That faith leadership should be by men only is made clear in both the Old and New Testaments. It's not a view common to all religions. Many pagan religions actually worshipped women. But it is a marker of the Judeo-Christan faith as recorded in the Bible.
So you either believe the Bible is right or not. If not, you are just a modern pagan, not a Christian. Christ himself was most energetic in preaching from the Old Testament so there is no doubt where the loyalties of his followers should lie
There is no doubt that women can and do good works both within and outside the church and a division of labour between men and women is very common. Why must a faith-based division be condemned? The opposition is in fact religious: Pitting a Leftist equality religion against the religion of the Bible
The claim below that Bible-based Anglicans are obsolescent is the big joke. The Sydney diocese hosts around a third of the nation's Anglicans. They are thriving. It is the secularists who are obsolescent. As ever, the faith of the Bible is powerfully attractive to people. The secularists have nothing compared to it. The Sydney diocese is having the last laugh
One of the oddest, little-known contradictions in this country will be occurring in Christchurch St Laurence, on the fringes of the Sydney CBD, this weekend, quietly and with little fanfare.
The most powerful woman in the Australian Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Perth Kay Goldsworthy, will be preaching in the Sydney Diocese – a place where women are not allowed to be priests or lead congregations that contain men. Here, Goldsworthy can’t be an archbishop, a bishop or even just a priest once her plane’s wheels hit the tarmac in Sydney – she can only operate on the lowest rung of the clergy, as a deacon.
If she were to fly here when a bloke was being consecrated as bishop or inaugurated as archbishop, she could not take her rightful part alongside her male colleagues, but would sit in the pews. She can’t wear her funky purple episcopal robes, either.
It’s so weird, and wildly offensive to female clergy around the country. You are less, you are different, you must step back, here, you must submit to men.
A private protocol – of which I have obtained a copy - was drawn up to manage this situation after all bishops, including the females, were accidentally invited to the consecration of a male bishop in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, in 2014. Awkwardly, then Archbishop Glenn Davies needed to uninvite all the women.
Davies pointed out that these bishops must operate as deacons in Sydney, with an important caveat: they cannot contravene Sydney Diocese’s “understanding of the restrictions of the apostle in 1 Timothy 2:12.” This verse, reflective of the patriarchal culture of its time, reads: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”
Sydney Diocese is now operating under a kind of gender apartheid, where women operate under a different set of rules, and need to submit to men, and male authority, or be ostracised. Some have gone to be ordained elsewhere, and very many have left. It’s pure geographical absurdity.
A spokesman for Sydney Diocese advises me this protocol is still in place.
The Sydney diocese has fought long and hard, at great expense, in synods, courts and commissions for more than half a century, to stop women becoming priests. It has come to define it, and been their symbol of doctrinal purity, a source of internal pride if occasional public embarrassment.
When he was archbishop, Glenn Davies continued to hold the line against women priests. Like Peter Jensen before him, and Raffel after, he has been a leader in GAFCON – the Global Anglican Future Conference, which aims to counter the liberalising tendencies of church leaders who have accepted women as priests, same-sex marriage and been relaxed about divorce.
The Sydney diocese has actively promoted and supported “church planting” in other Anglican dioceses for nearly two decades – setting up churches in other parts of the country that are theoretically independent but closely aligned with their conservative ethos, thumbing their noses at the geographical differences they enforce for women, ignoring the protocols of the local bishop.
In those four decades, a lot of women, especially those of a modern, feminist bent, have left the church over this nonsense. Yes, I know there are women who comply with this doctrine of headship, who claim to thrive under its hierarchy, but most just think the whole thing is nuts.
Some church leaders try to shove it under the rug when visitors come by. But it matters; the Anglican church runs schools, aged care homes, counts three million odd Australians as members. There are many fine people there doing important work. As Keith Mason, KC, a retired judge who has struggled for the equality of men and women in the Diocese for many years told me: “The idea that you can be ‘separate but equal’ was a terrible and deceiving lie in South Africa. It doesn’t work for an Australian Church claiming to be modelled on the teachings of Jesus either.”
Did you know the Sydney synod – the parliament of the church – was sitting this week? No, nor did most people. Once it was front page news, now it’s barely reported on, barely discussed outside the church. Many people have, quite simply, forgotten that this is going on, that women are treated this way. This pure, distilled sexism once provoked outrage, now it is seen as absurd, archaic and inexplicable. Surely undervaluing and silencing women for decades, in both flamboyant and secretive ways, simply underwrites your own obsolescence.