Outspoken bishop and Christian campaigner Michael Nazir-Ali has written to Archbishop Justin Welby to encourage him to put the message of Jesus Christ first.
In his open letter to the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali said, ‘It is an immense privilege to write to you about the future of our church.
‘As an evangelist and a pastor, you will know that we need to connect with the deepest longings of our people for significance and meaning in the course of a hard life, for love that proves elusive and for justice, often denied’.
He said the good news of Jesus Christ has to be shown to meet their deepest needs. Mr Nazir-Ali said the latest figures reveal unprecedented loneliness, sky-high levels of depression, anxiety about the future and addiction to drugs, alcohol and even shopping, to mask emptiness and dread.
Mr Nazir-Ali said, ‘In such darkness, the gospel shines out: God mending a broken world and putting us right with himself and so right within ourselves and in our relationships with friends and family, community and Creation. Such good news needs to be heard loudly and clearly today’.
He called for the church to be ‘properly equipped’ and for ministers to be prepared to give a good account of our faith and for ministries of counsel, service, prayer and worship, and the awakening of people’s spiritual nature.
Mr Nazir-Ali said, ‘The clergy will have to make sure that these gifts are recognised and used for ministry. They do not have to do it all themselves, but help God’s people to bear witness in the street, at home and while at work’.
In his letter, he claimed the Church of England excels at being salt, working away ‘invisibly to preserve, enhance and nourish’.
However, he asked: ‘Has the time come to be more like “light” in the darkness, drawing people to Christ by being distinctive?’