Posted by: stpowen | July 15, 2014

Women Bishops and the Authority of Scripture

1 Timothy 2:11-12. ‘Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.’
Matthew 4:4. ‘But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”’

Yesterday, the Synod of the Church of England passed the necessary resolution to allow women to become bishops. For the last fifteen years or so, women have been able to be vicars, canons, rectors, deans and all the other positions within the denomination, so in a sense this development is nothing to get excited about, but all the other posts are unknown to Scripture, but the word ‘bishop’ (Gk. episkopos, lit. ‘overseer’) is supposed to have some biblical warrant {1} so there is the sense that opening the Episcopal position to women is a real departure.

Some of my readers may be groaning and thinking to themselves, “Why is Martin knocking the Church of England yet again?” Well, the clue is in the name: Mar-Prelate. Geddit? But in fact Martin has many friends in the C of E, some of whom will be reading this and he would want them to know that he has the highest regards for those evangelical Anglican clergy who labour faithfully in rural parishes, many of them caring for up to six or seven churches and their congregations. They have his total respect. Likewise, he has great admiration for the ministers in the big evangelical Anglican city churches where the word of God is preached very faithfully and many souls saved. Also, Martin is well aware that the Baptist Union, the Methodists and the U.R.C. have had women ministers for years. The difference is that the Church of England is the established denomination in the nation, the Queen herself being supreme governor. It is within the auspices of the Church of England that a large proportion of the population are ‘christened,’ married and have their funerals conducted. The news coverage and public consciousness of this happening has been hugely greater than it has been or would be for any other denomination.

The issue before us is not one of equality, feminism or ‘wimmins lib.’ It is simply one of obedience to Scripture. The New Testament is very clear that while men and women are equal in the eyes of God (eg. Gal. 3:28), the Pastorate and public ministry of the word is reserved for men (Mark 3:14-19; 1 Cor. 14:34; 1 Tim. 2:11-12). We can have a discussion over exactly what ‘keep silence’ means in this context, but surely the principle is clear enough? Why can we not simply obey the word of God?

The sad fact is that when men or women within the churches see that their leaders do not respect the word of God, they ask themselves why on earth they should respect it. Why should the Bible not be bent and twisted to approve whatever prejudices or sinful desires they may nurture within their bosoms? And people outside the churches think that Christianity is just a joke. We don’t even believe our own holy book! It is no wonder that people are becoming Moslems or Jehovah’s Witnesses; at least those people know what they believe and stick to it.

Although it is a very long time since Martin was any sort of Anglican, he has always been a lukewarm supporter of the establishment of the Church. The fact that the Queen, in her coronation oath, promised to maintain “the true Profession of the Gospel and the Protestant Reformed Religion Established by Law” was something of a comfort. But the Her Majesty has been either unable or unwilling to uphold that oath, as was seen in the passing of the act on same-sex marriage, and there is no guarantee at all that Prince Charles will make the same promise when his time comes. The time has surely come now for the disestablishment of the Church of England. While some parts of it remain pure, the head and heart are rotten and most of the body is in the same state. The remnant can no longer hope for any improvement, only further drift away from the Gospel. The time has come for true Christians to get out and to do it sooner rather than later. See what gracious promises God makes to those who separate from error and wickedness.

‘Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty’ (2 Cor. 6:17-18).
‘Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach’ (Heb. 13:13).

Obviously, it is not sufficient merely to depart from the Church of England. The Gospel needs to be heard in our land again, but it has been muted and obscured by the goings-on amongst the Anglicans. Free from the dead hand of the Anglican hierarchy, true Christians must come together to proclaim God’s gracious plan for the redemption of sinners and turn this country back to Him.

    Note

{1} The fact that there were multiple ‘bishops’ in Philippi (Phil. 1:1) leads inevitably to the conclusion that these episkopoi were in fact nothing else but Pastors and church leaders.

