Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tom Wright in the House of Bishops

Tom Wright gives an amusing spiel about safeguarding dissenters in the COE's recent decision to go ahead with women bishops.

HT: Rachel Marszalek


Matt said...

Women bishops?
Sorry COE, you've lost your way.
If creation-based male headship and the explicit example of Jesus himself mean anything at all, leadership positions are for the fellas. Not because they're better, but because the Bible says so.
That's just the way it is.

Dissenters to the appointing of women bishops don't have a 'weak conscience' - they're just standing with the catholic, historic and apostolic church.

Anonymous said...


JT said...


Complementarianism v. egalitarianism aside, are you surprised that Bishop Wright would put the issue into the category of "adiaphora"? That seems to me like a fundamental category mistake.


Andrew Esqueda said...

I fail to understand where the Bible says women shouldn't be Bishops. What are we then to do with Priscilla, Junia, Mary at the tomb, or the women at the well? It seems that women are fit to proclaim the gospel--what then makes them unfit to lead?

Matt said...


I don't think that here is the place to thrash out the whole debate. Both egalitarians and complementarians know each other's arguments.
I'll just make a couple of passing points.

(1) Paul's argument that "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man" is grounded on a theological argument: "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." Paul's argument is rooted in the created order, not in the culture of the day.

(2) It's no good picking out the dozen or so women in the bible that were relatively prominent compared to other women. If Jesus intended women to be leaders, why not pick 6 male and 6 female disciples? Or was Jesus a man who was concerned with capitulating to societal norms too? Jesus could have easily made his point by picking 6 women - after all, they were pretty switched on compared to men at times! The explicit example of Jesus choosing 12 men must weight heavily into the debate, and should not be over-spritiualized.

(3) If allowing women into positions of church leadership was the OBVIOUS trajectory for the early church in light of the arguments presented by egalitarians, why does Paul insist on MALE elders in the Gentile churches? Surely female leaders were more prevalent and acceptable in Asia Minor than in Palestine (Acts 13:50)! That being the case, Paul insistence that suitable MEN be chosen (Titus 1, et al) should be taken as the binding apostolic position of the church on the matter

The bottom line is - I don't have a "weak conscience" on the matter; I have an open Bible and the witness of the historical, catholic faith.

I am not against women being involved heavily in gospel-work, etc. That's clearly what the Bible reveals. But the overwhelming testimony of the Scriptures is that of gifted male leadership, supoorted by male and female co-workers.
That's where I stand because I am convinced that's what the Bible plainly teaches. I know there are some very slick arguments to the contrary. But, in my not-so-humble opinion, that's all they are - slick arguments.

"As for my wife, and her house, we will serve the Lord"

Andrew Esqueda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Esqueda said...

I agree this is not the correct forum, but I must respond. And I respond with no animosity towards you, but simply out of my own convictions. I understand that their is some room for debate, but I also think that Paul is certainly misunderstood, and also in some contradiction to the witness that we have in Christ.

1. It is necessary that we understand Paul's letter's as occasional. That is, they are written for a specific purpose, in a specific situation, and to a specific group.

2. You say that it is not good picking out a couple of prominent women compared to other women. If this is the case then it is no good picking some prominent men compared to other men. Your logic already presupposes a patriarchal framework.

3. Jesus choosing 12 men is significant; so is His sending Mary Magdalene to tell His 12 disciples that He had risen from the grave. Inevitably, it was "a woman" who proclaimed the good news and led the disciples to believe that Christ had risen.

4. If Paul didn't want women to teach. Why is it that we are so caught up in not letting women "preach." These are certainly different words in Greek. Yet we let women teach children--who are much more vulnerable and easier to influence then adults.

5. Gal. 3:28 also says "there is no male and female." We think that this gets rid of Paul's exhortation for slaves to be submissive to their owners, but not for the roles of men and women.

6. None of this accounts for the call of the Spirit. When a woman preaches a wonderful sermon that stirs the ears and hearts of people, is this in some way idolatrous? What will God say to them at the pearly gates? Will He not say welcome home good and faithful servant? or will He say, I wish you hadn't have preached so much?

7. All this said, there seems to be a strange affinity for Paul over Jesus. May we not forget that we get our ethics and model of the Christian life from Christ, and I am quite certain that Christ sent women to tell the good news to men. We have four gospels that speak to women proclaiming the good news, but all anyone every wants to talk about is Paul.

8. No one ever has an answer for Junia, except John Piper and Wayne Grudem, and if you have read Stephen Holmes blog post you will find a major error in their historical method.

Complimentarians have some slick arguments, but in every case fail to to address the contradictions of Paul and Jesus, and for that matter, Paul and Paul. But, in my not-so humble opinion, that's all they are, slick arguments.

Matt said...


I appreciate your conviction and think you have raised some interesting points.

I will only say this: in the video Wright seems to suggest that this issue isn't one to divide over. I disagree. I would gladly leave my current church if it proclaimed "oh wait, we've been misreading Paul for 2000 years and have employed an erroneous 'historical method'. It's very clear (now) from the Bible that it CLEARLY teaching that ladies can now be ordained ministers with spiritual authority over a mixed congregation."

Andrew, I am sorry for my cynicism, but I can't help but think that our cultural climate has tipped the scales to make egalitarianism the 'more biblical' position now.
I'm in no way a cultural recluse, but it's clear that culture is exerting pressure on the church like never before. Egalitarianism is a safe bet culturally. The question for the COE is - what's going to be "what the Bible clearly teaches" next?

Karl Hand said...

The equality of women isn't an adiaphora, it's an absolutely core issue.

If a person said African people shouldn't be ordained (on Biblical grounds, and believed in the ressurection, atonement etc.) we would have no qualms about saying such a person was unfit for ministry.

Treating all human beings as equal is a Genesis 1 truth. And as such, an indespensible presupposition of the gospel.

Hannah said...

This is Hannah Bevills, Editor for Christian.com which is a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians, to directly fulfill Christian's needs. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the ENTIRE christian community an outlet to join together as one (no matter denomination) and better spread the good word of Christianity. Christian.com has many great features aside from the obvious like christian TV, prayer request or even find a church/receive advice. We have emailed you because we have interest in collaborating with you and your blog to help us spread the good word. I look forward to an email regarding the matter, Thanks!

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Ryan Mahoney said...

Hannah, that is the most offensive thing I have read on this blog about women in the church. ;)

Wolf Brandel said...

I've been too embarrassed to ask... Does anyone know what a "Bishop-prick" is?

Someone said that this is something in the Bible, that Judas lost when he kissed Jesus.