If God had intended women to be ordained, surely he would have ensured that Judas’s replacement as one of the 12 original Apostles (divinely sent messengers) of Jesus Christ was a female eye-witness of his resurrection, such as Mary Magdalene?

But the early Christian Church gathered in Jerusalem in the 1st Century AD, led by the Apostle Peter, put forward two male candidates to replace Judas, with St Matthias being chosen by lot. This is recorded in chapter 1 of the Acts of the Apostles.

Were these first Christians people of their time imprisoned in their cultural prejudices or were they led by God’s Holy Spirit? I believe the latter and that this decision by the early Church formed the basis for the male preachers whom the Apostles subsequently ordained.

Does this mean that women are second class members of the Church? Certainly not. Christian women are equal with men as heirs of eternal salvation. The Apostle Paul made that crystal clear when he wrote in the New Testament that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you (Christian people) are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3v28 – RSV).

Male and female Christians are saved on the same basis, namely faith in God’s one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins on the Cross.

But within the Church men and women have complementary roles with God calling men with a particular gift to teach the Bible to congregational leadership. Witness Paul’s first New Testament letter to the man he ordained to oversee the churches in the Ephesus region, Timothy.

Such an idea may not be fashionable or politically correct. But isn’t the Church supposed to be counter-cultural when the Bible leads in a different direction from prevailing social norms?

(Julian’s article was first published in the Sheffield Telegraph)
(Image: FCO)

113 COMMENTS

  1. I do wonder whether there is a biological aspect to this; we tend to see deeper voices (like darker and more somber colours) as more serious and authoritative, and more shrill voices like those of women and children (along with lighter and brighter colours) as less serious and authoritative.

    But biology is frowned upon today….

    • In your view does the supposed immortal part of humanity, the soul, have biological gender in your view? Just wondering.

    • It’s entirely down to biology, if gals had to disappear 3 times on Sundays to sing hymns and what-not, the ironing would never get done …

    • ‘But biology is frowned upon today..’
      Not Evolutionary Biology, which probably accounts for many sexual
      differences.
      Some are justifiable, some are hard wired traditions in backward societies.
      When lefties claim that we need to sympathise with & support children who wish to
      change sex, they display stupidity & ignorance.
      For the simple reason that females probably have evolved a characteristic set
      of mental attitudes & most certainly do not share their internal organs 100%
      with men.
      Females can do most things that men can do, & make excellent politicians
      & scientists – but poor Sumo Wrestlers.
      As for deeper voices, an excellent point.
      I find women with deeper voices generally attractive & authoritative in politics.
      It’s probably an inherited trait that high pitched voices on either sex are irritating
      & certainly not authoritative.

      ..

    • It is what the clergy have become that is the root of problem – social services, with a large dose of feminism, the rest of ‘liberalism’ and the Frankfurt School of thinking, with Welby as a role model. 🙂
      At Midnight Mass, our vicar was waxing lyrical about the poor refuges, and telling us that they had the Good News to hear. I wonder how that will go down with them and whether she will deliver it this side or the other side of the Channel.

      • There are some excellent (male) clergy, both Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics. But in the present CofE they have virtually no chance of ever becoming bishops. Most probably wouldn’t want to be bishops, but sooner rather than later all the orthodox clergy will have to decide if they can possibly remain in an increasingly heterodox church. See what is happening to the Episcopal church in America.

  2. What is being talked about here is interpretation of scripture not about the word of God. I always feel very queasy when human beings take it upon themselves to start speaking on behalf of God and telling others what God does and does not want on his/her/it’s behalf. As a humanist behaviour like that seems colossally vain and conceited, insinuating that someone has a special dispensation from the deity to act on earth as his/her/its factor. It also seems peculiar that anyone living in the 21st century would seek to base modern lives on texts derived from an oral tradition describing events supposedly taking place in a much more primitive, patriarchal and tribalistic society two thousand years ago in which women most definitely were second class citizens and commonly treated like chattels.

    Speaking as a man who has always believed that women are generally much better than men I would hazard that ordaining women and allowing them to occupy any and every office in the church would improve the church and make it much more tolerant, balanced, loving, compassionate and welcoming organisation.