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Responses

  1. Dear Brother Martin,

    It was good to read your positive words concerning the Church of England though we are all very much aware of her modern failings. We must thank God, however, for the way the Lord preserved the gospel in her from the Reformation to modern times, whereas most if not all of the separatists and splitter groups who broke from her had begun to practise the sins which nowadays beset ‘the established Church’ already in pre-Reformation days and carried on after the great departing of the ways during the time of the Great Rebellion which brought in massive ‘free church’ apostasy. In other words, whatever sins beset the Church of England now, and burdened Dissent then, the established Church has been preserved from such sins for centuries. So, too, Dissent never accepted the Church of England as the ‘established’ Church so why do you criticise her now on the grounds that she is ‘established’ but is following the Dissenting way of all flesh? Surely this is passing the buck for very un-Christian, irresponsible motives. Why not confess that through her worldly nature, Dissent has ceased as a Watchman to the Church of England and has lured her on into following the same paths as Dissent has taken? Surely you are still ‘bashing’ the Church of England by again accusing her of sins long identified with Dissent and requiring the C of E to wash not only her garments but those of apostate England – including especially Dissent- into the bargain.

    Actually, though you have the wrong motives, the result of your false reasoning could save Britain. The Church of England is the only church which is still built officially on Reformed articles. She is the only church who cherished them from the start. Thus, if there is any hope of revival, it can be assumed that it will start where Biblical truths are still upheld. It is still generally assumed that the percentage of sound, evangelical Reformed Christians in the Cof E is over 30 percent. Thus far higher than in most other denominations. All other churches (denominations) have watered down the teaching of the Reformation and added their own ‘teaching of their elders’ from their founding on. Even the Westminster Standards fail to live up to the Reformed Church of England’s standards as they place the Light of Reason and the Enlightenment philosophy of Rutherford; the revolutionary politics of John Major, the idealistic historical fables of George Buchanan and the Sorbonne humanism of Andrew Melville above the Biblical stand of the C of E as George Herbert so soundly taught Melville and those who wished to replace the few monarchical bishops of the times with an army of monarchical elders, instead of getting rid of all as Jewel and Hooker (both Cof E) advised.

    You mention further separations in order to rescue the Church. Again, you advise breaking up the Body of Christ and strive to clone a perfect Church from a toe-nail here and a nose-end there. What folly? The answer surely is to defragment the split-up Reformation and pull together as a pan-Protestant, Inter-Protestant whole. We need to be united not fragmented. Each denomination has gone off the rails by inventing an external badge of membership which is of no practical and certainly no saving use and has fled the true Practical Divinity of Christ’s teaching.

    Surely the present times of ‘I am of Apollos and you are of Paul’ and ‘each man to his tent’ teach us that we have not learnt the Biblical message and we are all so full of apostasy and worthy only of being spewed from Christ’s mouth.

    Sadly, you have turned Scripture on its head in discussing separatism by sifting ‘proof-texts’ out of their context. What you are saying is that the small part who wishes to leave the great whole for his own selfish, external, sacramental or political reasons has the right to become a pope and excommunicate the whole so that he can wash his hands of all church responsibility and revel in his own self made religion, not even standing on the fence to judge both sides but shooting himself off to the moon in the hope of finding like-minded cronies, which he never will because they do not exist.

    Again, I must bring you down from your high horse of Judge and ask you not to become a ‘hanging’ one.

    Yours in Christ,

    George

  2. Ah George,
    There is so much to disagree with you here that I scarcely know where to start. Firstly, the Church of England no longer upholds the XXXIX Articles in any meaningful way and hasn’t done for a good many years. Secondly, where are these 30% of evangelicals? If there were anything like that number, the whole woman Bishop thing would have been soundly defeated with the help of the Anglo-catholics. Thirdly, several of your colleagues in the Protestant Reformation Society, including its President, left the C of E some time ago. I applaud them.

