Is it me, or is some of the reaction in traditionalist quarters of the Church of England in the last few weeks regarding the introduction of women bishops rather reminiscent of Chicken Little — she of the sky is falling in fame?
OK, there are reasons to be upset. Existing and workable (if not ideal) compromises are to be dismantled, trust has been betrayed whilst calls are being made to trust those doing the betraying, and looming in the background for those with ‘ears to hear’ are the next items on the agenda, to do with theology and sexuality.
But the world is not coming to an end, and the sky is not falling in, for in the Church it was ever thus. Read the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, and you’ll find false teaching and teachers, syncretism, immorality and compromise aplenty.
Yet always the call to repentance is addressed to the church: ‘He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ And always there is also the promise to the faithful hearer in those same churches, however corrupted they may be: ‘To him who overcomes, I will ...’
Certainly things are looking bad, but they have never been very good. This would not be the first time the Church of England has deliberately opted against compromise at the expense of losing members and ministers (remember the Great Ejection?). As to embracing theological error, this is the Church of England we’re talking about, right? And yet, as a famous evangelical speaker once famously remarked, this is the church to which we choose to belong, so what must we think of the rest?
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This article contains a number of good suggestions that are applicable to Conservative Evangelicals in North America.