Melvin Tinker: The Influence of Liberalism upon Evangelicalism – the Curate's Egg

…How does one with a clear conscience institute a man into a living who you know is not going to proclaim the gospel? This issue has been around a lot longer than the question of instituting women into such positions. How does one work in a ”˜senior staff’ team with people who deny fundamentals of the faith or add traditions which amount to a subtraction? The answers are not easy. One common ploy is to adopt what can be called the Anglican fairytale; that despite our apparent differences, deep down we are all one and on the same side. A more moderate rationalisation is conciliation or compromise for the sake of influence. This is not very different from the sell-out to the academy. There does, however, seem to be the need to deny reality in adopting either approach. Regarding the former, it is manifestly not the case that the likes of Jeffrey John and John Stott are on the same team. Relating to the latter, the increasing number of ”˜evangelical’ names added to the episcopal list has hardly resulted in a more orthodox and spiritually vigorous national church as evidenced by dwindling congregations and ordinations.

In 1984, Dr. Francis Schaeffer made a passionate appeal to the world evangelical constituency to stop its ”˜worldly accommodation’. In its place he called for ”˜loving confrontation’, not for its own sake but for the sake of truth and the glory of the God whose word is truth and the ultimate well being of the people he has made. The need for such confrontation remains, more so than twenty years ago. Liberalism in the threefold form we have identified has made significant inroads into Western evangelicalism and more specifically Anglican evangelicalism. Confusion results on matters of belief and behaviour when there should be clarity; compromise where there should be conviction with a resulting fragmentation and drift. Perhaps the fragmentation should continue and realignment around the centre needs to occur for a more authentic and robust evangelicalism to arise. It is certainly time that the ill-fated affair that evangelicalism has been having with liberalism should end and for the movement to regain confidence in its defining convictions once more.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)