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Christian theology lecturer dismissed for tweet

This March, Dr Aaron Edwards (37) was fired from his position as a theology lecturer at Cliff College, Derbyshire, following his controversial tweet concerning homosexuality.

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Figure Image
Dr Aaron Edwards, father of five, had been working for Cliff College since 2016. Photo source: Christian Concern

The tweet, shared from his personal account, went viral. It read:

‘Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this b/c they're busy apologising for their apparently barbaric homophobia, whether or not it's true. This *is* a "Gospel issue", by the way. If sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Saviour.’

After outcry on Twitter, with accusations of homophobia, Cliff College dismissed Dr Edwards on the grounds that he had ‘brought the college into disrepute’. He is now being supported by the Christian Legal Centre as he appeals the decision.

The divisive tweet came shortly after the vote in the General Synod regarding same-sex blessings. In the aftermath, the College first responded by tweeting: ‘The language used is inappropriate and unacceptable and does not represent either the views or the ethos of Cliff College’. They asked him to remove it from Twitter and Dr Edwards refused, as he believed doing so would go against his conscience.

He then served a two-week suspension, before attending a disciplinary hearing on 8 March. During the hearing, the Telegraph reported that he was questioned on how he might respond if a student asked for prayer about their sexuality and was told he may be referred to Prevent, the Government’s counter-terrorism programme. The Principal of the College, Rev Ashley Cooper, denies this. He told Christian Today: ‘We have not threatened him with Prevent. (The College) will make a statement in due course and challenge appropriately’.

Dr Edwards told Christian Concern that he feels that losing his position was disproportionate, and that the nature of the exploration into his actions was ‘astonishing’ for what was meant to be an unbiased investigation.

Responding to accusations

In response to the backlash following his initial tweet, Dr Edwards subsequently shared on Twitter that ‘It is not homophobic to declare homosexuality sinful’ and ‘it seems that holding the view that homosexuality is sinful is only welcome if it remains “unexpressed”’.

Dr Edwards had been working for Cliff College since 2016 and involved in mission and ministry for the last 20 years. He is now seeking employment.