Philip North2a
Church of England

Bishop Philip North – catholic continuity and ecclesial unity

 

On 7th November 2014, it was announced by The Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street: “The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Philip John North to the Suffragan See of Burnley.” It was filed under ‘Arts and Culture’, which, for David Cameron, is precisely where the Church of England may be neatly classified – a little way but not too far down the via media of cultural creativity and the equal society; somewhere between the Royal Shakespeare Company and the campaign for superfast broadband.

Philip North is from the Traditionalist wing of the Church, opposed to women’s ordination as priests, and even more so to their consecration as bishops. It is a matter of theological ontology, not a denial of gender equality. But it is a curious thing to witness how smilingly respectful of the liberals the traddies tend to be, and how lip-curlingly scornful of the traddies the liberals so frequently are.

Mass, Mass, Walsingham, Mass; Mission, Misogyny, Mass and Mass. That’s the popular perception of your average Anglo-Catholic, infused with gin and bestrewn with lace, proceeding from St Stephen’s House, Oxford, which is still churning out priests of orthodox personality – men who love God in their hearts with the joyful desire to make Him known.

Libby Lane made history in York Minster; Philip North continues it. His consecration today as the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley in the Diocese of Blackburn is the incarnational declaration of the Church of England’s commitment to ecclesial unity; it is spiritual fellowship in praxis, for there is only one holy, catholic and apostolic Church, and still we pray, as Christ Himself prayed, for its visible unity.

You might think it awfully confused for a church to be consecrating women as bishops at the same time as consecrating men who are opposed to women bishops, but the Church of England is a human institution, and human beings have an inordinate capacity if not the innate tendency to sustain head-heart tensions and maintain mutual exclusions in the realms of morality, spirituality and theology. Consider how we daily excuse our inconsistencies and justify our hypocrisies; how we say one thing and feign another. “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I,” wrote St Paul to the church in Rome.

The Church of England has been doing what it hates and hating what it does since 1534, perched tentatively between its Catholic and Reformed lobbies, held together in a coalition of theological confusion by a transcendent liturgy and love for an order of beauty, peace and grace. Men, women, Jews, Greeks, Tories, Socialists, Papists and Calvinists – all are welcome to worship in our pews. If we occasionally appear aloof or embarrassed, it is because we have yet to learn your language. Our church is partial and deficient, and will remain so until its ultimate eschatological fulfilment.

The Christian world is divided and fragmented because humanity itself is fractured and disparate. The Church of England claims no ecclesial perfection or pretence to infallibility, principally because it does not believe in itself more than its commitment to catholic communion and its mission to salvation. Since the time of the Reformation, Anglicans have acknowledged that we are but a branch of the whole catholic Church: our ecclesiology and liturgical traditions are designed to meet the pastoral and spiritual needs of ordinary people – people who get out of bed on the wrong side, go to a job they hate, argue with lovers, bawl at the kids, knock back the whisky and kick the cat.

The Rev’d Philip North is, by all accounts, a caring, humble and compassionate priest of considerable ability. He doesn’t love the historic formularies of the Church of England more than he loves people. Nor does he love Cranmerian prose more than the words of Jesus. In his quest for holiness, in his walk of faith, he happens to believe in the distinctiveness of maleness in Church leadership; that there is an unbreakable bond of apostolic succession between those hands which were first laid on the head of St Peter, and then on St Linus, and then (to cut a long ecclesial story short) on St Gregory the Great, who laid hands on St Augustine of Canterbury, who laid hands on St Laurence, who laid hands on St Mellitus, who laid hands on St Justus, and then (to cut a long ecclesial story shorter still) on the Rev’d Dr Martin Warner, the Rt Rev’d Glyn Webster and the Rt Rev’d Tony Robinson, who gather to consecrate Fr Philip North as Bishop of Burnley. Of course, some of these hands have wandered or been misplaced in the archives of the centuries, but the succession is incontrovertibly male.

Today, let Anglo-Catholics put aside all talk of ‘taint’, shibboleths and unchanging tradition, and let the liberal-progressives suspend their assertions of cultural enlightenment, feminism and equality. Let us agree, in gracious fellowship and paradoxical ecumenicity, that Philip North is a bishop at least to the biblical and sacramental extent of Libby Lane. Let the arguments about doctrine and criticisms of reform rage another day, for on this day he needs our prayers that his ministry might flourish as abundantly as that of all those in the Church who laud his conviction.

  • Little Black Censored

    “…let Anglo-Catholics put aside all talk of ‘taint’…”
    I have never heard catholics talk of taint; it is what they are accused of talking about by their opponents,

  • Arden Forester

    A good article neatly explaining the Church of England’s varying traditions and new expressions. However, for some of us the CofE is not a branch of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church but two sees separated from it and in need of returning as a whole to Catholic orthodoxy in a desire for unity.

    • Anton

      Let us not forget the Eastern Orthodox.

      • Arden Forester

        I don’t. The Orthodox Catholic Church, as the eastern church is officially called, is also mindful of unity. However, those advocating female ordination are a miniscule minority in the whole universal Church. I don’t doubt the sincerity of such advocates but scripture, reason and tradition seem poor supporters of such advocacy.

        • Anton

          Not all of us agree with male ordination!

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    There are those that say you need a long spoon to sup with the Devil. In this case your most caring post for conciliation between the differing factions is most welcome.
    None of us know the whole truth and we all see through a glass darkly.
    My particular gripe is with Liturgy and ceremony. God bless them that do and bless us that don’t.

    • “My particular gripe is with Liturgy and ceremony.”

      May Jack enquire why this is so?

      • Shadrach Fire

        As a Pentecostal, we have no regular form to our worship service. No set prayers and no procession or incense swinging etc; Ritual brings a lack of spontaneity and does not allow for God to move in his own ways. A church attender can hide behind ceremony and Liturgy instead of allowing their own spirit to be led by the Lord in a uniquely individual way.

        • Happy Jack has never found this to be so. He sees worship as giving God thanks and praise in structured ways that represent doctrine and faith. This is not the whole of a Christian’s life, of course, and there is plenty of room for ‘spontaneity’ and being led by the Holy Spirit.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Worship can take place in countless ways especially through the appreciation of the natural world…God’s gift to us which we
            are destroying and do not appreciate.The Catholic Church is the only religious denomination which has made environmental destruction a grievous sin. The Greens think it’s great:)

          • Anton

            Complex issues, Cressida. (NB I’m not supposing you are unaware of that). Determining what really is destructive rather than legitimate modification of the environment, given the divine command to man in Genesis to steward the Earth, isn’t easy. And sin is invariably treated as individual throughout scripture, whereas environmental destruction is a collective thing in which it is very hard to apportion the responsibilities of individuals.

          • The whole of life can be an act of worship Cressida.

            Happy Jack just prefers an ordered and respectful Mass of a Sunday with liturgical meaning and symbolism that reflects our faith. No loud music, waving of hands about, or ‘calling on the Spirit’ for him. And no guitars or drums or dancing.

          • Anton

            And transubstantiation…

          • Jack is a Roman Catholic. What do you think the purpose of the Mass is? Here’s a clue: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

          • Anton

            Actually Jack I have less problem with the Mass being a sacrifice than some protestants; obviously there is the “sacrifice once for all” of Jesus on the Cross as stated in the Book of Hebrews, but this echoes through time in a mystical way (kairos-time rather than chronos-time) and I am happy for Communion to be viewed in that way. Transubstantiation is where we differ, but maybe some other time.

        • Anton

          There’s a spectrum here. Do you have no order of service whatsoever – no “time of worship” followed by a “time of prayer” etc, even if what is sung and uttered is not taken from any book? I agree that 0% room for spontaneity is stifling but 0% pre-arranged can lead to windbags grabbing the mike week after week after week and thinking the Holy Spirit is leading them when it is their own emotions; and telling them so even gently is liable to polarise a congregation horribly.

          That said, I note that there was no liturgy commanded even for the annual passage of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament, and certainly not for the sacrifices. The priests had duties of doing, and the Psalms were decided to be Inspired, but if no liturgy in law-bound ancient Israel, how much freer must the Spirit-led church be!

          • Shadrach Fire

            The pastor leads the service or an elder. Order has to maintained and everything done decently and in order. Oops.

  • I once said that if I ever ended up on Your Grace’s side of the Tiber that it would be for this reason – the ability of the Anglican Communion to accept its own fallibility and that of its members, and somehow find a way through the choppy waters of tradition and Scripture without throwing half its passengers off in the process. But I would say that of the Roman Catholic Church at its best as well – so many of the RC priests I know are men who I would also describe as “caring, humble and compassionate” men who also care more about the words of Jesus than the words of the liturgy, and love the people they serve with all their hearts. So there will be a prayer today for Bishop Philip North from this side of the Tiber too. God bless him.

    • len

      One day Christ will call all the people who wish to follow Him out of their denominations out of their Churches and to follow Him alone…perhaps we are coming to this soon, after all He has done this before….

