Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Durham man appointed to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

Actually, the Rev Dr Michael Lloyd has degrees from the Trifecta, Cambridge, Durham and Oxford! Anyway, longtime readers here and of other blogs and theological news media will know that Wycliffe Hall has had an interesting time - diplomatically speaking - since around 2007 when its previous Principal, Richard Turnbull was appointed. Dr Lloyd's appointment is announced here.

In hindsight, Turnbull's appointment was a 'category' mistake. To make some change to the College (one category) it brought in a man capable of making change, but found that the change was towards a conservatism which sat ill with the general tenor of an evangelical college which had had an open stance to matters such as the ordination of women (with the ill winds of change expressed through some very painful exists for long serving staff). Effectively the College was led into a new conservative paradigm (another category) which it would now appear to be repenting of, with the appointment of a man with a history of teaching both at St Stephen's Oxford and St Mellitus London.

I am glad about this. Likeable as Richard Turnbull was as a person (I had the privilege of meeting him at Wycliffe in 2007), his willingness to divide the evangelical seminaries of the C of E into "5 plus 1" or 5 bad and 1 good colleges was not a helpful starting point for attempting to deepen the engagement of evangelicalism with the ever-changing realities of both the Church of England and of England/Britain. The intention to shift 5 plus 1 to 4 plus 2 would now appear to be at an end.

Evangelicalism is better when united and likely to self-destruct when divided. I assume Dr Lloyd is an appointee who understands this.


Simon said...

I think Mike will be good and Bishop Mike Hill as chair of the council has a good feel for what was needed. I listen to Mike Lloyd regularly via the Godpod podcasts from St Paul's Theological Centre/St Mellitus (highly recommended)where, in conversation and debate with Jane Williams and Graham Tomlin, he reveals his theological depth, breadth of experience and understanding and a great sense of humour. Hopefully, having the college's focus will return to a broad-based generous evangelicalism, which is what is was always knows for and did best.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Evangelicalism is better when united and likely to self-destruct when divided. I assume Dr Lloyd is an appointee who understands this."

- Dr. Peter Carrell -

Surely it all depends on what the differences are all about? For instance, The Revd. Steve Chalke is an influential Baptist minister in London who has (against type?) espoused the emancipation of Women and Gays in the Church.

This merely goes to illustrate the fact that there is simply no one single way of understanding the tenor of Biblical Criticism.

When one assumed 'Truth' is set up against another perceived 'truth'; there is likely to be division. Do you think such matters should be 'kept in the dark', just to 'keep the peace", Peter? Or do you think that such matters ought to be openly discussed in a forum that encourages enlightenment?

Pope Francis looks not to be afraid of 'stirring up a hornet's nest' at the Vatican. Perhaps the Church will be all the healthier for that.

Paul McIntosh said...

Thanks for the news Peter. I am delighted to hear of Dr Lloyd's appointment. I am a kiwi who studied under Michael (Mike) at St Mellitus College (London) and couldn't rate him any more highly.

Also, to encourage you (& readers), your assumption in the last paragraph is correct.

Anonymous said...

Because one ex-Evangelical, Steve Chalk, rejects Biblical teaching, does not mean the Bible is not clear. On this issue it is, crystal clear.

The problem is not the clarity of Scripture ( I have no idea what "tenor" is supposed to mean in this context) but the tendency of sinful humanity to ignore God, especially when obedience is hard and inconvenient.

And it should be noted that Steve Chalk rejects a growing number if clear Biblical teachings.

MichaelA said...

"Evangelicalism is better when united and likely to self-destruct when divided."

That may or may not be true, but I doubt this appointment will have any "unifying" effect - those in favour of women's ordination will continue to be in favour, and those opposed will continue to be opposed. However, it is likely to mean that the latter encourage their ordinands to attend other colleges, such as Oak Hill, rather than Wycliffe Hall.

Anonymous said...

Steve Chalke is simply following a trajectory out of evangelicalism that a number before him have taken, usually by dubbing themselves 'post-evangelical'. By background he is really an activist youth worker and pastor (and a very successful one), not a theologian or biblical scholar. He has an ear for catching a cultural mood and riding it, along with public money and political approval (from Tony Blair) for his community projects, and like many figues in the public eye, tends to mistake his feelings for the truth. If he continues for another ten years, I am sure he will be telling us then that Christianity is 'too constrictive', as Islam becomes the mainstream faith of the UK.

