Fight Valiantly! Contending for the Faith in the Bible and in the Church of England
Posted by Ros Clarke, 21 May 2019
The latest Church Society publication is an exposition of the biblical teaching on contending for the faith, together with numerous stories of contending in the contemporary Church of England, and Bible study resources.
As the new Church Society slogan declares, “We are a fellowship contending to reform and renew the Church of England in biblical faith.” Contending for the faith is at the heart of Church Society’s work, but in fact it is a task given to every Christian. We pray for those who are baptised to “Fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life.” Jude writes to “those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ”, urging them to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 2,3).
Contending is not something we can leave to other people. In this book, Lee Gatiss examines the Bible’s teaching to see what it means to contend for the faith, when we must do it, how we go about it, what our manner should be, and what the goal of contending must be. In addition, he then considers how this teaching should be applied in the contemporary context of the Church of England. A third section of the book includes stories of contending from a wide variety of people, lay and ordained, in different contexts and facing different kinds of opposition. Finally there is a series of eight interactive Bible studies which could be used by individuals or in small groups, to help us understand and apply this teaching in specific situations.
Fight Valiantly! can be purchased here and there are discounted rates for orders of five or more copies.
“What a timely book this is! At a time when the Church of England’s adherence to biblical doctrine is under comprehensive pressure, here is a thoroughgoing examination of what the Bible tells us to do about it. We should contend, says Lee, as part of our gospel witness. This will involve us in courageous but godly behaviour; it will challenge us personally; but ultimately it will be glorifying to our Saviour and healthy for the church. Lee not only expounds New Testament passages with great care, but he draws widely on church history and then brings it all up to date with practical lessons for today. I commend Fight Valiantly! wholeheartedly, both for its gospel warmth and the challenges it presents, as a wonderfully comprehensive and firm biblical basis for staying in the Church of England as we contend.” Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone
“There are some who do not like the language of ‘contending’ because they perceive it to promote disunity or to go ‘against the grain’ of the gospel message of love. However, this book reminds us how important it is to be fervent in our treasuring of the gospel message we have inherited – and that to abdicate this calling of scripture is to diminish the gospel itself. In this book, Lee Gatiss examines the scriptural texts around ‘contend’ in a way that is lively, scholarly and informative, quarries from church history fresh wisdom for today, and ‘earths’ the challenges in practical and contextual examples. I believe this book can help us develop a biblical ‘edge’ to our leadership in these challenging times and I commend it for study to all church leaders – both lay and ordained.”
John Dunnett, General Director of CPAS and Chairman of the Evangelical Group on General Synod
“The Christian faith today is under attack both from ‘Christians’ and from outsiders. Lee Gatiss gives many examples, from biblical times up to today, of those who have had the courage, patience, and love to stand for the true gospel. This book will broaden your understanding and strengthen your perseverance.” Ben Kwashi, Bishop of Jos in Nigeria, and General Secretary GAFCON
“Many of us within the Church of England have forgotten (or perhaps never been taught) to think biblically. We remain grateful to those who made promises on our behalf at baptism, but we never seem to have grown up and owned the promises fully for ourselves. Fight Valiantly! is a clarion call which all Christian leaders, lay and ordained, urgently need to hear and to which all need to respond in action.”
Stephen Hofmeyr QC, Barrister and Secretary to the Church of England Evangelical Council
“Lee Gatiss has served us well with this encouragement to contend for the faith, even today, in England! From a full and revealing biblical review, with historical and contemporary stories, here is a hopeful and practical call to engage more seriously with the church, for the good of the gospel.”
Richard Crocker, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC)
“We don’t like contending, but sometimes faithfulness to Christ requires that we must. This book helpfully takes us to the Bible to show us why and how. An excellent resource for individuals, PCC members, and whole churches.”
Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s Oxford and Chairman of the Proclamation Trust
“Anglicans pray regularly: ‘help us, with all your saints, to contend for the truth and to grow into the likeness of your Son.’ All those in Anglican leadership, and the churches they serve, will be grateful for this courteous, constructive, and comprehensive account of what contending faithfully involves.”
Johnny Juckes, President of Oak Hill Theological College, London
“Lee Gatiss writes with passion, and compassion, on how to contend for the gospel. He helpfully reminds us that the role of laity is key, not only in contending for the faith (whether locally or in General Synod), but in protecting and working alongside their clergy. With practical questions for reflection throughout, some inspiring stories, and excellent and useful Bible study material, this is a wonderful,
comprehensive survey of a tough but necessary topic. I warmly commend it.”
Dr Chik Kaw Tan, Member of General Synod (Lichfield Diocese)
“Fight Valiantly! provides the church with a compelling, readable, and practical motivation to contend for Christianity. It is a timely work, yet, it demonstrates with clear biblical emphasis and broad historical awareness that this has always been the church’s task this side of glory—hence the name ‘church militant’. Numerous personal examples and the Bible study outlines aid the application of
the book into the reader’s experience. I warmly commend it.” Ed Loane, Moore Theological College, Sydney
“This book will equip our churches to contend for the gospel both with greater biblical courage and with godly integrity. The study questions enable both individual and group reflection and the more particular case studies root the teaching in practical action. Not all will agree with every conclusion, but it is a most helpful resource.”
William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate and Chairman of ReNew
Ros Clarke is Associate Director of Church Society and Course Leader of the Priscilla Programme
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