Apr

16

2013

Thabiti Anyabwile|1:50 am CT

Reforming a Local Church Slowly

Christianity in the U.K. has a public relations problem. I don’t mean the typical problems with being understood by people who are not yet Christians. Every church in every age has that challenge.

No, I’m thinking about the way evangelical churches in the U.K. seem to suffer negative depiction by other western Christians. The prevailing sentiment is that U.K. evangelicalism, stuffy and fatigued, limps toward obsolesence or extinction. We imagine the candlestick slowly smoldering.

While it is certainly true that secularism has eclipsed the church in numerical and cultural strength. My brief stints across the pond have taught me that gospel preaching is alive and well in the U.K. The church has her problems and challenges, as she does everywhere. But there remain men and women who have not bowed the knee to the Baals, who devotedly serve our Savior, who practice hospitality with genuine warmth, and who give themselves in service to His Church. There is, in my little opinion, a real zeal in evangelism and a fervent desire to see people brought into the compass of God’s love. It’s a small church, but it’s a true church in so many ways. At least that’s my opinion, formed by the “scientific” data of two whole visits in five years. I know. That’s not enough to speak authoritatively. But it is enough to make me hopeful and to challenge the stereotypical view I held and that I think a lot of people hold.

A little while ago Carl Truman, that decidedly unfashionable and irretractable old school theologian often seen in knit jumpers carrying old books, linked to an excellent interview with Kent Moulder, vicar of St. Oswald’s, Newcastle. For 25 years Moulder has been preaching the gospel in this small congregation that, prior to his arrival, had never had the gospel proclaimed in its gatherings. Twenty-five years later Moulder continues to proclaim and Jesus continues to reign. I was encouraged with this 6-minute chat and thought it worthwhile to pass along. I hope you’re encouraged by seeing that a long obedience in one place honors and magnifies the Lord. I know I was.

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