00:39  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Happy Jack's right moire important things to worry about. Forget women Bishops.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10716844/Islamic-law-is-adopted-by-British-legal-chiefs.html

The way we are going there won't be a Church of England anymore to argue with.

23 March 2014 at 02:03  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Happy Jack's right moire important things to worry about. Forget women Bishops.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10716844/Islamic-law-is-adopted-by-British-legal-chiefs.html

The way we are going there won't be a Church of England anymore to argue with.

23 March 2014 at 02:03  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 March 2014 at 02:03  
Blogger Malcolm Smith said...

In other words, we are getting what could have been predicted from the beginning. It is a well-established sociological phenomenon that when women move into a male occupation in significant numbers, it starts to be seen as not-particularly-masculine, and men start to move out, or not join in the first place. This is why half the clergy are now female. We have reached a tipping point where the priesthood is seen to have become feminized, and men are no longer coming forward to be ordained.
There is also the other obvious point. If you attend any congregation, you will find there are more women than men. As far as can be determined, this has always been the case. Women have never had any problems with a male-led church. The real problem has been to persuade men that church is not just for women and children. And, of course, the most dynamic congregations are those where there is a higher proportion of male heads of families. Anyone who thinks they can be attracted to the church by the presence of a female leadership has a lot to learn about human nature.
There were very good reasons why the church has never before ordained women since the days of the apostles. And, as everybody knows, the issue would never have arisen except for the rise of the women's lib movement. This is quite definitely a sop to the standards of the world, and we are now paying the price for it.

23 March 2014 at 03:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hannah @ 23:09

Thanks for that.

There was something similar, a thread or two back, with Rambling Steve.

23 March 2014 at 07:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "Until then evolutionists hold up the 'theory of evolution' which [to most people] seems to trump the Christian card."

The theory of evolution by natural selection is supported by so much evidence and fits in so well with what we see of the natural world that it's no wonder people treat it as a scientific fact. Whether that "trumps the Christian card" is another matter but it certainly questions it.

23 March 2014 at 07:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: "When Dredgenoght accuses a person of trolling you can guarantee he has lost the argument & deflects this via ad hominem. Standard bullying tactic of his, actually."

The question about carbon dating came pretty much out of nowhere and he had no obligation to answer it. Trying to make not answering into some sort of failure is bound to elicit a sharp response. It's one thing to repeatedly throw a question at someone in an argument who is evading it but quite another to do so to try to suck someone into a different argument one wants to make.

23 March 2014 at 07:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is of' no relevance' to our youth of today because they have no foundational knowledge of Christianity."

It's a curious idea that we'vee apparently been created specifically to worship your god, and that our very atoms are maintained moment by moment by its will, and that it knows our every thought, yet personal knowledge of its existence and presence relies on all sorts of religious texts over the ages cobbled together by committee. I find it hard to accept that a heartfelt cry to this god for help from a supplicant position is insufficient to establish contact and to download all the knowledge that one needs to know to maintain the relationship.

23 March 2014 at 07:34  
Blogger Ditari said...

Well DanJ0, where to begin? How many instances of nature does evolution have to fail to explain before you stop hurling this particular elephant?

For example, Darwin's sexual selection theory for peacock tail evolution has been recently tested and it was found that neither tail length nor number or spots had any relation to mating success. He said the sight of this tail made him sick; how sick would be be if he knew what we know now!

Many, many other examples would fill a whole thread and more.

Re. carbon dating, I think Explorer asked about it in the context that DN was claiming a very late date (Constantine?) for the NT. In that context it's pretty relevant I'd have thought.

And no Christian claims knowledge of God's existence depends on the Bible, which rather says that this is evident in principle to everyone from the contemplation of the created world (I've just given an example). Indeed studies show that belief in God is a default human response found even in non-monotheistic cultures.

23 March 2014 at 08:32  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

On a previous thread, Dreadnaught raised the question of when the New Testament was written.

The carbon-dated Rylands papyrus has a bearing on that if one concedes that carbon dating is an accurate method of determining age.

Dreadnaught accused me of being devious for asking when, in his opinion, the first and last NT books were written.

He then thought me perfidious for asking about the future.

Perfiidious followed on from devious. Devious related to the NT documents. Carbon dating an offshoot of that.

It may be bad practice to bring unresolved issues from one thread to another, but Dreadnaught linked threads by giving his opinion of my general conduct on this blog.

23 March 2014 at 08:39  
Blogger Len said...

Danjo
'It's a curious idea that we'vee apparently been created '
(To you maybe)

Its an even curiouser idea that nothing exploded and created everything?.

23 March 2014 at 08:47  
Blogger Len said...

'Evolution' is a faith based belief system,nothing more than that.

Evolutionists become quite hysterical when their 'foundations' are challenged.
In fact the quickest way for a teacher to lose his job is to question Darwins theory?.

23 March 2014 at 08:52  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ malcolm smith

I disagree, and think that most healthy men just get on with things, learn from anyone who has anything interesting to say, and don't spend large amounts of time navel-gazing about their masculinity, and whether listening to female teachers of any kind demasculates them.

If men are demasculated at all it is more likely to be down to oestrogen in the water supply.

@ Phil

I cannot understand why you would not listen to a female preacher or think she could have authority. Now take an example of
a) a man who heard Mary as she spoke what has become known as the "Magnificat" and learnt from it
b) someone who heard the "oral tradition" in the early church and learnt from it
c) someone who waited until it was written down by a man before he learnt from it.

Which one learnt spiritually sooner?

23 March 2014 at 09:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ditari: "Well DanJ0, where to begin? How many instances of nature does evolution have to fail to explain before you stop hurling this particular elephant?"

That's a curious approach to the issue, if I may say so.

"For example, Darwin's sexual selection theory for peacock tail evolution has been recently tested and it was found that neither tail length nor number or spots had any relation to mating success. He said the sight of this tail made him sick; how sick would be be if he knew what we know now!"

To what are you referring? Is it this?

Takahashi M, H Aritat, M Hiraira-Hasegawa, and T Hasegawa (2008). Peahens do not prefer peacocks with more elaborate trains. Anim. Behav. 75: 1209-1219

Or this?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23423074

23 March 2014 at 10:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "Evolutionists become quite hysterical when their 'foundations' are challenged."

In Len-World, perhaps.

23 March 2014 at 10:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "(To you maybe)"

I note that you hacked away the rest of it rather than deal with the point I was actually making.

23 March 2014 at 10:18  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Hannah

It's a free country so Dreadnaught can choose not to answer questions from other posters or not.

23 March 2014 at 10:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 March 2014 at 10:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ditari: "And no Christian claims knowledge of God's existence depends on the Bible, which rather says that this is evident in principle to everyone from the contemplation of the created world (I've just given an example)."

You appear to be equivocating between an intelligent creator of some sort and your interpretation of a god. A common mistake. Also, I actually said "personal knowledge of its existence and presence". That was quite intentional.

"Indeed studies show that belief in God is a default human response found even in non-monotheistic cultures."

The capitalisation is telling there, as is your use of 'god' rather than 'a god' for non-monotheistic cultures.

23 March 2014 at 10:31  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David K @ 10:28

True. It just then makes it difficult to develop any meaningful discussion: simply a series of unrelated statements, rather than something more organic. It also depends, surely, on the nature of the question?


If someone were to ask me my age, or where I live, I would feel free to decline to answer. (Unless I myself had raised it.)

If someone asks me a question relating to a point I have made on a thread I respond: either defending the point, or retracting it. (Unless I miss the question by accident. One's ability to be present on a thread is always intermittent. In which case, I do not feel offended by a reminder.)

23 March 2014 at 10:45  
Blogger Flossie said...

Lucy, I think you have misunderstood what Malcolm Smith has said. I have been saying the same things myself for the past 20 years and, like it or not, they are happening. Men do not like feminised churches - neither do women, come to that. They want robust teaching, not touchy-feely huggy stuff. Church is not a cosy social club.

I know I have posted this item before (several times, probably) but you have ignored the irrefutable fact that women clergy are weaker on doctrinal and moral issues than men, so perhaps you will take some account of the Swiss study which shows that children are far less likely to remain at church once they reach adulthood if the father is a non-attender.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-05-024-v

People who say now that they 'do not see a problem with women bishops' will - eventually.

