A voice in the wilderness

by Richard on February 28, 2005

From the BBC: Stephen Tomkins reports on the activities of Christian Voice.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Eugene 02.28.05 at 8:34 pm

His biblical hermeneutics appear to be at face value. Scary

2

David 02.28.05 at 10:42 pm

In a quite uneventful run-up to a general election, Christian Voice has usefully provided newspapers with front page stories and brought into being a pundit who may be able to stand on the pedastle of Mary Whitehouse.

Steve Tomkin’s article is sensible and fair-minded, and it is hysterical to say - as lots of other people are doing - that Mr Green is on the verge of forging a British Bible Belt or a European Taliban. If he changed the name to Concerned Voice he could probably treble his membership and ebcome a cultural version of UKIP. If Kilroy is canny, he will welcome Mr Green into the Veritas fold.

My biggest concern about the hoopla is the damage this is doing to the British perception of evangelicals, especially when it coincides with the Anglican trauma.

With the exception of some Pentecostals, UK evangelicals have traditionally looked at the political antics of their American brethren with the same bafflement as the rest of the population. Billy Graham has been seen as a thoroughly good egg, but the rest of the stateside crowd have never had the stature here as, for example, John Stott.

To be an American is to believe your nation has a messianic role to play in the world. That is why US liberals and evangelicals have rowed so vociferously in the public square. British evangelicals have never expected the United Kingdom to be God’s Kingdom, and been happy getting on the messy business of sharing faith and caring for the flock. “Evangelical” is a term which until recently contrasted favourably with the dogmatisc and exclusive “fundamentalist” epithet. Almost as a harbinger of postmodernism, UK evangelicals have recognised a unity which transcends liturgical tastes and points of emphasis. Gatherings such as Word Alive, and the Keswick Convention before it, united hand-waving house-churchers with chipper Anglicans.

But what is happening now is that false connections are being made. Just as “fundamentalist” became associated with negative attributes, the perception of a UK evangelical has now become linked to a cultural and political viewpoint, and strongarm lobbying tactics.

In reality, evangelicalism remains as incredibly broad a church as, say, environmentalism. If Mr Green is an eco-warrior, most Brits are members of the RSPB. What’s farcical is that the public perception is that we are all sailing on the same Rainbow Warrior.

3

Richard 02.28.05 at 11:04 pm

What a great comment David, and pretty well spot on. “If Mr Green is an eco-warrior, most Brits are members of the RSPB” is hereby filed under “I wish I’d said that”! :)

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