      • Anton

        I agree. He will permit a persecution that will lop off all church hierarchies so that there will be only Christians. Let those believers who understand what is going on explain to those believers who don’t – without any trace of triumphalism – that He is not abandoning his flock but purifying it.

        • magnolia

          I think we imported the notion of heirarchy into the church, the ekklesia, the gathering of believers, at any rate in the complex and hard-baked fashion we have accumulated it in. Jesus never was a priest, a bishop or an archdeacon, never operated in a Cathedral, nor even had a backing choir- well, from all we know!

      • And perhaps. Len, when that day comes, we may all be surprised at what He thinks important and how little it had to do with what we thought important at the time. God bless you.

        • CliveM

          I think we may also be surprised who we find there.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Surely not…you cannot be serious about joining the Protestants. You wouldn’t last a week . They have a few good hymns but that’s about it !

      • I had moments where I came close, Cressida, mostly when so many skeletons were coming out of the closets in recent years and the hierarchy were frantically trying to hide the evidence. Thankfully I had a couple of very good priests who put up with my throwing tantrums almost on a weekly basis during that time, and I’m still clinging onto the Faith, even if sometimes by my fingernails. 🙂

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    Men, women, Jews, Greeks, Tories, Socialists, Papists and Calvinists – all are welcome to worship in our pews.

    Does this therefore preclude the Greens, Ukippers and the SNP?

    • And ‘men’ and ‘women’ are, according to some, false constructs which exclude the transgendered. We are all ‘earth creatures’ these days, don’t ya know?

    • saintmark

      Greens would no doubt be welcomed, possibly the SNP but no, we can’t have UKIP voters marching around the parish church in their SS uniforms can we? sarc/off

  • Anton

    Your Grace,

    The CoE is divided three ways, not two (Reformed and Anglo-Catholic). There are the evangelicals, the liberals and the highs. The liberals are correctly seen as traitors by the other two. The highs speak much about the church whereas the evangelicals speak more about the Lord. Surely then the evangelicals have it right, however irritating they can be?

    • Albert

      The highs speak much about the church whereas the evangelicals speak more about the Lord.

      If you really think that, you need to spend more time with other side.

      • Anton

        I spent many hours with one and reading the High Anglican magazines he subscribed to. Always about the Church, little about the Lord. Merely having common opponents in the liberals. Look, there are exceptions to every general rule and I am glad of faith in Jesus Christ wherever I find it, but I believe my generalisation is broadly accurate.

        • Albert

          A bad example then, and I don’t think that magazines of that sort express the position, any more than a group of allied soldiers charging up the beaches of Normandy express democracy. But there is a point here that is important: the innate tendency to sustain head-heart tensions and maintain mutual exclusions in the realms of morality, spirituality and theology in the CofE result in Christians spending far too much time fighting each other and far too little time focused on the Lord. That’s one of the first things I noticed when I became a Catholic – everything seemed to be about God.

          Moreover, your post does not answer my objection to your claim that Evangelicals are always talking about the Lord.

          • Anton

            Object away! I simply think you are wrong; or, put less confrontationally, we disagree.

        • A Catholic will not to see a division between the Church and Christ. Mystically, the Church is Christ’s visible presence on earth until His return. The One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, established by Christ, is an extension and continuation of His Incarnation.

    • Arden Forester

      Well as they say, speak for yourself. I certainly don’t see the liberals as traitors, just misguided. Not the same thing at all. Mutual flourishing is one thing but using a trump card is quite another. Many liberals see the forced acceptance of their beliefs as the ultimate goal. I hope and trust they won’t succeed.

      • The Explorer

        Christ’s view of the Liberals would be interesting. As for the Liberals’ view of Christ…

        • Albert

          A good person….just like themselves.

          • The Explorer

            Who died, and stayed dead, just as they will.

          • Albert

            And was liberal by the standards of his day. Just as they are.

            Can we turn this into a Creed?

          • The Explorer

            C S Lewis made the point that Liberals sincerely believed that people like himself did a great deal of harm. “The most mischievous people in the world are those who, like myself, proclaim that Christianity essentially involves the supernatural. They are quite sure that belief in the supernatural never will, nor should, be revived…”
            I like his concluding statement. “Did you ever hear of anyone who was converted from scepticism to a ‘liberal’ or ‘demythologised’ Christianity? I think that when unbelievers come in at all, they come in a good deal further.” I know I did.
            Creed? How about: “He suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, dead and buried.” The rest of the original is a bit too supernatural.

          • Albert

            They are quite sure that belief in the supernatural never will…be revived…

            Looking at the world today, you’d have to say that that was something else the liberals were wrong about. They’re so mid-20th Century. It’s surprising they have such sway in the CofE.

          • The Explorer

            Those of Lewis’ day certainly didn’t anticipate New-Age syncretism.
            Mind you, modern Liberals have certainly tried to get hold of the glorious slipperiness of Spirituality. (Which by its inherent nature, of course, eludes being held down by anyone.)

          • Anton

            Anybody remember the Not The Nine O’Clock News parody of a liberal vicar giving a sermon titled “The devil – is he all bad”?

          • magnolia

            That has echoes in those who insist on sympathising, sometimes even to the point of partial identification with- Judas Iscariot. It is an imaginative journey I never find myself desiring to go on, for some reason…! I think some people wish to be “different and original” at almost any cost, and think what no one has wished to before them!! Maybe they also have a little bit too much time to spare!

          • Anton

            Actually there have always been “universalists” who believe that hell is really a form of Rome’s Purgatory, even for fallen angels. Wherever they get that belief from, it isn’t the Holy Bible.

          • Phil R

            Excellent

          • Anton

            Liberals would prefer to speak of the Ten Suggestions rather than the Ten Commandments.

      • Anton

        Taking a salary from the collection plates of those who take the trouble to come to church, while sowing doubt… I call that traitorous behaviour.

    • Anton, do even these ‘divisions’ stand? Within the ‘evangelicals’ there are modernists and traditionalists; same with what you term the ‘highs’. As for the ‘liberals’, whilst hard to pin them down, even here there appears to be no unanimity. All terribly confusing.

      • Anton

        I agree. I gave testimony a few threads ago why I am no longer an Anglican.

      • magnolia

        You forget the charismatic non charismatic continuum, amongst others!!

        • Anton

          As of the 1970s I rank them as a subset of evangelicals. I regret the artificial polarisation between “charismatic” and “evangelical”, because a true evangelical will be charismatic – the Bible says so.

          • magnolia

            Yes, I agree, though the charismatic movement has produced excesses that were embarrassing and unfortunate and sometimes forgotten that there is a paranormal copy, and sometimes a psychological one coming from the “flesh” that can parody the genuine, and sometimes even interweave with it.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Spurgeon describes the excesses as ‘spurious signs’.

            A charismatic is not an evangelical – one puts the importance on personal experience, the other puts it on the Word of God.

          • magnolia

            Agreed. I would put the emphasis on Scripture, Reason and tradition, with experience also playing a vital part, but all held up to Christ, and checked against Scripture. I am fascinated by Muslims who have been converted through meeting Jesus in dreams, and THEN find Scripture, and become very excited by it, as their experience lights it up, and it lights up their experience. That is an example of a necessary and not a spurious sign!

            I am also fascinated by genuine as against fake healers. Or maybe some start off as genuine, or their hearers at least have faith, but it gradually becomes much easier to fake it after the Spirit has departed. I also fear for the genuine ones, lest they lose sight of who is doing it and become puffed up thinking it is themselves.

            As for rolling on the floor making cat and dog noises, why? Unless you are playing with your cat, dog, or small child it seems an entirely dumb thing to do! And even then cats and dogs generally think it is looking really silly as well!

          • Anton

            It’s a matter of terminology. The NT church is charismatic according to the texts, so real evangelicals are real charismatics. Of course there are counterfeits.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I think we are singing from the same hymn sheet…

  • carl jacobs

    an inordinate capacity if not the innate tendency to sustain head-heart tensions and maintain mutual exclusions in the realms of morality, spirituality and theology.

    If you think this discontinuity can be sustained over time, you are deceiving yourself. There is no genuine desire for a perpetual state of “mutual flourishing.” The promises made in 2014 will be forgotten just as inevitably as the promises made in 1992. That “lip-curlingly scornful” attitude is authentic, and it isn’t going to go away. So what happens when a “lip-curlingly scornful” attitude is combined with the authority to wield the whip? The whip gets applied to all the scorned within its reach.

    Those who made the promises will give way to those who did not. And those who did not make them will feel themselves under no compulsion to keep them. Once empowered, they will act upon the logic of their position. And besides, the emerging fight over homosexuality is going to render the question moot anyways. Jeffery John had reportedly been short-listed again. Canon Porter has said he doesn’t see how a synod vote on the place of homosexuals in the CoE can be put off past 2017. Once that becomes the issue, “mutual flourishing” for opponents of WO will be subsumed like a tidal wave subsumes the gentle disturbance of a stone cast in the water.

