Stephen Holland 2
Church of England

There's one surefire way of silencing objectors to women bishops – without changing the liturgy

 

There is a serial objector who pops up at the consecration of just about every woman bishop in the Church of England, and he isn’t even an Anglican. The Rev’d Stephen Holland is pastor of Westhaughton Evanglical Church, which proclaims: “We are a Bible believing church and hold to the complete and full revelation of God’s word to mankind as revealed in the Holy Bible. We believe such contains all that is necessary for man’s spiritual knowledge, wellbeing and future happiness.”

Fair enough.

The problem is that Mr Holland seems to believe that all other churches must also believe what his church believes about the Bible and its apprehension of “full revelation”; and also believe what he believes about spiritual knowledge, wellbeing and the pursuit of happiness. And none of these, it seems, can come from women bishops, so he trundles from cathedral to cathedral waiting for his moment to butt in and proclaim the authoritative word of God and expound the “full revelation” of the role of women in the Church.

The campaign group WATCH (Women and the Church) are understandably irritated that a pathological misogynist keeps ruining their special consecratory days, so they’ve asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to put a stop to the protests. In a statement, they include part of their appeal to Justin Welby:

“…such interruptions create the perception that the Church is willing to allow a woman who has been called by God and the Church, and appointed by the Crown, to be publicly insulted and undermined. If that is so, it undermines and insults all women: and especially women for whom female bishops are potent symbols of a radical shift in the Church’s treatment of women. ‘Maybe things haven’t changed at all, underneath’, they might conclude.”

And the Archbishop has heard their cries, and has responded. It seems that “conversations are in progress with the relevant people so that, in future, objections such as that at Canterbury Cathedral in June will not be allowed”.

Thing is..

In the Church of England’s liturgy for the Ordination and Consecration of a Bishop, we find this:

Consecration of bishop

Now then..

The masculine pronoun may be italicised, but it is most definitely masculine. Some might argue that this very liturgy undermines women’s ministry more than the serial objections of the Rev’d Stephen Holland or similar objections made by the Rev’d Paul Williamson on the grounds of an “absolute impediment”. And note that the opportunity to object is intrinsic to the liturgy. What’s the point of asking the congregation: “Is it now your will that he(/she) should be ordained?” if that will may not be expressed in the negative? What manner of liturgy is it which asks the people of God a straightforward ‘yea/nay’ question but then limits the response to ‘yea’ in a manner which coerces the conscience of those who demur? Surely WATCH ought to tolerate the intolerant, and smother Mr Holland with lots of feminine episcopal love instead of seeking to cast him into outer darkness?

Except..

What if a Roman Catholic priest, believing, as Pope Emeritus Benedict does, that Anglican Holy Orders are “absolutely null and utterly void“, decided to intervene in multiple Church of England weddings at the point where the vicar asks: “First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now”? What if this meddlesome priest went from parish to parish to proclaim, at this moment of opportunity, in accordance with his notion of “full revelation”, that since the officiating minister is not a valid priest, that he (or she, whose holy orders, being a woman, are not merely “absolutely null and utterly void”, but morally, ethically, spiritually, physically null, and positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably void) may not presume to marry any couple in the sight of God, and so the service is a sham, a façade, a fraud perpetuated on the poor couple who are being duped into believing that they are married in the sight of God?

Lawful as his objection would be (for the call to know any ‘just cause or impediment‘ is a statutory obligation), would it be acceptable? Would the serial undermining by a minister of another Christian denomination to the lawful liturgy and theological validity of Anglican Christian marriage be tolerated?

The answer, of course, is no. Couples would be incensed if their happy day were ruined not merely by the jarring interjection during the marriage ceremony, but by the weeks and months of worry as the day approached.

There is no statutory obligation at all upon the Church of England to seek the views of congregants at the consecration of a woman bishop, so the liturgy may be amended. Perhaps members of the Liturgical Commission might put a proposal to Synod, inclining more toward an affirmation on behalf of those gathered, so that instead of asking the question: “Is it now your will..?”, the Archbishop declares something like: “And so, by your presence here today, you affirm and bear witness to the ordination of X..”

At least that might deter those who demur on the validity of women bishops from attending their services of consecration. And those who decide to be present but still demur are denied the opportunity to object.

And yet..

There is something vital and vibrant in the liturgical exchange as it is presently formulated: the drama makes the congregation active and participant. If this is to be retained, there is no reasonable way of silencing those who decide to be offended.

Unless..

There is one surefire way of silencing the Rev’d Stephen Holland: report him to the police for ‘hate speech’. Really, it would render his protests as “absolutely null and utterly void” as Anglican Holy Orders. Beyond all doubt; really, it would. For the consecration of women bishops involves two cardinal ‘protected characteristics‘ – gender identity and religion – and the police will record as a ‘hate crime’ anyone who offends against them (along with race, sexual orientation and disability). A ‘hate crime’ is defined as: “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”. And hostility is defined as including: “ill-will, ill-feeling, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike”. That sounds like one or two objectors to women bishops.

