Comments: More on Wycliffe Hall and Richard Turnbull

The anonymity is as Bates says, indeed unfortunate, not least because it encourages everyone to project their own big picture myths onto this episode in the absence of any public evidence. Perhaps staff do fear for their pensions, but what's the excuse for the "evangelical bishop" who is delighted the story's been exposed and won't have Oak Hill curates coming to his diocese?

Posted by Doug Chaplin at Thursday, 24 May 2007 at 7:00pm BST

Reflecting on Stephen Bates' article produced on Religious Intelligence, I did not back in 1989 (when my thesis went in) predict how much there would be this distinctive rivalty between forms of evangelicalism. I knew there were differences between a more moderate, communal and social evangelicalism, and that represented by a narrower biblicalist even fundamentalist (some cases) group and otherwise charismatics. Nor did I understand then that the break point, the fissure, is not between the main groups (orthodox liberal, heterodox liberal, conversionist, traditonalists) but actually cuts across the conversionist main group as a decision of what to do and who to associate with.

It has happened because of the decline of really conservative traditionalists, particularly Anglo-Catholics. Because the broad Church, who once were middling (I called them orthodox liberals) have been pushed into a liberal camp, the strain is on the evangelicals.

I think this is how to see Richard Turnbull's lecture. He is defining his party as one that excludes open evangelicals. He calls them liberal evangelicals. That must make their position even more difficult, if he gets his way. It could just be that conservative evangelicals are overselling their hand, and a split point moves closer to them. They could well be helped shortly by Akinola in Nigeria too. They are obviously very self-confident, but perhaps the split point is shifting more towards them all the time they continue their cause.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 24 May 2007 at 8:26pm BST

Another excellent piece on this topic from the liberal press in this morning's Independent.

Nice to see Thinking Anglicans making the news too!

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 1:32am BST

Very amusing. 95% of the population going to hell for not believing in a myth.

Didn't fools like this die out about 500 years ago in medieval Europe?

Posted by kk at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 1:59am BST

"So those are my four points about evangelical identity: the priority of scripture, substitutionary atonement at the heart of our doctrinal beliefs, the need for personal relationship with Jesus and our commitment to evangelism."

OK then, but AT LEAST two of those points (#2&3) point to *Calvinism* (in its piestistic iteration, in case of #3), NOT Anglicanism. Why the heck are these folks in the CofE? Aren't there (now) plenty of other Calvinistic flavors of Christianity in Blighty?

Posted by JCF at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 5:44am BST

Read the Reform Covenant on Marriage and the wider Sugden inspired one, and you will see how these " conservatives" and " orthodox" have to hide the fact that they cananot agree as to what constitutes heterosexual marriage. That is , is divorce and re-marriage allowed. To hide this, they have made their definitions ambiguous and generalised. To pubicly admit the diffference gives lie to their belief in the perspicuity of Scripture.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 6:53am BST

Pathetic to see people obviously hoping that there are great divisions amongst evos!

Sorry to disappoint you but "liberal evangelicals" is not a term that Reform people would use of Fulcrum people.....there is a solid core in the mainstream.

"liberal evangelicals" would be those who say they are evangelical but do not have the courage to say, eg on Lambeth 1.10, that those who contradict them are wrong, wanting to avoid conflict and accept all and varius views - this is a small group.

I am more of a Reform person (though not a member) but I am completely comfortable with and have the greatesst respect for Fulcrum people like ++Wright and Dr Goddard.

But do carry on hoping for divisions if you like.

Posted by NP at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 7:08am BST

Richard Turnbull's "words had been interpreted as meaning that Christians who were prepared to take Communion from women or gay priests were on the road to hell." (The Independent). Just when you thought, this could not get more ridiculous...it did!

Posted by Thomas Renz at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 9:19am BST

"I am more of a Reform person" (NP.

Other surprise headlines today:

"Pope Benedict announces he is a Catholic."

"Ursine faeces found in forest."

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 9:36am BST

NP said
"people obviously hoping that there are great divisions amongst evos! (snip) "liberal evangelicals" would be those who say they are evangelical but do not have the courage...."

