A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality


Will the politics of sex tear Anglicans and Episcopalians apart? The best-selling expose of the feuding and anguish over the explosive issue of gay sexuality in the Anglican church is now available in paperback.
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Will the politics of sex tear Anglicans and Episcopalians apart? The best-selling expose of the feuding and anguish over the explosive issue of gay sexuality in the Anglican church is now available in paperback.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Gene Robinson, an openly gay Episcopal priest, was elected bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, his election sparked ongoing debate and potential schism in the Anglican Church, both in America and around the world. Bates, religion correspondent for the Guardian (U.K.), pens a thoughtful guide to the current controversy. Focusing on England and (to a lesser extent) the U.S., Bates casts the current dispute in the context of the church's grappling with social change since the 1960s-the ordination of women, the acknowledgment of high divorce rates-and explores how different Anglicans interpret the Bible and come to divergent conclusions about homosexuality. But this is no dry survey of scriptural hermeneutics. It is also a work of first-rate journalism, introducing readers to many principal figures in the Anglican scene-the archbishop of Canterbury, conservative ministers, liberal bishops. Bates is unfailingly generous to liberal Anglicans, taking seriously and sympathetically the arguments in favor of full-fledged acceptance of homosexuality. Unfortunately, he is not so magnanimous to evangelicals, chiding them for refusing to consider that scriptural imperatives about sexuality might be outdated and inapplicable to "today's society." The book would be stronger, and would find a larger audience, if it were more evenhanded. But biases notwithstanding, Bates has given us a valuable, informative account of a timely issue. (Oct. 6) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"In A Church at War Stephen Bates has given us a book that reads like a thriller and unfolds like a tragedy. It is a story of an attempted coup, the takeover of a once benign and inclusive institution by religious extremists who want to recreate it in their own narrow and destructive image. The battle is ostensibly over homosexuality, but in reality it is about the status and interpretation of the Bible. As Bates eloquently shows, though the struggle is not over already there have been some spectacular casualties--the most notable being Rowan Williams, the present Archbishop of Canterbury. Anyone who cares about the future of the Anglican Church should read this book."--Richard Holloway, formerly Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
"Bates manages to turn the minutiae of church politics into an engrossing and exciting narrative. He takes a pitiless scalpel to the poverty of conservative evangelical thinking on sexuality, and reveals plenty of evidence of a determined conservative minority bidding to seize power in worldwide Anglicanism. He poses a challenge to the Anglican Communion to fight its way out of its current mess through the exercise of a good deal more generosity and imagination than has so far generally been the case."--Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford
"Human sexuality has become one of the more contentious issues for churches as they wrestle with their identity and place in the modern world. Bates' insightful book does an admirable job of revealing the fissures and faultlines of the current debate in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. His analysis is a sure-footed guide and an essential companion for all those who want to understand the competing convictions that have contributed to the discussions so far."--Martyn Percy, Director, Lincoln Theological Institute, Manchester and Adjunct Professor of Theology, Hartford Seminary, Connecticut
"Stephen Bates has left us in his debt with his gripping account of recent events in the Anglican Communion. It is a sorry tale, but is one that needs urgently to be told, and Bates tells it brilliantly. There is an old Anglican prayer which speak of charity as being the bond of peace and of all virtues. A good dose of that is needed at the moment if an historically 0inclusive church is not to end up being narrow, exclusive and unchristian."--Christopher Rowland, Dean Ireland's Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford
"Stephen Bates leads the reader briskly through the biblical and historical background, as well as telling in a most entertaining style all the more recent stories of debates and meetings about homosexuality...I hope that American Episcopalians, both conservative and liberal, will read it with care..." --Simon Sarmiento, Anglicans Online
"...a racy and enjoyable account of Anglican battles over homosexuality...Bates has done his homework...thanks to Bates' detective work, we now have a clearer idea of what happened...."--Damian Thompson, Sunday Telegraph
"Writer Stephen Bates' well-regarded book on gays and the clergy...has predictably not pleased everyone at Lambeth Palace." --Richard Kay, The Daily Mail
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340908556
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Pages: 333

Meet the Author

Stephen Bates is The Guardian's religious affairs and royal correspondent. He is a regular broadcaster as well as writer, and has contributed to a wide range of publications, both at home and abroad.
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Table of Contents

1 The sorrow and the pity 1
2 The Word made flesh 12
3 In the beginning was the Word 36
4 Queer as folk 59
5 Old as the hills 70
6 The day before yesterday 85
7 The dignity of difference 109
8 Doing the Lambeth walk 125
9 Then came Rowan 142
10 Doctor John 155
11 Gene Genie 180
12 Paved with good intentions 189
13 Who bears the cost? 216
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