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Stebbing, Great Dunmow, Essex, United Kingdom
The occasional blog of an Anglican priest in rural Essex

Thursday, 14 August 2008

I heard it through the grapevine ...

Lots of debate going on about what evangelical means, on Fulcrum and the Ugley Vicar. It is good to think about stuff we have in common (say between open evangelicals and conservative ones).

I just spent 3 days on and off trying to write a post examining the conservative approach to stuff like bishops, (male and female) ordination (ditto) and the Bible.

Trouble was I either found their arguments too painful to accept or I just plain didn't know how they got to their conclusion. If I was their maths teacher I'd write "show your working" in the margin.

So no great words of wisdom, just disappointment and frustration that my own vine is trying to cut me off


  1. Although I came to faith via the evangelical wing of the church, I now no longer associate myself with them. Their teachings on being a disciple are flawed and while they reach out to the lost and help bring many to faith, the on going growth of faith for new christians within the evangelical church is haphazard and off track. Why can't we just be followers of Yeshuah and leave it at that? Why do we have to label our groups because of 'mans' reasoning and decisions on what is a right and correct theology? Evangelicals are the new Pharisees....!

  2. Some of that is fair comment Steve, as long as you mean "conservative" evangelicals are the new pharisees ... etc
    To know something of the difference, compare Fulcrum with the Ugley Vicar blog

  3. Err ... so I'm a Pharisee, Tim?

    I'm sure you don't really mean that in a personal way. But it reminds me that one of the great lessons I learned doing philosophy at University was that your words, once written, mean what they say as they stand, not what you would mean them to say if you had another chance to explain yourself properly.

    For those who'd like to read my Pharisaical musings, the link is here.

  4. John, Steve said it, not me. I think he is talking about CE's (let's see what he comes back with).I merely pointed him to your blog to give and example of what he thinks is Pharisaic. He might be surprised, especially by your most recent post.

    You're right, it's not meant as personal, this is a Friendly blog (BTW right on the nail with your take on Quakers there).

    I think all Christians have a tendency to pharisaism (if that's how you spell it), especially on matters that we feel passionately about - when we tend to grab the high ground and dig our heels in.

    Still, Jesus did say our righteousness should exceed that of the Pharisees.

  5. Hi Tim,

    Be fair! What Steve wrote was, "Evangelicals are the new Pharisees," to which you replied fair enough, "as long as you mean 'conservative' evangelicals are the new pharisees," and then directed him to my blog to see the "difference" - I presume between Conservative (and therefore Pharisaic) Evangelicals and Open (non-Pharisaic) ones.

    Like I said, you have to allow that it reads how it is written, even if it was not intended personally.

    Moreover, are we not (post Sanders) aware that the Pharisees were the 'Hasidim' of their day - doing their best to live up to what God required, though blind to what he was doing in Jesus.

    Personally I read Steve's comments as someone who has become confused, and is trying to resolve that confusion by becoming a 1 Corinthians 1:12 "Christ only" disciple - when, of course, there has never been any such thing.

    I hope he finds his way out.

  6. Well that got the comments on a roll eh! I have spent many years with evangelicals, since 1989 from BG LIFE and slowly realised that they are flawed on much of their theology and the way they bring up new christians in a life of faith. Thats my experience and I stick to what I say and what I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears. I am not going into detail here but would happily discuss it over a pint. Ugley is only half hour from me and Tim your even closer I think! The first round is on me!

  7. I'm up for it if John is. This morning's reading from Matthew 15 has kept me mullling the issue over too. Jesus was orthodox to the Law in what he said about the heart, and the mouth (or mouse!) but still thought the Pharisees were blind - as you say John, to what he was doing, and in the same way the Hasidim today seem blind to the possibility that someone other than them might be right.

    I have to be honest, John and say that while I do perhaps regret the speed of my response, that is a difference between OE and CE people (not you and me, but generally). OE's are open to other traditions and see value in them; CE's in my not inconsiderable experience find it very hard to acknowledge that someone else's view has value.
    They struggle in post modernity in the same way that legalistic elements of Islam and Judaism do.
    Let's get together in September

  8. Steve, Tim

    A pint sounds good to me. Can we leave it with Steve to organize? I'm in the phone book, as I guess Tim is.

    Tim, just to say thinking you're right and others are wrong doesn't make you a Pharisee, though. Richard Dawkins could hardly be accused of 'Pharisaism', for example, whatever else may be his faults.


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