Sadly, I suggest, Reform Ireland is in no mood for acting either logically or charitably. Here is their press release (more accurately, their press blast, H/T Thinking Anglicans):
"The Church of Ireland, in common with the Anglican Communion worldwide, has always prized doing things ‘decently and in order’ (1Corinthians 14:40). With the appointment of the first woman bishop in Britain and Ireland, it has furthered the disorder in God’s church that it originally initiated with the decision to appoint women as presbyters and bishops by an act of Synod in 1990.
God’s order for the family and for his church is male headship, a loving, Christ-like, self-sacrificing leadership for the purpose of leading others into maturity and fellowship in Christ. This ordering, initiated by God at the creation of man and woman, is not based upon or designed to produce any inferiority or inequality of woman to man. Rather, it is based upon the very nature and purpose of relationships within the Trinity itself.
As God’s Word makes clear, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal persons of the eternal Trinity, ‘One God world without end.’ Yet, the Son is eternally submissive to the Father (1Cor.11:3), who is described as his ‘head’, and similarly the Holy Spirit’s role in the economy of God is to serve the Father and the Son. Such headship of the Father does not imply the inferiority of the Son or the Spirit. Rather, the submissiveness of the Son within the Trinity is for the purpose of a perfect loving fellowship where there is mutual glorification of the other.
In 1 Corinthians 11, the NT teaches that the principle of male headship in the family and the church is modelled upon the relationship of the Father and the Son. Male and female are equal in status (Galatians 3:28) but woman is called to be submissive to God’s design for male headship in the church. This voluntary acceptance by a co-equal of her role in the church is her Christ-like service of God, and like Christ does not imply any inferiority or inequality. On the contrary, like the voluntary submissive relationships within the Trinity, the purpose of the woman and the man in playing such complimentary roles is for the purpose of mutual glorification of the other in Christ.
This complementarian approach is creational, biblical and crucial for our sanctification in Christ. To ignore God’s design for man and woman is to bring disharmony and disorder into Christ’s body. The Church of Ireland, by its recent appointment of a woman to be Bishop, has not only brought more disharmony and disorder into God’s church, but it has also side-lined Christ in his own church. If God’s Word does not rule his body, the church, then Christ is a mere figure-head and not the captain of his people.
By ignoring God’s equality agenda and role for man and woman and substituting it with a ‘spirit-of-the-age’ equality agenda, the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position. This decision will not only prevent those who believe in God’s agenda for man and woman being able to serve in Meath diocese, but also impair fellowship throughout the Church of Ireland. The appointment to Meath is therefore a sad day for many in the Church of Ireland because it is one more indication that the Church of Ireland is no longer listening to God’s purposes for his church.23th Sep 2013"
What is wrong with this statement? Let me count some of the ways.
1. It is absolutist about the consequence choosing women both as presbyters and bishops: the church is brought into 'disharmony and disorder'. The position of Reform Ireland is both that this is so and that there is no other view. However a disordered church (fullstop, tout simple) is no church to belong to. The statement begs the question why Reform Ireland exists within the disordered Church of Ireland. The disordered Church of Ireland has been so since 1990: why has Reform Ireland remained part of such a church? There is an alternative approach, namely that a variety of views exist within the Church of Ireland about the ordering of ministry and thus the ordered and disordered state of the church. Reform Ireland could have taken the opportunity to remind the church that this variety of views co-exists within the church without blasting the church, dioceses and Pat Storey with the above denial of the possibility of her ministry being ordered.
2. It states as an accomplished theological fact that the idea of male headship of family and church is "based upon the very nature and purpose of relationships within the Trinity itself." This is misleading. The idea of male headship of family and church is based on some passages in Scripture. Some theologians argue that it is also based on the very nature and purpose of relationships within the Trinity itself but this is much controverted (e.g. in the writings of Australian theologian Kevin Giles) particularly on the matter of whether the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father, to say nothing of the matter of whether such subordination within the Godhead is directly applicable to relationship between husband and wife. (1 Corinthians 11:3, 'the head of Christ is God' is potentially a reading in this direction but not definitively as this is not 'Father-Son' language).
3. It makes a declaratory judgment that the Church of Ireland has permitted women presbyters and bishops because of "a ‘spirit-of-the-age’ equality agenda." Is this true? Many people support women in all orders of Anglican ministry for reasons other than an 'equality agenda', let alone one driven by the 'spirit-of-the-age'. For example, we support the ordination of women because we recognise spiritual gifts of ministry leadership within women which we also see in men (as we believe the NT church also did) and/or because we understand the ordained ministry of the church to be the ministry of Christ expressed through those called from among those who are 'in Christ', men and women both being equally and fully 'in Christ.' But the Reform Ireland allows no recognition that it belongs to a church which is not enslaved to the spirit-of-the-age.
4. It makes a definitive statement about the future which is not underpinned by reality elsewhere in the Anglican Communion: "This decision will not only prevent those who believe in God’s agenda for man and woman being able to serve in Meath diocese, but also impair fellowship throughout the Church of Ireland." Well, there is a diocese not far from where I write, actually right where I write, in which it is simply not true that people holding to a complementarian view of headship cannot 'serve' in a diocese with a woman bishop. And I write from within a church with one and soon to be two women bishops in which fellowship throughout the whole of our church is not 'impaired.'
A note to readers: I have no wish to 'relitigate' the question of women being ordained presbyters and bishops, nor do I wish to argue (or to be misunderstood as arguing) that there is no place in 21st century Anglicanism for those who in good biblical conscience do not support the ordination of presbyters and bishops (there is such a place). But women in the life of the Church of Ireland, and in the Anglican Communion deserve better than the statement issued by Reform Ireland.