    The revolutionaries are poised to storm the Bastille. Their blood is up, and the guillotine awaits all who would fall into their merciless hands. The victims of the revolutionary fever will find no hope in the “inordinate capacity if not the innate tendency to sustain head-heart tensions and maintain mutual exclusions in the realms of morality, spirituality and theology.” Morality, spirituality, and theology have given way to liberty, equality, and fraternity.

    And we all know how that turned out.

    • “Morality, spirituality, and theology have given way to liberty, equality, and fraternity.”

      Like it ……….. La liberté, l’égalité, et la fraternité.

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      The (largely secular) establishment has made clear its intention to appoint the most overtly, publically worthless candidates that it can find. The only purpose for that is in order to cripple the church and destroy its credibility, in the same way that the baby-boomers have damaged every institution in our society.
      What is needed now is not more words about the stooges, with whom the establishment has filled the admin and hierarchy, but a plan of action to put a stop to this nonsense. Starting with cutting off the power of the establishment to make appointments, I would suggest.
      In the meantime, we need to prevent them “streamlining” the admin, which will merely give the stooges still more power.

  • Albert

    I enjoyed this post – I found the first paragraph hilarious.

    You might think it awfully confused for a church to be consecrating women as bishops at the same time as consecrating men who are opposed to women bishops, but the Church of England is a human institution, and human beings have an inordinate capacity if not the innate tendency to sustain head-heart tensions and maintain mutual exclusions in the realms of morality, spirituality and theology. Consider how we daily excuse our inconsistencies and justify our hypocrisies; how we say one thing and feign another. “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I,” wrote St Paul to the church in Rome.

    Except that there is a difference between the contradiction of a sin committed in the moment and afterwards repented of, and the contradiction of believing a position which is directly opposed to another position we also believe. As Keith Ward says, “A contradiction conveys no information whatsoever.” Now if the CofE is in a state of contradiction, it is, on that matter, conveying no information whatsoever.

    I would have thought it was better to convey the Gospel than turn into a virtue conveying no information whatsoever.

    let Anglo-Catholics put aside all talk of ‘taint’

    When I was an Anglican, the only people I ever heard using that word were supporters of women’s ordination – who used it to “taint” the Anglo-catholics.

  • “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”

    Some heavy pruning lies ahead.

    • Nick

      A bad gardener always blames his plants.

      • Pruning a tree is what a good gardener does to further its growth. It would be neglectful not to. As for the quality of the actual plant:

        “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”

        • Nick

          Does saying the gardener is a good gardener make him any kinder to the plant who says so?

          I would rather the branches were honest and treated each other with kindness.

          I fear I am a cut-off branch. Is that normal?

          • “Does saying the gardener is a good gardener make him any kinder to the plant who says so?”

            If it is said is good faith, why not?

            “I would rather the branches were honest and treated each other with kindness.”

            Yes, but rotten branches carry diseases that kill the whole tree and prevent it producing fruit.

            “I fear I am a cut-off branch. Is that normal?”

            Of course. To fear it is probably the best protection against being lopped off.

          • Nick

            Thank you, that is helpful.

          • A very spiritual priest once informed Happy Jack that the seemingly unbridgeable gap between God’s Justice and His Love is His unending Mercy.

          • Nick

            Well I happen to think that Happy Jack is a very amiable and spiritually mature person from my experience. I hope that you don’t take this compliment to be anything except what it is.

            (I expect nothing in return for this compliment (apart from protection against the right-wing madness on this site!!!! Help!!!! Help me Happy Jack! I wanna be your friend etc. etc. etc. Protect me from from the madness!!!!!! (oh goodness, did I say that out loud?).

          • Happy Jack can also be extremely rude and disagreeable, Nick. He is also very conservative and traditional. He suspects those you describe as “right wing” are the more spiritually immature, militant Calvinists amongst us. Just ignore them if they bother you. One cannot reason with them.

          • Nick

            I have not personally experienced such rudeness from you in my few months here whatever your views. Please accept the compliment. My cat is dying (and there are other personal issues) and that is the area from which my theology is currently coming from. The ‘negligence of the Gardener’ which you previously spoke of seems to be a huge issue and as a result I find that your posts have depth and meaning. And I like you. Is that okay?

          • Then Happy Jack will accept your compliment and thanks you for it. He will pray for you and hopes your burdens lighten. God is never negligent, Nick. Jack believes any suffering we experience serves His loving purpose for us.

          • IanCad

            Nick,
            If you love your cat as we love ours you have my sympathy.
            Never think you have to wait to get another.
            Ian

          • carl jacobs

            … well, thanks for that, Jack.

          • Actually, Carl, Jack chose his words expressly so as not to include you. He had a couple of others in mind. He sees you as neither “spiritually immature” or as a “militant Calvinist”.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            There aren’t they many of us. Besides me, I can think of Thomas Kenningley – a commenter for whom I have a great deal of respect. And there is Martin. Now Martin may be more aggressive than I would be, and he might be more direct in his communications. But those are prudential judgments. I do not in any way consider him immature. I consider him well-grounded, and it is very rare for him to make a post on theology that would trouble me. He typically says things that I could say save perhaps in a less confrontational manner.

            If I have overlooked someone, the fault is entirely mine, and I apologize in advance to that individual.

          • Carl, Thomas Kenningley is not a person Happy Jack has had many conversations with. It is principally Martin and Martin M. Jack has in mind – although he confesses he often gets the two of them somewhat mixed up.

            As you know Jack rejects Calvinism. It is an internally coherent and structured theology but its basic premise about Creation and about Salvation is not one Jack regards as consistent with the God revealed in Scripture.

            By ‘immature’ and ‘militant’ Jack means a confrontational dismissal of the human struggles people encounter as their faith develops and as the Holy Spirit starts to stir within them. Now, Jack knows he can be very insensitive and confrontational too. However, he hopes he would never dismiss what he sees as a genuine question about faith and grace in an unhelpful way – as he perceived Martin M. doing so earlier in this sub-thread. That actually made Jack cross and he is waiting for a reply to the question he asked him.

          • CliveM

            Well we all have our ideosyncracies, however at least yours are never dull!!

          • ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge’ (Proverbs 1:7), but I fear that you don’t really fear because if you feared you would do something about it.

          • Nick

            Well please don’t be afraid of that. My motives and plans are not sinister. When you say that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, do you mean that it just makes sense to respect and praise God for survival? It just all seems so superficial.

          • The fear of the Lord is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It inspires a profound respect for the majesty of God. It also protects us from sin through a proper dread of offending God, and gives us a confidence in the power of His help.

            Hope and fear are not mutually exclusive. The fear of the Lord is the desire not to offend Him and the certainty that He will give us the grace necessary to keep from doing so. It is that certainty that gives us hope. It is the beginning of wisdom because it is one of the foundations of our religious life.

            “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.”

            Fear of the Lord is not servile but is based on the love of God and a desire not to offend Him. With servile fear punishment is dreaded. In filial fear, with God as Father, it is the fear of doing anything contrary to His will and offending Him but also knowing He is with us.

            The gift of fear is a sense of God’s greatness, a sorrow for our faults, and care in avoiding situations where we might sin.

          • To my surprise, I find myself largely in agreement with H.J. below.
            The fear of the Lord is always presented as something positive in Scripture (eg. Acts 9:31). It is a realization of who God is, His power and might and glory, and is by no means incompatible with love toward Him.
            Anyone who does not fear God knows nothing about Him. But when you find this fearsome God and bow down before Him, you will find that He is filled with love and compassion towards you.

          • “But when you find this fearsome God and bow down before Him, you will find that He is filled with love and compassion towards you.”

            This is where we differ Martin. We do not “find” God. He comes to us and through His unmerited gift of faith we respond – and He offers this to us all but gives grace to those He foreknows. And He is not “fearsome” in the sense Jack thinks you mean. He is our awesome Father who loves us.

          • 2 Chron. 15:15. ‘And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around.’ ‘Seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened’

            You are right, however, that the seeking and the finding are all of God. Our seeking is a result of His drawing us to Him (Jer. 31:3; John 6:44).
            God is fearsome to those who reject Him (2 Cor. 5:11), but to those who seek Him and find Him He is, as I said, full of love and compassion.

          • Well, we are in agreement then but possibly for different reasons. Those who reject Him will hide from Him and deny the consequences. He knows who His elect are by foreknowledge. However, Jack hopes he never presumes salvation about himself or others – even the most brazen of atheists.

          • However, Jack hopes he never presumes salvation or damnation about himself or others – even the most brazen of atheists.

            You are right about the ‘others.’ It would be interesting, if one had a time machine, to go back to 1st Century Israel and ask the early Christians who was the person least likely to become a Christian- prior to Acts 9.
            However, you should know if you yourself are saved. I would hate to be lying on my deathbed thinking, “I wonder if I’ve done well enough.”

          • It’s not about having “done enough”, Martin.

            As Saint Paul wrote: “I do not even pass judgment on myself. Mind you, I have nothing on my conscience. But that does not mean that I am declaring myself innocent. The Lord is the one to judge me, so stop passing judgment before the time of his return. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and manifest the intentions of hearts”
            (1 Cor. 4:3-5).