    • I enjoy aspects of Judeo Christianity, & believe it should be respected as
      part of what made the Western World.
      I also believe that any person or religion who or which believes they know the identity &
      wishes of the creator or creators of everything in this & other universes is
      blasphemous in the extreme.
      Most of organised religion’s concerns are to do with political power.
      Those who seriously believe in a god that they can understand are not just
      blasphemous. They are insane.

    • I think men and women are all equal in as much as that we are all unique, and have different strengths and ways of helping each other. Male clergy are helpful in helping other men, and can provide an outlet to problems which some men might find difficult to voice at home. To say that women should be excluded though, takes that to an extreme. Why shouldn’t half the population have similar spiritual guidance?, a healthy mix seems like the ideal, with maybe Vicar/assistants swopping churches with each other once in a while.
      There are people who go to church and follow the bible word by word, because it provides an otherwise missing structure to their worldview that doesn’t need to be thought through. Unfortunately it can create as much a difficult situation, as for those who follow the Koran in the same way. (The God as described in the Old Testament is hardly a loving God). There are people who need that, but because others don’t, or find it unacceptable, they can’t assume everyone else should be doing the same thing either.

    • “I always feel very queasy when human beings take it upon themselves to start speaking on behalf of God…”
      You don’t say! Bully for you!

  3. A belief that the universe is governed by any sort of sky fairy is pretty wacky. To further believe that one can know this sky fairy’s preferences in regard to gender, diet, sex, morals, chosen people, etc., is really so absurd that any rational person has to conclude that persons holding such views are seriously deluded and therefore not worthy of listening to.

    • It isn’t really about belief in a Sky fairy. In fact modern science is almost overlapping with theology in that respect. The idea that the world we experience outside ourselves as reality is independently objective is false.

      • Try stepping in front of a bus then. I can guarantee that you’ll experience objective reality in all its painful glory.

        • Pain is experienced from consciousness, if you have no consciousness you can’t experience pain, and we can choose the amount of pain we want to feel.. You’re arguing against quantum mechanics.

          • You clearly haven’t yet tested my empirical suggestion regarding the bus (most be Sunday service round your way). Here’s a further thought. How about making this a joint test with a theologian and a quantum physicist then you can compare your subjective smashed up bodies and determine which of you doesn’t need to be taken to the subjective hospital because you’ve chosen not to feel any pain. My priors is that you will be correct regarding the link between consciousness and pain, at least in the case of a really serious, i.e., fatal, collision with the bus,

          • Your empirical observation wasn’t the basis for my earlier comment , which is why I didn’t reply to it.

          • The ‘bus’ scenario makes no difference, it’s irrelevant. You would only know the bus is there because you were conscious and able to see and feel it. Without conscious awareness of the bus – there is no bus. There are only ‘waves’ of a bus. at a sub atomic level.

            Schrödingers cat
            “One of the inventors of quantum mechanics, understood just how radical this is. To dramatize it, he imagined putting a cat in a box with a radioactive atom and a detector that would trigger a bottle of poison to break when the atom decayed. Since the whole thing is unobserved in the box, the state of the atom, and consequently the state of the cat, is not determinate. Just as the photon does not take one route or the other unless it is observed, the cat is not alive or dead unless it is observed.
            This is so outrageous that even some quantum physicists find it hard to swallow. Yet that is exactly what quantum mechanics itself says. There is even hard evidence now that large macroscopic objects can exist in these strange non-local quantum states. Examples are superconductors, superfluids, and lasers. These are the exceptions, though. For most macroscopic objects, the quantum effects are not noticeable. They are there, to be sure, but they are not noticeable.”
            http://www.integralscience.org/sacredscience/SS_quantum.html

          • “The ‘bus’ scenario makes no difference, it’s irrelevant.” You’re fun. However, I wouldn’t advise sharing your thoughts with the Social Services if you have kids that got squashed by the non-existent ” ‘waves’ of a bus. at a sub atomic level.”

          • Obviously your kids do exist for you because you are conscious of them. If you weren’t conscious of them, they would only exist as waves of energy.