I do despair when women hanker after men's roles, especially with secular values such as 'equality'. What is wrong with being women?



23 March 2014 at 10:54  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Explorer,

I've learned that there are people here that you can have a meaningful conversation with and others you can't (regardless of whether or not you agree with their position).

23 March 2014 at 11:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

So, mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating of the Rylands fragment puts it at 117 AD +/- 25 years. Is that what all this dancing around with questions is all about?

23 March 2014 at 11:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Bultmann thought John's Gospel was composed after 200AD because of its advanced Christology.

The Rylands fragment is in Coptic. Allowing for translation speeds, that puts the Greek original at around 90AD: which is what tradition always said it was. It allows for John as the author.

Rylands disposes of Bultmann: but only if carbon dating is reliable. That's what I was getting at.

Disallow carbon dating, and there is no point in using Rylands as an argument about authorship.

23 March 2014 at 11:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

There's a lot to be said for just, well, writing what needs to be said up front rather than dancing around like Rudolf Nureyev.

23 March 2014 at 11:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

One question, followed by one reminder. A sentence each. The other question was on the separate topic of the geocentric system.

In our quaint way, we Christians are concerned about whether we are dealing in the Gospels with first-hand experience, or with something dreamed up centuries after the event.

23 March 2014 at 12:02  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Fellows, there is a conspiracy out there to denigrate the sexes as God would have them. Have us all the same, bodily bits not withstanding...

Person and person created He them.

23 March 2014 at 12:22  
Blogger Len said...

The big mistake that the State church made was embracing 'Darwinism' to such an extent that they buried him in the foundations of the State Church. Westminster Abbey itself!.
Now all good Christians know that the only Foundation of Christianity is the true foundation Stone Jesus Christ.
Any Church built on a false foundation will be swept away when the storms come (including any skeletons they might have in their vaults)


23 March 2014 at 12:41  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Flossie
Women are not weaker on doctrinal or moral isues.

If you were at one of those hypothetical dinner parties, which we will confine to those alive from say 1950, with Elizabeth Anscombe (R.C. philosopher), Dame Cicely Saunders (Anglican founder of the Hospice movement), Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Frances Young (Methodist theologian), Jackie Pullinger (mission to drug addicts and famous writer), Joni Eareckson Tada, Mother Frances Dominica (Helen House), Lavinia Byrne (RC theologian), and Baroness Cox, (and these are just off the cuff) would you really feel comfortable telling them that they were second rate thinkers and had little moral sense, and that you were unlikely to learn anything from them as they had no authority?

That is just not how the world works, and it is contrary to all common sense, and I know loads of men who would be more than delighted to be in a room with that collection of people, and open to learning whatever they could from any one of them.

23 March 2014 at 14:39  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

"I cannot understand why you would not listen to a female preacher or think she could have authority. Now take an example of
a) a man who heard Mary as she spoke what has become known as the "Magnificat" and learnt from it
b) someone who heard the "oral tradition" in the early church and learnt from it
c) someone who waited until it was written down by a man before he learnt from it"

Lucy I learn from women every day of my life. In Bible study I learn new things from women every time I attend. When a woman speaks to me in church or outside I learn form her. A couple of months ago we met a with a member of the CofE Synod, I learned a lot from her. Of course I learn form my wife and her interactions with people and different perspective. (BTW Women do have a different perspective.)

That is not the issue. We are talking about authority. By attending a Church lead by a woman I would be submitting to her authority. It is bad for me and is a terrible role model for my family especially my sons.

Forget gender for a moment and listen to members of WATCH in a debate with those that disagree with them. How do they come across?

I attended a church service today which was lead by a female priest (In the Anglican Church it is difficult to avoid it). It was a Garrison Church so the average age was about 35.

I counted there were 21 worshipers not including Children. 4 were men. (One of the "men" was wearing skirt - not a Kilt-- but he looked like a man so he was counted as being one) No the men weren't in Afghan or on exercise.

Phil

23 March 2014 at 15:58  
Blogger Anglican said...

There was a very interesting article on ‘Men and Church’ in Anglican-Mainstream, 21 January 2011. It came from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in North America.

23 March 2014 at 17:21  
Blogger Flossie said...

And here is the link, Anglican.

http://www.antiochian.org/node/17069

23 March 2014 at 17:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

I'm not really sure whether you are playing fair with Flossie. Flossie didn't say women were weaker but "women clergy".

In your list of worthies, the only one who is/was ordained as far as I am aware) is Francis Young, who takes an unorthodox view of the incarnation. The greatest thinker on that list is Elizabeth Anscombe - and I can't see her being ordained (even if she weren't dead) - when questioned on it, she thought it enough to recite the names of the 12 Apostles. So your list, insofar as it supports anything, supports Flossie's contention.

23 March 2014 at 17:31  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I don't understand how God's word and direction, can mean less to believers if delivered or interpreted by a female. Is it not the message rather than the mouth from which it comes what matters to Christians?

Jesus is supposed to have lived at a time when male domination by the tradition of the time (context being all important as I am constantly reminded) but that is not the case today.

I have no dog in this fight - Just sayin'.

23 March 2014 at 18:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

I don't understand how God's word and direction, can mean less to believers if delivered or interpreted by a female. Is it not the message rather than the mouth from which it comes what matters to Christians?

True - as today's Gospel about the Samaritan woman demonstrates. But if the question is about ordination, it's not just a question of who brings the message.

Jesus is supposed to have lived at a time when male domination by the tradition of the time (context being all important as I am constantly reminded) but that is not the case today.

It is not possible to believe that Jesus is God incarnate and to believe that he only picked men because of his culture. The incarnation means Jesus only does what he sees the Father doing.

23 March 2014 at 18:36  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

the question is about ordination

Did Jesus say not to ordain women?

23 March 2014 at 19:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

Did Jesus say not to ordain women?

No, he just didn't.

23 March 2014 at 19:25  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

No, he just didn't.

So it must be a man thing then; as I said, more an expression of the cultural norm, than a divine decree against 50% of humanity.

I appreciate your candid responses.

23 March 2014 at 19:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

So it must be a man thing then; as I said, more an expression of the cultural norm, than a divine decree against 50% of humanity.

No, because of the nature of the case. If it was the Father's will that women be included in this ministry, then Jesus would have done so. Not to have done so for human cultural reasons, would have made Jesus disobedient, which would be another way of making him a sinful man, not God incarnate.

23 March 2014 at 19:44  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

If it was the Father's will that women be included in this ministry, then Jesus would have done so.

It's doin me 'ed in. Thanks anyway

23 March 2014 at 20:13  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Is it prejudice on Happy Jack's part that when he looks at the picture of these ordained women, it just doesn't 'feel' right? Now I know pictures of male priests can be odd too but somehow Jack sees past this.

Jack does not like the idea of women priests. Jesus came as a man. He words were gentle and manly. The love He taught was compassionate and manly. He was a physically strong man who we know endured suffering beyond very many men. He talked about His relationship as a Son to His Father. The Church is His Bride.

In Jacks view the ordained ministry should stay with men. That is being passed to women is a symptom of a much deeper spiritual malaise facing the churches and society.

23 March 2014 at 21:00  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, HJ @ 21.00. There is no doubt that female priests are capable of exceptional ministry, but by virtue of their very nature, that ministry is different to that of a man. The Church inevitably changes with the feminisation of its priesthood. If that change fails to result in more bums on pews, or participation of any kind, the initiative has been a failure.

How will the boosters of a feminised priesthood deal with that failure? Indeed, can they even admit failure? The recognition of failure leads onwards to self-assessment, and ultimately to a potential admission that success is beyond reach. Taking these steps requires exceptional integrity and a capacity for accepting responsibility. Blaming extraneous factors doesn't cut it, and at some point the awful truth must be faced.

23 March 2014 at 21:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Bluedog,

If that change fails to result in more bums on pews, or participation of any kind, the initiative has been a failure.

Actually, I don't think we can test these things by bums on seats - Jesus was deserted after all, but given the promises made at the beginning, it certainly seems a failure on its own terms.

Or is it the other way around? Women's ordination fails to get more bums on seats because the initiative is itself a failure of faith in Christ.

Either way, I continue to be surprised by how little theology there is in the innovation.

