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CredibleBishops

InFeb.2016theRenewPlanningGroupcommissionedthefollowingpaperswiththeaimof
helpingRenewchurchesremainunitedintheirvaluingofepiscopalministryaswemove
forwardwithourvision.

Maintainingunitywillrequirebearinginmindthatourconstituencyincludesorthodoxanglican
churchesbothinsideandoutsidetheChurchofEngland,andbearinginmindthatwhilesome
evangelicalsenjoypositiveexperiencesofBishops,othershavestruggledwithwhatcanonly
bedescribedaspoorexperiencesofepiscopalministry.Ourchurchesareinawiderangeof
variouscontexts,whichwilldoubtlesschangewithtime.

WeareencouragedthatAnglicanpolityofepiscopacyhasprovenavalidanduseful
applicationofBiblicalprioritiesforestablishingandguardingchurches.Inthepresentcontext
manyfindthatwithagoodbishopopportunitiesformissionareenabledanddifficultiesin
parishlifeareameliorated.

ThefollowingpapersexploretheneedforcredibleBishops,thepresentvariedcontexts
withinwhichwerelatetoBishops,andsomeofthefuturepracticalitiesofwhatwouldbe
neededtoappointmorecredibleAnglicanbishopsoutsidethecurrentstructures.

ThesepapershavebeenrevisedinlightofinputfromAMiEExec.,+Maidstone,FCAPanelof
Bishops,ReformSteeringGroupandChurchSocietyCouncil.

PartOne:TheologicalNeedforCredibleBishops

PartTwo:RelatingtoBishopsinVariousPresentContexts

PartThree:EstablishingCredibleBishopsfortheFuture

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PartOne:TheologicalNeedforCredibleBishops

Introductionandvision
Therehavebeenandtherearefaithfulbishopswhodischargevaluedministriesin
challengingcircumstances.Weareallthankfulforthem.Howeverwidespreadcredible
bishopsservingconservativeevangelicalshereinEnglandtodayseemsanunlikelydream.
Ourcurrentexperienceofepiscopalministrydoesnotcommenditselftous.Evenwhengodly
individualsareappointedasbishopswithintheChurchofEnglandtheconstraintsontheir
leadershipandmisguidedexpectationsoftheirministryseemtomakeforinsurmountable
difficulties.Onesadconsequenceofthishasbeenadubiouscultureamongusofchurch
leadershipwhichdoesnotencouragehumilityandaccountabilityintheexerciseofour
leadershipministry.
WithintheAnglicantraditionofepiscopacyliesgreatrichesandwisdomforthe
orderingofchurchlifebybiblicalprinciples.Wearenotthefirsttohavefacedthechallengeof
reformingandrenewingchurchleadershipthroughtheprovisionofcrediblebishops.The
establishmentofcrediblebishopsisnotanimpossibledreamnoraprojectweshoulddismiss
asunworthyofourtimeandresources.Weneedtostartfromfirstprinciplesandseehowthis
couldbeputintopracticetoday.SinceAnglicansinthewiderworldexpectAnglicanchurches
tohaveeffectiveepiscopaloversight,asweintheU.K.strengthenourepiscopalministrywe
willfinditeasiertoconnectourchurcheswiththeworldwideAnglicanchurcheswhichuphold
theorthodoxfaith.Induecourse,whenourconstituencyhashadmorewidespreadpositive
experienceofepiscopalsupport,wewilllikelydiscoverwhatsomeofusalreadyknowin
practiceagodlyoverseercandomuchtohelpchurchesinaregionworktogethertoplant
andestablishnewcongregations.

Whatwedoanddonotbelieveaboutbishopsandchurchorder
1
ThelocalchurchisgatheredthroughChristandHisWord .Thelocalchurchis
2
nourishedandgrowsthroughChristandbylivingunderHisWord .Christappointedhis

1
SeeCGreenThemessageoftheChurch(2013)onthethemeofgatheringpp1920,withitsOldTestament
backgroundeginDeuteronomy4:10.ThisisthenreflectedinHebrews12:1825.AstheapostlePaulsetsout
GodspurposesfortheChristiancommunity,hemakeshearingthewordoftruthinEphesians1:13thekey
elementinitscreationinChrist.
2
InActs2:42thefirstelementofchurchlifewhichisdescribedbyLukehereisdevotiontotheapostlesteaching.It
isthewordofGodsgracewhichbuildsupthechurch(Acts20:32).Thecentralplaceofthatwordinchurchlifeis

