“Gavin Ashenden is a man of integrity; a Christian leader of holy devotion and doctrinal conviction. He speaks truth, and does so without compromise on diverse matters for BBC Radio 4, and most recently in a letter to The Times about the Qur’an in the Cathedral saga at St Mary’s, Glasgow. There is right and wrong, good and evil; Christ and Antichrist, prophets and false prophets. Does a chaplain to the Queen not have a moral duty and theological vocation to defend the faith of the Defender of the Faith?
Gavin Ashenden is not of the contemporary managerial episcopal mould: in another era, under a different discernment, he would have been a very senior bishop indeed; even an archbishop. As the Very Rev’d Martyn Percy has noted, the Church of England needs inspirational theologian-bishops to pastor the flock: they must teach diligently and care deeply; not manage processes or supervise evangelism programmes. Gavin Ashenden is in tune with the Holy Spirit; his ear inclines toward the Paraclete of divine transcendence. There is no easy place for him or his like in a church of corporate fashions, trendy fads and bright new ideas. He prefers the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walks in it, and finds rest for his soul.
When one is faced with “attempts to silence or defenestrate”, one has a choice: to resign honourably or wait nervously for the axe to fall, and thereby suffer a martyr’s fate. For the sake and style of Her Majesty the Queen, Gavin Ashenden chose to resign. That is an honourable decision worthy of respect. He has lost a parochial church title, but gained a world of freedom to help save the soul of the church. Please pray for him, and God bless him.”
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