Monday, November 26, 2012

Has Gerald Bray lost the plot?

I like Gerald Bray and have several pleasant conversations with him on his visits to NZ in recent years. He is very intelligent and learned, facts reflected in his writings and teachings over the years as a teacher in both Britain and the USA, to say nothing of his global lecturing.

But Anglican Ink carries an article by him which responds to the train wreck that was the most recent English General Synod. I find this article somewhat disturbing. For example, in capital letters, this is written:

"THE CHURCH RUNS ON MONEY ALONE AND HAS DONE SO SINCE JUDAS GOT THOSE 30 PIECES OF SILVER. IT WAS MONEY THAT CRUCIFIED JESUS AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT."

That comment, and others offer a highly cynical, denigratory view of the people who offer their ministries as servants of the Church of England, to say nothing of denigration of people who stand for General Synod (at least some of whom must have voted for an outcome which lines up with Gerald Bray's relentlessly negative opposition to women bishops). I question an ecclesiology which finds little good to say about those with whom one disagrees. But worse is to come, as we might expect when the title given the piece is, 'Evangelical supporters of women bishops are "liberals in disguise".'

Gerald Bray writes this:

''One side-effect of all this is that whereas twenty or thirty years ago most Evangelical organisations contained a mixture of people for and against women's ordination, battle lines have now hardened. Today, an Evangelical who claims to be an 'egalitarian' in such matters is simply a liberal in disguise. 
Anyone who doubts this need only look at the Fulcrum Anglican website. Fulcrum is a tiny pressure group that exists only in the blogosphere but claims to represent the 'Evangelical centre', for which read 'slightly right-wing liberal'. (It is officially against gay marriage but in favour of 'dialogue' - you get the picture.) 
Evangelicals cannot be defined by the women's issue, which remains secondary to their chief interests (evangelism, mission, teaching the Bible and other things that the rest of the church only talks about once in a while), but after the most recent events I would be surprised if anyone who supports women bishops would be welcome in most Evangelical circles. As happened before, the extremism of those people is alienating the Evangelical constituency and causing the latter to close ranks against them."

On the one hand this is simply libellous (meaning an unwarranted claim) in the way it generalises across the ranks of evangelicals who support women bishops to impute a lack of integrity and dishonesty to fellow evangelicals: we are not what we seem, Bray says, indeed we are deceptive because what we truly are is disguised.

On the other hand this is confusing in its logic. Those evangelicals who support women bishops are liberals in disguise, yet evangelicals "cannot be defined by the women's issue." What?

The best I can offer in charitable response to a brother in Christ is that the plot is being lost here. [Later: I accept, in the light of comments below, that another charitable response is that Gerald is focussed on 'the English scene' rather than the international evangelical scene, and, perhaps, within that scene, particularly zoned in on Fulcrum. I still think that it is unfair to impute 'disguise' to fellow evangelicals, even though Fulcrum has raised many questions for non-Fulcrum, English evangelicals.]

The simple fact is that it is true that "evangelicals cannot be defined by the women's issues." Logically this also means that evangelicals who support women's bishops cannot and should not be judged to be liberals in disguise. Perhaps, Gerald, if you read this, you would considering withdrawing this description of your fellow evangelicals.

PS Nice touch here from Annabel Crabb in the SMH.

44 comments:

Malcolm said...

Dear Peter,

Gerald has obviously pushed your buttons somewhat. However, having read the offending article, I can't help but think you have things a little out of proportion.

I found Gerald's article generally helpful in understanding why evangelicals in England are reacting the way they have. It's a context of which I have little knowledge and Gerald writes in a refreshingly non-PC manner.

I laughed at his comment about 30 pieces of sliver - yes, its cynical but reminded me of similar comments that have been made in regard to money being the root of all evil. He was referring to the institution of the church - and its all too easy to allow the institution to be driven by monetary concerns.

As to Gerald's logic, I take him to be saying that differences between evangelicals have become entrenched over women bishops, in a way that secondary issues should never have been allowed to. The fault for this, he lays at the foot of groups like Fulcrum. Whether such groups represent a consistently evangelical position, or have already (unwittingly perhaps) moved to a liberal methodology, only time will tell (such a thing is not unknown within the history of the movement). But its a bit harsh to label this as libellous - you have to admit, Fulcrum have done some odd things over the years.

