Peter Jensen (bishop)
|The Most Reverend
|Archbishop of Sydney|
|Consecration||29 June 2001|
|Birth name||Peter Frederick Jensen|
11 July 1943 |
Peter Frederick Jensen (born 11 July 1943) is a retired Australian Anglican bishop. He was the Archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia. He retired on his 70th birthday, 11 July 2013.
Early life and ministry
Jensen was born in Sydney and educated at Bellevue Hill Public School and The Scots College. After completing his Leaving Certificate he studied law for two years and worked as an articled clerk before he moved into primary school teaching. He entered Moore Theological College in the late 1960s and won the Hey Sharp prize for coming first in the Licenciate of Theology, the standard course of study at that time. He also has a Master of Arts degree from Sydney University, a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the University of London and a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree from the University of Oxford. His 1976 master's dissertation was entitled "Calvinism and the Persecution of the Witches in England (1563–1604)" and his 1979 doctoral dissertation was entitled "The Life of Faith in the Teaching of Elizabethan Protestantism".
Jensen was appointed Principal of Moore College in 1985 and lectured in systematic and biblical theology during that time. He gained a reputation as a gifted preacher and was often seen at the annual Katoomba Christian Conventions.
On 5 June 2001, Jensen became the 11th Archbishop of Sydney. He was consecrated on St Peter's Day, 29 June 2001. He called upon all churches in the Sydney diocese to aim to reach 10% of their communities by 2012. He encouraged an unprecedented increase in church planting with more than 60 new congregations started between 2002 and 2005 and a 30% increase in candidates for Anglican ministry over the same period.
Shortly after his appointment as Archbishop of Sydney, Jensen was accused of nepotism after nominating his brother, Phillip Jensen, as Dean of Sydney and appointing his wife, Christine Jensen, to an official position in the Sydney diocese.
Jensen has a gained a reputation with the Australian media for being an outspoken advocate for evangelical Christianity. He has spoken out on issues as diverse as abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research, as well on industrial relations. He has expressed his opposition to the ordination of women as priests but accepting their ordination as deacons in the Sydney diocese. He is opposed to the ordination of women as bishops. He has also opposed the ordination of homosexuals as clergy.
In a June 2012 opinion piece, Jensen argued that the acceptance of same-sex marriage is not "for the moral good". He also criticised the notion of "marriage equality", noting that society does not allow marriage between siblings or between adults and children. He also wrote a letter to parishioners of Sydney's Anglican churches in which he quoted Bible extracts from Genesis on the nature of marriage and said that "The education of children must not be distorted by the state-imposed idea that a family can be founded on the sexual union of two men or two women as a valid alternative to that of a man and a woman."
In September 2012, Jensen was a panellist on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Q&A program and was questioned about his views on several key issues involving the church and society. On the question of whether women should be submissive to their husbands, Jensen focused on the vows made by the husband at the time of marriage to act towards his wife in a Christ-like manner.
In the Q&A program, when questioned as to whether he supported the attitudes of the Australian Christian Lobby towards homosexuality, including a statement that it was "like smoking", Jensen said, "As far as I can see by trying to get to the facts, the lifespan of practising gays is significantly shorter than the ordinary, so-called, heterosexual man. I think that seems to be the case. Now what we need to do is to look at why this may be the case and we need to do it in a compassionate and objective way." Jensen was questioned by a young homosexual Christian man who had contemplated suicide about what he would say to young people in that position. It was stated by a panel member, journalist Anna Crean, that Jensen's position was one of influence and that people, by the process of being made to feel ostracised, were subject to "self-destruction". Jensen was then offered by a youth worker in the audience the opportunity to discuss the suffering of young homosexual people resulting from comments made by Jensen and the ACL. Jensen responded that the matter was complex and that he would like to hear the facts. He said, "It's all very well to say that what I say causes this. That to my mind is ...already facile." When questioned as to whether God might be responsible for a "gay gene", Jensen responded that God created and loves all people. He stated that same-sex attraction was not the important issue and that what he was talking about was the acting out of same-sex attraction. Jensen was asked whether he thought that his attitudes towards gay marriage and the submission of women were contributing factors in the rise of atheism. He responded that he did not believe that there had been a rise in atheism. He concluded by saying that God had revealed himself through Jesus and that through him, all people have equality.
Jensen has advocated "lay administration" in which lay people could be licensed to preside at Holy Communion services. This reflects his view that the ministry of word and sacrament belong together and, as lay people have long been permitted to preach in the Sydney diocese, it is thought they ought to be permitted to lead communion services.
Jensen has written a number of books on Christian doctrine, including At the Heart of the Universe (1991) and The Revelation of God (2002). In November and December 2005 he also delivered the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Boyer Lectures on the topic "The Future of Jesus". These lectures have subsequently been published as a book.
Jensen is a co-editor of the Reformed Theological Review.
- "Rev Dr Peter Jensen: the interview". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Sydney Anglicans – Cathedral gears up for Archbishop farewell (Accessed 26 June 2013)
- "Profile". Sydney Anglicans.
- "AM - Archibishop Jensen accused of nepotism". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2002-11-18. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "Anglican Archbishop of Sydney: Peter Jensen", Sunday Profile, ABC, 2007-10-14, Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Traditionalist Anglican bishops to meet over homosexual bishop crisis", The Telegraph, 15 April 2012, retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Peter Jensen (27 December 2007). "The Global Anglican Future Conference". Sydney Anglicans.
- "Stylish same-sex campaign glosses over real issues". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "House to debate gay marriage bills". WAtoday. June 18, 2012.
- "Seek and Ye Shall Submit - Q&A (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- Allan Dowthwaite (8 Oct 2004). "Radical change needed on Lord’s Supper to save declining church". Sydney Anglican Network.
- Barney Zwartz and Kelly Burke (9 October 2004). "Church takes dim view of lay role". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Peter Jensen (11 Oct 2004). "Theological reflection on lay administration". Sydney Anglican Network.
- "Peter Jensen - The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- Profile on the Sydney Anglicans website
- Sunday Nights article
- Biographical information in Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012
|Anglican Communion titles|
|Archbishop of Sydney