It’s morning in the U.S., so the vote may be over. Any moment now I hope to see news from England that the Anglican Church has voted to ordain women as bishops. It would be an historic moment for the church and would provide a much needed moment of agreement in a church that has been tortured by division over the past decade. Tony Campolo makes the case in a simple and concise way at Red Letter Christians:
The vote for women Bishops in the Church of England has to pass now!
Debate on the issue began this morning with the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, current Bishop of Durham, saying it is “time to finish the job” started with appointing women priests. The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, whose tenure ends at the end of the year, is also strongly in favor of the legislation, saying failure to pass would be a “disaster” for the Church and would be “publicly embarrassing, internally draining and could throw the church into a period of intense internal conflict.” Further, if the measure does not pass it could not come back before the synod again for another five years.
I not only believe women should become bishops but I think I can make a biblical case for it. Conservatives are saying, if you read 1 & 2 Timothy you’ll get a clear admonition that women should not be leaders in the Church, that they should remain silent in the Church.
That’s the one side.
May I point out, on this issue you can make a solid biblical case on the other side. If women are supposed to be silent please explain to me why in the book of Acts, “daughters of Philip” become evangelists, become preachers, become prophets? It’s there very clearly. Also, in the book of Romans you find reference to Junia, deemed a fellow apostle by Paul. So the arguments can be made on both sides.
I go with the side that women should be bishops. The reason why this is so important is it not only affects the United Kingdom, it also affects Africa. The African Bishops have been very conservative on this issue. I think the new Archbishop of Canterbury is a good compromise because on the one hand he is opposed to gay marriage, which would please those in the southern hemisphere, but on the other hand he is for the ordination of women bishops which would in fact please those up north. Give each side half of what they want.
My hope is that today will be a historic day for the Church of England and for the Church as a whole across the world!