Dr. Aaron Edwards taught theology at Cliff College, a Methodist school in Derbyshire, England, which he is now suing after being terminated. Edwards was fired in March after posting comments on Twitter that said homosexuality is “invading” the Church.
“Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this b/c they’re busy apologizing for their apparently barbaric homophobia, whether or not it’s true,” he wrote. “This is a 'Gospel issue', by the way. If sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Saviour.”
Dr. Edwards is being represented by the Christian Legal Centre, a religious liberty law firm that is representing many Christians whose views are unwelcomed by secularized Europeans. In a legal counter-punch, the Centre is basing the lawsuit on the country’s Equality Act, arguing its client was the target of harassment, discrimination, and an unfair firing.
Cliff College was founded in 1883 by Thomas Champness, a former bricklayer, who started the school in order to equip preachers for evangelism. The website for Cliff College states its education is for the “real world” that is “rooted in practice, forged in community, grounded in the authority of Scripture and consistently prompting us to face outwards.”
Ed Vitagliano, of the American Family Association, says punishing Christians for orthodox biblical views is a new phenomenon in U.S. denominations but it is in an “advanced” stage across post-modern Europe, especially in Great Britain.
“The United Kingdom has kind of led the charge to suppress any and all commentary against homosexuality,” Vitagliano, himself an ordained pastor, says of the nation that produced Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, and brothers Charles and John Wesley.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, grew up in the Methodist Church. She says Dr. Edwards was fired by his own 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,” she says, “lose its way by no longer upholding marriage as God defines it or supporting those who express it.”
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.