We believe that in Scripture there are only two clear orders
of ministry; presbyters (also called overseers) and deacons.
The ministry of bishops, as it developed, is that of presbyters
with particular wider areas of ministry given to them by the
We believe that Scripture is plain that the office of presbyters
is to be occupied by men but not by women (cf. 1 Timothy 3).
Many qualities are expected of those to be appointed presbyter,
and it is expected that they will be men.
Women are specifically precluded from exercising authority over
men in the Church (cf 1 Tim 2.12). This is not cultural; it springs
from the good ordering of the world by God.
This has bee the testimony and the practice of the Church of
God since the time of the apostles until the last generation
We believe that women have distinctive ministries within the
community of faith and should be allowed to exercise in meaningful
ways. The recent House of Bishops report For such a time as this
recognises that ‘Among the Persons of the Holy Trinity
there is no difference of value, so to speak, but there are distinctions
of role or relationship that belong to the divine order.’ This
insight should be applied to the ministry of women – equality
of value, distinction of role. It is unjust to force women into
roles which are not intended by God.
In the Church of England today the office of priest equates
most closely to the biblical office of presbyter and therefore
we believe it is wrong for women to occupy this office. Bishops
Because Bishops have a wider role the consecration of women
as Bishops will create many particular problems. It will be impossible
for us in conscience to accept their oversight because we believe
it to be clearly contrary to Scripture. We will be forced to
take alternative oversight of one sort or another.
The ordination of women as priests has clearly served to divide
the Church of England. The consecration of women as Bishops will
cause catastrophic division and pauperise the Church.