2
apostlestoensurethatintheBiblewehaveaclearandsufficientwordforlivingasGods
people.ThisisincompletecontinuitywiththeOldTestamentwhereIsraelgatheredasan
assemblytohearGodsWord(egDeuteronomy5:22).Thewordusedforthisassemblyinthe
GreekversionoftheOldTestamentispreciselythatforchurchintheNewTestament.
Itfollowsthereforethatthehealthofthelocalchurchislargelydependentonhaving
3
leaderswhowatchtheirlifeanddoctrine(teachingoftheWord)closely .Therearevarious
waysinwhichtheprovisionofsuchleadershasbeensecuredthroughthecenturiesof
Christianhistory.Howeverweshouldbeawarethatinthepast(andinsomepartsofthe
AnglicanCommuniontoday)thepresenceofgodlybishopsexercisingabiblicallyshaped
ministryhasbeenapowerfulandfruitfulmeansofsecuringtheprovisionofgoodshepherds
forChristiancongregations.ItisnotfornothingthattheOrdinalobservesthatepiscopacy
4
datesfromtheApostlestime.

NewTestamentInsights
TheNewTestamentneverleadsustoexpectthataparticularpolityorformofchurch
organisationwillautomaticallysecurechurchleaderswhowillmodelwhatitistobea
ChristianandteachtheBiblefaithfully.WhenPaulsaysfarewelltotheEphesianchurch
5
leadershecommitsthemtoGodandthewordofhisgrace andnottoaformofchurch
structure.Inseekingchurchreformandrenewalthisisoftenforgotten.
NeverthelessthereareinsightsintheNewTestamenttotheapostolicassumptionthat
therewouldbechurchleaderswithresponsibilitiesthatgobeyondonecongregation.Such
wereTimothyandTitus.Wecanmisstheseinsightsbecausewetooquicklyreadourselves
intothepassage.Wearefamiliarwiththeideathatweoughtnottooquicklyidentifyourselves
withDavidinhisbattlewithGoliathDavidismoreproperlytheChristandGodspeoplewith
whomweidentifyaremoreproperlytheIsraelitearmy!Inasimilarfashionwetoooftenmiss
whatthepastoralepistlesareteachingbecausewereadourselvesintothepassage
prematurely.
Thatis,thoseofuswhoareincumbentsassumethatthepersonsweshouldidentify

seeninPaulscommandLetthewordofChristdwellinyourichly(Colossians3:16).
3
1Timothy4:16.Notealsothecollectsfortheorderingofdeaconsandforpriestsinthe1662PrayerBookwhich
usethis.
4
TheOrdinalassumesmerelyanoverlapofchronology.Hookerassumedthefirstbishopswereappointedbythe
apostles(Eccl.Polity7:11:8).
5
Acts20:32

3
withareTimothyandTitus.Theyarethechurchleadersandwearelikethem.Weseekto
learnfromtheinstructionsPaulgavethemandapplythemdirectlytoourselves.However
whenthePastoralEpistlesarereadmorecarefullyitbecomesapparentthatthismaybeno
morecorrectthanassumingweareDavidlikegiantslayers.
PaulinstructsTitustoremaininCrete,sothatyoumightputwhatremainedintoorder,
andappointeldersineverytownasIdirectedyou.(Titus1:5)SimilarlyPaultoldTimothyto
ensuretheelderswhorulewellarehonouredandpaidproperly(1Tim.5:1718).Hewarns
Timothytonothearachargeagainstaministerwithoutdueprocess(1Tim.5:19).Timothy
mustremaininEphesustodisciplineandstopfalseteachers(1Tim.1:3).Timothyhas
authoritytoinstructmenhowtoprayinmorethanjustoneplace,forheistoldPaulsdesires
forprayerineveryplace(1Tim.2:8).AsTitushadtheroleofappointingoverseersand
deacons,soTimothyistoldthequalificationsthatarerequisite(1Tim.3)forsuchatask.
AllofthisandmoreinthePastoralEpistlesmakeslittlesenseifTimothyandTitus
werethemselvesmerelylocalchurchministers.Theywerenottheyhadauthoritytoappoint
localchurchministers,theyhadtooverseetheirministrypriorities,theireffectivenessand
godliness.DisciplinewastobeexertedbyTimothyandTituseithertoremovepeoplefrom
officetostopthemteachingerror,ortogentlycorrectandrebukeasfitting.Theseministries
ofoversightanddisciplinecertainlyhadtobecarriedoutbymenwhothemselvesrightly
handledthewordandwerecommittedtogodlylivingandpreachingbutTimothyandTitus
servedwiderareasthanonelocalcongregation.
WhenamoderndayAnglicanministerappliesTimothyorTitusdirectlytohimself,he
missesthefactthatthemoreproperplacetoseeourselvesisasthoseelderswhoare
appointedbysomebodylikeTitusorTimothy.Inoverlookingtheseinsightswemisstwo
treasures.Firstlywefailtoseethatacrucialpartofbeingafaithfulministerisbeinghumbly
submissivetosomebodywhoisinauthorityoverusandexercisesaministrywiderthanthat
ofonelocalcongregation.Numbersofourleadershavefoundthattheylongforwise,
experiencedauthoritativeoversighttohelpthemmanagesomeofthestrugglesoflocal
churchministry.WhatisbeingsoughtthereisverybiblicalitisthekindofoversightPaul
establishedinTimothyandTitus.Thesecondtreasurethatwemisswhenwemerelyapply
TimothyandTitusdirectlytomodernincumbentsisthatwefailtoseethatthereisbiblical
precedentandmodellingoftranscongregationaloversightministries.Throughhistoryand
acrossculturestherearemanywaysofseekingtogiveexpressiontothatithasbeendone