    Some of your barbs towards the free churches are fair enough comment, but the Grace Baptists and the FIEC remain committed to their founding documents, which is a whole lot more than can be said for the C of E. Your recollection of the Dissenters’ response to the Protestant Settlement of 1688 is incorrect. After nearly 40 years of persecution, most dissenters were delighted with it. Unfortunately the persecution revived under Queen Anne and it was this, and the attitude of the Bishops that made many dissenters hostile towards the established church.

    The time for a new reformation in Britain is long overdue, and it means churches coming out of their compromised denominations and forming new evangelical associations. Relations between Anglican evangelicals and the Free Churches are closer now than they have ever been, thanks to organizations like the Proclamation Trust and the Gospel partnerships. Now is the time! The C of E is like a fish that is slowly rotting from the head down. If there is no change it will only get worse and worse as it has been doing for a great many years now.

  3. Dear Brother Martin,

    Thank you for your speedy, brotherly reply. I must strive to be clear, concise and accurate in my answer, not dealing with side-track issues.

    You write that the Church of England no longer upholds the 39 Articles. A point I allowed in part. But which group within that church are you thinking of? Surely not the over 30 per cent of truly Reformed men I refer to. Furthermore, the constitutions of Dissenting churches come and go and even your Grace Baptists and FIEC brethren have gone through most turbulent pasts, though I am encouraged by your affirmation that they are now four-square on the Reformed path. Evidence for this has not come my way yet. However, if these two bodies are one, why do they not merge or at least pull together or rejoin the Church of England who has a more firm Reformed basis? Most Grace Baptists I have met are High Church sacramentalists and have weird ideas about singing and music as worship. The FIEC seems to be all at sea in their mixed religion.

    Modern British Dissenters stand by the Queen and the most dubious hereditary lineage and religious compromise which have put her on the throne. Actually, history has shown its folly as George I was a direct descendent of Mary the Bloody and the Stuart line, though England had ruled that no Stuart should rule her. They forget that the evangelical Dissidents (not the High Church Dissidents who ruled Dissent after the Savoy Conference, had already allied with the evangelicals of the Church of England, then a persecuted minority suffering under the Dissenting powers, to have a Church ‘without a King and the House of Lords’ (See the Engagement Controversy). As it is, most of the Dissenting ministers after 1662 took over the Church of England and continued its ruin to the present day, following a Dissenting Parliament which persecuted Dissenters. The 17th century was not so much a century of crisis as Trevor-Roper argues but a century of Dissenting chaos. This is a part of Dissenting history which Dissenters nowadays ignore. However, a good thing allied to the Succession Laws is that the British Government has no plans to oust the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles so this remains a basis for Christion reunion and the defragmentation of the Reformation brought on by Dissent.

    Much as I cannot imagine women bishops in my ideal church, my point was that Dissenters, on the whole, have had them since Commonwealth times so our criticism cannot be centred on the Church of England today. Think of the petitions of women ministers to Cromwell who gave them a sympathetic ear against the protests of the established Reformed church which he outlawed and persecuted. We must look at the historical roots of this digression from Scripture.

    You seem to define an evangelical, Reformed Christian as one who disagrees with women elders (you as I see elders and bishops as one in specific offices). I would hate to think that my all-round Christian testimony hung on that thread. I often compare the Church of England with the Church of Sweden in which I was trained as a minister in the sixties. The number of evangelicals is very large but they have women ministers who have been thrust upon them by the secular powers. I asked several in prominent places recently how they treated priestesses. They said they ignored them. Perhaps not the best way of solving the problem, but better than the British way of talking about hardly anything else and not getting on with their practical divinity and Christian outreach. They are driving the churches into the arms of selfish, militant, old-fashioned feminists.

    I did not quite follow your remark about my having colleagues who are not members of the Church of England which quite backfires. Due to my nationality and German church adherence, I am not such a member myself, though I would be if I were a British citizen living in England, or preferably Scotland. The PRS is a body of Christians from most of the major and several of the minor denominations. Some of the active members are Baptists. However, the brethren to whom you specifically refer, especially our President, stand four-square on the Articles of the Church of England and the Book of Common Prayer, as I do myself, so your remark is misleading.

