The oldest Anglican evangelical group in Britain accused the next Archbishop of Canterbury of condoning immorality and called yesterday for him step down.
The Church Society said Rowan Williams was "leading people astray" through his liberal stance on homosexuality and said it would refuse to accept his authority. It issued its statement came after leaders of the society met Dr Williams to ask him to change his views or renounce his appointment.
David Phillips, general secretary of the 800-strong society, said members could not accept Dr Williams's belief that homosexuality was acceptable in a long-term relationship because, he said, it was against teachings in the Bible. "We had to tell him that he should not accept the post and it was clear that he is going to so we had to say that we could not accept his authority," said Mr Phillips. "He realised why we said it but he was obviously angry and upset."
The society's criticism of Dr Williams is the strongest so far by evangelical groups and follows similar views from more liberal elements such as the mainstream Church of England Evangelical Council and the Anglican Evangelical Assembly. Mr Phillips warned that schism was a possibility.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies