A discussion on the sensitive topic has been tabled for the next meeting of the Church of England’s governing body amid fears that some clergy are ignoring their traditional missionary role. Some members of the General Synod believe Christ ordered all Christians to recruit nonbelievers and followers of other faiths, and they want to see how many bishops and vicars agree with this view.
Among the speakers is likely to be the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who earlier this year warned that Church leaders had “gone too far” in their sensitivity towards Muslims and were not doing enough to spread the word of God. At the end of the debate at next February’s Synod meeting in London, bishops, clergy and lay members will vote on whether bishops should report to the Synod on “their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in multi-faith Britain”, and give examples of how the gospel should be shared. Paul Eddy, a lay member of the Synod, started the Private Members’ Motion and accused the Church of censorship earlier this year when it was taken off the agenda of the July meeting at the last minute. He believed it was shelved because it would have shown up deep divisions in the Church over its attitude to converting believers in other faiths. Mr Eddy said today that he was delighted the discussion will now be heard. He told The Daily Telegraph: “I’m looking forward to what I think will be a very positive debate. I’m hoping that the Church will affirm the historic tenets of our faith. “We have a huge responsibility to share our faith with everyone in the UK including those of other faiths.” Martin Beckford reports.

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