Queen Elizabeth's former chaplain, Rev. Dr. Gavin Ashenden, has said that those who do not believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ actually took place are not real Christians.
In an open letter to the Times, Dr. Ashenden, who served as the Queen's spiritual adviser for nine years, responded to a recent survey showing that one in four British adults who consider themselves to be Christians do not believe the resurrection of Jesus really happened despite Paul's words 1 Corinthians 15:17: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins."
Dr. Ashenden said these Christians who do not believe in the resurrection "made the mistake of confusing British culture with Christianity," according to The Telegraph.
"Those people who neither believe in the resurrection nor go anywhere near a church cannot be 'Christians,'" he said. "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 report also found that 57 percent of the respondents who described themselves as "active" Christians, meaning they attend worship service at least once a month, completely believe in what the Bible says, word for word. However, among all the Christians who answered the survey, whether active or not, only 31 percent take the message of the Bible word for word.
Forty (40) percent of the Christian respondents said they believe the story of Jesus rising from the dead, but not exactly as how the Bible described it.
Majority of the Christians embraced the idea of "life after death," which in the survey included the concepts of heaven, hell and reincarnation. On the other hand, 46 percent of the total number of respondents, whether Christian or not, said they believed in life after death while another 46 percent said they didn't.
In turn, the Bishop of Manchester of the Church of England viewed the survey's finding in a more positive light and said it demonstrated just how many British adults, even those who did not attend church regularly, continue to hold on to "core Christian beliefs" to this day.
"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," the Bishop of Manchester said.
"This demonstrates how important beliefs remain across our society and hence the importance both of religious literacy and of religion having a prominent place in public discourse," he added.
At the time, Dr. Ashenden said he resigned his chaplaincy because "the success of the monarchy depends on the Queen not being drawn into political or cultural conflict. She needs to remain above it."
He wrote: "If you think it odd that a representative of the Defender of the Faith can't defend the faith you are right. But then some things are odd. But while the monarchy is Christian in its DNA, the country it presides over isn't. That is going to produce some incongruities, and this was one of them.
He added, "As so often in life, as Jesus warns us, we have to choose which god we serve. During this last week, I found I had come to a moment when I had to make a choice. In the Christian life, there are times when one has to renounce once kind of honor in the hope of gaining a different kind of honor."