    I did not mention the so-called Protestant Settlement of 1688 in my last letter in which Britain gave up the right to think for herself. So I have been misunderstood there. William had been most wicked during his Hague rule and expected the English taxpayers to pay his favourite concubine a state pension. He was no friend of the Church of England and an enemy to true, godly Dissent. At present, I am writing a book about his court chaplain and tutor to his wife Mary whom he kept isolated so that he could experience the ‘married bliss’ which he found in women married to someone else. As you see, I am no Orangemanm. I do not take my religion from selfish monarchs and corrupt polititians but I cannot help liking James I and Charles I for their piety and love for their peoples far above that of William.

    Yours in sweet grace,

    George

  4. George,
    I will take no issue with your historic references except to point out that it is quite impossible for George I to have been a ‘direct descendant’ of Bloody Mary since that lady had no children. The rest I leave to one side.

    If you lived in Britain you would quickly give up your continuing claim that 30% of Anglicans are ‘truly Reformed.’ I think that 90% of them have never read the 39 Articles, let alone studied them. Most evangelicals in the C of E that I meet are indistinguishable from those in the Methodists or the Baptist Union. That there are some very good people I happily admitted in my original post, but the head is rotten. There has not been a conservative evangelical Bishop appointed for maybe 20 years. The head of the C of E is rotten; the candlestick has been removed and God has given it over to its sins.

    It is simply the fact that David Samuel, Edward Malcolm and Barry Shucksmith, who all spoke at the PRS conference last year (and will probably do so again this year) are all former clerics within the C of E who have left it. I praise God for such men! Why don’t you tell them that they should repent and return to the National ‘Church’ and see what they say to you? For myself, if men of the calibre of Jewel, Whitefield and Ryle were in charge of the C of E I would rejoice to see it, but I would not join them. I do not believe in a national ‘church,’ but in a gathered church, and in spiritual unity rather than organizational unity. I do not need to unite with Grace Baptists or the FECC or the Free Church of Scotland; I am already united with them spiritually and we fellowship together, as I do with the true evangelicals in the Church of England and elsewhere.

    As I said in my O.P., the issue of ‘women bishops’ is not one of gender but one of Scripture. The Bible is clear, and it says, ‘No!’ You are placing an artificial unity before the very word of God, and by doing so you are taking the first step towards abandoning the true faith. Once you have started on this course, you will find no resting place for the sole of your foot and you will be dragged down to accept every sort of disgraceful heresy in the name of unity because you will not make a stand.

  5. Dear Brother Martin,

    Thank you for your comments. You have mixed up the Tudors with the Stuarts. I was careful to distinguish here between the two Marys of bloody fame but not clear enough though it would seem obvious that I was writing about Mary Queen of Scots and the Stuart line and not Bloody Mary Tudor. Perhaps my Scottish ancestry was showing. I could not refer to the Scottish variety as ‘equally bloody’ as Mary Tudor was the biggest horror of the two, though George Buchanan would have nodded in appreciation at my appellation which he shared. Sorry if I somehow led you astray here in the few minutes I had for my reply. As soon as I sent my last letter off, I notice I could have been clearer on several points and on spelling. I am a very busy old man suffering from an acute eye disease and bad concentration perhaps because of, in spite of two recent operations, only seeing things in wobbly lines. However, we all know that George I was in direct line from Mary Stuart through James Stuart and the family of Elizabeth Stuart (not Elizabeth Tudor) which is why George I was able to ascend the British throne. I wrote therefore specifically of the Stuart line and not the Tudor line. There were (at least) three Marys from different lines associated with blood on their hands in British history.

