This morning I was reading sections 5-6 of Calvin’s prefatory address in the Institutes and couldn’t help thinking Calvin might have some strong things to say about the current squabbles surrounding CofE Bishops. Here’s a (very) rough paraphrase of the sorts of things he says regarding the established church of his own day:
“they who stubbornly reject the truth offered them by God’s goodness have nothing to plead as an excuse . . . Hilary notes that being occupied with foolish reverence for the episcopal dignity, men did not realize what a deadly hydra lurked under such a mask . . . Hilary again “It is wrong that a love of walls has seized you; wrong that you venerate the church of God in roofs and buildings; wrong that beneath these you introduce the name of peace. Is there any doubt that Antichrist will have his seat in them” . . . Yet the church does the same today in venerating horned bishops . . . vain pomp is dangerous . . . they are as appeased by a bishops miter as a barking dog by a morsel . . . those who hawk themselves to the world are a deadly plague upon the church . . . the whole business is a deadly butchery of souls, a fire-brand, a ruin, and a destruction of the church.
Mmm . . . indeed JC, indeed. Perhaps gender should for the moment be put to one side whilst the effects of heresy are dwelt upon.