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bothwellandbadly.Nevertheless,whenweasevangelicalAnglicansseekgodlybishopsto
overseeus,weareseekingamodernculturallyappropriateexpressionofaministrythatwe
seeinsightsaboutinthePastoralEpistles.Thesewerewrittenthatwemayknowhowone
oughttobehaveinthehouseholdofGod,whichisthechurchofthelivingGod,apillarand
buttressofthetruth.(1Tim.3:15)

TheRoleofBishops
Thepointaboutbishops(aswellasotherformsofchurchorganisationasfoundin
PresbyterianismandCongregationalism)isthattheyareameanstoanend.Theyareaway
ofsecuringthedesiredgoalofchurcheswithbiblicalfaithfulleaders.Difficultieshaveonly
arisenwhenpeoplehavebeguntoinsistthatbishops(orindeedanotherformofchurch
organisation)areessentialinordertohaveauthenticChristianchurches.Thatplacesa
weightontheinstitutionwhichitmustnotbeallowedtohave.Viewingbishopsasessential
forChristianchurchesexaggeratestheimportanceofpolityandisnottheauthenticAnglican
tradition.
PaulAvisspeaksoftheflawintheTractarianconceptionoftheChurchandthenon
thetheologyofMichaelRamsay:Itisonethingtosaythattheepiscopatecanbearwitnessto
thecorporatedimensionofthegospel.Butitisquiteanothertoreversethisandclaimthatthe
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gospelentailstheepiscopate .Despitesuchanassessmenttheinfluenceofsuchindividuals
stillloomslarge.TheChurchofEnglandreportEpiscopalMinistry(1990)declares:through
theofficeofabishop,theChurchismaintainedandstrengthenedinunityinitsserviceofGod
7
anditswitnesstotheworld .Howeveritisnotbythemereexistenceofbishopsthatthe
churchismaintainedandstrengthened,butratherbybishopsfulfillingabiblicalministry.
TheAnglicantraditionregardsbishopswhoexerciseabiblicalministryasbeingan
excellentmeansofachievingthedesiredendofprovidinglocalchurcheswithbiblicallyfaithful
leadership.Andwecansaythattheearlyemergenceofmenwithaministrybeyondthelocal
congregation(particularlyintheNewTestamentwithpeoplelikeTimothyandTitus)bears
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witnesstothenaturalefficacyofthisformofgovernment.

6
SeePAvisAnglicanismandtheChristianChurch(2002)pp184,352
7
EpiscopalMinistry(1990)p165,section363.
8
SeethereferencestoPhilip,TimothyandTitusinRBeckwithEldersineveryCity(2003)p53andthenhis
chapterFromPresbyterBishopstoBishopandPresbyter(pp5563).NoteinparticularthewayBeckwithconsiders
itlikelythatbytheendofthefirstcenturyADasinglepersonwouldperformthreefunctionswhichhadpreviously
beenopentoallthepresbyterbishops(p58).

