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JERUSALEM: Liberals are tearing apart church, says Anglican bishop

JERUSALEM: Liberals are tearing apart church, says Anglican bishop

By Martin Beckford in Jerusalem
The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2197766/Liberals-are-tearing-apart-church%2C-says-Anglican-bishop.html
6/26/2008

Liberals within the Anglican church have "torn up the fabric of the communion" and should be barred from a debate over the church's future, an English bishop has warned.

The Rt Rev Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, said he could not attend the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference with liberal Americans who went against Scripture by consecrating an openly gay bishop and who are trying to drive out conservatives.

He suggested the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, should not have invited the liberals because they have broken church rules.

Bishop Benn added that the Gafcon conference in Jerusalem, where 303 Anglican bishops from around the world have gathered, would find a way out of the crisis by returning to the teachings of the Gospel.

He said: "The reason I don't feel I can go [to Lambeth] is because I don't think I can pretend to have fellowship with those with whom there is a broken fellowship.

"How am I meant to set down at a table with people who are persecuting my friends?

"I don't believe I can pretend that the facts on the ground of the tearing of the fabric of the Communion doesn't exist.

"It is of great regret to me that the invite list includes almost all those who have torn the fabric of the Communion."

He went on: "That has been a very hard decision not easily come to. I wrote a year ago to the Archbishop of Canterbury that if the invitation list is not changed I would not be able to go.

"I believe I could not go and pretend that things are what they manifestly are not."

Bishop Benn is one of three Church of England bishops known to be boycotting Lambeth, together with the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the outspoken Bishop of Rochester who is a key figure at Gafcon, and The Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden.

Describing the discussions held at Gafcon about a way forward, Bishop Benn said: "There needs to be in Christian leadership a consistency and continuity between private and public lives, and faithfulness to apostolic teaching."

END

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