And if the Church of England ever moves to consecrate a one-legged lesbian of Asian extraction as a bishop, you could probably get the troublesome Rev’d Stephen Holland muzzled for good for offending against every protected characteristic under the sun. Being a good Christian, he’ll deny that he’s motivated by hate, of course, but that doesn’t matter: if you feel he is, as WATCH clearly do, you can report him via the True Vision (‘Stop Hate Crime’) website. No evidence is necessary: this is about subjective perceptions, emotions and hurt feelings, not verifiable judgments of hostility. You can even remain anonymous. How neat and convenient is that?

  • Anton

    The CoE is free to cease to consult others about how to choose bishops, with one exception: God. In 1 Timothy 3 (v.2) the Holy Spirit, writing through Paul, states that an episkopos must, among other things, be a “man of one woman”. What more is there to be said?

    Surely those who disapprove of hate speech laws, and wish the law to revert to free speech with the exception of direct incitement to violence, should not invoke them?

    • The Explorer

      ‘an episkopos must be (among other things) a “man of one woman.”‘

      It certainly seems clear enough. Why then, the years of anguished debate, and why the women bishops? Here are some of the reasons.

      1. It’s a statement about bigamy, not about the sex of the bishop. The bishop, of whatever sex, ought not to have more than one partner.

      2. God didn’t say it, St Paul said it.

      3. It’s a culturally-conditioned statement. It was true then, but isn’t true now.

      4. The statement doesn’t say there can’t be women priests. And if there casn be women priests then it follows that they must be capable of becoming bishops.

      None of these is possible if one accepts “the Holy Spirit, writing through Paul”. But those propounding these arguments don’t accept Paul, or the Holy Spirit. There may be a Holy Spirit, but it’s the Spirit of the Age.

      • Anton

        5. “I’m a woman and I want to be a bishop and that matters more than the Bible.”

        • CliveM

          Finally, the truth! Your admission will come as a surprise to some :0)

          • Anton

        • Transitioning or natural?

      • Martin

        TE

        The answers are simple.

        “2. God didn’t say it, St Paul said it.”

        It’s in the Bible, God said it. If you want to dispute that where do you stop? As to what else God said:

        I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
        (I Timothy 2:12-14 [ESV])

        “3. It’s a culturally-conditioned statement. It was true then, but isn’t true now.”

        This claim must be proved.

        “4. The statement doesn’t say there can’t be women priests. And if there can be women priests then it follows that they must be capable of becoming bishops.”

        That’s because there was no office of priest in the NT Church, just deacon and elder/overseer. Each of these offices was plural and only over the local church, not over a group of churches.

        • chefofsinners

          While I agree with everything you have written, Explorer’s last paragraph essentially says the same.

      • magnolia

        What is “the Holy Spirit writing through Paul”. It seems a slightly strange concept when he is writing on matters of church order,and thus the church has traditionally recognised gradations of what the Holy Spirit is saying to Christians then and what is for all time. Same surely with the Book of Revelation, where we distinguish between what refers to the ruling powers at he time in code, and what is eschatological?

        • The Explorer

          “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” I do find it strange that when the Greeks, Romans and Norse all had goddesses as a matter of course, and the nature god Baal had his female consort, that the language relating to God in the Bible is so resolutely male.

          The woman who anoints Christ before his death shows an awareness of his fate ahead of any of the male disciples. The risen Christ appears first to Mary M. These things are significant.

          I wish Christ, rather than Paul, had given us a definitive statement about the role of women in the Church; so that we do not have to rely on the inference of, for example, twelve male disciples.

          Paul does say this is from me and this is from the Lord, suggesting a difference between what is simply his opinion and what is a divine revelation/instruction. So in which capacity is he speaking when he talks about bishops?

          • magnolia

            Not as unremittingly male as some make out, of course. Even the number of the disciples is not quite set in stone. The names are not identical and though Thaddeus and Bartholomew are thought to be the same it is not easy to prove (I am writing from memory, here). Similarly quite what Mary Magdalene’s status was is unclear, (without going down any mad gnostic or Dan Brown route!!). But then “status” was quite an alien concept to Jesus and very probably should be to us too. Then you can find justification for many different leadership methods from the early church, and house churches, the Roman Catholics, presbyterians, Quakers, episcopal and non-episcopal churches can all find arguments for their structures there. How many can be right?

            Then to get back to the male/female nomenclature both sophia and some words for the Holy Spirit are female, as well as Mary, well various Marys, as you state, and the first witnesses to the Resurrection. At any rate I think personhood is more important than gender, and the emphasis on gender is in a sense a fleshly one, for surely it is the mind, or rather the soul that matters.

            All of which leads me to bafflement as to why anyone would think being a Bishop a matter for rejoicing rather than something one reluctantly takes on, for it is surely bound to be a spiritual battle from day one. The equivalent of being dragged to the woolsack objecting might be more in order!

            Indeed Justin Welby when George Osborne congratulated him- if that was the right thing to do, said no, actually it wasn’t. Respect!

          • The Explorer

            I have no problem with women in the professions, and a female surgeon was one of three in an operation instrumental in saving my life. So I find the controversy concerning the role of women in the Church extremely distressing.

  • I fear that people who are so unbelievably pompous that they insist on protection against being ‘publicly insulted’ are all too likely to take Your Grace’s ingenious ‘neat and convenient’ solution with the utmost seriousness.

