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UK Bible College Sacks Theologian

by | Thu, Nov 30 2023

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A Christian theologian is taking legal action against an English Methodist Bible college which sacked him over his social media posts on human sexuality. Dr. Aaron Edwards claims the Derbyshire-based Cliff College threatened him with referral to an anti-terrorism program. Christian Today reports the college denies the allegation

Dr. Edwards caused offence when he tweeted his views opposing the Church of England’s vote in support of same-sex blessings in February this year. His post read: “Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this [because] they’re busy apologising for their apparently barbaric homophobia, whether or not it’s true. This is a Gospel issue, by the way. If sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Saviour.” 

The college suspended Dr. Edwards while it conducted an investigation into his post. He alleges that during a hearing in February he was told that the college was considering referring him to the anti-terrorism program Prevent and asked what he would do if a same-sex attracted student asked him to pray for them about their sexuality.

He was sacked in March after refusing to take the tweets down. At the time, the college said that they breached its social media policy and that the language used by Dr. Edwards “is inappropriate and unacceptable and does not represent either the views or the ethos of Cliff College.

The theologian insisted: “The tweet was not defamatory; it was not an attack on any colleague or individual; it was not abusive; and it was not an extremist religious view. It was addressed to evangelicals as a point of doctrine, and it has been misunderstood by many who wish to cause personal and institutional trouble for those who express that view.”

Christian Today writes that Dr. Edwards is taking legal action, claiming that the decision to dismiss him was disproportionate and failed to balance his freedom to express his Christian beliefs. He will also argue that the disciplinary procedure that led to his dismissal lacked “requisite fairness” and had “astonishing” levels of imbalance, exaggeration, and misrepresentation. He added that his dismissal had affected his health and caused him “severe physical stress.”

“The impact on me and my family has been very significant. I have lost many friends as a result, and been slandered by people who do not know all of the details but who now see me as an unkind or hateful person.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting his case, said: “A Christian theologian working for a Christian Bible college tweeting about the Biblical Christian teaching on human sexuality, has been sacked and labelled as a potential ‘terrorist.’ This is an intelligent, learned, respected, father of five children who has been kicked out of a Bible college for expressing views and beliefs shared by millions of Christians across the globe. It is saddening and very concerning to see the Methodist Church, and a once renowned Bible college, lose its way by no longer upholding marriage as God defines it, or supporting those who express it.”

The college has declined to comment.

Photo: Christian Concern