You may not agree with Gerald's assessment of the matter, but at least it helps an outsider like myself understand why more conservative evangelicals think (rightly or wrongly) such a polarisation has occurred.

I am hopeful that for NZ evangelicals, issues of women in church leadership will remain a secondary issue, and our context is very different. But there are worrying tendencies (mainly from an egalitarian position, I must say) to break that consensus, which would be most unfortunate for a small community such as our own.

Malcolm

Bryden Black said...

Peter; the “lost plot” you are looking for portrayed a pusillanimous non-hero vs. an overly pugnacious heroine presbyter, whose perspicacity punctured a male’s pride - with profound effect.

Although I’d also point out SMH’s bottom line re “progress” prompts NTW’s favouring the divine “promise” instead!

Clearly Gerald, whom I also admire, was having a very bad hair day when he penned this stuff.

MichaelA said...

I expect the tone of Gerald Bray's article is a reaction to the tone of many articles in the English press, a large number of which originated from functionaries of the Church of England.

We even saw the spectactle of the Archbishop of Canterbury publicly impugning the wisdom of his own Synod (that's a really good way to win people over to your way of thinking, ++Rowan - not).

The root of the problem is that evangelicals with strong scriptural convictions in favour of women bishops do seem to be a minority in the Church of England - tiny compared to the number of proponents who either aren't interested in scriptural arguments at all, or whose analyis is restricted to something on the following lines: "Paul said there was neither male nor female, so that's the end of the argument".

Like it or not, the side of the debate in favour of women priests and bishops was long ago hijacked (in England) by those for whom scriptural arguments are largely or entirely irrelevant. There are few like N. T. Wright.

Rach Marszalek said...

I really hope Bray does withdraw words that do not help the debate.

Jokey Poyntz said...

Thank you so much for this response Ian.

Jokey Poyntz said...

Sorry just realised that in my previous comment I thanked Ian (who was the person who posted it on my Facebook!) but I should have thanked you the writer - Peter - so thank you!

Peter Carrell said...

I am surprised, Malcolm, that you treat what Gerald Bray says with such kindness. His sweeping judgement against evangelicals who favour women bishops scoops up more than Fulcrum - it includes you and me. I take great exception to being called a liberal in disguise. Apparently that doesn't worry you!

I do not agree with you that matters concerning women can be carefully categorised as 'secondary' nor that worries about these things is confined to the egalitarians. Does it not trouble you that complementarians come into parishes and prevent women who preached there from preaching any more? Is that not a grave concern in respect of the church's reputation as a body which upholds and respects the dignity of women.

Yes, I am being critical here, but I cannot respond neutrally to your sanguine take on Gerald's abraysive article!

Bryden Black said...

Malcolm - and Peter,

For what it's worth:I quite like his first half; and the picture he paints of CoE accords pretty well with how it was put to me when last over there earlier this year.

However, it's his last 4 paras especially where the hair-style goes utterly askew, IMHO! For one thing: I do NOT use any egalitarian premised arguments in favour of WO. And the only masque I wear is that of a typically deformed Imago Dei ...!

Malcolm said...

Peter, I'm not worried being called a liberal - in fact it makes a nice change!

I take it that the whole basis of a free and truly tolerate society is that we agree that individuals are not diminished as persons when others disagree with them.

I would be upset if someone (and have been) was appointed to a parish and then it was revealed they had views contrary to the scriptures and the articles.

I am aware of situations where the appointment of a presbyter has led to a change in policy on preaching. But as far as I know, the parishes concerned were aware of such views before the appointments were made. So its not like a forced take-over - and I don't harbour grave concerns about the dignity of the women in those parishes either.

The church's reputation in the eyes of the world is generally irredeemable anyway, so that we hold a diversity of opinion on women in leadership is not going to make or break the church's proclamation.

As you can see, I am quite liberal on such things.

I believe my original comment holds in that I did not react to Gerald's article as negatively as you did, and I think you missed the logic of his argument.

Malcolm

Shawn said...

I stopped having bad hair days many years ago. ;)

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you Malcolm for your broad-mindedness!

JCF said...

Like it or not, the side of the debate in favour of women priests and bishops was long ago hijacked (in England) by those for whom scriptural arguments are largely or entirely irrelevant.

