Thursday, January 10, 2008

Putting the venge into evangelical?

Good post from Ruth Gledhill today on the rumpus at Wycliffe Hall, one of the UK Anglican training colleges. Custardy, a Wycliffe Hall student, has some interesting comments. The national press has been following this one for a while. The latest development is that Elaine Storkey, a well regarded theologian and speaker, is going to court to claiming religious discrimination against the college, arguing that she was dismissed for being the wrong sort of evangelical.

By coincidence (?) I'm reading 1 Corinthians at the moment.
1 Corinthians 6
1 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?
2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!
5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?
6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another— and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

It's very sad that we have evangelical Christians taking each other to court, which itself says something about the failure of the Wycliffe structures to deal with the issues in a satisfactory way.

There are hundreds of other blogs poring over the small print of evangelicalism, and I have no intention of this becoming one of them. I just think it's tragic that evangelicalism is the strongest it has been within the Church of England for generations, that mission has never been more on the CofE agenda than it is now, and that we have a historic opportunity to be at the heart of this church which God loves and to help it to move forward. It is foolishness to be fighting, and squandering energy on working out who belongs to which theological clique. And if our theological students and ordinands are so weak-minded that they can't cope with being taught by someone of a slightly different point of view, then God help us.

Elaine Storkey says:
I am bewildered as to why anyone would want to spend their energy doing this when there is a world out there we should be speaking to of the love of God. And we should not just be speaking it, we should be living it, first of all, in the way we love one another, and also in the way we love them.

'What is the point of going out and trying to find heretics, so we can shoot them down? It seems so unloving and so unproductive. I cannot figure it out.

'Never before in the history of the evangelical church have we had so many evangelicals and of such talent. The whole way we could pull together with other people and other traditions of the church, it could be fantastic. But rather than do that, we end up squabbling. It is appalling. It is ridiculous. There is no victory there. It is just daft.'

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this, is exactly how I feel. What is going on in the world when we are sueing other Christians when we should be tellin people about Jesus - it makes me angry!

    Not sure I get Elaine Storkeys comments tho how can she say that when she is filing for discrimination?

    Thank goodness scripture says it right if only everyone would read and put into practice.


    (found your blog via comments on sts blog)