In the immediate aftermath of the recent Anglican vote against having female bishops the press was pretty much universal in its hatred for the decision. One particular title to a letter from a reader caught my eye:
The church isn’t above the law
Obviously the opinion stated was that if the Church of England is going to continue operating as a charity in the UK with the significant position it does, it should at least obey equal opportunities laws and so on.
But that doesn’t really work when it comes to faith, does it? The church must submit to a higher authority than the Government, so if the Bible says ‘you must’ when the Government says ‘you must not,’ the church ‘must’. Agreed?
‘Well,’ comes back the response, ‘that’s all well and good when you’re talking about what days of the week to work on, but really you Christians should catch up with modern society.’
Now, that all sounds ok until you ask where the line is; a couple of hundred years ago it would have been completely irrelevant for the church to have women leading churches at all, let alone as bishops! How would a woman, whose role in life was to be wife and mother before anything else, have anything useful to say to men? And before that offends you, think a couple of hundred years into the future. What will western society look like in 2100? Maybe we will continue on the same trajectory of the past century and become even more liberal (I can’t even imagine how!) but maybe we’ll end up having our minds changed and swinging in the opposite direction – we can’t predict the future.
But God can, which is why in his grace he wrote us a book.