Good Lord, speaking of libelous! That's reminiscent of when, after I've made some point of Anglican theology, I get the response "Well, I come from a Bible-believing tradition..." :-X

FWIW, I never call myself "liberal" (politically progressive, OK). It's those who REACT to the Gospel-imperative for justice, who then call me "liberal."

MichaelA said...

JCF, you are referring to a sentence from my post. Why do you call it "libelous"?

Shawn said...

"I never call myself "liberal" (politically progressive, OK)."

Just speaking for myself I tend to use 'liberal' and 'progressive' in different ways. Liberal refers to a certain kind of Christian theology. Progressive I take to mean a political movement. Some Christian liberals I know are politically right or libertarian.

That said, out of curiosity, what do you think is the difference?

Shawn said...

I agree that the Gospel has an imperative for justice, I just disagree with the Left and the Center Right as to what that means in political and economic terms. But nobody has a monopoly on Christian understandings of justice.

Rosemary Behan said...

You’re entitled to your point of view, especially on a matter of conscience Peter, but then so am I. You know me well enough to know and accept that my beliefs are founded on Scripture, and Scripture alone, yet a place has not been made for me within OUR church, a church I have served for years and years. So come out in public and say that clearly, and no one will be able to point the finger at you and say you’re a wee bit liberal will they? I haven’t called you names, but boy your attitude towards us has hurt, and hurt deeply. Now you’re crying ‘poor me’ and that’s unfair, not just etc., when you have done nothing to promote those of us who are equally loyal to Christ’s church.

Your article does NOT help the English situation Peter, quite the opposite, it stirs up the same old feelings that I have been facing for years. It’s a great shame too, because your turn will come and there’ll be no one you can turn to either .. except for our wonderful Saviour! That’s what is important Peter, who God is, what He has done for us .. our Christian behaviour which is more miss than hit with all of us, is unimportant in comparison. Gerald is a mighty warrior for Jesus, his most recent book should be on everyone’s shelf, that is what should be proclaimed, otherwise you are doing EXACTLY what you claim he is doing .. and we’ll all go on going round the round about.

By the way, encouraging a woman to preach is not the only way to respect her dignity. Is that what you suggest for me, is that the only way you believe I can ‘properly’ serve Our Lord’s church? You are denigrating a lot of women by so saying Peter.

carl jacobs said...

Whether Fulcrum is properly classified as 'Liberal' is an open question in my mind. (Certainly anything associated with N T Wright should not be called conservative - if that is Fulcrum's claim to the title. N T Wright is not conservative.) I have read the site for a long time, and consider it 'collaborationist.' It is too willing to co-exist with the false religion of liberalism. Too willing to listen to its complaints and desires. To willing to assign it a credibility. Fulcrum has no enemies to the Left by my observation.

carl

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
Gerald is a mighty warrior for Jesus.
My post is not meant to deny that.

There are many ways to respect a woman's dignity, only one of which is to ask a woman to preach. My post was not intended to imply there is only one or two ways to provide an honoured place in the church for women. But it was intended to ask why a gifted, called and holy woman may neither preach nor be a bishop.

I think if you read the sequence of posts I have made since the English decision you may see a thread there which is entirely respecting the call within that church for two+ integrities.

As for our own church, the question of two+ integrities remains difficult to work out, and different to work out because our history has been different, compared to the English situation. Notwithstanding the hurt you feel I cause, I work quietly on what I can do to be supportive. Once again this diocese this week will ordain a graduate of Moore College and I have been and am supportive of that discernment and decision.

Peter Carrell said...

Gerald Bray himself has posted a response on my timeline on Facebook. As not everyone reading here will be on Facebook, I copy that comment here. (I have responded on Facebook, basically to say I like what I read below much better than what I read on Anglican Ink).

Gerald Bray writes (Part 1):

"Hi Peter! Somebody copied a link to a blogpost you have in which I was criticized for telling the truth about the Church of England and its General Synod, so I thought I ought to write a word of explanation. It is very hard to know what to say to people outside the situation who may not have followed all the ins and outs of the matter, but let me try to fill in a few gaps.