    • Anton

      It’s not pomposity; it’s a cold-blooded tactic.

  • Darter Noster

    “…if the Church of England ever moves to consecrate a one-legged lesbian of Asian extraction as a bishop…”

    Don’t you mean “when”…?

  • preacher

    The first Church didn’t have clergy or offices. Just Christian workers that shared the gospel with those that would listen. When human positions of authority & power are the aim, irrespective of gender, instead of service to God, the Church has taken a serious list which will eventually lead to capsize unless rectified.
    The Lord himself was something of a radical who upset the religious authorities on numerous occasions, to the point that they had Him arrested falsely accused & killed. What would happen if a whip wielding protester strode into a Cathedral during one of these ‘ special occasions ‘, drove out all the congregation then proceeded to turn the furniture over Whilst proclaiming that the Clergy involved were following the precepts of man, not God ?.
    The earliest believers were viewed as a cult by the religious authorities, both Pagan & Hebrew & martyred for their beliefs & practices. Is the present Church so small & weak that it is prepared to follow in the footsteps of those who persecuted those that stood apart & separate from them & turn to law ( Despite the scripture that says we should not turn to secular judicial systems to judge between us ? ) to silence a voice of protest in case it upsets someone’s big day ? Regrettably it seems to be the case, & signifies the poor & powerless state of today’s Church & the reason for the decline in members.
    Whether Mr Holland is right or wrong, he still has the right to protest & if it upsets the shrinking violets of the Church authorities & those ( regardless of gender ) being ordained, then I suggest part of the ordinands training should be to be taken to speakers corner for several months, to proclaim the gospel there ! those that pass the test will make good servants of the Lord.

    • Martin

      Preacher

      Absolutely, the CoE was created to make those who still tended to look to Rome and the so called Apostolic Succession feel better. Sadly it has always had leaders whose main purpose has been to enhance their power rather than to preach the gospel.

      As to “a woman who has been called by God and the Church, and appointed by the Crown, to be publicly insulted and undermined” it matters not what the ‘Crown’ appoints, it has no rule in Christ’s Church. The Church, however, should be applying the Scriptural guidelines on who should lead local congregations, there are no guidelines for groups of Churches since the Bible doesn’t recognise them. The idea that a person would be truly ‘called by God’ by going against the instructions in Scripture raises the question of whether these women are Christians at all.

      If the CoE wishes to see the reason for its own demise it must look into itself, to see what it is doing and ask itself whether it wants to be part of the Church of Christ or just another sect like the Mormons or followers of the bishop of Rome.

    • Dominic Stockford

      They’d have to know the Gospel before they could go to Speaker’s Corner and try preaching it!

  • William Lewis

    Let’s hope that the fine ladies of the womanhood WATCH, and the powers that be in the CoE, are aware of this blog’s ubiquitous use of satire and allegory.

    • Dick Hughes

      I admire your use of the Arabic letter N or “noon” as your avatar, symbolising solidarity with the Christians (Nazarenes) cruelly persecuted by ISIS.

      • William Lewis

        Thank you Mr Hughes, though it was not my idea and I believe that our admiration is better placed for the persecuted that you have highlighted.

  • carl jacobs

    Would the serial undermining by a minister of another Christian denomination …

    Oh, that description will not be well received. Not at all, not at all, not at all.

    • The Catholic Church actually accepts the validity of Anglican marriages, provided they are conducted with proper intent. If it involves two baptised Christians it is a sacramental marriage and if not it is a natural marriage. It is not necessary for valid marriage to be witnessed by an ordained minister. Just as well really as there are no validly ordained deacons, priests or bishops in the Anglican communion anymore.

      • Cressida de Nova

        There never were any in the Anglican Communion. If the Church were sincere in embracing its entrenched dogma ,it would regard Anglican marriages as civil marriages rather than spiritual sacramental marriages. .Baptisms Communion Confirmation and Marriage by Protestant clergy were not recognised before the introduction of New Age Catholicism/Protestantism.

        If a break away cult is regarded as a sham and pastiche of the real thing , it is logical, that any of their copy cat ceremonies would not be valid or recognised either … So it all depends I suppose on which version of Catholicism you follow, the concept which is an antithesis in itself ,because according to dogma and precepts there can be no such thing as a traditional or a liberal Catholic….there is just one true holy apostolical Church…the Catholic Church…the only true Church of Christ

        Obviously it politically incorrect to make declarations of this nature in these liberal times and thus the reason why the perceived need for Catholicism to adopt a new ecumenical approach but none of it is really Catholic .If I were a Protestant why would I care what the Catholic Church recognised? A Protestant in essence rejects Catholicism and vice versa.We can exist together harmoniously more effectively than others.. We have things in common but that which divides us makes any spiritual alliance impossible.

        • Anton

          “We have things in common but that which divides us makes any spiritual alliance impossible.”

          Given that what we have in common is faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ, and that nothing else in a man or woman’s life is as important is that, your statement can’t be right.

