Archive for the 'Evangelical' Category

Damning evidence against theological liberalism

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

By Spencer D Gear

J Gresham Machen wrote this book in 1923, Christianity & Liberalism (New York: Macmillan). It is now in the public domain. An html version is HERE.

(image courtesy Eerdmans)

He wrote:

In the sphere of religion, in particular, the present time is a time of conflict; the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology. This modern non-redemptive religion is called “modernism” or “liberalism.” Both names are unsatisfactory; the latter, in particular, is question-begging. The movement designated as “liberalism” is regarded as “liberal” only by its friends; to its opponents it seems to involve a narrow ignoring of many relevant facts. And indeed the movement is so various in its manifestations that one may almost despair of finding any common name which will apply to all its forms. But manifold as are the forms in which the movement appears, the root of the movement is one; the many varieties of modern liberal religion are rooted in naturalism–that is, in the denial of any entrance of the creative power of God (as distinguished from the ordinary course of nature) in connection with the origin of Christianity. The word “naturalism” is here used in a sense somewhat different from its philosophical meaning. In this non-philosophical sense it describes with fair accuracy the real root of what is called, by what may turn out to be a degradation of an originally noble word, “liberal” religion (Machen 1923:4-5).

If it was bad then, imagine what it is like in the early 21st century?

What are the differences in belief between orthodox Christianity and liberal Christianity? How do we define ‘orthodox Christianity’ and ‘liberal Christianity’?

The orthodox, evangelical Christianity with which I am associated can be defined according to the Statement of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals:

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  • We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The liberal Christianity to which I refer can be defined according to ‘This we believe’ of the Progressive Christian Network (PCN) in Britain. The development of this credo was explained:

Gradually the focus of discussion changed. The statements in the Nicene Creed do not make any reference to the implications for us as followers of Jesus, they are historic statements to meet the particular need of the time when they are created … but for all of us, it was the commitment to follow Jesus which was paramount. It was agreed that we all regarded ourselves as “followers of Jesus whose life expressed something utterly profound and took to the limit the idea that power is not all important, that expressed the values of love, peace and justice.” We are all “committed to the way of Jesus which we find worthwhile and which takes us nearer to the underlying sacredness …. To God” and therein is mystery.

This is a developing, possible statement of faith or credo of progressive, liberal Christian faith by the Progressive Christian Network (Britain). It states:

    We are committed to:

  • being Jesus’ followers
  • imitating / living Jesus’ values
  • valuing Jesus’ example
  • sharing Jesus’ way to deity
  • trusting life’s ultimate goodness, sacredness and purpose.

The National Council of Churches (USA) has a liberal Christian statement of faith that lacks the essential theological specifics, just like the PCN’s credo. The NCC’s statement of faith it:

The National Council of Churches is a community of Christian communions, which, in response to the gospel as revealed in the Scriptures, confess Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, as Savior and Lord.

These communions covenant with one another to manifest ever more fully the unity of the Church.

Relying upon the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the communions come together as the Council in common mission, serving in all creation to the glory of God.

Both of these affirmations of theological liberalism don’t want to get into the specifics of the nature of God, human beings, sin, salvation, and Jesus Christ. Nebulous is the way to go!

Enter John Shelby Spong

Bishop John Shelby Spong portrait 2006.png

(photo courtesy Wikipedia)

One of the most damning pieces of evidence against John Shelby Spong’s theologically liberal views are what happened when he was bishop of the Episcopalian Church, Newark, NJ. It is reported inNewark’s Disastrous Decline Under Spong: Post-Mortem of a Bishop’s Tenure’.[1] Here it was reported:

Prior to Spong’s arrival as bishop coadjutor in 1977, the Diocese of Newark, like the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A (ECUSA), was facing a slow but steady decline from its peak membership in the 1960s. After Spong became the bishop in 1979, the rate of decline began to pick up.

Between 1978 and 1999, the number of baptized persons in the diocese fell from 64,323 to 36,340, a loss of 27,983 members in 21 years. That’s a disastrous 43.5% decline. The Episcopal Church, by contrast, saw a decline in the number of baptized persons from 3,057,162 in 1978 to 2,339,133 in 1997, a loss of 718, 499, or a substantial 23.4%, according to the 1998 Church Annual.

The Diocese of Newark under Spong, thus, has declined at a rate 20.1 percentage points higher than the rate for the entire Episcopal Church. This rate of decline is 86% faster than the Episcopal Church, whose losses are considerable in and of themselves.

