Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops
On Monday, July 14, 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England voted to allow females to be appointed as bishops in their denomination by an overall count of 351 in favor and 72 opposed (Kaleem, 2014). This vote is a result of a two-decade controversy within the denomination regarding the issue. The proposition was defeated two years earlier in 2012, because it did not gain the necessary two-thirds majority vote it needed to pass. What does such a decision say about the religious climate of western civilization?
This pronouncement manifests the fact that many religious groups no longer care what the Bible has to say on a given subject. It is a simple matter of fact that the Bible very clearly, in no ambiguous terms, states that bishops are to be males, and each one is to be “the husband of one wife” who “rules his own house well” (1 Timothy 3:2,4). In addition to this verse, each instance in the New Testament in which a bishop is mentioned refers to the person as a male (e.g., Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1). In fact, as Albert Mohler, stated, “virtually every major media outlet in Britain acknowledged, at least, that the vote reversed 2,000 years of Christian tradition. They also tended to note that the vote came after 20 years of controversy. Evidently, 2,000 of years of tradition was no match for 20 years of controversy” (2014).
This approach to religion is what Jesus had in mind when He accosted the religious leaders of His day by saying: “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). What kind of religion allows the culture, instead of the God it professes to worship, to dictate the beliefs and regulations that it will uphold? Is it the case that if our culture no longer views homosexuality as a sin, those branches of Christianity should “take another vote” to see if they will accept the lifestyle or not? Some have already done this. And is it not the case that to insist that Jesus Christ is God’s Son is a controversial topic? If enough “Christian” leaders vote to soften that teaching or abandon it altogether, would that represent the mind of God? Did God’s attitude toward the ordination of women bishops change at the precise moment that a two-thirds majority was achieved by the Church of England?
In reality, those who claim to be Christians must ask themselves who they are going to follow. Will they accept God’s Word, as found in the inspired Bible, to be authoritative? Or will they put their fingers in the wind and move whichever way the cultural wind happens to be blowing at the time? Let us all consider Peter’s words to the Jewish leaders of the first century: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge” (Acts 4:19).
Kaleem, Jaweed (2014), “Women Bishops Approved by Church of England,” Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/14/women-bishops-church-of-england-_n_5584266.html.
Mohler, Albert (2014), “‘Get with the Program’—Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops,” http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/07/15/get-with-the-program-the-church-of-england-votes-to-ordain-women-bishops/.