        • Hi Cressie. The Catholic Church has always taught that marriage is a sacrament that is performed by the spouses exchanging their vows. It’s not a modern teaching. There was a time when unwitnessed promises in the heat of passion was sufficient for a valid marriage. One does not need a validly ordained priest for marriage as their role is one of witness. That’s why deacons can oversee the ceremony. The Church also recognises civil marriages of non-Catholics and marriages of people from other faiths.

  • Sigfridiii

    One of your dafter suggestions, Your Grace. The same tactic could be used by almost anyone with a grievance against anyone else from a different theological standpoint, and the spectacle of people being hauled off by the police to await trial for their beliefs could become as commonplace as it was in your own day.

  • Old Nick

    Your Grace’s marriage analogy does not work. A minister’s Orders may be absolutely null and utterly void but he can still preside at a marriage ceremony because the ministers of the Sacrament of Marriage are the happy couple, and the Church merely functions as a witness. Objecting on grounds of sacramental theology to a woman being put through the form of consecration as a bishop seems to me fair comment on a matter of public interest. The asking of the question expecting the answer “Axios” is surely part of many primitive rites for episcopal consecration. Why ask the question if there is only one possible answer ? Attempts to silence objectors – in the interests of ‘good taste’ – seem to be on a par with Soviet elections. After all these women are going to come across in the course of their ministry those with a different view from their own about the ordination of women.

    • Uncle Brian

      Soviet elections might be an appropriate analogy if the Anglican hierarchy were elected by their congregations. But that isn’t the way the C of E is governed and, even if it were, the Rev. Holland wouldn’t be a voter because he’s not an Anglican.

      • Old Nick

        The analogy is with the otiose character of Soviet elections. Only one answer is expected – like ‘nonne’ expecting the answer ‘yes’. In any case these ladies are going to come across committed (and not necessarily uninformed) members of Church of England congregations who do not recognise the validity of the Orders they claim . They might as well get used to it. And no amount of good manners alters the theological objection. As for the Revd. Mr. Holland, as an Englishman he has a perfect right to intervene in the affairs of the Established Church.

        • Dominic Stockford

          And Rev Stephen Holand works for the Protestant Truth Society – and one of our desires and works is to see the CofE returned to the true Protestantism in which it was founded. To make such objections is in fact, therefore, part of his work!

    • With enormous respect.. you obviously haven’t quite grasped the point. Perhaps it was too subtle. Of course this meddlesome priest wouldn’t be theologically correct in making his interjection: the point is that he believes he would be..

      • Inspector General

        “…interrupted the historic ordination service at York Minster for the Rt Rev Libby Lane, shouting that women bishops were “not in the Bible”.

        Sounds theologically correct to this man. unless you mean the process of interrupting itself. We know that bishops in the past have been denied consecration, usually by Kings and who would tell them they can’t, but has any bishop been denied by a commoner?.

        • Old Nick

          I suppose the Donatists do not count – but there was a rich widow behind the spurning of Caecilian the non-Donatist Bishop of Carthage.

          • Inspector General

            Thanks for that. Will look the fellow up tomorrow, time being short tonight…

        • Dominic Stockford

          ‘Shouting’? I think not. Speaking out so that his comments and objection can be clearly heard, yes; shouting, no.

      • Old Nick

        I think I am lost. But then we all are….

      • You’ve lost me as well now. I thought he would be correct because a woman priest is not a valid one according to what is written in the liturgy, and if the CofE liturgy is changed then wont the Catholics’ and others’ also have to change under the pressure?
        God bless the meddlesome priests I say.

  • Dick Hughes

    Although I have never attended the consecration of a bishop, a couple of points in your references to the liturgy occur to me. When you refer to the word “he” being in italics, that is surely not to give emphasis, but to indicate that the appropriate pronoun should be used (as in baptism). My second point is that if anyone should object to a bishop being ordained, then they should be required, on the spot, to put up a surety of such charges as may be sustained; as is the case for objectors at a marriage ceremony. I would guess that at the consecrated and ordination of a bishop a sum of £100,000 would be appropriate to cover the costs of rescheduling the ceremony. Obviously any objection at a marriage or a consecration must be sustainable in law to be considered. Any other objection would simply be a disturbance and they should be ejected by the Church Wardens or equivalent. In this case, the Church of England has allowed women bishops and no objection of their sex within the context of the liturgy can be sustained.

    • magnolia

      Perhaps they could just change the italic he to an italic [s]he. Problem gone!

      • Dick Hughes

        There is no problem.

  • Uncle Brian

    Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.—Matt. 7.12

    How generously would the Rev. Holland welcome a rude interruption of the same kind by, say, a bunch of particularly loud-voiced and foul-mouthed feminists, just as he was reaching the climax of his Sunday sermon in his Westhaughton Evangelical Church? If he can truthfully answer, “Very generously indeed! Oh, yes! I can think of nothing nicer!”, then fine, he is on the right side of the Gospel. If not, which I suspect is more likely to be the case, he is simply a fake and a hypocrite.

    • Old Nick

      This is not a foul-mouthed interruption. It is a straight answer to a straight question. And if the straight question is not meant to be answered, it ought not to be asked.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Absolutely so.

  • David

    Using “Hate Speech” laws to silence theological dissent is the daftest suggestion I’ve read on this normally thoughtful website. I can’t believe that His Grace is being serious.

