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 Issues | Ministry | Woman Bishops

Rochester Commission

Submission by Church Society Council


We believe that in Scripture there are only two clear orders of ministry; presbyters (also called overseers) and deacons. The ministry of bishops, as it developed, is that of presbyters with particular wider areas of ministry given to them by the Church.

We believe that Scripture is plain that the office of presbyters is to be occupied by men but not by women (cf. 1 Timothy 3). Many qualities are expected of those to be appointed presbyter, and it is expected that they will be men.
Women are specifically precluded from exercising authority over men in the Church (cf 1 Tim 2.12). This is not cultural; it springs from the good ordering of the world by God.
This has bee the testimony and the practice of the Church of God since the time of the apostles until the last generation or so.

We believe that women have distinctive ministries within the community of faith and should be allowed to exercise in meaningful ways. The recent House of Bishops report For such a time as this recognises that ‘Among the Persons of the Holy Trinity there is no difference of value, so to speak, but there are distinctions of role or relationship that belong to the divine order.’ This insight should be applied to the ministry of women – equality of value, distinction of role. It is unjust to force women into roles which are not intended by God.

In the Church of England today the office of priest equates most closely to the biblical office of presbyter and therefore we believe it is wrong for women to occupy this office. Bishops are presbyters.

Because Bishops have a wider role the consecration of women as Bishops will create many particular problems. It will be impossible for us in conscience to accept their oversight because we believe it to be clearly contrary to Scripture. We will be forced to take alternative oversight of one sort or another.

The ordination of women as priests has clearly served to divide the Church of England. The consecration of women as Bishops will cause catastrophic division and pauperise the Church.


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4. Rochester Commission

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Related Links
Consecration of Women Bishops
BulletNature and role of Bishops
BulletShould women be bishops?
BulletIssues to do with women bishops
BulletRochester Commission
BulletSynodical Process
BulletProvision for opponents

BulletSubmission 2009 (CS Council)
BulletSubmission 2009 (CS Trust)
BulletJoint Submission 2007
BulletJoint evangelical submission
BulletOpen letter to Bishops
BulletRochester Submission
BulletSubmission to Guilford Group
BulletPetition to Guildford Group
BulletSynod Briefing July 2006


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