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Church scene: [British] Conservative Evangelicalism

Discussion in 'Christian Chat' started by JoelH, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. JoelH

    JoelH Well-Known Member

    Groege Bernard Shaw once remarked Britain and the US are "“two peoples separated by a common language.” The same observation applies to the Christian scene as well.

    When someone mentions conservative evangelicals in the context of American Christendom, people would either imagine someone who likes Billy Graham, comes to Rapture Forums for posts, who is open to charismatic movement but may not be so, likes Jerry Falwell, loves CCM, loathes liberalism/leftism; or they may be someone who sits between Billy Graham and Independent Fundamentalist Baptists who are separatist, like a watered down version of old fundamentalists. But in all case, it covers pretty much a wide range of people, some will be more Pentecostal who loves lifehouse skits, some who love Rick Warren and try to pick and choose which parts are biblical, some like John MacArthur, while others are like Calvary Chapel movement.

    Not so in Brtiain. Conservative evangelicalism is a specific term in evangelicalism that refers specifically to (a) non-charismatic Christianity - a large number may be cessationist but even continuationalists don;'t believe the tongues are normative even to the Calvary Chapel levels; (b) often Reformed-leaning. It may indeed be 5-point Calvinists for a large portion, but there are also a large number who sound like old time Baptist with a Calvinistic predestination bent (3.5 points at most); (c) are often "pan-millennial" or amillennial.

    The other two streams in contrast are charismatic evangelicals and open evangelicals. Open evangelicals are represented by people like N.T. Wright and could be more analogous to Bill Hybels, Rick Warren. Often their church service is mroe formal and resemble mainline Protestant. The Baptist type of Open evangelcials would be fairly similar to Neoevangelcials in the States, and typical Hybels and Warren supporters. Charismatic evangelicals would include anyone from the Calvary Chapel, Church of England's charismatic evangelicals, all the way down to AOG, Vineyard, and IHOP etc.

    Viewed from an American conservative evangelical angle, for example from a typical Rapture Forum reader who comes from the Calvary Chapel or an independent Bible Church background, British Conservative Enangelicals could be like a parallel world in which some parts are too liberal, while others are too fundamentalist.

    Parts where American conservative evangelicals may find too liberal:

    1. They do not separate from the larger mainline denominations which are often steeped in apostasy.
    2. Many (not all) believe in old age earth (6-days being ages) and even a small number believe in theistic evolution.
    3. Don't necessarily believe in social activism and individually many could hold rather left-leaning views.
    4. Mostly non-premillennial, which means "pan-millennial" or amillennial.
    5. Could sound a little charismatic. Most believe at least in Total depravity, unconditional election and irresistable grace and preseverance of saints, but there are views that correspond to Calvinistis Calvinists to A.W. Tozer like non-Calvinism. Calssical 5-point Calvinism or Theonomy are rare.

    Parts where American conservative evangelicals may find too conservative:

    1. There is an emphasis on the theology of the church. The local church is being seen as an important vehicle God brings along in spiritual grow into maturity among His redeemed. Therefore "I left church/organised religion and become close to God" is alien to British conservative evangelicals.
    2. As a result of 1, many British conservative evangelicals will find the American conservative evangelical expression "Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with God throughn His Son jesus" puzzling at best. To them, the relatioonahip part is true yes, but it is based on God being God and Jesus being the last and greatest manifestation of God to man. Therefore as religion is dealing with man's beliefs about God, certainly Christianity can't be not a religion, can it?
    3. There is a more hardline rejection of the contemporary market approach to church. No one will dare do zny skits or sing Christian rock music at church service.
    4. The theology of worship requires church servive to contain elements that are explicitly mentioned or derived from the Scriptures. So Christian rock is out, a public proclamation of the Scriptures is in.
    5. It could sound very left-brained to those from 'spirit-filled church" theological traditions. Even their CCM songs from the likes of Getty, Michael Morrow, and Sovereign Grace Music make the music from Hillsong or David Crowder like from another world.

    Other areas where both share common grounds:

    1. Infallible or inerrant view of the Bible
    2. Penal substitution model of atonement[citation needed]
    3. Proclamation approach to evangelism[citation needed]
    4. Male leadership (althiough a large chunks of middle evangelicals in the US accept women leaders, as evidenced from psits on this board)
    5. Homosexuality seen as a sin
    6. Opposition to abortion
    7. Hell seen as a real place of eternal punishment
    8. Emphasis on systematic expository preaching

    They could be Anglicans like Rico Tice, or Baptists like Peter Masters.

    Hope this article educates and informs you aboue the situation across the pond and to a large extent the evangelical Christianity from non-charismatic churches.

    I would like to end this post with a video clip from Jonathan Fletcher talking about conservative evangelicalism in the Church of England context:

    [video]Jonathan Fletcher on Vimeo[/video]
  2. daygo

    daygo Well-Known Member

    joelh, am in uk and would like to view the video, but am unable to use the link, could you please check the link or maybe put another one up. Many thanks
  3. JoelH

    JoelH Well-Known Member

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