Wycliffe Hall on BBC radio

The Sunday radio programme had a feature on Wycliffe Hall. You can hear it by going here, and going forward 34 minutes 20 seconds. Better URL later in the week, after the BBC updates its site on Tuesday. About 10 minutes long.

Better URL now here:

Wycliffe Hall dispute
One of the Church of England’s six evangelical training colleges is at the centre of a dispute over the management style of its new principal. Since Richard Turnbull took over the reins at Wycliffe Hall, more than a third of its staff have resigned. Some also fear he’s wishing to take the college in a more theologically conservative direction. Mike Ford has been trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Listen (8m 54s)

Richard Turnbull declined to be interviewed (though clips from the video are used) but you can hear various other Evangelicals, including David Peterson, Graham Kings, Pete Broadbent, Christina Rees, and Chris Sugden.

Update Monday morning
You can read evangelicals commenting on this at various places:
Fulcrum forum thread here and Ugley Vicar comment thread here.

There is now a summary of the broadcast, below the earlier transcript of the video, here, complete with cartoon sketches of the people speaking.

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Pluralist
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Just look at these words from the BBC report: Commentator Mike Ford of the BBC: _Canon Dr Chris Sugden is Executive Secretary of a group calling itself Anglican Mainstream. He says many of the staff at Wycliffe lack experience of leading parishes and Dr Turnbull wants to train a new generation of ministers to build churches. Chris Sugden: Richard Turnbull comes from parish ministry and wanted to change the culture of what had been really a sort of free-spirited academic collective in common with all Oxford colleges. I think it is a culture-change situation in the institution led by the… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Pluralist, the phrase “…train a new generation of ministers to build churches” scares me. An autocratic organisational structure can decree that there is only one legitimate interpretation of the bible, that only that interpretation should be taught (lest the church lose souls to the evil one). If a diocese takes on that paradigm, the purpose of the colleges is to get marketeers into the field who build the organisation. That leads to rapid growth. The downside of it is that the subtlety and depth of various theological interpretations can be lost. That tendency can become exacerbated when propoganda ministers are… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

So sad to actually hear, word by word, Chris Sugden talking such rubbish in public about any believer who doesn’t think like he does. Two religions nonsense. Compare that with Canterbury who at least can acknowledge that protestants, catholics, and liberals have long been innate to the big tent Anglican mix. Sugden’s line in the theological sands of time? Transformation. Well, sir, most of us believers believe in the transforming path that following Jesus of Nazareth can hardly avoid being. Tangibly, pointedly, we differently-minded believers disagree sometimes about the exact shapes of the transformations that will occur for a person… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

It is all directional, purposeful and narrow. I see that some Fulcrum comment is not too happy with Chris Sugden’s view, calling it binary.

I’ve added the quotes above and summaries under my transcription, same page as before.

Pluralist
Guest

This is rather a good Conservative Evangelical summary by one of its kind, the Ugley Vicar, and the responses are rather good too, especially by Pete Broadbent which gives a neat summary in ten sections. Despite myself being on the liberal edge of the Church of England, I rather like his approach. http://ugleyvicar.blogspot.com/2007/05/why-open-means-closed-and-conservative.html This is Graham Kings in response. http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/forum/thread.cfm?thread=3666 And there is Graham Kings own use of an analogy of watercourses defining evangelicals: http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2003/20030930watercourses.cfm?doc=2 and wonder how it, like with using Pete Broadbent’s approach, differs from liberals if such tried a similar pattern (though, from what I see, liberals… Read more »

FrShawn+
Guest
FrShawn+

Those concerned with Wycliffe and current trends would be wise to note the history of Trinity Episcopal Seminary in Ambridge, PA here in the states. A similar shift toward the training of a particular kind of minster for a particular kind of Anglicanism has helped assure the current Network and the ascendency of +Duncan in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. It is intentional, it is planned, and it sadly divides the church.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

FrShawn

“It is intentional, it is planned…”

Absolutely. Only the naive think otherwise. Actually, they probably don’t think, which is part of the problem…

Pluralist
Guest

After Peter Broadbent’s ten points towards defining Open Evangelical, I have produced Ten Explanatory Areas for Liberal Stances in the Church of England at

http://www.change.freeuk.com/learning/relthink/libtencofe.html

I slightly altered the order and I didn’t merge any. It will be interesting to see any comments of disagreement and agreement here and of course anyone can offer rewrites in part or whole. Have I missed anything (or lots of things) important? Obviously it stretches to other Anglican Churches. I have posted a link on Fulcrum too where Pete Broadbent also put his ten points (scroll down).

http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/forum/thread.cfm?thread=3666

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pluralist,
thank you very much for those links, I shall bookmark them! I found myself nodding vigorously at every one of your 10 points.
But could you please explain the difference between a liberal Anglican Christian and an Anglican liberal Christian?

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Pluralist, thanks for those comments. (Aside: can you imagine what it’s like standing in a pulpit in front of this guy?:-) )

Pluralist
Guest

I shall try to become unnoticed in the pew by staring at the ceiling… Yes, the liberal Anglican Christian is not so denominationalist as the Anglican liberal Christian. I assume all are Christian first (OK, it is possible there might be a liberal Christian Anglican or a Christian liberal Anglican or even a Anglican Christian liberal or a Christian Anglican liberal…). Assuming Christianity (and Reform – and friends – does not, as we know) then the first is primarily Anglican in formation across the board about which they are generally liberally minded, whereas they Anglican Liberal is a denominational version… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pluralist,
I must be particularly dense today:
Liberal Anglican Christians and Anglican Liberal Christians are all:
Christians
Anglican
Liberal

An Anglican liberal would be different from a, say RC liberal, because he would be liberal in an Anglican context.
A liberal Anglican is a liberal within the umbrella of the Anglican church.