    • Old Nick

      I think it is meant t to be a joke. I too was fooled.

      • Inspector General

        Go over to WATCH’s website. You won’t be laughing then. See if you can spot words like ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’. This man couldn’t…

      • David

        I agree, it’s His Grace’s little joke, a mere chuckle before Mrs Proudie hits the web tomorrow with her own brand of humour.

    • David you won’t be saying that when it happens, the way things are heading it won’t be that long either. HG is just a bit ahead of it. Who would have thought we would have women clergy!

  • Inspector General

    Good show, WATCH! This is what we expect of you – …insults all women: and especially women for whom female bishops are potent symbols of a radical shift in the Church’s treatment of women….

    It’s quite wonderful, you know. Why should an Inspector bang on about the Church of England being ripe for a Feminist / Homosexual / Humanist takeover when you can confirm it yourselves. No one will have any trouble believing it now!

    What’s more, you can start planning for that wonderful event right away. For example, who’s going to be awarded the contract to provide security at church doors. For stopping undesirables coming in to participate in the service, no less!

    And then there are the blasphemy laws. They are slowly but surely being reconstructed, in a secular way, but that’s all you need really. Think about it. You can no longer deny feminism is wrong. Same with homosexuality not being the ideal, and one day, one day soon, someone is going to take great exception that their atheism is being overlooked by the church. That they are made to feel ‘not part’ of the Anglican whatever it is then, through lacking a belief that they, unfairly, say is being forced on them. If you think the Inspector has drifted into madcap territory of his own delusion, then know this: This weekend more than one pair of men are going to lovingly gaze into each other’s eyes and say ‘I do’, and claim they are ‘married’. The madcaps have already been handed out and are being proudly worn, what!

    You see, the day WILL come when you must don your madcap when you enter an Anglican church. If you don’t want to be escorted out of it…

  • carl jacobs

    A woman bishop in the CoE matters only to the extent that the CoE matters. There really isn’t any reason to challenge the actions of a church that is manifestly rushing towards the precipice. Let them consecrate their bishops in peace. It won’t make any difference in the long run. The dead will still be available to bury the dead.

    • Inspector General

      Ever considered the church is rushing to the edge as you say, because it’s packed with spiritless characters like you who wouldn’t complain, for example, if the Inspector pissed on their foot in the lavatory?.

      • jsampson45

        And what use is complaining? Any organisation that has survived for centuries will know how to deal with complaints. We all have a vote if we have feet, pissed on or otherwise.

        • Inspector General

          You need to get over to the WATCH website too…

          • jsampson45

            ???

          • Inspector General

            WATCH is what, one may ask. Is it there to support the CoE, or is it there to take it over…

      • carl jacobs

        No. The CoE is terminal because it’s shot through with unbelief, corruption, and idolatry. The leadership is gone. That’s fatal to an hierarchical church.

        • Inspector General

          And who’s fault is that? People are just going to have to stand up and say ‘No’! They can’t all be like you, wanting it handed to them on a plate, and ready to walk away if not…

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, that strategy worked so well for TEC. If you want to fix the Church in England, you must surrender the Church of England. Every unemployed religious liberal functionary is measurable progress.

          • Inspector General

            There’s no army out there to bend the CoE to it’s will! It’s all tiny numbers. Feminist Christian is an oxymoron. Feminists are feminists because they reject the Christian God’s plan for womankind. The number of militant Christian homosexuals would fit in a former 20 bed AIDS ward, and humanists aren’t even Christians at all. They just want to stick their oar in!

          • Old Nick

            The resistance in the United States was far from supine – but the Presiding Bishop was willing to throw literally millions to lawyers to try and suppress it, throw congregations out of church buildings erected and paid for by their ancestors and so forth. Only in South Carolina, it would seem, has the resistance (with the aid of a sympathetic bishop) been able to outsmart her.

          • Inspector General

            You did say ‘her’…The Inspector rests his case…

          • Old Nick

            ‘Her’ being the former Presiding Bp..

        • IanCad

          Carl, Believe me, the CofE is most certainly not shot through with unbelief. Confusion, dissension, strife – that is what comes to the surface – troubles float for all to see and ridicule. Point fingers, criticize, shake heads, and judge.
          There is bedrock down deep. Faith, true and strong. Belief, firm and unshakeable. God is present in all denominations for whom Christ is their declared Blessed Hope.
          The CofE is a remarkable institution. Don’t write it off.

          • Old Nick

            TEC on the other hand….

          • IanCad

            Big problems no doubt. Gene Robinson and the pink brigade have done great harm. Chin Up!! It still has nearly two million members ; among them many who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

          • Old Nick

            Thank God I never have to go back there. Back in England for good.

          • IanCad

            I hope you adjust better than I have.

          • Old Nick

            I wish you a fair wind in getting used to modern England. I have had the unfair advantage in being able to come Home in the university Long Vacations, so have been able to adjust relatively gradually. Not that I have found much of the adjustment pleasant…. All good fortune attend you.