            Paul himself never claimed to have an absolute assurance of salvation: “Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall”
            (1 Cor. 10:12; Rom. 14:4).

          • Oh Jack! Do you really think that Paul didn’t know if he was saved? Did he really say, “Finally, there might perhaps be laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteousness Judge may give me on that day, or maybe not, and not only possibly to me, but maybe to all who have loved His appearing. Probably. I think.”?
            True, if anyone thinks he is ‘innocent’ or ‘standing’ in his own righteousness, he may be in for a big shock, but “Whoever believes on [Christ] will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).

          • Martin, Jack is just citing Saint Paul.

            Even Protestants admit that one cannot have absolute assurance of salvation. According to Calvinism, if a member of the Church sins seriously some time after accepting Christ as his Lord and Savior, it is believed that he was never saved in the first place, although the person may have been completely convinced that he was saved.

            No one can really say for sure that he truly accepted Christ with infallible knowledge. No one can be sure that his repentance and faith is genuine, that he has turned to God with all his heart.

          • First of all, you don’t understand Calvinism.

            More importantly, if salvation is up to me, then you’re right; I can never know if I’m saved. I shall always be wondering if I’ve done enough or if my faith is quite genuine.

            However, praise God, it doesn’t depend on me. ‘Salvation is of the LORD’ (Jonah 2:9). The Bible does supply certain tests (2 Cor. 13:5) that I can apply to myself to see if I’m really born again, but these don’t apply to my faith, which may be only as large as a mustard seed, nor to my sins, which are a qualification for salvation rather than the opposite (Matt. 9:13; 1 Tim. 1:15). Rather they apply to my desires, to my heart (Matt. 6:21), whether it really has been changed.

            This article may be helpful to you.

            https://marprelate.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/new-birth-9-evidences-of-the-new-birth/

          • First of all, you don’t understand Calvinism.

            Secondly, if my salvation depends on me then you are right. I can never know if I’ve done enough Hail Marys, if my conduct is impeccable, or if my faith is of the right quality. However, praise God, ‘Salvation is of the LORD’ (Jonah 2:9). Christ came to save sinners (Matt. 8:13; 1 Tim. 1:15), so Paul and I qualify perfectly for salvation.

            It is true that there are certain questions I do need to ask myself (2 Cor. 13:5), but these relate to my desires, to my heart, as to whether it has been changed by a New Birth.

            This article may be helpful to you.

            https://marprelate.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/new-birth-9-evidences-of-the-new-birth/

          • And from that comment you do not understand Roman Catholicism. We have confidence and hope in salvation but shun statements of infallible certainty.

            We understand Scripture teaches that whilst we may be confident about our final salvation and assured, we cannot be certain as it will depend on the state of the soul at death. As Jesus himself tells us, “He who endures to the end will be saved”. One who dies in the state of friendship with God (a state of grace) will go to heaven. The one who dies in a state of enmity and rebellion against God (a state of mortal sin) will go to hell.

            Saint Paul, near end of his life wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day” Earlier, he did not claim an infallible certainty. He was frank in admitting that even he could fall away: “I pummel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). He is pointing out that however much confidence in his own salvation may be warranted, he cannot be infallibly sure either of his present state or of his future course.

          • He asked the question ….

            It’s a question we all ask ourselves – or should. When you say: “you would do something about it.” what can you mean?

          • I had assumed, perhaps wrongly, that Nick was not a Christian, and that he was therefore one of whom the Apostle says, ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes’ (Rom. 3:18). In that case, he would need to humble himself before God and learn that, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “He’s not a tame lion.”

          • Happy Jack doesn’t know if he is or isn’t a Christian. However, in Jack’s theology, everyone is a potential Christian who can do nothing without the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the graces God sends. And we, who believe we are blessed, need to offer encouragement to those who express doubt and not discouragement.

          • sarky

            The fear of the lord is the begining of a closed mind.

          • The Explorer

            Not necessarily. John Lennox fears the Lord, and he has an MA, PhD, D Phil and DSc. He also speaks six languages, including Russian.
            On the other hand, I know a lot of closed minds. A variety of explanations, but fear of the Lord does not appear to be among them.

          • Anton

            Indeed; closed against the possibility of a man being resurrected 2000 years ago although those who made the claim were willing to die for it, indicating that they did not make it up. (Who would die to uphold a practical joke?)

          • sarky

            People have died for their beliefs all throughout history, that does not indicate that those beliefs are true. If you follow that logic then islam must be true for its adherents to fly planes into buildings.

          • Anton

            Nobody has been martyred for a belief that they knew was wrong, and named people who witnessed that they saw Jesus dead then alive died for it.

          • sarky

            Nobody has been martyred for a belief that they knew was wrong.

            kind of answers itself, doesnt it?

          • Anton

            Explain?

          • sarky

            Because when it comes to the crunch you would drop your belief like a hot potato if you didnt actually believe it.
            But like I said, because someone believes something to be true it doesnt make it true.

          • Anton

            Indeed they would have denied it under pressure if they didn’t believe it. But these were eye witnesses…

          • sarky

            Lennox, an advocate of old-earth creationism, does believe that man is a “direct special creation” by God (Lennox 2011, p. 69), and that humans have not evolved. He affirms that “it is crucial to the theology of salvation that Adam was the first actual member of a human race physically distinct from all creatures that preceded him” (Lennox 2011, p. 73).

            really???

          • Anton

            A close reading of Genesis indicates that Adam and Eve must be among the ancestors of all humans, not that they are the only ancestors.

          • The Explorer

            Old-Earth creationism means that the Earth is 5 billion years old, but came into being through purpose not chance. That seems to me an attempt to reconcile ‘Genesis’ with the findings of science.
            Your mind, however, seems closed to that possibility.

          • sarky

            Its not at all!!! Doesn’t it tell you something though, that you have to attempt to reconcile it at all?

          • The Explorer

            I’d say the willingness, and ability, to reconcile is evidence of an open mind.

          • William Lewis

            Quite

          • sarky

            Thats not what I asked.

          • The Explorer

            You asked if it told me something. Yes it did. You didn’t specify what that something had to be.

          • Anton

            Old-earth creationism and science sit very well together (although more like 15 billion years old than 5 billion). Early in the 20th century Einstein’s field equations of general relativity were applied to the entire universe and the conclusion was that the universe had a beginning, in the so-called Big Bang from which the universe has since expanded. And just as the opening phrase of the Bible states. So, 4000 years after God told Moses, man works it out in his own strength. Before Einstein, science had nothing to say about ultimate origins. Many eastern religions hold that the universe has always existed. So science and the Bible go together very well indeed here.

            Furthermore, as Einstein showed that time and space are deeply interrelated, not only space but time began at the Big Bang.Asking what happened before the Big Bang is like asking what it north of the North Pole. (The analogy is quite close, in fact.) This is the resolution of the who-created-God riddle: the question presumes that God was created before the universe, but “before” is a time-word, and time before the Big Bang has no meaning. This is most difficult for our minds to grasp, but God’s ways are not our ways…

          • The Explorer

            I thought it was 15 billion for the Universe, and 5 billion for the Earth. Not that I can really get my head round either concept. Five years past or future is about my limit.

          • Does it …. er …. ‘matter’?

          • The Explorer

            Whether the Universe came into being through chance or purpose is crucial because two totally different world views arise from the answer given. The timescale understandably matters to scientists, but to me is a mere detail.

          • “Matter” ………………….. ;o)

          • The Explorer

            I got it first time round because of the inverted commas, but was more concerned to address the important issue contained within the pun.
            Interesting word ‘matter’. “The King’s great matter”, and the role it played in the origins of the C of E.

          • Yes, one suspects those at Court were also flattering Henry VIII when euphemistically referring to the “King’s Great Matter.”
            It can also mean to suppurate when used in a pathological sense.

          • sarky

            That question is ‘THE’ question.

          • Anton

            It’s a hot topic when you bump into Young-Earth creationists, Jack. They are your and my brothers in Christ and some of us believe it is important to debate them while remaining one in Him.

          • It was a play on the word, Anton.

          • Anton

            I’ve no sense of humour!

          • Happy Jack will help you. It’s one of the joys of Catholicism.

          • Anton

            Sorry, Yes, you are right to distinguish. The earth is about half the age of the universe.

          • DanJ0

            “Herein lies the resolution of the who-created-God riddle: the question presumes that God was created before the universe, but “before” is a time-word, and time before the Big Bang has no meaning.”

            Strictly speaking, “before” is a time-word relative to our time-space.

          • DanJ0

            When I instantiate a computer program, it comes into being in memory space and gets execution time on the CPU. Typically we have a real-time clock which links the program’s world to the real world but that doesn’t need to be so. We could simply have a clock tick against which the program proceeds. There is a “before” relative to the start of the program and its time and space. Yet the CPU and memory space are still created things.

