Nothing like a controversial Bishop to make the headlines…
The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has defended traditional biblical teachings on homosexuality and said the Church should not be “rolled over by culture”.
The bishopâ€™s controversial comments will reignite the battle over homosexuality in the Church of England ahead of what promises to be a divisive week for Anglicanism.
Tomorrow, a new coalition of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes, backed by Dr Nazir-Ali, will get under way, which critics have claimed is an attempt to create a “church within the church”.
The organisers said The Queen, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, had sent a message to the leaders of the movement saying she understood their concerns about the future of the Anglican Communion. Next weekend the General Synod of the Church of England is meeting at York University. The following week, the Episcopal Church in America is expected to endorse liturgies for single sex marriage and allow more homosexuals to be made bishops.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Dr Nazir-Ali said: “We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.
“People who depart from this donâ€™t share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.
“The Bibleâ€™s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.
“We welcome homosexuals, we donâ€™t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.”
The bishop added that it is not just homosexuals who need to repent, but all who have strayed from the Bibleâ€™s teaching.
He said: “We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We donâ€™t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church. We want a movement for renewal. We need a reformation of the Church and the life of the Communion.”
There you have it. A Bishop asking people to believe and repent. Who’d have thought it?