In a recently published book of essays, the evangelical Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, apologised to Jeffrey John for the hurt he had caused and his partner at the time of his nomination for Bishop of Reading.
We welcome his unreserved apology for his treatment of Jeffrey and his acknowledgement that there are authoritative Biblical examples of same gender love. He also regrets that this particular controversy narrowed down the space for healthy debate within the church. His apology and humility in this matter are evidence of true Christian character and leadership.
As evangelical lesbian and gay Christians we know only too well the damage that can be done by the `literal plain & simple’ approach to Scripture which treats the Bible with disrespect, and conceals the good news. The Word became flesh not `text’.
Elaine Storkey has found that she is the `wrong kind’ of conservative evangelical Christian. We hope that Bishop James’ statement will give courage to other evangelicals of the `wrong kind’ to come out, to acknowledge the complexity of Scripture on matters of sexuality and liberate the gospel from the literalist straitjacket.
The whole essay, called `Making Space for Truth and Grace’, is worth reading at the Diocese of Liverpool Website.
Our spokesperson Brenda Harrison was interviewed with Paul Dawson of Reform on Radio Ulster’s `Sunday Sequence’ programme to discuss Bishop James John’s essay – which can be listened to below.