12.1.09

A counter-balance to earlier ramblings...

It's a strange thing blog-writing. You perceive your own mind in its strangeness. Thoughts come and go but once blogged, you can reconnect with them and think afresh. Maybe 'postmodern God' was taking things a bit far. I'm answering my own reflections today. The Bible does have meaning and this has been interpreted over time by Christians and theologians under the guidance of the holy spirit. Maybe the holy spirit isn't always of the kind of thinking that I did yesterday - you know - the whole - postmodern - it means one thing for you and another for me.

I've been listening to John Stott on my headphones as I shopped at Sainsbury's, which is, in itself, something of a strange but not unpleasant experience. He has a very delicious way of saying the word 'authority' and the sort of voice which makes me think of afternoon tea with scones and jam and cucumber sandwiches - comforting and very British. I also listened today to Ian Paul at college on Evangelicalim and the centrality of the cross, justification and sanctification, proclamation and conversion. There are some holes, he admits - what about more emphasis on the resurrection, which I flagged up yesterday and waht about social action as mission. Are there giftings from our pre-Christian days which we shouldn't have let die off - these can be redeemed and used to God's glory. Should we define ourselves at all, he wondered. There was a lot of suspicion in the room - and the general consensus is we shouldn't. But he wondered if sometimes it can actually be useful. I am beginning to wonder if I am an evangelical - in - denial. I want to find reasons why not to be an evangelical, flaws in the arguments etc but the more i try to fight it, the more it seems best fit. I can see so many things wrong with tradition and reason but nothing wrong with the Word of God and it is to this that I want to conform my life.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rachel,
You wrote:

" I am beginning to wonder if I an an evangelical-in- denial. I want to find reasons why not to be an evangelical, flaws in the arguments etc. but the more I try to fight it the more it seems best fit."

This sound very much to me as if think evangelicalism is correct but you don't like the people who think it is.

Iconoclast

Rachel said...

You're right iconoclast.
I don't want the label to be a stumbling block. There are certain assumptions one attaches to the label - I know - I used to attach them! I'm not comfortable with an emphasis on complementarianism in its practical outworkings; I don't think that there should be restrictions placed on women who are also wives and mothers. We have to consider individuals and personal circumstances and not be legalistic and succumb to gender categorisations.

I also feel that evangelicals need to be less obsessed with sexual orientation. It sometimes seems as if there is an unhealthy obsession with homosexuality. If the Bible does have a sexual ethic, it must be one which speaks to the whole of humanity - we mustn't categorise people as homosexual or heterosexual, if we're living in the kingdom - these aren't biblical distinctions.

I also worry about exclusivity - this can sometimes happen with labels and I want to emphasise more God's common grace.

Also there needs to be a recognition that everyone's conversion stories are different and it is rarely about facing the question - there are two ways to live etc.

An emphasis on depravity, I find tricky, I believe in it but I don't want it to dominate the outworkings of my faith and I do believe in social action as well as proclamation - we need to address the issue of people's basic needs sometimes before we can promote a spiritual health.

I'm also having a few problems with predestination which is often emphasised by Calvinist Evangelicals.

So, yes, I have a lot of thinking to do before I am really happy to attach the label to myself - at the moment - it's as if I want to say - see here - I'm an evangelical but please make sure you read the small print at the bottom, underwriting the claim.

!?

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.