Women bishops protestors claim they stand for Christian tradition and the Bible

Bishop Libby Lane reads during the service where she was consecrated as the first woman bishop in the Church of England at York MinsterReuters

The two Christian ministers who have objected at services to consecrate women bishops in the Church of Engand have sought to justify their actions to Christian Today.

They spoke out after campaigners for women's ordination called on the Church to silence one of the objectors, who has interrupted the last few consecrations of women bishops.

Women and the Church has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, outlining why the protests "undermine the women being consecrated", and therefore all women and the Church as a whole.

Rev Stephen Holland, a non-conformist minister from Lancashire, says he has protested the last seven of the 10 consecrations so far and his aim was not to prevent them taking place, but just to have his voice heard.

He is not a member of the Church but is a non-denominational minister at an evangelical church in Lancashire.

He said: "I note WATCH's point that this is not like an objection at a marriage service and the consecration must take place. Firstly, all the consecrations have taken place. It is not my intention to prevent these ungodly practices, but rather to voice a public objection to them."

He makes his objection during the part of the consecration service where the question is asked of the congregation: "Is it now your will that they should be ordained?"

He answers: "No, in the name of Almighty God I protest. There are no women bishops in the Bible."

Stephen Holland, a non-conformist minister, protests against women bishops at St Paul's

He told Christian Today: "As we are often told, the Church of England is a broad church."

Women bishops undermine tradition, he added.

"We have not only the Bible's authority but 2000 years of church teaching and backing. Objections to women holding positions of leadership within the church of Christ has nothing whatsoever to do with equality, fairness, or worth. It has to do with roles that God Himself has given to both male and female."

He said there are many thousands upon thousands of women who support the traditional biblical view on women in leadership within the church.

"Thankfully we in the UK live in a free democracy where citizens have a legal right to peacefully protest and object. All of my protests have been respectful, dignified, and courteous at all times."

And he made it clear that he has no intention of stopping: "As a non-conformist, evangelical protestant I intend, with God's help, to continue to make my free protest at the unbiblical consecration of women to the office of bishop."

Rev Paul Williamson, a Church of England priest in Hanworth, Middlesex, who protested at the consecration of Bishop Libby Lane in York but has not attempted any since then, said he had informed the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, of his intention to speak.

He said: "When I spoke I addressed the Archbishop as 'Your Grace', and used 'please' to request to speak."

He said his grounds were that no woman is ordained in the Bible.

"He [Sentamu] did not allow me to speak. He did not look me in the eye."

Williamson added: "The Council of Nicea in 325 states clearly in Canon 1 that priests are men and uses gender specifics. The Church of England is bound by the Council of Nicea."