Change and Repent

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 bishop’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 don’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 Bible’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 don’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 Bible’s teaching.

He said: “We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’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?


9 Comments on “Change and Repent

  1. >>>>>>traditional biblical teachings on homosexuality and said the Church should not be “rolled over by culture”.

    I don’t think evangelicals do themselves any favours with these kind of arguments. You can say that Jeffrey John or whoever is wholly wrong (theologically) but it’s little more than ad hominem to claim or imply that liberals are capitulating to ungodly worldy pressures to fill the pews or satisfy their own desires? And the 2 different religions argument is hardly accurate either. More than a few evangelicals of my acquaintance would describe themselves as “moderates” or “undecided” on the sexuality debate – are they creedal heretics too?

  2. @ryan – I agree completely. A Christian is not defined by views on sexuality but by an ongoing relationship with Christ.

  3. Ryan and Andrew:

    That’s all very well, but unless we assign some meaningful objective content to “a relationship with Jesus” (e.g. being obedient to his commands, as he himself suggested) then it’s not an especially useful guide to how to live.

    • @Wicked Conservative: Had you a particular command of Jesus in mind? I can’t think of any I would object to myself – and he certainly didn’t say anything about taking a particular understanding of sexuality as a defining issue.

      Even if there was something relevant Anglicans traditionally read scripture, and indeed tradition, with the aid of human reason – that’s how we can change our minds on issues such as this.

      Within society our understanding of sexuality is changing rapidly – and Peter contributes to this even if he doesn’t agree with where we (even in the Church of England) are heading.

  4. The message of the Christian Gospel is to repent, believe and be baptised. It is the same message for all people, not just gays. We are all sinners and we are all called to repentance in order to be reconciled to God.

    With the recent news of 100,000 new swine flu cases a day in the UK predicted by the end of August, these are uncertain times we live in.

    Here is the simple message of the Christian faith for all those who feel like turning to God in prayer at this time of uncertainty:

    We are reminded yet again of mankind’s limitations and the reality of our human frailty, of many people’s ‘arrogance’ and belief in self, perhaps placing their trust in, man’s limited knowledge, material possessions, money, science etc and the many false prophets and idols of this world and this age. Which I believe will be shown for their emptiness and false hope over the coming weeks and months.

    It is time for people to humble themselves and repent and change; to turn to the Lord Jesus in prayer…Remembering God’s promise ‘To Fear not, for the Lord your God is with you’. All those who have built their lives on the rock of Jesus will still be standing when the storm has abated. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and no man/ woman will come to the Father except through Him. Jesus is the door to eternal life. Knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find, ask and you will be answered. Even those who die in this life have the complete assurance of eternal life.

    Nothing will separate us from the love of God; not even death. Give your life to the living Lord Jesus today and be saved. His salvation which brings peace, hope, joy, calmness, inner strength, unconditional love and blessed assurance, is there for everyone who turns to Him. He paid the price on the cross for our salvation and it is by His GRACE we are saved, we can share in His resurrection life and be born again, by the power and love of His Holy Spirit. Amen

  5. Andrew:

    The debate over whether or not we can infer anything from Jesus’ relative silence on matters sexual has been rather done to death. My point was simply that it is not inherently unreasonable to believe that conforming oneself – or at least trying to conform oneself – to a code of sexual morality is an important component of an authentic relationship with Christ.

  6. Wickedly conservative: “My point was simply that it is not inherently unreasonable to believe that conforming oneself – or at least trying to conform oneself – to a code of sexual morality is an important component of an authentic relationship with Christ.”

    And I concur with that point – but exactly which code of sexual morality? Is it the one that says ‘all homosexual practice is sin’ or the one that says ‘all sexual relationships should be loving’?

    • I’m not sure, Andrew – although I don’t think those can be the only 2 options available.

      It does occur to me, however, that both consent and the presence of love are necessary but not sufficient conditions for a moral sexual act, in the sense that it might always be immoral to have sex without consent or outside a loving relationship, but a sexual act might be immoral even if consensual and loving (adultery being the obvious example).

    • I’d want to ask where Scripture argues that love is all you need, regardless of what Scripture might also say about specific sexual activities?

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