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Bishops 'n stuff

I don't want my AKICOLJ posts to become debates on controversial issues, so please don't post opinions here. I am interested in facts, not opinions. Also, I'm not a christian, so this really isn't anything to do with me.

The question is this:

One of the arguments used against the idea of women priests, bishops etc in various christian churches seems to be that there is no biblical precedent. But apart the jewish establishment, is there _any_ precedent in the new testament that suggests how a christian church should be organised? On a related note, is there any such precedent in the books that were left out of the biblical canon?

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
lil_shepherd
Jul. 15th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Not a Christian and don't know much about it, and, indeed, think that there is only slightly more evidence for the existence of Yeshua Bar Yosef than there is for King Arthur and I don't believe in his existence at all.

However, try this essay re women in the early church

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/women.html
bunn
Jul. 15th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
*quibbles furiously with the very concept of asking for facts only, when any facts from the period have been transmitted through opinionated brain after brain*.

When you are dealing with something that long ago, I reckon you have to accept that all the facts are burnt. All you've got left is opinions. :-/
miss_next
Jul. 15th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
Yes. There is the Book of Acts, which suggests that in fact a Christian church shouldn't be too organised at all. However, as the Church got a little bigger, they did appoint deacons to take care of the admin side of things (ensuring widows and orphans were looked after, and so on).
lil_shepherd
Jul. 15th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
And there seem to have been deaconesses.
miss_next
Jul. 15th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
True.
ex_robhu
Jul. 16th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
It should be noted that there's no disagreement by those who oppose women bishops (or vicars) on this issue. The Sidney Anglicans (who you might consider to be the most conservative of all Anglicans) also have the most women deacons.
clarienne
Jul. 15th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
The precedent usualy quoted is Jesus' 12 disciples who he sent out to teach, who are all recorded as being men. Since the same texts describe women as being in Jesus' innermost circle and highly valued, the logic is that he must have had some reason other than mere sexism for picking men as his official representatives.

The Pauline writings, by Paul and his followers, (many of which are usually dated earlier than the gospels themselves) do assume bishops and local leaders should be male.

Those opinions are not neccessarily mine.

On the more general issues of church organisation, I think most of the New Testament can be mined for clues, especially Acts, but there's no one book that provides a clear cut handbook (hence 2000 years of aggro over this issue and many others). Nor, as far as I know do the non-cannonical books.
wellinghall
Jul. 16th, 2010 07:19 am (UTC)
Opponents of women bishops (or women priests, or other things) will say that there is little or no biblical authority for such things. They are quite right. However, they conveniently gloss over the fact that there is little or no biblical authority for white, male, middle class, English, Christian priests.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )