How is it that' liberalism' is banded about like a dirty word? What is liberalism anyway? To me a liberal is someone who does not believe in the authority of the scriptures and perhaps the virgin birth and the resurrection are not a part of their professing faith at all, which is hard to relate to. I do not want those who believe in women priests to describe themselves as liberals, surely it does us no favours? It muddies the waters. If you are a liberal, explain for me what that means, please. Don't tell me Jesus was a liberal, because I understand the use of the word in that context but it doesn't seek to unmuddy what these distinctions mean today, because in the political church climate, they mean something else altogether.
Virtueonline describes how:
The facts are these. Women bishops are at least 10 years away. More and more women are being ordained but confined to the house of clergy. They can only vote as clergy in the synodical structures, but the laity represents the broad mass of the C of E which is strongly conservative. The point is women priests will not swamp the church and will not ultimately make or break it. All the major seminaries and theological colleges are filled with next generation evangelicals, the product of seeds sown by faithful Anglican evangelicals like John Stott, Jim Packer, Michael Green, Alistair McGrath et al some of whom are now octogenarians.
So why are these things exclusive of one another? I am an evangelical, one of those 'filling the theological colleges'. I adhere to the 39 articles and the Book of Common Prayer....okay, some of these things need proclaiming afresh for our context. For example, I aim to resurrect services in which we give thanks for the safe arrival of new babies in my future parish but what I will not include is that section from the BCP where women declare how they repent for having thought that all men are liars when they were in the throes of labour. I mean, come on, let's be sensible about things. But, my faith is orthodox.
VOL declare that
The churches will not be filled by women priests or women bishops either. There is simply no evidence for it. Bending to the culture will only make churches orphans in time. Confronting the culture with the Good News of Jesus, as difficult as that might be, is England's only hope.
The thing is I never set out to either make or break the church and I agree with VOL that 'Bending to the culture will only make churches orphans in time.' It's just that the church has bent to a patriarchal culture for two thousand years and even more recently to a culture which believed that one human being could declare another its property because of their misreading and manipulation of St Paul. So why are some parts of the church lamenting a future more representative of God's justice, without first inspecting the incongruities of their own past? Why are they making crass generalisations about the motivations of one half of the human race? Why is all so blinkingly exasperatingly sad?