    You seemed to be shocked to find that I see at least 30 percent of Anglicans believing in their Reformed faith. This is what I have been told by High Church Anglican Bishops and brethren in various evangelical societies and pastoral care organisations. It is also the way churches abroad see the Church of England. Besides, in the six universities I have been privileged to study in, the Liberals were almost invariably the Dissenters, especially the Baptists. This is all mild concerning how you define Dissenting Societies like the Grace Baptists and especially the FIEC. It pleases me to know that your bark is worse than your bite. I am very closely attached to Cof E sources on several sides of modern Anglicanism as I am also closely attached to British Dissenting circles.

    I wonder, however, where your proof comes from that 90 per cent of Anglicans do not follow the faith of their fathers and how many per cent you feel Dissenters do. I have recently been highly censored by a Baptist Pastor for my alleged Liberalism but his views were those of the Jesuits if not Bedlam! He told me that his entire group of churches were orthodox and cursed all theological training establishments! Remember, we are talking about apostasy which came first in Dissent in its formation years. It is most unfair to give the Church of England the blame for sinful Dissenting practice. Surely, if those rebels had been better then and remained in the English Church, they would have helped preserve its Reformed testimony. Remember the earliest Dissenters were terribly High Church, Liberal and leaned towards Socinianism. Why not place all denominations together as being far from the will of the Lord today? I do not give up hope that there is a faithful remnant somewhere – even in the FIEC.

    My point, which I emphasise again, is that when revival comes, it will find the Anglican confessions which have not been altered as a mainsail of the revival boat. All alternatives have failed badly and if you form a new denomination, I fear that what you produce will be another Affinity I and II.

    My conversations with the fine men you quote as if they would disagree with me have shown me that we are in full harmony. Particularly Edward Malcolm with whom I shared digs in London in 1959-62 or thereabouts helped perhaps more than any other servant of God, to mold my faith. The men you mention all profess to be Church of England at heart as the Church was and should be. They therefore see themselves as the Church of England Continuing. You know this and should not suggest the case was otherwise. Besides, you know that I, unlike your misleading remarks about my closest friends, do not belong to the Church of England in any form but in its Reformed faith, and the Apostolic Succession comes via the faith of the Apostles and not denominations. The Church of England only became a denomination when Dissent outlawed it and has kept up its persecution against it ever since The Bartholomew Declaration of the Commonwealth Government banned the Book of Common Prayer. It is sadly now a mere denomination like the Baptists, FIEC and Congregationalists etc..

    I understand what you are saying concerning a National and a Gathered Church. I do not believe that the Church can be limited to those terms. The true Church is Universal and not confined to any mixed gathering or institution. This is where you misunderstand me, feeling I appeal for organizational externals whereas I ignore them and think of the teaching available, through their peoples from all the fragmented churches, gathered from the Scriptures to exalt nations to God’s glory.

    Dear friend and brother, you feel I connive with women bishops. I abhor the idea but object to people judging the entire Gospel as hanging from that one thread whilst they are blatantly lacking in equally or worse sins of apostasy themselves. Unless Dissent gets its Gospel right, as also the Church of England evangelicals, they will never see that women bishops are a symptom and getting rid of them is not a full cure.

    I see all separatism and schism as making a defragmentation of the Church a more and more difficult task. Accuse me of going to perdition as you will, the organized disintegration of the Church you fight for is already there. Some of us, faithful to our faith, wish for grace to be plucked as a brand from the burning and pull together, not against one another, in keeping the Robe of Christ whole. I believe that one glorious day, the Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist bashers will find their wounds all healed in the Great Hospital of the True Church with the Great Physician as its Director. Deep down in my heart, I am sure you agree.

    God bless you dear Brother in this hope, and forgive me the spots on my nose.

    George

  6. Steve,

    I’m afraid I can’t share your view that the Bible clearly says “no” about this subject, Many evangelical theologians, with an authoritative view of scripture, have concluded otherwise. It is a desire to be obedient to the Bible that, for many evangelicals, has led them to adopt an egalitarian approach to leadership and ministry.

    You are, of course, welcome to disagree, but please show more grace to those whose understanding of the Bible is different to yours. I have many friends across the denominations (including Anglican, Baptist, and Methodist) and it is somewhat insulting to suggest that they are not “true” evangelicals – my own experience is that we all share the same faith and have the same desire – to see the gospel proclaimed and people turn to Christ.

