Uniting the evangelical tribes
Posted by Ros Clarke, 16 Sep 2019
Mark Wallace and Fiona Gibson's session from JAEC 2019, looking at what unites us, what divides us, and how we can set aside those differences to work together more effectively for Christ's glory.
Beginning with 1 Corinthians 1, Fiona Gibson and Mark Wallace take us through the issue of unity - and disunity - in the church. This is a practical session looking at ways in which evangelicals have been united in their work and witness, and with top tips for working towards this.
Please note that we are extending the podcast summer break until the new year. But never fear! Mondays are temporarily redesignated as Media Mondays, and we will be posting new audio content every week, beginning with the excellent talks from this year’s JAEC. Already available are Lee Gatiss’s challenging session on Titus 1 and Andrew Towner’s opening talk defining Anglicanism. Later in the autumn we’ll have some terrific talks to share from the Reform archive and a few other treats are in store as well.
No Red Lines
Posted by Tom Woolford, 12 Sep 2019
Tom Woolford considers the strategy of drawing red lines, and suggests a different biblical approach to protecting the flock from wolves.
I have no red lines. I am not going voluntarily to leave the Church of England under any circumstances. No, not even if the Church authorises services of blessing for same-sex unions. But I have not ‘gone soft’ on that or any other issue. There is no way that I would conduct such services: there is no way that I am going to bless what God calls sin (of course, this means that a situation is certainly conceivable in which I may be expelled from ministry in the Church of England – I’ll return to this possibility later).
Other classic evangelicals take a different approach; namely, to draw a line in the sand and plan to leave the Church of England if that line were crossed. There are several weaknesses with this approach. One such is that there are at least five or six different places where that line is drawn. For some, it will be an unbiblical liturgical innovation. For others, it will be a change in the canons. For a third group, it will be allowing clergy openly to be in sinful sexual relationships. Still others will walk if the Living in Love and Faith teaching resources establish ‘two integrities’ in the Church’s official teaching.
Indeed, for a few, their line has already been crossed – in the House of Bishops’ Guidance for adapting the renewal of baptismal vows to celebrate a gender transition, and/or in the toleration of false teaching and false living under the guise of ‘pastoral accommodation’ and ‘radical inclusivity.’ The line-in-the-sand approach is therefore a recipe for confusion, frustration, and division among those on the same side.
A second drawback is its inherent ambiguity. Has General Synod act A crossed line B? Has House of Bishops’ Guidance X transgressed ultimatum Y? Things are rarely – if ever – clear cut. There is always some (deliberate?) fudging that obscures whether the Rubicon has in fact been forded – and there always will be. Indeed, evangelicals both within and without the Church of England have warned of salami-slicing, ‘boiling the frog,’ and smoothing over a previous line-in-the-sand to retreat a little further and draw a new (also inevitably provisional) one.
To be absolutely clear, I think it would be disastrous and desperately wicked if the Church were to prepare blessings for things we must not bless, alter the canons to accommodate worldly thinking, give up the standard of chastity for ordained office-holders, or sanction false teaching. I have, and always will, resist such things with everything I can muster – in prayer and preaching, petitions and politics.
But I will not leave if those things happen. My reasons are not pragmatic.
Posted by Ros Clarke, 10 Sep 2019
Andrew Towner's opening talk from the 2019 Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference
What is Anglicanism and why does it matter? In this opening talk from JAEC 2019, Andrew Towner examines the nature of Anglicanism and the problems with defining it either too broadly or too narrowly.