A former chaplain to the Queen is calling on Christians to leave the Church of England for more conservative congregations.
Rev Gavin Ashenden told Rev Jules Gomes in an interview for The Conservative Woman that the CofE was more comfortable with politics than spirituality. He urged "ordinary Christians" to leave their Anglican churches for "one that has kept as much of the historic, apostolic and biblical values as possible".
Ashenden resigned from his post as Chaplain to the Queen last weekend after he criticised a Scottish cathedral for hosting a reading from the Quran in a service. The reading included a passage that denied Jesus was the son of God – a key Christian belief.
Explaining why he stood down, the outspoken priest and academic said Buckingham Palace officials had intervened after his strong opposition to the reading at St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow.
He wrote on his blog post that had been made to realise "a very important convention that the Queen should not be drawn into public affairs where she is deemed to be taking a position".
He added: "After a conversation instigated by officials at Buckingham Palace, I decided the most honourable course of action was to resign."
In the interview with Gomes, Ashenden said the Church had become "so politicised that it matters more now that you are a feminist than a theologian or a baptised Christian".
Gomes himself has been barred from ministry after being found guilty of unbecoming conduct when he was a priest on the Isle of Man. The chairman of the tribunal dealing with his case, Geoffrey Tattersall QC, said he had an "over-inflated view of his own self-importance", and dealt with people with "little or no compassion or pastoral concern". He was also found to have lost his temper and displayed anger even to supporters. Gomes also gave a radio interview describing the Bishop as vindictive and compared the CofE's approach to disciplinary issues with Sharia law.
In the interview published in The Conservative Woman blog, Ashenden hinted he would also leave the Church, which he said was dying.
"I'm not sure I see much point in a Church that just wants to be accepted as a sort of not too irritating chaplain to a secular and hedonistic culture, which is what it seems to be becoming.
"I want to remain a faithful Anglican, but increasingly it looks like that is only possible outside the CofE," he said.
He added: "The CofE is much more comfortable with politics and power than it is with the Holy Spirit, which is why both Wesley and Newman had such difficulty remaining in it.
"The weaker clergy are spiritually, the more they take refuge in politics. They become terrified when called up on it, because deep down, I think they know they have lost their reliance on the Holy Spirit and are frightened of that being exposed."