            These aren’t my own ‘thoughts’ and theories, this is being proven by Nobel scientists, and from different fields in biology as well as physics. It really isn’t my problem if you find it hard to believe.

            The inference from ‘Schrodingers cat’, is that as we would only know whether the cat is alive or dead by perceiving it, the cat can only know if it’s alive or dead by being able to perceive itself. Which infers we may have a lot more control over our own existence than we think we have, and this is also being confirmed.

            Since the Universe is a form of hologram, and a hologram means that the Universe is contained in any of it’s constituent parts, string theory (multiple universe) is proposed as the solution to what was before the big bang. (Whatever goes down a black hole leaves a 2D image on it’s surface, and that complies with the math behind the big bang). it’s been proven that our minds are also functioning holograms which project a 3D reality from a 2D origin in our brain. The source of the energy from which the 2D image is created is considered the Quantum field (aka God), Where science can’t go, is to test the origin of the energy, (because it’s outside our 3D existence) although there’s a lab which has created a test for string theory.

    • “A belief that the universe is governed by any sort of sky fairy is pretty wacky.”
      Sensible religious and non-religious people would surely agree with you, even it they thought it not worth saying.

  4. It is true that men are supposed to be the ones in certain positions in the church, however God does use women if necessary and especially when men are not standing up in the faith. As always the LORD can use our failures and even sins for His purposes.

  5. Isn’t the fix for this the wonderful world of gender politics? If a gal wants to be ordained, just identify as a bloke for the day. Job done.

    God I’m damn good …

  6. Not this silly battle again to lure conservatives into the trap so that liberals can pour slime on them from above.

    We could have had female bishops many years ago but rather than allow for choice of male or female bishop provision, the liberal /feminist wing of the CofE wanted absolute surrender to their terms. And so on the day, the CofE rightly voted when it was wrong not to disallow this choice.

    I strongly believe that this is because the liberal elite know that given a choice people will gravitate towards male vicars and bishops,prefering the Bible to be read in natural deeper authorative tones. By denying this choice they know it just turns off not only the congregation, but the public on the outside watching in.

    I have nothing against women in the clergy, but my own personal preference is a male vicar if given the choice – and it is the threat of this choice that the Left dislikes.

    • Sounds as though women church leaders need to take guidance from Maggie Thatcher and take some speech (tone) lessons .

      • It was is providing people with the choice and completing the change slowly, piecemeal. But instead they have opted for the crushing of the their opponents in this debate, knowing that if they lose, they can also portray the opposition as “backward”.

  7. Well said.

    I’m told that the practical effect of womens’ ordination – beyond lowering the status of the clergy and reinforcing the reluctance of men to attend – is that the local “priest” is actually the wife of some local middle class chap, who can support her in this hobby. For the decrepit CofE can no longer actually afford to pay salaries or pensions. Cheap alternative!

    The CofE needs thorough reform. At the moment the bench of bishops is 100% monochrome members of the liberal “swamp”; that is, men who don’t believe a word of it. The dioceses are riddled with gays and other unfit persons, owing their posts to their social connections. Individual parishes may be healthy, despite the rage and spite of the swamp – the vicar of the largest church in Cambridge for 30 years was never made a canon – but most are moribund. We need root and branch reform.

    • Nice that you think involving women creates an automatic loss in status?, for whom, other men of the same opinion?

      • You’re a bit thick, aren’t you? You should have noticed how the feminisation of the teaching profession went along with loss of status.

        • Status? I thought the clergy were supposed to be self-effacing and humble. Although some of them do look a little puffed-up and silly to me when dolled up in fancy regalia, vestments and whatnot… speaking as an outsider of course.

          • Indeed. Which is one reason why demanding ordination is a rather self-contradictory thing.

            I have no problems with people dressing up, tho.

          • As a confirmed non-believer I still respect other people’s convictions when sincerely held and benign.

            (From a Darwinian perspective religion would have disappeared by now if it didn’t fulfil some valuable human purpose socially and psychologically.)

            I have met many people of faith whom I judge to be much better than me, in all sorts of ways, and met many members of the clergy who spend a huge amount of time doing extremely worthwhile and valuable pastoral work in the community visiting, helping and supporting people of all sorts, in all conceivable manner of ways ,very often when in extremis.

