Lee Gatiss, in his second address to the recent conference of Evangelicals, described a recent survey of Evangelicals in the Church of England which discovered that not only is the evangelical community divided over whether evangelicalism is having an effect on the church, but that the same division is found in individual Evangelicals—that Evangelicals are suffering from a spiritual bi-polar disorder. We can go from fervent optimism to utter despair in a matter of hours. The cure, of course, is the gospel itself…

At the recent conference of Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church, Tom Isham brought a wonderful message from the leader of the evangelical wing of the 19th century House of Bishops (believe it or not, Evangelicals and Revisionists were pretty evenly matched in those days): no matter how few of you there may be, keep a high view of Scripture, a warm spirituality, a sound and well defined theology, an informed conscience, and the courage of your convictions. Check it out here:

Another great point made by Lee Gatiss at the recent conference of Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church! Check out his talk (thanks to Anglican TV):

Lee GatissOne of the many points made at the Evangelion conference by Lee Gatiss that really struck me concerned the value of institutions. Institutions live longer and work harder than even the most celebrated workers. He gave the example of William Wilberforce, the 19th century evangelical who devoted his life to ending Britain’s involvement with the slave trade. Wilberforce is generally credited with being the single most important individual campaigner for this cause, and achieving more for it than almost anyone of his time, but there was no guarantee that anyone would carry on this work after him, and although Parliament abolished the slave trade throughout the British Empire just weeks after his death, further reform in this area did not come for generations. Church Society, on the other hand, has been at work for the evangelical cause in the Church of England for 200 years, and its work does not stop when any of its members or officers dies.

Gatiss also pointed out that Church Society is still working for the same thing in the church for which it was working 200 years ago. Unlike, for instance, the abolition of slavery, commitment to living under the authority of Scripture in the church is not something about which it can ever be said ‘we’ve achieved our goal, now we can celebrate and then wind up our activities.’ There will always be work to do. There was 200 years ago, there is today, and unless the Lord comes first, there will be work to do 200 years from now.

It made me realize how much Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church need an institution like Church Society. My prayer is that out of this renewed interest in the evangelical movement, such an organization may come. It’s not our first need, I realize, but even the most enthusiastic movements run into the doldrums eventually, and before too many years have passed, I hope we take steps towards a Church Society of our own, and that in 2215 it will be busy planning its second bicentennial celebration, as well as continuing to uphold the authority of the word of God in the Episcopal Church.

In the meantime, let’s support Church Society, which is willing to help the effort here as well as in the Church of England. Click here to learn how.

Lee’s talk should be available on Anglican TV shortly. When it is, I’ll update this post with a link.

images7NGUCNWAThe 2015 gathering of Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church, also known as Evangelion (not to be confused with the upcoming Animé movie), was a winner. Since 2008, when most Episcopalian Evangelicals left to join a breakaway movement, there have been no less than four such gatherings, each hoping to re-energise those who have stayed, and this fourth try was the one that clicked. A spirit of optimism and hope pervaded the whole gathering, and plans are under way for similar gatherings in other places in 2016 and 2017.

Keynote speaker was Lee Gatiss, executive director of Church Society, the oldest evangelical institution in the Church of England. Other speakers were Thomas Isham and Philip Wainwright, and the main points made by each speaker will be summarized in separate posts over the next week. Most presentations were filmed by Anglican TV, and as soon as they are available for viewing a link will be available on this site.

Plans were also made for a series of short, readable, publications setting out the relationship between Episcopal practices and the teaching of Scripture, beginning with baptism and the renewal of the baptismal vows and covenant. It’s hoped that this booklet will be in print before the 2016 gathering in Pittsburgh.

The conference was conceived and organized by Jordan Lavender, and hosted by Adam Egan, rector of St Stephen’s in Delmar, NY, where the conference was held. Check back here for more details over the next few days (or click ‘Follow’ to get the additional posts by e-mail).

Drop and ripplesThose interested in attending the Evangelical Identity conference in Delmar, NY in April (see post at top of this page) should check the Conference web-site at http://www.evangeliontec.org. A special rate has been arranged for those needing hotel accomodation: $95/night for hotel rooms has been established with the Comfort Inn, Glenmont NY (less than 5 mins from St Stephen’s Episcopal Church). Call 518-465-8811 and mention the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Group Rate. The conference schedule and information about speakers has also been updated. Hope to see you there!

Towards the Conversion of EnglandThe Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has called for the Church of England to put evangelism back at the top its agenda in his most recent speech to the General Synod, which can be read here. His speech included a reference to the 1944 report, Towards the Conversion of England, to which John Richardson worked so hard to bring attention before his untimely death. Plenty of information and discussion here. Welby praises the report particularly for its ‘constant theme that unless the whole church, lay and ordained, become in a new sense witnesses, then there can be no progress in spreading the good news of Jesus.’ The 1944 report inspired many in the church to a new determination to spread the gospel, but Welby admits that its vision ‘is as yet unfulfilled. It is that, for the effective and fruitful proclamation of the good news to be made in this country, every person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ plays an essential role as a witness of Jesus Christ.’

The same applies to the Episcopal Church; we cannot be the church that arose from Christ’s charge in Matthew 28.19f until all members of the church, lay and ordained, understand themselves as witnesses, sent to make disciples of others. May God set their church and ours, and all churches, back to their work.

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