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Gavin Ashenden: 'The Church of England is a coach driving over a cliff'

by Aaron James

Rev Canon Gavin Ashenden's speaking after news of his decision to leave the Church was leaked to the media. He then confirmed the news on Twitter himself:

As well as being known as a former chaplain to Her Majesty and a BBC radio presenter, Gavin Ashenden is also known for publicly condemning the Scottish Episcopal Church - linked to the Church of England - for allowing a verse from the Quran to be read out in Arabic during an Epiphany Service earlier this year.

It turned out that part of the passage denied Jesus was God.

The Scottish Episcopal Church expressed regret for any upset caused by the decision, but did not apologise for allowing the reading to be delivered. Some defended the decision, saying it would help foster relations between Christians and Muslims.

Ashenden and others argued a line had to be drawn between building friendships and acknowledging, and where necessary opposing, differences in theology.

Speaking to Premier, he revealed that while his decision to leave the Church of England had been coming for some time, conversations he'd had with a former bishop he served under accelerated the process.

The bishop told him it would be better for him to leave than face potential disciplinary action under Church law.

He went on: "The image I've had is of a coach driving over a cliff, with my holding onto a rope to try and stop it going over. The coach is the Church of England and the cliff it's driving over is one of cultural accommodation to a secular, and even anti-Christian culture.

"When I was converted as a university Law student I asked the Lord where he wanted me to preach the Gospel, and he said the Church of England... But the Church of England he called me to has changed - it isn't the same.

"I want to belong to a church which believes and teaches and practices the Christian faith as Scripture and tradition always has, and the Church of England is determined not to do that anymore."

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Rev Canon Gavin Ashenden:

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