They’re kidding me, right?
Yesterday Fulcrum (the self proclaimed bastion of evangelicalism’s centre ground) posted a statement on Women Bishops. It’s on their website.
Fulcrum fully supports women bishops and hopes that the Measure passes through the General Synod in November. We believe that this is the view of most evangelicals in the Church of England. We agree with CEEC that all members of General Synod must prayerfully consider the good of the whole church and vote with a clear conscience. We hope that all those who want women bishops will vote for the Measure. We further hope that those who are against will be able in good conscience to abstain, recognising that it is clearly the will of the Church to proceed, and then work with the provision, which is unlikely to be strengthened should the legislation fall this time.
If I’ve understood it correctly (and there’s no guarantee that I have) their argument goes something like this
1. we, that is Fulcrum, think that women bishops are a good thing and we’ll be voting for them (there’s nothing exceptional about that)
2. we know that not everyone, especially classical evangelicals, agrees with us (and it’s good of them to notice our theologically principled opposition)
3. but we think that the majority of people in the C of E, that broad spectrum of differing theological opinion, are of one mind (not that this is a guarantee of anything – popularity is no guarantee of being right – how else do you account for Cliff Richard’s string of number ones)
4. so please would those who disagree not disagree because you’re a minority (in other words, don’t rock the boat with your unacceptable and outdated views)
5. but even though you think we shouldn’t be doing this, it’s worth remembering that if you keep schtum it might work out better for you
I wouldn’t want to be misunderstood, but I’m happy for it to go on record that I love women. I really do. Just to be clear; I think they’re great. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them! I love three women in particular; my wife Rosslyn, my daughter Flora and my Mother (and it just feels too uncomfortable to use her Christian name – though she has one – she’s my Mum; she’s just not Judith to me). I love other women too. Just not in the same way. I really don’t hate women. My position on the illegitimacy of pursuing Episcopal roles for women within the Denomination called the Church of England, is not misogynistic. It’s theological. I think what’s being suggested by Fulcrum is theologically vacuous tactical pragmatism of the worst kind. But then again, I might have missed something really important!