Whatever happened to the Gamaliel principle?

In a story dated January 6 in the Guardian , the question of creating a third province for those who cannot accept women bishops was mentioned, as well as the views of those opposed to such a province (though none of the supporters were quoted). I found the following paragraph particularly interesting.

Martin Reynolds, the director of communication for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said: “We do not think this is the way forward. It’s a schism in all but name. We would be creating a church within a church and what powers would we give that church? Would it have the right to change its structures or its legal framework? We believe it would lead to a real and lasting division.”

Ya know, I’m intrigued by these comments of the opponents of a third province in England, especially those of the Lesbian-Gay Christian whatevers.

When the ordination of women was first put forward, supporters constantly appealed to the “Gamaliel principle,” the idea that if something is of God, it will prosper, and if it is not, it will die.

Since the ordination of women, there has continued to be a plunge in the membership of the Anglican Church of Canada, ECUSA, and the C of E. That apparently was not enough to test the “Gamaliel principle” of the supporters of the ordination of women.

Now, with a third province, we would have a real chance to actually test the “Gamaliel principle,” about as close a shot at a laboratory experiment as the church on earth could devise. We could see which provinces survive and prosper and which continue to decline.

But Oh No! say the supporters of the ordination of women. NOW it turns out that this would be schism! So the truly orthodox must remain in the deathly embrace of the lesbi-gay-women priests crowd at all costs. They must go down with the ship. Please, no testing here!

It has taken twenty to thirty years to show the hypocrisy of these people. It should be clear to anyone who cares to look by now, except that most people don’t care to look.

Let’s hope that recent reports that the “third province” idea is being rejected are untrue. It may the the C of E’s last best hope of a future.

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