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Church changes divisive, says controversial archbishop

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    Church changes divisive, says controversial archbishop - 15-May-2006
    The controversial Anglican Archbishop of Sydney says Christians pushing for the ordination of women and gays as priests are divisive, and the Church would be served best by staying true to the Bible.

    Peter Jensen, who is visiting Christchurch, told The Press he did not like being pigeonholed as a "conservative", and the weight of population in the Church was swinging to the Third World, where beliefs were often based on more traditional interpretations of the Bible.

    "I don't think it is divisive," he said of his own views. "I think the people who have brought in the innovations are often divisive.

    "If they were really concerned about unity they wouldn't have brought in the innovations which they know will be resisted on conscientious grounds."

    More Christians were attending church on any given Sunday in the Third World, primarily Africa, than the rest of the Western world combined.

    "Because those churches were founded by missions, and mainly evangelical missions, of course there is a strong preponderance of biblical or evangelical Christians in the global south and they are very impressive."

    Jensen said the Church should not be in the business of conforming to popular cultural trends, but rather teaching the Bible.

    "There are certain patterns or styles of life which are not in accordance with Christian teaching.

    "Such patterns of life, such as a gay pattern of life ... are the same as adultery, (the) same as greediness, and are not consistent with Christian living," he said.

    "We won't disintegrate if we stay faithful to the teaching of the Bible. That's our business ... That's written into our documents, or at least in Australia it is, and I presume it is here."

    Jensen said the issue of ordaining women into the priesthood was one of "order rather than salvation" and that some dioceses in parts of Australia had gone in that direction.

    "In the diocese from which I am, we don't have women priests. We only have women deacons and we have many women in ministry."

    The different direction taken by some Australian churches "has loosened our fellowship a little bit, but it has not broken it".

    He said the Sydney synod of clergy had always rejected women priests on scriptural grounds.

    Jensen said he had twice read The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's best-selling novel which is being released soon as a film starring Tom Hanks. "I'm going to see the movie," he said of the story in which Jesus does not die on the cross and goes on to marry and have children.

    "It is an ideal opportunity for us to talk about Jesus. It has many demonstrable errors ... but the extraordinary interest in it shows Jesus is alive and well."
    Ref: - The Press

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