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Word on Wednesday: Lee Gatiss on Transforming a Church

Posted by Sophia Akouo, 10 Jun 2015

Lee Gatiss from the Church Society conference on Transforming a Church.

At Saturday’s Church Society conference, Lee Gatiss gave the keynote talk (above) on how to transform a church, looking at the Bible and church history (from the Reformation to the Oxford Movement).

It is about both a local church and the national church. He explores what the Bible has to say about the subject of changing the church. We should not be surprised, he says, that “the church is changed over time as particular sins become prevalent in different times and in different places, and do their nefarious work in the body of the church.” On the other hand, “People are changed as God’s word does God’s work. And the church is changed in the same way, as the word is unleashed and prayed into the lives of God’s people.”

He also looks at three particular examples from church history of how the church has been transformed: by the Reformation (Luther and Cranmer unleashing the word); by the Puritans (through preaching and patronage); and by the Oxford Movement. I was a bit surprised to hear the third of those—wasn’t the Oxford Movement all about ritualism, the very opposite of what you’d expect the Director of Church Society to be promoting? Well, Lee examined the tactics of the ritualist movement, to see what lessons we can learn from their very obvious successes. Evangelicals, he said, won most of the battles against ritualism—but they lost the war.

He concludes with eight particular lessons for evangelicals in the Church of England today, as we seek to transform the church in positive ways. The most important: preach, pray, love, stay.

Someone on the day said it was “absolutely excellent.” See what you think by downloading it now for an hour of solid mental stimulation.

Sophia Akouo is an ordinary Anglican churchgoer who enjoys listening to good talks

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