Churches need to face the challenge of change

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From an interview in the latest issue of SCM's 'Movement' magazine with Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow, examining the challenge to the churches of post-Christendom, the current era in which their historic privileges are being eroded:

"One of the major blocks on positive change (what the gospel calls metanoia, radical conversion) is the desire to cling onto props from the past. From Ekklesia’s point of view, that means things like Establishment, bishops in an unelected second chamber, tax breaks, publicly-funded schools which select on the basis of faith, church exemptions from equalities legislation, and so on. These are often seen in terms of ‘survival’ by the denominations. But there are three problems with adopting a ‘defensive’ approach. First, it’s unsustainable in a plural, democratic age, because the churches are now a minority and have no mandate to impose their will on others. Second (and this is even more vital for Ekklesia), it isn’t Christian – because the Gospel is about the risk-taking realm of God, about Jesus’ subversion of selfish religion and politics. It’s not about self-preservation. Consequently, and thirdly, defending the collateral of Christendom isn’t working and can’t work. The future is with church as a movement for change alongside others, not the church as an ally of the status quo."

An extended version of the interview can be found here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/5942