First of all, my posts were NOT against women bishops. Everyone has agreed that the C of E will have them, like it or not, and this point is not now being debated. It is all about the extent and nature of the provision for dissidents, and here there is a real crisis in the church. In principle, the dissidents should have been allowed to state what they wanted and been given it (or most of it). But some of the more extreme pro-women people started objecting to this on rather strange grounds (like, it would supposedly make them 'second class' bishops) and they voted down almost every concession to the minority. That was in July 2008.

Alarmed by that, the conservatives got together and stood for election in 2010, believing that they could obtain a blocking minority (34%) in the house of laity, which they duly did. It has been clear since then that adequate provision for the minority would have to be made or else the legislation would fail. But instead of facing up to that reality and acting accordingly, the majority preferred just to push on regardless, believing that they could shout the minority down. About a month before the final vote, some of the majority people were urging members of the minority to abstain, so as to let the legislation go through. This really angered the minority because it was an open attempt to suppress their voice, and (to his credit) even Rowan Williams publicly repudiated it. The final result was totally predictable and could have been avoided if only the majority had been more considerate to the minority and given them what they wanted.

Peter Carrell said...

Gerald Bray writes (cont'd, Part 2):

"As for Evangelical egalitarians, they have been a great disappointment. In purely Evangelical circles they are all sweetness and light, but when it comes to voting in General Synod it is a different story - they vote with the majority, regardless of whether adequate provision has been made for the minority or not. The minority (which probably includes the majority of Evangelicals, though this is very hard to say) feels that it has been let down. They do not expect the egalitarians to change their minds, but they do expect them to support fair provision for those with whom they disagree. It has been the failure to provide that which has caused the breakdown that we now see in Evangelical circles.

As an example, some years ago (2005) Wycliffe Hall in Oxford appointed a complementarian principal who was committed to equal treatment for both sides. Unfortunately, a couple of extreme egalitarians revolted and did their best to have this man ejected. In the process, they were prepared to leak documents to the secular press and to draw the Hall's status in the University of Oxford into question. Even those unconnected with the place were astonished at the vehemence displayed, and the protesters lost their case. But that experience served as a warning and since then there has been much less willingness to live and let live on the complementarian side. I regret this, but that is what happened.

As far as the church being money-driven is concerned, this is widely acknowledged by all kinds of people, including this week's Economist, which has an article and a graph showing how PAID men are being displaced by UNPAID women - gender equality with a monetary twist. What appears to be 'justice for women' often is nothing of the kind, but nobody has the guts to say so.

Before blaming complementarians for their attitudes and behavior, I think egalitarians (and especially Evangelical egalitarians) should ask themselves a couple of questions:

1. Am I prepared to support adequate provision for the complementarian minority? (By which we mean, provision acceptable to them and not just provision imposed by us.)

2. Would I vote against any legislation that does not make such provision, even if I agree with its main thrust/purpose?

If the answer to both or either of these questions is NO, then we have a problem. Evangelical egalitarians like that are voting with the liberals, and are therefore effectively liberals in disguise, however much they may try to deny it. Actions speak louder than words and we need to see a few more actions in support of the conservative minority on the part of those who claim to want equality, justice and fairness for all.""

Shawn said...

I found that very helpful Gerald in clarifying the situation in England, and your previous words now make a lot more sense to me.

One small issue. I support the ordination of women to all levels of church leadership, but I do not consider myself an "egalitarian". Just from what I have read, the egalitarian evangelicals give too much away to liberalism and the fashionable idols of the modern world.

And for what little it is worth, I would never vote for, and do not support, any change in the Church which does not provide adequate provision and protection for conservatives who oppose WO.

Rosemary Behan said...

I wonder if you can hear yourself Peter. There is no ‘we or us’ in your answer to me. Rather there’s an ‘us and them.’ And that ‘us and them’ is between Evangelicals .. meaning Gerald is correct. The candidate for ordination you mention is not a ‘them’ as far as I know Peter, I’ve never spoken to him about it. But he’s the son of well known CMS folk in our Diocese and support for his ordination has NOTHING to do with his training at Moore, nor did he need your support to achieve it. But that’s not important Peter, what’s important is that he is a FULL brother in Christ, as I should be to you. We may differ on a certain matter of conscience, but we should fully support each other and you should NOT have permitted us to be so completely alienated and unprotected.

