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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 1 Oct 2014

Lee Gatiss has been listening to Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead, preaching on 1 Peter 1 at the recent Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference.

Peter writes to Christians, exiles and strangers in a hostile, immoral world, to strengthen them and encourage them in holiness.

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Posted by Chris Kilgour, 18 Sep 2014

As ‘Back to Church Sunday’ approaches (21 September), what role, if any, does The Book of Common Prayer have to play? Is it, as it is often seen, a hindrance to evangelism, or can it offer us something when we think about evangelism?

Samuel Leuenberger’s article, ‘Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest: The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England: An Evangelistic Liturgy’, wants us to see the evangelistic nature of the liturgies that lie at the heart of the Church of England.

He starts with a brief discussion of the sources of these changes, and it seems clear that, while the words and structure are Cranmer’s, some of the inspiration came from reformers like Peter Martyr, Martin Bucer and John Hooper (who studied under Bullinger). All three emphasised the need for ‘conversion and the appropriation of salvation through a personal decision for Jesus’.  Cranmer took the existing liturgies and modified them to suit both Reformed theology, but also this need for individual conversion.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 9 Sep 2014

At last week’s Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference I delivered the keynote 'strategy' address (given in previous years by the late John Richardson). The theme of the conference was 'The Effective Anglican: Seizing the opportunities of ministry in the Church of England.'

On this, I said: ‘My contention is that evangelicals as a constituency are double-minded with regards to their commitment to the Church of England. Only by resolving this, can we begin to make headway and be effective Anglicans.’

I looked at the competing narratives swirling around in English evangelical circles at present: that we are about to win (if we can just hold on until liberalism dies out); and that we are about to lose (or be kicked out of the Church). I then analysed some of the effects that this rather bipolar attitude to the Church of England is having on us.

In my response to the situation, I drew analogies with David Cameron’s approach to Scotland and the European Union, and took soundings from classical thinking on strategy (from Homer, Sun Tzu, Plutarch, Montgomery and Cortes – I did special papers on military strategic planning as an undergraduate many years ago, and have always loved it!) These help by suggesting that, ‘It wouldn’t be such a wise strategy to expend our own resources too quickly on building lifeboats with which to sail away into a more isolated spot.’

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