23 March 2014 at 21:32  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Dreadnaught.

On this one we agree. It is weird to go on about manly this and manly that. Many men and women say that they don't primarily think of themselves as male or female but as person, and that is so for me too.

In fact I encounter it as strange when they put their gender up front as their identity. Sure it is part, but for much of life it just is irrelevant. When a dentist has a drill in your mouth you couldn't care less what gender they are, but you care about the steadiness of the hand an awful lot. And in so many transactions one just could not care, so long as the job is done.

@ Happy Jack. What is "manly" unpacked? Courageous; yes, but women are required to be courageous too. Giving birth and coming back again to do it again is impossible without courage. Enduring pain is similarly a female necessity. You will never know what it feels like to breastfeed after giving birth; stomach spasm after stomach spasm but you know it is the good and the right thing to do. You seem to come down to physical strength, but that has never been a requirement to ordination!! If the love he taught was "compassionate and manly" do you see his females followers as logically de-feminised if they follow Him?

I think there are logical knots there. My feeling is that you are giving us a post-operative rationalisation of strong feelings. If Jesus died also to save women the new life characterised by the Holy Spirit cannot be gender-specific you see! As the word "manly" is.

@ Albert
Can you actually tell me where Jesus spoke about ordaining anyone at all?

I think you are back-reading in the forms of the Roman Catholic Church into a time when they did not exist!

And as for all that choosing of disciples, it does seem that he also chose some women as well, as for instance Mary Magdalene, who was quite central, though we are not yet sure how central.

23 March 2014 at 21:44  
Blogger bluedog said...

Albert @ 2132, at the risk of adopting what could be described as a Lenist, but not Leninist, position, the problem arises through the definition or quantification of Christian belief through the vector of the established Churches. His Grace's most Christian blog generates a startling number of hits by all accounts, each of which is a cyber act of Christian witness and worship in its own way. However, the physical infrastructure of the Church demands a physical ministerial or priestly presence for it to function. Communicants are expressing a preference for a different medium, the cyber church. Thus this communicant rejects the proposition that Christianity is dying, but suggests that it is reconfiguring itself to take advantage of different means of propagation. The problem arises in that the very young and others who lack access to electronic media are shut out of this cyber-process. Thus Christian RE or RI remains of critical importance, and the Churches/Cathedrals etc are important for worship that is inevitably physical in nature; the hatch, match and dispatch routines.

23 March 2014 at 21:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Lucy:

"We are not yet sure how central."

When are we likely to become sure, and on what basis?

The surfacing of new historical evidence always requires re-evaluation. Otherwise, it's a question of re-interpreting what exists.

I believe there was a medieval legend that Mary Magdalene evangelised the south of France, but it seems to have been a late invention rather than based on documentary evidence.

23 March 2014 at 21:59  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Happy Jack @ 21:00

I really struggle with this whole issue.

Agree totally about the picture, but would feel the same way about a female-only grouping of doctors or lawyers.

Our local surgery has a mixture of male and female doctors, and it works fine. We had conveyancing work done by a female solicitor, and wills drawn up by a male.

Admittedly, theology is not involved in either of those professions, and both groups still have a healthy supply of males. The C of E is more problematic on both counts.

23 March 2014 at 22:09  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

My profession (veterinary surgery) was very late to admit women, believing they lacked the physical strength for the large animal work. Now the women in the veterinary colleges outnumber the men by five to one, and you can guarantee that at least once a month there will be an elderly (male) vet writing in to bewail how the profession has "gone to the dogs" since they let all these women in. But the injured dog on my consulting table doesn't know or care if I possess a Y chromosome, it only knows whether or not I stop the pain.

As far as female clergy goes, the RCC hasn't got them and I've never really had an issue with that. In my more uncharitable moments I wonder why on earth any sane person would want to take on the job of a parish priest, be they male or female. I did say that to my PP once. He said sanity has never been a requirement for any role in the hierarchy :)

23 March 2014 at 22:26  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy, Happy Jack says the bottom line really is whether you believe Jesus intended women to be priests or bishops. And if not, why not?

Jack has given some of the reasons for keeping ordained offices to men only. There is a great difference between men and women. Jesus was a man. He only chose men as Apostles who, in turn, ordained men and not women.

23 March 2014 at 22:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sister T:

In our local DIY I saw a girl operating a fork-lift truck. A girl can push a button as easily as a boy can. In the days before machinery, though, when heavy stuff had to be hoisted manually, it was a different matter. And male navvies dug he railway cuttings.

It's why Wimbledon still has separate categories for men and women. Eliminate that, and how many female champions would there be? Martina Navratilova herself gave the answer.

Where brain power is involved instead of muscle power it's harder to generalise. Larry Summers of Harvard lost his job for raising it.

23 March 2014 at 22:39  
Blogger Flossie said...

Explorer, Jesus chose men for a very good reason. They had difficult and dangerous work to do . They all died horrible deaths. In some parts of the world the role of bishop is still difficult and dangerous. Jesus loved women, perhaps too much to expect that of them.

As Mother Teresa said, women have other things to do.

23 March 2014 at 22:45  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Explorer, I can tell you that when foaling a mare, no high tech saves a vet, it's your arm up inside her slowly losing all vestiges of circulation while your other shoulder freezes to the ground if she's decided to drop the foal in a frozen field. And some women would not have the strength for it. I'm tall and broad shouldered and managed many years of equine practice. My best friend in college was tiny, and couldn't have done it, but she is an excellent, delicate small animal surgeon, far better than I ever was.

I hesitate very much to generalise anything about men and women and what they are best suited for. I think you can only look at individual people and what they can do well. And that's where most of the battle-of-the-sexes arguments fall down.

23 March 2014 at 22:45  
Blogger Frater minor said...

I hesitate very much to generalise anything about men and women and what they are best suited for. I think you can only look at individual people and what they can do well. And that's where most of the battle-of-the-sexes arguments fall down.

I think this is where the argument goes wrong.
It seems to me that it is not so much a question of what men are good at and what women are good at. I think it is much more to do with the question of what does it mean that God made mankind male and female. Clearly it is far more than just the way that we reproduce, since many lower creatures reproduce either without sex at all or are hermaphrodite, and also since it says that this maleness and femaleness is something that reflects the image of God Himself.

It seems to me that to be female above all else is to nurture, while to be male above all else is to lead.

It strikes me that the office of bishop or elder or presbyter is an office of leadership, and is much more than a list of jobs or of competencies.


Frater minor

23 March 2014 at 23:04  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Sister T:

Desmond Morris wrote somewhere that if you took a hundred men and a hundred women and told them to run a distance, ninety of the first hundred would be men. I suspect he was right.

What is true of the mass is not true of the individual within the mass: as your example of you and your friend shows.

I find it all very difficult territory.

23 March 2014 at 23:05  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...


It is, Explorer, and I'm going to leave the argument here, since I'm on a sticky wicket. My Lenten observance this year is to not engage in any arguments at all with certain people in the blogosphere, since I've been told that until after Easter any uncharitable posts to these people incur a penalty of one decade of the Rosary and a donation to CAFOD. If I carry on as I normally do, I'll be broke by Easter and have worn my beads out. My most recent confessor believes in making the penance fit the crime :)

23 March 2014 at 23:16  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Thanks Your Grace, interesting post. Sorry about those saddening stats.

I haven't got anything clever to say, but appreciated the attempt at holding false prophets to their predictions. I suppose the cry would always come back that leading social change rather than being seen to trail it by decades would be the only way to persuade the world that we meet and exceed their standards.

But ho hum, someone once said "set not overmuch by this false glosing world but upon God and the world to come. And learn to know what this lesson meaneth … the love of this world is hatred against God".

23 March 2014 at 23:28  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

someone once said "set not overmuch by this false glosing world but upon God and the world to come. And learn to know what this lesson meaneth … the love of this world is hatred against God".

Sounds like something that might be said to a Muslim suicide bomber.

24 March 2014 at 08:22  
Blogger Len said...

When we go back to' Genesis' in the Bible we see that Eve was deceived by Satan.
Adam was not deceived but due to his love for Eve he followed her rather than God.
This was the first division in the
'Church' (followers of God)
Through this rebellion Satan gained access to this world by default.
Though the creation account in Genesis we see that the makeup of men and women is different(not just physical)man is not superior and woman is not inferior ..just different.
It is quite apparent that men today follow deceptive religions but this is probably from a sense of loyalty to the woman(their religion ) rather than a desire for the truth as revealed by God in the Gospel..

