One of the great strengths of events such as the Keswick Convention, Word Alive, Bible By the Beach and so on is that they bring together evangelicals regardless of denomination.
As the classic Keswick banner reminds us, we are ‘one in Christ Jesus’. Of course, we then go home and resume being Independent Evangelicals, Grace Baptists, Anglicans or whatever branch of the church we are in.
This that the issue of en reminds us gospel is greater than our denominational allegiance. What a joy it is to read of Presbyterians (p.5), the Free Church of England (p.3), the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion (p.3), the Welsh Evangelical Alliance (p.2), the FIEC (p.3), Affinity (p.2) and the Evangelical Alliance (p.32).
The travails of the Church of England (p.2) will rightly raise, for some, questions of whether it is possible to be an evangelical in that denomination – as Stephen Kneale very reasonably asks a couple of pages on from here.
Writing recently, one woman who began life as a Gospel Standard Strict Baptist, then joined the FIEC, and is now an Anglican evangelical, wrote: ‘I have seen the Church of England from the outside as well as within. There are some dire things about it but, I can honestly say, I have also seen how it offers unique opportunities to proclaim and share the good news of Jesus…’ She encouraged non-Anglican evangelicals to ‘stand behind your [CofE] brothers and sisters. As they face forwards with the armour of God firmly in place, you can be watching their backs’.
We will all have our own views on these things, and quite rightly so. But, as you turn the pages of this month’s en and see the gospel challenges and encouragements of evangelical life in varied denominations and organisations, do give thanks – and pray.