            From my perspective, odd though it might sound for a non-believer to say so, I absolutely do believe that ordination of women would be a splendid thing, with the church rendered more inclusive than exclusive and removing barriers rather than keeping them raised. Proper representation of women amongst the clergy would, in my view, make the church more balanced and allow the clergy to achieve a greater insight into, sympathy for, and understanding of the female, feminine and the maternal without which human life would not exist at all. The idea that apostolic succession is dependent upon and can be curtailed because of gender seems preposterous to me. And the idea that the church is foregoing knowledge, skills and qualities that could be freely brought to the church by expanding a female clergy is a tragedy.

            Genuine spirituality surely should not be, indeed cannot be, sexist?

            (I speak as a Samaritan of course and not as an actual Christian.)

          • I don’t believe in God and consider that everything should be interpreted in a purely human manner. I respect the church as a human institution that has the power to do a lot of good (or bad) in societies where it has influence and that it would be best placed to do both good and listen to the voices of the better angels of its nature if the church’s hierarchy included far more ordained women.

            I don’t think I mentioned God anywhere.

            Pax vobiscum.

          • I think other people should do what I want too, whatever their views. But I don’t usually have the impudence to demand it.

  8. Rev Mann I don’t think that you can say that in 1st century the church could have appointed women apostles. It would have been totally impractical for them to travel and lead, given the culture of the time. A Pharisee could not even look at a woman, never mind talk to her.
    I was not an opponent of women’s ordination (and it is ordination we are talking of) and I know some very able biblically based women priests. However, there has been a feminist take over of the church and many have little faith and much liberalism. Women undertake many roles, including preaching the Gospel in Readership roles.
    I think there will be a split in the C of E and that the conservative wing will reassess and the role of women in the priesthood will end, but continue in many other roles.

    • It will certainly end, and be rolled back. Our children will be angry at the casual wrecking of institutions.

  9. Given the female propensity to make more and more demands of the male sex, never relenting and never being satisfied, and finding endless ways of beating down or getting round any opposition no matter how long it takes, I used to predict that it was only a question of time before we had a female Pope pronouncing to the world that God is in fact female; the CofE having of course already conceded that point several centuries previously.

    However I can now see all too clearly that women will not have time to work their way to inducing men to accept that conclusion, before Islam sweeps Christianity away altogether.

    • It has clearly escaped your notice that men are the 49% minority in society.

      The fact that you enjoy full equality with women, never mind the unearned privilege in relation to them that you seem to believe is somehow your right, is an amazing piece of luck. Don’t push it.

      • It has certainly not escaped my notice that men are outnumbered by women; but I don’t see the relevance of that to my post. Nor does your second paragraph make any sense, either on its own or in relation to my post. It just comes across as a rather silly comment with nasty little undertones of arrogance and intimidation.

      • Which “unearned privilege” would that be, specifically?

        The privilege to have our children aborted without our knowledge?
        The privilege to be shunted out of our children’s lives with the aid of courts whose mentality is stuck in the 1800s?
        The privilege to support an divorced spouse for the rest of their life?
        The privilege to spend the last 50 years getting a pension 5 years later than you with no hint of any of the difference being repaid?
        The privilege to have our lives destroyed by anonymous allegations from people who will never, ever be punished for it?
        The privilege of paternity fraud?
        The privilege to pay more in tax than women whilst receiving less in benefits?
        The privilege to be conscripted in wars?
        The privilege to suffer 19 out of every 20 deaths at work?
        The privilege of being 3 out of 4 homeless people?
        The privilege of less spending on our healthcare?
        The privilege to have any domestic violence committed against us ignored?
        The privilege of vanishingly few early educational role models?
        The privilege of being told at universities that we are all rapists until we are educated otherwise?

  10. Wow, what a pile of drivel from someone whose claim to be described as Christian is at best tenuous.

    So the decisions made by what were essentially a bunch of peasants (in the non-derogatory, French “paysan” sense of the word) brought up in, and surrounded by, a totally male-dominated society in the Middle East 2,000 years ago, must dictate decisions taken in a society which would be unrecognisable to them two millenia later??