A self professed liberal voted against the measure in the UK General Synod, and in the same issue of Anglican’s Ink says .. “People seem to have forgotten the promises that were made to the minority that their integrity would not be challenged as fully-fledged and authentic members of the CofE during the current and ongoing "period of reception" of the whole issue of ordaining and consecrating women. It would have been disastrous for a Church to flagrantly over-ride assurances it once gave.” http://anglicanink.com/article/liberal-member-synod-explains-his-no-vote-women-bishops

MichaelA said...

Peter, thank you for publishing Gerald's reply. I am one of those who don't use Facebook, so I would have missed it otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Gerald Bray's comments make for interesting and provocative reading, as always. He often serves up his dish with more relish than some like, but that's because he's not an ecclesial poltician (as bishops today are) but a polemically edged theologian - with more historical and doctrinal scholarship in his little finger than the average episcopal bench. Gerald *knows* the history of the patristic church and the Reformation exceptionally well (and I have learnt a lot from his books and lectures), as well as being highly informed on the history of biblical interpretation (another of his books).
His sizing up on the website 'Fulcrum' seems pretty much on the mark to me. Whether they realise it or not, they are water-carriers for liberalism. Thus, a Graham Kings becomes suffragan to the pro-gay Bishop of Salisbury, while a Stephen Kuhrt continues to assail conservative evangelicals on the website, all in the name of the so-called "evangelical centre". But no conservative evangelical is made bishop at all.
Edward Norman saw some years ago how this power game would play out. It's about control, in the name of "unity". But people are voting with their feet.

Martin

Simon said...

The biggest Evangelical network in the C of E these days is undoubtedly 'New Wine' - a movement founded by +David Pytches and Barry Kissell which has grown exponentialy. Here is their leadership's response to the vote in GS:
http://www.new-wine.org/networks/church-leaders-network/updates

Anonymous said...

'Evangelicalism' is more like mood music today than solid-center theology - and sometimes it doesn't seem to go much further than music, in circles formed by youth movements like 'Soul Survivor', which reflect the reactive consumerism of pop culture.
From what I can tell, there seem to be three types of 'evangelicalism' in the English Anglican scene.
1. conservative evangelical, with a deep interest in patristic Christology and trinitarianism as well as the Reformation.
2. charismatic evangelicalism.
3. liberal evangelicalism.

#1 is represented today by 'oiky' Oak Hill College, which interestingly has greater intellectual seriousness and depth than the public school ethos of many English evangelicals (who have never been intellectually serious to begin with). You will find something similar in Oak Hill's soulmate, Moore College, which is academically streets ahead of just about all Oz or NZ theological institutions. (Bray and now Mike Ovey brought in the serious patristic stuff, which is central to the self-understanding of the Ecclesia Anglicana.)
#2 is reflected by Holy Trinity Brompton, which ties youthful urban culture with Arminian revivalism.
#3 is for career churchfolk who like to appear on TV and talk about 'unity' and 'mission'. These men become bishops, wear large stupid hats (bizarrely, of Roman patrimony) which they laughed at while in seminary, and quietly ditch the kind of things they preached about for years, as they settle into the role of middle managers ruling their franchise. Theology is the last thing they're interested in, or often able to understand.

Martin

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
It wasn't my intention to come across in an 'us and them' manner but I accept that what I wrote is read that way.

I am not so sanguine as you that being educated at Moore College is (so to speak) a matter of neutrality in this diocese, not requiring any particular supportiveness from any supportive cleric.

In general I find it incredibly difficult, speaking personally, let alone professionally, to be both 100% in favour of women being accepted for ordination to the three orders and 100% supportive of those who do not share that favour. I fail. But I am not ashamed if my failure leans towards supporting women in ministry in all its forms, lay and ordained, behind the scenes and upfront in preaching/teaching/leading.

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you to all commenters here for your erudite and gracious contributions to a matter of intense interest in the Communion.

Bryden Black said...

Martin (Anon); nice try re mapping the Evangelical landscape in the CoE - but you’ve missed some seriously complicating features.