          • IanCad

            Thanks Nick. I spent the greater part of my life in the USA. Now I’m having language difficulties. The British don’t always mean what they say – if they understand what they themselves are actually saying. Americans put their cards on the table and they tend to shrink less from controversy.
            And then there is “The Glare” Something entirely alien to the American psyche. I tend to meekness and try to be diplomatic but if something needs saying I will do exactly that; it does not necessarily go down too well.
            Life is good to me and I feel so blessed to live in this rich and glorious land.

          • Old Nick

            When I was first in America, certain people would tell me to stop apologising ! The way that English conversation is layered is one of the things I most like about being home – but then I am an historian. Do you know a novel called Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie of Cornell U ? All the English characters (including the dogs) have multiple personalities and all the Americans have single personalities. Though I am highly willing to back plain speakers in the case of the Revd. Mr. Holland…

          • IanCad

            You’re right!
            We say “Sorry.” Americans say “Be careful there.”
            I am not familiar the book you mentioned.

          • carl jacobs

            There aren’t but 700,000 in TEC and almost all the remnant has departed. That’s why the conflict has subsided.

          • IanCad

            Not to be pedantic, but how can “The Remnant” become “The Departed?”

          • carl jacobs

            When they walk out the door. Maybe ten years ago there were still …

            among them many who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

            Not today. TEC is at peace today because it has driven out almost all those who object to its new theology. The war in TEC is over. The liberals won.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Martyn Lloyd Jones was absolutely right, when he called for all true Christians to leave the CofE – it is now an apostate body, even if there are some believers still in it.

          • IanCad

            You are therefore, saying that there are few Christians in the CofE. I don’t buy that for one instant and stand by my earlier comment.

          • Anton

            Yes there is plenty of faith in the pews of the CoE but the higher up the hierarchy you go the worse, ie more liberal, it gets.Have you any plan for how the faithful can recapture the hierarchy? Because if not then bailing out is probably best. That’s what I did and why.

      • chefofsinners

        I didn’t complain because I could see that you couldn’t help it.

    • Old Nick

      The C of E matters to many people who are trying to live a Christian life in it. Comments like yours are not supportive of their endeavours.

      • carl jacobs

        Within two years, the CoE will have blessed homosexual relationships. Within 10 years it will be indistinguishable from TEC. It’s terminal. Time to let it go.

        • Old Nick

          And go where ? Please do not say Rome – when I look at the claims of the Church of Rome I do not see the Church I am familiar with from the Fathers. And I am too old, and too much a Latinist, to learn to pray in Greek. I agree wholly about TEC – sat through too many sermons on the ‘sin of sexism’ to be able to continue attendance when I lived over there.

          • dannybhoy

            I was talking to a long time brother and friend from my YWAM days about this very issue. Mix in the recent conversations about bishops and (I think) you have the best basis for sound Christian congregations.
            Ideally a bishop is grounded in the word of God, believes in the new birth and discipleship, understands the various Christian traditions including the Charismatic movement, and is similar in attitude to the blessed writer of the Gospel of John and epistles 1,2 and 3.
            Able to teach, correct and exercise church discipline.
            Then all the various mainline denominations can refer to a bishop secure in the knowledge that he/she knows what they believe and why, and wants only that Christ Jesus be glorified in the Church which is the Bride of Christ.

          • carl jacobs

            No, I would never advise you to go to Rome. Why leap from the fire into the frying pan? But you will eventually have to face this truth. The CoE will become like TEC and in very short order. Tolerance for orthodoxy will give way to intolerance, and intolerance will give birth to suppression. Wishing it were otherwise will not change things.

  • preacher

    Basically I suppose it depends on what one wants one’s church to be. A show house of relics, custom & tradition that exemplifies equality, with grand music & robed figures genuflecting & enacting strange rituals which no outsider would understand the meaning or significance of.
    Or a power house of worship in the presence of an awesome God who exhibited His love for humanity by His substitutionary death, to legally deliver all who accept it from His righteous judgement, & as a bonus sent His Holy Spirit to endorse & empower His people to deliver the message with various signs & wonders following.
    No wonder non Christians don’t attend Church. There are many houses in a street & they all look the same, but the one that is on fire will always attract a crowd of onlookers. Lord send the fire – not to consume, but to thaw your frozen people.

    • sarky

      Church burnings??? Didn’t they try that in Norway???

      You’re right though, us outside the church see this whole thing as pathetic, male/female who cares???

      • dannybhoy

        Most Christians who post on this (predominantly) Christian blog care Sarky. You are entitled to express your opinion and anyone who questions or opposes the Christian faith is welcome to express it here; because as long as it is expressed reasonably it challenges us to think.
        But yes we do care about these issues.

        • sarky

          But the very people you are trying to reach don’t and without new blood you’re sunk.