24 March 2014 at 08:47  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

I suspect that Tony Baldry would open a 'process of dialogue and mediation' should Synod ever debate and vote in favour of the existence of God. Such a 'disappointing vote' must be overridden, of course.

'I am not a theologian'...shouldn't the person doing this job have at least some idea of theology?

24 March 2014 at 10:26  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, Happy Jack says you need a bit of evidence for this assertion:

"It is quite apparent that men today follow deceptive religions but this is probably from a sense of loyalty to the woman(their religion ) rather than a desire for the truth as revealed by God in the Gospel."

Are you saying women are the cause of the world's ills? Jack believes many of the wrong turns taken by the Christian churches have been based on a misplaced desire to be "compassionate" and "pastoral". Men are as guilty of this as women. And do remember the sex of the person who betrayed Jesus. Adam was weak in the face of temptation. We all are. This is why we need strong ministers who do not make concessions to the sins of our times.

24 March 2014 at 10:38  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Len@8.47
Yes, and feminism is truly a deceptive religion - I am sure it is founded on the lie that women were 'discriminated' against. The more I read, the more I spot clues to the contrary. For instance, just reading a theological study published in 1904 and it appeals to two different women as reputable authorities in Greek and Hebrew. One is a Miss and the other a Mrs, of Cambridge...gives the lie to the idea that women, whether single or married, were excluded from academic life doesn't it?!! My personal opinion is that during the 1800's, many wealthy women grew lazy on the back of their husbands' money...

24 March 2014 at 10:52  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

O Dreadnaught (08:22)

It was said by His Grace, just before he died.

I don't think it's ad hominem to say your reaction to the quote is not supremely intelligent, dear chap.

Although some have died in extreme circumstances, Anglicans are not particularly well known for producing suicide bombers. Can you think of any?

Think about it - something else must be going on here... there just might be a group of people who are prepared to lay down their lives to safeguard others' chance at eternal security - the direct opposite of sending them to the Hell they know they deserve.

I'm suggesting that as Anglicanism (or any other denomination) loses that eternal perspective, it loses its central earthly edge and is difficult distinguish from the temporal world around it.

That's not great for growth - losing the most positive thing about your faith in exchange for temporal relevance.

24 March 2014 at 11:34  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Sister Tiberia

I find it refreshing to read your comments which have common sense and observation wedded to principle and theory. Your observations about foaling are spot on.

And they remind me that the risen life of Jesus involves being courageous and according to your physical strength different things will be courageous. A man in his 70s struggling up and down a muddy river bank to save his dog (which I recently heard of) was courageous. For a man in his 20s it would be nothing extraordinary, just as changing a lightbulb is a very different task for a man of 6ft 6 and one who is 4 foot tall and suffers from vertigo.

As an Evangelical I tend to see preaching the word as being as important as presiding at the Eucharist if not more so, and it seems foolish to exclude the best women from doing the former, and it is very rare to find a Church that does. As for the latter if Jesus represented all people, male and female on the cross, and in his risen life, and thus the Holy Spirit enlivens all Christians, male and female, then all thus enlivened represent Him, and are given all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

So I don't see any problem, as long as those who choose who is to be ordained choose correctly, and I would suggest that St. Paul in his passage about covering the head specifically excludes women who wear their hair short in the manner of a man, which means crew cuts, or even uncovered ears and short round the back of the neck to my mind. In any case avoid those who are not content to be as the Good Lord made them, or who ape men, and couldn't they wear a more female form of dog collar to aid this? Or the old fashioned preaching bands?

The best are very good, the worst were hurried through for the sake of being politically correct, with insufficient care, and too many near clones of the Vicar of Dibley, as if that represented some kind of template, although very few real people are anything like that or should be. How horribly influenced by TV are we?! I guess there are some Derek Nimmo clones around too!!

24 March 2014 at 11:42  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I should have admitted that I don't actually believe that the President at the Eucharist does represent Jesus Christ at the Last Supper but that if you do believe that then if women are saved and renewed by the Holy Spirit by Jesus who represented them on the cross it should present no problem to those who do believe that, as the representation cuts both ways.

24 March 2014 at 12:07  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ rasher bacon
"Anglicans are not particularly well known for producing suicide bombers".

Thanks for giving me my first good laugh of the day:-)

24 March 2014 at 12:15  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

Can you actually tell me where Jesus spoke about ordaining anyone at all?

I think you are back-reading in the forms of the Roman Catholic Church into a time when they did not exist!


It's clear that Jesus set the apostles apart, and that they, through something which looks like what we would call ordination, did so as well. So I don't think I am doing that - at least not in any material sense.

But the question is moot, I think. We are talking here about priests and bishops, are we not? The idea of these roles implies some kind of apostolic succession. Thus someone who thinks the apostles does not apply here is not really talking about these ministries, and someone who is talking about these ministries is caught up in the issue of Jesus's example.

In any case, I think Jesus' example is important, even if one does not believe in apostolic succession.

And as for all that choosing of disciples, it does seem that he also chose some women as well, as for instance Mary Magdalene, who was quite central, though we are not yet sure how central.

There are no women among the apostles in the NT. To suggest that anyone who has any kind of ministry is an apostle is an extreme kind of clericalism which obscures the role of lay ministry in the Church.

24 March 2014 at 13:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Bluedog,

I am not denying anything you are saying there. I am simply denying that the truth or rightness of ordaining women is dependent on Church growth (or decline). The fact that it was supposed to produce growth and hasn't is significant, because it means it fails on its own rationale (which was naive or dishonest, I think).

24 March 2014 at 13:50  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I don't think it's ad hominem to say your reaction to the quote is not supremely intelligent, dear chap.

No offence taken Rasher, context is all as they say, but that does not make my comment any less invalid IMHO.

24 March 2014 at 15:00  
Blogger Anglican said...

Flossie 23 March 2014 17:26

Thank you for the link about men in the Orthodox Church. There was an earlier radio broadcast on the same subject. The transcript is

http://frederica.com/writings/men-and-church.html

24 March 2014 at 16:04  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Just saw this.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-business/10714342/Female-vicars-Weve-been-spat-at-sent-porn-and-sexually-harassed.html

If accurate, then a few people who presumably would call themselves Christians ought to be ashamed of themselves. Whatever their views on female clergy.


24 March 2014 at 16:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Sr T,

If accurate, then a few people who presumably would call themselves Christians ought to be ashamed of themselves. Whatever their views on female clergy.

Having been in the CofE I would say that this stuff is true, but not usually coming from within the CofE. After all, those who are opposed to women's ordination generally don't have much to do with women clergy. Those who are in favour are presumably unlikely to be abusive towards them.

So my guess is that this stuff isn't reflective of opposition in the CofE, but of weird people outside the CofE or the Church completely.

Have you ever read this book:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spiritual-Quest-Francis-Wagstaffe/dp/085244298X

It's hilarious. The author sends endless mad spurious letters to Anglican bishops. Amazingly, the bishops reply. Conclusion: the clergy get weird stuff directed at them all the time, it comes with the territory. Part of the ministry is handling it. Of course if a weirdo has some kind misogyny or something similar, then that feeds into the weirdness too and becomes disturbing and unpleasant.

24 March 2014 at 16:36  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Sister Tiberia

Well the men in my church, imperfect though like all churches it is of course, are fine with women priests.

In fact one distinguished gentleman in his nineties who died a few years ago specifically demanded that a hospital chaplain to whom he had taken a shine should take his funeral, so welcome was her pastoral care to the terminally ill. I am sure this happens right round the country.

That is the real world as far as I am concerned, where people get on with- mostly- liking each other, gentlemen are rather fond of the ministrations of caring women, and calm measured British people welcome one another's gifts, and are not given to bellyaching about tedious laws of which gender should do what. "The law brings death, but the Spirit gives life."

24 March 2014 at 16:38  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Albert

I agree with your analysis that it is unlikely to be Christians by and large, thought the odd fringe weirdo might be amongst them. Male clergy don't often get spat at, but I have been at Good Friday open air services where there was jeering and heckling of the community at large.

