Evangelicalism reconsidered on 'Beyond Belief'
Ekklesia's co-director Jonathan Bartley appeared on BBC Radio 4's 'Beyond Belief' programme on Monday 25 March 2013, discussing the history, nature and challenges of (and to) evangelicalism within Christianity.
Also joining presenter Ernie Rea in the studio were the Rev Dr Rob Munroe, who is a member of the conservative Anglican evangelical group Reform, and Vicky Beeching, a theologian and Visiting Research Fellow at Durham University.
All the contributors have been shaped by evangelical culture and theology, but see it through different lenses and in positively critical perspective. The programme has been described as "an open and gracious conversation".
There is a moving out-of-studio contribution from Jeremy Marks, a gay evangelical involved in Courage Trust and pastoral ministry (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/8749), who has moved from a non-affirming to an affirming position on the recognition of same-sex relationships.
Also mentioned or discussed is the question of violent images of atonement (a question dealt with in Ekklesia's book Consuming Passion: Why the killing of Jesus really matters, edited by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley, published by DLT in 2005), Archbishop Justin Welby (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/justinwelby) as a key evangelical figurehead, the evangelical social gospel in Wesleyan Methodist tradition, and other concerns.
On the programme Jonathan Bartley emphasises the interconnectedness of personal and social transformation, and ends with a telling point about enemy-love as central to Jesus' teaching - but often not stressed by modern evangelicals.
As Menno Simons, who is a defining figure in the emergence of the Mennonite and Anabaptist tradition, once observed: "True evangelical faith... clothes the naked... feeds the hungry... serves those who harm it. It binds up that which is wounded."
* Listen to the BBC R4 'Beyond Belief' programme on Evangelicalism here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rg1gy
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