By David Virtue, VOL
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is the first non-white diocesan bishop in the Church of England. He holds joint citizenships in Pakistan and Britain. He has multiple doctorates both earned and honorary. He has authored 11 books, the most recent being, Triple Jeopardy for the West: Aggressive Secularism, Radical Islamism and Multiculturalism. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities around the world and is the former General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society. His travels take him to countries where Christians are being persecuted for their faith. He was in the US recently as guest speaker at the recently formed CANA East Synod, which was held at Christ Church Anglican on the mainline in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
I sat down with Bishop Michael and over dinner and plied him with questions about the state of the Church of England, the Communion, the Anglican Church in North America, Islam and much more. He is the perfect guest and very undemanding. He sips his wine thoughtfully, thinks long and hard before he speaks, never raises his voice and displays a humility one rarely sees among wearers of The Purple Shirt. If one detects a certain sadness in the man, it is not about himself, but the direction the Anglican Communion is taking, and, of course, his own beloved Church of England. One senses he carries the weight of the church on his shoulders. He is an advocate for the poor and persecuted.
Many of us from “across the pond” believe he should have been the next Archbishop of Canterbury following in the footsteps of George Carey, but it was not to be. A scurrilous secular press did him in and Dr. Rowan Williams, an Affirming Catholic, took the helm. His reign was tumultuous and nearly ruinous for the Anglican Communion. While his successor Justin Welby is an evangelical, he is a theological lightweight compared to Bishop Nazir-Ali.
I put a number of questions to Bishop Michael.