I once really annoyed some anti-Christian protesters at a BBC site who were complaining about Christians having services and enacting the story of Good Friday in the market place by suggesting they could join in the crowd scenes as the ones who cried "Crucify him"; oddly enough they found this very insulting though the rest of their comments were about how awful they thought Christianity was and how we should have many of our rights stripped from us as we were a blight on society. They did not wish to consider themselves as having had historical antecedents as mockers and disparagers within the Christian drama.

I suspect this type of conflicted person was more the sort who spits at dog collars. A young person in a dog collar tends to be shocked and disorientated; an older person would be more likely to flick it back at them, male or female alike.

The ones who send porn are suggesting that the place of women is as sex objects, and at the same time expressing their opposition to any system that proscribes their own sexual behaviour, while at the same time needing and longing for boundaries. If the women involved responded right past the offence to speak to the need and the longing they might be knocked sideways...but that carries some risk.

24 March 2014 at 17:14  
Blogger Flossie said...

What men and women are capable of doing has no bearing whatsoever, (we all know women are better at most things than men!) and shows a common secular misunderstanding of priesthood - as does the idea of a glass ceiling and career ladder to the episcopacy which many seem to hold.

As the chances of the C of E recanting and putting an end to the ordination of women is zilch, thanks to the stratagems used to get to this point, we will just have to await the outworking of the Gamaliel principle - if it is 'of God' it will prosper, and if it is not, it will wither and die. The latter seems rather more likely at this juncture.

24 March 2014 at 17:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Lucy,

Good for you on the BBC website. Yes, there is clearly some conflict with this sort of thing. I think what you say about youthfulness is true also. As for the sexual element, it is (or was at least) common for nuns to be flashed. The idea of a woman's presumed holiness, chastity, virginity, purity in general etc. obviously plays into a particular kind of distorted man's mind - or at least his opportunity to corrupt all that. None of that is really a reflection of opposition of women's ordination, since it isn't the ordination but the presumed holiness that is the target.

I once heard the story of a nun who was flashed in the street. Unbeknown to the man, the nun was also a nurse, so she said "Put that away, I've seen many better than that." One hopes that was the last time he tried that on any woman!

24 March 2014 at 17:33  
Blogger Meledor said...

@ Lucy Mullen 11:42

As an Evangelical I tend to see preaching the word as being as important as presiding at the Eucharist if not more so, and it seems foolish to exclude the best women from doing the former, and it is very rare to find a Church that does.


I know “Evangelical” does not mean what it used to. But those who reckon that taking God’s word seriously is key to what should be understood by the term, believe that God has done exactly what you consider to be foolish. “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” I Timothy 2:12

We are hearing the message from the C of E loud and clear that it is indeed ‘getting with the program’ and no longer takes God’s word seriously. As a result we are staying away as His Grace reports.

24 March 2014 at 17:53  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Who are those wimmin in the photograph heading this article? They look incredibly dowdy and disagreeable...if having wimmin like that is suppose to draw people to the Church my name is William Hague. The church may be one foundation, but I wonder how many are concealed under those purple garments?

24 March 2014 at 19:38  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Yes but the verb "authentein" probably refers to the way that cult prostitution combined learning with sex, and relates to Ephesian practices of the 1st Century, not the type of learning that is usual these days!!

If you follow your interpretation through to its logical conclusion it becomes unworkable and foolish, which is a sure sign something is wrong in my view.

If you go into a nursing home for the elderly with dementia you will find plenty of women in total authority of men with dementia and Alzheimers; are you seriously suggesting that men with Alzheimers should be telling the nursing staff what to do, or their wives, or running their own bank accounts? Maybe they should do the driving and their wives should sit meekly beside them while they go down the motorway in the fast lane in the wrong direction doing 20mph?

Society would break down if this was put into practice so I shall take it the way it is most often interpreted.

Authentein is a very unusual word and a somewhat course one indeed.

24 March 2014 at 19:51  
Blogger Meledor said...

Lucy,

I think it's a shame that modern 'evangelicals' have been encouraged to turn away from the truth of God's word by the modern fantasy that a) cult prostitution existed in Ephesus in NT times and b) that this was the reason for Paul's comments (rather than of course the Genesis account of Adam and Eve).

http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_ephesus_baugh.html


I would point out that any application of 1 Timothy 2 should be governed by the fact the setting for Paul's comments is a church meeting. We should be wary of trying to apply it elsewhere such as nursing homes.

24 March 2014 at 20:32  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

"If you go into a nursing home for the elderly with dementia you will find plenty of women in total authority of men with dementia and Alzheimers; are you seriously suggesting that men with Alzheimers should be telling the nursing staff what to do, or their wives, or running their own bank accounts? Maybe they should do the driving and their wives should sit meekly beside them while they go down the motorway in the fast lane in the wrong direction doing 20mph?"

You really need to look again at what authority of male headship in the Bible actually means. It has nothing at all to do with the trivia you mentioned above.

Phil

24 March 2014 at 20:49  
Blogger bluedog said...

Albert @ 13.50, understood.

24 March 2014 at 20:55  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Mrs Proudie of Barchester

"Who are those wimmin in the photograph heading this article? They look incredibly dowdy and disagreeable...if having wimmin like that is suppose to draw people to the Church my name is William Hague"

Yet again you say what needs to be said and nobody is saying.

We have to ask WHY are they dowdy and disagreeable (I agree that if they look it they probably are)Presumably they are saved, they love Jesus with all their heart and are willing to give everything to him and follow his will.

It reminds me of a story I once heard of a man who was cured of terrible disease that would have killed him but the doctor found out what the problem was and cured him and told him that he would live a long life, but he now needed to give up chocolate.

He was now sad because he now had to give up chocolate to get his life back.

The priestesses in the caption are not willing to give up their chocolate for God.

So, do they love God?

Phil



24 March 2014 at 20:59  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

So we have women priests (I prefer priestesses but then I was taught English) and the churches are empty; we have gay priests and the churches are empty; we have The Book of Common Worship and Series III and the churches are empty...perhaps we should have declare the second Sunday after Lent 'Naked Novice Night' with pole dancing and vodka shots...

24 March 2014 at 21:39  
Blogger Albert said...

Phil Roberts,

We have to ask WHY are they dowdy and disagreeable

We probably don't need to create an argument against women's ordination from that. They appear to be at some kind of Church meeting! Further explanation of their disagreeable countenance is unnecessary.

24 March 2014 at 21:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Mrs Proudie,

perhaps we should have declare the second Sunday after Lent 'Naked Novice Night' with pole dancing and vodka shots

It was called the Nine O'clock Service. At first numbers grew. Then it all went horribly wrong.

24 March 2014 at 21:44  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Flossie, you say we all know women are better at most things than men, but I beg to differ. Let us not go down the Marxist Gramsci Feminist road of making sneaky snide comments denigrating men. It is not on. Our Lord was a man, after all.

24 March 2014 at 21:46  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness dear Albert...I was only joking! I had no idea the Alpha Course was so progressive...

24 March 2014 at 21:48  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Albert, it is said, by those of a medical persuasion that when ladies spend a lot of time together they synchronise in certain ways...imagine the shrillness of that! Believe me I am speaking as one who knows...

24 March 2014 at 21:52  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ phil

None of that is trivia. Maybe you don't know many people where one spouse has Alzheimers or dementia, but there are lots and lots around.
Then there are people married to Christians who have bi-polar disorder when the one without the disorder must be in control or they run out of funds pronto after a few manic spending spree episodes, no matter whether the man is a confessing Christian or not.

@ Meledor. I am only quoting evangelical NT scholars. Quite why you think they have made up the cult of Diana in Ephesus is beyond me. Have you done a personal study of all the places in antiquity where the word "authentein" is used? I prefer to read the writings of scholars who got good degrees from decent universities in Classics, NT greek, and theology. If they are not up to that mark I discount them.

I think you should celebrate that the Scriptures are not oppressive to women, and not resist the good news.

24 March 2014 at 22:13  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

And here is a gem:bltnotjustasandwich.com/2011/09/05/deduction-and-tom-wrights-translation-of-timothy-211-12/

Happy reading!

