Bill Crews and the female bishop debate

Whilst driving from church to Maccas tonight for the customary post-church supper after supper, I had the radio on 2GB. Bill Crews hosts a show, where, since he’s a minister of the Uniting Church, the theme of faith and Christianity comes up regularly.

Tonight, he spent some time giving it to the Sydney Anglican diocese, claiming that they were a “pompous lot” who were dragging the chain when it comes to issues such as the consecration of female bishops. This comes after the announcement in Perth that a female will be consecrated as a bishop next month. Crews used what he termed the number of women profiled in the Bible to advance his view, which is obviously that women deserve to be ordained into such positions of authority.

I am one of these so called pompous Sydney Anglicans, who just so happens to disagree with the decision of the Diocese of Perth. But my reasons for disagreement are by no means a reason to believe that I (along with many other fellow SydAngs) am entrenched in the dark ages. I am not one of those liberal types whose chief characteristic is that they question whether the truth of the Bible should be believed and applied as it was when it was written. The letters of Paul make it quite clear what the characteristics of an overseer of God’s people (such as a bishop) should be, and one of those is that an overseer should be a male (see 1 Timothy 3 for example).

Women have a valuable role to play in ministry and service in the church – of that there is no doubt in my mind. I know and greatly value many of my female friends who serve so faithfully at my church. However when it comes to the matter of taking the reins of a congregation, a parish or a diocese, I feel that we need to defer to the supreme authority of Scripture and find out what it has to say. When we do that, we cannot ignore the answer, whereby we reject the reality and substitute it with our own (as said in matters totally unrelated to faith by Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, but the phrase is so very true in situations such as these). We must accept and embrace that answer and act accordingly – to fail to do so is to fall into the trap of liberalism, where one loves the culture and people, but negelcts the Gospel and its truth (this is a summation of a handy overview put forward by Mark Driscoll in his book Confessions of a Reformission Rev) Similarly when it comes to other contentious issues, such as homosexuality and unrepentantly living as such whilst claiming to be a follower of Christ, the Bible must be seen as the source of the answer.

Bill Crews needs to rediscover the Scriptures and realise that they are the guidebook when it comes to ecumenical matters such as who should be charged with the responsibility of overseeing God’s flock. Call me a hardline conservative if you must, but to be otherwise in terms of theology is to dismiss the Bible as a mere document that only contains some suggestions and not the complete roadmap to the Christian faith. I can’t help but agree totally with what Albert Mohler says in his blog entry regarding theological liberalism and US seminaries – liberalism is in effect a religion of its own that undermines the faith that characterise biblical Christianity.

I can’t say for certain whether or not Crews falls under the category of a liberal. Perhaps someone who more regularly listens to his dialogue can brief me in the comments, but from what I have heard him say tonight, I can’t really be certain that he’s a theological conservative.

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4 Responses

  1. Its a hard one, becasue there is what he might ‘call’ himself, and what his opinions relate to. In my hearing of him, he seems to be a bit of an inclusivist, though its always hard to tell on a public medium like radio, especially at a high rating station.

    I would suggest perhaps he is fairly liberal, in my hearing of him….

  2. bishop is a man made role so I do not care who get it. The head of the Anglican church is the queen I think she a girl.

  3. The Queen doesn’t have a role that involves the direct shepherding of the church, per se. I’m not 100% certain of her role, but I’d say it’s more symbolic than pastoral (which would be characteristic of archbishops, bishops, etc).

  4. Elizabeth II, as the Monarch of the United Kingdom, is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and sworn protector of the Church of Scotland. She holds no religious role as Sovereign of the other Realms.
    The Queen takes a keen personal interest in the Church of England, but, in practice, delegates authority in the Church of England to the Archbishop of Canterbury. She regularly worships at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, or at St. Mary Magdalene Church when staying at Sandringham House, Norfolk.
    The Royal Family also regularly attends services at Crathie Kirk when holidaying at Balmoral Castle, and when in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the family attends services at the Canongate Kirk. The Queen has attended the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on several occasions, most recently in 1977 and 2002, although, in most years, she appoints a Lord High Commissioner to represent her.
    The Queen made particular reference to her Christian convictions in her Christmas Day television broadcast in 2000, in which she spoke about the theological significance of the Millennium as marking the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ
    “ To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ, and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example. ”
    The Queen often meets with leaders from other religions as well. She is Patron of The Council of Christians and Jews in the UK.

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