Holder does not share view
BISHOP?OF?BARBADOS Dr John Holder has distanced the church from controversial statements made by Reverend Charles Morris, who said there was nothing wrong with premarital sex.
The outspoken Rev Morris, who has claimed that the Bible never deemed premarital sex a sin, said people criticising him did not know the Scriptures and were hiding “the truth” from the public.
The comments provoked an outcry from priests and pastors of various Christian faiths as well as members of the laity, who outlined their positions on radio call-in programmes and in letters to the newspapers’ editors.
But Holder, who is also Archbishop of the West Indies, made it clear last evening in his annual Synod Charge at St Michael’s Cathedral that they stood by the beliefs of the Church that are grounded in the teachings of the Lord.
“We uphold the virtues of Christian family life. Morality as understood by the Christian faith and by this church can never be built on prevalence or popularity. We cannot confuse what is with what ought to be,” he asserted.
The head of the local Anglican community pointed out that there was a clear structure in the church: “So any one variant understanding and interpretation of an issue, whether it be human sexuality, politics or the family, does not and indeed cannot represent what this Church stands for.”
He added: “We stay clear of hypes and irresponsible attention-grabbing gimmicks and statements. The authority of saying what this diocese represents rests with the Bishop and with Synod and not with any individual, whether clerical or lay.”
Bishop Holder had earlier declined comment on the issue.Other top officials in the church had also not offered comment, giving way to their leader.
Last night the Bishop, in his prepared presentation, said: “When we speak we do so standing on a solid and tried theological base that cannot be reduced to what anyone thinks at any one time. And let me say here that we cannot and indeed will not try to speak on every issue in this society, neither will we be dragged into the morass and the controversies created by irresponsible statement.”
Morris made the controversial comments last week on CBC TV8. He said that he was misrepresented, misinterpreted and vilified by many since making his comments.
Last night, in a further debate on the issue on CBC TV8, he maintained that nowhere in the Bible was there reference to premarital sex. However, he pointed out that the Christian view was that sex was best reserved for the marriage relationship – a position with which he fully agreed. He said that if he offended people, he apologised. (ES)