‘As we consider the life of the local church, we must beware of three types of people in the church who can bring harm upon themselves while at the same time doing harm to the entire church. Look out for such people and when you identify one in your church—labor in discipleship in order to save them from much error.’
Duncan Forbes highlights that British Conservative Evangelicalism has very limited room for minority faces and accents. If our churches don’t meaningfully press toward diversity, we are failing at the unity to which Christ calls us.
My friend, Stephen Watkinson, tackles some of the reasons towns like his and mine (we’re in adjacent boroughs) struggle to attract Christians. ‘In the larger, broadly middle-class churches that dominate evangelicalism, what idolatries are stopping the kind of sacrifice that might be needed to make a difference in this shifting of resources? Here are a few ideas – things that come to mind probably because they are things I’ve thought more or less consciously myself.’
Martin Salter, by way of Mark Meynell, considers a problem of stupidity that is the preserve of the supposedly better educated. As it happens, I suspect the point applies not so much to those who are more educated per se, but those who imbibe more second-hand information. Rather than being principally an education problem, which class grouping – who tend to read newspapers and popular level books and form rock-solid opinions based on that information – do you think the cap most snugly fits?
‘Never read a Bible verse. Never try to determine the meaning of a biblical text without reading its context. Always read a paragraph before and after. Even better, read the whole chapter or entire biblical book… If you don’t, this can create two related problems.’
Eddie Arthur queries the sense of worrying about the take-over of a hostile culture without recognising the less-than-supportive environment we currently inhabit. The mission of the church remains the same regardless of our culture roundabout us.
‘At the end of the discussion, both Phillips and Skinner agree that Singer’s “cold, calm logic” is “hard to fault”. Certainly there is a logic to the view that says the termination of children in the womb is of little difference to the killing of children up to the age of three. There is an even straighter line from the ability to terminate disabled children in the womb up to birth and the view that disabled children can be killed after birth (non-disabled children cannot be terminated after 28 weeks forcing us to draw the only conclusion possible, the disabled are not viewed equally or equally valued in the eyes of society). So there is a certain, almost consistent, logic here. But here is where the logic begins to fail…’