In other words, there IS a split within evangelical anglicanism, but it is denied by the simple expedient of declaring those with whom the split is taking place 'not evangelicals'. The purge has begun, clearly, and even our pet ConsEv cannot help but undermine his own assertions. "There is no split, because those with whom we disagree aren't fit to be evangelicals." Sounds just like the Labour Party ca 1983

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 9:56am BST

I guess the college rows do reflect the tensions in Anglicanism albeit in the hot house context of the colleges. It does seem that the Bishops need to look at their reviewing procedures of colleges. The English colleges are in danger of separating themselves off from more central church life - and this (as I comment in my own blog) is in both the liberal and the conservative camps.

Posted by Audrey at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 1:22pm BST

NP. It is a matter of observation. Sometimes it is called research. A number of Open Evangelicals are cross with Rev. Turnbull because of the implications of what he is saying, others are confused yet wish for the best. Others try to mention something called Conservative Evangelical scholarship as some sort of get-out for Open Evangelicalism, but they know the difference.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 3:10pm BST

Mynster - very funny indeed re the pope etc...but note I said I was not a member of Reform!

Mr Bates - yes, sources within the college who do not have the courage or integrity to speak out publicly.....if they are sure of their case,they should take that risk and will be proved right and thanked by me and everyone else.

Pluralist...I think the only "open" evos I have heard of are a small number from Southwark - they walk and talk like liberals and think it is fine for people to ignore scripture when it does not suit them so they are clearly not really evangelicals - even if they use the name.

Posted by NP at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 4:02pm BST

Taking NP's comment about not belonging to Reform (though sympathetic to the movement) and applying a little reflection to Dr. Turnbull's protestation that he is not a member of a pressure group, I wonder whether (in Turnbull's case, NOT NP's) his present position is even 'worse'.

There was a movement in some extremist political circles to have sympathisers around who were not members. This enabled people to say 'Though I am not a member of the British National Party, I have to say I agree with their logic on....' and the like. It surrounds the pressure group with a patina of respectability, implying the existence of a large number of non-paid-up supporters. A shame he blew it by appearing on the Reform platform, eh?

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 4:48pm BST

NP - the vast majority of evangelicals in the CofE are "open" evangelicals, defined as committed to scripture and creeds, committed to evangelism, committed to holistic mission, and also committed to the CofE, the total engagement of women in ministry at every level, the insights of biblical scholarship, and a belief that they can learn from and work with other Christians in the liberal and catholic traditions. Most con evos couldn't sign up to more than the first two of those categories. But con evos tend (huge generalisation) to come from big churches where they don't have to engage with these issues.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 5:42pm BST

NP. The website base for Open Evanglicals is Fulcrum.

http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/

As here, only a tiny proportion mouth their opinions, but it is a good microcosm. Whereas Thinking Anglicans is news driven for its ongoing discussion cul-de-sacs, Fulcrum is mainly articles driven to push the idea of central evangelical scholarship. I go on there occasionally to offer a different view, and say it is an outside view, just to find areas that might be discussed from time to time. It is always important to try and have conversation and points of agreement with those who might otherwise disagree.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 25 May 2007 at 10:42pm BST

Mr Broadbent - I accept what you say but I think the term "open evangelical" has been given a specific meaning which is closer to "liberal evangelical".....eg those who say they are evangelical but will not speak out against VGR or others who flagrantly break the teaching of scripture and the AC.

I think this "open" question is a red herring and designed to split evangelicals.

Personally, I have not problem with evangelicals in "Reform", "Alpha" or "Fulcrum", "New Wine" type churches - they are all evangelical and not calling for compromise on scripture.....but people will try and divide and rule in the CofE, I am sure.

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 29 May 2007 at 7:19am BST

Pluralist - by the way, you know Fulcrum, "open evangelicals" as you say, are fully behind Lambeth 1.10 and fully against the ordination of VGR etc?

Nice try to split evangelicals....but if Fulcrum are the "open" evos.....as a conservative, I am very encouraged because they are faithful Anglicans, commited to scripture, the AC and the CofE's long-term health.

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 30 May 2007 at 8:58am BST

OK, NP - who actually are you (while we are on the subject of courage). As an evangelical I would broadly agree with Pete Broadbent . . .

We are also forgetting, in our limited anglican only world view of evangelicals that there are a whole host of evangelical chuches, groups - in america - that hot bed of Conservative evangelicalism that gives the term here a bade name - who are thriving, evangelical, biblical and, on one particular issue where evangelicals in the anglican church are split (women in leadership) - to name them, Willow Creek Association, Vineyard Churches, YWAM . . .

Posted by Ali Campbell at Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 3:37pm BST
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