5
InNewTestamenttimesvariouswordslikeelder/presbyterandoverseer/bishop
wereusedofchurchleadersinawaywhichwasflexibleanddidnotcarrythehistorical
9
baggagethesetermsnowhave .Wehappilyusewordslikeflatandapartmenttodescribe
thesamesortofdwelling,butitiseasytoimaginethatsuchwordscandevelopmore
distinctivemeaningsandemphasesifnecessary.Itappearsthatthewidegeographical
spreadofChristianityandassociatedsociologicalrealitiesledtothedevelopmentofa
10
distinctionbetweenthepresbyterandthebishop .Weneedhavenoanxietyaboutthisifwe
rememberthatthemaingoalissimplytoprovidechurcheswithfaithfulleadership.Church
organisationwasdevelopedwiththegoalofbuildingChristiancongregationsprimarilyin
view.Itneedstoremainsubordinatedtothataim.

TheAnglicanreformersunderstandingofepiscopacy
Suchanunderstandingofbishopsandchurchleadershipisentirelyconsistentwiththe
traditionexpoundedwithintheChurchofEnglandatthetimeoftheReformation.Itisnota
positionofwhichweneedtobeashamed,andincircumstanceswhereouractionsmust
commendthemselvestothewiderAnglicancommunionitisonewhichwemustcomprehend.
Episcopacyispartofourheritage,andgodlyAnglicanleaderselsewherewillfindithardto
endorseanabandonmentofit.
OfcourseAnglicanidentityisfoundinbiblicaldoctrineasexpressedinthe39Articles
andFormularies(andinourcontextmorerecentlyintheJerusalemStatementand
11
Declaration ).Itisnottobefoundintheexistenceofbishopsinandofthemselves.Oneis
notanAnglicanbecauseoneisinfellowshipwithaparticularbishoporeventheArchbishop
12
ofCanterbury .TheclaimtobeanAnglicancannotavoidacommitmenttothebiblical
13
doctrineofthe39ArticlesandFormularies .TheAnglicanreformersviewedbishopsand
commendedepiscopalgovernmentinthelightofthis.

9
ItmaybeslightlysimplistictostatebaldlythatLightfootshowedpresbytersandbishopswereoneandthesame.
ThetermpresbyteriscommonlylinkedtotheeldersfoundinJewishsynagogues,butbishopisawordthat
apparentlycamefromsecularuse(Beckwith2003p47).Thewordsmayrefertothesamepersonbutmayreflecta
different(whilelinked)role:Aspresbyterstheytaught,andasbishopstheyexercisedoversight(Beckwith2003
p47).See(RogerBeckwith2003)forfurtherdetailsontheoriginoftheterms.
10
SeeMBurkillBetterBishops(Reform2009)formoredetailonthis.
11
SeeBeingFaithful(LatimerTrust2009)pp29.
12
TheArchbishopofCanterburyinhispresidentialaddresstoGeneralSynodinFebruary2016saidthisTobepart
oftheinstitutionoftheAnglicanCommunion,aProvincemustbeincommunionwiththeSeeofCanterbury.That
maybestrictlytrueifonewishestomaketheinstitutionthepriorityoverthegospel,butitdoesnotthereforefollow
thattobeAnglicanonemustbeincommunionwiththeseeofCanterbury.The(Anglican)ChurchofNigeria
removedreferencestocommunionwiththeseeofCanterburyfromitsconstitutionin2005.
13
ThusCanonA5intheChurchofEngland.

6
WeshouldnoteforexamplethatthecelebratedPrefacetotheOrdinaldoesnotspeak
14
ofthreeordersofministry(asisoftenassumed)buttheseordersofministry .Itcanbe
arguedthattheReformersviewedbishopsandpriestsasbeingofthesamebasicorder.Thus
the1552PrayerBookspeaksoftheorderingofdeaconsandpriests,butoftheconsecration
ofbishops.Inotherwordsbishopsshouldbasicallydowhatpriestsdobuthavecertainextra
rolesaddedin.
RichardHookerwasanenthusiastforepiscopalgovernment.Hestressedits
importanceforsecuringtruth,buthehadtobecarefultosetoutthesortofepiscopacyhe
endorsedoveragainstthosePuritansforwhomabusesofepiscopacywereajustificationfor
15
abolishingtherolealtogether .PaulAvissumsuphisunderstandingofbishopsinthisway
AccordingtoRichardHooker,polityisalterable,doctrineunchangeablemereecclesiastical
16
arrangementsarenotonthesamefootingasdivinetruth. Similarlyalate16thCentury
ArchbishopofCanterbury,JohnWhitgiftwillsayitisplainthatanyoneformorkindof
externalgovernmentperpetuallytobeobservedisnowhereinthescriptureprescribedtothe
17
church .BythetimeofArchbishopUssher(15811656)therehadbeenmuchdiscussion
aboutbishopsandheisthereforeabletogiveawonderfulexplanationanddefenceofa
18
biblicallymindedepiscopalpolity.