24 March 2014 at 22:50  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

differentandequal.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/1-timothy-212-in-context-4/

And another, and in this one the Rev Dr. Michael Green agrees, and he is expert in NT greek, having kicked off with a congratulatory 1st in Greats (classics) from Oxford, followed by 1st in theology at Cambridge.

I would need extremely strong proof that these two scholars and men of God are mistaken, and not just assertion.

24 March 2014 at 23:40  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

I haven't had much time to read this thread properly, but I've got to admire Lucy Mullen's tenaciousness in debate and taking on 'all comers'.

24 March 2014 at 23:54  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Lucy

What about the last few thousand years?

Wasn't convinced by NIV scholars back when that came out - I was in a church with one of them. The latest version changes some of the stuff a child could correct.

NT Wright's argument sounds weak and contrived - as if he wishes it were true. It doesn't fit the rest of the Bible - it has to be isolated from other similar texts and the whole tenor of the Old Testament to make it say what he wants.

I know he's said some good things, but he's quite confused on others, and this looks like one of them.

It all feels like a desire to avoid ridicule and the anger which he mentioned. There's plenty more where that came from.


25 March 2014 at 00:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says whatever the arguments women priests are just not right.

Call it 4000 years of religious conditioning, if you will, but God in His wisdom made men and women different and established the nature of their relationship. He also made His views pretty clear about a male priesthood too.

And Jesus didn't change any of this. We can't say He was a prisoner of the culture of the times. Many pagan religions had women priests. And whilst we're all one in Christ, this doesn't mean we are all the same.

25 March 2014 at 00:26  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Happy Jack

"He also made His views pretty clear about a male priesthood too."


So clear that Our Blessed Lord never said one word about it?

Ok, I'm being mischievous here (and probably will pay for it via rosary and CAFOD) but it's a subject that I've never personally cared enough about to argue. Better scholars than I am have made all the arguments before. My PP who has a Masters degree in theology is not convinced by the current arguments. Nor was the older Bishop who preached the retreat I was on in October. The argument in the RCC has fallen back on the old faithful "because we said so and it's infallible by virtue of the ordinary magisterium so why won't you all shut up about it".

Honestly? I can live with the fact that they have the authority to say it, while still saying their reasoning is crap. Albert, I will not be replying to your answer to this BTW so if you want an argument you've got to wait till Easter Monday.

Lucy, you might find this amusing - it's slightly tongue in cheek and rather sad at the same time. The author also holds a Masters degree in Theology.

http://questionsfromaewe.blogspot.ca/2014/03/some-theology-of-women-from-woman.html

25 March 2014 at 08:54  
Blogger Meledor said...

Lucy

What did you make of the S M Baugh article I referenced in an earlier post?

As regards NT Wright while he says some things that are worthwhile he does make a few howlers.

“When someone of Wright’s influence and stature starts telling us that blue is pink, when the apostle Paul plainly told us that pink is pink, nothing is gained by pretending that it wasn’t a howler”

http://dougwils.com/s16-theology/serious-scholars-clown-car-review.html

see also:

http://dougwils.com/s16-theology/fresh-butter-at-ephesus.html#more-93286


I also would also immediately question any article that quotes approvingly of the work of Catherine Kroeger. Her work in this area on what was happening in Ephesus has unfortunately been very influential in “evangelical” circles, but has been totally discredited by classicists.

http://christianstudies.wordpress.com/tag/kroeger/

I hope you are seeing the extent to which modern “evangelical” thinking has been influenced by the zeitgeist.

25 March 2014 at 09:23  
Blogger Albert said...

Sr T,

The argument in the RCC has fallen back on the old faithful "because we said so and it's infallible by virtue of the ordinary magisterium so why won't you all shut up about it".

Now that's not really fair is it? Or true. For the record, I too have a Masters in Theology and I don't need to fall back on the Magisterium on this matter. The arguments in favour are truly terrible. The arguments for ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood are uniquely bad because they - uniquely in the history of heresy - require us to deny that the example of Jesus Christ is authoritative or true. Which means of course, that they require us to deny Jesus Christ is God made Man.

25 March 2014 at 10:11  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Reply will be posted on Easter Monday, Albert. :)

25 March 2014 at 10:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Fine! I can wait!

25 March 2014 at 10:39  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Sister Tiberia, Happy Jack says you seem to have had a series of remarkably liberal parish priests.

25 March 2014 at 12:22  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I've had a series of very intelligent parish priests, HJ. Whether the two are connected - well, heaven knows

25 March 2014 at 12:33  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Mind you, a certain writer in the Catholic Herald got himself in a lot of trouble last year by saying something similar - he wrote an article saying that while he considered the ultra liberal and the ultra traditionalist to both be a danger to the church, he considered the liberals a greater danger because in general they were more articulate and more intelligent. Of course, he then had every Traditionalist Catholic reader screaming "Oh, so you think we're a threat to the Church AND you think we're thick?" They had to close the comments on the article in the end. I don't think it was this writer's finest hour :)

25 March 2014 at 13:00  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Rasher Bacon

Translation is a pretty mechanical business. Get the verb, the nouns, the adjectives and the adverbs, and see how they relate to each other. NT greek is not like a Dylan Thomas poem, with lines capable of 3 or 4 meanings line after line. Here we see verses with an unusual amount of different meanings and conjecture. A set of translators conjectured one way, and modern scholarship now thinks (thinks before feels, always in these matters; they have their credibility in the thinking arena, the academy, to uphold) that they were mistaken and this meaning does make more sense. That was the point being made. It makes more sense in the context of the times, of Jesus and of Paul. Women are given the role of witnesses; it would be strange for these draconian interpretations of these verses to accompany that, and contradicts what Paul said elsewhere.

Modern scholarship can run scripts through computers very quickly, and the 135 instances where this word and its conjugations were found were all within a sexual context. That is a hefty mountain of evidence that cannot be gainsaid.

I read the paper by S.M. Baugh and found it insubstantial with nothing to get one's teeth into, and rather a lot of asserting what he was going to say, asserting it, and then asserting his conclusions. Sorry but that is how I found it, a lot of "not necessarily" and "it could be" with no solid proof , nor even circumstantial evidence of any weight. I find the work of the academics I cited more substantial, and their reputations more secure.

25 March 2014 at 13:02  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

On a side not the women in the photo who some commented on are clearly substantially American, hence some purple shirts.

25 March 2014 at 13:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Sr T,

The idea that liberals are intelligent is prevalent in the CofE too. In fact, they're intellectually lazy. They appear intelligent to outsiders and the less thoughtful because their theology is built upon the foundation of the objections and difficulties of the less thoughtful. Conservatives on the other hand know the problems and the objections but can answer them.

In the end, liberals throw around common place arguments and opinions. That's not intelligence.

25 March 2014 at 14:23  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Lucy

I'm not near my bookshelf right now, but Strongs has the following:

authentéō (from 846 /autós, "self" and entea, "arms, armor") – properly, to unilaterally take up arms, i.e. acting as an autocrat – literally, self-appointed (acting without submission).


1 occurence in the Bible - 1 Timothy 2:12.

So just to be clear, are you saying that because this word was used in a sexual context linked with temple prostitution outside our Bible, it is to be restricted to a sexual context (i.e. within marriage) for Christians? Or that Paul is suddenly saying sex -learning is verboten during church services?

However much that sense is diluted, how does that (which you caveat with a 'probably' at 19:51) exclude the clear meaning which has been accepted up until the 1950s? What authority is there for refusing the inference that the word from this 1st century practice was being used to support male leadership by contrast with a disgusting practice?

If I take the place of a weary pleb who's heard 25 years of these arguments muttered over people's shoulders as they run away to be popular, can you tell me more clearly how this word is meant to change my view?

And please spare me the appeal to the scholastic version of the magisterium. Whenever I see a quadruple first in something it makes me wonder who marked that paper. Cardinal Hume's brother got great grades, but his own infidelity got him talking all sorts of junk. There was a time when the Higher Criticism ruled academia - I don't think it's been properly chased out.

Yes a good education is important, but 'modern theology' holds that something is true, it should at least stand scrutiny of the aforesmentioned pleb.

I can't yet see that it does.

