Thinking Anglicans

Rochester makes news again

Updated again Sunday

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has published three documents on the Rochester diocesan website:

The Times has a news report about the bishop by Ruth Gledhill Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, faces death threats.

Update

Ruth Gledhill also has some of the remarks made by Bishop Nazir-Ali at the Oxford Union in Rochester, Oxford and the ‘call to prayer’.

The Sunday Telegraph has Support for ‘no-go’ bishop after death threats by Jonathan Wynne-Jones.

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John Omani
John Omani
13 years ago

Well, what a surprise, +Rochester is now facing death threats from hardline Muslims. I’m always disappointed when fellow liberal Christians begin to excuse the inexcusable. On this particular issue +Rochester has demonstrated considerable courage in calling a spade a spade.

John Omani
John Omani
13 years ago

We ought to be grateful to +Rochester for opening a debate about how Christians should approach inter-faith relations. There is a certain logic in his claim that we should not play a game of double standards. In my ancestral nation, the Yemen, freedom of worship is not available to Christians: it is almost impossible to build churches and the Bible cannot be published. Here in Britain, there are many mosques where women are forbidden from entering, let alone non-Muslims. We ought to ensure that religious freedoms develop together. But the problem with +Rochester is that he has not offered much… Read more »

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

Michael Nazir Ali — many of us feel like throttling you at times — as in any family– but though you are provocative –we wouldnt do it !

Mervyn Stockwood used to say, “where there’s death (or retirement) there’s hope.”

Let’s hope, there’s hope

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Why is he surprised to receive death threats. He’s not the first nor is he the last, and he gets the same amount of sympathy as his compatriots showed to me. Anyway, why does he care? Members to which he aligns support extermination of this complete biosphere with the overwhelming majority condemned to hell. 2000 years in a box later, I don’t see the peace that Jesus envisaged. But then I also don’t see the gentleness that he promised the Daughter of Zion. Obviously that is heresy, which is why Jesus and his priests don’t mind if the Daughter of… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

No one understands Islam better than a man who was brought up in its very midst and experienced its discrimination. You may disagree with his position as regards homosexuality, but you MUST concede that even a stopped clock is right twice a day!

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“No one understands Islam better than a man who was brought up in its very midst and experienced its discrimination.” That’s an interesting statement. It makes perfect sense on the face of it and yet… everyone sees what they want to see, or what immediately surrounds them. Just like we have fundamentalist Christians with all their certainties and authoritarianism, so does Islam have its Islamist movement and huge numbers of followers. But just like Christianity has a middle ground and a liberal wing, so does Islam. It’s one thing to try and heal the fundamentalist aspects of the faiths, but… Read more »

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

I pray for his safety.

I also pray for his conversion to, well, the *Anglican* expression of the Christian faith (which I believe can get along w/ well-meaning Muslims, far better than does the ConEvo Fundamentalism Nazir-Ali currently espouses).

Lord have mercy!

Ren Aguila
Ren Aguila
13 years ago

Erika: What do you think happens to people who question Islamic law in Saudi Arabia, or who try to preach the Christian faith in the Maldives, or who are banned from using the Arabic word for God (even if I am certain it was in use by Arab Christians before the time of Muhammad) in Malaysia just because they’re not Muslim? I disagree with +Rochester on many things but he knows all too well that Christians in all but a few Muslim countries cannot be Christian. This is a fact which we often forget in our rush to be “accepting”… Read more »

Tunde
Tunde
13 years ago

Be careful about sharing the love because;

What do Evangelicals hold as the great Commission? – Make disciples of ALL nations

What does the Islamic holy book prescribe for any Muslim who changes to accept the love of God’s Son —- DEATH!

Does anyone see a no-go area here?

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Tunde: Good point. I just finished reading an article about an Egyptian who was denied permission to legally be designated as a Christian after he had converted to Christianity from Islam. Interestingly enough, he cited his reason for converting to be his perception of Christ’s message to be one of love, something he did not find in Islam. According to the Egyptian judge, this was an impossibility under Egyptian law. So, aside from the fact that this man’s father has already said he will kill him if he doesn’t recant (which is only to show how far the impulse to… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Ren Aguila
13 years ago

Yes, I do. And precisely why I am wary of “interreligious dialogue” that does not let Christians “tell it like it is.”

