No doubt many in the Anglican Communion who are traditionalists (i.e., see ordination in the traditional Catholic view) are lamenting the vote taken today at the General Synod of the Church of England to move forward toward the consecration of women bishops in the Church of England.
But a word of caution, friends.
For a long time, activists in the Episcopal Church sought to link “full inclusion” (which is really about the ordination and consecration and marriage of non-celibate homosexual men and women) with civil rights and women’s suffrage. Linking civil rights and suffrage with what is clearly biblically immoral behavior was an embedded political strategy (see the book After the Ball) and for The Episcopal Church it worked.
There is nothing progressive activists would enjoy but to see traditionalists wig-out over the Holy Orders of women. Not only would they enjoy the spectacle, but they would also enjoy seeing a split between the evangelicals who uphold biblical equality in ministry (i.e., the priesthood of all believers and mutual submission in ministry) and the traditionalists. The fellowship between what has historically been an acrimonious engagement (it is what brought us the “broad church” in the first place and the introduction of liberation theology while the evangelicals and Anglo Catholics fought it out, the liberal wing took root) – the healing and restoration between the evangelicals and traditionalists has been one of the miracles of this movement. No one could have predicted the depth of fellowship and commitment that would spring up between evangelicals and Anglo Catholics, between Reformed and Wesleyan wings of the church. This has truly been a gift of God. There’s just no other way to explain it.
So who would benefit from a massive wig-out?
It is no accident, friends, that the Church of England is wrestling with making women bishops just before Lambeth. Let me say that again, it is no accident, friends, that the Church of England is wrestling with making women bishops just before Lambeth. So before people starting wigging out and issuing ultimatums, think very seriously about who would actually gain by traditionalists wigging out right now.
Think about it. Canterbury is so lovely in July.