25 March 2014 at 14:41  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

..and in my weariness, my typing & grammar went to pot. If people want to play spot the typo I'll donate a couple of quid per error to the blog refurb fund.

25 March 2014 at 14:54  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I don't know about Cardinal Hume's brother or whatever infidelity we are talking about.

What is the problem with defining a word according to its usage? That is what it means, and what its audience understands as its meaning. Biblical scholars have always cross referred to other texts to shed light on the meaning of the text. Why wouldn't they? It is a transparent process and not some naughty hole in the wall academic bit of jiggery-pokery. If "authentein" is used in a way that mixes knowledge with carnal knowledge then it is so. St. Paul did refer to ghastly things going on, as in the Corinthian incest. As did John the Baptist with the whole Salome business. (And gnostic teaching needed countering, as it does today.)

And of course there is the analogy to the OT where the phrase "X knew Y" frequently refers to carnal knowledge.

I don't think the marking systems of Oxford University have ever been suggested to be riddled with fraud, and both gentlemen mentioned are held in wide esteem and have preached the gospel up and down the country pouring themselves into their work,. mixing "with all sorts and conditions" and engaging with the nitty gritty of pastoral issues along the way. Like all who have done that they will have courted considerable opposition in some places and at some times and been well aware of sharing in the opprobrium sometimes heaped on that gospel.

Being scholarly and a person of the people, so you cannot be accused of blinding the "plebs" with your learning, being loving to people and yet standing up for what is right against the water that flows in the opposite direction must indeed be a delicate balancing act, and all honour to those who mostly successfully negotiate that by the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

25 March 2014 at 15:20  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Dear Lucy

Francis William Newman - Wikipedia seems to cover his double first at Oxford, professorship at UCL and journey from Christianity to apostacy quite well.

Para. 2 - no problem. I am. Aside from the translator's maxim 'words are like chameleons - they take colour from their surroundings' - the meaning is clear from Strongs concordance, and need not be changed by common use in the context you mention.

What exactly is inferred from the usage in a temple prostitution context? Looked at fairly on both sides, could that context also strengthen the argument against female authority over men? Can you see that as a valid alternative conclusion based on the same limited evidence? If not, why not?

Are you saying that Paul's purpose here in this passage was to prevent Christians learning through sex? I think that's the corner you've backed into but I'm not sure.

Even if that is the case, isn't there a similarity between the error you claim Paul was countering, and the example given further up the page of the dying gent which was regarded as a positive thing?

Para.4 I was not talking about the marking systems being riddled with fraud. I was talking about what constitutes a right or 'enlightened' answer. For example - if Saul of Tarsus had honestly marked a thesis on the deity of Jesus of Nazareth before the road to Damascus, he would have honestly repudiated it later in the school of Tyrannus. This is a humanities subject, not maths. I'm not suggesting NT Wright is a bad man - far, far from it. I am suggesting that academia has weaknesses as well as strengths.

Para.5 - is there a bit missing? I think you're being kind but you might be talking about someone else! :o)

25 March 2014 at 16:24  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

I have read you links and it seems that there certainly seems to be pressure to translate the Bible to fit the culture of today.

I think before you rewrite the passages then perhaps we need to look at precisely what Headship actually means. You seem to take a very narrow interpretation (The boss, always getting their own way etc) many people have interpreted much more favorably to women and society than your sources seem to. (Timothy Keller for one). It seems to me that if you understand what the words mean rather than trying to change the words, you do not not need to trash the Bible to try and make the Bible say what you want it to say.

I must also admit that I think Tom Wright has rather lost his way recently. He seems to become more and more liberal the older he gets. He holds the line on homosexuality--- Just about!

My view is that women's ordination will be seem by future generations as one point among many, where the church lost it way.

Phil

25 March 2014 at 17:38  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ phil
@ rasher bacon
There are too many balls being lobbed in my direction so have not time to answer them all. I do question why keeping ladies silent is so important to people that they will ignore the findings of modern lexicographical scholarship to stick their heads in the sand and say that they are jolly well going to stick with the English translation, inaccurate or not because it's what they are used to.

I am weary. I have explained the process. You use computers. You feed every known use of the word around the time into them and the contextual meaning. You come up with an overwhelmingly strong result. This is neutral scholarship. My own degree is in English so am aware of the difference between arts subjects and science subjects. I am also not unaware of respectable and not respectable textual analysis.

Of course there is cross reference between the semantics of a word in secular contemporary work of the time and the NT. Not for some specifically theological words, but that does not apply here. There really is no wiggle room. 135 examples all pointing the same direction is huge, and inescapable, and if N.T. Wright and others ignored it they would show a real lack of integrity, which is death to an academic.

There were gnostic and pagan cults where learning and initiation went together, like a mystery religion if you like, and if the priestesses were female and the initiate was male sex was involved. A bit like some people think that if you sleep with lecture notes under your pillow you might absorb the knowledge while asleep, they had a superstitious belief that you could absorb more knowledge/power by sleeping with the priestess of the cult. This was a local expectation which could have polluted the church, like mystery religions with initiates and focus upon the generative and the gnostic might today.

As for trashing the Bible, no. I am taking it sufficiently seriously to listen to what those who possess a scholarship which I do not have say as to what the original Greek might mean, for when Evangelicals put a high value, even saying it is inerrant, on the Bible, it is on the original Greek, not on any fallible English translation, and when correctly interpreted and without later additions. If that involves some work then we must take our text sufficiently seriously to do some work, and preferably learn NT Greek ourselves, not that I have yet!!

25 March 2014 at 19:15  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ David

Thanks.

I know I am on firm ground here, rather than just flying a provocative kite!!


25 March 2014 at 19:28  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

You want to paint us into a particular viewpoint that is common amongst the Germane Greer generation.

Nobody is saying that the ladies need to be silent.

What we are questioning is the the effect that this has and is having on men.

If you Germane Greer the Church you will destroy it. Make so mistake there are many who want to do just that and many of them sadly are "men".

I don't blame the women. It is men's weakness that is the sin here. Who will pay the cost? Not the women priests or even the men who allowed it. Our sons and daughters will pay the price, men wishing their wives could be more feminine and women wishing that their husbands could be real men. The price will be loss of really deep love and passion (which reflects how we should feel about God) and instead shallow marriages of sensible "partnerships" and --- illicit porn

Phil


25 March 2014 at 21:14  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil

Well I think that is strikingly inaccurate as many of the liveliest churches I have attended have had a mixture of male and female ministries, from the 80s onwards. We are talking in the late hundreds here, and the men seemed to cope very adequately without stashing illicit porn under the bed.

I wish my husband would go up a ladder to get the leaves out of the gutters, but I am not putting that down to his having heard women preach!! More to do with reluctance and a degree of vertigo methinks!!

25 March 2014 at 21:35  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Lucy

Weary? I did some 'computer analysis' and found that of the 18,745 words on this comment thread, 4,296 are directly from you (23%) , so it's not surprising!

Take your time - have a rest. As you can see, anyone can do stats on words and still miss what's being said. Try the vicar of Dibley - what was the eventual decision after "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no?" It was no. Statistically, more yes than no was said, but the decision wasn't dependent on the number of times it the words was said.

We can feed all sorts of things into computers, but if we don't ask sensible questions of the data, we are no further forward.

Before you squeak that I'm being irrelevant - can you not answer the question I posed - do you admit that the academic point you claim is such a firm foundation is just a teensy bit eroded by this?

In fact one distinguished gentleman in his nineties who died a few years ago specifically demanded that a hospital chaplain to whom he had taken a shine should take his funeral, so welcome was her pastoral care to the terminally ill. I am sure this happens right round the country.

Yes. I'm sure it does. Next up - "stop trying to pin me down - I don't know Greek, but clever people do!"

Why is modern lexicographical analysis better than the old stuff? Those guys had actually read the contexts with human brains. Wigram, Vine, Strongs, Young. This drivel is like doing a Wordle on a text and using that alone to find the key message.

Is modern lexico-wotsit analysis just a computer form of Lightfoot's rare mistake? He failed to notice that his now widely accepted criticism of non-Markan words in the last part of Mark was based on an entirely false statistical basis. He posed a question that suited his prejudice, and no-one pushed back. That was pointed out to me by an elderly gentleman who had no computer, but used a pen, his index finger and the original greek texts.

