The Archbishop of New Zealand is rejecting the stance taken against gay and lesbian clergy by Bishop Brian Tamaki, the leader of the Destiny Church.
During a sermon last Sunday, posted online by his wife Hannah, Mr Tamaki implied that gay and lesbian clergy are a “contamination”.
“You've got to understand that there’s been such a breakdown and contamination in churches and in denominations it’s gone beyond a joke,” Mr Tamaki told those gathered.
“Churches are so unguarded and (have) so lost their way that now you can have lesbian ministers… and gay… (sounds of applause).
“You might be saying ‘yay’ and clapping, but I’m not clapping with you - and neither is God.”
Bishop Tamaki’s statements have not been left unchallenged.
“To speak of any person as a source of ‘contamination’ is unacceptable”, says Archbishop Philip Richardson.
“And especially so for someone who seeks to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Archbishop Philip says that when the leaders of the world-wide Anglican Church gathered in England last year they issued a communique, which says, in part:
“The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.
“The Primates recognise that the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. Where this has happened they express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God's love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression.”
The Bishop of Auckland, The Rt Rev Ross Bay, has responded with dismay at the Destiny leader’s comments.
“The Anglican Church here values the contribution of gay and lesbian leaders across all aspects of church life, including those who are ordained”, Bishop Ross said today.
“It is deeply disturbing that a church leader should regard such people as a contamination.”
“Mr Tamaki is of course free to prevent LGBTQI people offering ministry in his own church.
“But to refer to them in this way is a denial of human dignity, and encourages further stigmatisation and exclusion.
“The Gospel is about the love and reconciliation which we have been offered in Jesus Christ. Church leaders have a responsibility to model and preach this good news in ways that draw people together.”