London’s Daily Telegraph reports on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech to General Synod here. The battle for women bishop is now over, and the progressives have won. The Church of England will have women bishops within the year.
As soon as the door closes on that conflict, Archbishop Welby prepares his troops for the next big battle: openly authorized same sex weddings. Like every Archbishop in living memory before him Welby straddles the fence with the usual “deer caught in the headlights” look that seems to come with the job.
On the one hand he admits that same sex marriages will seem like apostasy, a betrayal of Scriptures, a repudiation of the Christian tradition and an explicit repudiation of the concept of Christian marriage. On the other hand he admits that many will see a refusal to have gay weddings as a form of racism and intolerable bigotry. The poor man has no basis to deny same sex marriage. His own predecessor in a speech to a group of homosexualist activists admitted that since the sexual act was not necessarily for pro creation that homosexual acts were legitimate. This he did as early as 1989 in an essay called, The Body’s Grace. Furthermore, the majority of Anglican bishops have been in favor of same sex marriage for some time. Nearly ten years ago I had a personal conversation with a man who is now an Anglican diocesan bishop who said, “We have been in the forefront of liberation of women. Now is the time for us to take a similar lead for homosexual people.” I expect his is the majority view on the bench of bishops in the Church of England, and that is why they put up so little objection when the matter went through the UK parliament.
The only thing that stands in the way of the Anglican bishops approving same sex marriage tomorrow is the General Synod. They will have to wrangle their way through the objections of good, down home Anglican ladies in their tweed suits and solid ordinary Evangelical Christians who still read the Bible. These ordinary Christian folk will put up a noble struggle for traditional Christianity as they did over women priests and then women bishops, but they will lose. They will be pilloried, bullied and harassed by the passive aggressive progressives as they have been for the last fifty years in the Church of England until they finally throw in the towel, and either join the Catholic Church, retreat into their own safe enclaves of orthodoxy or leave the practice of Christianity completely.
I see no reason why anybody should be anything but clear minded about which way this debate will go. The Church of England decided long long ago that homosexual marriage was permissible. As they did in every debate since the Reformation, the Anglican bishops will hum and haw wondering if their dear old Church of England is more “Church” or more “England” and in the end they will decide that it is more “England” than “Church”. That is because conformity to the state and adaptation to the spirit of the age is written into the genetic code of the Church of England. The Elizabethan Settlement was just that–a settlement by the Queen of England. It settled things. It said essentially, “You may do whatever you like in church and believe whatever you like as long as you do as I say in things that matter to me.”
Another Elizabeth is on the throne now, but the same settlement holds true. Members of the Church of England are free to believe whatever they want and do whatever they want, as long as they conform to the current laws of England, the prevailing mores and the contemporary culture. When was there one Anglican prelate who ever stood up for the sake of the Christian gospel to challenge the status quo in England, unless it was in conformity to some other secular gospel? Not one that I can think of.
In an earlier article in the Telegraph this week the journalist reported that one member of the Church of England General Synod said it was time to have women bishops because the “shallow pond of men candidates who were capable was already overfished.”
That’s one truth, anyway, that has emerged from that sad organization of self deluded hypocrites.