Anonymous said...

Jim Wallis of 'Soujourners' in the US is another case in point: raised in a conservative and evangelical home, he originally espoused that faith while taking an activist 'social justice' (i.e., moderate leftist) position which he modestly labels "God's Politics". Now Wallis buys the whole gay "marriage" / abortion / multi-faith program, and while he still calls himself a Christian (with the thinnest of theology), I don't think he calls himself an evangelical any longer. But I still know people raised as evangelicals who think he is one.
Memories can die hard.

David said...

I remember it as 5 + 2. The other conservative evangelical college being Oak Hill. The Open Evangelicals lay claim to Ridley, Cramner, Trinity, St Johns and St Melitius

Simon said...

St Mellitus isn't a residential training college, it's a regional training course that has developed.
The five residential colleges of an evangelical tradition are Wycliffe, Ridley, Trinity, St John's, Cranmer Hall and Oak Hill.
His comments, made in various contexts included urging his audience to support Wycliffe and Oak Hill with ordinands and £ and help move the balance from 5-1 to 4-2. Mission unaccomplished and unlikely to be, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Now George Kovoor, principal of Trinity Theological College in Bristol, is resigning after a tough report. Trinity picked up a number of staff who left Wycliffe. This is a difficult time for the evangelical colleges.


Father Ron Smith said...

A delightful advancement has now taken place in the Mother Church of England. Archbishop Justin Welby yesterday (Thurs) met with the LGBT leaders in the Church of England - determined to actually listen to what they have to say about their experience as Christians, of the discrimination they feel being levelled against them by past and current Church initiatives.

One has to admire ++Justin, for his willingness to listen, rather than judge people without hearing them. No doubt as 'a man of the world - as well as a Messenger of the Good News of Jesus Christ - he will be able to discern something of the Love of God in their situation.

I am looking forward to some Good News from the C. of E. very soon!

Simon said...

And now George Kovoor has announced he is leaving Trinity College, Bristol, after 8 years as Principal. He has done a superb job there building a confident mission-minded entrepreneurial college, evangelical, but learning form the world church and outward looking. Their ordinands have real quality. One hopes George could be tempted to serve God's church Down Under.

carl jacobs said...


The same 'leaver/stayer' dynamic that shattered conservative opposition to TEC is showing up in the CoE. Soon it will become impossible for those who oppose WO to remain in leadership in the CoE. They will start to leave and take their congregations with them. This was the underlying issue in the conflict over Christ Church Walkley. The Conservatives in question shook the dust from their sandals and consigned the CoE to its liberalized fate. Other conservatives nervously complained about how 'We must stay united.' But the plea will fall on deaf ears. As conservatives start to leave, it will become increasingly difficult both to hold back the liberals and to hold onto the conservative remnant. It eventually becomes a self-feeding irreversible problem.

This issue about seminaries is trivial. If conservatives in the CoE are to stay united, then the CoE is going to have to find some structural solution to the problem of WO. Otherwise, evangelicalism in the CoE is going to end up looking a whole lot like the collaborators at Fulcrum. Until the dominant liberal power structure expunges them as well. At which point, the seminaries won't matter much anymore.


Rosemary Behan said...

God is being ignored.

That’s my feeling about both Carl’s remarks above, and in general. Nobody, but nobody from the WO side can explain to me why the fact that Jesus didn’t choose a female Apostle isn’t extremely relevant. It seems to me that to accept .. and in the case of me say, a female, that involves a great deal of submission .. that He knew why no females were to be Apostles, means to KNOW that He is God. To imply that He didn’t know why no females were to be Apostles, means you don’t think He is God. In fact it implies that He didn’t necessarily agree with His Father .. or that His humanity was so culturally biased that He couldn’t overcome either that humanity or that bias.

We have heard Carl, that no further candidates for ordination will be accepted if they don’t agree with WO. I grin to myself and wonder if there is any ‘fear of the Lord’ left in this land. I seem to remember that God didn’t allow those who ignored Him after He’d saved them from the powers in Egypt, to enter the promised land. They had to wait a generation. 40 years. Who knows what will happen in 40 years Carl .. all we have to do is trust God, because He must be laughing at man’s ineffectual efforts.