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Tunde, For me, despite all the ways the Church has disobeyed the Gospel in the last 2000 years, like coercing “faith” in people, for instance, we have always had the clear witness of Tradition and Scripture that these behaviours are not in God’s plan, that we are not living up to the teachings of our faith. For Muslims, it is the duty of the believer to force the unbeliever to comply, and punish him if he does not. After all, that is merely forcing people to obey God, and since God’s Law is absolute, then it can only be right… Read more »

Geraldine
Geraldine
13 years ago

As someone who has lived in many inner-city areas very happily and who was treated with love and the utmost hospitality whilst working in Yemen, I was suprised at the confrontational way the Bishop expressed his views. This creates a reactive response, rather than a mutually beneficial action/solution. I feel there is a mix here of ‘unfinished business’ from the injustices of the past and a desire to ‘fit in’ with the growing force of ‘PNAC-influenced’ conservative theology within Christianity here. Theology which calls [in some cases]for a world war against the forces of the ‘anti-Christ’ [guess who!]to bring about… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“Prehaps the ‘christian’/secular far-right has something to gain from yet another ‘aren’t moslems denomic’ story?” Muslims aren’t evil. It’s that we have very different ideas as to what righteousness is and what the responsibility of the believer is in terms of enforcing that righteousness. I work with Egyptian Christians who tell of not being able to repair their church, let alone build a new one, without difficult to obtain government approval, or of the call to prayer being broadcasted loudly to disrupt Mass, and so on. Islam wouldn’t consider that to be repression. Neither would some Christians if the roles… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ford, of course you’re right, Muslims aren’t evil. Just like Christians aren’t, although the fundamentalists of both faiths come so close to perverting the truth of their faiths that some of the effects they have are genuinely harmful. I do like your post and I do like to be reminded that I have to judge others by their value systems and not my mine….and yet… are there no universal values that one might defend? What about “by their fruits shall you tell them”? I can say that Muslim oppression of women is acceptable according to their faith and (imply only?)… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Erika, I know what you’re saying, and I try to make my values in line with those of the Kingdom. I fail dismally, but I try. The thing is that I believe these things to be universal truths because I practice a religion that says they are. If I were a Muslim, I would believe other things to be universal truths, because Islam says they are. So again, we come back to a situation where only our individual faith can tell us if something is universally true. I don’t think we can insist on one position or the other. Then… Read more »

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Ford:

I have often disagreed with your posts, but I have seldom–and possibly never–considered them to be just plain silly . . . until now. I think if you will review the bizzarely relativistic version of religious reality you have just proposed, you will find it not only doesn’t (and shouldn’t) make sense to any Christian, it undercuts all of the liberal arguments in the current “unpleasantness.” You need to go back and re-think this thing a bit more.

Steven

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ford, I think I understand what you’re saying. I think there are universal truths and I believe that all major religions understand them. All forbid murder, although some allow killing as a punishment for crimes. All instinctively understand that loving is something postive while hatred is something negative. All acknowledge that we are answerable to God, not to ourselves. All know altruism, charity, honesty, trust. The emphases are different, yes, but there is a universal acknowledgement of what is Good. I think one of the problems we’re having is that we’re looking at the more fundamentalist end of the faiths… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“You need to go back and re-think this thing a bit more.” What basis do I have for saying I am right? Solely my faith that what I believe is right. How would you argue for your position that does not involve saying “My God tells me this is wrong, and I don’t care what you think your false God says”? What answer do you have for the Muslim who says “My God says it is my responsibility to do this, and I don’t care what your false God says”? What are you going to say? “My God isn’t false,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ford “How would you argue for your position that does not involve saying “My God tells me this is wrong, and I don’t care what you think your false God says”? “ As agnostics, atheists and humanists can come to the same moral parameters Christians arrive at (and sometimes even less discriminating ones), it’s not quite so simple. Yes, those traditions, in the West, arise also from the Christian culture and the values it brought, but they do stand on their own too. There is something objectively “right” about many of our principles. And just like we fight here to… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Indeed, Erika, most of the world’s faiths overlap on principles that seem to me to be encapsulated in “be good to one another”. And we not only have the right, we have the responsibility to defend those we believe are being oppressed. It is a basic Gospel imperative. I have the responsibility to protect the man getting his hand chopped off for theft. I must not claim that those who would chop off his hand in obedience to their God are evil. But in a lot of other areas, the only deciding factor is one’s faith. We consider it wrong… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ford,
I’m not sure to what extent the death penalty isn’t rather a point for my view of things. It was a long established Christian principle that sinners can, in certain circumstances, be put to death, and millions still support that view, especially in the US.

