A few weeks ago, there was all this bruhaha over the Anglican church narrowly voting against ordaining women as bishops. Amanda posted her thoughts and recognized soft-complimentarian Mike Bird for his thoughts who suggested, “Women bishops are inevitable.”
I would like to make a few points. I am all for women being ordains as pastors and ministers, just as full heartedly as I am for men as well. I do not support women being picked for bishops, or men for that matter! Why would that be? Because I am a Baptist, and I believe as a faithful Protestant in the priesthood of all believers. I live in the state of Texas, where even the Catholics behave with a certain neoconservative Southern Baptist swagger that’s easy to spot. Some may say it comes down to my biblical interpretation, and that it is subjective in nature. While I would call that crazy talk, I think one only need to glance at both recent history and church history in the past: parochial church structures are just as chaotic (if not more so) as congregational churches.
One typical anti- “low” church perspective and argument comes from the likes of C.S. Lewis, who claimed to believe in a “Mere Christianity” (only slightly tinged with high church conservative Anglican biases) to completely distorting the congregational principle in The Screwtape Letters, Jesus desires (according to Lewis through the words of Screwtape) “the parochial organization” because it brings “a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together” (see chapter 16). Meanwhile, as many Christians do, Lewis argued that the free church tradition is the church of the social clubs, the cliques, etc. How can anyone honestly read anything about Christian history and affirm this as true? And let’s talk about how problematic the high church/low church dichotomy is too, should we not? Such a division reflects a logic that allows for the continuation of top/down gender hierarchies, even in the form of “soft complementarianism!” There is no high church nor low church, but “THE CHURCH” and what I don’t know about you and what that means, but “the Church” for me only means that group of people who have in history confessed Jesus as LORD and Justifier and live their lives for causes of justice.
- Sarah Coakley on women bishops (gaudetetheology.wordpress.com)
- Swaziland gets Africa’s first female Anglican bishop (metronews.ca)
- Women bishops: a failure of leadership (telegraph.co.uk)
- Church of England says no to women bishops (aljazeera.com)