One in four self-proclaimed Christians don't believe in the Resurrection
The Reverend Dr Gavin Ashenden was commenting on a survey which had found one in four self-proclaimed Christians do not believe in the Resurrection.
In a letter to the Times, the Reverend said the survey had “made the mistake of confusing British culture with Christianity”.
He added: "Those people who neither believe in the Resurrection nor go anywhere near a church cannot be 'Christians'.
"As with so many things, the key is in the definition of terms.
“Discovering the evidence for the Resurrection having taken place to be wholly compelling is one of the things that makes you a Christian; ergo, if you haven’t, you are not."
The BBC survey, carried out to mark Palm Sunday, found that 23 per cent of those describing themselves as Christian “did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” at all.
Conversely, almost one in 10 non-religious people said they did believe in the Resurrection.
The ComRes survey of more than 2,000 participants also found that 46 per cent of those asked believed in some form of life after death – including one in five non-religious people.
The Reverend Dr Gavin Ashenden has left the Church
The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend David Walker, said that the findings showed that non-churchgoers "hold core Christian beliefs”.
He said: "Alongside them it finds surprisingly high levels of religious belief among those who follow no specific religion, often erroneously referred to as secularists or atheists.”
Dr Ashenden resigned as chaplain in January after publicly criticising a church that allowed a Koran reading during its service as part of an interfaith project.
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The Reverend, who has been one of the 33 special chaplains to the Queen, said the reading was “a fairly serious error” and one which he had a duty to speak out about.
Following this, he left the Church of England in March.