          • dannybhoy

            I agree with you but the fact is that there is new blood coming into the Church Sarks. There are Muslims turning to Christ and being persecuted for it. There are young people in colleges and universities, and kids trapped by alcohol or drugs. The Church in China is growing massively, in the millions of believers.
            I think it’s a lot harder now granted, but I don’t think the Church was ever intended to be ‘popular’. There is a cost to being a Christian, which many reject out of hand.
            Remember the parables of the wheat and the tares, and what our Lord said,
            “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
            Matthew 7.
            Everyone is offered the gift of forgiveness and eternal life, but whether through intellectual pride, the delights of the flesh or sheer indifference,many will reject it.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    From the Wikipedia Biography of Daniel Defoe:

    The death of William III in 1702 once again created a political upheaval, as the king was replaced by Queen Anne who immediately began her offensive against Nonconformists. Defoe was a natural target, and his pamphleteering and political activities resulted in his arrest and placement in a pillory on 31 July 1703, principally on account of his December 1702 pamphlet entitled The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church, purporting to argue for their extermination. In it, he ruthlessly satirised both the High church Tories and those Dissenters who hypocritically practised so-called “occasional conformity”, such as his Stoke Newington neighbour Sir Thomas Abney. It was published anonymously, but the true authorship was quickly discovered and Defoe was arrested. He was charged with seditious libel. Defoe was found guilty after a trial at the Old Bailey in front of the notoriously sadistic judge Salathiel Lovell.

  • IanCad

    I’m not sure why this is a problem. Denominations differ, sometimes passionately. I suppose that’s why there are so many.
    Surely, after allowing, and politely listening to Rev. Holland’s speech, it would be no big deal for the vicar to briefly counter the objections and then, if the protester continues to disrupt the proceedings, have a couple of sturdy lads escort the gentleman out. That’s it.
    No police, no pussyfooting, and above all no resorting to any diabolical hate crime legislation.

    • David

      Relax Ian, because something tells me that His Grace is having a private chuckle at all those whose comments indicate that they are taking his very daft suggestion, of using “Hate Speech”, seriously.

      • IanCad

        If its gone over my head, and indeed, he is taking the Mick, I must be more Americanized than I would like to think.

    • chefofsinners

      If the Church of England had a couple of ‘sturdy lads’ for every woman being ordained, then there probably wouldn’t be any women being ordained.

      • Rhoda

        And if those(sturdy lads) being ordained in the Church of England (and any other denominations) took heed of what Jesus said to the scribe to” love the Lord their God with all their hearts, with all their souls, and with all their minds’ and so follow the first commandment how different the church would be.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Stephen makes his objections, politely, and is always happy to be lead out afterwards – he never causes any trouble, merely reminds the congregation of Biblical teaching.

      • IanCad

        Glad to hear it Dominic. No need for the sturdy lads.

  • dannybhoy

    “The campaign group WATCH (Women and the Church) are understandably irritated that a pathological misogynist keeps ruining their special consecratory days..”

    Where do we get ‘pathological misogynist’ from? I don’t know if he’s married, but because he opposes women bishops doesn’t mean he is a misogynist…
    ‘misogynist
    mɪˈsɒdʒ(ə)nɪst/Submit
    noun
    1.
    a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.
    “a bachelor and renowned misogynist”
    synonyms: woman-hater, anti-feminist, male chauvinist, male supremacist, chauvinist, sexist;
    There are many Christians who were brought up to believe (I was) that God’s order is Christ over the Church, and husband over the wife. St Paul makes this quite clear in his epistles…….

    • Inspector General

      Danny, these types don’t hide their intention. To replace patriarchy with matriarchy, no less. No half way house for them, not after their struggle…

    • chefofsinners

      The term is now Ms Ogynist. Get with it, Danny you dinosaur.

      • Not forgetting her sister, Ms Andry.

        • chefofsinners

          One prefers her brother Phil Andry, not to be confused with Phil Andery.

          • Or Phil’s latest interest Ani Lingus.

      • dannybhoy

        That’s rather blunt speaking for an old man wearing invalid raybans, sporting a handlebar mustache and a rather fetching bouffanty hairdo…

        • Cressida de Nova

          At least he can make a souffle !

          • dannybhoy

            He’s a real character. One of my ‘faves’ here.

    • IanCad

      I’ve posted this before but Mencken is always worth repeating.

      A misogynist is – “A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.”

      • dannybhoy

        I don’t think I have ever met a real MsOgynist. I have met men who are shy of women, frightened of women even; but most men I know like women who think like men,
        If they also bear some resemblance to Jane Russell or Marilyn Monroe or -(my personal pin up girl) – Joanna Lumley…..happy days.
        Here’s the inimitable Mark Gungor on the differences between men and women..

        • IanCad

          Thanks Danny. Never heard of him before but he has it exactly right.
          Equality is for tyrants.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Stephen is not a misogynist. He is a friend, a committed Christian, and a very nice bloke. To use such a phrase about him is below the writer.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    The problem is, that our “new thinkers” regard the difference between men and women as of no more significance than that between the two alien humanoids in the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. One of them is black on the left side and white on the right, the other similar but with the colours reversed.

    The two races are one person each away from the fate of the Kilkenny Cats.

  • However, Stephen has protected characteristics so if he felt belittled (no offence Stephen), by their hatred of his insistence on conforming with the revealed word of God, he’d have them arrested for their hatred of his hatred of sin. Isn’t post modernism fun?

    • chefofsinners

      As an ardent post modernist, I find your tone offensive.

      • I’m offended by you calling me offensive. Do you not realie I have a fragile ego? Rational people have feelings too you know.

        • Dominic Stockford

          And I am offended at the idea that someone might be offended by something, somewhere, and then go and write about it somewhere else…

          • Excellent. Your representation of the post modern position is precisely ambiguous and confusing. Thank you.

