Are evangelicals (right to be) paranoid?

Oct 2, 2017 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

There’s an old saying: ‘Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.’ (Think about it…) Evangelical Anglicans are often accused of being a little paranoid about their place in the Church of England—but do they have any grounds for being so? I sent this letter to the Church Times last week, though it was not published—perhaps because it sounded a little too paranoid?

How fascinating to read of the report of the Festival of Preaching organised by Canterbury Press and the Church Times. If the Church is going to experience both renewal and reform, this must surely come as much from preaching as from organising and strategising, and this means that preaching itself must be both renewed and reformed. The range of insights into crafting and delivery, handling texts and handling self-as-preacher, looked both engaging and transformative, and sharpened my regret at not being able to attend.
How surprising, then, to find two traditions which prize preaching so highly—the conservative evangelical and the charismatic—to appear to be almost totally absent from the otherwise impressive array of speakers. All the more surprising when the promotion for the event two weeks previously was juxtaposed with Bishop Philip North’s inter-traditional (and almost ecumenical) appreciation of summer festivals, in which he visited Keswick and New Wine as well as his ‘home territory’ of Walsingham. At Keswick he found that ‘The preaching is enormously impressive in its intellectual rigour and, while it may not be to everyone’s taste, the purpose of the conference — to sit beneath and be converted by the Word — is never diluted.’ At New Wine he observed a different focus, one of ‘a strong desire for a proclamation that is relevant to the immediate needs and aspirations of the culture.’ I would be surprised if the Festival of Preaching could not have been enriched by these two important perspectives. 

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