          • “When I instantiate a computer program …. “

            And if you didn’t do so? And someone will have designed the sequence of instructions, written to perform specified tasks and the central processor.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            No one has ever convinced me of the virtue of an open mind. Find me the man who is open-minded and I will show you the man who is empty-headed. In truth, the only things that men are open-minded about are the presuppositions held by other men.

          • sarky

            So open-minded = empty-headed. That explains those open minded people who convert to christianity!

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            Yes, that’s exactly what it means. You aren’t “open-minded” at all. There is no such thing as an “open-minded” man. You have your own set of faith principles called presuppositions, and you do not question them. When you call me close-minded, what you mean is “You don’t use my presuppositions.” You just privilege yourself by saying you have arrived at your presuppositions “rationally.” That’s what I call the illusion of compelled belief. Your “rational” process depends upon the very presuppositions you say you adopted by reason. The only person you are deceiving is yourself.

          • sarky

            Yes, but I am willing to change my presuppositions when presented with evidence to the contrary. You are not.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            Your presuppositions determine how you evaluate the evidence. If you didn’t have them, you couldn’t begin to evaluate anything. An evaluation implies a criterion. Where does it come from? The ground?

            But you don’t even believe this. Show me so much as one piece of empirical evidence that establishes the intrinsic equality of man. Do you know why I ask you this question? Because I know that every single observable in human experience denies the premise. And yet you hold to it. Why would that be, sarky? Why do you ignore the obvious conclusion sitting right before your eyes?

          • sarky

            So where do presuppositions come from? Are they innate or are they learned? Nature or nuture? I only ask because I was raised a christian, so by your thinking I should come at an argument from a faith position, but I dont.
            This would suggest that our presuppositions are constantly changing based on our experience and knowledge.
            All I know is that I do not know everything, but I do know that I am willing to change my mind if convinced, by evidence, that my position is wrong.

          • Your mind is closed- period.

  • I am very happy for Philip North, but I have to say that I am also very happy and relieved that I am not part of the Church of England (I suspect the feeling may be mutual). ‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ Much less three or four or however many factions there are in the C of E.

    • Anton

      Great last paragraph Martin! The Holy Spirit follows faith, rather than following the apostolic succession of episkopoi as some denominations assert – and exploit in order to claim that they are the one true church. (Too bad that both sides of the schism of 1054 claim this…)

      • Surely the Holy Spirit leads, Anton.

        • Anton

          Consider my previous comment with “follows” altered to “is necessarily associated with”; and thank you for the clarification.

    • “At its very best, laying on of hands is merely a confirmation of something that God has already decided; at its worst, and all to often, it is one set of apostates affirming another one of the same.”

      That could almost be a Roman Catholic statement, Martin M.

  • Jill

    While I appreciate this article, and feel thankful that His Grace does have a grasp of the traditionalist position over women bishops, I feel it is too late, and the tipping point is well past. Having been a Forward in Faith member for many years I am well aware of the stratagems of the ‘progressives’, who, once they had achieved their goal in 1992 by dint of years of sidelining of orthodox clergy, turned very quickly on their opponents – witness the antics of GRAS (Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod) and their like – who had no intention of keeping the promises made in order to facilitate the ordination of women.

    This was obviously going to happen. I have watched broadcasts of Synod debates on the issue, and have been shocked at the levels of ignorance shown by many members, who really didn’t have a clue, throwing around such phrases as ‘in this day and age’, lots of talk of ‘equality’ and ‘glass celings’, as though the priesthood were some sort of career ladder.

    Perhaps the ‘Gamaliel principle’ will be the true test – if it is ‘of God’ it will prosper, if it is not ‘of God’ it will not. The latter seems to be the case at present – women’s ordination has hardly packed out our churches.

    I wish Philip North well, but now even Forward in Faith has a vice-chairman who goes on gay pride rallies, so what future for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England?

    • Phil R

      What is striking to me in the debates that I have watched. It is not just the ignorance, but the narrow mindedness and extreme anger directed against those that dare disagree with their view of progress.

      Unpleasant does not describe it and even just watching it was clear who controlled them.

      Even female ministers that I have met have got angry even with me for simply stating an orthodox view. After that point my card was marked and they did everything they could to oppose me personally

      A female curate decided during her training that she wanted to model her ministry on the Biblical command of headship.

      She stated that the male priests had no issue with her views and most supported her. The women however, were determined to drive her out, helped by the Bishop and the training college, who kept selecting her placements with the most militant female priests they could find.

      To cut a long story short she truly had a terrible time at the hands of these women. However, they did not force her out as was planned and she is now part of a very successful team ministry with two male priests and her ministry within the team, is primarily is women and children.

      • Walton Boy

        From reading the posts of you and others on this site it is quite clear that there is ignorance and narrow-mindedness on more than one side of this debate.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It wasn’t 1992, but earlier – when women lay readers were allowed, when the gates were opened. Given that orthodox Christians hold that preaching is exercising authority, once they had given way to women as lay readers there was no way to protest anything else with any ‘authority’.

    • Linus

      “…what future for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England?”

      Hopefully none. With any luck they’ll gradually fall away and those who aren’t already centenarians will eventually throw their lot in with the Ordinariate.

      The big tussle is going to be between the liberals and the evangelicals. The outcome is predetermined by numbers, and evangelicals will not stand being outvoted on every issue for very long. Schism will follow and soon there will be two Anglican Churches in England, although whether the original one will recognize the newcomer remains to be seen. But not to worry, there’s always Gafcon to give them that sense of belonging they all seem to crave.

      As the liberal Church fades away and the evangelical rump continues to thunder on about women and gays and the evils of premarital sex and abortion, the ghettoization of Christianity will be complete. It will be no more socially acceptable to admit to being a Christian than it currently is to admit to BNP membership. In remaining true to their faith, evangelicals will be parking themselves in a cul de sac of their own making. And there they will remain for the rest of time, seen by the rest of society as an historical (and hysterical) curiosity and tolerated, but not respected or listened to.

  • Inspector General

    For all that Cranmer hath wrote today, the Inspector still hears the voices. The shrill voices. “Stop consecrating male bishops (…or as your Inspector would more accurately term them, ‘bishops’…) until (see formula) …

    Number of Sees + Number of Suffragans / 2 = Number of ladies, naturally born or transgendered, holding position thereof

    Otherwise we’ll go on a pinny wearing demonstration / feminist march / denial of sexual services to our husbands strike / stay in bed all day protest

    AND we’ll call the sisterhood in, and you know we would, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.”

    “What do we want. Equality!!! When do we want it. Now!!!”

    • Phil R

      Having seen pictures of groups of Anglican Priestesses.

      I do not think that the denial of sexual services will have much effect.

      It is obvious that they have no respect for themselves, never mind their husbands.

      • Inspector General

        It could be a long strike then, old chap.

      • Walton Boy

        I hope your foul mind is not representative of those who share your position. You should be ashamed of yourself for the above post.

        • Phil R

          Tom this is very much the crux of the matter.

          The Bible tells these women to respect their husbands. That means that they should dress tidily, sort out their hair and most important not to abuse their body so that it becomes fat as it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

          Only a woman who had lost respect both for herself and her husband would voluntarily let themselves go like that.

          They are an example to the women in their church. So if they are fat, unkempt, very overweight, they are not respecting God’s word or their husbands. The women in the church follow their “leadership” then wonder why their husbands are looking at porn all night.

          It is a serious issue and you trivialise it because like many men today you are weak and pretend men and women are the same.

          • Walton Boy

            Sorry Phil, I didn’t realise how much of a wanker you were.

          • Phil R

            What a clever answer

            Attack the man not the argument. I wonder if this has been used before?

            You seem so sure of yourself above so tell us why I am wrong.

          • Walton Boy

            Sorry Phil, but the argument you advanced was beneath contempt in a civilised society. The only credible explanation for that was the one that I advanced. As a Christian though I regret the personal abuse. Please accept my apologies.

          • Phil R

            Apology accepted

            So now tell me what exactly is beneath contempt?

          • Walton Boy

            Where to start? I cannot believe that you are seriously advancing the view that a woman’s worth to her husband is tied up in the way she looks. Men and women show respect to each other by their behaviour, their words and actions, by supporting and loving each other. A normally adjusted man will love his wife for all of her qualities and not just her outward appearance. You seem to judge the “Anglican priestesses”, as you so quaintly call them, by their appearance alone. We, and that means the church too, are operating in the modern age, and I’m afraid that means we must at least be relevant to the world in which we live. You and people who think like you seem to think that we can be taken seriously by adopting practices of 2,000 years ago. Well, we can’t, and I’m afraid it is precisely people like you who are dragging our church down. Fortunately you are a dying breed, and I Iook forward to the day when the need to ordain “special bishops” to minister to you will just be seen as a fascinating historical footnote.

          • Phil R

            “A normally adjusted man will love his wife for all of her qualities and not just her outward appearance”

            That is true perhaps. But love isn’t lust and I still maintain that not looking after yourself is disrespectful to your husband especially.

            That is why they are such a poor example for women.

            Especially young women. They have no idea. Thankfully I detect that many young Christian women despise them also.