As any statistician would note, the losses in the Diocese of Newark represent a highly statistically significant variation from the trends within the Episcopal Church. No systematic effort has been made to get at the exact causes that made losses in the diocese so much greater.

Ominously for the future, church members in the diocese are also getting older and there are fewer children in Sunday School. In 1976 there Were 10,186 children pupils in Sunday School. In 1999 there were only 4,833, a loss of 5,353. That’s 52.6% decline.

By 1997 the diocese had closed at least 18 parishes or missions which had existed when Spong became bishop. All of these parishes or missions were in urban areas. The details of the closing of these churches was reported by the author in an article in United Voice in 1997 titled “The Diocese of Newark’s Graveyard of Urban Ministry.”

The rate of decline under Spong – already fairly torrid – sharply accelerated after 1995. During the 1980s and early 1990s, there was often a loss of 1,000 members a year. From 1995 to 1998, there was a stunning drop from 44, 246 to 36,597 in only three years, a drop of 7,649 — or more than 2,500 a year.

The rate of membership decline under Spong is disastrous by any reasonable measure. Such a pace of decline cannot continue if the diocese is to survive and if the Episcopal church is to retain more than a marginal presence in northern New Jersey.

What’s the truth about the death of theism? Wherever theological liberalism has taken hold, church numbers have declined. Frank Pastore put it this way: ‘We’ve all witnessed the plummeting attendance of liberal mainline denominations for decades’ (‘The National Council of Churches should have died’).

An example would be the USA Episcopal Church. This recent article, ‘Episcopal Church Task Force Releases Report on Restructuring Plans(July 17, 2013).

“Entrenched bureaucracies and dozens of committees or commissions have accumulated over time. This has occurred even as the Episcopal Church has dropped from a high of 3.6 million members in the mid-1960s to 1.9 million members today,” said Walton. “The large amount of money that sustained these structures in the past is long gone, and the church looks very different than it did a generation ago.”

What’s the evidence for Church growth & decline?

Missions Jump

(image courtesy ChristArt)

Go to Christian forums on the Internet and you can find those who are promoting theological liberalism and want to put down anything that seems to be of a conservative Christian persuasion. Here are samples:

In my research on church growth or decline, I found these helpful statistics on church growth and decline:

As these links indicate statistically and generally, conservative, evangelical Protestants and conservative Roman Catholics around the world are growing in numbers while liberal Christian denominations are diminishing in size. The statistics are in and they are not applauding theological liberalism. Conservative, orthodox Christianity is on the upswing (generally) while liberalism is on the decline.

Frank Pastore’s assessment of the theologically liberal National Council of Churches (USA) was:

So much for the ‘church’ part of the National Council. These liberal groups really are putting their money where their mouth(piece) is, right onto the lips of the NCC.

The next time you hear or read the words “National Council of Churches”, remember they don’t represent the people in the pews, they represent the liberal foundations and organizations that are keeping them on life support.

The market had shouted. The NCC should have died.

Notes:


[1] This is referring to retired Episcopal bishop, John Shelby Spong. See his website HERE. See also:

(1) Bonhoeffer versus John Shelby Spong;

(2) John Shelby Spong: Anglican Nightmare;

(3) Spong, the Measure of All Things;

(4) Bishop Spong, the Theological Criminal: The Virtual Atheism of John Shelby Spong;

(5) Spong Kong Phooey: Why Spong’s “Christianity” is already dead;

(6) What’s Wrong With (Former) Bishop Spong? Rethinking the Scholarship of John Shelby Spong;

(7) Things John Shelby Spong Thinks He Knows About the Gospel of John;

(8) The bishop who was not.

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 13 March 2017.

What’s happening to music in evangelical churches?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Tuba

(image courtesy ChristArt)

by Spencer D Gear

There was a discussion on the use of instruments in church music on Christian Forums. One writer wrote:

[My] argument is in reference to those churches which have music bands with drummers and guitarists…. it doesn’t’ attract youths but certainly make them comfortable, the music is the same with the world’s music. Furthermore did anyone researched on the origins of drum beats? it originated from voodoo practice whereby they would beat a rhythm during their witchcraft worship. How many churches still practice old fashion hymns with just an organ or piano?[1]

[2]How does this view of drums fit with the use of cymbals? They are pretty loud instruments.

Here are some cross references dealing with loud percussion instruments:

Drum Praise

(image courtesy ChristArt)

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 Samuel 6:5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with castanets[3], harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums[4] and cymbals.[5]

1 Chronicles 13:8 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets.

1 Chronicles 15:16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

Ezra 3:10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel.