We really should both laugh and rejoice. I keep hearing from folk who agree with both WO and the homosexual issue, that they seek ‘justice.’ We both know that if we seek justice, we might just get it!!! Lets lift up our glasses for God’s mercy.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
I do not put the weighting you put on the maleness of the apostles.

(1) We can only be sure that the Twelve Apostles were male. There are NT references to other apostles, and among these may have been women (e.g. Junia, Romans 16). Indeed, I would go further and say (after recent close study of John 4) that there was a definite woman apostle in the NT, the Samaritan woman at the well who became an apostle to her people).

(2) It is not clear to me (at any rate) that all subsequent ministerial leaders need to mimic the maleness of the Twelve.

(3) If (nevertheless) we focus on the maleness of the Twelve, there are various reasons why Jesus may have chosen men which need not apply to their successors through all generations and all further societal changes. For instance, the Twelve seem to offer a renewed Patriarchy (or Twelve Sons of Jacob), symbolising the church as the New Israel.

(4) I do not see that it is to 'ignore God' when we ask whether in today's world we might appoint women to leadership as well as men. How do we know that God is not highly interested in the particular context of today's world and, far from ignoring us, is actually leading us to make choices appropriate to today's world? (After all we do think God is leading us to make other choices relevant to today's world such as finding ways to present the gospel in the media of today's world).

(5) To offer the above four observations is not to declare that the case for WO is done and dusted, no further discussion required. There are reasons not to ordain women which do not involve consideration of the maleness of the Twelve Apostles.

carl jacobs said...


At this point, there is nothing to be accomplished by arguing about WO beyond making the rubble bounce. You aren't going to achieve unity by homogenizing opinions on this subject. And it is disingenuous to talk about unity despite differences on WO when opponents of WO are about to be expunged from leadership in the CoE. These people are being given no option but to leave. And leave they will. They assuredly will not say "Well, we lost. Guess we will have to make the best of it."

What then will remain of the unity you advocate?


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl,
Where possible evangelicals should be united, indeed all Christians should be united, ut unim sint!

There are sharp divisions among Christians, and among evangelicals. I may or may not be able to contribute a little to overcoming those divisions.

Divisions can take specific contours in particular contexts. As far as I can tell the C of E context has some differences to my own. I have always found division re WO to be particularly tricky and do not presume to have some formula to overcome it.

I imagine that if a portion of the C of E leaves due to WO then it will faithfully pursue a course of ecclesial life which is both evangelical and evangelistic. It will be a matter of great interest how such an endeavour fares over the long haul of time.

Rosemary Behan said...

Laughing, but .. I’m sure Peter, that the Son of God is extremely gratified that you understand Him so well and have indeed arrived at the conclusion He has been waiting over 2000 years for the church to reach. He, who created women because the man was alone, must be supremely satisfied with your perspicacity!

It’s never easy to debate this issue with you Peter. You have an extremely able theological mind, which makes one curious perhaps about why you do not inform your readers of the other [well known] meaning of the word ‘apostle’ .. as one who is sent. The woman from John 4 is OBVIOUSLY one ‘who is sent to’ her people. It would be nice if you recognised my own ministry with such alacrity.

Otherwise in your five points, you argue from silence, again a ploy with which you are well acquainted, but I’m not aware of you using it before. It disappoints me to be treated as so much less by one who pronounces our supposed equality with such seriousness.

By the way Carl, there is no way, in either New Zealand, England or Australia, that evangelicals who do not support WO, will abandon the denomination to which the Lord has called them. It is not considered to be a first order issue.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,
I am really sorry if I have not recognised your own ministry in the course of debating the question of WO. Your ministry consists of many parts, is well known to me, and to many brothers and sisters in our church.

We might have to agree to disagree on a few things. The point re arguing from silence cuts both ways (Jesus was silent about whether the maleness of the apostles was to be imitated, is one instance). If Junia is accepted as one of the apostles then it has not taken 2000 years for perspicacity to be found re female apostleship. But either way my point is not so much that we now know something Jesus did not make clear to us but that in a new era what Jesus wants for his church might be different to what it looks like he wanted for the earliest church in its specific social context.

You are very kind in the compliment you pay to me and I thank you for that.