Conclusion
Anglicanevangelicalscanandshouldrecommitthemselvesinprincipletovaluingthe
ministryofbishops.Wearenottoviewthemasendsinthemselves.Theyareagodlymeans
ofsecuringbiblicalgoalsforourchurchleadership.TheyarenotcommandedbytheBiblebut
canreadilyoperateinconformitywithbiblicalprinciples.Theyhavebeenanexcellentmeans
ofsecuringthosebiblicalgoalsforchurchleadership.
Ifwewantcrediblebishopstodayweneedtograspforourselvesthisauthenticand
wiseAnglicanmeansofprovidingchurcheswithgodlyleaders.Itmaynotalwaysbepossible

14
Beckwith2003pp910discussesthecarefulphraseologyofthisPrefaceandwhatitisandisnotsaying.
15
HookersaysmuchaboutBishopsbuthisbasicviewcanbeseeninLawsBookVIIChii.2.Inadditiontothe
ministrywhichotherpresbytershavehesaystheyaregivenpowertoordainandtogovernotherpresbyters.Atthe
conclusionofthatsectionheexplicitlystatesthatwhenhespeaksabouttheruleofbishopsitisthisviewwhichhe
means.
16
PAvisTheChurchintheTheologyoftheReformers(1982)p117
17
QuotedinCCrossTheRoyalSupremacyintheElizabethanChurch(1969)pp645
18
ThisishowWallaceBennstatesit(p45)inhischapteronEvangelicalEpiscopacyinLeeGatiss(ed)Positively
Anglican(2016).HismoreextensivetreatmentofUssherandhisReducedEpiscopacycanbefoundinLeeGatiss
(ed)Preachers,PastorsandAmbassadors:PuritanWisdomforTodaysChurch(2011)pp97121.

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forthistobedoneeffectivelywithintheexistingstructuresoftheChurchofEngland,butthat
doesnotmeanweshouldgiveuponhavingbishopsaltogether.Itmaymeanthatcredible
bishopshavetobeconsecratedbyothermeans,withthesupportofthewiderAnglican
Communion.
Wemustnotethatthemaintaskofepiscopalministryshouldbe(a)toordainnew
godlycandidatesaspresbyters/elderstoleadchurches,(b)tooverseetheappointmentof
pastorsforchurchesandtosupportthemintheirministry,and(c)whereitbecomes
necessary,todisciplineunfaithfulleaderswhoarefalseteachersandwhoaredestroyingthe
19
congregationscommittedtotheircare .Ifwekeepthisproperbiblicalfocusofepiscopal
ministryinmindthenthereisnoreasonwhywecannotsecurebishopstodaywhichare
credibleintermsofthebiblicalministrytheyexercise,andcredibleintermsofthepast
traditionoftheChurchofEnglandwhichhasbeenbothgodlyandfruitful.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
PAvisTheChurchintheTheologyoftheReformers(Marshalls1982)
PAvisAnglicanismandtheChristianChurch(T&TClark2002)
RBeckwithEldersineveryCity(Paternoster2003)
WBennEvangelicalEpiscopacyinLeeGatiss(ed)PositivelyAnglican(LostCoinBooks
2016)
WBennUssheronBishops:AReformingEcclesiology(St.AntholinsTrust2002)
MBurkillBetterBishops(Reform2009)
CCrossTheRoyalSupremacyintheElizabethanChurch(Allen&Unwin1969)
CGreenTheMessageoftheChurch(IVP2013)
ChurchofEnglandEpiscopalMinistry(1990)
RHookerLawsofEcclesiasticalPolity

19
NotehowtheCollectforconsecratingbishopsinthe1662prayerbookspeaksofthemadministeringthegodly
disciplineofGodsword.

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PartTwo:RelatingtoBishopsinVariousPresentContexts

