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Evangelical C of E bishop withdraws endorsement of controversial book

Evangelical C of E bishop withdraws endorsement of controversial book

Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, Suffragan Bishop of Lewes on the south coast of England, has apparently withdrawn his prior endorsement of a controversial book advocating marital rape, a tweet from former St. Paul’s Chancellor Giles Fraser tells us.


The book, Britain in Sin by Stephen Green, was endorsed by Bishop Benn as

… interesting and disturbing reading. We desparately need to understand, as a nation, that our Creator knows what is best for us, and to return to His way as the best way to live.

From Samuel FB Morse:

The book in question, Britain in Sin by well-known fundamentalist Stephen Green of ‘Christian Voice’, accuses the Queen of breaking her Coronation Oath by signing into law 57 pieces of what Green describes as ‘unrighteous legislation’ which he claims offend Biblical principles. These include the Criminal Justice Act 1994, which introduced the offence of marital rape. As recently as 1990 (R v Sharples), a man avoided prosecution for forced and unwanted sexual intercourse with his estranged wife, by successfully arguing that even a Family Protection Order did not constitute a withdrawal of consent to sexual intercourse by a married woman. Green claims that “the marriage service of the Book of Common Prayer” establishes “a binding consent to sexual intercourse” and a married woman therefore has no right to refuse unwanted sexual advances from her husband. The book also criticises the 1970 decision to abolish a man’s right to petition a court for “the restoration of conjugal rights”.

Prior to the news of the withdrawal of the endorsement, Ekklesia’s Symon Hill wrote:

To be fair to Wallace Benn, it is possible that he never made this comment and that Stephen Green is misleading us. In which case, Benn should say so and demand that Green remove the comment from his website instantly. To be charitable to Benn, it is possible that he did not read the booklet before endorsing it, or that he made the comment some time ago and has now changed his mind. If this is the case, Benn needs to publicly and clearly withdraw his endorsement.

According to The Eastbourne Herald, Benn was investigated “by Lambeth Palace after a safeguarding advisory group made an official complaint against him alleging misconduct.”

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Benedict Varnum

The fact that anyone could possibly envision that the marriage service in the BCP might be used to justify forced sex with an unwilling partner is another moment to recognize that marriage should be connected to mutual commitment, respect and encouragement, and not tied legalistically to whether you’re allowed to have sex.

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