Gerald Bray in this thread mentioned briefly Wycliffe Hall in Oxford. As they await the appointment of a new Principal, after Turnbull’s departure, we’d best leave them undefined - even if their rich legacy under Dick France (RIP) and Alister McGrath continues. But there’s still both St John’s Nottingham and Trinity Bristol to consider as Evangelical colleges (let alone those individuals who go to Cambridge’s Ridley and Durham’s Cranmer). Their respective student populations cannot be nicely allocated to solely one of your three neat (too neat?!) categories, IMHO; there’s sufficient breadth to straddle across them. Which is my real point: if we are NOT to define these groupings solely according to the WO criterion - as many apparently claim - then contemporary Evangelicalism is indeed a very varied creature. True; the likes of Oakhill may view theirs to be the sole true blue provenance of Patristic and Trinitarian and Christological matters. But this is frankly just not the case!

I personally have given up trying to tease out the many strands of contemporary Evangelicalism. For when the likes of David Wenham (ex Wycliffe, now Trinity) is on the speakers rostrum of “Mere Anglicanism” 2013, in the US, this undercuts any too neat categorization frankly! In fact, I myself desire any who wish to subscribe to the label Evangelical to heed that most important proponent of the Gospel, St Paul: “Was Paul crucified for you?!” Long ago those in CoE heeded John Stott’s stance not to follow Martin Lloyd Jones’s call for Evangelicals to leave the CoE. Two generations later, where are the grand majority of the thriving parishes? And even should the bishops still be selected from other quarters, that actually cannot continue for another two generations! God’s time-frames extend far beyond our miserable, parochial ones. Perhaps we need to dwell longer in ch.11 of Hebrews to really get the point.

Meanwhile, on what grounds might one really break fellowship ...?! What is the criterion of ‘separation from false believers/unbelievers’? (2 Cor 6/1 Jn) What is one’s actual Rubicon? And why? Are there any - really?!

Anonymous said...

Bryden, I hear what you say and agree that individuals overlap these groups in their own experience and lives. Thus a young person in England may have contact with the 'Soul Survivor' youth movement (because it's the biggest thing around) and still end up leaving Anglicanism at university. Youth movements are theology-lite in any case - rather like Anglican bishops.
As for future leadership and what will around in two generations' time, I will not be alive then, and possibly not yourself either, notwithstanding your holy living. Where are the churches of Thagaste and Carthage* and Hippo? The City of God remaineth - but not every suburb is guaranteed to survive.

Martin

* Actually I've been inside the Church of St Felix in Tunis, behind its plain walls, while the cry of the minaret droned above.

Shawn said...

The first time I heard the word 'perichoresis' was during a sermon at a Vineyard church, one of those churches often dismissed as "evangelical lite". It is important to be careful with overly simple generalizations about the various strands of evangelicalism. I would also be careful about the idea of "Arminian revivalism." The HTB model was heavily influenced by John Wimber and the Vineyard movement, and based on the sermons and teaching I heard at Grace Vineyard I would not be inclined to call them Arminian. A better definition would be that they are classical Baptist on that issue, neither Calvinist nor Arminian, but affirming both God's absolute sovereignty and human responsibilty.

Also, the Reformed movement had it's share of emotionally charged revivalist movements, lest we forget Jonathan Edwards.

I would like to see a fusion of serious and deep reformation and Patristic theology with the missional and charismatic approach of HBT, and less tribalism and mutual dismissal.

Apologies in advance if I have misunderstood anyone.

MichaelA said...

"Long ago those in CoE heeded John Stott’s stance not to follow Martin Lloyd Jones’s call for Evangelicals to leave the CoE."

Errr, not quite, Bryden. You are speaking of those who were in CofE 40 years ago. Their decision back then does not in any way bind their descendants two generations later.

A number of things have changed since then.

I am not saying that the conservative (for want of a better word) evangelicals and anglo-catholics will split from CofE. But they might.

It has already happened in North America and yes it could happen in England too. The CofE stands at a crossroads.

Bryden Black said...

Indeed Martin; the likelihood of my earthly demise in two generations' time is great ...;)) But that just means we both need to steward our times wisely - Ps 90!

But I'd also point out that in the mapping of Evangelicalism in CoE it is not only individuals who overlap; some institutions also do so - and they are the more important in the current mix. Nor are these only Theological Colleges ...

Bryden Black said...

The CofE stands at a crossroads - MichaelA.

I could not agree more! In which case, we'd better pray for them ...

