Christians welcome homosexuals but want them to “repent and be changed”, the Bishop of Rochester has said.
“We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church,” Dr Michael Nazir-Ali told The Sunday Telegraph in an interview this weekend.
He said the call to repent applied to anyone who had departed from the Bible’s teaching.
Dr Nazir-Ali’s comments came as a new evangelical Anglican grouping prepared to meet in London this week.
He said “We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.
“People who depart from this don’t share the same faith.”
The new group, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, has been accused of being “schismatic”, but says it is needed to support evangelicals in the Church of England whose views are being sidelined.
Dr Nazir-Ali said: “We’re two different sorts of religion.
“One has a view of God and the Church and Christianity that is completely different from the other.”
He said: “The Bible’s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.
“We welcome homosexuals, we don’t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.”
The Bishop’s comments followed last week’s wrangle between senior Labour and Conservative MPs over which party was most supportive of ‘gay rights’.
The Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown joined thousands of marchers at a gay pride event in London on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the march, Conservative leader David Cameron reiterated his support for ‘gay marriage’ and said he was sorry that his party had once backed a law against promoting homosexuality to schoolchildren.
Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman responded by claiming that the “essential heart of the Tories is homophobic” and if they had changed they would support the Equality Bill.
The Government says the Bill, championed by Miss Harman, would force churches to accept practising homosexuals or transsexuals in youth worker posts and other similar roles.
Equalities minister Maria Eagle has said religious believers should push ‘gay rights’ in their communities, but in the meantime the state would do it.