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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The test of faith

Upon this rock I will build my church

'But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God'. In my book you either believe that or you don't. If you believe it, talk about Jesus being a man of His time is just rubbish churned out to persuade the gullible that the ordination of women is something to be decided by popular vote, including the votes of unbelievers. 

Ten years ago between a quarter and a half of Church of England clergy surveyed did not believe in the virgin birth and a third doubted or disbelieved in the physical Resurrection. Given those figures it not surprising that many clergy regard Jesus simply as a man of his time. So what are they doing in the church? The answer appears to be that they are carving out careers for themselves at the expense of those who believe that the Son of the living God must be the man of all time.

The revisionists are doing such a good job at pushing their secular values that in the first test of public opinion after the synod vote on the measure for women bishops, 76% of adults said that the Church is out of touch with society. Today's Telegraph has some uncomfortable reading in showing that the number of Christians has fallen by 4 million in the ten years 2001 to 2011 while the number of Muslims has risen significantly from 1.5m to 2.7m.

After the women bishops measure was lost all manner of statistics were bandied about to illustrate that a minority had defied the mind of Synod. Less comfortable reading will be the statistics which show that "the overwhelming majority, 82.3%, believe that those opposed to the ordination of women are faithful Anglicans who should not be forced out of the Church of England". A similar situation exists in the Church in Wales.

There have been suggestions that the Church of England follows the example of the Church in Wales with a twin approach to solving the problem, see here, here and hereSo here is the challenge. If the movers of the ordination of women are sincere in their belief and are genuine in their desire to make concessions to achieve their objective, why not show their sincerity by adopting the Church in Wales initiative but reversing the two clauses to ensure that faithful Anglicans are not forced out of the church but are enabled to prosper in common with the overwhelming majority of the wider church? 

As it stands, "The second Bill would refer to the Canon enabling women to be ordained as bishops. We have purposely suggested that the scheme of pastoral provision be included – presumably as a schedule – in a second Bill in order to give as much confidence as possible to those for whom it provides that their genuinely held views are being taken seriously and that the church is being faithful to its declared intent in 1996". Currently that is meaningless to those for whom it is intended because it has been made plain that provision will be determined by the Bench of Bishops, a situation that has existed since the first (and only) Provincial Assistant Bishop retired in 2008. 

If the bishops are serious in their promise 'to give as much confidence as possible' to faithful Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women, such a strategy will test their sincerity. Failure to meet the challenge will lead not only to a weakening of the position of the Anglican Church but to another massive drop in the number of Christians in the 2021 census. 

1 comment:

  1. "...a situation that has existed since the first (and only) Provincial Assistant Bishop retired in 2008..."

    I'm sorry to comment on this issue yet again - but it is absolutely vital; on the retirement of Bishop David Thomas, the Welsh Bench unilaterally and without any prior consultation suppressed the post of Provincial Assistant Bishop contrary to all the assurances given to those of us who were members of the Governing Body and present at that fateful meeting in 1996 which so narrowly passed the women priests' bill. This is why all the exhortations of the Bishops (when they can be bothered now to make them) to trust and unity sound so hollow in the ears of traditionalists. The trust we had placed in the good will of the Bench of Bishops has been betrayed; it can only be regained by restoring what was so dishonourably taken away from us.