The former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II joined a chorus of backlash to a recent sermon at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. that spoke of the “trans body” of Jesus Christ and likened the wound in his side to a vagina.
“Christianity teaches us is that Jesus gets to make us more like him, that’s the deal,” Gavin Ashenden, who served as chaplain to the queen from 2008 until he resigned in 2017, told GB News. “And whenever you find somebody making Jesus more like them, that’s not the deal.”
Rev. Dr. Michael Banner, who serves as the dean of Trinity College, last week came to the defense of Joshua Heath, a junior research fellow at Cambridge who proclaimed from the pulpit of Trinity College chapel during an Evensong service that non-erotic portrayals of Jesus’ penis in historical art “urge a welcoming rather than hostile response toward the raised voices of trans people.”
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Heath, whose doctorate in theology was supervised by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, also claimed that in one of the medieval paintings he displayed to the congregation, the spear wound in Jesus’ side “takes on a decidedly vaginal appearance.” In another, he pointed out how the blood from his side flows to his groin.
Heath’s sermon reportedly left outraged congregants “in tears,” and shouts of “Heresy!” rang out in the chapel as some incensed worshipers left in disgust. Banner responded to a complaint letter from an offended congregant by claiming that Heath’s sermon raised “legitimate” speculation, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“So what happened in Cambridge was an inverse process and a perverse process, and we shouldn’t be surprised, because the academy is like that sometimes,” Ashenden said. “They don’t know when to stop.”
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Ashenden, a former Church of England priest who joined the Roman Catholic Church because of what he described as anti-Christian cultural Marxism seeping into the Anglican Communion, went on to urge academics to offer “equal treatment” toward religious figures.
“They should not do to Jesus what they would not do to Mohammed in the present circumstances, and they’ve very badly overstepped the mark of equality of religion by treating our Lord and our Savior in such a casual and peremptory way,” said Ashenden.
“It’s perfectly right for Christians to object,” he added. “I’m very pleased that strongest language was used to try to give them some sense of proportion.”
Ashenden made his comments during an interview with GB News host Calvin Robinson, who is himself an Anglican deacon in the separatist Free Church of England. He recently explained to Fox News Digital how, after studying for the priesthood at the University of Oxford, his ordination in the “entirely liberal” Church of England was allegedly “snatched away” because of his conservative theological views.
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Robinson echoed Ashenden’s assessment of the sermon at Cambridge, telling Fox News Digital, “Jesus Christ was true God and true man. All Christians accept this truth, as stated in the creeds.”
“The Bible teaches us that Christ was born a man, and he taught us himself to call God ‘our Father.’ For someone to misgender Christ and God the Father in this way is offensive; for a cleric to do so is outrageously blasphemous,” Robinson continued.
Robinson said Banner “should be tried under ecclesiastical courts for heresy,” but predicted such will never happen “because the Church of England would rather upset Christians than risk upsetting the trans community.”
“The only way Christ can be described as ‘trans’ is in the context of him transcending, being transcendent, or transfigured,” Robinson added.
Heath’s sermon and Banner’s response to it also drew a sharp rebuke from evangelist and Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham, who described the sermon’s sentiments as “repulsive and shameful” in a Monday Facebook post.
“To insinuate that Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, is transgender or to sexualize in any way His sacrificial death on the Cross for the sins of mankind is utter heresy,” wrote Graham, whose father Billy Graham dined privately with famous Christian author C.S. Lewis at the University of Cambridge in 1955.
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“No wonder parishioners at the Trinity College, Cambridge chapel said they were disgusted, in tears, outraged, and distressed after hearing this blasphemous message. The Bible warns us about false teachers,” Graham continued.
“This speaker and the dean at the University of Cambridge who defended him, are false teachers, preaching heresy,” added Graham, who went on to say that parishioners need to hear the Word of God from the pulpit instead of art interpretation such as Heath offered.
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“The Bible tells us that Jesus was fully God and fully man and that through him all things are made and restored,” said Andrea Williams, executive director of the London-based Christian Legal Centre (CLC). “Any suggestion he is transgender is a supreme insult to the Redeemer of the world. The Dean at a Cambridge college should know better.”
CLC recently took legal action against Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, for allegedly refusing to allow them to book a conference for young Christians on the grounds that CLC’s religious traditional Christian beliefs regarding marriage were not adequately inclusive.
Trinity College did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment by time of publication.