Roy Clements walks out

It is with great sadness that we report that Dr. Roy Clements, who resigned some months ago as minister of Eden Chapel, Cambridge, is now separated from his wife.

He had told her that he had a celibate relationship with a younger man who has acted as a research assistant for him. A very few close friends had been aware for a little while that Roy had struggled with homosexual attraction over a number of years.

All this was made known to his church at a members meeting on Monday September 13. On the following Wednesday of that week, his resignation from the Evangelical Alliance Council of Management was made known, and the next day his resignation as a director of Evangelicals Now was accepted in his absence at a scheduled directors' meeting.

Over previous weeks, a number of senior evangelical figures, including John Stott, had met with or contacted Roy Clements and tried to resolve his problems. As we understand it, he has not renounced his Christian faith, but is trying to take a line that evangelicalism should somehow find room for gay relationships of some kind.

Members of his church had been increasingly aware over the last few years that something was not quite right. Roy Clements no longer chaired elders' meetings or church meetings. It seems that major issues arose and were not resolved. Critics of this lack of leadership were answered with the need to allow their minister space for his national and international ministry, but we understand that a strong sense of unease persisted. Now, as the church recovers from the shock and perceives where the problem lay, a new sense of unity and purpose is reported - a feeling that Eden is God's church and he will not allow his work to be frustrated.

The chairman of the EA executive committee, Viscount Brentford, commented: 'The council want to affirm Roy for the work and ministry he has undertaken. He has shown integrity in his decision to resign from the Evangelical Alliance and other evangelical bodies.'

It is hard to over-estimate the influence which Roy Clements has exercised among conservative evangelicals over the last 30 years. Beginning as a travelling secretary with UCCF, Roy helped lead a church in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, before taking up the pastorate at Eden in 1979. He has led student missions in universities up and down the country and was a major player in getting Word Alive off the ground in 1993. His books have been among the most helpful and best-selling for Christians. As perhaps one of the greatest popular apologists for Christian faith of recent years, many people have been brought to faith in Christ under his ministry and thousands have been helped by his thoughtful and contemporary Biblical expositions.

His wife, Jane, and family, are terribly upset and crushed by what has happened. They need our prayers. A number of friends have sent messages to Roy Clements, but at present he appears intent to sever links with all who knew him.

See also The Commentary and When a good man falls by Gary Benfold.

John Benton