Is there any real theological difference between the two?

As for your “simple liberals”, yes, you put that very well. But I would not say that post modern liberals have more “content” or “clutter”, they simply intellectualise the same basic liberalism more.

Pluralist
Guest

Turning people I know into sociology of religion bundles, I can see characters who are really thoroughly Anglican even though they are liberal. Their formation is Anglican, the reference points are Anglican, they are steeped in Anglican patterns of worship, conversation, people, structures. They are walking, talking, Anglican ducks. So they are liberal Anglican Christians. However, there are some people, like me perhaps, who are formed in different religious places of which Anglican is one, or they may be formed via the Anglican but recognise their ideologically compatible brothers and sisters elsewhere. I mean, when I paid my visit to… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Wonderful explanation, thank you Pluralist.
I can understand your distinction between liberal modernist post modernist, at least intellectually. But one question remains – if there isn’t even a “kernel” of truth in all the Christian construction, why would a post modernist be attached to Christianity at all? The post modern symbolism still has to be FOR something.

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – what you list is ok as far as it goes but you massively reduce Jesus Christ, his words, his work and even his identity

– liberals like Ford Elms (sadly no longer posting here) would have a much richer (and truer) statement to put in place of what you have written…..and it does matter to Christians that you do not “underplay” Jesus Christ – but I realise that you are a Pluralist so you will tend to do exactly that

Pluralist
Guest

To answer Erika Baker first. It is for something. Whilst there is always a threat of nihilism, that is partly because of living with objectivity and then not having it. It is that the something is drawn out of the connections that the symbolism generates one part to other parts in a criss-crossing. But it is not locatable except in the use, in the doing. It is a reversal of the talking about something, as if there is the something and then you talk about it. Rather the talking is the generating of the something. It is the God is… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“liberals like Ford Elms (sadly no longer posting here)” SADLY no longer posting here? NP, you are surely the most thick skinned fellow I know. I’d like to refer you back to thread http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002378.html and within that comments: Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 4 May 2007 at 1:33pm BST Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 3:18pm BST Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 6:18pm BST Posted by: Ford Elms on Sunday, 6 May 2007 at 12:17pm BST Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 11:49am BST Posted by:… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pluralist,
how do spiritual experiences of God fit into this scheme?

NP
Guest
NP

Honestly Erika – I think it is a shame Ford is not around….he was very different in his approach compared to someone like Merseymike and holds much deeper Anglican beliefs than some others posting.

I have a lot of respect for Ford – even though we disagreed sometimes on TA

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Well, NP, it seems I posted too soon and I am as happy as you that Ford is now back.
Still… did you read any of the references I posted?
I have often felt very personally hurt by your judgmental and sarcastic mails that ignored every real argument I or anyone else made, and so has Ford. This goes well beyond “we disagreed sometimes on TA”.

Whatever our views, I do think we have a responsibility to treat our discussion partners with care, and it does strike me that you’re not even aware of the effect you have on people.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, Talk about heaping coals on the head of someone who does you wrong! I am, sincerely, touched. Given the other posts I have made on this one day return, I will now go away suitably chastened! Do consider what the difference you perceive actually means, though. Might it be that there are more categories in the world than Pure Evangelical and Faithless Liberal? I’m neither, you see, though you would put me solidly in the Liberal camp. Might it be that my frustration, spoken of in other posts today, is actually just a poor reaction to people having a… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Briefly, Erika, I don’t know! I suspect they are treated directly, and that God is understood economically by those prefering modernist language and as * generated * by postmodernists. Postmodernists of many kinds are dubious about “experience” because experience often comes pre-packaged by our language and expression. In my PhD I wrote how many of the realist heterodox that divided up the Trinity (theists, exemplarists, spiritists) stressed the spiritual and were often faiths orientated and stressed an overall unity to everything. Christian Evolution – Burton and Dolley I think – is an example of this dynamic approach. This might be… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Hey Ford – good to hear from you. Yes, I confess, I like arguing too – and that is not always constructive so I am sorry for that. And, yes, I know there are more than just 2 categories. The reason I respect you is that it is obvious that you are not one of those “liberals” who simply want to ditch everything which does not fit with your own thoughts. It is obvious that you are not in the AC with a political agenda but seeking to live out your faith. This is what I respect even if we… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Doing a lot of thinking, NP, and, to be honest, arguing with no expectation of ever agreeing is not actually a bad thing, as long as both sides konw that’s the score, and most importantly have the same sense of humour. But, my point remains. You think of me as “not one of those “liberals” who simply want to ditch everything which does not fit with your own thoughts”, yet you do not take the next step, whcih is to question whether this monolithic group of “liberals” that you see as doing exactly that actually exists at all, or is… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Now we have a reply from Richard Turnbull

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2092905,00.html

This isn’t important. What is important is the entryism of “capture” “strategic” and “generations” as spoken to Reform, and later Chris Sugden making a distinction between creating ministers and planting churches set against a free-spirit Oxford academia. So it is kind of diversionary.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Oh, NP, I trust my approach is totally different than yours, given that we have entirely different worldviews. I do not think that conservative evangelicalism has a single thing to commend it – it is simply poisonous, polluting everything it touches. A bit like the faith equivalent of pond slime.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Pluralist, Your reply sounds, well….learned. I’m sorry to be going on about this. My problem is that, intellectually, I see myself more of a postmodernist. But in your exposition, postmodernists are determined by not being particularly certain of anything. This is why I asked of an experience of God. I do believe I have had direct encounters with something I can only describe as “external to everything else I know and fitting my expectation of what God might be like”. Since then, I have still had an open mind – intellectually, but with a definite focus, because I just “know”… Read more »