That it can also be opposed on religious grounds only serves to show that God’s Truth has very little to do with it, rather, that we’re applying other considerations and then adapt our concept of what God is requiring of us.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“That it can also be opposed on religious grounds only serves to show that God’s Truth has very little to do with it, rather, that we’re applying other considerations and then adapt our concept of what God is requiring of us.” Perhaps, but what are those considerations and what are they based on? I don’t think there is any justification pro or con that does not refer back to some philosophical or relgious basis. So then we are back to choosing between competing philosophies/religions. For me, then the issue is not whether or not it is right or wrong in… Read more »

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Ford: There is a difference between evil and misguided, and many Muslims (as well as many liberals) are obviously (and merely) misguided. However, I cannot wash away all the evil in the world by saying the perpetrators are merely misguided. The Nazi’s were not just misguided (or perhaps not only misguided), they were outright evil. If you expect me to simper before the Jihadi with a bloody sword of decapitation in his hand, and apologetically observe that he was merely doing what he thought was right and that’s OK, you are not only misguided, you have let yourself be deluded… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“If you expect me to simper before the Jihadi with a bloody sword of decapitation in his hand, and apologetically observe that he was merely doing what he thought was right and that’s OK, you are not only misguided, you have let yourself be deluded into outright moral blindness.” But of course I do not, and have said so. I expect you to stand boldly between the Jihadi and his intended victim, and give your life in defence of that victim if need be. Why is it that you seem to think that acknowledging that someone else is entitled to… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light and you know it in your heart, or you wouldn’t be a Christian.” I missed this part. Of course I know it to be true in my heart. But the Muslim, and this is the point, believes just as strongly in Islam. How do I prove what I believe to be true? I can’t. How can I prove to you that God loves me? I can’t. You choose to believe my relationship is sinful and my refusal to repudiate it will get me roasted by the Sky Bully for all eternity.… Read more »

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Ford: You are not distinguishing between being respectful of people and being respectful of their beliefs. One may treat people with respect without having the least respect for what they believe and/or stand for. I respect Islam to the extent that it comports with the Truth of Christ. To the extent that it does not comport with that truth, I do not respect it. This is different from showing respect for individuals. Ol’ granny may have thought the world was flat, but I would treat her respectfully nonetheless. I don’t respect her belief in the least, but I would respect… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Steven, PSA. I didn’t say you blasphemed. I said I suspect one of your beliefs comes close to blasphemy. That is quite different. First, ‘comes close’ is not the same as ‘is’. Second, I’m no theologian, so my definition of blasphemy is hardly sufficient for an accusation. I can cite Orthodox sources that are equally suspicious of PSA, though, and certainly paint it out to be something very like blasphemy, though they might not actually use that word. Finally, there have been a couple of Stevens here, and you, along with a couple of others, tend to have the same… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Oh, Steven, and answer my question. How can you make an argument for Christianity that does NOT rely on faith? How can you prove the truth of it in any concrete dfashion that does not rely on belief in things unprovable? I maintain you cannot, that any assertion of the truth of any particular religion must be based on faith. Given that people do practice religions other than Christianity, often with more faith than many of us, how can you assert that your faith in Christ is a better “proof” for the truth of Christianity than a Muslim’s faith in… Read more »

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