Saturday, March 5, 2016

Oh no, evangelicals are taking over the church

Well, arguably they are doing so, sort of, in the CofE, as analysed here at Psephizo.

Actually, I think the key point is not whether evangelicals are taking over the C of E, but why fewer and fewer ordinands are being drawn from its liberal and catholic wings.

6 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"Actually, I think the key point is not whether evangelicals are taking over the C of E, but why fewer and fewer ordinands are being drawn from its liberal and catholic wings." - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Have you thought Peter, that 'liberals and Ango-Catholics' may not want to be part of a Church that still seems to be homophobic and sexist? Perhaps they see civil society as a better way of bringing justice.

Ian Paul said...

Thanks for linking. I think you are right--that is the question, and it is one which no-one appears willing to engage with!!

Brian Kelly said...

Well, I will attempt an answer.

1. "Real" or traditional Anglo-Catholics have largely given up on the Church of England, mainly as a consequence of women's ordination and the conflict they have faced from liberal Catholic bishops of the Affirming Catholicism strain. The Ordinariate has taken away their most able leadership and committed members.
2. There are few liberal or Anglo-Catholic parishes in England with a usual Sunday attendance in excess of 100 or so. Their congregations are rather elderly and have few young families or people in their twenties attending.
3. On the other hand, there are still significant numbers attending part-time ordination courses. These are rather liberal in character and don't put much stress on intensive biblical study or preaching. The majority of students are women over 40 or older, who are not aspiring to become incumbents, though some will be. Maybe a good number of these students are evangelical but many are not. The liturgical rule in these places seems to be liberal Catholicism and the theology broadly liberal, though probably not as radical as in the past.
4. The livelier Anglican churches are usually evangelical or evangelical-charismatic, which are generally younger and student-focused and have abandoned robes and liturgy. Most younger ordinands seem to come from this background. Networks like New Wine or more Calvinistic groups like the Proclamation Trust are the real matrix for these new leaders.
5. Congregations seem to prefer younger married men as their curates or vicars. A small liberal congregation or an elderly Anglo-Catholic one may not be the most appealing start in ministry for a newly-ordained person.

Pageantmaster said...

Everyone is calling themselves an 'evangelical' these days, even I gather Jeffrey John. There are conservative and open evangelicals and affirming evangelicals and so on.

Many who claim the mantle nowadays are a long way from the definition John Stott and others went to much trouble to clarify through the Lausanne movement of that time.

'They are evangelicals Jim, but not as we know them.'

Brian Kelly said...

Jeffrey John? I recall he was given a spot on a BBC Lent series (don't know if they do such things any more; maybe the Muslim head of religious broadcasting does a Ramadan series instead) in which he inveighed against penal substitution and other evil doctrines (coincidentally also taught in the Catholic Mass, which is understood as the sacrifice for the sin of the world, i.e. penal substitution for sin).
John was, I think, brought up in evangelical circles in Wales, so maybe he is referring to his childhood.

Pageantmaster said...

Brian Kelly:

"Jeffrey John?"

Yes, I too was surprised when I read the quote, a few years ago and sadly I no longer remember where, particularly since it came from a founder of Affirming Catholicism, along with Rowan Williams and Frank Griswold. No he doesn't hold to much that Stott's definition held to be important about evangelicals.

Perhaps he is one of the new revised version evangelicals.

All of which goes to my point that there have been efforts to render the term evangelical almost meaningless, and the labelling of Christian supporters of Donald Trump as evangelicals has not been particularly helpful either.

In case of interest, here is Stott on the essence of Evangelicalism:
http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/10/stott-on-the-essence-of-evangelicalism

There is a formal definition adopted in the '70s by one of the Lausanne type conferences but I would have to do some digging to find it. Perhaps others remember.