Doubts about the physical resurrection of Christ among senior Church of England bishops were an opportunity for the Islamisation of Britain, hoped jihadists.
An analysis by a Muslim scholar of remarks by the former Bishop of Durham, Dr. David Jenkins, that the resurrection was a “conjuring trick with bones” was found in the library of the late Al Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the Church of England Newspaper has learned. Doubts about the physical resurrection of Christ among senior Church of England clergy could be an opportunity for the Islamisation of Britain, the paper argued.
On 20 May 2015 the US government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified hundreds of papers seized during the 2011 raid on the terrorist leader’s hideout in Pakistan. A spokesman for the ODNI explained the “release, which followed a rigorous interagency review,” was part of President Barak Obama’s policy of “increased transparency–consistent with national security prerogatives” and consisted of two parts. “The first is a list of non-classified, English-language material found in and around the compound. The second is a selection of now-declassified documents.”
Among the materials were English-language books and magazine articles on politics and the war on terrorism, an Al Qaida jihadist application form, letters sent and received by the terrorist leader, and Muslim religious works and commentaries. A spokesman for the ODNI confirmed that pornographic materials were also seized in the raid, but they would not be released by the intelligence services. “All documents whose publication will not hurt ongoing operations against al-Qaida or their affiliates will be released,” the ODNI spokesman said, once analysts had concluded their review.
In the section entitled “other religious works” the ODNI listed a paper entitled “profile of bishops of the Church of England,” however the accompanying document was not made public. The only Christian-related paper in the Bin Laden archive, the title prompted speculation in the press the terrorist leader was conducting opposition research on the Church of England or the status of the Church of England as an established church. Some British bishops have been targets of Islamic terrorism. The former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir Ali, was forced to leave Pakistan and move to Britain due to death threats from Islamists.
Speaking to the Church of England Newspaper, a spokesman for the ODNI said the “original document in bin Laden’s possession is most likely a partial scan of an old photocopy of: Bana, Mohammed. “More than Half of England’s Anglican Bishops Absolve Themselves from Blasphemy and Regard JESUS as Only a Messenger.” This is most likely a pamphlet distributed by the Islamic Propagation Centre International. Durban, South Africa, 1984.”
A copy of the document obtained by the CEN shows the paper to be a polemical work attacking the lack of rigour of the Church of England at the time of its writing.
“A passionate appeal is made to Christians that if they find the Muslim viewpoint on Jesus as untenable then at least emulate your own Anglican Bishops of England and take a cue from Bishop David Jenkins—who is regarded as one of the most prominent Biblical scholars among the leaders of the Church of England and is a Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University. In view of the fact that more than half of England’s Anglican Bishops believed that Jesus Christ (on whom be peace) WAS NOT GOD, then why are local Clergymen and their followers DRAGGING THEIR FEET towards the only path of salvation which Islam offers?” the paper asked.
Though Bishop Jenkins has stated he does not believe in Christ’s physical resurrection, in a 2011 profile The Independent quoted Bishop Jenkins as saying the Resurrection “is real. That’s the point. All I said was ‘literally physical’. I was very careful in the use of language. After all, a conjuring trick with bones proves only that somebody’s very clever at a conjuring trick with bones.”
This article first appeared in The Church of England Newspaper.