A-gendered Agenda


Why should ECUSA be expected to apologise for the hurt caused by the consecration of an openly gay bishop? The case for gay bishops seems remarkably close to that for women priests. Supporting the latter, one eminent theologian interpreted "In Christ there is no male nor female" (Gal.3.28) to mean "the difference between male and female is irrelevant…Is one male or female?…No, one is a new person in Christ". If gender is "irrelevant" in Christ, it is "irrelevant" to ordination.

Some of those opposed to the consecration of Gene Robinson signed up to this kind of exegesis and then jumped off at the women priests stop, as if the interpretation was a Routemaster bus. The trouble is that others who also boarded the argument now wonder if the logical destination of the argument isn’t in New Hampshire.

For if it really is the case that baptism into Christ means one is no longer male or female it would seem that homosexual acts are not sinful: a man can take the place of a woman and vice versa. Whereas scripture had been understood traditionally to mean homosexual acts indicate pagan degradation, now it seems, it is the Gospel itself that makes such acts legitimate: "Is one male or female? No…baptism makes gender irrelevant".

Of course, St Paul would be rather surprised by this interpretation of Gal.3.28, but that too is irrelevant. Supporters of women’s ordination are happy to agree that (like his Lord) Paul was hopelessly limited by the prejudices of his culture, so he couldn’t see the full implications of the salvation from gender difference Christ had wrought.

The LGCM has noticed that it’s unjust to quote scripture in favour of women priests but against homosexual bishops. Affirming Catholicism, Reform, FiF and the Archbishop of Canterbury have all made a link. When will the rest of the Anglican Communion catch up? Or will they now agree with us that the natural equality between men and women does not so simplistically translate into interchangeability?

In the meantime, the Lambeth Commission has achieved some good: orthodox Anglicans can sympathise with liberals in ECUSA. They are now suffering the kind of injustice and inconsistency they have been meting out to traditionalists for years.



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