            Seriously, can you listen to sermon about sinful behaviour from a fat person without laughing inside?

            ” dragging our church down” ? then why is my Conservative Evangelical Church full with lots of young people?

          • Walton Boy

            Phil, I’m very happy that your church is full of young people. That will probably be much more to do with the quality of the worship than because they share your particular views about women. I dare say most of them would not be bothered in the slightest to hear a sermon on sin from a fat person of either gender. I honestly can’t see what the size or appearance of the preacher has to do with the subject of sin.
            I would be quite interested to know what the young people in your church think about women priests and bishops, as I would guess that the majority are probably perfectly happy with them, and would be pretty uncomfortable to hear a preacher denigrating them.

          • Phil R

            “I would be quite interested to know what the young people in your church think
            about women priests and bishops,”

            They are more conservative than the older members as a rule.

            The young it seems are not interested in liberal Christian Theology.

          • Linus

            Looking at the average male specimen in an Anglican congregation, I’m not surprised the women let themselves go.

            What better way of ensuring their obese, sweaty, malodorous and flatulent husbands leave them in peace?

            If the man is supposed to be the head of the family, why doesn’t he set the example?

          • Phil R

            Absolutely

            Many Christian men and women state to each other that they are going to keep themselves in shape, eat sensibly and so respect the marriage.

            Sneaking a cake when you have agreed with your spouse to do otherwise, spending from a secret account that the spouse does not know about, watching porn or indeed having a full blown affair are all infidelities.

            All are destructive but often the affair is a symptom of the problem not usually the root cause.

            As you say it is for the man to lead and show an example. To love their wives unconditionally, but that does not mean putting up with their wives abusing their marriage and failing to honour God, by neglecting themselves.

    • Dominic Stockford

      But it isn’t equality, it is sameness.

      • Inspector General

        Excellent differentiation Dominic. The Inspector will be pleased to use that in future…

  • Phil R

    I don’t think that the liberals are all that much bothered by Philip North.

    The Anglo Catholic sector is not flourishing.

    Their real target for their hate is the Conservative Evangelicals. This sector of the church is growing rapidly and has congregations at least 4 times larger than other similar Anglican Churches.

    • Arden Forester

      Actually the Catholic “sector” is not doing too badly but I agree the conservative evangelicals are doing well. When Libby Lane was revealed as the first female prelate she gave an interview which told us precious little about her faith other than she believed. It is this liberal thinking that appeals to the wider semi-secular society but is less likely to appeal to those seeking a firm sacramental &/or biblical stance.

      • Phil R

        Agreed but was the Prodigal Son a parable about the younger brother or the elder brother?

        Or both?

        You see I think the younger brother was saved. I am not so sure about the elder brother and so I think we need to reflect carefully on this.

        • And who do you consider to be the ‘elder brother’?

          • Phil R

            All of us are elder brother (ish).

            but I think that those who feel that their salvation has made them a better person.

            Conservative Christians in general I think struggle with the temptation to be like the elder brother. They think that “God owes me a special place in his heart” because I am a “good person”

            They (we) tend look down on those they consider less worthy and tend to believe that they are in themselves, acceptable to God because of their own actions or morals. They are often proud that of what they have done and the way that they behave and feel that in how ever small a part that God now owes them both a good life and a place in heaven because of their efforts.

  • IanCad

    “The Church of England has been doing what it hates and hating what it does since 1534 ————————————————————
    Our church is partial and deficient, and will remain so until its ultimate eschatological fulfilment.”

    To me, the above snippet from HG goes a long way to explain the unique, British and Godly institution that is the Church of England,

  • Phil R

    Although I welcome his appointment I am not sure that overall this will move things forward a great deal due to the Catholic nature of his beliefs.

    I think that we should affirm that many women find women priests helpful. At least initially when they are seeking. We need to be clear that we have no issue with women ministering to women and children. Our issue is women ministering to men. This is what does the damage and wrecks families and Churches. Ultimately, for this reason, I think women are the biggest losers out of women preaching to men.

    Women have a huge role to play in the church. I think that we need to consider how we can affirm this role. Perhaps if we had more “paid” roles in the Church (other than Priest) we women who seek a full time role will not need to seek ordination, because it is the only paid role available.

    • IanCad

      Phil,
      I know, in a previous comment you mentioned your wife.
      That last paragraph has me confused.
      Have you swum the Tiber – sexually speaking??
      Or, are you in midstream?

      • Lol ……….. he’s transgendered?

      • Phil R

        The issue is that if a woman is called to work full time for the church. The only paid option is ordination. She may be uncomfortable with this but unless she has private means it is often the only realistic option.

        This needs to change. call it sexually swimming the Tiber if you want to.

        A good headline anyway

        • IanCad

          Phil,
          It was the “We women” that had me wondering.

          • Phil R

            Stupid smartphone predictive text!

          • We now all know your secret Philippa …..

    • Dominic Stockford

      “it is the only paid role available.”

      Just look through the lists of jobs taken by women within CofE parishes and you will see that this simply isn’t accurate.

      • Phil R

        OK

        The only paid role that pays a “reasonable” wage

  • chiefofsinners

    In the name of gracious fellowship we must tolerate everything, which is fine because we are also tolerating the opposite of everything.
    The non-sequiturs clang together like empty freight trains on the railroad to humanism.

    • Inspector General

      In a hushed voice sir, if you must. We wouldn’t want to upset the new order, now would we, what!

    • wyclif

      Why would anyone interested in the Christian religion, the Bible, and the BCP (in other words, historic Anglicanism) join up to the old CofE today? One might as well sign up to the Unitarian Universalists or even the Druids. The time-servers and functional atheists pulling the levers in CofE Synod are simply biding their time until they can run off the Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics by withdrawing amnesty to them anyway.

      The current CofE is a textbook example of Neuhaus’s Law: “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”

  • He seems a genuine and decent cleric and Happy Jack wishes him well. He is a member of the ‘Company of Mission Priests’, a community of male priests who consecrate themselves wholly to the church’s mission, free from the attachments of marriage and family. They follow the Vincentian rule of life and a simple vow annually. He was also Priest Administrator of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, so one assumes he holds to Marian doctrines.

    Phillip North was originally appointed bishop of Whitby in 2012. The churchwarden of St Oswald’s Church, Lythe, in Whitby, John Secker, took umbrage and wrote a letter to the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, which gathered an unspecified number of signatories.

    “We are puzzled, dismayed and very disappointed that for the third time running we have been assigned a Bishop of Whitby who does not accept the ordination of women priests. . .”

    Jack can feel the pain and notes it is polite puzzlement, dismay and disappointment that is expressed, not outrage or refusal to cooperate with the appointee.

    “We are aware that some parishes, some clergy, and some of the laity in the Whitby bishopric do not accept the validity of women priests but, as in the rest of the country, a substantial majority of us do. So why should we have to have a bishop who does not accept them? We assume that there must be some sort of rationale behind the decision, but you should be aware that many of us feel aggrieved and overlooked.”

    Why should we? Why indeed? This is what Jack’s teenage children frequently asked him. So Phillip North graciously withdrew his acceptance.

    “It was a great honour to be chosen for this role, and I had been very much looking forward to taking up the position. However, in the light of the recent vote in the General Synod, and having listened to the views of people in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland, I have concluded that it is not possible for me, at this difficult time for our Church, to be a focus for unity. I have therefore decided that it is better to step aside at this stage.”

    • CliveM

      A part of me is curious. As far as I can see when you are that ‘High’ Church the advantage of being Anglican lies in being able to get married. If you’re not wanting to get married……………?

      • The difference between High Anglican and Roman Catholic has probably more to do with Papal authority and infallibility than being able to marry for those who accept celibacy. Of course, there may also be another issue for some: “infused with gin and bestrewn with lace”.

        • CliveM

          What little I know of Anglo Catholics suggests Papal Authority wouldn’t be to big an issue.

          However as you say he seems a decent man who will make a decent Bishop.

    • Dominic Stockford

      So why should we have to have a bishop who does not accept them?

      So similar to what those who do not believe women/homosexuals should be bishops/clergy say too – ‘Why do we have to have one who accepts women/gay bishops/clergy’. But it is they who lose every time.

    • Linus

      “…a community of male priests who consecrate themselves wholly to the church’s mission, free from the attachments of marriage and family.”

      But not free of male company, I see. I guess they need someone to chat to during the long, lonely nights.

      So are gay bishops OK as long as they don’t tell anyone they’re gay? If they call it a “community of male priests” it’s even OK if they live with their boyfriends, right?

      Phew! Hypocrisy is alive and well in the Anglo-Catholic wing of the CofE, I see.

      • You judge others by your own standards, Linus.

  • prompteetsincere

    “Laud” his, and ‘his’ only,Laudian conviction.
    The conviction of Christ knows “neither male nor female…” because its successive unifying source is Divine grace; not a divisive equality.
    + Galatians 3:26-28.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Errr, no. Only ‘in Christ’, not whilst in the world. Or do you deny Genesis 3?

