Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rochester in late run for Anglican of the Year

Ruth Gledhill must be on top of her Christmas preparation as she has taken time to post this lovely interview with +Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester. A taster below, read it all here:

"Q (Laughs). You’ve been labelled over the years a conservative Evangelical – I don’t know whether you approve of that or not. But your belief is in living a ‘biblical’ life.
A Yes, I call myself a Catholic Evangelical, because Evangelical means someone who’s loyal to the Gospel. That is what it means, and I hope I am – at least I try to be. And Catholic means someone who believes in the Church, and I try to.

Q So that we have a, a core of your belief – the core beliefs of the creed. I mean the Virgin Birth, the divinity of Christ, er the resurrection of the body, life after death, life everlasting – an interventionist God, is that right?
A I think the Bible gives us a framework for believing and knowing. That is not this text or that, but it gives us what I call er, a comprehensive anthropology, a way of understanding the human condition and the world in which we find ourselves. Now of course, that understanding and that framework has to be brought into relation to the world in which we live, to knowledge, and indeed to new knowledge. And if you believe in the biblical world view that doesn’t excuse you from relating to change in the world.

Q How does the biblical tradition interpret homosexuality then? Because there’s certainly a great deal of evidence recently of the nature of sexuality and er homosexual bonds and many theories about it of course. But you are rather rigorously disapproving – am I right?
A Mm, I’m not disapproving of anything. I g…I, again, I would go back to the anthropology of the Bible, which is that human beings have been made in God’s image. But being in God’s image also has implications for how we behave. And er, we have all sorts of inclinations for all sorts of reasons. Nevertheless, practising giving as it were, in to our inclinations er is not always according to God’s purpose or for human flourishing, or indeed for social flourishing.

Q And in that sense in biblical terms, homosexuals are not eligible for revocation to the priesthood?
A It’s not to do with who people think they are, or their inclinations, but what their behaviour should be. And that is also true of heterosexual people of course, that the Church demands the highest standards of belief, but of behaviour, from people and yes there are certain requirements for ordination for example.

Q Let’s talk about GAFCON, which is the Global Anglican Futures Conference. You took part in it. Is this an insurrection within the Anglican communion?
A No not at all – I mean I, I wasn’t there for the whole of it - I could only go for three days. I did discover a tremendous spiritual atmosphere. That was partly because it was in Jerusalem, of course, and that creates its own sort of evocativeness. But I found people who were from an Anglican Catholic background, charismatics em, Evangelicals, from all over the world – Africa, America, Asia, Australia and from this country – all with a sort of singleness of purpose, which I wish sometimes we could say about the whole of the Church.

Q And what was that single purpose?
A To reaffirm traditional, Christian belief as the Anglican Church had received it."

Nobody is perfect; I notice +Michael fails to mention New Zealand!!!

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