Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Evangelist Roberts Liardon Leads London Bible College
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 04:29 PM EDT Adrienne S. Gaines
Evangelist Roberts Liardon has been named principal of the International Bible Institute of London (IBIOL), the training arm of the charismatic Kensington Temple London City Church.
The school, which began classes Monday, trains Christians to evangelize throughout Europe and around the world.
"Roberts brings an enormous amount of experience in ministry in general and in training in particular," said Colin Dye, founder and president of the school and apostolic overseer of Kensington Temple. "We know Roberts will be a blessing to us, and we hope to be a blessing to him."
The appointment comes nearly eight years after Liardon stepped down from his Embassy Christian Center in Irvine, Calif., after confessing to a short-term homosexual relationship with the church's youth pastor.
Dye said he believes Liardon, 43, has been fully restored to ministry since his December 2001 confession.
"He went far beyond the recommendations set for him by those involved in the initial six-month process of his restoration," Dye said. "After two years of counseling and recovery, he returned to ministry."
The scandal, however, triggered an exodus from Liardon's church and his accredited school, Spirit Life Bible College. Some leaders who left complained that Liardon did not accept initial pastoral counsel from a leader who advised him to step away from the pulpit for one year.
Both organizations closed in 2007, when Liardon relocated his itinerant preaching ministry to Florida.
Dye believes the two ministries will be of mutual benefit. Because Kensington Temple is part of the Elim Pentecostal Churches of Great Britain, Liardon will be subject to its accountability structure as part of the church's staff.
But Dye said Liardon is answering a Macedonian call by moving to London, where he said religious freedom is being stifled as a result of Islam's influence across Europe. In September, a Christian couple who run a hotel in England was arrested for talking to a Muslim about Jesus, he said. Other Christians have been fired for saying "God bless you" or wearing a cross.
"[Liardon's] burden for Europe as a major 21st-century spiritual battleground has been welcomed by European ministers who see his coming as part of the ongoing spiritual partnership between the U.S. and Europe," Dye said.
In a statement, Liardon said IBIOL will emphasize evangelism to prepare students to reach diverse communities with the gospel. "IBIOL is raising up men and women of faith who can stand against these challenges," Liardon said. "We are training them to re-evangelize European nations and to plant new churches. Much of Europe has no effective evangelical witness."
Liardon is the author of God's Generals, a history of Pentecostal pioneers. He has relocated to London, but will continue preaching, writing and leading his international missions ministry.