Nehemiah 12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.

New International Version ©2011 by Biblica

As for churches that sing hymns accompanied by piano and/or organ, there are not many around my region. However, the last 2 churches my wife and I have attended, including the current one, sing hymns from hymn books (now on digital projectors). One was Baptist and was packed to the rafters with people, including considerable numbers of teens and young adults. There was no need to do thrash music to attract the youth at that Baptist church.

The other, the one we currently attend, is Presbyterian. The congregation is elderly with a few young families – but not too many – and the numbers are dwindling. That has more to do with the lack of outreach than the nature of the music. I know of another Presbyterian church in Brisbane that has thrash music with expository preaching. A friend I know attends that church and puts up with the music so that he can be edified by the preaching.

Some of the issues for us

Listen to iPod

(image courtesy ChristArt)

These are some of the musical issues in churches for my wife and me:

  1. Does the service focus on worship of the trinitarian Lord God Almighty or is it human-centred? We seek the former.
  2. Is the content of the lyrics of the songs, hymns and spiritual songs Christ-centred and promoting sound doctrine? I’m finding many contemporary songs to have too many trite, subjective lyrics. There are a few with these characteristics in the older songs as well.
  3. Does the music drown out the lyrics or is the music meant to be an accompaniment to help with the adequate singing of the hymns/songs?
  4. Are the melodies singable for the average person who attends a church service? I’m a very average singer and I find many of the contemporary songs to be not meant for congregational singing, but are meant for performance by a group and band.
  5. Does the music support or detract from the message of the preacher/teacher?
  6. How much of the music is influenced by the nature of music in the contemporary culture?

To be honest, I am concerned at the direction in which many evangelical churches are going with music and preaching content in my part of the world. Contemporary music, light lyrics and topical sermons are the order of the day in evangelical churches.

Here are but two examples of the light lyrics, in my understanding:

Air I Breathe[6]

This is the Air I Breathe
This is the Air I Breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

Chorus

And I
I’m desperate for you
And I
I’m lost without you

Never let me go[7]

In the shadows; My spirit weak
Love broke through the darkness and lifted me
And I know you’ll never let me go

In the storm in the raging sea
Love conquered the fear and delivered me
And I know you’ll never let me go

Oh love in the shadows
Be the light who leads me on
You’re love I will follow
Be my guide, You’re will be done
Oh Lord

In the arms of the One unseen
Love carried the cross that was meant for me
And I know you’ll never let me go

Oh love in the shadows
Be the light who leads me on
You’re love I will follow
Be my guide, You’re will be done

Oh Lord I surrender, now forever I’ll be loved
In the love of the Father, You are faithful You are strong
So hold me now, hold me now, hold me now

Nothing in this life has walked these streets
Love opened my eyes show me what You see
And I know I’ll never let You go

Now compare

There is power in the blood

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Refrain

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Refrain

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Refrain

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Refrain

How great Thou art

Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

Refrain:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel he gentle breeze;

Refrain

And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die – I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

Refrain

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Do you see the picture of what is happening to music in the evangelical church?

References

Youngblood, R F 1992, 1, 2 Samuel, in F E Gaebelein (gen ed), The expositor’s Bible commentary, vol 3, 553-1104. Youngblood, R F 1992, 1, 2 Samuel, in F E Gaebelein (gen ed), The expositor’s Bible commentary, vol 3, 553-1104. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Notes:


[1] Christian Forums, Baptists, ‘Music: If it feels good, do it!’ zanness#171, available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7739696-18/ (Accessed 2 May 2013).

[2] The following is my response as OzSpen#181, ibid.

[3] The 1978 edition of the NIV translated this word as ‘songs’. Youngblood explains: ‘”Songs” (perhaps of victory….), the singular of Hebrew for which is sometimes equivalent to “music” (cf. 1 Chron 25:6-7) introduces the list of accompanying musical instruments that follows’ (Youngblood 1992:870). It does not make sense to me that the 2011 NIV translated with ‘castanets’, which is not common English here in Australia, when ‘songs’ would be much clearer to the contemporary reader. The ESV translates as ‘songs’ but notes that this is from the ‘Septuagint, 1 Chronicles 13:8, Hebrew fir trees’.

[4] ‘The systrum, mentioned only here in the OT, was used widely throughout the ancient Near East, especially in Egypt. It consisted of a handle fitted to “a metal loop with holes through which pieces of wire were inserted and bent at the ends. Since the holes were larger than the wire, the instrument produced a jingling sound when shaken. The Hebrew word comes from a verb which means ‘shake;’ so it is reasonable to suppose that the mea’an’im were sistra (Sellers, “Musical Instruments of Israel,” pp. 44-45)’ (Youngblood 1992:870).

