THINKING ANGLICANS

Bishop Nazir-Ali stirs the pot some more

The Bishop of Rochester is attracting considerable attention in the UK media at present arising not only from his support for Paul Eddy’s private member’s motion, but also from an article he wrote for a new magazine, which you can now read in full: Breaking Faith With Britain.

BBC Robert Pigott Britain left with ‘moral vacuum’

Church Times Bill Bowder Christians have duty to witness to their faith, says Bishop Nazir-Ali

The Guardian has today published a profile by Riazat Butt Nazir-Ali is a prophet and prophets are rejected by their own, as Jesus was. He is a serious man for serious times and a Leader: Bishop’s move.
And Simon Barrow has written a thoughtful piece on Comment is free titled Blinkered bishop.

Over at the Telegraph Martin Beckford has written two pieces: Bishop of Rochester ‘doing the BNP’s work’ and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali: Radical Islam is filling void left by collapse of Christianity in UK. And this comment piece by George Pitcher: Right or wrong, the Bishop of Rochester named our ills.

The Times has Radical Islam taking advantage of Christianity’s decline, says bishop by Hollye Blades.

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

22
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
22 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
Andrew BrownHugh of LincolnCommentatorFord ElmsJCF Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
John Omani
Guest
John Omani

More like the media stirring the pot once again. They feast on anything that sounds vaguely like a clash of civilisations. I don’t see that any of Nazir-Ali’s main points are especially controversial: 1) that aggravated and alienated young males are turning to radical Islam as an attractive option, 2) that the historical culture of Britain is founded in Christianity and the disputes within it, 3) that Christians are commanded to make disciples of all people (without doubt a core evangelical belief), and 4) that with the demise of a strong Christian presence there is a crisis of identity in… Read more »

Andrew Brown
Guest

I don’t know that they alienate liberals — I think they push on a very sore spot, because liberals don’t know how to answer them.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I think its an area on which liberals are split, in the sense of political liberals. The problem is that some liberals think that religion deserves a place in the public sphere and public protection. I think they are mistaken and that religious freedom should equate only to the private sphere. Freedom to believe and practice individual personal faith, but no protection for religion as institution and no place for religion as an influence on public life.

Otherwise, there is no liberal case for favouring one religion over another and something like Sharia law can be justified.

JCF
Guest
JCF

If I were Riazat Butt, I would be peeved that the Guardian editors lifted a *quote* (by this Paul Eddy character), and turned it into the *headline* of my profile of +Rochester.

It is *Mr. Eddy* who believes Nazir-Ali to be a “prophet…as Jesus was.” A more balanced perspective might indicate “a homophobic, blundering blowhard w/ delusions of (among other things) grandeur”. Yes, that’s more like it. >;-/

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Inside USA constitutional frames, we have a slightly different tilt, alternative to church establishment. Congress can make no law preventing the free exercise of citizen religion, nor any law establishing any particular religious practice. I think we got to that difficult balance, partly thanks to the existing examples of UK and Europe who had at various times, plenty of examples of various sorts of religious establishment. My own voice and sense as a believer are much closer to Simon Barrow and Dave Walker, than to Nazir-Ali. But then, I am not even considered a real believer inside too many conservative… Read more »

MRG
Guest
MRG

“Mr Shafiq said any moral vacuum in Britain was not caused by an eclipse of Christianity, so much as the failure of the Church to transmit Christian values to people.”

Indeed. And the Bishop of Rochester, bless his heart, is hardly the best advertisement for British Christianity to broadcast to the benighted masses.

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Evangelical Christians such as Nazir-Ali and Eddy and evangelical atheists such as Hitchens and Dawkins are agreed on one thing: the need to convert Muslims. The somewhat inflammatory headlines of the right-wing press about radical Islam filling a moral vacuum, lifted from the first paragraph of the BBC website’s piece, and condensed from one paragraph in the Standpoint article, feed the fallacy that radical Islam will one day take over. Not in modern secular Britain. And he doesn’t mention the impact of two World Wars on the loss of faith, or of Thatcherite individualism and the gulf between the haves… Read more »

Reynolds
Guest
Reynolds

I disagree with your praise for Simon Barrow’s
piece in the Guardian. It’s the usual leftist
political argument that still upholds multiculturalism. He is forgetting that Christians
have been given the command to evangelise.
The Bishop is merely defending the traditional
role of the church to spread the gospel and
to teach Christian values in society.
Simon Barrow’s point that the BNP agree with the Bishop’s teaching and therefore it must be suspect, is ludicrous. Simon Barrow’s Ekklesia
has supported peace workers who themselves have been praised by Islamic extremists. Does that make Ekklesia suspect?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Reynolds:

There’s evangelizing and there’s disrespect. The best evangelizing is living according to the two great commandments; the worst is insisting that everybody else do so.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well obviously, many non-conservative believers have already been evangelized and continue to be so, by conservative believers – and the outcome is that we become even more intentional occupants of some best practice modern intellectual frames, methods, and presuppositions alternative to the most extreme and most forceful of the allegedly special evangelical pieties. One very bad offer that keeps coming up? Trade a special holiness piety in broad exchange for ethical justice and fairness. A pretty bad deal, no matter how this or that evangelism school pitches it to us, either/or. I read Simon Barrow’s key point asking us: if… Read more »

