Bishop of Newcastle appoints Rev Rod Bower as Archdeacon

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In a move that has been described to me by more than one senior figure as showing a lack of respect for traditionalists in his diocese, the Bishop of Newcastle Greg Thompson has appointed Rev. Rod Bower as Archdeacon of the Central Coast.

Bower is well known for his signboards outside his Parish of Gosford church building and notorious for publicly denying key Christian doctrine. Earlier this year we reported on his denial of the existence of heaven or hell and his assertion that Jesus did not die for our sins. Despite protest, the Bishop of Newcastle took no action. More recently yet he went to the twittersphere to claim that when it came to Jesus…

“allow for the possibility”. Generous of him.

Bower is now the Archbishop’s man to oversee the area of the Central Coast, a region which contains a number of traditionalist parishes. I understand that clergy and laity in that region, let alone the rest of the diocese, are very unhappy with the appointment.

Bower has not yet been officially collated but has already updated his online bio:


In March, when Bower publicly denied the existence of the afterlife, a good number of people wrote to Bishop Greg Thompson to express their disatisfaction. My letter included this section:

I am confident that you will agree with me and the majority of believing Anglicans who consider such a denial of basic Christian truth to be unacceptable for a minister in the church. I have written about this matter on my website ( and encouraged others to express their concern to you too.

There are many loyal Anglicans around the country who are looking to our bishops to uphold Biblical truth and you should be assured of my prayers as you seek to deal with this difficult matter.

Well Bishop Thompson has shown his diocese exactly what he thinks of such theological positions. He promotes them. Sources tell me this is exactly the pattern experienced in the Northern Territory where Thompson was previously bishop.

You may wish to write to Bishop Thompson yourself. Last time round he asked me to remove the contact form from this webpage and, as an act of courtesy,  I did in the confidence that he would act upon the matter and to give him the space to do so.  Now I suspect there will, again, be a good number of people who will want to let the bishop know their concerns about this extraordinary appointment. I’m confident they can do so with courtesy. There is a contact form available on the Newcastle Diocese website.

The collation of Rev Bower and other regional archdeacons will take place at a service during the diocesan synod on October 24. I understand that some clergy in Bower’s new region of responsibility have indicated their conscientious absence from that service and other conversations have been had by traditionalist clergy with Bishop Thompson.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Nigel Poore

    Acts 4 v 12 comes to mind…..”Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”.

    Obviously another sign of false teaching in the end times. Would not want to be standing in his shoes on judgement day.


    Google images of Rev. Rod Bower for incredulous messages on his church notice board.

    Oh the poor lost people of the Central Coast.

    No wonder the unsaved say the church is a joke.

    Unbelievable. Absolutely.

  2. RevRon

    Having rubbed shoulders with Greg a bit in a previous life, I must say I am quite surprised and really disappointed.
    I think there’s a lesson for all of us who adhere to the Scriptures as being the Word of God to guide our thinking and living:

    “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].
    (1 Cor.10:12 Amp.)

  3. Aiden

    Well he gets the upvotes on Reddit, so at least there’s that. 🙁

    Sad day for the cause of the Gospel on the Central Coast, but thank God for EV Church!

  4. Dave McDonald

    Bishop Greg,
    I have read David Ould’s article which describes your appointment of Fr Rod Bower as showing a lack of respect for Traditionalists. I am not happy with this statement. It is not the issue. As a bishop, you are not called to show respect to Traditionalists. Rather, you are called to show respect to Jesus. In making this appointment you have demonstrated disrespect to Jesus. Please reconsider your position.
    Dave McDonald

  5. Nigel Poore

    Yep, it’s enough to turn you into a catholic

  6. Matt Olliffe

    Thanks for keeping us updated, David.

  7. Bruce Lyon

    I have to say, I am not at all surprised by this appalling appointment. Bishop Greg shows himself to be supportive of a liberal progressive alternate gospel with this appointment.

    It shows a tendency to be friends with the world, in particular human reasoning trumping the Word of God.

    Which is the complete opposite of we as followers of Christ, are called to be.

  8. Michael Godfrey

    While not from Newcastle I demur at several of the points made here. I am reminded of the criticisms Jesus made of the phylactery wearers, who paraded their ideological purity in public, sneering at Jesus and the rag-taggle bunch of seekers he gathered around him. I do not know Fr Bower personally, but like many Joe and Jo Publics I know his noticeboard, which rarely ceases to speak of a compassionate, loving Christ who embraces the poor and the outcast. I know nothing of Bower’s views of the afterlife, but am less suspicious of that than I am of those whose phylacteries assure them that theirs is the booked five star room in the Basiliea te Theou. And I’m obviously not sure who the “sources” are in the Northern Territory, because “sources” are always prepared only to hide behind anonymity or fabrication, but I saw in the Territory an episcopal servant of Christ who nurtured faith, frowned on hypocrisy (and phylacteries), and spoke up for the blind and the lame. Do I need to quote chapter and verse of Christian scripture to remind us that this is something Jesus commanded us to do? Or that, when I see servants of Christ like Max Bower and Greg Thompson at work I am reminded more, as we should be, of the “by their fruits” than I am when I see those who parade their ideologiocal and moral purity in the marketplaces of faith-discourse?

    1. David Ould

      hi Michael.

      Accusing those you disagree with of being Pharisees is an easy claim to make but harder to stick. I’m not aware that I’ve ever argued that one has to do good works to win God’s favour. If you can show me where I have then I’d be more than happy to accept your charge.

      As for “sources”, all I can tell you is that the hard work has been done to verify what I wrote. If you wish to call me a liar, so be it.

  9. Michael Godfrey

    Nor, my friend, did the Pharisees. That is a post-70 a.d. caricature that became enshrined in polemical texts. The Pharisees argued that compassionate action was an outworking of the encounter with God in Torah. The Christians argued that compassionate action was an outworking of the encounter with God in Christ. I see that compassionate action in Fr Bowers and Bishop Thompson.

    I don’t recall calling you a liar.

    1. David Ould

      well that’s confusing. When Jesus says to the Pharisees,

      Luke 12:1 Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy

      What He actually meant was,

      Luke 12:1 Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is compassionate action as an outworking of the encounter with God in Torah

      and this stuff,

      Luke 11:39–44 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
      “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
      “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
      “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

      isn’t actually about hypocrisy and external legalistic righteousnes, but all about how the Pharisees are compassionate in the wrong way? You can see my confusion, right?

      And also, does that then mean that your critcism of me above where you write (citing Matt 23:1-7),

      I am reminded of the criticisms Jesus made of the phylactery wearers, who paraded their ideological purity in public, sneering at Jesus and the rag-taggle bunch of seekers he gathered around him.

      actually means you just think I do lots of works of genuine compassion, but only because of my reading of the Torah? Or do you think that, like the Pharisees Jesus was speaking about I’m really only about external public righteousness?

      Could you make up your mind for us
      1. What you think Jesus got wrong about the Pharisees?
      2. Quite how you’re actually insulting me?

      I don’t recall calling you a liar.

      Yes, a helpful correction. You actually implied that my sources were lying. It’s a useful clarifier.

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