[5] ‘”Cymbals” were of two kinds, one set of which were struck vertically (harsh/noisy cymbals) and the other horizontally (clear cymbals). The former may be reflected in the “clash of cymbals” and the latter in the “resounding cymbals” of Psalm 150:5. The cymbals here were probably clear cymbals (similar to but smaller than their modern descendants, bronze examples of which (cf. 1 Chron. 15:19) archaeologists have found at several cites in Israel (e.g. Beth Shemesh …; Hazor. While not mentioning sistrums, the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 13:8 concludes the list with “trumpets,” resulting in a total of six different musical instruments used to accompany the first attempt to bring the ark from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem’ (Youngblood 1992:870).

[6] Available at AlltheLyrics: http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/hillsong/air_i_breathe-lyrics-829435.html (Accessed 2 May 2013).

[7] Available at AlltheLyrics: http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/hillsong/never_let_me_go-lyrics-1037607.html (Accessed 2 May 2013).

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 April 2016.

Is fundamentalism a theological swear word?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

author photo

J I Packer (courtesy InterVarsity Press)

By Spencer D Gear

In my part of the world (Australia), to be labelled a ‘fundamentalist’ in relation to Christianity is to talk down to a person who is strict in his/her understanding of Bible doctrines. He or she may even dare to believe that the Bible in the original documents (the autographa) is the inerrant Scripture from God to human beings.

I also meet this kind of thinking on Christian forums on the Internet. Here’s one example:

Many in this forum hate me because I don’t accept the same fundamentalist views that they share. They don’t understand that outside of America, fundamentalism isn’t common and is viewed as a fringe belief.[1]

This was my response as OzSpen[2]

As far back as 1958, J I Packer[3] wrote, ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God (London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship). Some of his points include:

  1. Fundamentalism ‘is a word that combines the vaguest conceptual meaning with the strongest emotional flavour. “Fundamentalist” has long been a term of ecclesiastical abuse, a theological swear-word’ (p. 30).
  2. Fundamentalism ‘is, we maintain, the oldest version of Christianity; theologically regarded, it is just apostolic Christianity itself’ (p. 38).
  3. ‘The problem of authority is the most fundamental problem that the Christian Church ever faces. This is because Christianity is built on truth: that is to say, on the content of a divine revelation’ (p. 42).
  4. ‘To deny the normative authority of Scripture over the Church is to misconceive the nature of Christianity, and, in effect, to deny the Lordship of Christ’ (p. 68).
  5. [He is responding to liberalism’s attacks on ‘fundamentalists’ when he stated that] ‘The fundamental cleavage between so-called ‘Fundamentalists’ and their critics. The latter are, in fact, subjectivists in the matter of authority. Their position is based on an acceptance of the presuppositions and conclusions of nineteenth-century critical Bible study, which are radically at variance with the Bible’s own claims for itself’ (p. 72).
  6. ‘We have seen what the real issues are: the authority of Christ and the Scripture; the relation between the Bible and reason; the method of theology, and the meaning of repentance; the choice between Evangelicalism and Subjectivism…. First principles must be first dealt with. Evangelicals should not let themselves be intimidated by the shower of explosive words–‘Fundamentalist’, ‘obscurantist’, ‘literalist’ and the rest–that is regularly poured out upon them. they should request a reasoned statement of the accusations preferred against them…. For Evangelicals are bound, as servants of God and disciples of Christ, to oppose Subjectivism wherever they find it. Defending truth, and exposing error, are two aspects of the same task’ (p. 176).

That should be a starter from someone who is a British-born Anglican fundamentalist / evangelical scholar, theologian and exegete, J I Packer. He’s a Brit and thoroughly fundamentalist, but a scholarly presenter of biblical truth.

By the way, outside of USA and here in Australia, fundamentalism / evangelicalism is seen as Bible-based Christianity with a high view of Scripture. Of course, there may be extremists who are KJV-only and somewhat sectarian, but I’ve seen that in liberal Anglicanism and Uniting Churches Down Under as well. Try being an evangelical in a liberal Anglican, Uniting or Roman Catholic Church in Australia and you’ll be on the outer – really quickly!

So, who really are the fundamentalists? Those who disagree with your Bible-believing Christianity and label you as fundamentalist!

