What Lent disciplines do we need to embrace?

One of the constant temptations of evangelicalism is to decide that we have all the answers and so do not need to listen very carefully to what others say. A parallel temptation is to have the same attitude to God. He has revealed himself in Scripture and has made his will evident—so surely we just need to get on with it? Ironically, this attitude is potentially made worse by recent research on church growth. The Centre for Church Growth in Durham has identified key strategies and practices that lead to growth—so surely all we need to get on an implement them, don’t we?

This attitude is evidenced in four tendencies:

Individualism Evangelicals are not unique in this, but we have often valued strong leaders and heroic individuals. If there is a sense that God has raised up a ‘charismatic’ (in terms of personality) leader, then evangelical culture often makes it hard to ask appropriate questions, and shared leadership doesn’t appear to come naturally.

Modernist rationalism. Evangelical commitment to doctrinal expressions of faith can be very helpful in clarifying issues and positions. But it can also be a sign that the underlying philosophical assumptions are highly rationalist, and assume that the autonomy of the sensing subject at the centre of the process of acquiring knowledge. This rationalist approach can also mark some evangelical approaches to the interpretation of Scripture. As long as we have mastered the text, and have the appropriate techniques of interpretation, then we can have complete certainty about what texts might mean in new contexts. In this approach, there is little room for ambiguity or uncertainty.

Can we still talk of being ‘lost’ and ‘found’?

The idea that those outside the Christian faith are ‘lost’ has, in the past, been of central importance in evangelical devotion. Around 10 million times a year, Christians sing John Newton’s autobiographical devotional hymn: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, … Continue Reading

Tyndale NT Study Group 2018

The Tyndale New Testament Study Group is part of the Tyndale Fellowship for biblical and theological research, based at Tyndale House in Cambridge, and including evangelical scholars from all over the world. The 2018 NT Study Group will be meeting at Tyndale House from 27th to 29th June 2018 (note: one week earlier than previous years). Our theme this year is … Continue Reading

What does detailed biblical study offer ministry?

Father Richard Peers offers this review of the Tyndale Fellowship NT Study Group at the beginning of July: Anyone following current education debates on Twitter or in the blogosphere will know that there is a revolution taking place in schools. The old progressive ways of discovery learning are giving way to knowledge-based learning. Facts, memorisation … Continue Reading

Should faith be ‘certain’?

Dave Tomlinson is a well-known author who came to fame with his book The Post-Evangelical in 1995—reprinted in 2014 as an SPCK Classic! The book was launched at Greenbelt, and Tomlinson talks of himself as a ‘progressive orthodox’, language which might characterise the Greenbelt movement. His latest book is Black Sheep and Prodigals: an antidote to black and white religion, and … Continue Reading

Tyndale NT Study Group July 2017

We have a fantastic line-up of papers for the NT Study Group this year—come and join us to engage in some world-class scholarship! The Tyndale New Testament Study Group is part of the Tyndale Fellowship for biblical and theological research, based at Tyndale House in Cambridge, and including evangelical scholars from all over the world. This year’s NT Study … Continue Reading

Tyndale NT Study Group 2017

The Tyndale New Testament Study Group is part of the Tyndale Fellowship for biblical and theological research, based at Tyndale House in Cambridge, and including evangelical scholars from all over the world. This year’s NT Study Group will be meeting at Tyndale House from 5th to 7th July. Our theme this year is focussing on Depictions of Jesus in the New Testament. Alongside … Continue Reading

Evangelicals and the Trinity

In recent years there has been a heated debate amongst English-speaking evangelicals about the Trinity, particularly concerning the nature of relationships within the Trinity and whether these shed any light on human relationships. Despite some difficult moments, this debate in some ways offers an example of ‘good disagreement’: different parties haven’t held back from the … Continue Reading

How Social Justice Ideology gave us Donald Trump

I am reposting here an article by Alastair Roberts, who is a regularly reader and commentator on this blog. I don’t agree with everything Alastair says, but his views are always informing, stimulating and challenging not least because they are very well researched. If you want to understand what is happening in America at the moment (rather than … Continue Reading