**Change and repent, Bishop tells gays
This gives a dramatic contrast between Christians who hold traditional orthodox views and those who feel homosexuality is fine for Christians and others. These participants are in England. This, however, is a view which has already arrived in North America and elsewhere in our world. Does being loving and inclusive mean we no longer name sin and call for repentance?
July 4th, 2009 www.anglican-mainstream.net
Sunday Telegraph July 5 2009 By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious
A senior Church of England bishop has called on homosexuals to repent
and “be changed” in comments that have infuriated equality
campaigners. 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”.
Dr Nazir-Ali spoke as tens of thousands of people, including Sarah
Brown, the Prime Minister’s wife, joined the annual Pride London
march to celebrate homosexual culture. A war of words broke out
between Labour and the Conservatives over the issue of homosexuality
last week after a minister accused the Tories of having a “deep strain
of homophobia” running through the party.
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.”
Dr Nazir-Ali, who is resigning from his post in September, said there
was a need for the new evangelical movement, called the Fellowship of
Confessing Anglicans, because the Church is already divided. “We’re
two different sorts of religion,” he said. “One has a view of God and
the Church and Christianity that is completely different from the
Derek Munn, the director of public affairs for Stonewall, the
homosexual campaign group, criticised Dr Nazir-Ali’s comments. “It
is unfortunate that in 2009, a church leader should continue to
promote inequality and intolerance,” he said. “Stonewall knows that
most people of faith are accepting of lesbian and gay people. We also
know that many lesbian and gay people who are themselves religious
believers are not well served by some of those who claim to speak on
The Rev Dr Giles Fraser, the president of the Inclusive Church, a
liberal grouping in the Church of England, said: “Homosexuality is not
a sin. It is the way many people love each other and is a gift from
God. Ordinary people in the pews know this. And they are a lot more
theologically aware than the handful of narrow- minded bishops who
want to play politics with the Anglican Communion.”
Dr Nazir-Ali’s views, which he will repeat in a speech at
tomorrow’s gathering, will be seen as a direct challenge to the
authority of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he
tries to keep the Anglican church together.
Dr Williams secured an uneasy truce over homosexuality in the dispute
at last year’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops. However, this
will be shattered if the American Church passes controversial votes on
homosexuality which would defy the archbishop’s pleas for restraint.
Tomorrow’s gathering will be attended by some of the Church of
England’s most senior figures, including the bishops of Exeter,
Birmingham, and Chichester. Archbishops from around the world will
also be present, including the Most Rev Henry Orombi, the Archbishop
of Uganda, who last year challenged the Archbishop of Canterbury’s
right to lead the Anglican Communion.
Many other Church of England bishops have signalled their support for
the new alliance, which describes itself as “a home of focus and
support for orthodox churches” opposed to liberal leadership.
The Rev Paul Perkin, a leading evangelical and vicar of St Mark’s
Battersea Rise in south London, said the coalition was not intended to
be “schismatic”, but was needed to support “beleaguered evangelicals
and orthodox parishes” across Britain.
“Evangelicals have often been ignored in the past when it comes to
decision making,” he said. “This should make people sit up and think
and take notice. This represents a sea change in where the life and
strength in the parishes lies.”
Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on private correspondence
from the Queen.