  7. Ian,
    First of all, my apologies for not replying sooner. I have been tied up with my secular work.
    I think that if you read my article again you will see that I have happily conceded that there are many fine evangelicals within all the ‘mixed’ denominations. Like you, I have many friends among Anglicans, Baptists and Methodists. However, it is no part of friendship not to exhort, warn and even rebuke one’s friends if one sees them taking a wrong path (eg. Prov. 9:7-9; 17:10; 27:5-6, 17; Eccl. 7:5 etc.). I am sorry if my article came across as lacking in grace. It was certainly not my intention.

    With regard to the role of women in church, I believe the principle is very clear even if the details are open to discussion. If you wish to convince me otherwise you will have to show me from the Scriptures.

    The FIEC statement on women’s ministry puts across the Biblical position very well IMO in an eirenic fashion. Go to
    http://www.fiec.org.uk/article/women-in-ministry-statement

  8. Dear George,
    I suggest you go back to Edward Malcolm and ask him about the following which I have extracted from the website of the Church of England (Continuing) of which he is, I believe, Presiding Bishop. Perhaps it will speak more eloquently than I have been able to do.

    ‘Sadly, the Church of England that exists today under the oversight of the Archbishop of Canterbury………….., cannot properly – and arguably, should not legally – be considered the true Church of England, in that so far as it can be proven that a single one of the Thirty-Nine foundational and legally-binding articles of the Church of England is spurned by that denomination and is refusing to be taught and defended, then the C. of E. is in breach of its legal commitments and ceases to enjoy legitimacy. And yet, the teaching and practices of the modern C of E openly contradict much of what is required by the Thirty-Nine Articles. This may be proven very readily. Take for example, the Twentieth Article……..etc.’ http://www.cofec.org

    The reason that I dispute your figure of 30% Reformed evangelicals within the C of E is that I live in this country and know the facts. I would not dream of arguing with you about the situation of the churches in Germany. There may possibly be 30% who think of themselves as evangelicals, but this figure would include charismatics as well as many others who wouldn’t know Reformed doctrine if it bit them on the leg! Once again, there are many fine evangelical churches within the C of E, and it is these that I call to come out, whether they form a new episcopal denomination under a Nigerian Archbishop, join in with Edward Malcolm, or throw in their lot with the FIEC.

    You wrote:-

    You seem to define an evangelical, Reformed Christian as one who disagrees with women elders (you as I see elders and bishops as one in specific offices).

    That is the grossest distortion of what I believe. As I wrote in the article, the question is not one of women, but of Scripture. The C of E as a body abandoned the Scriptures as its sole authority many years and the question of women Bishops is merely the latest straw in the wind. You may reply, well so have the Methodists, Baptists et al, and you may be right. But the Baptists and Methodists are not the established denomination and I cannot therefore call for their disestablishment. It remains my view, however, that true evangelicals should come out of the mixed denominations and that the established status of the Church of England is now doing more harm than good.

    Finally, I have mentioned before on this blog that I am a member of Gideons International. Within that organization I have happy fellowship with folk from all Protestant denominations, who believe in the whole Bible as being the inerrant, infallible word of God, in the New Birth and in the eternal punishment of the impenitent.

