The Biblical Case For Women Bishops?

Leaving aside that (a) I don’t believe in a threefold order of ministry and (b) I’m not Anglican, it was interesting to read the letter published in today’s Independent in support of the campaign for General Synod to vote tomorrow in favour of women bishops. Several old friends of mine have signed the letter, and I also know a few friends who will be opposed. The contents  will not convince those who cannot accept this, and in a detailed argument I would want to go much further than it does, but I hope the legislation goes through.


  1. AS a CoE Reader, I receive and submit to the threefold ministry as consistent with Scripture. Given my Baptist background it is perhaps not surprising I am less wedded to it as a requirement than some of my colleagues ordained and lay – I am more inclined to see it as the way “we” do things.

    I welcome the move on similar grounds outlined in the letter. See Ian Paul’s Grove publication on the subject for a fuller Scriptural basis. I am concerned that there should be proper consideration for those of other theological understandings, both conservative evangelicals and catholics.; and that there should be an enforceable requirement for all Diocese to provide for this.

    I do struggle with the Catholic view that bishops who have ordained women can no longer be accepted as being valid Bishops. What some call a theology of taint, I see as going totally against the outcome of the Donatist controversy, and Augustine’s suggestion (I think) that the validity of ministry (sacraments) is not destroyed by issues in the person administering them. In other words there should be no problem with a male Bishop receiving delegation from a woman Diocesan, or come to that a male presbyter oeordained by a Bishop who has ordained women.

    I watch the developments with interest


  2. So Synod has indeed rejected the change. Houses of Bishops and Clergy very heavily in favour but it fell by a modest margin in House of Laity. Does this mean that the clergy and bishops are out of touch with the people in the pews. Though whether the laity in Synod is really representative of laity at large I have doubts. In my deanery I have heard few voices against – only from the 2 Forward in Faith Anglo Catholic parishes.

    either way I deeply regret this failed to be accepted. I refrain from idle speculation on what happens now. Time for sobre reflection and waiting.


    1. Of course it could suggest that the bishops and clergy gave a lead (especially as this would have reduced the chances for many of them to ‘advance’ further) but the laity didm’t follow. But the numbers are statistically too small to be sure. I shall pray for the C of E.


  3. And Anglicans of all stripes shall pray for you. I believe the Great Commandment is still that we love one another…I shall add in all our differences. Not until then are we any of us Christians.


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