The Rev Melvin Tinker, vicar of St John’s Newland, Hull, whose latest book has just come out, was at the centre of a media storm in June when he spoke out against the decision by a Canon of York Minster to bless the city’s Pride Festival.
Speaking on Minster FM, Mr Tinker put homosexual activity in the moral category marked ‘wrong’ along with adultery and paedophilia. He said: ‘Should he (the Canon) say that people who are engaged in paedophilia should be involved in the church?…We are talking about moral categories here, and if homosexual sex falls into the immoral category, then it is in the same category as any other immoral action.”
He later clarified on BBC Look North that the practice of homosexuality is not the same as paedophilia but stood his ground that, according to the Bible, they are both in the immoral category.
For this courageous expression of the received biblical teaching of the Church of England he faced a petition to the Archbishop of York for his removal from office.
Melvin Tinker’s latest book, A lost God in a lost world (EP Books, 2015, pp187), combines profound biblical reflection with accessible writing. He engages with the strangeness of the title ‘at first sight’:
‘Christians may understand that we live in a lost world, but how can God be lost? Of course he can’t be, not as we can get lost in a dark forest. But it is my conviction that what has been lost (or is in danger of being lost in many churches including those who would own the term ‘evangelical’) is a robust, fully orbed view of the Biblical God; a God who is wonderfully Trinitarian and who alone can act to free the church from its self-imposed cultural captivity.’
As well as superb biblical exposition, the book contains fine cultural analysis of the consumerist, do-it-yourself religiosity of many Westerners. He cites the DIY religion advocated by singer Annie Lennox who wrote on the CD sleeve of her collection of traditional Christmas carols, A Christmas Cornucopia, that for her Christ ‘represents the sacred and mysterious divinity in life’, which could ‘just as easily be’ Buddha or Allah.
Mr Tinker by contrast proclaims the one true Lord and God ‘who 2000 years ago entered into the slipstream of history as a human being – Jesus of Nazareth’ and who will ‘one day come back to… give dignity to our existence by calling us to give an account to him’.
It is a brave book by a brave man.