Notes:


[1] Greneknight #56 , Christian Forums, Apologetics, ‘Morality’, available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7681461-6/#post61206855 (Accessed 22 August 2012).

[2] OzSpen #59, available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7681461-6/ (Accessed 22 August 2012).

[3] The InterVarsity Press website gives these CV details of Packer, ‘J. I. Packer is Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also serves as contributing editor to Christianity Today. Packer’s writings include books such as Knowing God (IVP Books), A Quest for Godliness (Crossway), Growing in Christ (Crossway) and Rediscovering Holiness (Servant), and numerous articles published in journals such as Churchman, SouthWestern Journal, Christianity Today, Reformation & Revival Journal and Touchstone. Available at: http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/author.pl/author_id=120 (Accessed 22 August 2012).

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 October 2015.
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Whytehouse designs

 

Is N T Wright an evangelical?[1]

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

NTWright071220.jpg

(N T Wright 2007, courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

What is N. T. Wright’s position regarding evangelical Christianity? Rowan Williams, (hardly known for any evangelical persuasion) on the back cover of N. T. Wright’s magnificent exposition, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Fortress Press 2003) states:

No one could read this without learning something fresh about almost every verse of the Synoptics, and being provoked into new wrestling with the text … an Evangelical energy that will make it a book for prayerful meditations as well as intellectual stimulus (emphasis added).

You (ebia) may not like what Tom (N T) Wright calls his own theological perspective. He unashamedly calls himself an Anglican evangelical, but you don’t want to be identified as an evangelical, but you want to be associated with Tom Wright’s theological perspective. This is what Tom Wright says about his own view of his theological position:

I believe that to call myself an evangelical Anglican, and/or

an Anglican evangelical, is not to precipitate an identity problem, let alone a crisis, but rather to place myself at that point on the ecclesiological map where I am free to learn how to be a Bible person, a Gospel person, a Church person (emphasis added).[2]

This article associates N T Wright with the “open evangelical” movement.

Ridley Hall at Cambridge University, where Wright has taught, gives this explanation of the meaning of ‘open evangelical’:

We are unashamedly evangelical in our commitment to the authority of Scripture, the need for personal faith, the uniqueness of Christ and the free gift of eternal life for humankind only through his death on the cross. We recognize the truth of orthodox Christian belief as expressed in the early Creeds of the Church. We are open in a number of ways:

Open to the world around us. If we are to communicate the Gospel effectively we must be engaged in a process of “double listening” to the Bible and to the world, hearing the questions and the insights of others around us, and working to hear the message of the scriptures in the light of this.

Open to God’s work in other Christian traditions. Evangelicals do not have a monopoly on the truth, and through partnership and dialogue we seek to be open to learn from what God has done and is doing in other parts of His Church. This refers to other Christians in our own Western setting, but must also increasingly include the voices of our fellow believers in the Two-Thirds World.

Open to playing our full part within the Church of England. Following the lead set by the National Evangelical Anglican Congresses at Keele in 1967 and Nottingham in 1977, Open Evangelicals are committed to involvement in the structures of the Church of England and to making a significant constructive contribution to the direction of the Church’s life. And finally.

Open to God saying new things through the Bible and His Spirit. Being under the authority of scripture means we may need to be ready to change our mind as we understand more fully.

So, in identifying with the theology of Tom Wright, are you distancing yourself from identifying yourself as an Anglican evangelical when you say that you are not an evangelical. If so, you are not associating with the theology of Tom Wright as he defines his own theology.

Ebia did admit:

I don’t choose to use the label about myself [evangelical or liberal theology]. I’m not a big fan of labels.
I’m not a member of the green party either.[3]
I have been an active member, including Warden and lay-preacher, in an evangelical parish for the last few years. I’ve also been teaching Catholic RE. I’m comfortable in both contexts.[4]

Notes:


[1] This was my response (I’m OzSpen) to ebia, Christian Forums, Christian Scriptures, “Documentary Hypothesis” #36, available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7619203-4/ (Accessed 30 December 2011). Ebia did not want to identify herself as an evangelical (Anglican) or a theological liberal.

[2] Tom Wright 1980. “Justification: The Biblical Basis and its Relevance for contemporary Evangelicalism”, available at: http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Justification_Biblical_Basis.pdf (Accessed 30 December 2011).

[3] However her icon on Christian Forums indicates that she identifies with the Australian Greens Party.

[4] Christian Forums #41, available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7619203-5/ (Accessed 30 December 2011).

 

Copyright © 2011 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 15 October 2015.