Leading evangelicals in Britain are rushing to staunch the tide of criticism leveled at incoming archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams by their own associates, who have questioned his position on sexual morality and demanded he renounce his views or decline the position.
Archbishop Williams, who becomes the next archbishop of Canterbury this month on the retirement of George Carey, has refused to decline his appointment in response to conservatives who have told him he must denounce sex outside marriage and affirm the need for discipline for those who disobey, including those who seek ordination.
In a letter to the Church of England Newspaper, other evangelicals have told the archbishop's adversaries to stand down in their attacks, condemning their behaviour as "morally unacceptable" and "unbiblical."
"The precedent this would set is ecclesiologically and morally unacceptable," they wrote. They also condemned the tactic of exerting pressure by public confrontation "rather than by private persuasion. …