    No wonder so many laugh so openly at the total lack of coherent and intelligent thought on the Right.

    • Um … you need to decide whether you are pretending to be a Christian or not. I think you made clear you aren’t, so have a bit more respect. Why anyone would take the values of the 60s generation as gospel you don’t say.

    • Hi, Grimble.

      I get that you disagree with the Reverend Mann on the subject of women as priests; what I don’t understand is why this means his “claim to be described as a Christian is at best tenuous”?

      I’m intrigued: on what grounds do you believe that an ordained minister with traditional, orthodox views cannot be called a Christian? This is a genuine question, not a snark or a wind-up: I really do want to know and understand the criteria by which you make this judgement-call on his faith.

  11. It’s not about the capability of women. The men in the pews need to be inspired, they need leadership. I think the good Lord knows his children well 🙂

    • ..and women in the pews don’t deserve to be inspired’
      Surely it warrants a mix, and then people can choose where to go.

      • Didn’t say that we don’t. But men need men, we are inspired by both. That is why there are more women than men in church.

        • Which is why I’ve suggested that more of a general mix is healthy for a population split 50/50, and maybe male members of the clergy should be mixing more.

          • Male clergy are not the problem. Blokes in general have fewer and fewer places where they can hear a male voice, or dare l say it a male attitude, so conclude that church is for girls; the Gospel, however, is for all.

          • So you want the CoE to be a male-only safe space?

            I am sure that is not what you mean. You don’t want the female half (more than half in practice) to leave the pews. They are part of the congregation and as much part of the CoE as the men.

            Why does your inspiration have to be gender-based? I am inspired by many people. It is their actions and accomplishments that are inspiring not their genitalia.

          • Within a parish there’s usually (or used to be), more than one church. The Vicar and assistants need to be mixed and more mobile.

        • In the past women were less likely to stray – they were tied in by looking after their babies and their families so they were more likely to go to Church (especially a Church who had a mother and baby at its helm). It was the men who needed tying in otherwise they would go off and have fun. That is another reason there were male priests.

          • I think Luke 24:1-12 gives us a pretty good reason why women weren’t chosen to be priests.
            The women visit the tomb, find it empty, tell the men but the men don’t believe them!!

      • Mainly man- made problems. And the story of Joseph shows how that problem should be solved.
        The Lord Jesus bless you.

        • Which beggars the question: If problems are man-made and God made man then why didn’t God make man better out of the box, so to speak?

        • The Joseph story was written by a bloke since it is well known that God has so far been unable to figure out a way of writing things down.

          There is no contemporary evidence of Jesus’ existance but my double Phd CofE priest pal says he could have been Jesus the Naserine – a male Jewish sect of the time.

          Nazereth did not exist until many years later according to my mate who is happily now back amongst us after his spell as a guest of Her Majesty.

          Usual reason of course.

          • The Ten Commandments written in stone by the Almighty?
            May the Lord keep you and bless you and may His Face shine upon you.

          • That story was written by bloke too. Someone has been having you on.

            If God existed I hope that he would be brought to book for his unspeakable cruelty but he has got clean away with his crimes by not actually existing.

          • If he doesn’t exist then there is no crime. Then we can only blame ourselves. I take the view that when given free choice, as we have been, the majority of the time we choose evil. Either way it’s our fault. I choose to believe that there is a God so wonderful that He pays the price for our crime. So actually He has paid for the fact that we let children starve.
            I assume you support a charity that tries to alleviate suffering

          • I simply adore tortuous rationalisation. The concept of crime is based upon the defence of civil order – not religion.

            It is generous of you to let God off the hook but of course if you did not, your tenuous narrative simply collapsed, doesn’t it?

            The Corbynistas do the same thing – confuse a desperate desire with probability.

            But it is your choice of course.

          • The god of the Old Testament is petty, vain & vengeful.
            It’s remarkable that Jews have achieved so much despite, allegedly, believing in this all too human god.
            Admittedly, the Old Testament has some of the greatest myths of all, and some myths are partially, even totally, true.

