The problem of one way streets

In a comment (42: Back on form: disagreeing) “Blue, with a hint of amber” asks if I would let Adrian ‘Do the ”Why did Jesus die?” talk on your Alpha Course?

I have answered in quite a long comment but it reminds me that we live in a one way street and Adrian sees himself as a traffic cop keeping it that way.  What do I mean?

  • I have no problem with Adrian calling himself an evangelical BUT Adrian has many problems with me calling myself an Evangelical.
  • I recognise the ministry of pastors within New Frontiers and I will work with them BUT Adrian does not recognise the ministry of women Methodist Ministers and groups he supports (Together for the Gospel) will not work with them. My understanding is that NFI is mixed on the issue, it seems some pastors will work with ministers who are women from denominations but others won’t.
  • In every theological debate over the years Adrian has taken an exclusive position. He decides that traffic from positions he does not agree with will not be allowed along the street. I have tried to consistently do the opposite, I do not believe or accept many of Adrian’s theological positions but I have tried to never exclude him from any part of the Christian community because of our differences.

So friends from NFI (Adrian, Bwahoa, Phil, Bluefish etc) what about it? Can you answer Adrian’s question as I have?

how closely can we work together with people who vehemently disagree with us?

Are you going to let us in and along the street? Or is your Christianity all one way?

8 thoughts on “The problem of one way streets

  1. Blue, with a hint of amber

    This is why how we define “working together” as so important. Just two examples.
    1) I have been involved with Hope08 in Shrewsbury. I led a team that produced a wrap around of the local free newspaper that we used to showcase community projects run by churches and christian groups in the town, stories of people who have an active faith and details of local churches. It was delivered to 54,000 homes with all the churches listed side by side. In that project I worked closely with a local female methodist lay preacher.
    2) In Shrewsbury there is a homeless drop in centre called the Ark. It is run by local Christians and has cross denominational support, although the key member churches tend to be some of the more liberal churches. We are a member church, pay a subscription, and give use of our building for fund raising events and the poster advertising the services they provide is one of the first things you see on entering our premises.
    What do you mean by “excluded from the Christian community”?
    I personally don’t know anybody, and have never met anyone, and have never heard anyone ever say, that they would “not work” with a female minister on account of her gender.
    But that is why “working together” needs to be defines better.
    Frankly, I think her views on baptism and penal substitution would be more important, were we to be tempted to fall out over anything! ;o)
    Your comment on adult baptism was quite interesting. As a Methodist – that was a deal breaker for you. But you would still “work” with those who preach believers baptism wouldn’t you? Just not in your Church with your people if they were talking about believer’s baptism?

  2. Dave Warnock

    Those are two good examples of working together. Hope 08 has been excellent for that locally for us.
    One common exclusion is the “I am redefining evangelical to exclude you” or even “these are the steps to becoming a Christian, if these do not match your experience then you are not a Christian”.
    I am afraid that many of our ministers who are women can give you examples of ministers/churches who won’t work with them.
    Adrians strong support of “Together for the Gospel” who accuse having women in ministry as being damaging to the gospel and ban women from the conferences would be another example.
    I don’t think I have been clear on the “problem” of adult baptism. I have no problem in Christians who believe in adult baptism. I have said before I have no problem in my members being baptised as adults even if they have been baptised as children (although I can’t and won’t re-baptise them myself). BUT I do have a huge problem with people coming into my church and telling my members that they are not proper Christians because they have not been baptised as adults. Personally I thinking it is shocking that anyone would do that but I do have personal experience.
    Anyone is welcome to come and talk about believers baptism, we have baptist ministers come and preach and share in ministry BUT they would never dream of telling faithful Christians that they are not Christian, especially when a guest in their church. Do you see the difference?
    I respect other views and allow them to be expressed but the one way street means my views and our position is not treated in the same way.

  3. dave bish

    I think it largely depends on what you’re going to do together…
    So, down here the lead elder of my church is the chair of the citywide “evangelical partnership” which certainly bridges the charismatic/non-charismatic, egalatarian/complementarian, baptist etc divides…
    …they liase together, pray together, run some stuff together, they stand behind the CU… and yet most of the time the individual churches get on with doing their own thing with their own distinctives, with a warmth and friendliness between one another.

  4. Casaubon

    Dave and BWAHOA
    I have a couple of questions.
    If your respective evangelical partnerships invited Steve Chalke to speak would you and your churches attend?
    If Oasis Learning came to run an academy in your locality would you support the venture with prayer, public support and practical activites – volunteers, fundraising etc?
    In other words, could you ‘work with’ Steve Chalke?

  5. Dave Warnock

    Wow we would be delighted. East Northamptonshire does not attract many big names.
    My congregations would be very enthusiastic.
    By the way we are very involved in the East Northants Faith Group (which is an odd group in National terms as there are no other faiths besides Christianity represented in East Northants – no temples, mosques, synagogues etc).

  6. Blue, with a hint of amber

    If your respective evangelical partnerships invited Steve Chalke to speak would you and your churches attend?
    Steve Chalke did come to a local Church in the town last year and we advertised it in our Church and people from our Church went, including our lead elder.
    If Oasis Learning came to run an academy in your locality would you support the venture with prayer, public support and practical activites – volunteers, fundraising etc?
    Yes, and a member of our Church moved from here to become a headmaster at one of the new Oasis academies elsewhere in the country. We naturally blessed that process and still have regular contact with them.
    Looking at Steve Chalke’s current involvements we would support “Stop the Traffik” wholeheartedly and have supported one of their petitions.
    A lady in our church started a national organisation that helps with debt advice and has a chapter in one of the “Faithworks” books.


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