letters to surfers

"I have enjoyed your site for the past year, but I have found myself attracted to more of a high church Anglican emphasis. I wonder if you would still call me an evangelical?"

by Robert Brow   (www.brow.on.ca)

The word "Evangelical" means being concerned with good news, and the the Creative Love Theism which you enjoy on this site is to me very good news indeed. Like you, I was trained in England in a tradition where those who called themselves evangelicals were low church in worship, and viewed Anglo-Catholic churches as heretical because they were high.

The model of the church which I now teach is that there is only one church in each city (Antioch, Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Rome) but it meets in many locations and many different names. Membership in the one church here in Kingston, Ontario is not being on a list, but exercising a gift(s) as a member (as in 1 Corinthians 12) within the one church - that might include functioning across denominational lines.

I have then come to see that from the Lord's point of view that the church in Kingston is like a garden and he delights in a variety of flowers (which can be classified as high, low, Orthodox, Charismatic, Baptist, Plymouth Brethren, Mennonite, etc.) These survive best and look best as distinct clumps (daffodils, flox, roses, tulips) rather than being mixed all over the garden. Denominations are not divisive but more like like franchises which encourage and make possible the expression of each kind of flower.

That means I can delight in an Anglican moderately charismatic congregation like the one I attend, and also affirm the Greek Orthodox, high Anglican, Baptist, etc. flowers of other kinds. And it is quite wrong for a tulip to try to be like a rose or complain about the thorns on the roses. I can also enjoy an American Black congregation with its exuberance and unacceptable theology. The important thing is that they are offering good news for ordinary people.

You are obviously moving in a high direction, and I value and appreciate that kind of flower for occasional services, but I am uneasy when people claim to be the only valid flower in the garden. I hope that begins to answer your question.

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