Bishops urged to back evangelism

Church of England bishops are to produce a report on their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ and offer guidance on taking the gospel to people of other faiths.

The Church of England’s annual General Synod overwhelmingly backed a motion, proposed by lay member Paul Eddy, calling for the move.

Bishops will now be required to produce a report on their “understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in Britain’s multifaith society” and offer guidance in sharing “the gospel of salvation” with people of other faiths.

Asked by Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent for The Times, whether evangelising people of other faiths is insensitive, Mr Eddy said while some people might say that, other “people might call it a privilege”.

He said: “There is good evidence to suggest that in many dioceses they say all faiths lead to God and therefore leave them alone. That means we create no go areas by the back door for the gospel.

“We really need to recognise there is only one mediator between God and man and that is the person of Jesus Christ.”

The General Synod was also told Christianity is in decline in England because of political correctness.

Revd Nezlin Sterling told the meeting: “It would appear that the church is making a choice between community cohesion and evangelisation, and the former seems to be given priority.”

Revd Andrew Dow, a vicar in Cheltenham, added that the Church needs to recover its confidence in proclaiming that “Jesus is the only saviour”.

He added: “We need to refute the lie that to be evangelistic is to be a religious bigot or fundamentalist fanatic.”

Mr Eddy agreed, expressing concern that “evangelism, along with many other Christian distinctives, is greatly in danger of being lost amongst the overall desire for people of all faiths and of none to work together to build greater community coherence.

“What we are witnessing on a monthly, if not weekly basis here in the UK is a strategic, highly-politicised marginalisation of Christianity in the public arena.

“We have examples of Christian students, magistrates, foster parents, registrars and nurses falling foul of such marginalisation.”

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