News by email Donate


Church News

Sacked theology lecturer rejects claims that students felt unsafe, employment tribunal hears

by Premier Journalist
saul-bucio-P5YN73KrUAA-unsplash.jpg - Banner image
Photo by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash

A theology lecturer has told a tribunal he was dismissed after a "homophobic" tweet, despite his employers knowing about his views on sexuality and the Church for years.

Three female students complained about feeling unsafe after the comments which the lecturer at Cliff College, Sheffield, made online, the tribunal heard.

But Aaron Edwards says his views were consistent with sermons, podcasts and blogs he wrote regularly.

He also said the comments he made, which were in the context of a debate in the Church of England about introducing same-sex blessings, were “academically defensible”.

“In seven years of teaching at Cliff, I have never had a student who took one of my units raise concerns about feeling unsafe in the classroom, and no student has ever left feedback showing concerns about the expression of my views on homosexuality”, Dr Edwards told the tribunal hearing in Sheffield.

“The college had more than enough opportunity to be familiar with my views and with my academic research for there to be less apparent shock and public disappointment from them in responding as they did on Twitter without any prior consultation with me”, he added.

He told the tribunal he has since struggled to find work.

The tweet which prompted the suspension read: “Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this because they're busy apologising for their apparently barbaric homophobia, whether or not it's true.”

Dr Edwards, who describes himself on X as a ‘disreputable theologian’, told the tribunal: “It is already systemically difficult for a heterosexual white male with traditional Christian beliefs on morality to get an academic post.

“I believe the public expression of my beliefs is academically defensible, but many institutions will likely be unable to look past the controversy of being dismissed as a result.”

The former lecturer in theology, preaching and mission has previously written in Premier Christianity magazine, saying “As more Christians speak out, more must be prepared to lose their jobs – and worse. Jesus never promised the storm would be easy, but he did promise our house would stand at the end of it.”

Cliff College says it will only comment upon the conclusion of the case.

The hearing continues.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email