135 examples pointing in the same direction is huge and inescapable? What direction? You do actually seem to be saying that the translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 is altered to "I do not permit a woman to teach in the same way as the temple prostitutes, but they can teach and exercise authority over men" The jerk out of this context and back into it is accentuated by the very next words: "she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.. There - I've just escaped the huge and inescapable. Enough wiggle room for a Biblical Houdini such as this incorrigible masculist

It's a bit difficult to teach in the manner required by WATCH while being quiet, so further violence to the Greek is required. Off we go hunting for instances where quiet doesn't mean quiet. And yes I've heard silent is also not silent as well. Maybe being quiet is a euphemism for not having sex.

I'm fed up with it. I appreciate your comments greatly, but it's high time someone pinned these slippery arguments to a wall in a muscular way. Phil Roberts is right - this will be looked back on as a key point of departure. I had thought it was pointless fighting any more, but you've got me started again.

Please supply the source documents for the 135 examples. Were they referenced in one of your links?

Meanwhile you can have a lovely rest. Let the men do the hard work….



… only kidding. ;o)

25 March 2014 at 22:51  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Lucy

I will always respect someone who can hold their own against a dozen others at once. But to be honest this isn't a matter I wish to get deeply involved in, but I'd say by way of providing 'helpful' feedback that much of your argument could be changed ever so slightly as a way of arguing for gay clergy(?). The question mark, btw, is deliberate as that isn't a position I'm advocating, but a possible chink in what you are saying, given your position in respect of gay clergy/marriage et al.

As for women Vicars, to me the die seemed to have been cast when the C of E legislated as such in 1992. If women can be the local leader of a spiritual community (according to Anglicanism), then that logic should apply to the national scene as well. Perhaps, though the pace of change is unsettling to some; changing 2,000 years of deeply held tradition and belief is somewhat of a difficult pill for many sincere and devout (and non-sexist) Anglicans (my uncle was one).

25 March 2014 at 23:31  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

A good number were referenced in the links; correct.

I have nothing to add, having said all I needed or wanted.

My subject as I stated was English and I recall an amazing Leavis essay where he took a clergyman to rigorous task for comparing a lesser text to a greater. It should not be done as you are not comparing like to like. I think the Vicar of Dibley concept re stats. is just that.

No, I have no desire whatever to supply 135 links to source documents; that would be a crazy waste of time. If you want them you can find them.

No, computer analysis is not necessarily better, but in this sort of work it of course is massively useful and cuts out hour upon hour of legwork. For this reason it has become standard.

And, no, I don't squeak, as I am neither rodent nor pig, but human being.

It is easy to find several possible translations of these verses in the links that I gave and none reads like your mock-up, but as altogether more serious propositions. The Adam and Eve bit is also explained.

I fail to see what there is to get angry over. Most evangelical Anglican clergy agree with what is being said here anyway, and the reasons have been shown transparently.

I find strongly ad hominem remarks towards decent priests and scholars who have made massive contributions to the Church of England to be unnecessary.

25 March 2014 at 23:34  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy, isn't the example of Jesus more profound than a squabble over what Paul actually said or what he might have meant?
Surely fidelity to Christ's will trumps all the arguments? He chose men only as Apostles and so it was for nearly 2000 years.

26 March 2014 at 00:38  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

I have mentioned this many times in Anglican Churches and your response is the normal classic deflection argument. I know of a lively church that is not sexist etc. My husband is a real man etc.

Joyce Meyer has a fantastic ministry but she is certainly not one that is revered by WATCH.

Why not?

She preaches the Bible, she is enormously successful with women and men if they chose to listen. However, Joyce's message is for women. (I know my wife has watched 100s, the message resonates with her but not really with me. Still I have watched and listened to Joyce many many times. Not because I think that Joyce's message is particularly good, but because I love my wife so I want to share in what is important to her.)

WATCH hate Joyce and the way she teaches. Why? Joyce is a successful woman preacher they should be loving her. Is it because deep down WATCH are more interested in social change and what icons like Germaine Greer stands for than God?

Phil



26 March 2014 at 01:18  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

"I fail to see what there is to get angry over. Most evangelical Anglican clergy agree with what is being said here anyway."

Most.

Well that settles it then. Democracy cannot be wrong.

This readers if you are not part of the Anglican church is typical of the arrogance from part of our Church. It is so widespread that they actually have started to believe that it is justified and cannot see the problem with it.

One wonders what they will do next? Outvote God?

It seems they may have done that already.

Phil

26 March 2014 at 01:33  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil

I had really closed my comments on this as indicated. Germaine Greer is of barely any interest to me and not germane to the discussion at all.

God not man is the authority, and we are brothers and sisters, sometimes in touch with him, and sometimes not. That is core, and it is the Holy Spirit that is the authenticator, and the source of calm, not the rules of man or woman.

In common with all the other women who agree with women priests who used to post on such threads I have had enough. It feels like being scapegoated which let me tell you is not a good feeling, and doesn't feel like a healthy thing either, not least because it closes down genuine debate, which is not the purpose of this site. Just about every local Anglican Vicar in my parts is in favour of women priests, nineteen out of twenty, male and female, which is a world away from this blog which feels really odd, and goes to show how many have been scared off posting here by the unrepresentative minority getting personal and at times oppressive.

The text remains for those of the more extreme and less charismatically inclined end of the "Reform" spectrum to argue against - but please try to find arguments that actually deal with the text and do not become "ad hominem" in desperation about the messengers.

I am both more charismatically inclined and closer towards "Fulcrum" so that possibly explains differences.

The RCs continue with RC stuff on this matter, all related to their backreading of various bits of churchery into the NT. Tired of going round in circles, never ending circles at times. I'm off until after Easter. Have a good one!!

26 March 2014 at 02:29  
Blogger Len said...

Breaking News.You don`t need religion to get to Heaven in fact all you need is' Twitter'(according to the latest revelation from Pope Francis)

'One hell of a deal: Pope Francis offers reduced time in Purgatory for Catholics that follow him on Twitter'

(www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Europe‎ )

26 March 2014 at 08:49  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

I am an evangelical like yourself and an Anglican

Those of us that do not agree with your reading of scripture is also fed up with the bullying tactics of (If you say so) the current majority, which you agree with, into accepting your interpretation/revision of scripture.

The position of the Anglican Church at the moment is that the majority has decided and so we should shut up.

It is clear where this is heading. The recent crass attempt by Welby to try to bully the African Churches into being more receptive to homosexuality is both an example of the strident liberal trajectory of the Anglican Church in the West and a stark example of the sort of intolerance and scorn that the UK Anglican communion will offer those that try to be true to scripture.

If you think it will end with Women Priests you are mistaken. The liberal trajectory will next involve acceptance of homosexual Priests. How many more years will it be before we are arguing that Anglicans such as us should accept practicing homosexuals in the leadership.

How long before you tell me that Holy Spirit that is the authenticated this for you so it must be right and 19 our of 20 vicars you know agree with you you. I know you would like Anglicans like myself to shut up or get out. For the time being at least we are still here and will continue to argue for scripture over man's desires.

Phil



26 March 2014 at 08:54  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Lucy

When I refer to pinning to a wall - I said arguments. When I said I was fed up - it was with 'it' (the lopsided academic arguments), not you, dear sister.

Ad hominem arguments work both ways. They can be used to shortcut debate by saying "X says it, and he or she is a clever person". That's a lot of what I hear. The more common form is to rubbish an argument by saying its proponent is a bad person. I haven't done that, have I?

It's not fair on me or anyone else to accuse of ad hominem when actually what I'm trying to do is dismantle your ad hominem!

Thanks for sticking with this so far - it's not often a conversation on this point lasts as long as it has.

Have a great Easter - a first-order core truth of Christianity - not to be confused with differences of opinion you and I might have on this subject! I'm very sorry if you feel scapegoated - I think that's just the unfortunate result of being the only person engaging with a dinosaur who wandered into this Cave of Adullam.

One day we'll all be of one mind - I'm looking forward to that and don't care if involves me being contradicted!

26 March 2014 at 09:11  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 March 2014 at 09:11  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Rasher

"One day we'll all be of one mind "

But perhaps not all in the same place!

Phil

26 March 2014 at 11:16  

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