N.T. Wright is egalitarian as long as ordaining women doesn’t result in schism. In a recent interview with The Church of Ireland Gazette he says:
…my own position is quite clear on this, that I have supported women Bishops in print and in person. I’ve spoken in Synod in favour of going that route, but I don’t think it’s something that ought to be done at the cost of a major division in the Church.
What do you think? Is the egalitarian position worth defending even if it results in division? Should egalitarians back down if complementarians threaten to split?
Read the rest of the article here.
Listen to the interview here.
That is one of the problems, Wright’s position is really not clear, but inconsistent and confusing. He says one thing, but won’t stand in full support of it. And yes, this is worth division.. as is really all fundamental truth. The role of men and women is biblically fundamental!
I don’t think it’s worth defending for one reason: the Anglican church was set up one way and if folks want it to be another way then they can start another thing. It happens all the time. Why go to the trouble of defending something that’s going to cause division anyway? Just avoid the fight and divide from the jump.
It is not just Anglican but really biblical and historical truth, but surely as I have said the Anglicanorum Coetibus is looking like the only faithful western Catholic position.
Fr. Robert: We’ll have to agree to disagree on it being a biblical truth but my point is that people know what they’re getting into when becoming a part of the Anglican communion (or Orthodox, or Catholic, or whatever other group doesn’t ordain women) and they should either accept it or look elsewhere — to try and change it makes little sense (to me at least).
The Anglican Communion’s history has been rich, biblical and historical. It has only been in the last 40 years or so that, with the world’s idea about women’s roles changing, that the Anglicanism (like many other Protestant Churches) have succumbed biblically. But, there are still many Continuing Anglicans groups that are traditional and biblically based. At present this keeps me an Anglican, though I am semi-retired. But many Anglicans are going over to Rome, again both the Anglicanorum Coetibus.. and also just individually. Since I was baptised and raised RC, I could go either way. But as yet, I am still a classic Anglican, conservative catholic & reformed, but also toward the older Evangelicalism.
Finally, it is obvious to me that Tom Wright does not stand in the historical form of Anglicanism, in many places. I am not “Wrightian” certainly!
And whatever Anglicanism is? i.e. the whole, it is certainly not Catholic or Reformed!
I think that the problem in my mind often stems from the fact that (as a child of the reformation) I tend to devalue the concept of unity and uplift the value of everything else. It’s almost as if I see unity as the only unatainable ideal (and therefore its okay to compromise on it). In this situation, it seems like Wright is being forced to compromise in at least one of these areas, both of which he believes to be important. Its a difficult choice to make, no doubt. I personally, though, would not want to condemn him for choosing to value something that the scriptures apprenty place a high value upon as well. I trust that this is not evidence that Wright has no backbone, but rather, that he is trying to understand what is the best route to take, in order to (hopefully) see both goals accomplished in the long run.
I think Wright made it clear in his lecture at Wheaton that unity is incredibly important to him.
It may be that he is being forced to pick one or the other, though I think it’s more complex than that, but if he is then unity will come first for Wright.
That does not mean he’s waffling on his position on women in ministry, just that unity is more central to his theology of what the church should be.
His exact words at Wheaton were “Nothing justifies schism.”
He allows that sometimes it happens and is unavoidable, but never that it is in and of itself a good thing.
I see this as lower on the list of a taxonomy of doctrines than unity. So I don’t see Wright as compromising as much as preferring unity to equality expressed through ordination. I think Paul would have done the same thing.
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