12 April 2011
The appointment of the Revd Nicholas Holtam as the next Bishop of Salisbury is a regrettable and retrograde step. In his public ministry Mr Holtam has actively promoted erroneous teaching on the issue of human sexuality, which puts him at odds with the declared mind of the House of Bishops, the General Synod of the Church of England and the 1998 Lambeth Conference, makes him unfit for ministry in the Church of England let alone as a Bishop. In particular, like many in the Church, he has been unwilling to accept the clear teaching of Scripture on the proper place of sexual union.
He has likewise supported those in this country and elsewhere seeking to undermine what is collectively recognized as Biblical teaching on sexual morality. Thus in his own words, reported in The Guardian (24 December 2005), in giving Bishop Gene Robinson the opportunity to speak at St Martin-in-the-Fields, his intention was “to provide a platform” whilst being careful “to keep within the letter of the law.” Mr Holtam also criticised the Primates of the Global South Anglican Churches following the issuing of the Kigali Communiqué in 2006 and their rejection of the position of The Episcopal Church, USA, on human sexuality.
Such previous attitudes and actions by Mr Holtam will undoubtedly create great difficulty for those clergy in the Diocese of Salisbury who expect their bishop to uphold the faith and to assist them in their joint calling “to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word”. We therefore assure them of our full support at the present time.
The nomination must also call into question the operation of the Crown Nominations Commission, which either has no knowledge of Mr Holtam’s record or has chosen to overlook it regarding this appointment.
Denominations and national churches, such as the US Episcopal Church, which have followed the views of the world rather than the revealed will of God in Scripture have caused deep division and seen rapid decline. This is the course the Church of England appears to be intent on following and we call on the Church to repent of its folly, to uphold Biblical teaching and to cry out to the Lord for mercy.
Council of Church Society