Reynolds
Guest
Reynolds

Pat O’Neill: Is Jesus command to go into all the world to preach the Good News now coming under the term “disrespectful” to other faiths? That may be the liberal politically-correct Anglican view, but it was not Jesus’ view, and it was not the apostles’ view. The Bishop is being criticised for wanting to spread the Gospel to Muslims. In other words, he’s being criticised for defending the faith. Isn’t that what a Bishop is supposed to do? Or is a Bishop supposed to uphold multiculturalism and promotion of other faiths for fear of being called “disrespectful”? Maybe a weak… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Nazir-Ali is tabloid religion for a tabloid press. As TV ran out and I went very late to bed, I finally exhausted TV by hearing one of these cheapest religious programmes say let’s pray for Nazir Ali and then managed to slip seamlessly from opposition to abortion to “one flash flood and it’s chaos”, everything falling apart and then on to if there’s no God then where does it all end. It’s a sort of despair last gasp religion than can never come to terms with the complexity of society.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Thing of it is Reynolds, many who “evangelize” react to refusal by means of shunning, insulting, condescension, and arrogance. The “victims” of those evangelizing end up feeling anger and hatred towards Christ. That’s not just disrepect, it’s outright stubborn stupidity and ultimately ineffective in the long run. And who is to temper those who are spreading the gospel, if indeed it is proven that the latter are wrong? What self control is there? Are we using Christ for our message or are we genuinely attempting to lead others towards a Christ-like environment? Looking admittedly naively across this side of the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Is Jesus command to go into all the world to preach the Good News now coming under the term “disrespectful” to other faiths?” The issue is not evangelism, the issue is how it is done. Do we, as Evangelicals seem to think is appropriate, insult people, deride their faith, call them Satanic, claim they are violent, ignore all the good things about their culture and faith, and loudly threaten them with everlasting flames if they don’t accept our beliefs? Or do we respect their traditions, realize that it is a long held belief of the Church that, while God reveals… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Is Jesus command to go into all the world to preach the Good News now coming under the term “disrespectful” to other faiths? That may be the liberal politically-correct Anglican view, but it was not Jesus’ view, and it was not the apostles’ view.” It is possible to preach the good news without telling your listeners they are heathens, pagans, and damned to perdition unless they follow you…especially when speaking to those of a religion that acknowledges Jesus as one of its own prophets. As I read Acts and the epistles, I don’t find much in the way of derogation… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Pluralist: yes, you’re quite right, well put.

Simon Barrow
Guest

drdanfee has understood my main point (which is about discipleship and the vocation of the church) exactly; Reynolds has not, I think, registered it.

Incidentally, I was very careful *not* to say that Dr Nazir-Ali “must be suspect” because the BNP might agree with him – rather, I suggested that the fact they can hijack such rhetoric should give cause for questioning – and I provided a link to an article that I think asks the right questions. To ask questions is not the same thing as to reach glib conclusions, I hope.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Is Jesus command to go into all the world to preach the Good News…”

Reynolds, you do realize that “the ink is still wet” on Matthew 28:19 don’t you? The *Early Church* stuck those words into Jesus’s mouth! [Sometime after Trinitarian baptism became the definitive way to join the Christian community—and, I suspect, also at the time that those Jews nearby were proving so resistant TO said joining!]

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The *Early Church* stuck those words into Jesus’s mouth!” How is this in any way significant? I have heard this argument over and over: the first person to write down ‘x’ Gospel didn’t write THAT, it was added afterwards. So what? If we are to take as our basic premise that God guided us to recognize what of the ancient writings were inspired by Him and what ones weren’t, what difference if the words in say Matthew weren’t actually written by Matthew, but were added a few years later by someone else? The inspired nature of the Scripture doesn’t come… Read more »

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

Perhaps we simply say that the best form of evangelism is to present the Christian Faith as a lived and enlivening faith. This being done others may come to ‘ask’ what it is makes the difference to the lives of Christians. The problem comes when any faith is so dominant in a geographical or social setting that another faith is never seen in its best light. A voice in favour of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-faith settings would allow for individuals to recognise their ‘path to God’. So let’s do away with faith ghettos and with evangelical/catholic/orthodox ghettos and allow God… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Eddy’s motion will not be on Synod’s agenda.

(R4 Today Programme 7am news bulletin)

Andrew Brown
Guest

Pitcher’s piece reads to me like a man trying desperately to write against his brief. He can’t actually say that Nazir Ali is talking balls because Standpoint is transparently an outgrowth of the Telegraph. It’s pretty much exactly what the Spectator would be without its consumerist gloss. On the other hand, he’s read the piece, so he’s at a loss when told praise it. Solution: praise Nazir Ali at the top and point out much lower down when you hope that the editor has stopped reading that if MNA’s piece means what it says, it’s nonsense.