  9. Dear Brother Martin,

    Thank you for your well-meant effort to clear the air. I have discussed the pros and contras of The Church of England Continuing with my late friend and Mentor Edward who was called Home over a year ago. For a long time, I was praying about joining him in North Africa through the Sahara Desert Mission under my old Pudsey friend Frank Baggot. How I came not to go, is one of the many wonders of my life and I shall tell you about it sometime. Edward always affirmed as stated in the web-page you quote from, that he and his Continuers represent the old Church of England as I have clearly described it to you. However, as I also pointed out to you, in your polemics you associate me with a stand I have never taken. I have always taught from my youth on, that when Dissent outlawed the Church of England on that terrible Bartholomew Day, she never recovered from her Reformed standing as the Church in England. Since then, she has sadly been but a denomination amongst denominations. What I object to is non-Church of England institutions using the C of E denomination amongst denominations as a scapegoat for their own sins, not merely those of the denomination they attack. With the figure of 30 per cent, I was quoting a broad selection of well-argued and documented opinions. I do, indeed, meet up with Evangelical Anglican churches obviously more than you do but even on a visit to an Anglican Church in Sweden with a Liberal minister, I found great fellowship with his flock, though the minister told me ‘You people will be taking us over soon’ A recent visit to Bradford Cathedral brought me in touch with fine evangelicals. However, when I speak about Anglicanism, I speak of the Thirty-Nine Articles; the Book of Common Prayer and the Homilies, like David, Edward Malcolm Junior, Barrie and the other lovers of the old Anglican ways like myself you have mentioned. Furthermore, I have never read any studies complaining that 90 per cent of Anglicans are apostate. The local Anglican Church here is bubbling over and I served a number of Anglican churches as BAR padre and my wife and I ran a Bible Study at our home for years witnessing a number of conversions and marriages founded in our home. I was surprised how many young soldiers and officers were keen evangelicals.

    I do believe you emphasized accepting women bishops or not as the last straw or, indeed the main straw and appeared to argue that the Church of England should be abandoned because of it. Forgive me if I misunderstood you. I do not understand what you mean by saying the point is one of Scripture rather than women. You were writing of Women and entitling your complaint ‘Woman Bishops and the Authority of Scripture’. I took up your theme. Furthermore, I have made it plain that I do not believe that Women Bishops are in accordance with Scripture, (this is our stand in the PRS), nor what usually goes under the designation ‘Dissent’ either. However, I find my fellowship working with people from most denominations. Indeed whilst teaching Scripture in State Schools, I found my ‘Church’ most certainly amongst my pupils from all denominations. I even had very devout, Biblical minded Roman Catholics and Kurdish believers. It was great! I miss it!

    The Church of England has been a ‘free church’ since the nineteenth century and you would appear to rob it of its last few endowments. To me, this is like robbing Britain and other great parts of the world where the majority of Anglicans live, of her Reformed dowry. Do not be so jealous! Perhaps, who knows? This dowry will prove Britain’s – and the world’s – salvation as the other denominations are rapidly losing all contact with Biblical reality. Perhaps what you are saying is that Britain’s Church, as a whole, is going down the drain. I do not believe this but I receive post from British Jeremiahs regularly proclaiming it, but always giving the wrong people and organisations the blame instead of themselves. I believe you will find that all the major British denominations have their edowments, privilages, patronages etc. established by law. Some even have their constitutions established by law.

    I am a supporter of the Gideon’s in a small way. In our state, they have free access to all schools and can pray and teach the pupils and give them Bibles. They are a wonderful asset. I had them in my classes every year. At a Gideon Conference in Oklahoma, I spoke of the work in Germany and my colleagues told me that they were not even allowed to carry a Bible into schools. I trust the situation is freer in Britain.

    Dear Martin, I am your friend and brother, not your enemy. I feel you constantly push me, however, into corners where I do not belong. I presume I do not see the world as black and white as you do. But, let’s be honest –it is coloured.

    Yours delighting in God’s design,

    George

  10. Dear George,
    The Edward Malcolm I had in mind is the one who spoke at the PRS meeting last year. He hasn’t died, has he?

    Nothing would make me happier than to believe that 25% of Anglicans were Reformed evangelicals, but since I don’t have time to go and count them, we shall have to agree to disagree.

    I believe with all my heart that Britain needs a new Reformation, and that will mean the new wine bursting out of the old bottles, whether they be Anglican bottles, Baptist or Methodist. I pray that God will bring it about soon in His mercy. However, I think we have now taken the subject as far as it will go, so unless anyone else has a view, I will close the comments.


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