  • Now make of all this what you will but Jack is confused by this article in ‘Church’.

    “It emerged in the days before Rt Rev Libby Lane, new Suffragan Bishop of Stockport, was consecrated that only those bishops who had never laid hands on a female bishop or priest would lay hands on North today in York. That disqualifies a significant number who will be present, many of whom laid hands on Bishop Lane.

    It has bought about accusations of a theology of ‘taint’; the suggestion that to lay hands on a woman and then on a man would break the apostolic succession.”

    • Athanasius

      As a good Catholic, Jack, I’m sure you’re aware that where the CodE is concerned, the SS Apostolic Succession sailed several hundred years ago.

      • It was the laying of hands by a male bishop on a female bishop that made Jack chuckle. This could all get terribly complicated.

        • Anton

          I too found it hard to keep a straight face when I read that phrase.

        • CliveM

          How long until the first claim for ‘inappropriate’ behaviour!

  • grutchyngfysch

    Romans 7 is illustrative of the life of sin (which does indeed justify inconsistencies to itself) in order to set up Romans 8. There is a very great difference between confessing to one’s hypocrisies, and setting up hypocrisy as the measure of unity, which seems increasingly to be all that via media stands for.

    “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

  • Leacock

    He is far more a bishop than Libby Lane, but then any man would be. It is a fine thing that apparently good men are still being appointed.

    • Walton Boy

      He is a bishop ordained according to the rules of the Church of England. She is a bishop ordained according to the rules of the Church of England. I thought that was the agreement that both viewpoints had reached, in a spirit of Christian unity. Or am I wrong? Please tell me I’m not!

      • CliveM

        I hope you are right.

      • Dominic Stockford

        It is the agreement, certainly. But it makes no sense.

        • Walton Boy

          What would you prefer?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Biblical fidelity. Male only bishops and clergy.

          • Hironimous Nostril

            No one in a relationship allowed. Let’s see, who is left?

          • Dominic Stockford

            That’s not biblical – in fact, it is in opposition to the bible.

          • Hironimous Nostril

            As the Roman church compiled the Bible while defining God in the process, I guess they can still do whatever they fancy. It’s not as if there’s a real god to put them straight.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Which is why the Roman Church is not Christian.
            They have a different bible to everyone else, and they don’t follow it anyway.

          • Hironimous Nostril

            It isn’t possible to follow everything in the Bible unless you behave like a raving lunatic. Who are you to judge who is Christian and who is not?

          • Walton Boy

            But that ship has sailed.

          • Dominic Stockford

            It will sink – watch.

          • Walton Boy

            I’m sure we both hope and pray that it doesn’t sink, particularly as I presume we are both on board.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I’m not on board – the hopes I have that they mutiny and throw out the crew that are currently sailing her over the edge of the world comes from a different perspective.

          • Walton Boy

            What perspective?

  • Linus

    Mr North looks like he’s been freshly minted from the FSSPX school of priestliness. He’s got that scrubbed and guileless look that generally hides a rigidity of mind so absolute it borders on a clinically identifiable disorder. It’s the cold, piercing eyes that give them away. Brrrr!

    I live near Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet and at certain times of the day the streets are thronged with variations on a gallicized theme of Mr North and his lay equivalent, Jacob Rees-Mogg. These are not good times to go in search of one’s daily bread. The stench of savon de Marseille and camphor overscores the smell of fresh bread in the crowded bakeries, and dandruff contamination is an ever-present danger.

    God, if he isn’t imaginary and really does exist, clearly wishes a cold wind to blow over the lands, carrying with it to the impenitent and impious ominous portents of sufferings to come. So he invests episcopal authority in the dry scalp and wrinkled cassock of Bishop North and visits him upon the hapless multitudes of Burnley.

    Picture the scene! The doors of all the churches in that unhappy diocese are rent asunder and the evil women who defile God’s altar with their penislessness and their menstrual leakage are expelled to wander the countryside in lamentation and woe.

    Gays run shrieking from the pews as God’s avenging bishop advances slowly up the nave, confronting them at close quarters with the ravages that a rejection of modern skin care techniques can wreak upon the human epidermis. Oh woe unto them! For this is a true vision of the hell that eternity holds for those who worship at the altar of that fallen angel, that minion of Beelzebub, the false, the pretended Sainte-L’Oréal!

    As these abandoned sinners flee in terror, a small band of the faithful gathers meekly around the new bishop and kneels to accept his blessing. A true blessing that flows from hands unblemished by the taint of œstrogen, through Saint-Cranmer le Cramé, through Saint-Augustin Caniche-de-Berthe, yea even unto Christ himself.

    And thus will it be, world without end, etc, etc…

    • The Explorer

      FSSPX was new to me. Thank you for the introduction.

    • len

      Somewhat like an ecclesiastical’ terminator’?.
      Sounds just what we need to sort out these secularists.

    • Surely you’re not a devotee of Sainte-L’Oreal, Linus? The world’s largest, cosmetics company specialising in skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfumes and hair care? Is it treatment for baldness, perhaps? Or preparation for the fast approaching ‘big day’?

      Happy Jack is most surprised and disappointed given its unsavoury past. Founded by a financier of the fascist thug, La Cagoule, leader of the ‘Mouvement Social Révolutionnaire’ and backer of the Vichy collaboration with the Nazis.

      • Linus

        We’re talking about Burnley, Sad Jack.

        L’Oréal made its money from selling downmarket products to downmarket people. One therefore assumes it’s doing well “oop narth”. I doubt that La Prairie has a large market share in that neck of the woods.

        Odd that you should know so much about a cosmetics and skin care manufacturer, Sad Jack. The subject clearly interests you. Been trying out the contents of your wife’s make-up bag when her back is turned, eh?

        Perhaps Sad Jack is actually – or is about to become – Sad Jacqueline.

        • In your dreams, Linus. You must stop fantasising about Jack.

          • Linus

            Fantasy? I think not. I merely put two and two together and apply a little inductive reasoning.

            Yesterday you were accusing someone else of being transgender and today you’re talking knowledgeably about make-up and cosmetics. What other conclusion do you think we’re going to reach?

            It’s easy to work out who you really are by noting who you target with your most potent venom. Diversionary tactics are so transparent.

          • What’s with the majestic plural “we”, Linus? Are you claiming queenship?

          • Linus

            Scared you’ll be ousted from the throne you clawed and scratched and bitchslapped your way to, eh?

            I’m French, Sad Jack. We don’t have a queen. We don’t need a queen. We leave that sort of playacting to the British.

          • Trust Jack, there are queens in France. Just look in the mirror next time you sit on your ‘throne’.

          • Linus

            I wouldn’t trust Sad Jack as far as I could throw him. Which would clearly not be very far. I’m physically pretty fit, but there are limits to the amount of dead weight I can free lift.

            Sad Jack is not trustworthy. He’s devious, abusive and will stab you in the back the moment he feels he can gain an advantage by it. You can’t trust a psychotic like Sad Jack because he has no conscience, no remorse and will stop at nothing to win. Those who stand between him and his goals are to be destroyed, or rather they would be if he had any strength or power to match his ambitions. But by every measure (except perhaps his waistline) Sad Jack is puny and therefore relatively harmless. He can pollute his immediate surroundings with abusive tirades and hate speech, but that’s all he can do.

            Poor old Sad Jack. What do you see in the looking glass? Or have you given up looking because it depresses you too much?

          • You admire strong men then, Linus.

            “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill”
            (Sun Tzu)

          • Linus

            How many enemies have you ever subdued, Sad Jack? In your head, hundreds I’ll bet. In reality, most of them probably just walked away shaking their heads in pity and dismay at the craziness they encountered and you counted that as a victory.

            Winning is important to you, isn’t it Sad Jack? So you rewrite every loss into a victory no matter how ignominious the defeat, because losing just isn’t an option. Didn’t win much when you were a child, I’ll bet. Always chosen last for sports teams and generally ignored by the other children, I’m guessing. Something has to have provoked this intense need to feel as though you have some kind of skill and can win at something.

            Oh well, on you go. See if you can defeat the recalcitrant atheist by hurling more catty and childish insults at him. He already has as poor an opinion of you as it’s possible to have, although it’s true that every time he thinks you’ve sunk as low as you can sink, you somehow manage to sink a little lower.

            As an academic exercise it might be interesting to know just how crazy crazy can get, but in the real world one soon loses patience with madmen. So if I disappear one of these days and leave you to fester away in your own mire until a new victim appears, don’t be surprised. You’ll claim it as a victory of course. You can’t very well do anything else or your whole psyche will collapse in on itself. But you’ll know the truth: that your tantrums just got too boring and your target lost interest and moved on. Poor old Sad Jack, he just can’t win, can he?

          • ROFL …..

            Vous pouvez être une petite chatte vache !

            “In War: Resolution,
            In Defeat: Defiance,
            In Victory: Magnaminity
            In Peace: Good Will.”

            (Winston S. Churchill)

            Being a Frenchman (on your father’s side), with *issues*, you wouldn’t really know about these things.