Ourchurchesareinawiderangeofcontexts.InsomeonlytheincumbentidentifieswiththeRenewvision,insomePCCsareunitedandwell
informed,insometherearepeopleopposedtothevision.AllthenormalvariationsinAnglicanparishministryarefactorsurban/rural/suburban.
Somechurcheshavelargestaffteams,othersareledbyoneminister.Ministersareatdifferentstagesofministryandhavewidelyvariedamounts
ofexperiencesofengagingwiththeChurchofEnglandsbishops,synodsandstructures.Somechurchesexperienceabroadlypositiveorbenign
relationshipwiththeirbishopothersareinimpairedrelationship.Somechurchesareawarethattheircurrentbishopisduetoretiresoon
creatingacontextofuncertaintyaboutthefuture.SomeofourchurchesarewithintheChurchofEnglandothersaretovariousdegreesoutside
it.FuturechurchestobepioneeredwillalsobebothinsideandoutsidetheChurchofEngland.

MovingforwardsomechurchesintheCofEmaybehappytoacceptthetemporaloversightoftheircurrentDiocesanBishopwhileseeking
spiritualsupportelsewhere(From+MaidstoneAMiEoranotherCofEBishopasagreedwiththediocese).Otherchurchesmayfeeltheneedto
withdrawcompletelyfromthetemporaloversightoftheirdiocesanbishop.Notonlywillchurchestakedifferentapproaches,thestanceadoptedis
likelytochangeovertimeasthecontextevolves.
Giventheconsiderablevariationsincontextitwouldbeunproductivetoissueadiktatastowhatallevangelicalchurchesshoulddoinregardto
theirrelationshipswithbishops.ThismiddlesectionofourpapersuggestssomeofthedifferentwaysPCCsandincumbentscouldrespondto
varioussituationsandcontexts.Whileallcannotexpecttodothe
samethingallshoulddo
something.

Togetherisbetter:OnekeycontextualfactoristhedegreeofisolationanyparticularRenewchurchexperiences.Takingmanyofthesteps
summarisedbelowrequiresconfidence,convictionandcourage.PCCsandclergywillfinditagreathelptodevelopactivepartnershipswithother
likemindedchurches.Thisiseasierforthosewhohaveafewsuchchurchesinthevicinity.WhereverpossiblePCCsshouldorganisetomeet
togetherandgettoknoweachotherwhileexploringwhatstepscanbetakennext.ItgreatlystrengthensPCCsandclergytoseethattheyarenot
aloneandwillbeactinginmutuallysupportiveways.AsignificantstepistakenwhenthefirstjointeventisorganisedbetweenPCCsafurther
significantmilestoneispassedifanIntraChurchTrustisestablishedtogiveafinancialframeworkforcooperativemissionandministry(As
outlinedinRenew2015seminar).ThekeyactionsbelowareagreedatPCClevelsochurchesmustworktogetherataPCClevel.

Moreisneeded:EvenifallourchurchestakestepsforwardinbuildingintraPCCrelationshipsandmoveforwardsinafewofthebelowways,
thereisalimituponwhatouractionsinpresentcontextscandeliver.TheJAEChasdoneagoodjobpreparingpreBAPcandidateswewillneed
todomoreifwewishtoincreasetheoptionsforthosecandidatesfutureministries.Eveninthebestcasescenarioourhopesforpioneeringand
guardingAnglicanevangelicalchurchesarenotadequatelyresourcedorsecurewiththebishopsandstructureswehave.Anumberofthe
possibleactionschurchesmayfeelarenecessaryinordertodeliveronRenewsvisionarenotedbelowinboldredtext.Theseareactionswhich
inordertobedeliveredwillinalllikelihoodrequiretheappointmentofnewAnglicanbishopswiththeabilitytoservenewandexisting
congregations.AninitialprimeronthepracticalitiesofthisisgiveninPartThree.

