Tuesday, September 19, 2006

1966 and all that

Following on from comments in a lecture this afternoon, some might find THIS an interesting read. It's my brief thoughts after reading the first volume of Dr D. M. Lloyd-Jones' biography by Iain Murray and offers an insight into something of the ministry and legacy of the man other than the controversy surrounding 1966.

Whilst on that subject, suffice to say I am of the opinion that Lloyd-Jones has been proved right in much of what he called for and warned against back then, even if the results of his disagreement with Stott were tragically damaging. And it is interesting to note that many of John Stott's heirs at least implicitly recognise the rightness of some of the Doctor's insights. Evangelical Anglicans (conservative ones anyway), who are John Stott's closest theological heirs, have been spearheading the 'gospel partnership' movement, whilst those evangelicals who've most rigorously pursued the politics of Keele have often (not always of course, but often) gone on to lose sight of John Stott's gospel. I say this tentatively and humbly, and in full knowledge that hindsight is a wonderful thing, all the while prayerful that the mistakes I make in my life (whether theologically or politically) don't damage the cause of the gospel too much.

Perhaps I will dare to comment more when I have finished reading the second volume of the Lloyd-Jones book and the relevant Stott volumes.


Big Pete said...

Actually thought you were going to elaborate on football after looking at the title of this post!!

Haven't read the DMLJ biography but have read the Stotty one and the second volume particularly bears relevance on the 'split'. I have it so can lend it to you if you would like.

One thing of interest though around the gospel partnerships it does have a slightly different emphasis than what Lloyd-Jones suggested, in that the anglicans within them are being urged to remain within the denomination on a national basis but to do whatever is necessary in their locality to spread the gospel. That is to work together with as many evangelicals as possible.

Both Richard Coekin and William Taylor last year when they came to college were urging us ordinands to stay in and fight for the historical chuch of england. Which is interesting considering both of there fights with the CofE over the past few years.

See you in chapel in 2 minutes!!

Pete said...

Yes I agree that this is a different emphasis. I guess the point I am trying to make is that today many evangelicals recognise the fact that 'Keele' has not worked and that the way to advance the gospel is not to walk the corridoors of power within the denominations, but to get on with graqssroots gospel ministry based around the local church. In this sense the importance of the denomination in anglican evangelical thinking has been somewhat relegated. This is quite different to the emphasis of Keele, which was in some respects a reaction to the MLJ call. This is also a commitment which, ironically, finds many evangelicals actually leaving (or being forced to leave) the CofE.

I'm also not totally sure the Doctor was arguing for all the leave their denominations (though undoubtedly he probably thought many should). Some would say he was simply calling for them to create a visible expression of unity between evangelicals. I think in this sense he would have been delighted by the developments of the last few years.

There is another twist to the tale. After 66 the Dr set up the BEC, almost as an alternative to the EA. It is interesting that now, after years of lying seemingly dormant, the BEC has changed its name to Affinity and is playing a not-insignificant role in links with many of the gospel partnerships. For example, the Yorkshire gospel partnership was the first partnership to officially affiliate to Affinity with the hopes that it could provide a national network for the partnership.

MLJ may not have got everything right but the testimony of history seems to hang more in his favour.

Pete said...

Apologies, the Dr didn't set up the BEC in 66 or at any time. It had been set up previously in 1952.

étrangère said...

It's a common mistake - people assume that MLJ a) issued a call to come out of the mixed denominations and b) founded BEC for that purpose. As you infer, he did neither. My Grandfather was involved in setting up BEC, many years after having been forced out of his mixed denomination for objecting to rank heresy - and although he disagreed with them on the principle of secession at that point, he wanted gospel links with the few gospel men still in his old denomination. More like the recent Gospel Partnership idea (or other expressions of Affinity in various areas) than a call to necessarily leave mixed and form pure denominations - and MLJ appreciated its stand for unity in gospel truth.

Pete said...

Thanks for that etrangere. Apparently the recent issue of the churchman has an interesting article on 1966 'split' and keele trying to throw some historical perspective on it all.