          • Linus

            « La France essaie d’aider les autres à avancer sur le chemin de la civilisation. »
            (Charles de Gaulle)

            Unfortunately the primitive tribes of the north are impervious to all civilizing tendencies.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Why are you now insulting the Scandinavians? What have they done?

          • Linus

            The Scandinavians may be from the north, but they certainly are not primitive. They’re probably the most liberal people on earth and are therefore very highly evolved.

            I was talking about primitive peoples from the north. That doesn’t mean every Scot, of course. But there are still certain knuckle-draggers wandering about in the wilds just north of Carlisle. Some of them even post here.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I have travelled half way round the globe, but I’ve never been to Scotland, so I’ll have to take your word for it… (smiles)

          • CliveM

            No you don’t!

            Blimey, what a cheek………!

          • Dominic Stockford

            Oh dear? Do you mean that people have different viewpoints on the matter at hand?

            Who shall I believe? How can I trust anyone? Maybe I need evidence – a great long book by many different authors with clearly laid out facts and narratives should help me I suppose. Is there one?

          • CliveM

            We are not knuckle scrapers!!

            I suppose a Lonely Planet Guide might help here :0)

          • The Explorer

            The Scandinavians are very like the Little People in ‘The Time Machine’. And you know what happened to the Little People: when the night came, the Morlocks got them.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Jack

            May I courteously suggest you that you have made your points? This is a “discussion” that’s not worth pursuing.

    • Little Black Censored

      Deranged.

      • French person………… with *issues*

        • Linus

          Google Translate not working too well this evening, Sad Jack?

    • IanCad

      Somehow I can’t see him throwing the paraphiliacs off a tall building, and then, were they to survive, encouraging the rabble to stone them.
      Oh! I know! The burning of the Sodomites in Florence back in the 14th century. Shocking, cruel and shameful.
      Christians are an easy target Linus. I’m sure the Kurds would have just the place for you in their army, bravely fighting the bloodthirsty IS.
      A bright, motivated man such as your goodself would likely be quite effective behind an AK-47 were you so bold as to join the ranks.
      Thought not.
      Much easier to disparage Christians.
      After all, they’re meek and not likely to punch you on the nose as you so justly deserve.

      • Linus

        Off you go to the Middle East, then. Do I see you rushing to fight alongside the Kurds in order to protect all these Christians ISIS is killing? No?

        Thought not.

        Much easier to disparage gay people.

        But be careful, we’re not meek and we are likely to punch you on the nose, so best to stick to your current plan and fight the good fight using words on a blog. One good zinger from you and gays will throw themselves off tall buildings, so you won’t have to wait for those ISIS brutes to do it for you. Much more convenient and who knows, maybe they’ll slip and go plummeting to their deaths as well. Killing two sinners with one stone. It’s every Christian’s dream, is it not?

      • wyclif

        Don’t feed the atheist trolls. Now that *should* properly be a commandment, world without end.

    • carl jacobs

      Linus

      Remember when I said you could be a good commenter here if you would simply learn to respect your opponent? Ridiculous posts about dandruff do not facilitate that outcome.

      • CliveM

        It’s a form of blogging Tourette’s.

      • William Lewis

        “Ridiculous posts about dandruff do not facilitate that outcome.”

        For some people image is very important, it is even the message. Quoi d’autre?

    • William Lewis

      Elegiac effluent.

    • Martin

      Linus

      I’ve yet to come across an Atheist who doesn’t have a rigidity of mind.

      • Linus

        I hope you don’t expect me to volunteer to be the next Atheist you come across. I’ll soon be a married man. I have no desire to have one last fling before I tie the knot…

        • Martin

          Linus

          Marriage requires a man and a woman, whatever governments may say.

          • Linus

            Yada yada … whatever you say, my marriage certificate will still be real enough. Go ahead and stamp your foot and refuse to recognize it if you like. Your refusal won’t change the law or unmarry me.

          • Martin

            Linus

            Since marriage is only between a man and a woman and since governments do not have the authority to change that your ‘marriage certificate’ is a fiction as is the ‘marriage’. The law has no authority nor do governments or judges in the matter.

          • Linus

            The law is the only authority that society recognizes. Christian beliefs no longer determine the law.

            My marriage certificate will be as real as any straight couple’s marriage certificate. The law will recognize it. If you don’t, I can live with that because what will it change? Your refusal to recognize my marriage won’t invalidate it. It will just reveal you for the bad loser you are, and I’ll still be married. Which is all that will count for me.

          • Martin

            Linus

            I don’t recognise society as an authority, in any case, it’s opinion changes too often. And law is only valid insofar as it is aligned with God’s will.

            Your ‘marriage’ is a fiction, just as any ‘certificate’ will be. Only a woman and a man can be married, anything else is not a marriage.

          • Linus

            My marriage will be a legal fact. You can choose to ignore it if you like. But if you’re an agent of the state or a supplier of products or services and refuse me service on the basis that you don’t recognize my marriage, I’ll sue you. On the basis of existing case law, confirmed time after time in many different countries, I’ll win.

            As a private individual you’re free to do what you like with your religious bigotry. You can tell me until you’re blue in the face that you don’t recognize my marriage. It makes no difference to me. But cross the line from the private into the public sphere and discriminate against me in a way that affects my financial interests or the rights accorded to me as a free and equal citizen and I’ll make sure you pay the price. If it puts you out of business of gets you fired, you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.

          • Martin

            Linus

            As I’ve already pointed out, your marriage will be a legal fiction for marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

            And of course here we see the selfishness inherent in homosexuality, a sort of self abuse by proxy. Out come the threats and the demand that you be treated like someone who is really married. You are simply a bully, nothing more.

            Mine is reason, yours is the bigotry. You are the one who knows God does not exist, you are the one who knows God condemns your lifestyle. Rights do not apply to a behaviour, and a harmful perverted behaviour at that. Your whole evil nature is exposed for all to see.

          • Linus

            And so starts the homophobic ranting. If this were the Middle Ages, right about now you’d be chaining me to the stake and screaming “burn the pervert!”

            And thus you expose your evil, vicious nature for all to see…

            It’s understandable of course. To see power and influence slipping away when power and influence are what motivate you must be agonizing. Tantrums and the stamping of feet are to be expected. Cries of “You’re not mawwied! You’re not! You’re not! You’re NOT!” are now the only way you can affirm yourself in a world where you’re no longer in control. It’s a classic case of the spoiled child spitting the dummy and refusing to accept that its wishes are not everyone else’s commands.

            So be it. Play the role of spoiled brat to your heart’s content. It can’t affect me or my marriage in any way unless you choose to pursue your vendetta to the point where you infringe the law. At which point you’ll be punished and my rights will be vindicated and confirmed yet again.

            Whatever you do, I end up winning. So do your worst. It can only further strengthen my position and undermine yours.

            Of course we’ll never meet, so you’ll never have an opportunity of discriminating against me personally. But I hope and trust that if you pursue a campaign of bigotry against gay couples who have the misfortune to come into contact with you, you’ll be punished to the full extent of the law. And moreover that any pitiful attempts to play the martyr will be seen for what they are: the narcissistic posturing of a petulant child.

            Religionists are such poor losers. Whoever said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned obviously never knew any Christians. Or perhaps he was one himself and narcissism made him blind to his own faults. Of course one shouldn’t gloat, but in the face of vicious, angry and totally impotent threats, it’s difficult to avoid making even the most magnanimous sentiments sound like exultation and derision. Some attitudes are worthy only of contempt…

          • Martin

            Linus

            Oh dear, you’ve used that scary word, homophobic. A word which basically says, “I’m right, you’re wrong and evil for challenging my rights”. Sorry, I don’t care, because I know I’m right and I have God on my side. Incidentally, I’m a Baptist, and it is we Baptists who have mainly been to ones tied to stakes and burnt rather than those doing the burning. And frankly, you’re the one doing the metaphoric tying to stake and burning. I think you probably wish it weren’t metaphorical as well.

            And guess what, Baptists have never been the ones wielding power. One of the greatest Baptist preachers in the UK was C. H. Spurgeon who had a huge church at the Elephant & Castle. Did he have power and influence, despite his widely distributed magazine, he did not.

            It’s very simple, marriage is the joining together of two dissimilar so that they become one, a man and a woman, not two the same. No act of parliament can do that. You have been lied to. You won’t have a marriage. Nor do behaviours, freely entered into, entitle you to rights.

            Moreover, you don’t end up winning, either. One day you will stand before God and answer for all you’ve done. No one will stand with you, just you and God. The only way you can come out of that is if Jesus were to stand with you.

            it isn’t bigotry to point this out to you, nor is it anger. You need to be warned and that is what I am doing.

            Remember, when you stand before God you will answer for how you have behaved towards those who have warned you. Threaten and abuse those who warn you and it merely reflects on you.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Although a Reformed Protestant, I do find it easier to talk with anglo-catholics than with liberals – after all, even if they’re sincerely wrong they do at least believe in something.