1
EpiscopalRolein
ChurchofEngland Subareas Differentsituations PossibleAction/Response
churches

Supplyofnew SelectionofOrdinands Candidatesaskedhostilequestionsre TackleBishop
womensministry UseRodThomas
godlyministers TurneddownbyBAP ReformPanelofReference



Training Pressurerewhichcollegetogoto UseCollegePrincipalandReform


Deploymentofordinands Nojoborunacceptablejobsoffered Encouragealocalchurchtofundpostand
useRodThomastohelparrange.May
havetoconsiderirregularordination


Unacceptablebishopforconscience UseRodThomas
Ordinationservices Citeprecedents
reasons
Mayhavetoconsiderirregular
ordination





Womenspaidministryroles Fundthroughlocalchurchandmake
Norecognitionofcomplementarian
dioceseaware
ministry

2

Provisionof Appointments Goodcandidatesnotbeingconsidered GetprecedentsuseChurchSocietyTrust
forpostsbecausechurchisnot experience
pastorsfor deemedtobeevangelical

churches,and
supportingtheir Issueswithviewsonwomensministry ConsiderusingRodThomas

ministry
Inductionservicesandunacceptable Mayhavetoconsiderappealingforhelp
bishop elsewhere



Otherordainedstaff Nocurate Selffundifalreadyordainedthenvery
difficulttostop
Ifordinationneededthenaskasabove
Mayhavetoconsiderirregular
ordination
Consideramountofquotapaid


Norealpracticalencouragementand
Churchplanting Getonwithanywayandsortout
help
retrospectively
Considerquotapaid

Workingwithother Establishlinkswithgoodchurches
Fellowshipwithother churches/unacceptablediocesanplans Createinterchurchdiocesantrusttosupport
churches forlinks

Othermediatorsifnecessary,Legaladvice
Clergy/congregationTensions,CDMs

Accountability DounofficialMDRandseekbackingofPCC
UnacceptableMDR/commontenure
issues

3

Upholdingsound BaptismalandHCdiscipline Notbackedinapplyingbiblical Legaladviceandprecedentselsewhere
inlocalcongregation discipline
doctrineand
disciplining Clergy Unacceptableteachingorlifestyle PointoutBishopsresponsibilitytoact(PCC
unfaithfulchurch whichisnottackled. ifpossible).ConsiderpossibilityofCDM
RefusetoattendortakeHCwhensuch
leaders/office clergypresent

holders


Refusetoacceptbishopsministry
GetPCCtopassstatementrepreachingin
Bishops Unacceptableteachingorlifestyle
whichisnottackled. church
Considerirregularoptionsforoversight



EpiscopalRolein
AnglicanMission Subareas Differentsituations PossibleAction/Response
churches

Supplyofnew SelectionofOrdinands Externalassessmentneeded PanelofReference

godlyministers
Training


Deploymentofordinands


Ordinationservices NoBishop UseAMiEbishopmayneedmore
bishopstodelivervision

Womensministryroles Widervalidationsought

4

Provisionof Appointments Findinganewminister UseChurchSocietyTrust
Inductionservice UseAMiEbishop
pastorsfor

churches,and Otherstaff Lackoffinance
supportingtheir
Widerfellowship ShunnedbyCofE LinkupwithconservativeCofEchurches.
ministry
ConsiderBMO

Accountability Noneexternally, UseAMiEbishopmayneedmore
Clergy/congregationTensions bishopstodelivervision


Upholdingsound BaptismalandHCdiscipline Disagreementamongleadership UseAMiEbishop
inlocalcongregation
doctrineand
disciplining Clergy Ministerlackinggodlylifeand/or Trustees,AMiEBishopmayneedmore
unfaithfulchurch doctrine bishopstodelivervision
leaders/office
holders
Bishops

