Why Be C? Why Conservative Evangelical Anglicans Should Still Pass ‘Resolution C’

By John Richardson, The Ugley Vicar

The Background

In 1977, at the conclusion of the second National Evangelical Anglican Congress, resolution J6 of the Nottingham Statement declared,

We repent of our failure to give women their rightful place as partners in mission with men. Leadership in the Church should be plural and mixed, ultimate responsibility normally singular and male.

At the time, that represented the majority position of Anglican evangelicals. They recognized that women had not been allowed a proper role in the church in the past — but then neither had the laity in general. These were still the days of the clergy ‘one man band’.

They were also prepared to involve women in local church leadership at every level.

But they reserved ‘ultimate responsibility’ to the male. And although it was not spelt out in the Nottingham Statement, this was undoubtedly because of a general mood amongst Anglican evangelicals at the time that the New Testament in general, and the Apostle Paul in particular, taught that point of view.

Well, of course, things have changed a lot since then. In 1992, the General Synod of the Church of England approved the ordination of women as priests. And although working out the details has proved difficult, there is no doubt that women bishops will soon follow.

Yet there are still evangelical Anglicans today who hold to the position of the majority in 1977. And — officially at least — they are recognized as having an ‘honoured’ position in the Church of England. So provision has been made for them and will probably be made in the future.

The irony is, however, that very few evangelical churches have made use of this provision, which not only creates occasional problems locally, but weakens their argument for continuing provision in the future.

Resolutions A and B

Read here

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