          • Jews by and large take old God with a pinch of salt these days. Yes it is odd that Jews represent 0.01% of the world population but have produced nearly a quarter of all Nobel Prize winners.

            The genes or very strict Mummies (like mine)?

          • Why not? God is just a bloke with mystical powers like Harry Potter who also does not exist. How does he do it?

          • Priests always go to jail for the same reason as we (and you) all know – and it ain’t VAT fraud or armed robbery.

          • Not true, unless you can produce this `evidence’.

            A fairly credible report suggests that he could have been the same chap as Jesus The Nazarene.

          • With no documented serious evidence let alone proof – archaeological or otherwise. It is all from the gospels, written by humans many years after the fact, one at a time who basically followed previous scribe.

            Fascinating stuff but allegory and myth.

          • Documented evidence was actually covered in the film.. and has nothing to do with the gospels since Jesus wasn’t around in the Roman Empire when they were created.

  12. Come on, this is the C of E – things are decided by what the pc rulership demand, not by anything God might want. I call it “the Church Compliant – in the world and definitely OF the world, working to convert the Church to worldly values (and succeeding).

  13. That is nonsense. God almost certainly wants only women ordained but the folks he spoke to kept it quiet.

  14. When God told you what he thought, Julian, I don’t suppose he happened to mention next week’s lottery numbers, did he? Or indeed anything verifiable?

      • Ahhahahhahhhahha! Right.

        I am a misogynist because I imagined an imaginary being to be male instead of female. I’m sooooo sorry for oppressing you. Is that the best you can do?

        Go fight for a cause with a future instead of a past.

      • In a previous post on this thread I remarked that one day we would have a female Pope pronouncing that God is female. Now you have just added some credence to my suggestion. Only a small step on the road, and you are a pretty long way from being the Pope, but this is exactly how it has to start. I guess I have to thank you for that.

  15. the church will die unless it gets with the programme

    no millennials want to be part of an organization that discriminates against women

    • Except, Churches that have “got with the programe” are full of old people and are dying.

      It is in conservative Churches that you will find the younger Christians and these Churches are growing.

      I rarely hear your values in any Church from anyone under the age of 45

      • Actually that is really true. Although some Churches can get away with “getting with the programme” because they have the advantage of a local church primary school. I would love to see the empirical evidence on the relationship between congregation size, women priests, being conservative – but lots of other variables would need to be taken into consideration….I strongly suspect it would support what you say….

  16. I think God wouldn’t want women to be priests because being a priest is a vocation where ultimately, (okay in theory at least) you have to be prepared to sacrifice your life. You have to put God and your church before everything. Women come first in the family in that the mother used to be (pre-feminism) more directly important to the children than the father (probably still is). Losing a mother threatens a child’s chances of survival more than losing a father. So I don’t think God would have wanted women to be in a situation where they had to choose between their children and their God. God is thoughtful like that. That’s how I see it.

    • Those are good points but perhaps more important is the fact that women priests undermine the role of men as spiritual leaders of the family.

      Also to become a priest as a woman you have to overlook or reinterpret passages from the Bible.

      Once you are on this road it is easy to reinterpret the Bible’s teaching on other things as we have seen.

      I don’t think however that the rot started with women priests. The rot started with accepting divorced couples for marriage.

      • Ho hum – what does it say “any man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery”? Spose it all goes back to Henry….

  17. Rev Mann is right about this. I would also add this was the belief of the sub apostolic church and the Undivided Church of the first millenium. Amidst the loud ranting of the liberal secularists I would make the point that the doctrine of an all male threefold historic episcopate is still held by the Roman Catholic and Holy Orthodox churches whose members constitute the vast majority of the world’s christians. Women are in no way inferior to men and there are many ministries available in which they are able to make very necessary contributions to the faith.

  18. And we’re absolutely certain that none of these historical eventualities had nothing to do with the circumstances of the time? As in, given Jesus was gone by the time Judas was out of the picture, it was down to the men of the time to decide this stuff?

    I don’t really know why I’m getting involved because i think the whole thing is a load of nonsense but I have to point out that maybe, just maybe, ascribing the actions of the men of the time as being directly intended by God is stretching it a little.

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