When, at a ceremony in York Minster in January 2015, Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentanu asked the congregation if it was their will that the Right Reverend Libby Lane be ordained the first female bishop of the Church of England, one lone voice (that of the Reverend Paul Williamson) cried out “No, not in the Bible” and asked to speak on “this absolute impedimentcy” [sic]. His request was ignored and, the ordination went ahead with the overwhelming vocal support of the majority.
The Reverend Williamson would have known that his last ditch attempt to oppose this particular departure from Bible teaching was doomed to failure, for the battle had been lost more than twenty years ago when the Church of England General Synod voted to ordain women priests, following similar departures in other parts of the world. See
He was right in asserting that women bishops are not in the Bible. The requirements of a bishop (a word meaning overseer - nothing to do with priestly functions) are defined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 6-9 and clearly apply only to suitable married men. It is also correct that the Bible excludes women from other vocal and authoritative roles in the church - see 1Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1Timothy 2:11-14. This does not mean that woman cannot be an exemplary influence outside formal worship, and both Old and New Testaments contain many examples of such.
If the Reverend Williamson rightly objects to Bible doctrine being overruled over the role of women, we have to ask why he remains in a church that is astray from the Bible in so many other matters. How, for instance, does he justify the claim that God is a trinity of three equal persons in the light of verses such as the following?
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [1 Timothy 2:5]
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. [Ephesians 4:6]
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. [John 14:28]
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. [ 1 Corinthians 15:27-28]
Or how does he support men acting as priests in the light of 1 Timothy 2:5, above, or Hebrews 5:4-5?
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
Or how does he support the sprinkling of babies and ‘confirmation’ as a substitute for baptism? One is even tempted to ask, in the light of Christ’s teaching on humility, why any follower of Jesus would accept titles such as “reverend”, “very reverend” or “your grace”.
True Christian faith is founded on the assurance that God has caused His Word to be written down and preserved through the centuries for our salvation from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin. Here are just two passages to support this truth...
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. [2 Peter 1:16-21.]
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. [ 2 Timothy 3:16-17.]
If any question the Word of God, or say it has become out of date, they remove the very foundation of their salvation and, worse still, accuse God of being a liar or incompetent. The Scriptures contain several warnings, first to the Jewish nation under the Law of Moses, then to the followers of Jesus Christ, that God’s Word must not be changed...
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. [Deuteronomy 4:2.]
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. [Joshua 1:7.]
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. [Proverbs 30:5-6.]
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [Matthew 15:7-9.]
The final seal on the Word of God that has come down to us today occurs almost at the very end of its last chapter...
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. [Revelation 22:18-19.]
If Israel had heeded God’s Word they would have been an example to the rest of world and could have changed the course of history...
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons… [Deuteronomy 4:5-9.]
Sadly, Israel did not heed God’s warnings and have suffered terribly as a consequence, history having proved the fulfilment of prophecies concerning them.
The Church of England, having broken away from some of the errors of Rome in the sixteenth century, could, if it had diligently followed the scriptures it so carefully translated in the reign of James I, also have spread light and saving truth to the world around it. But that was not to be. Instead it continued to allow the apostasy foretold in the New Testament (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) to remain, and now has now sunk to greater depths of disobedience. The thinking that influences the Church of England today does not come from the Bible but from humanist thinking, particularly the mantra that we have heard so much of from France recently – Liberty, Fraternity and Equality. Thus the prophecy of Revelation 16:13-14 continues to be fulfilled...
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
It cannot be long before subsequent verses are also fulfilled...
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. [Revelation 16:15-16.]
For those in the Church of England who recognise the depths to which it has sunk, and indeed all who realise that they have been deceived by false doctrine, there are still words of advice in Revelation 18:4…
Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.