5
Part Three: Establishing Credible Bishops for the Future
I gave all the primates our new catechism and pointed out that the editor - J. I. Packer - had been deposed by one of the primates sitting there. Archbishop
1
Foley Beach, ACNA.
The existence of an Anglican catechism to which ACNA congregations submits strengthens the credibility of one group of Anglican churches. Written doctrinal standards
that reflect historic Anglican creeds go no small way towards establishing episcopal credibility. Clearly not all Anglicans or media pundits will in the first instance recognise
new evangelical bishops as genuinely Anglican - however putting in the effort to create appropriate supervision, liturgy and support will go a long way towards establishing
credibility that otherwise would not be forthcoming. In order to have bishops with the highest credibility possible, we need to have systems and support around them
which evidences that we are not doing this as a short term act of gesture politics - we are establishing an episcopacy in continuity with historic Anglicanism that will, by the
grace of God, support centuries of mission.
Much more needs to be done to achieve this credibility than merely appoint a few people as titular bishops. The following page outlines a suggested model of three
teams that will be able to deliver the necessary credibility for evangelical bishops. There must be a draft system for appointments to episcopal ministry to avoid the charge
of cronyism or short-termism. There must be plans for canons and statements of belief to shape our ministries in ways that exhibit humble submission to Anglican
doctrine. There must be plans for some kind of synodical meetings as without these there is a deficit of congregational feedback to episcopal leadership. There must be
credibly funded support structures to release bishops to do their ministry of pastoral care and oversight. There must be safeguarding procedures of the highest standards to
protect the reputations of churches served by bishops. Drafting new liturgies for ordinations of presbyters affords us the opportunity to reform the liturgy in ways that will
increase the credibility of our bishops with evangelicals - for example by including a revised vow of submission and providing for bishops to reaffirm their own vows.
Combined with a transparent and publically available set of canons and disciplinary procedures for bishops this will do much to increase the credibility of episcopacy with
evangelicals who have not seen the polity implemented well.
Numbers of key decisions need to be made if this model is adopted. The persons appointed to each of the teams is critical. Each must contribute ability in the key areas
2
and have the support of our constituency. Decisions that will in time shape episcopacy will need to be published (The ACNA model 0f a website is probably helpful). The
credibility of an appointments process arises from its openness and public ownership. Decisions will need to be made as to whether candidates for the office of bishop are to
be elected; whether they ought to serve a fixed term; whether a percentage of bishops ought to be incumbents (only possible outside the official CofE). Some of the stages of
practical work will be best done prior to the first consecration of bishops. This is summarised below as the skeleton. Moving forwards there is muscle to add to this - that is
further outlined below. Adopting this skeleton & muscle approach is a realistic acceptance of both the amount of necessary work to establish episcopal credibility, and the
fact that the work is an ongoing one that will develop in an evolving context. Pioneering the number of congregations across the country that we aspire to deliver likely
requires more credible bishops than we currently have - and may well require work for some outside the CofE, as well as inside. This dual approach of work i nside and
outside the CofE is precisely what Renew commends as it gathers partners together such as Reform, AMiE & Church Society.

1
http://www.anglicanchurch.net/?/main/page/1166
2
http://anglicanchurch.net/?/main/texts_for_common_prayer The ACNA Liturgy Commission publishes their work online.
Team Supervision & Strategy Doctrine, Polity & Liturgy Support & Enablement

Oversee a missional-minded system that Craft and promote resources which win support Enable bishops to discharge ministry that is
Role recruits and trains credible candidates for for episcopal ministry as credibly Anglican and credibly focused on pastoral oversight and
episcopal ministry. evangelical. teaching.

Select candidates (for election?) Canons Admin support


Ongoing training for bishops Synodical structures Financial provision
Responsibilities Oversee Discipline of bishops Doctrinal statements Safeguarding system
Plan for future growth Liturgical resources Media & publicity & Web

1. Names of Team members 1. Names of Team members - include an 1. Names of Team members - include a
2. Agreed profile makeup and incumbent & PhD level academics. credible Safeguarding Officer.
number of bishops for first set of 2. Initial draft of Canons 2. Clarify what admin support bishops
Skeleton needed candidates. 3. Possible outline of Synodical need and will be given.
prior to credible 3. Clarify ongoing training needs for relationships 3. Media must be proactive & social
commissioning of bishops e.g. conflict resolution, 4. Agreed doctrinal standards media savvy.
bishops mentoring. 5. Draft liturgy for services 4. Realistic costings for above.
4. Draft initial plans for next five commissioning bishops. 5. Realistic plans for initial tranche of
years - how many bishops needed? 6. Agreed date for first revision of above. funding for above.
Profiles needed?

1. Revise and solidify plans for future 1. Revise and clarify above. 1. Oversee admin support
growth. 2. Draft Discipline system for Supervision 2. Oversee Safeguarding
Muscle needed for 2. Arrange training for bishops & Oversight Team (or could do draft 3. Ensure finance issues are
credible ongoing 3. Publicise good news of progress before; to be revised?) communicated to constituency and
episcopal ministry 4. Co-ordinate with other teams to 3. Draft liturgy for ordinations churches
post-commissioning ensure needs are met. 4. Draft papers on options for 4. Develop needed funding
first set of bishops 5. Oversee discipline system appointment of ministers. 5. Support churches shifting
5. Supplement with resources as needed denominational contexts
eg confirmation.