This at last is the day when the Church of England will decide to consecrate women as bishops. A great day for equality. A marvel of emancipation. A triumph for democracy. The very paradigm of diversity. What it all means is that the church is content to order its theology and ecclesiology according to secular principles. There really is no difference between the Archbishop of Canterbury and David Cameron. Both are agreed on the superior righteousness of secular enlightenment and all things progressive. It is truly a wondrous thing to see the Church of England being brought up to date at last.
But consider for a moment, over your fit of enlightened rejoicing at this brave new dawn. that theology might still reserve to itself some vestige of meaning. What if the arrangement of divine orders in the church of God is not a secular matter? What if there are fundamentals which, if they were to be shaken, would bring down the whole and presage disastrous consequences for the church, for society, for humanity, for our sanity?
Despite what the modernising pigmies such as the faultlessly-plausible PR man Welby would say, there are things here which matter. And they are theological things. That is to say they are not about diversity and getting the balance right. It is to say that these matters are about God and his frequently-declared intentions for humankind
God has set his pattern before us in a wonderful order. Male and female created he them. Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride. Women priests and bishops invert this whole order of things. This order has prevailed for the last 2000 years. Use you imagination: can you really – and leave the religion, leave human psychology unchanged – have a woman standing in sacerdotal robes at the altar and speaking for the masculine Christ “outos estin ten soma mou” – this is my body? You may wish to have things otherwise than Christian tradition allows. And after today’s vote, you will get them otherwise under the glib, grinning monkey face of Justin Welby, with all his clever fixes, compromises and done deals
When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place…