Letter to the Editor
I read with some dismay your article on the oldest established Free Church of England leaving the denomination. It was disappointing to read your review of the difficulties of the Denomination dating back to 2004 – only history and the judgement of God will, in due course, determine what lay behind the vexatious and divisive actions of some at that time.
It is the cause of the congregation leaving the FCE that is missed in your report. It is simply a matter of a Clergyman who has functioned with permission but without licence who refuses to accept the authority of his Bishop or his Church. Rather than fulfil his vow of Canonical Obedience this minister continues an unauthorised ministry and, to justify this, has persuaded his Church Council to withdraw.
I cannot and will not offer further details on the matter but can assure you that they would justify the actions taken. It is not a matter of theology or orthodoxy but of Church discipline.
With regard to the call for repentance, John 8:7 is always salutary.
Dr Bob Stephen
General Secretary of the Free Church of England
Company Secretary of the Free Church of England Central Trust