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Christian theology teacher is fired and ‘threatened with counterterrorism referral’

A Christian theology lecturer who reportedly claimed he was threatened with reference to an anti-terror program after tweeting that “homosexuality is invading the church” has been fired.

Dr. Aaron Edwards, 37, was sacked from Cliff College, Derbyshire after it was revealed he had ‘brought it into disrepute’ following a post on social media.

The father-of-five, who calls himself a “cancelled Christian teacher,” was subsequently told he could be referred to the government-run counter-terrorism program Prevent.

He was also said to have been asked at a disciplinary hearing how he would pray for same-sex students who approached him for prayer, The Telegraph reports.

On Feb. 19, Dr. Edwards tweeted, “Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the seriousness of this as they are in the process of apologizing for their apparently barbaric homophobia, whether true or not.

Dr. Aaron Edwards (pictured), 37, was sacked from Cliff College, Derbyshire, after it was revealed he had ‘brought it into disrepute’ following a post on social media

“By the way, this *is* a “gospel issue.” When sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Savior.”

And in another tweet last night, he added, “Just to confirm (as it’s in the news anyway): Yes, I’ve been fired from Cliff College, re. below.’

The History of the Methodist Church

Methodism began as a revivalist movement within the Church of England among followers of the great clergyman John Wesley, who spoke openly and refused to be bound by the parish system.

The group broke away from the Anglicans in 1795 and gained support in the new industrial towns.

The Church quickly became central to working-class politics, with its preachers prominent in the Chartist movement and among the leaders of the growing trade unions.

Four of the Tolpuddle martyrs, convicted and transported to Australia for unionizing in the 1820s, were Methodists.

When the Labor Party rose to power after the 1890s, its ideology was said to owe more to Methodism than to Marx.

In recent years, however, the Church has suffered from the decline of the industrial working class and its institutions in difficult times.

Leaders have been thinking radically – their prayer books refer to God as ‘Mother’ and at one point even non-believers were invited to attend services.

But church membership has continued to fall in Britain. By contract, the American Methodist Church is now one of that country’s leading denominations.

The Church of England is also struggling with shrinking congregations.

The first tweet went viral and sparked widespread debate, but Dr. Edwards later clarified his comments, insisting that he “didn’t mean to harm any individual or group.”

He continued, “I also support victims of homophobia. What I said is not homophobic.’

Dr. Edwards said the tweet was aimed at evangelicals who agree with his views but say they can’t say so publicly for fear of reprisal.

Cliff College, where he had worked for seven years, describes itself as “theological education and training with a particular focus on mission and evangelism.”

Dr. Edwards reportedly said the college contacted him after bosses were made aware of his tweet.

He was asked to remove the post after being told it violated staff social media policies.

But dr. Edwards refused, saying this would go against his conscience and admit he posted the tweet to be provocative when it is actually a belief.

He said he was suspended from Cliff College for two weeks pending an investigation the day after his tweet.

After a disciplinary procedure, he has now been fired from the college, although he is appealing the decision.

He told The Telegraph: “Anyone concerned about academic freedom, Christian freedoms and freedom of expression should be deeply concerned about what happened to me.”

Dr. Edwards believes the termination will now prevent him from working in higher education again.

In June last year, the Methodist Church became the largest religious group in Britain to say yes to same-sex marriage.

The move – which followed debates at a Methodist conference – was hailed by campaigners as a ‘momentous step towards justice and inclusion’.

Overall, 29 of Britain’s 30 Methodist synods affirmed their support for provisional resolutions to allow the practice.

The current membership of the Methodist Church of Britain is 164,000, making it the fourth largest denomination of Christian churches in the UK.

Cliff College, where he had worked for seven years, describes itself as “theological education and training with a particular focus on mission and evangelism.”

While same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Church of England nor the Roman Catholic Church, it is welcomed in the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Reformed Church, and the Quakers in Great Britain.

The last three are smaller in membership, making the Methodist Church the largest Christian church to support same-sex marriages.

A Cliff College spokesperson said: ‘As internal processes continue, we are unable to comment on specific issues.

“As a Methodist institution, Cliff College is committed to being a safe and welcoming place where people of diverse faiths are welcomed and encouraged to live and learn together as faithful disciples of Christ.”

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