          • I feel like I should be offended at that remark. Perhaps I can phone the police, express my feelings, and have everybody on this thread arrested under section 4 or 5 of the Public Order Act for the crime of offensiveness;offending me to the extent where I feel offended.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I am deeply offended by your claim that I have offended you. And as I was definitely offended first, and said so first, then I have the right of way…

            And it would be offensive to say otherwise.

  • chefofsinners

    Or…
    These women could avoid an ordination ceremony altogether. They could simply proclaim themselves bishops, or indeed archbishops, on some blog or other.
    As is the manner of some.

    • Eustace

      In my experience, fake blog archbishops are the touchiest and most likely to be offended of all.

      • chefofsinners

        How could one possibly be offended by you? Maybe it was something you said.

  • carl jacobs

    I must say one thing about our host, the Archbishop. He presents in this post a very American sense of irony and satire. It’s not encumbered with pointless obscurity and incomprehensible understatement. This is a remarkable indicator of the positive influence American culture is having in Britain. Perhaps one day (if this trend continues) British humor will be funny.

    • IanCad

      Actually Carl, you have a point. The British are more influenced by the Americans than vice versa. Certainly in the perception of irony.
      Case in point – A garden structures builder is selling garden gyms “Just a couple of steps from your back door”

    • dannybhoy

      Yeah….

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      So…you don’ find my sense of humour funny….mmmmmmm. One is hurt, dear Carl, and only freshly baked hobnobs and a strong cup of Earl Grey will revive me.

    • Anton

      On the same day, perhaps, that you learn to spell the word?

  • Dominic Stockford

    Stephen is a friend – who rightly goes and objects at these ‘ceremonies’ because the CofE itself has no-one with the guts to stand up for the Biblical Protestant Truth which is what it should be following.

    • Old Nick

      Not to mention the Biblical Catholic Truth as well !

      • Mike Stallard

        If you see the Church as a normal company with a CEO, Senior Managers, middle managers and lots of workers who provide the labour, the money and the know-how, then there is absolutely no reason why anyone could not become a manager (bishop) or indeed CEO. We have a woman queen, after all, and a woman Prime Minister.

        I am afraid this has absolutely nothing at all to do with Jesus’ Ministry, the behaviour of the Head of the Church in England (Her Majesty the Queen) or the ideals of historic ministry of the Church of England.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Biblical truth is indeed universal, however as a Protestant Stephen opposes strongly the Church of Rome as failing to hold to Biblical truth, if that is what you were alluding to.

        • Old Nick

          It wasn’t actually what I meant. We are not going to agree about this, because I am one of those who think that Jesus came to start a club not to write a book. We can agree, though, I should think that the book is a pretty good guide to what the club was like when it started out – and so are the writings of those in the immediately following generations (e.g. Irenaeus of Lyons) who chose what went into the book and what was in the Kool-Aid category.

  • Sybaseguru

    The whole of the women bishops measure is based on the 5 principles of the House of Bishops. Stephen is clearly relying on No 4 which goes “Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures”. However he might like to consider the first one, which has to be held in tension with it:- “Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;”

    As one of the lay people who brought down the Nov 2012 legislation, I can sympathise with him, but its now time to allow God to take over. Gamaliel got it right – if its not of God it will die.

    • Mike Stallard

      Like the Methodist Church?

  • John Holme

    Or maybe – “If it’s not of God the Church of England will die” whoops, too late!

  • John Waller

    C of E: “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” Rev Holland: “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord”

  • Mike Stallard

    An Anglican I know well, who is a straight talking army officer, has a woman priest.
    He doesn’t like her ministry.
    He says that while you (that is the Anglican priesthood) were debating about St Paul and so on, you missed the vital things to look for.
    She never visits. She never does Home Communion (even to his own dying Mum). She is rarely seen about the place. Her voice is wrong because it is different in the historic 1662 environment. And she looks silly in vestments and so on. It makes a mockery of the Holy Communion.
    There are lots of services for kiddies and they are condescending and he feels insulted.
    He goes monthly to 8 o clock and sits at the back.

    • Intonsus

      He’s missed the point: it’s not because the priest is a woman.
      There are many male riests of whom all those things could, alas, be said

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    Slightly ironic that a successful establishment protest group demands that an fringe non-establishment protester is banned. But then the whole women’s priests thing is grotesque.

  • sholland

    Strange thing though, this nutty Rev Holland has to do something like this because the CofE has departed from the Bible and left it all to the liberal rejectors of truth. At least the real, not pretend, Archbishop Cranmer would have been on his side!

  • Mikhail Ramendik

    Why is the man at the doors of a different denomination protesting some ordination to a position in which he does not even believe (that of a bishop)? Why is he not at Westminster protesting against Establishment, the outdated contraption that makes this denomination “more equal” than the others?

    • sholland

      He believes in the office of bishop, elder, overseer, or pastor. These are all different words for the same office. No problem there. Besides, the NT does not outlaw or condemn there being a stare church. But it does forbid, explicitly, the role of women elders, pastors, bishops in the church. As man is the head of the woman, as Christ the head of the church, and God the head of Christ. Think….