Book Reviews: Baptism & Confirmation & Patterns for Baptism

Book Reviews Baptism and Confirmation Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123522, 468pp, £40) Patterns for Baptism Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123492, 392pp, £25) These handsome volumes are the latest additions to Common Worship, the Church of...

The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ: Gospel-Driven Anglicanism

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ  The American Theologian and Pastor, Jonathan Edwards (1703 -1758), once preached a sermon entitled “The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Jesus Christ”. The...

The Cancelling of the Creator

The Cancelling of the Creator The headline from a national newspaper popped up on my phone: “Daniel Radcliffe is surely the world’s most ungrateful man”. It’s not a title many would be scrambling to win for themselves, but the opinion-piece made the case. Daniel...

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen Melville-Knox Christian School Aberdeen officially opened on Monday 7th November after years of prayer, planning and organisation. We give thanks to the Lord that we have been able to reach this significant milestone;...

Barnabas Report: At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique

Barnabas Report At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique During October At least 21 Christians have been killed by Islamist extremists in violent attacks throughout October in northern Mozambique. Jihadists set fire to a church building and several houses in the...

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource  Sanctuary Foundation has been aiding those trying to offer assistance for those fleeing the war in Ukraine through its, “Homes for Ukraine” scheme.  The charity has been serving as a liaison by resourcing hosts and...

Annual Clive West Memorial Lecture Set for Belfast

Annual Clive West Trust Lecture Set for Belfast The 2022 Clive West Trust Lecture will take place on Thursday, 22 November at St Nicholas’ Church on the Lisburn Road in Belfast at 19:30. This year’s featured speaker is the Revd Dr Tim Ward.  Ward earned his PhD from...

Church of England Council Rejects Croft’s Position

Church of England Evangelical Council Rejects Croft’s Position In a press statement following the pronouncements of Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, the Church of England Evangelical Council repudiated the departure of biblical teaching advocated by Croft. It said,...

On Transubstantiation: Reformation Anglicanism

Reformation Anglicanism On Transubstantiation By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Transubstantiation became the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church at the Fourth Lateran Council that began, November 11, 1215. The Council of Trent in 1551 went on to confirm the...

Oxford Good Stewards Trust Announced in Response to Bishop of Oxford’s Revisionism

St Paul’s Banbury, Oxford Answers Bishop and Announces  The Oxford Good Stewards Trust The Revd Dan McGowan, Vicar of St Paul’s, Banbury in Oxford Diocese has answered Bishop Croft’s revisionist declarations about same-sex matters and announced the formation of The...

Editorial: The Rise of the BINO


The Rise of the BINO

Former evangelical and current Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, has published a fifty-two-page essay in which he advocates change to Church of England doctrine and practice on marriage to allow same-sex weddings to be conducted.

His views were welcomed by his suffragan episcopal colleagues within the Diocese of Oxford, and the Bishops of Worcester and of Dudley.

This is another example of what we have often seen in church life, the rise of the BINO (Bishop in Name Only). These ecclesiastical figureheads have kept the title of bishop with associated dress, stipend and all social and legal niceties, but hollowed out the substance in terms of believing, teaching and defending sound biblical doctrine.

Would Dr Croft’s episcopal supporters be so admiring when they realise that he has probably let their cat out of the bag? He has exposed the hand of the BINOs. While Croft’s essay admitted that the “obvious interpretation of key biblical passages” seemed to support the view that gay relationships were sinful, it was his ‘pastoral instincts’ that led him to seek a way to interpret the scriptures to allow the blessing of same-sex partnerships.

If the common understanding of our faith, our ethics and our pastoral practice can change and evolve because of our increased knowledge and experience, derived from the sciences and the human sciences in all these areas, why should it not evolve and develop in similar, careful and considered ways in our response to questions of human sexuality?

While Dr Croft writes about the importance of the Bible and tradition, his real difficulty was that they stood against what he really wanted. Would his outlook conform to the Scriptures or might they be used to affirm his outlook? 

Despite paragraphs and pages of the usual tortuous reading of key texts, surely this part of his essay underscores that the whole debate was not really about the Bible after all. If the Bible stands in the way, then other sources of authority (special pleading, social sciences, pastoral instincts) must be asserted in its place.

Dear Bishop, thank you for your honesty as this point, but we knew it all the time. We noticed it so often when your fellow-bishops sounded forth on all manner of topics, such as Brexit, the environment or immigration, and confidently added a biblical proof-text as a garnish. We noticed then that bishops suddenly found it difficult to understand the Bible when it came to the single issue of human sexuality. We noticed how a fog of obscurity descended upon the Bible so freely cited elsewhere, thereby rendering certain texts mysterious and therefore unquotable to today’s generation. These verses and passages alone were evidently so confusing that they required endless papers, conferences, indabas and listening processes. It was not a fog of obscurity that descended, but a smokescreen that was erected. Rest assured, we noticed, and we were not fooled.

Bishop Croft’s key principle seems to be that in order to fulfil the church’s mission, biblical teaching should be discarded when it is out of step with its culture. However, it is not merely the Bible’s teaching on human sexuality that causes offence to society, but many other aspects of the gospel: the uniqueness of Jesus as God and only Saviour, the necessity of the cross to save, the idea that God will judge. Should the gospel call of repentance and faith be dropped in order to make the Christian message more palatable to the world, and thus the church’s mission more ‘successful’? The Bishop’s mission strategy seems to come from the military leader at Vietnam who reputedly said, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

Bishop Croft’s vision of a future church that assimilates and sanctifies the prevailing winds of its society is a Church that will never again produce a Wilberforce let alone a Bonhoeffer.

What can be done to stem the rise of the BINO? Some faithful churches and parishioners may bring legal pressure under appropriate Ecclesiastical Law, others are seeking episcopal oversight elsewhere. Parishioners across the nation who give, often sacrificially, should not see monies used to finance and promote the views of BINOs. These are the ‘rogue traders’ of church life, peddling their wares to the nation under the guise of a bishop but not providing the goods as they had promised.

The British public already have legal protections from shoddy workmen and dodgy businesses that do not live up to their name and fail to deliver according to their promises. Surely it is now time to extend the Trades Description Act to cover the College of Bishops?