Bryden Black said...

take 2 MichaleA: but the wisdom of the past can sometimes shed helpful and powerful insight on the present and the imminent future therefore. Which was why I mentioned it.

Anonymous said...

Dear BB..you clearly know your Colleges but not your Courses. 60% of ordinands are now trained on non Residential Courses ( this includes those for stipendiary ministry not just non stipendiary).The courses are not "party" in any sense..they encompass in staff,students, theological and worship styles more or less the width of the C of E.Also the number of those esp married with children who can be supported at full time Colleges is falling. The massive increase in Univ fees hasnt helped. Thus the independent party colleges are having to "tout" for custom . This means party colleges are now blurring if that makes sense....There are only 2 colleges in the North..Mirfield and Durham. Durham has always said its an "open "evengelical college and Mirfield Anglo-Cath but the student intake isnt quite like that in either any more...obviously Oak Hill attracts ConEvos ( though look at some of them 10 yrs on...I occasionally flip through Crockfords to see how the 200+ I put through the system as a DDO for 13 yrs are getting on...I often get a suprise...Churchmanships are perhaps more fluid in the C of E than postings above would indicate.

Perry Butler

Anonymous said...

"60% of ordinands are now trained on non Residential Courses ( this includes those for stipendiary ministry not just non stipendiary).The courses are not "party" in any sense..they encompass in staff,students, theological and worship styles more or less the width of the C of E.Also the number of those esp married with children who can be supported at full time Colleges is falling."
My impression is:
1. the majority of students on these part-time courses are women over 35 (some over 50)
2. most of them are headed for non-stipendiary ministry
3. the biblical studies content on these courses is generally liberal and there can be little or no Greek and almost certainly no Hebrew in such courses
4. the 'worship style' is 'modern catholic' and eucharistic
5. they don't produce preachers as evangelicals understand the word, i.e. as good Cross-centered expounders of Scripture preaching for conviction and conversion, but rather that peculiarly Anglican kind of spoken essay that bounces off a text.
In short, the courses produce clergy to look after (for free) small, middle of the road/catholic-lite parishes, of which there are a lot in the C of E.
As stipendiary posts have disappeared in the C of E, thousands of older women have been recruited into voluntary work.
Was this wahat the C of E had in mind in 1992?

Martin

Bryden Black said...

Thanks PB; I had no latest figures for the %, but I'd hoped "Nor are these only Theological Colleges" might have covered both non-res avenues, whether through DDOs, or Colleges, or other institutions again. And apologies for omitting those in Yorkshire - BUT I reckon we all knew they were not any sort of Evangelical Outfit - even if a friend here, who went there, is more orthodox than some "evangelicals" I know of ...! Anyway, my Alma Mater Diocese knows all about CR Fathers ...!
God bless Perry!

Bryden Black said...

Martin; are you sure you have not witnessed ACANZ&P at play?!

Anonymous said...

"Martin; are you sure you have not witnessed ACANZ&P at play?!"

I fear the English ordinands have a bit more formation and training than some of those ordained to serve rural 'faith communitiues' in NZ.

Martin

MichaelA said...

Thanks Martin. I have heard that from others in the UK but its interesting to see it set out so succinctly.

Anonymous said...

"middle of the road/catholic lite"

"the "worship style" is modern catholic and eucharistic"

sounds like my kinda church!!

Glad Advent Tidings to all Downunder...you presumably are heading for summer....first heavy frost here in Kent!

Perry

Shawn said...

"you presumably are heading for summer"

Supposedly, but we have had some very cold nights.

Glad Advent tidings to all.

C. Andiron said...

On the other hand this is confusing in its logic. Those evangelicals who support women bishops are liberals in disguise, yet evangelicals "cannot be defined by the women's issue." What?

Uh, no, the logic is not confusing at all.

If you are against women's ordination, you can still fail to be an evangelical if, for example, you are:
i) a Buddhist
ii) a docetist
iii) an arian
iv) an atheist
etc.

Women's ordination (whether for or against) in and of itself is not sufficient to define the evangelical position. But if someone denies a clearly expressed doctrine of scripture, that is enough to put them outside the pale of evangelicalism. That is the clear meaning of what was said, and can't be evaded by trying to misconstrue a reasonable distinction implied in the sentence, in order to create a faux contradiction.